Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Twilight Training

Feeling a bit more human today after another night's sleep and a slightly calmer day at work. After recent training and the tough race on Sunday it felt like a rare luxury to enjoy an easy & relaxed run from home - no complications of intervals, efforts or hill reps to detract from the glorious clear blue skies and warm sunshine. Legs still feeling the race but they eventually loosened up after a couple of miles. Ran just over 9 miles at a steady 7.40 pace around Ilkley, on to Ben Rhydding before returning home via the lovely Nesfield road.

It feels like it's been so long ago since I've taken this route on a school night. The unlit back road makes this a tricky option during the winter months. The run takes in breathtaking views of the valley and of Ilkley Moor ridge. I was quite happily bumbling along; immersed in the moment as twilight emerged, the sunny sky welcomed the dusky winking moon, cooing contentedly at the new spring lambs peeking through the hedgerows. I love spring, Welcome back! When the sun's shining I enjoy this lovely place we've made our home even more. As you can see the kids do too...
Plans are for a couple of shorter, easy runs this week to aid recovery and rested up for this weekend's big team competition; the Northern Road Relays. Just heard that our local rivals Ilkley & Otley will also be putting out their top ladies. This will probably be the first time our three local clubs will have competed in the ladies section at this event. I can't wait. Go Bingley!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Seeing Double

Just collapsed through the door after after a very long day at work; back to back meetings finished off with delivering Magistrates training until 9pm tonight. Think I've lost the will to live never mind run. Good job I got in a short one this morning - an easy 4 miles hobbling around the village at the crack of dawn. Very short blog... very tired... sore eyes...sore legs... must sleep...

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Long & Winding Road

It's done. I've survived. Have put the last long race to bed for the spring and can stop messing about trying to race every distance under the sun. The glorious morning started with the harsh sound of the alarm at 6am; just not a time to be getting up on a Sunday. My fears about being blown about were quickly dispelled with the warm welcome of bright sunshine and a beautiful, still & frosty morning to greet us as we set out on the road to Wilmslow. Have been feeling anxious about this race for weeks - my running mojo has just not been quite right since early February; I keep finishing down on my usual form in races and have seen no signs of this fatigue passing in recent weeks.

Despite the anxieties I really wanted to run this event, it being the English Half Marathon Championships for 2009. There seem to be so few opportunities to run in championship events on the roads that I couldn't pass up this opportunity to be out there with the big guns. I wasn't disappointed as the turnout was as classy as I'd expected in what was a fantastic race all round. Traffic jams around the venue led to a bit of a frantic warm up and I was quickly ready for the race start, managing to secure a great position on the line; about 4 in from the front line. The pace was blistering from the gun - I clocked 4.44 on my Garmin on the starting straight and so tried hard to put the brakes on & not blow my legs early on. I then sat in for a comfortable 7 miles with Kim Fawke in my line of sight with the pace feeling good; 5.48's meant I was on target given the faster first half of this undulating course.

Mile 8 arrived and my legs very slowly began to remind me of my worries; I wasn't in shape for matching my time in January. I quickly felt the familiar tying up of right glute & hamstring complete with sciatic nerve pain - a legacy from Snake Lane 10 in February. My left calf was also unhappy and I soon felt like I was running backwards with nothing but discomfort and fatigue for the long 5 miles home. I tried to keep working and not lose it too much but lost pace on the final miles and am left feeling a bit disheartened that I can't seem to shake this ongoing fatigue. Was well down on my run of sub 77 mins in January despite being a further 3 months on. Had I equalled my last run on this lovely course today I would have been 3rd lady, coming home with the English Championship Bronze. Gutted. Anyway, it wasn't to be. Still managed to drag myself in 5th lady overall and the generous cash prize (£150!) brought some cheer to my ugly face having lost out so painfully on a much coveted medal.

