Saturday, 28 February 2015

It’s not all plain sailing but spring is springing

Last time I think I was talking about the final race of the year, which went pretty well.  Since then, there’ve been a few little speedbumps along the way. Nothing serious, but enough to remind me to pay attention in more ways than one. 

Firstly, my own damn fault but I left a fair chunk of skin lying on the road when I came off a bike recently.  I was testing a few different kinds of recumbents to see how I liked them and whether I can ride them or not. I’ve been getting increasingly unhappy with significant time spent on a standard diamond frame bicycle these days feeling discomfort in neck, wrists, back and arse mainly, and as I’ve always though recumbent look cool and as there’s a recumbent dealer in the village down the road why not give it a go.  He’s very helpful in that he lets you ride a good few as an introductory session to see how you get on, explaining the handling quirks, different starting process etc before you go and the village is a dead-end road so low traffic, just blat up and down and practice low speed handling and turning at either end. 

The bikes were getting increasingly quick as I progressed from one to the other, with the last being a twin 650c wheeled, skinny-tyred beast with a more aggressively laid back seat. At this point I thought I was getting on fairly well until either I got over confident and lost concentration, or got caught out by the drizzle that was falling by now and went down hard on my right hand side.  All the knobbly bits took a pounding with skin taken off of my right ankle bone, hip and elbow and the helmet doing its job.  The ankle in particular is irritating the hell out of me now ten days later and the elbow itching like hell as the scab is starting to come off.  But still, it was a great experience, and you’ll be hearing more of that going forward.  I could post pictures, but they’re not too pretty.

BG control was also good during that session, which brings me to the other down rather than up experience.  Whilst cycling BG control has always been good, and yoga/weights has also been good, from Christmas onwards I’ve really been struggling with the BG control on running.  It didn’t seem to matter how much I cut the basal rate back by and even cutting it 2 hours before running made no difference, it seemed that I was always suffering a massive drop early in the run, in some cases down to hypo levels of 2.5 or so.   The problem with that is that running symptoms tend to mask hypo symptoms until you stop, then you feel them and then test and find yes, way too low.  That then leads to a quick mid-run snack, bounce back higher and potential yo-yo if you try and correct (I never correct post exercise). 

The other thing it leads to is excess carb consumption completely negating one reason for the run in the first place, and then potentially leads to weight gain if the pattern is repeated enough.
Frankly I was stumped. 

According to the books I was doing the right thing in the way I was reducing the basal, but I was too deep into it to recognise other factors that could be at work.  As usual the forums were the place to go for an independent view.  

“check your basal rates” they all said.  Of course, if in doubt check the basals.  Looking back that was probably obvious as my snacking needs had started creeping up over a period of a few weeks.  I hadn’t thought that they’d change that rapidly having established a baseline just before Christmas, but was assured it could be the case, so I worked out a nice quiet day where I was not going to be too active to do the test. 


Dropping like a stone with me just sat in the cinema watching Shaun the Sheep (a must view for anyone with kids, or anyone without kids).  Abandon that one to eat, and then try again a couple of days later having reduced all basals by 10%.  That’s much better – not perfect but better, perhaps tending to slightly higher than I’d like, but based on this week’s performance, not far off.  As long as I get the basal reduction implemented early enough I can run with little additional carbs needed for up to 45 mins so far. 

And spring is nearly here, hooray, and big plans afoot for the veggie plot.  I’ve been measuring up for some raised beds as a couple of areas have a tendency to heavy soil and waterlogging as the veggie plot is at the bottom of the slope with a water table only a few inches below surface at times.  Should give me warmer beds, easier to get going in the spring and with better quality root veg in particular.  I’ll get the wood ordered and put them in during March while I’m at home. Pictures will be following. I've also started taking the bonsai out of their winter hibernation, photos of the transition from bare twig through bud and blossom will follow.

And finally, I do love hearing new music. Tonight was Walter Trout, an amazing guitarist and singer, the Allman Brothers Band and Wilko Johnson, one of the few benefits of spending long amounts of time sat in planes and cars, which has also let me finish reading Murakami’s “What I talk About When I talk About Running”.  A great and easy read for any distance runner or cyclist.  I’ve also finished The Chimp Paradox, but that needs more study.  Next, Gandhi’s autobiography, picked up on a market stall for £3, 30 rupees in India (about 30pence).   

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