Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Good-bye 2009



I thought you would find this photo funny - Shaun with his best dance moves :)))
The photo is from the Officers' Mess Xmas Party and I have finally recovered from it. I have no idea what I am trying to do - dance probably. And yes, that is a spiderman next to me and yes Shaun is dressed in table-cloth.

Christmas was lovely - we had few people over for Christmas lunch which made me panic so many times in the run up to it, but once the day arrived I was extremely (and unusually) calm about it. Shaun and I had lovely few days off work where we just relaxed reading books and watching TV - things we don't do that often.

I cannot believe there is only one day left of this old 2009. I think that 2010 will be exciting and we have many things we hope to do, aims and goals we want to achieve. But more about that some other time. For now, I hope you all have lovely New Years' Eve and all the best for 2010.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas week

We only need this much snow for this country to get into chaos:



We've had some cold and snowy weather here lately which caused chaos in our transport system. When I say cold and snowy, most of my American friends would think I am talking about 5 feet of snow and very very cold temperatures. No!! For us in the UK any little sign of snow means it's snowy and anything below 34 degrees is freezing. I know, I know, we are all moaning about nothing but this country is not designed to deal with snow and cold. So the trains have been a mess since last Friday which meant that for 2 out of 3 days I worked from home. Not bad, if you ask me...

Xmas festivities have totally taken over our lives. On Friday night there was a Xmas party in the Officers' Mess and it was loads of fun. I would post some photos but some people would hate me if I do that. So no photos.... For now (*insert evil laugh*). Yet again we were the last married couple there (this really needs to change!!!) with other young officers and some of the girlfriends. We got home at 4 am. OMG!!!! I didn't drink but I was completely trashed for the rest of the weekend. Wow, I am not a spring chicken any more and late nights really take their toll these days. I remember the days at University when we used to go out like this every night. And be at lectures the following morning. Not any more.

So I wish I didn't have to work these days but I do. We have half a day tomorrow (Xmas eve) and then no work until Tuesday next week. Woo hoo!!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Heroes at play

When I got back home from work last night I got a call from Shaun asking me to pick him up from the Officers' Mess. He clearly had few drinks. They were hosting sargeants in the Mess that afternoon but by the time I got there most of them were gone. However, there were still a few officers around. And they were playing some games.

First I saw this.




You can just about see Shaun's feet there. Then they started playing some touch rugby, or what looked like it. (Note there are some swear words in the video). Have a look at Shaun in the front with Nick trying to lift him or something. Too funny.


video


It is incredible to think that all these young men will get deployed early next year to fight for our country but I LOVE the fact that they know how to play as well. Tonight is the Officers' Mess Xmas party. No doubt there will be lots of fun and games.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I have a life

So, after all my moaning about the work last week, guess what? The deal I worked on fell through. The client decided to pull out of it. Seriously???

So, it was meant to complete last Friday. On Tuesday night we were all getting ready for an all-nighter, stocking up on food and generally being fed up with life. Then the email from the client came in saying they had decided to pull out of the deal and we should stop all work on it. It is hard hearing this when you have put so much time and effort into it but at the same time we were all exhausted and needed some break. The cheering went on for a bit. And I actually got home at decent time.

The following day the partner in charge took us all for lunch. It is funny how charming and lovely he was considering the hell he's put us all through. But I will not be fooled that easily (insert evil laugh). We got back from lunch around 3 pm and our boss (not the same partner) told us we deserved some rest and to go home. And that we could work from home on Thursday. Yay!!!!!

Thursday was lovely, run in the morning, lunch with Shaun at home and an afternoon swim. Then there was Xmas decorating of the Officers' Mess in the evening. It was lovely - nice music in the background, mince pies and mulled wine. I LOVE this time of the year.

So I have my life back now and it has been great. This past weekend was the first weekend in a month that I didn't have to work but the annoying thing is that Shaun was away on exercise.

Oh and after wearing few of my new splish suits to the club swims past few weeks, apparently I am now known as the "one with many swimsuits" :)))) Not a bad name I guess.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

W for....

Work which has totally taken over my life. For the past 3.5 weeks I have been working on a transaction for one of our clients whom I've known and worked for for 3 years now. The transaction is really interesting and I love the work but the hours have been crazy. I have basically been working between 12 and 15 hours every day including last three weekends and I am totally exhausted.

But that is not the hardest part. The partner leading the transaction is someone who is not even in my department (it all got a bit complicated) and I have never worked with him. And it is certain to say that I never ever want to. I will not go into too much detail but it is enough to say that he reduced me to tears on couple of occasions (and I never cry because of work). The whole team felt the same way so I am glad I am not the only one. Shaun saw me working from home on Sunday and I was soooo stressed that he said "If you carry on like this you'll get a nervous breakdown". Anyway, I am trying to keep it cool and collected and the team is basically now using his patronising emails to have a laugh at his expense. What else is there to do!?

The good thing is that, although it was incredible hard, and I was totally sleep-deprived I have managed to get all my workouts in. I have only missed one long run in the last 5 weeks which is not too bad I guess. But I was so annoyed I've missed it. What I did find is that I would rather get less sleep and get out for a run or swim because it helped me to de-stress and recharge my mental batteries for the day ahead.

So I better go now and back to my "mine".

P.S. Has it been over a month since my last blog entry??? I really need to get a life.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Weekend with Dave

Shaun is away on army exercise. He's been away for two weeks and should be back home on Friday next week. The rumour was that the batallion would have a day off on Saturday and I was planning to drive down to Warminster, which is 3 hours away, to spend at least couple of hours with Shaun. I do miss him. However, the new rumour (army wives' rumour network is a powerful machine - which I hate, by the way) is that there is no day off.

