Maxed out

How time flies when you’re having fun. And likewise, it drags when you’re not. And in between is where most of the rest of life happens.

It’s been a busy few weeks between work and home life. Odi the wonder greyhound continues to win our hearts with his suave nonchalance, incredible turn of pace in the dog park (where he is officially the fastest hound in the land), and his uncanny ability to fall asleep and slide off the couch, and still not wake up.

It’s a greyhound thing.

canal.JPG
A morning run along the Royal Canal. This is taken looking east from the Confey slip.

Training has continued, though for reasons I won’t bore you with, gym work was temporarily suspended due to lack of access to the gym… oh, there ya go… promised I wouldn’t bore you…

Running, on the other hand, was not an issue, though the occasional fire call did cut a few runs short, and turn a long, slow run into speed work.

The programme I am on is similar to most long distance ones: three weeks of gradual increase, with a fourth week of consolidation, then off again with more running. I am trying to get 5 runs in a week. Last week’s long run peaked at 20 miles, though that was 5 shy of the actual total on the programme. That then gets backed up the following day with another reasonable run. In this instance, about 8.5 miles, the idea being to get used to running on tired legs.

I don’t know about getting used to the idea, but you are undeniably running on tired legs, that much I can assure you.

tower
The tower at Carton House, near Maynooth.

Given crew shortages, it’s been hard to escape the gravitational pull of the station, so most runs (all of which start at my front door) inevitably take in the local park. That’s no bad thing really, as it is a great place to run (even if I know all the paths by now).

stitchwort

The flowers above are Greater Stitchworts and are perhaps my favourite Irish wildflower, though in fairness, that’s a seasonal preference, offering, as they do, the promise of Summer.

bluebell

The other flowers that are appearing in large numbers are the Bluebells, and they are very photogenic.

In other, fitness-related news, the fire service have offered all their staff a free fitness analysis and tailored programme. So a few days ago, we were all individually assessed for mobility, flexibility and other general ‘bendiness’ abilities. This, in my case, picked up a slight weakness in the hips, and tightness in the right shoulder (which I think is injury-related), but showed good range in terms of squats and hamstrings.

Then it was on to the V02 max machine. If you are not familiar with this test, check out this link. It does say to refrain from exercise or training 24 hours prior to the test, but I missed the memo, as I had done 45 tough minutes of hill work on the treadmill the night before, because it was lashing rain outside. Oh well, never mind.

I scored a 54.5, which I gather is good. I had to revert to Dr. Google to check. I gather for my age group, a score of 41 to about 45 is ‘excellent’, and over 45 is ‘superior’. So that’s nice to think that at 51 I am still fit. Indeed, I think it was the highest score out of the two stations tested that night, which again, is commendable for an old fart.

They will send us a fitness programme, and then re-test us in a couple of months, to see if there is any improvement.

As I type, I am just back from the latest long run which was 22 miles. Storm Hannah had paid us a visit, and whilst the guts of it had done their damage overnight, and especially in the south-west, the remnants had as much whip as Odi’s tail. It made for an invigorating jog…

And so, there is no Holly anymore to disparage my efforts. That flame has passed to Odi. I sense he has just been given this news, judging by his reaction…

odi-max.jpg

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