Sunday, 27 June 2010

A week off running

Blimey - don't think I've not run for 7 days (when not injured) since 2008, so this week has felt a bit odd.  All work related - Monday and Tuesday were stacked out with meetings and trying (unsuccessfully) to get Linz to not resign, so no running at work - then Wednesday was the start of the big C2C adventure.  That started adventurously in the pub in Leeds watching Ingurland play slightly better than dreadfully to beat Slovenia.  With free beer.  Rob T and I were the lucky punters along for the corporate jaunt, so by the time we got in the minibus to go to Whitehaven we were moderately well oiled.

After 2 pub stops we were even better oiled and finished the night off with a few nightcaps.  Surprisingly I felt ok(ish) in the morning, so as we pulled on our posh CallCredit cycling tops I was quite looking forward to the day's activities.

There were a real mixture of bikes and body shapes, with a Dura-Ace top-to-toe carbon number, Rob's 'cross bike and JJB Sports full suss specials.  There was also a comedy tandem with no brakes or gears that never really got started.

The first section of the route is a cycle path to Ennerdale, followed by lanes to the bottom of Whinlatter.  This was a pretty steady climb, made steadier by being towed up it by Rob and Nieah.

Lunch was at Whinlatter, with plentiful pork pies and energy bars, although I suspect I didn't eat quite enough, as I was running a bit short of puff later.  Fast descent off Whinlatter and the team was splintered again.  We didn't enjoy the cycle path from Kesewick to Threlkeld much as it was too rough for a road bike, but the lanes from there to Penrith were a delight.  By this time the team was down to me, Rob and Steve, but we were a bit baffled by the lack of a stop between Keswick and Penrith.  This proved to be because we'd gone through before the van, but we were all heading for the bonk by the time we met up with the car just before the last climb of the day up Hartside.

We'd been joined by Nieah at this point, and this left me the back marker, particularly as I became absolutely desperate for a poo on the way up Hartside.  I came in about 5 minutes after the lads and just legged it for the disabled bog as it was the first one I saw!  We ate cake and drank tea til the cafe closed, but there were still several riders out on the road.  In the end we waited well over 2 1/2 hours for the rest to arrive (minus the 3 real back markers who got to the hotel at 9:30!).  Incidentally the hotel was the Shap Wells just outside Kendal, and is absolutely dreadful - note to self:  never, ever go there again.

More free beer and many laughs, then we were off back to Hartside for the start of Day 2.  At the bottom of the first climb one guy had sheared his inner chain ring, so emergency repairs were required - we then fixed several punctures and adjusted brakes for people before ending up back in front for the final climb from Stanhope, still 30 miles from the finish but with no up to come.

We had an epic wait at the cafe at lunchtime (another 2 1/2 hours) before the least pleasant section for me, the Waskerley Way cycle path which is gravelly and really not suitable for a road bike.

It was, as promised, largely downhill, but for me the C2C is rather spoiled after Consett as trying to keep off roads leads to it taking some really tortuous cycleways - if I did it again I'd find myself a nice main road and finish an hour sooner!

We eventually rolled into Sunderland for a swim in the sea, more free beer and fish & chips after 4 hours of riding and 3:45 hours of waiting!

A great couple of days, but now I really must do some running...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Just a steady one

Lovely day again, but a busy day telling people they've got to apply for their jobs, so by the end of it I was ready to get some exercise.  Usual spot in Silsden, with The Herb - just a nice 3 miles out and back.  We decided to carry on along the canal a bit further, before cutting back down to the road, as the towpath's nice and dry.

This proved to be an entertaining excursion as I didn't realise there's two bridges between Riddlesden and Silsden, so we ended up ratching about in some fields rather than jogging down a tarmac lane as I expected.  This added about a third of a mile to the run, so we ended up with 6.3m in just over 50 minutes, with the pace generally being about 7:45.  HR was very low again, apart from a daft spike when it jumped to 170 or so - hope this isn't another strap going wonky...

Out at night to sit in a completely empty Aagrah as everyone else was watching the football (which was dire, apparently).  Then one or two beers, the effects of which I hope have worn off by tomorrow as it's Freckleton HM - probably going to be too warm to run fast (although it's bloody freezing today, so maybe my sub-80 will have to wait til the winter - but a nice sub-85 run would be nice.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Post-work pootle

Played golf at Moortown today courtesy of those nice people at HML (they've still got a horrid building though).  We won, so I have a nice pair of golfy shoes, which will come in handy for the three times a year I play (although I'm playing next Monday, oddly).

