Tag Archives: Goals

Big Cotswold Swim

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I took part in the 2 mile Big Cotswold Swim and I haven’t put my report up!

It was a grey Saturday morning, but the rain stayed away (at least until the start of the race) and I was up at 6am to make sure I could have a proper breakfast before doing a 2 mile swim at 8:45am. I usually don’t eat before my morning swims, but knew this would be harder and further than those so made sure I got up extra early to get my porridge in. Also to drink enough as there is nothing worse than swimming and being dehydrated and surrounded by water you can’t drink.

The one mile swimmers went off first and then it was the 2 milers. We had a warm up and acclimatisation 10 minutes then a briefing of the course before being set off from the beach. I was at the front as really just wanted to get going and knew it would easier to be overtaken than have to overtake during the start of the race. I managed to graze the tops of my feet during my dive into the water, but luckily the water kept them cool and although it was irritating to begin with they eased off very quickly.

I swam in a wetsuit even though the water was 20 degrees Celsius. I have done some short swims with a wetsuit at that temperature, but nothing beyond a kilometre. So went for the added buoyancy and warmth. I was glad I did as the lake had patches of very cold areas and where it had rained the top of the lake was quite cool all over. I think it was warmer in the water than it was in the air that morning.

I had a good swim and kept strong the whole way. I like the course layout of two laps right round my local swimming lake. It worked well I caught up to a few of the one mile swimmers just over half way round my first lap. I ended up swimming the whole way with one lady. We just couldn’t get past each other. I was sighting better than her, which slower me down, but she kept having to correct her course, which slowed her down. I then took to speed a bit too early before the last bouy and she got me there.

I came out of the water in 31st place out of 113 swimming the 2 mile event and in 56.37 minutes. My goal was to try and come out in under an hour as the last open water swims I had done were 3km and took about 59 minutes so I knew it would be a challenge to get 3.2km in that time, but I also knew I had been working hard and getting stronger and I smashed it by 3 minutes!

Overall it was a very enjoyable swim that I pushed myself on. I got a free place at the running club Christmas do last year for helping out with the triathlon swimming sessions and for being the best swimmer in the running club!

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Project Lifestyle June Review

Project Lifestyle Purple Cover

A little later than planned for June as I was away with work and although the Lake District is amazing and beautiful, the mobile signal and internet connections are rubbish. Also I had a lot of work to do and relationships to continue to build.

My full report can be found here on Google Docs.

Overall June was not what I planned or set out to do, but it was a great month. I feel positive about the progress I have made on the project as whole beyond the goals I have set out to achieve. I am really thinking in terms of my own values and how I live my life according to them rather than always working towards the next achievement. I will take a look at each of the workstreams now, but I am not going to get hung up on what I didn’t achieve. I went with the flow of life over the month and it felt good.

Nutrition – I kept attempting to use MFP pal and would do quite well until I lost routine. So for me it is figuring out my values when it comes to food and eating well for my body and life and being able to adapt to situations that are not in my control. I was away with work a number of times last month and I let things get away from me. I had a bit of a low moment and was beating myself up in the middle of the month. I try not to do that, but it is a hard habit to break and one I will continue to work on.

Fitness – I completed by second triathlon of the year and got back to swimming in the pool. I didn’t take part in the second Wiltshire gala as I did not feel in the best place with swimming when that took place. My activity dropped a bit during the month. I can’t seem to get motivation after doing an event and the longer it takes to get back into routine the harder it is. Good intensions well travelling have made progress as I did go for a short run and swim while away with work, but nowhere near as much as normal. Fitting everything in feels hard at the moment so I need to spend some time reflecting on why that is.

Social – This has been a good workstream this month. I have gone with the flow a bit more and enjoyed it. I haven’t booked myself up weeks in advance, but committed to things I wanted to do and held out on others until closer to the time. I’ve felt more in control of what I’ve been doing this month. Control is the wrong word, maybe more self-assured of my choices. I’ve worried less about what others think if I can’t or do not want to do something. It’s quite refreshing and something I intend to carry on with.

