Thursday, 31 December 2015
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
- I don't think my endurance and power are increasing as fast as Julian might have though from the plan he's given
- I know when I am tired as I lose feel for the water and my arms just seem to pass through
- There's an optimum pace above which more effort yields little reward
Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Although there was plenty of water running off the fells I chose this route as most is solid underfoot and it affords excellent views.
My pace was generally gentle with a goal to keep my HR below 140bpm as I've set previously for long runs. This naturally set me to walking some of the inclines and on my way to the edge I was interested in taking photographs.
Unfortunately early on whilst negotiating the uneven stones on the edge, not aided by having the sun in my eyes, I twisted my left ankle. Initially it was pretty painful and I was reduced to a stroll. After a few minutes I managed to pick up the pace into a fair walk but didn't want to risk upsetting it further. Naturally I was at the farthest point from home and taxis etc when this occurred!
|The sudden slowing shows the occurrence|
Judging from 'Dr Google' I have only a Grade 1 sprain since I can walk readily with only minimal stiffness. There's no clear swelling although there is localised tenderness.
As soon as I done my essential shoe cleaning and protein drink duties I applied an ice pack whilst drinking coffee. During the afternoon I've had ibuprofen gel on it and I'm icing it again as I write. I'd had high hopes for getting some mileage done during these holiday days but now it looks as though gentle walks will be my limit for the next few weeks. I'll have no excuse not to go swimming!
Sunday, 27 December 2015
Thursday, 24 December 2015
Today I managed two lengths with fewer than 20 strokes and at good pace so I wasn't 'over-gliding'. They must have been good powerful strokes; I could do with knowing which lengths they were and aim to capitalise on whatever I did wit my arms.
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
I had been unsure whether this problem was due to the reduced heel drop of these shoes or simple friction from the neoprene cuff. Well now I'm fairly confident it's to do with heel drop because as soon as I set off downhill the problem largely went away. The heel drop is not publicised by ASICS as far as I can tell but a few reviews put it at just under 6mm.
There's quite a good article here relating peroneus injuries to forefoot striking and minimal shoes. A low heel drop shoe is simply a mild version of that - basically encouraging the muscle and tendons to work at a longer length than they are used to.
So now I know that the shoes should currently only be used for 5km or so and that I need to transition into them for longer runs. It is perhaps noteworthy that the shoes are marketed for obstacle race use, not ultras although the manufacturer's blurb says "You can take on half-marathon distances...". Ultimately I think that I do want to be comfortable in lower shoes as many trail and fell shoes are going that way so I need to persevere.
Saturday, 19 December 2015
This morning I ran my Blacka Moor 20km route, missing out Oxstones. The run was hard going from the outset. Within the first km my right ankle was being rubbed under the lateral malleolus by the size 9.5 RocLite 315s. Throughout the run I felt lethargic, with stiff legs and a lack of energy. My left knee niggled when I walked so I restarted running. I aimed to keep my heart rate below 140 which I managed fairly well. I've realised that the first 15 minutes or so always have a high rate unless I'm walking. I had put it down to worn-out, cold batteries or dry contacts on the sensor, but really I think it is more to do with my body settling down. Usually I set off on long runs after an early breakfast and I imagine that it's hard to know where to direct blood flow or estimate physiological demands. So the heart goes a little mad to make sure all 'clients' are satisfied. After a while I have settled in ('warmed-up' I suppose) and the heart rate matches effort more sensibly.
Overall the pace came in under 7mins/km which is OK but in terms of perceived effort the run was tough! I'm now wondering if this is a sign of overtraining or whether it was just a day when I didn't perform especially well.
Friday, 11 December 2015
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
I didn't have the Big Buoy with me and found the supplied pull buoys to be worse than useless so most of my 1200m was done with leg kicks. My legs really do act as anchors but with some effort I managed 100m sets in 2:40min and 2:35min which I was satisfied with. It's clear that I am finding the sizeable pull buoy to be a 'crutch', as is so often stated online, but equally my endurance and stroke style and power is improving through being able to maintain an effort for an hour without a rest. I'll have to discuss this further with Julian at my next session,
Monday, 7 December 2015
The first route was obvious but after taking a few forks that path had gone from a a well-made dirt road to true 'single track'.
