Sunday, November 27, 2016

A grounding and stabilising week at home

Sunday: Bradley Woods Cyclo-cross 5.6 miles, 43 minutes 30s

Much as I'm looking forwards to cyclo-cross today, I'm also yearning for the day when I can go for a long ride on a Sunday - or generally doing whatever I feel like.

To be fair, I started off feeling positive.  Then I got stomach cramp and had the worst start ever with 5 people passing me in the first 5 minutes.  Once Lynn came past I relaxed and even considered quitting the pain was so bad.  Thankfully, that got rid of the stomach cramp and I went on to regain five places, one of which was a place on the podium as second FV40.

It was a good day.

Saturday: Kind of a rest day.

Washing bikes from last weekend's muddy cyclocross AND swapping the curtains from downstairs to upstairs so there's no more mould trap below the windowsill.  The upstairs curtains have now been sawn off and will soon be replaced by new ones when I get around to making them up.

Friday: Ride to work and back - 11.3 miles, 66 minutes

So sick of driving now and it had stopped raining and being shit and turned into quite a pleasant morning.  

I left my house and turned up the hill and felt the satisfying out-turn of the weight training earlier in the week - every pedal stroke carrying me further up the hill than usual.  The ride in was lovely.  

I didn't feel like riding home in the daylight around 4pm.  I hadn't even recalled that it was Black Friday and Meadowhall would be hell so I'm glad I worked through, into darkness, completed the task I'd set myself to do on Friday and eventually left around 8:30pm.  Thankfully the traffic had died down and I mostly had a pleasant ride over the hill (avoiding all the boy racers) and climbed seamlessly up to home.

In retrospect I should've left at 4 anyway and taken the long ride home but it's already been a really long week.

I got to bed - obviously late - and climbed grumpily into bed.  TSK had discovered mould that had grown up the curtains, along the wall and down the back of the drawers where all our clothes live.  I couldn't sleep with wheezing and got up and went to sleep on the sofa, where I stayed from midnight till around 6am.

Thursday: 15 mile turbo 51 minutes. 3.5 mile run 32 minutes

Had a meeting at work that started at 9am to tell me about how to avoid stress.  I was stressed because someone made me miss my yoga class.

They only gave us 45 minutes for lunch, despite me asking for longer so I went for a run anyway and walked in 15 minutes late and sweaty but no longer stressed.

Managed to stretch the working day to 6:24pm and still arrived at STC Turbo in time to wait for the Beavers to finish their evening Beavering. Some satisfying spinning drills followed my more intense strength work - 9 minute intervals now and I did it properly instead of messing about.

Wednesday: 1 mile swim , evening weights

Back to the gym in the car as the rain eased off but I still felt a bit soft.  45 minutes to swim a mile broken down into 400m sets - with a couple of 150m sets towards the end.  It felt much better nursing my way through it like that.  Every set was more controlled.  I was still tired at the end but looking forwards to gluing it all together into a successful set one day.

The only day of the week I finished on time so I went in the loft to do weights whilst waiting for TSK to return from whatever he'd been up to.  Upped the reps and some of the weights.  Mainly felt smug.

Tuesday: Yoga

Starting easy, right?  With a trip to the gym on the way to work and an intense breathing session to build lung strength.  With all the racing I do on weak legs, I think my brain might ooze out of my ears if my lungs get any stronger.

It's a problem with yoga, although I love it I never really know what I'm going to get from the classes but occasionally I go to one where I learn something new and very useful.

Monday: Rest day

Cyclo-cross was tough on Sunday and Monday was pissy wet.  I've hardly been at my new job a week and I needed some time in the office to process all I had seen, talk to some people, plan.  It turned into a week.


Swim: 1mile
Bike: 32 miles 
Run: 3.5 mile

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ugh. A week of looking forwards to the time I can work outside all day and still train.

