Lil’bit of Turbo love in…

Seeing as I can’t swim – the bike has been getting all the attention. This week though – well – I thought doing two spin sessions, a virtual TT and a 50km virtual club ride was an excellent idea….

The two spin sessions – Monday and Thursday – went well – really enjoying them and loving the fact that I am getting my cycling legs back. These have become weekly staples in my week where everything else is a bit up in the air. I’ve even managed to tag along to some Zwift group rides too. More on this later.

But on Friday, sporting DOMS, I decided that doing a virtual club TT on Zwift was a wise idea. I love time trials. I love the feeling after putting the effort in. I love the single mindedness of the effort. I love the fact that its just you against the clock, it takes the pressure off thinking about what everyone else is doing. I had also forgotten JUST HOW HARD they are. In fact, I think turbo based TTs are actually harder. It also reminded me how rubbish I am at warming up before hand. It wasn’t even that long an effort! But a race mind set kicked in, in a way that it doesn’t if you are just training or riding (proving that as soon as it’s a ‘race’ mindset and effort changes). It still hurt! By the end I was wondering how the planned Saturday morning ride was going to go!

The weather on Saturday mooning, although cooler than last weekend, was almost nice enough to tempt me to sack off the virtual club ride with chat over discord so I could ride outside. I resisted though. I often work Saturdays and I miss group rides – I miss riding with people! So just before 10am this morning, set up with two water bottles, discord app up and running with headphones and sat on the turbo, so began 2 hours 13 minutes of staring at a screen and turning my legs. Longest turbo session to date and only manageable due to the virtual and distance company of knowing that six fellow club members and mates were doing exactly the same thing.

Major kudos to anyone doing longer sessions and the 24 hour challenges! The same times and distance is certainly easier outside – if only because my backside hurts less! I mean, I was happy to finish but seriously – roll on being able to go out on actual group rides!

So now I am sat here, Sunday morning, with a wee bit of a to do list and still tired legs. I was debating actually going for a run today and having a bit of a go at the IM virtual race as it’s a sprint distance this weekend however, I think I really just need to chill and stretch out! So yoga and stretch is penciled in for later on and I am going to potter through my To Do list and rest.

(And MAYBE run tomorrow….)

First run back!

Today was the day I tried running.

I have nothing other to say* than…

NO KNEE PAIN!

*Ok so that quite true.

It wasn’t a continuous run – it was part of some coaching training I’ve been doing. The PT work has massively paid off in terms of pace and body position/technique and my change in physio has paid off as there was no pain today! Nothing. I have held off texting my PT and Physio as its a Sunday but tomorrow I will.

It wasn’t easy on my chest though. Breathing was interesting and I have lost so much fitness!

Fingers cross I can get back on it – I have never been so excited to be able to get back to doing my least favourite sport (of the three triathlon disciplines!).

Fingers crossed – knee recovery!

Those who know me, know that I do not really like running – although I haven’t run since September – this isn’t so much through choice but through injury. Fingers crossed the end is in sight!

Just as a recap… in June 2019 I finally got round to having a fit done on my TT bike (my beautiful Ridley Phaeton T). This proved to be the straw that broke the camels back and a slight adjustment in my cleat position resulted in issues with my knee that had a knock on effect on my running and to an extent, on my cycling. I started going to see a local physio in the summer – but 5/6 months on – still no joy.

So what to do for the best.

My last appointment with this physio was booked for the beginning of January but cancelled due to illness. I had already spoken to a podiatrist and got some supports – which seem to help and I had a decent sports massage last week – I booked an appointment with a different physio, recommended by the lad I was seeing over Christmas.

Roll on tonight and my appointment. Straight away I feel like finally someone might have a bit more of an inclinking about what is going on with my knee. She asked me what my gut reaction was – I said, after some thought, that I think it had something to do with my knee cap not tracking properly and me being too tight.

A thorough interview/assessment – more thorough than the last one in terms of looking at my knees and comparing the good one to the not so good one – she thinks that it has a lot to do with just how tight my quads are! Easy to see why after tonights examination! Tight is an understatement too! I have two exercises to do to try and lengthen my quad muscles out a bit and strengthen my control – fingers crossed this will help.

