+3 days; Diary of Horace Wimp helps me get back on the horse

Time for a quick solo hour ride out. The weather was good and I had no reason not to go out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sunday. Friends and family have been really lovely. They know how much training we have put in, but we feel that we want to make up the mileage and just have to figure out how and when.

On Sunday I wrote to my friends that we had only done 54 miles (46 plus the 8 back to the hotel). Then I thought about it. Only 54 miles? 2 years ago I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to cycle 45 miles of the Prince’s Trust Palace to Palace ride. I thought those doing the 90.mile Ultra route were crazy. Then It took over 4 and a half hours of cycling time on a mostly flat route.

So it is fair to say some progress has been made those 2 years! Anyway, I went out last night and had my Garmin set for an average of 13 mph. Not that fast admittedly, but faster than some of our training rides a couple of weeks ago. I checked it on the ride, I was ahead of the pace! The route I had taken had some ‘rises’ for sure and Stoke Hammond hill which in the past had me cycling it at walking pace. One time I had barely managed to overtake a man walking it! It’s short, though, with a maximum inclination of 8.7%.

Strava segment (in case you are bothered)!

StokeHammondHill

“It’s not a hill” I told myself, “it’s just a rise”. I compared it to Wimbledon Hill that we cycled on Sunday and thought it’s not even as long or steep as that. Up… Up… Up… I pedalled. It seemed to be at the top quicker than normal. Good.

Home straight now. I cycled and sang ELO’s Diary of Horace Wimp in my head then (sort of) out loud coming home.

Horace_Wimp
Cover art for single The Diary Of Horace Wimp by the Electric Light Orchestra. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Jet Records, or the graphic artist(s). By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6667559

Don’t be afraid. Just knock at the door. Well he just stood there mumbling and fumbling, when a voice from above said Horace Wimp, this is your life, go out and find yourself a life…  you can do it come on, Horace...”.(etc).

Thank goodness there was hardly any traffic! Bizarrely this motivated me … come on Horace, you can do it! Got home. Computer says 14 mph average! And load of personal bests. Finally. I have found a little speed!

So it seems this cycling thing is not yet over. More things to achieve and improve. The Pretty* is not going on eBay yet!

*my road bike

 

 

+24 hours: for us, we can cycle another day; it’s just a goal that we have not yet achieved

Firstly, Wayne and I are fine – but we did not manage to complete the 100 miles route, as we we got diverted to the shorter, 46 mile course.

24 hours on, we are still gutted but also we are happy to be safe. And we are very thankful for the wonderful support and generosity of all our family and friends – and the money going to Marie Curie is just wonderful – £1,300+ – thank you so much!

This is how the weekend played out:

We drove up to London on Saturday as we had early starts the next day from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As with all mass participation events, there was lots of waiting around to get to the start line and we were part of 27,000 people doing the ride. We left the hotel at 7am but were due to start at 8:48 (Wayne) and 8:59 (me). (We realise now that we should have put the same estimated finishing times into our applications to have a better chance of being in the same start group). We were both very nervous, but it was better when we were actually cycling. The mood in the starting pens was very good, people were friendly and chatty. After lots of nervous energy, waiting, threats of the start line DJ/Techie playing that Techies’ favourite track 😉 Tina Tuner: Simply The Best … all of a sudden it was 10 seconds to go: 9, 8 (clip in shoes…) 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 , 2, 1 …. we were off!

Wayne and I had agreed to meet at the first drinks station on The Mall at mile 11. The first miles went really quickly and London looked beautiful (even Wayne had to admit it!). We met up as planned. We agreed that it was a lot quicker than we had been doing in training, but we’d be warned not too go off too fast, and then have nothing to draw on later on… a 100 miles is a 100 miles after all.

We paced ourselves really well, ahead of schedule and keeping to a 15 mph pace. We passed the first big hub at Hampton Court Bridge and kept going. All good so far. We heard the Marshalls shouting “everyone go straight on” “go straight on”. After about half a mile we realised we had been diverted. We couldn’t believe it; saying that we were gutted would be an understatement. We cycled the rest of the route in a daze. We finished only 46 miles and felt absolutely fine physically.

