Friday, 31 December 2010

In preparation

So, tomorrow it starts. New year, new ridiculous challenge. Garmin is charged and linked to runningfree (just need to work out how to change the time on it... seems to have gone weird and thinks it's November). iPod charged and loaded with my best running music (also on iPhone in case of failage). Running kit at the ready. Choice of three routes for my first run, depending on how fragile I'm feeling.

I've not run for about 2.5 weeks which is long enough for me to be feeling as though I need to but past the point that I've got itchy feet about going out and doing anything. Plus it's cold, foggy, wet, blah blah blah.

Dug out my body fat monitor. Thought it'd be good to track how I'm doing that way too. So here are the vitals as at T-1.

Weight: 64kg (yikes!)
Fat %: 26
Muscle %: 69.9
Water %: 53.7
BMI: 20.1 (yikes again)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Runners Unite!

I went to my other half's work Christmas party last night. As is often the case with these things, I knew no one and I forgot the names of half the people I was introduced to. I spent a lot of time admiring the other women's dresses. There was one particularly slim woman in a chic black sequinned top who I was about to compliment, that is before she asked me "You're not the girl who runs at Frimley parkrun are you?"

Cue surprised pause...

Turns out she's my pacer from the last couple of weeks who was also geared up for Grim! Her hubby works for company and is also a runner. The know me as the Girl In Pink. Turns out the big boss man (who's completely lovely) is also doing Grim and was trying to persuade me to run the Fleet half marathon with him. Unfortunately it's the same day as the Reading half so I'll have to bow out, also I'm doing Grim in May now and not January with the other three. We all had quite a chat about running to the extent I think the OH felt slightly left out.

One of the reasons I love running... it's a great leveler and really does unite people. Even at office Christmas parties.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Janathon will be a shock to the system

It's December. It's cold. There's been some amount of snow. I've been for a run outside only twice in the past two weeks and I'm not sure if I've been to the gym more than once. Much to my shame many others have been running regardless of the weather and parkrun went ahead Saturday just gone (although I was on babysitting duty so couldn't have gone anyway). I'm trying to stave off a cold at the moment and at least three other excuses mean I'm losing fitness at a rate of knots. Colleagues of mine have been going to the gym or exercising every day and I feel quite guilty that I've not.

My first event next year is the Reading half so I should be training but I've lost momentum and some motivation. It is with joy and trepidation then that I acknowledge the approach of Janathon. Over 100 people are now signed up and much as I would adore to win a prize I don't think I stand much chance. What I am hoping is that the camaraderie will help to kick start 2011 fitness regime. I will be logging my runs on the RunningFree website and trying to support fellow Janathoners.

Why have I suddenly lost motivation for running? Can't all be Christmas related surely?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Polar Circle marathon

An article that piqued my interest about the Polar Circle Marathon, and the accompanying pictures. Just another daft event write up you may think, until you read that the author dropped over 4 stone from 18 stone 9 pounds and was tough enough to complete 4 3-month marathon trainin schedules back to back. I hope he goes on to run that sub-3-hour marathon.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Dark Side of the Lens

This gave me shivers, and hope. This sort of dedication and passion is what I aspire to.

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Grim revisited

It's all been sorted. The new dates for Grim have been announced (15th and 16th January 2011) and I can't make either of them. Luckily the organisers have considered this and are offering people the chance to defer entry to Grim 2011 or transfer to Beast in the East which is in Swanley in May.

After some consideration I'm transferring. I don't really want to wait a whole year, it'll help me stay focussed on training for my other events and the weather will be nicer. That said, the course is supposedly tougher although it's only 10km. I'm going to have to start embracing hill training.

I think huge thanks have to go out to the Grim organisers. They've handled this all extremely well and even though a lot of us have been whinging and whining about it, we're very grateful.

Micro Adventure - Al Humphries and the Fosse Way

The Fosse Way - a microadventure from Alastair Humphreys on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Danny Macaskill

This just blows me away. The things that people can do! It's just amazing. The first then the new video from the aptly named Danny Macaskill...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Grim Challenge

Well as the counter on the right says, Grim is tomorrow, except now it isn't.

For days and days, ever since the snow started, I've been battling with my conscience as to whether or not to go ahead with this. There were concerns about the state of the course, whether it would actually be dangerous for me to try and compete, whether I could get there safely and whether mum and dad would be able to get to me to support me, because if I'm honest there was no way I was going to attempt to do this without support in case I did injure myself or suffer from hypothermia or something.

I was still toying with trying to get there because a) I'd paid b) I'd run in minus temperatures and know I can cope c) I knew other people were all geared up and ready to go and I'd feel like I'd wussed out.

This morning I made a decision not to go ahead with it, and immediately felt rubbish. So it was with joy that I saw the recent announcement on their facebook site that it's being postponed, probably until January, land bookings permitting. FAN-tastic! I can relax, train some more, and enjoy my Christmas now.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

They're coming to take me away hee hee haa haa

So in case you hadn't been outside at all in the past week it's now properly Winter. Minus temperatures, ice, frost, snow, the lot (ok not snow in Berkshire, but in other places). And yet I am still going outside to run. I went out on Thursday night and ran possibly my best ever 2.5 miler route. It was cold, sure, but I felt so invigorated and it gave me confidence that my gym programme is helping me to improve. Unfortunately I can't confirm it was my best because I went out without my Garmin. But wow.

And so this morning I got out of my lovely warm bed, steppedinto my running gear and without trying to think too much, went to Frimley parkrun. It was my 10th, which means I'm 1/5th of the way to a t-shirt! Anyway I digress. Just before we started I saw a guy in a Grim 2009 Survivor t-shirt so I asked if he was doing it this year. He's done it 5 times but won't be taking it on this time, however as we set off I overheard him talking to a girl beside me, saying that they'll break the ice and if the pools aren't waist deep then they'll fill them up with a hose pipe... WAIST DEEP! That sort of caught my attention so I had a chat with the girl. Turns out she's doing it Sunday (I'm on Saturday) and now we're both pretty scared.

I over took her fairly early on but I've got into the habit of taking a walking break at the start of the second lap, especially just before we get onto the tow path as there's a little steep bit I don't like. I'd slowed down and this girl caught me up, touched me on the arm and said "Come on". And that was it, I decided I was going to keep pace with her and if possible beat her. I got a couple of feet in front so I could still hear her footsteps and kept it that way the rest of the course, even putting on a small sprint finish to pip her to the finish line. It was great! If it hadn't been for her I'd not have run so well and I told her so. I ran 28.03, just 1 second off my PB!

And I didn't even remember the cold! But I still don't want to do Grim next weekend.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


It’s not glass ceilings that bother me
It’s glass walls that infuriate
Glass walled meeting rooms
Glass walls dividing departments
Glass walls keeping me from the world outside.

It’s there, I can see it, but it’s just out of reach. I imagine the sun on my neck and the wind in my hair, the feel of the ground under my feet and dirt under my nails.
I dream of running as far and as fast as I can until my lungs feel like they’re going to burst, moving with abandon the way I did when I was a child and didn’t care about cuts and bruises.
I have a desire to be mountain biking through forests, making new bruises and aching muscles under dappled sunlight.
I think of being on the beach, sea salt coating my skin, wrapped in sweaters but barefoot, shoes neglected in the dunes, watching the waves and the sunset with chips and a bottle of beer, after a day of playing in the surf. In my imagination I’m surrounded by friends. We dance on the sands and collapse into each others arms giggling.
We have pitched tents but have no intentions of sleeping. As we lie in the entrances to our tents, our playful murmuring is the only sound for miles under the stars until the sun starts to rise.

I can feel my soul swelling with wellbeing and contentedness. It’s a blissful feeling.

Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above. Don’t fence me in.
Give me a mountain and I’ll climb it.
Give me a road and I’ll walk it.
Give me a field and I’ll be happy.
Give me the sea and I’ll be lost forever.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ugly Gear

I particularly like this article in The Guardian today about the design of technical clothing. The last sentence, I think, really sums up a lot of people's attitude towards outdoor activity.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Nocturnal creatures
Over eating
Velvet nights
Earmuffs rediscovered
Mornings frosty
Bonfire smoke
Embers glowing
Radiators on

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Snowdon 3.0

This weekend just passed I went to tackle Snowdon for a third time. I went with the Outdoor Duo group, of which a friend of mine from the recent National Trust holiday is a member. I was effectively gatecrashing their Christmas party (but I did pay).

After a night of cider and Karaoke at one of the pubs in Llanberis we set off up the Ranger path at about 9.30am, bellies full of porridge and toast. The weather was mostly fine, windy and cold but pleasant enough in the sun. I'd been down the Ranger path before but going up was tough. We hit the summit at about 1pm during the only half hour that it was sat in cloud. There were patches of snow all around and frost on the grass but it was still an achievement. I'd thought I was fit, but not compared to some of the people in the group!

After obligatory photos and a quick scoffing of sandwiches behind the now closed cafe (shivering set in within about 4 minutes) we descended via the Llanberis path, a longer but gentler route down. The group seperated a lot more on the descent as it's an easier path to follow and those who were more able put best feet forwards and got a shift on. I was towards the back but only because we had opted for comfort breaks. The rain set in during the last 45 minutes or so but it seemed a bit pointless putting on waterproof trousers at this point so I suffered wet legs and bedraggled hair whilst enjoying the comfort of my Berghaus waterproof jacket.

