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Sunday, 31 May 2009

Summer Scenes & Widget Woes

After the gorgeous sun yesterday I was feeling a bit anxious about the impact of the hot sun on my long run plans this morning. This is my very favourite training session of the week and I had hoped to be able to do 14m from Silsden; setting out early to avoid the midday heat. The day was the most beautiful and glorious that I can remember for ages; the scenery was superb under the azure sky and everywhere looks so lush. To add to the feelgood morning there were lots of tiny ducklings and cygnets out for a swim with their mums and dads; adding a general fluffy feel to the world. I set out at a very cautious pace in case the heat got to me later on but felt easy on my feet all the way so decided to build in the extra mile to make it 15. The splits returning from the turn were faster than was sensible in view of the race next weekend; I was running as I felt which is very, very bad (I get a bit carried away on my own). I still stayed within HR Zone 3 most of the way and overall, it was a good, sensible average at 7.24 pace (Garmin Connect -Player for Silsden 15). Readers may have noticed the disappearance of my whizzy Garmin Widget. The recent upgrade of the Garmin Connect site has messed my fancy widget up - I'm hopeful it can return soon; once the updated code arrives from Chris Genius.
Pottered about this afternoon with M, thinking about our friends doing Edinburgh in the heat today. What a day to be running a marathon. We ambled about walking on along the river in Ilkley ready for an ice-cream. OMG! The place was overrun; have never in my life seen the river so full of fluorescent inflatable things and gangly young men in England shorts. We tried our best to evade the crowds but there was no escape. We will in future avoid the river on sunny days.

In summary, I'm really chuffed with this first step up to full training. I've managed a good mileage for the week including VO2, hill work and a speed session as well as my long run. I'm feeling tired in a good way and very 'up' for more next week. My hunger to train hard has definitely returned and I'm already starting to scan the calendar for forthcoming races. I think I'm back to business.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Ruby Slippers & Chocolate Bears

Wow. What a glorious day. Feeling a bit guilty that I didn't post yesterday but was wasted after a terrible night's sleep, (very weird dreams Thursday night). One bonus was the arrival of a belated birthday present (yes, I am a spoiled princess). My new ruby slippers are here - I love these trail shoes so much I wanted another pair. Was also suffering from a general end of week poopedness that led me to feel an early night to bed was the better option. Glad I did as needed all the shut eye I could get for this morning's trip to the track at Nelson.
76yudes (Dilly just typed that walking across my laptop! He's a little boy genius cat - just have to work out what it all means; no doubt some feed me/stroke me type cat hint). Anyway, I planned a sort of half a speed session for today which I hope to maintain in my weekly routine for those non race weeks to try and get the zap back in my stride - I feel like a great Yorkshire pudding on the track at the moment. The session was tough in the warm weather and the usual wind blowing up the back-straight made it hard work but there was great company in the vicinity. Was very surprised and chuffed to see club mate Mary W. She is looking awesome fit at the moment; she seems to have a 12 pack compared to my pudding and is clearly fit, fast and strong. Had a good catch up and hope we might collide (not literally) at the track again soon. Also had nice chats with some local guys from Blackburn, one vet who was particularly awesome to watch running his 200s. Made me feel like I was walking my efforts as he repeatedly soared past me on the final 100 straight. Nice bloke and clearly very speedy.
Anyway, ran an easy couple of miles warm up and warm down and completed a set of 12x300 with a jog 1min recovery. Ran pretty hard but controlled; reps ranged from 54-60 though the slower times were the earlier reps which fits with my usual pattern of needing a bit of a warm up at the beginning. The nice Blackburn bloke took pity on me and ran the last one pacing me round so I squeezed a good final finish though no doubt slowed him down a bit. Nice gesture though - this running lark can be very friendly and supportive. I came away glad I'd made the effort and called by Lidl on the way home to pick up some German treats for M; he's been recovering well but was feeling a bit under the weather today - hope it's temporary and am sure the mountain of Bratwurst I bought home will cheer him up. Also had a treat buying frenzy and stocked up on choco softies and came across a new treat; some chocolately bears. These were a heavenly accompaniment to the special sporty science drink I've formulated; my chocolate milk which I guzzled like a greedy guts in the car journey home. A demain.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Bear Done Good

