Monday, 24 August 2009

Gael Force 2009 - Summary

I done Gael Force 2009 on Saturday - the event had tripled in size since last year, with 2500 entrants this year! I was a bit disappointed with some aspects of it, some things which were under the control of the organisers, others which weren't. In any case, I made it around the course three minutes SLOWER than last year, which believe it or not, I'm actually relatively happy with.

The main problem I had this year was with the bike, but comparing times against last year, I'm now not too sure it made a huge difference. The main reason I blame the bike is that it was really heavy (compared to my road bike, not last years bike) and the seat was way too low, so I really struggled getting any power. I felt like I was ambling along the whole time.

According to the Garmin, I only lost 9 minutes on the bike leg this year, which considering I was hoping to really knock some time off on the bike is disappointing. Lesson for next year is to bring my own bike - one of my friends here in Cambridge who I trained with was over 24 mins faster than me on this section (which also included a short run and the kayak in this years timings). He'd brought his own bike over and while my average speed was around 16kmph, I'm pretty sure his was more like our normal training speeds of 26-28kmph!

Besides the bike, I'm pretty happy with how things went - I was around 8 mins faster on the first run section, which includes a big hill that I essentially had to hike up and carefully descend. My ascent of Croagh Patrick was over 10 minutes faster than last year which I was really happy with, but my descent was about 11 minutes slower! So that overall balanced out.

Oh well - happy to have got around and surprised how close I got to last years time - I thought at the end I'd be close to 15 mins over it (forgot to factor in the downtime at the kayaks). In reality, those 3 minutes were probably wasted while waiting for some water at the foot of CP before the final bike - if I'd know that at the time!

2008 2009
Run 1: 1.37.29 1.29.43
Kayak: 9.32
Run 2: 32.17 32.57
Cycle 1: 1.39.34 1.48.37
Hike(U): 1.01.21 50.32
Hike(D): 33.57 45.15
Cycle 2: 41.19 38.54
======= =======
6.15.29 6.18.17

W9KW#1 - Interval

Done this session last Tuesday, but only got a chance to upload it now. Session was a twenty minute warmup, followed by two sets of 6 x 400m with 1m 30s rest between intervals and 2m 30s between the sets.

It was an absolute killer session - I found the fifth interval the toughest for some reason, only doing 1m 30s and almost throwing up \ fainting! Still managed to pull through the lot (considering I thought I'd call it a day if I got to #6 after the first one), which I was happy with.

Was back in Ireland on Thursday for Gael Force 2009, so between the travelling and catching up at home, didn't get out for the tempo session. Will repeat Week 9 this week (I'm off to Ireland again on Thursday) but I'm out of spare weekends, so have to ensure I get out for the runs!

Monday, 17 August 2009

W10KW#3 - Long run

This weeks long run was down for a relatively easy 13 miles at 10m 28s per mile. Relatively easy in the sense that it's short in comparison to the 20 milers I've supposed to been doing over the last few weeks (and failing miserably). It's that "relatively" word that's the issue though...

Once again, an early start on Saturday morning - I was out the door around 7am. Nice morning for running and I decided not to bring the Camelbak. Parked the car up outside a friends house and set off around 7.30am, on a new route just for a change. Fortunately, the majority of the run was downhill (actually it was really just the first mile or so - the rest was flat). Everything was going well until about 3 miles in and I got slightly lost but soon found my way.

Another slight wander of the track shortly after didn't help, but overall, things were going well up to around 7.5 miles in - pace was slowing but I was still ahead of the target pace. I was struggling a bit here and decided to stop at a (donout) shop for some water - I was seriously tempted to have breakfast there :)

After the water, struggled on, but I'd got a bit stiff and it was a real struggle. Fought numerous mental battles with myself to push out to the 13 miles, but eventually called it a day after 12.2 miles. I'm actually happy enough with the run, but it obviously could have been better - I think if I'd carried on for the full half marathon distance, it would have been my second fastest HM time!

