Saturday, 4 February 2012

Looking for one more big sponsor

If I could find one more big sponsor I could meet my fundraising target of £9,500.  If you are reading this then other people will be too.  So if you are the owner of a company who would appreciate a little bit of good PR in return for donating the remaining £750 of sponsorship that I need to meet my fundraising target for the Marathon des Sables, please get in touch.

I can offer to put your name/logo on my clothing during the event plus a mention on this blog and on my fundraising page.  Holmes Place Zurich, Elemis, Buff and the Iglu-Dorf have already helped me out, so why not join them.

Tomorrow's big plan

So what is the big plan for tomorrow you may be asking.  Well it is a big one I can assure you.  I intend to get up early, strap on a backpack with around 5kg in it, and run/walk all the way around the Zurich lake.  It is easy enough to do on a bike.  On a bike it takes around 2 hours, but walking/running it will take much much longer.

What is the motivation for this plan you may be asking.  Well I need to start training with a backpack and get used to that feeling again.  I also need to train my body for walking sections in the midst of running, because in the MDS I will most likely have to walk at least part of the time.  According to my friend who did the MDS last year, the biggest problem that the quicker runners have is when they have to walk, because they simply haven't trained for that and running uses slightly different muscles to walking.  Once they start walking it is hard for them to get running again.  The advice she gave is completely in line with other advice I have read about training for ultramarathons on the web.  They all seem to recommend doing at least some walking during your training.

Knowing that I will be doing so much tomorrow I have pretty much completely rested the last 2 days.  That should have given my muscles a chance to recover and reduce the risk of suffering an injury tomorrow.  As usual I will be constantly monitoring my body and if I see any signs of trouble, my plan will be adapted accordingly.  The most foolish thing I could do is to carry on regardless if I sense a pain in one of my joints.  I think this is unlikely though, because I will only be running for short sections and walking for the majority of the route.  The only slight twinge I have felt in the last few weeks is in the pad on the ball of my foot under my right big toe.  At times it is slightly sore as though I bruised it somehow.  That is something I am keeping an eye on, but touch wood it is not affecting my running so far.

I just checked my Garmin logs from when I cycled around the lake, and the distance is around 65km.  If I count on doing a minimum of 5km/h, which shouldn't be that hard, then I would be able to finish it in around 12 hours.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Today was a freaking good day in terms of training and ££££££ for Mencap

The day started off well with a Pilates lesson at 10am.  There is nothing like a bit of rigorous exercise to wake you up for the day ahead.  After that it just got better.  I checked my email after leaving the Pilates lesson and saw that the woman who bought my Holmes Place membership on (donated for free by Holmes Place) had arranged to activate her membership at 2.30pm, and to hand over the money to me at the same time.

2.30pm was fine for me as I had no other plans, and I was keen to get the money onto my site and see the little thermometer thing go up even more.  So I agreed to meet her there.  Since I was going to have to go to Holmes Place anyway, I decided to do a workout prior to the meeting.  First I had to take Negrita out for a bit of a play in the park so she could do her business and then try and get a bit of food into me.  Then I headed out of the door and into town to Holmes Place.

I decided I would run on the treadmill until the meeting and then start my weights regime afterwards.  There was about 1 hour until the meeting, so that gave me a chance to do 10.5km.  I started out at a steady 10km/h, but that was a little boring so I decided to do intervals.  The rest speed I chose was 10km/h but for the intervals I varied them, so I used inclines of between 0 and 5 degrees and speeds of between 13 and 17km/h.  When I was running at 17km/h I must have looked like one of those hamsters in a wheel.  My legs were almost a blur I am sure.  After that tough little intervals session I warmed down and then went to meet the Holmes Place management along with the buyer of my membership.

Everything went smoothly and she got her card for the gym and spa as planned, handed over the money and that was that.  Then I went back upstairs to start on the weights.  I did a whole host of exercises including back extensions, bench presses, bicep curls, shoulder presses, squats (with 60kg), seated rows, skipping, balance board etc etc.  I was feeling a little high after all that but also a little lightheaded too.  I often have to be careful when I stand up quickly as my blood pressure can sometimes get quite low.  On the odd occasion I have fallen to the floor after standing up quickly.  Luckily today nothing like that happened.

