fairweatherrunner

running blog


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Tyres

More BMF and cycling today. I know it’s boring but it seems to be working. Working in that I’m really enjoying it and I’m keeping up exercising every day, working to get me running short blasts faster so eventually I will want to race again and working because I am noticing a difference (not on the scales) but my clothes are fitting better.

Today at Ravenscourt Park we flipped these lovelies!

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My single speed is still out of action with a puncture so I’ve been using my new road bike to get around. It has been useful because the regular short rides have helped me get really comfortable and confident on it. Especially after some great online advice from Evans Cycles to rotate my handle bars to improve my reach on the brakes.

Tonight I mended the inner tube for my single speed but the patch failed and I ended up replacing it with a new one. All this putting tyres back on and off was a workout in itself and took ages. I can see why people pay a tenner for their LBS to do it for them!

Juneathon day 17.
1 BMF class (3 miles running), 1 tyre flipped a bit (took 2 of us), 4.3 miles cycled, 1 flat tyre mended, eventually.

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Benches and lampposts.

There are plenty of benches in Hyde Park when you have to do a burpee at each one as you run along the Serpentine. There appear to be fewer when you have to sprint to the third one down. There are also too many lampposts when you have to do three star jumps at each as you run laps of the bandstand.

That just about sums up my BMF class today. One of those classes where I started out regretting being in the faster group for the first half, but finding I was ok and enjoying it for the second.

It’s not as if I didn’t get a warm up on the way. I set out only to find I had a puncture (lend my bike to my son and this happens!) Fortunately I now have another bike so a rush back home to change bikes and I was on my way again but rather late. I flew there in a record 12 minutes, fastest time yet!

Juneathon day 16.
5 and a bit miles cycling and yet another BMF class (at least 3 miles running)


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Trip to the park.

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I wanted to test out my new road bike more today, OH has been adjusting the brake tensions for me to try and see if it would give more breaking power. I have small hands and limited reach on the shifters so found I didn’t have quite enough power to brake to a complete stop in traffic fast enough and got tired and aching hands after an hours ride.

My youngest is suddenly keen on cycling (he’s the same height as me at the moment and rather likes my lovely everyday single speed) and wanted to come too. We persuaded Dad to join us and as Ed only fancied a short half hour ride out with his parents I suggested showing him the quiet route to school and back which would take us to Ravenscourt Park where I could take some photos for Shaz who commented on my blog that she used to go there a “few” years ago.

Note to the driver of the car who beeped at us to hurry up when we were waiting to cross 4 lanes of traffic from a side road. Yes I meant every bit (and more) of my 4 letter expletive.
– DO NOT EDGE YOUR CAR AGGRESSIVELY FORWARDS AT MY YOUNGEST SON ON MY MOST LOVED BIKE!!- Grrrrrrr!

You’re very lucky my OH was there to stop me getting really mad, and then hold you up some more when he unfortunately “failed” to make it across the road at the same time as us!

Juneathon day 14.
4.8 miles family cycling.


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n plus 1

Wobbling down the Goldhawk Road on a new road bike today I remembered it was Friday 13th! Fortunately I got home in one piece having collected bike number 3.

Number 3 you may ask? Didn’t she only get her first 8 months ago? Yes but according to the ‘rules’ the ideal number of bikes is n+1 with a suggested minimum of 3!

In my defence my first bike, an entry level hybrid, was an underestimation of how much I would cycle and how quickly I would get confident and want to ride further and more importantly faster. Maybe I’m fitter and not so middle aged after all!

My second bike is my beautiful steel framed single speed. A Foffa Bike. It’s simple speedy and very light. There are no gears to mangle and can be carried in and out the house easily. I love it. It’s perfect for pottering about in London and will be the bike I continue to use most on an everyday basis. (My son likes it too!)

