Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baby it's cold outside!!

Well winter blasts of chill have arrived... and when I say blasts it's not like we have snow or hugely minus temperatures but I'm British so like to talk about the whether and the last couple of Saturday's the temperature has been hovering around the 0 mark.

For winter bike rides I typically check several things;
1. The current temperature and most importantly the predicted wind chill. If the temp is 2 but with win chill it's -4 it most certainly means more layers
2. What is the forecast for the next few hours. If it's sunny and stable temperature then the plan is usually to stick to major roads (downside is more cars) because they tend to be better thawed and less icey (thanks to the cars and gritters) before then venturing to some quieter country lanes.
3. Was there rain last night or yesterday evening, so the liklihood of icey country lanes is greater

Last weekend it was 2 with a sunny forecast. The night had been pretty clear so I rode. Today I wasn't so confident of the early morning ice so basically wimped out and did a 2 hour turbo. I think the roads were probably ok for the most part but my brain wasn't in the mood for the additional concentration levels of more cars and ice patches.

One of the biggest discussion points my fellow club roadies have been discussing seems to be about how to keep your fingers and toes, well not toasty, but at least not so cold they are painful!!

My feet preference is to wear a thin under sock (mine are from a hiking shop and are supposed to be worn under your walking socks... But I'm biking...) my next sock layer then tends to be a pair of sealskin waterproof socks. Keep the moister out and heat in. Shoes next. Then wind/waterproof overboots, now overboots can be expensive but I've found my pair from Planet X which I got for something like 10-15quid are great. Toes snug!

Winter legs are of course a must.... Something with fluff in places and wind proofing on the thighs. This is a worthwhile investment area!

Depending on the temperature I then layer up with clothes with zips so I can just zip down if I need to cool at all

For my fingers most of my mates seem to have two pairs of gloves; a silk under glove then winter gloves. I got lucky at some point and got a pair of winter gloves (can't remember when I got them or where... But it was I a sale... Probably a spring one!) ... Anyway they are great because they are slightly furry inside but the best bit is for when it is extra cold there is a flap in the top of the glove which comes out and covers your 4 fingers making the glove into a kitten. My thumbs can sometimes get a bit cold but when they do I tuck them behind the bar and out of the wind. They also have a soft clothy bit down the thumb for when your nose runs!

When it is biting cold I will also start a ride with a ski type mask on and a sealskin skullcap under my helmet.

It's taken me a while but I am pretty happy with my winter gear... It's just my bike skills in ice that are questionable!!

In other news... The training is still going well and I even PB'd a 400m time trail the other week, first time I've cracked 7mins so that was good. Manic time at work is about to commence so my challenge will be to keep up the training as it actually helps manage my work .... I'm sure I perform better in my job when I have a physical outlet... My mum always said I was an active child!!!

And for a final note we went to put up our fake Christmas tree... And basically it broke... So we've decided to get a real one this year... It's just up (no decorations yet), I'm just waiting to see what the fur balls think of it before I get carried away with putting on 100s of baubles!!!! Caribou has been investigating already...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I have a new iPad...

So I have been trying out a couple of apps for note taking.... Basically I would love Penultimate to work as nicely as Noteshelf.... Here is a page from Noteshelf!! :)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

No Longer a Battery Human

So I started with the whole coaching thing mid Sept. First week was a series of tests just to understand Heart Rate Zones (and in my opinion to ratify my current state of unfitness!)

It took me a good few weeks to get into the routine I readily admit it was a complete shock to the system.

I have several aims from being coached - none of which are performance related as I would expect that comes as a result;

1. Consistency in training - having a plan set by someone whom I then report back to motivates me to do it... it is simple as that... I want to be more consistent with my training (it has been random peaks and troughs in the past) and being coached helps me achieve that.

2. Get some balance - I think any hobby would achieve this - so rather then working from 8am to 6 to 7pm, I am instead doing something else with my time. I'm still working hard but not so long a day. I honestly think I'm much more productive at work (I'm tending to do my week day work outs first thing) and less stressed with all the tension a work environment can bring.. this makes for a happier me at work and at home - I'm no longer a battery human (you must just listen to that song once)... I AM FREE RANGE!

I also want to get fit enough again to enjoy middle distance triathlon - especially the run element. When I went to the long course worlds in 2011 whilst I was still one of the slowest runners there I was in a good place with my running and achieved what I wanted to - I want to get back to that feeling... This fitness will largely come out of point 1 I think. I already have a lot of trust in what my coach is setting me, although it is early days I know - but I'm enjoying the variety, the challenge and the consistency :)

Here's my stat graph (courtesy of SportTracks Mobi) for October;

Yes - you read this right.... 30hours of training... probably my biggest training month since I was doing Ironman training and even then I think this is close to the top of that. I've swum more then ever in a single month (really enjoying the challenge or all the different drills).

I did miss some workouts; mainly run as I have been nursing a sore leg, but also when I feel just totally knackered I'm resting - we all know how important that is.

So I'm excited about my new found triathlon hobby.... I'm enjoying being tested on my workouts and most of all I'm enjoying my Friday Pie and Chips even more then normal :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ta Da!

Yes the theme of this year, with regards inconsistent blogging, has continued!

I was surprised to see my last blog update was mid August. So here is a brief recap of what has been going on.....

  • We went on holiday! YEAH US!
The cruise was fab and went a bit like this;

Thanks to Holland America for a fabulous time once again! 12 days of blissful peace with some amazing historic sites to view. It was a great itinerary and much needed break. An extra day at the end to enjoy in Venice just capped off an brilliant time.

