29 Aug 2013
Get Fit Or Die Trying - A Month At Barry's Bootcamp
27 Aug 2013
26 Aug 2013
Keep Moving Forward
Today I did it again. I went home from the gym mad with myself for not performing as well as I wanted to. I went home mad because I couldn't sprint as fast as I wanted. I went home mad because I wasn't feeling strong enough. Mad, mad, mad.
But you know what?! No more of this belittling myself, no more of belittling yourself. Today I was as disappointed with myself as I was after my half marathon in July, when I almost wanted to cry because I felt like I'd let myself down, but today I tried to stay and think logical. You can't be strong and fast everyday. Some days you'll feel tired, your legs will be heavy and your arms weak - and that's OK. Don't lose focus of where you're going because you had a bad day. Learn from it and then move forward, and progress!
22 Aug 2013
That Elusive 12.5
So, this month I've been hitting Barry's Bootcamp hard (and done very little actual blogging). Sure, I've done a few longs runs in preparation for the Royal Parks Ultra I'm doing in October and a few good, hard spin sessions, but mainly I've been at Barry's getting whipped into shape by mainly the two gentlemen Sandy and Shane. For someone who considers herself pretty fit it's been hard going, not to mention slightly shameful to realise that I seemingly only have one speed that I run at...slow. I mean don't get me wrong, I've always known I'm no Usain Bolt, but I didn't think I was as firmly stuck in a comfort zone as I am(was?!).
It's been great having the people at Barry's pushing me on, getting me to challenge myself and try and break out of that comfort cage (as I've started referring to it as), as my next marathon goal is to try and qualify for Boston Marathon (eeeeek!)..... Having done three marathons with 4.10 - 3.59 - 3.44 as finishing times I know that I can improve, but knowing I've got to cut at least NINE minutes on my last finish time feels daunting. I ran a half marathon in June at the Boston qualifying race pace in July but I don't know if that made me feel any better as I knew that to qualify I'd have to keep that pace for yet another 13.1 miles. Gulp.
Yesterday a glimmer of hope was lit though. Having done my normal morning class at Barry's I decided to go to another class in the afternoon when I got let out of work early. I felt a bit tired leaving work so I silently hoped that it would be a busy class where I could hide behind legions of other people - but no such luck! It was five other people there and Shane was not going to let anyone off easy, he made that clear early on. I decided to just go for it as much as I could and hope for the best (my standard survival strategy at Barry's...) and in all honesty I was doing fairly well considering it was my second class of the day. When we were on our last treadmill sessions and were doing the dreaded 90 seconds runs with sprint finishes Shane jumped up on my treadmill for the second to last and resolutely cranked up my speed to 11.5. Upon seeing my terrified face he just said 'I know you, I know you can run at this speed' and quite correctly I did manage to run at 11.5mph. For the last one I myself turned the speed up to 11.5 only to have Shane turn it up to 12.5 - and you know what, I managed that 30 second run too! It might have only been a short amount of time but at least I for that time I got out of my comfort zone, challenged myself and properly sprinted. For those 30 seconds I did feel like I would be able to reach that qualifying time and I left the class tired but with a big grin on my face. 12.5 mph has always seemed like an elusive speed and I've never believed that I'd be able to reach it but apparently Shane believed I could. Sometimes you need to have someone that believes you can do it, and you will be able to do it!
19 Aug 2013
15 Aug 2013
Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down!
11 Aug 2013
What I Did This Week
6 Aug 2013
5 Aug 2013
Race Report: Ride London 100 Relay
I got to Guildford at 8.15am and met Rob from Team BOOM! Cycle's mens team and we were to ride out to hub three together and take over from Keith and Hilary. None of us had any local knowledge of Guildford and had only maps to guide us, since no one at the station knew anything about it and there weren't a single sign showing us the way to the start. Rob put in the location on Google maps and off we went. Almost straight away we had to climb this ginormous hill, which in hindsight not only acted as a warmup hill but might have been the hardest hill of the whole day. Once we'd gotten to the top of the hill Google Maps wanted us to go through a wooded area via footpath(!) which we reluctantly did with out narrow road tyres. From there it only got worse. After a little while we realised that it was most definitely not the right way to the hub but we'd been going too far to turn back - we just had to make the best of it. We found a local who gave us some quick directions, meaning that the last bit up to the hub we were crossing fields, barbed wire fences and mostly carrying our bikes as we had to go up the hill to Newlands corner but couldn't use the road as that would've meant going against the flow of the cyclists! Eventually we got up, and Hilary and Keith had been waiting for a while by that point.
I set off on my own down the same hill I'd just carried by bike up and hit some really decent speeds going down, while I kept thinking that it would be a miracle if I didn't end up with a flat tyre after crossing those thorny fields earlier (in the end my tyres were fine but Rob had apuncture 30 seconds after starting....). The first few miles were just gently rolling Surrey Hills and I'd done that stretch of road before on our training/recon ride. I kept a good pace on the flat and going up but I quickly realised that people would overtake me en masse going downhill - I'm a chicken going downhill, and not embarassed about it! When we turned off down to Leith Hill I got a bit nervous although the first few miles were pretty easy. Once I saw the KOM sign (King of the Mountain-sign for the professionals that were riding the Classic after us) I knew we were in business and I was right.... I quickly got into a good rhythm climbing and was climbing strongly up hill, passing loads of people without anyone passing me, when my chain came off! This has never happened before but I quickly got it back on and could carry on. On top of Leith Hill I heard people calling it 'Lethal Hll' but I honestly didn't think it was that bad...hard yes, lethal no.
