Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Sunday run

It seems to have got to that part of the training that involves a fair distance in miles without really taking overly long to cover it. Today (well, yesterday…i’m writing on Monday about Sunday which was meant to be a Saturday run, but the days make sense to me so i’ll stick with it!) was to be 9 miles which, at about 8 minute miles, is just under one and a quarter hours. A long enough time to be out on the legs but not ruinous to a day’s schedule.

Unless it means putting the run off, which I did on Saturday.

So well before 10, I was out running at a nicely reduced pace, no traffic on the roads to speak of, warming up from a surprisingly chilly morning, thinking it strange that after 2 miles I still had a full hour in front of me and suddenly the run looked long. A result of lots of short outings, I guess, combined with the loop being one normally done on the bike as a little outing to see ducks shagging, unconverted oast houses (pretty rare, it must be said) and not normally feeling daunting in the least. The mental block is from most of the run being over 3 miles from home, which I consider my crawling distance – if everything goes disastrously wrong, below 3 miles it’s ok but over that it turns nasty.

Still, the run went well. All the miles were around target pace which, with the fair few undulations on the route, is fine by me, and I felt reasonably fresh at the end. Not 6 hours later, when things started to tighten up, it should be said, but pretty good overall. I think the nastiest bit was the little loop I put in around the park to make the mileage bang on 9. I hate little loops and things, but the thought of a shorter run, or going past the house and back seemed far worse so I just got on with it.

And returned to news that Cathy’s entered a 40 mile bike race in a few weeks time. Eek. That’ll be proper lycra boys, tri-athletes, road racers and all sorts. And Cathy on a pink Pashley with added wicker. I wonder if they’re ready for her?

Right. Time to sort the house decisions out. How much to market it for, where to move to and which agent. It’s been 9 years since I moved for a reason and i’m beginning to remember just what that reason is.

Illogical

Well, probably.

It’s been a busy week as usual, but with the added fun of estate agents making me feel good about the value of my house. Well, the marketing value at least – whether anyone will buy it, let alone for a price i’d like, is another matter, but it’s nice to dream.

So, with hopes of a nice new house in the country, Monday’s run turned into Tuesday’s ride, which changed to Wednesday’s run which hasn’t been blogged owing to getting home, having a shower and taking JogBlog to the pub, curry house, pub and home again. Far more important than blogging.

What’s not more important than blogging, though, is reading other people’s blogs. Just more interesting. So that’s what i’ve been doing this evening, in a catch-up style. And still have some to read. Which i’ll do in a minute. It’s not good now the work computers are so heavily sensored I can’t get through anything that isn’t building related for a catch-up…working instead of reading simply isn’t cricket!

Still, yesterday was going to be a nice short, easy paced run. And it was short, but with aching legs, it wasn’t easy paced. Slower, just not easy. The 3 mile loop was done backwards to put the final hill at 2 miles, not 2.5, and things worked out well enough. The pace controlled itself (again, a run without checking the virtual partner at all) very well – all within 9 seconds of each other, the final mile the fastest (well, to be fair, it only has a slope, not a proper hill in it, so it should be (and that was “in it”, JB…not “innit”. Ok?)).

Not as slow as it should have been, maybe, but a nice run, followed by a nice curry.

Followed by a nice cycle to work today. 9 miles to look forward to Saturday, then a weekend deciding what to do about moving. Think the property sites will get a pounding, for sure.

Can I win the Premium Bonds. Please?

A rounder route

Today, I mostly struggled to convince myself I was going running after work knowing if I put it off I wouldn’t and it needed to be out of the way.

Usually there’s something to at least  make me want to run, but a hot, muggy day wasn’t convincing me. Not with needing to go shopping afterwards and all. But a trip round site at about 5 o’clock told me the temperature was fair enough to go for it, so into the shorts I stepped.

And slowed the virtual partner down to 8 minute targets, promising my legs i’d give them an easier go than Saturday, what with the plan being 4.5 miles on the hilly loop and all. The 8 minute pace feels good now – the beauty of pushing on for a few runs in succession (the aborted 8 mile run/walk excepted) is that things become easier even when they’re a previous decent pace. Unfortunately the internal clock isn’t always foolproof and pace doesn’t settle down well.

