Sunday, 6 April 2014

Harlech 2014

We’ll forget about training and stuff. Let’s just say I haven’t been well for a while which manifested itself in a massive abscess on my gum another between my back two teeth which are now both loose and I’m likely to lose so super strength antibiotics and onwards and upwards.

More importantly…

On 1 March I completed my Local Technical Official’s course. It was run by Tom Roberts of Welsh Triathlon and Sue Taylor of Triathlon England. They are both extremely talented and experienced officials who made the course interesting, informative and highly enjoyable.

I didn’t know calf guards were banned in the pool. I didn’t know “competitors may not run on the defined run course without shoes.” There’s probably an awful lot else I didn’t know but when you’re being taught in such a pleasant environment the lines between what you know and what you’re being taught blur slightly.

There is an extensive knowledge test which has to be completed in your own time (you can use the course material and rule book!)
Llangefni didn’t have a Race Official so I was unable to shadow.

Tom very kindly put me in touch with James and Belinda Glover the Officials for Harlech who kindly agreed that I could shadow.
I had no idea how much pre-preparation goes into being a Race Official. Belinda sent me all the information she had been sent by the Race Organiser including Competitor Information and Risk Assessments. It took an age to read and, more importantly, digest. We agreed to meet just after 7am.

The forecast was pretty grim and Belinda (and Tom) had advised me to take a change of clothes. After my experience at Bala Standard last year I will NEVER attend an event without a change of clothes and towel.

There was as much preparation (if not more) than if I was racing. All the paperwork, whistle, pins, gaffer tape, full change of clothes, 2 coats, baseball cap, gloves, spare shoes. With hindsight I should have packed the car last night.
Alarm went off at 4.30!!! I left by 5.20. Everything was going swimmingly, SatNav eta 7.07 which to me is just after 7. Just before 7 I hit road works and as the blokies running the road works walked towards me I knew things were going pear shaped. A tree had come down blocking the road. They told me I’d have to turn around and make a 70 mile detour (I’d only done 62 miles!) I explained I was on my way to a triathlon and the race couldn’t start without me (what’s a while lie between friends?) I pleaded with them to be let through. They were amazingly polite and professional but wouldn’t budge. I told them I’d drive under it and take full responsibility but they were having none of it. They did let me “inspect for myself.” Walking back they were coming towards me. They’d cobbled together various handsaws and tools to cut down offending tree. The queue behind me was all competitors and marshals!

On my way back to the car I discovered this little fella

I arrived at 7.30 so it wasn’t too bad; met James; inspected Registration (which was absolutely immaculate) and had a butchers at the race permit then off to meet Belinda in the pool.

We listened to the race brief and watched the first dozen or so swimmers off and then I had a word with a cyclist who was walking pool side wearing the timing chip to tell him his swimmer would have to run down to the bike with him only to be shut up by being told his swimmer was blind.

She was amazing. It took an awful lot of self-restraint not to cry.

Somebody got out of the pool wearing…. calf guards. Off to the race brief I popped to ensure “calf guards are not allowed in the swim” was included and to let the body markers know.

Saw a lady heading to the swim wearing calf guards and asked her very politely to remove them to which she replied “Why?” “Because they’re illegal.” “Since when?”

I headed outside. It wasn’t cold just breezy. Lots of disk wheels which we had to warn to take extra care (why would you knowing how exposed the bike route is and the forecast for such strong winds?)

A few little chats about displaying numbers, then I asked a guy heading out on the bike where his number was. He showed me – on the front and on the back of his T shirt. Fine, but, he was wearing a jacket. I explained that his number needed to be displayed on his back so that it could be seen. He argued that it would ruin his waterproof. We compromised and I ended up taking his waterproof to his supporters.

It started to rain. It started to hail. I encouraged a few not to attempt to use earphones for the run. I suggested it might not be such a good idea to run in your cycle helmet. I was relieved by Belinda who sent me to get a hot drink and a bacon bap. It was massive and gorgeous but it was only when I got back out there I realised how absolutely cold and wet I was. I have never seen so many competitors struggle to add layers and do up zips, many gave up trying and head out in trisuits.

When the motorcycle sweep returned it was time to get back to the car and move up to the castle for the finish. I had to sit on a towel to drive up and had an absolute wardrobe malfunction trying to get changed in the car. I think I, kind of, empathised with the athletes obviously their plight was far worse than mine.

No penalties. No disqualifications. I received many thanks and many congratulations for which I’m really grateful. First shadow complete, lots of lessons learned and very positive feedback off the Glover’s in my Log Book.

Lots of positives from today. One of the highlights was a customised transition box which I thought was pure dead brill.

Next stop Chirk – bring it on!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

It's not over 'til the Fat Lady sings

I read earlier Dame Tanni Grey Thompson retweet of a link to a blog. The “owner” refers to herself as a “fat” girl and then goes on to moan about the abuse she gets for being “fat,” particularly the derogatory shouts she gets whilst out running. She’s also making money by being “fat” by publishing a “fat” book.

Ok abuse is abuse and is not nice but are there different shades of abuse?

When I was much younger and much thinner I used to get the odd cat call off building sites. Abuse? Probably.

I am now the “fat bird” that runs and yes I do get yelled at. So what? It’s not nice. If it makes the yellers happy it certainly doesn’t upset me. I may be fat but can they run 10k? In a year’s time I won’t be fat but they’ll still be ignorant.

