Tuesday 31 August 2010

03:55 and no training

Well, not any proper training really.  I haven't swum since the Thames swim and I've run once since the last triathlon.  But I've cycled quite a bit.  Not formal, targetted training, but a lot more cycling than before.  And it's functional cycling, so not like I have to make time for it either.  And I've done very little weights training over the last few weeks, so I've not even been doing well on that front either.  But still... 03:55 faster this time is better than a poke in the eye and it's 10 minutes and 25 seconds faster than the first one.  Not bad for 3 races, I'd say :o)

Race 2 - 347/411 overall, 39/54 in my category 01:35:02
Race 3 - 268/341 overall, 31/49 in my category 01:28:32
Race 4 - 219/369 overall, 22/61 in my category 01:24:37

And here I am swimming...  (just look at that low, early morning sunlight!)

cycling... (hm, I really -do- need to raise my seat a bit more, but then I can't touch the floor; dilemma!)

and running... (shame there's no photos of my sprint finish; apparently it didn't even look like me)

Sunday 29 August 2010

And biscuit (well, OK... bar)

We ran out of fruit, nut and seed bar quite a while back so with a triathlon tomorrow I had to get on with making some more today.  And I thought, as well as making it thicker so it cooks up softer, I'll do what I've wanted to do for a while and that was use some really fruity Dorset Cereals muesli as the main bulk of the bar.  I reckon it's worked really really well.  They've come out thick, well stuck together and slightly soft.  Lower fat, higher protein and higher carbs than recent batches:-

Serves 16:-
Calories (kcal)207.1
Carbohydrate (g)26.6
Protein (g)5.6
Fat (g)8.7
Fibre (g)2.9
Alcohol (g)0.0
Fruit & Veg0.1


  • 160g Honey, Pure, Clear, Average
  • 125g Peanut Butter, Crunchy, No Added Sugar, Organic, Whole Earth
  • 50g Breakfast Cereal, Puffed Rice, Wholegrain, Brown, Original, Organic, Kallo
  • 450g Breakfast Cereal, Muesli, Fantastically Fruity, Roasted & Toasted, Dorset Cereals


1. Pre-heat oven to 140-150C and line a square or rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Weigh cereals into a bowl and break up any big bits of nut and fruit
3. Weigh peanut butter and honey into a separate bowl. Microwave for 30s, stir and microwave for a further 15s.
4. Mix all of it together thoroughly and dollop into the baking tin. Press down firmly (use the back of a spoon or a bit of greaseproof paper and your hands which I find easier).
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool until hard. Then turn out and chop with a sharp knife into portions.


I took a recipe that I saw on Laura's journal (originally from here) for Apple Cider Pound Cake and tweaked it a tiny bit to fit the ingredients I have in the house (I had only a little bit of brown sugar left, so added in golden caster to make it up) and because I love the taste of spelt, I substituted in some of that and increased the baking soda to make up for that...

Serves 8:-
Calories (kcal)312.0
Carbohydrate (g)41.3
Protein (g)8.3
Fat (g)12.9
Fibre (g)2.9


  • 40g Butter
  • 25ml Cider Vinegar
  • 10g Baking Powder
  • 150g Wholemeal Flour (strong)
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Eggs, Medium
  • 250g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt
  • 115g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 30ml Grapeseed Oil
  • 90g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 70g Demerara Sugar
  • ½ Tsp Salt


1. Pre heat oven to 180C and coat the tin with some spray oil (I used a standard sized round cake tin).
2. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, oil, butter, yoghurt, eggs and vinegar.
4. Mix the dry into the wet until you are left with a stiff batter (it will be pretty stiff – don’t worry!).
5. Fill your tin with the mixture and press out evenly.
6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until slightly golden.
7. Allow to cool and then store in the fridge, or slice and freeze individual slices.

If serving as a whole cake, sprinkle with some sieved icing sugar for presentation – then serve with yoghurt, ice cream, custard or a sweet sauce made by mixing a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of agave syrup and 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt (this is how it is pictured above).

I too has a yoggit

I've been sent some Total Greek Yoghurt to try.  And OHBOY is there a lot of it...

So, this morning, I started the day with some porridge; oats, agave nectar, raisins, strawberries, water and some Greek yoghurt:-

  • 50g large, good quality oats
  • 125ml water
  • 20g raisins
  • 100g chopped strawberries
  • 15g light agave nectar
  • 60g 0% fat Greek Yogurt
Place oats, water, raisins, chopped strawberries and nectar in a bowl and gently mix in a bit.  Microwave on full power for 2 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir.  Microwave on high again for a minute, watching out for overflow!  Remove from the microwave and stir in the yoghurt - it helps to cool it down a little from super-heated :o)  Serve and enjoy.  (it's pretty calorific, but all really good (could probably lose the nectar and it'd still be really nice) and a 4:1 ratio protein to carb which is great race fuel - 386 kcals, 17.4g protein, 73.6g carbohydrate, 2.7g fat, 5.7g fibre, 1.7 portions of fruit and veg)

The strawberries and yoghurt bring a summery, creamy lightness to what is usually quite a wintery feeling breakfast.  And the yoghurt brings a huge boost of protein into the mix.  Very happy with this one indeed.

There's going to be a lot more yogurty recipes to come... got lots to get through!

Thursday 26 August 2010

I almost called this a rest day...

Cycling to work has become so normal already that I almost entitled this post something related to having a rest day. But hey, I cycled 30km. I didn't go to the gym, but I did cycle 30km. It is a taper week, so I don't feel -so- bad about not doing any weight training, but I'll maybe give in and go tomorrow. It depends if I can fit it in.

Today, I still have that background nausea I get with throat infections, but no sign of an actual infection. Yes my throat is sore (less sore than yesterday, thankfully) and my eyes and ears feel hot (and I have a temperature that's about 0.8C higher than my usual), but there are no typical white sores on my throat, so...

