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...