Pwease would you take my photo?

The problem with writing a blog is it changes you from someone who is allergic to cameras and runs away at the slightest sound of a ‘click’ nearby into someone who is constantly asking other people to take photos of you. “Oh this would be great for my blog, would you take my photo pweaseeee”.

So this week I thought I’d give everyone a break from ‘me’ and draw all my activities instead.

Tuesday was a day off work for me so hubby and I went on a long bike ride. My first 100k for quite a while. It was a lovely ride in the sunshine and I felt so good I went off quite fast at the start.

Speeding along happily

In the afternoon our PT came over and we had gym workout fun in the garden. At the moment I cant do much in the way of arm workouts as I’m recovering from a rotator cuff injury (which is hopefully minor). So our lovely PT works around this and gives us different things to do. Below we were working, together, however, doing a hard core workout and squats.

Toe taps followed by bicycles. That’s sweat not snow by the way…
Doing squats. Working out together is fun 🥰

Later on Tuesday In the evening I had a lovely time with my friends in our garden. I’ve decided to have a no alcohol month which started on Monday so I was on coffee and tea as were some of my mates. One friend brought orange flavoured tonic water which was surprisingly nice.

Socially distancing with wine, mugs of tea, chat and laughter 🤗

On Thursday I ran the hilly 4 mile trail route with my son, up Werneth Low and down again. My achilles felt fine and seems to be recovered woohoo.

Running downhill is fun 😁

On Friday and again today I cycled on some local hills. Today’s ride was a repeat of an up and over loop I like to do and I got a PB reducing my time to below 55 minutes whoop 😀

Determined to get a PB up those hills

Saturday was my long run and I did a slow 8 miler which I really enjoyed.

Happy running face

Today following my hilly ride and before another shorter run I went for a lovely walk with hubby around the local park and then into our local village for a coffee stop.

Here is my husband enjoying his cappuccino in the sun. I’m not good at sunglasses, have I made him look like a bee?

Since there is only so much stick men drawing a person can do, I maybe back next week asking my husband to take my photo… pweaseeee

Excited!!!!!

Last two weeks I’ve been able to see family twice and a friend once. It’s so so nice to be able to see people at last and its really easy to social distance in gardens in the sun. I’ve also had calls from my hairdresser, the local beauticians and my sports masseur (although the latter is uncertain as yet) as appointments can now be made woohoo 🥳

I’m seeing (provided it doesn’t rain) a lovely group of friends this evening for wine and chat and in between have a skype call with family planned so life is good. Between that and my second attempt at skate boarding I’m all excited and upbeat today 😀

Bucket List:

So one of my 60 things before 60 was to skateboard. It’s up for debate as to whether I can tick that off yet but I’d personally like to be able to skate all the way down our hill from the top. So once I’ve nailed that I’ll put up a video, however, for your amusement here is me after my second outing on the skateboard from half way down the hill. Amazing how easy it is to spot my errors on the video but I’m chuffed for staying on 😆

Need the confidence to stand more sideways on it so can lean/turn, that’s for next practice sesh

I watched another film from the top 250 imdb list. Well I tried watching L.A. Confidential but got bored so then moved onto Fight Club. I’ve actually seen this one strictly speaking but it was long enough ago that i couldn’t remember it. Pretty good but not amazing would be my verdict. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6cwmHL2tFI

I’ve also been working my way through the top 100 albums on Rolling Stones list. So far I’ve listened to the Zombies (really liked), Sly and the Family Stone, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan (ace), The Who, Miles Davis, Hank Williams (love it) and the last one was Prince. I cheated a bit on Prince as the album was Sign of the Times which was dull as dishwater. I switched it to Purple Rain (brilliant album). Next up Buddy Holly then Elton John whoop.

Sport:

Strava says I did 8 hours this week which is above my weekly average of late. I had a day off work this week so was able to get a longer bike ride in. We rode around Cheshire in beautiful weather and stopped for an ice cream.

