Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sent to Try Us

I tentatively took the foot for a run last week.  A nice flat run in Clumber Park which could have been any length I wanted it to be.  As it is, at the end of 9 miles I was beginning to look for extra miles to add onto it.  This was promising news.

I counted my 9 mile run as last week's 13 mile run, so as to make last week look less shambolic.

This means I have "trained through" this week without any rest... except I broke down on Wednesday after a drive home from Norfolk, I really didn't feel like doing anything so that was a slack day and I've biked all week and not really done my pool miles either.  When I was last at Fairholmes, well that was the nail in the coffin, it really was.

When I only managed a mile in the pool on Friday night, I was pretty depressed but when I looked back at my week I'd substantially overdone it on the bike, travelled half way across the country and was still churning out a mile swim in a time simiilar to last year oh, and I raced at Fairholmes which, not a lot of people can say they did.

OK.  That'll do.

I was looking forwards to running today but I built up to it slowly, having an easy morning and leaving the house at 11am.  Great thing about running, you can do a lot in a short period of time leaving the rest of the day free to recover.

I did rush to leave before the effects of my breakfast wore off though so I quickly plotted myself a route which constituted the 13 miles I needed to run today.  I learned some of the road names in my head because I couldn't be bothered to do anything more and I promised myself I wouldn't be distracted by interesting-looking footpaths that usually end up in me going horribly out of my way and include some extent of falling-off cliffs, climbing over barbed wire fences or hacking through brambles.

Within 10 minutes I was immediately distracted by the Rivelin Valley instead of the intended Loxley Valley but I adjusted my footpath route and hacked my way through the houses on the edge of Stannington.  Finally I found my way onto a footpath that dropped me down to the river in Loxley and I followed it confidently as the dog-walkers were coming the other way.  At a decision point of choice between the path less trodden and river route or one which looked suspiciously like it went back to Stannington, I chose the path less trodden and cue obligatory slither up near-vertical muddy slope holding on to tree roots to prevent a plunge into the river 12 ft below.  I survived, needless to say.

Over the legitimate bridge and onto the Loxley valley path, I had the chance to snap some pics inside this old industrial building which is being demolished.

Finally out at Damflask reservoir I ran on the road following my designated route religiously and enjoying the view.  I stopped to take a picture of this wonderful scenery and the cows drinking from the very rustic trough.
 Except the cow was more intrigued by what I had in my rucsac and came over to pose.
At the first junction I came to there was no road name but I guessed and I winged it and things were going pretty well.  I seemed to be heading in the right direction.

By the next turning, things were going less well with a consistent lack of road name signs.  I plumped for "Sheffield" over two places I couldn't recall seeing on the map.  After a while I concluded I was heading back the way I'd come, a bit higher up and all this road would do was take me back to Damflask.  Time for some random footpaths.

Straight up the hill, across, up, across, up, across, up.  A pattern was forming.  At least it was dry!

Finally, I reached the top of the ridge and my ticket back into the Rivelin Valley.
View over the city.  This'll be the top then?
After this path, the run home was really special.  I found a whole host of paths that I never knew existed, through Rails, along the fields, down into the valley-bottom.  It was potentially the most successful unplanned footpaths run I have ever done and not one twinge of pain from the foot.

I have to say a massive Thank You to Colin Papworth from Holywell Health who warned me responsibly about running on the foot, recognised I would do anyway, gave me the confidence to continue my training safely and told me not to go too hard on it when I did.

I ran all the way to my front door without one stop to walk.  I actually could've kept going (but I want to swim tonight so I didn't).  I conclude that the cold, the sore foot, all little indicators of overload and all well timed little triggers to make me rest a little, sit back and then go out there and find out that, actually, I'm not doing too bad at this Ironman training at all.  Last week I was pretty fed up that I was a bit broken.  This week I feel energised and amazing.

I have only 9 weeks left which might seem like a long time but then, it seems only yesterday I started at week 1.  What I have to do now is think about which bike I want to spend my bonus on.  Now then...

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