Saturday, 28 March 2015

Where for art thou running?

Even a hen do will not stop me from a morning run. As we woke in the aftermath of night one of Jess's Henweekender in Shakespeare's County 4 brave souls (Myself, Debbie, Kate and the ultimate Dark Horse Lisa) donned our lycra and left the party house for an out and back run.

The day and night of drinking did not bode well for the success of the run but we headed out regardless and ran towards the pretty High Street of this pretty little village.

We opted for 15 minutes out and back although this was slightly longer as the return journey was primarily uphill.

After the halfway point me and Kate did a few sprint intervals before reaching the final hill climb back to Ashleigh House. Returning to the Hen House we bathed in the praise and admiration of the those more hungover than us as we returned victorious to a beautifully prepared mega breakfast prepared by the bridesmaids.

Once again we are remind....Netball, you have changed!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Tryathon Trial Run

The most worrying and incomprehensible thing to me about a triathlon is to get on a bike whilst wet. and not only wet but in padded cycling shorts... essentially a wet sponge between your legs. Why, why would people do this?
So this morning, I decided to do this very thing. My own mini trial triathlon in the gym to see how it all goes. I departed my house, ready in my tri-suit, I went via the spin studio to set up a bike then headed to the pool. 10 minutes swimming (hopefully at race pace) and I found the tri-suit strangely comfortable. As I exited the pool this is the part that would be weird... I went into the changing room where I had set up my trainers and towel in the locker. A quick towel down, t-shirt over the top, socks and trainers in then I trotted through to the spin studio.
20 minutes on the bike seemed reasonable at a tough pace to make sure my legs were worked hard enough before hitting the treadmill. The padded wet bottom scenario was not quite as bad as I thought but I was not a big fan of the weird wet yet dry feeling behind my knees. I'm sure this can be countered with a bit of baby oil on the day but a weird place to be in discomfort.
Next up, I was off the bike and a quick sprint up the stairs to the main gym and the treadmill, I set the pace a reasonable 11kph and ran for 10 minutes. As last time my bike to run begins with jelly legs but this soon wears off and hit my pace.
I finished and was still not as dry as I would have liked and perhaps driving home sitting on a small plastic bag wasn't the best idea as my car seat was a little damp for the rest of the day. All in all though I have a little more confidence with the transitions than I did before. Two weeks to go.... eeek.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Hels Hilly Club Run

Second week back at running club and this weeks leader was Hels. The route traced a maze up and down, around and about the streets between Petts Wood and down towards Sevenoaks Way. Running along I felt this was going to be a tough one, I was pleasantly distracted having a chat to some of the new faces (new to me anyway) at the club.

Somewhere between 2-3 miles I was feeling like I might need to bail, I felt I was struggling with the pace and as we stopped midday I was considering making my way back to base. Then my saviour, I spotted Eleanor, whom I hadn't seen probably for at least a year of not due to my injury and hers. We fell into pace and chatting away the miles seem to vanish underfoot.

We chatting about Paul McKenna's crazy night time hypnotic sessions, which currently seem to be working for me. Then we moved onto the Jillian Michaels 30 day Shred which I was having success with. Eleanor had done this before and we raved about the results of 'America's toughest trainer'.

Before we knew it we were less than half a mile from our start point and Hels let those that wanted to proceed at their own pace, we ran down Poverest Road and to base. It really does make a difference to the difficulty of a run when chatting to someone. The first half was tough but then when I got engrossed I was much more relaxed and comfortable... now I just need that to transfer back  to my solo runs.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Almost the Whole Experience

I may have mentioned the foolish mistake I made by entering a triathlon, these things seem like such a good idea when a long way away or a day away but not so much on the in-between. We were staying with friends and a bike ride was on the agenda, it would be mostly off road on a canal path and at an enjoyable pace… we were not racing!

