Janathon Day 30 – running round in circles

This is going to sound like such a cop out, but today’s ‘running’ was jogging on the spot. Well, it was going to be jogging on the spot for five minutes but I got bored after twenty-three seconds so I started running laps of the rug in the conservatory but I got too dizzy so I started running laps of the downstairs then decided to bring in upstairs too then found out that it’s not really possible to run upstairs so carried on running downstairs from one end of the house to the other until my five minutes was up. 


Yeah, rubbish ‘running’ effort but I have done six miles on the bike today too. Am I forgiven?

Janathon Day 29 – forgetfulness

I did a new body pump DVD this morning then went to the gym and went on the cross-trainer and went on the treadmill then when I got home I was going to blog but ran out of time because I was going out to lunch


and when I got back, I’d forgotten all the things I was going to put in my blog.

Probably wasn’t very interesting anyway, although I do seem to remember it was going to contain the word ‘wankers’.

Janathon Day 12 – it’s all going well

I’ve always been a fair weather cyclist, only venturing out for a leisurely ride on hot days, usually poncing about the countryside on my pink Pashley Poppy.


Since getting my Boardman though


and feeling guilty with it spending most of its time in the garage (although not as much time as my little Raleigh Shopper which I haven’t been on for years),


as my £30-from-gumtree mountain bike


is the one that gets the most use, getting me to the station and back or taking me into town, I’ve taken the opportunity when it’s arisen to get out for a longer ride on the Boardman.

Over the last few weeks, these rides have been a trip to Wye and back (around 20 miles), 28 miles last Sunday and then a record ride for me – 40 miles yesterday.

I was feeling mega-super-hardcore about my 40 miles, until I remembered @naominf RAN 45 miles the day before. Mega-mega-super-super-hardcore.

Although my Janathon exercise effort was to be applauded,


my diet certainly wasn’t. My food intake for the day was:

Breakfast: satsuma, nectarine, plum

Lunch: Creamy hot chocolate and a toasted teacake

Post-bike ride: 2 x hot chocolate (I was freezing) and 3 biscuits

Pre-dinner snack: 2 x Ferrero Rocher

Dinner: pizza and garlic bread

Post-dinner: 1 piece of peanut butter fudge, 3 squares salted chocolate, Tesco mint thin

Think I need to go and make some granola bars so I have something a bit healthier I can munch on instead of Christmas leftovers.

I also need some cold-weather cycling kit as the three-quarter length cycling tights I bought in the summer weren’t quite up to the job of keeping me warm. Any suggestions?

Janathon Day 9 – silver tights are mine

Not quite up at 5:30am as planned. Not even up at 6:30. Just about made it up by 7, although it was dark and I was warm but unless I slept through January, it was still Janathon and I wanted to go for a run before going to university, so that meant getting out of bed. Hang on, did I say ‘wanted to go for a run’? Blimey, Janathon is doing strange things to me, that’s three runs this week; I’m not sure I’ve run three times in the last three months.

Because I went out bang on school run mum time (despite it mostly being school run dads from what I could see this morning), my run was a bit stop/start for the first half a mile on the road where the primary school is, then it was stop/start for the next half a mile because of all the mud and puddles, then it was stop/start again as I collided with another school run going to another school. Still, three miles was done, just mostly at a walk.

Then, because the lifts at the station are being renovated, I had to carry my heavy mountain bike up the stairs and when I got to university, I ended up walking up and down three flights of stairs three times, then two flights of stairs twice and if I’d known that was going to happen, I’d have counted that for today’s Janathon exercise, especially as I asked on the Janathon Facebook page if I could carry some of it over to tomorrow and was told ‘no’.


Still, my run this morning meant I got to wear my new silvery grey running tights.




I’ve got an assignment due tomorrow, can I count writing as exercise?

Janathon Day 5 – I’m still alive

There’s no actual reason to inform you I’m still alive, but it rhymed with five, so it seemed as good a title to give it as any.

I am still alive though, you’ll be pleased to hear, despite having achy legs – whether this was from yesterday’s 28 mile bike ride or the gym session the day before that or the run the day before that or just a Janathon accumulation of aches, I don’t know. But hey, aching muscles means I’ve been doing something, so yay.

