Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Sense and sans ability   3 comments

To continue my foray into sensibleness I went to track on Monday evening. Actually I know that I tend to do better at track after a half as I dislike halves to such an extent that I feel I should erase it from my memory by getting a good track session in the bag. Of course I still thought the half might have taken it out of my legs a bit so was happy to discover I felt pretty good with no apparent half hangover. My plan as usual was to do what Paul was doing. In this case he was just doing the normal session with Caroline’s group. The session was 5 x (700t, 100j, 300f, 100j, 200f [2.5 minute rest])  I thought this might be beyond me and contemplated dropping back a group after the first rep but gave myself a stern talking to and resolved to keep with the group as much as I could. Thankfully I managed to hang off the back enough to warrant staying with the group and as usual the most ground was lost in the jog recovery sections where I always drop my speed much more significantly in comparison with everyone else. I need my recovery! Luckily the 2.5 minute stationary rest at the end of each 1200 meant I could rejoin the group ready for the next. I was pleased with this session as I felt no ill effects from the half and managed to persuade my brain I could keep with the group.

On Tuesday I went to Core & Stretch to try and stave off the inevitable muscle soreness of back to back half/track combination. I could certainly feel it in the standing series and especially balancing. Cramp ahoy! I battled onwards knowing it would be doing me good (somehow). The main area of total knackeredness was my hip flexors. This is usual and possibly due to the different-end-of-the-spectrum combination of long and slow and short and fast. I managed to continue my new found sense and didn’t go to spin or kettlebells in the evening. The advent of work has certainly helped curb my overtraining as Matt so rightly predicted. This must surely be a good thing.

Wednesday was a full day of work which meant a full day of rest (except for the gentle, flat cycle to and from [which totals about 7 miles]).

Thursday saw me struggle through a 12 mile lsr. The half/track combo had definitely caught up with me. I’m sure the run helped loosen off my legs a bit though and it gave me some more miles for the bank.

On Saturday I felt like I could put in a good effort at parkrun. Having cycled over and done the world’s slowest warm up I felt that I was mistaken and was on for an exceedingly slow time, however once I got going I felt much better… for about a mile… when my lungs really began to tire and I slowed quite considerably. I carried on as best I could. The aim was to do all my miles under 7mm pace and I did just manage this so I shall have to count this run as a success even though I am still a little frustrated that I can’t get anywhere near the low 20s I was doing just before Christmas. I know it is due to my lungs’ massive tiredness/heaviness at the moment so once they revert to their usual (not great, but way better than this) state I should be able to drop pretty quickly back to the 20s as my legs still feel fine and I have been putting in the mental effort recently to a greater extent than I often do. I have also booked an appointment to get the sciatica that has been plaguing my left leg looked at so hopefully if I can improve that I shall be a step closer to getting back to some of the times I was running last year.

The combination of tiredness, windiness and work means I have not gone running  today. Another piece of sensibleness to add to my (small but growing) collection.


(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.

Bunting. Amongst other things.   Leave a comment

I did indeed have a nice steady run with Pete on Wednesday evening. As it was the Marina version of the run I ended up with a good solid 9.5 miles to add to my mileage collection.

On Saturday I was supposed to be helping Rob to a pb but after he had a too-late breakfast and blasted the first k in 3.48 he died. I waited for him anyway as I had said I would and shoved him over the line in front of me in an evil fashion as he had said he would never beat me what with being a gentleman and all. Anyway this parkrun was one for the scrap heap. We then cycled over to Rottingdean (the reason for Rob’s uncharacteristic pre-parkrun breakfasting) for Paul and Robin’s 60/60 birthday run.

Birthday boys bunting demostration

Birthday boys bunting demostration

They have both recently turned 60 so thought it would be good to celebrate this by doing a gentle run over the cliffs (not in a suicidy way you understand) from Rottingdean towards Brighton, turning round after half an hour so everyone arrived back at the same time ready for a buffet lunch at The Coach House. Before we set off Paul and Robin took us down onto the beach for a warm up that included running about on the pebbles, jumping up and down and generally getting knackered. Grapevining whilst holding hands bunting style was definitely the highlight!

