31 Jan 2010

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

I had been thinking that it was time for a change. Running laps at the Fornaca has become unbearable. I do not understand how people can train on treadmills day after day. I suppose it is no worse than the rowing machines I have had to train on in the past. I have not been running on the mountain because it is too dark to properly see the road by six o'clock, much too soon after work to get in a proper workout.
I had been thinking that perhaps running down to the sea would solve my dilemma. The light should last longer out in the open away from the shadows of the trees that are part of the problem of running on the mountain. Once it was dark possibly there the street lights from the adjacent N-II roadway would light the way. In fact it tuned out that almost the whole way of the Passeig Maritm is lit by the street lights of the N-II or from lights along the path itself.
I had also been worried that I would be running by myself along the Passeig Maritim, however, even in the dark the passeig is a busy place. There were plenty of other runners, strollers, couples even single women and cyclists. There are lots of fishermen spaced along the beach.
So after work I set off down to Premia de Mar and then on to the el Masnou-Mongat line. I did not time my normal section of beach. Before going off I was frustrated by the minimal amount of running that I had managed to get in the previous week. My rythm was off and felt almost awkward.
There were a few places along the passeig where the lighting is very poor but none of the spots are more than 20 paces or so. Tired at the end but not too sore.

Monday, 11 December 2010

We were away during the weekend and I was unable to run but we did walk for miles in the mountains of the Montseny. This evening I was at it again running more laps in the dark at the Fornaca. After about ten laps I headed home--boring, boring, boring and cold.

Friday, 8 January 2010

There would be days like this. I knew it when I started training for the marathon. Boredom hits while running aimlessly in the dark thinking of how warm it would be to sit in my favourite chair at home with a glass of wine and a good book. Instead after work I found myself running laps at the Fornaca. Cold and boring it was. I ran for about an hour doing about 20 laps--I lost count. It was nice to get home.

26 Jan 2010

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

I had put off running until today and was glad that I had done so. The weather on Tuesday was miserable, very windy and wet. Today was a much more pleasant day. Just before noon I set off down to Premia de Mar. It was a sunny day and as I neared the sea the temperature grew warmer. Oddly I was nervous before today's run as if I was about to run or row a race. Running into a headwind I timed myself from Premia station to the el Masnou-Mongat line 28 minutes 5 seconds. It would have been faster if I had not had to stop to tie a shoe lace. I felt strong and comfortable during the effort. After the piece I ran on to the railway tunnel beyond the Mongat Nord train station. I was tired after the run but I seem to be getting fitter as I did not feel as weary as after some of my runs of a month earlier.

Monday, 4 January 2010

We were to have our first row of the year this evening. The weather was not very encouraging, it had threatened to rain all day. I set off running down to the Club Nautic not sure what to expect. It is a twenty minute jog down to the club, a good warm up. There were five of us who showed up. As we waited to see who else would show it of course started to rain. Unlike other crews that I have been part of this one does not row in the rain. In any case it would have been a heavy row with only five of us. So we retired to a local bar for a beer. 

24 Jan 2010

Saturday, 2 January 2010

It has been more than two weeks since I had last run on the mountain and today seemed like a good day to go back. I thought that it would be worthwhile to run on the varied terrain. There is an element of Fartlek training running up and then down hill. The steep slopes are good for building and maintaining muscular strength. Mentally, I find running on the mountain much easier than on the beach.
Around three o'clock I set off from Vilassar de Dalt. I took what I call the back way up via the Turo d'en Cases. The route covers some very steep roads and trails. It is a route that I have often done with the dog. Much of this first part of the route is so steep that I walk most of the way to Turo d'en Cases. Near the turo there is a lookout with a fine view of the Maresme coast. While looking out over the sea I do some stretching.
From Turo d'en Cases it is only a few minutes to la Font de Sant Mateu where again I take a short break and stretch again.
The weather today was overcast and cool. I ran in a long sleeve shirt over a t-shirt but had a heavy cotton pullover with hood tied round my waist. I ran in trousers. I was not looking for speed and I wanted to make sure that I stayed warm so at Sant Mateu I put on the pullover.
From la Font de Sant Mateu I headed down to Can Boquet, then up hill to la Roca d'en Toni pushing on to la Coll de la Gironella without stopping. I felt quite comfortable and relaxed running. At la Coll de la Gironella I stretched before heading back. Back to Can Boquet, then down the Cabrils road to finish at Can Rafart and Riera de Targa.
My legs felt tired but I was not hurting like I had on other occasions on this long downhill. I was out about an hour and 55 minutes.

