It occurred to me earlier today, there are certain dilemmas in life for which there appears to be no solution. I was sat on a bench, Rocky (the Specialized Rockhopper) propped (or rather wedged) against the bench upon which I perched.
The bench was located at Tattenham Corner, adjacent to the best bacon sandwich hut in the South East. Unfortunately, since bacon sarnies are on the paleo prohibition list I had to make do with a coffee instead.
The wind, normally brisk up there at the best of times, was blowing strong enough to knock people off their feet. The first two or three attempts to drink the coffee ended up with me wearing it instead. So I gave in and decided to take a photo of the beautiful view in front of me instead. I debated what to do with the cup until I found the solution above.
I was up there awaiting the marathon runners from the Children’s Trust at Tadworth Court. We were escorting them around a training run from the Trust for the upcoming Brighton and London marathons. Runners are offered a two/three or four loop option around the downs, and my role is to escort them and make sure they stay on course and more importantly are safe and well. The Trust place a water station on Tattenham Corner and it was there I was waiting for the them all on their second route. Presenting an excellent opportunity for a coffee stop to warm up.
By the time I’d worked out that if I turned around and used my back as a windbreak, the coffee had cooled down enough for me to actually drink it. Happy days.
As I turned I noticed there were lots of people sat in cars looking at me, obviously transfixed at my coffee drinking dilemma. Most of them were munching on pasty and chips (or derivatives of), presumably purchased from the tea hut.
I find this a very strange phenomenon in Britain. ‘Let’s go out for lunch dear’ ‘I know, lets go up to Epsom Downs, treat ourselves to pasty and chips (it could quite easily be fish and chips or a bacon sandwich) and eat it in the car looking at the view’. Oooh, lovely!’
I’ve seen the same scene replicated in up north in my home town of Hartlepool, the Lake District and the South coast. Never once, do those lunching ever get out of the car to enjoy the view preferring the sterile experience inside their metal boxes.
Although the wind was strong, it was erm, invigorating (as well as coffee stealing) and I felt alive just to be out in it. As I turned back around to face the downs I could just see Alan’s fluorescent headband cresting the hill in the distance and made my way back to the water station to await the runners coming through.
My own running this week has (not surprisingly) been a bit lax. Recovery from the marathon was surprisingly quick. Although DOMS Tuesday never materialised, my feet and IT Band remained very sore until much later in the week. The soreness prevented me from running but not cycling and I was back on it in the spin shed on Wednesday. I originally had a nice recovery spin planned which turned into an interval filled painfest under Barrie’s tutelage. Still I was glad to get out alive and intact and happy my training mojo also made it through with me.
By Thursday morning I was probably ready for a weights session with Peter but we decided to stick to a pre-arranged morning off. As I lay in bed listening to the rain bouncing off the windows I figured it was a good call. In fact, probably still tired from the marathon (sometimes it creeps up on you in day to day life) I spent most of Thursday on the couch watching rubbish movies. Twilight, again, seriously 😉
By Friday though I was raring to go. With a vengence. It was a ‘Hell Yeah’ in a fired up kind of day and I couldn’t wait for double spin.
When Barrie proposed starting early and fitting two ‘efforts’ into the session we were all mumbling and grumbling but secretly thinking ‘woohoo’ (apart from poor Cliff in the corner skulking with the mother of a chest cold :(. After a very short warm up with launched straight into a pyramid interval session with reducing recovery followed by an increasing threshold session starting at 80% HRM and increasing each minute until we got to 95%. OMG it was a killer but the vibe in the shed was buzzing and carried us along despite the increasing fatigue. The second session with Mel was slightly less enthusiastic but I focused on the hill climbs by thinking about the hills we would have to tackle in Austria. It definitely seemed to help, not least by giving the session a focus. We left the shed feeling absolutely knackered but exhilarated.
I was reflecting earlier in the week on my marathon performance. Many people have asked me over the week whether I was happy with it. And initially, I felt a disappointment, not with the time as such (it was pretty much on the nose with what I expected) but with how much things hurt afterwards. My feet and knees were bothering me well up to Friday. But, after the initial two days off, I have been able to get straight back on the training and that in itself (in combination with the race) has been great. So all told, I was really pleased with how it all went.
With the marathon completed, Austria feels like its getting close now. The focus of the next few weeks will now turn to swimming and cycling outside (as the weather and light improves) and hopefully you’ll see reports reflecting that in the next few weeks.