Monday, August 5, 2013

We're all going on a summer holiday...

At last, I'm on holiday and, and such, I'm going to keep this post short because one of the things I enjoy about being in Asturias is being away from computers. I also enjoy being away from the searing heat of Madrid although next week, we are going once more to Morocco, so I'll have to make the most of it while it lasts.

The week before we left for Asturias, I continued my experiment of short, sharp training: rarely slower than 15 kph (4:00 per km) and rarely longer than 40 minutes. I managed to build my intervals up to 4 lots of 2 kilometres at 17.5 kph (3:25 per km) which I was quite proud of, considering that I had started with 8 lots of one kilometre just a few weeks ago. Despite my constant paranoia that the treadmill is getting slower rather than me getting faster, it certainly sets a new high water mark in my training.

Monday: -
Tuesday: 4 x 2,000m @ 3:25
Wednesday: 40' @ 4:00
Thursday: 2 x 20' @ 4:00
Friday: 20' @ 4:00, plyometrics, 20' @ 4:00
Saturday: - (Asturias)
Sunday: 60' run with hills, 30 km MTB with hills

Perhaps as a result of my intense training lately, I've noticed my left Achilles tendon a bit tender after running, particularly if I pinch it hard. The last thing I want to do is start my specific training for the New York City Marathon with a latent injury so I've decided to back off a bit on the running and make use of my mountain bike while I can (in Morocco I'll have little option but to run).

The first couple of days with the bike didn't start off too well as I made the same mistake both days of leaving the bike out in the sun with the tyres pumped up to the max: the heat was enough to burst the inner tube thanks to - is it Boyle's law? But it was thanks to Sod's law that my bike pump on both days broke, the second time after investing in one of the best pumps money could buy (in the local bike shop). Unfortunately, this made me so mad that I snapped the damn thing in two; had I not done this it's quite possible I would have been given a refund. Instead, I bought another pump, this time even more expensive and robust (looking).

Another gripe with the bike I have in Asturias is that the seat post is infuriatingly just short of the ideal length, so that my legs get uncharacteristically tired, especially when climbing sitting down (during one of these such stretches, I was passed by a car coming in the opposite direction and received an ovation from the driver - ironic or congratulatory, of which I am not sure). I asked in the shop whether they had any longer seat posts to which they made a suggestion that perhaps the frame was a bit on the small side. "Erm, considering you sold me the bike in the first place, what solution can you recommend, other than buying a completely new bike?".

On Tuesday I tried to repeat my feat from the previous week of 4 lots of 2 km at 17.5 kph at the local gym in Villaviciosa. After having to wait a fair while for a suitable treadmill to become free (one was out of order and another was restricted to walking pace only), I started to pound away at the machine, making an impressive racket that I could hear even above the drum 'n' bass music I was listening to. Perhaps because I was tired from the hills from the previous days, perhaps because I started to overheat or perhaps simply because I was on holiday and therefore less in the mood to "macharcarme" as they say in Spanish, I had to break the third and forth set into two pieces.

Normally, that workout would have easily covered the work quota for the day but later on an emergency meant that I had to run for an important cause: my lunch. We went to a beach which had an access via a long gravel path of about a kilometre, where there was no shade and only a small chiringuito which served food and drinks but, crucially, did not accept a credit card. Having only 15 euros between us to feed the whole family, I realised that I would have to run to the nearest cashpoint, some 6 (hilly) kilometres away in the merciless glare of the midday sun. Still, with it being a matter of eating or going hungry, I had enough motivation - so much, in fact, that I was unaware of the huge blister forming on my "bunion" from running without socks.

The rest of the week included a longish cycle ride that culminated in me running out of gas during the torturously long ascent up to the house - obliging me to down a couple of (non-diet) cokes in a bar half-way up - and a 40 minute run (with hills). By Saturday, I was getting tired of hills - one of the problems of "living high" is that what goes down, must go up and I generally prefer to have my cake and then eat it, rather than eating it first and then having to earn it. So I decided to "cheat" and started my run from the bottom of the hill along a fairly flat stretch by Asturian standards. Later that day we went to Ribadesella to watch the tail end of the "international descent of the Sella river" - the famous canoe race which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators to the event. One year I want to take part, even if canoeing has little in common with rowing, the sport I was fairly good at in my youth.

Monday: 35 km MTB with hills
Tuesday: 2 x 2,000m + 1 x 500m + 1 x 1,500m + 2 x 1,000m @ 17.5; 12km run with hills
Wednesday: 55 km MTB with hills
Thursday: -
Friday: 40' run with hills
Saturday: 60' brisk easy run
Sunday: 30 km MTB with hills

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