Friday, 29 April 2011

Another quiet week

As this weekend's 3 Peaks race isn't going to be an eyeballs out time-chasing effort I've had an easy time of it after Monday's bike ride.  Just the one run, a briskish 5 miler on Wednesday afternoon, all about 7:20 pace and all very comfortable, apart from very tight calves.

There doesn't seem any reason for this, and I've not felt a reaction after the run, but I think I'll be running in my girly knee socks again just to be sure. 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Recovery week

Well Sally the Massage Lady seemed to help (although that may just have been the passage of time), but by Thursday the worst of the DOMS seemed to have gone from my legs.  Just a couple of very gentle 4 milers this week, but then on Friday the weather was still cracking, it was a bank holiday and we were child free for the weekend, so out came my bicycle.

Just a steady one on Friday, with lots of low gear spinning - Halton Heights, Langbar, Ilkley and home for a 22 miler with no great effort involved.  I've decided cycling is to be the key to my sub-3 marathon as it seems to be the way I get weight off the best, so I shall be trying to get at the very least 200 miles a month for the rest of the summer, along with keeping the running ticking over.

A weekend of beery fun at Tim and Helen's wedding then a call from The Herb last night - did I fancy a bike ride today?  Yep - the weather is supposed to break some time this week, so I decided to make the most of it.

The Herb was ill (isn't he always?) so he had his excuses in nice and early, but for once I think he might not be bluffing, as he was very slow up most of the hills today.

Herb just getting to the top of Langbar

Halton Heights, then Langbar, then Askwith Moor Rd made for a lumpy first half, then we turned left instead of our normal right and headed down to Blubberhouses.  I've had my eye on a little road that is parallel to the A59 at Kex Gill, so at Blubbs we went straight across and headed up towards West End.  We weren't sure exactly where the viscious little climb is, but sod's law says it was before we turned off - but as is often the case the memory was worse than the reality and we were both up it without too much eyeball bleeding.

The Menwith Hill golf balls from Askwith Moor

The unknown bit of road proved to be lovely, and a short section of tarmac bridleway saw us at the very top of the A59's descent into Wharfedale.  I was hoping for a really fast descent, but in the end I don't think we touched much over 40mph, but atb least it was around 3 1/2 miles without turning a pedal.

A quick cup of tea at Bolton Abbey and home for a very pleasant 34 miler.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Fickle, me?

You know that bit down there where I said "definitely not in 2012"? Well I'm wavering.

Reason being that whilst I don't think I was ever in sub-3 shape this year, I wasn't far off. I reckon a bit of weight off and a touch more commitment then I could run that reasonably comfortably.

So he's an outline plan:

Spend the summer on my bike, which always gets the weight off. Then start running seriously again in the autumn, via GNR and Abbey Dash, then build up for a proper go at sub-3 if the weather's right at VLM 2012. I'd kick myself if I decided not to and it was perfect weather, so I'm moving towards thinking I might at least enter when the GFA window opens.

Very sore legs this week, but a couple of 4 milers and a visit to Sally the sports massage lady seems to have loosened things up. A couple of bike rides over the weekend and then a few gentle sessions next week and we'll see how we go at the 3 Peaks a week Saturday.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Well that's it done then...

Back from London yesterday, having had a very, very tough day in the sun.

Went down Saturday morning and via a combination of Boris Bike, tube and DLR arrived at the expo.  Registered, got my chip and had a wander round a few stalls, including viewing and buying the new Nike+ GPS watch.  Well it's waterproof - it'd be rude not to.

Then spent a dull afternoon lounging around the hotel room before going out for tea with lots of Harriers and their families.  Paul S and Emma both looking for 4:15 and young Dan chasing something speedy - I was the veteran of the group and was dispensing sage advice whilst not really knowing what I was looking for.

The weather forecast was for hot weather, but the peak temps weren't expected until mid-afternoon, so I thought a PB could be feasible, if not sub-3.  So finally I decided the strategy would be to set off at about 7min pace and see how I felt after a few miles.

