Sunday, 20 February 2022

Off Season Training

The winter / off season is a good time to work on some of the things we neglect during the warmer summer months. For me that's core training, so Pilates and stretching are important, but building up the strength in the upper body is key. As a cyclist, I have leg like tree trunks and arms like two bits of celery with crinkly skin (see earlier posts).  

Chris Hoy says his thighs are equal to a size 8 for a woman's waist.  So at least I know I'm not the only one with a problem, although his thighs probably look a lot better than mine. πŸ˜„ 

During the first lockdown when my lime green plaster was in place, my OH suggested that Sit-up's every morning would be a good idea, we started with 5, I found it really difficult, when I tried to sit-up my feet would shoot into the air and I would need to use my arms πŸ˜…

So my OH would hold my feet and the only thing I could use were my core muscles.  It worked, it has now become part of my routine and my feet no longer need to be held.  

So every morning  20 sit-ups, a 1 minute plank, and recently 1 minute on a Bosu ball balance has been added. I reckon 4 mins tops.  Its surprising how much of a difference it makes. 

Like a lot of people, during lockdown I went shopping (as you do!) and bought kettlebells, weights, resistance bands and the like, so I've not been back to the gym, saving my self the monthly fee. Circuit training really helps and there are lots of U-tube exercise videos that can be used, and its easy to chat to the person doing the workout, knowing full well they can't hear you, won't comment on any bad language used or answer you back. Also, if like me you don't like burpees you can fast forward and ignore them 😝

Back and core strength exercises are really good for us all. Stretching out the hip flexors also helps me with tight ham strings (which can be quite painful) 

Friday, 11 February 2022

Food, drink and Triathlon

I'm not a food or nutrition expert having never studied it. However, I have had to recognise that food plays an important part of most peoples triathlon story. Afterall logically, if you don't feed the body properly its not going to perform very well.

There are lots of good books out there,  ROAR & Ironfit; Triathlon training for Women have some good advice. 

Women's hormones fluctuate a lot, sometimes during the month, you just want to curl up with a book, a blanket and sit by the fire and be grumpy, fortunately as I am much older (some might say ancient) I'm well past the whole time of the month thing, although the menopause wasn't a Joy either. Some days I could eat for England, other days food holds no appeal at all.  We are all different and being too rigid can be just as bad for motivation as not doing anything.  Find your happy balance.

Generally the info tells you to eat pulses, fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, plant based stuff followed by a huge list of what not to eat. It tells you to prepare everything from scratch, don't eat refined sugar and so the list goes on. Speaking personally, time is limited so I do cut corners, when you work all day and in many peoples cases have families and other demands on their time, following all of the good advice is not possible. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying ignore the advice, if you have time, the money and the energy then go with it.

From a personal perspective I stick to what my Nan used to tell me. That everything in moderation is good for you and every in excess is bad! it seemed reasonable when she said it, I know times have changed, but her general principal is a good one so I try and stick to it.   I do prepare food from scratch most days, eating my 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, I eat lentils, nuts and seeds.  Just once in a while though, its nice to go out with the Girls or my OH have a Steak or a curry, too much wine and a good giggle.

I'm not sure where I read it, but the advice of "you cannot outrun a bad diet" is true  we operate the same as data entry on computers, if you put rubbish in, you will get rubbish out. If you eat rubbish food, high in unhealthy fats and carbs, generally your performance will reflect this in some way.  

So my advice would be eat wisely and if you are training for a big event, cut back on the booze. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

2 years on.....Join a Tri Club & go to the Velodrome

So here we are almost two years on, it's the first week of February 2022 already, 2 years have just disappeared in lockdowns and isolation of one sort or another! The UK has had a relatively mild winter, the birds have started singing and we have daffodil buds in the garden, spring will soon hopefully be here 😘

My challenges have changed beyond any recognition.  I'm still swimming at Stoney Cove, at least once per week. The water is cold at the moment, about 6.3o, because we have not had a cold winter I'm not sure it will get much colder, but who knows.  I've been back to the swimming pool for the first time in 2 years!!  Actually a friend invited me to go along to a taster swim session at a local Tri club - Welland Valley in Market Harborough.   

Having been before to a different club and made to feel ....well old, slow and pretty useless, to say I was apprehensive would be an under statement. However, on this occasion I was very surprised and impressed!!  Do you know that there was actually a swimmer slower than me, someone I could relate to, who understood that not everyone can swim at what I consider to be lightening speed. 

