Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Trying a new race plan, almost came a cropper

Having never run a HM before, I've been thinking about strategy for both pacing and hydration.  One thing I've used before for indoor rowing is a negative split strategy, but I think I've only used it as far as 10km, then there is the strategy I use for a 10 mile TT on the bike, which is eyeballs out all the way, just trying to keep the HR where I can hang on.

A negative split for the HM could look a bit like
        Pace           Distance         Time

So start slower than target pace and really wind it up at the end.  The other thing  was thinking was to try a run/walk strategy.  I know I tend to blast out of the blocks (relative terms) at the start of the race, which for 10km is not really a problem, but over 13 miles is likely to have me blowing out of my arse before the end, so an alternative I've been thinking about is a run/walk strategy reasoning that it would give me a targetted rest, take away my tendency to charge onwards regardless and give me a chance to drink.  The plan for Sunday was to be run 4 miles, then walk 1 minute, then run until the next 4 mile point, walk 1 minute etc

So that's what I tried on Sunday, also bringing in the variable of running with something in my hand.  As I was planning on being out for two hours, I reasoned that it was OK to have one bottle of NUUN in my waistpack and one of Bikefood carb drink in my hand.  I picked the Bikefood bottles as well as they have a built in handgrip area, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually was to hold it, with not a high level of grip required

So, 14 miles the plan was for a short walk every 4 miles, thr route was from my village, down to the railway station in Ely, up along the riverside path to the next town, Queen Adelaide, carry on along the river to Littleport, then home adjusting the mileage and route as necessary.

First 4 miles down to the station was uneventful as expected, apart from my standard tendency to go out too hard.  Theoretically my steady pace should be slower than 8:30 min/mile, nearer 9:00, but I find it really hard to run slower than 8:20s, it just feels unnatural and disjointed.

Turn up along the river, first mile of that along the built up part past the marina and restaurants and out onto the meadows.  They've put in a decent path here, hard packed clay/gravel and nice and level, so it would be good for families, and we'd even me able to get my son down here in the multi terrain pushchair.  No photos this time, but I did see some amazing dragonflies, as long as my hand.  I also said hello to a couple of cows, but they just looked dumb at me with their big brown eyes.

Once you got north of QA, the path was unmade, just a track through the grass on top of the river bank/levee arrangement.  It started off as a clearly marked, but uneven path with longer grass, weeds, thistles, brambles etc either side that were just waiting to grab and slash at my legs. 

No photo, but the first thing that Serena (7) said when I got home was "ooh daddy, look at your legs, blood!".  She is only seven after all, and has a tendency to over dramatise, but yes, my legs were a bit of a mess.  I think I need a pair of those compression sleeve lower leg protection thingies.  Hmm, maybe this could be my first opportunity to become a swag ninja!

Anyway, the footpath soon deteriorated to the point where it was a barely marked trail through knee high grass and weeds along the top of the levee, requiring all my concentration.  And that's when disaster nearly struck.  Teh path came down off the bank to get around a drainage ditch with a left then right kink and back up again.  At the left turn, the ground dropped away to the right, and as I put my foot down, the ankle rolled over.  Oh sh!t, right ankle screwed again, I thought.  This one has historic rugby related problems.  Even more important was the fact that I was only 7 miles into the run on a big loop, so it could be a long way home again.  After that initial shock though, it soon settled down again with no lingering pain, so disaster averted.  

Then, less than half a mile later, I went over on the left, this time hearing a distinct click as I did so. I really thought I'd screwed that one badly.  I carried on though, with adrenaline and a dull ache, and as I got closer to the next town, a better path, broader and with nicely mown grass.  The only problem now was that people's houses were backing onto the river, and they'd appropriated bits of  the riverbank and footpath for their gardens.  I refrained from hurdling their fences, using the gates instead.

Ten miles up by now, and within sight of home.  The last four miles were largely back onto tarmac, but even so, I was quite surprised to look down at the Garmin and see 8:05 min/mile for a steady run with HR in the mid 150s.

