Training Week Eight

Last week was rather good…. Two runs, two swim sessions, one gym session and one bike ride. My chesty cough continued last week. Earlier in the week I found my runs and swim sessions hard and slow but thankfully it’s now gone.

run
This weeks bicycle ride I went out with the triathlon club (Edinburgh Triathletes). I am now feeling much more confident in handling my bike again. I’m still quite nervous in wet weather and going down steep hills but I’ve just got to keep practising.

cycle
Both swimming and running I’m quite comfort with, my main problem is being able to maintain pace after more than an hour in either exercise. I particularly find this hard with swimming as I’ve swam most my life at short distances hard and fast for 50-200metres rather than 750-1500metres or longer in triathlons. I’m going to focus next week on longer continuous swim sessions rather than short sets during the session.

swimrun

It was Easter last weekend and also the end of my alcohol free lent. I went out on Saturday night and had a few cocktails and danced the night away. It was great socialising with friends as I currently feel like all I do is train and work. On Sunday morning however I wasn’t feeling my best (hungover) and I didn’t train which I had planned (bad Jennie). That’s life and now I feel much more focused and energised on training.

friendsfriends

cocktail

It’s now only eleven weeks till the race, it’s slowly creeping up! Next week focus is on distance, I’m going to be doing longer distances on all disciplines.

Jenwaar

Training Week Seven

Training week Seven

So this week’s post will be short and sweet.  Last week I was sick, I had the flu and a chesty cough so spent the first five days of the week in bed. I felt much better by Saturday and went for walk with my husband. On Sunday I ran Edinburgh Kilomathon 13.1 kilometres (eight miles). It was a beautiful early morning run along Edinburgh’s cycle paths starting from Ocean terminal and finishing at Murrayfield stadium. I really enjoyed the run, I still wasn’t 100% so treated the race more as a training run than a race. My time as expected was slow but I’m happy I completed it. I was also meant to do the swimathon in the afternoon but my cough was much worst after the run and I didn’t want to push myself too much.

arthurs seat

running

running

This week’s goals are to regularly train and keep well!

Jenwaar

Training Week Six

Training week six

Last week I completed two runs, two gym sessions, one swim, one hour on the turbo trainer, and a long bike ride on Sunday. I’m pretty pleased this week, as I worked five shifts at work and still managed to fit it all in.

training

training

My run times are slowly but surely getting quicker, I keep comparing myself to when I was much quicker two years ago. At that time I was pretty much running all the time not swimming and cycling as well. I’m trying to stay positive; hopefully I will be getting close to those times again soon.

training

I feel I am getting quicker at swimming and managing to keep up with the fastest swimmers in my lane for most or all of the session. I am very good at short sprints but not very good at pacing myself over a long distance. I am completing the 5K swimathon next week so hopefully this will help. I aim to swim it in under one hour and forty five minutes.

training

On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I went for a long bike ride 56miles in total. We cycled from Edinburgh to North Berwick and back. I was very nervous as this was the first time I had been on my road bike since I fell off my bike in a race last May. I regularly cycle to work using a cyclocross bike. My commuting bike is heavier and uses SPD clip in pedals, whilst my race bike is a full carbon road bike, much lighter and has non-recessed SPD-SL clip in pedals.  I sometimes feel like I’m unstable on my road bike due to its light weight.  I find it harder to clip in with SPD-SL’s so I can panic when I’m clipping in and out whilst in the city. After a couple of cries and good pep talk from Sam I felt much more confident about cycling on my road bike. Once I was out of the city I was fine, long roads, less cars and less clipping in and out.  After the ride I was knackered, it then dawned on me that I would then have to run a half marathon after cycling this distance. This was a massive wake up call. I need to up my cycling time, the weather is much nicer now and I should be able to complete one long distance cycle outside a week on the run up to the ironman.

training

training

training

Next week I am upping the mileage in all disciplines and competing in a swimathon on Sunday afternoon.

Iceland Weekend Trip

Iceland Weekend Trip

Last weekend I went to Iceland with my little brother James for four days. This will be our last trip together for a while as he’s moving to Sydney, Australia on Friday (sad face).

iceland

Iceland is so unique and beautiful, definitely worth a visit however it’s not cheap, be prepared to spend much more than on your standard holiday. The landscape is so breath-taking and diverse, one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. It feels like you’re on another planet, from open fields of lava rock, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls to the vibrant capital city of Reykjavík. The weather is quite varied, always changing and unpredictable. During our visit we experienced, snow, rain, strong winds and cold temperatures, my warm coat and long underwear were essential!

iceland snow

Iceland

We only came for a short visit and stayed in Reykjavík city centre. We focused most of our stay in the south of the island. To keep costs down we stayed in an apartment using Airbnb, just a fifteen minute walk from the city centre. We stayed with the host in our own private room; our host was great at giving advice and recommendations during our stay.

Iceland

I arrived on Thursday evening, got the bus to Reykjavik from the airport. Getting the bus is much cheaper at ten pounds compared to getting a taxi costing £60-70. Keflavik airport is about 50kms from Reykjavik, usually buses are waiting after flights for transfers.

