Archive for August 2014

Running nil   Leave a comment

The race I was due to do when at my sister’s was called off so I took this as an omen that I should just rest. I sort of did but as I was playing with two children for two days it was actually rather knackering.

I was supposed to be doing a 1500 at Withdean when I returned on Wednesday but I felt very tired and coldy (I got spectacularly rained on on the way to the station on Tuesday) and knew that if I did go I would be miles off my target time of sub 5.30. So yet another day of rest (three in a row – wowzers).

Although I am still out of love with running and feeling tired and sneezing like a goit I thought I should at least get to the gym on Thursday morning to continue the leg muscle developing so when I eventually start running again I have proper legs on which to do it. Since I have started I have moved up 40lbs on the leg press and managed 3 x 12 reps at 260lbs which is good progress (I think). I have also increased my calf raise weight by a kilo to 16lbs (sorry for the mix of weight types but some are in lbs and some in kilos).

Today (Sunday) I shall try and increase both the leg press and calf weight along with the hip raises which is currently 40kgs. Although my legs must be stronger they still the same. I started a gym-goers rant but decided I probably should just be pleased are going even if they aren’t actually doing anything but think they have so treat themselves to a massive curry afterwards thus meaning they end up fatter than they would if they didn’t go to the gym at all. Oh, looks like I failed not to rant after all…

Friday was yet more rest. Though the evening saw the return of the annual Arena volleyball tournament.

The volleyballers

The volleyballers

volleyball action

Action! (Inaction in my case.)

I keep forgetting how cold it is at Yellowave and how much I don’t enjoy team sports. I just stood freezing in the sand until it was all over. My team managed the prestigious position of second last.

On Saturday I decided to test the lap function on my watch setting it to alert me of my pace every 500m which should be around 2 minutes. Weirdly although it did indeed beep at 500m it then gave me my pace for a k ie 3.57 for the first 500. Of course this is fine for something so easy to calculate as 4 minute ks but not as helpful as I had hoped. Not that it mattered as I was already dead at 500 and had dropped off target pace by 600. This reminded me why I didn’t do Wednesday. Lack of training, too much work, not enough eating (probably) and general coldiness mean I am very slow and weak (and moany) at present. I dragged myself home to an utterly pointless 22.01. Huff. Though shouldn’t huff as I know why yet that never really helps.

Today I did indeed go to the gym and attempted to move up to 280lbs on the leg press. This was completely unsuccessful. As was 260. So I had to drop back to 240. I need to remember that I can’t do heavy leg press twice in a few days. I made up for it by doing calf raises with 10kg instead of 8kg (there was no 9kg weight). This was really hard and I did fear my calves would explode in a crampy mess on the stairs but alas they did not. I also put my hip raise weight up to 50kgs which gave my buttocks a good work out. I dispensed with the leg extension which Matt only put in because I used to love it but I don’t anymore and it isn’t functional so byeeeeeeeeeeeee! I can now do 2 x 10 single leg squats whilst balancing with hands on attached weight bar thing when I could hardly do one to start with so this is good. I’ll have to start throwing in a few more. I even did a bit of stretching afterwards as my calves were so very knackered. I am very much liking the feeling that my legs are getting back to normal. I no longer feel knock kneed whilst running or cycling. I just need to remember the days or so following a session will mean I can’t run as well due to utterly destroyed muscles. Of course in the long run and after a proper few days of rest I shall feel the benefit and spring along like a gazelle on steroids (probably).

A grand total of … wait for it … 4 whole miles this week. This is really really rubbish. I have set up a goal on RunKeeper to run 30 miles next week so hopefully that will spur me in to action. Also I have signed up for four 10ks over the next few months, the first one being Hellingly on 14th September, so this too will help me actually DO some running in the coming weeks (fingers crossed).

