Sunday, 31 March 2013

That DW feeling

bike, cadbury's mini rolls, tea.
Yesterday and today has seen the running of the Senior Doubles DW race and I have not been able to get it out of my mind. I knew a couple of the MPCC crews who were taking part as well as following Blair's and Antony's progress on their blogs since I got into this event a couple of years' ago. The Kingston Straight is a very familiar part of the course and just a stone's throw from the Royal CC and the final portage at Teddington. It's also traditionally the point where I have been reduced to tears having got there, so I decided that I would get up early this morning and go along and support. I really wanted to be in the race in some form or other, even as a spectator; I just couldn't let it drift past my house and not get out there and see it running.

The pound from Molesey to Teddington is one of the longest on the Thames section of the race and if I had a pound for every time I was asked "How far to Teddington?" while I was on the bridge I would be a rich man. I managed to get into the tired spirit of the event by having far too many beers the night before, coupled with the clocks going forward so therefore I was one knackered and cold spectator after taking the langster for a spin over to Kingston Bridge.

And what does every DW crew want, 20 odd hours into their paddle at 6am? Yep, a cow bell gee up!
Annoying the neighbours

It had been a bitterly cold night, apparently dropping to as low as -5. Massive respect to all the finishers. It's a hard enough event at the best of times but those kinds of temperatures are energy sapping and really makes it difficult for the paddlers and their crews. I think the drop out rate was accordingly pretty high this year.

I got there at around 6am and stayed until 8 and saw most of the crews past the bridge. It was hard watching some of the guys and girls going through, obviously pretty spent and still with some way to go. That said, there was still a really good flow to help the paddlers on their way down to Westminster.

Boat 448 approaching Kingston Bridge 6am
I spent most of my time saying the following phrases:

"Amazing effort." Absolutely.

"You're doing great." They were.

"Looking good." Hmmm. Not so much.  For quite a few crews that was a lie but they were still in the race and paddling in some fashion or other and that's all that counts.

The sun coming up

I managed to catch Dan and Mark who by this stage were the only MPCC crew still going. They finished in a tad over 25 hours and I think Dan must be closing in on the 1000 mile club by now. Unfortunately the other MPCC crew made up of Matt and his 19 year old son, Josh had to retire at Old Windsor after 17 hours or so. A great effort and I think they'll be back next year with a vengeance. I almost missed him but saw Blair and Ryan through and they were looking good and  finished in a tad over 23 hours. Great effort boys. Sad to see that Antony didn't make it down this year. Hopefully he'll have better luck next time round.  He definitely deserves it.

A DW flotilla
I cycled home knowing that I want to do it again next year. The night before I had been sharing a few sherbets with Adam, Phil, Alex and Dave. The DW came up and they all instantly volunteered to be support crew next year. Top bananas the lot of them. Adam's also lending me his paddles. :-)  But most importantly, Jamie wants to give it a good go again and Sue, on discovering my various tweeted  musings about it has given me her blessing. Project #sub23 is under way.

In other news....

I still cannot run.  Tried and failed again, therefore it's off to the physio this week. Enough's enough. A few turbo sessions with a couple of  time trials booked in soon, a Kingston Phoenix 10 and the SCCU 25. All good.

Monday, 25 March 2013

You know that feeling...

when everyone seems to have been invited to a party and you're not invited? That others are having a great time while you're not? That's me that is. Two-fold. Firstly, there are soooo many runners out and about, presumably in the final throws of Spring marathon training. And I'm not, when I should be. I ended up walking for a few hours today and by the end of it my back was beginning to protest. As much as I didn't want to I am thinking that another physio visit will be necessary.

The second thing? Well, it's something that's taken me a bit by surprise. Not that long ago I wrote this. Three consecutive years doing Devizes to Westminster had taken its toll and I wanted off the treadmill, but over the last couple of months I had started to think about paddling again. The terrible winter that we have endured so far made me feel really glad about not being on the water and having to paddle but again, there's people out there looking forward to starting the race while I am not going to be in Devizes. The thing is that training for the DW as part of a crew always got me out there training in some form or other because someone else was relying on me being fit enough to do it. The guy who helped me out of the mystere and up the steps at Westminster last year said I would be back and I think that he may be right, sooner than I thought.

So the other day I ended up texting Jamie. How's things? How's work? Theoretically speaking, would you fancy the DW again? That kind of thing. If we were to do it again, there would need to be a proviso or two, namely going for a time. Jamie rather optimistically started talking about 20 hours. I thought that 22.30 might be slightly more appropriate. And that would mean getting paddle fit and that would mean being body fit. There are a few obstacles in the way. My back's buggered, Jamie's is even more buggered than mine. He's carrying a little bit of extra weight (his viewpoint, not mine btw) while I have the upperbody strength of a sparrow. And I don't have a boat anymore, not that I could paddle the one I had. A few things to sort out then and in a moment of clarity we thought that maybe DW 2015 would be sensible. Give us 2 years and work up to it properly and nail it rather than enduring it.

I reserve the right to change my mind again.  :-!


