Week in Review

Another week of incremental gains passes. Today was to be the day we climb Cat Bells fell in Cumbria but personal circumstances have put paid to that. Thankfully we got a beast of a hike in yesterday, ascending Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. Once the kids are older we are going to try to move over there. It’s such a beautiful place.

Losses and Gains

My swimming and running performance saw steady gains. One thing I will say is that I can definitely feel my age in the pool. This has become that little bit harder and I feel the work I have to do for sure. That being said, the gains are tangible. Yesterday I went through my wardrobe and set aside several pieces, sports jackets and blazers mainly, which I will donate to charity. I’ve gained so much muscle in the last fortnight that I can no longer get them over my shoulders. It has been noted by my good lady that I have changed substantially. She can hardly get her arms around my shoulders now. Add to that the fact that my swimming shorts are falling down rather easily whilst swimming – usually during tumble turns or when I push off from the side – and it’s clear that I’m getting somewhere.

Targets

I’m hoping to push my running into the four mile bracket and hit 1800 metres in the pool in order to prepare for an assault on the 2000 metre mark in the following week.

At some point I will have to decide whether to keep swimming relatively short intervals or to push for longer endurance swims. Previously I have always plumped for the latter, with limited weight loss success. Maybe I can do both. One distance swim and one interval soon would make for an interesting experiment.

What I’d love to do one day is open water swimming. Perhaps that’s something I can treat as a summit to be reached. I have always preferred being outside to indoor exercise. How on earth people have the patience for exercising in a gym is beyond me. I’ve tried it several times and it drives me crazy to be cooped up like that. If you enjoy that sort of thing them have at it. Enjoy your exercise and reward, I’m sure it does you good but I don’t really envy you at all.

Next week I also aim to get Cat Bells fell in the bag. As soon as the days are long enough we are looking to ascend Skiddaw. We live two hours away from Cumbria so the days are too short as yet for a seven hour climb. That’s why our early season hikes are in the Dales. It’s only an hour away with no monstrous peaks. Once the days are long them not only can we tackle the giants, we can also go for weekend camping trips to get the best of the late nights and early starts.

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Ingleborough Conquered. The Revenge of the Stick People.

This ‘conquered’ post is a slight cheat as we have successfully ascended Ingleborough before, however this time we took a different route to the previous straight up and down climb that we did. Sadly I have no map to post today as I forgot to take along my GPS watch to record the route we took.

Revenge of the Stick People

Seriously, what is going on with people hiking with sticks? I hiked as a kid and never saw anyone using sticks, whereas now every bugger and his dog seems to have them. Has the human race mutated into stick people who can’t walk anywhere unaided? Did I miss the memo or something?

I take a very dim view of this kind of thing. Unless a disability is in play you do not need sticks to hike. Get a grip people.

Photographs

At the summit.

Summit panorama

Whernside in the distance

A beautiful day for hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

Christ I’m sunburnt.

Short Laps, Long Laps, I’m Swimming all the Laps.

Today’s bizarre swim:

Bizarre because of this breakdown:

Set three is ten laps instead of eight, set four is shortened to six in order to cover that and set six is divided into two due to a goggles malfunction. In addition to that I had two zombie swimmers swin straight across and in front of me and I was checked out in the showers by an old biddy who looked at me and then straight down at my junk.

Don’t try to deny it girls. You know what you do.

On a positive note my shorts keep falling down which means I’m losing weight and this swim is my target of 1200 metres in the bag. Yesterday was a rest day as I was insanely tired.

This trajectory should see me hit 1800 metres by the end of next week.

Sweet Cleats, Fail on the Trail

Today’s run was well over ten minute miles because I had a brain fart halfway through and decided to go off road. Sadly I don’t own a pair of cleats so the boggy terrain slowed me right down and turned a planned 3.5 miles into 3.25. Running through mud doesn’t half rev the engine and sap one’s energy.

Details

As well as the trail I ran a slightly adjusted on-road route with an uphill start so that last quarter of a mile hurt. It crushed me to not do 3.5 miles but running through pain causes injuries. It’s never worth it as the losses outweigh the gains by a country mile.

Positives

In addition to an extra quarter of a mile the positives of this run were the lovely warm sun and also the feeling of running in nature, away from people under a tree canopy. I also encountered a heron on the trail.

What a fine, beautiful animal.

Concluding Thoughts

Slower but further. I learned that I need to plan trail runs properly and invest in some cleats for seriously muddy running.

Progress is progress…

Lapping Away…

Today’s swim:

Set four is long due to a goggles malfunction and sadly I encountered the scourge of lap swimmers up and down the country: dreaded fat girl who won’t get out of the fast lane. I really don’t get it. I’m in the one lane set aside for lap swimming and always some epic ham beast gets in and bobs up and down the length of the pool like a lump of whale blubber, doing an approximate ratio of one lap to my ten. They have the entire pool to go at and they always get in my way.