Sunday - Cyclocross 6 miles, 45 minutes

It took a bit of self motivation to get out since I was feeling like I had a cold but once I arrived and set Andrew off, I felt better. I got a bunch of chores done that I have been meaning to tackle for some time - saddle position, new cleats in my shoes. 

I got a flying start but this time it stuck beyond the first corner and to my amazement i held 3rd place for some time before Hannah came past.

I was passed by 2 girls on the hill climb as I wheezed my way up but they both remounted too early and I ran back past hitting the slalom descent first, fast and sideways.

Andrew told me I was fourth and I did my best to reel in 3rd place but inevitably Sinead, 20years my junior slipped by just as my bike started to clig with a pile of leaves i accidentally rode through.

I did a half lap on Red whilst Andrew cleaned out my best bike then changed back onto my trusty steed until my chain dropped off, thankfully within sight of the pits and just before the finish line, which I crossed on Red in 5th place and way ahead of my usual result (even taking into account that many of the fast racers were overseas).

Finally a cross race close to what I know I can achieve. Question is: was it a  week of working on my feet? Last weekend's weights session? Or 5 minutes turbo session on Friday night? Who knows?

Saturday - Walk 2 mile

A week like this deserves a rest day sometimes. I reytturned some overpriced cloth hes that really didn't match me as much as the tag implied and  we did a supermarket shop.  All good intentions to do some weights when I got home evaporated so instead we walked.

Friday - Swim 1350m, 1.19 mile turbo.

I didn't set my alarm but woke up naturally at 6am.  Thank you thank you! Oh! Rest day.  Surprisingly, I felt like getting up, so I did.  Had some breakfast in my room and set out for the pool which, I had learned on Monday, opens at 6:30 am.

The post code for the place was not in the database on the satnav so I chose the nearest one but then as I approached, started following the signs for the leisure centre.  On arriving at the
leisure centre, it didn't look like the picture so I checked if there was a pool, only to get the answer, "No it's on the other side of town".  The chap gave me the street name and I found it instantly.  It was on the road that I used to approach town.    

On arriving at reception at 7:10 I found that on Fridays the pool opens at 7:30.  Oh well, another late start at the "office".  I got changed and waited further until we were allowed to pay our money.

The promised 33m pool was split via a boom into 25m + shallow end so I was further disappointed but otherwise, it was water, not too shallow and there was a glimpse out of the window of the sandstone railway bridge arches as I ploughed up and down.

The swimming was not as fruitful as expected.  I managed a constructive 15 minutes during which time I discovered that my watch was struggling to count laps (only 13 lengths logged - should have been around 30). The rest of my time was frittered away doing kicks - although kicks are productive and a constructive way to spend another 15 minutes.  There were a few laps of breast stroke thrown in, though I left the pool without any idea how far I had swum today.

At the other end of a working day that involved liquid nitrogen (I could watch it boil for hours), more walking around and a 3.5 hour drive back to Sheffield over the Snake Pass in the snow (and being strong and not going for a run in the icy rain), I went to a party and sat on a turbo trainer for 5 minutes, racing (the substantially smaller) Eddie, in aid of Norton Wheelers affiliations.  Eddie was riding an adult's bike without a saddle but sitting on a towel tied on with electrical tape.  All the other grownups had raced for 10 minutes whilst I refused blankly to play.  Since Eddie was only doing 5 minutes I agreed to keep him company and be almost beaten my somebody 1/3 my size.  The sacrifices I make to encourage the youngsters.

Thursday - rest day

I say rest day... an average office day with no exercise for me looks like around 4000 steps.  

On Thursday I did 6304 steps - mostly between 8am and 3pm.

It wasn't a particularly physical day - wandering around checking pipes - and it involved some substantial food intake - but at 3pm the light rain we'd been managing all day turned into a downpour and the four of us rushed to huddle in the electrical building to avoid being drenched.  The diesel generator was propping the door open and, having been inhaling its fumes most of the day I was now overcome by them.  

