Archive | October, 2020

The Times They Are A Changing

25 Oct

Monday morning got off to a steady start with a 6 mile recovery run. I felt quite springy, actually, and it was a bit too fast for a recovery run. I paid the price for that, because my steady 6 mile runs on Tuesday and Wednesday were slower than Monday’s, whereas usually the recovery plod is my slowest run of the week. I’m definitely old enough and experienced enough to know better, but seeing as there are no races on the horizon it wasn’t the end of the world!

I took Thursday as my rest day because I was feeling pretty wiped out and had a sore throat. I felt a bit better by Friday, but I still opted to do a steady run that day rather than the interval session I had planned, just in case my body was fighting a cold. It was a pity I didn’t do the intervals on Friday, because on Saturday there were 20mph winds (and probably some stronger gusts), and so my 5 x 1 mile session was a bit of a grind. I was kind to myself, though, and ensured that my out-and-back session was 3 miles with the wind (most of the time) and 2 miles into the wind (most of the time). The ‘most of the time’ caveat is because there was the odd surprise tail or headwind gust when I really didn’t expect it! The times into the wind were slower than 2 weeks ago, but the times with the wind were about the same, so is was a pretty pleasing result.

Today was 18 miles on rather tired legs, although I had taken advantage of the extra hour from the clocks going back to have a lie-in whilst simultaneously still getting up at the usual time. Nice. I was kind(-ish) to them, and opted for an out-and-back on the Bristol to Bath bike path. Although it’s not pancake flat, the incline on the out is very gentle, and makes for a pleasant gentle descent on the back (which also flatters to deceive, and suggests you’ve sped up just when your legs are starting to tire). However, there was the usual sting in the tail which those who live on top of a hill have to endure, and my average pace dropped off a little as I ran the last bit home! 56 miles for the week. I’m pretty sure that’s my biggest week since March.


A Week Of Two Halves (ish)

18 Oct

Monday I woke feeling pretty grotty, and so I decided I’d take it as my rest day. The grottiness continued into the afternoon, to the extent I didn’t want to eat that evening. By Tuesday I felt a bit better, and had some plain food in the morning, before trying a gentle run at lunchtime. I still felt fairly ok, so after a plain lunch I had a normal dinner, which turned out to be a mistake, and the grottiness returned. Thankfully my 3 day hearing had gone short (finishing on the Monday), and so I was able to spend most of Wednesday flaked out, eating small meals and taking it very easy. By Thursday I felt a bit better again, but after my false dawn on Tuesday was still a bit apprehensive, so it was another day of small, plain meals, before a return to slightly more normal service (both in terms of work and training!) as the end of the week came around.

I was able to do 6 miles on Friday morning, 10 including 7 x 1 km on Saturday (paces were about 5s/km off where I wanted, but given the preceding 5 days, perhaps not the biggest surprise) and 15 lovely miles with some clubmates this Sunday. It was a real treat to trot around the harbourside, along the Avon Gorge, up through Leigh Woods and back down through Ashton Court, admiring the beautiful autumnal leaves in their full glory. T and I had also gone for a walk on Saturday afternoon, doing a loop of local nature reserves which my club had suggested people do as a virtual race. The main benefit of walking rather than running is that you can stop to explore and take in the views, which ruins a racer’s finish time!

I’d intended to take my cut-back week next week, but sometimes you have to be realistic that things need to be swapped around, and so my (slightly more drastic than planned) cut-back week was this week, and hopefully I can manage better miles and better paces next week!

Oh, and the best bit of the week was a lovely (homemade) dinner with T to celebrate 4 years together. Thank goodness the grottiness had passed in time for that!

Back In The Groove

11 Oct

My working week started with 2 reading days, although because I had several thousand pages to read in those 2 days, they were hardly a relaxing return to work. My running week started with 6 steady miles. On Tuesday morning I squeezed in 9 miles ahead of many more pages to read. On Wednesday I did another easy 6 miles and then took a rest day on Thursday, as I had pre-hearing discussions at 8.45am, and I was too lazy to run early enough to be back in time for those! Plus, having done strength and conditioning on Wednesday, I quite fancied as easier start. I did go for a cycle ride later on to drop empty cat food sachets to our local recycling point.

I had intended to do my faster running on Friday morning, as I had another reading day (a different 1,150 pages to be read this time), but for some reason felt really fatigued, and so decided it was better to do another steady run and leave the faster running until the weekend.

That turned out to be a good decision. I guess my legs were nice and fresh (having done my long run on Saturday the week before) and my 4 x 1 mile was the fastest I’d managed mile repeats in a long time. Now, as has so often been the case over the last few years, there are several ways of looking at the times I ran (around 6.40 per mile): the first is to view it as pretty depressing that I used to be able to run 26.2 miles continuously at that pace; the second is that it’s well below 3 hour marathon pace, and so if that is now half-marathon pace, I’m at least well on the way to being in sub 3 shape again, and I can then take things from there. I’m opting for the latter point of view. And frankly, seeing as my next scheduled race is the London Marathon in October 2021, I have plenty of time to take things from there!

