Thursday, 29 March 2012

My marathon time according to Yasso

It's Thursday night and regular readers of my blog knows what that means, its track time and this session promises to be able to predict my marathon time! We shall see about that in just over 3 weeks time I guess...
So according to Bart Yasso there is a sure-fire way to predict your marathon time, to check out the theory not in my words have a look here!
In summary the session consists of 8 x 800m and the average time to run the 800m's in minutes/seconds is a good predictor of what you are capable of in a marathon in hours/minutes. Clear as mud? Then I shall continue - although I am sure there is a lot more too it and must be part of marathon training, wouldn't work for average sedentary 'man on the street'!
So going for a 4hour marathon I needed to run my 800m reps in approx 4mins, translating to 8min/mile pace. I set off and I was a little quicker but fairly comfortable for the first 3-4 reps. My legs started to feel the burn during the 5th rep but soon subsided again, I considered dropping out after the 6th but after seeing my rep splits were still good and fairly consistent I kept going.
Overall my average rep was 3min49seconds so maybe a sub-4 marathon isn't out of the question, fingers crossed for a cool, dry day on the 22nd April!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Always a new face!

Tuesday night clubs runs with Petts Wood Runners have grown so much that it seems that along with the old familiar faces and voices there is always someone new to have a chat to and be inspired by or offer inspiration to. What a lovely opportunity afforded to those that switch groups from time to time such as myself.
This Tuesday was no different and running in group 3 - being led by Adele M - her first time and I must say she did a Stirling job making sure everyone was comfortable with the pace and nobody got left behind - after my exertions on Sunday at Cranleigh it seemed the sensible move. Sometimes I hate sensible Liz, but tonight she was right and my legs thanked her for it! After being tormented by Jerry and Johnny arguing over Venus, then being treated to a far too detailed description of Jerry's recent running injury I went in the search of the company of others. I found myself chatting with a lovely lady (whose name escapes me), and together we passed the time as we got ever closer to our start point.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cranleigh 21 - Why not imagine a pea?

The clocks went forward last night, we had a race that was well over an hours drive away and started at 9am... an early start was in order and so was an early night last night.
Despite my early night, my sleep was fitful and mostly unsuccessful, probably totally in no more than about 5 hours...bad times!
Waking with my alarm, at the correct time the first of my potential obstacles for the day was over. My kit was prepared last night and my porridge on the side waiting to be made up to eat before Emma and Simon arrived for our road trip to Cranleigh. 
We hit the road with, printed directions, a sat nav and also Simon's faithful road atlas. The early part of the journey was quite uneventful then within two miles of the start we went down a road, but whilst the road said closed (access only) we figured it must be for the race as so many other drivers (in race kit) were heading that way so we followed, mistake! Before long there were about 20 cars trying for a synchronised 3 point turn to head back in the other direction. After emerging unscathed and the sat nav not much use we came upon a local dog walker and asked for another route.. he directed us then tried to engage us in conversation about running in the London marathon but were late so made our exit as politely as possible.
We arrived with about 25 minutes to spare, perfect really as that was enough to eat a banana, go to the little girls and boys rooms and head to the start for a slightly jumbled and incoherent start.
We started off together as planned with an aim of keeping our pace between 9:45-10:00 min/miles but the flat nature of the course seemed to drive this up a little and we were averaging under that. The sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day, so lovely just to be trotting along without a care in the world and feeling so comfortable at the pace.
Well that didn't last the whole race, at around 13-14 miles I started to feel a bit niggly and grumpy, probably knowing that the race had the option to pull out at 15miles I was weighing this up like it was ever going to be an option for me. During this time of struggling I spotted another runners shirt and it said 'imagine a pea' , very confused and trying to imagine why she would have a shirt saying this I hovered on her heels for some time whilst imagining peas in many scenarios... soon enough it become clear as she straightened her shirt, it was the Imagine Appeal, I suspect nothing to do with peas at all!
I crept slowly away from the other two as I needed to get past the point of no return and into the last lap. As I did this I was still struggling and saw my mum in the distance (as per usual I spotted her before she spotted me) - I got a massive big hug which seemed to re-energise me and get me back into the task in hand with a more positive feeling. 
By the time I'd reached 17miles I had picked up a buddy of similar pace to me, Nick from Woking who would be running the Vienna marathon in 3 weeks time (shout out in the blog as promised Nick!), we continued on for the next 4 miles chatting away to keep our mind from the race but the pace steady. As we neared the finish I felt I could give it a bit of a kick and so I did. Then to the left I heard a very familiar voice shouting Elizabeth at full volume - I reverted back to a child in trouble - it was my favourite Aunty come to see me over the line, then as I rounded the corner to the finish there was my mum again ready with water and a big hug! Awesome!
The others came in a few minutes behind me and we were treated to ice creams, then a cuppa and some cake before heading home for some well deserved relaxation!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Return to parkrun