After all the anticipation it was really difficult to process what had happened. We decided to go straight back to the hotel and generally be miserable together, until a very nice man from Marie Curie stopped us on the way out of St James’s Park and asked us if we were going back to their hospitality area for food and showers. He was so pleasant, gave us a map, we just decided to go with it and maybe we could find out what had happened. Lots of questions were in our minds.

When we got to the Marie Curie place, they were lovely. We were a bit emotional to be honest. They told us that they had heard that there had been some big accidents and someone had hit a tree and the air ambulance was in attendance. A little more digging and we found out that there had been two serious crashes, and that riders ahead of us on the course had been stopped on Leith Hill. Diversions were put in place. That put things in perspective. We were well and safe, but some people were having a much, much worse day than we were.

Today, Ride London have just posted that a charity cyclist passed away after a heart attack at around mile 25 – so very, very sad. Although we are still disappointed and my first reaction was put the bike on eBay and go back to the sofa. But our disappointment is nothing, just nothing in comparison to that tragic news. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.

For us, we can cycle another day; it’s just a goal that we have not yet achieved – raising money for a fantastic cause and a ‘century’ on the bike. The first part is done (thank you), just not the second. We have decided that we will make up the miles somehow for everyone who supported us and also, for ourselves. Not sure when and how, but we will.

In closing we would just like to say a MASSIVE thanks again to everyone who supported us – emotionally and financially – and for your messages yesterday before and after – you are all awesome. Thank you so much from us both xx

 

 

Dear friends, I confess, I am a fair-weather cyclist…

Now, where did we get to? Oh, yes. We both had places on the Ride London-Surrey 100. We had to register again online and we were done. Later we will be issued with our start times (hoping that they are close together) but we would only hear about that a couple of months down the line.

As we were about to start our training the British weather was, well, British. Rainy. Cold. Miserable. Admittedly, I am a fair weather cyclist. 20 degrees C is perfectly acceptable (plus or minus 2 degrees) but I am not, and have never been, keen on the rain or mud or cold!

The Wayneybaby, naturally, is a different animal. He LOVES the mud. I think it’s down to his rugby playing days when I would look in the bath (tub) after he’d been in it and there would be half the rugby pitch’s mud left in the bottom. Anyway, I digress. So back to in March 2016, here were our cycling stats:

Wayne: 113 miles in 9 rides – including all that mountain biking business

Me: 36 miles across 3 rides – lake and trails and coffee stops

April followed a similar pattern, but training started with a 16 miler around the lakes of Milton Keynes (actually, very scenic – more waterfront than Brighton,  you know?) and with, amazingly, no stops for cappuccino!

The plan was that in May, the training would really kick-in at 12 weeks out. 3 rides in the first 8 days of May were a great start, although the first training we did on the roads (with hills – you may know that I love hills? I love hills… I love hills…) was very tough being a 23-mile slightly bumpy route.

A slight interruption then occurred as we went away to celebrate my birthday in Holland – on the coast and then in Amsterdam. Oh, Holland, how I love thee and your flat, cycling highways! We flew home after a lovely 4 days and by mid-May we were raring to go.

On the 17th, we did a 15 miler round the lakes and trails. The first half was okay, but the second half I felt terrible and was slower than my usual snail’s pace. Had I’d celebrated too much in The Dam?

Well, it turns out I was feeling so terrible because I was unwell. The next 3 weeks I was more or less wiped out by a virus and could hardly train. Sigh. That was not the plan. And then Wayne got it too. Luckily he managed to recover a bit quicker than me, but our training plans were blown to bits. It was now just over 8 weeks to go  – and we needed to make a decision to go for it – or to postpone to next year.

What to do? I searched and found a training plan that was effectively this: train for a century in 8 weeks for those with no time! It looked tough, but doable.

So now it was June already. The bloomin’ British weather was still miserable, cold and rainy.  It was decision time – Tuesday June 7th – with 8 weeks to go. We decided that if we could do 3 x training sessions that week, we would go for it. Tuesday came around (a planned training day) but Wayne was coughing like a trooper – so he needed to stay home and rest – although he totally hated that! But, at least he had more in the training bank than me, I was still playing catch-up.