I was working from memory and could also tell that the paths on the ground were more plentiful than those mapped. Basically I didn't know which way was my chosen route. After reaching a gated dead end I turned back and completed the route clockwise instead of my hoped for anti-clockwise. There wasn't really anything wrong with this choice, just that I'd hoped to go the other way.
On my return I reviewed the route (just under 9km) and spotted my error and route options that I could have taken. That's fine as now I can plan runs for our next trip to Altea.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
At the beginning of the week I made an effort to ice around my left ankle and I think I have recovered from that little irritation. Circuits was hard on my knees as usual and I persist in my hope that squats and lunges will eventually strengthen it.
Swimming early in the week was laborious and was a disappointment after the previous week's great pace. Today I worked to increase the effort within 400m sets and in the first few I mostly succeeded although by the 4th I was clearly tiring. My best consecutive lengths resulted in a sub-2:10min/100m for 100m including a single length at 2:02min/100m. Between weeks 5 and 8 I've taken over 20s off the 400m set time. That's not bad going for me. A sub-8minute 400m still seems a way off, although that is my goal for the next time trial with Julian.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
Across 'the quarry' and via Oxstones to Houndkirk Road was wet underfoot but the grip of the new Asics shoes was excellent. I detoured into Burbage valley and then looped back via Totley Moor in Blacka Moor and the plantation.
This route included two new paths which were good to explore. First was from Oxytones to the site of the former inn on Houndkirk Road and the second linked the Totley Moor Byway to the Bridleway from Dore village. The latter was hard work as it has a surprising ascent and my left ankle was beginning to be irritated.
I did take a third new path but I doubt I'll use that again. I've passed the finger signs many times previously but boringly stayed on the road. Today I was in the mood to take a diversion and risk getting (slightly) wet feet. I had difficulty deciding where to cross the brook as I didn't want to wade, nor balance on a tree trunk to cross over. Eventually I worked out the safe dry-ish route and ascended back to the road, even then I had to climb over a fence.
|The indecision is clear!|
Thursday, 26 November 2015
As usual across the five sets of 400m I progressively reduced pace and increased stroke number but did manage the first 4 sets in under 10 minutes each. Within each set I tried to work harder towards the end, especially after 300m, so as to maintain pace. This worked well as a loss of pace through the 400m isn't apparent in the data.
This week I really feel that I have made some progress and that effort is being rewarded.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
I was lucky to be able to get an appointment with the physio who looks after my back and felt much better after some work on it.
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
I started with the intention not to be feeble in the warm up 200m and so I just did the lengths with no gaps. I didn't make a great effort to be fast but tried to apply myself. That resulted in sub 3minute/100m for 200m (with the sinky-legs). I've manage that in the SwimSmooth time trial but not otherwise. That good start had a good effect on my whole swim average. Then on the usual-effort alternated with 90%-effort lengths I focussed on some effort even when resting and then being faster with good 'feel for the water' whilst working harder.
This approach worked as I managed a number of lengths at 2:05min/100m or better and good averages throughout. Of course I tired towards the end of the session until the final pairs of lengths showed little difference between normal and hard as they were all becoming hard! My first set showed around 22strokes/33m but by the end it had risen to 26strokes/33m. Clearly I was losing hold and merely swinging my arms.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
I did manage a few 100m sets at around 2:21min/100m and no individual lengths at better than 2:15min/100m which isn't great. On the plus side I've looked back at old swimming data and noted that I used to struggle to manage 4min/100m. Now on the warm ups I'm not quite achieving 3min/100m but feel that I could do. I think I need to do a 1000m test with legs (i.e. without pull buoy) to make a fair comparison.
Recently I have suspected that the pool has a distinct flow and in the lane I was in today it was clear that I was working against the pump for the last 8m or so of the shallow end.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
When I woke up there was a thin layer in the garden but by the time I'd eaten and got out of the house that had started to melt. The local pavements were a bit slippery in places where there had been patches of melting and re-freezing but once on countryside paths there were no problems. On Blacka Moor there was a good covering that hid the roughness in the path and the cold running water beneath.
|Just beyond the wall the wind was ever so strong and I was forced to walk|
From the summit it's basically 9km of gentle descent back home, although there are a few inclines along the way to tax weary legs. The GPS data showed that I was the slowest I've ever been on this loop. Party that's because I'm trying to be slow as some of my older, faster runs were at what I now understand to be a race pace and thus not sustainable in a training programme.
