Saturday, 17 June 2017

Watch that ankle!

Leaving the house to drive to Hatfield I managed to twist my right ankle ever so slightly whilst avoiding an overgrown rose bush. I did the same last year! My main concern was whether I'd injured myself with 2 weeks to go before The Big Walk 2017. Anyway the water was warm although the venue busy due to it being a lovely day and the triathlon season being underway.

On previous sessions I've ended up with clay cramp and disappointing pace so today I decided to try to minimise kicking and rely on the buoyancy of the wetsuit for body position. It felt easier, indeed as I was doing less it really should have done. I didn't get cramp (although I was aware of a slight hint just before stopping) and I was slightly faster than previously.

I was only a little bit faster but considering that I'd expended less effort that count as a win. Before getting too complacent though it's worth noting that the male course record is less than 10 minutes.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Big Walk 2017 training

Last Sunday we walked over 30 miles and although the pace was fine it did seem that knees were damaged. My left has been a bit irritated during the week but as the pain moved around I thought that was probably an insignificant niggle. Certainly it coped at with circuit training on Wednesday although I was cautious with single let squats and lunges.

Today's run was slower than usual and felt like hard work but at least I didn't spot anything other that stiff ankles. I'd almost developed a blister last week on my right heel, possibly due to leaving my shoes rather loosely tied, but again that's OK. Last week's walk did feel to cause quite a bit of fatigue, a few pool swims have been slow and yesterday's open water swim left me tired.

So overall I feel that I'm doing OK but mustn't get into an overtrained situation. It seems hard to believe with my relatively low training programme that it's a risk but I do sense an accumulation of fatigue.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Slightly over-egging the journey

So today we're reported as having walked 35 miles although my estimate would be nearer 32 miles. Looking at the track it seems that 'UltraTrac' on the new watch is adding some additional distance through inaccuracy.

This particular view shows small steps, in some areas the track was spot on, in others it was much worse. Nonetheless it's clear that there's some exaggeration going on. This stepping will also explain why the course navigation repeatedly gave off-course alerts. There will always be differences between a GPS record and the real world but this isn't great.

This track, in a wooded valley, is far tighter and was recorded in standard GPS mode. Seems like UltraTrac needs to be used with caution. The issue is that 13 hours walking in UltraTrac took under 40% of battery (I turned off the course function early on as the motor spinning was clearly hammering the battery) but I don't know the relative consumption in ordinary mode. Officially it's around half the longevity.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


I spent a salary bonus on a Garmin 935 as my aging Forerunner 110 has remained unreliable despite fitting new battery 6 months ago. Really it seemed very expensive but I took the plunge after noting that it hasn't received hate mail on various Garmin/watch/Suunto forums so it can't be doing too badly.

It arrived fully charged which was nice, but I topped it up via USB nonetheless. Today I took it for a swim which it recorded satisfactorily.

Naturally a few corners are missed off but some of that could be may fault as my sighting technique is poor so every so often I did a little lazy breaststroke. This leaves the watch submerged and thus lacking a GPS signal. This also accounts for the start in the lake as I lost signal whilst dithering in the not-all-that-cold water. I also messed up the cessation of recording but I think I've learn how to do that now. At least Strava does allow cropping.

Today's swim went well too, around 2km but done very slowly. I'm not sure why I'm so slow as I expected the wetsuit to give me pull-buoy-like speed. I know I'm being cautious in the big pond but I didn't think it was that much! Anyway, today I was in the water at just above 14 degrees for an hour so the wetsuit is certainly helping there. Incidentally  the watch recorded the temperature closer to 12 degrees.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Not much?

In a way it's been a low-exercise week as work activities have pushed into the early evening and I haven't felt the need to push something energetic into a thin space. Additionally, somewhere at the beginning of the week I hurt my right hand and so skipped circuit training.

Yesterday's swim at Hatfield was harder than anticipated, mainly due to an apparent 'tide' at the far corner of the lake. Really it must just have been a bit of a breeze. My sighting was better than last week but I struggled to complete the second lap due to calf cramp which has been present, albeit reduced, all of today too. It's tender to massage with the roller and stretching hasn't done much to it. Ouch!

Today we walked around 18miles thereby completing reconnaissance  of all of the key sections of the University's 2017 Big Walk. Each bit is OK, going them into a 50mile whole will be a challenge.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Getting properly cold

I arrived at Hatfield primed to do two laps of the 800m lake. I was changed quickly and face in the water faster than previously. It was a little bit warmer in fairness.

The first lap took somewhere over 20minutes which is slow considering the lift of the wetsuit. I did have a bit of a splutter at one point but that was only a 20second delay! By the time I started the second lap I was cooling, my feet were cold despite the socks, the small of my back was slightly stiff but, importantly, my hands weren't showing any clawing. Half way around this lap I began to feel disorientated and thinking of the route was a bit harder, my coordination less and hampering my inept sighting. As I approached the final turn I went completely off track as I was focussing on keeping going and not looking. I nearly reached the jetty! A little detour got me on the the loop but then I couldn't workout which of the pink buoys was marking the exit. Seemingly I was surrounded by a forest of confusing buoys. Once I spotted the ramp I was Ok, and headed to that to stagger out of the water.

Even though I felt I was a bit more deeply cold I did manage to get my clothes on a little bit faster than previously and only spilt a little of my coffee.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Two hour aquathon

I kept my motivation and arrived at Hatfield well into the morning session meaning that I only had clear 45minutes for swimming. I committed to a big loop, 800m, so reasonable after last weeks multiple small loops. The water felt cold initially but it didn't take me too many attempts to get my head in and get swimming. I kept a very steady pace as I'm still getting my confidence in the water and the feel of the wet suit. Early on I had to stop, calm my breathing, and settle into a fresh rhythm as I was going too fast, but that was OK. My goggles got a bit damp by the end so I struggled to see the route too. As I'd been out for 25-30 minutes I felt I had time for a 200m small lap and certainly not another full lap. The cold was penetrating a little too.

The wetsuit was dragging a bit on my right arm and my left arm was collapsing whilst breathing. Things to try to deal with next time. Socks were better within the wetsuit cuffs although this didn't make them any easier to take off!

A Mr T sandwich (Mustard, Rocket and Tofu)
In the afternoon, after a few little jobs I ran to Oxstones for lunch. Even though I don't really use my legs for swimming much they did feel tired and that 14km was plenty.