That Tuesday evening I made it home from the office in daylight hours. Good start. It was raining. Of course it was. And yes, dear friends, I went out in the rain. On my own. As per the plan, I cycled for an hour. I got stung by stinging nettles, got rained on and came home very muddy. So it seemed, we were not ready to give up the fight yet. It was ON. We were somehow going to do this thing and cycle the 100 in just 8 weeks time!

Can we do it? Well, I guess we shall soon enough! 5 days to go!

Yippity do-dah; Zara and size 12 Jeans!

Time to report in on the previously documented four-week push. So far, so good. A little wobble (involving a certain Mr Pinot Grigio, scrummy bar food and some 10-year old Port last week) but still managed to lose weight in the week overall. So just under 3 weeks to go now for the final push!

Super-busy at work with multiple deadlines. In the denial* days, I would have come home from a long day and hit the wine (I deserve it) and food (I deserve it) as some kind of instant gratification and my reward for getting through a long day, long week, blah blah blah! This time, I decided that I would just have some healthy food (which was on-hand luckily – the secret is in the planning) and that I didn’t need the wine – so I could stay true to my four-week final push. And – yippee! – I managed it.

I felt a little wardrobe update was called for, as I was last at this weight in 1995. So shopping, we went. Pre-‘project-Andrea’ I couldn’t shop in places like H&M and Zara. So I ventured in. Cautiously, I tried a couple of things on. Happy days – they fitted! I can’t tell you how nice it is to be free to shop where you like, because you are not restricted by your size. It’s extremely motivating. So a rather summery peach-coloured jacket was acquired and worn to work this week.

I also did some online shopping as I wanted some new jeans. Size 14s arrived (Size 10 USA). I tried them on straight away. They were too big. What? Surely I can’t be a UK 12?  Re-order online. Size 12s arrive. OMG. They fit! They fit! Cue singing around the house! Now, I am not naive enough to think that all size 12s are created equal, some are obviously bigger than others, but I am so happy, happy, happy about this.

It’s funny, I obviously know I have lost weight, but my brain hasn’t quite kept pace with my physical appearance – it’s like it needs some time to adjust to the new me. I have had some lovely comments from my friends and colleagues this week. I don’t know why in particular this week, maybe it’s the new jeans and jacket in the right size? Who knows? What I can say is that it does help that other people are noticing – and it makes me even more determined to keep getting closer to my goal and ultimately keep it off. Thank you to everyone who commented – it really does help! 

And finally, gym this morning to kick-off the weekend in a good way – which, shock-horror, I really enjoyed. So, it’s definitely been a good week overall, and I have a few key ‘lessons learnt’ from it:

  1. If you have a goal – document it, set a timescale and take the first step to achieving what you want.
  2. Pay someone a genuine compliment – maybe they are looking good or maybe they have been good to you – so thank them for being so nice – it really can make a difference to them.
  3. Recognise the small successes you are making towards your goal – if it your goal seems a long way off, one step towards it is better than one step away from it.
  4. And lastly, If you have a wobble, it’s okay, we’re all human and it’s just a wobble – just get back on track as soon as you can.

Have a fab few days and be good to yourself!

*denial = denial that there was a problem

Stable. Stuck. So should I stick, or stick with it?

Greetings to you all, this fine day. Had a very busy, but productive week at work with not much space for ‘me’ time.  Went to the gym in Sunday, but didn’t manage to get there again until this morning. But that’s just about twice in a week, so not too bad.

