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Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Lose a Belly When You're 43 (part 27)

Monday
I woke up feeling really rather tired after the postponed Mad March Hare yesterday. I did manage to ride into work but it was a struggle - like my legs belonged to someone else.
I had no energy all day and couldn't face the idea of weight lifting in the evening. I wouldn't have been able to lift much anyway.
So I made dinner, did the washing up and then put my feet up with a glass of terrible wine and then a good beer.
No junkfood, no exercise (9 miles of cycling), wine and beer

Tuesday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Cycled in to work and back. If anything, my legs felt worse than yesterday! Riding home into a headwind was a huge effort - I may as well have got off and walked!
Unbelievably, tonight's Karate session was a fitness session - non-stop basics for forty minutes followed by circuit training! By then end of it, I was red faced and sweating and utterly spent. Sensei Lloyd came to see me before I left and advised me that I was moving my legs a little slowly. I considered explaining about the MMH but decided simply to thank him for his advice.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Wednesday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Cycled in to work and back - it's not getting any easier!
Back at home, I managed to do a weight lifting session that was the heaviest I've completed in over 12 months. I was rather pleased with this.
I made dinner for Lucy and myself and resisted a beer.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Thursday
Lucy and I had an appointment after work so I had to drive the car today.
It was a beautifully sunny day so I took students to the local park. We did a series of three sporting events - a 100m dash followed by standing long jumps and finally press ups in one minute. I pitted myself against these 16- 21 year olds and didn't do too badly. Some of them were too fat/lazy to take part in any of the events! I came third in the sprint, did okay in the long jump and won the press-ups! By the time we got back to college I had got a little sunburnt...
Back at home, I went out for my weekly 10K run. It was a struggle in the heat, with my legs still aching from Sunday and my sunburnt head and neck. I really suffered and my time was more than 5 minutes slower than last week's!
Somehow, I resisted a beer when I got home.
10K run: 64m 07s, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Friday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Another lovely sunny day. I cycled to work and back. At work, a student offered me a chocolate covered raisin (one of my fave treats) and that was the top of a slippery slope. I ended up having some of Dodgy's birthday cake too.
Tonight's Karate session was awesome! Even in the heat, Sensei Russell kept the pressure on and we blasted through kumite training, loads of kata and then back to some freestyle. I got to fight Sensei Jody and, as usual, he battered me, but there was a short time during our second or third fight when I felt some of my combinations come together and I actually landed some shots on him! It didn't last long though and he demolished me in our last bout. At least two people in the club were bleeding, possibly a third, and I had to wash my gi when I got home. Fantastic training!
At home, I had a beer with dinner and then a glass of red while watching TV. Much later, at 00:50am I got a call from a friend who needed my help. After a drive to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and back I didn't get to bed until 2:10am!
Karate, junkfood, glass of red, glass of beer.

Saturday
I got up early to ride with Nigel for the first time this year! We set off in the lovely sunshine but, after the first mile, disaster! His rear gear cable had snapped. We turned off and headed to Nigel's house so he could swap bikes. He clambered onto his number two bike and we tried again.
Back in the saddle
We rode his Shrewley route and I was surprised and pleased to find that he was still just as powerful on the flat and I simply couldn't hang on to his back wheel.
After about twenty miles it was obvious that Nigel was uncomfortable: a bike saddle takes some getting used to and he hadn't sat on one for nearly 4 months! However, he soldiered on and we made it back to my place with a half-decent average over 24 miles. The weather was great and I regretted wearing the base layer, today.
We drank tea and coffee in the back garden and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.
A little later, after I'd completed all of my housework chores, I set off for this afternoon's Karate session. The emphasis was on the beginners and I was happy to help teach Kihon Kata to some white-belts.
After this, I walked the streets for an hour, knocking on doors to promote the club. We are currently offering free Karate sessions in the Solihull and King's Heath areas. Do get in touch if you're interested.
In the early evening, I enjoyed a beer and a glass of red wine and some ice cream before snoozing on the couch.
Later on, I had to wake up to fetch Martha from work!
Cycling, Karate, junkfood, one beer, one glass of red.