Monday - planned rest day, left ankle quite sore
Today, Tuesday - had thought about half an hour barefoot, but on waking, left ankle still a bit tender, so may go out at lunchtime, or a bit of erging.

So what did I learn on Sunday?
1) I can run a half marathon, hell I can go further than that
2) Pacing startegy works, and should be good for an ultra with the right walk/run ratio
3) It's not a good idea to screw with your ankles three weeks before a race.

For those who are that way inclined, data and Garmin Geek trace

Total 14mi / 1:57:18 / 8:23 / AHR 152 / MHR 167 / cad 88 / 1270 garmin calories
1) 16:17 / 8:08 / 149 / 190 / 87
2) 16:40 / 8:20 / 148 / 155 / 88
3) 16:58 / 8:29 / 146 / 161 / 86
4) 16:45 / 8:22 / 157 / 164 / 91
5) 18:00 / 9:00 / 158 / 164 / 86
6) 16:19 / 8:09 / 156 / 159 / 93
7) 16:14 / 8:07 / 156 / 167 / 92

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Czech Please!

This week was always going to be difficult to get much running in, but it was also going to be potentially some superb running locations. 

I was off to the Czech Republic, a place called Chomutov, about an hour north west of Prague, and the hotel chosen was nestling in thick forest on what looked from the satellite map to be some pretty decent hills as well.  I’m not really one for hills, living as I do in the flattest part of the UK, but I do give them my best shot when I come across them, so I was looking forward to running in a very different setting from the one I’m used to.

The only thing was the work.  This week we were piggy backing on one of the client’s internal assessments where they send people from around their organisation to assess the site against their own internal standard at the same time as we assess them against ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.  That makes for a very busy week normally with little time other than for the work. 

The plan was to arrive Monday evening, have dinner with the team and then get a morning run in.  It didn’t quite work out like that however as the flight leaving Heathrow for Frankfurt was late which means my colleague and I missed the connection for Prague resulting in a 4 hour wait there and arrival at the hotel at 1:15AM Tuesday, by which time I was way past sleepiness and didn’t get to sleep after unpacking until about 2AM, then woke again about 4 before finally getting a bit of sleep.  Not surprisingly I didn’t get out of bed at 5:45 to run.  I did run in the evening though, plan was 5 miles or so.  Started downhill through the trees, pretty steep, then cut off left onto another trail running fairly level through the trees and, not really surprising when you think of where you are, past several WWII blockhouses.  Ran about a mile down there and turned around, and took a different trail back, again level-ish, but I knew I had to climb back up at some point.  When it came it was nasty, not runnable. By then I was fairly well done in with the travel tiredness as well and ran a bit more on the hotel access road before turning round and heading back to do just under 4 miles for the session, OK in the circumstances, but not good.

Total 3.89mi / 33:42 / 8:48 / AHR 159 / cad 87 
1) 8:27 / A158 
2) 0.24mi / 2:01 / A 8:30 / AHR 153  - accidentally pressed the lap button
3) 1.0 / 8:02 / A160 
4) 1.0 / 10:12 / AHR 167  - yes, this was the uphill mile
5) 0.59mi / 4:59 / 8:26 / AHR 151

Wednesday morning I was woke at about 2am by dogs barking somewhere and then abut 4am by continuous rolls of thunder which quickly turned into an almighty storm, with the rain keeping me awake for much of the night, so no morning run again, and the evening was taken up by dinner with the clients. Thursday morning, lashing it down and wind shaking the trees again, so I only managed to get the one run in those great forests. 

Thursday evening, back to the Prague Marriott for a flight the next morning, typical Marriott gym, set in a glass box with some fairly ropey equipment.  Managed to find the tail end of the TdF stage on Eurosport and set off on a 6 mile tempo run at target HM pace, with mile warm up and cool down.

