New Challenges – Broken Bones or Sheer Exhaustion

Well I’ve notched up 3 more projects over the weekend – that must be a bit of a record, even for me. Still focussing on weight loss I’m trying to cram in the opportunity to exercise for 4 hours a day.

So project number 1: Kick Boxing
Yup, I’ve just signed myself up for an 8 week course of kick boxing with kbkickboxing. They do a lot of stuff particularly for women, although the course I’m joining is mixed.
So that is going to leave me nicely bruised/

Project number 2: Inline Skating
This has got to be the craziest plan so far. Me on flippin roller blades?! We went to Hyde Park last night and all the cool street skaters were out, strutting their stuff. So in my imagination I’ve been transformed to this hip, graceful, free, skating anarchist just by the purchase of a pair of skates from ebay.
Watch this space – I’ll have broken wrists by this time next week.

Project Number 3: IronMan Triathlon
So I’ve managed to run for 6 minutes – with walking gaps, and now i reckon I can commit myself to an IronMan event.
I even shake my head at myself – what a loon!
Anyway, it gives me something to aim at. I’ll start off by aiming for a 10 k running event and then maybe go for a sprint triathlon. Scary stuff.
The table shows whats involved for each of the individual triathlon events.

EVENT SWIM CYCLE RUN
SPRINT 0.75 km 20 km 5 km
OLYMPIC 1.5 km 40 km 10 km
MIDDLE 2.5 km 80 km 20 km
IRONMAN 3.8 km 180 km 42 km

Killer Quads: Follow Up

I spent most of the week wobbling around like a novice giraffe but I felt I’d recovered enough by saturday to give running another go.
I took it extra easy, barely breaking a sweat and the good news is that it didn’t shred my quads. I went out again this morning and upped the pace a little to 6 sets of 1 min run/1 min walk. Not much I know but at this rate I should be at least able to start the beginners schedule next week.

So it seems my problem was DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness and I’ve managed it by, stretching after the run and then taking a cold shower directed on my thighs.

Cycling, Running and Killer Quads

After a few weeks off the bike because conference trips and the like, I’ve found I’ve put on a bit of weight. Not much, but given that I’m supposed to be losing it – it aint very good.

Anyway its spurred me on to take up running again. It seems I try and start running about once a month. I take it easy each time going for a run/walk approach but I always end up with terrible pain in my quads. The first time I had to take two days off work because I couldn’t get out of my 3rd floor flat.

Yesterday, after buying proper shoes, I went out again and took it really easy – I did 1 min run, 1 min walk *4, then walked home. Today my quads are really sore and I’m struggling to walk with them. It’s flippin crazy! How am I ever going to build myself up to IronMan standards?

I tend to feel that a cycling regime of 120 miles a week aught to leave me pretty fit. It doesn’t feel good to be left crippled by a 4 minute run. I’ve been on a few running/cycling forums and it has been suggested that it might be a consequence of the cycling. Perhaps my hamstrings are over-developed with the cycling and its left a bit of an imbalance.

I’ll rest until I can walk freely and then try again, maybe I’ll be able to give it another go at the weekend. I’m hoping that eventually my quads will get into shape and start supporting me. If I ever regain my ability to bend my knees without falling I perhaps should try some squats for strength training.

Explosions in London Centre

Terrible, terrible day for London. Explosions were spreading across the centre as I approached UCL. Most of the chaos had already hit before I cycled through the centre so there was an unusual number of dazed commuters trying to navigate the streets. I’m glad, given the circumstances that I didn’t curse the folk wandering into the cycle lanes.

10 mins after I arrived, the bus on Tavistock Square exploded – just around the corner but strangely I didn’t hear anything. I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures – just horrendous!

Fortunately all the group arrived safely and despite all the networks being down we managed to contact loved ones and confirm safety.
It won’t be the same for everyone today, I am so sorry to say.

Some people must have suffered terribly on the affected tubes and bus, it really has been very frightening just to be a distant witness. I wish strength to all those shaken by the events.

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Running – Its Bad for your health

Dunno what possessed me, but I got up at 6.30 on Monday and went for a run. I know…. flippin crazy!
Actually it was a lovely bright morning and Shakti rang all positive and up for a jog so we did it. I live right on the bank of the Thames so its a lovely thing to do, trouble is I’m now almost completely crippled.

We only ran perhaps a max of 1.5 miles but I felt my quads start to ache a little before I finished. By the time I’d had a cup of tea and prepared myself to cycle to work I could barely walk down the stairs.
Anyway, cycling wasn’t at all bad didn’t seem to hurt much at all so the next day I went for another run thinking it might help to stretch my legs out a bit. I took it really easy and pretty much only walked the 2 miles this time.

Boy oh boy it was a mistake, my thighs are killing me. I can’t walk, if I sit I can’t stand, going to the loo is an expedition I may never return from.
I’ve stayed at home today to rest and apply loads of ice, no idea how long its going to take for me to recover fully. Better be soon because I’m cycling in again tomorrow.

I did a few sun salutations before I went out and properly stretched my calves as thats what normally goes when I run, I must add quad stretches now that I have another body part to add to my list of ailing and ageing joints and muscles.
Init awful to get old and I’m only 33?

Leukerbad – Swiss Spa Town

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Boarding the buss to Leukerbad I was filled with dread and I’m sure if I’d been on my own I would have got off and changed my destination pretty smartish. I really wondered what we were letting ourselves in for, our travelling companions reminded me of the village from A League of Gentlemen. I imagined a village so isolated that inbreeding was the norm.

