A month in training

There are only 11 weeks to go until I ride and run coast to coast and back again. Eeek 😦.

This last month has been tricky in terms of fitting in enough training. There were two weekends away. A beautiful weekend in Queensferry and Edinburgh to visit a friend and another gorgeous weekend in Oxford to visit my son.

Pretty views in Oxford

On top of this I’ve had my first ‘funny turn’ aged just 54 😂. Seriously though I was knocked sideways for a day by some anti-biotics I was on. I didn’t realise they could actually make the floor spin like that. All is well now though 😁.

Despite all of this I’ve managed to hike, run and bike 362km, working out for 42 hours over the last 4 weeks (including strength and yoga). I’m quite chuffed with this – all things considered.

I’m just having to cram in the training where I can basically. I’ve taken to commuting to work on my mountain bike once a week. I ran 8km on my weekend in Oxford and my son took me out on a 14km hike through stunning countryside (on the outskirts of Oxford).

Sunny day – Oxfordshire – we did laugh as this was the only hill we could find 😂

I work from home one day a week so tend to fit in a yoga or strength workout in my lunch hour on that day.

Despite the seeming volume of exercise – I do feel somewhat undertrained given how soon my “event” is. I’ve only had two outings on my road bike and my longest run has been 23km. I will need to spend two days on my road bike and then transition and try and run 65–70km the next day. Hmmmm. There is some work to be done in the next two months…

This week I had a bike fit done. I’ve been wanting to do this forever. For those of you not into bikes, this is where they measure you versus the geometry of the bike to make sure you are in the best possible position to cycle well and minimise injury.

So I had Simon from RYD CC come to our house for my bike fit. Incidentally he is very good and I can highly recommend him if you need a bike fit.

I was fully expecting him to put my bike seat up. My husband has told me numerous times its too low and I could also feel this if I’m honest. The idea though of not being able to touch the ground when I’m on the seat always unnerved me and so I kept it lower.

Of course having measured the angles he put it up as expected. What I wasn’t expecting is that it went up by a decent 3cm if not more. My leg angle should of been 145/146 degrees and was previously 126. Oops. This could be the reason I was a) struggling up the hill in the lowest gear and b) getting backache. He explained to me that being so low I would of been pushing the bike up hill with my quadriceps muscles (main thigh muscles) having to push and push. You will have less power this way and be wasting vital energy not to mention putting a strain on your knees and back. Oops 😬.

He also adjusted the handlebars up for me and the whole thing now feels good, although of course I need to get used to it. I managed to practice stopping by sliding off the seat and then putting my foot down yesterday (I cant just put my foot down from seated now as I used to). I went round the housing estate in my PJ’s, bike shoes and helmet with Chris accompanying me as I was nervous. I felt like a 5 year old taking her bike out for the first time! 😂. I managed it though – hurrah 😃.

I can’t wait now to take the bike out for a proper spin. I’m getting a new doohickey this week (chain set) so will have to wait until after that is done. Once this is done I should have more power from the higher seat and access to lower gears (based on the chain set). Theoretically I should be able to get up any hill then 🤔.

My reasons for making all these changes is not so much to make the bike ride easier (although that will be a natural benefit) as it is to ensure my legs aren’t having to push so hard that I can’t run back from Sunderland to Whitehaven.

Quite a few of the hikes, bikes and runs have been oh so muddy this last month. Mountain biking when its muddy is quite fun – riding through puddles with it all splattering everywhere. Of course you have to make sure no one else is about when you do this. I’m always a polite cyclist.

The downsides of this fun are that my top resembles 101 Dalmatian’s and its tricky to carry a water bottle – at least one you would want to drink out. This month I put a plastic bag over the top of the bottle to cover the drinking bit – nifty idea, why didn’t I think of it sooner 🤔.