When the rain eased off, I stepped back out into the "fresh" air and immediately felt a bit rubbish.  My brain could not concentrate and I gave up and returned to my hotel room to "do some paperwork".  Whereby I had a bath, drank some coffee which had no effect so I went to sleep for 45 minutes only to be woken by the boys wanting to make a plan for dinner.  

I dragged them out to a 16th Century Forge pub and we ate beautiful food.

Wednesday - 7 mile night roadie run

I had planned to ride to the conference but as I was heading back to Carlisle I took the car and found that parking at Old Trafford was insanely easy.  Suitably informed on the process of lifting in the nuclear industry, I headed North again back to Carlisle.  

I'd organised to have dinner with my colleague in the bar at around 7:30 when I arrived but to my relief he wasn't answering his phone.  To my relief because I felt like running.  I text'd him then set about figuring out what to do.  I realised I didn't *feel* like running but I wanted to so I wore my road shoes and set out to JOG as much as I liked - just jog.  Just as far as I wanted to go.

Well, jogging turned to running and I got funky with the route finding and set myself on a much longer trail.  Considering this was a jog and a few walk stops to check the map I got back to the hotel after a 70 minute 7 mile run, pretty pleased with myself.

As I walked back, the colleague rang and colleague II arrived and we all ate mediocre hotel food together.

Tuesday - 15 mile MTB mainly road. Some trail

Tried to get up at 5 without success. At 630 managed it then finally got out by 7 and rode for as long as I dared.  I am concerned that this new aspect to my work will put paid to future training consistency but also aware that spending 7 hours of the day on my feet will be superior to sitting at my desk all day in terms of benefits.  

A little embarrassingly, as I rode past the site, the team saw me coming back to the hotel to get changed.  A good day of walking around site followed. Knackered in manchester preparing for a conference tomorrow and starting to doubt why I am doing this to myself..

Monday - restish 

But with shit loads of office work and a long drive.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This week limped into...

Sunday - 42 mile ride 976m el.

I didn't feel like cyclo-cross this morning and then I discovered that the parking was not at the event and it sealed my desire for a longer ride.  I've enjoyed what I took from the Alps so much I don't want to lose the strength endurance built up so I changed the tyres on my spare wheels for roadies and took the lightweight bike out. Possibly frivolous for this time of year but it stayed dry and I had a lot of fun.  

I wasn't packing any low gears so I had to struggle on the hills which was doing good for my self-confidence as I took everything in my stride.  So different from my last roadie ride.  After lunch in Hope we set off up Mam Nick, aced it then dropped down Winnats and headed home over Surprise view. 

Everything had been within my limits.  Thanks to the weather there was more dripping with sweat than swearing about being cold.  Might as well make the most of it while I can.

Saturday - Strength training - Prep phase

When I have day like this I have to remind myself I said I would train consistently. Not just burn myself out too early on. Consistency takes restraint as well as dedication

I didn't feel like doing anything this morning.  The outside didn't feel welcoming and even the inside felt chilly in the loft.  The thought of taking my car anywhere was not appealing but, having sat on the sofa till 11 reading my book, I had to do something and set my mind on starting my strength training for this season.  Starting at the bottom - never comfortable and a little tedious.  High reps, low weights to get used to it.  Still wore me out good and proper.  Had to eat before going out with TSK for lunch.

Weight training wasn't explosive or amazing but it was really satisfying starting something that will contribute to success in July.  Keeping it up will be the key.

Spent the afternoon getting ready for Sunday racing.  It's nice being able to do my strength training then not worry about Sunday 'cross.  It feels like I'm paying the Alp proper respect.

Friday - Rest day

Filled with working, I used the car to get to and from work to give me a break from the training and the stupid.  I very much deserved it.  However, the work wasn't easy so not much of a rest day.

Thursday - Lunchtime Run 6.7 miles, evening turbo 20 miles.

