Friday, December 30, 2005

Activity logs are updated

I have just managed to update all of my training blogs for the last couple of weeks, so although no blogs there is a nod to what I've been up to ;o)

The archive is at Training archive, where I store all the training logs so far.

Simply follow Current Training Log for the current weeks activities kept at the bottom of this blog. Hopefully it'll be a busy year ahead ;o)

New year amnesty

Oops, the Christmas period meant I was too busy, or too far from a computer to blog :o) It has been quite a busy period with fits of over-eating and fits of exercise, I think I may have put on a couple of pounds during the last 10 days... that actually isn't bad going by my recent Christmas binges!!! I am relatively happy, but have lots of plans for fitness work in the new year... watch this space ;o)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Death of a playlist

All these weeks I have been cycling to work with the same six tunes on the MP3 player...

Are friends electric (live) - Gary Numan
Brown eyed girl - Van Morrison
Everything I own - Boy George
Together in electric dreams - Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder
Never be the same again - Melanie C
Lazy - X-Press 2 Feat. David Byrne

I am not sure of all the artists (or the spellings), will have to look them up. But any which way they are about to be replaced by Royksopp :o) Be nice to be late to work with a different tune ;o)


Managed to fix my three punctures last night with my little Halfords [Halfords BikeHut] puncture repair kit. I had bits of bike all over the kitchen floor, which I am sure didn't look pretty. My handy work must have been okay, as I made it to work (though I am carrying my bike pump around just in case!!!).

All systems are go!! It looks like I'll make it to the end of work term having used it all but a few odd days here and there :o) I am well chuffed!! And so are my newly toned legs. Get a bike its great!!!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Lunchtime gym session - habit?

Well aren't I a good boy, I got to the gym again today in my 'lunch-hour' (have to work on cutting down the total time to nearer an hour). The session went 20mins on reclined stationery bike - random program (resistance 5), 15mins on the ergo - 25spm, aver. split 1m58.7s, distance 3811m (worked a little harder than I have been to bring down the split time a tad ;o) ), then 20mins on the cross-trainer resistance 5 forward and 9 reverse. All very good... now all I have to do is sort out my punctured bike wheel and make this new gym habit stick.

Ps. Just noticed shoulders getting stiff already, d'oh!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Stop thinking!!!!

My 8am row in the eight was tough, but only because I couldn't stop over-thinking the stroke and relax with the blade. As with many sports I guess it is very much about muscle memory and switching off higher brain function to some greater or lesser extent. I really don't enjoy the rowing up section at the start of every row, because my technique trips up during it at the moment. I get looser and more fluid from full stroke sweet tempo rowing. What I will have to do is warm up before any rowing on an ergo, so that I am already fluid when the rowing up starts.

We are hopeful out in the four on Thursday night, probably in the tub, but still I need technique time I think... to try and find that illusive grove. It has to be said that more fitness is very much required on my part to get the stroke right consistently. All these things I will work on.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Marathon decision

I have made the decision to tailor my next years running training to complete the Cardiff marathon next autumn... the timing means that I have time to get fully prepared with work issues and commitments fully resolved. Being my home city, it will mean that I can be absolutely familiar with the route, condition and so on ;o)

Thank crunchie its friday....

After another stressful work week, all I can say is thank crunchie its Friday... no that doesn't mean that I've eaten crunchies all day (though I did have a pack of wine gums!!).

Last nights first outing as a four was eventful, I caught two horrendous crabs... I was sat cramped in bow and not enjoying it. I could not flatten my legs and had a piece of cross-bracing battering my lower back on every stroke. The enforced truncation of my stroke lead to an awful lot of problems (though you could argue mainly in my head, think I was psyched out by the flaming stumpy tub we were rowing in!!!). My timing was okay, stroke short, but hand heights and oar clearance erratic. I am certain it'll only get better from this beginning... the four with lads taking it seriously is a different balancing animal to the pub and club shenanigans [not sure about that spelling].

Today on the way to work I had a back tire puncture, and pushed the bike to work from Tal-y-bont, d'oh!!! When I got to work I was even more determined to go through with my tentative plan of going to the uni gym. And so I went... and did 20mins on the reclined bike (variable intensity, resistance 6), 15mins on the ergo (covered 3582m, aver 2m06/500m, aver 24 strokes/min), then to finish 20mins on the cross-trainer (5min forward, then 5 reverse, resistance 5). All felt very good, legs are good and strong... ergo technique was a bit erratic, hehehehe!!

