Tag Archives: Training

Heart Surgery to Ironman – Spring Training

8 Jun

The main reason for this blog is recording my journey from having heart surgery last year all the way though to completing an Ironman race so here is my latest update! After completing the London marathon in April, my training took on a triathlon flavour! My first race of the season was the New Forest triathlon – an (nearly) olympic distance race. This was my third triathlon, with the last race being nearly 2 years ago.

Previous to this race, I’d had limited time on the bike, only a few sessions in the pool but plenty of time on my feet! For that reason, I took it steadily in the lake swim and exited the water feeling fresh. On the bike, I loved cycling through the beautiful New Forest. The scenery was stunning and although the wind was up, it was a steady ride. Onto the run, I felt a little challenged by some of the ‘undulating’ course, but finished the second half of the 10k on a high and even managed a sprint finish!

A year ago, completed a triathlon seemed a long way away. Getting back to a previous level of fitness was a goal to keep me motivated. Now I feel I have achieved that and am headed towards new levels of fitness! With a new and improved heart, breathing feels easier, post exercise tiredness is now what I’d call ‘normal’ and the hideous blue / purpleness has gone!

All was going well with training, despite work being so busy. If racing meant only having two hours sleep, then I did it! Missing a session was not an option, even if I was excessively tired. Keep going, keep pushing, I kept repeating to myself. If you are going to attempt an Ironman, you have to get used to tiredness, pain and pyschological challenges.

What I forgot to do amongst all this was take time off. This resulted in a small burn-out, loss of rational thinking, being unable to get up in the mornings. Small decisions became high mountains to climb. A holiday (was well as regular days off) was needed. So we did, and headed off to Dubai for 10 days.

On our return, work was even worse and sheer determination has kept me ticking over with training. I now have an amazing coach, who is really helping with my training , opening my mind to pushing myself further and taking the headache out of planning sessions. I am so excited about the future and planning my Ironman. There is so much choice with races and as you have to apply a year in advance, the clock is ticking! Favourites are the moment are Austria, Florida or the new IM NYC!

Decision to be announced soon!

From Heart Surgery to Ironman. Weeks 10 and 11

6 Sep

To those who have been reading this blog don’t get too excited, I haven’t gone out and done an Ironman!! Until now I have kept this blog post as a diary for my progress following heart surgery in June. From now, I will be recording my journey returning to the sport of triathlon and in particular the ultimate challenge of Ironman.

Over the weekend, I watched a programme on the UK Ironman race. This inspired me to begin serious research into training for the long-distance race. Which Ironman, when is realistic, what training will I need. I have begun looking for a triathlon coach as I feel I will need structure to my training and good advice to keep me on track. Through Twitter and Triblogs I have come across some great people, from local novice triathletes to train with to expert coaches from the US. I fully intend to utilise the powers of the web to aid my training!

The reaction I have had from friends, family and online acquaintances has been mixed! My brother thinks a screw has come loose. My friends understand my obsession with extreme challenges. Friends on Twitter have given me great words of encouragement which really spurs me on. The Channel 4 programme on the UK Ironman showed several participants who had a ‘story’ such as a young guy who had fallen 100ft in the ski accident and was in a wheelchair for months, a Canadian women in her 60′s on her second Ironman and countless others. Whenever I watch footage of a long distance triathlon the strength of human nature is obviously abundant and this reduces me to tears and goosebumps every time.

So what is my personal reason for wanting to do an Ironman? My heart surgery set me back in my marathon and triathlon training. I had set out goals for each year up until 2012 and as a result of my heart condition, didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast! My aim for a sub 4:30 marathon went by the wayside in 2009 as my symptoms worsened. I couldn’t understand why my running was slowing rather than improving. Doctors in March 2010, when they heard the word triathlon, told me to stop training (other than a gentle jog or walk). I found this disheartening and frustrating so tried to carry on working out for a few more weeks. Finally, I was forced to give up exercise. I was told by my cardiologist that I would never be an elite athlete (although this hadn’t been my aim). At this time, my way of getting through was to focus all my energy on ensuring I focus on the future and making sure I had the required surgery as soon as possible. This strategy worked and carried me through the tough times.

Here I am now, nearly at the golden 12 week date. 15th September to me is the start of my future as a triathlete. On that day, I will celebrate the end of my recovery period with my first cycle and swim in the pool. I have a long way to go with my training as over the last 6 months I have obviously lost fitness, have put on weight/body fat and just a little bit of confidence.

My aims for the next few weeks:

  • x 3 runs a week, slow pace (no quicker than 10 min/miles), distance between 2 – 5 miles
  • Gentle workouts at the gym, 1-2 x a week
  • Yoga x 3 a week
  • Massage or reflexology once a month to help with lingering sore neck
  • Ease back into swimming, depending on how my chest is feeling
  • Set-up my turbo and begin gentle cycle sessions x 2/3 a week
  • Research a triathlon coach
  • Record my weight/body fat and exercise sessions to keep a log

I love following a training plan and I will start looking into marathon plans that begin at the end of 2010/Jan 2011 but will not follow a plan at the moment. This is because I need to listen to my body while I resume exercise again and make sure I take the necessary rest. There is plenty of time to focus on sub 4hr marathon, olympic and 70.3 triathlon plans!

Brief race plan for 2011 – 2012.

April 2011 – London Marathon. Aiming for sub 4 hours.