Beautiful lanes of Cheshire
Stopping for yummy cliff bar
Trying to look natural and failing

Nommy ice cream en route, mint choc chip mmmm

Other sport included a few turbo workouts, one of which was a fun interval session where I sprinted at 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins etc, for 1 min, then 2, then 3 etc. Up to 6 minutes. Definitely a hard one that. Since I’m just beginning to recover Achilles wise I’ve been taking it easier with the running and just did 22k over the week at a pretty slow pace. One more week like that and I hope to get in some hill running again.

And then on Saturday we saw our lovely personal trainer Emma (Peak Trails Physical Training). She is ace, always bubbly and happy and just puts you in a good mood. Since I’ve had ongoing issues with a shoulder injury she did mostly core and leg workouts and then gave us different things to do when it came to arms. I did my physio and hubby did hard weights (ha ha).

Bicycles great for the core

In other news:

I’ve started reading a book by Ant Middleton on my kindle (The Fear Bubble). Utterly brilliant and I hope I can learn from it and apply it to the scary things I try to do (like cycling down steep hills…). It’s extremely honest and I’d recommend it if you like the SAS who dares wins TV show.

I painted a garden ornament. My brother asked me to paint it (for fun) and I decided it would look good in cycling clothing so here is Rapha because only Rapha will do for our duck 😆

Matching socks were essential

Dodgy smoothies, tighter cleats, pink pongos and the comical art of running photos on a timer

As always Monday was my rest day. This was also my first day back in the office in a long time. I was really quite excited and it felt good to go in. Our offices/Company are involved in key equipment in relation to the Covid crisis so the reception has already been set up with gloves/masks, temperature control etc for some time. Although I was not only 2 metres away but more like 12 metres away from another living person for most of the day it was still a nice change from home working.

Tuesday

I went for my usual run on Tuesday. After having some Achilles issues recently I decided to do a relatively flat 4 mile run (equates to undulating around here). It was one of those lovely I feel great days where you go faster and feel amazing. I LOVE those days 😄. On my return I made my usual smoothie but this time I made one that resembled something from ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’.

Crushed bugs with milk anyone?

Wednesday

I decided to go out for my bike ride rather than turbo, since the weather was so lovely. I did my usual ‘up and over’ as I call it as its a very pretty hilly but not too steep hilly route which essentially goes up and then down and can be done in under an hour.

Thursday

Run day again and I decided to do my four miles at a slower rate and keep within Z2 heart rate zone. It is deemed beneficial to do the majority of your training (80%) in Z2 when you are training for long distance events and a its also believed that even for shorter events its better to do a really slow run and then a really fast run or intervals rather than doing everything at an intermediate pace (a one pace pony stays a one pace pony). There are 4 heart rate zones and each one represents a certain % of your maximum heart rate. Theoretically your maximum heart rate is approx. 220 less your age. This would put mine around 169. In reality mine is closer to 190 so the theory doesn’t take into account fitness and genetics. So Z2 for me means keeping my heart rate under 140. Sounds easy but I nearly always go over this when running. Finally on Thursday I found that golden pace and got my heart rate down (woohoo!). This is exciting for me as its also then the pace I should aim for in an Ironman marathon (assuming I had any legs left).

Friday

I repeated my up and over route on the bike but this time I tightened my cleats before setting off. What a difference! If it hadn’t been for the loud clicking noises on my bike and unbelievable bad luck with every traffic light, parked lorries, people stepping out etc. I would of got a PB on my route (next time). On getting home I asked my husband about the clicking noise, convinced it had something to do with my left pedal/cleat. After much riding up and down the road with my foot in and out of the pedal, my husband points out that the pedal is simply banging on my bicycle pump with every turn. Aghghgh. Needless to say I felt really silly 😝.

Later on Friday we had our personal training session in the back garden.

Hubby is doing squats on a wobble board and I’m wrestling with a tree…no wait see next photo
With the TRX tied to the tree I’m doing side curtsey squats

Saturday

For the first time in weeks I decided I would do my long run (8 miles) as flat as possible. The only way to do that around here is to run down by the canal so I was up early to avoid having to run near too many people.

First order of the day was roll out those calves to avoid further Achilles issues.