Sunday
Weight: 10st 1lbs
The big bike ride!
Jonnie and I set off on the High Cross route this morning. Again, I was wearing my base layer but it was too hot and sunny to justify it! We chatted along in the lanes and even rode with the Solihull Cycling D group for a little while . They were heading along on our exact route, just a little bit too slowly for us. We refreshed ourselves with tea and cake in the sunshine and I stripped off the base layer. Jonnie opted to keep his on.
We headed back as it began to cloud over. We kept the pressure on all the way back and we were going well. Interestingly, our average speed didn't change all the way back. We kept it at 14.4mph for the entire 15 miles home.
This afternoon's Karate session was intense! It was the two hour class with the second hour for the senior grades. Sensei Ronnie took the first hour and subjected us to an intense kata lesson. I did nearly all of the kata I knew (we missed out Enpi) and even one I didn't! Ronnie scrutinised us hard and spent a lot of time with me. I was disappointed to have my kata ripped apart - my stance was wrong (shifting my feet between techniques) and I was too tense on the blocks and attacks. He then informed me that I was losing my balance on my turns. Before this afternoon, I felt ready for my grading, now I know I still have a lot of work to do.
The thought of a second session was too much for Martha and she headed home. This second session was taken by Sensei Lee who is a no-nonsense fighter and really rather good at pushing people to their limits. In between each kumite section, we were blasted non-stop through various kata at full speed. We were told to disregard good form and just go for speed and aggression. I guess the idea was to tire us out and then throw us into the next fight, forcing us to dig deep. It certainly worked! I was dripping with sweat, gasping for breath with my hands on my knees between fights. I got to fight four black belts including Sensei Lee. I was shocked and pleased to find that I was landing hits on all of them although Sensei Lee did bop me squarely on my nose for my efforts! 
By the end of the two hours I was exhausted, damp and very happy.
At home, I poured myself a beer and, still in my gi, went with the family to watch the St George's Day motorbike ride out on the A34 - about 20 metres from my front door!
After dinner, I served up apple strudel and ice cream for Martha and myself. 
What a fantastic Sunday!
Cycling: 35 miles at 14.4mph, 2 hours of Karate, junkfood, one beer, one glass of red.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How to Lose a Belly When You're 43 (part 26) Mad March Hare 2018

Monday
Weight: 10st 4lbs
After a weekend of beer and cake, I've ballooned back up to 65.4kg. Even my 50 mile bike ride couldn't balance out homemade cakes and real ale!
Today, I did a weight lifting session before lunch. I added a little bit more weight compared to last week. It was a struggle, but I got through my 6 exercises at 5x5 along with 300 bodyweight reps in under and hour. Phew!
You can take a look at my current weight training programme.
In other news: sadly my 1985 Technics amp has finally died (refuses to turn on.) If anyone has a cheap amp for sale, do let me know - it must have a phono input!
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Tuesday
Weight: 10st 3lbs
Tonight's karate session is destined to become a memorable one. It was a fast-paced mix of kumite and kata. There was hardly any standing around and the emphasis was on spirit and speed. In the kumite, Sensei Jody and I pushed each other hard and then we were partnered with other karateka. Unfortunately, after getting used to trying to train at Jody's level, I accidentally punched my opponent (a 2nd kyu ho, like me) on the nose with my first attack. I apologised straight away and when he realised that he wasn't bleeding he was okay about it. A little later on, I was training with a very tall brown belt. I was the attacker and his role was to block and counter. Unfortunately, he countered without control, punched me in the solar plexus, and it was all I could do to stay on my feet! I staggered off to recover but was lined up to get back in the fight after less than a minute. After the session, Sensei Gary came to see if I was okay - I thought it was because he saw me get tagged, but it was only because I was bright red and sweaty! Must get fitter!
After a healthy dinner of fish and rice, I couldn't resist a couple of beers while cheering on Liverpool and Villa to victories tonight.
Karate, no junkfood, 2 bottles of ale.

Wednesday
After wasting a morning at work, I got home and did another good weight lifting session. I managed to eat healthily all day. Later in the evening, I sat up with Lucy and our friend Dodgy and I consumed half a bottle of red wine.
Weight training, no junkfood, 2 glasses of red wine.

