Archive | June, 2016

What A Difference A Week Makes

26 Jun

FB_IMG_1466926197422Needless to say, I started the week with an easy 5 mile recovery run. On Tuesday I went to my club’s open track meeting to do the 5,000m. My warm up was a bit shorter than I wanted as the race start time was pulled forward by 20 minutes at pretty short notice, and I then struggled to maintain my pace with no one to chase or work off. Still, 18.36 was a reasonable result, albeit about 15s slower than I wanted.

On Wednesday my legs were understandably a bit tight, but racing on a (hard) track in spikes tends to do that, and my legs loosened up during my 10 mile run.

Thursday was just an easy 5 miles and Friday was a rest day. Partly because I was short of time (and sleep the night before) but also ahead of the Cotswold Way Relay the next day, to let my legs freshen up.

And so to the race: it went pretty well, in that I didn’t get lost,  and my time of 1h25 was enticingly close to the course record of 1h24. I won a bottle of champagne for my efforts!

However, my allergy to grass pollen left me blotchy and I gave my right calf a bit of a tweak at about 10 miles, so the last 1.5 miles were run in a bit of pain and rather gingerly. It is a bit better today, although still sore and tight, so I think it is probably a slight tear. A few days in the gym beckon and then I will assess if a return to running is sensible/possible. So, today sees me a bit frustrated but hoping this is a blip not a major setback, with my 12 week Chicago build up due to start in just 3 weeks’ time…


Blotches and frozen peas: post race recovery!



If At First You Don’t Succeed

20 Jun

A day late, because the weekend was so busy, but here goes:

In a radical change from usual weeks… No, scrap that, I did 5 miles easy on Monday!

Tuesday was a bit more fun as I did a recce of my Cotswold Way Relay leg with 2 club mates who are doing the same leg as me for their teams. The great news is that we only got lost once. The less good news is that we took a short cut, leaving out about 1 mile, so we will have to go back to check out the part where we went wrong on race day. And pray that there is no further rain, given yesterday’s downpours, as the route was already pretty muddy when we ran it!

Here is the profile of the stage:


Just in case you didn’t realise, the Cotswolds are hilly.  And yes, there are two difficult descents for me to try to conquer!

Wednesday was 10 miles steady after work. I was pleased that although my calves were a bit tight from running uphill on Tuesday evening, the legs otherwise felt pretty ok. Although I had taken the downhills pretty gingerly…

Thursday I made it along to my club session: 3 x 1 mile fast and then 10 x 30 seconds sprint. Suffice it to say I was fine with the miles but the 30s sprints were not my forte!

Friday was my rest day ahead of a full-on weekend: 5 miles early doors on Saturday; then a fair few hours interviewing wannabe trainee barristers (actually pretty good fun, but hard work, taking a lot of concentration), then a bit of violin practice. Sunday saw 15 miles run, 5 hours of reading for work and then the small question of playing in an opera in the evening. We were supposed to be playing outside, but the weather conspired against us, and, with a torrential downpour drumming gently in the background, we performed Rossini’s Cenerentola inside (if you’re thinking Cenerentola sounds suspiciously like Cinderella, you are not far wrong. Come along to Arnos Vale this Saturday or the Winterbourne Mediaeval Barn on Sunday 10th July to hear it!).


12 Jun

On Monday I saw the physio again for a check-up. She’s pleased with how things are going and I have some new glute exercises. They are definitely making my glutes work harder than the old (easier) ones, as I now have sore glutes again! I am sure this is a good thing really, and I will soon no longer run in a half-arsed fashion, and will be eternally grateful.  As is entirely unsurprising, I also did 5 miles easy on Monday.

On Tuesday I escaped from work early enough to get to my club’s speedwork session. It was a pyramid of 2 x 1 min fast, 2 x 2 mins fast, 2 x 4 mins fast, 2 x 2 mins fast and then 2 x 1 min fast, with short breaks between each bit of fast running. I can always tell I’m a long distance specialist in these sessions, because I finish nearer the front of the group in the 4 minute reps, but nearer the back in the 1 minute reps. I just don’t have that top end speed!