So it seems that I will spend the weekend at home training. Hopefully, I will see Dave during my run along the beach. Having Shaun here would be perfect.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Photography

Shaun was running a marathon and I thought since it starts with the lap around the track I could capture some cool photos of my husband running. You will see below what a good photographer I am. Apart from the first one where he is actually standing still pre-race, the others are utter rubbish. I wonder what was I trying to do.



How about this one:



Or this one is pure classic.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Lanzarote

My week in Club La Santa has come and gone and I had sooooo much fun. It was hilly, hot and windy and I was trying to chase and stay on the wheels of 11 men and oh, boy, did I suffer. But I had so much fun doing it. Here is just a bit of it in pictures:

The Deal Tri Team - I am the second one from the left:



This is what my view was most of the time:



And as they speed up, I get left behind



Finally on the top - and the guys are waiting :))))



The guys looked after me so well and I am so grateful. They admitted that they were a bit apprehensive about me coming along (as it always used to be "all male" camp purely because none of the ladies wanted to go) but we got along so well that I became an honorary "one of the blokes".

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Weekends

We had a lovely past weekend enjoying some time with friends and of course training.
Here is a little bit of that in pictures:

Sunday morning called for a hilly run and hilly it was. Ugh. Hills are my friends, repeat that.





After my run was done it was time to chill and support Shaun during his long run. He runs marathon in less than two weeks so that was his last long pre-race run.



Ok, that picture above is not supporting but other than that I was a great sherpa.



Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Half-marathon



So last Sunday saw me running my first stand-alone half-marathon race in over two and a half years. It was painful, it was slow, but I loved every minute of it.

I knew it would hurt because I have hardly done any running races in quite some time and I have completely lost any speed I had. For some of you is not that much of a speed but for me it was a lot.

The race was on Sunday morning but I had to go to another one of Shaun's work functions on Saturday night. This one was three-line-whip and there was no way I could get out of it. I guess with being a company commander's wife come a lot of obligations, something I do not really enjoy. I keep being told these last couple of weeks by some young officers in the battalion that I am definitely not a typical army wife which I love. Some of them even use me as an example to their girlfriends which I find quite funny. But anyway, I digress. The party started at 5:30 pm and we were back home around 2:30 am. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I actually knew it would last this long so I was kind of mentally prepared for it, and needless to say I was totally knackered in the morning. The guys at the party (and their wives) thought I was totally mad.

Shaun had to do some other work breakfast thingy on Sunday so he couldn't run with me which was a shame as I am sure he would have loved the race. It was an absolutely beautiful and very hot day. The run starts couple of miles from our house on top of some cliffs in the town centre and quickly drops down to the sea. The next 9-10 miles are out and back along the sea and the view is beautiful.

For me this was a great race because I got to wear my Deal Tri club kit the first time in over two years. I love our club and am very proud to wear its colours.

There was around 12-13 of us from the club running and I was one of two girls. It was so lovely to see everyone again and to catch up on what's been happening in the past two years. And because it was an out and back course I got to see everyone. It was just lovely to see my fast club mates running in the opposite direction waving and high-fiving. It has so reminded me of all the fun I had with them and I was totally fired up to go as quickly as I could for the club.

Unfortunately my "as quick as I can" was my slowest ever half-marathon time by a mile but I knew I had lost speed. Going into the race I just wanted to do my best (considering I was sleep-deprived) and to see where I am at so that I can work at it over the winter. Finishing the race was great as there were lots of people spectating and a lots of cheers from my club mates. I am totally fired up to do another race really soon - I loved every minute of this one.

Once the race was done it was time to enjoy the rest of the Sunday. After an ice bath and quick shower Shaun and I met up with some fellow officers in one of the local bar restaurants on the beach having lovely food and just chatting. I think we were there for 4-5 hours. It was a perfect way to finish the weekend.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

All work no play


Life has been a bit hectic recently and not in a good way. I have been really busy at work recently and felt pretty exhausted for most of the time. Last weekend I did no training - just work, work, work!!! Ugh!!!!

So having missed few big training weekends I felt a total lack of confidence as far as racing Silverman is concerned and today I have made the decision - No Silverman for me this year. It has been very very hard for me to make that decision. I LOVE that race and Shaun and I have great memories from last year's race. But I owed it to myself to have a bit of talking to myself and assessing the situation and the decision has been made. That course is just too difficult and too hilly to be able to do it with no decent training done. And I feel like I haven't been training consistently and so I am not ready. I really thought that when I actually make a decision I would feel much better about it but I don't. I guess it will take few days to sink in. :(((

Anyway, the decision has been made and life goes on. On a more positive side I am off to Club La Santa in Lanzarote in couple of weeks time. Club La Santa is one of the most popular sport resorts in Europe so it should be really good fun. There is a few of us going from the local triathlon club but I am the only "girl" so riding with the boys will be hmmm, interesting.

Oh and before I forget I am running a half-marathon this weekend so wish me good luck. I will need it.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I forgot

It appears over the last two years I forgot how to be an army wife.... How do I know this??? Read on...

We have, over the last couple of weeks, finally moved into our home in Folkestone, Kent. We got our furniture and all other possessions out of storage and opening all that stuff made us feel like kids at Christmas. I think we forgot what we had. It took us a good couple of weeks to finally open everything but we are there now. Well nearly... Our boxes from the US arrive on Thursday and that will be the final push to settle into our new home. And I cannot wait... I am absolutely exhausted.

Shaun has been really busy at work and we already had to attend three different events - a company party, the battalion family day and the dinner at the officers' mess.

The company party wasn't too bad and we were there only for couple of hours. I met some new faces but I knew a lot of the old ones.

