Tuesday, 21 December 2010

New life in the country

So, I am going to copy what some of you (which shall remain unnamed) do and do this blog post in bullet point format.

-- We love living in our new neighbourhood. Our house is one of 9 on the road in the middle on English countryside and we love it. It is very quiet with lots and lots of footpaths and trails. Ideal for running. Our road is also part of the National Cycle Network which means some great rides around. It really is amazing living in the countryside again. Yesterday we had three deer in our garden and this morning we've heard and owl outside. We LOVE it.

-- I am also looking forward to joining local triathlon scene which is meant to be quite good. We miss our friends from the old tri club but I am determined to make some new ones here.

-- Still no training. I feel very fat and unfit and cannot wait to start training again. To be fair I am my own worse enemy as when I don't train I just let my eating habits slide as well. I really really need to be more disciplined. But, hurray, Jen's updated my training peaks and I start training again next week and i CAN'T WAIT.

-- Work has been busy lately with some trips to Paris. Actually, as glamorous as it sounds I am really not enjoying those. It involves a lot of travelling, sitting in a meeting room and negotiating the deal.

-- We have a new addition to our family. A beautiful chocolate Labrador called Millie and she is adorable.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Wow, has it been this long since the last time I wrote. I really won't learn, will I. That is it, I am going to try to stick to writing at least once a week. Let's see how that goes, shall we!?

So what has happened since the last time I wrote? The first and most important thing is that Shaun came back home after 7-month deployment to Afghanistan. The company he commands was on the very last flight home which made it really hard.I would see the other guys arriving home and their wives and girlfriends being really happy and relieved but we just had to wait and wait. But that day finally arrived and it was wonderful to have him back home. The post-deployment party in the officers mess was the best party we had in a very long time. Everyone was really relaxed which made it such a fun night. We had some friends staying with us as well which was fun and ended up getting home just after 5 am. A lot of alcohol was consumed and I don't normally drink which made the day after the party a rather painful day. I felt seriously ill the following day. And of course I said the famous words - "I am not drinking ever again".

So what else happened. For the past few months I was training for a marathon which was due to take place on 5 December. The week before the race we had a very snowy and cold weather (UK just does not know how to cope with the cold and snow) and the race was cancelled. I was very disappointed, especially as my training was going really well and I knew I was in for a good PR. Anyway, I have frantically set off looking for an alternative race and found one a week later in Holland. But this marathon just did not seem to happen for me as I felt ill and didn't race.

So now I am under instructions to rest and enjoy and I keep looking at my training peaks profile and there are no workouts there. I even log on every day hoping that I fill find a workout or something but nothing. I am not very good at this resting thing. It is driving me mad.

In some different news we have moved to a small village between Swindon and Marlborough, west of London. Shaun is on a staff college here until August, when we move to Wales. I am of course commuting to London for my job which is not ideal but there is not much I can do about it. We moved last week and are still getting to know the area. It is very beautiful with a lot of lovely pubs and great cycling route network. I think we will have nice time here.

So I am leaving you with a photo from the party which sums it all up - FUN!!!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

ESPN 30 for 30 - Once Brothers (1/6)

One of my friends posted this video on facebook the other day and I have already seen it twice. If you have not seen it on ESPN have a look on youtube. I loved it. It took me back to the old days when I was just a little girl and all these guys that appear in this video (Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic) were my idols. That era, the era of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan for me was when the best basketball was played.

I started playing basketball competitively when I was 9-10 years old. By the age of 13 I was already playing in National junior (U18) team and by the time I was 14 I was playing in my club's senior team with the girls who were at least 4-5 years older than me. I loved it. Basketball was my life and I loved my life. I trained hard and I trained every day. I used to go to practice an hour before everyone else and would stay an hour after everyone has left. I lived for the game. And I was good at it. Really good (without wanting to sound big-headed). I always thought that I would be a professional basketball player. For me nothing else was an option. But things happen in life over which you don't have any control and my basketball career came to abrupt stop.

I so often wonder what would have happened and where would I be now if I carried on playing. It is amazing how one event if your life changes your life altogether. Well, perhaps that's the beauty of it.

In more recent news, work has continued to be absolutely crazy. Hopefully the deal I am working on will complete this Friday and I can have my life back. And some more positive news, 15 days until my husband is finally back home. Huuuurrraaaay!!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

One tough week

One tough work week is behind me. Well not entirely behind me as I have to do some work from home tomorrow (Sunday) but it has been tough. I have worked over 70 hours Monday to Friday and there are no signs that it will calm down. My boss wants me to lead a really important transaction which I have never done before. I know I am capable of doing it but the problem is that the whole department is quite stretched and I am not getting the help from the junior lawyers that I need. The transaction is due to complete the day after Shaun comes home so fingers crossed it will all go according to plan.