Today was one of those days. Thankfully, though, the pace was even – all miles were within 9 seconds of each other (the second and fourth being the best proof of pace – half  up, half down on each providing a good test of push then recover and settle on an average), even if they were all a bit quicker than I had in mind. Most of the run, though was not on the VP screen, so it was the voices in my head dictating how fast was good. And the average ended as 7.35, so i’ll declare myself happy.

So overall, for a recovery type run at a comfortable pace, it felt good. Not sure what direction things are going for the half as far as pace goes at the moment – it seems odd that a hilly run is only 25 seconds slower than a supposed race pace. Either I can go quicker or i’m always running near optimum performance or things will settle down after another long run at the weekend. I’m not sure. Don’t intend pondering it for too long, either. I’ll set a pace for the race nearer the time and see how it goes without (hopefully) leading myself into disappointment if things go wrong.

Right, must go. I’ve other people’s blogs to catch up on.

Quick! It’s Saturday

In an effort to do away with the gremlins of last week, I hunted around for the brief notes i’m using for distance and speed guides (I hesitate to call them a schedule) over the next weeks and decided my weekend run would be a race pace 10k done on Saturday to avoid the Sunday put it off for far too long disasters i’ve come to accept.

Which was reinforced when my weekend plans (again a loose term revolving around slack ideas to run, ride, jump and prepare to sell the house) were turned turtle by Cathy deciding I needed to escort her to somewhere beyond Ipswich and see an old schoolfriend on Saturday evening following her wedding. Which will make a change.

Still, the morning started well with a bit of furniture moving and clearing up, then 10 o’clock came and I got changed. Then decided on a route. Which was to be an out and back to the Sonnet Pure house (weatherboarded cottage painted exactly as a Pashley Sonnet Pure pushbike is in cream and burgundy) near Frittenden.

At race pace. Or some approximation of it. The question is, should that be 10k pace, half marathon pace or what? That’s what I hate about targetted runs, i’m never quite sure.

So, deciding faster was better, I set off waaaaaaaay too fast (first mile 7.05) then settled into a rhythm of counting 1 for every three steps, so one foot was even numbered, the other odd as I counted to forty then jumbled my brain to forget where I was and repeat the process so the other foot was even. Believe me, when setting a pace without music, i’ll try anything and this works well, as well as doing wonders to numb any pain, get breathing good to the pace and get rid of an easy few hundred yards.

And all of a sudden, I was off the main road, passing the Pashley house and turning around for home. Oh, and feeling pretty tired. But then I should hope I was, having settled into a good steady pace (in fact, none of the half mile splits are more than 8 seconds different except the first, quickest one, so consistency is good), at the upper end of comfortable. Then I ruined things by seeing how far I was, hoping to see 2 miles to go but actually needing 2.2. Which hurt. I’d forgotten it was 6.2, not a simple 6 miler.

Ah, well, the aching legs would have to carry on. And despite wanting to stop, I pushed on all the way, completing 6.2 in 45.24. Mission accomplished.

But still my slowest ever 10k since, once uploaded, it actually shows 9.99k. So, 10m short of a proper run and thus not included in good 10k run times. Smart – I hate having a target to fail to beat!

And now, it’s time to lunch, shower, drive and generally get on with the weekend.

Headaches

Yep, Tuesday was hot, Wednesday was hotter. But both were ruled out from a running point of view by a strange headache that starts at the bridge of my nose and runs across both sinuses. Really annoying. Now yesterday’s wasn’t bad enough to stop an evening out, but with the weather being so hot I slacked off the run. Tuesday, however was on a different scale.

I mention this because it started to return about lunchtime today, which wasn’t tying in with 4 miler plans at all. And as I sit here, after searching for a new front light for the winter cycle to work (fancy a set of Lumicycle lamps but don’t want to spend that money. Haven’t for 8 years or so. Reckon £40 is my limit; only for country lane commuting – any suggestions?), the ache has returned. Thankfully, it got no worse after about 2 o’clock, but now i’ve had to remove the glasses to try to help, so typographical errors may be because I can’t read what i’m writing.