The dry room was made good use of back at base camp (the wonderful Boulder outdoor centre who looked after us extremely well and provided a superb Christmas Dinner). The following day some of us decided to do a "short 2-2.5 hour walk" beofre setting off home. This turned out to be a 4.5 hour jaunt up a slightly smaller hill but with added confusion where the path wasn't where we thought it would be. I can't say that we were all especially chirpy about this and I do feel a bit sorry for the leader who had obviously put a lot of effort into all this and was doing a grand job of encouraging everyone and keeping us together (even if our route did take us along the back of a farm were deceased sheep had ended up). Still, it was a beautiful walk, if slightly more slippery than the previous day. My legs were damn sore by the time we got back to the car. And we'd been stepping out because we had places to be!

So two days of walking under my belt I was looking forward to some rest and recouperation in Dorset which admittedly I did get... I'm not sure I saw a morning in those three days, but they did feature a beach walk from Sandbanks to Bournemouth and a short walk at Lulworth Cove. The beach walk was especially lovely and I was brave enough to remove my shoes and socks, paddle in the sea and feel the sand between my toes. Very refreshing. Another 4 hours I think. Lulworth Cove was barely a walk at all but I awarded myself the prize for Most Inappropriately Dressed Hill Walker of the day (a game my friends and I play whenever we engage in this sort of activity) wearing as I was knee high boots and a denim mini skirt.

So now I'm enjoying not walking much place. Parkrun resumes tomorrow and gym resumes next week.

Friday, 19 November 2010


Remember how back in June I took part in Juneathon? Well I'm going to be doing it again in January with the aptly named Janathon. I'm registered participant number 29 and during the month opf January I will be once again attempting to run and blog every single day. It's going to be horrible :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Pine Ridge 10k

I've been a bit slcak with my posting of late. I'd scheduled a few bits and pieces for when I knew I would be busy but suddenly realised I'd not updated you about the Pine Ridge 10k I did back on the 6th November.

Well it was a superb morning for it, cold and crisp but sunny. There were about 1200 participants of all abilities and a few dogs as well. The course was a bit slippery and muddy but very pretty and not so bad that I noticed anyone stack it. There were a few hilly bits that I wasn't really prepared for but I decided to walk those and run a bit faster down hill. Generally it was all very well organised except that they should have started herding people over to the start a lot earlier. We ran 15 minutes late because people were still making their way to the start line which was a good 10 minute walk from the car park and area where we collected out timing chips. Either that or we should have just started without them. Harsh but fair on those of us who got there on time and had warmed up.

There was some good comaraderie and I was quite amused to find myself playing tag with a chap in a yellow t-shirt who seemed to run for a while, then walk and wait for me to catch up or over take before sprinting off again. I completed in 1:06:47 and wore my green t-shirt with pride the rest of the day. I think the course was slightly longer than 10k but all in all, a great event, well organised, enjoyable and I'd recommend it to people for next year. I probably won't be doing it again, but only because I've other events to try :)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sonnet in C

I sit in this office of glass and grey
Pretending to type and email and file
When all I want is to escape and play
Out there; to cycle, swim and run for miles

The sky is clouded and grey as the walls
That contain me from nine to five each day
But the lure of wide open spaces calls
And I find it’s all I can do to stay

One day I’ll escape from here to the wild
Feel sun on my skin and wind on my face
Be as carefree as I was as a child
Run far away from this time and this place

And I’ll breathe this motto when my lungs hurt
Of all the paths you choose let some be dirt

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bunnies in bags and Grim Challenges

I just had to point you in the direction of JogBlog's post today (note, those who are especially fond of Bunnies may find this upsetting). I love her writing style which makes me laugh almost every time.

I hadn't realised that she was also doing Grim Challenge (which I need to do a bit more training for) so you never know, I might see her there.

This weekend I've got the Pine Ridge 10k. I should be ok. I've done one of my new super-brutal gym workouts this week already and I'm headed for a double whammy of gym classes today plus one more tomorrow. Awesomeness!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Halloween 5 Nite Run

Yesterday I ran the 2nd Halloween 5 Nite Run in Reading. It was a 5k race (as the name suggests) and a fantastic alternative way to celebrate Halloween. It took place in Thames Valley Park at 8pm and fancy dress was strongly encouraged. We had a lot of rain over the weekend but the evening was thankfully dry. I was glad I turned up early to take in the atmosphere. Jack-o-lanterns lined the path from the car park to the race HQ, there was spooky music being played (everything from the Munsters theme to The Automatic's Monster and more) and punpkin soup for sale. A lot of people had gone to some effort with their costumes. I hadn't given it much thought but found some white face paint in my makeup bag so at least looked somewhat ghoulish.

It was an off-road course, flat but slick with mud and wet grass. As we set off I knew this wasn't the evening to be attempting any heroics or PB's. Staying on my feet was challenge enough! Every one of the 480 runners had to wear a headtorch which made for some pretty spectacular sights as we rounded corners and could see the trail of lights behind or ahead. The marshalls did a great job of warning of slippy spots, sharp bends and generally being encouraging. The course was well marked with signs and yellow glow sticks, tree roots painted white and other obstacles marked with orange glow sticks. There were "sheet ghosts" in the trees (very effective) and a drum band dressed in black with skeleton masks playing, which could be heard across the whole course.

I had such a brilliant time. I managed 29.38 which I was pretty happy with, but I now realise that if I can do that in those conditions I have no excuse for poor times at parkrun any more. Also I could really do with some trail shoes. Everyone got a souvenir mug and I'd bought one of the skeleton race shirts too as seen below in the very unflattering photo I took of myself post-race.

Brilliant event, thanks to the organisers. Might well do it again next year!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Orange sunsets
Crisp mornings
Turning leaves
Ovaltine evenings
Blankets unfurled
Experimental baking
Red-cheeked children

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cardiff Half Hobble

So two half marathons in as many Sundays... yes I think I am mad. But I do like a challenge and I don't give up easy so yes, there I was, on Sunday, in Cardiff Bay with 15 thousand other people at the start line. It was 4 degrees, sunny and mayhem. this was the biggest race I'd ever turned up to on my own, with no supporters; pretty nerve-wracking. I'd been bouldering with my mate Ry the day before which , with hindsight, probably wasn't very wise although thoroughly enjoyable. It resulted, thankfully, only in achey arms but meant that now I ache EVERYWHERE as I carry quite a bit of tension in my shoulders when I run (although the mantra "run tall, run free" did help a lot). Ry turnedout around the 6 mile mark to shout encouragement at me which made all the difference. Thanks Ry!

My leg didn't cause me any real issues and I came in at 2:12 which I was pretty pleased with, it only being 2 mins off my HM PB. Thanks Sean for giving me the chance to run it in the first place!

Good points about the race:
- The baggage was very well organised, as were the medal and goody bag hand outs
- The course, very pretty at the start, scenic all the way and about as flat as you could get
- Plenty of water stations
- Plenty of loos

Bad points about the race:
- The warm up wasn't very well organised, it was hard to hear and follow if you weren't up the front.
- Not enough segregation between runners and spectators at the start
- No mile markers until mile 3

I now have a couple of weeks off before the next event which is a cruisey 5k night time Hallowe'en run in Reading... dressed as a skellington :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Royal Parks 2010

Yesterday I ran the Royal Parks half marathon. Actually I use the term "ran" loosely as around mile 6 my right leg started falling apart. Not literally, but things started going wrong. I used to have an intermittant issue with my right knee which my Physio pretty much sorted out for me. Idf I do my stretches properly I don't get any trouble. So I duly did my stretches and warmed up thoroughly before the event but I felt something wasn't perfect with my knee. I hoped it would pass as I got into my stride, which does happen most times. At mile 6 I started feeling something in my hip, presumably an over compensation for the altered biomechanics of my knee, though why it'd never happened before during my long runs is a mystery. Anyway by mile 8 I was run/walking and although I managed a sprint finish I was 18 minutes behind my last year's time (completed 2010 in 2:28. I reckon I'd have beated 2:10 injury free). I did an awesome sprint finish though :)

It was a brilliant day though. Highlights included the BMF warm up, Ben Fogle starting the race, passing Big Ben at 10am and hearing the chimes, getting high fives from the stewards, collecting a stupid amount of free food from the stands (place your bets on how long it'll take me to eat 16 mars bars) and finishing on a high. It really is one of the best organised races I've ever done and the route is full of London landmarks which keep it interesting.

Huge thanks to my mum and dad for getting up early, ferrying me there and back and cheering me on. And also for putting up with my weariness immediately after the event. If this has inspired you, you can register your interest for 2011.

In a moment of madness I decided to take on the Cardiff Half Marathon next weekend. I'm running on behalf of Sean of AudioFuel who's ill and I'm very grateful to him for giving me the chance to run this event which I've been pondering for two years now. I've never signed up before because it's always been "too close" to another event. Well that excuse has gone right out the window. Can't wait but am aprehensive (my hip will be fine, my hip will be fine...). I hope I do myself proud.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Since my holiday, where despite a fairly active regime I managed to put on several pounds thanks to the abundance of food, I’ve found a new reserve of energy and determination. This is in part to do with wanting to shift the extra weight but also from having had a complete break from my normal routine.

I was getting pretty disheartened before I went away. The 5k times were rising, I felt sluggish and as if I had no time for anything expect work, sleep and training. I realise that routine is not always your friend. There are still mornings I wake up and wish I had a personal trainer to tell me exactly what I should be doing with my day, take me through yoga and a training programme. But alas I can’t afford one in terms of either time or money so I must persevere.