20 Jan 2010

Thursday, 31 December 2009

The last day of the year and I can still run in a t-shirt along the beach. It was a long run of more than one hundred minutes. I had my usual warm up running down hill from Vilassar de Dalt to Premia de Mar. At the sea I had to shed a long sleeve shirt and tie it round my waist. Again I had the pack horse look with back pack and shirt hanging off me. The sun provided some warmth even running into the wind. The wind was strong enough to slow me down especially on the more open sections of the Passeig Maritim. My time from Premia station to the el Masnou-Mongat line was 30 minutes 25 seconds and it felt good, not really pushing it.
Instead of stopping at the line I went on for another 10 minutes, past the rail station at Mongat Nord and almost to the mouth of the railway tunnel that is beyond the station. There I stretched a bit before returning to the el Masnou-Mongat line where I again timed the distance to Premia station. I covered the distance in 29 minutes 5 seconds. The wind helped on the return but I cannot say that I really pushed it.
I was tired at the end but not falling down weary. I had no real aches and the groin area caused me no bother. I wondered several times how much the back pack affects my speed and stride. Again I waited for the bus to take me back up to Vilassar. I just cannot face running, or even walking, the three kilometres back up to home.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Late on Saturday afternoon I felt a bit odd, not well at all. I felt weak, I had some minor gastrointestinal trouble and felt feverish. On Sunday morning I felt worse and hardly got out of bed. At one point I timed my resting heart rate at over 70 bpm. My usual resting heart rate is around 46 or 47 bpm. Obviously something was wrong. Monday morning I felt better and I took the rest of the day easy although I did walk the dog in the mountain for a total of about three hours. This morning I seemed to have recovered from whatever it was that had hit me. Perhaps I should have dressed more warmly on Saturday.
This morning I took the dog out in the mountain for an hour and a half and had no trouble. I decided to try running and so around one o’clock I set out down the road to the sea. Fortunately, the temperatures had risen during the last few days. The ache and soreness of the groin muscles that had bothered me during the last week was gone. My energy level as expected was low but not as bad as I had expected.
The warm up down to Premia went well but I kept expecting to suddenly fade. The run along the Passeig Maritim went well. Running into a headwind I managed 31 minutes 10 seconds over my usual timed distance. The wind died by the time I turned back and timed myself at 29 minutes and 35 seconds on the return. At the end although I was tired I was not weary. Glad to have recovered and not lost much ground in the training.
Late in the day, using the internet, I registered and paid for my entry in the Barcelona Marathon.

12 Jan 2010

Saturday, 26 December 2009

This morning’s run was disappointing. I had expected a good run despite the cool conditions and had dressed, I thought, accordingly. I had gone up to the terrace to get a feel for the weather. So there I was set to go and I stepped out into the street and it was raining. I should have gone back up and put on an extra layer but I did not. The run down hill to the beach at Premia did not bode well. My groin muscles were as sore as ever. Reasoning that the down hill made my stride longer and that I would be more comfortable once I reached the level ground along the Passaieg Maritime I persisted.
As I got closer to the sea the rain lightened and eventually stopped. From Premia I set out on my usual route toward el Masnou. I was not trying for any speed but to simply get some mileage. The water in the riera that had flooded on Thursday had gone down and I was able to run on to my turn around at the el Masnou-Mongat line—time from Premia Station 31’15’’. I did not bother to time the return since I was going into a headwind. I now suffered for not having put on an extra layer. Of course I had some extra clothing in my knap-sack but I was too stupid to take the time to put it on. The return to Premia was slow and sluggish. By the end I had had it; tired cold and wet. The groin muscles were stiffer and sorer than ever. Total time about an hour and a half

