Archive for January 2014

Back on track (on track)   Leave a comment

Having had a break from running last week I was hopeful that, breathing permitting, I would be able to put in a good session at the track. This week the fast group were doing 8 x 800 with a minute recovery so Paul and I tagged on with them. I knew I would just do the first 400 of each rep as any longer and I wouldn’t be able to keep up or complete the session. This gave me a 2 minute recovery between each 400 which was perfect. I made sure I worked hard to keep with the group for the 400s. I was pleased with this session as I managed to achieve what I wanted. 8 x 800 at approx 80 – 85s per lap. Not particularly fast but consistent and good for 8 reps.

On Tuesday I went to Core & Stretch as usual but decided to give kettlebells a miss with the promise that I would do Matt’s boxercise class on Thursday evening instead. As usual (other) Matt and I found ourselves unable to do lots of the C&S class but this week there was a new man who looks like he could well join our small elite group of not-very-bendies.

Wednesday was LSR day. Having managed 14 last Sunday I hoped I could do roughly the same today without the hindrance of a headwind this time. It was definitely less windy though more misty. The 14 passed much more pleasantly this time and in no time (well two hours) I had another 14 in the bag. 


On Thursday I went to boxercise as promised. The circuit aspects were good though trying to do this sort of class after a LSR is hard on the legs, perhaps this is why usually I do a Tuesday class. Unfortunately when we moved on to pad and glove work it all went wrong. I was way to uncoordinated to move my pads fast enough which meant the punched was often punching nothing as my pads were yet to materialise in the right places. Yikes! This was horrible and a massive disaster and I got really anxious which made me even worse. Aaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhh! This is in no way the fault of Matt or the class. In fact the class must have been good as so many parts of me are now seriously DOMSed. I shall however NEVER be returning. I must stick to things where any of my failings only affect myself and not other participants of the class.

Friday was a rest day.

I took myself off to Preston Park on Saturday  for parkrun but it was not worth mentioning. Started off OK then just slowed to a crawl as the run progressed. 

Today it was the Worthing Lido 4. I have been lucky insofar as the last 3 or 4 times I’ve done it the weather has been dry and not too windy. Alas today this lucky streak was undone. Spectacularly. Very wet, very windy (managing to be a headwind in both directions) and very cold. I gave it a good go but it was not to be. Perhaps I should have taken the fact I was number 13 as an omen. Double omen that it got lost in the post so I got a drawn on replacement. Drawn in washable ink too it seems…

Not indelible (delible?) ink

Not indelible (delible?) ink

Anyway over all I wasn’t too displeased with my effort but it’s a shame it doesn’t translate into anything good at the moment. Around two minutes slower than last year. 

Having thawed out (finally) I see I managed 26 miles for the week. Everything still hurts from boxercise. Another pretty busy week all told.

(Almost) a week off (running)   Leave a comment

I started the week with good intentions to rest after the struggling to breathe whilst running of the preceding few weeks or so. So I didn’t go to track on Monday. A good start.

On Tuesday I decided that Core & Stretch would be ok as it is a relaxing class. Well its actually not in any way relaxing but it is stretching so not a vigorous jumping about type class so in terms of lungs should be fine. It also kills the core which is always a good thing. I’m sure there is still a lot of mince pie lard to burn off. The class was absolutely rammed again so it was single mats all round which meant when rolling the spine it was rather painful and knobbly on the floor. As always the class was good and I felt that my poor legs had at least had some good done to them.

In the evening I found myself at kettlebells before I had really thought about it. Ooops. Perils of having a routine. As I was there I decided to make the most (least?) of it by going down quite a lot in terms of weight and concentrating on form and stretching out the hamstrings and so forth. It was definitely a good idea to go down a weight or ten as I still struggled. This was due to the inability to breathe properly, I just felt rather weak and run down. I made sure I did the upper body stuff to the best of my ability as this area is otherwise neglected what with all the running. I managed around 10 proper press ups before my spaghetti arms decided enough was enough. Along with all the other stuff I think my arms got a bit of a going over which is good.

On Wednesday I had promised Matt I’d go to Break the Cycle even though he wouldn’t be there so off I went. Rest week going well…This class is a mix of spin and circuit training. We started off on the circuit which was arm based (as the spin part is obviously leg based) which was excellent as I want to show my arms what’s what after they’ve got away with not having to do much for many years. Each of the ten or so stations is only 45 seconds so just long enough for a good blast but not too long that you flag badly before the end. After going round once we hopped on the bikes for 10 minutes of spinning, then back on the circuit. Finishing off on the bikes. I really enjoyed this class and hope to add it to my repertoire. On Thursday morning various new bits of my upper body ached so I know the class was a success! I did actually manage to rest on Thursday.

