Archive for the ‘Cross Country’ Category

My first marathon (sort of)   1 comment

On Monday I had planned to do track as normal but in the course of arranging my lift with Steve I discovered Pete was doing The Cooper Test before the session so I thought I might as well do it too. I set off on a 10 minute warm up with Pete which meant it was faster than I would do on my own. After a minute or so recovery it was time for the 12 minutes. I knew this meant I should travel further than 3000m (4 minute kilometres). Pete said he did 3050 on his first attempt 5 weeks previously so I hoped I could get at least that far. My plan was to attempt to keep with Pete for as long as I could and when he inevitably began to draw away I would try and keep the gap as small as possible. After an 80 second first lap I was a bit worried I would flag terribly but I managed to keep with Pete for a while longer before he began to pull away. I just tried to keep up as well as I could but he was far too strong and I dropped behind. However I kept going as much as I could and many hours (approx 6 minutes) later I could finally stop. Pete was around 100m ahead of me but luckily that was because he ran much further than his first attempt. 3190m this time. I managed 3090 so perfectly acceptable. Because The Cooper Test is obviously designed for “normal” people I was always going to be in the “Excellent” category as anything over 2500m is classed thus. 57.79 is what the calculator said my V02 max is. My super speedy/fit running friends are all on about 60 so I’m not doing too badly. Pete and I tried to join the normal session but bailed out almost immediately due to knackeredness. An excellent start to my supposed rest week!

I did then rest fully until Saturday when it was time to embark on the first race in the Sussex Marathon Weekend series. Last year Rob suggested we sign up for the full weekend this year so I immediately did. He did not and has since become injured anyway. So I had to go it alone. Well not alone obviously. Mal and Dean were in for the long haul too. Having never run the East Grinstead 10 miler before I had no idea what it would be like. I decided to read a few reviews just to see if I needed trail shoes and discovered that it was described as off-road with challenging hills. No! All the things I dislike most. I had just foolishly assumed all the races would be similar to the Hayward’s Heath 10 miler on Sunday which I have done a few times. Anyway I arrived in East Grinstead in a freezing mist. May you say? Pah! Dean informed me the race was indeed very hilly and off-road. Oh goody! In the freezing cold too. With a strong and icy wind. Spiffing. I had decided to wear my Speedcross. Mainly to clean Lancing xc off them. They were filthy. Mal was disgusted. Time passed, and after avoiding the group warm up, it was time to start the marathon journey… and what a start! It was truly horrible. I had forgotten just how hard I find this type of course. Almost entirely off road with most of it run on horribly uneven fields and forest tracks. It being dry was good but also bad as it was ankle breakingly rutted. I spent a large proportion on my own wending along forest paths with no idea where I was or if I was going in the right direction. There were stiles and gates and low hanging branches and all kinds of obstacles to overcome. 10 miles is a long way. I totally ground to a halt aound 8 miles. If I’d been wearing a Garmin it would have auto paused. A man who had been a good 200m behind me caught me up and urged me to keep going so I really tried to keep with him for the last stretch. I did manage to pick it up a bit but positively stumbled over the line. Race one done! 1.17.16.

Still standing. Just about...

Still standing. Just about…

The first part of the pie

The first part of the pie

Sunday dawned horribly rainily. I wasn’t so worried about this run (Hayward’s Heath 10 miler) as I’ve done it before on many an occasion and know it is nowhere nearly as horrible as East Grinstead but the weather was a shame as all the other years it has been sunny. I had a distinct suspicion the run would be rather hard after yesterday as I found that my quads and calves and hips and buttocks were totally destroyed from EG. Serves me right for never doing any off road or hills in training (well really it serves me right for signing up for such a foolish endeavour in the first place [thanks Rob]). The start is a nice downhill road section (for around 400m).

Looking good (50m after the start on a downhill road section). Thanks Jemma for unknowingly letting me steal your photo

Looking good (50m after the start on a downhill road section). Thanks Jemma for unknowingly letting me steal your photo

Running was difficult. Stiff legs and shattered quads. But still preferable to yesterday what with it being predominantly road (even though hilly). I didn’t feel like I could really get going until around 6 miles and then by 8 miles my hip flexors had almost totally cramped up so I had to adopt an interesting shuffle (alas not a totally speedy Al “The Shuffle” Silvester style one). I was slightly concerned that I might have to actually stop and try and stretch them out somehow but luckily they never tipped over the edge into full you-must-stop-now cramping. Some time, what felt like many hours, later I finally made it into the park for the last downhill to the finish. I was quite surprised to see that I had finished in 1.15.53 which, by no means fast, was acceptable taking into account the state of my legs and blistered feet (I mean really, who gets blisters in this day and age?).

