Monday, 29 April 2013

Time To Give The New Girl A Proper Test!

Ok, not shoreham, but I forgot my phone!
Hello blog lovers.

The time for living in the glory of my marathon is coming to an end! Well, I can still talk about it for the next 20 years, but in the meantime it's back to keeping this Old Girl fit.

I don't have any plans for a mega running race this year, but me and the Old Boy have signed up again for the lovely day out to Bighton in June. So I need to crack on and get some miles under my saddle, and to practise with the new clippies, iron out any mechanical problems, fitting and anything else that may need doing. And maybe even a new summer wardrobe to match my bike!

I have been avoiding going to far on my bike, (fear of falling by not getting out of my pedals and still getting used to my new baby) but this evening I agreed to go up to Halstead, and then on to Shoreham.  This only means one thing! Hills, and hills, oh and more hills! Now I don't like hills, but it's a good practise for me. And also a good test to see if the clipping in and out is really suited to me!

I know my new pedals have helped up the little hills that I have done locally, so now the big test!  We are going up to Halstead!  We decided to go a slightly different route, through Pettswood, then towards Orpington and then join the A21 at Greenstreet Green, then continue the usual way from there to the round about at Halstead.

So far, so good.  The pedals feel great, but for some reason I am still finding myself having to push and pull on the pedals! It's all well and good having the right gear, posh bike that weighs less than  gnats poo, but the fact of the matter is.....I still have to pedal the blooming thing myself! There is nothing really that can make getting up hills any easier for me or anyone. You just have to get on and do it!  Oooo, how I hate hills!

My legs were feeling the burn and that is just getting to the turning for Knockholt Station! But I kept going. Up and up we went, to the roundabout.  My legs were complaining like mad but I didn't want to stop until I got to the top, my mission was to not stop on any hills this evening, but I tried not to think about it.

Getting to Shoreham was scary! The climb up was good! (did I just write that?) At least I didn't get off or stop (or fall off!). But the down hill section, the bits that I used to love, the bits where, before, on my old Giant, I flew down, with virtual abandonment. Now I was hanging on for dear life to the handlebars, gripping the brakes as best as I could!

This is where I found the only mechanical/technical problem that needs sorting,  is it fitting or setting up? Which ever, I found it a bit difficult to put the brakes on while riding on the hoods. My hands became tired and weaker by the time I got to the bottom of one of the hills, just before we turned right to go into Shoreham village, and that road is  yet another downhill section. 

I thought to myself, "Old Girl, you are going to have to look like a professional racing star, and get down on them bars" I can apply the brakes much easier from that position, my hands can reach it a lot better, and besides there is tons more power from that position!

So that is what I did!  The next down hill section found me arse up, hands down, and squeezing those brakes, I guess that is where the similarities end! A professional racer would embrace the hill and tear down it at a gazillion miles an hour! I just gentle inched my way down.

We stopped off at the Kings Arms for a much needed beverage! Then on to Eynsford and ..........that.......Foo Kin Hill!  Getting to Eynsford in the first is  upwards, but  there is a couple of nice cruising spots! We soon arrived at the Ford there.  I won't be taking my new baby through there. I remember the Old Boy did that last year! Nice cool, wet feet for him! A quick stop there to look at the pretty little river and then on to that hill!

The Old Boy did have one little moment, maybe were going a tad to slow, but he changed gear and then his chain came off! The practise with the cleats was evident as he managed to clip out of them in time. That is my fear! Would I be able to clip out in such an emergency?

All sorted, we started to climb up the hill.  "I will be stopping on this hill" I shouted back at the Old Boy "Just do your best, keep pedalling and see how you go" he replied.  I started my assent. I could feel the hill getting steeper and steeper.  In the back of my mind was knowing how much more of this there was.  I  didn't want to go too slow in case I fall from my bike, but I didn't want to push it too hard because I knew I would burn out, ....and it will hurt!!