Total 8.0mi / 1:03:09 / 7:54 / AHR 151 / MHR 172 / cad 91
1) 8:37 / AHR 128 
2) 6.0mi / 45:59 / 7:39 / AHR 155 / 94 
3) 8:32 / AHR 153

Getting very sweaty by the end of that. Drank far too much that evening with my colleague and one of the client team who was flying back to Ireland on the Friday, so no desire to run on Friday morning, and by the tiem I’d got home, no desire to run on Friday evening either.

Saturday, was huarache day.  Made a pair for me from the new ribbed sole material I bought, which I then used to run into town to the library to pick up my reserved copy of Anita Bean’s Sport Nutrition book, and then shopping with the family.  Stopped at a road crossing, baulked by the traffic, same as a pair of cyclists.  Nodded hello as you do, then one of them looks down at my feet
“are you running in those?” [huaraches]
“yeah, if I was only on tarmac, I’d be barefoot, but I’ve come down the lanes”
“blimey, that’s hardcore, oy [FRED, his mate] have a look at what this blokes running in”

A short explanation ensued regarding my reduction in injury time since going BF.  They made sure they started behind me just so they could verify that I was indeed running.

After lunch, I made the second pair, for my daughter Serena, complete with bright orange laces.  I’ve found the perfect material for them, paracord at about 5-7 pence per foot depending on colour scheme.  She then wore them for the rest of the day.

A bashful Serena and the little and large huaraches

Thursday, 14 July 2011

How do we truly know where our limits are?

Five years ago, or something like that, I bought a second hand Concept 2 indoor rower because
a) I hated running (back then anyway)
b) my fitness was seriously falling off and I had no structure to what I was doing

Back then, I thought 10km was a reasonably long distance on it, I also thought a sub-7min 2000m was beyond me.  I never made the latter (7:14 PB in 2006) although I think if I'd maintained focus on the rower it would only have been a matter of time.  But looking back at my statistics, I can see my half marathon time coming down by 8 minutes, and it's no longer a distance that bothers me, in fact these days the longer the better.  I'm unlikely to be a record holder on it, but I can put in the efforts that I once thought beyond me.

Same with the bike, 100miles is no longer a frightening proposition.  Yes, I respect it, and I know it will take me 5-6 hours and I will suffer intermittently, but with the right kind of preparation it's well within my capability.

Well, what about running?  The thing that triggered it was one new year's eve coming home into the village around midday and seeing cars all over the place and people dressed in running gear wandering around clutching bottles of beer.  I later found out that it was the finishers reward for a regular 10km road race. The next year I missed getting my entry in on time (it's a very popular race), but I've done it three times now, bringing my PB down from 51 mins to 45:35.  Again, not going to trouble the timekeepers, but after that first attempt the thoughts were "how the [heck] am I ever going to get any faster than this? I'm [rather] tired"

So where's this all leading?

Ever noticed how famous athletes and coaches always seem to be going on about how "it's not your body but your mind that is the limiting factor", or "you don't know your limits unless you push on through them". So how the hell do we know what we can really do?

I've been working for part of this week in Hythe on the southern coast of the UK (no photos this week, didn't have my camera, sorry), and getting in a couple of easy runs and one described as hard tempo run in prep for my first HM in August (again I never thought I'd be saying that).  The terrain there is similar to where I live, flat with a few very small hills.  I went to do this tempo run alongside a canal on a grassy path that was flat, but lumpy.  Prescription was a mile warm up, then 30 minutes at target HM pace minus 10-15s, or 7:25-7:30 per mile.

I did this:
total 6.12mi / 46:03 / ave 7:31 / AR 151 / MHR 165 / cad 90
Warm up 8:05 / AHR 129 / M138 cad 86 
Tempo section 30:00 / 4.12mi / 7:16 / AHR 156 / M165 / 92 
Cool down 7:57 / AHR 156 / M162 / 91

I've no idea where this came from, faster than target pace by a measurable amount, and with an HR 10 bpm lower than my slower 10km PB.

I also did my first double this week, an early morning run followed by an evening row, both short, but a first nonetheless.