Dinner tonight was my first foray into using quinoa (and yes, that's a slightly exploded poached egg on top of the salmon in the photo *ahem*). I can't say I'm all that impressed. It takes ages to cook, so is less convenient than couscous. It's not easy to cook - you need to simmer it until it absorbs all of the water, the same way you do with some styles of rice and is also a method for couscous on the hob, but it takes 20 minutes! It doesn't even taste great. It's not horrible, but there's none of the nuttiness of couscous. Yeah, I keep comparing it with couscous, but that's where I'm coming from as an alternative. Hey ho. Maybe it'll be good in stews when it gets cold.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

The readers' choice

Thai prawn and coconut broth with noodles:-

Per person:
  • 1/4tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2tsp garam masala
  • 5g desiccated coconut
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium chilli
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes
  • 1 fish stock cube (or some good fish sauce)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 30ml lime juice
  • 100g large prawns
  • 40g rice noodles (dry weight)
Toast the seeds in a dry pan and grind them up with a pestle and mortar.  Heat the chopped tomatoes, chopped chilli, finely chopped ginger and garlic in a deep non-stick pan.  Once heated through, add the lime juice and heat until the tomatoes are soft.  Add the spices and fish stock cube/sauce and allow to infuse for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and bring to a bubble before adding the prawns to heat through for a further 3-4 minutes.  While the prawns are heating through, make up the rice noodles as per instructions on the packet. (usually soak in boiling water for 4-5 minutes)  Drain and add the noodles to the stock, bring back to a bubble and serve.  This is a huge portion!  
Calories (kcal)408
Carbohydrate (g)55.9
Protein (g)21.5
Fat (g)11.9
Fibre (g)5.9
Alcohol (g)0.0
Fruit & Veg3.7

Any suggestions?

I'm sulking at home today - rotten sore throat which came on yesterday morning and got worse through the day and night to real ow proportions this morning.  I'm hoping it will bugger off swiftly in time for the cleaner coming tomorrow, never mind stuff that needs doing at work and the last TTT on Monday...

Anyhoo, I'm sore, sleepy, hungry and need recipe ideas for something based around some Kara coconut milk - I really want to try this and now is as a good a time as any.  I have lots of fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and mango) and the usual clean-food freak with a protein habit on the side stuff in the fridge and cupboard (though no spinach at the moment, so I can't have a Green Monster).  The Kara web site has a whole one drink recipe idea and even I could have come up with "whizz it up with strawberries and a sweetner of some kind"... though that does sound nice, it's also a bit on the boring side!  So... people, help me out with something I can have that's not going to be more than 250kcals or so.  Otherwise I'm gonna sit here under my furry blankie and get grumpier and grumpier with hunger!

Monday 23 August 2010

Oh and another thing...

Top speed on the trip back at the weekend... 62.7kph!  Fastest cycling evah for me :o)  (and yes, of course it was downhill!)


Why can't blogs do notifications to commenters? (partly rhetorical question as I can see how complex it would be to make it work without annoying people)

I've started to follow a few more blogs and I do post the odd comment from time to time (not really one for posting comments for the sake of it).   The thing is, I like to see what people say in response to, or to follow up on my comments.  This means I have to rememebr which blogs I commented on, which posts on those blogs and check each one for any updates.  And I really suck at remembering.  WLR forums have the exact same problem (and that's a forum so it really should do that kind of notification, dammit!).

So, if you post something in response to a comment I've made somewhere, don't be offended if I don't follow up.  It's not personal, I probably haven't even seen your response either 'cause I suck!  (OK, so some web journal providers give the journaller the option for notifications like that, but not all and the method is clunky too)

Also... (mm, whinge-tastic today!) My quads, palms and ankles huuuuuurt.  *pathetic*  We put in a reasonable time for the journey Northwards (3 hours 30 for 74km partly urban, partly undulating countryside [600m of climb in total]  and unsurprisingly a bit longer on the way back - 3 hours 50 for the reverse route).  I clocked up 7,200kcals for last week's exercise total and went over 650km so far on my new bike.  This week is taper week.  Today is a rest day.  I need it!

Friday 20 August 2010

Letting out the leash a little

Good ride yesterday; 38 minutes in to the office and 42 minutes or so back (I forgot to turn off my HRM when I got back so I'm guessing there).  Thighs were still a bit sore so decided not to gym today after all.  So this week has been only 2x weights sessions, which I'd normally fix by going to the gym at the weekend to top it up to 3x, but given there's about 140km cycling to do, I'm not gymming.

I've been being quite lax with food and drink this week - nothing really bad, all under maintenance until today.  Today has, so far, included a shop-bought lunch for the first time in months and a cupcake (strawberry one from EAT, see dodgy photo:o))... there's dinner out later and a couple of beers (not too many as it's an earlyish start in the morning and a lot of miles to cover) so I'll be well over maintenance today, but then I'm calling it carb loading for the long ride :o)  It'll be interesting to see how many kcals I earn on the trip; I'm guessing 1,500-1,800 each way depending on how long it takes.

There are planned pit-stops on the way and I fully expect to be in excess on balance by the end of the week.  Oh, and it's taper week next week:-

Monday - rest & recover from cycling
Tuesday - rest or cycle
Wednesday - PT session "fun" session (i.e. not doing routine)
Thursday - rest
Friday - rest or cycle
Saturday - rest or gentle run
Sunday - rest
Monday - final TTT

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Wednesday catch-up

Dodgy belly meant no bikey today but I did gym.  No progressions of note, but I did do 2x 60s planks on 3x medicine balls with an aded 5 pressups on the balls at the end.