Thursday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
I didn't get up until 9:30am! Lazy boy. This morning, I cycled down to Dynamic Rides to pick up the race numbers for Jonnie and myself for Sunday's Mad March Hare sportive. They gave me a couple of free energy bars so we'll be even faster now. It was pouring with rain with standing water everywhere. I got home cold and wet after 7.5 miles.
I got changed and, just to get it out of the way, set off on this week's 10K run. Thankfully, it had stopped raining. I set off well having already warmed up the muscles on the bike. I tried to stay on my toes and keep my weight forward as I lengthened my stride. I had a few aches and pains at the start but by about 2 miles in I was going well. In the fourth mile I surprised myself by saying out loud, "I'm so tired! I hate running!" I'm glad no one was present to hear this outburst of madness!
I turned up the pace for the last half mile and was very surprised to finish in my second fastest time over 10K! It's still slow by most people's standards, but not bad for an old fat lad who hates running.
The trouble with running is that it makes you hungry. For lunch I wolfed down homemade tomato soup with two rounds of toast quickly followed by another round of toast with peanut butter and then a banana. And I was still hungry...
This afternoon, I went door to door promoting Ruach Karate club and offering people a week of totally free training to see if they like it. Most of the people in my area are either 'too old' or 'have a bad back'. Their words, not mine! I did just over an hour of this until my hands were frozen and my nose was running. It was a horribly cold and foggy day. I went home to play on the Xbox with Martha.
In the evening, Lucy served a fantastic homemade dinner of slow cooked ham, chicken, curried potatoes and savory rice. We settled back to watch Homeland and I finished off the bottle of wine from yesterday.
Cycling: 7.5 miles, Run: 10K in 58m 16s, no junkfood, half a bottle of red wine.

Friday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Somehow, I managed to put on a kilogram of weight in 24 hours. How does that work? Just too much food I guess...
I took it easy today - the idea is to conserve energy for the Mad March Hare on Sunday.
This evening's dojo session was superb. It was a fast-paced mix of kata and kumite including some freestyle fighting at the end. Unfortunately, one of my opponents blocked my chudan mawasha geri with his elbow. He connected with my big toe which left me hopping and howling! I was afraid I'd broken my toe but I can move it and still walk so I guess it's okay. It now feels like a massive bruise under the nail but there's no sign of any damage!
At home, I enjoyed a few drinks with Lucy and we relaxed in front of the TV.
Karate, no junkfood, one glass of cava, 2 bottles of beer.

Saturday
Up early for a large but healthy breakfast. It was a lovely sunny day so I enjoyed walking the dogs around the park. After tuna, noodles and green beans for lunch I walked around my local area knocking on doors, inviting people to train at our dojo. Two families agreed to come along to try Karate at this afternoon's session (but they didn't show up.) After an hour I went home and got ready for training.
The lesson was a good one focusing on all three aspects of our martial arts: basics, kata and fighting. After the lesson, a young woman kept nagging me to spar with her. I told her several times that I didn't want to but she was very persistent. The trouble is, she's an ex-boxer and very wild. She is still developing the level of control needed to spar safely with other people. I eventually agreed to spar with her as long as we took it lightly. Unfortunately, within a few seconds, she booted me hard in the left knee, the knee I have to strap up when I'm running. To make matters worse, she does karate in trainers for some reason. The kick sent a jolt of pain up my body and the knee now clicks when I walk. Great, and I've got a 75 mile bike ride to do tomorrow!
I was glad to get home and clean my bicycle in the sunshine.
I behaved myself in the evening, had a healthy homemade dinner, didn't have a beer, and then went to bed at 10:30
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Sunday
Weight: 10st 2lbs

