Archive for February 2013

Resting resting 1 2 3   Leave a comment

Although I knew I should rest it was impossible not to go to track. I’m getting quite good at not going to things when tired but track remains the one thing I don’t seem to be able to miss even when I know going will be silly as it won’t help in any way and will only make me annoyed with myself when I don’t run well. Lo. This happened. We did a variety of tempo and faster combinations (mainly the faster bits were 300s) and I just about managed to hang on to the back of my group. Another 5 miles for the bank.

I did nothing on Tuesday and was due to do a downs cycle this morning but my cycling partner crashed before he even made it to the station so that was abandoned. I didn’t want to go out by myself so decided it was an omen to take another full rest day. It was too late to go to spin. I cycled gently into Brighton to buy some more buffs having cut mine up to make headbands. It is difficult to think of things to do on rest days that don’t involve exercise.

I am now contemplating whether to do Eastbourne half on Sunday. This may well be rest related overcompensation. Arg!! The problem with resting is that it plays havoc with my mind. I do have Lancing cross country to do on Saturday so perhaps I shouldn’t do it and resting this week would be rendered pointless if I just do an extra long run in Sunday. Oh dear. This is why I should never rest! Tricky balance between enough rest for the body and to not myself physically ill but not so much that I go mad. Ho hum, too late!

A classic case of overtraining   2 comments

As I mentioned in my last post I didn’t do Wednesday evening as I could feel myself getting dangerously close to making myself ill. This was all very well except that I knew I would still be doing Thursday, Friday and Saturday thus negating any positive effect from missing Wednesday.

So off I went to a freezing HovePark on Thursday evening. It was absolutely arctic. I was wearing hundreds of layers and could hardly move and got quite hot whilst running my hands still froze in the few seconds it took to unlock my bike thus having to take my gloves off. The actual running part was OK although I did feel rather tired. I knew that I had Trevor’s Rat run to contend with on Friday evening so tried to run the session sensibly. I think I was too tired to give it everything anyway. I’ve blanked it from my mind really. The cold was too all encompassing to allow rational thought. Cycled back from the park in a blizzard which did not help the frostbitten and painful state of my fingers.

Friday morning dawned freezingly once more. Thankfully I didn’t have anything to do until Trevor’s Rat Run in the evening so sat on the sofa wearing many hundreds of layers, under a duvet, hood up shivering. The heating was on full blast but this didn’t seem to be helping. Another sign of overtraining tiredness (more on this later). The evening drew in with a fresh blizzard of horizontal snow which even started settling on cars. This was an added factor for the night’s run which was to include running with head torches through StanmerPark. The Rats gathered in the car park at Withdean at the appointed hour and after a brief head torch admiring and divvying out session we got going. Trevor had talked his brother Kevin into joining us by promising the route was flat. He lied. As we slogged our way up the first of many hills it was too late for anyone to escape. We reached the park and flicked on our head torches. The snow had settled on the trail and with our lights on and various reflective bits doing their work we looked flipping cool.

A spooky, snowy scene in Stanmer

A spooky, snowy scene in Stanmer

Having never run in the proper dark before I had been a bit worried about tripping over or getting lost but the group stuck together and the pooled light was plenty to see by. Daz seemed to have a light bright enough for all of us and Danny did a good trick of blinding us all with his which he was carrying all the better to direct into the eyes of his fellow Rats. However this was good for photographic purposes as you can see!

Trevor (Leader of the Rats) in the yellow gloves

Trevor (Leader of the Rats) in the yellow gloves

After running past the Amex Stadium and round the back of Falmer Pond we stopped off for a drink at The White Swan. As suspected we doubled the number of patrons, though those already there weren’t bedecked in lycra and head torches (Rick looked very reminiscent of a scuba diver).