10 Jan 2010

Thursday, 24 December 2009

After three days off I finally got in a run. I had hoped to run on Wednesday but a number of things got in the way. It was also raining hard for most of the Wednesday. When I set off today I was hoping for a good run but was to be sorely disappointed. I felt very stiff especially in the groin area, obviously still feeling the effects of Sunday’s run. My stride felt short and jumpy and I was unable to comfortably stretch out to a longer stride. The pain brought to mind when I used to cross-country ski. (It has been many years since I have skied.) How ever much I trained at other sports prior to the cross-country ski season the groin muscles were always very sore in the first week of the season. There are muscles used for cross country skiing that get little use when running. Running with a short stride is obviously different than running with a longer stride. Last Sunday’s run when I was able to get some good speed caused some of those muscles to come into play.
Today’s run was down to the sea and then along the Passieg Maritim. I was unable to go the el Masnou-Mongat line because of flooding at one of the rieras. The mountains along the coast are drained by watercourses, known as rieras, that are dry for most of the year. When it rains hard the rieras quickly flood. Of course the rieras have to then cross the beach to reach the sea. At the beach some of the larger rieras form pools that may take a while to drain. One of these pools that is not bridged over had not drained. After turning back I ran on to Premia Club Nautic before doubling back to the bus stop. It was an hour and a half run in rainy conditions. There were very few people out on the Passeig Maritim.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

This afternoon’s run was down to Premia de Mar and then along the sea. Up here in Vilassar de Dalt it was a cold but sunny day but I was perplexed about what to wear as I expected it to be warmer by the sea. Finally, I decided on shorts, a t-shirt and two long sleeve shirts. As insurance I stuffed into my back pack a pair of trousers, another long sleeve and my down ski jacket. When I got to the sea I found it to be much warmer than up in Vilassar de Dalt. I took one of my long sleeves off and tied it around my waist. I must have looked like a bit of a packhorse with all that I was carrying.
The wind was quite strong out from the south-east, it was strong enough to have an effect on my speed. After the 20 minute run down from Vilassar I was well warmed up and felt pretty good as I set out along the Passeig Maritim. I felt much stronger than the last time I had run this route. I timed myself from the Premia rail station to the el Masnou-Mongat line at exactly 30 minutes against the wind. I ran on a bit further and did some stretching and jogged back to the line. The time on the way back with the tailwind was 28 minutes and 15 seconds.
By the end of the second timed piece I was feeling the effects of the increased speed and the longer stride. The muscles in the groin were sore and achy. I had hoped that with all the downhill running it would have looked after this problem. After the second piece I ran on to the Premia Club Nautic and then back to the rail station. The total run was an hour and 45 minutes including stops for stretching.
It is easier and more comfortable to run in shorts than in trousers. The back pack was likely detrimental but it is a necessary evil. I was warm running along the sea but by the time I finished my workout around quarter after four it was getting colder rapidly. I had a twenty minute wait for the bus back to Vilassar. I was pleased with myself for having taken the ski jacket and the extra shirt. I would have been frozen without them.

5 Jan 2010

Friday, 18 December 2009

I did my regular Friday afternoon run up on the mountain. The run was over the same route as on the previous Friday (December 11). This run was somewhat disappointing because even after two days off I ran sluggishly and felt tired. Despite the physical weariness I did the run in 121 minutes and 50 seconds compared with 125 minutes the previous week. The lower time was due to taking shorter breaks at la d’en Toni, Coll de la Gironella and at Sant Mateu. Perhaps the real measure of just how sluggish I felt was my time from Coll de la Gironella to la Font de Sant Mateu, this week timed in 37 minutes and 15 seconds, over two minutes slower than the previous week.
A few comments are necessary regarding this run. First, it was much colder this week. I ran in long pants, which always seems to slow me down, a t-shirt and two long sleeve cotton shirts. Although it was a sunny day it was quite cool in the shaded parts of my route. Without the layers I would have been very cold running into the wind. It was down right cold in the shade and north facing slope at the font de Sant Mateu. Again as I am running some relatively isolated areas I feel that I should run with some extra clothing in case of a twisted ankle. I did not carry water with me today but perhaps I should have. After Can Boquet and the long up hill toward Sant Mateu I felt very weary. The long down hill from Sant Mateu to Can Rafart was very hard on the thighs. Today I weighed in at 71.3 kgs.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The last thing I wanted to do this evening after work was to run in the dark. I felt tired and had little motivation for the effort. In the end I did manage a decent effort and a good run. I ran laps at the Fornaca. It was a cold and windy night. There had been some very strong winds during the last few days. After about five laps I was fairly well warmed up and was able to keep a good pace. Around the 18th lap I started to fatigue and perhaps I slowed a bit. The ground at la Fornaca is hard packed earth, a good running surface, but there are a few hollows and dips. The lighting in the area is low and produces multiple shadows and it is sometimes difficult to judge the surface.
At about the 15th lap I started to notice the cold more and more. The wind had picked up. Running against the wind was very cold. I finished 23 laps in hour and 22 minutes and to it I can add another 3 minutes for the run out to la Riera de Targa.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

