Cheers Femurs

This month I have been dipping in and out of April loves, a month of daily reflective prompts created by Susannah Conway. One prompt really stood out for me – legs. Like many women I struggle to accept my body but I have come a long way and it started with my legs.

image

Dear legs,

We have been through a fair bit haven’t we? I have always hated you – well throughout my teens and twenties focusing on your size. The wobble when I walked, the paleness of you in Spring and Summer. When I started running in my mid twenties it was always baggy numbers, full length or cropped. Any exercise class was done in baggy trousers, in fact most of my clothing on the bottom half were baggy. I remember measuring my thighs repeatedly – cheering when the number decreased. Continue reading “Cheers Femurs”

#30 Days of Cycling and Beyond

I managed the #30daysofcycling throughout April and in the end totalled 258 miles. My legs are sore but definitely look more defined and feel stronger. I also realised that I need to go back to yoga as my shoulders are almost permanently hunched forwards as though on my bike! I have realised that by making the concious decision to cycle everyday it shows how easy using the bike as my main means of transport in the city really is. It does help that I don’t have to carry a lot of stuff for my work as I am a desk based wee worker. I also discovered that a lot of my activity previously was taken up by walking which means that by cycling more I am actually less active time-wise! Quite odd but it has meant I have tried to incorporate other activities into my day and try to walk at lunchtime if I am not out running. Continue reading “#30 Days of Cycling and Beyond”

Yoga – Maybe not the place for goals

Yoga! Yoga! Yoga! How I bloody hate you at times πŸ™‚

Okay I actually really like yoga so that first sentence is simply wrong. but yesterday I felt quite deflated during my weekly yoga class. I try to do yoga a couple of times during the week myself and have a class straight after work on a Monday (perfect time). I am still really learning yoga and have always considered myself pretty inflexible – you know one of those people who can’t touch their toes! Continue reading “Yoga – Maybe not the place for goals”

Team Bambi Re-enter the Fray – Or How I Started Running Again

A couple of weeks back I ran my first “race” for 15 months. I used the quotes around the word race as it was much more relaxed and fun than you might think when you hear the word race. I hadn’t really trained and really didn’t want to run, I haven’t enjoyed running for the last few months – it has been a chore and I have done everything I can to avoid it.

Trainers on grass
My trainers are awwfy clean for a runner πŸ™‚

I took part in the Roadblock Run in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. It is a 10k route that takes you up a trail path under the iconic crags then drops you down to the road only for you to run up hill again. We lucked out with a gorgeous blue-sky day and it was apparent really quickly that my long sleeved top under my vest was not needed so it was Team Bambi vests all the way.

Running Around Arthur's Seat
Literally Team Bambi’s back(s)

The Roadblock Run is for the Chest, Heart, Stroke Scotland charity and myself and the other Team Bambi girls have run it a few times now, although last time I was running and taking pictures πŸ™‚ As well as the natural obstacles there are a fair few man made ones with two bounce castles to negotiate, tunnels, hurdles, a foam pit and even a moving van to jump out of – it was a shame as there didn’t seem to be as many obstacles as previous years but they were still fun.

Team bambi crawling through tunnels
Timing is everything for these photos!

I was super chuffed to run most of it, I would say around 7.5km, and I have been back running short distances of 3 or 4 miles ever since. I don’t know if it was running with my running buddies, the sunshine, the obstacles or the awesome costumes of some of the other entrants but that race did rekindle my enjoyment of running. Up next is the Survival of the Fittest 10k in two weeks, it will be harder but I hope to run most of it and more importantly enjoy it all.

Me at the end of run sitting on grass
Do I look chuffed or what?

Thanks to Team Bambi and the crew for the pictures!

Tour o’ the Borders – Cadfael the CdF on the road

Over the last couple of months I have tried to turn myself from a runner and keen but haphazard mountain biker into a rookie road cyclist. It has been great fun! Okay so the fifteen mile training runs in the rain before work wasn’t great and the toil up Arthur’s Seat was tough but felt good afterwards. I have learnt to ride a drop handlebar bike, learnt how to use my gears properly and sped up a lot! I have a brilliant cyclist’s tan and can now get to the stables under my own steam in under 50 minutes πŸ™‚

But even though I had done the distance, cycled the hills and put in a fair amount of training I still couldn’t sleep the night before the Tour o the Borders. Number one rule of doing a race, get a good night’s sleep. Hmmm not so much. Leisa picked me up at quarter to six on Sunday morning and with our bikes piled in the back of the car we headed off towards Peebles. The streets of Edinburgh at that time in the morning in August still have people making their way home from festival fun, it was odd to be up and off for a cycle instead. On the car journey down both of us were discussing that this would be the only cycle race we ever did.

