fairweatherrunner

running blog


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Juneathon 12/30 and a cyclist rant. 

Juneathon day 12. 

A BMF  class, 2.8 miles run, plus 5.3 miles cycling there and back  including a close encounter with a 52 bus that didn’t respect the  priority  of a ‘vehicle’ (me) already on the roundabout!  This mini roundabout is on a so called back street but I have decided it is the most dangerous part of my regular route. I’ve had a few other near misses here but this was the closest and potentially most dangerous to date.  I think it’s time for a re-route. 

Londin cyclist rant over. 

Other than that I intended to take some photographs today for my blog because many other Juneathon bloggers have taken some beautiful photographs of their runs, walks and rides and mine feels a bit bland. 

I meant to stop andtake some   pictures on my route across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, but when I dashed back home for my forgotten sunglasses I dropped my bike and my chain came off which made me  late plus I had rather black greasy paws. 

Next time.  


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Leg blast

Today I had good intentions of writing my blog early and catching up with reading Janathon blogs, my emails and the rest of my life generally. But then I cycled off to BMF on the coldest morning yet.

I got there fine, apart from my missing finger tips which joined me 5 minutes later. (Wind proof thermal cycle gloves only ok to -1, apparently).

I did notice at the start if the class that there were an awful lot of greens (advanced). All BMF classes follow much the same format with the variety from the instructor. The make up of the group also makes a big difference. Today there were 12 of us and with half greens it meant one thing. A hard fast class. Eek! Then the mention of ‘leg blast’ class turned my legs to jelly before we even started. My small portion of porridge for breakfast suddenly felt a bit inadequate.

Fortunately I survived the running, gun drills, squat jumps, tuck jumps until our legs screamed. Plus a bit more running to make it to arms and abs and we were into the sprints to finish. A good class where I knew I had worked hard.

I cycled home before I cooled down too much and discovered that it is possible to change gear and brake on a road bike wearing sheepskin mittens and they are far better at maintaining feeling in my fingers than fancy cycle gloves.

After all that hard work and fresh air, a hot shower, food and coffee I sat on the sofa and my ability to do much else left me.

I’ll have to catch up tomorrow.

Janathon day 23.

Cold 5.3 miles cycled
1 hour tough BMF class, 3.2 miles run.


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PB hunting.

I do like cycling to parkrun. It’s the best time to cycle in London and the bright fresh feeling of being out on my bike at that time of the morning, especially as the parkrun gods usually send a glorious morning, is well worth crawling out of bed for. I also arrive at parkrun fully awake and warmed up.

Today I was off PB hunting. I went to Fulham Palace parkrun which is the nearest fast flat and on tarmac parkrun because today was one of their regular paced runs (odd numbers this week). I arrived just in time after a cautious cycle (I didn’t want to slide off round a corner on ice). The main gathering area was worryingly icy but as we walked to the start the course looked a lot better. It was a record turn out of 300. Too many other pacer following PB hunters or refugees from muddy winter parkruns!

I had planned to get the 23 min pacer in my sights and follow (at a suitable distance) for as long as I could. My goal is a sub 24 so I thought i’d try 23 pace for a mile at a time as a bit of training and maybe sneak a pb while I was at it.

The start was rather busy. I inched
in front of the 31 and 29 pacers but couldn’t get sight of any others. The first half mile I was dodging and over taking and trying to get past dogs and small children. I finally managed to get past the 27 and 25 minute pace makers but the 23 pacer was long gone. Oh well, next time. I tucked in and settled to a steady pace, got my head down and planned to keep going at best effort but not be silly and embarrass myself by falling over at the couple of icy patches on the course.

I finished in 24.38 and was well pleased with that despite worrying that things didn’t go as I wanted at the start. I’d knocked 12 seconds off my Fulham time, scored a 2015 PB, inched back towards my overall PB and made another step towards my long term goal. I even cycled home and bought milk, papers and was drinking coffee before the rain arrived.

My good day was topped off this afternoon when I went with Alma to cheer Louise to the finish of the 45 mile Country to Capital Ultra race. She finished in 8 hours 18. Amazing. Congratulations to her, and all the other runners. They looked so good at the end they make me feel ashamed of the fuss I make of aches and pains after a fraction of the distance!

Janathon day 17.
My 28th parkrun.
5K run, 6.7 miles cycled.


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Exploring

I went out on my bike today. Just me, so I decided to have a bit of an explore of some routes around London I want to work out with no time pressures.
It’s funny how I am so much more confident these days exploring new routes by bike than by car. It’s probably because it’s so easy when you get lost or end up on a dual carriage way to hop off a bike and become a pedestrian for a few metres until you find a cycle friendly way through or consult the map.

I got a bit lost going backward and forward looking for the ‘back street’ route to Regents Park but the signage kept taking me to the canal which is best avoided on a Sunday, unless you want to walk. I made it in the end, only cycling the wrong way up one one-way street. After a part lap of the park I took the faster return route towards Hyde Park and discovered slightly better signage, which doesn’t leave you abandoned in the middle of nowhere, and that ‘the fast’ routes are no more scary than the so called quiet ones. That’s what exploring is all about.

Not the fastest of rides because of navigation issues, some busy routes with tourists and strong cross winds on the few nice quiet stretches of open road I tried to race down.

Janathon day 11.
17.2 miles cycled.


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Kill or Cure?

