Week 22 – Going the Extra Mile

In which I Cycle 200k, Run 26k and do not Swim.

Trying to cut into my cycling target has produced some changes in the way I use my bicycle. Before this year, the bike was just a way of getting quickly and cheaply around town – the journey was just something to get out of the way as quickly as possible. Now that every kilometer counts towards meeting my target however, I have started to behave in some very peculiar ways. I can be seen turning into streets in the neighbourhood that I have never travelled down in the thirty years I  have lived here, or disappearing into a well-marked cul-de-sac only to re-emerge a minute or two later. Sometimes I set out in the opposite direction to where I am intending to go – I am adding a lap of the block where I live to put a bit more on the journey. For the same reason, when coming home I often cycle right past my front door – my street is slightly sloping so I will allow any remaining speed on the downhill approach to dissipate in a brief freewheel before returning up the hill, so no ‘free’ distance is lost. I can also be seen circling monotonously around the neighbourhood parks – something I haven’t yet seen anyone else doing unless they are running. And now I positively relish little trips to pick up necessary groceries, go to the library, return faulty goods etc. which I would formerly have found tedious. Instead of trying to combine everything into one big trip I will happily now treat each one separately and duplicate journeys. I have even almost given up walking – getting the bike out for even the shortest journeys – which is probably not a beneficial side-effect. Every little helps – as people used to be able to say before the expression was stolen from us by Tesco’s (yes, they hate that apostrophe, which I why I use it).

I’m off to Crete for a fortnight (good for swimming, okay for running, bad for cycling) so this blog may also take a short holiday until I am back.

Thursday. Another 7k run and half-hour’s cycling in the park before having breakfast at the cafe with an old acquaintance who happened to be there before starting his day’s work. A second ride in the evening made 44k for the day. And – targets be damned – I booked a flight to Greece for next week as I feel I need a holiday from this obsessive exercising.

Friday. Steal a march on the day and beat the road-traffic and the kids, dog walkers and nannies in the park for an early-morning 25k ride in blissful near-solitude. Later, when I am running my errands (library, hardware store, grocery) it starts to rain, so I was glad to have racked up those early miles. Later on the clouds blow away and I get the day’s bike total up to 52k, with a 2k run tucked in for good measure.

Saturday. It’s parkrun day, but as they rely on volunteers to keep the events running I have put myself forward this week. I’m early, so I slip in a 2k run before the start and find I am assigned to back-marking the run. I go round with the slowest runner in around 45 minutes, so that when I finish everyone knows they can pack up. It’s 5k but at brisk walking-pace it doesn’t count to my total. I have a bike ride instead, and again in the late afternoon I go out on my bike and manage another 2k run. Total cycling for the day – 37k.

Sunday. Wet, but not too wet for an early 6k run (29″12′), some cycling (8k) and a ‘registration’ run of 1k to measure out how many paces I complete in one kilometer – 416. Useful to know when on unmeasured routes. All afternoon I am plastering and rendering on the new door – no energy at the end of that to do more.

Monday. Crappy weather – rain and wind. Even the cricket at Headingly was rained off, but managed 29k on the bike in bits and bobs.

Tuesday. More rubbish weather. To the park for a grudging 6k run and an incidental 10k of bike riding.

Wednesday. 18k of biking round the park before I have to leave for my flight.


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