Assessing Numbers and a Great, Faithful and Loyal Friend Moves on to her New Home at the Rainbow Bridge

Because I wasn’t blogging at the time I didn’t get a chance to immortalise our little lurcher, Muffington (Muffin), on here when she passed on to the Rainbow Bridge.

We rescued her and she became the most faithful and sweet little lap dog I have ever known. She gave us twelve years of unconditional love and loyalty and lived her life sitting on my knee. That dog hiked all over the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria with us and loved every minute of it.

Good speed into the void little Muffington. Enjoy your rest. You have certainly earned it.

Pulse Clues

A friend of mine who is a nurse tells me that one’s pulse and blood pressure are important because symptoms of serious illness so often manifest there first. She takes my pulse all the time (don’t ask) and confirms my resting heart rate at 54 bpm. This is apparently very good and the healthy norm for a 6’1 adult male of my height ought to be 60-80. This reading was taken during my recent hiatus with a pinched nerve so I am now on a mission to drive down my heart rate. The lowest I have ever recorded is 44 so I am aiming there first. I already eat a vegan diet designed to facilitate extremely good mental health – of that more anon – and this also keeps my blood pressure healthy. Where I can improve is exercise. I’m going to work hard to push my heart rate very high during runs and swims in particular to produce a positive effect on my resting pulse.

I’m also hoping to get some decent knowledge and understanding of logging this information and what to do with it over time.

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Rebound and Pound the Ground

My pinched nerve has eased so I’m back in the road, pretty much from square one.

Slow, laborious, but ultimately productive. Despite not the day of small beginnings.

In other news I’m considering an upgrade from my Garmin Vivoactive watch to Apple Watch 4 when it arrives. I’ve heard good things about the battery life now so that and the water resistance makes it so much more attractive a prospect than the series 1 I previously owned.

Late to the Pool Party

I have not hit this week’s swimming target purely because I arrived late to the pool, which is extremely irritating. I did sets of twelve laps but only had time for five:

You can see I messed up on my intervals and I don’t know why the last set is so long. I must have not operated my watch properly and not pressed stop at the right time. Oh well.

I could have gone on for another hour or even swam nonstop for the full 45 minutes I had so I’m getting fitter quickly. I find this to be extremely satisfying.

Onward and upward…

First Class Swim, Record on a Whim

Today’s swim was actually 1500 metres rather than the 1250 I recorded. Sadly I somehow managed to record only five sets of ten laps where I actually swam six.

Data

I think I missed the third set somehow. The clue is in the interval breakdown:

You can see that set two is very long. I really don’t know what happened but I do know that I wish my Vivoactive watch would beep when I press start like my old Garmin Swim.

Feeling Good

What was good about this is that swimming longer sets feels more rhythmic. It is very easy to overdo short sets as they have the natural feel of sprints. This way I get into a more prolonged and regular cadence. I also benefited from eating properly after yesterday’s absurdity.

Next up: 1800 metres.

Feed the Machine

Today’s run was shortened to two miles and I have nobody but myself to blame.

Feed the Machine

We all do fat days – occasional days where we eat junk as a treat and last night I did precisely that. Sadly what I ate and drank turn out to be terrible fuel for running but I already knew that. At the two miles mark I felt dreadful and stopped. I simply did not fuel my body properly and I need to do a proper analysis of what I eat.

Still, it’s two more miles in the bank. I’ll move forward positively and improve my diet.

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.

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…