I feel a bit more confident about this physio and more confident that I might actually get to the end of this ridiculous injury/issue and be able to run again without knee pain. Which, and I cannot believe I am saying this, would be nice.

Especially as I have races planned!

Maybe 2020 will be ok after all. Despite a less than great start!

Fingers crossed that running will be back on the cards, sooner rather than later!

Little Christmas Love-in

Christmas is a great time for reflection – in fact, the whole of December has been really.

It started early in the month, or rather late November. Not sure why, but I suddenly felt like the madness that had been autumn might finally be calming down, I felt happier and the remains of bitterness that had been lingering might finally be subsiding – don’t get me wrong, I am not entirely sure I will ever be on terms of actively encouraging my ex to anything I do/organise etc, but I may FINALLY have turned a corner. This has lead me, this morning, to consider whether I should rename my blog. Suggestions welcome.

Shocking I know.

I wrote an open letter to the ex, here on this blog, not so long ago, which in itself was cathartic. It was even noted that I was pleasant to the ex by some mates and I re-joined Plenty of Fish with no expectation but in a better state of mind – and a bit more ruthless than the first time! So now it seems I am actually dating again and for the first time in over a year – this one has got past date number 3, has yet to really annoy me, seems relatively normal and I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend. This is quite daunting as it’s a while since I’ve been in a situation where I am happy dating. What is more disconcerting is the fact that this has come at a time where I am in a really good place and more than happy single. I am just going to see how things pan out I think.

On other themes of reflection – I cannot begin to really express the love that I have for my friends. I may have said this before. I am blessed with the greatest set of friends I have ever had. Some of them know me better than I know myself sometimes. When they say that friends are the family you chose for yourself I do think it’s true. My mates know me better than my extended family – and I am so lucky and blessed to have them in my life and I just don’t know how to thank them – I think cake maybe helps! They are the people that you want about you in a crisis – hopefully they know that if ever needed, I’d be there for them.

Racing wise – I might just leave that for another post.

So for now – I’ve spend December and Christmas with friends and my immediate family – chilled and content with life’s lot – and with so much to look forward to next year.

An Open Letter to the Ex

Just to give some background to how I have come to write this – I have always felt there have been things left unsaid, that I feel need to be said – for me to get off my chest to the ex just how his actions/behaviour affected me and for him to own his responsibility for his poor behaviour. I cant remain annoyed or angry forever and for the first time in a while, I am in a really good place, starting to find my mojo again and after speaking to a few mates about this – this might just be cathartic.

I even managed to be nice to him yesterday.

To my Ex,

It’s about 18 months since I had to pull you up and say ‘You don’t want to be with me anymore do you?’. This is the crux of why I have still been quite angry until recently. Your lack of balls. You behaved badly in the last few months we were together – I had put it down to stress with training and work, then one night, your behaviour was that of a complete and utter knob and I knew.

The pain in the realisation was awful. I was driving back down Castle Howard drive, heading home after swimming. The penny suddenly dropped. How I drove home I will never know.

Your lack of courage to even say to my FACE – your reply – and then to not meet and discuss this BREAK UP until the weekend? Cowardly. I still can’t believe it was me that had to insist that it was the next day. Leaving yours with only a small bag of possessions and my bike was a sad reflection of eight years together.

You said that these ‘feelings’ or lack of, had been developing for a while and that you had hoped that they would go away – so basically burying your head in the sand. Well, experience should tell you this never works. You took away ANY possibility of this being something more joint – of me having some knowledge or say in the matter. For us to figure out if there was something we could have done to have saved it. Was the eight years together not worth trying to save? Or at least put more effort into saving? Did it mean so little to you? That might be harsh but that’s how it felt. You took any choice/decision/power out of my hands. Gradually acting more of a knob and more of a recluse. With hindsight, seeing as you were soon set up with your current girlfriend, there wouldn’t have been a hope in hell either way. Not having any control of it, having it taken out of my hands made it harder to deal with.

