Friday 25 September 2015

Tim Tom's Time to Taper?!

Melody sporting my new Sky Rapha cap which was given to me last week
Monday: Started this week with a run. 10k. Interval style. I followed the formula - 10 mins warm up; 5 x 1k run (with 400m recovery); cool down to finish. Felt I had worked quite hard despite some much zoomier runner racing past me. The drizzly weather helped cool me down.
Not called intervals for nothing
Tuesday: Work and back cycle commutes. Had felt like an age since I had last cycled to work and back. Slight menace in that I have to walk to my parents to get my bike - have no garage you see. Very misty morning, lovely evening return.

Wednesday: Cycled again. This time took an evening ride with Ron. This was a nice leisurely jolly.
Evening ride with the phantom
Thursday: Sat on my laurels.

Friday: Long run. Just over 10 miles. Last lengthy run before the big one. The big one being my first ever marathon - The Heart of England Forest Marathon. This run started at the very beautiful Coughton Ford.
Most of the route was off-road. I was trying to follow the yellow public footway signs which led across fields. A number of fields had recently been ploughed and the public pathways were ploughed up too (or just didn't exist). Sometimes, large machinery was placed as if to prevent access across the footways. Menace.
Transformer trying to block my path
I didn't let anything stop me from making my way to Oversley Wood. SJ ran around this wood lots during her marathon training and I was yet to run around it once. Am pleased to report my route took me to Oversley Wood and I had great delight in running around it.
The Wood is a great place to run. No traffic and much wider than a tow path. I spotted 2 jack deer in the wood too - bonus. Unlike a tow path though, this was relatively hilly.
Oversley Wood was about half-way. On my return, I took a different route though covered some stretches I had already ran. My completed route can be seen on the GPX track log below.
Long run, 17.82k
Today gave me the chance to sport my new Macmillan running vest. Macmillan sent me this vest as a gift because I informed them I will attempt to raise a few quids for them next year when I swim/bike/run another crazy event. Next year, during same event I will also raise money for Scope and maybe a few other charities that are close to my heart. And, on the subject of charity - a big big thanks to all of you who have kindly donated to my Papyrus cause. To date we have raised £170 which is pretty fine.
Saturday: Quick run before work. 5k. Ran around Canon Hill Park. SJ was running her couch to 5k thing today too. It was cold and misty when I ran, SJ had the sunshine.
5k run
Sunday: Great end to the week. Attended tri-club and had sessions in all 3 disciplines. Felt like a real triathlete.

The swim session was length after length after length. Sometimes with a buoy, sometimes with a float and sometimes without. My swimming is pants. The bike session was a spin class. This was the second time I have ever span and this class was way better than my first. I think I set the bike up better on this occasion. Rather unexpectedly, this session ended and a run was offered. Only 5 of us ran but it made the session feel more tri-like. 
3.18k run (twice round the track, then twice outer circle)
I didn't set my GPS until I had ran around the track once, but was easy to see how far I ran because I only had to add 400m. Nice to finish a week feeling buzzed up. Bring on the marathon!

Sunday 20 September 2015

Last splash!

Monday: Following the 'chicken dance' that was performed at tri-club over the weekend, my legs were feeling quite achey breaky. For this reason, I decided to rest my poor pins. 
Tuesday: Ran to work commute style. Usual 10k. Felt much further today. And then, in the evening, I went for a dip!
'Spitting in a wishing well,
Blown to hell,
I'm the last splash'
400m Splash (no dash)
Decided to take my last open water swim of the season at Ragley Lake. I glanced at the FaceBook page and realised I could turn up earlier than normal, so sure enough I got there for 5:30. What I didn't realise was (as well as a bunch of others) the fact I couldn't swim any earlier and worse still, the evening was gong to begin with races. Damn. The only way to get an earlier swim in was to race. I didn't race, but I entered the event. The event was entitled 'Splash and Dash' and was a 400m swim followed by a 3k (I think) run. I swam but missed out the running part. My swim was slow, as usual, the results of the race are presented below. (Hey, I didn't come last!)
After the race, I went for a second lap of the lake. These laps were only 400m circuits because we were not allowed to swim the full length of the lake today. Probably just as well - the water was the coldest it has ever felt and I was suffering cramp again. Before next season (and my impending triathlon events) I really must learn to swim and figure a way to combat this cramp! Hmmm.
400m Last Splash
Tim Tom Tom Tom testing complete. Will blog about this another time when I can get around to it. 

Wednesday: Had hoped to go for a cycle with Ron. Sadly, the weather turned foul. Today was a victory for the foul weather fairy.

