Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Mid Argyll triathlon

Regular readers (if there are any?) will know that the big day has been and gone and still no entry. This is due to a lingering sense of disappointment on my part with my performance on the day. Alas my cycling skills were not up to scratch and the nerves also got the better of me but I did compete, complete and survive to fight another day so onwards!

With four competing relatives in the house plus two assistant marshals my bother in law found himself deserted with his pint of beer on the sofa on Saturday night. The bikes were on the car, the transition boxes were packed (or were they?) and in the car, the food contributions hidden from the children and all athletes etc were tucked up in bed.Amazingly we managed to get off at the pre-arranged time of 9.15 despite Garret forgetting until 9.10 that goggles might just be a good idea and followed another bike laden car down to Lochgilphead passing Liz on the way doing last minute packing. Racking, unpacking and greeting other competitors and friends carried me along for a while and I was trying, really trying to keep my usual pre tri nerves at bay for the sake of Kate, on her first ever tri and Toby (Garret is immune by now). With Kate in Heat two, Liz and Hazel W in Heat four and Toby and Simone in Heat five we were kept busy popping from pool to transition area and the time until Heat six went relatively quickly although the nerves returned with full effect as soon as Toby entered the pool. I briefly considered an energy bar but the thought of eating was so repellent I decided not to...after all it is only a sprint tri...... Into the pool, a quick good luck to Garret in the next heat, a frightened glance exchanged with Hazel and we were off. Thrown slightly by the matching yellow cap next to me going off too soon I quickly settled down and after one overtake from the statutory fast guy started to feel a little bit more confident. Somewhere along the line the swimmer behind me and I played cat and mouse but that was okay with the last time coming two lengths before the end. Out of the pool a few seconds in front of Garret and onto transition. oooopps...not a good one, bits of grit needed to be removed from the soles of my feet and then shaky hands slowed my trainer putting on technique. I had helmet issues as I had decided to put my hair in  a French pleat to keep it out of the way and this made my helmet feel too tight, I am convinced that I had my helmet on backwards and that it would be my photo that would be up on the big screen at the tri dinner this year.. that finally sorted and I then fumbled unracking the bike and worried about the old bike dominoes game. Finally off and fearing I was last in my heat I tried to pick up the pace. The ride was good, not too hot but I could see no one else apart from a couple of  club guys from elsewhere who rapidly left me behind. Halfway round the cycle I started to question the training programme I had doggedly stuck to as even without a watch I realised that I was way too slow and way too lacking in energy. The energy bar would maybe have been a good idea to replace all that nervous energy sapped away. However onwards and there is Craig and the boys which picked me up as did the sight of Dinah on the Oban road. Then a miracle! I catch sight of two cyclists on whom I am gaining rapidly...great! I continue to gain and feel pleased up until the moment I numbers, no tri suits...not even shorts they are just a couple out for a pleasant Sunday ride...Grrrrrr!! so KEEP GOING!! Past the Cairbaan turn and then Emma comes past me and we go into a bizarre over-taking routine so scared are we of the drafting police as we each fail to maintain the dreaded 7m lead. With many a "sorry" and "please go ahead and over take" she takes the lead on the run into the pool. It is great to see Kate finished and happy, and then to see Liz smiling her way into an obviously great finish. Emma leads me out on the run too and the old brick hits my calves for the first 1/2k or so.  The band stops playing as I reach the canal but not I think in awe of my running prowess...the day is still not too hot and the run is okay for me although I seem not to be able to pick up the pace. People are coming thick and fast in the other direction as they head towards the end of their run but still no over takes from the previous heat...yet. I see Toby looking comfortable, Hazel W finally smiling again ,Garret managing a high five then Hazel M looking great and then I hear those dreaded foot steps behind me...yup here comes Stephen and I know that Peter, John, Tim and Matt will not be far behind. Stephen overtakes before the turn around and Peter, then John after it. Homeward stretch now, the day is definitely warmer now and there is just Matt to go. I overtake one guy on the way home and can still see Emma. Down from the canal with a brief hold up at the road....legs forced into starting again and here come Matt! Finally I can see (and hear) family and friends and head for the best moment of all. Those cheerleaders were the best!! Not my greatest times but lessons learnt (I hope) and great to take part with my family and friends. At least I was no worse than last year (or so I thought until I remembered that my chain came off last year!)...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Soup and jam

Well....I hope that in the dark winter months when the world has collapsed and we are all huddled around the Rayburn counting our few remaining blessings that the marrow and ginger jam that I sweated and worried over today is one of those blessings..what a faff! Very, very nice but from trying to split a large marrow with a quite large but clearly not large enough knife through removing seeds from the marrow to all over the kitchen floor and beyond and then steaming it until it is actually tender enough to jam it it was...well a faff! Quite a long process which involved quite a lot of equipment which despite washing has retained a sort of sticky patina...or maybe it is me that has remained slightly tacky. The last straw was having half a marrow left over (this is as well as the four or five complete ones I still have in the utility) which I just could not waste (or "waist" as I continually see it being spelt on facebook but that is another rant entirely)and so made into spicy pumpkin soup only without the pumpkin but with a medium sized squash. This very welcome abundance of vegetables is from John, the deerstalker, after exhibiting them, and winning at his local agricultural shows. So any more marrow ideas...bring them on!! PS we have done stuffed marrow.....

