Archive for September, 2019

General.

Just a catch up.

I had a low patch a few weeks ago. I was worried I was coming down with loony again, happily it was just a blip, but it’s always a wake up call. However well you’re doing in life, job, training, personal goals, if you go loony it all counts for nothing. 

They say that running is actually good for your mental health. It de-stresses you, focuses your mind on the task in hand (suffering and trying not to die, I assume) and releases endorphins, which are painkillers and a natural “high”.

I should be immune from loon. Yay!

My run of race misfortune has hit the superstitious third event. The Outlaw triathlon cancelled the bike session so a year’s training was wasted as it wasn’t a tri. I set off late and got lost so managed to miss the South Cheshire 20 (mile race). Then, 6 days before the Warrington half marathon, I got an email saying they’d cancelled it, due to ‘safety concerns’. They said they were trying to rearrange it and we’d hear the details the next week. That was a fortnight ago, still no offer of a refund, free entry into next year’s race, or a new race date for this year.

My next race is Chester marathon in a week. Let’s see how that goes. I’m predicting asteroid strike.

 

While I was low I was window shopping for another bike. Apparently that’s part of my (BPD) condition, that I enjoy the thrill of shopping. The fact that I couldn’t get excited about it and even after I’d tracked down the bike I should get and was thinking “what’s the point?” is telling in itself.

I was thinking of an ‘adventure bike’.

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They’re big, supposedly robust, go-anywhere motorbikes. Usually bedecked with big stainless steel looking box panniers. The thing about them is, when you put a different screen on them, they create a bubble of quiet to ride in, and due to the sit up and beg riding position, they are supposed to be all day comfortable.

I forgot to say, what prompted me to look, beyond trying to find my happy place, was I’ve started getting tinnitus. Not the usual background whistle when it’s quiet, but a quite loud sound that alters pitch, making it harder to ignore. I really don’t want that to get any worse. I bought a new, so-tight-it-makes-your-eyes-bulge helmet but I was still getting motorway wind noise so I was panicking a bit.

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At least I shouldn’t get run over while I’m going deaf!

Someone on twitter said he’d fitted his adventure bike with this fancy screen to get the bubble of quiet I’ve just described.

Then it struck me, my gorgeous VFR750 is a sports/ tourer. Why buy another bike when mine is designed to be a comfy tourer? That also goes like stink, if you want.

I got the fancy screen my twitter mate was on about.

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The idea of it is that it has a bit of a lip so it pushes the air to the top of your helmet, and the funny second screen thing smoothes the air turbulence so there’s a lot less noise.

That worked a lot. The other thing is the sit up and beg position. I bought some risers. They are just collars that fit under your handlebars and lift them the maximum permissible height within the fairing (only 2cm but it’s supposed to make a big difference). And a comfier seat. I was going to get a gel pad insert, but the same guy on twitter said someone had done his seat. Apparently gel pads leak eventually and aren’t as good as they sound. What this guy does is strip out the cheapo, but fairly adequate foam the manufacturers fit, replace it with super-duper luxury foam, and fits a better, grippier, seat cover.

I’ve only got it back today, but the work looks quality. I’ll take it for a bit of a test ride tomorrow.

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Oh, I also bought a cheapo, £10, Chinese, ‘phone holder. It attaches to the handlebars and holds your mobile so you can use it as a satnav. I don’t want to get lost ever again, it’s irritating. Especially if it means you miss your race.

So that’s my bike all sorted, now I just need a day of reasonable weather to do a long distance test ride. We’re in the monsoon season at the moment, so not ideal.

Which is handy, as Wendy finally gave up asking the housing association if they were painting the exterior doors or if we should do it. Months she’s been asking. Not even for them to do the job, just to know if they were or if we should. Anyway, she gave up and we painted the doors. The paint says 16 hours between coats, in the dry. We put the first coat on, it dried, then it’s chucked it down for 8 days. Super. The forecast is for rain for the next fortnight. Super duper. I expect we’ll give them the second coat around June.

It was a double blow as the seat guy, who does a ‘while you wait’ service is based right at the bottom of Surrey, near Brighton. I looked at it. A 500 mile round trip, but was put off by the M25 (London ring road) section. That is awful at any time. Also he said on the ‘phone it was ‘first come, first served’ and it took a few hours to do the job. If I’d have ridden down and not got seen I’d have been miffed.

