fairweatherrunner

running blog


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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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The ups and downs

My marathon training continues with many ups and downs.

This week has been hard going.  Janathon is over and it continues to rain.  I’m now in week 7 of my training so the initial enthusiasm has gone but the end is not yet in sight.  The miles and intensity are increasing and it’s getting tough.

After 14 miles last weekend I rested at the start of the week but then couldn’t get going again.  It was cold and wet and apart from BMF I couldn’t get myself out the door for yet another loop of the same old routes. It doesn’t help that I am totally in love with my new bicycle and would rather be out riding it than running.  But then I remembered my un-cancelled gym membership and compromised.  I cycled to the gym, ran intervals on the treadmill and recovered with 20 gentle lengths of the pool before cycling home.

Today was even harder.  I was out and about (yes on my bike again) but couldn’t muster the motivation to go out and run.  Looking at my stats and what I’d left myself for the weekend I had a last minute pang of guilt (fear!) as I was about to pour a glass of wine.  I threw my kit on and dashed out the door for a quick 30 minutes.

Yes, it turned out to be one of the good ones. Avoiding one street from my loop, because of the busy pavements at 6pm, I took a parallel poorly lit private road which was darker than I thought  it would be.  One way to keep up a good pace! Feeling good I kept up the effort.

The rain arrived minutes after I got home and the smug feeling got even better when I looked at my stats.  A perfect progression run with miles at 9.35, 9.00, 8.24 pace.  Couldn’t have run it better even if I’d planned it!


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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?


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Just another day…

Yesterday was the last day of Janathon.

Time to round up my running mileage from 99 to 100? Or  110 as suggested by @abradypus!  And what do I round up my 61 miles cycled to?

But this isn’t the end for me. Far from it. I’ve got 2 more months of marathon training so will be carrying on exactly the same.  Plus some, as I get into the peak of my training and on to very long runs .

I will still blog on a regular basis but won’t be blogging everyday, which is the hardest bit of Janathon.   It will actually be good to spend less time trying to think of something to write, getting it down on screen, corrected, re written and have more time to read other people’s blogs.  I have a big backlog of Janathon blogs to start with.

So yesterday, it not really being the end,  but just another Friday I did the same as I usually do on Fridays.  I pedalled to Hyde Park where I did a BMF class.  It was a normal BMF class (as far as any BMF class can be normal)  with rather too many burpees, a lot of squats and many laps running around a triangle (a big one, it was about 400m,), all finished off with a couple of sprint races  My team won both,  I’m good a chosing fast team mates! Then I cycled home with a very cold wet bottom (blooming V sits) and freezing hands (press-ups and planks in a puddle which soaked my gloves).

It was also another typical Friday because I failed to blog. Last week I was feeling blah and fell asleep.  Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon visiting a friend in hospital with two other friends but by the time I got home (horrible dark cold wet evening and slooooow tube trains), cooked and ate dinner and sat down with a film and glass of wine it was already late and my mind was even blanker than usual.

Janathon day 31.  5 miles cycled, 1 BMF class (3 miles running)

Janathon 2014.  102 miles run, 67 miles cycled.


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Death by Burpees

And recovery by Latte!

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I don’t know why I felt that BMF would be a good recovery session after yesterday’s long run. But Monday BMF (and coffee afterwards) is a habit, which I like.

I woke up and my legs felt fine, (I think keeping moving yesterday afternoon and eating straight after the run helped.)  Anyway, I put on my compression tights, as a precaution, and got on my bike. Cycling was fine too, legs didn’t complain and I’m finding I’m doing the journey in a quicker time. (Might be more to do with taking a direct route and not getting off to walk across parks to avoid busy roads than increased speed!)

BMF however was the real test. Legs were knackered! High knees, squats, lunges, lots of stopping and starting and changing direction and bending down. Oh help! Ouch. My pace became a shuffle. An Instructor pointed out that I was wearing a red bib and there were blues in front of me! Couldn’t do anything about it, poor little legs were moving as fast as they could, other than offering to swap bibs!

I improved as the class went on and I warmed up but although I could move better I still felt rather lacking in energy.