The Fast GFA start was brilliant, and I met up with a few of my RW chums, including Martin who was painted purple.  The pen was crowded (presumably a result of dropping the blokes' U40 time to 3:10) but even so we were away and over the line in under a minute.

7 min pace felt comfortable, and I went through 5k in 21:30, so decided to keep it going.  15k came and went at about the same pace, with the temperature still feeling ok.  Over Tower Bridge and past halfway in 1:31 - so no chance of sub-3, but that was never really on the cards.  However a 1:35 2nd half would give a nice PB and I was still feeling good.

It's tricky to know where I started to struggle - the stats would suggest 30-35k, so really only in the last 6 or 7 miles, but to be honest I was feeling pretty warm from 15m onwards.  From 35km to the last mile I felty like I was running through treacle, but actually my worst 5k was still averaging 8:14 - so not the 9:50's of 2007.  I also managed to resists the temptation to have a little walk, although I did need to stop to stretch out an onset of cramp in my hamstrings.

I saw another RW mate, Poacher, on the embankment walking, and I tried to persuade him to run the last mile with me, but he was suffering so I left him to it.  I did find that when I put my mind to it I could actually go a bit quicker, so I speeded up a bit for the last mile and a half after the 40k marker, and stopped the watch on 3:11:25.

So not the sub-3 I'd started off hoping for, but given how much travelling I've done, and the slight motivational problems I've had now and again (I really did think of jacking in a mile into a 20 miler a few weeks ago) I'm pretty pleased to have got within 4mins of a PB.  The weather was horrid in the last hour, and nearly everyone I met afterwards said they'd struggled and had missed their target.

Will I do it again?  Certainly not next year, but I think I'll be back for another bash in 2013 - it'd be rude not to, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Calf pain? Can't be...

After my funny turn with my foot last Friday I decided I'm probably not going to run at all til Sunday's race.  I took yesterday off as the kids were off school but K wasn't, so after dropping Lils off at tennis camp (just how ghastly are some posh Skipton parents?  I thought people like that all lived in Ilkley...) me and Maisie went off to bhuy her a bike.

I'll get round to writing a diatribe about how kids do not need hardtail mountain bikes with 24 gears to ride round the streets or along the canal but suffice it to say there was nothing vaguely road/hybrid like in a small women's size, so a hardtail she has got.  Managed to negotiate fifty quid off so not all bad.

Having bought myself a new pair of cycling gloves, and also wanting to try the capacious qualities of my new car with the seat down I drove over to Ilkley for the first of the Harriers' Monday night rides.  Just Paul W, Neil C and I, we set off towards Otley on the back road in delightful evening sun.

We turned leftin  Askwith and rode up the moor road, a climb I've found tough in the past, but tonight it was big ring all the way and just a bit of an effort towards the top.  All good, thought I.

The ride home was into the wind, but we ended a very pleasant 15 miler in just over an hour, and I drove home for my tea.

Then today at work - bloody calf pain!  Right at the top of my right calf there's a really sore bit - I even think I've had this pain before, but unless it's pushing a large gear last night I have no clue where it's come from.  Don't think it's serious, and I've been hopping about on it all day and stretching it madly, but I think I'm going to take it out for a little jog on Thursday with maybe a few strides just to be absolutely sure.  This tapering sure is hard work...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Taper week - 5 Milers R Us

After a couple of 5 milers on Monday and Tuesday I have mostly spent the week running lots more 5 milers!  Wednesday was 5 on the canal, Thursday was 5 and a bit round Hyde Park (very warm!) and Friday was going to be (shock horror!) 6 miles on the canal.

However - 4 1/2 miles in and cruising at about 7:20 pace and A Thing Happened.  My foot started to hurt - very odd.  Not muscular, more like the feeling you get when your laces are too tight.  So I loosened my laces.  But it still hurt.  I bailed out and ran back to the car the short way for another 5 and a bit miles, and decided to ease off til next Sunday.