New houmous recipe!  This time it's spicy bean (serves 6) :-
  • 40ml Lemon juice
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 15ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Can/240g Chick Peas, in Water, Canned, Drained
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • 15ml Grapeseed Oil
  • 180g Kidney Beans, In Water (drained Weight)
  • ¼ Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
Whizz it all up with a blender and serve with hot pitta bread or slice raw vegetables for dipping.  (note the lack of tahini in this one was utterly accidental, but it's nice without it)

Calories (kcal)120.2
Carbohydrate (g)12.6
Protein (g)5.3
Fat (g)5.4
Fibre (g)3.0
Fruit & Veg1.0

B - Dorset cereals muesli with skimmed milk
L - 2x wholemeal Discovery wraps, 1 with ham, Philadelphia, lettuce, sweet pepper, mustard and tomato relish, 1 with spinach falafel, Philadelphia, lettuce and tomato relish.
S - spicy bean houmous and celery
S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
D - couscous, chicken, chorizo, sweet pepper, tomato and lettuce with Sainsburys vinaigrette dressing

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 130.2 (31.7%)
Carbohydrate (g) 172.4 (39.4%)
Fat (g) 52.8 (28.9%)
Fibre (g) 23.4
Fruit & Veg 7.0

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Seven Days was all she wrote...

The Stylish Laura nominated me for a bit of fun a few days ago...

Here are the rules:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award. – Thank you Laura :o)
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Nominate fifteen newly discovered blogs.
  • Let your nominees know about the award.
7 things about me...
  1. I have a Masters degree in Materials Science and Engineering and spent 3 further years researching Process Modelling of Titanium Matrix Composites for Aerospace Applications as a PhD project. (makes sense why I'm freakishly interested in numbers now?)
  2. I turned down doing a PhD at Cambridge University in favour of staying in London (I was young, I was in love...)
  3. I was in the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain - playing the French Horn
  4. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 24.
  5. Despite being a feminist (as in, I believe that men and women should be treated equally, not that I wear dungarees, Birkenstocks and burn my bras as soon as I've bought them 'cause I do none of that), I changed my surname when I got married.
  6. I have had my own vanity domain (totkat.org) for 10 and a half years and kept an online journal for over 13 years (though the majority is offline and archived due to my previous hosting being utterly useless and making a mess of things).
  7. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up, like Jacques Cousteau - I've not even got GCSE biology now :o)
So... 15 blogs to nominate.  Crickey, I barely even read that many blogs - too hard to keep up!  And most of the ones I read have already been nominated.  So, here we go.  There's Running Rob, Moley, Katkins, AnnaB'sRaceReports, Paul Kruzycki... well, I guess 5 is better than none, eh?

It was bound to happen at some point

I came off my bike this morning.  Or, rather, my bike fell over reasonably slowly with me still on it.  Coming up to some red traffic lights, I was slowing for them and I must have blinked slowly or something because suddenly, while still a bit away from the lights, the bike in front of me was almost stopped and I was still going a lot faster than that.  Yelling "shiiIIIIIII-i-I-i-I-iIIiiit!" I pulled on the brakes and, realising that wasn't going to be enough not to hit the other bike, swerved to the right of it, pulled myself off balance at about 5mph and toppled my bike to one side into the middle of the road with me still on it.  Meanwhile, the lights had changed to green and there was a bus bearing down on me.  The driver was great and rather than being a total twat, like a lot of bus drivers are it seems, he stopped well away from me rather than looming up close, and gave me the time to pick myself and my bike up and get out of the way a bit.  No horn honking, or engine revving at all.

I was a bit wobbly for a few minutes and needed a rest while the pain in my finger started to make itself known and I checked over for any cuts.  No bleeding, just a bit of scuffing on one elbow and a skinned, bruised and swollen finger, which still looks a bit on the deformed side 12 hours later.  My bike time to work was a healthy 42 minutes even including falling off and dusting down for a bit, so no worries there either.

It was bound to happen at some point, and in the grand scheme of things it was pretty innocuous.  Yes, I'm a bit tired after the extra adrenaline rush and following wobbliness and ohboy did I need lots of tea when I got to work, but a bumped finger and lightly scraped elbow is a good get-away.  Oh and my bike seat got knocked out of alignment, which took 15 seconds and a couple of twists with an Allen key to fix.  No harm done at all.

I'd like to thank the bus driver for being a gentleman and Mr TOTKat for dusting me down and making sure I was OK.

Otherwise, today was pretty uneventful so I decided to tack an extra 5km onto the journey home as the weather was nice...

B - MP Total Breakfast with frozen blueberries and skimmed milk
S - greek yogurt with strawberries and Dorset Cereals muesli
S - banana
L - lettuce, sweet pepper, cherry tomatoes, celery, chicken breast and avocado with lemon juice and black pepper
S -Starbucks skinny Caramel Macchiato
S - cottage cheese with Dr Karg crispbread
D - beef chilli with baked beans and a couple of glasses of wine

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 175.7 (32.9%)
Carbohydrate (g) 214.4 (37.7%)
Fat (g) 44.8 (18.9%)
Fibre (g) 27.8
Fruit & Veg 13.2

Sunday 15 August 2010

A bit mopey

Apparently I've been a bit too far out of my comfort zone and now that I'm back in it, I feel a lot better.  I've eaten food I've made, regularly, and been to the gym, had lots of sleep, and vacuumed the house and now despite the quite impressive abs, shoulders, quads and arms DOMS, I feel good.  Good, but not great.  I think I really need a holiday and it's a while yet until we go.

I've cleaned and re-greased my bike chain and Mr TOTKat pumped up the tyres for me.  I've also pottered a bit in the kitchen, made some roasted red pepper houmous...

