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Bike back

11 Jun

In an earlier post I alluded to an unfortunate biking incident in Milton Keynes which has made me apprehensive of my new bike.

I was talked into getting the bike in the first place by my boyfriend who is a cycling fiend.

He had found this great social enterprise scheme in London where I could buy a bike, and in doing so help homeless people gain the skills and experience they need to go on to work as bike mechanics.

It’s a brilliant little set up which supports, skills and provides references for people who would otherwise have no chance of getting a job.

So, ignoring the fact I hadn’t ridden a bike for approximately 15 years, I bought one. Then realised we were in Bow and we needed to get back to Chelsea.

After point blank refusing to cycle across central London I was coaxed into taking a circuitous route, involving an overland train journey.

The next day we took the bikes out to Richmond Park and had the most amazing morning with the deer, the grass all frosty and the sun shining. I was getting to enjoy this cycling lark.

So much so that I agreed to cycle through central London – Sloane Square, Marble Arch, The Mall, Euston – the following morning (a Saturday), on the condition we got up at 6.30am and were cycling on hopefully empty roads by 7am.

The plan went like clockwork and we arrived at Euston to take a train to Milton Keynes to visit our friend Ash who had been exiled there for a year.

Ash said one of Milton Keyne’s few selling points was its miles of bike lanes, totally separate from the traffic.

What could possibly go wrong?

A wet leaf, that’s what. A sharp turn, a slight down hill stretch and a slippery bit of foliage and I came a cropper in a spectacular lycra-ripping, knee-grazing, tear-inducing fashion.

After patching me up we went to the pub and played Scrabble.

Since then I’ve been scared of the bike, but I can’t leave it rotting in the garage – it would be such a waste.

So a few weeks back on a bank holiday Monday when the roads were empty I took it out for a tentative one mile test run.

I didn’t die, but I did wobble quite a lot.

A few more test rides have followed, each with their own little pleasures such as realising my leggings had a hole in the bum and the chain falling off when I attempted to change gears while peddaling up hill, and my confidence has built.

So today the sun was shining and I went for a six mile spin to the park, around the lake and back. For the first time I enjoyed it.

I found that unlike running, cycling isn’t a constant battle to keep going thanks to the occasional blessed down hill bits, which meant I had a moment to let my thoughts wander and enjoy the day.

The hills still hurt though, and by the time I got back my legs were like jelly – but I took that as a sign they’d been working hard. Better still, it gave my joints a day off from running.

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In stitches

8 Jun

It isn’t a laughing matter, so no sniggering at the back please.

I ran the last half a mile today with the worst stitch I’ve ever had – because it felt like two stitches in one across my stomach.

Despite the Stitch Of Death I soldiered on, and in fact if anything I think it made me run faster, because I was so keen to get the pain over with.

A decent breakfast today may also have helped speed me up – after my highly scientific study I can confirm that yesterday’s ginger biscuits and slice of buttered toast (white bread for extra minus points) did not provide the same energy boost as today’s double helping of good old weetabix.

My legs are really beginning to feel tired now it’s day eight and I’m weighing up getting the bike out tomorrow to vary the impact on my joints which have made themselves known in a “what the bloody hell are you doing to us?!” kind of way today.

So the bike makes sense, but it is also my nemesis after an incident in Milton Keynes involving a wet leaf and the pavement which didn’t end well. I’ll take the decision tomorrow, depending on how much pain I’m in.

The end of June is starting to seem a very long way away…

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 0:23:00
Pace: 09:11
Joy at realising this was MUCH faster than yesterday: Infinite

Juneathon!

30 May

2011  got off to an ambitious start thanks to Janathon – a month-long pledge to run every day – but has since stuttered to a near halt.

The obvious solution? Sign up to Juneathon.

Now that I’m a veteran I know what I’m in for and I have a score to settle with myself after letting Janathon fizzle to an undignified end a week shy of the finish line.

Aside from prior knowledge and a sense of wounded pride other developments during the past four months make me hopeful of success.

Firstly I now own a bike, thus doubling my exercise options on an uninspiring day.

Secondly my boyfriend has suddenly discovered his running legs – which are annoyingly far better than mine – and is threatening to do Juneathon, which will inevitably make me jealous when he starts eating enormous portions of pasta without ever putting on weight.

Thirdly I’ve just run the Chatsworth House 10k for the second time in two years – and managed to take an extra three minutes to finish. That’s right I’m now SLOWER than a year ago. I am now signed up to Juneathon.

There is no beach holiday / bikini incentive as I have agreed to spend my summer holiday in Scotland.

Two days to go…

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