Monday, 20 December 2010

Compression Clothing

I've been trying out some new compression clothing: calf, quad and full leg products from compressport. I've been using compression socks before competitions, after training and racing, and while travelling (air and road) for almost two years but this is the first time that I've used the 'footless' sleeves and I really like them. There are obvious advantages, such as being able to wear flip-flops (socks and flip-flops are a BIG no-no!) and repeated wear before washing (i.e. no smelly feet!). I also really like quad compression because it's my quads that get particularly sore after training and racing.

They're also doing a great job of keeping me warm during the Great British Freeze! We had heaps of snow yesterday and last night (well, at least by Dorset standards) and consequently I've been spending more time than normal on my rollers. It has just started raining and the snow is melting :-( Oddly I feel quite sad and I'd quite like it to stay until Christmas!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The simple pleasures

Last week I was feeling a little glum! Following a recent knee injury I've gradually been building up time on the rollers and I was ready to try a ride outside. I managed a couple of hours on the road last Friday and I was buzzing! I absolutely loved it. It made me realise how it really can be the simple things in life that are the most pleasurable. The next day I tried another road ride but alas I had to turn back after 15 minutes. Damn. I tried to stay positive over the weekend but I occasionally failed and had a few moments of despair!

On Monday I tried the rollers again and my knee felt fine. I had a brilliant 3 hour road ride yesterday; I really cannot explain how much I enjoyed it even though it was cold and grey! I wasn't sure whether to push my luck and try another ride today, but the thought of a swim wasn't quite as appealing! So I decided to give a ride a go and to turn back if things went pear-shaped. Fortunately they didn't and I've just got home from a successful 2 hour ride and I'm beaming from ear to ear :-D

Without wanting to tempt fate, it appears that my 2011 training might be about to start :-D  Fingers crossed!!!!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Staying positive. Just!

After a ride a couple of weeks ago my (normally) good left knee started to hurt. I put it down to the cold weather and/or some new eccentric knee exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist for my right knee. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't ride so I carried on riding for another week; however it got to the point where even walking was painful. As I'm writing this I realise how stupid this sounds and that I should have just stopped training as soon as the niggle started, but stopping isn't a quality that comes naturally to me. Perhaps this is a common trait shared by other athletes!?

Following advice from a knee specialist (who I seem to be consulting rather a lot this year!) I've been icing it, taking anti-inflammatory tablets and, remarkably, resting!

Since Monday I've been gradually building up time on the rollers and yesterday I managed 2 x 1 hour sessions. I've also started to become a regular at the local swimming pool!

Today is a perfect day for riding. The sun is shining and it's actually above freezing for the first time in over a week. I want to try a ride outside for the first time in 9 days, but I've got my sensible head on for a change and I'm fighting the urge. My rollers also remain untouched ;-)

A valuable lesson that I've been learning the hard way is simply knowing when to stop. Time off now is frustrating but it's still early and hopefully I'll be back into full training soon.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Whoooops, spoke too soon!

Last weekend I left The Peak District and headed off to South Wales to have some off-road fun with XC racer rider Mel Alexander. This, I thought, was a strategic move given that the weather forecast predicted snow in The Peaks and sun in South Wales. Hahaha, I chuckled to myself  :-D

The weatherman made a small boo boo!!!! Within an hour into our ride last Friday we found ourselves skiing rather than riding the trails as there was a massive dump of snow!!! Huge fluffy flakes of snow fell quickly :-) It was really good fun and the forest turned into a wintry wonderland. Lovely. The next day we kitted up and got back out onto the snowy trails. After a few hours and lots of drifting, giggling, a couple of crashes and suspected broken ribs, everyone gradually started to have a sense of humor failure!
Bobsleigh anyone?

The next day we woke up to discover that the temperature had dropped to -18 degrees! I decided not to return to The Peaks but instead to head back home to sunny Poole on the south coast of England where snow is scarcely seen. Although I wouldn't be donning my bikini at least I'd be able to ride. Another strategic move, or so I thought! Once I'd finally prised open my car door which had frozen solid I waved goodbye to Wales and took to the motorway. It wasn't long before I'd left the snow behind and I started to get amazed looks from other drivers wondering where I'd come from. The 3 inches of snow covering my car was causing rather a lot of rubber necking ;-) I could still see snow and ice bouncing down the motorway in my rear view mirror as I approached Poole!!!

On Monday I woke to sunny skies, 0 degrees and dry roads. Perfect. I headed out for a great two hour road ride. Lovely. The next day it was grey and raining. Waterproofs on and out of the door. A couple of hours in and the snow started to fall but the roads stayed clear and I was able to ride for 4.5 hours. Meanwhile the snow caused chaos across almost everywhere else in the UK.

Yesterday was a recovery day, AKA feet up and tea and cake day ;-) This morning I pulled back the curtains to discover, erm, a massive dump of snow!!!!! Arghhhh!!!! The whole country seems to be hiding under a huge blanket of the stuff. Even the airports are closed!!!!!! Noooooooo!!!!

Snow covered sand on the beach in Poole

So, I'm stranded in Poole while my turbo trainer is buried under 12 inches of snow 250 miles away in The Peak District. Bah Humbug!

Beach huts: home to sleighs not buckets and spades ;-)
I dug out my swimsuit and headed to the swimming pool. I've not been swimming for years and at first I must of looked really funny floundering around as I attempted to front crawl. A few lengths in and I swallowed a mouthful of water at the halfway point and had to resort to breast stroke until I caught my breath again. Eventually I got the hang of it again and before I knew it I'd knocked out 100 lengths of the pool. I didn't want to stop!

More snow is forecast tonight....... I never thought I'd be longing to see my turbo trainer!!!