. .

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 11)

Half-term holidays.
On Monday, I was at Kwik Fit when I got a text from Nigel asking me if I could go round. When I got there, I had a bowl of fantastic orange chocolate cake with cream thrust into my hands. Shortly after, a Fender bass guitar was nudged in my general direction.
"Remember? You agreed to be in the band."
Erm...? My memory is getting worse.
Anyhoo, Nigel, Penny and I rehearsed some well-known tunes (including some by CCR, Bon Jovi and Hendrix) and it was a good feeling playing a guitar through an amp for the first time in about 15 years!


Two guitars in the mancave!

Nigel very kindly let me take the bass home with me so I could learn the tunes.

The rest of the week was nice, but didn't have anything to do with health and fitness either, and certainly didn't have anything to do with losing my belly!
Halloween meant that there were always treats such as biscuits and cake in the house. Lucy and I kept my beer shelf well stocked.
I didn't attend dojo on Tuesday because I was cooking liver and onions for myself and Eric. 
I cycled into work 3 times this week (no teaching, just paperwork.)
I went to the dojo on Friday night for a fighting lesson with Sensei Mark. Martha and I loved it!

On Saturday morning, I met up with Nigel, Chris and Pete at Jonnie's house. The five of us set off into the damp lanes; three riders with jackets, myself and Chris in only two layers. 
It rained all day; only a very fine misty drizzle, but non-stop.
I led the charge down to Lowsonford and there were mutterings that I was going too fast - I was accused of having Weetabix for breakfast. All I was trying to do was keep the average speed above 15mph (it was 15.3mph as we passed the Fleur de Lys pub.) Then I kept pushing towards Claverdon, onto Norton Lindsey, through Snitterfield and eventually to Wilmcote. We were all very damp when we got there. Jonnie would sometimes take over at the front and his efforts on Featherbed lane meant that I could freewheel behind him as he punched a hole in the air with his massive rain jacket!
After we had refreshed ourselves with homemade coffee and walnut cake without any walnuts (the chef had ran out of them) we agreed that we were all getting cold sitting in our damp clothes and we needed to get moving again.
We headed out into the wet lanes and pointed our handlebars north.
On the approach to Aston Cantlow we were joined briefly by an ancient man on a racing bike with terribly skinny legs in baggy Lycra. He was turning a big gear and finding it quite easy to keep up with us. He seemed to be a bit of a loony and was complaining about a Dynamic Rides route he had been on that morning. He told me that he'd left them to it after a while because he didn't like the route or choice of pit stop. I noticed that he took a Tony Martin approach to riding and was therefore covered in snot and dribble. I tended not to look at him as we were chatting.
After a short while, He grew tired of my responses and got on the front of our 6 man peleton. A mile or so went by. Realising that everyone else was happy to sit behind him, I took over for a bit. However, this was obviously not acceptable to our new lunatic friend and he insisted on riding beside me to talk more nonsense. After a while, he shot off the front and stayed about 100m in front of us as we approached Ullenhall.
As we got to Ullenhall, myself and Pete were closing in on him but Pete reeled me in because, quite rightly, he thought it would be a good idea to wait for the others.
We continued on our usual route through Tanworth and finally back to Jonnie's.
Like last week, Jonnie and I opted for specially brewed bottled energy drinks while the other, more sensible, chaps chose pop.
There was no wind today and I was disappointed not to have achieved a 15mph average.
We eventually came home after 39 miles with an average of 14.7mph. Maybe it's the steady diet of cake and beer?
Once I became too cold to sit around Jonnie's drinking beer, I went home.

Sunday included rehearsal with Nigel and the band followed by a good basics and kata lesson from Sensei Gary, 'assisted' by Sensei Jim.
And then more beer. 
And cake.




Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 10)

Monday
I woke feeling rough after a rather boozy weekend. I felt so ill that I let myself daydream about calling in sick and spending the day on the couch.
Anyway, that soon passed and an hour later I was riding my bike in to college.
Tonight, I cooked my usual protein-rich scrambled egg dinner and then did a weights session. I lifted the same weight as the last couple of weeks and it still left me aching but feeling good.
Early to bed.
No alcohol, no junkfood.

Exercise
Rode my bicycle to college and back (about 9.2 miles)
100 press ups
100 triceps dips
100 leg raises
Overhead press (29kg): 5 sets of 5 reps
Dumbell front raises (8kg): 5x5
Squats (36kg): 5x5
Curls (36kg): 5x5
Deadlift (54kg): 5x5
Shrugs (48kg): 5x5

Food

2 x peanut butter on wholemeal toast
Cup of redbush tea
Glass of orange juice
Left over homemade frittata
Handful of nuts
Banana
Mexican scrambled eggs (made with fresh eggs from Martha's work experience placement, peppers, spring onions, mushrooms, homegrown tomatoes, tortilla and served with homemade organic potato wedges [potatoes from Mom's allotment])

Alcohol

none


Tuesday
Weight: 10st 7lbs
I cycled in to work on the Specialized. The roads were wet but it wasn't raining. Still, I got a bit of a soggy bottom so I'll be glad when I find time to fix the Raleigh - I miss the mudguards!
I hardly ate anything at work and then cycled home with a a rumbling tummy. With no time to eat, I took Martha to our martial arts lesson. We did some kata work and then some very basic one step sparring. I didn't get to work up a sweat but it was still good to practise some techniques.
Back at home, I devoured my dinner and then had a lazy hour on the couch before bed.
No junkfood, no beer.

Exercise
Cycled to work and back
One hour of martial arts training

Food

2 x wholemeal toast with peanut butter.
2 x cup of redbush tea
Grape juice
Handful of nuts
Banana
Apple
2 x plaice fillets in breadcrumbs with savoury rice, green beans and broccoli.

Alcohol

None


Wednesday
Drove to work
Ate nothing
Drove home
Tonight, I scoffed a banana and then went for a run. The traffic was so thick that I didn't even bother trying to cross the roads, I simply ran around the side streets in a loop, two and a half times! It was a slow time and I only managed to cover 4.2 miles in 45 minutes. The legs were okay but the chest was a bit tight. How runner marathon runners do it is a complete mystery to me. I felt rubbish by the time I got home.
I spent the rest of the evening ironing, tidying the man cave and sprawled on the couch playing Minecraft!

Exercise
Run: 4.2 miles at 10m 34s pace

Food

2 x wholmeal toast with peanut buter
Glass of grape juice
Cup of redbush tea
Banana
Two huge beef burgers with stir fried vegetables and noodles.

Alcohol

None

Thursday

I had to drive in to work today because I was going to be in a rush to get home in the evening.
I had nothing to eat at work.
At home, it turned out that Lucy was in much the same position and hadn't had time to get any dinner ready. I did egg on toast and then got changed. I was going out!
I went with Debbie, Nigel and Penny to see a covers band called Voodoo Room. As you can probably guess from the name, the band performed a selection of Hendrix and Cream tunes. They did them rather well. The three chaps in the band didn't look anything like Hendrix or Cream - they didn't have anywhere near enough hair and the frontman was in the latter stages of pattern baldness (I feel your pain, brother) so he had what remained of his hair determinedly brushed forward into a high fringe!
They sounded great, however. All three of them were obviously very talented and the songs were faithful reproductions of the originals.

Voodoo Room

The difference, of course, was the modern setting. Solihull Arts Centre is a great venue due to the facilities, the sound, and how comfortable it is. However, it appears to be devoid of atmosphere. While I was sitting in my upholstered chair sipping a chilled ale with the band no more than 30 metres away, I found myself imagining Hendrix at Woodstock, tripping on acid, the smell of weed all around, naked people, dancing, maybe a guitar on fire...
When Nigel went for a wee during the second set, he watched the remainder of the show from the doorway, not wanting to walk in front of the audience on his way back to his seat. That's the 'atmosphere' of the Solihull Arts Centre!
After a great show, we went for one more ale and then fell into a taxi home.