Will update training log later, honest ;o)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Signs of life...

It seems the Christmas run up is not being kind to my blogging habit... just can't find the moments to keep regularly... I have been riding to work as normal and enjoying weekend rowing. I hope that the Christmas break will offer the opportunity to straighten out my running... i.e. go for some ;o)

My biggest worried is the festive food quantities... looking at my weight progress it is clear that Christmas is a problem time. Really have to watch the portions!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Signs of progress

I should be out in a fine shell (racing spec) boat this week, thursday night. Should be illuminating, hope the sculling has done me a favour balance wise?!?!? We'll see... :o)

Thigh ache

This mornings eight was good, a bit unbalanced but good non the less... it completely shut out the stresses of a busy, topsy turvy week. As my technique adjusts to more like the correct stroke my legs are taking more and more of a bashing, the backs of my legs were in big time hurt at the end and for some reason my right leg the worst?!?!? All good and nice the exercise my troubles away ;o)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Early bird catches the boat

It seems that I am to resume my rowing adventure this weekend in the 8+ at 8!!! Still at least the rest of the day is your own... to go rowing with your girlfriend later, hehehehe!!

Been a bit of a slow exercise week, I rode to work but not home again. Work has lead to some odd timings this week, and nothing like a normal routine... I am driving for another 8-10 hours tomorrow... at least my shoulders will get a heavy workout again ;o)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Super entry... (been really busy!!)...

Today... rode to work and back via the physio. The physio is going okay though driving a car for 8 hours or more on Monday pretty much shattered all the support muscles in my shoulder!! Physio was pretty tough, I am hoping for a review soon rather than just the class, so that I know how I've done... and what problems I still have to solve.

Yesterday... first chance to ride to and from work after my bike service and puncture repair... the bike is absolutely great, I can even get into all gears now. The top ring is a bit of a struggle just now but I am sure I'll soon build up to pushing it round nice and quick ;o) Actually got home at a reasonable time, am shattered from so many early starts and long days... need several days of early nights and late rises ;o)

Monday... real busy start to the week after a crazy period in work over the preceding days and the weekend. Drove for over 8 hours to and from Bradford, work is just not a barrel of laughs at the mo. Aside from the stress of sitting in the driving position so long I did no exercise at all today :o(

Sunday... to and from work, plenty of issues and things to try and fix there... so again no real exercise. I did however manage to walk home from work with the lovely Sian and her fab new bike :o) It was good to stretch my legs!!

Saturday... up at an awful hour to get to the rowing club for 8am... I left the house carrying a toasted peanut butter sandwich (really must recommend that to a fast food outlet, for a developers fee of course!!) and a mug of tea (in a great thermal camping mug do da). The river was very high, though the landing stage could just be seen. We ended up doing ergos (rowing machine work) and then a session in the tank... more technique work. After the session we had a good chat with the coaches who are looking apparently to put together a four and eight from our squad for the summer regatta season. Will keep ya'll posted on that one :o)

Walked to collect my bike (and Sian's spanking new one) from the local bike shop, they / he did a great job... though some how all the damage from my big crash and mini crash looked much more obvious when I got it back... must have been the perspective of having not seen or ridden it for a few days. Ho hum, if I ride it all winter I promised myself a new one for the summer :o)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Marathon news

I did not put in to enter the London as I will be getting married at that time of year (marriage on April 8th :o) :o) :o) ). So the plan regarding a marathon attempt is to find a run at the end of next summer, or even to enter Cardiff next autumn. That gives me a realistic time to get fully race fit, and enough time to prepare long and slow, thereby avoiding injury and over training I hope ;o) Will pick during the Christmas break and publish my plan ASAP :-)

Gotta stop the train bashing ;o)

I have decided that although taking the train has flaws, I should not bash what is in principle a good idea... mass transit is a very good idea. A queue of 1-200 cars sat going no where fast 200 yards from your front door is a very very real issue... each car containing 1 occupant (do car drivers not have friends?!?). From an environment stand point the train is far far far better than herds of automobiles, so despite the fact that my local train company is poorly organised and its trains frequently unreliable, I endorse the train as a form of transport.