Thursday: 10k run commute. Interval style. Followed the formula: Warm up 10 mins; 6 x 800m run (with 400m recovery); cool down to finish. My legs (calves) really ached and had done since I went swimming. Not sure why my legs ached so much, only swam 800m.
Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Long run. 1/2 marathon distance. I started this run from Edstone Aqueduct. My wife and kids kindly dropped me off on this really quite misty morn.
My run followed the tow path all the way in to Stratford. On a previous run, I told myself that 'one day I'll run across this bridge'. 'This bridge' being the one I photographed below.
Today, I ran past this bridge and then turned back on myself and started running in the opposing direction. I had joined the Greenway. The beautiful bridge was now in front of me.
The promise to myself was kept. I ran across this bridge. Oh what a lovely bridge it was too!
I continued along the Greenway until it reached it's end (or start). One day I'd like to run the whole length of the Greenway despite not knowing how far it stretches. Just at the end (start) a rail carriage could be seen which had been converted into a cafe and bike hire shop. Pretty.
My run finished by running back into Stratford Town Centre. I ran along various streets and basically ran until I had reached my desired distance. SJ and the kids kindly picked me up. As was becoming our custom, we had a post run feast to celebrate. SJ had ran around Arrow Vale as part of a couch to 5k initiative.
Lunar sporting Daddy's running cap
Sunday: Tri-club day. Session started with swimming. Better than last week - 3 more lanes and more attention! My swimming is still pants but let's hope these drills helped a little. After swimming, we went for a cycle.
Before the cycle started, one nice member handed out Sky bottles and caps to us all. Very gratefully received. The cap was awesome and Rapha no less! I felt obliged to wear my new cap for the 22k jaunt we cycled. This was a relatively hard slog. The route took us in a rough circle but started with Cobley Hill. This hill is mean on a geared bike and was a proper beast on my single-speed. That was the first time I had ever cycled up said hill on a single-speed bike (and maybe the last). The ride wasn't too bad - I survived to report the tale!

Sunday 13 September 2015

Run Forest Run.

Monday: This week started well with an off-road 5k run. It had been a while since I had been over the fields in Studley. We had a kinda family re-union on the weekend gone and some of my family trekked these self-same fields. Today was my turn and the fields were as beautiful as ever.
Tuesday: Had wanted to open water swim but decided to give it a miss. Missed the swim because I worried about being tired for tomorrows planned 20 mile run. Plus the fact that I couldn't really be bothered...

Wednesday: Long run. My longest run ever in fact - a whopping 20 miles! Woo hoo!
 This run started at Tardebigge locks. SJ, (Lunar and Melody) took me to the start in the car. They dropped me off, and off I ran. Was nice running here, it reminded me of past walks with Cody Menace (my dawg). I remembered the time when a dog in the yard of a house on the tow path, barked as Cody and I ran past. Cody got freaked out and jumped right into the canal.
GPS track of my run
The running surface was good on the whole but changed a lot during my run. Sometimes single track, sometimes mud, often gravel, at times tarmac and cobbles here and there. The elevation was great, my route descended pretty much from start to finish. And the weather was great - about room temperature.
At about the 10k mark, the canal forked. Not sure where right went, but I figured left was the way to Worcester. After so many steps, a rock proved I was on the right track.
The next bit of confusion occurred when I reached a tunnel and ran out of tow path. A track led over the tunnel but then forked. I chose left again and after so long my track reached tow path once more. Left is a golden rule. (If you are ever in a maze, always choose left and a way out you will find - allegedly).
 I did a few things different on this run compared to all my others. For starters, I put a salt (electrolyte) tablet in my water. I was supposed to use 2 tablets for the litre I was carrying but I only had one. I think this tablet helped - I did not suffer any cramp. Food was another difference. At the 10k and 20k mark, I awarded myself with treats (dried fruit, nuts, biscuits, fudge and chocolate). At the 20 mark I also took an ibuprofen tablet and a pro plus. These new tricks all seemed to help.
Once I reached Lowesmoor, I got a 'kick' because I knew I had essentially reached Worcester. Much of my headspace was filled with thoughts of SJ. SJ used to live in Worcester and I ran past the back of her old apartment. SJ and i had a lot of good times in Worcester. I don't ever remember seeing the bridge above before but doesn't it look nice?!
Once in Worcester, with about 7k to go, I phoned SJ. Not to cry and moan like a big girl, but to report on my progress. I was heading to what we called 'the Space Bridge'. This bridge lights up like a spaceship at night and SJ and I ran across it a few times (well, at least once) when she was training for her marathon.
Such a lovely bridge. Nice view of the Malverns from here too. The bridge was my furthest point out before I started to head back the way I came (other side of the river now though).
The next bridge I crossed we call 'Josh's Bridge'. Josh is SJ's nephew and in the past he painted the tops of the bridge posts a wonderful blue colour. This story was printed in a local rag. Ha!
My run finished in Gheluvelt park. And what a finish too! There was my family chilling out in the park. How awesome!
To celebrate my achievement of running 20 miles, we all went for a post run eat. SJ and I had a carvery. Lunar had nasty burger and chips. Melody had all sorts. Food and fuel should never be under estimated!
Thursday: Rested my poor pins from all their running the day before. Wish I would recover faster than I do. The MadeGood folk had sent me a digital link to watch their wonderful LEL film, so, SJ and I spent a lovely evening watching that. Below is a still of SJ, Lunar and myself from said film.
Thursday was World Suicide Prevention Day. Flair, my work buddy, posted details of my up and coming Marathon on our work (NHS Trust) website to acknowledge this day - her headline was 'Run Forest Run' (see what she did there...). Flair and I are both working (along with 2 other nurses) on a suicide prevention project. I am participating in the Heart of England Forest Marathon to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention and raise monies for Papyrus. Papyrus is the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. Should you want to know more about my run or donate me a few coins please follow this link here.