Still, the run turned out to be just over 4 miles, on the Linton route with a strange thing turning out to be my slowest quarter mile being the first downhill before the half mile climb to the petrol station. A psychological gathering of energy or have I become crap at running downhill, I wonder? It’s something to work on, anyway. Unlike the last half mile, which was the quickest of the run and felt the easiest, too.

Generally a very good run, then. But if things don’t stop going wrong with me soon, i’m going to see a vet and have my life shortened to a few casual seconds when the pain can go away forever…

Not a good one

Ok, so having had a fair few reasonably easy runs, today I messed up.

I was thinking about going yesterday – things were grey, overcast and generally pretty cool for an August day. But things got in the way, motorbikes needed riding and generally I couldn’t be arsed. Oh, and the pub interrupted things after seeing Richard in the late afternoon with his military vehicles at a show at the aerodrome.

So today was to be it. Only this morning, I felt decidedly average what with a head that despite breathing clearly felt as though it was full of cold and a body that, despite drinking loads of fluid, was feeling dry. So I went shopping instead.

The car thermometer was around 23-24 degrees, over my 21 degree self imposed heat limit for a long run (8 miles was planned), but come 3 o’clock, I felt the need to go.

So did. With Cathy as back up, riding alongside. As it turns out, like a drill sergeant. See, at 2.5 miles, a stitch that was mild at 1 mile became huge, so I stopped for a second. To a chorus of “get going you slacker, don’t stop!”. Well, I had to. Things immediately recovered, so I carried on. The next mile and a half was through more direct sunshine, but not too bad. And on the big, busy road, so I forced myself to plod on. Then, come the more minor road, the whole run turned into a run-walk type affair.

My glasses came off, any attempt at changing my outlook on things being given an airing, but there was simply no fuel in the tank for energetic ventures into proper running – every time I strung quarter of a mile together, the stitch was returning with a vengeance.

Horrible run.

Not a disaster, guessing I have a bit of a cold or something and it’s hot, but not what the legs demanded – they were feeling strong and up for all sorts of mischief. Shame I couldn’t do them justice. And worst of all, the overall average of 8.31 minute miles doesn’t serve to remind me what a struggle it was.

So, put it behind me, chalk it up as one to remind me how to get through a hard run and move on. But in cooler weather next time, please.

Wasted

Yep, that’s this evening.

Best intentions and everything and I go and get hijacked by Facebook and the need to look for old skateboard wheels on EBAY again. Ah, well.

Before all that, I was feeling ropey at work in a “think i’ve got a cold coming on” style – classic hollow stomach, nasal feeling with occasionally runny occasional blocked nose. Thankfully I knew i’d feel even worse from a beating myself up point of view if I didn’t go for a plod, even if it was a disaster.

So, on went the running kit, out I went for 3 miles and a lap of consistency it was. The first half mile was slower than usual and I thought I was in for a right old slog, it being hilly and that, but all 3 miles ended up within 4 seconds of each other, averaging surprisingly quickly considering I still felt odd when I got back to the office.

And there the production ended.

Off to buy some milk now, then collapse asleep before a train journey tomorrow. Oh, joy. Still, at least i’ve a day to recover nicely for an 8 miler at the weekend.

Doctor!

I try to avoid anything to do with the medical profession if I can help it, but this year may be a turning point. Having gone and seen the physio about my calf before the marathon, i’ve also voluntarily just been to the doctor.

Following Sunday’s run, my legs have felt fine and i’ve been surprisingly fresh. But since Sunday, when things darkened, my poo has been anything but. Black sums it up. And all my internet searches have revealed anything from terminal illness to worse, so I put the computer down and carried on, albeit with caution in my mind. And this morning, with debate of “how long do I leave it until I seek advice” in my head, I left it until a late morning colour check in the toilet, then phoned.

So, at 3.30 I was explaining my colours, at 5.15 I was filling a sample pot (filling being the operative word…thought the person who opens it might want a laugh, as well as enough for a good few tests!), then at 5.45 I was running my 4 mile route.

And, with a focused mind on the fact that the sample colour wasn’t quite as black as the morning’s produce, I legged it round at 7.19 average pace. No point dying if I haven’t set a good running pace, I thought, and if i’m not ill, no point in waiting until I am.

