Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1st day of Christmas...

Wow, my last blog is from 1.5 months ago! A lot has happened since then.

R and I moved into a new flat...about 2.7 seconds away from our old place! What can I say, we like the area!  It's purpose-built, and therefore built with purpose in mind!  Very comfortable and warm and cozy.

I started a new job in London!  It's with the same large company, but in a completely new department/brand.  It's very exciting, but still very new.  The commute's a bit of a pain, but I've done a ton of crochet and reading so it's not too bad.

And I haven't done a lick of running in a very long time.  With my new commute, I don't get into Brighton/Hove until almost 7 so I haven't been feeling like gyming it lately.  I'm hoping to get in a session tomorrow and definitely a run in on Saturday morning.

3/5 of our friends due in November/December have had their babies!  We now have James, Freddie and Seren in our circle of friends, and they're super duper cute.  We're still waiting for Hannah, as her due date was 30th Nov, and Kate, who's due the 20th Dec.

We decided not to go to Ireland this Christmas, as R is doing seasonal work, so instead...we will be hosting Christmas dinner!  Yes, R's parents are flying down the South East England, visiting the McFannys, then coming to stay with us. It'll just be the four of us on Christmas, but it looks like we're all meeting up at ours on Boxing Day!  That'll be me, R, J&J, Sister E, Brother O, SIL M and little A!  Eep!  I've done a Thanksgiving dinner for that many people, but it's normally for friends.  Christmas dinner is a big deal! I'm a little nervous, but very excited to have everyone around.  Now that it's 1st December, I'm officially allowed to start decorating the place.  I need to put up my santa sign, and get some mistletoe.  We might try and get a tree this weekend, as well, as we get the potted ones which don't dry out too bad.

I've also booked a weekend trip up to Edinburgh for next weekend!  Although at this rate, there's a very good chance I won't make it up with all the snow.  I really hope I get a chance to see Claire and James and Zonko!  And of course, the Christmas Market :)

So all in all, I'm really looking forward to December, and seeing through 2010, which has been a pretty great year!  I just hope I'm able to get a few runs in before I turn into Jabba the Hut!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

and they're off!

This past weekend, I had the chance to run my first ever half marathon race!  On a whim, I decided to sign up for the Breast Cancer Campaign team to run the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, and I'm really glad I did.  While I wasn't religious about following my training schedule (2-3 days a week average, instead of the prescribe 4), I did make sure to keep up with my long distance runs on the weekend and it was great to keep training after the tri.  And it paid off!  I felt calm and relaxed on the day, and chugged on to a 2:13 time.  Not lightening speed, but certainly respectable, especially considered I split 1:06/1:07!

 showing off my medal (and so happy it's over!)

Look at that, I didn't even break a sweat!  But I did hobble around like a granny for a full 48 hours before I could even think about a swim.

I enjoyed the race so much, I'm thinking of signing up for the Brighton Half Marathon in February, to see if I can get closer to a 2 hour time.  And of course, the next obviousl step is the...Marathon (dun dun dun).  Unfortunately, Brighton and London are now full, but I have my eye on both the Belfast and Edinburgh Marathon (early and late May), so I have plenty of time to think about it.

Where has water-logged Kira gone??? Who would have never ever in a million years contemplated running 26.2 miles???  I dunno, but I'm really enjoying myself, and hope to keep up with the running bug :)

Friday, 8 October 2010


Lots and lots of changes!

Let's see....

R's turned 34 (whoops, missed a birthday post)
I've turned 26
R's quit his job...
...and started tutoring full time
And most exciting of all!

We're moving!

Our landlady is selling our flat, so we decided to take a look and see what kind of flats we could see.  Well, we found one we liked, and places are going like hotcakes so the next day we gave them a deposit and we move in on the 29th!

We're super busy this month with the half marathon (Sunday), ballet tickets (happy birthday to me, from R!), and R's folks coming to visit on their way home from France, not to mention the gazillion baby blankets I have left to make for friends.  But I'm seriously looking forward to sorting out our stuff and getting moved into this nice, clean, fresh, spacious, purpose-built flat.  Did I mention it has a fire place?  I GET TO HANG STOCKINGS!!!

Only downside is we'll probably be too busy to do anything fun for Halloween.  Do you have any fun plans?

Friday, 24 September 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy birthday to my dad!  I wish I could be in LA to celebrate with him - I'd take him for steak!


Visit his blog and wish him a happy birthday :)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

10 miler

I just ran the farthest I've ever run.  Booyah bitches.  10 miles (actually 9.8, damnit gmap-pedometer, why do you have to be so precise!).  I ain't fast.  I ain't pretty.  But I put one leg in front of the other, and, an hour and 40 minutes later, I arrived back where I started, albeit with very sore legs.