Wednesday was a rest day because I had an early start and then an orchestra rehearsal in the evening.  And my legs were quite tired!

Thursday was 9 miles plodded after work, feeling pretty lethargic after a long day in court without enough water to drink. This is one of the most common ways in which work and running clash – it’s very hard to drink enough water when you’re dashing around and focused on the task in hand.  I squeezed my 5 mile in early on Friday because I had a bit of reading to get done: it’s rare for me to be up at 5.30, out of the door at 6.15 (having done my core and glute exercises) and back in time for breakfast by 7am. Bleurgh.

Saturday was parkrun day. You know I mentioned that the Ashton Court Park run course is quite tough? Well, there is a tougher version, known as the B course (hence my slightly inaccurate acronym for today’s blog: ABC or Ashton [Court] B Course). In this version, we run the steep part of the Hill of Difficulty, turn around and run back down, do a short flattish loop and then run the steep part of the Hill of Difficulty again. It’s horrible, as it’s hard to save enough for the second ascent. I thought I had, but my quads were screaming and it was the closest I’ve ever come to wanting to walk in a parkrun. And I was about a minute slower than my best time on the A course: partly the course, partly my pacing and partly my enthusiasm disappearing! Still, I guess it was good training for the hilly Cotswold Way Relay which is now only a fortnight away. This photo of me (perhaps looking slightly deranged!) came from Saturday. I’ve just done the hill for the first time and am on the flat loop.  The good news is I’m only doing something slightly odd with my left hand, whereas usually I appear to be hitch-hiking.  And my left foot seems to be going behind me pretty much directly, which is an improvement in my running form.  Thank god that tedious strength work is making a difference!:


Today was 15M on tired legs and in humid conditions. It wasn’t my finest 2 hours, but it was a long run chalked up to bring up 55M for the week including two sessions, so good progress.  Away from running it hasn’t been the easiest week, and so it’s nice to have running to clear the mind.

Points Means Prizes

5 Jun

Monday means 5 miles steady, although this week that meant seeing how trashed my quads were from the mountains. The answer was very! Tuesday was a rest day, as I had a fair bit to get done at work and a string sextet rehearsal in the evening.

I then had a busy 3 days: 12 hilly miles on Wednesday  (with one eye on the Cotswold Way Relay which is coming up in 3 weeks’ time. The Cotswolds are not flat!). Thursday I made it along to my club for a speed session for the first time since my aborted marathon training campaign. Although my speed is still coming back, it was nice to see my running friends again and push myself a bit harder. Friday morning saw an unorthodox recovery session: doing my 15 mile long run!

This was because I knew Saturday would be hectic: I had time for a 5 mile run before 6 hours in work interviewing wannabe trainee barristers. There was just time to get up to Clifton to play in my string sextet concert. Then home to collapse ahead of reading papers for Monday.

Just to round the week off, it was another 6am start to catch the team coach to Rugby for match 2 in the Midlands Athletics League. Although my 3,000m time (10.55) was slower than I wanted, I was once again in no-man’s land between 3 faster athletes and the rest of the pack.

The other week I mentioned how occasionally I get roped into a comedy turn in the 4 X 400m relay. Today was that day, after another runner felt unwell. Sometimes you just have to roll your sleeves up and give it a go, especially when a race is 41.8 km shorter than your specialist distance, and most of the other teams are made up of runners who are about half your age. For me, 77.6 is fast over 400m. For sprinters that’s a jog! Still, we finished 4th (there are 6 teams in the league) which means valuable points, and team events are about points. My legs were pretty tight at the end!

Think I’ll end up on 55M for the week, too, which is the lower end of marathon mileage, and included 2 reasonable length runs and 2 speedier days. It’s all going in the right direction 🙂