its been a little while since i last updated...and since i'm 'hangin about' for a few days in london in anticipation of our reschedule flight to lanzarote, seems like a good time to spend catching up.
the three weeks spent in somerset flew by once back into the taunton routine. the signs of with spring pushing through the end of a harsh winter and made cycling out on exmoor, the quantocks and blackdowns a real pleasure - most days. there were to occaisions when i curtailed my ride due to fear of hypothermia. NOT just being a softened fair weather cyclist these days - it really is a safety concern when cyclig alone, if you find your self hammerig ith clenched jaw and grip on handle bars just to keep warm at that stage you are too cold to drink, eat or stop and change a puncture. i honestly oudl have called my mum for a pick up on one occaision, but i was cold beyon being able to handle a mobile phone. or speak. after that paticular morning ride, i got straight into bed, fully clothed plus woolley hat and hot-water-bottle, cup of tea and central heating on full throttle for an hour before i was warm. predictibly i then fell asleep - in the meantime the weather cleared for a beautiful evening run high up on the quantocks.
life's pretty simple when i'm there - the 33.3m pool is 150m over the road, and each morning beteen 7 and 9 is time for lap swimming. as is the case in all of the local pools i've used, and i'm sure most of those that i havn't, there is a crowd of regulars, who i soon got to know. Once folk relise a) that you are going to swim a lot faster than them, and NOT stop at each end b) that you are going to be there every morning but c) you are not actually disturbing their swim as long as they dont stand and chat in the middle of the lane and d) that you are actually a very friendly person (most mornings!) .....i think they enjoy the interesting new feature of the morning session and make every effort to ensure that you get a good swim. I's arrie each morning just after 7am, long warm up until the pool got quieter at around 7:45 then swim my set. after a cool-down i'd usually spend 10-15 minutes chatting with the various interesting locals before heading home at 9 for my breakfast!
next, each day would be either a ride or gym session with runs scheduled for later in the afternoon. liek the pool, i'd pick quiter times in the gym - late morning or mid afternoon (sometimes both!) and here again you soon recognise and get recognised by the regular local users, and by the end of the 3 weeks i was on chatting terms with a few people there too.
for my rides of course during the i'm mostly on my on - which suits me great. either i have some pretty specific hr rate based interval work to do on the flatter routes which tend to be more major roads (that's by somerset strandards!), hill reps or i just want to ride long and explore. i can stop when i choose to, without having to spend time debating it or find a cafe...and can listen to tunes if i feel in the mood- crossing exmoor on a clear sunny spring day with some nice twirly trance in your ears is just majic. However, at the eekends there is the option to hook up with a group form somerset RC tri club for their 2hr fast ride to Willand and back over the hills - i made use of this when possible as it as a good chance for hanging on in a strong group, as well as making useful local contacts with knowledge of the local tri scene.
options for running are just as good - i have a 10.5km road loop around teh back of town that has become my standard run-off-teh-bike, it can be modified for 40 or 30 min run too. for my intervals i use the flat canal path or one of teh schools tracks, then there are various length routes with a few more hills around the lanes that i'll do for a longer run ...or hop in the car and drive to the foot of either of the sets of hills that overlook the town and get lost for a few hours off-road.
mum and i get into a nice groove - taking care of each other's meals when either of us have busy days, and making an effort to switch the computer off and sitting down to watch some TV together at the end of the evening. Aside from that we pretty much stay out of one another's way and go about our on business. i sleep well in my own room and sometimes even get a chance to nap when the house is quiet in the afternoon. in all its pretty close to perfect enviroment for my lifestyle and enable me to fully focus on the training i need - albeit a little isolated to make it sustainable long-term. More on this later...
London is a total contrast! i've enjoyed the buzz of living in this city for most of the 13 years that i have done so - but now, as a transient visitor it just seems like everything is either more unpleasant, rushed or hard work than it needs to be. I have a large netork of friends in london, and always enjoy being able to catch up with the tri club and the various people who generoulsy look after my chiropractic and sports massage needs when i'm in town (thanks Back to Health and The TriTouch) There are some great training opportunites in london if you are 'in the know' - and having been a serious triathlete trainin in london for 5 years, i consider myself to be - but none are 'easy options'. for example - for a club bto get any pool time for a coached squad session, this must be out of hours. so its a choice of getting up at 5am for a 6am session, or home from the 8pm session after 10 - or both. Fair enough when your working a 9-6 desk, and getting paid - that's about all you can do anyway - but if i have 3-5hr more training to fit in the day, its not ideal. Another factor is geography: though all of my friends and sports thearpists are 'london based' - that definition actually covers about a 15 mile radius from south tottenham, where i stay. i've always commuted around town by bike and thought very little of it - but i've easily cycled over 100 miles, carrying a back pack of kit and locks, just getting between A, B, C and D since friday (it's tuesday and i have a couple more errands today, too!). The result is that there never seems to be enough time to fit everything in, and i'm feeling disproportinaltly drained for a relatively small amount of training, and have effectively ground to a halt with the news that our flight to lanzarote as cancelled. I simply do not have the energy for any extra time battling to train in london, which has prompted me to question my current level of fitness* and take a break. Well, my bike and much of my training gear is boxed up to fly anyway!
*(i intend to talk about this in a following post)
i know that Steven suffers the same difficulties in london too, though he is much better at making things as conveineint as possible by choosing a local gym, minimising social engagements and using public transport or walking as a means to relax. He is in his sisters basement 10miles away from my brother and sisters sofa so e can go several without seeing one another - which doesn't help. So, he came up with a neat solution: buy a house in taunton!
yes - returning to the subject of the virtues of life in my somerset bolt-hole...when steven came to visist and run the taunton marathon he also arranged for us to look at a couple of houses, one of which seemed ideal. we made an offer, it has been accepted and a sale agreed yesterday! so, being 'stuck' in london a few extra days has really got a silver lining :o)
that said PLEASE let the winds be doing the right thing for a take off on saturday...
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