3 miles is easy peasy now.  5 miles is my normal 'go out and chug away' run, still feels good, but can be rough around the edges.  During triathlon training, I got into 7 and 8 miles, and they felt okay, just a bit longer than my 5-6 milers.  But I definitely felt the extra 2 miles today.  By the last 20 minutes, my knees started aching, and it became more and more difficult to maintain my pace.  But I pushed myself the last 5 minutes and finished strong, woot woot.  My legs will be sore tomorrow, but it's good to know I can do it!

And suddenly, 13 miles doesn't seem so bad...good thing because I'm running it in one month!  Sponsor me!

Sunday, 15 August 2010


It's been great to take a week off after the triathlon.  I don't think I needed it physically, but I definitely did mentally.  I went for a swim on Monday and the gym on Thursday for a new weight training plan, but other than that I did nada!

Wednesday, I took a couple hours off work and went to get my hair cut and coloured.  I found a great deal on the Brighton Groupon site, for £33 instead of normally about £90.  Woot woot!  Afterwards, R and I went for a nice Thai meal in the Lanes and I enjoyed a Chang beer!  Oh how I've missed you, you delicious amber nectar you!

This weekend has been equally lazy (only temporarily interrupted with a 3 mile run this morning).  While there was talk of camping on Saturday, it rained and rained and rained on Friday/Saturday morning so we decided to give it a miss.  Instead we went into town and:

had MORE beer (yay for Guinness!)

 got new (matching) phones

 picked up some fabric for skirts to make for France

 and bought season one of

So the rest of the weekend is going to be spent crocheting, watching TV, eating and looking for local Speech and Language therapists (not to visit but to shadow!)

How was your weekend?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

London Triathlon Race Report

Woot woot, I had a great day on Sunday! How could I not when I had these guys cheering me on?

Epic support team

Team Kira

Just as a recap, last year I did the triathlon in 3:29.07, and was 114/122 in my age group (ouch). I was really uphappy with my time, but I don't think I realised what a big impact being sick made on me, it really made me lose my edge. This year, I dropped a whopping 18 minutes off my time (okay, I'm rounding!) for a 3:11.55! And I was 87/133 (there were 140, but 7 DNF). I'd like to be in the top half, but I definite improvement over last year!

Itching to start!


Last year: 29.39

Um, how did that happen? The one leg I certainly WASN'T working on was my swimming leg! But this year, I decided to hire a proper swimming wetsuit and what a difference it made! Last year, I was so exhausted after the swim, I barely had the arm strength to unzip myself. This year, I felt just amazing on the swim, I could have gone on forever. In fact, about 2/3 in , I remember thinking, 'Boy, I really don't want the swim to end because then I have to cycle and run.' I just kept everything nice and smooth, breathing every 3rd and sighting every 8-10 strokes. I wore a watch this year, and caught a glimpse coming into T1 and saw I swum sub 27, and it felt awesome! I think if I worked on my swimming, I could definitely knock a couple more minutes off, but I was so chuffed to knock 4 full minutes off my time from last year!  And I'm pretty sure I finished in the top 15 in my age group.

And they're off!

Last year: 7.24

Like I said, I felt great after the swim, and really wanted to push it through to the bike. Last year, I was so miserable at this point, but I felt really optimistic this year that I could hit 3 hours. Side note, I'm really disappointed SportCam doesn't have the women's swimming photos up! Who can I complain to???

Last year: 1:39.27

Last year, I had almost zero on-bike training.  I literally bought a bike with less than a month to go, and had maybe an hour total time on the saddle before the big day.  And boy did it show.  I was so stiff and achy and sore on the day because I just wasn't used to it.  And I was being passed by everyone and their mother and their dog.  This year, I made sure to put in the hours on the bike.  And it really helped.  I only got passed by everyone and their dog.  After the first lap, I was a few minutes under 1:30, so I really thought I was on course to go sub 3 hours.  But coming off the bike, I saw that I was already over 2 hours at that point and wasn't going to sub an hour on the run.  Looking over other people's times, I can see that the 14km/26km laps they said just weren't the case, as I split 25.31 and 1:05.58, and others were similar to that (with the second lap being a good 10 - 15 minutes slower than a double first lap).  Oh well.  I felt strong on the bike, took in plenty of water, and thought I would be good going into the run.  R suggested I might need new/more gears though, because I definitely maxed out a lot where I didn't have any range left to power through flats/downhills.  Is it time to invest in a proper bike?

whizzing past

Too fast for the camera man!

