Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Turbo Torture

Working from home today due to car being in garage for service so no commute. I got on the turbo for an hour of intervals using the Sufferfest Downward Spiral vid. Strangely satsifying in a "shouldn't have eaten that carrot cake 30 minutes ago I'm about to puke" fashion.

Like a running interval session the hour as a whole seemed to fly by but the individual efforts seemed to take forever. I was only tempted to get off on the easy pedalling 5 minute warmup/down and recovery between the sets. I definitely need a structure to a session on it else I'll just get off!

Running intervals definitely help my running speed so it'll be interesting to see if cycling intervals help my cycling speed (assuming I make myself do them regularly).

I'm also wondering how to schedule them around hard running sessions and if they can be a replacement for running hill reps or not.

Wavering Motivation......

Struggling a bit this January for some reason, particularly in the last week or so. Dark mornings, grey days are not filling me with joy. Last January was pretty good overall with 100 running miles and over 200 bike miles, this year is a completely different story on the biking front -running miles still ok due to the weather at the beginning of the month.

Last Tuesday I cycled to work, the morning ride in was great, no wind, no ice and just great to be out riding (once I'd scraped myself out of bed). Flew into work in 1:07, averaging over 16mph which is good going for me riding the shopping bike.

The ride home on the other hand was a complete nightmare. The wind just got stronger all day so I rode the entire 18 miles home against a raging headwind. It didn't help I was starving after about two miles and spent the whole miserable, grinding commute fantasising about food. What I was going to have for dinner, tomorrow's lunch, what I was going to be eating next week fgs...It took 1:29 to get back home, an embarrassing 12mph or so.

Character building? Miserable more like and I've kind of CBA's riding outside at all since (or even on the turbo)...not good when I've got some cycling events coming up.

On Saturday I got out for a run in the hills, it took me until 3pm to actually get out there but it was great to be out in the fresh, still air. It was misty in Lostock Hall but clear around the hills:

Just under 7 miles, managed to get back to the car as the clag really came in but before I completely ran out of daylight (just). Sunday was almost a complete write off but managed to prise myself off the sofa for a trip to the climbing wall.

I gave myself a talking to on Sunday night, no slacking this week. Yesterday I got the week off to a good start with a lunchtime run. I decided to have some fun in the dunes which did absolutely nothing for average speed but should be good for the old leg strength if I don't ping my achilles tendons off. 6.8 miles with about 4 ish miles of dune sliding and beach running. Excellent fun.

Today's plan: Drop Car off at garage for service and run the 2.5 miles home (done)

Intervals on the Turbo (One hour of pain)

Pick up car (run, walk, ride - not decided yet).
Somebody kick me if I don't get the turbo torture done.....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pendle Hill Plod

Jez and I headed out on Saturday for a bit of a bimble on Pendle hill rather than bother with bikes, neither of us had been up it for years so I was looking forward to it. The forecast originally was for a nice morning but clouding over/potential sleet etc in the afternoon.

The M65 was slushy in places and the roads up and down into Barley were interesting to say the least. Keeping an eye on the weather was high on the agenda, getting out of Barley could prove challenging otherwise.

I think there was only another couple of cars in the car park when we set off up the obvious track, aiming for the trig point. Glorious blue sky and crisp white snow:

As it turned out we were pretty sheltered, getting up on top there was a fierce and bitter wind though luckily our choice of route meant it was to our backs as we headed to the trig point.

I had completely forgotten exactly how much of a hill Pendle actually is and as a runner overtook us I made a note to come up here and run, hopefully soon. Snow was quite firm underfoot on the top. As the cloud seemed to be building we decided to start generally heading down via Ogden Clough, given the strength of the wind I didn't fancy being up there if precipitation started and visibility dropped.

As it was we chose to ignore the obvious cairns indicating the way and trundled about on the fell for a while in remarkably shallow snow, a quick check of the map and spotting someone else heading the way we were supposed to. A quick yomp across increasingly deeper snow, I think I may have fallen over once we get back on track and catch up with another walker who knew Pendle rather well and gave us lots of information on potential routes around the hill.

The wind was whipping loose snow crystals across the top of the fell, to who knows where. Dropping down into Ogden Clough we found out where it was going, I fell over several times stumbling about in thigh deep drifts, soft landing.

The really deep stuff didn't last long at all though and not that much went up my trouser leg (no gaiters), unlike the Pentlands were I spent most of the walk with a collection of snowballs up each trouser leg.

