Monday, October 29, 2018

Must Be Getting Colder...

When your Squeaker - ooh, matron - won't leave your lap having ignored you all summer. Said Squeaker being the ol' Felis catus or cat, to you.

As to the training, I'm not sure if I'll ever train again! My back is feeling better, my leg muscles really aren't bad at all. My shins? Absolutely f*(%ed. I do hope the splints settle asap or I will go stir crazy.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

On Day One I Started To Break...

By the end of day two of the OMM I was broken. I don't think there is a part of me that isn't broken.

Day one went all right according to the results (42 of 147) but in reality I was a bit rubbish and held the team back. I started holding the team back sooner in the 'run' than I expected if I'm honest, around check point 5 (of 12) - damn you Pen y Gadir Fawr, damn you. After that is was sllllooooooowwww going and a case of trying not to add any extra distance or climb by making navigation mistakes.

By check point eight, I was climbing out of the valley on all fours such was the extremeness of my decline. Then the snow came. It was much heavier than I expected. Full on, proper snowing. Heading towards the last few checkpoints, I began to get pain in my left knee.

Day one, 25+k and more ascent than I enjoyed.

The camping wasn't too bad. The temperatures weren't warm but I was extremely glad I took my slightly bulkier, heavier sleeping bag - it actually kept me properly warm all night. A pleasant surprise (some might say, the highlight of my OMM).

At the camp, I discovered I'd taken the skin off my heel - I guess the cold, saved me from feeling it on the run. I also realised my back was a bit the worse for wear from carrying all the kit - perhaps I should have practised carrying a 5kg pack?

And then day two happened and by check point two I had shin splints left and right. Every step was pain. And then tussocks and heather. Endless bloody tussocks and heather. It was very hard to look on the bright side. Time slowed as team after team swept past. Long gone where any hopes of a respectable finish.

Then, as we arrived at the crunch point for check point six, such was my decrepitude, that my partner asked if I wanted to go on, it being as convenient a place as any to head back early. I honestly did not want to traverse more god damn tussocks and the mean spirited descent of several hundred metres followed the return ascent - damn you course planner, but this man ain't for quitting. We were dropping down the field faster than a feather in a vacuum but by god we were going to finish ahead of those who didn't finish at all.

Day two, 20+k and also more ascent than I enjoyed.

We finished 81st of 127 finishers and 34 retired [at the point I write this, so the stats might change a little].

Friday, October 26, 2018

So The Theoretical Became...

a 5,600g reality. To be fair, that isn't far off what I've carried in the past. The main difference is down to the absolutely massive sleeping bag I'm packing. It is going to be f*(%ing freezing and I just don't think my normal bag will cut the mustard. The weight to insulation ratio on my cold weather bag is really good - it's just it's got a really high insulation rating so all the ratios in the world aren't going to make it light. I'm also using dehydrated meals and probably have 500-600 more calories than normal as I think I'm going to need it.

With less than 24 hours to go, I must admit to feeling slightly nervous. I've managed to get some endurance back during the last few months but is it 25+km hike with a 6kg pack, followed by a 20+km hike endurance? I guess by Sunday afternoon I'll have the answer...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


my rucksack for the OMM will weigh 4,395g - in reality it will weigh half a tonne (or at least feel like it).

Sore throat is easing and no other ill feelings so all good with three days to go...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tour of New York - Cancelled

So I was aiming to pootle stage 1 tonight and stage 2 on Thursday, miss stage 3 on the weekend (and do it on catch up) followed by stages 4 and 5 next. Instead I've a sore throat so I'm resting. Other than a sore throat I feel fine so I'm hoping it's nothing but as a precaution, I'm not going to risk things this close to the OMM.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Bit More Run and Bike

Just a ramped 5k run followed by an hour on the bike. The bike session, 35k, was a pretty good work out. I started off in the group - it being a group ride - but couldn't quite hang on. Once out the back it was game over. There's no getting back on the group unless you can sustain massive power for five or ten minutes - I can't, so it became a solo ride.

My initial feelings on the new Zwift routes in Central Park, is that I quite like them. Although there are no long hills, there are lots of steep undulations. There doesn't seem to be any long flat sections either, the undulations come thick and fast. That makes for quite a tough session even when taking it easy. At no point do you get into a rhythm before the next undulation hits. I think it could make for quite good racing though as I think said undulations will really break things up.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hop, Skip and a Jump...

um, er, I mean a run and a bike. With only a week till the OMM I'm trying not to over do it or get injured so I stayed indoors. Tried a new tactic on the treadmill - and it almost made it fun! So when I say I tried a new tactic what I really mean to say is, I missed the start of a group run and set off 2 minutes behind. As it turns out that gave me a few targets to catch. And as you can see telemetry on those runners close to you it meant I could set my speed in order to catch up. Focusing on catching up meant I wasn't that aware of how far I'd gone or the time. I just lost myself in the task at hand, namely catching up. All of which made for an enjoyable treading on the mill. After that 7.5k, I finished off with 10k on the bike around central park.

