I know I’ve already done a triathlon this year, but that was just a little one, a warm-up if you like. The real season for me starts on Sunday, with the Slateman. And guess what? I’m injured. My shoulder is still not better, I have a potentially fractured wrist and I’ve got TFL syndrome* which has been stopping me from running for about 3 weeks now. Of course this isn’t going to stop me doing the damn thing, it just means my training has gone out the window. I’ve been swimming twice in the pool and once in the Lake this year, although I’m off to the lake this afternoon and I have a swim analysis test tomorrow. I’ve not really been out on the bike, certainly not like I was last year and, as I said, I’ve not run for 3 weeks. Doesn’t really bode well for a PB but never mind. At least I’ll see where I’m at and where I need to work (probably everywhere!!).
*The TFL is the tensor fasciae latae, in short a hip abductor muscle that links the ITB (iliotibial band) to the hip. TFL syndrome is when this muscle gets tight. It’s pretty painful. You can read more about it here.
Having said all that, I’m feeling pretty good (I know it doesn’t sound like it), but I’m feeling strong. I’ve kept at the Crossfit, obviously avoiding movements that aggravate my shoulder, and I’m down to 70 kilos which is the lightest I’ve been in a very long time. I’m hoping I might be able to wing it… Famous last words!! I’ve also become a brand ambassador for Just Strong Clothing. If you want to get 10% discount on their stuff, just click here and the discount will be applied at the checkout.
In other news, we have bought a van. It’s a red Vauxhall Vivaro SWB and we are in the process of converting it into a campervan. Project van is great – it is taking over my life in a good way!! So far I have managed to insulate the floor, ply-line the floor and carpet the floor. Next stage is electrics and then I can get on and insulate and line the walls. We also need some windows putting in but having discussed this, we’ve decided to get someone else to do this. Far too delicate a job for either of us.
Both of us have been away in it, together and separately for work, just as it is at the moment, and it’s great. So handy not having to put a tent up! I can’t see that I will ever go back to having a car. After Easter we went up to the Lake District for a few days with the dog and we managed fine. It was a bit of a pain having to take everything out to organise each day but it was definitely better than having to put up and take down a tent each time. I’m going to start building the bed too because I can’t decide where the best position for it is. If I build it outside the van then I can move it around a bit to decide.
In more other, different news, a good friend of mine is pregnant. I’m super happy for her, for them both, but I have to say it completely floored me. I’m not sure why exactly, although if I’m honest I just didn’t think she wanted children! I don’t know why I thought that, maybe because we’ve never talked about it, I’m not sure. Maybe I just decided that so it was easier for me. I don’t know, but it hit me hard. This is the first person I am close to that is having a baby since I’ve been told I can’t. And they are close to me, as in she lives in my village and we do a lot together. Some days I’m fine and then some days I’m really not. I guess I’ll just have to roll with it and see how it goes…
Following on from my last post about living with someone who has depression, I wanted to make something clear that perhaps I didn’t before. Although I question myself about why I didn’t walk away right at the start, I’m always glad I didn’t. I love my husband and he loves me, I think more than I will ever be able to reciprocate. We make a good team.
We don’t have an easy marriage, that’s for sure. Although we are very similar in some ways: we both love the outdoors and we both do a lot of exercise; we are also very different. I have always been a social animal. I love spending my time with my friends and family, I like going out, I like doing exercise with others (I run with friends, I cycle with a club, I go to Crossfit and enjoy being part of that community). My other half, on the other hand, likes to be solitary. He always exercises alone. He doesn’t look forward to group gatherings. He particularly dislikes large group events (weddings, etc.). He likes to spend time with me but otherwise he is much happier by himself. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have friends, he does, but I wouldn’t call them close friends.
I love my dog, Bailey. My husband is not really an animal person. This has an affect on us as he gets jealous of the dog. I think that’s crazy but for him it’s very real. Bailey has been with me since he was 8 weeks old. I can’t have children but I can have a dog. To me he is like a child and people who aren’t dog lovers just don’t get this.