101 Dalmatian’s look
Plastic bag on my drinking bottle

The muddiest run was this Saturday gone. I’m used to charging along stony muddy trail paths but this run was on another level. I actually followed a route my partner had done the day before and got him to send me the route. I highly recommend this. Having a route that you don’t know in advance is quite good fun, leaving you guessing where you are going until you see the arrow on your watch tell you where to go.

He did warn me before hand ‘oh its very muddy and its rained again last night’. Still I took this with a pinch of salt – as I say – trail runs are generally muddy affairs.

A bit breezy up on Cown Edge

I should of taken note. There was one bog fest of a field after another and trails that had no ‘runnable few inches at the side’. You just had to slide along with it and occasionally watch your foot disappear in “something” up to the ankles and hope your feet wouldn’t get stuck.

Todays hike was a ‘short’ 2 hour walk around and up Werneth Low to ultimately grab a yummy gingerbread latte and doughnut at the top at ‘The Pick me up truck’ coffee van.

Picture of Chris from todays walk
Me on todays walk

I was chatting to my son recently about my upcoming adventure and he asked me “have you thought about doing something abroad?”. It’s a reasonable question given that last years run and this years bike/run are both in the UK. Honestly my answer was ‘yup yup yup’ and I then listed all the hair brain ideas I have. Still those are for another day….

Raising Money – Jogle Run

I’m raising money for Mind and for The Menopause Charity. Both charities mean a lot to me personally. Mental health is incredibly close to my heart, I’ve suffered from depression in the past and know how much the right help can make a difference. I’m also incredibly passionate about the Menopause Charity – going through this myself now – I can appreciate fully its challenges. Climbing the three mountains will also really test my anxiety, which is why it’s so important for me to add this to my challenge.
I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m really nervous but incredibly excited and grateful to have the opportunity.

If you would like to support me then please donate to my just giving page, any donations are hugely appreciated!

Just Giving page – Mind

My Just Giving Page – Menopause

My last hard week of training before taper: 3 days bed rest, 3 hours of steaming over a saucepan, billions of tissues, 2 packets of paracetamol and one packet of Sudafed 🤒

So this last week was my final ‘build’ week and should of included my longest run and longest bike. Instead I spent half the week in bed and the other half on the sofa. A lovely bout of sinusitis hurrah. Its all been very frustrating but I have to look at the upside. At least this didn’t happen in 3 weeks time.

Today I managed to go for a walk (ta dah!) and actually felt quite good once I got going, despite initially feeling like I was breathing through a straw.

At night you would think I was dying to hear me coughing so thats quite a turnaround from the day. I will hopefully get into see a doctor soon to get some evil but necessary antibiotics. After that I’m keen to get back running and cycling at some moderate level and hopefully just keep up some form of exercise until a few days before my event.

After my last blog I mentioned that I would apply for an FKT (fastest known time). This I duly did but unfortunately my request was turned down. I do understand it though. They have to consider whether anyone else will want to do the same thing and beat the time and then it gets set up as a known route and people can try it out. They’ve said mine is a bit niche and I guess they don’t feel there would many others wanting to do it. Ah well. I’ll be doing it for me.

So last Friday before the bug set in (thankfully) we managed to attend my nieces wedding, which was a really beautiful day in every way possible. We travelled home on the Saturday and were back quite early so I went out for a 20km run (as you do) in the afternoon. It was only an hour or so after that I ended up bed, where I stayed for the next few days.

This Saturday hubby and I went to an ice therapy/meditation workshop. It had been booked for ages and I wasn’t sure whether to go with blocked sinuses. Would it cure or kill me? In the end most of the 4 hour workshop was about sitting and listening or meditating so I figured why not give it a go. It was actually excellent and we learnt so much about the benefits of cold water and breathing techniques. At the end of all the learning they ask you to step into an ice bath thats probably 1-3 degrees and you have to sit down immediately and then stay there for two minutes. Before hand you are prepped by doing various breathing exercises.

I was amazed that we both got in no problem and it really wasn’t bad at all. My hands were extremely uncomfortable but the rest of my body was ok. After we were advised to do some slow warm up moves and we finished off by getting into dry clothes and doing 10 minutes of very basic yoga focussing on breathing. We both really enjoyed it and I would definitely do it again.

