Archive | October, 2011

I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

30 Oct

As predicted, this was a busy week.  I’ve also been nursing a niggly piriformis (aka pain in the proverbial) so it’s been a balancing act.  Any way, the long and the short of it is that I ended up with:
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 10M
Wednesday – 12M (5M + 7M)
Thursday – 10M
Friday – 10M
Saturday – 10M
Sunday – 13M (3M warm-up plus 10M at the Great South Run in Portsmouth).

I’d intended this to be a 75M week, but looking at the diary this meant my next cut-back week would coincide with my only free weekend in November, which seemed rather daft.  That weekend looks ripe to be packed with  back-to-back long runs!  As a consequence, I’ve ultimately (and very belatedly) ended up with a week which has been neither fish, nor fowl, etc.; 65M is a bit less than a big week and a bit more than a cut-back week.  There was a little bit of me which was contemplating going for a 10M run in Bristol when I got home, but there’s been rather too much burning of the candle at both ends and in the middle this week, so I think a civilised supper and an early night beckon instead.

GSR was fun, although the legs were clearly not in the mood for anything more than 7m/m (I ended up with 70.33, after a stiff headwind for the last 2M).  I’m pleased to say that I took the scalp of former Olympian Iwan Thomas, although seeing as he was a 400m specialist, that’s probably not the biggest ask – had he been on my shoulder with 400m to go I wouldn’t have fancied my chances!  We weren’t treated to the finest of weather conditions, either, and the drizzle meant that I went back to my aunt’s asap.  Well, I say asap.  In fact I got lost and ended up at Fratton Station instead of Portsmouth & Southsea.  Lesson learned: thank goodness I’m going to have a canal to follow come December.  If there was any significant navigation involved, I think I’d be running 180M home for New Year – or perhaps 250M for Russian Christmas!


Runbritain success

29 Oct

Lady luck has played into my hands: I’ve come sixth in the inaugural runbritain grandprix and have received a £300 windfall. Well, I say received – I’m due it at some point! It has to be said that I don’t think many people took part in the relevant races, so my chances were high, but you have to be in it to win it 🙂

Sweet relief

23 Oct

It’s fair to say that after 2 70-mile weeks my legs were pretty trashed.  Monday morning’s 4M into work was not a pretty event.  Tuesday was a long day in court and so a rest day by default.  Wednesday was 8M (and I tested out my headtorch by going for a run on the Downs in the evening: it’s great!).  Thursday was a quick 5M round trip to collect some orchestra music (I had to speed up midway when I realised I was going to miss the 8.30pm cut off – I was there at 8.29 :-)).  Friday evening saw 8M slogged around the Downs again and then 8M yesterday morning left me on a modest 33M for the week.

And so to Birmingham…  Things started pretty well, although the stiff breeze and several ‘undulations’ (that’s what race organisers call hills when they don’t want to scare off race entrants) meant that the pace (about 6.50m/m, so just sneaking under 1.30) felt a bit tougher than I would have liked.  I just about held pace until about 10M (perhaps the incentive of running towards the Bournville factory was greater than I thought!) but then the last few hills took their toll, and I had to settle for 1.31.2x.  I’m actually pretty pleased: it was a much tougher course than Bristol and I’d not been able to structure my week as I would have wanted, with the shorter runs at the end of the week to let the legs freshen up, so it shows that I’m making real fitness gains.

Thanks to Margaret for the cheers at 3.5M and 9M – you very kindly said I was looking strong at 9M when I suspect that was not the case!  Also thanks to someone who gave me a shout at about 12.5M, but I’ve no idea who you were… (we did have our names on our bibs, which I periodically forgot, and I was quite amazed by how many people knew me in Brum…; however, this person shouted ‘Jools’ so I suspect they are a running buddy).

Next week is a slightly daunting 75M, including the Great South Run in Portsmouth (just 10M, but probably with quite a lengthy warm-up and cool-down).  Work looks like it’s going to be pretty busy next week, so I foresee a lot of running in the dark.  At least next weekend has an extra hour in it!

2 months to go!

22 Oct

Time flies… 3 months to go sounded like an awfully long time. 2 months sounds more like the sort of time span which is measured in weeks and it’s starting to feel very close. Great news to see that the sponsorship has hit £950 already – and I’ve only sent out one begging email! If work quietens down a bit next week I will craft another.