Mental Health – I didn’t even pick up the book I bought, but I intended to and still do. I finished my Mindfulness course and have taken some of the tools I found useful and added them into my routine. I have also started using Headspace again. For me it is about not being afraid to take the time out I need to rest and recharge. I have been making a point in work to take 10 minutes outside on top of my lunch break with colleagues. I have also made sure I keep time for myself to do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it – and yes that does mean a 4 hour nap on a Saturday afternoon if I need it, or a walk around the local park on my own.

Career – I feel this is moving well and I feel more confident in myself this month and the role I am playing in my current job and the value it has. I am also working on understanding myself better and therefore making it easier to look and understand my future career options. I am not used to everyone being so open and talking about development, but that is how it is in my current organisation and it is great. I don’t feel stuck and know there will be opportunities to go into, but right now I need to concentrate on doing the best I ca do in my role and build relationships with everyone I am working with and when that is a national thing to do it does take time.

Overall I feel Project Lifestyle is working towards what I want. I need some time to reflect this month and to revaluate if required. I also want to focus on my values, rather than my goals and make sure the decisions I am making meet those and that will help me get unstuck when it comes to my goals as I will understand my motivation and values behind them better. It is all a work in progress, but I like the progress I am making.

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Royal Wootton Bassett Triathlon

On Sunday I completed my first triathlon of the year and my first one of my Project Lifestyle goals – The Royal Wootton Bassett Triathlon!

As it was a pool swim my wave wasn’t until 10am, but I was wide awake at 5am and so headed up to cheer fellow running club members on who were in the early waves. I felt quite relaxed once I was up there and love this photo Paul from my running took while I was bring my stuff to transition.  I think getting up there early calmed my nerves as I got to see the layout and knew what to expect by the time it was my turn to head out.20140521-123345-45225368.jpg

Unfortunately there was a car accident on the bike route. Thankfully no bikes were involved. But everything got pushed back by half an hour, so I wasn’t starting until 10:30am and it was already warming up quite a lot. I think it turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far! It was goo though as my parents had been marshalling the early run and so were able to get up to the pool to see me head off and watch the rest of my event.

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The swim was great. I was really nervous about this part as we are put in lanes with other swimmers who put about the same time down, so I was worried about being too slow and then coming in last after the run. But the lane worked out great and I was able to nicely keep up with the ladies in front and came in with a swim time of 6 minutes 39 seconds, which was only 7 seconds slower than my 400m event last November.

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I then headed out to the transition and managed to get through that in 1 minute 35 seconds – super fast considering this was the first time I had to do cycling shoes.

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The bike course felt good. It was a lovely sunny day and being on the bike meant there was a nice breeze. I need to practice drinking on the bike though as I struggled to drink enough. I felt strong all the way round and even braved picking up speed on the downhills, more than I did during the couple of practices I did in the weeks learning up to it. I felt I got my gearing done well throughout the route. I was overtaken in the first mile by the men who were slower in the swim, but then had the rest of the course to myself until the last hill where the men from the next wave caught me up not he big hill at the end. My goal was to finish in under an hour and make it up the hill and that is what I did. It took a while to recover from the hill but I kept moving and tried to spin my legs out before getting off the bike. I finished the bike in 52 minutes 47 seconds – really pleased with this time for 22km.

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Unfortunately I noticed something was wrong with my right shoe just before the big hill. I was preparing to stop at the bottom as we were told we would have to and I couldn’t get my shoe out of the clip. I could basically move my show all the way round. I was then worried it would come off on the hill, but it stayed put. I then had to leave it on the bike when I got off for the second transition. I was laughing from nerves as I was sure I would fall off, but I unclipped the left and then undid the other shoe and ran in with only one shoe on. Just practicing for what the professionals do! The next transition was exactly 1 minute. Probably a bit slow, but getting my running trainers on and laced up took a bit of time. I had lots of encouragement and finally got going.

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My parents then followed me round to the big hill on the run and waited there while I did the two laps. The run was super hard. The first lap was horrible. My legs felt awful and my mind kept losing grip and focusing on the doubts. The course was described as flat with one hill – that was a lie! There was one big hill, but also another one on grass, which was just as hard. The first lap was hard and at the point coming back up the hill first time I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. My parents were at the top encouraging me on a nd the my swimming club friends were doing the water station and came to me with water as I got to the top. I had to walk the hills and was so appreciative of Karen, my parents, Inge and Andy for cheering me on and getting me going again.