Needless to say, after getting home around midnight most nights this week my training suffered. I used to get so frustrated about this before. But I think with time I kind of got used to accept it and go with the flow. In any event if work needs to get done I need to stay in the office and if I get too frustrated about it I just loose energy because of something that I can't change. So now, once the clock hits 7 pm and I am still in the office I just accept it and carry on working.

There are many times when I think I need a different job. That I need a job which will give me more time to spend with family and friends and do things that I love. But at the same time, I worked so hard to get to where I am and something has to pay the bills so there you go.

On a different note, Shaun and the company he commands is due to return in four weeks time. Busy work has made the time go quick last few weeks and I hope that the next four weeks will go quickly as well. It will be amazing having him home and having a normal life after 7.5 months.

Now I am peeled to my computer watching Ironmanlive and following all my friends. What an exciting day for everyone. Good luck guys.

I am leaving with with my view most of the time lately - view from my office.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's been some time

Well yet again I have failed to update this blog for some time. But forgive me, I think I may have an excuse (for some of it at least). So what has happened since the last time I wrote.

Most of August I was just excitedly waiting and counting down the days until Shaun came back home on a well deserved 2 weeks' R&R. As usual the time before he arrived felt like it really dragged on. But seeing him after 4.5 months of being apart was amazing. He looked tired, undernourished (he has lost a lot of weight) but happy to be back home. At least for a little while. In the typical fashion of Chandler household as soon as we got home from the airport we headed out together for a run. Needless to say our neighbours thought we were totally crazy but it was wonderful. It was just so lovely to run, chat and share that love for sports, as we normally do. We had lots of fun during those two weeks, seeing some friends, eating out and enjoying some lovely food or just watching DVDs at home. I also really needed a break from work as the last few weeks in the run up to Shaun's return work has been really busy. But the two weeks went really quickly and now I am sitting and waiting until his deployment is finished and he is back home in 5 weeks :))))

During those two weeks I was doing an ironman distance race on the border between England and Wales. I have to say that the swim venue was one of the most beautiful places I've ever swum in. The bike scenery was stunning. But I never got to see the run.... The bike course consisted of two loops and on the second loop I got sent the wrong way. I ended up in T2 after 90 miles rather than 112 and my race was over. Needless to say I was devastated. It wasn't so much about the ruined race rather than all the sacrifices we make along the way. All the early morning training, all the social events that I had to skip because I had to train. All the time that I could have spent with my friend and family. I do love training but if my race is going to be ruined I want it to be on my terms. Anyway, I am not going to dwell on it any more, I have put it behind me and I am now really looking forward to next season.

So I will leave you with couple of photos taken 2 weeks ago at a short trip away with friends in Bruges, Belgium.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Trailwalker photos

Here are some photos I've got from the last weekend's race.

Pre race posing:

Checkpoints stuff

Coming into the finish


Done and looking like a mess. But happy.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Trailwalker 100 km

On Saturday we (being the all-girls team called Gurkha Girls) ran the 100 km race called the Trailwalker. The race took us along the trail called the South Downs from a a small town in Hampshire called Petersfield to outskirts of seaside city Brighton. The scenery surrounding this race was absolutely beautiful and there were many times when I slowed down and looked around thinking "This is so beautiful". The race is organised by Oxfam and the Gurkha Regiments (in which Shaun serves) with the aim to raise money for both Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. The aim is to have a team of 4 who will start and finish the race together. Some teams just walk whilst the others are really competitive and run the whole way. This year there were around 320 teams taking part. Each team has a support vehicle which waits for its team at each of 10 checkpoints carrying team's food, spare clothes and anything else one might want.

Our team, the Gurkha Girls consisted of 3 wives and a fiance of Gurkha officers. Our support team consisted of Gurkha officers and soldiers who were not deployed to Afghanistan. And let me tell you we had THE BEST support crew anyone could want.
Our strategy was to walk the hills and run everything else. And we certainly stuck to that strategy. But don't think that the hills were easy. Some of them would send my heart rate into zone 5 just by walking up them. Some of them were brutal.

When the things got tough all we had to do is think of the hard jobs that our husbands do out in Afghanistan and that kept us going. We were doing well. When we started we said we would love sub-18 hour finish but would be happy with anything up to 20 hours. Half-way through the race we were on course for 15 hour finish. Our support crew and the volunteers at the checkpoints were impressed. They all expected us to be these housewives who would take 25-30 hours (30 hours is cut-off time) to finish. Noone expected us to go this quick. At about 70 km in a mixed team of two men and two women passed us and said "Are you the Gurkha Girls"? We said we were and they replied "We have heard about you at the checkpoints and have been trying to catch you for hours." That made us smile.