I had hoped to get in a long run today but had to change my plans to accommodate circumstances. Today was referendum day in many municipalities across Catalonia and our town was in on the fun. There were lots of things going on in town but I still wanted to get in a run. So having a free hour or so between events I set off. I ran from the gates of the castle, up el Cami de la Costa, on to Can Boquet and then up to la Font de Sant Mateu. The climb from the castle to Sant Mateu is about 350 metres. It took me about a half hour to cover the distance. The return over the same route took 18 minutes and 25 seconds. Obviously, going up was a hard slog but I did not do any walking something that I had not been able to previously avoid on this particular route. The trick is not to push too hard even where the road levels off.
I felt good coming down. Relatively speaking my legs were fresh on the return. It makes a big difference on how aggresively the steep down hills can be taken. It was a cold windy day.
About 35 percent of those who were eligible voted and of those more than 95 percent opted for independence.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A short run of 20 minutes or so got me down to Premia de Mar and the Club Nautic. There I rowed in the eight-man llagut, a type of traditional Catalan rowing boat. The crew consisted mostly of novices but it was nice to get out and row. It was a 45 minute row and it was enough to get the muscles in the arms and back working. Even though this is fixed-seat rowing it surprising how hard the upper legs work.
For most of the outing we stayed inside the harbour but we did go outside for a while and rowed parallel to the beach. There was little wind and the sea had only an easy swell.