The family day was a big event with some local guests. It was great to see some old faces which I haven't seen for years and also to meet some new ones. I met some new wives in the battalion as well as a lot of young officers. The things seem to have changed since the last time we were part of this unit - Shaun was a captain back then and we were part of the young, 'fun' crowd. Now that he is a major I really feel old. Ugh!!! The young officers speak to him in a different way because he commands some of them and the older one are just like that, older. Ooops!!

And finally the last Friday we had a dinner in the officers' mess. These dinners are very VERY formal. They start with a drink and few speeches and then go on to a five-course meal where you generally sit for 3-4 hours, enjoy your dinner and listen to some pipes and drums. Once the more senior people leave the real party begins. I was never really a great fun of these dinners because you are pretty much stuck sitting next to same people for 4 hours and gosh, if they are boring, you are doomed. This time around the guy sitting next to me fell asleep. SERIOUSLY????? It must be my exciting conversation. Every now and then I would look at the end of the table where there was a fun crowd and send my distressing signals. If you've seen the film "Team America" you may guess what those signals were.

So I was sitting there and thinking that I am completely out of my whole groove. The wives were talking about the stuff that I knew nothing about and they were chatting with people with whom they were supposed to be chatting in order to be great army wives. I, on the other hand, didn't and just thought that I was really not cut out to be a perfect army wife. But I had fun chatting to one of the captains in Shaun's company whose wife is finding the whole army life rather scary. I told him my thoughts and experiences from when I was a newly-married young army wife as they were without trying to sound good or strong and he was really happy to see that there are other people who struggle in the beginning as well. I know that I certainly did.

Somehow Shaun and I ended up being the last married couple in the bar where there were now only young single officers.(Where are all my single girlfriends when you need them???) Apparently I get some great brownie points for being "the last chick at the bar". Yay!!!! (If only they knew how boring I am).

We ended up getting home at 4 am - I mean I haven't been out this late since I was in my early 20s. And the following day I definitely felt it. We are no longer young and fun crowd.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Better at blogging

I really have not been very good at this lately, have I?! But life has been hectic to say the least. But actually now that I think about it there isn't really that much to be said about some of the things that happened lately.

I can't believe that Shaun has been back for almost a month. He is now properly back at work and the guys are busy, busy, busy. The battalion is going to be deployed to Afghanistan next year and they are all very busy with all the training and planning. And I think about that deployment a lot - I am really worried and scared. He's been out there couple of years ago but it seemed different then. That was before one of our friends got killed and another one wounded. Now to me it just seems so much more serious. But I am really really proud of him. He has taken over a command of a huge company and I am sure he will do well.

We have finally got our house last week but have not moved in yet. Our furniture comes out of storage this week and I can't wait to see it. :)))) Although I am worried how some of it will fit through the doors. Ugh. What was I thinking buying all that chunky stuff!!! And our stuff from the US has not arrived yet. This moving thing is really complicated. But it will all be nice once we are settled in. Our neighbours seem nice and the house is in a great location - at a top of a hill but less than a mile away from the beach. Ideal for hill repeats :(((

Anyway, enough of my rumblings. I will save some news for the next time.

Monday, 3 August 2009

In the same country and other random things

So, Shaun finally arrived last Friday - can you guys believe that we now live in the same country :)))) We had an awesome weekend. On Saturday I managed to get up real early and get my ride out of the way so I could spend time with my husband (that sounds nice, doesn't it). By the time I got back and he got out of bed - jet lag :(( it was time for lunch. We went to a nearby amazing Japanese restaurant with our friend Marina and had great lunch. Marina and I go there a lot and every time we go we like to people-watch and make up stories about their lives. On Saturday we even introduced Shaun to this game and in no time he made up a story about a couple with four kids sitting at one of the nearby tables. After lunch Shaun and I went for a nice walk along High Street Kensington and to Whole Foods. Yay!!!

On Sunday we went to watch the London triathlon. The weather was great and we of course spent a lot of money at the expo. I hope to do this race next year - it just seems like so much fun and really well organised. On the way back home we stopped at Wagamamas near Tower Bridge for lunch. And then a quick visit to my office to pick up some stuff. I found it so funny how Shaun thought we all had messy offices (apparently I am not too bad, and my boss is the worst :)))

So it was a great weekend and we are loving spending time together.

On a slightly different note, we have rejoined our local triathlon club Deal Tri in Kent - where we used to live and where we will have an army house hopefully some time this month. We love this club and have really missed all the fun we had with them prior to leaving for the US. So I am already joining one group who is taking the ferry over to France on Wednesday for a nice day of riding in France (and eating great French food). I have taken a day off work and can't wait. It's an early start but it is so worth it.

I have also signed up for a half-ironish race called the Little Woody at the end of the month. The "ish" bit is because the bike is 60 rather than 56 miles but it should all be great training and I can't wait to race again.

OK, that's is all for now. Better get back to doing some work. Have a great week.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Flowers



This is what appeared on my desk yesterday morning together with a nice box of chocolates. OK, the chocolates are gone but I am still admiring the flowers. They were from Shaun for our 7th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe that we have been married for 7 years. Unfortunately he wasn't here to celebrate but considering that out of seven we've only spent one anniversary together, we are keeping in line with the tradition...or the Army life. But guess what, in 4 hours time I will be at the airport waiting for him to arrive and I am really really excited. I cannot believe that we are actually going to be living in the same country. Life is good.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Motivation



This is one of the pictures I've found when I googled the word "motivation" and it actually really resembles the state of my mind as far as motivation was concerned recently.

Last couple of months I have been struggling to motivate myself to train properly. I lost focus and I am yet to find out why. It's not as if I've stopped enjoying and loving the training - I still do, but something was missing. Something that is now back (YAY!!!!) but I still cannot define that "something". Perhaps it's my failure at Coeur d'Alene, I don't know. I hope one day soon I will figure out what it was so that I make sure "it" does not come back again.