Because I had most experience in endurance racing I tried to keep the girls motivated, help, talk and do all the things I thought may be helpful. I have been told that apparently my favourite line is "It's not that bad". Apparently I would run up some inclines and the girls would be like "Technically, this is a hill. We should walk", to which my reply was "Come on, it's not that bad".

Just after 10 pm we were getting very close to the finish line. We could see the lights in the distance. We knew our support crew was there waiting for us. We crossed the finish line holding hands knowing that we have done it for Neil, Josh and Cpl Pun who lost their lives last week fighting for our country.

It took us 16 hours and 12 minutes to get to the finish line. We were 2nd female team and 24th team overall. Our support crew was thrilled. They have, by the time we saw them, already somehow sent the message to the guys in Afghanistan telling them how well we did. When we crossed the line and saw them they told us how much the guys in Afghanistan were proud of us. We burst into tears. What we did that day is nothing compared to what our husbands do every day. This was our way of saying thank you.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


I have been meaning to write this blog post for few days now and I had in my head a topic of writing about the ironman training and how great the rest week seems because the longest workout was 2 hours. But that just seems so trivial and irrelevant to me. On Tuesday life and the way I see life has changed forever.

On Tuesday we got news of three people from Shaun's unit being killed. Two officers and one soldier. I did not know the soldier but I did know the officers very well. I will not talk about how we found out and how we felt but what I will say is that in those moments the only people you actually want to spend time with are other spouses and girlfriends who are going through the same thing. Tuesday was hard. None of us have spoken to any of our other halves and I just felt helpless and numb. I didn't eat anything on Tuesday and could hardly sleep. Yesterday was not much better - I made it to work but I only stayed for couple of hours because all I did was staring at my computer screen doing absolutely nothing.

It is amazing how life changes in a second. You loose focus and nothing, apart from family and friends, seems important. Suddenly training and racing are totally irrelevant and reading blogs is the last thing on your mind. You start thinking how people are ignorant because they don't know what is going on. But it is no one's fault really and you can't blame anyone because why should people know any of that stuff. Why should they feel the way you feel? Until Tuesday morning I used to count the days until Shaun gets back home on R&R. I have stopped doing that. Now I just take each day as it comes.

I woke up this morning and thought that I would feel this day was a success if I stayed at work the whole day and not cry at all. It is mid-day and I am trying my hardest to make this a successful day. But I can't stop thinking about Josh and Neal and how young they were and how the whole life was still in front of them. We will miss you so much guys and the parties in the Officers' Mess will never be the same. We are so proud of you and everything you've done to keep us safe.

And even though you will be sorely missed you will never ever be forgotten. Jai 1RGR!!!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Well few things have changed since the last time I wrote. The main thing is that I am not NOT doing IM Louisville. I thought about it for a very long time and i have decided to do a local ironman distance race here in the UK called The Big Woody . The reason behind it is that Shaun will be in the UK for two weeks during that time and I realised that he probably did not want to be dragged half-way across the world to Kentucky to watch me race. I thought he would rather just relax and do things the easy way. And he kind of agreed. Of course he would have come with me and all that, but those two weeks are not about me, they are about him. And I am fine with not doing Louisville and am actually really looking forward to doing a local race. It will be fun.

So I am still training for ironman and on Saturday I had a 100 mile ride on the plan. My legs were really not happy about it. The first 20-30 miles they did not want to play at all. I found myself thinking things like "Angelina, you are sooo stupid. Why are you doing this? Why? You are not doing an ironman next year. It is far too long". But then the legs decided to join the play ans they started feeling better and by mile 80-90 I was riding thinking which ironman I should do next year. Is it that easy to change your mind!? And so before you know it I am signed up for a great race next year - it will be their 10th anniversary and promises to be amazing.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Summer in England

Life has been somewhat crazy lately. Work has been manic last week and I managed to average 5 hours sleep every night. The work itself was not too bad and I enjoyed working with couple of people from one of our regional offices. It is amazing how much more relaxed and friendlier are people who do not work in the City (financial centre of London). Amazing!!!!

Last weekend we had rubbish weather. I had to do a 5 hour ride on Saturday and I got rained on so many times. But I discovered some new routes which was lovely. I love discovering new countryside roads.

Unlike the weekend, the weather this week has been amazing. Nice and sunny and warm (but not too warm). I met three ladies yesterday after work, all of whom are girlfriends of the young officers in Shaun's battalion. We try to meet up once a month and last time we met we had a dinner in one of the restaurants in the West End. This time we wanted to enjoy the glorious weather and ended up having a picnic in the Green Park. I LOVE LONDON!!!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Happy birthday!

