Saturday, 30 August 2014

Race day approaches

Saturday 30th August

Its been a week of very poor weather and I have not done any cycling other than a training day for Bikeability on my folder. But! I have managed to get out and run a couple of times, I think the running community call it the 'taper' so I did 5 miles on Tuesday evening, quite a reasonable pace and another 3.5 miles on Thursday evening, so I should be [hhmmm!!] ready to race tomorrow at Corfe, 13 miles should be within my capability, it would be nice to get near 2 hrs!!but!! there is always something, my foot was sore and a little achy, when I looked up symptoms its suggested I had 'metatarsalgia' which is pain on the ball of the foot and just behind the toes, fits exactly - it suggests RICE and rest , I have done a little ice, and ibuprofen gel and it does seem a little better, just hope it gets me round 13 miles of rough country running!

Today I am sorting my kit, weather is looking good for tomorrow so should be a great day out and a really nice run. I am also camping in my van tonight just outside Corfe castle so will drive down this afternoon and check out some of the route, will take my folder to have a look around.
A friend from Dorset Doddlers is running with a load of her club mates, so hopefully I might be able to latch on to them for some help!  

Watch this space for the results, I have been reading about John Kynastons 46mile Tour of Skiddaw, and looking at his video, quite inspiring and makes you want to run in the hills, respect to him and his wife for 46 miles in 11 hours at 14 mins a mile!!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blackberries, biking and a dress rehearsal in the rain!

Sunday 17th  August

I was up early and out the door for a 4.85 mile run around the town then followed a day with our grand daughter in Gloucester which was a wonderful day we managed to get out for a walk up to the park where the Blackberries were an attraction for GD after swings, slides and roundabout. We spent sometime setting free ‘fairies’ from the thistle plants around the park  and running up and down the many hillocks in the park. Tim decided to give another youngster a run for his money on the BMX track by running around it with GD in the Pushchair, much to her excitement! We were able to finish off with an ice cream at the park gates that was helpful in encouraging GD back into her pushchair for the walk home. Traffic on the motorway was light compared to previous days.

Monday 18th August

7 miles on my Neroche run keeping my heart rate down to maintain a steady pace averaging 130 bpm the max was 164. But the pace was only 11.23 mins per mile, a little disappointing.

Tuesday 19th August

Another early start and I managed to be up at Lydyeard Hill carpark on the Quantocks by 7:0 am, I was worried on the way as the rain hammered away at the windscreen until I got to Taunton when I seemed to drive out of the rain band into bright sunshine, so by the time I was parking up there was no sign of rain and there was brilliant clear sunshine, but a cold northerly wind. Only car in the CP again! Exmoor ponies were crowding round the gate on entry to the open moorland. As I jogged around Lydyeard hill the views across the hills were very clear, deer on the opposite hillside, and the sharp shadows of the trees creating patterns across the hillside.
The run upto Will Neck had me breathing heavy but managing to keep my heart rate down, I needed to keep the pace steady as I was hoping to cover 12 miles + today. The road across the hills near Crowcombe Park Gate was busy with commuters, the path runs parallel for a short time, I did wonder if they were envious of me being out in the sunshine or thinking I was bonkers to be out at that time running!
The highlight of my run was over Thorncombe Hill when I had Exmoor ponies running on one side and a small group of deer running alongside on the other, I was in the middle, a magical moment, the deer crossed my path and bounded off through the purple haze of the heather.
At Bicknoller post it was time for my return run, I had a handful of jelly beans [a new trial to find out if they are good as exercise food] a swig of ISO drink, I was pleased as the return run was accompanied with a tail wind. I was feeling ok the only discomfort was the stony ground, so I tried where possible to run on the grass verge of the main track.
The pull up to Wills Necks was hard and I did walk for a short time to keep the heart rate down. The sun was still shining and as I got back to the car park, cars were arriving disgorging dogs excited at the freedom. Coffee and flapjack before I drove home, 12.3 miles covered, very pleased, the only discomfort was sore feet, but no sign of blisters. Heart rate remained steady at 130 average and maximum 149. Pace of 11.49 mins per mile, still not high but at least I know I can run for 13 miles!!

