Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 stats

I’ve been rubbish at posting and owe this blog a post or two but in the meantime here is my Facebook post from today with my 2017 stats

The doors are out and the scores are upon them. This is my review of the year in numbers. It captures some of my year but certainly not all of it; I might write my own highlights post as well or I might not. 

I ran 1020km (down slightly from my biggest ever running head of 1093 in 2016) and swam 1309km (up quite a bit from 1192 in 2016). Not my biggest swimming year  which was 2015 with 1324, but pretty close. I did not get on my bike once!

I took part in 16 running events, all half marathons except for one ten mile road race and one 10k trail race. The standout race was the Hastings Half marathon which was tough but by far the most well supported race I’ve ever done with bonus points for being by the seaside.  I achieved a new half marathon PB three times in January, February and at Bexhill in November where I achieved 1:42:20 which was over 5 minutes faster than any pre-2017 PB. The slowest and hilliest and muddiest race was Killerton in September. The race with the most cabbage fields was Boston half in April and the coldest half was Farnborough in January where the portaloos froze.

Best swim(s) - the little dipette in the small lake by the side of the motorway in Austria and taking Megan around the Great London Swim. Honourable mention to the Rutland 8k which I didn’t enjoy but turned out that I’d won.  In all I took part in 5 openwater Swim events. I only purchased three swimming costumes.

I took up Body Balance in January and attended a total of 30 classes during the year. I took up Piloga in June and attended a total of 25 classes. I attended a single Pilates class and a single Fitness yoga class. I had a brief flirtation with Body Pump (which had to be ditched owing to time and shoulders issues) and attended 12 classes. I had 18 sessions of PT.

I spent 14 nights in a Premier Inn (plus 7 in the Jardin Caleta Tenerife and 5 in the hotel Landhof Ellmau and 2 in a guest house in the lakes). Premier Inn nights were consistent with 2016 but nights in other locations was down. 

I visited the Little Chef only six times and sadly there won’t be a statistic on Little Chefs in future years as they are now shut.

I consumed 34 mince pies up from 31 in 2016.

I held two cake stalls, ran a Crafternoon, sold a lot of little animals and organised a virtual fitness challenge which enabled me to raise £2600 for Mind.

Contacts with the NHS were down again this year (2014: 62; 2015: 33; 2016: 8) to 4 GP appointments, 1 telephone call from GP and 1 blood test (6). 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Swimathon 2017

 I didn't enter swimathon in 2016, after the heady heights of 5 swimathons in 3 days in 2015 as part of two-way Windermere training, it seemed that anything would have been an anticlimax.

However, 2017 was a return to this annual pool event.  200 lengths of the pool and this time I would do it three times.  I'd been feeling in pretty good form since getting back from this year's trip to Tenerife and having had two 1:1s with Dan Bullock so although I wasn't hopeful for a new PB (Peebee set in #2 of 2015 was 1:20:19) I was hoping for some respectable times.

To my surprise, I finished the first swimathon in 1:20:00!  I then went back  a couple of hours later to repeat the experience, however I hadn't quite got my fuelling strategy in between right (needed to eat some actual sugar not just carbs!) and that came in at 1:23:05 which I was a little disappointed about.

On Saturday I attended my usual Saturday morning when I am around Body Balance class and then it was #3 at my local leisure centre (the other two were at the pool where I swim en route to work).  It's not a fast pool (has gutters rather than level with the floor) but they had put the wave breaker lane ropes in which they don't always.  However, there were FIVE of us in the lane so my heart sank a little.  To my surprise, I came out with another Peebee, finally getting under 1h20, to come in at 1:19:57.  I can only put this down to the constant sprinting to overtake people and using that as extra motivation.  Was pleased!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Plates spinning, multiple hats, more pies than fingers to stick them in

Sometimes it all feels a bit overwhelming. I know it's my own choice to do so many things (and to some extent it's linked to my mental health - achieve in order to gain praise, keep busy in order to deal with the difficult things, be a human doing rather than a human being) but sometimes I find it quite hard.

Right now I am training hard (swimming for swim events in the summmer, running so I can run a half marathon every month this year, gym strength training to give me a strong body for the first two and to give me a body shape that I am finally moving towards happy with, Body Balance for the stretchy stuff and because yoga doesn't run anymore at the leisure centre). I have just organised a big fundraising event involving over 120 people and raising nearly £1400 (which takes me to nearly £18k for Mind since 2009). I'm writing an article for the professional press about the research project I ran last year and wondering how else I can disseminate the findings. I'm teaching at the Recovery College once a month. I'm trying to deal with my husband's poor mental health and not getting much support for mine at home. In fact, beyond seeing my GP every 3 months for 10 minutes I'm not getting any support to make sure things don't plummet. I'm working 30 hours a week and trying to make myself indispensable so that they find money to keep me when my contract runs out. I'm studying for a PGCert in Systematic Reviews and applying for Masters (when I already have one).  I'm trying to see my friends occasionally as it feels fabulous to be (mostly) in goood mental health and able to do so.

It's self inflicted but sometimes it's a hard effort just keeping swimming and holding it all together.

Normal blogging service to be resumed...

Monday, 9 January 2017

Back to swim club and 2017 plans

I had possibly the most expensive swim ever last night when I went back to swim club after 6 months off.  In my defence, Sunday evening at 6pm is not a natural exercise time for me, and there were also so many Sundays where I had done an event in the morning.  I had an ace time though; the over 16s now join the masters and we do the same set, based around where they are in their competition cycle.  Last night it was an aerobic set that looked like this:

30 x 100m off 2 minutes.  Broken down as:

5 x (50m drill, 50m FC)
5 x (50m kick, 50m FC)
5 x (100m descending)
5 x (100m paddles and pullbuoy)
5 x (100m choice stroke descending)
5 x (100m with fins)

Fab!  Owing to a little mix up and having to cut the last one short as we ran out of time I swam 2.85k.  The coach said he was impressed with my fitness.  Imagine what my fitness would look like if I went every week!!

Onto plans for 2017.  I was originally planning to do the Manchester Marathon and nail that good for age time that I'm sure I've got in me.  However, the idea hasn't quite sat well with me.  Since the knee injury in June last year, I still don't feel back to the sort of strength where training for a marathon would be a good idea.  The knee is mostly better but now there's a hamstring niggle on the same sie.

Instead, I've decided to concentrate on building fitness and strength to do the things I have lined up to the best of my ability.  This means going to swim club, it means keeping going with PT and my own strength training, it means doing my stretches every day, it means eating better (which is something that I seem to be getting better at in terms of more vegetables and less sugar).   I'm going to do some openwater swims and maybe do a half marathon every month.

Here's what I've got booked in so far:
22/1 Farnborough Half
17/2 Thorpe Park Half
19/3 Hastings Half
7/4 and 8/4 Swimathon 5k
20/5 3.8k Mass Start Swim at Box End
9/6 Great North Swim 5k
10/6 Keswick Mountain Festival 25k trail run
11/6 Keswick Mountain Festival 3k swim in Derwentwater
??16/7 Swim Oxford Swim/Run
23/7 3.8k Mass Start Swim at Box End
29/7 Breca SwimRun 13k running, 4k swimming
13/8 Rutland Swim 8k

Plenty to keep me busy!