After the blow-out of last week where through working stupid hours I managed the grand total of 0 minutes exercise and with the CTS Gower marathon looming on the horizon I really needed to redouble my efforts in exercising/ training this week no matter how late the finish of my work or what the weather was like.
Having to confess to my fellow hamsters on Facebook on Sunday about not having managed anything, my paltry performance was brought in to perspective by Beth Risdon, author of the Shut Up and Run blog that I follow, who was in action in the Florida Iron Man race the previous day.
Beth had posted her race number on line and you could follow her progress through the Iron Man website, so all day from the off I was checking-in on a regular basis to see how she was faring. She has become an Iron Man (should that be Iron Woman?) from scratch in the space of a few months. She runs a great deal anyway so had a good level of fitness to start with and had completed triathlons and a half iron man in past years but doing an Ironman was not on her radar until she was approached to do one! You can read her account of her achievement on the blog with her entries for the run, the bike and the swim, and those waves getting in to the sea looked pretty damned gnarly!
Seeing Beth going about her way to finishing the Ironman was awesome, and a real motivator to get off my sorry arse and do something!.. And there was also another couple of motivators as well.
This week the organisers of the Brutal run series in whose events I have run have started a running club on Strava, which I use for tracking my cycling, with the intention of allowing those who run in their events to keep tabs on how they perform against others in training or running in general each week. At the same time, one of my clients in the village who is a keen XC runner with her dog and is getting involved in CaniX running also set-up a running club for the village so those who sign-up can again see how they stack-up against fellow members.
Unfortunately the running on Strava is kept separate from the cycling, so any mileage on your bike does not count towards your weekly output for the purpose of the running clubs, which is understandable. If you have a varied diet of training on both then you can feel that you are missing on competing against everyone else by interchanging your disciplines, however if you're just using it to keep tabs on yourself and you know you'll never top-out the rankings then there's no harm in ensuring you're not propping up the foot of the rankings at the very least!
Taking my inspiration from all of the above I resolved to get out as often as I can this week on a mixed-bag of activities.
Monday saw me return home from work early for once, so I was able to get out and go for a cheeky 10k XC on my canal route as the sun hung low in the sky. Fully rested after the week of nothingness I was feeling good from the first step and when I finished the run, having dodged cows, horses and one of this year's Roe Deer fawns on the common, I had finished the route in the fastest time I have recorded in the 4 years I have run it!
On the Tuesday I cycled off to the leisure centre in the next town for a 500m swim before jumping on the bike for the ride home. This was the first time I have ventured in to the pool since the sprint triathlon and the combination of the swim with an immediate cycle it acts as a form of 'brick' training combining the changeover from one discipline to the other.
I was determined on Wednesday to get out on a run no matter how late after Kelv sussed-out of cycling again, so at 10pm with the wind starting to get up and the rain drizzling down I emerged from the house for a session of pavement-pounding, the first time I've been out running circuits of the block in the village for a long while as I try to minimise my pavement mileage.
Having missed on the ride the previous day, Thursday saw me out on the bike on my normal circuit, although this one had an enforced detour as the underpass was underwater through the amount of rain we have experienced of late.
All of these activities were undertaken on an empty stomach - I don't tend to eat whilst I'm working, only drink so I tend to get-by on tea (if offered) or sugar free energy drinks, which is less than ideal for getting out and exercising! and I keep-on being scalded by people for doing it this way, but the way I see it is if I can consistently burn off more than is put-in, then I may cease to be a fat bastard at some point in the future
Friday and Saturday saw days of rest and today with football called-off I had the chance to get out on a longer run. In the morning after a decent lie-in LSS and I took the dogs on a long walk down the canal following my 10km running route. After a spot of lunch and washing two filthy spaniels I managed to get myself together for a run as the sun began to set, retracing the first half of the dog walk from earlier before pushing-on over the abandoned side of the canal and then through the Newnham, to Rotherwick and home.
I wanted to have done some hill-reps in preparation for next weekend's marathon - which (from looking at a GPS tracking of someone who ran it last year) has a combined ascent of more than Ben Nevis over its length! But the lateness of the day meant I could do the near 12 mile route but without hill-reps before darkness would leave me stranded, so I opted for doing the miles rather than the reps. Even so, on the last section back in to the village from Rotherwick over the fields I found myself in near darkness!
This week is certainly a contrast to the previous, with managing activities on 5 days out of the 7, each of them weighing in around the hour or longer. I'm hoping to build on this for the future and do this every week, however I'm conscious about not over-doing it this week with the marathon coming along on Saturday… As such I will not run beyond Wednesday and will certainly not be doing anything on Friday as the evening will see the 3-4 hour drive down to the Gower peninsular in South Wales.