Hodge. Cheers mate. So glad that your training's going well. :-)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

That's the end of that

I ran yesterday for another 20 minutes and while it wasn't painful, it wasn't comfortable either and confirmed what I have known for the last week, that the London Marathon's not going to happen for me this year. Again, it's a sense of frustration more than anything else, having been in such a good place before I got injured. I will be running again pretty soon but not well enough to run London and be confident that my back will hold out for 26 miles, so it's back to the drawing board with more strengthening exercises, more stretching and then hopefully getting back on my feet.

I guess this will give me the opportunity to get back on my bike and do that other thing. What is it again? Escapes me for now. I have done a bit of commuting on the langster although they have only been short 8 mile efforts, battering myself on small sections as a sort of interval session and a few turbo sessions. I met up with Simon this morning for a 2.5 hour ride. I was meant to be on the Van Nic but while sorting it last night I noticed that there was no grease in the bearings of my rear wheel and they were rattling around in the cups, so I ended up going out on the langster instead. We ended up cycling out to the 10m tt course which isn't too lumpy. The outward leg felt pretty good while the return was comical with a stiff 20mph headwind the whole way. So that'll be why the out leg felt good despite being on the langster. I ended up coasting the last couple of miles while Simon disappeared off into the distance and rolled home with blocks of ice on the bottom of my legs. Doesn't the open water swimming season start in a couple of weeks? Swimming!! That's it. The other thing I should be doing.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

20 minutes

Well it's an improvement, but not much of one. I ran for 20 minutes non-stop on Thursday but by the end I was getting very sore. So it's 5 weeks out from the London Marathon now and I can kiss goodbye to a sub 3.10 time which was looking quite comfortable 3 weeks ago. I am still intending to make the start as I do not feel that I have lost enough fitness to not finish, but of course it is whether I can get even a moderately long run in before then. If I can run 13 to 15 miles beforehand without my hip and back getting stupidly sore then that should be fine, but I will now be treating the race as an easy training run and hopefully search around for a marathon in the summer. There's not many of them about at that time but I am sure that I can find something and go for the good for age time that I want.

Despite having barely turned a wheel this year it's the first tt of the season next week, a 25. I'm really looking forward to it. I am expecting very little and again, it's going to be a training session and a catchup with friends more than anything. Whatever happens, it will be a season's best.  :-)  The Kingston Phoenix have a great list of tt events and I intend to use them as my training in preparation for the Dambuster tri in the summer.

You can probably tell, the mojo isn't flowing too well at the moment. There's so much else going on at home and at work that my hobby is taking a backseat. Normally, I'd be a bit stressed about it but I have to remind myself that it is just a hobby. Should I make the start line of London then I am going to go and run a marathon and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the greatest events that occurs in the capital. What's not to like about that?

I have been eating a lot of hot cross buns, which of course means Devizes to Westminster time.It will be the first Easter in three years where I have not been involved. I have had the odd pang, wishing I was doing it again although the weather this year would have made it very difficult to train. I do also wonder if I would have this back injury if I had carried on paddling, which is the best core workout ever.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

4 minutes

I tried to go out for another run this afternoon and I managed a paltry 4 minutes before having to turn and walk back. My back's been a bit better over the last couple of days so I thought I might be able to do a short one, but almost as soon as I started I knew that there was no real change. I found some great exercises on the Kinetic-Revolution site which I have been using to strengthen my glutes and hamstrings but they are not going to make a difference overnight.

It looks like I am going to have to re-evaluate my goals for the marathon. At the moment it's just about getting to the startline. and anything else is a bonus.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tick tock

So I'm stretching, icing, strengthening and anything else I can think of to sort out this hip injury, and guess what? It's making absolutely no difference whatsoever. Clock's ticking.......

Monday, 4 March 2013

Doing the dirty dog

No running all last week. Bah. The pain in my lower back just wouldn't go away and in fact got worse despite a complete rest.  It has been so frustrating. My running had gone so, so well and the last run I did, the 21 miler had been done at sub 3.30 pace with a last couple of miles at sub 3 pace while feeling very easy and with no inkling during the run of what was to come. My cold cleared up within a few days and on Thursday, despite my back and bum cheek feeling very achy I tried a gentle run. I ran a total of 10 metres before knowing it was a lost cause and got straight back in the front door. :-(

It seems to be my glutes which have been asked to work too hard and do too much. I guess with hindsight doing an 18, 20 and 21 mile run on three consecutive weekends was simply more than I could cope with although at the time everything was tickety-boo. I don't think it's actually that serious but it is taking a while to heal up. I've been having ice-baths, stretching and I have been doing some gentle glute strengthening and stability exercises. It's no surprise that they are very weak. One of the exercises I have been doing is 'the dirty dog'. Basically, on all fours and then you cock your leg up like a dog having a pee. My kids were in stitches watching me do it and they have considerably stronger glutes than me.

It has upset me that this has happened. It was all going so well and this has disrupted my training at precisely the point I should be putting in my last big block. I also had to dns the VO2 duathlon yesterday. However I was further ahead than  I thought I would be and I had already put in 3 good quality long runs. If I can get this shaken off by the end of this week then I think a sub 3.10 should still be on the cards. If not.......

I went out this evening and ran 8 minutes before I had to turn and limp / walk home. It's touch and go again.