I’ve signed up for a few more races, I’ve discovered that I can run for almost two hours with just short pauses without suffering too much, that I rather enjoy running in the rain, that I still want a 25 minute 5k PB (and that I could probably do it with some more speedwork), and that I really really miss climbing and dancing. I used to do modern jazz and tap at a friend’s dance school but she no longer runs the classes for adults so I think I will have to find somewhere else that does the modern jazz/street/hip-hop styles because I loved it so much. I might see if anyone wants to come climbing with me when I head back to Cardiff in a week’s time.

So mixing it up is the order of the day. I reckon if I do 2 out of the 3 classes at the gym at work every week for core and cycling, a long run, parkrun and a speedwork/intervals session and then a cycle/zumba/yoga/climbing or swim session, that covers most bases and keeps things interesting although I do wonder if that’s asking too much of myself. I’m considering investing in a pull up bar and “borrowing” my friends dumbbells to work on my upper body strength at home.

I’m so positive at the moment that I’m considering signing up for a full marathon in Vegas in December 2011 rather than the half I was thinking about before…

Monday, 4 October 2010

Surfing in September

Has it really been an entire month since I wrote last? I can hardly believe it. Where has that time gone?!
I've certainly not had a lack of things to write about, I've been doing the gym classes and going on runs and getting steadily worse at parkrun it would seem, but I guess it's because I've been so busy I've not stopped to write about them. I've just spent a week in Cornwall on a surf and conservation holiday which was absolutely brilliant. We got a couple of days of glorious sunshine and then it mostly rained which isn't really an issue when you're being dunked in the sea every 10 minutes or so. After 2 and a half days surfing I was able to stand up on the board for a couple of seconds at a time and had wonderful friction burns on my hands from the foamie board. I'll never look at the sea in the same way again and I will definitely be hiring a boad and wetsuit next time I'm near the beach.

Next weekend I'm running the Royal Parks half marathon. I'm very excited. Yesterday, after about an hour of dithering about whether to go out or not, I did 10 miles in the wind and rain so I think I'm mentally and physically prepared. I'll be doing a couple of short runs this week, packing the bag and heading to mum's on Saturday night in preparation. I will therefore not be running parkrun this week, but volunteering instead. Having had a week's break and reflection I've come back all refreshed and revived and convinced that I can run a 25 minute 5k (which I've never managed yet). You never know! Maybe the aim is to do that before Christmas.

I've not got a place in the Virgin London Marathon so instead I've signed up for the Pine Ridge 10k and the Reading half. As I said, feeling refreshed and revived...

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Next Challenge (don't panic, it's just a blog)

This week's been pretty good so far. Dominic still isn't back from holiday but we've had the lovely Mark instead holding the fort at the gym. I had my own personal Spin class on Tuesday as I was the only one with enough will power to get up at that time on the first morning after a Bank Holiday weekend. Wednesday I did Abs then ran the 3.15 miles to Jo's to collect my bike. I really enjoyed having a destination as opposed to going "round the block" and it was a gorgeous Autumnal afternoon. Somehow I managed to arrive in a non-hug repellant state. An hour of chit chat and a glass of elderflower coridal later and I rode home very happy.

Today I did LBT at lunch and then put a new AudioFuel interval track to the test. I've not smiled so much whilst out running in ages, felt really energised and have decided that I enjoy running in Autumn sunshine. Maybe I'll start cycling to work next week.

My internet find of the week is the inspiration for the title of the blog, namely The Next Challenge website. Tim Moss writes a superb motivating blog about adventures big and small. And it's not all mountains and extremes, there's a lot here that's very accessible and aimed at the everyman looking to break out of the routine every once in a while. It's well worth a look and I'm sure you'll find something there to appeal. He also provides advice and guides to helping you plan your own adventure (however great or however formed the idea is) but that's not part of the blog.

This week was also marked by the arrival of the Howies catalogue. I've mentally bought about half the catalogue already (the mens jackets and fleeces are sooooo nice). Where'd I put that lottery ticket?

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Last night I went out for a bike ride with my friend Jo. It had been drizzling all day and in most circumstances I'm a bit of a wuss about cycling in the rain, I pretty much wouldn't ever consider running in the rain, but for some reason neither of us wanted to let a bit of water stop us going out so I kitted up, dragged out the Howies waterproof and merino top and set off. It was actually rather pleasant as the rain had a cooling effect and I was nice and dry apart from my legs (which were sporting my usual cycle shorts for padding on the basis that skin dries faster than fabric and my legs don't tend to get cold). Of course I did drip qiute a bit on Jo's front door mat when I first arrived. Our aim was to try out a cycle route to my new office. So map encased in sandwich bag and Jo's saddle wrapped in clingfilm (very fetching) we set off to the bemused headshaking of her husband. Our rides aren't fast but we chat a lot and just enjoy exploring our neighbourhood.

We made it, more by luck than skill, to my office in about 30 minutes (3.2 miles). It wasn't the route I thought we'd take and I'll probably never be able to find it again. The rain wasn't letting up at all so we didn't hang around but turned straight back to try a slightly different route on the homeward leg. It all started out ok but 2 or 3 wrong turns and 2 drippy map consultations later and we were almost in sight of Jo's again. The rain had become harder, my socks were sopping and my jacket was turning out to be slightly less waterproof than previously believed (the state of Jo doesn't bear mentioning, poor girl) so we sheltered in an underpass and put in a call to Mr Jo requesting buckets of tea and warm towels. 3.5 miles in 50 minutes... hmmm... I shall definitely be trying out the route again sometime (before I do it for real).

Despite sogginess we both had a brilliant time and would probably go cycling in the rain again. I was so drenched that Jo wouldn't hear of my cycling home so put me in dry clothes and drove me back while my bike is having a sleepover at hers until Saturday. It was hot shower, toast and bed for me!

Mad girls cycling in the rain: 2
Mad people out running in the rain: 1
Youths encountered sheltering in underpasses: 8
Items of soaked clothing: 9
Items of borrowed clothing: 6
Illnesses as a result of mad expedition: 0 as yet
Cycle routes to work known: 0

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

No Substitute

I had a weekend of excess and no ParkRun. I failed to go for a run yesterday, instead opting for feeling sorry for myself, eating cake and pickling runner beans. Oh how thrilling my life can be. I did get up and go to Spin this morning but walked out half way through because I couldn’t hear the substitute teacher over the music and she refused to keep to the rhythm of the music. I do not feel the least bit bad about this. I had a short run on the treadmill instead and missed the rush for the showers.

I will see how she is at the Abs class tomorrow followed by a bike ride in the evening and will be forcing myself to do a pyramid session, ParkRun and a Long Run during the rest of the week. Once Dom’s back I might ask him for a weights routine. Or I might just buy some dumbbells and a pull up bar…

Monday, 23 August 2010

Priority entry for Reading Half Marathon is now open and normally I'd jump at the chance of entering (especially as I had to miss out this year) but I'm feeling very sluggish today and the thought of a half marathon makes me feel tired.

This is not good news as I have Royal Parks coming up! I was going to go for a run this evening but it's been raining today and I think it's going to be very very hard to motivate myself to go out. I have spin tomorrow which should get me back into things. I have birthday cake to work off!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Running Trax

As you may know, I am a bit of a fan of the AudioFuel music and coaching tracks. I use them a lot and it's very rare I run without any music at all. But sometimes I need a change and spend quite a bit of time finding tracks from my own collection that have the right sort of beat. So I've welcomed a triple disc collection from the Ministry of Sound especially designed for running - Running Trax. It's great for running when I've not got a particular schedule and for getting me up and going in the early mornings when I don't really feel like it.

I almost feel like a traitor but if you're looking for something different and enjoy your dance music, then this might be worth a try.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Midlife Crisis?

I seem to almost be making a habit of getting into somewhat intimate situations with men I barely know of late. First there was Neil and last weekend it was Jimmy. All completely innocent honest Guv! Jimmy was my instructor on Sunday as I did my first ever skydive (in tandem). Although they brief you on what to expect nothing really prepares you for just how close you're going to get. You start off sitting between your instructors legs in the plane (you will never complain about leg room ever again), then move to sitting in his lap, before being strapped very very tightly to him. Jimmy had a pretty good day of it actually, 5 or six tandem jumps and all of them girlies! Anyway to cut a long story short, Jimmy somehow managed to qwell all my fears and I thoroughly enjoyed the jump. And no new injuries!

Let's rewind a little bit. After spin on Tuesday, abs on Wednesday and LBT on Thursday I ached BAD, and I believe I owe my new Parkrun PB of 28.02 entirely to working so hard during the week. Despite only 5 hours sleep. Hurrah! It was a good feeling :) While I'm happy with my improving performance I've yet to get anywhere close to my mate Guy's times (although I'm catching up on age range %). I won't get to do Parkrun this week as I have birthday plans (my 30th, does that explain my recent behaviour?) so I reckon with two weeks of hard gym classes before the next one I should smash 27 mins. I did spin again this morning (it never gets easier) and will be doing abs tomorrow.

I'll have to try and ramp up the runs again soon in preparation for the Half Marathon in October which will just be a case of giving over a couple of evenings to longer runs and some technical work. I'm trying to decide whether or not to sign up for a 10k in November and/or a cross country 8 mile in December... I think I'm feeling too tired today.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Let's twist again

Parkrun last weekend was a little disappointing. My general aim is to try and get a new PB, even if it's just a few seconds off, each time but it was very slippery on the tow path and I felt heavy with tiredness and didn't push as hard as I should have done so just missed out. Ho hum.

