Revisited: 18 Things to Do in 2018

On this day last year I posted an 18 Things to Do in 2018 blog post, so I thought I’d see how I got on in achieving anything on it. Granted, I probably should have printed it off so I had more chance of ticking each one off, but I ticked off more than I thought.

1. New Year Resolution?
With Ffion on our mountain bikes the other day, we were having a good old chat about New Year Resolutions and fitness came into both of ours. Mine is to get functionally stronger. I’ve let my fitness slip the past few months so its about time I did something about it! I just need to decide on a gym to join…

I didn’t quite get there in terms of being functionally fit like I use to, but I did gain a lot of fitness when it came to riding my bike. A trip to Majorca meant I hit the 70 mile mark and had some pretty exciting crit races on my road bike to.

2. Sport to Try?
After hearing all about my brother’s trip to Whistler, I’m hoping I’ll get to try Snowboarding this year.

Well, I went on a snow sports holiday…just on a pair of ski’s rather than a board!

3. Place to Visit Abroad?
Oo a tough one, but France is probably the most likely whether that’s to hit the slopes on a snowboard or climb the mountain roads on my trusted Liv Envie.

I ended up in France twice this year. Once with work and then with my brother skiing. 

4. Staycation to Book?
I haven’t managed to knuckle it down to one particular location, but I’d love to organise a group holiday to a cottage/cabin somewhere with lots of cycling and mountains nearby!

We never got that group holiday booked, but we did end up on some short breaks in Dolgellau quite a lot, which is probably my favourite village in Wales by now. 

5. Bad habit to get rid of?
Overthinking everything!

Not going to lie…I think I’m always going to do this!

6. Book to read?
With motorsport being another big part of my life, the book I want to read os one written by the wife of Frank Williams. Williams: A Different Kind of Life is written by the wife of Frank Williams and the troubles they’ve overcome after his accident.

I’ve not got round to reading this book, but it is still on the list! One book I have read was Running For My Life.

7. Unfinished project you want to finish?
Paint some canvas’ to put up in the house.

I’ve painted one…

8. Mountain to climb?
Cadair Idris as I have actually only been up to the lake…which I ended up swimming in!

I took it up a notch this year and swam in the lake at the top of Cadair…I mean actually swam not just paddled aha! I’d love it if you read my blog post ‘Unfinished Business‘ on this!

View this post on Instagram

I finally went back to Llyn Cau over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Ryan and I climbed a bit higher above the lake first, then went to the lake on the way down Cadair Idris. •••• It still took my a while to get the confidence to swim, but it was the best feeling afterwards 💕 •••• A Sigma 10-20mm EX DC HSM lens providing the goods 👌🏻 I love so many of the photos in the blog post, I really hope you go and have a look so you can let me know what you think 😁 •••• #SIGMAUK #lr_people #Wales #CadairIdris #swimwithaview #huubdesign #outdoorbloggers #girlsthatwander #girlywanderlust #outdoorbella #choosemountains #likeamountaingirl #wildswimming #ukblogger #wildernessculture #adventurevisuals #goexplore #outdooradventures #outdooradventurephotos #SheAdventures #CadairIdris #Dolgellau #LlynCau #mountaingirls

A post shared by Lucy | Cycling Blogger (@lucyslifeandbikes) on

9. Skill to improve?
It’s cheating but I want to put two down, my photography and cycling fitness.

My cycling fitness took quite a big step up this year. I can’t wait to get back to Pimbo in 2019!

10. Film to watch?
The Nutcracker, which was actually filmed somewhere I have been with Ryan earlier this year. I can already recognise the place from the trailer!

Yea…we missed this in the cinema, so waiting for the DVD it is!

11. Recipe to master?
Any recipe out of a cookbook I had off Ryan for Christmas, RAF 100 Cookbook.

I may have used the book for a few recipes, but I honestly can’t remember! My cooking has improved quite a lot though, I don’t really follow recipes anymore aha.

12. Planned event you’re already looking forward to?
Going to see Stereophonics.

I can confirm Stereophonics was very good!

13. Something to start saving money for?
Snowboarding holiday.

I didn’t exactly save…but went aha.

