Saturday, 31 July 2010

Bike Drills

When Hugo first mentioned this on our bike ride yesterday, I thought he must be talking about some new-fangled tool that allows you to effortlessly change various settings on your bike. Alas, he was not.

Having learnt loads from doing different technique drills in the pool and upping the running pace by doing speed drills, it does make sense to do drills to improve the cycling too. I just had no idea what they entailed.

"Uphill out-of-the-saddle sprints" said Hugo enthusiastically. Brilliant. Who would ever think of torturing themselves in this way?! I thought I should at least give it a bash, what's the worst that could happen? Other than simply running out of steam and falling off my bike and into a bush of course.

So we did several 10 second sprints, starting on the flat and progressing to powering up the hills. 10 seconds does not sound like a long time, but believe me, it is. Especially when you can't hear that your 10 seconds is up because the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. Every single time I said "Ooh, that felt longer than 10 seconds" and Hugo would say "Yeh, I shouted stop and you didn't hear me"..

It was indeed good training though and I'm feeling a lot more balanced out of the saddle now. We rode out to the Ginger Piggery along the gorgeous Wylye Valley (and stopped there for a quick sugar-up and pig-stroke). The ride was generally quite fast-paced and I was completely knackered once I got home.

Despite a very good stretch afterwards, my glutes and general leg muscles today are still completely shot so I have decided Saturday shall be a day of rest and I will get back on the leg endurance program tomorrow!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Putting in some Legwork

You want the good news or the bad news?

The bad news is that I'm off running for the time being. The good news - therefore (for you) - is that I won't be banging on about running the whole time. Yes I hear your sighs of relief.

The niggle I've had in my knee for the last month or so had gradually morphed into full-on pain and it turned out no amount of icing, ibuprofen or ignoring it made a difference. I rested it since last Monday so as not to aggrevate it before the triathlon, and during the run I still felt it, but the pain of the early-onset-stitch and the sheer adrenaline took over ensuring I forgot about the knee completely. Come the next day though I was in a world of hurt and it was time for some professional help. 

I managed to get a last-minute appointment with a physio who came highly recommended. After the most thorough and comprehensive examination I have ever encountered (I was there almost 3 hours!) the result was simple. I have the leg muscles of a hamster.

Basically I've started doing a lot of exercise and haven't built up the muscle I need to support all the extra exertion. So I have now been given a full on leg-strength program that will turn me into a lean, mean running machine with thighs and buns of steel. 

Of course I am sad that I need to stop running for a while. Having put in the hours and the hard work and progressed to a level that I'd never reached before - it's a real bummer that I will lose a bit of the running endurance and have to start over again.

It would be easy now to lose myself in a depressive pit of ice-cream and cake, but this is not "Egg gets the grump because she can't go running" this is "Egg Goes Healthy" and there's plenty more I can be working on whilst I'm not running. In fact it'll free up some time to work on my swimming technique and I can do some cycling on the usual running club nights - ideal.

It's a case of "watch this space" for if I'll be able to do the half-marathon I'd planned for September but we shall see how it goes.

Right, I'm off to do some calf raises..

Sunday, 25 July 2010

I tri-ed it and I liked it

From my previous post you can probably tell that I was a wee bit nervous about doing my first triathlon. Thankfully, a few people got in touch after reading it to give me some handy hints and tips. As helpful as all of those tips were, not one prevented me from being in a total state of blind panic when I woke up this morning.

It is worth noting here that I consumed a grand total of sixteen ice creams yesterday at the Ben & Jerrys Festival and was understandably a little concerned that a) I was not going to be able to fit the tri suit over my bulging belly and b) tht I may - at any time - sick up some or all of the vast mixture of flavours that I had devoured. Not concerned enough - the day before a triathlon - to be sensible and eat less, but concerned nonetheless.

Fortunately I could still squeeze into the tri suit and the only problem with my stomach was the bog-standard, jittery, nervous twitchy thing that happens before any exciting event.

We arrived at the venue a little later than I had wanted to but I had about 50 minutes to sort myself out and get organised. After registering, getting my race numbers and being branded in permanent marker, I headed back to the car to get all the gear out. As I lifted the lovely Bianca out of the boot I noticed she was feeling a bit squidgier than normal. Error no. 1: Forgot to pump up the tyres before leaving the house. Error no. 2: Forgot to even bring my track pump, despite it being right next to the bag with the the kit in.

