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 ;)