Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ahh, That's Better...

Today I did my first ride for too long, just an easy 10 miler on my mountain bike, the usual Cathorpe - Lilbourne loop. Being my first venture out since my lucky escape I thought I'd take it easy and enjoy every minute, and I certainly did.

I don't know my time or calories burnt because I have geniusly managed to lose my Polar CS200 unit and couldn't therefore get any stats. I know I'll find it somewhere completely random after the girls have "helped daddy to tidy up".

To be honest I'm glad I didn't have it with me. They (HRMs) only serve to spur you to go faster and in the right zones, and today that's not what I needed, which was a nice bimble over familiar territory to make sure my nerve was okay, which it certainly is.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did a 10 mile bike, 1 mile cross train and a 500m swim, again without HRM or a care in the world.

These two days have been to get me enjoying the exercise and to get the bug back.  They have certainly served their purpose.

Today saw me bi-daily pressup exercise reach above 50 reps for the first time (split into 5 sets of varying reps), another nice milestone reached. If you'd have told me I'd be banging out 50 reps a day when I posted my 6 maximum on day one I'd have told you to dream on, it really is amazing just how adaptable the old body can still be.

As I write this the fantastic aroma of the beef stew I've cooked for tonight's dinner is wafting up the stairs making me drool.

Is it just me or do hotpots make Autumn seem all the more real already?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Apologies For The Lack of Posts

Apologies to anyone who visits my ramblings regularly for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.

I have to admit to having had a bit of a lull in activity since the high speed blow out at the start of this month. This, coupled with an annoying recurring shoulder problem, has left me feeling a little flat on all fronts.

Thankfully, this week brought a number of positives on many fronts that have lifted my spirits and conviction somewhat.

Firstly when I collected the extremely buckled (and broken spoked) wheel from my local bike shop on Thursday they had done a superb job. I gave the old Claud Butler Olympus a thorough cleaning and got it all ready for road action after a good 12 months of inactivity, and they only charged me £12.50 to boot for a top notch job that saved me at least £60 had I needed to replace the wheel like for like, top banana!

Secondly, this weekend we took the girls for a long weekend at my parents static caravan in the valleys of Wales at Cerrigydrudion, near Corwen. The change in scenery, coupled with the very high number of cyclists, much older and fitter than myself I saw over the three days, have had a very noticeable positive effect on my own determination to get back in the saddle.

Thirdly, despite my inactivity and somewhat dubious diet of the last couple of weeks, I have at least kept up the 100 pressups programme I started a couple of weeks ago, Today I did the second of four benchmark tests throughout the program resulting in an increase from a paltry 6 reps maximum on day one to 23 reps today (a third of the way through the program).

Whilst still not ideal, it is ahead of where the program expects me to be and I am quite chuffed. Even when I was a lot lighter and properly fit in the dim and distant past, I never really had any upper body strength and I seem to remember 30 being the most I could ever pressup, so I'm chuffed. 

To top it off I have seen a decent increase in muscle mass on the upper part of my chest and in my lats resulting in a noticeable change in overall shape which I should benefit from when I get some of this bulk off.

Finally, and most importantly from a physical point of view, I am at last pain free in my shoulder and back and feel confident to get back to not only cycling, but to a more rounded aerobic program in the gym.  As a result I have booked an extra day off on Wednesday this week so that I can get a ride in tomorrow and then a really good gym session on Wednesday to get me up and running again.

Sufficed to say my weight has gone up over the two weeks of inactivity, probably quite considerably given the atrocious diet of the last week, but I am not going to let this get me down and will not weigh in "officially" until Thursday of this week to give my two exercise sessions chance to burn off some of the excess calories and a couple of days of sensible eating to get me back to a more stable level of intake.

If nothing else, this two week hiccup has certainly opened my eyes to the way in which I default to a "self destructive" path when things go badly. With a bit of luck, if it starts to happen again, I might see it coming with my food and exercise journals to look back on.

I'd also like to say thanks for the positive comments from Clive and Mark, they are very much appreciated and it is a great comfort to know there are others out there in a similar boat, cheers both.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

At Last Some Progress Back To The Road...

Today I took the buckled mavic rear from my off roader (a Claud Butler Olympus) into my local bike shop. They didn't look too positive that they could straighten it out, it has a pretty severe buckle, but said they'd give it a go and let me know by Thursday.

So, with a bit of luck, I'll be back out on the road by the end of next week, fingers crossed.

In the mean time I'm sticking with the 100 pressups app and am up to 4x5 reps and then to failure. I would have progressed further but for that pesky shoulder that is really persisting this time, as it always seems to every time it goes.  There has at least been slow progress on that front though, so I'll be soon back in the gym and pool.

I have already noticed from only a weeks pressup activity that there is a noticeable increase in muscle tone and mass in my upper arms and chest which is at least proof that I'm doing the exercises right during what has been a difficult week.