Adur Challenge and stuff   1 comment

After a week off the gym to let my muscles absorb the work I was back in again on Monday morning. Having forgotten which weight I was on on the leg press I set it to 260lb. This was not it. Heavy! I somehow managed to do 3 x 8 reps anyway. After the rest of the exercises I heaved my decrepit form home again on my bike. I wasn’t confident of a storming track session (though I’m not anyway at the moment) after the morniing’s exertions so I was sensible and joined Mark, Rick and Simon’s group rather than immediately falling off the back of the faster group. I tried as usuall to stick close to Rick as he can be relied upon for excellent, consistent, pacing. This week’s session was 12 x 300 broken into sets of 3x300s of which each was to be faster than the preceding one with 100 jog in between. Rick was excellent as always at pacing so thus I was too (except I didn’t keep precisely with him at all times, dropping back a bit from time to time before re-gathering my strength to try and catch him back up). A reasonable session to round off a double leggy day.

Tuesday morning meant another gym trip. This time I couldn’t even move the leg press on 260lbs. Had to cut down to 240lbs though I did do 3 x 12 reps. I think. Not surprising really I suppose. Anyway another session done.

In the evening it was the annual Adur Challenge. This is a handicap race dreamt up by Bob for Arena members. It is a 6 mile run round the River Adur. Theoretically everyone should reach the finish at the same time. Realistically this does not happen. I was overtaken almost immediately by a speeding Gary and Gemma. I think I overtook my first person around 5 miles. Mark overtook me almost immediately (having set off 15 seconds after me) and said come on when he passed me, so I did. I kept with him all the way which meant this turned into a nice even paced tempo run (around 4.30+ per kilometre).

Setting off gently

Setting off gently

Finishing gently

Finishing gently

The Challengers post race

The Challengers post race

On Wednesday I had ambitions of a LSR but after about 6k I totally conked out. The usual trick of not taking into account how much of a toll two days of double legging and fast(ish) paced running would take. I bumped into Caroline who told me to go home and sit down. So I did.

I had already planned to rest on Wednesday and Thursday but rest isn’t what it used to be what with having a standing up all day job. My poor legs. I know many people have this but I still remember my jobless days fondly.

Today I chose to race against myself from last week at Preston Park. I was 50 metres ahead for a long way but alas my past self caught me up with around 500m to go. Blast. Never mind. I felt good and strong for the first 3k or so and I am still enjoying having proper legs rather than spindly knock kneed twigs.



I finished in 21.02 (official parkrun time) but watch said 21.13 so I lost the race as my watch recorded 21.03 last week. I still don’t seem to be able to stop my watch. Huff. Stupid watch not having an actual stop button but a pause then stop function. I do love the watch though for all its other functions and I don’t scrutinise my stats after the event so I don’t really mind especially as then my official times are always pleasingly faster than my watch’s recorded times.

An early post today as I’m off to visit my sister tomorrow. Laters.





Back on track (25 laps thereof)   Leave a comment

I continued my good work from the previous week by going to the gym on Monday morning before work. In the evening I had decided to do a tempo run on the treadmill as I wanted to work on my endurance. Unfortunately I had to stay later than expected at work which meant that I got to the gym at peak time where you are not supposed to stay on the treadmill for more than 20 minutes. Being a massively anxious, conscientious and law abiding sort I chickened out of doing the hour at 14kmph and aborted at 35 minutes as all the treadmills were all in use. Of course this meant that as soon as I got off so did everyone else so I could have stayed on. Huff. I vowed to do the hour on Tuesday morning instead.

Alas by then I had lost all my treadmill motivation and only managed 30 minutes before I became so bored I had to give up. Tsk. Anyway two days of half an hours tempo running must have done me some good.

On Wednesday I had promised I would do the 10000 metres at Withdean. Aaaarrrgggg!! I knew this would be horrible as it was the Sussex Champs so everyone else would be significantly faster than me. They were. I was lapped by the leader at 1k, the first lady at 2k and Joe at 3k. Oh dear. I must have been lapped by everyone at least twice and by some probably around 10 or 11 times. I only had 3 full laps on my own at the end when everyone else had finished. At least they didn’t turn the floodlights off on me this time! My time of 43.06 was a lot worse than I had hoped for but on the positive side I think I paced it reasonably well especially with the demoralisation of being lapped every five seconds by everybody. Also I’m sure my preceding week of lots of gymming and getting back to a decent mileage must have tired me out.