Refreshments in The White Swan

Refreshments in The White Swan

Stephen (in the background) managed to make a sale of his beer whilst there so a good stop off altogether. I made the error of ordering Coke so as we set off again I had to do some rather unladylike burps (naturally most of the time I am extremely demure and ladylike as my fellow Rats can attest to). However once this had been done I was ready to battle up Coldean Lane knowing that once the peak had been crested it was downhill all the way back to Withdean for the obligatory (for Trevor, Kevin and I at least) carvery. As we dragged our weary forms into the car park I discovered from my Garmin wearing colleagues that we had run just over 11 miles. How the miles fly when surrounded by like minded chatting folk. After a quick scoff  (Nerds for Danny) we set off for our various homes. The hardened/foolish of us knowing we’d meet again in less than 12 hours for parkrun.

Trevor, Danny, Rick and I were there. I knew I wasn’t going to replicate last week’s victory and PB as I am just too damned knackered but Charlie was there so I thought I would try and follow her again. This week she shot off like an absolute loon so I did too. I then died mightily. The fact it was snowing horizontally down the long uphill drag didn’t help matters along with the sub zero temperatures. Managed to drag myself home in 21.09 which under the circumstances isn’t too bad. All in all though I know it was really because I have reached a state of overtraining. Not surprising. At least I am going to do something about it only a week or so too late which is progress.

Here is a list of overtraining symptoms:

  • Lack of concentration – check
  • Reduced readiness for action – check
  • Giving up – check
  • Departure from usual tactics – not so much as I don’t really have any hard and fast tactics
  • Susceptibility to demoralising influences before and during competition – MASSIVE CHECK. I am my own demoralising influence!
  • Increasing tendency to abandon the struggle – check
  •  Increased IRRITABILITY, obstinancy, TENDENCY TO HYSTERIA (this actually made me laugh out loud), GRUMBLING, defiance, withdrawal from colleagues – check to the capitals
  • OVERSENSITIVITY TO CRITICISM, indolence, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION – check again

Yes, that’s me. I know this. Although I have left it a little too late I think I have caught it early enough to get away with a light week of training next week and haven’t gone to the point of major illness ie a massive cold like I have in the past. So I shall take the positive from this and hopefully next time I will stop at the first sign rather than letting it continue. Think I’ve only reached about level 4 or 5 this time which is a good improvement.

Crikey this is a long post! It will be balanced out next week when I don’t really do much. Lunchtime now.

Resting is on my mind   Leave a comment

Back again already. Blimey, how time flies. So Monday once more. This Monday was a little different however as I had been invited by Simon Anderson of ATP (Activate Transform Perform) to have a session with him so I could write about it for my next West Hove Directory article. I had recently read his articles in Runners World and Athletics Weekly so was looking forward to having a go myself. I think Simon is a wizard! He prodded and poked me in various places such as the stomach and sternum and magically my hamstring flexibility improved massively immediately. Slightly scary. I don’t want to go on about it here too much as this is supposed to be a blog of my exercise and this will end up sounding like an advert but seriously it was amazing (I don’t use that word lightly). Simon is very much like Professor Brian Cox in his enthusiasm and passion for his subject and at least in his case I actually understood what he was talking about. Have a look at his website Simon Anderson ATP and get yourself booked in for a session.

Right, back to the running. After the wizardry I set off for track ready to test out my new hamstrings. Unfortunately (though actually fortunately) the back straight was very icy and slippery so Bob devised a session based on 300 reps with the icy 100 metres as the recovery area. This was perfect for me. A variety of 4 x 300s with different bits of the 300s fast in each set. Starting with alternate steady then fast 300s. Then increasing tempo 300s, then 100 building into 100 fast, slowing in the final 100. The ice was creeping round the track so we finished on 2 x 200 fast. This is exactly my sort of session (not so much the ice skating part) so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Can’t say whether my new miracle hamstrings had anything to do with it though as this would always have been a good session for me.

