Wednesday 31 August 2016

The aftermath

So, I completed a triathlon (in case you hadn't heard...) and cried when I crossed the finish line. Tears of joy, tears of achievement? I am not quite sure, but fortunately the tears didn't last and I was soon back to normal again. 

But what happened afterwards though? After I had gotten the medal and the drink and all the congratulations? Well, I got a few more congratulations and then a few more still. But, the most important thing I got was a massage. Of the shoulder and neck area, because I knew that's where the bother would start if I wasn't careful. 

The massage was painful. Very very very painful. The muscles were so tight and stiff, it took a bit of pain to get them to loosen up a bit. But, after a while the pain lessened and when the masseur was finished (a lovely young man who knew where I came from just by looking at the ribbons in my hair), I felt better. 

As we went and picked up our bikes and other assorted stuff, I started to get a bit cold. I hadn't thought of bringing a cardigan or sweater to the finish line (via somebody else) and the weather was about to turn. But fortunately I did have it in my bag and it had stayed dry as well. 

Once I got home and had taken a long wanted shower, I could feel my head starting to work and I wondered why. I had had that massage and I had had a really hot shower. I went to work on Monday, but had to call in sick halfway through. My head was killing me and I was so thirsty! Basically I had a case of dehydration and since everything wrong with me always shows up in my head first...

Over the last few days I have been drinking a lot and trying to eat a lot of salty foods. And yes, I do feel better today (Wednesday), so I will be back at work tomorrow. 

Now, for the aches and pains in muscles and such. A few years ago I went on this walk and it took me more than a week for my body to heal from the onslaught it had had. This time? Yes, I felt my legs on Monday, but it didn't hurt, it didn't bother me, I just could feel that I had done something extra. Other than that: nothing.

As I said in my last post already: I am going to take part in next year's triathlon as well. There is enough room for improvement to make it even more fun. Because even though I said it wasn't fun, that was only the lack of water talking. 

For now though it will be a bit of break from training. And then next week another big thing on the calendar: my holiday with my sister (and Brom of course). 

I want to thank each and every one of you who supported me so much. Both in the virtual and the real world. Without you I would never have been able to make it!

Monday 29 August 2016

How did I do? (and yes, it's a long read)

Waiting to start
Sunday morning began bright and early for me. I was up at a time I hadn't wanted to be up yet, but since I was awake and thinking only of what I was about to do, I felt I might as well get up. I got my breakfast, tried to drink as much as I could, got dressed and then me and Miss Oswin had some cuddling time. For me to calm down, for her because well, is there ever a reason needed?

Right behind the guy in the short blue wet suit
I was out waiting for my partner in crime in good time, checking the flowers in the garden. And again and again. But he arrived, loaded my bike on the back of his car and off we went. Not ten minutes later he parked the car, we got our stuff and were on our way to check in. 

Just to the top and left of the small orange buoy. I think
My bike was deemed okay (16 spokes per wheel minimum and working brakes) and so was my helmet (including Dutch flag ribbons). I then got the seat fastened again and my tires pumped up just a bit more and 'parked' it. Over an hour to go!

Helping me up after my first lap
I started unpacking my stuff and found that the cycle shirt I was due to wear after the swimming was soaking wet. Turned out that the last minute bottle of water had been leaking due to me not closing the lid properly! So, put it on, it was wet anyway. Struggled into my wet suit, then had to go potty, so had to take it half off again. A bit of trouble getting the whole lot on again, but managed in the end. Fifteen minutes to go!

I couldn't have drowned if I had wanted to!
I made my way with all the other contestants/participants to the water's edge. Had to wait while the first group, who were due to do half the distances, were sent away. The nerves were there, even a tear threatening to come, but managed to talk that one down again. Fife minutes to go!

Ten meters to go!
And then: the ribbon was lifted, the group surged forward and I was off as well. On my first ever triathlon. The lack of training of the last few weeks made itself noticed immediately, since I had to stop several times on my first lap. While on the second buoy I was fine, but then got a slight kick in the ribs by somebody lapping me. He hadn't meant to, but it gave me a bit of a bfmpf. But, I got back into the rhythm and managed to complete lap 1. 