  • I got a new tri coach
Starting after I got back from holiday I've now been working with my guy for just over a month. It's been great thus far with an ever changing weekly schedule which has both shocked my body and challenged me! More to come on this in another blog. So far so good and such fun!

This was a great event which I took part in as part of a team from work. There were I think over 50 guys and girls of all abilities from the company I work for and we raised a good deal of money for this charity. It was fun to be part of - although I think it will be some while before I choose to do a cycle ride which starts and ends in major cities/ towns... it wasn't an enjoyable start with a small minority of participants acting like the owned the roads (and causing traffic chaos and danger for everyone), and some drivers understandably in some cases frustrated, but thus driving dangerously too. After the chaos of London streets for the first 10miles the rest of the remaining 45 were fabulous. We were blessed with a sunny day and the organisation was fantastic!

  • The cat's leg got fixed!
Did I mention before that the newest member of the cat fraternity in our house broke his paw?... Who knew that having a cat with a leg in plaster and keeping it in for 6 weeks would be so stressful! Still he came out of plaster and went in the cattery for some rehab the two weeks we were on holiday. This worked out really well for all feline's as the other 2 got to stay at home for some peace and quiet why the little one got used to walking on all four paws again in the confines of a cattery run! He is now back, still a bit of a wanderer, and most definitely a mouser (that is two good mousers we now have)....

... and last but certainly not least....

Some of you will have read how I go running with my friend and her daughter in a running pram. Well now Leanne has started a blog about a certain challenge she has set herself running with the pram and Scarlett!.... This is a fun and informative blog for would be pram runners so I urge you to go over and take a look. We do have fun!!

That's it for now. I will write another post before the month is out with views and summary of my first month with Coach!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Monthly Ramblings

It seems my blog has slipped in to a monthly rambling sort of habit as here I found myself once more some 6 weeks after my last venture!!

Some things have changed - but not many.... I am thoroughly detrained from having been fit for Outlaw half at the start of June, 2.5months later I can still swim about 1.5k so probably could do a 1.9k... I did a 36ish mile bike yesterday - so some 20miles short of 56 and that made me quite tired... as for running... shnaffle ... it's back to a slow drag if I'm honest.


The last 2-3 weeks I've put in a whole stonking 4hours per week (actually more like 3:58 but I'm rounding up) of training... a multitude of swim, bike, run and dare I say..... CORE... sessions.... (YES I DID SAY CORE)... I'm not nearly back in the right habit but at least I've thought about it.

I've signed up a *new* coach for the up coming winter/ maintenance and 2015 season ...I've even already entered my first race!! Someone from the tri club suggested - and we all followed like sheep - so we will be heading to Wales in May for a go at SLATEMAN ... Slateman distances don't sound too horrid, 1k swim, 50k bike and 11k run... until you realise the swim is in a tepid 13 degrees freshwater lake, the bike consists an assent (and presumably descent) of Llanberis Pass and the run seems to be 6km up out of a quarry before heading back down again.... Look at the video here .... Fun YES? My aim is not to get hypothermia in the swim, not crash coming down the pass and somehow run up out of the gravel pit.

Given I did somehow manage to got myself to the start line of one triathlon this year I thought I could benefit from the experience and guidance of a coach. As well as giving me some direction it will also be giving me someone, other then myself and the Pope, to answer to with my training, which will also help motivate me - in the past I've done well when I've been coached in terms of consistency of training and getting to the event feeling prepared. So what's to loose. I don't pay for gym membership so this is where my budget is coming from. I'm starting with the coach mid September so more to come on the experience in my next monthly post no doubt :)

In other news and since my last post one of our cats broke a leg.... well foot actually.. two metatarsals to be very precise. The cat in question was the poor stray who turned up when we got home from our holiday in March. Have you ever had to keep a semi-stray cat inside, mostly caged, and tried to stop it chewing (off) it's bandages... OH MY GOD! Hopefully never again. The poor creature - and our poor other moglets too... Mawnan (so named as that is where we had been on holiday), has decided the house is his territory and takes no pity on any other creature in his space. Caribou has been jumped on whilst asleep. Cue one big black fur ball, with one pair of wild eyes and one pair of wide scared eyes (they are both black cats).... Soros the older tabby has been belly flopped by Mawnan on more then one occasion (yes despite the collar and the splint).... Mawnan has become an indoor parcour expert, finding particular entertainment when running away from his dirt tray in an attempt at caged freedom. Not long though - in fact 1.5 days - it can't come soon enough for all of us!! He shall be free once more - and knowing the little bugger he will run into the woods and be gone for days!!!

Butter wouldn't melt in Mawnan's mouth... this is a before shot...

and the other day...

Despite the doughnut ring around his head or Victoria cone collar he still manages to gnaw at his bandages - strangely only since the vet put on the "NO CHEW" bandage though - first of he had a tiger bandage and he must have thought that one was fine as he didn't touch it!! Anyway - 4 lots of vet trips including xrays plus another 3 trips of bandage changes has made this one expensive stray kitty ... luckily he is now well and truly part of the family despite the sleepless night and kitty feuds that have been ongoing the last 6 weeks!

Well that's it for now - I've had a thoroughly lazy bank holiday (but it has been very wet out side so what do you expect)... I hope you've had a good extra day off too if you happen to be in the UK (but apparently not Scotland as it wasn't a national holiday there today - just a day when the banks were actually shut)

If you enjoyed this and want to see more scenic pictures of what the Pope and I have got up to since we got back to Blighty a year ago, well take a wander over to this blog.... I can't claim any credit for the written words here - but can for some of the beer drunk :)