On Tuesday Core & Stretch was being covered by someone else who is yoga based (yoga fills me with rage) so I decided to do a long run instead with Danny as I haven’t been able to do this for ages. Thankfully as he had just smashed a 1.24 at Brighton half on Sunday I felt that I should be able to keep up with him. Unfortunately I failed to realise that I would be chatting all the way so thought I’d forego my asthma inhaler as a test. A STUPID test! Puffed. Anyway we continued for many miles at around 8.30 – 9 minute miling. I ended up doing 10 which felt pretty hard due to the combination of no inhaler, talking, going a little bit faster than usual (maybe) and general cumulative knackeredness. It was a lovely day for it though. Sunny, cold but not too windy. Good to have company too in the form of Danny. I dragged myself off to kettlebells but was pretty much shot by then. I did wonder why I was so feeble then remembered the 10 miles! My memory has definitely left the building recently. Got through the class to the best of my ability and rolled on home.

This morning it was once again time for spin. I gave it a good go having decided to abandon tonight’s 9 miler as I have got Trevor’s Rat Run (probably around 10 miles) on Friday to take its place so no need to kill myself off this evening as I’ll be doing 32 miles this week without tonight. I can feel myself getting overtired and run down so must be sensible and not go tonight. Still hard to not feel bad for not going but it has to be done. No point in making myself ill.

All this running and exercising and the freezing weather have made me into an eating machine (even more so than usual) so must now decide what to have for my second lunch. Laters.

A great week!   1 comment

Wednesday evening arrived without too much wind or coldness so it was with relative ease that I set out for the run with the Arena posse. Pete was there as promised so we set out early at a nice gentle pace. Charlie joined us for the leg back from the pier. It was a pleasant 9 for me altogether.

On Thursday it was off to HovePark for intervals. Not quite so many people this time due to the imminent Brighton half on Sunday. Didn’t stop the rest of us for getting down to the usual combination of fast bits, slow bits, hilly bits and flat bits. I am getting into the swing of this session now that I don’t kill myself off on Wednesday by going too fast so it was pleasure to pound out some good pace shortish bits interspersed with slow jog recoveries. I am getting much better now with trusting my own judgement whilst training. I know what I am doing is right for me and have now found the confidence to go with it rather than feel I must do what others are doing even though I know it doesn’t suit me. A good end to Valentine’s day!

On Friday I had decided to see how I felt rather than being a slave to my schedule (though I haven’t been a slave to it for a while now – in fact I try not to fill in the week in advance any more) so discovered myself wanting (yes, actually WANTING) to go out for a slow 10 (this usual long run has remained the same distance throughout but I’ve decided to call it 10 now…). I donned my long run bra – it is a handy dual layered item that allows me to carry my phone/music player without it bouncing about and keeps it in a place that means I can adjust the volume whilst looking only vaguely like a weird square-bosom fondler. I did of course add many many more layers before I set out. It was a nice mildish day and I was wearing a lot after the almost hypothermic run last Sunday so was much happier. Again I took this run very gently (except for about a mile on the way back where I was running at exactly the same pace as someone else so had to speed ahead as it was driving me mad (also I may have been mistaken for a stalker and punched/arrested). Another 10 to add to the bank.

