Tag Archives: Cross-train

Recovery? Don’t talk to me about cross training!

I have been going through what I think are fairly normal MdS withdrawal symptoms.

Getting back from an event which is in such stark contrast to most others, and far removed from anything most of us would experience in ‘real-life’ is bound the have such an impact.

Perhaps less so on those brave individuals in the armed forces, or perhaps civilian firemen, police, etc., who frequently put their lives on the line and who have a familiarity with imposed hardships and the challenges of being out of routine in physically and mentally demanding situations on a regular basis, since I believe that is part of the reason why people want to take up such a challenge.

[singlepic id=710 w=320 h=240 float=right]There is little in ‘normal’ life, in our cosseted modern western routines that can really satisfy what are probably primal urges and instincts to compete with others in physical challenges, where often survival may have been at stake and adrenalin fuelled success would have resulted in the ultimate proliferation of a particular branch of the gene pool.

Sound extreme?

Possibly, but imagine opposing tribes of hunter/gatherers, both chasing after dwindling stocks of wildlife before the onset of the winter season. It is not hard to imagine that the more successful persistence hunters might have successfully ensured the survival of their tribe through the winter while another failed and the impact on them would have been more extreme.

Still, back to the present and my recovery, which I glad to say has  has been going well and I’ve not experienced any extremes; until yesterday, that is.

I had rather more swelling in my feet that I had realised, but I had been able to run a couple of times last week, and despite singularly failing to wake up for a long run on Sunday, I even managed to swim on Monday night.

Then things started to go horribly wrong. Tuesday’s has now transmuted to my cross-training day, and I duly went to the gym and cycled and did some squats and lunges, and although tough, I thought no more of it. Shortly afterwards I gave blood, and felt none the worse for that either.

However, two days afterwards, my muscles are aching an order of magnitude more than ever they were from 150 miles across the Sahara.

In one of life’s little ironies, I can trek my way through the toughest footrace on Earth without a hint of DOMS, but put me on a bike for 20 minutes and I may as well have been poked with hot needles dipped in vinegar for the last 6 months. The aching is starting to die down now, but I’m seriously considering whether my cross-training sessions will become a thing of the past after this week 🙂

Back to Basics

For some time now, I had been fretting over the pitiful state of my core muscles.

In the past, nearly two years ago that is, I was a regular at the Monday pilates lunchtime sessions, which I am sure helped with not only my flexibility, through the intrinsic stretching and warming up you do as part of a structured class, but also my core stability was significantly better.

The instructor makes it look easy....!

I have considered going back to the classes before now, and on reflection, I should have, but there always seems to have been other cross training to do, and to be frank, I have been concerned about laying on my left side on the hard surfaces of the gym for any length of time. What a woos, huh!

Fast forward to today though and I could procrastinate no more. With only three months or so to my August date with destiny, the time to start to see any improvement is now.

So, the day and time had not changed and the lady that takes the class, Mila, is always popular, and equally as strict. I sheepishly raised my hand when she asked if it was anyone’s first time and although she remembered me, I explained I’d been missing from her watchful gaze for nearly two years, without going into the reasons behind my absence, but she dismissed this with words like flooding back, riding a bike, your body will remember, etc. I was less convinced.

Everything was going fine until the leg raises; those words don’t really encapsulate the horror of the exercise for me. Suffice it to say, my previous recollection of performance was now running up the stairs to jump off the roof in embarrassment. I made a mental note to lie at the back next time.

I don’t remember working up quite such a sweat in the past either. Perhaps summer had arrived at last and in a cruel twist the air-conditioning had stopped working at the same time. Maybe.

Things improved a touch afthistle initial shock, but I was certainly glad that the session was over and I felt sure I was going to feel the after effects tomorrow.

The final indignity occurred after my swimming session in the evening. Clearly the combination of pilates and lengths of front-crawl with only one arm, legs only, breast-stroke arms, crawl legs, etc, was too much and as I left and bent down to put on my trainers, I got cramp in my abs for the first time in my life.

Clearly it is doing some good 😉

One of those Days

Today was one of those days.

One of those days when you consider staying in bed. Don’t. Then regret it for the rest of the day.

The weather turned wet again, which after the blue skies and pleasure of the weekend was a bit disappointing.

