Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interesting Weather for a Run

Yep, it's been snowing.

The temperature this morning was a balmy -4 degrees celsius and there was a good inch of snow on the ground. I decided that an attempt on the hill was probably not sensible and opted for a run around the coast road.

I was out of the door at about six and for the first time I beat the snow plough to it and had fresh snow for the first two-and-a-half miles. Right enough it turned to slush after that, but the fact that it was possible to run without a light which with no moonlight and overcast skies was quite fantastic.

As the twilight started, shadows became evident and despite the sleety drizzle and wet feet it was enjoyable: worth getting out of the front door. The halfway point for the run was the top of the hill on the approach to Sand (200ft of ascent).

I've been lent a heart rate monitor by a colleague at work and Sarah has been given one by her friend, Seonaid. So, we've gone from no HRM's to two, no, three (Seonaid also gave Sarah a basic non-recording one as well as a good one) and it has been interesting working out how much effort is involved in our running.

Sarah went out at mid-day to complete the same run. She had to contend with drizzle/rain and thawing conditions for most of her run. She has been off the running because of a cold/chesty cough for the past three weeks. Apparently, the rule of thumb is that if the cold is above the shoulders its okay to run, not if its below!

The cats had their second inoculation yesterday, after Andrew's swimming lesson and serendipity was on our side.

We found a fish and chip shop in Portree and I didn't have my money, so I told Sarah we had to be careful how much we were spending. Anyway, I left to get some money for two fish suppers (Sarah had Lemon Sole in breadcrumbs) and two portions of chips.

When I got back the chap behind the counter (who was doing all the frying himself) asked for £4.95. I had to ask him twice how much it was; apparently, Sarah had got a loyalty card (on our first visit) which entitled us to half-price meals :-)

The laptop is going to the menders; well, it should have gone last Monday. but owing to a bloke called Mohammed in a Delhi call-centre its been sitting on a shelf at work for a week!
HAving to use the old desktop PC which I'm loathe to leave running all the time: it consumes a lot more power than the laptop!



Monday, November 17, 2008

Jogging or Running?

I needed to publish this post for my own benefit as much as to keep anyone else informed of what I've been doing. My jogging has been going well. I stopped trying to run five/six days out of seven and reduced it to every other day, I've noticed the benefit of doing this. Mainly in not feeling so tired, probably because running at six in the morning means getting up at five-thirty which makes for long days.

For a while (about two weeks) I was managing eight-miles in the mornings and did one ten-mile weekend jog. The furthest I have ever done, it felt great. I now feel confident that I could manage thirteen miles at a reasonable pace. I'm aiming to do that sort of distance at about six-and-a-half miles per hour, which would give me a time of two hours. Pretty reasonable target, I reckon, as I managed an hour and a half for the ten miles (nine-minute miles).

Lately I have been jogging six miles in the mornings; however, I surprised myself by managing this in under fifty minutes (personal best: 0:48:12). Doing an average seven-and-a-half miles per hour, topping out at nearly eight miles per hour (if I get much faster I'll have to start thinking of myself as a runner)!

This Sunday was a beautiful, clear November day and I was determined to try something a little different, so I headed off to run for one hour (30 mins out then turn round). I found myself heading up towards the Bealach (if you do not know what the Bealach is see below). I had set myself a half hour out time-limit and there I was after twenty-nine minutes and thirty seconds - three and a quarter miles away and six-hundred feet above sea-level. The run back down was exhilarating. Not least because at one point I thought I was goigng to end up going so fast I'd end up going head over heels. The final approach to the cattlegrid was a killer; flying downhill as fast as your legs can go when you get about fifty metres to slow to walking pace to cross a cattlegrid thankfully, the gradient eases slightly. Anyway, I finished the run with a mile along the flat - a decent warm-down. Home to well-deserved bowl of soup and a freshly-baked loaf all amde by Sarah Andrew and Zoe.

Final figures: 6.5 miles - 760 feet ascent in 2.3 miles (1:16) in 52 mins.

So, the jogging/running progresses. I've lost a stone and a half since August and am determined to keep it up through the winter, no matter what the weather throws at us (well, I might wait for the slightly better days)!

The Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle)
A road runs over the Bealach (bee-yalach) from Tornapress in the East to Shore Street (there is no village called Applecross, it is the name of the peninsula) in the West. Heading up from Shore Street (by the Applecross Post Office) the road goes from 14 feet above sea-level to 2060 feet above sea-level in 5.34 miles (a very long hill with some parts steeper than 1:5)! On the other side it drops back to almost sea-level in about 5.75 miles, descending into the Coire na Ba in a series of tight hairpin bends. It's already been shut this year owing to snow blocking the road!

Well that's it for now. Hopefully it will not be six months before I post again, I'll try and fit one or two posts in before Christmas.