Sarah’s week… 

It’s our first blog in a few weeks as Sam and I have both had a holiday. Much needed! I booked a week long Swim Trek in Croatia (Dalmatian Coast) which was amazing and Sam has had a much needed week in the sun with her husband, which she’ll tell you all about!
Croatia is glorious, I went last year and loved it so much I was keen to go back. I was staying on a small and very quiet, car-less, island – with one hotel and a handful or restaurants and shops. It’s about 90 minutes by car and boat, from the airport at Split. Every day was pretty much the same format:-
On the boat after breakfast and being dropped close to one of the many islands in the area for either a 3km coastal swim or a channel crossing (swimming to another island) followed by lunch – and then after a suitable break a similar sized swim in the afternoon. A beer at the hotel bar on arrived back at ‘our island’ Prvic Luka, quick shower, and then out to dinner at one of the local restaurants. In bed at a sensible time – ready to get up and do it all again the next day.
The water was gloriously turquoise and about 18-20 degrees so much warmer than home although I wouldn’t call it warm as such! I was swimming ‘skins’ all week – nice to not be in a wet suit. The only thing to watch out for were sea urchins and the only other menace were the sea lice – you couldn’t see them but you certainly felt their bite! We were put into groups based on ability, I was in top set which was flattering – but meant I had to work hard to keep up with the super fast swimmers that were leading our pack. I was kinda hoping for a more leisurely time! 😉 I was one of fifteen on the trip and we soon became the best of friends, there were people from The Netherlands, Canada and Wales as well as the Brits. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I did that week. I went for the swimming, time out and sunshine – I didn’t expect to come back with so many new friends.
It was raining when I got back to the UK (of course it was!) It’s a bit sad to admit but one of the first things I did was head to the bike shop to collect my bike, which had been in for a service. I knew that whilst I was going to have that first day off as a bit of a break (I’d been swimming 6km every day of my holiday, so I figured I needed a day off!) I’d soon want to get back on the road. That first 25 mile ride the next day was a joy but also a little bit of a shock to my legs, who’ve just been used to mostly kicking these past few weeks! It only took a day or so to readjust and whilst my average mileage hasn’t been quite so high this week (but not too shabby at just over 110 miles) I’ve been getting some good results (cups and PRs) on Strava so I know that the rest has paid off.
The week was a mix of indoor and outdoor cycling (I was not going out in THAT rain!) – a sea swim – and then a lake swim event on Sunday at Roadford Lake. The event was really good although high winds meant we were swimming in some pretty choppy water, it was a worry for the organisers who ended up cutting back the swim distances, rather than cancel it- to make sure everyone was safe. I don’t mind a bit of chop and was just loving swimming in such lovely water – as opposed to the salty sea! That’s it for swimming events this year for me so my focus is fully back on the cycling again.
The highlight of my week was being back on bikes with Sam on Saturday, we eased back in with a 50 miler on Saturday which I loved. So good to be together again catching up on our holiday news and for me, some new lanes I hadn’t been down before – on the route that Sam had planned. The weather was pretty disgusting at points and I was cursing myself for wearing a big jacket – which did a great job of keeping me dry in the horrendous downpours in the first hour – but I was boiling when the sun came out later in the ride. Lesson learned – I feel a bit out of practice with layers and temperatures at home!

So here we go again, back to the training – but a slightly different format. This phase of training is all about cycling frequently and getting used to being on the bike most days – still bigger miles at the weekend of course. I can’t believe our event is less than 3 months away…


Sam’s week…

Was it all just a dream?
It certainly feels like it may have been, after being back in the UK for a week and returning to the rain and the cold. Whilst Sarah was being active on her swimming holiday, I was being very lazy and soaking up the sun in Zante. Sampling the local food and wine (of course), midday cocktails, snorkelling around the Blue Caves and taking in the breath taking views of such a beautiful island. I had no idea quite how much I needed the time away, not only to recover, but to spend quality time with my biggest support and fan, my wonderful husband.
We stayed on the North of the island near St Nicholas Port in a villa which was out of this world awesome. With far stretching views across the island and set up in the mountain countryside, it was the perfect place to relax for a week and let mind and body recover.
After purposefully leaving my phone at home for the week, one of the first things I did was message Sarah to find out how she was and hear all about her holiday.
We both agreed that an easier training week was required, to let our bodies adjust and to try not to shock them too much, more so for me after not doing much for 7 days. The rain meant it was back indoors for watt bike and spin sessions and after a relatively light weights session on Wednesday, my legs were not happy and I was walking like the tin man. Thank goodness I didn’t push too hard as at the time I felt quite good. Cycling to work gave me extra time to spin out the tired legs and before I knew it, it was Saturday and Sarah and I were back on the bikes for some more adventures.
After having so many weeks of dry weather to cycle in, Sarah and I were not used to wet weather cycling and were unsure on what kit to wear. We opted for the full on winter rain jackets, as being soaked through on the bike is not much fun. For the first 5-10 miles we were very happy with our choice, until the rain stopped and the sun came out and we were boiling hot! Lesson learned. I really struggled with the miles as my legs were still incredibly sore from the week and I just felt generally knackered, so was super pleased to be riding with Sarah again. We had a proper girly catch up, sharing holiday stories and chatting about what lay ahead for us in the next few months. Both of us now eager to get to the event and experience the LEJOG ‘Bubble’.
Sarah had a swim event on Sunday, so it was back to solo riding for me and the first 10 miles were awful, as it was raining and my legs just weren’t co-operating – all I wanted to do was turn around and go home. But then I thought about the people we are trying to help with our fundraising efforts, the amazing people that have supported us since we started training in November and to all the donations we have received to date and it made me realise how lucky I am! So I decided to man up and crack on with it. And then my legs decided to do the same and all of a sudden, everything got better, and the rest of the ride was an absolute blast. My legs felt strong as they battled the increasing winds and even when it rained, it didn’t dampen my spirit.
We have a week of consistent riding ahead, so not aiming for big miles like we have over previous weeks, but aiming for daily time in the saddle, whether it’s a commute to work or a weekend ride, as this will be key to ensuring we are ready for multi day riding on the event. Here we go again 🙂