A year ago today

So apparently I joined WordPress a year ago today. That must mean that my whole (short) journey with IVF started around this time. I’ve been meaning to write a post for quite some time but I just haven’t managed to motivate myself enough to do it. Way too much going on in my head to get it all down in a meaningful way. However, this reminder from WordPress that I have been here a year is a good kick up the arse to get going, so here we go.

We went away. The trip of a lifetime for us. Nepal and India. Trekking in the Himalaya, seeing Everest from afar, soaking up the Buddhist and Hindu culture, watching amazing sunsets, visiting beautiful historic sites, eating amazing food. Funny though how now it all seems like something I read in a magazine rather than experienced for myself (ourselves)…

I keep bumping into people I haven’t seen in a while and they ask me, enthusiastically, ‘so how was your trip?’ My go to reply now seems to be, ‘yeah, it was great, thanks, seems like a lifetime ago now’. It’s true, it does. Life just gets back in the way doesn’t it? Suddenly you’re back in the rhythm of work, of chores, of trying to make ends meet. I wanted the trip to be something to take the sting out of not having children. Realistically I know this was never going to work. The benefit last year was it gave me something to look forward to. I could plan. I was distracted. Now what? I still can’t have children and now we probably won’t be able to afford to go on holiday again for years. It’s almost like a massive sucker punch instead of being something wonderful.

Don’t get me wrong, we did have an absolutely amazing time! Nepal was incredible. We completed the Gokyo Trek in the High Himalaya over 14 days from Lukla where we had to fly in and out in the tiniest of airplanes ever :O

 

That was pretty exhilarating! As soon as we landed we set off on our first day of trekking to Phakding. It was a pretty easy day and, in hindsight, we probably should have aimed for a little further along the route, but it was a nice day to ease into the trek. As an aside, if you want to see all the routes we walked, they are all on my Strava account ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s also loads of pictures on my Instagram account.

The next day we headed up to Namche Bazaar which is the resting place for many before they embark higher into the mountains. It’s a beautiful little town set in a natural amphitheatre in the hillside with stunning views back down the valley. We stayed here for three nights to acclimatise and on our second day we went for a day’s walk to acclimatise further and got our first proper views of Everest and Ama Dablam ๐Ÿ™‚

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Namche Bazaar
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Tabuche, Everest. Lhotse and Ama Dablam, oh, and me, obviously ๐Ÿ˜‰

I could write for hours and hours about what we did each day but I’m not going to. I’ll do a quick summary instead. We spent the next 3 days working our way up to Machherma where, unfortunately, we both got food poisoning ๐Ÿ˜ฆ That meant an extra night there to try and recover. From there it was up to Gokyo but neither of us were feeling great as we were running on empty. This meant that, unfortunately (again) Elton came down with altitude sickness and we weren’t able to attempt to climb Gokyo Ri (5357m) and instead Gokyo was our highest point on the trek at 4790m. It didn’t matter, it was more important to get Elton back down so that’s what we did.

We spent the next 3 days making our way back to Namche via Phortse and Tengboche and got the most amazing sunset over Everest on Christmas Eve while in Tengboche ๐Ÿ™‚

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Incredible light show over Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam

We spent Christmas Day in Namche and then trekked back to Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu, on an even smaller plane (!!) on Boxing Day. An amazing time was had ๐Ÿ™‚

After the trek we decided that rather than heading straight into India we would go to Pokhara for a bit of a chillout. This hadn’t originally been on our itinerary but we needed somewhere to relax for a bit and it looked like the perfect place. After a night in Kathmandu we caught our first (of many) long distance bus. The roads in Nepal are not good. In fact, they are nowhere near good. The journey itself is not that far but there is no way you can travel at much more than 20-30 mph at any one time, that’s if you’re moving at all. It was an experience, that’s for sure.

Pokhara was great. Chilled out, on the lakeside with beautiful views up to the Annapurnas. We stayed in an amazing hostel called the Sacred Valley Inn which had a roof terrace where we could lazily eat breakfast in the sunshine. Perfect. We decided to stay until New Year’s Day before heading south to India.

Wow. India. What can I say about India? We barely scratched the surface of India but boy was it an experience. Because of our unplanned four day detour to Pokhara we were suddenly running out of time. This meant buses. A lot of buses. I’m not going to say much about it (I could actually go on all day) except these two things: a) we are lucky to be alive to tell the tale; b) don’t travel by bus at night. The only other thing I have to say is DON’T EVER GO TO GORAKPHUR.