On Thursday I had planned a long slow run but due to one of the worst days of brain-fail ever I was unable to drag myself out. I did manage to meet Lydia in the evening for bouldering so at least I did a bit of exercise.

Friday was yet another day at work and I couldn’t drag up the enthusiasm to go to the gym beforehand so it became a rest day.

Saturday rolled around again as it is wont to do at this time and this week I had decided to test out Race mode on my watch which meant I could race last week’s Preston Park parkrun. Alas you don’t get two little men racing like on some Garmins but you and your past self are depicted as arrows on a road.

The black arrow is the current me, the grey the past. The distance to the finish line is shown at the top and the distance ahead or behind shown at the bottom.

The black arrow is the current me, the grey the past. The distance to the finish line is shown at the top and the distance ahead or behind shown at the bottom.

Naturally I was worried my past self would beat me then someone pointed out that it was a win win situation as if my past self beat me I would still have won (albeit in the past). Last week’s time was 21.26 so I should easily beat that as I ran two of those (near enough) back to back at track on Wednesday. Through the first 2k I was continuously overtaking then being overtaken by my past self as I went off rather fast last week whilst following Duncan. I knew it was from 3k onwards where I would draw away from myself if I kept the pace up as last week I slowed down horrendously in the latter ks. I felt good and strong this time and knew that I could keep the pace up. The weeks in the gym and resting for a few days paying off I think. I even steamed up the small hill on each lap overtaking people where usually I almost grind to a halt. I am glad I have regained my leg muscles. Must continue the good work in the gym.

A miniature sketch of my current self with nice big leg muscles and T Rex arm stylings.

A miniature sketch of my current self with nice big leg muscles and T Rex arm stylings.

Anyway to cut this rambling story short I took around 150 metres out of myself in the last few ks and stormed home in an acceptable 20.48 (good consistent pacing of approx 4.10 per k). Still way off where I want to be but much better than recently and the main thing is I felt strong of leg and put in the effort all the way round. The speed will come.

Having managed to miss almost all of the European Championships I am currently watching the men’s marathon before setting off for work again.


Actual running   Leave a comment

As I had the day off on Monday I thought I should get on with my attempt to regain some endurance so decided to do a medium length run in the morning before track in the evening. I set my watch to alert me when I strayed from the “fat burn” zone. I do not wish to actually burn any fat but rather this should be the right speed for a long run. “Easy” is a bit too slow for a run of this length (9 miles) I feel. I spent most of the time in the “fat burn” and “endure” zones with a few forays into faster and slower, well, based on heart rate. I don’t know how accurate the HR monitor is but those two zones are fine for this sort of run I think. As the new watch isn’t a Garmin I can no longer link you to my runs but I don’t think that is a great loss!

A nice new strap for my nice new watch

A nice new strap for my nice new watch

In the evening Steve was in charge of track and set us off on 8 x 800. Arg! The dreaded 800s! As I had run in the morning I went in Duncan’s group and tried to stick with Rick as much as I could as I know he has good pacing skills. We completed our 800s consistently in 3.30 which was perfect for me after having run earlier too. A good 15 mile double day to start off my return to having some endurance.

On Tuesday it was time to get back to the gym before work to continue strengthening my legs. I can already feel them getting stronger and have gone up in weight on some of the exercises. I also measured my legs and discovered I’d put on about a cm round each thigh and calf. Good.

After work on Wednesday I tried a run keeping in the “endurance” zone. This meant some seriously mental pacing due to the windiness of the seafront but I completed most of the 5 miles in my target zone. It felt hard but of course that is the point as I have done nothing like this for ages thus have no speed endurance whatsoever.

Another day off on Thursday meant the chance to do a long run. I racked up 13 miles which is the longest run I’ve done for absolutely ages. Helped by having the company of Rob for the main portion of the run. It didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would so I must keep up the long runs as these are a fundamental part of running well and the lack thereof have been massively telling over the past many many months.

In the evening I went bouldering with Lydia. There were some nice new pink and black routes to try. I had a small rage due to my hands being so sweaty chalk melted off within seconds of application leading to continuously sliding off everything. Grrr. Luckily I managed to complete a few routes so it wasn’t a total disaster.

Friday morning was another trip to the gym.

