I'm 50 married, divorced and remarried. 3 kids CJ 19, Jim 18 and Morgan 8.
Two weeks before my 44th birthday I had a midlife crisis and decided to do a triathlon. Not unusual you might think but this was from the woman who weighed 16 and a half stone and had done NO exercise for 20plus years.
Since November 2007 I've trained really hard sometimes, and sometimes rather sporadically and all that I can say is it has been a totally life changing experience.
I've completed 5 Sprints so far - I failed my ambition to complete an Iron Distance event before I was 50 however never to be deterred... Chester Marathon 5 October 2014 .I'm sure I can fit in a 2.4mile swim somewhere and 112 mile bike could be a training ride? There will be months of blood, sweat and tears....Welcome aboard.
The feedback off the nutritionist this week wasn’t good. I’ve lost 1 stone 10lbs since 17 September and lost 4lb last week. She wasn’t happy as she said it’s too much too quickly. You pay somebody to do a job so you have to take on board their advice.
I had coffee with Sue on Wednesday. Whilst we keep in touch regularly we don’t see each other very often and it was a lovely treat. We discussed where I’m at for the Outlaw and she actually verbalised “You have not got to do an Iron Distance event before you’re 50. Why not lose the weight and get a solid base in 2013 and do an Iron Distance when you’re 50?”
I discussed the options with my coach
1. Commit to The Outlaw no matter what.
2. Carry on until 5 January and then make a decision.
3. Withdraw now – continue to train and enter Bala Middle in June and other races during the season to gain experience and then commit to an Iron Distance in 2014 without the added disadvantage of losing weight and gaining a solid base.
4. Withdraw now, continue to train and come March make a decision what to race.
5. Give up.
Crazy as it sounds I have given due consideration to all the options and as a last resort even… discussed it with my husband.
I had a one to one swimming lesson on Friday and had a good old chat with my swim coach. The lesson was brilliant. I am using a pull buoy all the time. I’ve pretty much mastered breathing and am no longer lifting my head skyward. Fingers are glued together. I’m now aware of the reach and catch so all that remains to be fixed is my trailing left arm.
So back to the decision.
I’ve withdrawn from the Outlaw and committed to enter Bala Middle. It’s the option that gives me the chance of most success. In the words of my coach “When you pick your fights, make sure you pick the ones you’ve got the best chance of winning.”
I’m not giving up on my dream, just postponing it.
On the job front I have an interview in Chester Zoo on Thursday. It may not be my dream job. It certainly isn’t my dream salary but it is in my dream location.
I’m jobless! The upshot is solicitors were involved and I’m prevented from discussing what compromises were made. The outcome is I'm happy.
I’ve been through the motions of registering with agencies. Explaining my CV and then being told there’s nothing at the moment but they’ll be in touch. I have had an interview which I totally blew by talking too much. All experience. All a learning curve.
We have decorated upstairs. The decorating was quite quick. The decluttering has taken forever. We are on first name terms with the guys at the local dump and the charity shops and I’ve never sold so much stuff on ebay, music magpie and mazuma. It’s been a truly cathartic experience.
My eye has been taken off the Outlaw ball but I’m well and truly focused now.
I was due to race a 10K last week and a half in February. My Coach was seriously concerned that I’m focusing on running and my lack of bike fitness is going to mean that I’m not even going to make the bike cut off and won’t have the opportunity to run. Consequently I didn't race last weekend, sold my half place and have biked, biked, biked and used the turbo – I hate it!
A very good friend expressed her concerns that in an effort to shift the weight I've got to lose I’m not going to be nutritionally fit to train so I've engaged the services of a nutritionist who is also an Ironman and I’m now confident that I can achieve both.
I know my swimming is inefficient. The tri specific coached sessions help but I’m not getting there fast enough so I have engaged a one to one coach and after just one session I've seen a vast improvement.
