31 Jul 2013

Me, a Bradley Wiggins.

'Mum, look - there's a Bradley Wiggins!'
'Oh yes, it's  girly Wiggins!'
It seems like English kids have now started saying 'a Bradley Wiggins' instead of  'a cyclist'. I have o say I quite like being a Bradley Wiggins.....!

28 Jul 2013

Sunny Sunday

Today is my last day in Sweden and I celebrated my great holiday with a 21k run. It's one of the runs I used to do frequently when I was training for my first marathon and it was as lovely as I remembered it. I just ambled along, listened to music, admired my surroundings and enjoyed running. I made some new friends, as you can see on the picture below, and soaked up the sunshine. I'm very sad to go back to London tomorrow but happy to have been fortunate enough to go on so many sunny runs whilst being home. I bloody love running!

26 Jul 2013

It's A Hard Life...

..when you had to spend the majority of yesterday swimming with your family.....

...and when you had to endure a 30k cycle ride with views like this one this morning.

Yeah, it's a hard life.

25 Jul 2013

Six Superpowers We Cyclists Never Knew We Had

Today I recommend that you read Rosamund Urwin's great article on superpowers us cyclists never knew we had.....:

"Riding around London recently, it struck me that many motorists must believe we cyclists are superheroes. Perhaps it’s the shared penchant for Lycra that confuses them. Maybe it’s that our leader, Sir Chris Hoy, has hamstrings straight out of a Marvel comic book. Either way, these drivers act as though we possess the superpowers to stop an evil overlord but only use them while we’re on two wheels. Let’s consider cyclists’ supernatural (and super-imaginary) skills:

TELEPATHY: Good news, fellow velocipedists: you can read minds! Apparently, our psychic abilities are such that drivers don’t need to indicate when changing lanes or turning left around us. Similarly, when they creep out into a junction that we’re cycling across, we will know that they’ve spotted us and that they aren’t simply going to mow us down. Essentially, we’re Professor X, just on a different type of two wheels.

INVISIBILITY: More a hindrance than a help this one, we occasionally disappear from sight. That explains all those “SMIDSY” (“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”) comments — it couldn’t possibly be that they didn’t bother to check their mirrors — and why motorists gesture to fellow drivers to pull out in front of us, even though that’s a swift way to get us squished. It also accounts for all those car doors that open inches away from our rotating front wheels.

TELEPORTATION: Some drivers are under the impression that cyclists never need to turn right. Should we make our way to the centre of the road, they beep, gesticulate and curse. This must be because we can actually teleport from street to street. Cycling around the city anti-clockwise is merely part of our superhero training regime.

SHAPE-SHIFTING: When we get shoved into the gutter or overtaken so tightly that our arm hairs vibrate, it must be because drivers think we can stretch ourselves à la Elastigirl from the Incredibles. Likewise, tailgating is fine — even in a lorry — because we can shape-shift out of the way if a vehicle comes too close.
TELEKINESIS: Obviously, cyclists must stay in their designated lane at all times — and should be honked at if they don’t — even if there’s a fat 4x4 parked in it. Apparently, we can move all obstacles with our minds.

INVINCIBILITY: The most dangerous belief that motorists exhibit — the one that unites almost all reckless driving — is that cyclists are unbreakable. Be aggressive! Be impatient! Overtake us just before turning left! But the reality is that drivers, wrapped in 1,300 kg of steel, are far closer to possessing Wolverine’s adamantium frame than we are. Three cyclists have been killed on London’s streets in the past month. So drivers: please stop treating us like we are invincible. We aren’t. We bleed just like you."

7am Sunshine

This morning my big sister Madelene and I went to a big outdoor area in the town she lives (and where I used to live during my uni years) called Skyttis. We ran the 10k loop, both on and off road, up and down and through some lovely surroundings. Our legs were a bit stiff as we went to the hospital gym yesterday but it was one of those runs who was great despite not being an easy run. Sometimes you don't have to feel or run great to have a great run.

