Friday, December 31, 2010

December 2010 Stats

Swim: 4.85 km, 2.6km/hr - This is a bit inaccurate since I've got the swimovate.
Bike: 134.2km, 20.3km/hr, 1,142m el - Big drop off in distance but casual speed increased with less climbing.
Run: 45.35km, 7.9km/hr, 1008m el - drop of distance and climb but faster. Christmas holiday fest.
Other: Backcountry skiing 11.06km, walking 17km.
Strength: 1hour 45 mins

Thursday, December 30, 2010

20km run

An amazing day out around Derwent Reservoir. I followed the usual route but added on a loop from the top of the climb down to the woodland below the reservoir and a ruined building owned by the national trust. This included getting lost / going the wrong way along a path and re-tracing my steps so I added and extra distance as well as originally intended extra elevation.

The weather was in meltdown so although relatively warm (compared to the -18 of previous weeks) it was also icy on all the puddles and muddy everywhere else. A few people to talk to but otherwise a very quiet day out.

I enjoyed the shelter. I even enjoyed the climb up the side of the hill.

I enjoyed the views as Derwent and Ladybower were both shaddowed by a temperature inversion cloud. The edale valley was just masked with fog.

I ran all the way over the meadows and down to the bridge crossing the Dewent and up to the pub. In reward I allowed myself a little walk up the path alongside the pub and chatted to a lady returning to her car. At 4pm I was turning on my headtorch and we were both the last people back to our carparks.

A very successful run time of 2:47:05 for 19.66km & 703m elevation which is enough (elevation) to get me through ADIL.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 stats

365 days

411.86km of running
3249.34km of cycling
35.19km of swimming
19hrs 5minutes in the gym
47.59km of walking
135.2km backcountry skiing
51.57km downhill skiing
1hour of very tough surfing

Total 3982km

It's been a good year. Let's see what the next one brings

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dauntless I missed you

Despite the gears failing on the way to work, leaving me tugging at the cables to get a gear change, I did enjoy riding Dauntless during the end of the snows.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

119 Days to Go

Finally I am back in training. Nailed a 55minute run to work this morning, 2 minutes faster than my pre-3 Peaks (best) time in September. Quite pleased with that considering it's minus 9 outside.

The cold made me dizzy and I switched my brain off so that part way through I didn't actually know where I was.

Made it to work safely though.

This week is a test week and I have promised myself an 1800m swim in 43minutes. I need to figure out how to do this around Christmas closures. It doesn't occurr to me that knocking 2 minutes off my previous time is a problem.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Depressing December

So November was supposed to be a restful month but sadly, December has been blighted by ice, a cold and work. I feel silly for booking a ski holiday as i don't wish to see another flake of snow for a while and feel we probably should've cut our losses and headed to Tenerife for two weeks.

I've spent the last three weeks telling myself that training starts tomorrow, barring through the cold when I decided to cut my losses and rest. Or should I say, just limit my exertions to work. Great - restful!

At least all the overtime payments will help support the recovery from this year's investment in triathlon kit for the summer.

Cyclo-crosses continue to pass in a steady-state condition - which feels like an improvement on years gone by when I've been blighted by pulled muscles, back pain and sickness. I can still run - to some extent or another - though it's been a while. I am swimming good distances and improving my technique and my speed all the time.

These things are good and need to be remembered.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weekend of snow

Three hours trying to get in to town to get my ski wax (I did swim 1800m)
Over an hour playing at making pistes and ski-ing in the garden with TSK
4 hours skiing in slushy spring snow and grit to make it worthwhile.

Still, it's better than being on a running machine.

Friday, December 03, 2010


How cruel life can be.

One minute I'm roaring through training like the race is tomorrow and clocking most mileage and faster speeds and the next minute gallons of the white fluffy stuff arrives.

Now I'm a powder hound at heart so there's no surprises that as soon as there was more than an inch of the white-stuff in the back yard, I was on my skis to get to work. Sad thing is, I'd already run the day before and raced my bike the day before that. Sounding tuff? I wrecked my feet in my new boots and got blown to death trudging home through a blizzard so, there we are, exhausted. Three days to meet a deadline and they are the snowiest, fluffiest and today, sunniest days yet and I'm knackered, with sore feet and no ski wax and work to do.