On Wednesday we went Christmas shopping and walking down the concrete stairs of the multi storey car park I felt a “problem” with my knee which got worse as the day went on. I had it looked at by my coach who prescribed gentle cycling and no running until today and then I was told to take it easy (let’s face it easy is the only way I know!) Today I ran for 35 minutes with no repercussions.
I’m not sure where I’m at. I’m not sure where I should be. Without the distraction of work I will be a full time athlete – at least until the end of the year. I've got almost a month to give it my all and then I’ll decide. To do or not to do and give up my place to somebody who’s better prepared. If I withdraw before 6 January I’ll only lose £25. I so desperately want to be an Outlaw in 2013.
Work has been pretty stressful of late and the throwing up continued with a hefty slice of diarrhoea to boot. Everything came to a head last Thursday. I had an appointment with the nurse before work for my monthly blood pressure check. I’d been extremely ill before I went and when she checked my blood pressure it was “What the hell is going on here?” She wanted to increase my medication (again) but needed to speak to the Doctor.
She rang me at lunch time (I’d gone into work because I was on an 8 hour deadline to pay 90 staff). She explained that the Doctor had agreed to up my meds but when I told her I was still throwing up, despite not having anything to eat or drink she arranged for an emergency appointment to see the GP that afternoon.
He wanted to sign me off work for a month. We had a little chat and he agreed that if I’d take mild anti-depressants for 2 weeks and have blood tests the next day he’d sign me off for 2 weeks and we'd play it by ear. He actively encouraged me to continue with training.
I felt amazing the day after. Not sure if it was the happy pills or the thought of no work stress for 2 weeks. Training’s going really well in spite of doing a Bridget Jones off the treadmill on Wednesday. The only thing hurt was my pride but I do have some impressive bruises.
The results of my blood tests are back. Gamma GT levels in a woman should be between 12 and 55. Mine were 60 three months ago but they weren’t unduly concerned. They’ve come back this time at 243. I need a liver scan. The NHS waiting list is 10 weeks. I have private medical insurance through work but they might not be able to cover it because it might have been a “pre existing” condition. I totally despair of insurance companies!
I’ve signed up to Richard Harris's #turbovember challenge. I forgot about it yesterday. There was virtual carnage as I was cooking the tea and setting up the Turbo (in the kitchen). I’ve decided best get it done in the mornings in future.
Going back to my saddle soreness. My PT happened to ask if I was wearing decent cycling shorts. When I told him blokes from Aldi I cannot repeat his reply. I've struggled to find lady specific, big enough but the power that is the Intanet yielded dividends today. We’ll see. I was also talked out of a lovely ladies, pink Garmin 110 and got the email today that a 310XT is dispatched and on its way. Exciting times…
“My biggest problem will be… don’t get ill.” Quite a prophetic quote from the last Blog.
Not only have I been fighting a cold all week but have had tummy issues. Lost count of the number of times I’ve thrown up and, this theoretically is a good thing, but had real problems eating. I know what my body will do. I know when I’ve got a CBA head on. I knew whatever I’d have attempted this week would have been crap which would have sent me on the slippery slope to total demotivation so I’ve done absolutely nothing. I was all set to go to the Tri swim session Friday night but got a message to say it had been cancelled “code brown.”
Today was the Flintshire 10K and Fun Run. We’d decided a while ago that Morgan would do the Fun Run and I’d jog along to accompany him. In the week he’d asked if he could do it on his own “because I run faster than you Mummy” and then changed his mind.
I guess that staying up until stupid o’clock to watch Kona wasn’t the best preparation. I did fall asleep in the chair but was grateful for a knock on the door (they’d got the wrong house) which woke me up just in time to hear “Matthew Malloy – Great Britain.”
Glorious morning. Morgan caught up with about 40 other pupils from his school and they all did a warm up. The local paper photographer collared me and my friend Ann, we’ll see! We made our way to the start. My heart began to race and I felt sick. Had to have a little talk to my self. It’s a fun run. You don’t get a time. The majority of competitors are kids. I just started humming “Happy Birthday to you.” Works every time.
