I’ve just returned from a fabulous extended weekend in Krakow, Poland. I was invited by my future son-in-law, Karl, to participate in his Stag weekend together with his dad, his 3 younger brothers and 3 of his best friends. We arrived on Friday night and after a few beers, (of course), found a nice restaurant and a few more beers in a local bar.
The following morning, it was down to a nearby Park for the 5k (3 mile) Parkrun which started at 9am. I wasn’t going to run (due to my dodgy calf), but decided to give it a go. It lasted about 4.5k before I had to nurse it along to the finish to be 125th out of the 201 runners and 3rd of the 6 of our group who ran. 🙂 I mention this ‘result’ because the next event was Go-Karting, where I was soundly beaten into last place! It seems Karl and his brothers played the Super-Mario Karting game a lot when they were younger and Karl always chose to be Yoshi. So Karl was suitably dressed up for the occasion – as he was for the trip to the Games pub in the Old Town for the après-Kart celebrations.
After a nice breakfast and a quiet walk around the Old Town on the Sunday morning, it was down to the Bull Pub to watch the Liverpool v Burnley Premier League match. The guys had to leave by 6pm to catch their flight back to the UK, but I stayed on for two more days and I’ll post some more pics of that tomorrow…
I was rather hoping to bring you some good news this week about my return to marathon training. You may recall I’ve had an enforced rest due to a slight pull or strain in my right calf. Well, I have rested it and had 3 good massages on my legs and back in the hope of curing the problem. Things were looking good on Monday when, after a long walk, I managed a 1k jog around a field. Things looked even better on Wednesday when I did a good 4k (2.5 miles) with a 3k (nearly 2 mile) warm down. However, my ‘attempt’ at a 10k (6 miles) this lunchtime failed miserably, with the same problem coming back after only 2.5k (1.5 miles). So I sit here dejected. ☹
The revised plan, below, was a little ambitious, given the events I have on the horizon, so I’ll just have to grin and bear it and make yet another comeback in the summer. In the meantime, I may well have to get out my road bike and take it for a spin. Every cloud and all that… 😊
We’re having some pretty incredible weather here in the Val d’Hérens at the moment. Since we returned from the UK last week, it’s been blue skies all the way and at least one forecast suggests it will continue for another 10 days, at least… (see pic 1). 😅 Early morning temperatures are still pretty cold mind you, with the ground frozen and as soon as the sun drops behind the mountains (currently around 3pm in Evolène) the warmth disappears instantly.
So I have little or no excuse for not going out for a walk, except that all the paths in the upper valley are still covered in snow and that’s turning into a squelchy wet mush under the sun, before freezing again overnight. Undeterred I decided to drive down the valley to the village of Euseigne, where most of the snow has now disappeared and walk right down the valley to Sion, before catching the Postbus back to Euseigne.
The total distance of the walk was around 15k or just over 9 miles. I had a few minutes to spare before the bus arrived, so I decided to run, well jog, another 1k around a 400 metre track which was laid out around a football pitch. (See last pic).
Last week Judith and I were back in the UK visiting our respective families. While in the Midlands, we had a few hours to spare, so we decided to take a walk along the canal near Great Haywood Junction. Though I should really say canals, as that’s where the Trent and Mersey canal meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. It’s like a T junction – see first pic showing a map of the area.
As you will see, it was a pretty grey day, but there’s always something interesting to photograph – not least, in this instance, Shugborough Hall and the fascinating design of Essex Bridge. Twice I had to step to one side into one of the V shapes ‘laybys’ – once for a jogger and the second time for 3 ladies on horseback. It was clearly a popular route. 🙂
Like last week and the week before, it’s been another Sunday without a run… I thought I was doing the right thing by resting my calf until last Wednesday (i.e. a whole 8 days) but clearly that wasn’t enough as, only 2.3 miles into my run, I felt it tighten up again. Inevitably this has curtailed my marathon training somewhat (see below) and it’s called into question whether I should actually enter the race and even whether I should consider retirement from long distance running events altogether… 😦
Anyway, I now plan to rest it for at least 2 weeks and I will therefore refrain from posting anything on this topic until I have some better news to report!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see post last Sunday), I should have been going for a long run today… This week the problem was that I went out on Tuesday and, after a stonkingly good outward 6.3k/3.9 miles*, my calf tightened up and I had to walk all the way back. ☹ So, I’m resting it for another couple of days.
*The only saving grace was that my pace for the 6.3k averaged around 5m 17s per km or 8m 30s per mile (which is much better than I expected).
I needed to get some exercise though, so I went for a walk, of around 9km/5miles, alongside the river.