But with Jen's huge help, I think I am now back on track and I am loving the training. I have re-evaluated my goals for Silverman and I think that the ones I set for myself are realistic but still require a lot of work. And I cannot wait to do the work.

The build for Silverman starts next week and I am really really looking forward to it. There are few things that I would like to stick to from 1 August and the main ones are:

1. Train consistently and push myself hard in training

2. Take care of my nutrition - I think that nutrition is one of my huge limiters as I am kind of blase about it - I really really need to pay more attention to it

3. Rest - get at least 56 hours of sleep a week - with my job and long hours sometimes I cannot get 8 hours a day of sleep but I can try to maintain 56 hours of sleep during any one week period

4. Loose weight - and that is a BIG one. I have allowed myself to eat whatever I want (and since I am vegetarian and my regular meals are good - I eat a lot of snacking crap). And Silverman is HILLY and I do not want to be dragging all that weight up the hills so from 1 August I need to be more disciplined as far as food is concerned.

So that is it. I do not want to put too many restrictions and goals because I may just end up thinking it's all too much and just go back to my old ways. But I think these four will make a huge difference in my life and training.

So few more days of easy training but come 1st August the game is ON!!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

My bike commute

Every day when I ride to and from work I get reminded of how lucky I am to be living in such a great city. London is such a historic and cultural hub and my bike commute takes me next to many wonderful sites of this city. So as I ride by the Westminster or some other similar site and see all the tourists who pay a lot of money to be here, I realise every day that sometimes I take it for granted. And I do complain about the weather a lot but sun or rain it truly is one of the most amazing cities in the world.

So here are few pictures which will show you my everyday bike commute.

As I leave my office and head home, few minutes into my ride I get amazing views like these ones:





Of course I do get stuck in the traffic sometimes but that is usually along the Embankment and I know to expect it so it doesn't bother me very much. Plus the later you leave work the better the traffic is. My most favourite commute rides are around midnight (after some late nights in the office) - i LOVE them.



But then I start getting closer to the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and I LOVE being "stuck" there at the traffic lights - the architecture never ceases to amaze me.



Then I ride along the St. James' Park and cycle right in front of the Buckingham palace, waving to Her Majesty every day :)))



Cross the lights by the Buckingham Palace and I enter the cycle route of the Green Park. It is usually quite busy but I love it:



Next, Hyde Park corner - the riders are allowed to go through the roundabout rather than around it and at any time I was there there are usually at least 15-20 riders on their commute. It is like a little peloton going through the gates and I find the faces of tourists when they see us most amusing.



And then enter and ride through Hyde Park. In the morning the park is usually full of horse-riders but on any summer afternoon you will find heaps of people doing all sorts of sports and fun events and I love it.



Once I leave the Hyde Park I turn into High Street Kensington passing Royal Albert Hall and the Kensington gardens (pictured below)



And then, less than 5 minutes to home, one of my favourite stops - Whole Foods.



I really believe that I live in one of the best parts of London and I am very very grateful for it. Any visitors, very welcome :)))

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A race to do

Having seen this video and heard a lot about this race from quite a few of mine friends who have done it I have decided that this is a race I must do someday, hopefully quite soon. The atmosphere is amazing, kind of like Tour de France. I LOVE it.


Thursday, 16 July 2009

Saddles

OK, so here is where I need your help dear readers. I've always had trouble with being comfortable on the saddle of my bike and have changed it few times and whilst the things have improved I am kind of thinking that it can get better. Either that or I am living in a dream. But I really really think that I can be far more comfortable on my bike.

So could you please let me know what saddle you use and whether you like it. Any information is very much appreciated.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Two years already



The picture above is of Devil's Tower taken during our recent road trip.

Two years ago Shaun has just returned from his deployment in Afghanistan and five days later we were on an airplane bound for Washington DC in order to start our two year adventure at West Point. I remember how excited we were and really looking forward to it. But I can't believe that it has been two years and it is now time to return home to our little island. We had amazing time in the US, met some great people and had fun all around.

Before that flight two years ago, I've never been to the US. Somehow nothing ever attracted me to it and I didn't really have any wishes to go for a visit. We always chose to travel east - to Asia and the Middle East and we both love Asia. So US was never really on any of our travel plans. Until two years ago when Shaun got posted to West Point. In these two years I absolutely fell in love with the country and have met some great people who will remain dear, dear friends. I am already missing my trips across the pond and our regular little breaks to different parts of the country. And we are already looking for an excuse to come for a visit.

Although I am already back in the UK, Shaun is over at West Point until the end of the month doing the hand-over of his job. The packers came yesterday and our belongings were packed and left the house. Hopefully we will see them in 4-5 weeks time. Apparently we had twice as much stuff than when we came. Oooops.

So although I am a little sad that our adventure has come to an end, I am positive that we will be back at least 2-3 times a year - there is so much of that country left to explore. And I truly hope that we will stay in touch with all the great people we've met.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

1935




I came across this photo yesterday. It is the cycling club of the city where I grew up, formed in 1935. Love the look, especially the suits.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

First things first

Wow, has it been this long since the last time I've blogged... Many things have happened but in order not to make this post too long (and I am typing this at work, so I should really be doing some work ;)) I will only talk about the failed attempt at IM CDA.

Going into the race, I knew my heart wasn't really into it. For some reason, having a "not a great" race at St. Croix added to this, but I think the main reason is that for me Silverman was an A race this season and I really want to do well there. So it was decided that I would race CDA with no pressure which suited me well.

However, couple of days before the race, ever since I left London my stomach wasn't feeling great and I really don't think I ate as much as I should have had prior to the race.

