Category Archives: Mind and Body

April’s Best Efforts…

April’s been quite a pleasing month.

Vice wise… Onto a fully raw diet now, but had to go back on the vape to do it. It seems at the moment it’s one or the other. I just crave bread, beans and potatoes as soon as i quit nicotine, and the cravings are intolerable so i always collapse to them.

I also ended back on the coffee to maintain some enthusiasm in the morning after fully quitting the cacao. I started with 2 mugs with 6 grams of full caff in them and have now weaned it down to 3 cups with 1.5 grams of full caff and 4.5 grams of decaf. So my caffeine intake is slowly reducing and i’m able to maintain enthusiasm and it’s keeping me at full gas for my training.

I did try going cold turkey once i got down to 3 + 3 grams with coffee and once again lost all enthusiasm and just struggled on the bike. Yes, caffeine is a performance enhancing drug as it’s make perceived effort so much lower than it really is. But i’ve found that by reducing the full caff coffee 1/2 gram at a time and replacing that with decaf every few days i haven’t noticed any loss on the perceived effort front nor any desire for cacao either.

So fingers crossed i should be completely weaned off coffee by end of May while maintaining full enthusiasm and perceived effort levels. And then i’ll wean myself off nicotine and hopefully be able to manage the cravings for cooked food if i go gentle enough with that.

But yeah, where there’s a will there’s a way and each person’s addictions are unique to them. You just have to find the correct order in which to deal with your addictions and the correct method of dealing with each of those addictions.

My lowest minimum heart rate for the month…

And my lowest 5 minute average heart rate…

And my lowest blood pressure…

So i’m pretty happy with the health and look forward to some even lower heart rate numbers once i sort out the coffee and nicotine.

Onto the training…

Once again, it’s been a busy and full on month where i’ve done some training every single day and my average power is continuously creeping up. A little bit each 5 days, but all those little bits will add up over a year or two to something quite significant. So well happy with everything.

Cycling covered 709.6 miles in 44:16:50 burning 22,058 calories while climbing 38963.46 ft, which i’m pretty happy with.

Walking covered 18.51 miles in 11:22:24 burning 1,955 calories.

Running covered 29.59 miles in 5:17:50 burning 2,453 calories, so a nice increase on March. The foot is much better and hasn’t been a problem, but all the cycling takes a toll on the legs. But i managed a couple of days doing quarter marathons so my plan is to work at that distance and get that below 1 hour before increasing the distance.

And weight training was a total of 17:08:58 burning 2,563 calories. I’ve really settled into a nice routine and improving in strength all the time with the weights now and while the rest of the training suffered a fair bit while i got settled into it it’s certainly feeling worth it overall.

Anyway, that’s a total of 28,554 calories burned for the month which is over 3 kilos of pure fat and that total doesn’t take into account the extra calories my body burns in recovery. That’s a lot of extra food i get to shove in my mouth without putting on unwanted weight – and i love eating food and not putting on weight. 😀

Other things…

The new stem and changing the saddle position really helped with the back and knee soreness. Totally sorted out the problems, so job well done and slowly getting more and more comfortable in the new position. I also raised the stem 12mm at the same time and once i get really comfy with it i’ll lower it slowly back down.

Other than that, nothing much else to report. Just to say that i’m really pleased with how it’s all going at the moment and will keep on keeping on with what i’m doing as it really is working.

Anyways, wishing anyone reading this a fit, healthy and well May. Have fun and keep ‘Growing Young’ else you’ll have to do the other option and grow old.

Best wishes.

One Year, No Beer…

I was listening to the No Meat Athlete Podcast episode, ‘One Year, No Beer?’

Worth a listen to, and check out the ‘One Year No Beer’ website also.

Disclaimer… the ‘One Year No Beer’ had nothing whatsoever to do with my quitting alcohol. But i’m now at 308 days 13 hours sober and thought i qualify well to give the idea a shout out. Like the guy says in the Podcast, you can quit for a month but you don’t have to change your lifestyle and socialising habits (you just avoid things for a month). To quit for 90 days is something altogether different because you do have to start changing your lifestyle habits and socialising habits.