I'm kind of chuffed with the position if not the time so will scoop myself out of this self pity just to say that this was a really lovely race. It was incredibly well organised and a really prestigious event. There was plenty of support from the parties of marshals; impressively organised at every mile of the race. The rafts of colourful balloons tied to every lamppost for the first 2 and the final 3 miles of the course added to the buoyant atmosphere and I felt glad I'd made the journey over. M's early morning 'team Runningbear' support, coat holding and hugs at the end did much to make me feel lucky to have such a supportive and wonderful man in my life. He has such a lot to put up with and still manages to find a positive in my darkest of moods. I couldn't do it without him, and definitely not today.

Thanks to Wilmslow for a lovely race, would recommend this to anyone who fancies a long one on the road next spring. The winding and undulating course kept me interested and distracted through the 13.1 miles of toil today. An easy week coming up. Will try to rest up and prepare myself for the blistering pace of the Northern Road Relays next weekend. Watch this space.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Well it's soon my bedtime the night before race day. Have pretty much eaten my body weight again in carbs today and also somehow managed to gain a kg in weight overnight; am thinkin' that last choco softie was one too far.
Have had some very thoughtful messages from club mates wishing me luck. I'm gonna need to pull on some extra lucky pants tomorrow in light of how these legs are feeling. Ran an easy 3 around the village this morning. Felt better than earlier in the week but not as fresh as I'd expect after doing very little since Tuesday. Is that the same for everyone? Still need to be convinced about this tapering idea; seems to be such a waste of perfectly good running time and don't feel any fresher for it.
Have been fretting about the weather and the chance of high winds around the course tomorrow. Keep checking the met office forecast. For now it looks pretty pleasant with some 'minor gusts'. I'll struggle to know how to pace the race if it's at all blowy. Will aim to run my initial miles at my Brass Monkey HM pace (5.51 min/miles). It's a cautious plan and if I've anything left then I can try and wind up the pace a bit on the run in.

Don't think I'm in PB shape at the moment - seem to be having a bit of a slump after a string of good races but am finding this is a pattern to my fitness progression. Anyway, will try not to be a cowardly lion and give those ladies a run for their money. My new racers are looking pristine so hope to burn some rubber around the course and overcome any Elvis legs on the start line. Will try not to be freaked out by any bikini kit and long socks on the line up, (that 'look' always messes with my head) and do my best to make my Bingley club mates proud. Going to get some much needed pre-race kip and hope my legs will be feelin' fresh and frisky in the morning. Good luck to fellow bloggers running at Edale tomorrow. Should be a fine day for it.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday Flicks & Fish 'n' Chips

Am so glad it's Friday. Tiring day in Bradford covering a stand at a 'commissioning carousel'; the lexicon of modern public services! Spent the day smiling like a lunatic and developing acute face ache (now refuse to smile for the rest of the weekend). Also ate a number of freshly made samosas which now only adds to my feelings of reckless surrender to being a complete hog. Am even swinging towards the idea of F&Cs for Friday night tea (look good don't they?) in front of a good flick on the telly. It's been a while since M & I last collided in the lounge and managed to spend an evening together. This blog's got a lot to answer for.

Not sure if I'm Garmin gazing too much but was rather worried to see my heart rate remain in zones 4 & 5 for the most part of tonight's run, despite it being a very easy 4 on the road (agree with Ultra Collie, this tapering is a right pain) and the pace being slow enough to keep me in Zones 1-2. I'm either on the verge of a coronary or something really is up. Any other explanations out there readers? This is a very routine run at a pedestrian pace so am pretty puzzled. Anyway, perhaps there's not quite the need to call an ambulance just yet but may have to reconsider the F&C tea and go for steamed veg instead; just in case a last minute spinach & broccoli intervention might divert imminent heart failure. A demain.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fit Of The Wobbles