Laying in bed I wondered if it was silly to be thinking about Parkrun today after my miles yesterday and a 21 mile race tomorrow. I just couldn't decide so I got in touch with my unofficial coach who suggested it would be okay if I felt up to it. I looked at the time 8:31am... I'd need to get moving and quick!
Throwing on my kit, grabbing my garmin, swigging a quick glass of milk and scooped up the car keys and was out of the door in record time. I pulled into the bar park at 8:57 but arggghhhhhh no spaces, found one at the other end and leapt into action, running to the start line. 
I arrived in time for announcements and heard that Johnny G was pacing today at 24mins so I set a course through the crowds to reach him. I made it just before the start and just hoped I was up to this after the miles clocked up yesterday. I maintained my place just ahead of the 24 min group, hearing Johnny's chatter behind me was spurring me on to keep going but after about half way I just didn't have it to stick with them. I kept as close as I could but the gap was widening. Soon enough we had less than half a mile to go and although I didn't think I could catch up with Johnny G I knew I had to speed up to get away from the man who was making the most horrific and painful noises. I kept pushing and crossed the line at 24:25, not a PB but not too far from it. 
Afterwards it was nice to catch up with some familiar faces and I even had a little cuddle with the gorgeous baby Ben! Nice way to start the weekend and what lovely weather we are having - I hope it isn't too hot tomorrow.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Double Whammy

Don't worry that my training is failing due to the lack of posts over the last week, I have been busy and also cross training but not run any good distance for a week. 
Since my amazing track session last week I have spent 2 days on a caching course (this included practicals so not just sitting around), a bike ride and a Pilates class so I am certainly still active. It was playing on my mind a little though so I decided to break up my runs today into 2 or possibly 3 shorter runs.
Run 1 - I tackled this one solo and took a nice loop around Scadbury without my stats screen on my garmin so I was just running as the mood took me. Sadly the mood took my to trip directly into the path of a large tree root that very nearly sent me sprawling... luckily I was able to stagger swagger style it out and managed not to land flat on my face. I think had someone been with me I might have been considerably more pathetic! I got back home having done just over 4.5miles at a decent pace and with some hilly sections so I was more than happy with this.
Run 2 - as the afternoon progressed and work was coming to a close, I started getting the itch to run again. I texted a local running buddy and luckily he was just about to head out for a little run so we met up. An unexpected visit to the pub toilets after about 2 miles may have put pay to my running but luckily I made it out alive with an entire pub staring at me, pah! I was too sweaty and my stomach in too much turmoil to care. I recovered quickly and we continued in and around the woods on this beautiful sunny day for another couple of miles. Arriving back home I saw that I had done over 10miles for both runs which surprised me and made me feel much better about not running all week despite the cross-training.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Smile Reps

A tough track session lay ahead of me this evening of mile repeats and at a good pace. With the words of one of the coaches ringing in my ears telling me to get out of my comfort zone I decided lets not think of these as mile reps but smile reps. Possibly even tougher for me to maintain a happy face for such an extended period!
I would push myself and run hard but even if it wasn't showing outwardly, on the inside I would be smiling, smiling because I am out doing this and I am trying and hard work pays off, I know it will. This feeling left me moments before starting and I started to feel a little peculiar and doubted I should even run but soon enough I pulled myself together and got on with the task in hand and began to run...
I smile because I know Jerry is lurking on the sidelines or running in the opposite direction, ready to throw quips and encouragement at us as we circle the track. Mostly tonight he was shouting different sorts of cakes at me... chocolate, fairy, rocky road, and the list went on!
I smile because I see my running buddy friends and we are doing this together.
I smile because once again Mike shouts at me to pick my knees up.
I smile because while I am lapped I know these speed demons and typhoons started somewhere too and with hard work maybe one day I can gain on them (probably never catch them but maybe make up some ground!).
I smile because while Peter leads the stretching, people are making cracks, joking and happy, and look like they are doing the hokey cokey. 
I smile because I know it is working! Last time we ran this track session on the 29th December, so our very first one, my reps were 7:50, 8:04, 8:07 and this time they were 7:25, 7:30, 7:33 so I was over the moon to have made such a big improvement, if there had been any walls near by I would have been bouncing off them!
So, tonight I ran and inside I smiled and before I knew it I was done, I was feeling all the better for it, then headed home, sweaty yet buzzing and ready for my supper and a nice cuppa.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Return to club

