Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sun Salutations in the Rain

Yoga today followed by a 4km run with a workmates who made me run faster cos I didn't want to slow him down too much.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

worky wirk work

Rest day from training today but a bloody productive day on site with a lovely drive home from Hazel Grove.

Wish I felt a bit more recovered.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One step closer

Today I rode to yoga on my way to work. What a great way to start the day.

Yoga was tough and my afternoon was mostly lost daydreaming of what lies ahead. I am finding an exciting project pretty unexciting at the moment because it's difficult for simple reasons. It won't fit. I don't know whether to mess with it and make it fit or give in and say, it won't go here,  give me another place.

I have come home to simple chores. Some pleasant ones.

I am trying to be calmly happy with my lot.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Back... Done

Today I did another lunchtime easy run. This time 20 minutes. Double my previous distance.

Then I went swimming after work and discovered a new swim technique that massively improved my speed. All I need to do now is:

  • remember it,
  • Practice it
  • Maintain it
Shouted at a boy who nearly punched me in the head while racing his mate.

Now I am very tired and going to bed happy. Yoga tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Really Tough Easy Ride

Today's planned to be easy on effort- keeping the heart rate in recovery or aerobic zone,  no slipping into tempo tri pace. It was also planned early to avoid the worst of the weather.  Forecast was cloudy at mid day but by 3pm there would be heavy rain.
Going up the hill out of Sheffield (a57) was painfully slow - poor TSK - so I promised him we would make it a 50 mile ride to make up for the snail's pace as more than one mamil passed us with a cheery 'hello'.

After a brief stop in Bamford with a wave at Richard Hakes we made the decision to turn left towards Haddon instead of taking the exposed route through Tintwistle. I think we had both been alarmed by how cold our skin temperature was during our pee stop in Bamford.  Suddenly getting out of the wind will do that for you.
We flew through Hathersage,  formulating a plan to stop for cake and tea in Calver. TSk suggested we cut it short and head home after coffee but,  thinking he was saying it for my benefit, I reinforced just how much fun I was having and I wanted to continue.  Refreshed by Parkin we continued to Bakewell where, at 12 o'clock it started to drizzle.

Again TSK asked if I wanted to drop the planned circuit of Chatsworth but I said I had another waterproof and would be fine. Then we got on the back of a train of mamils and made some progress on the headwindy main road for a short time before turning off into the Chatsworth estate. The ride through Chatsworth and Baslow was, in general,  really nice without all the motorists blocking the roads - as tends to happen when it is warm and sunny. Even the climb up to Owler Bar started off pleasant,  although it looked like I was on for a personal worst and the rain was getting more earnest,  I was still really impressed with my new windproof which was keeping the rain at bay no problem. I gave up on the heart rate control here.  I was on my way home so no need to worry about blowing-up. Eventually my heart rate settled for 2.8 anyway.

I did think that I would stop and put on my coat and hat before the descent but as we reached the summit it was full-on snowing the shit out of itself and there was nowhere that I particularly wanted to stop. In theory I was going to get down off the hill as quickly as fucking possible.

I enjoyed the first bit of the descent because it's fast with great sight lines and then I started to just be glad I had selected my helmet with a peak on it this morning as I tilted my head so that the visor kept the huge chunks of snow out of my eyes. By the time I reached the Dyson factory my feet were soaked through and as soon as I got to the run out at the bottom of the steep section I stopped to put my coat on. I couldn't get the zipper to do up and left TSK freezing at the traffic lights waiting for me.  The best of me wishes he'd just gone ahead and left me.  A big part of me was glad he waited but at this point I didn't realise he was worse off than I.

As he gradually dropped back I finally found the flyover the perfect stopping place out of the rain and wind to get his second coat on. I led up the last hill to get the heat and kettle on and wrap myself in fleece so I could help him. A good dose of tannin has mostly fixed us but for an easy ride,  hypothermia really shouldn't have been part of the plan.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Next item on the agenda - swimming

I have finally made it to my new pool. I joined 2 weeks ago when we returned from holiday only to contract the lurgy. The last few days have been a mishmash of trying to get up in time to go, trying to finish work early enough to go or trying to have the energy to go somewhere new, find out where everything goes and find out what is good and what is bad.

