Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

The good, the bad and the Littlehampton    2 comments

Bank holiday meant no track so I decided to get a steady paced 5 miles done in the morning before work. I have no idea of the speed but I was trying to work at 80% or so effort throughout. I felt like this was a good run so therefore it was.

On Tuesday I balanced Monday’s run with 5 miles at an easy pace as I had Tom’s seafront session to look forward to in the evening. 2 x 3 miles. A session I’ve never done before but exactly the sort of thing I feel I should do (also as these sessions start on the seafront near my house I could do them on my own if I fancied). I decided to go out on the first one with Dave as I knew he would pace it much more sensibly than I would. I looked at my watch at halfway and with half a mile to go just so I would have an idea on the second one if I was on for the same time. I passed halfway on the first one in 10.09. I finished in 20.43. After a 4 minute break I set of again with Dave but reached halfway in 10.29 so tried to speed up slightly on the way back so my two reps would be as close as possible in time. 20.53 so near enough. I liked this session as I felt comfortable for both reps and was pleased with the times.

Wednesday was time for k reps with Rob in Hove Park. Once again there were dogs, dawdlers and divs (Rob and I) in abundance. Also I was still not fast enough so Rob had to overtake me on the last one which he doesn’t like doing being an utter gentleman so I ruined that one for him and thus also ruined his secret hope of doing under 16 minutes for the 4 reps. He did 16.03. Excellent consistency of 4 minutes +\- 2s per kilometre for him.  Mine were a mess: 3.53, 3.57, 4.04, 4.07.

In the evening I took the work run clubbers to do Kenyan hills at Duke’s Mound. Easy enough but still hills.

I had planned to rest on Thursday as I was at work all day so I did. On Friday I meant to do a run but I badly fell off the sanity wagon so did nothing.

On Saturday it was back to Hove Prom after the forced return to Preston Park last week. I was still feeling utterly awful as of Friday. In fact I think I can safely say that I have never wanted to run parkrun less than I did then. It took all my strength just to drag myself out of the house. Horrible. Anyway I managed it. In fact I was surprised with 21.37 as I just wanted to run it consistently and comfortably without putting any strain on my already enfeebled mind. Last week I tried hard for 21.28 at Preston Park. Hopefully this means physically I am over the cold (backed up by heart rate being back to normal at rest after a period of +10 bpm which means you are ill so says science n that).


Enough strength for immaturity on the first lap (thanks Mark)

 

Less so on the return leg

This morning (Sunday) it was time to try a new race. The Littlehampton 10k. The weather was perfect for running. The course was quite nice in the main though there was a horrible grass bit finished off with a section of pebbles. I was pleased with my effort throughout but not when I discovered my time was bilge. Rob measured the course at 6.3 miles (and he didn’t cut any corners whereas I did a few times) but even with the possible extra couple of minutes my time was unacceptable for the effort I put in. Somehow I was second woman.

I’m bored of myself and this post now so goodbye until next week.

Something to report   2 comments

To continue keeping up a decent weekly mileage and having a day off I started Monday with a 7 mile run. It was very slow and I felt tired but my legs felt strong. I’m still getting used to having proper legs again and it was good to feel them NOT knocking into each other in a spindly style as I made my slow way along the seafront. I had already decided that this week I wouldn’t go to the gym as I think it is important to let my legs have time to reap the benefits which means not thrashing them in the gym every week (just thrashing them by running instead … ahem …). Of course as it was Monday I also had track to contend with in the evening. I joined my trusty band of running mates and thought I’d do my usual and try and follow Rick (I think he is fed up of this but hey ho). After a 1k warm up Bob set us off on 5 x 1300 with the first 1000 tempo with a wind up last 300. Arg! This was hard as long reps. I have no idea what speeds we were doing but I remained in about the same place each time and know that everyone (bar me) in the group is good at pacing so assume I was consistent enough throughout. A reasonable double day over all.