And then I read things like this http://www.tiptonharriers.co.uk/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63:ron-bentleys-24-hour-record&catid=18:athlete-profiles-a-features&Itemid=19 or some of the Western States 100, and Badwater write ups.

All great fun wondering where the limits will end up, and making me think that perhaps, my idea of a 60km ultra of my own in late November might not be beyond the limits after all, especially if I just approach it as a chance to enjoy myself?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Where have all the footpaths gone?

It happened again yesterday!

Thinking I'll take a different route, get a bit more off road running in, I took a close look at the OS map, defined the landmarks in my brain and set off.  I'd run most of the route before, apart from the interesting bit, a footpath across one of the fens outside Ely, connecting two paved roads.

As I ran out of the village, the roads got progressively less structured, eventually turning into just farm tracks between the fields.  We've finally had a bit of rain recently, so that what was hard baked earth with large cracks is now covered in green growth and soft and springy to run on.

The only problem with this is that it stopped, and nothing replaced it.  The track sort of led down the edge of a field of wheat, which then stopped at a drainage ditch with no way across.

When I say drainage ditch, it's not a foot wide, just step over it kind of drainage ditch.  Remember that all of the fens is like the Dutch polders, only made dry by extensive drainage ditches dug a couple of hundred years ago.  In this case, this was one of the bigger ditches I came across, and it was about 6 feet deep, further across at the top and steeply sloped down to a three foot wide channel at the bottom full of water. 

My choices at this point were either back track 2 miles, try and cross it or run in roughly the right direction, following the edges of the fields along the ditch in roughly the right direction.  As I was running into town to meet up with the rest of the family, I took option three.  I eventually got back to a harder trail and then the road I was aiming for anyway, but to get there it took about a mile and a half of running down the field margins with my shins being shredded by wheat, barley and weed stalks and having my strength sapped by the very soft ground.

This doesn't look much different to the previous picture, but the nice green vegetation running down the middle hides a deep, water filled ditch.  I had the two foot wide strip between the edge of the crops and the edge of the ditch to run in.  Ely cathedral sits on the horizon, known as the ship of the fens, as it appears on the horizon long before you get there.  The current building dates back from about 1086AD.

Needless to say, that mile and a half was very slow while I was casting around for the best route and trying not to fall in the ditch. The next mile once I was back on hard ground was slow as well.

I eventually made it into town after about 10km of some tiring running
Mile split/ AHR / Max HR
1) 8:01 / 133 / 144
2) 8:02 / 140 / 147
3) 8:50 / 135 / 157
4) 8:44 / 148 / 158
5) 8:25 / 147 / 157
6) 8:13 / 146 / 152
7) 0.28mi / 2:18 / 8:09 / 147 / 151
Total 52:35 / 8:22 / 141 / 158
I think it's fairly self-evident where the soft stuff hits me, and how long it took me to recover from it.

Having promised myself an easy week this week, I ended up running the furthest I've ever done with 31miles and good interval session on the indoor rower.

I think I'll have an easy week next week

Saturday, 9 July 2011

More cool stuff the Garmin 310XT can do

When I bought the Garmin 310XT, it was really for two or three reasons, having deliberated for about a year since they first came out.
1) better battery life - teh previous FR450 was marginal on battery for soem of my longer distance bike rides
2) the multi sport stuff - I was planning a duathlon this year and it looked so much better for that.  Haven't done one yet as the tri clubs round here are a real rip off compared with the running clubs
3) It looked cool

What I've found since I bought it is
1) it still looks cool
2) great on battery life, I can charge it before I go away for a week adn not worry about it.
3) much better data available just on the machine itself before I download when I get home from a trip
4) great GPS sensitivity, and speed of pick up
5) much easier to swap onto the bike with the quick release kit and swaps between bike sensors easily
6) better display

But the really cool feature I've found recently is the interface with other gym kit.  At home I have, in addition to three bikes, turbo trainer and weights bench, a concept two indoor rower. 