We bicker. We bicker about silly things. We’re a bit like my mum and dad in that respect and they have been together over 50 years so maybe that’s not a bad thing 😉 We struggle financially. I don’t know why as we both work hard but we’re just both inherently bad with money. We have no security, no savings, nothing in place for the future. We have debt. We live from hand to mouth and I’m sure this doesn’t help with the stresses of things. Still, we have a roof over our heads, we have food on the table and we get by. Of this we should be extremely grateful as there are others out there a lot less fortunate than us.
Living with someone with depression is really hard. The good times are great but the bad times can be really bad. And they can be unexpected. There doesn’t have to be a reason, a trigger. It can just happen. And I’m not always ready for it. This time I really wasn’t ready for it. He’s doing better. He’s upped his meds and he’s setting out strategies for himself. We even talked about the affect it has on me. He bought me flowers. They are beautiful flowers and the same colours as our wedding flowers ❤ He knows that his illness is selfish. He knows how much it impacts me and he is eternally grateful for my support. In fact you can read all about it from his perspective here.
I went to see a friend on Friday afternoon. A good friend who only lives 20 minutes away and who I don’t see nearly enough. She is struggling too. We both need to be there for each other. Friends are so important. Having someone to talk to is so important. I am setting myself some additional goals for this year and that is to spend more time with friends. To be there for my friends and for them to be there for me. A problem shared and all that… I’m also going to stop comparing my marriage to other people’s. It doesn’t work like that. We are all different. We all have our crosses to bear, some just more than others.
I don’t suffer with depression, of this I am eternally grateful. I do, however, live with it. My husband has depression and has suffered with this crippling illness for over 20 years. We have only been together for 6 years and sometimes I do wonder to myself why I didn’t just walk away right at the start. That sounds harsh I know but it’s true. It takes an incredible toll on our relationship.
At the moment I am imploding. Quietly. He is going through a difficult time right now and I have reached tipping point. I’m just not sure how to support him this time. I feel like I’ve run empty on the right things to say, on the right things to do, on the support I can give him. It’s tearing me apart as I feel like my marriage is in danger of falling apart. I have my own things going on – financial stress mainly, as usual. Normally I seem to be able to cope with everything life throws at me but right now I just don’t have it in me. I just want to shout ‘pull yourself together’ despite knowing full well this is the WORST thing I can say.
Depression is a nasty, selfish, all-consuming illness and unless you have lived with it, either personally or through someone else, you will never understand its effects. It is debilitating. It is driving us apart. I feel lost. I love him but I’m not sure that’s enough right now.
So apparently I joined WordPress a year ago today. That must mean that my whole (short) journey with IVF started around this time. I’ve been meaning to write a post for quite some time but I just haven’t managed to motivate myself enough to do it. Way too much going on in my head to get it all down in a meaningful way. However, this reminder from WordPress that I have been here a year is a good kick up the arse to get going, so here we go.
We went away. The trip of a lifetime for us. Nepal and India. Trekking in the Himalaya, seeing Everest from afar, soaking up the Buddhist and Hindu culture, watching amazing sunsets, visiting beautiful historic sites, eating amazing food. Funny though how now it all seems like something I read in a magazine rather than experienced for myself (ourselves)…
I keep bumping into people I haven’t seen in a while and they ask me, enthusiastically, ‘so how was your trip?’ My go to reply now seems to be, ‘yeah, it was great, thanks, seems like a lifetime ago now’. It’s true, it does. Life just gets back in the way doesn’t it? Suddenly you’re back in the rhythm of work, of chores, of trying to make ends meet. I wanted the trip to be something to take the sting out of not having children. Realistically I know this was never going to work. The benefit last year was it gave me something to look forward to. I could plan. I was distracted. Now what? I still can’t have children and now we probably won’t be able to afford to go on holiday again for years. It’s almost like a massive sucker punch instead of being something wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong, we did have an absolutely amazing time! Nepal was incredible. We completed the Gokyo Trek in the High Himalaya over 14 days from Lukla where we had to fly in and out in the tiniest of airplanes ever :O
That was pretty exhilarating! As soon as we landed we set off on our first day of trekking to Phakding. It was a pretty easy day and, in hindsight, we probably should have aimed for a little further along the route, but it was a nice day to ease into the trek. As an aside, if you want to see all the routes we walked, they are all on my Strava account 🙂 There’s also loads of pictures on my Instagram account.
