I’m not training for a triathlon but…

I’ve been doing some swimming and cycling recently. But not a lot of running. My hip is still sadly niggling me.

I saw my physio last Friday just to check it wasn’t anything serious as I was going into an Anna Panic (as Ben says, Pannakin mode). Ideas of arthritis and stress fractures were floating around my mind. Yes, seriously over-reacting I know. But I do have arthritis in my family…And an over-active brain when it comes to injuries and niggles.

Anyway the physio said I’d just tweaked my groin/hip flexor area and running Netley had aggravated it further and caused my back to tighten up to compensate (I get an ache in the top of my glute/lower back as well). Panic over. He said it really depends on me when I can get back to running – as long as the pain isn’t unbearable I can run. But I’m still taking it very cautiously and not running for the time being.

My lovely friend at my running club gave me a three day free pass to her AMAZING gym which is just around the corner from me so I thought I’d put that to good use over the weekend. The gym has two pools: one inside and one outdoors (yes, in Britain).

On Saturday morning I got up early and headed there for a swim. Bear in mind I haven’t swum in years (ignoring holidays). I rocked up to the pool in my bikini (I have no actual swimsuit), no goggles and no clue. I got into the Medium Lane (there was no slow lane) and started breast stroking. But I worried this might niggle the groin/hip so changed to front crawl. I wear contact lenses so I had to keep my head out of the water. This is not an easy feat when doing front crawl.

Now no disrespect to them, but there were a lot of older, shall we say senior, ladies there in their swim caps, goggles and proper swimsuits. I did feel slightly judged by them and also hugely inferior (if looks could kill…). Evidently, these ladies go every single day and I was encroaching on their territory. The Medium Lane was becoming ridiculous with people walking up and down the lane so I switched to the Fast Lane and was quickly overtaken a lot by some speedy ladies. Oh my poor ego…

I enjoyed about 15 minutes of swimming until I became bored. Up and down. Up and down. But I stuck it out for 50 minutes. The next day I managed 45 minutes – and even ventured into the outdoor pool (now that gets you moving!) and felt my front crawl improve a lot (it helped bringing goggles). I then treated myself to a good 10 mins soak in the Jacuzzi.

After my swim on Saturday I realised I could get to parkrun to see Ben run.IMG_6730

I got there just before 9am and loved the look on Ben’s face as I cheered him and he realised I was there. It was nice to still make parkrun to support – though I looked a little like a drowned rat with my wet hair.

image Ben did a good run, just under 22 minutes. We had a nice cup of tea and chat with some running friends and Ben got on top of his football sticker swapping…

Football stickers swapping

Yes, he is 26 years old.

Monday morning Ben and me got up at 6.10am (ON A BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY – sorry for the caps, but that is early, am I right?) to go for a 30 mile bike ride with a fair number of guys from the running club (or ‘injured’ club as some said as a lot of the people there currently couldn’t run because of injury, myself sadly included I guess).

HERC 26.05.14 bike ride Photo credit – Kelly

Well as you can see I’m one of the few not wearing a jacket. In my running-focused brain I thought I’d get warm on the cycle, even if it rained.

Well the heavens opened up and I was FREEZING. Ben, my loving husband, gave me his jacket though and cycled in just a running t-shirt. Honestly, I don’t know how he survived in the absolute freezing and wet conditions as I was still so cold despite the jacket. He has definitely earnt a few Husband Points!

image Just a little bit hilly…

image image

By about 20 miles though I wanted to be home. I was so cold and wet it just became very difficult to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, if the weather had been better I’d have loved it. The route was scenic, the hills were tough but satisfying…but being so cold for so long is just not fun. Total time cycling: 2:19:12 though we stopped a few times to regroup.

As soon as we got home I was in the bath with a coffee (again, lovingly made by my husband after he’d had a shower). I just couldn’t get warm. I was also starving. I didn’t have anything before cycling and nothing on route (this is the same for running) but on the last stretch of the ride I started to feel dizzy and weak. Not good at all. Need to be more sensible next time. This is a whole different thing to running!

After a big bowl of porridge and then a proper shower I felt more human. Thankfully we were going to Nando’s later as well with a friend so I could eat my body weight in chicken. The calorie in-out balance was definitely returned to normal by the end of the day 😉

Running, cycling or swimming – which do you prefer? I think we know my answer to this 😉

Are you a fair weather exerciser? I don’t mind running in the rain at all. No problem. But cycling…well not only is it cold but I felt a lot more cautious going downhill as I was scared to slip.

Have you ever felt dizzy when exercising?

I think we can agree I’m fragile…

Hello sunshine! Down South we had a gorgeous weekend of beautiful sunshine and warm weather – I hope it was just as nice where you were.

