Another wet and miserable day, although we are getting dry periods occasionally, a chance to get out for an hour, or, in the case of the hardy parish trainees, a chance to get out and walk in rain and wind; after all, we haven't got a weather forecast for the day yet and if it turns out to be a 2008 record breaker with gales and torrential continuous rain, then some experience of these conditions will be useful.
So, yesterday afternoon about threeish, the rain stopped and gave me a chance to do my tough 14 mile circuit, over the top of the Furness peninsula, a climb of about 300 metres (just under 1000 feet in real money) then down the other side, along the A592 for a couple of miles, then back over at an even higher point, the 300 metres + in about a mile which is good Cardio. Averaged 5.3mph, which is good, and it stayed dry.
To this morning, up early, and a walk into work. I carried made up drinks, but it was raining steadily so try and do the 10 miles into work without water to push the body and get used to being semi dehydrated. Not good to try yourself unless you are physically fit, so I wouldn't recommend it, but it goes some way to experiencing the conditions later in the race. For those who don't know, dehydration eventually results in a decrease in blood volume, there is less blood as it's made up mostly of water and the body is short of water. As a result the blood is thicker and the heart has to work harder to pump it round the body. This means nutrients and oxygen supply to the muscles is greatly reduced, blood lactic acid levels are increased and muscle waste clears much more slowly. Overall, the body's ability to cool down through sweat and circulating blood cooling through the outer capillaries is reduced, so overheating and increasing these effects. In the end, oxygen supply becomes so low that you lose concentration, and eventually lose consciousness. Normally athletes stop when this happens, usually through gravity as you hit the floor. Studies show that it can take anything up to 48 hours to recover from moderate rehydration, which, in a 24 hour race is, well, as our american friends annoyingly say "do the math!"
I had a cuppa at work, although tea is a diuretic, it takes water from the muscles and discards it as waste. Then a walk back. I did heat training last year about this time, surprisingly it was near 80 deg this time last year, and as the body gets used to the heat it works more efficiently, you don't sweat so much and can manage on less water. Again, not recommended unless you know what you are doing. It involves weighing yourself before and after to calculate water loss, and regular check ups. More about that on a later date.
Anyway, I was walking back when I came upon a road block, a major road accident and a diversion for motorists and pedestrians which meant a big diversion, putting a few miles on my journey home. I couldn't complain under the circumstances though.
Altogether today, another 28 miles, averaging 4.6 mph, down a little, and I just couldn't seem to push any harder. It was raining heavily all the way back which helps hydration a little, but I could feel it in the leg muscles and the tiredness meant I wasn't swinging my arms as much which was where I lost most of my speed. It's good experience, and I'm hydrating whilst watching telly. If you do end up dehydrating after training, plenty of electrolytes, the easiest way to do this is plenty of fruits, banana, watermelon, and coconut water are amongst the best. Coconut water is so close to the bodies water that during world war two the Americans used it as plasma replacement during operations in the army hospitals, although it is quite expensive.
I was in my North Face Hedgehogs, and I have to say, no problems at all, and thanks to the goretex lining, my feet were the only dry part of my body, so come race day, any rain at all and they're the first choice. they are tough and ultra lightweight and have a good grip on the greasy road surface. I believe they also do womens versions in pink!
It's going to be sunnier tomorrow, so maybe a little hill walking. I was going to pop across to the island for a couple of days to bring my Dad back for his birthday, but I'm on standby here. It's pretty quiet at the moment but someone has to be here in case ships appear out of nowhere. (It does happen, funnily enough. people forget to tell us they're on their way until they loom over the horizon.) So, a quiet hill walking day tomorrow, drive home thursday and rest until coaching on saturday.
I'm off back to the telly now, catching up on Professor Brian Cox in Wonders of the Solar System.
"If the earth was a peanut, then Jupiter would be a watermelon 3 kilometres away"
Mmmm, rehydrating watermelon....