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Quote of the week....this time from Rosie

"Mum! Mum!...the tablecloth has wait, I had it on the wrong way round!"

This just tickled me in a way that some comments happily can. Things are quietening down now but still some hardy guests struggle through the gale force winds and spectacular gales with which we have been entertained recently, thus the table setting duties for Rosie whilst I scurried around trying to get ready to go to Minard to pick up a recently playing basket ball playing Toby to ferry him to work. The weather has calmed somewhat now but the hail midday was chill and violet...wonderful to live in a place where the weather is so exciting...and never ever predictable. Skipped out of Boot camp last night as the children's outside club (see above for reasons why)and my legs were too tired (see previous post for reasons why) for a hearty beep test. Will be back next week I am sure. Very unlike me to duck out but sometimes one has to do what one's body is telling/shouting/screaming at you....However running club tonight in Inveraray, luckily when you lead a group you can also dictate the pace/speed.

PS picture posted later..this was on the way to Inveraray tonight. The calm mentioned above was merely a temporary halt as at 6.40 the wind was raging, the rain was torrential and the hail was just gearing up....however by 6.50pm the world was calm enough to take this photo and we had not one drop of rain during our allotted hour of fun and running!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Boil in the bag cyclist

Yesterdays cycle in the new highly visibly jacket kindly provided by Garret a while ago but never worn was interesting with an internal debate along the way as to how much moisture can collect inside a jacket before you overheat and topple sideways from your vehicle onto the road and lie melting in a puddle of sweat...At the turning point I oozed my way out of the sleeves which tied nicely around my upper chest meaning that the visibility factor was still available but breathing heavily limited. However all attention on my ability to breathe was knocked into second position when "Susan's Giant Schnauzers" van attempted to remove my elbow without recourse to anaesthetics....This was nothing compared with today's "brick" session with Garret(Cycle (4 miles) to run (1 mile)) times three) which I did (well, we started at the same time but he gradually extended his lead to just under two miles...) during which I was hooted at by a passing motorist for presumably not being able to go as fast as his car for which I apologise....sort of, well, actually I don't but then again neither do I make offensive gestures on a main road of a Sunday lunch time! Relaxation came in the form of a cycle (yes really!)to the shore, a fire and picnic lunch with my favourite family.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pigs and guests (never ever to be confused!).

Two more piglets have arrive peaceably and with no fuss a night or so ago. The two mothers seem to have settles down to a share and share about feeding regime with the piglets going to whoever is most available. The weather has fined up again after a couple of very windy showery days and so we have left them where they are for now being unwilling to intervene unless necessary. The nights are darkening now and I reckon Inveraray running club had its last long run out last night...back to town training and lovely sprints! It was pleasant running last night although a sharp shower at the end reminded us how lucky we had been the rest of the time. Another good B and B night last nights with family favourites Maggie and Vladimir blowing in and blowing out after their usual over night stay on the way back from Skye. they are a delight, as I have said before there are many people out there who can enrich your life and they are two of them. Deerstalker John and his wife June also left this morning more lovely folk.

Monday, 6 September 2010

New Claonairigh House residents

Introducing the new piglets now 5 days old and hopefully going strong. Mum is taking good care of them and hopefully they will be able to get a bit of meat on their bones before the next lot due to auntie arrive.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Still trying to train for that tri...

The tri training programme is stepping up now with the majority of my time spent prevaricating about what to do and wondering if I feel up to I decided on the 30 minutes cycle as being a soft option and so taking my life in my hands I ventured forth on the A83 towards Inveraray. It was quite pleasant, a little bit warm but I sped along for 15 minutes (well, 44 seconds more to the nearest lay-by)I even stopped the timer when halted at the traffic lights so dedicated am I. I turned...sped off homeward bound and then discovered that the reason for the speedy outward journey was the unfelt presence of a nice little head wind which made going home a little bit more of a struggle. Still, a nice ride which made me forget for approximately 36 minutes and 15 seconds exactly how I feel about finding Toby's newly ironed clothes on his stairs with large dirty footprints on them.....
Still got guests in, a lovely German couple who arrived off the road on our first (double room) empty night in ages seeking a room for three nights...perfect, Happy them and Happy us! They discussed opera the first morning at breakfast with the other (Edinburgh) guests and the inability of the English to embrace new languages the second. I hear the gentle clatter of school bags hitting the kitchen floor and the beginnings of the search for a nice (quote from Freya "and therefore unhealthy") post school snack. Back to motherhood and a short pithy lecture on the suitability of stairs as a resting place for clean clothes coming up.