Dropping down to almost near the top reservoir we parted company from the other bloke and continued down. The sun had come back out again. Descending was fine and I hadn't slipped at all until approaching a gate. The snow had cleared to show the track below so I strode confidently down not noticing the sheet ice and ended up on my backside rather abruptly. My arse was fine but I landed hard on my right wrist too which hurt. I got away with it though, d'oh.

After that an uneventful trog back down to Barley and into the warm pub for a rather delicious bowl of soup, chips and a pint, the heat from the fire making my windburn tingle. The drive back was on significantly less slushy roads, stopping off at the rather chaotic Outdoor Action to pick up some gaiters. Only five miles or so but I'm sure we'll be up there again.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snowy Beach Run

Yesterday I hauled myself out of the door at lunchtime for a run after listening to the CBA demons on Thursday. My main excuses on Thursday were...sidestreets will be slippy to cross, might be ice patches, half cleared driveways, its baltic........

The Friday run had all of that but it wasn't too bad, it was a glorious, sunny and clear day. My car said -1 when setting off (out clearing the windscreen after the washers had defrosted) but the lack of wind stopped it from feeling too bitter.

It was a bit slidy in places on the way down to the beach but I ran on the shady side of the street and mostly it was fine just taking it really easy. I was curious to see what the beach would be like but I didn't quite expect this:

Snow covered beach! It was also really busy, all those people not able to get to work..

I was almost late back to work, 7 miles at a slow 10mm but not too much slower really.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Running

After the icy ride/walk of New Year's day I've not been on two wheels since. Which is a bit of a pain as the events I have entered so far are quite bike orientated (been looking at Turbo Trainers, shhh). I have run the last four days though, I don't normally do consecutive running days and definitely not on tarmace but hey ho needs must.

The first run of the year was a local loop on Saturday afternoon with a surprising amount of ice around. Initial plan was to do an easy four or five miles but in the end I was enjoying it so much I ended up doing 7.75, I only headed home as I could feel the temperature really starting to plummet.

Sunday was another local loop, even more patches of ice to dodge but I kept it to a nice easy 3.5 miles. Legs felt better than they had the day before though a little grouchy at the tarmac.

Monday I ran at lunchtime, it was a stunning day even if it had been -5 when I arrived at work. It was really cold but there was no real ice in St Annes just a very hard frost which was fine to run on. My original plan was to do some fartleks to start getting some hard work introduced again but it was so cold my quads wouldn't seem to warm up.

I decided to keep it steady but thought I was actually being a bit of a wuss. The tarmac was feeling a bit harsh so I had hoped to get some running in on the beach but the tide was in. Arriving near Fairhaven Lake I realised that the sea was slush! Near the beach it was one giant, brown slush puppy. If the sea is like that then it is way too cold, I didn't feel like such a wuss after all. I was a bit gutted I hadn't brought my camera, I've not seen anything like it.

I was so fascinated by it I ran all they way up to St Annes Pier and ended up with 7.25 miles which I thought wasn't too bad on cold and unwilling legs.

Today was supposed to be a rest day but the snow conditions meant I worked from home today and just had to get out in it while it was soft and powdery. Original plan was for a mile or two on the local pavements. I ended up doing 6.18 miles I was enjoying myself so much, I had thought about heading out on the bike but by the time I faffed it wouldn't have been much point as I was actually still working.
My Mizuno Harriers were great in the soft snow, crossing side streets was treacherous but other than that it was fine. Definite rest day required tomorrow but it'll probably all be ice by then anyway.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The New Year (and all that)

Happy New Year!

Unusually for me I actually was able to get out and about on New Year's Day, being on call meant a return home on Hogmanay and being spared the normal excess of a Scottish New Year.

It was a baltic but clear day so three of us headed over to Abbey Village for a ride. Due to the complete absence of snow in Lostock Hall we thought the trails would be pretty rideable, wrong. There were a few patches of ice at the lower levels which I was happy to ride round, even briefly on but the start of the climb to the tower was just a rink. Frozen compacted snow.

Jez actually managed to ride it but about half way up decided to turn back and then proceeded to successfully ride down it. I could barely stand on it:

I did actually manage to get back on further down when there was a bit more of a verge. We took a different way back, which entailed more ice and lots and lots of people walking where I wanted to ride.

The bridleway down from the visitor centre started off ok then was just about rideable at the edge - if there weren't people on it, it was mobbed. I did have one little lad who must have been about three or four tell me to be careful as it was slippy. Then to be extra careful going round the corner as that was even slippier and to be extra, extra careful at the bottom. It was quite sweet and he wasn't wrong!
Once back on the main trail it was back to patchy ice and dodging people. Into the heaving pub for a pint and some chips. Decided not to bother going running here the next day.