I did it readers. You would have been so proud of me tonight. I'd set out a plan to tackle an old fav; 5x4min long hill efforts. Tonight I was trembling at the prospect; this is a tough session at the best of times. I'd been reassuring myself all day that, well, if I couldn't do 5 reps then I'd just have to do 4, or reduce to 3 if I felt terrible. Anyway, did the usual warm up for a couple of miles and then decided to go straight for it (you don't want to prolong the agony as they say). First rep was lung bursting and legs felt heavy and tired. I managed to get through rep #2 feeling a bit better and then rep #3 was the peak, I managed to get the furthest of all the reps in the 4 mins; just passing the bungalow driveway at the top with the funny lantern on the corner. I then felt weak and wobbly and jelly Elvis legs starteded to kick in. I'd decided at that point I was only gonna manage 4 reps. This fourth one was the worst of all as my breathing didn't settle and my legs were aching to stop. Somehow I managed a bit of a strong spurt in the last 20 seconds. By this time I'd decided to call it a day. Then, somewhere halfway through the recovery downhill towards Ilkley that then shifted to 'I could possibly squeeze a 3 min rep for the last one'. That then shifted to 'I could maybe do 2x2 mins to make sure I do the full 20 mins altogether'. I then got to the start position and thought 'I'll just go for it like I'm doing a 2min effort but see if I can hang on'. Well. I'm pleased to say that I got right to the top and managed to squeeze out a full 4 mins for rep #5. Feel so chuffed I didn't give up! Through gritted teeth and plenty of gurning I got to the top; frightening the old bloke with my pained faces whilst he busily mowed his pristine lawn to my right at the 3 min mark. All in all, feel chuffed to have got through the whole thing and am now nicely shattered. It was tough to do this session alone again but it's good prep for those tough bits in races where you just wanna give up and walk. I did good tonight. I'm enjoying this training lark once again. Can't wait to tackle the weekend runs. Night all.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Windy Battles

I set out grumbling under my breath tonight after the windy battle home from work and the threat of rain clouds overhead. Had planned a nice ‘n’ easy run off road one but changed my plans with the weather threatening to make tonight’s run unpleasant. Opted for the Nesfield loop from home instead and it proved to be a toughie with the strong winds blowing me backwards down some of the climbs en route. Felt a bit niggly in the quads so shows I worked quite hard last night. Managed to average 7.10 pace over the whole gusty run.
Have now researched my new forerunner calorie calculator and it would seem to be as accurate as can be. As much as I’d like to think I’m burning all those calories on my long runs the painful fact is I’ve been relying on a very blunt instrument for far too long to measure my possible cake capacity. I've found a link explaining the detail in frightening scientific terms (just in case there's a soul on this earth who might be sad enough to care about these things as much as me). It would seem I need to be running a bit more often to justify that amount of cake and sconey food stuffs I generally consume. Oh well, was planning to up my mileage anyway. Bring on the baking action...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Science of Squiggles

My plans for a quality VO2 session were realised tonight with a very worthwhile trip over to the club at Bingley for an intervals session on the grass. It's been ages since I last made the effort to train there - must be at least 3 months - and I was so pleased I bothered to go over. Interval sessions are never an easy option but doing them with a crowd or even a small group makes for a much more buzzy session than the hard slog of running into high winds around Keighley or Nelson track. My plan for tonight was to do 5x1k and I arrived at the club with the opportunity to do an equivalent session; 6x3min efforts with a jog recovery. Though there were very few harriers down I had great company in Tricky who set a sensible pace throughout; I suspect he might have been generously taking things a little easy to keep me company! We ran the intervals at a good, even pace with the last one a few seconds quicker. Effort level was very controlled but I felt suitably tired by the last one. A very satisfying set of squiggles (scientific term) on my Garmin chart shows a pretty consistent effort. Total session came to 8 miles including the warm up and warm down. Feel positive and ready for the return of intervals and speed work. Must make the effort to go to the club more. Bring it on!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Playing Away

The glorious bank holiday run this morning involved an away trip with some Otley mates, Josie H & Jamil P after an invite late last night. The cheeky pair took me on a magical mystery trail tour of Otley. The glorious sunshine and stunning views across Lindley Reservoir were almost good enough to compete with my old favourite at the Strid and the easy pace over the 9 mile route was just what the Runningbear ordered after the toils of the weekend. Averaged 8.12 over hilly terrain despite the odd pause for breath, necessitated by Jamil's ITB stretch instructions (or his desperate ploys for recovery from the blistering pace set by us girls I think). Check out my run stats at Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Lindley 9. The other fab thing about this new Garmin gizmo is the explore function on the software which gives you access to the activities of other local runners, including their recent routes and stats. It sounds seriously sad I know (I'll take it on the chin) but I've already found a new route to try out near home just from peeking at an Ilkley runner's comings and goings this morning.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Toys 'R' Ace

