The Scribbler

13 February 2011

A soaking and some satisfaction

Filed under: bike,run,training,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 19:24

I got soaked to the skin on my bike ride yesterday. And no, it wasn’t raining. Last time I went out on my bike, I picked a route that took me off road and once away from the traffic I had the confidence to really get pedalling. At the time I thought that I wouldn’t like the paths to be much muddier as I’d risk a slide. I wish I’d remembered that this weekend.

The forecast was for better weather Saturday and rain on Sunday and I needed to fit in a 20k bike and a 10k run, so opted to bike Saturday and run Sunday. It meant missing parkrun, which I was sad about, but I’m really not going to do my best at my triathlon if I don’t get the bike miles in. So high vizzed up and off, planning to take in the same route as last time and hoping to go a little faster.

Spits and spots of rain, but nothing too bad and immediately I feel more confident, bike in a higher gear and feet to the pedals, pushing hard. The roads are pretty quiet and the drivers considerate. At Churchill Playing fields I pause for a minute to wipe my glasses free of raindrops and then turn onto the waggon ways and it’s puddles ahoy.

The pathways are reasonably grippy and I skirt the edges, but pretty soon there’s no avoiding splashing on through. I feel a drop on my face and think it’s rain again, but the mud splatters on my glasses tell a different story. A glance down at my arms and my sleeves are smattered with brown splots. Ah well, it’s only dirt, it never hurt anyone. But I haven’t taken into account how the muddy water is soaking up into my trainers and within minutes my feet are stone cold.

Ahead there’s the demon puddle. One I cannot see to the other side of. Still in kamikaze mode, I plough on through, hoping to goodness I don’t get stuck and have to put my feet down. Although in truth, I don’t think they could get any wetter. A plume of water rises up behind me, soaking me to the skin.

Despite the grey outlook and the chill breeze, the path is busy with walkers and dog walkers. Lots of puppies out today. And I don’t think they’d take too kindly to being liberally splattered by a demented cyclist, so I slow down as I pass and they’re kind enough to keep their pets out of my way.

I reach the line of pylons and want to continue on a little further to reach the road, but the path ahead is really too boggy to risk it. So I have no option but to turn and retrace my tracks back through the puddles.

The demon puddle lurks smirking, awaiting my return. Ahead are an older couple out walking, skirting the muddy edges. He’s holding her by the hand. I slow down, waiting for them to clear it, but they’re taking their time. I have no choice but to stop. And rather than risk splashing them, I walk my bike around the muddy edges. “It’s dreadful isn’t it,” the lady smiles. “Look at the state of you!” exclaims her partner as I pass. “Straight in the shower when I get home,” I reply. “You might want to keep your clothes on,” he shouts as I carry on back towards the sports track.

My feet are like ice now I’ve turned into the wind. My mind starts drifting to the book I’m reading and tales of frostbitten toes. But I can still feel mine, so I know they haven’t gone that far. A glance at my watch tells me I’m not going to beat my time and I briefly consider cutting short my run as I pass the bottom of my road. But no – I set out to do 20k, so I’ll complete the last little loop, including the hill, before dragging my dripping bike and self into the shelter of my hallway.

The bike gets a quick hose down before I do. Trainers dumped in a bucket to be dealt with later. It’s a good job I went out in the daylight as there’s not a spot of yellow visible on the back of my jacket. Kit stripped off and straight into the washing machine, leaving globs of mud all over the kitchen floor. I get weird pins and needles sensations in my fingers as I warm up under the shower.

Sunday morning and a bit of a lie in. Eating porridge and reading another chapter of my book. The wind is howling around outside and for once I’m really not feeling the urge to go for a run.

Cue maximum faffage. Getting ready. Changing my mind about where to run and what to wear. Picking more layers than usual and indulging myself in the luxury of headphones and ipod. Re-lacing my dried out trainers, fussing over the tension in the crossover and the length of the laces. Finally, finally getting out of the door and on my way.

I head inland for a change, opting for a loop around North Shields and the Fish Quay for a bit of variety. I want to trick my body out of the familiar and avoid knowing exactly how far I’ve come at each checkpoint. But it’s a dull and uninspiring start and I sense I don’t have much speed in my legs today.

Down through the industrial units to the fishquay and then following the route of the North Tyneside 10k along the windy promenade and up the sequence of rises to the Priory. The steep hills are taxing and tough, but I keep going and pick up some speed once I know the hard part is out of the way.

Along the familiar course beside the sea. Plenty of runners to smile wave and say good morning to today.

My face is burning hot and I’m feeling like I’m wearing a layer too many. My music is annoying me now, so I stop the track and ditch the headphones as a guy comes chasing on my heels accompanied by a very cheerful spaniel.

Immediately I cool down a little and calm down. My thoughts I realise have been as hot and fragmented as the driving rhythms of my music. Now I welcome the salty breeze and the sounds of the white churned waves and find my own running peace.

I opt to run as far as the sandcastles near Whitley Bay and then turn back. But as I make this decision and approach the landmark, I’m plagued by a twitch of pain in my left leg. I ignore it and try to run through, but it’s not budging. At the self appointed marker I stop my watch and myself for a stretch. It feels like a touch of cramp and soon eases away.

But I find it less easy to pick up the rhythm and pace again once I return to my run. This is always a danger for me when I stop. I stop fighting the feeling that I want to go faster and just keep moving forward. I’ve covered around 8k, if the last two are slower paced, so be it.

The scheduled run finishes short enough of home to allow me a jog to warm down along the beach. Hard work after the road pounding, but I welcome the softness underfoot and even push on up the slope to the finish. Despite my misgivings, I’ve managed 10k in 55:56 and my friends are kind enough to comment favourably on my efforts. And I’ve completed another week of triathlon training.

Triathlon training week 2:
Monday – weights
Tuesday – interval run
Wednesday – spinning and treadmill run
Thursday – PT session and swim
Friday – Rest day (pilates)
Saturday – 20k cyle
Sunday 10k run.

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