Exercise

None

Food

2x wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Cup of tea
Grape juice
2x coffee
2 fried eggs on wholemeal toast

Alcohol

5 ales!

Friday
Woke up with a headache! I drove in to work because I was so tired I couldn't face the thought of cycling.
At work, I did a warm up for a football game but then left the kids to it. I was the ref and blew the whistle occasionally even though I don't really know the rules of 5-a-side.
I had a big sandwich and then drove home.
The karate lesson was kata-focused with Sensei Ronnie Christopher in charge. We went through Yondan, Godan, Jion and finally Empi - but we only went through by count, I didn't actually get to 'perform' a kata.
In the car on the way home, I bored Martha with tales of training in the 'old days' (about 15 years ago) when I'd go home bruised, sweating and sometimes bleeding. I miss those days.

Saturday
Cycling in the morning with Jonnie, Nigel and two riders I hadn't met before - Chris and Peter.
We set off on a cold misty morning but the roads were bone dry and there was barely a breath of wind. The day gradually warmed and so did we as the route took us through Snitterfield and then on to Wilmcote. Chris was obviously an experienced cyclist who rides just for fun. He wasn't using a bike computer or Strava, wasn't concerned about average times, and left us all for dead on every hill we encountered! Peter was new to the sport but was obviously already fit: he was steady on the flat, pedalled on the downhills and was faster than me on the climbs!
The tea stop was most welcome with two types of homemade cake on offer: ginger or chocolate. I did the only sensible thing and had a bit of both!

The Gatekeeper of Wilmcote (and chief cake-maker)

Chris and Jonnie, and their nutritionist.

The remaining 15 miles was uphill through Aston Cantlow, Ullenhall and Tanworth. My legs suffered and, although I was in no danger of encountering the man with the hammer, I found it hard to maintain a decent average and resigned myself to watching the average drop from 15.3mph to 14.7mph.
Back at base, Jonnie and I refreshed ourselves with hop-based energy drinks while the rest of the men were much more sensible and sipped tea and coffee. Later that day, Lucy and I returned to Jonnie and Sally's to sample Jonnie's cooking (great curry!) and drink a few ales. Needless to say, I found the walk home a little wobbly!

Sunday
Woke up with a monster headache. I was too tired to go to the dojo, too tired to ride or lift weights. I spent most of the day on the couch eating and drinking. What a waste of a day.


Summary. 

The all too familiar pattern: I started the week well and then weekend boozing destroyed all of my ambition and drained me of my remaining energy. 
Still, I'll give it another go next week!

.





Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 9)

Monday
I tried to cycle into work today but when I was a mile away, a loose bungee cord hanging from the rack above the back wheel wrapped itself around the rear hub and stuck solid. I couldn't shift it at all. Worse, I couldn't push the bike either. So I had to carry the Raleigh Carlton, the heaviest bike I own, on my shoulder for a mile to get back home and then jump in the car.
I ate healthily at work.
A family member was taken into hospital today so, after I'd cooked, we were kept busy tonight and didn't get home until 10:45. Straight to bed after no exercise.
No junkfood, no booze.

Exercise

Cycled one mile!

Food

2 x wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Orange juice
Cup of redbush tea
Cup of coffee
Handful of pistachio nuts
Banana
Plum
Mexican scrambled eggs (eggs, peppers, onions, mushroom, tomatoes, wholemeal tortilla) with potato waffles.
Cup of builder's tea.

Alcohol

None

Tuesday
Cycled in to work on the Specialized.
Ate healthily all day.
Cycled back home.
In the evening, Martha went along to the dojo for some focused competition training with Sensei Mark. We had a mock kumite tournament followed by a mock kata competition. I lost my fight to a first kyu - he kicked me in the jaw with a mawashi geri which left me with a ringing headache for the next hour.
Then I went up against the same guy in kata and beat him.
Tonight, Martha and I signed up for both kumite and kata in the real club competition next month. Very exciting!
I then had a relaxing evening of good food and good TV (Arrow!)
No junkfood, no booze.

