Saturday, 29 November 2014

Work and no play

Saturday 29th November

Four days Bikeability, in a range of weathers, one soaking!! And one nice sunny day. Children seem immune to wet weather enjoying riding through the puddles! All children this week were very excited to be riding on the roads, most tell us their parents don't allow them to ride on the roads, unless they are on the pavements! So we are usually starting at point zero with awareness of the hazards on the roads and trying to build their confidence of being in traffic. The down side this week has been my flu/cold has continued, with a cough and a sore throat trying to shout instructions to the children . The other downside has been no running or cycling ( although we did cycle about 5 miles a day on Bikeability ) as I decided the cold was on my chest, I didn't want to make it worse again. I hope to be able to start again over the weekend, although I will be starting afresh as it's three weeks since I did any training.I have now passed it all to  Mrs IanB, so she is now poorly with runny nose aches, coughs etc.
The days are short now, but without wishing life away it's only 3 weeks to the shortest day!!:-)  
I am sat watching the Snowman Triathalon on tv at the moment, looks a nice event, in a fabulous area, must be nice to be that fit.
Updated Saturday evening:-)
Managed to get 26 mile cycle ride this afternoon as it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. I headed over Broadway and out to Hatch Beachamp, fields looking very soggy, and the hedgerows are black twigs, waiting for spring to return, so they can start life again. As I came past Merryfield airfield, the wind sock was very limp, with no wind to fill it. The sun was now very low, the wet runways glistened, almost mirror like.
The roads were quite busy, the good weather fetching them all out. The climbs back over Crock Street were taken at a very steady pace. I was pleased how I went given its 3weeks since I last went out. Average speed was down to 13mph rather than my usual 15 mph. A really nice ride, quite warm, it was good to get out again. The roads were very dirty, with mud spilled out from the verges where tractors had pulled over, so the bike was in a bit of a state when I got back. Seems a regular job now after a ride. The mug of tea and fig roll were welcome when I got home.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Sunday 23rd November

Well its been a non week exercise wise as the dreaded flu decided that I was not to exercise. The flu was a continuation from the previous week, and sadly I was very poorly, recovering enough to look after GD on Thursday and Friday in Gloucester, again using the excellent 'Brierfields Motel campsite' with the campervan, we were amazed tha the site was full on a Thursday night in mid November, clearly people don't stay at home when you have spent your money on an expensive motorhome or caravan!! we did manage a very wet walk along the river at Tewksbury with GD, which was very pretty, but wet!! BUT! GD enjoyed the splashing in the muddy puddles :-) - so 0 miles running and 0 miles cycling, but still find myself on Sunday evening coughing and a cotton wool head, be it less than it was. Cold remedies! how do they get away with the advertising!!!!  they don't work - end of!!! had my clod/flu now for 2 weeks,I have been watching bits on 'You Tube' of mountain runners and fell running to keep me inspired - they just seem so fit.

Back to Bikeability tomorrow so hope I have the voice and the ability to stand for hours on a cold street corner, and hoping by later in the week to manage a short run.
My son is already asking if I want to enter Exe to Axe at the end of March ,we did enter last year then due to bereavement had to pull out. This year I will enter late, and try to gauge my miles at the end of January and if I will be fit enough for the 20 mile coast run [lots of steep ups and downs!].
I can also gauge with my Grizzly cub run on the 1st March which is 9 miles along part of the route.
I was hoping to increase my mileage this year even though I am up on last year still not as good as 2012
         running    cycling
2014  555           2511
2013  501           2398
2012  590           3000

If I put a good spurt in perhaps I will beat 2012!!! although I have lost at least 2 weeks.

Monday, 17 November 2014

No runs, no cycle ride, but a few days away in the campervan.

Monday 17th November  
No running and no cycling last week! Didn’t even get to my second spinning class!
The week started full of promise of getting regular runs or cycling in including a weekly spinning session, this all changed when our Grand Daughter was sent home from playgroup as being unwell. We were duly called in to help out whilst parents carried on trying to earn a crust to pay the mortgage!