Bad, Bad, Bad! What made me do it!? How could you have sat there and let it happen readers? I've now managed to trough my way through 3 extra large, sconey cakes of darkness in 24 hours and with only 3 days to go before the big race. I'm not quite sure what drove me to it but it's a slippery slope. Having relapsed once I then noshed 7 chocolate biscuits at work today and to top it all; a walnut whip on the way home. I just keep wondering whether it was all really worth it...
To add to my turmoil M commented tonight that perhaps I shouldn't race at the weekend. I'm sort of thrown, not sure where that curve ball came from but I didn't react well and feel suspicious that my eating is already showing visible signs. Perhaps this is M's subtle hint that I might want to lay off the snacks for a while. Seriously though, my reaction surprised me and has made me start thinking about why I'm racing this event in the first place. I don't think I've ever considered not running a race that I've entered, despite how painful and unpleasant the experience can be. M is possibly right, I'm feeling less than fresh than I'd like and will take a week or two to recover from it. Also have the Northern Road Relays to turn out for the following week which will no doubt feel tough with HM tired legs. But, I'm a very stubborn old mule and feel I've committed myself. Have even compromised my training to stay fit for it. It's also the English HM Champs race this year so don't want to bottle it now as I get so few opportunities to race against the big guns. Maybe these are the situations where it's good to have a coach to step in and make the decision for you. Sometimes it's hard to step back from things and accept good advice.

Ran 5 easy tonight, looping around the village again - think I could now do this with my eyes closed. Heart rate was sky high for the first 2 miles which is a sure sign that all is not quite right. That, or I've got my strap on upside down. Anyway, will try to chill for the next couple of days and continue to run easy. And of course, curtail the excessive scoffing, at least until Sunday night.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Fastest Cake In The West...

After a gruelling 3 days back at the office this week; paying for my holiday sins with some manic catching up, I've resorted to some soul food for sustenance and comfort tonight. That's the humble home made scone if you're struggling. Nothing like the smell of fresh baking in the house to create a bit of comfort and cosiness to wrap yourself up in after a crappy day. Made these using Delia's basic recipe but added ginger and cherries - a combo inspired by a lovely shop I used to haunt regularly for cake when I lived in Otley; Bondgate Bakery. I love baking, both cakes and bread, and these are melt in your mouth lovelies, best straight from the oven with a slab of butter melting on top. This particular variety wafted a warm and spicy aroma around the house to welcome M home from work. I've been trying to work on M with a business idea; leaving the rat race and opening our own bakery, along the lines of Bondgate. He's not sold on the idea yet despite my creative efforts to persuade via his tummy. Anyway, they were also a very tasty incentive to run at a fair pace tonight to get back early & tuck in to a post run refuel.

Run tonight was 6 miles on the road, had planned to run a loop into Ilkley but started out too late for the chosen route so had to resort to a variety of wiggles around the village. Kept the run in the lower end of HRZ 3 and felt okay after last night's 600m strides though am getting a bit bored of these attempts to make running circles around the village interesting in the dark. I can't wait for the clocks to change and run some different routes. Anyway, back to those scones. Just a final sexy close up or two to make your mouth water. Cor, just look at those beauties!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Top Kit

This week of easing down to Wilmslow continues. This is such a difficult discipline for me as I love running every day and struggle to settle without the buzz of a good session to wash away the residue of the working day. Not coping too well with easing down for this next race as tend to want to do more than I should but have tried extra hard to be well behaved tonight with only half a VO2 session; 5x600m. Managed to escape the office early today so went straight out to do reps. I'd planned to make the journey to Nelson but the wind and rain and the thought of the buffeting I'd get circling the track all alone caused me to wimp out. Instead opted for efforts around a local playing field as a second best and hassle free option.
Not the best spot underfoot but ran 5 efforts with a good warm up and cool down though pace slowed as the windy gusts took me by surprise. Intervals are grim without company but hoping to have some club mates for company at Nelson in the next few weeks.

Spent my recent £100 race winnings on some new kit. I'm pretty taken with my purchases so thought I'd share one of my top buys for anyone interested in lady kit...
Montane Featherlight pants: though perhaps not an essential now spring is approaching these ultra-lightweight and weather-resistant bottoms are ace and essential kit for any outdoorsy type girl (also available for boys, M loves his). Great for running & recommended for cyclists I've hardly taken them off since the purchase (except for baths and weddings). Got mine at Helena & Sue's website:
Take note any loved ones of lady runners, these are top pressie tips. Comments on your top kit also welcomed, including any bargains to be had.