Sunday was my introduction to Mountain Boarding which was immense amounts of fun. I fully expected to be the eldest there by a long shot but on my 11am session the only other participant was Mark who was a wonderful 32 years old. God bless you dude. He had snowboarding skills on his side so wiped out far less than I did but both of us sort of gave up after 2.5 hours of hurtling downhills, tramping up them and colliding with them. I got pretty freaked out by the perceived speed at which I was travelling which lead to quite a few aborted runs as I slid my way, on my backside, into the nearest overgrown patch of ground. I probably achieved as many injuries on the lift as I did on the hills, it being so uneven that my board would get caught and I'd end up in a sprawling heap wondering which way was up (a common theme of the day).

By the end of it I was having a blast, ok at turning and stopping, even tried an up-and-down run. But I was also covered in sweat, dust, grazes and bruises (including one on my backside!). I was also the proud possessor of a twisted ankle, the severity of which only became apparent later that day as I'd clearly done it early on but kept using it. The verdict: I'd go again, but with more padding and once the memory of the pain has subsided.

So running's probably off the menu this week. I shall volunteer at Parkrun instead if I can make it at all.

Not one to be sat still (actually I was surviving on caffeine and sugar for a large part of the week), I tested out the ankle last night by way of a brief cycle around my immediate neighbourhood... in my PJs and flipflops (it was late, and I couldn't be bothered to put on sensible clothes). All seemed well so I threw myself into Spin class this morning. Dominic had very kindly put my name down... yeah, thanks. I was determined to do better than before and I think I did. I didn't swear so much but that was possibly because I was out of breath and exhausted. Legs felt less jelly-like and I seem to have a remarkable ability to recover quickly even when I feel like throwing up during the exercise. I definitely made more effort to use harder resistance but I noticed that I really struggle with peddling quickly, as I do with running fast. This leads me to believe that I am made for endurance, not speed but have arranged to have a chat with Dom about how I might improve.

Abs class tomorrow followed by a leisurely bike ride in the evening with the lovely Jo to try out my route to work in the hope of starting to cycle in at least one day a week from next week. Here's hoping for a speedy ankle recovery to allow for running next weekend.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


First off, a report back on that spin class I did yesterday morning. To summarise... Spinning is a whole new level of Hell. I coped with the getting up early, coped with being shown how to set up my bike and thereby declaring that I was a n00b and managed to mostly keep time to the fantastic music that the class was set to. What I hated was that the instructor kept cranking up the resistance on my bike mid-flow!

Now I'll admit I wasn't pushing as hard as I could have done because I wanted to gauge how the class would pan out and not ruin my legs for tonight's race. I wanted to enjoy it rather than die. And ok I did enjoy it in the end despite jelly legs, practically melting off the bike, swearing profusely and the evil Dominic. I'm even fully prepared to give it ooooo maybe an extra 10% (oh go on then, 25%) next time. This might just be the key to improving my performance at running and will certainly help for triathlon.

And on that note... to tonight's activity! The Yateley 10k! I pretty much went into this blind, with no idea of the course and barely any idea what the weather was going to do. I didn't even get my race number before the event. But it was well organised and a pretty good course; all road and undulating but nothing too extreme. I'd decided to try not to pay too much attention to my garmin to start with, I think I only looked at it 3 times in the first 5k, and just run and enjoy it. And I did, I really surprised myself by not stopping at all until about 7k where I had to check out my shoe as the joint on my big toe felt as though it was rubbing on a seam (there are no seams on my socks). Even though my legs were in a really great rhythm the last 3k were pretty uncomfortable because of the toe which is blistered and sore. I'm blaming old shoes but my new ones would probably have been worse... this will be sorted in the next week or so.

Moment of truth... my chip time was 59:03!!! Average speed of 6.3mph, max 9mph. I'm sooooo happy. I've finally cracked that sub-one hour PB. And I got a spot prize! A water bottle, great, like I don't have about 6, but very nice all the same. I saw my physio before we started but didn't get to say hi and I couldn't find him after which was a shame (though this is probably because he was aiming to run 20 mins quicker than me) because I wanted to say hi and thank him for helping me get back on track. I think I owe it a little bit to spin class too...

I am a very happy girl.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Spin Spin Sugar

I'm feeling rather good today. Yesterday, despite immense amounts of procrastination, I went out for my 4.5 mile run in my new trainers at about 8.30pm. I was pleased with the amount I ran but know I can do it a bit quicker. That is something I'm really struggling with these days, increasing my speed, but I've just today signed up for the gym at work and will ask for some advice on that.

And when I got in tonight I pulled on my trainers again and went out for my shorter route which I did in a good time (despite a walk break). Again, although I ran at about 9.30 mins a mile (as opposed to 10.30 yesterday) I still don't feel quick. But I really did enjoy it. I think a couple more runs need to be done in the new trainers to really figure out if they're right for me. I've had a few knee twinges in both knees which is unusual but I'm not ready to blame it on the shoes just yet. However I will probably wear the old ones to race in on Tuesday.

As I've signed up for the gym I've also signed up for my first class - Spinning! I've never done a spin class before and fully expect to come out of it looking like Simon Pegg in Run Fat Boy Run. And this is before work at 7:15! Hum. In for a penny! Incidentally the gym manager, Dominic, is rather lovely. So instead of Charasmatic Chris, I now have Dishy Dominic ;)

Friday, 30 July 2010

Nettle Warrior Update

You may remember me mentioning something called Tough Guy and the fact that I was interested in having a go next year. I heard about it because of an article in The Guardian and recently there was a follow up article from the woman who competed in it. It's a good article. I enjoyed picking up some tips and a bit more perspective, but this has sort of put me in two minds. There was someone who *said* they'd do it with me, but I'm not sure if he meant it. I'd be nervous of going on my own though I'm sure I could rustle up a few spectators...

I've started planning next years events in earnest (because if I don't do it now, between events, I get put off) and at the moment it looks as though there could be an event every 2 months or so which would work quite well. This would probably be the first one to get booked just because entries are open already and it's £94 before March 2011. A lot of money... but worth it I think :) plus planning this far in advance means I have plenty of time to plan and train.

I will be getting a day-to-a-page diary for next year so I can detail my training and study (oh yeah, OU again) properly. It's all very well having a list of things I could do during a week or having training plans pinned to the fridge but I find that I don't really stick to anything. My "training plan" at the moment seems to amount to "do as much as you can", when you can, but I need to concentrate on proper progress with so many new and longer events in the pipeline. Oh I will manage the longer runs for half marathon training but without much attention paid to fartlek or hillwork. I appreciate I may need to take a step back while I build up some of these basics I've neglected but I think it will help me lots in the long run (ha ha!).

Hopefully detailing exactly what I need to do in my diary will mean I actually do it as time will get blocked out. "No I can't come out before 8, I've got hill reps to do". Either that or I need someone to poke me in the right direction with a sharp stick on a regular basis.

As I enter my 30th year I'm going to be fitter than ever!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Fast Slow Fast

On Wednesday I had arranged to go for a bike ride with my friend Jo. She lives on the way to the forest where I go mountain biking so the plan was for me to ride over to hers, go for our jaunt and then I'd cycle home again. Jo's not been riding in a while, and no discredit to her at all, but our ride was really leisurely by my normal pace. I enjoyed having a chat and exploring the local cycle paths and just did my "hard work" to and from. We have plans to try and do this weekly so between her and Phil I might manage a weekly longer ride. Jo and I will be trialling my cycle route to work soon. Would love to get started on that!

But in the mean time, here's the stats:
On the way out
3.32 miles
21.47 mins
9.1 mph av
16 mph max
243 cals

Mid section
4.19 miles
49.17 mins
5.1 mph av
11.4 mph max
345 cals
many pauses :)

Way back
3.34 miles
23.39 mins
8.4 mph av
17.2 mph max
479 cals

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Getting back into it

I felt exhausted when I got in tonight. I really didn't think I was going to go out for a run but then I thought, if not now, when? So I pulled on my trainers (new ones on Saturday) and stepped out the door with an on-the-go AudioFuel playlist including the 160 BPM track I'm raod testing.

I did not feel energetic. I only ran 2.3 miles. I didn't run fast. I didn't run continuously. But I did run and I enjoyed it. The new track was pretty good too :) I felt better the minute I started and although I've regressed a bit, hopefully it won't take too much to get back into the swing of things again. Definitely going for a run on Friday and Sunday now I've got my mojo back.

And a healthy dinner helped. I tried a risotto with half arborio, half bulgar wheat, with broad beans, yellow courgette and a huge handful of spinach, all home grown. Delish! Hopefully now the belly will begin to vanish, I'll start sleeping better and the energy will return :) Oh I've missed this!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Out of Practice

I've not done much for a couple of weeks due to changing jobs and going on holiday. Ok I did quite a bit of walking but it didn't feel like much, not when you take into account the cream teas and wine that was consumed. I've started to feel quite lethargic and not my svelt self for a while so now I am very keen to get back into things. I'm going cycling with a friend on Wednesday, signing up for the new gym at work and for at least one run this week. I can't do Parkrun yet again thanks to what will be a very enjoyable theatre matinee in Regent's park.

I do miss it though. Can't wait to get back into a routine of sorts or to get out for a run because I've got a new AudioFuel track to trial. It's been a trial to drag myself out this weekend though. Must make real effort tomorrow. I've got the Yately 10k next Wednesday and no matter how much I run between now and then I'm not really going to get any fitter so I'm just going to give it my all and try for that sub 1-hour PB again. I'm sure I can do it this time! At least I haven't regressed in the meantime...

