Monthly Archives: December 2010

Targets

Fancied a leg freeing trot out tonight, so opted for a short outing with 175bpm Audiofuel energy.

I’ve recently discovered that as my leg has healed more fully, my stride has been able to lengthen again which, combined with the increase in footfall pace, has resulted in the upped pace for similar effort. At least for short runs.

Tonight saw 2 miles at an average pace of 6.45 per mile. If I can stretch the distance over which I can maintain the speed, I’ll be delighted with that for a race. And I felt pretty fresh as I returned home, so it might be possible with a bit of effort through the rest of the winter. I eased around the slopey bit of the route while maintaining steady breathing at 6.53, according to the Garmin, so hopefully anything’s possible.

But to the future.

Following a hopeless year of injury and wasted marathon training, my body recovery seems on track. I’m actually getting an upper body shape back instead of that of a long-distance-runner-who-can’t-run-because-his-legs-are-broken-so-he’s-got-a-bit-fat. It feels good, so I don’t want to break that.

I guess my goals are:

  • Short term prepare for Grim with Janathon thrown in – noting no mileage aims…I’m not interested in winning it or hurting myself, just experimenting through the winter.
  • But not get injured.
  • Throughout Janathon and beyond, maintain the interval training.
  • Do the Isle of Oxney 5 mile race, the Crisis Square Mile run, the Stelling Minnis 10k, the Ashford 10k and a half marathon (probably the Folkestone half to combine training with Ashford’s 10k).
  • Enjoy every run, especially the races.
  • Complete 2011 miles in the year. Seen this on a few other blogs and simply like the idea. I’ve no idea how far I cover under my own steam in a year so it’ll be nice to actually think about logging it and seeing how close I get without actually driving for the goal.
  • Combine running everyday with cycling to work every day for Juneathon (it’s 16 hilly miles to my current site, so this might be interesting but will help towards the previous goal!)
  • Not get jaded or upset if things don’t go to plan. I’ve a house to continue to decorate and a large garden to maintain, after all.

I reckon that’ll do it.

Now it’s time to rest up for January. Sorry did I say January? What I meant to say was JANATHON!!!

Confidence

Having got a bit busy yesterday, I decided I’d run today and give my legs a bit more recovery from Christmas day (don’t know why they were aching a bit, but they were. Maybe the lack of training in the snow was more harmful than I liked to admit. Maybe I’ve become a layabout who moans too much. Maybe!)

All I know for sure is that I was enjoying working outside in the drizzle all day (building the new shed/log store) until it got dark and I came in to paint another couple of beams before heading for a run after 5.30. I was feeling pretty tired but in a good way and certainly ready for a few slow miles.

So when I left the house just before 6, a steady pace was set for a change of loop around the estate that doesn’t know where it is in Ashford (if it has a name, I don’t know it. It doesn’t belong to any of the established estates but seems to just exist.) before heading around Park Farm.

And the final mile garnered some excitement and pace uppage, for as I passed the park I was given the usual “Run, Forrest, Run”  salute by a large group of feral teenagers which, quite uncharacteristically, I responded to. I think my measured response was apt and entertaining but possibly foolhardy, for you see I turned my torso sideways and, upon eyeing the group, shouted “Wankers” in response.

And then upped the pace so that the final mile was executed in 6.45 in the optimism that they wouldn’t be able to catch me even if they wanted to. Which they didn’t. But it still felt juvenile in the extreme to be running away from kids who weren’t chasing at the ripe old age of 39. If they had chased, I could always have scared them off by showing them the details on my tights…

And so the run finished with high spirits and freshness. The silly Garmin “fastest” thing shows I peaked at 5.50 pace but the whole final quarter of a mile was at 5.58 average, So I think I probably continued to drive harder without actually peaking, which I think is quite good really. I usually sprint then flag a bit at the end – if I can simply continue to run at 6 minute mile pace then some of my 2011 targets might be met.

But somehow, I think that’s about as likely as being able to complete Janathon without my shin exploding into a few more fragments than it was designed with.

Christmas spirit

As has become traditional, the dawning of Christmas day saw the desire to go for a jog.

They’ve been lacking of late, mainly due to the absence of footpaths under the near impenetrable layer of ice and snow. The advantage of today is the lack of cars which makes the ability to jog in the road that much safer.

The route was to be the nice extended loop around the farms including a finish past the local shop that didn’t exist up the road that didn’t link and through the nasty housing estate.

And despite the cold, it was a good run. Jogblog cycled along behind and beside me until the last quarter of a mile where she attempted to cycle away, forcing an uppage of the pace to chase her down before she got home ahead of me, which made a lonely run a tad more pleasant. And it only took just over a mile before some warmth permeated my chilly fingertips and my whole being was warm.

So, an average pace of 7.14 for just short of 4 miles with no leg pain or soreness or feelings that I’ve been pushing at all (the interval and pace training with Audiofuel seems to make normal breathing occur at previous race pace running…very efficient!) makes me excited that a drop in pace will allow a good Janathon effort without having to drop out some way through…

Well, it’d be a nice Christmas present, wouldn’t it?

Running Free?

I’ve just added myself to Running Free Online and tried an update in preparation for Janathon.

With a little time, it’s a superbly slick site. Easy to navigate and use, it’s just a shame the snow is damping my enthusiasm to run. Well, not my enthusiasm as such, more my desire to head out in below zero temperatures with ice everywhere and no marathon to train for.

The snow forced me into a cycle, however. The full suspension mountainbike, seat right down (it’s only a 14″ frame, so much like a toy in this state), old narrow tyres pumped right up to cut through the snow and most of the air out of the shock to allow it to search for grip. And grip it found! Almost too much for fun…but only almost.