Monday, 23 March 2009

A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies

First day back at the office today. Arrived to the news that I was attending mandatory training for the entire day. This leaves me 7.5 hours less time this week to catch up and work through my 341 unread emails in my bulging inbox. The event was pretty surreal, mostly due to feelings of being transported to an episode of The Office. Can anyone take training events at work seriously anymore? There were occasional glimmers of entertainment derived from the odd toe curling 'Brentism'; creating a mild frisson of shared recognition and a giggle around the room. I tried hard to be positive and managed my inner tumult by saying very little (this is quite unusual for me). To add to my woes, the lunch was fantastic as were the M&S choccy biscuits at tea break; only undermining my efforts to be good and not eat everything in sight before the HM race this weekend. I need every ounce of help to get me through 13.1 miles on Sunday.

So, was very glad to be back home tonight and run out my pent up frustrations - I'm sure M is grateful for the release running provides! Ran a wonderfully escapist 7m in HR zone 3 around the streets of Ilkley tonight, bumping into old club mate James WR along the way. Good to see such a talented runner getting back into training. Felt okay after the weekend though my legs are feeling the race a bit. My sore feet are singing at least now the spikes have gone to bed for the summer. Am counting down the days to my last long race before I start the sharpening phase. Not sure if I can get these old pins to turn over much quicker but am gonna give it my best this summer and hope nothing falls off.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

"Tell me why I don't like Mondays"

Can't believe Sunday evening is already here after the end of a fab two weeks off work. Feel like I've had a proper escape even though we've stayed at home for most of the break. Living in this gorgeous place is enough to make any time off work feel like a holiday from the rat race, though am struggling not to get too glum about going back to face the looming stress of catching up after so much time out of the office.
Tried with some success to banish all thoughts of work from my head as I trotted my way around a nice and steady 9 on the Strid route with M this morning. This is such a beautiful run but also very popular-is best to get out early as poss on a Sunday to avoid the people traffic.
These well laid trails trace the steep wooded valley of the river Wharfe with some dramatic spots known for their dangers following hard rains. Ran out past Cavendish and turned back at Barden Bridge, following the banks of the river Wharfe. This is a frequent haunt for a relaxing run but one I never tire of with the views to Simon's Seat on the way out and Beamsley Beacon on the route home. Managed to keep the run at HR zone 3 (aerobic endurance) without feeling too heavy after the race yesterday; still managing good pacing over rugged terrain. Think I'm getting some of my running mojo back after a bit of passing fatigue, though the mug of tea and warm Chelsea buns back at home also came as welcome refueling. The joys of running for me include eating as much cake as you like after a long run.
Thinking of fatigue, still not heard from Tricky on his 20m race today. Hope all has gone well for him on such a testing course in his preparations for London. Ah well, back to school it is.

Cross Country Runners Do It In The Woods

The sun shone brightly for our early morning start out to Ruthin this morning. The four of us were tucked snugly into our tiny tin can of a car with our spikes at the ready for what was the final race of a very long cross country season for us all. The British Masters XC Champs at Ruthin was held in a really beautiful setting; the lush flat course was set to lovely mountain scenery in the impressive grounds of Ruthin school. Despite a heavy training week and tired legs I felt a bit fresher than anticipated though M's very blue (and possibly broken) toe was a bit of a worry - it's a long story but involved a pair of very baggy trousers, a flight of stairs and a flamboyant mouse rescue from a hungry cat (don't ask). My race was the first of the programme, and started at a blistering pace set by Tara Krzywicki of Charnwood. I struggled to decide whether to go with her but the pace just seemed too fast for the 6k course so I opted for a steady start with the hope that she'd suffer burnout halfway. This tactic was a bit ill conceived as she established a great lead and was pretty much unreachable as the race progressed. I managed to maintain second place pretty comfortably taking the Silver individual medal. Am left feeling pretty happy with my run after the heavy training week and was also v. chuffed with my first ladies team turn out for Bingley (following transfer ban expiry in March). Club mates Sue B and Andrea D also came in strong to secure us a ladies team Gold in addition to my Silver. The medals are pretty hefty and mark a nice and jangly end to the season. Well done to Kevin O on his superb return to the XC scene after a bit of a long break and also to my darling M who hobbled bravely around the course despite his purple toe.Thanks to all those team mates who offered support and shouts of encouragement around the course. Particular thanks to Tricky Ricky who came to support club mates without racing himself and made good use of himself as club photographer and coat handler. Best wishes to him in the Hull 20 tomorrow. Feels great to be back home and know I've an easy off road training run tomorrow. No hard sessions left with the ease down to Wilmslow HM next weekend. Feelin' a bit wrecked after the early start and long day out today - looking forward to some hard-earned kip. Night, night.