My amazing husband is a year older today. I am bummed that we can't spend this day together but that is life I guess. But he has received the cake I sent in the post.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Kansas 70.3

*Ignore that time on the clock - I am faster than that (not by huge amount though :(((

I know that I owe you a race report from Kansas but it now seems like ages ago and I am feeling lazy and work has been crazy since I got back so I am not going to say too much.

My trip went swimmingly. I flew to Kansas City via Chicago. My bike and the bag made it on all of the four flights which got me from London to Kansas City and back. I've missed having Shaun there as this was the first race in the US that I have done on my own. But he called the evening before the race and the evening after the race which was lovely.

I stayed with friends in Kansas City. He is a Brit who has been living in KC for the last year and a half. During that time he got married and had a kid and it was lovely to meet his wife and baby girl. It was funny because we used to go out years and years ago but remained good friends all this time. It was so nice to see him happily married.

I am pretty sure most of you have read on other blogs about the race and how it was hot etc, etc. So I will not talk about that. All I am going to say is that I had a great race with a PR to prove. I felt strong the whole time and perhaps I could have pushed a bit more on the bike but I am not going to dwell on it. I had a small mechanical on the bike where I've lost some time. As I got out of T1 and tried to clip in and get going my rear wheel wouldn't move. AT ALL!!! I thought the brakes were rubbing, got off, looked at it, it wasn't breaks. I was fiddling with it for couple of minutes, released my skewer a bit and that seemed to have done the trick. About 15 miles into the bike, a guy rode past me and said "Your rear skewer is almost undone" or something along those lines. I hopped off the bike and as I got my leg over the bike, the rear wheel just fell out. Clearly the skewer was COMPLETELY released. Wow, I was lucky. If he didn't see it, if he didn't say anything to me, if I didn't stop..... I don't even want to know what would have happened on some of those fast downhills. But I was lucky and that is that.

Overall, I loved my, albeit short, time in Kansas and Missouri and I loved the race. Now it's time to ramp up that IM Louisville training.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

For those interested...

Someone has forwarded this link to me today and it really made my day. It is all about Shaun's unit. And if you don't read anything else make sure you read the last two paragraphs :))))

Friday, 21 May 2010

Fun stuff

I know I owe you the race report from the race last week and I will hopefully do it this afternoon, but right now I wanted to share something I've read, which is pretty funny. Enjoy.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the h-- are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least 'kind of tired'.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper to which I swear I did not make any changes.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Ahhhhh!!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear get dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

29. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'll bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

30. My check engine light has been on for three months now and nothing's happened. I'm starting to think that my car is just an attention whore.

31. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

32. Sometimes I pretend not to remember details about people because having a good memory apparently equates to creepiness.

33. My GPS says "Estimated Arrival Time." I see "Time to Beat."

34. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not smart enough to read and obey the warning sign. I will touch the electric fence to see what it does".

35. My keyboard needs a removable crumb tray like my toaster.

36. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

37. I wish it were appropriate to say to a complete stranger, "Excuse me, would you like me to show you how to discipline your child?"

38. I never understood why the Lions and Cowboys always get to play on Thanksgiving. Shouldn't the Patriots play the Redskins, and then steal their stadium afterwards?

39. Double-Stuffed Oreos should just be called Oreos, and regular Oreos should be called Diet Oreos.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Politics and racing

Following our general elections on Thursday we in the UK woke up on Friday morning with the news of a Hung Parliament. This means that no political party managed to secure the overall majority although the Conservative party secured highest number of votes. After few days of talks and negotiations we finally have a new government formed by a coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats. We also have a new Prime Minister, David Cameron. I hope that this means a brighter and better future but we all know that the new Government has a lot of work to do.

And for those interested in some British politics the following video will be interesting

Slightly different news now - it is race week for me. On Sunday I am racing The Marshman, a half-ironman distance triathlon some 20 miles from my house. I am very excited to race so close to home on the roads I know and with some familiar faces. The benefit of racing so close to home is that you don't have to travel and it gives me a lot of time to plan and prepare for a race. Travelling just leaves me panicking about whether I've packed everything or similar worries.

So I've put my bike in for service and it should be ready this evening. Once that is done I will be ready to race. But there is just one small issue. And that is weather. We've been having some pretty cold spell here recently. I woke up this morning to find that the temps in London were sub-zero degrees Celsius (around 35F). Apparently last night in the UK was the coldest May night in the last 15 years. So I am naturally worried about the race and how cold I would get. I have got a neoprene swim cap and now I just need to decide on all those layers to wear on the bike. I HATE being cold. But there is not much I can do so I will just have to figure it out and get on with it. But I am very excited to race. Woo hoo!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lost and found

Well another week has gone by and I am that one week closer to seeing my husband again. I am now fully established into my daily and weekly routine. The only non-routine stuff are Shaun's phone calls. He tries to call twice a week if at all possible but we never know when that might be. It is usually at some ungodly hour for him like 1 am his time. He is working very hard and really long hours and if he has time then the phones are usually busy with long waiting lines. Unlike last time when he was in a huge camp with huge infrastructure, this time around it is back to basics. Apparently he tries to run around the edges of the camp - circles of 300 meters would drive me mad. But he is stronger and better than me at that.