Had to go back to the office for a chat with some nice UKFI boys, so ran into The Newmanator who was keen for a run.  It was very hot, and I wasn't sure if I could be arsed, but he asked me to drop him in Silsden so he could run back to Crossflatts, so I decided to give it a bash anyway.

We ran the first mile in just under 8 minutes, whereupon Tim declared it to be "slow".  I jokingly asked if he'd prefer to be running 6:30 pace, and he said "yep - let's have a go", so we agreed to do just one quick mile on the canal before we split up.

In the end it was 6:24, with Tim maybe 2 seconds behind, so quite brisk for him, and rather harder work than he was expecting, I think.  My New HRM behaved, and my HR was up about 150 during the effort, but back down at 135 or less the rest of the time.

London at silly o'clock tomorrow morning then a visit to Aireville for Maisie to decide she doesn't want to go there at night, so no running now til Friday, when I might leave it a couple of days before Freckleton on Sunday.

Low mileage week, eh?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Look at the heart rate on that!

Had a meeting debating the correct level of payment for IT geeks to be on call a week per month today at lunchtime (such is the excitement of my current, temporary operational responsibilities), so no running possible.

The same happened to The Herb so we went out after work and went down to Silsden for a pootle, just to see how tired my legs were.  I was also interested to see how my new HRM would perform, having assured the Garmin Geezer that it was the strap not the device (then instantly not being sure if I'd had big spikes from my Edge...).

We had a lovely run, with lots of chatting (although to be honest The Herb got a bit breathless in parts!), and my HR was amazingly low - spending large parts of the run down below 120.  Not sure if this is a new strap thing or whether I've just been getting stupidly high readings from the old one even when it's not been spiking - but it certainly felt pretty easy going.  4m at a wee bit under 8 min pace, so a good run out for The Herb (he said patronisingly) and reassurance my legs are just fine and dandy after Saturday's excesses.

Speaking of Saturday, Rick (who clearly needs a job or something else to do) has copied the Cyclone results into a spreadsheet showing that he was 356th out of 1130 finishers, and I (despite my lengthy stop) was 474th.  I think this shows the standard is quite a lot lower than many "proper" sportives, as with a long stop like that I wouldn't expect to be anywhere near the top half.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A steady run and a big bike ride

Decided against the Otley 10 on Wednesday as my shin had been a bit sore after my tempo session.  Rich and I went out after work and ran 5 miles quite slowly on Thursday.  My shin didn't hurt.  'Nuff said, really - it was fine and I had a nice time. 

Today was the Northern Rock Cyclone, which I was planning to do with Rick, and K was riding with Kath, Mrs Rick.  They were doing the 63m ride and Rick and I were doing the 104 miler.  Due to an early start we drove up last night, and registered in Newcastle on the way there.  We stayed in the world's most uncomfortable bed in a £29 Travelodge room, which was ok.

As would be expected, breakfasting in a Little Chef took longer than it should have, and by the time we arrived it was clear the car park at Newcastle Falcons was full.  We pulled onto a convenient bit of grass verge and got going.  The monster queue for the start moved quickly and we were away just after 8:30, and were immediately surprised by how flat it was.  We were promised a "choppy" course with 8 major climbs - but to be honest I cant; think of anything that would qualify as "major" in the Dales.  The clientele were generally a bit less experienced looking than the average Dales sportive too, but that's probably partly due to the 33m and 63m rides they run.

How grumpy does Rick look?

The route was very flat, and would hardly count as "undulating" until about the 45m point when there was a climb up to the 2nd feedstop.  This is where it all went a bit wrong...

I'd said to Rick the previous evening "I assume we're not going to stop at the feedstops", meaning "let's just fill our bottles, grab a banana and bugger off".  It may have been helpful if I'd actually said that, as I reached the stop a minute ahead of Rick and stopped to fill my bottles - Rick, as I'd said, dibbed in and carried on.  I then waited 25 minutes to see if he'd arrive and eventually set off, unsure whether he was somewhere back down the road fixing a mechanical or had indeed shot through.

I therefore rode the last 56 miles solo, which in a way was good as I could ride my own pace, but a shame as I was looking forward to riding it with Rick.

The route did get a bit lumpier after the 50 mile point, but in the main the roads follow valleys, so apart from a couple of places the climbs were pretty tame, and all were short lived.

I didn't know what the standard were for gold and silver, but I decided I really wanted to break 7 hours total, 6:30 moving time so ended up riding the last 15m at an average of 20mph, pretty much time-trialling as there were no groups to latch onto.

In the end I broke my time targets, but was disappointed to see Silver was 6:30, which I suspect I could have got with a bit off effort and no delays.

