December is very busy isn’t it? I’ve not done any Christmas shopping yet and I’m starting to stress out a bit. Work is all over the place due to the Brexit saga, meaning it is busy but unproductive and there are numerous nights out which when you are trying to watch what you eat and drink can be challenging.
I’ve taken the approach this year that on these nights out (School Parents, Friends, Triathlon Club etc) that whilst I have tried to regulate my drinking and stuck mainly to fizz (it’s amazingly calorie efficient) I have pretty much eaten what I wanted. I’ve not skimped on anything but have tried to stop eating when I was full. I’ve also made sure to have done some form on exercise on the same day I have been going out. It seems to have worked as since the beginning of November I have lost 7 pounds. Now this may sound like a lot and make no mistake, I am pleased about it, but I am exercising so much that I feel it should be more.
Going out, being busy at work and doing A LOT of exercise makes for a very tired person.
Over the past couple of weeks I have run 3 times, had 2 personal training sessions of an hour each, had a swimming lesson as the bare minimum and then in addition, have been swimming or been on my turbo trainer on my bike as well. I am struggling to stay awake past 9.30pm most nights and simply put, I am shattered. It’s been quite a learning curve though as I understand just how important sleep is going to be for me over the next 7 months.
I continue to work with Dr Crane twice a week and I am really enjoying the sessions. We try to schedule them for a Monday and Friday lunchtime as it feels like a strong start and end to the working week and additionally, I rarely have to travel for work on these days and so it just works.
We do a combination of weights, strength and sprinting cardio style. Dr Crane is technically thorough and always explains exactly which muscle we are working and then why it is important for triathlon, which I appreciate. I am someone who needs to know the “whys” and I also need to know “how many” or for “how long” I will be doing of each exercise, which was something he worked out quickly. I promised that I would do whatever he asked me to do, to the best of my ability, but I would be more likely to give 100% if I know in advance what is required. If I don’t know then simply put, I don’t try my best as I am worried about running out of steam and so it’s a waste of time. I also like even numbers and my daughters are used to seeing me run up and down outside our house as I wait for my running watch to click from 4.95k to a friendly and more mentally pleasing 5k!
Dr Crane has very quickly identified in our short time of working together that most of my challenges are mental and that simply put I am afraid to run faster in case I run out of puff. This is something that we have specifically been working on and I’ve been sprinting on the treadmill for predetermined periods of time and these have been increasing. The other things we have been working on are squats and lunges (often with weights) and press-ups. Press-ups are hard and I really struggle to do them but I keep trying. There was a session last week where I had to perform a series of stretching to the ceiling, crawling forward to do a press-up and then bringing my feet back to my hands and stretching up again. The gym on Friday lunchtime was quite full and I could see people were watching me as I tried my best to look graceful. Although, I clearly did not look graceful. I have no upper body strength at all (although it’s already improving) and by the third repetition I collapsed as I tried to do a press-up, falling onto my face. I felt pretty stupid but tried again and managed a very small one. This is exactly the sort of situation that could put you off, but Dr Crane was very encouraging, talking me through the technique and keeping me going. I have to say, he didn’t allow me to stop doing them though and the sweat pouring off me was making a fairly unpleasant puddle on the floor, but I got it done. This morning I lifted 35kg. The most I have ever lifted previously is 10kg so I am feeling delighted. When you are working hard, it’s important to see improvements.
For running, I am only allowed to run within my “heartrate zones” which means that if my heartrate goes above 156 beats per minute I have to slow down. Other than discovering that having a bottle of red wine coursing through my veins from the night before (thank you December nights out) makes my heart rate higher than normal, it is ok but makes me very slow. I mean REALLY slow. As slow as I was at the beginning of couch to 5k, but it has rekindled my love of running (and I use the word love here loosely!) probably because it doesn’t feel too hard. It’s making social running challenging but the ladies I run with (a glorious harbour loop with the Captain and Lady J of the “Hockey Mums Running Club” – guess what our daughters are doing whilst we run?….)have been extremely understanding. This type of training will continue to the end of the month when I am hoping to be given permission to test myself and see if the sprints, strength and weightloss have improved my speed at all soon. Fingers crossed.
Swimming lessons continue and I know I am improving my technique. My shoulder rotation now exists (it didn’t before) but frustratingly, I continue to flex my feet when I kick. Triton has advised that I spend some time swimming lengths with a float just kicking my pointed toes. I need to buy myself a float or some flippers as apparently these will also work. I have seen a “Wonder Woman” float at the swimming pool that is for a child and I’m wondering if I could get away with it for my super serious triathlon training? I’ll keep you posted.
Finally, I have only managed to get on my bike once. This brings me back to my original point at the start of the blog. I can’t seem to fit it in. I am shattered and my muscles are sore most of the time. I use a foam roller, I stretch in the kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to boil but my body is a little bit shocked about everything it’s being asked to do. I know that this is another reason for the heartrate training to keep things slow as I adjust, but I feel a little bit anxious.
I do know however, that I need to trust the experts and hopefully everything will fall into place.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and big goals take patience and effort to achieve. This is a half Iron Man distance triathlon so I will need to summon every inch of determination to complete it. Smaller goals would be easier and (let’s face it) probably more sensible, but where is the fun and challenge in that?
In case I do not blog again this year, may I take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to read my ramblings and wish you a Merry Christmas.