Saturday, March 12, 2016

Week 6 - Glorious in Retrospect but a week of contrasts

I   H A V E   B E E N   I N   T H E   O F F I C E   A L L   W E E K

Monday's rest day was like a holiday.  Sure! I was in the office until 8pm and I was really busy all day but I sat down, stood up when I needed to, pigged out in the canteen and even munched my way through two rolls of Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles... because they're one of your five a day right?

On Tuesday I wanted to get a run done since that is what I missed last weekend.  I also wanted to swim because I am determined to stick to my swimming plan.  I also booked into yoga as I left the pool on Saturday so was committed to that.  When I arrived for yoga on Tuesday morning I had the brainwave that I could yoga and then swim and still be in the office for not-too-shoddy-a-time.  So I took my swimming stuff to yoga class then walked straight from one building to the other.

At first swimming was difficult.  In my 12 laps of warm up I was still trying to breathe deeply - which is fine for breathing out as I could get in 8-9 strokes but less fine for breathing in because in swimming you have a 10th of a second to snatch a lung-full.  I had to wake up a bit, get moving a little.

My programme was for 8x50m then 8x25m sprints so for me, 8x66m then 8x30m.  The sets were going really well, taking almost 20 seconds off my previous 66m sets. (1:33 down to 1:15).  I didn't even notice the single lengths - they were so frantic but swimming after yoga was definitely good.  I must remember to warm up and stretch before my next triathlon.  It goes a long way to explaining why races have been a bit slow for me compared to later-in-the-day pool swims - early morning stiffness.  I was also looking up more and had changed back to a racer-back suit with long legs.  Something was working anyway.

I used my lunchbreak to refuel then headed home on time to ride my bike for 45 minutes.  8 hillclimb sets would've been hard to achieve on the rollers so I stuck Phoenix on the turbo trainer and set about blasting out 8 x 1 minute hill climbs as best I could in a kitchen... a very sweaty kitchen.

On Wednesday running seemed like an impossibility.  I didn't feel like it, the rain was pouring down and I had to do the 6 mile run - the one I dropped last week.  I sat at home telling my husband that my brain was trying to take the path of least resistance and I was refusing to go out for a run when I was instructing myself to.  He simply pointed out that if I run at lunchtime it would be warmer...

B E S T   C O A C H   E V E R

... warmer, yes.  Wetter, yes.

I determinedly changed, set the watch off in the cover of the work doorway then headed off into the pouring rain.  About 500m in, I couldn't be bothered with it but, complete with overheating and my water proof coat, I plodded on, over to Magna, along the busy industrial estate road and through Blackburn Meadows to the canal where water was not just overtopping the lock gates but filling the entire lock.

Holmes Lock
I settled into a pace (some sort of pace) along the canal bank and two guys came running past me.  Not even trying though moving considerably faster.  I mumbled something about it being tough to get out today and let them go.

Nothing cheered me up.  Not the farm, not the Asian Grandad on some kind of mobility scooter / mod bike / rickshaw / putput type of machine.  He shouldn't have been on the towpath on his motorised vehicle but when I said hi, he called back "Morning dear!" with such charm that I couldn't help but smile.

The old lock gates awaiting removal.
 I ran up the hill to the sandwich shop and checked my watch.  3.5 miles.  Is that all!!?? I was sure this route was 5 miles and I was only 1 mile from the office.  There were 10 people crammed into the tiny sandwich shop so I decided not to stand around soaked to the skin and started running again up towards the office.

I had an attack of training concious so decided to run along the road that I know leads to Yodel (and little else) to scope out the footpath that I know exists under the motorway and over to Chesterfield Road.

The footpath does indeed exist but the underpass is marked as closed with some big fencing and gates.  The sign at the end said something about private access which makes a mockery of the bike lane that runs around the industrial estate at the other end.  I wasn't in the mood for a one-way running fight with access laws so I turned tail and continued to Yodel where I took to the footpath that leads around the back of the school and back to Brinsworth village.

Thankfully the school was still in before lunch and there were no kids hanging about on the path.  Nothing against kids but big groups of Brinsworth kids tend to be obnoxious and abusive... just an observation.  I then realised one of the reasons was the path was disgusting and great swathes of puddle covered the path.  I was already soaked so I ploughed through the oily water and returned to the roads for the last wet splash towards the office... or so I thought.

