Archive | October, 2017

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

29 Oct

Monday was once again a rest day. T and I kicked off a week of culture by going to see Loving Vincent at the cinema in the evening instead.

On Tuesday I did 6 miles easy. My legs felt pretty ok considering I’d raced only 2 days before. I did 8 miles on Wednesday which felt slightly harder work, but that was probably just a question of perception: I’d expected to be sore on Tuesday but hoped Wednesday would be fine after Tuesday’s run!

On Thursday I had a meeting after work and so just had time to squeeze in 6 miles before heading off to T’s for dinner. He certainly knows that the way to a runner’s heart is through her stomach!

On Friday I repeated the workout of 6 X 1km I’d done last week. I was a whole 1 second faster on each km, but at least 3.54s make 39 minutes flat if sustained over 10km. That may still be a lot slower than pb pace, but it’s a lot better than I managed in early September! T and I then continued our culture binge with The Death Of Stalin.

Saturday morning was a late, lazy start, before heading off for Heartstart training. It was organised by my home parkrun to help marshalls acquire/refresh basic first aid skills so that we’re more use in those anxious minutes before an ambulance arrives in the event the very worst should happen. We also got to have a look at the defibrillator. Just in case.

I spent the afternoon working before finishing the Week of Culture by going to see The Ice Road. It’s based in Leningrad during the siege in the second world war and was a thought provoking piece. Aftwrwards  we changed mood by then popping over the road to see the cats at my favourite pub and then a mountain of curry.

This was more than sufficient fuel for today’s 18 mile run, which brought up 55 miles for the week. I rounded things off with 4 hours of rehearsing and a bit more work. A busy, fun and thought-provoking week.


The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind

22 Oct

Monday seems to be my default rest day at the moment and this week was no different. I ran 6 easy miles Tuesday morning and then did a light session on Wednesday to get my legs turning over ahead of this weekend’s race: 10 miles with 6 X 1km with 2 minutes jog recoveries. I averaged 3.55 for the efforts, and felt pretty strong.

Just to show that things are never simple, my 10 mile run on Thursday was vile. I felt tired, it was windy and the pace was a dispiriting 8.36m/m. Bleurgh.

On Friday I did 8 miles at a much better 8.14m/m. What a difference a day makes!

Saturday morning and Storm Brian had arrived. I battled through 6 miles, very conscious that the 20mph winds we had in Bristol were similar to those forecast for Portsmouth the next day. Hmm. Still, midweek the forecast was 45mph winds, so 20mph was an improvement!

And so to today. My Cardiff time suggested 65.30 should be possible, so on the basis I’m hopefully getting fitter, in still conditions I’d hoped for 65 dead. My revised target was to lose no more than a minute to the wind. I felt ok warming up, but it was pretty windy, so I knew that the first mile would be a bit tough and the last 2 – with the field spread out – would be very tough. So it proved! I was on track for 65.30 at 8 miles, but lost 25s battling the headwind. Still, I felt strong throughput and it was a good workout. Now for a little break from racing as music becomes the short term focus. But also time for a few more fast sessions to try and get a bit more speed back! 53M for the week.

Carpe Diem

16 Oct

Last week got off to a sad start, as motor neurone disease again touched my life, albeit much less directly than in 2011-2014.  A local judge had been diagnosed earlier this year, and on Monday morning we received the sad news that she had passed away, unexpectedly quickly.  It rather put life back into perspective, and brought the question of what really matters sharply to the fore.  From a running perspective I managed a steady 5 miles, after a day spent at my desk.  My legs were pretty stiff from the training I’d done over the weekend.

On Tuesday I managed a steady 8 miles over a hilly route ahead of dinner with T.  It was definitely a week to prioritise time together.

Wednesday was a rest day, as I had a lengthy hearing followed by a rehearsal.

On Thursday I ran to work, covering 8 miles.  I really struggle to get up early in the morning at this time of year as the dark mornings come back.

On Friday morning I ran 8 miles with 8 sets of strides thrown in, to try and gently get the legs turning over.  After the run it was time to go to the valedictory speeches for the judge.  There are plenty of ways in which the legal profession can and should change, but this is the sort of thing that it does well.  It was an odd valedictory ceremony: usually they are for judges who are retiring, and they are there, chuckling along as some gentle jokes are told against them.  This time the gentle jokes were sometimes accompanied by a catch in the throat.