The race day -swim was HORRIBLE. I am a slow swimmer but not such slow swimmer as CDA results show. The water wasn't too cold and because I have never done a mass start before I positioned myself well at the back. That is a decision I would probably change. I found myself caught behind a lot of really slow guys and had to get few kicks and work hard to get around them. On the second loop of the swim I just felt as if I was going backwards - it really wasn't pretty.

Finally out of the water and onto the bike. As soon as I got on the bike the stomach pain started. At times it was pretty unbearable. I couldn't eat or drink anything and unsurprisingly, slowly I started to bonk. At the end of the first lap I was clearly going backwards. I had no energy. I realised I only consumed couple of sips from one of my bottles and even though I tried to force myself to take calories in, my body said no. I felt awful, I knew I couldn't race like this. For about 20 mins the mental battle within me was just awful. I was thinking of so many reasons why I should go on and my heart was telling me that I should, but at the same time my body was saying no and my mind was telling me that it's just not safe to carry on. All I really wanted was to see someone I know out there on the course, like Shaun or Marit or D so that they can make the decision for me because I didn't want to be the one to quit. But I didn't see anyone and the decision had to be made. So I did it, I pulled over and rode to the transition. And that was it - the end of my race, one big fat DNF.

I felt a bit tearful in the tent, I was very disappointed with myself but decided to try and make the most of the day and try and be the best support for my husband and friends racing out there. It was great to see Shaun and Marit and Ian having amazing races and I was so so happy for them. But when Shaun crossed the finish line I found myself in tears. I felt like I have let myself and everyone else down. I know it was hard for Shaun to celebrate his race seeing me like this and I wish I can change that now. But that is how it all went.

I just wanted to say a huuuge thanks to Jen who was a great support before, during and after the race. And I am so pleased that she has accepted to coach Shaun as well. We love it.

It was also great to meet D who was a great spectathlete and also Marit and her great hubby and parents. We had so much fun with them. Shaun and Nate hit it off straight away talking about military stuff and I loved Marit's parents. We had some really interesting conversations. I hope you do come to visit us in the UK some time soon (Marit, are you reading this???).

Once the IM CDA was out of the way we did our litle road trip - USA style but more about that in the next post.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Bike ride

I hope I don't offend anyone but I thought this was so funny

Monday, 8 June 2009

Two weeks to IM CDA


Todays photo was taken last week during my commute back home at Hyde Park Corner. I though it was quite a pretty sight. The Hyde Park Corner roundabout is usually very busy but for couple of minutes it stood still.

IM CDA is less than two weeks away and I am really excited about it all. However, not everything has gone according to the plan and I am now at peace with the fact that it will be a long and slow day. It won't be fast and it won't be pretty but as long as I cross that finish line I will be happy. Since St. Croix my heart hasn't really been in it and so I have not been 100% focused. My main goal this year is Silverman and I guess I just wasn't able to focus on two ironman races this year. My main goal for CDA is to learn as much as I can and have fun as much as I can. I am not a speedy athlete and my main goal is always to have fun. When I stop having fun I will stop doing this sport.

Last week my old foot/ankle injury came back. I did a run on Wednesday night and everything was fine but as soon as I stopped and started walking it became really painful. I am doing as much as I can two weeks before the face to keep the pain down and to not make things worse but only the day will tell how my injury will behave.

On other fronts Shaun and I are really gearing for our move back to the UK. There is SOOOO much paperwork to be done and we are slowly ticking things on our to do list. We should find out in the next 2-3 weeks where our new house will be. We know the area really well and have asked for some familiar locations but we shall see. I am getting so excited about it now. The place where Shaun's new job is is 50 miles south-east of London right on the English channel and when we lived there last time I was doing a daily commute up to London. The idea, this time around, is that I will keep my place in London where I'll be Monday to Friday and then go down on Friday night. I know, I know, what a typical marriage we got. But the truth is that we know exactly what the life would be like if I were commuting daily - we would hardly see each other as I would be out of the house by 6:30 am and not back before 9 pm and I would never be able to do any training. So this way we get to spend quality time together without me being constantly tired from my daily commute.

So that's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Beautiful day in London

Today I had a big training schedule and I was so happy to wake up to a glorious weather. My plan, amongst some other bits, called for a 7 hour ride. Whilst last year I was quite happy to do this on my own, this year I really like some company. So I found out that one of my friends had 5 hour ride on her plan and we decided to do it together. I did my extra couple of hours on my own.
And it worked out perfectly. For most of the ride our views were like this:

Notice that there is no single cloud in the sky :))))

Then, the obligatory coffee stop where I had the best skinny latte ever (sorry Starbucks)

The coffee shop was very popular with local riders so we enjoyed the view of some lovely bikes


And on my way back home I rode through Hyde Park - it was buzzing with people. And this is where we will be watching triathlon in the 2012 Olympics - and my place is less than couple of miles away, yay!!!


And as I rode couple of loops around Regent Park I caught a glimpse of this:


You've gotta love London.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Long weekend

This past long bank holiday weekend was one of the best in a very long time. I took  Friday off work, had a nice lie-in, did some training and early afternoon made my way to the airport to catch my flight to NYC... again. I was really looking forward to it as Shaun and I planned a nice fun-packed weekend.

First stop, West Point class 2009 graduation. It was lovely to see so many dreams of these young people coming true. Lovely weather and lovely day indeed. I loved seeing so many proud parents. 


The rest of the weekend included a long ride with Shaun down to George Washington bridge and back. Most of the day my view was like this



We also discovered a great triathlon shop on this route and ended up buying TriggerPoint stuff. I am looking forward to trying all that stuff. After the training was done, a trip to our favourite sushi place, followed by watching Star Trek at the cinema and grabbing some Jamba Juice on the way back home - life doesn't get better than that.

We've also spend some time BBQ-ing with friends.