When we got home we did a bit of a bounce on the trampoline, before eating a big breakfast.

24 Jul 2013

From Marathon To Duathlon

Those of you who have been reading this blog more than once know that I'm dreaming of once completeing a triathlon, but being a poor swimmer and an obsessive-compulsive Type-A personality means that I never muster the courage to enter one. I keep worrying about being too poor a swimemr to actually get myself through one instead of, in the words of Nike, just doing it. Then we've got the anxiety that the transistions, the triahlon equipment and clothing brings...I'm too scared to look stupid to get on with racing.  Then one day I get an e-mail from the lovely Victoria at Limelight Sports asking me if I'd be interested in a press place at the London Duathlon! Now, this is where it all gets very exciting - there is no swimming involved in a duathlon. This is the perfect opportunity for me to man up and get racing, sorting out all my worry about transitions, before I start adding swimming to the mix. So what was my answer to her question? Yes, of course.

But how do you train for a duathlon??  Running I can do, cycling I can do but combined it's a whole other thing. A quick literature review on the esteemed Internet brings things such as 'brick sessions' to light then continues on to make it all sound like a Big Scary Event. - but fear not! RG Active and London Duathlon have sent me some tips and tricks that I thought I'd share with you guys on how to make your first duathlon experience a succes....:

 July 2013, London, UKIf the idea of a triathlon is a little overwhelming, but you are looking for more of a challenge than a simple 5k, 10k or even half marathon run this summer, duathlon is fast becoming the next step in the fitness calendar.
 London Duathlon is the world’s largest duathlon. Held in the breath-taking surroundings of Richmond Park, the run-bike-run event offers people of all abilities the chance to race while on closed roads – ideal for beginners looking to take their first step into the world of multi-sport. This year the race will take place on Sunday 15 September. Contrary to popular belief, expensive kit is not required for a duathlon and there is no swimming element, it is just a simple run-bike-run event with a transition stage between disciplines. The distances of each activity vary according to the challenge, with some requiring only minimal training. To help novice duathletes on their way, London Duathlon together with race partner and duathlon/triathlon training expert, Dermott Hayes from RG Active (www.rgactive.com), have pulled together some top tips to overcome first time jitters:
 1.    Do your homework – ensure you spend some time researching the event. Look at the transport and parking for race day, building in plenty of time to get the race and not be rushing at the last minute. Try to speak to athletes that have completed the race previously and get their feedback
 2.    Get the basics – the basic equipment is essential. You will need a bike, a bike helmet, a pair of running shoes and some sports clothing to take part in. Spend some time making sure that your equipment is in good working order and get your bike serviced to prevent any unwanted mechanical issues. If your running shoes are more than one year old and you have used them regularly - it is time for a new pair. Good working equipment can often prevent injuries
 3.    Build using BRICK’s – What is a BRICK session? Basically a training session where you complete both running and cycling elements at least once back-to-back to give you that real race simulation session. A BRICK session can take any form, it could be a very long bike followed by a short run, or short bike followed by a long run, it could be a run/bike/run session, or even a multiple BRICK where you swap sports up to five or six times. There is no right and wrong
 4.    Train Transitions – the transition phase between cycling and running is the area that causes most anxiety for beginners. To help with this, spend time thinking through what ‘your’ method will be for transition – think about bike set up, the need to change footwear (if you wish) and how to lay this out for a smooth change over. Practice this time and time again
 5.    Get outdoors – Your race is outside, on roads and will most likely include hills, therefore it is important to train in this environment on a regular basis. Cycling outdoors is very different to training on an indoor bike; the hills, the road surface, the wind and the heat can all play a big part in how you ride your bike, it also means you are training on the same equipment that you will be racing on. Indoor training is helpful, and on certain training sessions where you really want to control the environment it is more advantageous, but nothing beats being outdoors
 6.    Be an early bird – on the race day it is important to get to the event early, this gives you an opportunity to register, set up your transition area and watch how the race operates without the stress of feeling rushed
 London Duathlon offers five different challenges to suit abilities of all levels from complete beginner to experienced athlete:
 ·         Super Sprint - ideal for beginners including a 5K run, 11K cycle and 5K run to finish; this race is achievable for all abilities.Entry £63.00 (up to 4th August) / £68.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Sprint - suited to those that wish to try a duathlon and have a little more time to train for the 10K run, 22K cycle and 5K run.Entry £64.00 (up to 4th August) / £69.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Classic – the blue ribbon duathlon distance, this race will give you the true feel of the event with a 10K run, 44K cycle and 5K run to finish. The course will test racers’ ability to climb. Training is needed for this challenge to make the most of the day. Entry £74.00 (up to 4th August) / £79.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Ultra - starting with a 20K run, 77K cycle and closing with a 10K run, the Ultra is a real test of any endurance athlete. The Ultra distance is not to be taken lightly and is recommended for an experienced competitor who fancies a serious challenge. The undulating terrain offers a tough race that when finished will be a great achievement. Entry £109.00 (up to 4th August) / £114.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Classic Relay - for the teamsters among us! A great opportunity to share the workload and have more fun doing so. This three person challenge is made up of a 10K run, 44K cycle and 5K run to finish, which each athlete taking on one discipline. The event is also attractive to those sports people that are specific cyclists or runners and can forge a strong team. Entry £120.00 (up to 4thAugust) / £120.00 (up to 2nd September)*
RG Active will be helping competitors get race ready with ability-specific training programmes and London Duathlon specific training sessions taking place on the event course in Richmond Park, which can be booked online at www.rgactive.com Athletes can take on an extra challenge by raising funds for London Duathlon’s charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support; as part of Team Macmillan.  Every Team Macmillan member will receive a duathlon specific training guide and fundraising pack, Macmillan t-shirt, a Macmillan tri-belt, refreshments and a 15% discount voucher for Cycle Surgery. On event day, bikelab will be on-site offering duathletes bike maintenance throughout the race to make sure your London Duathlon experience is trouble free.Following the race, every finisher can visit Crewroom, London Duathlon’s Official Sportswear Partner, for their kit needs.
 To enter London Duathlon or for further information regarding the event please visit www.londonduathlon.com Join other #duathlon participants and follow London Duathlon on Facebook and Twitter www.facebook.com/londonduathlon or @londonduathlon
 So I hope I'll see some of you on September 15th - I'll be the blond girl with fear and panic in her eyes.