And I had only finished the swimming...
I was hauled up and after a few moments getting my breath back, I waded back in and started on my second lap. By then, far fewer people were in the water and I was dead last. There was somebody close to me taking her wet suit off! while in the water, but she stayed ahead of me the whole time. Again I had to stop several times, but only for short spurts of time. And then I had completed the swimming. Once more I was hauled up and out of the water and the first part was done!

Yes, the wet suit was too big
I was received on dry land by Coach Jorunn, who was so happy to see me, but also helped me get down to the shifting area. And honestly, I needed all the help I could get, because I had lost the use of my legs! Once in the shifting area, one of the members of the tri-team on the same program helped me get undressed (wet suit) and dressed. Dried my feet, helped me with my shoes, found the number (I had forgotten) and put it on and then sent me on my way. 

My first of four cycle laps
The cycling was remarkably easy to be honest. There were people cheering me on all the way and I managed to have a steady speed. In fact, I had never cycled so fast (on average) as yesterday! And even though it was quite lonely in the end (most of the public had gone and I was the last one cycling), I kept it up and managed to come in in just over an hour.

All... By... Myself....
This time I had to change all on my ownsies and it was quite hard. I usually sit down to put on socks, but I knew that if I did that now, I would never get back up again. I had put on one shoe when I realised I had forgotten to put on my knee brace, so off with the shoe, on with the brace and then on with the shoe. Fortunately the second leg went fine and after turning the number from back to front, I was on my way to the last leg of the triathlon!

Off on the running
There were a lot of athletes on the path who were due to start the Norwegian Championships soon, so that was a bit tricky, but I soon was on my way to the finish line. After first having to complete three laps. After my first lap I came into the finishing area and was asked by the announcer whether it was fun. NO! And the reason for that was, that I was getting light-headed. I had not had anything to drink other than a small cup of water right after the swimming and a few sips during the cycling. I was getting dehydrated.

Walk... walk... walk...
By the end of the second lap I asked my partner in crime to get me some water (he did and some energy drink) and immediately I perked up. Not that my speed was getting higher, but the light-headedness was gone and I could focus again. 

Is it fun? NO!!!
On my third and last approach to the finishing area I was met by PiC and by my dresser Lene, both spurring me on. As did the announcer, who had called every single official, non-official and random person to come to the area and cheer me to the finish line. The tears might have been close, but those last 150 meters I 'ran'. And I made it over that line! 

Nearly there!
I was shaking, I was crying. I got a medal, somebody pushed a cup of water into my hands and told me to drink. But I made it! Will I do it again? YES! Because once I can crawl instead of doing the breast stroke and once I can run instead of walk... it should be even more fun than it was now!

Me and my partner in crime Jan Tore
My final times? Swimming: 28 minutes, cycling: 1.05 and running: 52 minutes. Add to that the changing times and it totaled 2 hours, 33 minutes and 45 seconds.

Photos by Unni and Lene

Sunday 28 August 2016

What's the time please?

On to lap 2
So, this triathlon then. This fit of madness that made me climb mountains and cycle up hills and swim in open water. And then yesterday I had to do it all. One after the other. And I was nervous. I was jittery. I certainly didn't feel ready.

Here is a list of people (and animals) who have replied to my triathlon post and have given me their thoughts in hours and minutes and sometimes seconds. Some on Facebook, since I was a dunce and didn't open the anonymous bit for their comments until Sunday morning. And the plan had been that only people commenting on my blog would be entered to win. So, in the end, I decided to give away two calendars. Just because. 

