Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Run to the hills

Distance 20km [total: minimalist 194km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 34

Monday, 22-Aug. 10km.
Hooray, warm summer weather, what is going on, this is England after all.
I was feeling good today so I put in a short hilly 10km up over the top of Werneth Low. Running along the canal towpath again then starting the climb up to the top of the hill. The steepest part is the last kilometre of the hill which would be a 25% climb. I managed to run the entire length of the hill, something I didn't do often even in my younger days. I can't say if I was faster or not as I don't have comparative times. My calves were starting to burn as I neared the top.
After a few kilometres of level ground there is one more climb before the descent. Google Earth has a neat feature I found. Once you have traced a path of your run using the Path tool you can then look at the elevation profile of the run. It tells me the following. From a low point of 88m at 1km from the start, I climbed to 270m at 6.1km, a climb of 182m (579ft).

Saturday, 27-Aug. 10km.
After a bit of a break from running while visiting some relatives in the south of the country it's back to reality of weather in England, rain. Looking out of the window at the low dark clouds moving across I didn't feel that enthusiastic about going for a run. A small window of opportunity opened at 11.30am so off I set along a muddy canal path. I ran the same course as on Monday only this time the rain started at about the halfway point and continued until I got back. Once again I ran all the way. I have found it harder to run downhill. I have tried Ken Bobs suggestion of letting the legs collapse and pulling the feet right back. It works but it needs practice. Slight hip soreness with the hill climbs, only when I'm running though, I must be weaker in this area due to all my flat running in Adelaide.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Does it rain in Manchester?

Distance 30km [total: minimalist 174km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 33

Tuesday, 16-Aug. 9.5km.
I called my friend and one time running mate Graham Hill to see if he wanted to go out for a run today. Time to tackle the hills! since living in Adelaide I have been running on predominantly flat terrain. My old running routes were always hilly, would I cope.
We set off at around 9.30am under grey clouds with the threat of rain. The route was a loop that would take us along the canal towpath to Woodley then the start of the climb up to Greave. Once more I ran in the Vibrams, the towpath was far too muddy and dangerous for barefoot. With my new running form I was surprised how easy I found the running, even the climbing wasn't that bad. On the top of Werneth Low you get a view over Manchester, from there I could see the rain heading in. It came in by the time we started make our way off the hill and by the bottom it was raining steadily. Running in the Vibrams was easy now that I have calf strength and correct technique. The distance was approximately 9.5km and took 1:04:58pm.

Thursday, 18-Aug. 13.5km. 
This was a tougher run, one of the routes I used to run in my early 20's. Could I still climb the hills? I started off following the same route as Tuesday but this time dropped down into Compstall which sits at the low point on the course. Small farm access roads then climb up from a height of 90m up to 270m. I managed to run all the way up with only one 60 second rest stop. On the earlier part of the run I timed myself for a distance of 1.25 miles which I used to run in around 6min 50sec, back when I was 20. I was a bit slower this time, running in my vibrams and not running at top speed but I managed it in 9min 23.5sec so it was quite a bit slower. The weather was a big improvement on Tuesdays effort and makes running much more of a pleasure.

Saturday, 20-Aug. 7.5km. 
A nice sunny morning managed to coax me out for a short run along the river. It still feels like a nice winter morning in Australia rather than a summer day in England. It is still muddy along the river trail that will take quite a few weeks of dry weather to dry out. I covered the distance in 45m as it quite undulating. I've been wearing the Vibrams on all of these runs as the trails are not barefoot friendly, lots of rocks, horse dropping and dog droppings, not stuff I would like to be running in.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Wet Week

Distance 15.5km [total: minimalist 144km: Barefoot 1787.2km] Week 32

Not a lot of running done this week as we had a lot of rain over the earlier part. I've finally shook off the cold completely. I did a gym workout session on the Wednesday and now, as I write this I can feel the muscles in my back aching, not in a bad way though.

Thursday, 11-Aug. 8km.
I had to squeeze a final beach run in before I leave for a holiday. The weather had finally cleared up after quite a bit of rain. I stuck to the beach as I wanted to make sure my ankle was ok again after the soreness I picked up over the weekend. I still have no idea of what caused it. I must have bumped something or maybe it was the sprinting at the end of the Saturday run.
The tide was high but on its way out when I got to the beach so I had around 2m of flat wet sand to run on, the only problem being it was at an angle of around 10 degrees. It was a good run and the sun was up for most of the way, setting now at around 5.40pm which is giving me plenty of time to run a 10km without being in the dark.

Sunday, 14-Aug. 7.5km.
Well, here I am, on the other side of the world and my first run. I decided to tackle a short distance run of only 7.5km that would take me along the River Tame up to Ashton Road then back. I set off at 9.30am under grey heavy clouds. I wore my Vibrams as I knew how rough the trail was and how unhygienic it would be what  with many dogs being walked. It was also damp and wet and would not be a pleasant barefoot experience. I always worry about wearing the VFFs due to the lack of feedback and the way they might make me run beyond my ability. I did fine though, my technique is far better than it was a year ago. It began to rain on the last kilometre. I seemed to get a high heart rate reading, maybe that was something to do with all the tiredness from travelling.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winter illness

Distance 29.5km [total: minimalist 136.5km: Barefoot 1779.2km] Week 31

Monday, 1-Aug. 5km.
I had to take half a day off work today as I was coughing and sneezing and people basically don't want you around if you are spreading cold virus around the place. I didn't feel too bad when I got up but it did start to become more of a hindrance as the day passed.
The weather was warm and sunny around 22C, I went for a gentle un-timed run along the beach, a no pressure run. My lungs were a bit congested but not too bad. I felt much better after the run.

Wednesday, 3-Aug. 10km.
After a day of sickness (Tuesday)  away from work in which I didn't get out of bed for most of the day because my eyes would start watering as soon as any light got into them. I found it easier just to sleep.
I made it back into work today, still congested in the nose and chest but the eye watering has stopped and the sneezing has abated so that may indicate the more contagious phase has ended.
The day was one of the warmest of the winter so far 25C but a change was on its way. I finished work at 4pm, drove home, got changed and down to the beach by 4.45pm. The tide was in so I ran my 10km road course. I decided to do an easy run, my chest was constricted so I didn't want to cause any problems by over stressing my system. I recorded a time of 57:53m

Saturday, 6-Aug. 14.5km.
Feeling better today, the cold is almost at the end of its cycle. A chilly morning, temperature just over 10C and a light breeze at the beach when I set off. The tide was off its high point by about an hour so there was some fresh sand to run on. The only problem was that the sand was very spongy and quite hard to run through.
The wind began to pick up by the time I'd run half the distance up the beach, 28km/hr with 40km/hr gusts blowing straight at me. I sure was glad to reach the jetty at Semaphore and begin the return journey with the wind behind me. Running on the bitumen path was easier then the beach.
I gave my ankle a little twist on the way back going over the rocky trail but it seemed fine and I had a good burst of speed in the last kilometre back on the beach. I recorded a time of 45:26.9m on the way out and amazingly 45:26.1 on the return.

P.S. I must have hurt my ankle a bit more than I thought as I have a bit of pain and swelling on the inside of the right foot, just below the ankle. I'll try the ice treatment and rest.