"I need to stop" I called back to the OB, "Well, just up there, on the bridge, we can have a break"  I got to the bridge and I realised I had done it! I had rode up the whole of the road!  I was pleased with that.  Just catch my breath and then on towards home, and one more nasty little hill.

I rode through the lanes as quick as I could, being in the lanes during the dark part of the day is not good.  We soon got to Orpington.  As we were heading towards the High Street I bumped into (not literally) someone I knew from a long way back. I saw her a few weeks ago when I was out jogging, and now I am seeing her here, a completely different place and I'm doing a different form of exercise! We had a quick chat, and she asked about our lights. She said that she really noticed us as we went passed her especially the back ones (we had pulled up for a few minutes, which is how she caught up to us).  That is always reassuring to know that we can be seen!

We had decided to go up Knoll Rise, this is the nasty little hill I mentioned earlier! It's a fecker of a hill, especially after doing all the other hills! And I have done a marathon you know!  We turned right to begin the ride up! Just at the bottom I had to have a quick stop! The Old Boy went up, I knew he would be waiting for me at the top. "Right Old Girl, get your backside up there now, in one go" I said to myself.  I started up slowly. I really wanted to do it, I didn't want to stop, or walk or anything else but ride up it.  I did it! Just that one silly stop at the bottom. From there on it was riding all the way home without incident! And I really was looking forward to my dinner!

Geeky stats

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Post Marathon Bike Ride

Hello Blog lovers.

It's good to be out and about, exercising with no agenda what so ever! I am still a little sore, and I knew I would be stopping and resting up somewhere on this little jaunt out. So I really didn't want to go plodding along with the Wednesday Wanderers! They were heading to Shoreham, from my house that is a 20 mile round trip! And also there is those nasty little hills as well! So me and and the Old Boy plodded out to  Downe Village.

Downe Village, for those that don't know, is actually up a very long road! As it was just me and the Old Boy, I really didn't mind saying "Easy, stopping!" whenever I felt the total burn in my legs. It took at least three goes to finally get up to the village. I am looking forward to do lots more miles on my bike! The weather is improving all the time, all though this evening it looks a bit cloudy, I expect it may even rain as it has that stormy feel.

From Downe village it was a pleasant plod along down Jail Lane. I wasn't going to try and go fast, I was just enjoying being out. There is a little bit of a hill to climb up and instead of changing down to the lowest setting I thought I would try getting out of the saddle and powering up there, after all it was only a short hill. I can feel how the pedals were helping to pedal up efficiently. I deffo think I  grow to love these pedals.

We soon reached Biggin Hill and from there it was a very short ride to Keston for a quick drink. The raid had just started to gently fall. Hopefully it will stay very light until we get he.

I thought I would take a picture of our bikes while the Old Boy was getting out pints. They just looked really cool just leaning against this flower planter.

So a nice gentle ride out, not to fast and not to slow, of about 15 miles. Very nice indeed.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Rest Up Old Girl!

Hello Blog lovers.

How does an ex-couch potato trainee marathon runner relax. Well, there are several schools of thought on that.

  1. Rest all day, on the sofa, great film, bucket of pasta, order everyone to, 'get me' fetch me' do me' and maybe even get a massage for the old bunions and crusty feet!
  2. Go for a very short 2 mile jog, around an old favourite route, taking care not to tread on cracks, stones blade of grass, or anything that can possible sprain an ankle.
  3. Go on a 'Beano' taking in nine pubs then have a curry at the end of the day. (This really is only recommended for tried and tested athletes!)
  4. Go for a nice meander around two local pubs, in the fantastic sunshine, stopping at each pub for a nice unrushed relaxing drink with a packet of poppadoms at the last pub!
I opted for option 4, which I am sure all of you budding  Monsieur Poirot and Miss Marple's out there guessed!  The weather was just to perfect for sitting in and chilling, although that is a very good thing to do before I do my very first marathon tomorrow.  But I did take at least one safety precaution, I chose to wear my 'hanging out' trainers instead of cycling shoes and try clipping into my pedals. I do not want to fall over. The only thing that is on my mind right now is the marathon, clipping in and out of my pedals just wouldn't enter my head at the moment.

