Saturday, November 28, 2015

Giving 10%

Whilst we were lucky enough to be heading off on our last holiday - a fantastic time in Italy - the news continued to report on the increasing numbers of displaced people, refugees, trying to enter Europe by various means largely to escape war in their home land.

It shocks me every time I hear cynical people effectively stating "not on my door" and "they should stay or return home"..... Without considering how utterly desperate people must be to leave and attempt to travel thousands of miles to a place they believe will be a better place to raise their family.

Who would not want that basic need to have security and safety?.... Did countries close their borders during WW 1 and during/ after WW2 ?... Did thousands of people not seek "a better life" only centuries ago as they left on boats to new lands, be that America, Australia or New Zealand...(read from the header "Departure from Liverpool", the second paragraph is as pertinent today as it was then)......   Sadly, particular now it seems, there are always the unscrupulous who will look to profit from this.

My partner wrote a very balanced and much more articulate post on the matter.

Whilst watching this  news we appreciated the safety and opportunity which we live in. We are fortunate to be able to afford holidays - and appreciate not everyone who has this safety and security can do that. We decided that whilst considering spending on holiday or sports gear or clothing we should also consider those less fortunate then us... and with that have pledged to not spend until we've saved and donate 10% of the cost to charity.

We're not set on any specific charity but do want to give to a persons charitable fundraising,  local, national and international charities. If we can afford stuff we can afford this. We are grateful for what we have and the opportunity life presents us - whilst I don't think I can do one big thing for the homeless, for those fighting cancer, for those fighting poverty or crime, those so desperate to leave their home for safety elsewhere;  We can do many small things by donating when we can afford it. If we can afford a holiday we can afford a bit more - we may just need to delay the joy of that holiday, which is no bad thing when you think of the instant gratification Amazon can give... - so I'm grateful for the opportunity to be more thoughtful and do something little in the scheme of things.

More tracking of resting HR

Got struck with an under the weather feeling again in the household, you know temperature, raging headache and chest ache... so some annoying virus or other... I've taken a look at what my resting HR was doing ... now I began to feel crap on Sunday but thought I was just tired from a good night out. My run on Monday felt harder then it should for easy and again I thought I was just fatigued from training... when I got on the bike on Tuesday and felt really nasty I began to suspect something more was up ... itchy throat by Tuesday evening, raging heavy head on Weds and Weds night disturbed sleep, sickness and temperature... 

and the resting HR picture... jumped up to 54 then 57 on wednesday, stayed there thursday.... 

I've rested up totally from Wednesday to today and you can see my average resting HR (according to fitbit) has come back down to 52... compare this to the period just before I went on holiday when I felt a similar virus attack..... going from RHR around 50 up to 58

So this seems to validate that for me (in my sample of two times) that if I get an increase of 6-8 beats in my RHR (fitbit takes it as an average over the course of a day excluding periods of activity) then I probably had hit the vitamin c quickly.... indeed tri 220 magazine recently said as much...  although actually by the time that happens it's probably too late anyway as the lurgy is lurgying! .. ... but I could use it as a motivation for training - ie if my RHR is still within normal tolerance (which I would say is between 52-54 BPM) then if I feel tired I probably am just tired not necessarily unwell and so training can be done and not use a feeling of general malaise as a reason for not bothering.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tracking resting HR

Over the last month I've been wearing a fitbit... Not to measure steps or activity but I've been interested to see how my resting HR is stacking up... As I've signed up for a full distance tri next year (yep let the madness commence), I thought I'd start tracking my resting HR more out of interest to see if it points or correlates to anything.

A month is not long enough for my little experiment but in essence as you can see from the screen shot below it steadily raised through the end of September and start of October and then has plummeted again. Now the last two weeks I've been on holiday so stress levels non existent and no exercise!

When it spiked I picked up a cold ... I read some research recently which suggested resting HR increase rather then being attributable to say over training, could be a precursor to having a bug. Well one month and one user and one bug is no statistical evidence ...and given it was quarter end this also coincideded with a busier time at work so could have been related to that.

So I will continue with my little experiment and see if I notice any patterns... Given we are now journeying home I'm expecting at least for my resting HR measure to come up over the weekend as I shock my body with some running and biking!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Commuting to Staines part 2

Well the summer (that there was) has been and gone ..... The easy drive to Staines has vanished in a puff as schools went back and road works popped up. Rainy days clearly don't help either..... However  there is a rainbow..... I've pretty much sussed out what I think is quite a good balance of days commuting by train, more occasionally by car and then some work from home time.

I've been able to do this more or less to coincide with the triathlon training I want to do... Which is a must for my sanity and all with still trying to have a semblance of home time with the family. It's working a bit like this;

1 day per week... Up early for turbo session indoors.... But before warm down hop on to previously prepared and packed commute bike for a ride to the station. Takes less then 15 mins so I can get there having done a good workout in time to grab a coffee and train ride in. Yes I'm in bike gear, but it's not too sweaty as I do at least change my top between turbo and departing! Getting the 7:26 means arriving at Staines at 8 just in time for the 8am shuttle to work. So I can get to work by 8:15 for shower, change and breakfast. I find these days pretty productive. Home in reverse so shuttle bus to train station and an easy bonus ride home. Trying to get the 17:11 or 17:23 if I can so door to door is hopefully as 11hour day....