Incidentally, the Fuji shoes did well on their first long outing. They weren't too hard at a slow trot on tarmac and gripped beautifully in thin snow and mud. The neoprene gaiter didn't rub on my ankle either, that's a real boost.
I am wondering if higher paced road runs are the irritant for my knee. I did one on Tuesday and have known about it ever since...
Thursday, 19 November 2015
I'm loathe to consider that my right ankle is improving but it just might be. On Tuesday I ran on the road for an hour. On Wednesday I ran to and from circuits and of course there was the circuit itself. All of this was done wearing Roclite 315s; although 2 pairs of different sizes.
At one point on the way to the class I was aware of a rub but that was all. Perhaps my ankle is settling.
My left knee has reappeared as an issue and made its presence felt in squats and sometimes in lunges. There is an element of technique as by adapting my posture I could modulate the discomfort. Perhaps I just need to be stronger?
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
All along Abbeydale Road I was into the wind so there was no way I'd achieve a 4minute km, even if I tried. The ascent to Dore was relatively sheltered and on the way home the wind was behind me so gave a little advantage. My pace was very steady and for some of the sections I was at the bottom end of my previous performances. I'd put that down to a combination of foul weather, lack of practice on road, not making too much effort and finally, running in trail shoes.
At least I returned home without an overt injury although my left patellar tendon groaned a little on the descent and I was conscious of my gait for most of the circuit.
Sunday, 15 November 2015
The change in pace is evident throughout the session which is better than some weeks where the distinction became lost as I tired. Part of this might be that I was going unusually gently for the slow lengths, giving me the opportunity to speed up! The quietness of the pool made such messing about possible without inconveniencing others.
Even with such a lovely 'comb' of data my fatigue is evident in the gradual decline of pace. I'd really hoped that I might have managed a 40s length in the first set but was limited to 44s putting me at 2:11m/100m, assuming I could sustain it.
Saturday, 14 November 2015
Against the odds the weather was warm and dry so I'd over dressed. On the steep descending steps in Ladies Spring Woods , which I always walk for fear of injury, I felt my left knee a little. This was the spot where I was forced to walk over a year ago and I think that I'm very sensitive to niggles when I'm here. My right ankle was barely noticeable and I'm putting that down to wearing the size 9 Inov8 315 shoes that I've done so much distance in. My toes were tight and I wonder if the worn heel on tarmac irritated my knee,so they aren't perfect.
Actually, a km or so later I headed back for home, missing out the Limb Valley and Porter Clough sections. I thought that I'd gone far enough in terms of both time and distance and didn't want to take on too much and force an injury on myself.
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
The pacing is similar to that of a few weeks back when I was doing 300m sets so I suppose that shows progress although it's not terribly convincing!
Saturday, 7 November 2015
The heel drop is reputed to be around 6mm so on the low end of my normal range and on that basis it's probably sensible that I elected not to wear them on last week's event. They would have been great on the heather and peat but perhaps hard on my calfs on the frantic last few km.
Another nice aspect is that the uppers are clearly broad and not tapering, that is more foot-shaped than many shoes. I'll have to see how things go over the next few runs but today they didn't dig in around my heel even though I made a fair pace and had to adjust my feet as I stepped through autumn leaves onto the uneven terrain underneath.
|From The Express, always good for hyperbole|
I'm pretty satisfied with the change in pace although it would have been better if I'd managed to get the fast lengths below 44seconds. Really they weren't very fast. The gradual reduction shows fatigue quite clearly and by the end of the session there is no clear increase in the 'fast' lengths. I must have been flailing pointlessly.
Thursday, 5 November 2015
My final few lengths without the pull buoy were horrendous and showed how much I'd tired as I needed 50% more strokes to do a length than I had in the warm-up.
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
The concept appears to be intrinsic to all contemporary conventional shoes and is theorised to impose excessive load on the heads of the metatarsals and overstretch the plantar connective tissue; whilst inhibiting natural toe and arch flexion. Websites such as Somastruct give pretty clear overview of the issue.
Currently I'm trying to move on from my peroneus longus ligament pain and the associated 'oddness' around the metatarsals and articles such as the one mentioned struck a chord. I found my rather worn Brook Green Silence shoes to be clear of my ankle and pleasant in that regard but after a few days of wear the centre my right foot became more painful.
|My left shoe after nearly 800km|
|Stock photo of a new shoe|
Sunday, 1 November 2015
|Hard to believe it's the 1st of November|
I had hoped to detour for a control or two in the last hour but found that I was moving too slowly and was in risk of occurring penalties. As the path improved near to the base I picked up my pace as much as possible.