22 Jul 2013

Go Hard Or Go Home

As some of you might know I'm doing the Ride London relay race, and it's fast approaching! At the moment I'm home in Sweden, in the tiny village where I grew up, with no chance to do any spin classes or to take my road bike for a spin. So, what to do? The options are not to cycle anything or to get on my mum's old hybrid. Option one isn't really an option so hey, mum's old hybrid it is!

This morning it was pretty cold and windy but at least the sun was out. I wont bore you with telling you about all the long stretches of flat road with relentless head wind or desciptions about how bloody heavy and slow that old bike is but I will tell you one thing - those 31k I did this morning were almost harder than the 150k I did with BOOM! Cycle team the other Saturday. I managed to ride at an average speed of 27k/hour, which I am very happy with, considering how hard work riding that bike is. Using that old bike will probably work to my advantage, as when I get on my darling road bike again it'll feel like a walk in the park.

It might have been a tiresome ride, but the views made it worth it!

21 Jul 2013

Race Report: Jämtland på Fötter

Yesterday I, together with my cousin Frida and my older sister Katarina, ran the half-marathon 'Jämtland på Fötter' in the  beautiful town Östersund. I didn't have very high hopes for the race, as I hadn't done much training for it nor had I had enough rest ahead of the race, I was just looking forward to get a chance to practice racing.

