Monday, 6 December 2010

Super Spikes do it again

Out with The Herb at lunch today on a very cold day - -12ยบ when we left home this morning.  Microspikes on just past Tesco and wound The Herb up by sprinting off whenever we hit a patch of ice.  A very steady 5miler, and not entirely sure of pace as I was on iPhone timing due to forgetting my watch.

All was going swimmingly, and we'd even stopped to let Andrew experience the magic of the spikes, when he complained of a pain in his calf, then suddenly let out a yelp and stopped - torn calf is the disgnosis from me, as it sounds exactly like both of my tears.  Bugger for the big lad - he's just getting back into regular running after about 2 years of injury.

Also today we got to view the super new showers at work - 6 shower cubicles, permanent lockers and a cage each for us "regulars" in the spiffing drying room.  Luxury - very chuffed.  No excuse not to run and cycle now (apart from it's coming up to Christmas, it's freezing and I seem to be out on the lash every other night).

Also ordered K's new car - a small 4WD to help her get out when it's slippy, but also wangled a detachable towbar as part of the deal, so will be splashing out on a posh bike rack so we can travel to various sportives in style!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sticking at it in the snow

 Having said we'd escaped the worst of the snow last weekend, it arrived with a vengeance in the Dales this week, with several quite big dumps.  I've managed to keep running, just, although the mileage has suffered a bit.  Well a lot, actually...

Tuesday saw me on the canal at lunch for 5 miles at around 8 min pace, then on Friday I did the same run, but this time in my Microspikes.  These are fast fitting min-crapons that make a huge difference on packed snow or ice.  I ran a half mile warm up then three comfortable miles at around 7:10 pace - no way I would have dared run that fast in trail shoes.

Spent yesterday driving to Barnsley and back to test drive a car for K, then today dawned clear and cold after a minor thaw.  Off road was the decision, but with a Christmas tree to put up, sledging to be done and a dog to be romped, it had to be shortish.

I decided to run over the crag the short way, so up via Eastby and back past the reservoir.  Harder climbing than out normanl route, but much shorter.  I messed up my Garmin stopping to take pictures, but I reckon it's just short of 4 miles but with a fair bit of climbing - maybe 800' or so.  The snow was fairly deep in a couple of places, but all runnable, and apart form a short section on the descent I didn't feel I needed my spikes on.

Must get some miles done this month though - last december was almost 120 miles of running.  It's the 5th and I've managed a whole 9!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Steady one in the frost

Parts of the country were gripped by the winter snows this weekend, but in Embsay we'd just had a dusting. Sunday morning was still, freezing and gloriously clear - stupendous blue skies and the autumn sun streaming through.

K had been to London for a girly shopping day on Saturday so I decided that this was too good to miss, so set off for a steady 5 up to Halton East and back.

No dramas, no cows, just low HR steady running at about 8min pace and a general feeling of it being good to be alive.

Then went off to Leeds for a spot of panic 4x4 buying and spent 2 1/2 hours driving back through a monster snowstorm. Real feeling of deja vu today with trail shoes in the running bag - but sadly failed to get out before dark. Will give it another go tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Speedy week

Having had an 18 miler in the diary for Friday afternoon, I was expecting this week to be one of high mileage and low pace - wrong...

After my session up in Gosforth on Tuesday I managed a lunchtime run on Thursday - lacking a bit of speedwork (track sessions seem years ago!) I decided to run some half mile reps with shortish recoveries.  The pace turned out to be 5:50-ish, so slower than in my heyday but respectably brisk.

The planned 18 miler on my afternoon off never happened - a Risk Committee meeting mysteriously appeared so I wasn't able to get away til 2 - by the time I'd changed, and got up to Silsden I'd have been struggling to get 18m in, so decided to do a longer tempo type run from work.  8m is the distance if you run to the end of the runnable bit of the towpath and back, so after half a mile I put the pedal down a bit.

Wasn't really sure of the pace, but it turned out to be comfortably hard at 6:50, so I decided to do a longer MP session than of late and see how things turned out.  As it happened I ended up accelerating a bit each mile, so by the end my last mile split was 6:27.  A good session, but I really do have to get a longer run in this week if I'm going to hit my 18 miler by Christmas target.

Rich H had his MRI scan last week, and they seem to now know what the problem with his knee is - torn meniscus and other assorted gubbins, so it looks like a keyhole op should see him sorted.  Hope so - he did amazingly well to go from non-runner to sub-40 10k boy and it'd be a shame if he let all that slip.  Plus I want someone to jog round the Coniston 14 with!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

First Gosforth lunchtime run

Yesterday was a day in Gosforth, but without many meetings. Have a few new folk starting in the marketing team so thought I'd best pop up and say hello, but also as the diary was empty-ish I took my clobber and got a few lunchtime miles in. Also gave me the opportunity to try the posh showers (we're nearly there with our posh showers in Bingley, btw - dry shorts to cycle home in...mmmm).

I looked on MapMyRun and found a 6 miler involving Gosforth and the Town Moor, which appearsvto have been posted by someone who works at the same place as me as it starts and finishes by the back door. I printed off a couple of pages to keep me on the straight and narrow and set off, intending to just see how the legs were regarding pace.

After a couple of miles I realised that my careful planning had gone to ratshit and I'd gone slightly the wrong way, but my limited knowledge of north Newcastle meant I could adapt the run and still cover much of the same ground. The Town Moor is a big bit of grass, less cultivated but similar in feel to The Stray in Harrogate. Freemen of the city can apparently keep their cows on it for nothing - assume that includes Shearer and Keegan...

My run took me clockwise around the outside of the moor, with a stiffish climb along the south side. Had I gone the right way this would have been downhill, but I coped ok and didn't slow particularly.

Once back on track it turned out that my deviaton had added just over a mile onto the run, making it a pleasant 7.2m at just over 7:30 pace, which felt pretty comfortable.

I think I need to start to make the runs that have been 5 or 6 milers into 7 or 8 milers soon - building up to those crucial 10/12m midweek runs that make such a difference come M Day.

Onward and upward - London today, so no running. Maybe something speedy-ish tomorrow then a long one Friday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 22 November 2010

A year on and the Abbey Dash

Just checked back and realised it's just about a year since I started this blog. That was when I had just started building up for Blackpool marathon, but was still pretty much well into my speed work with lower mileage than currently.

I've had my cold for most of the last 10 days or so, so my mileage has been a bit low, with just a couple of sessions last week, then a break before Sunday's race. I wasn't even sure I'd be running Sunday as I'd had a few nights of poor sleep and I was still coughing a lot - however there was a few folks from work running and by Saturday my cold was feeling a bit better.

The problem with the Abbey Dash these days is that it's so big that they have done away with any possibility of a decent warm up, so I found myself doing a few drills on the town hall steps prior to any jogging (unless you count a slightly rapid meander to find somewhere to wee). After a few high steps I felt a bit of a pain in my calf - here we go again...

However it didn't seem to hurt when I had a little jog, so I ended up on the start line waiting to go. The start seemed only a bit more organised than last year, with assorted biffers in the sub-35 pen at the start, but I guess I was over the line in 15 seconds or so. I have taken to being somewhat less than polite near the start of races with people who have clearly started in the wrong place, in some ill-fated attempt to persuade them to start further back next time.

However, by 1km (about 3:40) I was running in the clear, with the odd Harriers' vest up ahead. I found myself running with a guy who introduced himself as Jules, and for the first two or three miles I felt really easy. I hit 5k at about 19:25, so well inside my target of sub-40, and was still feeling comfortable with the pace about 6:10. The sixth mile started to feel a bit tougher, and I noticed myself being passed by a few people - although it still didn't feel anywhere near eyeballs out.

The usual tough pull up the slip road felt easier than ever before, and my pace for the last 0.2m was down about 5:40 pace. I'd said that sub39 would be a huge bonus, so I was hugely chuffed with 38:22. 50 seconds slower than last year, but run off virtually no speed work and 10 days of cold, so pretty happy all round.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Back in the saddle

After a nothing weekend thanks to a  rotten cold,and something of a hangover on Sunday due to a night's carousing at the PTA disco (theme - '80's fancy dress.  I made the effort in white jacket, Hawaiian shirt, mullet wig and mirror shades.  The idea was Miami vice - but thanks to my burgeoning 'tache it was more gay German ice-cream man) I decided that unless I was actually coughing up lung material I was going out today.

This morning saw me in Leeds for my work medical - after debating the merits of the BMI system with a physiologist ("utter rubbish" was my considered view...) and confirming that I am indeed about half a stone overweight (I knew that) and my body fat % is higher than it should be (I knew that too) it was time to see the doc for the verdict.

Two bits of surprisingly good news - he decided not to stick his finger up my arse as at my age with no symptoms he couldn't see he needed to check my prostate, and secondly my cholesterol is still very low and my "good" cholesterol is very, very high - so therefore my risk of heart disease is also very low.  Encouraging for when I'm really quite porky.

