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Training Log: blairtrewin

In the last 7 days:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Run5 4:19:35 22.68(11:27) 36.5(7:07) 77026 /30c86%
  Swimming1 22:00 0.37(59:01) 0.6(36:40)
  Total6 4:41:35 23.05(12:13) 37.1(7:35) 77026 /30c86%
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Monday Feb 27 #

8 AM

Run 40:00 [3] 7.0 km (5:43 / km)

Sometimes I need reminding that I can't do everything, and that trying to do an earlyish run before breakfast following a long race, a four-hour drive, a flight and a late night arrival in Geneva probably wasn't going to work out too well. This was indeed the case. Best that can be said for this one is that it was better than the last one I did in the same general area (the one I attempted to do between flights from Geneva Airport in August). Did find some new pockets of the Geneva suburbs.

Just about to head home now, after paying a morning visit to CERN (nerd alert!). Don't feel super-energetic at the moment so will have to see how things work out at the other end.

Sunday Feb 26 #

Note

Not sure how climb is calculated in Portugal, but I got my climb at roughly double the advertised on both days. That involved plenty of one and two-contour up and downs (and it didn't really feel like a 6-6.5% course), but I had a go at producing a climb-minimising route on Sunday, including some wildly outlandish deviations, some crashing of dark green and contouring along the side of a gorge which I suspect would have been impassable in practice, and could still only get down to 330 - 270 was advertised.
11 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 1:19:45 [3] *** 8.3 km (9:37 / km) +520m 7:19 / km
spiked:15/16c

POM long distance. A significantly better run today - still couldn't run up the big hills, but otherwise felt fairly reasonable - certainly a major step up from today. Not as much dark green or as many difficult walls as yesterday, either, and a pretty smooth run technically. Most significant time loss was at 5, once again a route one rather than a navigation one - this was one of the ones in "tiger country" and I planned a route which contoured into the control, but the slope was impassable (not sure how much help the map was with that) and I had to do a bit of rockclimbing to get up to somewhere I could get across. Maybe lost a minute there. Still got blown away on the run-in but various young kids but I'm used to that. This will give me a bit more confidence - it's actually the longest course I've done for a while (since the middle of last year, I think).

This felt like a run several minutes better than yesterday, and the results bore that out - about a third of the way down this time, and about 10 percentage points closer to the winner (Eric Perrin again, in 55).

Headed off straight after the event, wanting to leave enough time for contingencies on the way back to Porto, and got some. First I found myself on Coimbra's bridge to nowhere - a very impressive structure, but the motorway then abruptly ends at the base of a cliff a few hundred metres later (probably to be a tunnel entrance eventually) with a small road off to the side continuing on. Then had a half-hour traffic jam at roadworks going into Porto - trying to squeeze four lanes into one on a major motorway was always going to be challenging. Still made the flight back to Geneva comfortably.

Saturday Feb 25 #

Event: POM 2017
 
8 AM

Note

Had about 90 minutes still to travel to the event on Saturday morning, with one of the first starts. Portugal doesn't really do early mornings (exemplified by the McDonald's I saw which is open 22 hours a day, its two off hours being 6-8am) and I had to leave before the hotel breakfast started, so servo food (a roll this time) was the only readily available option again. Foggy for much of the way and when I arrived at the event, but broke up before the start. At least the motorway part of the trip was quick: in theory the limit's 120, but at 130 (in the less foggy bits) I was still being passed by a lot more than I was passing. (Didn't see anyone above probably 150-160 though, which may indicate how far over the limit you need to go to actually get yourself booked).
10 AM

Run race ((orienteering)) 39:50 [3] *** 4.0 km (9:58 / km) +250m 7:35 / km
spiked:11/14c

Many visitors to Fatima go in search of miracle cures for the sick and the lame, but going there en route to the event didn't seem to help me much in either department (the absence of any relevant prayers may or may not have had something to do with this). The positive was getting out into the terrain, and it was mostly the sort of terrain which should have been enjoyable, but I was running too weakly to really be able to appreciate it. A couple of minor navigational time losses, 30 seconds at 10 (didn't read the description) and 15 at 11, but my biggest time loss was getting stuck in brambles (of which there seemed to be considerably more on the ground than on the map) on the way to 9 - perhaps a minute or so.

Ended up about halfway down the field, which was probably better than my run deserved. Eric Perrin (sometime French national team member in the BG era) won with 25. Alain Berger started 12 minutes behind me and given the run I was having I expected him to go through me, but I saw him running in the opposite direction when going through 10. This appeared to be an extremely creative route choice and so it proved, leaving him 6 minutes off the pace (he's also carrying an injury).