To take it to a year is something else entirely. To go through all the seasons, the festivals, the celebrations, the birthdays, the ups and downs and never ending trials and tests of life, etc., and to experience it all in sobriety – now that can be challenging, and to a lot of people, frightening. But seriously, it’s worth it. If you truly can’t face an event, a person, a place, etc., without alcohol, then maybe you should think about deleting that thing out of your life. Clear away the shit that you need to be boozed up to face and create the space in your life that you fill with ideas, events, people, places that you can enjoy sober. There’s a whole world out there to explore and enjoy in sobriety, all you need to do is get sober.

Good luck!

March’s Best Efforts…

March was so, so much better than February.

Vice wise… i’ve finally managed to quit the vape. Yes folks, no more nicotine. Admittedly, i put on a bit of weight as i allowed myself to eat a little bit of refined crap during the withdrawal phase, but i’m slowly getting my diet back together.

It’s a long story as to how i managed it but one thing that’s come out of the process is that i simply can’t tolerate coffee any more. It just makes me feel sick, which is great, two birds with one stone. I’m not missing either at all, it’s like i found an on/off switch for the addiction and it’s been very firmly turned off and i’m not going to turn it back on.

For April, i’ve began weaning myself off cacao, which i’m taking slowly, but hopefully will be free of that about half way through the month. But it’ll take as long as it takes and maybe have to play yo yo with the wagon for a while with this one. We shall see.

So that’s all i’m focusing on for April – weaning myself completely off cacao while totally cleaning up my diet and moving to fully raw once i’ve got fully off the cacao.

Health wise, all went well with the right foot issue. ‘Touch wood’, it’s healing nicely. The running pace and distance totally sucks donkey’s at the moment, which is down to a mix of putting on some weight when i quit vape, the lower aero bars and bike position, the weight training, the amount of cycling i’m currently doing. You can’t have everything, and what you gain in some places you have to lose in others. I feel like March was mostly spent just getting my body used to pushing and pulling weights again, and what with taking it really easy so as not to bother the foot injury again my running had to suffer a little. Hopefully that’ll all settle down through April and i can start making some running gains again.

I made a much better effort on the meditation front and monitoring my heart this month, which came up with some good results…

My lowest minimum for the month…

And my lowest 5 minute average…

It’s amazing how quickly they return back to low 40’s after quitting the vape where they mostly stayed in the low 50’s with occasional visits to high 40’s. Looking forward to getting into the high 30’s again once i’m fully weaned off the cacao and my diet and sleep settles back down.

Onto the training…

Yeah, it’s been a busy and full on calendar. I’m still adjusting to it and a tiny bit more tweaking needs doing, but the new program is working well and i’m really enjoying training every day. I really don’t do well having a day off.

Cycling covered 649.96 miles in 48:13:40 using 22,058 calories, which is almost the same time and calories as February but a fair few more miles, but i climbed 54660.5 ft which is 20,000 less than February. So i think the cycling, overall, is about equal with February.

Walking covered 18.85 miles in 12:08:05 using 2,172 calories, which is nearly the running and walking combined of February. But from now on i’m splitting the totals as i no longer do any walking on my runs, so totally separate exercise now. And with the weather warming up i’m planning to get out and walk a lot more as well.

Running covered 26.49 miles in 6:23:04 using 1,853 calories, which beats out the walk/run combined totals of February. So all good on the legs as i build back up slowly from the foot injury.

Other things…

I’m well into my second month on Rouvy and enjoying it even more. I’m definitely not missing Zwift and cartoon land.

One thing i’ve noticed about Rouvy, is those totally sketchy moments that you get while real world riding. The child falling in front of you while you’re tanking along at 25 mph, the truck cutting you up, etc.. I’ve had moments on Rouvy where i’ve actually grabbed the brakes – like it’s going to make a difference. But i really do get lost in it sometimes, which is something that never ever happened on Zwift. And i love travelling the world on Rouvy and riding all those places i can only currently dream of riding when i win Euromillions.

