Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 in numbers

Have posted this over on facebook but it deserves to be shared here too

It’s the 31st December, so that means only one thing.  The doors need to be got out for the scores to be written upon them and for 2016 to be summed up in numbers.
Swimming came in at 1192km, down from 1324.4km in 2015 (when I trained for Two Way Windermere).  There was 1093.8km running, up from 826.1km and astonishingly 735km on the bike, that was evidently before I totally gave up on cycling to work… (but down from 1795.5km in 2015)
I went to 11 yoga classes and had 17 hours of PT.  31 mince pies were consumed and two carol services attended.  352 decaff white Americanos were consumed; peppermint tea was consumed in excess of 600 cups.  I had 12 Little Chef Omlette breakfasts.  I spent 14 nights in a Premier Inn, 7 of which were paid for by work.  I also spent 7 nights in Tenerife, 4 in Slovenia, 7 in Austria and 3 in the Lake District which were not in Premier Inns.  I bought 3 new swimming costumes.  I visited the osteopath 11 times and had 30 sports massages.
I did 10 running events including 6 half marathons and 2 marathons.  I participated in 6 openwater swimming events.  Whilst getting a trophy for being first in my category at the Seahorse Swim was pretty cool, the standout swim was the lovely half an hour I had on my own in Rydal Water in May.  Even better than the beautiful lakes in Austria and Slovenia.
I held 3 cake stalls and a crafternoon and raised £1900 for Mind.
NHS wise, I was down quite a lot from 33 appointments/contacts in 2015.  I saw my GP 3 times, two other GPs once each (for hayfever and the chest infection of doom respectively), spoke to my GP on the phone twice, and had an ultrasound on my neck.  So that’s a mere 8.  9 if you include seeing my NHS dentist once.  I was however issued with twenty-four prescriptions, a lot of boxes of pills when you consider that most of those prescriptions were for a two month supply.  And one private prescription when a colleague took pity on me after running out of fexofenadine and wrote me a script on a piece of A4 (I think he couldn’t stand sitting next to my sneezing any longer!).

Friday, 30 December 2016

End of 2016

 It's time for the customary end of the year round up post.  You can see what I wrote last year here (and hopefully link your way back to ?2010??).  The questions are random, but it often pulls out a few highlights,

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Dyed my hair pink, ran a marathon (twice!), went to Slovenia, went to Italy (briefly), went to a medical conference, stayed in a Premier Inn for work (3 times), got a research project ethics application approved, started a Postgraduate Certificate in Systematic Reviews, started doing Personal Training, learned to crochet.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
goals/plans for 2016.
1. Complete a marathon (umm, might actually have entered more than one and the Atlantic Coast Challenge) I ran the Brighton Marathon and we staggered around the Windermere Marathon.  Knee issues prevented the Atlantic Coast Challenge.
2. Plank a day in January Nope.
3. Keep up with yoga Dropped out of yoga in March, only been once since...oops.
4. Try to do a sugar free day a week This worked some of the time but I didn't adhere to it religiously.
5. Read more books than I read in 2015 (I'm up to 222 as 2015 closes) Another fail.  What with Brexit and Trump, I felt agitated and unable to focus on reading, so turned to rereading which doesn't count in my statistics.  I'm hopefully going to close on 200 this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend M had another little girl.

 4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.  But a lot of people close to me lost people.

5. What countries did you visit?
Spain (Tenerife), Slovenia, Austria, and briefly into Italy for a morning.  Oh and Germany, as we flew into Munich for Austria.  What a jetsetting year!  Also went to the Lake District twice, Devon once and Hampshire quite a lot.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I'm still struggling to achieve a decent balance - it's hard to say no to things when you're feeling so much better but then it can sometimes end up leading to being overwhelmed.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm not sure that any can in particular, but dates from previous years - 17th November, 15th August, 2nd August, 16th October, 9th July, do remain etched.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Running by first marathon in 3h47m42s - less than 3 minutes away from a good for age time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Missing that good for age time?!  Seriously, if that's the biggest failure then it's been a pretty good year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had big knee problems after Windermere marathon.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new down jacket to replace my old one.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
To be honest, I think mine did.  I've had a good year and it needs to be celebrated!

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Sports related payments - osteopath, sports massage, PT, swimming memberships, entry fees.....

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Some of work was really exciting.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
I listened a lot to the Rend Collective this year.  Boldly I approach was a new one.  And also their arrangement of Be Thou My Vision was fitting when we were remembering 10 years since Emily died (we sang it at her funeral)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
fatter (possibly more muscly??)
c) richer or poorer?
richer - no more mortgage!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Just "being"

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my husband.  My parents on Christmas Eve, STAYED AT HOME ON CHRISTMAS DAY.  First time we've ever done that.  Best Christmas ever.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Carried on being in love.