Weight - (61) 61
Fat - (24.5) 24.6
BMI - (19.2) 19.2
Water - (54.9) 54.8
Muscle - (71.3) 71.2

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Thames 10k

Just done it! 1:04:20

I'm actually quite pleased with that given I really wasn't in the mood and I felt pretty tired but with the threat from a friend that if I didn't go and at least try for a PB she's make me drink my body weight in vodka I dragged myself there and somehow made it round. It was new terrain too. The event was in Beale Park near Reading which is a really pretty area and thankfully it was mostly flat, allbeit uneven ground. I was dreading there being proper hills when someone told me it was in a valley. Most of it was on trail but some was on tarmac. I hated the transition to tarmac, I found it really jarring. I think I actually went faster on grass! I got an achey shoulder but it went after 5k. I did have to walk a bit but I owe a strong(ish) finish to a lady runner who saw me walking around 8.5k and told me that there was only a little bit left and I could do it. Without her I don't think I'd have found the strength. Oh and Axel F really helped too.

Just out of interest I took my measurements again and here are the results. The previous ones are in brackets. Making progress...

Weight - (62) 61kg
Fat - (25) 24 .5%
BMI - (19.5) 19.2
Water (54.5) 54.9%
Muscle (70.8) 71.3

Monday, 5 July 2010

Mad dogs and Englishmen...

... go out in the midday sun. But runners go out in the early morning heat and still risk heatstroke. I made it to my second Parkrun on Saturday morning and not only made a new friend, first-timer Sarah (who is currently faster than me but never mind), but got a new Saturday PB of 30:50 which I'm relatively happy with given that the knee started playing up again and I got bad pains in my shoulders. I'm now also on the volunteer list and have made use of the Sweatshop vouchers we got to get myself a new pair of running shoes (to be collected in the last week of July).

Next week I've got the chance to go waterskiing through work so if I'm lucky enough to get a place (only 8 available) then I'll forgo Parkrun for a week. This won't become a habit.

The results for Juneathon are in and I'm not a winner. I may have been amongst the 13 who exercised and blogged everyday but I don't thikn I was as the chap said the final 13 all ran everyday, which I didn't. Bit disapointed but guess I'll just have to try next year.

I've just done my Monday Swissball class but have skipped Abs as I was feeling a bit queasy.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Measuring up

I have a new gadget. It's a body fat percentage measuring device. I've been interested to know what percentage of me is fat for a while and was going to go to the see Gorgeous Chris at the gym to get measured but first time I bottled it and second time I missed it due to a meeting anyway. So now I have a reasonably nifty handheld device that looks not unlike a PlayStation controller which, with the input of some simple data, measures my body fat %, muscle %, BMI, total daily energy expenditure or TDEE (the number of calories I need per day) and water %.

Most data is easy to determine.
Height - 178cm
Weight - 62kg
Age - 29
Gender - female

The two points I was unsure of were whether I'm an "athlete" or "normal". The criteria seems mostly based on resting pulse. Athletes qualify for 60bpm or less and mine's pretty much 60bpm. Alongside this I had to choose between "Very active" (intense exercise everyday) or "Moderately active" (moderate exercise with sports 6-7 days a week). I decided to take the readings with both though I suspect I'm normal and moderate.

Athlete/Very active
Fat % - 19
BMI - 19.5
TDEE - 2505
Water % - 59.2
Muscle % - 76.8

Normal/Moderately active
Fat % - 25
BMI - 19.5
TDEE - 2129
Water % - 54.5
Muscle % - 70.8

Not too bad methinks. I prefer the athlete reading but think that'd be something to aim for in the normal setting. A mate of mine who's a personal trainer recons women should aim for 15-20% body fat So. Let's see if I can get down to 20% body fat by the end of August.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Difficult decision

Yesterday I went to see a chiropodist. For a while now I've had what I suspected to be an ingrowing toenail in my left foot which is starting to cause loss of feeling in the side of the toe. This worries me a bit so I thougt I ought to get it checked out.

According to the chap I saw, it's not strictly an ingrowing toenail but a similar condition caused by over-curvature of the toenail, more common in women thanks to our tendancy to wear silly high and pointy shoes. In extreme cases the toenail can actually grow to become a tube - youch.

As I have no infection I have two options. I can leave it and see if it improves on its own (and wear better shoes) or have an operation. The proceedure involves removing part of the nail and preventing it from regrowing by applying a chemical. It is done under local anaesthetic and is 90% effective. So far so good. But what worries me is the recovery period. I'd be effectively chair bound for two days and there's about a 6 week healing process with dressings ever decreasing in size. I'd need time off work and I'd not be able to run or do anything too active for probably 2 months.

I've got a few things booked up like the Yately 10k, Royal Parks in October, Surfing in September, Mountainboarding in August, which means that I'd not really be able to consider doing it until mid October if at all. I'd hoped to do Hellrunner, Tough Guy, Run to the Beat and Triathlon next year so will this affect that? Will I e able to get enough training ing? I'm really not sure what to do right now. I'm not optimistic that it'll improve on its own...

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Juneathon Day 30 - Done!

Well that's it! Juneathon is over and I managed it! I really didn't think that I'd make it. I rounded it off with a nice intervals session on the treadmill in the gym after work with some jack knives and free weights to round it off. For the first day in a while I felt like I wanted to do more but was meeting friends so had to cut it a bit short. Just can't seem to get the balance right.

After complaining that I want a break then I bet I feel like going for a run tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Juneathon Day 29 - Penultimate

I actually got jealous of someone having the time to go to the gym today. How sad. Thanks to a team dinner at work (I like to think I was restrained) I once again struggled to fir anything in but I've just done half an hour of hula-hooping 50 crunches, 40 pressups and 5 minutes of glute bridge work. I'm taking the gym kit into work tomorrow in the hope of fitting in either a session after work or a run back home before seeing a couple of friends for a drink.

I'm going to draw up a proper, SMART, training plan going forwards. I need rest days. Please no Julyathon!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Juneathon Day 28 - Intervals

I'll be so glad when this is over. I'm feeling more and more tired by the day. However I did go interval training tonight, and didn't do too badly. Took me about 20 minutes and I almost managed to keep pace the entire time. I still only manage to walk between sprints though. Somehow, someway I will get faster and stronger. If only I could stop feeling so tired.

I need a training partner. I have determination, I just need a little bit of help. Aside from the magazines ;)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Juneathon Day 27 - Freedom Run

Today was another beautiful day, well up into the 30's and barely a cloud in the sky. Therefore it wasn't until 8pm when the temperature had dropped to a mere 27 degrees that I got over to Frimley Lodge Park and did my freedom run that I'd planned to do since getting that competitive feeling yesterday. I'd previously been up to my allotment in my sports kit to water everything so I ended up with shoes full of dust and dirt which I had to brush off and empty out before running. There's few things more uncomfortable than running with shoes full of grit.

So I completed the course in 27:23 (although my Garmin recorded the distance as 5.29km). My average pace was 8:20 /mi which is probably my fastest yet since recording my runs. Let's hope I can maintain it. Once again I recovered quickly and feel like it's not my legs that are the issue but the upper body, breathing and general lethargy. Hmmm.

I bought Runner's World and Women's Running today. Looking forward to reading those! Is that sad? Probably just a bit. Only 3 more days of Juneathon... phew.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Juneathon Day 26 - Just

I've just got in from a day at Wimbledon. It's been a very long day and I didn't get a chance to do anything this morning so I'm now going to do at least 20 minutes of hula hooping in front of Glee with a decaff hot drink and maybe a chocolate cornet.

Tomorrow, seeing as a mate of mine from Cardiff has done his first run (under duress for footy training) and ran it 9 minutes faster than I did fist time, I'm going to do some serious running training and maybe a freedom run (parkrun on a day other that Saturday at 9am). I'm getting all competitive on his ass! Hell yeah!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Juneathon Day 25 - Frogger!

Another beautiful evening! I could quite easily have spent all evening cycling around but I have a friend coming for dinner (which I've yet to start cooking - eep!) so I made do with a half hour or so partially exploratory ride. I started off going gown the track I went downt he other day when I came off after ending up on a main road, and just explored a few of the side tracks. It was really quite lovely.

I encountered a lorry coming towards me so I had to squeeze into the bushes and I almost ran over a frog who was blending a bit too well into his sandy surroundings.

I did just over 5 miles at an average of just under 9 miles an hour. I reached a max speed of 17mph! Now to go make that weight watchers no points curry :)

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Juneathon Day 24 - I'm Meeeeeelting!

Now I know what ice cream feels like. Got home, trainers on, out for a run in 25 degree + heat. I'd only gone with the intention of doing 2.5 miles, as I'm expecting vistors soon (who've still not arrived - glare), and I just about managed. My legs felt pretty heavy today and Garmin tells me my pace was somewhere between a fast jog and a slow run so I guess I didn't do too badly. Average pace was 9:47 per mile which is really pretty good for me actually. There's hope for further improvement yet!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Juneathon Day 23 - The Wheels On The Bike...

... go round and round. Tonight I have been out on the bike. Trying to get back into a once a week over at the forest with my mate Phil. We haven't been for a while. It was a lovely evening for it and I wore my Garmin on the bike for the first time. I didn't quite capture all of it and there were plenty of pauses as we use this as a catch up session too but overall I did about 12 miles, burnt about 1200 calories and didn't come off. I wasn't feeling as brave as usual so we didn't do too much track but I enjoyed it. I hit max speeds of about 15mph but averaged about 7.5 given how much we stopped to chat and decide which way to go next.

Feeling good about it all and am definitely improving my strength and stamina. I wonder what it would be like if I really pushed myself!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Juneathon Day 22

I've clearly eaten far too much in the way of cream teas and donuts over the weekend because I've got a bit of a tummy so I'm trying to work it off... unsuccessfully so far. Today I got back from work at 7:45 so I immediately pulled on my trainers and headed out for a 2.5 miler in the evening sun. It was still pretty warm and I tried out a couple of the beta Audiofuel tracks I downloaded ages ago. I really enjoyed two of them but found one a bit monotonous so switched to my "Running Track Of The Day" which is Pendulum's Propane Nightmares which really got me pumping the legs and saw me through the last part of my run.