Oh My! What a state I was in when I finally dragged myself out of a very deep sleep this morning. I had to take a nurofen to ease my aching muscles and get myself moving. I was a comedy case getting my socks and shoes on and in drastic need of new glutes and inner thighs. Yesterday’s killer squat class might have cured my hip and knee niggles but had wiped out the rest of my lower body.

Things improved as I got moving. The more I moved the easier it got so I decided I would make BMF again today. After all I had promised friends who I missed on Monday that I’d be there today. (It’s all about the hot chocolate). I guessed that as long as I went in the lower group I would probably survive.

So I slung my leg over my bike (well tried to, on days like today a lady-like step through would have been a good idea) and pedaled gingerly towards Hyde Park. Not too bad at all but I did decide my saddle needs to go up a bit.

At BMF I started slowly, feeling a bit stiff. Bending to touch the ground generated a few pitiful oohs and ahhs. A little more gentle running and I began to feel my legs less and get on with it. Until the first squat And then a lunge. Ouch! It’s probably my fault we did plenty of squats today because the instructor decided I should quit winging at get on with it. Eventually it sopped being uncomfortable and I even began to feel good. Too good. I even found some pace and a few bursts of top speed before the class was out.

And then (after hot chocolate) I went home to get clean and eat. And then the DOMS* take 2 kicked in. Double DOMS. I Shouldn’t have sat down, not even for 1 minute. I took myself for a walk round the block to see if that helped. It didn’t. I tried a hot bath. I tried wine. This evening I am a physical wreck. I’m now trying being horizontal in bed with my net book.

Tomorrow all my activity will be a lot more sedate. Just don’t expect me to bend down, go up and down stairs or sit down without assistance.

Janathon day 7.

1 BMF class, 3 miles running.
5.2 miles cycled.

* DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness In case you’ve not come across the term before. Lucky you.


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The long way to the shops

If the way to the shops involves cycling past them and a loop of Hyde Park.

I couldn’t decide what to do for my Janathon exercise today.  Excuses and stay in my PJs, walk and do the shopping or go out for a cycle.  My bike easily won because we hadn’t been out together since Wednesday.

I normally avoid Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park at weekends unless it’s very early because there are too many obstacles to cycling at more than walking pace.  (Tourists, people taking selfies in the middle of the path, dogs, small children on scooters, kids with balls, Boris bikes on the wrong side of the road ,to name a few)  Today due to lack of imagination and time to plan an alternative and a lot to do with auto-pilot my bike and I ended up in that direction

It wasn’t too bad.  It was already getting late towards 3pm and had been gloomy and cold all day so few people were out.  Even the last day of Winter Wonderland didn’t make the park as overcrowded as I have seen it in the past and I made good progress.  I enjoyed the  weekend closure of South Carriage Drive and a long stretch of empty road to enjoy my relatively new bike and test out going up and down the gears and a bit of speed as far as I could dressed in skinny jeans. I didn’t see many other non Boris bike  cyclists about,  they had either been and gone early or were sensibly staying away until winter wonderland is dismantled over the next month  Even speakers corner wasn’t a complete jam today. (Why they put the cycle lane straight through it baffles me, but that’s another rant).

After half an hour my poor feet were getting cold.  (Time to upgrade from Converse as my cycling shoes of  choice.) So I headed back towards home and the shops remembering to stop and fill my panniers in Waitrose with something for supper.

Janathon day 4  8.4 miles cycled.

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Adventure to parkrun

I decided to have a bit of a cycle mini adventure on Saturday.

I’d arranged to meet Alma and Giselle at Wimbledon parkrun for a catch up and when working out the route noticed that cycling the 6 – 7 miles there would only be 10 mins slower than driving. It’s on reasonably familiar territory so I decided I could get a longer ride in on Saturday knowing that I wouldn’t be able to cycle on Sunday.

It also gave me the chance to venture further afield than my regular bike routes and take a longer ride on my own which required a bit of navigating. The Citymapper app said the quiet route would take me 44 minutes. I got there in 47 but that included at least 3 complete stops to consult the map closely to find the right roads and a detour back to the road when I realised the Thames Path in Barnes was not suitable for road bike tyres.

It was such a beautiful warm sunny morning to be out on my bike so I didn’t regret getting up early. Wimbledon parkrun benefits from shade under the trees on the common but it was still a warm one. It’s a big parkrun,  the largest parkrun I’ve been to, I’ve certainly never finished in 189th place before! We started from the back so, having not done lots of running recently, I could start slowly and judge how I felt as I went along. It also gave me time to get used to watching my feet as it’s bumpy under the trees with roots, holes and ruts from all the mud on wetter days.

I gradually picked up the pace as the pack of runners thinned out and ran on feel trying to hold a ‘just slower than breathless’ pace and for a first parkrun in 6 months was pleased to finish in about the average time for all my parkruns. I also had nice negative splits!

Wimbledon parkrun is near an excellent café where we sat in the sun with coffee and cake for a catch up. It felt good to be back at parkrun and interesting to run a new venue. I think what makes it worth getting up and out early for (and the only way to get me out of my bed and to parkrun!) is a meet up with friends (and cake) so I am going to do it more often.

Cycling home took a little longer. I detoured off route a bit and followed my nose in the general direction of home. At one point I found myself approaching a busy junction I know but in the wrong place for my turn so I got off and walked to cross the tricky bits. I did end up going along roads I’d tried to avoid on the Thames Path earlier but it was absolutely fine, apart from crossing Hammersmith Bridge, which was horrid.

Juneathon day 21.
First parkrun for 6 months (3.1 miles run) and 14 miles cycled.


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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.