Still, no stretching was given a rest (good work, HMC!) to ease out my calves before a nice omelette to round out the day.

Oooh, and I received a medal in the post! Last year, I was somehow the “winner” of Juneathon. Yesterday, Joggerblogger sent me my medal. It’s the best medal ever and somehow i’ll work out how to link a photo on here to prove it. Thanks, JB. Hope the health allows the occasional run, still.

So, hoping for a clean bill of health, even if I don’t find out what’s wrong because of it (rather be in health and ignorance than ill and know why!), i’ll be running again on Thursday.

Sunset

After what’s been a pleasant weekend, I was having trouble justifying not running.

Saturday morning was out, what with the need to ride the motorbike and buy a new razor to allow me to look presentable once again; the afternoon seemed incorrect as preparation for a boat trip up and down the Thames, so I called that one off; Sunday morning was out after a tired start – despite best intentions starting well with a spot of window cleaning, it was finally de-railed by a trip shopping for food and essential stuff; Sunday afternoon saw completion of the windows, the sun making it too hot to run (I draw the line at 21 degrees) so I went for a ride with Cathy which, while 7 miles was hoped for, turned out to be 11.

So, that’s the weekend gone.

But I still needed 7 miles.

And it took until 7.30 this evening to finally guilt me into going. And what a hard run it was.

I reckon most of it was psychological, but it was a new route – out towards Lenham (where I lived 9 years ago), across to Ulcombe from Grafty Green, then home. None of the aforementioned villages are reached, though, so it’s a quiet run on country lanes at that time of the evening. The Lenham road is a bit fast for running along (I used to do 70 down it in the Corsa on the way to Brighton every morning for two years, hence why I avoid it on runs), but I fancied a change. And it was quiet enough. But it’s very undulating – not so you notice, but holding a steady pace is difficult. And coupled with a temperamental Garmin that was making me, at turns, 12 seconds ahead or behind virtual pace, I didn’t know where I was.

Still, a steady ran continued; the road from Grafty Green showed some nice houses, including a new thing that looks like it’s been influenced by too much Grand Designs on a Wednesday evening. Quite nice in a way, though, so fair play to them. Didn’t help my pace, though, which was still suffering erratic Garmin. And the effects of a cycle ride and a desire to go to bed.

So, the home leg was a welcome stretch. Becoming dark as it was, each tree tunnel made me all the more wary of vehicle engines even though I only saw three on the 2.5 mile stretch, so I was glad to collapse through the door.

And here I am, blogging at just gone 9 o’clock, about to prepare a packed lunch and iron a shirt ready for the morning.

Next weekend, i’m going to do my 8 miles in the morning before it gets hot. Then I won’t need to call on any excuses. Honest.

Quick!

Just time for a late blog before bed.

Today has been one of those that flies by, work going like a quickly going thing until I called time for a mini duathlon.

Not the best day to decide to go for it, I must admit, what with the temperature finally achieving something that might resemble summer and that, but go for it I did.

So the first change was to running gear and 3 miles were had. Around the lanes, the highlight was a pair of greyhounds sprinting towards me at the top of Boughton Monchelsea, going well past before turning around and sprinting back at me. Not a chance of outrunning them, they were seriously fast. One ran straight past, the other slowed to my pathetic pace before being reunited with its’ owner. And a mile and a half later, having sweated my way up the last hill, I stopped the Garmin before a costume change into cycling shorts.

I’m not that fashion conscious, but draw the line at plums out of shorts, so it was essential. But took 8 minutes, along with getting the bike and having a quick drink.

The next leg is the first time i’ve used the Garmin on the bike on the way home. And a blast it was. Averaging 17.5mph for the 7.89 miles, the fastest was 36 for a quarter of a mile down the hill after the temporary traffic lights. And that with a first part of the hill being a series of car overtakes as they sat in traffic, before cutting onto the path to avoid the oncoming traffic, slowing to allow the last cars in the uphill queue to pass the lights before sprinting past and onward. So not a clean run-up and still well over 30. Very good.

All rounded off with pizza and scrabble.

Must dash, Gary’s got a train to catch.