After work it was time to get some real work in, so it was out onto the Riddlesden old road for a MP session.  I did just over half a mile before pressing on, and 6:45 pace felt really pretty easy for the first couple of miles.  The inclines (not really hills) were harder, but it didn't feel anywhere near as lung-busting as it has in previous sessions.  The second two miles of effort were harder, but still in control, and the last one was the fastest at 6:32.  A mile and a bit of slower running saw me finish with 6m, with 4m at MP.  Nice one.

Off to Glasgow for a dinner tomorrow, so will take my running stuff, as I expect I'll be fir for nowt on Wednesday.  No LR this week as it's Abbey Dash Sunday, so maybe a steady one tomorrow then a sharpener Thursday of Friday.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Mooooo-ve over!

Afternoon off, so I unenthusiastically took my cold-raddled body out to Silsden because The Plan says 16m this week.  After Monday's soggy heroics I was hoping for a nicer day, but Herb and I seemed to have used this week's dry weather up on our pain-fest of a commute to work yesterday - no idea how long it took but I'm sure it was hideously slow due to unfit legs and heavy winter bikes.  Still, cycling along high above the Aire valley in the dark has its own pleasures...

Anyway - back to today.  It was wet, it was windy, and I really couldn't be arsed, but run I did.  To be honest it started to feel easier once I'd hit the canal, partly because there was a bloody gale blowing me along and partly because I've been running less recently and I just felt a bit sprightly.

I hit 8 miles (after some Terryesque puddle jumping) in 61 minutes, with several miles of under 7:30 despite not trying too hard.  I turned and the wind slowed things down a little, but by the time I hit the Micklethwaite road, which is where I usually do my MP bit, I was still miling at below 7:40.

I hadn't really decided whether to do a 4m effort as 16m at the sort of pace I was running is a new one this campaign, and I still felt pretty ropey - but I set off to see how it felt.  Two words - Awe Full.  I decided there was no way I was going to knacker myself with a 4m effort so after a 6:55 I slowed back down again, fully intending to run all the way back at 7:40 pace.

However just past Riddlesden I was warned by a dog walker of "cows ahead" - and sure enough there was a heifer and 4 calves, moooo-ching along the towpath.  Now towpaths are by their very nature next to canals on one side, and tend to have a steep embankment on the other - so me and a fellow runner who reached them just before me had the weird experience of running along for about half a mile behind 5 bovines.  I can tell you that they didn't look to be working to hard at my LR pace, but after a quick sprint I passed all but one of them.

The final one carried on for about another mile, and despite several attempts to pass, kept accelerating whenever I did - eventually finding a way down the embankment it fancied.  Erm...sorry, Keighley Golf Club...

Anyway - cows passed, I eased back to finish my 16m in 2:01, so a slight negative split due to my mile effort and cow passing antics.

Back home and one of those domestic disasters you can't believe has actually happened - our kitchen patio door (which Izzy uses to get in and out for toilet activities) blew open and split by the hinges.  Fortunately (and no thanks to Halifax Home Insurance who we apparently pay £500 a year towards their Christmas party and not for insurance) Graham, the joiner who did the house a couple of years ago was able to pop up with a crowbar and get us secure - but I suspect that it'll be a few hundred quid to fix - hopefully the met office's weather warning of "60-70mph winds" will be right - cos for Halifax to pay up it has to be 55mph or more.

Finally - mo-news - all coming on swimingly.  Working on the down-sides now as the horizontal's looking good.  Unlike Rob T who agreed to do this with me, and was asked the other day whether he was still growing one...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Efforts in the dark

First time out on my bit of the Riddlesden old road last night - lashing it down but persuaded Hinsley to come out so we ran steady to the far end then I ran an effort back. This is 1.6m and I averaged 6:33 pace, which given the undulations and the howling gale I was running into felt hard.

I ran back to collect Rich (who wasn't far behind for a man with a wooden leg) then once we'd run back to the turning point I did another leg fast, this time with the wind behind and ran it about 6:22 pace, and it felt substantially easier!

I ended up with 7m with 3.2 at a respectably swift pace. I think this will be my MP route, as it's easy to do 5 in 7 or move up to 6 in 8 and beyond.

Feeling a bit achy (and possibly fluey) today, so riding to work tomorrow and leaving the running til my afternoon off on Thursday.

I should perhaps also note that I have this year joined in on the tradition of Movember and growing a Mo for a month. It's in aid of prostate cancer, and seeing as K's dad is recovering from this horrid didease at the moment it seems a good cause. If anyone would like to donate a couple of quid or just to laugh at my attempt to look like Fu Manchu or Charles Bronson go to my Mo Space page.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A crap, beery week - but fun...

Monday's 5 miler turned out to be the last run til Thursday when I found myself in Brum late afternoon.

Out along the canal that I last ran on over a year ago, but with the light fading I wasn't going to be able to run back along it. I'd found a route on and that showed a return run through Edgbaston. It described it as "a lovely route" but to be honest it just felt like a suburban plod with lots of road crossings.

Still - 8 miles down to give a total of 13 for the week. That was all I managed because after that it was a couple of days of beer drinking followed by a weekend of puppy sitting to give K some time off.

Back to normal this week hopefully - with a Friday afternoon off to do another 16 miles.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Loneliness of the Autumnal Runner

Off up to Doxford for merger presentations today, then more of the same in Gosforth tomorrow. However due to puppy sitting duties I'm coming home at night so today I drove up and back, getting home about half six. As I'm out for Gus the Posh Bloke's leaving do tomorrow and another day up in Doxford Wednesday, today was the only hope I have to run in the first half of the week.

So it was out at about 6:40 for 5 miles up to Halton East in the spooky dark. Very gloomy tonight with lots of clouds and no moon. Last time I ran up there after dark must have been about February when there was a glorious full moon and it was like running in daylight, only in black and white. Tonight was just dark with a capital D and a big fat ARK.

Wasn't sure what I was going to do when I set off, but I just found myself pushing along a bit, and when the first mile went past in 7:35 I decided that it would be a bit of an effort session. Surprisingly the second mile was also 7:35, and as that's the hilliest bit it wasn't a shock that I was a bit pooped. I kept the pace on round the village and on the way home and finished with the average pace on 7:15. Not quite tempo pace, but it felt a bit like tempo effort - at a pace not much quicker than I'd expect to run my long slow runs at come the spring!

A good one to get out of the way before drink and travelling take their toll...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A grand long autumnal run

Didn't manage to get out for my Friday afternoon long one due to a packed diary and the need to take some golf clubs and a dinner suit (don't ask...) into work, so begged a couple of hours puppy-free time on Saturday to get my long one in.

K went out early doors, so I looked after Izz (who in my opinion is getting much, much better with wee etc and painfully cute with it - see right) and then when K took Lils swimming I went out for a run.

Not exactly sure where I was going when I set off, only that it was going to be slow with no MP nonsense, but I'd checked out a few possibilities on Google Maps beforehand.  I got to Halton East and over into Wharfedale at a steady 8 min-ish pace, then had to make a decision - downriver for an all-tarmac but less secenic excursion, or some extra-pretty fo road stuff by the Strid.  I opted for the latter as I had my camera with me and the trees were looking amazing with golds, yellows and even the odd light green still hanging on in there.

The Cav Pav is 5.25m from home, so I worked out I'd need to be on 10.75 when I got back there if I was going to get 16 in, but I was pretty sure just running up to Barden and back would be too short.  The trip through the woods was glorious as ever, and I had several stops to take pictures, dodging little people on some sort of pumpkin hunt.

Barden Bridge was, as I expected, only about 2.25m upriver from Cav Pav so I was going to be a mile or two short if I just ran home, so once I got back to the Pavilion via the far side of the river (with some amazing views from high above the Strid) I crossed back over and set off towards the A59.  I managed to spill gel all over my hands, and was still grumpy from this when I realised that I couldn't stay by the river and get down to the A59 and had to plod up some steps and then go back down to the Priory. 

I then got even grumpier when I stopped to wash my hands in the river and due to my lack of flexibility managed to slip one of my feet mid-calf in the water - so it was a squelchy, grumpy andy made his way to the old bridge and headed for home.

The pull up from Bolton Abbey was pretty tough, and it's a long time since I've run up there with tired legs.  I used to do all my long runs on this route, and that 2 miles of uphill is hard when you've got 16 miles already in your legs - so no chance of MP miles at the end today.

I did do a couple of sub-8 miles in at the end, but today was just about time on my feet - I ended up doing 16.2m in 2:10, so just over 8 min pace on average, but some quality miles in my legs and a stunning day to be out.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Intervals by the river

Tuesday was a London day, then off to Newcastle on Wednesday for a couple of days with the team before the official "TUPE transfer" next Monday when we're all one firm.