Going down Leith Hill is a bit of a blurr....partly because of the speed and partly because of all the cyclists passing me - it was a flurry of lycra! I did come down though, albeit a bit slower than some, and could get back into the flow on the rolling hills again en route to Box Hill. Passing through Dorking there were loads of people cheering you on and I knew that Box Hill was just around the corner. When I hit Box Hill I was on familiar ground and I had my strategy clear for me, get onto a good gear, find my rhythm and just 'tap it out' as Coach Mark always tells us at BOOM!. I did just that but when I was changing gears to go through a hairpin curve (that IS what you call them, right?!) my chain came off again! This time I noticed a little branch from a tree stuck to my chain, probably a remainant from our earlier attempt at Cyclocross, and once that was gone I practically flew up Box Hill. Even when we got on the top I had so much power left in my legs that I just kept overtaking people for miles despite the rolling hills. Downhill to Leatherhead I got overtaken by some of them, again, but the last few miles to the hub I kept a great pace and just before the hub I saw my friends cheering me on and was wearing the most goofey smile evern when I entered the hub. When I got there it turned out that Rob had sent Daz and Mark going without chaging over properly as Rob was so much behind schedule with his puncture. I chatted with my friends for about half an hour before I decided to get on my bike again and ride back to London along the route.
I was first thinking that I should do the last 25 miles at a leisurely pace but then realised that I could use it as a solid training session and did just that. I kept my pace up as good as I could, hanging on to peoples' wheels and then passing them if they were too slow. I only got tired with about 10 miles to go but then I saw my friend Zoe walking down the road in Wimbledon and her shouts of encouragement gave me enough energy to keep going quite hard until I hit The Mall where I just gave it my all! After crossing the finish line and getting my medal I met up with Team BOOM! and we had a bit of a picnic and beers in the park for a few hours before going our separate ways again. All in all it was a great day out, and it turned out that I'd done almost 120k cycling to do on 25 miles leg of the relay! Next year I'm definitely doing the full race, cycling on closed off London roads with 20000 cycling enthusiasts is simply as good as it gets!
'How Do I Get Fit?'
BUT if you do want to get fit and not thin (although you probably will slim down, too) then I do have some pointers.....:
1. Get Active!
Yup, start exercising. If you find it boring to run in the park, do something else - spinning, bootcamp, swimming, you name it. Just do it. Not tomorrow or next week, right now. Get into the habit of exercising regularly, but don't overdo it - remember that this is something you should be able to keep up for life.
2. Prioritize Fitness.
Make it your hobby or interest, or at least something that take top priority on your list of 'boring things I have to do'. If you constantly skip exercising to do other things you'll never get fit. Simple as.
3. Eat to Achieve.
As you might have noticed, I love things like Ben and Jerry's and I'm a firm believer that you can eat everything in moderation. But if you want to boost your fitness you need to start eating well so that your body can achieve more. Your body needs proper fuel to keep going and build its strength, and it needs it in decent quantities.
4. Cut Down on Alcohol
Especially if drinking means you'll skip your exercise. I love a pint of cider, or a cold beer in the sunshine, but your body will thank you for cutting down on your alcohol intake. Keep it to a day a week and don't binge. Alcohol contains a lot of alcohol and increases your appetite - what do you think that does to your fitness?
5. Lift Weights
Now, I'm a cardio fanatic - I looooove running and cycling - but weights will boost your fitness to no end. It will make you run and cycle faster, it'll make your working life easier. More muscle will also burn more calories if your thus inclined.
Now that wasn't so hard now, was it?!
3 Aug 2013
Or at least I hope I am. Washed my bike today. Put on the stickers. Did my laundry. Located all my gear. Sorted out my train journey to Guildford. Carb loaded with Ben and Jerry's. Yeah, I think I'm all set.
The Magic Mile
In my head I'd already started to plan my mile challenge when I yesterday hit Barry's Bootcamp for a full body Friday - and a fitness test! It so turns out that they do a little fitness test every Friday - press ups, sit ups and running one mile! Coach Olly told us what kind of pace we needed to keep to run a 7 minute mile (and also a 6 and an 8 minute mile) and off we went. My legs felt heavy and tired so I settled on running slightly faster than a 7 minute mile but with a vision that over the coming few weeks I'd try and run a little faster every Friday. Having treated myself to a Silver membership at Barry's Bootcamp in August (like The Academy, but you don't have to settle on the same specific time every day which would be hard for me with my working pattern). I know that I'll be hitting those Woodway treadmills at least 5 times a week and I'm planning to make the most of it. Watch out Roger Bannister, I'm hitting the mile too!