The bit that finally finished me off was the Burpees. While my partner did 10,  I held the plank then we swapped and continued doing so until the Blues had reduced their number of burpees to zero. The first 10 pulled at my  hamstrings , after 20 I was struggling to hold the plank for the rest phase and after 30 I found lying face down, flat in the mud the preferable position!

A post class Latte and catch up restored me enough to enjoy the cycle home where, after eating half the fridge, I felt like sleeping for a week (at least).

Janathon day 13.

1 hour BMF class (3 miles running)  plus about 5 miles cycling.


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Beautiful day!

I was sort of planning to go parkrun today but the weather forecast looked good so last night OH suggested a bike ride. It worked out well because I managed a bit of a lie in to 9am and made it out the door by 9.30!

I was glad that the roads and park were quiet because OH took me on a route using roads I wouldn’t use when alone and doesn’t listen to ‘I’ll get off and cross the road by foot’. All good experience for me and increased confidence at certain junctions! We went to Hyde Park for a loop and then crossed under Wellington Arch and down round St James Park for a bit of sight seeing in the sunshine.

My hybrid bike is fairly light and fast but I was having to pedal away like mad at times to keep up with OH! In the end I sent him the long way round on the road at times while I took the cycle path. I did suggest that I’ll have to progress to a speedy road bike at some stage to keep up, he suggested better gear selection!

Janathon day 11. 12.28 miles cycled.

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Is it that time already

Friday night and I’d better write my Janathon day 10 blog before the glass of red takes effect and I’m snoozing on the sofa in front of a film which I will not even remember the name of tomorrow morning!

After yesterdays enthusiasm I was a bit shattered today.  Maybe it was also the combination of a first week back at school and early mornings plus a bad nights sleep last night. So it was a slow start for us this morning. I found it hard work getting myself up let alone getting both Sons up and off to school. (I know, I know, it’s well soft driving sixth formers to school but I assure you some days it’s the easier option than getting them out of bed to the bus stop on time!)

I was eventually awake enough to get on my bike and enjoy the ride to Hyde Park for BMF and enjoy a good class before pedalling home where I spent the afternoon, after all that fresh air and exercise, fighting an overwhelming sleepy feeling!

Zzzzz

Janathon day 10.  1 BMF class (3 miles run), 5 miles cycling


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On my bike

I realised I was missing cycling yesterday  when I saw Cathy’s Facebook posts of Janathon bike rides.   I’ve not been out on my bike for a few weeks because It was away in the shed over Christmas to get it out the kitchen!  Fortunately it is now free from its shackels and I whizzed out on it to the shops yesterday.  It wasn’t far but it felt good.

I couldn’t face a run first thing this morning. I couldn’t settle down to do any work or chores either.  Only one thing for it, get out on my bike!

It was a great ride, no rain and the sun was shining making me wish I’d worn my sun glasses.  It was a bit windy (the weather not me) so I had an extra workout on some sides on the park battling into the wind. I cycled to Hyde Park and did 2 laps in the Sunshine with a big grin on my face before heading home full of energy.

I continued to feel good for the rest of the day and was (a bit) more productive.  I was still feeling bouncy this evening and as it was not raining for a change I went out to run my tempo run which I wimped out of yesterday.

Janathon day 9.  1 hour cycling (9.7 miles) and   3.15 miles run.

I cut across Holland Park on my route (where I have to get off and walk).  Holland House was looking good silhouetted against the blue sky so I took a photo just to prove what a lovely day it was!

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Look – Blue sky!


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Back to my roots

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British Military Fitness is where it all began for me.   BMF classes got me back into regular exercise 9 years ago and into running. All these years later I’m still going regularly and the classes are what I can always manage to drag myself to when all motivation for running or anything else is waning.

So it is always so good to get back to classes after a break, even if it’s pouring with rain.

Us BMFers are a hardcore bunch and we jump out of bed at the crack of dawn in all weathers to fuel and limber up well before jumping on our bikes for a brisk warm up cycle to get to Hyde Park.

