Monday, 30 April 2012

April Round-Up

This month has been quite a different one, with the introduction of running to my regime.

My cycling has suffered a little but as much as having sore legs from running the weather has also been a major player in hindering my bicycle mileage.

Despite this I managed 11 rides and covered just shy of 148miles.

The longest rides were during the Easter weekend with a 22.1miler on Good Friday and 20.09 miles on Easter Monday. There has also been a tough 15 mile session on the Turbo (as it was too wet and windy outside) as well as the shortest of road rides. (The shortest in a very long time.) It was windy! Far too windy! I was on my way to meet Mikey from work but ended up turning back as in the first few miles I'd been nearly blown off three times. I got back home frustrated and with only 4.64 miles on the clock. 

April also saw my introduction to Strava and Garmin-Connect, which has helped re-motivate me and encourage me to get out there and do something.

So, as well as the rides, I have been running.  So far, me and my Mum have managed to do 8 runs! I use the term "run" very loosely as it is quite a slow jog.  As part of the Couch to 5k plan we did 4 runs at Level 1 which is alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking - eight times (for 20 minutes).  The first few attempts were easy-ish but sadly then we met a wall as my Mums dizziness reared its ugly head and she needed to stop and sit on the floor - before she fainted!

Despite not completely conquering the first stage we decided to move up to stage 2 which involves alternate 90 seconds of running with 2 minutes of walking - a total of 6 interval runs.  Despite the longer runs, it would give us more recovery time.  Surprisingly I found this stage much easier than I expected.  Even more shockingly the last two runs have involved some extra running. Today because our final run was interrupted when passing Mums colleague who wanted to chat - so then to make sure we had run enough, we ran for an extra 90 seconds.  Then a few days ago we squeezed in an extra 60 second run - when nature called and I wanted to get home quick sticks. ;-)

Overall during our running training 19.8 miles have been covered - obviously not all of this has been running but a large majority of it has and it will soon be time to kick it up to the next level.  This however, will not be done until my Mum feels confident to do so - as after all, I am running for her. I only started running to help motivate her.   Without her wanting to do it I wouldn't be running at all. So we run at her speed and we will go to the next stage when she is ready - or maybe when I feel like I need to push her to the next step. ;-)

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Right, that's my 2nd run complete and I'm happy to report that it felt a lot more comfortable. The first few "one minute runs" were over quicker than I expected and apart from a few twinges in my thighs I felt overall OK.  Of course I still felt like a flat footed buffoon.... but I hope that will come with time and practise and as my ankles get stronger, etc.

The only downside to the run was my Garmins inconsistency!  Practically every time I looked at it, it had auto-paused - which wasn't the case as we were continuously on the move; either walking or running. Then when we got back home and uploaded the run to GarminConnect it said that our moving time was nearly 10 minutes less than the overall time.  Pfft! I know that it didn't take me 10 minutes to do my shoe lace up - and other than that momentary stop -  we didn't stop moving at all! 

Is it possible that my lovely bicycle specific Garmin is absolutely useless for running? Can they not cope with the slower walking and running pace?  Yes, they are impractical as you have to hold them in your hand or pop it in a pocket, instead of having it neatly around your wrist but surely as it works using the same satellites it should give the same reading as a Garmin Forerunner. 

Then to top it off... I really don't understand the statistics.  After uploading the Garmin, it stated my best pace was 7;24min/mi.  It took a lot of twitter peeps (and some controversy) to explain that it meant at that pace - if I could sustain it - I could run a mile in 7mins 24 seconds.  My average moving pace was 11:54min/mi - but how could I trust the accuracy of that when it only had my moving time as 24mins instead of the 31mins we were out for.

Please don't tell me that if I continue running I'll need a different Garmin to run with? 

Thursday, 12 April 2012


As well as my continuing momentum for cycling, today saw me start a new venture.

