Monday, 31 December 2012

End of 2012 roundup

Here's a great meme that I did at the end of last year, and which I hope to repeat ad inifinitum as it's a good way of looking back over the last twelve months.  You can see my last answers on my previous blog here.  It's a more informal complement to the facts and figures that I posted earlier!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Did a triathlon (actually, I did 3..).  Rode a road bike.  Carried the Olympic Torch.  Was on radio AND TV (for auctioning my Olympic Torch for Mind).  Submitted my first Professional Revalidation qualification.  Went abroad by myself.  Went to Tenerife.  Went to first swimming camp.  Went to the Paralympics.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I resolved to do a bit better with fruit and vegetables, which I think I have.  Getting a weekly veg box delivery helped.  But I still think there is much room for improvement here!
I also resolved to balance out my life a bit better, I'm not sure that has really been achieved, or indeed if I can achieve it...
I have New Year's Goals which will focus some of my efforts for 2013, notably completing a 3.8k swim in under an hour (came so close in 2012!), and finishing an Ironman 70.3/half ironman.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My Gran died in July.

5. What countries did you visit?
Austria and Spain (Tenerife).

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Better health and a bit more zen.  The same answer applies again this year!  I'd also like to have an Ironman 70.3 Finishers Medal - ha!

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
9th July - Olympic Torch carrying day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Carrying the Olympic Torch, and raising over £5000 for Mind, the mental health charity.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Succumbing to depression for the fifth time in December.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not as bad as 2011 fortunately!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My swimming camp trip to Tenerife.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The amazing British Olympians, especially Rebecca Adlington, Keri-Anne Payne, Sarah Storey, Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Continued gun offenders in the US.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and triathlon equipment.  And food bills.  Eat so much these days!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to the Paralympics.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Take that - Greatest day of our lives - playing on the bus before I carried the Olympic Torch.  APT.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
bit sadder
b) thinner or fatter?
bit thinner
c) richer or poorer?
probably poorer...

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

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying.  Same answer applies as last year!

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Skiing in Austria.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Carried on being in love.

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

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Great British Bake Off

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

25. What was the best book you read?
For the first time in about 10 years, I failed to record the books that I read this year.  Which is a big regret.  So it's difficult to remember exactly what I enjoyed reading.  Unusually I've read quite a lot of sport manuals/sports biographies this year, and would highlight those by Chrissie Wellington and Ian Thorpe as particularly worth reading if you share my interests.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The album "Now that's what I call running" - definitely helped me with my running this year!

27. What did you want and not get?
I've been pretty lucky and got lots of the things that I wanted this year; I'd still like one of those super duper Speedo Super elite wetsuits though please?

28. What did you want and get?
As I said above, I was pretty lucky this year :)

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Again, I haven't seen many.  Don't think I've seen any since The Artist, back in February.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 28 and we were in Cornwall again.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting the last 17 seconds off my 3.8k swim time to come in under the hour.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Compression-chic.  Or wetsuit-woman

33. What kept you sane? 
Swimming.  And my husband (when he wasn't compromising my sanity! [joke!])

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
NHS threats.

35. Whom did you miss?
As ever, I missed the wonderful Emily, especially on torch-bearing day as that wouldn't have happened without her.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My lovely friends from the Tenerife Swimming Camp, and my new online friend Carrie from Fitness and Frozen Grapes.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
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.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
 Struggling a bit with this one this time around, but I'm going to go with something that will be a mantra for the coming days and months, which I love - from Tubthumping by Chumbawumba - "I get knocked down, I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down...I get knocked down, I get up again..."

39. So in as few words as possible, how would you sum up your year?
Tuna to tri!

Some 2012 facts and figures

I love recording my training on Log Your Run because I love seeing the totals stacking up as the year proceeds.  The swimming is of most interest to me because I have data for 2011 too, to compare it with, but it's good to have some fledgling bike and run data in there too!

In total, in 2012, I swam 873km, which is over 100km more than in 2011.

My best swimming month was May, unsurprisingly, as it concluded with a 10k swim race, which I was putting in long training swims for - I swam 99.2km.

