Thursday, 29 May 2008

The Whole Of The Triathlon Blog

This is all because I have dillusions of grandeur!

Basically if you've got about an hour to spare and want to know how I got involved in triathlon - here's the blog in date order

07 November 2007
15:14:56 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
Never too Big to Tri
Bit of background... I will be 44 in less than 2 weeks, I weigh 16 and a half stones, I have tried every diet and weight loss plan in the whole world and lost loads of weight, and put it all back on so now, drastic action time. Take control.
I was inspired by a blog by Gareth Bicknell, the sports editor for the daily post who blogged about his training for the Llanrwst Tri Athlon. I researched this "fastest growing" participation sport and discovered a "Sprint" event is 400m swimming, 24km bike ride and 5km run. I can do that I thought!
There's a local event at the end of April next year so here goes. I've got 26 weeks to loose 6 stones and get really, really fit.
I have done no serious exercise for over 20 years!
I mailed the local triathlon club who came back with such encouragement. I honestly didn't expect a reply or at the best come back to us when your fit ha! ha! Instead they've suggested I go to the local sports centre, the local training meetings and to formulate a "plan."
God this is such hard work. I've typed my fingers to the bone. I've got a weight loss chart, a BMI chart, The TA fitness programme, a running programme, a cycling programme, swimming etiquette and the Big Fat Problem info off BBC Wales' web site.
So that's that then.
Big decisions to make. Do I join a gym? Do I go it alone? Do I get checked out by the Doctor first? Erm when am I going to start this training?
Procrastination is the thief of time.
I've bought bike off ebay for the princely sum of £40. My brother asked has it got stabilizers? My work colleagues asked could I ride a bike?
Watch this space....

08 November 2007
12:10:06 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
Dieting History
This is what I posted on my main blog on 2 August
Many years ago when I was young and thin I used to like shopping for clothes. Now I'm old and fat I have 2 splurges a year at Evans. I get highly depressed because nothing fits and if it does it looks awful. No Lynne, the clothes don't look awful you do.
I avoid mirrors, I avoid plate glass windows and doors. If I can't see what I look like I don't have to admit what I look like.
I lost 2 stone when I had the horrendous gall bladder pain. I couldn't eat anything with fat in and quite frankly most food gave me pain. The pain stopped in April. I have put the 2 stone back on.
I reckon, without a word of a lie I have probably lost about 30 stone… and put it all back on again.
My dieting nightmare started when I was 19 and weighed 8stone 7lbs. I wanted to get down to 8 stones so I went to Weight Watchers and they took me on! Since then I have lost ½ stone, put a stone back on and that's why I have ballooned to 16 stone. I do blame the last 4 stone on my husband though. I put that weight on in the first 6 months that we were together. He did all the cooking because I was working full time.
I have tried every diet going; Weight Watchers, Slimming World, The F Plan, The Beverly Hills Diet, The Scarsdale Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The GI diet. I have every book Rosemary Conelly has ever written, You are what You Eat by Gillian McKeith, Pilates books. I have the Ann Diamond work-out video. I have a Callenetics video. I've even tried 3 different kinds of prescribed slimming pills. I've been a member of three different Gyms (one twice). They all work.
Simple facts if you consume more calories than you burn off with exercise the excess calories are stored on the body as fat. Simple solution eat less, exercise more. Not difficult. Just impossible for me.
We had a free CD in a newspaper a while ago. Peter Gabriel. I love the song "Don't give up" quite apt for this but that's not my point. Another song on there is "No self control" and that is me.
I watch all these "Fatty" programmes like You Are What You Eat, Diet Doctors Inside Out, Celebrity Fit Club, I am so inspired. I see normal people losing 2 stone in 8 weeks and think I can do that. No problem but I don't.
My Mum is very kind. She says I'm bonny. The kids are very kind they say I'm big. The truth of the matter is I am morbidly obese. I need to lose 3 ½ stone just to get to overweight and then another 2 stone to get my BMI to the top end of "normal". My husband is realistic. He says all you have to do is get off that fat hillbilly ass of yours.
No one is responsible for my body except me. No one forces food (or drink) down my neck. No one forces me to sit in the armchair in front of the Telly. Geranium my husband calls me because I'm always in the window. OK so I have a sedentary job. Erm OK so I work for 20 hours a week that leaves erm 148 hours a week for exercise.
No excuses.
I've downloaded a brilliant fitness/results/weight loss/BMI chart.
I've been on the Territorial Army's web site and got the most fantastic fitness programme.
I know the calorie value, fat content, GI rating of every food.
Writing all this has been quite harrowing.
I'm not sure if I've actually got the guts to put it on my blog but if I do it will really be real and I'll have to do something about it.
Wish me luck. Any help gratefully accepted.
Ok and since then I have put on half a stone.
Previous attempts at reducing this bulk, even though with dogged determination have never been structured and there's never been a goal apart from to lose weight.
This time it is different because this time I WILL complete this Triathlon.

09 November 2007
09:38:18 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Small Steps
“She said his life would be like walking upstream in a rushing river. The secret was to take small steps and just keep moving forward. If he tried to take too big a step, the current would knock him off his feet and carry him back downstream
Louis Sacher – Small Steps

I will make small sustainable lifestyle changes which I will reap the benefits for the rest of my life.

I packed in smoking nearly 3 years ago – OK I was pregnant with Morgan at the time but I loved my fags. The very first thing I’d do in a morning was go outside and have a smoke. It was my “thinking time,” my “me time,” my “what’s the day got in store for me time.”

I think the Boots advertising campaign after Christmas was spot on “Change one thing”

So the one thing for this week is no alcohol. Ha ha I hear you scoff! Well…

1. Alcohol is full of empty calories
2. When I’ve had a few I raid the fridge or family bags of tortillas
3. It makes late night telly look interesting so I stay up until stupido’clock and end up feeling awful in the morning

Poor, poor husband of mine. The things I make him do. Well you see all these before and after pictures in magazines and stuff don’t you? Well the truth is because I look so bad I’ve refused to have my photograph taken. So I try to take photos of myself. Head. Boobs. Not clever. So long suffering husband has to take them. They confirm my worst fears. They are absolutely awful. There is nothing good about them. But they are the start. There will never, ever be such terrible photographs again. There was something kind of scary though. When I took my top off and stood in front of the mirror, something I haven’t done for a very long time, I had a massive, black bruise on my stomach. It wasn’t painful. I don’t know how I’ve done it. How many other injuries have I missed.

Well that’s me off. Dragging the husband, the baby and the dog for a brisk energetic walk. It’s throwing it down. It’s blowing a gale.


The first journey begins with small steps

12 November 2007
07:32:46 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
“In an article I once read, it stated that you should lay your workout clothes out the night before and I would have to agree. If you get up in the morning and you can’t find something that you think is imperative for your workout, you will use this as an excuse for not working out.”

So that’s that then. I warned husband I was going swimming this morning. I got my cossie and towel ready last night. I got up at 8.30 and was at the pool for 9. I’d love to say I was hammering on the door waiting for them to open, in the same way I used to hammer on the Cross Keys door at 5pm on a Saturday night, but I wasn’t.

The sports centre was a hive of activity. Yes 9am on a Sunday morning. The car park was almost full. To say I was gob smacked was an understatement. Just puts me even more to shame.

The Triathlon is 400m swimming. 16 lengths. I have always been able to swim. I have never had swimming stamina problems. I regularly used to swim 50 lengths 3 or 4 times a week but erm.. that was over 20 years ago. I have swum a maximum of about 4 lengths in the last 5 years or so. I’ve been to the pool quite a lot with the kids but even though I’ve probably covered quite a bit of ground (or is it water?) I’ve not done any distance.

Well the plan….

I’ll swim 16 lengths and see how long it takes. No problem. 17 minutes. Well that’s a good half a minute longer than the longest in last year’s event. I’m really chuffed. First attempt. I’ve got 6 months to improve.

I’ll do another 16 lengths. Then this lady gets into the pool wearing a tri suit well I just had to stop and pick her brains didn’t I?

She was lovely. She told me about the Deva Divas event
It’s in June. It’s an all female event. The run and cycle are shorter and the swim is longer which suits me perfectly except, the swim’s in a lake. Not sure how I’d cope but certainly something to think about.

I finish my next 16 lengths and feel absolutely fine.

I look very red. I leave the Sports Centre and what hits me immediately is that I can breathe. OK so if I couldn’t breathe I’d be dead but I can actually feel the air rushing down my nasal passages. I’m euphoric.

I get home and tell the Husband what I’ve done. He said “You’re going to have to do that without breaking sweat!” Doh! I’ve got to do the swim and the bike ride and the run does he think I don’t know that?

My lovely friend Lesley is the sounding board for all my ideas. I MAKE her read my blogs and listen endlessly to my ideas.

“You know Lynne, if your blogging about it, you really are going to have to do it?” Do you think I don’t know that?
13 November 2007
19:50:52 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
Fit For Change
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream. Not only plan but also believe." - Anatole France

I've got an appointment with the Doctor on Friday just to check that I'm fit enough to start this training plan.

Sometimes life takes over.

Morgan woke me at 7 yesterday morning for milk and promptly went back to sleep. I was still buzzing from the day before’s swim. OK as I'm up I'll go for a little "run."

There is a park behind my house and a football pitch across the road. Decisions, decisions. I opt for the football pitch. It's freezing. The football pitch is white. I decide I'll do 2 laps. Not much I hear you shout but a start.

I jog to the pitch. The cold air rushes into my lungs and almost takes my breath away.. I start on the short side. My breath is coming in short gasps. I'm leaving footprints in the frost. I have mega problems with my boobs. I can't do this. Change of plan. Jog the short sides of the pitch. Walk the long sides. I love it. 5 laps. No problem. I am ecstatic.

I go home. Husband doesn't even realise I've been out.

Original training plan right out of the window. I can do this every morning and it will not affect anyone in the slightest. Endorphins are the best drug ever.
14 November 2007
19:33:22 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Stretch To Success
" Realize that you have started a journey that you want to last a lifetime. It has probably taken you a good while to get to your current physical state, so don’t think that in just a couple of weeks you will be like you used to be. If you push yourself or train to hard, you will end up injuring yourself and sitting on the sidelines. Injuries will occur in the fittest of athletes, but are more likely to occur in an unfit athlete who overtrains. When you start, you have to remember that you are building a foundation that you will be able to build on for years to come."The more blogs I write you will realise the more I find to moan about so it was hardly surprising that I was moaning to Cait yesterday how much my thighs were aching.

“Your quads or your hamstring?” She asked. Doh…. My legs Cait. It was established that it was my quads.

“It’s probably because you didn’t do enough stretches before you started Mum.”

“Stretch Cait? I was only going for a little run.”

Needless to say darling daughter, who used to play football for Tranmere Ladies was absolutely horrified.

I had a crash course in stretches for my calf, quads and hamstring.

Slight problem. I’m wearing my boots (4inch heels). I can’t do them. So off come the boots. I still can’t do them. I’ve read somewhere of the child taking over the adult role. Well I was collapsing into fits of giggles and poor Cait was getting more frustrated shouting that I wasn’t trying. I was honestly. I was just totally mortified that I couldn’t manage the most basic of stretches.

I had a really good attempt at stretching this morning before my “run.” I managed to walk less. My breathing was far better and I had a modicum of control over my boobs.

I admit I need help. After my appointment in the Doctors on Friday morning the lovely Iain from The Coaching Station is coming to the rescue. Three point plan not to overtrain me, to avoid injuring me and not to demotivate me. Iain you are a very brave man. I promise I won’t let you down.
17 November 2007
08:53:53 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Green Light
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”
Winston Churchill

What an eventful day yesterday was. Had my little “jog” round the football pitch. Managed to jog the short sides and to the half way line of the long sides so I’m not sure if I’m “jogging” 2/3 or ¾ of a lap but whatever it’s definitely better than what I was able to achieve on Monday.

Went to the Doctors. She said what I was doing was laudable, inspirational, very brave. She took my blood pressure which was normal and gave me the green light on condition that 1) I didn’t overtrain 2) I avoided injury and 3) Kept myself motivated. She also asked my for my trainer’s details so that she could go and see him.

I had a meeting with Iain, the owner of the Coaching Station. There were so many first impressions that hit me all at once. The car park was full. It was spotlessly clean. There were people on the machines but there appeared to be an awful lot of machines so no queuing up. The receptionist was not a bimbolina but she was really friendly. The clients were really welcoming. Iain arrived and told me to wait for him upstairs. The carpet was plush. There wasa cozy, informal waiting area where 4 or 5 ladies were chilling out with fresh ground coffee and real milk. I happened to know one of them who enthused about how brilliant Iain and Caroline were and how fantastic the gym is.

What surprised me when Iain joined us was that he knew everyone’s name.

So we had our little chat.