This particular blogger said it was like shouting abuse at the “disabled.” Well actually it’s not. Less able bodied are the way they are because of an illness or accident. Fat people are fat because they eat too much and or don’t exercise enough. I make no apologies for saying the genetic makeup or slow metabolism doesn’t wash with me any more.

I am fat because I have abused my body for years with excess food, excess alcohol and not enough exercise. I am now able to stop blaming derogatory comments, society, advertising, unrealistic body images and take responsibility myself. I am fat because of what I (not anybody else) chose to put in my mouth. There is nothing stopping me taking the healthy option. There is nothing stopping me stopping when I’m full not because I need to clear the plate because of all those starving African children my Mother reminded me of when I was a child.

I am truly sorry for anybody who lets derogatory comments get to them. I personally would much rather take pleasure from the encouragement and support I do get. I can absolutely guarantee that for every negative experience I get on my runs there are at least 10 “Well done.” “You’re doing great.” “Keep going girl.” To be perfectly honest to get called “girl” when I’m 50 is pleasure in itself.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Run Fat B!tch Run

Dry January massive fail.

Jantastic 2 runs in 2 months – massive fail.

Now I’m a firm believer in fate. Things happen for a reason and people come into your life at exactly the right time so…
For reasons I’d rather not go into here but you can all draw your own conclusions which will probably be right, on Friday I made the commitment to give up alcohol. As part of my coping mechanism I planned to really start running “consistently” again. I posted this picture on Face Book.

I received a reply from one of my friends in The Biggest Loser group (who has lost an enormous amount of weight) “Excuse the title but this book really helped me.”

Never one to shy away from the next greatest thing it was downloaded to my Kindle (£2.99) and I started to devour. It could have been written specifically for me:-

“Can you hear a nagging little voice, like a mosquito buzzing around your head? ‘loser, I knew you wouldn’t do it. I knew you would give up. No one is going to believe a word you say if you can’t stick to a small promise.'”

“So if I’m going to do it I find that calling myself nasty names is far more motivating and it has the added benefit of really making me laugh.”

“Negative affirmations are not for the faint hearted or psychologically fragile. If you are the kind of person who falls apart when criticised, this is not for you.”

“Spectacular results are only achieved by spectacular effort.”

“Stop feeling depressed about being fat and start doing something about it. Go outside and start walking.”

“Nothing in this life of any value is gained without pain and sacrifice.”

The basics are stop procrastinating. Stop wasting hours with lists and plans and get out and do. I missed my run yesterday reading the damn book which is a bit ironic.

For beginners (which of course I’m not) is to walk 90 minutes 4 times a week. Building up to add in some jogging so that within 8 weeks the whole circuit can be completed in 45 minutes. It builds to a 5k race plan, a 10K, a half and a full marathon.
Before I know it I’ve convinced myself Chester Marathon on 5th October is doable.

I’ve just been out and “run” 5k. First 5K since September and only the 6th “run” since September. I “ “ the run because 51 minutes is hardly more than a shuffle pace however, it’s my base and can only improve.

If I hadn’t spent so much time procrastinating (music choice, wardrobe malfunction, loss of satellite on my Garmin, chest strap inside out) I might have avoided the headwind.

Another reason this is going to work this time is, I’m on annual leave this week so no time excuses. Once I get out there and "do" I love it, habit is established and I'm on fire - no burn outs this time though.

I’m not abandoning triathlon. I’ve dusted the cobwebs off my track pump, inflated the tyres on my road bike and am all set to get out there tomorrow (please wind die down – I can’t face the turbo!)

And now for the really exciting news……

Drum roll if you please!

Nest Saturday I am taking Welsh Triathlon’s Local Technical Official’s course. I am shadowing at LLangefni in March, Chirk in April, Wilmslow in May and then I will be (“hopefully” banished from the dictionary) a fully qualified Triathlon pool based referee.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Year - Change One Thing - Healthy

So the wheels came off the wagon (yet again I hear you cry!)

No excuses. We had a week away in Majorca in July and when I came back there was an internal vacancy available for a Business Support Lead in one of our Independent Mental Hospitals. I ticked every box on the personal specification and consequently got the job. There was a lot of “finishing up” in the old role and “bedding in” in the new role so I’ve basically worked stupid hours for the last 6 months. I leave the house before 8 so the gym wasn’t (isn’t) an option. I could have biked. I could have run. I could have done classes after work . I didn’t.

New Year. New Resolutions. No habit changes. Change ONE thing. Healthy. It doesn’t fit into any SMART rules but that’s the plan.

I’ve signed up to Dry January.

I’ve signed up to Jantastic (you decide on how many runs a week and log them – I’ve committed to 3).

I’ve signed up for a British Nutrition Foundation Course – An Introduction to Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

I’ve entered the Deva Divas 27 July (the event I had my meltdown DNF in 2010)

I’ve entered the ballot for the GNR 7 September.

I’m tempted to enter Mad Dog 10K on 16 February in Southport and Rhyl 10 miler the week after on 23 February.

The week before Christmas I had a little slip in work and landed on my knee. I’ve had GP all clear but I need to see how it goes.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Injury Free 2014. May we all achieve our goals and smash our PB’s.