On Saturday we had our first cross country league match of the season.  I headed over to Cardiff with 3 of my team-mates.  I had an ok race, although I was definitely further down the pack than I would have been last season.  I was able to work my way through the pack gradually.  The sun was shining, and in the circumstances of the week, it was a day to cherish the chance to be out doing what I loved with my friends around me.  At times very literally:

After the ladies’ race we stayed on to cheer on the men’s team, and it was great watching them race their hearts out, too.  We all ended up with sore throats from screaming them on!  I just had time to shower, change and tidy myself up before going out to the theatre with T.

On Sunday morning my legs were very tired, but I had no choice but to get out for my run early in the day and do my 17 miles ahead of a rehearsal and concert that afternoon.  55 miles for the week.  2 rehearsals and 1 concert.  A fair bit of thinking.

I Remember, I Remember…

8 Oct

My legs were pretty sore on Monday, and my left quad was particularly tight.  So much for being sure that I’m running more symmetrically these days…!  I was once again pretty busy at work, and so it ended up being a rest day.  I got a steady 6 miles done on Tuesday morning at a not very impressive pace.  Wednesday was a case of squeezing in what I could in between the end of the working day and my rehearsal, so it was a fairly steady 5 miles.  I could still feel the after effects of the Cardiff Half, although the worst of the soreness had gone.  I’d say it wasn’t until Thursday that my legs felt a great deal better: I had the luxury of a day out of court and a morning out of chambers, so was able to do a sun-soaked lunchtime 8 miles at a much better pace.  Friday was back to work and after over-sleeping I had to squeeze my 7 miles in that evening ahead of another rehearsal.  Oops!

On Saturday I had a late-ish start after a friend stayed over the night before, although my hope that the weather might improve before I headed out came to nothing.  Still, the drizzle may have been annoying for glasses wearers, but it was cooling, and my 4 mile reps were relatively respectable: between last week’s half-marathon pace for the slowest 2 (slightly uphill and into a bit of a breeze) and around current 10k pace for the fastest two (slightly downhill and with a gentle tailwind).  The whole session was about 12 miles.

I could definitely feel the work in my legs this morning, but was keen to get out for my long run nonetheless, as it was a beautiful, bright day: the sort of autumn day when running is a pleasure.  I picked a fairly challenging route, with 4 big climbs in it and some other undulations, and was pleased that the 17 miles came out at 8.14m/m.  55 miles for the week.  I don’t think I’ve hit that since early April when I was tapering for the London marathon!  I think I’ve now managed 7 weeks of consistent training and I’m starting to feel the benefits in the paces I’m hitting in training.  I suspect ‘pace lift’ may be a few more weeks away, but it’s nice to feel stronger and fitter again.

A Small Step Forward…

1 Oct

My legs were pretty sore on Monday, and I took advantage of being in a productive mood to get plenty of work done, opting for a rest day. On Tuesday morning I did an easy 5 mile run. My legs were still sore and so the pace was steady. On Wednesday I did 6 miles with a few strides thrown in. Curiously this seemed to help with how my legs felt, and loosened things up nicely.

On Thursday I did 6 miles easy and the same Friday morning. To add some variety and hopefully get my legs turning over ahead of my race today, I added strides to yesterday’s 6 miler, too. My legs felt pretty good, as if they had finally got rid of the Bristol half and road relays.

And so today: the Cardiff Half. At the back of my mind I thought sub 1.27 would be nice. The weather was better than initially forecast: a few days out there had been suggestions of heavy rain and strong winds. In the end the rain was more of a Scotch mist and the wind noticeable but well short of enough to stop you in your tracks. I felt pretty strong throughout, and at around 8 or 9 miles my average pace was enough to dip under 1.27. Unfortunately my two slowest miles were miles 11 and 12, and so although I did my best in the final 1.1 miles to claw something back, I had to settle for 1.27.13. Still, that’s an improvement of about 3s/mile on Bristol 2 weeks ago, and although I think the Cardiff course is a fraction quicker than Bristol, conditions were poorer, so it shows progress. I had been well fed and was well supported by my clubmate Helen, who got this fairly flattering photo of me just before mile 10:


The plan for October is to slightly increase the mileage to about 55 per week, and hopefully then 60 per week in November so that marathon training isn’t too much of a shock when late December comes around. But next week will be steady. And after 4 races in 5 weeks, a much needed week off racing!