On Tuesday I went to visit my old running friend Rob who has become a rampant gym goer whilst being injured. I joined him in his new habitat. It is sooooo modern compared with my gym! It had actual people in it too whereas mine tends to be emptier. Anyway I didn’t really do much as I was knackered after Monday but I did end up doing 5k on the treadmill after I had to leave the elliptical machine as I can’t coordinate my limbs for it.

Rob capturing the moment I remembered how much I hate the cross trainer

Rob capturing the moment I remembered how much I hate the cross trainer

Wednesday was a long run. Well it was supposed to be but ended up being just over 10 miles. Not too bad though as I wanted to do well at the track 5000 on Thursday. My pace was very slow again as well which is fine for now as I’m just trying to get my weekly mileage back up to a decent number.

Thursday rolled around which meant it was time for Tom’s annual 5000 track race.

The 5000 posse pre race

The 5000 posse pre race

I hadn’t even really thought about this and suddenly it was time. I did my shoelaces up a bit tighter as I think their looseness isn’t helping my dodgy calf/Achilles as I am probably scrunching my foot up a bit to hold shoe on (not that it would actually fall off). I felt good from the off and even overtook some people after about 1k as I knew I could go faster (usually I stay behind for fear of going to fast and dying later). Only one person re-overtook which I knew would happen anyway. Foolishly I hadn’t set my watch to beep at each k so I didn’t really know where I was but could see my average pace was 4.04 per k so this boded well for an acceptable time. Once I received the last lap shout (thank you Mr Cartledge) I did a traditional Muir wind up and windmill-sprint which brought me home in a quite unexpected 20.10. This was pleasing as my best run for ages. I had felt strong all the way in leg, mind and lung which is a rare occurrence indeed.

On Friday I rested.

Today I ran Preston Park parkrun in 21.09. Was putting in a good effort but was unable to produce any speed.

Pushing the invisible shopping trolley of slowness. Thanks Rob for the photo.

Pushing the invisible shopping trolley of slowness. Thanks Rob for the photo.

Hellingly 10k tomorrow.

 

Hills   Leave a comment

There was still no track on Monday as someone else was using it (how dare they) so it was off to Hove Rec for an alternative track session. I felt completely fine after Worthing which I took as a good sign as it means I am still physically capable of fast times just need to work on the mental aspect, regain last year’s confidence etc. The first half of the session was up-hills. 5 x short up-hills with jog down recovery followed by 1 x long uphill (x2). I felt I was running these pretty consistently and was pleased with my effort level. The second half of the session was 4 full laps of the park with the top and bottom lengths to be run fast and the sides to be tempo. This I did. Over all a good session. Pleasantly warm evening though with quite a strong breeze in parts. IM now stands for Ian McCaskill it seems…

On Tuesday I was able to go to Core & Stretch having not been for weeks. Although I am pretty crap at everything being massively inflexible I like this class as I assume it is doing me good in some way.

I rested on Wednesday (hardly Craig David).

On Thursday I wanted to do a hilly LSR. My plan was to do 2 x King George VI and then onwards. I did do the hills but it was so stupidly windy IN EVERY SINGLE DIRECTION that I became enraged so only managed 9 miles. This was acceptable though as I knew I would be doing Hove Park later and I had done the hills I wanted. I duly headed over to Hove Park for the interval session. I started off OK but suddenly lost the will to live half way through. Never mind. 13 miles for the day.

Knowing I would be helping at the annual Arena 80 Hove Park races on Sunday and feeling like I should get some more hills in whilst the mood was upon me I set out on another hilly LSR on Friday. This time it was a hot and sunny day and nowhere near as windy (or at least the wind was following the laws of nature and only blowing in one direction). I was still incredibly slow but more hills (and miles) in the bag.