Rolling rolling rolling

On the way around I decided to practice taking running selfies using the timer on my phone. My initial photos were pretty bad….

This is my third attempt, I’m not in the first two 😂
Attempt three, getting better but still only legs 😆

Later on I got a bit better at it

Ok, not professional yet but at least I’ve got all of me in the photo
Beautiful views along the canal, so lucky to live near here

Sunday

Today we went on a 50 mile bike ride. It’s the furthest I’ve been in quite a while but it was also out on the flat plains on Cheshire. It occurred to me its been a while since I’ve done a flat ride and it felt so easy and speedy compared to doing the hilly rides around here. I got a lot of personal bests en route so clearly tighter cleats and practicing on hilly routes makes you faster. Also (and I take no credit for this amusing anecdote) but apparently TITS make you faster too (a fellow blogger was debating this issue in a very witty blog she wrote). Yes indeed the greater the TITS the more you can improve speed. I had to ask what this stood for, apparently it’s Time In The Saddle (ahhhhhh).

Cycled out to Jodrell Bank and back in my new Pongo socks

A better week

This week was better and a few conversations with lovely people and I found mojo again. I also started rereading some inspiring running books. This week I reread ‘The Clock Keeps Ticking’ by Sharon Gayter. She is an amazing Ultra runner and the book is well worth a read.

Monday

This is my rest day so I didn’t do any sport but I did try on the new cycling socks that hubby bought me. They should look better on when I’m wearing cycling shorts rather than jeans 🤔

To be worn on my next cycling trip

Tuesday

Went for a 4 mile hilly trail run with hubby. The weather was lovely and it was a fairly fast pace of 6.17/km (for me).

At the top of one of the descents
Still descending

Wednesday

Turboed for just 35 minutes as at this point the pedal came off (again). It was stuck to my shoe. We have since bought a new pedal and fixed this problem.

Pedal stuck to shoe
Bike without a pedal

Thursday

Ran with my son to the pharmacy. Just a 2 mile slow paced run as my legs were very tired.

Just realised I got Tuesday and Thursday the wrong way round…..

Friday

Did another cycling turbo workout at home for 45 minutes and then had a really tough workout session with our PT. I still find HIIT hard as most of what I do is endurance or strength work at lower HR. My legs have been tired all weekend after this but in a good way.

Saturday

We were supposed to go out on a long bike ride but I woke up feeling shattered. Not sure if it was hay fever or the booze from the previous evening, maybe both. So decided to go on the turbo yet again. Managed an hour this time and felt great. Amazing what a difference a new pedal makes.

First time I averaged 35.9kph on the turbo. Only wish I could do this on the bike outside….

Sunday

Went for a lovely (hard) 7 mile trail run with my son. There was one spot of walking as he got a stitch but otherwise he did really well and definitely has the running bug now. My stepson has started running with the couch to 5k. Once he is running a few miles perhaps we can all go on a trail run as a family, something nice to do post lockdown perhaps.

My son enjoying the descent after a few miles of uphills

A difficult week (Where is MoJo?)

When I write my blog I always feel I should be positive and I usually am but this week I have struggled a little.

My body has rebelled after two weekends of virtual ironman racing in a row (unsurprisingly), a tight back, very tired legs and a shoulder injury that wouldn’t seem to go away. My motivation seemed to take a dive this week, not only with sport but in general and I’ve found myself a little withdrawn perhaps.

I intend, however, to find my mojo this coming week starting tomorrow. I shall look for it in a walk, with friends online, in my running and cycling which I may do differently this week to mix things up. I shall also look for it under the sofa, in my wardrobe, in the garage but definitely not in the biscuit tin….. although mojo does often hide in the biscuit tin I will admit 😬

Still I did do some training this week and some other things, so here they are:

Tuesday

I had a day off work and had intended to go on a bike ride with hubby but it was raining so we went for a run instead. It was just a four mile loop but its a hilly loop and was on reflection not a bright idea having done a race on the weekend (see Wednesday). It was none the less very enjoyable and I’ve definitely refound a love of trail running.