The palpitations were starting to come back...

The man in the car next to us had a pump that I could borrow. It was particularly tempramental and ended up flattening the tyres even further, so we gave up with that. Then I spotted another club member, Kate, who let me borrow hers. On using it I continued to let more and more air out of my tyres (perhaps what I need is to attend a track-pump usage workshop) and delved further into a pit of pulsing palpitations.

I do keep a pump on the bike for punctures on the road. It's a tiny thing that is such an effort to use, so I save it strictly for the purposes of an emergency. This was now an emergency. Once my Dad had calmly taken over and inflated my tubes for me (thanks Dad!) we hastily made our way to the transition area so I could rack my bike and set out all my kit in a sensible, methodical manner.

However, it appeared I was now out of time. They were calling for my wave to get ready for the race briefing. I wasn't even dressed yet! Liz and Kate, my two saviours, tried to shield my modesty but to no avail. I ran into the nearest building for a speedy change. When I ran back they were starting the briefing - I hadn't put my numbers on the race belt or bike or anything! The girls sorted me out, pulling my swimming stuff out for me and getting the race belt ready as I pegged it to the briefing. Deep breath...

There I was, by the pool. I was actually going to do this. That warm, muggy, chlorinated poolside environment hit me in the throat and I quickly realised Error no. 3: I had forgotten to drink anything. I had been in such a rush I had forgotten the most basic, fundamentally important rule of exercise and of life - well done Eggsy. Too late now, I was going to have to wait.

The nerves were erupting from every pore and here it was.. Error no. 4: I had also forgotten to go to the toilet - bugger. Worst-case scenario I suppose is I'd have to pull a Paula Radcliffe and just stop at the side of the road (just for the record, it did not come to this).

Once the swim began, a wave of calm swept over me. All those pre-race nerves vanished and I just focused on remembering to breathe. You're supposed to keep count of your own lengths but I managed to lose count at the very large number of four, so for the next fourteen I had absolutely no grasp of how far I had to go. The "two-length-reminder-paddle" came surprisingly quickly though and before I knew it I was at my bike and deciding to ditch the idea of putting socks on.

The ride was fantastic and I finally gorged on all the liquid I could. I chose to do this race 'on feel' so I had no clue whatsoever of my pacing. My technique mostly involved pushing as hard as possible and trying to catch whoever was in front of me.

I quickly decided in T2 that socks would now be a good option so I took the penalty of about 25 seconds in exchange for 5 miles of increased comfort.

Post-cycle running is a very unusual sensation. Your legs feel so light and as a result, it's easy to set off too quickly whilst at the same time thinking that you're barely moving at all. Once I figured out that I was indeed running and that it was all ok, we hit the first hill. At the 2km marker I developed a killer stitch and took on a weird running style to compensate that involved holding one arm still whilst slightly bending to one side and trying to take shallow breaths. As ridiculous as I'm sure it looked, it worked, and I was now at the halfway marker.

I was absolutely chuffed as I managed to overtake two chaps on the run and once I hit the 6km marker I knew I was nearly there. I sprinted into the finish, knackered and completely elated.

At that point I suddenly wondered what all the stress had been about - this was all just brilliant!

Things to learn for next time: arrive earlier, bring your own pump, wee and drink before you do anything else (two separate activities - just to clarify) and probably don't eat 16 ice creams the day before.

Time to start planning the next one...

Friday, 23 July 2010

First Time Nerves

I generally try not to get worried about most things. Stressing and worrying is, in my mind, a bit of a waste of energy and is something best left to a pro; such as my mum. I'm better at taking a step back, seeing the big picture and remaining as cool as a cucumber...

...or so I would have you believe.

On Sunday I will be partaking in my first ever triathlon. This is something I never, ever intended to do. I only joined the local club to find some new people to run with,  and the next thing I knew I had a shiny (and very skinny) set of wheels and was being naively convinced that swimming is the answer to all of my dreams. Indoctrinated even, it's like a cult!