I think there were a few give aways. Before I asked you to marry me, you were distance. You were at Christmas. Again, I put it down to stress. Maybe I should have said or asked if things were ok – but I think you would still have continued to have buried your head and not told me. I loved you so much and was excited that hopefully we would maybe be able to settle down and that things would calm down after Ironman. I asked you to marry me. Your reaction – well. I wasn’t wanting to set a date! Just some sign of commitment. To me. To us. Your reaction sticks in my head. It should have been exciting, something to celebrate. The lack lustre attention around my birthday – compared to the normal fuss. A few other things stick out too. The lack of enthusiasm about settling down together?

The signs were there really – why couldn’t you have just had the balls to say something sooner? If you knew you were developing feelings for her – why not at least try focusing on us, and trying to figure us out? I don’t even care if you actually cheated on me – its more the fact that you dragged it out.

What I have come to realise that I wasn’t the problem and there is nothing I could actually have done.  The issue is yours and yours alone and like I said to you at the time, you will probably repeat your behaviour. As soon as your current girlfriend wants more commitment from you, more than you are willing to give, you will bolt. You will likely break her heart. Unless, like your ex, she gets wise and leave you first – because this is a definite theme.

After we broke up. Sorry. After you dumped me. I lost you – and my second family (the second blow!) but equally I learned quite a bit, which opened my eyes and made me realise a LOT of things. Other things people have mentioned too, continue to help me realise that actually you probably did me a massive favour and I have probably had a lucky escape. It’s taken me a while to get to this point though.

After the split, I was became very ill, very quickly. There is no diet quite like the heartbreak diet. Mind you, being well under the 10 stone mark was fun. The emotional pain lasted longer. I physically got stronger but remained emotionally broken for a long time. The hurt, pain and anger that comes with any break up. Some of it still remains.

My friends saved me. Completely and utterly. I am eternally grateful for their love and support, which has been solid and dependable – even today. They have let me be myself and helped me heal, despite the scars that remain.

Over time, I found my feet. My reaction was to go buy a bike, buy a business and prove that I could manage without you. Prove myself capable. Since you dumped me, I have done more than I could ever possibly imagine me doing. After your first IM, you said that the next year would be about my racing and you supporting me. You never did. You decided you were doing IM again and I supported you. In fact, in all honesty, I think you (unintentionally) held me back and I forgot who I was. I been away on my own, I’ve traveled on my own. I own and run a business. I have tried new things I never thought I would. I have done my half-iron and done races I have wanted to do – even going off on my own to race. I have focused on me and found that I am stronger and more capable than I ever knew. I have had so much more fun and I have found my spontaneity! I have the closest, best group of friends that rallied round and supported me and still do.

The only thing you said was that was actually truthful was that I deserved better.  I did deserve better and I continue to deserve better. Heaven forbid any bloke trying to date me now.

No longer will I bend over backwards and do all the chasing – because lets face it, I did most of the running in our relationship. No longer will I forget who I am and I will do things for me.

It has been a long journey to get to where I am.

I want to let it go – I do, but equally I just want you to acknowledge the suffering you inflicted – to know – what ever you may have been torturing yourself with before the break up, is not a patch on the effect it had on me. You could have had the guts to say something sooner.

I have grown. I am me. On my own, independent and strong. Brave and unafraid.

Remaining bitter doesn’t serve a purpose and the bitterness is fading. I am not sure how far off I am of forgiving – and doubt I will ever forget – but at this moment in time I think your problems are probably far bigger than any of mine.

Finally – what ever has happened in the past has happened and nothing will change that. I am far better off without you, but avoiding events that there is a likelihood we are both going to be at or want to be at, serves no purpose. I hated for a long, long time, but this has changed to something I’m not sure about. I am not sure how I feel, only that writing this has helped.

I’ve read this back and it sounds harsh in places but I felt it needed to be said. Time is a healer to an extent – and I am not sure I am completely there – just don’t expect me to ever hold you in the same regard I once did. Actions tend to speak louder than words.

Your Ex.

(Lack of) Winter Training

There’s no two ways about it. This winter I am really struggling to keep up with any regular training. Work has been so busy and just life in general getting in the way. Dark evenings don’t really help matters either as the motivation to get going and moving just aren’t there. Days are shorter in term of light but do actually feel shorter too.

