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 ūüôā

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Rollering and resting

Foul February

Its been a hard month, with a combination of the start of my knee niggling again, a bad cold, and a bout of food poisoning to contend with, mixed up with being away for 2 weekends on the trot and a trip to Baildon a few days after. I am feeling the strain, and so is my training. The weather isn’t helping either!A mixed bag!

A mixed bag!

I have been to see Kim down the road at¬†Valley gate¬†a couple of times, and seen some improvement in my knee. I have only run for 30 mins at a time for the last 2 weeks, so am a little worried that I won’t have much time to build up my distance again.

So its foam rolling every day and have a great book and resource that I have been using by Martin Koban

My new best friends.

My new best friends.

Trying to be positive, its an opportunity to build up my bike and swim endurance! I am sure that it will teach me something…

The good news..

My power meter arrived on Tuesday, so back to the number crunching, and data woo hoo!!

B****y bearings

After my great sense of achievement replacing my BB and chainset, I thought I would do another job that I’d been putting off, replacing my headset bearings.

tried to re-grease them, but they are pitted and rusty

tried to re-grease them, but they are pitted and rusty

Its a very easy job, except that nobody would sell me the bearings! I tried 2 shops which I will call shop A and shop B. In shop A I had already had success in buying bearings for my husbands mountain bike, buoyed up with my fortune I took my road bike bearings in and asked if they had any. I was told that the man who knew where they were was not there, and they took my details to call me. I dropped in the next day and was told that he had not had time to look for them, and I could have them back if I wanted. I assumed that meant they couldn’t be bothered.

P1050187

My next stop was shop B, they told me that they could order some, so I left the bearings there and they called me later on and told me that they had some that might fit, but I would have to bring my bike in to check. Now call me stubborn but I did not want to take my bike in. I knew how to do the job and wanted to do it myself. I went in the next day (without my bike) and bought the bearings, (which did not fit!) they must have known that they wouldn’t fit as he measured them with a micrometer, however he only measured the exterior diameter and not the interior one. He said that if they didn’t fit I would have to take my bike in, a recurring theme!

The wrong size!

The wrong size!

So I went online and found the bearings that I needed, they arrived 2 days later from¬†Tweeks cycles, and I now have a lovely smooth headset, I only wish I’d done that myself to start with. However, several days later I had a call from “shop A” to say that the bearings were now in stock!! Typical.new bearings

new bearings

Bike mechanics

Power meter

I have been meaning to invest in a power meter for a few months, but couldn’t decide which one to go for. Finally I decided on a stages power meter, but first I needed to change the chain set on my road bike, as it wasn’t compatible with the power meter, cue female panic!

I have started setting up my bike on a bike stand in front of the computer for jobs like this so that I can get advice straight away when I get stuck with something, it works well for me.

Whenever I decide to do some bike mechanics I have a little voice in my head that tells me I don’t know what I’m doing, and I can’t do it, because I’m a woman (ridiculous, but what we’re told by society every day). Anyway I managed it, and had a brilliant high from doing the job, I was very proud of myself! So for any women put off doing a bike job, its really not that hard, although I did have to wait until Milo was full time in school so that I could actually concentrate for a few hours (yes it did take me that long!) Can’t wait for the power meter to be delivered now! Afterwards I did a bit of cooking to balance the Yin to my Yan!! ūüėČ you can see here on my other blog.

Bike storage

One of the hazards of keeping my bikes in the garage, is that when my husband does some sanding, (which he is quite partial to!) my bikes get covered in sawdust, but I was quite shocked today when I discovered that my TT bike has also got cobwebs on! Not a good look…

The spiders have been at work
The spiders have been at work
In retirement
In retirement

Covered it up today with a plastic bag.

TTFN

New Year and all that…

Looking back 2013

As its the New Year I have been thinking about the past year and what I’ve achieved, putting it into words affirms the successes of 2013 and gives me something to build on for next year.

Firstly I upped my hours.

Hours and distance completed in 2013

Hours and distance completed in 2013

I came 5th in The Slateman, and was then ill for a week after!

slateman

I completed my first 70.3 on Exmoor in poor conditions, came 6th in my age group, 21st woman overall, and in the top 16% overall (men and women)

cropped-image-1.jpg

Completed my first 50 mile Time Trial, ouch….

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I won’t talk about Bala again! But if you want to read what happened its here

Now that I have reflected on 2013 its time to put it away. I’m not going to compare myself to last year. I will be the best that I can be in 2014.

2014

So for 2014, I have only entered 2 races, Half Outlaw, and Ironman Wales. I will probably do a bit more Time Trialling, and strangely would like to do a 50 mile one again, (my memory of the last one must be failing me!) Also I have entered The Tour of Pembrokeshire, and I’ll probably do part of the long course weekend, so I’m looking forward to a good year ahead.

New Year is traditionally a time to make resolutions. Personally I don’t like making resolutions in the New Year. I can make a resolution any time that I want to, and I think a lot of people set themselves up to fail with unrealistic, and unsustainable goals, which are often negative e.g. “I’m going to give up chocolate, alcohol, smoking etc”.¬†Then when they fail they give themselves a hard time for failing, instead of creating a positive sustainable goal, for example, “I am leading a healthier lifestyle”. Its not something that will happen overnight, and every day is a step towards the goal, but gradually we can make changes in order to become that goal.