Just a quickie following my 14 this morning with the ever chatty Josie H. Have been dying to post after loading up from my new toy. Have access to new software and it all happens without wires! I've now found a widget to give readers access to the Garmin Connect data, (see the widget on the right if you're geeky enough to be interested - I'm still a bit short of runs to load up there but no doubt it'll soon fill up). Felt surprisingly good this morning despite the tiring tempo run yesterday so feeling relieved I've still a bit of my old RB strength, the speed is another story.

Have however been shocked to find that the new Garmin is much less generous in its measure of calorie burn. I know the 305 is renowned for its lack of accuracy but according to my super accurate 405 CX I burned only 598 calories this morning over 14 miles. Surely that can’t be!? I’m also out for a big tea tonight and am now feeling less than relaxed about my initial plans to gorge myself. I need to check this out further, that just can’t be right, can it? Just when I thought it was safe to enjoy my food again...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Rabbit Rescues & Birthday Treats

Short one tonight as feeling very full and sleepy after a day of eating lots of treats and opening amazing pressies. M outdid himself this year despite his tired and wobbly state by providing a huge pile of surprises with breakfast including a new Garmin 405 to replace my chunky 305. I'm sort of in shock. I feel I've not been well enough behaved to deserve such an amazingly generous treat. Sadly, the swanky thing wasn't charged in time for my morning run; a 9 miler with 2x2mile tempo efforts.

The afternoon was mostly blissful if marred slightly by the wrestling match with one of the cats (he shall remain nameless) who tried to bring a large adult rabbit through our cat flap and into the kitchen for his tea. I managed to lure the poor blighter of a bunny out of the cat's jaws and set it free but I think the shock of the whole episode was all just too much. Thankfully the rest of the day involved a lovely, blissful ramble to stretch M's legs along a local route close to home before a lot more eating this evening and a good film. Looking forward to some sunshine tomorrow and some great company for tea at the local pub. Still frightened to get on the scales this weekend. All weigh-ins are banned on birthdays.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Gate Fever

A mad week at work this week with a new project launching whilst trying to be a good nursie at home has taken its toll and by 3pm this afternoon I could barely function at work any longer. Managed to get through the last couple of hours thinking of the next 4 days off work with lots of lovely running, good food and M at home for some restful, recuperative walks with the trusty camera at my side. I hope to have some nice pics to post in the next few days; it feels like it's been a while since I've had the time to enjoy the scenery.

Readers will be disappointed to hear that I wimped out last night and opted for fartlek rather than hill hell (wise words from hayfella). Legs were still feeling like sticks of rock so went for something a bit gentler and ran 9 miles with a few speedy spurts along the way to inject a bit of pace whilst avoiding anything too heavy. Managed an easy 5 around the village tonight whilst M took a walk along the same route to escape the house and catch some fresh air. I'm planning a tempo run in the morning with the smiley Josie H from Otley, she's kindly driving over to our side of town. Treats then planned for the rest of the day; RB will be exactly 36 years old in the morning.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Addingham Rock

I set out for a steady 6 tonight on undulating trail taking in a long climb from the village straight up through Addingham Moorside to the top road, running under the imposing ridge line of Ilkley Moor turning back down Parson's lane for the equally long descent home. My thighs felt like granite after the exertions of last night; running mile efforts on an incline in the torrential downpour. Not sure about this muscle memory business; my legs seem to be suffering a serious attack of amnesia. I just don't seem to be able to put out the training I was managing with relative ease earlier in the year. I'm trying to slowly work up to my previous training load but can't seem to squeeze out the number of efforts at anywhere near the same pace. So I'm gritting my teeth and fully expecting some more very hurty hills tomorrow. Yes, hill hell is back. I'm staying near home whilst M is housebound and plan to revisit the session I suffered two weeks ago. Yes, Turner Lane & I have some unfinished business. Hopefully I'll feel a difference in fitness. Or maybe not. I may have to review this plan if the quads are in the same state tomorrow. I'm not wimping out. Honest.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Home Sweet Home