The instructor Nicki was lovely and she actually had me doing drills in bilateral breathing - Who knew I would ever do that.  I've been practising it and Wow what a difference. So if like me you are a nervous / new swimmer and do triathlon, go join a Tri Club. πŸ’ͺ The right Coach can make such a big difference.

I've also been to the Velodrome. it was on my bucket list for my 60th so it needed to be done. I scared myself witless, I have been back a couple of times now and with a few deep breaths, a lot of concentration and the support of some good friends, I can now get all the way up to the top. 

Have to take my hat off to the Olympic Team the likes of Laura and Jason Kenny, Katie Archibald and all those people who do it professionally. It is so much harder than it looks and the angle of the track (42o at Derby ) is scary when you see it up close and personal.

This year I'll be doing a Sprint Triathlon, The Breast Cancer Night ride at Windsor and the NC500 bike ride around Scotland - It looks very hilly, so in the best of preparation I'm doing some Hilly Sportives and not looking to closely at the NC500 route as scaring myself is probably not a good thing.  

By the way, the lady I swim open water with, doesn't wear a wetsuit, with water at 6.3o in my opinion she is either brave or mad, either way she is a kind caring person but still slightly bonkers 😎

Thank you for reading this update, and hopefully I can make you smile and give you some tips or if you have any advice for me, please leave a comment, it will be most welcome 


Sunday, 6 June 2021

12 months on....

So 12 months on since my accident. The world has changed so much, my tiny slice of it, has like most people's changed and progressed with it. Some of it good, some of it not so good.  I generally like to think of myself as a glass half full rather than half empty, for each and every bad thing, something positive has to balance it out, although its not always obvious. 

In the UK we are currently coming out of Lockdown 3. With the prospect of things opening up, lighter nights and warmer days along with the rapid vaccine rollout. Generally things are looking brighter. The thought of actually cycling to a cafe with friends, sitting down and having a coffee and maybe even cake (be rude not to really) is such a delight, I’m so looking forward to it.

My training has started in a limited capacity as swimming is not allowed until the end of March 2021.  I've booked to go Open Water Swimming on 29th, 30th and 31st March & 1st April.  Not desperate really!! (Can you guess) to get back in to it πŸ˜„πŸŠ.  So looking forward to that.   

This years challenges are a mix from those that rolled over from last year and some new ones. Ironman Stafford - which may/may not go ahead, The Snowman Swim at Snowdonia at the end of July, Swim Serpentine in September and a place in the Virtual London Marathon on October 3rd.    This last one came as a shock as I really didn't expect to get a place, and actually never had any desire to run a marathon.  But having gotten a place, I figure it has to be done.πŸ˜…

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Back on the bike 😊

I have been pondering about the good old British weather, whilst I had my cast on the weather was beautiful, since the beginning of June, we have had torrential rain, cold weather and it’s been very windy! How does that work!!

Despite the weather, it is wonderful to be back out on the bike. On Tuesday this week, I went out with the Tuesday evening group I normally ride with. I wasn't fast but it was so enjoyable.  Hats off to zwift which has helped keep me sane and ensured that my fitness and stamina have not disappeared.
The swimming is progressing, and to be honest a bit of a mystery. I was never a good swimmer, learning when one is 'mature' (polite for old) and not having a great technique is a bit of a hinderance. However, I have done some Open Water Swimming recently and to say my speed has increased would be an understatement. I am sure there is something wrong with my watch! So I'm going a different open water venue on Saturday to try and establish if a miracle has occurred or the GPS was just wrong.......I know where i will put my money 😁

The wrist/hand is slowly healing, the latest scan has shown extensive Soft tissue damage, which is going to take many months to heal. No impact sports until after Christmas, so nothing that involves a club, racket, bat or similar. It is a bit of a revelation that bone heals so much quicker than soft tissue 🀷‍♀️. I know from previous muscle damage that it does take a while, but I’m surprised at quite how long it’s going to take.

The movement is coming back which is great news. The physio has said that my arm and hand muscles need flexibility before they pick up power.  So onwards and upwards with the exercise.  

A few weeks ago, I managed to put my wedding and engagement rings on, and put my watch on my left arm for the first time in 4 months. In the grand scheme of thing these are just minor changes, for me they are important.  

My Ironman Staffs place is secured so it will be soon back to the Don & Mel Fink training plan to improve my base fitnessπŸ’ͺ

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Good progress

Its always good to be positive and last week was positive in so many ways. 

Tuesday afternoon I managed to go swimming in a friends pool. First time since early March and the first opportunity to test the hand out.  It is a tad odd, and i need to do a lot of work.  Working out how best to front crawl with a strange “catch” part of the stroke. Breast stroke is no longer an option as my hand/wrist won't bend, I would like to say I am upset about that, but I never seemed to go anywhere when I did it, more of a doggy paddle than breast stroke. 

