Month: May 2020

54, Not Out.

Another birthday. Meh. Still, better than the alternative.

 

I’ve decided I’m going ahead, slowly, with the bike conversion. I say “conversion”, because it’s gone way beyond changing the handlebars. I’ve ordered a sheet of 5mm thick, strong aluminium (there are different strengths, who knew?) and I’ll see how I get on with making a clock bracket. If I don’t make a horrendous lash of that, then I’ll think move on to the rest of the stuff I need to do.  The aluminium was only £13 so it’s not going to break the bank to see how I get on.

 

My other new is the physio guy got back to me. He’s really good, and oddly conscientious. I say that because he’s written me out three long and involved emails and replies, but because he can’t physically see me, due to lockdown, he won’t take any money. I mean, if I was an existing client, or whatever, maybe, but I’m just some randomer pestering him to work for free. I said that to him, that I was glad to pay as it’s harsh asking him to work for free, but he’s still not taking any money. Decent chap, straight away.

He started me off with a load of tests, putting a belt or towel under my relaxed foot and lifting/ twisting without using foot muscles. Prodding under the painful area, etc to make sure it wasn’t a fracture, and it was actually the muscles or tendons causing the pain. After the test I realised it wasn’t a pain on the top of my foot so much. Now that it was really hurting I could specify where the pain was exactly.

20200519_193332

That lump. Excuse the malting skin look, it’s ibugel flaking off. Apparently this is your peronious tertius, which is a muscle that acts a tendon (except for 8% of people who don’t have one at all, I read. Weird if true.) It controls the lifting and rotation of the foot.

He said that the lower limbs take longer to heal as they are further from the heart and have restricted blood flow. Therefore I should do 10 minutes light rubbing a day to stimulate blood flow to the damaged area. He said that I should wait until the weekend for the initial rest, then focus on cycling or swimming, with much reduced running.

He explained that the reason why the pushbike ride hurt so much was because if you have the old, standard flat pedals, you can only press down. With the newfangled clip-in pedals, as your foot is attached to the pedal, you automatically pull up as well as pushing down. (I still think the twisting in and out of the clips made it a lot worse as well). I’ve changed my pedals to the flat ones that came with the bike, and downgraded my short run trainers to pushbike shoes. My run trainers are ‘control’ ones, made to stop you rolling your foot, so hopefully they’ll help on the bike as well. I rode to work and back on Thursday and Friday, my foot was OK. Not perfect but not worse.

Yesterday was my day off and my foot wasn’t bad at all so I had a bit of a test run. I set out as slow and steady as you like. Not bothered about the time, just out here to see how my foot feels… looked at my watch at half a mile, 9.30m/m pace. WHAT! Did 6 miles in at a sub 8 pace. I could feel it had hurt my foot a bit, but nothing much. Today I went for a very gentle run, but at 3 miles I was thinking about my twitter chum who’d just done a fast 5K (3.1 miles), so I stopped, had a breather, then legged it back. I was hoping for 7 m/m pace, but it was a thousand degrees (at least) and I just didn’t have it in me. I did it at 7.20 m/m, which was a 22.39 time. My PB is 21.40, so I’ll take it.

The main thing to take from it is my foot is still working and not hurting.

Some other things I’ve taken from Adrian, the physio guy, is applying some stuff called kinesio tape, which is like an elasticated tape that it supposed to support damaged bits, while allowing them some natural movement. And, as it’s about controlling the movement of my foot, I’ve bought some new trainers to replace my short run ones. They say the padding breaks down after about 400 miles, so you start picking up impact damage on your runs, and for me it’s doubly important as the padding is all that stops me from rolling my foot. I think I bought my last pairs in August. I’ve run 450 miles this year alone. Oops. Good job I had a month off with lurgy, I’ve run 122 miles this month.

Anyway. New trainers, flat pedals, foot rub, tape, reduced running and strength exercises. I think that’s it. So during the week I’ll just be pushbike commuting for exercise, with small runs on my days off. 

When we return to normal I’ll see Adrian for a physical consult. He seems to be a good egg and I want this sorting.

My only other news is, as lockdown is lifting quite a bit, I put my Honda up for sale again. This time it got snapped up. First person to look at it was there to buy it at asking price. When he turned up it was some really skinny guy and his mate. The mate was a biker so took it for a test run. The skinny guy got talking, he was on notice. He’s had bits of his guts out, showed me a tube sticking out of his stomach. Cancer. He didn’t know how long he’d got, but wanted to get a bike and do a big tour of European mountains. He was just starting out, had no kit, so I gave him a nearly new lid and a bike cover. A bucket list biker. He’s not even got his license yet, his test is on Friday. His mate rode it home for him.

Poor chap. He was only 4 years older than me. I hope he gets his grand tour. I can’t see that happening until lockdown lifts.