Knocked off about 5 and headed down to the hotel, then was out of the door by 6:15 heading down to the Quayside for some faster running than of late.  I'd decided on half mile intervals with half mile recoveries, and decided to do just three as it's my first time.

I felt really good running more quickly, and whilst I'm not sure I'd have fancied mile reps at that pace, it felt like there was more in the tank.  The long recoveries helped, of course, as I decided to run half miles instead of the normal 200m we do at the track, but I was pleased with three reps all at faster than 6 min mile pace.

Not sure how I'm going to get a long one in tomorrow, so may be using up Brownie points with Kazza to get my planned 16 in on Saturday.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MP session in the sun!

My second "4 in 6" MP session tonight - same as last week with a half mile jog then 4 miles at MP - which turned out to be a bit brisker than that.  6:37, 6:33, 6:21 (whoops) and 6:36 all felt comfortable, but I definitely didn't fancy the extra mile I'd contemplated early in the effort.  I must get myself into the habit of running these at a more comfortable pace.  The problem is now I know that 6:45 or whatever's going to feel pretty tough, so I sort of just run at what feels suitably hard - but actually I'm going to need to be doing 5, 6, 8 and even 10 miles at this pace in the New Year, so I'd better get practising.

Still felt fresh enough for a 7:15 back to the road and a slow jog down to give an average pace for the 6m of under 7 min pace.

I think it's time I started to put some speedwork into this programme, especially as Abbey Dash is only 3 weeks away, so I think Wednesday's run up in Newcastle will be something involving half mile efforts - hopefully at somewhere around 6:10 pace if I can manage it.  We shall see...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A quieter week, but a lovely Sunday


Went out with Herb on Wednesday after work for a very steady 5 miles on the canal - probably about 8 min mile pace, chatting away - what some people would call classic "junk miles" but for me is part of getting the old bod used to running most days.

Thursday was a write off, as I left the house at 0630 and got home at 2130 after a full day in London, so my vague plan to run into work before getting the train to Newcastle was a non-starter and I stayed firmly in my pit.

So I was left with the weekend, during which I was honour bound to do some puppy-proofing in the garden, which at the cost of 85 quid I managed to do fairly successfully - we now have a slightly frustrated pup but nevertheless one who won't dig any more soil up of eat any bulbs.

However I did manage a blustery old 5 miles up to Halton East in something just under 40 minutes, with a few miles on the way back down at 7:30 pace which is feeling pretty easy nowadays.

Herb on top of the moor, with Simon's Seat in the background
Herb and I went out on the fell today - Arr (he's called Simon, but he's from Cornwall, see...) had told us about a way of going off-road to Halton East, so we set off across some very poo-ey farm tracks to the Eastby road, then along the lane at the far end of Eastby.  This leads to the ice-cream place near Halton East and from there onto the track up to the fell.  Herb struggled a bit on the uphills, but I felt better than I have recently - maybe I should have gone and done the Within's Skyline!
Embsay Crag looking spiffing as usual
Up on the moor was just glorious - blue sky, a bit of a breeze and everything looking amazingly crisp.  We headed back over Embsay Crag and paused on the top as we spotted K and Nicola plus children on their way up.  We stopped for a chat before descending fairly fast to give a 9m run - and who cares about pace?
Looking down at the rezzie and our approaching children
So no long run this week, but a good 90 minutes or so of running today, and a total for the week of almost 30 miles.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Just a steady run in the sun

Bonus today - had planned on cycling in as I had an all day assessment centre, but it turned out late yesterday I was only requiredbto do one interview and watch a presentation - with the interview at 08:45 and the presentation at 16:00 - so not only did I get loads done I also got a bonus run in.

Just a steady 5 at lunchtime, but the weather was gorgeous and the pace once on the towpath of 7:24 felt easy peasy. Finished in 37 and bits (haven't downloaded it yet as I'm puppy sitting again) so something around 7:30 pace overall. I love a bonus run, me...

Monday, 18 October 2010

MP session in the rain

My first experience of the loneliness of the marathon training runner tonight - all the lads were out at lunch having a sociable time but I was stuck in meetings, so at 5:15 off I went for my first "x in y" MP run.  I start at 4 MP miles in a 6m run and try to build up to a 10 in 12 although 8 n 10 was as far as I got last year before my calf conked out.

So - 4 in 6 it was with the sky darkening and threatening rain.  I decided to start my effort at 0.5m in case it got really dark and I had to do 4 in 5.  My pace judgement's buggered - 6:15 for the first mile before I conciously slowed down.  Then 6:45 (spot on), 6:42 (getting too quick again), 6:32 (wtf??).  Averaged at 6:33 for the 4m, so too quick and no way I want to be running that sort of pace for 8 or 10m, so some judgement work required.  And it pissed down.

Still - I wasn't blowing too hard and my calves are fine, so maybe a return to the track is called for soon...

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Long run - almost a proper one

Board Report week (which is an awful series of writing then correcting/changing reports, and with acting as a kind of "supply teacher" and looking after Operations I have two to write) so by 3pm Friday I'd absolutely had enough and was itching to get out and get running.

We were going out with Angry and his wife so I was under oath to get home for 5:30, so starting out at 3:25 for what was planned to be 16 miles wasn't the best idea. However I set off, possibly a bit quicker than usual, heading for Bingley.

The first few miles, usually averaging 8's were indeed a touch quicker, and my pace on the canal was 7:30-7:35 and felt very comfortable. I had decided to turn at 4:20pm as I could allow myself an hour to get back and still not turn into a pumpkin. At 4:20 I was at about 7.25m, sodecided to carry on to 7.5m and do 15, which would still be a step up from my last long one, and also to try and do a 4m effort at PME (which my RW mates tell me is "perceived marathon effort" - which at this stage will of course be slower than marathon pace).

The mile up 3 and 5 Rise was slower at 8:03 then I had half a mile to recover before the Micklethwaite road and the beginning of the effort. I tried to keep it at what felt comfortably brisk, which for mile 1 was 7:07, and the second one was 7:03. I felt pretty comfy so speeded up to 6:51 and then the last one at 6:41, which still felt ok. Pleasing to manage that at the end of the longest run so far, and to be able to run the last 1.5m still at 7:30. I also got home to go and see a very chucklesome Jon Richardson in Harrogate.

No running today as it was a momentous day in our house - firstly a nail-biting couple of hours waiting for the postman to deliver Maisie's 11+ results, which she passed by bloody miles (not sure what we were worrying about really...) and then off to Bordley to pick up young Izzy, our new puppy, who's a real cutie and seems to be settling in really well. Pics on here if she ever stops still long enough to take any...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

No bike this week...

No time to run monday or tuesday this week with trips to newcastle monday and sunderland tuesday, so today's planned cycle commute was ditched in favoir of a brief lie-in and a lunchtime run.

On my own, so up to the canal and left towards Riddlesden. Pace was easy but turned out to be 7:30 once on the canal, and speeded up a touch each mile. The weather was so utterly glorious I didn't want to stop - however with this being lunchtime I had to turn at the 3 mile point. So we ended up at 6 miles in a touch over 45 minutes, an average of 7:36.

It was luvverly.

Another comedy get-up tomorrow and newcastle again, so no running, but then hopefully a long one friday.

Apple of my eye Lily W ran in the Craven Area schools cross-country yesterday and came 4th - meaning she's through to the county finals! Clever old Lils!!!  Here she is just being pipped on the line by a sprint finish:

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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Autumn or late summer?

Herb and I picked the right day for a bike ride - a stiff easterly breeze but increasingly clear skies and reasonable temperatures.  We'd decided on Otley "the lumpy way" as this offers a couple of stiff climbs and a visit to Dunnie's caff.

I seemed to spend far more time out of the saddle on the climb up Halton Heights, but suddenly became aware that I was alone.  Normally I have the sight of Herb's arse disappearing into the distance, but it became clear that I had somehow left him behind - odd, as since the early summer I've been the one getting dropped on the climbs.  By the time I got up to the top and dropped down the other side he was quite a way back, having suffered riding into the wind.

We couldn't decide if I'd gone up the climb quickly of whether he was having a bad day, but either way it seemed I was feeling better on the day, which makes a nice change if nothing else.  Having looked at a couple of other ascents of this climb, we weren't going much quicker than normal, so maybe it was Herb's legs having a bad day - whatever, I was going to make hay!

He speeded up quite a bit on the ride down Wharfedale and was alongside most of the way up Langbar (with me out of the saddle again), but dropped back on the final section.  2-0 to me!

We decided against inflicting further punishment on ourselves by not bothering with the Askwith moor road, so arrived a Dunnie's with 18m on the clock.  A "double" sausage sandwich (which on reflection isn't as good as the "single with egg" and a brew later we were on our way, having tired somewhat of a series of large noisy motorbikes with large noisy men on them coming and going.

