Tag Archives: Strava

Nice to go away, but nice to be home, The Big Cheese.

February and March

We have been away twice in the last month, and it is beginning to take its toll! Much as I love visiting friends and family it can also be tiring, and my immune system has taken a battering. During half term we went to visit family in Sheffield, I was looking forward to visiting Ponds Forge, and having a swim in the 50m pool, but there was a gala on so I had to sneak out early in the morning and go to the nearest pool at Graves leisure centre. I enjoyed it anyway, I used to work in the school next to the centre, so it was good to be in familiar surroundings. The next morning I managed a run, and bagged a QOM.

My brother in law is KOM, he does lots of fell running.

My brother in law is KOM, he does lots of fell running.

 

I have discovered that its quite easy to get out first thing and do a workout if you are visiting people, they don’t even notice you are gone, especially if you have small children who wake up early! This is also who I blame for the run of colds that I’ve had, 2 days after returning from Sheffield I came down with a cold, and I am now suffering again after going away to visit friends in Cheddar at the weekend. I have come to the conclusion that disruptions to my sleeping, weaken my immune system, it could also be the 15 mile off road race that I did with Rachel on Sunday, called The Big Cheese, read more about it here.

 

Turning into a film maker

Trip to Resolven

I have been busy at the computer again this week, after an epic ride with 4 of the Pembrokeshire Velos  to receive my plaque for winning the 100 mile time trial. I met them at Kilgetty at 6:30am and rode 71 miles up to Resolven. I managed to hold on to their wheels for most of the way, but during the last hour I kept getting dropped! Considering I hadn’t been out for longer than an hour and a half since Ironman on the bike, I was pretty pleased. They had cycled from Pembroke Dock and ridden 83 miles in total. I was a bit annoyed that my garmin wouldn’t download to Strava afterwards as I’m sure I would have had a few QOM’s!!

The full trip, I was there too honest!

Strength and Conditioning

I have been putting together some videos for my coached athletes, which has taken up quite a bit of my time, I am aiming to show exercises that can be done easily at home without equipment. Hopefully they will find them useful!

A long week and feeling it

Getting to the taper

There comes a point in your training when there is nothing more you can do to increase your fitness and you need to accept that you have done all that you can. Whatever happens on the day will happen, I got back off a long ride feeling pretty negative as my power and speed were low, but thinking about it rationally I had done a 10km (running) Time Trial the night before, and had been building for a while, only having a short recovery after the 100 mile TT, so not surprising really! There is a great post about tapering here which I found helpful and inspiring.

I have been looking at last years taper for Wimbleball and comparing it to my training this year, I had some feedback that my taper may have been a bit drastic, this was because I was ill after a race and then started tapering after I had recovered. This years will not be so drastic and I’ll be nice and ready to race!

This years Performance management chart

This years Performance management chart

Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman

Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman

Time trials and tribulations (garmin data is here, full results here)

I went along to the 10km Time trial organised by Pembrokeshire Triathlon club on Tuesday evening, hoping to better my time from 6 years ago!! I can’t believe how long ago that was. My time in 2008 was 43.23. When I arrived Ian, the timekeeper, decided that I would be fastest and put me last. I was not so sure, but went along with it anyway! Ellie (the only other woman) went off 1 minute ahead of me and I tried to keep her in sight. It soon became apparent that she was flying, as I counted the time from her passing a lamppost, she was already more than a minute ahead within the first few miles. , it was a lovely evening, and nice to have a chat. I got a time of 41.14, so 2 minutes faster than last time. I should be happy with that, but maybe have been feeling a bit negative this week.

The long ride

I decided to ride the whole Ironman course the day after, and was pretty dissapointed in my speed. I may have been tired, and also lacking motivation doing the route on my own. I’m not sure that I really wanted to do it, because I knew that if I was slow it would make me depressed, but Patrick suggested it and I thought the pro’s would outweigh the con’s. Anyway I borrowed his go pro which was quite fun, although I have now spent hours editing the ******* thing.

A bit of geekiness

After I had recovered from the ride, digested my stats, done some more research, and generally got slightly obsessive about numbers, I spotted that my Intensity factor for the ride was based on my old FTP, so with a few calculations I realised that I will be able to go faster on race day, (of course some other factors will come into play too) but if the maths is right then I’m happy !!

Calculating power

Calculating power

 

Spain, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Asturias 2014

We have been to Asturias 3 times on holiday now, the area is lovely, and part of my reasoning to go back this year was that I knew a lot of routes that I could run or cycle without having to navigate too much. So it was less stressful for me in the run up to Ironman.

