Wednesday, 27 April 2011

27th April 2011

               So Easter is over, although a one in a million chance has given us two bank holiday weekends in a row so a few days off for the majority of people and excellent weather to get some foot/miles under your belts. I walked to work a couple of times, got in a couple of cardio sessions on my steep 3 mile hill, and a couple of fast twitch exercises, so a productive weekend. I was going to get a couple of mountains under my belt but an over abundence of tourists (The locals here call them weekend gypsies, all piling in pulling their caravans...) meant that most of the mountain car parks and surrounding roads were full, and going up was like a waitrose deli counter where you took a number and got in a queue for the top behind well overdressed city folk who had been keeping the windemere branch of "I Saw You Coming" particularly busy putting at least 50% on their already high prices. Also mixed in were the groups of "lads" lugging cases of ale up to the top, and families with pre school age kids dressed in shorts and flip flops trying to scale Helvellyn's striding edge (difficulty rating officially 'Oh s**t!') or the Sharp edge on Blencethra.
        So, stick to the local area, and leave the car parked up. Sunday midday I was fast twitching my 12 mile route. Trying to get the "Sprint" parts much longer. One particular quarter mile downhill section I got up to 5m 30s a mile, still walking although very quickly, and unable to stop as gravity was stronger than my inbuilt brakes, so I had to keep going until the road levelled out. Not very nice, and planning the fast sprint sections is something I plan in advance now.

       This morning I was boarding the tug taking out the latest monopile (The bit of the windmill that sticks in the seabed) or so I thought. early to bed, alarm went off at 04:30, and at 04:50, while I was getting dressed, a phone call to say it had cancelled so I had the morning off. I looked out the window to see the faintest promises of dawn so out with the bike and off to the north. 45 minutes later I was in Grizedale, a natural beauty spot between Coniston water and Windemere to watch the sun rise. (above pic) Back here by 9:30, and brekky.
       I had a final fast twitch exercise on my 8.5 mile circuit planned for lunchtime, so sky + bargain hunt (I get too much time off during the day!) and off I went.
      Everything was against me. It was nice and sunny, so thin fleece on for warm weather training. It wasn't long before I was dodging cars and especially white vans. The roads to the North of Ulverston just join up local villages, and in a two or three hour walk you see one, maybe two if it's busy. Today it was like the M62 in rush hour dozens of vehicles hogging most of the road, most going too fast and coming up from behind too close. Then a swarm of black bug like flies, and I'd forgotten my sunglasses so picking them out of my eyes. Nothing biting though, so not all bad. Still, stopping to dodge cars and picking flies from your face upsets your rhythm somewhat. Perseverance is the main thing, traffic and flies are part of the parish, so possibly good training, or so I kept telling myself.
       Then I hit the sewage, or silage, or whatever it's called. a farmer was muck spreading his fields, although tha's not particularly accurate, he was spreading it from his farm at the top of the hill all over the roads, the grass verges, and anywhere he could with foul smelling muck, and me just finishing one of my sprints, heart rate at 200 and gasping for breath while every taken breath made you feel like vomiting, trying to avoid the muck on the road with my feet, and every time a car went by, the muck was getting kicked up.
       I couple of miles from home, not really enjoying this by now, I was going down the hill into north Ulverston, round a quite sharp bend, when I cam face to face with a herd of cows running up towards me followed by a farmer behind them on a quad bike growling angrily whilst waving a big stick. He'd been driving them across from one field to another when they made a break for it. In a matter of seconds I wondered if I waved my arms and shouted, would they stop, then newspaper clippings of farmers kicked to death by their own cows flashed through my mind, and wasn't there a late night show on channel 5 called "When Cows go Mad" recently? I summed up, saw twenty or thirty tons of muscle with large horns coming towards me, and I did the honourable thing.
      I turned and legged it.
      Uphill though, and after the days exhertions I soon tired, so ended up scrabbling over a wall into a field, where I waited for ten minutes until the farmer rounded them up, drove them back down hill, into the field, and closed the gate behind them.
      A warm bath and an afternoon sat in the sun relaxing, and getting ready for work tonight, this mornings cancellation going at 7pm. A gentle 5 miles in the morning, home to Hull on Friday then nothing now until Sunday, the National 20k's. Protein at first, then carbs until the race. Oh, and Crystal Palace at home saturday afternoon. No promotion this year, but looking good for next.
      It just goes to show, training doesn't always go as planned.

      Happy training!


  1. See you kind of incorporate it into your longer walks but
    has your coach never recommended rep sessions?

    200 heartbeat sounds pretty scary for a man of such advanced years;-)

  2. p.s. 5:30 mile? That's quicker than I can run? Is there any point in the rest of us turning up:-(?

  3. Haha! 5:30 was set for about 30 metres on my garmin, on a steep downhill stretch during a sprint section when I was on the verge of losing control. It was either that or headbutt the tarmac, and I won't be losing control on that section again.
    My coach has done pretty well considering what he has to work with. Initially he was just trying to get me fluid and comfortable with an easy style, apparently a good race walk takes years, not months, to learn, and it's only recently we've been working on speed. As I'm still in the Lakes it's not often I get to see him although I've had a couple of rep sessions with him and the young lads he's working with, and have been incorporating them into my long walks a couple of times a week, but it's too soon for this years Parish. The secret to winning the Parish is the right mix of fast twitch and slow twitch fibres so good speed over long distances, something Jock seems to have achieved very well.
    I think the best I can hope for this year is top 5 and, if all goes well on the day, a same day finish. There's a lot of improving walkers out there, and I can see a few going for a similar target so time will tell.
    We've got to get round first. 85 miles is a long way...

  4. Nice blogging but was it really necessary to post a photo of you having a piss at sunset!!! :-)

  5. Looking at the photo in a new light now! It was sunrise, and I just have my hands in my pockets...