This morning (Saturday) I wanted to test that my success (in the brain) at Worthing wasn’t a fluke. I set my watch to 6.35 pace this time as I hoped to go sub 21 as I haven’t done that for about 6 months. The weather forecast was for torrential rain but in fact there were only two short downpours during the run and it had been dry beforehand so it was fine and quite nice and cooling. I reached 1k in 4.06 which is still quite slow in comparison to my pb days when I would go through in around 3.45 however I chose not to allow this to put me off and continued. Somehow,miraculously, I ran this exceptionally evenly paced (by my standards) and managed to finish in 20.50. Still over a minute adrift of my pb but I was pleased with my effort, especially on the up-hills, and not having given up at any point. Also I hope this will give me confidence that I can get back to 19.30 (and beyond).

35 mostly hilly miles this week.

A bit less running   1 comment

This week I decided I would have a taper/rest week to allow the running holiday’s benefits to sink in so I rested on Monday as there was no track due to it being a bank holiday.

On Tuesday Rob and I decided to try a 10k tempo in preparation for Worthing 10k  on Sunday. The plan was to run it in approximately 46 minutes, possibly throwing in a faster mile if we felt like it. This we duly did.

I rested again on Wednesday as I was at work.

I thought I should actually try and do Thursday’s Hove Park session properly having not done so for ages. Bob had fashioned a session to suit the many Arena members who were to be running Worthing 10k on Sunday so I knew I must try as if I didn’t I’d only have to take myself out on Friday for mile reps or something which I would blatantly either not do at all or not do properly on my own. Thus I set off down the hill on the first, longest, rep around the far end of the park. It is unlikely I was going particularly speedily but at this stage I just want to practice actually running as well as I can at each session. The main bulk of the session was 5 x ever decreasing “laps” of the park. I made sure I put in the effort on each rep. It was easy to go out fast as the first 500 metres or so was downhill so it was just a case of keeping up the effort on the flat sections. We finished off with 2 x small downhill laps in the opposite direction. I was pleased with this session as I have finally managed to get myself to try. Long may it continue.

Friday was a bouldering day so off I went to traumatise myself with heights once again. I managed not to snot all over myself in terror this week which is an improvement though I sweated like a lord on occasion and got stuck at the top a few times. I did however climb onto the duck though I did then have to slide along the top like some kind of deranged snake as I can’t stand on it and walk along like normal folk. I even sprinted up and down a couple of yellow routes though I couldn’t do my blue and white nemesis of old that I conquered. It has conquered me again. I think the trick is to conquer it then NEVER GO BACK. I have still not fallen off properly and the worst thing I did this time (in addition to scraping off much skin) was strain my armpit when failing the infernal previously-conquered blue and white.

On Saturday it had been arranged that Arena would commandeer the volunteering at Preston Park parkrun. Thus a small group congregated to wear hi vis and generally be most helpful to the parkrunners of Preston Park. Luckily it was a perfect day for marshalling – sunny, warm and breezeless. I think a good time was had by all and as we have done our duty we can do many more parkruns without volunteer guilt (though I know we all volunteer regularly anyway).

This photo is possibly the best thing I have seen. Ever

This photo is possibly the best thing I have seen. Ever

Then it was Sunday (today) which meant one thing: Worthing 10k! Last year this race was my one and only venture into sub 40 10k territory with a PB of 39.45. I knew this year there was no way in the world I would be getting anywhere near that time but I wanted to get as close to 42 as possible. I set my Garmin to beep if my pace got slower than 6.45 (I knew it would at some point) and decided to go out as hard as I could and see how far I got before the inevitable slowing down. Not very far as it turned out (not surprisingly). I haven’t done any training specifically for speed endurance. Everything has either been too long and way too slow or too short and fast. I hoped that the week away running hills etc would help but I think that just added to the category of too long and too slow. I set of what I felt was quite conservatively but reached 1 mile in 6.16. Dammit! I then slowed down a lot as I expected but managed to keep just under 7 minute miling with the help of my Garmin beeping to make me attempt to speed up slightly.