The area around us, Picos de europa

The area around us, Picos de europa

With limited time I have condensed the holiday into the good, the bad, and the ugly! (Its mostly good)

The good

  • Watching a fixie criterium at Gijon, (I was actually entered for this but then realised it was fixie only and didn’t have a bike, (didn’t stop me having a mad dash to find one, even though I have never ridden a track bike before! Maybe next year ;-))Patrick has done all the hard work with pictures here and a short video here 

 

  • A nice top end endurance ride around Cabrales getting a few QOM’s
My longest ride

My longest ride

  • Swimming in the sea, feeling more confident about donning my wetsuit and dodging beach goers to swim

 

Swim before watching the criterium

  • Great food, lots of sea creatures
crustaceans

crustaceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Devons birthday, I managed to order a cake in my limited Spanish, and he requested “hiking in the mountains” as his birthday treat.
  • Too many more good things to mention, and I came back to do my best ever hill session, averaging an extra 4-5 Watts per interval, and on longer intervals too! A change is definitely as good as a rest!

P1050877

The Bad

  • Some dodgy fabes con almejas (clams and beans) at a sideria in Ribadasella, which had me up all night with stomach cramps, wondering if it would hinder my training :-/

The ugly

  • Our plumbing in the holiday let. After a day or 2 every time we flushed the toilet the contents came up in the bath. This coincided with the above (eurgh) it may have been Devon shoving half a toilet roll down there on the 2nd day, but I didn’t mention that. Luckily a man with a mop turned up after I reported it, and fixed the problem :-)

Next up

100 mile Welsh championships on Sunday with wind and rain forecast, good to be home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unexpected result

An easy week

After last weeks mini holiday, it was back to it. Luckily I had an easy week planned as there was the washing, shopping, and general catch up that you need after going away. I had also entered Pembrokeshire coast Triathlon at Broadhaven at the weekend so it meant I would have a bit of a rest before the race.

I had a great bike session on Tuesday. I had been thinking on my previous long ride that I tend to get a bit lazy towards the end of a ride and start dropping the watts, so when I was at the side of the road checking my bike for creaks, and a man flew past asking if I was OK I thought I would see if I could catch him!

I was near the end of my ride so it was ideal for me to push a bit more than usual. It became apparent that I was catching him on the ups and then he was pulling away slightly on the downs. I managed to reel him in after Yerbeston, on the Ironman course, we got chatting and it was someone whose name I had seen on strava (Dave Swan if you’re curious!) I turned off at Molleston and left him to complete the rest of the Ironman loop.

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

Still getting the power dropouts, but have sent my power meter back, again…I may write a post about that bit of kit someday! Had a long run on Thursday and was surprised to see that my running has improved again!

A similar run last year and my run this week

A similar run last year and my run this week

Cancelled my swim session on Friday, as I was feeling a bit fed up with the pool and I didn’t want to do another session for the sake of it. On Saturday I raced Broadhaven and won! That was a real surprise, I knocked 5 minutes of my previous time, so I was obviously very pleased with that! Full race report is here.

Comparison between the years

Comparison between the years

I still need to do some work on programming myself to believe that I am a strong swimmer, as it was always my weak sport, so, in my subconscious, I still think I am not good, but the last 2 races I have done I have had pretty good swim times. Must keep that in mind :-)

Look away now if you don’t want to read about hormones, and periods!

One thing men don’t have to worry about too much is how their hormones affect them during races, they pretty much have the same cycle of hormones every day ( high testosterone in the morning, which drops off during the day and is lowest in the evening) This is also affected by their actions, e.g. racing will produce a rise in testosterone, read more about this here.

Women, as you will know have varying hormones throughout the month, so at times all we really want to do is sleep all the time, when at other times of the month we are outgoing and confident, this corresponds to our cycle. I have been doing a bit of research on this, as I find it quite interesting. There is a lot more detail on hormone horoscope, which I find really helps me to deal with moods and how I feel certain times of the month!

The female cycle

The female cycle

The reason I am writing about this is that my period was due on the week of Broadhaven and all week I was worrying about when it would start, and whether I would have to deal with it on race day. I looked at a couple of forums, and found a post by a man who said don’t worry about it, chances are nobody will care, or notice, just wear some black shorts and get on with it. This relaxed me quite a bit, and I also mentioned to Patrick the night before, that the last time I had my period on a race I won!

