Finding My Mojo

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Its been an interesting week, where I’ve begun to question my ability to run.  Basically I feel like I’ve lost my running mojo!  Before my operation a couple of weeks ago, I cut back on the amount of running I was doing to give my Achilles some rest and began to focus on cycling a bit more than I had been, what I had failed to recognise at the time was that it would be four weeks until I next ran again.

Those four weeks have somehow stolen my mojo, and my recent runs have been a real struggle, to the point that I have not managed to complete a single run without some walking.  In fact the first time I headed out for my run after I got the all clear, I was shocked at how much running fitness that I had lost.  Everything felt really heavy and I just couldn’t seem to hit the groove, it was quite disheartening, as I remembered just how it used to feel to run for 40 minutes without stopping while I was walking around my usual morning route.

It’s getting better, I can now run further than that first few runs, but I’m still not back where I was and its a little disheartening.  The fact that I’m recording all my runs on my Garmin watch, means that I am able to see the slow gains that I am making, which is great and definitely helping with the motivation.

On a rosier note I have started putting some hills into my weekly cycling routine and have started doing a 22k hill loop that climbs 350m overall and provides some pretty beautiful views as well when the sun starts to come up.  And its these moments that keep me getting up at 5am so that I can get the run or ride in before work.  The getting outside and “doing it” is really good for my sense of well being, even if its absolutely rubbish for the amount of sleep I’m getting, something that I am going to have to address, but a lifetime of being a night owl is not going to get overturned in a few months.  Still I do have to get used to going to sleep sometime between 9 and 10 because everything I read tells me that sleep is realllllllly important for recovery.

Finally I actually won something this week! Not a race, but I won a supply of EM’s power cookies from a competition that I entered on Facebook.  They’ve not arrived yet but that was a pretty excellent way to start my weekend.

Shawn

  • Monday – Ride 22k
  • Tuesday – Run 6k
  • Thursday – Ride 17k, Run 6k
  • Saturday – Run 5k
  • Sunday – Ride 31k

 

 

Ouch, that hurt…

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Last week I had a nice reminder that I’m getting on a bit, don’t get me wrong, I’m not old, but the halcyon days of my youth have become a gilded memory and my body is starting to remind me in subtle and not so subtle ways that I can’t quite perform at the levels I remember.

I was really happy with my 10k effort last Saturday and I felt good all things considered so on Monday I went for my normal 40 minute run, but I thought it was time to add the hill back into at least one of my weekly runs.  After all the Coast to Coast mountain run is 33k’s long but involves 800+m of elevation gain, so it makes sense to me to make sure I train on hills to get myself ready for the actual event.

Monday morning I woke up still a little stiff from the weekends long run and my Achilles were still a little tight, but I walked them loose before I began my slow run – 25 minutes up and 15 down – I actually had a good run, although it was well off my flat pace but I was definitely fitter and it was easier than the last time I had tackled the hill. (10 weeks ago just before I started the couch to 5k series – time really does fly when you’re pounding pavements) However on Tuesday morning my Achilles were really stiff and I was not as mobile as I should be.  Luckily I had an appointment with Laura my physio who had already been treating my stiff Achilles.

Laura took one look at me hobbling into her office and pretty much said “no more running for the rest of the week” To be honest, that was the best news out as it had gone beyond stiff and was fast approaching quite sore, I could ride my bike though so that meant that I could still get some training in.  Laura worked some of the tightness out of my calves and Achilles and sent me off with some more exercises to help with my underdeveloped calf muscles. (That’s what happens when you stop walking everywhere and only drive)

So for the rest of the week I had a welcome change of cycling instead of running, I cycled for the same duration as I normally run, and we’re lucky enough to have a 17k loop that takes me just on 40 minutes.  The riding and exercises to work my calves definitely helped my Achilles and by the weekend I had no pain and could blast out the exercises I had been given a lot easier than in the previous weeks.