I know I’m not the only one.

I’m hoping that once Christmas is out of the way – my mojo will come back a bit more. I am already planning next year and really want to do better than I have been and aim to be more consistent. Improving across everything would be good!

More sleep. Better training. More consistency. That’s the basic plan.

Off Season!

I have done very little in the last two weeks in the form of training – and despite a bike ride yesterday, with a bit of UCI World Championships inspiration in the form of cycling through floods…. I have only been to stretch and yoga. I have, however, spent quite a bit of time catching up on some bits and pieces and reminding myself that there is time, or rather life, outside of training too.

I would like to say my mojo is back, but that’s a bit of a lie. Today I really am just tired and I’ve no real idea why. My bike needs cleaning, my accounts need sorting out, I have some marking to do but still, motivation is not quite there for anything. It’ll come back I am sure but at the moment I am just procrastinating. I suppose I need to get back into a routine as everything seems a bit up in the air.

I also think I am just feeling a bit ‘blurgh’ and unmotivated due to the time of year and recent poor diet. Autumn is definitely here. I was supposed to go to a gig on Thursday but couldn’t be bothered and at the moment I am not feeling particularly excited about going to London on Friday. There is nothing big planned on the near horizon and things at work are a bit up in the air. I suppose I am just in a bit of a lull/dip of general tiredness and fed-up-ness that I know will pass.

I suspect I just need a bit of a plan of action and to figure out a new autumn/winter routine!

It’ll all come good!

In the meantime, I’m off to hibernate for a while!

 

Rest, Reflection and Reading

Time flies doesn’t it? It’s a week since Outlaw X – the buzz has just about worn off. The race pictures are out and I have had time to sit and think about things and reflect – like all good athletes should do. I’ve even had the week off the day job to recover. It has been strangely blissful. I also received my email about my Level 2 Triathlon Coaching course this week and after last time, I’ve decided to crack on.

So a week of reflecting, resting and reading – what has come of it.

Well on the resting front – I really haven’t done much. Went to yoga (that was painful!), two stretch classes, coached swim, slept a bit, read a bit, mooched a bit and tutored. I also sat and reflected on my race. It has been quite blissful really.

My thoughts still stand from the last blog about the race (see here) – I have decided that I am going to have another go next year and I am just waiting for entries to open, which should be in the next week or so. I have also found my love for triathlon again. I have only done two triathlons this year, swimming and cycling took over really. Unsurprising as they are my favourite disciplines, but… after sitting down and working out how to cut some time off next year, I feel like going sub 7 and knocking off 35 minutes is more than achievable – as long as I remain run fit!

How am I going to get better? The wandering reflections….

Swim – I need to sort my back/shoulder out. I am hoping it is just tightness but 8 months ago, and my last sprint triathlon, I was managing a really good pace and my CSS was down to 1:51 – at the moment it is back up to about 2:00 – partly due to a sore/tight back. Starts to whinge at about 1500m. I also need to do more OW swimming – more consistently – at least once a week from May onwards I think. As I am slower in OW. If I managed to replicate 1:50/100m in OW, and in a race, it would knock off about 4 minutes. Swimming is also my favourite disciple as we know so hopefully

Bike – If I can average 17mph on the bike, I will knock off at least 15 minutes off my bike time – which is not impossible, so long as my training over winter is consistent. I actually need to keep it up and probably get in some speed sessions. I am also keen to improve my skills on the TT bike and possibly ride Outlaw X on the TT. Better structured training would be wise too!

Running – This is the biggest issue for me. It is my least favourite part. My knee injury is now, hopefully, on the mend – I need desperately to keep on top of strength and conditioning work going forward (this is part of my winter plan – dial back on actual swim, bike, run – and do a bit more gym work). Come back stronger and reduce risk of injury! I am going to speak to one of my mates who is a running coach and try and avoid junk mileage and find some way to measure improvement. I am planning on doing a bit of cross country this year so hopefully see some improvements over winter. My next running race, excluding XC, is CTS Northumberland. I also have a half marathon booked in too at Edinburgh. My half marathon PB is 2:30, so even if I ran/walk Outlaw X in better condition than this year, I should easy knock 15 minutes off (2:45 half marathon) and if I can keep injury at bay, improve my running and technique and come off the bike as strong as I did last week – I would like to aim for a 2:30 half marathon. 2:45 would do….

Transition – well, so long as it isn’t raining, I shall be better next year – I probably should practice transition, and do some brick sessions along the way…

I have further been reflecting on how I am going to map out my training as the plan I started on this year clearly didn’t work or fit my life/work commitments. I need to probably say no to a few things as well! I am about to start my L2 Coaching course and I have started reading up ahead of time – there is a lot to get through and it is really making me think about my own training and phasing it out.

Putting all this together – I am actually feeling excited about next season and training, but equally at the moment, I am enjoying not feeling an pressure to swim/bike/run and have relished having a full week off. The next few weeks are about keeping up the exercises from the physio, sorting out plan at the gym (need to make an appointment), and slowly getting back into swimming and cycling for the sheer enjoyment, without a particular goal.

I can see a plan slowly starting to form…

Emotional Recovery

This blog post has been written and re-written a few times over the last week or two It is also rather long! The original draft I blurted out after a week of being very tired (and suffering DOMS) and emotionally a bit out of sorts – not helped by watching Rocketman at the cinema.

But seeing as tonight is the year anniversary of the official beginning of the end so to speak, it does feel fitting and somewhat cathartic to sit and reflect.

This post is very much about emotional recovery as opposed to physical (although I’m catching up on rest now and realise I need 7 hours of sleep a night to really function!).

Brief background

Today is the Summer Solstice – this time last year I was swimming in a lovely little lido in North Yorkshire – knowing full well something wasn’t right. I knew things hadn’t been right for a while but I’d put it down to stress. This particular night though he was mega distance – more so than normal and driving home I just knew.

I texted him ‘You don’t want to be with me any more do you?’ and the response?

‘I didnt want to do this over text’

So essentially – he didn’t want to be with me. His behaviour highlighting his cowardice more than anything. I had to pull him up. I had to hit the nail on the end. Eight years. Just like that. All for another woman essentially. Far from repeat myself – take a look here for the full story.

So one year on….

I am still single.

But emotionally I am in a far better place. Don’t get me wrong, there is some lingering bitterness – understandably but it’s fading. Rising above it all and in the words of a mate ‘remaining classy’ has, at times, being very difficult – but same said mate is my voice of reason and go to when I need reminding of this!

Things that I have realised:

I have had a lucky escape – so many people have mentioned how boring the ex is/was. Family and friends. Even now ‘he seems a bit 2D’ – this made me laugh. I’ve thought about this and actually theres some truth, though I wonder how much of this is related to him falling out of love with me and falling in love with someone else – but I don’t know so much – when he left old job, I hoped that we would do more spontaneous things – and we never did. In 8 years we never even lived together. Clearly he wasn’t the one, and thank the heavens we never got married. His loss will be someone else gain. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and two failed marriages which didn’t last as long as our relationship, and then our eight year relationship – he has some serious issues to sort out (as soon as any woman demands commitment out of him he bolts/behaviour changes). My dad always said he’d never marry me!

Being single and independent – is A LOT OF FUN! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s quite hard and I’ve had to make myself go out and do things. Quite often though I have managed to rope others in! I can suit myself without considering someone else – which has been an amazing feeling – after being in a relationship for 12 years and never being single as an adult…. anyway – lesson learnt – retain some independence. Be my own person. I do miss having that person who always has your back, if that makes sense. I was talking to the girls at work and they got what I meant!

Friends (and family) – I’ve found out who my mates really are and what they are made of – this includes virtual friends I have made over Twitter! I am in a far better place because of their love, support and enduring patience. As well as a lot of ribbing and piss taking. They keep me grounded. There are no words to explain/convey my love and gratitude for everything over the last year and in general. Someone mentioned that I am pretty strong emotionally – and I had to explain that most of this is because I have this amazing set of people around me – that I have surrounded myself with, that I draw my strength from. I have accepted the support, leaned on them and moaned a bucketful and all they have shown me is love, care and support. Without them, I would not be where I am now. I’m also one of the youngest out of the lot of them and I trust their usual wisdom. Normally anyway. Apparently I am the bad influence. I don’t think I am. If any of my mates read this – some know about my blog/Twitter – massive thanks and love – you really are awesome!