Given I had to take the car to achieve turbo in the evening, I packed my running kit and luxuriated in the traffic knowing I would otherwise be effortlessly carriaged to my training sessions that day.  Set out at lunchtime to run the canal and the bastards had closed it so I ran even further than usual, nearly plonked my ass in a rancid puddle of muck and had a generically horrible run through North Rotherham's dodgier industrial estates and MeadowHell.  Sprinted back to the office to get back in time for lunch servings, only to be suprised by a 28 minute 5k and my fastest mile in training.

Rushed over to turbo arriving just on time without any traffic hold ups!  Another strength training session with varied resistance.  Proper tired me out.  20 miles passed quickly with a lot of banter though I'm not entirely sure I believe my pooter that I did 20 miles in an hour.

Wednesday - 1600m swim, MTB to work & back

Bloody cold this morning - finally!  Still I felt like swimming so I did swimming.  Took a long time to get changed 3 times out of / into all my cycling gear.  Ploughed straight through crawl swimming and managed to churn out a mile for the first time this year.  Very satisfying until I realised it took me 42 minutes.  Oh well, I've been here much later in the year and still salvaged it.

Wobbled into work down the canal and got completely filthy again after my shower.  Then spent the evening riding home awkwardly, slowly nursing a slow puncture and a sore hand where I pinched my hand in the pump.  Went out of my way to find street-side pump stations since my own wasn't working out for me.  Got in at 8:30pm having left the office at 6 ish.

Tuesday - Yoga

Chris yoga is harder than Helena yoga.  Always more upper body with the men!  So nice to mix them up and get a bit of both.

I meant to go to track in the evening but I worked hard and was tired.  I left to get to track early but it was too early so I went home to cook delicious food instead.  Considering I was missing 3 of the ingredients, it didn't go too badly.  At least I got an early night and had fresh bread in the morning.

Monday - bike to work & swim 1300m

After Sunday's hangover, I didn't really feel brilliant all week but I set out on Monday to make myself catch up. The first half of the week was a success with a new project to look forward to at work  but it waned from there as fatigue and the reality of the tough week ahead set in.

A steady wobbly ride to work via the pool where I hauled my way through 6 kick laps and a total of 40 lengths.  At least the kicking seems to be making a difference.

Monday, November 07, 2016

This week was

Saturday - 30 mile mountain bike 1000m climb

Took EmVee out with good intentions to do a really long ride.  Didn't leave till 10:30 and with it being winter and having taken a weird turn off route, just resorted to linking together a bunch of lanes I've never ridden on before.  It was blissful as everything worked out and I was really satisfied to achieve 30 miles without really thinking about it.

Went out later and got so drunk that I needed  Sunday as a rest day.  Oh well, never mind.  I guess it's the time of year to do it.


Decided to make Friday a rest day and turn Saturday into something worthwhile instead of sitting around on the sofa complaining at being tired from Friday's training.

Thursday - yoga bike 11 miles

I went to see Helena for a wringing out.  I was tired but doing sun salutations between a full rising sun was perfect and the leg strength sessions to go with it. Yes!

I took the car in to work along with the bike and turbo trainer and churned out a nice 11 miles over 45 minutes in the scout hut.

Wednesday  - bike 7.5 mile run 11 miles

I got up at my leisure feeling tired but after breakfast managed to persuade myself to ride so long as I took the mountain bike. 

A bloody enjoyable trip to work and managed to take my running gear for the journey home. Forgot my head torch but didn't let that stop me and carried my bike light in my hand. Did most of the canal, only  using the light for the dark bridges. When I left work I was doubting I would run the whole thing , especially the point of the run home - the 100m hill climb at the end.

When I got there I floated up it like it wasn't even a hill.  It seems something great has happened to my running endurance... now if I can just get some sleep!

Tuesday - swim 1km yoga 

Morning swimming pool session with 6 lanes of kicking. I called it quits when I got bored and went to work. A snack of peanut butter ryvita meant that I was ready for yoga before lunch and stretched most of Sundays race and Thursdays squash out before doing some strength exercises that set it all back again. The only downside is not making it to track running. 

Monday - rest day 

A great day for a job application.