My worst swimming month was September, probably because we spent 10 days on holiday and whilst we did fit in a couple of swims, it was mainly cycling - I swam 45.5km.  This was closely followed by December, where I had my longest break from the pool all year, of 9 days, and only managed to swim 51k.

The amount of swimming did drop off during the year, which was because I took up tri in June!  The arrival of my road bike in July, and an attempt to learn to ride it, saw me doing a lot of extra bike k's in addition to my daily round-trip commute of 15k (which I don't record as it's more of an A to B exercise than training...), and I totalled 910km on the bike.

Running-wise, I barely ran at all in the first 6 months of the year, due to a combination of first an ankle injury, then iron-deficiency anaemia.  I nonethless managed to increase the k's run in 2012 on 2011, running 138k compared with 113k.  I know that's a small amount and it'll definitely have to increase in 2013 with the looming 70.3!

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with these figures.  I've mainly been consistent and have got a good volume of swim training under my belt, which I think helped to account for the good results I had in the main in my 2012 openwater swim season.  I think it's likely that I'll be swimming slightly less in 2013, partly because I won't be entering a 10k swim race, but also because I'll need to concentrate a bit more on the bike and run!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Brushing the last two weeks under the carpet and moving onwards!

Let's brush over the last 2 weeks.  Clinical depression, side effects of starting drugs to treat it (cue much, much nausea and a 1kg weight loss), and a ski-trip that I probably wasn't really well enough to go on (big thanks to Mr Tuna for looking after  me and taking me out skiing when I really wasn't feeling very confident).  And away from home Christmas home-sickness.

Anyway, we got back last night, the drugs are starting to help, as did the break from home (I read 18 books in the 8 days we were away), and it's time to start to get back into the routine and try to do the things that I know will help me.

So, 12 hours after arriving home, I was en route to the swimming pool.  I didn't have very high hopes for the session, which is good as they were well founded, but I was amazed by how much I enjoyed being back in the pool.  It just feels so good!  The skiing seems to have done my legs good as I was kicking well, arms less so, and not done much cardio for a bit so that will take a little while to build back up again.

Mr Tuna is back at work tomorrow, so I hope for a swim and gym session to pass the time, before we cycle over to Stowe on NYD (40 mile round trip, weather dependent), and then back to work on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, I have an end of year round up and I've got more exciting things to post in the coming days and weeks!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Last week/this week

I'm glad that I acknowledged that last week was full of pressures that were likely to affect my training, because I've ended up feeling pleased with the reasonable amount that I have got done.  Mood-wise things have really dropped this week and exercise seems to have had little or no effect in improving it, so I'll be off to the GP for some medication tomorrow which will hopefully help longterm, although may have side effects short term.  Consequently, I'm not setting goals for next week at all (see my 5th tip here [be nice to yourself]), and shall treat whatever I manage to get done as a big achievement.

In the end, I managed to get in 7 workouts, with one day off, which comprised 5 swims, totally 14.5k, one run (7k!), and the Tri club Festive Bike and Run Time Trial.

Yes, it's time for a couple of festive cheesy pictures on the blog.  I signed up for the time trial because a) it's somewhat shorter than the summer 1 b) it involved fancy dress and c) a couple of my beginner ride friends had signed up (nothing like a bit of peer pressure).  I didn't feel great on the morning, and would rather have stayed in bed, but we had 3 pre-teen nieces to occupy for the morning so it seemed like the best option.

Great costumes, but everyone apart from me and my friend dressed as a Christmas Tree and my friend decked out in tinsel looked as if they were going to take it semi/seriously.  We'd only come along because it was fancy dress!  As we didn't even have a clue what the route was, we decided to stick together, which was very kind of the other two as I was having a very nervy day on the bike (and even managed to get my shoelace caught up in my toe clips).  I genuinely didn't think I could get round and kept saying "I think I can only do one [rather than two] laps of the bike/run".  However, with the peer pressure and encouragement of the other two, we did eventually make it (although we may have cheated slightly on the run..). Last place, but never mind, probably the best costumes.