Few cars, compact snow and ice everywhere plus a need to keep going to keep warm meant the stops to stunt were short and brief. I demonstrated a rusty ability to just about ride backwards for a bit, proved that manuals and wheelies are possible for short periods as long as the bars are un-crossed cleanly before landing and also that it really isn’t a crash as long as one foot stays on a pedal and both hands are on the bars.

What do you mean, the higher pedal shouldn’t be on the road surface? Ah, bugger!

Immense fun, though. It’s now time for a stroll to the shops.

Roll on the thaw.

A day behind

Yesterday at work was ridiculous. Despite trying to get organised enough to set myself up for a crane visit to place some chimneys and despite organising things so that I’d still be able to do my job over the whole site and not on a single portion of it (we’ve 62 houses under way now…none of them finished. It’s busy.), the laziness and ineptitude of those around me fucked things up again. I found myself forsaking breaks completely and was starving and thirstier than ever when I got into the office around 4.30, only to have one final push to try and get things ready for next week before leaving and finally getting home a fair bit later than I should.

Still thirsty and hungry, I went to bed promising a morning run but already feeling less than up to it.

11.30 came around and a route to do about 6 miles and collect Cathy’s bike from the station for a cycle home was hatched.

Somewhat optimistically, it turned out.

From early this morning I was drinking lots due to feeling dehydrated. Breakfast did nothing to ease my hunger. I set out in poor form and never improved.

I sacked off the planned route for a journeyman slog along the bypass towards the station, then detoured into Victoria Park for a loop. I planned to make this as long as I could. It turned out to be surprisingly short!

From heading away from the bike, I felt worse with every stride. A very small loop and an exploratory loop of the station to research the cycle route signed entrance (which proved my theory that there wasn’t in fact a route at all!) saw me feel ever worse until I arrived at the bike in a shattered state after just 4.6 miles.

The Garmin trace on SportTracks shows a deterioration in splits of disturbing proportions over the last two miles which backs up how I felt.

I then got overtaken and cycled away from on the pedalling part, so little energy was in my limbs.

I guess the positive is having a bad run but getting one done. Albeit short and not very fun. The negative is now (late Saturday afternoon) still feeling parched, having sore and tired eyes and doubts that I’ll be able to recover full distance form before a re-scheduled Grim in 4 weeks.

I’ll try. Theres a Christmas holiday to recover in, after all. Maybe I just need some mince pies.

Chillblains

Two weeks ago I had this winter’s first real dose of the little foot abusing ulcers we know as chillblains. Working on a building  site, I’ve become accustomed to getting my footwear wrong a few times each year and getting a small dose of the pain but this year I seem to have caught myself out badly and in the car on the way to see Bobby Conn two weeks ago in Brixton, I kept wincing off the accelerator, so bad were the stabbing pains through my toes.

I half sorted that set of blighters but last week saw the snow coupled with steel toecaps and steel midsoles which is always a recipe for chilly disaster when stuck out in it for ages (problem number one with being a manager, I guess…at least the workers get to keep moving and thus a little bit warm – using a pen doesn’t heat the feet!).

Again this week, I have large pain issues. All the cream and preventative measures I seem to be taking now appears to helping not a jot.

Which made getting out of the door this evening more of a mental hassle than normal on a sub-zero degree evening. I elected to do a slightly longer loop than Monday but with the same 170bpm Audiofuel tracks motivating me to keep my (somewhat pained…did I mention that?!) feet to the beat.

Somehow the first mile felt good, even allowing me to stretch my stride a bit while keeping pace with the tempo. Unfortunately, this was largely due to a following wind assisting things and the second half of the second mile showed true form, coupled with stopping twice to cross roads, with the pace back to my normal sedate style and leisurely breathing returning for the home stretch.

An average 7.04 was a touch more rapid than Monday but, having aimed for 7.00 it felt a bit frustrating. At least the Garmin trace lets me know where I slacked for an opportunity to repair things next week if I do the same thing.

ps. I’m now using Cathy’s Sony Walkman W series mp3 player and it’s simply glorious! Very good sound, easy to use, doesn’t move a millimetre, no wires to fuss about, just generally fantastic. I’ll load a few more tracks on for longer, slower runs and see how it performs over the coming months.

Didn’t want to

The weekend passed by in a blur of not really being arsed to go for a run since the cancelling of Grim what with the snow on Saturday being flushed away by the incessant rain, followed by cold on Sunday that encouraged me to continue making my shed frame instead of being an athlete.

But guilt is a wonderful thing.

Last night, while exercising in the conservatory (which was a fantastic 5 degrees, but is also the only room in the house with a high enough ceiling to allow the lifting of weights above even my low level head), I decided that it wasn’t toooooo cold, as long as I kept circuit pace up between press-ups, sit-ups and weights so there was no reason not to run in the cold just because I’ve no marathon to train for as long as I keep the speed up.

Shame is, I feel slightly unfit at the moment and speed isn’t easy to keep up.

Tonight, my intention was to run straight after work. But a late meeting put paid to that, along with a despair at having been cold for 10 hours. So I got in the car, turned the heater up, got home, did wood cutting duties, ate dinner and then went out.

Audiofuel at 170bpm was my running partner, 2.5 miles at 7.15 average pace was my achievement and a bloke in shorts and a vest in the opposite direction as I ran in a hat, gloves, fleece, long sleeved top, tee shirt, tights and shorts made me feel guilty for overdressing. But I like to get warmed up on a short run. And it wasn’t until half a mile from home that I felt overdressed. So there.

Run done. See you Wednesday.