Friday: Legs still a little achey. Well, that was my excuse to not do any exercise. Instead, I ate a big fat steak with the Mrs!

Saturday: Back on my feet. Ran 10.5k interval style. My run followed the formula 10 mins warm up; 5 x (2 mins fast with 2 mins recovery); cool down to finish. This was a nice run that took me around Edgbaston reservoir. I hadn't ran along this reservoir for some time and just because it's so lovely, I ran around it twice!
Today was the day that I found out that Jonny Mitchum had entered an IronMan event! He will be participating in the Zurich IronMan 2016. He said he wanted to enter an IronMan before he was 40 and I too share his philosophy. Did I mention I have signed up for Uk IronMan 2016?!
Saturday was also the day that my buddy Chris posted me out a new Tom Tom watch for testing purposes. This is a new product that hasn't been released as yet. They want me to test this watch in open water and to that effect, I hope to test it next Tuesday during my probable last open water swim of 2015. I have neglected my swimming over recent weeks and my swimming has always been quite poor. Must learn to swim before any pending triathlon events next year. Horrors!

Sunday: Spent time with the tri-club which felt kinda weird after abstaining for so long. Felt weird swimming in a pool too. The swim was hard - I swallowed lots of water and my technique sucked. I swam for 50 minutes but was not impressed with my performance. How on earth am I going to compete in this IronMan event I have entered?! So poor is my swimming, I will not allow myself to tell other tri-club members of my plans. 
4.9k track run
The running session that followed went much better. We essentially did some track running. The run got more interesting with patches of speed work thrown in and then some hill work too (essentially zigzagging up and down a mound that was next to the track). We ran about 5k and all. The session finished with some strange exercises where we walked like a giant bird and stretched some. Am still walking kinda funny now! I used my new Tom Tom for the tri-club sessions and it worked just fine. Have yet to use it for an open water swim. Hopefully next week I'll be able to blog about my Tom Tom testing. 'Tim Tom Taylor's Tom Tom Testing', now there's a title...

Sunday 6 September 2015

Goodbye garage, hello blue sky

Monday: I am a fair-weather runner. Today the foul-weather fairies were out. No running took place.

Tuesday: Runner's World (Oct 2015) stated 'If you want to slow the ageing process, keep running'. The magazine went on to report on research that demonstrated regular endurance exercise preserved telomere length, which was 'associated with a delayed onset of age-associated diseases and an increased life span'. Telomeres are essentially protein structures in cells that protect our DNA. With all this information floating in my head, I ran. I didn't run because I wanted to slow the ageing process, I ran because I've got this up-and-coming marathon nonsense to run. However, on the subject of 'age' and 'life', I think it's important to remind folk that I'm running my marathon with the plan to raise monies for Papyrus and raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. It's World Suicide Prevention day on 10th September - I'm sure it would be a good idea to sponsor me with that in mind. Anyways, back to my run. I ran interval style following the formula: 10 mins warm up; 10 x 400m run (with 400m recovery); cool down to finish. That was a good run. Enough said.
I could have (should have) gone open water swimming tonight but it didn't happen. No real suitable excuse. I really should have been more motivated, especially because I have gotten myself a place in IronMan Uk next year. Shh! My journey begins....

Wednesday: Bicycle commute. Just under 60k. Felt nice to be on a bike - was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms.

Thursday: Nice 11k run. Raced a 1k section but my pace was naff. My route is presented below.
Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Another rest day. Had wanted to run today and even laced my shoes but stuff got in the way. No run today.

Sunday: Last run of the week was my long run. 16.3k in fact. Struggled to fit this run in, but hey, just about found a gap to squeeze it in. My route is presented below.

Happy New Year 2022

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