Monday and Tuesday were a deluge of rain and wind for two days, so no getting out to run [wimp!] Wednesday saw us driving up the motorway to stay at the 'Brierfields' campsite, outside Cheltenham a very good and cheapish site that is in a great position for Gloucester and Cheltenham, sadly it was Cheltenham festival so the campsite was very full, but remained quite.
We had a good three days with our Gdaughter with a bus trip to Gloucester docks and a visit to Bourton in the Water one of the Cotswolds tourist traps, but, very pretty and the Gdaughter really enjoyed feeding the ducks across the many bridges and of course the strawberry ice cream. Riding in the campervan with ‘wheels on the bus’ on the ipod was also a favourite with Gdaughter whilst cow spotting from an elevated position in the van. We were lucky with the weather as it was only really wet on Thursday, but GD was not well enough to go out anyway. Sorry no pictures, the colours across the Cotswolds were stunning, with the beech trees now changing colour, and in the misty light added a real atmosphere.
I clearly had to cancel my spinning class, I can’t get now until two weeks time.
I also started my flu symptoms on Thursday and these continued through till today, I have felt dreadful over the last few days with a heavy cold, aching legs, and thick head.
I don’t understand that every time you get to a point where you are reasonably fit, and managing to get the regular runs/rides in, there is always something that gets in the way, meaning you almost have to start again from scratch, in my case this time it is a cold, but I have had injuries before. Maybe it’s the body telling us enoughs enough!!!
It was nice to be away in the campervan, the van is surprisingly warm  and cosy especially when you hear the rain pit pattering on the roof!!

I should be at Bikeability this morning[Monday]  but, one of the side effects of my cold has been losing my voice, so I had to get cover, I must say, I really think standing on street corners this morning in the pouring rain would not have been good!! So really pleased I took action to cover on Saturday.

We have managed to book a few days in the Lakes in early December after a deal through ‘Fallbarrow Park’, a great position in Bowness so it will be nice to spend a few days before Christmas in the lakes and give us something to look forward to. I hope I get the chance to nip up a couple of mountains, but will be happy rambling around the valleys if the weather is poor, should be snow on the tops J

I am hoping I will be well enough to resume my running before the weekend. I think the cold is starting to shift, but left with a cough, I was also looking at the 10mile Bicton Blister over Woodbury common on the 30th November but! After the break in training I think that is out of the question, I will have to look for something else before Christmas to give me a goal to aim for and give me an idea of my fitness.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Pittville park, grotty weather

We finished the week off with a day out with our Grand daughter in Gloucester, visiting Pittville Park in Cheltenham, on a wild wet and windy day. Pittville is a lovely park with a nice playground, some birds and rabbits and the obligatory pond with ducks. We had a lovely day with the autumn leaves blowing around, GDaughter enjoying the freedom in her Welles splashing in the puddles.
I managed a 5 mile run around town on Saturday at an 8.5 minute pace. Sunday was bright and sunny so a cycle ride after coffe on Seaton seafront, only 32miles but enjoyable anyway.
No bikeability this week so mor decorating! Weather is really poor,  heavy rain and gales, and forecast for the rest of the week, hence, grotty weather title.

Spinning again on Thursday, so looking forward to that.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Fence panels, a run and my first spinning session

Thursday 6th November

Busy week so far, Monday was a cutting back trees and bushes ready for fence panel replacement on Tuesday when our  eldest son came  over to give me a hand to replace ten six foot fence panels! and a concrete post. After removing lower branches off next doors ley landii  [grrrrrrr! horrid things!!!!!!] so we could lift the panels high enough to get them in the concrete slots, very hard, lessons learnt on the first one, good job it wasn't too windy either. We did well on the first couple but!! by the fifth they were getting heavy. Next job was to dig out a lump of concrete and a elderberry root, Son had an ingenious method using a farmers jack to pull out the stump, which worked really well. He then used the hole, but a bit deeper to bury the concrete we removed. Working for the National Trust has the benefits of tricks of the trade when it comes to trees. One of the hardest jobs was removing an old fence panel covered in ivy, which was covering one side of the fence, and was at least 20 - 25 mm diameter in places!! - so a good job done, especially between showers. I also forgot to mention that Bramble the brown lab was there with his ball, insisting it was thrown between hammer blows or spade fulls of dirt!!!

