Return to single-speed cycling

Back to normal things this week!

Sunday: My first time on the Single Speed bike since Easter. I was reluctant initially to go out on it as it had been a while and I knew I would find it hard work. But I had forgotten how much fun it is to ride and how simple just to pedal, not to have to worry about gears and to know I couldn’t wimp out and change down to a granny gear on the hills. It was tiring and my back was very sore on the outward leg – probably because the set-up is not quite the same as on my summer bike. I had to stop three times to stretch my back but it was fine on the return journey. It was just Alan and myself and I hid behind him, out of what was quite a strong gusty wind, for the whole trip. Because my back was sore we made an unscheduled stop for coffee at the Angel Cafe in Diss and then, with my back all nicely stretched out, did the 10 miles to Goodies for their all-day breakfast.

There was toast as well!

There was toast as well!

Very tasty it was too. The trip back from Goodies is less than 20 miles and we had the wind behind us the whole way so it was a swift return which was just as well considering my legs were tired and the breakfast was sitting rather heavily in my stomach!
(54.8 miles at an ave speed of 16.4 mph, ave HR 139bpm.)

Monday: Norwich Road Runners session – hills (or “pimples” as Wendy calls them) with Wendy.  This was just what I needed as I knew I couldn’t get to the efforts session on Tuesday.  We jogged along to the roundabout on Woodcock Road and then did 1 minute efforts up the hill, with 2 minute recovery jogs back down.  The idea was that your sixth effort is as good as your first, so you have to remember where you got to on the first one and aim for that point on the next five efforts.  Obviously it would be easy to cheat and make very little effort on the first so that the subsequent ones wouldn’t be challenging but I don’t think any of us did that.  We’d only be cheating ourselves after all!  These effort sessions are always strangely fun – hard work but you feel really good when you have done them and hills are something I need to focus on as I can’t keep registering only for races that are flat as a pancake. 
(3.6 miles at ave 10:49 min/mile, ave HR 131 bpm – forgot to use the lap button again to get more meaningful pace and HR data – silly me!)

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: 3 mile jog from home in the evening.  Did my usual nice flat route.
(3 miles at ave 10:10 min/mile, ave HR 138 bpm)

Thursday: Norwich Road Runners Evening run.  It was a nice evening for a run and still remarkably warm for the time of year.  I ran with Linda, Sophie and a new lady, Rachel and we decided to do the short route.  We chatted the whole way round and other than the final hill up to Club, I was feeling pretty good.  It would probably be a good idea for me to try and do the 6 mile option from time to time.
(4.4 miles at  ave 9:51 min/mile, ave HR 144 bpm.)

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Rest day

Weekly Mileage
Cycling: 80.2 miles
Running: 11 miles

The Peterborough Half Marathon and its aftermath!

This week started, on a Sunday of course, with the Peterborough Half Marathon (or the Perkins Great Eastern Run to give it its official name).  And what a wonderful run it was.  Who thought I’d ever say that about a half-marathon – or running 13.1 miles?  But it was.  Liz and I cut it very fine to get to the start on time, partly because of queues for the car park but mainly because there were not enough loos and there was no way we could run without “going”.   We almost didn’t find Linda – in fact, we only met up with her after the gun when we were moving through the pens towards the start line.  But I think that not having any time to stand around and wait, stopped me getting as nervous as I might have been or from getting cold.

Off we went!  And despite all our good intentions we did of course go off rather faster than we intended.  Our aim was to run each mile in 10 minutes.  We ran our first mile in 9:14 and the second in 9 minutes.  Oops!  We did on occasion try to slow down but we just couldn’t.  The course is flat, and it was good to run when I had no idea where I was or where I was going.  The crowds were supportive and the weather was the best we could hope for – no wind and never cold.  Because Linda, Liz and I had started near the back, we overtook stacks of people throughout the whole run.  For the first half of the race we chatted away merrily, kept trying in vain to slow down a bit and had a super time.  For the second half we were definitely quieter and our pace did drop with each mile that went by but even so we never took longer than 9:52 to run a mile.  I felt quite tired between 9 and 12 miles but then when I saw the 12 mile marker (and they were all significantly later than the mile beeps on my watch) I suddenly got a second wind and did a wee sprint for the final half a mile, with Liz and Linda hot on my heels.  Melinda and Sophie from the club were on the home straight and it was great to get that final bit of encouragement to get me to the line.

