Sunday, 28 February 2010

Twitter style...

"Week four of 16, 68 hours in the cycling bank and today was surprising to say the least, my first ten of 2009 in 23:42"

I thought 140 characters would be more than that but time is currently not my friend... desperate times and all that!

T x

Hill 60...

Short and sweet this post shall be because as usual Sunday is far from being a day of rest!!

I've had a really, really busy week at work this week and spent oodles of hours stuck in ridiculous motorway traffic but on the plus side have loved the jobs I've been shooting. Work is going really well and with my Blue seventy adverts of Ali Brownlee hitting the mainstream triathlon magazines this month it's even more rewarding to see the final images in place and also great to get such great feedback from you, the readers, thanks, it's really appreciated.

I wasn't sure how much running I was going to fit in but counting up I've still managed a 70 mile week. Today I ran 22 miles with my mate Russ and thankfully (if not a little selfishly) he too was tired after a hard week and so we took it really easy this morning. Even 22 miles slowly is enough to kill the old legs though so I'm feeling it now, I just want to lie on the sofa and do nothing...

...Unfortunately in the Williams household that opportunity is rare and after scoffing a delicious but rushed lunch of roast veg and rice, Tom and I skipped off to meet our mate Rob who is trying to organise a new parkrun in Bradford. The venue is perfect and we walked around the park to measure what the course may be and to see how viable it was looking. I think it'll be a great addition to the parkrun series, so fingers crossed it comes off.

We were lucky to hold the National Cross Country champs (see above pic) in Roundhay and so we spent Saturday afternoon on the muddy fields shouting encouragement to our Virgin Active Running Club members who threw themselves wholeheartedly around the challenging course... see pic...that hill ain't called Hill 60 for nothing! Well done one and all, we loved spectating :-)

And last but certainly not least, the BIGGEST WELL DONE to Tom who pulled out a 23:42 10 mile TT this morning, much to his amazement. I'm so pleased for him, what a great way to start his season and he can only improve with every pedal stroke. That sure is testament to your determination and hard work Tom, keep on truckin' :-) x

London's not that far away, my goal posts change every day... but then I'm a girl!

H x

P.s for all of those up North, I'll be on BBC Radio Leeds at 9:15am tomorrow (Monday) with Mabeth from the charity Naomi's Fund, talking about the 365 Project :)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Go legs go...

I'm giving top marks to my legs this week. I've made them work hard and they've been really good to me. Today...right now...they're tired. Thwarted by yet more snow which meant we couldn't get to our cross county race we hit the woods in the thick snow and did 9miles easy..really easy. Those 9miles took me to an 80 mile week. The first one I've had of that distance in a long, long time. In fact probably 6 years. Double run days have really helped pull my mileage up. They've taken the stress out of just doing long slow runs or long hard runs. I've been able to choose a session to do and use the other run session as a recovery. A great way to keep some quality in there. I don't feel completely on top of the game at the minute but it's still early season and I know it will come. At least I know my body and mind is willing.

I think the week coming up is going to be a challenge. I've got a really busy working week and can see double run days disappearing before my very eyes but that's fine. It's not all about the number of miles and so if I can at least fit in the quality harder sessions the shorter recovery sessions will just have to fall by the way side. My running mate Russell and I have our 22 miler a week today. Please let the snow have gone, gone gone!!

It's odd going back to just running. I was managing to get some great pool sessions in and even the odd turbo but as time gets stolen by work etc I've been forced to concentrate on running. I miss the pool though and will probably try and get in a little more once Tom's back on track. The bike... a lot of people have asked, do I miss the bike? You know I do and I don't. I miss being in the middle of nowhere, I miss that purity of fresh air, two wheels, a flapjack and the solitude of being 50 miles away from home in the most beautiful Yorkshire countryside untouched by Sainsbury's, cars, pollution or housing estates. But clearly (seeing as I haven't been on those two wheels for quite some months now) I don't miss that enough. I did pay my training dues to that scenery over the past few years I guess... maybe when the memories have run out I'll want to go back and refresh them?!

Time to get Sunday evening dinner on the go..that's what just running gives you back time, I can fit so much more in now I'm not on my bike for oodles and noodles of hours!