Well OK, actually nothing like a cult. What really happened was I met a group of people who were regular, ordinary folk who were doing rather extraordinary things. Training for three different sports, at the same time?! Fancy that. I was inspired and after one stint as a spectator, I knew I had to give it a go.

So, I decided that I would wait until the end of July. Loads of time. I could get fit, learn to swim properly etc etc. Well it turns out it's not loads of time, it's two days away, and under this super icy-chilled exterior I won't lie to you, I am FREAKING OUT.

Doing three sports in one race, there is so much to remember; two sets of shoes, goggles, helmet, must pump up the tyres before I go and ensure the lady is well oiled, gloves, sunglasses, two pairs of socks? Do you need to change them? No, I reckon one will do. A towel?  Do I need to dry off when I get out of the pool, will I slide off my bike otherwise? Food, I'll definitely need to refuel at some point. Maybe a bottle on the bike and then another one so I don't have to get the bike bottle out when I'm trying to get through the first transition. Got to put elastic laces in my trainers, how tight do they need to be? Better bring suncream too, just in case, but when on earth do I put that on?!

Clothing-wise, it's easy. I've gone with a one-piece tri suit. But will I be able to swim in it? Forget swimming, there's a bit of seat padding in it, will I be able to RUN in that?! I accidentally ran in bike shorts once and that is one disgustingly sweaty experience I do not wish to repeat. 

It's not even the function of the garment, it's the fact I have to wear a tiny lycra suit in front of crowds of people! Good grief. Do you wear a sports bra underneath? Will that integral support be enough or am I going to be Miss Bouncy Bouncerson?! I jumped around my bedroom in it and it seemed alright I suppose, I'm sure it'll be fine.

You have to run from the pool to the transition area where you find your bike. Is it worth having another pair of shoes for that little run? Am I going to hurt my feet if I go barefoot? My head is going to explode, there is simply too much to think about!

Time to take a deep breath... if anyone has any answers to ANY of the above questions I will gladly listen.

The truth is, I've trained and I should be able to get through it. It might not be smooth, it might not be pretty and yes, it's fairly likely I'll look like a beached whale trying to get out of the pool at the deep end, fall off my bike at the transition and be in such a rush I eat my bike gloves and squirt carb gel in my hands BUT, I will get through it.

I will spend tomorrow (very sensibly) scoffing ice cream at the Ben and Jerrys Festival which should be excellent for pre-race day nutrition. I'll make sure I eat lots of Cherry Garcia and other flavours that contain fruit.

If everybody could please send me positive and calming vibes for Sunday - I shall very much appreciate it. 

Now, I have some palpitations to sort out..

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Addiction and Fatigue

If you could personify an endorphin, I think it would be a bouncy, over-excited puppy with legs a bit too long for it's body and boundless energy. It's that post-exercise rush that's been fuelling me for a good while.

I was browsing in a bookshop today, and I was reading that people can actually get addicted to endophins and the buzz they get from them. Sally, from my running club has been telling me this for weeks but I laughed it off - surely an addiction in it's very nature should be something that's unhealthy?!

I do love the feeling of doing lots and lots of activity and as I've mentioned in the past, rest days cause me all sorts of problems as I'm bored and tired, twitchily waiting for my next fix. Like a smoker who says they'll give up after they finish the packet, I say I'm going to rest, but just after one more workout.

Unfortunately, endorphins don't last forever. I suppose it is sort of comparable with drug addicts, in that they start needing more and more as they are not satisfied with smaller doses. I keep wanting to work harder, and longer to get the fully exercised feel, to get that pumping post-training surge.

Gettin up at 5am to go swimming is all good, but following it with a day at work, post-work run, spinning class, weights session and swim probably is a little bit excessive..

I never thought I would be saying this, but I am absolutely exhausted. Today the body just said NO. I've had a niggly knee issue during running which I have mostly ignored - resorting just to icing it as much as possible. It got a bit worse in the last week so I have actually taken the advice of other people and I'm scrapping running for a few days - until the triathlon on Sunday anyway. It's a common overuse injury that people get when they're just doing too much too fast. 

