Saturday, 20 December 2014

Major Gains

Marginal gains. In cycling the idea of marginal gains is a big deal. Cyclists at this level are already in the top 10%  if not 5% of their field. The 80 seconds saved on a 50km time trial makes a big difference to these guys.
In triathlon there have been 15 seconds between podium positions. These positions aren't just 1st or 2nd but also 3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th. This is significant for the pros as the pay differnece between 1st and 2nd is substantial and even more so between 10th and 11th were 11th may recieve abosolutely nothing despite finishing within minutes of the podium positions.

I am not a professional athlete.

Marginal gains are made by having a £4k plus carbon time trial bike, a wind tunnel tested helmet and a custom fitted saddle. These and all of the extra kit associated with triathlon are fantastic but for someone who is still looking to crack a sub 2 hour half marathon, has only just cracked a sub hour 10k and whose fastest mile time is well over 5 mins they are of limited benefit.

I am barely an athlete

I am not after marginal gains. I am still chasing the major gains. I shaved 3 mins off my 3k time. Partially because I didn't stop to help a fallen cyclist and partially because I am still on a fairly steep improvement curve. Each month I see I am getting faster and fitter. Sometimes the improvement is evident week on week  other times the same tasks feel easier for the same speed, but I am lucky enough that I haven't really had a week where I have regressed.

I have already bought my entry to at least 2 of the races I want to compete in. The Beaver standard distance and the Stinger duathlon with pending entry in the Deva standard distance Tri. Both Deva and Beaver are beginning of the season fun with a duathlon before hand to help me tune race performance. I am excited and nervous about these races. I have fairly ambitious time goals for these races and I think I can achieve them.

This December I just want to maintain my gains

This month with Christmas, New Year and birthdays coming up I am not going to kid myself that I am still going to make huge improvements. All I want for Christmas is to keep the fitness I had. Please Santa... I've been mostly good.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Race Report: Great West Run

A lift from a friend mate all 4 of us didn't have to wake up 3 hours earlier to get a coach and taxi from Plymouth to Exeter. The Great West Run was October 19th on a clear crisp day. The forecast had predicted rain in the afternoon but it stayed clear and sunny all day. I ran with a great bunch of friends all fundraising for MSF.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


PARKRUN - A company set it 10 years ago with a simple aim to get people running. Park run started in North London October 2014 in Bushy Park.  It is totally free and run on the generosity of volunteers. London is packed with Park runs and I love it. Even when I am not in London I am still park running.
So I like Parkrun, that has clearly been established the main reason for this post is I am a convert. I love it and have been spreading the magic of Parkrun to all those who listen. I wanted to list 3 reasons why I love park run.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

I am 67% cocoa

I used to say I am a fat kid trapped in a skinny body. I have always loved to eat but luckily I never got very fat. My Mum didn't allow much fast food in the house. MacDonalds was when only when I went to the doctors and that was only because it was next to the surgery! Fizzy drinks were also a no, although I tried my best to ruin my teeth with sweets bought out of my pocket money. I think a major reason I remained very skinny - I was all knees and elbows till about 14 - was I was very active.
Sometimes I think I was too active, like the time I cam of my bike and nearly split my head open...
He looks better than I did

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Defying the Odds: Me and My Giant Defy 1

It is finally here. Since I have got into triathlons and endurance sports I have wanted a decent bike. Finally after 2.5 months of working a full time job over the summer I have saved up enough to buy a decent road bike. I realise there are far flashier bikes out there, and the bike is only as good as the rider driving it, but I am still excited to have this bike.
I had spent the last week being ill, so ill that I am concerned I won't be able to make the start of the Cambridge City Tri I had my eye on. That race was a big factor in me deciding to get this bike when I did. I have effectively ruled my self out of that race despite recovering well but have my eye on a few end of summer sportive and still on the Great West Run. This made everything feel a little bit better.

So the great reveal. Dim the lights and start that drum roll ...

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Teamwork, Targets and Cycling Treats

I have recently taken up running again. Nothing too crazy just a few kilometers after work with the girls in the office. We run twice a week and as well as laps of the beautiful russell square we do drills. Lunges, high knees bum flicks its way more fun looking like a ninny with friends than on your own. As well as my new office habit I also have my eye on a couple of beauties.  A mix of flat fast roads, rolling hills fresh water and men in lycra...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Changing Focus

Today is the end of June, hello sweet July with your holidays, tans and general awesomeness. I have some time to stop and think about what this month has entailed.
I still have the same ambitions as previously mentioned but I may have lost some focus. In the beginning of June I was deep into exams. My body didn't like the abuse I was putting it through regarding diet and that manifested with crappy skin and possible anaemia. I was still exercising, squeezing in anything from a 15 minute stretching video to a 45 minute HIIT workout in my tiny student digs. Finishing exams was bad a long weekend of drinking and exercise only in the form of dancing and lounging on the Hoe meant I knew my fitness dropped off.
Never fear returning to London I knew I could get fit again; a new job and over 10 miles on the bike everyday would whip me into shape right?
Can you feel the shape being whipped?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Looking past the dark skin

I think dreads are beautiful, I was so excited to get them and when I finally got the hang of palm rolling I was so proud. Yet I spent several hours and many episodes re-watching scrubs this weekend taking out my dreads.
But what about your angry feminism, and desire to form progressive attitudes to non-Western models of beauty?