Initially I have to say I thought ‘wow I’m cured’ as I felt amazing after. Then the night came…..ok maybe not better yet. Still we are both keen to carry on with the cold water therapy and meditation. It’s really very good for the mind and body and I’m sure it will be even more enjoyable once I can unblock these sinuses. I wonder if a sink plunger would work??

4 and a bit weeks to go

The last two weeks have been pretty full on. Last weekend included a 16km run to work and back on the Thursday, a long hilly road bike ride on the Friday, a long faster paced (for me) trail run on the Saturday with my husband and finally a 30km hike with full kit on the Sunday.

On the long hike last weekend

This was great training and I felt good too but by bank holiday Monday I was walking around like robocop with very stiff legs and sore muscles. Between that and the rain, my plan to do a lovely long mountain bike ride went out the window. Instead I spent a valuable day chilling out, recovering and writing a little bit more of my book (which I think I will still be writing when I’m 70…).

This week was my easier week in the month so I had three rest days and only did one run. I did however, go and camp in Edale and hike home the next day over Kinder Scout.

It was good to practice putting up the tent again and ensure all my kit was in working order. It was supposed to be a nice 16km back to the train station but the trains weren’t running so it turned into a 27km hike instead. All good practice though.

Important to fuel the next days hike 😝
Early morning mist in Edale
On the path to Kinder Scout
Top of Jacobs Ladder
Top of Jacobs Ladder

Today I went out on a beautiful long mountain bike ride. There were some bits that were too technical for me so there was some walking/bike pushing going on but for the most part it was a very enjoyable ride in the sunshine.

Out on the mountain bike today – coming out of Coombs

In other news we’ve been using the ice barrel quite a bit and I can definitely say it feels really good to get in after a long run/hike or bike. Whether it actually does help recovery – who knows. It’s hotly debated (although most consider it does). Either way it feels really therapeutic so who cares.

With only four weeks to go to my coast to coast adventure I’m starting to feel ‘kind of’ ready. I’m starting to believe I can do the distance on the bike and that I can hike/run a long way/day if I just set off very early in the morning. I also know I will be very very tired but that comes with the territory.

I’ll be doing this C2C self supported. JOGLE was mostly self supported where this will be entirely so for the duration of the bike and then the duration of the run. I’m having help with the logistics of collecting my bike and bringing my rucksack up (thank you hubby).

So there will be no support vehicle and I cant accept drinks, food, route advice or anything else from anyone I personally know. I can fully accept these things from strangers however. If I come across a group of cyclists I don’t know I can sit on the back and draft for example. I will definitely look out for this! I will be stopping at a bed and breakfast for the bike ride (one nights stop) and camping for the run back (two nights stopping). I’ve ordered a tracker again. For one thing it was kind of fun to have one and for another it means I will have a recording of my bike/run as I may upload it to FKT site afterwards (Fastest Known Time). This is a website that people use to record their ‘event’ if they know they are the fastest person doing a particular thing. I don’t think anyone has done a C2C duathlon so I’m guessing I will be the fastest if I just complete it.

This week is supposed to be a build week i.e. lots of training but I’m off to a wedding next weekend so training will take second priority around that. Weather is looking good for the day, the dress is hanging up and I’m debating trainers over high heels as I have a blister on my big toe! The downsides of hiking…..😂

Bloggers block

I’m sitting in with my feet up on one of those nice armchair recliner thingamys and wanting to write something inspiring, clever and interesting. My brain is a complete blank.

I will just start writing and see what happens. It cant go that wrong surely. Apologies if I get waffley. Not the tasty kind with ice cream and sprinkly bits.

