Sunday, February 27, 2011

There goes the fear again


It happened again. All set for a bike ride, just about to start off, and

Yeah, like that. I just stopped. I got The Fear, whatever you want to call it. Outside my own house, on a quiet suburban street, beautiful day... just couldn't go. I've never bungee jumped or skydived, but it was kind of how I imagine that would feel, that first step into nothing, and something instinctively going "noooo!". It was very weird. I ended up going inside to get a drink of water (well, just to get off the bike), shaking like a leaf, and eventually Mark came out with me and ended up physically getting me going with a big push. Deeply embarrassing - I felt like a complete idiot.

Happily, the rest of the ride was incident-free and really rather enjoyable. I didn't stop much, but I had to once or twice at junctions, and after a deep breath just got going again. I'm trying to fix those times in my mind ready for the next ride, rather than dwell on the weird vertigo thing.

Overall, I did just over 40km with an average of nearly 24km/h (and a maximum of 40 :) - that's a nice little ride. I saw more pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders than cars on the country roads, too. Definitely a nice day for it - I'm glad I made it out there eventually!

Photo of me just to prove I got out :)

Photo: Vertigo by darkmatter, on Flickr

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Running part 2

My first parkrun for a while today. It was cold and drizzly, and I ended up running in my decidedly non-breathable €5 waterproof. Actually, the waterproofs I needed were wellies.

Unfortunately, despite quite a bit of recent investment, the paths in the park are not very even, and there are lots of puddles. LOTS of quite deep puddles, and lots of mud created by people running on the grass to get around the puddles. The run used to finish wonderfully through the northern entrance to the bandstand/colonnade, but that's one of the biggest puddles so they moved it back a bit. It's a shame - all it would take to fix things would be a bit of thought and some good workmanship. I finished with very soggy, cold feet, and some people looked more like they'd been doing a cross-country!

At the time of posting this, the results aren't yet available. I chose to run without a watch, so I'm not really sure what I did, but I'm guessing close to or even over 30 mins. I got lapped quite early, so either the winner was really fast or I was pretty slow. I'll have to wait and see!

Edit: 30:20. Pretty slow but still a massive (*cough*) 7 seconds ahead of my PW!

Edit 2: Blog post no. 500! Woohoo!

Photo: Running part 2 by The World According To Marty, on Flickr

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spring has sprung!


Well, that's what it felt like at lunchtime. By the time I cycled home tonight it had started to rain. sigh

I had a quick gym session planned at lunchtime, but then realised I'd left something at home that I'd need later. Looking longingly out of the window at the spring sunshine, I decided to get changed into my kit but then cycle home and back to work via a scenic route - who wants to be stuck in a gym when the sun's out anyway?

Apart from the fact that I didn't really have time to get out into the "proper" countryside, it was lovely. A healthy dose of fresh(ish) air and at least some exercise, plus vitamin D, birds singing, a few flowers scattered in the verges... that'll do me.

Photo: sprung by FatMandy, on Flickr

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Noodle arms

udon noodles, with vegetables and tofu

The set was only 6x100m and 6x25m sprints, with 250m warm up and cool down. The 100m were done in 2:01, 2:05, 2:03, 2:03, 2:04, 2:02. Consistent, but not super fast (which is as it should be) - but by the time it came to cool down my arms felt like noodles, all floppy and wibbly (but less tasty). I have days that feel strong and just kind of "graaahhh, take that, world" but this was not one. I have to confess - I skipped the drills and the kick sets...

Photo: udon noodles, with vegetables and tofu by massdistraction, on Flickr

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



Over to Eaton Park, around the park (splosh), through the woods (squish), back to UEA, around the Broad (splat), over the bridge (splodge), up the hill (slippyslide), across to the playing fields (*gurgly quagmire noises*) and back to the office. A dead even split, 2 miles/20 mins with Natalia and her funky insoles, 2 miles/20 minutes with P!nk, ending with her dragging me up the hill telling me I'm "F***ing Perfect". Steady, love. It was a good run but there's a way to go yet.

Photo: img128 by chris salzman, on Flickr

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Single Tank Stairway

Decided not to risk irritating my eye by swimming today, so went to the gym. I did a decent strength circuit on Sunday so today I did two 12-minute interval profiles on the stepper (c.500m total climb), then some very quick weights (biceps, triceps) and core (crunches, pressups). Stepping was hard work, probably because I haven't done it for so long, but I made sure to keep the technique right - not supporting myself on my arms or do any of the bizarre contortions my neighbour was doing (almost a pike position at one point) means that only my legs suffered. I've been noticing my pressups are getting better too - I'm up to 3 x 10 and feeling strong. Still on the half version (knees) but definitely improving.