Fiddling around

16 Oct

It’s been another week of 70 miles running, work and rehearsals.

I opted to run each day rather than having a rest day; although in some ways that’s harder (no rest days) it means that my week day runs can be a mile or so shorter than otherwise, which allows the legs to freshen up a bit.  Ended up with: Monday – 5M; Tuesday – 7M; Wednesday – 10M; Thursday – 8M; Friday – 5M.

This weekend was another ‘big double’ with 15M yesterday and 20M today.  Yesterday my legs were definitely reaping the benefits of a more balanced week as the inevitable Bristol hills felt pretty effortless; this morning was a bit more of a grind, but I’m prepared to accept that may have been a result of post-concert beers last night, the weather being quite a lot warmer today than yesterday and the 15M in my legs from yesterday.

Next week is a cut-back week (about 55M) but includes the Birmingham Half marathon on Sunday.  I don’t think I’ll set a time target – I’ll simply run by feel and see what that brings.  The course profile certainly looks undulating, even to Bristolian eyes; to a Fenland dweller, it’s probably mountainous!

Accommodation sorted

13 Oct

Accommodation is now booked in Bradford-on-Avon and Little Bedwyn. Now all I need to decide is whether to have a simple supper in Little Bedwyn or take advantage of the Michelin star restaurant only 200 yards from the B&B! Rest assured, I’d be funding that myself (as I will fund all of the expenses, to make sure every penny you give goes to the MNDA). A 3 course meal with some nice wine sounds like a very civilised way of replenishing the calories, but I guess it would mean packing an extra change of clothes – no muddy lycra in such a swanky eaterie!

Blow the wind southerly (may have also been northerly, easterly and westerly!)

9 Oct

A pleasing but tiring week.

Monday was a rest day, which is always a pretty easy way of sticking to a schedule.  By Tuesday morning the heatwave of last week had abandoned Bristol and so my 10M was done in rather more autumnal conditions.  Wednesday morning was 8M into work and Thursday evening was 12M home, in the dark.  Friday morning was a bit of a test of character, as the only way I could squeeze my run in was to get up at 5.30am.  I always find getting up in the dark hardest at this time of year, when you have to adjust to getting up in the dark.  Yesterday was 15M including some more parkrun marshalling and then today was 20M in drizzly and windy conditions.  My legs are very tired and so I think an afternoon of careful stretching and compression tights awaits!  Still, as far as I can recall I haven’t done 70M in one week for over a year and quite possibly longer.

Mixed in with all of that was a veritable glut of rehearsals (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday) plus a concert yesterday which went surprisingly well (it won’t mean much to non-musos, but there was a certain amount of trepidation about Brahms 3 without vibrato).

The plan is for 70M next week, too; and another concert – more Brahms: Brahms 1.  But this one will have vibrato!

It’s Too Darn Hot!

2 Oct

With the possible exception of my nearest and dearest in Bonnie Scotland, you can’t have missed this week’s Indian Summer. Thankfully, it’s coincided with a cut-back week, so at least I haven’t had to run too many miles in the heat; I’m bad enough at running in the heat when it’s the height of summer and I’ve acclimatised, but it’s been a real shock to the system coming this late in the year!

Not the most exciting week’s training, except that it wasn’t a very balanced week: Monday – 4M easy; Tuesday – 5M easy; Wednesday – rest; Thursday – 8M easy; Friday – rest; Saturday – 15M easy; Sunday – 18M easy.

I hadn’t intended to take 2 rest days, but the AGM of one of the orchestras I play in was on Friday evening in a pub; I meant to be very good and attend the meeting and then pop out for a quick run, but even my hardened resolve was broken by the greeting: “there’s a tab behind the bar” and sight of some fine ales on tap! We should have had the meeting in a Methodist chapel…

Yesterday’s run was mostly done after marshalling at the Ashton Court parkrun, and so a real scorcher. I got through most of the 1.5L I can carry in my backpack.

As I had a rehearsal from 10-5 today I opted for an evening run rather than a morning run. The prospect of a 5am alarm for a 6am run on a Sunday tests my resolve at least as much as the promise of free beer, after all!