I realised today that it's not just a niggly knee. My whole body is in a state of fatigue and one rest day a week with this much exercise is simply not good enough! When you're yawning in the gym you know you've hit the wall.

The very heavily pregnant Kathy, who works in the gym, informed me that recovery is actually the body's way of getting fitter, and unless I give my body time to adapt to these changes, I've never progress quickly in the fitness stakes. As much as I didn't want to listen (she's told me many a time to stop and rest), now is the time to take heed.

So, as part of being healthy I'm obviously not giving up, but I'm certainly gong to cut down, and try to take an "everything in moderation" stance. So, this evening I came home from the gym early, got into my pjs and settled down with a cuppa and my cuddly hippo.

Time for some R&R.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Moving the Goalposts

So, another month down since I began my quest of healthdom. I reckon I've achieved a fair bit in the last two months. I can now swim properly, which is a huge step up. The running is coming along and I feel more like a pro-cyclist every time I go out, mostly down to the fact that I can drink and ride - something I did not think possible when I first started out on the road bike in March. I'd just like to clarify that this is drinking from my water bottle whilst remaining balanced and not getting lashed up and heading out for exercise.

I've varied the exercise a bit in the last month too, taking in yoga, hiking and indoor climbing among other things. This is a trend I do plan to continue (suggestion on a postcard please!)

I have had all of two alcoholic beverages (this appears to be the monthly average) and one was utterly deserved after completing the three day Dartmoor trek. The other was totally undeserved but I blame my dad for pier-pressuring me into it.

I must admit, food-wise I have slipped in standards a bit. The lure of a bag of cookies was too strong earlier in the week and I did succumb. Add to this a little bit of a lunchtime cake habit and the odd chocolate craving and you get one very naughty Egg. It's not just treats either, it's finding a good balance of eating enough proper meals rather than just snacking, I've gotten a bit lazy with some of the cooking too.

I think it's time to set some entirely new goals, as new ideas and targets will bring fresh motivation. Plus I have pretty much passed the majority of my previous goals (with the exception of the 8 minute-mile!) and need to set some higher standards. So, here we go..

1. Plan my daily eating: I don't mean that I need to know exactly what I'm going to eat every day. But definitely planning a packed lunch to take to work and having an idea of what to eat for dinner so I end up eating a proper nutritious meal and not just skipping it and snacking. If anyone has recipes for brilliant, healthy and quick meals I'm very open to ideas. Of course I shall continue to be creative and invent new combinations, but some tried and tested recommendations would be very helpful! Also my taking a proper lunch to work (and taking enough of it) it means I shouldn't get the urge to buy cake, even if it is from the health food shop.

2. Sub 24 minute 5k: OK, so I haven't managed to run an 8 minute mile yet, and to do this I'll need to run three and a bit of them. However, I've been focusing on pushing up my distance with a half-marathon in mind and if I tailored just one or two runs a week towards speed I think this could be goer!

3. Get as close to the eight-minute 400m as possible: 8 minutes (in my mind) is the split between people who are fast and people who are slow when it comes to swimming. This again, will be quite a major push but given my progress from non-swimmer to lake-lover, I feel confident that with a bit of hard graft I could do it. 

4. Prioritise sleep: I know this sound ridiculous, but with some seriously early starts and reasonably late finishes, I have put training in front of sleep and that definitely doesn't fit in with being healthy. It fits in with being knackered and that is never good! I will start planning the exercise regime with this in mind.

With some fairly tough standards to achieve in the mix, I'm going to go for slightly longer than a month this time around. The end of August is the end date which gives me just over six weeks. Phew, better get on the training plan..

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A note about spinning

I did two spinning classes today. It wasn't my original intention, but I was feeling especially guilty from scoffing a pack of (incredibly wonderful and delicious) triple chocolate chip cookies and then discovered there had been a cancellation on the usually very busy evening class. It was meant to be.

It's been a while since I've been spinning, as I've just been going out cycling instead in all this good weather we've been having and the work schedule hasn't fitted in with the spinning class schedule. I'd forgotten how much I absolutely love it.