Lemsip Max Strength

Work was just work and several things happened which were annoying, to say the least, and which I suspect will take some weeks to sort out, adding to my already substantial to-do list. The EBRD are holding their annual meeting at the end of this week, in the London HQ, which is great but as a result the coffee bar and restaurant facilities are closed, so healthy breakfasts are a thing of the past and I am thinking of selling a kidney to pay for all the coffee I’m buying for my team at the moment.

My cold, without going into too much detail, is progressing to a really blocked up stage, which is dragging me down and although I did some cross training (cycling) and physio at lunchtime, I have a nagging feeling that I shouldn’t be stressing my body any more than necessary.

Things improved when I got home, as my wonderful and highly perceptive family could sense I had had a rough day and we had lots to talk about regarding the houses we had seen at the weekend and then we watched the final part of the BBC ‘Shock and Awe’ series on the ‘history’ of electricity on iPlayer which, to my surprise, the elder boys really enjoyed. I’ll make scientists of them yet 🙂

An easy to forget day when it was difficult to be positive, but in the end no animals or small children were harmed, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

Misty Swimming

Monday’s are always a long day.

I don’t think I’ve quite caught up on sleep yet from last week’s trip. It is amazing how long it takes to recover from a lack of sleep sometimes. Liz is in a similar situation at the moment, not from sleep deprivation but because her body needs more sleep as part of her recovery, so really we are having moments where we are both walking round like zombies late in the evenings 😉 I’m sure I would be quite amusing for a fly on the wall.

Zombie Runner

I guess trying to maintain a level of exercise doesn’t really help much in the battle with exhaustion either.

Today, the boys had swimming in the evening, so I planned to get home in time to take them over to Boxgrove where we all swim at the moment; this is a bit of a struggle at the best of times though, and today the dual gods of grumpy bankers and subterranean transportation conspired against me to make a tough journey even more difficult. Nevertheless, I made it just in time, with Liz waiting in the car with the boys to jump in and drive them to their lesson.

The strange mist above the inside pool was just starting to rise when during their lesson, but I thought little of it at the time.

Lesson over and children back home, they were given their customary honey bread post-exercise snack and I started to prepare for another run to the pool.

Only the second time I have done this; it is not particularly taxing, only a couple of miles to the pool, but it is good to get the extra exercise in with the loosening effect of the cross-training in the middle. With that in mind, and the fact I was late, I put on a bit more speed, the result of which I was pleased.

The mist was really permeating the atmosphere around the pool when I got there, making it look more like a Turkish Sauna than a swimming pool, and although it was an interesting experience it also meant that it was impossible to see the time on the clock at the end of the pool!

I ran back and the weather was still almost but not quite entirely unlike rain.

Not 100%

Liz was not 100% this morning.

In fact, she was still feeling really ropey, so I elected to work from home today and help out as much as I could. Liz stayed in bed as she still had a headache and was still having the flashes in front of her eyes. So, I made sandwiches while they ate breakfast and I tried to remember all the things that the children needed for their activities today (gym clothes for the little-ones I remembered, but a shout from above about Joshua’s Clarinet was a timely prompt) – otherwise the journey out and up the hill was uneventful. All the boys were in a good mood and Savannah was happy to hold my hand all the way up to Pewley.

Pewley Down - Dramatic Sky

I was back just after 9am and after fixing a coffee for me and a tea for Liz, I was connected to work on the VPN.

I spent most of the morning chasing problems with IE8 upgrades for business users, adding to my presentation and had a conference call about a future project.

Lunchtime was a quiet affair as well, but as Liz was unsure what she felt like, I made a surprise sandwich – Cheddar, ham, spinach, rocket, Mrs Balls original chutney and mayonnaise. Yummy 🙂

I had to leave to pick the boys up just after 3pm and after meeting them, we walked up to the downs and then back across to Pewley. The boys pointed out to me the fields where they run with the school club on a Thursday and proud Dad was happy to be with them at that moment. On the way through they pointed out the dramatic clouds and sky we could see from the spine of the downs – they are starting to enjoy the environment around them 🙂 very chuffed about that!

Unfortunately we had to wait for Luke and Savannah in their Boogie Pumps after school class, and here’s where the problems started. I was watching through the glass door and Savannah was quite happily dancing away, but then at the end of her piece slipped on her way back to sit down so the teacher asked her to take her tights off – at which point she noticed me and was clearly highly embarrassed a upset. So I moved away to save her further heartache. Then on the way down the hill she got upset again and I spend the whole journey coaxing her home.