Wednesday morning saw me working with year 2 at the school hearing them read and talking through the plots of Biff, Kipper and Wilf :-) After lunch the sun still shone so as I hadn't run for a week and not run off road for several weeks I headed up to Neroche castle for a run and took my camera this time hoping to get some Autumn shots, I was surprised to see many of the leaves had now gone!! I had a good 6 mile run from the Castle over to Staple hill and back, not too muddy, and the weather perfect, lots of dog walkers out today and the views stunning as always. I was also pleasantly surprised with my time of 1 hr 11 mins which to say I stopped several times for photos was good [hopefully the results are below]
 Starting at Neroche castle
 Down Stairway to heaven

 Flat bit down to the road crossing

 selfie before the road crossing

 Starting the climb up to Britty after about 1.5 miles

 Crossing the open field near Britty
 Climb up to Staple car park nearly 3 miles covered
 Nice track from the carpark, flat and time for a breather!!
 Looking over summit of the Blackdowns

 Entering the woods on return journey

 some good steeplechase type obstacles

 nice single track through the woods
 View over towards Wellington and Exmoor
 Car park at Neroche

Its amazing again, how last weeks run was hard work, but today much better, funny thing the body!!!

Thursday was my first Spinning session, I apprehensively went down to the local leisure centre, towel, and water. As I got there one man was setting up his machine, so I followed getting the seat the correct height. Another 8 people appeared a good mix of male and female, young and older!!
the Instructor started us of with a warm up spin to a good music beat, I was soon very hot and sweating. The session continued with more resistance  applied to make it harder to pedal, and I found holding the speeds for the what seemed lengthy 30 secs,  hard!! and we had to increase resistance each time, sometimes standing. It was a good session , but very hard, I was not used to the bike, or the resistance, totally unlike a real bike, it did seem to me much harder than 'real cycling' or even running up hill, so I hope it will make a difference. We finished the session with some stretching. I did enjoy it, got very hot, legs did ache, I now look forward to next week as I have already booked !! I need to keep it up at least once a week.
It was nice to sit down at home with a nice mug of real coffee and a couple of Brioche rolls with homemade jam. AND! of course sitting writing this blog

Monday, 3 November 2014

A quiet week

Monday 3rd November

Three days Bikeability this week at leisure centres in Crewkerne and Cheddar , the Crewkerne course weather was a contrasting two days, Tuesday was warm and sunny and beautiful day, whilst Wednesday was heavy rain, making the day and unpleasant riding experience for the children [and for me!] The Cheddar course I was only needed on day one, but we managed to finish the day with a cycle up the ‘Strawberry line’ cycle route to Axbridge, so called as the old railway line used to be used for transporting strawberries to Bristol etc. A nice route passing the Cheddar reservoir, lots of half term people enjoying the sunshine.
Thursday also saw Mrs IanB and daughter having a day out at the Bath spa  followed by lunch at Jamie Olivers Italian restaurant in the town, feedback says they had a great time, especially in the rooftop pool! It was Mrs IanBs birthday, so cake at teatime was in order.

I did get out on Wednesday for a run in the evening, I seemed to really struggle, not being able to set a reasonable pace, given it was the same route as the Sunday run 5.1 miles I was over a minute slower per mile, legs were heavy and breathing not easy. The body is strange, I went through why I would feel like this and came to no real conclusions, diet and sleep were normal, the only thing I put it down to was, I did eat a heavy dinner about an hour before my run.
Friday was a lovely day so after some admin paperwork decided that a cycle ride rather than a run was my preference, a temperature of 17 degrees centigrade !! showed on my cycle computer amazing for the last day of October and the roads were dry so I rode my summer road bike [Qoroz] again, the difference between my summer and winter bike is quite noticeable, the summer bike being quicker, and more responsive, I really do like the gearing on my Qoroz.  28miles at 15.5 mph was enjoyable compared to my run of the previous day. My aim to run three times a week and cycle at least once has still not quite happened. Certainly the dark evenings I find do not motivate me at all, and when I do a Bikeability day, these days are quite hard and challenging  ensuring the children are safe and working through the outcomes to ensure they have been consistent enough to award them the level two.
I am intending to get down the local leisure centre this week to try a spinning class, I hope this will help motivation!