It’s possibly not the best idea in the world to do body pump when you’ve got aching muscles but I was up early and didn’t want to wait for the gym to open at 9 before Janathoning as I needed to go to the Post Office and into town to the bank* and get back early enough to still have most of the day to spend doing my marketing assignment that I still haven’t done (tutor emailed me today and said she’d marked the first assignment and it was very impressive – didn’t tell me the flipping mark though, did she? Bah), so needed something I could do indoors (okay, I could have gone for a run but I don’t like to run on aching legs in case I make them worse, especially as I’ve only done one run in about the last two months).

So I did 30 minutes of my body pump DVD (yes, I skipped the floor bits and the stretching bits) and then found out how hard it is to put on mascara after doing body pump for the first time in ages. Oh, my aching biceps! Still, it didn’t look quite this bad (thanks to rundelrun for the pic).


Then I cycled into town and back and now my Janathon is over for the day. Back to university tomorrow, so this is where I might have to start getting creative with my exercise. Does exercising my brain muscles count?

*The bank has a snazzy new machine where you can deposit cheques and cash without needing to key in your PIN or use an envelope. You put your card in the machine, then the cheques and it scans the cheques and prints off the scans onto your receipt. So cool. Although not as cool as BigZigFitness’s bank – he can scan cheques on his phone into his account!

Janathon Day 5 – strangers, pub, cats and dogs

I am too knackered to blog properly, so here’s my blog post in a list.

1. Saw tweet a couple of weeks ago about local bike ride, organised by Spokes.

2. Thought, I want to go on the bike ride and favourited the tweet to remind me.

3. Woke up and the weather wasn’t minging, so went off to meet a bunch of strangers.

4. Met the bunch of strangers who turned out to be a very nice bunch of people indeed.

5. Discovered I wasn’t the only one there who should have been at home writing a dissertation proposal instead of gallivanting around the countryside.

6. Cycled for about an hour until reached a pub in Smarden.

7. Spent a long time patting the dogs and stroking the cats in the pub.

8. Ordered cheese omelette and jacket wedges, then moaned my jacket wedges were chips, not wedges, and the chips were raw.

9. One of the group was perturbed her lunch didn’t come with the advertised bread.

10. One of the group said his jacket potato tasted old.

11. When we were asked how our food was, we all said ‘lovely, thanks’ in that good old British way even though we’d all just moaned about it.

12. Cycled for about another hour and went home and had two cups of hot chocolate to try and thaw out.

13. Went on Twitter and accidentally agreed to run Ashford parkrun with @TrevB1 in our onesies if he gets his workplace’s VLM place on Monday.

14. Spent four hours on Facebook trying to muster up the energy to blog. Remained unmustered.

15. Ate pie and mash and cabbage and gravy and wondered if I could be bothered to blog.

16. Realised I couldn’t be bothered to blog so wrote a list instead.


Top five pre-race bike checks


I’ve spent the last month or so gallivanting around the country, partying. Which has been great fun but not exactly conducive to sticking to my London Duathlon training plan. Still, as long as I can work out how to get there on Sunday, I’ll be at the start line. It’ll probably take me three hours to complete it but I’ve never done a duathlon before and I really want to do it.

Below, London Duathlon and their partner, Bikelab, share their top five pre-race checks. Maybe they should add a sixth one: Don’t spend the month leading up to the event getting pissed.

1. The "drop test" Hold bike 6" from the ground and drop it to see if anything rattles.

2. Wheels and Tyres:

· Spin the wheels in the frame and look for any kinks or side-to-side movement. If you’re in any doubt, get your wheels trued by a pro

· Look for broken spokes – replacing any that are broken

· Inspect the condition of your tyres; look for cuts, nicks or surface flaws

· Tyres should "look healthy", the rubber smooth, without uneven wear, distortion or cracking & deterioration of the compound.

· If your tyre is a tubular, try to push it off all around the rim

· Check tyre pressures, especially on race day. Inflate your tyres, based on manufacturers recommendations, which are stamped or printed onto the sidewall

· Keep an eye on the pressure over a few days of use – any drop in pressure could indicate a slow puncture

3. Brakes

· Spin the wheels again, testing each brake independently

· At full pressure, it shouldn’t be possible to pull the levers all the way to the bars.