Iain is not a man to mince words. How committed was I? He promised me blood sweat, toil and tears or words to that effect. He established that I was not to underestimate the importance of my kit and the cost of kit would not be cheap. New trainers every 2-3 months, heart monitor, cycling shorts, gel seat for the bike, spare inner tube and tyre leavers, pump, separate running and cycling water bottles the list goes on. He has also agreed to check the size of my bike because if it’s the incorrect size I’ll have to buy another one!

I realise how naive I was even attempting this alone I will have to think of as many things that can go wrong and work out contingency plans, hence the inner tube and tyre leavers. I will have to practice changing a tyre – quickly. I will need to learn to put on and take off cycling helmet. Learn to keep calm at the transition stages and if something goes wrong under no circumstances panic.

The Training plan
Split into four week blocks with a week of rest. For goodness sake I’ve only just started and already you’re talking of rest? Do not underestimate the need for rest. Your body needs time to recover. OK trust the expert. I will need to vary my route. Do hill training for both the bike and the run. Be capable of running at least 10K, double the length of the event. I will need to do “brick” training. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s never heard of it? Cycle, run, cycle, run to avoid jelly legs on the day. Am I daunted? Slightly, but even more determined.

My very first “small step” was to avoid alcohol. I haven’t had a drink for 10 days. This has snowballed into, I haven’t raided the fridge or the crisps or tortillas, I have been in bed before 11, I’ve set my alarm for half an hour earlier and I’m still awake before it goes off.

In 10 days I have lost half a stone. The puffiness has gone from under my eyes. My skin is glowing. I am far more alert. I don’t think I am as irritable. Why oh why haven’t I done this earlier? I guess you really have got to hit rock bottom to see the way up.
19 November 2007
20:16:39 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday Dear MEEEEEE
Happy Birthday to Me
If I’d done a Birthday Wish List I’d have wished for

1. Gym Membership
2. A Personal Trainer
3. A Bike
4. A Heart Rate Monitor
5. Entry Fee for the Chirk Triathlon
6. A 10 session swimming pass
7. Money for new trainers/tracksuit
8. A long purple cardigan with a shawl collar

What did I get for my Birthday?

All of the above plus a fabulous book called Running Made Easy. Plus JJB vouchers for “Funky Gear.”

Not sure if the Birthday Fairy’s been watching over me or, if I’ve been a very Good Girl or, subconsciously I’ve been dropping mega hints or, I’ve been going on and on and on about what I needed. (Answers on a post card please!)

I am so very grateful and publicly say Thank You to you all.

I nearly forgot, every year my little brother (aged 38!) buys me a bottle of bubbly. This year he didn’t disappoint. Not champagne or cava but….Radox muscle soak. Thanks Al.
21 November 2007
18:53:30 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
At the Risk of sounding boring...
" Find a balance! Many times we tend to try to be consumed with one area of our lives, after all, that is usually why we have become physically unfit. Don’t jeopardize your spouse, family, or job with your new hobby. If you can find balance in your life, you will be reaching goals in all areas of your life not just in triathlons."At the risk of sounding boring….!

Training is going well but is not easy.

Despite still waking before my alarm it would still be much easier to turn over and snuggle under the duvet. After making just that little bit of effort, coming home, even though my face is still like a turkey cock, I feel so much better for the rest of the day.

Swimming – well I did the mandatory 16 lengths in 16 minutes, a whole minute less than less week and then went on to do 32 lengths in 35 minutes and 40 lengths in 45 minutes. I was chuffed. Then I read Gareth Bicknell’s Blog again and discovered that 400m is 20 lengths of the Llanrwst pool. I assumed Mold was 25m so I’ve got to wait till next week to find out if I’m on target.

Monday, as you are all aware was my Birthday. The temptation to open cards and pressies rather than the obligatory jog was overwhelming but I forced myself and was so glad I had. I managed to jog both short sides, one long side and to the half way line of the other long side for 4 laps and a complete lap for my last one. I was chuffed.

Last night, darling husband decided it would be a good idea if I took the dog with me on my early morning jaunts. So there I was this morning, debating if it was safe to run in the fog, tooled up with my new super doper heart rate monitor encouraging the dog to come with me. He wouldn’t. So I got his lead. He was with me quicker than greased lightening. So there I am with the lead round my neck, jogging away nicely and the heart rate monitor stops.(blame the lead?) Am I clinically dead? I’m not sure but I can feel my wet feet. I’ve discovered that despite my trainers still having plenty of bounce they are not waterproof. So that’s that then. The excuse to buy new ones! Thank heavens for birthdays.
22 November 2007
18:53:55 o'clock GMT Feeling Embarrassed
Weight and Clothes Size are Immaterial It's how You Look
"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. "

As I am the authority on everything dieting, just because I’ve never put my vast knowledge into practice before, I know that I shouldn’t put too much emphasis on what I weight.

When I bought my bike, Jill had a fab comment. “I don’t care if I weigh 20 stone as long as I can get into a size 12.”

The thing is, you don’t actually go round with a sign round your neck that says “I weigh 16 ½ stone. No one actually knows what you weigh unless you choose to tell them. It’s sort of the same with clothes size. I imagine most people would guess quite accurately that I am a size 22 but they wouldn’t actually know.

Many years ago I suffered agony because I refused to wear size 16 jeans. The welts that appeared on my stomach were legendary all because of size stigma. Who for goodness sake would ever see the label. When I finally gave in I actually looked slimmer because I hadn’t got rolls of fat hanging over the top.

Then came the embarrassment of chain store shopping. I’d take stuff into the fitting room to try on and it would be too small so I’d ask for a bigger size. Can you imagine the shame I felt when the assistant very gently and kindly whispered “Madame, we don’t do a bigger size.”

So where’s this going….?

Well I know it is just as important to measure yourself as it is to weigh yourself due to all kinds of yucky fluctuations such as water retention and bowel movements.

So, I didn’t measure myself at the beginning but I did last weekend.

Here are the dreadful awful statistics:-

Bust 47”
Waist 44”
Hips 53”

To say I was mortified was understatement of the year. The hips did it for me. I was whinging to my husband “My hips are nearly five foot!”

“Don’t be ridiculous Lynne, they’re four foot five inches.” Like that’s supposed to make me feel better?

So it’s onwards and upwards. After loosing half a stone last week I really felt quite good so wearing my best slimming black trousers and black jumper and my gorgeous purple beads, to detract attention from the rolls of fat I got Jim to take some pictures.

Well I expected to see an Angelina Jolie, look-alike staring back at me, I’m not that na├»ve I knew it was going to take a while to get down to Victoria Beckham proportions, what I didn’t expect was to see Heartbeat’s Peggy Armstrong! (That's probably doing Gwen Taylor a dis-service)

I share this image with you, not because I am proud of it because at the end I want the world to see what I have achieved.
26 November 2007
21:25:27 o'clock GMT Feeling Frustrated
Things Can Only Get Better
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." ~Ralph Waldo EmersonWell what a BAD, BAD, BAD Weekend.

I’m “training” in a grotty faded bobbly tracksuit but it is comfortable and it fits. Armed with my birthday money and JJB vouchers I went shopping on Friday. The biggest track suits and jogging bottoms are size 18. Well I have lost weight so armed with delusions of slimness I buy track pants size 18. What planet am I on? 53” hips do not fit in size 18 no matter how you jiggle. Please, please forget the mental picture here!

I knew last week was going to be a bit of a tester what with my Birthday on Monday, a night in Wetherspoons on Wednesday and a Glasfryn night out with old school friends on Friday. I had no problem at all. Nothing to drink on my birthday and fizzy water on the 2 nights out and I had 2 absolutely fabulous nights out.

Friday, because I drove I didn’t take a coat. Came out at 11.45 it was freezing- literally. Of course my door locks were frozen. The deicer was in the car. My phone was in the car. One of the longest 10 minutes of my life. I know now I would never have survived if I’d been on the Titanic. Not even all my blubber kept me warm. Eventually I got in the car. I was frozen to the bone and not even the duvet thawed me. I needed to resort to the hot water bottle. Needless to say I woke up on Saturday morning with the cold from hell. Hit the double dose of vitamin C. Hit the Beechams All Day. Still rough as the proverbial bear’s bottom. Lovely husband goes to get the magic medicine “Aussie White.” Sugar, lemon hot water mmmm. Felt so much better.

Got up Sunday with a banging head (who dares say serves me right!) and off to the baths I go. Good news. Mold pool is 25m so it is only 16 lengths.

Cold came back with a vengeance. I don’t do ill very well – be warned.

This morning out for my little jog. At 7.10 it is pitch black. How can 3 days have made so much difference? Jogged 2 laps and felt really rather good apart from not being able to see where I was going. Then I had a cunning plan, I’d desert the footie pitch and run the loop round the road. Got to the corner and ping, calf muscle. Just like an elastic band. Not sure how much damage I’ve done. Not sure if to run through it. Decide on damage limitation and walk the loop.

So here I am determined as ever. Nose streaming, calf killing trying to decide the way forward. What ever I WILL NOT QUIT
01 December 2007
09:55:37 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
Exercise Videos, The Bike and The Gym
"The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. " ~Author Unknown“Don’t pantic. Stop training immediately. Give me a call” – the message I received from Iain.

Well I was like a naughty kid deprived of her favourite toy. Without diminishing the real “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” my triathlon has become my obsession.

Ok so I couldn’t run so I decided to get out my old “Anne Diamond fitness video.” Yes it’s on VHS so you can tell how old it is. I need to clarify a few things:-

1. I have no co-ordination whatsoever.
2. I have never been able to do that pat your head and rub your tummy.
3. I can’t even clap in time and always showed myself up shamelessly whenever I attempted this feat at the kid’s school concerts.

Mental picture here me in a not very big living room in front of the telly in my nighty doing a nineties exercise video. I’m sure it’s not healthy to do Betty Spaghetti legs, almost break the light shade (on more than one occasion), whilst collapsing into uncontrollable fits of giggles. I did complete it though and I did feel the benefits. It’s definitely something to fall back on.

I confess I did consider updating and checked ebay out for exercise dvd’s. I got quite excited to find Rosmary Conley’s Salsercise but was horrified when it went for over £11.

The Bike
I must point out the last time I can remember doing any serious cycling was when I was about 14 and we used to bike to Llay to see my Nana. The fact that there used to be about a million fit lads hanging round my Nana’s street was totally coincidental. When I worked in the bank we had this points make prizes and you were awarded points for everything you sold. I did rather well and in a moment of madness ordered a bike. When it arrived ex husband wound me up by saying “Can you ride a bike?” Well that was it! Off round the estate I pedalled, not realising that the tyres needed pumping up, and erm I had difficulty stopping. So the bike was confined to the shed and I think it ended up in a skip when we got divorced.

So I bought this bike off ebay. Husband inflated tyres. I attempted to ride it down the back path which is rather narrow and rather steep. Needless to say I failed. So for the last three weeks it’s remained firmly chained to the fence post. I tried bribing Jim to get the camcorder out to film “my first attempt” as I was quite convinced he’d end up earning £250 of You’ve Been Framed.

Yesterday I had to take it to the Gym for Iain to make sure it was the right size. Well I couldn’t really wheel it round there could I? Where do you practice riding a bike? I had to well and truly bite the bullet and do it in the front on the road. This hysterical fit of giggles is so becoming a part of my life! I ride on the pavement. Slight wobble but I keep peddling and low and behold I can ride a bike. I can use the brakes. I can use the gears. I can stop safely. Woo hoo there’s hope for me yet!

The Gym
Off to the Gym I pop. Oh the shame! Iain takes one look at my bike and announces it’s a child’s frame. But I am so comfortable riding it. It will do “for now.”

Then my trainers – well the trainers I do my running in are a bit muddy so I take them in a bag and wear a pair I bought ages ago in a sale for about a fiver. I know they’re not going to be any good for running but they’re ok to cycle in. Iain confirms. He looks at my running trainers “Bin them!” OK. That’s why I picked up my calf injury because they’ve lost their bounce and support round the back. Talking of calf injuries it no longer hurts but is just a bit stiff. No running. Amazing how quick you can go off a man? He’s right though and I know it. I just don’t want to hear it.

Because of the dark mornings I’ve decided it will be impossible to run round the football pitch until the days start to lengthen again so my training will have to be in the gym. I am inducted on the bike, the treadmill and the rowing machine and meet Carolyn, Iain’s wife who will look after me for my early morning sessions.

