Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back on the bike

I have indeed been back on the bike and zooming all over the place. It's been hot this week (by British standards, anyway) and I'd no doubt have been very sticky were it not that I now have a cycling top.

I've had it for a while. It came from a shop called Mountain Warehouse, and was reduced to about tuppence in the sales, possibly because it says it's a size 18 but fits me (generally a size 14 or 16 on top) pretty well. It's grey and a darkish fuchsia pink; possibly not the colourway I'd have chosen first, but it makes me nicely visible to traffic, and (as I said), it was cheap. I've also acquired gloves, and I've been wearing knee-length baggy shorts this week and feeling almost like a proper cyclist.

I've noticed that I seem to be a lot more noticeable than usual when I'm wearing the "proper cyclist" kit. Over the last few days:
  • Several waves and smiles from other cyclists, mostly togged up in much more impressive cycling gear
  • Happy hen-nighters leaning out of the windows of a pink limo at one in the afternoon, calling "Keep pedalling darling!"
  • Smiley young man at traffic lights with Afro hairstyle and American accent: "Live strong, lady!" (This is really not the sort of thing people tend to say to each other on the streets of Edinburgh.)
  • Wolf-whistle from guy in van.
This is all rather a mystery to me, especially the last two. It's not as though the cycling kit is remotely revealing or anything. It must be the fuchsia. Or maybe it's the warm weather making everyone uninhibited.

I haven't been feeling all that attractive lately. Over the last few weeks, I've had to accept that the numbers on the scale have gone up a bit, and it isn't just a random fluctuation which will go down again next time. It's not very encouraging.

I know that some of it could be muscle from all the cycling - my bodyfat percentage has stayed much the same, and my thighs and core seem to have firmed up a bit. But my eating hasn't been fantastic, and there is definitely squidge on top of the muscle. Things have been a bit stressful* and busy lately, and there's been chocolate at work, and that's not a very good combination. I need to take in grapes or something to nibble instead, but I keep forgetting because I am pathetic sometimes.

On the other hand, I have now had my last podiatry appointment for a while, and my feet seem to be working well with the orthotics. Unless I develop another problem, I don't have to go back for four to six years - and I don't have to go through my GP again if I do. I can just phone the clinic and make an appointment directly.

In preparation for the Last Podiatry Appointment, I got myself to Run and Become and bought myself some new running shoes so I could get the podiatrist to take a look at them. Unlike the last pair, these were properly fitted; they have a neutral footbed (not one designed to correct pronation) but the insole lifts up and the orthotic fits underneath. As with the ordinary shoes I've bought, it was a bit tricky to find shoes that were both deep enough to take the orthotic and wide enough for my duck-like feet, but I'm fairly confident.

I have yet to take them for their first run, partly because it's got to be a trial run on the treadmill just in case they aren't right and I have to swap them. The plan is to pay for a single session at my old gym and see how I do, and then join the beginners' group in the running club I used to belong to at work. That's if I haven't lost my ability to do this in the year I've been off. Wish me luck.

*The stress probably deserves a post of its own, but the short version is that J is still having problems with depression and OCD, not sleeping well, and finding it very hard to leave the house to go to work in the mornings. Not good. I am pretty busy with work and coursework, and I'm not able to provide as much support as I want to. No doubt this too will pass...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I'm back

We returned from our holiday yesterday - we spent a week in a holiday house near Rydal, not far from Windermere, with my parents, uncle, aunt and grandmother. (The siblings were at home, working and looking after my parents' cats and our guinea pigs.)

It was very restful, but rather wet. We had one day when it was sunny in the morning, and several days when it rained torrentially for most of the day. These stepping stones* were just along the road from the house. This is what they looked like when we got here**. By midweek, they were completely underwater.

The weather rather put a damper on my plan to go for lots and lots of healthful walks - we did manage three walks, but none was longer than a couple of miles. It was long enough to discover that I will really need to get some better walking shoes. I spent most of the week wearing these, which are perfectly comfy, but since I wear them to work I had better get something a bit more mud-resistant.

We did go to Blackwell (very pretty Arts and Crafts house, highly recommended), Brantwood (the home of John Ruskin), Hawkshead village, Hawkshead Brewery (which is not in fact in Hawkshead at all, and which would probably have been more interesting if we'd managed to be there on a Saturday), and Dove Cottage.

We also took a trip on the Eskdale and Ravenglass steam railway, took a boat trip on Lake Windermere and had a wander round various villages. Which all sounds quite busy, but on the other hand there was also rather a lot of lying around on sofas reading books or doing the crossword. And, as J puts it, "eating two meals a day", by which he means going out somewhere for lunch and then eating a cooked meal in the evening as well. Which we did.

So although I feel rested, I also feel that the past week has contained more food and less physical activity than might be entirely optimal...

Time for another system-reboot, I think. And time to get back on the bike.

*My camera is not working and J was taking film photos which have not yet been developed, so the pictures in this post were found on Google Images.

** Except that it wasn't so sunny and the trees had a lot more leaves.