This weekend saw the first warm weather all year. I had a FANTASTIC weekend with lots of activity and lots of good eats and drinks. Having said that, it definitely had it’s ups and downs….. Both literal and figurative.
This picture has NO filter – yes the sky really was that colour this weekend!
Saturday: I took part in my first ever Park Run at Brockwell Park. I turned up early having hugely misjudged how long it would take me to cycle there so I stood just inside the Lido and watched everyone else turn up. There were about 200 people there, the sun was shining and everyone was in a good mood. I was very nervous. I hadn’t raced since my last tri in September last year – in fact that was the only timed 5k I’d ever done. My normal speed is just over 30 mins and from looking at previous results, this seemed to be a v fast park run, with only a handful of runners taking over 30 minutes. I did not want to be last!
So I set off and plodded my way around the first lap of Brockwell Park, overtaking a few people up the hill but mainly being overtaken as I started right in the middle. I checked my watch shortly after the half way point and realised I was doing pretty well! Resolve kicked in – I was going to keep running and make this a PB 😀
Resolve failed as I ran up the second hill. Head full of negative thoughts ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I’m going to have to stop and walk a bit’. Then I thought of all the wonderful runner blogs I read – “Alice this is just 5k and they run marathons and ultra marathons what on earth are you complaining about?!” So I started visualising sprinting across the finish line with a sub-30 min time and I kept going.
Long story short – 27 minutes!!!! 3 and half minutes off my previous PB. It was great fun (especially in the sun) and getting a PB is such a good feeling, I couldn’t get the smile off my face for the rest of the day. I’m planning on going back every two weeks I think. Massive thanks to all the volunteers as well. Have you ever done a park run?
Sunday: The perfect day for a cycle. Forecast was for 17 degrees C, blue skies, light winds. We were waiting on a wine delivery so set out just after 1 all excited about wearing SHORTS(!!) for the first time in MONTHS! (I love the sun).
Our route was a 40mile ‘out and back’ from Brixton to Oxted, leading us up Crystal Palace, down Anerley Hill (with glorious views of the countryside stretched out miles in front) and along to Croydon.
Dodgy five minutes avoiding trams and buses in Croydon and then we headed to Sanderstead, Upper Warlingham, Titsey Hill, and down into Oxted. From Sanderstead, pretty much the whole journey out is gradually climbing uphill until you scoot down into Oxted. By the top, my legs were exhausted, I was in need of a rest and a stretch and I was looking forward to the downhill home! But we were out in the country and the sky was ridiculously blue so I couldn’t keep the smile off my face even as my legs ached.
We had a quick break in Oxted with a flapjack each and some stretches on my painful hip flexors (I didn’t even realise this was a thing that existed and could be stretched until a few months ago) and then it was time to face Titsey Hill going upwards. This is a hard climb, especially at the beginning where it rises to 16% for a while. Last time I did it I had to stop three times, heart pounding so hard it was going to fly out of my chest, unable to breathe.
I really realised the power of visualisation. I had some negative moments where I could see myself reaching James at the top, bursting into tears and saying “I’m never going to be able to get up Mount Ventoux this summer” (yep, that is the plan). As I thought that, my legs got heavier and heavier and my breathing got more laboured. Then I made a concerted effort to think positive! I saw myself rounding the next corner, and the next, the road getting easier, and reaching James at the top with a huge smile on my face having not stopped once. Lo and behold, that’s what happened!! I was on top of the world. It had been hard but I’d made it and never once had I thought it was going to kill me.
Quick breather at the top then it was the long downhill back into London – yay! My favourite bit of the whole trip. We zoomed down the first stretch, loving life. I was on James’ wheel, for once actually being able to keep up. Then…….
A pot-hole. Lots of them actually, but this particular one was ginormous. James spotted it, went to move to the right to avoid it, signalling as he did so. At the same time, a car decided to overtake him and so he swiftly moved back to the left, avoiding the pothole on that side. It was too late for me, my reflexes didn’t work that fast… I tried to avoid the pothole on my right, whilst also avoiding the cars, didn’t go quite far enough…. bam! bam! Both wheels into the pothole and…. a double flat.
Basic mistake not to pump my tires up enough in the morning. We tried to use James’ spare inner tube but it was a different size so – long story short, I ended up in a £35 taxi home whilst James zoomed downhill and enjoyed the last 15 miles. To make matters worse, I’d taken the keys, but he beat the taxi by about half an hour! The taxi ride was so depressing. I felt really guilty for James having just to sit outside the flat, really annoyed at myself, and overall disappointed that I hadn’t been able to finish the cycle. Like I said, a weekend of ups and downs….
A day later and I’m in a better mood – in fact I’m raring to go and do the whole thing again so that this time I can make it back home!!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made cycling?
Were you able to enjoy the lovely weather in some parts of the UK this weekend? What did you do?
Do you use visualisation when running / cycling?