Twitter hasn’t been very fun filled or full of whimsy the last few days so I’ve nothing to report. It has been amusing me to see the people on my running account, who were chosen for running and such and not vetted for ideological purity, all coming together as one to rage against the Bozo/ Cummings catastrophe. These are a mixed bag of people but as one they are incensed by Cummings touring the country in complete contempt of the governments own guidelines, laws, and policies. And the Tory party saying it’s alright for *him* to do it, just not us plebs.

A vicar tweeting about funerals they’ve had to hold with families not allowed to attend, a husband not allowed to visit his dying wife, had to listen on the ‘phone to her dying alone.

While Cummings drives 260 miles to see his parents.

There are some very miffed people out there right now. Which is nice to see.

Something funny to end on, one from the archives from Forest Fr1ends. Whenever I think of it I laugh. I paint the whole ‘off camera’ bit of the joke in my head. Cracks me up.

Screenshot_20190128-135852_Twitter (2)

Stay safe.

Buck.

Solutions

I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have the answer to my bike problem.

I just want lower handlebars. That’s all. A 20 minute job.

OK, so far I’ve taken the fairing off and fitted a back to the clocks.

The problem is the handlebars still hit the clocks.

The solution is simple. Instead of having the clocks mounted on an arm fixed to the frame,

20200515_082841

make a mount and attach them to the handlebars.

You have to make this plate, complete with sunken drill holes, but it’s do-able.

20200422_133607

2016-3-3_43019_resized Above(1)

Simple.

But wait.

That leaves the old arm and plate (two pictures above) hanging in mid air looking ugly.

OK, take off the arm.

That exposes the air intake in the frame.

20200515_085731

OK, so you make an air intake cover.

But wait, that arm also supports the headlights.

20200515_082850

So you have to buy headlight support arms that attach to the fork legs and hold the headlight.

But they only work for single headlights. So you have to buy a new headlight. And possibly mess around with the wiring as the loom supports two headlights.

And because your handlebars are now lower you need to fit a shorter throttle cable off a different model of bike.

Ends up looking like this.

IMG_20180814_164802_resized AboveIMG_20180814_171130__02_resized Above

Actually, looking at it, that does look rather lovely.

Hmm.

The thing is, I wasn’t going for aesthetics, I just wanted a better riding position.

It’s not quite the 20 minute job I envisioned.

I’m in two minds about it. But at least I now know the answer, should I choose to pursue it.

 

The other thing that needs fixing is me.

I’ve been nursing damaged tendons on my left foot for about 18 months. Extensor tendonitis, apparently. The tendons that run along the top of your foot and draw your toes back. You can damage them by too tightly lacing your shoes and by overuse. In that time I’ve had other injuries, and the plague, so I’ve stopped running for a whole month on one occasion, and six weeks hardly any running on another. As soon as I started again the pain was back. I had resigned myself to it. It’s just routine now, get out of the shower, slather my foot in ibugel and put on a compression bandage. It only hurts badly after a long run (15+ miles), so I was living with it.

A few days ago one of my twitter chums mentioned she should be doing a marathon in the morning (in jest) but it put the thought into my head. So Sunday morning I did the 26.2 miles.

Which was stupid anyway, as I’d been doing sprint miles the day before and my legs were battered. I was struggling by mile 7. I forced myself to complete it but it was horrendous. 4 hours 10, so, pitifully slow as well. I was trying to take positives from it; lesson learned, never marathon after hard sprint sessions, first marathon since I broke myself last autumn, good for mental toughness, only 3 days since I was too weak to run (the plague comes back in waves), etc.

My foot was hurting pretty badly afterwards, but I was expecting that.

That night I couldn’t sleep with it, I got about 3 or so broken hours. I was on the sofa trying to keep my foot propped in one position so it wouldn’t hurt. Still not unusual. But I got to thinking about in the long, boring, painful hours. I did some more reading and apparently it can sometimes take 3 to 9 months to heal. If ever there was a year to take that long out of training, this is it. I was fighting against it, as it’s taken me all this time to get back to fitness, but this is the perfect time to heal, with all the races being deferred and/or cancelled.

I made up my mind to quit and heal.

So I don’t die of morbid obesity before I can get running again I decided to start commuting to work on my pushbike. To test the water I did a ride there and back yesterday, 19 miles with hills. That was a massive, massive mistake. I thought as your feet are actually attached to the pedals by clips, and the base of the shoe is rigid, there would be no foot movement, so I would be fine. So wrong. My foot flared up like never before. Normally if I move it it hurts, so sleeping is awkward, as is movement. This was just non-stop pain. I couldn’t find any position that didn’t hurt. And movement was making me shout out.

I was lying on the sofa about 03.00 thinking about going to A&E for an X-ray, I thought I might have broke something. I finally got to sleep properly about 04.00 and when I woke up it was back to normal. Which is to say, it hurts a bit when I move, but nothing like that.