Diet Weight and Inches
Well I’ve lost another 4lbs. Not exactly what I’d hoped for but hey, I weigh 15stone 10lbs which is a lot better than 16stone 7lbs. I’ve lost 2inches off my bust, 3inches off my hips and 4inches off my waist I am absolutely delighted. I’ve also lost weight off my face and neck which is a bit difficult to measure. I’m still off the old vino and I don’t miss it at all. I honestly believe I got into the habit of oh I’ve had a bad day let’s have a drink to unwind and one became two which became a family bag of tortillas and a cheese butty and perhaps a piece of cake. I’ve cut all that out and don’t feel in the least bit deprived. I’m forcing myself to eat breakfast. I’m having granary wholemeal bread which I enjoy far better than the white I was eating before. I’m eating far more fruit and veg and drinking more water. Evening meals haven’t changed that much except, I normally do spag bol with minced steak. I bought prime Scottish mince instead last week and was mortified with the amount of fat I poured off so mince will be off limits for a while. I had fish, chips and mushy peas from the chippy yesterday because I fancied them. Previously when I’ve been “dieting” and I’ve been “naughty” that’s been “it” because I’ve had one thing the diet’s been ruined and I’ve continued “eating for Britain.” Now I’m not on a diet I can eat anything I want. I just don’t want to “eat for Britain” any more.

Iain said I needed to buy a gel saddle for my bike and the way my bottom’s aching this morning I agree with him. He’s scheduled me for a 40 minute bike ride for today. I can’t wait!
10 December 2007
20:15:42 o'clock GMT Feeling Frustrated
This is a Marathon NOT a Sprint
“Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” ~Earl Nightingale

Hands up who thought I’d given up?

Well I haven’t!

Progress is very slow and I’m really having to dig in my willpower reserves.

The Gym
It’s a great big Catch 22 situation. Don’t want to go to the gym because will be the oldest, fattest, unfittest and generally will make a complete prat of myself. Need to go to the gym because it’s far too dark to train in the mornings and maybe it would be light enough when I get in from work but can’t bare the shame of so many people being about seeing me waddle. So I go to the gym and yes I am old fat and unfit but I am taking control and improving my weight and fitness. It is also quiet at 7am. I manage 8km on the bike on a sports programme no problem and then do 10 minutes on the treadmill great except when I run around a football pitch I can’t actually see what I look like on the treadmill with a mirror in front of me I realise I need to make a big investment – a sports bra.

Sports Bra
Clays of Mold is a fantastic shop. They were incredibly busy but Lynne, the sales assistant was wonderful. I was measured and she brought in some lovely racy little numbers. I assume she saw the horror on my face. “Yes I know you want a sports bra but I want to try these for fit.” Well I’ve never seen such a transformation! I swear I grew 4 inches. I was measured for a bra in Marks and Spencers and have quite happily been wearing a 40DD. I am a 38F. The correct size made me throw my shoulders back, stand tall and gave me an amazing amount of confidence. Out came the sports bra. I usually spend about a tenner on bras. The last lot I bought were £8 each so I bought three – black, white and flesh colour. My sports bra was… £28. Worth every penny.

So back in the gym with boobs under control.

When I started this mission I knew I’d be alright with the swimming and I thought I’d be ok with the running as I used to run 5 miles 4 or 5 times a week (20 years ago when I was 6 ½ stone lighter) but I was convinced I’d have a problem with the bike as it is panning out the cycling is fine it’s the running I’m finding difficult. I can do 2.5k in 20 minutes but I really struggle. I had a bit of a panic but then I thought Morgan weighs 2 stone. I can just about manage to carry him upstairs. I am carrying an extra 3 of him around with me all day in excess weight. Once I lose the weight it will be easier. When I started this mission I could run the short side of a football pitch now I can run 2.5k. I have 20 weeks to improve.

I’ve got to get my head round the fact that I decided this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. It is sustainable lifestyle changes that will improve my health permanently.

I’m beating myself up because I’m not losing weight quick enough. I’ve reduced my calorie intake by 1500 a day. I’ve increased my exercise. So what if it takes me a year to lose the weight? It’s taken me 10 years to put it on.

I will complete a sprint triathlon on 27 April. The task ahead of me is a Marathon not a sprint.
12 December 2007
00:28:07 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Girl Power (Or Woman Power Or Pensioner Power!)
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
—Mark Twain
My sister-in –law who lives in Warwick is my hero. She has two teenage children, the eldest of which is a County Cross Country Champion, the other has drum lessons, is a member of a motor club, the scouts etc etc. Unlike me she is still married to their father and because she only works part time (30 hours) she has to sort out the house and the extra curriculum activities for the kids. She is one of the most organised people I know. She is probably about 2 stone lighter than me but readily admits she needs to lose weight. She has devised a cunning plan, when she takes Faye to athletics training rather than sit ion the car wasting time waiting for her (it’s not practical to go home and come back) she has roped another Mum into joining her on training sessions round the park. She’s now up to 3 miles. Who said you can’t make time. Good on her.

My other sister-in-law who lives in Caergwrle: has 3 boys aged from 14 to 3 and a baby girl is also my hero for totally different reasons!

My lovely friend Lesley, who I may have mentioned before, decided to try the low carb method of dieting. She tried to explain the theory to me that your body needs fat and will use the fat in food for energy then if it can’t find any carbs will use its fat store. Makes sense. She lost a stone in 2 weeks. I was mega jealous. Even though she hasn’t stuck to it religiously she’s shed an extra 8lbs. Good on her.

My other friend Joyce, who was at the very most 2 stone overweight made the monumentous decision that she was going to stop wishing and half heartedly diet and create a plan and “go for it.” I must point out that Joyce was a self confessed food addict who thought about food constantly from when she woke up to when she went to bed and her entire plans for the day were not what she would do but what she would eat. She was also the worst chocoholic I have ever known. The new Joyce planned her day by having cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a piece of cake in the afternoon, home made chicken soup with tons of veg for tea and a small chocolate treat in the evening. In 6 weeks she has lost a stone and a half and is absolutely bouncing with energy. Good on her.

I met Debbie a few weeks ago. We had been in school together but had lost touch for the last 27 years! She looked absolutely gorgeous. She confessed that she had weighed the same as me but despite only losing 2 stone (I’m not knocking 2 stone I think it’s fabulous) she now felt comfortable with herself which was more than evident by her confidence. Like me she’d decided to get off the dieting treadmill and taken on “hill walking.” Well “hill” is a bit of an understatement she basically climbs mountains. She said the fresh air, open spaces, beautiful scenery have given her a tranquillity all the pampering and lotions and potions could never achieve. She also went on to tell me that as a child she regretted not learning to swim but at the grand old age of 40 had been persuaded by another of our school friends to learn. Not only did she learn but completed 40 lengths in aid of The British Heart Foundation. Good on her.

My Mum.. Well she is without doubt my biggest hero in all the World ever for reasons far to numerous to mention. When she was 59 she had a routine bone density scan and was told to avoid osteoporosis she should swim. She couldn’t. So by the time she reached her 60th Birthday she was a fully fledged waterbaby. Good on her.

Is it any wonder I am inspired?

I've just had my entry confirmed for Chirk so barring any injuries NOTHING CAN STOP ME- WATCH THI S SPACE

14 December 2007
08:19:36 o'clock GMT Feeling Embarrassed
Out of The mouth of Babes....
I’m getting really fed up that I’m not losing any weight so Tuesday night I succumbed and had a bottle of wine. There are no half measures with me. I can’t open a bottle and have a glass I have to have the whole bottle. I would probably have had a whole family bag of tortillas if there had been any in the house but thankfully since this regime has started I haven’t bought any. There’s tons of chocolate in the house but quite frankly that doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

So Wednesday morning, feeling slightly worse for wear, I really didn’t want to go to the gym. So I had this little talk with myself. It was a cycling day, which I could manage easily, as the alarm had gone off and I was awake I might as well go, it would only take half an hour, I would feel so much better after, I haven’t missed a training session.

So off to the gym I popped. Piece of cake.

Taking the kids to school I mentioned that my face doesn’t even get red with swimming or cycling any more. I am so proud of myself. I am so fit!

“No wonder you’re not losing weight Mum” was Jim’s obvious retort. “You’re not trying hard enough.”

23 December 2007
15:03:38 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
10 Years Younger
“If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model. Kate Moss? Well, she would have been the paintbrush. “
~Dawn French

Christmas is always a rushy round kind of affair but it seems strange the more I’ve got to do the more I can fit in.

I’ve never got time to visit my brother’s house but because it’s Christmas and he just happens to have ordered me special game pies I find the time.

I haven’t washed my hair for a week but what the hell? Just stick it up. I’m going for the Penelope Cruz look in the L’oreal adverts. My husband says it looks more like the Jennifer Patterson, the dead one of two fat ladies, look.

I rush into my brother’s kitchen.

“Lynne I love your hair! It takes 10 years off you!”

Erm unwashed for a week could it possibly be the losing a stone, exercising 5 times a week and giving up booze takes 10 years off me? Whatever a compliment is a compliment and to be honest I feel 10 years younger.

28 December 2007
08:45:18 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Christmas Excuses
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. "
~Winston Churchill

Well… you see the thing is… I haven’t been to the gym for over a week. (Shock! Horror!)

The last time I went was treadmill day and I did all my warm up stretches plus the obligatory 2 minute walk then I did my running at 7.8. Everything was fine. My breathing, not out of breath, felt really good . Started to get stiffness in both my ankles. Turned to pain and I knew I had to stop. I’d done 18 minutes running so walked for 2 to cool down.

As the day progressed the pain got worse and worse. By lunchtime I had to take pain killers just to be able to walk.

Have decides that no matter hoe aerobically fit I am getting my lower limbs are not designed to take the impact of 15 ½ stone pounding down on them so treadmill is out of bounds until I have lost a “significant” amount of weight.

It’s a horrible catch 22 situation. Need to exercise to lose weight. Need to be slimmer to exercise.

So the Christmas over indulgences. Yes, I’ve had significant amounts of alcohol. Yes, I’ve overeaten. No, I haven’t put any weight on.

Many years ago I had a dieting Bible by Judith Wills called “A size 12 in 21 days.” It could have been written especially for me. It’s a 21 day diet and exercise plan which starts off with a 2 day detox (when your willpower is at its highest) then is basically low fat calorie controlled. The food plan fits in exactly with my lifestyle (mainly because I’ll eat anything!) I’ve lost a stone in 3 weeks on it several times (there’s your dress size bit!) So erm a size 22 to a size 12 in 21 days….? I think not but I am giving myself very specific weight loss targets now because if I don’t shift 2 stone quickly I will not be able to run and I will not be able to do this triathlon. I have not blood sweated and teared for the last 6 weeks to give up now.

What I am learning all the time is that I need to be flexible. Cait nearly died when I showed her I could touch my toes. No seriously, my game plan is shifting on an almost daily basis when I realise what my body will and won’t do.

When I started this I spoke to Iain and said previously when I’d had a bad day I’d basically fallen off the horse and said stuff it and given up. I’ve fallen off this horse quite a few times but like Ian said “It’s not that far to fall and you’ve got plenty of people to help you back on.” My bum remains fully intact with this saddle.

31 December 2007
18:37:32 o'clock GMT Feeling Chillin'
This Year WILL be Different
New Years Eve is a bit of a maudlin time of year for me.

For years and years I’ve had a little red book which used to act as a diary. I rarely look at it but it’s a bit of a ritual that it comes out on New Years Eve.

Wish I could copy and paste would save ages..

9 April 1990
Battle of the bulge

30 January 1993
Horror of horrors joined Slimming World 11stone 10lb (I’d need to cut off both my legs to weigh that now!)

20 July 1994
Worst depressive ever 12 stone

3 January 1995
12 stone (Slimming World 12st 8lbs)

New Years Eve 1996
12 stone (after putting on a stone in a week after James came out of hospital)

So here are my New Years Resolutionsof 11 years ago:-
1. Lose weight
2. Get Fit
3. No alcohol (except special occasions)
4. Shop sensibly
5. Bed early(ish)
6. Take make-up off every night
7. Drink at least a bottle of water a day
8. Selenium and vitamins every day

Too many to keep but why not? Last years were exactly the same.

Here’s this years
Lose 5 stone (yes that’s 5 because I’ve lost 1. I am 1/6th of the way to my target!)
Complete Triathlon on 27 April

Achievable definitely.

Wonder what I can dream up as resolutions next New Years Eve?

As 2008 is at the door remember, life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.

Wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year

02 January 2008
21:20:24 o'clock GMT Feeling Mischievous
Divorce or Trial Seperation
Was so strange in the Gym this morning. 2nd January. Expected it to be packed with everyone implementing their New Year’s Resolutions to get fit. Instead there was me.

I watched GMTV on the massive plasmas - every other advert was for fitness DVD’s or The drop a Jean size with Special K or Slimfast.

One of the topics up for discussion was the alarming amount of people who start divorce proceedings at New Year.

I am sorely tempted…

I have a new “friend” at the gym the sight of who makes me salivate. He’s so big and robust and just the look he gives me says protection.

I’m considering a trail separation. I have been caused so much pain.

So here we go take the plunge…

Bye bye treadmill hello cross trainer.