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But then I got more into cycling, further afield, even out of London (shock horror) and came across these things called hills which are a bit hard work when you’ve got no gears. So I tried a great big Isle of Wight hill on my hybrid and agreed a few (more the better) gears properly used (there is where the problem lies) will get you to the top of the hill.

I also found that in comparison to my lovely Foffa the hybrid rode like a tank (not that I’ve driven one) and after dropping the chain 3 times going up the bloody hill I announced my hatred of twisty gear things that slip 2 gears each go.

The solution was a road bike. Light weight and skinny tyres like my Foffa, but with gears. Time for bike number 3.

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After riding it home (only one hairy roundabout event), I went on to Hyde park to get used to its handling and test it out. It felt smooth light and responsive and I was very impressed by the easy gear changes.  I changed gear to pass someone going uphill and almost looked like I knew what I was doing!  I did find the brake levers hard to reach because I have small hands. (Bike makers need to think about scaling down more than just the frame for smaller women’s specific bikes.) I may need to get some adjustments made to make sure I have safe breaking power before I take it downhill at full speed!

Juneathon day 13.
13 miles cycling.

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Another hot one

I could just copy my last blog post because todays exercise was the same as yesterday. A BMF class plus some cycling to get there and back and collect a parcel from the post office.

Except that, apart from the hot weather, it was very different in many ways. For a start the parcel I went to collect was actually there to be collected today!

I only just made it to Ravenscourt Park in time for BMF.  We had gone out early on spec to see if my new bike was ready for collection a day early.  It wasn’t because they are flat-out in the work shop. I reverted to plan a and BMF when I got home and realised that I would be only 10 mins or so later than normal leaving and could still make it.  This  focused my mind so I took the direct route down the bigger road that I normally avoid (and meander round the back streets). I discovered that the direct road route was not any more scary than the back streets and was significantly shorter and quicker!

Ravenscourt Park is much smaller than Hyde but it didn’t stop us running lots!  I suffered in the heat today which really slowed me down.  We did explore new bits of the park, finding logs to lift for Sumo squats and a nature park round a pond for a useful lap or two between sit-ups where it was essential to keep your mouth closed because of all the insects!

Juneathon day 12.

1 hour BMF class (3 miles running) plus 7 miles cycling.


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Fell off the wagon

Yes I went to BMF everyday for 5 days as planned last week (and cycled there and back!) But no I didn’t blog every day.

My aching arms (and legs) got used to the extra exercises (many tricep dips and squats) and by the end of 5 days I was quite enjoying it. But it did take up a lot of time and left me a little knackered! So the blogging suffered.

Thursday’s BMF class, my second at the new Ravenscourt Park venue, was fun.  We had the distraction of three French women who turned up for a free trial.  Complete with video camera which they tried to use while participating!  Our instructor was the picture of patience and ended up filming everyone to try and get them to co-operate.  It all certainly made the rest of us work hard.  I really can’t not sprint my hardest to get back first when two people are walking and taking a massive short cut!  Thank you Ladies, we did think you were rather rude half participating and then giving up but you did get the best out of the rest of us!

At least it was sunny after Tuesday’s wash out.  I am finding the novelty of BMF in a new environment and in a smaller group very motivating.  I plan to go there regularly, although Hyde Park will always be my home!  Adding the extra sessions last week was exhausting but they made quite a difference in my quest to lose a bit of fat.  I’ve obviously been ticking along on a plateau so adding 2 more sessions have given me the training boost I needed to make a real difference.   I might not continue to make 5 classes a week but will certainly try and make at least 4 if I can pre holiday.

Friday I was back at Hyde Park for my 5th BMF of the week and  a well-earned coffee in the sunshine afterwards.  Saturday although a rest day (nothing logged) I did run several errands (of under a mile) on my bike and hoovered the stairs which is as good a work out as many!

Today I went out on my own for a fantastc sunny  Sunday ride in London.  It was very busy with lots going on and roads closed around Buckingham Palace.  A wonderful hour out pottering on my bike, dodging tourists and realising what a wonderful city I live in.