That aside today was progress. As I push into longer intervals the last two laps are always the weariest and hardest, however the last two laps of each set today were nowhere near as difficult as the ones I previously experienced at the end of shorter sets so that means I’m getting stronger and my cardiovascular capacity is increasing.

Cardiovascular Statistics

A nurse friend of mine recently calculated my resting pulse at a strong, rhythmic and regular 54 bpm. The lowest I’ve ever clocked is 44. I think I can hit that again. I’m hoping to finally shed the stone I’ve carried since being hit by cars four times in one year whilst cycling. That had a massive effect on my body. Now that the kids are older and I have more free time I can get into a proper regimen rather than the guerrilla approach young children necessitate.

Keep buggering on…

Week in Review

Summary

Last week I moved from 600 to 1000 metres in the pool, from 2 to 3 miles running and I completed a rigorous 8.4 miles family hike over Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales. This was a good week with which to start a long summer of outdoor activities.

Coming Next

This year I want to break out of the Dales and conquer more of the Lake District. The big targets are Skiddaw and Blencathra, each of which are approximately 900 metre climbs so they are ones to work up to. I take the kids hiking so it wouldn’t be a problem for adults to climb those two but the sprogs need to work up to climbs like that. Luckily there is the gorgeous Cat Bells fell, around a 500 metre elevation.

I can’t wait to ascend this fell over the weekend and get some photographs of the stunning Lake District views. In addition to that I want to push up to 4 miles running and 1500 metres swimming. That leaves me with one hike to plan for the weekend. Time to research…

Improving Distance, Picking up Pace

After a restful Sunday due to a poorly child – hence no hike – today I broke three miles and at least some of the time I ran consciously to increase speed, thankfully hitting the disgracefully low bar of sub ten minute miles.

Garmin Data

You can see that I’m something of a trudger really. I no doubt have the ability to run a lot faster and I have achieved sub nine minute miles before, however my problem is that simply running regularly is enough of a discipline as it is. I find pointless repetition in any aspect of life to be difficult so maintaining slow, sustained improvement is enough for me. My ideal exercise is outdoors, doing something productive. I love exploring and if I run I like trail running best. My worst nightmare is the gym. Picking up things and putting them down? Snore.

Anyway. Swimming tomorrow and hopefully this week I’ll push to four miles running and 1200 metres in the pool.

Whernside Redux: Electric Boogaloo

I am slightly concerned about my Garmin Vivoactive sports watch. Granted it is not cutting edge technology any more, it’s an old model of sports watch, however either it or the Apple Health app is calculating things badly. My money is on Garmin doing it wrong which is unfortunate. Here is my reasoning:

Garmin stats

Apple Health Stats

According to the Yorkshire Dales website climbing Whernside is 8.4 miles of hiking. Given that Apple Health clocks all of my steps during the day it seems sensible to believe that I hiked the 8.4 miles and the rest is normal everyday wandering about.

Garmin Vivoactive clocked me at 6.41 miles which seems very low. I have no idea why it does this but I think it vastly underestimates the distance I hiked.

That being said, despite the notoriety of Whernside for bad weather today’s hike was great. I even took photos.

Ingleborough from the descent

Tadpole Hunting

Millie, our dog, Pulling a Pint

Here, finally, is the map

Whatever is going on with my tracking equipment I can attest to the joy found in ascending this peak. Even though I have done it many times before it is beautiful to see the view from the summit. We definitely earned our pint in the country pub at the end.

Summit Panorama

Progress Delayed

Yesterday’s swim happened today. My local pool and it’s useless staff admitted me to swim yesterday and then kindly closed the pool five minutes later. Thanks a lot goons.

Today I pushed up to 600 metres via six sets of 100 metres (4 laps per set).

I was only swimming for 10 minutes or so but I definitely pushed myself into the shaky muscles zone. That isn’t a technical term obviously. I think the correct term is lactic acidosis. I could be wrong on that, I’m no expert but it’s where I get the endorphins and I know to stop before I strain something.

At my best I’ve pushed up to 5000 metres so I have a long way to go yet.

Pushing On

I am in the habit of starting small and building quickly. That’s what I have done in the past and I am doing it again now. Yesterday I swam and today I pushed myself further on the road.

Swimming

I started yesterday with what I thought was ten sets of 50 metre intervals. I either miscounted or I forgot to record one of my sets with my swim watch so I’m posting a 450 metre swim rather than 500. Whatever, it’s a start. I’ll soon be pushing up to swimming an hour nonstop as I did previously.

Running

Today I added half a mile to my previous 2 mile run on Monday. My time is abysmal here, over 10 minute miles, but hey, distance is distance and I’ve never been a particular fast runner.

My struggle is often what to do once I get to high distances when it comes to running and swimming. When cycling I would always commute so it was easy to be consistent. I guess we’ll see how I motivate myself with leisure exercise. Stats below.

Weather permitting this weekend will be two mountain hikes in the Yorkshire Dales.