Why is there so much allure to sitting in a hot, packed room full of extremely sweaty people? Well for one, the instructor has always got that little glint in their eye, you know they're watching you and judging you. They know if you're working or if you're slacking off, and you know they know because if you do slack off they shoot you a fierce look. Or they'll say something that looks like it's directed at the whole group but you know they meant it for you.. They all say you should work at your own level but if you have a good spinning instructor they'll make you want to impress them and you'll push as hard as you can.

The second reason is that usually in the group somewhere is at least one proper hottie, and this is a brilliant motivation. Of course it's not a great time to pull when your face is as red as a tomato and the sweat is dripping off your chin but it does make the time fly by!

But my favourite thing about spinning, and stay with me here.. is the amount of sweat you produce. No other activity I have ever partaken in even comes close. Within ten minutes it's running off my eyelashes and my neck, my whole arm is beading perspiration and a puddle is slowly forming around me. It's brilliant. It makes you feel like you have had an absolutely mega workout and at the end you realise everyone is as disgusting as you are and that gives you a great sense of camaraderie with your fellow spinners.

So, if you're able to deal with the smell of yourself for about 45 minutes and you want to feel absolutely awesome, get a very absorbent towel and do a class. Hell, do two!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

That pesky 400

If you've been keeping up with my bloggy antics over the last month or two, you'll know that one of my five current goals is to swim 400m. This is the distance required for a large number of sprint (short) distance triathlons and really the minimum you need to be able to do if you want to be entering races.

A few weeks ago I got to the point where it was indeed physically possible. The glorious setting of the lake helped me on my way and I triumphantly cruised around like a majestic dolphin enjoying my new found swimming ability. Well, ok, not so much a dolphin.. maybe a small penguin or something - but a step up nonetheless.


However, physically being able to swim 400m and swimming it in a race setting against other people are two entirely different beasts and with less than two weeks(!) until my first triathlon I was getting a bit edgy.

A pool session on Monday evening helped. The brilliantly helpful and encouraging Nicky (and other half of top motivational couple "Nicky and Leo") gave me some new drills to practise and I definitely felt like I was more on track to becoming the streamlined torpedo I was absolutely not born to be.

So, this morning I did the session I had been dreading. I wanted to swim my 400 in the pool, without stopping, and to see what my time was. Easy? It should be, but I seem to have some sort of psychological block to extended swimming in the pool. It could be the constant stopping and starting, and losing the rhythm. It could be the breast-stroking masses and OAPs menacingly blocking my way. Or it could be than I just need to man up and push a bit harder.

10 lengths went by, that was the longest so far I had ever swam constantly in the pool. I was going to make it. I hit 16 and was almost too afraid to look at the stopwatch. When it comes to 400m I just want to be able to do it in a triathlon and to not be so slow that it's embarrassing. Originally I thought 16 minutes would be a good time to do, 1 minute per length - that's on the verge of embarassing but achievable.

Having been focussing on the swimming and putting some training in I was now thinking 12 minutes could be a goer. This is the time I was hoping I had just achieved, even if it was a teeny bit over, that would be ok.

I glanced down... 11:09! Huuuurrrrahh! I was so chuffed I decided to swim it again and bizarrely, I got exactly 11:09 the second time too, so it wasn't even a fluke.

I now have a proper 400m time, and one to beat at that. Time for a new goal methinks...

Monday, 12 July 2010

Peat Bogging and Midge Dodging

I've always been an "outdoorsy" girl. From way back to when I ran around the garden in my nappy through to regular camping weekends in the Scouts as a teenager and to current times as I try to spend every day off and spare moment having some sort of al fresco adventure, be it biking, running or stealing copious amounts of spinach from my Dad's vegetable patch.

I booked a long weekend off work and planned with my lovely Devon-based friend, Fi, to go for a wander across Dartmoor. We decided after much discussion that we would go from Okehampton to Ivybridge. i.e. a North to South traverse of the moors. This challenge was also quite fitting with my current level of activity.

It has been a while since I've loaded up a full rucksack with everything required to live and gone trekking in the wild but I figured as I am in a good place fitness-wise I should be absolutely fine. It may even be a bit of a rest!

On arrival at Fi's on Thursday evening I sensibly tipped everything onto the floor and over cups of tea we arranged what was needed and what could stay at home. I refilled the trusty old rucksack with the absolute essentials, the minimum a girl needs for a three day hiking epic. Impressed with my own efficiency and lightweight packing skills I smugly clipped up the buckles and pulled the straps tight.