Iceland

Thursday evening we went out for dinner at Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish market). All the reviews we read in advance sang their praises. Our Taxi driver also informed us that the owner was Iceland’s version of Nigella Lawson, Hrefna Rosa Soetran, so we had high expectations. We weren’t disappointed! The décor of the restaurant was beautiful, the staff were very friendly and spoke English extremely well.  We had the tasting menu, eight courses of mainly seafood and lamb with a selection of desserts. They also have a great cocktail menu and good choice of craft beers and wines. This has to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had, every single course was delicious. It’s quite pricey but has good value for money because of the quality of the food and drink. I would recommend anyone visiting Iceland to go here, please view (drool) over my photos below.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland 020        Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

On Friday we went snorkelling and on the golden circle tour. We were picked up in the morning and taken to Thingvellir, Silfra a freshwater fissure.  This lake is so special because it’s the only place you can swim between two continents; North American and Europe. We bravely donned wet suits rather than dry suits and submerged ourselves in the gap where the two tectonic plates meet. The water is crystal clear and as pure as water gets you could even take a sip! Although it was incredible, I have never been so cold, the water temperature is 2C and the temperature outside was freezing. We got ready outside in the snow and before I took the plunge I couldn’t feel my hands and feet. I was quite surprised when I got in the water it wasn’t that cold but that’s probably because I was already so cold. The advantage of snorkelling with a wet suit is that you can dive underneath the surface and explore more. Dry suits you float along the top of the water but stay dry and keep you much warmer.

iceland

iceland snok

After warming up with a couple of cups of hot chocolate and dry clothes, we continued on the golden circle tour. Our route commenced at the national park Thingvellir where Althing the Icelandic parliament was established. It is also where the continental drift between North American and Europe plates can be seen in cracks and rifts.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland                 Iceland

We moved onto a geothermally active valley, Haukadalur. This is where the famous Geysers, Strokkur and Geysir itself which gave others their name. Strokkur erupts regularly, which we saw a few times, quite spectacular to see in person! Geysir erupts rarely our guide informed us it erupted two weeks earlier, but usually goes off about once a year.

Iceland              Iceland

Iceland              Iceland

The last stop on our tour was Gullfoss waterfall, translated ‘Golden falls’. I don’t think you can really appreciate its magnitude and beauty until you see it in person. My photos don’t do it justice!

iceland   Iceland

Iceland   Iceland

Saturday we explored Reykjavík, it’s such a colourful and vibrant city. The houses are wooden framed and clad in wooden planks or corrugated metals painted in bright colours. The centre itself is quite compact and easy to walk around. We started the day walking down to the harbour and continued onto dramatic concrete Hallgrimskirkja church. We went up the tower and took in the wonderful views of Reykjavik. In the evening we went down to the Harpa concert centre and saw a comedy show ‘How to be Icelandic’. Later on in the evening we went to a few bars, most bars don’t have entry fees and all very close to one another. Craft beer and cocktails are popular and lots of specialised bars such as Mikkeller and Friends with twenty beers on tap. Just to mention the drinking age in Iceland is twenty (not that’s a problem for me).

Iceland 117

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland                       Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland

Sunday we walked up to the Perlan (Pearl), which has a panoramic views over the city and a rotating restaurant. In the afternoon we caught a bus to one of the 25 wonders of the world, the blue lagoon. We took a dip in the geothermal water, it was so nice to go into warm water after our freezing dip on Friday. The water is cloudy and steam billows off the pool to make it feel mysterious. Again it’s quite pricey to go and a little busy, but it has good facilities and a nice relaxing way to end our trip. Afterwards we took a taxi to the airport for our late night flight back home.

Iceland

Iceland

iceland

iceland

iceland      iceland

iceland       iceland

During our stay we were lucky to experience the food and fun festival. Local restaurants created gourmet menus at affordable prices, using Icelandic ingredients. We tried menus at Sushi and Samba restaurant and Kopar restaurant. Both restaurants served amazing food. All the food we had on our trip was excellent, local cuisine is fish and lamb. I would also recommend Bernhorfbakari for a pastries and K Bar, a beer bar with Korean inspired food.

iceland

7th march 042

Iceland

Iceland

iceland           7th march 057

Sadly the three nights we stayed in Iceland it was cloudy and we were unable to see the Northern lights. Our flight back home was late and we were fortunate to see them from the plane.

The only ‘negative’ I would say is the recurrent smell of sulphur, smelled of rotten eggs. By the end of the trip I think got used to it. The trip was amazing and there is nowhere quite like it. I recommend anyone to visit this mysterious island. I would love to visit again and explore the rest of the island.

iceland

Jenwaar

Training week five

Training week five

Week five was not my finest….two runs and one gym session.  So here comes the excuses, I went away on holiday for a long weekend away (holidays shouldn’t really be an excuse). I went to Iceland and it snowed most days and I did not want to risk an injury rather than complete a slow run. During the holiday, I was busy site-seeing and doing tours so I really don’t think I could have done anything more than one run. On a positive note I did not a lot of walking, averaging six to ten kilometres a day.

snow

run

I would also like to point out that I’m no elite athlete. I exercise for fun and to challenge myself, sadly I have to work to pay the bills and exercising isn’t my full time job. Having a rest is healthy and can help you focus more. I have 13 weeks left before my race and having four days off shouldn’t put me back and should hopefully give me more energy for todays run!

iceland snow

Next week I will be getting back to regular exercise and I’ve planned a long cycle ride on Sunday.

iceland snow

Blog post about visiting Iceland with come later this week.

Jenwaar