Wednesday

Words can not express how hard I found the bike ride on Wednesday. This was another holiday from work and there was no rain so hubby and I set off looking forward to our hilly adventure. I have developed a love for riding in the hills. I think the combination of having a good day and really feeling challenged but fit as you make it up the hill is so great and of course the stunning views are always worth it. Admittedly on this occasion my legs were tired from the off and I got to a point of not enjoying it as much which is a shame. On the last hill which felt really steep I didn’t think I would make it up to the top and I felt very out of breath. I would however like to go back and do that ride again on a day when my legs feel better. It would be good to really give it a solid go and feel good about it. Later on Wednesday we had our zoom session with our PT. This was difficult but we managed to do a good job of it and hopefully can give a bit more next time.

Goya Valley before the big hill
Top of Windgather

Friday

Had a rest day on Thursday. On Friday I did a very short recovery run of 2 miles. It’s sometimes better to turn the legs over and get the blood moving than to sit still so I followed this guidance and went off on an ambling jog.

Saturday

Yesterday was to be my long run. I decided to shorten the run from the original intended 9 miler to just 7 miles but I also decided to take the run into the hills/on to the trails. It was a beautiful run which I throughly enjoyed and if my Achilles allows I think I may find mojo on some of these runs.

My exit Styal is behind all of these sheep

Sunday

Today I was supposed to do a long bike ride but after the demanding bike ride on Wednesday I decided to only do my ‘loop’ which takes about an hour. My legs didn’t feel quite as tired which bodes well for next week, perhaps recovery is on the way.

Ok now I’m off to find mojo. I will definitely not start with that biscuit tin…….

Easier week of running, cycling finished with a slow virtual Olympic tri

Monday

We did our weekly workout with our fabulous personal trainer Emma from Peak Trails Physical Training. Even though training is currently done via Zoom she is so full of energy you still get that encouragement you need from a PT.

Tuesday

Hubby took me for a run on the trails/in the hills. It was a five miler and beautiful all the way. I did start to notice an old Achilles injury biting a little on the uphills (damn that long run on Sunday).

Wednesday

Felt shattered on Wednesday and got off the turbo after just 20 minutes. Sometimes you just need to rest. So I did some yoga as it helps to stretch out and it was beautiful outside which helps.

Thursday and Friday

I took two full rest days. My left shoulder and my legs have been a bit sore and tired all week so seemed the best thing to do.

Saturday

Having signed up to the VR6 (virtual Olympic distance tri or rather version there of which is 3k run, 40k bike and 10k run over a weekend) I set off for my 3k run in the morning. Went pretty well and was pleased with my 15.53 time given that nothing here locally is flat. After that I had intended to sprint out fully on the 40k (done inside on the turbo) but a) it was too hot, b) my legs were gone and c) I didn’t pick the flattest route on Zwift. It was sadly one of those workouts where you just try to get to the end rather than go fast. I did it in 1 hr 16 which I was quite disappointed with, ah well another day and all that.

Sunday

Hubby set off on his 3k run to do the VR6 and came home and got on the turbo around the time I set off to do my 10k run. It went better than expected and although way off a PB I actually thought I might be even slower so was happy with my 57 minutes.

Overall currently 34th out of 186 in age/gender category but the results wont finish coming in until midnight. Hubby is currently 120th out of 716, totally awesome.

In other news:

I sent off an article to Ultrarunning World online magazine. I was very excited to be asked to do this a few weeks ago and I cant wait to see it in the finished magazine.

I used an ironing board for the first time in …..oh wait, I cant actually remember. In fact until a few months ago we didn’t own one. Those that know me well will know what an unprecedented moment this is!

Hallelujah

Sport training, a virtual half-Ironman and a comedy of errors

So this week I had my usual rest day on Monday but also rested up on Tuesday due to feeling considerably bleugh. Thankfully it turned out to be another bout of delightful hay fever (I think) and I felt pretty good on Wednesday. So a somewhat mental week of sport then played out as follows:

Wednesday

A 4 mile road run in a circuit from the house and a 45 minute turbo session on the bike at home.