Wednesday
I have to drive to work on Wednesdays.
Had a handful of nuts and some fruit for lunch.
We went visiting family tonight do I didn't find the time for any exercise. Worse still, Jane had made an apple and blackcurrant pie especially for me so I had no choice but to have some with Cornish ice cream!
I managed to avoid a beer even though one was offered.

Exercise
None

Food

2 wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Cup of redbush tea
Glass of apple juice
Handful of nuts
Banana
Homemade shepherd's pie with vegetables and cauliflower cheese
Homemade apple and blackcurrant pie with Cornish ice cream
Chocolate Brazil nuts
A choc ice

Alcohol

None

Friday
Cycled in to work. I had a plum and some nuts for lunch along with three slices of malt loaf!
In the afternoon, I took the sports group through some fitness exercises. This meant that I got to do a bit of running, some push ups and a bit of stretching with them. They did most of the actual exercise while I held a stopwatch and shouted at them.
Cycled home.
After tonight's D&D game, I hit the weights for an hour. I lifted the same as last week.
Then, too hungry to sleep, I stayed up late and ate muesli.
No alcohol, no junkfood.

Exercise

Push-ups: 100
Triceps-dips: 100
Leg raises: 100
Curls (36kg): 5 sets of 5 reps
Squats (36kg): 5x5
DB curls (17kg): 5x5
Side raise (6.5kg): 5x5
Front raise (8): 5x5
Overhead Press (29kg): 5x5

Food

2 x wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Cup of tea
Orange juice
Plum
Nuts
Malt loaf
Homemade beef chili with wholewheat pasta
Muesli with semi-skimmed milk.

Alcohol

none

Friday

Cycled in to college at Hall Green
At lunch time, I cycled over to some training courses in Digbeth and then cycled home - that's a total of about 14 miles in the saddle. Riding home from the city in Friday rush hour traffic was fun!
Martha and I went along to the dojo to train with Sensei Ronnie Christopher. He took us through a kata training session, going through all of the seven kata we know so far (plus the initial training kata - Kihon.) As always, I was in awe of Sensei's athletic ability (especially now as he is nearing 60 and he still the fastest, most supple karateka in the room) but what struck me tonight was how well he teaches. He includes everyone, encourages those who need it and never makes anyone feel bad. The whole class was motivated to do their best. I just wish I could replicate the same feeling in my own classroom!
At home, I cooked a Chinese chicken stir fry for the family.
At about 11pm I had a bowl of muesli because I was still hungry!
No junkfood, no alcohol.

Exercise
Cycled to work and back (14 miles today)
One our of karate training.

Alcohol 

None

Food

Wholemeal toast with peanut bitter
Tea
Orange juice
Nuts
Fruit
Chinese stir fry (chicken breast, peppers, spring onions, mushrooms, noodles, rice.)
Museli with semi-skimmed milk

Saturday
Woke up late, about 9am. I made breakfast for Lucy and myself and then we went shopping. At lunch time, I went for a 45 minute run. It was a struggle and not very fast. Still, I burned some calories. In the afternoon, I worked on a student's bicycle in the sunshine with a beer. Then the family went bowling! I came last but I had a Guinness which made me feel better.
Back home, Lucy served up homemade spag bol with wholewheat pasta and we all watched Cloverfield on DVD. I stayed up late and drank a bit too much!
No junkfood.