Worthing 1 crop

Just before both Arena Marks overtook me (along with many many other people)

I hoped that the speedier first and second(ish) mile would keep me on for sub 42 even with the few lapses into being behind pace and this turned out to be the case as I crossed the line in 41.57 on the race clock. Luckily my chip time put me down for 41.52. Phew! Although this is of course still way off where I should be I definitely put in the effort so now it is just a case of getting my legs and lungs used to sustaining a faster pace for longer than a mile or so. Last year was no different in terms of effort but I was able to sustain the speed for the full distance. Anyway all in all I think this means I am over the hump and can now get back towards the speeds and times I feel I am capable of running.

Some of the Arenas post-race

Some of the Arenas post-race

Happy Friday y’all   Leave a comment

Hello there! Hope I didn’t surprise you posting on a Friday. This is because I am off on the annual Arena running holiday tomorrow. Somewhere in Somerset this time. Fingers crossed the weather shall be good and lots of running shall be done. Well of course lots of running shall be done even if the weather isn’t good. There is also a swimming pool, miniature golf, tennis courts etc where we are staying so hopefully much activity will be partaken in. Also lots of eating which is the most important thing I must do. Too thin, too weak. I MUST NOT kick a football though as that would totally destroy my ankle. I know I will accidentally though and it will be the most painful thing ever. Ho hum.

Anyway, down to business, not that I have much to report. On Monday it was back to track. Today’s session was 7x1k – 200t, 300f, 200t, 300f 90s rest. Again this should have been a perfect session for me but alas I still struggled. I did feel like I was putting in the effort but nothing to show for it. I was way off the back of Mark and Duncan’s group but as it was stationary recovery I could at least regroup and start each rep with them. Still suffering effects of stupid depression which is most annoying as otherwise I’m not depressed and want to get on with it. Hmmm that made sense … I know what I meant anyway. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done other than plough on and wait for it to lift.

I didn’t plough on that much though as I only went to Core & Stretch on Tuesday. Still feeling tired after two long runs the preceding week. I need to get back on them as I shan’t stop feeling tired until I have incorporated them back into my running week. I’m still not sure how I managed to do two long runs, a 10 miler and everything else that I did last year. Now the mere thought of it exhausts me. Possibly somewhat due to accidental weight loss. I do definitely feel much weaker and that I have lost thigh muscle. Thus I am attempting to eat everything which Somerset shall help as chef Steve prepares loads of good stuff, along with all the mini pizza/fish finger sandwich/Pringles etc snackage. I intend to come back at least 20 stone, though I have just given away all my giant running clothes so will have to spill fulsomely from my smaller current garments.

I did nothing on Wednesday which was down to Rob choosing B when I asked him to choose A, B or C without telling him which was which or indeed what it related to. For the record A – treadmill, B – rest, C – lsr.

This did not help on Thursday when I went to Hove Park. I was still incapable of dragging anything from myself but at least as the session was 5×2 uphill half laps (should have been 6 but too slow to complete them all) I got some hills in.

I was contemplating doing a lsr today but I shall be doing (at least) one a day from tomorrow so I don’t think it’s a great loss that I haven’t today. I had already planned to go climbing with Lydia anyway so it wasn’t a completely idle day. I managed to do a higher grade today though there are still some lower ones that I haven’t grasped yet and the duck still strikes fear into me. As I kept telling Lydia it would be fine if it had a nice banister running across the top. Climbing up and down the sides is fine I just hate cresting the top and then being on the platform. Weird also as it is the lowest wall. I managed to conquer the blue and white which means doing the splits (or it does the way I do it) but can’t do the one that means going round a corner. I did manage a yellow one which was pleasing but I still have uncontrollable miniature panic attacks from time to time and this was one time. After hyperventilating and snotting on the wall for a 30 seconds or so it passed but it is really most unhelpful when it is happening. Lydia even came up to try and rescue me but thankfully it had abated by then so I climbed down like a normo. Hopefully as I improve/continue these odd forays into abject terror will go away completely. Most humiliating.