Last year: 5.18

Wow.  Spot the difference!  I think this goes to show just how incredibly knackered I was last year, I had NOTHING left in me.  This year, I wanted to hustle hustle hustle.  I literally just dropped my bike and helmet and head for the run.  My time is faster than some of the top ten girls in my AG!

Last year: 1:07.20

This is definitely the most baffling part of the triathlon.  I checked my watch on the start of the run, and I was at 10.35, so I would have needed a 55 minute run to hit my 3 hour mark and I knew that just wasn't going to happen.  So my adjusted goal was to hit 3:09, so I could say I cut a full 20 minutes off my time.  But the power just wasn't there.  I hit the jelly legs definitely, and after a km or two, I started to feel a bit more normal.  But I just didn't have the speed.  It was really frustrating because I focused on brick sessions a lot this year.  I had in a good 3-4 sessions in July, including 17 mile bike ride with a 4.75 mile run (which I did in 45 minutes!!!)  And I ran the whole 6.2 miles this year.  Which is why it's so disappointing to see me drop less than a minute off my time from last year.  I honestly think I would have gone faster if I had walked a bit, but I'm proud of myself for charging through the whole thing.  And the worst bit? 4 short laps instead of 2 longer ones.  Mentally, 4 laps is just a nightmare.  UGH!  But check out that finish:

So so so glad to be done!

I am so happy I dropped almost 18 minutes from last year's time.  I felt solid and strong throughout (except the run of course!)  And I know with the right training, I could easily break 3 hours.  Despite concentrating on my running and cycling, I dropped the most time from my swim and my transitions.  I think I could easily drop another 5-10 minutes on my cycle, too.  The demon?  That run.  I was dissapointed at the time, but can still appreciate that I had a great race overall.  I've learned that no matter how slow you train, you're gonna race even slower!  So, if I want to run 9.30-10 minute miles in a race, I need to be running faster than that in training.  I've got the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in 2 months, and I'm hoping to run that in under 2:10, so I've got my speed and endurance to work on!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Cherry Treats

Last year, I thought it would be nice to make my friend Jen a bag for her birthday.  She love love loves cherries, in all their cuteness, so I decided to adapt a bag from Stitch 'n Bitch: The Happy Hooker and turn it into a little cherry bag for Jen.

Cherry treats bag

Here's the plain bag, in nice simple white.

Cherry treats bag

With some cutie cherries attached.

Cherry treats lining

And then finally lined, with a pocket!

I actually finished the bag part in time for her birthday last year, but it just took me FOREVER to get around to lining it.  And while I finally sent it to her for her birthday this year it was still late!  Whoops!  But I think she liked it :)

Now enough homemade pressies for others, I need to make something for myself for a change!

My running future

I haven't even done the triathlon yet, and I'm already onto my next big project - the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 10/10/10!

I had been contemplating a half marathon for awhile now, and wanted something to dive right into after the triathlon.  I've already pushed myself to 8 miles, so I feel like I could join into a 16 week plan at the half way point.  I looked at the Run to the Beat race, but it's the weekend before my *gasp* 26th birthday and I'd really rather relax that weekend :)  Then on Twitter, Zest Magazine tweeted that the Breast Cancer Campaign had two places left for the Royal Parks Foundation HM, so I got in contact with the BCC and two days later....Bob's your uncle!  With the triathlon on the 8th, and say 2 days off for good behaviour, that gives me officially 2 months (8 weeks and bit) to get myself into half-marathoning shape.  I'll scope out a few training plans, but I already have a workout strategy in mind to be honest.  I'd like to start doing yoga a bit more, and try to fit in some strength training.  My tentative post triathlon workout schedule looks a bit like this:

Gym - 30-60 minutes on the cross trainer with 30-45 minutes weight training

Run - 30-60 minutes, either intervals or hill runs

Yoga - my gym has a class from 5-6, plus some jacuzzi action afterwards

Run - 30-60 minutes, either intervals or hill runs

Gym - 30-60 minutes on the cross trainer with 30-45 minutes weight training

Run - long easy runs, working on increasing mileage


Most HM training plans have you do 3 mid-week runs, plus the longer Saturday runs.  However, I want to take that down to 2 mid-week runs, so I can give my legs a chance to recover and do some cross training as well.  And I've already managed to increase my distance to 8 miles with only 1-2 runs a week. 

I've finally reached the point where I (kinda, sorta, maybe) ... enjoy running.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I slowly started noticing things like, perferring a run to a bike ride, or pushing R to go out for a run (and not vice versa).  And then one Saturday morning, I said to R, 'I'm going to go a bit longer today, I'll meet you at home.'  I was actually enjoying myself and wanted to push myself further.  Well, K, you've got over 13 miles to push yourself, that's definitely further than you've done before!