· Check pads for wear, especially irregular wear, some brake blocks have wear indication lines to help with this. Check that pads touch the wheel rim at the same time, they are central, do not touch the tyre sidewall and are free from bits of grit/aluminium

4. Gears

Take the bike for a quick spin and run up and down the full range of gears – if you have access to a workstand, run the gears whilst making minor adjustments

· Check for smooth, reliable gear changes on the rear cassette

· On the front chainrings, shifts between small and large chain rings should be smooth. The chain should never fall off the chain-rings, when shifting the front derailleur. You should be able to change up and down quickly – almost ‘aggressively’ and still not drop the chain

· Wipe down the chain and clean, then lubricate the transmission, using cycle specific cleaners and lubricants

5. Check other parts of the bike;  frame, bars & stem, saddle, pedals, cables etc. – you are looking for dents, cracks, split or fraying parts

· Look for any ‘play’ (looseness) or roughness in bearings such as the headset, pedals or bottom bracket

· Grab each item and tug it from side-to-side, feeling for signs of movement

· Check the headset for play by putting front brake on and rocking the bike backwards and forwards – a loose headset will result in play you can feel. to make sure it’s not overly tight or worn, lift the front of the bike off the ground and allow the handlebars to swing freely from side to side. They should move under their own weight, without any ‘notchy’ movement

Just before race day, you’ll only need to lubricate the chain and gear pivots, pack your race-day kit (spare tube / tyre levers / multi-tool) and away you go!”

If you are not sure about checking your bike at home, Bikelab is offering London Duathlon duathletes a 10% discount on workshop services when you show your race entry at the shop.

On event day, Bikelab will be on-site offering duathletes bike maintenance throughout the race to make sure your London Duathlon experience is trouble free. 

To register for London Duathlon 2014, please visit www.londonduathlon.com for further information.

Join other #duathletes and follow London Duathlon on Facebook and Twitter www.facebook.com/londonduathlon or @londonduathlon

The JogBlog Guide To (Not) Buying A Bike

How many bikes are there in the world? A billion? Must be a million, at least. I only wanted one, so why was buying one so damn difficult?

As me and Shaun are around the same size, I thought I could borrow his bike for the upcoming London Duathlon but, as mentioned before, he likes to perch high up, while I prefer to be nearer the ground. Short Man Syndrome, I reckon. Still, SMS or not, it meant his bike wouldn’t be suitable for me so I had to have a hunt for one of my own.

I’d been recommended Halford’s Boardman Fi Hybrid Comp and, while I had to admit it was pretty, and Shaun said it had a good spec, it was High Street and I didn’t want to be laughed at for having a High Street bike. But it was worth having a look at and as it wasn’t in stock at the local branch, I thought I could order it online and if I didn’t like it, I could cycle it 1.5 miles up the road to the nearest Halfords and get my money back.


So, yay, that was my bike sorted. So I thought.

I tried ordering it online but I kept getting errors, then Shaun found it was in stock in the Canterbury branch so we drove up there to have a look at it in real life. Up the stairs we went to where the bikes are kept and went over to the Boardman bit and there was a big gap where the Fi Comp should have been. We asked the man on the counter where it was and he pressed a few keys on his computer and said it’d been put into quarantine out the back (yes, I did ask if it had rabies. Yes, he ignored my stupid question). I asked if I could have a look at it and he went out, then came back and said it had no back wheel. Then he pressed a few more keys on his computer and said the production of it had been suspended. Dammit!

We went home and Shaun did a bit of searching and said ‘aha, you must buy this bike, it’s excellent’. The excellent bike was a Giant Dash 4 and I thought ‘ooh, that’s pretty’ and the next day I got up, switched on my computer and ordered it. I was so excited by the prospect of my new bike, I phoned the shop (using the phone is an extremely rare occurrence for me) and asked if their next day delivery meant next day or next working day (I’d ordered it on a Friday morning). You can read what the man said here, or I can just tell you that the gist was it would be delivered in about four or five days. Bah.


Still, I could wait that long, couldn’t I? Of course I could. On the following Tuesday, the man from the bike shop rang and said there was a problem with my bike. It had come in dented and they couldn’t send it to me and he couldn’t find stock of any more anywhere. Not locally, not in the UK, not in the entire goddamn universe. This bike no longer existed. My little heart sank and I said ‘oh’. He said the new model would be out on 20 August (about two weeks’ later) and he could send me the same model for the same price or he could give me a refund. I said okay then, I’ll have the new one, all the while thinking BUT WHAT COLOUR IS IT? but not wanting to sound too much of a girl, despite actually being a girl and therefore it probably being okay to sound like one if the occasion warrants it (or not, as the case may be).