Due to a serious misunderstanding by my brother and a work colleague can I make this crystal clear - My marriage is fine thank you very much. I have NO fancy fella in the Gym and saddo that I am I salivate over the cross trainer and have divorced the treadmill because of the calf and achilles it has given me.
03 January 2008
18:40:43 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
lose Weight gain Pounds
Sixteen weeks on Sunday I WILL compete in the Chirk Sprint Triathlon.

Sixteen weeks is 4 months but in the great big training scheme it’s not long.

I’m upping the training at the Gym and reducing the old calorie intake, no more believing that I can burn off chippy fish and chips with a gentle jog.

So determined am I that I decided yesterday morning that I would call in every conceivable aid to losing weight and join Slimming World.

It works. I know it works. Why? Because I’ve done it before. Follow the eating plan. Pay your money and get weighed. Easy.

So why don’t you follow the eating plan, not pay your money and weigh yourself? Because…you cheat!

Listen to this for reverse psychology. Slimming World used to be in the Rugby Club on a Monday night which was brilliant because willpower is at its lowest over the weekend but because you were being weighed on a Monday you hadn’t got time to burn your cheating off so you were good. They moved it to a Tuesday. I gave up.

So I went on the Slimming World web site because I was pretty certain there were classes on a Wednesday and I needed to join whilst the motivation was at its peak.
Classes at 5pm and 7pm perfect. There was even a half price offer on Membership fees. Then I looked at the fees. A fiver to join and £4.50 a week. So for the 17 Wednesdays until the triathlon that’s £81.50. I can think of far better things to do with £81.50.

Then I got to thinking… No alcohol. So at 3 bottles of wine for a tenner I’m saving £20 a week = £320. I’m making my own lunch therefore saving at least a fiver a week on butties from the canteen (I only do 3 days) = £80. So by my reckoning if I put the £30 a week I’m saving away I should amass nearly £500.

As if I needed one, what an incentive?
09 January 2008
17:07:42 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Cunning Plan
"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward."
~Kurt Vonnegut
Because I don't work on a Friday and because the kids were still off school I decided to go to the Gym at 8 instead of 7.
I've already mentioned the huge Plasmas but I failed to mention they have Centuary FM. I'm more of a Radio City gal but I must admit what I listened to on Friday took some beating.

It was cross trainer day, and much as I love the little beast we haven't been friends for too long so I'm still only up to 20 minutes.

So there I was crossing away and there came a quiz on the radio called "Double or Quits." The prize starts at a tenner and you can chose to quit or answer the next question to double your money. The questions are erm… not difficult – they are literally True or False answers. The contestant was in work so had her colleagues to help her and when she was struggling she asked her husband. The presenter asked where her husband was and she replied on the phone. Brings a whole new meaning to phone a friend.

Well… I'd done my 20 minutes and she was up to £160 and there was this question about Matt Munroe doing the theme song for the Bond film Dr No. I reset the timer for another 10 minutes. I just had to know the outcome.

Well she rang her Dad. It went to voicemail. She rang his mobile.

I've screamed at the telly on numerous occasions whilst watching Millionaire. I have been known to laugh uncontrollably whilst driving listening to the Kev Seed breakfast show. But….big mental picture here, face like the Cavonia bull advert, crossing away, really laughing out loud and shouting it's false you stupid woman.

Eventually she got it right and went on and got that AU is the Periodic Symbol for Aluminium – False (it's gold) correct. Nice little £640.

The laugh she gave me was priceless and what a cunning plan to MAKE me do another 10 minutes training?

19:48:57 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Revenge is not so sweet when it involves your daughter.
Well lovely people who can remember me being chastised by my once superfit daughter for not warming up and stretching properly?

Well said daughter has been a little bit shall we say “inactive” as of late. Back in school last week they had a bleep test. You know the one when you start off jogging and the bleeps get faster so you end up sprinting. Cait managed it with what seemed like little effort until she had to get out of bed the next morning and erm… could hardly feel her legs she was in so much pain.

“Would that be your quads that are aching Cait or your hamstrings?”

Oh how I wanted to laugh.

“Did you warm up properly? Did you do your stretches?”

The “AW MUM!” was almost as excruciating as Janice Dickinson’s “Aw Man!”

A mother does feel a daughter’s pain but this Mother did well to stifle a giggle don’t you think?

15 January 2008
23:05:10 o'clock GMT Feeling Embarrassed
Where is Your Fairy Godmother When You Need Her?
I didn’t want a Christmas pressie off Mum and Dad because I knew Haz, Ali and Evie, my nephews and niece were being Christened this weekend and I expected that with all the training I’d have lost a shed load of weight and would need a new outfit.

I will be Haz’s godmother and I’ve threatened him I will be a fairy godmother and will have my magic wand. Poor bugger is terrified!

I’ve still only lost a stone.

I saw a frock that I liked in Asda. Bearing in mind I have not been able to buy supermarket clothes for years. I grabbed the size 20, sneaked off to the changing rooms, held my breath and…. Well Cinderella and the shoe wasn’t in it! It fits! It fits!

Talking of shoes… the boots that I haven’t been able to zip up for years also fit.

Well I’m on a roll here aren’t I? I don’t do tights because well quite frankly they don’t fit. I do trousers in the winter and bare legs in the summer. With the new dress and boots confidence I wore a skirt and tights for work on Monday. They were em.. a bit tight but I got them up. They started to roll down a bit but as I spend most of the day behind a desk not a problem. Well they rolled and rolled a bit more and by lunchtime ended up… by my knees!!!

Oh the shame! Where is your fairy godmother when you need her?

04 February 2008
17:41:17 o'clock GMT Feeling Chillin'
I haven’t blogged because there hasn’t been much to say. Still working hard at the gym but a detailed account of the bike and the cross trainer hardly make interesting reading.

Last week I forced myself back on the treadmill with no ill effects. I was terrified of a repeat of the Achilles injury I sustained before Christmas. As a precaution I booked a massage.

After explaining all my problems to Tracey the resident sports masseuse in the gym she explained she would give my whole leg a deep massage to release the muscles. Well there I was face down, head in the hole of the table having the most delicious experience when wham bam I had to almost be surgically removed from the ceiling. The pain was excruciating.

“Is this supposed to hurt?” I asked between gritted teeth.

“Just loosening the muscles” was the bright and breezy reply.

Well no pain no gain took on a whole new meaning.

I endured the half hour session and when I got up could not believe the difference. It was like walking on air. There was no stiffness in my ankle and I quite literally could not feel my Achilles. My calf was quite tender but what the hell?

Was it worth it?

Put it like this. I’m booked in for another session next week.

04 February 2008
17:45:37 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
I'm A Definate SAD Sufferer
“When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your dream.”
Paulo Coelho – The Alchamist

My blogs are like busses. None for ages then two together.

As stated previously I’ve been working quite hard in the gym. My fitness, strength and stamina have improved dramatically. I have not been losing weight which quite frankly has sent me into a bit of a downward spiral over the last couple of weeks. A packet of crisps here, a cheese butty there and a couple of glasses, oh go on then, a bottle of wine and dieting willpower goes out the window.

So yesterday I took stock.

12 weeks to the Triathlon. I need a fresh start.

I looked at the horrendous before photographs. My body has changed dramatically. I was totally inspired.

When I first started this training malarkey I walked/jogged round the football pitch and between a Friday and Monday it was too dark. When I came out of the gym this morning it was so light I know within the next week tops I will be able to run outside again. It was a frosty morning but the light energises me. I really don’t mind the cold.

I’d decided yesterday to make today a fresh start but it was as if the World was conspiring to tell me.

“Come on Lynne, you can do it. You’ve got light mornings and light nights. You have so much support. You are the only one who controls what goes in your mouth. You have body strength now all you need is to strengthen your mind.”

I have always suspected that I suffered from “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” My husband has always told me I am a SAD cow.

I have seen the light. I will succeed.
15 February 2008
09:36:34 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
Never Too Late To Learn
“Today I Do The Things Other People Won’t, So Tomorrow I Can Do The Things Other People Can’t”

It always seems to be that it’s school holidays that “events” or “episodes” or basically anything worth blogging about happen.

Like I’ve said previously I am convinced the World is conspiring to help me succeed in this event.

When I first started training my lovely sister-in-law bought me a book called “Running made Easy” it was absolutely brilliant and has helped me enormously. I have bought a women’s fitness magazine and was totally disappointed not only by the cost but the amount of adverts and the advice was based on spending vast sums of money on supplements, kit and equipment.

I was in Tesco last week and as if by magic the cover of “Zest” leapt out at me with an article “Triathlon for Beginners” I just had to buy it. There was a comprehensive 10 week training plan, which bearing in mind my event is 10 weeks on Sunday makes me think even more that the World is conspiring. Biggest discovery was that the lovely ladies who wrote “Running for Beginners” now have a new book out called “Triathlon made Easy.” See what I mean? So I ordered it and it came Monday and I now have all the advice, tips and motivation I could possibly want.

On Tuesday, because the kids are off I knew I could do a longer gym session so increased my bike time to 45 minutes in anticipation of completing the 24k which is the race distance. I managed 22.4 without a problem. Let me stress I was not blocked in Iam just such an awful driver I couldn’t get out. After a struggle of what seemed like hours (was probably only about 5 minutes) two of the lovely gentlemen from the gym came out and got me out in seconds. Have I ever mentioned I had 83 driving lessons before I passed my test and that I am the reason why women drivers have a bad reputation?

So the kids decided they wanted to go for a bike ride and as I’d been promising myself the ride from Queensferry to Chester for ages a cunning plan was hatched. Slight problem. How do we get to Queensferry? Out came the Argos catalogue and off we popped to buy a bike carrier. Two things to stress here 1. I am totally allergic to gadgets and gizmos in any way shape or form 2. Husband totally takes over and he is totally allergic to reading instructions. Recipe for disaster or what? Eventually… and I really do mean eventually carrier is on the back of the car. Then there’s the problem of attaching the bikes. Have you ever tried to lift a bike over head height? I tell you it’s not easy. Then there were these bungee straps. I must point out in times of stress I collapse into fits of giggles which totally winds up my husband but I can’t help it.

At long last we set off and have the most amazing ride. Ducks on the river. The sun is shining. It is fantastic to cycle in fresh air. Everyone is so friendly (apart from the obviously professional cyclist with all the singing and dancing kit who called me “A F***ing maniac.” If I could have caught him I’d have given him a piece of my mind. We all have to start somewhere don’t we? My kids are 12 and 13 but that’s still no excuse to swear is it? Anyway even that didn’t dampen our mood and apart from thinking I’d never be able to sit down again we had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

Well part Two

My swimming is fine. I learned to swim when I was 4 and whilst I will never win any races I can pretty much carry on forever. I spoke to a lovely man in the sports centre a while ago about my plans to do the triathlon and a swimming coach overheard my concerns about conserving energy from the swimming leg and suggested I try the “Masters” swimming sessions. 6am Wednesday morning there I was raring to go. I explained to the coach why I was there and what I needed to achieve and he told me to swim so that he could “assess” me.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The diagnosis was basically… and he was extremely kind and diplomatic about this, he had no idea how I was managing to swim and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was extremely buoyant (I think either translated as fat or had big boobs) and that I had extremely strong arms I would sink. Well then he got me working on my legs. Apparently I’m moving forward with my arms and dragging myself back by my legs. So at the wall I perfected the leg action then tried to put it into practice. I can’t do the patting your head and rubbing your tummy and I think that sort of sums up how I struggled. Obviously a very determined coach he gave me a float so I could concentrate on my leg action. I wasn’t moving and then horrors, was going backwards. I even had the lifeguard helping. Uncontrollable giggles in a swimming pool at an ungodly hour are not very fetching. Never mind I have a cunning plan. I am going to have one to one lessons, starting on Monday at 8pm. Watch this space!!!!?

Something else marvellous has come out of this. The Duty Manager of the Sports Centre did the Triathlon when it was held in Mold so has given me the route for the bike and the run so I can practice.

I’ve got a meeting this morning with the lovely Iain from the Coaching Station so we can discuss progress. I’ll keep you posted.

24 February 2008
12:17:00 o'clock GMT Feeling Ecstatic
The Final Countdown
10 days is a long time in the life of this particular aspiring triathlete so here goes...

Meeting with Iain in the gym – diagnosis I’m training hard enough. Everything would be a lot easier if I lost more weight but in the grand scheme of things I can do the swim distance, I have done the cycle distance on the bike in the gym so “theoretically” I should be able to do the event as long as I switch to road cycling and include loads of hills and as for the run I can do 10 laps of the footie pitch. I need to be able to do another 2 and a half which is totally attainable then transfer to the road and include hills. Given my current level of fitness and how far I have come Iain believes I will complete the event as long as I‘m not concerned as to how long it will take. I must keep telling myself that what I have achieved is the equivalent of a seasoned athlete completing an Iron Man.