Today would normally have been the day when I went for my ‘long run’ in preparation for a marathon in May. However, the weather has disrupted my training twice this week. My plan would have been to do 5 or 6k (3 miles) on Wednesday, but a few inches of snow and freezing temperatures scuppered that, as the pavements were far too icy to run on. And today, the heavens have opened and snow is forecast all day. Already we have about a foot of snow, so Jude and I are confined to barracks.
This means my weekly total is a big round 0k (0 miles). But regular runners will know that it’s best just to write off the week (as you would if you had an injury or were ill) and continue with my plan from week 4 onwards. (Note that Week 1 was actually week 52 of 2018, but I couldn’t find a way to set that on Excel).
I lack motivation and I need a push to get me doing almost anything these days… Happily my wife managed to nudge me bit by bit into renovating the kitchen and the cupboards are now all painted and a new floor laid. I even managed to cut a new worktop to size, which was a first.
When it comes to running, especially at this time of year, the freezing temperatures and the lack of a decent training route is a real mental block that I need to get through. Indeed, I’ve not been out running since my Hallwilersee Half in October. So I needed an incentive…
Thankfully, Datasport* came to the rescue again. (*They are the people who advised me last year, via their regular and very informative emails, of the free travel to the Half marathons). This time, one of the “Events not to be missed” was the Winterthur Marathon on 26th May. Now, I hadn’t really got it on my radar, even though I have a goal to run all the Swiss marathons. I thought it might be too small to put it on my list. However, by May, I’ll be in a new 65+ category and I read that “The first three podium ranks of the respective categories win attractive prizes in kind.” Not only that, but I read on their website that only 2 in that category finished in 2018… and 4 h 2 mins was good enough for 2nd and 4h 18m secured 3rd in 2017. Now call me mercenary if you like, but that was just the kick-start I needed.
So last Sunday I plodded up and down our road for about 30 minutes (or about 5k/3miles) in sub-zero temperatures. (My lungs complained bitterly for 2 days afterwards). And today I drove down to Sion to pootle along my favoured flat training route, beside the Rhone, for just over an hour (or around 11k/7 miles). As weekly totals go they are not far, but it’s a start…
As you may know, I don’t like to post anything without a picture or two, so I stopped off a couple of times on my way down to Sion to capture a few distant snowy mountain tops.
With a certain festive period approaching, Jude and I took ourselves off to Zurich for a few days to find some ‘different’ presents. I’d been there before to run the marathon, but I hadn’t really had time to explore the city and I have to say that we were both very impressed with how organised and quiet it was. It was more like a large village than a big city. It was also nice to see the wooden Christmas market stalls and the streets decorated with more lights than you could ever count.
One way to run an Autumn marathon is to run two Half marathons. 🤔 When I discovered that there were two in quick succession, I didn’t think I’d be able to run either, let alone both. So I’m very pleased to post another report, this time on the Hallwilerseelauf. (In case you missed it here is my Greifensee Half report from a few weeks ago).
You may recall that Sarah, Karl and I just failed, by only 13 seconds, to dip under the 2 hour mark. So after a little bit more ‘speed’ training since, I had (perhaps too) high hopes of running 1 hour 55 mins, or in any event under 2 hours. The course had a downhill start, which was nice, but inevitably you are drawn into going off too quickly. With the sun shining brightly (again) and the temperature around 23 degrees, I once more suffered in the middle to late stages, but I “dug in” (as you have to in these races) to finish in 1h 57m 27s. OK, it wasn’t 1h 55m, but one of the things driving me on towards the finish was the thought that the sum of the two races just had to be under 4 hours… 😀
As before, I didn’t carry my camera or a phone, so I have no photos of the race itself, but here is a link to my own personal video of the race courtesy of the organisers/sponsors. I’m the guy in the red vest and black cycling type shorts and long socks by the way. 👨 Depending upon your internet speed, you may have to wait a few seconds for the video to come up and it’s best viewed, of course, by maximising the screen (via the top right hand corner of the video window). Enjoy!
Once again, I had free travel to and from the event, but it involved catching a bus and 5 different trains to get there and 6 different trains to get back to Sion (where Jude would pick me up). With connection times between trains of as low as 3 minutes, perhaps only in Switzerland would you even dream of getting there and back in a day. But that’s exactly what I did. It didn’t matter that there were weekend engineering works along one section of the route, the schedule had been adjusted and all 11 trains were exactly on time. (See my outward and return timetables below). Words cannot describe my admiration for the Swiss train (and Postbus) network. ⏱👍👍