Saturday 26 September 2015

First run of autumn?

Last weeks' run didn't seem to upset my ankle much, perhaps it even helped? On that basis I've decided to start to increase my 'long runs' again as there's no clear reason to hold back. I looped up to the Norfolk Arms at a very steady pace, aiming for a heart rate of less than 140bpm.

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

August 2015 Week 6 Session 3

I seem to have reached a sticking point as today's performance was much the same as last week. Before the 4th superset I was tired and really couldn't sustain my pace or form and the easy/medium/hard goal didn't result in a stepwise improvement in pace. Basically harder just compensated for tiredness.

Anyway, it was another record, 2400m in a single swim, so my endurance is improving.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

August 2015 Week 6 Session 2

I'm getting close to the end of the August 8 week swimming block now, well three quarters done! Today's swim was paced pretty much the same as the week 5 session which was identical; in itself that is a little disappointing but on the flipped I have swum much more over the last week than previously. Likewise today's swim was 2200m which is a fair step up from 6 months ago. I'm slightly concerned that I'm reliant upon the pull buoy as my warm up lengths without it are grim.

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

Microadventure #1

This isn't really my first microadventure as over a year ago we walked a circle around the house. I can also recall, when in the cadet force, spending a night under a basha in a German forest. Despite this inaccuracy I'm going to call last night number 1 as it's the first time I've walked from home to stop on a hill, without a tent.

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

Just beyond the woods

After the Intro UTPD I've been keeping running at a low level to try to get some recovery in my ankle. Earlier this week after the orienteering (which itself came a day after ankle exercises) it was sore and I felt I was heading backwards. Surprisingly though after running to circuits and doing a fair few bare foot exercises the ankle was loads better. That was clear whilst walking gin and out of work too. So perhaps it improves with 'low drop' effort?

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

August 2015 Week 5 swimming

Over the last 5 days I've swum 3 times to do the week 5 tasks. That's been quite hard work especially with 2 short running days and some late nights on the computer doing work. By today's swim I was physically tired and it showed.

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

Runner's circuit

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

Orienteering introductory event

The physio had suggested that I could try a local orienteering evening so that I'd run an event but it wouldn't be too hard on my legs and ankles. I went along to Bingham park after work and ran the orange adult circuit. That was fairly straightforward, the navigation was obvious and the terrain reasonable. My time was nothing special as I wasn't rushing. With that moderate success I tired a 'Sprint' route. That was much harder, the controls were difficult to find, the navigational features subtle and the terrain underfoot uneven and often steep. The Sprint was nominally half the distance of the Orange and took me 10 minutes longer!

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

Runner's circuit

After Tenerife I needed to restart routine and this was the strength session. The run there and back was hard work, it felt slow and it was! Like wise the stations weren't easy, perhaps I'm still a little fatigued from the walks?

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

August 2015 Week 4 Session 2

This swim felt a bit rusty after a week off. Certainly I was faster with the snorkel, as I should be, but I tired noticeably in the sets from 100m to 500m. Nonetheless the pace for the 500m was better than 2:40min/100m which was OK for a fair length set.

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

Vulcan de Garachico

The volcano inland of Garachico erupted in 1706 and destroyed much of the town, although it was rapidly redeveloped. Now it is a tourist spot with a historic village centre. Whilst it is possible to walk from the sea shore up to the mountains we decided to start at La Montanata to save our energy!

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


Today's walk was in the guide book but was simply part of TF53. The footpath network in Tenerife is well developed with clear signage at the ends of routes and some painted indicators along the way. Of course, sometimes it is unclear if you've strayed onto a different numbered path so it is wise to have ascent map and 'feel' for the hills.

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

Los lavaderos

After a tourist day in Puerto de la Cruz, once I again I wanted to stride uphill! I set up circular trail through very minor roads above Icod which gave 300m of ascent in just a few kilometres. On these I discovered the local washing area, now disused, which we've since found are present in many villages in Tenerife.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Cumbre de Bolico

Today's walk was circular, route #26 in Walk Tenerife, from Santiago de Teide around  Cumbre de Bolico. The ascent along a barranco was warm but we rewarded with a cool breeze once we reached a clear col with great views northwards.

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.