On Saturday I had planned to do parkrun as it was the first time I could fit it in since my Danny and Trevor induced pb a few weeks ago (20.32). This time I wanted to do it under my own steam as I can’t keep relying on others to help me. Having said that my plan was to follow Charlie as I know she is running low 20s at the moment and I really wanted to get the right side of 20.30 finally on the way to the holy grail of sub 20. I knew she would be running as she was there on Wednesday and was taking Thursday off in preparation to go for a pb (20.18). I used this plan at Worthing Lido 4 and managed to get past her in the last ½ mile so I kept this in mind to help me try to stick to her throughout. I managed not to be too nervous after last time where I was a blithering wreck. Then we were off! Kept Charlie in sight as we battled for position in the first 300 hundred metres or so (it is very crowded these days). As we settled in I tried not to let her pull away. We passed 1k in 3.58 (there are people on the k markers shouting the time). I quashed the panis that I had started to fast and just focused on keeping with Charlie. 2k was reached in 7.56 and Charlie was still in sight though getting away slightly. I briefly contemplated letting her go but pulled myself together and didn’t let the gap grow. 3k in 12.06 meant we were still on course for close to 20. 4k in 16.25 meant a bit of time lost but this wasn’t too surprising what with 3 – 4k being mostly uphill and where tiredness is at its most apparent. As we began the downhill and flat to the finish I thought I should try and reel Charlie in as she was by now around 15 metres ahead. I gave myself a good talking to. I can’t have got this far just to lose it in the last 500 metres so I girded my loins and dug in. I managed to pass Charlie with around 300 metres to go and finished in 20.12 by my watch. A 20 second pb and close to the elusive sub 20! I had my fingers crossed that my official time would be under 20.10 as I was so knackered I couldn’t stop my watch as I crossed the line. Being someone who volunteers often I was lucky enough to get official confirmation that I had run 20.08 and was 1st lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing. So so pleased. Charlie also ran a pb of 20.14 and finished second so not only are we ruddy brilliant but Arena steal the silverware (well 2/3rds of it if there actually were any). Full results: 20.08, 1st lady, 1/134 women, 31/406 overall, 74% age grading (still cack).

After a celebratory box of nerds in the evening it was off to bed ready to be up early to marshall the Brighton half on Sunday (today). The day dawned sunny and cold so I layered up mightily. We were given fleecy hats to wear which were, of course, massive on my pin head so I wore mine over a cap (stylish as always).

Looking good as per...

Looking good as per…

 

It was a perfect day for runners, marshalls and spectators alike. I had a good time cheering the Arena massive (and everyone else) on and it is nice to watch a race rather than run it from time to time. I did not in any way wish I was running. Long stuff is firmly off the agenda for this year. 10k and under only.

Another good mileage week under my belt (30 miles) and an excellent morning today in the company of Pete (thanks for the lift) and Simeon (and many other Arena folk) watching some superb running from our fellow Arenas.

Sorry for the overuse of brackets in this post (I don’t know what happened).

It continues…   Leave a comment

Once more Monday rolled around and it was time for track. I was bit worried it would be too cold and frozen off but luckily it was just about warm (and wet) enough for the session to go ahead. Thank goodness I didn’t do something myself earlier in the day assuming track would be frozen off as we did my favourite thing! 8 x 400 + 4 x 500 paarlauf. Yippee! Perfect length reps with a good long recovery. Oh happy day! Didn’t have my watch so no idea what times I was running but I felt strong and that all my reps were consistent (except the first one may have been a little too fast, but not madly so). I didn’t die off towards the end nor did I run the last one like a mentalist so all in all it was an excellent session. I think I need to accept that I can pace myself and don’t need to rely on others but perhaps when I’m in a group I panic for some reason and then do accidentally go off like a loon on the first rep. I am finally learning that what worked for sprinting doesn’t work for endurance types of running so I must do things differently. I know this is obvious but it’s only just sinking in. Good as it means I can get cracking on finally achieving all the goals I set myself years ago that haven’t come to fruition for one reason or another.

On Tuesday I dragged my weary carcass off to Core & Stretch. I felt pretty feeble but at least when I was talking to some people before the class they said they also find it very hard so I felt a bit less like a weedy goit. I still cant do single leg shoulder bridge though. My hip flexors are too weak. Though I think it is due to everything I do having to use them so by the time I come to this they’ve had enough. I don’t blame them. Anyway I got through the class as usual and felt that my abs got a good work out and my hamstrings and calves a good stretch which is the idea behind me doing this class (the stretching aspect, though my abs can always do with more work). Jenny (C&S teacher) made a pact to be “bell buddies” again in the evening. A plan to stop either of us wimping out of going to kettlebells.