Anyway I’m glad we did continue, it seems that this sort of spa town attracts those in need of healing – must be the same at Lourdes. I’ve never seen so many wheelchairs and crutches in one high street, I have also never been in such a lively and uninhibited town. Sitting in a bar playing umpah pah music there was no end of people prepared to entertain with impromptu dancing.

Simple inclusive fun that made me feel ashamed to spend so much time finding my body ugly.

On to the spa’s: Burgerbad and Lindner Alpentherme

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Suicide on the Glacier Express

We need to correct the first misnomer – this is no express train! 8 hours long is what I call an endurance feat and not a pleasure trip. Can’t say I saw any glaciers either but perhaps I should let that pass.

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Landwasser viaduct

The trip between St Moritz and Chur was beautiful, it was the stretch with the famous LandWasser viaduct but we had covered it the day before on the ordinary train – no need for a surcharge. The remaining 6 hrs of the journey was your typical swiss fare – mountains, valleys and forests – you see it all the time and I’m not sure I would advise doing it all in one go. Save yourself some money and pick and choose routes on the standard network.

To give you an idea of how we enjoyed the trip, Shakti occupied the last 5 hours dreaming up dramatic suicide attempts in order to escape the monotony and when she found herself locked in the toilet for 1/2 an hour I didn’t even consider launching a search party.

Minor Tour of Switzerland

Our Swiss trip involved a whirlwind tour of the southern half of the country. We had invested ?140 in a swiss pass each and so had to make the most of it with daily rail trips.

We started in Geneva and moved directly to Interlaken, then on to Luzern, St Moritz and via the Glacier Express to Zermatt. Finally we spent two days luxuriating in the spa’s at Leukerbad heading back to Geneva.
Even in the off-season (and May is certainly off season with towns such as St Moritz almost entirely closed) Switzerland can be described as incredibly expensive. We ended resorting to Youth Hostels as the only affordable accomodation option – a typical price for including evening meals would be 60CHF or about ?30.

The standard of the Swiss Youth Hostel was exceptionally good, we found them to be clean, friendly and very good value.

We stayed at the Interlaken Youth Hostel which is actually in Beningen, about a 20 min walk along the river after turning right out of Interlaken Ost staion. It was a very friendly hotel and it offered a bbq on our first night.

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In Luzern we opted to stay at the Tourist Hotel as it was more centrally located than the YH and only slightly more expensive at 49CHF without dinner. This was a fine place too – clean and with a great view directly over the massive river running through the town.

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The Youth Hostel at St Moritz was also run to a high standard. Our double room was large an easily on a par with many hotel rooms. The dinner was pretty filling although a massive bratwurst and polenta is not exactly inspiring. Our stay in St Moritz was marred by the fact that it pissed it down for a solid 24 hours and the whole town was shut down for a month. Fortunately we were able to bring forward our reservation on the Glacier Express. and leave the town a day early.

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Zermatt was a great town, arriving at 6pm it was a joy to see that the town was living and full of people in contrast to the geschlossen St Moritz. The Youth Hostel here was the best, it must have been recently renovated with beautiful slate tiles – spotless and welcoming. We opted for a small twin room with bunk beds. It was the smallest room so far but very comfortable and we had a clear view of the matterhorn from our window. Most hotels charge a significant premium for that privilige. Again dinner was included and it was fresh and filling as usual. I will definately be heading back to this hostel and town when we come back on the main bike tour.

Ischia – Island of Thermal Spa’s

Ischia is a small island off the Amalfi coast. We reached it by ferry from Naples and later moved on by ferry to the glitzy island of Capri. There isn’t much to visually excite you about Ischia, it is just a lump of rock populated by folk and their boats. The interest lies in the geological activity that has left this place an oasis of thermal spas.

Accomodation anywhere around Amalfi is expensive so we decided to travel to the opposite end of the island to use the Youth Hostel near Forio. This was a fairly grim affair but passable and cheap.

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Shakti is trying to look strong

A short walk from the hostel, along the beach, lies the Poseidon Spa. What a fantastic place this is. It is a sprawling affair with tonnes of pools all at different temperatures, some at sea level and others cut into the side of the rock face.

There are dingy saunas within caves and the original japanes foot baths left over from the war. These are great for the feet if you can stand the pain. You walk around hot and cold tubs covered with loose pebbles.

This is definately a spa to recommend, there are restaurants, cafes and treatment rooms as well so it very easy to while away a whole day. With cheap flights into Naples I would definately like to go back here for a relaxing weekend break.

Mad plans and schemes

Ok, it’s true I have come home with yet another major project, but it has to be said that this one is pretty exciting. Shakti has climbed on board and it is agreed that we will clip ourselves into our pedals and set off for a grand cycling tour around Europe, just as soon as I finish my PhD.

I need to get myself a little countdown timer to work on the website, but as I write this in Sept 2004, I imagine we will have about 2.5 years to get planning.

It could easily take this long, we have a lot to do. We need to improve our fitness and lose weight if we aren’t to flake out over the Pyrennees and then we need to get ourselves kitted out with nice new touring bikes. Routes need to be considered, although I like the idea of playing it by ear as far as possible and what about travel visas? I realise this shouldn’t be a problem for Europe but who knows, if we can find a way to fund this adventure, why would we stop with Europe? I haven’t got Shakti to agree to this extension yet – so lets hope she doesn’t read the site. In the meantime if you fancy keeping us out of the country for a bit longer why not help us on the funding front anf take a look at our very own web store.

Anyway, whether its a year or decade on the road, there isn’t much point me paying for storage of all my books and general trammel so I need to start decluttering again – blimey, blimey its getting stressful already.