And we were off. Morgan raced ahead and waited for me pretty much all the way home. About a hundred yards from the finish is a little shop. I nearly strangled him when he said “can we go in and get a drink?”
I’d “run” without a HRM and stopwatch but did activate Map My Run at the start. I forgot to turn it off at the finish. I’m absolutely delighted with 14:53 min/mile. (yes I know it’s rap but for me it’s less crap than usual!)
We collected our medals and I took Morgan home and walked back to support the 10K. The route actually goes past the end of our road so I was able to spectate and cheer from 3 different vantage points. Only 3 Wrecsam Tri guys this year, the lovely Lisa Morely, a work colleague and her husband, another work colleague’s daughter and 3 people from the gym. At the end Ceri from the gym came up to me and said “Next year Lynne, you are doing it.” I can’t wait a year. Helena Tipping 10K (Wrexham) entered 2 December. 7 weeks piece of cake.
I’m writing this week off and doing what I should have done this week next week. The worst thing about this week is I haven’t lost a single ounce.
"You will never get to the end of the journey if you stop to shy a stone at every dog that barks." ~
I have completed my first week of Outlaw training and am still alive.
For the first time in over 2 years I took my road bike on the road and was amazed how good it felt. I cannot believe I have wasted so much time terrified of falling off. The answer was so simple. Use SPD’s but don’t clip in. In fairness the roundabout and traffic light fairies were looking down on me and I only had to stop once. My legs felt great. My breathing was OK but oh my giddy Aunt (yes I have been watching The Great British Bake Off!) my lady bits were in agony.
As if my magic the 3 times, including the Celtman, Ironman Ian Houston pulls up alongside me and we have a little chat. “Your biggest problem Lynne is going to be finding the time to fit in all the training.” Now much as I appreciate his opinion I beg to differ. As he peeled off to support the Horseshoe pass Hill Climb it gave me time to contemplate. My problems I believe will be 1.Don’t get ill 2. Don’t get injured 3.Don’t get divorced.
I am reading but not following Don Fink’s Be Iron Fit. There are 168 available hours in the week. I work full time. Whilst I have been known to work 50+ hours per week in this job at the moment I’m doing less than 40. I live less than 5 minutes drive from work. I am fortunate to be married to Mark,a full time house husband who not only looks after our almost 7 year old, Morgan but also does all the washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning. I love spending time with my elder 2 “children” (from a previous marriage) but at 16 and 18 they don’t need a great deal of parental responsibility.
So I reckon that gives me a great deal of time for training. I prefer to train early morning and have no problem running in the dark. Bike wise there’s no way. I’ve invested the money I would be spending on wine and junk food in a turbo and I can use the bikes in the gym (spin bikes next goal). Swimming I have 3 X 1 hour opportunities open to me. A very quiet do my own thing laned swim on a Monday, a Wrecsam Tri Club session on a Thursday and a Tri specific, all abilities coached session on a Friday. I do not have the confidence to go to Wrecsam Tri Club session YET. I’ve been to 2 of the Tri specific coached sessions. I absolutely loved the first one. Apparently my breathing was absolutely spot on and as long as that was OK they could “cure” everything else. Last Friday’s was completely rubbish but then I’d been snuffly all week and my runs had been way under par too.
Mark, even though he would never admit it, will give me full support for training. What he objects to is me sitting in front of a lap top from when I come in from work or training to when I go to bed posting or reading Facebook/Twitter and Tri Talk or anything else Ironman related and once he’s pointed this out to me I have to agree.
I can be totally selfish in my Outlaw training but I’ve got to give a bit back.
Mark and Morgan made no objections to coming with me to buy a Turbo yesterday. Mark didn’t object (much) to setting my turbo up yesterday afternoon (he’s of the school, is all else fails – read the instructions!). I’d made plans to go and watch the Chester Marathon today but had to concede that I needed to make a serious deposit in the Family Bank so I “helped” Mark put anti-freeze in my car (I left the radiator cap off a few weeks ago and lost all the water and anti-freeze). Morgan can ride a bike but is rather nervous. We spent over an hour this afternoon up and down the closed section of road near my office which although not steep has an incline which has given him tremendous confidence. I walked quickly the whole time which I guess puts extra time in the training bank (I’ve already agreed on a run/walk strategy for the Outlaw marathon).