After a snack (warmed oat waffles with honey) I made tuna pasta and then took the older boys swimming again. Joshua did his ‘trousers-and-tee-shirt-off-while-treading-water’ practice and really enjoyed himself. Morgan seemed slightly less attentive this week for some reason.

It was the usual late Monday evening for them after we got back home, but they were packed off to bed with only minor drama.

I was back at the swimming pool again for my lesson 20 minutes later – I seem to have lived there over the last few days (have been there on 4 separate occasions over the last 3 days) so I am beginning to know how Zelda feels. Still, this evening’s lesson was much better that last week, so perhaps that is rubbing off as well.

More cross-training planned for tomorrow – if I make it to work; Liz reckoned she was 70% by the end of the day but still couldn’t stomach food, so that doesn’t bode too well.

Young Minds

Well, our children’s school certainly stimulate their minds.

Science Museum

Yesterday Joshua went to Intech in Winchester, which is a Science Centre and Planetarium. He said the really enjoyed it, especially the show that they had in the planetarium, but I’ll let him explain a bit more about that on his blog at the weekend.

Today Morgan went to the Science Museum in London, and delighted in telling me about the Lunar Module and spaceman, the large missiles and the show that they put on with explosive flour and a barbie doll in a canon (whose head came off apparently!) – Such is the mind of a 9 year old boy 😉

I was busy most of the day but managed to shoot out at lunchtime for a cycle which went well. I’m trying to concentrate on my stroke at the moment, pulling up and forward as well as down and back. Everytime I do, it is amazing how much easier the stroke becomes, but it still doesn’t feel natural at the moment. That is the aim, at least

Train Smarter, Stupid!

Ok, so I’ve been working hard.

My feet, ankles and calves have been feeling tired and on occasions tight over the last few weeks, but this I normally expect when I am training, especially when starting out on a new schedule.

Retrocalcaneal Bursa

So, after my run yesterday I was tight as expected but in the evening and this morning, I felt an ache in the side of my left ankle to such an extent that I decided not to run this morning, and only did cycling and physio this lunchtime.

A quick look through the internet gave up two possible diagnosis, either just achilies tendinitis or more likely retrocalcaneal bursitis.

I don’t think it is achilies tendinitis as the pain is more to the side of the ankle than up the tendon to the back of the ankle, so points more to the bursitis, which is a swelling (inflammation) of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) at the back of the heel bone (calcaneus) under the Achilles tendon.

A bursa acts as a cushion and lubricant between tendons and muscles sliding over bone.

So I am going to ice this for a few days and stick to the cross training for a bit until it calms down. Just a precautionary measure really, as I am trying to learn from my previous mistake 😉

It is taking a lot of will-power not to just ignore it though.

Training and Planets

The late mornings seem to be catching 😮

My alarm went off for me to get out for a run this morning before work, but Liz had uncharacteristically not woken up with her alarm so I said she could go out and I would run at lunchtime, so at least she got her run in.

Tower Bridge, London

I managed to get out on the streets again at lunchtime, a familiar run from work to the Thames, across Tower Bridge, then along the embankment at Southwark to London Bridge where I cross back and then along the north bank of the Thames before braving the cobblestones around the Tower of London. before picking up the road back to work. Only 5 miles or so, but a good lunchtime run.

On the way home I saw Venus high and bright on the western horizon, and I am reminded that we have quite a few planets in view at the moment. Venus is an evening star, Jupiter is still obvious in the early evening sky and the vivid red of Mars is also unmissable on the eastern horizon mid-evening, just below the ‘back foot’ of Leo, the lion. Saturn follows Mars just after midnight in Virgo and I think will be at opposition (i.e. opposite the Sun when viewed from Earth and hence closer, larger and brighter than it will be for another 12 months or so) sometime in April – I’ll check that one.

I got home early enough to look after the little one’s while Liz took Joshua and Morgan swimming, but they were already engrossed in Lilo and Stitch, so I finished making some bread for tomorrow.

In the evening I had swimming again which went a lot better this week. I am actually starting to enjoy swimming a little bit more, as it is becoming less ‘drown-prevention’ than it had been in past – at least as far as my front crawl is concerned. Still a few more months before I I just reel off the lengths without worrying about it though. I’d love to be able to just swim a couple of miles front crawl without thinking about it.

