Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Spring is sprung....

Spring is sprung.... by charlottehbest
Spring is sprung...., a photo by charlottehbest on Flickr.
Yup, it's come around already, Spring is here. Hoorah!!!!! got tonnes of photos from Salt Lake City to upload, and will try and write a post soon - am being good and burying myself in work to try and get the last lot of work done and out of the way. Eurgh.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Winter wonderings

January in a nutshell: work, training (track, road and cross-country running, spinning, and road cycling, interval and endurance swimming, weights/conditioning, yoga/pilates/tai-chi), cross country race. Coffee. Sister’s birthday (and amazing carrot cake), baking, meetings. Trip to London. Trying (mostly in vain) to see my friends. I have mainly done nothing else, and nothing exciting.

Cross country race was actually quite fun – part of the West Midlands Cross-country League, racing for Stratford-upon-Avon Athletics Club…. Didn’t embarrass myself either, came 104 out of something like 235 women :)

Mid Womens XC Lge 059

For the sister’s birthday I was on cake duty as our parents were away, so I rustled up a cheeky carrot cake, bloody delicious it was too, even if I do say so myself.

3/52 B is for Baking

Took a trip to London with my mum, to meet a new arrival for some family friends…..

February so far: work, training (track, road and cross-country running, spinning, and road cycling, interval and endurance swimming, weights/conditioning, yoga/pilates/tai-chi), trail race (Hell in the Middle – the big, mean, hilly, arse-kicking brother of Hell down South), more baking.

Hell in the Middle was fun, but bloody cold. It was -8.4’C when I left my house that morning, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t get anywhere near going over freezing whilst we were running. 10-12 miles (that’s the only distance guideline they give!), cross-country, trail running in Cannock Chase. A lot of it is along the single-track mountain bike courses, which was proper ankle-breaking territory because the muddy ruts had frozen solid. I saw at least 5 people go arse over tit, or just flat on their bums because of the ice….. very, very icy, although probably good for me in the long run, as it meant I was running a little cautiously. On the plus side, I didn’t wipe one of my contact lenses out this time, so I could actually see where I was running! Whoop! Finished 15th out of 235 women, 199 out of >1000 overall. Pretty pleased with that all things considered :)

I also started a 52-week project; realised I wasn’t really using my camera much, and although I didn’t want to commit to a 365 again just yet, I wanted to do something….. it’s nice to be back taking photos more often too. Breaks up the monotony of work and training.

On the most exciting note – I am off to Salt Lake City on Saturday for a week’s conference (Ocean Sciences 2012), and then I have a week of PLAYING IN THE SNOW!!!!! I am SO EXCITED about this as I didn’t end up going skiing/snowboarding last year, and I miss my annual snow-fix. I’ll still have a lot of work to do whilst I’m there (booooo), but very excited about it nonetheless. Obviously I will have loads of photos to post afterwards.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Stop and stare.

4/52 selfie by charlottehbest
4/52 selfie, a photo by charlottehbest on Flickr.
Will try and do a proper post this week. It'll mainly be talking about how dull my life is at the moment. Work, work, work, and training, training, training. I might put the occasional picture of baking in too. I made a bloody good carrot cake last weekend. And I've booked a holiday too. EXCITING!!!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, Christmas has been and gone already, and everything is quickly going back to normal :( sad times. I love Christmas. Had a reasonably quiet Christmas as usual, although there were 6 of us this year so that made a bit of a change from the usual 4! Swapped the turkey for a joint of beef this year. Gobble gobble.Also decorating the Christmas cake on Christmas Eve kept me busy for a good couple of hours (easily pleased I know).

cakey presents

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Went for a long ride on boxing day, managed a 45miler which I was fairly happy with. No classes have been running at the gym over the Christmas period and I feel a little bit lost without my normal routine…. Uhoh obsessed much? They all start again this week so it’s fine (breathes a huge sigh of relief).

Cycled from home to my friend Steff’s house yesterday, to spend New Year’s Eve with her and her friend Sam. They’re both vets, and were both unlucky enough to be working on-call shifts last night, so I said I’d keep them company on the condition that I could play vet and go along to any call-outs :) We celebrated midnight in the vet’s practice, with Steff treating a sicky little ginger kitten. Bless. Drove back past some amazing Christmas lights…. Who needs streetlights?!

Went to cycle home this morning and promptly discovered that my chain had snapped after yesterdays hilly, muddy effort, so unfortunately had to call in the cavalry (in the shape of my papa) to come and rescue me. Me thinks I need to learn how to mend chains whilst I’m out and about….. never had to do it before!!!!

Start as you mean to go on?
 Am looking forward to 2012 for all sorts of reasons……. It’s going to be a year of big change (and hopefully big achievements) for me!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Catch-up

Well, it’s safe to say that this year has pretty much flown by…… it never feels like that when it’s actually happening, but then when you look back you realise how quickly it went by. In August my friends Adam and Anna had their first baby, and I went round to see her when she was only 5 days old, and take some photos for them. So adorable. Hard to believe she’s already 4 months old now! 

B&W baby bliss

I did my first adventure race, with the old girls I used to row in a crew with – it was so much fun, and obviously, our competitive spirit took over, and we managed to win our category – Whoop!!!

