Saturday, 1 August 2015

A busy July

A lot can happen in a month! July has been busy. I've managed to squeeze in a trip home to Scotland, a 10 day training camp, a quick trip to Reading and 5 days of working at the Norway Cup in Oslo. Unfortunately I've been so busy I've not been able to keep on top of my blogging. The whole blogging once a week aim has gone completely out the window and now I'll just have to update when I get a chance. However my lack of regular updating does mean you get this whopper. Perhaps the longest blog I've ever written. Enjoy.
After 2 weeks of being at home and getting some quality training in I joined the rest of the British team for an 11 day training camp. We had a week training at Huntly and 4 days in Glenmore, near Aviemore. A few days before the camp started I eased my training back a little so I was ready for the harder training on the camp. I had an easy classic rollerski with some speed work on the rollerski track at the ski centre. I managed to fall at the end of one of my sprints and hurt my wrist. I was sprinting in high speed to the finish line of my short sprint. Just beyond the finish a family, with 2 dogs and 3 kids wondering about all over the track, were coming towards me. They kept coming and didn't even attempt to move, so as soon as I finished my sprint I had to slam the breaks on. This was fine for the first 5m as it was dry, then I went under a tree where the tarmac was damp. My skis slid out to the side and I fell flat on my face. Having slid a few meters alone the ground I was now about 2m in front of the parents of this family. Not one of them said anything to me, not even so much as a look in my direction. They just carried on as normal. I had a few cuts but nothing serious. I kept skiing but after a while I started to notice my wrist hurting.
Having broken my scaphoid bone on my left side previously I was pretty wary that I may have done the same on my right side. Thankfully it settled down after a day or 2 and didn't hurt during training. But after double poling and gym work it ached. That continued for 2 weeks or so. So I did eventually go and get it X rayed. But it wasn't broken.
The first session of the camp was a sprint session. In a sprint session we simulate a sprint race. We have a prologue and then head to head heats. This time we had 2 prologues and then 2 reverse prologues. We took the average times from the first 2 prologues then for the reverse prologue the slowest time started first. Everybody else starts at their time deficit/how much they beat the slowest person by. This way everybody should come to the finish at the same time. For the reverse prologues we split into 2 groups so the track wasn't so crowded at the end of the race.
I won both of the prologues, the first was a bit better than the second. I didn't ski so technically well on the second and the times showed that. The last 2 races went ok, the times were faster than the prologues but I didn't quite manage to win. For the first reverse prologue the times were probably a bit off as me and Callum didn't get anywhere near the 3 junior guys that started 40 seconds in front. Callum stayed in front of me by half a meter after I'd made up 4 seconds to catch him. His tactic in the finish was to stay in the middle and block me as much as possible. Whilst we hadn't agreed any rules for the finish straight, I felt Callum was taking it a bit too far by skiing intentionally in the middle. Our skis did actually hit a couple of times. The second heat went better, my self and Callum caught and past the juniors, and once again I was blocked in the finish straight. This tactic has been noted and I will get Callum back for this at some point. Nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry.
We also had a gymnastics session in Aberdeen with a gymnastics instructor. It's a great way of training strength and doing something a bit different and learning something new. We had quite a good session. I was enjoying it until the end. What was perhaps the low light of the session for me but a clear high light for the rest of the team was me attempting to do a hand stand. This resulted in me falling on my head. Everybody laughed.
During the summer camp we tend to have some long sessions to get in some good over distance hours. This year we had 2 long 5 hour sessions. The first was split into 2.30 double poling from Huntly to Portsoy with a few loops added on and 2.30 running along the coast from Portsoy towards Cullen. The weather was great a long the coast and I really enjoyed the session. You can see my gps date from the session here. I din't mange to keep up with James and Callum on the running and ran the last 45min on my own. It was also Duncan's 18th Birthday that day so we had a surprise bbq birthday party for him when we got back from the session. I say surprise but Duncan had found out about it. It was a great evening and Duncan's Mum had made fantastic food including cake!
The only problem was that it meant I had spent about 10 hours of the day outside. I suffer from pretty bad hay fever to the extent that I take antihistamine and nasal spray daily throughout the summer from May until October. Having been running through long grass and sitting outside in the evening I was starting to notice I wasn't feeling so great. I woke the next day coughing and sneezing and feeling tired. Unfortunately I had to take a rest day. It also ment I went over to Aviemore a day late so I missed 2 days of training with the others.
The second long session was a 5 hour run the Cairngorm Mountains. The mountains were a bit cloudy in the morning so we ran a loop of Loch Morlich to let it clear up before heading up into the mountains. We ran up to the Ryvoan Bothy before heading into Strath Nethy and up to Loch Avon. Then we headed up to the top of the Fiacal ridge and ran along the top off Coire an t-Sneachda, up to Ben Macdui, before running round Coire an Lochain back to the Cairngorm car park and down to Glenmore. In total it was 42k and roughly 1300m of climb. We all ran together in the start before the boys ran ahead as we started up Strath Nethy. Strath Nethy was one big bog. Having been a cold and wet summer the ground was saturated with the path sometimes disappearing into knee deep bog. James, who has grown up running in the alps, kept double checking with me that this path was actually a path shown on the map. A gentle reminder that although in the grand scheme of things the Cairngorms are quite small, they still pose a danger and aren't just a straight forward walk int the park. After about 10k we got to the top of Strath Nethy, a remote feeling and a realisation that we really are in the back of beyond. As we headed up to the Cairngorm plateau we met up with the coaching team, stopped, ate something and changed. It was windy on the top so we needed jackets and hats and buffs. Duncan headed down Cairngorm and myself, James and Callum headed for Ben Macdui. The length of the run and the pace was getting to me so I had to let the others run on a head. They waited for me at the top, before we ran down and headed for home. A long, but good day out. You can see the gps date here.

