I was going to rest on sunday but got out for a quick very hilly ten miles just to keep the metabolism going. Despite drinking a few red wines the night before with Helen and Kevin, had energy to burn and nothing to keep me in watching telly. It was a good job I did really, I had originally planned an intensive final push from monday for a week or so, but it got busy at work. Sunday midnight a ship out, Monday bright and early for a tow job in which the Pacific Sandpiper, an out of date nuclear waste ship, was to be towed out dead (no engines, just tugs) to sea to go round to Holland for special cleaning then scrapping. It took all day.
Dragging her out of the dock backwards. It seemed the best way.
So, after a few hours sleep, and a long day (for a change...) any thought of getting out for a long walk seemed hazy and unwelcome. At 5.30pm, another ship ordered up to sail at midnight. Not looking good.
The start of my rush hour commute home, when my lift arrives.
So, 4am this morning, back to bed. One thing that does affect fitness alarmingly is lack of sleep and bad sleep patterns. Scientifically proved, and really obvious when you think about it. I decided to do something different today though, after phoning work and finding out I wasn't needed, I got out and burned up my Glycogen storage levels with a 5 mile cardio workout. Then I rehydrated, jumped in the car and drove North. I'd been sticking to the same 8.5, 10, 12 and 15 mile circuits for training, and decided to circle Coniston Water. It was a chance to test food and drinking when stored body fuel had been depleted. usually there is enough body fuel in the form of glycogen to last a couple of hours, after that it's what you can replace it with. You need half the calories as food and drink from what you need, the rest will be found in stored body fat. So, mix up some chicken stew, blended to a liquid, and some bottled water.
I parked up near the south end of Coniston Water, disappointed a little by the steady rain which had started, then headed up the east side, trying to keep 11 minutes a mile. I'd driven the route before and it seemed undulating rather than hilly, an illusion you get in a car apparently, there were a few steep sections which burned calories and upped the heart rate considerably. Still, Coniston is one of the most stunning lakes, pictures can't seem to do it justice, although I tried.
At 14 miles all round, a good circuit, and done in the best way. Walking, even at Parish speeds, is far better for taking in scenery than driving.
At ten miles I passed Coniston village, and hooked left to the coast path. I use the term "path" losely. It's a training area for fell runners, rugged, rocky, with streams to cross, slate walls to climb over, and tree roots and rocks to climb. Hills and dips make it tough, and at 4 miles, an hours tough workout. This is good for the legs, the constant change of stance, awkward footfalls, and different stride lengths make it an excellent test for leg muscles and tendons, stretching and working out, and excellent cardio.
It just got tough. It's actually worse than it looks.
Back to the road, at was another hour before back to the car. Still, despite the punishment I was feeling good, and still had half a litre of food and half a litre of water, and the sun had decided to come out, so passed straight by the car for another circuit. I only had enough food and water for half way round though, so a stop at Coniston village post office for provisions was necessary. Still, the second circuit seemed completely different due to the change in weather, and taking off the waterproofs was welcoming.
The mountain "old man of coniston" overlooking coniston village and the lake.
The food worked well, stomach neutral, not cramped or rumbling. One of the down sides of liquid food while walking is gulping down air, which brings on flatulence, so a new addition, even at this late stage, to the first aid kit. A trip to Boots in the morning for something to relieve trapped wind ("It's not for me, love, it's my, er, missus. She gets it awful bad." Too embarrssing to explain properly.) The only problem was the mars bar I tried to eat in the last few miles. Didn't sit well, and felt weary as you don't feel the benefit immediately.
Nearly done, about 2 miles to go.
So, good and well, not so bad. Food works well, up to a point. The stomach cramps up easier from 40 miles onwards so still don't know what the second half of the race will bring. I notoriously (well, to people who know me) have a worse second half to a Parish, and it's in the lap of the gods how you react. If things go well, a same day finish could be possible. I found it comfortable to keep to 11 minutes a mile which would mean just under 16 hours, although tiredness and sore muscles would slow that down so hard to tell. the priority is always to finish, the time is secondary until you get metaphorically within sight of the finish.
As you can see, the second lap I avoided the trail run, it does take too much out of you. Despite that diversion which got me down to 4mph, the stopping for photos, the 10lb rucksack, the stopping for food, the niggly abductor (compression shorts under the baggies, seemed to do the job, no chaffing at least, they're too tight for that!) and a five minute queue in the village store for mars bar and bottles of water, it turned out to be a smidge over 50k, which was an unexpected bonus, and to do it in just over five and a half hours is a confidence booster. It's roughly Douglas to Patrick, the one a couple of miles before Peel, and with a climb and descent of well over 500 metres, a good workout. The heart seemed to settle down after a couple of hours although I didn't slack off, kept to roughly 11 minute miles. the 3800 calories burned means a total of about 2000 to replace in 30 miles, so 6000 altogether for the full race. I should be able to work out what I need and when.
A good training session, and very enjoyable, Coniston is stunning with good views all the way round, and easily walkable with plenty of stops in an afternoon. Lots of answers to problems, lots of information to take away and analyze, and a good final distance session to finish on. I usually, a sort of tradition with myself, walk the Douglas to Peel section while across for the TT, but it's not going to happen this year. I've got to stay in range of Hull, Denises' father is not well at all, and apparently there isn't much they can do, so standing by the phone.
The true test of today is how I feel in the morning. Recovery is indicative of fitness, so if I can get out for a 5 mile cardio in the morning I can feel satisfied. The sun came out properly as I was getting back around six-ish, so as I'm getting in most will be pulling on the trainers and going out! As a reward, I'm going to watch the TT and then an episode or two of season 5 of Dexter.
And an extra protein shake before bed.