Saturday, 23 January 2010

Getting about a bit

Wowser where did this week go? 3 days working in Amsterdam - tried doing a workout in hotel room, but my bodyclock told me it was 5am even though the clock said 6, I had only been awake for 10 minutes so was decidedly un-bendy and to top it off it was before breakfast - my personal army only marches on a full belly! So pretty much a dead loss, but I suppose better for me than an extra 20 minutes in bed. Managed one joggle around the country lanes at home, which are deceptively sloped in the uphill direction so worked my legs until they were about to fall off - coming home was better - all downhill!

Day off today to go and visit my lovely friend Holly and her beautiful baby boy, blissful afternoon sitting on the sofa snuggling him, very good for the soul. Looking forward very much Tuesday when I take off to Tenerife for a cheap and cheerful spot of sunshine, lots of lolling around by the pool and maybe a gentle trot along the beach - debating whether or not to tell my girlie-friend about the training plan, she is horribly fit, has early morning enthusiasm of Tigger proportions and will not, I think, have sympathy for a wimpy 50+ year old. Maybe a slave driver is just what I need. We shall see.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


Spotted on the Bicycle Plus website: "An awesome mountain bike race held every year in Gore, NS". A bit late for the 2009 event but I'll be keeping an eye out for 2010 dates. I think my lovely husband would rather enjoy it.
Meanwhile: shopping. I have invested in some thermal overshoes to save my toes from frostbite when I start the early morning rides to work in the spring, and a high viz jacket I've had my eye on for a while. The nice people at Wiggle get a gold star for responding pronto to the email I had to send immediately after I had placed the order - I picked the black one by mistake, not very high viz at all. Thank you Wiggly people.

Swimming today at Cardiff International Pool - fooled around in the nice warm family bit and then did a slow but steady 12 lengths in the big bit, better than sitting on the sofa I guess. I rather fancy swimming lessons to turn my schoolgirl breaststroke into a slick crawl, but they're jolly pricey. Also realised I need to work on my upper body strength a tad - couldnt get myself out without crawling over the side like an injured frog! Hey ho.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

There's a beast in my kitchen

Turbo trainer - HARD work but strangely addicitve. Week 1 of proper training plan progressing well, eased along by some nice evening walks in glorious snow along the canal, oh and an updated playlist on my ipod featuring some good bop de bop bang bang classics such as TRex, Lady GaGa, Muse, House of Pain (how appropriate), Salt'n'Pepa, Raconteurs, Faithless, the Strokes, Deadmau5, Wink, Maccabees, Ting Tings, Justin Timberlake, Kasabian, Hi Fidelity Allstars - I rock. Interspersed with Mumford and Sons who got onto the playlist by accident but I adore them and it works quite well - nicely melodic with some good old shouty bits.

The snow is melting away enough for a run/jiggle/walk along the canal on Saturday and by Sunday I will definately deserve a HUGE roast dinner. And that, I feel, is what its really all about.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Spare a penny guvnor?

Very excited, just set up my fundraising page! Which is a bit nerve wracking as it means I actually have to convince people to part with their hard earned cash, which also means I have to overcome my inate dislike of ASKING for anything, especially money - but hey, get over yourself Nicola, its for the kids who are going to get a little bit of sunshine at Camp Brigadoon.

I have also been inspired by Rocketgirl to dream up some fundraising events during 2010 to get the ball rolling, and a brilliant sponsorship request by the irrepressible JBWilliams has set the standard for the approach to corporate sponsorship.

2011 seems a long way off - until I realise how much there is to get done before the event!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Work it

I am delighted to say that after a couple of days feeling I had aged 5o years (so technically I would be pretty much dead), my muscles rallied, managed a vigorous(ish) 20 minutes CV yesterday and got me thorugh Workout Number 2 today, leaving left me feeling mysteriously energised - I have a training plan for the next 4 weeks - yay!

My mornings are going to go like this:

Mon: Workout A
Tues: Interval training on bike / stepper / treadmill
Wed: Workout B
Thu: Interval training on cross trainer / rowing machine / treadmill
Fri: Workout A (followed by Fatboy cooked breakfast at work)
Sat: Interval walking / running along the canal
Sun: Long lie in with a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie

Then swap Workouts A and B days around so I get the same number of each over a 2 week period. Thanks lovely husband / personal trainer! Did I mention he does a very good massage? Saved my legs from complete anihalation after the first workout - he's GOOD.

When the ice and snow clears I'll be doing the interval training out on Cardiff Bay with my buddies who have signed up for the Sport Relief Cardiff Mile, which I am led to believe is a whole different ball game to a treadmill. And come April we'll be back on the Taff Trail to and from work from my friend's house in Caerphilly.