One reason I decided against a chop and instead spent hours combing out the knots was because I wanted to keep the length. Why did I decide to take them out. Well the negative comments I received from immediate family was a little annoying but actually it was my own dissatisfaction with them, they were not the soft, even thin dreads I had envisioned for myself. If I was going to put myself out on a limb with these they had to be perfect and they weren't.

Monday, 9 June 2014

No One Cares

I have been away from the blog for over a month. A combination of exams, moving
No one cares. 
I realised no one cares what my excuses are, no one cares what my dreams are, no one cares about your history. That is a crystal clear truth and it didn't make me sad or upset. Ultimately all that matters is what you deliver. 

I realised this out walking with some friends when one turned and asked me, outside of medicine what is my greatest ambition. I told him. Something I had kept almost secret for years, just one question and there it was spoken. Would you like to know what it is?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cartilage Carnage

Last Sunday at 5am I woke up scared. 13.1 miles. Hills. Spectators. Rain There was really no need for me to be awake at that ridiculous hour the race started at 9am and I lived less than a 20 minute walk away. There was a good reason for me to be scared, well not scared apprehensive. Sunday April 27th was the Plymouth half Marathon, 13.1 miles of rolling hills and beautiful sea views.

I had my eye on this race for a few months and had some good training under my belt. I had bullied/talked a super fast friend into racing with me and fancied I could hang on to his coat tails for at least half way to get me round the course in less than 2 hours. That may have been the case if I had continued the good work I started. Instead a tiny error, namely not packing my running kit and then ordering a sports bra to my term address meant I got a measly 4 runs out of the last 2 and a half weeks. This may have been fine if I hadn't gone home, set up camp in the kitchen then ate and drank everything within a 3 foot radius of me. Two days before the race I weighed myself. I had gained over a kilo, felt full but fat and knew my aeorobic fitness had taken a battering. I still felt good towards the race. I can do it. Just push through the pain and hope the rain holds off.

Before I tell you about the race I have to tell you about Brighton. Last year I ran the London2Brighton 100Km. It was a brilliant experience. I met some awesome people and had a great time. The memory of the pain of blowing out my right knee barely 30km in and deciding to continue running on a diet of NSAIDS, gels and wanton abandon was a fuzzy and remote.

Race Number from the Plymouth Half... Note pyjamas in the background
Plymouth Hoe 8.40am I am ready in a loose t-shirt and running shorts. There are a lot of people around over 5000 runners and a decent load of spectators. I am nervous but given the situation I put myself in that's not expected. I squeeze into the sub 2:15 pen and wait for the bull horns. I had warmed up, hydrated and stretched. We crossed the line at a cool jog as the crowd was still fairly thick. the first couple of miles was spent weaving up through the herd. It was a fast pace, for me, but I felt okay.

Trouble started at mile 5 when I started to really feel the pace my friend was setting down. Talking was a bit more disjointed and I waved him on the just get on with it on my own. I expected to be 15 to 20 minutes behind, just under 2 minutes a mile slower. That was my first mistake. 3 days later I can't remember the exact location but somewhere in Saltram my knee went pop. I do remember catching my breath at the sudden pain and being embarrassed by the tears that sprang up. I was just shy of half way. I had a decision to make. I could protect my knee turning around to go home, or, I could plough on and finish it.

If you know me and you are reading this, you know what decision I made.

I stretched, slowed and kept on going. It was bad enough dropping off my friendly pacer earlier than I'd hoped. Many of the people I had overtaken earlier were now reeling me back in and while I yoyo-ed with some eventually they all got away. My knee was this chubby gremlin reminding me of all the sessions I missed, all the booze and food over Easter and the hard work I did put in being wasted.

I finished. I got my shiny medal. and I got my time 2:30:50 I would be lying if I said I was happy but I have a time to beat for next year. The upside of my knee is that it will take 3 to 4 weeks to be better. I happen to have 4 weeks of studying left this academic year. Now just got to put my head down for last few weeks of study and then I can pick another race...
Hungry for more...