On Friday I went to spin and thoroughly knackered myself, probably due to not having done any running and only having taken the classes I had done quite gently (for me). Thankfully it was an endurance session so was mainly uphills and uphill sprinting. I much prefer this to normal sprinting which I find really hard, my legs just never seem to be able to spin as fast as everyone else’s. Anyway there was hardly any of that so I was happy to concentrate on killing myself on the climbs. We finished off with a ridiculous attempt to sprint in the highest gear. Sprinting was of course unachievable but we tried to at least keep the pedals turning which in itself was virtually impossible. I enjoyed the class greatly. I can definitely tell the difference having not already run many many miles in the week.

Of course a rest week wouldn’t be a rest week without ruining it so off I swept to Lancing on Saturday afternoon for the masters xc championships. I knew I wasn’t going to be much good at this as it is a long long uphill drag over much mud, grass and flinty-chalky paths and is just generally not my kind of thing. I was mainly there for the nice long downhill finish and to turn out for the club. There were only two of us in the v35 category so I didn’t need to worry about placing for the team as we needed another person. The race panned out as I expected, I really struggled on the uphills, you get an extra one in this race as it is a mile longer than the League xc that takes place here, and was overtaken by loads of people. I managed to claw a few back on the first downhill but by the time I’d reached the summit the second time everyone was too spread out and I failed to catch anyone on the long downhill finish. Nevermind. The downhill was slightly marred by the strong and cold headwind but I still enjoyed it and managed to throw in a mightily impressive (thanks Hywel) sprint finish to know avail but I loved it anyway. On the plus side my lungs felt much better and I only felt knackered in the normal way rather than in a breathless unexplained way.

This morning I decided not to go to RunBrighton as it was 2 hours over the downs which would really not please my bum injury after yesterday’s exertions on the mud and hills. I plumped for a lone LSR on the seafront (no missed “keep away from the sea” warnings this time). I found it rather hard and dropped my pace quite significantly on the long drag back into the wind. Oh well, 14 miles in the bag.

So a not very restful (except slightly in a running sense – 18 miles) rest week completed.

Not such a good week   1 comment

This past week heralded the return to normality after Christmas/New Year so it was off to track I went on Monday. It was my intention to try and stick with Paul but I knew this wasn’t to be once I started running as it was obvious my legs were very tired from Sunday’s double running and all the long stuff I’d been doing over Christmas. The session was 6 x (300 tempo/200 fast/300t/300f/300t/400f) but I was really struggling to breathe on the first set so dropped the 300/300s from each rep. Having done this I just about managed to hang off the back of the group on the 200s and 400s but it was an almighty struggle and an unpleasant wheezy experience. One hopefully not to be repeated in a hurry! 

I dragged myself off to Core & Stretch on Tuesday still feeling rather tired but knowing a bit of stretching could only do me good and that my core definitely needs a good thrashing after the mince-pie-December lardfest. Matt was back which meant we were, once again, sniggering buffoons (even though we had an excellent new girl called Kate stationed between us courtesy of Jenny). Possibly the only use for mirrors in the studio – one can catch the eye of others in them and continue the immature giggling. The class was good and the fullest I’ve ever seen it, though mostly regulars. In the evening I was expecting an influx of New Year Resolutioners at kettlebells but in fact it was just two regulars, Jenny and I. This was good as it meant we could all get appropriate bells and had plenty of room in which to swing. As we were doing a little stretch warm down at the end Matt assisted me in a lying down hamstring stretch and amazingly both legs almost attained the vertical. Oh my actual God! I was most surprised that the injured left one was in fact the victor. Though maybe it is because it is injured? Anyway it was definitely unexpected.

On Wednesday I went out with Andy and Danny for a LSR which turned out to be too fast for my ailing limbs and lungs. I think actually it was the hilliness that did me in as at the moment my lungs can’t handle the slightest incline for some unknown reason (I am going to the doctor on Friday for my annual [well it would have been if I actually went when I was supposed to] asthma check up). I only managed 9 miles which was rather frustrating (though I had run 2 miles to meet Andy in Hove to get a lift over to Preston Park) and even that was a massive struggle.

I decided to take Thursday and Friday off as I am supposed to be working on being sensible and not overtraining this year. Having already notched up two not very successful runs it would be foolish to add more. This meant I managed after a massive, long and fraught fight with myself not to run parkrun on Saturday. It would only have been another breathless, slow, ultimately frustrating and pointless outing. This rational argument didn’t hold much sway in my brain though alas so I had to force myself to dress in non-runnable clothes and get stuck straight in to a marshalling vest on my arrival at Hove Park.