On Saturday I thought I would test whether I had gained any endurance in a few days. I hadn’t. Well not enough to complete a 5k anyway. I think I got to around 2k before I slowed down significantly. Ho hum. Better than the 500 metres I managed last week though. I felt like I kept up the effort though but as I had the watch set to tell me when I strayed from 6.30 – 6.45mm I couldn’t easily see my heart rate, which would have probably told me I wasn’t actually working that hard at all. I’m just getting to grips with all the functions and testing things out as I go so next time I’ll set it to tell me when I stray below the “endurance” zone and see if that helps. Anyway I finished in a not-very-good-but-almost-on-the-cusp-of-acceptabilty 21.26. I have added this as a “race” to my watch so perhaps next week I could race myself instead? So many things to try!

Today there was a large ex-Bertha hurricane in effect so I couldn’t even cycle to work so it was a complete rest day (apart from standing about at work).

37 miles in total for the week. Better.

Running (inspired titling I’m sure you’ll agree)   Leave a comment

This Monday was track. But not the usual track. No! It was vet’s league time. Hooray! You may have noticed that I love vet’s league. It is like school sports day but for old people (over 35). I like to do as many events as possible and this time that meant I did the 100m, 1500m, 400m and medley relay.

First up was the 100m. I noticed immediately that the lady who beats me every single time wasn’t there which meant victory was surely mine!



It was. The time was however truly terrible but as vet’s league is a team events placings are more important. Ha! As if. It’s only ever me as the whole ladies team so it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters anyway other than the fact I love the act of sprinting even if I am rubbish at it.

Next up was the 1500. I had ambitions of it being a gentle warm up jog for the 400 but I felt like giving it a bit of a go so set off fastish and then the love of a good sprint took over and I caned the last 150 metres or so just for the goddamn heck of it ending up in 3rd place.

More sprinting

More sprinting

This did however mean the 400 was a non starter and I trailled in in second place in another appalling time and in fact didn’t manage to pull out any sort of sprint. Boo. I was still second though.

In the relay I was approached to join non-scoring team which made a nice change from me running around harassing all and sundry to make up a team. Alas though I ended up having to do the 800m last leg of the medley (200, 200, 400, 800). I didn’t really mind though as I just wanted to get out on the track again. I was truly knackered by this time and massively last so I just strolled round. The best part was they turned the floodlights off before I’d finished. Yes, thanks, I KNOW I’m slow.

Anyway none of this detracted from another great vet’s league night. I wish there were more than 4 meetings a year though. Roll on 2015!

On Tuesday I went to the gym to do my leg stuff again before work. When I start at 11 it means I can fit this in neatly on the way.

On Wednesday I decided to do a little run just for the heck of it with no particular plan. I set off for Shoreham Arm then on the way back decided to see how much speed endurance I’ve lost by throwing in a fast mile after 4 slowish ones. A lot. 6.31. Oh well, it wasn’t as bad as I feared but still a long way from the days when I could do a whole 10k in 6.20s or so. Of course I know why as I’ve done hardly any long runs for months.

Thursday was another gym before work day.

Friday I did nothing as I thought I should really give my legs a full day off to try and glean some benefit from the recent gymming.

On Saturday I set my watch to beep if I strayed above 6.45mm … which I did almost immediately. Another slow jog to add to the collection. Oh, it was Hove Park parkrun by the way…

Today (Sunday) it was a gym before work day again.

As mentioned above I know why I have been so very slow of late and decided that the way forward was to get stuck into some heart rate training. The last time I tried this about 6 years ago I became annoyed that the HR monitor was telling me I wasn’t working hard so stopped using it. This time I shall try and face the fact I’m not trying hard enough (as I know I’m not) and listen when it tells me so. I have bought this snazzy new watch that measures the heart rate at the wrist to spur me on in my new regime and also as it takes away the other main annoyance of HR training – the chest strap. Tomorrow I shall attempt a LSR in the “easy” zone as I have track in the evening where I shall hopefully spend some time in the endurance and sprint zones.

My newest aquisition

My newest aquisition

Now I have told you this I hope that I shall actually get back to proper training as I am supposed to be a runner after all so should get on and do some running.

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