Monday, 26 January 2015

A good week, but! A hamstring niggle!!

Monday 26th January

The Bikeability course on Monday and Tuesday was bitterly cold and the children struggled to cope with dealing with the cold, so it was short ‘stints’ then back into the warm, however, its amazing how children are allowed to go to school, no coat, certainly no gloves so I ended up giving out 4 pairs, unfortunately they were only thin ones and totally inadequate. The second day [Tuesday] was a little warmer, and we did manage to escape the rain later in the day.
Tuesday was also my spinning evening, another very hard session, 80% on my HRM.
Wednesday was a grey cold day with a threat of rain, so an off road run after lunch saw me on my Neroche 7 mile run, felt really hard, it was very muddy. my hamstring was a little sore, so added ibuprofen gel to the back of my leg to try to ease the soreness.
Thursday was another morning spin session, worked extra hard and managed a fair time in the 90% HRM range this time, the down side of all this is I do get very hot and there is usually a large pool and a very wet towel at the end.I had hoped the spinning would help the hamstring, but it was still there.
Friday dawned very frosty and cold, a very pretty drive to Exeter with icing sugar coated trees, a pleasant lunch, so a rest day.
Saturday, a coffee on Seaton front before a 26 mile cycle ride in the afternoon over to Hatch Beauchamp, a cold grey afternoon, I was glad to get home, as my Hamstring niggled again.
Sunday, I was up early, and in the car park at Lydyeard hill on the Quantocks by 7:45 am I was surprised that 4 or 5 cars and vans were already there!!!
There was a raw cold, north westerly breeze, as I got out of the car, I had my windstopper cycling top over a thermal vest, tights, gloves hat and my salmon rucsac with a windproof, drink, snack, bivvy bag, phone and support bandage incase my calf started to hurt [but it didn’t] my speedcross shoes were very good on the very muddy tracks round and up to Wills Neck.
I felt very leg heavy and lethargic as I started my run, I often think I will turn back after the first mile, fortunately, I don’t!! it felt very uncomfortable on the run up to Wills Neck, head wind, cold, legs heavy and my hamstring was sore, I was unsure how it would fair and hoped it would improve AND it did.  As I went over the summit and down into the shelter of the woods, it was warmer, but muddy. As I approached Crowcombe Park gate the ridge track was badly chewed up by 4x4 vehicles, deep ruts, very messy.
I started to feel better as I ran towards Dead Womans Ditch, had a drink and snack before heading off towards Halsway post, I did pass several walkers and their dogs, surprising at that time. I was feeling good, a steady pace, the 10k point was reached after 1hr and 6 mins and I headed back along the ridge and up to Wills Neck, I did walk part of it, I was ok until the last mile or so, 10.2 miles covered. The car park was very busy now so no coffee, I wanted to get home away from the crowd!! My hamstring felt ok, but by the time I had driven home it was feeling sore.
Monday today, some work on the computer and late afternoon decided on a 3mile run, only round town at a very steady pace, hamstring was sore and stiff, but felt ok by the time I got home, so not sure what treatment to give it???
So a good week with 26 miles on the bike and 20 miles run, not to mention 2 spinning sessions at a good rate – I wonder when I will start to feel results? I do hope my hamstring gets sorted quickly.
My Grizzly number came this week, reminding me its only just over a month away to the event.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Work, rest and play

Monday 19th January

After my lazy Monday night wimping out of an evening run[rest], Tuesday dawned with better
prospects! The weather forecast was better, so maybe I would escape another soaking on Bikeability.
We had a good day out with the children, all managing to demonstrate they were level 2, it was a very cold windy day but! The showers were at lunchtime, so we missed them.[work]
It was my spinning night so had to dash home, quick cuppa and a biscuit before 45 minutes of hard work. I came home, very hot and very tired, but pleased that my HRM indicated another session at 80% of max HR.
Wednesday was school day, and there was some snow as I drove across the Blackdown Hills, so after a morning reading Biff and Kipper etc with the year 2, the forecast was for gales and heavy rain later in the afternoon, I had to get a run in as soon as possible after lunch, I decided to head up to Neroche for my 6 mile off road route, there were patches of snow and the wind was very cold, I felt good and as usual couldn’t understand why I felt good but! My time was poor, funny thing the body! it was very wet underfoot, so muddy wet shoes were the order of the day.[play]
Thursday another Bikeability day, a cold but dry day, in fact it was brilliant sunshine all day. Back to the Gym in the evening for another spinning class.
Saturday I needed to get another run so managed 5.25 miles round town, my hamstrings seem to pull tonight, but I had a good fast run and felt it was a good time for the route. So at least I have managed nearly 12 miles running this week, I need to do more to prepare for the 20 mile Ex to Ax.
Sunday was forecast to be very cold again, and it was, but! Not icy under wheel, my computer said it was minus 1 degree at times. I managed a solo 42 mile cycle ride through Shepton Beauchamp, Kingsbury Epscopi, Muchelney [complete with flooded fields] Langport, Athelny, North Curry, Ham, and back over the hills through Broadway, Crock street etc. the roads were very wet and sometimes a little flooded near Athelney, I saw my first Snowdrops of the year just before Kingsbury, which was good to see, Spring is coming J

