Monday, 9 July 2007

The Sun Has Got His Hat On...

At last it’s stopped raining. As much as I like running in the rain you can get too much of a good thing.

Had a glorious evening run with the dog on Friday. The sun was out, the tracks were dry(ish) and no-one was out at that time of day. I think the vegetation has liked this weather. I nearly lost the dog at one point in the long grass. Came across a small herd of Roe deer. It was a fantastic sight. The sun was streaming through the trees, in that sort of hazy way it only does in the early morning or evenings, backlighting the deer. Wish I’d had my camera to hand. I tried taking a photo on the phone but they’d disappeared by the time I was ready to snap. I noticed on this run that my achilles felt swollen and a tiny bit sore on it’s outside edge but it didn’t seem to affect my running.

On Saturday went into London to get myself a decent travel bag for my upcoming trips (Venice and Rome in July (silver wedding anniversary), training week in Interlaken in August, long weekend for the Jungfrau Marathon in September). It’s about time I had some time off. I only had two weeks off in the last two years for various reasons. While I was there the Tour de France just happened to be taking place so I went and had a look. Very impressive set up. They’d taken over the centre of London. It was the prologue time trial. They finished in the Mall then kept going through Admiralty Arch then round into Whitehall where all the cars and crew were waiting. All the side streets were full of French cars and vans. I went down the Mall and into Green Park. Along the Mall the fences were covered in advertising hoardings and as each rider came in the crowd would bang the hoardings making a massive wave of noise tracking the rider for the last kilometer. Green Park was full of picnicers watching the big screen in the sunshine. It could have been oh so different if it had been a week earlier.

Yesterday (Sunday) went for a big run again. My plan is to make a 20 mile run seem normal. I was in two minds to start with as my achilles was niggling again. So I went on the treadmill for a few minutes to test it out. It didn’t seem too bad so, having made sure someone would be able to come and rescue me in the car if needs be, I set off in the sunshine. I decided to go off-road after my red wee episode a couple of weeks ago. Soon forgot about the achilles and settled into a nice steady run up the hills and through the trees following the Ridgeway footpath towards Princes Risborough. Went past Chequers but it didn’t look like Gordon was in.

Having tried the homemade drink and energy food on my previous long run I thought I’d try the more scientific (and expensive) approach on this run. I took 1.5l of isotonic drink (at 6% solution, 30g carbs per 500ml), three gels (22g carbs each) and three energy bars (46g carbs each). The plan was to take in 500ml of fluids and a total of 75g carbs per hour. It’s difficult to compare the two runs: the first was a rainy road run and yesterday’s was a sunny off-roader but I can make a few observations. Firstly 500ml of fluid per hour is not enough in hot weather. Should have been nearer 700ml. Second, my banana, honey and maple syrup sandwiches where a lot more palatable than the energy bars. I did feel more tired on yesterday’s run than I did on the previous run but it’s difficult to point the finger at any one thing. More fluids might have helped, energy intake should have been OK, there was more ascent (620m) on the second run and my achilles might have been a factor.

I’d noticed that I seemed to be over-pronating even more than usual on my right foot. I wondered if this was some subconsious effort to relieve the achilles. Eventually, I developed what I think is a referred pain on the outside of my right knee. This was getting worse so I played it safe and phoned home for a lift rather than run the last 4 or so miles. This took some doing on my part as I hate not finishing things that I set out to do but having invested all this time on training the last thing I need now is an injury. I’ll have to look at my options regarding the achilles problem. I don’t think it is going to go away on its own.

Had an interesting run on the wildlife front yesterday. While up on the tops there were a couple of Red Kites (birds not playthings) doing a spectacular arial display just above me. On the way back I was running down a track when a stick just in front of me moved off the path. Turned out to be an adder a good 18 inches long or more (couldn’t see all of it in the undergrowth). That could have given me a nasty bite if I’d trodden on it. Then finally, on a path bordered by two fences a stupid sheep had escaped from the field and couldn’t get back in. Its friends were bleating for it but it kept running away from me down the path. If it had kept that up it would have been miles from where it belonged but I eventually managed to get it to come past me. That slowed me down a bit.

In the end I did 20 miles in three hours fairly comfortably apart for a couple of energy lows towards the end. Think I’ll be going back to the banana butties next time.


aquaasho said...

If any shepherding is needed in Jungfrau, looks like you'll be the man. And snake charmer? (I saw two elephants on a run last week...........past a circus).
I have to get out and get a long run in this weekend, you really are doing brilliantly and I need to catch up! You're so right about needing 20 miles to feel normal. A few weeks ago thirty miles on the hills was normal, now I'm useless!

Mick said...

I think Swiss cows, complete with bells, will be the main problem. I don't suppose you get the snake problem after St Patrick cleared them all out.

What were two elephants doing on a run? I'd pay good money to see that!

There's still 6/7 weeks to get back into the swing. Shouldn't take long.