H x

Oh.. a little 365 update... 190+ pictures have been sold, wuhoo!! Only 175 to go :) I'm going to try and post the ones that are left on the facebook site so if there are any you'd like to own just get in touch and I'll happily post it out to you :)

And a huge thank you to Donna & Nadya who came up from London just to see the exhibition, have dinner at Salvo's and catch up in the real world instead of via the 140 characters that the world of Twitter allows! Tom, myself, Khara and Steve had a great night with Donna & Nadya and then this morning we showed those Southerners how to do snow!! Okay snow, time to go please. Thanks again guys, great to meet you. x

Sorry, couldn't go without saying how much I'm loving Marathon Talk, what a sterling job Martin & Tom are doing and I really look forward to my Wednesday run to hear the latest episode. Hope you are too.


A small chink of light maybe?

It's been three weeks since, in a last minute attempt to turn my failing two-wheeled form around, I set myself the target of sixteen cycling hours per week for the sixteen weeks leading up to Ironman Lanzarote. Sitting here gazing out of our office window at some pretty serious snow things could have been looking tough, but with 15 hours and 45 minutes banked since Monday, a short afternoon turbo is all I need to stay ahead of the game.

Looking through my plans for the remaining 13 weeks until Lanza there a a couple of weeks where 16 hours would not only be difficult to achieve but also raise the injury / burnout risks too high. So, I've moved the goal posts a little (don't worry Mr Lord, I'm still following your 'at least' advice) by saying that my overall running total will not fall behind 16 hours per week i.e. after four weeks I will be on 'at least' 64 hours, after five weeks 80 hours etc etc. Some individual weeks may drop below the target 16 however...

The week commencing the first of March takes me down south for the spring Ballbuster, I've done this race every year of my multi-sport career and it will give me some great feedback on where I am. I'll want a fairly easy week because of that and bearing in mind it's on a Saturday, only involves 90 minutes of cycling and we have to drive all the way home for cross country the following day I think any more than about ten hours total ride time for that week would be the wrong thing to do in terms of rest and recovery... I'll need to have 'banked' six hours therefore over the four preceeding weeks in order to stay ahead. At the moment I'm 2:45 over and a two hour turbo this afternoon will take me to 4:30 over... another 90 minutes is needed next week then... so 17.5 hours it is.

My other major problem week is London Marathon week but with plenty of time to go, including the Easter holidays, that shouldn't be too problematic.

Finally, of course, there's Ironman race week... this is a 256 hours in 16 weeks challenge after all... a 5:30 ride on race day and another three hours in race week would require a pre race-week credit of seven and a half hours...

I'm enjoying feeling like a cyclist though and am getting stronger every single day so despite still getting dropped on the majority of my group rides things are definitely looking up...

... talking of looking up, and hopefully I'm not cursing things here, I've had a complete week off swimming and following physio, massage and stretching am hopeful that tomorrow morning's easy couple of k will be pain free!

Running? My trainers have really kept me going over the last few months where everything else has fallen by the side... my weekly mileage isn't stellar but I'm probably running as well as I ever have at this time of year and more importantly I'm really loving it. Unfortunately we had to abandon getting to this morning's cross country race in Dewsbury... when, as the snow fell thick and fast, we saw three accidents and lost control of our own car, all within ten minutes, we took the sensible decision to come home and right the blog ;) Which now it's done I think an easy 90 minute run in the snow is calling...

See you next week,


p.s. What with training, working, podcasting etc I've been unable to find the time to read any of the various blogs I subscribe to. My normal daily 'zero' of my Google reader hasn't happened for well over a month and with 300 articles to read apologies if I've neglected my fellow bloggers... there is light at the end of the tunnel in areas other than just training though so fingers crossed I'll stumble upon a lazy afternoon sometime soon and catch up with the world ;)

Sunday, 14 February 2010


... for all your amazing support. Every once in a while there comes a point where, in order to achieve something special, you have to put everything out there and let the cards fall... right now, for me, this is that time. Just under five years ago I set myself the goal of qualifying for the world Ironman championships within five years... there are 14 weeks and one chance to go. I've not had the greatest start to my final mdot campaign and behind in all three disciplines I needed to make a decision, do I go for broke or do I fold. As you already know it was one of the toughest decisions of my life, but going for it I am. I sat down and I mapped out what I thought it would take over the next couple of months in order to break the magic ten hour barrier in Lanzarote, likely to be the minimum requirement on the day, and last week I wrote it down on here for all to see. My ability to tolerate that training load is neither here no there... to set anything less challenging would be to admit defeat already. Yes I may not survive the following fourteen weeks, but to set the bar any lower would, in my mind, guarantee 'failure' so here we go!