Unfortunately, before I knew it, it was time to go back to London and back to work. :(((


Monday, 11 May 2009

Racing, chilling and getting back to work


So this is how I look like after St. Croix 70.3. The race was more than a week ago and I know I am crap at keeping this blog updated but I was chilling on the island enjoying my husband's company ;)))
So I am not going to talk much about the race as it's already history but I will say that it was the hardest and the slowest half-ironman race I've ever done. Pre-race, everyone was talking about the Beast but no one (apart from ELF) mentioned the rest of the bike course. Don't get me wrong, the Beast is hard, very hard but at least it is over and done with pretty quickly. But the rest of the bike course I found much harder. There were so many hills and change of speed, change of gears... You descend, then you start climbing again and think "is this ever gonna end".
I swallowed a lot of water on the swim and my speedsuit was cutting straight into my neck and it was painful. I was not happy with my swim but I am not going to dwell on it. I loved the bike course, as hard as it was, but the run in that heat was just brutal. Coming out of winter, it was really really hard to race in that heat. We haven't seen such hot days since last summer. No, who am I kidding, we never get such hot days.
But the race was done, I finished and that is the most important thing.
I spent last week at West Point chilling as I really needed some holiday. The days before the race I was working such long hours that I really needed just to relax and forget about it all. It was just so nice for Shaun and me to have a bit of a normal married life. We caught up with some friends, watched few films and did couple of rides together. I miss riding with him. But in just over two months he will be back in the UK and we both can't wait. I will miss all my trips over the pond but I also intend to keep going over there at least every 2-3 months. If for nothing else, then for racing and training.
But as of this morning it was back to work and reality. Hopefully it will not be that busy next few weeks - CDA is in six weeks. And I can't wait :)))

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Flying away

Not much to say. I am just about to escape the office (after some really really long days this week) and go to the airport to catch my flight to NYC. Meet Shaun tonight, and get a flight to St. Croix early tomorrow morning. So excited now about the race and really looking forward to it.

Back to West Point on Monday for a whole week of chilling and not doing much but spending time with my husband, woo hoo.

Later!!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

What to say

There is not really much for me to say as life has been ticking along as usual. But I thought I would blog anyway and bore you with my not-so-exciting life.

After that spell of sickness last week I was back on track training wise on Saturday and it felt like a very hard weekend. But I was loving it. I have been coached by Jen for almost a month now and I am loving every minute of it.

We've been having great weather (*touch wood*) here in London and it is absolutely amazing how people's moods change with the weather. Everyone seems much happier these days. The training feels better, the commute is great and even the work doesn't seem to bad (apart from being stuck in the office bit). I went for a long walk with a friend on Saturday afternoon and it was beautiful - along High Street Kensington, through Holland Park and off to Notting Hill for some coffee. I loooove Notting Hill and after our walk I am thinking that if I stay and live in London I would love to move over there (*time for a chat with the husband*). Have you seen the film Notting Hill? I have. Three times.... in the cinema. And numerous times on DVD and TV. I love it and pretty much know every line of the script. I know, I know, I am a bit weird.

So St. Croix is next week and I can't wait. Everything is pretty much done: my flight to NYC- check; our flights from NYC to ST. Croix - check; hire car booked - check; hotel booked - check. And today I am getting my bike checked and serviced so I should be ready to go. On the note of servicing the bike - OMG, the prices are extortionate. I am having both my commute bike and my racing bike serviced today and whilst one is getting basic service the other one is getting full one. It will cost me £££££. Over £200 for two bikes - that is over USD300 for my American friends. And I do that at least twice a year. Ouch!!! But I will not complain as long as everything is OK and working on the day. Unlike at my last ironman but that is a story for some other time.

Well I better actually go and do some work. It's 1 pm already and all I've done is one conference call.... and of course some all important internet time. Have a good one.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Easter weekend

So this past weekend I was at West Point for Easter weekend. What I didn't realise was how lucky we Brits are as we get both Friday and Monday off work so every year there is a nice long Easter weekend. It appears that my American friends are not so lucky. I flew over on Thursday night after work and the flight was, as every year for Easter, really busy.

Shaun had to work on Friday so I just did my workouts and chilled at home. Ah, yes and pretended to be a taxi-driver for my husband. I don't like being there when he is working because it just puts added pressure on him to come home early and not let me feel neglected. And he really is a huge workaholic. My boss would really like him.

On Saturday the plan called for a long brick session. It was the first time riding with Shaun since some time last year and I was really looking forward to it. As soon as we set off the rain started. Argh!!!! We rode over to the bottom of Bear Mountain and started climbing. Climbing in the rain wasn't too bad, it was warm and because I was working hard the rain didn't really bother me. After about 4-5 miles, near the top suddenly we hit this fog or cloud or whatever it was. It was really spooky. I loved the climb and I was so pleased that my usual mental attitude of "I can't do this" did not prevail. Going down was different. There is one word for it -FREEZING!!!!! And this is what should have made us think to go back home. But oh, no, we thought we would be OK and carried on climbing towards Seven Lakes. But then going down was so cold that I couldn't feel my feet or my fingers. So after about 2.5 hours we decided to call it a day and ride home. I looked at Shaun and I have never ever seen him that miserable. All I could do was just laugh. But seriously his choice of clothing was poor and his gloves were so thin. So when we thought that the things couldn't get any worse, I got a flat... 8 miles from home. Shaun was shivering and he couldn't keep his hands still so I had to change it... in a pouring rain.. on a side of a quite a busy road. It was bad, really really bad.

All we wanted was to get back home. We got so cold that at one point that I didn't think we would make it back home. But we did, finally. And I couldn't stop laughing. I thought it was hilarious, whilst Shaun was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, still looking miserable, trying to get the wet clothes off. Our clothes was completely wet. If I squeezed my socks, water would pour out of them. I still thought it was really funny. Nothing a nice warm shower and a hot cup of tea could not sort out. The funny thing is that when we got out of the shower and looked outside the rain had stopped. Seriously???? Two hours later there were hardly any signs of the rain, even on the roads.