I was warned I’d feel tired. I didn’t expect to feel it so soon. I am very guilty of watching crap telly until stupid o’clock. That’s got to go I know. I’m pretty sure I’m fighting off some kind of a bug so am dosing myself liberally with Centrum Performance (for athletes – yup that’s me an athlete!)
As for my undercarridge problems, I think I’ve got to stop being so girly and HTFU. Riding my road bike for an extra half an hour, very slowly, every day, on Morgan’s learning track I’m hoping will get me used to the saddle so that I can double this morning’s efforts next week.
All in all a really good week where I’ve learned some more important lessons and entered The Helsby Half on 20 January.
So the Outlaw entered and a PT session arranged for last Wednesday with Iain my PT. I rang him beforehand asking if I needed my trainers or a notebook. The answer is unprintable. When I got there before he could start I asked if he was going to shout.
“Lynne, you’ve entered. The deed is done. There’s nothing we can do about it and me shouting won’t make it any better.”
I think I’d preferred to be bawled out.
He went on to verbalise everything that had been spinning in my head for the previous 48 hours. It would take time, lots of time. It would take commitment and a cast “iron” will. 9 months to Ironman is possible. 9 months to Ironman from someone who could barely swim, was scared of falling off her bike and could just about run 5k is possible but the odds are definitely not in my favour.
I must remember that all the people who say “Go Lynne go!” won’t be getting up with me at stupid o’clock to run in freezing, raining, howling gale conditions. They won’t have to sort their family, do a full day’s work and then have to go out again and freeze their bits off for 2 hours on the bike.
I left under no illusion that the next 9 months will be the toughest of my life but remembering the euphoria a felt when I completed my first triathlon and multiplying it a 1000 fold would make it worth it. Instructions were to map out a schedule of what time was available and he would fill in the blanks and in the meantime do what I could.
Thursday I ran, not far but a minute quicker than the previous week. Had Now That’s What I Call Running on shuffle on my phone. Started with Maniac, somewhere along the middle had Simply The Best and came home to The Rocky Theme.
Friday I attacked the bike at the gym and did a mind numbingly boring 40 minutes.
Saturday I’d scheduled a long run but I forgot to reset my alarm and got up too late. Morgan has a swimming lesson at 9 so I need to be back. I wasn’t too concerned as I promised I’d do it later in the day. Then the day takes over. My Mum has early stages of Alzheimer’s. She was having a bad day so we ended up taking her to Mold Food Festival. We got back home at 7 so the run didn’t happen.
Sunday, long bike. Couldn’t find my shoes. 20 minutes later found them behind the bike. Was ready to go out of the door and Mark pointed out my tyres were flat. Needless to say I didn’t make it.
Monday, torrential rain so gym bike agan. This time I had a secret weapon, Don Fink’s going Long as recommended by Dr Dre. The time went really quickly and I actually enjoyed myself. I even ran for 10 minutes on the treadmill (I detest treadmills with a passion!) When I got home from work it was still raining and a nice cozy curled up on the sofa with Nigella was very appealing however, I forced myself out of the door and had an absolutely glorious hour of swimming with a lane to myself.
Tuesday was all set to run. Began to feel queasy and then was violently sick.
Yesterday another gym bike session with Don Fink.
This morning I ran. Outside. Absolutely loved it. Really listened to the lyrics of DJ Fresh’s “Louder”
We're gonna get stronger
We're gonna feel better
You can't tame this energy inside
I gotta reach higher
I wanna burn like a fire
Gotta move faster
You can't tame this energy inside
Very important lessons this week.
Perfect Planning and Preparation Prevents Pi55 poor performance. I will always check my kit the night before.
Iain’s schedule begins on Monday 1st October, how tidy is that? Picked up an academic week to a view diary too for the princely sum of 60p.
