Monday, 1 August 2011

Leading from the sidelines

The only bit of me that was running tonight was my nose! I have a most unwelcome summer cold that's added extra challenges to the packing we need to do prior to moving out of our home on Thursday - and meant that I pedaled alongside the runners tonight.

One of the runners once told me that she liked it when I cycled with the running group as it implies to onlookers that she's too speedy for me to run alongside!

I have to admit that there are some advantages - the panniers are handy for unwanted layers, water bottles & car keys. It also means that I look at others' running techniques more than when I run with the group.

It's also meant that my road bike remains with me rather than in storage & I'm hoping that I will be able to use it at least a few times over our nomadic period.

Biggest downside tonight was that as it wasn't my mountain bike, we were constrained to the pavement on a beautiful evening. And it really doesn't feel as good to be on the sidelines - I prefer to be in the group.

Monday, 25 July 2011


It looks as if we'll have a gap between completing on our house sale & purchase - which will mean a couple of weeks relying on our fabulous friends' spare rooms. We are so lucky to have friends who are stepping in to help!

We're in the process of sorting out about 20 years worth of stuff and I think we've got the trickiest bits nailed - tropical fish tank, umpteen containers of plants (including mega spiky agaves), food and bikes. This means that I can now stress about how to stay fit whilst homeless!

I think we'll be more regular visitors to the gym, not least because the food is OK value. However, I'm struggling to work out how I can continue to cycle to work as this will mean more complex bike and car storage! There's also the laundry issue - smelly sports kit will have to wait for weekends to be washed as I don't really want to take advantage of friends' washing machines. More eating out will definitely challenge my waistline.

And the move was my feeble excuse for failing to do a long run this weekend. Probably the biggest risk to my fitness is my motivation (as ever). If I want there to be obstacles, there will always be obstacles. Trick is to keep my Pollyanna head on, look for the positive and focus on staying off the sofa.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Walking to Run

Blog I've just added to the running club site on walking as cross training...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Weird Wound Prevention

We did a bit of loft sorting on Saturday. Given that we are moving house in a couple of weeks (COUPLE OF WEEKS??!!), this was getting to be urgent and it's a job we are great at putting off. No I'm not going to claim this as exercise, but in the sorting, my ipod armband appeared for the first time in years. And it fits my iphone. So this means I no longer have to risk chafing my waist due to bum bag or arms due to gilet rubbing on solo runs.
Found about €140 in euros too - but this was so much less exciting than the armband.

To reward ourselves, we went to Hurst Castle in the evening where Husband caught pollocks whilst I messed about with my camera. It's a 1.5 mile walk to get there from the road, all along shingle which makes it much tougher than the distance would indicate. I shouldn't have been surprised that Husband's rubbish ankles rebelled on Sunday, refusing to do much at all. They loosened up enough by late afternoon for a swim - and I joined him in the pool for a change.

Hurst is a bit of a conundrum - Husband can't really walk well enough to get there but he loved the fishing spot. I guess we stick to times when the ferry is running - or perhaps dig out the inflatable canoe!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Weird Wound

15.5km ran last night. I have a half marathon to train for in September - and I've been procrastinating about getting my training underway. Club runs do help big time - but I need to do more mileage & add in more sessions at my pace. And I've struggled to get motivated!
There's a loop from my house that's a bit over 5km so I figure that 4 times that will be close to the race distance of 21km. 3 loops last night, but I stopped at 15.5km. Next week, need to take that to 17km (following the 10% rule) - and if I keep that increment going (big if!) should be up to race distance by early August.

Far more interesting to report is that I enjoyed it! Bunnies, puffballs and a buzzard swooping right in front of me, confused horse riders (I passed them twice) and avoided a drunk bloke in the woods.

My legs are OK - ITB was a little bit achey afterwards, but nothing major. However, I must find a better way of transporting my iphone as my left arm chafed on the arm hole of my gilet (has pockets) & I'm in need of sudocrem!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Decent Threshold Session

I made it to the gym tonight - I am determined to try & get my cost per visit down, but it seems tricky to fit in any more than 1 visit per week in summer.

And I actually managed a decent threshold session on the treadmill - a rarity as I really don't love speedwork. Threshold is all about pushing my body's aerobic/anaerobic border so I ran at a gentle pace for a few minutes before switching to an uncomfortable pace for 4 mins, 1 min recovery pace, back up to the faster pace for another 4 minutes. The idea is that by not letting myself fully recover and then going up to the faster pace again, my body develops the aerobic threshold.

Anyway, I did this for 30 minutes - and almost enjoyed it. I need to learn not to beat myself up about being slower than I was a couple of years ago - it doesn't help! A Pollyanna attitude works much better for my motivation.

Bit of spinning, bit of stepping, rower weights machine & lats pulldown.

Monday, 4 July 2011

A Day With Dirt Divas

Long time, no blog. And I miss it so I’m returning to the random ramblings of the Fat Bird world.

I’m such a chicken on my mountain bike – so much so that I needed to be chased up to book the course that Husband gave me last August for my birthday with Dirt Divas. Back to Basics, women only in Crowthorne Woods in Berkshire on Sunday. And I wasn’t alone in having my course gifted to me by a partner keen to get girlfriend/wife more confident on a bike.

Loved that we started off by learning how to get our bikes through a v gate – or into a bike shop – with dignity! Then it really was back to basics – some of which I knew, some of which was new to me. We were in small groups of 5 or 6 which felt about right. I hadn’t really twigged how much keeping the pedals flat affects balance – and how to move my weight over the bars when pedalling up hills. I did know – and already use - the thumbs trick for keeping the bars straight when pushing hard uphill. Probably the best bit was emphasising where we should be looking, which strangely isn’t at the ground just in front of the bike...

After lunch, we got to put skills into practice on single track, taking turns to tag immediately behind our coach Jacqueline and getting feedback. She claimed to have eyes in the back of her helmet! My crimes are staring at the ground and locking my knees.

The terrain was mostly twisty forest stuff that flowed very nicely without many hills. We also got to play in a bit called the Quarry with some steep descents – not my favourite kind of thing, but actually got to enjoy them. The trick is focusing, looking for and look at the exit point.

Only down point for me was forgetting any sunscreen and the very dull drive home.

So, the test will be whether my riding improves! I need to get on some single track soon or I’m worried I’ll forget it all.