Tag Archives: goals

Heart Surgery To Ironman – October Reflection

25 Oct

Last October, I set myself a target during my recovery from heart surgery. I was 4 months post-op, had been back running for a month and was keen to test my fitness. The aim was to run 6 miles in 60 minutes. I achieved this on the 28th October 2010 and I still remember that run! It hurt every second of the way but the feeling of achievement at the end of it was incredible.

Pre-diagnosis, my running was not improving and those feelings of frustration on a hard run still haunt me sometimes. Pre-surgery, not being allowed to exercise for 5-6 months was mentally tough. Recovery was the first time I felt free to test my body again and this felt even better when I set myself targets such as my October challenge.

Now, a year on, that run symbolised the start of my training as I now know it. Through persistent effort and consistent training, I am now feeling faster, stronger and more confident. Little by little, my running, swimming and cycling times have improved. Beyond figures, how I feel has improved. It’s been a long time since I felt ‘fit’. This week I do and it made me laugh when I saw that it coincides with a similar feeling of satisfaction a year ago.

Occasionally, when I contemplate the extent of what an Ironman involves, it can be overwhelming. I haven’t got years of experience as an athlete but what I do have is strength and determination to see me through my goal.  In additional with this, I am lucky to have a lot of support, plus friends and family who believe in me. I’m very fortunate in having a great coach and appreciate how much having access to his knowledge and experience has helped. I am surrounded by people who have already achieved (several times over!) what I would like to and this makes the otherwise daunting challenge feel almost normal! Inspiration from others should never be underrated.

Through this blog, I have been contacted by more than a few heart surgery survivors, intrigued to know what is possible, how I dealt with recovery and what I feel like now. My story is shared by a few (see www.Ironheartracing.com ) and sharing the motivation to achieve athletically after this experience only spurs me on further. I might have a long scar on my chest that I’m still not comfortable with but being part of this special club makes it worth while.

What have I learnt in the last year? The importance of having a goal, that is regularly reviewed or updated. This is the thing that pushes you out of the door on a cold, dark, windy and rainy morning! It’s also the reason you make sure you have time to work towards your target. My goal is the reason many look at me and say ‘You?’ ‘Are you mad?’  The answer is, yes. Quite probably. But I am committed, happy and am out there to prove that I can do this!

My goal: Ironman!

Exciting News!

31 Jan

So, my exciting news is:

Ellasport are very kindly sponsoring me for all my running and triathlon races! Ellasport are an exciting US brand of women’s technical apparel which both look and fit great! Can’t wait for my lovely new running outfit to arrive and try it out on the seafront.

You know the feeling that everything is fitting into place? I have that now. Today I ran 11 miles in 1:46, not super fast but the best I have ever run! I am so pleased that my newly fixed heart is allowing me to run sub 10 minute miles and feel so good at the same time. I can’t believe I had been running for 4 years previously, not understanding why I had never improved. I have a lot of gratitude for all the things that are going right in my life, but also am a firm believer in positive thinking. Determination to succeed cannot be undermined.

2011 is so far proving to be the successful year I had hoped for. Not only hoped for but have been working very hard at! After an extremely busy December, I found it difficult to prioritise what I would like to achieve in 2011. After much discussion and consideration, things are becoming clearer!

The 4 main areas in my life that I am aiming to improve are:

  • Sporting goals – running, triathlon and general fitness
  • Personal career goals – launching success coaching website and training
  • Business goals – Continuing to build the empire!
  • Ongoing life goals – Material possessions, experiences, travel etc

In each of these areas I  have made headway this month. With my running, I am now on track with my marathon training and achieving the distance and times I hoped for.  The majority of my triathlon races are booked in and I can’t wait for the summer. Business is going well, but is absorbing a LARGE proportion of my time. Improvement of my time management is much needed. Of all the areas, my life goals are suffering the most. I can’t remember when I last had a day off!

Exciting news, exciting times!

9 Miles – First Long Run Of 2011

16 Jan

Supposedly 3 weeks into marathon training, today was my first ‘long run’ of the year. After a slow but successful 7 mile run last Sunday with no gliches, I felt up to the challenge of a 9 miler today. After working until 4am last night, I expected to wake up groggy and not all motivated. But, ping! my eyes were open at 11am and I was raring to get out. Having run round Bournemouth and Poole a LOT in the past, I didn’t bother to plan a specific route but took  my Garmin. I also made the effort to strap up the heart rate monitor, despite having problems with it rubbing on my scar in the past.

I set off at a steady pace, with the aim of maintaining 10:00 – 10:30 min/miles. As a glanced down at the Garmin, I kept slipping back to 9:30! Pre heart op, this just did not happen. I am almost in disbelief. As I ran down the beach at Bournemouth, I was feeling great. I had my iPod on after several runs without music. My mood took a turn for the worse as I turned onto the seafront and faced a hideous headwind, blowing sand and rain everywhere! It was one of those stretches of a long run that tests you to the limits. For the next 4 miles, I looked down, dug deep and fought the elements whilst trying desperately to maintain my pace. Finally, at the end of the beach, I headed through Poole and back home. Again, the endorphins kicked in and I felt on top of the world. I finished in 91:00, an average of 10:07. So pleased.