Grapevining - bunting style

Grapevining – bunting style

The actual run was a much more sedate affair. 7 miles at 9+ minute miles. A bit of eating and drinking then it was time to cycle home. A good day of gentle exercise (except the killer warm up) and another 10 running miles to add to the log.

The weather had become actual poo by Sunday but I dragged myself out for an LSR (having been shamed into it by Danny and Rob). I managed a soaked, frozen and windswept 13 miles bringing my weekly total to 49 miles. A good start to getting back to the old regime.

This week also got off to a good start with another Hove Lagoon session. This time it was 8x800m. I set off hopeful that I could give this a good go as the reps were just about short enough to suit me. I was pleased to discover I could stick with Andy P, Paul, Pete etc throughout. I completed the 8 pretty consistently and felt strong and fast. Good times! I do like running this sort of session and it is nice to do a bit of faster running (on the flat) once again.

This morning I got up bright and early to get my LSR in before Core & Stretch as last week’s experiment to do it afterwards failed dismally. This was much better, helped by the weather being sunny, cold and not too windy. I set off towards the Marina thinking it was good I was running into a headwind as it would be behind me on the long stretch back to Shoreham Arm but was dismayed to find it was also windy in the opposite direction, in fact more so. Huff. Oh well, it wasn’t stupidly windy and I managed to keep my pace consistent for the whole run except towards the end with the wind behind me (now) and music turned up loud where I sped up a little. All in all I much preferred this run to last Tuesday’s and managed 14 miles in the end. I arrived home with 15 minutes in which to eat some toast, change my clothes then dash off on my bike to Core & Stretch. I discovered (obviously I suppose but I didn’t really think) that I was totally knackered when I got there and became a bit of a laughing fool when I couldn’t really do anything as my legs were totally shot. Ooops! Never mind I’m sure I still got the benefits of the class, along with the honour of being told (as I have in spin often) that Matt and I would be split up if we didn’t stop laughing. I was so very obedient and quiet at school so I seem to be going through the sniggering, chatting stage a mere 20 years too late.

Kettlebells this evening just to kill off any part of me I have not yet destroyed today.

Lewes 10 and then…   Leave a comment

Managed to not really do much last week, well nothing of any interest to write on here (shhh all those who say “do you ever write anything of interest?”).

On Sunday it was the turn of the Lewes Downland 10 miles in my quest for Grand Prix glory. Danny kindly sent me the elevation profile



Hmmmm! Exactly the sort of thing I don’t like. Oh well, bit late to worry about that now as I had already entered. Sunday promised to be a bright sunny day and it didn’t disappoint. In fact it was exceptionally hot for almost mid-October. I knew which girls I needed to finish close to position-wise and saw they were both there. As is my new style these days I made sure I started at the front so I could count my position as girls pass me. As we lined up at the start I hadn’t really grasped I was about to race and was in no way nervous. Then we were off! The first 200 or so metres were downhill so not helpful for a sensible start however we then turned back up the hill so reality and sanity was forced upon us as we trundled our way back up.

Off out into the wilds of the Lewes downs

Off out into the wilds of the Lewes downs

Soon I had been overtaken by 3 girls including the two I needed to finish near to. Luckily Sam (not one of the two) dropped out around mile 2 so I was in third place. As I slid around on a clayey section in my totally unsuitable fastwitches another girl came past me in her more suitable trail shoes. Soon we came to a long downhill section so I made sure I made the most of it knowing there was much evil uphill to come. I had clawed my way back to 3rd but had a feeling I would be overtaken once more before the end and Lo it was true! I wasn’t too worried though. I was aware that I didn’t need to do this race and was in fact highly unlikely to beat my pointage for the other 10 milers I had already done (you need to do at least two 10 milers to be eligible for the GP prize).

After a horrible slog through a never ending forest it was a quick walk up the hill of death. Short but steep. Finally I reached the lovely long downhill finish. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

Downland 10 finish Downland 10 sprint finish

I crossed the line in fourth place in 1.16.07 which seemed acceptable.

After tea and cake with the rest of the Arena posse I saw that I was first v35 so a medal was in the offing.