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Running round the flat sports field my legs came back to me and I started to feel better. I also had Jase, a fellow Hound, on the microphone and could make out my name every now and again as I went round for the send lap. The second lap was better than the first as I was prepared for it. I knew I would walk the hills and then just got going when I could. I used my arms better on them and power walked up.

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It was hard, but I sped up to the finish line. I never look good in finishing photos!

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I finished the run in 31 minutes 37 seconds. I think it was slightly less than 5km as I was expecting at least 36 minutes. I didn’t wear my garmin as I didn’t want to fiddle with it going round.

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The Mayor was giving out medals and it was great to have my parents there at the end. I think they were surprised I made it (especially after the first time up the hill), but I did and it felt good. I think I surprised them as they rarely see me train for things and were really impressed with my swim time – fastest running club swim time – and I had said the run would be the hardest bit. They said a lot of the super fit looking participants struggled up the hill – it was almost vertical (I’m not exaggerating!). I think the mental strength to put yourself through an event like it is the hardest part. You can learn to swim, cycle, and run, but if you can’t calm the mind during the hard points it would be easy to give up. I struggled on the first lap more than I expected and it caught me off guard, but I kept moving forward and focused on people shouting my name as I went and used that energy to keep me going. I am so thankful for everyone there who cheered me and everyone else on – amazing spectators and volunteers!

Overall I finished in 1 hour 33 minutes and 40 seconds! I beat my own predicted time of 1 hour 45 minutes and was really pleased with it. I wasn’t last in either!

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Also a funky medal to add to my collection.

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Overall it was a fantastic day and event. I was so glad I could be a part of it and support the local organisers and be part of the club supporting it. I’m also super proud of the running club members who took part in their first triathlon – amazing! It was so nice that it was local and the weather was amazing. I think it went really well and hope it continues to become an annual event. I know a few more runners wished they had taken part this year so really want it to happen again. My only request would be to look at the run route and take out that hill (otherwise running club might introduce it as a hill session and it is a killer!).

Thoughts

I’m making excuses.

If I want to lead a healthy life I just have to do it.

I know binge eating is a problem, but I can avoid my triggers.

I need to nap and go to bed earlier.

I need to mix up my food and exercise to avoid boredom.

I need to get engaged with my hobbies.

  • Look into triathlon training

  • Look into nutrition

  • Start crafting lists or thought journal – use tapes to make things pretty (not perfect)

  • Cycle and walk for fun – take camera out and enjoy the countryside

  • Take up headspace and practice mindfulness

I need to stick to my budget and that will allow me to save and spend on things I really want rather than chocolate or binge foods.

I need to make the food I eat for meals more appetising.

I need to make health a priority.

The number on the scale is just a number. It does not define me or success.

What do I want to live for?

  • See the world!

  • Go skiing all over the world

  • Try new activities

  • Meet new people

  • Sign up for events and be able to give anything a go

  • To experience life

  • To practice meditation and maybe take up tai chi or a martial art

  • To explore my local place where ever I am

For me life isn’t about people or things. It’s not about starting a family of settling down. It’s about experiences and exploring and learning. I don’t ever want to stop learning.

I’m limited in terms of money right not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn about health and myself. Let’s rephrase that – I’ve not got the opportunity to plan any trips right now so I can use this time to explore myself. This is an opportunity to not be distracted by grand plans and trip planning. This is an opportunity to get to know me on a daily basis. This is an opportunity to make great small decisions that add up to something amazing each day.

I’m going to tune into myself more often. I’m going to ask myself how I’m feeling. I’m going to ask myself what I fancy.

I’m also going to listen. To myself!

I would like to take the words – should, could, need, must – out of my vocabulary. I am going to replace them with kinder words of encouragement and listening.

This is a totally random post. It wasn’t started as a post. I was in work having trouble concentrating on anything that I opened a word document and kept adding to it throughout the day. It helped me get my thoughts out and I feel better for it. It might not make much sense to anyone else reading, but I wanted to share the struggle as well as the success.

