Busy Bean

So what have I been up to?

It’s been a fun and weird couple of weeks since Glenlivet. I’ve had a cold/bug/weird thing attempting to push through the many many vitamin supplements, bananas and apples that I have been inhaling.

Last Saturday, I awoke with The Fear. Usually reserved for Uber Hangovers, I was fairly surprised to feel remarkably rough having had no booze. Vitamins, many gallons of water and a Positive Mental Attitude ensued and thankfully, following my “long” run (12km) for the week, I felt a bit brighter. I then spent the afternoon with Coach penning my new, improved, immeasurably more balanced and sensible training plan.

A key part of my training plan was to up my calorific intake to 2500 kcals a day. JP knew this would be difficult to take in. Especially as this additional 500 calories is basically coming from carbs. My initial fear was somewhat calmed when I weighed myself over the next few days and discovered that not only had my weight gone down, but it has stayed the same all week. Phew.

Sunday was a big day. Sean (future bro in law) and I took part in the British Swimathon. We’d opted for the 5km relay and were allowed to divide this into 500m chunks. Perfectly manageable. Bit rubbish that we were in a lane with a team of 5 who had their 3 fastest swimmers right at the end. Just as we each did our final sets, we were being lapped by teenagers on their 30th length.

Consistency ruled the day and each set was comfortably under 10 minutes. Good training!

Some ace bling, to boot!

swimathon

swim

The only photo you’ll ever see of me in a swim cap, FYI…

After the swim, Sean and I had planned a road ride. I was very VERY kindly (and somewhat begrudgingly) lent my other half’s recently built Ridley Icarus. We carbed up, lycrad up and set off.

My confidence hasn’t been great on the bike. Although I haven’t really mentioned it at all, (aahahahahaha) the fall I had at Loch Oich last year really dented my already dwindling confidence and I have a very real fear of falling off. The MTB is obviously slow on the road and the Ridley Crosswind (other half’s cyclocross) has a weird geometry that really doesn’t suit me. So any ride I’ve done on that has been littered with weird cramps, inability to stand for hill climbs (weird center of gravity issues) and an over-reach that gives me back ache.

But. The Icarus is a flying machine. We were home in less than an hour on a route that’s been taking me over 70 minutes to get round. Even with a headwind I was topping 14mph for most of the ride. AND I COULD STAND UP TO CLIMB HILLS!!!

PRs everywhere!!!

ride

The company was ace and the conditions perfect. Confidence (slightly) restored.

This week, I finally confirmed with my wonderful Mummy that I’d be fundraising for Lymfund this year. A charity very close to our hearts.

I’ll hand over to MummyBean for a bit of info:

‘Lymfund’ is a small national charity, run by MLDUK, an association of therapists qualified to treat people who suffer with chronic conditions which have developed as the result of a damaged or incomplete lymphatic system.  The conditions include secondary lymphoedema (which may develop as a result of cancer treatment or surgery); primary lymphoedema (people born with the condition) and Lipoedema, a painful condition affecting the skin and underlying tissues.

The aim of the charity is to provide financial support for the cost of treatment for those persons in necessitous circumstances with a medical condition, which may respond to MLD therapy.

As it is a small charity, funding may only be applied for by practitioner members of MLDUK, who are qualified to treat people with these chronic medical conditions.

http://www.mlduk.org.uk

So there you go. Lymphoedema and Lipoedema are often mis-diagnosed and treatment is available out there. My wonderful mummy, along with many other therapists, help to treat these debilitating conditions.

In case you don’t know what Lymph is, it’s basically the clear stuff that comes out of a blister. We all have it, in a very very thin layer beneath our skin. It is an intrinsic part of our immune system. It flows beneath the skin and circulates itself but sometimes, as my mum explains, it can over-produce in the body, either when lymph nodes are removed during cancer treatment, or the condition can develop naturally. It leads to oversized limbs and can affect only one limb, multiple limbs bilaterally and even other, more private parts of the body. It is a condition that not many people know exists. And I want to help change that.

This year, I’m training my arse off (quite literally) for the Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon and the Loch Leven Half Marathon. I raised a ridiculously amazing amount for Maggie’s Centres last year, and you were all incredibly supportive. I know that every other person is fundrasing for something right now, but if you can spare anything, it would really REALLY help at 5am tomorrow when I have to sit on a turbo trainer for an hour and listen to myself sweat.

Text GINN86 and any amount to 70070 or click here….https://www.justgiving.com/triathlon-bean/

Thank you! xxx

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Snow, Medals and an Accidental PB

Sunday April 12th was to be the first “Race” of the year. But it’s not actually a race as I’m on injury-avoidance at the moment, so we’ll call it my first “medalled run” of 2015.

When I first looked into this run last year, I knew it’d be a trek at 133 miles north from home. But it’s April, and despite it being The Highlands, we’ve just had a week of 18 degrees so I didn’t expect the weather to be quite as “Scottish”….. oh.

drive up

Thankfully, the snow cleared up by the time we got to the Glenlivet Distillery. Which is just stunning. We left our phones in the car (because I’d rather concentrate on running than taking snaps…) and headed off to registration.