When we woke up on the morning of the race the weather was grim..... windy, rainy and cold, and those of you who know me also know that those conditions just aren't for me. We got to Östersund quite early (we live a two hour drive away), picked up our bibs and then we waited. Eventually it weas time to take the bus out to the start, as you started the race in a suburb and then ran into town, all the time along Storsjön. When the race started it was only a light drizzle coming down, but the winds had picked up slightly. The race started and right away we had quite a good pace. My cousin and sister had a lot of power in the legs, I didn't - I pretty much felt tired from the first step.

After a few miles we caught up with one of the pacers, the 1.45 pacer, and decided to stay with him. I struggled a bit as it was pretty undulating....east London is just too damn flat, but my sister and cousin they always run in hilly surroundings and they stayed strong. With four kilometers left you hit a big bridge and the wind up there was relentless, not to mention it was pretty steep uphill. My cousin and sister were a bit more energetic and ran strongly uphill while I ran slightly slower. The two kilometers from the bridge to the finishline I was pretty tired but kept up with the pacer and finished third in the family and on a time of 1.44.24. I was pretty happy with running sub 1.45 despite feeling tired and with my poor preparations for the race but I still left Östersund feeling very disappointed with myself and my race - why I do not know, it was just the feeling I had.

All in all it was a great race, it was just unlucky that the weater was so rubbish. It was a beautiful run and I thoroughly recommend it - just do a bit more trainig for it than I did if you want to run a decent time ;)

19 Jul 2013

The Day Before The Day

So yeah, tomorrow I'm running a half-marathon, and I've never been more unprepared. At the moment I'm in full 'cycle-race-mode' so running has had to take a step back. Today I rested ahead of tomorrow's efforts, maybe the legs will feel better than I fear they will.....

Today I made new friends...

...and wet my feet!

Last but not least I picked some blueberries.

18 Jul 2013

Swedish Summer Rain

Yesterday I left a muggy and hot London and arrived in a cooler Sweden. This morning my big sister and I went for an easy 10k in the drizzle, the last run before my half marathon on Saturday and the perfect start on my holiday.

Now I'm sat with my feet up, watching the Tour det France...this is the life!

14 Jul 2013

Keep the Fun Between Your Legs

Yesterday the BOOM! Cycle ladies team went out for their first (and only?!) training ride ahead of the Ride London relay race....and it was a scorcher! The thermometer showed 20c when I got up at 7am and apparently it was 32c midday, phew!

I met one of the girls at Whitechapel at 8.30am to ride to Richmond Park where we were meeting the rest of the team. It was an easy 11 miles but we got the route slightly wrong so we didn't get to the park that long before the rest. When the team was assembled, four girls and Robert from BOOM, we set off to try and do the route of the race. I won't bore you with a detailed description of every mile (it ended up being 95 of them in total!) but I will say that we had plenty of water stops, we worked hard both on our bikes and our cycle tans and that the climb up to Box Hill rewards you with the most magnificent view. 

After arriving back at Richmond it was only Nadine and myself that were making our way back to east London, tired but happy. En route we'd enjoyed the sun, seen everything quintessentially English at summertime and built some confidence on our bikes. Come on team, let's do this!
On top of Box Hill
Eric and friends kept me going throughout the day

10 Jul 2013

Today I'm Testing: Fitness Playground

There's a lot to say in favour of outdoor training, especially if you like me seem to be spending your life below street level (I work in the basement, my gym's in the basement, I sometime commute underground, and so on). A while ago I read this article in The Huffington Post that suggests that doing outdoor exercise means a 50% greater effect on mental health than going to the gym, and in this day and age (with all the stress we experience associated with our modern society)  I think a lot of us are happy for every chance we get to increase our mental wellbeing. But you don't have to be a researcher to see the benefits with exercising outdoor in the sunshine instead of being locked up in a basement gym, am I right?!