I'm not sure whether it was just tight laces, or running at a slightly faster pace (I've been running quite a bit at 7:10-7:30 this week) or whether I have some bizarre injury (least likely, given that I can't feel it at all now). 

So today Herb and I decided to get out and do some easy bike miles.  Utterly glorious day, and the new wheels are on my summer bike, so off we went over Halton Heights.  What a difference a bike makes!  I'd forgotten how responsive my Cannondale is - up on the pedals and instant acceleration.  Halton Heights and the road over to Burnsall were easy peasy, and even the steep little beastie before the Cav Pav was a sit down and spin jobby.

Climbing up past Eastby Crag to Halton Heights
 Descending to Burnsall

A cup of tea in the sun, then a blast back up past Hesketh Farm and back home to cut the grass.  Lovely.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Another 5 miler...

The plan was for a longer steady run after work but a series of items of "stuff" meant I was still in the office at 6, and with dog school on Tuesday nights it was too late to go out for that long.

So it was off, Garminless (but with iPhone) to the canal in beautiful, almost warm, weather for another fairly steady 5 miles.  I'm never too sure about the measurement on the iPhone, but the 2.5m point was fairly near where I usually turn with my Garmin, and the overall time of 38:46 suggests it was there or thereabouts.  A couple of miles at 7:20 on the way back were reassuringly easy so even if the currently predicted high temperatures do arrive for M Day I think I should be ok to drop back to 3:15 pace and enjoy the day.

My main "concern" is if it looks perfect for running.  I don't feel in sub-3 shape, and my weight certainly suggests I'm not, but my HR at speed, pace and training distances suggest I'm in at least as good shape as last year.  I guess the only thing I haven't done is any really long MP runs, but I've done a lot of 6 in 10 sessions, and two or three 20 milers with 6:50 or below run at the end.

Realistically though, I think I might try and run the first 10k at 6:50 and see how that feels - if it's tough I'll drop back to 7:10 and go for a PB.  But as mentioned above if it's hot all bets are off!

I had some very reassuring conversations on Saturday night with 3 Peaks veterans who al assure me I'll be well away from being timed out, so I'll now concentrate on establishing a schedule to run what I think I'll be pleased with - 4:30 or so.

That gives me just over 2hrs to Ribblehead and just over 3hrs to the Hill Inn - an hour to go up and down Whernside really doesn't seem like very long to me!!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Tippy tappy taper.

First week of the taper is done, without too much lunacy and phantom injuries.  After Tuesday's effort in London I was in Newcastle Thursday, and prior to joining Thackray in some beer and outrageously hot curry I got a steady 5 miles in along the quay.

It felt very, very easy, but the pace was 7:34 average with a very low average HR - which suggests that even though I don't feel in top form I'm fitter than I've been for a while.

Then Saturday it was the club's Dales Way Relay from Bowness to Ilkley.  The team started at about 5am, but I wasn't away for another 12 hours, when I met Andrew Merrick and Rebecca Mon-Williams to run to Ilkley from Grassington.  The team were half an hour or so down on schedule, so we cracked on a bit, with Rebecca's husband Mark sprinting ahead to open gates.  Merrick and I felt obliged to sprint after him, so my intended slow 16 miler started off with 3 miles at just over 7min pace.

At Burnsall we steadied the ship and collected a few steadier runners, and the rest of the way was slow, with frequent stops to hold gates open.  The scenery was, as usual, stunning, and the weather came out beautifully.  We saw daffodils, lambs and finally the Old Bridge in the centre of Ilkley where the "baton", a pebble from the shore of Windermere, was deposited into its new home in the Wharfe.

A grand day out, but one which has left my left ITB a bit sore (taper madness? Maybe...), I suspect due to running so much slower than usual for a long time.

 Daffs at Grassington before the off
The team near the finish by Addingham church

Today after a day's rest I returned from Doxford fairly early and managed to get out in the damp and the wind for a 5 mile Halton East Loop.  The ITB was a little sore, but hopefully with reduced mileage (and less slow running, which seems to be the problem!) it'll be fine.