Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Catching Up

The last few weeks have been a bit hectic.
First of all my laptop broke, again, and had to go off to be repaired. A week an a half later and it was back with me. Its the second time that its been in for repair with a very similar problem, the hinge between the base and the screen broke. Hopefully this time it will last a bit longer than last time, I really don't want to have to send it off for to be repaired for the same problem again.

Work has been really busy. The project I work on has been working towards another milestone and I was drafted in to help the software developers to check that software fixes had been done. A week of doing that and one of my managers thanked me for my efforts as it had helped to keep the productivity figures up.
At the end of last week my team got hold of the software and we started to test it. To make sure that we achieved our immediate deadline I went in over the weekend and ran all of the tests that had been allocated to me so that if anyone needs help to get theirs done then I'm free to help out.

The situation at work with regards to redundancies is still up-in-the-air. Voluntary redundancy was opened up again at the beginning of June, but only until the end of the month. At that point unless some work comes in or the remaining potential job losses are redundancies then we will be facing compulsory redundancies.
I've seen so many people that I know take redundancy that I started thinking that perhaps I really should apply again. Events last week made my mind up and I put in my application.
Personnel it would seem have had a word with my project manager as my immediate boss asked me if I'd applied the other day, there was no point in denying it so I told him yes. Assuming that my application is accepted, which it should be, then I will be leaving the company at the end of August and either will have a new job lined up or will be seriously looking for a new job.

Events last week did help to make my mind up about VR.

Over the weekend our car started to make a vibrating noise from the engine near the fan belt. We couldn't work out what was wrong so I booked the car into the garage for last Wednesday. On the Tuesday my other half was due to go to Chard to collect a large number of bundles of phone books that she was going to deliver to earn a bit of extra cash. With the car making strange noises I decided that I couldn't let her go on her own so I drove us to the distribution centre where we were picking up the phone books. In the end we had to make two trips to get all of the bundles that she had to deliver.
On Wednesday the car went into the garage and when I received a call from the garage it was to tell me that the catalytic converter was breaking up inside and that the clutch was slipping. The converter being the immediate concern and needing replacing with the clutch needing sorting out in due course.
So far this year the car has cost us about £1000 and the £1000 that we were facing to get it back on the road just didn't seem worth it. I spoke with one of the salesmen at the garage about part exchange but he has yet to come back to me.
Last Friday though things took a turn for the worst and the car refused to start for my partner. The breakdown guy couldn't get the car started but did pull 5 codes from the computer in the car, any of which could be the reason that the car wont start.
With it not starting we decided that we'd scrap the car and use other methods of getting around.

With all of this happening, the money that I was being offered to take redundancy was very, very tempting and so I signed the forms and handed them to personnel.

In order to find myself a new job I signed up to LinkedIn and made myself a profile. Yesterday I received my first response, which was from a recruitment agent in Bristol, which is where I would like to move to work so that I can further my burlesque at the same time. I also noticed a job advertised that was right up my street. I've not applied for that position but again it is in Bristol so it would be ideal for me.

With the car breaking down I've found myself in the position of not being able to get to Bristol for burlesque classes. It has also meant not being able to get to Hampshire to see my father-in-law and to Wales for my mum's birthday. Hopefully I'll be able to remedy both those real soon.

In the meantime I continue to be busy at work but not so much that it interferes with my life outside work. Especially my half marathon training which has taken a real bashing over the last couple of weeks, but I'll deal with that in a separate post over the coming weekend.

Anyway, its 11pm, I've been up since 6am. Yesterday I went along and gave my second donation as Jenna. All of this has left me feeling really tired so I'm going to sign off and head off to bed for a good nights sleep. Hopefully!

Hormone Update

I've been on hormones now for 3 months, I've just finished my third pack of Evorel patches so its easy to keep track. I thought that I'd just do a quick update on how I've been getting on with them.

I noticed about a month after starting on the patches that mentally and emotionally I was a lot calmer. Over the last two years I'd noticed that my moods were going through phases where at one point, just prior to asking for a referral to the Laurels, I was feeling really depressed and suicidal at least once a month. That all culminated with overdosing on paracetamol for several weeks last year until I ended up at A&E seeking help.

When I transitioned in January a lot of stress came off me but I was still having periods where I was feeling down, then I started on my patches and things changed.

I still feel low at times but nowhere as low as I was, life does get on top of me at times but my emotions aren't going all over the place and I'm able to think about things rationally. A lot of things have happened recently which at one point would have sent me into deep depression but now I'm able to look at them and think about them a lot more calmly, and even to do things about them. More about that in another post.

Physically, the hormones have not been having a big effect. I know that it takes a while for things to start to happen, typically 3 to 6 months I believe. Last week though I noticed the start of some physical effects.

For the ladies that are reading this I can only assume that what I've noticed was what you all experienced when you went through puberty.

Last week I noticed that my nipples were starting to feel sore when I touched them or there was pressure on them. As I sleep on my front that is pretty much every night. I think this is the first physical effect of the hormones that I've experienced.