Apart from the long sessions we had the normal intervall sessions and strength work. We had an "easy" day where we headed out rock climbing with instructors from Glenmore lodge. It was meant to be easy, but my arms and calfs were burning by the end of the day and I was just as tired as if I'd been out training all day. It was fun, we learned new things and got to challenge ourselves in a new environment. The best part was that both our physio and performance manager from the institute of sport joined us. It was fun to see them in a different environment and challenging themselves just as much as we were. 

After the camp was over I had 2 days of training at home before I headed to Reading for my Uncles 40th wedding anniversary party. The weather was great and my cousin had organised a bbq. We had a great evening, and it seemed like everybody really enjoyed themselves. The day after we visited my great uncle from the other side of the family and had a look around the neighbourhood where my parents grew up. It was a brief but fun visit. 

And then I found my self in Oslo pushing camper vans out of the mud. My ski club, Bækkelagets Sports Klubb run a football tournament called Norway Cup. It is the biggest football tournament for Juniors, youths and children in the world and is the biggest money earner for the club. Everybody in the club has to help with volunteering, and this year I was helping out in the car park and as security for the evening concerts. After having spent 18 hours in a car park directing cars and selling parking tickets all I can confirm that people are morons. My confidence in humanity has plummeted and if everybody behaves like they do in a car park all the time then we as a race are doomed. I've pretty much given up all hope humanity ever achieving anything worth while again. I have never received so much abuse for anything as I have for trying to sell parking tickets and trying to direct cars into empty parking spots. 

Problem number 1: Ticket price had gone up 100% from 50kr to 100kr. It had been 50kr for 8 years, and if it was 70kr then we would have to work with coins and it would be complicated to sort change and slow going. So it was 100kr. Not my decision. Nothing to do with me, all I do is sell the tickets at the car park entrance. If you refuse to pay I am not going to let you in. Yes I think it is a lot to pay, but no you can't get a ticket for 50kr. Even if you stay 10min it is still 100kr. 

Problem Number 2: Everybody has an idea of where they want to park. So they will ignore instructions on where to park and go up a dead end which is full and then have to reverse out causing a traffic jam and then complain that there is no empty space. Well if they had listened to what I said or looked at where I pointed them they wouldn't bee in that situation. Everybody else caught in the traffic jam complains that there is a traffic jam and it is my fault for having caused the traffic jam because some moron didn't listen to what I said. 