What a great run tonight, lovely to be able to make it back out with the club on a Tuesday evening after many late nights and long days at work have left me too tired to run. I decided to run to and from club, to add a few miles and although this was slightly delayed when my Garmin stopped working and I hitched a lift with hubby I still managed the run back!
On my way I bumped into Johnny G who also has been absent for a while - due to injury - and we have a nice catch up as we jogged down the hill to Willet Rec where lots of familiar and unfamiliar yet friendly faces smiled their welcomes. A mild evening and plenty of runners to catch up with made for a lovely run despite the hard slog up Leesons Hill towards the end. We had a excellent group leader who scooted back and forth amongst the group making sure everyone was feeling okay, staying together without anyone pulling off to far ahead or falling behind... good work! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Razor nails and politics

Swimming, although the best all round exercise and most supportive can be pretty hazardous depending on who is in the pool with you.
This morning started with an lovely early morning swim, well lovely until a man with razor sharp toe nails entered the pool, slicing into my knee with his talons each time he passed me - luckily I was nearing the end of my swim by this time. There was also the regular hazard of the silver capped lady with the rogue leg, with each stroke one legs kicks up in the air, out of the water behind her, it surely cannot be an efficient way to swim but who am I to comment - odd thing is I would expect her to walk funny or perhaps have a limp as she seems to have little control over this leg, she doesn’t. It is most peculiar. Best thing to do is steer clear, especially as she has very poor swimming etiquette too!
After my swim, I went to the sauna, where each morning a number of regulars gather to out the world to rights, this morning was no different and was clearly on politics.... yawn.... not what I wanted this early so I kept my head down while the others waxed lyrical and this that and the other. We were joined shortly by another swimmer... after a few minutes I realised this was a familiar face, but not body hence initially unrecognisable in swimming kit. So once again I find myself chatting happily away to an Orpington Road Runner and not just any but Brian from one of Jerry's night runs  - who said they were all bad and unfriendly!!!!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Dusk Till Door

This evening was such a perfect evening for a run, I paid no heed to my usual rule of Monday being my rest day and instead on arriving home, I quickly changed, slipped into my slipper like Nick Free's and set off out the door with no real plan but to run for a while as the sun set.
After the first mile I decided I should try consciously to pick my feet up a bit more when I run, subsequently lengthening my stride, and kept this up for the next couple of miles quite comfortably and noticed my pace had also picked up but not so much the effort. I just need to make this normal and I may finally start picking up some speed... who knows!
4 and a half miles later I arrived at my front door, re-energised and thoroughly pleased with myself.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Nininini Nineteen 19

You have just gotta love those Saturday morning long runs, they really do set me up for the weekend knowing that I have achieved something good. I arrived at Emma G's just before 8am and gave Rowdy a quick stroke before we departed and hit the road ready for our long run. As ever we are very well matched for pace and soon slip into a nice steady rhythm as we gradually start to clock up the miles. Emma has been unwell and me too so we are hoping this long run goes without a hitch. As we reached just shy of 5 miles we hear a car slowing as it passed us and some rowdy local hollering 'alright darlin' at us, at first shocked we were then chuckling away as we realised it was only the very harmless Mike R from the club, presumably on his way to parkrun! At about 7 miles we decided for a quick gel break and I tried yet another brand, this one not so chewy and more fruity and manageable - I may have finally found one I can handle!
Onwards and very slightly upwards we continued in our steady trotting, chatting away and putting the world to rights as is the way of chatty runners. Around 13-14 miles in Emma started to struggle but only a little - we put this down to her recent illness but soldiered on, relentless in our mission to get through this long run. By the time we were back near Norman Park, the Parkrunners had long since departed so there was no chance to grab a bit of cake to keep us going, with only a couple more miles to go now we knew we wouldn't be far from out target mileage, we rounded the corner into Emma's road, then at 18.92 miles I continued past the house to take it up to a nice round 19.... why do we do it! The curse of a Garmin means always making your distance a prefect round number!

