Ole ole ole ole

It’s been a gorgeous day here in the shire. Started early with a spot of ringing before I ran (part way) home. The husband dropped me off in the usual place and I set off with no particular distance or time in mind. I had checked that the route had dried out – last week we’d driven past and the entire nature reserve was under rather more water than usual, with just the trees showing above the surface. You could see evidence of this, in places the path had been disturbed somewhat, in others there was the flotsam & jetsam indicating a tide line.  The water had receded, but there was still more of it about than usual.

The first 2 miles ended up being speedier than intended – at ~ 10:20 min/miles. For the longest run since M-day, I thought that might be a little too speedy, so eased off after 2 miles to something nearer 11s. After the topsy-turvey weather we’ve had recently, it was a really lovely day out, although I could complain it made running rather hot work. For someone who is always at least one jumper colder than the rest of the world, I seem to overheat when running really quite quickly. No autumn marathons for me – I’d never manage the training through the summer! But the niceness had brought people out of the woodwork, saw far more than the usual number of runners (including some runners who weren’t when I saw them), plus walkers  and cyclists out and about.

I got back towards town with almost 6 miles on the watch, and decided that would be a reasonable run, so took the shortest (but steepest) route back home. 6.6 miles in 1:16 seems entirely reasonable. Need to get back into the habit of making the Sunday run at least 10, but it’ll come.

The shower and lunch before sitting down to watch the Spanish Grand prix (see, now the title makes some sense!). I do like my F1, and have been watching it for a rather long time now. And so to see Williams win a race after a long spell in the midfield (and lower) was just brilliant. I’m not in any way, shape or form (that’s mild understatement) a Ferrari fan, so was willing Alonso to fall off and let Maldonado alone. In fact even my Ferrari fan of a husband (yes, I did know that before I married him) thought it the right result. So good to see Frank Williams there to see the team back on top the podium. Never, to my recollection, have I heard the Venezuelan national anthem before, but good on F1 for having both the flag and the tune available. Excellent result and that makes 5 different winners and 5 different cars have won the first 5 races – shaping up for an exciting season.

A good day all round, and it’ll be topped off with a joint of beef (in the oven ) and maybe a bottle of something nice. Sundays should all be like this.

It starts getting real now!

In 20 weeks time, I will have (hopefully) just about finished the Brighton marathon, and training starts tomorrow. I like plans, and I’m happy with this one. I think it suits me. A lot of beginner’s plans start with very low mileage for the longest run, then have to ramp the distance quite quickly to give enough mileage towards the end. Those intended for runners after a time (sub 4, for example) have lots of strict pace based session, intervals and the like. Not only am I not at that pace, I know that I would almost certainly not run sessions like this very well on my own. So I’ve opted for the plan put together by Shades, on the Runner’s World Forum. It’s 4 runs a week, which are all at an easy or tempo pace, with a mid-week run that starts to include work at marathon pace. Long run starts at 10 miles, which is where I’m already comfortable, and it ramps up to 5 runs over 20 miles. I think it will suit me, and it is certainly tried and tested.

But that starts Monday, what about today? Well today was just an easy run out. “Just” 9.5 miles. OK, I know that’s not actually very far, when you look at a plan that runs up to 22 mile long runs, but I’m struck by the way that 10 ish miles is now seeming routine. This time last year I had run 10 miles a few times, but had usually spent the rest of the afternoon asleep as a reaction. Today I’ve got back, had lunch and am about to start being domestic. Ironing in front of the Grand prix later. Today I feel like I’ve run, but not actually all that far. In fact, I feel grand!

Facts & Figures
Distance – 9.5 miles
Time – 1:55:04
Average Pace – 12:07 min/miles

It was lovely out there today. After a few weeks, it was the usual sunday routine; porridge for breakfast, coffee & squash, then off to ringing. On the way home, Hubby then drops me off at the local nature reserve and goes home in the car, while I run home. Means I get to run A-B, rather than in loops, which is always more interesting. Today I set off going away from home, as I wanted to see what the path was like from the previous location he could drop me. Seemed perfectly run-able, and I think I know where he’d need to drive to and how to get back to the road, so we might try it next week.

Back to today, blue skies but a breeze. Quite warm out of the breeze, but certainly chilly in it. It was strong enough to ruffle the lakes at the nature reserve into white-capped wavelets. Mostly a cross wind, so not dreadful. Being an old railway track, the route is partly in cuttings, so it was very nice then, in the sun & out of the wind. However on the more exposed spots it was clear that wind had been strong, loads of leaves, twigs and even small branches on the ground.

The world and his wife appeared to be out today! Can’t remember seeing so many people out running. Due to the way I went down then back up, I seemed to see a lot of them twice. Lots of cheery greetings. What a lovely way to spend the morning.

Busy busy

I thought weekends were supposed to be relaxing?! I seemed to dash about like a mad thing. There’s an element of being out of routine, which always makes things seem different. Started with a more relaxing early morning,  not having to be out of the house quite as early as usual. Ringing was for the Remembrance day service, so we didn’t need to be there until 10:15, rather than the usual 8:45. Half muffled ringing sounds lovely, but we don’t get to practice too often.

Home, then a bit of a potter about until the Grand prix started at 1. Lunch during the preamble, so we were ready for the off. It wasn’t a cracker, but had moments of interest. Would have been interesting to see if Hamilton could have stayed with Vettel, but the puncture at least gave us a different winner. Then, as soon as they’d finished, I started sorting out to get off for a run. Downed a pint of squash, but didn’t have quite as long to let it settle as I normally would; what with needing to get the joint in the oven for dinner and the darkening evenings I had to get on with it.

