Foot update: it is getting better. I’m walking, doing quite a lot in the gym, and doing yoga once a week. The foot no longer hurts to walk, and isn’t throbbing at night any more. It is definitely healing, and I’m hoping that I will be able to start to reintroduce running towards the end of this week.
At the weekend, on a whim, I decided to enter a 102km cycling sportive. I’ve never ridden further than around 40k before, and I had no idea how I would feel going that much further. I guessed that my fitness and strength training would help, but honestly, I didn’t know how I would feel after a few hours on the bike.
It was a lovely day, not hot but sunny and still. The starting pack of around 30 riders quickly splintered and I stayed towards the back of the front group for the first hour. Apart from one bad gearing incident at the first proper hill, I felt quite good. I’m really not an experienced cyclist, having only had a road bike for six months and having never cycled clipped in before that. I fell into the rhythm of the ride quite quickly and felt comfortable.
After the first aid station, I found myself completely alone as the group I had been with dropped back to wait for a friend. I was alone for around 80km, until I found another group and rode with them to the finish. The countryside was beautiful, the roads were quiet and the hills were stiff enough to keep me interested. Unfortunately, my eyesight isn’t the best and I misread the directional signs twice, blithely going left instead of right, and adding nearly 8km to the course. Luckily it wasn’t a race!
Coming up to the 90km mark, I was expecting to feel tired but I still didn’t. My back was hurting a bit (think I need to have the bike set up by an expert as it isn’t quite right, I’m reaching for the hoods and that is straining my lower back), but my legs were still strong. I had taken one gel and a bottle of tailwind, and two slices of maltloaf with some almond butter in the middle. When I joined a group of guys towards the end of the ride, they were very surprised when I told them that I wasn’t a cyclist.
It was a fun experience and I’ll definitely do more, aiming for 100 miles next time maybe. I did 100k in 4 hours over a hilly course without pushing myself, and really enjoyed it. The next day I had some stiffness and my body knew it had worked but by the day after that I was back to normal. It is great to feel that I can do something other than running to give me my endurance fix.
Sadly, I’m going to have to sit out the BUPA 10k this bank holiday monday, which is a shame as I’ve done it for the past four years and it is a great race, finishing along the route of the London Marathon. But my foot is not even close to being ready to race on. I’m hoping that it will be ok when I travel to Lanzarote the following week, as I’m supposed to be doing mountain training while I’m there. It feels good, and if I don’t push it, I think there is a good chance I will be running in the mountains again very soon.