1 day per week run to the station.... Means a lighter bag with bare minimals in... I can either go down the main road (which has footpath) or cross country a bit (which is pretty but has a hill in it!) but either way it's an easy 30mins form session and again into the 7:26 train with coffee. Way home either jog the 2k to Staines or take the shuttle... And always so far asked for a pick up from the train (too knackered to contemplate another run!!)... Same time train as above.

I've had one occasion the last few weeks the train was late in the morning. - this is a bit of a pain as it means I'm hanging about at Staines for 20+ mins for the next shuttle, if it happens on a run day I can run in the 2k but not an option with bike shoes on (mtb I may add!) ... So packing a warmer layer to put on will become significant I think in the coming months

1-2 days I'm driving ... For these I'm either trying to leave very very early (ie 6:50ish) so I can get to work by 7:30 and got for a run when I get there.... Or leaving late (after the rush hour) so go for a run or swim before starting the journey.

Leaving anytime between 7:30 and 8:30 has proved to be the worse time of day to drive in.... Today I left home at 7:35 and didn't get the measly 25k down the road until 9am.... Indeed yes I could have cycled it quicker (were I to value my life less I may attempt that, but the roundabout at the bottom of the eg ham bypass appears to be an accident waiting to happen in a car so probably a death trap on a bike)

The journey is certainly not and would never be as good as working in Frimley. Of course the offices are much nicer, modern (new), the showering facilities are getting there (the shower is good and I have a locker with towel and shower stuff in). I'm keeping two suits and two shirts on a coat stand by my desk (we don't have anywhere else to store them but at least I can use the coat stand). There's a canteen and we get breakfast so that does help.

I have found out I hate HATE being stuck in traffic.. I certainly wouldn't want to do this as a drive every day..... It would suck the life out of me. The train is expensive (which I can't fathom ... It's hardly encouraging anyone to get off the road but it certainly must be making someone some money).... Anyway at £15.20 per day it's I think at least 3 times that of the car (even when you include diesel, depreciation and wear and tear etc).... But I find the train whilst a longer door to door time both less stressful and more productive (fitness and brain time)... And that's why I guess I'm trying to do 2*train journeys a week, despite it costing at least £20 per week extra to me and my pocket.

So I'm still hopeful this will work, winter will be telling and certainly if the trains become less reliable that wouldn't be great! But we will see!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The accidental race report

Completely unplanned (by me) I went along to the Earth Trust 10k race last Sunday. Alison who had been planning to race it found such a lovely race and venue I couldn't resist given my plan was for 60mins build anyway!

So, along with some 10s of other fair weather racers I entered on the day for a bargain price. It was such a beautiful morning, lazy start at 11 and nothing but blue skies and the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside to gawp at so why the hell not!

The race profile showed a fast first k likely as we ran down hill towards the Thames, a mildly (very mild) lumpy 2-8k... A ridiculous (as in 30% gradient) few hundred metre climb and a mainly down hill 1k to the end. Perfect (ok perhaps apart from that hill but that was a different kind of fun!)

My training plan had 60min run build so my plan was to nose breath the first 3k, partly puff 3-6k then try really hard... Despite this my 1k splits were in fact a little over the place but at least my HR did build ... It was a pretty rough path in places (mainly looked like somehow had gone down a grassy field with a strimer the day before)... The most impressive runner I saw was definitely the guy who passed me at about 2.5k running with a double buggy. He was amazing! I passed him again just before 5K I don't know how he managed to get that buggy around the course and particularly up that Hill at 8 to 9K amazing!

Now likely due to my build plan this was I think one of the first ever races where I've overtaken people fairly consistently during the second half. It was a whole new (and secretly nice) feeling. Now for that hill I basically didn't even bother trying as soon as on the lower slopes in walked up.. Using my hands to push my thighs into action..... Having got to the summit though I was determined to let rip (as much as I was able!) for the remainder... So I flew down hill, bounded up steps to the next hill top, ran fast down hill again... Didn't realise I'd have to run up another (small) incline... Tried to power on (thinking bloody hell I've over cooked it), got to the top ... Steep stones run (out of control) downhill to round the final edge of the grassy knoll to the finish line! I was knackered by then but the skies were blue, not a cloud, and someone handed me a brown bag with a bottle of water and banana some point I decided to stop my Garmin ... But never fear as it was chipped time so my time was... 1:01:46 ..  I didn't have to wait long to see Alison come galloping in behind me... Which was a great sight mainly because it meant a well earned bacon butty and coffee was imminent!

Thank you Alison for finding this race ��

Photo free from EarthTrust donated by official photographer Barry Cornelius