Saturday, May 31, 2008

Changing the Forerunner 305 Strap.

I've been investigating buying a bike mount for the Forerunner. There are two main reasons for this, one is that I'd like to make more use of the navigation features and upload one of the many online road/offroad cycling routes to it and follow it round (backed up by map). I was particularly looking to do this for road rides intially. The second reason is that I'm fed up with the Polar CS200cad cycle computer that I have. The computer itself is fine and does speed, HR, cadence and it mounts to the stem which I prefer. The problem is that the wireless speed sensor has given up really quickly and the batteries cannot be replaced, I have to buy new ones. They are supposed to have 2000 riding hours life in them, my a*se! They are also really too bulky for the MTBs and are prone to being hit by things and moved too far away from the magnet. I had bought fitting kits for an extra two bikes and on all three the speed sensor has stopped transmitting and they are around £25 a pop to replace! The cadence sensor on the road bike is still working just fine and it was fitted at the same time. If I could find the receipts for them they would be getting sent back to Polar but as it is I can't so I'll have to lump it.

I bought a new speed sensor for the road bike as I'm planning to keep the Polar for that generally but I foud that Garmin do a quick release bike mount for the 305 whihc also comes with a velcro strap to replace the original unit strap, it is very much aimed at triathletes but I have no intention of running off the bike at the minute but I find the current strap gets uncomfortable after a while and the unit starts to dig into my wrist bone, there is no way I would wear it on my wrist on a bike. So I thought it may be worth trying out the strap and mount and duly ordered it from Amazon in the middle of the week, it arrived on Friday morning which meant I could replace the strap for the weekend's trail race. The kit composed a velcro strap with a plastic mount on it, a plastic mount for the bike, a tool to prise out the spring pins on the watch strap, some spare spring pins and some zip ties. The important bits:

The mount is actually quite neat which I was pleased about but due to the shape of the forerunner there was no way it was ever going to mount to a stem, I like it on the stem on the MTB as I feel its more out of the way in the event of a crash, I will also be interesting to see how it sits on the riser bars too but I'll find that out soon, this one is going on the road bike first. The strap is wide and inital impressions are that its comfortable, plastic mount means that the unit itself is held more proud of my wrist than before so it should hopefully solve the wrist bone irritation. It will be getting a full try out at the Garburn race tomorrow. The downside of that is that the unit looks even bigger on my wrist than before but I've gotten over the "beam me up Scotty" looks of the thing, I like using it.

Getting the springpins out to remove the original strap was a bit of a faff and one pinged across the lounge somewhere, the hoover will no doubt find it soon enough, however I just used one of the spares that came wth the mount and the strap was on. The unit now clips onto the plastic mount on the strap and is pretty easy to get off though my one concern is how long the plastic will tolerate this.

I'll see how I get on with the strap at the Garburn race. If I decide to put the mounts on all three bikes and I think its an even better idea for MTB then it seems Garmin don't do the bike mount without the strap, now I think a spare strap is a great idea for me with my propensity for losing things (still can't find my remote car key!), I think two spares is a teensy bit excessive and will just encourage me to be careless with it. I'm currently planning a recovery road ride for my legs on Sunday so will hopefully try the bike mount out then.

May: Longest Mileage Month!

Now that the Garburn race is over (still working on the report) my training log on Fetch shows that I have run 94 running miles for May, the most by a long way - the previous best was a 71 mile month.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do mileage wise for the next two months but I don't think it will be as high as am aiming to do long runs of up to 10 miles max and bring the bike miles back up instead as they are paltry this year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday 27th May: Short Road Run

As above really, calves felt surprisingly tight when I set off so had to take it easy, this was the recovery run I should've done yesterday. I decided to do an out and back as its the easiest way to do an exact mileage. I headed towards Leyland for 1.5 miles which turned out to be gradually uphill then I turned and cruised back home. 3 miles at just over 9mm with an average HR of 152, quite low for me.

Forecast not looking great for tomorrow but hopefully will get out on the MTB after work, would pack it all up tonight but car is going into the garage tomorrow so will have to come home first before heading out again. Resting Thursday and Friday.

