Archive | September, 2017

Another Relay Good(ish!) Time

25 Sep

Monday was a long day at work, so although I’d normally prefer to do an easy recovery run the day after a race, I took it as a rest day and just did some careful stretching in the evening when I eventually got home (something like 9pm – bleurgh!).  On Tuesday I was able to get a 7 mile run done first thing, and although the 6am alarm now means getting up in the dark, the early starts do mean I’m treated to some beautiful sunrises, and Tuesday was no exception.  My legs felt reasonably ok on a route which had a few lumps and bumps in it (read: hills), so I was reassured that perhaps the Bristol Half had been at something around marathon pace effort.  Certainly if it had been flat out I would still have had very stiff, creaky legs 48 hours afterwards, and the DOMS really wasn’t too bad.  I got another 7 mile morning run done on Wednesday, despite another late finish at work on Tuesday (I think I was home by 8.30pm, so improving), and although conditions were a bit more overcast, the pace was better than Tuesday.

I probably should have got up nice and early on Thursday, but Wednesday had been a slightly late night, which had meant a very long day.  I squeezed a gentle 5 miles in that evening after work and another 5 miles in Friday lunchtime, taking advantage of not being in court.

On Saturday we had the Midlands Road Relays.  In the autumn ladies get to race over all of 4.3km, which is too short for my tastes, but every race is a useful tempo run at the moment: I’m determined to be in reasonable shape by the end of November to give myself the best chance of a good spring marathon campaign!  Facebook had reminded me that 2 years ago I’d been a late call-up to the A-team (*whistles*) and we had won silver medals somewhat against the odds.  My fitness this year was a bit too hit and miss for me to make the A-team, who won bronze medals somewhat against the odds, and so I had to settle for running the first leg for the B-team (and running the 4th fastest leg by a Bristol & West lady that day: let the legs do the talking!).  Although my time was 39s slower than my fastest for that course, that still shows that the fitness continues to return.  I should probably add the caveat that my short distance times are always a bit unpredictable as my training just isn’t geared towards them, hence my 5km and 10km paces are almost identical, so I don’t read as much into a reasonable 4.3km run as I would a reasonable 10km or half marathon run.

T and I went out for dinner on Saturday once I was back (I think I set a personal best for showering, drying my hair, putting on smart clothes and a bit of make up) as one of our favourite Chinese restaurants was closing its doors on Sunday.  We ate far too much, so I decided to run on Sunday afternoon not Sunday morning as I was still feeling pretty stuffed.  However, I think I went a bit too far the other way in terms of fuelling and didn’t eat enough during the day to top up my glycogen levels, so that the last 4 or 5 miles were pretty unpleasant during my long run.  Still, better a slightly grotty long run than no long run, and I was pleased to clock another 50 mile week.  I haven’t managed a run of 5 consecutive weeks of 50 miles for months: certainly not since the London marathon and probably a bit before then, as I think the injury struck at just the wrong time.  Fingers crossed it shows I really have turned a corner now, and have both the physical strength and the mental hunger to improve again!


On The Road Again!

17 Sep

On Monday I squeezed 5 miles in between a meeting and dinner. My legs felt ok after my long run, but still a little tight. On Tuesday I went to my club session. It was short stuff: 8 × (500m + 60 seconds + 300m + 90 seconds). At my fittest I’d be well below 5.45m/m for that. 6.10s was my average this week! It’s fair to say the weather wasn’t great: rainy and windy, and getting worse through the session. Running home was hard work! Apparently Avonmouth, just along the river, had gusts of 70 mph that night. I can well believe it!

Wednesday was as good a day as any to take my rest day, as I had a full day in court, reading to do for Thursday and then an orchestra meeting to squeeze in. I managed 8 miles on Thursday evening and 7 on Friday morning before heading off to the airport to go to Scotland and see my sister. T had been at a conference and so for him it was a good way to kill two birds with one stone. For me, not so much! After a lovely 24 hours it was time to head back south. Unfortunately all of the afternoon and evening flights were full, so we were on the train. Even more unfortunately there were severe delays due to a fatality, so after 8 hours we arrived back at 9pm. Just time for a soothing cup of tea before bed.

