Archive for September 2013

Weekend wanderings   Leave a comment

I decided to try and have an actual taper week in preparation for a double race weekend so went to the normal sessions but just jogged them and managed not to go to spin at all on Friday (unheard of).

This meant I was ready for action come Saturday. Actually that was a complete lie as I find if I rest or take it easy I feel really achy and think I am on the brink of getting a massive cold. However I arrived at Goodwood looking forward to some relay racing (Goodwood relays are 3 x 4k legs over cross country). I had already volunteered to run two legs so was on first leg for the vets team thinking I’d be leg three for the other team. As we got there a little late I didn’t have much time to get nervous before we were off! Having run this race many times I knew exactly what to expect and pushed on through the nice downhill section into the woods. Alas after about 1.5k it is uphill back to the start field. I plodded onwards trying to keep my cadence the same but with smaller steps as is the traditional advice for running uphill. I felt like I had ground to a halt but finally found myself emerging from the forest onto the horrible grassy-fieldy drag back to the handover point. I set Holly off then discovered that Fiona had decided she didn’t want to run second leg for the other team so I had a massive panicky few minutes ripping off my leg 3 number and pinning on the leg 2 number that Fiona had left in the tent so I set off on leg two around 4 minutes after finishing my first with number pinned on haphazardly. I was so very knackered but managed to run somehow. I was already a minute down on my previous time by the first mile but still managed to overtake two “fresh” leg twoers who had set of well before me so that was pleasing (especially as one was wearing running pants – wrongness). I didn’t lose any more time in the second portion and finished 1 minute and 7 seconds slower that the first leg. This was acceptable after the inauspicious start and no rest. Fiona wasn’t waiting at the end so I assumed she had decided not to run but then she wandered over around 5 minutes later having not seen me come in! Luckily nothing much was going on so the kindly timekeepers allowed Fiona to set off anyway.

The official results aren’t out yet but I timed myself at 16.30 (1 second pb) and 17.37 for the two legs. I was quite pleased as this time I didn’t have the fear motivation I had last year having set off with a one minute head start courtesy of Fiona on first leg. Having told Holly earlier that we had “no chance” of winning anything (oops, negative Muir alert) I didn’t listen as they were doing the prizegiving then Holly appeared excitedly bearing medals as we had come second vets team!

Not only unexpected but engraved too!

Not only unexpected but engraved too!

Holly was ultra pleased as it was the first thing she had won (having had her hopes dashed at Heathfield when she had scored for the second team but there was no prize.

Although I loved the double legging of the xc I knew it probably wasn’t the greatest preparation for Sunday’s Windsor half marathon. I wasn’t too worried though as I just wanted to see what I could do on a road half having not done one since Eastbourne (January 2012). I did do Seaford off road half in June in 1.41 but that was so awful in terms of terrain and wind and I was totally on it for once in my life it wasn’t really going to have any bearing on my run. Emily was running Windsor hence me doing it too so we set off bright and early for the 1pm start. Having arrived and gone through the mandatory panic about everything we slotted in to the pens. Well actually there was no such thing once you got in. I wasn’t allowed to go into the yellow section with Emily what with being an orange but this was utterly pointless as I just walked up to it from the inside. Useless. Anyway it was relatively empty near (ish) the front though it did still take 14 seconds to cross the line and I got too-crowded weave rage for the first mile or so (uphill, 6.54 first mile – oops). Luckily it the field spread out relatively quickly. I had printed a 1.35 pace band which was helpful for the first 8 or so miles as I was consistently under pace. Unfortunately this all went to hades around mile 9 when my STUPID BEWL BUM really kicked in and I became a shuffling goit. I watched as my sub 1.35 slipped away. Even the mainly downhill last 3 miles wasn’t enough for me to claw it back and I couldn’t even pull out any sort of sprint finish so I wept across the line in 1.36 (chip).

Oh how I love a half!

Oh how I love a half!

Both Emily and I were mightily pissed off with everything afterwards even though she had done brilliantly coming 5th so we just went straight back to the car. I did however find a Rupert the Bear in the car park so added that to my medal and the blue permanent marker I found.

