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….