This final burst of speed is evident on the Strava record. The last few km were on a slight descent, grass and gravel track that offered grip, comfort and visibility.
As a competition performance it was't great but it was a lovely morning of running. In terms of learning:
- it's clear that I need to be more prepared to get muddy
- I must look at routes that are productive for points, I ran 6 km for one poorly scoring control
- 2 electrolyte tablets in 750ml might be correct, I didn't get cramp
- more hill training (up & down) wouldn't go amiss!
Saturday, 31 October 2015
Although the pattern is good the pace itself isn't great although the last length of set one was at 2:10 min/100m pace; which is great. The average pace declined across the session, as is expected I suppose, from 2:27 to 3:01 per set. The last one shows that I really was flagging considering that this set was with the pull buoy. By then my 'fast' lengths were no faster than my earlier slow ones!
Thursday, 29 October 2015
Today I was supposed to be increasing the effort within 500m sets so that the pace increased a by few seconds every 100m. I started gently to give myself a chance and then ramped it up, or so I thought! The first 2 steps I tried to use more power and improve the feel and to a degree that worked. Then for the 4th and 5th blocks I tried to increase stroke rate too.That didn't work and I was simply tiring myself out. Notably, as on Tuesday my performance fell across the sets.
At least trying to increase pace meant that I did maintain it within a set showing that effort has to increase and an apparently slow start is essential. There were't any fast lengths at all today, the best being just under 44s.
Saturday, 24 October 2015
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
This evening I couldn't postpone a swim for any longer and completed the progressive sets where I should increase pace across 500m. The first set wasn't too bad as I increased from 2:26 to 2:15. In the second set I went out too fast at 2:19 and managed a 2:03 length in the middle before finishing at 2:23. I think the fast length wore me out! The third set was very poor with all 5 100m sets hovering around 2:30. I recall that these felt hard work and I knew I wasn't moving quickly. The pool had developed quite swell and I don't know if that was slowing me down or if it was perceived due to tiredness.
On the positive side there was more progression than I managed a week ago. Looking back at my training programme I seem to have been too eager to restart sets and should be taking longer rests between sets. I'll have to try following instructions next week!
Sunday, 18 October 2015
|My route of 18km|
As I went along the route became clear in my mind and the key goals were to find the spots without too much circling and to keep up a solid pace. There was light fog on the edge of the Kinder plateau which made navigation a little harder, although the route I'd chosen was pretty fool proof. The mist did make spotting features a bit tougher than it might have been on a clear day but these damp conditions would favour the precise navigators.
|...by a small pond...|
With only just over 8 minutes to spare I checked in with a very respectable 230 points. I certainly needed the coffee and ginger biscuits before changing into dry clothes and shoes to head home. Once cleaned up, the wounds from the fall were trivial although the tight muscles haven't relaxed even after roller work and stretching. I'll have to do more as soon as I've finished typing.
The results were released a little while ago and I was very pleased to place in the top third overall. The winner of this Round with over 400 points must have really gone for it! There was a punitive penalty system in place whereby 50 points were deducted for every minute over the 3 hours and a number of runners clearly misjudged their progress and paid dearly, in a few cases losing all of their points.
Explorer Events and the Edale marshals did a great job. This was my first try at something like this and I've now got my eye on the other rounds. The event had simple administration and the volunteers and other competitors were friendly and helpful. The entry fee was pretty reasonable too.
Saturday, 17 October 2015
The lesson at the moment seems to be that a bit more effort can result in more speed over a few weeks. This makes sense, tempo and tartlet sessions work for running so why not in the water?
Friday, 9 October 2015
Today's session was 7x300m juts trying to keep a regular relaxed pace. As time went on they became harder and I found I was struggling with waves. Whether the pool really was getting rougher or I was just finding it harder to cope is unclear. It was evident however that my pace slackened across the sets from around 2:30min/100m to over 2:40min/100m. That's perhaps not too surprising as it is over 2km and that's quite a bit for me still.
I've found that the watch has missed a few lengths in the last couple of sessions and assume this must be where I turn very promptly, without a pause but don't manage a decent push off. That tends to happen when there's congestion at the end of the pool. It is good though that I'm not pausing; although in general I'm not finding the arms-only approach aerobically intense.