The next day we headed up to Namche Bazaar which is the resting place for many before they embark higher into the mountains. It’s a beautiful little town set in a natural amphitheatre in the hillside with stunning views back down the valley. We stayed here for three nights to acclimatise and on our second day we went for a day’s walk to acclimatise further and got our first proper views of Everest and Ama Dablam 🙂
I could write for hours and hours about what we did each day but I’m not going to. I’ll do a quick summary instead. We spent the next 3 days working our way up to Machherma where, unfortunately, we both got food poisoning 😦 That meant an extra night there to try and recover. From there it was up to Gokyo but neither of us were feeling great as we were running on empty. This meant that, unfortunately (again) Elton came down with altitude sickness and we weren’t able to attempt to climb Gokyo Ri (5357m) and instead Gokyo was our highest point on the trek at 4790m. It didn’t matter, it was more important to get Elton back down so that’s what we did.
We spent the next 3 days making our way back to Namche via Phortse and Tengboche and got the most amazing sunset over Everest on Christmas Eve while in Tengboche 🙂
We spent Christmas Day in Namche and then trekked back to Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu, on an even smaller plane (!!) on Boxing Day. An amazing time was had 🙂
After the trek we decided that rather than heading straight into India we would go to Pokhara for a bit of a chillout. This hadn’t originally been on our itinerary but we needed somewhere to relax for a bit and it looked like the perfect place. After a night in Kathmandu we caught our first (of many) long distance bus. The roads in Nepal are not good. In fact, they are nowhere near good. The journey itself is not that far but there is no way you can travel at much more than 20-30 mph at any one time, that’s if you’re moving at all. It was an experience, that’s for sure.
Pokhara was great. Chilled out, on the lakeside with beautiful views up to the Annapurnas. We stayed in an amazing hostel called the Sacred Valley Inn which had a roof terrace where we could lazily eat breakfast in the sunshine. Perfect. We decided to stay until New Year’s Day before heading south to India.
Wow. India. What can I say about India? We barely scratched the surface of India but boy was it an experience. Because of our unplanned four day detour to Pokhara we were suddenly running out of time. This meant buses. A lot of buses. I’m not going to say much about it (I could actually go on all day) except these two things: a) we are lucky to be alive to tell the tale; b) don’t travel by bus at night. The only other thing I have to say is DON’T EVER GO TO GORAKPHUR.
In our very short time we did manage to visit the Taj Mahal, although it was pretty foggy, and Amer Fort just outside Jaipur, which were both stunning in very different ways. We also managed a few days chilling out in Udaipur which was lovely. From there it was an overnight train back to Delhi (me with food poisoning again – that was a fun journey) before flying back home.
The Taj Mahal
Udaipur at Sunset
Inside the City Palace, Udaipur
On the train to Delhi
Not feeling so good 😦
And now we’re back. In fact we’ve been back for nearly six weeks. And it’s taken me this long to write about it. Hmmm. Like I said, life gets in the way. Anyway, I needed a new focus, new goals for 2018. So here they are…
Having been vegetarian for over a year now and seeing the benefit of trying to eat mainly plant-based food, I am now trying to go at least 95% plant-based by the end of 2018. I won’t eat meat again that’s for sure but I am going through a process of cutting out as much dairy as possible and reducing my egg intake. So far, so good. Where I’m let down (especially at this time of year) is chocolate :O Having said that I have made some amazing gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free chocolate peanut butter and jelly cups using a recipe from Eli Brecher – seriously check it out here!
