The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of physical exercise.
Over the past couple of weeks, the weather in Manchester has been unseasonably erm nice! Rather than storms battering us all April, the sun has come out on a lot of occasions.
Of course all good things do come to an end. The forecast for this weekend just gone, even last week, spelled enough doom such that I chose not to enter a bike ride in North Wales. To be fair, I’d like to stop falling off my bike before I ride in a different country, but that aside…..
Still, by Saturday, whilst taking part in a bell-ringing competition (not my idea) during a damp afternoon, on checking the weather forecast, Sunday was given as wall-to-wall sunshine.
This gave a dilemma – to run or to cycle. I figured I’d be unable to moderate my intentions thus doing a bit of both was almost certainly going to be taken out by over-enthusiasm on the first activity.
I decided that as I’d run the day before, and struggled with 2 miles, that cycling might be a better option. So I sat down with the maps and plotted a route that I might actually remember when I came to cycle it. I’m sure I could set up my Garmin Fenix 2 to direct me if I knew how, but I’m rubbish at following such instructions so freestyling it tends to be a more reasonable option.
The route took me through Cheshire, Stockport and Tameside off out eastward into the Peaks along the Woodhead Pass, before swapping sides of the reservoirs and returning home via Derbyshire. The views in the Pass were stunning and I had to remind myself that I had to get home otherwise I’d probably have continued East-wards further into South Yorkshire making for a somewhat longer-than-anticipated ride!
Needless to say on getting home I didn’t do a huge amount, aside from prodding a few things in the garden and going food shopping. Oh and eating a lot too……..
So that was to be the end of the nice weather.
However the forecast threw up another gem – Monday morning scheduled to be……. SUNNY!
Now I have a number of routines planned into my exercise regime, driven in part by the software I use to record the data. Smashrun (the statistical runner’s guilty passion) has a ‘fun’ side where badges of honour are given for such things as going out running on 10 days during a month. Up until this weekend I was on 9.
Similarly Strava has a selection of challenges; admittedly not a huge number for runners, however I have recorded a half-marathon every month since June 2014, but due to the injury at Wrexham and a slow recovery, it was looking like that progression was going to stop this month.
However, buoyed on from the 47 mile bike ride yesterday, I planned a 13.1 mile route for this morning. It was a well thought out route (shocking, unlike me I know!) which had numerous abandonment points such that if my legs couldn’t go the distance it could be shortened to something much less as a circular route.
As it happens, although it was hard work, and required a number of walked sections, I completed my April 2015 half-marathon challenge in 1h40m6s. In the sunshine. Hurrah!
One aspect I did note during this was my pulse rate and therefore blood-pressure. My previous runs have had a very high pulse rate whilst running, often taking me right up to my estimated maximum heart rate. I’ve always thought this a little odd as it seemed to gravitate to that point during all distance runs, rather than if I was just tackling a difficult climb for example.
Since my issue at work a couple of weeks ago I’ve noticed that my shorter runs were exhibiting a lower average heart rate. And today, again the same, my maximum being some 20 bpm lower than my previous norm.
So perhaps the mental explosion inside me a fortnight ago was actually coupled with a physical symptom as well and that it had been building for a lot longer than I had realised.