View this post on Instagram

If you’re wondering where I’ve been…I’ve been living the high life (quite literally 😂) in @tignesofficiel with my brother ⛷ • This will always be the most memorable part on top of the #Borsat #ski lift regardless of how 🥶 it was! It felt like I’d been dropped in the middle of a David Attenborough documentary to find some penguins 😂 Battling the wind and wind-swept powder made it an interesting trip down to the bottom 🙈 Especially when we got back to the hotel and realised we’d covered 22 miles…so basically 22 miles in the squat position 😂 • #tuitravelgoals #tignes #tignesaddict #ladaille #ski #snowboard #olympusuk #olympusfrance #france #moutainlife #winterseason #everytrailconnects #powdergirl #outdoorbella #blueskies #sunandsnow #pistelife #girlswhoski #mountaingirls #powderlove #GetMoreWinter #igtravel #skiholiday #bluebird #skiseason

A post shared by Lucy | Cycling Blogger (@lucyslifeandbikes) on

14. National Trust Heritage site to visit?
Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire.

I think I still follow their page on Instagram, but I still haven’t been. I did go to Chatsworth House, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go thanks to Pride and Prejudice…

15. Film to carry on watching a million times over?
Any of the Fast & Furious Films or Skyfall. I always love getting all cozy with a hot chocolate with Skyfall on the TV.

Not sure I’m a massive fan of these anymore…

16. 2018 Challenge to complete? (#365PhotoChallenge?)
In relation to my blog it will be to make sure I post every week, but for cycling it will be to enter some more CRIT races.

I decided against forcing content for my blog, so I didn’t post as regularly as I’d hoped unfortunately! I did have great fun at crit racers though. I even ended up in Cycling Weekly!

17. Fitness/Activity event to conquer?
Welsh Champs TT.

I ended up doing Welsh Road Champs…which didn’t go too well!

18. Thing to be most grateful for?
Having supportive family and friends around me.

I’ll always be grateful for this. 

 

I didn’t tick all of these off, but it was a rather long list! If you look at my year as a whole, you’ll realise these pointers don’t even scratch the surface with everything that has gone on this year. There’s been quite a few milestones meaning a ‘Milestones for Lucy’s Life and Bikes’ blog post will be on the way shortly. But until then, don’t get too bogged down with New Year’s Resolutions, because as above proves, keeping it simple and going with the flow is a good way to be.

Christmas Cards & All the Trimmings

It was a lazy start to the morning. I woke up, but instead of getting ready straight away I went downstairs to grab a coffee and some Weetabix (because this girl is rather fond of some Weetabix in the morning) and hopped back into bed to write some Christmas cards. Catching up on Made In Chelsea as well of course!

However, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be a fan of the big MiC. There’s always a drama and they just seem to go round in circles rather than resolve arguments about the most minuscule of things.

So, with some Christmas cards written and my tummy full of Weetabix I slowly got my things together to get out on my bike. With a million layers thanks to me being so pathetic in the cold…ha…I headed out with no real plan of where I was heading.

The hills probably weren’t the best idea yet with all of the snow refusing to melt, so I ended up following country lanes over into Cheshire instead.

Having completed assignments I wanted to get sorted before going back to work after Christmas the night before, it was so refreshing to be able to get up and ride my bike with a clear head. I can try and switch off from work, but those deadlines always seem to play on your mind until they’re done don’t they? I can actually enjoy Christmas and not feel guilty for those assignments I haven’t done yet…because they’re all done. It was a hard slog to get them done, but they’re finally sorted.

The weather was fairly pleasant actually so I thought a 20 mile ride would be a good distance to aim for. Since I’ve been spending more time sitting at my desk than exercising lately, my fitness isn’t exactly great so I’m just easing myself back into things. I could just ride along at my own pace and get my legs use to being on the bike again.

At one point in my ride I thought it was going to become quite interesting. I turn the corner and the road is completely covered in hedge cuttings. I mean it was like a carpet of hedge cuttings right across the road. Yet somehow my tyres coped and I got around my ride ok, although I did have to stop a few times to check them!

Apart from that it was a fairly relaxing ride to be honest. I pretty much used my Garmin to record the mileage as I knew the stats wouldn’t be anything amazing. Although as the sun started to come out on my way home I knew I’d made the right decision in going out in the first place. I can’t remember which cyclist it was, but they said earlier in the year that a short ride is better than no ride. And I can totally agree with them.

Now though? It’s definitely time for a brew.