Finally on Saturday I decided that even if I couldn’t run I was going to get some K’s in, so the dog and I walked up the hill and then continued on for a few more K’s enjoying the views and the sun from the top of Maungakawa.  We walked the majority of it but there was some running once we were on the top and everything was limber and pain free, it felt good to run a few K’s and Zoe (the dog) really enjoyed it as well – I’m going to have to take her out on a few of my morning runs as well.

All in all a good week, even though I was not running for all of it.  The biking was a nice change and a reminder that I also have two other disciplines that I need to work on.

The week that was:

  • Monday – Run 6k
  • Wednesday – Ride 17k
  • Thursday – Ride 17k
  • Saturday – Walk 14k

Merry Christmas!

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Well a merry Christmas to everyone, I hope you enjoyed the festive season and Santa was kind to you.

Santa (aka Jane) was extremely good to me, I’ve been lusting after a bit of exercise tech ever since I started on this get fit kick and Santa was kind enough to ensure that it was waiting for me under the tree this Christmas!

So amongst the presents under our tree was a brand new Garmin Forerunner 920XT and a set of sensors for my bike!  The Forerunner 920XT is a premium multisport watch and even has a quick release kit to allow it to fit on a standard Garmin bike mount.  It collects a heap of data from your run/ride/swim or paddle and will help me ensure that I’m training as efficiently as possible, plus it looks the part which is always important.  Once I’ve worked out all the functions and how to use it I will post a review (to add to the many that are already out there) and my thoughts on it.

I did manage to get in all my runs this week, although there was some juggling of the program so that I wasn’t running on Christmas morning and had a couple of days off over the busiest part of the Christmas break.  The weather has turned extremely hot in the last few days, so running early is really important otherwise I just burn to a crisp.  The upside is that I’ve been in the pool quite a lot and have been putting in some lengths which is working my shoulders and other paddling muscles in preparation for our holiday later in January and the beginning of my kayak training.

  • Tuesday – Run 5.0k
  • Thursday – Run 5.0k
  • Sunday – Run 5.0k

 

The month that was..

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Well the month of Movember is drawing to a close and my move for Movember efforts closed off this morning with the first run of week three of the NHS Couch to 5K series.  I managed to get some excercise in 28 of the 30 days of November, and while I could go for a bike ride this afternoon, I wont as my legs are feeling more than a little tired after everything I have put them through in the last 30 days.

Last week was quite a good week, I found by Friday that I was able to keep running at the end of each run session in the podcast and my sore knee felt quite a bit better after changing my route and shoes.  The road I was previously running on had a steep camber and I think this was causing me to aggravate my knee, so a change of course and shoes seems to have made a difference to it and the knee feels better, if not completely healed just yet.

One thing I did find over the last month was that trying to do some excercise everyday of the week meant that I did feel like I was over training a little by the end of the month – basically my legs have ached for the last 10 days or so and really just need a break, especially as I walked up to the top of Maungakawa and back on Saturday which meant that on Sunday I actually just had a rest day and chilled out. (Some ghouls and super mutants may have suffered as a result)

I did go back over my whole month just to get a feel of how many K’s I did in official training runs/walks this month, and was surprised to discover that I ran 79.6k and biked 49.1k, which means that I managed to do just over the equivalent of HALF the cost to coast distance in an entire month, its going to be an interesting year next year.

 

  • Monday – Run 4.6k
  • Tuesday – Bike 10k
  • Wednesday – Run 4.3k
  • Friday – Run 4.6k
  • Saturday – Walk 9.2k

Bike Fit

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The Friday before the Round the Bridges I bought myself a new bike.  I wasn’t planning on buying a new bike just yet, my old Lemond is still fine for the type of riding that I’m doing at the moment, and after telling Chicken that she couldn’t have a carbon bike straight away it would be disingenuous of me to go out and buy myself a flash carbon bike straight away.  Unfortunately trade-me made a liar out of me and a sweet Cervelo S5 came onto the second hand market for a great price.  Chicken has just bought herself exactly the same bike, so I realised just how awesome this bike was. Jane and I discussed it and decided that it really was too good a deal to pass up.  Needless to say I now have a new to me Cervelo S5 sitting on the garage wall, in true second hand dad style its second hand, but as good as new.

