Monday, 16 November 2009

Bike Clothing

Whilst Herbalife will provide most of my racing kit there are times especially for winter trg where I will require specialist clothing especially where the bike is concerned. For example, Herbalife do not provide long bike tight, long fingered gloves or overshoes. There are going to be key products over the next few months as outdoor bike trg gets colder and colder! Happily, a bike clothing company called Endura has offered to provide specialist trg clothing for both me and also my bike crew who will be trg with me and also supporting me on the challenge where the need arises.

Endura's clothing has received extremely good reviews and Adam has already been feeling the benefits of their long tights and overshoes. My long fingered gloves should arrive this week and I am SO excited as last weekend my fingers nearly froze off and we were only out for 90mins or so! I'll let you know how I get on with it.

I had my second session with Andrew McKenna (www.northants-sports-massage.co.uk) yesterday and I think it is going to be absolutely key to keeping me fit and well in the run up to the challenge. Andrew had a good go at my niggles and during both bike and run training today I felt really strong so hopefully it is all working. Prevention is always better than a cure!!

Work Woes....

Work has suddenly got massively busy and it is making it more difficult to fit in trg. I am having to work later to make up the hours that I am missing by fitting my trg in at lunch and in the morning and, whilst this is acceptable, it generally means I am more tired and have more hours of stress than I would like.

Being a amateur athlete but trying to train to the level of, at least, a semi-professional athlete is such a juggling act. I'm sure all multi-sport athletes out there, and athletes in general, will understand what I mean. For example, last weekend I went to my friend's hen do in Bath. We had a lovely afternoon walking in the countryside and then a sauna in the swedish sauna they had built in the cottage we rented for the weekend before preparing a fantastic meal. During and after the meal we played games with the bride-to-be and generally had a lot of fun. It was a great time and fantastic to get to do some socialising which is normally so restricted in my life due to training. However, after the games we were all expected to head out into Bath for drinking and dancing. This was at 10.30 at night!! Normally I would already have been asleep for at least an hour and I knew going out would impact upon my resting on the sunday and thus trg on the Monday. Still, I couldn't let everyone down and so headed out though I chose not to get involved in the messy sambuca drinking rounds! In fact, bar a couple of glasses of wine before going out I didn't drink at all.

We finally got back to the cottage at 4am and, exhausted I feel into bed. I was awake by 8am and up by 8.30am. I'm so used to being awake early that it is often hard for me to sleep in too long. Despite having hardly drunk I need feel pretty rubbish, tired and dehydrated. I started the long journey home reflecting on how difficult it is to balance a social life when you are trg to level that I am. That one night out coupled with a few glasses of wine and a long return journey totally exhausted me. I did manage to get up to train on Monday after a very early night on the Sunday but it did throw me for a few days until my sleep pattern came back.

It's so important to get support from those you love, your friends and family who will support you when you most need it. Equally it is important to realise that though you are but an 'amateur' athlete you will get some of the conflicts that are so prevalent in a pro-athlete's level when trg at this level. Work also impacts. I'd would LOVE to get the opportunity to have an afternoon nap, an ice bath and a sports massage every day but unfortunately I also have to earn a living as well as train. With my event still over 18months away I am sure this is not the first time I will be in conflict and finding I am having to juggle many aspects of my life. I just hope I can get it right and it doesn't cause too much stress!

Friday, 6 November 2009


On Wednesday I drove down to Swindon to meet up with one of my sponsors, Less Bounce who were running a photo shoot for their new catalogue. Less Bounce is fantastic as it uses 'real' women to advertise its products showing that they are suitable for all shapes and sizes. The proprietor, Selaine had invited me down and I was definitely a little nervous.

The shoot was taking place in the Retreat Spa, Swindon and I was first up at 8.30am. Selaine had a range of bras for me to model and then asked if I would mind also doing a couple of shots for the swimwear range. Seeing as I'll be spending many an hour in the next year in the deep blue sea, I could hardly refuse!! I actually had a lovely time, it was great to meet Selaine and thank her for supporting me and the other women was all great. They were all really interesting and had some great stories to share. I explained about the challenge and they were really enthusiastic and supportive with many asking for the blog details or how to donate to my chosen charity, Help for Heroes. It was a fabulous reminder that it really will be a big achievement if I can complete the challenge and also of how supportive the public really is of our Armed Forces, which is fantastic. A big hello to Debs who left a comment, it was fabulous to meet you and good luck with the running!

All in all a really fantastic and positive day and, if I'm brave, I'll post some pics of the shoot here soon!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Highs and Lows.....

Whenever you have a long term goal it is always expected that the journey towards it will contain highs and lows. This is why it is especially important to have intermediate goals and areas of focus. Last week I had a brilliant week training putting in nearly 16 hours over the 7 days Sun-Sat including a 2hr and 3 hr bike ride and a split long run day of 90mins in the morning and 45mins at lunch. However, in hindsight maybe I am trying to do a smidgeon too much for this stage of trg. I still have so far to go and though I managed both sessions yesterday I was feeling very fatigued. I woke this morning and decided my body would be better served with some more sleep instead of a morning weights session. I was always planning a day off tomorrow as I have a photo shoot with my kit sponsor Less Bounce but I may also skip today's lunchtim session and have a double day of rest. This is pretty much unheard of and I am already feeling a bit itchy to get back to trg which is a good sign. Sometimes when you just feel fatigued or bored of trg an enforced rest can be enough to get you re-motivated.

I am in two minds about today's session but as it is meant to be a recovery week anyway I may just take it off and get some proper rest. Then I can hit it big style on Thursday morning with a 75min run and then a swim session with the tri club in the evening. Friday would then see me picking up a weights session in the morning and intervals at lunch and then a ride out on Saturday morning. Another rest on Sunday as normal and I should be ready to hit Base 3 with avengance! This is when it would be beneficially to have the objectiveness of a coach who can say, 'Yes, you're doing too much' or 'No, get out there you lazy thing!' When you monitor yourself you have to decide whether you are really tired or just being lazy. And even if you are just really tired you still get the guilt if you miss a session!

Still I hope I have enough experience at this game to know that, having just reached November now is definitely the time to do less rather than more so that when the crucial moments come in the spring I am not found wanting or, more importantly, injured! It is easy to burn out in this game so a rest it is and then hit it hard again Thurs-Sat I think. It will be scary to find out how normal people live for 48hrs and I may actually get some work done!!