We parked up and put the bikes together, attached our race numbers and made our way to the Green. We past the start line where some cyclist were just about to start their wave, the commentator was making everyone laugh and it did relax us slightly. We relaxed even more when we got to the Green, there were lots of people, with lots of different bikes , everyone was chatting and laughing. It felt like a gathering not a race in the sense I was expecting. I was in the 2nd to last wave but dropped back to join Leisa as she had been super conservative with her idea of times! Slowly we wound our way up towards the start line. The commentator insulted us one last time πŸ™‚ ,then the countdown happened and we rolled over the start line. We were off!!

The gloomy start line
The gloomy start line
Goggles on for the start
Me and my mad cycling goggles at the start

The race was brilliant. I have to say the organisation was good although the 2nd food stop was at the point where the long and short route combined again and at the start of the looking hill – probably not the best place as we nearly collided with stationary people on the road and fasties coming down the long route. All was okay though πŸ™‚

The hills were challenging but not as tough as I thought I got up each one without having to come out my seat and felt a real sense of achievement when I got to the summit of the hill and Leisa was waiting for me. The descent was amazing, someone had fallen but was okay. The views were amazing, getting up the hills to descend to see the valley open up before you was incredible. To be riding on closed roads, chatting to other entrants and spotting Clydesdales was a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

Climbing, climbing, climbing
Climbing, climbing, climbing
Beautiful valley views on the descents
Beautiful valley views on the descents

I started to get a pain in my right hip and leg around the 40 miles in but my mate showed me a great stretch for my hip and leg while on the bike itself. It meant the pain lessened but didn’t entirely disappear. I struggled a little towards the end from fatigue even though I ate a couple of bars during the cycle, I think I underestimated what I would need to eat and also opted for too many sweet things which just felt sickly towards the end. I should also have filled up my water bottle at the last food stop but hindsight is great and all that.

We completed the race 1 hour faster than we expected!! Mr Inelegant Horse Rider and my folks weren’t even in Peebles yet! We took just over 4 hours and averaged 14.3 miles per hour. That’s fast for me and we are pretty chuffed. I celebrated with a massive plate of macaroni cheese and a pint.

Woo hoo, Tour o the Borders - done
Woo hoo, Tour o the Borders – done

I also just want to say that my mate Leisa was amazing. She stayed with me when she could and waited at the top of the hills when she pulled away on the hills. We crossed the start and finish lines together. I definitely want to say thanks to her! Oh and this race changed our opinion on bike races entirely – on the way home we chatted about doing the long course next year!

Not the worst view in the world :)
Not the worst view in the world πŸ™‚
We had clearly gone insane by the end - selfie time.
We had clearly gone insane by the end – selfie time.

Hills, hills and oh another hill

What a difference a week makes huh? Saturday last week I was following my mate up an incredibly steep hill as part of training for Tour o’ the Borders. This weekend I was sitting in my flat looking at the rain chucking it down outside and trying to motivate myself to start tidying the flat (it is a mess, there is so much mess that it now feels like a full day thing to deal with alongside trips to the charity shops and recycle bins). Part of me is toying with a wee bike ride but hmmm, I think I will be able to block that thought!

I thought I would do a wee update on how “training” for the sportive is going, not really using a structured training plan and I am relying quite heavily on the experience of my mate who I am doing the race with. Oh and also just chanting ‘Think of Chrissy Wellington’ ‘Think of Marianne Vos’ when I struggle πŸ™‚ Continue reading “Hills, hills and oh another hill”

Rotterdam Marathon 2014 – A Guest Post

Do you remember when I used to write about running? Well since my injury last year (oh the beautiful plague-like foot) I haven’t done much running. I have tried doing some walk-running but my heart hasn’t be in it, I have been doing a lot more cycling. However I thought that you lovely people might appreciate a running post so I have asked one of my running buddies who took on her first marathon in April to write a post about it all. Kate is one of the jog leaders at my JogScotland group and she is always friendly, helpful and motivating – it has been a pleasure to run with her over the last few years and I promise I will be back out running soon, just need to unearth the running trainers from the cobwebs πŸ™‚ Over to Kate:

“In April 2014, my training partner and I ran our first ever marathon in the city of Rotterdam and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have made these notes for the Inelegant Horse Rider’s blog in case it helps other people considering running this distance. Continue reading “Rotterdam Marathon 2014 – A Guest Post”