Here's me dressed as an Olympic angel (I just knew that torchbearer uniform would come in handy one day, and look how well I coordinate with my bike?), and our starting group (with a santa and a someone who was basically just in their tri club kit!)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Over on the Mind blog today

Today I've got a blog post online over at Mind, the mental health charity's blog. Mind do amazing work to raise the profile of mental health in the United Kingdom as well as providing support to those facing mental health difficulties. Having suffered from depression 5 times and lost a dear friend to suicide, I am extremely grateful for their work, and will be raising money for them through my half ironman next year.

Back in July, I wrote a blog for them about the role of exercise in staying mentally healthy. Having hit a low patch this Autumn, I offered to write about how to try to maintain this when your mood drops, particularly with the arrival of winter.

The post seems to have had a great response, especially on the Mind Facebook page with a huge number if people sharing it, and you can read it here:

Sunday, 9 December 2012


As is becoming traditional, on Sunday's I join in with Carrie from Fitness and Frozen Grapes to plan my workouts for the week.  This week is a definite "pinch point" in the month, because as well as work, I have other things to fit in (Dr's appointment, a cake for a children's centre party, hair cut, and date night with Mr Tuna, and then our nieces staying for next weekend), but I'll do my best on the workout plan for this week is:

Monday - am: swim 45 minutes (2 x (3 x 300 with middle 300 pull), pm: Dr's appointment, cake making, 5k run.
Tuesday - am: swim 45 minutes (broken 1.5k if pool fairly empty?), pm: working late
Wednesday - am: swim 45 minutes (breathing pattern 1500m set), pm: hair cut
Thursday - am: swim 45 minutes [no morning off, so shorter swim than usual]; pm: out with Mr Tuna
Friday - [day off work!] - run 7k; swim 45 minutes.
Saturday - rest day or up early to swim 1 hour...
Sunday - run 5k, swim 45 minutes.

As for last week, I mentioned that there had been some seasonal disruption.  In the end, I was only down 1 run, and swam a total of 15k, with a 4 hour/45 mile bike ride today.  It was pretty windy but I managed to keep up with the tri club ride most of the time, thanks to a very kind lady who helped me out a lot, getting me back on the pack and giving advice and encouragement.  I very nearly bonked and after 2 minutes of pedalling at 8mph, I grabbed some sweets and was instantly back to 14mph.  That's probably the last long ride for this year to be honest, next weekend is busy and then we're away. 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Seasonal disruption

That would be "leaves on the line" if it was the Autumn, but its the combination of the weather and the busyness of Christmastide that is compromising things here.

It started off with the peeling of a butternut squash, that saw my thumb sliced open on Sunday afternoon.  Not really sufficient to impact on training until Mr W replastered it too tightly on Monday night as we went to bed  which meant I woke up with it throbbing, and bleeding again.  Swimming on Tuesday morning was not a possibility :-(

On Wednesday, I was supposed to run home.  But I was feeling overwhelmed by Christmas tasks, still sore of thumb, and knew that the tasks I had to do on Thursday wouldn't leave me with enough time to take the bus so that had to be cancelled.

Then on Friday morning, cycling to the pool at 6.30, I got out of the house, and our drive was icy.  It has been the last couple of days, so I wheeled my bike carefully out onto the road which looked ok.  However, as I turned left at the top of the road, I hit an enormous patch of ice.  In slow motion, I watched myself fall to the ground.  Braking obviously does nothing on ice, and probably makes the skid worse as I discovered.  I was extremely lucky not to be more badly hurt, coming off slightly shaken and with a bruised left ankle and inside knee.  It was lucky I was tired and going slowly.  I never thought it'd be my trusty Raleigh Hybrid that I'd be coming off!  I wheeled the bike over to the main road where I discovered that my chain had come off.  I had to call Mr Tuna in tears to get him to come to fix it as there was no way that I was facing that patch of ice again to get 500m back to home.