The ride home was fairly sedate and enjoyable (apart from a spectacularly stupid overtake from some woman in a Freelander who seemed unsure whether to nearly kill us or some pedestrians, so opted for both), and we got home with 35 miles done at an average of just over 15mph.

Possibly my Cannondale's last trip out this year, unless the roads are salt-free for either of the upcoming winter sportives.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Blustery recovery

Have a list of jobs to do for K today, so after changing the water filter in the kitchen I decided I'd better get shifting and get a quick run in.  Karen had been out first thing and said it was "exhilaratingly blowy" so I put my Rab pertex top on for a bit of protection and set off.

Just up to Halton East, and the name of the game was recovery so I tried to keep it slow and steady - so slow and steady (and uphill and windy) was it that I ran a couple of the slowest miles I can remember!  An 8:21 was followed by and 8:46 - but then a couple of laps of the village gave me an 8:12 mile and the return journey being both wind and gravity assisted were steady 7:50's.

My HRM is starting to really piss me off again - straight up to c200bpm+ and then staying up there apart from the occasional excursion down the correct level, which I'd guess is about 130 for this sort of run - it was reading 137 as I was stood outside the front door!  I even took my bike computer out for a little jog up the road to ensure it's the strap and not my watch that's wrong - sure enough - both were reading 236 as I jogged slowly towards the paper shop.  Why is it so hard to get right?  C'mon Garmin- most of your stuff's pretty good, but this is shite.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Longish run - the last one after work?

Got away at about 4.45 today to do a run from Silsden.  Herb was along for the first bit, so by the time we were changed and ready to go it was just after 5 past 5.  Herb was going to run 6m, so I'd have company for the first bit of my run.  I hadn't really decided how far it was going to be, as Terry L had suggested I increase mileage every other week and last week's run was 14m.  I set off unsure as to whether it'd be 10 or 12 miles, and determined that I'd see how I felt at Tesco.

Herb asked me about the planned pace and I said 7:40 would be good, at which he demurred slightly - but of course as always with Andrew he is always going better than he thinks.  The first couple of miles were, as usual, a bit slow, as the first one involves getting going and the other the little slope up to the canal.  Nevertheless we were probably just under 8min miling for this section, then speeded up nicely to a 7:40 for Herb's last mile with me.

He turned at the Riddlesden swing bridge and I carried on towards Bingley speeding up slightly to 7:30 pace to the turn at the top of 5Rise.  I'm not sure when I decided to do 12, but at Tesco I was moving pretty well and there seemed to be enough daylight to get round in, so I carried on.

My HRM has gone bonkers again, so my HR was showing 220+ most of the way round - time for a new one or time to stop bothering?  Anyway - I was feeling fine when I got back to the Tesco road so speeded up.  I've been saying I seem to only have 2 speeds - 7:40+ and 6:30 or better, so I decided to see if I could run at an increased effort without pushing hard - this turns out to be just under 7 min miling - not a bad pace if I can get that a bit quicker come the spring then that could be about marathon pace.

I did a 6:57 and a 6:55, then pushed a bit harder for the last mile of effort and ran a  cheeky 6:38.  That took me to within half a mile of coming off the canal so I finished with a 7:40 and a 7:34 to come in just under the 90 minute mark for 12 miles.  The last mile along the road was fairly hard work, and it getting pretty dark, so my LR next Friday will have to be an early start - I've booked the diary out from 3:30 which should be plenty.

I'll try and get a steady one in tomorrow, then maybe a few miles with The Herb on the bike on Sunday.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bike in on a lovely day

Glorious day to ride to work - felt far less grumpy about missing it yesterday as we set off into the rising sun at 7:15.  Definite nip in the air though, and I was grateful for my long-fingered gloves and jacket.  My Hope front light had its first outing of the winter too.

Herb was merciful today and pootled along without leaving me gasping in his wake, and we got into work in a few seconds over the hour.  One fabulous day (of weather - not work) later we set off home, with me feeling decidedly over-dressed in the sunshine.

A truce was declared just outside Tesco - this was not going to be a silly ride home, so we spun nicely up through East Morton and bimbled along to the top of Holden Lane. A swift swoop down and we came across a solitary mountain biker complete with rucsac and baggy pants.  Herb was unable to resist the temptation for a burn-up so we went up through Swartha a touch quicker than I would have liked, but we were soon heading over to Cringles at a more sedate pace, road cycling's honour having been preserved.

We got home in a touch over the hour, so a good 6 minutes slower than last week, but it definitely felt a more relaxed and pleasant trip.  I would have liked to stop to take some photos as the view up Wharfedale as we came over to Draughton was fantastic, with Simon's Seat standing proudly out from the moor.  May just have to have a little run over there this weekend...

Quite possibly my Cannondale's last commute for this year, as my winter bike goes in for its pre-season service on Saturday, so I may well ride to work on that next week.  Maybe I should have some sort of ceremony for my summer bike - although it's done rather less work this year than last.  Looking at my stats from Rubitrack we're just over 3/4 of the way through the year and I've just about done half as many cycling miles as last year.  I am slightly ahead on running though with 78% of the total mileage (but of course this year includes a marathon campaign).

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Swifty tempo session

Bottled biking in today due to inclement weather so ran after work.  Warmed up for a mile with Herb then ran a 3 mile effort at 6:22, 6:23, 6:22 then a 7:20 and a 7:50 warm down.  Solid 6 mile sesh and the effort didn't feel too eyeballs out.

I think I need to do more work at MP though - maybe not yet, but those "8 in 10" mile midweek MP sessions are going to be key.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


A work conference thing in Harrogate Monday and Tuesday this week, but with the current austerity-fest we decided to work til 10 (including eating tea and drinking wine) and then start again at 8, with breakfast at 7.  Running was going to be tricky, so unless I was going to drag myself over to Harriers tonight I was going to have to try and run very, very early.

So - no wine, a quick pint then off to bed by 11:15.  Sadly due to space constraints in the biggest hotel in Harrogate 3 of us were lodging across the road in another hotel.  To say it was "a bit tired" would be insulting to insomniacs everywhere - it was bloody horrid.  A classic "Wallace Arnold Coach Holidays for the Nearly Dead" stop-off, you could smell tea and wee the moment you stepped through the doors - my room was on the uber-grotty 3rd floor and had single glazed windows that wouldn't shut, and some constantly running water pipes in the walls - so a restful night it was not.

Nevertheless, my new "base training" motivation saw me up at 5:45 and out of the door by 6:10 for a run through Harrogate and round the Stray.  It was odd running that early - I've never really been one for very early runs, but it was very peaceful in the dark, and once I'd worked out where I was going quite enjoyable.

I cut left at the Stray and across to the Wetherby road, then past Hornbeam Park station to where the Leeds road comes into Harrogate.  There was quite a valley on here, with a stiffish climb up to the junction.  Then it was gently downhill back into town, across the Stray again and back to the hotel.

Showered, dressed and into breakfast for 7:15 and into the conference room ready to talk bollocks all day.

Feel pretty good - even though it was a bit of a nothing 5.5m at 7:38 pace, it would have been easy to sink a few beers then had the day doing nothing with a thick head - as it is I'm bright eyed, bushy tailed and currently charging my "best" Hope lights for tomorrow's commute!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Shame - a strong motivator...

I got up this morning to see the same sort of rain that has battered Celtic Manor this weekend and caused the Ryder Cup to be rescheduled.  And it went on and on.  And on and on.  And as I type it's still going on and on...

K took M&L to the shops to buy lots of stuff Maisie probably doesn't need for her forthcoming trip to Bewerley Park, so I was left at home on my own, generally tossing it off and reading Runners' World forums.  I spend a fair bit of time on the "sub-3:15" marathon thread and have made some good (virtual) chums on there, so I was impressed to see how many of them had got their arses out today.

I'd decided not to bother, see, as I thought my 14 yesterday qualified me for a day on the bike if not a complete rest.  However the roads are awash which means no cycling - so having seen that other people had got out I felt almost oblioged not to waste a day off.  Added to that the diary looks a bit nuts this week so running's going to be intermittent at best - pay rises and new jobs are lovely but I do look back to 18 months ago when we could be out pretty much any lunchtime or by 5 any night.  This week I'm in Harrogate tomorrow with no time to run, so my best bet could be either early Tuesday or maybe a trip down t'Harriers on Tuesday night assuming we get finished in Harrogate on time.  Then bike to work Wednesday, probably Newcastle Thursday and hopefully a run home or a longish canal run Friday.

Today's run was my Halton East 5 miler in absolutely torrential rain - the road's flooded in a couple of places and I not only ran in a jacket I also kept my hood up!  I took it pretty steady until the last couple of m iles, which I ran at 7:15 pace - which bodes well (eventually) for MP runs of 6:50 or so in a few months as it felt very easy.