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
|Arm bent but elbow is low, also sinking even with pull buoy|
When I aimed for a straight-ish reach and catch actually it looked better. I did a few lengths after the formal session and thought that I could even feel the bend better if I largely ignored it; we'll see.
The time trial went fairly well. I have taken 20 seconds off my October time which isn't bad going and achieved 400m in 8:40mins. My pacing was poor as each 100m was progressively slower even though I thought I was working harder. Julian was a little disappointed with my inability to get even or negative splits but overall I am satisfied with the total outcome and that my first 100m was 2:03mins/100m. Sub-two minutes is beckoning.
I've now got a 12week plan focussing on a relaxed rhythmic stroke and aiming to get the pacing better under control. No training aids are needed so I've a bit more flexibility on the pool I go to should the need arise.
Incidentally, Julian thought I had lost weight. I was a bit surprised as I've been eating at least as much as usual, and not running much. A quick jump on the bathroom scales shows that he's right! Not good for power gain.
Friday, 2 October 2015
Saturday, 26 September 2015
I only felt one or two twinges as my right foot fell in slightly. The low drop shoes were probably responsible for the slight calf tightness at the end. Despite aiming to go slowly on 3 segments I have been slower and it even looks as though my heart rate was sometimes higher at equivalent pacing. That might show I'm improving aerobically or could just be random variation.
Many deciduous trees were starting to have golden patches of leaves showing that autumn is on the way.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Anyway, it was another record, 2400m in a single swim, so my endurance is improving.
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
I've been doing some sneaky reading about leg positioning and trying land exercises and I'm beginning to see that I'm letting, or maybe even making my legs fall. There seems to be lot of lower back and glue tone needed to lift the feet rather than kicking downwards which I think is my natural tendency.
Sunday, 20 September 2015
The weather forecast was very favourable so I packed very lightly, too lightly as it turned out, and timed myself to arrive around sunset. Even though it was the weekend I was limiting myself to a basic overnight session so as not to bite off too much. The earlier I had arrived, the more time there would be to spend on the hill.
My timing was perhaps a little too tight as I topped the ridge after the sun had sunk, but I still saw lovely skies. I knew the spot I was heading for well and knew that there were rocks that offered a safe cooking area. I merely warmed some tinned curry followed by tea and chocolate. During this I heard voices and was surprised to see a couple walking a dog. I shouldn't have been so surprised as although I'd walked for over 90minutes I was under 1km from a road.
When I first went to bed I was plenty warm enough and had a spare layer, which was my plan. I woke up after a couple of times turning around and was a little cold. The sky was generally clear with many, many stars, where there was cloud it was only a thin translucent layer. Each time I looked up the view was very slightly different. The wind was ever so light, just a cooling waft on my face. On the negative side I was shocked to find it was only 22:45. So much time to go before morning.
I added my final layer of clothing and went back to sleep. I awoke again, a little cold and needing the toilet. The time was 01:15. I argued with myself about stopping out all night and getting very cold and perhaps vowing 'never again' or should I pack up and walk home, having learnt a lesson? I shouldn't have needed the lesson as I'm cold most of the time when camping and without a tent of course I'd be colder. I took the lesson option, knowing that it would get colder in the early hours of morning, and easily packed my bed away and walked home on a mostly tarmac route.
Somehow I was too scared to enter the woods for the walk home even though I was happy lying on a rock to sleep. I think that settling down at dusk made me aware of my surroundings, the rattle of the cattle grid, the distant lowing of cattle, the occasional car; so that during the night I wasn't nervous at all.
The walk home was fun anyway, listening for cars and wondering which way they'd appear. I managed to get another 4 hours of warm sleep before starting Sunday.
Incidentally one reason I didn't pack my sleeping bag (late 1990's Ajungilak Kompact) was its size in my rucsac. At just under 1.6kg it would have spoilt my sub-6kg packing and with a pack size of 21cm x 42cm it is quite large. I've looked online and those measurements are pretty typical for a synthetic 3 season bag so there's no excuse for shopping.
Saturday, 19 September 2015
This morning I trialled that possibility by doing a slow loop, though the woods and just beyond, in the Roclite 295s that have only 6mm drop. A month ago I suspected that a recce run in these shows around Win Hill had upset the ankle, but this run was on a different scale. Shorter and nothing steep!