Monday, 12 January 2015


Having had a hard day on Bikeability with 18 year 5 and 6s combined with a good soaking in the wind and rain! I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to step out into a cold, wet and windy night for an evening run. So my training schedule for the Grizzly and Ex to Ax is already not going well.
The good news is I am booked into spinning tonight so will make some amends, but I will lack running miles. Another wet day ahead today on Bikeability and for the rest of the week. We will see how it goes, and not panic!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A hard coast run and a cycle ride with my son

Sunday 11th January

The weather this week has been very changeable both in rain or shine and hot and cold!
I started the week[Sunday]  with my cycle ride with Mike 42 miles as already recorded, telling myself I had to try to get some sort of training pattern I decided that Monday needed a run, the weather wasn’t great  and my legs were feeling a little sore so only a 3.1 mile run around town to ‘loosen up’ for the following nights spinning class.
I arrived 15 mins early and changed into my cycling shoes, I think as the pedals take cleats cycling is better, as the shoes are stiffer. It was quite busy and I found myself on the front row!! It was a hard session with the usual build up to the big hill at the end, my calf muscle still doesn’t like the spin bikes, but a support bandage helps. I was also surprised when I heard my name called to set the pace for a 10 minute session!!! That was very hard and I noted my heart rate was 90%+ for much of the time. I was happy when I downloaded to note that the average was again with the 80-85% HRM range.
Wednesday was a rest day after 4 days of activity. And then Thursday saw my second spin session of the week, very hard again but different Instructor, this time we backed off the pressure after every hard session before introducing more resistance, again all achieved at a an 80-85% HRM.
Friday I decided should be my long run day, so I headed down the coast, parking at Seaton Hole to avoid the £3 parking fee and giving me an extra 2 miles and several hundred more feet of climbing. It was a beautiful day, sunshine and very warm for the time of year. I walked up the first hill to warm up, before starting my run down into Beer and up to Beer Head, by the time I reached the summit there was a stiff headwind, making running difficult across the top of the cliffs, it was quite muddy under foot making me work hard to grip and stop sliding about. I went down past Great Seside, a very muddy bridleway before getting to sea level at Branscombe. All was quiet I had not seen anyone since leaving my van at Seaton Hole, even through Beer itself!
I started the climb up Branscome cliff, again it was quite muddy on the ascent and along the top, trying to avoid several large puddles. I descended to the Fountains Inn and ran along the road. I was surprised to see the road still shut and the workmen still there, but the sign did say 77 days!! The workman as before were in the hut having breakfast.
I decided on a direct ascent of the branscombe cliff to Beer Head, good practice for the Ex to Ax, it was a killer!!!!! My calf muscles screamed and my heart pumped!! [I foolishly thought my spin class would give me great benefit here, I don’t think it did!!
I hit the jelly beans at the top feeling thoroughly exhausted! And made my way at a slow jog back over Beer Head. I ran past the car park, where I normally park, telling myself it was doing me good. I was very tired. Down into Beer trying to look fresh as I ran past some workman with a cheery “morning”!!! before hittin the steps up my final climb, this was hard and I was pleased to get to the top, I did manage to run the short, flat bit at the top before electing to run on the grass down the other side to Seaton Hole [A huge mistake!! As I managed to find a patch of dog poo!!!! And cover my shoe in it, not discovered till I tried to remove them at the van!!]
It was a very slow time but 8.9 miles covered [I had hoped for further] but 1589 feet ascended, I decided this cancelled out the further mileage and something to build on. I must start from Seaton itself next time. I was very tired given the distance I ran taking a coffee and Christmas cake to recover, thank heavens for the van!!!
Saturday was another rest day, I felt I earned it, good job as the weather was awful. Sunday was fence repair day, 3 panels to sort out, fortunately my eldest son came across to give a hand[ working for the National Trust helps!!] he also brought his road bike so we were able to get a ride in in the afternoon only my usual Hatch Beauchamp/ Ilton ride 26 miles. The weather was very grey and a chilly wind blew as we rode across the levels. A pleasant ride in company for a change.

The coming week I have 4 days Bikeability and the weather forecast is very poor, we will see how it goes, I must run a couple of days and I have booked in 2 spinning classes.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New shoes and Exe to Axe entered!

Sunday January 4th

Got up this morning to a text from my son Tim informing me that he had entered us [not just him!!] for the 20mile coastal run. Exe to Axe. We did enter last year but pulled out due to a bereavement in the family.