Yay! M is home. Feels like it's been weeks but he's now home after four days in hospital and we're all very glad to have him back. He's a bit doddery and tired but at least on the mend. Now feeling a bit wiped out after all the drama but will be able to sleep a bit more restfully now we're back under one roof. Managed to slip in some mile efforts before picking M up tonight. Felt very heavy and tired but ran a good warm up and warm down bringing me up to nearly 10 miles in total with 3x1m efforts at a reasonable pace considering the long hills and pelting rain. Had planned to do 4 efforts but felt wasted after #3, thought it best to save my energies for the next quality session on Thursday; hill hell.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Appendixless

After a tense wait for news this weekend M finally got the word that his appendix was indeed the little fella causing all the pain. Mucho relief to all and now we know we can have him back at home in the next day or two. Saw M this morning looking very fetching in his DVT stockings and gown. He's very wobbly and fragile after the anaesthetic but relieved at the outcome. He looks ripe for a week or two of sofa surfing, some serious telly and being fed choco softies.

I'm off to do an easy 5 now near home before visiting hours start up after lunch. Thanks to those kind folk who sent messages and rang with encouraging words. M will be up and about again in no time, just you watch...
Just what the doctor ordered; Dr Runningbear prescribes some Choco Softie Therapy.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Champions & Shiny Things


Just a quickie to report on the trip to Sutton Park yesterday. Bingley ladies are now the new V35 British Champions! And what a day it was. In a context of continual worry for M and his health, the event at Sutton Park had to work hard for my attentions. The day proved to be more than a little intense with its own dramas. The fact the club managed to get any teams out was a minor miracle with the number of injuries and members crying off from the event at the last minute. I'm glad I'd made the trip down and M was gutted that he'd missed out; he was really looking forward to his first run out in a Bingley team. The boys still did well with Tricky running strong despite tired marathon legs and a 5k still lingering from Wednesday. Kevin O also did a fine job of impersonating a V35 and pretending to be M on the start line. The ladies however, did us all proud. Helen L ran the first leg securing us a solid top ten position, nicely held on to by Ruth W on leg #2. At this stage we hadn't dared to hope to be in medal contention. I ran cautiously from the start knowing much of the route was uphill but managed to pull back several places on leg # 3 to get us into gold position handing over to Sue B, who then maintained this brilliantly on the final leg despite still recovering from a cold. The course was hilly and exposed to the elements but never dull. I really enjoyed being part of a lovely team and now have some nice shiny things to show to M to put a smile on his face.
M is stable and in much less pain but the day has been a draining one; waiting since the early morning for news of when he'll be taken into theatre. Between visiting hours this morning I managed to get a 14 miler in with the bubbly Josie H for company; the run was a great pick me up and helped to ease the tension a bit. I was grateful to be able to see M for an hour before surgery tonight just for a last minute cuddle. No real clarity yet about what might be the problem as it could be a number of things; exploratory surgery will hopefully get to the bottom of it all.
Can't wait to have him home and am hoping I can sneak in to the ward late tonight to say goodnight. It's all come as a bit of a bolt from the blue. I guess we're never quite prepared for these things. Poor M's been NBM for the last 36 hours. I've taken a choco softie supply for his bedside though this might be sheer torture until he's actually allowed to eat anything. He's being very pragmatic as always and viewing this as a chance to reach his optimum race weight...fingers and toes are all crossed that he'll back with me tomorrow.
Thinkin' of you darling M X

Saturday, 16 May 2009

As Good As Gold

It was with considerable anguish that I left home at 7am this morning to make the journey to Sutton Park for the British Masters Road Relay Champs. M had been up all night with severe pains in his abdomen. He was insistent he'd cope without me and that I leave home to make the trip to join the V35 ladies team. I reluctantly left him behind hoping it was a tummy bug that would pass.
The day was fantastic for the club; I'll update with pics tomorrow but I'm now completely drained after an evening at the hospital waiting for news. After the initial updates throughout the race that M had been taken to A&E we're now none the wiser as to what's going on; it may be appendicitis or something else but I'm now more worried at the mention of possible surgery tomorrow. I had to leave him all alone looking exhausted from the pain. The circles round his eyes make him look peculiarly panda-like. I hope I'll know more when I ring tomorrow but I'm keeping all things crossed that they can establish the cause and he can come home soon. Bath then bed for me now. Sleep tight.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Twinkle Toes

