Thursday, 1 April 2010

Progress and analysis

I had a quick 'trot' up the zig-zags from the Col de Port this afternoon to remind my legs what it feels like to climb a stiff ascent. The zig-zags are always a tester - 290m of ascent over just 1.27km. I usually have to stop at least twice on the way up, gasping for breath like a fish out of water, and a good minute is generally demanded by the legs and lungs when I reach the top before they are prepared to carry me any further. But today was different. I romped up there without so much as a backwards glance. 20 minutes it took me. 4 minutes faster than my previous best. I even ran the last little 20 metre section which, well, just isn't Normal after that climb even though that final little section is admittedly pretty much on the level. This is looking back down to the tiny dot that is the car in the car parkI continued on, at a leisurely pace up to the Pech de Therme with its usual stunning views towards Pic de la Journalade and Trois Seigneurs
Here comes the boring self-analysis bit that I feel compelled to write, so feel free to switch off now that you have seen the nice piccies!

I have seen quite a jump in my fitness levels over the past month. I went back to the UK in mid February feeling a couple of kgs overweight and generally unfit and out of shape. I knew I had the Citadelles to aim for on the 4 April and knew I had to do something that would make me feel even OK about the prospect, instead of dreading the pain that I would inevitably feel in the race if I didn't get my sorry ass into gear. So I did some serious work in the Lake District and the Peak District, upping my running game, getting myself up some hills and putting in some good kilometers, whilst all the time listening to my body. It all felt good, but over the last couple of days in the Peak District, I did feel tired and I knew I had put my body through enough. So then, for nearly two weeks, I didn't run, I couldn't run, my running muscles needed time out, I felt weary, so weary and to be honest, that did worry me! But I did plenty of stretching and self-massage on my oh so tight calf muscles and instead of running, I got back on the roadie to exercise alternative muscles, crosstraining, which was wonderful. Then, when I felt ready, I ran up the track to the Cabane des Roses. My legs responded positively and so did my lungs. Since then, I have been on fire - running has been easier and more comfortable, I have run faster and harder with seemingly less effort. This is a major step up in my fitness and I hope, I just hope I can maintain it and build on it. I am actually excited about the race on Sunday, confident that I won't die on the ascents and am aiming to get a time of around 2 hrs 50 mins on the 20km/1000m ascent circuit. I hope my confidence and optimism doesn't turn out to be misplaced!

1 comment:

Jo said...

You'll have no probs! I feel it in me watter :)