But having taken into account the relaxed nature of the ride and the pending triathlon I need to test out my bike to run transition. The first section of the bike ride (pre lunch) was 10 miles at a comfortable pace, chatting and enjoying the Wiltshire scenery.
A tasty lunch and we headed back onto the path for the remaining 5 miles back to the car. We stuck together for the first 2 miles then I upped the pace with hubby for the final few miles to make sure my legs were a bit more tired and felt more like they might in the race. We reached the car; I jumped off my bike, threw off my helmet and jacket, then set off back along the canal path.
My plan had been just a five minute hard run. I started running on wobbly legs which took about 2 minutes before they felt normal. I decided I would keep going and do 1 mile rather than the 5 mins as I had some time. I made it back to the car feeling comfortable (and confident I could do more) in 9 minutes.
I am started to feel like it’s a lot more doable and still three weeks away I need to practise my transitions and brick sessions a little more over the next 3 weeks.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Trees Have Eyes

A nice break in the Leicestershire countryside near the quaint village of Market Bosworth, a happy coincidence as we realised it was the re-internment of Richard III this weekend so the village was awash with white roses and bunting.

When I woke the sun was shining and although I had planned a gym workout it was too nice not to run. The Market Bosworth Country Park was just across the road from where we were staying so I headed in that direction. It was a cold, fresh and bright morning and the dog walkers were out in force.
I headed towards the duck pond and was accosted part way by one of the friendliest dogs I could ever hope to meet. After a good deal of fussing and rolling over – mostly the dog – his owner put him back on his lead so I could make my escape. I looped the park twice, clearly not sticking to the route I have seen at the entrance but getting the miles in nevertheless. I as was coming to my final section over the small stream on the trolls bridge I noticed the trees had eyes and as you ran they appeared to follow you… quite spooky if it were a dusky evening run!
I made my way back towards the entrance and the hotel, passing yet more dog owners, taking in some of the Bosworth Hall grounds before a tasty breakfast!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Return to the Club

I felt good today, gee-ed up by the good result at Parkrun on Saturday and also the nice supportive comments from friends and family, tonight would be the night I returned the Petts Wood Runners Tuesday night club runs.

I checked the website to confirm the different times / pace / distance of the groups which seem to have multiplied. Before I left I tried to work out how long it has been since I went to a club night but after trawling through my old blog posts I couldn't find the last Tuesday night run... I reverted to my running ahead log and found the last run I did on a Tuesday night was Tuesday 27th November 2012. 

Quite ridiculous to see that it has taken more than 2 years to get back to the club, I did however make a couple of beginners groups over that time. Bloody injury! Hmmmph!

So I turned up, nice and early so I'd get a parking spot and have time for the inevitable pre run nervous wee. The usual preamble of announcements and group leaders was followed by the hubbub of Lycra clad runners merging into their groups. 

Peter would be leading our group - a fine job he did too keeping us together, making sure everyone was okay and sticking to pace. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and have a quick catch up before the run began. I spotted Karien before we set out and we both joined Group 3. The next couple of miles passed quickly as we chatted and caught up on general news.

Half way through the run we approached Summer Hill, and whilst I prefer to run in the other direction I quite contentedly trotted my way up to the far side near the Ramblers Rest. After catching our breath and ensuring all runners were up the hill we set off again, the pace feeling tough after a hill but soon settling and gradually speeding up as we approached the final mile of the run. 

5.2 miles completed in an average of 10 min/mile pace and my first run with the club in over two years was complete. 

I found Emma as she finished her run and we had a good stretch before I was heading home for a well deserved cup of tea. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Time for a Comeback

Okay so this isn't a comeback that will go down in history books, it probably won’t even be significant enough to feature heavily in the history of Fibre Runners but it was an achievement and a very unexpected one at that.

Today I went to Parkrun Orpington and I only went and got a bloomin’ course PB! As regular readers are aware, I have been unable to run much, race at all and been generally a bit of a grumble guts about my back injury. But today I got a course PB, the first time I can say that in two years so I am mightily proud.

I arrived at Parkrun, the car park was filling up with the morning runners, streaming across the field towards the start point, smiling, chatting and shivering against the wind… although quite sunny there was a sharp cold wind!

I dropped off my jacket a few minutes before the start, immediately regretting it as the cold wind bit into my bare arms, knowing too that with it I would be too warm in a matter of minutes. As I walked to the start I came across an old work colleague and friend, although I have not seen her for some time I was not surprised to see her and we have a quick chat before the run began.

