Training Archives

When best laid plans and all that…

Well this is the time when I should be reaching the culmination of my training for the Millennium Ultra Way Back and the Half Outlaw… I should be running, swimming, open water swimming and cycling large distances… and what am I actually doing?

Nothing.

I certainly didn’t plan on needing surgery this week- a general anaesthetic no less- on a subaceous cyst on my back which became infected and wasn’t responding to antibiotics. They have left the wound open so that it can heal from the inside out, which means that every day for the forseeable future I need to have the dressings removed from inside the wound and the wound itself cleaned and repackaged.

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Just a little training walk…

Phew- I have not done an event for some time that trashed me as completely as the Millennium Ultra did last weekend! I almost felt incapable of taking care of myself… I could hardly move my legs, couldn’t get up without pulling myself up on something, had to crawl up and down the stairs… I couldn’t walk properly until Wednesday.

Luckily I had last week off work as I had intended to take my mum to Limoges in France for a couple of days, but thanks to the French baggage handlers strike our flights were cancelled and our trip was off. Determined to still take a break, we booked into a spa hotel and made a proper holiday of it, visiting the Denby pottery centre and having a short walk along the cliffs above Matlock Bath before checking in.

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Getting closer…

I cannot believe we are more than halfway through February already… is anyone else convinced that the years are actually getting shorter?

Of course, every day that passes brings me closer to the challenges I have booked- starting with the Millennium Ultra on 4th March- less than two weeks!

Now I first attempted this event a couple of years ago. All of the other entrants appeared to be serious ultra runner types who left me for dust in a matter of seconds. I trotted along at the back, eventually catching up with a couple in Stafford just after the first checkpoint. We walked/ ran for a little while but the chap had hurt his knee when he twisted it in the mud and was finding it increasingly painful so they decided to retire at checkpoint two.

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Training update for January and February

As promised at the start of January 🙂 here is an update of my training progress…

I have been gradually building up the running and walking in preparation for the Millennium Ultra and have been regularly running 8- 10 miles with a few longer walk/ runs, although a nasty cold this week has meant things have hit a hiatus. Helen and I have done a couple of walks, one from Castleton up Mam Tor and along the ridge to Lose Hill and Back Tor. It was a gorgeous day, and as it was the New Year bank holiday predictably busy- we could have literally danced a conga along the ridge!

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Sink or Swim

swimming2I’ve been absent lately, partly due to the fact that August is always pretty hectic as my Dad and Step-mum come to stay for the month from Spain. So I don’t always eat as healthy as I should or keep up the training… but I have still been active as I’ve started having swimming lessons! I did learn to swim as a child and am fairly confident in water, but over the years I forgot how to do the strokes properly and have been muddling through with my own improvised doggy paddle… it gets me through the water but it is neither pretty nor particularly effective…

… and I have, in my usual style, entered myself into something way over my head – namely the Half Outlaw Triathlon next May, just down the road from me at Holme Pierrepont Watersports Centre…

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Norwegian FjordsFor serious die-hard endurance athletes (and me!), the idea of going on a cruise may be anathema; let’s face it, a cruise kind of conjures up images of folks loading up piling plates of food at the 24 hour buffet before collapsing onto a deck chair by the pool to top up that tan. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, if that’s the type of holiday you enjoy- but if you are reading this blog this probably isn’t your idea of an ideal trip. However sometimes circumstances are such that a cruise is a necessity- family plans, bribe to a spouse so you can enter an ultra etc- but if you are serious about exercising and maintaining your fitness levels then you may feel that a cruising holiday could derail all those plans…

… or will they? I recently went on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords for my Mum’s 70th birthday; I decided to try to fit in as much exercise as possible whilst still enjoying plenty of relaxation and exploring everything the buffet had to offer!

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Nearly Cornish Challenge time…

Cornish ChallengeI cannot believe how fast this year has gone. It seems like only a few weeks ago that Helen and I first started actively planning our Cornish Challenge and yet it was last September!

We drive down to St Ives on Thursday to start our walk on Friday, and, of course, in true British tradition the weather has been lovely for days but it gives rain at the weekend…

I think we are ready. After the Pride of the Peak epic we have had another couple of walks of about 15 and 17 miles with the packs. One involved navigating our way round footpaths and bridleways linking Staunton Harold Reservoir and Calke Abbey grounds with Foremark Reservoir. We took Spud with us, and ended up having an impromptu weight training session as we had to physically lift him over several high stiles, much to his disgust!

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The Pride of the Peak Walk

Pride of the PeakIt was pitch dark- all we could see was a little circle of ground a few inches in front of our feet, partially obscured by the persistent rain drops lit by the beams of our head torches as we trudged uphill through the mud. We had no idea what time it was, but we knew it was late… and getting home depended on reaching the exact spot where there was a gate through the woods- not easy when you are in a meadow a couple of miles wide…

Helen and I had decided that we needed a big walk as the culmination of our training for our Cornish Challenge in three week’s time. I had planned to enter us into the 26 mile Bassetlaw Bash, but decided that we needed to up the ante a little and do something tougher…

So I raided my walking books and found the 30 mile Pride of the Peak walk that I had done with mum and my two sisters several years ago… the difference was that then we walked it over three days, not one!

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Coventry WayIt was quite a shock to realise that I last completed this event 11 years ago! Where does the time go… I nearly didn’t do it Sunday as I had succumbed to yet another cold, this time accompanied by a bad cough, and had been feeling really poorly right up until Friday.

It’s frustrating- I seem to have picked up one thing after another recently- colds, tummy bugs, the lot! I am usually such a healthy bod so this is really quite worrying. I am due to have some blood tests taken next week (mainly to shut Mum up!) so we will see if there’s anything untoward going on or if it is just work stress and the result of constantly pushing myself when I am not feeling great…

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Back to Back Walks and Faster Runs…

020After the non- event that was the Millennium Ultra, what’s been happening since?

It’s not all doom and gloom. Helen and I have been doing some training as a preparation for our four day charity walk in May, which involved a couple of back to back walks the weekend before last of around 16 miles each day. We loaded up our packs in a bid to strengthen those muscles as we will be carrying everything we need with us along the South West Coast Path.

On Saturday we completed the short route of the Charnwood Forest Marathon, which involved quite a few climbs- Broombriggs Farm, Beacon Hill, Windmill Hill and the Old John at Bradgate, whilst Sunday we walked from Helen’s house to Calke Abbey, where we walked through a tunnel from the old lime workings. It is amazing how much carrying a heavy pack makes you ache when you are not used to it! I’m sure we will be carrying a lot more gear in May too…

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