On the plus side, I did swim Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, and with the exception of Monday, they were good strong swims. Thursday is worth mentioning - I only had time for 5 of my 6 x 600m, but I did them off 10 minutes, rather than the 10 minutes, 15 seconds planned, and they mostly came in at 9.30-9.35 (with the first one being 9.25).  I'd like to get doing these intervals down to being off 9.45 (i.e. I swim them, and whatever is left out of 9 minutes 45 seconds is rest), because that should be the correct pace for a sub 1-hour 3.8k swim.  Which I'm determined to achieve in the early part of next year's outdoor swimming season and which I'm hopeful is a likelihood!

Tomorrow I'm off to Hampton Pool with Tuna Friend Fiona to use my new toys - pink fins! - and play our drafting game "catch the tuna".  Can't wait!  Will try to get a picture of the beautifully steaming outdoor pool if I can.  Hope to swim 3k to take my total to 15k for the week.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Last week/this week (WIDDIUP)

Last week wasn't terribly successful in terms of meeting the schedule I'd set myself, and consequently I only clocked around 5 hours of training (what a difference to the time put in missing the long bike ride makes!).  On the plus side, I did listen to my body and make sensible decisions re biking when it was icy.   All of the swimming sessions were completed.  I missed the run home from work as I wasn't sure that my legs had 100% recovered.  The plan for today was a 2-3 hour bike with the tri club, but when I woke up and saw that most of the slower people had dropped out, I wasn't too keen.  Also, it was icy, and another cycling club had cancelled their rides which made me feel dubious about whether or not it was sensible to go out.  I also woke up feeling a bit tired, so probably should have taken a rest day, but I swam anyway.  Which I kind of regretted as it certainly wasn't the best swim.  And then I came out with legs that wanted to go cycling.  Oh well.  Hopefully the twitchy feeling will translate to a good run tomorrow night!

Once again, I'm joining with Carrie from Fitness and Frozen Grapes and putting down on paper my plans for this week in "WIDDIU" - Write it down, do it up.  Planning is definitely going to be key to make sure I get some training done during December which is going to be a busy month.  Here's the plan for my week:

Monday - am: 45 min swim (main set of 2(3x300) with the middle 300 each time pull only); pm: 3.5 or 5k run after work.

Tuesday - am: 45 min swim (main set of breathing pattern work).

Wednesday - am: 45 min swim (recovery/easy swimming); pm: run home from work (7k)

Thursday - am: 75-90 min swim (1k drills, 6x600 off 10:15, warm down)

Friday - am: 45 min swim (drills/endurance)

Saturday - am: 3.5k or 5k run; lunchtime: 2.5k-3k swim with Tuna Friend Fiona

Sunday - am: bike.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November wrap up

Feeling quite pleased looking back at November.  It was a good month.  Low mood hit the first part of the month pretty hard, but it's levelled out a bit now and I feel I've achieved a lot.  The Winter Swim Workshop made a big difference to my motivation and to my speed.  I perservered with cycling despite a miserable ride.  And I got a 9 minute PB on my 10k run.

Totals for the month?
Swim: 65.55k
Bike: 150k
Run: 33k

As for the first day of December, it was pretty chilly outside, but it turned out that the worst bit of the run was thinking about it beforehand.  Not the running itself, that didn't worry me, just the cold.  First time running since Sunday so took it fairly easily.  Felt really happy that I can just bang out 5k without even thinking about it now. 

After that, I went for a swim to make my 7th swim in 7th days.  Felt really good in the water and can feel that I've definitely improved since the start of November.  Almost ready for racing; how can there still be another 5.5 months til the first openwater swimming races?!

Finally, before purchasing our Christmas tree this afternoon, Mr Tuna and I went to Fit to Run to get new running shoes for both of us.  I had a 15% discount code from the race last Sunday so it was a no brainer to go and buy new shoes since we will both need them in the next few months.  Mr Tuna doesn't think that his will make the 1/2 marathon in February; mine probably will but not the half ironman in September.  Also bought me a pink running beanie hat as this morning I had to run in my cycling cap which just felt silly.  LOVE the new running hat.