The pie nears completion

The pie nears completion

I spent the afternoon feeling more tired than I can ever recall and seriously doubted my ability to be able to complete the trio.

However this morning (Monday) I felt much much better and the SUN WAS SHINING! May had finally arrived. I wasn’t under any illusion that today’s Burgess Hill 10k was going to be any easier for being shorter as I knew it was off road and hilly (again). Sunshine is a marvellous thing though so I wasn’t worried and knew I would complete the three races then never have to do them ever again.

Only 6.2 miles between me and eternal glory (aka death)

Only 6.2 miles between me and eternal glory (aka death)

When the announcer told the amassed runners on the start line that the runners in green had already covered 20 miles it sunk in a bit why I was so very shattered so I almost gave myself a break. Then it was time to set off on the way to 26.2 mile glory. The course was very twisty and lumpy on rutted off road again but this one wasn’t anywhere near as hilly as Saturday (or Sunday). It did seem to go on forever but it was a nice sunny day and the end was (metaphorically) in sight. When the end was literally in sight I decided to see if I could dig out a sprint finish. It was probably only around 50m but I was pleased to finish the whole ruddy thing in my traditional style. 47.14. I am so pleased I need never do this again!

The sprint of relief!

The sprint of relief! Thanks again to Jemma

So close to never having to do the bloody thing again!

So close to never having to do the bloody thing again!

My “marathon” time was 3.20.23 (though I don’t have my official over-all time yet). I’ll never be doing an actual marathon in this time, or indeed in any, so this will have to do.

The final portion of the pie

The final portion of the pie

The complete pie

The complete pie

The complete pie in all its glory! Alas I can't wear it as it will fall apart. A medal any rapper would be proud to wear.

The complete pie in all its glory! Alas I can’t wear it as it will fall apart. A medal any rapper would be proud to wear.

I may now sleep for a week.

Weather woes   Leave a comment

Variety is the spice of life so let me start yet again with Monday’s session. The weather was rather horrible, strong winds and rain, though after the warm up it settled down a bit so it was merely wet and just-about-acceptably windy. This meant we didn’t go Ricki Lake cray like last time cheering each other on and being all emotional but that’s probably a good thing as that night could never be repeated which such brilliance as the first time. Again my plan was to stick to Rick through thick and thin (me thick he thin). The session was (2 x) 600 tempo, 600 fast, 1m rest, 600 fast. 1 min rest. Ditto with 500s. We completed our first tempo stretch a little bit too fast so Mark slowed us down on the next one to make sure we had the requisite change of pace from tempo to fast. This meant it was a nice, reasonably comfortable session. Our fast bits were around the same speed as the group above (we ran a bit of ours just behind them when they were a lap or so ahead) but our tempo sections were considerably slower. Anyway over all this was a good sensibly-hard paced (by Rick) session.

The weather was being horrendous and windy again so being at work on Tuesday and Wednesday wasn’t too bad because I wouldn’t really have been able to run properly anyway.

On Thursday I knew I needed to get out for a long run even though the weather was still forecast to be hideous. Thankfully Rob was up for a long one too so I would not have to face the weather alone (also it meant I wouldn’t just hide at home). He very gentlemanly ran further up Old Shoreham Road to meet me to equalise our headwind running. In fact the wind was nowhere near as bad as I feared and it wasn’t that cold either so the run was much more pleasant than expected. We made sure the only seafront section was wind behind. After collecting a parcel from North Road sorting office we proceeded back to Preston Park where Rob made off with his sweaty parcel (bad idea to put it in his armpit whilst sorting out watch. Jiffy bags shed their outer coating fulsomely when moistened it transpires and parkrun 100 jackets are like magnets to it). This run felt really slow but was in fact normal LSR speed which must signal progress? I racked up 13 miles for this run and even the Old Shoreham Road slog home alone wasn’t too windy.