I've also picked out a few races for the build up - I already have Abbey Dash in the diary, and I've entered the Ribble Valley 10k at Christmas.  I'll be doing Kildwick Duathlon and Auld Lang Syne I expect too.  As well as that I'm thinking Brass Monkey, St Annes 10m in March and possibly Coniston 14 the weekend before London.  I won't be racing Coniston if I do it at all, but it's such a lovely race it'd be a good one to have as my last LR before the big day.

Finally just a word about the rugby league last night - Wigan won the Grand Final after 12 barren years which was great - but what I was also struck by was the number of good natured messages of congratulations from supporters of other clubs, including arch-rival St Helens - why can't football be like that?  Answers on a postcard...

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A little bit more...

After my "cutback" longish runs of 8m and 8.5m last weekend this week it was time to add a bit more on.  Newcastle Thursday saw me out with The Newmanator for a few miles on the quayside before some teambuilding beers with our new Northern Rock Asset Management friends.  We did 5 miles, 4.5 pretty steady ones then Tim got a bit giddy in the last half and we ended up running a fairly quick last bit.

No chance of a run Friday as it was back from Newcastle and K out on the last with the village rounders team, so I had to run today.  Lils' swimming lesson out of the way, then it was off to Silsden for my usual there and back run on the canal.

I'd decided on 14, and a pace of 7:40-7:50 or so.  The first couple of miles along the lane were just over 7:50's, then I speeded up to 7:45 or so for a couple, then I was into the mid-7:30's - I wasn't aware of pushing it but just ran at what felt comfortable.

I'd not been particularly keen to run today, but as I'm now in the "building a base" phase of pre-marathon training training (??) I thought I'd better get out, and I'm glad I did - I turned just the far side of Bingley having put in a 7:27 mile in down 5 Rise and all of a sudden I was on the way back.  I toyed with the idea of another mile to make it a 15, but decided I'd better do as Uncle Terry suggested and build up slowly.  After a slower mile back up 5 Rise I then speeded up some more, so ended up doing a 4 mile faster section culminating in a MP mile of 6:50 during mile 12.  After that it was back to 7:48's for the last couple of miles.

14 solid miles, 7:35 average and a good start to the "base miles" section of my training.  It feels a bit more real now as my "You're In!" mag came this week - as did The Afterburner's!  2 ballot entries, 2 successes - jammy sod.  Hopefully will have someone to do at least some long runs with anyway - although Paul's tendency to (a) do his long runs hideously early on weekend mornings and (b) run them at an unfeasibly fast pace may make that an occasional pleasure!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tempo Time

Had intended to run after work but due to a Board meeting in London most of the team were out of the office so I decided to take a slightly extended lunchbreak (as recommended by Terry L) and get a tempo session done.

The pace of "tempo" is always slightly confusing, and even more so now I'm a bit out of practice at running briskly, so I engaged Debi in conversation this morning as to what tempo might be.  Now how I expected a non-running, "well built" lady in her '40's to know about pace I don't know, and indeed the conversation proved fruitless.  I started off with "what's 10k pace + 10%"? That gave an answer of 7 minute miles (assuming my 10k pace is currently about 40mins).  So I decided on 6:40 - being 10k pace + 5%.  Deb agreed, so off I went.

I decided that perhaps on of the reasons for my susceptibility to calf tweaks has been that I've run effort sessions after only half a mile or so of warm up, being very keen to "get on with it" - so I determined to run a full mile before speeding up - it felt interminable, but after about 8:15 I put the foot down and ran at what felt "comfortably brisk".  This proved to be 6:35 for the first mile, with my HR sticking around the mid-140's.

The second mile to the turn was also 6:35 and felt ok, although Garmin did its stuff and showed a HR spike up to 187.  Grr.  The third felt like harder work, and looking at the half mile splits I did speed up to 6:26 pace in the first half before slowing a bit to give a 6:31 mile.  I passed a colleague, Sue Wilson (known henceforth in Blogland as Wizzlon) on the way back and this gave me a little boost to do my last effort in 6:21.  I turned back and met Sue then ran back to work with her, giving a good 6.25, session with a pleasingly brisk tempo section of 4 miles.

I was running without my trusty compression socks, and whilst both calves are a bit tight there don't seem to be any after effects.  However assuming I have a clean pair I'll take some for my run in Newcastle on Thursday night.

Good sesh, today - pleased.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Zoooooom (ish)

Monday and The Herb had suggested cycling in.  I normally can't be arsed on Monday as I like to have a slow/easy start to the week, but the temptation of having someone to ride in with, coupled to a decent forecast, persuaded me.  It also gets the horrid early get up out of the way.

So at 7:15, in far worse weather (breezy, dark, overcast) than the met office had promised we set off.  Herb said that yesterday's run had left his hamstrings feeling tight and crampy, and as we left he said he wasn't sure he was going to be able to ride in.  Sympathetic and caring chum that I may be, I was buggered if I was going to turn back and drive in, only to have to do it all again tomorrow - so we carried on.

I did leave him on the Halton East road but he shook it off and was soon leading the way every time the road headed upwards.  The ride in was tiring but we still got under the hour despite a bit of a headwind in places.

On the way home we set off later than we'd have liked as it's very definitely gloomy any time after about 6:30 now, so without saying anything we went up the East Morton hill about a minute and a half quicker than I've been doing it.  Holden Lane was wet, slippy and scary, but we got down there unscathed and set off up past Swartha towards Cringles. 

I noticed last week when I did my "season's best" of 56mins that I was at the end of Swartha Lane bang on 30 minutes - tonight it was about 28:30, so we were definitely going quicker.  My other checkpoint is the top of the lane above Draughton in 40 minutes (which I was getting to last year when I was flying) and we were there in 40:30.

I found the A59 tough as my legs were feeling the pace, but then we absolutely flew down Low Lane at about 28mph on the flat and got home in 54:38, a new season's best and perhaps a sign that things are on the up.

Herb (who described tonights mixture of effort and chatting as "like a spin class"!) couldn't believe that I'd almost broken 50 minutes for this ride last summer, so I made us of Rubitrack's clever "compare activity" feature and had a look - the lighter columns are the fast ride last year, the darker ones are today's).  The key difference seems to be the downhills and the ride up through Swartha - I wasn't a lot quicker going up East Morton or on the flat (indeed Herb and I were quicker on the last bit) but the downhills, particularly Holden Lane, were a lot quicker - I suspect an effect of the wet roads (and me being a bit of a girl these days).

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Sunday on the Fell

Inspired by drmackem's tales of off-road running (and also having enjoyed it enormously last time) I decided to run on the fell today, and The Herb came along too.  K had baggsied the morning exercise slot so we had the choice of an 8:30 start or leaving it til after lunch.  Herb voted for morning, so after a swift crumpet and a cuppa we were away.

Along to Halton East with Herb grumbling about running on the road then up the green lane to Halton Heights.  This feels easier each time, and as it's split into two uphill sections with a flat bit in-between it's mentally not too bad either.

 The top of the moor, with the signpost pointing the way home

We were quickly up at the road and onto the fell, with nobody but the occasional startled grouse to disturb us.  There was a bit of a breeze, but it was mainly helping as we hit the long climb to the top of the moor.  Having run this way a few weeks ago I could remember how long this goes on for, so was able to helpfully tell the Herb there was still loads of uphill to go each time I heard a grumpy "bloody 'ell!" from behind.
An interesting cairn on the way down

It actually felt easier than last time, even though my HR was high, and were soon turning for home after a few photo stops.

An interesting Herb on the way down

I always love the descent down to Embsay Crag from here as the view changes with nearly every step, although it was a great deal wetter than last time I ran down here, and we had to be careful where we put our feet.

"You can see my house from here..."

We paused on top of the crag then got the descent line right (which, as there's a 3' wide path isn't too hard...) then ran back to the Eastby road and home.  8.5m, 1:20 and a grand morning's work.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Decent week at last

After a decent session in Newcastle I had Thursday off to work, drink Landlord and eat curry, but Friday dawned with me feeling better than I would have expected after a night with Phil T and Colonel Sanders.

Took my stuff to work with thoughts of running at lunch, but an over-running Risk Committee put paid to that, so it was after work or nothing.

I had my instructions from Guru Terry L, one of which was to extend my longest run by 10% or so each time (normal advice) but (less normal) to cut back every other week. So the plan this week was to run a shorter "long run", and so I decided on an 8 miler along past Riddlesden and back.

I started off very steadily with a 8:12 mile, but speeded up as I went and ended up running just under 7 min pace. The 8m took just over an hour so an average pace of 7:45. No calf pain to speak of.

Decided to give the legs a day off being hammered today so after K brought the girls back from not-swimming (absent teacher) I set off on my bike to do the Burnsall loop.