Only managed 10 miles so far this week but hopefully I’ll get stuck in to many long and hilly runs over the coming days to make up for it and to catapult me back into the swing of lots of lsrs as I used to do when I was briefly a good runner this time last year.

Running (unsurprisingly)   Leave a comment

Monday. Track. I was let off work not quite early enough to get home and then go to track so cycled straight there thus arriving over an hour early. I decided I might as well start running. 5 or so miles later a few people began to arrive so I continued my slow jog by-now-exceptionally-long warm up. By the time the session began I had already run over 6 miles. I was also very hungry. The session was 8 x 800, pyramiding from 300t, 500f down to 600t 200f and back up. This would usually be a good session for me but having done such and extensive and slow paced warm up I didn’t have any fast twitch in me and the session turned out to be a recovery jog/track session/long run. I wasn’t particularly bothered by this as by the end I had clocked up 11 miles. I had been testing a watch for work that was supposedly faulty (it wasn’t) so if nothing else it got a good workout.

After Monday’s unintentional long run I wasn’t too worried that my next session would be a double day Thursday. Thus I set off in the morning for a medium distance slow run. It was fine, the weather was good, my pace was reasonably consistent and all was well. It was however very difficult to not go too far. I had an almighty battle with myself to stop at just over 9 miles rather than carrying on to around 13. I just about succeeded by reminding myself I wanted to do the evening session in Hove Park properly and this was less likely if I did a full lsr in the morning. I was glad of my hard fought victory come evening when we set off on 15 x Kenyan hills on the grass at Hove Park. This was followed by a downhill half lap with uphill grass sprint. Then 5 x uphill half laps. Luckily I had coincided with Duncan at this point so we were able to work together to keep going up the wiggly path and through to the end. We finished off with a fast downhill half lap and walked back up the grass to finish. Over all this was a good session and I put the effort in which justified my shortish run in the morning. So I ended up running 13 miles for the day anyway, just in two distinctly different sections.

On Saturday it was Preston Park parkrun’s anniversary so I cycled over in the hope of free cake and to applaud Duncan for being second in the men’s points competition. He was looking smart in a dress shirt and bow tie. I decided I would try and stick with him for the whole run this time rather than hoofing off way too fast then trying (and failing) to keep with him when he inevitably passed. This plan worked excellently up until 3k where we were on for 20.30. Alas I then just totally lost my motivation etc as usual and he continued onwards and I slowed down massively to drag home in a disappointing 21.10.

Although that is probably about the best I’ve done recently. I know what I need to do to improve (other than a brain transplant). I must do some long tempo runs. At the moment I either do 8.30mm paced long runs or short fast stuff like track and HP intervals. I am sorely missing sustained tempo efforts which is what I need. As I have gold membership at my gym and hardly go there any more since starting work I have decided I must go there and do an enforced tempo speed run on the treadmill. Yes it is unutterably boring but I cannot be trusted to push myself or pace myself on the road so this is what I must do. Good for mental strength too.

So off I set in filthsome weather to the gym this morning. I had a plan to do an hour of which 45 minutes would be at 13kmph at least. I set the treadmill to this speed to see what it felt like (treadmill on 2% incline as usual). It felt fine so I immediately changed my plan and decided after a few k at this speed to put it up to 15kmph (20 minute 5k pace) and see how long I could last. I wasn’t that surprised to discover I managed 6k. No matter how much I do actually trust myself that almost everything to do with my recent crapness is brain-related I still chose to believe that it might be something to do with my ankle. This however shows I can do it if the pace is enforced. I know treadmill is not like real running but at least my limbs can move fast enough and my lungs can hack it (didn’t even inhale which would have been a definite no a while ago). Hopefully now I’ve done this I might be able to keep myself going past 3k at the next parkrun. I doubt it though as I know I just can’t care and drag out any form of motivation currently.