I sneak a ski at lunchtime.

I might not sleep well tonight, my pent up excercise exhaustion is wearing thin. At least now, my work here is complete. I might take the cross bike to find some ski wax and sneak in a swim at Ponds forge tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A shocking commute.

I’ve been working 4 days a week in Gloucester for the last month in my tiresome day-job as an engineering manager. This weekend, with the impending threat of snow I headed up to Ilkley – not for the superb running opportunities but for a pre-arranged appointment for a ski touring boot fitting. The team at Backcountry UK did me a great service and I left with a pair of Dynafits that were needing testing. Needless to say I wasn’t prepared to get on a train to Gloucester this week when my skis, boots and all the snow was going to be at the opposite end of the country.

On Monday I ran to my normal place of work from Todwick to Whiston through a scattering of promising snow. 5 miles each way. As someone fairly new to running, this took it out of me a bit, particularly in the snow. I left switching my head torch on as long as possible but as I delved into the woodland footpath alongside the M1 junction 31, I needed the torchlight and revelled in just how much better it made me feel. Even more-so when an owl whirled its way through the branches right above my head. A crunch on a very frozen crunchy rice crispy cake just about got me through my front door at 6pm in time to see the next days snow start to fall.

Much to my glee it didn’t stop, although by now it wasn’t at the extent it would reach on Wednesday. Tuesday morning, as I attempted a sportsman’s rest (read lie-in) Andrew came and woke me up with the words, “It’s time to ski to work”. On the basis that last year I was just able to run 5km and just about able to ski that too, I concluded it was practical to ski-tour to work. I took me a substantial amount of time to set up my new boots in my skis, find a suitable pair of socks (which I failed to do), find all the outdoor gear I needed in the event of broken leg issues and put all the files I needed for work onto a data-stick instead of a “laptop” (read “knee-breaker”) computer so that I didn’t need to lug it up hill and down dale.

As I headed down the path with snow breaking over my feet, I realised that despite the lightweight articulated boots, my legs were still exhausted from running the day before. Still, a bit of rhythym and a whole bunch of enthusiasm got me 400m down the A57 and onto a much better bridlepath which was a little tricky to navigate where the farmer had “pisted” a run with his tractor tyres. I stuck to the central reservation where I was able to get a comfortable glide going. I was too excited about enjoying myself to worry about the niggling pain in my feet and hoped I'd adjust to the new boots. A few tweaks to the official path meant I skirted the edges of fields instead of un-snowed paths where the trees held most of the snow cover. In my silent schussing, a stoat carrying a vole for its breakfast didn’t notice me until we were only a metre apart then it scurried away in a flurry of paw-prints. Excitement subsided and starting to worry about the trip home, I delved into my rucsac to find some thicker socks but to no avail - I now remember leaving them on the stairs. Sadly, all of the downhill sections of my ski to work had insufficient cover for downhill skiing which involves cutting into the snow instead of smoothing over the top of it. Reluctantly, for fear of damaging my skis, I took them off and walked for 50m only to find the grade levelled out and my skis trundled along at a slow-enough pace to control the downhill into Ulley valley.

For 4 hours I stayed in work. One cautious eye on the briefly melting snow, the other on the cloudy skies and gradually, more falling flakes. I was the only person in the office encouraged by more snowfall. I was truly discouraged about the potential walk home, carrying my skis, looking – quite frankly – a bit of a prat on the edge of Rotherham with a pair of skis. By the time I’d walked across the molten car park and up Whiston Green, the snow was deep enough to ski on again and I traversed past the field of sledging kids, over the stationary M1 and across the Upper Whiston road from where I managed the two downhill turns of the day. By now the snow was up to 6 inches deep and well wind slabbed on the open fields.

The crossing at Ulley involved a chat with a girl who’d got her car stuck servicing her pony. She’d politely waited for me to ski out of her way in the morning so I owed her the courtesy of checking she was OK on my way home. After that, the headtorch came on again and I began to lose faith that my feet would not start to bleed from two great blisters that I could feel through the thicker (yet nylon) socks which one of my colleagues loaned me. A saner person would've asked for a lift home but me, I borrow socks. I concluded that adding a second pair of socks and putting the insoles back in the inner boots might not mean I had any blood flow to my feet but would stop any further rubbing and the consequential blood-loss. In the dark, I dug through my rucsac then removed one foot at a time from the boots, in agony in the snow, before forcing them back in – in further agony – and setting about a cereal bar to sate my hunger. Andrew got a very brief answer to the phone call question, “how are you doing” before he set off on his mamouth bike ride home from Sheffield city centre.