On Sunday I woke up feeling a bit feverish so following Jen's orders I took a day off training. I didn't want to because I was planning on going for a long run with Shaun but orders have to be obeyed ;-)

Monday morning and flight back home. I again managed to get a first class flight (courtesy of my frequent flyer miles) and I wish I hadn't. Having flown first class few times now, going back to economy, or even business class, seems like torture. What have I done to myself???

I have been doing training on and off this week. Still not feeling well. Yesterday afternoon was worst so far so I had to skip the run. Today not feeling great so I've decided to take time to get better so I can resume proper training this weekend. It is just over two weeks before St. Croix and it is scary. I need to get better real FAST.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Energy aware


I have seen this sign on my run at West Point couple of days and I've never seen it before. I love it.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Living together, living apart!!

I often get odd comments and questions from people (including friends) about me and Shaun not living together these last couple of years. The truth is that when he got posted to West Point we were planning for me to move there couple of months after he left. But somehow it never happened. First I was worried of putting my notice in (have no idea why), then we figured that we could afford more things and a lot more travel (which is what we wanted to do these past two years) with me working. The fact is that I have always been a main "earner" in our marriage and even though most of the time I hate that extra pressure, I am now totally used to it and it works well for us.

Of course we would love to spend all the time with each other but we were always quite independent and worked with the circumstances the best we could. So for example, when few years ago he went on operations to Bosnia for 6 months, I went and worked for our office in Dubai. Most people thought we were odd but we found the whole arrangement perfect.

So I was chatting to my best friend yesterday whose daughter is my Goddaughter and she was saying how she was talking to her 4-year old son Timmy the other day about Shaun and me. And so she was telling him how "Auntie Angelina lives in London" and "Uncle Shaun lives in America". And apparently he just looked at her and said "Don't they like each other??" Priceless!!!!

Monday, 6 April 2009

What a weekend

First I have to say well done to all those racing at Oceanside this weekend, in particular Charisa and Marit for getting their Kona slots :-) , Jen Harrison for getting Clearwater spot and Rachel and Courtney for having amazing races. Also well done to Maggs for an amazing race in NOLA - Maggs, that bike time rocks!!!

This was probably one of the rare weekends where I was quite grateful for the time difference between London and the US, which meant that I could get all my workouts out of the way before the races even started.

On Saturday plan called for 4 hours hilly bike ride (thanks Jen ;)) and luckily I knew a group of guys who were going out for a hilly ride in Surrey. I have never met most of these guys but through friends etc have been saying that I would join them and after bailing out few times, they kind of stop believing me. So when I turned up on Saturday morning (in the horrible rain, may I add) they were like "You actually exist". :-)))
It was a TOUGH ride - there was a hill after hill after hill. I swear I haven't seen a decent flat section in those 4 hours. And as soon as we hit the hills - a familiar site -they all take off in their macho attempts to get to the top first and I am left there dragging my sorry (and nowadays fat) a$$ up the hills. After a while I kind of got used to it and even though I am not on good terms with hills, I kept saying to myself that they would make me stronger. The first and only time we hit a flat section (5-ish miles) I did my pull at the front and I am glad to say that one of the guys fell of the back :))))))) I would like to take the credit for pushing the pace, still he was having trouble with his helmet strap and fell off whilst fiddling with it. Still I will take the credit! It must have been my pace.

I loved every minute of that ride (apart from the rain) and will definitely be joining them again soon. One of the guys even brought the cakes made by his wife and they were delicious. Yum!!

On Saturday I went for a run in glorious weather. When we have nice sunny weather here in London, it is the best place to be. I ran along Thames and there were so many runners, walkers, rowers (love the sight of rowers :))) and people just chilling in the sunshine. It was a perfect day. And then I had my first ever ice-bath. Jen's put it in my training plan and I was reading it thinking "yeah, right". But I thought to myself "stop being a wimp and at least try". Ouch, ouch, ouch!!! It was freezing but once you are in there you kind of get used to it and it is not too bad. I am not a wimp after all! At least not a big one.

Easter week is here so for us here it means Friday and Monday off, woo hoo.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Firsts

Not much has been happening in my world lately. At least that is my excuse for not blogging. I remember that one of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more - see how long this has lasted?!
We've had glorious weather here in the UK last week. It was sooo nice that it breaks my heart looking outside right now when it is pouring down. To see how nice the weekend weather was have a look at this photo - taken whilst driving from Dover to London - glorious.
I don't think we've seen such blue skies here since August last year. Of course, my mood that day only got spoiled when I got stuck here - just outside London

I hate being stuck in traffic, it is just such a waste of time. Anyway, now that you have seen what a great weather we had, do not be envious, it is pretty horrendous out there right now.

Last week was quite exciting for me for several reasons. There were some firsts. First, I've joined Swiss Cottage masters swim on Monday morning and loved it. Admittedly I was one of the slowest people there but who cares? I loved it. They have swims every morning from 6-7:30 which is ideal for me. The only downside is that it is in North-West London and I live in South West. So it takes me about 35-40 mins riding. But riding through streets of London at 5 am is absolutely amazing. Especially as I get to ride through Hyde Park - the Olympics 2012 triathlon venue. I was loving it.

Another "new" for me is the new coach. I have been toying with an idea of changing my coach for a while as I just didn't think that he was the right "fit" for me. It was a hard decision to make but now I am so glad that I've done it - Jen Harrison has agreed to coach me and I am thrilled. She has already been amazing and I can't wait for what's ahead of us. Thanks Jen.

