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endurance training (or how not to…)

3 Jul

So you want to be an awesome cyclist like me?  (No?  Don’t you know i’ve met Victoria Pendleton?) Then follow my recipe for the endurance ride of your life.  This ride took place on a lovely sunny Monday evening…

First i selected an approximately two mile route (I wouldn’t go more than 3 miles for this one).  A route that just so happened to have a local fayre at the end of it.  If you’re a stats person i’d say it had one short hill, approx 7%, but was mostly flat.  I can’t tell you true stats as this really wasn’t deserving of a Garmin or Strava outing.  Next, cycle at a leisurely pace for the first two miles.  It’s important not to exert yourself too much at this point – the real test is yet to come.  At one point hubby was shouting at me from about a mile away that he couldn’t ride slowly enough to stay with me.  What he didn’t realise was that the dress and leggings i had chosen to wear, instead of that boring lycra, was adding extra resistance and giving me a great workout.

Stop at aforementioned fayre.  Wander round for a bit (ah yes cross training with a walk no less) then, and here’s the crucial bit and where the endurance part kicks in, eat a large pot of locally made stew.  You know the type that’s probably been stewing since the fayre the year before, full of root vegetables and beans, and so claggy you can feel it sticking to your insides as it goes down?  Wander round some more.  Admire long forgotten craft forms and spend time looking at and choosing some gorgeous artwork before remembering you cycled there and you’ve no way of getting anything home!  Finally, attempt to cycle home on your very full belly!!  This works best if you think you know a shortcut to your house which you persuade your husband to take only for it to pretty much take you back from whence you came before taking you under and over a few rolling hills before eventually delivering you home.

I can truly say if you can survive that you can sew that endurance badge on your cycling shorts.  I was a whinging moaning mess by the time i got home.  Although to be fair it’s not that different from my more serious training rides.  I’m pretty sure if Lance Armstrong had read my training book there would have been no need for all that doping!

I’m still in recovery now but i’m pretty sure by this time next year i’ll be ready to do it all again.

On a more serious note, if certain people’s passports turn up in the post in the next few days i’m hoping to whizz off to France for a day or two to catch a snippet of the Tour de France.  Exciting stuff.

Anyone else got some training gems to share?

beating the winter weather aka turbo training!

10 Apr

Lately the weather here has been pretty Jekyll and Hyde.  When the weather doesn’t look as beautiful as this…

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(both taken on a recent walk just a week ago) we are suffering high winds and sideways rain/sleet.  So the only way to train in a civilised manner is to set my road bike up on the turbo trainer.  I’m loving my foldable Turbo trainer.  Super easy to set up for a total novice like me and folds away when you’re not using it.  Or if you’re like me you just leave your bike set up in front of the telly for days on end!

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One thing i was surprised about using a turbo trainer is just how much harder it is than road cycling – not only is the resistance harder but you don’t get the joys of stopping occasionally to free wheel down hills for a bit.  I can still only cycle on the first few settings.  I’m sure i can already feel the benefit though.  I’ve looked up some free videos on YouTube which have been great and I’ve also tried some tough interval sessions.

Having said all that i can’t wait for the sunshine to come back as there really is no substitute for getting out there in the fresh air (and stopping for cake and tea along the way!).  So tonight i’m setting out the cycle kit and i’m going to sleep with my fingers crossed.  I promise i’m not always a fair weather cyclist but when the winds get over 30mph the warmth and dryness of the car do look awfully tempting.

X

(almost) wordless New Year’s Eve recap

1 Jan

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I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  Wishing you a healthy and happy 2013!

Dawn X

another day another medal – Santa 5K

17 Dec

Yesterday I ran a Santa Fun Run in aid of a local charity which raises funds for carefully chosen projects where children are in distress through whatever life has thrown at them, war/disaster zones, poverty, sickness, homeless and on larger scales children that are orphaned.  A brilliant charity I’m sure you’ll agree.

Check out my Christmas socks. They go so well with my Nikes don’t you think?  I knew it was going to be cold so i layered these over my running tights and my normal running socks.  I wore a fetching Santa jacket and hat to go with this hip ensemble.  Vogue should be on the phone any minute…

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The race was a 5K although my trusty Garmin informed me it was actually about 3.75 miles which i reckon to be 6K.  Who’s counting though?  The weather was horrendous – we suffered a hailstorm halfway through (in between the gusting winds) which was fun,  and i promise i wasn’t grumpy at all (ahem!). I managed to warm myself up with this delight afterwards…

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You can always trust Mr Marks & Mr Spencer to make you a good soup – and one that’s Christmas dinner in a bowl to boot!  Yes purlease!!

We got this little trinket for our troubles and I hung it on the Christmas Tree:

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And finally, in case you were concerned i’d gone all normal cat lady on you let me just cement my crazy cat lady status by showing you this cutey:

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You didn’t know Amazon delivered adorable little cats now did you?

Did anyone else take part in a Santa Fun Run this weekend?  I hope the weather was nicer to you.

Christmas cupcakes and Tabata training

9 Dec

In my world cupcakes and Tabata training go together like cheese & wine (or Sunday and roast dinner).  If you don’t agree let me tell you now – you are wrong.

At my work this week we had a craft/culinary competition based on the theme of Christmas trees.  Naturally I stalked Pinterest for several evenings before deciding on attempting Martha Stewart’s Christmas Tree Cupcakes.  Here is the making of…

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I placed my sponge mixture into ice cream cones and my mini cupcake mould.  I used my own tried and tested recipe (read: much easier recipe) than hers but i’m sure it would have come out much the same.