While in the gym I watched both the TV weather and the brightening sunshine outside. I'm aiming to run tomorrow, and typically the forecast is torrential rain...

Photo: Single Tank Stairway by Ed Siasoco (aka SC Fiasco), on Flickr

Monday, February 21, 2011

A little pampering...

Jurlique Organic Facial 2

A weekend away with the girls... It was just a small hen weekend, including one spa treatment and use of the pool and other facilities - certainly a lovely, lazy break. Not much in the way of training!

I didn't really want to try and head off for a run while everyone else was relaxing, so I didn't take any run kit, just swim and gym. At 18m and with playing kids as well as other swimmers the pool wasn't really up to any kind of serious swimming so I just did a few lengths here and there when it was quieter, and enjoyed the novelty of having a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna on hand. On Sunday morning I did manage to get a 45 minute gym session in, doing a chunk of my usual weights/core circuit, but (a full cooked) breakfast with the others was calling.

Monday rolled around and I woke up suffering from a swollen eye that I could barely open. I've had this before - some kind of allergic reaction to something (the facial?), and my eyelid and surrounding skin puffs up. It was bad enough that I went to the health centre on the way to work to get checked out, but they said it should be fine with antihistamines. It was, eventually, but I passed on doing anything at lunch time - goggles would have been impossible and I didn't know whether sweating would just make it worse too. It's pretty much fine now, so it's back to a normal routine tomorrow.

Photo: Jurlique Organic Facial 2 by FoundryParkInn, on Flickr

Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfect 10


Well, I mean, it's alright, it's not actually perfect, but... yeah, it was quite good. For lunchtime. A shiny 10km (sounds so much better than 6.1 miles, don't you think?) in, ooh, let's call it a round hour. Which allows for a quick loo stop (thanks Lizzie :), pausing to fend off a lolloping, off-the-lead Great Dane "puppy" (the approximate size of a small horse), and Natalia not restarting her watch straight after my cheeky pause to use the facilities.

I still don't get this pace thing. I would have sworn we were slower than 10 min miles. It didn't feel as easy as Wednesday night. And I didn't like the hilly bits at all. But calling it an hour is definitely on the cautious side, so I'll take the 9:50 per mile and I'll use it to polish my halo (before I probably tarnish and dent it a bit on a hen do this weekend...). Natalia's verdict: "we rock". Yeah :)

Photo: 10 by duncan, on Flickr

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday = rush day

curve e rette

Thursdays are a bit of a rush - I have a lunchtime seminar to get to at one o'clock, but never feel quite right leaving for the pool at 11:30am. So it's usually 30-35 minutes of swimming, a quick shower, and then tearing back to eat lunch and smell of chlorine while listening to social science. I still managed to complete 250m warm up, 5 x (50m easy, 25m fast), 4 x 25m sprint, 6 x 25m drill (stroke count 20-21 if I think reeeeally hard), and then steady/cool down for the rest of the time which turned out as 400m. That's 1275m but I must have done another length as I got out at the same end of the pool I got in :)

The easy + fast sets were interesting, I haven't done any for a while where you move from slow to fast without a rest. Definitely different to pushing into a fast length from stationary (usually those are the best). I'm thinking more sets where steady is interspersed with faster lengths, without stopping, is probably better than the massive peaks and troughs of sprints. I'll have to see what pops up later in the plan.

Photo: curve e rette by hidden side, on Flickr

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That'll do, pig

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

That's what I said to myself as I slowed down and stopped my watch tonight. You could take it two ways: one, I've been nibbling on chocolates* today, enjoyable yes, but perfectly capable of turning into a hoovering episode that demolishes the whole box. So, that'll do, pig(gie). The second, kinder way to look at it is as a comment of respect and approval at a creature doing something it was by no means born to do, but making a decent enough job of it. I'll take that one.

Actually I think it was just an instant word association to my mental statement of "that'll do" when I saw I'd passed my goal of a 30 minute run tonight, but I quite like the second option.

Anyway, it's just good to be back blogging. The past few days have been pretty busy, and I chose to actually do the training rather than yap about it here :)

Monday: the usual gym session. Mat congestion pushed the planks to the end (again) and it sucked. Also I nearly dropped a 4kg dumbbell thanks to the News Quiz**. Will I never learn?

Tuesday: swim session, by the book (4x100m, 4x25m). It was a bit short (so I padded out the cool down), but that's because I am supposed to be on the more advanced training plan where swim sessions are paired with runs. Might have to get to that next week... *cough* ...will up the meaty bit of tomorrow's session accordingly.

