Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Right Royal Ride

The alarm was going off, Hubby was already up and getting ready. Luckily we had got most things ready for our epic bike ride from Buckingham palace to Windsor Castle (45 Miles) last night so there was little to do when we got up. 

We drove up to London and parked near the Royal Albert Hall, a mid point between the start point and where we we be dropped off later. A two mile warm up and we were at the start line to meet our friends. It was a chilly but dry morning and everyone seemed in good spirits as we made our way to the start line. sending riders off at 2 minute intervals there was no crowding and we started smoothly, cycling towards Buckingham Palace before turning left and heading to the Thames. after 2 miles our super fast cycling buddy left us in his wake and sped off, not to be seen again for a few hours. The remaining 3 of us stuck together for a while longer before our other friend edged away and was lost to us.

"It's a bit misty Deer"
By far the most lovely part of the route was when we entered the delightfully misty Richmond Park. There seemed to be hundreds of wildlife photographers out and you could see why although it was a little alarming when two emerged from the bushes in full camoflage covering themselves and their cameras - bet they got some great shots though this morning! We soon broke and stopped for a picture as a stagged galloped across the round ahead of us then looped back behind, then again further up a path where the mist was low and the deer were hiding out in the trees. So worth it.

Stop don't stop
Whilst gliding through the misty expanses of Richmond Park we reached the first stop at about 10 miles, after a quick exchange we decided we were doing just fine and dandy and would continue on to the next station before stopping which was another 10 miles away. So, now 20 miles into the ride it was time to stop and refuel, we ate banana's and dates, drank plenty. Considered removing a layer but it was still too cold for me, offered my second pair of gloves to hubby in a moment slightly reminiscent of Dumb & Dumber.

Making our way along cournty lanes and through a town (Woking maybe?) we carried on with the banana fuel making its way to our tiring legs, we knew we'd be stopping again at the next station (35 miles). This station was a bit more packed with cyclists, one or two cycled through the masses without stoopping but most took a few mintues out to grab some water and yet more dates. Setting off again, with only 10 miles to go we were worried about one comment from another rider saying the last 10 miles were the worst as there were lots of hills.... argh.... now they tell us!

Crash Bang Wallop
Another 3 miles on and two horrible hills later (both of which we managed without stopping) we were happily cycling along in suingle file as the traffic passed us by and the occasisional other rider. Then Hubby with tried legs tried to overtake me, he slightly misjudged and then I heard a loud shout behind me. I had a moment filled with dread before I turned around as to what I might see. He was in a bit of a heap on the floor, bike on top but the injury appeared to be limited to a scraped knee (lots of blood though), shock and a scraped shoulder - although we didn't know about this until later.

A few riders stopped top make sure he was okay, then aceraining we were together felt happy to leave him to me. A leovely elderly couple then emerged from their house to offer tea and sympathy (well water not tea) but were very lovely and helpful. They also told us about their son who was currently mountain biking in France. After a few more tales of their family and Mike appearing to be okay we got back on our bikes and set off tentatively on our way to finish the last 6 miles or so.  

Final Destination
Before long we were entering Windsor, past, Windsor castle, through the town and towards the racecourse, our final destination. We approached the line together, once again doing a lttle bike based Gangnam style dance as we crossed the line (hope the phtoographer caught it!) and we were done! 45 miles over and out! Boom!

Lucky Coach 
We were booked onto a coach later in the afternoon but luckily there were a few no shows and we hopped on one back to central London two hours earlier than our original plan. What a touch! The 2 miles back to the car were a challenge to my now tender rear but we made it and headed for home.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Pump up the weight

Another two days off since my weak efforts and Spin on Wednesday and I didn't really want to do no strength work this week so I popped along to Saturday morning Pump. Class was busy and I was feeling ready to work. I upped my weights on most sections, not without a little arm shaking but all in all this PT is most definitely paying off!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Concrete Spin

Two days for some unknown reason seemed like sufficient rest for my legs following a solid performance at the Brussels Half marathon on Sunday so I was up before the sun and arrived early for Wednesday morning spin class with Jackie. Only it wasn't with Jackie, it was with Mark.
Now there is nothing wrong with Mark as an instructor but Mark isn't aware that I run and I feel that he felt I was really struggling, in fact I looked pretty novice in the ways of spin this morning. Firstly I couldn't get my cleat attached to the pedal, after many tries the man next to me said oh yeah that one is broken, I had trouble yesterday (brilliant). So then already in the first track I was switching bikes, trying to adjust the seat height, then the handlebars and then getting my feet back in. Then I joined in, the routine was slightly different and I did my best but if I were to be brutally honest I wanted to go back home to bed, my legs ached and it felt like I was cycling in concrete boots. 
I made it through to the end and saw the pity on Mark's face... I told him I had just run a half marathon and then he was more impressed that pitying - why this matters I have no idea.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Brussels Welcomes.... PWR

I was looking forward to my trip to Brussels for months and when I planned it I just booked the half as something to do to keep me out of my brothers hair for a few hours after descending on him to stay for a long weekend.

Upon arrival on Friday morning, my steely determination embedded through my personal training to push myself harder had deteriorated as we ate out for every meal, drinking cocktails, and supplementing this between meal times with numerous treats from the many chocolatiers in Brussels. 

Drinking bubbly on Saturday night as we ate cheese and some Lebanese food I started to wonder what was really possible in the half marathon. The most important thing to me was a visit to see my big bro and the half was an added bonus but that didn't mean I wasn't going to give it a good go.

Arriving silly early at the start line I was happy that I hadn't missed the start of the marathon, I positioned myself so that I could see fellow PWR runners Rob and Sonja, before long there was a loud echoing crack of a cannon and the marathon had begun, before long I saw the others and gave them a shout out.
The next 90 minutes was pretty boring but stress free as I pootled around trying to stay warm in the sun (although it was about 5 degrees). 

I lined up to start near an older man who started chatting to me in French, I did my best but I'm sure asking where the bank was or if he could give me a cheese and ham sandwich wouldn't have been the greatest help at this point! Throughout the race he was to appear several more times on my heels shouting ahhhh madam and waving at me.

The first challenge, not forgetting the cobbles was the many tunnels we passed through, it was a bit like a scene from 28 days later and I had to remember these were not Zombies chasing me but fellow runners. Still I think I did up my speed a little just in case someone tried to eat my flesh. This played havoc with my Garmin but it seemed to sort itself out each time I emerged. I am doubtful, however, that my top running speed was indeed 26mph.

The water stations were well supplied and even had bananas at one stop. This concerned me though as banana's (if every cartoon ever made is to be believed) are a disaster if on the road and it is only a matter of time before someone slips, as they are notorious for this so I proceeded with caution for fear of flying upright and landing on my butt with a thud as little birds began to twitter around me head as I sat dazed. I made it through unscathed.

I had said to my brother the night before that if I approached the finish line and a PB was not going to be possible then I would Gangnam Style dance across the finish line. My opportunity came sooner than this at about 19km when I had a clear run at a photographer so began my funky moves. He got the shot and also had a good old chuckle... pleased to have made him smile and fulfilled my promised I continued with a big smile on my face... not far to go. 

Before long we hits cobbles on the course again and I was forced to slow a little for the sake of safety but knowing how close we were was giving me a speed boost. I had run well and strong throughout, as I turned into the Grand Place and the final stretch I saw my brother there to cheer me on bring a huge smile to my face. Knowing he was there to support I once again danced gangnam style over the finish line and collected my medal.

I had the course a little long but overall this was the second best haf marathon time I had run and with no where near the run training I would normally do so I was delighted and we celebrated in the Hard Rock cafe with more cocktails! Great race and will def be back for more!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Early to bed, early to rise

...and it is so simple but so true. Last night I could barely keep my eyes open and as it approached 9 I was already brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. The advantage or some might think disadvantage of this was that I awoke early this morning, whilst it was still dark and before the alarm. However  it was almost alarm time so I got up, got into my kit and set out for some early morning intervals. 
Of late I have been doing most of my intervals in the gym on the treadmill, for no reason other than the treadmill is dull and running intervals makes it a little less so. But last week and this morning I went to my favourite little private road to do my 6 x 400m. As ever barely a car in sight, what with it being so early and no through route so no reason for the early commuters to venture onto my own private running track. Intervals really do make the time fly and before I knew it I was back home and energised for the day ahead... lets see how long that lasts before I am ready for a nap!!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

What Doesn't Kill You

Early this morning I was feeling good and really up for Body Pump... as they day drew on I started to become very lethargic and yawning a ridiculous amount. Time ticked by and soon enough it was time to leave and head to the gym, by now it was too late to cancel so I just needed to man-up and get on with it. 
Our instructor arrived - damn her amazing six pack - and announced that this would be the first week of the new body pump release (number 83), she had mentioned a couple of weeks ago and I was quite glad to be here for week 1 of the new release. I added some extra weight to my bar - the personal training sessions are definitely paying off  - and ploughed through the session determined to make the most of it now I was here. By the end I felt a little like a bowl full of jelly with my shaky arms and legs but you know what, I really like jelly so it just didn't matter!
I loved the new release, although I will always miss my favourite pump track (Pink - Raise your glass) I was quite chuffed with one of the new ones from Kelly Clarkson - What doesn't kill you.