Friday, 20 March 2009

You spin me right round baby right round...

Well, I said I wasn't gonna ease down for this race tomorrow and I didn't but (as always) am now beginning to regret the decision as the day looms. Got out again into the glorious sunshine this morning for a very pleasant, short and easy 3.5, round and round in circles on the grass; a bit like XC really only much more pleasant. It'll be my first XC race where the mental wrangle over race attire; Helly under club vest Vs vest only (with no softy undergarments - proper Yorkshire), will not pose itself and I might even get a proper sweat on without it freezing to my skin and forming icicles in unusual places. Anyway, will just have to run like a nutter and hope my legs can stand it - feeling tired & v. creaky at the moment.

Back to more interesting things, have been a bit naughty and bought myself a fantastic new toy - Canon D-SLR 1000d. God, it's beautiful! And it does some pretty amazing things. My last camera was an ancient Canon AE-1 program (pictured). Have never had digital before and am very taken with the live view screen and the range of manual SLR settings; allowing you to preserve some creativity whilst making the camera accessible to your mates to point and shoot at things when necessary. Anyway, have little time left of my remaining holidays to have a proper play so am gonna go and make the most of this glorious sunshine.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

"Life is not having and getting, but being and becoming".

A bit of a half hearted session today with a few stride reps to turn the legs over within a steady, flat run. Joined M on a nice canal route but peeled off half way and ran 8 x 45s reps with a jog recovery. Not quite sure about the real benefits of this session as still feeling tired. Was glad not to be running a hard track session or too many more miles today.
The massage with Maggie was a timely reminder to take more care of these aging legs. The weird places she finds lumps, knots and niggles never ceases to painfully surprise me. Though the experience is not in the least bit pleasurable I can't recommend a regular sports massage highly enough. I've recently started booking them in once every 3 or 4 weeks and I can't imagine doing without them now. They've been a great way to keep on top of the usual background niggles that seem to be such a feature of running reasonable mileage. Maggie charges very reasonable rates too otherwise I wouldn't feel able to visit her quite so frequently.
Anyway, have been feeling particularly distracted again today by the fantasies of buying a new gadget. I've been oscillating between the excitement and anticipation of having a new D-SLR camera toy to play with and then am dragged back into line by terrible consumer guilt about wasting money on unnecessary things. It must be the Yorkshire in me - I battle to keep her under control but every now and then the monster surfaces. Which side will win...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

"Run hard, be strong, think big!"

Lovely sunny day again today- we landed lucky with our choice of time off work these last two weeks. I'm getting far too used to this easy life of running, eating and sleeping and am now beginning to worry about the shock of being back at the office next week. Trying hard to push that to the back of my mind and enjoy the last few days. Ran an old fav again with Tricky for company today; an easy 7ish miles around the Fewston & Swinsty reservoirs. The weather was so beautifully warm and sunny that I might have (or maybe imagined) a small tan line appearing, just to add to the attractive collection from the last time the sun saw my legs.