The good news is that the ankle felt fine during the run, my toes didn't seem so disturbed and now, a few hours later it is still OK. I have done some rolling and writing this has just reminded me thatI should roll the plantar fascia with a tennis ball.
Friday, 18 September 2015
Today's plan session was easy/medium/hard blocks but these have lengthened to 100m. All in all I swam 2300m (2nd record this week) which might also explain why my pace was slower then 2 weeks ago for each interval. I also notes quite a drop off in pace between the 4 sets, another indicator of fatigue.
I really am in a position now where I can use my arms aerobically as this week's sessions have all been around 1 hour with a set of up to 13 minutes.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
For the second week in a row I've done some of the stations without shoes. This has allowed me to do calf raises, both single and both legs and squats though a good range of movement and without the support of shoes. Considering that my ankle was almost painful after the orienteering I was very pleased that the circuit work actually seemed to be beneficial. It almost seems that too much support is as bad as too much loading on my ankle as both are irritating. Some flexion seems to be most comfortable. There must be a lesson in there.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
For an hours run it was very varied in pace, gradient, terrain which is a good training environment. I thought that might make it leg-friendly but my ankle is a bit delicate now. Hopefully some lower leg rolling, Ibuprofen gel and sleep will improve it.
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Last week the physio suggested some exercises for my ankle, mostly basic things such as calf raises - but to be done without shoes so that I have to support the load though my foot and not shoes. The exercises today didn't feel too different, nor difficult, but might have been tiring to smaller muscles. I suppose that is the idea!
Monday, 7 September 2015
I did have two pauses early in the session as I dropped my nose clip whilst removing the snorkel. I could have left it at the bottom of the deep end but that felt wasteful. On the first dive I couldn't see my goal and merely found a bit of debris. I swim 2 lengths and came back and had a successful attempt. sinking below 4m felt hard work and very much a pressure on my ears and sinuses!
Saturday, 5 September 2015
The lower slopes are heavily forested but as the path rises the trees become more sparse and lumps of lava are commonplace. Gradually the space between the trees widens until the ground is simply volcanic dust. Although this is a mere foothill of Mout Teide it is incredibly dramatic.
The summit is not open to the public possibly because the ground is very loose and delicate at this level. The rocks and dust were hot, it seemed rather inhospitable.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
The path from Los Silos gained 950m to Erjos through a striking volcanic barranco. Underfoot the path was well-made, initially cobbled and later from soil and leaves. I could imagine that it might be slippery in the wet but that wasn't an issue for us. If the sun hadn't been so hot there were other options to make a slightly longer circular route but we chose to trace our steps. Actually that wasn't a bad idea as we experienced quite different vistas in the two directions.
Midway during the ascent we passed an elderly man carrying a canvas sack of unknown objects on his back. We didn't know if he lived at Cuevas Negras or at a near-derelict finca beside the track. It was certainly a tough way to go about his business.
Los Silos was preparing for a fiesta and was picturesque. We were made very welcome at Mimo's cafe both before and after our walk.
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Contouring around and the descent through a farming valley were much easier than the book implied. This was fortunate as the sun was strong and we'd found that be early afternoon walking was an effort.
Monday, 31 August 2015
I planned a route from Icod to El Amparo along a farm track but noted found that it was locked from the the road. I continued the march uphill and just outside El Amparo found a downhill road. Quite soon I met a man moving fruit and asked him if I could walk to Icod. He said that it was possible. Before I moved on he gave me some plums from his basket which was a generous gesture.
A little below the small holdings the path petered out into a stripe of dust but below that some very well made paths were visible above the terraces and so I pushed on.
I started to become concerned that I was approaching the 'wrong side' of the locked gate I'd seen on the ascent as I mapped sought the route on the ground below and it headed directly to it! A few minutes later I knew that to be true and I was stopped in my tracks by a seriously high gate. I contemplated climbing it for only a second and approached a building to beg to belt out. Unfortunately there was no one answering the door, even though a pickup was parked outside.
The route bak uphill, past some snarling dogs and back down the road was not at all appealing and so I chose to take a track past some rather rough looking farm buildings. I was thrilled to find the path continued towards another road in Icod. I though that at least I'd have a simpler chance at climbing out or asking for help. Even better, there was a steel gate, just afar, leading onto a cul-de-sac.