Exercise:

Run: 4.4 miles at 10:13 per mile pace

Food

Bacon and eggs with crumpets and homegrown tomatoes
Tea
Orange juice
Homemade bolognese with wholewheat spaghetti

Alcohol

1 440ml tin of ale
1 pint of Guinness
2 bottles of ale
Half a bottle of red wine

Sunday
A cheat day!
I had muesli for breakfast followed by tea and cookies with Mouse on the couch.
Lucy made a frittata for lunch because we had guests - Paul the electricain and Mavis.I drank a beer with Paul before he left.
3 hours later, I attended dojo with Martha. Sensei Ronnie Christpher took the class supported by Sensei Jim and Sensei Gary. It was a kata and kicking lesson. I partnered Martha for the first time in over a year and we got told off for messing about!
Home to drink a beer while waiting for my dinner.Unfortunately, I drank the first beer by Sadler's that I didn't really enjoy. I won't be buying Hop Bomb again. (Sadler's still do some fantastic ales, though!)

Nope

The family watched 10 Cloverfield Lane together. After Cloverfield, it was disappointing and shouldn't really have had 'Cloverfield' in the title. There didn't seem to be any connection between the two. Oh well. At least the family have all been together over the weekend instead of in separate bedrooms looking at phones!

Exercise
One hour of karate training

Food

Muesli with semi-skimmed milk
Tea
Cookies
Homemade frittata with salad, Scotch egg, chicken, and curried potatoes
Chicken pie with loads of vegetables and roasted potatoes from Mom's allotment.
Whole nut chocolate

Alcohol

3 real ales
One large glass of red wine
A measure of single malt Scotch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 8)

Monday
Weight: 10st 8lbs
Blood Pressure: 125/83
Heart Rate: 53
So, the big restart...I am currently the heaviest I've been since the middle of January!
I cycled in to work and ate fruit for lunch. So far, so good.
I cycled home and cooked for the family. By the time we'd finished eating and I'd said goodnight to Mouse, it was 9:30. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find the energy to do a weight lifting session. So Lucy and I watched Peaky Blinders instead!
At least I managed to resist alcohol and junkfood today.

Tuesday
I cycled in to work. For lunch, the students had cooked spicy rice so I had some of that.
I cycled home and then Martha and I went off to dojo for some competition training with Sensei Gary. Afterwards, Martha decided that she too wants to take part in the club competition in November. She wants to do fighting but not kata! I intend to do both although I fully expect to be out of the kumite competition in the first round!
Back at home, Lucy fed me two huge juicy beef burgers with mushrooms and oven chips.
No alcohol, no sugary foods.

Wednesday
I drove in to work today because of the amount of paperwork I had to transport. I had no lunch until about 5pm when I had a chicken sandwich from the canteen.
At home, Lucy had prepared a fantastic chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice.
I did a late night weight lifting session (where I lifted heavier than last week) which left me aching and very hungry. I had a bowl of no added sugar muesli before bed.
No alcohol, no junkfood.
I miss beer.
I caught sight of myself in a mirror today - I look like one of those pot-bellied blokes I vowed I'd never become...

Thursday
I cycled in to work. I took my blood pressure monitor in with me today because I needed it for my How the Body Works class in the afternoon. By 9am I had measured the blood pressure of everyone in the staff room! Unfortunately, the results worried one woman so much that she has made an appointment with her GP about her blood pressure.
Lunch was a peach and a banana.
I took part in the fitness session with the Sports and Leisure group - I ended up giving it my all in an effort to beat these wiry teenagers and, as a result, was a sweaty mess by 2pm. Unfortunately, during the martial arts section of the class, I injured my right thumb (my fault) which has left it tender and weak.
I cycled home to cook for the D&D players. Lucy had left me a portion of her wonderful homemade bolognese. I prepared some wholewheat pasta to go with it and also scoffed 5 leftover cod fish fingers! After that, I munched on a bit of pasta which one of players had brought with him.
After dropping everyone off home, I did an hour's weight training. I was very relieved to find that my injured thumb didn't stop me from gripping the bar. Then I plonked myself on the couch at 11pm to eat a bowl of muesli.
No junkfood, no booze.