Roasted Red Pepper Houmous, Serves 6

Per serving:-
Calories (kcal)147
Carbohydrate (g)11.2
Protein (g)4.5
Fat (g)9.4
Fibre (g)2.0
Fruit & Veg1.1
  • 30ml Lemon Juice
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 25ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Can/240g Chick Peas, in Water, Canned, Drained, Organic
  • 25g Tahini Paste
  • 1tsp salt
  • 15ml Grapeseed Oil (or other unflavoured oil)
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • Black pepper to taste
 De-seed and remove the stalks from the peppers, chop roughly and place on a baking try.  Drizzle with 10ml of the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and roast for 30-40 minutes in a medium oven until soft and darkened.  Remove from the oven and place into a mixing bowl with all of the other ingredients.  Blend to desired texture with a hand blender and season with salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve with toasted pitta or raw vegetables for dipping.

B - toasted Food Doctor wholemeal seeded bagel with Marmite and a poached egg
S - greek yogurt with strawberries and mango
L - two Waitrose wholemeal pittas, toasted, with roasted red pepper houmous
S - a slice of Sainsburys SO Organic stoneground wholemeal bread, toasted, with a tin of Heinz Beanz
D - chicken salad with lettuce, red peppers, boiled egg and new potatoes

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 111.3 (27%)
Carbohydrate (g) 223.2 (50.7%)
Fat (g) 41.0 (22.3%)
Fibre (g) 30.8
Fruit & Veg 9.4

I need to work on shifting the protein balance back up high again. It's always a bit tricky at weekends when I'm doing less exercise, but it's also tricky on days when I'm cycling as I have so many kcals I need to eat, it gets tricky to keep the protein % high and not have really expensive days in terms of food. Cottage cheese and yogurt help a lot there, but by themselves they're a bit boring, especially in terms of texture, so I end up adding fruit or oat cakes and up goes the carb level. I could try just flaked almonds or other chopped nuts I guess...

Saturday 14 August 2010

Back and currying it up

Not the best day on Thursday, had breakfast at 8am - 2 slices of toast and scrambled egg - and then nothing until very very late lunch at half past 3. Suffice to say, I was starving by then and the 3 small glasses of white wine sat badly enough before the 2 glasses of red and the 1 of champagne. I was as sick as a dog and fell asleep at 6pm until I was woken at 9pm. I just can't do that. Yes I drank quite a bit but it shouldn't have made me sick, not like that. Lack of food made a heck of a difference and I felt like shite. The barbecue lunch the next day made a huuuuge difference to the state of my well-being, despite me being a bit of a pig and having 1 pork steak in a bun, followed by 2 beef burgers in buns. With a little greenery and some ketchup. And then some wedding cake. The barbecue made me feel so much better.

However, I wasn't happy with any of the photos except this one.  Major double-chins and flabby arms going on, so really quite unimpressed with that.

Anyway. We're home now and gymmed this morning, which was nice. I showed off a bit with my press-ups on medicine balls. I really fancied curry tonight, so dinner is a tad experimental, but basically a chicken Phaal and aloo gobi. And, well, the Phaal is a teeeensy bit hot. I based it on a Patak's recipe, but obviously made the paste myself from scratch as it's much more fun that way (though it meant guessing a bit from the ingredients on their web site which don't tell you know much of everything is in the paste).

Chicken Phaal, Serves 2
Calories (kcal)347
Carbohydrate (g)25.1
Protein (g)36.2
Fat (g)11.7
Fibre (g)4.7
Fruit & Veg3.0
  • 6 cloves of Garlic
  • 3 Large Chillies
  • 1½ Tsps Cumin Seeds
  • 1½ Tsps Coriander Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 12g Root Ginger, peeled
  • 20ml Grapeseed Oil (or other flavourless oil)
  • ½ Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Fillets/250g Chicken Breast Fillets
  • ½ Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 2 Tbsps/30g Tomato Puree, Double Concentrate
  • 1 medium Onions
  • 1 Tin/400g Tomatoes, Plum, Tinned
  • 1 chunk (15g) Tamarind
  1. First make the Madras paste.  Toast 1tsp cumin, 1tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns in a dry pan.  Grind them up with pestle and mortar and add to a blender.  Also add 1/2 the oil, 1 of the chillies, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 the ginger, the tomato puree and the tamarind.  Blend.  (You can use a hand blender but it may struggle with the small amounts here).
  2. Chop another of the chillies and slit the final one down the middle.  Finely chop the last 2 cloves of garlic, onion and remaining ginger.  Cube the chicken.
  3. Heat the rest of the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, stir over a medium heat until golden. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the Madras Paste remaining cumin and coriander seeds, the fenugreek, ginger and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle in some water if the mixture begins to stick.
  4. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the chillies and bring to a gentle simmer.
  5. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt if you find the curry a bit hot. Also remove the whole chillies before serving if desired.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Food does not have a moral value

I wish I could remember where I first saw that quote.  Googling it doesn't help at all.  But I was reminded of it by a post by the lovely Alison today.  Society is in a total mess about food.  Half the world eats too much, half doesn't get enough.  And the half that eats too much obsesses and puts labels and guilt on food.  STOPPIT!  FOOD DOES NOT HAVE A MORAL VALUE, IT'S JUST FOOD.  Yes, so deep-fried mini-kievs with chips every day for a growing child, or drinking 8 pints of strong beer a day 5 times a week every week probably isn't the best idea in the world, but you know what I mean.  If I want to have some cake, that's not naughty.  The cake isn't naughty (how can an inanimate object with no sentience have a moral compass and knowingly do something bad?).  I'm not naughty for wanting the cake (it's eating a cake, not committing adultery).  I'm not naughty for eating the cake (unless I nicked it, of course).  Putting moral value on food just makes the whole modern nutrition issue so much worse for people who are finding it difficult to make informed choices and/or get themselves into a healthier, lighter or even heavier state.

OK, I've run out of steam now and, actually, it's time to cook dinner...