M was still fresh despite his efforts on the track 24 hours before whereas I was feeling double my age and my trusty HR confirmed this to be the case - HR is a great tool for guiding your judgement on effort and avoiding over-training. Much needed easy days and some more massage are now planned for the next few days. A few brief strides and easy run in the morning before our monthly massage with Maggie and then a short easy run on Friday before the final XC race of the season. It's been a surprising and encouraging XC season for me this year. I'd been hoping at best for a top 10 finish in the Complete Runner XC league this time round with a cautious hope of securing a county vest. It ended with winning the league, a Yorkshire vest & silver team medal. Nevertheless it feels like a long season now and will be glad to put those long and fairly scary spikes to bed for the summer months.

A short post tonight for fear that blogging is putting a strain on my home life - with both of you blogging it comes down to muscle power to dictate who gets on the PC first and my arm wrestling is not my strongest physical attribute - even thinking of a netbook as a compromise solution (any tips or recommendations out there?)... any excuse to check out a new gadget.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"Pain is weakness leaving your body"

OMG! Today was a painful battle. The winds of torment were yet again blowing in neighbouring Lancs, this time on the 200m bend and into the home straight; those 800m reps were a killer. Set out to do 8x800m today but floundered at 6 with very tired quads after a heavy first week back to full training. M was by comparison looking very fresh and frisky and ran an excellent and consistent session. I think my attempts to squeeze in some extra long runs last week have been a temporary lapse in my usually sensible approach to training. I've been feeling panicked at the lack of long runs in preparation for Wilmslow in recent weeks and have resorted to slipping in the odd 14 or 15 when it really isn't a good idea, particularly when sandwiched between hill reps and interval sessions. I initially managed to maintain 2.40-2.41 target pace for the reps but my legs started to feel like lead at the midway point. Decided to reduce the effort after 6 reps and squeezed out 2x400m for the last two instead. My quads were screaming on the warm down. I'm definitely more than ready for my regular massage slot with Maggie the Menston mauler on Thursday.

Here's another rather pleasing (to me at least) pic of all the laps run around Nelson track today. It's such a fantastic spot compared to our usual, slightly oddly smelly haunt in Keighley, (those of you who've trained there will be right with me reliving the gassy aroma I'm sure). I'm definitely gonna try to make it over to Nelson for our intervals through the summer. It's so quiet and a really nicely maintained facility. We rarely run into other runners there because of the location and so can feel like our own personal training ground. After more tinkering I've now published a nifty graph of my splits from today complete with heart rate % overlaid for added drama. Though there's a pleasing hedgehog effect I'm not sure I was working hard enough in the latter quarter. My heart and lungs felt fine but my quads started to tie up pretty quickly and sometimes you know you're pushing your luck by trying to carry on.
Have been working on the quads tonight and am hopeful I'll recover to have a reasonable if not slightly tired XC run on Saturday at Ruthin. I'm sure our magic massage device (Novasonic Popular Plus!) will be getting lots of use over the next couple of days and is always a great excuse to loll about on the settee and watch a film. Plans for tomorrow include a nice steady trot with Tricky in the morning around Fewston & Swinsty reservoirs. This is a very runnable and picturesque track and a route I've really missed through the winter. Today felt like spring has definitely arrived and being off work has been a great chance to revisit our off road training routes. I'm sure the legs are grateful for the change in terrain and I'm hoping my chalky white legs will benefit from a few rays after a long winter of light deprivation. If only I could get rid of the last summer's short marks and have legs that are all one colour.