So the World conspiring again. Jim was playing footie in Acrefair so it made sense to go to Chirk afterwards to check out the routes. There’s OS maps of the route on web site so armed with the printouts it should have been straight forward. Hello? This is Lynne you’re talking about! I couldn’t find the Leisure Centre! Eventually, after taking the scenic route around Chirk I found the start point and drove the run. It’s a there and back and downhill there and disaster, after disaster uphill back. Then there was the bike route well I turned the wrong way on the main road and headed off in completely the wrong direction so had to go into the Leisure Centre to ask for directions. Nobody knew anything about the Triathlon route so I ended up just being pointed in the right direction for Glyn Ceiriog. It was such a beautiful route, running mostly parallel with the river. There’s a few hills but nothing too drastic or too steep or too long. I assume the turn is in Glyn Ceiriog. If I have to go past there I will definitely struggle with the steep hill.

I am so glad I know now exactly what I’m up against and I will do both the cycle and run before the event.

I bought a set of those Lloyds Pharmacy Body Fat Percentage and Body Mass Index Scales. I’ll keep you posted.

Swimming lesson on Monday. Basically I’m told it’s too late to relearn my breaststroke so Dave, the instructor evaluated my front crawl and backstroke. My crawl is fine as long as I remember to breathe and keep my mouth shut and my backstroke is phenomenal, I just need to keep my head still. I never knew the flags were 5m from the end in every pool. You learn something new every day! Another “problem” I’ve discovered is that I can’t get out of the pool. Bit of a disaster don’t you think?

I did a gym bike session Monday and a brick session Tuesday (3.5k on the treadmill 4k on the bike. Wednesday was a rest day and Thursday was a run on the road. It was drizzling and windy. I got to the end of our road and my legs were like jelly and my breathing was not to good. “I can’t do this” I was telling myself then the Mantra kicked in “Today I will do what other people won’t so tomorrow I will do what other people can’t.” Within nano seconds I had the little talking to myself. “You can run on the treadmill, you can run on the footie pitch so blinking well run on the road.” By the time I got to Fecci’s I was fine. I did the mile and a half loop no problem. Then came the dilemma. Do I carry on? Ok I whimped out, but I proved I can run on the road.

Saturday I wanted to do a long bike ride but it was too windy. Then the panic sets in what if it’s windy the day of the event?

Today, Sunday I normally swim but because I am on call I decided to get the bike out. I didn’t look at the weather. It was erm… windy. Well tough get used to it. I was ok till I got to Ruthin Road and with a headwind I just couldn’t do it. So I turned around and went up Bryn Coch Lane. Big mistake that was even steeper never mind. I dismounted and pushed for a bit then decided to bite the bullet and go for it. I was like a kid who’d just learned to ride a bike. The feeling was totally exhilarating. Really pushing myself, exercising in fresh air. I spent half an hour up and down Upper Bryn Coch Lane which is up and down hill. Feeling really confident I then decided to do the original loop. The Gods were watching over me again, not only was there a headwind, it absolutely threw it down and my poor little (as in short not slim) legs carried me all the way round.

Nine weeks today….I’m on the Final Countdown.

And by the way bought The Atkins Diet Book off ebay for 25p. Watch this space.

28 February 2008
06:51:51 o'clock GMT Feeling Loopy
Preparation Is The Key To Success
“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”
~Sidney Howard
I’m backtracking a bit here but… here goes.

Last Wednesday me and the lovely Lesley were having our regular Pow Wow (Husband says its more like Double Double Toil and Trouble!) and we got talking about the Atkins Diet.

Lesley lost 17lbs on it last year in two weeks (yes that’s right WEEKS!)

I’ve always been a bit put off by it because of the untimely death of said Dr Atkins from what I believe was an obesity related condition.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and carrying Morgan up to bed shows what a strain excess weight is putting on my body and if I could lose two stone before the Triathlon it would be much easier.

So we decided on a pact. Both start the diet on Thursday.

I had a good start, I got out my bagged salad, tin of tuna, tin opener and Tupperware container and then disaster struck. I couldn’t find the lid. Off I popped to work and bought a salad buttie from the canteen. Yes I know, I did have foil, cling film and I could have just shoved it all in a carrier bag but hey ho that’s me.

Nuts are the “snack” food on the Atkins. On Friday night I discovered a family bag of dry roasted left over from Christmas and scoffed the lot, washed down with a very nice bottle of red thank you very much. Saturday I had another bottle of red and Sunday well, roast pork dinner and the left overs made up another whole dinner so I basically ate two full roasts.

Me and Lesley had a little chat Sunday night and once again decided we’d start MONDAY. This time I had a secret weapon called preparation. Also I’ve actually bought the book off ebay for the princely sum of 25p.

Weigh in Monday morning 15stone 10lb.

Bought 3 food containers from Tesco for the princely sum of £1.27 and took my delicious Tuna salad to work. For tea I had a whole bag of prawns and a mushroom stir fry. All day I was extremely thirsty and necked 3 or 4 litres of water. Consequently I piddled for Britain. By bed time my coffee tasted disgusting.

Another pep talk from Lesley. Was I craving carbs? No.

Weighed myself (yes I know you’re not supposed to!) 15stone 6lb. As Peter Kay would say “4lb in a day!” I was ecstatic.

The rest of the day deteriorated badly. Cait was playing Rugby in Bangor so had to be in school for 7 and when we got there it was cancelled. I spilled a 500ml bottle of water all over the floor in work. Picked Jim up from Rugby training at 4.15 and the training ended at 5pm. Both the PC and the laptop were running at snails pace. I think I can safely say the diet is making me irritable.

Lost another pound yesterday morning and this morning.

I must stress I’ve told Carolyn in the gym that I’m doing this diet and she has strongly advised me not to. I admire and respect Carolyn enormously and have made a solemn promise to her that if I feel unwell or my energy dips substantially I will stop but it’s a delicate balancing decision at the moment. Weighing less will make it much easier for me to run but what Carolyn says makes sense too, that I’ve put in so much hard work that if I make myself ill I won’t be able to run at all.

Watch this space…

10 March 2008
22:21:05 o'clock GMT Feeling Quiet
6 Weeks And Counting
"Success Is Not Measured By What I Weigh Or Measure But By How Many Wine Bottles Are In The Recycling box And How Many Take Away Boxes Are In The Bin"
~ Lynne Evans March 2008

I know it’s time to blog again when I get bombarded with texts and calls asking how the training’s going.

A very eventful couple of weeks.

I was told off by email by Iain from the gym for doing The Atkins. He warned me about urine infections, reduced immunity protein overload and basically asked the question was it better to complete the triathlon fat or be too ill to even start it? No contest really. Never one to do things by halves after 4 days of no carbs I consumed 6 slices of white bread and a tin of baked beans the following day and felt absolutely dreadful. I had the worst migraine I have ever had ever (I’ve been pretty migraine free since discovering my “trigger” was garlic!) I had an awful pain in the bottom of my back, right side, I believe this is where my kidney is and I literally had to sleep it off.

My sister in law, unbeknown to me had also started no carb. After 2 days she nearly had to go to A&E. Her heart was racing and she wasn’t sure if she was having palpitations.

I lost 6lb in 3 days and it has stayed off despite having every take-away imaginable and vast quantities of wine.

I am training really hard 6 mornings a week plus my swimming lesson. My swimming has improved dramatically and I can actually do one very correct, very powerful breaststroke stroke. I’ve had to promise Dave my instructor that I will not practice it without his supervision. Bad habits and what not!

Yesterday I was roped into marshalling a 5mile race out of Mold Sports Centre.

I was totally amazed. There was a field of 230 of all ages. I would like to say of all abilities but as the last runner finished what I would call a very challenging course (up the hill to Nercwys) in 50 minutes they were all good. Despite everyone being incredibly friendly and encouraging I felt very intimidated.

For the first time I asked myself “what the hell have I taken on here?”

I’m not concerned about making a complete prat of myself. I do that most of the time anyway. I can’t really verbalise my concerns.

At the end of the race I had a little chat with Gill the Wrecsam Tri Treasurer who basically said to me “what it’s all about is enjoying yourself.” I am. I’m loving the training but am I ready for a race? Will I ever be ready for a race? If I hadn’t got the race to aim for would I give up?

When I got home I opened a really encouraging email from Sue who is an Ironman. What she said was basically that everyone has to start from zero and the training will pay off.

I haven’t been to the gym because I’ve been on the roads. Because I’m a whimp and listened to all the storm warnings forecast for this morning I decided I would go to the gym this morning mainly to give myself a fitness test. Previously I’d run at 7.8 I upped it to 8 and had no difficulty. I felt I could have continued forever. I am by no means a treadmill fan but this morning I really felt that I’d beaten it and the satisfaction was enormous.

I am on an emotional rollercoaster I just hope I’m on an up on 27 April.

17 March 2008
07:52:12 o'clock GMT Feeling Happy
5 Weeks and Counting
Yet another amazing week in the life of this aspiring triathlete!

I have had some fantastic advice off some fantastic people. When downcast last weekend I was basically told the only person I will be racing against in this triathlon is myself. I can swim, I can ride a bike and I can walk/jog/run so what’s the problem? Next year, or the next event is the time to worry about time.

I have been, let me say encouraged to do more running up hills and it was suggested I run the bike course. Bearing in mind a couple of weeks ago I had to hop off the bike it seemed a pretty daunting task but hey ho nothing ventured nothing gained and I know the hill back to the leisure centre is pretty steep so I do need to be prepared.

I did it! I made this pact with myself, if I could just get to the Hendy Road turning I could walk. I did it and carried on. If I could just get to the end of the houses, if I could just get to St Mary’s Park… In the end I got to about 25yards from the Upper Bryn Coch turn and started jogging again about 25yards in. I was ecstatic. Now my husband has a Nokia N82 with GPS which acts as an odometer. I thought I’d done about 4k it said 2.2k and 5.2km/p/h speed. I do that walking on the treadmill in the gym! I was gutted. Needless to say I HAD to do it in the car and it is 2.2 miles so chuffed again!

I love my bike. After not cycling for 30 years and being able to ride again you can imagine what a special relationship we have. The fact that it cost £40 off ebay was a bonus.

As I’ve been getting more into the sport I’ve realised it just isn’t good enough My husband has this saying which is directed at me quite often. “How can you be so thick with only one head?” I didn’t realise a mountain bike:-
1. Has thick tyres that slow you down
2. Has lots of grip on the tyres that slow you down
3. The suspension is designed for rough terrain and on a road slows you down
Also a bike that’s too small for you wastes a hell of a lot of energy.

I took advice and was told to visit a LBS (local bike shop) as opposed to the likes of Halfords or JJB because they will sell you what you need and not what will make them the most money. By taking further advice I was pointed in the direction of Graham Weigh in Shotton and the wonderfully knowledgeable and tanned manager Keith. I was also told to expect stick as I was doing a triathlon as opposed to the purist road racing.

I was measured and shown a beautiful road bike. Gorgeous blue in colour. Super skinny tyres. No grips. Dropped handlebars. Seat like a razor blade. I nearly freaked. Yes it was exactly what I’d asked for but I really couldn’t see myself tootling along the river to Chester on a Sunday afternoon on it. We compromised and he showed me a beautiful 21 gear, straight handlebar, hybrid. I was smitten. I was warned not to make a hasty decision so forced myself to sleep on it.

Saturday I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. A kinseology treatment. I’ve known for ever basically that my diet wasn’t doing me any favours and after my Atkins experiment I was pretty certain I had a wheat allergy. This was confirmed as well as caffeine, lactose, eggs, milk, but not hard cheese?!

I picked up my bike in the afternoon and just did a little tootle round the Ruthin Road loop. It was fantastic. So much easier. In a way I’m glad I’ve struggled because it makes me so much stronger.

Yesterday was the test. If you don’t push yourself you’ll never improve so I decided to “do” last weeks “challenging” 5 mile Nercwys route. Twice I had to get off and push. I blame not being used to the gears. I did another circuit and twice I had to get off and push. I’m not despondent or disheartened. I’ve identified I have weaknesses with hills and I know I’ve got to get used to the bike. It was raining and windy yesterday. Weather holds no fear for me now.

The next test? Well I guess it’s going to have to be the Chirk course. Bike one day, run another just to check. The kids break up on Thursday and Cait’s really up for coming out with me. Jim was too until we drove the Nercwys route. He’s decided to “pass.”

In the beginning I wanted to complete a triathlon. I’m already looking at The Deva Diva’s an all female open water event at the end of June, the Llanrwst sprint at the end of August and…. Shock horrors the Flintshire 10k in September. This is all from a woman who couldn’t run the short sides of the football pitch last November.