A bit of Googling once safely back at the hotel revealed that the closed land is part of a state-funded educational centre with a bit of record for under-performing. Perhaps the open gate is a nod to public access?
Saturday, 29 August 2015
The body of the swim was 6x 233m with snorkel for the first half to reinforce technique. The pace for the blocks was reasonable considering that I covered 1400m.
After the sets I did two cooldown lengths. A length of legs only was awful, I barely moved forwards and had to abandon it. It was notable though that my legs were high as I could feel my feet breaking the surface. Then finishing off with arms and legs was even worse. Using the pull buoy is great until you stop; at that point it's as if you're being pulled to the bottom of the pool.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
I'm making fair progress through my August swimming programme and this morning I managed to make a reasonable job of increasing the intensity in steps between sets.
|Pace is grey and strokes in yellow|
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
The run there and back went pretty well too showing that I usually have a background of tired legs. Actually, for the first few hundred metres by legs felt very tired, they must have just been asleep and not expecting to run!
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
At the end I did try some kicking whilst lying and noted that with my face down my feet were breaking the water. When I add arm action or move my head it seems that the feet become an anchor. Whilst it's great to zoom along with the pull buoy one day I'll have to try to get the dangling legs organised.
Friday, 21 August 2015
In Session 3 I achieved the progression of effort although the first set had the best pace altogether. In today's routine the 200m sets seemed very achievable and I think I'm managing the high elbow fairly well. With the snorkel I think it's now fairly easy and can get a good (for me) pace. Including rightside breathing drops the pace by 10s/100m and I fear that my stroke is a little asymmetric; which I suppose is inevitable.
At the end of the sessions I've done a few lengths without the pull buoy and then my legs feel even heavier than ever before!
I think I'm a little slower than last week but I have done 3 swims in quite close succession within 6 days of a 30 mile run...
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
My morning resting heart rate has been dropping since Sunday but it is still elevated so clearly still a background of fatigue. At least I've been and done it.
Sunday, 16 August 2015
EightPointTwo have released the preliminary results for the weekend's events and I was very pleased to see that I did come in under 7 hours according to the official timing. I was pretty much mid-field which is probably about right for my fitness and effort. It's clear that the 6 to 8 hour area is where most runner's ended up.
|Histogram where x label shows upper margin of bucket|
I refocused my training, eventually realising that it was unwise to push the pace in long training runs, but even as summer of 2014 arrived I knew that I wasn't ready for the 50km run, never mind the 100km! The key problem for me seems to be that as I increase either training load or intensity something breaks! Over the winter of 2014 I cut back and rebuilt only to have a painful knee as spring approached. After many weeks of rest I ran my first Ultramarathon and was pretty satisfied with my 5:30 time for 50km.
Of course I needed recovery time and it felt as though I needed 'a day per kilometre' which is more than many runners seem to think. With this success under my belt I eventually paid for entry to the 30 mile Intro Ultra in the Peak District. Naturally I didn't start the event feeling strong as along the way I managed to develop problems in the right foot and ankle which I still don't feel I've got to the bottom of.
Nonetheless I was advised by the physio, Kim, to give the run a try and had rules for when I should probably pull out. I felt slightly positive as I started the Canalathon suspecting that my left knee would fail me but it didn't; hopefully the right ankle wouldn't bother me this time.
|Waiting to start|
|The procession just above Porter Clough|
Around the half way point I'd met up with Cheryl and we had similar paces although I walked hills faster, she descended quicker. I dithered around the Pretzels at Bradwell but our paths crossed again during the ascent of Bradwell Edge. A little group collected together along the river to Hathersage when I was very pleased to accept extra electrolyte tablets to add to my water in an attempt to limit my cramp. The lesson here is to add to a stronger level than suggested on the packet and make sure you carry plenty. I'd put a few in the drop bags and been very (too) sparing with them!
On Houndkirk Road it looked as though my 7 hour goal would be hard to achieve as I thought I was losing pace. The stony road was irritating my already sore feet, especially the right, and I'd adopted a stronger heel strike gait to avoid pressure on my forefoot. Probably this was the sort of buid-up of pain that indicates enough is enough. The muscles and sole of my foot were becoming a final point for my attention and I was adapting my gait. I wasn't going to stop though with a mere 5k or so left! Half way down Limb Vally I knew I could achieve my goal even with walking the final very mild hill to Whirlow Farm.