In our very short time we did manage to visit the Taj Mahal, although it was pretty foggy, and Amer Fort just outside Jaipur, which were both stunning in very different ways. We also managed a few days chilling out in Udaipur which was lovely. From there it was an overnight train back to Delhi (me with food poisoning again – that was a fun journey) before flying back home.

 

 

 

And now we’re back. In fact we’ve been back for nearly six weeks. And it’s taken me this long to write about it. Hmmm. Like I said, life gets in the way. Anyway, I needed a new focus, new goals for 2018. So here they are…

Having been vegetarian for over a year now and seeing the benefit of trying to eat mainly plant-based food, I am now trying to go at least 95% plant-based by the end of 2018. I won’t eat meat again that’s for sure but I am going through a process of cutting out as much dairy as possible and reducing my egg intake. So far, so good. Where I’m let down (especially at this time of year) is chocolate :O Having said that I have made some amazing gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free chocolate peanut butter and jelly cups using a recipe from Eli Brecher – seriously check it out here!

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These are the best things EVER ๐Ÿ™‚

The other things I have been doing (alongside trying to rehab my shoulder which still isn’t fixed) is following a bit of a plan from The Natural Edgeย which concentrates on plant-based eating but also on intermittent fasting and getting good quality sleep. It’s been amazing. Yesterday I completed my first 24 hour fast and felt great for it. I’ve also invested in a sunrise alarm clock so I wake up to light, rather than an annoying alarm that jerks me awake. I’m down to 70 kilos which is the lightest I’ve been in a long time and my performance in training is improving. Good job as the Harlech Triathlon is just around the corner… :O Little video from towards the end of my fast yesterday.

 

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough. I am going to update this blog more regularly now though as I’m going to document my progress this year working towards my fitness and nutrition goals. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Let the adventures begin :)

Wow, roll back 10 months and things were a little different. There we were, balanced on the edge with our heads above the parapet, waiting for science to gift us with a child, or not. It seems like a really long time ago, and yet, it also feels like yesterday. I always said that I would find my way of dealing with it and I did. I do. Sometimes. I suppose what happens is you become settled in the life that is rather than dwelling too much upon the life that could have been. Well, most of the time anyway.

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Things have definitely moved on. I completed all those triathlons. My plan B. I got a new tattoo!! Other things have changed – my job for instance has become more permanent, albeit more part-time, but that’s good. It works for me. It gives me the freedom to do other things. Next year is going to be more about other things. Other work too. But mainly other things. Visiting friends. Spending time with my family. Getting out and living life to the fullest. This is the stuff that is important. This is what keeps me happy, keeps me on an even keel.

I’ve managed to spend some time with friends and their young child recently. I thought I might struggle but actually it was great. Obviously there were times that I felt a little choked up, but all in all I think I handled it pretty well. I need to be able to visit those friends of mine that have been lucky to have children. And deal with it. As well as improving my relationship with my step-daughter. This stuff is important too. Very important.

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November has been a funny month. I had a shoulder niggle that, if I’m honest, had probably been going on since the summer. Turns out I should have had it looked at a long time ago. And it’s not a shoulder injury, it’s bicep tendinopathy. So that put a stop to any lifting of weights and riding my bike or swimming (not that I was doing a lot of that anyway). Running it was then. My running partner had run every day in October and was planning on keeping going, so I joined her. Today I completed day 34 of running every day and I plan to keep going until Saturday when we head off to India and Nepal. I never really enjoyed running before. It’s always been something that I’ve done as a means to an end. Oh, and it comes at the end of a triathlon. But I have to say, I’ve rather come to enjoy it. I don’t think I’m one of those people that gets the ‘runner’s high’ just yet, but it’s been a good month. And I keep beating my time at Parkrun so I must be doing ok ๐Ÿ˜€

I also seem to drunk a great deal of gin in November . I haven’t been on the lash permanently but somehow I seem to have gone through rather a lot. Oh well, I have enjoyed it, especially finally getting to sample the new Blue Slate Gin from Dinorwig Distillery, the gin that I was part of the tasting crew for (see previous blog post).

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The sad news is that my grandmother died. That was a complicated relationship as I am adopted. She was the mother of my biological father who I have known since I was 19. She was a fantastic lady, always welcomed me into the family with open arms. She was a Scot, and a proud one. I feel honoured to have met her and to have had her in my life. Unfortunately she had been horrendously depressed since the death of my grandfather two years ago. I think, in reality, she died of a broken heart ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The happy news is that my little sister (half sister on my biological father’s side) got married. It was a really beautiful day, down in Gloucestershire, at Berkley Castle. They both looked amazing and I am so happy for them ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, enough of my rambling (I’m not even sure what this blog post is about anymore…) six more days and we’re off. Off on our big adventure. I’m getting super excited now. Plans have changed as they inevitably would but they’ve changed for the better. We’ve had our flights booked to Delhi for ages now but having finally decided on what trek we would like to do we are now flying out of India two days after we arrive and heading straight for Nepal. Two days in Kathmandu and then we’re flying into one of the scariest airports in the world – Lukla – the starting point for treks up Everest and other mountains in the Khumbu. How exciting is that??!!