Fresh as a daisy (sort of)
Fun60                      3.08.30
Marie Smith            3.05.00
Yamini MacLean    2.59.59
Boes (or my sister) 2.58.00
Unknown IlR          2.57.45
Anvilcloud              2.57.00
Je vader (my dad)   2.55.00
Murphy & Stanley  2.51.47
Charliedownunder  2.51.00
Ed                           2.51.00
MT (via FB)           2.48.00
Pepperfly                2.47.00
Ginnie Marie          2.42.00
Janice Adcock        2.41.28
Mara (yes, me)       2.38.53
JTTS (via FB)        2.36.45
YHN (via FB)        2.29.00
IGD (via FB)          2.28.56

Well, I can tell you that with a lot of cheers I was the last one over the line, only about five minutes before the first of the elite athletes (who started two hours behind me) came over that very same line.

Nearly there!
And I did it in (drumroll please): 2 hours, 33 minutes and 45 seconds. Which means that of the FB repliers, JTTS (my partner in crime) was closest, only being three minutes off. Of the people who haven't seen me train and/or know me in real life Janice Adcock was closest, being nearly 8 minutes out.

Both of you will receive a calendar as soon as it's made which will be November time. Congratulations!

Photos by Unni and Lene

Photo on Sunday 2016-31

"Find a place where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain."
(Joseph Campbell)

Today's 'photo' has been stolen from Yamini's blog, lock, stock and mandala. I am not usually one for those type of quotes and/or mandalas and the first time I read it, I again was a sceptic. And then I read it again and realised it fit me perfectly for today. 

I will try and find the joy today and hope it will burn out any feelings of discomfort, jellyfish and pain. 

Now, if you haven't given me your finishing time answer just yet, you have until 3 pm my time to put it up. Since I start at 12 noon, it should give me the time needed to come in. Please go to this post and give your answer! You might even win a desk-top calendar (provided you are closest to the actual finishing time).

Friday 26 August 2016


As you know, I have (in a fit of mental instability) agreed to get fit and swim/cycle/run a triathlon. And for the past three and a half months I have been training for it. I have climbed mountains to get my lung capacity to expand. I bought a good bike so I could cycle. I got myself some running shoes so I could even try and run (not there yet, will need some severe training for that). 

I have had to deal with headaches caused by locked shoulders/neck due to my cycle training and in a lesser degree my swim training. I have had to deal with an ear infection which took me out of the whole training thing for two weeks. I have had to deal with a late two-day throw-up party, which made me loose weight, but also lost me some valuable training time. But all in all, I have been doing fine. I think. 

And now the triathlon is almost upon me. In two days I will make my way to the start line and make sure I don't stand in the front on the right before making my way into the water for 750 meters swimming (15 laps in an Olympic size swimming pool). After the swimming I will have to get my wet suit off and get on a bike. With jelly legs most likely. I will then continue to cycle 20 kilometers or nearly 12,5 miles. And when that is done, I will don my running shoes and with even more jelly-like legs proceed to walk/run 5 kilometers (just over 3 miles). If last Sunday is anything to go by, I will cross that finish line feeling like a jelly fish, but I WILL CROSS THAT FINISH LINE!!

On my Tri-Mara blog I have put a goal. Or actually three goals. Goal number one is to finish the thing. Goal number two is to do it in under three hours. And goal number three is to have fun. Do jelly fish have fun??

Anyway, here's my challenge to you. And no, it does not involve swimming, cycling or running for you. It is however a contest. What do you have to do you ask? Well, guess what my finishing time will be! The closest to my actual finishing time will win one of my (yet to be made) desk-top calendars. Now, to give you some help along the way:

Swimming: since Gizmo is afraid of going under water, I have not got an exact time for that, but I think I can do it in under thirty minutes.
Cycling: on a harder course (but without jelly legs), my best time is 1 hour, 12 minutes and a bit. 
Running: on a harder course (and with jelly legs), my best time is 51 minutes and 29 seconds. 
Changing: I had figured on changing my outfit between each sport, but apparently there is no place to do so, so if I don't want to give the spectators a trauma, I won't be doing that. I will wear my cycle gear throughout, also underneath my wet suit, which will take most time to get off. 

So. What do you think? What will my time be? As I said: the person closest to the actual time will win a desk-top calendar (Over Mara's shoulder). Good luck...