Now here’s the thing. I’ve lost a fair bit of body weight – and 3 dress sizes – (yay!) – since June last year. I was last stable at my current weight about 18-20 years ago (wow, that’s scarier written down, than in my head!) It’s still not quite where I want to be and I am definitely not beach-ready, if you know what I mean. I’ve been stable to within about 5lbs at this weight for the last two months. I know this is a good thing and it proves that I can maintain my weight.
But I’d really, really like to get a little bit more off. I wondering if psychologically I am taking into account other people’s comments:
“Don’t go too far – we don’t want you to be a lollipop head”
“Don’t get too skinny, you’ll be a beanpole!”
I think it might be because I like my food, and it is nice to eat a bit more – to be stablising, not dieting. I can ‘live’ at the weight I am – you definitely would not describe me as skinny and according to my BMI, I am right on the borderline of healthy weight and overweight.
This week, I thought, right, this is it, stop messing around, I’ll stick at it, give it a four-week focus, get to where I am happy (and firmly in the healthy BMI range) and then stabilise. But for some reason I have struggled. Maybe I just don’t want it enough. Maybe I am diet-weary.
Maybe I should stabilise for a bit, and gradually, gradually try to get to a lower weight – carry on with the gym, tone up and keep a track on my weight. Am not sure. As a minimum, I’ll be working at sticking where I am – making sure the belt stays on the same notch and that my clothes don’t get tighter than they should be.
And maybe tomorrow evening, after a nice weekend, I’ll have the motivation to do that four-week push for the last few pounds.
As you can see, I am undecided. If you’ve experienced something similar, I’d love to hear what you did about it! Looking for some inspiration and advice!

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March 2012
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May 2012
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April 2013
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March 2013

The day on which I start swimathon training …

Just a quick post tonight – and to say I’m trying my best to establish a habit – and planning when I do my exercise!

I haven’t quite yet decided if I’m going to do a swimathon or not, but I even if I don’t, I can train as if I’m doing it – which means I have a structure and am increasing my training.

I looked at the 5K training plans and tonight I did the first session plan. It took me just over 60 minutes – and it says it should have taken around an hour, so that’s ok I guess 🙂 I swam about 1600 metres.  

You can find the training plans here, if you’d like:

http://www.hertsmereleisure.co.uk/docs_centre/bletchley/Swimathon%20Weekend%205k%20training%20plan.pdf

If you fancy doing the swimathon, just take a look here:

http://www.swimathon.org/index.php

PS: By the way, I’m loving your comments and discussions on Facebook, Twitter or G+, but don’t forget you can comment here, too, and you can sign in with your usual profile eg facebook… It’s just over on the left of the page!

Can a leopard really change its spots? And if so, how?

I’ve read so much over the years about healthy eating and fitness. Logically, I know that more energy in means weight gain if energy out is also not increased. Emotionally I don’t always find it so easy to make the right choices.

We’ve all read that a high percentage of dieters go back to their pre-diet weight – or more – after their diets. I’ve done it myself, not usually higher than before, but back to exactly the same weight to the lb (or half KG). This is the 3rd time I’ve got to my maximum “time to trigger action” weight.  That’s 3 times in 12 years.  I reckon it takes a minimum of 6 months to get the weight down again.  Then slowly…. very slowly it goes back on – over a period of between 2-5 years.

So how can I stop it? I guess my ‘leopard spots’ are lack of exercise and a bit too much food per day – and so the weight goes on so slowly that I don’t even notice it.

So I’ve been thinking about how to fix this. My first problem is that I’m not that fond of routine. I like the excitement of an always changing schedule; the adrenaline of a last minute problem to solve. And the nature of my work is very much like this. Perhaps too much like this!   I’ll usually put this (work) above (me) going for some organised exericise.  So, the healthy habits get broken down, I don’t get anough sleep, I eat at erratic times and so on … and weight begin starts to increase and the fitness declines. 

So which healthy habit goes first? I think that it’s the exercise that is the first casualty, and then it’s downhill from there. The good thing about exercise, for me, is that it makes me more aware of my body. Not in an obsessive way – but just how it moves and how it looks. It’s all too easy in the cold, British weather to cover up – in boots, in a suit, in long cardigans – and not be aware of carrying a few extra pounds. But you can’t ignore the mirrors in the gym though (unless you are very determined!)  in your gym gear or worse… in a swimsuit!!!  And of course you can’t avoid how you feel doing exercise. There’s no escape there!

So if that’s the start of the decline for me, I need to make sure that I make a habit – a habit with some built in flexibility, too – for my life – so this is what I’m going to do. I think it’s realistic:

My exercise pledge: Some kind of formal exercise twice a week to be taken: once during the week and once at the weekend. 

So, dear friends and fitness buddies, I’ll be reporting in!  Your comments and tips, as ever, are sought and welcomed – it feels good to support each other.

This leopard is trying to change its spots. Thinking positive thoughts and feeling better for having written it down.