Wednesday 20th August

A beautiful day had us on Woodbury Common with plastic boxes to pick blackberries. We parked overlooking the fantastic view over the Exe estuary, reminding us of our cycle ride the previous week, Hay Tor could be seen on the distant hills as well as the M5 crossing of the Exe There were lots of berries close to hand and it didn’t take us too long to fill boxes with enough fruit to make several jars of blackberry jelly! Coffee followed with cheese straws, to accompany the views and warm sunshine, the only car in the car park except for a builders van who decided to empty it all out to put all back again, I cant believe he had all that in the van, he was still working on it as we drove out of the car park to go home!

Thursday 21st August a bike ride in Dorset

Starting from Dave Ps house in West Coker there was a distinct chill to the air, so much so that my riding partners both had long cycling tights on!, I felt distinctly underdressed, Dave W even had long fingered gloves on. I decided to soldier on believing riding I would warm up. It was a planned 40 +mile ride across to Hazelbury Bryan for coffee and cake visiting some pleasant parts of Dorset.
We were soon climbing up to Baily Ridge after passing through Barwick and the pretty village of Yetminster, the hill meant our breathing levels increased, well mine and Dave W, Dave P being ultra fit hardly broke sweat!!
 It was on through Holwell, where Dave P point out the oldest post box in England, a very nice Victorian example before the village of King Stag. The countryside was outstanding with rolling hills, many trees, many with apples around their base having been removed by the weather a few weeks ago.
The villages were typically Dorset, beautiful old cottages, the roads and villages very quiet, ‘way out in the sticks’ the largest town Dorchester being a good 15 -20 miles away. The weather showed a distinct possibility it would rain on us with low black clouds looming from the north.
 Hazelbury Bryan soon arrived so at least we would be saved for the time we were in the café – coffee and cake all round at the ‘Time after Thyme’ café, very nice it was too! After a lengthy chat where we were able to solve all the worlds’ problems over coffee it was time to go!
As we headed back towards West Coker over Brockhampton Green we had a few spots of rain, we feared a soaking that never happened, but the cloud was dark and low making it cold, and the light very poor, fortunately DaveW had a bright rear LED light, very useful.
We descended a steep hill from Hermitage and back through Leigh to bring us back to Yetminster and back through the cutely named Ryme Intrinsica before passing Sutton Bingham and the last climb of the day a steep one back to East Coker before arriving back at Dave Ps house.

A fantastic ride around Dorset 41miles covered, lovely scenery, very quiet roads, shame about the weather although we didn’t get wet! But it was cold :(

Saturday 23rd August a Quantocks run! And dress rehearsal for the ‘Beast’
I was on the road by 5.45 am determined to get an early start for my final long run before the even next week, I decided on the Quantocks again as its undulating along the ridge and I could see how I was going over terrain I had run twice before in the previous week. My aim was at least 12 miles.

I was dressed in my ‘costume’ that I intended to wear next week, a sleeve less vest, my orange Asics Trail jersey with my cycling arm warmers, my OMM 3/4  tights, ultra wool socks, slightly thicker than the ones I usually wear to see if it helped the sore feet and of course my Salomon Fell Raiser shoes. I took my small Hilly belt and bottle with ISO, food I took 2 Zip blackcurrent gels [with caffeine] and 6 marzipan balls. I was hoping this would be my dress rehearsal for next week, however with one eye on safety I took my Montane pertex top and a buff [very useful as it happened!!!!!] and my mobile phone.
It was a beautiful morning with clear blue skies again giving fantastic views around Lydyeard hill. The pull up Wills Neck went well, great views from the top, but! Heavy black clouds gathering over the Bristol Channel from the direction of Wales. My heart rate was good along with a good pace, the usual route round to Dead Womans ditch, the sunshine as I ran up to Dead Womans directly in my eyes, irritating, but lovely with it. The hills looked beautiful in the early morning sunshine, dew still on the grass and some mists sitting in the valleys, creating a magical scene. As I headed past Hurley Beacon there was another runner, being led by her Springer spaniel, a quick wave and ‘morning’ and on to Bicknoller.
3 marbles and a drink, 7 miles covered and the turn back to run along the ridge. As I approached Crowcombe, I had my gel just as spots of rain were starting to fall, I was hoping I would reach the main ridge to be under the trees to give shelter. By the time I got to Triscombe the rain was heavy, I stopped under the trees and put my Buff on as a hat, deciding not to put on my coat. I ran out and up Wills Neck, the rain now very, very heavy – I continued on, the trail now running with water, as I passed the Trig point and went down the other side, I had to skip to avoid the large puddle now forming and the rivers of red coloured water rushing down the hill. The rain was not giving up!! In fact it was now heavier, as I entered the trees I decided to shelter as the rain was now torrential, after a few minutes it eased slightly so I continued, around Lydyeard hill to finish just as the rain stopped. The car park had now filled and MTB riders preparing to ride off, little did they know the trails were now very, very wet! and muddy. 12.94 miles covered with a reasonable pace of 11.04 mins per mile. Heart rate was slightly up 146 av and 162 max, 2hrs 23 mins which I was happy with for next week – the ascent was 1007 feet just below the climbing for next week. I was also pleased it rained, good preparation.
Overall a good dress rehearsal run, food worked well and I think the gel worked, I did feel better on the last part of the run. This was my last planned longer run, my intention is to do a couple of short 3-4 mile runs in the week along with a cycle ride.