In other news, I cycled in to work this morning, leaving the house at at 07:02 and got so soaked within the first 2 minutes that my feet felt like they were stuck in a boggy marsh for the following 40 minutes of the ride and I could barely see through the rain in my steamed up glasses at least 3/4 of the time.  I had to throw away my socks when I got into the office because they were saturated with water, full of grit and grease and starting to come apart a bit.  My cycling shoes were so wet that by the time it was time to get ready to cycle home, if I pressed a finger into the toe section, water oozed out.  Thankfully I had my gym trainers at work to wear instead.  At lunch-time today I bought overshoes, a front light, a fluorescent waterproof jacket and some socks to get me home.

The overshoes are great.  The orange bit has a flexible, rubber light in it too!  Which can flash :o)  And they're really comfy and warm.  Bit hard to get over shoes, but I guess that's part of how they work and I can use them with proper cycling shoes when I finally graduate to those.

So, next time it wazzes it down, I can cycle without getting quite so pathetically wet and maybe my shoes won't get so drenched that they take days to dry out.

B - MP Total Breakfast with frozen blueberries and skimmed milk
S - greek yogurt, strawberries and Dorset Cereals muesli
S - banana
L - salad; lettuce, tomatoes, celery, Omega Seed Sprinkle, salmon fillet
S - MP beef jerky
S - carrot and houmous
S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
D - chicken breast, apricots, toasted almonds, couscous and lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 177.0 (35.2%)
Carbohydrate (g) 197.4 (36.8%)
Fat (g) 62.6 (28%)
Fibre (g) 23.8
Fruit & Veg 11.2

Monday 9 August 2010

Heem! Feesh!

(ten points for the origin of the quote)

Having pretty much had no change in weight last week while I was cycling lots (140km in all) and eating and drinking lots, I'm taking it a little carefully at the beginning of this week in advance of Thursday's wedding.  I'm not going to get to the gym again until Saturday now, though I'm cycling tomorrow and swimming on Wednesday.  Thursday and Friday I won't get any exercise in, so I'll end up with 3 rest days this week overall.  Still, lots of nice noms today... 

B - greek yogurt, 1 scoop MP Max, frozen blueberries and flaked almonds
S - banana
S - Virgin Active cafe "Toner" shake (60g USM whey protein, skimmed milk and strawberries)
L - lettuce, chicken breast, Neals Yard Omega Sprinkle (seeds), vine tomatoes, sweet peppers
S - carrot and houmous
S - cottage cheese
D - lettuce, baby new potatoes, quail's eggs, salmon fillet, mustard, honey and cider vinegar
S - 2x Walls Mini Milks :o)

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 173.7 (40.7%)
Carbohydrate (g) 133.9 (29.4%)
Fat (g) 56.8 (29.9%)
Fibre (g) 20.1
Fruit & Veg 10.1

And of course I can't do as I'm told, can I?

Having needed the extra sleep this morning, got up at 07:15 for brekkie and shower and a 30 minute huge tantrum around the house failing to find my Oyster card, I gave in and bought a single ticket to work this morning.  4 quid for a single journey paper ticket; daylight robbery!  On my Oyster card it's 2.70, for crying out loud! Anyway, as suspected, my Oyster was under my desk at work where it must have fallen out at some point Thu/Fri last week when I'd cycled in (I last used it on Wednesday, so it must've been after that).  Hey ho.  At least it was still there and the cleaners hadn't nicked it.  I was already annoyed that I hadn't been in a state to get up at 06:!5 so didn't cycle, but not having my Oyster really made me cross.

First full run through my new routine today and, yep, it's a good 'un.  Of course I can't do as I'm told and only do 2x sets of things like my trainer said to...
  • Warm up 1km on the rower (L7, 02:10 pace for 500m, 02:00 pace for 500m)
  • Deep squats - 3x10 -Smith Machine with Olympic bar plus 2x5kg
  • SS1 Clean and press - 3x10 - Olympic bar with 2x 2.5kg weights
  • SS1 Press with knee-lift against Swiss Ball - 3x20 - bodyweight
  • SS2 Overhead squat - 3x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • SS2 Crunch with overhead lift - 3x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • Lunge and horizontal press - 3x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • Lunge with overhead swing - 3x10 - 10kg ViPR
  • SS3 Crunch with leg cycles - 2x30 - bodyweight
  • SS3 Walking planks - 2x10 - bodyweight
  • Sprints on x-trainer - 3x30s with 60s recovery - L8 (180-200 speed)
  • Cool down and stretch
Ohboy those overhead swings are a killer! Love it!

Sunday 8 August 2010

What I did today

I did a quick read up on when I should be harvesting by courgettes and the resource I found said when they're 4" long, which seems tiny to me!  So, I picked the 4 which were at least 4" long and they, along with these lovely chillies (which, looking at the shapes, are quite clearly two different varieties) went into this weekends big chilli cook-up :o)  Very pleased with that, though the pak choi pretty much died and the spinach went weird, the courgettes are going strong and the sweet pepper plants are just about to flower for the first time.  Not sure the peppers will ripen unless we get an Indian Summer, but we'll see.

Having had reasonably bad DOMS yesterday, there was no way I could go and play on bikes with Mr TOTKat so it was nice that he ended up delaying that until today.  So, we were up at 07:45, scoffing down a good breakfast and some tea before cycling gently down to Hampton Pool.  Half an hour trundle for 14km or so to the start of the Thames Turbo Triathlon cycle route, nice and gentle apart from one bit of a hill, down the other side of which I hit 49.1kph :oD   We decided I'd have a 7 minute head-start, given that Mr TOTKat is usually 10 minutes faster than  me for the cycle route and I headed off at a pretty good pace.  Cutting a long story short, I hit my goal of not being passed by Mr TOTKat until after the turn around the roundabout at the 13km mark and proceeded to not be more than a minute behind him to the finish.  In the last race, my time for the route was 48:52, today I did it in 43:58.  Possibly worth the extra effort put in, but I need to bear in mind that some of that time in the last race is transition between swim and bike and bike and run.