I followed up that run with a lovely 17 miler today. Sunny autumn days are just about the nicest running conditions there are: the summer heat has gone, so that you can do a few hours’ running without needing to take water with you, but it’s still mild enough that you can be in shorts and t-shirt, and the Avon Gorge always looks particularly beautiful with the leaves on the trees turning yellow, orange, red and brown. The pace was better than I’ve managed of late (8.08m/m), and all in all it was a lovely start to the day. 54 miles for the week.

Blogposts Are Like Buses…

4 Oct

… none for ages, and then 2 almost simultaneously!

As I said in the last blogpost, I had this week off work, and generally used it to catch up on life admin and relax. I probably did a little too much of the latter and not quite enough of the former, but I finally feel more refreshed and rejuvenated than I had for a good long while.

I started my week off with 5 miles on Monday, including a circuits session with 5 clubmates. I felt pretty bleary eyed and sluggish as I jogged over to the park, but a lot more alert on the way back, and having not been able to go to club training for a few weeks it was nice to catch up with running friends again. On Tuesday, I ran 9 miles steady, with a 6 mile recovery run on Wednesday. By Thursday I was ready for something a bit faster, if not rather overdue: what with being away for work a fortnight ago and then last week being rather civil partnership ceremony focussed, I hadn’t done anything fast bar some strides and hill sprints for a few weeks. So I broke myself back in with 3 x 1 mile with a 3 minute jog in between each one. The first mile was a bit ploddy, but the second was almost reasonable and the third just about where I’d hope to be (for my current fitness). I almost added a fourth mile, but decided it was better not to be greedy at this stage, especially after a short break from proper workouts. It’s also fair to say that with proper racing still a rather distant prospect (the Valencia marathon has fallen by the wayside for mere mortals, too), training is more about building a decent base of aerobic fitness and muscular strength at the moment rather than aiming to be super-speedy. Or even slightly speedy, relative to old standards! I had a sports massage that afternoon and things seem to be fairly symmetrical, although as always there are a few niggles on one side which aren’t on the other, and vice versa.

Friday was a rest day, after 8 days without one, ahead of my long run on Saturday. I wanted to leave only a recovery run to do on Sunday so that I could watch most of the elite marathon races! Although the forecast for Saturday wasn’t great, it was actually drier and milder than I’d feared, and I ended up not really needing the rain jacket I’d put on. 16 miles nice and steady done and dusted.

Sunday was a different story, and I was doubly relieved: firstly, that I only had to do 6 miles rather than 16; secondly, that my aversion to virtual races meant I hadn’t been tempted to do the virtual London marathon. It was teeming it down with rain and pretty windy as I headed out after the women’s race, so fair play to the hardy souls I passed (and who passed me) who were out for many hours in the grim conditions. I have almost more admiration for the teams of supporters out there manning unofficial aid stations in tents and gazebos. I hope they had plenty of hot drinks to hand! I think Sara Hall’s amazing sprint finish for 2nd had inspired me, and it definitely wasn’t recovery run pace: or perhaps I made the most of the tail wind… I was home in time for most of the men’s race, and can now stay inside all day if I want. One last lazy afternoon before it is time to knuckle down to work once more!

52 miles for the week; 209 for September. Most excitingly of all, my rolling 12 month total to the end of September was over 2,500 miles. It’s been a while since that was the case, and hopefully – finally – marks a corner turned and the foundations being laid for being able to manage slightly higher mileage and faster running in 2021.

I Lost That Blogging Feeling

2 Oct

So, where was I? I last blogged 2 months ago. Life was busy at the time, and went on getting busier. I was a bit conscious that I’d let the blogging go by the wayside, and then getting back on track felt pretty overwhelming in itself. I’ve now accepted that there is no point trying to do a super-detailed write up of the last 8 weeks, and so a super-short summary will do!

The main positive, from my point of view, is that although I have had some weeks where my mojo has flopped amidst a heavy workload and limited racing opportunities, I have managed 200 miles or more most months this year (apart from March and April, unless I’m mistaken). In terms of that wavering mojo and crazy workload, the weeks that followed my last blog post are a good example: 31 miles over 4 runs, followed by 51 miles over 5 runs, followed by 40 miles over 5 runs. I rounded August off with 50 miles over 5 runs.

September started better, with 55 miles over 6 runs, and the same the following week. There was a dip to 35 miles over 5 runs, but that primarily related to one of the cats being unwell and 3 emergency trips to the vet in 24 hours (least said soonest mended: she made a miraculous recovery a matter of days later).

Last week saw a solid 50 miles over 6 runs to get me back on track, including my first runs as a civil partner: after waiting an extra 3 months, T and I were finally able to make things official before the registrar! In a sense, we were lucky, because we had always planned that our ceremony would be tiny (just us and our parents), so we didn’t have any of the agonising decisions others on the same day faced, cutting their guest lists back first to 30 and then to 15. Thanks to the skills of my clever friend A, a tailor, not only did I have a beautiful dress to wear (which incorporated lace from my great-grandmother’s wedding dress), but we all had matching silk satin cream face masks. So very 2020, I think you will agree!

This week I have finally been able to re-group, as I had a week booked out of court. A true staycation, because T couldn’t get the time off, I have pottered around at home, been a cat cushion for hours at a time, and just generally relaxed. The week has flown by, but it was much needed, and I am almost ready to face days at the desk again.