Up at 6am to get ready for the postponed Mad March Hare. The BBC (why do I trust them?) predicted rain all day so Jonnie and I were wearing several waterproof layers including waterproof socks. Of course, it hardly rained at all and we spent the day sweating! 
Even though we arrived at the start for 8am there were already hundreds of riders waiting to get going. We got to the back of the queue and I took some selfies!
8am: waterproof
We set off at a tremendous pace. In the first 10 miles, even though we were riding into the wind, we hit an average of 15.5mph. I knew it was all adrenaline and I knew we would suffer later, but I couldn't help getting caught up in the enthusiasm! We pulled over at 9:40am for a swig of brandy, a banana and a wee. A little later, we had a bit of a mishap: A fast paced peleton came up on our right and we managed to get on board. Suddenly, we were being swept along at 18mph! Unfortunately, I went though a set of traffic lights on green but Jonnie was caught on red. However, I didn't know about this! After a while, I was dropped out of the back of the peleton. I assumed that Jonnie was still in the group and vanishing off into the distance! This meant that I arrived at the first big climb of the day alone.
When it starts to get steep, Strava measures the Dover's Hill climb at just over a mile and at 8% gradient. A real leg destroyer for us amateurs! I immediately noticed how slow I was compared to other riders. 2 years ago, when I rode up the big hill as part of the MMH, I was overtaking a lot of riders and no-one overtook me. Today, it was the exact opposite of that: everyone was riding past me (apart from those walking.) Two explanations for this: I'm not as fit as I was, and there are a lot more serious riders on the MMH this year. I think both explanations are true. Usually on an organised ride you see people on mountain bikes, or riding tandems, with baggy shorts etc. Today, nearly everyone looked as though they were training for the Giro and had at least £2000 between their legs!
When I reached the top of the climb, literally dodging the Jelly Babies all over the road, I noticed that Jonnie wasn't up there waiting for me. Maybe he wasn't in front of me at all!?
I kept going so I didn't cramp, but I kept it at a steady pace downhill to the start of the next big climb. 
I forced the pace right down and span my smallest gear until Jonnie caught up and we continued on together.
As far as my injuries are concerned: the knee was fine! My bruised toe from Friday was throbbing mightily but not causing me any problems.
The feedstation was okay - lots of free food to be grabbed by the armful, and room to park the bikes up. However, there was a long queue for the toilets so Jonnie and I decided to ride out into the lanes for a wee instead!
The rest of the ride was pleasant with a couple of stops for brandy and biscuits. The only downside was one local driver who nearly side-swiped me and then blared his horn at Jonnie. He made the mistake of pulling into a drive. I stopped to confront him but he turned out to be too old to hit. He actually squealed at me: "It's not fair! Go and ride somewhere else!"
I swore at him for a while and then rode on to catch up with Jonnie.
After the adrenaline had wore off I actually felt rather stupid for stopping and wanting to fight. As Master Funakoshi stated: There is no first strike in Karate. It was then, riding away from swearing at an upset old man, that I realised I was starting to lose my way as far as being a good karateka is concerned. I'm now determined to make a change for the better and to control my temper.
After 70 miles I was done. Every part of me was aching: legs, shoulders, back and especially my undercarriage! This was only my second ride on my new saddle - I obviously hadn't got used to it yet! I was running on fumes, breathing ragged, and dreaming of a sit down with a beer. Jonnie, on the other hand, said how strong he felt in the last part of the ride! He really has come along way in developing his fitness and strength over the last 5 years or so.
We crossed the finish line after 6hrs and 15 mins. We had covered 77 miles at an average speed of 13.7mph (I think Jonnie's speed was closer to 14mph.) We were awarded with a weird medal: a chain wear gauge (wut?) on a ribbon.
The strangest 'medal' in my collection
I was really looking forward to a pint of Purity Saddle Black in the beer tent. Sadly, with around 1250 riders on the route, the beer tent was full! Jonnie and I headed back to his house to drink some Purity UBU (thanks, Sally!) and watch some guy we've never heard of win the Amstel Gold race.
It's a hard life...
I rode carefully home to have one more beer with a fantastic homemade lamb dinner (thanks, Lucy!)
It was a splendid end to the holiday. Unfortunately, with the return to work looming large, there were none of the festivities of previous years when the two families get together to celebrate. I missed that, but was glad to get to bed early to rest my aching legs and back.
Cycle: 77miles at 13.7mph, junkfood, half a hipflask of brandy, 4 or 5 ales.












Monday, April 9, 2018

How to Lose a Belly When You're 43 (part 25)

Monday
Weight: 10st 1lb
I went to bed at 2:30am after drinking far, far too much with family.
I came crashing back to consciousness at about 10am and was greeted with a shocking headache. Lucy made me a big fry-up breakfast and then I went back to bed for a bit.
In the afternoon, I managed to walk the dogs around the park.
In the evening, I indulged in some homemade cheesecake and then, being the Bank Holiday, Lucy and I treated ourselves to a few more drinks and watched the excellent new Spiderman film!
No exercise, junkfood, 4 bottles of beer.