I munched on my cereal bar all the way along the tree-lined path now so thick with snow that it was perfectly skiable. Cutting across the farmer’s field at the motorway I only just made out my tracks from earlier in the day. The M1 was moving at around 5 miles an hour below me as I crossed the motorway bridge and reluctantly kicked off my skis where the diversion onto a footpath is the difference between a slithery staircase descent or a climb over a 9-foot tall gate where some possessive land owner can’t be bothered to grant walkers access to his precious lane. I was losing patience for the overly tight kissing gate that’s a real squeeze with a rucsac on whether you have boobs or not. Through the tussocky field where glide is out of thje question and back onto the lane where I discover I have no wax left on my skis. This makes them “snowball” – a phenomenon where the snow is just the right temperature to stick to ski bases and itself. It makes ski travel incredibly inefficient as the skis stop dead with every step and just turn into really heavy, cumbersome shoes. I curse under my breath as I realise not only is my wax not in my rucsac, it’s in town in a storage unit. Later I find out that this is also the temperature and consistency of snow that closes the A57.

I try clearing the skis of snow but it just builds up straight away so I walk through the farmyard where the snow is thin onto the path, hoping that the deeper snow is somehow less sticky as it’s less compressed. Not so. I push myself mentally and physically through the field with over a centimetre of snow stuck to the whole underside of my ski, knowing that at the house ahead is a Nissan hut I can use to remove my skis in comfort and add an extra layer as it’s now blizzard conditions. I can feel the wind tugging at the side of my rucsac and getting under the back panel to cool my spine. The only thing keeping me moving fast is the knowledge that the faster movement keeps my thinly gloved hands from freezing. If it weren’t for the hedge to my right, I could be lost - or at least need to get my compass out. Eventually I see the lights of the house and the A57 50m away. This is all that visibility is. I’m tempted to cut across the field to the back of my house half a mile away but don’t want to be caught – headtorch in the darkness, walking on my landlord’s crops – whatever is beneath the foot of snow. The Nissan hut feels like a warm, cosy living room by comparison to the exposure of the field. I calmly pull on another wool layer, thicker hat, second pair of thick gloves and arrange the headtorch on top of my hood so motorists can see the red light at the back. The skis come off, get de-snowed, hitched together in a comfortable carrying bundle and my new boots finally get to shine, their rubber hiking soles far superior to the solid plastic soles of downhill boots I’ve always been used to. I’m impressed no-one from the house comes to check what I’ve stolen from their garage. I suppose that if they noticed me through their cosy, orange glow dining room windows, they recognised my plight.

Up at the A57, motorists are beginning to queue which means there’s no spray from speeding lorries - hurray!. One driver winds down his window to ask if I’m alright, walking in a blizzard using my hand to protect my face – the one bit of safety kit I don’t have is snow goggles. I say I’m fine, that I only have half a mile to go. As he stops in the queue, I continue walking to my driveway where I pause to push some cars. I phone Andrew to let him know the state of the main road so he doesn’t get driven into by a slithering motorist. As we chat, he calls out to a passing driver, “no mate, I’m fine... just calling the girlfriend to let her know I’m still alive”. Later he’s offered a cup of tea. It’s taken him 2 hours to ride 10 miles. It’s taken me 2.5 hours to ski 5miles. Once indoors and stripped of snowy gear, boots wrenched with agony from feet and half a kilo of snow knocked from a bike we cook dinner using what’s in the cupboard and sit down to have a drink to still being alive at the end of an epic working day.

November 2010 stats

Running: 52.27km, 7.8km/hr, 1,217m el
Cycling: 295.85km, 17.2km/hr, 3,114m el
Swim: 6km 2.2km/hr avg.
Strength: 2h 56 min 46s
Walking & skiing: 24.59km + 17.47km

Progress in 2 disciplines. Not a surprising regression on the bike since most of my cyclo-crosses aren't recorded and the weather's a bit pooey for riding.