How I Keep My Fitness Consistent

My Project Lifestyle Fitness workstream is by far my most successful to date. So I thought I would share how I make things work when it comes to fitness. Please not these are my personal ideas and I’m not a doctor or health professional!

So how do I do it?

Routine

  • This takes the thinking out of it for me. It keeps me consistent and planned. For me writing it in my calendar makes it an appointment, which can only be moved for serious reasons – such as being ill or a social event. Sometimes I have to force myself to go to whatever I have planned, so alongside this I go easy on myself and do what I can in that moment. I think moving and being active is better than not being active by staying on the sofa.

Have a Goal

I like to be working towards something. It keeps me motivated. Whether it’s a triathlon or a 5k running event, have it in your calendar and know how long you’ve got to reach it. Then work towards it – plan it out! Print off a chart and put a sticker against every workout you do. See your progress and reward yourself for it. Picture the medal you’ll get if you complete a race – always a good thing. Does anyone else hate races that don’t give medals?

Start Easy and Build Up

There is nothing worse than throwing yourself into something too hard and not being able to move for a few days. For example I just upped my gym strength routine and rather than heading straight into the weights I built up to in a previous circuit, I took it down a notch to make sure my technique was good and so I could learn the routine. I then built up the weights and the reps gradually. This motivated me to keep coming back. This goes the same for my running, swimming, and cycling – gradual build and enjoy it as you do.

Try Different Things

Take a different class every so often or get out on a nice sunny day and go for a bike ride or hike – something you don’t plan in. I like to go a couple of classes every week and don’t stress if the class changes because the instructor is away. It mixes it for me without me having to think about it. Look out for taster sessions at your gym and pop along to try piliates or boxercise, to give your brain and body a boost!

Get the Right Gear (once you know you like it)

I invest in good gear once I know I enjoy doing something. For example with swimming I have set swimming costumes and equipment I know if worth it. I am saving to get a new wetsuit (a proper swimming one) after a few years of using a surf one because I had it. I’ve only just invested in a new bike, as I had a perfectly good bike I could use to build a base. Running – get the right trainers and spend what you can afford, but definitely get them fitted!

Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good

Get some nice workout gear. It makes me feel good to change into some bright and well-fitting clothes. It makes me feel comfortable and then I’m able to push myself during the session without worrying my trousers keep falling down – this happened last year with running club – bought cheap trousers that didn’t fit me well and all I spent multiple sessions worrying that my arse would be showing! Not fun at all. I also think clothes allow that fake until you make it feeling to happen – if I don’t feel in the mood to run I put on my brightest top and head out the door feeling like a glowstick and come back with a glow from the workout.

Make it Social

My main social activities are through my running and swimming club. I’m an introvert by nature and hate hanging around without something to do. I loathe having people round my house as that is my space – it’s weird I know. So I put the effort in to make it to the club sessions to chat and laugh and push each other. I try to go to all the other social events, such as chilli night with running and curry night with swimming. I like being with people who are there for similar reasons as me. Also I know I can then go home to my own place. I’m not one for the pub or dinner parties and often feel like the third or fifth of seventh wheel with old school friends, but with my clubs it all about having a good time together with everyone who takes part. I need this side of it more than I realised before.

I am in the process of creating something like to this help with my eating. I need to find ways of making it easy for myself to be healthy and lose weight. So far I have some quite specific things I follow:

  • Cook chicken and eggs and keep in the fridge
  • Don’t buy sweets, cakes or chocolate
  • Have fruit and vegetables prepared or ready to eat (i.e. fruit not in the fridge cold!)
  • For my sweet tooth have bagels or hot cross buns cut in half or quarters  in the freezer, so they are ready for me but I don’t have the excuse of them being frozen whole
  • Have protein powder and bars in the house
  • Drink plenty of tea, coffee, and water
  • Don’t have cash at work
  • Batch make meals such as chilli, cassoulet, and fish pie and keep in the freezer for homemade ready meals
  • Take a packed lunch to work
  • Order my food shop online for collection (usually free to collect from the store and means I don’t have to go in and get tempted)

I suppose these are all rules for living. I struggle with the food ones because of the legacy of my parents and how they behave around food. I’m taking one step at a time and finding out what works for me. I know I like structure and routine fitness, so doing something similar for food helps.

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