The first time I took it out for a ride it was amazing, compared to my 10 year old Lemond it felt light and responsive, accelerating with ease and generally just feeling like it was electric 🙂  Still there was one small issue, and that was the fit, the bike just wasn’t set up correctly for me to be able to put all that (admittedly meagre) power down correctly.  The seat was way too high and the reach was too long as well.

I could have cut the seat post down and moved the seat forward to try and get a better fit, but I’m not a bike fitting amateur let alone professional so I made an appointment with David Bowden of Velogicfit here in Cambridge.  David has been fitting bikes for a number of years and is passionate about getting the correct fit for people to enjoy riding their bikes and get the best efficiency possible.  He is so passionate about it that he has started Velogicfit which provides bike fitting software to Cycle shops around the world.  There are three levels of bike fit, from the standard fit (coming soon) which takes your measurements using a camera and then gives the bike shop the adjustments that need to be made to your chosen frame.  The advanced fit takes more exact measurements and dials in the changes to your bike setup and finally the full shebang 3D fit, which uses 3D camera technology to measure leg angles and your posture on the bike to recommend specific changes to your bike to ensure that your position on the bike affords the best bio-mechanical transfer of power to the wheel.

The whole process took about 90 minutes and the bike now feels significantly different in terms of fit and I’m sure that I will see some improvement in times.  I’ll be sure to let you all know how I get on over the coming months.  You can read more about Velogicfit here or read some of Davids blog here – note due to the workload of starting a new business the blog hasn’t been updated in some time, however its a damn good read for any bike performance geeks.

Unfortunately there is still the little issue of riding carbon when I have spent the last two years telling Chicken about how she didn’t need one just yet, I guess I’ll just have to save it for the long rides and put some more miles in on the trusty Lemond…

Shawn

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Velogicfit other than the fact that I like David and what he does, I paid for my bike fit and have not been asked to write this post.  (lets face it my readership isn’t big enough to warrant any kickbacks)

 

 

The week that was…

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Last week started out pretty tough, I hadn’t really made any plans for training after the round the bridges, and as that run was on the Sunday my normal Monday morning run wasn’t really an option.  After my experience on the Round the Bridges run I decided that I needed to change the focus of my training from relatively casual, but distance based to a more focussed plan that was geared to get me up to the point where I could run for 30 minutes/5 k.

Luckily there are plenty of couch to 5k plans out there on the internet either written down or as podcasts and being a bit of a geek I went down the podcast route.  I looked at a couple but settled on the NHS couch to 5k series, for no other reason that a get fit guide produced by the UK National Health Service is unlikely to set unrealistic goals or cause me to injure myself.

The first week was really good – the run/walk is a 5 minute warm up walk then 60 seconds running interspersed with 90 seconds of walking.  After the previous work I have done I found that the first few running sections were quite easy, however after the 5th and 6th I was getting quite tired and I really appreciated the ‘coach’ letting me know what was coming up and making me stick to the regime. My only criticisim of the podcast was that it didn’t tell me when I had gone halfway through the podcast and I ended up going for a bit longer than the 30 minutes on the first day.  Apparently it will take 9 weeks to get me to a point where I’m able to run for 30 minutes or 5k, and at the moment I’m doing 4.5k in the 30 minute programme so hopefully I will be able to do a bit more than the 5k in 30 minutes by the end.

