Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Cycling Commute #3: Free from data-geekery

I left my Garmin in my office yesterday so no data on today's ride, but just a sense that I was more comfortable and faster. I wanted to take the Farringdon route but forgot you can't turn right on Essex road so ended up going via Bank again but without the mishap of a wind through the City alleys. Near Westminster I misjudged a roundabout and got sworn at by a taxi driver but really was in no danger except from angry Londoners which is certainly safer than NYC denizens who would probably have chased me down after jumping out of the cab. Got to work on time (mostly) and at my desk by 9:20 even with getting coffee.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Cycling Commute #2: The long way home

After this mornings success it's time to head home. I decide to try to cut the riverbend jog off my route by going through the streets instead of following the river. I should have known this wouldn't work out in my favour when I missed the first turn and took a 2-mile detour. Next I discover that slightly more major streets and a little extra distance are actually my friends as I proceed to stop at every traffic light in west London. Well over an hour later I'm halfway home so I call Meg to tell her I won't be able to pick her up at her office because I'm taking so freaking long and put myself back on the river and speed towards home. I do learn a little lesson from the morning and go up via Farringdon or Barbican or somesuch instead of extra east via Old Street and the last 3 miles feel awesomely fast except that I am tired and scary hungry and also realising that right now I'm in no shape to do this AND run on the same day so it'll have to be either/or for a while. Then I came home and tried to email this post in but failed miserably so now it's the next day and I'm putting it up finally to try to hide the fact that I didn't run YET AGAIN today. And also I checked out my actual pace and the last 3 miles which felt good were actually really slow but my average moving pace was 8% slower in the evening than in the morning and I'm happy that I felt good considering it was 14% longer (yes, I'm being a data dork here.) 14.8 miles, 1:28:21

Monday, 28 July 2008

Cycling Commute #1: in which I feel awesome

After the weekend's drunken inaguration of Little Betty, this morning I decided to use her for more healthful pursuits and cycle to work. A bit of a late start and not the most efficient route left me getting to work at pushing 10am (oops) but I felt amazing. First of all, I had to ride right through the City at morning rush hour and I honestly haven't done a lot of city riding in my life so I'm not that comfortable with cars all around me. But I found several other bikers to follow and did not get hit, even by the guy driving the long flat open truck with wooden poles on it who acted like he was in a Mini. A few minor errors in navigation but I managed to not cross Putney Bridge. 13 miles and 1:20 later and I'm a rock star.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Inaugurating "The Littlest Betty": ...Pick more daisies and Monkeynuts

So Meg and I decided to go for a bike ride to get breakfast/brunch this "morning" (ok, 12:30) and on the advice of Krista decide on ...Pick More Daisies. We arrive, and except for the completely unnecessarily rude woman who yelled at us for taking her table when she went to the toilet (how were we to know when the hostess sent us to that table?) it was completely fine. Bloody Mary was disappointing - too much tomato juice and not enough Worchester or celery salt or Tobasco - but elsewise decent. They have Anchor Steam beer which Meg was happy about. I have huevos rancheros - decent except that the beans were too dry but still delich - and Meg has banana hotcakes and (underdone) streaky bacon.

Then we start walking around Crouch End and wind up in Kiss the Sky and then having dinner at MonkeyNuts (apparently MonkeyNuts is English for shells-on peanuts - who knew? - but they don't serve them there) for Brooklyn Lager (taste of home) and steaks (mine was underdone so I switched with Meg so we each had a slightly underdone steak instead of her having a perfectly done one and me having a ridiculously underdone one) and a toasted banana waffle sundae - completely unnecessary but YUM.

And then a bike ride home before it got too dark on the bikes. Loving the bike though I suspect I will be drenched after a 10-ish mile ride to work in this (English) heat.