Friday, October 19, 2018

New York, New York...

The new place to ride - virtually, at least. Just a quick blast in the new Zwift world tonight. When I say quick, I mean not huge distance. I did go better than the last time out though. At first I thought I was in for another disappointing one but things soon picked up and I felt good on the undulations. Only 20k and I'm not even sure how long it took but I enjoyed it. I think I like the new world map and I'm looking for a race there tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Disappointingly Lacking

Took a rest day yesterday but didn't do me any good this evening - and I only opted for a social Zwift rather than a race. A ride that should have been just about comfortable but instead was utterly pants. I got dropped on the climb. In fact I was at the back from the off and it didn't get any better. Had nothing. Nada. Zip diddly. Where I was feeling buoyed last week I'm feeling like I've sprung and leak and going down fast...

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Shark Tooth

Bike session, short sharp ramps 85% to 135% FTP. Wasn't a long session but pretty hard work and my legs still don't feel fresh. Think I might add an extra set next time just to reach the full burn. Some kind of run is on the cards for tomorrow.

Looking to the OMM, today I decided to give the backup cooking kit a test run - seeing as how I didn't do any actual running. It being pretty darn windy out, I felt it would be a good test and it worked pretty well. I'm somewhat notorious with my previous OMM partners for providing the cooker that was somewhat lacking in the cooking capability - solid fuel. And once again that is the backup option but we are going to be cooking on gas for the main supply. This is just the backup in case we want a few extra hot drinks. Plus I've honed the technique... 500ml to the boil in no less than 14 minutes. Fast it ain't but it did just about get to the boil and the kit weighs next to nothing so ideal as a backup.


(just coming to the boil)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

My Legs Hurt

So it's a rest day as my legs hurt and I feel tired. Not even a gentle Zwift could tempt me tonight. So it's full on feet up, laze on the sofa.

Looking towards the goal, the OMM, it's under three weeks to go and I'm glad I got roped in. The running may have taken a bit of a back seat to the mountain training but I'm feeling pretty good about things. Without the goal of the OMM I think I'd be getting a little faster but no where near mountain fit. Back in June I didn't think I'd be up to 'running' 20+km in the mountains this year and now I feel I'm ready to take on the OMM - although I fully expect to cursing Mr Blackmore come Sunday 28th October and vowing 'never again'....

Anyway, tonight I've been checking my kit. Happy to report it's mostly all in order but I need to get the altimeter working. Nothing a new battery and replacement strap won't fix. I've a mind to risk the strap but it is kind of hanging by a few threads so I guess I better play it safe...

Plus I'm finally going to get a chance to test my 'muncher' - oooh matron, ssshhh, no, stop it. The 'muncher', a titanium spork that I forked out a fortune for on Kickstarter - what was I thinking!! (but did you see what I did there?). It has a mass of just 17 grams, is a knife, a fork, a spoon, a tin opener - not that I'll be taking any tins on the OMM - a bottle opener - likewise - a peeler, fire striker, cord cutter, pry-bar - for really weak things that need to be pried - and a flat head screwdriver plus it looks pretty cool....
So that's the kit checked and the fitness level just about there. Bring on the OMM...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marvellous Malverns...

although I was right about yesterday's training - I was knackered from the off. My legs felt heavy. Pretty much the entire run was a struggle. I was a that close [I'm holding my thumb and index finger about 1mm apart] from not making it all the way to the Worcestershire Beacon. In the second section, the six hills were killing me. Mentally I'd given up and decided I'd get to 8km out and turn back - a ten miler wouldn't be too bad would it?

Anyway, as I struggled over the top of the aptly named Perseverance Hill, the Beacon came into view and I decided giving in wasn't an option. It didn't get any easier but finally I made it to the Worcestershire Beacon - then all I had to do was turn round and run all the way back...

It wasn't my quickest time and my legs are really knackered now. Scratch that, the whole of me is knackered. On the upside though, the weather was fantastic and the views good if a little misty/hazy. Definitely glad I ran and it's another longish one complete, 20km with 1000m ascent. Not long now till the OMM...

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Probably Shouldn't Have

So I've booked another impromptu day off tomorrow. The forecast looks good. Might even be sunny enough to trigger photo-reactivity on my glasses - but then again, maybe not. I'm undecided on exactly where to run but I'm looking at another longish one.

