Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chasing bikes

Training is continuing to go well since my last post, yesterday I ran my last significant track session and it went very well. It was the same session that I did two weeks (which at the time was my first on the track in Font Romeu) and in terms of my rep times yesterday they were significantly better this time around. My body has also started to adapt physiologically to the altitude, which a blood test a few days earlier has confirmed. One main factor that you hope to achieve is an increase in blood cells which are what carry the oxygen to the working muscles and an essential biological factor for endurance athletes.

I think taking the day of Monday helped also helped my session as I went into the session feeling quite fresh. I felt ok Monday morning but the following night I had disrupted sleep due to an upset stomach, so I decide to take the day off as a precaution. I went into the track session Tuesday morning very positive and felt before hand that it would be a good session; I did also have a little help in the form of a pacemaker leading me out on a push bike though. My pacemaker was Gary Lough, Gary will be the team manager for the GB Marathon Teams in Barcelona (he is husband to Paula Radcliffe). Gary was a very good athlete himself in the 1990’s, with a personal best of 3.34 for 1500m.

Talking of bikes last Sunday a few of us took advantage of the having the afternoon off training and went to watch stage 14 of the Tour de France which was passing through the nearby Village of Rouze in the Pyrenees, which was only 45mins drive away. I have never seen the Tour before and was suitably impressed with the whole thing. We arrived about 1pm (our time) and enjoyed a bit of prepared lunch on the roadside before getting into the spirit of the event with the parade of sponsor vehicles passing through ahead of the cyclists. I wasn’t sure what this would involve at first but essentially it’s like a fast moving carnival of bizarrely designed vehicles which throw out lots of free stuff, to be fair most of it isn’t much use afterwards but everyone gets into it! Despite my best efforts I didn’t manage to get hold of the better looking t-shirts that were being tossed out, where-as a certain Chris Thompson managed to have one land on his shoulder despite not even looking! Following the parade we didn’t have to wait too long before the peleton itself passed through. We were part of the way up a long climb up through the Pyrenees near the end of the stage but the speed they were moving at was impressive. One of the US athletes Ben, who I travelled down with was determined to run alongside the peleton, I believe he managed about 45secs before he had to drop off.

Being sterotypically french, watching the TdF eating a fresh baguette....

The carnival starts passing through.....

Here comes the peleton...

Anyway with only 11days to go until the men’s European Marathon, I’m feeling pretty good overall and starting to get that freshness and excitement that is often dampened by heavy training and subsequent tiredness. This feeling itself always gets me buzzing a bit more as it’s a sign that things are coming together at the right time. My taper into the race is underway now with only really one hard (although still fairly controlled) shorter tempo run left to do before easing right off into the last week of the race.

A tough race lies ahead with potentially very hot temperatures, as the race finishing at midday, but exciting times none the less.

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