The other things I have been doing (alongside trying to rehab my shoulder which still isn’t fixed) is following a bit of a plan from The Natural Edge which concentrates on plant-based eating but also on intermittent fasting and getting good quality sleep. It’s been amazing. Yesterday I completed my first 24 hour fast and felt great for it. I’ve also invested in a sunrise alarm clock so I wake up to light, rather than an annoying alarm that jerks me awake. I’m down to 70 kilos which is the lightest I’ve been in a long time and my performance in training is improving. Good job as the Harlech Triathlon is just around the corner… :O Little video from towards the end of my fast yesterday.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough. I am going to update this blog more regularly now though as I’m going to document my progress this year working towards my fitness and nutrition goals. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!! 🙂
Wow, roll back 10 months and things were a little different. There we were, balanced on the edge with our heads above the parapet, waiting for science to gift us with a child, or not. It seems like a really long time ago, and yet, it also feels like yesterday. I always said that I would find my way of dealing with it and I did. I do. Sometimes. I suppose what happens is you become settled in the life that is rather than dwelling too much upon the life that could have been. Well, most of the time anyway.
Things have definitely moved on. I completed all those triathlons. My plan B. I got a new tattoo!! Other things have changed – my job for instance has become more permanent, albeit more part-time, but that’s good. It works for me. It gives me the freedom to do other things. Next year is going to be more about other things. Other work too. But mainly other things. Visiting friends. Spending time with my family. Getting out and living life to the fullest. This is the stuff that is important. This is what keeps me happy, keeps me on an even keel.
I’ve managed to spend some time with friends and their young child recently. I thought I might struggle but actually it was great. Obviously there were times that I felt a little choked up, but all in all I think I handled it pretty well. I need to be able to visit those friends of mine that have been lucky to have children. And deal with it. As well as improving my relationship with my step-daughter. This stuff is important too. Very important.
November has been a funny month. I had a shoulder niggle that, if I’m honest, had probably been going on since the summer. Turns out I should have had it looked at a long time ago. And it’s not a shoulder injury, it’s bicep tendinopathy. So that put a stop to any lifting of weights and riding my bike or swimming (not that I was doing a lot of that anyway). Running it was then. My running partner had run every day in October and was planning on keeping going, so I joined her. Today I completed day 34 of running every day and I plan to keep going until Saturday when we head off to India and Nepal. I never really enjoyed running before. It’s always been something that I’ve done as a means to an end. Oh, and it comes at the end of a triathlon. But I have to say, I’ve rather come to enjoy it. I don’t think I’m one of those people that gets the ‘runner’s high’ just yet, but it’s been a good month. And I keep beating my time at Parkrun so I must be doing ok 😀
I also seem to drunk a great deal of gin in November . I haven’t been on the lash permanently but somehow I seem to have gone through rather a lot. Oh well, I have enjoyed it, especially finally getting to sample the new Blue Slate Gin from Dinorwig Distillery, the gin that I was part of the tasting crew for (see previous blog post).
The sad news is that my grandmother died. That was a complicated relationship as I am adopted. She was the mother of my biological father who I have known since I was 19. She was a fantastic lady, always welcomed me into the family with open arms. She was a Scot, and a proud one. I feel honoured to have met her and to have had her in my life. Unfortunately she had been horrendously depressed since the death of my grandfather two years ago. I think, in reality, she died of a broken heart 😦
The happy news is that my little sister (half sister on my biological father’s side) got married. It was a really beautiful day, down in Gloucestershire, at Berkley Castle. They both looked amazing and I am so happy for them 🙂
Anyway, enough of my rambling (I’m not even sure what this blog post is about anymore…) six more days and we’re off. Off on our big adventure. I’m getting super excited now. Plans have changed as they inevitably would but they’ve changed for the better. We’ve had our flights booked to Delhi for ages now but having finally decided on what trek we would like to do we are now flying out of India two days after we arrive and heading straight for Nepal. Two days in Kathmandu and then we’re flying into one of the scariest airports in the world – Lukla – the starting point for treks up Everest and other mountains in the Khumbu. How exciting is that??!!
We’re not going to Everest, or even to base camp. We’re heading to the quieter valley to the west. The Gokyo Valley. We will be hopefully summiting a mountain called Gokyo Ri which is 5357m high and offers superb views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu. I’ve never been above 5000m before and Elton has never been above 3000m so it’s super exciting for us both.