Ye gods, I am going to be Superwoman by the summer!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Are jellylegs a good sign...?

Well I thought I was reasonably fit but I just discovered I have muscles in hitherto undiscovered places. But it hurts in a kind of good way I think. As long as I can still actually walk tomorrow I think I'm on to a winner!

I'm a bit scared....

I worked at home today, so missed the gym. My lovely husband offered to run me through a workout instead. He's been scribbling down notes for rather a long time and I think there may be a gaping chasm between his expectations and my ability. I'll let you know later. If I survive...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Get fit or die trying!

Where to start – thankfully not completely from scratch as I am moderately fit and eat pretty well unless it’s the weekend or I’m in the pub, but I’m pretty flaky when it comes to any kind of endurance, particularly the uphill variety.

I’m a regular at the gym but don’t exactly push myself to any kind of limit and get bored pretty fast. I did manage a few 12 mile stints back and forth to work in the summer, and even managed a 55 miler back in the autumn but have slacked off dreadfully since the weather got frosty and the mornings dark; so without a plan (I do like a good plan) I can see the Big Ride ending in a sorry mess after a couple of days.

While browsing for training tips I came across some nice simple beginners cycling tips to help with technique, which I read carefully, but promptly lost interest when I got to the highly technical comments added by helpful souls who are clearly not beginners at all. The cycling world must be terribly modest by nature – I’ve yet to find a ‘beginner’ who is as useless as me – they SAY they are, and then sprint up hills and bounce skilfully down them while I puff and pant and fall off. Reference to ‘zones calculated from a magic number’, ‘functional, lactate and anaerobic thresholds’ just make me feel stupid, so I am going to do a makey-uppey training plan and get my jolly clever husband to vet it (did I mention that he’s a qualified personal trainer?)

On the positive side, I have signed up for a 3 mile charity run in March, which is a bit of a joke as I never actually run anywhere, even in the gym, so I feel a 3 point plan coming on – running, cycling up hills and cycling long distance.

Oops, I’m doing it again – writing about it instead of doing it. Next post will be my outline training plan. Must faff less and do more!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Naturally I chose the most flattering pic I could find for my blog profile, but to give you an idea of my finesse on a bike, here I am looking ever so glamorous after a day’s tuition up a muddy hill in Wales where I fell off several times and ultimately decided that extreme downhill antics are not for me.

For our Nova Scotia bike ride I will be relying heavily on the technical expertise and moral support of my long suffering husband, who has admirable stamina, style and patience - imagine the gentle handling required with a snivelling wife sat in the mud half way up a never ending hill wailing “I can’t DO this!”

So I think the biggest challenge for him is going to be waiting for me to catch up while I grit my teeth and try my best to last the distance. No excuses – I have enough time to train and more than enough hills on my lovely Welsh doorstep to get myself in some kind of reasonable shape. Strangely I seem to be much more motivated to write about it from the comfort of my sofa than to actually get on my bike…

Research time – training plan required!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Why Nova Scotia?

For everyone I haven’t already bored to death with my good fortune….. we fell in love with the place a few years ago and are now the proud owners of a little corner of heaven in the Annapolis Valley, so we’d like to give something back to our adopted countrymen and future neighbours. Why north to south for this particular jaunt? No idea – a loop from Halifax airport would be much more practical, but it doesn’t feel right somehow; my brain equates south to north as uphill, which it probably would be anyway as north is where the big mountains and hence my biggest challenge lie.

So I had a look at a map of Cape Breton, poked it with a pin and set about some serious research – a spot of googling found all sorts of useful tips from like minded souls who are kind enough to share their experiences on From this I cobbled together a rough outline and some approximate mileages: I have no idea how we’re going to get to the start point, but I’m sure I’ll think of something. Impressed with my planning so far…? Worry not, all this will be scrutinised by my wise and worldly husband, whose attention to detail is inversely proportional to my eternal optimism.

It all kicks off in my mind at Cape North in (that sounds so wildly adventurous..)

Pretty, isn’t it? But there are hills… I wasn’t designed for them, being brought up in Suffolk where a molehill in the garden is the biggest deviation from flat you will ever see. But now I live in Wales, so there’s no excuse, I just have to get off my butt, climb out on my bike and work those legs.

My next bit of research is overnight stops. I briefly considered camping but that means loading up the bike and nowhere to dry rain soaked clothes overnight, so I think bed and breakfast is a worthy investment, and might tempt committed anti-campers to sign up: watch this space!