Given the HRM count of 1107, there was a lot of eating to do today and I really enjoyed finally getting to crumble one of my fruit, nut and seed bars onto some fruit and yogurt this afternoon.  Really nice taste and textures mix.

B - MP Total breakfast with frozen blueberries and skimmed milk
*lots of cycling*
S - 2 rashers thick bacon in wholemeal bread
L - lettuce, sweet peppers, walnuts, ham, boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes with a vinaigrette
S - strawberries, greek yogurt, honey and a crumbled fruit, nut and seed bar
D - wholegrain pasta with tuna, cream cheese and peas

Calories (kcal)
[kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
Protein (g) 177.0 (28.3%)
Carbohydrate (g) 230.3 (36%)
Fat (g) 68.3 (30.2%)
Fibre (g) 27.9
Fruit & Veg 5.9

I aten't ded

4,495kcals of exercise this week and I'm not dead.  Nothing like the week I first started to cycle to work which had me exhausted by the weekend, though I did bike to work and back 4 days that week.  This week I "just" did 2 gym sessions, 3 two-way commutes and a medium ride today, but it was enough for a post-race week :o)  I've been eating less carefully than usual, and having more than a couple of drinks; last night we had veal escalopes for dinner in a roasted garlic, lemon, mustard, shiitake mushroom and cream sauce with bashed new potatoes and broccoli, as an example of a pretty good meal, but then there was the day I had a packet of crisps in the morning -and- takeaway pizza for dinner, plus I've had beer a couple of times and wine a couple of times too.  It'll take a while for any adverse effects to show in terms of either weight or fat gain and with a non-standard week next week it won't exactly be clear after that.

Next week is a lowish exercise week as there's a wedding to go to and I need to work around that whilst not overdoing it on the other days.  So, the plan is:-

Mon - cycle to work, weights session at lunchtime, cycle home
Tue - cycle to work, cycle home
Wed - swim at lunchtime (less to pack than gym kit), head to wedding
Thu - wedding/rest day
Fri - late finish/rest day
Sat - weights session
Sun - run

And that leaves one final week of actual proper cycling and weights before the taper week into the final TTT race, then 3km open water swim.

Last week:-
Exercise count: 11
Exercise time: 08:01
Exercise kcals: 4,495
Kcals difference from loss for the week: +3181
Kcals difference from maintenance for the week: -319
(+ is excess vs. quota, - is deficit below quota) 

Since 15th June 2009:-

Exercise count:326
Exercise time: 223h
Exercise kcals:122,033

Day    Quota Exercise Total Consumed Difference Difference for Week
1297   1297 1757 460 460
1293 782 2075 2417 342 802
1287 402 1689 2240 551 1353
1292 730 2022 2665 643 1997
1300 1018 2318 2710 392 2388
1296   1296 2224 928 3316
1288 967 2255 2119 -135 3181
Total 9053 3899 12952 16132 3181  

Friday 6 August 2010

Good new routine!

I really didn't like the last routine... too much isolation and relying on machines, though I did really like the ViPR stuff. Thankfully it was only a 3 week routine so not too long to be pissed off with it. Today was then New Routine day with my trainer; we usually run through 1 set of everything then do some intervals and knock off after 50 minutes or so in total. Today, my new routine only took 30 minutes to run through, so we had some fun after that... which involved some dynamic lunges with rows and knee raises and then some fun with 3x medicine balls.

Take 3x medicine balls. Balance on them such that no body parts touch the floor. This is best done with one ball under each hand and both feet on the 3rd, straight arms, straight back and legs. Now hold that position for 60 seconds. :o)

Oh, and then do pressups from there :oD  Like this...

God, that was fun! It even had a passing cleaner say "gosh, she's strong!" to my trainer, which had me grinning all over my face.  I managed 3 pressups before my feet fell off the back ball.

And here's the new routine; I said I didn't want any machines involved and I wanted a full body workout with lots of compound exercises:-
  • Warm up for 4-5 minutes
  • Deep squats - 3x10 -Olympic bar plus 2x5kg
  • SS1 Clean and press - 2x10 - Olympic bar
  • SS1 Press with knee-lift against Swiss Ball - 2x10 - bodyweight
  • SS2 Overhead squat - 2x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • SS2 Crunch with overhead lift - 2x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • Lunge and horizontal press - 2x10 - 8kg ViPR
  • Lunge with overhead swing - 2x10 - 10kg ViPR
  • Sprints on x-trainer - 6x30s with 60s recovery - L8-10 (180-200 speed)
  • Cool down and stretch
Love it!  Can't wait to get cracking with it on Monday!

    Spoke too soon

    'cause something's sitting heavily in my system. That or the weekend excess after the swim has caught up with me. 2kg heavier than this time last week! Ignoring it for now as things are not settled down whatsoever. Got my skinny jeans on today so I can't actually be a baby whale just yet.

    Thursday 5 August 2010

    Seems to be working so far

    I cycled in to work this morning in a record 38.5 minutes, to discover when I got to the shower that I was smeared in dirty chain grease all down one arm, the back of one leg, my neck(!?) and forehead (!!??).   I seem to always managed to get really dirty when I cycle, usually confined to my legs and hands though so getting stuff on my neck was quite impressive even for me.  Not feeling anywhere near as fatigued as the week before last, but then I've not been doing massive amounts this week (yet), so I'd be worried if I were knackered by now.  Though there is always the low amount of sleep I get on cycling mornings due to having to get up at 06:15 to miss the worst of the traffic.  One day I'll be brave enough to try leaving the house at 8am to see how bad it gets.  No point at the moment in being particularly early though as it's school holidays so the traffic is less thick anyway.