The race briefing warned of “The Steady Incline” and everyone who’d done the race before shared a wee giggle. Uh oh. That’s the kind of reaction you get at MoRun in Edinburgh and I remember THAT hill awfy well…

The run started out downhill and then we turned left and started towards said “Steady Incline”. It started steadily enough. But it kept going, and going and freaking going and I really honestly started to think I was going to have to walk. Or puke. Or just go to sleep.

But I didn’t.

With some encouragement from my other half, who was running with me, we kept on going, picking through all the walkers and the stopped-to-tie-the-laces (rookie mistake! Tie them properly!!) and eventually made it to the top and the 4km water station. I never take on water during a 10k. This was a first for me.

We passed the sign that said “Steady Incline Finished” (huge relief) and then began to meander down, quite quickly, to what I thought would be the “fast and flat” section of the run.

What’s that? Another hill? Another STEEP hill? OH MY GOD.

After the second secret hill that no one mentions, we started the steep descent to the fast and flat section. You can really see the descents in my pacing which was all over the shop, even by my standards. Here’s an elevation graph to give you an idea of what I faced. (It’s quite flat where I live. I actually have to drive to other places to do hill repeats!!)

elevation

Once we hit the flat section (let’s call it “undulating”, thanks) I made an attempt to level out and get my breathing and HR under control. Not sure that really happened, if I’m honest. And a wee peek at my elapsed time suggested that I *might* be in with a chance of a PB. This. Was. Not. The. Plan. I’d accounted in my head for the elevation gain, not the steep descents and they’d thrown my pacing way out.

Somewhere in the depths of my competitive brain, something went “fuck it. 2k to go. let’s have this” and I began to increase the pace.

It was at this point I realised that… hang on… nothing hurts. NOTHING. NOT. A. THING.

Knees? ok.

Hips? also ok.

ITband? OK!

With coaches words ringing in my head (“It’s when athletes feel at their best, that they usually get injured…”) I didn’t open it up too much. I just stuck where I was comfortable and focused on a target: Mrs Tough Mudder finisher. I’ll “the toughest event on the planet” you, Love.

And we got her. In the finishing chute. (I could feel her cursing us).

I beeped my watch off and crossed the mat. Not expecting anything amazing. I’d have actually been really cross with myself if I’d gone any quicker than 60 minutes. That would mean I’d pushed way beyond my capabilities. But it flashed up 1:03.16. Which tallies precisely with my chip time. And I’m delighted. Not a massive amount off my previous 1:04 effort. But enough to see the green shoots of recovery and progress on a difficult and unforgiving course.

10k PB Glenlivet

So we finished. Brian stuck with me the whole time despite my (increasingly grumpy) protesting that he should go for it and try and get a sub 60.  At least it meant that he got to “jog” along and enjoy the absolutely staggering scenery. Scotland really did good views today.

So. Great event. Great marshals, loads of local support, quiet roads, incredible surroundings, ace medal, proper timing, supporting an amazing charity (Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland) plus FREE WHISKY?

I’d do it again. For sure.

glenlivet medal

And. On the way home, Scotland gave us this….

drive back

Job done.

Next event? Next weekend sees me and Sean (bro-in-law) tackle the 5k relay of the Scottish Swimathon. 2500m? Nae bother.

Goodbyes. 

I’ve been saying goodbyes for as long as I can remember to schools, houses, countries, friends. (That’s what happens when you’re a Navy brat) and after a while you kind of get used to them. 

As I’ve grown up those goodbyes, although gut-wrenching at the time, have paled now to “see you later’s” in lieu of proper “goodbyes”. Nothing can ever prepare you for ‘proper’ goodbyes. 

This week, we lost our best friend. Our 14 year old Collie Cross, Jess. 

  

She picked us in 2001 and has been our puppy ever since. 

Over the past 2 years, her age has started to cause the odd problem, but she remained a happy, boisterous and chatty pup until Wednesday this week when mum and dad knew she had taken a turn, and the heartbreaking decision was made by them and my vet nurse sister to help her go. 

I cannot imagine how hard it was for my sister who works in our family’s local vet practise. Or for mum and dad and their now very quiet house (apart from the ever-demanding feline presence). For me, I was at work and didn’t make it in time. So my final memory of my pup will be taking this picture of her then giving her a big cuddle. 

 

I’ve been up and down about it. It’s been my friends and colleagues who have dogs or who have lost them who have been setting me off. And randomly bursting into tears mid turbo-session was weird. And the subsequent brick run, where I pictured her trotting ahead of me, like she used to, about 20m or so away, with her tongue hanging out and her back legs catching up with her front legs, stopping to ask me to hurry up every so often. 

Cue sobs. 

 So our puppy sleeps now. And we’re left with a big hole in our hearts. 

If you ever met her, you’ll remember how she just loved everyone. Humans were her favourite. Because humans have chewy sticks and cheesy treats and boneos and piggy ears. 

If you have a doggle, please go and give them the biggest cuddle ever. 

Thank you x