Tuesday, 20 September 2011

It’s Been A Long Time Since We…..

[insert your own suitable phrase here], I’m going for “rock and roll” personally, but then I’m a Led Zep fan.  They’ve helped relieve boredom and take my mind off the pain of many a mind numbing turbo trainer session staring at the garage wall or doing progressive intervals.

Anyway, my intention with starting this blog was good.  The plan was to make at least a weekly update and supplementary entries where relevant, but the last three weeks have been just manically busy both at home and at work.  So apologies to all my loyal fans out there (all 200 or so of them so far).

In short order it’s been a bit like this

Week one – White water rafting at the weekend (on the Olympic canoe slalom course, photos to follow)
Two days in Aberdeen, get home on the Friday

Week two – my sister and her other half come up for the weekend, Barbecue, Serena (7) and my sister “camp out” in the garden, Bruce and I go to the pub. 
Sunday, Fly to Aberdeen for the week including two days offshore, home Friday

Week three – chores at weekend, play with the kids, watch a few rugby matches, off to Germany on Sunday. Busy week with a difficult client (you’d think we were trying to get them to sacrifice their children, it was that belligerent at times), home Friday.

So since the last post two weeks ago, I’ve had some pretty good training time, for me anyway.  I’ve managed to stick with my target 5 sessions a week.  The target was chosen as an increase from last year, but also pragmatically with work and family in mind.

So week beginning 4th September I managed a total of 19.12 miles running, and 18.1 miles on the bike.  I’m not going to bore with the details mile by mile, but it looked like this

  • Mon – Run on Aberdeen seafront, 5 miles in 40:08 @ 08:02, AHR 132, MHR 152                                         
  • Tues – Run on Aberdeen seafront, very windy and rainy, 5.12 miles in 41:08 @ 08:02 forgot HR strap                                
  • Weds – Offshore, BF Run on a treadmill in a very hot gym, 4 miles in 32:32 @ 08:08, AHR 145, MHR 151, got a small blood blister on the right big toe, harder to avoid friction from pushing off on a treadmill                                                                
  • Thurs – None, knackered after getting back onshore, went out for a curry.                                                                       
  • Fri – Run, Aberdeen sea front,  5 miles in 40:52 @ 8:10, AHR 143, MHR 151 ran this one in Huaraches                              
  • Sat – bike, Indoors on turbo trainer, 1hour, 18.06 miles at average 207W, AHR 143, MHR 150
Total for the week,
running 19.12mi, 2:34:40
Bike –   18.06mi, 1:00:00

Week Beginning 11th September
  • Sunday, flew to Germany
  • Mon – Run in the morning in huaraches – 4.21 mi in 34:52 @ 8:17 HR strap went screwy indicating 168-182-202-207, so AHR not reliable                          
  • Tues – morning run, following up a valley, so hilly 5mi in 42:52 @ 8:34, AHR 142, MHR 153, included one downhill mile at 6:46, which was about as fast as I could turn the legs over without faceplanting
  • Weds - evening run, part BF/Part Huaraches, 4.87 mi in 40:44 @ 8:22, HR strap went a bit screwy again              
  • Thurs – day off                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Fri – morning BF run in cool, dry conditions, 4.32 mi in 39:33 @ 9:09, HR strap screwy again
  • Sat – evening BF Run, checking out a 10K race course for BF ability, 6.38 mi in 53:01 @ 08:19, AHR 136, MHR 148
Total for the week 24.78miles in 3:31:02

That BF run on Saturday was the longest I’ve done to date, and was in wet conditions.  I’ve got one small blister on the ball of my left second toe, so I think my BF technique is improving.  From yesterday’s experience, I think the course could be run BF, but if I was looking to improve on last year’s PB I think I’d have to do it shod.  It will all be weather dependent on 31st Dec anyway, as it is usually pretty dire around here that time of year, so I will have huaraches in mind anyway.  Between now and then I’ll have plenty of time to train in the huaraches anyhow as I have about 8 or 9 weeks in Aberdeen between now and Christmas, and I don’t run BF there on the streets.  I’ve found a local synthetic track which I may have a run on at some time.

The one thing I have really found out this last couple of weeks thought is that if you are intending to follow this Maffetone method properly, and consistently, it does take some effort, in particular letting go of the ego and being prepared to run slowly at times.  I found that particularly difficult this week with the hills, but I was getting better towards the end of the week.  

To try and stop me going over the imposed HR cap, I’ve adjusted the warning from the Garmin downwards slightly to give me some extra time to respond before I hit the max zone.

Now for the white water rafting.  My wife bought me one of these “experiences” for Christmas last year, to go and do white water rafting on the new artificial course in the Lee Valley Park that will be used for next year’s canoe slalom at the Olympics.  To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to it much.  I’m not really that big into water sports (apart from my surfing years a long time ago) and the closest I tend to get to being thrown about in water is my 4-yearly offshore safety training refreshers.

I eventually managed to book it in for late August when I had a couple of weeks vacation and Rekha and the kids could also come and watch. So off we all went, piled into my old car, as Rekha’s had an acute suspension problem at the time.  I arrived in good time, luckily, as they’d managed to lose my booking somehow.  Eventually it got sorted out and there I was all done up in their supplied wetsuit with a tech-tee underneath as a rash vest and my trainers in preference to their wetsuit boots.  I still had an open blood blister so I wanted shoes whose history I knew.

With my lost booking, the boat numbers were a bit screwed up as two large groups wanted to stay together and then there was another couple and myself.  It ended up pretty well I think with me and the couple in a smaller boat with an instructor and the other groups in boats of 9 people each.  Looking at them as we were practicing and then rafting in anger, it looked like we had the better end of the deal as the boat of 4 people rode the waves better and was much easier to co-ordinate.

They have a very good system with this new set up with a big lake at the bottom, a man made course in a horseshoe shape with pumps taking water up to the top of the course.  The kayaks/rafts get taken from the lake up to the top on a conveyor belt, all very civilised.  And the spectators can also get up pretty close, so until she got bored I was entertained by my seven year old daughter waving and shouting “hello daddy” every time I went past, and then catching me up again further down the course.

I think we must have gone round at least half a dozen times, probably more.  I was still feeling fresh enough to carry on, but time was up.

It was thoroughly enjoyable, much more so than I had originally thought and I quite liked the idea of the closed course.  I think a rafting trip might be quite enjoyable as well though, rafting in the day and camping on the banks at night for a couple of days, catching fish and looking at the stars.

A few selected photos here.  The rest are on the web here

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