Last weekend I went for a weekend away with 3 other army wives and one of the husbands, army officer who has stayed behind (he came back from his deployment fairly recently though). Us, the "army wives" are running a trailwalker race in July (run/walk/crawl of 100 km along the coast of Britain) so this was our first training/bonding weekend. For me it was good, because I ended up doing my long run with other people - so much more fun. Although I have to admit, I couldn't do it very often.

We stayed the Saturday night in B&B and back home on Sunday, after the long run. When I got home I couldn't find my watch anywhere. I took it off that morning to put my Garmin on and thought I'd put it in my rucksack. But couldn't find it anywhere. I LOVE that watch. It is expensive but that was not the point, the insurance would probably pay for it. Far more importantly, it was Shaun's wedding anniversary present 5 years ago. I was completely devastated. I asked all the ladies but they haven't seen it anywhere. We searched the car but nothing. On Monday morning I decided to phone the B&B to check whether they had it, although I was fairly certain that it just fell out my bag somewhere. So I called them and BINGO! They have it. I was soooooo happy. I hope to drive down tonight after work to pick it up. I just can't wait to see it back on my wrist. I really ought to be more careful from now on.
I am leaving you with the photo of "Girkha Girls" (the name of the team) post-run.
I look like a giant - must be uphill :(

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

There are so many things wondering in my head so I suspect this blog post will be quite random.

I have been invited to a dinner by one of the Army wives tonight. Most of the other wives are going but I said "No". I have masters swim practice and I did not want to miss it. I didn't really say that to her as there is no doubt they would all think I was completely mad and got my priorities wrong. But after all, that was the only reason for it. If it wasn't for the masters practice (or any other training session) I would have gone. Perhaps I am mad. But I am proud of myself (maybe wrongly, you can be the judge of that) for saying "No". I do have a problem in that more often than not I would agree to doing something even though it completely messes up my plans and my life. Then the even comes near and all I think is why in the first place did I agree to go there or do that. Anyway, I am on the right track and I need to be more disciplined in saying NO.

On a slightly different note, I have had a first phone call over the weekend informing me of the first injured soldier in Shaun's unit. It was a case of improvised explosive device and the poor soldier has lost both of his legs. It is impossible to say how I felt but all I wanted to do was cry. Not sure whether it was because I was feeling sorry for him, or because it brought it all close to home or whether I was feeling sorry for myself and having to deal with these sort of news for the next six months. But what I do know is that I shouldn't think about these things because they will drive me completely mad.

But on a more positive note the training is going well in spite of some long hours at work. I am loving the training at the moment and the little routine I have created for myself. And so I am leaving you with couple of photos from my most favourite long run route. Miles and miles of trees, water and nothing else.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Italy and other things

My trip to Italy went well. We did a fair bit of work and had meetings in Padova, Venice, Treviso, Vicenca, Verona and Milan. So most of it was work and work but we also had some time to relax. I've seen this:

Vicenza was small but lovely too

But mostly I did a lot of this:

On a not so good note, I missed two calls from Shaun whilst I was in Italy and I was getting very upset with the fact that I have not spoken with him. Once back home I became inseparable from my phone until he called on Saturday :)))) I was much much happier after that. We are still trying to get into some sort of routine as to our communication but we are getting there slowly. I am trying to spend as little time as possible living the "Army life" because when I do I tend to loose any sense of reality. It is a very different life and I very often get into phases where I do not like spending any time with the other army wives.

Anyway, we've had some nice weather but the mornings and nights are still very very cold. I really need the spring/summer to arrive SOON.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Today's run

I had a trail run on my plan today and I knew perfect place. On the top of the cliffs overlooking the English channel. And the rain we had last few days made sure it was slow and muddy.

The steps going down (they were muddy and I was sliding most of the time)

What goes down WILL go up. Ouch!

Hope you all have a lovely day today. Happy Easter!

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Wow, has it been this long since the last time I blogged. Where does this time go? But believe me not much has happened and you haven't really missed anything.

I had a week off work and we went to see both sets of parents (what a lovely kids we are :))). We first went to Belgrade where the weather was lovely. It was Shaun's and mine first run of the year in short and t-shirt. That made me really happy... the little things, eh. Then back to the UK and to Wales to see Shaun's family. That was a rather flying visit. Unfortunately I am now back at work. I always find it so hard going back to work after few days of holiday.