Exercise

Cycled to work and back
Fitness lesson at college
100 press ups
100 triceps dips
100 leg raises
Deadlift (54kg): 5 sets of 5 repetitions
Side raise (6.5kg): 5x5
Bar curls (36kg): 5x5
Squats (36kg): 5x5
Dumb bell curls (17kg): 5x5
Bar shrugs (48kg): 5x5

Food

Peanut butter on toasted wholemeal bap
Cup of redbush tea
Glass of orange juice (not from concentrate)
Peach
Banana
Homemade bolognese with wholewheat pasta
5 cod fish fingers
White pasta with spinach
Muesli (no added salt, no added sugar) with semi skimmed milk

Alcohol

None

Friday

I cycled to work.
I had a very healthy lunch.
I cycled home.
I walked the dogs.
I ran over 4 miles.
I drank some beer.
I went to bed.

Exercise:
Cycled to work and back
Run: 45m 09s without stopping/walking

Food:

Peanut butter on 2 wholemeal toast
Orange juice
Cup of redbush tea
Homemade tuna and pasta salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and sweetcorn
Homemade beef chili with brown rice

Alcohol:

2 ales

Saturday
Jonnie and I jumped on the bikes on a chilly but dry morning. Neither of us wore jackets, preferring to 'be bold and start cold.' I soon warmed up in the strengthening sunshine. We cruised down to Lowsonford and then onto High Cross, finally swooping down the descent to Snitterfield. I was aware that the legs were beginning to suffer on the climb out of Snitterfield,  but we still managed to hold a half-decent pace to Wilmcote.
After enjoying some splendid, still-warm cake, we pointed the bikes northwards and started climbing. I think I made a mistake by riding into a headwind in the big ring. These days, the big ring is saved for special occasions (I'd estimate that I rode 99% of the Tommy Godwin Challenge in the little ring) such as perfectly flat sections with a tailwind. So, although I set a good pace, my legs were feeling decidedly shaky by the time the real climbing started in Ullenhall. When we did eventually get back to base, after a total of 37 miles,  we compared average speeds and the results were very confusing:
Jonnie's Strava: 14.9mph
My Strava: 14.4mph
My computer: 14.6mph.
Which one was right? Jonnie and I decided to discuss this in depth with some special recovery drinks in his kitchen.

Energy drinks

In the evening, Lucy dropped me off in Coventry so I could watch my mate Mark play guitar and keyboards in his band.
The band Cave are a pub-friendly covers band and tonight they were playing rock tunes from the likes of U2, Foo Fighters and Robert Plant. In fact, the Robert Plant track, 29 Palms, was the musical highlight of the evening with the singer's voice being ideally suited to this slow-burning 90s rock gem.

My mate Mark in full flow

The best band I saw that night.

The actual highlight, however, were the locals. In various states of inebriation, they all seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. I spotted a  couple in their seventies (the lady in mini skirt and strappy top) slow-dancing directly in front of the band for most of the evening, a man dressed as some kind of druid (complete with staff and feathered hat), and a lady apparently dressed as Ozzy Osborne moshing on her own on the dance floor.
And a bloke with a tattooed face.

The locals, including a druid.

After many ales (I found a good red IPA by Ringwood on tap) I found myself in a taxi at about 1:30am!

Sunday
Woke up with a headache. Unable to stomach any food, I jumped on my bike to arrive at Alderbrook School to help Lucy, Jane and Sally set up for our tabletop sale to raise money for World Challenge.
I managed to sell quite a few CDs, books and DVDs while breathing last night's beer over people.
In the afternoon, I sat on the couch, played Minecraft, sipped wine and let Lucy feed me.


Summary
A good start to the week, but I soon went back to my old ways at the weekend. Must, and can, do better over the next 7 days.
.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 7)

This week, I turned 42. One of my best friends, Sally, also had a birthday - she turned 50!


As a result, this week was spent celebrating, meeting with friends and family, and, of course, drinking lots of alcohol and eating lots of cake.