Sometimes I look at where I am now and realise it is because of these small changes that add up to the big picture. Its a great feeling.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

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 ūüėČ

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.

Windy wet weather, and letters.

General synopsis

I have spent the last few days lying around feeling sorry for myself, after a sickness bug has hit the house. My mum looked after the kids on Thursday, and we were meant to go to Brechfa for some off road fun, unfortunately my stomach wasn’t up for it so we went for a wet walk instead.

Abermawr walk

Abermawr walk

Saw lots of seals bobbing about, and we stopped at ¬†Melin Tregwynt¬†which we had not been to before, it reminded me of my university days using looms in Nottingham! Then walked past some creations‚Ķ.only in West Wales ūüėČ

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There was quite a bit of flooding and we had to do an impromptu river crossing. I opted for the bare foot and rolled trouser approach, while Patrick opted for the straight through wet feet approach. Each had their good and bad points which we discussed afterwards!!

Complaint letter

I have been getting home and complaining about lorries that overtake badly so frequently, that I finally managed to get a number plate and write a letter to the company. Here is the letter and reply.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to complain about the driver of one of your vehicles (a white pickup registration number******). I was traveling on my bike along the road from Cross Hands to Templeton at about 4.50pm on 22.10.13. The vehicle overtook me while there was traffic coming the other way, and did not give me enough space.

This is not the first time that I have been overtaken dangerously by one of your lorries, it also happens frequently on the road from Canaston Bridge up to Bluestone, and there have been many occasions when I have been pushing a pram or walking a small child down Narberth Hill and drivers have not adhered to the speed limit.

I would like you to ensure that your drivers are familiar with The Highway Code section on overtaking, (https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/overtaking-162-to-169) and suggest that they respect the speed limit, and show respect for other road users, and pedestrians.

We have used your services in the past, and have always been impressed with the level of professionalism shown by your employees, it is a shame that this is not reflected in their driving.

Sincerely yours,

Celia Boothman

letter of reply

letter of reply

So there we have it! Will have to get a camera fitted so I can report some more ūüėČ

Bucket list, collecting data, and Level 2 assessment complete

Bucket list

Finally entered Ironman Wales (woo hoo!!), which led to the list. I have been contemplating making a list of triathlons that I aspire to do one day, so I thought I’d put it in writing, so that I stop obsessing about them! In no particular order

At that point I will stop, as I know there are lots more I’d love to do….

Collecting data….again!

Not Garmin data, but race data, I have been trawling the internet to find old race results, so that I have a copy of them, here it is;

2007

Fishguard Pembrokeshire Sprint Triathlon   7th female, 45th overall

2008

Bala Standard distance 29th female, 275th overall

Gower Peninsular Triathlon (sprint) 4th female, 50th overall

Pretty sure I did an xterra sprint event at Resolven, but can’t find the results, and an off road Duathlon at Margham park which I was 2nd female in.

2009

Had a baby!

2010

Fed baby

2011

Activity Wales Gower Sprint 3rd in category 7th female, 95th overall

Must have done something else this year, but can’t remember!

2012

Pembrokeshire Duathlon 2nd female, 28th overall

Tri Exercise Pembrokshire Coast Triathlon (standard) 4th female, 39th overall

Kinetica Gower Triathlon (sprint) 1st female, 50th overall

Anglesey Sandman (standard)1st female, 32nd overall

2013

Pembrokeshire Duathlon 2nd female, 22nd overall

Seen to help Slateman Triathlon (standard) 5th female, 70th overall

Ironman 70.3 UK Wimbleball 21st female, 6th in age group, 266th overall

Level 2 British Cycling assessment

Completed my assessment in Carmarthen and passed, so very pleased with that, and then had some fun doing cyclocross with the family on Sunday at Clerkenhill. The sun was out, so we had a lovely day, and all managed to have a race.

Devon, enjoying the race.

Devon, enjoying the race.

Short Ironman loop

On Thursday I had a go at the short Ironman loop to see how fast I could go with a relatively easy effort. It was pretty windy, thats my excuse anyway, and also not being on the bike much recently. Theres a lot of work to do before next year, but I’ll leave it for now!!

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

DNF and the aftermath

The run up to Bala was a mixture of cramming too much in, and distraction technique for me. The boys went back to school/nursery, and for some reason I got obsessed with photographing food rather than preparing for the race. I entered because I wanted to have an end of season race to aim for, and to see if I could qualify for the European championships.

We camped at Pen Y Bont campsite, which is very convenient for the race, about a 15 min walk to transition, and went to Ruthin for the day on Saturday, the weather was not great, cooler and quite wet!

Ruthin Jail

Ruthin Jail

Anyway, to cut a long story short on Sunday I DNF (did not finish) for the first time. You can read the full race report here.

Getting back home this week I have been looking at the reasons why I DNF; there are many!

  • I wasn’t really inspired by the race, and only entered because I had done it before.
  • I set an unrealistic goal for my swim.
  • I wasn’t prepared mentally.
  • Even if I had qualified for the European champs I wouldn’t have been able to go, as I have entered Half Outlaw 2 weeks before.
  • I sabotaged my race by panicking on the swim.

On a positive note I asked Devon what his favourite part of camping and going away was. He said it was watching me coming out of the swim. I’m sure he said it just to cheer me up, but it brought a tear to my eye! ūüôā

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