Saturday 27 February 2010

Run rabbit run

Did not swim again this week. That's 2 weeks without a swim. The next time I swim will probably be real hard.

Cycling went better this week. The specialized was used 3 times in all, on trips to and from work. My road bike managed 1 trip of a TROAD variation route. This trip was quite difficult as I faced a head wind as I battled up that dreaded Cobley hill. The wind blew real strong on this journey and made balancing on my bike quite tricky.

Running went better still. Ran on 4 different occasions. Three runs were the extended Studley triangle. The other run was a longer x-country jaunt with Cody, over the very wet and muddy fields of Studley.Must include a swim next week. Must take out my rope and skip a little too. All in all not too bad a week, and particularly happy with my running.

'Running not only reduces the decline of cognitive function; it actually enhances your mind.'

Weekly totals: Did not swim; Cycled 97 miles; Ran for 2 hours and 50 mins; Did not skip.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

A course, of course

This week in february has been weird. I blame John Ketley and Michael Fish and their associates at the met office. The weather has been changeable, but constantly vile each time I considered some training. Snow kept John, Ron and I from venturing out for our weekly cycle. Snow and Ice has kept Stu indoors the whole year! And rain was to blame for me not cycling home from work. Work itself has also been menace and I have been exposed to mind tricks that got me to agree to work extra shifts.

However, the specialized managed 1 trip into work this week. Rather un-eventful. Suffered cold feet. Changed the route ever so slightly to include a short sharp hill aka 'sting' at end.
Ran twice thus far. Both runs were identical and followed the well known Studley triangle route. Again, I changed the route somewhat, extending it a little. I now take on St Judes Avenue which adds a little sting and run down to Wickam Road which adds a further sting as running back up to Alcester Road is necessary to return home.

Stealth tactics were employed this week too and as a consequence I have undertaken a new course. Am not sure how I did this exactly. But suffice to say, I have enrolled and completed day 1 of an NVQ level 2 in sports and recreational something or other. Am still not entirely sure what this course is all about and what is expected, but work is funding it, it has 'sport' in the title, it gives me a legal skive of 3 hours a week for 10 - 12 weeks and I get another qualification. I'm a qualified mental health community nurse, so why I'm being allowed to do a sports course is beyond me.

'There's nowt as queer as folk'.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Cycling meddle

Did not swim at all this week. Is ok, had a prepared excuse. It was half term this week and did not wish to share a pool with a bunch of teeny-boppers.

Cycling proved a little problematic. Had hoped to use my road bike this week, but the weather put pay to that - lots of snow and ice! However, used 'the specialized' for 1 trip home from work, which was all good except for my cold feet (had forgotten my socks). Scotty managed a few trips. The first trip was with Ron and we cycled a variation of 'Ron's 1 hour loop' with 'sting'. The second was a nostalgic trip down memory lane - I cycled past old address's of mine, my brother and my cousin. The final trip was the good old 'deer sting' route. My medal from the Snowdrop Express Audax arrived this week. The medal wasn't a medal at all really, it was a badge. Even so, it looked pretty awesome and read 'POPULAIRE 100KM AUDAX UK'. I have a total of 3 medals now (the other 2 were for sledging in the Arctic Circle and completing a half marathon respectively). Filled in and posted entry forms for the Cheltenham Flyer 203k audax and the Droitwich - Towcester 218k audax which take place during march and april.
Completed three 40 min runs. The first and second run were both with Cody and we ran cross country style over Henley and Studley fields. The third run was a road run of the (extended) Studley Triangle route. I really enjoyed the last run. There is the prospect that I may have a 'new' running partner too, will keep folk posted.

'There's nothing wrong with dreaming, dreaming helps us achieve more, you dream away ..., dream like never before!'
Weekly totals: Did not swim; Cycled 72 miles; Ran for 2 hours; Skipped for 5 mins.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Something in the way

There's something in the way. Something in the way of my training. This 'something' is called 'work'. Had plans of cycling from work on the Friday and back to work on the Saturday, but oh no! Menace creatures at work had locked up (and locked me out of) the shower facilities. I felt like work had done me out of 40 miles. And to top that, work was so busy on the Sunday that I did not have time to do any 'paid' running! Such a poor performance and I don't think next week is looking much better. More menace on-call shifts await and I have to look out for my dad seeing that my mother will be away. I plan to use stealth tactics and get a key cut to said shower facility at work.

