Wednesday, 27 March 2013

When will it end?

Evening all! Movescount is back online so I'm back in business, although unfortunately I've got a poor week's trading to report:

Distance (miles)
Time (hh:mm)
Energy (kcals)
Since last post (18 Mar 2013) 13.1 03:36 2649
Since records began (27 Dec 2012) 262.3 73:36 46858

The figures are actually correct for the week to Monday, as I haven't done anything since then. Everything was going fine until Friday, but I was brought down by the dreaded lurgy over the weekend and didn't leave the house between coming back from the supermarket on Saturday lunchtime and taking Mrs W to the airport this evening.

The Czech equivalent of Lemsip has finally started having an effect and I've been feeling much better as today has worn on, so I'll probably go back to work tomorrow. I'm pretty keen to get out walking again immediately, but should I let sense prevail and give myself an extra day or two to get back to full fitness? [A dilemma which I put to all you seasoned walkers!] 

It's still winter here, and seemingly everywhere, and it doesn't show signs of improving much until the second week of April. I've never known anything like it. What I've seen from back home is unbelievable: my dad shared a few pictures and I must admit I did glance at the calendar to check it wasn't April 1 already.

Cronk y Voddy. Photo by Andrea Lace.
Dalby from Facebook Page 'Snow Storms - Isle of Man'
I really feel for the farmers who've lost livestock, but it's great to see how many people have rallied round to help. I saw that Manx folk band Barrule have offered up a track from their debut album (aptly 'The Sheep Under The Snow': the lyrics are eerily poignant) in exchange for a donation to the IOM Agricultural Benevolent Trust. Done!  It's a great track, too: you've got yourselves a new fan, lads! Please, give whatever you can afford: for more information click here.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Easter break!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Normal service will be resumed...

Current message when trying to upload data from watch
Sorry folks: looks like I'll have to write my blog tomorrow. It wouldn't be the same without stats! :)

Monday, 18 March 2013

The winter of our discontent?

Evening all! You know the drill by now... stats first:

Distance (miles)
Time (hh:mm)
Energy (kcals)
Since last post (11 Mar 2013) 27.6 07:24 4228
Since records began (27 Dec 2012) 249.3 70:00 44209

We've been plunged back into winter. It was freezing all last week, there was a little more snow this evening, and more is forecast for tomorrow. Fortunately there hasn't been much snow (no need to send in the tanks), but it has kept my walks relatively short.

Mrs W has been out of commission with a chest infection since Friday, so I stayed close to home over the weekend. On Saturday part of my route took me through two very large cemeteries (here). We've walked through the larger of the two before, but never the smaller one opposite. I was interested to find within it the Prague War Cemetery, built by the post-war Czechoslovak government according to plans provided by the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission).

Memorial stone at the entrance to Prague War Cemetery

Graves in the Prague War Cemetery

Central Cross in Prague War Cemetery
I also found a Soviet War Cemetery adjacent. As you might expect it's a little more austere than the Commonwealth cemetery, and there are a staggering number of graves.

Central Memorial in the Soviet War Cemetery
Wider view of Soviet War Cemetery
It's even more sobering when you consider that the graves here represent only a small proportion of those who died liberating Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation: it's estimated that up to 144,000 Soviet troops lost their lives.

The cold weather is set to continue for yet another week, but I intend to keep on keeping on.

Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Monday, 11 March 2013

The 2013 Prague End to End IKEA Parish Walk

Evening all! Another reasonable showing this week:

Distance (miles)
Time (hh:mm)
Energy (kcals)
Since last post (4 Mar 2013) 35.6 09:40 5689
Since records began (27 Dec 2012) 221.7 62:36 39981

Mrs W and I successfully completed a walk from one end of Prague's longest underground line to the other (hence 'End to End'). Why 'IKEA Parish Walk'? Well, there's one IKEA at either side of the city very close to each end of the underground, although I grudgingly gave in to my better half and didn't take us half a mile out of our way to touch the doors of each 'church' (or to sample their horsemeat-tainted products... although I suppose a bit of horse is better than the zero meat beef pies found in Iceland).

On our 'End to End' we covered 16.3 miles in 4h24m. Here's a route map:

Yellow line is our route, light blue line is the city boundary
Evidently the training is paying off: my legs were a bit stiff the next day, but otherwise no ill effects. Mrs W, with rather less miles under her belt, had a few blisters by the end. Still, it gave us both some confidence that, even if the Parish Walk were tomorrow, we should at least be able to make it to the first natural stopping point at Rushen (19 miles)... but (to mangle Chris Tarrant's catchphrase) we don't want to settle for that!

The weather in the last week has been great: relatively warm with plenty of clear blue skies. It certainly wasn't difficult to get out each day. After seeing snowdrops in the park I thought Spring was definitely on the way.
Spring is here... or is it? Snowdrops in Vitkov Park on Saturday.
Unfortunately I jinxed it: there was a dusting of snow overnight last night, and now we're set for at least another week of sub-zero temperatures. Oh well... after more-or-less two months of face-numbing coldness I don't think another week of it will kill me!

Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Back in black

Evening all! After last week's washout I've got some better figures to report this week:

Distance (miles)
Time (hh:mm)
Energy (kcals)
Since last post (25 Feb 2013) 30.2 08:11 5103
Since records began (27 Dec 2012) 186.1 52:56 34292

I put in 5.2 miles on the way home from work this evening to pass the psychologically important 30 mile marker for the week. Unfortunately I made it hard for myself by leaving my trainers at home this morning: five miles doesn't sound that far, but in my office shoes it felt like a marathon! If I'd had more sense I would have walked directly home, changed to my trainers and gone back out. Still, beating my previous best was worth it!

I had hoped to go further over the weekend. The weather is much milder in the city now and the snow has all but vanished, so we thought a walk in the countryside might go down well. We headed out to Konopiště: the home of Archie Duke before he shot an ostrich when he got hungry, precipitating the First World War. [I always think of Blackadder when we go there!] It's a beautiful spot for a walk, but the temperatures had stayed a bit lower, so there was still a lot of snow on the ground and much of the lake was frozen over.

Konopiště château, with frozen lake in the foreground
Some of the paved paths around the estate had been cleared, but the unpaved paths through the woodland and around the lake were icy, so it was rather tough going. We completed one circuit relatively comfortably (albeit slowly), but decided against a second lap.

Stepping up a gear

January and February have come and gone, so it's time to check progress against my plan again. I'm now over a third of the way between day zero and race day. Aside from last week, I think I've stuck fairly closely to the plan: building up regular mileage, and putting in a couple of longer walks during the month.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I can stick to my original target for March of at least one longer walk a week, and that I can start steadily building the distance of those longer walks. One idea for next weekend is to cross the city from one end of the longest metro line to the other: about 15 miles. So far, I've found that keeping variety in the longer routes has helped keep me interested and motivated.

My aim for the shorter walks during March is to inject a bit more pace. It wasn't considered in my original plan but, per the comments on a recent post, I'm also going to start building other exercises and sports into my schedule.

Thanks for reading and have a good week!

P.S. From the Parish Walk Facebook page I see that congratulations are in order to regular contributor Michael George for his win in the Ascot Hotel 20km Walk on Saturday. What a pace!