Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Interval sessions are a killer but boy do I feel good

I put my interval training off yesterday due to excessive muscle aching.  But after the massage today I had no excuses left in the excuse bank not to do intervals tonight.  I did try to delay it a little bit, because Anny is coming back from Spain tomorrow and I wanted to clean the apartment up for her.  So I spent an hour picking up anything lying around and doing the dishes and so on.  After that was over I decided it was now or never, because a slow jog in the late evening may not be that bad, but an interval session just before bed would mean a bad nights sleep most likely, as it would take the body hours to settle down afterwards.

Although it was raining outside I only put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt because I knew I would be able to keep myself warm enough through running.  Once outside I thought about my strategy and decided I would base myself from just outside the apartment and run in lots of different directions whilst doing the intervals so as to have a little bit of variation in scenery.  The benefit of doing the intervals on the running track is that you know exactly how far you have run when you do laps, but at the same time it does get a little boring.  This way though, like I did it tonight, you also have to contend with cars and people and dogs and basically anything else that may jump out in front of you when you are whizzing down the street, and it adds an extra element of interest.

I tried to maintain the bursts of high intensity running for at least a minute or so.  In between I didn't give myself time to completely calm down, but long enough that I wasn't gasping for breath.  The session lasted just under 20 minutes, covered 4.03km and consisted of 5 high intensity bursts.

Since I came back I feel great.  My whole body is warm inside, I can feel the blood pumping through my veins and my legs are tingling.  I normally hate intervals but if I will feel like this after doing them each time I will be doing them an awful lot more.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Blog is still growing - thanks everyone

Good morning all

When I checked the google stats I was very pleased to see that the number of page views is still growing.  July has the most page views so far, and it isn't over yet.  Very shortly there will have been 5,000 page views since I started the blog in December last year, but more importantly almost 1,000 of them in the last month alone.

The part I am most pleased about is that I know there are more interesting things to cover in the near future like the likely attempt on Kilimanjaro, the South America ride and then the 3 month intense preparation for the Marathon des Sables.  Then of course the MDS itself.

Many thanks/ muchas gracias/ vielen Dank/ merci beaucoup/ shukran

Legs a little aching after yesterday's half marathon

I had been planning a speed session on the track down by Sihlcity tonight.  My legs were aching somewhat after the long run yesterday though, so I decided to skip the speed session and go for a gentle jog instead, to try and loosen up the muscles and get rid of some of the lactic acid buildup.

I was glad that I decided to forgo the speed session, as by the end of 8km my legs were saying "can we rest now please, can we rest now please".  Thankfully tomorrow I have a sports massage booked, so by tomorrow night most of the aches and pains will be gone.

I have another lactate test booked for the 11th August to check if there has been some improvement since my last one.  Originally I had booked it on the 8th August, but the weekend prior I am hiking up the Barrhorn in Canton Wallis and apparently that could have affected the outcome of the test.  There is no point doing a test if the results will not be accurate.

600CHF to transport a bike from Peru to Switzerland - what the hell

Today I asked a couple of companies for quotes to transport a bicycle from Cusco, Peru to Zurich, Switzerland.  One of them got back to me with a quote of 600CHF and they said on top of that there would be customs duties to pay.  Was someone having a laugh at my expense?  I was looking for the hidden cameras or expecting Jeremy Beadle to pop out from round the corner, but nothing.  I  can't believe anyone would pay that kind of money - it is just ridiculous.  Even taking it on an aeroplane which is rather expensive can't compare with that.

It reminds me of the time I asked some companies to quote how much it would cost to transport my Concept2 rowing machine from the UK to Switzerland, and several of them said it would cost more than 500GBP.  In the end my mum posted it to me via the Post Office freight service in 2 separate boxes for less than 100GBP.  How can one company dare to charge 5 times what another charges and expect to be taken seriously after that.

Enough ranting for tonight.  I have to go and get over my shell shock now.  It's clear though I think that I won't be using that company to transport my bike.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Negrita and I just ran a half marathon in the rain

Negrita resting after running 21km (half marathon)


When I got up this morning, drew back the curtains, and saw what a miserable rainy day it was I didn't much feel like running.  Then as the day went on I decided that was a really lame excuse and what harm can a bit of water possibly do me I asked myself.  In fact for Negrita it is much better than running on a hot sunny day as she is not at risk of overheating.  Negrita doesn't really like the rain, but she isn't as bad as some dogs who won't even go outside when it is raining.  The neighbours dog for instance simply refuses to go out.

I wasn't sure how she would fare up for a half marathon, as although she has been running quite a few times with me in the last week we haven't been anywhere near that kind of distance.  She has done a couple of half marathons with me in the past though, so I decided to just start off and see how things progressed.

We ran along the lake towards Kussnacht and then turned round and retraced our steps.  As we came to the outskirts of Zurich Negrita even decided to start speeding up, so she can't have been that tired.  I have been reading various articles in the past few weeks that suggest on your long slow runs to try to speed up for a couple of kilometres at the end of the run.  The idea is to get your muscles used to having to generate force even when they are tired.  So for the last 2 kilometres I tried to focus on putting in a solid effort.  The fact that most of the final kilometre is uphill adds to that effort.

The total time taken was 1 hour 53 minutes and 40 seconds, and the pace felt rather comfortable.  I am happy with that considering I haven't run anywhere near that kind of distance in the last 2.5 months.  There is only way to go from here and that is up!