Tuesday
Tonight's Karate session was a kumite-based session with some kata to finish. Sensei Mark was the only instructor teaching and so we had to wait a long time while he explained things to the lower grades. I ended up partnered with a beginner for a lot of the lesson.
Sensei Mark had us doing press-ups which are not normally a problem until he asked us to do them on our knuckles! I was dismayed to find that 5 was my maximum! After that, the pain in my hands was too great and I couldn't force myself to do any more. I think I've discovered a new challenge - I want to be able to do 25 knuckle press-ups on the gym floor before the end of the year.
I ate healthily all day and didn't drink alcohol. Back in training!
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Wednesday
Weight: 10st 3lbs
Blood pressure: 133/82
Resting heart rate: 49
This morning, I cycled in to work and back to get some lessons ready for after the holiday. While I was there, my GP finally called me about the heart monitor test I had in January. She did her best to explain the technical letter to me stating that sometimes my heart slowed down, sometimes it sped up and sometimes it added an extra beat. She then cheerily added that I had nothing to worry about. I asked her a few questions such as:

  • Why was this happening now and not before?
  • What was causing it?
  • Could it get worse?
  • What's the best thing to do when it happens?
  • What can I do to stop it happening?
  • Is it a concern that my resting heart rate is so low?

She couldn't answer any of my questions so she has now agreed to write to the cardiologist to arrange for someone who can answer those questions to contact me. I imagine I have another three month wait ahead of me...
In the afternoon, I did a good, heavy weights session - my heaviest for 12 months! Afterwards, all I could do was sit in the man-cave drinking milk while my arms and legs were shaking. I couldn't even find the energy to get up to put a record on! It felt great. Later on, I did 5 knuckle press-ups on the kitchen floor.
I cooked my famous Mexican scrambled eggs for a healthy protein boost.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Thursday
Weight: 10st 3lbs
Up at 7 to witness a glorious sunny morning. I had a healthy breakfast and watched some of Steve Austin's ridiculous Broken Skull Challenge. At 11, I set off for a 10K run in the sunshine. I found it hard going at first but managed to find my rhythm after about a mile and a half. I checked my time at each mile and was surprised to find that I was going well - it didn't feel quick at all! By the end of the run, pouring with sweat in the sunshine, I was pleased to find I had completed it in my fastest time so far this year! Not fast by most people's standards, but good for me.
After an enormous lunch of a whole head of broccoli, a packet of noodles, and a tin of tuna with beetroot, I took the dogs out for a walk in the sunshine. It was warm enough to go out in my shorts.
When I got back, I took the opportunity to clean and service the Raleigh and the Specialized in the sunshine with faithful Monty lending a hand (paw.)
In the evening, Martha and I went out for a 1.5 mile run. She kept the pace high but suffered with side stitch again. She was only a second slower than last week.
In the evening, I enjoyed Lucy's homemade meatballs in tomato sauce and managed to resist a beer.
Run: 10K in 61m 03s, Run: 1.5 miles, no junkfood, no alcohol