My training week was so much better than the week before. I managed a decent four hour hilly’ish road bike ride. It wasn’t fast but it doesn’t have to be. I got around, that is the main thing. I still suffer from ‘dont want to go syndrome’ when it comes to road biking. I get up on a Fri morning (I don’t work Fridays) and think ‘Oh I wish I was going mountain biking’. I then spend the first 30 minutes of my bike ride thinking ‘I wish I was on my mountain bike out on the trail’.

I’m not quite sure what makes me think this. I recently got my bike adjusted both for comfort and fit and also for easier gearing. It’s great and I can ride for ages without any aches or pains. It’s also a lot easier riding on the road bike in reality. At least its quicker and its lighter. And yet that voice is still there in the back of my mind…….’you want to be on your mountain bike’……mountain bike…….m bike……..

I’m still hoping I will learn to love road biking as much as the MTB but we will see. For now I’m getting around. That’s all I need to do.

To my surprise I was met with fog on my road bike ride

I did a shorter run on Saturday this week. When I say short – 15km is short now. It’s all relative. I wanted to have the energy to focus on my hike.

Brief respite even on my short run 😆

So off I went on Sunday to Chinley and hiked up South Head and over to New Mills. It was 18km, which I’m happy enough with for now. I was carrying my backpack with about 7kg. I need to pack it properly next time to practice walking with the full weight. I also need to know what that weight will be. At the moment I tend to just throw things in the rucksack before I set off, to approximate the effect.

South Head
On way down from South Head

Going uphill 5km an hour would be a very decent pace with the full rucksack and weight. On the flat I can manage more but uphill thats probably a realistic limit. I will need to stop to eat, get water, pee etc. So that means it may take me 14hours plus stopping time to do 70km (if I walk the entire thing). That’s doable if I set off at 6am. However, since stopping time is generally around 2 hours (not kidding it adds up quickly) I wouldn’t be pitching my tent until 10pm. Hmmmmmm.

On way down from South Head
Near the millennium Walkway

This is the kind of uncomfortable maths I find myself doing as I hike or run on the weekend. It makes me think, don’t stop for breaky/lunch/dinner, or run uphill or set off at 5am. Or perhaps I just shouldn’t pee 😁🤷. I probably shouldn’t ponder these things. 😂. Any other suggestions are welcome. A time portal?

We have a new bosu ball in the gym. It’s a large dome shaped thing, like a large ball someone cut in half. You can sit on it to do your core workouts, balance on it with your tum, stand on it to do single leg squats. We are both discovering more and more workouts you can do with this one single item. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to build strength.

Now I’m feeling a lot better about the bike this weeks focus will be on running and hiking further with the backpack and ensuring its fully packed. I’m also starting to focus in on my nutrition, making sure to eat well to support my hard work and my recovery.

In other news my husband has bought an ice barrel for the garden. Apparently its very good for your health to have the occasional dunk. Some of you may have seen that series last year on the TV with Wim Hof.

Thankfully hubby has yet to insert a mini step in the barrel, before I can use it as currently I could get in it but would struggle to get out. We have both booked ourselves onto a cold water workshop in May; so I’m hoping they teach us the breathing techniques for getting in the icy water. At the moment I’m thinking hmmmm can I wear my wetsuit, a woolly hat and bring a hot chocolate with me?

7 weeks and 6 days to go

It’s been a hard week’s training and mentally tough too. I felt really tired at times this week and do wonder if I’m suffering from a bit of over training. It’s hard to know. I tried my best to create a plan that was progressive but also had rest days and recovery weeks. However, I’ve also been under a time constraint for this “event” from the beginning.

Training up for 70km day runs back to back (carrying all the kit and weight) plus training up to road bike further than I personally have in a few years and with quite a few burrmps on the way (as Peter Sellers would say) – well it sometimes feels like an impossible task.

This week felt like that. I ran with the backpack for the second time on Tuesday and pushed myself to run a bit faster and more ‘up’. I should add to this that when you have 6-12kg on your back – its hard to do a normal run (the greater that figure the more true that is). Your upwards momentum just isn’t there without physically feeling like you’re doing a crazy hard HIIT workout, being asked to jump onto a bench carrying a large kettlebell.