Last weekend my Mum and a few of her friends decided they would kick-start a new healthy lifestyle by starting to run by following the NHS Couch to 5k Plan.  Trouble was my Mums friends don't live near here. Ones in Cambridge, the other somewhere equally far away.  They had each other for motivation but not when it was most needed most - when they were running.  After Mums first run I could tell she was despondent.  After some encouraging words I could see she was still disheartened and in a moment of madness I told her I'd join her for her next run - for motivation and to help her feel less self conscientious.  Her face lit up like a child in a sweet shop!

Unfortunately I'd failed to consider the fact that I have never run (apart from during high school.... but even then I used to just walk around the sports field) so I don't have any idea of how to.  Oh yeah... then I remembered my old ankle injury - since then, whenever I have needed to try to run (such as for a bus etc) it has been excruciating and I have ended up limping. Eeek! This could see my old injury flare up again.

Ooops... then there was the tiny wee issue of shoes.  Despite being a hoarder of trainers in my youth, I now actually don't own a pair of decent trainers.  I have my very old and very battered Adidas Shell Toes (which even when they were new aren't practical for running in) or my Converse All-Stars - again far from ideal!  Thankfully this was the easiest problem to overcome and after a quick trip to Penzance I was the proud owner of a pair of snazzy new Pumas.

The pink socks don't quite match!

Now I had the shoes, but not the skills, strength or stamina.... Hehehe... this could be quite entertaining. I could end up injured or just plain exhausted/broken.

Anyway today was the day. After work Mum came round and we set off. We had planned to walk up out of the village first before starting the programme. The last thing either of us wanted was to start out running up a pretty steep hill.  So after a 10 min brisk walk we started with a 1 min jog followed by a 90second  walk... which we repeated 7 more times before a 5 min walk home.

I was very surprised with how I coped as I didn't expect to manage at all.  However the first jog was OK.  I was very flat footed and ungraceful but it was over much sooner than I expected.  I am just glad I had Mum with me or I would have probably tried to sprint for a minute and then died very quickly.  We easily got to the half way point but after that the minute jogs were starting to feel longer.  I was glad to finish them and by the last one I didn't actually think I would manage to sustain it, but I did.

We got home and the Garmin said we had done exactly 2 miles which had taken us 30 mins (of which only 8 mins were jogging). We wont win any gold medals for that pace but for my very first attempt at a run I am pretty pleased.  I know it's still early days and it wont always be easy but today I am feeling confident that I may stick with this and help my Mum achieve her goals whilst also enjoying a new sport.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

March Round Up & other news.

Ooops I appear to have been neglecting to blog recently....

So much so that I haven't even done a March Round up yet... so here it is.... drumroll please....

The first couple of weeks of March were a tad non-eventful just managing around 25miles per week but then as the weather brightened so did my mood and on the last couple of weeks I hit my long neglected 50 mile per week target, bringing my target up to a respectable distance as I managed to muster up a not to shabby 146.5 miles.  

As well as the good weather there has also been a new incentive.  Just before the end of March, sweet Mikey came home with a very special and surprise gift for me - a Garmin Edge 200.  His new obsession with Strava obviously gave him the idea to get me a little more motivated.

It did the trick and the very first ride that I did with it (March 28th)... was so much more fun and I even pushed myself to ride 20 local miles - something that I haven't really done for a while now.

The next ride (the last in March) wasn't as great as the weather was awful - as usual the wind was the issue...

... but I wasn't deterred too much and the momentum continued in April with a 16miler on the 1st, a 22miler on Good Friday and today another 20 miles.

I am now also on Strava and it is great fun.... keeping track of your progress and comparing yourself to other riders.  I am nowhere near the other two females that use Strava in this area.... but it is great fun pushing myself up hills in the hope that the other girls haven't been up there yet.

All my effort payed off and today after I practically killed myself to get up a nasty little hill (only 1/2 a mile but 15% at its steepest and a 6.2% average) to become Queen of the Mountain! Yay! ... I may have been 9minutes behind the overall male leader - who happens to be Mikey - and I "may" have had to stop for a mo and I may have only managed about 2mph at some points but by jove I did it - and there's no bloody taking that away from me. ;-) The only other time I have attempted it I had to stop about 4-5 times.