Here I am approaching the finish!

Here I am approaching the finish!

And our time?  I finished in 2:05:48, well inside the bronze club standard time of 2:18:00.  And I felt good!  Our average pace was 9:29 min/mile.  Oddly the course seemed rather longer than 13.1 miles – my watch measured the distance as 13.3 miles so I suppose we must not have taken the shortest line through the bends and made detours to get water?

I enjoyed the whole day so much – the run itself, the company of Linda and Liz, the support of other club members, the lunch afterwards on the way home that it left me raring to go for some more events.

Monday: Slump on the Sofa day

Tuesday: Efforts on the field at club – not that much effort was made as my legs were still tired but it was good to get out and stretch them a bit.  I was thinking though, that when I do efforts in the future I must make use of the lap button on my watch so I can see how quickly I run the actual effort parts as the overall average pace is pretty meaningless when we all jog and walk on the recoveries.  It will be interesting to see just what the pace is for the various parts of the session.  So I need to work out how to use that properly.

Wednesday: I did my longest ever solo cycle ride – 49.9 miles (my previous longest was 48.6 miles so it wasn’t a lot further) I’m not sure this was a sensible thing to have embarked on just days after a half-marathon but cycling uses different muscles and I was not riding quickly.  I enjoyed it but my legs were indeed very tired for the final 10 miles or so.  But it was good to be back on the bike and I was pleased that I managed to navigate the VCN Goodies route successfully, only getting slightly lost once.
(49.9 miles at an average speed of 15.2mph, ave HR 133)

Thursday: rest day with a lovely leg massage from Carolyn Weston in Dereham.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: Catton Parkrun.  This was the first time I had run at Catton and whilst my legs felt tired still, I liked this course.  It is more interesting and less congested than Eaton Park and you run on a variety of different surfaces and through little wooded areas as well as through open parkland.  It also has a bit of a hill and doesn’t involve running laps to the same degree.  It is one I will definitely do again as it can’t be a lot further from the house than Eaton Park and more people from Club go there so it was nice to have people to chat to.  I ran round with Linda and Mark – as usual rather more quickly than we intended!!
(3.1 miles at ave pace of 9:18 min/mile, ave HR 151)

Weekly mileage

Cycling: 66.9 miles
Running: 21.3 miles

I thought tapering would be fun

but it’s not! It’s actually flipping hard work and very frustrating. After months of getting out and doing as much as I can – long runs, efforts, little runs, plenty of cycling, feeling guilty if I didn’t quite do as I should – this week (and last week to a degree) I have had to sit around. And you know what? It has turned me into a hypochondriac. First of all I imagined I had a cold that was going to my chest (I don’t – just the usual runny nose I always have in the UK), then I had a pain in my knee, then a twinge in my Achilles and finally yesterday shooting pains all down my right leg. I’m not saying these things aren’t real – just that I wouldn’t usually notice them or perhaps that sitting around doesn’t suit me at all and leads to aches and pains. Or maybe my body is looking for excuses not to run. But it won’t win – I want to run, I have trained for it and am looking forward to it in a rather trepidatious kind of way – and I shall run whatever twinges it sends my way.

Anyway, I have been a good girl and tapered properly. I have done roughly two thirds of my usual weekly mileage both running and on the bike and all of it has been at an easy pace. So I should be fresh and ready for tomorrow!

So this was my week (4-11 October 2014) – I know it’s odd to start a week with a Sunday but in terms of planning my mileage I find it easier to start with the club ride, where I never know how far it will be, than end with it!

VCN Club Ride to Goodies!  And what a glorious day for it.  The forecast said it would be colder (7 degrees at 9am, rather than the 17 degrees it had been the previous day) so I had to scurry about hunting down all my winter gear and headed off all layered up.  And I was glad to be warm.  It was perfect cycling weather – full sun all morning and next to no wind.  We had a good turn out for the Club and each of the three groups was large.  Kraig led the Club Ride and we had a very pleasant ride, at a nice steady consistent speed to the Goodies Farm Shop near Long Stratton where I had a very large and tasty sausage roll (49.5 miles at an average of 16.9 mph, average HR 133bpm).