Within 100m of site, I realised I still had half a mile to go.  I was NOT going to go through this and still not meet my weekly target so I retraced my steps and set off down the site road.  I got to the exact turnaround point, ran to the next bend in the road then retraced my steps to get me back to the road and into the office at 5.95miles.  That will do.  I went to seek lunch with no short ammount of comment made to bring into question my sanity and motives.

Within 10 minutes I was wrapped in fleece leggings and enjoying the rest of the day free of concerns.

On Thursday I got to swim again.  I hadn't booked yoga this time but when I got up I didn't feel like doing anything.  In fact, I woke up at 5:30 starving, ate and blogged and instead of running or going swimming, went back to bed.  In spite of myself I packed swim kit and running gear for work so I could do whatever I wanted - including coming home for a cycle at the end of the day if htat was what I wanted to do.  I didn't really want to run again - but you never know.

You indeed never know because the second I sat in the car I thought, actually, I could swim.  It was still only 7:15 so off I went.

I knew it was going to be tough and I fought my way through 8x6 length sets (I needed every break), battled with foot and calf cramp for the last few laps.  When I came out of the pool it was raining.  SO glad I decided not to cycle to work for training.

I didn't run at lunchtime because I did that yesterday.  Instead I rolled out the yoga mat.  I had a meeting in the afternoon that it was worth being calm for and I intended to make a lot of the session a lying down one, preferably with my eyes closed and nothing else going on.  I just about didn't sleep and that wasn't intentional.  I know that's not the point of meditation but yoga is a bloody good cover for having a nap at work.  I was constantly harassed by someone passing using their phone.  I could've ignored them but I couldn't ignore the conversation that continued in the gents toilet.  Ew!!!

My meeting went well and I returned home on a high, ready to get back on the bike.  An easy 45 minute ride.  On the rollers, in the warm.  What could be a nicer end to the day?  A shower and tasty curry - check.

Friday.  Last run of the week.  I was up early again but operating on later is warmer philosophy, I got dressed and packed my stuff for running at lunchtime.  Outside the house it was sunny but by the time I got to the top of the hill it was foggy and looking bloody cold out there so off I went to the office, arriving at 7:45, fully motivated to go out for a run.  I think I was scared that if I didn't do it in the morning it wouldn't happen.  There are three reasons for going to the pub on a Friday 1) pub 2) Friday 3) the canteen fish and chips is disgusting, the curry is oily and they don't offer a salad on a Friday.

I put my work stuff at my desk and walked straight into the ladies toilet to get changed, sneaking out the downstairs to avoid my colleagues and managed to get through the door without seeing anyone going the other way.  45 minutes with 15 minutes comfortably hard at the end.  It seemed a challenge because I was already running pretty hard but that was a warm up.

It was certainly a better run.  There was no water falling from the skies and the road to the golf course (though an ugly, industrial road) was lined with birdsong and the aura of spring.  The puddle on the bridge had subsided and so I kept dry feet and the passing through Magna was relatively easy as I was able to cross all the roads without stopping.  When I reached Blackburn Meadows I could relax and trundle along the canal at normal pace, without pain this time.

I ran under the underpass to avoid all traffic and took the back roads through Tinsley rather than dealing with kids coming and going from the Asian school.  They're much better behaved than Brinsworth kids but there are so many more of the tiny ones, they're difficult to navigate through.

At 26 minutes I started my 15 minutes of fast.  I wanted to get my fast 15 minutes in, even if I didn't manage all of the 45.  I did that distance in 43 on Wednesday - trying to get out of the rain!

My right heel started to hurt on the way back to the office with a blister so I tried tightening up the laces.  To no avail.  I stopped again and tightened the whole foot.  This time it improved but I was still in a lot of pain.  I did a lap up and down the road to extend my 15 minutes hard.  I couldn't believe it.  I was finally running really well and my bloody trainers are rubbing!  I limped into the office after 43 minutes of running but more than enough speed minutes and promptly sent an email to Saucony.  That'll teach me to buy online.

Work started at 9:30 and was a day of fighting with managers for sanity, trying to placate engineers and mourning the loss of a man I had only just met.  He was nice, competent and sweet and he took his own life.  I couldn't ingest the news in the afternoon and carried on about my business.  It hit me later, on the sofa at home and I had a little cry.  He was only a few months older than me and had a family.  If only he had asked for help.  If only someone had noticed but he was very good at hiding it.  Very good.  Poor man.

How different two days can be.

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