23 March 2008
10:32:11 o'clock GMT Feeling Embarrassed
The Person Who Thinks They Can
THE PERSON WHO THINKS THEY CAN!If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch that you won’t.If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a person’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind!If you think you’re outclassed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize.Life’s battles don’t always go
To the strongest or fastest person;
But sooner or later the person who wins
Is the person who thinks they can!Walter D. Wintle (degenderized)
26 March 2008
16:01:41 o'clock GMT Feeling Hopeful
The Second 5 Weeks And Counting
"Success comes in cans, not cant's. "
~Author UnknownHad a really awful week last week! Really achy hips at the beginning of the week and calf pains at the end plus awful weather. Don't mind wind or rain but gales and snow do put me off.

Can't knock my 1 on 1 swim teacher whose suggested because my back stroke's strongest to do that and if I get tired to do some skulling. I’ve been told that neither is ethically accepted because of bumping into others.

I’ve been dealt the body blow that my elder two kids will be in Cumbria the weekend of my triathlon. To say I’m gutted is understatement of the year!

What I’ve learned though is that triathlon training gives you not only a strength of body but a strength of mind so onwards and upwards we go.

I had my kids ebay mountain bike which was left out in all weathers and I had no problems.

On my new super doper machine on Monday my chain came off.

Not a problem me thinks I’ve been told to anticipate this problem and been taught how to put it back on. Problem was it was stuck between the frame and the gears so I had to walk back 2 miles. When I got by the sports centre I thought about turning it upside down but as I was so close to home didn't bother.

Smart arsed husband turned it over and as if by magic! Well I was just glad that it happened on a training ride and not in Chirk.

Yesterday, chain came off again. Not a problem me thinks. put it back on rode off. Came off again. I put it back on. Rode off. almighty clicking and clacking. Well the derailleur was up in the air wedged in the spokes.

Phoned that wonderful man I'm married to who told me to free it! I was furious and cried carrying the bike all the way home. My shoulders are killing me. I was ready to throw it over a fence and throw the towel in but… as you say mental stamina comes in again.

Even darling husband couldn't sort this one. The gear cog on the derailleur had snapped and pushed it totally out of line. Well, off to the lovely Keith in Graham Weigh who replaced everything.

I have learned so much in two days!

Was out at 6.45 this morning loving the wind and rain and no chain problems however.... broke my front brake! I'm not fit to be let loose with a bike, not a decent one anyway!
There were two hills that were beating me. Now there's only one. And I've put a stick down to show how far I'm getting and every day the stick get moved further up.I think I've conquered my brick wall with the running too. I am still the slowest of the slow but my stamina has improve dramatically. OK I may still be doing a Darth Vadar at the end of my road but I'm no worse after 5k and it was beating that 5K barrier I had a problem with. I have a problem with hills - just the next thing to tick off my list, like getting out of the pool without the steps and open water swimming then it's only going to be a question of distance. I have no inspiration whatsoever to race against other people - just myself.When I've told people I'm doing a triathlon their first reaction, and I get this all the time, it's very funny, they look me up and down as if to say, fat cow you'll never do it. Then when I tell them how my training's going their attitude changes completely.In t stock any junior cycling gear. I was furious. How dare he assume they were for Jim (my 12 year old). Then Jim said to me "Mum be honest how many other 44 year old, 15 stone women would need cycling pants." He's right obviously. He's also convinced that all these things that are going wrong are just a way to test my mental stamina. Who am I to argue with a 12 year old?I'm definitely going to Chirk on Friday as long as it doesn't snow or we have gales to do the bike.

I had a dream last week which I think was quite prophetic. I was in a really bad film set in medieval times, obviously I was the star! It was the end and I was staring into a chalice of red wine. The commentary was she looked into the chalice and was horrified to see… her own worst enemy. Obviously it was my own reflection. I know I am my own worst enemy, closely followed by red wine. I haven’t touched a drop since I had the dream and I feel much better. We’ll see.

Oh and by the way for someone who works with figures… I need shooting. Totally miscalculated how many weeks I’ve got left and have gained a week!

I'm doing this in aid of Hope House Hospice. Please, please donate

I dare you to look at this web site and NOT be able to donate - it's heartbreaking

23 March 2008
30 March 2008
20:00:31 o'clock BST Feeling Happy
Four Weeks And Counting
"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. "
~Wendy WassersteinWhat I’ve discovered is there’s no middle ground with me I’m either euphoric or down in the dumps.

My aim is to raise £1000 for Hope House Hospice. I’m not going to do that unless people know what I’m doing so I invite the local papers to “publicise” what I’m doing. I know none of the shots will be very flattering but it’s not about me it’s about raising awareness and getting the donations in.

As predicted I went to Chirk on Friday. It hammered down all the way there but fortunately cleared up when we got there.

I took long suffering husband:-

1. In case of mechanical failure. I really didn’t want to have to carry the bike back 8 miles
2. In case of physical failure – I really didn’t know if I’d be able to complete the course
3. In case I was so stiff I couldn’t drive home.

I’d driven the course a couple of weeks ago but I have no perception of distance.
The bike training I’ve been doing has been up some serious hills. Great for strength. The thing is though when you come down these hills you tend to woosh and not pedal so legs have a bit of a rest. This course was solid pedalling. I had no problems getting to Glyn Ceiriog I seriously worried on the way there whether I would make it back.

Not only do I have no perception of distance. I have no perception of space. I hadn’t realised that I’d been going up hill all the way there so was able pretty much to woosh back. There was a bit of a hill but when I got to the top I was amazed to find I was back in Chirk.

1. No mechanical failures
2. No physical failures
3. I drove home.

As per everything related to Lynne I found a problem. I can’t turn right in traffic. Just hope there’s good marshalls on the day.

I have seriously neglected my swimming because I know I can do 16 lengths. Today I practiced getting out of the pool. I have asked for a step lane but there’s no guarantee. I really can’t do it. I’ve got carpet burns on my elbows and my stomach is literally black and blue but… I asked a 7 year old for help. “Easy,” he said “use the filters.” There’s 2 step lanes and 2 filter lanes so I’ve got a 2 to 1 chance of being able to get out. Started doing arm strengthening exercises. Morgan weighs 35lb. If I lift him over my head 5 times from the floor and do three sets as many times a day as he’ll let me I’ll have arms like Arnie!!

I dared to go in the pool today in my tri suit with my sports bra underneath.
All in all not a bad week.

4 weeks to conquer:-

1. getting out of the pool
2. turning right in traffic on my bike
3. running up Moel Famau – not quite but definitely hills, hills, hills and when I’ve finished those more hills.

No problem!
07 April 2008
22:19:02 o'clock BST Feeling Worried
Three Weeks And Counting
A down rather than an up week.

Conquered the bike course so reasonably confident over that. All the practice in the world’s not going to improve my swimming in 3 weeks so resting on my laurels a bit there so decided it was the week to concentrate on running.

Had a very confident 5k on the flat on Monday in 35 minutes so was feeling really good. Thursday I decided to do the Ruthin Road hilly route. I got to Hendy Road and my legs felt like lead. I hadn’t even started the hill by then. I walked a bit, tried again and still couldn’t get going. I ended up walking. It wasn’t a breathing thing, just really heavy legs. I finished the 4k in 39 minutes which wasn’t bad for a walk.

Desperately emailed everyone when I got back. Ever the pragmatist Ian wanted to know could I not run because I was injured? Or couldn’t be bothered?
Basically the verdict is that I’ve been overdoing it. I have to laugh. Me, couch potato of the centaury overdoing exercise. It does become very addictive though.

So the new strategy. Quality not quantity of training. I am absolutely terrified now of picking up an injury or making myself ill.

Had a full leg wax on Friday. Expected to lose ½ stone! Seriously, on race day your number is written on your calf/thigh in permanent marker. I have warned the organisers they’ll need extra ink for me!

I love my bike and the temptation is to cycle,cycle and cycle. The hills are hard but the satisfaction is enormous. Had a good old ride Saturday morning and then straight to the Coaching Station for a leg massage. Told Tracey I’d got achy knees. I am so thick! She soon diagnosed stretching and building up quads as the "problem." Resolved in 2 minutes flat with her magic fingers.

Intended to do "something" yesterday but got caught up emailing 250 businesses in Mold begging for sponsorship. Not sure what will come of it but one has to try.

Out on the road this morning. Took it very, very steady and just jogged 2.5k on the flat. Didn’t feel right but was a million times better than last week.

Off to Chirk tomorrow to run. Watch this space.

Got my race number tonight 28 and start time 9.30. All of a sudden this is becoming very real and very scary!

14 April 2008
18:03:25 o'clock BST Feeling Hopeful
2 Weeks And Counting
I have not run the Chirk course for a number of reasons.

I didn’t feel too good last Tuesday so decided to repeat Monday’s gentle jog and just as I was on the home straight ping went my calf muscle again. I was devastated. It stopped me training for 3 weeks last time. Anyway for once heeding advice, R.I.C.E Rest Ice Compression & Elevation.

It wasn’t too bad on Wednesday so I biked. Not bad not good. I biked again on Thursday and struggled like hell with the hills.

Friday I went to pick up my Wrecsam Tri running vest. Ever the diplomat the club Chairman asked “What size do you want Lynne? The biggest we’ve got is large and if you want it any bigger we’ll have to order it and it will take 6 weeks.” Large fits. I mean how tight or loose are running vests supposed to be?

For reasons best known to my husband I didn’t train Saturday and by Saturday night was slightly cheesed off so had a huge Indian banquet and a bottle of wine.

Got up on Sunday feeling…. absolutely marvellous.

Did the Nercwys bike and blasted both hills, no need for sticks and stones any more.

I've said before that I can't run off the bike, but soft cow was literally shoving bike through back gate and attempting to run so thought logically and did a practice T2. Dismounted at the back gate. Walked up the path. Racked next to the cooker. Had a drink and Betty Spaghetti legs out the front door. I never realised I could run slower than I do usually. Took about 5 minutes to get my legs back and all I couldthink about was I hope to God no one sees me. I only did another 10 minutes but was so chuffed.

Then off to the pool. Greeted by my swimming instructor who'd seen me running. Was mortified but really couldn't be bothered explaining about the bike. I did 400m in 14m 32sec. Best previous was 16m. I was on cloud nine.

Then I get mail from the Club Secretary asking me to marshal in the afternoon. I say I will if I'm in any fit state but I reckon I'm probably going to take about 2hrs 30. He says 2hrs 10 (what planet is the man on?)

Plan of action? There isn’t one. It’s too close now. There’s no point pushing myself. I’m just going to take one day at a time and hope the adrenaline will pull me through.

And I've raised £400 so Far for Hope House

20 April 2008
08:30:03 o'clock BST Feeling Hopeful
1 Week and Counting
“The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime! It is never too late to become what I might have been.”

Well that was the week that was and wasn’t!

So totally terrified of overdoing it so rested Monday and Tuesday and then arranged a little jaunt with Sue the Ironman. Now Sue has given me fantastic advice and support for the last goodness how many weeks and she suggested an easy run, at my pace, my choice of course and my duration. I thought it would be a good idea to do a slow 5k with hills. A course I have managed many times in the past but not since my dreaded “runner’s block.”

We set out pretty steady and by the time we’d got to the dreaded Hendy Road turning, where I had my block before I was ready to turn back. I felt awful. We ran back and by the time we got back to my house I felt a little better so we carried on. Then we carried on around the football field and walked back the last 100 yards or so. Throughout this Sue kept asking me if I wanted to walk but when I walk I can’t get going again so I declined.

When I got home my head was pounding. It wasn’t an ache but a pain. I had a bath, threw up and went to bed (at 8.30). I still felt rough as the proverbial bears bottom on Thursday but munching paracetamol got me through.

I explained my dilemma to Sue about buying a wetsuit for the Deva Divas. She suggested posting a thread on Tri Talk. I was extremely dubious but as that’s where I found the lovely Sue I bowed to her superior knowledge and experience.

Very Overweight Lady Seeks Wetsuit To See Her Through
Hi, please don't laugh! I'm a newbie doing my first Sprint in 10 days. I want to do an openwater in July. I'm 5' 4" and weigh 210lb. I can't find a wetsuit anywhere. I've lost 21lbs and would have hoped to lose another 42 by July but I need something now to train for openwater. I'm confident by this time next year I'll be a "normal" size and will be happy to invest in something decent then. I just need something cheap and cheerful to get me through the next 3 months. I've heard Tesco direct are doing wetsuits for £35. I know they're going to be too thick round the arms for any serious events but do you think they would be good enough to get me through? Any advice gratefully accepted. Thanks

Well to say I was overwhelmed with the response is understatement of the centaury. Not only was I given brilliant advice but offered not 1 but 2 wetsuits – how brilliant is that? The Tri community are incredibly generous with their time and resources.

It’s been said to me time and time again but this is what was posted to me on Tri talk

Good luck with the race in 10 days Lynne! a) don't compare yourself to others b) don't worry what people think c) make sure your having fun.

Back to training…

Went out at 7.20 yesterday to attempt the hilly 5K loop. Got to my runners block and had to walk AGAIN. Walked to the top of the hill. Got my heart rate down and ran the rest of the loop without a problem in a PB of 41.28 (my previous was over 50 and that was running the whole loop) just goes to show. Should listen to those who’ve been there and done it!