Swimming with Fishes

Swimming outside in the likes of lakes and meres has always been something I’ve wanted to do. After my failed attempt around this time last year, I’ve been working on my swimming ever since to try and conquer it. That and getting my body accustomed to being a bit cold!

Towards the end of this week I decided I wanted to try out my new Hubb wetsuit, which I bought a few weeks ago. Although this meant an early start to get to Manley Mere, I was curious to see how I’d get on.

Once kitted up it was a bit warmer than I’d expected. My hesitant first toe dip into the water, I didn’t feel the chill through my body I was expecting. It was actually quite pleasant. It was a little different when water started going through the zip of my wetsuit however! 


Since my last attempt, I’ve been working on my swimming quite a lot. I’ve never been a strong swimmer, but that’s something I want to change. Especially after getting the Triathlon bug and now wanting to try an outdoors one. 

So I’m a much stronger swimmer now, surely I’ll be ok?

Yea…swimming in open water is so much different to swimming in a pool! You’ve not got a wall to kick off every 25m…

But I gave it my best shot. My goal of trying to get at least the first buoy tarnished my weeds getting stuck around my ankle. And my body deciding it didn’t like the constant swimming. 

After my little dilemma and standing at the edge of the lake with every part of me wanting to get back in. A lady who’d already been around the lake once offered to show me the ropes of outdoor swimming. Up until this point I’d only managed breast stroke, which is quite ironic as it has always been my weakest stroke. She pointed out front crawl was much easier to do than breast stroke in a wetsuit. 

I just struggled breathing out under water when I was swimming outside for some reason. So she got me doing breast stroke, but this time put my head under a few times to get used to it. 

And it worked! 

All of a sudden I was doing front crawl. Granted, not very far, but still, we had progress. I’d not come away from there a complete failure.

On first arriving, I couldn’t have felt more of a newbie with the amount of Iron Man tattoos around. But thanks to the lady who showed me the ropes, I couldn’t wait to go back. 

I wanted to swim for longer, but thought it was best to end on a high and go back again soon. Especially now I have more of an idea what I’m doing. The morning’s antics had completely tired me out, so I was glad Ryan was there to get me home! 

#WorkoutWednesday – 1st March 2017

I included a little press-up challenge in my training this week – one I came across whilst searching for a song off mountain bike film, Life Cycles.

Sally Down? Go down into the press up position.

Sally Up? Push yourself back up.

Don’t be surprised if you have to hold yourself in the bottom of the press up position for a while!

Why not have a go and let me know how long you lasted! I use to be able to last for 1 minute 24. It was only a minute this week though…I clearly have some work to do on my upper body strength!

#WorkoutWednesday : Taking Time Out


I wanted to do something a little different for this week’s #WorkoutWednesday post. I enjoy posting about what I’ve been doing in training, but sometimes other things pop up that stop you from doing so.

If you weren’t already aware, I spent my weekend in London/Milton Keynes with Ryan. He’s always travelling back at the weekend and sometimes I feel a little guilty I can’t go down to see me as much. I’ve not ventured onto Motorways when driving yet, so doing it alone scares me!

So last weekend I went to see him, and coincidentally the London Bike Show was on too, so that’s where we went. But I’m going to talk about our wander round a park and some woods the day after. 

A short walk from the hotel we were staying in we ended up at a cafe called the ‘Pavillion’ somewhere in Bedford. It seemed a different way of life round there. Somewhere where the rhythmic hustle and bustle of London is so accessible, yet still so far away.

The Park was full of families spending valuable time with each other. Friends meeting up for coffee. This little cafe seemed a hub for socialising. 
I was so glad Ryan found this little cafe because it was so nice to sit somewhere relaxed with great food! I had an interview I wanted to write, but this turned out being something we both worked on. I loved writing it. We could just bounce ideas off each other and was much more productive than if it was just me writing it. I can’t wait to post the interview, but more information on that soon!

So what’s the whole point of this post? It is a #WorkoutWednesday after all! My point is that sometimes time out can do you good. 

Following the cafe we went for a wander round a park and then a quiet nature reserve nearby. Muddy tracks that we had no real idea about where they were heading. We just walked. I could not get over how quiet it was and thinking about how beautiful it must be there in the Spring & Summer.


An arrangement of trees that made up an orchard. Collections of snowdrops dotted around and occasionally a view over open fields. We talked about everything and everything. It was good to focus my mind on something and somewhere completely different. To explore.