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Dream woman

After the first part of today's shift I got into our canteen and was immediately approached by a colleague. He wanted to give me a hug and he called me his dream woman.

Much as I appreciate being called a dream woman and much as I like being hugged, I suspected ulterior motives. Because only five minutes before I had had a call from the traffic organiser to ask me whether I was coming in soon. 

So, I said no to the hug and replied to his 'dream woman', that I was only a dream woman because I had the key to the coffee machine. And since the coffee machine was empty for coffee... 

He could of course have said that I was always his dream woman, but I think he was so shocked by my (correct) assessment of his intentions, he was a bit lost for words.

The sad thing was though, that by the time I had finished filling up the machine, he had had to go on to the next part of his shift. Without coffee!!

Sunday 21 August 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-30

On her way down the stairs and out the door! And today, she got another chance to see what it is like in this neighbourhood!

Thursday 18 August 2016

Miss Oswin gets a taste of freedom


When Mara first opened the door today, I didn't quite believe it. Besides, upstairs there is lots to explore, so I went there. But when I came back down, she opened the door again! This time I was going to take my chance. I was going outside!

Oh my, it was glorious. So much to sniff at, there was grass beneath my feet, new noises, new sights, new everythings. Mara followed me with the flashy thing, but I did not care! I was outside. The best. I didn't see any mice, but there was a hint of strange cat around. Hm, I think I will have to explore that some more. 

Unfortunately Mara wanted me to come in again after a very short time. I did not like that at all, but she cheated with some sweets. Not nice. Perhaps if I ask nicely, she will let me go out a bit more often...

Monday 15 August 2016

On the road to recovery

After another good night's sleep, I woke up today with a hint of a headache and with a bit of a rumbling stomach. Which can only mean: I am on the way back! And since I had been clever and called in sick yesterday, I have this whole day to get rid of the H completely and fill my stomach up again. Somewhat at least. 

I am certainly not going to eat lots and lots of fatty stuff. Yoghurt and crackers (bit of blueberry jam) will do just fine. Perhaps a boiled egg. As long as it is more than what I had over the last two days I should be fine. Even better: as long as it stays in as well. 

So, here's to a new week and to the last two weeks before my tri-trial. It will be interesting to see how my body has coped with little training and illness over the last week and a half. Mind you, on the plus side: I have lost 2,5 kilos in the last few days. Not the best way to loose, but then again, beggars and choosers and such...

Sunday 14 August 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-29

A massive headache attack this weekend has made it difficult keeping my food down. Well, the little I actually managed to force down! This morning it was my last 'beschuitje'. A bit stale, but still: the staple food for sick people everywhere (well, the Netherlands anyway). 

Saturday 13 August 2016

See Monday's title

Yes, I could have thought of a better title, but the one from Monday was good and didn't really need changing for today. And since there was a bit of anything this week as well...

For starters, my coming holiday with my sister is now on track to be a really good one. It always is when it's me and my sister of course, but we are not really the shopping types, unless it concerns books, so we needed to find other things to see and do and visit. 

On the serious part of our trip we will be 'following' in the footsteps of Anne Frank from the moment she was caught and sent to the pass-through camp in Westerbork (the Netherlands), then on to Auschwitz (Poland) and finally to Bergen-Belsen (Germany). 

On the less serious part of our trip, we will be visiting several towns and cities, a salt mine (Poland), horses (Vienna, Austria), the Sound of Music origins (Salzburg, Austria) and Sleeping Beauty's castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein, southern Germany). Plus a lot more other lovely things. Only a few weeks away now!!

There was a bed there as well
The training started again on Friday with a swim training. It Was FREEZING! It really was. I only did one lap, not because of the temperature, but because of my partner in crime, who had some ankle problems and was waiting for me to finish in the rain. On the plus side: only one stop, despite the cold. 