Whatever is happening on the medal does NOT reflect what actually happened in this race...

Whatever is happening on the medal does NOT reflect what actually happened in this race…

Some weirdness in the timing meant I was given an official time of 1.16.22 even though I know it was 07 as I actually remembered to look at the finishing clock. Rob was most peeved to discover her had had 30 seconds added to his time, though Steve who finished just behind him had been given the right time.

These things aside it was a good race. Except actually I hated every second of it. Oh. Well at least it was a lovely sunny day. Most importantly however is I think I am now Sussex Grand Prix Champion 2013 (overall and v35). Slightly worried that now I’ve written it down it will turn out not to be the case).

Having been totally apathetic and generally out of running mojo for a good few weeks I gave myself a stern talking to and decided as of Monday I would get back to proper training. Ominously (sounds odd to use that with positive connotations but sure it’s still correct) Monday’s session was to be at the Lagoon. Perfect for my comeback. Flat! Bob divulged the whole session at the beginning which was also good as I could (attempt to) pace myself sensibly. The first section was 5 x 1k. I set off at a pace I felt was sustainable for the 5 and turns out in fact I was right (for once). Same can be said for the 400s it seems. My Garmin is pleasingly consistent.


On Tuesday, after Core & Stretch and a horrible lone LSR I went back to kettlebells which I haven’t done for ages having had Three Ashmeigos Evening LSRs instead. I was a bit worried I’d have forgotten everything but turns out it’s just like riding a bike. I did start with lighter weights but found I could use the 12 comfortably which was acceptable. Hopefully soon I’ll be back to heavier ones and have redeveloped my palm calluses (sexy).

This morning I felt no ill effects from the kettlebells which is a little suspicious so I fear I may be in for a healthy dose of DOMS tomorrow. I did however have rather tired legs after my LSR which wasn’t great for spin but I carried on anyway (of course). I was pleased when Joe made the other girls up their resistance to match mine with attendant groaning and noises of not being able to move the pedals.

The Pink Lace Brigade (as Joe took the photo you can't see his)

The Pink Lace Brigade (as Joe took the photo you can’t see his)

This evening is the usual Arena seafront run. Think I’ll take it easy with Pete if he is there.


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.

A change of scene   Leave a comment

Hello! Remember me? I used to blog round these parts. I have just returned from the annual Arena camping trip to the New Forest hence the gap between posts. Anyway I’m back now so here goes…

Last Monday it was off to Hove Rec for a change of scene for the alternative track session. As I was hoping (again) to take it easy I began with failure as I decided to run to the session with Andy which meant it would be 10 miles at least by the time I got home again. The run there was nice and slow (mainly because I couldn’t go any faster). Bob had measured out the various loops of the park and set us off on a 1500m route which comprised a figure of 8 about the park. As we streamed in he split us into smaller groups for the rest of the session. I was with Andy, Mark and Jason. After a few minutes rest we set off on the first of 2 x 1k. The loop was downhill and flat to flat then finished with an uphill on the last side of the square. This was a bit of a killer in pacing terms. However I was pleased to discover we were running at around 6 – 6.10mm. Repeat. Then it was on to 4 x 750m to finish. These were also completed in around 6mm pace which was good and shows that you can run fast after a LSR as long as the S really is S. I ran back with Andy and notched up just over 10 miles altogether.

On Tuesday I was collected at 7am by Julie in her motorhome as it was time for the annual Arena camping trip to Hollands Wood campsite. This meant that Tuesday was a rest day. Or perhaps erecting the awning tent counts as cross training?

JB had planned a 13 miler for Wednesday morning which was perfect as I wouldn’t want to go out on my own for fear of getting lost. He had calculated that we would run to Hatchet Pond, 6 miles away, in an hour, then come back to make a two hour, 13(ish) mile run. He was spot on! We reached the pond in precisely one hour. We went a tiny bit wrong on the way back but were never lost and got back to the campsite with a solid 13 miles banked.

On Thursday I wanted to do another LSR but JB, Paul and Julie only wanted to do a shorter one so I went out with them then when they went back I continued alone. As I was nervous of getting lost in the forest and being eaten by miniature horses I just added a few loops on the paths near the back of the campsite. I managed to notch up another 11 miles although it was hard work.

