Sunday, 11 January 2015

Geek Week, a swim in the sea and Paxton XC

There's too much going on really. So I'll try to be concise. First off Geek Week. After hearing all about Strava I finally signed up this week. Actually it's a handy thing - tots up all your mileage for you and awards you cups for achievements...some kind of achievements...well I don't really get that bit yet. People seem to label tiny little stretches of bits of roads and then race them. It made me strap on my Garmin for my work commute - and I made myself late because I couldn't remember how to toggle between running and cycling.

The best thing about Strava is the amount of calories it awards for running. Garmin Connect is stingy and I can run 8 miles and be told I've only burned 500 calories. That's kind of a downer. But Strava goes the opposite the way. I ran 10 and a bit miles last Monday and it said I'd burned 2,200+ calories. Yeah I know it's not real.

We went out a lazy, windy run late Saturday morning. I was having trouble getting started. Peter had already been out to a spin class but decided to come too. Then we had some lunch and headed down (with sleet battering off the windscreen) for the dreaded weekly dip. My new wetsuit is a bit harder to climb into, but it's worth it. It wasn't nearly as painful getting in the water as it has been. By the time we got there the sleet had passed and the skies were clear and the wind was howling and the surf was up. It was exciting. I probably stayed in too long and it was murder trying to get out of my suit afterwards. I got both arms stuck half way and nearly panicked. I thought I was going to die there like that, in a rapidly darkening car park.

In further Geekiness, we had got interested in what the actual temperature of the air and the sea was because some, or a lot, of the pain seems to be subjective and highly contextual. We found out the sea is definitely colder than it says on this surfing website. I had been wondering how they knew. Nice of them to take a stab at it, but the sea was definitely 5 degrees. The ground temperature was 2 degrees. Why doesn't the sea feel warm in these circumstances? Why were my feet so chilly they did not thaw out until after I'd got home? As my dad used to say "Why does my heart go boom?" I think it was a song.

Next up...Paxton Hoose XC

Sunday morning dawned and it was...kind of challenging. Steve Crane had kindly offered to give us a lift to the XC at Paxton House. It was quite a novel experience for me going to a race and not driving. I observed that Steve is a good listener. Either that or Peter is a good speaker. Maybe it's both.

At Paxton we KNEW that we'd feel better when we started running but the mind and body don't believe it. I try to go easy on the caffeine lifts these days but today felt like a day not to be too rigid. Plus I read recently that despite a link being looked for there is no proven link between caffeine use and atrial fibrillation. So I'm trying not to take that as carte blanche, but anyway I had a big coffee and after that not only did I think it was fine to go out for a warm up but I found myself in the back of the car later thinking that I'm going to do quite well at the Edinburgh Marathon later this year. How do I know? Well I can just feel it, that's all!

How did I jump ahead to going home in the car? I don't know.

Trying to recce before the start, it quickly became clear that the course had changed...I let the advance party go their way without me, as 2 years ago I ended up so far away from the start that I had to sprint to get there in time....

I ran on bits of the course without knowing how they tied up. Obviously, something in the race went wrong, I've no idea what. Just a little after the 2nd mile a marshall told me it was a sharp uphill and then finish. This was totally unexpected, although not unwelcome really. I was over the line in 2.6 miles.

Later we went to warm down/top up our mileage and try to figure out what had gone wrong. We followed bits of tape round which took us another way - although we thought it might have been the juniors route, so we were still feeling none the wiser. We were a bit taken aback when a big marshal came and angrily accused us of going on the bit that was marked out of bounds. We certainly hadn't. It was a shame. Organising a race is stressful but so is getting a diatribe for doing something you haven't done. Oh well.

Anyway, home and I ate the amount of calories awarded by Strava and not the Garmin Connect site, and I am feeling happy and contented. Except I still have muddy legs under my tights. Come on girl go and get a shower....


Climbingmandy said...

An action packed weekend Mary! Well done! I seem to be going backwards in terms of getting over my cold thing. Cough cough cough and feeling decidely fatigued:-(
So you are doing Edinburgh?! Hmmm, I've been looking for a marathon in April but that's now slipping to May.....

Yak Hunter said...

Do Edinburgh! Do Edinburgh! And get better soon.
Here is my prescription for your cold.

Zinc is good for your immune system and there's a lot of it in strawberries. So get a bag of frozen mixed berry fruits next time you're at tescos and put a bowlful in the microwave for 30s - 1min and then have yoghurt and honey on'll be better in no time...