HP Marshalling

It was definitely the right choice as even the exceedingly slow cycle over in perfect conditions nearly caused my lungs to fall out.

Of course come Sunday I knew I would be back out running. It had been the case that trying to run at sub 7.30ish pace was when lung trouble arrived but unfortunately today the combination of hills and a strong cross/headwind on the way out towards Rottingdean at the start of the run put paid to my desire to stick with the 8 minute mile group as I dropped to 8.30s on the cliff top section through Saltdean. Rob, being a gentleman, dropped back with me and I struggled onwards. In fact soon Rob was to join the struggle as traversing the steep ramp down to the undercliff path at Rottingdean destroyed his already unhappy hip. The only saving grace was we soon turned back towards Brighton so the headwind was no more. We sped up slightly, mainly in a vain attempt to the end the torture, and finished back at the Hilton without going out for a further ten minutes as we should have as we didn’t go out for the full 52.5 minutes before turning back as we ran out of undercliff path. Just under 11 miles logged though which I suppose isn’t too bad considering our various ailments. It is rather frustrating not being able to do a run that I should be able to handle with ease but hopefully Friday’s visit to the doctor will be able to shed light on matters.

A disappointing 28 miles for the week but I shall remain positive as less than a year ago I wouldn’t have done 28 miles ANY week.

New year, same old stuff   Leave a comment

As we were still in the grips of festive fever and who-knows-what-day-it-is Monday was a Wednesday route run but with track style elements. Steve set us out with various sections of lamppost fartlekking interspersed with tempo running and recovery jogs with two rergrouping points. This run was excellent. I really enjoyed doing something different on the seafront rather than the usual LSRing. With the run to and from the King Alfred this run totalled 9 miles.

Jenny had decided to hold a Core & Stretch class on Tuesday morning which was good as there hadn’t been one the week before it having been Christmas Eve. Matt was back too which was excellent as once again we were threatened with being split up due to our sniggering at our various inflexibilities. There was no kettlebell class in the evening as everyone was out living it up on New Year’s Eve (probably).

There had been a plan afoot for New Year’s Day to run Preston Park parkrun followed by Hangover 5 in Worthing but the Hangover 5 had been called off due to flooding. We then toyed with the idea of doing Tilgate parkrun followed by PrestonPark but in the end just settled on PrestonPark parkrun which started at 10.30. This turned out to be a good decision in my eyes as the weather was truly horrendous. Freezing, raining and exceedingly windy. 

On Thursday the weather was unexpectedly OK so I took the opportunity to get out for a LSR as storms were forecast for the coming week. However I had somehow managed to miss all the warnings about avoiding the seafront due to high tides and strong winds and found myself subsumed by a wave crashing over Shoreham Arm around mile two. This meant I then had 8 miles of dripping sodden salty squelch-running ahead of me. I went inland around the King Alfred as the prom was rammed with people also making the most of the unexpected good weather. Although I started off 8mm I conked out at 6 miles, dropping to around 8.30s. I still managed 10 miles over all though so it was OK.

To massively misquote Craig David I rested on Friday.

Saturday rolled round again as it is wont to do which meant parkrun again (four parkruns in 2 weeks – good times). Having thought I couldn’t be worse than Wednesday I proved myself wrong by struggling home lungless in 22.56. The weather was foul again but seriously? Oh dear.

Sunday was a double running day. RunBrighton in the morning. As I was racing at Bexhill in the afternoon I joined the 8 minute mile group at the Lagoon. Once again there was a break in the weather, sunny and calm and perfect for running. We couldn’t run on the prom as the stones from the beach had been thrown all the way across to the beach huts. Thus we ran along the pavement until the Peace Statue where we rejoined the front. Not really much to say about this run other than it was good to run along chatting at 8 minute miling with Rick, Rob and Joe. This seems to have become a Sunday morning staple and I like it. 10 miles for me this time.

Alas this Sunday I then had to drag over to Bexhill for the relocated Sussex Cross Country Championships. I only ever sign up for this as it is held at Stamner Park and has my favourite long downhill finish. However this year it had to be moved to Bexhill and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. I was so wrong! I ended up really enjoying it. Even though it was a massive mudfest and contained a lot of weaving and undulations for once my mind was willing and I actually raced it. Yes it was exceedingly muddy but I made the most of any runnable sections and downhill bits and pushed through the quagmire as best I could. I was lapped by the winner a few seconds before she finished and I headed off for the last lap but even this didn’t dampen (snigger) my enthusiasm.  Just a few examples of the running surface!

A slightly firmer section.

A slightly firmer section.

I was very pleased with my 8 minute miling given the conditions.

A solid 41 miles for the week.

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