Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hello, hello I'm back again (good to be back)

Politically incorrect as it may be these days to even quote a Gary Glitter song title, I'm not too bothered for two reasons. First, his subsequent misdemeanours don't stop it being a '70s classic, close as that may be to an oxymoron. And second, it's darned appropriate - I've not blogged since 14th December, by far the biggest gap since I started this mallarkey, and it's time to get the show back on the road.

Apart from the fact there hasn't been much physical activity type-stuff to blog about, it's been a prolonged period of introspection. The main cause has been having to make a big career decision, but the knock-on effect of that has been that all thoughts of what happens in 2012 by way of athletic events has had to go on hold. Anyway, I think that big decision has now been taken (I say "I think", as I've got one final meeting with the people whose option I rejected yet to happen), and that's letting me get on with planning the rest of this year.

Whichever option I'd chosen two things would have been the same. First, I'm going to be spending a heck of a lot of time in London, and second, I'm going to be working harder than I have done for at least the last couple of years. These are not helpful things when it comes to putting long training hours in, so my plans and ambitions are going to have to reflect that. They look like this so far:

* Run a marathon in 3 hrs 30 mins. OK, I've partly chosen this because running is really time-efficient from an effectiveness point of view - i.e. 6 hours running a week can produce really good results if you structure it properly. I've already chosen and entered my target marathon - the Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford-on-Avon on 29th April; enough time away to get some decent training in, but no so far that it's disappearing into the distance.
* Run a half-marathon with one of my kids - probably the eldest, but any of the others would be welcome to join. I fancy doing the White Peak Half-Marathon (the half version of the full marathon I did last year), on 20th May.
* Do the Pro-Strength Pyrenees Coast-to-Coast at the end of August. This is the even-more-difficult version of the Raid Pyrenean I did in 2010, and given our love for the Pyrenees I'm off again with Mendip Rouleur to bag a few of the cols we didn't do either that year or on our self-planned trip in 2011. Should be excellent, but I'm not planning on getting back on the bike seriously until the start of May, which means that I won't be riding at the front of the group this year.
* Improve on last year's time in the Tegg's Nose Fell Race at the start of August (73 mins is the time to beat). 
* Ride my bike more than 200km in a single sitting - which probably means doing a 300km Audax at some point during the summer. 

Compared to last year that feels fairly modest, but I suspect that's no bad thing. I've been bimbling around the lanes of both Cheshire and Brittany over the last few weeks on two feet, but ramped it up today with my first proper hilly run into Macc Forest. I'm going to find a way of uploading my routes onto here, but until then, I shall add details manually. Today I ran 8.39 miles in 1 hr 13 mins, including 888 ft of ascent, using 1112 calories. And now I'm quite stiff, and some more stretching is needed. I love the first hard run after Christmas - you really find out which bits need work and which are ok, and it's the first time you get that feeling of pleasurable-fatigue, so different from the feeling of knackered-fatigue that comes on at the end of a working week.

Right, that'll do for today. I promise future blogs will be more entertaining, though quite how I'll manage that when midweek runs will be done on a treadmill in a central London gym, I'm not sure. 

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