I’ve been a bit lost for what to write over the last few weeks, I think the mammoth effort for the decade review zapped what writing powers I had. Even this week I don’t really have a focussed topic to express my views on, so I think it will merely be a collection of some of my recent thoughts.
It has been a long time since I have seen so much snow that lasted for so long. Our school remained open so any thoughts of sledging or additional family time soon evaporated. Whilst in some cases school closures are sensible, if the heating fails or if the roads become dangerous, most schools seem to have stayed shut for much longer than was necessary, mainly I think because staff just didn’t travel to work. Anyway the start of the football season was delayed, instead replaced with some great running sessions usually finished off with an organised snowball fight, or paintball type invading game where your ammunition was the snowball, all good fun.
Ellie and I built a huge snowman, complete with left over Christmas sprouts for its eyes, nose and buttons. I also managed to build a proper igloo, something I was always unable to do as a kid. It was beauty, sitting inside drinking a coffee I thought about the Inuit people who live in them in their snow and ice covered landscape, could be quite cosy, but a way of life, guess you’d get used to it. We had a great BBQ and fire in the snow one afternoon with friends, an interesting experience.
My training has been affected by the weather, but more so by a knee injury. I have been getting some medial knee pain on the boney protrusion, only during running and usually as the run progresses. I have seen Ove the Physio and have established that 2 years of long training, recent running races, and a months emphasis on heavy leg weights has tightened my ITB, Hip Flexors, Glutes and Lower Back to a point of no return. Plenty of pain from Ove and Mark coupled with lots and lots of stretching seems to be doing the trick. I have run a few times for 30 minutes without pain and hope to have made some progress. The shame for me was being unable to ride my bike, I was really looking forward to some great off road running in the snow, unfortunately apart from a couple of runs I couldn’t venture out in the white stuff, I also had to bail out of the Brass Monkey Half Marathon. It is incredible how tight my lower back and hip area has become, mainly due to the commuting on my bike and a lack of decent stretching, it is now an area I have to focus on using some good stretches and the Trigger Point Roller and Ball, bloody painful process though….
I did dust off my mountain bike and rode that over the compacted snow to work, I think I got some pretty decent work outs from this ride, short but hard work. I am back to normal with my riding now and I am feeling pretty bike fit. I rode strongly for 50 miles on Saturday feeling good in the latter stages of the ride. I am looking forward to some longer rides with various training buddies, but know the real key to my cycling goals is to up the intensity in the form of intervals and race specific sessions. With no Ironman race this year, I don’t need to execute 4 or 5 hour rides, but if I want to be fast in the TT’s and Half Ironman races then my riding must be more painful!!!
We all went bowling this weekend. It proved to be a good family activity. At the moment the girls are not quite old enough to do too many things independently, that time will come when I become more of a taxi service taking them to sports, music, friends, etc, etc for now it is great to get out as a family. The trick is finding activities and places to visit that are of interest to Ellie and Evie and to Sarah and
Evie appears to be becoming a bit more settled at night time. She is great at going to sleep, and touch wood is spending more full nights in her bed, sleeping straight through. If she does wake she comes through to our room and stands at my side of the bed. She is quickly dispatched back to her bedroom, but the damage has been done and both mine and Sarah’s sleep disrupted. Although she is still totally unpredictable, it make no difference if she has had lots of food or no food, an afternoon sleep or no sleep, medicine or no medicine, a late night or an early night, there is just no pattern, she does appear to be improving, the little monkey. She has nearly mastered the ‘Big Boy’s Toilet’ as she calls it, it is very funny when she announces that she needs a wee, or when she comes running back into the room pleased as punch that she has done a poo, daughter number two out of nappies…
After battling with Orange Broadband for the last few months we are now finally connected to O2. We have a much faster line speed, no longer having to leave the Itunes album download running through the night. The problem we now have is our pretty basic two year old laptop computer is misbehaving. I sense our patience is rapidly running out and that a visit to PC World is not that far away. We have a few more options to try…..
I have been following Epic Camp New Zealand with envy and admiration for the volume of training that the boys and girls did. I think some Short Epic Camps (is that possible) are on the agenda this season, could be a great way to get some solid blocks of training in with some training pals.
Sarah is working really hard at the moment. Her music tuition is going well, she is up to her capacity without working more evenings, and her students are as always having lots of success achieving their grades in the theory and practical exams, she is getting plenty of repair enquiries and is developing the Wind Instrument teaching at my school. All this in addition to taking Ellie backwards and forwards to school, Evie all over the place to various Nurseries and when Evie is at home dealing with a 2 ½ year old with energy in abundance. Sometimes I wish I had a job where a single income would allow us to live the lifestyle we have chosen, and allow Sarah time to look after Evie, keep on top of house stuff and enjoy her free time doing more of the things she likes to do. But I know she wouldn’t want it this way, and I have yet to see many examples where a single income family spends as much time together as we manage to do. We have various friends and family members where a single large income means very early morning commutes to work and late night returns, regular midweek over night stays and work issues to be considered on a weekend, plenty of money, no quality time to spend it is such a true statement. I do wish I could spend more time with Sarah, but at the stage of life we are in, with the family dynamics we have I think we are both doing pretty well. In order for fitness and performance to progress you have to work hard, relationships are just the same, we have some nice things planned for the weeks ahead, and the day to day living is good.
I have come up with a cunning plan for the next few weeks regarding my training, well it isn’t really cunning but thought that sounded good. Two weeks building with a big emphasis on the Bike volume and overall training consistency, a week where I will back off a little, then a big 10 days to coincide with my Half Term break. That should see me through to the 3rd week in Feb when it will be time to start upping the intensity and dipping my toe in the early season Cycling Time Trial waters.
Big shout out to my Dad who is gradually building his training up. In pretty miserable conditions last week he successfully completed his first 50 mile ride for 8 months following his inner ear problems, well done Dad, looking good.
Finally to my mate Tom who has now launched and released 2 editions of MarathonTalk, a weekly podcast that he and his friend Martin Yelling are producing. This is a really exciting venture for Tom, it is really good listening. If you like running then check them out on Itunes.
Have a great week, things are getting back to normal, but what is normal????