Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year Goals 2017

Well, here we are. It's 2017. We're two days in. Did you make any New Year's resolutions? I'm always setting new goals, looking to learn new things and setting myself new challenges.  I thought I would share these with you, and maybe you will either be inspired (hopefully!), or just find it interesting. Here goes:

- I plan to deal with my acromegaly diagnosis as well as I possibly can. It's not every day you are diagnosed with a serious health condition, but it's not like I can do anything to change it, so I'm going to try and not let it define the whole of my future. It's early days in my diagnosis, so more on that in a future post.

- Blog more. I've neglected this blog so much recently. When I get so much from it, it's a crazy idea to not pursue it and develop it further. So, watch this space for new developments.

- Continue to use and evolve my BUJO. What? I hear you say? BUllet JOurnal. I started to use a Bullet Journal (http://bulletjournal.com/get-started/)  in late summer of 2016 when I was looking for a new way to manage a heavy workload. Guess what? It's a paper-based system, but it really works. I use it to manage my daily work activities and it forces you to prioritise. Why not give it a go?

- Maintain my exercise regime.  I was third in my age group in the UK London Triathlon league 2016 which I was really pleased about. Full results are here: London League Age group results 2016 I was also the winner of the ladies duathlon award for my tri club - South London Harriers triathlon club.
A super-proud moment was to receive the Coach's Award for 2016. I was awarded it for coming back from my hideous crash in 2014 and managing to compete again. It was a great moment.  I plan to maintain and maybe even improve on this (health permitting!) in 2017. If you are interested in London League  find out about the 2017 race schedule here: https://www.britishtriathlon.org/london/london-leagues/senior-series

- Eat less sugar. I think I eat too much sugar. I plan to look at my diet and see if I can make some sensible changes.

- Maintain a sense of perspective. There's a lot going on this year. I have my exercise  and race goals, health issues that cannot be ignored, CC's exams and a full-time job. In all of this, I need to maintain a sense of perspective and not try and do everything. I might have metal in my bones, but I'm not quite a robot yet!

So, where are you with your 2017 goals? It's not too late to set some. Leave me a comment. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hello stranger

Well, it looks like it's been more than 18 months since I last posted. I just can't STAND those blogs where nothing is posted for months on end, and there am I doing that exact same thing. Me BAD and I apologise profusely. See, it's not even a New Year's resolution to pick this up again, because here I am, right here, right now.

I can't even remember the rest of 2015, suffice to say it went along with no major happenings as I slowly recovered from the crash in 2014 and built up my exercise regime to try and get back to my pre-crash self. I basically had a 'year off'. It took me a long time to get over my injuries and I now know that some aspects of my body (specifically my elbow and collarbone) will never be the same again. That's ok though, hell, I never really, really liked circuit training and yoga anyway, so now I have a perfect excuse as it's difficult (read impossible) to put weight through my elbow for a long time, so no burpees or downward dog for me!

2016 has been plagued with illness. Novovirus? Anyone out there had that? I know you have. One minute I'm in the lounge having eaten my dinner feeling my fabulous self, the next I had my face on the bathroom floor, and was trying to empty all of the liquid contents out of my body from any and every available orifice. Pleasant it is not. That came on the back of a pretty horrendous flu and chest infection too, so the year up to March pretty much passed me by and I missed a couple of planned races.

That said, through February to September, I managed to complete the following races during the season : Crystal Palace triathlon, Thames Turbo triathlon, Southwater relays triathlon, Windrush aquathlon, Bedford duathlon, London Fields Aquathlon and Jekyll and Hyde duathlon. Overall, this saw me come 3rd in my age group in the British Triahtlon London league, which then meant that I scooped the club Ladies duathlon award as well as the Captains's award for basically being brilliant in 2016. Get me!

I continued to be plagued by various infections - including impetigo, two ear infections and a particularly nasty bout of sinusitis. Each time I pushed the exercise envelope, I became ill. The illnesses came with a pretty severe fatigue each time which I have never had before, so I would go from running 10km one day to being unable to walk to the kettle the next. I have never spent so much time on the sofa...

To cut a long story short, I had my GP refer me to an immunologist, who then referred me on to an endocrinologist. It seems I have a hormone disorder called acromegaly caused by a benign tumour on the pituitary gland. Search it on the internet, it's an interesting condition and finally provides an answer to the illness and odd symptoms. 

I'll see the docs in the new year, so I will post again then. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to a fab Christmas and I am determined to get fitter than ever. Who knows... maybe there's a half iron(wo)man in me yet.

Merry Christmas All. Chase your dreams. Never give up on them.





Monday, March 23, 2015

Getting back on my feet...

Sorry I haven't posted for such a very long time, I'm slowly getting back on my feet.

These past two weeks I've managed to do the park run twice, this past Saturday I managed the 5km race in 27:40. Of course, I'm still 2 minutes slower than my pre-crash time, but I have to start somewhere right ? I haven't run very much at all in the last 8 months and not at all from July to December whilst my fractured pelvis healed properly.