The number of positive comments I've had on the blog, and also via text, email etc. has been amazing and most people seem to have adopted the 'he's gonna go for it anyway so we might as well support him' point of view. You see, there comes a time when we have to commit to a decision 100% and anything other than the offer of  'blind faith' from those around us simply serves reduce our chances of success... I'm sure some people think I'm gonna go down in flames but if you could save those 'you're doing too much' comments until May the 23rd that would be great ;)

I'll leave you with a comment from my great friend and true inspiration Steve Dennis, from last week's entry. In the literary world Steve has achieved truly great things having battled through tough times and the negative energy of others. One day I'll hare his story with you, it's far more inspirational than mine...

"Remember, every champion has held his - or her - head in his hands; fallen into that pit called doubt; and cried with frustration. We'll never know how great is the number of the towels that were ALMOST thrown in. But it is at this very point, when others toy with giving up, that the great move forward. Ask Kelly Holmes how many times she almost quit before powering through that ticker tape towards gold. You've never been a quitter, but allow yourself to honour these thoughts -- process them -- sit with them -- then move on. Visualize what you've always visualized and you'll get there. And know that every single one of us will be cheering you on, every step of the way. Chin up. Head down. Crack on!!! With love and gusto from LA - Steve"

This week saw 17.5 hours on two wheels ;)

See you in seven,


Short and sweet...

I'm short on time because today I've run 20miles, done two loads of washing, prepared and cooked the dinner for our Valentine's meal tonight and am just about to skip off to the pool in the hope that I don't drown whilst doing my 1500m #Winterswim. Valentine's Day doesn't really start for us until 6pm tonight!

My running's going... well, it's ticking along nicely, not as well as it could be ticking but it's moving so that's a good thing. Really what I want to write about in this tiny little window of time is Tom. He's been amazing this week. He's really picked himself up and got out there on his bike and ridden and ridden. I take my hat off to him, I really do because if it were the other way around.. I think I would have chucked the towel in! He has guts, determination and a great sense of confidence, I love it, he really inspires me to always keep trying and that's why I haven't become disheartened when I've been thwarted by illness during my marathon training. In fact on Tuesday evening I once again lost my voice and acquired the world's most irritating stomach wrenching tickly cough. Two rest days later and some great words from Tom and I've finished the week with a 20 miler and 67 miles in total for the week.

So Tom, this post's for you. I'll always be 100% behind you, whatever, whenever, and I know you're gonna be in great shape come May and in no-time you'll be flying on the bike :0)

Right the pool is calling, it's time to drag my tired body through the chlorine.

Happy Valentine's, the pic above is today's pic of the day, it's called Best Friends... we all need them.

H. x

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Desperate times indeed...

After going on about 'drastic times' in last week's entry I've decided to upgrade that to 'desperate times', in fact if I'm honest I've never been so low in terms of how I feel about my training. On the plus side I seem (touch wood) to have broken free from my ridiculous run of illness and my running is... well, my running is the only thing keeping me from jacking the whole thing in and taking up something less taxing! Despite the odd pool session that keeps me hopeful of one-day being able to swim again, I just can't shake this nerve problem and am limited to one easy swim per week and then there's the cycling... I've not strung a decent bike training week together since August and on pretty much all of the few rides I've been on since then I've been hanging off the back trying desperately to hold on to the wheel in front. Last week I promised that I'd go for sixteen 16 hour bike weeks (plus swim and run) in a last ditched attempt to get in shape for Lanzarote, when I say 'in shape' I mean sub 5.30 bike shape as anything less than that will almost certainly not cut the proverbial mustard. By Friday I was sitting on the grand total of two (yes, two) hours and things were looking bleak, time for some honesty...