I train to escape daily life like anyone else, but it is so so easy to get to engrossed in that training mindset. You’ll soon find time is running away from you and all you’ll have been doing is training. Yes, it’s important, but it’s just a good be able to go back to it with a clear head and new motivation.

#WorkoutWednesday – January Stats

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY JAN STATS.jpg

First month of 2017 done, so how did it go?

| 79.4 miles cycled | 33.5 miles ran | 1 Personal Best | 100m in the pool accomplished |

I’ll be honest, I didn’t hit all of my targets. Those targets were:

  • 8.30 minute mile pace when running.
  • Ride 100 miles on my bike.
  • Swim 100m (in one go)

The swim 100m was a definite success! I’ve gone from just being able to do the odd 50m in a session (with mainly backstroke in-between) to a 5x100m drill set…in one month! I genuinely shocked myself! the 100m isn’t easy, but I’ll slowly work my way up to 200m for February.

I actually got a PB this month, which I didn’t actually realise until a week later…

I was looking through my stats to see how I was doing compared to last Summer’s attempts at running. And there it was. A new PB. During a track session with my local Triathlon club I had managed to set a new PB for 5k at 24:54 minutes. I have no idea how good this is in general, but for me I’m happy to be improving. My pace was also 8:15 minutes per mile, but I do need to work on this being a consistent pace when I’m running.

I didn’t manage ti ride the 100 miles I’d had planned either, which I am gutted about! I just felt a bit uneasy on the rides I missed to go out when it was threatening to snow…especially if I was going out on my own. Or maybe I just found it too hard to resist the temptation of staying warm and dry…

So what do I plan to do going into February?

  • Continue to work on the 8.30 minute per miles pace to make it consistent
  • Ride 100 miles on my bike (and actually achieve it this month!)
  • Swim 200m (in one go)

How did your January go? Let me know!

Want to catch up on this months blog posts?

(Gosh…I didn’t realise I’d been writing so much this month!)

#WorkoutWednesday 25th January

workout-2-peach

It’s time for another #WorkoutWednesday, which gives you an insight into what I get up to in training each week!

Although I’ve already shared some swimming sessions I’ve been trying this month, I just couldn’t not share this one with you! Found in an old 220 Triathlon magazine it helped me push that little bit further than I have been doing in other sessions this month.

Wind back to last October when I decided I wanted to work on my swimming (after a failed attempt at outdoor swimming!), I would find myself panicking a bit when I was swimming. Every time I pushed off the side of the pool it would be a miracle if I got to the other side.

Yet, following a Speedo Fit swimming session with double Olympic Silver Medalist, Jazz Carlin, it was perfectly timed to nip any of my bad habits in the bud before they became to set in my brain! I was basically swimming all different kinds of wrong when I started, but we’ve all got to start somewhere right?

So what training session did I get up to this week in the pool?

Warm Up

10 x 25m lengths (I stuck to front crawl but the 220 Triathlon session said any stroke would do the job!)

Main Set

5 x 100m freestyle, 20s rest per interval (I’m guessing freestyle is front crawl right? Well that’s what I did anyway!)

Cool Down

4 x 50m choice of stroke (I continued with front crawl)

So what’s making me so excited about this week’s #WorkoutWednesday ? The fact that I’ve achieved this months goal of being able to swim 100m! One quarter of the way to being able to swim the swim distance in my Triathlon of 100m!

I genuinely can’t believe the luck I had in noticing the Speedo Fit advert when it popped up in my newsfeed. Jazz Carlin and the Speedo Fit crew were so lovely and helpful. It’s starting to make my big ambition for 2017 of completing a Triathlon more realistic, as swimming was always going to be the biggest wall to climb.

I just hope there’s more Speedo Fit sessions in the future because if there is…sign me up!

Sometimes you’ve just got to run…

 

sometimes-youve-just-got-to-run

I used to hate running. A jog around my local park would be enough to make my lungs cry…and now I’m training for a triathlon.

How things change!

I can’t pin point exactly when that change happened, but things have changed. All I do know is that I started to do something a little different from just riding bikes all the time. As great as that can be, sometimes I like to mix things up.

If you’ve been on my Instagram this week you’ll have seen all of the running I have been doing this week. With one of those runs being a little out of my depth…

I woke up with the urge to do sprints. Don’t ask me why, but I did. A choice between 20/10 intervals and 3 minute intervals, I chose the latter.