I know that its still too early for any real signs of breast growth but I do keep looking. I also caught myself looking at my hips and bum the other day to see if there was any signs of changes there! Its going to be so funny the first time I try on some clothes and start thinking does my bum look big in this!

I've waited a long time to finally be me, its nice to see the physical changes happening to finally give me the body I should have been destined to have when I was born.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Running Update

As promised last week here is how this week's training for the Bristol Half Marathon went.

Last week's schedule was:
Monday: Rest Day
The easiest day of the week and I happily stuck with the schedule for the day.

Tuesday: Swim
I managed to get to the swimming pool just before 6:30am when it opened. I wasn't the first person there and I certainly wasn't the first one through the doors. As this was the first time I had been swimming in well over 6 months, I think the last time I was in a pool was at Langport triathlon last autumn. I was a bit nervous as to how I'd do. I needn't have worried as 30 minutes later I climbed back out of the pool having completed 1000 metres, 40 lengths in old money, with just over half of that being front crawl and the rest a more relaxing breaststroke.

Wednesday: 2 miles easy, 3 miles (at short tempo pace), 1 mile easy
The weather has been reasonably hot where I live in South West England and today it still hadn't started to cool. The first two miles were pretty good. I went at a slower rate than I normally would have when going out for a run. I wasn't exactly sure what route I was going to take, in the end I headed off out along country lanes to get away from town for a bit.
The three miles at tempo pace were a lot harder than I expected. The first mile went well, I was about 20 seconds slower than I needed to be. Where I live has lots of hills and where there aren't hills the ground is fairly undulating. 20 seconds slower than I wanted wasn't too bad for the route that I had taken.
The second mile things started to get worse, the route continued to be fairly undulating with some reasonable hills to contend with. By the time I was ready to start mile three my pace was almost one and half minutes slower. Mile 3 was the worst as it was pretty much all up hill. Halfway through that mile I slowed to a walk to get up a short incline before beginning to run again. I did pass one guy who was out jogging who slowed to let me pass with the comment that I was probably quicker that he was. In total I think I must have passed about a dozen people running and half a dozen cyclists. By the time I'd completed the last of the tempo miles my pace was 2 minutes slower than it should have been.
The last mile I covered by running and then slowing to a walk before starting running again.

Although I was a bit disappointed with my performance I am keeping in mind that I've done very little running since January and that this training schedule was always going to be challenging. Its 18 weeks until Bristol and even if I don't hit the targets that the schedule calls for I will at least complete the sessions that I need to and I know that I will see an improvement in my running over the weeks. This weeks runs will be a baseline for me to look back to in order to see how I'm doing.

Thursday: Swim
I had to wing it for this session as I'd not worked out any specific drills. I went through various drills including catch-ups, fist, side, some with fins and some with a float. Next time I really have to have a plan for what drills I'm going to do and will also have to take my pull buoy. On the plus side I'm managing to get in the half hour swim, put mousse in my hair before I come back from the pool, have some breakfast, get dressed and put on my make-up and still get into work for 9am.

Friday: 10 – 20 minutes warmup, 12 * 400 metres (with a 90 seconds rest interval between each), 10 minute cool down

I managed to download the Garmin Training Centre software and use that to create workouts for the first 3 track repeat sessions. I even managed to upload them to my Garmin. Its much easier to do that than to try and set up the workouts on the Garmin itself.
I wasn't quite sure where to go to do the track repeats. Running around the streets wasn't going to be very interesting. In the end I looked at Ham Hill Country Park near where I live using Google Maps. There is a big open area that people use to walk their dogs. Its about 500 metres across the entire area and ideal for going round and round and round and, well you get the idea.
It was reasonably quiet on Ham Hill, parked the car and jogged for about 10 minutes to the point where I started the track repeats.
My pace for each of the 400 metre repeats varied depending on whether it was a straight run, whether I had to slow as I went passed dogs or whether I hit the points where there were gates to go through.
Each of the rest intervals I slowed to a walk in order to recover.
All in all I was quite pleased with the session and averaged a pace of 2 minutes 13 seconds. I'm looking forward to doing the next session next week.

Saturday: Bike ride
I managed to get out and do a 12 mile ride in just under an hour, which is about where I was with my cycling last year. It was my second, outdoor, bike ride of the year with the last one being back in January. I wasn't sure about doing it as my body is feeling all of this exercise at the moment. Roll on Monday when I have a rest day.

I've felt like skipping training sessions quite a few times this week. Fortunately I've stuck with it, even if it has meant going out for a run in the evening. If I'm going to really keep the training going though I'm going to have to get used to forcing myself out the door in the mornings.

Sadly my laptop has decided once again to break, the casing around the screen has broke when I was closing it earlier today and so it goes back to PC World to get repaired. I keep hoping that they will reach the point where they decide that it simply isn't economical to keep repairing it and will instead replace it. I doubt its going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime I'm going to be offline for a few days. I'll update on how my training has gone when I get back online, hopefully that wont be too long.

In the meantime next week's schedule is:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Swim
Wednesday: Tempo Run
Thursday: Swim
Friday: Track Repeats
Saturday: Bike Ride
Sunday: Long Run

Quick update on how things have progressed when I'm back on line.