Taken during JOGLE but a reminder of ‘that’ bag!

So instead you resort to keeping your feet low to the ground and jogging with minimal up and down movement. This results in a considerably slower speed I might add but it does minimise hip pain, knee pain and any discomfort to your back from the rucksack.

So there I was on Tuesday and I thought to myself. Today is supposed to be the one day a week where I work harder/go faster, get my heart rate up more. So it seemed logical to try and actually “run” with the backpack rather than doing the shuffle jog thing. It was really hard work and I could definitely feel it. By the end of my run my hips and glutes felt every bit like they had been pushing me around the hilly trail 10km route I’d planned.

I was so glad to see this downhill on my run

On Wednesday I did my slow recovery jog in the lunch hour at work. Phew that felt much easier! After work I went to see my PT (personal trainer) and she gave me a really hard workout to do. I mean thats what I pay for of course. At the time though I do sometimes think, just 20 mins more to go……because yes its just that hard.

She tends to interweave HIIT movements like mountain climbers, jumping jacks into low squats with heavy weight workouts. I also do a lot of balance work. One memorable one is where I balance on the Bosu ball on my bottom with legs off the floor outstretched and leaning back slightly. At the same time as holding this balance with your core I have to throw a 5kg medicine ball at a trampoline and catch it. I do so love her creativity – it keeps it interesting.

On Thursday I ended up having a second rest day of the week as I’d not slept well and simply didn’t have the willpower to bike to work (and back). I figured this would at least enable me to be fighting fit for my crazy weekend of long runs and bikes. Hmmm.

On Friday I threw the idea of my road biking session out the window as it was forecast to rain quite a tad. For me rain just screams ‘mountain bike’. So off I set on a hillier route than usual although it was only 36km. I puffed my way around finding the hilly bits harder than usual although I did massively enjoy myself (got to love the MTB).

Out on the mountain bike heading onto the Sett Valley Trail

On Saturday I once again moved the idea of my road bike session back a day as once again the weather was forecast to be bad and Sunday looked great (they got it wrong by the way). Not having the time to do a hike this weekend I decided in my absolute wisdom….sorry insanity….that if I run with my weighted backpack and go a bit further then thats like doing my run and my hike together. Hmmm.

I can honestly say I was not feeling it right from the beginning. I am much slower with the rucksack as explained above but I was only managing 6.5km an hour. Honestly on a good day I could probably just about hike at that pace. On top of this I just felt tired despite the slow pace. By the end of my 25km I felt quite depleted of energy and it didn’t do my confidence much good either. How can I cover 70km in a day when 25km is that hard?

These little lambs did cheer me up on my long run

Finally today I was up early and ready for my 4 hour big hilly road bike. Only I wasn’t physically in the right place at all. My tight hips and glutes had returned and I felt so tired I could of quite happily just gone back to bed. I dithered for a while, frustrated at the situation and eventually decided I had to at least do an hour on my road bike. So I went and did our nearby ‘up and over’ as we call it. It’s pretty hilly for such a short ride. Ride done I punished myself with a gruelling 50 minutes of core and arm work in the gym.

So yes I did do 11.5 hours this week but it wasn’t the 15 hours I’d planned and moreover I’m just feeling quite behind in terms of where I’d like to be at this point. I’d ideally be riding 100km a week and running 50km a week. But thats just not viable given where I am now.

I need to psyche myself up a bit. I did JOGLE off the back of just 4 runs a week and the longest was only ever 30km. So anything is possible, its just in my mind.

This coming week will be another build i.e. hard week. I intend to focus in on the road bike as a priority, even if it means sacrificing the long run. I’ll then focus on the long run the following week. See how that goes. Now then weather be kind 🙂 ☀️

9 weeks to go…

I’ve had a really good two weeks running and cycling.