Food continues to be my battleground as always, and I have to admit that the frustration of not being able to exercise as I'd like has had a vicious circle effect as always.

It's bizarre that even though I can fully rationalise the frustration, the years of emotional programming still kick in despite my best efforts. I suppose it really is a baby steps situation on that front, one day at a time I suppose.

Tomorrow's a new start and all that.

Speaking of which, tomorrow we take the girls to a fully working miniature railway with ride on trains, I don't know who's more excited, them or me. It's the same place my parents used to take me when I was a kid. It'll be very interesting to see it from the other side for the first time.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

My Poor Feeble Arms

A short one today.

After the pressups yesterday I only have partial use of my arms and abs!

The training itself went well, although at this early stage we are talking paltry numbers.

I smashed my baseline figure of 6 with a mind spinning to failure total of 7. Check me out.

Today the reps rise for the first time to the dizzying height of 4x4 and then to failure.

Tonight I also start the situps program.

Climb on.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I'm In The Apps

No more gym workouts yet thanks to the continuing pain in my shoulder which flared up again after the weekend's activities.

As a result I spent the evening yesterday searching the apposphere for some core building apps to start building up my weakest areas, namely my stomach, arms, and chest.

I settled on an initial two apps for the iPhone by Software X Ltd, 100 pushups and 200 situps. Both take a baseline and then devise programs over six week cycles to build your strength.

Yesterday night was therefore baseline night. I approached the tests with proper form just to see how poor my strength was in these areas and the answer was very.

I managed an embarrassing 20 crunch like situps and a shockingly low 6 pushups.

With these paltry numbers still aching in my core this morning, I look forward to this evening's sessions as the first baby steps towards three digit numbers to come.
Wish me luck, on this one I think I'll need it.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Back in The Gym

I woke up this morning actually looking forward to hitting the gym, how sad am I getting.

I did bike, cross trainer and a swim again, upping my swim distance today and felt great for it, so much so that I got got back home and decided to take the girls over to Ryton Pools Country Park near Leamington, it's a great little country park and the girls love the climbing frames and feeding the ducks, swans and moorhens.

There were two added bonuses, one I too had a lovely time as well, and two, I got a couple of miles walk in and they all help.

We finished off with lunch and an ice cream for the little ones at the picnic tables and came home to all have a nap. A top day all round.

Bike: 10 miles
Cross Trainer: 30 minutes
Swim: 500m crawl, 500m breast stroke
Total Cals:1570

Thursday, 11 August 2011

That Was Pleasantly Unexpected

Well, my continuing aches and pains mean no exercise to report since Tuesday.

Swimming seems to have aggravated my old shoulder injury, originally sustained playing rugby, as are all of my others. The result is very little movement without considerable pain and a very fitful and uncomfortable sleep.

I'm going to give it until Saturday to recover a bit and then get back in the gym. I'll give the swimming a bit longer though I think.

A very unexpected and welcome surprise this morning, I was tempted to climb onto the scales and received the great news that I'm down to 17st 8lbs, another pound bites the dust.

The only reason I can see for the loss is that I've really got on top of my diet since downloading the imapmyfitness app for my Android phone.

The app contains a nutrition and burn calculator which let's you balance your calorie deficit for weight loss or maintenance. It's also got a very comprehensive food database.

It's not that I don't know how to do all of this stuff anyway, I just think it helps to have all of those things in one place.

Whatever the reason, the unexpected weight loss is very welcome given last weeks excesses and puts my mind at rest on that front.

Heal shoulder heal, I'm chomping at the bit.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Gymtastic Baby!

Ooh, that feels so much better.
I went to the gym last night and did a ride and swim and was back in there early doors this morning for a ride, cross train and swim.
As with all new exercise, I am now left achy but exhilarated and can't wait to get back in there tomorrow.
I'll certainly be sticking with it for the next few weeks until the cash is there for a bike mend.
Unfortunately, the gym has changed all of their equipment since I last went and my HRM no longer works with their kit, so I went back to the trusty Aldi 15 quider for these figures and will stick with it. Such a great bit of kit for such a low price.
Bike: 10 miles
Swim: 20 mins crawl
Total Cals: 990

Bike - 10 miles
Cross trainer - 1.2 miles
Swim - 20 mins crawl
Total Cals: 1390

Monday, 8 August 2011

All Set For Exercise 2.0

After the bumps and bruises of last week, today I get back on the horse refreshed.

All of my cuts are healed to an extent and the aches and pains are now much better than they were. Today I bring on the gym.

Because of my (somewhat expected) diet slippage over the self imposed "week off ", I've decided against a weigh in today. The last thing I need to start the week is a negative weigh in, so I've delayed it until next week after a week of pounding it in the gym.

