Half Way There…

13 Aug

On Monday last week I worked late (as in not home until gone 9.30pm late). No cross training was done as a result! On Tuesday I fared better: a 45 minute swim after my sports massage.

On Wednesday I plucked up the courage to cycle to and from chambers. After something like 10 years of no cycling it was a bit nerve wracking – and my quads grizzled on the hills on the way home – but it is quicker than walking or the bus. I did anot her swim, too, just to ensure achy arms and quads!

On Thursday my new trainers arrived, and I couldn’t resist taking them for a spin. 5 miles easy done. The ankle is still clearly a bit weak, but not anywhere near as bad as January. And hopefully the better grip in the newer shoes means I’m less likely to lose my footing again and the better cushioning will look after my muscles. I repeated the cycling, too.

On Friday it was just cycling. I had a long day in court and was pretty knackered.

I felt a bit more refreshed on Saturday morning and tackled 9 miles. I erred on the side of caution and did flat loops so it was easy to bale out if needs be. With limited running this week my legs were fresh and bouncy: sub 8m/m felt easy peasy!

That just left Sunday: another morning of flat loops close to home, but 15 miles was done. An afternoon in chambers meant more cycling, too.

This means a total of 29 miles v a plan of 58, but with the cycling, swimming and daily strength and conditioning that’s good enough. Hopefully this coming week I can finally accomplish 6 training sessions as planned. And continue to improve my uphill cycling skills!


Something Old, Something New

5 Aug

Well, it’s been a busy 2 weeks.  Last week I moved house.  As a result, I did skip a race and a run to prioritise the move, but still got 5 runs in for a total of 43 miles (unfortunately the skipped run was an 11 mile run…).  But everything got unpacked and sorted, so T and I can just enjoy living together without guilt inducing unsorted boxes looming in a corner!  All of the sorting and shifting definitely used muscles I don’t usually use, so my running was a bit ploddy for a few days afterwards!

I started this week with a rest day and then 5 miles plod on Tuesday morning.  It was a beautiful, sunny, fresh morning and it was a delight to be out.  On Wednesday evening I ran 12 miles, and although it took my legs a while to get going, the pace was ultimately ok.  Thursday saw me squeeze 8 miles in ahead of a clubmate’s amazing wedding reception.  Does Ceilidh dancing count as cross-training?!  On Friday I ran 5 miles with some strides in and then yesterday I did my long run: 16 miles.  It started ok, although I felt fairly tired, and I gave myself a slight scare a couple of miles in as I went over on my left ankle a tiny bit (the one I sprained earlier this year).  I headed off over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and into Ashton Court to continue, and as I turned right in the woods I went over on the ankle again, but more this time.  I jogged cautiously for 5 minutes and decided that although it was marginal, I could probably finish the run.  The pace wasn’t great, but it got done.  I iced the ankle and put on a compression bandage (plus compression tights, as I had a league track race lined up on the Sunday).  I went on with my day’s plan, but couldn’t help but notice towards the end of the day that the ankle was a bit sore.  When I finally took the compression bandage off to go to sleep I realised the ankle was actually a bit swollen, and realised that I might not be able to race the next day after all.  I had an anxious night of poor sleep and woke up to find that – without the bandage on – standing on one leg was painful.  As a rule of thumb, if you can’t hop on a leg you shouldn’t run, and certainly shouldn’t race.  Feeling guilty, I contacted our team manager to break the bad news, cursing myself for not taking a cautious decision the day before.  Later I headed off for a swim and then finally got around to buying a bike for commuting to/from work and cross training (although I think the ankle needs a day or two more of swimming/rest before cycling is a good idea!).  The sprain is nowhere near as bad as January’s, so I’m hoping that a few cautious days will see me back jogging/doing steady runs soon.  There’s still almost 4 months until Valencia, so no need to panic yet: but I might not rush to book my hotel, either!

So there you have it: over the last fortnight, an annoying return of an old problem, but most importantly of all a wonderfully happy new section of my life with T has started.  Perhaps that is what is helping put this latest niggle into perspective 🙂

Boxed In

22 Jul

Monday was a tough start to the week, with an incredibly difficult and stressful day in court. I was rehearsing in London that night, which felt like a curse before I went, as I was so emotionally drained, but ended up a blessing: a fun distraction! I had no time to run, however.