3 Jan 2010

Friday, 11 December 2009

It is almost the middle of December and I can still run in a t-shirt. I did my usual stretching at the Fornaca from a spot where I can look out over the Mediterranean sparkling in the afternoon sunshine. A nice contrast with the conditions I ran under in Madrid earlier in the week. Today’s run took a little longer time-wise but I also covered a longer distance when compared with the previous Friday. Most of the run was over the same route, start at the Fornaca, up to la Roca d’en Toni, then to the Coll de la Gironella and onto Sant Mateu. Today I pushed a little harder the section from Coll de la Gironella to la Font de Sant Mateu—I timed this section at 34 minutes and 55seconds. I did not feel so weary as I neared Sant Mateu compared to the previous Friday. After Sant Mateu I made a change in my route. Instead of heading down to Vilassar from Can Boquet I continued down the Cabrils road to the cemetery where I turned right and dashed down the hill to finish at Can Rafart. Total time of the workout was 2 hour 5 minutes. I was a bit stiff after but not overwhelmed. My weight today was 71.5 kg.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I was surprised by how well I ran this afternoon. It was to be a short and easy effort but I managed to run, with a little bit of walking, for just over an hour. And I had a partner, our dog Chuck. I have run with Chuck before and it does not always go well but today he was perfectly happy and caused me no trouble.
We walked and ran up to the belvedere near el Turo d’en Cases. There I stretched some more while looking out over a long section of the Maresme coast. From there we made our way to la Font de Sant Mateu—some more stretching. Then dashed down to the fork at Can Boquet but instead of heading down to Vilassar de Dalt we went up to the flats near la Roca d’en Toni. From there we took the road through the forest down to the Cabrils road. Then climbed back up to Can Boquet before flying down to Vilassar and finishing at the Cami de la Costa.
The stiffness in my legs and back that had bothered me yesterday in Madrid was gone completely. I felt strong even on the up hills and I was able to take the down hills more aggressively.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Having a four-day long holiday weekend we took the opportunity to travel to Madrid. This morning I was able to run in the magnificent Parc del Buen Retiro. It is a classic 19th century urban park with lots of fussy landscaping with numerous paths and roadways but nevertheless it is well treed. We had walked through the park the previous day and we had been able to appreciate the park’s majesty. Unfortunately, when I ran there this morning it was raining heavily and it was cold. Packing lightly for our trip I had brought the minimum of running clothing and I suffered. It has been long time since I have run in such miserable conditions. To start off, I was quite stiff in the hips due to the hard bed in the hotel. It made my back very stiff. And with the cold I did not really warm during the run. As I had not brought a hat my glasses were soon covered in rain drops and mist so visibility was a problem. I had to frequently wipe the lenses with my bare fingers something that I hate doing.
Anyway it was a slow effort. I just grimaced and plodded along. There are miles of paths in the park and I ran about more or less aimlessly until I had had enough. The last part of the run back to the hotel along some city streets was particularly miserable. Total time was about 55 minutes. Glad that I had done it so that I could feel like a martyr. It is now three months to the Barcelona Marathon.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Today I ran over the same route as on the previous Friday (27 November). From the start I felt sluggish, my legs a bit heavy, and I am not sure why. It seemed actually easier to run up hill rather than downhill. The section of the run from Coll de la Gironella to la Font de Sant Mateu was odd. I had the feeling that I was running better than the previous week and I timed it at 36 minutes 40 seconds. I was under the impression that on 27 November I had run the same section in 40 minutes or so. In fact my previous time was also about 36 minutes. Perhaps I had made a mistake with the watch. By the time I reached Sant Mateu I felt very tired, the legs feeling leaden. I considered taking the long way down to Vilassar de Dalt and finishing at Can Rafart. When I reached the fork at Can Bouquet I elected to take the short way down via Cami de la Costa. And glad I was to end it sooner because the last part of the run, all downhill, was awful. I was wiped, my legs felt very heavy. The effort of running down a steep hill is like a strength workout.
Total time of the workout was 121 minutes, including the stops and pauses to stretch. It was a grey overcast day, somewhat cool, and I ran in a t-shirt with a long sleeve cotton shirt overtop. I ran with my small backpack and carried a bit of water. When I reached the flats near la Roca d’en Toni I could see a dark sky over to the west and I thought that I might get caught in some rain. It did not rain and later in the workout a weak sun came through the cloud cover. Along a section of the road near the Turo d’en Torres it was possible to see Tibidabo, Montserrat and Tagamanent. It was a fine sight. With the cooler temperatures the air is clearer and visibility greater.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The weather has turned colder. The unusually warm weather of the last two weeks gave way yesterday to the cold. Running has been pleasant in the warmth and now we will have to tough it out. Still it is all relative as it is nothing like the weather I would be running if we were in Canada.
I managed a short 30 minute run along the edge of the cypress park where I ran laps back and forth. The few people who saw me must have thought that a lunatic was about as I ran in trousers and my lumberjack shirt. I felt a bit sluggish likely do to my carrying some fatigue from the weekend’s efforts. I do not feel achy but the muscles in the thigh and back feel warm from the exercise.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Today’s effort lasted approximately an hour and a half. I ran from Vilassar de Dalt down to Premia de Mar so that I could run on the Passeig Maritim along the sea. Soon after I had started I could tell that it was going to be a sluggish effort. Certainly I was still feeling the effects of Friday’s run. My thighs especially felt stiff and it took me awhile to warm up. What of it?
Again I was not planning on any speed records but rather to get some distance. I covered the same route as on the previous Sunday. From the wooden bridge at Premia de Mar train station to the wooden bridge at the el Masnou/Mongat boundary took me 30 and a half minutes. I ran into a headwind on the way out. On the return with the tailwind my time was almost the same.
The wind was not very strong, say 10 to 12 knots, but it was strong enough to build up some waves on the beach and the surfers were out in force. It was a cool day but excellent for running. A grey overcast day but lots of people were out walking, running or cycling along the sea run. It was a good day for sailing too.
The run back from el Masnou was sluggish, of course, and I found the footing along the path to be somewhat irritating. Most of the Passeig Maritim is hard packed earth with a few paved sections. I was bothered by the undulations on the hard pack. Perhaps it was due to my level of fatigue. I again ran with a small back pack but it did not bother me because I had tied the straps across my chest to keep them from riding off my shoulders. 
F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid play each other tonight.

