Archive | May, 2016

Memories…

30 May

A day late, but the (nearly) weekly blogging continues.

In typical fashion, Monday was an easy 5 miles.

I did manage to make it to Bristol & West’s Open meeting on Tuesday and toed the line in the 3,000m. It was actually quite cool by 9.20pm. I figured that in a mixed race I would probably be the slowest or at least one of the slowest runners, and so it proved to be. Still, I paced this one pretty much to perfection, if I say so myself, with (I think) all of my laps being somewhere around 86/87s. It’s a pity (seeing my finishing time of 10.50.4) that I didn’t muster whatever passes for a sprint finish where I am concerned, but it was so nice to run feeling in control and strong, rather than wondering how I was going to finish the next 5 laps, as was the case in Yate! The next league fixture is in Rugby this coming Sunday, so hopefully there’ll be someone near my pace who I can work off to drag myself close to or under that elusive 10.45 barrier.

The rest of the working week was fairly normal, although I got most of my miles in by Saturday morning to allow for some walking in the Lakes on Sunday, hence 5 on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, 15 on Friday and 12 on Saturday (it was a pity work meant I had to rest on Thursday, really!). I squeezed in 6 on Sunday morning to get down to Ennerdale Water and then spent a happy 8 hours in the peaks around Buttermere.

As for the title of this blog post, it was, of course, in the Lakes that I tore my calf in 2013.  I hadn’t been up a mountain since, and so there was a fair bit of trepidation before the day’s walking and a lot of elation afterwards (and aches and pains – my glutes are definitely taking some of the work now, thanks to all that strength and conditioning work!).

P1000618 P1000624 P1000575 P1000574

A handful of gratuitous shots just to share the beauty of the Lakes. It may take a heck of a long time to get there in bad traffic, but it’s certainly worth it once you’re there.

 

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I’m Not The Kind Of Girl Who Gives Up Just Like That

22 May

Well, the blog is certainly turning into a weekly occurrence at the moment: we shall have to see if that continues!

Another unremarkable start to the week, with steady 5 mile runs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The end of the week was a bit busier, with 10 miles on Friday, 10 on Saturday, including a return to Ashton Court parkrun, and 15 today. All in all, a pleasing week, with the following probably being my main happy headlines:
1. 50 miles for the week. That almost feels like proper mileage again!
2. Every run averaged under 8 mins/mile, which is unusual for me. I’m guessing it will be a combination of the fact I’m running fewer miles, so that my legs are a bit fresher and can manage faster paces more easily, but also hopefully 4 weeks of core and glute work starting to gradually improve my form and running economy.
3. I rectified last week’s oversight in only equalling my parkrun course best by running 19.43, a 9s improvement. I think 5 seconds were saved on the ascent and 4 on the descent, which proves what I’ve always suspected, namely that I’m not good at running downhill!
4. Today’s 15 miler was my longest post-injury. The first 11 or 12 miles were in nice running conditions: sunny and mild but not humid, and with little breeze. Then it started to rain a little bit. Then it started to absolutely tip it down: I was wearing glasses not contact lenses and so could barely see at times, but decided to keep going (albeit a little cautiously!) as my leg muscles were starting to seize up. I wasn’t expecting to be craving a large bowl of porridge at the end of my run when I set out, but it was definitely on the menu by the time I had finished!

With a bit of luck I will make it to my club’s open track meeting on Tuesday and give the 3,000m a go.  It would be nice to get under 11, and maybe even close to my pb (10.46).  I always hope that the descent at Ashton Court is good for leg turnover speed, which hopefully helps with track.

Moving On Up

15 May

A fair summary of this week would be mildly encouraging. For the detail, read on!

I started the week with a visit to the physio on Monday (well, from a running perspective it really started with a steady 5 miles around the Downs, but that’s a minor detail). Her overall verdict was that things are going in the right direction, and more specifically my wonky knee is now less wonky, and is beginning to face forwards instead of facing towards the other leg. The tedious hours of glute and core work are starting to pay off! I’ve got some new exercises to add to my routine: this doesn’t make the routine any more interesting, but they will hopefully add to the improvements I’ve already seen. It’s a sign of progress that I don’t have to go back for 4 weeks unless there are problems in the meantime!