We’re not going to Everest, or even to base camp. We’re heading to the quieter valley to the west. The Gokyo Valley. We will be hopefully summiting a mountain called Gokyo Ri which is 5357m high and offers superb views of Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu. I’ve never been above 5000m before and Elton has never been above 3000m so it’s super exciting for us both.

From there we should, all going well, have a couple of weeks to then travel around Northern India and take in some sights. When we booked this, five weeks sounded like such a long time, now it seems like nothing at all. But I mustn’t complain. We are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. And we’re going to make the most of it, blog post to follow I’m sure ๐Ÿ˜€

End of the season

So this time, seven months ago, I was just setting out on the IVF journey. It was a short-lived journey, but it was a journey nonetheless. In fact, I’ve just been re-reading that first blog post Motherhood… or not and it’s reminded me just how much I’ve, sorry, we’ve, been through in quite a short space of time. Actually, in reality, I didn’t start the journey seven months ago. It started long before that. But the sciency bit started then. The drugs and the needles started then. The short-lived hope started then. But I always had a plan B. I had to have a plan B. I knew the odds. They were stacked against us from the start.

Plan B was to get fit. To train. To complete three full distance triathlons in 2017. Well here we are, at the end of the season and I have done it. In fact I have spent 13 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds racing in full distance triathlons. But that’s not all. I’ve also completed a 10km trail race, a sprint distance triathlon and I’ve started doing Yoga and going to Crossfit. Oh, and I’m taking part in a 100 mile cycle sportive on Sunday… Yep, you got that right, I have become an exercise junkie!

Don’t get me wrong, I still like drinking cider and gin (not together, might I add) and eating cake and I still find running more of a means to an end than something I actually ‘enjoy’ but I’m loving the endorphines that I am getting from it all. The sense of achievement. The focus. The community. It’s what I need. There will always be a huge hole in my life, one that can never be filled with anything else, but this helps. It definitely helps.

So what now? Well, now I’ve proved I can do it, I need to do it better. I want to train properly. I want to improve. I want to get stronger, fitter, better. I want to eat better (that’s going to be the toughest challenge) and I want to feel good about myself. I’ve already signed myself up for a sprint triathlon in March, the Adventure Triathlon Series (same as I’ve done this year) and a trail half marathon. I also want to go out to France and cycle up Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez (I’ve done this one before on our honeymoon but I want to do it properly). I want to get better at lifting weights and I want to improve my flexibility and my core strength. I want to be happy in myself and happy in the life we have without children (obviously Elton has a daughter who I love heaps but you know what I mean) and I want to get joy from the simple things.

I seriously believe that without the training, without the hard work, I would have slipped into a depression. This has saved me and now there is no going back ๐Ÿ˜€

Slateman imminentย 

So those of you that read my blog will know that my life plan B for this year is competing in 3 triathlons. The first one is in 12 days. Well 11 really, as it’s now nearly Wednesday. 

I’m not ready for it, physically or psychologically, but I’ll do it anyway. That’s because I’m a stubborn bitch. I’ll be in agony because I haven’t trained enough (the IVF is mainly responsible for this) and my back is currently playing up (I have a long history of lower back problems) but I’ll get round. I can’t not do it. It’s my life plan B. That’s what you do when plan A fails. You go with plan B.

This triathlon that I’m doing on Sunday 21st May is called The Slateman. It’s run by a company called Always Aim High based here in North Wales and it’s a toughie. 1000m swim in Llyn (that’s lake in Welsh) Padarn, a 51km bike ride with over 500m of ascent and an 11km run with over 300m of ascent. And I’m not great at hills ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

On Sunday I had a bit of a trial run. My boss came out and rode the bike route with me and then I ran the run. Actually I’m lying. I walked quite a lot of the run and ran some of it. Meant I could take some photos ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the top of the zigzags looking back at Crib Goch
Some of the downhill is quite pleasant through the woods

Anyway, I survived. I managed the bike and the run. My legs were hurting after and I had to sleep with a hot water bottle between my knees to stop my adductors cramping but this morning I managed a 4.5km run and this afternoon I swam 1200m in Llyn Geirionydd so maybe I am ready. Bring it on ๐Ÿ˜€๐ŸŠ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿƒ