Adventures in Books… Heir of Fire

heir of fire

“Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?”

I really enjoyed this book. However I didn’t click until half way through that this wasn’t a trilogy (it’s actually going to be 6 books) and therefore tainted my read slightly by worrying about how it was going to end as it seemed to be taking a long time to go anywhere! My own fault for not reading the blurb properly and being so used to reading trilogies :)

This progressed the story of Celaena and we learnt more about her background and the history of the kingdom. I really like books like this in series as although sometimes it feels like no action is taking place there is a lot of information to digest, which adds to the overall story.

I don’t want to give any of the plot away and although i said I would improve my book reviews, I am actually just going to keep them basic and share what I read and like going forward. Reading is an escape for me and I don’t want to taint it by always thinking I have to write a blog post for it, whereas treating it like how I would recommend a book to a friend is easy :)

I can’t wait for the next one! I haven’t been this excited for a series to be published in a long time. I hate the waiting but I do love the anticipation.

Planning 2015 Already

Event entries for next year are already opening and lots are opening over the next couple months – especially triathlons! So I thought I better get planning to make sure all the ones I want to do are in my diary and budgeted for (it all adds up!).

So what am I thinking right now?

January – Skiing for 30th

February – Round One Wiltshire Masters Gala

April – Good Fri Tri (pool based) and Brighton Marathon 10k

May – Royal Wootton Bassett Triathlon and Cotswold Sprint Triathlon

June – Cotswold Women’s Only Sprint Triathlon and Round Two Wiltshire Masters Gala

July – Big Cotswold Swim (2 mile lake) and Pier to Pier Swim (1.4 mile sea)

August – Cotswold Classic 70.3 Triathlon and maybe an Events Logic distance swim (3km or 5km)

September – Cotswold Sprint Triathlon

October – Round 3 Wiltshire Masters Gala

November – Swimming Club Championship Galas

WOW lots going on already!

I would like to do an event each month of 2015. Not all crazy challenges, but something to keep me focused and motivated. So I will probably look out for 5k or 10k runs and cycle events for those missing months (March and December). There is also the possibility of an aqua-bike event, but I don’t have the date for that yet. Also my running club are thinking the London Dualathlon, but I would only do that as part of a relay team.

I also want to get back into doing Parkruns once a month. I haven’t done one yet in 2014 and I miss having that way to monitor my progress.

I also plan on volunteering at triathlons again next year, but need to plan it around my training to make sure it doesn’t impact.

It sure does add up when you start looking at a whole year. I will need to pay entry for all of these and also make sure my kit is right through the year. I’ve currently planned in two trainer purchases and bike services. Clothing will have to be budgeted in as required, but I have become a fan of the range Aldi bring out for cycling. I would also like to purchase tri-bars for next season to ease the pressure on my back on longer rides. I am planning on also getting a proper swimming wetsuit and have a wish list of a dryrobe and new trisuit! This is on top of the normal swimming attire I have to get fairly regularly. It is all adding up!

So much to do! I suppose it is good that I’m only planning on a skiing holiday next year and that is in January! This will take up a lot of my time, energy, and money. Therefore aspects of my life I don’t prioritise as highly will be impacted – sorry that means social events that aren’t fitness related! If you want to see me you’ll have to give me plenty of notice next year!

I’m really looking forward to 2015 and am planning on ending 2014 on a high and set up for an active year :)

Working It Out & Paying Attention

I think I might start looking more closely at my workouts. I tend to get a bit frustrated with progress, but that is really because I only look at time and distance, when really I need to consider other factors. This includes heart rate for running and cycling and the strokes I’m doing at swimming. Also in the gym what weight I am lifting or how long I’m holding planks for – all those little details that are easy to overlook.

So in order to make this a habit I am going to start reviewing my weekly works over the next month or so. My aim is consistency in my training to build a good base, so I’m not aiming for more distance or great speed, but rather getting fitter overall.

My current weekly plan is focused on getting to my club sessions:

Monday Running Club Hill or speed session 30-45 Heart Rate

Distance

Time

Easy Swim Kick session 20-30 Distance

Time

Tuesday Swimming Club Mixed session 90 Distance

Time

Stroke Proportion

Wednesday Running Club Long run session 45-60 Heart Rate

Distance

Time

Thursday

Rest Day

Friday Gym Strength 20-30 Weight
Easy Swim Kick session 20-30 Distance

Time

Saturday Swimming Club Mixed session 60 Distance

Time

Stroke Proportion

Gym Strength 20-30 Weight
Sunday Swimming Club Mixed Session 60 Distance

Time

Stroke Proportion

Bike Time 60-120 Heart Rate

Distance

Time

(Power?)

Total 7 – 10 Sessions a week

(425 – 555 minutes a week)

7-9 hours a week Measurements to take

 

I’m getting short gym session back in by fitting them into times before I coach so that I only have to go to the sports centre once, rather than multiple times. My only concern is that I am only getting one bike ride in a week. I may change this, but it is fitting in over the winter months when it is lot darker, therefore the weekends are the only times. My Easy Swim sessions are with friends for their benefit, rather than mine, so I am using them as kick session and stretch sessions, rather than full on training.

This is an ideal week. There will be many week, especially leading up to Christmas, where doing all these session will not be possible. So my goal is to do a minimum of 5 hours a week every week. I would like do a mix of activities in those minimum hours, but will have a flexible approach over the next 3 months (November, December, January), with the change point being February, where I will up my hours per week in build up for the official bulk of 70.3 training starting in April/June.

Starting next week I will review my weekly workouts and share on here :)

(Apologies for the weird looking table – copying and pasting didn’t work as planned!)

A New Focus

My life is changing focus yet again.

I will be signing up to a 70.3 triathlon for August 2015!

My running club has a triathlon section and we are doing it as a club. Originally I was going to do it as a relay and only do the swim, but my training buddy wants to do the whole thing and we agreed to train together for a possible 140.6 in 2016.

So this winter is all about building my base up on my running and cycling, and keeping my performance up in my swimming. I also want to get back in the gym for strength training. As well as really focusing on my diet and understanding what I require to fuel this type of event.

It’s not going to be easy, but I want to push myself.

I am going skiing for my 30th in January, which will be my first holiday for almost 2 years and that will pretty much be it for next year as well.  So I have plenty of time to commit to this.

I feel good about this going forward. I have something to focus on over winter and something that will help me stick to the changes I want to make to my life – specifically nutrition based changes. Having a training buddy is going to help. Even if we don’t train together all the time, knowing we are both committed to the same thing will be a really big help and motivator.

I am also focusing on my swim teaching as my swimming club will fund the first two levels of courses as I am helping out with the kids section. I want to then use this to help the tri section better next year.  I am really enjoying coaching, but feel I lack the technical knowledge about the strokes to help beyond the basics, however the club are really good at being there and providing support and advice.

So my winter plan is just to commit to my club sessions and make sure I get out on the bike at weekends. I have a turbo trainer now just in case the weather makes it impossible to go outside.  This adds up to about 7 hours a week. I’ll need to up that in the new year, but I do not want to up it too soon and burn out. So I will be talking with my swimming club’s head coach about the plan 16/12 weeks out from the race.

So my adventures will be more about exploring locally. I will show you lots of the sights I find on my runs and bike rides. I also share the things I plan to research and learn about over the winter months.  I hope you enjoy the new direction. There will still be adventures in books, coffee, and tea, but I imagine scaled back a bit.

On to the next adventure!

Tea Tasting

After researching coffee tasting I also decided to look at tea tasting and see if I could improve my writing on this subject as well.

Again thanks to the Moleskine, I found their tea journal that has a great, basic explanation of what to look for when drinking tea.

The professionals evaluate four key aspects:

  • the appearance and feel of the dry leaves
  • the colour and body of the liquor (the liquid produced by steeping the leaves)
  • the aromas
  • the flavours

This is quite similar to coffee in some ways, but I think there will be more variation in the flavours and aromas due to the types of tea I like to try.

There was also a section on tasting method:

  • After draining the leaves, give the liquor a minute to cool off.
  • Put your nose close to the tea and inhale deeply to take in the aromas. Breathe out.
  • Take a sip, flushing the tea all over your palate.
  • Assess the weight or body of the tea in your mouth.
  • Continue to hold the tea in your mouth and breathe in through your nose to catch the flavours.
  • Swallow the tea. Breathe out.
  • Discern the aromas at the back of your nasal passages
  • How long do the flavours last after you’ve swallowed (the “finish”)?

I’m going to try to use this going forward with my tea subscription!

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