As gym’s and swimming pools are still closed UK wide, I went to Cliff Lakes at Tamworth on Saturday. It was glorious, really wanted to build the confidence, getting back into the lake and it didn’t disappoint.  Changing rooms and showers remain shut, so getting changed in the car park after swimming, and remaining dignified is a bit of a challenge, but I eventually managed it 😱

Thursday, the Physio said I could try cycling outside, really! I could do some short rides,  and, need to be aware of the vibration on the wrist, but I don't care, short ride or not I'm happy.  Very nervous about going out, so 2 good friends came out with me on Saturday afternoon. Not sure why I was nervous as I didn't damage the hand/wrist cycling, but who knows how the subconscious works sometimes.

Rishi Sunak the Chancellor says we need to get the economy going and I  like shopping, and, for those of you that know me and have been on this journey with me, you will know I can’t resist, so I’m doing my bit to boost the economy πŸ€ͺ.  So a new pair of padded cycling gloves are on their way. Shock absorber type of gloves to protect the wrists. It's amazing what you find when you search google 🀦‍♀️  

I also bought a water bottle for the new bike (see below) it has a Leicester City logo on it. I'm not a football fan in anyway shape or form. My OH is, so its a tribute to him and all the help he has provided. I did buy him a new shirt as well, be rude to visit the local fan store and not to treat him really. 

One of the friends I am cycling with, has changed the brakes on my Focus Cayo bike. The brake levers are now in the middle of the handlebars. A game changer for me, I wouldn't be able to operate them at the moment if they were still on the drop bars. The pull and grip on my left hand isn't there or strong enough. It may never be, who knows. 

Also it just so happens that my new bike has arrived, although the local bike shop have been so busy they haven't had chance to make the brake alterations yet. I went in on Monday and there it was, it’s a Liv Avail Advanced 2, a lovely plum colour. For the time being and to get used to it, I’m keeping the 32mm tyres but will change to 28mm eventually. 

Unfortunately I don’t have any clothes to go with it....... 🀦‍♀️🀦‍♀️ 

Running never was my favourite activity, however, I have been looking at my stats on Strava and have been pleasantly surprised. I have started back, more or less where I left off, which is a big surprise. I thought my pace would be way back on the field. 

I was lamenting that I could no longer do push-ups, the OH, who is ever practical, pointed out that I have not done them for the last 59 years, so nothing really is going to change. Ho Hum...

Ironman sent through emails stating that we as we had all been deferred from this years event, we had to register for 2021. So June 13th 2021, I am expecting to be at the start line 😁 my objective is to finish it, regardless of speed. It would be nice to do it on my EnviLiv bike, but if that isn’t possible then the Avail will be the steed for the day πŸ™ƒ

Exciting times ahead, now must go shopping for some plum coloured shoes ........

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Physio and weights πŸ‹️‍♀️

It’s 10 weeks today since my accident. The ribs are healed, the arm cast has gone and the physio has started. I was surprised to find that after 8 weeks with the cast on, when it was removed my hand was still swollen. 

My hand is also a very strange shape, and it doesn’t function like my hand should and it aches quite a lot.  It also looks like it belongs to someone else....not sure who, but not anyone I know. 

The physio manipulated it and it improved a lot. I have exercises to do, so do those every day. This week I have started lifting some weights, well 1 kgs, to start improving the strength in the hand, next week the weights will change to 1.5 kgs. 

Because I have a shopping habit.......I  bought a cute set of weights from an online retailer. So the conservatory is now a gym 😁 it has the turbo trainer, a Pilates mat and the weights. A 10 minute video is now done everyday, to try and build up my arm muscles, and the weight I can lift. 

So running has started, swimming will start this week - hope that goes well, not sure how you swim without bending your wrist, but if you don’t try, you’ll never find out. Fingers crossed 🀞 

I might be able to cycle outside this week. A good friend has changed my winter bike so that the brakes are in the middle of the handle bars, this is good as I should be able to brake, which will prove useful πŸ˜³πŸ€”. I am soo looking forward to going out on my bike, although a tad nervous. 

My Garmin watch has had to go back to Garmin as it’s being uncooperative! Garmin have very kindly offered to send me a replacement. I feel lost without it.  

Although at the present moment, I would swap anything for a haircut.....I’m starting to look and feel like a yeti which is no fun. Although did you know that grey hair is officially on trend at the moment, who knew 🀷‍♀️ It’s very comforting to know that I am finally trendy at the age of 59 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