I scoffed down a protein shake and then headed back home where I am now.  I have already put the money from the Holmes Place membership sale on my site, and it gave me a little boost to see that I am within £1,000 of the target now.  Actually I am £851.60 from the target at this point in time.  I am hoping with a little help from my friends that have not already donated I will soon be there.  Of course you don't have to be my friend to donate, but you will sure become one by donating.  So any random strangers out there reading this blog, please go on my page and donate and become my friend.  Mencap needs your money.

Have a good day everyone!!!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Training indoors is more fun when it is like Siberia outside

I was shocked when I went outside yesterday and felt just how cold it was.  I could have sworn I lived in Zurich and not in Siberia, but yet for a moment I was confused.

I was on my way to Pilates and rather glad that I wasn't going to be outside for too long.  I do Pilates twice per week now, and I will be doing it again today.  It was a really good workout but I was not aching at all this morning quite to my surprise, especially as I set a new PB for press ups yesterday evening (60 reps).

I cannot avoid the cold for too long though.  Today I could go to the gym after Pilates or do hot yoga instead, but what I really need to be doing is trail running.  Maybe I will make a compromise - 21km instead of 32km.  If I take Negrita with me on the first part I think she will need to be wearing her doggy coat for sure.

Despite it being damn cold it looks so pretty out there today though.  It could be a lot of fun running in the white wonderland I see out of the window.  The more I write the more I convince myself to stop being a baby and to get out there and run like a man.  See you on the trails.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What to do when it snows. Hmmmm, a run perhaps

As soon as Negrita woke up from her deep slumber this morning, the first thing she wanted to do was to go on the balcony as there was a fine covering of snow.  I am not sure whether all dogs love snow, but the vast majority I know do, and Negrita is no exception.  Just watching her little tail wagging was enough to tell me just what she wanted.  Yes you guessed it, a run in the snow.

Once we were all kitted up we headed out of the door.  I forgot my gloves but decided it wouldn't kill me to have cold hands and that they would soon warm up once I started running.  I find running in the snow very good training, but there are of course additional dangers.  Firstly you need to make sure you don't slip and fall.  Luckily it is not that icy at the moment so I decided the reward was greater than the risk.  The other thing to be careful of when running off road on the snow, is that you never know what is underfoot, and you can easily twist or sprain your ankle.  On the other hand it is a great ankle strengthener, which is exactly what I need right now.  So I decided to go for it.

I headed up towards the woods on the Zurichberg, and once in the woods I took Negrita's lead off so that she could run freely.  She was so content and whizzing up and down the path.  I had no chance to keep up, but she was extremely obedient and kept looking back to see if she was allowed to continue or whether she was meant to stop or run back towards me.  As soon as I gave her permission to continue she would be off again.  Now and again I played a trick on her by hiding behind a tree, but she would soon come back and find me.  At one point she was also struggling to climb over a fallen tree and was looking at me for help.  I knew she could do it if she wanted though so I jumped over the tree and kept running, and soon enough she was alongside me again as predicted.

As I looked at my GPS I was surprised by the slow pace, but I had been going uphill, off road and not really trying to go fast.  Nevertheless I decided I couldn't possibly allow myself to run my intended 10km in over an hour, so I upped the pace a bit.  On the downhill I really gave it some, and ended up scaring a group of 3 other runners as I shot past them.  There were a couple of people walking their dogs, and Negrita always goes crazy when she sees another dog.  There was a big German shepherd off lead too, and I was worried about how it would react to Negrita running towards it at full speed.  Luckily she had the good sense to stop when she got close to it, and to act very submissive.  She stood there as if she was frozen to the spot and looked down at the floor.  It did the trick and the other dog having proved he or she was the master walked quietly on with its owner not far behind.  Actually I have noticed that Negrita is much less likely to provoke other dogs when she is off lead than when she is on lead.  Maybe because she knows she doesn't have me right next to her to protect her, and could get bitten before I would be able to reach her.