That was my wake up call though. I’m determined to heal properly now.

I had a heartfelt whinge about it on Twitter. Some of my running twitter chums have put me on to a sports physiotherapist they use and recommend highly. They say that he’s never stopped them running, always given them active rehabilitation exercises, so there’s hope for me yet. But I’m prepared for the worst. If I have to, I’ll stop. The trouble is, with lockdown, the physio isn’t seeing anyone physically. I’ve sent him an email, as he’s still doing virtual consultations.

For now I’m resting. Tomorrow I’m back at work so I’ll see how my hoof is holding up, then maybe low mileage easy runs just to keep me ticking over. See how it goes. I’m not pushing anything now.

 

Quick catch up on twitter and I’m out of here, busy doing, er, rest.

Some politics:

Screenshot_20200513-133421_Twitter 

 

Screenshot_20200519-141625_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-141658_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-141727_TwitterScreenshot_20200519-141753_Twitter

A shocking condemnation:

Screenshot_20200519-142004_DuckDuckGoScreenshot_20200519-142050_DuckDuckGo

 

Screenshot_20200519-142113_DuckDuckGo

Morons gathered for an end of lockdown protest

Screenshot_20200519-142149_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-142202_Twitter

And forest fr1ends, and account that humorously juxtaposes cutesy kids dolls with adult themes was on fire:

Screenshot_20200519-141519_Twitter

 

Screenshot_20200519-122048_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-122108_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-122128_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-122145_Twitter

Some other whimsy

“Her face when she realises she’s pregnant (pic 3)”

Screenshot_20200519-141836_TwitterScreenshot_20200519-141858_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-141910_Twitter

And there’s a thing called “dog shaming” where you put a placard around your dog’s neck saying what they’ve done wrong, take and post a picture of them.

Screenshot_20200519-142338_Twitter

 

Screenshot_20200519-142403_Twitter

Screenshot_20200519-142423_Twitter

Right, that’s me. I’m off to dynamically do nothing.

Stay safe,

Buck.

A Pox On Triumph Handlebars!

I’ve been holding off doing this post until I’d finished the job and could report in, well, triumph. I thought today was the day. *hangs head in shame*

All I wanted to do was to put a tail tidy and a top box on the back (done) and lower handlebars on the front. A modest enough ambition. It’s been hellish. First off I got the bars and realised the fairing wouldn’t allow me turn the front wheel.

20200415_102341

So I decided to order a cheap, second hand fairing to butcher all the pointy bits off.

Supposedly there is only one type of fairing for my bike. Spotted one, ordered it. Wrong one. Huh?

It has two screw holes at the top, mine only has one. OK, bought another, assured it was the right one. It arrived, same as the first! What?

I did a lot of searching on the genuine Triumph website and realised I was barking up the wrong tree anyway. You can do away with plastics altogether, by simply fitting a back to the (now exposed) clocks.

20200422_133607

Did so. Assured it was mine. It wasn’t mine. Sort of rounded instead of the angular bits.

Sent it back and ordered again.

(Each of these attempts involved me taking the fairing off and on, by the way.)

New one arrived, right one! Huzzah!

20200508_16180020200508_161809

Plastic gone, but still got upright sitting position due to the handlebars.

So, take the bars and all the bits off, fit the new ones with all the bits, mark where the bits fit, take it all off again, drill two holes in the bars (took ages, like drilling rock!) put it back together again and Viola!

20200511_134325

20200511_134254

20200511_134306 (2)

Chuffed to bits. That’s a great riding position, right over the tank, and (apart from the necessary evil of the top box) looks smart as a carrot!

I put my tools away, grabbed my leather and lid, fired it up, moved 6 inches, went to turn the bars, smacked straight into the clocks. HOW? How is that even possible?

I spent a good 5 minutes looking at it in disbelief, then longer trying to adjust the bars. Not happening. I had to take it all off and put my original bars back on.

So that was my day.

I’ve managed to sell both the fairing I bought, and get a refund on the wrong clock back. but I’m struggling as to where to go from here. The easiest solution would be to reposition the clocks, either drop them down on to the headlights or attach them to the handlebars, but there is an electrical cable with a load of connections that limits travel. 

I’m not beaten yet, but I’m taking a fair kicking. It’s a 20 minute job. It’s taken me weeks, months, possibly, and I’m still not there.

OK, I’ve got that off my chest. Deep breaths.

Which segues me nicely into my other topic; the plague.

 

I’ve had everyone being concerned about me, even the runners on twitter were saying I should rest my lungs rather than try to rebuild my fitness.

Screenshot_20200503-214223_Twitter

And it’s fair to say I struggled horribly at first. I was a bit hit and miss for the first week after returning to work, then one day I put my running shorts on and my belly flowed over them. I did a half marathon that day and have been pushing it since.