In a lot of ways this was very much like the more open Australian granite areas - the rock combined with occasional areas of brambles reminded me of Tharwa Tor, although the slabbiness of the rock was perhaps a bit more WA-like. Control placements tended not to use the full complexity of the rock, though. One feature we don't have in Australia is stone walls, some of which were pretty nasty to get across because they had (generally rickety) barbed wire fences on one or both sides.

(Another feature we don't have in Australia is the defunct bullring next to the arena. I get the impression that bullfighting as a sport is very much in decline, but it still exists because later in the day I saw posters advertising a fight in a couple of weeks).

One bit of good news is that the hamstring got through its first terrain test with only slight twinges.

Friday Feb 24 #

7 AM

Run 40:00 [3] 7.0 km (5:43 / km)

Still feeling a bit croaky this morning (and sleep somewhat interrupted by the loudly-singing, presumably drunk people spilling out of a nearby nightclub at its 5am closure). Didn't have high expectations for this one and set out along the lakefront and hoped for the best. It actually didn't work out too badly; settled by around 3k and moving reasonably for the rest of it. Only minor hamstring issues.

The hills around had a nice-looking cover of new snow down to 800 metres or so (especially on the Jura side), but Geneva stayed essentially dry. There's expected to be a more substantial round of moisture Tuesday/Wednesday next week (probably too warm for snow in Geneva, but should give a good top-up for the mountains).

This brings the Geneva part of the trip to its end, apart from passing through Sunday night/Monday morning. Off to Portugal this evening for Portugal O-Meeting, and looking forward to it - the terrain looks interesting without being excessively physical (which at my current level of fitness is a good thing). A good international field in the elite races as you'd expect.

8 PM

Note

Got into Porto on time and had the first bag off the plane (I think this is the first time that's happened to me), but then had a 40-minute wait to pick up the car so didn't get out of Porto until after 8, with a couple of hours of driving ahead of me. Given this I thought I'd get something to eat at one of the motorway service areas. I've previously had a decent bacalhau at such an establishment in this part of the world, but no such luck this time as the only thing on offer was lukewarm, dried-out fried fish and equally lukewarm rice. I think this qualifies as just about the worst meal I've had anywhere on the face of the planet - about the only positive that can be said for it is that at least it didn't make me sick.

I'd picked Fatima as my overnight stop, on the basis that it was next to the motorway and, as a massive destination for pilgrimages, was likely to have the sort of hotels that wouldn't be too perturbed by someone turning up to check in at 10.30 (and, as an added bonus, because it's totally out of season said hotels are pretty cheap). I didn't really spend any longer in the place than was required to change clothes, sleep and change clothes again, so didn't see any of it. No doubt Catholic kitsch is on sale in industrial-sized quantities.

Thursday Feb 23 #

8 AM

Swimming 22:00 [2] 0.6 km (36:40 / km)

Feeling a bit better this morning. Headed to the pool, to discover that the increase in traffic which has been evident on Geneva's streets this week also applies in the water, and that I'd run into a similar crowd to the one I've come to know and love elsewhere here. Wasn't swimming that smoothly either. This session was eventually put out of its misery when the lane I was in was taken over for a squad session on the stroke of 8, and I couldn't be bothered starting again in another lane which was even more populated.

Got my (reasonably) final text off today; just have a few images to finalise. Also had some local climate extremes to admire both locally and in the (relatively) near distance - the near distance coming with the storm in the UK, the local bit coming when it reached 19.3 in Geneva, the highest February temperature since 1903 (and I suspect the 1903 site, which would presumably have been in the town, would have been a warmer one than the higher and less built-up airport).

Speaking of big storms, I really wish that the European meteorological services would get their act together in the naming department. I've seen the same storm bestowed with four different names by different countries, although this one so far only seems to have two. It makes life difficult when you're writing reports for an international audience, although writing up 2017 storms will probably, but not definitely, be someone else's problem. (The Asians have an agreement to take it in turns to name typhoons in their region, and I think such a system could work in Europe too).

Wednesday Feb 22 #

7 AM

Run 1:00:00 [3] 10.2 km (5:53 / km)

Took a turn for the worse overnight and was in two minds about going out. The first few minutes didn't do a lot to encourage me but I was sufficiently bloody-minded to press on, and it gradually got a bit more reasonable, although never remotely close to good. Got out to one of my traditional Geneva running haunts, crossing the Arve at the power station before heading back through the higher suburbs, and had enough enthusiasm to do various bits of convolution through the old town to get it up to the intended hour (not sure the GPS was giving me full value on this bit). A few hamstring twinges today, not enough to get in the way of running, but not the best day sitting so will need watching.

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