Friday, 27 November 2009

My back was feeling much better today and I was careful not to make any sudden moves or stress myself unduly. I was worried that I would not be able to run but it was not a problem once I had warmed up. This was another Friday where we finished work at two o’clock allowing for a long run on the mountain. Before the run I weighed myself—I was 72.1 kg. I started at the Fornaca and followed my usual route up to la Roca d’en Toni. It was an overcast day, grey and gloomy. When I reached the flats near the dolmen I could see dark clouds in the west and I thought perhaps it would rain on me.
It is about three kilometres from the Fornaca to la Roca d’en Toni as the crow flies but the route has a few turns. The change in elevation between the two points is about 300 metres. I run most of the distance but  walk some sections of this part of my work out. If it takes me 31 minutes or so between these two points I walk about 10 or 11 minutes.
At the dolmen I stretched again and retied my shoes before heading off toward el Coll del Porc as I had done the previous week. Instead of stopping and turning at Coll del Porc I continued on to Coll de la Gironella. The road along this section of the Serrelada Litoral has very little traffic. At Collde la Gironella I stretched some more and then headed back, past la Roca d’en Toni, down the slope to Can Boquet and the up the long slope to la Font de Sant Mateu. This took about 36 and by the time I had reached Can Boquet my legs were beginning to feel quite heavy. Even when the terrain leveled off along the flats near la Font I was running slowly and with some effort.
After stretching again at Sant Mateu I headed for home. My legs were leaden and I knew the last part of the run was going to be hard even though it was all down hill. Running down a steep incline for any distance is surprisingly difficult. It requires strength in the quads. From Can Bouquet I just headed down to Vilassar de Dalt. My total time for the work out was one hour and 56 minutes. I was bagged by the end of it.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Today I suffered my first injury but I am not sure if it is related to my running. This morning when I sat down to breakfast I was fine but twenty minutes later when I stood up I had a pain in my back. The Catalans say “un mal geste”, literally a bad move. What the bad move was I have no idea. I lay down in bed for awhile in the hope that it was a temporary pain but that had no effect, my back still hurt. I went to work anyway where I managed to be more or less productive. Later in the morning, however, my neck started to hurt too. That worried me and I decided that it would be better if I stayed at home in the afternoon. Later in the day the pain lessened but I did not run as I had planned. Rest.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

This evening’s run consisted of 22 laps at the Fornaca. The laps took about 77 minutes. With the run out to the Riera de Targa the total time for the workout was 80 minutes. I think that my time at 11 laps was 38 minutes. Obviously, I am not timing myself down to the second. There is no need for that especially if my runs are meant only to increase my mileage. Most of the run felt fine but around the 18th lap I it was a bit sluggish. That soon passed. However, I was tired at the end of the run. I am feeling lighter on my feet. While the footing at the Fornaca is good there are some dips and hollows in the hard packed surface which does affect the rhythm sometimes especially as I tire. The turn opposite the football stadium is a little awkward as I have to change direction quickly. At the other end of the lap I run round the skylights over the ovens without losing my pace.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Today’s run lasted an hour and 33 minutes. It started off somewhat sluggishly. Perhaps that was due to the backpack I ran with. I carried a pair of trousers, t-shirt, a raincoat, a quarter litre of water and a sandwich. The raincoat was in the event of it still raining when I finished the run and waiting for the bus. There was a slight drizzle when I set off down to Premia de Mar. Running along the Passeig Maritim I went as far as the boundary between el Masnou and Montgat. How can a run along the sea be so dismal? The first railway built in Spain ran from Barcelona and Mataro and the line was built right next to the sea. From my turn point to Premia de Mar train station took me 31 minutes and 25 seconds. Toward the end I had slowed noticeably. My legs felt heavier and heavier. Does the backpack make such a difference? It may have weighed as much as 2 kg. The previous week with only an extra shirt tied round my waist I felt much lighter on my feet. On the other hand I may not have recovered from Friday’s run.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Another long run today or rather a long time running with a bit of walking. Total time of the workout was one hour and 43 minutes. Starting from the Fornaca then up the Cabrils road, the off road trail, the secondary road up to the flats by la Roca d’en Toni. At the dolmen I took my usual short break to stretch and then off to Coll del Porc and on to Can Mastruc, an old abandoned masia with a spectacular view of the Maresme coast. Masias are the traditional Catalan farmhouses that are more like small fortresses thn anything else.
At Can Mastruc I took a short break to stretch and then headed back toward the dolmen, down the dip to Can Boquet and then the long climb up to the Font de Sant Mateu. That took about a half hour, say 28 minutes or so. By then I was starting to feel the legs. Instead of going home via the Cabrils road I elected to head down to Vilassar de Dalt directly from Can Bouquet. Obviously the up hills are very slow, some of the slopes approach 30 degrees, and the work is very hard going. The route from la Roca d’en Toni to Can Mastruc is what I would call rolling. The terrain on the mountain is very different from that of the typical marathon course but I enjoy running on the mounatain. The difference in elevation between the Fornaca and Sant Mateau is more than 300 metres.
Today I ran with a bottle of water, a half litre that I carried in my hand. Running up hill was not a problem but on the flats and on the down hills the bottle disrupted my rhythm and slowed me down. For awhile I ran with the bottle tucked into the small of my back and held in place by the waist band of my shorts and that helped my rhythm. I was able to throw away the bottle in the trash bin at Can Boquet. Later in the run I was bothered by a lack of Vaseline on the inside of my thighs. (I never learn) Before the run I weighed in at 71.3 kg, just a bit lower than the previous week.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A short easy run was what I had planned and that is just what I did. I warmed up at the Fornaca and then walked and jogged up to the road next to the Cypress Park. Total run time was 35 minutes, perhaps 37. I do not usually take accurate times since I am not running over measured distances and with the all the hills the times are meaningless for the most part. My energy levels were low all day, fatigue I assume. The run felt slow but that is relative as I am running faster with less effort than last year. Several times during the day I took my resting heart rate, most readings were around 45 and 46 b.p.m. Oddly, with those kinds of readings it is not physical fatigue that was holding me back.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Tonight’s run was about an hour and 18 minutes long. I managed 21 laps at the Fornaca. Running laps in the dark is eventually going to get very boring but if I can get through November and December with a reasonable amount of mileage it will go well. The 21 laps took about 71 minutes, the rest of the workout consisted of the run down to Riera de Targa. It was a good run. For most of it I held, what is for me, a good fast pace and it still felt comfortable. And I was not very winded, if I had been running with a partner I could have maintained a conversation. My breathing was regular and easy. This is good, I kept thinking, as it means that I have the aerobic capacity and what I need to work on is building up the muscular endurance over the distance.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Tonight’s run was a little longer than I had planned but it went well. After yesterday’s longish effort I wanted an easy run. I ran for about 45 minutes. Instead of running at the Fornaca I ran along the road that borders a park here in town that I call Cypress Park because of a group of the trees that borders the park. I felt fine but it took me at least 15 minutes to warm up properly.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