Friday, 9 March 2012


My icky sicky feeling had made me feel not quite right enough to attend track training last night so as my subsitute (which is becoming a bad habit - but at least I'm doing the workout) was to visit the gym this morning. I had checked out the track schedule on the PWR website and I really wasn't sure how  was going to manage, this was going to be a tought one. One the treadmill I did a leisurely mile to warm up and make sure I was well enough to run. This was following by 1km at a 7:15 min/mile pace, tough! Then 2km at 7:35 min/mile pace arghhhh at this point I thought that it must be enough and maybe I should stop now but I overcame the negativity abnd thought about how good I would feel afterwards and all the positive rewards I am already reapng from doing regaular hard track sessions. So I did the next two sets of 1km at the faster pace and began my cool down. It was an really tough workout but I was delighted with my pace and just hope it doens't have a negative impcat on my long run tomoroow morning.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

More cake than run tonight

On my way home from work today, I was torn... I just wanted to go home and eat some of the yummy delicious biscuit cake I had made yesterday evening but I also wanted to get out for a run with the club.
It was so early though, I was not confident of being able to stay away from the cake for 2 hours whilst I awaited the club meeting time.... decision made, I would run straight away, albeit alone, but then I would be able to relax for a while before bed.
5 miles later, including 3 miles at a tempo pace sandwiched between a warm up/cool down mile I arrived back home ready for my cake. The air was fresh and cool, good for running at a faster pace as I didn't overheat which I am prone to do. 
I put the dinner on whilst I had a quick shower and got in my PJ's, after eating I was trapped beneath a very happy purring Guinness, quite perturbed as I didn't want to shift him from my lap when he was so comfortable but also wanted the cake I have been dreaming about all day. Soon enough he became distracted and I grabbed my moment, cuppa tea and a big slice of cake. Lovely! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Ran Solo

I said, Ran Solo not Han Solo!
Sadly this mornings plan to run with Emma G was foiled by a nasty bug she has picked up. On receiving this news I had a few decisions to make, as I had not planned the route did I get to planning my own, did I lurk around for another hour and then meet up with the Sunday running groups... hmmm neither of those sounded much like something I wanted to do. So I got my kit and drinks sorted, filling 5 bottles in my trusty utility belt and hit the road for my long run with no real plan other than to run for about 18 miles give or take. 
Despite the constant drizzle that was to plague me for the best part of the next 3 hours, my rain jacket only lasted around 2 miles before I was too hot and bothered and needed to drop a layer. With my music on, blaring only in the left ear as the right headphone stopped working some time ago, I pounded the streets taking random turns down roads and paths on this unplanned route. I spotted lots of runners in groups and solo like me this morning and my thoughts drifted to my friend Jerry, who this weekend was running the Thames Path 100mile ultra marathon, I wondered if he was finished and how he was holding up... is that really something I want to do someday? An ultra, I'd like to say no but I said the same about marathons and in fact half marathons and probably even 10km's in my early days of running. 
The miles ticked by with my mind drifting between the thoughts working themselves out in my head, the words of the music and my surroundings. Although a shame not to have company the occasional long run by myself is more than tolerable as I trot along with only myself to worry about. 
This morning other runners were smiley, some days you barely get a grunt of acknowledgement but today all runners were happy and shouting good morning and were out in force, I can only assume that these people are like me in training, maybe for the Marathon but who knows, it was just nice to see friendly faces especially when running solo. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Pacing Power

I sort of feel like a superhero tonight and if I were my name would be 'The Metronome' and my super power would be perfect pacing, I would also have a side kick and her name would be Karien and she would be by my side in all my pacing endeavours on the journey towards defeating our enemy at the ultimate race. 
We are always in training so that if the we are able to evade our most dangerous enemy. He is known to linger at the 20mile mark where we could come face to face with 'The Wall' the most evil of all nemesis as he drains you of all your powers and renders you so useless you could easily flop to the ground in a state of delirium!
Let our powers of pacing remain and let us leave our enemy in our wake as he delays lesser mortals without the powers we have honed at the Thursday night track sessions.