To that effect I've downloaded a couple of apps for the iPhone that seem to be pretty good, Pedometer by Max CA Apps at a stunning 69p and iMapMyFitness by at £1.49, the latter of which comes bundled with a whole load of fitness and nutrition tools online to help in your fitness quest.

They both look good, particularly the iMapMyFitness which, if it's anything like the mapmyride software I've used in the past, will be very useful, we'll just have to wait and see.

Tonight I hit the gym for a bit of stationary bike followed by a swim. After a few days of lethargy, I have to admit I've been going a little stir crazy wanting to get in there earlier but, unlike my usual self, I've made sure I gave myself time to properly heal for once, before diving back into it.

I'l see you on the other side tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The August 500 is Officially Off...

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts for the last few days, it's been a bit hectic at work and home and I haven't much felt like it to be honest.

On the biking front, there hasn't been any at all since Tuesday due to the worst single day I've ever had on the bike. The day started well enough, my new HTC Desire S phone arrived, and incidentally is fantastic, more on that another day. My plan was wait in for the phone's arrival and then to do a 50 miler to Banbury and back.

All went well on the ride and I was keeping good time until the start of the return leg.  When I got onto the A361 back to Daventry, I found that the whole road was closed (not mentioned on any traffic feeds I follow) and that the diversion took me off into the sticks. Because I didn't have the iPhone (which following this I will no longer be selling) with me to do some route remapping, I decided that the A43 to Towcester and then back up the A5 would be my only option.

Again all was well on the A43, it's a busy dual carriageway, but it does at least have an official cycle lane, or at least it has most of one.  Whilst doing 35mph downhill I went to cross an on ramp via the marked out cycle area, only to spot too late that the cycle lane crossing point had a massive turfed up pothole in the chevroned area.

Lo and behold, two metallic thuds and one bang later I was doing 35mph on one tyre and an aluminum rim. I managed to slow to about 25mph before the speed wobble got really scary, luckily I still had enough control to aim roughly at the grass verge where I promptly abandoned the bike.  Unbelievably I only got a few cuts and scrapes to my lower limbs and a bruised right thumb (which is now very sore).

The bike didn't fare so well. The front wheel was badly scraped and a little buckled. The tyre was a write off, as I fear will be the left pedal when I have a look at it over the weekend. After what I can genuinely say was the scariest 30 seconds of my life, and I've done some stupid things in my time, I set about fitting a new inner tube and continued on towards Towcester at a snails pace.

I managed to get to 6 miles south of Weedon (about 15 miles from home) before the wheel cut into the new tube leaving me stranded in the sticks. Upon closer inspection the inner surface of the wheel has a number of sharp inward facing scratches that must have put paid to the new tube.

I walked for about 5 miles (over an hour) before I realized that the sun was really burning my arms, and promptly gave up and called the Mrs to pick me up.

As I sit here now a full two days later, the sunburn which has developed is still stinging like a bitch and my arms are red raw, much to the amusement of my work colleagues and my Mrs, thanks love.

The sum result of my supposedly relaxing Tuesday is two very sore arms, one sore thumb, two cut and bruised legs, one very bruised arse, two knackered tyres, one knacked wheel, one knacked saddle, two knackered mudguards, one knackered pedal, and one very bruised ego.

The total cost of repairs I'd put at about 150 to 200 quid which, in a month in which I am skintos means the August 500 is going to have to become the September 500 once I've got the spare cash to do the repairs.

In the mean time, I've decided that spin and exercise biking, cross training, and swimming at my local Virgin Active is the way forward this month. Once my burns, aches, pains and cuts calm down a bit that is. Until then I have officially given myself this week off of my fitness and weight loss routine.

I will climb back on the proverbial bike on Sunday with a nice relaxing day at the gym, until then I'll just concentrate on my calories and take it easy like the old man I feel like!

For what it's worth...

Ride Stats:
Distance: 49.89 miles
Average Speed: 14.4 mph
Average HR: 149pm
Max HR: 181bpm
Cals Burnt:4985 including the walk!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Another lb Bites The Dust

A lie in this morning... aah. 

I thought after 31 days without a day off for the legs today I would treat myself to a 7.30am rise and it felt good.

After Saturday's tumble the bruises are starting to come out now and I am "proper" achy as they say in these parts, so I think the day off was a good idea.

I've ordered an upgrade of my mobile phone that's due to arrive tomorrow, so I took the opportunity to book the day off work and will get in a nice long ride once the phone's arrived. I think I'm going to have a stab at the 45ish mile route from the Rugby Bikeathon (mental note, take fluids with you).

Today's weigh in delivered another pound lost, not great I know given my mileage, but considering the amount of protein consumed at Saturday's barbecue, very welcome and another baby step in the right direction.

Bring on the August 500!