From there we should, all going well, have a couple of weeks to then travel around Northern India and take in some sights. When we booked this, five weeks sounded like such a long time, now it seems like nothing at all. But I mustn’t complain. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. And we’re going to make the most of it, blog post to follow I’m sure 😀
This evening, following a good workout at Crossfit and while enjoying a gin and tonic in the bath, I came across this article. For anyone in the same situation as me, i.e. involuntarily childless, it’s a good read. Actually, it’s a good read for anyone. Might make you think a little. Take some time to read it.
So this time, seven months ago, I was just setting out on the IVF journey. It was a short-lived journey, but it was a journey nonetheless. In fact, I’ve just been re-reading that first blog post Motherhood… or not and it’s reminded me just how much I’ve, sorry, we’ve, been through in quite a short space of time. Actually, in reality, I didn’t start the journey seven months ago. It started long before that. But the sciency bit started then. The drugs and the needles started then. The short-lived hope started then. But I always had a plan B. I had to have a plan B. I knew the odds. They were stacked against us from the start.
Plan B was to get fit. To train. To complete three full distance triathlons in 2017. Well here we are, at the end of the season and I have done it. In fact I have spent 13 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds racing in full distance triathlons. But that’s not all. I’ve also completed a 10km trail race, a sprint distance triathlon and I’ve started doing Yoga and going to Crossfit. Oh, and I’m taking part in a 100 mile cycle sportive on Sunday… Yep, you got that right, I have become an exercise junkie!
Exiting the water at the Sandman
Crossing the finish line at the Sandman
Don’t get me wrong, I still like drinking cider and gin (not together, might I add) and eating cake and I still find running more of a means to an end than something I actually ‘enjoy’ but I’m loving the endorphines that I am getting from it all. The sense of achievement. The focus. The community. It’s what I need. There will always be a huge hole in my life, one that can never be filled with anything else, but this helps. It definitely helps.
So what now? Well, now I’ve proved I can do it, I need to do it better. I want to train properly. I want to improve. I want to get stronger, fitter, better. I want to eat better (that’s going to be the toughest challenge) and I want to feel good about myself. I’ve already signed myself up for a sprint triathlon in March, the Adventure Triathlon Series (same as I’ve done this year) and a trail half marathon. I also want to go out to France and cycle up Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez (I’ve done this one before on our honeymoon but I want to do it properly). I want to get better at lifting weights and I want to improve my flexibility and my core strength. I want to be happy in myself and happy in the life we have without children (obviously Elton has a daughter who I love heaps but you know what I mean) and I want to get joy from the simple things.
Everyone loves a finisher’s hoodie 🙂
I seriously believe that without the training, without the hard work, I would have slipped into a depression. This has saved me and now there is no going back 😀
Blimey. I mean where did it go? Oh to be a child again when summer actually meant something. Time off. Hanging out with friends. Indulging in some freedom. Not the case for us. I suppose it’s our own fault for planning a big trip away at Christmas. Summer meant work. And more work. Although I did manage to squeeze in an additional triathlon 😂
It was great actually. It was a sprint tri in Llanrwst run by a local triathlon club (who I never knew existed but do now and have joined) called GOG Triathlon Club. GOG stands for Great Orme Goats – it’s based in Llandudno, home to the Great Orme and its goats 😀
Previously I have always been put off by sprint triathlons, purely because of the word ‘sprint’, but I thought I’d give it a go. It was great fun, very friendly and I even got my fastest average speed on the bike, managing to overtake 3 people in my wave. They did, of course, take me on the run but I can live with that.
