Wednesday, 10 November 2021

A very successful summer

All of the hard work put in at David Fairlamb Fitness in the first part of 2021 was taken into a tough four week "training camp" in La Gomera. Having rediscovered my love for exercise in 2020/21, the primary objective on this small island in the Canaries was to bring running back into that fold.

My primary location was the town of San Sebastian which is only an hour's ferry ride away from Tenerife to the east. There were plenty of options to run here with some tasty climbs in all directions. There was also a flatter section on the prom which is where I usually ended up after running into the mountains.

The hardest run that I managed was a half marathon from Hermigua back to San Sebastian. Just to keep things interesting, I ran that distance on a scorching hot day. There were no options for water on the route so I carried 2 litres of water on my back.

The first 6 miles were all uphill on a road that was full of twists and turns. It was like being back on the Stelvio Pass again. Just like that famous Italian pass, the scenery was absolutely stunning.

The first major obstacle to overcome was a tunnel at the summit of the run. It was 1/3 mile in length, very dark and had no hard shoulder. I had just got into the tunnel when a lorry entered on the other side. I switched to the opposite side of the road with my torch on and then back again when it and the four cars behind it passed safely by.

The next 6 miles were all downhill. Thankfully, the other 4 tunnels that I passed through had a small elevated hard shoulder which made things a lot safer. 

Unfortunately, I ran out of water with 2.5 miles to go. My thirst became immense during that last stretch and I was glad to complete the distance near a Spar where I guzzled a large bottle of water in no time at all.

Without doubt, what I called "the inaugural La Gomera Half Marathon" is the hardest run I’ve ever done at this distance. The searing heat, tunnels, and huge climbs made for a tremendous challenge. 

Away from running, Donna decided it would be a good idea to climb up an almost sheer cliff face for a mile to the spectacular Mirador de Abrante overlooking Agulo and beyond! Thankfully, the views were worth it.

I was very pleased with the amount of work I managed to get through in La Gomera. There were no easy choices in terms of route difficulty and the consistent mid to high 20 Celsius made every run an even greater challenge. 

Of course it wasn't all work and no play. Thanks to Geordie exile, Michael and his wife Yuliana for some great company as well as little Daniel (known as El Rubio to the locals). Donna and I have had a great time. 

I got a nice surprise when I returned home. I stood on the scales and they read 16 stone 11 pounds. While that's still a high number, it's a far cry from 17 stone 10 pounds back in August. It's even further from the 18 stone 2 pounds at the start of the year. Just like my progress in the gym, everything is heading in the right direction. I remain aware that there is still a very long way to go and I will be working even harder than before to continue my improvement. For now, though, it's time to get stuck into a challenging autumn/winter schedule. Will I see 15 stone on the scales before the end of the year?