I admit I was a bit dubious about it. I consider Ponds Forge to be such a great international facility and I signed up for 3 months at the gym without even having tried the water. It felt a tad rash given that I don't do weights that often and with the best intentions, rarely get around to attending classes either.

Last night I got organised enough to write down the pool opening times, booked on a yoga class whilst I was at it and packed my swim kit.

Much to my surprise and in spite of my reluctance I assembled the correct quantity of 20p pieces to do parking and lockers and successfully made it there. The changing rooms were unnervingly busy but they lacked the pungent odour of Ponds Forge nappy suite or poorly cleaned loos. The paper dispenser in the toilets worked properly and there were lockers available despite the busy time.

I reached the poolside and set about changing my watch from a 50m pool to a 25m pool. As I did so it occurred to me just how pleasant it was sitting on the edge, partially submerged. It wasn't freezing cold! I'm not the neshest person in the world but I don't have much body fat so pf used to make me shiver quite a lot. I know some people like it that way because they swim faster than me but as far as I am concerned I sat on the edge of that pool thinking, "I think I'm gonna like it here".

In the water, I shared a lane with one man. To my absolute joy he was young, well built and I kicked his ass... though he wasn't so slow as to get in my way. We were polite to each other.

As I went about my laps in a relaxed manner (adaptation only) I took in my surroundings. One thing that stays constant in life is the architecture of swimming pool roofs. I must've spent more time than I remember here because the wave-shaped roof was so familiar to me. The lane markers weren't brilliantly clear but unlike pf the tiles were close to me and large enough to follow so I had no navigation issues. The water was perfectly clear, not like the horribly cloudy conditions of Concord Leisure where I am reduced to swim on a weekend when of is closed for competitions.

After 14 laps I stopped for a rest. I had already decided to aim for only 30 so as not to overdo it. I rested for a minute. In retrospect the sides aren't easy to hold onto so in future I will rest at the shallow end. (When swimming widths at PF there is no shallow end).

I set off again, still out-swimming my companion but he sat on my feet in between rests. Just as I started to feel tired, like I was ready to quit I found I had done 10 and only had 6 to go to hit my target. As I started them I did a bit of maths that if it was true that this was a  33m pool I would have nailed my May race distance. It wouldn't be fast or pretty but a great motivator.

Sure enough, having checked with the lifeguard, the stats were in and I was overjoyed. I headed off for a gushing hot shower, infinitely better than ponds forge, in a very good mood.

Monday, February 16, 2015

feeling sorry for myself

I measure so much of my life on how active I am it is unbearable to stop sometimes. Now caught between recovery and not overdoing it I waver between completing chores and resting and don't have the energy for anything more.

Oh how I miss my health.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

We celebrated Valentine's Day by shopping for a stove to make the house nice next winter and I can't think of a more romantic day given that we are both still recovering from a cold and we both felt like a walk. It was a good long walk.

Dinner in a Chinese restaurant on the way home was made only slightly cheesy by the rose we were awarded for leaving.

I fiddled with my bike and did some knitting.

The perfect rest day.

I've had enough now and would like to ride my bike again please.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

One day at work on my bike and two horrid days (1 in bed and 1in work) of trying to shake off some bloody flu virus that I have had since Austria. I had no choice but to stay in bed on Tuesday, I slept all day. I wish I had chosen to stay at home today but I picked up an interesting job and now have 2 weeks to do something impressive with it.

Knowing your own body

Written approximately 12 hours prior to receiving a letter from the hospital instructing me to continue taking the iron tablets that they had previously told me to stop. Obviously explaining the rapid deterioration in my performance, breathlessness at only 1500m attitude and ability to generally cope with life.

Reset the onwards and upwards button

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Down to earth with a rusty coloured bump

Dear Mrs Trep.  We confused you by telling you to stop taking your drugs when we actually should have told you to keep taking them for 4-8 weeks. It's taken us 5 weeks to post this letter.  We're not going to say sorry for writing to tell you off for not attending an appointment we didn't make or telling you to stop taking the drugs that have been improving your health.

Oh well we all make mistakes and hey, I know I was right to be concerned about the shortness of breath on my holiday. At least I am not really sick again... except for the small matter of sleeplessness

Friday, February 06, 2015

Ski day 6

Desperate to get one adventurous walk in on my holibobs I set myself the challenge to travel from my door to the glacier using as few lifts aa possible. I set out across the fields and walked along the river tracks while Andrew got on the bus.