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I attached each cone shaped cake to a mini cupcake and then attempted to ice with buttercream to make them look like snowy Christmas trees.  I added silver balls for extra Christmassyness (and that is a real word). Here is the end result:

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They weren’t terrible, and people recognised them for what they were supposed to be, but Martha Stewart I am not!!  For some reason most of them had a bit of a lean on.  Safe to say i didn’t win any prizes – they are some seriously talented people at my work and i’m going to have to spend the whole of 2013 practising if i’m going to win anything next year.

To burn off all those calories from my cook’s treats (you know – licking out the bowl, sucking the icing out of the icing bag…) i did two Fitnessista workout videos today.  The Six Pack in a Sweater workout and this Tabata workout.  Both of which seriously got my sweat on!  I reckon my abs are going to be sore tomorrow.  If you’ve never heard of Tabata it’s a type of interval training – you only work out for 4 minutes (plus warm up and cool down) but it’s supposed to singe those calories and the after burn continues for quite a while meaning i’m burning more calories as i type this right now.  Awesome.

If you haven’t checked out Gina’s blog or her YouTube channel i urge you to do so now – there’s something for everyone and she is soooo lovely.

On a side note i’ve noticed from my stats that i’ve got quite a lot of people checking in from my home town on a daily basis.  So either my sister is going overboard on checking my blog or i’ve got some new friendly faces watching!!  So this is a big hello to all my fellow donkeys!

running the Great South Run

22 Nov

Don’t ever say i don’t give you timely posts on all my sporting achievements!!! Haha!

Last month John and I ran the Bupa Great South Run (thanks for running with me hubby!).  The GSR is one of a series of running events Bupa sponsors in the UK.  It’s 10 miles on a fast flat course, 25,000 people run it including elites, and it takes place in the lovely city of Portsmouth.

Here’s my proud little face shortly after finishing…

Oh yeah – bringing back the bumbag single handedly baby!! I am so cool and it was so cold!  It’s not the world’s most attractive pic of me but its what you get when i’m shouting at John to take a pic of me on my phone for the blog before i seize up in the freezing cold while trying to smile.

Regular readers of my blog will know that i tore the ACL in my knee back in May which hampered my training quite a bit but with the help of an awesome physiotherapist and about a gazillion squats I finished in 2 hours 13 minutes with no pain.  Well…no pain in my knee anyway!

I’d only run a maximum distance of 7 miles in training hoping that the atmosphere of the day would pull me through.  It was such an amazing atmosphere – so well supported – but around about mile 8 i gotta say i got a bit emotional.  Tell me this happens to other people but even when i’m training sometimes i’m known to tear up – even on a 4 miler!  Just me that’s a pansy then huh?  So when they gave out handfuls of jelly babies around mile 8.5 it was like the best moment of my life.  Ever!  I ran around the women offering smears of vaseline though.  That’s just weird.

We got a fab goodie bag at the end which looked like this…

Thanks Bupa!!  Pretty much all food related items were consumed on the train ride to the airport.

The best part is i got to raise more than £800 for my local cancer treatment unit.  Yay!

So now my medal collection since August looks like this…

I’m not entirely sure i’d do this race again – i’m thinking maybe a 10K might be more my style.  I’ve got no more races planned apart from a charity 5K Santa Dash in December.  I’m hoping this is enough to keep my motivation up during these wet and windy winter evenings.  I might have to start plotting for next year now.

Happy Thanksgiving to all American readers (and to everyone else).  I’m thankful that i’m healthy enough to do stuff like this and thankful that people actually read the rubbish I write.

Until next time…

 

 

let’s catch up (or my cycle tour of Devon)

16 Sep

i know i don’t write or call as often as i should.  I am a bad blogger.  I wish i was sorry but there is such a good reason.  Basically i have a new love.  Don’t worry the hubby needn’t be jealous for my new love has two wheels…

Yes i am the proud owner of a beautiful road bike (and i don’t cut my hedges often enough).  Isn’t she lovely?  Not sure whether it was the Tour de France or the Olympics that got me but either way i have been totally seduced by cycling!

Both John and i have been cycling lots, not least because in three weeks time i’m taking part in Cycletta in Cheshire to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.  This is a 40K cycle ride so i need all the training i can get.  Did i mention Victoria Pendleton will be there also?  Eeek, very excited!

Recently John and i spent a week in a cottage in Devon for our holidays. It was absolute bliss, gorgeous sunshine and totally surrounded by nature.  What’s not to love.  The view from our cottage:

We cycled the Tarka Trail and the Granite Way, both great traffic free trails suitable for road bikes and for our third ride we did a 20 mile round trip to a lake.  Although it is VERY hilly it’s wonderful country to be cycling round (did i mention it’s hilly?  Oh yeah, it’s hilly).  The lanes are very quiet.  You’re more likely to meet a tractor or a horse than a car.  Plus there are plenty of establishments selling wonderful local cider and cream teas (the essential cycling nutrition combo).  We were extremely lucky with the weather – if it had rained all week it may have been a different story but if you are lucky enough to spend a week in Devon in the sunshine i would totally recommend getting on two wheels.

In other news…I also recently ran the Guernsey Marathon as part of a relay team.

Yes this is the best picture my hubby could take of me.  I think i was running faster than the speed of light!!  I shall do a proper recap of this race in a separate post (although don’t hold your breath with my current track record) but it’s safe to say my leg of the race was fairly unpleasant.  I tore my ACL back in May and although my rehab is going well my knee is still fairly unstable and i couldn’t get in as much training as i’d like to have done.  The leg was 4.2 miles of hills (up and down).  It has taken my knee nearly two weeks to recover.  The team part was awesome though and i would do it again in a heartbeat!

Until next time X