What will I be doing exactly one week today? Having my numbers drawn on my arm and thigh? Quaking in my trainers?

I’ve got 2 brick sessions planned for this week, a spray tan on Saturday and early nights all week. I can do no more.

17:32:00 o'clock BST Feeling Chillin'
Thank You
Today is Wednesday. Probably won’t post this until Saturday or Sunday but thought I better make a start as there are just so many people to thank and really don’t want to leave anyone out.

In no particular order:-

To Gareth Bicknell whose Daily Post blog got me interested in Triathlon in the first place.

To Mark, my darling husband for laughing at me and thinking it was the worst idea he’d ever heard, which made me all the more determined to show him that I could do it. Despite this he bought me my £40 ebay bike, sat in the car for an hour and a half when I cycled Chirk and has given me all the support I needed to train early in the mornings. He also bought my Tri suit for Mothers day and a new pair of trainers and leggings to start my Deva Divas training

To Cait, Jim and Morgan for my heart Rate Monitor and Cycle Helmet.

To Iain and Carolyn from the Coaching Station for their support, advice and encouragement. Iain formulated my training plan and offered blood, sweat and tears. Carolyn was there in the gym every morning at 7am to encourage in the beginning and then to yell to train harder and faster – they are a truly remarkable couple.

To my dear friend Lesley for her blind faith, for buying me a decent pair of trainers and cycling shorts. For listening to me banging on endlessly about training, progress, the lack of it and always encouraging. When I doubted myself she pushed me on and on.

To Dawn, my fantastic Sister in Law who is my inspiration. She runs while her daughter cross country trains. She has taught me the art of time management and never use the excuse that there isn’t enough time. You can always make time if you want it bad enough. This year will be Dawn’s third Race for Life. This year she will run it. She bought me Running Made Easy which taught me it was ok to run/walk a lamppost at a time or in my case the short sides of a football pitch.. I later bought Triathlon Made Easy by the same authors which gave me my final 10 week training plan.

To my Mum for paying for my swimming sessions, to my Dad for paying for my swimming lessons.

To my big brother for paying for my entry tomorrow – he would never have forgiven me had I not made the start line. To my little brother for buying me radox instead of bubbly for my birthday.

To my In Laws for buying my sports bra without which none of this training would have taken place.

To Jim from Wrecsam Tri Club, Sally from Chester Tri Club and Sue The Iron Lady who I have pestered the life out of with stupid questions over transitions, training, equipment, injuries you name it. Their support has been invaluable.

To Tracey the masseuse at the Coaching Station who inflicted more pain than I have ever experienced, childbirth included, but eventually unravelled the knots in my calves.

To Colette and Thea for commenting on my blogs – it’s a lonely old world out there in blog land you know?

To everyone who has parted with hard cash to help me raise funds for Hope House we’re up to £660 which I am delighted about.

To everyone who has sent messages of support throughout the last 26 weeks. You have had more faith in me than I had in myself.

To you all I give myheartfelt thanks

26 April 2008
18:43:06 o'clock BST Feeling Chillin'
Twas The Night Before Triathlon
Twas the night before Triathlon and all through the house… a loopy woman sat quietly and wondered what the heck was happening.

Tomorrow’s the “Big Day” and I feel fine.

Not excited, not apprehensive just extremely cool, calm and collected which is totally out of character for me.

I’ve had a little look back at the emails of the last couple of weeks and the only conclusion I can come up with is preparation has paid off.. “Have confidence in your training and the rest is down to Lady Luck.” Well I’ve trained as hard as I could. I’m still a bit iffy about the running but have put in two hard brick sessions this week including running up the Tesco hill after the hard hill session on the bike. There is no section of the Chirk course any more challenging than what I do in my standard training sessions.

“How are you feeling? I can’t do this Tri! I won’t do this Tri! Why am I doing this Tri? The emotions may be high, feeling tearful, down, sick, etc” Well no actually. I have experienced all that but that was a couple of weeks ago. Tonight I’m feeling “Bring it on! Let’s go for it! Whatever it will be a Personal Best!”

Today I had a spray tan. I look like, not sure if my Mum will get done for this, but when we were kids we had to dress up as Indians for something in the Brownies and she covered me in gravy browning. I look healthy though and was warned when I wash it off tomorrow I’ll have a gorgeous golden glow. Why did I want a tan you may ask? I couldn’t give a monkeys about everyone seeing 15stone wobbling about. I care horribly about the crowd seeing 15 stone of white lard. It’s a confidence thing and if it makes me feel better?!

Had this awful thought… bearing in mind I’ve got lists on lists and have had my bag packed for over a week.. What do I wear? Doh I know what I’m going to wear to do it in but what do I go in? I’ve got to have my numbers put on so I need to go in my Tri suit. So I thought I’d just put on what I’ll be racing in. Then I got to thinking. I need my Tshirt trainers and leggings in transition so that would mean walking in a Tri suit bare foot into the Leisure Centre and hanging on getting cold waiting for the start so off to Broughton we pop for new trainers and leggings.

Something really awful happened. We were quick in Broghton. Mark bought two pairs of trainers and I bought trainers and leggings. Pretty much in and out. When we got back on the A55 there was a horrific crash on the opposite carriageway. There were police, ambulance and fire crews with cutting gear. There was a massive tailback. The most scary, awful thing about it is we must have only just missed it.

I digress, maybe a sign of nerves?

The forecast is awful. Well maybe not awful, just wet at least it’s not windy and cold too but there is a possibility of hail and thunder! I can’t do anything about the weather so why worry? Might end up doing the bike leg in a coat but hey ho! And I was hoping to wear my diamond studded D&G Jackie “O” sunglasses!

I’ve read every horror story from leaving bike helmet on passenger seat of car to taking the bike but forgetting the wheels, to no pins for numbers, to punctures, to chains coming off, to elastic breaking on race belts. I’ve made as many contingency plans as I can.

The aim? To finish. Really not bothered about times but 15minute swim, 90minute bike and 45 minute run would be a bonus and if I can run the whole run Iwould be over the moon.

In 12 hours time I will be leaving for my first triathlon. Will I be able to say this time tomorrow I am a Triathlete?

Wish me luck?

27 April 2008
16:05:30 o'clock BST Feeling Ecstatic
I Am A Triathlete
I am A Triathlete!

I am A Triathlete!

I am A Triathlete!

And if you didn’t hear me I am A Triathlete!

I have just had one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I was told many, many times the adrenalin would get me through and you better believe it.

Well a little after posting last night’s blog I totally went to pieces. The can’t and the won’t surfaced and I had an awful night’s sleep.

As predicted it was throwing it down. Checked the bags, checked the car, checked the lists, double checked the lists and then went back in and did a triple check of the whole house to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything.

Arrived just after 8. Start was 9.30. That hour and a half absolutely flew.

Registered, picked up the goodie bag, had my numbers drawn. Went to find the bike racking and found Sue my Iron Lady and Paula, who I’ve never met before who was off at Number One. They asked how I was feeling and I said awful and Paula said that she just wanted to get going and that basically was that. I wanted to get going too and I wanted to prove to the World how far I’d come in 6 months.

I made the monumentous decision that I’d cycle and run in leggings and a T shirt and that was that.

Racked the bike and all the books say lay out your stuff in the order that you’re going to put it on. It was pelting down so everything got shoved into a carrier bag. TipI will buy a plastic box with a lid for my next event.

Said goodbye to Mark and Morgan and off to get changed.

I have never spoken to so many complete strangers in my life. Everyone was so friendly, encouraging and totally relaxing.

Were called for the briefing which explained the direction of the swim, how you would be tapped with a kickboard with two lengths to go, how you must not touch your bike until your helmet was fastened, how you must run with the bike through transition and only mount when you were over the line, likewise dismount before the line on the way in and not remove your helmet until the bike was safely racked.

Got in the pool and I missed the whistle. I was looking round like a startled rabbit! Off I went. Plan was 4 lengths crawl then alternate breast stroke/ crawl so that I finished on breast stroke so not to be too out of breath. Sue had warned me just before I got into the pool not to go off too fast. Then doh if I did 4 lengths breast stroke I’d end up finishing on crawl. Did 5 lengths crawl and struggled and the niggling doubts of why the hell am I doing this crept in. Closely followed by I’ll never do it. Then as I’m doing breast stroke I have time to take notice of the people watching. Shouting “Come on Lynne you’re doing really well.” Piece of cake. As it happens I was in the pool on my own and the cheering and applause when I got out, via the steps was unbelievable.

Transition. Golden Rule. Keep Calm. Yeh and who invented that one?

Well as it was throwing it down no point whatsoever in using my towel on my body so put my T shirt on and then disaster. Couldn’t find my leggings. Put the towel down, in a puddle. Tried to dry my feet, socks soaked in the end just go for it. Remembered my race belt, which I put on upside down. Helmet, fastened, the bloke next to me got shouted at for unracking whilst his was undone and away to go. I ran with the bike through transition (this is important – remember for later!)

So off out onto the road and it’s raining. Warned about turns being slippery so take it a bit easy and then just go for it. No plan for the bike just enjoy and I did. People started to come past me on their way back and almost everyone shouted “Well done” or “You’re doing really well” or “Keep going” and Glyn Ceiriog came around much quicker than when I’d done it on a training run. The backwards was a breeze and even the hill at the end was nothing compared to my usual hilly routs around home. So back in and passed my Dad and asked him for a time check 15 minutes faster. I felt I could fly.

Dismounted the bike and tried to run with it through transition. I couldn’t. Not a problem. Get my legs moving I’ll be ok. Racked and started to walk. I couldn’t feel my feet and my calves were killing me. Betty Spaghetti legs at a walk. Not to worry I’ll run out of the gate. I couldn’t. It’s ok I’ll walk the hill and run when it flattens. I couldn’t. So I walked and walked and walked and walked. Every time I attempted to run my heart rate monitor beep beeped at me.

When I first said I was going to do a triathlon my Mum said “You’ll give yourself a heart attack” my response was if I do nothing I’ll have a heart attack. I made a solemn promise to her last night that I wouldn’t push myself on the run and I didn’t. I ran down the hill to the finish.

I have not stopped grinning! It’s like I’d won and I have!

Provisional times of 2hours 17mins 14.30swim, 1 hour 17 bike and 43minutes run. All better than expected and Steve Smith’s prediction of 2hours 10 was closer than mine of 2.30. It’s not about time though. It never has been.

Six months ago I set out to complete a Triathlon. Today I did it.

I am a Triathlete.

Official Result
328th out of 333
Two were slower
Three Did not Finish
2 hours 17minutes 12 Seconds
Swim 13.46
Bike 1.15.01
Run 48.25

15:55:23 o'clock BST Feeling Happy
Slimming World
This is a bit of a strange one (nothing new there Lynne!) I wrote this last Thursday. Saved it to a jump drive and left the jump drive in work and as I've been off couldn't post it until today.

I seriously considered not posting it but I think it's a true reflection of how I felt then and an important bit of the story....

On 3 January I contemplated joining Slimming World and convinced myself that the fiver a week it was going to cost me would be better spent on… anything basically. Did I save the fiver? No. Did I lose weight? Yes but not as much as I should or could have and if I'd weighed less maybe I could have run more.

So when Lesley suggested we join after the triathlon I agreed. The first time I went to Slimming world was in 1988 and I probably weighed about 10 ½ stone. That's my target! Ha! Ha! I've lost count of the number of times I've joined. Lost loads. Got cocky. Stopped going and put it back on again.

Jayne the consultant was lovely and there was me and Lesley and another couple of newbies. She explained the plan, red days, green days. As much "free" fruit and vegetables as you can eat, healthy options and syns. Perfect!
She asked us newbies what couldn't we do without Lesley and another girl said crisps, the other lady said wine and I said er. er. er. 6 months ago it would have been wine but I've hit that demon on the head. I said cheese but even that craving's not so great any more. I love bread but when I did the Atkins felt so much better without it so I don't know. I do love food. Almost all food. The only thing I can think that I don't like is runny eggs. They absolutely turn my stomach but anything else I like.

I don't have a sweet tooth. I can take or leave chocolate. I used to be a big pie and pastry eater but the gall stones broke that habit. That's what's got me thinking. I eat through habit. Not because I'm hungry.

Left feeling all positive and motivated and erm called in the chippy and had fish chips and mushy peas. Do you want me to repeat that? Left feeling all positive and motivated and erm called in the chippy and had fish chips and mushy peas.
There's no hope! There is though because read everything and decided to make the fresh start today then realised there was no salad in the fridge.
Went for a little jog this morning (I'm still on recovery remember?) then went to Tesco.

New potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cottage cheese, fry lite, water, oil free dressing, salad. That is food I absolutely love. There's no deprivation there.
Syns – well this is where I come a bit unstuck. You can have a little of what you fancy. I don't do "little." I can't open a bottle of wine without drinking the lot. I can't open a family bag of tortillas without scoffing the lot. Abstain is the only way for me.

Breakfast is another "problem." Oh god this is so funny I don't have time. Erm I have time to run and cycle and swim but haven't got 2 minutes to get weetabix down my neck. My world in future will be filled with "solutions" not "problems."

"Preparation is the key to success" 12 November and 28 February blogs.

I've brought to work cottage cheese, bagged salad, oil free dressing, 2lt water and riveta. Piece of cake. Why haven't I done this before?

07 May 2008
15:59:00 o'clock BST Feeling Embarrassed
Slimming World Week 1
This is the blog which is too raw to post but I'm going to post it anyway.

So here we go again…...

Slimming World works! End of. I've lost loads on it, loads of times so why can't I do it this time?

I join Wednesday. Have fish, chips and mushy peas from the chippy but that's my last blow out ha ha!

Thursday off to Tesco after my run. No breakfast. Cottage cheese salad lunch. Chicken, carrots, broccoli new potatoes – hey doing really well here. Then.. 2 bags hula hoops, bowl of oat musili , half a block of cheese, half a box of cheese biscuits and a bottle and a half of wine!

Friday – Lunch Cottage cheese salad, Ham bits. Tea Jacket potato with tuna mayo.

Saturday – Ran hilly 5k 40mins -Brunch bacon, sausage, mushrooms. Tea large chicken kebab. 4 pints of cider and ½ a bottle of wine

Sunday – Breakfast Oatibix X 2, Lunch Tuna sandwiches (4x800g white loaf!) with Mayo, Tea Prawn Special Piza & garlic bread

Monday – Cycled 10 miles (Nercwys X2) 65minutes - Breakfast Oatibix X 2, Lunch baked potato with cottage cheese, Tea pasta with chunky vegatable sauce and sausages.Bottle of wine cheese biscuits and cheese.

There's this trigger in my brain saying "sabotage." I know I'm doing it. I can't help myself.

I did those Nercwys hills on Monday but I really struggled. I promised myself that never again would I have to drag 15 stone up them.

I tortured myself watching 2 old Gillian McKeith's last week. The guinea pigs lost 2 stone in 8 weeks. Not difficult.

I read an article in the Express on Monday about boot camp weight loss. One of them was a size 10(at the start!) All she did was to be picked up 4 times a week by limo and do 1 hour gym sessions plus have all her food delivered. Piece of cake! She, who needed to lose about an ounce, lost 11lb.
There was another who went to a boot camp and was on the "Pain is weakness leaving the body" regime for a week.
The last one went to Harrods on a machine for £20 a time 4 times a week for 4 weeks. She lost 2lb. All I can say is "They got big windows love!" AKA "Saw you coming!"

For goodness sake Lynne get to the point!

All I have to do is carry on with my exercise routine and convince my brain that my body's not on a restrictive diet.

At the beginning of my triathlon training I stuck religiously to a no alcohol – no food after 7ish regime. It worked wonders. That was before I'd achieved the stone and a half weight loss and before I proved to the world I could stick to an exercise routine.

My body is screaming make me slim. My brain is screaming you're not worthy! It's like I know that the "fat body" is stopping me doing so much and once the "fat body" problem has gone I'll have to face up to what's really wrong in my life.

Guess I was so high after last Sunday that this just wasn't the week to start Slimming World but procrastination has been my middle name for such a long time!

Joining Slimming World is a licence to gorge!!

We're going for the weigh in tonight and starting afresh. Stocked up on the right foods. I have bought one of those thick sliced, nutty, seedy loaves though. That is going to be my indulgence because I'm going to run/cycle it off every day.

And unbeknown to me my fantastic sister in law joined Slimming world 2 weeks ago. She lost 4lb in the first week and 3 1/2 this week. Dawn you are still my inspiration.

09 May 2008
08:13:28 o'clock BST Feeling Hopeful
Dieting Obsession
This weight is becoming an obsession so don’t worry I am aware and I will return to the real world shortly.

So the weigh in lost 2 ½ lb. Yes, that’s correct LOST 2 ½ lb!

Just humour me please.

I think.. my body desperately needed calories last week. If I can eat and drink everything that I did and still lose weight then I must have been in some kind of deprivation mode?

I am totally focussed and committed now. I realise I can’t, much as I love it, survive on cottage cheese salad.

I’m organised enough now to have my oatibix breakfast, please tell me does anyone else have the same problem with it soaking up about a pint of milk? Slight exaggeration there. The other thing is I thought it was erm supposed to er keep you regular? It’s had the opposite effect on me.

Lunch is my thick seedy, nutty wholemeal bread (2 slices) with ham today and a separate salad and fruit.

Dinner will be chicken with new potatoes and fresh veg.

This was basically what I said at basically this time last week and then disaster struck except that:-

1. I’ve had breakfast
2. I’ve had a generous portion of bread that I really like
3. I understand now that I am exercising “a lot” and need fuel

I was extremely positive and motivated last week. I am extremely positive and motivated now plus I have learned from last week’s let’s not say mistakes but experience.

Thea I take on board everything you say and really am very apprecaitive of your advice and support - I am an athlete and i will start eating like one.

15 May 2008
20:41:03 o'clock BST Feeling Happy Edit Entry Delete Entry
What a lovely week.

Went to Harlech on Sunday. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The weather was fantastic. Only had to go back home once, for the map. (Why when we’ve got a perfectly good Tom Tom.) Only took the wrong turn once, in Bala and got there about 10.30.

Unfortunately Iain, Sue, Sal and Paula had finished by then but we did get to see quite a few of the Wrecsam Tri lot finish.

Who ever designed that route certainly had a sense of humour. A 1in4 hill at the end of a 30k Scenic bike route through Snowdonia National ParkNOTE shortened bike route this year omitting Barmouth. Turning point - Wayside at Llanaber and a 6k run which included running on the beach in soft sand. I definitely decided I would NOT do it next year.

We went down the hill to check out transition and then, after numerous deep breaths attempted the hill. Surprisingly even pushing Morgan in the pushchair it wasn’t too bad and afterwards Sal said she’d run it last year and walked it this year and the time difference was only a matter of seconds.

So… if it’s on next year – I will do it.

Now here’s where the politics come in. The council want to sell the swimming pool for development land and obviously if they do – no more Harlech Triathlon which would be a crying shame. There’s a petition on the Harlech Tri web site and obviously the more signatures the better

Everyone – without exception that I spoke to said what a fantastic event it was, fabulous route with fantastic views. All competitors not only got a slate engraved medal at the end but a commemorative towel, the usual water and banana and a voucher for a hot snack.

I was amazed at the support the local businesses gave the competitors shouting encouragement and cheering.

Even Morgan in his pushchair did his bit clapping at everyone that went past. We had a particularly poignant moment when a lone runner struggling with the hill went past. Morgan clapped furiously and the poor guy who could hardly get his breath shouted “Thank you.”

We went down on the beach and had a picnic. It’s a long time since I’ve been to Harlech beach and I was overwhelmed. It was so beautiful sand stretching forever. We had our little camp. Morgan hated the soft sand to begin with but had a great time with Cait and Jim building sand castles with plastic cups, stones, shells and seaweed for a flag. They all had a great time in the sea.

Brilliant sunshine who could ask fore more.

Then it started. The rumbling in the distance. I looked back towards the castle and the sky was black.

The kids came out of the sea and were mortified when I said “Come on we’re going.”

The pitter patter started and we just managed to get back to the car before the heavens opened.

We still had a fantastic day.

Oh yeh I quit Slimming World.


1. Lesley quit
2. The plan doesn’t agree with the amount of exercise I’m doing (I felt tired and haven’t felt tired for ages)
3. I’ve decided the lovely Carolyn from the gym can give me better sound nutritional advice
4. I’ve decided to get back in the gym to do some spinning and pilate classes
5. I’ve decided to listen to my own advice – small sustainable lifestyle changes

My Chirk recovery is over I’m back on track with my training. Mark managed to squeeze me into the wetsuit (carrier bags on hands and feet work wonders! Don’t ask!) so all set now for Sunday. Hoping to cycle and run the Deva Divas course and erm.. dip my toe into the great open water swimming experience

20 May 2008
10:45:36 o'clock BST Feeling Hopeful
Wetsuit And Openwater
I mentioned some time ago that I couldn’t find a wetsuit to fit me and in honesty didn’t want to fork out a couple of hundred quid for a man’s that I’d have to cut the arms and legs off only for it to be no good next year when I’ve lost my weight.

I put a post on the tri talk forum and was offered 2. A member of Wrecsam Tri Club offered to bring his to Chirk and a guy from Down South offered to post his. The Wrexham guy forgot to bring his and just looking at him I knew it wouldn’t fit he was let me say tall and slim. The other one was for a “short and stocky” frame. It duly arrived in the post and I nearly had kittens.

Then the fun started. It was let me say, a tad on the tight side. The kids collapsed into fits of hysterics and couldn’t help me. I could get it up to my knees but when I pulled it further I thought I was going to cut off my circulation. I have long nails by the way which didn’t help in the slightest. I persevered and then thought I was going to have to call the fire brigade to have it surgically removed.

Never one to give up… I mailed the guy who’d sent it me who suggested to give the kids a bigger laugh to put carrier bags on my feet before I started to “lube” it. He also suggested, getting it on to my knees, then thighs then waist etc.. Well you all have heard of my long suffering husband who was assigned the task to assist.

After much hysterics on my part, swearing and moaning on his I got into the wetsuit. Not a pretty sight but serves a purpose.

So Sunday, Manley Mere, the venue for the Deva Diva’s. It’s only about 30 minutes from here so didn’t bother with the Tom tom and trusted my old RAC routfinder and erm.. in traditional Lynne style, got lost.

I arrived half an hour late by which time all the groups had gone out to test the bike course, quite handy really as when I got home my cycling helmet was greeting me on the armchair!

I intended to do the run but got tied up in a few work issues so there it was. Time for the swim.

I managed to get my wetsuit on by myself but it took 2 lovely ladies plus nearly taking of one of their fingers to zip me up.

We all gathered (about 50 of us) shaking and quaking by the Mere waiting for instructions. Chris the BTA coach established how many had done open water swimming before.

My main fear for open water was that there wouldn’t be a side to cling to if I swallowed a mouthful and had a choking fit. We were assured that the Mere was shallow enough for us to be able to stand “in most places.”

We were told to get in, fully submerge ourselves and get out again. It was frrreeeeezzzing, and even colder when we got out. Can’t believe how thick I was I didn’t realise that water gets between your body and your wetsit, is warmed up by your body and creates an insulation layer to keep you warm!

We were told if we got into difficulties to roll over on our backs and stick our hand in the air and one of the numerous experienced swimmers would come to our aid as well as there being several men in kayaks.

So off we popped. 200m in a triangle around buoys. I did breast stroke with my head out of the water. It was so tiring. The buoyancy of the wetsuit was dragging my legs back. I bit the bullet and did crawl and swallowed half the Mere, including the duck poo. It was foul. (pardon the pun!). I was told to slow down, yes that’s right me the slowest of slow swimmers. It wasn’t that I was swimming too fast just that I was expending too much energy and getting out of breath. The kayak guy said to me “You can stop now if you want to.” You have got to be kidding! I don’t do giving up. I had some technique lessons on breathing and I pretty much know what I’ve got to do by the next session. I felt incredibly dizzy when I got out. That apparently is “normal.” I felt sick, remedied by drinking a bottle of coke and I could still taste the Mere water yesterday.

I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the experience but it’s just one more thing I can tick off on my achievement list. It was a fabulously organised training afternoon and the fact that there’s another 2 before the event gives me enormous confidence. I know what I’ve got to do and I know how I’m going to do it.

And a footnote from Sal, the race Secretary “No more curries” (she values her fingers!)

28 May 2008
13:19:35 o'clock BST Feeling Mischievous
Rather Than Post Nothing....
Nothing much happening in the World of Triathlon training. A pretty boring on track kind of week. I have invented the wheel of dieting which you can share with me at
But I just had to share this little gem...
In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums. And Satan said, 'You want hot fudge with that? And Man said, 'Yes!' And Woman said, 'I'll have one too with chocolate chips'. And so they gained 10 pounds.And God created the healthy yoghurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.So God said, 'Try my fresh green salad'. And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.God then said 'I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them'.And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter and Man's cholesterol went through the roof.Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt. And Man put on more pounds. God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger. Then Satan said 'You want fries with that?' and Man replied, 'Yes, and super size 'em'. And Satan said, 'It is good.' And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.God sighed ......... and created quadruple by-pass surgery.And then............ Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service.THE FINAL WORD ON NUTRITIONAfter an exhaustive review of the research literature, here's the final word on nutrition and health:1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than usCONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.