At least Rupert looks good in my medal

At least Rupert looks good in my medal

After thinking about it a bit I realised that I did actually get a 5 minute pb which is OK as they course was very hilly and it was very hot and windy and I had one buttock of death before I even started. Emily kindly told me that I was 12th lady out of 1432 and 179th out of 3738 overall which sounded much better than my just my time. I’m still not very pleased even though I know there was nothing more I could have done but as this was just a tester for Poppy half in November and the ultimate goal of Brighton Half next February so I shall learn from it (no double leg cross countrying the day before perhaps…).

This evening I shall be doing a little recovery jog around Hove Park.

Running. Obviously.   Leave a comment

Another week, another lot of running. On Monday it was off to Hove Rec again. I was pretty knackered after Sunday’s gale force run so ended up practically jogging round. On Tuesday it was out with Rob for a steady 12 miles. On Wednesday I was going to go to spin then the Arena winter seafront run which restarted this week but Danny asked if I wanted to join him on his morning long run so I went out with him instead which meant notching up a faster 11.5 miles. Oops. This didn’t stop me going out on the evening run. I hoped Pete would be there so I could run with him at a nice easy pace. Hurrah! He was there so we set off a little in advance of the main group. Steve had changed the route ever so slightly so we headed towards the Marina instead of the Lagoon. Once we had returned to the starting point of the King Alfred I had another 8 miles for the bank.   I wasn’t sure how I would feel at Hove Park on Thursday after Wednesday’s mega mileage but I was surprisingly OK. The session was 6 x alternate long and short reps up the long draggy hill. I was relatively sensible as I knew I had a race on Saturday. This sensibility continued at spin on Friday morning where I tried to keep it notched down a little in comparison to the usual intensity. I think I succeeded as I wasn’t as much of a dripping sweat sack as normal. On Saturday I had signed up for Aldershot Relays in a fit of excitement after having been included on the “fast girls” email for the first time. Since saying id do it I have got a bit slower so was not feeling very optimistic about it as it is a high quality event which all the elite type people do. Having found out that one of our (already depleted) senior team had dropped out Emily and I decided to run two legs each as we wouldn’t score anyway. As we walked from the car park to the race it was like walking through Athletics Weekly magazine. So many fast girls everywhere! I wasn’t really feeling nervous as I had nothing to lose what with being in a non scoring team and not having any chance whatsoever anyway.

Maybe having four bits of paper attached to me slowed me down?

Maybe having four bits of paper attached to me slowed me down?

I pinned my numbers one on top of the other so I could tear the first one off ready for the second leg. Having been sent by Caroline to observe the handover process I suddenly became hellishly nervous about 10 minutes before the start but it quickly dissipated again and then it was time to go! I had bagsied legs 1 and 3 so I was on the start line with all the mega speedies. Of course I made sure I was totally at the back. Then we were off! I was quite surprised that I was not immediately left behind but that there were some girls around me and even behind me. Having done a warm up/recce lap with the rest of the team I knew the course was pretty twisty and not particularly flat.

The Arena posse (post race)

The Arena posse (post race)

I felt I had set off quite fast and was going at a good pace but when I reached a mile in 6.28 I realised this was not in fact the case! Oh dear. Anyway I continued as best I could and soon enough I was on the uphillish section to hand over to Emily.

Leg 1 - showing off my new racing ponytail

Leg 1 – showing off my new racing ponytail

I then had just enough time to tear off my A number to reveal the C beneath (tearing is actually rather hard as naturally the numbers are resistant to tearing – duh). I made my way into the handover box to await Emily’s return. I was feeling quite dead it must be said so my plan was to attempt to get as close to my leg 1 time of 15.15 as possible. I had set myself the target of sub 15 originally but having failed on the first leg it was highly unlikely I would do it this time when I was already a sweaty, knackered, wibble-legged mess. I got some interesting looks from marhalls as I went round again as they recognised me yet couldn’t quite believe anyone would be foolish enough to do it twice! This time I felt like I was going faster than the first leg but once again my Garmin put me firmly in my place as it informed me my first mile was 6.47.