Whilst I'm a long way off bike fit, things are getting easier each time, and I got round the 18m loop in an hour and ten minutes, which isn't far off my quickest time for that route - averaged about 16mph.

Assuming I do the expected 8m off-roader tomorrow that'll give about 26m of running and 45m of biking - so not a bad week.

Then this afternoon was spent visiting our new puppy, Izzy, who'll be coming to live with us in a couple of weeks. Very exciting...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Running in the Rain...

Newcastle last night, and as I'm now "back in the saddle" I decided I'd better find myself somewhere to run as I'm likely to be here most weeks foir the foreseeable future.

I was staying on the quayside so I set off up-river on a nice riverside path. Google Earth suggested it went a fair way up, so I was hoping to run for 2 miles or so. Taking Martyn Speight's advice to do speed efforts but less of them in the early days, I'd decided to do 3x1/2 mile efforts at about 80%. This proved to be about 6:30 pace for the first one, and 6:20 for the second (steady, Tiger...). The path, it tirned out, only went for 1.9m so I was going to have to run back past the hotel to get my 4m in.

By this time it was lashing it down, but it was nice and cool, so after my 3rd effort passed at just under 6:10 pace I decided to carry on to do 5 miles, keeping he pace down at 8min mile pace or so.

Due to mathematical dyslexia I arrived back at the hotel with 5.4m on the watch so caried on to make it a round 6.

A nice run, pleased with the efforts that didn't feel too "eyeballs out" and glad to have broken my "running-in-Newcastle" duck. Legs feel pretty much fully recovered from Sunday now, so a day off to eat curry and have a beer tonight, then a longish run after work tomorrow.

Happy days...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

And the tired legs go on and on...

Away tomorrow, out for curry Thursday so bike it had to be.  Went to sleep promising myself that if I still felt stiff and achy I'd ditch it - but knowing that as I ditched cycling in last week I would be cross with myself if I did - after all, I've started marathon training, haven't I?

So - I woke up achy and stiff, but neverthless hobbled into the spare room to pull on my biking stuff, and rather later than usual, set off.  The first decision is at the bottom of our road - right for the flatter, busier main road route down the valley, left for the lumpy way.  Irritatingly the flat way now feels like cheating, so I turned left and headed off towards Draughton and the first climb.

My legs didn't feel too bad - certainly better pedalling than they were walking down stairs - and I hit the bottom of the climb in something around normal time.  I'm not sure whether I was trying harder, but I became aware as I went over the top into Airedale that I seemed to be a bit quicker than usual. It was quite thick fog, and I was glad of my lights, but as I dropped into Silsden the clouds parted and I stopped to take the shot at the top of the page - lovely.

Without pushing it, I tried to just keep the speed up down into Silsden and the climb up Holden Lane.  I definitely pushed it a bit up the first section, getting out of the saddle rather than grinding it out, and reached the corner feeling tired but not as much as normal.

I kept pushing until I realised that as I hit the last steep section I was within spitting distance of my fastest time to climb this hill (nothing impressive - 6:30 for a 0.6m stretch!) and so really drove the pedals round to pass the tree that is my "done it" point about 5 seconds quicker than my previous best - but with my HR well in the red zone.

I got to work in under 57 minutes, which I think is the quickest I've ridden in this way.

The ride home was fun - again without pushing hard I realised I was only a few minutes slower than last year when I used to get home in just over 50 minutes instead of the current hour, so I pressed on down through Draughton and got to the A59 in 48 minutes - no record on the cards, but a definite possibility of a respectable average speed.

The horrid climb up the A59 takes, I can now report, a touch over 2 minutes when you're trying hard, so I had a fair bit of time in hand to do the 2 miles home - in the end the watch stopped on just over 56 minutes, so today was two mystifyingly fast rides on tired legs, and the first time I've got home quicker than going in the lumpy way.

Maybe I should ride tired all the time?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Recovery pootle

Achilles both stiff, hamstrings tight, legs generally not in the best shape this morning. Work was busy so no chance of a lunchtime run, so Newmanator and I went out after work.

Wasn't sure how my legs would be - was this stiffness or injury? Sported my Nike compression socks to guard against any tweaks, and was pleasantly surprised to feel my legs easing off as we ran.

We turned at 2 as I felt I'd probably have done enough with 4 miles, and we did actually speed up slightly on the way back, from high 8's to just under. As we got back to the road Tim decided he'd do a couple of extra miles, so after a brief consideration I abandoned him and finished with 4m in 33:13.

Tim carried on - and later texted to say he'd done 13.1m in the end in 1:43 - so not a bad effort for after work on a Monday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Great North Run - well it was ok, I suppose..

Top Tip, runfans - training almost certainly helps you run faster.

A satisfactory day out at the GNR but much, much harder than running at that pace should be.  The start was pretty horrid - as I (think) I put an expected finish of about 1:25 down I was in what I thought was a decent pen - but actually it was HYOOOOGE and the first mile was slow and involved lots of weaving round people running really very slowly.  Got into my running after about a mile and a half but then my Garmin went a bit wonky in the underpasses and was reading about 0.2m short, but after what it told me was a 5:47 second mile (it wasn't - nearer 7:30) it was showing 6:30 per mile til the road went upwards when I slowed to just under 7's.

The adjusted target for my injury (and pie) wracked body was sub-90 so I reckoned with a few 6:30's I could afford to slow a bit on the uphills, and sure enough I hit 5k in 21m, 10k in 42 and 15k in 63m - so "even paced" was the name of the game and as sub-90 requires 21:20 per 5k so I had maybe a minute in the bank.

But at about 10miles I started to really feel the lack of training and/or the surfeit of food - and whilst I didn't slow too much it just got really, really hard.  The top of the last climb is just after 11m and that section was really hard, with a 7:08 mile, and even the amazing support on the sea front didn't produce a significant acceleration although I did dip down below 7's again.

The finish seemed to be getting no nearer, and as my Garmin said 13.1m before it was properly in sight I got momentarily grumpy and wished I was somewhere else.

In the end it was 1:29:08 for 489th place (and amazingly for such a big race, 36th MV45) - so definitely in the "satisfactory" camp but far too much like hard work.  In the "race a celebrity" stakes I took a scalp I've been after for a while, passing Tony Audenshaw (or "Bob off Emmerdale" as he's known in our house) on the Tyne Bridge, but I'm sure Nell McAndrew will be pleased to have taken revenge for the kicking I gave her in the Dewsbury 10k in 2007.

Here's a clever thing from the Nike website that shows how Bob off Emmerdale was left trailing in my wake...

Friday, 10 September 2010

Now where was I?

Seems a long time since I blogged, and just as long a time since I did anything active.  A couple of days in Newcastle (including a night on the beer with Thackray) felt a loooong time, but was in fact just Wednesday and Thursday.  But today is another day (Friday to be precise) and Friday is run home day.

I've not felt less like running home for ages - not sure if it's the vestiges of the hangover from Wednesday or just general lethargy, but I was not the most enthusiastic little bunny as I set off in my new Nike ridiculous compression socks. 

It's been a bit rainy and muddy towpaths aren't my thing so it was off the canal at Ridds and then up-tiddlyup-up at Silsden.  The big hill over to Kildwick is, I can report, only half a mile, but it feels long and quite gnarly.

My calves were a bit niggly all the way tonight, specially lefty, but it feels like tightness rather than tweakiness, and as I'll have an enforced fairly easy week this week, that might be the best prep for GNR next Sunday.  The 13.2m back to Herb's took 1:43, which is pretty much in line with the time I was taking last summer.

I've not really been thinking about GNR but when my pack arrived this week to tell me I've got a decent start position just behind the elites (and presumably the Slebs as well) I started to think about what might be realistic.

I've done very little speed work (well, "very little" as in "none"), but whilst I've not done a lot of miles I've run home a couple of times and done a few decent bike rides.  I'm a bit porky (but not as porky as I was three weeks ago), so I reckon I'll be satisfied with sub-90 and pleased as punch with sub-85.

There - I've said it...

Off to Winchester for a family wedding this weekend, so apart from a possible leg-stretcher on Sunday after we get back it'll be an unhealthy, lazy weekend of sitting about on trains and drinking beer.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tired legs go to work and back

 Not a bad commute - pic from above Draughton tonight on the way home, Embsay Crag and Crookrise visible

Well, blogfans - I did it.  Woke up at 6:30 expecting to hear torrential rain battering the Velux window on our landing (I'd considerately moved into the spare room to allow K her beauty sleep as she's not working Tuesdays) but instead there was silence - no wind, no rain and therefore no reason not to get on my bike.

I'd assembled my biking stuff with an air of wintry resignation - proper waterproof jacket, roubaix arm warmers, long-fingered gloves and a cap to wear under my helmet.  But when I went out to get my bike it was not only pretty still, it was positively balmy!  So it was short sleeve order for the ride in (with a proper waterproof in my pocket in case things got nasty).