Alas I had agreed to run the vets xc at Lancing on Saturday. I don’t usually mind Lancing but it has always been dry in the past and this time it was anything but. Definitely a race for spikes I thought, but no! Even with spikes I couldn’t get any grip. It was possibly the worst 4 miles ever. Sliding all over the place on every step, I couldn’t negotiate any of the myriad tight corners so kept crashing through the course tape/into trees and managed to plummet elegantly down the hill on the last lap (though I blame Jeanette for that as she did it on the first lap with such grace and elegance I was compelled to copy her). Horrendous. 32.12 for 4 miles should give you an idea (it is very hilly too). A race best forgotten.

Stupid running

Stupid running

Back view of stupid running

Back view of stupid running

The runners

The runners

Today it was off once again with the Sunday crew. This time we started at Hove Park to follow Trevor’s “impossible to get lost” route to Stanmer Park and back.

Greenies pre run

Greenies pre run

I don’t think a single person bar Trevor actually went completely the right way. Thankfully the route I followed (thanks to my Guide-Rob) was close enough so I ended up doing 12ish miles (the planned route was billed at 12.5). Some people (Mark and Kevin) ended up doing 14 so I’m glad I didn’t go with them! My legs were rather knackered from yesterday but the worst was my intercostals/ribs which felt like I’d done a serious core workout (or been punched repeatedly) – which of course I had courtesy of the 32.12 minutes of slipping and sliding on Saturday. The average pace was 8.30mm which was perfect. We did throw in a 7.17 mile down Carden Avenue as half pace practice (though far too slow as we need to do 6.52s for a dream sub 1.30). I also added a solo what-felt-very-fast section down King George VI (only around 500m) but was probably only 7mm at best. After two cups of tea and a bakewell tart (thanks Dorian) at Hove Park café I came home to thaw out and see I had run a paltry 34 miles for the week. I blame the weather though of course my lack of motivation is a larger factor. Though two runs of 12+ miles is fine so really I should just shut it.

Annual Arena Running Trip – Minehead   1 comment

The usual Arena running holiday posse were once more off in pursuit of new running routes. This year we were Somerset bound. Our base would be a cottage in a valley with Minehead the nearest town just over a massive hill to the north (ish). The cottage was very old thus all the men, bar Pete, spent much time headbutting doorframes and walking around crouched down, especially Timmy who must be at least 6’ 4”. Luckily I fitted under though my hair did once scrape the kitchen doorframe. Anyway, though this talk of door frames is truly exciting this blog is supposed to be about running so here goes.

The runs. The link should take you to the first run on the Saturday so just keep pressing next until you reach the end (you may want to alternate fingers to avoid RSI). Two of the evening recovery runs weren’t recorded as my watch decided it didn’t wish to find the satellite. Also some of the really hilly ones are precise on time or average pace as the watch kept auto pausing such was the speed of my ascent.

I don’t think it is worth describing every run in detail as basically they were all massively hilly, off-road and hard work for one (I) whose only experience of hills recently is Hove Park and whose favourite running surface is track or a nice road. I decided that as I was there I would go for the full complement of runs which meant a double day every day (except arrival and departure day). This, unsurprisingly, led to my highest mileage 6 days ever – 81 miles. I tried to make some of the evening runs recovery style but the flattest road nearby was still in no way flat. Please take some time to peruse the elevation profiles of the various runs. I know the hardcore among you will snort derisively but to “Hove Park is hilly” moi it was mental. However I have survived, or so it seems thus far…

Welcome to the Gallery

The full quota of holidaying Arenas just before THE WORST run (in my opinion) around Wimbleball Lake

The full quota of holidaying Arenas just before THE WORST run (in my opinion) around Wimbleball Lake on Tuesday morning

Midway down an excellent, long, rocky descent. Mountain goatery ahoy!

Midway down an excellent, long, rocky descent on Wednesday morning. Mountain goatery ahoy!

Charlie and Jim on the edge at Cheddar Gorge

Charlie and Jim on the edge at Cheddar Gorge

Where Charlie and Jim were. I was not being a massive scaredy cat when it comes to heights

Where Charlie and Jim were. I was not being a massive scaredy cat when it comes to heights

More daredevil climbing, this time by Timmy at the Valley of Rocks

More daredevil climbing, this time by Timmy at the Valley of Rocks

Eeeeek!

Eeeeek!