I was up at 6.30 for breakfast ahead of  the Bristol Half. Race predictors suggested something between 1.27.45 and 1.29.30 based on my Cardiff 10km time, so 1.27.55 was the good side of that bracket. It’s still only this spring’s marathon pace, and 27s/mile slower than half marathon pb pace, but I’m still in the phase of having to accept that my race times are going to sound slow relative to my best years. Fitness is hard won and easily lost, but each week sees a bit more fitness regained. I’ll take the next 5 days steadily ahead of the Midlands Road Relays next weekend. Let’s see if I can edge a few seconds per mile closer to best pace again!

Patience Must Be The Charm / To Heal Me Of My Woe

10 Sep

I guess the headline this week is consolidation, rather than a gigantic leap forward in fitness.

On Monday I ran 5 miles home from work.  It’s net uphill, although I did chuckle to myself running up the steepest hill, as I could tell someone was trying to keep up with me, and ultimately failed.  It’s on uphills that my power to weight ratio comes into its own.  Perhaps I should race on the continent: they have uphill only mountain races!  I ran back into work on Tuesday, just squeezing my 5 miles in between 2 rather heavy periods of rain.  I was in Yeovil on Wednesday, which took up pretty much all of the day once travel was factored in, plus I had to do some urgent work arising from the hearing, so that was my rest day.  Plus by Wednesday I’d run 8 days in a row, which was enough.

On Thursday I went to my club session.  We were doing long loops on the road (just over 2km, 3 times), and although they were undulating I had hoped to be slightly better than I managed: I ran the same pace as I’d managed in the race on Sunday, when I thought that my legs had recovered ok and I should be able to at least squeeze back under 6.30m/m.  But I guess fitness takes time to come back.  Softly, softly, catchee monkey and all that.  I suppose I was also just a bit tired, and so I hoped to sleep like a log. However, it took me ages to drop off and then someone’s sodding car alarm was going off.  Again, and again, and again.  At some point I did manage to ignore it and get to sleep, but it was still going the next morning when my alarm clock woke me!  Thankfully I wasn’t in court on Friday, but I felt pretty sluggish, and so just did an easy 6 miles that evening before going out with T for dinner and comedy.

On Saturday I did a steady 9 miles (actually slower than the 6 miles the previous day: go figure!) and then today it was 16 miles again.  I was a tiny bit faster than last week, and managed a total of 50 miles for the week again.  At the risk of tempting fate/jinxing everything/whatever other ominous phrase you wish to pick, I’ve managed 3 consecutive weeks of 50 miles a few times this summer, and then something has gone wrong the following week.  But do you know what: I’m pretty sure that won’t happen this time.  I’m trying really hard to be sensible, and to push without exceeding the limits.  Fingers crossed, this time next week it’ll be another cautiously optimistic blogpost.

What A Difference A Week Makes!

3 Sep

Monday was a rest day, so T and I took advantage of a beautiful sunny August Bank Holiday to pop over to Chepstow and walk out to Tintern and back. It was about 13 miles in total and surprisingly quiet on the Wye Valley Way. Perhaps the hills put people off!

On Tuesday I did 6 miles steady. I could still feel my legs were a bit stiff from the race and walk. Wednesday was 8 miles on a fairly tough route: up one side of the Avon Gorge and back down the other! But it was a beautiful day and the views were stunning. Thursday was an easy 5 miles. I had hoped to do my long run as I was racing on Sunday but there wasn’t time, so I did my long run on Friday afternoon instead. 16 miles at a reasonable pace (8.10s). I then did a very slow 5 miles on Saturday to loosen my tired legs a little.

Today was the Cardiff 10k. My reset targets, taking account of my inconsistent training, were for sub 41 come hell or high water and ideally sub 40. Conditions weren’t too bad: a light breeze and some drizzle, but with heavy rain and 14mph winds predicted, they were much better than I feared. I’d stayed with a clubmate who’s now living in Cardiff and although she wasn’t racing, her husband was, and Helen was our super-supporter. The short version was that my chip time was 40.25 and I ran an even race. So, still slower than marathon pb pace, but 7s/mile faster than last week’s 5km (although much cooler, and with people to chase, which definitely helped!), so all going in the right direction. I don’t think I’ll keep improving that much, but perhaps my half marathons won’t be quite as slow as I feared!