Archive | December, 2016

Had Myself a Merry Little Christmas

26 Dec

One day late with the blog, but yesterday was a day to be spent with others, not transfixed by a mobile phone or tablet. Anyway, last week in general:

Week 1 was pretty much bang on schedule. 5 miles easy on Monday, 9 miles steady on Tuesday and 5 miles easy with a sports massage afterwards on Wednesday.

I did my session (faster running) on Thursday and combined this with the Weston Prom Run, a 5 mile race just down the road in Weston-super-Mare. As the name suggests, it’s on the seafront and so you are at the mercy of the elements. On Thursday, however, the weather was kind and it was mild for the time of year and – more importantly – pretty still! I was supposed to do 4 miles at half marathon pace and ended up with 5 miles at 6.07s, which is a little faster than half marathon pace, but felt about right. I was first lady, so won a bottle of wine for my efforts, and finally scored some points for Bristol & West in the team event (I’d had to miss the October and November races due to work).

In an effort to not be too antisocial on Christmas Day itself I did my long run (15 miles) on Friday. The weather forecast was pretty grim for the afternoon so I forced myself out after breakfast on very tired legs. Storm Barbara was on her way and I could feel the wind picking up with each lap of the Downs: at least once I was pretty much stopped in my tracks so I dread to think what it was like later on, when I was safely tucked up inside with a book and a pot of tea!

Saturday was a rest day and then on Sunday ¬†(Christmas Day itself) I did 9 steady miles out and back along the canal. 5 years ago I had covered those last few miles on shattered and battered legs, so if mine felt a little tired yesterday from the tempo run + long run combo they’d undertaken earlier in the week that was nothing, really.

Oh, and Christmas Day itself? A lovely relaxed day: resting and being thankful.



It’s Starting To Feel A Bit Like…

18 Dec

… marathon training time ūüėČ

Seriously, the London Marathon is 18 weeks today, which means that P&D’s 18 week schedule (55-70 miles per week) is back in¬†my life as of tomorrow.¬† The 10 weeks since Chicago have just flown by!

This week has been the final week of recovering and getting ready to train again, and I did the same mileage I have to do next week, although there are different sessions (fast running bits) to be done next week:

5 mile recovery run on Monday.  My legs felt pretty sore and tight from my race the day before, and so the pace was none too impressive.

9 miles including 4 x 0.94M on Tuesday at my club session.  Although my legs were still a little sore and tight, I was able to build the pace of the repetitions through the session, starting with a fairly steady 6.02 for the 0.94M and finishing with 5.36.  As for the distance: well, the length of the road chose it for us!  Our usual training ground was out of bounds due to being excessively muddy, so we had to find a bit of road to train on instead.

5 mile recovery run on Wednesday.¬† My legs were once again a bit sore and tight, although the pace¬†wasn’t quite as slow as on Monday.¬† Thursday was 9 miles over a fairly hilly route (about 700ft of climbing, according to the Garmin website), so the pace wasn’t great but it was definitely good for¬†leg strength.¬† Plus getting used to hills is no bad thing during the cross country season!¬† Friday was a rest day.

Saturday – after a bit too much wine en famille the night before – was 11 miles including some strides.

After a lovely lazy morning, 15 miles today (at a not very impressive 8.14m/m) to bring up 54M for the week.  Yes, you read that right: the 55-70 miles per week schedule starts with 54 miles.  Controversial!

Oh, and I’m about to put up the decorations.¬† 1 week to go, so it is also starting to feel a bit like Christmas:


A Fine Vintage?

11 Dec

This week was very hectic from a work and life perspective: I was in Swindon on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, Bristol on Wednesday and Dudley on Thursday (yeah, if you think being a barrister is glamorous, think again: the travel opportunities really are that great).¬† Tucked around this I had a concert on Tuesday evening, book club on Wednesday and my Chambers’ Christmas party on Friday.¬† Somehow I managed to squeeze around this:

6 miles on Monday evening: I had the plods pretty badly and so this was not great, but it was done!