Not an event I'll do again - the organisation was a bit slack in parts, and the need for an overnight is a bit of a pain in the bum - and to put the tin lid on it we got a parking ticket for parking on the grass verge, and the A1 was closed for an hour and a half on the way home!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Another decent session

I had a slightly worrying ache in the front of my calf yesterday, which I think might have been a combination of higher mileage last week (36, I think) and a long run in my Nike Lunarglide shoes, which I've decided aren't cushioned enough for a fat lad (although to be fair it may be the fact they've got more support than the usual neutral shoes I wear).  Anyway - they're now a short run/speed sesion/pub shoe.

I didn't run or cycle yesterday, partly because of my calf, which was feeling a bit like shin splints (but on the outside, oddly) and also because I spent the morning looking after the kids as K was a at work.  However today it was back to work, and a suggestion from The Herb that he was going to run after he finished.  Moderately grotty weather put paid to my thoughts of joining the Harriers on an away run over Sharp Haw and I agreed to join him.  The Newmanator was also up for an after-work run, so we all drove down to Silsden and set off together.  The plan was for Newman to run back to the office, for me to do a 4m tempo session and The Herb to do a steady 6 miler.

We ran together as far as the canal, and then I set off at what felt fairly comfortable yet brisk.  The first mile was a surprising 6:12, and that didn't feel overly tough.  The second was a second slower, then I turned for home just up above Riddlesden Hall.  I encountered Newman after maybe 1/4 mile, who told me The Herb was running 7:30 pace, so it was unlikely I'd catch him, but with maybe half a mile of the effort left I spotted him ahead.  I actually caught him about 100yds before my watch beeped for the 4th mile, by which time I was working fairly hard, but not outrageously so - I think there was another mile available if required, although not the 8m efforts I was doing back in Feb.

The final result was a pleasing 7m total with a 4 mile tempo session with splits of 6:12, 6:13, 6:08 and 6:08.  With the warm up and down the average pace just crept over 7 min mile pace, but I was very comfortable by the time we finished and no pain from any limbs, just a slight tightness in my left calf which soon stretched off.  The only lowlight was my HRM which was utterly mental - although having been rude about Garmin yesterday I rang then and they're sending me a new HRM strap - so hopefully we'll be back to normal again soon.

Good session for us all - The Herb ran 6.2m at a sub-8min pace, and The Newmanator ran 9.4m, which is a great effort for a small bandy man.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Another hot day, another run...

Really fancied a day of schlonking about yesterday, but with 15m in my legs from Friday's extravaganza I decided I needed a recovery run.  K was out on her bike in the morning so it was about 2:30 by the time I set off towards Halton East, with the sun high and hot.  This was a proper recovery run, so no HRM and no concerns with pace.

Just 4m at a tad over 8min pace on average, but much quicker coming back then going, bringing up 36 miles for the week and a bit of pain from my left shin - not running today (mild hangover) so hopefully that'll give it 24hrs to recover.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Familiar territory

Another week gone, and for once I feel like I might actually have done a worthwhile week's training.  A decent speed/tempo session, a recovery or two and a fast interval sesh yesterday left me with just one of the "trinity" of key runs (according to me, anyway) to do - the long one.

I actually had "long run" in the diary this afternoon and had I been able to get a lift in that would probably have meant a run home and maybe (just maybe...) a twiddly bit on one end or the other to make it a bit longer.  In the end The Herb is in Wales and The Dazzler is in Grimsby (not sure which sounds worse...) so I had to drive in.  During the canal bike ride with M&L earlier in the week I'd been jealous of the people we saw running on the canal, so I decided to return to the site of my long runs in the winter - Hainsworth Road in Silsden.  This is actually my third time there this week, but it is a very convenient place to access the canal, as it avoids the lumpy bumpy bit nearer Silsden, and leaves me with a short drive home afterwards.

I set off with 12 miles in mind - I reckoned (correctly) that would take me to the top of 5Rise and back.  On the way my chosen pace of about 7:35 felt easy enough (although my HRM was playing silly buggers again - and NO REPLY from Garmin to my email.  Nobs) so I took my courage in both hands and descended the locks and carried on.  As I approached the 7 mile point I started to feel a bit tired, which was slightly worrying given the distance I had to get back to the car, but I decided that 15m was the target.  I'd brought a water bottle and some gels, and a slurp of both brought almost instant relief (and possibly the fact I'd turned round!).