It’s now just 10 days until the Sandman Triathlon, the final one of the Always Aim High adventure series. I’m feeling good and hoping to beat last year’s time but I haven’t done that much specific training. I have, at least, managed to get out in the sea swimming a couple of times which is better than this time last year! Got freaked out by the jellies last time though 😯
Moving back to my health and hormones and stuff, I finally managed to pluck up the courage to see the doctor. He sent me for a full whack of blood tests and they all came back normal apart from a low iron count. Went back for a chat and saw a different lady who has put me on HRT. She said it sounds like I am premenopausal. Great. I knew but I was dreading having it confirmed, which I haven’t really as it’s all speculation. I suppose I’m no better off than I was before 😕 Reading the common side effects of the medication was fun. I may even be worse off…
I haven’t started taking them yet. I’m scared to. I just keep looking at them and feeling a sense of utter sadness. It kind of signifies the end for me. An end to any slight chance that I still might of had of getting pregnant. Even though, realistically, the end has already been and gone with that line in the sand.
To that end it’s been a bit of a g&t month. I’ve been tasting some different gins but my favourite is still Opihr with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic and a slice of orange. Oh yeah 😀 The hubby has been good too and bought me some beautiful flowers. It must be difficult for him. I’m terrible at just cracking on with stuff and filing away my emotions. Don’t listen to my own advice at all.
Wow, who’d have thought it? The challenge I set myself of completing three triathlons this year is two-thirds accomplished. The hardest two are out of the way as well, leaving the easiest til last. Psychologically it will be easier as well, as I did it last year. So, bring on the Sandman in September!! 🙂 I almost feel like I don’t have to train… Haha, only joking. Actually, training is going to have to take a slightly different form as the week after the Sandman Tri I am taking part in the first Velo Birmingham, a sportive of 100 miles of closed roads. I have never ridden 100 miles. Ever. Uh-oh, best get on the bike… 😮
So, going back to the weekend, I was pretty nervous about it. The weather forecast kept changing which meant I was unsure on what clothes to wear/carry. I had also wanted to swim in just my tri-suit rather than battling with a wetsuit but with the amount of rain we had had the lake temperature was going to be colder than it had been a couple of weeks ago. I was right on that front: in the morning it was measured at 13.4 degrees (British Triathlon rules state if the water is below 14 degrees then wetsuits are mandatory).
In the morning I couldn’t face solid food – it was too early! – so I made myself a nutri-bullet smoothie of kale, banana, peanut butter, flaxseed, honey, oats, cacao powder and almond milk. I also took a couple of homemade energy balls with me to chomp on at various times during the day.
Elton came with me for support. It was going to be a difficult day for him as I would be out on the bike for possibly around 3 1/2 hours so he would need to find something to do. Luckily, the race was taking place from Plas y Brenin in Capel Curig and not far from one of his favourite cafes, Siabod Cafe 🙂
I got down into transition, found my place and started to set up all my kit. There are really funny rules when it comes to triathlon, mainly around helmets, like you have to be wearing your helmet done up when you enter transition. You also then must leave your helmet undone when you’re not using it, i.e. during the swim phase. Then, you must have your helmet on and done up before you take your bike off the rack in T1 (1st transition, swim to bike) and it must stay on your head and done up until your bike is back on the rack in T2 (2nd transition, bike to run). It’s a bit complicated for newbies!
The rain was still holding off at this stage and down in transition there were even midges which meant very little wind. Suddenly it was time for the swim. I was in the second wave of swimmers so my start time was 8:35. We watched the first wave set off and then in we went, getting accustomed to the temperature and making our way to the start buoys. I was listening to the briefing, but I obviously wasn’t listening as I set myself over on the right hand side. I like to be on the outside of group but as we were going clockwise, this put me on the inside. It must have been because in the Slateman we had swum anti-clockwise. We set off and I found myself being kicked and pushed a bit, what I had been planning to avoid. I also found myself caught up in a group of people heading in the wrong direction! This wasn’t good. I had to stop, get my bearings and move across people when there was space. Eventually I was on track and then got into a good rhythm.
Out of the lake, into transition, wetsuit off, bike kit on and off I went. There was still a threat of rain and I was quite cold so I put my jacket on. At some points during the ride I regretted that decision but most of the time I was fine. The bike ride was by far my favourite part of the tri. Just under 70km of Snowdonia roads. I paced myself well, knowing the route and therefore saving my energy for the hills. The rain stayed away which meant fast descents – especially on the Crimea Pass where I managed to notch up just under 70km/hr!! I even managed to overtake a few people on the last hill up to Capel Curig from Betws-y-Coed which, psychologically, gave me a great boost.