The laundry tree

The laundry tree

The towel and shoe airing area

The towel and shoe airing area

 

Posted 25/05/2014 by Isobel Muir in Arena 80 AC, Blog, Cross Country, Running

Track. (I love it.)   2 comments

Monday rolled around again as it often does after Sunday which meant it was once again time for track. Having not run on Sunday I should have been perfectly primed for a good session. When Bob uttered the phrase “500 parlauf” I nearly died. Mt favourite session of all time! Yippppppeeeeeeeee!!! (Parlaufs are continuous relays in pairs so in this instance Paul ran 500, then I did and so on and so forth x 12.) Of course I immediately paired myself with Paul, as we are of similar speed over this short distance, before remembering that that meant shorter recovery. However it didn’t matter as it still gave me a good 2 minute rest to jog forward 100 metres before he was with me again for the changeover. After each 4 reps we had a 2.5 minute recovery (for once I could have probably survived without this). 3 sets in all. I felt confident in my ability to do this session and think I managed to stay consistent over all the reps though I note from my Garmin I set off too fast on each of my 500s but this is wholly unsurprising and didn’t ruin the over all consistency of the session. Even when Paul dropped out I just continued, slotting in behind Alan as I had been anyway. All in all HOORAH!

On Wednesday I managed to get an unexpected LSR in having been let off work early. This was good but for the fact that I hadn’t prepared properly eating-wise and I found myself flagging badly back into the wind at around 7 miles. I cut inland to try and lessen the impact but unfortunately I was so hungry I couldn’t manage too drag myself out of the slump so struggled home at over 9mm. Having started way too fast (surprise!) hadn’t helped either I’m sure. 11 miles in the bank was good though as it meant I could then not run on Friday which had been my planned LSR day for the week.

As part of my newfound sensibleness I didn’t run on Thursday or Friday. I knew I had Bexhill League Cross Country on Saturday which was not going to be pleasant rest or no rest. I am just not very good at xc. Fact. However I am persistent and will always do all the league xc races. In this case Caroline was a bit worried the ladies numbers would be a little sparse so I needed to be good. I wasn’t but thankfully quite a few ladies turned out so we were still OK and secured our position as leaders in the senior competition. We had already won gold for the vets before we even reached this final race so that was good and at least one medal was guaranteed for me (upside of persistence, I managed to score for the team in one of the more lightly attended races). The race itself doesn’t really need much explanation. It was very muddy, I am not good in mud. It was quite hilly. I am not much good at hills. It was quite hilly. I ran. I finished. The end.

I always win the clean leg prize.

I always win the clean leg prize.

Happy to have finished. Mud and me are never going to be friends.

Happy to have finished. Mud and me are never going to be friends.

Somehow I not only won a gold for the vets team but for the senior team too in division one AND a bronze for the second division vets team. I’m not complaining!

A small haul for a season's mud hatred.

A small haul for a season’s mud hatred.

An excellent conclusion to the xc season (though not having to run any more of the sodding things for 6 or so months is the greatest prize).

This morning (Sunday) I had planned to join the RunBrighton crew for some of their run. As they were doing 19 miles it wasn’t necessary for me to join them from the start so I meant to slot in with them as they came back from Carats to give me 11 or so miles. As usual I was stupidly early for fear of missing them so added an extra four miles at the start which gave me 16 miles all told when I finished back at the Hilton. Having set off up Basin Road at 9mm I felt I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep with the 8mm group but lo as they came past me and I joined them I discovered I could and it was fine. Chatting to Joe helped and I was surprised to discover we were actually 7.55mm. The last hour for them was a marathon paced section of 7.10mm so once they geared up for this I dropped back and joined the group behind who were doing 8.15mm. This was fine until the wind decided to change direction as we went up the cliffs towards Rottingdean and I began to conk out somewhat. Of course once we turned back towards Brighton on the Undercliff the wind was back to the original direction. Huff. By this stage the 8.15 group had disappeared into the distance but Rob, being a gentleman, stayed back with me. We had a few dicey moments when the sea decided to join us on the path but this was nothing after my Christmas drenching. Although my pace had dropped quite significantly we were still 9mm (ish) at the end and having done 5 or so miles to start with at sub 8 it wasn’t really surprising that I flagged with the additional fact that I haven’t run anywhere near 16 miles for ages and not after a mudfest xc. Those are my reasons.

After some low mileage weeks recently I was glad to have notched up 38 for this one. Cutting out the gym has definitely helped along with work forcing me to rest more. Next week will be a test as I am only in on Tuesday, Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Although I must make hay whilst the sun shines I must not go into old-style overtraining overload.

(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.

