Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Mixed Bag

Last week was a great week for training, and what was meant to be an easy week. This week was meant to be harder, felt harder, but sort of involved less training. A tough week at work has made things hard.

Monday was a well needed rest day. It seems spending two and a half hours running with a 5kg backpack disagreed with my shoulders and upper back. I felt like a crippled old man on Monday. Still it gave me the chance to bake what have to be the best cookies ever; Golden Oaty Carrot Cookies. So good in fact I had to bake more on Friday. Monday also brought the release of Sufferfest: Extra Shot. A painful 20 minute extension to any turbo session. I diligently downloaded it on Tuesday for Wednesday's turbo session.

Tuesday was swimming, actually felt pretty good in the pool, apart from the kick sets where I was the slowest, I actually managed to hold a reasonable enough pace. Maybe I can venture back into lane 2 soon....

Wednesday, well I had one hell of a day at work, spent most of the day in the lab, a fairly hostile place to be working and wasn't in the best of moods by the time I got home having worked an extra 30 minutes. So I decided to take it out on the turbo. I lined up a triple 'fest and set about beasting myself. TrainerRoad released a power profile for A Very Dark Place, I was keen to see what it was like so made AVDP my first order of business. I was able to follow the profile pretty well, in fact I actually ended up riding at an RPE that felt much lower than when I normally do AVDP. Guess that means one of two things, either my FTP is out of date and I need to fit in another test on Tuesday, or I have a great ability to suffer. The latter would be most useful given, but the former is probably the most likely. Second on the menu was Extra Shot. Now it was sold as something to add on, with no warm up and cool down. Well what can I say about it. It hurt. Quite a lot. It is a great little addition, but it is 20 minutes of sheer brutality, RPE 7 is lowest it goes, builds from there then has lots of little attacks and "bergs". Great video though with some good Pro Women's footage and a soundtrack that I quite like. It's really a missing 20 minutes from Hell Hath No Fury. Not that I would advocate attempting the two combined without first seeking medical advice. Last on the 'fest menu was Revolver. The most painful trainer workout experience ever. Fact. Well, my 'warm up' seemed to have got me to the start in reasonable condition. Perfect for 16x 1 min max effort, 1 minute recovery. I was actually putting out a decent amount of power, turning out about 350W for them, except the last where I managed to hold 400+ watts. Pretty pleased with that.

Thursday was another horrific day in the lab, barely got a break all day, so swimming wasn't as much fun. I was just dead, so doing 25s and 50s at max effort was not pretty. Not much to say about that really other than I was hurting by the end.

Friday, well, by the time I finished work and set off for my lunchtime run I was a zombie. Wasn't expecting much from it at all. Idea was a run out to the lakes, run round and back. we set off and then when we got to the new OS building Mike took us on a back route. Wouldn't have been so bad if I'd put my calf guards on, but I didn't, and the narrow path was lined with stinging nettles. Didn't feel them at first, but they kicked in a bit later on. Ouch. After that it was across a lumpy field then out to the lakes, multi surface running, but none of it too bad for road shoes thankfully. Once at the lake we did a lap at 'your own pace' I seemed to have plenty of pent up aggression as I went off like a madman, running 4 minute kilometres, I was loving it. Built up quite a lead too by the time I finished the 2.5 or so km. Then we agreed to run easy on the way back, I think my idea of easy ended up being a little harder for the others. Oh well.

Saturday was another parkrun day. Given how I've been feeling all week I went into this with few expectations. In fact I'd pretty much decided it wouldn't be a PB run before I started. As the start gun drew nearer I realised I need the loo again. Great. A second week with a bursting bladder. Only 20 minutes though right? I made sure I was nearer the front this week after last weeks poor start. Turns out the opposition was a little better this week too. The guys started off pretty hard and I followed. 0.5K in and a glance at the Garmin told me I was in danger of overcooking things, 3:32 or so. Still, I wasn't feeling too bad for it, so pushed on, managing 3:38 for the first, the pain started to draw in on the second and slipped to 3:42 Halfway through the second lap and the suffering started to take hold, pace slipped a little more and the elastic was starting to break on the guy in front as he slipped out to 10m, just keep running, looked at the pace, I had about 20s in hand compared to last week's average at this point by my reckoning, so just kept pushing. 3:49 3rd km, slipping now. Onto the final lap and the push. Overtaking people now, making life a little tricky, 3:59 through 4km. Deep inside the hurt locker now, got passed by a guy in a 50 shirt, tried holding on to him, someone came up alongside me, she got a cheer from some 2nd lappers, she was the first lady. Damn, got to old on, avoid being chicked. Glance at the Garmin. I've definitely gone sub 20, can I push on for sub 19:50? Keep holding on, catch 50 timer, first lady finds her finishing legs, I try but just don't have it and Mr 50 passes me in the finishing chute. I'm not bothered though. I've gone sub 20 :-) Sub 19:50, sub 19:49 too ;-). The Garmin reckons 19:38, seems I started and stopped right as that was the official result. Placed 31/233 in the end, 30th male and 2/16 in SM25-29, taking 25s of last weeks PB. Wow. Not gonna have time to do it for a few weeks, but sub 19:30 has to be the goal now, sub 19 would be nice for the new year too. Plan on giving Bedford a try, a tarmac run with shallower bends might make things a lot easier. We'll see about that one... You can see the suffering here:

And finally Sunday, got up feeling surprising perky for 6am. An hour of the day that should only exist when it involves a sporting event in my opinion. Unfortunately it was to go into work for 5 hours again. Plan was to head into the forest afterwards though so I packed up all my freshly laundered, and just about dry, running kit and headed into work. Mid morning break came, and given last weeks epic fail of a trail run based on 3 crumpets for breakfast and no lunch thought I'd join Leigh in a trip to McDonald's for a bacon roll and coffee. How is it possible to get a bacon roll wrong? Even using proper bacon it wasn't great. Felt a bit off afterwards, that'll be another 6 months until I go to McDonald's when I forget again why I don't like it then. Finish time came and I headed off to do the route I did last week, well mostly. I slightly modified it, it was to be a figure 8 rather than a loop, going from the top of the sandy slope where I was mentally broken last week. I headed off for the first loop of the plains. Bit less wet this week, although that meant I got muddier as I didn't pick my way around the puddles so diligently. Picked the right underpass too, after finding a ford to cross a stream at rather than a leap of faith across a steep sided bank. Back through the car park and down into the woods. I was running pretty well and the kilometres was flying by. I even remembered the route perfectly, no map checks required, so pleased about that wasn't quite as short as I'd planned, ended up being 24km in the end, taking just over 2 hours, 23 minutes quicker and only a mile shorter than last week. If I can run trails like that with a pack on my back, then a road half marathon shouldn't be too bad. I'm feeling it now though, legs were pretty sore on the drive home. Hoping my f-likes will hold my legs together and refresh them overnight.

The week was pretty good in the end I think, only managed 8h15m of training, but I needed some rest and the quality was probably better as a result. 2 weeks until Bedford half marathon and I have a lot to think about, what time should I aim for? and what pace to set off at? In theory I should be able to do a 1:30-1:31 based on extrapolation from my 5K time using a few different formulae. Is that too quick? or conversely is it too conservative, parkrun has come out long the past 2 weeks, it's on grass, and has 6 tight bends on each of 3 laps. I shall have to ponder that one. Oh and the toughprint paper I mentioned last week, another thumbs up, I put my parkrun bar code through the wash by mistake, and it came out fine!

Oh, and turbotorment news, apparently mum has secured 50 t-shirts from Mencap for people who want to come and take part, which is a great bonus!

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