Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From one extreme to the other!

Once the competition season ends in March, the next major physical event on my calendar is the 24 hour autismwalk charity fundraiser.  This year, the walk takes place on the weekend of 23 - 24 May.

Training is interesting, because up until the second Monday in March, my focus is entirely on speed and power.  The longest run I have there is a little over 100 metres (admittedly often much of that is with 150kg in tow), and the longest event takes less than 40 seconds.  So somehow I have to transition from that to walking for at least 18 hours in 24, in a 10 week period.  In addition, time for long walks is limited.  For some reason, this year has been socially busier than normal since the state championships.  Normally it goes fairly quiet, but not so much this time.

Last year proved that I could make the transition, and this year I am taking a similar approach.  The trick for me is to incorporate walking into my daily routine as much as possible.  I normally cycle or drive everywhere, but the majority of those trips have been replaced by walks.  It just means I need to allow a bit more time to get to places.  These short (2 - 10 km) walks tend to be done fast.  In addition, I try and schedule a few 3 - 4 hour walks, taking advantage of the network of shared walking and cycling paths around town here.  These usually end up being in the 20 - 30 km range, and are taken at a slightly slower pace.  This year, I seem to be a bit ahead of where I was this time last year, with both maximum average speed and "cruising speed" somewhat higher than they used to be.

At just over a month out, I'm feeling confident of both making the 24 hours and achieving the 100 km goal I've set for myself. 

After the walk, the long campaign to transition back to speed and power begins, and I will attempt to rewrite my motor neurology yet again. :) - Tony

Highlights from the last year

The past 10 - 11 months have really flown by, and not much activity on the blogs.  Thought I'd better give a brief update.

I took part as one of the "core walkers" in the inaugural autismwalk charity fundraiser last June.  This walk is a 24 hour event that takes place in a local park around a walking track, and as a core walker, I was expected to be out on the track for the majority of the time.  I logged 16 hours out of the 24, and covered 81 km, which is among the top contenders for the longest walk I've ever done in 24 hours.  However, one or two rogaines in years gone by are in a similar ballpark for distance, though I didn't have access to the same level of technology to log those accurately back then.

After the walk, it was back to basic fitness training in the gym for the rest of the winter and early spring, into October.  I also did some outdoor fitness work with some of my teammates once a week during this period.  As regular training ramped up during October, my self directed work tapered off.

In late October, I was awarded "Runner of the Year" in my team for the 2013 - 2014 season at the fire brigade's annual awards presentation dinner, which capped off a good season.

The fire brigade competition season started on the last week of November, through to early March.  This year, we ran quite well, managing to take out the season aggregate in our class.  I had a fairly good season, though some hamstring trouble took the shine off it.  The first time was in late January, but fortunately, I was taking the next competition off to participate in the Pride March for the CFA's first official involvement, and the following weekend had no competitions, which gave me plenty of time to rest.  The second time the issue came back was in my first home and reel event at the state championships in March.  Somehow, despite my injury, and that of one of my teammates in the same run, we kept up with the opposing side and even won the heat!  Being the first day of competition, this had a significant impact for all of us, as it meant we were a couple of people down, and I was not available for the usual heavy workload.  

Initially, it looked like I was out for the weekend, but I was able to run my usual position on the ladder in the pumper and ladder event, because the only physically stressful part was the vertical climb, which wasn't affected.  I also managed to run the Y8, but in a different position, again where I could avoid some of the stresses.  Turned out I still had quite a bit of useful power, despite the injury.  Finally, on the last day, probably the riskiest event being the hose and ladder 5 event, I had to sprint the entire length of the run, before climbing the ladder.  Despite some soreness, the sprint went well.  Unfortunately an unrelated slip on the ladder cost us a place.  In the end, we came up with a couple of minor placings for the 3 days, which was good, given that the team was severely disrupted, missing one key runner altogether (the other injured person was out for the weekend), and myself being limited in what I could do. 

In the end, I identified a couple of key issues to address for next season.  Firstly, it looks like I have to pay more attention to hamstring strength during the summer months, especially over the Christmas break and the weekends where there's no competition.  Secondly, I'm not happy with my speed.  With the power I have, and other traits, I feel I should be able to go faster in a sprint.  I also need to pick up a second or two for the hose and ladder event, to ensure I can get to the top in sufficient time to win the state championships.  Something isn't coordinating quite right, and my running form is a little unusual at higher speeds.  A couple of weeks later, during a Street parade march, I did notice that while my legs were in perfect time to the band, I had trouble with sensing where my arms were.  Past history suggests I can find ways to compensate, if I find the right way to train.  This is still under investigation, stay tuned! - Tony