The Scribbler

26 April 2012

What a week!

On Sunday, I watched in awe as thousands of runners and supporters took to the streets in the London marathon. I was impressed by being able to track those I knew running, watching their 5k split times appear on the screen. A flurry of facebook, TV watching and keeping eyes on the stats. And as they approached the finish, I switched to the digital channel showing the finish line, scanning the split screens for familiar faces and spotting some of my friends come through the line in amazing times.

And no, I still have no urge to put myself up for that particular challenge. But to all of you that do, I salute you. You are all amazing.

Four people with bikes

Lesley, Al, Lucy and Me, ready to head off on our bikes. Thanks to Bob for the picture

I have had a jam-packed week, full of training and fun. A busy week with a long day tucked in travelling to Winnersh to deliver two of my writing workshops, getting up even earlier than usual and home rather later.

A week trying out a killer new training session that had me speeding along on a treadmill and almost running off the back trying out pyramid intervals.

A week with a 10k that I treated as a long slow run that set my glutes screaming, but my foot, not a murmur.

A week where I’ve re-evaluated things again. I’ve lost some speed. I’m not as fast, nor as fit as I was at this time last year, and yet in some ways I am stronger. I am more self aware, have more experience and more endurance fitness than I did. But I still feel a bit flabby, not sharp and focused. But you know, I’ll take that for now.

If you asked me in January would I take a pain free 10k at any speed, I would have said yes. so I really don’t have to worry about the time I ran it in. And the speed will return.

And I sang. My choir performed for the first time in public on Friday. First in our workplace at lunchtime and then in the evening in the concourse area of The Sage, the prestigious music centre on the Gateshead side of the Tyne. It was quite nerve wracking, particularly when we walked out into our central atrium at work and there were hundreds of people gathered round and looking down from the walkways waiting to hear us. But there were a couple of moments where the hair on the back of my neck stood on end and well, it just felt amazing to be able to share some of the joy we’ve experienced in rehearsals.

On Saturday I drove north for one of Lesley’s tri days and had the most wonderful time. Off to the pool with coach Zuzi keeping a sharp eye on our swimming and writing report cards for us all to work on. I need to drop my head lower to raise my legs, work on my kick, keep my elbows high and get my hand into the water more quickly.

I tried lowering my head and could feel the difference, but it did mean I have to concentrate on my breathing again. So I’ll work on that. After a leisurely transition, change into bike gear and obligatory photo we were off again on the lovely quiet country roads.

Still nervous about my clips, I was in a complete panic when I really couldn’t get my left foot out of the pedal, but I managed to stop safely. With a bit of cleat adjustment and then untightening my pedals to the loosest, it was like riding a brand new bike. Thanks to Al, Lesley’s son, for his patience with my bike faffing and adjustments.

It was a ride that gave me a massive confidence boost, even as it showed me I’m far from bike fit, especially on the hills and stand no chance of chasing Lesley or Lucy. But I got into top gear, dropped and tucked and flew down a couple of downhills – the first time I’ve dared to drop clipped in.

I was definitely tiring in the last few miles, but it’s the longest bike ride I’ve done all year and off the back of a decent swim and a 10k the day before I really can’t be too hard on myself.

We did manage a notional run to make it a brick session, all of us opting for a short route as stiff legs and hunger took over. We were astonished that it was almost 4pm by the time we got back and had our lunch!

Thankfully the Marshalls are great hosts and soup, bread and cake was the order of the day. We demolished a table full. Just a brilliant day. And the weather was kind. Can we do it again soon?


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