So I sent it by post, just got it back, 10 days later. Which meant a week of cycling to work. In the rain. It’s hardly rained for months. Until 1: we paint the doors 2: I send my seat motorbike seat away 3: I want to do a long ride to test my new motorbike set up.

Sigh.

And, after all that, I think a lot of the tinnitus was caused by earwax build up, not being deafened! We’ve been habitually using ear plugs for good sleep. It seems, obviously in retrospect, that they compact the earwax and prevent it’s natural movement out of the ears. I’ve been putting olive oil in my lugs, as per the NHS website recommendation, and it seems to be a lot better. If so, I’m still glad I got the screen and all that, better to have a false alarm prompt me into preventative measures than being stuck with damage limitation.

 

In other medical news, I’ve had a red patch on my face for about a year or so. If I don’t keep it slathered in skin cream it immediately dries out and flakes. Last week I started getting it, or something similar, on my forehead. Flaking like mad, itching, and a bit tender. I gave up and went to the doctors before my whole face fell off.

She said it’s a kind of dermatitis. Apply this cream for a fortnight, job’s a good ‘un. Huh. I’ve been using it two days and my forehead is already tons better.

While I was there I said about my loss of taste and smell. She’s given me a referral to the Ears, Nose and Throat specialist, but said that could take months, in the meantime she’s arranging an MRI to determine if there’s any obvious nerve damage. I’m not sure how that would show up or how I damaged it (with a killer cold, 2½ years ago) but at least she’s throwing everything at it. She said if it’s nerve damage then it’s permanent, but if not they can try and sort it.

 

In my training I’ve been following that Advanced Marathoning book’s plan. I’m on a taper fortnight now, for next Sunday’s marathon. I’ve never done a taper before. I’ll be interested to see how I do. My PB at the mo is 3.40:53. That was an average pace of 8.26 m/m.

I’m going to set off at 7.15 and try to keep it under 7.30. I’ve no idea if I can sustain that. If I could it would be roughly 3.15. I’m going to have to really try for that. I’ve got to be sub 3 for April.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how much fitness and stamina I’ve built. A PB is a PB but I really want a significant gain.

Right, I’ve rambled enough.

My next blog better be epic!

Later,

Buck.

Smashing It!

A bit of good news. It’s just a run but it has me buzzing.

I have two days off so I thought I’d test myself. A good, middle distance that I often run is 10 miles. I decided to do a Personal Best (PB).

I said (on my running account on Twitter) “Think I’ll do a 10 mile PB today. If the wind isn’t too bad. Neighbour’s gate has been banging. Hmmmm. It’ll be good training just making the attempt. Hahaha, way to backpedal in the space of 280 characters!”

I wanted to do 6.48 m/m pace, but was willing to settle for 7.00. My PB being 1.11:12, average of 7.07 m/m.

I set off at a reasonable pace, 6.47, then slowed slightly as I got into the wind, 7.01, then 7.05.  Then I got into a nearly 2 mile stretch that always funnels the wind and it was killer. I was beasting myself to try and get my pace down from 7.40. I clawed it back to 7.30 then 7.26.

In those two miles I knew I’d lost it. I couldn’t make up a minute of lost time. I was nearly killing myself just to keep a bad time, I had nothing left to pick up the pace for the way back. The nagging voice in your head that is always telling you to stop was shouting “YOU CAN’T DO IT!  MIGHT AS WELL JOG THE REST!”

I ignored it and pushed on, just to try and get a good time, if not PB.

At 5 miles I turned around, legs burnt out and lungs on fire, and suddenly the wind wasn’t stopping me!

6.58, for no more effort! I can do this! 6.52, 6.52, 7.00, 6.58!

I did it in 1.10:42, average pace 7.03!

A new 10 mile PB and a 10K PB along the way!

I get people telling me (rightly) I’m too negative about my achievements, but I am honestly chuffed to bits with this one. Not so much the time as the not quitting, and giving it everything, even when I knew it was a lost cause. I usually just accept a PB and think I should have done better. This one means something. Again, not the time, I fully intended to smash that next time out, but in those conditions…

I don’t know. I don’t think I’m expressing it very well.

Let me just say that was my best ever run and I’m pleased, possibly even proud.

