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27 Jan

I’ve been playing around with a new format for a while and I’ve moved on over to tumblr as it offers more flexibility.

Amy’s Ride

4 Jan

It is not unusual for us to have a handful of crazy hot days in Melbourne during the summer, unfortunately we just had a string of them, 4 days in a row over 35, even more unfortunate the 41 degree day, along with a ghastly northerly wind happened to be on the day of Amy’s Ride.

Andrew and I were in frenetic discussion the day before on whether or not we should drop from 120km to 70km. I was toing and froing, umming and ahhing and then actually looked at the forecast, North by Northwest wind gusting up to 35kph! Fark that for a barrel of laughs, I hate head wind, HATE IT!! I am in this cycling lark for shits and giggles, not for fighting through a hellish headwind on a 40 degree day just to prove that I can cycle for more than 100km.

Then the decision was made for us anyway, anyone who had nominated for less than 30kph was relegated to 70km, I’d nominated for the 25-29kph group so that was that.

I can tell y’all this for nothing, when we got to the 60km mark I was gladder than a really glad thing that we only had 10km ahead of us, not another 60.
My alarm was duly set for 5:17am on the morning of the ride, except I was woken at around 4ish by a rather soothing watery sort of sound, “hmmmm” I dreamily thought to myself, “maybe this is a belated Christmas miracle, maybe it won’t be 41 degrees and a lovely cool change has washed through, how nice, Zzzzzzz”


I’ve heard that sound before!

Race out the front, wade through my carport, bloody water main out the front of my house has burst again for the 3rd time in 8 years and there is a torrent streaming down my driveway, under my house into the back yard and down the footpath, gahhhhh. Called the water people, tuned the drama up just a notch and I may or may not have said something about my house being flooded. They were out in 20 minutes to turn off the mains and when I got to Geelong I called home to find they were already tearing up the nature strip to fix the main. Beats the 12 hours it took to get it fixed last time when I had to put up with a 4 metre water fountain out the front and endless streams of people knocking on my door “hey have you seen…….” Fuck no! Really!? I hadn’t noticed that 4 metre jet of water right out the front of my house all day, thanks for bringing that to my attention.

By the way the colourful 4 page water board insurance brochure with the friendly man on the front can be summed up as “Screw you; we are liable for nothing, hope you have cover, byeeeee”.

Anyway, I digress muchly

The ride?

As alluded, conditions generally pretty sucky but in spite of that a good morning out and it was fab to have Andrew’s company as I am used to riding alone. The first 33km passed pretty quickly as we were able to set a cracking (for me) pace, although I couldn’t keep up with Andrew on the downhills, he would fly down and I would ease down with teeth clenched and knuckles turning white on the handle bars. I’ve never been to Barwon Heads before so I really enjoyed heading over that iconic little bridge and then gazed with envy at all the people swimming in the ocean.

We cruised into the rest stop at the 33km mark in around 70 minutes, had a quick snack break and then hit the road again. I was prepared for the second half to be a serious grind but it wasn’t too bad, Andrew did more than his fair share of riding up front which blocked some of the wind for me. The last 10km hurt the most and the ride into Eastern Park seemed to go on forever, but there was heaps of shade at the end and lemon sorbet!

What I especially like about this cycling business is that it is not smashing my body, I feel fine afterwards and no ill effects the next day, then again this could just be a sign that I am not trying hard enough.

I started my new 12 week weight training program on new years day, and arm work out and a leg one done so far. Legs yesterday and today they are pretty much stuffed! Damn cyclist back squats, they are killer and my quads are not happy. I am meeting a mate for an easy run this afternoon, if you see a robot shuffling down towards docklands this arvo say Hi.

Still kicking around

29 Dec

Hey there

I posted a while ago that I hadn’t been updating much because I was too busy doing it to write about it, well, that still stands. By the time I’ve crammed everything into my day, all around the rather tedious requirement to spend 8 hours a day 5 days of the week in the office then I am pretty much stuffed and not of a mind to chat.

So, well, running I’ll admit has been pretty hit and miss, mostly miss really, I get in about two runs a week, three if I am lucky and I’ve not cracked 10km yet :roll: Why? Well, because if I have the choice between knocking out a 38km commute to work and a 26km commute home or a short run, well, the ride is winning right now. Also if the weather is warm it is easier to head out for a ride than to flog myself on a run.

The way it stands I don’t have any running goals at the moment and don’t really need to be hitting my straps until the winter aths season starts. At the moment I am quite content having cycling as a summer activity and giving way to running as the days get cooler. My mind is at peace with this arrangement so I am not going to fight it. I have entered the Sunset series for the first time in years though, that will be 3 8km runs on a Wednesday night through February and March.