So off I set yet again in the evening. This week I remembered my sweat bands so Jenny didn’t have to share hers. Other than that I don’t think it was my best class. Seemed to be more painful in the hand blistering sense than normal and just generally wasn’t as up for it as usual. Probably just the usual flagging after racing at the weekend and a hard track session on Monday. Anyway towards the end as we did some more planky ab stuff (Tuesday is ab day for ol’ Isobel) Jenny and I were chatting away merrily. We did get a little bit told off by Matt (who is Jenny’s husband) but we were doing the exercises as instructed! Over all I am glad I went and I just need to cut myself a bit of slack if sometimes I feel a little bit more tired than at other times.

Just realised that last week I said I would miss spin today for a bit of extra rest. Obviously I forgot as off I went this morning. Thankfully it wasn’t windy, though still freezing so the cycle in was fine. The class was full yet again so I was glad I booked (oh, I even booked something I wasn’t supposed to be going too!). I think all my tiredness catches up with me on a Tuesday as I felt OK, hence getting up and going to spin without really even thinking about it. Anyway I decided to try a different bike today. Number 3. It seemed relatively stable and the resistance knob had a little bit more relation to the actual resistance of the bike which was good. The best thing was that I could do (and undo) the foot straps with ease. I must remember this for next time. Need to work out what’s most important. I think in my case it might be straps as resistance can be found with various twiddlings and the bike should remain stable enough even with a little wobble here and there. The class was the usual mix of hills, sprints and hovers and gave my legs a further thrashing (a good thing). Later I shall do the usual LSR with the Arena posse, then tomorrow is Hove Park intervals. Friday will be rest, long run or bike ride (depending on weather, knackeredness etc). Saturday I might throw in a parkrun and then I’m marshalling the Brighton half marathon on Sunday. Sorted.

More running. How unusual.   1 comment

By the time Wednesday evening rolled around and I dragged myself out for the Arena run I was officially knackered. Kept tripping over the perfectly flat ground as couldn’t muster the energy to lift feet high enough to clear it. However I stumbled through a further 7.5 miles but then admitted defeat and got a lift home with Steve. Thankfully Thursday and Friday were already planned rest days. I was thinking of doing a tiny run on Friday as a leg loosener pre Bexhill but decided that would be silly as I was tired so I didn’t.

Saturday was forecast as cold but dry and not at all windy. This it was. Bexhill was as squelchy underfoot (if not more so) than the league race held there in December. After the freezing of Chichester I made sure I was wearing many many layers.

Trevor and I showing off our stylish gloves pre race.

Trevor and I showing off our stylish gloves pre race.

This race was a masters event which means it is for those over 35 years old (40 for the men). It was my first foray into masters events and it was nice not to be surrounded by youngsters. However it did mean the race was longer than the league races. 4 miles of very wet and muddy proper cross country conditions. No one else from my age category was running for Arena so meant I was the lone v35 representative. We did have five over 45s though who would be battling it out to score for the team (3 runners). My plan for this race was just to try and keep concentrating the whole way and to keep good form and practice running at a higher level of discomfort. As it was so muddy and slippery it was hard to remain upright and keep a consistent stride going but I felt that I was running as well as could be expected. Danny took a few photos in which I actually look like I am running properly and I felt I was so things are looking up as last year’s running photos invariably showed a both-feet-on-the-ground mini-strided shuffle.

Crikey I actually look like I'm running!

Crikey I actually look like I’m running!

Another "I can detect movement" photo! Well done Danny.

Another “I can detect movement” photo! Well done Danny (photograher extraordinaire).

The results are out: I was 15th out of 29 in my age group and 20th out of 51 over all. Not great but acceptable as I ran as well as I could. Also as I was the only Arena in my age category I claim victory! First Arena v35. Caroline was second individual v45 and along with Claire and Sue won the v45 team gold. Trevor was 34th in his category out of 49 and ran the 6 mile men’s course in 45.33, good going on all that mud and he kept his white mime artist gloves pristine throughout!

  

All white even after 6 muddy miles.

All white even after 6 muddy miles.

