Archive | October, 2018

Hey I’m Here But Hey You Can’t See Me aka I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again…

21 Oct

So, I started this week with tired legs. I also started it with 5 very slow miles in the dark, the wind and the pouring rain. Lovely. On Tuesday the only sensible time to run was in the morning, and I plodded 14 miles in to work: it took until mile 7 for my legs to loosen up!

Wednesday was a rest day as I had a hearing, a rehearsal and then a micro-date with T to mark 2 years since our first date.  Unfortunately the pub where we planned to go for a quick half pint was closed, so the ‘date’ was over a few seconds after it started…

Thursday was also a bit busy, but I squeezed in 8 miles with 8 X 500m in after my hearing and before my orchestra meeting.

And so to this week’s turning point: Friday’s commute to work. To cut a long story short, a driver cut across me trying to turn into a car park, and knocked me off my bike. How the driver didnt see the cyclist in a hi viz jacket who had right of way I’ll never know, because she took my number but didnt honour her promise to contact me.  It was scary and painful, but I got away with bruising and grazes, although my knees took a lot of the impact. My front wheel was bent and my confidence shaken. I had crazy plans of trying to run Friday night but commonsense prevailed.

To an extent, commonsense sense prevailed yesterday: I did 11 miles instead of 13 and reduced the quality component. It also prevailed today: my left knee began to feel tight and sore, so I bailed at 14 miles rather than grind out another 4. I’m icing it at the moment.

So, it’s not ideal. I’ve got 6 weeks to go and have to get a few more long runs and quality sessions into the next 4 weeks if I’m to run well in Valencia. But the show’s not over until the fat lady sings/the caterpillar can still become a butterfly, etc. I’m not giving up yet/now. It’s time to walk the tightrope of training as hard as I dare without breaking my body. It worked in 2013 and I am so very desperate for it to work again now.


Could It Be Pace Lift…?

14 Oct

So, I’m behind with blogging after a busy fortnight!

Last week started with a rest day, and I actually didn’t get to run until Tuesday evening as I was in Plymouth, which meant an early enough start as it was (the 6.34am train to Bristol, as it happens).  I did 9 miles that evening and then 6 miles in the morning on Wednesday ahead of the second day of my trial.  It was lucky I did run that morning, because we finished rather late, and the 6.25 train home from Bristol meant I wasn’t home until pretty close to 9pm.  It was another 9 miles on Thursday ahead of a sports massage and then 8 miles on Friday at a fairly steady pace.  This was all part of a cut-back week, fairly well-timed because of the National Road Relays on the Saturday.  I was a reserve for the B-team, as befits my not-particularly-fit state at present, and was called up to race.  After a bit of confusion in the handover zone (I was on leg 2 and although I spotted my incoming runner, for some reason this year the marshalls didn’t tap us to tell us to run, so I wasted 5 seconds on the start line!), I was off, and ran a fairly similar time to last year.  It was about 20s/mile faster than the Prom Run, which tells you quite a lot about the weather in Weston, as Sutton Park is pretty undulating and there was a reasonable breeze to contend with.  Here I am, looking a bit pensive at the bottom of the short hill which finishes the loop:

Rather conveniently, seeing as I had a concert on Sunday evening, I only had to do 15 miles on Sunday morning.  It came out at a fairly good pace (8.12s) which is a marked improvement on long runs of late.  But I told myself not to get too excited, because it had been an easier week.

This week also started with a rest day.  I slept really badly on Monday night for some reason, and felt pretty rough on Tuesday, so I postponed my run until the evening just to check I didn’t start feeling even worse.  However, once I got running I actually felt fairly ok, and my 12 miles came out at 8.09s, which is getting towards ‘fairly fit’ pace for a medium long run (albeit my legs should have been fresh: they’d had over 48 hours to recover from the 15 I’d done on Sunday morning!).  I did 5 very steady miles on Wednesday (8.36s) and then 15 miles on Thursday, which came out at 8.03s.  This is when I started to wonder about pace-lift: the phenomenon when your fitness improves and you find that most of your key training sessions are a good chunk faster than they were 4 weeks previously.  It’s a nice, and reassuring feeling.

Just to bring me back down to earth (almost literally), Storm Callum arrived on Friday, and so my greatest achievement during that evening’s recovery run was always moving forwards, albeit at times incredibly slowly!

On Saturday it was a case of another weekend, another race: the first race in this season’s Gwent League cross-country (runners have a generally poor sense of geography: Bristol is simultaneously located in the Midlands and Gwent).  I headed over to Cardiff with some team-mates, revisiting where I’d done my last race of last year before various muscles started going ping.  I started fairly conservatively, but spent the second half of the first lap and first half of the second half overtaking people, which is always fun.  I then pretty much held my own apart from getting caught by someone with a finishing kick in the home straight.  The only annoyance about this race was that – in contrast to last year – we had a fallen tree to negotiate.  I don’t hurdle, and so I was very much in the one foot on, jump down camp, and consequently lost a few metres to people who could hurdle on both laps.  When I first compared my time this year with last year’s time I was pretty gutted, as I seemed to have run well over 2 minutes slower.  But then I discovered that in fact last year we only ran 3.5 miles, whereas this year we must have done a slightly different course, and did 3.9 miles.  My pace was almost identical, despite a stronger wind this year (Callum again…).

After an orchestra rehearsal this morning, that just left today’s long run.  It was my longest of the build up (22 miles) and my fastest (8.11m/m), which is a pretty good combo.  Were it not for the fact I live on top of one of Bristol’s many steep hills it would have been even faster: I’d got into a nice 8.05m/m rhythm on the flat after a steady few miles to warm up, and then the final climb home completely zapped my legs.  I guess yesterday’s race was in there somewhere!

But it’s been a good week’s running: 70 miles, which I think I last managed in the early part of last year, and a bit of pace lift.  I’m still not going to name a target, because I want to see how a few key sessions go over the next few weeks ahead of the taper, but with 7 weeks to go it feels like I’m in a better place than I expected.  Here’s hoping!