Cycling from Alnwick to Shilbottle, Northumberland

I am getting so far behind in my blog posts! I apologise – but my PhD is somewhat more important!

So, here’s a blog post about my trip to Northumberland (21-23 February). After running on the Saturday, I went for a ride on the Sunday. I definitely chose the wrong day to ride – it was stupidly windy, not very warm and a bit dreary. I felt shocking!

I lagged out far, far, far behind my OH and the other friends. It made me miserable because I was trying to keep my heart rate down to a sensible level (i.e. Zone 2) as I was ‘actively’ resting. At one point I was lagging behind by about 1/2 km. It felt like such a ridiculous effort to keep myself in that Zone.

That, in addition to the very difficult gusts of wind, made the whole thing not particularly fun. Perhaps the ‘best’ moment of the ride was when I was heading down hill to a dip and a kink in the road and the whole of the bike was picked up and set aside. I whimpered lots at that point and began to really hate the whole experience.

Luckily we were heading back to the cottage by that point. We started to get the wind behind us rather than to the side and that made the ride back much easier. I also discovered that my brake callipers had been adjusted by the wind which meant that I effectively had the brake on the whole time.

We got home about 10 minutes into the Olympic hockey final. I had a stretch, quick shower and settled down to watch Canada trounce the opponent to win the gold once again.

Some stats:

  • Distance: 15.12 km
  • Elevation gain: 261 m
  • Time: 54:21
  • Speed: 10:4 minutes/h

Exploring the footpaths and bridleways around Crosspool

In between the horrendous weather that the UK is having, I managed to go for a run in sunny and not so windy weather. Once again, my Garmin decided obtain signal about a km into my run, but I suppose that was my warm up anyway.

I decided to explore some of the footpaths between Crookes and Crosspool, so I ran towards the Bole Hills and then looped back through some allotments. Because I was not feeling particularly great still, I aimed to run around Z1/Z2 and really level out on the inclines. I think I kept to that for the most part. I didn’t feel like I expended that much energy and my pace certainly suggests that I was taking it easy! My average heart rate was right in the middle of Z2 and I often was in Z1.

It is quite frustrating running so slowly, and feeling like my cardio fitness and running pace is slipping backwards, but I made the conscious decision to focus on climbing and try to maintain my running. I’m still completing 2 runs per week, and my distance has not decreased that much during a 1/2 hour run. I also think that I’m fighting a cold or virus because I’m feeling a bit drained.

On the plus side, I’m slowly putting together some shorter routes that are off-road almost straight from my house, which is great. As much as I enjoy street-running, I do miss off road. Now that I’ve found some footpaths and bridleways very close to me, I’ll actually be able to get off-road more easily and quickly!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4 km
  • Time: 36:57
  • Pace 9:23/km
  • Elevation gain: 187 m

Year-to-date

  • Distance: 97.9 km
  • Time 11:50:00
  • Elevation gain: 1876 m
  • Runs: 17

Covering Steep Terrain at the Foundry

On Thursday I had a double training session. I went for a 30 min run and then had a short but sweet session on the training board at the Foundry because the Wave was being reset for F-BO 2014 and was off-limits.

My training aims were:

Zone 3/4 on Steep Terrain

Warm up: ‘wrong handed’ climbing and no hands climbing
Main session: Steep terrain (Z3/4) keep feet on wherever possible, explore foot position, hip position, and body rotation to keep feet on (over and above trying to top a problem)
Warm down: Easy problems, dynamic, missing holds.

 What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: traversing, and using the bottom of the lead climbs in the Furnace. Did cross through and used holds the ‘wrong way’.
  • Main session: Played on the 45⁰ board. Mainly focused on linking moves rather than getting to the top of the board.
  • Cool down: Did big moves and swung around on big holds in the traversing corridor.

I warmed up traversing around the Furnace and in the traversing corridor – there wasn’t really an opportunity to climb wrong handed as there weren’t the problems and holds. That said, having to warm up on the bottom of routes in the Furnace did mean that I was using holds the ‘wrong’ way.

A warm up problem on the training board.  Photo: CanadianKate

I was aware that I only had an hour to train, so I finished warming up on the steep board. There are some pretty big holds on either side of the board. These were the only problems that I actually topped! But that isn’t the real point of the session, so it didn’t bother me that much. As Diane keeps telling me (and I keep telling myself):

Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

I tried 3 different problems, using features for feet rather than holds. This meant that I could only link 4 moves max before getting tired, or forgetting where I was going. I tried to use the centre of the board, but mainly played on the sides.

One of my problems on the training board. Photo: CanadianKate

I definitely felt that my core got a work out and better at thinking where to put my feet. Although, knowing the features of the board would really help! I also had to remind myself to keep resting between tries. This really helped and after 3-4 goes, I could link the holds that I had chosen. Next session, I might even make it to the top of the board!

I also went for a maintenance run during the day which meant staying in Zone 2 heart rate for the whole run. Unfortunately, my Garmin decided not to join the party and spent most of the run trying to find signal. I think the really crap weather probably didn’t help. Anyway, I felt really good and quite light on my legs other than the fact that I really needed to pee for most of the run. That is such an uncomfortable feeling and really put a dampener on the run. I ended up having to split my run into two separate recordings because Garmin finally got some signal after 20 minutes. I did 4.01 km in 29:46 min (give or take). For the last 10 minutes which Garmin actually tracked, I had a pace of 6:44 min/km. Pretty pleased with that!