Short & sharp blog tonight as planning an early night. I'm eager to get to bed to finish my latest read; it's all quite suspenseful and the train journey home interrupted me at a real cliffhanger spot that I'm keen to get back to. I love reading. If feels like a real luxury, synonymous with holidays; that lolling about in pajamas feeling, drinking coffee and reading in bed with no guilt or interruptions. Anyway...
Popped out for a short speed session tonight, a few strides to get used to running on my toes again in readiness for Saturday's frighteningly short relay race at Sutton Park. Ran 8x200m with 200m jog recovery. Didn't sprint but used the session to concentrate on form and stride efficiency - efforts were 36-37 seconds and felt light on my feet as is usually the case when I wear my sparkling tangerine coloured racers. There's definitely some kind of mental gear change when you put road racers on; they feel so light and responsive on your feet that you feel like a champion.
Also still being good food wise, have cut back on cake and am getting back to a sensible weight and am now feeling eager and focused on those high quality training sessions over the weeks ahead. Also still have episode #1 of the second Flight of the Conchords series to watch; it's being saved up as a real treat at the weekend. I think it's my favourite telly for ages. Tune in Tuesday's, BB4 at 10.30pm. Life is good again. Night, night.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

What A Grey Day

A truly gorgeous morning of bright sun and clear blue skies led to me dwelling all day on running fantasies of getting home and out onto a trail run in the warm rays tonight. Disappointingly the sun had all but disappeared this afternoon and led to a bit of a grey, cloudy flat kind of evening - a bit of a mood mirror. That'll teach me to be such a misery guts. Nevertheless, ran a strong 8 miler at about 7.40 pace along undulating trail tonight with M. Felt tired from the track session but a good kind of tired - still feeling fairly strong and also pretty light on my toes. I seem to be slowly losing those cuddly bits now the mileage is building up again. It'll soon be time for a return to baking days I think, (watch this space cake fans).
I'm starting to reframe my targets for the summer and feeling a bit more cheerful in just having an alternative plan and way forward. I intend to spend the next few weeks devising a ten day training cycle to incorporate a good range of quality sessions with some suitably generous recovery built in. I'm feeling a new spreadsheet coming on...sigh. A short speed session is planned for tomorrow to sharpen for this Saturday's BMAF road relays. Though I won't be at my best it's an important team event and I'm looking forward to some team action with my new lady club mates. Bingley ladies rule OK ; )

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Track Trials

Had been feeling a building anxiety about this first step out onto the track after so many weeks of feeling rubbish and laying off the VO2 work. There was a mounting pressure to feel better, run faster or at least finish a full VO2 session after the experiences of recent weeks. I was down for 6x1k's tonight but my squeaky but sensible inner running voice was saying this might be a bit heavy for my first week back; particularly following on from hill hell on Friday night and then a hilly HM run on Sunday.
I set out with the best intentions and decided to pace the efforts cautiously. Last time I did this session I ran 6 reps at 3.25-3.27 pace. Tonight I ran the first couple in 3.28 and 3.27 but then started to slow; finishing reps 3 & 4 in 3.30 & 3.35. I decided to call it a day after starting rep #5 and feeling dog tired. My heart rate chart nicely captures me fizzling out on rep #5. My mood dropped to the floor on the warm down; I just can't seem to get going and am painfully aware of how sluggish I feel; I can't believe I've lost so much of the strength and speed I had despite only having 3 weeks down time. I'm trying hard not to read too much into this and remind myself that 1) have had a heavy few days and am still not quite recovered, 2) I should ease back into track work haven't got out of the swing, 3) I'm such a drama queen and it's probably not anywhere near as bad as it seems. I'll endeavour not to get too fixated on the gaping chasm (more dramatic effect) in my comparative times and just try and accept that I need to get some serious work in over the next few weeks.
These quality sessions have been seriously lacking in the last month or so and they are the bit that really counts in strength and speed building. Have now to decide what races to prioritise in the coming weeks. Part of me wants to just get some great training under my belt before I take the plunge again and build some of my old RB confidence back. Food for thought.