When we exited the woods I wasn't quite sure where I was, but I soon got back my sense of direction.  We were over near the animal hospital, so I decided to run towards Irchel park and then do a lap of the Finnenbahn (track made of dirt and wood chippings).  The lap of the Finnenbahn was fairly fast and by the end of it I had made up the time I needed to make sure I would finish the run in under one hour.  After leaving Irchel park I headed back down the hill towards home, making a quick detour so that we would finish the run near the local park, giving Negrita a chance to play for a few minutes and to cool down before heading home.

We are now back home and she is curled up nice and warm on the sofa.  Whilst she will be resting for some hours, I am wondering what to do next.  The most likely plan is that I will go down to Holmes Place for a spot of free weights.  Firstly I would need to eat though, then I will see how I feel after that.  If I don't go to the gym then I should at least go for another run later today. 10km by itself is not that much at all in terms of MDS training.

Actually in the end I went for another short run later in the evening, 5km around the streets of Zurich.  It was a bit slippery on some of the lesser used streets so I tried to stick to the main ones.  I went down to Bellevue then up the hill to the Kunsthaus.  As I headed home it began to snow quite heavily.  I found I really enjoy running whilst it is snowing, as long as it isn't too cold, which luckily it wasn't.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Prize draw update

Daniel Siegrist was the lucky winner of the Elemis skincare set worth £92.  The prize will be on the way to him shortly.

Now that the prize draw has finished, don't let that stop you donating.  I still have some way to go to meet my minimum fundraising target, so the more help the better.  You may not have the chance of a return on your donation, but a lot of research has shown that people who give money to charity are happier in return. Your happiness is surely worth a few pounds.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Run 5 of 5, but a little late and a little short

Today I completed the 5th run of my series.  The idea was to run 100 miles or 160km within the space of one week.  To complete this aim I would have had to run 32km yesterday, and then the target would have been met.  Yesterday Anny and I had various plans though, and I didn't want to spent 4 hours out running and leave her alone to prepare the dinner for our guests.  So I decided to stay and help her, and to do the final run of the series today instead.

The first 5km I did along with Anny and Negrita.  Anny is following an 8 week 10km training plan, and is currently in her second week of the program.  She was meant to complete a distance of 5k today, and she decided she would like to do it in 30 minutes.  I acted as her pacemaker and made sure she was on track to get the time she wanted.  She was pretty good with the pacing, but I helped to give her that little extra bit of motivation in the final stages when she was tired.  In the end she did it 11 seconds under her target.

After that I put on some warmer clothes and then headed out on my own.  I ran down to Seefeld and then along to Tiefenbrunnen station.  From there I headed up towards the Zollikerberg and then into the woods.  As I got higher up there was some snow and I was able to do a little bit of running in soft snow.  The gravel paths were pretty slippery and icy and I had to be careful of my step.  It was easier to stick to the dirt tracks as at least they had some grip.  After running around in the woods for a while I headed back towards Zurich along the route of the S-Bahn (S18 to be precise).  As I reached Rehalp I I saw tram 11 heading towards Zurich and decided I would race it.

The woods near the Zollikerberg

A snowy field to run on

I was able to keep the tram in sight for about 6 stops, but the tram didn't get stuck at any lights and there was hardly any traffic, so it was much faster than I was.  All the same it allowed me to do a very fast couple of kilometres in the middle of my long run, and to break up the pace a bit.  I kept up a decent pace as I entered Zurich itself, and along the Limmat towards Central.  After that I eased off the gas a bit and took it easy till I reached the apartment.  By the time I got to the apartment I had done 25km.

In the middle stages of the run I was flagging a bit, and I can tell that the "almost" 100 miles in "almost" a week has taken a toll on my body.  This coming week I will ease off the mileage and do some extra cross training in its place.  I have 2 Pilates lessons booked, and would like to fit in some gym, swimming and yoga.  I will still do some running, but not as much as this last week.  Then next week I can up the mileage once again.