The urge to test it out in the living room took over and my smug grin very quickly transformed into a pained grimace... There was nothing in there I could remove and it was like carrying a baby elephant. After a few attempts we discovered that the whole rucksack getting on thing was made a whole lot easier by involving lots of heavy grunting - sorted.

The next day we arrived at our starting point in high spirits. After hauling our rucksacks on we set off, fresh-legged and keen to cover some ground.

Two Tors and 30 minutes later, the sunshine and gentle breeze had mutated into a dark, wet Dartmoor Mist providing us with all of about 15 metres of visibility. We trudged onwards, successfully navigating to a decent path. The weather throughout was hit and miss and we were in constant mental torment as we changed from sunglasses to waterproofs and vice versa.

Despite the bonkers climate of the moors and the fact that we were carrying more than our own bodyweight in over-filled rucksack, we actually made good progress, bagging several Tors en route. In fact, progress was so good that we skipped past the spot we had originally planned for our first night's camp and decided to go further, with a few hours of light left.

Another mile on and we hit an obstacle: tufty grass. I know tufty grass doesn't sound too menacing but as someone who is slightly lacking in vertical stature, the physical act of lifting your legs up and over again and again is a real effort. Add that to the fact that you can't see exactly where the ground is and what you have is a very unsteady, ankle-wrenching and exhausting balancing act.

                                                                                          
After this we were shattered. Luckily we weren't far from a village with a pub so we stopped in for a refuel and some liquid refreshment. The next challenge was to find a place to pitch the tent for the night and this proved a bigger challenge that we had anticipated. The forest behind the pub that we were aiming for was a designated 'NO CAMPING' zone, so we ended up dragged our very tired selves a further two miles where we eventually found a perfect clearing. Perfect that is, except for the midges which destroyed our very souls.
Suffice to say we slept very well indeed and the next day we arose with a fresh burst of enthusiasm. After our boil-in-the-bag breakfasts we packed up and headed off.

The second day's main obstacle was peat bog. The idea of bog strikes fear into even the hardiest of hillwalkers. Everyone knows someone who has lost their boots, sucked forever into the marshy vortex.

Of course it should easy avoid to the bogs, but we were naively led into a big one via an evil bridleway and once we were in it, we were trapped. It starts with a light-hearted hop across the wet bits as you search for where the path has disappeared to. Then the giggles turn into nervous laughter as you teeter on mini planty islands. The panic sets in when you realise you'll never make it across so you turn back, only to discover you're surrounded and you've no idea how you got there because there is NO WAY OUT. Like a watery mirage in the desert the solid rocks you see to step on turn out to be nothing more than solidified cow poo.

Finally after a seemingly never ending maze of bog, we made it to higher ground. A long chocolate and boot-drying break spurred us on and one more trawl through the tufty stuff saw us onto a lovely wide, gravelly path.

The second night we found a superb spot to camp up by a lake right in the thick of the moors. It was a bit exposed but we found a relatively sheltered spot and settled in for the evening. Overnight, the weather took a turn for the worst and a buffeting gale brought in a heavy rainfall which penetrated out tent, leaving us wondering if we would make it through the night.

We did, and we woke up to glorious sunshine which dried out everything that had gotten soaked through.

A brief bit of morning yoga atop the slag heap and we were ready to finish our journey. The sun kept shining as we arrived, elated, into Ivybridge. Just under 40 miles of bogs, hills and trails. We were chuffed! Absolutely knackered, but chuffed.