Now it was time for the bit I was dreading. The run. It was never going to be a run in the true sense of the word having recced the route a couple of weeks earlier. 9km up and down Moel Siabod. As I was sat there in transition, getting into my running shoes, there were people already crossing the finish line!! Amazing and demoralising all at the same time! I managed to run across the bridge out of transition and that was it for a while. From then on it was a walk, and not a fast one at that. My quads were like lead. Every time I picked up my foot my leg was screaming at me to stop. It was nothing short of horrendous. There were so many people coming down the hill and, what seemed like, very few of us going up. The rain arrived. I stopped and put on my waterproof jacket. The rules stated we had to carry full body cover, hat and gloves on the run stage and my trusty new Montane VIA Snap 4 running vest was perfect for the job of carrying all I needed.
The track seemed to go on forever. It was slippery. It was muddy. It was rocky. It is actually an incredibly technical route. There were people coming down who had obviously taken tumbles but as far as I know, no one was seriously hurt, thankfully. Finally, I was close. The rain eased off creating a strange light and I stopped to look back down the way I had come and take a quick snap (featured image on this blog). It was moody. I found a little bit of energy from somewhere and increased my pace marginally to hot foot it up to the summit. Definitely time for a selfie here 🙂
It was then as if I hadn’t had to get up the hill at all. My legs felt fine. I felt good. Time to head back down. I was super grateful for my Salomon Fellraisers for the descent. I was able to move pretty quickly on the grass and in the mud, just taking care on the slippery rocky sections. I overtook a couple of people on the way down, again this was a good psychological boost. I even saw a friend of mine, Debs, on the way down as she was coming up. I gave her a quick hug and wished her well. Debs was doing the Legend route, 1900m of swimming, 91km of road cycling and a 21km run, finishing up and down Moel Siabod. Debs is an absolute hero of mine and a real inspiration. She’s in her 50s and is way fitter than me. She even completed Iron Man Wales last year!! What a legend 🙂
The last section of the run veered off through the forest and did a bit of a dog leg back to Plas y Brenin. I looked down at my watch and saw that I was getting close to 6 hours but there was no way I could move any faster. I had actually started to feel a bit sick, probably from lack of proper food and was doing my best to keep going. Finally, across the line. Finished. 5 hours, 54 mins, 2 seconds. That was tough. Possibly the toughest thing I have ever done. I said ‘no way am I doing that next year’. We’ll see 😉
The winner of the Full Distance did it in 3:23:36. That’s 2 1/2 hours quicker than me!! The winning female did it in 3:49:53 – that’s still over 2 hours faster. I don’t think I’ll be able to make those gains in a year, but maybe I’ll be able to shave off a few minutes…
So here we are, four months on from finding out we’re not going to have children, probably ever. I’ll be honest, I’ve actually dealt with it a lot better than I thought I would, although that may be because I haven’t actually had that much time to think about it. Still, life does go on and on it has gone. So much so that it is now only 41 hours until my second triathlon of the year. Onto that later.
The biggest hurdle I am having to face right now is the fact I am very likely starting the menopause. This is not going down well with me. I am only 43. It wasn’t that long ago that the prospect of having children was still a reality. I don’t know for sure that I’m starting the menopause but there are a few pointers: night sweats and restless nights, very heavy and irregular periods, complete lack of sex drive (which of course doesn’t just affect me). I know I need to go and see the doctor but I’m petrified of having it confirmed. Surely I’m too young? According to the NHS, the average age in the UK for women to start the menopause is 51. I suppose it would confirm why we struggled to conceive.