I had time to squeeze 5 miles in ahead of a sports massage on Tuesday and then 8 miles very steady on Wednesday. It was then back to London for a very enjoyable concert!

On Thursday I was mostly sorting out what to keep and what to chuck at my flat, but I headed out for 12 miles in the evening to unwind.

I ran 5 miles on Friday and then on Saturday a rare excursion to parkrun (although I forgot my barcode!) to collect the camelbak I’d left in a friend’s car after the Cotswold Way Relay and to celebrate another friend’s 200th parkrun. I jogged round as my right calf is still slightly tight, but it was lovely to have a natter with two clubmates as I did so. Sadly I then had to work all afternoon…

Today I did 15 miles early doors and then started packing. I’m not quite as far along as I’d like, but it should be done in time, and the stress will all be worth it when T and I are living together.


The Closest Thing To Normal…

15 Jul

I began the week with 8 miles steady and then did a 10 mile run on Tuesday before going out for dinner with T to mark my target times for an 80% age grading becoming a little slower.

I’d planned to squeeze in 5 miles ahead of the England game but was feeling pretty rough and so we just watched the match on TV at home. I didn’t even feel up to eating and the result did little to lift my spirits!

I didn’t sleep brilliantly and was a bit wiped out on Thursday but managed 5 easy miles and the same on Friday. After a mega sleep on Saturday my 12 mile run felt much better than either of the shorter runs earlier in the week.

That just left 15 miles to do today. After a morning in chambers, a bit of violin practice and the last set of the men’s final at Wimbledon I set off. It was a bit warm but I hoped with a route that had some decent shaded chunks I’d be okay. The first 10 were but the next 5 not so much and the final 2 in particular were done out of a sense of obligation rather than anything else. I finished exhausted and with a raging thirst. Out of interest, I weighed myself after I’d showered and drunk 500ml of water and discovered I was still 1.5kg lighter than yesterday morning. Perilously close to race weight months in advance! But with some careful rehydration it’ll all be back for tomorrow, I hope.

Looking at the big positives from this week, for the first time in 8 months (!) I’ve run 6 times in 1 week and hit marathon training base mileage (55 miles). It’s early days, and my right calf is a bit grizzly (thankfully I’ve got sports massage on Tuesday) but maybe, just maybe, I’m a runner again!

There’s Never Enough Time For What We Want To Do…

9 Jul

I started last week with a 30 minute swim. As I’d predicted, the after effects of racing on Saturday and long run on Sunday were fairly pronounced! On Tuesday I had time for 7 miles before showering and heading to the pub with T for the second half of England v Colombia. I don’t think that gave my heart rate a chance to go back to resting level!

On Wednesday the busy part of the week began: the morning and early afternoon in Exeter, followed by a meeting and then a rehearsal. No exercise!

On Thursday I had plans: a hearing in Swindon in the morning, then heading over to London to catch up with a uni friend, squeeze in a short run and then another rehearsal. But life gets in the way of plans, and I left Swindon at 4.40 instead of the midday departure I’d expected/hoped for. I cancelled my catch up and just made my rehearsal. I also made the 9.45 train back and was at least in bed by midnight…

I was back up at 6am on Friday and was so exhausted – and the heat so bad – that all I could contemplate was a 5 mile recovery run. It was clear this was going to be a recovery week!

T and I then headed off to Okehampton for a family weekend away. We were all staying in a youth hostel which was rather charming. On Saturday I was up early for an 8 mile run along a disused railway, followed by a cycle ride with T before joining the rest of the group for a picnic. The afternoon was spent watching the football ahead of dinner, which ended with a beautiful sunset. Slightly groggy, I squeezed in a 5 mile plod on Sunday before a hike on Dartmoor with T.  A final guzzle of food with a barbecue for lunch before we headed off home. A wonderful weekend, with the only regret being my failure to entice Percy the station cat out of the signal box.

After a very light week (4 runs totalling 25 miles) I’m hoping that this coming week normal running service can resume ahead of full marathon training only a matter of weeks away!