I started running and was surprised pretty soon that I wasn't around my usual running ‘companions’… I checked my Garmin and it seemed my pace was pretty good. Hmm we’ll see how long this lasts I thought to myself. Lap 1 complete, the marshals shouting encouragement to all the runners. The ground was firm but not hard and there had been little enough wet weather so there were no muddy patches to deal with or slow us down. Lap 2 and my pace was still good, I could see the front runners crossing the finish line as I began my third and final lap of the course. I'm not sure where it came from but this was going to be a good run. 

Gradually some of the runners who had been around me near the start were dropping off but I kept my pace up. My breathing was audible but not laboured as I headed along the treeline towards the finish, I tried to step up the pace as I approached the finish focusing on the lady ahead of me. The gap was closing but there was not enough in the tank to overtake, she had too much of a lead on me.

I crossed the line in 28:07 – a course PB for me by over 1 mins 30 seconds. A little unbelieving but very pleased with myself I went to the scanners and waited for Deb G to arrive at the finish line. I welcomed her with a cuppa and we have a nice catch up.

I am still some way from my actual 5 km personal best (23:58) but I have made significant progress so to get under 30 mins again – and not my the skin of my teeth – is a big success. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Up and Out

When I woke this morning the sun was shining and whilst I had planned to do an exercise video as I get my kit on I thought better of it and decided to get outside and make the most of the bright morning. I didn't really have a route planned, just a vague idea of how to get around 5 km under my belt whilst not venturing too far a field – I had an urge to run for longer even before beginning and the further away I got the more likely I would just keep running. It was the most sensible therefore to stay pretty close to home and one eye on my watch.
Starting on a slight incline – something I have deliberately avoided for the last year I was reasonably please with my pacing and comfort. My breathing stayed even as I padded along the pavements and tried to avoid singing out loud to a great (or perhaps questionable) mix of tunes.
As I passed the third mile, I was still feeling a bit keen and wanting to keep going but if I did I would leave myself in a bit of a rush would perhaps snatch away that runners high too soon. I headed home, arriving back at just under 3.5 miles in the same time I would run 3 miles on a treadmill. I knew I preferred running outdoors for a reason…. Fresh air makes me go faster but the running feel easier!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Running Sisters

Last year my younger sister decided she wanted to start running and with her new found fitness enthusiasm she did the right thing… she came to me and asked me to help her start running and suggested we sign up to a 5 km colour run together in May.  I believe she came to regret that decision this morning!

She has been building up her running with the help of a 0 – 5 km app that gives you instruction as you workout and builds up your running over a nine week program. This weekend she came for a visit and we had agreed we would go for a run/walk with the goal of covering the full 5 km distance with a combination of running and walking.

Up early (well for a Sunday) we got kitted up and stepped out into a sunny morning. We started with a warm-up walk before the run / walk intervals of varying lengths. I had opted for a flattish route including an out and back towards Chislehurst, as we would be taking on a longer distance than she is used to. Using the app and also me keeping an eye on my Garmin we completed the session from her plan and then continued to make up the full distance.  I must say my sister did a great job of replicating the instructions of the app with a full on American accent!

It was as the app session finished and we continued that her enthusiasm began to wain, she declared her hatred for me, accused me of not breathing and muttered incoherently in my general direction…. But she kept running during the run intervals and had a good pace both walking and running. The goal now is to keep building up the time running and get ready for the race in May, we know the distance will be fine now and hopefully along with sore muscles she has ore confidence in her abilities. 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Who thought a triathlon was a good idea?

Clearly I did when I signed up for one, thinking that my back would be better, thinking that this would be a better challenge to work towards. Being a multi discipline event I would be able to breakdown my training in order to lessen the impact on my back and not hinder my recovery any further. All very good in theory, oh very good indeed.

So signing up for a Sprint distance triathlon seemed like as good a place as any to start, small distances, all of which I knew I could manage individually so I would just need to pout them together.

In my head the worst part was always getting onto a bike when wet, I mean when is doing anything directly after leaping out of a pool a good idea unless its grabbing a cocktail and laying down on a sun lounger in some hot climes.

