My first month (and a bit) of training towards MDS has started well! In summary:
- 2.5 weeks cycling through Peru and Bolivia – it was planned to be a holiday, but turned out to be hard as nails, high altitude training camp!
- A little bit of running and a Vo2 max test.
- Yorkshireman off road marathon.
- Last week – a good 4 run week with 38 miles of running, including the Good Shepherd fell race on my birthday.
- In between the runs I am back into 2 days of cycling to work and a quick ride at the weekends.
- 2kg weight loss on holiday (tough cycling + poor food) means I am going in the right direction to MDS weight.
It feels great!
After a few summer colds, cycling every day at altitude seems to have been the cure! Peru was stunning, yet poor and baron. Cycling up mountain passes to 4300+m then descending into the jungle at 1500m was like visiting two different worlds in the same day. Women in traditional dress were in fields everywhere tending to their animals, grazing them on ropes, trying to find the next tuft of grass in the dry dusty ground. Machu Pichu exceeded all my expectations. Pictures and television do not show you the sheer size of it and the incredible Inca workmanship. It is a strange sensation to walk on the floating reed islands in lake Titikaka, mixing with the locals, who welcomed us into their homes (actually they led me in by the hand!) and then afterwards tried to sell us tourist tat! Bolivia was different again – just as poor – but much more corrupt and bribes seemed to be required as standard. La Paz was a crazy, highly populated city spanning a bowl amongst the mountains. Cycling the road of death, descending into the jungle again was amazing, finished off by staying in a beautiful hotel, followed by a zip wire ride in the jungle the next morning.
We shared the whole experience with good friends, old and new. It could not have been a better bunch of people, through the tough times (of which there were many!) and the fun, which were plentiful too. The mental toughness was put to the test most days.
We arrived home safe (albeit no bags or bikes for a few days) and then tipped up to Glasshouses to stay at Harewell cottage as a test run for our friends opening a new holiday cottage. It was lovely to relax and a luxury place to stay! I managed a little run, with a big climb and the running legs did well, despite laboured breathing which I did not expect!
Then followed an unusually busy week, including a heart MRI and a VO2 max test, as a participant in a research study. A healthy, trained heart and a Vo2 max of 50.9 were reported. Really fascinating to see my heart working and the first time I’ve done a Vo2 max and I was pleased that I managed to take my work load higher than my usually very steady pace.
The Yorkshireman marathon was a top day out. Perfect weather, good company and Yorkshire moors. My legs did me proud till 20 miles, then the cycling legs fell out with running and my hip muscles smarted to say the least. With encouragement and company of my MDS buddy Fiona, we eventually made it back for soup and cake. Very stiff legs followed….
After a few days and a bit of cycling my legs returned to a comfortable state an I had a great week of running:
- Saturday 3 miles (trail).
- Sunday 10 miles (trail).
- Tuesday 4 ish miles (trail).
- Thursday 8 miles (road).
- Saturday 13.5 miles (fell).
Happy hips again. Happy running and birthday cake.
The fell miles consisted the Good Shepherd fell race, with MDS buddy, John. This involved two assents to Stoodley Pike and some good scrambling through tussocks and steep moorland. I’m not a good fell runner, but I love it. It’s like being a kid again, exploring where there are no paths.
Today has been a spectator sport day, watching the three peaks cyclocross race. It was a pleasure to be making the most of the Yorkshire dales in the sunshine. The legs and body feel good and I am excited about the training weeks ahead.