Monday, 20 January 2014

"Are you having fun yet?"

After more or less a month of no training, I knew that getting back out again was going to hurt and, as expected, it did.
Having effectively missed Christmas, my wife, Teri and I made up for it on Friday evening when we had a couple of friends round for a Chinese and a wine or two. Several wines were followed by a few lager chasers (as we'd ran out of wine) which was far from ideal preparation for early morning training in what turned out to be a thoroughly miserable weather.
I wasn't feeling on top of the world when I met up with Richard Gerrard, Dave Walker and Vinny Lynch at the NSC. This is the usual rendezvous point for us where we decide upon a suitable route depending on weather, traffic, family commitments, hangovers and so on.
Being somewhat central, there are several routes we could take from the NSC. One of the options is to head north through Onchan towards Laxey and this is the route we took on Saturday. We turned left at the top of Whitebridge to extend the route a bit heading towards Glen Roy. Although we didn't do it this time, Glen Roy is a great challenge as, although only a few miles long, it has very steep hills both up and down and will test your stamina especially if you up your pace a bit.
I was feeling ok for the first 10 miles or so when I started to fall behind the others and it was becoming a great effort to keep up with them. Heading out of Baldrine towards Onchan, I had nothing left in the 'tank' and was falling further behind. I was contemplating taking the path of least resistance at the Liverpool Arms which would have been straight through Onchan and home. However, in a fit of 'man-up' ness, I followed the others along the Groudle road heading towards Douglas prom. After another mile or so on this road, I had no energy left at all. This is a horrible feeling as it is then far too late to do anything about it: the body has used up not only what you have eaten during the walk but it has also used up its stored reserves.
Catching the boys up at the old Groudle pub (they slowed and waited for me!), I told them that if I dropped behind again, just to carry on and I would see them the following Tuesday.
By the time I got to the Majestic apartments, they had disappeared over the horizon and weren't seen again. How rude.
I coasted home feeling sorry for myself looking forward to a hot shower.
When I got home, I had a supportive text from Vinny which said something along the lines of "Ha, ha I have had a hot shower and you're still out in the pi**ing rain". How thoughtful.

Sunday saw the fourth round of the MicroGaming cross country league held at the Crossags in Ramsey.
I went up a little apprehensive as I haven't done any running for about five weeks and also I hadn't really given myself enough time to recover from the previous day's adventures however, I enjoy the challenge of xc. As the weather had been particularly atrocious in what felt like the preceding two years, it made for proper xc conditions with a great deal of standing water/ponds and more mud than you knew what to do with. From a spectator's point of view, the chance of seeing someone come a cropper was fairly high with the ground being very slippy, but as far as I can determine, casualties were disappointingly low.
At one point in the course, competitors have to traverse a style which is actually an old pallet stood on its end between hedgerows either side of it. In previous races here, this point became a bottleneck as athletes queued up to go over it. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the organisers very kindly extended the lap distance by approximately 250 meters.
On my final lap, Steve Kelly asked me if I was having fun to which I could only blurt the single word 'No!' between gasping for lungful's of air in a frantic attempt at survival.
Although I was wheezing like an old donkey, and had to walk up the steepest part of the course on the last two of the four laps, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and look forward to the next lung bursting day out sometime in February.
I rolled in after about 48 minutes and was grateful for a steaming cup of tea and Bourbon biscuit which, lets face it, is a good enough reason to put yourself through the mill in one race or another every other weekend.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

...and we're back in the room!

After 4 weeks in hospital, our daughter, Nicki, flew back to the island today and is on the road to recovery. She has been in Aintree Major Trauma Ward since December 18th and we are very glad to have her home at last.
Christmas and New Year didn't really happen for us so we're making up for it now! Prezzie opening this evening with a traditional Chinese with all the trimmings. And wine. So although exactly four weeks late, today was our Christmas day and we can now look forward to getting back to normal.

Training wise, I went for a short run on Monday evening which was the first form of any sort of exercise since Saturday 14th December so I expected it to hurt a bit - and it did. I only ran 4 miles but it was nice to get out again. I do enjoy running and it is of benefit to walkers as far as overall fitness is concerned.

This Sunday sees the next round of the Microgaming sponsored cross country league which takes place at the Crossags in Ramsey. Having missed the Boxing Day relay which I was looking forward to in a sadistic way (because it would have been hideous running with a hangover!), I'll have a tootle round the hilly Crossags course with the added challenge of not falling over. Always a bonus. Its funny when someone else does though!