Monday 26th May: 4 Mile Trail Run

I had planned to do a 4 mile recovery run today on the local roads/tramway area but I ended up changing plan. It was stupidly windy again, even more so than Sunday but the expected rain didn't materialise instead it was glorious sunshine. If it hadn't been for the wind one of the bikes would have been going on an outing but as it was decided to catch up in the garden. I spent most of the day pottering until the cloud came in and it got cold.

I had been dithering all day about where to run as quite frankly I'd had enough of tarmac with the road race yesterday but I didn't want to run any real hills and all the trails I run on are hilly. I had decided to myself that once Garburn was out the way and I no longer had to do very long runs I would do some more exploratory runs and find new trails so in that spirit I got the map out. There are some footpaths out of White Coppice that stay low level, I also wanted to run round Healey Nab as I'm sure there are lots of little trails in there that we don't ride on. I have found that trail running is a really god way of spotting and investigating potential bike trails, on the bike I'm usually moving too fast or concentrating on the trail itself to notice peripheral detail.

So I parked up at White Coppice, opened the car door and nearly stepped into a bunch of nettles, that would not have been pleasant. Got my kit on, including bike arm warmers as the temperature had really dropped and dug my trail shoes out. I had obviously just chucked them in the plastic bag at the end of my last run and not let them dry out, I need to run some clean water through them and let them dry properly me thinks as they were rather ripe. I had a quick scan of the map for the key paths in the general direction I was heading, I didn't bother taking it with me as even if all else failed I knew how to get back on road.

So I set of along a footpath that followed the base of Stronstrey Bank, the surface was hard packed as it had been dry so much but it would be good going even in the wet. This is one of those footpaths that as far as I'm concerned should be a bridleway, it is wide enough and strong enough to handle bikes and horses but for some reason its no go, doesn't stop people riding it and I can see why, there are a few paths like that round this area. I pop out at the road near the Waterman's Cottage at the north end of Anglezarke Reservoir, have a quick look at the steep road hill just to confirm it is in fact steep (yep, still steep) and have a quick look down a footpath that follows the east back of the reservoir. It is a woodland type path and is bone dry but looks like it could get very boggy when wet, I'm not going that way but will investigate it soon, would be a good fairly flat trail run to run all the way round Anglezarke. I head along the road for a bit to the very start of the West bank of the reservoir, I've got a choice of two paths, I can either go up the steep steps which I've noticed before whizzing past on a bike or go along the track that hugs the reservoir (which I've never noticed when whizzing past on a bike). I opt for the latter. It is a fantastic running trail, undulating, rooty and runnable. In its present bone dry condition it is probably pretty bikeable as well, may try it one dry evening. The track pops out at Heapey Fold Lane which is the bridleway they "restored" (i.e annihiliated) so I follow that for a bit and run on the normal biking route into the Nab area. I drop down the drops and as I turn to head down the wide track I notice two steep paths dropping down from the main one, so I stopped the Garmin and headed down one for a look. It is steep and rooty but will make an interesting bike descent as long as there is a sensible way back up. It drops to another wide track and I look around for a rideable way up, I pick another steep track which is not rideable up but would make a good down and get back to the top of the drops. I restart the Garmin and continue on my way. I follow the main bridleway to the the sharp right hander before the gate, at this point I notice that the wide track the steep descents dropped to joins the main bridleway here (result!), I have never really appreciated this when on a bike. I also noticed two other short sections of track that are worth looking at....I continued on the normal route back to Heapey Fold Lane, there were a couple of other likely looking tacks but my stomach was really rumbling by this point. I followed a footpath sign that brought me out by the steep steps on the west bank of the reservoir then I retraced my steps back to the car.

4 miles in about 40 minutes and lots of exploring though not the easy recovery run it was supposed to be. After finding those new trails I spent a lot of time looking at the 25,000 scale map tonight to start identifying some new tracks to run and ride, got some plans...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This Weeks Planned Training

This is due to be a quiet week as a wind down towards the Garburn race, I suffered a bit on the Hawkshead event by doing too much riding and running in the week before. Mindful of that I am planning.

Monday: Short recovery run, 4 miles max

Tuesday: Short run: 3 miles max

Wednesday: MTB - will suggest short route this week

Thursday: nada - stretching

Friday : nada - stretching

The weather forecast for tomorrow is rubbish so that should stop the temptation to go out for a ride or do anything long.