    I stopped in at a sponsored bike check point on the way home, having seen one on the way in this morning and sailed past it at 40kph (*cough*).  The nice man adjusted my gears so that the chain would actually go onto the big cog on the front derailleur rather than clatter about and refuse to move, and pumped up my tyres.  Very nice.  But not really a safety check as they were saying it was.  I'm not complaining of course, my gears are nicer now :o)  Bike felt really crisp and tight the rest of the way home.  Nice!

    Due to utter couldn't-give-a-damn-ness, we're having takeaway pizza for dinner.  That is all.

    B - MP Total Breakfast with skimmed milk and frozen blueberries
    S - greek yogurt with strawberries and Dorset Cereals muesli
    S - Walker Salt and Vinegar crisps (I had a mad craving!)
    L - salad; chicken, avocado, lettuce, pepper, tomato and celery
    S - celery and houmous
    S - cottage cheese and pistachios
    S -  1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
    D - pizza and potato wedges
    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 158.8 (24.5%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 269.4 (38.9%)
    Fat (g) 105.5 (36.6%)
    Fibre (g) 23.8
    Fruit & Veg 9.4

    Foodz catchup

    B - MP Total Breakfast with skimmed milk and frozen blueberries
    S - greek yogurt with fresh mango and Dorset Cereals muesli
    S - banana
    L - salad; chicken, lettuce, pepper, tomato and celery
    S - carrot and houmous
    S - fruit and nut bar
    S -  1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
    D - Waitrose Pork and Plum Tomato sausages with sweet potato mash and 2 lagers!

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 151.2 (25.9%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 262.8 (42.3%)
    Fat (g) 60.8 (23.5%)
    Fibre (g) 30.4
    Fruit & Veg 13.4

    B - MP Total Breakfast with skimmed milk and frozen blueberries
    S - banana
    S - 1 scoop MP Max in skimmed milk
    L - 2x Discovery wholemeal tortilla wraps with chicken breast, mayonnaise, lettuce and red pepper
    S - carrot and houmous
    D - 2x Waitrose wholemeal pitta breads, toasted, with tuna, mayonnaise, sweetcorn, lettuce and Port Salut
    S - 2x oat cakes with Pie D'Angeloys cheese, plum chutney and 2 small glasses of wine

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 167.2 (31.3%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 230.5 (40.5%)
    Fat (g) 50.7 (21.4%)
    Fibre (g) 23.5
    Fruit & Veg 5.8

    Wednesday 4 August 2010

    Seems OK so far

    Cycled yesterday, gymmed today.  Eating for Britain (well, it feels that way anyway, but I am still coming in a bit under maintenance).  Really enjoyed having a couple of tortilla wraps for lunch today rather than a salad; I've been getting quite bored with salad it seems.  Feeling pretty good so far, certainly not overly tired (yet?).

    Cycling again tomorrow, gym and cycling on Friday!

    Tuesday 3 August 2010

    How to tackle this?

    A couple of weeks ago, I threw myself into cycling into work.  I ended up 800kcals under maintenance for the week and putting on 1kg (well, probably not really, but that's what the scales said).  Yes, I get that when I eat more, it weighs more and thus I will weigh more on balance the first week I eat lots more.  So, ignoring that effect when I'm doing it this time, I still have problems around eating.

    Today I cycle into work and home again.  I will not be going to the gym.  The cycling gives me an extra 700-800kcals or so for the day.  I -should- eat at least half of those kcals, but I -think- that I actually need to eat all of them and not aim for any loss target kcals as my body doesn't deal with that very well and starts to retain water etc.  I'll be cycling at least 3 times this week, so it's not mad extra work (90km in total, oh arse, and an extra 21-49km on Saturday) but I feel I need to pretty much ignore this week as it's straight after an event, so I'm a bit heavy anyway and there's lots of extra exercise which will throw my body out as well.  I'll aim for "on or under maintenance kcals" each day this week, but definitely not "at or below loss kcals".  Then re-assess next week when things should have settled down a bit.  Of course, then I have only 1 week of normal exercise (3x weights and 2-4x cycling and 0-1 swims) before I have to taper for the final Thames Turbo Triathlon, so it may not be a fair trial or learning.

    Anyone else gone through a significant increase in exercise output?  How did you manage your nutrition and what effects did you see?

    Monday 2 August 2010

    Evolving aches

    My shoulders are aching in evolving ways throughout the day.  This is new to me for DOMS.  First time in ages I've had a salmon fillet and it's so pretty I had to take a photo...

    B - Dorset cereals muesli with semi-skimmed milk
    S - toasted malt loaf with butter
    L - beef chilli with extra mushrooms
    S - greek yogurt with fresh mango
    S - frappuccino made with 1 scoop MP Max, instant coffee, skimmed milk and ice
    S - Mini Babybel, Emmental
    D - crisped salmon fillet with couscous, lettuce and Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce

    Exercise - post-race rest day

    Calories (kcal)
    [kcals to maintain weight (inc. exercise)
    Protein (g) 129.4 (38.5%)
    Carbohydrate (g) 176.4 (30.2%)
    Fat (g) 59.7 (31.3%)
    Fibre (g) 17.3
    Fruit & Veg 7.4

    Weekly roundup

    Last week...  it was always going to be a heavy week due to tapering and carb loading and recovery.  So

    Day Daily Exercise Total Consumed Difference Difference for Week
    1299 1299 1750 451 451
    1292 369 1661 1970 309 760
    1287 1287 1881 594 1353
    1287 1287 1710 423 1776
    1284 370 1654 2015 360 2136
    1280 1280 2386 1106 3243
    1285 691 1976 3599 1623 4866
    Total 9014 1430 10444 15310 4866

    So I was1366kcals over maintenance for the week, which could translate into about 200g weight gain in the overall scheme of things.  Pretty good for a pre-race week really.