I had a good run this morning. Starting from Vilassar de Dalt I ran down to Premia de Mar and followed the Passeig Maritim to the harbour at el Masnou, the same turn around as the previous Sunday. From el Masnou I turned back to Premia going on to the Club Nautic. This made the run a little longer than the previous Sunday’s. Total time of the run was an hour and 20 minutes. Most of the run, about 50 minutes, was along the level ground of the path along the beach. I felt good once I had warmed up. After the turn at el Masnou I fell in with some other runners and to keep up with them I pushed it for about 15 minutes. I felt tired after the run but not as achy or sore as last week over the same route.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Getting off work at two o’clock is just great. There is still plenty of daylight left to do things outdoors like running on a mountain. Fortunately, Friday the 13th is not a Catalan superstition. Starting from the Fornaca I made my way up the Cabrils road as usual and went via my usual route up to la Roca d’en Toni, a Neolithic dolmen. My time from the Fornaca to the dolmen was about 32 minutes. At la Roca d’en Toni I stretched for a few minutes before heading down the road to Can Boquet and then uphill again to the Font de Sant Mateu—time about 16 minutes. Some more stretching before heading down back to Can Boquet, the Cabrils Road, right turn at the municipal cemetery and on to finish at Can Rafart.
The whole workout took an hour and 20 minutes. I was not concerned with speed but rather keeping it low and slow workout. Generally I felt that I lacked energy, not surprising as it is the third day in a row that I have ran. The first few minutes of the run were particularly sluggish and I was breathing hard even though I was not pushing it. Of course it is also the steepest up hills that I face in the workout. Even on the down hills I was slow. Again the plan was not for speed but rather get some distance. I weighed myself at work in t-shirt, shorts and socks before starting off—71.5 kg.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Once again I ran laps at the Fornaca. I did 10 laps in a time of about 36 or 37 minutes including the run down to the corner at Riera de Targa and Cami de Mataro. I was feeling yesterday’s run. I did not feel light footed but honestly it was to be expected. I am definitely running better than last year at the same time. Tomorrow I hope to put in a longer run on the mountain. Sitting here as I write these words I can feel my knees aching just a bit but it is not unusual for me. The weather has warm up again and the temperatures should hold through the weekend.