I’ve taken my new remodelled road bike out twice now and managed 67km and 1500m of ascent on my last ride. Thats a pretty hilly ride and I felt really chuffed to manage it. I’m starting to feel more confident that I can get through the 120km I need to on the first day of my coast to coast challenge.

Gorgeous views out on the bike

The main difficulty with riding is reading my wahoo computer navigation as I go. This is on a very small screen which sits on my handlebars.

Through my chromatic prescription glasses (basically sunglasses) I can only see the rough arrows I’m heading in but can’t see where my blob is on the map relative to those arrows or how far it is to my next turn. So to help with this issue I’m also wearing my watch, which has a different type of map and routing on it. This is easier to follow but I can only really look at it if I stop. I’m hoping if I keep practicing with both I will start to find it all easier. Currently the whole art of navigation is definitely slowing me down.

Lamaload Reservoir

Now I’m starting to gain more confidence on the bike my main concern is the running. I intend to try and run 60-70km a day during the coast to coast and my longest run this year is only 28km. I’ve also yet to run with my weighted backpack and haven’t done a long hike in a while.

I intend to spend the next month working on these issues. I will start this next week by doing my Tuesday run with the weighted backpack.

My long runs will get longer but will also start to incorporate some walking, running intervals. Finally I will do a long hike next weekend with my backpack and make that a main stay either every weekend or every other weekend (yet to decide on that point). I really love mountain biking at the moment and would like to fit it in somewhere.

Recent long run
Mountain bike ride on a rainy day – notice same way as above run

Next week is my recovery week so I will have to ensure a reduction in running and cycling mileage despite the inclusion of the backpack and hike. After that there will be a new four week building block which will be designed to get me to the ‘almost ready’ stage. 😬

A weeks training through Menopausal madness and my first outing on the road bike in 1.5 years!

Well its been quite a week. I’ve recently switched my HRT (medicine for Menopause symptoms) to the continuous patches. Asides the fun of getting them to stay on when you are a sweaty sporty person, I’ve noticed they have yet to fully abate some of my recent menopause systems. The main one is anger. It can build up in you over the teeniest stupid thing and its hard to know where to go with it. It’s very similar to PMT only can pop up at any time of the month. Even not being able to find a sock can make me mad 😂.

It’s not to say that the thing making you mad wouldn’t normally irritate you. It’s more that your emotional resilience is significantly reduced or even absent. Thus you can feel instantly angry over something that would normally make you think ‘hmph’ but 5 minutes later you’d of forgotten about it. Especially if you’ve been given a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. Come to think of it, that could work….hun….pleaseeee😁.

It’s all taking some getting used to and I’m not there yet but exercise does help – as it seems to with everything for me.

This last week I’ve done a fair amount of sporty stuff. 11 hours of it in fact. Most of this was on the weekend but I try to fit in what I can during the week.

This last week I had a rest day on Monday, went out hill running on Tuesday after work and got back home to do a short gym session with my husband. The run home was faster than I’d intended but I’d forgotten to take a head torch and was running on trails, through fields and the light was starting to fade. I didn’t have a phone with me either so 1/10 for safety efforts there. I will make sure to take all the relevant stuff next time.

On Wednesday I cycled to my Personal Trainer’s house after work, did a workout with her and then cycled home. It was a lovely ride down the canal and I really enjoyed it. Again the light was fading on the way home but this time I had lights and its kind of fun cycling when its getting dark. I like spooky!

Thursday was an easy day. I did a short recovery run after work but otherwise was more inclined to enjoy a gin and tonic in the evening and chill out.

On Friday I went out on my road bike – woohoo! I cant tell you how nervous I was. The last time I was on a road bike, I was returning it to the rental place in Mallorca a few days early because I’d experienced so much anxiety and panic whilst out on it. All of this came flooding back as I set out on Friday morning and I really doubted myself.

I did feel slightly uncomfortable on the first few roads as they were busy and I could feel the traffic going past me. Especially when the lorries go past, I’m not sure thats something you ever really get used to.