My legs felt very good on the 10 miler this morning with two days rest in them so that is the plan for next week too.

Sunday 25th May: Chorley Harriers 10 Mile Road Race

Today was the Chorley Harriers 10 Mile Road Race. I decided to do this race for a few reasons:

1) I want to do a variety of road racing distances this summer to work on my overall speed. I've never raced 10 miles before and wanted to see if I had it in me and if I could pace myself.

2) The Garburn race is next weekend so I wanted something to run that would challenge me but would stop me from heading off up on the moors and probably overdoing it. It is 2/3 the distance of Garburn without any major climbing.

3) Its another of my club's races, if I wasnt running I would be marshaling anyway!

I was woken up bright and early (by bright and early I mean 5:36 am) by the wind howling outside, not an auspicious start. I went back to sleep and hoped it would calm down but no such luck, the garden chairs were strewn all over the place and a few mystery plastic plant pots were doing the foxtrot round the lawn. The forecast was suggesting strong winds with 40 mph gusts or some such, however the sun was shining and I'd already paid the entry fee so I decided to get on with it. I didn't know much about the route but I knew it was loops in/around a park so I wouldn't be running into the wind all the time. I had breakfast at about 8:30, I have used this particular breakfast before my last few morning races and it seems to agree with me: A large bowl of porridge made with semi -skimmed milk with a banana chopped over the top and drizzled with maple syrup (yum). I had no energy or digestion issues in the race so I'm going to stick with it for Garburn.

The race was due to start at 11:00 am and as it was a local race and probably only a 10 minute drive away I decided not to leave until 10:15 as I already had my number. The directions said "follow the signs for Worden Arts Centre" which I have seen dotted around Leyland. I head into the centre of town and spot my first "Worden Arts Centre" sign, so far so good, until I missed one due to not paying attention as I thought I kew where I was going. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to find the Centre, I drove around the park a few times but couldn't see where to park or actually spot any evidence of a race at all, then I retraced my route and noticed the sign I'd missed and managd to actually find the park, hooray! Well almost hooray, I still didn't know where I was supposed to be parking but at least there were loads of people in flourescent yellow vests and other assorted race paraphernalia dotted around. As I'm driving around rather erratically trying to find the car park the most likely entrace is coned off and it dawns on me that all the little mini runners around are doing the fun run, which means I'd not be popular if I flattened them and that it was now after 10:30 (digit extraction required!). I drove along the road for a while, found a turning place then headed back, it was really obvious where to park form this direction.

Directed into parking spot by a couple of my normal running group, I could get ready to run. This is only my second race wearing a Chorley Harriers vest, the thing I've noticed most is that other Harriers always talk to you even if they don't know who you are. I got loads of encouragement through the race with people shouting "Come on Chorley", before I had a vest I felt a little anonymous at races. I found the loos (essential pre-race routine) then did a very short warm up as I was late and I was going to be running 10 miles anyway then back to mill around the start line for a bit before the off.

Tis race has quite a small field, about 250 ish and it is very clubby. By that I mean there a few if any non-club runners taking part, it is part of the inter-club grandprix (as well as the Club's own Grand Prix) and as such attracts some pretty speedy runners. I looked at last years results and my dream time of 1:30 would put me pretty much near the end of the field, ho-hum. I met Yvonne at the start who is part of my Thursday night group and a veteran of several half marathons, I decided to see if I could stay with Yvonne rather than do my own thing - this turned ou to be a good plan. I had my Shuffle with me but I wrapped the headphones round my waist rather than wear it straight away, I had put some pretty fast music on it so knew I would go off too fast if I listened to it.