Leg 3, my second leg - pretty much dead but still two feet off

Leg 3, my second leg – pretty much dead but still two feet off

Somehow I made it to the end in 15.48. I was a little disappointed in my time but it was to be expected. I was however quite pleased to hear that Maureen from Worthing said I looked like I was trying my hardest (I was – twice) and that I have been running well recently. Also Julie said that only losing 30 seconds from one leg to the next was actually quite good. Naturally I was the slowest Arena but that was completely expected. As an incomplete team Emily and I managed second place in the teams-with-only-3-members (Emily sensibly chose not to run a second leg). Whoop whoop! The vets team won as they knew they would. With Caroline Hoyte and Julie Briggs the fastest and second fastest v40 lappers of the day.

Julie Briggs, Caroline Wood, Dani Tarleton and Caroline Hoyte - v40 champions!

Julie Briggs, Caroline Wood, Dani Tarleton and Caroline Hoyte – v40 champions!

I was pleased I went to this event even though I was surrounded by total speedsters and didn’t feel I ran particularly well.

More running (surprise)   Leave a comment

Last week was a busy one. It started, as many have of late, with an interval session at Hove Rec. This time it was 8 x 500 tempo, 100 jog, 500 fast. I felt totally knackered so ended up mainly jogging it.

Tuesday was Core & Stretch as usual in the morning. I may now have a core of steel but most definitely have not attained any semblance of stretch. I then ran a steady 8 miles with Rob.

On Wednesday I knew I had a double day as I had promised to run the run part of a triathlon down by the marina in the evening. So in the morning I set off (alone) on a 10 miler. I stupidly decided to head out to the marina and back. Danny appeared on my shoulder on the return leg of his run after a mile or so which  meant I had a pretty speedy few miles early on before he left me at the pier  and I continued onwards to the marina. After a few zigzags and general following of the Weakest Link route to make sure the run ended up being 10 miles I set off homewards. A smidgen over 10 miles complete. In the evening I decided to leave a bit later so I wouldn’t have to hang about too long waiting to run. I bumped into Rob and Colin who were embarking on the Arena Blue Plaque run.

Destined for the wooden spoon

Destined for the wooden spoon

They were already lost so I showed them the way to Wish Road then continued onwards towards the marina (again). I arrived to discover that due to wet conditions they had abandoned the cycle section so almost everyone was already mid run. Yikes! I leapt off my bike, divested myself of my clothing (not all of it) and set off immediately. I don’t know if it was running straight off an easy cycle or the adrenaline of being so (unknowingly) late but I was a speed merchant. I overtook quite a few of the runners (of course they had just completed an 800 metre sea swim) and felt strong. I was a little worried that I might crash and burn but a first mile of 6.20 showed I hadn’t actually gone off like a complete lunatic so I thought I could conceivably keep this pace up. The route being nice and flat I managed to clock a 6.30 second mile and finished in 19.10 for the 2.99 miles (so said Garmin). Danny said that equated to a 19.30 ish 5k which sounded about right. Nice to know I still have this speed in me, it just needs to be dragged out. As I neared home I caught the tail enders of the Blue Plaque run which finished at the Lagoon. I hung around for a while confident that Colin and Rob would be last by many many hours. They finally showed up having covered around 10 miles (the fastest/shortest route was 6 miles). I was pleased with my double day. In fact I had totally forgotten about the 10 miles I had done in the morning.

On Thursday it was the normal Hove Park session. I was feeling pretty good still and managed to keep my pace consistent over the whole session. If only I could always do this. Sigh.

On Friday I did spin as usual in the morning. The evening was a special Friday the 13th Rat Run. Un/fortunately only Trevor, Kevin and I were there. We managed to get a graveyard in early when it was still light and sunny. Alas from The Swan onwards it all went downhill. Pouring rain, pitch black running through the back of StanmerPark. I was a bit worried we were all going to die but I was totally insane in the membrane so I couldn’t have cared less and continued running with reckless abandon through the dark. Although I could see nothing with my eyes open when I shut them I ran into some nettles so decided open yet blind was the best way (it was a shame Rob wasn’t there with our specially monogrammed bibs). Somehow we got back to Withdean in one (totally drenched) piece having covered 10.5 miles.

