Archive | November, 2011

This Is A Lovely Way To Spend A Weekend

27 Nov

After Monday’s rest day, I was surprised at how good my legs felt on Tuesday’s run (7M). However, my sports massage that evening left my legs pretty sore, so Wednesday was another rest day. However, my legs improved a bit for Thursday (8M) and Friday (8M). I think there was a bit too much burning of the candle at both ends because by Saturday I felt knackered again, and cut short my planned 16M run to 11M. The headwind I had to tackle that morning may also have had something to do with my decision!

Saturday night was a New Bristol Sinfonia concert which went really well, and that was celebrated with a couple of pints of beer.

And so to today. It should have been the Bristol Marathon and so my running friends Kelvin, Caz and Matt decided to still come to Bristol for the weekend and we met up for a run. Matt planned the route which was hilly and off road. You can see quite how muddy it was by comparing my 2 pairs of shoes in the picture. They both looked the same this morning! Many thanks to Kelvin, Matt and Caz for the company – 26 miles pass so much more quickly when you’re chattering away. I also learnt that: (a) for some reason I end up with far muddier legs than anyone else and (b) that I’m really, really rubbish at ‘technical descents’ if I’m not wearing spikes, i.e. if it’s muddy and downhill, I mince down like I’m tottering in 6″ heels (actually, this is me, so probably like I’m tottering in 3″ heels…)

Re-fuelling as we speak on French toast. I can think of no better way of getting the calories burnt back into the body – except for the piece of cheesecake which is left over from dinner last night!

Now that there’s fewer than 4 weeks to go, the miles begin to very slowly reduce. Taper time!


One Month To Go!

22 Nov

How time flies… In a month’s time I will hopefully be in or near Bradford-on-Avon.

Legs have been a little sore since Luton, so I ended up taking a rest day yesterday to err on the side of caution. This close to the big day my focus has to be on making the start line as there’s little I can do to improve my fitness, but a lot I can do to aggravate my niggles. Sports massage tonight.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

20 Nov

The Good:

Finally, it looks like pain-free running is back on the agenda.  It’s fair to say that the last few weeks had been hard work, physically and emotionally (although I do appreciate that if the most concerning thing I’ve had going on in my life recently is my iliotibial band, life in general is pretty ok).  My third sports massage session on Tuesday seemed to be a bit of a turning point and Wednesday and Thursday’s runs were my first truly comfortable runs for quite some time.  Pain-free running also extended to the Luton Marathon today.  I’d had in mind something around 8 mins/mile (most of my steady runs are something between 8m/m and 8.30m/m, depending on quite how trashed my legs are…) and ended up with 3.32 overall, so just outside 8m/m.

The Bad:

For some reason, I always feel sick after a marathon.  I don’t know why – I can do 24M in training and not feel sick, but something about the last 2.2M makes me want to hurl.  I’ve slowly been stuffing some food into myself (I’m en route from Luton to Bristol at the moment) and am now a bottle of energy drink, a banana, a Mars Bar and a ‘hearty vegetable broth’ to the better.

The Ugly:

Lutonians: I am sure you love your home town.  I’m very aware that Reading, my old home town, is hardly a thing of beauty and joy for ever.  But bits of today’s course were really ugly.  It certainly has, at times, a housing estate vibe.  But in fairness, parts of the course were really quite pretty (the bits outside Luton…).

This week’s random thanks go to…:

Kelvin, sports massuer: second plug for the wonderful Kelvin Perry, who is slowly nursing my legs back to normality.

Mark-from-Glasgow, who had the misfortune to be staying in the same hotel as me (view from bedroom window: multi-story car park! soundtrack to attempt to sleep: drunken Lutonians communicating at 100dB! state of mattress: in need of replacement!), and was good company en route to the race start.  Well done on the 3.09.

Dan: thanks for the shout at the end of lap 2.  Really lifted my spirits!  I still can’t believe you took a voluntary detour to Luton, but there we go.

Caz: nice to meet you, and well run today.

The week ahead:

I’ll see how the legs are tomorrow.  I managed 65M this week.  Hopefully I can back up today’s run with something in double figures tomorrow to get a real training benefit from the marathon today.

And that is more than enough for today’s post!

You Have To Be In It To Win It

13 Nov

This week, as Friday’s post shows, was the week I had to be sensible and listen to my body. On reflection, last weekend’s efforts took more out of me than I’d anticipated, and so I took the decision to catch up on some sleep, re-read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and (less excitingly) put in a full day in Chambers today. It’s meant that my total mileage (over 5 runs) was 35 miles. As I mentioned in Friday’s post, my iliotibial band is also pretty tight at the moment, and so it seemed sensible to back off before I can have another sports massage on Tuesday. Part of the skill in this long distance running is making it to the start line in one piece; past experience had made me think that 60-70 mpw might be about my limit, and I think that’s proving to be the case! I will, however, make an exception to that rule for the 22-24 December inclusive.

I’m giving up making predictions about future weeks (I’ve not done brilliantly so far!), but fingers crossed in a week’s time I will be posting about a confidence boosting run around Luton (not words I thought I would ever write!).


11 Nov

At school we were made to do some silly exercise involving ‘SMART’ targets. This acronym is supposed to help you set goals which are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited. Or something. It wasn’t the most exciting lesson, so I dozed off a bit. Any way, it looks like this week’s 75M target was not SMART and that trying to skip my rest week was a mistake – I’m absolutely knackered, I’ve got the beginnings of man flu and my iliotibial band is not a happy rabbit. I’m giving myself an extra rest day. If the worst comes to the worst, I’ve got 2 long weekends coming up and can make those ‘tough’ running weekends. Fingers crossed this pays off and I’m back to running well next week…

What I Did At The Week(end)

6 Nov

Unless my primary school was particularly remarkable, I’m guessing that we all had the same Monday morning essay to write: see above. This weekend saw my first ‘big’ back-to-back: 12M on Friday, 20M on Saturday and 20M on Sunday. Due to a rehearsal during the day (and a bit too much faffing between said rehearsal and the run), I finished today’s 20-miler at 10pm. My pasta and tomato sauce are just cooking now!

To add to the 52 miles those 3 sessions covered , I put in another 18 to bring up 70M for the week. I had intended it to be 23 so that I would hit 75M, but I had to work a bit later than I’d planned on Thursday (and then had a quartet rehearsal in the evening) so my easy 5M run was binned. Still, it’s good to hit 70M again, and 75M will happen next week – it’s starting to feel like the mileage target will which always elude me!

The other key thing I finally got around to this week was a sports massage. I used to be very good about sports massage, going at least once a fortnight, but fell out of the habit. I have now found an excellent masseur: Kelvin at The Medical at the bottom of Christmas Steps. I’m glad I didn’t read his very impressive CV until after my first session – the guy used to be a South African international in triathlon! I have another session booked in next week and I think my niggles are going to need weekly massage between now and 22 December to keep me ticking over.

It’s great to see the sponsorship continuing to come in. I know that everyone at MNDA is very pleased; I think I’m going to feature in their next newsletter!

It looks like I will have a cheering point from the Reading & West Berks branch at lock 77 on day 3. I can’t promise I’ll feel like cheering back by then, but it really brings home quite how much this means to those affected by the disease.

Fundraising boost!

1 Nov

Delighted to say that sponsorship is now just over the 50% mark after another begging email round Chambers. Hurrah!