Today I decided I needed to get a long run in as my mileage was a bit short for the week so I took myself out on my usual jaunt to the Marina and back which I have now decided is 9.5 miles. It was so miserably cold and sleety and there was an oh so evil arctic wind. I was absolutely freezing and my fingers were rather painful, gloves sodden and useless. The one good thing was the wind was in the right direction ie behind me on the way back though it scythed through my layers and froze my back to match my front on the way home. Oh, another good thing, although it was freezing and awful and unpleasant I didn’t feel at all tired in leg or lung and once I’d thawed out I was happy with having got out there.

Back to the usual routine tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will improve otherwise I’m going for another 8 mile treadmill run after spin on Wednesday rather than going out onto the horrible freezing seafront yet again.

What? I forgot the title!   2 comments

Having almost frozen to death through under dressing on Sunday I made sure I wore plenty on Monday for track. Quite a few of the Chichester posse were there. Hardcore/foolish. Mark took us for a warm up that seemed particularly hard. Maybe I was just tired but doing the can can was quite a struggle. A good warm up though! We then split up into our groups as usual and Bob outlined the session. It sounded insanely complicated but actually wasn’t at all. 4 x 1k tempo followed by 2 or 3 x 300 fast interspersed with 100 walk recovery. We set out on our first 1k at a steady pace then upped the pace for the 300s (2 this time). 2 minutes rest then we did it all again this time with 3 x 300. Back to 2 x300, then finishing with 3 x 300. I felt surprisingly OK and managed to keep up the same pace for each bit throughout. The group I am in is very good at carrying out the session as specified making sure the recovery walk was a walk, the 1k was at a sensible, sustainable pace and the 300s were significantly faster but consistent over the four sets. I was pleased with how the session went, I wasn’t as knackered as I feared after Sunday which must mean I can push even harder in my next race.

I think everything was beginning to catch up with me by Tuesday (as is usually the way) but I set off for Core & Stretch regardless as I must get some stretching in somehow. I zoomed to the gym (because I was being pursued by a very strong following wind) and struggled my way through the class. Though this is nothing out of the ordinary, probably because it often follows a hard race on Sunday and always track on Monday. Jenny and I made a pact to both go to kettlebells in the evening. I didn’t go last week so knew I must this week even though I would have to cycle home into the freezing headwind of doom once again.

I duly made my way back (wind assisted) to the gym in the evening. As there is a slight shortage of 12kg bells I was forced to use the 16 for things I hadn’t attempted before at this weight. Squatting with overhead press, cleaning and overhead swinging being the ones I can remember. Perhaps even for single arm press as I remember something being almost impossible and requiring much heaving and straining with attendant involuntary weightlifter noises. I managed it though. I did go down to 9 for the snatch as my wibbly shoulders couldn’t take it and I still have the thought of the lady dislocating her shoulder whilst snatching with the 16 seared into my mind (even though I didn’t witness it – thank the Lord). Jenny was a good bell buddy as I felt I couldn’t be too wimpy in front of her AND Matt. I can definitely feel it today about the shoulders and hamstrings.

Of course this didn’t stop me from going to spin this morning. Once more with the wind, though in this instance it seemed to be blowing in all directions simultaneously and freezingly. Not pleasant. I am definitely flagging now and found the class very hard. The temptation to lie on the handlebars and have a little snooze was strong but I managed to keep going. The class was good and full again but I got there early and staked my claim to my favourite bike, number 6 (with a bottle holder on the cross bar). I suppose I should perhaps try some others as I’ve only tried about 3 different ones and 6 has the same problem of turning the resistance knob and it not having a corresponding effect on the actual resistance of the bike. Anyway I survived (just) but am very tired.

Must drag myself out for a very slow 9 with the Arena crew later then it’s two rest days (perhaps a small, exceedingly easy and short run on Friday as a leg loosener) in preparation for the postponed Bexhill masters cross country, my debut masters event, on Saturday.

My new trainers! Dreamy.

My new trainers! Dreamy.

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