Monday, 2 August 2010

sum sum summer time

I've been having a really awesome summer so far!  We've been really good about going out and seeing friends, soaking up the sun and doing fun outdoor activities.  And even better, we've had decent weather (sorry England, you never have better than 'decent' weather!)


kite flying!




puppy watching!



I've got the London Triathlon coming up this weekend, on Sunday, and my support team (R and Leashie) are getting ready!  I feel really good about my training this year, so I'm hoping to shave off quite a bit of time this year.  I've also given up The Booze since the end of June (with a few lapses, including a glass of champagne, and a half glass of Pimm's!), and have also lost 7lbs, too!  My outdoor runs and cycles have also helped me develop my tan (funny lines included).  And!  On Saturday, R and I went out for his boss' birthday and I fit into my skinny jeans.  I haven't been able to wear them since I first bought them in 2006, BEFORE I met R!  Woot woot to exercise, healthy eating and no booze :)

The weekend after the triathlon, we're hoping to do a little mini camping break, and then we're off to France on the 19th, yippee!  It's R's dad's 70th birthday, so all the kiddos, plus partners, plus babies, are heading off to France for the week.  I'm looking forward to red wine, tennis and swimming!  After we're back in the UK, we're off to Edinburgh for a wedding.  August is going to be amazing!

Do you have any fun plans in the works for August?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Tri training update

I thought I'd do a quick update on my triathlon training this summer.  It's been going much better than last year (exactly one year ago I was battling a gnarly strain of the flu and was bed ridden - less than 3 weeks before the big race!)

So how is training going better this time around?  Well first of all, I'm actually getting in my proper cycling.  I've done a few 20+ mile rides along Brighton, and into Shoreham and Worthing.  On a nice day like today, how can that not be totally awesome?  It's all along the coast, too, which is a definite (and flat!) bonus.

Here's my little baby:
My brand new bike!

Last year, I was a little frightened of the drop handles, but I'm finally starting to get the hang of them.  After about 20 miles my neck starts to stiffen a bit, but all in all I feel pretty good on it.

My runs have also been going well.  I was battling some leg/hip/back pains last month, but I took a bit of time off, and now I feel much better.  On Saturday, I did my first ever 7 mile run!  And I felt great, totally in the groove and I definitely fel like I could have kept going.  I've also done a brick workout, with a 12 mile cycle and a 4 mile run, and I felt pretty good.  I'm looking forward to my 27 mile bike ride tonight, and my 8 mile run on Friday.

It's still tough to try and balance in 6 workouts a week, and to be honest, I'm mostly doing about 4 a week.  But as long as I make sure to get my long cycle and long run in, I'm okay.  The other thing I need to focus on is a couple of outdoor swims in my new wetsuit.  I'm not swimming as much as I should be, but I'm glad that I'm focusing on my weaker legs.  Maybe this week I'll get a proper swim in!

I also got my start time - I'm in the 8.30am wave on Sunday morning - look for number 6664!  Last year, I didn't start until around 12 or so, and I felt awful all morning, too anxious.  I'm glad I won't really have time to think about it, I'll get up, eat, head out and go!  All in all, I'm feeling really pumped! :)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


On Monday, R and I went to go see Breathless.  How very French, oui oui!  And oh, how I was taken in by lovely Jean Seberg and her beautiful pixie crop!

I have always wanted to chop off all my hair, but alas, you normally need a beautiful pixie face like Winona Ryder or Halle Berry (or Jean Seberg!) to get away with it.  I've cut my hair pretty short in the past, but have always shied away from the proper pixie crop.  Should I finally go for it for the summer?

Here is a pic of the sorta-short crop I've done in the past:

Should I go the full monty, or grow it out?  Decisions decisions!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Rainbow Extraordinaire!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I decided to make a baby blanket for my niece/nephew to be.  As we didn't know the sex, I decided to go for something bright, colourful and gender neutral: RAINBOW!

And I thought to myself, "Well, it needs to be substantial enough, with lots of colours...." so I decided on six colours.  I've done stripey blankets before, so I decided on granny squares.  I found a neat pattern on Ravelry called Around the World Crochet Quilt, and therefore went forward with my 13x13 blanket.  13x13=169 squares.  That's a lotta squares.  A lot a lot.  I started this back in March, with the baby due in May.  I have to admit, I slacked a bit, especially when we went to LA.  But all in all, it didn't take too long to make all the squares.  I was still working on it when Aodhan was born (May 10), but I finished the squares soon after.  Don't they look pretty?