The sky is blue, the wind is still a tad chilly, just reminding us that we are still very much in spring! Even though I saw cyclists out in short sleeves and shorts! Brr, brave souls, but maybe they had been working a lot harder than me today. The Old Boy was on his new bike, I could hear him clipping in an out of his pedals. I really felt quite envious, especially going up the couple of inclines that was in todays ride, I really could  have done with the whole pull and push system!  Our route was through the local park, up to the common and then down towards Hayes. 

Our first stop was at the George. We a lovely chilled beer there, and a chat with some fellow cyclists.  They were just out for a little jaunt too, the young lady there was out for only her second bike ride!  And what better way to introduce cycling to her, then a nice pleasant, sunshiny plod about.  They were also going to our second stop of the day, the Greyhound in Keston.  We met up with them again after we had left Hayes.

But still, it was a very enjoyable 8 or so mile ride out with the Old Boy, I think, the best option for relaxing for me!

No geeky stats, just a chill out bike ride!

Also you will notice the little Justgiving sign at the top of the page on the right. If you want to sponsor me and help raise cash for cancer research UK you can just click on it, and follow the instructions.  It's so easy, and I do believe that you can use PayPal as well. Easy and secure online giving!, Help me to raise tons for cash and let's all try and kick cancers ass!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lets Practice with the Cleats!

Hello Blog lovers.

I'm back on my bike, and loving it!  The Old Boy has got a brand new bike too, a Giant Defy. Well He has to keep up with me now that I got my new baby!, and also new shoes with cleats!

Tuesdays are normally Running Club nights, but, and this will sound ridiculous, 4 days ago (Friday) I was putting on a pair of socks and somehow managed to hurt my back! Or course I went into complete panic mode! "Oh no, my marathon is out of the window now" were the thoughts running through my head.  I tried to ignore the pain, I carried on moving and doing stuff, even went shopping, well I needed to get some ibuprofen! It seemed to have worked, but then, at the end of my work day, clearing up after the kids, I bent down, using my knees, to use the dustpan and brush and then I couldn't get up again as the 'bubbling' thingy happened again in my back!

I decided thatn that maybe, just doing nothing is probably best, and to rest for a good few hours. Not to go on about my back, I did consult my running clubs' Physio 'PhysioMike' and he used his magic hands, unknotted my back, and gave me confidence that the marathon is still in my reach! woo hoo!

But, to give my back total rest, but also to keep me from going stir crazy in doors, I think cycling is just perfect. It's gentle, it's comfortable, but its also exercise. It's working my legs, its keeping the muscles warmed and not letting them forget what they have to do on the 21st April!

So our route was my nice gentle little ride, through jubilee park, up to Bromley via Plaistow lane, just a little hill, yet one that used to terrify me, and still gives me shiver when I think about riding up it!  But now, with my new cleats, the whole push/pull spinning thing should benefit me and get me flying up there like Victoria Pendleton.....well I can dream, can't I.

We were soon at the little hill. I waited at the traffic light, waiting to go, right foot clipped in, left foot out, ready for the off. I made sure the pedal was the right way round, (I have pedals that can be flat or clippies!) I got up the hill now problem! Yes, of course it was still bloomin difficult, after all the only engine on the bike is me! But I feel that, once I am fighting fit, doing more riding on my bike, then I will understand how going with the cleats is going to do me good!

We only went to Bromley North, just for a quick pint, and then we made our way home again, via the main roads, including the A21, a road that is slowing becoming an enemy of mine (with the running that is.)  I had time my oven to start cooking dinner and be ready for when we got home, see not just and adventurous cyclists, and marathoner-to-be but I can also programme an oven!

Geeky stats not really necessary on this ride, as it really was a 'lets just get used to the clippies' ride.