I have some good long rides in the lead up to the 120km Amy’s Ride on the 2nd of January. I am going to ride with Andrew which I am quite looking forward to, we ran Run for the Kids together a few years ago so it will be cool to have a ride together too.

I’d been dreaming up a nice long loop that would cover about 95km from home, via Beach Road and the Dandy Creek/Eastlink Trail. Given that work is a bit slow at this time of year I decided to try some of it out yesterday. I backtracked from home to pick up the Eastlink Trail, I followed this to Carrum (apart from a stupid detour that I don’t want to talk about that added 7km to my journey and wasted time, if I didn’t have my iPhone and GPS I’d probably still be wandering around Dandenong, yikes!), then I picked up Station St to Beach road etc etc until I got to the city, it was 87km all up, the morning was fab and it was a mighty nice way to start the day.

Today was a 6km run in the morning, 26km cycle home and then an arm workout, I barely have the energy to type this post now.

The arm workout was the last of my 12 week program, yipeee!!

I am so pleased with my progress, my arms in particular have responded really well. They are not wussy little sticks any more, they are strong, I made great gains with the weights I can lift and my whole upper body has developed some great definition.

My legs, hmm, well they are nice and strong and I made some big gains there with what I can lift, although definition is lacking. That’s a no brainer, it’s simply a body fat thing, that’s just an honest assessment, not a “oh woe is me, I am so fat boo hoo” insecure thing.

TOH is writing up a new 12 week program for me to start in the new year, I am going to take a couple of days off now and then get stuck back in. I’ll be cleaning up the diet again after going off the rails a little bit over December. I am bored of hating my legs so there will be a big focus in the next 12 weeks on dropping some body fat and bringing out some definition :-) Vain? sure, so what, I like the weight training and goals help.

New Approach – The Verdict

5 Dec

Probably a little too soon to start drawing conclusions, however early data points to a fair degree of success for my new approach to cross training through injury.


Why deep water running can kiss my arse.

I’ve only been back running a month and am technically still in the run/walk section of rehab, albeit coming to the end of it and I haven’t done any speedwork for 3 months.

So on Sunday I set out to run 5km with no break, I should be on something like run 15 minutes, stop, stretch, run another 15 minutes. But frankly I wasn’t stopping and stretching in the middle of a fun run and up until now I’ve been pretty conservative with the rehab stuff. I am allowed a run every second day but I’ve often gone two days without a run, opting for HIIT or riding to and from work instead.

Given that I was pretty comfortable with just going out yesterday and running 5km with no break. No racing flats and no illusions of grandeur, just a nice comfortable 5km trot, I even wore an iPod!
I surprised myself with a 4:44 over the first km, didn’t feel like I was running that pace but I did have a pretty wicked tailwind to help me along, oh well, I was about to turn into the headwind, that’ll slow me down.

Didn’t really pay attention to my watch after that, shuffle was on fire and giving me some great tunes so I lost myself in the music and just kept running comfortably.
Crossing the finish line I looked up and saw the clock, 24:16 (official time 24:13), flipping ‘eck, I was going to be happy if I finished around 28 minutes! That’s not even my slowest showing in the 5 years I’ve been running this event!

It was certainly better than anything I could have managed a month after starting to run again after the last two stress fracture layoffs where I cross trained with deep water running and a bit of cycling on the windtrainer.

DWR has its place and if the type of injury you have leaves you no choice but to head for the pool then it is certainly better than nothing. However to maintain cardiovascular fitness and for all round strength it seems outdoor cycling combined with a good strength program and HIIT on the exercise bike was a much better option for me. The view is heaps better too!

So, to the strength training, it was a big weekend and I slept well on Sunday night.
Saturday was chest, shoulders and back and Sunday was legs, I managed to make some small gains both days over the same session last week.

I rode to work today, so it goes I shall be riding home too, that gives me over 50km on the bike for the day.

I’ve been talked into some spin class word record attempt thingy tomorrow, I have absolutely no idea what we are doing or what the record attempt is, just that the entry fee goes to charity and it’s a darn sight less painful than wearing a 10 pound beard of bees so I am in, so, just going with the flow on that one, although I am currently in denial about the fact that I have to be there tomorrow morning before the sparrows start farting, 4:30am, Jaysus, they will have to tie me to the bike so I don’t fall off.

Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew

3 Dec

I had some pumpkin in the fridge left over from earlier this week, didn’t feel like soup, so I tried something from River Cottage Veg Everyday

This is the North African Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew, the recipe in the book was to serve 6, I halved it and still had plenty for tea with some left over for tomorrow – this is the halved recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
50 g red lentils
1/2 400 g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed (just freeze the other half in a zip lock bag for something else)
250ml passata
Pinch of saffron threads
Bay leaf
Handful of parsley, chopped
Handful of coriander, chopped
150 g squash or pumpkin. I used butternut because it’s what I had.
25gm rissoni pasta
600ml veg stock


Heat oil and fry onions over a medium heat until just softened.