After that I was on lovely quiet country lanes and I started to really enjoy myself. In fact my main difficulty proved to be going uphill. I’d lost some of my cycling strength (to my surprise) and I was looking for a lower gear to get into (which didn’t exist! 🤔). I had to push hard in the lowest gear I had available to get up the hill. There is a hilly road we often go to called the Brickworks. It’s not crazy steep. I would say its a beginners hill but difficult for beginners maybe. I wasn’t expecting therefore, to struggle! Surely all my running would translate over?….

Near the top of the Brickworks

Still I pushed on and got to the top with my heart rate higher than I would of liked, but you have to start somewhere. I carried on and did a few more hills and started to feel better and find my rhythm. I even enjoyed some steep downhills I’d previously found scary. Funny how things can change. I was pleased to do 46km. It’s not a long ride for a club cyclist but it will more than do for me. I will need to be able to do 120km for the coast to coast challenge (in one go) but having done more than a third in a few hours, I feel more confident I can get there.

At the top of the hill

On Saturday I ran 16km at a much faster pace than I would normally do my long run. I don’t know why, but I just felt good and went with it. It’s nice to change things up now and again.

A weird thing that happened on my run. It suddenly gave me this screen on my watch. I think its trying to get me to run after a friend of mine who has done this section of trail. Odd…

Finally, today I took a train out a few stops and hiked home, covering 13km. All the sport caught up with me and I found myself eating a banana, a snack bar and a large tea cake in a matter of a few hours – then coming home for lunch!

Lovely views on the walk today
Great trail for walking
Mellor Cross

I’m really looking forward to my next road bike outing now. I know I have some way to go to build more confidence and strength but I know now I can get there. Perhaps I should use my inner meno anger to get me up those hills!

Escapism – where do you find yours?

I was thinking on my hike today about what makes me feel free/at peace/happy/comfy (take your pick). I think there are many things and many reasons why.

Watching a really good drama (been watching ‘The Gold’ or in equal measure a really bad reality tv show (thinking love island here) – I escape from reality for a while and immerse myself in whatever I’m watching. Yes I know – quite contrasting taste here 😝

Cycling/Running/hiking – I definitely feel at peace when I go out on my bike/for a run etc. I tend to alternate between a quiet mind/meditative state where I’m not thinking about much, listening to the birds, feeling the pace of my legs running; and having a busy mind where I’m solving problems or just thinking something through thats on my mind. I definitely feel free when I’m outside doing my sports.

I haven’t painted a picture for a while or tried a little singing but these things also have a calming meditative feel about them. They all take you away in your head for a little while.

This last week I was working at home one day and decided to take myself to a cafe in the lunch break. We are lucky enough to have one as close as the canteen is to my desk at work. I sat there enjoying my tuna toastie and latte and was thinking how free’ing it is sitting in a cafe. I can imagine I’m anywhere out on an adventure. There is something very calming about being on your own out for dinner or lunch or a coffee. I’m lucky that my husband is the same and gets this. He also likes to go camping on his own sometimes and will go to the nearby pub for a beer and a meal. It’s cool that we are both like this.

So how do you guys escape? Is it a hobby, a good book (oh thanks for the recommendations by the way!) or something else?

I took quite a few piccies this week. So here are a few.

Out on my bike ride. I really need to get mud guards. I was covered in mud all up my back. I should of taken a picture of it. It was like 101 Dalmatian’s on the back.
A beautiful view on my run by the canal
Side plank on a wobbly ‘thingy’ (need to ask my PT what this is called).
Out on my hike today and finished with some carrot cake in the park cafe.


Well I can ditch my gym membership now 😁. We’ve finished the home gym whoop. It was previously a garage and its already getting used regularly.

In my DIY glossing clothes testing out the workbench (which you cant see in this picture I realise!). I am lying on a black workout bench honestly. The Turbo is ready at the far end for next cycling workout.

The mirror isn’t flat yet so standing in front of it is like being at the funfair! Or maybe I’m just wibbly wobbly.