Of course on foot or bicycle are preferable but trains will do when circumstances force a switch.... please note I still say this after standing in the rain waiting 20mins for late trains both last night (at 10 to midnight) and this morning ;o)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The couch escape...

Maybe its because its late and I'm stuck in work, but I've gotten to feeling reflective... as my blog description suggests the path to change was started with a skiing trip, it started long before that in a slow creeping way. I had during my PhD gotten into the habit of comfort eating, and a stressful PhD meant I needed a lot of comfort. I was not in a healthy relationship and so still felt the need to get comfort where I could, Twix bars, can after can of coke, pack after pack of crisps. The need for change was sneaking up on me all this time... I was getting slower, I felt tired more of the time, I looked huge in family photos, a rounder redder duller looking version of my teenage self.

Skiing came at the right time, it forced me to face limitations head on, during the time at altitude I did a lot of soul searching, even in the presence of a partner who didn't understand me anymore. I played the same song over and over on my Walkman, found alone places to be, aided by the fact that I couldn't ski from feeling so rough (although it turned out I may have had altitude sickness as well as unfitness).

I came home to the U.K. determined to make a change and sought out quick fixes, they were tough calorie starving diets that induced some yo-yo tendency, but in the main rapidly left me feeling lighter and brighter. It was enough to get me interested in true exercise and I soon found myself playing five aside football with work. I was and am rubbish at football, but running around frantically for an hour a week was again enough to begin to leave the couch behind. Sadly, the divergence of a relationship continued a pace without either admitting or noticing... I needed to do more and felt deprived of the support to do it. Despite the pull back to the couch things continued to improve little by little.

Holidays would put a dent in progress sure, but I began to get used to the rhythms of my own body. It is no use weighing yourself everyday, the natural fluctuations drive you to despair, until you see them for what they are. I started weighing myself on Sunday mornings, a pretty settled phase of the week, where genuine trends could be spotted.

Eventually I was single read a lot of self help books [I can heartily recommend Anthony Robbins books as a starting place for anyone on a personal journey of rediscovery]. When I found my own place I found the gym (after finding it briefly sometime before) in a big way, though all I ever did was the stationery bike, the cross-trainer (ski machine thing), the rowing machine and very rarely a few light (high rep) bench presses. I would go for an hour three or four times a week. The couch was almost forgotten, though I was dividing my time happily between couch and gym - such was my single existence for a time.

Then there came the run - Andy was on the run - I made a new years promise to my dad to do a half marathon with him. I bunch of research on the Internet later (in the quest for a training plan), and I was now a park regular... enjoying all that there is to enjoy of being outdoors (sorry, gym, but outdoors is best :o) ). Later came the first 10k and the first half marathon. I am still to keep my promise (latterly to myself) and run a full marathon... and hence my blog (thank you Sian for introducing me to blogging)... I will run one in the near'ish future, because now I am fully on the move.... "screw you couch, I don't need you any more!!!".

The fun bit is that being on the run / move, can encompass so much good good stuff. Rowing, cycling, running, walking, squash, footy, anything can be in reach now I am off the couch. Come on get off of yours, there's a world out there to interact and live within :o)

Slow start to the day...

...argghh!! My puncture lead me to have to take the train this morning, the great transport solution of the future, the commuters passport to flexible travel, the mass transit option held upon high,... or perhaps simply a giant sardine can on wheels!!

Its a shambles, first train to full - I watched the train pull away with a slightly scared looking bloke pressed against one of the doors (no doubt hoping the doors design had his body weight factored into its specification!!), the second train had room among the crowd of utterly depressed looking people. Got to work suitably depressed, felt it was only right to try and fit in ;o)

I really need to find a resource that will inform me about all things bicycle repair... feel a google search coming on :o) Sian had a day off and agreed to take my bike down to a local repair shop... seems she was looking forward to the chance to see what bikes they had, and sure enough has near enough bought a nice new one :o) I should get mine back on Saturday - that long because it is also being serviced... I have spent the last month at least without the top ring set... still it did mean my legs were whirling round like the clappers to go anywhere... had to be burning more calories that way ;o)