Sunday dawned wet and windy, but the promise of fine weather later, so rather than go out and get wet I thought an afternoon ride was a better option [wimp!]
The sun was shining when I set off after lunch so chose to take out the summer bike, I keep thinking it will be my last run out on it this year, but the weather ha been kind so far, only resorting to the winter bike once.
The ride through Broadway was pleasant even though I encountered a tractor hedge cutting and throwing the rubbish all over the road, good puncture material. The clouds seemed to be gathering over the Blackdowns and I did wonder if I would get the whole way round my ride without a soaking [more later] with one eye on the weather I decided to drop down through Hatch Beauchamp rather than my Slough Green route as last time I went that way the road was closed, giving me a long detour! I made my way over Meare Green and down to North Curry, roads now were showing signs of winter approaching being very damp and muddy where tractors had been in the fields, mixed with wet leaves a nice concoction to make the roads treacherous in places, as well as giving my bike and backside a nice coating of mud, I should have brought the winter bike after all as it has mud guards, a lesson there some where!.
Still keeping an eye on the approaching dark clouds I made the decision to via Athelney and check on the dredging, as I dropped down to the railway crossing the first spots of rain began, a quick look over the bridge, a nice wide channel now with fast flowing water [no idea what impact it will have on stopping flooding further down stream at Burrowbridge and Moreland though] on through Stathe in ever increasing shower, time to put my pertex top on, not waterproof but keeps the wind off.  
When I got to Oathe the road splits and I decided the quickest way home was through Oathe and up to Curry Rivel, unfortunately climbing off the levels up Heale lane is a 20% hill that’s 1 in 5 old money!!! I surprised myself and found the climb ok sitting down for the majority of the climb, my 32 tooth sprocket coming into its own. The rain stopped again just before the climb, and the sun came out.

                                              Winter sunshine over the levels just before my 20% climb!!!

Past the Heale tower. [The following is taken from the web ] to Curry Rivel.
“High above the village of Curry Rivel stands a tall column, dedicated to the memory of Sir William Pynsent. Pynsent was a highly successful businessman in the thriving Somerset cider trade.
When the government of the day was considering taxing cider more heavily, William Pitt the Elder came out strongly against the proposals. Sir William Pynsent was so grateful for Pitt's support that he changed his will, and left the Burton Pynsent estate to Pitt.
When Pynsent died in 1765, his relatives were shocked to find they had been left with only a thousand guineas each. They contested the will, but the challenge was unsuccessful, and Pitt became the new owner of the Burton Pynsent estate. Pitt commissioned Capability Brown to design the the monument to remember Pynsent (and, no doubt, to remember his wealth!). The monument was constructed by Philip Pear, a builder from Curry Rivel.
The monument rises to a height of 140 feet, and was finished in 1768 at a cost of £2000, a not-inconsiderable sum fore the day. It is composed of a rectangular plinth upon which is a round column topped by a viewing platform, itself surmounted by an urn. The viewing platform is no longer accessible, due, legend tells us, to an unfortunate incident with a cow.”

An interesting story. Anyway, on through Hambridge, and another rain shower,  the roads were very wet!! I turned right and went through Isle Abbots, on back through Ilton, by now it had stopped raining again, but roads were increasingly muddy.Crossing the A358 was easy for a Sunday afternoon and back home over Crock street and the three final climbs . 41 miles total so a good ride, except for the rain, I had to hose off my bike when I got back because of the mud! the temperature had dropped to 8 degrees, big difference to  Fridays 17 degrees!

This week only 5 miles running but 69 miles on my bike!