I did the first of my three taper runs – a nice flat 3 miles from home. This was when I convinced myself I had a cold. The run felt hard even though I was trying to go slowly. Mostly it felt hard because I wasn’t going quite as slowly as I planned and also because I never feel good running in the morning. For me, running is always so much easier in the evening. But I mustn’t say, or even think that, because of course the half marathon is in the morning! (2.9 miles at 9:34 min/mile, ave HR 143bpm)

Second of my taper runs – a very similar run to the one yesterday but this time I went out in the evening.  It was after this one that my knee felt twingy although it was fine whilst I was running. (3 miles at 10:05 min/mile – got the pace just right this time – ave HR 138bpm).

Rest day

The third and final taper run.  Nice gentle run/walk from Club.  Linda and I discussed how we would NOT set off too quickly on Sunday. We plan to run a nice steady 10 minute/mile pace throughout but we are both prone to setting off faster, chatting merrily and not noticing.  Hopefully the congested start will ensure we keep our pace down. Poor Linda has had a bad cold so has been forced to rest up even more than she intended.  This time it was my Achilles (coming out in sympathy with Sally) that twinged a bit after the run.  But again it has been fine since! (3.1 miles at 11:31 min/mile, ave HR 127bpm)

You’ve guessed it – rest day. The day of the shooting pains in the right leg. I have never had anything like these before. They only last a second or two but were quite bad. But I know if I get them on Sunday (and they seemed to disappear when I went out for a walk so hopefully they are a result of too much sitting) I can just stop briefly til they pass and then carry on.

The Day Before!! And so far all my pains and other imagined ailments seem to have disappeared. I shall have a nice restful day, pottering about doing chores and going for a few very short slow walks. And I must get my stuff ready and make sure I eat good foods and not drink too much wine tonight.

I do feel a bit nervous but mostly just excited. It is always good to do events as part of the club and once tomorrow arrives and I meet up with club mates I will be fine!

Running: 9 miles
Cycling: 60.4 miles

28 September – 3 October (another week of running and cycling)

A better balance of running and cycling this week – at last!


Jolly Jags 10k race – 55 mins, 22 seconds.  It was unseasonably warm for the very end of September which made waiting around at the start pleasant for a change (usually I get too cold) but I had to chuck my cup of water over my head at the 5k point to cool myself down.  But it was a super run.  I have been concentrating on running long and slow so it was a nice change to run a bit quicker and for not so long.   It is just so nice to go to these events as part of a Club and have people to run with, chat to, take photos and cheer you on.  Who would ever have thought I’d enjoy being part of a running club?  But I do!

Some of the Norwich Road Runners posse in action!

Some of the Norwich Road Runners posse in action!

Monday Rest day


I went out on the bike!  My first solo ride in a long time.  It was a lovely morning so I had a very pleasant ride out to Bawburgh and then back through Little Melton.  I got rather lost on the Larkman Estate but when I got home and uploaded my ride to Strava I got a Queen of the Mountain on the bit where I got lost – pootling along at 11.9mph, just because no other lady has ever been brave enough to venture onto the Estate to do that segment!  I cycled just under 30 miles at a very steady pace and enjoyed every minute of it, even the bit when I was lost.


A solo ride on Tuesday, followed by a solo run on Wednesday evening.  All the long runs I have done over the past few weeks made this 7.2 mile jaunt feel short.  I ran a 9:45 min/mile average and that felt easy.  I could have run faster or further (but probably not both).  I think that is the kind of pace I want to do at Peterborough as I reckon I could sustain that for 13.2 miles and finish with a smile on my face.


City Hills with Jess on the bike.  This was knackering but fun.  We did Long John Hill, Rouen Road, Thorn Lane, Carrow Hill, Cotman Road, Thunder Lane and Grapes Hill.  Thunder Lane was the worst as our legs were tired by then and it is a long drag with flipping speed bumps to make it harder than it already is.  But I am sure it was good for us and I definitely want to do it again but maybe in the evening when we won’t have to worry about traffic.  Only 18 miles but tough miles!

Friday Rest day


Sally’s birthday Parkrun at King’s Lynn.  Just a chatty run through the Walks with Sally and Jayne Cook who also came over for the day.  It is a very friendly Parkrun and not as busy as Eaton Park and Geoff was there to take some photos of us.  Oh and Sally had baked cakes to eat afterwards! 10700516_10152398430806560_5180844040204575601_o

Weekly mileage Running 16.5 miles Cycling 104.7 miles

Next week is a rest week in preparation for the Peterborough Half on Sunday.  Only short slow runs are allowed and no efforts on the bike either.