Today: bit of a manic day, didn't squeeze in a lunchtime run but sternly talked myself into going out when I got home. My first night time run for quite a while! Nice and relaxed, no sprints or anything just a good solid 10 min mile run. Maybe chocolate isn't so bad after all ;)

* Valentines chocolates. From work... yeah, I know. Volunteering to do the coffee rota is potentially bad for your waistline, but thankfully there's a willing crowd to help with the large box of Lindt Collection, just like there was for the biscuits at Christmas...
** Jeremy Hardy's line about shunning popery, but it actually being quite useful in the downstairs loo. Maybe it loses something written down. (popery / pot-pourri? no? I'll get my coat...)

Photo: Pig. by Adam Glasgow, on Flickr

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What a difference a day makes

plasma 3

At 7am I was awake enough to go for breakfast #1, one of my tried and trusted snack bars. As 8am I was out of the house to meet Kerry. An hour and ten minutes later (more accurately, 1:11:11 - cool) I'd left her to do lap 2 (these crazy marathon people...) and I'd run nearly 7 miles myself. Where the hell did that come from?

It was just a Really Good Run. Worth missing parkrun for, not that I want to do that too often, but I did enjoy running longer and with company. I was having so much fun I passed on the chance to come home via Sunningdale (shorter) and kept going up Church Lane to finish at the top of the hill and walk from there as a cool down.

The run has really set me up for the day too. Following breakfast #2* and a nice hot shower, I've cleaned the kitchen, made soup, made a cake, washed up, done laundry, put the recycling out... no big deal really but this is very productive for me! I'm sure I'll crash later, but for now I seem to have lots of energy. The kitchen might even get its last coat of paint...

* porridge made with Dorset muesli, plain oats, extra sultanas, a cheeky scattering of candied peel, a positively mischievous but virtuously small pinch of dark chocolate chips, a hefty dollop of ground ginger, and soya milk.

What I learned today: a rest day can work wonders.

Photo: plasma 3 by limowreck666, on Flickr

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Absolutely Shattered

Confession time. I gave parkrun a miss this morning - when the alarm went off my only thought was "nooo... I'm exhausted" (actually I doubt it was that coherent). I seriously felt like I needed the sleep, rather than resting my legs, so I called a rest day. Thought I possibly, might be tempted for a bike ride after doing the open day at work, but no - as much as anything there wasn't really enough daylight left. So, apart from walking home from work, a rest day it was.

And now I seem to have set myself up on a training date with Kerry for 8am tomorrow...

What I learned today: I need a decent early night if I'm going to make it to parkrun!

Photo: Absolutely Shattered by Breff, on Flickr

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spot the difference

Surprise!!! 4/365

Lunchtime, aiming for a fairly relaxed run with Natalia. Didn't really have time for a proper gym session, so I went off-plan on the "just do something" principle. We did just shy of 5.1 miles in 50:30 = 9:56/mi, which was a nice surprise on both pace and distance! I figured we were on for 10:15-10:30 pace - it definitely felt much slower and more comfortable than Wednesday with Alice, when we did a chunk of the same route. My pace radar clearly needs calibrating.

Pace aside, it's my longest run in quite a while, possibly since November when I was training for the Hereward, so I'm really pleased. It does mean I'd have to revise my expectations (upwards) for a "long" run, though! Ah well - it's good to cruise into the weekend on a high. Let's see how parkrun goes tomorrow...

What I learned today: the difference between two paces in terms of "feels like" is really not that much.

Photo: Surprise!!! 4/365 by bensonkua, on Flickr

Thursday, February 10, 2011



That was my time for a 400m time trial in today's swim. I just did a gentle 250m warm up and then tried to swim as if it was the tri. It felt pretty good, and in particular the turns were all pretty tight. I don't tumble-turn, although maybe I should give it a go now I have a nose clip and won't drown - but at Waveney it's too shallow at one end to do that so I kind of think 'why bother?'. I just need to keep focus on technique, strong pulls and good hip rotation, that's what will shave off the seconds. When I get distracted, I get fluffy.

So, to compare... my previous times for 400m pool swims, in a race, are 8:46, 8:01, 7:28. When you consider that also involves extricating myself from the pool (never pretty) and getting out of the door where the timer is, then I've clearly been considerably quicker than I am now. But hey - it's a baseline, and I never said I was in racing shape right now. I'm going to do the time trial every 4 weeks, so twice more before the tri and then race day, and I'll see how I do at improving on 8:13. Sub-8 here I come.

What I learned today: I have some work to do on the swimming, but I think it's do-able.