It was Rob’s 50th birthday on Saturday (parkrun birthdays rule) so Trevor, Danny and I took it upon ourselves to run with him. Could there be a better birthday gift? I think not. It ended up being his second fastest time. Happy birthday indeed! Being a polite and thoughtful kinda gal I allowed him to cross the line ahead of me (we had been having a little birthday sprint(ish) finish).

On Sunday it was time to try and gather some good GP points at the Hove Prom 10k. I could already see this was going to be a massive fail as Julie Briggs, Rebecca Moore and other assorted speedies with the same idea hove into view. Bugger. Oh well, I’d just have to run as well as I could. The day had dawned bright, sunny and calm when we arrived pre 7am to set up (this is Arena’s club race).

A beautiful start to the day. Alas come race time it had deteriorated significantly

A beautiful start to the day. Alas come race time it had deteriorated significantly

As the race started the weather changed and the wind picked up significantly so by the time we came to the second seafront lap I could hardly move. Of course it was the same for everyone but annoying nonetheless as I would have liked to get a good time. This went out of the window though and I finally dragged myself across the line in 42.18, disgruntled in a cack 7th place.

On the way out when the weather was still nice

On the way out when the weather was still nice

For the week I somehow notched up 51 miles although it didn’t feel like it.

Going well(ingly at Hellingly)   1 comment

After last week’s mega mileage I wanted to get back into the speedier Arena sessions to try and regain a bit of my faster pacing. So I set off for Hove Rec on my bike on Monday with the intention of giving the session a proper go this time. Bob set us off on 6 x 1k around the perimeter of the park with each k starting slightly further round the park to vary where the up and downhill fell within the rep. I started off OK but died a little on reps 4 and 5 but managed to pull it back for the last one so overall it was acceptable and good to be back doing some faster stuff. It was the brain that was unwilling really on 4 and 5 so that is what I must get to grips with next.

On Tuesday I was rather uncharacteristically sensible and managed to keep my LSR to a steady 9 miles (so more of a MSR really). I ran with Rob knowing his run would be longer today thus mine would be tomorrow so we would end up being balanced (only in terms of mileage Danny!). (I did Core & Stretch in the morning as usual too.) (Bracket overdose.)

The sensibility didn’t last that long… well actually having said that I only ran 14 miles on Wednesday morning but I was feeling knackered. A combination of hot weather, 61-mile-week hangover and Monday’s fast session I think. It was a good steady pace with Rob so it shouldn’t have felt that hard. One of those days I suppose. I even walked up the massive hill from Preston Park to Dyke Road. Tsk. Oh well, I don’t think I’ve walked in any of these runs before so I’ll let myself off (crikey, I’ve come a long way indeed!).

On Thursday I was up for another speedy effort so cycled over to Hove Park with Lee on bike number two as bike number one has been misbehaving. Oh, Lee had his own bike of course… Anyway the session was the same as Monday, 6 x 1k but this time downhill and flat with a short sharp walk up the grass hill back to the start. I managed to channel my various stresses (yes, I’m talking about you Arena 10k) into some speedy running – or what felt like speedy running – which is good as usually stress renders me an anxious ball of not-very-good bestitched running. I was pleased with this session. On the way home Lee dragged me along to some rather fast cycling which on my mountain bike gave my legs an almighty work out. Sure it was good for me somehow.

It didn’t feel like it however when I arrived at spin on Friday morning. Wibbly legs ahoy. I gave the class a good go as always but definitely felt tired of leg after the faster running and cycling of late.

I thought I’d give parkrun a miss on Saturday as I really had no desire to clock another slow and confidence-denting time knowing I needed to run well on Sunday.

Then Sunday arrived. It was time for Hellingly 10k. I was aware that a lot of fast girls would be at this race and I wasn’t going to get good GP points or score for the Arena team so the pressure was off slightly. I wanted to run well for myself having not done so recently due to a total and utter lack of mojo and motivation. I needed to prove to myself that I can still race well when it matters. Having been under the misapprehension that this was a fastish course I was slightly dismayed to find out it is actually quite hilly and most people’s times are at least a few minutes down on their flat 10k times. Oh well, that would have no bearing on my running as well as I could. Regardless of terrain and undulatoriness as long as I felt I had tried fully throughout I would have to be happy. Apart from a brief foray into race hate (ha ha ha ha, not that sort…) around 3k I managed to concentrate throughout and felt like I even picked it up in the last 4k or so and romped (snigger) home in 42.50. I had set myself a target of around 43 minutes was OK with this time. The main thing is I felt I tried fully for the duration and if I was still a little slower than I would like I am going in the right direction and when I get the correct balance of training under my belt I’ll be back to speedy times again soon.