Last week was a bit of a downer for me. After the Alton 10 miler (OK, let’s be completely honest here, after Parkrun on the Saturday) my hip was niggling. God I never, never learn. I shouldn’t have run Alton. It only aggravated it further and made walking afterwards uncomfortable and a little painful. What an idiot. The Alton race wasn’t important at all and yet I thought if I ran it rather than race it I’d be OK. And it niggled the entire race. I really only have myself to blame. Especially because our running club championships were the following Sunday (Netley 10k). Yeah, so really stupid.

I took the rest of the week off running in the hopes that I could run the race. I had a deep tissue massage from a great local sports masseuse, Kyle, who’s basically become our club’s favourite masseuse and he’s doing the rounds on everyone. He comes to your house as well which is just so handy for me with my stupid commute. If you’re local to Southampton, look him up he’s great –> http://www.hackettmassage.co.uk/ He’s also a nice guy who’s an amazing runner (we’re talking 5 minute miles and winning races).

But unfortunately the hip niggle was still there. On Saturday I cycled down to Parkrun on my new road bike and met Ben there to set up in the morning.

Parkrun 17.05.14

It felt dreadful and I became Grumpy Anna in my dark and shady place. I marshalled and cheered on the runners. Still fun, but not as fun as running obviously. Ben did great pacing one of our running club friends and helped him PB.

After that we headed quickly to see Kyle (as I’d panicked text him that morning after thinking my cycle had made things worse) so he could help set my bike up correctly so not to aggravate things any further and have a quick look at my hip. Very helpful and nice considering it was the weekend.

IMG_6685Then we rushed back to shower and then pick up my new car, which obviously turned Dark and Shady Anna into very happy Anna.

Fiat 500 A lovely shiny red Fiat 500…sport turbo something-or-other (Ben spec’d it – I know nothing about cars). It drives like a dream, very speedy despite it only being a 0.9 (hello no road tax!). It’s like a go-kart, so light and zippy. And the interior is all lovely and black and red.

New car selfieNew car selfie – self-indulgent I know, but I just couldn’t help it

After that Ben and me went out for a little cycle on our road bikes with our friend who’s also bought a new road bike. In true Anna style though after about 5 miles I panicked it would make my hip hurt and decided to turn back home (around 10 miles in total – not a huge distance I know).

The rest of the day was me moping about umming and arring about the next day’s race and generally being quite annoying to be around. Ben is quite the saint to live with me when I’m suffering from a niggle!

Speaking of Ben, we went out for dinner with previously mentioned amazing sports masseuse and his wife on Friday night and Ben did the most amazing parking.

Close parking Our car is on the left. There was perhaps a little bit more space on the other side but it was so tight. I am hugely impressed! He had his proper Serious Parking Face on and I was just stood there biting my nails. Stupid Mini driver though, learn to park!

Sunday was our Netley 10k…more on that in my next post!

Netley 10k (14) 18.05.14 (Spoiler alert: I did indeed run it)

Do you have sports massages regularly? I would have them every week if I could.

Are you good at parking? I think I’m OK at parking… it’s just general driving I struggle with 😉

Do you get grumpy when you can’t run/work out?

Another wedding and yet more cake

I’ve had four days off and yet I feel like I’m even more tired. We’ve just been crazy busy. But in a nice way.

Ben and me had Thursday and Friday off as we had a wedding Thursday afternoon and were staying the night in the hotel where the reception was being held. On Thursday morning we tried to get some boring house jobs done and also sort my new car out (very exciting!) Then we headed to the wedding, which was being held in the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

IMG_6630 Basically it’s this huge tower-like structure where you can go up in a lift and see amazing views. Well, I say amazing…it’s about as amazing as it can get in Portsmouth 😉 Because we got there about 40 minutes before the wedding began we waited in the cafe and had a sneaky bit of cake.

Spinnaker Tower wedding

We had a slice of carrot cake and millionaire shortbread and had half each of both. This is big news as I never normally share cake!

Spinnaker Tower views

Despite the weather being less than stellar, the views were fantastic. It was really quite a unique and lovely ceremony.

Spinnaker WeddingAnd there was a glass floor you could stand on (without shoes) and look straight down. Very cool.

After the ceremony we headed back to the hotel for the reception. Despite my previous cake, I was getting hungry. The meal was a buffet and in true Anna fashion I started getting antsy. I hate buffets. I’m always scared they’ll not be enough food – and consequently eat way too much. When will I ever learn? Ben said he thinks it’s hilarious, but I tried to make him understand by saying imagine that the bar was a buffet format and there were only so many drinks available. His eyes lit up in panic. Exactly!

Wedding food Spinnaker I ate quite a lot of sweets from the sweet buffet too…and three *little* pieces of wedding cake. I felt quite full by the end. And rather rough. It was a good evening though with lots of great company and banter.

IMG_6654The sign reads: “I’m here for the cake” 

I woke up feeling a little delicate and quite bloated. Not good!

Then we had a mad whirl-wind of a day where we had to dash back home to Southampton to pick up my paper bit of my driving licence to then drive back to Portsmouth to sort my new car out. We’ve officially bought a new Fiat 500!