Wednesday, 11 November – Remembrance Day

After two days of rest I was back at it today but I am reduced to running laps at the Fornaca. It could be worse. The park at the Fornaca is a strip of hard packed sand about 300 metres long I estimate. The strip is not straight but gradually curves round a sort of terrace that overlooks Vilassar de Mar and the sea beyond. From one end of the curve Barcelona and Montjuic are visible more twenty kilometres away. It is not a bad view. The Fornaca is lined with pines on both sides. At one end of the curve is the municipal football stadium. At the other end is a trio of skylights that look down onto the ovens or forns that give the Fornaca its name. The ovens or rather kilns, discovered several years ago, were used by the Romans to fire ceramic objects.
Now that it is dark so early and colder there are few people about while I run back and forth. It is going to get very boring by the end of winter but if I want to run on level ground I have few options. The run down to the sea is only for daylight hours as the Passeig Maritim is not lit. The municipal running track is being rebuilt. Its construction was delayed when workmen found more Roman era remains under it.
Tonight I ran for 61 or 62 minutes at times with a good pace and I think that if I can train up to it I could break four hours or even three and a half. After about half an hour I realize chaffing between the legs is still a problem. My shoes are well past their prime and need replacement. The sides are split and I have calluses on my bunions as a result. By quarter to six it is full dark and I am thankful that I did not try running up the mountain. It would have been miserable coming down in the dark.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

This morning I ran from Vilassar de Dalt down to the beach at Premia de Mar. The run starts at home at about an elevation of about 120 metres and about 3 kilometres from the sea. I take it easy on the first part and use it as a warm up. It takes just over 21 minutes to reach the beach. Then I run the footpath along the sea, el Passeig Maritim, to just past the train station at Ocata. There I turn and head back to Premia. I cannot face the run back uphill so I have timed my run so that I can take the bus back up to Vilassar. The whole run takes 60 minutes. I seem to feel this run more than Friday’s. Probably I had not really recovered from Friday’s effort. My pelvis just below the hip bones felt very sore. The inside of my legs suffered from abrasion and I will need to use Vaseline in the future. I ran with a small back pack containing a change of clothes. The pack weighs I estimate about three pounds. Perhaps the weight of the pack makes a difference. It does seem to eventually tire the lower back. The footing along the Passeig Maritim is good, hard packed sand and pea gravel. Although there are lots of people out walking, running and biking it is a pleasant palce to run.

Friday, 6 November, 2009

This being Friday my employer lets us off at 2 o’clock and so I can get in a longer run on the mountain. The mountain is part of the Serrelada Litoral (literally the Coast Range). It consists of a series of low mountains, no more than 500 metres high, running parallel to the coast north-east of Barcelona. I start off at the Fornaca after some stretching and the first part of the run covers the same terrain as the previous day’s run. At Can Boquet instead of taking the road down to Vilassar I follow another road that continues climbing. I keep going to the Font de Sant Mateu (Sant Mathew’s spring). It takes me about 40 minutes to jog up the mountain from the Fornaca to Sant Mateu. At the spring I stop and stretch for 5 minutes or so. The remainder of my run is all downhill. I follow most of same route that I took going up except that at the town’s cemetery I turn to the right and head down to Can Rafart. The last two minutes of the run is on paved road and very steep. It is easy to build up speed and the knees and thighs take a hard pounding. Later at home sitting in an easy chair and writing my notes I can feel a slight ache in my knees. Running in the mountain is good for building leg strength but you have to be careful not to get hurt.

Thursday, 5 November, 2009

I am considering running the Barcelona Marathon next March. It has been 26 years since I ran a marathon. In 1983 I ran the Ottawa marathon in a time of 3 hours and 3 minutes. While quite proud of my time I had been disappointed in not breaking three hours but on the other hand I had not specifically trained for running a marathon. Later that year I entered the Skylon Marathon from Buffalo New York, to Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was unable to finish that second race. So why run a marathon now? Well, I have always wanted to run another one before I get too old. Can I go under the three hour barrier? At this late date that is probably unrealistic.

This evening after work I went running on our mountain up to Can Boquet and back down and home. This is one of my regular routes that I often run after work. I start by stretching at the Fornaca, a park near where I work. The first part of my runs from the Fornaca I combine running and walking. The first stretch of the run along the park at the Fornaca is at an elevation of approximately 110 metres above sea level. As soon as I leave the park the route starts to climb, very steeply in places. The route varies over paved road, unpaved road and footpaths through the forest that covers most of the mountain overlooking our town. The elevation at Can Boquet is 350 metres. The distance from the Fornaca to Can Bouquet as the crow flies is about three kilometres so it is quite a climb. The run down from Can Boquet to Vilassar de Dalt is even shorter and steeper, and really tough on the thighs.

Tonight I had a good run. I felt strong and energetic. At this time of year it starts to get dark early and so it is the last week that I will be able to run on the mountain after work except on Fridays, when we get off earlier. By the time I reach Can Boquet the low light makes judging the uneven ground difficult. I have to be careful of my footing on the dash downhill. The run takes about 35 minutes.