Thursday, 15 May 2014

It's Spring, that must mean...

All you green fingered gardeners know what I mean...

Planting seeds, watering, bringing inside to escape the frost, putting outside to capture the sunlight (repeat and repeat!), repotting into bigger pots, tying to sticks as they flop over and being on slug watch! It has been a busy few weeks for us wannabe green fingered gardeners.

Below shows the progress of the vegetables in the Richards-Connell household....

Potting started off in the Connell's family garden and survived the journey in the Micra back to Leeds. Where broad beans, courgette, peas, spinach, fennel, tomatoes, broccoli are trying as hard as they can to become big and strong! I may not be Charlie Dimmock  but nothing beats pottering around in our little back yard, watering and mindlessly messing with the plants, a great way to relax.
In between being on slug watch and saving the courgette from the frosty Leeds weather a bit of biking, running and swimming has taken place. In the last few weeks I have kept out of trouble with the Sheffield Spring Road Race, Stockton Duathlon and John Carr 5km Road race.

*Sheffield CC Race 1 of Yorkshire Womens Road race series- 13th April*
Jenny and myself toed the line at Sheffield CC Race 1 of the Yorkshire womens road race series. 55km (ish?!) 10 laps of a road circuit, due to start at 10am. We had cycled a lap of the course, felt the savage headwind on one side of circuit and tested legs on the one hill. Ready to rumble. Commissaire late, start delayed to 10.30, then 11am. Finally underway at 11.30am! As there was a fairly large pack of girls racing, Jenny& myself decided to stay at front of the group, out of trouble & easier for cornering (good decision as there were a few crashes).

Patience, tactics and a sprint finish was what this was about....shame I struggled with this!! Patience not being my strong point, I got itchy legs and took the lead, attacked way too early& chased down any breaks, just trying to keep things interesting. It came down to a sprint up the hill to the finish, I hit the front at the bottom of the hill and  tried to drill it, i got swamped and out sprinted with 50m to go... Jenny coming in right behind me. We clearly had the fitness, just not the tactics and sprint finish!!

Top picture shows the ever present Nina of Ilkley Cycle club setting the pace, below Jess Walker takes the win, my Alba rosa black with pink stripe sleeve just gets in the picture between Jess and Penny of Matrix Vulpine!
It was great to see Jess Walker and Penny Rowson, Matrix Vulpine, On the Drops team, 1st and 3rd in Sheffield competing in the Friends for life Women's tour of Britain. Well done ITV4 for the great coverage of some super fast riding.

*Stockton Duathlon*
Every Wednesday morning I get destroyed in the pool by Eleanor Haresign. As I hyperventilate during recoveries she doesn't even appear out of breath, so it was good to reverse the trend at Stockton Duathlon! 
 Left shows the sprint finish after 2hrs of racing.  A true example of dip and lunge! Stockton was the third and final qualification race, to compete in the GB age group team at the World Duathlon Championships. Though the main reason I was lining up in Stockton was the prize money, £500 for 1st, £300 for 2nd and £200 for 3rd in both the mens and women's races, a big incentive to bust a gut over the 10km run, 40km bike and 5km run course. Leeds and Bradford Tri club team mate Ele had similar ideas and we set off together on a cold drizzly day to earn our pocket money! Now I am sure there are easier ways of earning some cash, though not many that are as fun and adrenaline filled. The organisers put on a great course with dead turns on traffic free routes and top class competition. I just managed to hang on and clinch the win, with Eli second, read her account here. She still gave me a lift home, bonus!

*John Carr 5km Road race*
1st running PB since 2009 (my final year at loughborough, where life involved, running, sleeping, running,eating, studying (occasionally), fancy dress and echos. The joys of carefree student days. Since swapping student days for working life, PBs have been hard to come by, combining working, training and racing is as many know a real juggling act. However Wednesday 7th May, on a windy, wet night in Esholt at the John Carr 5k road race I finally did it, a new road 5km pb.17.55 on the results,17.47 on my garmin !?! 

Not only does Spring mean Slugs, it also represents beautiful places to train, warmer and longer days and generally Britain in bloom!

It also represents the beginning of ChainGang, a great photo from Simon Schofield from a Tuesday evening Alba Rosa ChainGang, lets just say no photos were taken last Thursday in the torrential rain. Come, rain or shine chain gang is a permanent feature of spring and summer training. Love the adrenaline and speed, hate the burning lactic in the legs!

Enjoy the spring time running, cycling and swimming, the trails and parks are the best place to be...

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