Tuesday – Run 4.46k  36:30

Friday – Run 4.5k 32:00

Saturday – Run 4.8k 35:00

 

 

 

The week that almost wasn’t

mgldvlohnc_rtb2015_003279I’ve been a bit slack this last week, feeling a little down after my Round the Bridges performance, I didn’t do my usual Monday morning wrap-up of the previous week.  Instead I got busy at work, changed my training focus and also took a bit of a rest – my legs were definitely feeling a bit stiff after the race, more than I had been expecting to be honest.

So here it is the rundown of the week that was…

  • Monday – Walk 6.8k
  • Tuesday – Bike 10k
  • Thursday – Run 4.5k
  • Saturday – Bike 10k
  • Sunday – Round the Bridges 6.5k (Yes they lied it was half a K longer)

Race Day

raceplaceAfter a beautiful week of sunshine and definite suggestions of summer, Sunday morning we woke to unremitting drizzle, nice!

It was going to be a big day of events in our household and there were some definite grumbles about not wanting to get up and go and cycle/run but we all got up and suitably attired against the rain and departed for our various events.

The rain held off for the run which was great, although I was wearing a jacket which just meat that I got a free sauna as well, anything to lose a bit more weight I say.  And at 10:10 I crossed the start line and set off on the 6k course.

Of course I made a classic beginners mistake and started out too strongly and after about the first kilometer my shins were on fire and I felt like I couldn’t run any further.  Regardless I slowed to a walk and persevered, slowly working the pain out of my legs and running whenever I felt like I could give it a bit more.

All in all I was disappointed in my performance – I still can’t actually maintain a run for any distance and that has to be the focus of the next few weeks, drop the distance I’m doing and increase the amount of time that I run.  My time wasn’t too bad for a walk, but I really need to get the pace up so I’m putting myself through the NHS couch to 5k program over the next 9 weeks which will mean that by the time we go on our summer holidays I will be running 5k!

Shawn

 

Race Week

The Mighty Waikato

That’s right, its race week – not the mighty Coast to Coast, rather the slightly more pedestrian round the bridges in Hamilton.  Just how pedestrian? Well there are two distances you can run and I’m entered in the shortest, a mere six kilometers.  Given the state of my fitness when I started I’m feeling quietly chuffed about even being able to contemplate entering let alone actually doing it.

Sadly Jane, Chicken and Buddy won’t be there to cheer me on, they are all taking part in the Maunga cycle race which is happening at the same time on the same day.  I was going to do the Maunga as well but when I realised they were on the same day at the same time, I decided that as running was my weakest discipline that I would leave the biking for later.

I’m not looking forward to the run on Sunday though, I have been feeling lately like I’m not making enough progress – patience has never been one of my strengths.  After the initial rush of improvement I feel like I have reached a plateau, this has been further reinforced by the fact that I don’t seem to be losing any more weight.  I’m sure that I am making improvements, it’s just that things don’t seem to be getting easier, and I had hoped by now they would be.

Anyway the run on Sunday will tell me if I have improved, its largely flat compared to what I normally run so I’m hoping I can run a bit longer than I typically do and finish faster than I usually do 6k’s in.

Shawn

The week that was…

waikato by sunriseIt was a good week last week.  The weather was looking awesome for the weekend so I took Friday off and had a list of things I wanted to get done, not least was to get to the top of the hill I run up/down!  And I did it – my longest distance yet 9k and I managed to run the majority of the downhill leg.

The knee problems that were plaguing me before I went to the Gold Coast appear to have resolved themselves with some time off running while I was away.

Also this week I finally fitted my bike with the clipless pedals that I bought while I was in the Gold Coast – took them for a spin on Sunday.  They’re not quite right just yet – I had numb toes on each feet after the 10k that I rode, so I will have to experiment with my shoes and cleat placement this week.  If that doesn’t work I may have to get a proper bike fit…

Exercise completed for the week:

  • Monday – Run – 6.65km
  • Tuesday – Bike – 9.8k
  • Wednesday – Run – 5.5k
  • Friday – Run – 8.82k
  • Sunday – Bike – 9.8k