I am more capable than I believed – I’ve done more random things in the last year than I think I ever have – honestly – buying a business, racing on my own, travelling about, on my own, fixing things, being self-reliant. Finding my own two feet and what makes me tick! Finding out who I am in relation to me, and not in terms of ‘a couple’.

Good sex is out there. Just saying.

Being selfish – first time single as an adult and I have been able to be completely selfish – and I’ve enjoyed it. Doing things/races I want to do. Sometimes you need to be selfish and be true to yourself – this links quite nicely back to the bit about being independent!

I also need to take less crap from blokes and probably be a bit less laid back in relationships – I hung around and waited 8 years for nothing – never demanded anything, had low expectations.

Making up for lost time – I have filled the last year with adventure – with saying ‘yes’ to as many things as possible, to living life to the fullest and doing stuff that I never dreamt I would. My bank balance isn’t happy but – I have no commitments and ties – and to be fair, I’ve done some serious adulating and sorted out my credit card. For all my little emotional wobbles – being single at 30/31 – has been be best adventure I have had for a long time but this does lead to some worries/concerns which are probably only natural.

General worries:

Starting again – will I ever trust anyone so completely again? Head is weary, heart says yes. I use one of the girls at work as living proof that things will come good.

Children – I don’t know if I want them. Part of me screams yes. Part of me is enjoying life too much to want them – no-one ever sells the joys of motherhood. This really worries me. I am worried about being an older mum. About settling down.

My expectations – My mum thinks I am being too picky – well I don’t want to waste another eight years on someone that isn’t right. I was talking to my boss about this just this afternoon and she doesn’t think its a case of me being picky but more a case of me having higher expectations, less willing to settle for second best and having a better idea of what I want in life/a partner.

Being lonely – sometimes I am, which is unusual. I miss having a partner-in-crime, a go-to person, someone to spoon/watch dodgy telly with. To spend time adventuring with – its always better with someone else.

Getting ‘stuck’ with the wrong person again. Goes without saying.

Not knowing what I want – I don’t plan ahead anymore – I don’t think, oh in x amount of years I want to have done/achieved/be… in the words of Graeme Obree – ‘be more seagull’. I am very much a believer that things happen for a reason – and always when I try and plan too far ahead – it never pans out like that.

The person I am now if very different to the one I was a year/eighteen months ago. Far more outgoing, no longer in someone else’s shadow, more confident and outgoing, braver and stronger. I’m a older, improved version of the 17 year old me I think. And for all her spunk – I rather like her!

The heartbreak, the split, life experience shapes you, but more importantly, life is what you make of it, and its there for the taking!

Nearing burnout!

My mother has been mentioning for a while that she thinks I am doing too much. Three weekends away on the trot, working/tutoring silly hours, trying to train and to date (theres a blog post in there all by itself) – I think she might have a point. May might just have caught up with me.

I am getting better at spotting the signs of tiredness and near burn out – and I do try to get ahead and prevent it – this week has been a case of me trying to do this. I had planned to restart my training plan this week but I’ve called quits for the week.

Yesterday I could have cried out of sheer tiredness and ashiness – this is my own doing. I might have technically been at home this weekend but I cycled Saturday and then went on a hen do which resulted in me not getting to bed until 2am the following morning and naturally waking up early! Sunday night was as bad as I went to see one of my mate -resulting in another night of only 5 or 6 hours sleep – so I was starting the week on a bit of a sleep deficit. Being at home is more tiring that travelling and being out and about.

My body and my bank balance are currently very unhappy with me!

I’ve also had a bout of DOMS – which is unusual for me really and alongside not eating properly (lack of meal prep on my side with being away so much) – I really need to try and get back on it.

So this week I am NOT feeling guilty about not training as much or about being quite selfish and leaving a chuck of the To Do list as it is – still to do. It isn’t going away but no-one is going to suffer if I don’t get it done.

I do, however, need to call my bike insurance company up and sort out some advertising for my business.

I will come back stronger. As always!