Monday, 31 January 2011

Just a steady one and a reflection on the month

Legs a bit stiff this morning, and very stiff after 3 hours in the car driving to Doxford and back.  Something Had To Be Done so it was on with the reflective stuff and headtorch and off to Halton East.  The temperature was cool, so my breath fogged in the beam of the torch, so it was like running into a heavy metal gig.  Only without the music.  Or the leather.

Just a steady 5 round Halton East, with the legs getting better with every stride, so well worth the effort.  Tomorrow will be another MP jobby after work, and with the light lasting til just about 5pm not I might try and get out at 4 to do at least some of it in daylight.

Had an email from Steve, my partner yesterday, and as I suspected he's come down with some lurgy or other - amazing how illness can come out in your performance before it starts coming out of your nasal cavities, but it's something I've seen time and again.  Never mind - we'll have to do it next time and biff it.

Just looked at the first month of this year's marathon training and compared it to last year.  168m this year compared with 209 last, but by this time I'd done 2x20milers and a 22.  The average distance is within 1/2 a mile, so I think I've been doing longer midweek runs, with several 10 milers this time round.  I'm hoping I've been building up slower and not pushing the pace as much too, as the whole point of this year's build up is to stay injury free to really put the miles in in late Feb and March - exactly what I missed last year.

Weight-wise I'm a bit disappointed - I would have thought I'd have lost a bit more weight, but whilst I'm definitely feeling fitter I've not really lost much weight - hopefully as the mileage starts to increase I'll drop a few lbs.  I'm not needing to lose masses, but I'd like to be 7-10lbs lighter come April, if only for the photos!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Off road relay action

Pennine Bridleway Relay today, which I put myself in for assuming someone thinner and faster would be available. Unlucky, fatty...

As I'd got leg 1 I was out of bed at 6:30 and had to pick Steve Weston up in Ilkley at 7. Spare room again then. We arrived at Waterfoot about 8, giving me time for a free brew and a bottle of water before a brief warm-up. Steve ran 1:21 at the Monkey last week, so I was expecting a very hard time today, and as I noticed a pace of 6:15 on the watch during the first (road) mile I was seriously worried.

However as we left the road and headed upwards I noticed Steve was initially struggling, then he was absent. I found myself waiting at a few gateways and seeing people pass us, so it was clear Steve was having One of Those Days. We've all had 'em, but on the top of Deerplay Moor we struggled to stay together as Steve was blowing hard.

He picked up a bit towards the bottom of the descent into Holmes Chapel, when we started to pass a few teams. At the top of the climb to the Long Causeway we had gained a few places, and we hit the finish a few minutes quicker than I was fearing in 1:14.

A quick shake of hands then I was back off down the hill, being suitably encouraging to those still climbing to the finish, then a tough climb back up Deerplay before the long, long descent (and interminable bloody gates) back down via Lumb to the Waterfoot, the car and a big pie.

17 miles, time irrelevant (2:34 if you insist, so a pace of 8:50) but good time on my feet and nearly 2,500' of ascent.

Grand day out, now I'm a fell runner...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

More effort

After a couple of easyish days wednesday was the day when it was back to the grindstone. No chance of a lunchtime run so it was out at about half four and up to the canal via the Royal then left towards Riddlesden.

At about 3/4 mile i stepped up the pace and hit 6:50 or a bit quicker for 6 miles. Mile 5 was a bit slower into the wind then the last one was 6:41 so a speedy one to end with. The last 3 miles were a pleasant relief at about 8 min pace. 10 miles total, so another good session.

Today held the promise of a nice steady few miles with some folk from work, but an organisational cock up saw me hare off up the canal at about 6:30 pace to try and catch up. I met them at the 2 1/2 mile point so did a far steadier second half at around 8:40 pace!

Day off tomorrow, and maybe Saturday too as Sunday is the Pennine Bridleway relay, with the prospect of 8.5m of racing followed by another 8.5m back to the car. Depending on how I feel I might do a few steady miles Saturday, but won't feel any pressure to do so.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Steady miles

Legs a little tired after Sunday's efforts, so yesterday was a very steady 4 miler by the Thames in That London.  Arrived about half five and after another Boris Bike epic and a near fight with the hotel receptionist I set off for a trot.  Even though it's January and wet there were still oodles of foreign tourists getting in the way on the south bank, and as usual I got baffled by Blackfriars bridge and had a detour inland.  I crossed over the Millenium footbridge and ran back along the embankment, imagining doing it in April with thousands of people cheering and with time in hand to hit my target time.