I bought it second hand and it's a very old model C (if you are familiar), originally fitted with the first generation PM1.  I replaced that one with a PM2, still older tech, but worked very well until it died this winter.  Replacement choice was the better, but still limited PM3, or the latest tech PM4, with ANT+ technology, same as the Garmins.

Seeing someone else manage to link the two sealed it for me, PM4 it was, now to make the case to the centra accounts department (aka the wife).  Basically these thinsg hold their value extremely well, they're bulletproof and change hands within the rowing community pretty easily, in fact I could probably sell mine now for much more than the very good deal I got originally.

So PM4 it was, sourced one locally, and at lower price than concept 2 were selling it.  Now to try and synch them.  To do so, I ended up having to go right back to C2, with instruction from those who had gone before me, and get the as yet unreleased beta firmware downloaded.

Whoa, this looks really cool, not only can I now synch the HR belt but the entire 310XT, which slaves itself to the PM4, so set up the workout on teh PM4, pull the handle to start rowing and the 310XT automatically start it's timer.  Finish and the 310XT stops.  The best thing however is that it also records the splits for you.

Yesterday that was a superb feature as the planned workout was 20 x 45" hard/ 15" active rest, which would previously have had me flapping around at the lap button each time whilst trying to suck in air between intervals in only 15 secs.

The 310XT however behaved impeccably and not only started and stopped itself, but recorded every split as well including
1) HR max and average
2) Power - max and averge
3) Stroke rate - max and average.

The only thing that let it down (and I can't fault it for this) is the resolution on the Garmin, which is designed for running/biking, only gave 1 dp i.e. 0.2km, or 0.21km, whereas I was looking for 195-213m on each interval, so I still had to get that data from the PM4 by hand, but overall a great experience.

The workout still hurt though, it hasn't done anything about that.

Screen shots and links

The warm up http://connect.garmin.com/activity/97687429

 The main event  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/97687435

Can't fit all the split data on the screen, but you get the idea, and it's all downloadable to a csv file for manipulation.

I foresee more fun with this

Friday, 8 July 2011

First Experiment with Huaraches, So much for an easy week

It’s been an interesting week this week, both running and work.  I’ve been steadily building duration and effort levels overall over the last few years, but this year it seems to have really ramped up another notch.  Still nowhere near as much as some will be doing, but the relative increase for me, is significant. 

Last week I began to feel it a bit, so I’d earmarked this week as a general slowdown, take it easier week.  Also, it coincides with an unusual work pattern for me.  Normally I’m either away from home for the bulk of the week, or at home for the week, which means I can get into a pattern.  This week I’ve been working at a local airport, about an hour away by train, so I’ve been commuting daily, which means I get to go home and eat real food each night, but it also makes it harder to get into any structured plan with the extra time spent on the train.   But as this week was intended to be a bit more intuitive, take it as it comes, that’s not been an issue, plus I get to re-read Born to Run on the train each day

I was actually quite excited to be working with this client again, as it’s been almost three years since I was last here. On that occasion I was looking mainly at their management of health and safety as an initial assessment, with two colleagues looking at environment.  I could see that there were a number of environmental issues that looked like they needed some serious attention.  On that visit, I left them with some fairly significant safety issues and I was looking forward to seeing how they’d dealt with them.  They must have done something decent as we certified them later on. 

This is one of the cool parts of my job, I get to peek behind the scenes of things that most people never get a chance to look at.  Two weeks ago I was running around the countryside with a local electricity company looking at how they manage HS&E halfway up a hillside in the pouring rain while trying to meet targets of restoring power to people, the week after that I was working in a factory who’s main concern was trying to keep their product sterile.  They were making the cement that is used to glue your hip or knee replacement in place, a fascinating process.  As I spend so much time in airports, it is nice to be able to see a little of what goes on behind the scenes.  You need to think of an airport as a mini town really, needing to provide everything for people to live there for a short length of time, in this case about 20 million people a year.  So you need sewerage and waste management systems, major landscaping facilities, transport, security, drainage, catering, and that’s before you’ve got anywhere near flying.  Then you bring in all of the baggage handling, aircraft handling equipment, de-icing, fuelling systems and tank farm, snow clearing in the winter, emergency response, and then you have stuff like an inflatable airbag system for recovering an aircraft that’s gone off the runway, to gently lift it out of the furrow it’s ploughed and get it back on firm ground.  It’s a pretty complex organisation overall and that’s what makes it interesting.