And I thought to myself, "Goody! The tough part is over!"  All that was left was to sew them together.  Easy peasy, right?

Oh. My. God. Wrong.  First, I needed to sew them into 13 strips.  It took me over an hour to do one strip.  So 13 hours later, I had 13 strips that still needed to be sewn together.  But that should be easy enough, right?  No stopping and starting at ends? 

Oh. My. God. Wrong.  To sew one strip to another took OVER an hour. Aye Caramba!  But I missed my first deadline anyway (seeing him at 2 weeks old), so I worked to my new deadline (seeing him at 2 months old).  Sew sew sew.  Sew sew sew.

I finally finished sewing it together and it looked bloody fantastic!!!!!!!!

Rainbow blanket for Aodhan

I quickly added a thin red border around it (once again thinking, "Oh this part should be easy", and once again, being totally wrong), and voila!

Rainbow blanket for Aodhan
Slightly blurry!

Rainbow blanket for Aodhan

Almost finished rainbow blanket!
pre-sewn, foolishly thinking I was almost finished! Ha!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the results, but very finished to see the end of it!  Now on to something for meeeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, 21 June 2010

world cup world cup

I've caught the World Cup fever something fierce!

I've got my two teams I'm routing for.  First (of course) is the USA, Group C.  Being in England, it's pretty tough supporting a team that more likely than not might just knock their team out (after England's abysmal performance last Friday...).  But I'm looking forward to watching USA v Algeria and Slovenia v England on Wednesday.  And check out my USA pride (and not how gross our windows are)!

I also made a 'stars n stripes' outfit to wear, but I was too chicken to wear it out for the England v USA match!  But I wore the top to the top for the Slovenia v USA game, and someone even commented on it!

My other team is my work sweepstake draw - Uruguay, Group A.

There has been some discussion on pronounciation at work.  Everyone here seems to think it's Yoor-u-guay. But of course, if you actually want to say it correctly, it's Oor-u-guay, because that's how you pronounce it in Spanish.  But that doesn't stop anyone from saying it exactly how they want to say it (which is the wrong way).

So far, so good, and both teams should should should qualify to the next stage.  Woot woot!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

2 years!

This was R and me two years ago today, on our beautiful wedding day.

I am so thankful I found R in this big big world.  What are the chances people from Northern Ireland and California could meet in beautiful Edinburgh, at the right place at the right time?  I thank my lucky stars everyday :)  Here's to two down, and many more to come.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Latest edition to the family!

We also have a new edition to the family!  R's brother and his wife were expecting a baby on 5th May.  The baby had other ideas and decided to stay put for awhile longer, but finally made his appearance on 10th May!

Little AJ, such a sweetie!

I'm almost almost almost finished with the most fiendish blanket ever (169 squares), and will post it once I finally finish it!  We haven't met him yet, but we should be able to go this weekend and finally give him some cuddles.  So excited!

Getting into the groove

It's been a busy old month for me!  We went to LA, got stranded in LA, flew back from LA and are now just about over our jet lag.  Just in time to get stuck into my triathlon training (well, 3 weeks behind, but who's really counting?)

We landed back in the UK on 6th May (in time for R to vote) and I was back in the gym on Friday.  I'm in the middle of a 16 week training plan, and I knew that week 4 would make or break my training.  I swam/ran/cycled a little in LA, but I know I need to get serious this year.  Last year, I skimped on my training and it had a huge effect on my performance.  This year, I want to stick to at least 90% of my plan.  And last week (week 4), I stuck 100%.  Start as you mean to go on!

So today I've got a 58min cycle scheduled (still indoors as I need to get my bike sorted) plus some weights for added strength training.  I ate like a fiend in LA, so have added a few extra lbs (but oh so worth it!).  But now I'm ready to get back into my healthy eating routine, too.  I normally eat pretty healthy, but before we went to LA, I was doing really well eating strictly during the week, with absolute freedom on the weekends.  I'm back into it, and it feels good.  I also need to up my protein intake, but I'm looking for more non-meat ways to do this, including beans and pulses.

Was anyone else affected by the volcanic ash (who is still erupting!)?

Friday, 26 March 2010

More Reminiscing - this time, LA

It's Friday afternoon, and rather than work, I'm having fun doing a photo dump, and getting excited about my upcoming trip to LA!!!  I know we can't really afford to go once (sometimes twice *gulp*) a year, but I would be devestated if we didn't.  So we make do.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past few times we've been! (Warning: massive photo overload!)


Only 12 more days to go!!!