Sunday 24th August

44 miles on a cycle ride over Athelney way with Mike, weather was cool but there was no wind making an easier ride. It was the Langport road 10k, lots of runners warming up for their task. A steady ride pleasantly warm when the sun came out, no coffee stop this morning.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Boot camp week

This week I have tried to raise my game to prepare for the ‘Beast run’ at the end of August. I have not run much since June but felt I had a reasonable base through cycling, I just need to get miles on my feet. I have managed to get out several times with runs around town 2 x5miles and a 16 mile cycle ride followed on Thursday with a 10 mile off road run over the Quantocks.

I was up very early and in the Lydeard Hill car park by 6:20 am! Needless to say I was the only one there. The weather forecast was for heavy showers later so made sure I went prepared with coat hat etc. I wore 3/4 and a long sleeve, I was pleased as a sharp wind cut across the hill. I had planned to use my HRM as a guide to my effort but! 6:31 am I was off!

I started a steady jog, round Lydeard hill, noticing my HRM wasn’t working, think the battery needed changing, so no HRM. I felt good on the run up Wills Neck, at the summit a look across Bridgwater Bay showed a very grey sky with signs of showers falling out of them, but still dry across the Quantocks. I continued on along the ridge, small groups of ponies giving me a look as I went past, the look said ‘what an idiot being out at this time in the morning’ underfoot was quite dry, patches of mud, which I managed to avoid. The pull up to Deadwomans ditch was enjoyable, making sure I kept the pace down, it seemed to keep between 10 and 11 minutes per mile, not fast but the object of the run was to get miles in my legs. Across the top of the Quantocks along the roller coaster track to Halsway Post, the heather was in full blue and put a purple sheen across the hill, HP was my turning point for home at 5miles. Still felt ok, drinking my Iso drink and three marzipan marbles. The rain still held off and infact was getting warmer, and brighter. As I approached Triscombe I twisted my ankle which gave my a sharp pain and I had to hobble for a short time, I hope it’s not an injury that will return. Back to Wills Neck and have not seen anyone this morning. The run up WN was steady, before dropping down for my last stretch around Lydeard Hill, where I met the first dog walkers of the day, who kindly put the dog on a lead as I went past. Back at the car I was surprised I had done exactly 10 mile, felt ok, and did some stretching before changing into a dry tee shirt, sweat not rain! Infact it was sun shining at the car park. I had brought a flask so was able to celebrate with a mug of coffee and piece of Flap Jack. My time wasn’t great at 1 hr 54 mins, but I had done 10 miles, the race is 13miles so have a little more confidence now.

Friday 15th August Exe Estuary trail

Weather forecast was ‘not too bad’ for Friday, but as we drove down to Darts Farm at Topsham, rain spots appeared on the windscreen! Even though there was broken cloud and the promise of a little sunshine.

We had decided to take the folding bikes down to Topsham and cycle the Exe Estuary trail down to Exmouth, a pleasant 6 mile trail following the estuary and the railway line. It was well surfaced throughout and only a couple of very small inclines on the trail. Views across the estuary were stunning with Starcross, Powderham Castle and Dartmoor beyond.

We parked the van at Darts farm which was convenient, lots of space and free, with the option to buy food/coffee if needed. Today we had brought a flask of coffee and a picnic, so toilets were the only bit we were able to take advantage of.