Now these guys have really made some decent moves forward environmentally, getting their thinking systematic, and in the right place.  If you think Source-Path-Receptor, it’s a pretty simple but effective methodology.  What do I have that could harm the environment, how will it get there, and what will it harm and how.  These guys have really gotten into the upstream prevention of release and minimisation of release i.e. it’s much easier and more cost effective to stop it in the first place than do clean up afterwards.  They’ve spent a lot of money, and set some high standards for their client airlines and it shows.  They still have some problems, but they now understand them, and have a decent plan to deal with them.

Safety is not quite so advanced, and health is even further behind, they’re still basically a reactive organisation here.  Wait till it goes wrong and then fix it, particularly in the health agenda.  Next time you go through an airport, spare a thought for those people at the passenger search area where you get irritated because you have to load your hand luggage onto a conveyer to get it x-rayed, strip off half you clothes, empty your pockets and then get embarrassed because you forgot to take that bottle of hand lotion out of your bag, or that bottle of champagne you were taking as a gift for your aunt is not allowed.  Before you get irritated, impatient, or even dare I say, aggressive towards these guys, remember that they don’t set the rules, but also remember that they are there lugging bags around, bending and stretching to search people, or looking at those weird coloured x-ray screens for 8 hours a day.  And they’re not that highly paid to do it.  Give them a break.

Anyway, this is one of the key health concerns for an airport, even if you take out the potential for verbal and physical abuse by a passenger, they have a problem with musculo-skeletal disorders, knees, hips, back, neck etc and they need to put a lot of work into how they manage this area, and make sure that people follow the rules that will help them reduce the potential to injure themselves.

As for me, working here has meant that I’ve spent the week wearing steel-toecapped shoes, heavy and with big thick rubber soles and cushioning.  By the beginning of Thursday, I was finding that my shins and feet were aching, and this is the only thing I can put it down to.

So, with all that going on, this was a good excuse to make this week an easier one.  Monday was a planned rest day anyway, and Tuesday became an additional rest day.

On Wednesday my wife was doing something else in the evening, so I went for a BF run. This was also my first chance to try out my prototype huaraches that I’d made myself.  They worked very well at first and were very comfortable on a grassy track that had just been mown for hay so had a lot of spiky bits left on it.  Being made from a thin piece of flip-flop type foam, they were less effective when I stepped on a thorn, part of which is still in my heel now.  The only problem was that the laces started to slip and the shoes flop around a bit, so I took them off after a mile or so.  Luckily I didn’t take them off earlier, or the large lump of dog shit I found would have been on my foot instead!

This turned into a 5 mile BF/huarached run, my longest so far, and at reasonable pace.
1) 8:05 / 132 / 157
2) 8:18 / 149 / 156
3) 8:11 / 143 / 153
4) 8:10 / 148 / 155
5) 8:05 / 140 / 145 
Total 40:49 / Average 8:10 / AHR 142 / MHR 157

Thursday night I stayed at the airport hotel for ease of logistics.  Looking at a local map I thought “hmm, maybe 5 miles around the airport, maybe 6 allowing for wiggles in the roads”.  By the time I realised it was a lot longer that 5 miles, it was too late, and turning back was as far as carrying on.  I ended up doing 9.76 miles and being late for dinner with my colleague.  Bang goes the easy week.