Spring 2011 – Sprint distance triathlon as warm-up race

Summer 2011 – 2 or 3 olympic distance races (including Bournemouth and London)

August, September or autumn 2011 – half Ironman.

2012 – Ironman!!

Stats today:

Weight: 9 st 1 lb, Body fat: 25.8%, BMI: 20.4, Waist: 26”, Hips: 36”

Week One Recovery

3 Jul

After a long week in hospital, I am finally back home and happy to be feeling better by the day. Heart surgery took more out of me (and my family) than I expected. Pyschologically I took a knocking, by way of loss of confidence in the concept that I would ever get back to the same level of fitness. During my stay, I battled with post-operative pain and nausea which resulted in a 10lb weight loss. Not good when you need energy to recover! I struggled to keep my head focused on the long-term benefits of my surgery and I found it all too easy to concentrate on my latest symptom.

Positives included the surgeon and anaesthetist assuring me that I would not only be able to attempt the London marathon in April, but may even knock an hour off my best time! This cheered me up no end. Anything is possible, my family reminded me regularly, anxious for me to stay upbeat. My thoughts drifted back to ‘The Secret’ and ‘what you think about, you bring about.’ Enough with being sick, laid in bed and discharge date being postponed. What I needed as a hospital patient was to be able to visualise being well, painfree and at home in my own environment.

Now back at home, my recovery has come on in leap and bounds. Today I completed my first outdoor walk, a whole 7 minutes! I assure myself that little and often will pave the way for my running again, and eventually the start of marathon training. Once my sternum has healed, I will be able to get back on my bike and back in the sea / pool again – something that thrills me.

My thankyou list:

2010 may have been the year to focus on my health and to take stock. There is no point rushing into planning races, other than next year. Above all, I am grateful for the support of my family, so many of my friends and neighbours. I am also thankful for posts from women on a health forum who have gone through the same procedure.

I class this as week one of my recovery and the first week of 10 months of steady training towards 26.2 miles!

Problem Shared, Problem Solved!

17 Feb

A Starting Point – 17th February 2010

This, my first post, was intended to be a positive starting point for my philosophy in self development, in simple terms. However, due to my current life circumstances, I am starting with a case study – me! I have listed 12 worries or problems significant to me today and followed this with an action plan on how to resolve them.

My aims for this blog:

  • Help you understand the basics of self development
  • Encourage exercise at all levels, from beginner to advanced and encorporating this into daily life
  • Nutrition and Diet  – what I have learnt so far
  • Overcoming barriers in life

A little about me:

I am always changing, restless, ambitious, motivated and indecisive. I am a contradiction in everything I do. I started life as a midlands girl, dreaming of becoming an actress in London. At school, I misbehaved and got considerably lower grades that I should have.  I also developed a love for earning money, selling Avon cosmetics to anyone who’d listen and working endless shifts in a residential home around my schoolwork and partying.

Life carried me to university in the North and a career as a nurse. During this time, I started property developing with my partner Damon. We appeared on Channel 4′s Property Ladder in 2005. We went on to start a chocolate fountain business, travelling the country attending markets, large shows and weddings. This business continue to grow, and continued to cause me stress!

I then studied to become a midwife on the South Coast and loved being by the sea. The chocolate fountains were still going well and my life in 2006-2008 consisted of university work, hospital shifts, agency nursing, fountain bookings every weekend. 

The financial rewards of the above work finally started to pay off and in 2008, we moved to Poole, Dorset. My recent achievements include 3 marathons, 2 triathlons, successful online business, 2 degrees and helping several friends achieve a specific aim in their life.

So, moving on to the 12 current worries in my life:

1. I feel as if I am not getting anywhere with my work on a daily basis. Action: Act on Important tasks before Urgent! I will expain this in a later post.

2. I don’t feel my actions are as useful as they should be to move us forward. Action: Act on more Important tasks.

3. I am worried about finances and accounts issues. Action: speak with accountant, create master plan for April.

4. I worry over mistakes I have made recently with some bills. Action: Pay bill, speak with accountant!

5. I fear having to nurse again, as this is something I would like to  leave at this stage. Action: stick out with our current work plans until April then reveiw.

6. I worry about physical signs of stress that are showing! Action: Address health problems, ignore stress.

7. I am not in control of mundane tasks such as housework, shopping, sorting bills, filing etc. Action: 30 minutes of housework everyday.

8. I have concerns over a recent diagnosis of a hole in my heart. Action: chase up hospital next week regarding results and plan.

9. Guilt about not keeping up with my triathlon and marathon training as a result of my heart and worries. Action: attend triathlon club swims and track sessions, gym, turbo trainer and  slow runs.

10. Our new business project – photobooths. We are behind schedule on everything! Action: Prioritise this project above others.

11. Another business project – training course for online marketing, we are yet to take purposeful action on our developed ideas. Action: Prioritise this project for completion of task daily.

12. Several people who have either hurt or annoyed me recently.  Action: hand over communication to others.

So in essence, my action plans focus on:

  1. Prioritising daily tasks or projects
  2. Ignoring minor worries, taking decisive action on major concerns
  3. Careful planning, daily, weekly, monthly and long term.
  4. Persistence in implementing plans
  5. Little and often with health and fitness aims, one step at a time

Earlier today, I felt completely bogged down with worries of all description. Writing down these worries and creating logical, practical resolutions enabled me to let go of minor trouble and take action!