I even speeded up, not to anywhere near my old MP, but sub-7:20, for a few miles, and actually ran the last 5 at 7:17 pace.  I finished with 15m on the clock in 1:53, including a quick chat with Connors, an old colleague who was also out for a run and a stop for a wee (not at the same time, obviously).  Glad to have a long one in the bag, and with a steady recovery tomorrow I'll be not far off 40m for the week.  The step up to 20m in August doesn't feel quite so daunting now...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Not the track but the next best thing...

K's rounders match (again) tonight so no track session.  Hinsley finishes college in 2 weeks so we'll get them back in the diary from then on, but today we decided to get a swift speed session in on the canal at lunch.  Plan was 0.5m warm up then 4x0.5m efforts off 0.25m recoveries.

It was very warm, and I half decided to leave it til the end of the day (especially as I was wearing a light grey shirt - not a good look whilst sweaty) but a cancelled meeting convinced us we could be back lunched and suitably cooled down before my 1pm meeting, so off we went.

We sort of agreed to run the efforts at 6min mile pace as I thought that would be plenty quick enough after several weeks with no speed work, but the first one was 2:50, so 5:40 pace and then the die was cast.  Rich was maybe 15yds off the pace but still running well sub-6, and the second rep was a bit quicker still at 2:44 (5:28 pace - nippy!) then two more followed at 2:48 and 2:51.  The last rep felt hard, but I'm glad to have knocked out the half miles slightly quicker than the last time we did 800's on the track back in Feb (admittedly that was 6 reps off 200m recovery).  Oh - and my HRM behaved!

Long one tomorrow after work to give a pretty respectable week's training.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A bit of a run then a bit of a walk

Had to drop K's car off at the garage for a service this morning, so despite a few holiday beers last night I drov down in my running kit and ran home.  A nice meander, along past Tesco, through the park then back up through Skipton Woods made it a very steady 5m recovery at 8min mile pace.  Felt good to get a recovery in after yesterday's efforts - must endeavour to do something tomorrow (maybe a speedy one on the canal again?) and then hopefully a run home or a longer one on Friday.

Once home and showered it was out for another half-term special - the ascent of Pen y Ghent with Maisie and Lily.  We decided to go the short way from Silverdale Road, although on reflection they'd have been fine coming up from Horton.  Both really enjoyed the scrambly bit at the top, and after picnic and a quick (successful) hunt for a geocache on the summit we descended the way we'd come.

A stop for ice-cream in Settle and home for computer games and general slobbing about.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

2 days, 1 place

A day off today to follow yesterday's bank holiday and a total contrast in the weather.  Yesterday was sunny and warm(ish), today we were back with rain and 10ยบ.  Yesterday we did the family thing and took our bikes down to Silsden to cycle along the towpath.  First time on bigger bikes for both M & L and Lily in particular found it a great deal easier than last time when she was on 12" wheels.

We cycled along Hainsworth Lane (or "my lane" as I prefer to call it) to the canal and then past a fabulous display of rhodedendrons, fluffy ducks and several sets(?) of cygnets being kept in order by their mums.  Spring has sprung.

We stopped at the Fisherman's in Bingley for lunch, and were expecting great things from the self-declared "best food on the Leeds Liverpool Canal" - sadly there's either not much competition or they're in breach of advertising regulations, as it was pretty dire.  There are too many pubs that think because they're not charging the earth (although we still spent almost £30) they can churn out shite - and unfortunately we punters put up with it.

Hey ho.  However a grand 15m of cycling was had by all, with neither of the kids moaning too much about their legs.

Today's weather offered no possibilities for family activities beyond baking and the Wii, so I took myself off to the same location for a run.  I've decided I need to take myself in hand, as Freckleton is only three weeks away and that's supposed to be quick one.  The run on the canal from Silsden is ideal for a tempo session as you get 1.4m to warm up and down, then a decent surface for about 4m to do whatever speedwork you like.  Today I decided on 5m of effort, so after a leisurely jog to the canal I set off at what felt brisk but comfortable.  I was hoping for something around 6:30-6:40, so when the first mile was 6:23 I was fairly happy, but unsure how I'd cope later on.  I turned after 2.5m of canal to give me my 5m of effort, and actually felt better on the way back.

In the end it was ok - and I actually speeded up towards the end.  Splits were:


Added a few hundred yards on the end to make 8m total, and all done in under an hour.  A tad quicker than my midweek MP sessions back in the winter, but of course only 5m of effort instead of the 6 or 8 I was doing back then.  However I'm pretty happy to have got a decent session in, and one that I must ensure I do every week without fail - if I can run home (maybe with a twiddly bit or two) and do one of these each week, along with a few track session and some slower stuff then I should keep the base pretty solid for August when I have to start building up for Abingdon!

HR was mental again, so have emailed Garmin to ask what to do.