Shaun is deploying in the early hours of Saturday. I cannot believe that time for him to go is already here. I find the last couple of weeks always particularly hard - he is not gone yet but I am waiting for it to happen, so I can't really do anything properly. It is almost like waiting for him to go so that I can get back into my routine. But at the same time I do not want him to go. Ugh...

We have had a pretty bad weather here in the UK this week. Rain, wind, cold, I mean it is April for God's sake. Where is that sunshine. It is officially spring but it certainly doesn't seem like it. The good news is that on Monday I am going on a business trip to Italy for a whole of next week. I fly into Venice and out of Milan but I will also be having meetings in Treviso, Vicenza and Verona. Unfortunately it will mess up my training a little but at least I can go for a run.

We in the UK have a Friday (tomorrow) and Monday as bank holidays so the long weekend awaits. I wish I could say that some sunshine awaits too but there are some parts of the UK in snow right now. Oh Italy, I cannot wait.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Shaun came back from his trip on Sunday night and we had to go straight to his company leaving party. Some of his soldiers were getting deployed this week and that was the last opportunity for the whole company to get together. It was very emotional for me to be there and listen to all the speeches but it was a good night.

I am finding it extremely difficult to juggle all the things in my life at the moment. I need to get that right balance that I am always striving for but it's not easy. Work has been quite busy lately but I enjoyed facing some new challenges at work so that was not really a problem from me. However, when I get home from work all I want to do is spend time with Shaun. When he is away I am totally devoted to my work and training and I hardly miss a workout and if I do, it is usually because of a late night in the office. But with Shaun's leaving date fast approaching I find it soooo hard to come home, say hello to him and head upstairs for an hour on the computrainer. When I know that in 3 weeks time I will be all on my own and would dream of the evenings spent together. Last night, for example, I had a 90 mins workout on the trainer but on my way back home all I wanted was a nice evening with Shaun. So I skipped the workout and we went out to a nice Mexican restaurant for a dinner. I felt really guilty about it but we've had lovely evening so why do I feel guilty?

Anyway, I have talked him into riding with me tomorrow so at least that is one way of getting the balance.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Not much has been happening since I last wrote. On Thursday last week very very early (something like 3 am) Shaun left to go to Afghanistan. He is only there on a course for 10 days and should be back early next week. He will then have some time off before he deploys in early April for 6 months. When he left last week and I saw him in desert uniform I have no idea what happened to me but I couldn't stop my tears. I mean there was no reason for them - he will be back soon and he's been away far longer recently on various exercises. But I think seeing him in that uniform brought me back to reality and the fact that very very soon he will be gone for 6 months and I will have to deal with it. I really did not want him to see me cry but I just couldn't stop those damn tears. He went on this course with two junior officers. One of them is married and they live next door to us so in a way that was easier for me because Kate (his wife) and I could spend some time together.

I know I am not always overly excited about the life in the Army but with Shaun being away these days everyone has been very nice. I got invited for a dinner and cinema last weekend. I was invited by young officers to a dinner in the Officers' Mess (ok, ok, I should probably send my single female friends), tomorrow I am for for another dinner with an army couple. In addition people have been calling, texting etc. The support has been great and that is what is great about the life "with" the army.

The training has been going well. Last Saturday my triathlon club organised a swimming gala (swim meet for all my North American friends) just for the club members and some guests. The idea was that anyone could sign up for any number of races and we, who do not normally compete in swimming, would have the opportunity to experience the atmosphere. I thought it was a great idea and very well organised. I competed in 3 races and was reasonably happy with how I did, but I was ecstatic about one thing - I actually DOVE OFF the blocks. I've never done that in my life (yes I did "bomb" as a child) and was terrified, but I loved it.

The picture at the beginning of this post is from a Thanet 20 mile running race three years ago. On Sunday I will running the same race again. That should be....interesting to say the least. Hopefully the rain we have had recently will be gone and the horrible cold wind that froze me on my run this morning will be nothing but a breeze.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A & E

This is Shaun around 4 am this morning. In an A&E department of our nearest hospital. He has been complaining of some stomach pains since Sunday night and the last couple of nights were rough, for both of us. At 2 am this morning he was getting worse so I suggested we go to A&E to get him checked. He is due to fly to Afghanistan tomorrow for 10 days and he does not need to be worried about his health. So A&E it was. 4 hours later we left, with some tablets. They don't know what it was but it doesn't seem serious so hopefully he will be OK.

Last couple of days have been hard. A friend passed away this week of cancer. He leaves behind his wife and three small kids, all under the age of eight. When we first met him, in Brunei 7-8 years ago he was very fit army officer. Last year we found out he had throat cancer but we really thought he would make it through. But life is so fragile sometimes. It makes me realise time and time again that we should not take anything for granted and that we should enjoy every day to its fullest. John, we will miss you greatly but I am sure we will meet again.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Hello Friday!