37 miles of running for me this week but containing a good mix of all the right elements I feel.

Overkill (undercliff)   Leave a comment

In a drive to get back to normal, running- and brain-wise, I thought I should attempt to get back to regular blogging too so here I am.

After the Triple last weekend and not much mileage the weeks before due to dodgy knee I wanted to get back to higher mileage this week. Unfortunately I did the classic runner thing of mass overkill and have notched up a far too high 61 miles this week. Yeech!

Anyway let’s get chronological here.

Monday was the King’s Head Canter that I have already written (uninspiredly) about.

Tuesday was back to usual thus Core & Stretch class in the morning followed by a long run in the evening. This week it was the first run in ages where the Three Ashmeigos (so named as we all have matching Ashmei socks courtesy of an old promo code [now defunct alas] meaning they were nice and cheap) were back in effect. What with Danny having been injured then going mad on his bicycle and Rob having been on holiday being chased by rabid dogs and stalked by beautiful gangly cats it had been a long time. Anyway we met by Hove Park and strode manfully off in the direction of Shoreham as normal (I mean heading towards Shoreham is usual – manfulness possibly not so much…). Danny somewhat ruined his manliness by having to stop off in Southwick to buy some Vaseline for his poor chafed nipples. I felt good on this run and my bum only started complaining after 10 miles. We bumped into Caroline on our way back to Hove Park.

Note Danny's fabulously greased nipples

Note Danny’s fabulously greased nipples

Overall this was a good steady 13 for me which is just what I needed.

On Wednesday I really didn’t want to go to spin and thankfully Rob was up for another run so I met him at Hove Park and ran round and round and round until he got fed up and headed home. I went back as far as Preston Park with him to give me another long run, this time of 15 miles. Ooopsy.

On Thursday Andy wanted to get a long run in as he struggles to do them on his own so I said I’d meet him at Hove Park (I should just live there really) so we could bank a few miles before the usual interval session. Thus I found myself zipping round the park at 7.50 pace. Yikes! By the time the actual Arena session started I was knackered so ended up just jogging round at an easy pace. All told this evening’s run came to 10 miles. However my Garmin had been a goit so missed out the 2 miles I ran to Hove Park to start with (Andy took pity on me and gave me a lift home).

On Friday there was to be NO RUNNING. There was though a spin class in the morning and the Arena volleyball social in the evening.As suspected my team was last. However I think it was a triple draw for last with each wooden-spooner team winning one whole game. Skillz. It was a good evening and I touched the ball so seldom I don’t have massive druggy style bruises all up my inner arms this time.

The Arena Crew post volleyball. Sandy but alive.

The Arena Crew post volleyball. Sandy but alive.

Then it was parkrun (again). My Garmin didn’t work (again). I wasn’t very fast (again). Rob was though with yet another PB. He shall soon be charging past me (except he won’t as I shan’t allow it).

Today I ran out to the pier to meet up with Danny, then Andy, Jason, Mary etc for yet another long one. We set off towards Saltdean. Danny and I turned back after 8 miles and found Rob hurtling towards us on the undercliff path in the midst of a fast 10k. I immediately ruined it by telling him to turn round and come back with us (sorry). He did (gentleman). Well he turned round, finished off his 10k then ran back with me and Danny to the Peace Statue. I felt pretty good on this run considering all that I’d already done in the week.

So 61 miles. I’m still here. Think it is too much though and I need to cut back down to 40 – 50 miles a week. I have some half marathons coming up but I also need to get back to the speed sessions on Monday and Thursday as I do enjoy them and I haven’t done one properly for ages. I think two long runs a week and a medium one at a slow pace is enough for me. Two 15s and a 13 is a little overboard for week in week out but will have done me no harm as a one off.

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