Archive | September, 2011

I have promises to keep/ And miles to go before I sleep…

25 Sep

It’s been a week of compromises.  I took Monday as a rest day but overall the week’s mileage got off to a very good start, with 10M into work on Tuesday and then 5M home.  I backed that up with 8M on Wednesday (no second run because I was rehearsing in the evening; still, Brahms 1 is very good for the soul, so no complaints there).   The plan for Thursday was 5M to work and 10M home.  However, the clerks (bless them!) had other ideas and at 5pm on Thursday I was handed papers for a case in London the following morning.  I finished reading the bare necessities at 8.15pm and ran 5M home.  I was up bright and early (5.30am) the next morning to make the 7am train (yay!).

I was sorely tempted to make this a cut back week on Friday afternoon when there were mutterings about the pub after work, but even though the Doombar was calling (that is also very good for the soul, after all), I instead dragged myself home and then out for 10M.  10M again on Saturday morning followed by the Swansea 10k at lunchtime today.  I did a 4M warm-up and a 2 mile cool-down (actually only 1.8M; I was prepared to still hit 65M this week, but not 65.2!).  The 10k in between just missed out on the accolade of season’s worst (41.32), as if I recall correctly I had an absolutely abysmal run at the Bupa 10000 in May and ran 41.40.  I didn’t think I would ever be glad I’d run that badly, but there we go.  Still, it proves that this tapering malarkey is thoroughly over-rated.

Although Swansea is a bit of a schlep for most people, I would do this race again.  It’s a nice size (about 4,000 entries, apparently), so there’s always people to run with but there’s also space to run and the organisation was good.  There was a minute’s silence for the miners who died a week ago just before we started.

Next week really is a cut-back week – a mere 50-55M.  Lucky, because I’m in London for a conference tomorrow, have a rehearsal on Wednesday and generally the work diary is pretty packed.

And I’ll finish by noting that in 3 months’ time it will, of course, be Christmas Day.  Running Home for Christmas will be over!  I’ll hopefully be tired but happy, stuffed full of food and mildly sozzled on nice wine (I know mum reads this, but I’m not sure about dad; M: can you make sure he gets that hint? xx).


3 months to go

22 Sep

It’s the 22nd of September. In 3 months’ time I will be running down the hill to join the Avon and run to Bath and then on to Bradford-on-Avon. Wow.

Autumn days when the grass is jewelled…

18 Sep

… during the week and then soaked at the weekend!

Recovery from the half marathon was absolutely fine, which is reassuring – if 1.32.30 had taken a lot out of me I’d be distraught!

65M, all of them steady, over 6 days: 6.5 on Tuesday, 10 on Wednesday, 6.5 on Thursday, 12 on Friday, 12 on Saturday and 18 today. Conditions were absolutely gorgeous during the week (and my legs finally had the springy feeling I’d wanted on Sunday! Wednesday’s 10M was especially enjoyable). It was definitely what I needed – a reminder of what I really love about running: beautiful sunrises and gorgeous views across the Gorge to set you up for the day.

Yesterday and today were a bit more hard work: the heavens opened at 6M yesterday and the wind picked up nicely, too; today was generally drizzly and I decided to go through Leigh Woods and onto the Towpath so I ended up properly muddy. Definitely a day for a long hot shower afterwards!

I’ve somehow got to fit 65M around the Swansea Bay 10k next week. Hmmm. Now that sounds like hard work!

Luton 1 Bristol 0

16 Sep

Sadly, the Bristol Marathon has been called off, only a few days after entries opened. It’s not quite clear why, but reading between the lines there wasn’t quite enough time to get the event organised properly in the remaining weeks. It’s a great pity, because I was really looking forward to running a marathon in my home city, especially when it was just going to be a bimble around the sights as a training run, so none of the stress of time-chasing. Hopefully the promised Bristol Marathon 2012 will materialise.

Running just to stand still…

11 Sep

… or why the Bristol Half didn’t go to plan!