Here they are - some of my rumblings!

It's Friday afternoon, nearly 5 pm and I am waiting for that magic 5:30 pm so that I can leave the office. Shaun is away and one of the young female officers is coming over for a dinner and girly evening away from the guys. Shaun is her boss and she never comes when he is around which I find quite funny. I cannot imagine him being scary :))) But I do feel for her as she is the most junior officer in the Mess (single officers live there) and living with the boys can get to you sometimes I guess. So when I am on my own she pops over and I enjoy the evenings like that as well.

This is my second week of consistent training and I love it. The first time I went back to the club swim it was painful. REALLLLY painful. But the second time was better and the third even better. I love swimming. I just wish I was faster.

Shaun has been away a lot. They are deploying in 4-5 weeks and I guess they are putting "finishing touches" on their training as well. He was away the whole last week and I got a call on Sunday night at 11 pm to come and get him from the base. Then he left again on Wednesday morning and should be back home tomorrow. Woo hoo. But then he is due to go away next week for 10 days. :)))

I think that it is certain that I won't be racing Oceanside. We are just really short on time and I do not want to stress about the race the week before Shaun deploys. We will both have a week off work so I am still thinking of ways (somewhere closer) to spend that week. We will most likely just drive to France and enjoy their food and wine. And some nice riding.

But the plan is not definite yet so if you have any ideas please do share.

Friday, 12 February 2010


I got off the train on Wednesday night to find my car totally buried in snow. My normal 5 mins drive from the train station home took me over half an hour. On Thursday morning my car and me in it were the first to drive down our road. Needless to say, the trains were a mess and I ended up working from home.

It was lovely to walk in the snow and enjoy the fresh air. But this country never gets this much snow and we simply cannot cope with it. So, can we please have some nice weather now.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Plans, plans, plans

After a few pretty awful days I am finally feeling better. Not 100%, not even 80%, but I hope I am getting there slowly. Apparently I had a virus (possibly even swine flu) and that is why my antibiotics were not working properly. I still have blocked nose, I cough and also sound nothing like me but I feel soooo much better than I did over the weekend.

I had a chat with a good friend who is also a doctor about how soon I can get back to training but she told me to wait until I feel better because my immune system is lower than normal right now and I could pick something up again if I start training too soon. So I am waiting.... I am hoping to do some light training this weekend. I have not trained properly for almost 5 full weeks. It has all been on and off with the last two weeks being particularly bad so I am terrified of getting back to training. Don't get me wrong, I simply cannot wait to do it, but at the same time I am terrified of seeing that my fitness has gone downhill. And it has, and I HATE it. But as long as I am healthy I am going to work my butt off to get to where I was (and pass that) soon. So, for the weekend, I hope to do an easy 1 hour spin on the bike and an easy run and then get back to Jen's training programme on Monday.

On a slightly different note, Shaun has found out today that he probably won't deploy until the first week of April, which is great news because I get to spend more time with him. But to me that screamed NO OCEANSIDE straight away. But.... There may be a way around it and we won't really know for sure until some time in March but I hope our plan works. And that is for Shaun to come to Cali with me at the end of March. Apparently he needs to be in the UK at least 5 days before they deploy so it is completely workable. We will do our best to make it work but we are completely at the mercy of the Army. AGAIN.!!!! Everyone, fingers crossed.

And staying on the Army topic, we have another dinner night at the Officers' Mess this Friday. To be perfectly honest I do not feel like going at all. It means that I have to rush from work, get home, get ready, rush to the Mess, chat to the people I have to even though I do not particularly want to (does that sound bad???) etc, etc. I know that in the end we will have good time but right now I feel that I would rather be in my PJs in front of my TV on that Friday night. But it is the last party before the battalion deploys so it IS important to be there.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Too soon

I spoke too soon last time. As I am lying on my sofa under a duvet desperately wanting to feel better, I realise how often we take our health for granted. It all hit me back on Wednesday morning when I woke up with a scratchy throat. I went to work and by the afternoon my voice sounded much worse. Woke up on Thursday morning and my throat completely seized up. I couldn't say a word, it was really painful. I decided not to go to work and go and see a doctor. She gave me antibiotics and I can't wait for them to "kick in". I woke up this morning feeling even worse. I have spent a whole day between my bed and the sofa with a fever and sounding very very rough. Ugh!!!

So needless to say the 10 miler that I was meant to race on Sunday will not happen. I am quite disappointed about it, I love that race.

But anyway, my priority right now is to get better as soon as I can and limit the damage done to my training. I just really hope I will wake up tomorrow feeling at least a little bit better so that I can at least enjoy the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I am back

Yes, after three weeks of on and off illnesses I am finally back....I think. I took it very easy last week and did the workouts that I felt like doing without putting too much pressure on myself. I just wanted to get back into training without any risk of relapse. So fingers crossed.