Weekly totals: Swam for 45 mins; Cycled 29 miles; Ran for 1hour 25 mins; Skipped for 4 mins.

Thursday 11 February 2010

Snow far so good

Training has been a bit hit and miss this week thus far. On-call work menace and British weather has seen to that. However, the 'hits' are summarised below.

Swimming continues to go well. Not brilliant, not by a long shot. Well, in that I am able to swim a continous 45 mins without a break.

Cycling has proved difficult this week. Ron, John and I were all available at different times and wednesday seemed the only night we could all group together. When wednesday night came, John was otherwise engaged and the freezing conditions (-2.2C) prevented Ron and I going out (remember Ron's 'spill' last week?)! Today was icy too and prevented me taking my road bike out. Scotty had a trip though, to Wyre Forest. Had never been to Wyre Forest before. The forest looked awesome, as it's floor was covered in a layer of crunchy, brilliant white snow and any sign of water was frozen solid. Scotty left tyre marks in this snow as she cycled numerous laps of both the green and blue marked mountain bike trails. These trails were real easy and provided no technical challenge at all, save dodging all the dogs and walkers that were littering these designated trails (grr). Followed a long hill to a so called mountain bike area, but found nothing at the top except a main road and a closed gate - maybe further exploration here should I visit again. Returned home feeling sniffly, but pleased my bike had been out at least once this week. Plan to cycle from or to work in the days that remain, but the weather and my motivation will dictate this.

Ran at the beginning of the week in those asics trail shoes I praised before on this blog. Somehow these shoes have gone out of shape and were crippling my feet. Not to worry, I went to Stratford to purchase some new shoes. I found a nice £70 pair, but told the guy in the shop I wasn't prepared to pay £70 for shoes that were not gore-tex. This particular pair of shoes were asics 'gel trabuco 12 wr' and although not gore-tex were still water resistant. The shop guy sold me said shoes for a more reasonable price of £60! Cody and I went for a second run, to try these new shoes out. We ran a couple of laps around Oversley Wood and the shoes felt comfortable and kept my feet dry.Skipping continues to be problematic. I think that I should perhaps donate a little more time (and maybe effort) into it. On a brighter note though, during my second skip session this week, I managed a continous 2 min skip! Plan to skip for a continous 3 mins now.

'Can a matchbox? No, but a tin can'.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Little and lots

Looking back, I didn't do an awful lot of training this week. My running shoe's never saw my feet and my rope did not skip. However, I swam for a continous 45 minutes, which was a first for this year. Only a couple of training rides were cycled, but this didn't really matter because, I completed the Snowdrop Express Audax and achieved my first goal challenge of 2010! Wahoo!
'It's a human race. And you lost.'

Weekly totals: Swam for 45 mins; Cycled 123 miles; Did not run; Did not skip.
* On my training runs, I round down to nearest min or mile.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Amazing Audax

Today was awesome. An amazing audax. Fantastic.

Early start to the day, with Ron kindly picking me up at 7.30 a.m to get to start of audax event in Hartlebury. In my haste to get everything ready on time, I forgot my glasses (but no major worries, I had remembered my bike). On route to start we saw a pig (Ron says it was a boar), the victim of road kill.

The Head Quarters (HQ) at Hartlebury was great. It was tucked away at the end of an industrial estate and 100's of bikes (well 150 to be exact, 50 did not turn up) filled the parking lot. We quickly got equipped with our shoes, bandana's and helmets and then paid a visit to the cafe. In the cafe we collected our 'bevet' cards (the cards that required stamping as proof of entry during our audax) and drank tea. I met up with 3 guys from the LEJOG event last year, namely - Clive the struck off Dr, Andy Pacemaker and Nice Guy Si - and introuduced them all to Rocket Ron.

The first leg took us from Hartlebury to Upton. This was a good ride and we all stayed together. It was interesting to see and chat with a whole bunch of fellow riders. Such a diverse population of cyclists - some young, some old, some on a single speed, some with a triple chain ring and 1 guy even had the same bike as me (go Team Focus!). Most folk were friendly and had other challenges planned in the year ahead. After 46 k we stopped at the Bridge House Tea Rooms for tea and cake - delicious. At this stop, and each subsequent stop we got our bevet cards stamped.