It has been a busy week.  Things started ok, with 4M on Monday and 10M on Tuesday, but Wednesday ended up being very hectic, as I was in court from 9.30 until 4.30 with no lunch break, and I’m not sure that a Snickers and a cup of tea really counts as a nutritious snack!  I did shorter, easy runs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but the paces weren’t quite what I would have expected (after a rest day my legs should have felt nice and springy, but they didn’t).  This was probably because I was working a bit late most nights and skimping on sleep.  I also had rehearsals on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon followed by a concert on Saturday evening.  It went brilliantly, but the post-concert buzz didn’t help me sleep!

Any way, race day dawned this morning, sunny, warm and with a swirling, gusty wind.  I was running so-so until about 9 miles and then began to feel very tired but (at the time more worryingly) also felt what I now suspect were psychosomatic twinges in my left hamstring (on the basis it feels absolutely fine now).  End result was that I backed off the pace from 9 miles and jogged in at 7.30m/m to bring up 1.32.30…  Pretty much my slowest half marathon in 5 years (making allowances for courses)!

Trying to put a positive light on things (at the end of the day, my training until recently hasn’t been great, with neither the miles nor the speedwork to make me run well) but it’s a bit frustrating to run quite this badly.  Hopefully it’s just a case of the body being tired as it adjusts to the mileage and the lack of sleep catching up with me.  Birmingham Half next month will let me know!

Sorry for such a gloomy post.  I’ll aim for good news next week!

Back in business!

4 Sep

This week started carefully, with short-ish steady runs on Monday and Tuesday.  Work got fairly and squarely in the way of running on Wednesday.  Although I’d intended to try something faster on Thursday, I was completely knackered and so just settled on a bit of a bimble up and down the Portway.  I got a bit of stick on Friday for ducking out of the pub at an antisocial hour (that is to say very early!) to go for a run.  Saturday I finally tested the hamstring properly with some faster sections inserted into a 12 miler and then today 17 miles on very tired legs; yesterday’s run was in the afternoon and so I hadn’t had as much recovery as I would have wanted.  Still, it’s done, I’m back up to 60M for the week and now I’m slumped in front of the final day of the World Athletics Championship, hoping that Mo Farah and Philips Idowu come good!

I’m very, very relieved that the hamstring has turned out to be a niggle and I can look forward to the Bristol Half next week.

It’s also brilliant to see that fundraising is already up to £495 (excluding Giftaid).

A marathon for Bristol?

3 Sep

Exciting news, gleaned from a race listings email – there may be a marathon in Bristol in November.  The full 26.2!  Great training opportunity for Running Home For Christmas if it (the marathon) goes ahead.  And hopefully it could become a brilliant new addition to the UK race calendar.  I could say I’ll compare and contrast Luton and Bristol, but really?  Luton doesn’t stand a chance!


1 Sep

Like any running geek, I love shopping for yet more gear. I’m trying to be good and not accumulate too much more stuff, especially as I’ve just had a big clear out at home, but there are some bare necessities (or not-quite-essential-but-pretty-damn-useful-bits-of-kit) which I’ve added to my collection today:

1. Head torch: just in case it takes me a lot longer than anticipated on any given day. There won’t be much daylight from 22-24 December!
2. Yaktrax: just in case it’s icy. I don’t mind skating, but I’m not up for a cold swim. If you haven’t come across yaktrax before, google is your friend.
3. Compression tights: they might be a gimmick, but they seem to help. I have one rather decrepit pair, and it was time to replace them. I find it quite beneficial to sleep in them after a tough training session. No-one said long distance running was glamorous or sexy…
4. Rucksack: my big running rucksack is gradually falling to bits and is not long for this world, I fear.  If I’m brutally honest, it’s also just that bit too heavily impregnated with sweat.  I’ve therefore treated myself to a new daysack.

And that’s more than enough shopping. I’ll need to replace my trainers at least once before then, especially as the miles in training increase, but those can wait until next month!