Thank goodness for those patio doors, turboing gets hot

Thursday

A hilly 4 mile trail run. So beautiful up on Werneth Low so I’ve included a few pics. One of these is blurry, a side effect of running with a phone when its warm.

Friday

I decided to turbo for an hour instead of going out on the bike. The idea was to save my legs as by this point I had signed up to the virtual half iron-man on the weekend (VR5). It’s actually a duathlon and you run 5k, cycle 90k and run 21k at anytime between Fri 6pm and Sunday midnight so you can take breaks etc. It can be done indoors or outdoors as you long as you stick to government rules of one sport a day outside etc. So my Fri workout was just spinning as this is good for recovering legs.

Saturday

I set out to do my 5k run (part 1 of the race) at a deliberately average speed. There seems no point to run a fast 5k and save 2 minutes when you know you are going to spend a couple of hours on the bike after. I ran it in 28 minutes which I’m perfectly happy with given our local undulating terrain and given my average level of input. It’s after this point that the comedy of errors began..

I knew I had to cycle 90k on the turbo. I also thought that I needed to record the ride on my Garmin and not rely on Zwift to record it as my Friday test ride had not uploaded to the Ironman virtual site (this was my first error). I got all my yummy snacks and drinks ready for the ride and topped up my bottles with what I thought was energy drink containing electrolytes. It turned out to be chocolate flavoured recovery drink which I would normally mix with milk rather than water. Ah well it was weirdly drinkable.

My strategy on the bike was to go fast (not much of a strategy I know) but I figured it made sense to do well on the bike and then go a bit easier on the run. So I was aiming to finish in 2.45. Unfortunately soon after starting it became clear that my Zwift speed and distance was different from the distance and speed on my Garmin watch and that furthermore this delta was getting bigger and bigger as time went on. So as I’m riding along I’m thinking do I do 90k based on Zwift or 90k based on my watch ? I felt it was best to do the latter and that this must be the ‘correct number’ and the one that would upload to my virtual Ironman.

The next comical thing to happen was the pedal coming off the bike with my shoe and foot still firmly attached so that my leg is sticking out mid air not doing anything whilst the now pedalless spindle goes round and round. I got off the bike and examined exhibit A…..i.e. my foot inside a shoe with a pedal attached on the floor. I wasted 5 minutes trying to get my shoe out of the pedal to no avail. Finally I rescrewed the pedal back onto the bike with the shoe attached (yes I had taken my foot out, I’m not that bendy) which proved (thankfully) to be really easy to do, even for technically challenged people like myself.

At 2.52 I finished my 90k on Zwift but unfortunately had to continue as my watch was showing just 77k. I carried on until the latter got to 90k which took me a further 25 minutes and my Zwift now showed 104k. I saved my ride and looked at my Ironman virtual race page and agghghghghghghgh and grrrrrrrrrrrr it showed I’d done 104k in 3 hours 18 minutes. Ok so the extra 14k wasn’t required then after all…..

Sunday

All that remained was to run 21k on Sunday. I felt pretty good in the morning and did a bit of foam rolling and stretching before hand. My son ran the first 11k with me which really helped as I had someone to chat to. It also meant we ran a little slower but since I haven’t run further than 11k in the last 2 months, setting the world on fire was never going to be a good tactical approach anyway and you always have to think about keeping injuries at bay. I’d set up laps in our local town and so we were able to stop off at the house and have a drink or gel at end of the driveway after each lap if so desired. My son finished after 2 laps and I finished my VR after 4 laps in 2 hours 10 minutes, which is hardly speedy but It’s vaguely acceptable given the undulating roads around here.

Having a rest after the race

I’m currently 33rd in age group (would of been 19th if I’d only done 90k required) but that will change (go down) as more people have yet to finish the race. Still I’m happy that even with my errors and undulating runs I’m not completely shit. 😁

A busy beautiful week

Monday was rest day and apart from working I really didn’t do anything except for lots of ‘colouring in’ on my happy colour game (a total incomprehensible obsession right now) 😁

Tuesday: After work I ran the 4 mile local trail route with my son. It was too hot by far for the 2 mile uphill bit but the downhill was great fun. After hubby and I did circuits with our PT via zoom. The WiFi is pretty hit and miss outside our house so occasionally it buffers and we end up doing an extra minute of whatever exercise we are doing!

