Thursday, 8 May 2008

African Safari

Africa? Safari? What on earth am I on about I hear you ask!? (listens....silent tumble weed drifts past!!) Maybe I've been in the sun too long, but let me explain....

Last week was an "easy week". Rest is as important as training - especially when the training spans a long period (seven months in our case), so we've put a few easy weeks into our training plan to give our bodies a chance to recover. Rest allows the body to catch up with the ongoing repairs it's struggling to keep up with. It's better to actually have planned rest or easy weeks otherwise you end up only having a rest when it's too late (i.e. you're knackered and come down with a "man" flu). Last week's rest period should have consisted of shorter easier runs, but instead we totally skipped our Wednesday (15k BT1) and Thursday (12k DPT) runs hence giving us four full days of activity free bliss! :)

We made up for it at the weekend though....

On Saturday we did our usual 15k easy run along the Thames. The weather has finally turned - it is now officially spring (or even summer) :)

On Sunday we decided to run a marathon (42k/26miles) - well it seemed like the right thing to do at the time!! We chose to run along the same route I took last weekend (along the Regent's Canal to Camden and, this time, beyond). It wasn't as enjoyable as the previous week's solo adventure - that was down to a number of factors; It wasn't as hot and sunny (although the weather was ideal running weather - it was nice, but I prefer it hot!!). Having run the most of the route last week it no longer had that feeling of discovery that keeps your mind off the running and relaxed. Most of the people on the towpath were all (typically) grumpy Londoners. And finally Jo wasn't (initially) in a good mental state (let's just say she too was a little grumpy!!!).

We struggled to find the right pace to run's not often that it happens but every now and then Jo and I find our natural/comfortable pace is different to each others - Sunday was just one of those days. We saw a couple of swans with a dozen or so cygnets - that lifted our spirits a bit and helped us relax. Most of the run to Camdem was pretty uneventful. For the first time in ages we ended up having walking breaks - to be honest there's nothing wrong with walking breaks, in fact I think we should plan in walking breaks into our long runs. If you are forced to walk because you're tired it can get a bit demoralising (and then it becomes too easy to switch to a walk whenever the going gets tough), whereas if you walk because you planned to then it just becomes a nice welcome break - leaving you rested and recovered to run the next leg. Anyway - we walked most of the overland section of the Islington tunnel but then picked it up a bit for the run into Camden.

Oh to find a route that skips Camden!!!

Camden wasn't as busy as last week - but it still took a good ten minutes to negotiate past the 50 yards or so of the market (and the wonderful smelling food) and to continue on past (to new uncharted territory). The run got more enjoyable past Camden.

The Regent's Canal runs right through Regent's Park - no surprise there, but we found it also runs right through London Zoo (based in the park). Wow! One minute we're running along enjoying the greenery of the park and the next minute we're running through the Africa section in London Zoo. We could see African Wild Dogs and Red River Hogs on our left and a massive bird aviary on the right. Cool, not something you see everyday while out running, is it!?

Where's the barbecue when you need one!???

Thought it was a bit cruel teasing these poor doggies with the Red River Hogs in the pen next to them!!

It was a bit of a shame to continue running and leave Regent's Park, but I was looking forward to seeing "Little Venice" in Maida Vale. It was a massive disappointment. Initially the towpath became restricted so that bikes were no longer allowed - which I don't approve off (even though the bikes get in our way when we're running, being an avid mountain biker it angers me as to how little London - and the UK in general - provides for cyclists). And then it got worse - the towpath (at Little Venice) become a private access only path for moored boat owners only - walkers/runners/cyclists had to move off onto adjoining roads and their pavements. That wouldn't be so bad but the pavement was wide enough for a anorexic catwalk model on a diet, while breathing in. Things like that just get my goat - surely the waterways should belong to the whole nation (and it's peoples) rather than local councils having the authority to turn them into privately owned moorings? I'm probably being a grumpy old man (again) and there was probably an accessible towpath on the other side of the canal but it's my blog and I'll be grumpy if I want to! ;)

Anyway, "Little Venice" was our half way point (21km) - although I think (having since looked at a map) it was probably short by one or so kilometres (hence we may not have done a full marathon - it's difficult to know for sure; sometimes the Polar foot pod and (especially) the Nike+ can be a bit inaccurate...I think it depends on our running pace.

The return journey was pretty uneventful but around 30km or so we tired considerably and had to have a few walking breaks. We even stopped for a well earned tea break near Mile End - there are going to be tea shops along the TransRockies route aren't there?

We picked up the pace once we got off the canal and back to the Thames. When we finished we still felt pretty good considering we'd just run a marathon. It took us considerably longer than we expected (over 5 hours) - but that's fine; we're not out to break any personal bests (although it was for Jo). Jo was in a much better state than she was in after the London Marathon a couple of years ago. I did, however, manage to aggravate the sore joint under one of my toes - but found that if I iced and massaged it then it was fine for a run the next day.

And that's exactly what we did - we ran the next day. We were supposed to do a slow 10km run but we felt so good that we picked up the pace a bit and ran a sub-one hour 10km (which is fast for us). We feel that last weekend we passed a major milestone - it's only the 2nd time in Jo's life that she's run a marathon distance (4th time for me) and certainly the first time she's ever done a run the day after a marathon (I did the British 10k the day after last years training marathon run!!).

So it was a great weekend - a big confidence booster. we're hoping to push on and do some more long distance runs in the coming weeks, but ensure we don't overdo it (or peak too soon).

Thanks for reading - and keep on running :)


Blogger Georgie B said...

After an email from you that gave me hope that you are not elite athletes, you write the marathon experience into your blog.

I won't be able to sleep tonight.
The peer pressure is going to smother me !

I love the photos in your chronicle. I particularly love that the snapshots are from another country (s ).

By the way, we bought the 20 lb suicide weight vests at Walmart... I really feel like it adds value to a run that can be shorter than longer.

I read your comments about compression shorts as well... I absolutely agree. I used to have a pair of running shorts with the compression shorts stitched to the shorts...... seemed to be a bit more stable / effective in that the compression shorts didn't hitch up. If I find them for sale on line... I'll send you the link.

Cheers !

10 May 2008 at 02:57  
Blogger Georgie B said...

Cat... this is the link for 2 in 1 compression running shorts

Product # rrm901 in the road runner sports on line catalogue.

If you can't order from London, let me know if you need me to mail a pair or two to you.

10 May 2008 at 03:04  
Blogger Sunshine Girl said...

Way to go, Team Can Do Sandhu! Nice work. Now go take it easy again for a few more days - all of that ashphalt would kill me!! Maybe some active recovery? A couple of hours easy spinning on the bike should do it!

Contrast therapy with the shower head is awesome for getting the lactic acid out of the legs - cold water on the legs for as long as you can handle it, followed by hot, followed by cold again. Repeat...and unfortunately, finish with the cold.

Keep it fun and happy training!

10 May 2008 at 04:56  

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