Saturday, November 14, 2015

This week in training

I won't beat about the bush.  This week has been a bugger for work.  Not particularly unpleasant because I now have a small team of two (me and AN Other) but just busy, wanting to do the best we can.  It's been... long.

After a tough trophy race in Durham I took the day off on Monday and took the car to work.  I needed it.  The legs were definitely on go-slow.  When people hold the door for me and I make them wait...

Tuesday I felt like I needed to make up for it and because it's Polo night for TSK, I don't have to rush home - or feel like I have to rush home.  It is effectively home alone night.

I took the bike in to work via the gym and a yoga session with Chris who was incredibly apologetic for missing his class last week.  After yoga I was still riding slowly to let the legs loosen up but made it in time for the working day to start well.

We worked until 7, getting costs into a spreadsheet and calculating pipeline losses.  Transferring knowledge to the next generation of engineers is way more interesting than doing the same old same old on repeat.  Still, by 7pm I was feeling invigorated and had been snacking on pistachios and goji berries all afternoon so I set out for a ride.  Typing this whilst gales and rain rage outside is weird but on Tuesday night the weather was sublime.  Within 20 minutes of riding I had to take my waterproof jacket off and unzip my fleece to the waist to cool off.

I was still loosening off really so the pace was steady along the bridlepath.  As I negotiated my way around the Penistone Road, the pistachios started to wear off so I decided to cut my usual route ever so slightly shorter and tackle the route to the (minor) Woodhead Road slightly differently.  I took one of those lanes that you always look at and think, "I wonder where that goes" and came out at the other end at a junction that I looked at last time and thought, "I wonder where that goes".  So result all round.

Less looking at the map this time, more clean riding so the route passed much quicker, which meant the climbs passed much quicker.  I was getting pushed up the hill by the early stages of Abigail's arrival so I can't claim all the benefit.

Before I could really feel the hill I was over the top, ripping down the dark woodland road and into Grenoside and the long climb over to Oughtibridge.  The pistachios were well and truly spent.

I whipped down Jawbone hill, carefully negotiating gaps in hedgerows where the wind swept me sideways.  I was trying to hold my line but it was increasingly difficult with an ambulance sweeping past me.  Clearly the wind was affecting my ability to descend this hill faster than the vehicles usually do.

At the bottom I was out of patience and sneaked up the footpath to avoid the one way section and put myself on the last climb out of Oughtibridge and down to Wortley and Stannington where my journey ends.  I walked in the door 5 minutes ahead of TSK.

On Wednesday I had definitely got into it.  I packed my running kit, full of the intention to get away on time and go out with Dark Peak this time - something I have been intending to do for weeks and still not quite made it.  

Wednesday was our review meeting and we were all beevering away to get the proposal into some kind of shape whilst all the concerned people were in the room together.  Conversations were ongoing till late in the afternoon and the reviewer was phoning his wife at 4pm to let her know he was going to be late.  Bollocks.  The group was on a roll and I wasn't going to be the one to spoil the party.

We didn't finish particularly late for a working day - the normal 5:30 - but it's just late enough to know that you're not going to make it to running... but just early enough to think that you might.

I tried to be clever, to take a different route into the city and a different route out to catch the traffic just right.  It had the opposite effect and by the time I had to call it on running, I was already out of the way of the house.  After my elongated drive home, I wasn't in the mood for discovering I'd left my keys in my other jacket in the office.

At least I still had my running kit with me and could, therefore, get changed and go for a run.  In an attempt to stem hunger pangs I had already consumed every half-eaten energy bar that was kicking about in my car and the bottom of my rucsac. I proceeded to get changed in between every passing commuter walking down the street (not that many by 6:45) and set off for my run.

I saw no-one out there except a large crocodile of (school / scouts) children clothed in hi vis and equipped with head torches which they kept shining in my face.  I almost hip-checked one into the river but otherwise we passed without incident.

After 28 minutes I was spent.  Not incapable of running but starving hungry and starting to get wobbly.  There was no point in me going straight home, I'd still be locked out.  I sat on the bench, turned my headtorch off and thought for a while about the coming weeks.  The passage of the 'cross season, weather, impending snows, christmas celebrations, projects, running, swimming, travel.

When I started to get cool, I made the decision to keep going.  Then I still felt wobbly so I made the decision to turn around again.  Then I realised I was almost at the end of the trail so I might as well run back on a different path.

Up to Rails Road and along the A57 for a short jog where I actually thought of running back the easiest way - along the road - instead of up the bridlepath it was so quiet.  Fortunately before the path began, 8 or more cars passed and persuaded me it wasn't so quiet after all and I set off up the rocky slope.  Running was by now out of the question so I continued walking, still thinking, musing, dreaming and generally enjoying my own company.  In spirit, I sometimes still walk with my dog.

It always impresses me that sometimes students make it out here.  I know runners and cyclists pass this way in the dark quite frequently but it's always nice to see the occasional group of drunken students in "civvy" clothing - just out for a walk.  They sit on the crag and drink beer.  It gives me hope for the future.

I dropped off the quarry path and set off down the trails which lead around the edge of Crookes, travelling slowly on my feet allowed me to carefully figure out the best way to Bolehills BMX track without getting too hung up on roads filled with angry and stupid motorists.  Although I had a headtorch with red and white flashy lights, I had no hi vis.  I managed the whole return journey with no more than 50m on an un-footpathed road.  Managing a run down hill but walking all of the rest.

In a timely manner, I jogged down our hill, just as TSK was texting me to say he was in.  It's a long time since I have been so close to chewing off my own arm to stay alive.  We ate dinner very late for the second night in a row and my brain chewed through both food and the complexities of my bid at work.

Everyone knew Thursday was going to be a long day so I at least made it to Yoga in the morning to give my brain a bit of time off.  I gave my grad the project to deliver himself and he decided to be out of the office on Friday so we had to get his bid ready on Thursday.  There were no excuses to be had.  I was prepared to work late Thursday, my body had nothing left to give so I might as well use my brain. After a difficult night's sleep my spine was twisted and contorted and I wondered if I'd actually be able to lie on a mat on a hard floor, never mind sit cross-legged and upright.  I managed it though and there was just the right level of twisting in the yoga practice to gradually tease out the stress and frustrations of the previous day.

I arrived at the office with a scrawled list of things that were left to do, all written between midnight and 4am.  We progressed slowly through the day then sat down to review and tick off the last items into the evening.  We printed, formatted, reprinted, picked through, calculated, almost cried, then fixed things again.  We ended the day with a quality document and all the boxes ticked.

That's it for Thursday really.  My brain was ready for reset button overnight.  I finally slept well, knowing that the proposal was in someone else's hands on Friday but Friday, as far as training is concerned was a write-off.

I headed to the loft with my laptop to do my timesheet.  Another 42 hours done by Thursday evening.  I kept the day to minimal input and broke off at 11 for a yoga session in the loft.  After lunch some minor details were taken care of but I was too tired to think and I packed my stuff away at 3pm.

Monday will be welcome as the first day in months without a fixed deadline at work.  The weekend will be even more welcome.

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