Weeks 3 & 4 of training for South Georgia (From Slouch Potato to Expedition Fit)

These two weeks have been a bit unfocussed and disorganised training wise.

Starting week 3, I had a meeting on Tues evening (which was very useful in a different way) but scuppered my plans for running. So I bit the bullet and tried running on my own. Heading up the steep slope from Duffield to the Chevin then across fields past Blackbrook, I end up covering nearly 10km in total, but it was very much walk plus run in parts. Run 5mins (or as much of as possible), then walk 5mins – but in reality it was roughly 2/3 walk to run. But more than I’ve done before, so I guess an improvement.

Walking on Wednesday afternoon, I felt very unfit going up the steep hill onto Derwent Edge with camera gear in a very strong wind – it was still the tail end of Hurricane Kayta buffeting our shores. Got some good photos on the way up, but my planned shot of one particular boulder in the flowering heather weren’t to be – a thick bank of cloud had rolled in from the west by the time I’d reached it, although got some good training in with a run back from Derwent Edge to the car after I stayed too long waiting for the sun to fail to return.

Thursday was circuits evening, but almost immediately after warm-up, the first exercise was the dreaded burpees – where you squat, then kind of throw your legs out behind you before jumping them back to a squat, then jumping up. Then repeat! But my legs had other ideas – on the first one, my left hamstring said “I don’t like this. And I’m going to howl at you to make sure you don’t repeat this insult to me again!” Some very cautious jogging and not really doing much of the exercises later, and it was just very quietly grumbling to itself, but that was a warning that exercise that you’re not used to needs to be added in with some degree of caution to avoid injury.

And then it was a couple of days of enforced rest as I head over to the Netherlands to drop some gear off at the boat before it sails, and get to meet some of the team – including Gudrun our guide (who seems very friendly, kind and competent) and Tino (whose fitness was scaring me before I met him, knowing that he does Ironman competitions!) But although Tino does seem to be extremely fit, he also seems a really nice person – and not someone who’ll be over-competitive for the sake of it.Which I hope is right, as he may well be on the same string (rope) as me on the traverse!

So I started week 4 worrying that the rest of the team were going to be far fitter and faster than me, but reassured that Gudrun doesn’t think I need to worry (but she hasn’t seen how slow I can be uphill!) And that I’d had a bit of a disrupted week of training the week before, which looks to be in serious danger of continuing this week as I fail to achieve anything on Monday (work most unreasonably got in the way!). Tuesday I manage an hour of badminton as a good form of cross-training, before discovering that I’m double booked again for a meeting in the evening. (Although a possible commision might have trumped both at the last minute!) So no running again 🙁

Feeling like I really need to get my act together training-wise now, so make a determined effort to catch up a bit with a photo-walk on Wednesday – a full bag of camera gear is a surprisingly good training weight! Head up a few hills on the edge of the Staffordshire Peak Dist and manage training for windy conditions too – I think it’s even windier today than last week’s tail end of Hurricane Katya as my tripod gets blown over on the top of High Wheeldon!

Manage Thursday’s circuits rather better this week, but it feels very tough – more outdoors running and all sorts of cardio exercises as well as the more expected weights and stretching exercises. What was rather unexpected though was to be dragged out on a 3km run straight after – a couple of the running group also do circuits and had decided to run as well! Evil, but it had to be done! (Although I did decline to run up the steep hill from the Bridge Inn 😉 – there is such a thing as overtraining!)

And to finish off the week we had a good weekend of walking – a 22km route around Derwent and Howden Edges on Sat followed by a shorter walk around Stanage and a path I’ve long intended to explore past Stanage Pole and Redmires reservoir, but never quite got to. But the feet are feeling rather blistered after this, and I’m glad it’s a shorter walk today. I think they need toughening up a bit – they’ve got soft with all the cycling they’ve been doing instead of walking over the last couple of years. The rain later today probably didn’t help with that – but CJs coffee shop provided a very welcoming hot lorne sausage when it  kicked in in earnest at Ringinglow – it’s a hard place to find if you don’t know about it, as it’s much more clearly signposted as a llama farm!