Today I jumped on the outdoor training bandwagon and went to my first ever Fitness Playground session. In true 'failed fitness blogger'-fashion I have no pictures, but there were lots of smiles and sweat, people were wearing lycra and the crime scene was the South Bank area around the Tate Modern. There, now you can paint your own mental pictures of the whole thing, but just make sure you make me look good okay?!

The session started out with a warm up jog to a little park where we did some warm up games (and one girl managed to possibly fracture her wrist falling over....but don't fear going to a session, it was a freak accident that could've happened anywhere and the Fitness Playground gents are not to blame) before we yet again set off running . The session continued like that for the majority of the hour it lasted, alternating between running and stopping to do bodyweight strength exercises at various urban locations. My favourite part was when Dan produce a harness and had us sprinting at full speed whilst being detained by the harness - it's safe to say that our legs were buuuurning.

The friendliness factor is high, which is appreciated by a country girl from the north of Sweden who usually thinks that London is a pretty unfriendly place. Dan and Pete were both very welcoming, taking care to learn all our names and introducing everyone to eachother. By doing  several playful games and races people relaxed and there were lots of laughter in the group throughout the session (another London rarity....). It was a group of mixed backgrounds and abilities, and whilst I love going to places like Barry's Bootcamp and exerting myself with fellow driven and dedicated people, I really liked the more relaxed atmosphere and the banter at Fitness Playground.

So was there anything I missed? Not really, I thoroughly enjoyed the session, but I wouldn't have minded a little longer strength sessions. Now as you know I love running, but I also really like press ups and would have loved a few more of those. The session was varied and never dull, and before you knew it the hour was over. For those of you who would like a friendly yet effective form of exercise, Fitness Playground is definitely for you. For those of you who want an unfriendly and ineffective form of exercise I recommend a personality transplant. Over and out!

7 Jul 2013

Today's Ten Miles...

...brought to you by a sunny London. It's time like these I remember why I love running so much.

5 Jul 2013

The City is Your Gym!

The lovely people at Lunges & Lycra are giving everyone the opportunity to try this new funky outdoor training Company, Fitness  Playground. Their motto is 'The City is Your Gym' and they provide fitness classes outdoors and in an urban environment. I've booked myself into the 6pm class on Wednesday, come join me!

Have a look at the Lunges & Lycra website for a review and to take advantage of the free week!

4 Jul 2013

Do The Shuffle

Yup, today I'm shuffling around like an octogenarian. Yesterday's 26 mile cycle ride combined with an hour of Hot Power Yoga have put its marks on my body - especially my glutes, hamstrings and back muscles. I.Bloody.Ache! Today I did a Body Pump session, which I probably wouldn't have done if I'd realised just how sore I really am....tomorrow it's safe to say I'm resting.

So how was the Hot Power Yoga? I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would and I was way more flxible than I'd ever imagined to be! The centre was welcoming and teacher was good, explaning each exercise and giving us alternatives to the more advanced ones. I did find the class to be slightly more advanced than I thought it'd be and I could have done with a slightly slower pace at the class, to really nail the poses but after an hour I did get into a flow, I might do the beginners workshop and intro course to get a better foundation for my practice and then be able to go to the yoga classes my gym offers....but I don't think I'll ever be a yoga fanatic.

The cycling I did on the other hand made me fall in love with cycling all over again....I kept a good pace and both the legs and the bike responded well! I now feel a lot better about the Ride London relay race but I will have to do a lot of cycling when home in Sweden at the end of July

Tour de France

I bloody love the Tour de France!

3 Jul 2013

Today, I'm Terrified

Today I'm making my yoga debut. I am booked into a beginner's Hot Power Yoga session and I'm pretty much terrified - and that coming from a person who wont even bat an eyelid about doing one of the legs of the Ride London relay race without ever having done a cycle race. You see, I'm inflexible. Stiff. Yoga requires supple limbs, patience and spatial awareness, of which I have none. So yeah, I'm terrified but also oddly excited....there's just nothing like a good challenge!

And I Wonder Why I'm Always Hungry....