Coached swim session tomorrow – can’t wait.
Megga thanks for all your good wishes and encouragement.
Ironman Wales was the goal. A whole year to train for it. Home turf, Welsh turf. Inspired by several clubmates completing it yesterday and then with a delay on the tracker worried that a couple wouldn't make the cut off, knowing how fit they were and how hard they'd trained and knowing a year wouldn't make me as good as them.
So...I asked a question of a very good mate of mine who happens to be be male, "If you were female, very overweight, unfit and almost 49, which IM distance triathlon would you do?"
The answer was the Outlaw but there were 1095 entries with a maximum of 1100. Huge dilemma.
So I did what any (ir)rational desperate to be an Ironman before her 50th Birthday would do. I entered.
So that's me. Dedicating the next 9 months of my life to being an Outlaw.
Transition Ted's wife says he'll do me a plan. He might after kicking my @rse all the way to Nottingham for entering.
Sue will hold my hand every step of the way and make sure I achieve this .
Please, please, please folks kick my @rse - that's the only way I',m going to achieve it and I need it so bad
“You know how it feels to reach too high, too far, too soon
I saw the crescent. You saw the whole of the Moon”
~ The Waterboys
First things first. I’ve lost a pound in 2 weeks and a very lucky pound it’s been too.
I’ve felt yuck. Not ill just really lethargic and can’t get out of bed yuck. Coach Jim was on half term and he was far too busy socialising to pay any attention to his poor Mother . Now I know it would have been perfectly possible to do my planned exercise without him but to cut a long story short I didn’t.
There’s been a lot going on with my Mum, her health and sorting out her affairs which has been absolutely draining.
Last Sunday was far too icy to run so decided to walk the dog instead. I slipped on a manhole cover and twisted my knee. In fairness I have done upper body exercise this week but not nearly as much as I should have and I could have gone swimming but that didn’t happen either.
On Friday I went to Liverpool to see South Pacific with the girls from work. It was excellent. I drove and borrowed hubby’s car. I know for a fact he loves his car more than me. It was not such a good idea to bring it back with go faster yellow stripes courtesy of the car park wall. Let’s just say things are a tad fraught in our house at the moment. I am still alive though which technically I guess is a miracle.
Today was the Mold leg of the Borders League. I’d volunteered to marshall and as usual got there far too early. Was lovely to see some old familiar faces and great for Wrecsam Tri Club to see quite a few in team vests I didn’t recognise. The legend that is Ultraman Shaun O'Keefe welcomed me with energy bars from his sponsors Shotz. I’ve not tried them before but the Apple Berry Blast is by far the best tasting in all the world ever. I managed to get a 45 minute power walk in glorious sunshine before the start and worked up quite a sweat. We were marshalling on the first corner. I love the power of yelling at a field of 295 to “get on the pavement.” We walked back up to the finish and I had the pleasure of assisting a lovely 12 year old in handing out sinishing tokens. It was incredibly warm and I was gobsmacked to see the lead car coming back in 25 minutes. There were some fantastic and brave performances and many moments of humour especially Ian James of Wrexham AC who came 4th repeating and repeating “I am so unfit.” It was very disappointing that Wrecsam Tri didn’t have a single female competitor. I’ve said for years I want to race the Borders. I’ve “run” it on many occasions but it takes me 80 minutes. If I can get it under the hour, which should be possible with 6 stone of free speed, I will race it next year.
A race always inspires me and I can’t wait to get out there this week and rack up some serious mileage.
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven.
~William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
What I failed to mention in the last blog was that I developed a headache on my Saturday run. An absolutely banging, pulsating wanting to throw up headache. This lasted for a week. I did go to the Doctors. He diagnosed migraine. I, queen of self diagnosis (commonly called hypochondriac), diagnosed withdrawal symptoms of all the crap I’d been poisoning my body with for the past 48 years.
