Those who know me quite well, or have been reading my blogs on a regular basis, will know that I have a couple of warm weather training bases that I visit on occasion. Well that’s where I was last week, at the Spanish one. On my return there were a few surprises for me, mostly good ones but one not so good. So as I’ve got a lot to catch up on I’m going to delay my intended blog about supplements and instead I thought I’d just present a blog on what’s happened over the period, events and happenings that have had an impact on me, and probably for some of you.
Firstly let me tell you about Spain. Carole and I regularly visit the village of Ciudad Quesada. It has lots to offer, many restaurants, a golf course, English beer and is close to many good beach resorts, towns and walks. It’s also easy to get to by airport. For me, it also has a fantastic double figure of 8 training area, roads that have been laid out for housing, currently on hold. This is where I do the bulk of my speed endurance work and it works well for me, and it would be a great place to do group training.
When I was a mere youngster of 31 I was never interested in warm weather training, I figured it didn’t matter what the temperature was, if you were of a mind to train hard, you would, whatever the weather. Now I’m a little older I appreciate the difference of getting up at 07:00 in November and heading out for a training run in singlet and shorts, I was positively toasting in Spain but think I would have returned home a little cold in Northwich. I used hot weather training, to great effect, prior to the 2010 European Masters Championships, but this time it was just nice to get back into summer clothing to train in warm temperatures, and then enjoy an al fresco breakfast.
I had originally booked the trip as a tune up for the Masters International, but as I haven’t been selected, completely justifiable by the way, I just treated it as a treat and just enjoyed myself, whilst still training fast. We did also do quite a bit of walking during the afternoons. Being on holiday I was eating and drinking a little more than usual, but thanks to the training I got away with only adding 4lbs to my weight. Now I’m back home I can get back to twice a day training and my nutritional menu plan (see www.rogeralsop.co.uk/nutrition if you’re interested in finding out more about this), which will see me back to my normal weight pretty quickly). So the weather was great, between 22 and 27 degrees C, I was really relaxed and so was Carole. I also managed to get through The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I enjoyed and have the other two books to follow, but they’ll have to wait until my next holiday I’m too busy to read novels at the moment.
Whilst in Spain I did catch the local paper which had an article about a Father and Son world record for a combined time at the London Marathon. Of course that featured my Pennington Flash buddy Jeff Whittington and his son, Russell, with a picture of Jeff holding the certificate. Nice one Jeff, not only a star in Wigan but Internationally too.
I’m usually ready to come home but on this occasion we were having such a good time and I was completely relaxed, no internet or phone for me on holidays, I believe in focusing my resources on having a good time. And of course once I arrived home that was the switch for me to get straight back into training hard, unfortunately it didn’t quite have the same effect on Carole who thought I’d be better placed putting curtains up, making more furniture and working on the garden, thank goodness she’s back at work today so I can prioritise my training over all that tedious stuff, I should remind her I’m not the handy man, just the cook, cleaner, butler and of course personal trainer.
Upon landing at Manchester Airport I received some good news. I’d been thinking about it all morning, it was the day Lee Riley was attempting to break the Mile World Record, carrying a 40lb pack (current record, which Lee had equalled a few weeks earlier, was 5:35). After having trained with Lee for the previous two weeks I was aware how he had improved since that attempt and I was a bit miffed not to be pacing Lee on the day, but the training trip was booked before Lee told me about the world record attempt and there was no changing it, unless I wanted to become a single man again. When I switched on my phone, Lee had texted me to say he had run 5:16.9. He’d absolutely smashed the record, which didn’t surprise me as when I finished training with him he was on target for 5:18-5:20 and he still had a taper to come. What a fantastic effort though, I’m really proud of him and chuffed to have played a part in it. Lee rang me later and it was nice of him to say that the training I’d done with him made all the difference. It made me wonder how many more people I could help to achieve their best. When I got home there was footage of Lee’s race on the BBC local news and the following day there was a shorter version of it on the ITV local news. I look forward to hearing what Lee’s next World Record attempt will be. He’s a superstar and just knowing him keeps me driven to train harder myself, I’ll have to if I’m going to be quick enough to keep training with him. Incidentally there should be a video of the attempt, uploaded shortly onto youtube, currently there are just the ones about Lee’s marathon record. Maybe I should add TV celebrity to my list of clients! Send him to the Jungle I say, he’d be more interesting than most of the mob they’ve currently got in Australia.
On my arrival home I switched on my email and had a couple of interesting emails. The first was from Rich, who I’d spent 4 weeks running training with. He thanked me for setting him off on the right track and told me how well he was progressing on his way to next year’s Edinburgh marathon. Hopefully we’ll be catching up for some additional training in the new year. The second was from my long term client, Ray. Ray had told me he’d set another pb at Pennington Flash on 5 November, just missing out on a sub 22 min setting. I don’t remember it but I’d told him some months back that he would break 22 min at Pennington Flash at some point this year, he hadn’t believed me at the time. Then I logged onto the Pennington Flash results page to find that on 12 Nov he’d run 21:55. Well done Ray, but there’s plenty more to come, sub 21 before the end of May next year.
The next bit of great news was that my club, Herne Hill Harriers, had won the Surrey League cross country that afternoon, again by a considerable margin, I don’t think they need me anymore. Finally the sad news, I learnt of the passing of one of my Belgrave colleagues. John Davies, a star of the 1950s and 60s, who had bests of 1:52.8 for 880yards and 4:10.8 for the mile (both achieved on cinder tracks). John was one of the old regulars at Belgrave Hall on a Saturday afternoon and we often chatted as he came around with his collection box for the shower fee, I also spent many a London Marathon afternoon at his and Pam’s flat in Covent Garden, celebrating the achievements of various Belgravians taking part in that day’s event. I was a regular from 1993 until the early noughties, and it was there that we celebrated my Wife’s 2:56 and my own marathon debut in 2003. John was a character and he always had something positive to say to me, in fact it was John’s encouragement that kept me seeking that International vest long after I’d given up believing I had the potential and so it’s thanks to John that I have run for Britain, England, and Scotland, albeit as a geriatric. RIP John, another Belgravian who will be missed by many.
With that I must conclude. I’ve got some ideas what I want to do for the next 6 months, but need to start planning my life around them. I also need to hit my gym for my third session of today, no I’m not obsessed, just committed and it stops me from having to put up more curtains. It’s getting cold in my gym, but I’ve trained in my Edinburgh garage during mid winter and that’s no contest, plus It’ll be pretty warm after 5 minutes on the healthrider.