I didn’t get my period until after the race but I still find it really interesting, as I am about a kilo heavier in the week before I start my period, so you would think that my performance would be worse. You would also think that there would be loads of interesting research on this, but I’m not sure if there is or where to find it. I did read Victoria Pendleton’s book and she mentioned that she always seemed to have her period on competition days. Maybe its time we started taking it into consideration, it is a massive part of women’s lives, but seems like people don’t really want to talk about it, although with online forums maybe people are starting to discuss more topics like this.

I did find some useful information here, which I recommend to anyone interested in how hormones affect your training and performance.

Ill again :-(

Meh

Just when I thought I was getting somewhere I caught a cold again. I was coughing all last week, feeling crap. I have adjusted my training again, so I won’t be hitting the targets for Half Outlaw. I’ll just have to use it as a practice race, I haven’t had the run volume or consistency in training that I would have wanted so we’ll see what happens. I am building up my running very slowly. Last week I did a 40 minute and 30 minute run, so not too bad! The 40 minute was another risk assessment for run club. Is dog poo a hazard?

Risk assessing again!

Risk assessing again!

Time Trial bike fit

I went back to see Andy at Cranc Cyclesports to get my Trek fitted properly. Again I was really pleased with the results. I went out after recovering from the cold and was comfortable. There was no pain in my shoulders or back, as there has been in the past. You can see why on the pictures below too!

Retul fit at Cranc cyclesports

Retul fit at Cranc cyclesports

Really enjoyed being out on the bike after a week off, the positive of that was I managed to do a bit of bike maintenance that I have been putting off for a while on my mountain bike. I was so excited at the results that I went off road for the first time in ages. I thought that I had better have at least 1 off road ride before the Dyfi Enduro, which is in 4 weeks, Mountain bikes are so heavy!!

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 20.09.01

First ride in new position on Time Trial bike

Even managed a couple of QOM's off road, not much to write home about though!!

Even managed a couple of QOM’s off road, not much to write home about though!!

 

 

 

Bike fit and rest week

Bike fit

I decided to get a proper bike fit, as I have been messing about with my saddle and seat height without having a clue what I was doing, and have also been getting a stiff neck on my long rides. I have been following someone on Facebook whose husband does Retul bike fits, they sounded interesting so I googled it and found someone in Carmarthen doing them.

After a look on Facebook at reviews I decided to book a fit with Andy at Cranc cyclesports. When I arrived Andy got me a drink and generally made me feel very welcome before we discussed my main events this year. It turned out that we were both doing Ironman Wales this year for the first time! I then did some flexibility tests and was set up on my bike, warmed up and had the sensors placed. Andy made quite a few changes, he raised my saddle 18mm, and moved it back 29mm. The cockpit was lowered 5mm, and my stem was shortened to 80mm. This has resulted in a comfortable but more aggressive position. I’m looking forward to testing it out on a long ride.

The whole way through the fit Andy explained what he was doing and why, I would thoroughly recommend him, he even drove out to my house to fit the stem, as he didn’t have one in stock.

The end result!

The end result!

Rest week

Typical that on a rest week the weather is the best its been for months! Never mind I spent a few days in Bath with my mum to celebrate her birthday, and made use of the Roman baths, which again I can thoroughly recommend!

Spring like weather

Spring like weather

When I got home I did an FTP test urggh. I got a free month of premium membership on Strava with my power meter so I thought I would make use of the Sufferfest FTP test while I still had the membership. I was 10 Watts higher than when I did the test in April last year, which is great, but also could be down to being more motivated by the video, or a different power meter, or bike fit, however I felt strong so I’ll assume that I have improved!

Sufferfest

Garmin glitch

My Garmin has an intermittent fault with the elevation, which I am trying to sort out, I didn’t realise until I uploaded my ride and run to Strava how bad it was! Managed a couple of 20 min runs last week though so good news :-)

Strava

Whoops!

Spring is coming

Busy bee

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

Its been quite a hard month with being away from home, and not being able to run. I spent a weekend in Brighton, followed by a weekend in Cardiff for my level 2 coaching course, then I was home for a day before driving to Baildon (6 hours) with the boys to visit family. All this and trying to get back into my training rhythm after being ill. I am fortunate to have an understanding family, so I squeezed in a 4 hour ride up in to the Dales. The weather looked like it was just going to be a shower at midday, but in true style it started p***ing it down about an hour into the ride, and on the way back I could definitely feel the headwind that I did not notice on the way up, and could definitely notice my cold hands that I was struggling to change gears with! I arrived at the cafe at Cavendish Pavillion, near Bolton Abbey, where there were lots of other bikers. I stood by the radiator and waited for my family to arrive, and enjoyed a hot coffee. Out and back

Out and back

The next day I had a lovely swim with a free pass to the gym that my mother in law gave me, had a whole lane to myself for most of the time, I was wishing I could stay a bit longer and make use of the jacuzzi, and sauna, but Leeds beckoned!