Turn heat to low and add the garlic, celery, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and sautee for a couple of minutes.

Add the saffron, lentils, chickpeas, passata, parsley and 1/2 the coriander. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Peel and de-seed the squash and cut in to cubes. Add to pan with the stock and bay leaf, simmer covered for about 20 minutes then add the rissoni and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve with some greek yoghurt, toasted slivered almonds, the rest of the coriander and the carb of your choice.

Don’t forget to take the bay leaf out!

Quinoa – one of the only none animal sources of complete protein
Cous cous
Brown rice
Flat breads

My carb of choice at the moment is home made flatbread, really easy to make and you can use your imagination. I do a lot of my cooking by instinct so I’ll try to be reasonably precise with my description, mostly for me it’s go with the flow

1 1/2 cups of wholemeal Atta flour (you can get this with the other flours at the supermarket)
1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt
Pinch of salt
Teaspoon of Nigella seeds
A little slurp of vegetable oil
Water (can’t be exact just play it by ear)

Mix by hand in a bowl until it all comes together then knead for a few minutes until you have a soft dough, wrap in glad wrap and sit for 30 minutes.

Divide into 4 balls, roll out until about 10cm in diameter and cut roughly from the middle to the edge and roll into a cone, squish into a round again and roll out quite thin, this helps create some layers when the bread is cooking.

Lightly oil a fry pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side


The stew was fabulous by the way :-)

Next time I am going to whack in a fresh red chilli and some preserved lemon.

Just popping in

1 Dec

Phew, been too busy getting on with getting on to write about it.

Strength training is going really well, I’ve moved into a new 3 week block which has bought with it a whole new set of DOMS. I’ve made some great gains and have been able to lift more than I did in the previous block and am constantly fascinated by the changes in my body.

Muscles are good, I love feeling strong :-)

Running is coming along. I did 7 minutes run with 1 minute walk by 4 this morning, 28 minutes of running and 32 minutes all up covering exactly 6km.

I’ve got a 5km fun run on Sunday morning and I am going to treat myself and run the whole thing, gently, ’tis ok, I am aware of my limitations.

Still riding the bike as well.

With all that you can see that by the time I sit down at night I am too stuffed to blog.

Insert Leg related pun here

18 Nov

I’ve run out, it was a shallow well

Yesterday was legs day, yay!

A1 – Front Squats A2 – 1 and 1/4 hamstring curl
6 @ 23kg 6 @ 17.5kg
4 @ 28kg 4 @ 22.5kg
4 @ 33kg 4 @ 22.5kg
4 @ 33kg 4 @ 22.5kg
4 @ 35.5kg 4 @ 22.5kg
6 @ 35.5kg 6 @ 22.5kg

100 seconds rest

I’ve got the hang of front squats now, they are so worth learning how to do right. We’ve bought some nifty little rubber attachments for the barbell to make both front and back squats more comfortable, they are rather amusingly called a stingray (front) and a mantaray (back).

I think I wussed the weight a bit, the idea behind this set of workouts is that you go close to failure for the 4 rep sets and drop the weight for the 6 rep sets, I was doing them just a little too easily yesterday.

B1 – Back Lunges with Barbell B2 – Seated Goodmornings
8 @ 33kg 9 @ 23kg
8 @ 33kg 9 @ 25.5kg
8 @ 33kg 9 @ 25.5kg
8 @ 33kg 9 @ 25.5kg

90 second rest
No swearing this week, back lunge technique heaps better, damn damn damn good exercise

C1 – One Leg Calf Raise C2 – Tibialis
12 @ 10kg* 12 @ 10kg
12 @ 10kg 12 @ 15kg
12 @ 10kg 12 @ 15kg
12 @ 10kg 12 @ 15kg

75 second rest
* 10kg Dumbbell in the same hand as the leg that is doing the calf raise.
With a bit of mucking about with some webbing and the sewing machine we’ve rigged up some straps so we can do the tibialis exercise with the cable machine instead of trying to use the hamstring curl.

Running advanced today to 4 minutes on/1 minute off for 20 minutes. I am amazed at how much better I feel running than the last two times I came back from a stressie, it helps not carrying a little bit of extra weight and just generally feeling strong. In fact this is the first time I’ve come back from an injury leaner than before I had to stop running. Having some extra muscle really revs up the metabolism (so much so that I was starting to wake hungry in the middle of the night so now I have yoghurt and some nuts right before bed) and you’d be surprised at how much an hour of lifting weights takes out of you.


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