Downsides to the run were my Garmin dying as I stepped out the door so I've no record of my progress and almost stepping on a decomposing rat wasn't all that great either.

Tomorrow... mountain biking!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Juneathon Day 21 - Not A Very Manic Monday

Today was a beautiful day, sunny, warm, and the longest one of the year to boot! It was too warm to go running when I first got back so I did half an hour of hula hooping in the garden whilst listening to some of the new music I bought at the festival. Then I did a lot of lying around but this evening I biked up to the allotment (about a mile away) and then when I'd almost worn myself out with watering plants (those watering cans are heavy you know), I went for a longer bike ride home, about 4 miles in the glorious sunshine. I would have stayed out longer but it was 8:45 and I'd not eaten since midday so I was quite keen to get back and eat food.

I still have excess energy. All this exercise (allbeit small amounts each day) is really giving me new levels of energy and while it's hard to do a bit every day, it would be even harder if I pushed myself to the max every day so I think it's good I'm doing little and often (and then lots infrequently).

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Juneathon Day 20 - Lazy Sunday Afternoons

It has been a glorious day. Stayed up far too late at the festival last night so didn't manage to summon enough energy to get out for my run before breakfast but instead revived something I've not done in ages which was yoga. I used to love doing yoga and would go to classes at least once a week. In fact it's something I should probably try and bring back in on a regular basis as it's great for stretching out the muscles and improving flexibility, which thanks to my increased running habit has suffered terribly these past few months.

So I did several rounds of salute to the sun, some hunter poses, downward dogs (almost heels to floor), cobras and several other poses whose names I've forgotten. I threw in some pressups (20), tricep dips (20) and glute work for good measure too. It was really invigorating. I'm sort of glad it was the last day of festival today because it's been so difficult to fit in exercise, I'm looking forward to getting back to everyday life and more scheduled fitness.

A few less donuts and cream teas will help too!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Juneathon Day 19 - Walking on Sunshine

Today we have been a-wandering. We went to Bosham and had a brisk walk around the village and water line. I didn't take my garmin with me but I estimate we did about 2.5 miles. We're off to check out the first band of the day but later on I shall be doing my routine of tricep dips, pressups, crunches, lunges and glute work in the safety of my room between acts. Admittedly it's not as energetic as yesterday but it's still exercise that I otherwise wouldn't be doing. A run again tomorrow I hope, and definitely a bike ride to break the monotony of running on Monday.

Oh and it's not all that sunny, which is a shame.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Juneathon Day 18 - Field Work

Well despite being fuelled up on bubbly, cheese and half a box of chocolates I managed to do a 2 mile run around some of the emptier fields at the festival. I have to say my heart wasn't really in it and running on stubble was hard work but I didn't stray too far below my race pace (which probably means I should try to up my race pace). I think we're out of bubbles now so tomorrow might be easier.

I did do some wandering around the shops today but I don't think that counts, even if it did include a visit to the Adidas outlet store and the procurement of a couple of new zip through tops and a new vest. Yum!

I'm feeling pretty fat now so when the festival is over it's onto a low fat, veg heavy diet. I'd like to stay a size 10!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Juneathon Day 17 - Down on the Farm

Today I have mostly been sipping bubbly whilst lazing in the sunshine whiling away the time until Blues on the Farm festival kicks off. I've been feeling pretty good since yesterday's race, not experienced much tightness in the muscles or anything. I did pack my running kit for this weekend however I intended to take it wasy today so I've done 40 triceps dips, 100 crunches and 20 press ups. Given that things don't start until 7.15pm tomorrow I'll have plenty of time to go for a long walk or a bit of a run.

But for now I shall leave you to go and get my groove on to Virgil and the Accelerators. Peace out ;)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Juneathon Day 16 - No More Physio

Today marked my last session with Neil. I was at once happy that I got through the 10k on Sunday with no pain but also a little sad that I wo't get to chat with him about vegetables and running anymore. Still if I get myself signed up for the Yately 10k in August then I may well bump into him, though hopefully not literally.

We ran through the exercises I'd been doing, determined that I will always find the glute exercises difficult (although I am getting much better at the £50 note exercise) and agreed that I should keep up the exercises on a lesser basis as I will never be able to change my biomechanics completely, it's always going to be a battle. He did give me one more iteration of the £50 note but we didn't have to do any ultrasound or releases. So I guess i'm sort of fixed!

To celebrate I decided, on a bit of a whim, to run the Forest Five. I'd deliberately not applied before the day as I didn't know if I'd feel up to it but as it was local and different terrain, and a shorter distance than Sunday I decided to go for it. It was very different to the races I've run before, not least because I was on my own, but it was smaller, more running club members and less in the way of timing. I got a small goody bag (but no medal) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a stunning evening, sunny but not hot, and running through the forest was an absolute joy. I did it in 49:20 with a loo stop and a trainer adjustment stop. There were a couple of hills that I managed to cope with and I'm sure I could have pushed a bit harder if I'd really tried. I just wanted to enjoy it. And no knee or shin pain!

I think I'm a proper runner if I do this sort of thing on a whim... and can keep up with the running clubs to some extent.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Juneathon Day 15

Today was pretty non eventful all things considered. I discovered mild bruising from all that hula hooping last night and I went to my swissball class. That was about the highlight! I'll try to make tomorrow more exciting :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Juneathon Day 14 - Hula hula

Today I signed up for the Thames 10k on 7th July and have a plan to go do the Forest 5 on Wednesday. I'm also signed up for a swissball class tomorrow. I very nearly didn't do anything this evening. I hadn't taken my gym kit to work as I couldn't get in early or stay late and then it started raining and didn't realy stop. I wasn't feeling motivated enough to go running or riding in the rain and I'd left it too late to go climbing (which I'd forgotten was even an option!). I had to pack for the festival I'm going to at the weekend, which is going to present me with even more difficulties for Juneathon both in terms of exercising and blogging and suddenly it was 9pm. So in keeping with remembering alternative ways of exercising I broke out the weighted hula hoop and hula-ed my way to a trimmer waist for 30 minutes, followed by 30 pressups, 100 crunches, 20 tricep dips and some glute work. Feel the burn!

My bruise has suddenly become dramatically rainbow coloured and doubled in size which is both fascinating and slightly more uncomfortable but it'll only get better from here... I hope!!

So tomorrow it's swiss ball and then helping Shruti pack for her trip to Kili. I'm so excited for her. I heard from the guy who also had to drop out on summit night who is thinking about going back and has asked if I'd like to go too. I'm very tempted, as long as I can get the funds together. No sponsorship this time.

I got to see the photos from yesterday, both official and un official :) My fave taken by my parents is below. I thought I was thinner than that, damn my sweet tooth!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Juneathon Day 13 - Bluewater & Bounce

Well I've just got back from doing the Sweatshop Bluewater 10k. We almost didn't make it, we all woke up late and then during it's charge my iPod decided to delete my running playlist so it was a mad panic in the car to assemble something. Luckily all my fave tracks were still on there. I'm happy to say I completed it in 1:00:40 (according to my Garmin) which is a new PB and enough for me to be happy but not enough for me to write next year's event off... I'm still searching for a proper sub-hour.

The event wasn't quite as well organised as last year. The warm up was non-existant but there were a couple of local bands playing en route which was ace. My favourite part was the steel band playing the Match Of The Day theme on the way to the start. The weather was perfect, overcast and cool. And I'm not too worn out so I'm considering signing up for another event on Monday (not to do one on Monday, just putting my name down).

In fact my legs dont' feel tired or achey at all. It always seems to be my shoulders that ache and my upper body in general that stops the lower half doing it's thing... I wish I knew what to do about that. But for now since I've tallied up my spoils (1 gooy bag, 1 medal, 9 lucozade lites and 12 lucozade powders) it's time to kick back with the Sunday papers and the laterst Triathlete's World until it's time for Bon Jovi at the O2 later.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Juneathon Day 12 - Tapering

I feel a bit sore and bruised today but there doesn't seem to be any real damage after yesterday's incident. In fact I got right back on the bike again this morning and took a jaunt into town to do my odd jobs like going to the bank and buying some plasters. Admittedly it was only a short 3 mile ride but I'm very aware I've got the race tomorrow and a 15 or 20 mile bike ride or a run of any sort is just not what I should be doing.

I'm at that point again where I start to feel a bit twitchy if I've not done any exercise. I'm trying to hang on to this good energy for tomorrow so I'm going to do crunches, pressups and tricep dips whilst watching a film tonight and then get an early night. All my kit's ready for tomorrow; iPod charged and morning alarm set. Can't wait!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Juneathon Day 11 - Stacked It

Well true to my work I went for a bike ride today. It ended up being later than usual because I was feeling lazy and had become rather engrossed in building a website. Still I went out about 7.30pm intending to just do a couple of miles but my legs felt really strong and it was a gorgeous evening so I just kept going. I decided to explore a path I'd ridden part of before and ended up almost lost. On my way back I managed to graze a kerb instead of mounting it and ended up getting rather friendly with the pavement. I grazed my hands, elbow, shoulder (?) and bruised my hip and bent my keys which were in my pocket, ripping my jeans in the process. You can see the state of my knees below...

Yes, that was through denim and they are rather sore. I'm hoping the soreness goes away by Sunday. Somehow it's made me even more determined to get a good time. A nice couple came out of their house to check I was ok and a passing cyclist put my chain back on for me.