Friday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Up at 8am. Watched some weight lifting in the Commonwealth Games and was inspired by Gareth Evans' win. I fully intended to pick up the weights this morning until Lucy pointed out that it was far too nice 'to be stuck indoors.' She was right, of course.
This morning, I finally bought what I hope is a half-decent saddle to replace the atrocity that's currently on the Specialized and that numbs my gentleman's area every weekend. I've ordered it from eBay and I hope it gets here before the March Hare.
I set off into the lanes at midday. It very quickly became apparent that I had nothing in the legs after yesterday's two runs (a total of 7.9 miles.) I was struggling into a 15mph headwind and I even had to pedal going downhill at times! Embarrassingly, by the time I had conquered Ireland's Lane and was heading up to The Punchbowl, my average had slumped to 13.1mph. I managed to drag some back on the flat on the way home and finished empty and aching at 13.7mph after only 19 miles...
I had a banana and a slice of dry bread before heading off to the dojo for this evening's karate session.
Tonight was one of the best sessions I've ever taken part in at Ruach. It was entirely kumite based and we even got to do some sparring at the end. I managed to land two uraken attacks (back fist) on two different opponents - both of whom were higher grades than me. I also went up against Sensei Russell who amazed me with the speed and accuracy of his kicks. As usual, I was lucky enough to work with Sensei Jody for most of the sparring. I managed to land one attack on him which I'm very pleased about. He managed to land hundreds on me... The session ended with Sensei Jody decking me and pummeling me on the floor. Priceless training!
If anyone reading this blog would like to try Karate for free, for a week, get in touch and I'll set it up for you. The sessions are based in the Solihull, Bromsgrove, Stratford, Shirley and Kings Heath areas.
Martha and I got back from the dojo to find we had guests. Two of Lucy's lovely friends from work had arrived and were well into their cups of wine in the backgarden. I set the chiminea burning and joined them for drinks. Unfortunately, all of my training and abstinence this week was cast aside for a drunken party until 1am. I staggered to bed knowing I'd hate myself in the morning.
Bike ride: 19 miles, Karate session, no junkfood, 3 beers and most of a bottle of red.

Saturday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
I hate myself.
I gasped awake at 7am with a shocking headache. I took some aspirin and hugged my pillow until about 9 when  I was able to make a fry-up for Lucy and myself. All I could think about was how I'd ruined all my good work this week. Until last night I was feeling fit and strong and was focused on my grading at the end of the month. Now I felt like shit.
However, I'm determined to get back to a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. The only trouble is, we're having a dinner party tonight...
By the time Martha and I arrived at dojo, I was feeling a lot better, but still nowhere near my best. I was hoping for a quiet, easy lesson with lots of standing around and talking. No chance! Sensei Gary had us going through our basics followed by a kumite line-up. I was even at the front at one point. I was very grateful to Sensei Tony for not knocking my head off when he crashed through my defense and his gloved fist stopped on the tip of my nose! At the end of the session, we ran through some kata and I tried my hand at Jion before concentrating on Bassai Dai.


As soon as we got home, the party was in full swing! Needless to say, this involved treats, cake and a few drinks! I managed to get to bed before 11pm.
Karate, junkfood, 3 bottles of ale.

Sunday
I struggled out of bed at 7:20am. I didn't feel too bad. After brekkie I cycled up to Jonnie and we set off for a very pleasant fifty miles in the surrounding countryside. There was no wind, hardly any rain and the lanes were mostly dry. To be honest, it was a fairly uneventful ride. I think I may have been a little stronger today (we seem to take it in turns to have the better legs each weekend) but Jonnie still put in a fantastic effort to get back with a 14.3mph average.
Back at Jonnie's place, we had cheese on toast, a couple of beers and cheered Peter Sagan to victory at Paris Roubaix! It wasn't until later that we learned of the terribly sad death of a young Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts. He'd crashed on one of the cobbled sections and died later in hospital.

Later in the evening, MontyDog and I met a nice chap at a train station who had bought my turbo trainer on eBay. It turns out that he is a very serious cyclist and his average speed, according to Strava, is over 17mph! I bet he doesn't refuel with cheese and beer...
Tonight, the family gathered around the table for one of Lucy's huge Sunday dinners. Later on, I relaxed on the couch with chocolate and a beer...
Cycling: 50 miles at 14.3mph, junkfood, 4 bottles of ale






Monday, April 2, 2018

How to Lose a Belly When You're 43 (part 24)

