Bar Raising.

I’ve only been training for 10 weeks, after 4 years away from swimming and biking, and 5 months away from running. Today I did a 20 mile run. It was hellish, but I did it. A bad, painful 20 miles, is still 20 miles.

The reason (I think) it was so terrible is actually a good thing.  I was at the gym last week and a tri geezer came on and jumped on the tri exercise bike (spin bike thing). I was on the treadmill at the time but I was watching him out of the corner of my eye to pick up tips. Position and such looked just as uncomfortable for him, but what I noticed was he was going really slowly. I jump on, put it in a fairly tough gear and grind out a half hour or hour. He maxed the gear and slowly forced the pedals around.  That got me thinking back to when I was good on a bike. When we were teenagers and we’d nip to Wales for the afternoon we just stuck it in tenth gear and went.


So that’s the game plan now, no more of this “expert” nonsense. I’ve raised my saddle and moved the aero bars and saddle forward into a position that feels good for me. Bugger all that running through the gears to maintain a steady rpm, bollocks. That just maintains your muscle level as it slowly builds your stamina. Top gear, and push. That’s how you build muscles.

It was only a few weeks ago I got the bike and simply couldn’t ride in top gear. Even for short distances. Now the Beast From The East has finally let up I’ve taken to riding to work again. Top gear, and push. I’ve only done it 2 days, 9.8 miles each way. Changing down gear on the hills less each ride. The last ride I did the whole journey in top gear. (I want to say “10th”, but the bike has 22 gears, so 22nd I suppose, but that means nothing.) Now I know I can, that means I must. I’m going to have legs of steel. And muscles!

Which is a long winded way of saying I totally buggered up my calves on the ride, so they set like concrete on the run. Hence the misery of my 20 mile run today.


I asked work for shorter runs a few weeks back. Ali, the planner, has been trying. Three times last week I was planned for 7 hour runs (if you finish at 7 hours and they have no other work for you, you can go home and still get paid your 9 hours.) One early finish they found me another run so I ended up doing 10.30, two other occasions the transport office took it on themselves to change my run from the one for which I’d been planned. Last week, on this short shift arrangement, I worked 57 hours. On Wednesday I worked 14 hours 45 minutes. Then had to pushbike home 9.8 miles, shower, food, bed, up, food, commute, and be back in work in 9 hours 15. Five hours sleep. Even though I only worked 10hrs 30 on Thursday I was too knackered to train. My last training was last Saturday. I’m really hoping it was just a one-off, bad week. If this continues I may have to pull out of the Outlaw.

I’ve been through my options. I could go back to being part time, but I don’t know what shifts I’d get, they could be just as long, and Wendy remembers me being made up when I went full time because the money is so much better. Realistically, we need money more than I need to train.

The same with going back in the warehouse, but worse. The kicking I’d take on pay would be eye-watering.

I’m going to have to train on every day that’s less than an 11 hour shift. The commute ride in is going to be a good, time efficient, practice.

When I was offered full time, on this start time, the manager said it’s good money because that’s when all the long runs go out. This implies there are other start times that do short runs. For now I’d be happy with a bare minimum 45 hour week. My only real option. I’ve been asking in transport but I can’t get an answer. If I could find out which it is I could ask for a transfer when a position comes up.

Talking of work, the Tesco’s deal has gone through. So now we wait and see what happens to the drivers. That could solve my work/ training problem. Stobarts and I’m out of the door.

I was right to say my company is brilliant though. The story is they thought they were going bust in 2006 so invested money to pay for all the employees redundancies. Then they got more and more successful. They’ve just sold to Tesco’s so they’ve taken the money they had stashed and are giving it to all 13,000 workers! What a company!  Anyone here for over 12 months gets about £960, less than 12 (Nathan) get £460. No-one knew about the fund, they were under no obligation to spend it, they could have trousered the lot and buggered off to a private island in the Bahamas, we’d have been none the wiser. Instead they gave us a freebie grand. Amazing. 

Right, I’m knackered again.