A Week of Early Starts, Solo Bike Rides And Pesky Roundabouts

I have never been a morning person (some would probably argue I have never been an any time of day person) but I have had to reluctantly accept that my body clock has recently decided that early starts are the way forward and I have actually started preferring an early training session and even changed my hours so I can get a decent session in before work.

However, this week my mind and body have been less than in agreement over these early starts – yes fine, it works well when I am actually at work but 5.30am wake ups are not acceptable and definitely not necessary when I am not at work and don’t actually have to get up.

At the beginning of the week my body clock was definitely winning, so much so that on Monday I found myself with three hours of reading time before I had to get up at 8.30 – this was actually quite nice but I would have been equally happy with just two hours reading in exchange for another hours sleep. It wasn’t until Friday that the mind won but even this wasn’t without resistance from the body clock with a failed attempt at a 5.30am wake up call that was swiftly batted away with a more respectable 7am rise.

The book I am reading, by the way, is called “Tricurious” – a brilliant account of one girl’s journey from a non-swimmer to competing in her first Ironman race, complete with very useful tips from an experienced triathlete who helped her to achieve this goal. With many spontaneous laugh out loud moments (that I was warned about but chose to discover for myself while sat in the fish and chip shop not once, but twice) this is definitely worth a read!

As well as being a great read, it has given me hope that I won’t always be as clumsy (I said AS) on the bike and have even found myself turning into a bit of a bike geek! Well, by geek I mean I am finding myself wanting to learn more about it and having fun playing around with fitting seats and skewers, which is still REALLY basic stuff but compared to where I was 6 months ago this is real progress for me – I even worked out how far my seat had to go using a you tube video and a mouse as a plumb line (computer version not the furry type – couldn’t find any string!).

I still don’t really know what anything does or how it works but I have learnt loads already. For example, cassettes are not just what music was played on in the 80s, sprockets are not something you would expect to find in Fraggle Rock, derailleurs aren’t just what trains do and headsets can be found outside of a call centre. See, loads! AND I can tell/show you where all of that is on a bike! I even managed to lubricate my chain without getting any on my tyres although I did chicken out asking for lube in the shop and instead asked for chain oil!

But the biggest achievement so far as the bike is concerned is the solo bike ride I did yesterday – just under 15 miles out round Durley. I am terrified of the roads and equally unnerved by how much I let this affect me. As someone said to me this week, confidence is key when riding on the roads and that is something I definitely lack. But how else am I going to master this than practice riding on the roads so that is what I did. I repeated the route I did last weekend on the club ride – I have also run this route before so knew I was unlikely to get lost and would know where I was at any given time should I need to call for help.

I had a mild chain malfunction but fixed this pretty easily and there was a bit of a disagreement between myself and a busy roundabout that resulted in me taking a short detour round Grange Park to avoid changing lanes at a particularly scary junction, which I still maintain was an intentional exercise to practice mini roundabouts.

But I made it. In one piece. Without falling off. And (relatively) drama free.

I had psyched myself up all week to get my head around going out on the roads by myself and I was proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone yet I still find myself feeling pretty deflated. In the last seven days I have done two bike rides, three swim sessions and a double turbo yet still only just about covered the miles I would have done in a week of running alone.

But on the plus side I think there is improvement in my hip – I managed to jog (it did not warrant being called a run) about 4 x 20m this morning without it giving way completely – woohoo! For anyone who hasn’t been around me recently and because blogs lack emotion, this “woohoo!” is sarcasm – you are forgiven for not recognising it, I am not known for using it that often…

I am really trying to take comfort in the bike and swim sessions I am doing, and I sure am grateful that I am able to do something, but I miss running so much. Sarcastic comment aside, the improvement bit is true and there is almost no pain in it just walking around now, which I would have felt for a couple of days after attempting today’s little jogs even a week ago but it is just such a slow and frustrating process.

Next week I am back at work and beginning my new hours that will allow me to do most of my training sessions in the morning. I am hoping that this will help shift my days around so I can use my evenings to unwind and sleep better which can certainly do no harm in allowing my injury the rest it needs to get me back running again.

As you can tell I am really struggling with this injury, mentally more than physically some days, but I have so much support from the running and triathlon club – it struck me today that my first ever run with Hedge End Running Club was on 25th May last year, which is (cue very tenuous and nerdy link) the same date that the first Star Wars film was released. As corny as it sounds, the famous ‘may the force be with you’ made me realise just how much comfort the people in this club give me, always looking out for each other and I am frequently asked how I am getting on with my recovery.

I will be back running with them very soon hopefully but for now I will leave you with this (which is actually more for my benefit than yours).