10 miles on Wednesday morning: my legs felt quite a bit better, although it took quite a while to get going…

10 miles including most of my club’s session on Thursday evening: it was nice to get my legs turning over at 6m/m again.¬† It has certainly been a while since I’ve managed that sort of speed!¬† 4 miles of quality in total, although cut into nice manageable 2 minute chunks.

3.5 miles on Friday morning, starting at 6.30am.¬† I’m not at my best at 6.30am.¬† My morning cup of coffee had not woken me up very much and my legs were really sore and tight from the session last night.¬† Urgh.

12.5 miles on Saturday morning.¬† It was supposed to be 15 miles, but my legs were still feeling a bit rubbish and I was slightly the worse for wear after the party the night before, although I’d have sworn blind I wasn’t drunk.¬† And that I was old enough to know better!

10 miles today, including the Avon cross country championships.¬† They are run together with the Somerset and Wiltshire championships, because county champs don’t tend to attract that many entries these days, so having a combined championship helps give you a few more people to race against.¬† It does make it a bit difficult to know exactly where you are in your own county’s race, but I think it’s a pretty sensible trade off.¬† Thankfully I felt much better this week than I had when racing last week, and that I had a bit more in the tank when required.¬† I couldn’t quite catch the 3 fastest girls, but was 4th overall and (I think) 2nd in the Avon champs, although a new rule meant that those of us classified as veterans aren’t eligible for overall prizes, but are restricted to age group prizes.¬† Still, I was fastest FV35 (female veteran over 35), and have some new bling:


The Best Laid Plans…

4 Dec

At the start of this week, I had plans. ¬†Big plans. ¬†Good plans. ¬†I was going to do my club’s 5k race on Tuesday to sharpen up for the cross-country race I was doing on Saturday. ¬†I was going to take a step up in fitness, as last week had been mostly easy running. ¬†It was going to be great.

Life had other plans. ¬†I say life, when I really mean work. ¬†As my clubmates toed the (freezing) startline on Tuesday evening, I was sat at my desk, typing an urgent document for my hearing the next morning. ¬†Thankfully, anticipating a bad day, I’d done a precautionary easy run that morning (after a rest day on Monday), but it meant the week got off to a disappointing start. ¬†Wednesday was a long, stressful day, and so although I threw some strides into my run to try and remind my legs what running above easy pace felt like (a) strides do not replace a tough workout and (b) any sort of run when tired and dehydrated is not the best. ¬†Heigh ho.

Thursday evening I went ran along the Portway, into the freezing fog, turned around, ran back out of the freezing fog, and then had the horrible sensation of now wet gloves starting to freeze.  Safe to say it is not a sensation I wish to repeat, nor would I recommend it!

Friday morning was a gentle steady run before work, and then I had a massage in the evening. ¬†It wasn’t ideal having the massage the day before a race, but I still seem to need a little bit of evening-up at the moment, so better a massage at a not perfect time than no massage.

I didn’t sleep particularly well Friday night, as I was trying to plan when to get my work done over the weekend and generally fretting a bit too much. ¬†It’s therefore fair to say that I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for racing, and that lack of focus, tiredness and missed faster training caught up with me (together with a technical course that I just cannot master: I was giving away 10-15m on each of the descents, which is not good!), and having finished 9th in the previous cross-country league race, I had to settle for 24th, just making the cut as 5th scorer for our A team (feel free to whistle the A-Team theme tune now, if you wish). ¬†Still, sometimes it’s not about individual glory (feel free to say “there is no “I” in team”, if such motivational quotes tickle your fancy), and this was about doing my bit for the club to hopefully help us retain our league title. ¬†Thankfully, the photos my team-mate took are far more flattering than the reality of the race, so something went right!


Today was a complete contrast: absolutely exhausted, I slept deeply last night and for something like 8 or 9 hours (which is a lot for me), and woke up feeling a bit more human.  It was a beautiful clear morning, with frost still on the ground but bright blue skies, and as I ran around the Downs the Suspension Bridge looked particularly spectacular each time it came into view.  After about 8 miles I bumped into one of the coaches from Bristol & West who joined me for the next 5 or 6 miles before I peeled off to run home.  15 miles done at a smidge under 8m/m.  51 miles for the week.