My legs weren't happy - HR was down, breathing felt easy but my legs just ached.  The climb up through Draughton was hard, and even the short undulations over to Cringles felt tough.  I was worried how Holden Lane was going to be.

In the end it was hard, long and felt like I was hardly moving - but in fact I was faster than last time I rode up it on my own - 7mins bottom to top.  Ironic that I'd always reckon to be able to run a mile in 7 minutes without too much effort - this hill is only 0.6m long and feels desperate!

A blast down to the valley, with another scare on a wet right hander in East Morton saw me at work in the fastest time yet over this route - 58mins door to door.

The ride home began with me being thankful I'd brought my jacket as it was proper raining.  This stoped as I got onto the top of the moor, but there was plenty of surface water to soak my arse.  No big-ring heroics tonight - easy gears all the way and a very scary descent of Holden Lane, with me convinced (but not worried) that this would be a very slow ride home.

In the end the sun came out and I was quicker than any of the rides home in this recent batch getting home in just over the hour.

My only question is - how the hell did I ever do this 10 minutes quicker?  I almost broke 50 minutes last summer - how???

Monday, 6 September 2010

Long bike, short run, all good

Manchester 100m bike ride yesterday with a brace of Harrowgays (Gym-Bunny and Angry), Gym-Bunny's mate Leigh, the Herb and Rick.  Stupidly early start from Embsay fuelled only by 2 crumpets and a peanut butter sarnie, then a HUGE queue to get into the parking in the park.  By the cunning ruse of missing the junction we parked on a road the other side of the park, saved ourselves a quid and got to the start without queueing.

Leigh and the Gym-Bunny were trying to out-Herb the Herb by steaming along at about 23mph on the flat, and both Angry and I expressed our concerns about what that would do to us later.  This received the expected lack of any serious consideration and the pressure stayed on...

The boys, flying at the start...

We hit 20 miles in a gnat's over an hour, and at about 30 miles the pressure started to show as Rick fell off the back for a while and took ages to catch up.  I stayed back with him (glad of the rest - no fraternal chivalry here!) but then we caught The Herb and we lost him again.  We assumed that he was having a bad day so set about catching the rest of the team, which we did as they were having a quick wee in Delamere Forest.

We kept going to the lunch stop at 56 miles, which we reached in just under 3 hours from the start.  A quick butty and a coffee and we were off again, and I was glad the stop was that crucial 6m beyond half way, so we were now into "counting down" territory.  At about 65m Angry hit his usual wall and dropped off with Gym-Bunny staying back with him, whereas me and The Herb managed to stay with Leigh, who was proving to be the strong man of the group.

Gym-Bunny eventually came back up, according to him he'd got sick of Tim whinging!  Shortly before this we'd come across Rick, who'd obviously been not having that bad a day and had only lost 10 minutes or so, had a short stop for lunch and got out again in front of us!  Leigh by this time had got sick of waiting for us and had buggered off into the distance - so now there were 4.

Once the mileage got into the 80's the wind that had been an irritant all day got stronger and ahead of us, and remarkably I found myself taking the lead quite a lot as Herb and Peter were feeling the pace.  We went past the last feed (well, "feed" is stretching it as you have to pay for anything you have) stop at 77m without pausing and here Rick dropped back again - so now there were 3.

The last couple of times I've done this ride the last 20 have been purgatory, but whilst I wouldn't say I felt fresh, I did feel ok this time.  The nasty little hill at Styal was conquered in the big ring (so big ring all the way for 100m!) and then it was the usual nonsense from Gym-Bunny and Herb as the lads with big thighs started to push the pace in the last couple of miles.  Fortunately there's quite a few sets of traffic lights to slow them down, so eventually we all finished together with 5:25 on the clock for an average speed of 18.6mph, which is very pleasing given my lack of mileage.

My legs were fine when I got up this morning, but there was no way I was getting up early enough to cycle in (although The Herb did, the loon).  However I decided I'd better get out so I set off at lunchtime for a 4 miler with a 3 mile effort.  It was clear as I set off on my effort that whilst my calves were fine my legs generally weren't, so it quickly became a mile effort which passed in 6:42, so respectable pace - however my legs weren't keen to keep going at that rate so I slowed to about 7:30 pace and ran to the 2.5m turn at Riddlesden.

From here I did another mile effort in 6:38 then ran back to work - 7:35 average pace, HR behaved, no calf pain but decidedly tired legs!

The plan is to bike in tomorrow despite the crap forecast - so hopefully I'll be back tomorrow to report that I stuck to my guns and did it!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Just a short one

I'm pretty sure that in last year's marathon campaign I didn't do enough slower running, so on the back of yesterday's longish run I decided to take advantage of a quiet day and do a slow recovery.  130bpm HR seems to be a pretty easy effort for me, so I set that as my target and ran to Halton East and back.

The HR did pop over the 130 a few times, but the average was 125 and that meant a fairly pedestrian, though very comfortable, pace of 8:15.

Unconvinced by my Nike Lunarglide shoes - I wore compression socks to be careful, but I still got a tiny tweak of so high up in my left calf - which hadn't been there at all yesterday, so I think they're now officially disco shoes.

Saw Neil Maloney whilst out - running along grinning cheerfully - wearing a woolly hat!!

Why, Neil, why????

A better week

After the joy of my fell run on Monday it was back to work and a couple of days with no running, then Thursday was the appointed bike-to-work day.  I was with Herb this week, and determined not to be quite so battered as I was last time.

The ride up through Draughton and past the stables felt easier with familiarity and we actually managed to chat most of the way up there, then a steady ride over to Silsden and the main event.  Robin Hood Hill, or Holden Lane or whatever it's called is still a challenge, but I reckon I was up it a minute and a half quicker than last time, and only 5 yards behind The Herb which is far better.

We were actually a tiny bit slower than last week, but I think chatting as you ride makes a fair difference.  The ride home was good, and I was back to my "big ring ride home" form which suggests my legs are getting stronger even if my belly isn't getting much smaller (though 4lbs off in a couple of weeks is ok).

Then yesterday (Friday) was the day I'd decided to see if my calves have really improved by running home from work.  This was a bit "shit or bust" as I'd lent Herb my car to go for his physio appointment so I wasn't really sure if I could bale out if I needed to.  I popped a twenty quid note in my bum bag in case of emergency taxi requrements...

I put my compression socks on as a back up, although left them rolled down, and set off to the canal.  Past Ridds I cut down onto the lane as I've decided I really don't like that stretch of towpath, but in Silsden I went back onto the canal, as hills seem to put a bit more strain on my calves.

 A pretty stretch of the canal near Kildwick

My socks were back up by this point as I could feel a slight tightness in my achilles, but no pain anywhere.  The miles were ticking past at a steady 7:50 which felt very comfortable indeed, even though it was hot, and I actually quite enjoyed the 2 1/2 miles along to Kildwick on the canal - so much so that I stayed on the canal all the way into Skipton, then cut up through Skipton Woods.  This was delightful - cool, quiet and peaceful, and it gave a really nice end to the run, depositing me as it did on the Embsay road just where it goes under the by-pass.

Half a mile of pavement and I was back at The Herbs to pick up my car - 14 miles in 1:51, so slightly slower than last year but possibly a bit longer, and a bit of nettle bashing at the top of the woods.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Park Life

Woke up to a sunny day and without the slight feeling of sluggishness and nausea I felt yesterday (beer and curry with the lads - not too messy but more than I usually drink these days), so decided a change was in order.

K nipped out for a quick couple of miles early doors, then I put my fell shoes on and set off Halton East-wards for some summer off-road action.  I've said before that whilst I claim to do "a bit" of fell running, that's usually just the Auld Lang Syne on New Years Eve, and that only so I can go and get squiffy with some old mates in Haworth.

However, my excursion up the lane from Halton East to Halton Heights had got me thinking that maybe I'd indulge in some mud 'n' grass fun, so I decided that today was the day.

The great thing about running off road is that you can basically forget about pace - this is "time on your feet" running, where you might just as easily have an 11 minute mile as a 6 minute one (unless you're Holmesy, of course).

The lane up from Halton East was, as usually happens when you've run something before, easier than last time, then at the top I turned right and popped out by the cattle grid on the Barden road.  Straight across it, then onto the main track across to Rylstone Cross.

The moor looked just fantastic today - the heather is purple, and with the late summer sun on it every fold of the landscape was visible - and of course I had no camera with me...

The pull up to the top of the moor felt really hard, and much more uphill than I remembered it, but as I normally walk this path rather than run it, and I'm usually distracted by having to encourage small girls to keep going maybe that's not surprising.

At the top I turned left to follow what's on the map as a bridleway - but I can't imagine a horse has been along it for decades.  There's the occasional bike track, but generally this path's hardly used.  That's a shame, as it's a brilliant run - gently downhill for just over a mile, as long as you watch where you're going you can fly down here.  The view changes every ten yards as more and more of Embsay and the Aire valley is revealed, until you cut right and up onto Embsay Crag for the spectacular vista stretching across to Pendle and Sharp Haw.