Long two

Most distance running schedules, whether they be for 10k, half marathon or marathon, will include a day a week where there is a long run, the theory being that you need to get you body familiar with running 80% of the sort of distance you have as your target.

My preferred running schedule generally involves a couple of days of long runs, for the same reason, but split over two days as ultra distances are difficult to fit around a working life and also and more importantly because it gives your body a chance to recover in between and hence reduce the risk of injury …… cue ironic laughter 😆

Not That Zelda....

Anyway, having completed my 10 mile run yesterday, I was suitably motivated to do my scheduled 10 km this morning (for the record, I still have difficulty thinking of these distances as ‘long’, but in essence these are my long days and soon, God willing, touch wood, etc., I’ll be recounting tales of 30 / 20 miles on consecutive days). Liz was feeling suitably recovered as well, so she did her pace run first at 5:30 and then I got out at 6:00am. The long road of ultramarathons is not in the racing, but in the training; these are the days that make the difference; the unspoken quiet committed days of preparation.

Having done my run in the morning, I felt a physio opportunity coming on at lunchtime, and Liz’s was suitably quizzical when I packed more gym kit into my back for work, but was happy after I reassured her I wasn’t running. As it was, I managed to get out about 12:30 and got a good physio / cycle sandwich in.

Monday’s is always mad as the children do so much after school and then Joshua and Morgan have their swimming lessons. They have both recently gone up to the next level with Zelda (Glasspell of the Swimming Academy that is and not Twilight Princess, on the Nintendo Wii) so they both swim at 6:30 on a Monday for 30 minutes then it is the rush home to bed. My Monday’s then continue with Zelda as I have a 40 minute Session from 8:20pm. As you can imagine after my third activity for the day I was glad to get home for supper.

Police Vans and commuting

Well, somebody really didn’t want to go to work this morning!…and it wasn’t only me 🙂

On the corner of the High Street which I pass on the way to work, a police car had stopped a motorist and another was holding the traffic back from coming down the same road. Not sure what was going on there, but I’m certain they were frustrating a lot of journey’s back to work, with people not being able to use one of the main routes through Guildford.

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Back to porridge

Still there were a lot of grumpy faces on the 07:54 into Waterloo as well as the January blues starts to set in 🙁

The signs of Christmas have all disappeared along the streets of London; all the decorations and lights have been removed and the only visible signs that the festive season has occurred at all, is the occasional piece of torn wrapping paper drifting in the wind and the pine needles adorning the business doorways, testament to the final struggle of the myriad of seasonal firs being extracted and taken to do their bit for the City recycling targets.

I was a bit concerned when I actually made it to work through the windy streets of London which, despite the date, were not all that crowded; I found that my security card had ceased to function. In the end it turned out to be just a glitch in my pass which was fine after a reset, and not some subliminal attempt to indicate the termination of my employment!

As I was downing my breakfast today, a particularly frugal carton of porridge after the excess of th last couple of weeks, I downloaded the new Firefox browser today – new year, new browser and all that – how do Mozilla (the Firefox creators) manage to put out so many updates nowadays? Looks good at first glance, but then thinking about it, it doesn’t look much different to the old version. Emperor’s new clothes anyone? 🙂

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Jupiter, a Gherkin and the moon

I got my aerobic cross-training sandwich in at lunchtime; elliptical trainer warmup with a bit of physio in the middle and cycling cool-down. Easy session really. Pace tomorrow though 😮

A good day at work, although I was thrown a couple of times by the fact I still thought it was Monday. There must be a name for that; Xmas lag? Holiday hallucinations? Lapland lapse? Still I only arranged one meeting too many and double booked myself twice so the day wasn’t a complete disaster.

I am lucky enough to have a relatively easy walk to the tube across town, and I regularly see unexpected sights. Take today for example, the Moon and Jupiter framing the Gherkin, (30, Mary Axe) in the City. Now there’s something you don’t see everyday.

Something that is a little more common though, is the trains playing up from Waterloo, although in fairness it hasn’t happened for some weeks and the weather today all around the UK (not just the South East) has been appalling. There was a tree on the line at Godalming this evening but why this seemed to cause so many problems with the trains 40 miles up the line was anyone’s guess, and I have a sneaking suspicion it was more likely related to guard not turning up or something after the Christmas break or something equally mundane.

Anyway, a pace run to look forward to tomorrow and if that goes well I might start to share some stats with you about how badly my speed has deteriorated during my convalescence, and how Christmas has affected my weight 🙂