Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sheppey Bliss, for a moment

The hotel where I am staying is so tranquil that last night I sat on the deck, alone, drinking a bottle of water that had been left in my room before heading to bed to sleep with the window wide open.  Partly to exhaust some of the heat from the room and partly because I could.

At 5:30am I was duly woken by a dawn chorus of sandpipers, oyster catchers and a mischievous blackbird who sits in the clematis oustide, singing for a mate.

Far from being tired, I'd had such a good sleep I got up and dressed and headed out on the bike to explore the local lanes, tracks and Leysdown-on-Sea village.

The tracks and lanes were amazing, winding through the pink, blue and purple skies of the rising sun.  I saw Curlews, merganser ducks, tawny owls, a peregrine falcon and kestrels.  The whole ensemble was topped off with a moorhen on a narrow footbridge facing off a herd of intrigued cow calfs.

I slid into the carpark, packed my bike away again and slid into my seat dead on time for breakfast.

At the other end of the scale, having finally - for once - finished work here at 5:30 (everyone else leaves at 4), I set out again to take up where I left of in Leysdown-on-Sea.  So far i've been unimpressed by this town and when a lady tried to kill me by passing me with plenty of room then swinging left across the front of me I was really pissed off.  I was more pissed off by the moped rider who suggested I'd be better off with my ligths on... like that would in any way affect the stupidity of the woman who had already seen me, just chose not to think about me.

I did a loop and set off back down the main road to find some other villages to ride through.  To much success I had a lovely ride through Eastchurch and into Minster where I have already explored.  I left Minster by the main road and headed back into Eastchurch, tacking the dodgy estate in Leysdown again - this time without daft murdering bitches who give women drivers a bad name and thick as pig shit moped riders who preach lighting to other people but don't see fit to use it themselves.  Sorry, rant over. (Like, I was wearing every clashing colour in the book)... Over, to bed.

A short byway through the campsite park led to a stony trail full of potholes which stuck me back in Leysdown.  This time my only interaction was with a boy-racer with too-low spoilers on the front of his car, ginerly easing his way over all the speed bumps.  He flashed his lights to let me turn at a roundabout as he indicated to turn left.  Bless.  At least some people in Leysdown know how to drive, even if they chose the wrong car for *that* estate.

I rode back along the tranquil road to the hotel full of the joys.  More kestrels, more owls.  The lambs being cute in the setting sun - snuggling up for the night time.

I did the wonderwoman impression and showed up for dinner 10 minutes later, picked up a packed lunch for tomorrow and paid my bill so I can leave at 7. Tomorrow isn't going to be nearly as nice but so long as I can stay calm on the motorway, it's going to be the closest you can get to a perfect rest day for me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Learning to run fast

The start of this triathlon season has been pretty depressing.  It's not really started yet which means I have had no incentive to train and anyway, I've had very little time to do so.  It's all well and good to decide to put the same effort into training for short races as for Ironman and see what exciting things can happen but when your target time for a whole event is only 2 hours or-so, it's difficult to summons the effort required to go out for a 1 hour ride or a 30 minute run or swim.

I have been feeling that all of the amazing fitness I gained last year in the cyclo-cross season is gone.  A dim and distant history associated with the blood thinners and my subsequent readjustment after taking them for so long.  I still haven't heard from the hospital about my final tests that were done to see if there remains anything wrong with my blood or my bone marrow.  It doesn't help stop the doubt from setting in.

I was hoping to come back to triathlon this year as fit as I had been in January, all smiles and front of the pack racing (it doesn't last long but it's nice to hold on to it for a while).

I then tried to hold on to the thought that I would settle for finishing races - it having been so long since I have run long distances after my calf failed at the nationals.  I duly delivered at Grizedale with what I thought was a slightly slower run but 20 minutes faster off the bike.  What is really important is I felt OH! So much better than I had last year.

As the weeks wore on though, I started to lose faith in any training.  I have been driving so much and working so hard.  I did a few fell races - reasonably slow affairs - but they kept me in check and started to give me faith that although I'm not running regularly, I am spending a lot of time on my feet on site.

Today I did a long run, a half marathon distance to be specific.  It was unplanned and run at race pace.  I got home and checked it against all my other times for runs of similar distance.  Mostly triathlon runs or training runs in prep for Ironman.  Although today hurt like hell, I'm happy to say that it was my fastest ever run at that distance.  In fact, the only other runs I have done at that speed have been under 6.7 miles.

I have revisited my results for Grizedale Duathlon finding that I had muddled up cycling and running sections of my results.  The bike ride was exactly the same speed as last year, only half a mile longer and the runs were at the same speed and faster than last year (a 6 mile + 4 mile run replaced one 7 mile run).  This is all very happy making and today, having run farther than I will at Whinlatter next weekend gives me the confidence boost that I can do it with the small matter of a mountain bike ride in the middle.  Not only do it, but I am hoping to beat last years time again through the simple technichque of good pacing as I start to discover that so long as I put in the right ammount of training this blood fitness might just stick and start to translate into some satisfying gains in the triathlon world as well as the cyclo-cross one.

All I need to do this week is pray to the recovery gods for speedy return to normal.