Photo: 813 by Eva the Weaver, on Flickr

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making time

Time is running too fast

I had a really busy day today. By the time 12:15 rolled around I was starving and barely knew whether I was coming or going. I almost started to eat lunch, skipping a run in favour of eating now and "going later" - but I know that's just a cop out and I'm likely to find some excuse. I was glad I made the effort as the afternoon just got busier and busier and I would never have made it.

So, with only about an hour to run, shower and lunch, it was time to up the pace. I only did a short route but the average pace of 9:39 min/mile over 30:30 included warm up, cool down, and a couple of hills (i.e. slowness). Given that I've been around (mostly over) 10 minute miles lately, that's pretty cool and I'm pleased. The pace was hard but do-able - training plan said 16 mins @ threshold with 10 each of warm up and cool down. I reckon I was more like 8 warm up and 6 cool down, but it's the middle bit that counts, right? :)

What I learned today: I haven't got as slow as I thought I had...

Photo: Time is running too fast by *0* PrincessCCCC, on Flickr

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No overtaking

prohibido adelantar

The pool was crazily crowded today. I feel like kind of a whiner for saying that - there were only 2 other people in my lane, because as usual there were 8 deep water lanes open as well as a whole shallow pool - but with 2 or more people in every lane, that's busier than I've ever seen it on a lunchtime.

The downside is that it cuts overtaking as there's usually someone coming towards me as well as the person I am trying to overtake. And also people get a bit miffed at the apparent faffing involved in swimming efforts. All that fast-then-slow business means they can overtake you one length and have you nipping at their heels the next, or it looks like you wait, let them turn and go, and then swim up behind them just to be annoying.

Aaand in any case, I forgot to check what set I was supposed to be doing :S I had meant to run, as it was such a nice day, but being a doofus I brought 2 tops and no tights so that was out. In the rush to do something with my lunchtime, I was soon up to the pool without watch, float, or indeed a clue. I did what I could - no rests as such, and no overtaking, but various combinations of fast/slow as traffic allowed.I ache enough to be moderately pleased with the session :)

What I learned today: the showers run much hotter when there are more people using them. Huh?

Photo: prohibido adelantar by Neil Wykes, on Flickr

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mixing it up

The joys of sweeties!

Nothing radical, mind. Just a good excuse for a blog title and another pretty Creative Commons photo :)

The gym was busy today. I only went in for free weights, core strength, and with a vague hope of adding lat pulldowns to my routine (which I can only do on a machine). After my warmup on the rower (5 mins : 1999m (!) ) there were SIX people vying for space at the small free-weights area, but I managed to sneak in at the cable jungle for triceps (3x12 @ 15kg). After that, the lats machine was still busy, the free weights area was still too crowded, so time for.... planks (3x25s and feeling strong - wahey). In fact I did my whole mat set right there towards the start of the session and it felt really good. I upped my (half) press-ups to 3x10 (from 8 or 9), nailed the russian twists, and got through the abs as 3x20.

At this point the weights area was magically free, so I went over there and interspersed static lunges (3x12 e/s) with bicep curls (3x10 @ 7kg, rah), and squats (3x12) with lateral raises (3x10 @ 4kg, just). I thought I might suffer from leaving them until last, but they were no better or worse than usual - so maybe this order is worth keeping. Never did get to the lats, but hey.

(Yes, I am too wussy to go and mix it with the big boys in the back weights room. I might die of testosterone poisoning...)

What I learned today: I'm a technique snob on the rowing machine.
Soundtrack: P!nk - Greatest Hits

Photo: The joys of sweeties! by Ali A, on Flickr

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off...

Well, I'm not quite starting all over again... but I've had a lazy week or so. It started with a long weekend in Bristol where I went in the hotel pool once (I got my stroke count down to 7, but using a 10m pool is cheating...) and in the gym the same number of times as I went for a run (zero). We did go for a walk though! Ooh, 4 miles... and a roast dinner afterwards. With pudding. and beer. But there was a hill, so that was totally justified. I don't really have an excuse for cooked breakfasts, though.

In mitigation, m'lud, I did go for one run (3 miles. Ish.) and one swim (35 mins inc. 10x100m efforts) during the three days I actually worked last week, and then did a bit of utility cycling on Saturday (to the city, and back with many kilos of vegetables, in a strong wind).

Hmm. Yeah, I agree, it's not really that convincing, is it? Right. I sentence myself to having a bloody good crack at the last week of my 4-week buildup to the actual tri training plan, and eating clean while I'm at it. Time to get with the program, as they say.

I'll soon be like this:

OK, maybe this:

(I realise this may come back to haunt me if anyone takes photos at the tri...)

Photos:Feeling lazy (13/365) by LifeSupercharger, Lazy dog by kirainet, Running Dog by surfneng, Running Dog by findgareth, all on Flickr