Tuesday, 10 June 2014


I went home to Scotland for a couple of weeks to spend some time with the family, go to a physio appointment with the Scottish Institute of Sports physio who supports the xc ski team, and of course take part in the Ming Midsummer Endurance event.
The first week I was at home I trained quite a bit. After being ill I wanted to get two solid weeks of training done before I got into the rhythm of my summer training, doing easy, medium and then hard weeks. It worked out well and I was starting to feel a bit better when I was training. I rounded off the week with a 4 hour, 68k classic roller ski. For those of you who know the area, I started in Huntly, went out the Dufftown road, through glass to the Cabrach. Over the Cabrach to Rhynie. Then down the main road to Gartly, before going over the hill road to Drumblade. And in the Banff road back to Huntly. I felt pretty good but I was struggling by the time I got to Rhynie, and thankfully the corner shop was open and I could get a quick bite to eat and fill up my drinks belt.
My second week at home was much easier. I didn't train much and spent time with the family. We went biking together as my parents are planning on doing the Ride The North cycle from Inverness to Aberdeen. I ran up Ben Venue with my sister, and got caught out in one the many peat bogs. On the surface it didn't look as deep as it was. But I quickly found out that it went up to my thigh.
Between all this I managed to squeeze in a trip to Glasgow to see Kelly who is the physio that supports us throughout the year. I've had problems with my lower legs when I run. I've had them on and off for quite a number of years and sometimes it creeps into hurting when I'm skiing as well. So we were looking at that and looking at what the underlying cause is. Hopefully it is on the mend and I can get on with training how I need to.
I also had a trip to the sports science lab in Stirling to do a Vo2 max test. The night before I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Lenzie. They took me out to an all you can eat Indian buffet. I quite like indian food and the lack of it in Norway has made me come to enjoy it even more on the rare occasions i get to eat some. However I perhaps over ate at the buffet, or at least I ate a lot! I don't really recommend it the night before a Vo2 max test. And I probably won't do it again.
Unfortunately the machine that reads the air I breath and exhale during the Vo2 max test was broken. So I didn't get to do it. I did a level 3 lactate test instead.
At the end of my second week at home I did the annual Ming the Merciless midsummer madness endurance duathlon event.... I'm not 100% sure on what the actual title is but I covered all possibilities there. The event is put on by volunteers as a fundraiser for BNDS, the organisation that runs the British Nordic Ski Team on behalf of BSS the governing body. The event consists of a 14 mile (22km) run on small roads, through fields and on forest tracks, before a transition and a 30mile (50km) road bike.
I felt ok on the run and got into a good rhythm at the front with a guy from a running club in Aberdeen. On the first real uphill I started to pull away, before we regrouped on the following long flat section. On the second long uphill section he pulled away from me and I couldn't keep up. By the end of the out and back section to the top of the course (the top of muckle black hill)  he had gained about 30 seconds on me. On the way back down I took a gel and had a good drink as the weather was so warm. I got the the bottom of the out and back section to be told by someone that I was in the lead as the leader had gone the wrong way, back where he had come from and not onto the rest of the loop. I kept going the correct way thinking he would quickly realise and catch me up again. But he never did.
It turns out that a whole bunch of people including the guy from Aberdeen had run the wrong way for several miles. They missed a turning on a fast decent. It was sign posted with 2 different signposts, and quite clear. But then I have run the loop several times and new exactly where I was going. I made it back to the start in 1:34. My record is 1.28, and the course record is about 1.24 or something like that. I felt ok but It's clear my form is not as good as it has been at this time of year in the past. I spent about 4 or 5min in transition, eating, drinking and changing into bike gear.
My bike training for the last 30months consists of 1.30 on the veledrome last year and 2hours with my mum the week before Ming. So my bike legs were far from ideal. I took it fairly easy on the way out into the head wind. But on the way back i started to push the pace a little bit, but in all honestly i didn't really have any energy to push the pace. At the finish there is always a fantastic array of cakes and home bakes. They are the best thing about ming. I proceeded to stuff my face with cakes... My diet starts tomorrow.
For the first time I got to lift the Ming trophy. It was much heavier than I expected but it was quite an honour. The trophy is a spray painted burnt out strimmer. There are 6 miles of running through grass fields. And one year while out strimming the route Rick's strimmer caught fire. He ran home to get a bucket of water to put it out... and so the ming trophy was born.
Ming is probably the biggest fundraising event for BNDS, and HUGE thanks has to go to everybody involved in the event. From the organisers, to the people who set the course, to the marshals (who hand out jelly babies), to the time keepers, and most importantly the people who bake the cakes!
The evening after Ming there is always a Celidh as well. I was quite tired after the event but i still managed to get up and shake a few moves ;).
On sunday I came back to Norway. I'm here in Lillehammer until tomorrow morning when I go on a training camp with my norwegian club. We are going to Skjolden on the west side of the sognefjellet mountain pass. The plan is to have one session a day dry land training down in Skjolden and one session snow skiing on the mountain at sognefjellet. Right after that camp is finished I'll go up to sognefjellet for 5 days with the British team with 2 sessions a day on snow.
The weather in Norway has been extremely hot. Yesterday I rollerskied for few hours before i headed to the gym in the afternoon. Today I ran with Thomas, my house mate, for a couple of hours. Living in the north sea region it is not often you get to train in just shorts and without a top. If it is warm enough often I start with a t shirt before I get to hot, or at least take a top with me for if it starts to rain. But today when i headed out to the garage to pick up my running shoes I realised there was no point. The thermometer was showing 20 degrees at 8am and by the time we started running at 9.30 it was already in the high 20's. Stupidly I didn't check the UV forecast until I got home, and now I have a sunburnt back. The UV forecast here for Lillehammer is severe at the moment. It is only recommended to spend 30min outside at a time. At sognefjell it is extreme with the recommended time being 5 to 15min outside and avoid outdoors between 12 and 3pm. I've made sure I've packed sun block and a lot of it.
This afternoon it was just way to hot to sit outside, but by this evening it was ok to eat outside again. I spent the afternoon getting skis ready for sognefjell. In a wooden garage, sweating like mad... it felt more like trying to sort my skis out in a sauna. Normally I wax in there with a big down jacket on it's so cold.
I have to say it is quite enjoyable to get a proper summer. It's not often it happens to me, so hopefully the nice weather will continue and I will remember to use sun block as long as it does.

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