Our little group had split up during the final few kilometres as each tried to maximise their outcomes. Cherry wanted to beat her 2014 time, I was content with 7 hours, the other 2 with us just wanted to do as much as possible. We regrouped with cheers and handshakes at the finish line.
I really enjoyed the spicy vegetable stew and sampled the real ale although I suspect that it wouldn't be labelled 'suitable for vegans'. This morning my wife and I walked back to the farm to collect the drop bags and the abandoned car.
|Smoothed, Grade Adjusted Pace, note the stops!|
The Strava data show that I did a fair job of maintaining pace across the whole event, far better than I managed on the Canalathon. In general my legs don't feel as stiff and damaged as in March either, some of that might be due to better training, some to a slower pace forced on me by the slightly more technical terrain. The right ankle/peroneus muscle group is noticeable and I think a few weeks break will be wise.
So there is still unfinished business. In both my 50th and 51st years I have completed 'easy' ultramarathons but 100km feels to be unattainable. I suppose it is all a matter of perspective, on my 40th birthday I wouldn't have believed anyone who had suggested that I'd run (and walk) 50km in one session whereas now I know it needs a fair bit of effort, but is within my ability. Maybe the 100km can be in my 52nd year?
Thursday, 13 August 2015
The pool was busy so I had a few stop-start lengths that registered as additional lengths on the watch but even so I thought it went very well. I really did think I could 'feel' the 'catch'. Looking at the data I think this was a valid observation. The routine was basically 9x 167m with the Big Buoy, first ones being done with snorkel. In those set I managed a best 100m in 2:10 minutes and without the snorkel 2:23 minutes. That's hardly world class but it is progress. The whole session came in at 2:43/100m over 2000m including rests; which I barely felt to be necessary!
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
On occasion I did catch up with someone's in the lane so that would have affected my pace. Additionally the sets had quite a bit of rest built in, which I used for fitting and removing nose clip and snorkel. Altogether about 6 minutes was rest interval which is a little less than that programmed.
Monday, 10 August 2015
It's quite an expanse of sand to the first staging post of Little Eye but we started with confidence as the tidetable and guidelines for timing are all displayed at the slipway at West Kirby. We were very fortunate that the timings were optimum for a day trip. Even though the walk felt quite adventurous to us there was a steady stream of people making their way to the rocky outcrops.
It's essential to depart from West Kirby to avoid channels and potential quicksand between Hilbre Islands and Hoylake. The rocks are a very red sandstone and have only sparse vegetation. Historically there was an active telegraph station but now there are some bungalows that look like holiday homes and a nature reserve.
The weather was mixed, some sunshine but also some have squalls that we could see blowing in across the Dee estuary. There were lots of seabirds that we weren't able to identify and we were sure that we spotted a seal. As that was the extent of our naturalist skills we returned to the shore for lunch before walking to Hoylake along the coast and returning on a route that included part of the Wirral Way.
Friday, 7 August 2015
|A stock image from HUUB|
My final cool-down set was done without the PB and that was awful - it felt as if my legs were hauled into the depths of the pool! I can see why PB training is controversial as although I've had great arm workout and been able to focus on stroke technique I've been misled into my speed. I think I'll do a few floating drills next session to focus on keeping my legs up without the need to kick. The PB has really highlighted the importance of streamlining to me.
Thursday, 6 August 2015
The main thing about today's run was that I added the very thin footbeds from my Ultra 290 shoes into the size 9.5 RocLite 315s. I was hoping that the slight extra height would prevent pressure around the right lateral malleolus. It might have worked a little but at the cost of reduced height in the toe box, so not a clear improvement. I've now got myself in the 'too many choices' footwear wise for the Intro Ultra. I'm also full of aches and sore spots, not just the usual left knee and right ankle. I really wish that I knew what's going in with the ankle! Looking back through the blog the ankle/peroneus has been an issue for best part of 4 months now. That's not good especially as, if anything, it's become worse over the last few weeks.
Hopefully these are just pre-event niggles. I must try to be positive.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
For most of the session that followed I used a large pull buoy that provided enough lift to streamline me. This week's 400m time trial was just over 9 minutes so 10% faster than 2 months ago. That doesn't sound all that much especially since I was aided by a float.
|Fair catch on left arm, but aren't they weedy arms?|