I caught the Hockburgbahn to the mountain and the tal lift to meet Andrew at the Tux 150. From there we descended to Rastkogel and ate chocolate cake at Heidi's hutte before descending to the Eggalm lift then climbing over and down to Eggalm area.

Andrew took the bus and I was on my own again to start the beautiful hike up the valley past rock bands,  waterfalls,  trees and songbirds.  I have to look up a river bird about the size of a sparrow but black with a white belly.

There were cheesy gnomes and lots of cross country skiers on the tracked runs - which tbh, I found incredibly sanitised and boring.

I was disappointed to find the mountain trail closed due to avalanche risk but enjoyed passing through a farmyard with jovial farmer in tow. After a short foray along the river,  sadly I had to climb the opposite side of the Valley and inevitably had to climb up to the road and an overflow car park for the glacier.  I bypassed it as best I could but soon ended up back on the road with a quarter mile walk between two concrete walls to get into the village.  Eventually I got back on skis on the seemingly flat field into town.

Assuming it to be slightly downhill I removed my skins, only to find it slightly uphill.  Without my long touring poles I found no traction on the path and my foot was aching with the effort of paddling on ice so I took my boot off for a rest while I put my skins back on and persuaded Andrew to meet me at the bottom of the route 1. I couldn't face much more skiing.
We had a delectable lunch in a posh hotel in Hintertux which was worth it for the day. We headed down by bus, getting straight on then off again and on to the train.  An excellent day to close out on.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Ski day 5

We travelled up to the much anticipated Ahorn area of the mountain. It felt a bit like travelling again with a change of busses and a new lift. It was -11°C in the car park and bloody freezing on top.

We nailed the red run with the odd twitch on ice then headed for the blues to reinstate confidence before hitting the fun park. It would have been fun if we hadn't had frozen fingers every time we arrived at the front of the queue to go down then had to get on a freezing lift with no covers between each run. After 3 goes, we gave up and went for coffee.

After that we skied the red a few times and filmed each other so I could check my technique. Then we trundled down red 4 to hit the black and enjoyed every minute except for the occasional wobble on ice. When we got to the bottom,  I was grumpy and couldn't decide what to do next so we took the obvious course of action - lunch - to debate the options.

Lunch of pizza was eaten outdoors to avoid the smell of fags inside and I again luxuriated in sheepskin.

I made the call to end the ski day. I was pissy and couldn't foresee enjoying my time in the main Mayrhofen area so we returned to the hotel by taxi (the busses stopped running for lunch), dropped our skis then paid €8 for a return train ticket to do some shopping.  Some quite vigorous shopping which resulted in me acquiring a new ski coat and backpack to take the day to day stress off my OMM one and give me something to carry skins in if I decide to do some trekking tomorrow.

It was all in all a successful day as I felt bloody good about taking time off.  I had some weird justification for buying the rucksack based on improving my day to day life as I make it part of my work inventory and get away from that boring,ugly Targus bag. Since I was awake half the night thinking about my bloody job I figured I owe myself an excuse to love it,  even if it just pays for the toys.

I am looking forward to tomorrow,  whether it snows or not but I am also looking forward to getting home,  seeing the girls and getting back on my bike.  I had forgotten just how much this holiday (no matter when it occurs) affects my acquisition of base condition.  Exercising all day every day for a week should set my performance in good stead and I can't wait to play with that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Ski day 4

Started off at our local resort today which made for a short and sweet bus ride and not so long a queue for the lift aa we were up early as usual.  (If I could sleep this well at home,  getting up in the morning would be a breeze... but then I would have to enjoy my ride to work as much as skiing all day).

We gradually made our way over to the as-yet unexplored Eggalm area via a ski route which was far more successful than our previous encounter with the trails of Mayrhofen. I enjoyed the travel and Mr Rodgers progressed his competence in managing icy sections of piste.

In Eggalm we enjoyed black runs and wonderful mountain restaurant experiences, my favourite involving sheep skin rugs on a bench, filling me with renewed enthusiasm to make my home cosier and more lovely. The day seemed too long until we tried to leave and then we ended up doing a drag lift twice which made my leg hurt and then got on the wrong lift but... we got there in the end.

