Sunday, September 03, 2006


I'm back! I've just been through a 10 day spell where I didn't eat a single meal (including breakfast) in the house, so even though I've been popping back to sleep occasionally, it's nice to have spent the day in the house, lying around in front of the tv and eating fresh fruit and veg. (Well, the part of the day that wasn't spent on a 17 mile run, at least).

I seem to have loads of stuff roaming round in my head, so this could be a long post.


London was good. I got to see some friends again, and you can even just about see me on this photo:

I'm kind of hiding behind people, but my head looks tiny! The person next to me was standing on a bench, she isn't some sort of 6 foot 4 amazon, by the way!

Anyway, we met up in the pub and then decided to walk down to the ground for the game. It should have been a 2 mile walk, maximum. Note the use of the words "should have been". Not being Londoners we didn't have an intimate knowledge of the local area, and being a little tipsy we didn't check the map. We decided that instead of taking the most direct route we had enough time to walk the slightly longer route down the river from Richmond to Twickenham, so we set off down the river.

Except we started walking down the wrong side of the river. And we didn't check whether there was a bridge. You would have thought there'd be a bridge, right? Wrong. We got to Twickenham (or more precisely the bank of the Thames opposite Twickenham) and while we could hear the crowd in the ground, we couldn't actually get to it. There was supposedly a ferry, but no indication of it actually going anywhere.

So instead we had to walk on to the next bridge over the river, a mile or two further down, and then walk all the way back. Good exercise, but not so good for making it to the ground for kick off! Also, the sort of walk you'd have worn proper shoes for, had you known.

Anyway, we made it to the ground before half time at least, and didn't have any major mishaps on the way to the airport for Part 2 of the weekend.


I am convinced that Prague hates me. The first time I went it did admittedly have an excuse, being December, and me being there for the Christmas markets. You wouldn't expect the weather to be tropical. And indeed it wasn't. It poured with rain, and it was cold.

I wanted to go back in summer so I could see it at its best. So we went in August and... it poured with rain and it was cold. Fantastic. My mother asked why I was putting a scarf in my bag (a big pashmina type scarf, except not pashmina, because it was £2 from Primark), the real intention was to wear it as a wrap in the evening. But no, it was firmly anchored round my neck for a lot of the time I was there, making my mother insanely jealous of my slight warmth. I had jeans and a jacket, but hadn't really packed for cold weather. I don't know whether I was feeling the cold more because of my lack of insulation, but it was one of those moments where you wonder how cold you'll be in winter if it's this bad in August!

Other than that, the trip was fantastic. We got upgraded to a one bedroom suite at the hotel (and had chosen a pretty swanky hotel in the first place), we saw loads of the city and managed to find some decent vegetarian food (having had the prophets of doom all week at work telling me that veggie and Prague don't really go). I climbed the tower in the cathedral in the castle and hardly broke sweat (forgetting that my mother isn't quite as fit as I am, sadly, in my eagerness to get to the top). Her pedometer said that we walked 25000+ steps each day, and I even went for a run. Of which more...


Other people buy cigarettes and alcohol in duty free. I bought a heart rate monitor/running computer. There is no hope for me!

Anyway, having bought it on the trip out to Prague it was the perfect incentive to actually go for a run while I was there to put it through its paces. I have to say, I'm in love. Obviously, I need to learn what to do with all the stats it throws out, but I just like having them and looking through them, and it's revealed some pretty interesting things so far.

The main one being the "fitness test" function. This essentially monitors your resting heart rate, which is apparently a pretty good measure of overall fitness. But, good test or not, I liked the idea of a fitness test that involves lying down for 10 minutes.

I have to admit, I nearly died of shock when the result popped up at the end, and out of the seven categories it put me in the top one, "elite". I really wasn't expecting that! It turns out that my resting heart rate is glacially slow. Average is 60 - 80, but the other night I spent 10 minutes watching my resting heart rate (see how sad a new gadget can make me), and it was flickering between about 35 and 40. Which is apparently a sign of a "highly trained athlete". Woo hoo! It's ironic that my mother's had heart problems all her life, but my heart seems to be in fine shape.

I really need to measure my maximum heart rate though, by doing some sort of maximal exertion test. On my run today (17 miles at just a bit over 10 minutes per mile - nearly 3 hours) apparently my heart rate was at about 80% the whole way. I really shouldn't be able to exercise at that intensity for so long, particularly when it didn't feel like I was pushing myself that much so I'm wondering whether my actual maximum heart rate is higher than it's estimating. Something to look into I think.

What else?

There's other stuff, like Wigan being almost assured of Super League survival, visiting the relatives and bingeing on fruit when I got back to remove the taste of processed white carbs, having my suspicion confirmed that a long run kills my appetite more effectively than anything I know (you'd have thought that I'd wat anything after a 17 mile run, but actually I'm too tired to prepare anything, and not hungry enough to make it a necessity.

Oh, and my stint standing on the hard shoulder of the M6 last night wearing a size 20 coat which wrapped round me twice waiting for the rescue people to come and fix my car (again). I'm getting increasingly worried that they're going to chuck me out (this actually happened once before, the AA sent me a letter saying if I called them again they'd charge me and it wouldn't be covered by my membership, even though, if I recall, me calling them out is precisely the reason I took out the membership in the first place). We'll see. I did look very strange though, my excuse is that I'd been giving mum a lift to the airport and after she was rescued by my grandfather while I waited for the breakdown people I put the coat she'd been wearing on, because it was a thick coat she didn't want to take back. I can't believe it used to be mine!

But I'm getting tired again so I'll leave those bits for another day. Hope you've all been well while I've been away!


Blogger Isabelle said...

Welcome back. Glad you had a good time on your trips.

That is a bit ironic about the AA...

10:30 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I love how we make excuses to justify why we are eating/wearing/doing something that we think we 'shouldn't' be doing. I do it all the time!

Congratulations on becoming an ELITE athlete! I can only fantasise about being fit enough to run for three hours straight - I'm buggered after half an hour!

Great to hear you had a good time. It makes me get itchy feet hearing about people's travels that's for sure.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Wow about the "elite" rating. I'm trying to get into running, but haven't quite found my rythmn.

I missed reading you while you were gone, although it sounds like a good time.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Haloranch said...

Wow. You're now officially an elite athlete. Congratulations!! I just took my resting pulse and it's 80 - upper end of average. However, I am doing the treadmill daily and maybe soon mine too will be glacially low. I can't wait!

10:49 PM  

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