I put the phone down and emailed Shaun and said WAA, NO BIKE, THERE ARE NO MORE TO BE FOUND ANYWHERE, WAA, NO BIKE, BLAH BLAH BLAH and he rang Giant who said yes, that’s correct, there are no more of this bike anywhere in the world, soz. (They may not have actually said soz.) He enquired after the new model and asked if they had a photo of it and the specifications but they said no, the man in the shop wasn’t talking rubbish and the new one was out in a couple of weeks, but no one knew what it looked like or what the specifications were. It was a mystery bike, a bikey lucky dip.


I started looking at the Boardman again and Halford’s website said it was back in stock, so I put it in my virtual shopping bag, asked to collect it from Ashford and entered my credit card details. It didn’t like my credit card details and I was on my way out and didn’t have time to piss about with it. Shaun was giving me a lift to the station and said he’d pop into Halfords on the way back and ask about it there. He texted me later and said ‘I’ve just bought a bike. You can buy it from me for £499.’ I HAD A BIKE, HALLELUJAH AND STUFF! I later found out that my credit card details didn’t go through because Halifax wondered why I was buying a high price item when usually my credit card is full of things costing 99p from Amazon. Either that or they didn’t believe I was buying something as sporty as a bike and thought it must be dodgy.

Anyway, here’s  my bike.


Pretty isn’t it? And not only is it pretty, my average mph has gone up from 10mph to 13mph. IMMA GONNA NAIL THAT DUATHLON*

In case you’re wondering what the mystery bike does look like, now it’s been released, it looks like this.


I obviously had to go and have a look in a ‘look what you would have won’ kind of way and I’m very happy it’s blue as I hate blue.

*My apologies for the atrocious language.

London Duathlon training: Day 2

Duathlon T-shirt
T shirt image from Zazzle

I screwed up my schedule. Yeah, already. I’d already reserved (in my head) Sundays off and so all training days were going to shift backwards but I took yesterday off as a rest day and I shouldn’t have. Duh. (I enjoyed the wine Wednesday night though.)

So, today I was supposed to do 45 minutes cycling and then strength training and on Sunday I’m supposed to do 75 minutes cycling, so I decided to do the 75 minutes today in case I don’t feel like doing it on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be energetic enough to do the 45 minutes I should have done today, on Sunday.

I got all motivated this morning because I’VE BOUGHT A NEW BIKE – YAY! Here it is:


It’s a  Giant Dash 4, from RM Cycles and it’s all white and red and pretty and stuff which is all I was worried about, as I let Shaun worry about the technical specifications. Unfortunately, despite ordering it through the internet, it didn’t get delivered by squeezing itself through the Ethernet port, so I’ve got to wait until Monday before trying it out. Unless ‘next day delivery’ includes Saturdays, which I’m assuming it doesn’t.


I got excited thinking about my new bike, so stopped writing this and phoned the bike shop and asked if next day delivery meant tomorrow (Saturday) or Monday and the man said it’ll be delivered probably Wednesday or Thursday. WHAT PART OF ‘NEXT DAY DELIVERY’ DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND, MR BIKE MAN, HUH?

Yeah, okay, so the bike has to be delivered to them and then they have to build it and send it out to me but I thought ‘next day delivery’ meant ‘next day delivery’. Silly me.


Still, I may not have a new bike to play with yet but I did have my new bike phone mount I bought on Amazon. It was a bargain £3.99 and delivered by the postman the next morning (and they didn’t even specify next day delivery).


I was going to use the Rhythm armband and app again this morning but then had a look on my phone to see if I had any cycling apps and found this Cycling Watch one. It seemed ideal for my needs and it had a little camera icon and I wondered if that was to video the route but it was just for still photos. Still, that planted the idea in my head to video my route one day. Anyone out there used the video function on their iPhone on a bike? Is it wobbly?

The app was great. For the 30 seconds it stayed awake. I thought maybe I had to cycle Speed-esque stylee over 10mph or something to keep it from blowing up awake and so I thought, yay, I can pretend to be Sandra Bullock and I wondered if she looks as sexy in her cycling hat as I do in mine but, no, the app wouldn’t stay awake even if I put a bit of effort in and so I cycled the 16 miles with a black screen in front of me. Can someone recommend a good cycling app that stays on?