Problem Number 3: All the empty spaces are near the exit but nobody wants to go round towards the exit because they are scared they won't find a space. They don't believe us that there are spaces there, or drive round there go "I can't find a space" despite there being 100 empty spaces and drive round the car park and complain to us that we had sent them to the wrong place. 

Problem Number 4: Everybody tries to sneak into a parking spot that isn't really there and block the one way system. They then get angry with us when we ask them to move. 

Problem Number 5: Mud. It rained a lot. It got extremely muddy and lots of cars got stuck. When we advised people not to drive somewhere because of the mud they wanted to go there anyway and got stuck causing a traffic jam. A numerous occasions I had to push cars out when 2, 3, 4 or even 5 people sat in the car. People refused to get out and help me push because of the mud which they had gotten themselves stuck in even though I'd told them not to drive there. Whilst I got covered in mud pushing them out, they sat in their nice warm, dry cars with leather seats. 

Problem Number 6: 4 wheel drive drivers. SUV drivers who refused to park in muddier places where there were empty spots that 2 wheel drive cars couldn't access. Instead they took up easier to get to spots and 2 wheel drive cars got stuck in the mud. 

Problem 7: camper vans. Who drives a camper van into a small and cramped parking spot? Just about everyone who has one it seems. They all got stuck in the mud. 

Problem 8: Pedestrians. In Norway Pedestrians have right of way over cars just about everywhere. They walk everywhere cause a traffic jam, I get shouted at by drivers who then get out of there car and walk everywhere causing more of traffic jam, meaning I get more people shouting at me. If we try to control the pedestrians and ask them to wait they get angry with us as they have "right of way" over cars. Loose loose situation. 

Problem 9: The Police. All the above problems cause traffic jams which back out onto the main road. Then the police come and start shouting at us to get the car park sorted out. 

Problem 10: To be fair this only happened once, but "there is no space to grill, can I have my money back?". One family turned up, drove around the car park, up and back out of every dead end and arm of the entire car park having driven past several empty spots. They came back to where I was standing, wound down the window and said "there is nowhere to grill(have a bbq), can I get my money back?". I didn't quite understand what they meant at first and it took me a while to get it. Eventually I sent them to talk to the person who sold them the parking ticket. I'd had enough of problems 1 though 9 to deal with. 

Working at the concerts was much easier but that meant I had to listen to an hour of Isac Elliot. The music was terrible and the only people watching where 15 year old girs who had waited there since 2am the night before. Their screams where worse than the music and they even started crying when came on stage! They threw there phones on the stage to try and get him to take a picture with their phones. I even caught some girls throwing condoms, yes condoms at him. The state of todays youth! 

Although I have had to deal with some complete idiots, listen to terrible music, be covered head to toe in mud, stand out the rain for 6 hours at a time and have abuse shouted at me, I have bizarrely really enjoyed the week. I got to work with some fun people and we were working together for the club to do something that will benefit us in the long term. So I'll be back to do it all again next year. 

I'm now back in Lillehammer for a few days before I head to a team Synnfjell training camp. Our camp starts tomorrow with a sprint session in Lillehammer before we head up to Gamlestølen in the Synnfjell region. We'll be up there until Friday next week where hopefully we will be able to do a solid training job in the peace and quite of the mountains. I looked at the weather forecast. It is meant to be as cold as 1 degree next week up at Gamlestølen. A sure sign that winter is coming. It is now only 3 and a half months to the start of the season in mid November so training has to be stepped up a notch as we move into a vital period of preparation for the winter ahead. 

Hopefully it won't be as long before my next update and hopefully I won't be as grumpy with humanity and life in general by then. Until then stay out of car parks and if you absolutely must go to a car park listen to what the parking attendant says and don't be a moron. Also if you drive a campervan, just don't anymore. Scrap it immediately. If I ever have to push another campervan I think I might go on a  rampage and burn every campervan in the world. 

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