I'm not back to cycling properly yet, I have bought a lovely new pink Kask helmet though, like this one here, which I hope to wear soon, and is a step towards getting back into proper cycling.

In the meantime, I have signed up for the Windrush Aquathlon, which I am told is a really enjoyable race, so I'm looking forward to that. It's a 500m run, followed by a 5km run. It's not quite the half ironman that I was training for this time last year, but sometimes things happen and you just have to re-adjust, reorganize, and move on.

When have you had to re-address your goals ? How did you approach it ? Did it still work out for you ? I'd love to hear your stories. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Excuses, excuses

With a new job and training for a half ironman, I never really get time to blog any more..

My last post was on June 13 and to say a lot has happened since then is somewhat of an understatement.

On July 13 I had a bike crash. I won't go into details, but suffice to say that I suffered multiple fractures, a punctured lung and had an operation to repair my shattered elbow and collar bone.

The fact that I was wearing a helmet probably saved my life. In hospital a neuro nurse mentioned that she saw many injuries that were far worse because the person was not wearing a helmet. So, if there is anyone out there that doesn't wear a helmet for whatever reason, please re-consider. It could save your life. I know it saved mine.

I'm at home now and have been recuperating for a couple of weeks. My first follow-up x-ray is tomorrow and I'm hoping for good news. I've been looking forward to this appointment for what feels like forever, but is actually only about 2 weeks. Why? You might wonder. Well.. firstly, I see it as a first step on my road to recovery ... and  ..... I finally get to leave the house. I've been out once in three weeks, in a wheelchair, as I'm non-weight bearning on my fractured pelvis, so you can imagine that I'm a little stir crazy...

Of course all bets are off as far as the half ironman is concerned... and any form of exercise at the moment, even walking.. so when you feel like you don't want to exercise, please get out there and take an extra step for me.

I just can't wait to go for a walk in the countryside with my dog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A New Bathroom

Just by chance that I happened upon the Mumsnet blogger site tonight and saw a competition sponsored by Victoria Plumb . Do click the link and take their Great British Home survey. It's lots of fun - flip to the end of this blog post to see my results

It seems that bathrooms are the woe of my life. BB and I have installed two shower rooms and one 'powder room' in Labour of Love in France. There's no bath to be found, but the showers are fantastic. BB and I have a tiny ensute shower room in France with a walk-in shower big enough to share, and a huge concrete sink.

BB dropped some sort of harsh cleaner in the sink which stripped part of the vanish off it, so at some point we will have to replace the sink, which I'm gutted about.

Otherwise, the area is tiled in large shiny beige tiles, with some marble mosaic behind the sink and the shower, and it is gorgeous.

CC has a tiny, teeny shower room with a pink shower, and a pink sink unit. We have some mosaic tiles again behind the sink and shower with large white tiles. We also chose to put a pebble mosaic on the floor and travelled to Sussex to get the tiles as it's actually not easy to find pebble mosaic floor tiles. The reason we chose these was because the floor is uneven and these tiles would allow for this.

Here's a shot of CC's shower room showing the pink shower, the mosaic tiles and the white tiles and the polka dot shower curtain. It has a corner base to maximise the floor space.
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As for the cloakroom, that is as yet untouched, we are just putting the finishing touches to the lounge - e.g. plasterboarding the walls, so the cloakroom will have to wait. That's not to say that I don't have plans for it. There is a toilet with a pump as the powder room is slightly below ground level, so the waste has to be pumped to ground level. See how technical my knowledge is !! So, we won't replace that.

There is a tiny sink with one tap and cold water only - who knew you could get such a thing. Obviously I plan to replace that with a larger sink with two taps, and probably some sort of unit hopefully involving glass blocks. I really like glass blocks...

Meanwhile back in the UK, the bathroom is another story. There is no shower.. The room is not large - it has wooden cladding around the walls. BB does not want to remove the cladding.. but, we would both like a shower installed.. so at the moment we are debating replacing the corner bath with a straight bath (awful problems finding one to fit in the small space). Then installing a small shower in the space that is left between the toilet and the bath.. Oh, and  BB also does not want to have to do a lot of re-tiling...
 

If that doesn't sound like a nightmare bathroom project I don't know what does...

Incidentally my Victoria Plumb Great British Home Survey quiz results were as follows:

Everything about you screams glamour; you always look photo-ready, whether you are working out, shopping in designer boutiques or snuggled up at home in your designer onesie. You crave home comforts that make a statement - a faux fur blanket, embellished cushions and lots of crushed velvet. You use neutral shades mixed with metallic. Pride of place are family portraits, kitchen gadgets and the keys to your Range Rover


Well I don't know about glamour and always looking photo ready... but I do have a faux fur blanket and embellished cushions. I have no crushed velvet, but I do favour lots of neutral shades with metallic. For example my kitchen has embelllished dark grey and silver wallpaper with an Indian style large print in silver on a slate grey background. It is gorgeous.

