Saturday, 8 August 2009

Sutton sheepdog trials

This is a tough race. Because it hasn't got too much height gain per mile, I keep making the mistake of thinking it will be easier than it is. In actual fact, it's pretty steep and there are lots of ups and downs, but it all starts after about a mile of flat at the start (and the end).

I normally aim to be top 10% of the field, but I wasn't too confident about today's race when I saw the calibre of some of the runners who turned up. It was hot and humid, which made it hard to run and ideal for twisting ankles down some of the rutted fields. We were comparing blisters at the end.

I managed to sneak up to 12th place with about 2 miles to go. But then inexplicably took the wrong track and then had to back-track out of a gorse thicket. While I was playing about, someone passed me and then extended his lead despite my indignation and attempts to catch up. I was then made to work very hard to stay ahead of the guy behind me on the flat mile to the finish, and just managed to stay ahead to finish 13th. I later found out there were 129 starters. Damn that person who pulled out at the last minute (but wasn't going to beat me). ;)

We stayed to witness some of the excellent sheepdog trials, drink beer (only one) and eat cake.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Gentle recovery run

I'm not sure if you're supposed to do recovery runs after a rest day, but it always seems to help after a race even if it is two days later. Anyway, it's Tegg's Nose Fell Race tomorrow, so I couldn't do a big session. Again, about 2 miles in about 25 minutes.

For those of you who were starting to think that my blog was all training and were disappointed about the lack of "random other stuff". Here's some bee news. After being told that honey bees (and wild bees) are on the decline in the UK, we had a swarm on a bush outside my work in Knutsford. The swarm was about the size of my thigh. They seemed quite happy and I couldn't think of any nearby hives, so we left them to it.

Swimming - starting to enjoy it

I went swimming yesterday and I'm reaching the stage where I can keep doing front crawl without having to stop as long as I go slowly enough. This almost makes it enjoyable. Previously it's always been a chore - a means to an end to improve my triathlon and aquathlon times.

Running is like this, after coming back from an injury the first few runs are no fun and I wonder why I ever used to enjoy it. Then after about three runs I start to enjoy it again. I'm hoping my swimming is going that way too. Perhaps I should be less focused on times and just build up a broad base of swimming stamina (and hopefully a robust technique) before working on my times. I'll try that for a few weeks and see what happens.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Cracken Edge - 6.3 miles, 1300 feet of ascent

As I said in yesterday's post, I was keen to beat previous yeas' times for this race. Conditions were quite muggy and the ground was very wet, so I wasn't hugely confident.

I got a fast start and was feeling good on the long climb. The middle section was all about hanging in there. After losing a few places (as always) on the descent, I managed to put in a strong finish in a time of... [drum roll] 49:09. So it's a new PB, which I'm very pleased with, and will increase the pressure on me in next year's race.

Results will probably appear on this site in the next few days:

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Recovery run

In preparation for Cracken Edge tomorrow, I trotted round a 2-mile circuit in 25 minutes. Although I'm a convert to recovery runs, it's still hard to run slowly enough to keep my heart beat below 130 when I get to steep uphill sections.

My target for tomorrow is 49:33 (last year's time). I was faster three years ago, but I think that was because the course was slightly different.

Swimming - feels easier but not faster

I really like the idea of effortless, smooth swimming. Having done a few total immersion classes, that's what I'm aiming for. However, I'd also like to get faster - and that's what it's all about for triathlons - I've yet to see one advertised where they give marks for style.
So I'm hoping to notice some speed improvements over the coming weeks. Today I did 16 lengths (400 metres) in 9 minutes and was overtaken a few times by the old man swimming next to me.
Perseverance is a wonderful thing. I'm all for it, but it's nice to have a few clues that you're going in the right direction.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Fartlek (4 minutes on-off, on-off)

After the lack of proper training at the weekend I was keen to get in a good session. Today's session was a repeat of 4 minutes at "short race" pace then 4 minutes at "all day" pace. I felt pretty good on the race pace sections, so I'm letting my expectations of Cracken Edge raise slightly. It's also a counter in my club championships (my club is the Fat Boys) and I'm still in the running [drum-cymbal] for a chance to win the medium championship (for those non-fell runners, medium fell races are between 6 and 12 miles long).
You can see from the trace where the race-pace 4 minutes were - heart rate is the red squiggle. Ignore the bit at the beginning, where it looks like I'm running flat out without a warm-up. My Garmin sometimes does this, but then as I get more sweaty, the heart rate monitor works better and stops telling me I'm about to pass out when I know I'm not.

Cycling (ish)

Went out yesterday with Mrs Noel and the kids one two bikes with tag-alongs. I had my eldest on the back who was very helpful and competitive. We cycled along the manifold valley to the cafe at the end and were very pleased to do 16 miles in total.
In a month, I'll be doing 90 miles in a day, so it's a bit worrying that I was starting to flag towards the end of the (largely flat) ride.
This week's training will be geared towards Cracken Edge on Wednesday night. This is a very good fell race starting in Hayfield. It's one I've always liked and consequently I normally push myself pretty hard. Because of this, I've had some of my best and worst finishes here in the last few years. Fingers crossed.