Apart from that training I did a bit of heavy lifting, pushing and shoving yesterday. Not necessarily as a work-out, more as a 'time to move things that are in the way, out of the way'. I wanted to move the two couches around (not sure why) and needed to move all the boxes in the hallway to the annex to the living room. That way a new door to the bathroom can be installed without any trouble. The little annex is now full of boxes and my tv. The living room is now quite empty and I will need to do something with that. 

Room for a door!
Today it was the plan to do a running training, come what may regarding the weather. But, as there is now a bucket close to the couch, just in case and I just had to force myself to eat some crackers, I think it is fair to say no training, and no party tonight will be happening. Alas, but health first and throwing up half way through a training is not my idea of fun. I know, I am picky...

Other than that: I am enjoying the Olympics, next week's weather is promising to be good again and despite a week of not doing much, I am still good weight wise!

Monday 8 August 2016

A little bit of this and a little bit of that, a little bit of sis and a bit of so

A lovely exception a few weeks ago
All my Dutch readers are by now of course humming, but for those of you are not Dutch, don't worry. It's not you, it's me! Anyway...

Summer in Norway. Those beautiful long summer days that last well into the evening and in some parts into the night and beyond. Long treks into the mountains. Fishing both in the sea and the many lakes. Before the summer I heard one of the weather people say it was going to be a warm(ish) summer. But wet. I wish that weather person had been wrong. Because boy, has it been wet and there is still no end in sight!

Which meant that yesterday's cycle training was not. Partly because of the weather: a lot of wind and a bit of rain. Partly because I felt my legs for some reason. But mainly because I didn't want to. I just didn't. And I felt I was completely entitled to just sit on the couch and watch others do sports. 

Not olympic. At all!
Like fencing. And archery. A bit of swimming, which confused me somewhat. And cycling. The women's road race. Where the Dutch girl Annemieke van Vleuten was in a winning position, before having such an ugly fall, there was no way she could win (she ended up in hospital). The girl in second position had the best name and I was rooting for her (Mara Abbott from the USA), all the way until another Dutch girl came flying past her in the last few meters and won. I must have screamed the house down! Well done Anna van der Breggen. Mara ended in the most horrid of places: fourth. 

Back to my training progress. Last week has been both good and bad. The swimming was great, I managed to swim without too many stops (lap one: twice, lap two: once). The walking a day later went fine as well, apart from the discomfort in my knees, especially my left. I know of course that having this bit of extra weight to lug about is not good for the knees, so today I bought me some knee protectors. Hopefully they do enough of a trick to help me be more comfortable. I also bought some wrist protectors. When cycling, my wrists really start to bother me after a while and I hope that the protectors will ease that as well. 

Other than that, nothing much. There you have it. 

Sunday 7 August 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-28

I had planned to have a really nice uninterrupted sleep. Until I woke up that is. From a beep. 

The smoke alarm! To tell me the battery was nearly empty and I had to replace it! Gone with the uninterrupted part! And yes, I took the offending battery out.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Miss Oswin gets a change of scenery


Mara promised me that I would go outside today. I would get a change of scenery today. And I was all happy, you know. But there was a twist. A not very nice twist!

Because, yes, I was going outside, but in a CAGE!!! And yes, there was a change of scenery, but only because we were going to the VET!!! That is just not on! 

Once at the vet, I behaved like a cat should behave. In fact, all the cats that were there behaved beautifully. The four-legged horrors though... They were whining, they were twitching, they wanted attention, they wanted treats, they were annoying. In fact the most best well-behaved four-legged horror was a tiny little black thing. All the others had to be told off again and again.

Anyway, I was fine. As I could have told Mara before she made that silly promise. And the vet was very nice as well, even though she did have me confused with a four-legged horror called Osvin! That is not a name at all, that is just an insult. The lady vet was very good with her petting and when she stuck the needle in (tricky one that vet), I didn't really flinch. 

I hope Mara will forget about next year though. 

Wednesday 3 August 2016


Nope. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a clue what I should be writing about. Work? Ehh... Training? Well, I swam again yesterday, with only a few stops. Love life? Are you kidding? What with the training and work, I don't have time for anything else!

So, nothing it is. Sorry!