So, after buying new road running trainers yesterday, Asics Nimbus 14 I now have to put the miles in before March 29th!!

Out with the old and in with the new [trainers]

That’s 2 big events for March, the Grizzly Cub run which is 9 miles around Beer in Devon, this is on the 1st, my birthday! And then the Exe to Axe at the end of March. That gives me a few weeks between. There is also a 100 k Audax cycle event called the Dunkery Dash which is from North Petherton to Dunkery Beacon the highest point on Exmoor, that’s the week after the Cub run.
Tried my new trainers last night and did 5.1 miles around the town, felt ok, which is a relief, as buying new shoes is a challenge and you never know whether you have got it right.
My main issue is still my right calf muscle, I need to take care of that, particularly with the spinning class, I need to massage etc and perhaps even think about physio.
A busy couple of months ahead to prepare for a busy month of March.
Then there is the 5 Tors on Bodmin Moor on the 19th April, cancelled last year, but hopefully 19 days between Exe to Axe I will recover enough to take part.

A very grey Sunday morning with a very cold feel to the air, no frost but the thermometer says its 2 degrees!
kitted up, which on these cold mornings seems to take ages with Buff, hat, gloves and winter cycling boots.
Mike turned up with his balaclava on! we were going to head to West Bay, but the wind was in a northerly direction so it was towards the levels instead. Kingsbury Episcopi via Shepton Beauchamp was the first goal, the downhills were very cold but were seemed to have got the layers right and we agreed we were warm, the fields were very grey and the black outlines of the trees stood out, the roads were wet and muddy and we tried to avoid being too close to the edge as thats where the potholes and mud are. The houses at Thorney still showing the signs of the flooding from last year, with piles of skips outside in the roads and builders vans everywhere, this area was under three feet of water this time last year.As we entered Langport there were daffodils around the entry sign and as we dropped down to the Athelney road the air seemed even colder, although the Garmin said not, 2 degrees!
We met lots of other cyclists as we headed towards North Curry and managed to get in a group that were moving at a good pace. We left them at North Curry and turned off to head back over the hills and home.The climbs kept us warm, but not enough to get too sweaty.we stopped at Crock street for a few jelly beans to get us over the final hills.Today  I even saw the first lambs of the year!! 
42 miles covered, not the fastest pace but the miles count, even though it was lunchtime the temperature had not increased and the grey skies didn't get any brighter, washing the bike down was a very cold experience, it was good to get in and have my homemade parsnip soup and cheese scones to warm me up. 
The afternoon was spent taking down the Christmas decorations, always a sad occasion as we return to normal everyday life, lots of garden and house decoration to sort out, and still lots of chocolate left!!!
No Bikeability this week.spinning tomorrow, and perhaps a run on Wednesday.

Friday, 2 January 2015

The week after Christmas, Blog birthday!!

January 2nd 2015

Since I started the Blog this time last year I have managed to cycle 2784 miles and run 612 miles which is further than 2013, it’s the furthest I have ever runJ I am sure that if I had not had flu for the 3 weeks in December I might have managed to hit 3000 on my bike, hey ho! That’s the target to beat this year. Its been a good year for exercise, 150k Audax completed, ‘the Beast’ 12 mile run was a highlight, not quite as many ‘fell walks’ as I would have liked, but we have been away in the van for about four weeks in total + lots of days out.

It was a lovely Christmas with time spent with sons and their families, Gdaughter was delightful as ever, this time it was hide and seek!! With much time standing behind curtains and under the stairs.
The week between Christmas and New Year I managed a 7 mile run with Tim over Neroche [rather than the planned Sidmouth run, logistics wouldn’t work!!] a fantastic morning run in the sunshine on a crisp cold morning, I seem to do two strides to his one!!! a very hard spinning session where I managed to maintain 80% Max heart rate for the 45mins, my aim is to do two sessions a week and 50 miles on 2 cycle rides with Mike around the Somerset lanes, one on a very icy morning that had us going very slow at times where water had run over the road, at least the bike stayed clean
The weather has been changeable each day giving us freezing ice conditions but no snow, warm muggy weather and grey damp days, seem to alternate.
Over Christmas I am re reading ‘Feet in the Clouds’ a wonderful inspiring book about Fell running and particularly the ‘Bob Graham round’ a run over 42 summits in the Lake district in 24 hrs, I don’t know how they do it!!!

As it’s the start of the year I am thinking about what I want to achieve this year, I have the Cub run in March, I hope the 5 Tors event will go ahead this year and I would like to do more Audax events and finally do a 200k event. Holidaywise, it would be nice to take the van down to the Alps again. Bikeability will continue, but I will try to restrict to two days a week, and! Finally we may try to move house this year, if I can get my act together to decorate and sort out the garden.
I will continue my Blog for the coming year. Its good to look back over the year, how quickly it has gone!!!