My big problem at the moment, above all the fiddly stuff like injury, illness and too much snow, is that I'm really not sure if I still 'want it' enough, or at all for that matter. With other amazing things (here & here to name but two) taking hold of my life the thought of spending full working days sat on two wheels (as beautiful as the Dales are) just doesn't flick my switch like it used to. So, that means the only sensible option would be to kick this triathlon malarky into touch once and for all, go back to the significantly cheaper and infinitely less time consuming pass-time of running and get on with my life!

Well, on Friday I though of doing just that, right there and then... whether or not I meant it (even I don't know) it sure was a good test of desire... The thought of not having to worry about my arms hurting in the pool and no more million-hour bike rides, not to mention the nice little earner that flogging two rather expensive bikes would provide... and the space I'd generate from getting rid of my bike kit, oh and then there's the end once and for all to those ridiculous 5am alarm calls just so I can fit two sessions in BEFORE work and as much as anything the huge financial benefit from no longer entering races that cost £350... really had me thinking for a minute!

But... the tears (really) that followed soon after the thought of pulling the plug four and a half years into what was always meant to be a five year journey (anything that can be achieved in less than that time is hardly worth it... yes?), bringing this blog to an rather abrupt end and forever not knowing if just maybe I could have made it swiftly reminded me that the flame, however faint, is most certainly still burning and with 15 weeks left to turn things around I managed 7.5 hours yesterday and 6.5 hours today... 16 hours on the bike in one week... DONE!

Chatting to H just before writing this it became clear to me that no matter what happens on the 22nd of May, as long as I get to the start line in my best possible shape (it's not too late for that) and give it my absolute all then on May the 23rd I will be forever content. It's never really been about qualifying, it's been about seeing how good I could be... and if I stop now I'll never know. One thing is for sure though, 2010 is absolutely it, I've been so close to the edge so many times over the last few years and as every season passes I get a little bit closer... wherever that takes me in the next few months, that will be 'as good as I could be'.



p.s. today's pic? I did a search in Google images for 'desperate times' and when this came up it brought a rather large smile to my rather sad face so thought it might do the same for you ;)


I was handed my ass today... as Tom often says. It's a little heavier than normal due to the copious amounts of chocolate and cake that were rather lovingly purchased for my birthday this week! A 10km can do that to you- hand you your ass that is. You see 5km is short enough so a few seconds difference leads you to believe that those extra few cakes aren't making the difference and the lack of speed sessions don't matter either...oh how wrong and deluded I've been!

Dewsbury 10km this morning was a sharp reminder of just how much difference those cakes and biscuits do make and how important it is to get quality speed sessions in. My time isn't bad at all in the grand scheme of things. I ran 43minutes 11 seconds. But in 2007 I ran 41minutes and 33 seconds and I know I'm fitter now than I was then. The difference is more than minutes and seconds though... it's choices. Life has been manically busy with the exhibition, training has been thwarted by illness and I have been more relaxed than normal with 'treats'. The first two are down to things I have had no control over (kind of) and the last one, well actually it's more about state of mind than it is about calories. To be honest, I don't feel bad about the odd extra chocolate bar or slice of cake, I'm not even that much heavier. But coming away from today's race a little disappointed has shown me that it's time to change my mindset. If I want to be in shape I have to be in shape mentally as well as physically, so if I want to get back to running well for me then I have to get my head back into a different space. 'Tis as simple as that! It's there for me all I have to do is make the choice. If I wasn't disappointed with today then I'd stick with the way I'm training/eating but I'm not so it's time to regain my old will-power, say no to one too many treats and get the quality sessions in. And as this guy says...

"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability." Zig Ziglar

Well done to the Virgin Active Road Runners for a great turn out and some mighty fine times out there and to my mate & physio Ove who pb'd running 40mins, loving your work Ove, I'll be back to try & catch you soon ;0)

My exhibition for all those that followed my picture a day project couldn't have gone better. I'll blog about it's success in detail on my photography website, but over half were sold on the evening and the charity are over the moon! They're still available to buy too as Salvo's are holding them (the ones that haven't already been bought that is) for the next 3 months. They're all £25 each. All of the pix are still here to view sitting in two albums, album one here and album two here. To buy call Salvo's ask if the day you'd like is still available, leave your details and purchase it...easy peasy.

Right I'm off for the last chocolate Hobnob for tomorrow I'm in training for the London Marathon don't you know ;)

H x