Juneathon week 1.

5, 1 hour BMF classes, (about 15 miles running) and  37 miles cycled.

Plan for week 2 … More of the same plus I will go out for a proper RUN!

 

 

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Confession

I have a confession to make.

This is a running blog and I call myself a runner (at times) but I have a new obsession – bikes!  I’m falling in love with cycling.

And so today I found myself pedalling a new bike across London.  Yes I know I only got my other bike a few months ago but it’s not until you cycle around for a few months that you really know what sort of bike suits your needs. I have a great hybrid bike which is comfortable and easy to ride.  A great all round work horse and good beginners bike.  But being a hybrid it’s good at many things but master of none and where it falls down for me is that although it is fairly light weight it is not light enough.

In London if you want to keep your bike you keep it indoors. We live in a typical London terraced house and our bikes are either in the shed (right through the house at the back of the garden) or like mine. which I want to use frequently, kept in the kitchen/squeezed in the kitchen hallway by the bottom door.  To get it out I have to twist it out a tight door round a corner and up a steep flight of stairs from the basement.  My hybrid might be light at 13 to 14kg but it takes a bit of strength to get it out and I’ve been put off a few very short trips because of the 5 mins effort it takes to get it out the door.

When I got the bike bug I started surfing the web and dreaming about more and more gorgeous bikes. I got a taste for traditional classic style bikes and kept showing my OH stunning looking ones with big price tags! And then we went to a drinks party where OH’s friends managed to tell me about their planned (and already booked) boys ski trip before my other half had! I took advantage of the amount of alcohol he had consumed and extracted a promise that if he could spend on a ski trip he could buy me a new bike! Result.

So my lusting after pretty bikes became research for the right one for me. I needed light, I wanted simple. I use at most 3 of the 16 gears on my hybrid and go for many trips without changing gear altogether. When trying to keep up with OH on his road bike I complain about my lack of speed, however fast my little legs pedal! I realise it’s a lot to do with my poor gear experience and choice although a lighter bike and thinner road tyres will help.

Then I found my bike. At just over 9kg its about the lightest women’s bike I could find. It’s pretty too. It’s a single speed and an ideal urban run around. And it was in a sale! OH double checked I’d be ok without gears. I reminded him of my “expert” use of the gears on the bikes I’ve had recently and that my instincts are to pedal faster when I want speed, stand up for hills and free wheel down again. After all until recently the bulk of my cycling experience was as a  pre teen  tom boy terrorising the neighbourhood in the ’70’s on my bike. A single speed!

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When I said on twitter this morning than I was about to ride my new bike back across London I was told I was brave.  I hadn’t thought about it because it was a necessary journey. In fact following OH, who knew the routes, and because it was quiet on a Saturday morning it was a stress free and lovely ride through the centre of London. It gave me confidence  that as long as you have your wits about you, choose your time and the right routes cycling in London doesn’t have to be a frightening experience.

The one thing we did notice was how many bloody traffic lights you come across when travelling across London  And they take aaages to change.  Why do you notice them more on two wheels? It’s not as if it’s hilly and you want a few minutes to get your breath back!

My new bike rode well.  It was light, fast, smooth and very quiet with no rattling gears when peddling.  OH was on a Boris Bike and was having to work a bit.  I, in comparison had to keep backing off, braking and  free wheeling to stay behind him!  The only slight problem is that it is going to take me a little while to get used to the harder ride from the more rigid frame and thin road tyres  It’s built for speed on smooth roads which made me very aware of how bad London roads are!  I’m sure my undercarriage will also adjust to the thinner saddle too.  Price you pay for speed!

pedalling home

8.11 miles in  1 hour 8 mins.  (mostly hanging around at traffic lights and saying ‘ouch’ over pot holes)

Tomorrow I have to run 14 miles for my marathon training. Can I take my new bike?