The new tri bars are still taking a toll. I found i’m getting a little lower back, and knee pain from this new position. I’ve got a new stem arrived yesterday, so i’m going to put that on today and raise it up at the same time and have a play around with that and the saddle height and see what i can come up with. Hopefully that should help sort the running out a bit as well.

But yeah, i’m really happy with how March went, and looking forward to at least an equally good April and getting outdoors a lot more.

So wishing anyone reading this a fit, healthy and well April yourselves.

Best wishes.

February’s Best Efforts…

February was not an easy month.

Firstly, i hate winter and the cold weather. I just get really depressed not being able to get outside in an enjoyable way. Bring on Spring and Summer and sunshine and warmth.

But i’ve managed to survive my first miserable winter without alcohol, so i’m well pleased with that. Fell off the cacao, coffee, vape and cooked food wagon again this month, but keep getting back on. The shit weather really doesn’t help trying to give things up, especially cooked food and hot cacao drinks, it’s takes too much will power to deal with it all – in my opinion. But i’ll keep getting back on the wagon and eventually i’ll get there, though most probably once the weather warms up.

Health wise, i did my right foot like i did my left foot a year ago. 5th metatarsal cuboid joint is not happy. It’s not like last year where it was torn at bottom of foot and was a real pain, this is aching on top of the joint and only hurts if i run. So i had to take some time off running and focused back onto the bike. I’ve just started attempting to ease back into running fter 11 days off but that resulted in my right foot aching a fair bit the next morning (yesterday), but it cleared up as the day went on and today it feels fine again although a little sore if i press into that area with my fingers. So i guess the running is going to have to be ‘suck it and see’ through March. I’m hoping i don’t have to take a couple of months off like last year, but if so then so be it. There’s always the bike to enjoy.

I’ve got a few ideas as to what caused it, and mostly i think it’s a perfect storm of things all coming together. Hopefully though, once this one is fixed i should be good to go. My left foot has been fine ever since so i’m thinking this is just my feet adjusting to my complete change in running form and this is my right foot’s turn.

And with all that i decided to start doing weight training again. My thinking is that by adding more strength to the joints and stuff i’ll hopefully avoid this in the future, i hope.

Onto the training…

It all started off really well and then kind of went a little downhill towards the end with the foot issue.

Firstly there was the foot issue which through me off, which made me decide to start doing the weight training, which threw my routine right out of balance even more. But i feel like i’m getting back to a nice routine as my body settles into the new scheme of things. Still a bit of tweaking on the routine to do through March, but shouldn’t be too long before i’m fully settled into something that balances the bike, treadmill and weights through the week.

Cycling covered 577.89 miles in 47:08:33 using 21,996 calories, which is a little less time than January but a little more calories – so i was working harder through less time. The distance dropped quite a lot but this is down to switching to Rouvy and all the climbing i’m now doing. In February i climbed 74,567 ft, which put into the perspective of Everest at 29,029 ft means i climbed Everest over 2.5 times – which is pretty good going.

Walking/Running covered 23.09 miles in 6:20:35 using 1782 calories, which is a bummer after January’s great totals. But foot problems need to be fixed before i can push the miles again.

Other things…

I reached the end of my Rouvy Trial and jumped over to Bkool for their free trial, but gave up after 6 days because it’s no where near as good as Rouvy and i found it very glitchy on my computer. So i ended up just going back to Rouvy long before Bkool’s trial ended and paying to ride Rouvy as i really, really like it.