Monday, 16 March 2009

If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Another lovely spring day again to kick off the second week of the holidays. M chose a lovely off road route today; an old favourite straight up through Addingham Moorside from the village and then back via Parson's Lane. It's been yonks since we last ran this route and pacing was at least a minute quicker than the last time we did it despite the relaxed and easy feel of the run. A sure sign that fitness has moved up a notch and work on cadence is having some effect.
I've spent some of today tinkering with the software links available for my trusty 305 and have found that there's a fair bit more to the Sport Tracks package once I'd fiddled with the charts. As well as providing very smooth links to satellite and street view maps to track your run routes (Google applications always seem to freeze up our PC) you can overlay lots of info on the chart functions, with views of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities. A great tool for getting that big picture take on your training volume and fitness. It was also really easy to transfer over the files from my Garmin Training Centre and populate this new application. I'm also guiltily enjoying the chance to do things like log my shoe miles and create charts of my extraordinary weight fluctuations following my choco softie binges. For those readers understandably eager to learn the secrets of the choco softie treat I've attached a helpful visual aid or two below.
Plans for tomorrow include a challenging session at Nelson track to thrash out some 800s in preparation for the coming months of shorter, faster racing. I've tried my best to fit in almost everything race wise over the last eight months, from HM through to 5k XCs and as a consequence have diluted the level of quality training achieved. Completing Wilmslow HM will mark the move on to a new phase; this year having a much clearer focus on VO2 and Lactate Threshold sessions to support 5k-10k racing. This plan is to generally improve my leg speed turnover and provide a healthy build up for the XC season 09-10. It sounds some time away but I'm all too aware of the need for strategic thinking in the planning for races and training prep - an aspect of running and training which I find really rewarding. My hopes are to progress well through some of the higher quality XC events next season and if my speed hasn't improved enough by the end of the year then I've still time to shift my focus to the high quality distance events in the spring. The years of getting faster are dwindling and I'm all too aware of the need to get those faster races in now; those marathons can wait for a bit longer.
Some great race results at the weekend also noted. Fine Otley performances include Julian's strong run at St Annes 10m resulting in a V35 prize I hear. A massive PB by Jane B at IH who continues to run from strength to strength, slicing 8mins off her 10m time running into coastal gales! Ian F had another fine Yorkshire victory over 20 miles and a special well done to my old IH team mate, Sally M for her good victory on the Ovenden fells. Anyway, I'm overdue for my choco softie allocation for tonight, enjoy the visual feast...

"Stars Of Track And Field, You Are..."

A late post tonight after tea out with M and our club mates KO & RB in Guiseley. Had a lovely time though might have kept them up a bit late for a school night - us Vets need to get our kip. Lovely talking to them both about life and all things running - they seem equally if not more obsessed with the sport than me.

Was inspired to listen to some more old tunes after watching the Rough Trade Doc for myself this afternoon. I pulled out an old Pale Saints CD (any former fans out there?) and had a bit of an old person's jig around the kitchen to Leftfield whilst getting my lunch. Watching the doc has also made me feel pretty aged particularly seeing how young Roddy Frame and Morrissey look on some of the OGWT snippets.

Becoming a Vet this year has been sobering though someone said to me recently that you're not a real Vet until you hit 40, which is of course a suggestion I quite like. A recent call from our club track team manager for some commitment to this summer's track fixtures has also been a sharp reminder of my age; I was 15 the last time I ran a race on the track just before I gave up running for 17 years. I'm even contemplating giving the odd track race a go though nothing shorter than 3k I suspect. I'm comforting myself that it'll be a 'good speed session' even if I embarrass myself and the club wildly. There's no hiding in the pack during a track race and the thought of all those cropped tops and skimpy pants - eek! Anyway I'm thinking if nothing else it might add a few points to the club tally in the league so will need to suppress this wimpish self talk.

You may have noticed my nifty pics above, added after a very helpful response from a fellow Wharfedale forumite. LM, a star of my old club IH kindly provided a link to some alternative Garmin software. Thanks Lee, am loving the new SportTracks programme, especially the route mapping and charts. Ran a nice steady almost 15 this morning for my final long one before Wilmslow. The first stiff 3 miles uphill were harder than I would've liked to work so was very relieved to meet M in Silsden to run the last 9 miles together along the canal. Really enjoyed running in the sun, wearing shorts and shades for the first time this year. Bliss.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people".

Today started with a depressing weekly weigh in this morning - I've put on 4lbs! In just a week! I'm never having holidays again. The consequences of visiting the biscuit cupboard through the day are beginning to sink in. Too much time spent mooching about leads to only one thing; too tight jeans. The two curry nights earlier in the week won’t have helped either.