Both were workout sessions on my Garmin, so off I went to start the 10 minute warm-up at a steady pace. Constantly looking down at my watch to see how long I had left I had to up my pace.

3.4 miles later…my watch was beeping at me to tell me my workout was complete, which came as a surprise to me as I thought there were more sets to come.

Most people would start to head home after this, but I decided to run a little bit further…

Bad…bad idea.

It turns out I ran a further 5.4 miles, so totalling up to nearly 9 miles I’d covered a lot more distance than I would normally. I just switched off and kept going!

Yes I moan, but sometimes you’ve just got to run.

Mixing It Up In 2017

I’m always looking for new training sessions to try out. Sometimes you just need to try something a little different, but you can just get lost in the Internet and not really know where to start.

I thought I would put together a little blog post on the training sessions I want to try this year. Maybe it will give you a little bit of inspiration when you’re stuck for something to do when you’ve got some time to train.

1. Follow in Michael Hutchinson’s footsteps by doing 20s max effort followed by 10s recovery and repeat for 4 minutes.

Sprint sessions can be like hell on earth but good if you’re strapped for time to train. I’d obviously need to warm up before doing this one though! I might even squeeze this one in after a strength session at the gym maybe, just to keep things interesting!

img_1725-4

2. Sally Up, Sally Down Press-Up Challenge

I originally came across this challenge whilst trying to find a song off the mountain bike film, Life Cycles. The last time I tried this was a while back now, but I’m sure I could only ever get to 1 minute 30s before my arms gave up! So I’m dragging this one out of the woodwork to make sure I’m working on my upper body strength.

IMG_2546.JPG

3. Train with others

Strictly speaking this isn’t exactly a challenge, but I train alone quite a lot. When it comes to training with others I find I have much more work to do. So why not find a group of friends and a circuit session you can do together? I’m going to try and head to a track session at my local running track and see how that goes!

img_2593-1

So there are three things I’ll be trying in 2017, what about you? If you’re trying any new training sessions (or even any of the above!) I’d love to hear how you get on! Keep checking back to my blog as I’ll be reporting back to let all my lovely readers if I managed to survive the training sessions above.

#GetSpeedoFit

Rather than having a lazy Sunday, I was up before 9 and off to a Speedo Dive In event at my local Total Fitness gym. The whole idea behind the Dive In events is to help people progress their front crawl, and after the advert popped up in my newsfeed a few weeks ago, it sounded almost too good to be true. It’s not often free swimming lessons come about is it? Especially with double Olympic Silver medalist, Jazz Carlin.

Olympic Swimmer, Jazz Carlin #GetSpeedoFit

I’m not a very confident swimmer and never have been, my recent attempt at open water swimming is enough to demonstrate that! However, with having ‘compete in a triathlon’ on my bucket list…it’s something that needs to change. 

After being introduced to the #GetSpeedoFit team we split into groups from beginner through to advanced. Only just being able to manage one length…I was best suited in the beginner group. With two coaches, the front crawl was broken down step by step. First it was the legs, then breathing, arms and then a case of putting it all together.

One thing I found particularly useful was the use of training aids to help improve your swimming. It meant I could just concentrate on one part of my stroke rather than trying to figure it out all at once! I’ve always struggled with my breathing in swimming, but when it came down it there were a few things wrong with my stroke that made the breathing difficult. 

So rather than blabber on, what did I actually learn?

– Kick from the hips.

– Always keep one ear in the water when breathing.

– Breath just as you take your hand out of the water.

– Don’t get lazy at the back of the stroke, push with your hand right up to the point it leaves the water.

– ‘Traintrack’ arms…rather than putting your hand in the water just in front of your head (like me!).

– Make your stroke as long as possible.

And…I need training aids for when I go swimming!

If you’ve got a Speedo Dive In session coming up soon near you, I would definitely recommend going. From advanced swimmer to someone looking for a rewarding sport to keep them fit, there’s plenty to learn for everyone regardless of ability. I came out of the session with a lot more confidence in my swimming than when I went in.

With plenty more motivation to get back in the pool, competing in a triathlon might not be as unattainable as I first thought.

More time to spare? Why not head over to my post about Open-Water Swimming in Dolgellau this Summer….Exploring Dolgellau:Hike & Swim