Each of these different platforms have their own unique style, and Rouvy definitely suits what i want in my virtual riding experience – lots of big mountains and time trial courses. And unlike Zwift, on Rouvy i’m alone on the course which i prefer – i can get on with my own training plan without all the distractions that Zwift throw in the way. It’s just so nice just to jump on the bike and ride a beautiful sunny 2000 meter mountain anywhere in the world and just enjoy the views. Sadly, i can’t afford to take my bike to France or Italy and ride these mountains for real at the moment, but Rouvy lets me have a taster of what the future holds. It’s also a very good platform for anyone who is going on a cycling holiday to these places – you can check out some local routes before you set off and make sure you have the legs and fuelling strategy, etc., to complete them. Or you can just hop on Rouvy and find the places you really want to ride and then decide upon your holiday and not be disappointed. All in all, i’d recommend just having a go at the free trial to see if it fits your agenda, there’s more to virtual cycling than Zwift.

Another thing that took its toll in February was buying some new tri bars. Which, having just got used to being on the old ones full time i had to add some insult to it by getting some that are about 2cm lower. At first i thought i’d have to raise the stem a bit but gave it a go on one ride and found i could just about manage it, so i stuck with it, but i can really feel it in the legs being slightly more bent over – but more aero is ultimately worth it once the legs get used to it. It’s still a very comfortable position, it’s just the leg muscles need to get used to the new firing range.

But, all in all, with hindsight, i’m fairly pleased with February as a whole, albeit rather crappy running month. Got started back on weight training, got lower aero bars, i also upped my bike power a little too. If it wasn’t for the foot issue it would have been a really good month, but i’m not going to let a little foot issue spoil the rest of it. The foot will heal, and i’ll soon be back running – fingers crossed.

Anyways, have a fit, healthy and well March.

Best wishes.

January’s Best Efforts…

My crappy January…

I started the year in a bit of a crap state. To be honest i still hadn’t allowed my body to recover from the 200 miler at the beginning of December properly, going back to pushing things too soon, when, with hindsight, i should have eased back into it a lot slower. Lesson learned.

So i had no real choice but to bite the bullet and back off completely and do what i should have done immediately after the 200 miler.

So it’s been taking three steps back in order to move 4 steps forward.

But at the end of the month i found that by backing off on the power a bit and shortening the runs but running every other day instead of every 3 or 4 days, i was able to keep training without needing a day off, recovering well and got back to burning just as many calories a week as i was when going much harder for less time. So basically more very aerobic based training without any harder intervals above zone 2. And i like it.

My aim now is to just leave the cycling as is as i’ve got to where is nicely manageable but to focus on building the running up. So i’ll see how that goes – it’s all rather experimental.

My training calendar for the month…

..and some reasonable totals achieved…

Cycling covered 853.63 miles in 48:35:50 using 21,789 calories, which is a little better than December even with the couple of really bad weeks at the beginning of the month, so i’m fairly happy with that.

Walking/Running covered 73.63 mi miles in 14:34:03 using 5015 calories, which again, is a ton better than December’s and even better than November’s while only a few miles short of my best running month in October. So all good there.

Other things…

My main computer packed up so had to switch over to my lower spec tower which won’t run Zwift. But it does a good job on Rouvy, which i’m quite enjoying. I spoke at length here about my current feelings about Zwift. It wasn’t until i switched over to another virtual platform that i started to really notice Zwift’s short comings. It’s going to be an interesting year in virtual exercise with lots of new platforms currently in beta and existing ones improving all the time. Zwift is going to fail if it doesn’t get it’s act together soon. There’s plenty of choice to be had and i would suggest that people have a go at all the free trials on offer and see which they like the best. After all, at the end of the day, it’s what’s going to keep you motivated, not what someone else likes. So find the platform that works best for you and enjoy the shit out of it.

The other thing that took its toll in January was moving to the tri bars full time. For the whole month, any time i wasn’t out of the saddle i was down on the tri bars and that quite kicked the crap out of my legs and shoulders. But the last week of the month my shoulders stopped aching towards the end of a 3 hour ride and i started getting really good proprioception in my legs and torso. So, as much as it looks, on paper, like i had a crappy month, i actually had a really good one in the end. So well pleased with that. I fully intend to stay down on the tri bars from now on any time i’m not in the saddle.

Had a falling off the wagon with coffee and vape and cooked food, but back on the raw wagon and weaning myself off the coffee and vape. I’m definitely going for another big quit in February. I’m not going to quit quitting.