In total I rode about 10 miles and didn't feel worn out at all! I only came home to clean up and get some food, otherwise I reckon I could have been out there all night :) I've also done 40 pressups and 100 sit ups. I will up the ante after the race 'cause I appear to have challenged someone to complete the Tough Guy Nettle Warrior next year and I reckon it's going to take me some time to achieve the fitness level I want. Quite excited!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Juneathon Day 10 - Rat Race

Today has been really tough in terms of fitting any sort of exercise in. I was up at 6.30am to go into London and had a team dinner this evening which left me with barely an hour between getting home and going out again. I almost threw in the towel but pulled on my trainers for a quick interval session and settled for missing out on pre-dinner drinks. My heart wasn't really in it, it has to be said, and I was fairly easy on myself but at least I did something. I didn't do as well as last time, I walked more than I should have done. I have more time tomorrow though so although I might give the running a rest, I should be able to get out on the bike for a bit of variety. I will definitely conquer intervals after the race though... I mean it's not like I'm going to stop training, in fact I've got the half marathon to look forward to even if I book nothing else up before then... and I'm still tempted to run a few more 10k's before the summer's out.

I am also quite tempted to sign up for the summer version of Tough Guy one year. It certainly won't be this year and might not be next if I want to do a tri (although I'd like to actually go and watch one before I participate and that might not happen for a while). Something does strangely appeal about doing something so stupidly outrageous and body breaking. So many events to try! So much training to do and so many years worth of planning. I think the hardest part is pacing myself!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Juneathon Day 9 - Last Run Through

Despite best efforts to cause my muscles more discomfort, last night's Swissball session, although tiring, hasn't crippled me as anticipated so I had no excuse but to go into work.

I went for a 2 mile run tonight which didn't really feel like too much work but I guess I need to take it easy in view of the race on Sunday. I haven't managed to fit in a 6 miler in my training. Thanks to the physio (which really does seem to be doing the trick) I've not run as much as I normally would in preparation but I know I'm capable of the distance so if I don't wear myself out too much before hand and the weather predictions stay true to the current promise of "not too hot" then I stand a fighting chance of equalling or beating my PB from last year. Of course I might not manage it and so I'll have to try not to get too disapointed if that happens.

I was having a read of the Frimley Lodge ParkRun website and saw I got a mention in the news post for last week. I really did enjoy it even if I got a rubbish time. I would love to go back this Saturday and run again but it wouldn't be sensible. I won't be able to make it now until 3rd July but plenty of opportunity after that so I'll just have to exercise my patience insteadof my legs.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Juneathon Day 8 - I didn't know I had muscles there

Wow. Well today I woke up feeling as though someone had punched me in the solar plexus. Suffice to say yesterday's classes worked then! To add insult to injury I did it all over again this evening. So tomorrow I may not be able to move from my bed. I'll keep you posted.

Is it just me or does anyone else like that slightly burny, achey feeling after having worked that bit extra? Oh good!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Juneathon Day 7 - Crunch time

This lunchtime I have done a swissball class followed by an abs class. I followed these with a helping of macaroni cheese with garlic bread. I felt the need. And now I feel very good. I hadn't done these classes in a while and I really felt the burn, especially in abs. It was nice to feel that without the pain and sweat of running, just for once.

Not sure when's best to do my running this week, given that I'm racing on Sunday. I would have loved to have done the ParkRun again but it's the day before I race which is usually a rest day for me. Wouldn't want to over do it!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Juneathon Day 6 - Suffering

I'm not well. I have a fully developed cough with a dose of streaming nose. I also seem to have totally run out of energy to the point of getting snappy with people. So today was just a 2 mile walk, 100 crunches and 30 pressups. Back on proper form tomorrow but glad I managed to do something.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Juneathon Day 5 - Melting

Well last night I did manage to squeeze in another interval session and I did significantly better than the previous night which made me feel awesome. Also was surprised to discover I'd covered about 2 miles during that time too.

This morning I made it to my first ever ParkRun and stumbled through 5km in 23 degree heat. It was not fun. I fear for my new PB target next weekend. It was a really good atmosphere though, very well organised and plenty of people cheering you on. I'm too ashamed of my time to publish it but I wasn't last and I got round even though I felt like I was going to throw up at the half way mark. I am properly exhausted now though and plan to take it slightly easier tomorrow.

Have a happy rest-of-Saturday!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Juneathon Day 4

It's day four and in the Juneathon house Vikki's starting to wonder how to fit some exercise into her day...

This is the challenge, clearly. I've been shipped to London for the day and I'm meeting a friend for a drink and a catch up at 8pm. This doesn't leave me an immense amount of time to fit some exercise in. I think maybe another interval session? It's too far to cycle to hers plus I'd get there all sweaty; not a good look when you've not seen someone for months... "Hi, lovely to see you, can I quickly use your shower?". I could do some pressups and crunches but it doesn't really feel like proper exercise. I guess it counts though... doesn't it? From here on in, it's fine, I'm going to run tomorrow (hopefully make it to my first ParkRun event), walk or run or do intervals in the park if I'm at mum's on Sunday (bike ride if not), I'm booked into classes on Monday and Tuesday... it's all panning out nicely.

It's just tonight... Hmmm. I think it's a 2.5 miler and a quick shower!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Juneathon Day 3 - with added Physio!

So this morning I had my physio session with Neil. I didn't 'fess up to the lack of stretches but seeing as he was pleased with my progress it didn't seem to matter. He's given me an upgrade to the "£50 note" exercise which now involves a one legged squat whilst tensing the muscles. It's tough but more from a balance point of view. I'm yet to feel the burn. He threatened to give my another upgrade to the exercise in a fortnight and provided there isn't too much damage after the race there'll probably only be one more session. I'm a little saddened by this, I like our chats.

I mentioned my 10k race and he gave me some advice on training in the last 10 days. He's involved in the Yately 10k series and put me to shame by saying that he managed it in 38.30... 15 years ago! Ah men are generally faster anyway. I'm now sorely tempted to enter one if not both of the remaining Yateley dates... Would that be wrong?

So tonight I tried out AudioFuel's Pyramid training scheme. I've never done this kind of stuff in the past which is probably why I've never progressed in the way I'd have liked. It's not a really long session but it's really wearing. My thighs really ached at the end of it and I didn't even manage to sprint the whole thing. I did get some really funny looks from people though. I think they wondered what I'd stolen!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Juneathon Day 2 - Update

Managed my 4.5 miler! I'm still a slow runner but I don't mind, I've got the health of my legs to think about. I used AudioFuel's 155 mix for the first time. Tomorrow - Pyramid training!

Juneathon Day 2

Well I didn't get out for my run last night but I did do a stack of core work (before ruining it all with some pizza and a DVD). I felt really good for it anyway and what with getting back into the stretches for my legs I'm starting to feel less scrunchy.

It's a beautiful day out there so after work I'm going to head out for a run. I've not decided how far yet but I'm hoping to have enough time and energy for my 4.5 miler. If I get a chance later in the month I want to bike over to the forest and do a run there, probably concentrating in hill work. Fun!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

May was too quick for me

I didn't realise it'd been so long since I last blogged. I dunno I stop paying attention for a few moments and... there it went. Now all of a sudden it's June and things are looming.

Well even though I've been quiet on here I've certainly not been taking it easy. I've not been mountain biking so much but I've done several early morning gym sessions, a few runs on the road and a couple of core classes. The physio exercises were certainly working, but then the bank holiday weekend arrived and I spent 5 days camping and raving in a field which sort of scuppered things a bit. Hence it feels as though I've not done any exercise for ages. The raving brought on a bit of pain in my right shin and knee and my limbs are quite stiff again but I'm back on to the stretches with a vengance now.

Neil gave me a new stretch the last time I went called the "£50 note" exercise. It involves standing on my right leg with the left pressing slightly against a wall or bit of furniture, then, *ahem*, clenching as if I'm trying to hold on to a £50 note. My glutes are rubbish. I'm full of determination to be dedicated and do everything I can to improve. Encountering a fellow fitness freak at the weekend might have something to do with this.

In less than two weeks I run the Bluewater 10k. My race pack was waiting for me when I got home which was a proper reality check. This year the t-shirt is white. I'm really excited now but even so I'm still having to stop myself from signing up to other eventsd close to that date such as the Forest Five in Swinley Forest the Wednesday following the Bluewater 10k. It's been raining almost all day so my plan to go for a run tonight is in jeopardy right now. However I plan to take part in Juneathon in a bid to add a bit of motivation.

In essence it’s a month of exercise. Running, cycling, walking, rowing, weights, whatever. The aim is to just do something every day in June. I plan to start tonight with a run or some core work and then continue tomorrow with another run or a bike ride. Maybe after a week of this and some sensible eating (I've been neglecting that somewhat) I'll be brave enough to book in for my body fat percentage test!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Little Matter of an Impeding Race

Last week I suddenly became aware of the need to start training for the Bluewater/Sweatshop 10km. It's feeling a little daunting but I know I'm capable of far greater things, I'm just a bit out of practice. So I need to take some time away from chiselling a washboard stomach in the core, swissball and abs classes and reallocate it to putting in the miles on foot.

I made a start on this today by dragging myself out of bed and doing half an hour in the gym before work. Neil recommended treadmill running to start with, and I can understand why. I ran 5km in 32 minutes and felt a bit of a pull in my right knee but not enough to stop. It's not a great time for 5km, I know I can do much better, but today was just about getting back into the rhythm of it. I didn't even have the treadmill on an incline, but I'll bring that back in next time. I used the Rocks Off Audiofuel mix with coaching today which I really enjoyed, although I found the end a bit slow. Might be time to start making my own mixes!