Total 9.76mi / 1:15:25 / 7:43 / AHR 148 / MHR 165 / cad 89 
1) 7:53 / AH 138  2) 7:55 / A 147  3) 7:41 / A 147
4) 7:53 / A 153  5) 7:42 / A 154  6) 7:54 / A 150 
7) 7:52 / A 150 8) 8:08 / A 147 9) 7:51 / A 148
10) 0.76mi / 4:31 / 5:58 ??? / AHR 150 – that last one’s a bit shaky as I went under a tunnel

Oh, and I saw this really cool 747 with radome, chaff dispensers and anti missile IR gear. Came from somewhere in the middle east apparently

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Getting out and around, getting lost, finding my way

I've lived here for about 5 years now, but I still know relatively few of the trails and footpaths round here.  I've spent the last few years learning some pretty nice cycling routes, but it's only lately that I've been starting to get off the roads in running. 

The main cause of this is in August. Now call me flighty if you like, but I do like to look out for new physical challenges since my rugby involvement dwindled.  I've entered the British Indoor Rowing Chamnpionships, I've cycled a few century sportives, joined the local cycling club and started time trailling, ran a few local 10km races but for some reason this year the idea of a half marathon popped into my head.

Now I'm a sucker for a good structured training plan, so I found one that looked reasonable, and I'm now almost following it with a few nuances and additions of my own learned over the last 37 years of being here. This means that instead of my usual 5-6 miles a few times a week when I'm away from home, I'm now being tasked with ever increasing distance up unto race day mid-August, which brings me back to the tracks and trails; a) they're a lot more interesting than running the same loop again and again and b) I'm surrounded by some spectacular wildlife and countryside like this

Or this (although this is last year's picture as the dragonflies wouldn't sit still today)

Today's prescription was what the plan describes as "race simulation", in this case 6 miles easy pace, then 4 miles at target pace plus 20-30secs or 8:00-8:10.

My vague idea today was a sort of loop starting on the road and then heading down the footpaths and farm tracks between the villages.  The map was fixed in my mind, I had my waist pack with water and a couple of gels and candys, the sun was shining, all was well.  All except the footpath, which wasn't there.  Plan B, still in the mind, but hazy.  After about 5 miles, it wasn't that I was lost, just slightly unsure of my position relative to where I wanted to be, but in the right ballpark.

Luckily, just at that point another runner came down the track in the opposite direction, knew the locale better than me and ran a mile or so with me putting me back where I needed to be, with a nice chat until we parted.

Run went well, to target
Total) 10.0mi / 1:21:27 / 8:08.7 / A149 / M 165 / cad 87
1) 6.0 / 49:36 / 8:13 / AHR 142 / MHR 161 
2) 4.0mi / 31:50 / 7:57 / AHR 160 / MHR 165

The rest of this week will be a little slack.  I'm off working locally for once, at a nearby airport, so I'll be communitg daily, and arriving home late.  I may manage one or two cheeky rows if I have time

The Dawn of a New Error?

So, here goes, the start of my new blog.  Everyone else seems ot have one, so why not join in the greater blogosphere.  I'm going to warn you though, that just because it's here doesn't mean it will be any good, or that it's going to be free of typos, spelling mistakes or opinions you don't agree with.

Watch out for adn, teh, fro and tehm, you'll see plenty.

So, what's it all about, why? I hear you shout.

Back in March 2011, after having spent around 4 months suffering to varying degrees from hipflexor and ITB problems, I came across the idea of barefoot running and minimalist shoes, and my running career was reborn.  This also coincided with a complete dive in my indoor rowing career and a severe wobble in my bike career, but I regained a love of running for no other reason than running itself.  I'll publish that story at some point, when I get round to it, but now is not the time.

This is going to be a mix of stories about my training trials and tribulations, my travels around the world with my work and anything else I can think of and get away with.

Some of it will be barefoot, some of it won't.  Some will be voluntary, some won't like yesterday when my wife forgot to bring my shoes into town for me when she met me after I'd run there.  Ely on market day is a dangerous place for bare feet.  Far too many old people with walking sticks and invalid carriages with poor steering.

Right, that's it for now, just a taster to draw you in and hook you, plenty of promise, but let's wait and see what you get.  Plus, it's time for my long run now.  Today's prescription, ten miles - back later to report on it