So back to this evening and training. By rights is should have been an easy one but I ended up choosing another race. That said, I almost jacked it in half way round as I was going so badly. It felt like I was working bloody hard but my power was rubbish. I managed to haul myself through the lethargy and stuck at it. Even managed to break free from the small pack on the last hill and remained out there to the finish.

Probably should have stuck to an easy session in light of tomorrow's plan so I'm hoping the effort isn't going to impact my legs too badly - otherwise I'm going to be ruing the decision to go at this evening...

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Bit Of A Muddle

So I started with a run. That ended very quickly as I opened the blister on my heel within a few minutes. Yes, I am namby pamby. On the upside, at least I'd decided on a local run so didn't have far to get back.

Luckily the heel on my cycling shoe is lower than my runners so I couldn't feel it when riding. Cue some Zwifting. A free ride of 16km that started off as an easy ride but ended up like a TT. Then, about an hour after that, I started to get pangs of guilt for not really having done enough training. Cue an afternoon race, 36km on the jungle hilly loop route - and I'm bloody glad I did, it was a right good race.

After the initial few kilometres I was in a small group of six and we worked pretty solidly to get to the loop section. Then into loop, starting straight into a climb, the group broke apart as a few riders went out the front door. I was stuck in a group of three and they just stuck on my tail, taking it easy while I did the work. Grrrhhhh, turning green - they made me angry - I cranked up the power to drop them. That hurt a little but I never saw them again so worth it.

On the second lap I got caught and overtaken on the climb by a different rider. He blew me away but was rubbish on the descent and I caught him towards the end of the lap. Into the final lap and the final climb he started to come back at me. Feeling I could get him on the descent as long as I didn't lose too much on the climb I worked hard, getting close to going into the red but managed not only to keep him close but to keep him behind. By the top he was beaten and as an added bonus I caught and passed a rider from the group that rode away on the first climb. After that it was steady down to the finish. Damn good fun - if painful in places - like a proper workout should be.

Now I'm happy I've done a proper days training...

Saturday, October 06, 2018

That Was Hard Effort

With the miserable weather I obviously turned to Zwift and with no races that took my fancy I selected a training session instead. And the one I chose was tougher than I expected. The main section was two sets of three intervals with each interval being 3 minutes at 110%FTP with 2 minute recovery. The warm up included a few efforts as well.

The intervals were hard going and by the time I hit the last couple my cadence was dropping. I very nearly hit the spiral of death on the penultimate rep but managed to get through it. I redoubled my effort on the final one in order to keep the cadence up.

Definitely knew I'd been through a solid work out. I was sweating like it was going out of fashion. More of something tomorrow...

Friday, October 05, 2018

Rest Day and New Glasses...

So my legs are still sore - wasn't expecting that. Decided to make it a rest day. Tomorrow looks to be a bit wet so almost certainly going to be Zwifting. On the up side - although I'm not sure why this is an upside as it's totally unrelated - I decided to get myself a pair of prescription sports glasses and they arrived today. It's so annoying when the glasses slip when running. Hopefully this will be an end to that misery...

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Sore Quads and an Easy Recovery

Just a twenty minute Zwift. My quads are sore but other than that I survived yesterday's long run pretty well. Couldn't face doing nothing so did an easy leg turner to get the blood flowing and speed up recovery.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Longest Run Of The Year

Pleased with my decision to take the day off and head to the hills. Knocked out my longest and hilliest run of the year (probably the longest for over two years, maybe even three). 23.7km with 1,100m of ascent, beating my previous furthest of 16.5km and 700m from a few weeks ago. Added to that this run was on rougher terrain and I only took an extra hour to complete (3hr25 vs 2hr27). All in all, that equates to a much stronger run. I was fully knackered by the end but the key point was that I was still running.

One thing I'd forgotten though, was just how long the run from Pen y Gadir Fawr to Crug Mawr is. By god that ridge is looonnnggggg. At one point I began to wonder if I was ever going to reach the end... and then it isn't exactly over once you get to there. There's still a bit of running left to get from there back to Llanbedr.

Feels good to finally get a really solid run in my legs and I don't think it was horrendously slow for a training run. A few more good solid runs and I'll be peaking* just in time for the OMM at the end of the month...

* disclaimer, by 'peaking' I mean able to make it round without expiring.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Upping Things A Little

So the forecast looks dry. Maybe a bit foggy on the tops - yes, I'm talking mountains - but generally it doesn't look too bad for October. Inspired by the runners in last Saturday's Black Mountains race I've decided to hit my next long run tomorrow. After all, the clock is ticking for the OMM at the end of the month. Anyway, inspired as I am, I'm going to run the 3/4 BMR - that's three quarters of the Black Mountains race route. It's not going to be easy at about 22km and 1100m ascent but I need to get it done.