My 16 year old middle son is incredibly fit (did I mention he plays Academy Football and went to Benefice’s Academy last year and is off to Real Madrid’s Academy at Easter?) he’s off to college in September to do sports science so me in my infinite wisdom decided he could practice on me. He’s an absolute slave driver. I do the strength exercises until I physically feel I can do no more and he makes me do them all again, this time with “eye contact.” I’m really ready to divorce him. I am so close to tears. Never has no pain no gain meant so much to me. Physically my arms and legs are shaking when I’ve finished. I don’t enjoy it one bit. I love the feeling of satisfaction when it’s over.
I ran this morning and absolutely loved it.
Foodwise everything’s changed. Portion size has probably halved and I’m not hungry. The balance of the plate is completely different too. I made chilli last night and used half my regular amount of meat but bulked it up with extra tomato and beans. Snacking’s stopped and alcohol is banned from the house. I’m getting a bit OCD about the whole thing but I did go out with work on Wednesday for a fabulous meal. I just made informed choices and had a “couple” of glasses of wine. The difference was I was in control. Before I went I’d decided I wasn’t going to be a party pooper and because there was no guilt about “failing” the next day I got straight back on track.
I lost 4lb in week 2 and 2lb last week. That’s a stone in 3 weeks which equates to 5% of my body weight. I am currently ranked 124 of 768 in the Biggest Loser Fastrack Challenge of % weight loss, not that I’m competitive or anything.
“In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time.” ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book
Last post 24 October – dear me – not good. That just about sums up things in this life that is Lynne.
The Chest infection didn’t clear. Then I got a kidney infection. Then I got another chest infection. Worse was still to come and I got a serious dose of “cant be arsed” and that’s how I ended 2011.
2012 arrived with great expectations and still I barely shifted this fat hillbilly ass.
As if by magic a wonderful present fluttered its way into my Inbox. A Groupon offer for an 8 week Richard Callender Biggest Loser challenge for £40. Never one to resist a challenge I signed up there and then. Before anybody starts having a go about shakes and meal replacement bars… it’s not like that, honest.
Part of the Challenge was to clear the fridge and cupboards of all crap. This was such a satisfying task. I do believe the binmen of Mold have put in a complaint about the weight of a certain bin on Alexandra Road :-) Then there was the “big” shop. 2 ½ in Asda is enough to drive anybody to drink but the wine remained firmly on the shelf.
The Challenge itself started last Sunday. I weighed a horrific 17stone 11.2lbs. I got the kids to take proper Biggest Loser before pictures. Wearing only a sports bra and running shorts. Front, back and one from each side. They were absolutely horrendous and obviously, I bawled my eyes out. Then when I realised 1. nobody was taking any notice of me 2.it wasn’t doing any good and 3. the whole point in taking the pics is to show how bad I’ve got and how good I’m going to feel looking back did I stop the whinging and embrace the challenge with open arms.
There is a calorie restriction of 1200 and a sample menu which included lots of bread so that was totally out for me. The logic behind it is 45-65% of calories should come from carbs, 20-30% from fat and 15-25% from protein. I was introduced to the app myfitnesspal very early on in the week and basically I just scanned everything. It’s been the biggest eye opener ever to this person who’s tried every diet on the planet and thought I knew the calorific value of everything. I asked my boss to get me a “healthy” wrap and was chuffed when he brought back a prawn cocktail. I was horrified to find out it contained 495 calories and 24.9g of fat. I’m beginning to understand now exactly why I’m so fat.
Only on the prawn cocktail day did I go over my allowance and then it was only by 17 calories.
Exercise wise the challenge is to do between 400 and 600 extra calories a day which I’ve managed quite easily. There is a detailed exercise plan which I’ve tweeked a bit here and there to fit in with my triathlon training but lets just say I never new burpees were so painful, what a plyometric squat was and thought a downward dog was an Australian Dingo. I’ve hurt a bit (well quite a lot actually) but am absolutely delighted to report no pain no gain has given me a weight loss of 8.2lbs.
Onwards and upwards – Chirk 11 weeks and counting and I’ve entered the Chester half on 13 May