The second 31 k leg was fun too and took us from Upton to Evesham. The five of us here became a 2-2-1 formation with Ron and I reaching the destination first, followed by Andy and Si and sometime later Clive. Clive had taken a 'short cut' which added a few k's to his distance. Ron had trouble with his gears and his mud-guards but this didn't seem to bother him too much as he was real pleased that a photographer had taken solo shots of him (at this point Ron had 'stopped to sort himself out' and was the rider at the very back of the bunch). It was nice cycling familiar roads and the stop at Raphaels cafe was nice as it was next to the river. Ron took a picture of all us fellow LEJOGers here.
The final 46 k leg took us from Evesham back to the start at Hartlebury. We started off as a group of five, but soon into the ride Clive and Si took it a little more leisurely. There were no major hills really, and I felt really on form. Granted there were some 'undualtions' and a few short, sharp and steep climbs, but nothing like Cobley Hill! I raced along the inclines of this last section, feeling great, and strangely pleased that most others were starting to complain of feeling tired. Andy (bless him) commented ''you danced up them hills''. Ron, Andy and I all finished together and were treated to free tea, cake and beans on toast at the finish! We had our bevet cards stamped for the final time (not only do they stamp them, they write on the time taken too). Am not sure if we get these bevet cards back as they are reclaimed and checked before they send our medals out. About 50 minutes later, Clive and Si rocked up, looking a bit worse for wear. I think they took another one of Clive's 'short cuts'...

The day finished with the sharing of stories and the drinking of tea. An awesome audax and a great day out. Big thanks to Ron, Andy, Clive and Si. Shame John couldn't make it, am sure he would have loved it too.

Cycled a distance of 77.74 miles, with an average speed of 15.3 mph and a max speed of 32.2 mph.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Rocket Ron drops like a bomb

Lazyness, paralysis of will, heavy drinking, birthday (not my own) and a feeling of nausea hampered my training efforts somewhat this week. Even so, this week has not been without event. And, the week has not ended yet!

Swimming took place again at Hewell Road pool. I swam my 45 mins continously, without a break (previous max was 30 mins) and felt quite pleased with my progress. For the first time, I counted how many lengths I swam, but once out the pool couldn't remember if it was 36 or 38 lengths. I will go with 36. With this is mind, I was able to calculate that I swam a distance of 1,080 metres (36 lengths x 30 metres).

Cycled only 2 times this week thus far. The first nights cycling was with John and Ron. On the trek over to Ron's, I was a little worried as it was freezing cold (this confirmed by frozen puddles, glittering road surface and the fact I was wearing 3 bandana's and 2 pairs of gloves). Optimistic Ron was trying to convince me (perhaps himself) that I was deluded. Ron checked his thermometer and it read -.6C. ? Still not convinced that it was actually freezing, Ron had pumped his tyres up to, I dunno, 70 psi maybe - they were rock solid (no wonder he is so zoomy). John joined us and we started out on a reverse run of the 'deer' route. Things were going reasonably well initially, we were taking it quite leisurely because signs of freezing were evident. Once past Coughton Ford though, bang! Rocket Ron had dropped like a bomb. His rock hard tyres provided no grip on these freezing lanes. Ron suffered a cut knee and ripped pants. As I helped Ron back up, I couldn't help but think he was a little crazy. Here he was lying on the road still clipped into his pedals, with rock hard tyres and (can you believe this?) no working rear brake! Ron let out some pressure from his tyres and we slowly continued forward, taking the next available left and headed for home.
My next cycle was on my road bike. Did quite a distance, following 'Ron's 1 hour loop' route in reverse and then joining the 'TROAD' route for as far as the major 'Cobley hill'. Cobley hill is a real killer! After defeating this hill, I cycled into Redditch Town Centre and climbed Salop Road hill and Unicorn hill before cycling home. My new shoes (Lake CX235C) were a lot more comfortable than my last pair, though my right foot niggled a little. These shoes look very nice, feel great and get good reviews.
I did not train anymore than is listed above. No running or skipping this week, as yet. I don't plan to train tomorrow either - figured a rest day is needed before I tackle the audax.

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