I shall take a day off tomorrow I think after a 34 mile week with a good mix of speed, hills and long stuff.

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Christ’s Hospital Hooray   2 comments

Sorry, this post starts as always with Monday’s track session. I was still suffering from whatever the heck was wrong with me on Sunday so embarked upon Monday’s track session without my usual enthusiasm (if I can’t drum up interest for track then something is seriously amiss). The session should have suited me down to the ground as it was 10 x 300f, 100j 200f but I knew I wasn’t up for it so stuck with Duncan as much as possible as I knew then I would at least get in a good, consistent, well paced session. If there was ever such a thing as a recovery track session this was it (also I had nothing to actually recover from).

Alas I was working on Tuesday so yet again I couldn’t go to Core & Stretch. I can feel my core stretching (and not in a good way) as I type.

I planned to do an LSR on Wednesday but was assailed by the inability to do anything at all. I even forgot to buy spinach. A day best forgotten.

On Thursday whatever fog had descended in the preceding days had lifted so I set off on a nice long run of 14 miles. The weather was nice and sunny and not too windy so it was an excellent run apart from a small section where I had to run through the main Brighton seafront bit. Gah! I always make this mistake the first few times it is sunny and vaguely warm. I managed to keep my pavement rage to a minimum and vowed not to make this mistake again (even though obviously I will). Even with this slight obstacle the run was pretty well paced for me. The extra day’s rest and having not actually done anything hard for a while this run felt easier than normal along with the all encompassing gloom having left (in fact this was the main factor).

As I hadn’t done a long run for a while I thought I should do a recovery run on Friday knowing that I had Christ’s Hospital Relays on Saturday. Thus I ran 3.5 miles nice and slowly.

On Saturday morning I watched the Brighton Marathon highlights programme and spotted Rob and I behind some woman called Paula Radcliffe who seemed to be being interviewed and photographed for some reason.

Fame at last! Though almost obscured by some woman

Fame at last! Though almost obscured by some woman

I love Christ’s Hospital Relays as each leg is a mere 2.1 miles and the course is flat and road. This is always one of my top 3 races of the year. A great day out. This year didn’t disappoint. The weather was warm(ish) and dry and not too windy so I was looking forward to putting in a good run as I knew I was in the right frame of mind to get on with it and run well. I even did the full lap as a warm up when usually I bail out after about 500m. I was on first leg for the senior B team and then second leg for the non scoring team. This meant I would have to finish pretty speedily to have time to swap numbers and take over from Fiona who is in no way slow. I think this added pressure helped me speed off like an absolute maniac (no change there) and reached 1 mile in 6.20. Ooops. I continued however and kept the effort up but due to windiness and the inevitable slowing down the second mile was 6.52. Hmmmmm what a surprise, me doing some bad pacing.

Completing leg one

Completing leg one

Anyway I finished my first leg and set Fiona C and Rob to work changing my number over as my fingers never work post run. This complete I had around 20 seconds before Fiona J arrived and I was off on my second leg. I was somewhat pooped ‘tis fair to say. However I was pleased to reach 1 mile in 6.52 and managed to hold the pace reasonably well for a 7.08 second mile. It seems consistency can be found when I start knackered.

Handing over to Fiona C my fellow double legger

Handing over to Fiona C my fellow double legger

I was pleased with my first leg time of 13.28 (although I know I should be sub 13 really) having not run anything even vaguely speedily for a long time and thought my second leg time of 14.22 was OK too considering the miniscule recovery time and stabbing myself panic stricken whilst trying to swap numbers. I was pleased that my two legs were out of the way within half an hour and I could then relax and watch the senior men’s race.

Arena men preparing for world domination

Arena men preparing for world domination

The day was as excellent as I had hoped. We had a good Arena contingent out as usual and it is good to watch people running who I don’t usually see as they are many miles ahead of me.

The full Arena posse (almost)

The full Arena posse (almost)

An excellent finish to the week after an awful start.

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