11:00 we were away. The route consists of two short laps and two longer laps (as below):

I've always been a bit ambivalent about laps as I thought I would get bored but on this occasion I thought it broke the race up quite well, I also got to learn exactly where the finish was - pretty much at the bottom of a fast hill. I was aiming for 1:30 for this race which meant a 9mm average. One of the marshals helpfully called out at the first mile marker that it was 8:31 which was a bit fast really. I stayed with Yvonne and curtailed my impulse to speed up. I really struggled to keep it steady and just let people go past if they wanted to, at the three mile marker whihc was near the start of the first long lap my brain just kept telling me "speed up, speed up" but I managed to ignore it. I just decided to keep it steady until I was well into the second long lap, which sounds like I had a plan but I didnt I just didn't want to blow up. At about mile 5 we finally turned into the wind which slowed things down a bit but the cooling wind was actually welcome (well a bit), then there was a nice downhill followed by a rather cheeky up then back down to the finish area again to grab some water and head out on the last lap. I was still going in a controlled fashion at this point and continued like this until just after mile 8 when I ended up in front of Yvonne. I had been up on the pavement as the side ofthe road had a pronounced camber when the pavement ended and I dropped down in front, single file as on a road. Then I found myself speeding up.....I blame the woman in the green vest in front of me, I noticed she seemed to be getting closer (or was I speeding up) so I decided to catch her, then speed up more, then catch the next two women in front of me - which was the return of my competitiveness and what I hadn't let out since the race started because I would've blown up big time if I'd let it out the bag any earlier. I remembered the down before the up and flew down it to try to carry whatever momentum I could into the cheeky up, which wasn't much but every little helps, then it was the short flat section before the last downhill to the finish, where I speeded up some more. One advantage of all the long hilly trail runs I have been doing is that I have gotten used to running hard downhill on tired legs, so on this last downhill I overtook a few more people again (all men this time, ha!) then sprinted for the line.

I stopped the Garmin then looked at the time. The Garmin had been autopausing itself all race for fun due to some of the tree cover so I knew the time would be out, I was still chuffed though it said 1:26:46, my official result time is 1:27:47, so broke the 1:30 mark!!! When I checked the splits at home my fastest mile was the last mile, it was just under 8 minutes (that lovely downhill) so I finished very strong.

Distance: 9.97m
Time taken: 01:26:47
Average/Max Speed : 6.89mph / 10.12mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:08:42 / 00:05:55
Average/Max heart rate: 173/188
Calories used: 1086

10:59:50 1.00m 00:08:36 6.97mph 9.18mph 166bpm 174bpm
11:08:28 1.00m 00:08:33 7.01mph 8.94mph 171bpm 176bpm
11:17:05 1.00m 00:08:19 7.21mph 9.54mph 169bpm 175bpm
11:25:29 1.00m 00:08:52 6.76mph 7.52mph 173bpm 176bpm
11:34:21 1.00m 00:09:10 6.54mph 7.85mph 173bpm 176bpm
11:43:43 1.00m 00:08:52 6.76mph 9.53mph 173bpm 180bpm
11:52:56 1.00m 00:08:42 6.89mph 8.30mph 169bpm 175bpm
12:01:43 1.00m 00:08:53 6.75mph 7.95mph 175bpm 177bpm
12:10:37 1.00m 00:08:48 6.81mph 8.20mph 180bpm 182bpm
12:19:25 0.97m 00:07:59 7.28mph 10.12mph 182bpm 188bpm

I think it was a negative split but just. I think I can go a bit faster, without the section into the wind and not hanging back quite so much, particularly after mile 5 but I would need to keep a check on my tendency to try to speed up too much.

So an easy week planned prior to Garburn trail race.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lazy Day today

Have done very little today apart from pickle my head with Big Brain Academy on the Wii and a bit of gardening. I had entertained the idea of going out for an easy spin on the road bike but it is stupidly windy here so it would just be hard work, I need to keep fresh legs for tomorrow. I have a 10 mile running road race tomorrow which is a completely unknown quantity to me, I have run over 10 miles several times before but always offroad, the constant pace that is required for road running is not something I am very good at. I am planning to take my Shuffle with me, normally I wouldn't bother with it but it is a small field and having looked at last years results I will be near the back somewhere. Once the field gets strung out I may end up running on my own so will take te music to keep me motivated. I would like to come in around 1:30 which is a 9mm average though not sure I can sustain that constantly. We''ll see.