Also, it’s given me a real boost in my confidence. If I can do 10 miles in those conditions, at 7.03, it’s not too much of a stretch to run 13.1 at 6.48, surely?  (My intermediate goal of a sub 1.30 half marathon.)

Anywho,

later,

Buck.

Enough!

I booked a day off work for today to run the South Cheshire 20 (a local 20 mile race near Crewe.)

I swapped the weeks on my training plan so my long run would be a 20 miler instead of 16.

I started to look into it late yesterday afternoon. I am not big on planning and preparation. Just before bed I looked up where it was on Google maps, wrote out the landmarks I’d need (Jct 16 M6, A500, first exit Shavington, left opposite some pub, right at crossroads, left.)

I set off this morning a bit late. I still reckoned I had about 20 or so minutes to park my bike, change, pick up my race number and amble to the start line.

I got to the pub turning but they’d renamed it from the one on Google maps, so I rode past, just to make sure it wasn’t around the corner.  It wasn’t. As I was running late I thought I’d just follow the road around and cut across to pick up my lost route.

I ended up riding around Crewe. At 09.25 (race started at 09.30) I was lost in Chorlton.

Then I had to ride home. I wasn’t really layered up for a nearly 2 hour ride. I was expecting 40 minutes there, run and shower, 40 minutes back, all toasty.

By the time I got home I was freezing, miffed, and really angry with myself.

This isn’t the first time. The whole of the journey to the Outlaw triathlon was a stressed out nightmare, trying to put my wetsuit on 3 minutes before the start of the race, missing the start, etc.

Well, no more. I’ve had enough. I know I’m a last minute, wing it, sort, so in future I’m going to sort everything first and give myself plenty of spare time. If I’d have had another 10 or 15 minutes this morning I could have turned around and gone back to the pub, or pulled over, checked maps and rerouted.

If I have to stand around for 30 minutes before races, at least I’ll be relaxed getting there, and I’ll be there in time to actually do the race.

 

I regrouped and went for a run on my own. I’ve got a bunch of run routes locally. Some really nice ones down the canal (flat as a pancake, obviously) and a 10 mile road route which is also basically flat.

I decided to punish/ redeem myself with a hilly 20 mile run towards Frodsham. There are the rolling hills along Walton drag, and some proper steep hills further on.

I set off to try and do a good pace. Not even. It was blowing a gale and those hills! I managed the 20 miles but it was pitifully slow and painful. (8.28 m/m average.) Something else that’s going to change, I’m incorporating hill runs into my training.

 

That’s the fail out of the way. Oh, apart from one other thing.

I was sat, minding my own business in the front room. Bike locked up on the pavement outside the front room window.

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As you can see someone had parked across the way from us. Wendy didn’t have the room to swing into a parking slot, so instead of just parking the car diagonally across both our parking bays, she reversed in. STRAIGHT INTO MY BIKE!

My bike rocked back, I thought she’s smashed all my fairings for sure. They are difficult to source and way dear to have resprayed. I ran out, but thanks to the angle, she’s just hit the footpeg. No damage to the bike. She’s put a dint in her car, but that’s just karma for attacking my bike. The divorce lawyers are sorting that out.

That’s definitely all the fail.

 

The good news is my foot is holding up, even with the increased mileage and speed required for my new training plan. And I don’t have to buy new shoes or do anything tricky or expensive, just slacken the laces as far as they’ll go and job’s a good ‘un. (And apply lots of ibuprofen gel and wear a compression bandage full time, but that’s no big deal.)

The new training plan I’m following, (from the Advanced Marathoning book) is tough and demanding but I think I’m already seeing results.

My mid-long run this week was 15 miles at marathon target pace (6.48 m/m) +10- 20%. Roughly 7.30- 8.10. I wanted to be hold it to 7.30, obviously. I did the first 8 miles in 1 hour and 1 second, almost exactly 7.30. I faded a bit after that but still kept it going. Averaged at 7.36 for the 15, a new PB, and only 7 seconds off my half marathon PB on the way. I’ve jumped into the plan halfway through as I want some results before the Chester marathon next month, but then I can start the plan from scratch and work up to the Manchester marathon in April.

Oh, and I found the pictures from the Outlaw online.

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Cracking the flags, as you can see. The thing that surprised me was my face looks skinny. I still think of myself as a bit chunky.

While I was digging through my pictures I found these, which make me laugh.

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Dog

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Right, that’s enough.

Later,

Buck.

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