But apparently I was wrong, this morning I went on a bike ride, 10 hilly miles and a circular route through Crockenhill. All went well, and much better since pumping up my tyres (rooky mistake last week). I rolled up at home after the ride, hopped off the bike and my legs were immediately rendered incapable of doing anything.

Sh!t how will I manage, there is only a month to go!

Bike to run brick sessions definitely required. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Friday nights alright for training

I was determined to get to the gym tonight, not only was I having a visitor this weekend that could impact on my exercise but I hadn't done anything since the strength class on Monday evening that made me more than a little sore all week.

I had my kit in the boot of the car and went straight for the gym and into the pool. I did a steady one mile swim in under 40 minutes… my usual comfortable pace for a longer swim. I opted to drop the pace training as I had been throwing in intervals in every swim in the last month and felt this would be more beneficial. An odd couple entered the pool – happily towards the end of my swim – as it was like swimming in a wave machine as they flailed about and did their own unique style of aqua aerobics.

As I departed the pool I was feeling pretty good and decided that instead of heading straight home I would go up to the gym for a little while. This turned into a 5 km run. I wanted to walk but I made myself keep running for the duration… a time of just under 33 minutes. I was sweating wildly but very pleased with myself that I had doubled up on my workouts.

I do find it odd how much slower I am on a treadmill… a few minutes over a 5 km feels quite significant. I do still love running outdoors and much prefer it to indoors but when needs must at least I got it done. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Destruction of Mojo

When you begin a journey there are many potential trials and tribulations along the way, some are your fault, come are the fault of others, some are just a bit of sh!tty luck. The journey I am referring to is that from non-runner to runner, from casual runner to marathon runner then on to Ultrarunner, club runner to club committee member, from amateur to qualified endurance running coach. It’s true, I don’t do things by halves, if I am inspired to do something I go all out, the downside of this of course is when that is taken away from you it doesn't half smart.
When I first began running I face-planted the pavement giving myself a black eye and painful wrist from the way I landed. In my first marathon although completing in a faster time than expected my poor running style led to a knee injury which took me out of the game for about 6-8 weeks. When I got my parkrun PB I pushed so hard that I crossed the line and stood near the bushes trying not to vomit for about 10 minutes whilst I recovered. The only DNF I have to my name, at the Hastings Half Marathon where after reaching the highest point of this notoriously hilly course my knee gave up and I have to wait shivering for the bus to bring me back to the finish.  During my solo Thunder Run the weather was so bad it took me over 45 minutes to peel off my mud-soaked clothes whilst sobbing as I was cold and convinced that everyone was disappointed in me (these things happens when you have been running for over 14 hours). The worst, the realisation that that bump in my car, that woman who wasn't paying attention to traffic and rear-ended me had taken away all that hard work. Yes, I do blame her. Okay it was an accident but she did this to me. I didn't over train, I didn't do anything, in fact I was driving to the gym to train! It might be petty and childish but she is responsible yet only I can fix it.
Now, as my back is strengthening I am finding it really difficult, knowing what I was capable of and not being able to do it is miserable. Another side affect of being unable to train like I could before is weight gain. I try to eat healthily and cook from scratch, yes I make the odd cake and go out for dinner from time to time but I monitor this. Then begins the vicious circle, carrying more weight makes running harder, you must run more to burn the weight off….
The week before last I went on a run with Jerry and Duncan, it was so lovely to be back out with them. But let’s look back at this, we walked a fair amount and if we hadn't I wouldn't have been able to manage it – gentlemen as ever they were accommodation to my weaknesses.  I arrived home over the moon to have been back out on the trails but also sad that I still had so far to go to get it back to where I could hold my own again.
There are of course many great moments also, there must be because if there were not why would so many of us keep putting on our trainers and heading out of the door. If you read back to some of those more grim moments listed above my blogs still look at the positives, the new PB, the amazing achievement of running for 24 hours, the support from friends and family, not the DNF though, that was rubbish!
These great moments  - to my regular readers you will be familiar with many more of these –  currently seem a long time ago so it’s important for me to have a little run down memory lane to remind myself and hopefully get the mojo back which has been somewhat elusive over the last two years.

I am not afraid of the hard work required to get it back but my body just doesn't feel able to anymore....