Monday, 11 May 2009

A Quickie

Somehow dragged myself into work after a not so great night's sleep and felt v. zonked after the long run yesterday. Needless to say my insightful colleague neighbour Dave, on seeing my face this morning pointed out that I should run away from the rat race, sell the house, put it all in the bank and hitchhike around the world. Have been contemplating the notion all day. Though I shouldn't grumble really, being employed in the current climate should make me grateful. Just can't help but feel that I've been sucked into a material world that places such a burden on us all. I shared my lucky dip exit plan with Dave. He thought it needed a bit more work.
I'm very sleepy tonight so thought I'd just post that I squeezed a brisk 5 in tonight, averaged 7.09/mile pace in my aerobic endurance zone. It was a glorious night of sun and fresh breezes. I'd been gazing out of my office window all afternoon dreaming of slipping on my trainers and running out of the door. The reality didn't disappoint though am tired and achy from the efforts of yesterday. (UC must be mad if he thinks I can be goaded into the full M!). Should sleep well tonight. Night.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Bear With A Sore Head


For the first time in a long while I went on a proper Saturday night out. As a consequence I'm feeling a bit fragile in readiness for my long run this morning and also a bit guilty about the absence of any blogging yesterday, particularly when I had two runs rather than just the usual one.

Did a couple of short runs on Saturday mainly to tease out the stiffness from my legs after hill hell. After a plate of bangers and mash for lunch with twinkling Kevin O, M & I ran a shortish loop around Fewston & Swinsty. The skies opened on our drive up but as soon as we stepped out the grey clouds departed and warm sunshine gleamed across the still waters, catching droplets of fresh rain as we ran along the wooded trail. The path was dim and humid with lush overhanging trees, this place is magical right now if spoiled only slightly by the sound of sausages and mash jiggling audibly in our tummies.

After the wonders of the outdoors we then ventured out to a gig! It's been yonks since we did such a thing. We had the fine company of Julian M of Otley et al. Live music is one of the very few things I miss about living so far from Leeds though the venue wasn't the best; a bit of a flashback to Pheonix Nights. After enduring two support bands of mixed interest; a few glimmers of hope in the set from All Thieves, we then got comfy for One eskimO. JM had sent some tracks which I'd quite liked but these are a band to be seen. The 4 piece are all great musicians and are very strong live. Came home buzzing. That might have partly been due to shandy. Can't believe I've got a hangover this morning, on two shandies, how pathetic am I?! A great start to my Wharfedale HM recce. Until later...

I'm back! Survived the 13.45 miles around the Wharfedale HM recce. Despite suffering with the shandy hangover I managed to get round the whole thing without anything falling off. This is a first long run for a fair bit so was a bit anxious I might have chewed off a bit much this weekend. Anyway, recommend this route as a lovely alternative training run - scenery was spectacular, the course had enough climb to make it a quality training run and there were surprisingly few walkers about. Settled in tonight feeling v sleepy but managed to perk up after watching the last part of the Red Riding trilogy. Have watched very little on the box of late but recorded this and have been savouring each part; this is classy telly. Would recommend this to anyone with a penchant for gritty realism, great tv production and depictions of West Yorkshire in the 70s. Was a bit disappointed to have finished off the good telly stored up on our V+ box thingy until I saw what's on next week... Flight of the Conchords is back! Woohoo! This has got to be the best thing on the telly for ages. If you've got BBC4 this Tuesday at 10.30pm (I think) then switch on, sit back and enjoy. Monday morning won't seem quite so bad with such a treat on on the way.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Hill Hell

OMG. Took my first tentative steps back into VO2 work tonight with a 'challenging' little hill circuit near home. M persuaded me to do 8x2 min reps on a rather steep climb rather than the 5x3mins I had planned. Was I grateful for that or what. What a shocker. The session was lung burstingly awful. I really don't know how I survived the whole ordeal. I'm still not quite sure why it felt so tough exactly and am hoping it's not a sign of my losing loads of fitness. Despite this my heart rate didn't reach anywhere near my max, which I can't quite understand.
The first 40secs of the rep seemed quite civilised; I was prematurely congratulating myself that I hadn't lost the old knack. This was swiftly followed by severe quad burn at 1min, quickly spreading to a full, lower body burn and general lung bursting sensation by 1.20. I sort of blacked out the pain for the last 20secs of the effort. By rep 4 I was all for giving up and stopped in a pathetic state halfway up the hill. The Yorkshire grit in me then felt the shame of defeat and I pressed on like a proper 'ard Yorkshire lass. I then managed to push on with reps 5 & 6, bottled it again, managing only half of rep 7 but then squeezed out a final effort to finish #8. Tonight was a sure sign of lots of work to do this summer.
I've clearly lost some fitness but tonight's workout is also an indicator of a general weakness of mine; my speed strength & general power. I've always been daunted by races around 5km; this just isn't an easy distance for me. I think my natural strength is endurance, which may explain why sessions like tonight feel so flippin' painful. But, I am pleased to have got through the whole thing in one piece. I'm also seriously impressed by M's strength and power up those hills. This is one session I'm going to have to revisit regularly; working on my main weakness should prove to be a great investment later on this year. God it were 'ard tho. Why do we do this exactly?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Getting Back To My Routes