Mountain Biking again tomorrow I think and another early gym session on Thursday with Core class on Friday.

I'm tempted to sign up for the Thames 10km and the Boutique Run in Battersea. So many races, so little time. I have signed up for the London Marathon 2011 though so in October I'll hear whether I've got a place!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Tri, Trek and Trail

The last few days have been pretty active. On Friday I managed to get to the gym to start the Triathlon Challenge they've been running. I decided to opt for the sprint distance as I only had a week in which to complete it and also I didn't want to put too much strain on my legs by running too far. I thought I'd only do half that evening but by the time I reached 10km on the bike I was still feeling like I had a lot in the tank so I just carried on, and then it seemed silly not to do the run so I did that too. Basically I did the whole thing in one evening without collapsing, although I did become very aware of a pulling in my knee so was glad to stop.

On Saturday Rich, Shruti and I set off for Snowdonia. We were camping at the very beautiful and rather empty Cwellyn Arms Campsite, near the foot of the mountain over looking a lake. If I were to go back to trek other peaks I'd definitely consider going back. Plus points included a proper wooden walkway through the site, trolleys to ferry your stuff to and from the cars and fire pits and picnic tables. A shortish walk gets you to the pub and a short drive gets you to Beddgelert which has a modest selection of eateries including a cafe that does a great cooked breakfast. We loaded up with one of these before setting off. We tackled the Rhyd-Ddu route up and the Ranger path coming back down. A good circular route with amazing views. It was extremely windy and I did fear that we might get blown off the ridge but we made it and warmed up with tea at the top. Rich is certainly getting the walking bug which is great as I've go someone else to call on when I want some company. And he's not just interested in the peaks.

Last night I dragged myself over to Swinley Forest again to go biking with the boys. I was struggling to keep up more than last time and to my relief this was attributable to my soft tires rather than power or general ability. We flagged down a passing cyclist from Birmingham who loaned us a pump and then we were off. It was much busier over there this time and we followed a few groups of fellow MTBers onto some great singletrack that we'd managed to completely pass by before. No one fell off and we started to feel a bit more like proper MTBers rather than complete novices. It was fantastic fun, tackling things I'd previously have never dreamed of, spotting a deer, claiming "our" log for a break, and I can't wait to get out there again next week. I even managed to cycle up some of the hills that the lads couldn't! My poor bike will be getting some TLC at the weekend.

This morning I had my Physio appointment with Neil. I 'fessed up to all the stuff I'd been doing but as I've been managing to keep up with the exercises he was pretty happy with my progress. He reckons there's at least another 6 weeks of treatment to be done though. After causing me significant pain (before 8.30am! it's just not fair) by "releasing" certain muscles he chatted about holidays in the Alps, mountainbiking, hiking, parkour and luge whilst using ultrasound on my knee. He really shouldn't give me ideas... Anyway it's back again in two weeks time. And he was very pleased with the chocolate courgette cake recipe :)

Friday, 30 April 2010


I haven't been ordering anything parcel sized lately so it was a bit of a surprise to get one of Royal Mail's red cards through the letter box this week. I managed to get to the depot on Friday morning and discovered that I was the happy recipient of a goody bag from Triathlete's World. This wasn't another competition I'd won, well not quite. If you'll remember I won tickets to go to The Outdoor Show a little while back and they never arrived. So I emailed to ask about it and didn't get a response. I was a bit put out by it but thought life was too short so just forgot about it. Anyway this goody bag was the magazine's way of saying sorry and very good it was too. It contained:

A pair of zoggs goggles
A bike bento bag
A waist pack
2 energy gels
1 protein/recovery bar
A water bottle
A tub of energy drink mix
The latest copy of Triathlete's World magazine

All in all, it made my Friday. I then felt it appropriate to head to the gym after work to complete the triathon challenge. I didn't expect to complete it all in one go but I did! 750m row, 20km cycle and 5km run. Phew! Now to tackle Snowdon on Sunday... looking forward to it so much, especially as it'll be the second peak my cousin Rich and I are attempting together!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Oo, Ee, Oo, Ahah

These are the sounds I am making today, following another mountain bike session after work last night. I met up with Phil and Stu at the Forest at 6.30 and feeling mightily unfit after cycling from home I attempted to hold conversations whilst following them around the tracks. After a little while I started to feel invigorated rather than wrecked and settled into the pace, which was admittedly fairly gentle. We're all at about the same level of experience which is great because I don't feel like I'm holding them up and we encourage each other in different ways, me by belting down hills, Phil by trying to cycle up every hill and Stu by just wanting to get out there and get fitter.

It was a perfect evening for biking and we were probably overly surprised by the numbers of fellow cyclists and runners out and about. Mostly we considered them to be "proper" cyclists and "mental" runners. We did have a couple of rest stops and attempted the cutting again (I almost made it out without falling off). Around about 8pm we went our separate ways, resolving to try and make this a regular thing, probably on Wednesdays. I just need to find a way to enjoy the ride to the forest more; coming home always seems better.

I reckon I ache so much today because I also did swissball and abs classes at lunchtime. I'm having a day off today and not going to Skip class after work because I've got Snowdon planned for Sunday and I don't want to overdo things. I'm thinking a short run or a gym session on Thursday or Friday though, as I've got the gym Triathlon challenge to complete before May 9th. If I complete a row, run and bike ride that fits with one of the standard Tri distances I will be entered into a draw to win a Trialthon starter pack, including a road bike!

In other news I'm getting on great with the pressups now, into week 5 I think. Closing in!

Song of the day is Ali In The Jungle by The Hours. Check out the lyrics. I felt a little bit smug when I realised they were talking about Joe Simpson of Touching The Void fame. Good song for singing at the top of your voice in the car... I imagine ;)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Do you grow your own potatoes?

I'm lying on a paper-covered doctors bed, lower half stripped to my pants with Neil, my Physio, using ultrasound on my legs. In order to put me at ease we're chatting about allotments and vegetable growing. And it's sort of working.

I think I've finally figured out what to wear to my appointments now; big pants, boy shorts or a pair of gym shorts to change into. Today I have had the foresight to shave my legs and wear boy shorts but I'm still feeling self conscious. I've wandered around in my pants wearing my running shoes and walking boots so that Neil can see if they're supportive enough. The verdict's good on the trainers and he reckons that using the insole from those in the boots will make all the difference.

I've not had any pains since the last session really so I'm feeling like a bit of a fraud, and have to keep reminding myself that I've generally not been doing the sorts of exercise that bring on the pains, at Neil's advice, so really I shouldn't be worried. I seem to be doing my stretches ok but I'm still lacking "buttock strength" so I've got to try extra hard with those exercises. This along with calf stretches in particular, Neil says, will be key to getting rid of the pains for good. General flexibility is deemed to be good but better on the left that the right still. This week I'm allowed to start going on walks again, but only a couple of miles - does he not know me at all? My idea of a walk is much more than two miles! Still at least it's progress and I may try a short run once or twice, on the promise that I will stop if I start to get any pain. Because my memory's awful and in order to settle a discussion with my mum I ask again whether I under or over pronate... I over pronate. I feel better for knowing that.

After discussing the relative merits of buying seeds and veg plants, the mystery of the never-growing-carrots and when potatoes and sprouts should be planted I agree to share my (Green & Blacks) now famous recipe for courgette chocolate cake and he agrees to see me again in two weeks time. I feel this is a fair swap.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Let Me Ride Through The Wild Open Country That I Love

It's beautiful weather! It's driving me nuts because I have to sit in an office all day, wishing I was outside. Not only that but the blinds are automated so they close in the morning and sometimes don't open again until it's hometime. I seem to have recovered from cycling on Sunday. I don't think I cycled a great distance but I'm out of condition so felt a bit sore anyway. Monday's Swissball and Abs classes didn't seem to work as well as last weeks but the Skip and Tone class definitely wore me out. I'm trying to decide what exercise to do today, I feel quite energised although that may just be a result of the large mug of coffee and home-made rhubarb muffin I've just consumed. It's been tough trying to fit in 10 lots of five minutes into my day to do my physio-prescribed stretches but I'm just about managing. We'll see what the verdict is on Thursday!

This week I am continuing to follow the exploits of Sticky, the guy who's doing Parkour over 1000 miles. He started out on Sunday with a 100 mile ultramarathon. Rather him than me at the moment! There was some fun coverage of The Tweed Run. It's something that started last year as a charity event where people get dressed up in retro clothes, hop on to some retro bicycles and ride around the capital. How jolly super!

One final article I'd like to mention this week is this one from The Guardian about the growing popularity of city marathons. I've perceived running as becomming more popular but put that down to the fact that you notice things more once you get involved with them. Certainly the 5km and half marathon scenes seem to have boomed in the past couple of years. And I think there's a lot of truth in the statement that increased popularity of running and a decline in gym memberships are linked. I resent paying for a gym in the summer months when I'd much rather pound the pavements than stare out of a window (if you're lucky) in a gym. With so many online training resources and advice forums it's not essential to get advice from an instructor in the gym. Even if you factor in a new pair of shoes, membership to a running club and entrance fee for two races a year I reckon that's cheaper and more exciting than the gym. You would have the social aspect, advice and support from the club and the goals of races to train for. Makes sense to me. In a lot of cases paying as you go for classes like yoga or aerobics is cheaper too.

This week I am mostly eating yogurt with damson puree, beetroot in risotto and salads and copious amounts of marmite on toast. I don't pretend that this fulfills a nutritionally balanced diet.