22. How many one-night stands?
Absolutely none.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Really didn't watch much TV but I did enjoy the Royal Institution Christmas lectures this year.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
Things that got 5* on Goodreads were: Narrow Road to the Deep North (Richard Flanagan); It's All In Your Head (Suzanne O'Sullivan); The Mistake I Made (Paula Daly); One (Sarah Crossan); Am I Normal Yet? (Holly Bourne); The Weight Of Water (Sarah Crossan); Girl in Pieces (Katherine Glasgow); The Outrun (Amy Liptrot)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rend Collective

27. What did you want and not get?
Off one of my meds.

28. What did you want and get?

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
A United Kingdom which I saw a couple of weeks ago was very inspiring; I, Daniel Blake, was horrific and moving.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31 and it was also Good Friday.  I had a nice swim in the morning at Ferry Pool with Helen, then Becci came around and brought me cake and a cushion shaped like a biscuit, then I lay in bed for a bit before we went out for a Starbucks and to see the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 at the cinema.  It was a bit of a miss (the film), but it represented an achievement for me to get out on a day off rather than just lie in bed.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A parking space at work

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Jeans and trainers to work!  (The novelty after so many years of being presentable, although as the year has ended out, I've ended up in my smarter skirts as still like to wear them!)

33. What kept you sane? 
Swimming and running and PT and my lovely line manager and husband, and doing crochet, and some of my lovely friends (F, H, B especially)

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Leaving the EU

35. Whom did you miss?
As ever, missed my beautiful friend Emily.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Met Amanda in person for the first time! 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
"Not to take good mental health for granted, nor to expect everyone to understand mental health issues.  You'd think I might have learnt these lessons previously, but it turns out that I hadn't.  Hopefully they will stay with me a bit longer this time."

- wrote the above in 2012 and I still think they are a valuable lesson.

^^ and still in 2016

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"This is the art of celebration" - Rend Collective, Boldly I Approach.

 39. So in as few words as possible, how would you sum up your year?
Joyful, for the most part (with the exception of the blip of unwellness in August)

Thursday, 8 December 2016


Mojo always makes me think of this - a Tenerife training camp staple.  I think somewhere this Autumn I've not had as much of this as I would have liked.  This is in part illustrated by the fact that I never got around to blogging the three half marathons I did this Autumn.  And it's also illustrated by the fact that besides one event, I haven't really made any plans for next year in terms of sporting events.

I got a little bit of that back this week.  I was in London for a conference with work (what a privilege to go; what an interesting three days) and I purposefully chose a hotel that was near a pool - and not just any pool by the London Aquatics Centre - aka the 2012 Olympic Pool.  I have had the pleasure of swimming there twice before but never for my early morning lane swimming session.  And what a treat it was.  It's the sort of pool that makes you feel like you're swimming fabulously well (even if you are not) and you can't help but feel inspired by all of the amazing swimmers that have been in the chlorine before you.  I was quite excited to spot Aimee Wilmott (London 2012, Rio 2016...) over on the far side doing her morning training set.

On Monday, halfway through my usual 4k, I looked up and saw a familiar face on poolside, coaching.  "Dan!" I exclaimed, and waved wildly.  It was Dan from Swim for Tri; the chap who is responsible for making my front crawl look respectable* on 5 consecutive trips to Tenerife (and other occasions).  It was lovely to catch up with him briefly on poolside when my swim was finished.  He invited me to all of the Swim for Tri sessions happening while I was in London, but it was only practical to attend one, the Mile End Wednesday session.

So on Wednesday morning, I checked out of the hotel at 6am, dragged my suitcase 3/4 mile to the tube and took the tube one stop along the line and then dragged the suitcase for a further 3/4 mile to the pool.  The squad was a little thin on the ground that day owing to injuries/holidays/time of year but everyone was very welcoming.  I enjoyed doing a proper swim set with some paddle work, interspersed with some fast swimming, and I was pleased to clock 1:23 for a 100m swim right at the end of the session (I think it could have been a second or so faster if the chap in front hadn't held me up on the first length!).  What a treat it was and quite a bolster for the mojo.

So time now to focus a little better on swimming.  A 1:1 with Dan is booked for January.  I need to work out what I want to achieve in Tenerife this year.  A 10k to enter perhaps.  More time on drills, more time making use of the fact that one of the pools I use is fine with fins/paddles etc.

* although on Monday morning, judging by the couple of snaps he took, it wasn't very respectable.