Said "how do" to a few walkers on the top of the Crag, then buggered up the descent line and ended up floundering around in head high bracken, whilst trying to look like that was where I'd meant to go all along.  Nob.

Anyway - once I'd regained the path it was a fast grassy blast down to the Eastby road and then half a mile on the road to home.  8.5 miles, an hour and a quarter and a feeling of enormous well-being (as that bloke said in the Blur song).

Sunday, 29 August 2010

A windy blast

We've had a curry and a few beers in the diary for several weeks, so we decided to earn out beer with a few bike miles yesterday afternoon.  I'd originally thought it was just going to be me and The Herb, but in the end there was five of us, with Steve, Bob and Ian Ryder joining us.

Ian is a mountain biker and was on my winter bike - which as he's a good 2" taller than me looked like a TT bike with the saddle racked up.

We set off over Halton Heights with a blustery wind behind us, that brought in a sharp shower as we headed down towards Bolton Abbey and Langbar.  Ian was struggling a bit with my bike - the rear mech seems to be gummed up and the gearing is a lot higher than he's used to, but we managed to keep together with a few pauses.

Langbar was, for me, not as tough as usual, but Ian had a hard time up it, and was looking decidedly cheesed off with life!

We headed down into Ilkley on wet roads, and I had a very near miss coming down the last part of the hill when I went too fast into a corner, braked and locked both wheels.  I could see the rather deep and uneven gutter approaching but somehow managed to remain upright.

We then rode up over Addingham Moorside, with Ian again finding it tough, so we made an executive decision to go back via Bradley instead of the long climb up to Lothersdale, which given the wind direction would have been a toughie.

As we hit the top of the last hill before dropping into Skipton the sun made a welcome reappearance and we dried off nicely before the end.

Just 26 miles at a very moderate average speed, but my legs felt better on the hills than they have for some time, so things seem to be moving in the right direction.  I've even started to get some weight off at last, with 4lbs somehow disappearing in the last 10 days or so.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

And so it continues

A more relaxed day at work yesterday after the stresses of "do-we-or-don't-we" Tuesday and zooming up and down to Newcastle. Decided not to run home on account of a lack of Dazzler to drive me in, so decided to go out after work with Hinsley.

I had something with double figures in mind, but as rich was with me we decided to go from work rather than silsden.

Up to tesco, turn left then all the way along the canal past Ridds and the golf course. We'd decided to carry on past the farm and stay on the towpath for a while further which was dry but less smooth underfoot.

We turned left just before silsden ad cut down to the lane and then back to the farm and the towpath.

As I'd forgotten my watch (again) we were on iPhone timing using rubitrack, so we weren't sure on pace. It felt like 8minute-ish but my legs did express some surprise at still being running after 40 minutes had passed!

We got back to work with just 10m on the clock in a tad over 80 minutes, with no calf pain and just a slight sense of satisfaction to offset the slightly fatigued legs!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Getting better (slightly)

This running on alternate days seems to be doing the trick with my poorly calves, although thanks to a bit of self-massage (ooh! cheeky!) I had a very tender bit right at the top of my right calf this morning.

After the stresses of a day-long "go/no-go" meeting yesterday today was a relatively normal day, punctuated mainly by pigging out on delish home-made Sheesh kebabs brought in as a variation on the normal "bake sale" to raise money for the Pakistan flood victims - ate far too many but put lots of money in the pot and went out for a run after work to make up for my gluttony.

With Hinsley and The Newmanator tonight, I'd decided to wear my compression socks, so was forced to run on my own by the lads as they were embarrassed to be seen with me.  I responded to their cold-shouldering by running the second mile along the canal a bit quicker than we'd originally said, so was pleased to see a pair of slightly sweaty bods when we turned round at the 2 1/2 mile mark, then Hinsley (trying to play it cool) said he thought we were going to do an effort for the fourth mile - so we speeded up a bit.  Quite gratified that it felt a long way from eyeballs out, and the watch beeped at 6:35.  Mind you, how I used to run 6 or 8 miles at that pace in training is slightly beyond me at the moment...

5 miles at 7:34 pace - and no reaction from the legs.

Off up to Newcastle for more merger fun tomorrow, then I think I might make another attempt at running home on Friday - or possible running in if I can be arsed to get up that early!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A monstrous bike ride Sunday. Plan was to meet Rick and Angry in Otley then ride to York and back via the Flatlands in preparation for the Manchester 100 in a couple of weeks. Herb picked me up in Ken the Kamp and we set off, only to grind to a halt just this side of Ilkley as the road was closed due to a fatal accident. We toyed with going round via Blubbs but in the end dumped the car at Addingham and walked across to the Nesfield road and cycled at high speed to Otley (including a ludicrous race with a pensioner on an addax bike).

Off towards York we went, with Rick on yet another new bike and Angry on a posh Spesh thing with a full size chainset he has on test. It's surprisingly lumpy in the first third, but once you're past Wetherby it all gets nice and flat.

We were wazzing along and looking forward to more wazzing on the way home as we were convinced the wind was going to be behind us.

We stopped at Naburn for a brew then set off back to realise the wind was a westerly and we had 35 miles to go straight into it. By the time we were back at Arthington we'd all had a bad spell (except The Herb who was nails) and Angry was off the back and struggling.

Rick managed to get our bikes in his van thing so we avoided another 8 miles of into the wind struggle back to Ken. 74 miles at an average of just under 17mph, but a lesson in how much fitness I've lost as I was shot at the end.

I managed another steady 4 miler after work on Monday without the aid of compression socks, then biked in today the lumpy way on my own. As I was by myself I had time to study the two climbs and realise that whilst they're steep and gnarly they're not that long. The climb through Draughton and past the stables is only about a milke and a half and took 13 minutes, and the dreaded Holden Lane is only 0.6m and took just over 7 minutes. I got absolutely drenched going in so can't wait for the new drying rooms they're building at work.

The ride home was 3 minutes quicker than last week, mainly due to not rabbitting to The Herb (or maybe I'm getting some cycling legs back after 100m last week?).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Up and sort of running

We've got young Milly, K's niece, staying with us this weekend, so as I'm not a blood relative I was allowed out of the trip to the swimming baths this morning.  I was thinking about getting out on my bike, but as we're out for a biggish ride tomorrow I couldn't really be bothered getting kitted up and out.

So - following a few boings around the kitchen to see whether there was any niggle left in either of my naughty calves I popped my vest, and my comedy compression socks, on and set off gingerly towards Halton East.

At the 1.5 m point I considered turning round but decided to keep going to 2, and I reached Halton East with no pain from either leg.  So far so good...

On the way back I started to get a bit of tightness in my achilles on the left, but the calf stayed pain free, and I came home a happy bunny with 4 miles at 7:55 pace under my belt.  Bike tomorrow, and I think the rule's going to be no speedwork for a fortnight and no running on consecutive days until next weekend earliest.

Good stuff - we're on the way...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Well now...

Ended up having a pretty good weekend all in all - The Herbs turned up and we all went to the pub.  Then on Saturday I decided to give my sore calf a weekend off so we did family stuff including getting lost in a maize maze (with Maisie, oddly...) and on Sunday we went to Forbidden Corner which is near Leyburn and is just weird.  Reminded myself just how beautiful the Lune Valley is up that top end, and vowed to go back and run over Barbon Fell and perhaps a Howgill or two very soon.

Having been so responsible and not running I was happy to go out with The Herb Monday after work, and all was going swimmingly for a couple of miles then in my left calf (you know, the one that hurt last week before the right one decided to hurt - yeah - that one) a familiar feeling.  Even more annoyingly it happened the moment The Herb said "all's ok with your calf then?" - and of course it was.  Just not the other one.

So - back on the running bench for a few days.  It's not (I don't think) serious as it didn't feel like a proper tear, but it has been a bit sore since.  Been up in the North East doing merger stuff for a couple of days so haven't really missed running, but I am going to have to find somewhere to run up there as it looks like a day or two most weeks will be how it'll be for a few months at least.

So today, feeling my belly growing by the moment, I decided to risk it and cycle in to work with The Herb, who's been doing lots on his bike and has been cycling in the lumpy way over the moor.  This involves a couple of seriously steep climbs - one up through Draughton and then Holden Lane between Silsden and East Morton.  Now the sign at the top of this says 20%, but that's only 1 in 5, isn't it?  Nah - there's bits on this that are nearer 1 in 4 - and at half seven in the morning it's hard going. 

Still - it's 26 miles and a couple of hours of CV exercise done.  A long bike on Sunday then I'll give my (by then hopefully) pain free legs a run out - part of the build up to running a bit quicker, hopefully!