This makes for very poor reading in a blog which is meant, in part at least, to be about regaining fitness and changing my body shape. As it turns out, I'm still a little fat guy with skinny arms and this week has done nothing to change that fact!
I did manage to ride my bike to work and back 4 times and I did go for a run for 41 minutes without stopping or walking.
I did a weight training session for one hour and managed to lift heavier than I did last week.
I attended one martial arts session.

Next week will see a dramatic change. With no more funerals or birthdays in the near future, I should be able to refocus on my fitness and getting my black belt in Karate. I am taking part in the club Karate competition in November which should now be my main target. 
Jonnie and I have decided to sign up for the Mad March Hare Sportive as usual and I'm sure we'll be able to drag Nigel along too!

Watch this space...

Monday, October 3, 2016

How to Lose a Belly When You're 42 (part 6)

Monday
Cycled to work in the rain. I ate healthily all day and just had fruit and nuts for lunch. I tried to talk to my class about a healthy lifestyle - they just leaned back on their chairs and tried to sneak a swig of Fanta when I wasn't looking.
I cycled home in soggy clothes.
As soon as I got in I went for a run. I ran for 35 minutes which is better than last week.
I cooked my famous Mexican scrambled eggs with all natural ingredients. However, I couldn't resist a beer while cooking.
Went to bed early. No junkfood.

Exercise
Run: 3.5 miles at 10:06 min/mile pace.

Booze

I bottle of best bitter

Food

2 wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Glass of apple juice
Cup of redbush tea
3 cups of Earl Grey tea
Banana
Nectarine
Plum
Handful of pistachio nuts
Mexican scrambled eggs with mushrooms, peppers, onions, wholemeal tortilla and homegrown potatoes from Mom's allotment.


Tuesday
Cycled in to work.
I managed to eat healthily through lunchtime. On the cycle home, I stopped off to buy biscuits for the minister who was coming round to discuss Mom's funeral arrangements with me.
As it turns out, as soon as I started to arrange them on a plate, I found myself munching on the custard creams! So much for willpower...
After I'd told the minister all about my Mom, and he'd driven off, I put my trainers on and tried to run the experience away. I only ran 3 and a half miles but it was a fast time (for me.)
I made dinner for the family.
Later that night, when everyone was in bed, I raided the fridge for cheesecake and a choc ice!
Oh well, at least I didn't have a beer today!
No alcohol.

Exercise

Cycled to work and back
Run: 3.6 miles at 9:36 mins/mile.

Booze

None

Food

2 x wholemeal toast with peanut butter
Glass of apple juice
Cup of tea
2 x cups of coffee
Banana
Nectarine
Handful of nuts
Biscuits!
Stir fried chicken, mushrooms, peppers, onions and garlic served with white rice and noodles.
Cheesecake
Choc ice


Wednesday

Up at 6am. Had to drive in to work today. I had a healthy breakfast but then I ate absolutely nothing at work. I scoffed a handful of mixed nuts before getting the weights out for a session. I managed to lift slightly heavier than last week.
Lucy prepared a huge and tasty meal which I dispatched while watching TV. After some ironing, I picked the girls up from a party. It was after 10pm when I got home.
I sat on the couch and watched cycling while drinking 2 beers and eating cornflakes because I was still hungry!
No junkfood.

Exercise

100 press ups
100 triceps dips
100 leg raises
Front raises (8kg) 5 sets of 5 repetitions
Dumb bell curls(17kg) 5x5
Barbell curls (34kg) 5x5
barbell squats (34kg) 5x5
Deadlift (54kg) 5x5
Side raises (6.5kg) 5x5

Booze

1 bottle of ale
1 bottle of stout

Food

2 x wholemeal toast with peanut butter
1 glass of apple juice
1 cup of redbush tea
Handful of mixed nuts
2 quarterpounder burgers with green beans, homegrown tomatoes and new potatoes.
Bowl of cornflakes


