Five weeks to go!

Posted on: 08 Sep 2017

Hello there Realbuzzers ๐Ÿ˜€ย 

I've been meaning to blog for ages but as usual, time and a busy life run away with me. In fact the blog was originally titled 'Six weeks to go'ย but yet another week has passed since I started writing! After the 50k Chiltern Challenge in July, the ankle was pretty sore again so I decided to take a couple of weeks off training. I was no less busy but tried not to walk than 3km at a time and that at a sensible steady pace. The plan was to go back to Parkrun at the end of July but come the day, the ankle was still not quite settled - very frustrating but I decided to give it another week. I need that ankle to be in good shape for Morocco!ย 

Almost three weeks to the day after the CC50, training restarted. I'd done a couple of slow paced 5k's the week before and they seemed to go a lot better. I'll try and keep this summary brief but I wantย to have a record of the training on the build up to the Saharan Challenge. All times don't include Richard coffee breaks - still can't get him to go very long without his coffee ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

We restarted. ย training on 4th August with a 22k walk along the Wey Navigation from home to Guildford, returning by train. It was fairly warm and humid. Ideally we could do with hot and dry conditions for training but it looks like someone stole our summer! Very happy to report that the cows and bull were not present this time!ย

Next day it was our tremendous privilege to go out to support our wonderful Sir Bolty on the NDW 100. We had a great day catching up with Lady Bolty and trying to give loads of encouragement. I'll never forget waiting on a bridge with Sir Bolty just coming into sight when there were a couple of massive thunderclaps - fairly made me jump that did ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I'd loved to have stayed out longer but commitments back home meant we had to leave after the halfway point ๐Ÿ˜•

The week after that, the ankle kicked off a bit, so wanting to take things steady, I reverted to 5k walks every day to keep ticking over while Richard did a ten miles on his own one evening - it felt really weird missing a walk ๐Ÿ˜•ย At the end of that week on 12th August, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the ย International Athletics with Liz. We had an absolutely fantastic day and it's one that will live long in the memory ๐Ÿ˜Š We met up at The Shard, then had a great morning catching up over drinks in a lovely riverside setting by Tower Bridge. Great feeling walking over Tower Bridge again too! It's the first time I've ever been to a major athletics event and it was incredible - the noise, the atmosphere, just everything. The mascot kept us laughing with his antics - especially running around holding a target between javelin throwers and what he was trying to do with that inflatable pink flamingo I can't imagine ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ It was brilliant watching the high jump which was right in front of us (one of my old events back in the day so of great interest). I felt so disappointed for Mo and Bolt ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

6 days later on the 17th saw the start of back to back training with a night walk. We did a 16k local loop along the road to Woking then back via the Basingstoke canal. Very happy to do that in 2:41 with an average pace of just over 6kph, especially as it was still 17C with ย 85% humidity! Rich tried much harder trying to make me feel what it's like to feel pressured into 'fast' - backfired a bit because he was huffing and I was really enjoying it ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Next day we went over to the Grand Union canal to do a long slow walk from Denham to Watford and back. Just over 32k and almost 6 hours on the feet 32.6km. Despite it being cool and thundery, we still managed to maintain our average challenge walking pace 5.5kph so not quite as slow as we expected. The ankle was getting a bit sore towards the end but it was pleasing progress ๐Ÿ˜Š

The day after that I did my local (Homewood) Parkrun and despite 30 miles already done, a new PB ๐Ÿ˜Š Nothing to get excited about as it still wasn't as fast as my HU5k time but it's a bit of a lumpier course and my legs were a bit tired ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Richard decided to opt out as he was a bit tired as well.