The clouds kept coming and going, hot one minute and chilly the next, we made good time even though we stopped to admire the views and also for a coffee break on a convenient seat. The path was quite busy with a variety of cyclist and walkers, lycra clad top end bikes and bottom end hire bikes, lots of pushchairs and also dogs on the leads that extend!!!! passing the commando camp with all the training areas quiet, but intimidating with the climbing nets, balance walls etc.

                                             Views on the trail
My bike at coffee time

Railway at Lympstone

The 6 miles to Exmouth soon passed and we made our way to the other side of the harbour to escape from the wind blowing down the estuary. We had a pleasant picnic in the sunshine, people watching all the tourists.

It was soon time to saddle up and head back, this time a bit of a head wind. Several stops  soon had us back at Darts Farm – we didn’t even have tea on the way as there was a distinct lack of Tea shacks, The village of Lympstone  was very pretty with a pub and a café that had a sign saying do not park bikes against the flowers the pub was full of cyclists and the café wasn’t
A very pleasant ride and I would recommend it, it can be extended to Budleigh Salterton by a few miles. A good day out, with good weather most of the time, no rain and 12 miles covered. 
The websites below give more information

Saturday 16th August
After a morning paying into the Sainsburys appreciation fund I managed a 32 mile cycle ride over North Curry, a very windy day with a head wind on the way home – at least I still managed over 15 mph average speed.

So this week I have managed 20 miles running, and 62 miles cycling, at least I got a longer run. 2 more next week should prepare me well for two weeks time and the ‘Beast’
Tomorrow [Sunday] is a day out with our grand daughter! In Gloucester.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Left over Hurricanes and philosophy about your body and exercise!

Wednesday 6th August

What a strange thing the body is that you can do the same exercise over the same route in similar weather and get different results!

Yesterday[Tuesday] I took myself off to do my 7 mile Neroche route, late afternoon, as my previous run, this time I took my heart rate monitor, just to compare how I was several months ago.

I felt I was going well, but looking at my pace that was not what it was telling me, neither was my heart rate monitor! I felt as though I was running fast at a good pace and keeping my breathing/heart rate steady – within the 130 -140 range. I was surprised to see it hovering around 150 + but I thought that’s ok I am doing a good pace, but!! I wasn’t I was down to 10:30 -11:30 even on the easier down hills. The up hills my rate was 160 + with a max of 170 at one point on my return run.

My overall time for the 6 miles was 1:06 again, but I did 6.43miles which I did in 1hr :10mins giving me an 11 minute mile. All strange as I thought I was doing really well, going faster and expecting my time to be down to nearer 1:02 -1:04 for the 6 miles.

However!!! When I got up yesterday morning I didn’t feel too well, a bit of an upset tum! As though I had eaten something wrong the day before – SO! Maybe that was it, maybe we should listen to our bodies, if I had not used my HRM I would be no wiser. I will use it next time to check it out again.

Sunday 10th

Should have been out on my 100K Dorset Downs ride today, BUT Hurricane Bertha put paid to that [for me anyway] I decided yesterday that a day riding in wind and rain for 5 hours + would not be pleasant, so decided not to go. As I got up this morning it was raining hard with Gales. This eased off around 9 -10 ish to give a blustery day with heavy showers at times. I think I made the correct decision, it will be there next year!
 I spent yesterday[Saturday] helping my son put a roof on a conservatory, I can feel in my legs and arms where I have been stretching and standing on ladders, then fighting our way back home from Burnham on Sea in the holiday traffic, it was awful, motorway standstill bothways, fortunately I know the back routes home but still took us 1hr 20mins instead of 40 mins.
I felt sorry for all those going camping, knowing that the weather forecast overnight and Sunday was very poor, I am sure there are some soggy campers today.
 The down side of it this week, is I haven’t been cycling,  with Bikeability taking up 2 days [I did around 10 miles per day on that].
I haven’t run much either, just a 3.2 around town on Friday. Giving me  9.6 miles which is nowhere near enough training. I hope to get out this evening and MUST get some Quantock runs in this week to prepare for the BEAST!
Update Sunday evening - ran 5.5 miles around town at teatime so at least a few more miles. Didn't feel great HRM still seems high, it was also very hot, and very windy, left over hurricane!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday 4th August

79 miles cycled and 12.3 miles running – that was my efforts last week! Pleased with that, my second run of the week on Saturday 6.2 miles from Neroche Castle to Staple hill and back all off road, took me 1hr 6 minutes with 740+ feet of climbing, just over 10 minute miles,  it was hot, but not as hot as the previous run. There were more people around, being the weekend and the school holidays, several dog walkers who kindly either held their dog or put it on the lead as I went past, much appreciated and I acknowledged it.

