On Saturday I had the first setback in several weeks. In truth it wasn't really a setback, but really just a case of not running quite as well as expected.
We were in Gelt woods as usual and I was looking forward to the fast, second lap. All was going well up to the midway timecheck point - within 5 seconds of the previous week. But then I was aware of Plucky edging ahead, one metre, then three then eight. Sure I would regain his heels on the next uphill section I was unconcerned and concentrated on my effort. I didn't regain him though and as I realised the gap was not shrinking but growing I checked my pulse. Low to mid 160s! Something was amiss. I had been running with a 165-170 pulse earlier on in the lap but now this was as hard as I was able to run and it wasn't fast enough.
I finished the lap some 35 seconds behind Plucky and although my time was merely 5 seconds slower than last week I was at a loss to explain what had just happened. I really don't like to be slower than Plucky. Although he has been faster than me for the last three years or so, historically I have been a faster runner than him - every one of my PB's from 5k to marathon is quicker than he has achieved. Now that we are once again quite equal in ability I am determined to train just as hard as he does and deal out the pain whenever I can.
Thinking that Saturday may have been a sign of tiredness following the last fortnight of hard training, I thought it best to try a different approach on Sunday. So rather than attempt 14road miles at a fast pace, I took to the hills.
Luckily I was able to cajole Penrith Stu into a short, sharp outing up the fells - we ran leg 2 of the BGR (Threlkeld to Dunmail). Although I had stressed that I wanted to set a fast pace, we were nevertheless walking as usual up the first climb of the day - Clough Head, simply due to the severity of the slope. As we neared the summit we discussed what the time allowance was for this peak (on a 24 hr schedule). Correctly we thought it was 59 minutes and were then quite shocked to reach the top in 39, which included at least 1 min stationary for a pee. This was to be the trend for the rest of the run.
Great Dodd 21mins (30 allowed)
Watsons Dodd 6mins (9)
Stybarrow Dodd 7 (9)
Raise 12 (18)
I have to be honest and report that, due to time constraints, we didn't include Fairfield on this run. So to make a comparison I took our time from the Threlkeld to Dollywagon and fed it into Bob Wightmans BG estimator. This gave us a theoretical full BG pace of 15 hours. I then added Dolly to Fairfield and Fairfield to Seat Sandal using 20hr pace schedule. Finally I added the actual time we took from SS to Dunmail. This gave us a total of 3hrs 10mins for the leg, which I believe we would have achieved if we'd had time to do the full distance.
This is very satisfying as far as I'm concerned. Yes of course I know that there's little point in doing this type of short fast effort if you are imminently going for an attempt on a round, but I'm not about to, and as a slightly longer time, lower heartrate, variance from tarmac effort it was a perfect option for me on this occasion.
After a day off on Monday, tonight I was back on the black stuff with Plucky and Darren. 7x 5 minute efforts with 1min jog recoveries. I wasn't using my Garmin so have no data on the run but it was very very hard indeed. My legs are complaining loudly right now as I sit typing this.
Thankfully next week it isn't 8 efforts, just 5, due to Plucky doing the Cumbrian run the following weekend. I may do extra, or may try to run them harder then get a short rest while the others catch me up.
Still struggling to get Milly to join me on runs (though he was at Gelt on Saturday). Lets see if he joins me for 7 easy tomorrow.