Returned to one of my fave summer runs tonight. Had a godawful day at work which I've had to bite my fist on the train journey home just to try and forget, (all my projects seem to be needing urgent attention at the very same time, the world's gone mad). What a wonder it was then to spring out of the front door, with my new, gleaming custard coloured trail shoes for the lovely 'n' lush Lob Wood 5. Ran with M again; have so missed his running company in recent weeks. We both ambled up hilll and down dale admiring the frothing wild garlic and sea of bluebells as we descended down to Bolton Bridge and back along the banks of the Wharfe. The skies seemed to clear for us whilst the run made life feel clear and simple again; the grimy layers of work yuck soon started to recede.
Felt surprisingly okay tonight despite the harder run yesterday so will forge ahead as planned with a hill session tomorrow night and long run Sunday all being well. Plan is to recce the Wharfedale HM route on Sunday with some respectable local fell lads for company. The very scenic Dales loop from Grassington should be a fine source of blog pics this weekend. Now I just need to shed these newly acquired folds of cuddliness built up during my hibernation these last few weeks. Can't believe how much I eat - work mates are continually stunned by the quantities I can put away. No cake or scone type treats for the rest of the week. That seems harsh. Until Sunday then, maybe.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Consumerama

After my fleeting moments of clarity yesterday and my vows to purge my soul of the cloying, covetous claustrophobia that is consumerism I thought I'd call into a Sportshoes Unlimited in Bradford after an early finish from my meeting today. Readers, I must confess I was indecently eager to sell my soul down the river in purchasing 3 (eek!) pairs of new trainers...yes all at once... I spent £150! Though I did get a great deal mind, (or so I told myself and explained to M on the way home-it was a bargain that had to be had). I’ve been in desperate need for a shoe purchase as am clocking up the miles in my old road shoes and as my spreadsheet mileage calcs tells me I'm touching 400 miles in all my shoes (always have 3 or 4 different pairs on the go). I'm clean out of tokens which is my usual guilt free mode of acquiring shoes (tend luckily to win enough to keep me in footwear) but have sadly run out since Miss Mojo went on holiday. So, a good range of excuses there don’t you reckon?

I can justify the investment further on the back of a nice swift 9 tonight. I decided to risk a run with M and have a go at something other than an easy plod; just to check how heart rate and how the legs would cope. I pulled on my new and embarrassingly glinty white pair of Nimbus; they were the snuggest little pillows tied on my feet. I bounced my way to Ilkley and back on an undulating but scenic loop from home. The run felt great, a steady pace (7.20 with frequent hills) and heart rate seemed to be back to normal - no weird leaps on the inclines for a change. Dare I hope that little Miss Mojo is back from her travels...? Or perhaps it's been the shoes all along. I knew the deal was too good to miss. A demain.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Modern Life Is Rubbish

After fretting during the last 5 weeks over my heart rate fluctuations and the possible insights this might give me into my state of 'under recovery' I decided to sleep with my HR monitor on last night. It might seem a bit of a strange thing to do, please don't judge me too harshly readers... I'd hoped to get some idea of what kind of rest I'm getting - have been waking up after stressful work dreams these last few days. I was also a bit curious generally about what else it might tell me. Anyway, these justifications of a rather sad individual set aside, what a hoot! I'm not quite sure what to make of the results. This home-made experiment has produced some intriguing results.