Sunday 3rd August

A bright sunny morning , clear skies, but with a slight chill to the air, but not enough for me to wear a long sleeve jersey  or arm warmers. I had planned to try to get a 50 miler in to keep up the miles for the forthcoming Audax which is 62 miles. Mike, my riding buddy for the morning was unsure as he had not done a lot of riding lately.

We set off and by the time we had climbed up past Moolham Mill to Kingston I was pleased I had short sleeves with the sun showing its August heat! A descent down through the trees, dodging potholes brought us to Dinnington past the ‘Dinnington Docks’ pub [even though there are no docks and its real name is the Rose and Crown!] we were also now on the Fosse Way, the very straight Roman road that runs down from Lincoln to Axmouth, you could almost imagine the Legionnaires tramping along it. There was a fantastic mosaic uncovered locally showing the detail they put into the way they lived.

We continued through Lopen Head before descending into South Petherton following the road to Martock, a road frequently flooded in winter, but! Very dry today! Martock’s church bells were ringing, calling the Sunday morning worshippers to prayer. The sunshine continued but cloud was building in the west. The route took us up through Long Sutton and climbed up to Somerton, the ancient capital of Wessex, now a small grey stone Somerset town.
We followed the South Somerset cycle route past the ‘park’ which was a large farm complete with helicopter parked at the back, and well manicured lawns, round through Pitney before a sharp climb up to the High Ham road and then dropping down to Langport.

Our choice for a coffee break was ‘Kellways Garden Centre’, who do a ‘Lycra special’ any drink and cake for £3, much enjoyed sat in the sunshine in the garden. It was soon time to saddle up and move on. Muchelney was the next point on the route followed by Drayton, Hambridge and Isle Abbots across the levels that were covered in two feet of flood water in the winter. Fivehead sees the start of the climb back home, as it’s the last of the low points, so its really approximately 15 miles uphill!! Hatch Beauchamp saw us crossing the A358 Taunton road, relatively quiet for a Sunday morning. Mike decided at this point to top up his energy reserves, with a cereal bar and a gel. I opted to do the same even though I was feeling ok after 40miles.

The climb upto Bickenhall, whilst not steep at about 9% always seems very stiff after cycling on the levels. We set a good pace to Broadway before the final 3 climbs over to home.
According to the Garmin we covered 50.5 miles climbing 2280ft and using 2911 calories [which accounted for my cake at coffee time!] the pace overall was only 13.5 mph, but a good ride and morning out, the best of the weather now gone with gathering cloud and the odd spot of rain.

Monday 4th August

A bright cloudy day with the sun showing through occasionally, we decided to have a trip to Minehead, we had not been there for over a year. Traffic was quite heavy and so it took us a good hour plus, to get there. Parking in Tesco we collected a sandwich before passing McDonalds and picking up a coffee to drink on the front overlooking the sea. There were lots of people on the beach, and in the sea. Lunch was in ‘Blenhem Park’ a well managed park in the middle of Minehead. Minehead is in a lovely spot, surrounded by the Exmoor hills and on the edge of the Bristol channel.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Good month cycling

Friday August 1st

Typical start to holidays in England - its pouring with rain this morning! all those people heading down the motorway to enjoy 2 weeks in the sunshine of Devon and Cornwall, will be disappointed! wet Cornish campsites in the rain!!!

BUT! lets be optimistic and assume it will change [although forecast is for same at least till middle next week] at least its warm rain. The garden is very dry so really does need rain.

Anyway, July was a good month for cycling and I managed to cycle over 520 miles! so pleased with that, but I only ran 9.1 miles so got to get some more running miles in for the race at the end of the month. Only 1 Bikeability course over next couple of weeks so hopefully can catch up a little.
I did manage another 28 miles out on the bike this week [part of the 520] I have to say cycling after running does make my legs ache, I don't know how Triathletes manage to train for all the disciplines, my cycling affects my running and running affects my cycling!
I am planning to ride the Dorset Downs 100k Audax from Dorchester on the 10th August, a very hilly ride,  so need to keep up the miles on the bike as well as running miles - its a hard life! keeping fit.