Something like this…

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Although I was tempted during the conversation to wimp out and run back to bed I had already stated on twitter that I was going so I was committed. My friend waivered but did turn up at the last moment (excellent turnaround from duvet to class in 20 min!)  and after a last heavy shower we were rewarded by blue skies and very sodden grass.

BMF classes the day after a long run can be  a bit brutal at times (tight hammies don’t like burpees) and today was one of the hard ones. I was slow and aching for the most of the class before finally warming and limbering up for a burst of decent effort in the final 5 minutes!  At least I’m all recovered and ready for tomorrow.

Janathon day 6  1 BMF class (average class 3 miles run)


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Cycling in London

I’ve lived here for over 20 years but it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally cycled on the streets of London. And what a time to start. Cycling in London is very much in the news at the moment after a bad week with 5 cyclist deaths in 9 days. As I planned to go out for the first time I read and listened to the news, hearing about vigils, campaigns and views from all parties about dangerous drivers, busses and lorries, bad road designs, reckless cyclists and so on. Whatever the reasons, with the huge growth in cycling in London lets hope some solutions and actions are found and acted upon soon.

So maybe not the best week for me as a novice (or returning) cyclist to be pushing my shiny new bike out the door. Or maybe it’s a good week because the more ordinary Londoners who take to two wheels the better for increasing understanding and communication between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers (many of whom are users of all). More cyclists to create the demand for an increase in safe cycling routes and help to break down barriers between different road users as we learn to adapt to our congested changing city and make it better and safer for us all.

I have to add that I will be cycling in London in the mildest sense. I will be mostly cycling off-peak on quiet roads and cycle paths through the park. I’m lucky I have that option and won’t have to cycle anywhere in a hurry at busy times because I don’t have to commute nor take my exercise at peak times or after dark. I am happy to be the one you will see dismounting and using the pavement across a busy road junction before I go on my way. For now anyway while I build confidence and experience. Who knows where my cycling journey will take me.

Why has it taken me all these years to get on my bike? Fear (lack of confidence) and not having a reason to cycle until now when suddenly I find I have many reasons to get on two wheels.

Fear? Yes, London’s roads are daunting for many new comers, even in a car. I remember being petrified when driving for the first time in London as a student and it took me several years to get confident enough to drive where and when I wanted. Since then I have assumed that as an inexperienced cyclist (beast of a mountain bike in rural parts only) London cycling was not for me,

However these days, as a runner I notice that sooner or later many runners take to a bike. It follows that outdoor types will find that cycling makes sense as a form of cheap efficient transport. Cycling is one of the best forms of cross training for runners and the solace for many injured runners seeking a cardio fix. And road cycling has to be better than spinning class, hasn’t it? (Yes I hate treadmills too)

So when my OH told me he was buying another bike for training for a 3 day cycle ride next spring I decided that maybe it was time we had a joint activity (I’ll never make a runner of him) in preparation for our teenage sons flying the nest (wishful thinking) and he should buy me a bike too. I am one of the few people still driving to BMF classes and paying a fortune in parking charges when it’s only a few miles, much of which possible on cycle paths. Somewhere to start.

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So how has it been? Fantastic! I love it. As a friend said today there’s nothing like getting the wind in your hair to take you back to your youth. Straight out I felt good (yay for a bike that’s light and nippy). I have found the quiet roads far less frightening than I imagined and I have calmly coped with being passed by traffic of all sizes. I have used busier roads than I thought I would and have dismounted and walked less. I think my experience driving a very small car in London for the past year has helped me learn to be cautious of large vehicles and to adopt an assertive road position to indicate my intentions as well as learning all the back street routes.

I have new-found respect for cyclists. I’m reasonably fit and have even zoomed past Boris Bikes but have found many new muscles that other exercises haven’t touched. Today I discovered what triathletes refer to as a Brick Session. Trying to run at the start of my BMF class straight after cycling there, definitely a new wobbly legged experience! Next time I’ll leave earlier so I have a bigger rest between the two activities.

I start my marathon training proper next month. I don’t plan to use cycling as formal cross training but hope that commuting to BMF classes and running my local errands by bike will all add to my general fitness. All this extra fresh air is helping me sleep well too, which is essential for marathon training.