The Tuesday after I did my usual weekly gym session and started trying to do some recommended ankle stability exercises. That didn't work out too well and my ankle was more sore than for weeks. I decided then not to do any more ankle specific exercises until after Morocco!ย 

Later that week on the 24th, another night walk but as we got out late and with the ankle still kicking off, the planned three local loops became two ๐Ÿ˜• Almost 11km inย 2:02 so only slightly slower than challenge pace. It was another warm sticky (87% humidity) nightย making conditions uncomfortable.ย

Next day came a challenge pace walk from ย - West Byfleet to Godalming ย along the Basingstoke canal then Wey Navigation. A touch over 34k in 6:01. Happy that was achieved at slightly quicker than challenge pace. It was a hot humid day and as usual I got the hydration wrong in the second half of the walk. A diversion to a petrol station in Guildford for a white Magnum left me feeling so refreshed I didn't feel anything more than mildly thirsty. Despite a couple of cups of tea at the end of the walk, and drinking a lot after we got home, I didn't go to the loo until after midnight and had managed to lose 3lbs - must do better!ย

The weekend after saw me back on a bike - I needed to get some cardio training in without stressing the ankle too much. I wasn't allowed a bike when I was growing up and I sill don't know why as all three of my brothers had bikes. I only first rode a bike when I was 21 and doing fieldwork on Anglesey and it wasn't an entirely happy experience! I had a mountain bike for a while when the boys were young and we used to cycle around en famille a fair bit but I had to stop because it was just too painful on hands, shoulders, neck and back. Last summer, I went to visit to see my eldest (Rhys) who was up in Scotland for a few months and that weekend saw us hire a bike and cycle around the lovely wee island of Greater Cumbrae. Mine was a proper old ladies bike (minus the basket ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚) and it was actually comfortable. For my birthday this year, Rhys built me a ladies bike from various parts (you know the kind of thing, old Dawes frame, Shimano brakes ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚) and I love it! First timeย out we managed 24k around Virginia Water and Windsor Great Park inย 1:40. Lovely and toasty 27 degrees and blissfully, lower humidity and the fact that I didn't fall off or crash into anyone made it very enjoyable ๐Ÿ˜€

Last week we had our second set of Aussie visitors this summer so we couldn't really get out training. Although they were happy to go for a walk, the pace was very slow. I'd left Runmeter in 'cycle' mode from a few days before so all paces and times were up the spout but at least another 14k's were covered. That long slow amble left me aching from head to foot - I don't cope well with slow ๐Ÿ˜• Our guests were scheduled to depart on Saturday morning at 9am and not wanting to miss another Parkrun, so said my goodbyes 30 minutes early while Richard waved them off.ย I tried to run (well, shuffle) more and walk less and managed to knock another 36 seconds of my PB (which is still nothing to write home aboutย but all progress is good right? ๐Ÿ˜Š). I should mention at this point that a few weeks ago I registered for the Vitality 'My Summer Parkrun Goal' thing to try and motivate myself. All entries went into a prize draw too. I was gobsmacked when a letter dropped through the door a couple of weeks and I'd won a lovely prize - a ยฃ50 Sweatshop voucher ๐Ÿ˜€ Didn't take long to spend that on a couple of new pairs of capris ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

This week again we've been time constrained by other commitments so no back to back training this week ๐Ÿ˜• I feel confident we can do it though so I'm not stressing about it. The plan is to go by how much the ankle aches and keep it to a single long walk per week when it's not too happy. However, we finally did get some training in on sand ๐Ÿ˜€ We did one of our favourite walks through a few of the beautiful Surrey heaths yesterday - Royal & Bagmoor, Thursley, Hankley, around Frensham Ponds with the obligatory tea stop then back again via a different route. Lovely day for walking, mostly cloudy and cool although still very humid at 77%. I wouldn't be sorry to see the humidity drop anytime soon! 27.4k done in 5:04 - very almost at average challenge pace so I was very happy with that given the amount of dry loose sand we walked on and that the last km was the fastest ๐Ÿ˜Š

Right, that's me up to date! I'm not going to include pictures this time but will try and get back to more regular blogging over the coming weeks ๐Ÿ˜Š

Hope you all have a great week and happy training everyone ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€



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