By the end of the day I was pretty damn tired, but really pleased with my training. I felt like I had balanced the strength/steep session to keep some in the tank for Friday’s training session, but still had something to go for a run as well. I’m so excited for Font!

Some stats:

  • Distance: 4.01 km
  • Time: 00:29:56
  • Elevation gain: ?
  • Pace: 6:44 (roughly)

Year to date:

  • Distance: 89.8 km
  • Time: 10:37:00
  • Elevation gain: 1588 m
  • Runs: 16

Janathon Day 24 – Another rest day

In my world, rest days = cats. Here’s a video about cats and snow

Janathon Day 23: Recovery run in the rain

Thursday didn’t start very well. I was wide awake at 1:30 am. After moving upstairs so the OH would still get a good night’s sleep, I gave up for a while and read my book. Everytime I tried to close my eyes and settle down, my heart would start race and a cyclical series of thoughts would race through my head. Eventually I fell asleep, although I’m not sure what time it was.

When my alarm went off at 7:30 am, I really, really didn’t want to get up. So I didn’t. I had another 30 minutes in bed and then hauled myself upright. I knew that if I didn’t go for a run before breakfast, I probably wouldn’t have time later in the day (or energy).  One issue with working from home is that it is so easy to just stay indoors like a hermit for the whole day, especially if I’ve had trouble sleeping the night before. So I pulled on my running stuff, gathered up my various bits and bobs and stumbled out the door. Straight into a horrible, howling rainy morning. Fun.

Thursday’s training session was another recovery run. It was wet, and quite cold and I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. My Garmin started to play up as well, so I warmed up slowly as I had to reset the thing a couple of times. I probably lost 1/2 km off the length of my run. Luckily, I was warm enough that it didn’t matter I was stopping and starting towards the beginning.

That said, I ran fairly steadily. I seemed to keep my heart rate in Z2, apart from 2 glitches and my legs felt pretty good. I started to get a small ache (really small – almost not even there) in my right knee, so I backed off the pace a bit and concentrated on being both ‘floppy’ and quiet on my feet. That seemed to help, but in doing so, my HR shot up above L2. It’s really hard focusing on two different things at once, when it really shouldn’t be!

I was very strict with myself, and limited the run to 30 minutes. Because I’m keen to start to train for my Font trip in March, I don’t want to burn myself out. So, limiting the amount of time that I am out running and being strict with keeping to the sessions is a good way of doing that.

A rather rainy run. Photo: CanadianKate

I took this photo over the Rivelin Valley. It definitely was wet and windy out there!

Some stats:

  • Distance – 4.1 km
  • Time – 30:48
  • Pace – 7:34 min/km
  • Elevation gain – 80 m

Year-to-date

  • Distance – 75.2 km
  • Time  – 08:52:00
  • Elevation gain 1353 m
  • Runs – 12

Janathon Day 21 – Resting

Thank fuck for rest days. That is all.

Oh, and kittens. In a sink.

Kittens in a sink. Source: Central Vermont Human Society

Janathon Day 20 – yet more intervals…but faster ones this time

As most of my friends know, I really hate early mornings and I really, really hate doing exercise first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, now that I’ve started back at work, the only time that I have to do exercise is in the morning. This meant that I dragged myself out of bed and straight into running tights and shoes on Monday morning. Luckily the weather cooperated and it was a glorious sunny and crisp day. My goal for the day was:

Warm up, 15 minutes. Run, Z4, 2 minutes. Run/Shuffle Z2, 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times. Cool down, 15 minutes.  Stretch

It was cold and crisp when I stumbled out the door. I was not psyched for running and I think I’m hitting one of the many stumbling blocks that will dot the 12 week training path. I digress. It was cold and crisp – well actually freezing when I left the house. I started the slow warm up with gloves and ear warmers on. The pavement was frosty and a week bit slippy. This worried me because I was supposed to be hitting Z4, which would involve me running more than a shuffle pace. I decided to stick to the sunny, relatively flat roads to try and limit the potential for landing on my ass.

Originally I didn’t intend to stick to the 15 minute warm-up, but 10 minutes hit and I still didn’t feel ready to go for a lung busting sprint. I also learnt that coffee really does mess my heart rate around. I could easily keep in Z2 warming up and in recovery during this run. Clearly, I need to train before coffee. That means doing exercise early. Hmmm

After my 15 minutes warm-up, I still wasn’t keen on the idea of pushing my heart rate but went for it. It was so nice to run faster than snails pace – at least for the first 50 seconds. I managed to get my heart rate into Z4 relatively easily and it did hurt a bit to keep it there. I was happy to slow back down to Z2 for the 2 minute shuffle. After 2 reps of this, I started to run out of road. I had to take a diversion and ended up running down a hill and doubling back on myself.

I got some fairly odd looks by sprinting/shuffling, but I felt so good by the time I finished. I did cheat on the warm-down though. I only did 10 minutes.

Some stats:

  • Distance – 5.01 km
  • Time – 30:18
  • Elevation gain – 157 m
  • Pace – 6:03 min/km

Year-to-date

  • Distance – 71.1 km
  • Time – 8:21:00
  • Elevation gain – 1272 m
  • Runs – 11