My big 15 mile trail race over garburn is a week today, I have just sent the e-mail off to confirm that I am doing the challenge event rather than the race event. There is a 2 3/4 hour time limit to complete the race and they have a tight time cutoff after 10K as well, if I didn't make the cut off I would be absolutely gutted after all the work I've put in so I've decided to go for the Challenge event which has 4 1/2 hours to get round which I'm sure I can manage. I've never raced 15 miles before so its yet another unknown quantity but even if I have a complete 'mare I can slow right down and still enjoy the event without worrying about getting disqualified.

I didn't do as well as I hoped at the Hawkshead event as my legs just seemed to give up half way round, I think I did too much the week before with extra cycling. I'm planning on doing very little next week in the lead up to Garburn to have some hopefully fresher legs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday 22nd May: Short Road Run

I had intended to run with the Club last night but as Jez is heading out to Oz with work for what has now stretched into four weeks I decided to have a quick run on my own as soon as I got in from work and go for a curry with him and some friends.

It was quite warm, with a noticeable wind and it looked like it was threatening rain. Decided to do four miles and as I'm not sure of a loop onto the tramway that is four miles I decided to do out and back. Set off running too fast (yay some speed is coming back) but wasn't too bothered about pace, so fast one minute, slower the next.

The trees and other greenery are now in full leaf which is lovely, what is not so lovely however are the insects. I got at least three in my eye and almost swallowed one, bliddy things. I had to stop at least twice to get the little beggars out of my eye and one of them only came out this morning, little sod. I was debating with myself whether to take a bike out (road or off) or to do another short run tonight to keep me occupied as I'll be by myself but my right hamstring feels niggly so am leaning towards resting and stretching tonight.

So 4 miles and an all over the place pace - was fun though and the rain held off.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

21st May Wednesday Evening Ride: Worsthorne

We planned to go a bit further afield for our Wednesday evening ride this week as I have done Darwen to death lately both riding and running and there was a 5 mile running race on at Rivington. I did consider doing the race, its part of Horwich RMI's Jubilee series but as I'm already doing the Club's Wednesday night 4 mile series over the summer I don't want to sacrifice all my Wednesdays to running. I may still do one of them over the summer as I want to do a few road races of different lengths this year and hopefully get faster. The course itself doesn't interfere with our riding but trying to get parked at Riv when its on is just an absolute nightmare.

So after a flurry of e-mails on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning it ended up just being Stu and I who were up for it and I suggested a loop out of Worsthorne (cos I know how to get there!). Conditions were warmish and I was wearing summer kit but as usual it was a couple of degree colder at Worsthorne and the arm warmers made an immediate appearance. There was a pretty strong Easterly headwind blowing which made things unecessarily hard as we set off up the Gorple Road. My hamstrings are still feeling it a bit from Mondays long trail run and the pummelling Alan gave them at my sports massage session on Tuesday but they settled down. After climbing against the wind for the three miles (much more fun heading the other direction) to the top of the descent to Widdop reservoir we then started the drop into Widdop. As the trails were so dry all the loose stones and boulders at the top of the descent were very entertaining to ride on. I feel my bike handling skills have fallen off a little due to my lack of bike time and I was skating around all over the place at the top of this descent, it felt like riding on ball bearings and I just had to let the bike go where it wanted, which was everywhere. A couple of tight sketchy switchbacks later and the descent opens up and I catch up with Stu. Stu then proceeds to tell me about how he nearly lost it on the top of the descent so it wasn't just me!

The rest of the ride passed without such problems, the dry conditions making for fast progress. On reaching the road we got blown back to the Long Causeway which was great. The windmills were whirring round with gay abandon due to all the wind, I still feel a little worried passing windmills in case one of the propellers shears off.... All that remained was to head back to the car. The only problem with doing the loop in this direction is that whilst you gain by not having to do the climb up from Widdop you lose out on the three mile descent of the Gorple road back to the car, however I think with the Easterly wind and the very dry trail condtions the Gorple road descent would be so fast as to be frightening.

In short, this is a good loop but it is more challenging in the anti-clockwise direction. Its a good one to head out on of an evening for a bit of variety. I took the Garmin with me and just left it in the Camelbak, it lost the heart rate trace at some point but has logged the route ok.

Length: 17.45 miles Ride Time: 2:15 Faff Time: 15 minutes (not bad, not bad).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Blog!

Ha, finally got me a blog! Though am at work now and will have to faff with this later