My lifestyle and physical exercise are words that really shouldn’t exist in the same sentence, that is until now.
There’s no denying the ageing process and there comes a time when you realise that there are certain things you’d like to do before the point is reached when it is simply no longer practical or even possible. Getting (and keeping) fit becomes more important as time presses on, not only for longer term health and wellbeing, but is essential if you decide to undertake a physical challenge.
Save for the odd game of table tennis this past couple of years I rarely do anything to break into a sweat (tackling the weeds with a strimmer in the two days of summer raised the temperature somewhat but was hardly a gym workout). Most of my time is essentially spent seated. When I’m not asleep (an extension to sitting down) I am usually found at my desk either working or avoiding working. If there was an award for surfing (the Internet) I’d surely be a favourite for a place on the rostrum having been online nearly a quarter of a century (since shortly after the first UK’s first dialup company Demon Internet launched in 1992).
Back in the day (as the oft used phrase has it) I was sporty, playing squash several times a week as well as five a side and full team football. That was until two of the discs in my lower back crapped out. Surgery in those days was not so sophisticated and my operation was not the success I’d hoped for. Sport was out and I still suffer from back pain on a permanent basis.
That’s the background. So what?
After my biennial trip to the USA in earlier this year I spent a few days walking in the Cotswolds with my SoftDev cohorts Vince and Dave. It was enjoyable, exhausting and painful. It was also something of a wakeup call. Covering twelve miles in a day ought to be a walk in the park (or the Cotswolds) but it felt like I’d run a marathon (not that I have, so I don’t actually know if it was like it at all).
I’d previously thought of taking up running with a view to finding out what it really was like to run a marathon and had set a goal of doing so two years after training started.
I lasted three very short runs. I hate running.
Not one to avoid a challenge I have set myself a new goal for 2017. Still using two legs, I have added two wheels in the form of a touring bike and have committed to cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats less than two years from now. LEJOG as it is known (pronounced Lee Jog) or JOGLE if you choose to bike it from North to South, is the classic UK cycle ride.
I (re)discovered I love cycling.
Before I can tackle the ‘End to End’ I not only have to get fit (and in particular bike fit) but I’ll need to complete some smaller routes such as the C2C (or Sea to Sea), The Way of the Roses and Hadrian’s Cycleway, all of which fortunately are located broadly speaking in my part of the world. Naturally those routes have to be preceded by regular and consistent training. I started training on the first day of August in a very modest way at just 10 miles per session with an average speed of around 12 miles per hour.
At the time of writing this (not quite at the end of the month) I have covered 250 miles and have this week, increased the distance to 15-20 miles in sessions of between 1.5 and 2 hours. So far so good. ‘From little acorns’ and all that. Not to be scuppered by the impending end of season (don’t forget I’m in Cumbria where is it wet and cold) I bought a turbo trainer for indoor use, so there really is no excuse to halt my training (I might get to regret these words).
In order not to become a bike bore here (since this is my long surviving blog for random if infrequent postings) I’ll shortly be starting a blog specifically for the ‘end to end’ saga. Naturally I’ll be throwing in bits and bobs on Facebook, twitter etc but if you are remotely interested in following my progress (and hopefully the LEJOG itself) I’ll be plugging the bike blog starting in September.
Wish me well.