Back over Westminster bridge then a quick change before going for tea at the House of Lords, courtesy of a bit of corporate schmoozing.

Home again today and really didn't feel like going out, and especially not for a long run, so I gave myself the excuse of tired legs and went out for 6 in the dark and the rain.  As usual once I got going the soreness evaporated, but I kept the pace nice and steady and the HR low, averaging just 126.

Something longer and/or harder tomorrow after work when hopefully my legs will be recovered and I won't have the remnants of a few late night beers and House of Lords wine swilling about my system!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A decent day at the office

Brass Monkey today, with 31 miles for the week already in the bank.  No intention of going for PB's today - a comfortable run with a respectable time would suffice.  An absolutely perfect day for running, with just the slightest breeze saw me arriving at Knavesmire racecourse for 9am, and wandered into the main stand to pick up my number.

It was bonkers!  Couldn't see which queue to join, but was lucky enough to see Vic right at the front of the V-W queue so he handed my e-mail in to receive...the wrong number...

 Fortunately I'd checked the entry list and handed it back, and duly toddled over to the enquiries desk where I got my number, due to the fact I'd rather foolishly entered twice.

The start was on the main road instead of on the racecourse road, and I only just got back to the car to strip off after a steady 2 mile warm-up.  The start was a bit delayed anyway as the chaos in the bar had meant lots of people were late.

Last year I got caught up in a bonkers chase over the first mile, as several clubmates hared off at sub-6 pace.  This year I couldn't see any red and green vests and went through a mile in about 6:20.  The plan was to run 6:30-ish pace and see where that got me, and for 10 miles it did very nicely indeed.  Never feeling under pressure, none of the "counting down the miles" that I do when I'm pushing - just enjoyable running.

I found myself with a little band of followers from 8 miles, with a group hanging on behind, but nobody wanting to take the front.  They gradually dropped off, but I did start to slow after 10 miles, which I went through in 64 minutes.  Mile 11 was the slowest at 6:36, then a 6:35 and a 6:33 to finish in a couple of seconds over 1:25.

Happy with that, and happy to have come through a 46 mile week with no problems.  Next week's long run is leg 1 of the Pennine Bridleway relay, which I think I'll run there and back to give 17 miles off road.

Wish me luck...

Friday, 21 January 2011

Another work week in the bag

Well another week goes by, with a fair bit of travelling (London twice) but a reasonable amount of running fitted in - some of it actually in daylight!

After my longish (8m) lunchtime run on Wednesday, I was in London again on Thursday.  I've become something of a Boris Bike evangelist, so strode purposefully out of Kings X to get my bike to ride down to Aldwych.  No bikes.  Never mind - there'll be some at Grey's Inn Rd.  No bikes.  I carried on down the road to a stand with a few bikes on - not working...

Eventually I picked up a  bike and had an enjoyable (although by this time a bit rushed) ride down to the Strand, where I had exactly the opposite problem - nowhere to dock the bugger.

I then discovered I'd left my electronic key in the docking stand, so had to walk briskly along to Trafalgar Square for my second meeting.  Not the ecologically sound day I had planned.  No matter - my new key arrived today so on Monday, luggage permitting, I'll be back on the bike.

Got home from London about 6 so went out for a crisp, clear, moonlit 4 miler to Halton East.  My new Garmin "hard strap" is working just fine, and my steady pace of about 8:15 saw me average 121.  Nice 'n' low.