The previous photos of the kitchen on this blog are total proof that family portraits and kitchen gadgets take pride of place.. as for my car, not quite a Range Rover .. but yes, a Land Rover ...


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sexism Alive and Well in the UK

These last few weeks I've been seeing, reading and experiencing numerous examples of sexism alive and well in this our, so called, days of 'equal opportunity'. What on earth is going on ?

I was watching TV recently, most shows that I watch now have been pre-recorded, or it's something on delay TV, so I can fast-forward the adverts, but on this particular day I must have been watching something as it was broadcast and therefore not able to fast forward the ads.. and, oh my, what an eye opener !

First I watched a yoghurt advert (thankfully I don't recall the brand otherwise I would be boycotting ALL of their products) and watched a girl pour milk into a yoghurt, call it a milkshake and then hand it to her 'brother'. But why didn't the boy make the yoghurt-milkshake and then hand it to his 'sister' ??

Then there's the Boots summer ad; there's Mum rubbing cream on the kids, a young woman waxing 'some area' of her body - thankfully we don't see - and then another female - in a tent applying make-up, presumably at a festival or camping trip. My big question is : don't Boots sell to men any more ? I can tell you that Dads certainly do apply sunscreen to their kids, and males go to festivals and they also use wax. So, Boots, where were the men in your ad ???

Then, the worse one of all, was the shaving foam or razor advert - I don't recall which, mainly because I was gob-smacked at the man's need for the assistance of a female whilst he shaved - she was either stroking his face, or pulling the blade or something. I mean, for goodness sake, can I guy not shave his own face ??

The problem is not that I have a problem per se with these old fashioned adverts, but what sort of message does this send out to my teenage daughter? What sort of message does this give to young children, both boys and girls, watching these adverts ?

I've just read the book called 'Leaning In' by Sheryl Sandberg, and another book called 'Thrive' by Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington post. Both books talk about women needing to take a more prominent role in business and  the need for more females on the boards of major organisations.  I have one question about this - where are all the men talking about this ? Where are the men saying this is a good idea ? Why aren't the men saying it is a good idea ? Are men happy with the current status quo ?? Do men think there should be a better gender mix on today's executive boards ? Would they admit it if they didn't think it was a good idea..

Then, finally, in today's Times newspaper there's a crappy article about girls being 'dominant in the classroom', and that 'it takes a lot of  patience and commitment to get them to back down'. Wow. Is this the message that is being given to girls (in front of boys) in today's schools ? And we wonder why there are not more females on the executive boards of organisations. It seems that girls need to be given more of a voice in the classroom if there is ever going to be more women on executive boards, not less.

I was so shocked by this awful article that I asked my teenage daughter about her own experiences in her single-sex, grammar school. Attendees at this school are amongst some of the most intelligent young ladies in London and will go on to be our doctors, lawyers and MPs of tomorrow.  I asked her how the teachers handled the more dominants girls. Her reply was that there was no need, the girls are just respectful of the teacher.  Maybe the school teachers need to look a little close at their teaching in schools, rather than trying to make their female pupils 'back down'.

Can I be the only one shocked by this ? Leave me a comment  ..




Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fulontri Duathlon

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon, so I thought I would take a moment to tell you about the Fulontri Duathlon that I competed in today down at Cranleigh in Surrey.


Actually, the course was an airfield (still in use !) and is also where Top Gear is filmed. Actually as BB drove in I did keep saying that we were 'the man is the reasonably priced car'. It was quite funny.


So.. as it was a duathlon, we started off with a run of 6km, which was two nice flat loops of 3km. The ground was rather pot-holey, but otherwise fine.. I completed that in about 28 minutes.


Then on the bike, 5 laps to make up 24km and this was round the outer road, where they do the car testing - so at this point I guess I was 'the girl on the reasonably priced bike'.


The course was flat, which was great, but this was not helped by the howling wind/beating rain, nor the faster athletes who kept whizzing past me - my top speed was 41km (which I was quite pleased with ..)


Third loop in, I saw BB not on his bike.. he had a puncture so it was game over for him today ..


On I plodded through the driving rain, that last lap felt long... but not as long as the first lap of the run was going to feel.


I got to T2, jumped off the bike and my legs wouldn't really move .. I racked the bike, took the helmet off and started running, but it wasn't really running more of a stagger.. consequently those faster riders who were on their 2nd lap, were now whizzing past me on the run too...


By the time of the second lap my running legs were back (kind of..) and I managed to over take one person.. thankfully the last 3km passed quickly and before I knew it I was crossing the line.


Although it was run and bike loops, which I don't particularly like, I would do this race again for the closed-road, flat, fast bike course. My results tell me that I was 5th female in my 40-45 age group, which I'm relatively pleased with.. The 24km bike too me 49 mins.. and that last 6km took me a whole 30  minutes. Overall my results were 1:49 so just under 1:50.


Here's a link to the site in case you fancy giving it a bash next year - you never know you might see me there.