Thursday
Cycled in to work.
Ate healthily all day. I intended to join the advanced Karate class tonight so I had to have dinner at work. I opted for chicken salad sandwich on some kind of brown bread from Greggs. Is that healthy? It tasted too nice to be healthy! It'll do if I don't make a habit of it...
I cycled home, jumped in the shower, jumped in the car, and went to the advanced class.
It wasn't anything like I'd hoped it to be: I was the lowest grade, I'd expected that, but what I hadn't expected was the class to be so difficult! I'd hoped to emerge sweaty, bruised, maybe even bleeding, after fighting people faster and stronger than me. Unfortunately, the class was very, very technical! I was trying to learn unfamiliar combinations at breakneck speed with my training partner Sensei Ronnie Christopher - 2 times World Silver medallist and 2 times World Team Champion! I'm sure the class was very useful to my progression as a karateka, but all I needed tonight was to hit something/someone or to get hit.
Back at home, with everyone in bed, I stayed up to watch Zulu - a film I remember Mom and Dad enjoyed watching together.

Friday

Mom's funeral today. In the morning, Lucy kept me busy with a trip to the bank, a trip to the post office and a trip to Tesco.
The funeral itself went as well as could be expected with lots of fantastic friends and family supporting my brother and me. Afterwards, I didn't feel like eating but I did feel like drinking!
I stayed up late with Jonnie, Lucy and Debbie and I drank more than I could keep track of...

Saturday
Hangover. Recovery ales and junkfood.

Sunday
Unfortunately, the second day of my hangover coincided with Tommy Godwin 100k Cycle Challenge!
Tommy Godwin was a cyclist from the Midlands who won two Olympic bronze medals in 1948. He also managed the British Olympic cycling squad in 1964. He ran a bicycle shop in Kings Heath for 36 years, and was the president of the British Cycling  Federation and of the Solihull Cycling Club who meet every weekend just three miles from my house.
He died at the Marie Curie Hospice Solihull in 2012.
The Tommy Godwin Challenge is a charity cycle ride whose profits go to the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull.
It had been a soaking wet night and the roads were damp with plenty of standing water around when Jonnie called for me at about 7:50am. We made our way round to Nigel's to meet with him, Noel and Andy. We got to the start line far too early so had plenty of time to stand, chat and pose for photographs. Thank goodness it wasn't cold!


Nigel, me, Jonnie

Three of our group were leading from the front due to our number allocation; Noel and Andy had to start a little later. When we got going, I quickly had to get used to the sight of much faster and fitter men racing past me (including Pete May!)
The sun came out and the lanes began to dry.




On the way to Snitterfield, I had to stop for a wee (I'd been drinking loads to help with the hangover.) Nigel was ahead and Jonnie was behind. I clambered off the bike and waited a few seconds for Jonnie to come past. I asked Jonnie to catch Nigel and ask him to slow down. Then I went for a wee.
As it turns out, Jonnie couldn't catch Nigel (who is now freshly nick-named as Andre Greipel) so he didn't slow down! I managed to catch up with Jonnie but Nigel made it to the halfway point a couple of minutes ahead of us.
Noel rolled in a little later, despite starting 30 minutes after us! He had to set an average pace of 17.1mph to reach us whereas our speed was only 15.6mph at this point. Andy, very sensibly, had opted to ride with other friends!
After tea and cake, we headed back into the now dry lanes and made for Feckenham. We turned Northwards at Feckenham which meant the Astwood Bank climb! I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the last few weeks' drinking and lack of sleep had taken its toll on my climbing ability. Noel sprang away up the hill but I was left spinning a tiny gear in an effort just to get up it! Oh well, plenty of training rides to come...
The ride finished on familiar roads through Ullenhall and eventually Earlswood Lakes. Luckily there was a tailwind to blow us all the way back!


Note the cornering styles: Nigel can and I can't!

We finished together and decided the most sensible form of recovery was a couple of rounds of beer back at my house. The ride home was a real struggle - the tailwind was now a headwind and we had nothing left in the legs!




In summary, Jonnie and I have decided that the Tommy Godwin Challenge is now our favourite organised rise and we intend to ride it every year for as long as we are able.