Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Not the Ultra Tour de Helvellyn

The pictures here are from this last weekend, which I spent up in the Lakes running! Normally nothing out of the ordinary there, but this was the first weekend running I'd done in over a month! It was great!!
Its been quite a gap since the last time I posted, which was pretty much the end of racing for this year. I finished the season off with a third senior lady in Langdale Fell Race where I decided I needed some more speed for next year, and the navigation leg for the Pennine Ladies team at the FRA relays. I ended the FRA relays feeling in excellent shape and planned a couple of weeks off before starting into training for next year.

However, my doctor decided it would be a good idea to work out why I have been unable to eat gluten since May and so I embarked on a gluten challenge instead (trust me, just as difficult as any AR!). Every time I've eaten it by accident this year I 've taken a week or two off training or stuck to low key training to recover, which is fine as long as its only a couple of weeks. This time it was going to be just over 6 weeks before I got to head back to my GF diet, so realistically 9weeks before I was back on form. I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't want to entirely loose the floaty feeling of being fit from the FRA relays, so made a mental note that I was going to get out and train, in some form, every week regardless of how little I wanted to.

Looking up the Valley from Martindale

 The night before my first sandwich, I headed out on the DPFR run and cruised around 10 miles with Helen Elmore. It was great to still be feeling fit and relatively fast :-). The first few days afterwards I got away without feeling a thing and completed the BUCS hill climb, my first ever race on a road bike... Next time I'm going to use a bike that fits me!!  Still second counter for the Sheffield Uni Women ain't too bad :-). On the fourth day it all went downhill, I went for a gentle run and within a few minutes had stabby stomach pains. By the time the DPFR weekly run came around I was amazed at the difference a week made! I not only had to run slower to lessen the stomach pain but I was dropping off the back of everybody!
Not that that put me off, I just revised the amount of exercise I was going to do and decided to aim for one group run of decent length a week and put up with it, so found myself running up through the parks with the ShUOC girls on a 2hr gentle run the following week. I struggled my way round which wasn't very enjoyable. This was it, I'd managed to keep 'proper training' for 2/6 weeks...
By week 3 I was pretty tired from doing nothing, but going out for some very gentle exercise didn't seem to make this any worse, it was just difficult to get out of the door. I then made a discovery, riding a bike was an easier way to do exercise - I guess it was due to me keeping my HR lower and being able to not pedal on the downhills. I'd like to say I got out on a couple of good rides to make up for the lack of running....however when 2.5hrs of a 5 hour ride is spent in a pub by a fire enjoying lunch you might suggest the pace was potentially junk mile worthy....
I got a bit borerd of junk miles with a HR av not over 135 and so went for it! A HR over 150...for an entire hour of MTB...wow! This wiped me out for 3 days and so I gave in and just did nothing for 2 weeks!
Well the 6.5weeks is up, and obviously the first thing I did was get very excited and go running...a lot! The first attempt was back at DPFR with a very similar result to the last outing with them! This time I got properly dropped and ran a good 5miles back alone, oops. I ran the route 10mins slower than last time with Helen, but my HR was also quite a bit lower, so i don't think all the fitness is lost :-).
I then couldn't resist this:

 By the third run I stopped feeling quite as sick, and enjoyed a headtorch run around Ladybower before heading to the Lakes for the weekend. I had hoped that by some miracle I would be fine to run 38miles in the Ultra Tour de Helvellyn, but was sensible (yes you heard me right) and faced up to the fact that it was highly unlikely I would get round and if I did I probably wouldn't enjoy it. So instead I went for a run with Rhys and Wil from Pooley Bridge, picking up the UTdH route to Martindale. Here we found Mike Robinson looking a little confused, but moving well. What we didn't know is that we'd just missed Kim Collison who was on for a flyer and won by a clear margin in a little over 6 hours...as you can see there was enough snow that it should really have slowed him down!
Running back over the tops I remembered how much harder running in the snow can be!

High Cup Nick
By the end I'd managed 2hrs of pretty comfortable running :-)
On Sunday we headed out again around Dufton (above), running up to High Cup Nick in even more icey snowy conditions. Another 1.5hrs complete, however I was back to feeling pretty rough. So not there quite yet, but only 7 days gf so far. This week has gone better than I hoped and I anticipate that in another 2 weeks I should be able to go out running as much as I like without a problem (well apart from sore and dead legs!).

Next stop Italy, for a bit of Christmas skiing :-)!!!

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