Apart from the fact it was a fairly busy week work-wise, things ticked over fairly nicely. I therefore decided it was time to return to Ashton Court parkrun. Parkrun (and more specifically parkrunning in the Bristol area) has been in the news rather a lot recently. I may not go to parkrun very often, but I think it’s a great idea, and I’ve been parkrunning on and off since 2009, when the nearest run was in Cardiff. Now there’s one much closer to home, albeit it has the mother of all hills in it (the Cardiff course is pancake flat). The Ashton Court course is something like this: 1 mile almost constantly uphill; 0.55 of a mile on the flat, but a stoney trail; turn around, and run the course in reverse. This course profile means it is perfectly possible to turn around having been running for about 11 minutes, but finish the event in under 20 minutes, as I did yesterday. Either pleasingly or frustratingly, depending on your perspective, I equalled my course pb (which is a couple of years old). I’ll clearly have to go back sooner rather than later to rectify that!

Freewheeling down the hill:

Parkrun 14.5.16

I finished my running week with an easy 12 miles before today’s rehearsal. It was a gloriously sunny morning, albeit it was pretty chilly at first. It reminded me that running has so many purposes: yes, it’s great to run fast, and set PBs. But sometimes, it’s lovely just to get out there, bimble along, and come home feeling refreshed and relaxed, ready to face the world, or more specifically Mendelssohn.

45 miles for the week, so my mileage is now back above marathon taper levels! I may try 50 miles next week, but then it’s time to start adding a bit of quality before I increase the volume: this is, after all, intended to be the Summer of Speed 🙂

Round, like a circle in a spiral…

8 May

So, what difference has a fortnight made?

I’ve been pretty good about doing my core and glute exercises and have managed 4 runs last week and 5 this (a grand total of 40 miles this week – even less than I’d do whilst tapering in marathon training!).

In an effort to do my bit for my club and blow the cobwebs away, I toed the line in the Midland Track & Field League today. 3000m is never really my distance (unless there’s a 39.2km warm-up), but it’s the furthest distance on offer for the ladies, so it’s what I usually opt for, although when desperate times call for desperate measures I have been known to fill in the 4 x 400m relay. It is never a pretty sight.

I knew I wouldn’t be in pb shape after effectively 5 weeks of reduced training (3 weeks of tapering and then 2 weeks post-injury), and in the last 3.5 weeks I hadn’t done any proper fast running (the last running I’d done which could have been described as fast was 2 miles at planned marathon pace the Wednesday before my aborted marathon), plus I had taken my end of season break quite seriously, i.e. eaten lots of nice food and drunk more beer and cider than I normally would, particularly as I was on holiday for the week after the marathon. I certainly needed a break emotionally!

Anyway, back to Yate (amateur athletics is really glamorous!)… The lack of running meant that my legs felt remarkably fresh for about 2 laps, and I shot through the first 400m in 82s, when I’d intended something more like 86-88. I then gradually slowed down as the heat (25 degrees – where did that come from? And a 2.30pm start time did not help!) and wind took their toll. The wind really hit as I came off the back straight onto the bend. First time we were obviously in a pack, and even second time there was some shelter, but after that I was on my own, effectively time-trialling in no-man’s land between 2nd (too far ahead) and 4th (safely behind). Still, although the time (11.07) was nothing to write home about, it was lovely to be racing again and catch up with clubmates. It hopefully means that a season’s best, even if not an outright pb, will be easy to come by next time!

The plan is to do about 8 weeks of shorter races (track and up to 10k on the road) and then a 12 week block for the Chicago marathon in the autumn. It’s a bit different to what I’ve typically done (I usually do an 18 week marathon specific block) but I think an experiment is in order to see if a slightly different approach reaps rewards. Plus, having not raced a marathon, my legs are fresh enough to allow me to do more speedwork at this point in the season than I normally would.

Oh, and the plan is to start blogging again. Not necessarily every week, as I did when ultra training, but certainly more than a catch-up every 6 months. Mostly for me, to see how the experiment turns out, but if anyone wants to follow my trials and tribulations, you’re welcome.