And the falling off the wagon was why i haven’t been doing any breath work/meditation this month either. I’m definitely going to get back into that as soon as i’m back on after the big quit.

I did manage to stay off the cacao though, which i definitely feel like i missed the effects of in training. Just felt really sluggish and everything felt so much more taxing – but that might have been something else like going to the tri bars full time or simply not meditating and doing my breath work, maybe just a bit of everything all adding up.

But, all in all, with hindsight, i’m fairly pleased with January as a whole, albeit rather crappy looking on the calender and also feeling really crappy at times. Which is why i like writing these posts once a month. It gives me chance to look back and take a more balanced view of how the month went rather than just relying on how i felt from day to day – a good idea for anyone training, i think.

Anyways, have a fit, healthy and well February.

Best wishes.

Dr. Milton Mills…

Great interview in two parts from Plant Based News

2017 Totals…

All Activities…

Activities: 650
Distance: 7,208.27
Time: 671:33:18
Calories: 232,807
232,807 calories is over 4 stone of pure fat burned off your butt.

Cycling…

Activities: 217
Miles: 6,725.69
Time: 382:33:02
Calories: 176,176

Run/Walk…

Activities: 61
Miles: 392.13
Time: 80:15:43
Calories: 32,729

Sailing…

Activities: 1
Miles: 20.91
Time: 3:45:54
Calories: 381

Walking…

Activities: 23
Miles: 69.50
Time: 33:48:40
Calories: 6,589

Meditation…

Activities: 297
Time: 112:29:07
Calories: 6,582

Yoga & Stretch…

Activities: 51
Time: 58:40:52
Calories: 10,349

December’s Best Efforts…

My healthy December…

I got a new lowest minimum heart rate 0f 38.62, which i’m well pleased with…

And also a lowest average heart rate of 42.17, which is also very pleasing…

So all pretty good on the health front for the first half of December but the second half just went a bit downhill as i started vaping again and drinking coffee and eating a bit of junk with the holidays and visits coming up.

My fitness December…

Well, i lied again about doing the long rides. I ended up doing a 200 mile ride for World Bike Relief on Zwift. I just wanted to see how far i could go and to be honest, i really couldn’t manage any more than that. But a pretty good innings for my first ultra ride and lots learned for the future.

But the toll it took just totally wrecked the rest of the month. I took a few days off and eased back into everything but i just didn’t really get it back together until the end of the month. But it was a great experience and goes to show how far my fitness has come along in the last year alone.

My next big ride is going to be Everesting the Radio Tower, but i’m not in any rush to do that. My main goal for January is to set a PR on most, if not all, of Zwift’s climbs, while at the same time attempting to get my running back to where it should be.

My training calendar for the month…

..and some reasonable totals achieved…

Cycling covered 760.05 miles in 46:32:01 using 18,636 calories, which is quite a drop in distance, time and calories; but considering how the month started and ended and all the climbing i did this month, i’m fairly happy with it.

Walking/Running covered 44.88 miles in 9:23:55 using 2,370 calories. Which is quite a decrease once again on last month but all down to the standing up and walking all day long plus the silly bike rides as well.

Other things…

Still slowly getting a bit more comfy on the tri bars but still not down on them full time.

Still off the alcohol, chocolate, sugar but saved the rest of the quitting until the end of December as i was visiting friends and stuff. And now the end of December has passed the full quit is now in progress, so looking forward to seeing the results at the end of January

All in all i’m fairly pleased with December, albeit rather chaotic at times.

Have a fit, healthy and well 2018.

Lowest Average Heart Rate…

I beat my lowest ever average heart rate reading again – 42.17 bpm. An awesome 5 minute average for a 53 year old…

How low can this go? 😀

Lowest Minimum Heart Rate…

I finally smash through the 40bpm barrier to get 38.62bpm. 😀

While doing a CO2 apnea table with one breath, 10 second, rests…

Not bad for a 53 year old.