OK, ok some of you may know that I got a year older yesterday. Had a pretty chilled day of relaxing with some friends which included some amazing sushi. A friend of mine and I ordered so much that in the end we had to leave some. I NEVER, EVER had a "I can't eat any more sushi" moment - so this one was the first. I didn't go to the US because Shaun was diving in Belize for a week with the West Point scuba club (such a hard life, I know) and they were coming back only late on Saturday night so there was no point for me to go if he wasn't going to be there. Instead I am flying this Friday until Monday and I have used my air miles and treated myself to first class flight - so I will either be doing this

or this



Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no, no

"No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." - Samuel Johnson



Pictured above is Richmond Park - the greenest area in Central London where I've spent few hours riding this weekend. So three yeahs for that :-) It was lovely - it is just so nice to be able to ride outside without the cold and the wind and, obligatory English rain. This was my first proper ride outside this year and I loved every minute of it. I wasn't actually planning to ride in Richmond Park, but to ride through it on my way to Box Hill where I would meet few friends who were doing a duathlon simulation. But somehow, when I entered the park, I thought, maybe I can do few loops. And so few loops turned into 3 hours of riding the loops (I must have gone mad). But it was really nice, early Saturday morning, there were some runners doing their group long runs training for London marathon and there were a lot of riders. I don't think I've ever seen that many riders in Richmond Park. And as I got passed by the fast group of London roadie club London Dynamo



I thought that I have just bagged myself another goal for this year - to be able to ride with these guys by the end of the year. Hard work ahead I can see. But I think I can and will do it.

After the ride I decided to run for 30 mins straight after I got back and those 30 mins were awful. I could feel this horrible, sharp pain on the inside of my right ankle and towards the calf. I was actually doubting that I would be able to finish the run. 30 mins!!!!! Anyway, that afternoon it didn't actually feel too bad and although I could feel some discomfort it was OK. So you guess what I did on Sunday?! Yes, what a very stupid person would do - I went for my long run even though I could feel the pain. I have finished the run but needless to say, it was not a good idea.

On Monday I swam and rode to work and I also went to the gym and I could do all these things without any great pain but I was determined to see a physio asap as I didn't want to aggravate anything. So yesterday I went to see Mark Saunders at Physio4Life http://www.physio4life.co.uk/. They are Chrissie Wellington's physio when she is in London so I knew I would be in good hands. Mark was really good and straight away I was told off for running on Sunday. I like the directness because even though he says what most of us don't want to hear, he is right. I am now banned from any training for at least 2-3 days and he hopes to get me back to training and running by the end of this week. I am seeing him again tonight and on Friday. I know, I really have only myself to blame. And oh my God, is life booooring without training. But I am going to use these few days to relax, see some friends and do all the chores that I normally don't have time for. And of course, be miserable and feel sorry for myself.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

What am I wearing???

I have finally realised this morning that for the past God knows how many months I have been going out and going to work wearing pretty much anything that I could find/throw on. So I really have no idea what happened this morning? What has changed????

Basically I keep some of my smart suits at work so that when I ride to work I have something to wear. But most of the time I decide to wear something more casual and only go for the suits if I have a meeting that day. So this morning, as usual, I throw on whatever I could find and headed for the pool. The plan was to go swimming, come back home quickly and then go to the dentist before work. So when I finished swimming and was getting ready something just clicked and I looked at myself in the mirror and thought "What the heck am I wearing"??? Needless to say, my quick trip back home turned into "find something decent to wear" trip.

I used to be a person who wasn't overly obsessed with clothes but I used to look smart and have enormous amount of clothes. And then as I got into triathlon somehow I found that now the majority of my clothes is work out clothes. And sporty stuff. Why can't I look like SJP from SATC???? Perhaps I should make more effort from now on. Oh, I don't know.... it seems like too much work.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

All work no play!!

Often I read other people's blogs where they say that they haven't been blogging because they had nothing to say. And every time I think, oh no, that was quite an interesting post so of course you have stuff to say. Right now I am going to be one of those people - I really haven't been blogging recently for two reasons: first - I really have had nothing interesting to say, and second - work has been hectic so I didn't have much spare time (but somehow I always find time for facebook, interesting!!).

Work last week has been manic and I have spent Monday to Wednesday in the office pretty much until midnight. So I trained very, very little - managed to swim three days and also managed one run. Argh!!! I was just really really tired and couldn't find any time where I could squeeze a session in. On Thursday afternoon I caught a flight to NYC (yay!!!) but spent pretty much the whole flight working. But I got upgraded to first class (or "upper class" as Virgin call it) so at least I was working in luxury. The only problem with flying first class is that business and economy seem cr*p.

I dad a lovely long weekend over there. On Friday night there was Infantry Ball at West Point and Shaun and I went. We had lots of fun with friends and it made us realised that once he leaves the US and comes back to the UK this summer we will really really miss that place.



Here is a photo of two of us at the ball - I look really tired (AND jet lagged)



On Saturday we had West Point marathon team over for lunch which was really lovely. Last year Shaun was coaching girls' rugby team and even though they were nice girls I didn't really have much in common with them. This year, with the runners, it's completely different story and they were all really nice and funny. We were all planning to do 25km Boston Build-up race on Sunday in CT but the race was cancelled due to the weather and on Sunday morning I headed out on my own to do 2 hour run. Oh my God, it was freezing. I don't think I've ever felt that cold on a run. It took me forever to warm up afterwards.

After the run I had my breakfast and my lunch... and my snack... and Shaun just looked at me and said "You eat a lot". That was it, if he says so it must be true as he is the only one who usually says that I am silly when I complain about food/weight etc. So from today I am on a mission to eat better. And yes, less.... I will try but we will see.

Got back to the UK yesterday morning so it is back to the usual routine. Have a great week!!!