Total distance: 19.62km
Total time: 2hrs 15m 38s
Average pace: 6m 55s per km

Thursday, 13 August 2009

W10KW#2 - Tempo Run

Easiest way to describe tonight's run is that I'm back on track. Plan for tonight was as follows:
1 mile warmup \ warmdown @ 10m 43s per mile
6 miles long tempo pace @ 9m 38s per mile

After abandoning my W10KW#1 session on Tuesday night, I was a bit worried about tonight's session - it had a make-or-break feel to it. Decided on a change of tact, bringing my running gear into work with me, for an evening run after work (went to the pool at lunch).

It was a lovely evening for a run - one of the nicest evenings we've had in a while. Set off on a nice back route, kinda of across the fields (well between) to a neighbouring village, then a nice run along a perfectly smooth cycle track.

Next bit of the run was pretty interesting - I ran down part of the yet to be opened guided bus route between Cambridge and St. Ives. Pretty cool but wouldn't fancy it when it's opened (though I believe there'll be a cycle track alongside).

Overall, kept a good pace for the most part - had to stop 6.5 miles in briefly as I was struggling and again once I'd completed the tempo part, but finished the warmdown (was considering skipping it). Overall, pretty happy.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Shocking bad month so far

Title says it all - took all of last week off after playing a football game the previous Sunday - I'd blisters on both my feet and basically wasn't able to train until Wednesday. I then wussed out (using the convenient rain as an excuse) from further training the rest of the week.

Tried to go for a long run on Saturday - hoping from somewhere between 13 - 20 miles depending on how I felt. I'm not even going to comment on how far I actually went out of pure shame, suffice to say, I'd similar problems to my previous long run attempt.

Got out for a cycle on Sunday - the only noteworthy exercise last week, but even that was less than I'd hoped for.

To cap it all off, my W10KW#1 (intervals) was abandoned during the first interval tonight - just didn't have the energy. I need to harden up ASAP.

Also, you'll see from the graphs at the RHS that my weight is going in the wrong direction - so far I'm a week into my 30's and it's not been good!

Monday, 3 August 2009

July update

July 2009 is probably my best month of training and weigh-loss ever! I guess I'll start off with the weight-loss:
31/07/09: 105.72kg
30/06/09: 108.95kg
29/05/09: 109.40kg
30/04/09: 108.79kg
31/03/09: 108.87kg
27/02/09: 108.62kg

My weight chart stayed green for the ENTIRE month - a first for me!

Training-wise, July consisted of the following (June in brackets):
Cycling: 243.33km (174.86km) - 8hrs 52m (6hrs 48m)
Running: 162.19km (99.24km) - 18hrs 25m (11hrs 03m)

You can probably throw in a few swimming sessions as well, but they're not really done at any intensity.

The main difference as far as I can see is the massive hike in running time and distance - over a 50% increase.

W11KW#3 - Long run

Saturday's run was supposed to be my second 20 miler. It went better than the first, but still got nowhere near completing it. The day started off at 5.30am when I got up for a quick bowl of cereal before going back to bed for another 90 minutes - so far so good. Was out the door around 8am - lovely morning for running - slight drizzle, overcast, cool.

Decided to follow the same route as my "long" run the previous weekend (all 8 miles of it). All was going well until 7 miles in, when I had the most urgent need to get to a toilet. Fortunately, I was only a mile or so from civilisation, so a run \ walk later had me at a local supermarket, taking advantage of their facilities.

Debated at that point calling it quits (cold, wet, miserable, disappointed, etc), but decided to stick with the plan and set off again. I've started listening to my iPhone on the long runs which helps pass the time, but it also leaves me open to the possibility of a call - sure enough, a mile or so into part two of my run and I get a call which I had to take (well - maybe I was looking for an excuse).

Just done another half mile or so and called it quits. Still happy enough with the run, but I seem to be taking the easy option a bit too much these days!

Left the connector for the Garmin in Reading, so no uploading of runs for now.