Then today's choice was bike in or get another steady lunchtime run in.  A warm bed, -7ยบ outside and a promise of a cold, sunny run meant my bike miles are staying low as my running miles increase.  5m on the canal, an average HR of 131 (despite a big spike at the start) and an average pace of 7:46 saw the mileage for the week go past 30 in 5 days, with Sunday's Brass Monkey to come.  I've no great hopes for Sunday - just a decent warm up and anything reasonably under 90 mins will do - the main thing is to feel comfortable and not do any damage.  This could be my last race before London depending on what I decide to do in March, so it's important to keep my eyes on the main prize.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Right - I promised a bit more detail on where I've been and what I've been up to since New Year, so here we go:

2 Jan - went down to Halton East to give a Christmas week of at least respectability - 32 miles
w/c 4 Jan - Started the week by going on the Harriers "hard run" or Beamsley Bash - Ilkley to the A59 with efforts.  A couple of recoveries, a "5 in 7" MP run and 8 steady miles after work gave me 33 for the week. 28m bike ride with Herb on the Sunday too.
w/c 11 Jan - work conferences all week, but dragged myself out for a "6 in 8" on the wet and windy quayside in the Toon on Monday, a dark 4 m recovery on Tuesday, 8m on the canal on the way home from Leeds on Thursday and a very wet and windy 14 on the canal on Saturday on my way home from signing my life away for a new car - the first one I've had to buy in almost 15 years. 34 miles.

Then this week I've done a cracking headtorch illuminated "6 in 10" on the canal with the effort at a respectable 6:42 average, a late night 4m recovery by moonlight then what started off as a steady 8 today, but ended up with a few faster miles in the second half.

I've also learned a Haka (at work conferences), decided tempo running by headtorch is ok, and discovered that steady 4 and 5 milers aren't junk - they give you mileage (and strength) without strain.  I've bought an old skool Garmin HRM strap (that works, instead of those expensive pieces of junk they sell as "improved" ones) and some new trainers, as well as even more pairs of Nike compression socks.

I shall try to be more dedicated from now on - a steady one tomorrow before a day or wo off before the Monkey on Sunday.

Oh - and yesterday I entered the 3 Peaks Race by accident - 2 weeks after London, so won't be setting any records, but it'll be interesting to see whether I can at least beat the cutoffs...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Brief update

No, i haven't disappeared - i've just been busy. Training going ok with 3 consecutive 35m weeks but long runs are slightly less long than I'd like them, with a 14 miler the longest since xmas. Midweek runs are longer though, culminating in a 10 miler today with 6m in the middle averaging 6:42 pace. I'm also trying hard to do some slower running in between.

Brass Monkey Sunday which I'm not holding out any great hopes for - anything 1:25ish will be satisfactory at this stage.

Now work is marginally less mental I'll try and fill y'all in on what's been happening, but in summary i'm injury free and feeling pretty good, other than I'm needing to build my LR up to 20 over the next month or so.


Sunday, 2 January 2011

Back again

Haven't blogged a lot recently, mainly because I've not done a lot of running or cycling. In fact I seemed to spend most of December doing poxy 5 mile plods at various paces - mainly due to work commitments meaning I struggled to get out, but also because Rich and Tim had both managed to get themselves injured and out of action. This means running on my own, which I realise I have to do quite a bit during a marathon campaign, but it does help to have someone to go out with once or twice a week. Maybe a few trips down to the Harriers is in order to keep the motivation up.

Anyway, this week was Christmas week, so once the turkey stuff was out of the way I was shamed into getting out on Monday for yet another poxy 5 miler. Very pretty in the snow though.

Then I arranged to meet Newman at work on Wednesday, so we did a nice steady 13miles (not 5!!!) on the canal. Nothing speedy, but up to the end of the cycle towpath at Silsden, then back down 5Rise and up the path near the Fishermans. I even had the energy for a swiftish half mile near the end. The Newmanator declad himself "battered" afterwards.

Then New Year's Eve was my annual fell racing outing, with me in my white "Miami Vice" suit and mullet wig. Not sure how people with hair run, but I found I was sweating profusely, but stuck it out with my wig right to the end. I think I was about 160th out of 390, and my time was 57:50 for the 6.75m, which is actually a PB on this course.

Last run of the week, and taking me past 30 miles for the first time in weeks, was an 8 miler down to Bolton Abbey and back. Harder work than it should have been, but at 61mins a reapectable if not blistering pace.

So here we are - new year, and a marathon in about 15 weeks. 12lbs to lose off my belly, and 3x20 milers, 2x22milers and hopefully a 24 miler to get done.

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