Wednesday: Turbo was the order of the day, just 45 minutes, a lovely hot and sweaty affair.

Looking shattered and I was 😆

Thursday: I did a 4 mile road run which includes a steep hill which is also a Strava segment. Yes I admit to speeding up just before and also up the hill in order to try and get a cup on strava and I did, woohoo. So sad I know but you have to take motivation where it comes.

Whoop 6th fastest up the hill 😄

Friday: I am blessed that I get to finish early on a Friday in my job so I was able to shoot off on my bike into the hills (well semi hilly) and do a one hour loop after work.

Mottram in Longdendale

Saturday: My son is building up his running and today was his first 10K in a few years so I ran with him to encourage him along the way. In fact he ended up encouraging me as I was very tired and he is starting to edge ahead of me. Near us no run is really flat so there was some decent undulation here and there. After I did some peaceful yoga, something I’m starting to enjoy more and more. Yoga Life UK are really good. Once you are set up you get a notification on facebook and can then do the session whenever you want by going back and finding the notification.

I’d say what this move is called but I cant remember 🤔

Sunday: OMG! My husband took me on a wee bike ride…..just 45 hilly miles including Nont Sarahs (Buckstones Pass) which to be fair is not steep at all but the whole route is undulating and I was shattered by the end of it. Gorgeous gorgeous views though. We then did circuits as a family in the garden. We introduced a new move called the Curtsey which caused some amusement with the lads 😆.

Buckstones Pass
Buckstones Reservoir
Scammonden

Otherwise during the week I started a new painting, we got a roaring fire going last night at the end of the garden and after years of wearing make up every day I’ve started to embrace the natural look. Only took me 51 years.

Back garden 😂

Now roll on curry and a bit of wine 🍷 😁✌️

The sun has got his hat on 🌞 and Chaka is singing I feel for you la la la

What a beautiful weekend. Ok yesterday it was a tad colder but that was perfect for running. 7 mile run, 6 with my son who is pushing my pace and making me faster.

Today we decided against the early bike ride and instead I did some yoga which I quite enjoyed although 30 minutes was my patience limit. Later hubby and I took it in turns to go on the turbo outside in the glorious weather.

Cat stretch
An hour on the turbo

Later my son and I did some painting (the picture kind) and then we both played in the back garden with his new re-enactment sword.

Kill Bill madness grrrr
My son showing me how it should be done

Hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine whether it be outside or opening a window and maybe a nice cold beer or G&T. Cheers 🍻

Training differently

Lockdown makes for interesting training at times, swerving your way down the road like a drunk person in order to social distance from people whilst out on a run. An easier option is just to head into the hills where you simply don’t find as many people.

Consequently most of my runs and bike rides seem to involve hill work right now. This is great for building strength but also means I need to rest and stretch more (I’m not great at either of these but I’m getting there).

Monday

I did a 4 mile trail run with hubby. It’s pretty much 2 miles up and 2 miles down, over grassy fields, styals and passing some sheep along the way. Difficult but so much fun! We followed this up with circuit training in the garden and then finished with some garden work:

We broke up some stones with a sledgehammer ready to put them in the skip the next day.

A great way to get rid of frustrations 😆

Tuesday

Tuesday was my rest day this week so I just went for a 2 mile walk after work.

Wednesday

I went on the turbo for 40 minutes. I was looking to follow Geraint Thomas but clearly you have to start at the same time he does…I just couldn’t find him. I worked hard though trying 😁

Spooky reflection

Thursday

I repeated the 4 mile trail hilly run I’d done on Monday in order to show my son the route. I was amazed I remembered it myself. Gorgeous views up on the low.

Werneth Low

Friday

Today I went for a bike ride with hubby. Again we went onto quieter roads, a bit hilly with beautiful views.

Above Broadbottom

On way to Broadbottom

We finished off with circuits again in the garden. Now enjoying Gin and orange juice (surprisingly nice) since I’ve run out of tonic.