With many more weeks of marathon training ahead of me, I am determined to keep my commitment and focus directed towards the sub 4 goal. Some might say this is ambitious after having a long stretch off after my operation but I believe if I am careful and sensible, I will reach my goal. As I have been reading about recently, it is mental strength that often leads you through difficult times. In an endurance race, whether triathlon, marathon or anything else, your passion for succeeding will carry you to the finish line. My tactic of focusing on how fortunate I am to be out running when others can’t, is the ultimate kick up the bum when you physically start to tire. Try it! Sometimes, guilt is good!

I celebrated my small success with a delicious cinnamon and raisin bagel plus a banana milkshake. Next week I have a photo shoot for a piece about me running the Brighton half marathon – my first race since my heart surgery. I am also getting some shots of my scar as I feel it is important to share my experience with others (male and female) who might be going through something similar. Pictures coming soon!

Happy Sunday :)

6 Months Since Heart Surgery

23 Dec

Today is my 6 month anniversary since my heart surgery. Amongst the Christmas preparations, I have taken time to consider what has happened in the last year and what I would like to achieve in the next few months.

The challenges of 2011, starting with the London marathon and ending with a half Ironman distance race in September (Vitruvian) give me targets to aim for and the motivation to get out and exercise on ‘off’ days.  Heart surgery has taken away a little of my faith in my body as I am afraid to push boundaries to the extent I was before. However, I have so much more determination than I did pre-surgery as I feel I have something to prove to myself – that I can achieve the times and distances I believe I can do. The realisation of what I have physically overcome this year plays on my mind.

Striking a balance between commitment to work, financial income and business development as opposed to fitness training will be a challenge, but one I welcome. I am a firm believer in the fact that more you do, the more you are capable of. This month has been the busiest ever with events so my December fitness goals fell behind. I am not beating myself up as I have continued to exercise whenever I could. January brings a time to organise and orchestrate the rest of the year and reflect on what I am grateful for. I have a list on my desk which I look at regularly, and this helps me focus.

A few words about my scar, 6 months on. Over the cold winter months, it hasn’t been an issue in terms of people starring. A few times, I have felt a twinge of envy seeing a woman with cleavage out! The support I have had online has been incredible, as well as my friends and family. My scar is my story and of both of these, I am very proud.

Merry Christmas everyone and an extremely healthy, active and prosperous 2011!

December Goals

1 Dec

Two and a bit weeks since my last post, my excuse? Life, work, stress… all reasons that prevent us from taking action towards important goals. I guess I have felt overwhelmed with urgent tasks involved with my business which resulted in November being largely unsuccessful. Yes I have earnt money, run a few times, been to the gym, seen a friend, written an article…. Ok, maybe unsuccessful is an unfair assessment. Urgent tasks persuade us away from the difficult jobs, such as finding time to write blogs, speak to that person or work towards a short term goal.

My lack of a November goal has had a huge impact on my exercise. I have lacked motivation to get out running regularly. My knees have started complaining when I did go out and I am seeing a chiropractor to get the aches nipped in the bud.

Business is so busy, I am working at least 12 hours a day when in the office and around 16 hour days when out at events (3 times a week). I am now very behind in my ‘to do’ list!

All in all, I just can’t wait until Christmas when I can stop and take stock. A recent email from a correspondent in the US made me stop my complaining and consider all that has gone well recently. Thanksgiving in America sounds a great idea to me. In the UK, we love to moan about the weather, the economy, the recession and anything else that depresses us. The power of gratitude is overwhelming. Comparing my life to others less fortunate, less healthy, really helped me gain perspective on my perceived problems.

Already, I am finding excuses about committing to a December goal. I am tempted to fall into the common trap of delaying action, until next month ‘when things have settled down’ or ‘when I am more financially stable’. Learning from November, I refuse to go goal-less again.

My December goals will be:

To complete my first module of reading for my coaching course

To get to the gym for core / strength training at least once a week

Complete a turbo trainer session at least once a week

Body Fat and Weight Challenge Results!

12 Nov

Today is the end of the Twitter based ‘Tweigh’ challenge, and here are my results:

On 3rd September 2010 my stats were: 9 st 1 lbs, body fat of 25.8%, BMI of 20.7

Today’s stats: 8 st 11 lbs, body fat of 25.2%, BMI of 19.9

I have been careful not to obsess over weight, and focus more on burning fat. I feel great as a result! Whilst I am not overweight, I felt it was important to set myself targets to get back into shape after my operation which meant a lot of feet up on the sofa, eating the lovely chocolates I was sent! Sharing my weekly weights and stats spurred me on, as did sharing healthy eating and exercise tips.

Small goals have really kept me going since my heart surgery and I will continue to record my progress. The aim is a body fat of 23% (something I achieved back in 2007).

I have taken photos of myself to use as before and after shots, I’m not ready for these to be public just yet!!

A recent find for healthy recipes is Fitbitchuk – check it out!