I thoroughly recommend that everyone gets out there in the fresh air and loses themselves in a bog. It's been a great break from the norm and definitely more physically demanding than I had expected!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Being a social climber

With all the training I have been putting in recently, it appears I have actually forgotten to do all the normal person stuff like socialising and sitting down for a meal. As friends and family start using words like "obsessed" and "addicted" in relation to my current regime - I realised it's time to readdress the balance. Realistically, finding ways to exercise pre- and post-work probably shouldn't be something I do every day of the week.. but if I can find ways of fitting in the socialising whilst still being active then that can only be a good thing! Last night I did something totally different. I went out for an evening of climbing with the girls from work. Climbing is something I have always had an interest in but it's something I've never really gotten very good at or stuck with. But none of that matters at all when it's such a giggle. Between clambering very ungracefully up a few routes, hauling myself as far up the wall as possible and belly laughing at everything from being 'speed-lowered' to Anna's pre-climbing 'tai-chi' routine we all had a good couple of hours of social, active, healthy goodness. Yes, I went a WHOLE day where I didn't do any running, biking or swimming and I felt like I was being a total rebel. But in reflection, climbing was a good workout for other bits of the body and about as fun as a night out can get without involving sambuca. I'm certainly going to stick with a fairly gruelling (I say gruelling, but really I love it) routine. But involving other activities fairly regularly should definitely be a part of it. Variety being the spice of life and all that. I'll admit after getting to bed post-climb just before midnight, I did then get up at 5am to head to the lake for a morning swim. Obsessed? No! Ok, maybe a tad, but I did feel suitably refreshed and ready for the day after a morning dip. Anyway, climbing shall be a regular feature in my monthly calendar as it's brilliant, both for the body and for my sanity!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Going long

If you had said to me a year ago "Egg, why don't you do a marathon?", chances are I would have laughed in your face and promptly shoved a cookie in your mouth to stop you from spouting more of this nonsense. Actually no that's a complete lie, I would have walked away and eaten the cookie myself.. Right now I'm feeling so good about running that someone needs to take away my laptop and my credit card so that I don't enter every race that will have me! Why am I feeling so good? Well, I shall tell you.. tonight I did my first ever run that broke the 10 mile barrier. 10.12 if you want to be precise (and I do). I feel absolutely elated and frankly I can't believe that my heart, lungs and legs are still supporting me in this healthy quest of mine. That half marathon in September is appearing more and more achievable by the day and who knows what will come after that. The running race world is my oyster! It really is incredible how much can change in twelve months. In a years time I will probably (and hopefully!) look back and think "Eggy, 10 miles is nothing, pah! A mere training run!" but right now it's the best thing ever and if you saw me you would struggle to wipe the grin off my face. Now I'm going to ice the legs and get ready for whatever tomorrow has to bring. I did 10 miles, I can pretty much do anything! Woohooo!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Whizzing round the Woodfords

Tonight the Triathlon Club ran a timed session. Timed sessions are designed to be a race against yourself but of course really everyone secretly knows that you're racing against each other. I do actually race against myself and dream about the day that I'll be anywhere near fast enough to feasibly race against any of the others. It's always a surprise who is going to turn up and tonight not only was I the only girl but I was the least fit by a long way! C'est la vie, loses make you stronger I suppose.. character building and all that jazz. Hugo, who I have mentioned previously, was not racing this evening as he was a bit injured, bless him. When he said that at the start I disregarded it completely because when most people say they're going to "take it easy" they still go out and completely annihilate me. I expected him to speed off and very quickly become a speck on the country road horizon. Once we got started, I was huffing and puffing and pushing and heaving as hard as I could. Within moments everyone had overtaken me, except for Hugo, hmm.. very suspicious. After a few minutes I heard him behind me. Turns out he was in fact telling the truth and was taking it easy. So whilst I was pushing my body to it's very limit, swallowing flies and trying to ignore the sweat beading down the back of my neck, injured Hugo was cruising easily behind me enjoying his recovery session. Luckily for me though, he started to offer snippets of advice. My gear selection was all wrong so that changed, and I was actually able to go quicker - amazing. Little changes that he was suggesting were making a big impact, and the friendly encouragement was helpful too. I ended up (just) catching the next guy in front of me about a mile before the end and with burning thighs and a massive smile. All in all a super session, and probably my fastest laps of the Woodford loop yet, hurrah! As I was filling this session into my training log I realised we are now in July and I glanced back over my June training to see what I had acheived in the last month. I was quite surprised to that throughout June I have run 72.87 miles in total! For someone who struggled after one mile not too long ago I was very pleased with that indeed. Stay tuned for more fun training stats! Until then, sleep and a rest day.. and as it's the weekend, maybe a slice of cake. Or two.