It’s not been an easy ride. I went out two week ago with the intention of running a hilly 2½ miles to a bridge over the mersey which is quite steep, then doing 5 miles of hill repeats, then run home. I got there, did a mile, and had to continue my run on the flat, I had nothing. I ended up limping home, exhausted, barely keeping it under 10m/m. That was for a 10 mile run.

I took a day off, regrouped and have been coming back stronger since. I did a 20 mile run and kept it in the 8m/m’s. Someone was talking about speed work on twitter so I went to test my mile fitness. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. You are going flat out from the off and hanging on for grim life as it all goes south. Anyway, my previous best, I think, was 6.25 for a mile. I’m still a stone overweight and not as fit as I’d like, but I had a benchmark against which to measure myself. I did 2 miles warm up then straight into a mile sprint. It was awful by the end, I was panicking because I was sucking in huge lungfuls of air but it just didn’t feel like I was breathing. I’d put too much into it to quit, so I just kept going. I didn’t pass out and I finished the mile in 6.33, so it must have been in my mind, not my body. I did a really slow mile, walking the last 10th of it, to recover, then tried again. I had a nasty wind hit me at the end, which made it harder, but I felt like I could breathe the whole time, and I did it in 6.39.

8 seconds, even 14 seconds, off the pace over a mile, when I’m 11 stone, isn’t that bad.

I’ve done long, I’ve done fast, today I went out to try and redeem myself on the hill repeats. I did the 2½ miles onto the bridge, when I got there there was a woman runner already doing hill repeats. On my hill. The cheek.

I got stuck in. It’s never fun on hills (for me) such hard work, but I kept going. I was running up one side of the bridge as she was running up the other. I noticed a few times as she was breasting the hill she was walking the last bit. But after a few miles we were still passing at the same place. I was cursing myself for being rubbish, if she was walking sections and I still couldn’t catch her. I was trying to see her route, if she was doing shorter laps (not that I’m competitive or anything) but we were always on opposite sides of the hill.

It gave me something other than my own misery to think about. She finished and was walking back to her car, as I passed close by she shouted “How do you make it look so easy?”

There you go. Perception. I was dying by inches, willing it to be over, she thought I was cruising.

I didn’t hear her so well at first so shouted back, somewhat incongruously, “I don’t. I hate hills.”

It did give me a bit of a boost to finish the 5 miles though. Then I plodded back home. And I kept it, including the 5 miles of hill repeats, under 9m/m.

It could have easily gone the other way, there is no concrete science for the after effects of Covid19, but I’m not one to be put off by the risks of trifles such as lung damage and heart failure. And, to my own satisfaction, I can see definite, quantifiable, improvements. So, I was lucky to get a mild dose, and luckier to get no serious damage.

 

To end on a lighter note, twitter has been fun, if somewhat gallows humour.

Bozo has announced class war. All the rich stay safe, the middle classes work from home, the working class have to go back to work and die. So that’s nice. The plan was always to cull the excess population with herd immunity.

Screenshot_20200510-114053_DuckDuckGo

Screenshot_20200511-084332_DuckDuckGo (2)

He issued a vague new slogan to see us through the slaughter.

Alert

Which twitter tried to decipher.

Screenshot_20200510-112934_DuckDuckGo

Screenshot_20200510-132020_Twitter (2)

Screenshot_20200510-132041_Twitter

Screenshot_20200511-083807_Twitter

Screenshot_20200511-084104_DuckDuckGo (2)

President Trump went on air and announced that people should inject bleach. The the amusement of many and the horror of the medical profession.

Screenshot_20200425-082436_Twitter

It’s all about life during the plague.

My twitter chum trying to do video conferencing.

Screenshot_20200508-210842_Twitter

Screenshot_20200504-185856_Twitter

Screenshot_20200511-083936_Twitter

Screenshot_20200505-110736_Twitter

And people commented on the facile trend of clapping for care workers at 20.00hrs on Thursday. Presumably by the same people who voted for the party that cheered as they refused a pay rise for nurses, and is currently failing to get them masks and protective equipment.  

Screenshot_20200504-191642_Twitter

But there was some general whimsy.

Someone tagged me in a game, name 5 things that bring you joy, then nominate 5 people to keep it going.

Screenshot_20200422-125901_DuckDuckGo

My contribution

Screenshot_20200422-130030_DuckDuckGo

And random whimsy.

Screenshot_20200422-141819_Twitter

Screenshot_20200504-111637_Twitter

Lockdown boredom

Screenshot_20200501-220655_DuckDuckGo

Anatomy of a horse

Screenshot_20200508-210550_Twitter

And just because

Screenshot_20200503-212620_DuckDuckGo (2)

Screenshot_20200503-212511_DuckDuckGo

Screenshot_20200503-212822_DuckDuckGo

Stay safe.

Buck.