Knee and hotel niggles

My knee is still not right. I went for a run in Cardiff, and it was painful afterwards. I put it down to being sat all day and muscles being tight, but as a precaution have not run since. It is quite hard being away and not being able to run, because its something that is easy to fit in around everyone, hopefully it will improve, still using my roller and tennis ball. I also had a pretty bad experience at the hotel in Cardiff I should have known when I saw the topless men outside smoking and the gym that was called “Inn Active” my room smelt of smoke, and drunks woke me up every hour. I called reception a few times but that didn’t help, and they only offered an apology after I reminded them how bad the night had been the next day. Then I got home to find I had a parking ticket from them! park inn needless to say I won’t stay there again, although they have offered me 25% off as a compensation. :-p

Power meter

An update on my power meter. It arrived a few weeks ago!!

It was really easy to install. If you want to know why I chose this meter I read a lot on DC Rainmaker about various types, and for my budget it seemed like a good buy. I’m pleased with it so far. I am about where I was last year in terms of power readings, although I was using a different meter last year, so I don’t know if it is comparable, hopefully I can improve on last year. I went out on Wednesday and had to be rescued as I think I was still tired from Tuesdays ride, I also underestimated how far I was going, whoops. I am in need of a rest though as you can see from the comparison between my last 3 rides! Luckily next week is rest week :-)

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Strava debate, my two pence worth!

The Strava debate

I have recently decided to try to simplify my life a bit by not downloading everything to Strava. It has also coincided with a long break from training due to illness, so I have had more time to think about the pro’s and con’s. I found another feature the other day, where there is a leader board for clubs, so that you can see how you stack up against other people in terms of distance, time, etc. This is one of the reasons I dislike Strava. I find myself constantly comparing myself to others, which I am trying to do less of! So here goes my list of positives and negatives

Positive

  1. It allows me to compare my efforts and power data for a certain segment, or hill climb.
My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

2.  I quite like the social side of having been out on a ride with others, it shows up that you had a ride with someone, and also allows you to comment on peoples rides. (I do have friends really!!)

3.  You can see where you are compared to others, however there is a limited women’s pool on Strava.

Negative

1. If you compare yourself to others on Strava you don’t know what the conditions were like, so you are not comparing like for like, they also may have been time trialling while you were on a long ride.

2. Sometimes people can comment negatively on your ride/feed.

3. If you look at what other people are doing it can cause anxiety about not doing enough.

Conclusion

If used wisely it can be fun to use. My husband has just recently entered some of the challenges on there, which got him out riding more than he would normally, so it can be good at motivating people.

I have started making my rides private, then I can still see my results and where I stack up, but I will probably not download everything, ultimately its something else to distract me from other stuff that I should or want to be doing, and I use Training peaks for analysis of data so I don’t really need another programme. However it did show me that I set a personal record on a section of road to Marros, and would have picked up a queen of the mountain had my ride not been private, while being chased by a tractor pulling s**t, maybe I should visualise that in future races 😉

Don't know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Don’t know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Last hill climb, the end of the summer, more baking…

General synopsis

After feeling pretty negative last week I have started to adjust to the change in season, and my loss of fitness. I have had my level 2 coursework to complete, and also Milo’s birthday to sort out, so I’ve been busy with that. Also I have been running, cycling and swimming WITHOUT my garmin!!!

Its been good not to have any pressure and I still need more time to recoup before next year. I made some progress planning next years training, and have also looked at areas that I can improve upon. Having the last race of the season as a DNF has focussed me a bit more on what I need to work on. I now have a list of strengths and weaknesses, and action points!

Birthday caketastic

Birthday caketastic

 

Baking extravaganza

Got back into some baking, and chutney making, and have experimented making idli, (if you don’t know what they are the link is here) which I am now addicted to, I think they would be great snacks to take on long rides, so I am perfecting making them!

Hill climb

I spent all of Wednesday contemplating whether to do the last velos hill climb. At 4pm I was about to go out on a ride on my own, when I changed my mind and decided to go after all. I cycled there and back, it was a lovely way to close the season, getting back in the dark, and seeing the sun set behind Carew castle. I took a wobbly photo with my phone….you get the idea!

Carew on the way back from hill climb

Carew on the way back from hill climb

I didn’t get my best time, but enjoyed myself, although I couldn’t stop coughing afterwards.

Results of Hill climb

Results of Hill climb

I took my garmin, but had no power or Heart rate data, so was all good!

Strava stats

Strava stats

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