The Oarsome Foursome ride again

I did my first half marathon in London (Run to the Beat), and clocked a time of 1 hour 56, which I was pretty pleased with, considering I was planning on running it as a slow training run, rather than trying to get under 2 hours……. Next target I guess is sub 1:50…… probably have to do some real training for that and learn how to run properly lol.

Had a couple of fun weekends away at the end of October – the first was away climbing with the Southampton University Mountaineering Club in the Peak District, and the second was with some friends of mine to Pembrokeshire. Climbing, bbq-ing, drinking and coasteering….. fun fun :)

Yorkshire grit

Porth Clais

I finally moved back home at the end of October, in order to get more work done, and I will be there until I finish writing my PhD thesis up and submit it. It’s proving pretty lonely, but I’m actually getting work done (although not so much in the last 2 weeks, I’ve mainly been baking Christmassy things instead!!!), and doing lots of training. Not much of a social life, but I guess I’m partly to blame for that in terms of not really making an effort.

The end of November saw yet another attendance for Hellrunner Down South, which was (as usual) thoroughly enjoyable with the exception of having to run it half blind. I accidentally wiped out one of my contact lenses after about 20 minutes of running, and had to run the rest of the race half blind. Deceptively difficult as it meant I had no depth perception – difficult when running cross country and through woods! Went straight from hellrunner (after a quick water-bottle-wash in a field) down to Bath to see the old rowing girls again, went out for yummy Thai dinner and then cocktails, and a trip to the baths the next day.

The Royal Crescent

Bath Abbey

Christmas spirit came early this year – a trip to see the Nutcracker on the 1 Dec J Performed by the Royal Birmingham Ballet, it was lovely. Then back to Southampton for a meeting and Christmas party mid Dec, and then really that brings us to now! Lots of baking when I’ve had time off (or made a deadline!), and lots of training. I’ve discovered I LOVE spinning classes, which is pretty fortunate really considering the number of mince pies and gingerbread men I’ve been eating!!

Curtains Open

Christmas is coming.......

Christmas tree meeee

Christmassy love

Happy Christmas!

Friday, 2 December 2011

They call me mellow yellow

Am trying to work out how to blog pictures from Flickr straight to my blog. I don't like uploading the photos from my computer, as you can then download them I think, so I prefer having them linked to Flickr. As you can probably tell, I'm not very technologically minded!

It's been a while..... (again)

I finally finished my 365 self portrait project on the 3rd of June…… I think in total I only missed something like 2 days. I confused myself immensely due to the time-zone changes I’d done, particularly around the Hawaii and Puerto-Rico time. Looking back on it, I’m really glad I did it; it taught me a lot more about how to use my camera, and made me a lot more comfortable about taking photos in public. I’m contemplating doing another project of some sort, probably starting in the New Year. Maybe not a 365, but maybe a 52-week project or something like that.

Aside from finishing the 365, June ended up being quite a fun month. I moved house (AGAIN), and had 3 out of 4 weekends away racing with the rowing club. The last of these races, Henley Women’s Regatta, is the ladies’ version of Henley Royal Regatta (daaaaahhhling). We did pretty well this year actually, considering we were racing in the senior category, and we made it to the semi-finals. We lost to the eventual winners though which always makes losing a little more acceptable, even if they were juniors (from the GB squad I would like to add!).

Got a day’s sport climbing in with a good friend as well which was nice – very chilled out and fun. So much so that I was even convinced to do my first couple of lead climbs outside :D Then two days later I did the Wessex coast cycle challenge – 66miles, 6 ferries. It was great fun, and the weather was perfect for it, although I would have enjoyed it more if more people had been on road bikes, and I didn’t have to keep stopping and waiting for people.

The next day I flew out to Nice, to join the old rowing girls on holiday. I’d gone out late so I could do the Wessex cycle, and so I didn’t have to take too many days off work. I didn’t realise, but the day we arrived was actually the day Ironman France was being run in Nice. Gave us an awesome opportunity to cheer for my friend Alex who was racing her second Ironman race. I knew she was racing, but she didn’t know I’d be there, and I got a lovely message from her afterwards saying how much it had helped her when the big group of us had all been shouting for her and cheering her on during the marathon section. The 4 days of holiday were absolutely blissful. Blazing hot sunshine, lots of friends, sailing, bikinis, gin, and come-dine-with-me-esque dinners. Exactly what I needed!

In terms of Ironman….. I made a fairly big decision after we watched that race….. I’ve entered Ironman UK for 2012. Terrifying. For those of you who don’t know what an Ironman triathlon consists of… it’s a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle ride, and a 26.2 mile run. There’s normally a cut-off time of around 16 hours. I am terrified about this event already. I’ve swum that far before (or nearly that far I think), so I’m not overly worried about that, as the least weighting is on the swim. However….. that’s a bloody long way to cycle and run! I’ve only ever run a half marathon before (and I only did that in September this year!), and never cycled that far before. I’ve entered the Cheshire Cat cyclo-sportive in March, a 100miler to try and give myself a bit of encouragement that I can do the distance. Eeeeeep!