I recently started to monitor my diet after reading a great sports nutrition book. I thought I was a pretty healthy eater until reading the amount of protein needed to support the kind of miles I run. It was a surprise to read how much is needed to support the muscle repair after heavy training sessions. Anyway, I’ve resolved this morning to be good and limit myself to one 'choco softie' a night (a German chocolate treat introduced by my partner M to our household - only available in selected Lidls or in parcels from M’s German relatives on special occasions).

The morning improved a bit with a good half session at the track at Nelson. My heart sank as we started the warm up into gusts and high winds. I was a brave soldier though, bein’ a tough Yorkshire lass an’ all that. I worked hard on the windy bends, ha ha! : D and managed to keep my splits down to average 79s. Not sure how I would have coped doing a full 16 though.

One last long run tomorrow before the Wilmslow HM then I’ll focus on interval training before the BMAF XC Champs next weekend. No plans to ease down the training next week; I'm learning that racing so much makes fitting in good quality training impossible unless you’re willing to race tired.

Have been buzzing since starting this blog yesterday - making mental plans for future tinkering and new gadgets. I was chuffed to read that you can add music tracks. M was watching the Rough Trade doc last night which inspired me to pull out some old fave CD's whilst cooking tea. The doc featured some of my favourites, including Mazzy Star - an odd mix of country and grunge - if you're not a fan this is much better than it sounds. Anyway, watch this space...

Was hoping to start posting some pics too, I love photography though I’m not very good at it. Unfortunately, I’ve still not mastered the USB connection on my crap LG phone. It has a great camera but a USB fault that prevents uploading of files. A fault that would’ve stopped me buying the damn thing had I Googled it beforehand. Anyway, I’ve a birthday coming up and a new camera might be a nice new toy for the list.

Friday, 13 March 2009

"There are two types of people: those who run and those who should."

I tentatively type my first mark on this blank blog page, taking those first baby steps into the electronic world. It's all a bit intimidating being a follower of some fantastic bloggers (Omeleteer, Dunn running, Mountainous Ambitions). I don't claim to be the charismatic type, enthralling any accidental readers with my wit and I'm certainly no great shakes at storytelling. Still, there's something very creative and appealing about the chance to create your own space in this electronic world; adding beautiful pics (credit to my talented friend Jem), links, quotes, stats and charts and sharing my love of all things running, [sigh].

I'm not quite sure how disciplined I'll be and realise there's a high risk of becoming a fair weather blogger but I've now stepped into the great blogging world, exposed and vulnerable, squinting at the screen, fingertips trembling and poised for the journey ahead. Be patient reader...

My first week off work is coming to an end and I've now exhausted all avoidance strategies; the front door still needs a coat of paint and the garden's a jungle. Blogging is going to serve as another great distraction in addition to my first love, running. Since giving up the fags in 2005 I’ve been smitten. I joined a local running club and have never looked back, (well only very nervously at the end of races but I’m trying to stop doing that now). I’ve been celebrating my very first year running injury free (touch something woody) and this is my first week back to training after a couple of weeks easing down (a tactic I employ to keep legs fresh). I say ease down; I still ran 40 odd miles each week and had to race at the end of it - a Yorkshire vest in the Inter Counties XC which secured a silver medal and a chance to run with the senior lady big guns.

I’m loving the chance this week to run in the day and take recovery naps in the afternoon. This week's felt tough though with a hill reps session yesterday into the wind that left lungs bursting and quads burning. 5 x 4min hill efforts usually kick starts my endurance phase and always come as a shocker session. I'm hopeful this will pay off at the Wilmslow HM in 2 weeks; my last long race before sharpening for the shorter stuff this summer. A short track session on Saturday followed by a nice long easy run on Sunday should earn me a big Sunday dinner and bring me up to well over 60 miles this week.

This blog may bore, at least some of the time but if nothing else, I can entertain a few local runners with some racing snaps, my training mishaps and arouse any fellow anoraks out there with my very sexy training spreadsheets...