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.

http://gallery.sussexsportphotography.com/a.tlx?l=2Z.B28xG&pictureid=21016786705  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.

A well balanced week   Leave a comment

Reignition fail! I did indeed join Paul for his 800 training but was alas so out of practice at speed endurance that I was of no use in helping him so Bob had to tag him and I on to the end of the fast group after two or so reps of the thing we were doing together to start with. Although I hadn’t succeeded in helping Paul and have a lot of improvement to make I was glad to be doing a bit of slightly different and Paul said he was glad of the company as he often has to do this training on his own. For the last few reps I tagged on to fast group too and stuck with them for 300 metres then sprinted the last 100 as per Bob’s instructions when the rest, including Paul, went round for another lap of which the last 300 was picking up speed. There was no way I could have done that and even Paul dropped off a bit on the last one. However I loved the few sprinty bits I did so although I have much work to do and I was slightly disappointed at my crapness (possibly should be expected after all the long slow stuff I’ve been doing) I enjoyed the session and am looking forward to having another go next week where hopefully I shall be a little more successful.

On Tuesday it was the usual Core & Stretch in the morning. Somehow Jenny had read my mind (or possibly this blog) and did a lot of bum clenching type exercises as I am supposed to do to help my hamstring/bum injury. I made sure I actually did the bridges this time as usually I do them halfheartedly as I find them quite difficult but now I know this is part of my problem I shall jolly well get on with them! I even attempted the single legged ones.

In the evening I went back to the gym for part two of Death by Dunn Tuesday. This time it was Matt’s turn and he didn’t disappoint. Due to my ingrained politeness I let everyone else choose their kettlebells first which meant I was left with the fat handled ones that I can’t grip properly. This totally destroys ones forearms. Cramp ahoy! Also it is a bit scary doing above the head things as my grip isn’t assured so I worry about accidental killing. I managed not to kill anyone or break anything (except forearms). I could definitely tell a massive difference this week having done a track session the day before (compared to having not last week).

This Wednesday I decided to attempt spin followed by a LSR. This was actually rather successful. Something about cycling makes running seem easier (probably because it is a form of warm up and usually I do nothing but leave the house and start running). I managed a comfortable 11 miles averaging 8.15mm which is around 30 seconds per mile faster than normal. For once the wind was in the right direction to mean coming back from the Marina didn’t involve any sort of  headwind. Good. Especially after my totally awful attempt at a long run the preceding Wednesday.

I had planned to do another long run on Thursday or Friday but in the end I didn’t feel it was necessary so I had two consecutive full days off. Crikey!

This meant I should be in good shape to attempt a sub 20 Preston Park parkrun on Saturday. Once more the weather was good and after cycling over I met Danny and Mike and did a bit of a warm up with them then continued on my own to make 2 miles (I was mainly trying to keep warm – it wasn’t so much a conscious warm up though I now see why a warm up is called a warm up). I saw that the new girl was there and knowing she was due a sub 20 I thought I’d attempt to keep her in my sights. This worked well though she did draw ahead of me at the last cone turn where I somehow managed to be so crap at cornering that she was about 20 metres ahead of me by the time I had windmilled my way round. I wasn’t worried though as I wasn’t there to race or beat her and knew I was still on for a good run. At the moment my aim is to run as well as I can and know that I have tried throughout and this I had so I was pleased with my finishing time of 20.06. Perhaps this also shows the value of actually doing a warm up (damn it).

This morning I was up bright and early (except it was pitch black – sunrise at 7.54am, what the?) ready for RunBrighton #4. This week it was a 35 minute out and back route by the Adur. Unfortunately it had been raining in the night so it was rather muddy and slippery in parts. This was not good for my bum. Rob and I managed a tiny bit of slightly faster running on the more solid paths but it wasn’t anywhere near half pace though I was breathing like an asthmatic lunatic due to non-inhalation. I have decided next time I’m doing parkrun or something shorter and speedier I should try and replicate this effort of breathing, having inhaled, as I never usually sound like that thus I feel I can’t really be trying hard enough. Ended up doing just over 8 miles in 68 minutes which was faster than I was expecting so another good bit of training in the bag to complete the week.

Still not properly light at 8am (lucky Mike's jacket is providing some illumination)

Still not properly light at 8am (lucky Mike’s jacket is providing some illumination)

Only 29 miles for the week but I feel like what I did do was pretty decent in term of quality so this is perfectly acceptable.

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