Friday, 11 September 2009

Recover - then even more reps

Thursday night was a gentle recovery run. Then I decided to give it some more pasty tonight on my hill reps. This time I did 12. My garmin tells me I did about 2,800 feet of ascent. I think I pushed myself a bit harder too - all of my reps were faster than 2 minutes 30, whereas on Wednesday night, most of them were slower than this. So I'll be recovering tomorrow prior to Padfield Plum Fair Scamper on Sunday.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Hill reps - not quite Scafell Pike

My local steepest hill is good and steep for about 190 feet of ascent in about 250 metres. I guess this makes it about 1 in 4. I did ten reps of it tonight. Including the hill to get to it and to get back, that's about 2500 feet of ascent in about 4 miles. My target training goal (Scafell Pike) is 300o feet in 4. 5 miles. Maybe I should do 15 reps next time.

My trace shows it was getting harder after the first four or five reps (red line = heart rate), so I hope it's good training. Although some people swear by hill reps, I think a lot of the really top runners don't use them. Also they're pretty dull. I was hoping to have the company of Max (our dog), but he's getting old enough and wise enough to wait at the mid-point.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Charity 'pro' tour ride

Here I am the day after - still alive and with only slightly sore thighs. The event was a great introduction to organised road cycling. There were drinks stations, food stations with loads of free stuff, mechanics and support vehicles. There was even a free pasta meal at the finish. I'm not sure I'd do it again, but I'm proud I was able to.

We set off from the Britannia Stadium (home of the now-mighty Stoke City), at about 8:30 in the morning. Here's a pici of us getting ready to set off.
We'd never cycled together as a team before, so decided the best approach was to set a pace of about 22mph for the first hour. While most of us agreed that this was stupid, it was also quite fun and we were swept along with the early ride fervour. I was jokingly adamant that the ride should involve some sort of ordeal with one rider ending up being broken.

After about 2 hours, when we reached the first big steady hill, it became apparent that the early pace might not have been such a good idea. James was starting to flag and at one point was struggling to such an extent that I was worried he might retire. This hadn't been helped by the fact that one of his brakes had been rubbing for about the first 30 miles. He had been wondering why it was feeling so hard. Luckily, he made it to Tittesworth Reservoir where there was a food station. I'm not sure what he ate there, but from then on, he was a man transformed. No longer showing any signs of fatigue, he seemed to get stronger as the ride went on.

Apparently there were three category climbs on the ride, but they weren't really marked, so the only one we could race up was Gun Hill. This is one of my local hills, so I was keen to get to the top first of our team. We had been very grown up when discussing our strategy of trying to beat each other up this hill. "We shouldn't really race, as there are 35 miles to go after it", and "it would be silly to race each other". Having said all that, Dave and I were very slowly edging faster and faster until we were pretty much flat out (which isn't very fast up Gun Hill, but it still felt hard).

For most of the rest of the ride, which included another pretty steep hill, I was feeling pretty confident. Although I was ruing putting so much into being 'king' of my local 'mountain', when the rest of the team went for a sprint finish, and I had nothing left. I pretended I was being mature of course, but that's not really in my nature. It seems my earlier assertion that the day should end up with someone being broken, had been proven correct - and it had been me. I was later told Richard had won a fiercely contested affair from Rob. Here's a photo of us after the ride - tired but very pleased with ourselves.
I'd like to thank Mrs Richard for on-ride support, all the organisers, and the many people who sponsored us. Between the team, we raised about £1,000 for the Prostate Cancer Charity.