IMG_6627And amazingly it’ll be ready this week as they had one in stock to the spec we wanted. How lucky is that??

Then from there we had to go home, do the food shop, go to the post office and pick up our road bikes from Halfords. And I wanted to do a bit of baking for a party I was going to the next day. Whew.

As we don’t have a bike rack we could only get one bike safely in our car so I cycled mine home (it was only 4 miles). It was great to get a proper feel for the bike. It felt really good. It fit well, I felt very comfortable and it was light and speedy – from my limited experience!

Unfortunately we don’t have anywhere to put them yet as our shed is rather full. So they’re in the living room for the moment.

IMG_6669 Looks fine, right…? Alfie doesn’t even care.

After Parkrun on Saturday morning I headed to a surprise party for our lovely previous ladies’ captain who’s currently pregnant. A fair few of us made cakes and it was all very lovely. She was very surprised and chuffed (I think!) I brought cupcakes but forgot to take a photo. They looked liked cupcakes… 😉

IMG_6666 Obviously I was in my element with the cake…

So much cakeWhich was well documented by our current ladies captain (I’ve stolen the photos from her – thank you, Kelly!)

But this was the best part:

Mini running gear  Photo credit – stolen from Karen (thank you!)

Now, I’m not a baby person but that is just adorable! Mini Hedge End Running Club gear. Karen’s baby will be the best dressed baby in town 🙂

On Sunday we went to the Alton 10 mile race where Ben aimed to beat his PB (around 1:26 I think) and I planned to just run with him and help push him along and keep him company. I’ll do a recap of my latest runnings in another post. Spoiler alert: Ben got his PB 🙂

Whew. Lots going on!!

Next weekend is the Netley 10k which is our running club championships (lots of medals up for grabs for different achievements). I’ve eaten so much rubbish the past few days (yep, I include cake in that) that I’ve decided to go on a bit of a ‘detox’ this week. I say detox but what I mean is a ‘cake and rubbish free zone’. No cake, chocolate or ‘big’ treats until I finish the race. I feel like I went overboard the past couple of days and I want to get back to feeling good and in race shape!

How was your weekend?

What’s the best part of a wedding for you? I’d be lying if I said the cake was one of my favourite parts…

What’s your car like? I’ve never had a new car so this is very exciting. I will be cleaning it every weekend…maybe.

How do you deal with a weekend or few days of eating rubbish?

I’ll always be a runner but…

I’m thinking of getting a road bike. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a runner. Running is at top of my list and, for the foreseeable future, will continue to be.

However, I know I can’t just run. And the probability of getting injured again is quite high (8/10 runners every year get injured…how depressing that??). So I need a back-up plan to stop myself from falling down a well of despair when this happens – because let’s be honest, it’s not if it’s when.

What started this thought process was that I quit my gym membership this month (how very liberating!). I haven’t been for ages. Spin wasn’t doing me any favours as my IT band always felt terrible afterwards and I actually hated every single of the 45 minutes I’m there. I also hate using cardio machines. When I’m injured the last thing I want to do is get on a machine to further my depression. Also, we have a ‘mini’ gym at work which is perfect for all my strength workouts. So really I’m not missing out on much. Except for some cross-training…which is how the road bike scenario has occurred.

Quite a few people at my running club are into their cycling and going on ‘Big Rides’ so my interest was peaked. They’ve given me so much good advice (as have some other non-runners I’ve been asking too – it’s amazing how many cyclists I actually know). Though I do feel a little overwhelmed with information. Running is so much more simple – believe me!

This weekend I’m hopefully going to be borrowing a road bike off one of them and joining a group from the club for a 30 mile ride on Monday morning. Gargh! Though I’m terrified because I actually don’t know how good a cyclist I am, I’m very excited. I do love a good personal challenge and it’ll be great if the weather’s nice. Though I’ll be using clip-on shoes…I’ll keep you informed of how many times I fall off the bike.

The plan is that I’m hoping to get myself a relatively inexpensive road bike soonish (not a rubbish one but not one I need remortgage the house for). Then I’m thinking maybe once a week, or every two weeks, to get a good ride in. All supplementary to my running of course 😉

Now that the weather is getting better(ish) and the mornings and evenings lighter it seems like a good time to start. Ben is keen too (and secretly I think he hopes he can out-cycle me as I can currently out-run him 😉 so it’s all looking good. Just need to get kitted out with those oh-so-attractive padded shorts, get road bikes and zoom zoom zoom. Or, more likely, amble along slowly, fall off, continue to amble along slowly.

This is not a precursor for me becoming a triathlete though. I am fine with just running events at the moment. This is just about trying some different and hopefully distract my body from getting injured 😉

If any cyclist out there have any advice, I’m all ears!

Do you enjoy cycling?

What cross-training do you do?

Have you ever taken up a sport your not familiar with?