Monday, 21 July 2008

DIY energy sources

I used Percy Pig as my fuel source during marathon training. Actually worked pretty well, and I thought they would probably be decent - all processed foods contain salt (usually in excess) and with the pork gelatin there ought to be some protein in there to balance the high GI of all that sugar, right? A quick review reveals me to be Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Yikes.

So now I'm searching for a way to make my own gels. I have a real aversion to Shot Bloks and the like - partly because I'm cheap and partly because I always hated the taste of PowerBars and partly because I don't want to go quite so processed.

The recipes I've read on the web basically all use honey as the base, with salts, peanut butter, soy protein stuff, and/or flavorings added as you like. I'm thinking I'll experiment a bit - but what do you use? Have you ever tried to go DIY?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

This could be dangerous - and tons of fun!

Meg and I bought bikes today. We've been talking about it for years (ever since our bikes got ruined in our first NY winter when we didn't have any place to bring them inside in the snow) and now we definitely have a place to keep them inside and I'm sick of the tube commute (8 miles in well over an hour - most of you RUN faster than that!). And I think this might be the inspiration for her to start exercising a bit - she was talking about going for a ride to/from dinner and I might even be able to get her excited about a triathlon (when we were in Cape Cod she was so excited to swim every day).

It could be a really expensive hobby, but it's a healthy one (as opposed to our other new no-friends hobby, the Wii) so whatever. It's going to be the impetus for me to get a bladder for the Camelbak my landlord left behind (yay!) and now Meg is looking up bike trips in Vietnam for our planned tour of Southeast Asia next year.

In that spirit - does anyone commute to work on their bike? Are the big spatulas that come with the bike going to cut it as pedals? Should I graduate immediately to those toe cage things, or wait until I'm hardcore enough to justify clipins?

(Pics coming as soon as my bike actually arrives at the shop...on Tuesday!)

Friday, 18 July 2008

The Jetlag 10k

I live an exciting life, let me tell you. My jetlag and I got off a plane at 6:30 this morning, slept until 2, did a little work (and catching up on blogs...429 posts left!), then spent Friday evening running 10k. [And Week 1, Day 2 of 100 Pushups - maxed at 4 + down but no up]

Life is finally settling down again. No photos from the holiday yet but it was amazing. The baby is so cute, and seriously the happiest baby I've ever met. My time in New York was as expected - I got to hang out with a few friends but mostly work stuff.

I do miss NYC though. My morning run there was awesome, despite the heat and humidity even at 6:30 am. I miss seeing loads of runners in the morning (London is definitely an after-work workout town), and watching the city wake up. I'd never run along the East River at that time of morning before, and didn't realize it was home to quite so many people - some of whom had amazing setups, including one couple who managed to bed down in the garden, under a tree, and were almost definitely the last to wake up that morning as it still looked cool and dark even as the rest of us were sweating. Some people might find that off-putting, but it really felt like home to me, though of course I wish there was no need for anyone to sleep on the street ever. I had a lovely chat with a guy who was fishing for breakfast as well.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

No time but an ORN

Running to a meeting (in NYC) but before I forget wanted to write today's Obligatory Running Note - 4.5 miles, 1 hour. 3 1-mile repeats (sort of). Week 1, Day 1 of 100 pushups. Maxed out at 4.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Wow. I love the long holiday. I'm a total European-style-vacation convert. Like many Americans, I used to believe the long weekend, on a regular basis, was sufficient to keep me refreshed. No longer. I spent the first week renewing my spirit (Glastonbury festival - complete hedonism) and the second week reviving my body (sleeping in, a little running, swimming). I'm back today feeling alive.

I ran once in this time. Oops. Not a great run, because I did it: hung over, after a huge breakfast, in the middle of the day, in 85+ degree weather and 80% humidity. But 10k later and I felt awesome. Other than that, I plan to take my jetlag to bed early, run a long one (10 miles?) this weekend, and start up on the plan and the 100 push-up challenge next week.

I've missed you all, and will spend some time catching up on the 400 blog posts you've accumulated while I've been gone!