    Nokia Thames Swim race report

    We rose earlyish, 7am, and had a fortifying breakfast - I had malt loaf with Nutella on it and a mug of tea.  Arrived at Kingston; me, Mr TOTKat and Mr TOTKat's mum; parked the car and headed for the ferry which would take us to the race start.  We got to the jetty at about 08:05 and the next ferry wasn't to leave until 08:30, which was a bit annoying but not too bad really.  The ferry ambled us towards Hampton Court at what was almost certainly more than 4 knots (tsk!) and we got a good look at the swim course.  The half-way buoy seemed a bit closer to the end than it should have been and there seemed to be not all that many large buoys in evidence.
    The ferry dropped us off near the race start which was a pretty nice facility of marquees in a field off to one side of the river.  Race registration was pretty tight in terms of identification and chipping etc. and we didn't have long before Mr TOTKat was due to start so I queued for the loo with Mt TOTKat's mum while he got ready and was whisked off to the start.  Mr TOTKat's race start time was 20 minutes before mine, having put in an estimated race time of 01:20 where I'd put in an estimate of 01:10.  I was not long after called up to the race start and had to fight my way into my wetsuit with assistance from Mr TOTKat's mum before leaving her with our kit bag to meet us at the finish, 2.25 miles further down the river.  (In hindsight, we should have used the kit bag transport service, but hey, you live and learn.)

    Near to the race start, there was a holding area where each wave of swimmers were gathered and penned in together before the race chips were checked to verify they worked and matched up with the number on your chest and swimming cap.  Then it was into the water, over to the buoys marking the race start for briefing and photos and a 5 minute wait (in deep water, as in you can't touch the bottom) before the off for my wave.  Lots of photos and a hooter honk later and 100 of us in yellow cap wave were off.

    A very thrashy start with lots of people jostling past me, where I'd made my way to the front for the start, only to be overtaken by me a few minutes later when they found they'd gone off too fast and had to slow down a bit.  Falling into a rhythm quite quickly meant very very slight hyperventilation all the way through the swim as I ended up breathing every 2 strokes (it was quite cold and the wetsuit, while very very well fitting, did restrict my shoulder movement which meant more effort per stroke required than usual all contributing to more breathing required) where every 3 would be better but I can't do bi-lateral breathing at the moment (need to practice).  There was a surprising amount of jostling all the way through the swim, mostly people coming in from the sides of the route where they'd gone off course a bit; the water is extremely murky so you can't see a thing about where you are in the river without doing proper sighting ahead of you.  I managed to get away with very little sighting as I do swim pretty straight without it.  There were a few times when you could see the bottom as it was so close, close enough to scrape your hands on a a few times even.

    Not much water got taken on board until well after the half way marker, which came soooo much later than I expected it.  Half way came and went and the yellow wave started to pass some of the white and green waves before us and the odd pink one.  And then came Raven's Ait - in theory almost the finish.  Except it's aaaages away from the finish when you're swimming at around 1.6 knots.  And that's when I first took on some water - the course narrows around the left side of Raven's Ait and lots of swimmers get close together and create a lot of splash.  Then there were lots of pleasure boats between there and the finish, raising wake and causing a couple more mouthfuls of Thames sludge.  At this point I got bad cramp in my left ankle.  I do suffer with cramp in my feet a lot, which is pretty tolerable, but when it goes into my ankle it's extremely painful and causes a bad spasm so my foot goes club.  I knew I was a good 10 minutes from the end, so my only real option was to speed up, despite creating quite some drag with my left foot being at a funny angle.  I switched stroke to a more efficient, slightly more effort catch which zoomed me quickly past people who'd been level with me for the last few minutes, really picking up the pace.

    The finish eventually hove into view and the race marshall with a megaphone was shouting something utterly inaudible when you're in the water with a swimming cap on.  Thankfully I heard during the race briefing that we had to go around the final Nokia buoy before heading for shore and the exit.  So I aimed for the buoy, got close enough to it and aimed for shore, having problems seeing how far it was away I broke into breast stroke for the first time all day and slowed down quite badly until I heard the marshalls telling me to mind the step on the exit.  I saw two girls in front of me on the exit ramp, on their hands and knees and thought "blimey, I know it was tiring, but seriously..." and then I stepped out with some help from a marshall.  Only to almost fall over through incredible disorientation and balance loss.  I staggered, weaved and wobbled my way up the ramp and around to where there were people handing out Lucozade Light and actually took some despite not liking Lucozade at all.  The disorientation and lack of balance was incredible and thankfully I saw Mr TOTKat quite soon and found somewhere to fall on my arse and sit down for quite a bit to get over the dizziness.

    It took a while to find Mr TOTKat's mum in the crowds, but thankfully we'd been given a race finishers' t-shirt to put on which helped stop Mr TOTKat from getting too cold in his tri-suit where I was still quite warm in my wetsuit.  We dried and de-mudded our feet, put some clothes on over our swimming suits, had a protein shake and a fruit&nut bar before heading home in the car, to get showered and some much needed tea.

    Watch time put my race at 01:16:11 and the official timing was 01:15:55. - 34th in my age and sex category.  Fastest woman overall was Keri-ann Payne (Olympic 10km open water gold medallist) at 00:47:50, "only" 28 minutes faster than me, so that was pretty pleasing.  The overall winner was Michael Adams at 00:42:33.

    We swam. Ow.

    So we swam in the Thames.  I swam in a wetsuit, Mr TOTKat swam in a tri-suit.  I ruined my shoulders.  Every single stroke felt like I was pulling against a resistance band across my shoulder and after 75 minutes of that at a pretty constant rate, my shoulders are utterly wrecked.  They started aching not long after the swim and got worse throughout the afternoon and evening to the point where I couldn't dress myself this morning, or wash or brush my hair.  I've got on a zip-front top as that was least painful to put on.  So I'm working from home today, I can't go in to work looking like this; dragged through a hedge backwards and in a track-suit effectively.

    Race report next.