Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The "Off Season"....

 I seem to have done a great job of timing the end of my running "season" with the end of any decent training weather. Well, it wasn't that great between the 50K and the 100K if I'm honest, but I admit it has been nice to look out at the rain, wind, ice, hail etc without worrying about having to go out and run in it.

My parkrunning parents!
Not having to think about running or recovery has again given me time to catch up with family and friends....and go out to play a lot! One weekend, I nipped over to surprise my father for his birthday......and got to cheer both of my parents on as they took part in their first ever parkrun. My dad "adopted a run-walk strategy" and actually finished ahead of my mum who ran the whole way, but she didn't mind as it was his birthday (and I took them out for cake to celebrate afterwards!).

I also spent a weekend in Spain catching up with a skiing buddy from many years ago who know lives and works out there running "sea to ski" tours. I haven't skied for several years so it was great to give it another go.....and luckily I managed to avoid any accidents!

Our original skiing day was scuppered by bad weather, so we found a race that we could just turn up to, and enter on the day. From reading their flyer, it appeared to be a low-key road 10K that I could use to see how far back my fitness had slipped, but we soon realised our mistake.

The race did start on tarmac in the small village square, but within a kilometre we were on a muddy trail winding through vineyards and other crops. As we started to head up a steep hill, we were then directed off on a very undulating rough trail loop of about 3Km. It was then back along the muddy paths back to the village with a final sprint up the hill to the square.

It was rather unusual for me to turn up to a race and run without knowing the terrain, the surface or the distance and so be wearing totally the wrong shoes, but it was fun anyway. I also realised how much I have become used to having my "normal" amount of food and drink around if I'm running. I generally keep my cupboards full at home as I have rather a large appetite, but my friend shops as and when he needs things as he doesn't eat nearly so much as me. I was hungry when we got to the village, never mind after running, but luckily always have some bars stowed away in my bag for emergencies (thankyou Creative Nature for saving me both pre- and post-run) so disaster was averted!

Prize-winning bookends!!
It was certainly a testing run, and I did feel rather unfit, but then again my road shoes were getting get heavier and heavier as they accumulated mud. I overtook a man on the final climb back to the Square, but he was obviously not one to be chicked, so he sprinted past right at the end and beat me by a fraction of a second. Still, it was a great way to spending what would otherwise have been a miserable cold, rainy Sunday morning - and to be reminded that with a common interest, you don't need a common language, as everyone was so friendly!
Paella and beer - bliss!!

What's more, by the time we made it back to the seaside afterwards, we both felt that we'd earned a good plate (or two) of paella!

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