I think I have also finalised my race plan for this year. There will still be some running races or cycle sportives added to it but for now it looks like this:

31 January - Canterbury 10 miler: This is a great local race which I have done few years ago and I love running races so why not?!

14 February - Dover half-marathon: This race is organised by my triathlon club and it is a great race. I have also done this in the past. The first half is VERY quick and you go through it thinking yay I am flying, and then you hit the hills :((( So we'll see.

27 March - Oceanside 70.3: Really looking forward to this but there may be some changes. Read about it below.

16 May - The Marshman: half-ironman distance race half an hour away from our house. It doesn't get better than that. I can sleep in my bed and train on the course. Yay!!! Plus I get to race with loads of friends. It doesn't get better than that.

27 June - A Day in The Lakes: half-ironman distance in the Lake District of the UK (in the north-west of the country). It is a beautiful and VERY VERY hilly part of the country. This will be the second year of this event and some of my friends have done it last year. It was TOUGH!!!!

29 August - IM Louisville: I love this race and cannot wait to get back there. It is by far the most important and favourite race for me on this schedule.

So, the above plan is slightly different to what I first envisaged I would do. I was registered to race IM St. George but the thought of travelling there on my own, staying in a hotel on my own (Shaun will be deployed then) and racing without knowing anyone was really not appealing to me. I would not have fun and would not enjoy it. So I've decided to pull out and do some more local races. I am really excited about racing locally where I get to spend time with my friends and where I can have loads of friends supporting. It will be fun.

So Oceanside!? So far there has been no plan change. But.... Shaun is getting deployed at the end of March/beginning of April. So this is the hard part. If he gets deployed before 25 March I am racing, but if he for example gets deployed any time after that, I would really really like to spend some time with him rather than race. I am so frustrated about this. The problem is that the situation is so fluid, flight dates change all the time (for security and other reasons) and we really won't know when he will deploy probably until some time in March. I know that for some people out there it is hard to understand my decision but even an hour spent longer with my husband is worth to me more than any race. He is going to be away for 6-7 months and it will get tough and lonely and depressing and all those other things so I want to spend time with my husband now. So basically I am training as if I will be racing (and I probably won't book my flight until quite late in March) but who knows what will happen.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Feel better

After that great start to the year, last week it all came tumbling down. On Tuesday I started feeling ill with fever and generally just very weak. It has lasted until Sunday - by Sunday afternoon I was feeling quite good. It is very frustrating not being able to train. That is what we do and it is a big part of our day so not training just leaves this void. And frustration. And generally I am not a nice person to be around when I can't train. And this illness has been an annoying one: you know the one where you feel well enough to get out of bed and go to work but then you get to work and you feel miserable and sorry for yourself. ANNOYING!!!!

So I was only too keen to get back into training yesterday. I did a great swim back in my local pool, watched what I ate, blah, blah, blah. Then I woke up this morning with a sore throat. Didn't think much of it, but as the day went on I felt worse and worse. And now it's back to square one. I am in no state to train. Can you hear me screaming right now???

I am trying to be positive and I think that tonight I will get some rest, go to bed early and will wake up in the morning raring to go. Let's hope so!!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


There is something exciting about 2010. Don't know what but I hope it will be a great year. And I have kicked it off with some changes.

First of all, I am moving out of London back home to Folkestone. This means I will get to see Shaun every day - yay!!! (unless he is away with work), which was the main drive for this decision. He is getting deployed in March/April for six months and I know that once he is gone I will regret not spending more time back home. Also, I am kind of fed up with living in two places. It has worked for us well whilst I divided my time between London and West Point, but I don't like it when these two places are only 50 miles apart. So, I will be commuting daily on a speedy train service which will get me from Folkestone to London in 45 minutes. The main downside?? No more bike commuting. But...... I think have found a semi-solution for that. Once the days are longer I can ride to the train station 20 miles down the road and get some great training in the countryside lanes. Yay!!!

I will miss my commute past all the great London landmarks, but at the same time I am so looking forward to living away from the city.

So, that's the latest living news. On the racing front, Shaun and I did our club annual Bra run . It is held every year on New Years Day in the aid of Breast Cancer Research charity. It is a lot of fun. Shaun came third overall and I did a 5km PR (I know, this is slow for you guys, but for me, it was great). Great start to the new year.

Also, on this past Sunday we've jumped into a x-country race. It is part of a county x-country league and our club is a member of that league so the race was all about DEAL TRI team. It was my first every x-country race. It was soo hard but sooo much fun. I definitely want to do a few of those.

So the last couple of days I have been finalising my racing season with Coach Jen and I think we are nearly there. I am so so excited to train and race this year. And hope to see many of you out there.