Went out in short-sleeved top, as I need to save the three long-sleeved versions for the evening runs in mid-week. But I did add my new lightweight gloves to the ensemble. I did think that was a mistake initially. For someone who always has cold hands, they seem to overheat very quickly when out running. Within a mile they were sweating, and I did think this was going to be uncomfortable. But they seemed to stay at that state, and not get any hotter, in which case that was bearable.

Set off aiming to do 10 miles. Down to the sailing club lake and round there as usual. However, the last 3 or so miles of the usual route are along a fast back road with no lights and no pavement. I’d not put the reflective vest or head torch I would usually wear in the dark on, as it hadn’t been dark when I’d left, but it was getting dark now. I decided to change plan, and headed back towards town. I figured that I could run around town, keeping to footpaths in a bit more safety than a dark road. And so the last few miles were a bit made up as I went along, and I got back to the end of our road with 9 miles showing on the Garmin. Made a decision to call it quits at that point – not as far as I’d have wanted, but far enough.

 Facts & Figures
Distance – 9.03 miles
Time – 1:50:54
Average Pace – 12.17 minute miles.

Which is reasonable. Brings me to what I’d be prepared to bet is my highest weekly mileage, at a grand total of 23-24 ish (a bit ish due to 2 Garmin-less runs). The intention for this week is to try and run 5,6,5 during the week and 8 at the weekend. It’s my next half in 2 weeks and I want to have an all out go at that before knuckling down to Marathon training as of the 28th November. It’s getting awfully close now!

Running up that hill

After a monster headache that started Thursday afternoon and only subsided Saturday, I’ve not been out since Tuesday. But the weekend means it’s Long Slow Run (LSR) time. If I had been organised, I’d have made the most of the extra hour to run before the Indian GP started at 9:30 (GMT). But it didn’t quite work out like that and we stayed in bed dozing until too late for that to be an option. So I popped a load of washing on the line, had breakfast, watched the GP and cleared the ironing pile – how’s that for productive!

After the GP, I changed and headed out for a run. After last week’s 14 mile, this week was a more sensible 10 miles. Beanie hat and long sleeves, as it was quite breezy. Overcast the entire time, with that humid, rain threatening sensation in the air. It almost rained in the last few miles – not real rain, more water in the wind, but enough that I was very pleased I’d got the washing in before I left!

Headed out at a fairly steady pace, settling into something a bit slower than 12:00 min/miles. Stayed between 12 and 12:30 for the entire run, with the exception of my monster hill. It was a bit slippy underfoot in places, with the clay soil that comprises most of the locality starting to get into that slick, sticky mud state that is such fun to try and run through (NOT!) My nice pink and white trainers are certainly no longer a bright white.

At one point I run from the edge of the sailing club lake, across a field and a road, then up a monster hill, before heading across yet another field. That section is 0.75 miles, but goes up almost 40 meters, most of which is in that one hill section. Killer hill. Today I actually ran up it for the first time. I’ve always resorted to walking between telegraph poles 2 and 3, which is the steepest bit. OK, so the pace over that section dropped to 13 min/miles, but I didn’t actually walk. Nearly did me in, but that’s a different story!

From there it’s mostly road and fairly level. I had an eye on the watch and worked out that if I picked the pace up I could do the 10 miles in 2 hours. So I made a concerted effort to pick up the pace. Last 2.8 miles were under 11: min/miles, with the last half mile seeing the pace in the 9:s. I ran towards the roundabout praying that traffic would be clear, as standing waiting for a space to cross would ruin any chance. Fortunately, one lane was clear, and there was a convenient gap at the second; so no need to stop, nor any risk of being squashed.

Facts & Figures:
Distance – 10.0 miles
Time – 1:59:14
Average Pace – 11:55 min/miles

Which is pleasing. I think that’s the first time I’ve run 10 miles in under 2 hours (except in a race scenario) And it felt good to find that pace at the end. I could just do with a week that actually has some training in it now, after a few disjointed weeks. Fingers crossed.

D-Day minus 1

All the books & advice on running suggest that the day before a race should be a relaxing experience. You need to sort out the things you need for the race, but generally just chill a bit and not over stress either mind or body. Be sensible about what you eat and have an early night, so that you’re raring to go tomorrow.

So far today I have:

  • got up stupidly early to watch an excellent rugby match between Wales & Ireland. And while my soft spot is for Ireland, Wales did play out of their very attractive tight tops and were clearly the better side.
  • got rather stressed watching England loose at rugby to France. Expletives were shouted, it was that bad. The French obviously had their one exceptional game and will now slump back into the completely dismal form they’ve displayed so far this tournament. (Yes, I’ll be supporting the Welsh in a week’s time)
  • got a little hot under the collar watching the F1 qualifying from Suzuka, which got a little eventful at one or two moments
  • dug out my winter coat & been shopping
  • managed to find my race number, which was more complicated than it sounds, seeing it arrived über efficiently 8 weeks ago and I had carefully put it “in a safe place”… 
  • not yet sorted what I’m going to wear, as the forecast seems to change each time I look at it. See here, that looks cold, wet & windy. Although it’s looking up, with now only 1 raindrop for 10 am, not two.

So, thus far, the day before a race has not been that restful experience it should be. Will it improve? Later today, I have a quiz night with fish & chip supper to look forward to, with indeterminate finishing time. Not only do I get overly competitive at quizzes; this one has been known to go on a bit late, depending on the tendency of the quizmaster to waffle (not a tendency that lowers my blood pressure any). That doesn’t promise to be a restful experience either. 

And tomorrow morning might not be much better, with dilemmas about watching the Grand Prix before I leave for the race, or having to wait until I get home to watch the recording, by which time I’ll probably know the result. Conversely, I hate being late and will only get even more nervous about rushing and finding a place to park the car if I do watch the race to the end. Oh decisions, decisions. Someone remind me, why do I do this?