I don’t know why the app has the camera function integrated into it but I took advantage of it and took a photo of this HUGE mushroom you can’t tell is huge as, for all you know, it could just be a close up photo of a small mushroom.


Although it wasn’t windy today, my time was slower as I was a bit of a slacker and not putting much effort in but I told myself as I was doing my Sunday ride, it should be a long, slow one, not an all-out-lungs-bursting-eyeballs-popping ride (yeah, because I’m always making that much effort mid-week, aren’t I?) I’m not sure 16 miles counts for long on a bike though. Ho hum.

Stats (cycling)

Distance: 15:89 miles
Time: 1:28:25
Speed: 10.8mph
Calories: 562
New bikes: 1
Next day deliveries meaning next day: 0
Phone bike mounts: 1
Cycling apps that stay awake: 0
HUGE mushrooms: 1

p.s. A  cyclist said hello to me. I HAVE ARRIVED!

Scosche Rhythm Armband Heart Rate Monitor

On the first day of ‘proper’ duathlon training, I ignored my 7am alarm and went back to sleep for an hour. Well, I didn’t want to cycle in the rush hour, did I? And I especially didn’t want to cycle when school run mums were about, oh no.

As I was doing proper training, the pink bike (Lady of the Manor poncey thing with a  basket) was ditched in favour of the purple one (£35 battered mountain bike with road tyres from some bloke on Gumtree) with jeans and t-shirt being swapped for running kit. I even put my hat on.

I was a bit perturbed by the schedule calling for minutes, not miles, as I haven’t a clue about 45 minute loops for cycling but Shaun said ‘do an out and back’. I said, ‘I hate out and backs’ but he said, ‘it’s training, you’re not supposed to enjoy it’ and I had to concede he kind of had a point, in a no pain, no gain kind of way.

So, I was all ready to go. I also had a new gadget to try out – the Scosche Rhythm Armband Heart Rate Monitor. I’d tried the previous model of this – the Scosche Wireless Pulse Monitor – which I reviewed, not particularly favourably, here. I’m pleased to say it’s improved (despite being pink because it’s ‘for women’. Bleurgh), but more about the improvements later.


Because it’s a heart rate monitor, you’re supposed to – duh – monitor your heart rate with it. But, I was going to be on my bike and how was I supposed to see the screen when the phone was going to be on my arm? I needed an iPhone mount for my bike and didn’t have one. I didn’t even know if such a thing had been invented. Of course it had – there were thousands on amazon when I came home and had a look; I bought this bike phone holder for £3.99. Yay.

Still, finding out something had been invented an hour after needing it didn’t really help at the time, so I set the Scosche Rhythm app up by telling it I was going cycling for 45 minutes and wanted the GPS on, stuck my phone in my armband and hoped no one saw me while I was out as, on the other arm, I had my Garmin on my wrist, along with the Scosche Rhythm armband and I looked – to be blunt – flipping ridiculous.

But I had a new gadget to play with and gadgetry comes before vanity, yeah? Well, no, but ho hum. I got my bike out of the garage, started my Garmin, started the Scosche Rhthym and I was off.

rhythm 005

My usual cycling speed is around 9-10mph (stop laughing). Look, I’ll prove it (screenshots taken from SportTracks):


But because I was doing proper training today, I made an extra effort and you know all those times in the past I’ve said ‘cycling’s just sitting down’? I take it back. Cycling takes effort; who’d have thought it? Mind you, despite all that extra effort I made (including mental effort by not braking going downhill, eek), I still only averaged 11.5mph but, in my defence, it was windy out there this morning.


When you finish your workout, the Scosche Rhythm app shows you a screen with all the stats.

rhythm 006

The speed and calorie burn wasn’t too dissimilar from the readings on the Garmin and, unlike the previous model (which used the myTrek app), this one tracks you on a map.

rhythm 007

I also used it while I did body pump after the bike ride.

rhythm 009

You can set up the app to suit your own workout – set your goals for heart rate or time, performance or weight loss and, after your workout, it will automatically upload everything to the Scosche dashboard where you can also upload your stats to various websites, including www.myfitnesspal.com (which I found really handy).

If you want to play music while you’re working out, you can control the music player from the armband.

The Scosche Rhythm Armband Heart Rate Monitor is a vast improvement on the Scosche Wireless Pulse Monitor and I’ll be using it again (especially when I get my bike mount). It costs $99.99 and more information is available at the Scosche website.

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