I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found…

1 Jul

I started this week the easy way: a rest day! On Tuesday I ran 11 miles after work. It was a bit of a grim plod, as I struggled with the heat and humidity. On Wednesday I ran 7 miles with 8 sets of strides thrown in, conscious I was notionally racing on Saturday but having done no fast running since my abysmal 3000m in early May. On Thursday I did 30 minutes on the bike in the gym, but with the resistance low for most of it so that it was little more than flushing my legs out. On Friday I ran another 7 miles with 6 sets of strides. I made myself do this in the middle of the day to force my body to accept that the heat could be managed.

And so to yesterday: my leg of the Cotswold Way Relay started at 4.20pm and it was very, very warm. Generally I’m a fan of a longish warm up but I restricted myself to 10 minutes and then some strides and very light drills (for the uninitiated drills are the funny skips and things you’ll sometimes see runners do. They make us look and feel a bit daft, but they do help). And then we were off! Pretty quickly my mouth felt dry and sticky given the heat. For the first mile I was 2nd or 3rd lady but gradually worked my way through to lead the ladies’ race. It didn’t help that there were a lot of stiles in the first few miles, which I am rubbish at. Nor that we had to cross the A46 3 times over the 9.2 miles, and that I lost a fair but of time waiting for the traffic to clear. I got a huge lift at the midway point, where my club were manning the water station. There was then quite a lot of fairly runnable trail/road until the last 1.5 miles, which contained the toughest climbing. I was quite surprised to be told I was 11th overall and pleased to catch one more runner to move into 10th. And I was delighted to win the ladies’ race on my stage, getting prosecco and a plaque for my troubles:


Today my legs felt surprisingly ok, and I ran 14.5 miles at just under 8m/m to bring up 50 for the week. It did probably help the heat had eased a bit by this afternoon!

As for the blog title, that works on two levels:

1. I did go off course, albeit my diversion only added about 75m, at a guess, and was easily corrected;

2. For the first time since October I was able to race: to gauge my effort, to work through the field, to push on when I needed to open up a gap on someone and to be part of a winning team with my lovely clubmates. Until I’d crossed the finish line and felt that exhilaration and delight, and until we were all sat at the prize giving, eating pizza and drinking beer, swapping race stories and then listening to the results with anticipation and then delight, I’d forgotten quite how much I’d missed that part of my life. Here’s hoping it’s back for good.

Slow And Steady Builds The Base

24 Jun

Another week of base-training, so not wildly exciting!

Monday was a rest day.  Tuesday was 10 miles home, which involved plenty of trails and hills. The only bit of interest was that I took a wrong turning in Leigh Woods and ended up a bit lost, so although I ran 10 miles, that included some miles I hadn’t intended to run…  On Wednesday I ran 6 miles back into work (net downhill, so considerably quicker than the previous night’s run!).  On Thursday I ran 10 miles on the flat along the Towpath.  I did my long run on Friday: 15 miles, which turned out to be 15.5 because I had forgotten that if I did a particular loop from work it is actually 15.5.  It’s been so long since I’ve done a 15 mile run on a week day…!  The last 0.5 was particularly unwelcome because my legs were pretty knackered and I was thirsty.  I definitely slept well on Friday night 🙂  On Saturday I just did half an hour of cross-training in the gym before starting the Big Clear Out ahead of moving in with T.  Fitting two people’s things into one person’s house means we’re both doing a decent declutter.  Yesterday I did clothes, and have four enormous bags of clothes, towels and bedlinen to take to the charity shop.

That left today: Cotswold Way Recce Day.  I was doing my recce with a clubmate (S), and we arranged to meet at the finish so that T could kindly drive us to the start, and then S I and could recce the route and come back in his car once we’d finished.  We didn’t do too badly with the navigation, but the main issue was the fields we were supposed to cross which were covered in what I presume was silage (sorry, I’m a town mouse and so might have that wrong).  Whatever it was, there were great heaps of it which were really difficult to run through/jump over, so I’m hoping they’re not there next week!  And the other CWR traditional problem of lots of very long grass, so that I finished covered in blotches from all of the lovely pollen.  It’s a stylish look.  The stage was just over 9 miles, although with one short navigation error detour we did 9.5  Those two bonus half miles brought up 51 miles for the week.  Nearly marathon minimum mileage (55) albeit off 5 runs rather than 6.  It’s a bit early to feel any improvements to my fitness, but I’m getting there.