Saturday, 14 January 2012
(please excuse the odd use of tense in the following post - it was written as a daily journal)
Day 1 – Monday 9th was a day off .Just a 30 min “ab attack” workout in the sun and a very gentle spin up to town for a massage, so I guess that doesn’t really count as day1 …does it?
Day 2 (which will now be called day 1) – Tuesday 10th and my big run week started with a half marathon. One of the nice things about being at Club La Santa is that there are organized events throughout the week, and I figured this might be my only opportunity of running at decent pace all this week! The half marathon is renowned as a “sporting” course with a generous amount of ascent. It was a beautiful, still, morning and 8 of us had gathered for the race. 5 of us ran as a group 3 laps around the run track, around the lagoon before starting the long drag up through the town of La Santa. About 4km in one fella started to pull a little ahead, and I found myself instinctively push to follow…then reminded myself that, with such a small field there was little way of knowing how one should be ‘seeded’ in the pack; for all I knew, he’d run around in 70minutes or something! So I remained at the side of my new acquaintance from Rivington, Bolton a little way back. The pace was respectable and comfortable as we chatted about fell racing, his local area, my triathlon-ing and other things, until the gradient kicked up a north and the conversation became a lot more difficult for me! The front of the field had remained quite compact and I had company to pace off for most of the race…until the terrain made a downwards turn onto some rough roads and my tummy started calling for a relief stop. Par for the course, to be honest – part of my ‘training’ this week includes nutritional experimentation, and it was no surprise to me that at that intensity my very recent breakfast wanted out. I was disappointed to be left chasing by about half a kilometer all the way down to the finish, and a little disappointed with my finish time of 92 minutes. However, I was pleased with how fresh my legs felt after Sunday’s 3hr run and that that time was achieved at a pretty comfortable effort.
I just did a yoga class and a short bike in the late afternoon, enjoying the very still and clear evening air.
Day 3 (or day 2 – you get the idea) Wednesday 11th– swim, bike, run day. It was a short swim, 3km focused on Critical Pace. The stillness of yesterday was clearly the calm before the storm as the wind was howling by 8am! By 9am 3 of us were out on the bikes, Rachel and EK taking it very easy as both are just recovering from illnesses. We rode gentle and took some pictures over Fire Mountain, going our separate ways at El Golfo. I wanted to check out the Enduro course and had planned to ride repeats for an hour or so before hooking up with Steven and his friends who had arrived on the island last night. By 11am the wind had really picked up, making the ride down the old road to Playa Blanca pretty grueling …and providing many really scary moments throughout the day as we rode on around the island and the force of the gales seemed to increase. I returned from a 5.5hr ride absolutely shattered –far more so than my Powertap readings indicated I should be, from being tense on the bike all day, and possibly under hydrate/fed due to the distraction of the winds. It’s entirely possible that conditions will be such on race day, which is a potential worry, but something that I know I need to be prepared for. Today’s run was another of CLS organized events – a group off road 12km run. Last week I’d really enjoyed this, and been in the nice position of being able to set the pace at the front felling relaxed and having a chat with the group leader. Not so today! I’m sure it was a faster group this time and I was just about hanging on at the back (although admittedly chatting with my Rivington fell runner mate) – again until the terrain started heading downwards – my legs did not feel strong enough to ensure I’d stay upright…..so I allowed a gap to from and took my own route in for 10km in 50min. Another beautiful evening -this time due to the “dust haze’ created by the Sahara Winds, and the eerie light and rings it created around the setting sun.
Day 4 - Thurs 12th the first of my two big mile, double run days. I’m hoping to cover 56miles over today and tomorrow, broken down as 20, 8, 6, 22 mile runs. Scott has encouraged me to run for distance rather than time (he knows that given the chance I’ll head off –road, get lost and find myself on tracks that are barely run-able and hiking across lava fields…) and so I had a road based route in mind for this morning’s run. Hell it was windy. And I’m not sure what happened but I found myself tempted by the track to La Famara…it’s a pretty run-able track and goes direct from CLS to the surfers town which is about 8 miles along the coast. It was infinitely more appealing that the roads though it did force a slower pace. I committed to running the road route back, so the run was half –half. It took me long, and it was quite a struggle, I have to admit. I approached it a little like I do my long rides when I’m just trying to get back to fitness and build endurance – it’s about getting the miles done, not speed, and stops are allowed. So I had a coupe of brief nutrition, stretch and emptying sand out of my shoes stops . I was pretty close to a shuffle by the end of the run but got it done in just over 3hrs. It’s going to be a hard couple of days! This evening’s run will be around the track, with a bit of shelter from the winds and a bit more attention to my pace.
I was pleased with how this went considering my perceived state of physical wellbeing this afternoon! 32 times around the track, alternating between a steady 2min lap and a “tempo” 1:45 lap. The track was less sheltered than I’d hoped, but at least it was only 150m into the wind which was offset by an equally strong push from behind every lap. The air was pretty thick with dust again and again it created a strange light as the sun dropped. We treated ourselves to the barbeque buffet in the Club restaurant this evening for a big fat steak and plenty of carbos in dessert form.
Day 5 – Friday the 13th !! Knowing that unless I got in and did it first thing, I’d be able to come up with plenty of justification to omit this ‘optional’ swim session, so I hit the water shortly after 7am. Or rather, that chilly water hit me! It was one of those sessions where even with the 4seconds per 100m allowance for long course, I was struggling to make target times, and just got very cold. It did however get me pretty keen for my first run of the day, which was a straight forward 10km run, 2 laps between the sports resort and the village with the ever present side-wind.
Aggh . Run two of the day, the longest and most testing run in the plan was certainly the later though unfortunately the way that it turned out, it was not the longest in the end. The challenge was always going to be tough for me, and I knew that final run would be a matter of just getting through it, an exercise in mental toughness and determination that would prepare me for race-day. But with around 5 miles to go the discomfort in my ankles and itb had surpassed what I consider a reasonable level for even the most grueling of training days and, adopting a run walk strategy (well that’s gotta be practiced too!) I cut off the final loop of my planned route. Needless to say I am currently not in the best spirits, having ‘failed’ on my mission of 56miles over two days, and I cannot find a position to sit or lie in that gives my legs any feeling of relief from cramps. But on more rational reflection; I am just shy of a combined total of 52 miles (race distance) in two days and reviewing my diary to include last weekend, have run 98 miles in the last seven days –which is probably my biggest run block ever.
Day 6 - saturday.
slept very poorly due to leg-ache, mysterious banging in our wardrobe, the Joyc-a-tron's snoring and an all-nigt party next door. won't do much today - catch up on coaching work, a swim in my wetsuit, a yoga class and get a massage...ready for next week :o)
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