On the way down I had my first crash but it was on a black run so not far to fall, just a long way to slide... and right in front of a ski instructor too. That warranted a coffee before we left and enjoyed the descent before the crowds arrived.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Ski day 3

That mainly illusive feeling of independent travel one gets from a package ski holiday, yet you book away because you know no matter what your booking, you're going to pay a stack of money so you might as well have a ski monkey to take the pressure off coordination of transport.

Today we travelled to Hintertux. We nearly took the bus but it didn't stop because we expected it to be labelled "Hintertux" not "glacier". So we walked back to the station with minutes to spare.

The steam rose off the swollen river creating an eirie scene like something from a hithcock movie set in Eastern Europe.  There's no barriers at road crossings here.  People are trusted to stop and look.  Clearly this doesn't always work as we cringed at several motorists who queued in traffic with their rear bumper teasing the tolerances of the train we knew was about to appear any moment through the fog.

Once on board,  we were overjoyed that in the fog the train pooped at every crossing. We streamed past motorista. It could only have been better if the steam train had come.

The next bus was the one we wanted.  Luxury coaches to whisk passengers up to the highest mountain area. We drove through Mayrhofen which rang a few bells then on up the hill.  Tempting as it was to ski home, it took 1 hour to drive to Hintertux and we thought we were already there 3 times. I need no further alarm bells.

The temperature outside the bus was -16 °C

Ablutions done,  we rode 2 lifts before any skiing happened.

It was in excellent condition.  Got a bit choppy towards the end of the day but it was being pisted occasionally.

Due to the excess cold and wind chill approaching that I have seen in Canada,  we ate lunch at 11.30 and took tea at 2.45 before doing the last 3 runs and heading home.

We walked straight off the lift onto the bus then a failed train meant it was just another luxury bus ride back to Hippach.

We stopped for a gluwien on the way home and I actually had my limited German understood by someone. Things are improving.

Ski day 2

I proudly declared us hardcore as the only ones at breakfast this morning then Andrew reminded me that I was in bed at 7pm the night before.

We had 2inches of snow at the village last night. We dressed for cold and caught the 8.30 bus while everyone else was still drinking coffee.

At the hill we invested in goggles to help Andrew see in the snow blizzard and a ski lock to help me eat my lunch indoors without being wracked by paranoia.  We were still early enough to make it up the escalator instead of being stopped by the queue for the lift.  A short run to get into it again then on to the next lift over to Rastkogel - the bus on a string Tux 150.

The wind was brutal but aa long as it kept snowing I could cope. When it started blowing the snow up the mountain so it tried to lift the hood on the chair I was less impressed and we had to stop quite soon to thaw ourselves and our face protection.
Along with coffee and strudel we then skied every blue and red in that area before lunch and playing with the Penken mittlestation where we found some off piste that was skiable and took advantage of a snowboarder's broken arm to ski in the tracks of a passing piste bully.

We declared our second run down 48 our last before skiing a retreat to the lift this time,  not dicing with the ice and mud on route 30.

It was 2.45 when we got to the queue for downhill and we were down soon enough, enjoying a warm shower and heading out to buy much coveted supplies of food for the inevitable midnight snacks if either of us manages less than 13 hours straight through of a nighttime.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Ski day 1

We were oh so careful we were.  We rented tsk some skis, travelled to our local hill, skied a few blues to get our feet settled and drank some coffee with early lunch at 11:30. We then did the occasional red, heading back towards our way off the hill which we set about taking at 3pm, a little later than we anticipated.

The descent route started so well as a lovely bimble through the trees and we scoffed at the Scotts attempting to cut straight down the tree line then things started to get nasty with a bit of ice then an entire hillside with a scraped section of brown as wide as the piste and taller than us both.  While I tried to side step it Andrew had other ideas which didn't end well and nearly ended up with him in the stream.

At one point we gave up and took our skis off to walk off the side of the route next to a forest and ended up helping while someone was pulled out by the arms, having slid into the trees.  Those with hire skis or no respect for the ones they were wearing skittered across the mud above us. Few made it out the other side upright.

It took us 1.5 hours to get down.
I ate dinner and went to sleep for 13.5 hours.