Wobble!

I was interested to see how long it would take for my body to get over the (102M) Cotswold Way run on 21-22 Jul, and (50M) North Downs Way Ultra three weeks later on 11 Aug.  Before I became involved with ultra-distance triathlon and running events I read reports of people taking months or even a full season to fully recover.  Well my own experience is this is not the case.  Of course it requires a decent amount of specific base training, balanced training programme (inc adequate recoveries) and diet.  I could be more specific but that would require a very long blog!  Suffice to say that by 10 Sep, some four weeks after the NDW50 I felt my body had fully recovered from the ‘technical’ 102 and 50 mile events.

I’ve been mixing it up a bit over the previous five weeks.  From 3-6 Sep I had another camping experience in the Lake District.  This time it was an opportunity to spend some time with my father and brother doing some hiking (Catbells and Helvellyn) and ‘testing of local produce’ .  But as the weather was so good I also took the opportunity to run section1 of the Bob Graham Round – which had gone so horribly wrong on my last visit.  This time around the skies were clear.  I could see the summits I was heading for, so there were no navigational issues.  Didn’t make it any easier though – I still had to run through the Caldew, and my legs were trashed by the end, especially with a run back along the disused railway line from Threlkeld to Keswick.  I have a lot of respect for anyone who has completed the Bob Graham Round (42 fells in under 24hrs).

View of Keswick from Catbells

Halls Fell Ridge, Blencathra

The following weekend (8-9 Sep) I drove with Yve down to Bodiam to stay at friends Marianne and Justin.  They are both Pescetarians (diet that includes fish bit not the flesh of animals).  Have to say I liked the sound of this ‘diet’ and have been avoiding animal meats ever since.  More on that in a moment.  Marianne mentioned they have a local (Bodiam Castle) Sprint Triathlon, taking part that weekend so I thought I’d have a bit of fun and take part in the event.  I had no expectations having not completed a triathlon since June 2011, or even trained (spec) in swim and cycling since end of last season.  I was looking forward to racing on the Dark Destroyer again, the last time before I sell it.

Here’s a brief race report:

Bodiam Castle Sprint Triathlon – Sun 9 Sep
Events consists of a 500m swim around the castle moat, 22km (one loop) bike and a 6km xc run, finishing back at the castle.
I started in the third of five waves.  There were around 30-40 of us in total.  At the gun I went quite hard from the front and despite a few slaps on the legs and feet I was surprised to find I was in the lead…and pulling away.  The canoeist leading the way was quite close at times so occasionally I would sprint a little harder in order to catch the draft.  I came out of the swim 30-60secs ahead and wasted no time sprinting down the hill into transition.  I felt good but the lack of practise showed when I reached my bike and realised I hadn’t even started taking off the wetsuit.  However it slid off nicely.
The bike was messy!  Erratic gear changing and a number of pot holes hit.  The first one was so hard I thought I’d punctured the wheel as it felt a little sluggish afterwards <I realised after that the rear brake had moved sideways so the pad was lightly rubbing>.
Another reasonable transition and out on to the run.  Woah, I forgot just how uncomfortable it is to get any speed up in run-off.  My legs were all over the place.  I’d been on my own at the front of my wave throughout the race, but now I found myself amongst runners from wave two.
Apparently my time was the quickest of the day once I’d finished, however there were two more waves to go and three guys went quicker.  I like to think if I’d been in the same wave as second and third that I would have paced-to and out-run them.  Who knows.  The winner was a good 4mins+ clear of my time and an ex national sprint champ, so I doubt I would have beaten him even if I’d still been tri training and at a peak.  I came away with fourth overall and first age-group, which won me a little trophy and bottle of wine :)

A first – leading out a swim!

Bottle and trophy = happy

We had a really nice weekend overall.  And from Mon 10 Sep I’d starting to feel like an athlete again.  In the following week I managed a total of 80miles averaging 7:15-7:45/M.  It included a couple of track meets (below) and 22mile xc run at 7:25/M.  Not particularly fast in terms of marathon (or shorter) training but a good week for ultra training, and it’s something to build on.  Thanks to an adapted diet I’d lost 2kg (straight down to what I refer to as ‘race weight’ – 69kg) and never felt tired or compromised at any point in the week, including the morning after the long run.

6 DAs Track and Field meet – Fri 14 Sep
A meeting between six government departments.  As a member of Defra AC I was asked to compete in the 800m and 1500m events (on a 200m grass track).  I live just 2miles down the road so thought it would be a bit of fun and good sprint training.  Both events only had three or four turn up but I was pushed to the line in both, having to dip for the 800m win.

I may be taking part in the Berlin Marathon in just under two weeks time.  Again, I’m not too fussed about my time.  I know 26miles of hard road running is going to hurt, so will see what happens.  It will be a nice long weekend in Berlin with Yve showing me around.

Oh, if you’re wondering why I titled this blog ‘Wobble’ – well my legs have been doing a lot of ‘wobbling’ in recent weeks thanks to the Lake District hills, a sprint triathlon and track racing.

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