I cycled to work in the freezing cold on Friday this week. I was particularly pleased with mile 13 which is a steep climb up Atkinson Road and Condercum Road until West Road. I usually get so far up the road and end up pushing to the top. This week was different however and I used my newly acquired leg strength and power to good effect. This wasn't at all bad for 07:30 in the morning either!
Speaking of strength and power, I have noticed a change this week. As well as this cycle ride, I've been able to put more effort into the 2 Body Pump classes this week. I'm lifting heavier weights for the majority of tracks in the class. This is very encouraging, given that I'm only in week 3 of training!
Back to the bike ride though and I could not feel my toes by the time I got to work and they were without doubt the coldest 17 miles I'd ever cycled! I didn't realise that 8 hours later I'd be doing an even colder and more difficult ride home! I set off at 17:30 and I didn't feel very well at all. I was sick a few times at the side of the road and it was either the fish from the canteen or a "spare" chicken tikka sandwich from Bow Monkey that set it off. Despite being well wrapped up, I was absolutely freezing and whenever my heart rate got up to a decent level my head started to pound! What a state!
It took me 2 hours to get home but not once did I think of giving up and ringing Katy for a lift (well maybe once or twice!). I felt far from 100% and the conditions were bordering on dangerous. That bike ride was one of the hardest things I've done this year. 13 hours later, on a snow covered Saturday morning I felt much better and ready for Beach Bootcamp. It was the hardest session out of the 3 I've done so far but as enjoyable as ever. There is always plenty of opportunity to push yourself during the session and with plenty of encouragement from David Fairlamb I tried to go faster or put maximum effort in where I could. I say it every week but the initial 45 minute session flew over and it was soon time to tackle "The Steps"! 8 times again! And once again I was in great company with several of the folk from Beach Bootcamp in attendance.
The first time up the steps was quite straightforward. I felt great at the top! But there was no time for hanging around in the cold so it was straight into the next effort. That was actually a feature of todays steps session. i.e. no recovery time in between efforts. Each effort brought more pain and burn in the legs. I stumbled slightly on effort 6. It was a bit like a boxer who goes down in the first round of a fight! It was a slip rather than a knock out blow! Effort 7 was the most difficult and I hardly had the strength to life my legs to the required height! Every time I even threatened to slow the pace down I felt a tap on my back pushing me on.
Effort 8 required every ounce of concentration, determination and energy I had left to give. The burn on the final few flights of steps was incredible and when I reached the top I fell in a heap. This was no slip! It was a knock out for sure!
Without doubt those 8 efforts were the hardest thing I've done so far this year. The whole session just about put yesterday's difficult bike ride into the shade in terms of both raw difficulty and the sheer determination needed to succeed. I just need to put in 90 minutes tomorrow to bring this week to a close but it all starts again as soon as Monday!