As well as finishing off our gym we’ve been busy decorating the hallway. Lots of debating before we fell in love with this blue colour for the walls. It was also a great chance to finally hang the artwork I’d done when I was 19 at art school, It had been kept in a folder in one garage or loft after another for many many years! So we brushed off the dust and had them framed.

All abstract – we thought they went well with the blue walls – sorry the photos on the left aren’t very clear

In other news I increased my long bike time up to 2 hours 45 mins. I’m increasing it by 15-20 mins each week. For now I’m just going out on my mountain bike and I’m surprised by how much I’m enjoying it. In a week or two I’ll get the road bike out and I’ve booked in for a bike fit to make sure I’m as comfortable and correctly set up as I can be. I suffer from a bad back sometimes so its important to get it right.

A Stag herd at Lyme Park – spotted on my ride

I practiced navigation on the bike again and have found I can read the map on my watch if I pull my glasses down my nose and peer over them. I have to slow down to do this but not fully stop so this makes things easier.

My long run was 19km this week and I keep it deliberately slow and easy to keep my heart rate down. I’m not yet certain whether I can keep increasing my run each week if I’m increasing my bike. I may have to keep it static or reduce it even. Doing your own training plans is a bit of trial and error.

I still find I’m getting very tired lately. I can be full of energy one minute then simply need to stop what I’m doing/nap the next. I’ve started using the HRT patches so am hoping they will improve my mad hormone swings and settle my moods and wavering levels of energy. That said I did 11 hours of exercise this week and I’m 54. I do wonder sometimes if I should expect less of my body. It does feel hormonal related, however, its is hard to know for sure.

Btw has anyone got any book/author/thriller recommendations? I tend to get attached to a particular author, read all their books and then be looking for something new. I’ve just read all the books by Louise Candlish. So if anyone has any thoughts let me know 😀

Coast to Coast training and motivation – 19 weeks to go

Last week I started training in earnest for my cycling/running 3 ice cream, coast to coast adventure (well if I eat one when I start and one when I reach each coast thats three – seems like a reasonable goal to me!)

My motivation for training, however, has been very hit and miss. I appear to be in a new stage of Peri-/Menopause (who knew there’d be even more excitement!) and I’m experiencing crazy mood swings, lack of motivation and above all else, extreme tiredness. Its difficult to manage and doesn’t lend itself to long runs and bikes on cold wet days. I’ve taken to having afternoon naps on the weekend. All I need now are slippers and a pipe (I have the blanket). Actually I have the slippers come to think of it.

None the less I’ve managed to get out a few times and generally feel better after a few warm up miles outdoors. My road bike is still tucked away for winter so I’ve been out on the mountain bike instead. So far I’m enjoying getting back in the saddle. I need to remember not to put my water bottle in the holder on the down tube of the bike, when I go mountain biking. You inevitably ride through mud and sh** and the drinking bottle starts to look less appealing….

In order to train intensely over the next few months (as I really don’t have much time compared to the time I had for JOGLE) I will need to build my strength up further in order to avoid injury.

My husband and I have turned our garage into a gym recently and so have started working out together. This is a lot of fun and we can help motivate each other. He is also training for a few Ultras this year so also needs to minimise the risk of injury.

Our cat is still wondering how a new room has appeared as if from nowhere. He keeps going in there, sniffing around a bit and running out again. Bless.

As well as physical training, I need to practice navigating on the bike. Navigation when I run or hike is easy (aside when paths just aren’t there! 😆). I have used my Fenix watch for this and its easy to follow. The problem with cycling is that I have to wear prescription glasses to see the traffic in the distance and the watch or onboard Garmin ‘thingamy’ is at reading distance. I simply cant see either when I’ve got the glasses on. This is something I need to ponder on. I could get varifocals but really don’t fancy them. Perhaps my bike screen with the map could be enormous, like size 50 font? Or my watch could beep madly at me when I have to turn left or right? (Any thoughts?)