Monday
Cycled in to work and back.
Cooked Mexican scrambled eggs for the family.
Tonight, I did a good weights session that was almost as heavy as it was 12 months ago (before I hurt my right arm and had to reset my lifting programme.) It took me a full hour to do 6 different exercises at 5 sets of 5 reps along with my usual 300 bodyweight exercises.
I stayed up late playing Final Fantasy 15 which is a game that has failed to impress me so far.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Tuesday
Cycled in to work and back.
Tonight's Karate session involved a lot of talking, waiting and standing around: there was quite a bit to explain, however, because some of the procedures for basic kumite drills had changed since the weekend of instruction by Sensei Dave Hazard. Once again, Sensei Jody partnered me and, as always, pushed me to do my very best. One of his immense blocks stopped one of my pathetic punches and this resulted in a lump coming up on my arm. It now looks like I have an egg growing on my right forearm! It's going to be a wonderful bruise.
Back home for fish, vegetables and rice.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Wednesday
Cycled in to work. There was a birthday party at work with cakes and sweet things everywhere. I resisted it all! I cycled home feeling smug.
I did a heavy (for me) weights session. During my training, Lucy's 6' 4" father came to see how I was getting on. At that moment, I was curling 36kg (79lbs) on a barbell. He cheerfully explained that when he was younger he used to curl more than that with one hand...
I made a beef stir fry for the family, picked up Mouse from a school function, had a cup of tea and went to bed before 10.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Thursday
Weight: 10st 1lbs
I'm quite pleased to see that I've dropped 4lbs in 10 days. It must be due to the fact that I've left the sweet stuff alone, because I certainly haven't cut out the beer.
It was the last day at work before the Easter holidays! I cycled in to work, resisted all the celebratory cake on offer, and then cycled home.
Martha and I went for our weekly short run. She set off incredibly quickly, almost at a sprint, and I struggled to stay with her. She soon slowed down, however. We managed to get back in our fastest time yet, but we still have a long way to go to meet our target of 14 minutes for 1.5 miles.
Lucy had prepared homemade spicy chicken with sweet potatoes, onion rings and salad. I had two dinners! Tonight, safe in the knowledge that I wasn't teaching in the morning, I indulged in three wonderful ales: one each from Tower Brewery, Sadler's and finally Wye Valley. Heavenly!
Run: 1.6 miles at 9:53 pace, no junkfood, 3 ales.

Friday
Weight: 10st 2lbs
Up early. I went out at 11am for my first 10K run in 10 weeks! I was expecting the worst but was surprised to find that, besides some aching behind my right knee, I was okay! I got back in a half-decent time (for me) of 63 minutes.
I scoffed a big mushroom omelette as soon as I got back, and then had a vitamin C drink.
I had a few beers in the evening while watching Annihilation on Netflix.
Run: 10K in 63 minutes, no junkfood, 3 beers.

Saturday
Today's dojo session was excellent as usual. Sensei Gary had me working hard on my footwork: I'm too slow to move and that has to change as I progress up the belts. Once again, I was lucky enough to be partnered with Sensei Jody. We were practising the same attacks and blocks as we did on Tuesday: of course, this meant that my attacks were being blocked on the same arm and that meant I was being repeatedly hit on my bruise! By the end of the lesson it had swelled up to the size of a medium egg.
Thanks, Sensei
 At the end of the lesson we sang happy birthday to Sensei Gary before Sensei Jody, Martha and I stayed behind to do some fitness training on the pads.
In the evening, people gathered at The Pump House in Shirley to celebrate Sensei Gary's 29th birthday. I was very pleasantly surprised to find my favourite beer on tap: Saddle Black!

Best beer I've tried so far.

I stayed a little longer than I had intended and ended up having 2 pints of this lovely stuff.
Karate, no junkfood, 2 bottles of ale, 2 pints of ale.

Sunday
Jonnie and I didn't have much time this morning so we decided to ride directly to Wilmcote and back at 15.0mph. We set off really well despite my shocking headache caused by last night's strong ales. When we emerged from Aston Cantlow, 14 miles later, we had an average of 15.7mph!
After restoring ourselves with tea and cake, we began the uphill ride home. Unfortunately, a headwind quickly sapped me of my strength, the hangover kicked in, and I found the average dwindling down at an alarming rate. By the time we were struggling up out of Ullenhall, it had dribbled away to a disappointing 14.9mph. Jonnie was a lot stronger than he was last week and he found himself having to wait for me, especially in the last 5 miles or do. We eventually got back to base after 29 miles with a half-decent average of 14.6mph. I'm sure Jonnie could have made 15 if he hadn't waited for me.
We were locked out so we cycled to church to get the key from Sally. After a refreshing hair of the dog, I cycled home to organise an Easter egg hunt and to watch the Tour of Flanders.
In the evening, Jonnie and Sally hosted a family party where I ate naughty stuff and drank far, far, far too much!
Happy Easter!

Cycling: 29 miles, junkfood, loads of beer and wine.