I found out today another friend is pregnant. Apparently she has had a tough time and has been through the IVF process to get this far. I’m super happy for her. For them both. It’s hard not to feel jealous though. And a bit angry. Not at them, just at life in general. “It’s not fair” is all that is going round my head right now. And that’s true. Life’s not fair. It’s what I tell the young people I work with all the time. But I have a choice. I have a choice to accept it and move on, or not. And I choose moving on, even if sometimes it’s super hard and heart breaking.
Now I’m writing this I can’t stop crying. Ridiculous really as I had a stand-off with a young person the other day who was crying and crying. It started off real and then became purely for attention. I told her that crying was a voluntary process and that she had a choice, a choice to stop crying and get on with the activity or a choice to carry on and get herself into a state. She stopped. I’ve stopped. I digress.
Just looking back at what I’ve written I realise I’ve written a lot about choice. I’m a bit of a follower of William Glasser’s Choice Theory which I read about when I was working as a youth worker. I firmly believe that we set the path of our lives according to the choices we make. For example, I can choose to get angry about the tourists driving around Snowdonia at 40mph or I can choose to not get stressed and leave a little longer for my journey into work in the morning. Likewise, I can choose to get really defeated about the amount of litter around or I can make a positive difference and pick it up. These are smaller choices, granted, but it applies to the big things too. I can choose to wallow in self-pity, wondering ‘why me, why me?’ when it comes to not having children, or I can focus my thoughts on the other things in life that give me joy. Beautiful landscapes, sunsets, rainbows, cuddling up to my husband on the sofa, swimming in the rain, feeling like flying when I’m descending a long hill on my bike, getting to the top of a mountain after a hard slog, gin, watching the waves on the beach, sunrise, running with my dog, cake, the complete exhaustion after a good workout, the sound of the river in full flow, morning cuddles with the cat… I could go on. In the words of Trainspotting, I choose life.
I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s not. I’m not saying I won’t ever have times where it gets me down. Today has just proved that not to be the case. But I will cope. I will survive. I will achieve. I will be the best I can be.
Anyway, I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that it was 41 hours to my next triathlon. It’s now 40 1/2 hours 🙂 I am quite nervous about this one. The weather forecast is looking a bit pants.
The swim will be manageable as the lake is shallow and warm. In fact, I’m hoping wetsuits won’t be compulsory so I don’t have to try and get out of it in transition (I’m rubbish!!). British Triathlon rules state that the water must be over 14 degrees for wetsuits to become optional. I reckon the lake is warmer than that, the problem is the amount of rain we have had over the last few days as it might have cooled.
The bike ride is 70km around Snowdonia. with 1,132m of ascent. I don’t mind hills so much on the bike (although I’m better at going down than up) but if it’s wet and windy this is going to be horrendous. And then, to top it all off, the 9km run is an ascent and descent of Moel Siabod (featured image on this post) with 696m of ascent 😮
So why do I do these things? I’m not really sure is the answer to that. I enjoy being pushed physically. I enjoy a challenge. I like the sense of achievement for finishing. I want to improve and get stronger and fitter and healthier. I enjoy being part of something. I’m competitive. It’s outside. There’s lots of reasons although today, looking out of the window, I’m not so sure… 🙂
Last Sunday I took part in the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon. I didn’t run the marathon, I ran the 10k. Elton was in the marathon but unfortunately he tore his hamstring at about 7km into the race and had to quit. This was really hard for him. His blog about it is here. I went into the race thinking that I would just treat it as a training run for this weekend. I didn’t want to kill myself the week before the triathlon. It was a super hilly route! I was actually really pleased to complete it in 1:18:33. Not bad when I definitely could have run it faster 🙂
I’ve also got a new addiction. I’ve started Crossfit. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this video. I’m right at the beginning of my Crossfit journey but it’s great. There’s definitely a real sense of community, no preening and looking in the mirror, just people of all shapes and sizes, working out, getting strong and challenging themselves. It’s fab!! I go to the Crossfit Place on Anglesey.
Sorry for the disjointed blog post and for leaving it so long in between posts. Some of you may be thinking that I’m trying to throw myself into too much fitness ‘stuff’ in order to stop falling down the rabbit hole of post-IVF-fail depression. Maybe I am. But it’s working 😀