Caroline giving a sense of scale to the ravening beasts of the New Forest

Caroline giving a sense of scale to the ravening beasts of the New Forest

On Friday I joined JB, Julie and Paul on a slow/recovery 6 in preparation for Brockenhurst parkrun on Saturday. As the parkrun was only a mile or so away from the campsite we decided to jog down to get there around 8.30 so we could have a look at the course and Caroline could assess the opposition. When we arrived we discovered there was a mob match between New Forest Runners and Lordshill (shh Rob) which meant there were more runners than usual though still only 109.

The Arena team

The Arena team

We had a plan for an Arena ladies 1, 2, 3 but I ruined it by being 4th, beaten by an under 14. Oh dear. Caroline H won (of course) and was third over all and Caroline was second. It wasn’t a very nice course. Although flat it was made entirely of turns and someone had inconsiderately set a bonfire whose smoke you had to run through 4 times what with it being a lapped course. At least I have now broken my Hove Park streak. Good timing too as I had run 150 at Hove so Brockenhurst was my 151st parkrun. Full results.


On Sunday it was time to head back home but not before a final 7 miles through the forest.

Julie (and Amber), Mark and Caroline modelling the running conditions beautifully. Superb action photography by moi.

Julie (and Amber), Mark and Caroline modelling the running conditions beautifully. Superb action photography by moi.

As it was Caroline, Mark, Julie and I the pace was quicker than any of the runs earlier in the week, around 8.30mm. I was feeling good though, bouncy and strong. It was raining like a beast which made a change from all the hot runs previously.

Over the course of the week I ran 52 miles and cycled around 15 (also somehow put on almost half a stone – bloater). Not bad for yet another week of trying to take it easy. Then again I was only trying to rest for the sake of my bum but actually it feels much better now. I wonder if that’s due to more running or perhaps the spin overdosing hasn’t been helping. Hopefully the worst has passed now and I might actually be able to do some fully two-legged running soon. Off out to Hove Rec again tonight.

Spin FTW   Leave a comment

Failed. Decided I couldn’t hack not running for a fourth day so joined the Sunday posse for a nice flat seafront 10. The bum wasn’t too happy but it just about managed it.

On Monday it was off to Preston Park for another hot alternative track session. Once again it turned into a recovery run pretty swiftly. This time it wasn’t due to bum pain but rather I just didn’t have the necessary whatever to keep up a good pace so I ended up jogging round with Rob who was using the session as a recovery run after having already been out in the morning.

I had decided that this week I would do all three spin classes at my gym which meant getting up at 6am on Tuesday so I had plenty of time for my porridge to digest before the class at 8.45. It was another hot and humid morning and the class was madly hardcore. It was possibly the sweatiest I have ever been. Everyone was dripping everywhere like absolute steaming loons. I really enjoyed this class and think it shall now become a weekly occurrence. After going home and having a shower to try and cool down it was time to go back for Core & Stretch. A new man has recently joined who is about as useless as me flexibility-wise so we spent a large proportion of the class sniggering at our inability to do things that other people seemed to do with ease. Luckily the class incorporated the three stretches I am supposed to do for my bum so I didn’t have to force myself to do them later at home.

In the evening it was time for the usual LSR. Danny didn’t join us as he is also afflicted with bum wrongness. So Rob and I set off on the traditional Shoreham bound route. It was another mightily humid evening so it wasn’t long before I (and Rob) were utterly drenched in sweat once more. I think between us we could hydrate the whole third world using that Unicef invention. It was an enjoyable run though and I ended up doing just under 13 so another good chunk for the mileage bank. LSR.

Today it was back to the gym for spin number two of the week. The class was full today for no apparent reason. It is often pretty empty then from time to time it is rammed for no discernible reason. Anyway it was a good class, not quite as sweaty as yesterday but near enough. My legs were a bit tired after yesterday’s activities but carried me through without too much trouble. I had however forgotten to take my inhaler so was a bit of a wheezing fool by the end but I survived and my sweat didn’t reach the floor this time unlike yesterday.

Spin number three happens on Friday morning.

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