It seems I travelled a total of 1.65miles whilst in bed asleep. All of this activity seemed to follow a rather haphazard pattern; a spider's web of wriggling in every possible direction as depicted on my Garmin route map. Thankfully, I didn't stray too near the B6160. My heart rate also tells an interesting story. I'm not sure what I'm most intrigued by, my apparent mileage whilst asleep or the rather too frequent peaks in my HR activity throughout most of last night. No wonder I felt so sleepy when the alarm went off this morning. According to the chart, I was clearly out for the count at 0.47 miles with my RHR at it's most relaxed state of 33bpm. Who knows what was going on after that. Anyway, it looks as though I'm under recovering from my dream state antics never mind my running.
On a more serious note, I'm conscious that life outside running is likely to have played a role in my recent running frustrations. Work has felt particularly pressured of late and this apparent lack of restful sleep may be some indication of the fact that a) I'm a bit of a head case and b) I probably need a holiday. This way of living life surely can't be good. My current exit strategy from the rat race i.e. the lucky dip on Saturdays needs some review and perhaps more serious thought should be given to a simpler life. The government pension has a lot to answer for. On a happier note I managed an easy 7 on the road tonight into what felt like gale force winds. A bit rough but thankfully no tumbles and a refreshing release from the relentless rut that is work right now. Sleep well readers.

Monday, 4 May 2009

A Micra With A View

Well, it was a particular honour to witness several fine performances at the Rothwell 10k today. After the weather threatened to be very wet and windy first thing, the morning soon cheered to a brighter shade of grey as a drizzly backdrop to the 10am start. I wasn't witness to the actual gun start as was 'legging it' over some muddy fields with the ever young Kevin O to catch the action at 4k. The race was full of friends, club mates old and new and of course my M, who had spent the morning trying to manage his healthy pre-race nerves - today was a great chance to test his fitness after weeks of faithful training. He didn't disappoint. Though I was too late to shout him in at 8k as promised I did catch his last 2 minutes as he strode along the final drag to Rothwell leisure centre, looking long limbed, relaxed and majestic coming home to a very comfortable PB of 36.17. A fine and feisty performance, running the race in style despite the frightening and furiously fast initial 5km on this course - it can steal the race from right under your nose if you get too drawn into the lightning fast descent from the gun.

I was also lucky enough to see plenty of other star turns today, including many fellow club mates who all ran Bingley proud. Aside from M, special mention goes to our mate John B from Wesham with a storming run after his fears he'd be down on last year's form (!) and old club mates Sally & Lee M who both ran comfortably under their recent PBs - there's much more to come from them both; the talented pair that they are. Felt sad not be in and amongst it all but know I've a bit to go before I'll be back to my old self so enjoyed celebrating in the success of those around me. It was quite a nice change not to endure the nervy tum and all that jazz on the drive over. Managed to get out for an easy 5 tonight following afternoon tea with Mr & Mrs B. Both made promises of gifts from their allotment in the coming months, which I'll hold them to. Am quite partial to a bit of home grown rhubarb...

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Striding Out Strid Style

Today's the last day of 3 full weeks of easing down and after the angst and determination it took to keep to the plan I decided to just have a bit of a blow out today and enjoy a medium long run in a favourite spot, yes the trusty Strid again on a breezy Sunday afternoon. I'd hung on until late before going out hoping that the midday rains and wind had cleared the place of the usual spring visitors but I arrived to a mass of walkers, picnickers and BBQ'ers to jostle and wrestle, along with their dogs and prams whilst following my usual loop along the river trail. Decided after feeling light and fresh for the first five miles to extend the route a mile and do 11 in total. I didn't regret it as it felt great all the way round and got back to base at a record pace (not that I was counting!). The wind was pretty strong for the open sections so it's tricky to compare HR and general effort on the run but going on how I felt I may be getting a bit of form back. My next steps will be crucial to building back up. I'm eager to get back into training but will take it easy for the next couple of weeks to be sure I don't undo any of this recovery time. Have also spent most of the weekend generally lazing about, eating and reading a great new book. It's been a while since I've read anything that's led to daytime reading binges, though I think that's what bank holiday weekends are made for, that and going to support our partners at 10k road races. Will be there tomorrow amongst the crowds shouting on M at the Rothwell 10k. I'm sad not to be running but can enjoy supporting M; I'm expecting some great runs from my #1 running partner these next few weeks. No pressure, though he's due some great races on the back of fantastic training in recent weeks. Come on M!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions

Had my first blog night off last night. Was feeling a bit fed up and at a loss for what to write. Miss mojo is still on holiday and am fed up of reminding myself about it. So, thought I'd write about something pink and fluffy to cheer things up around here. It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I've piled on a few pounds in the last couple of weeks. I rather like my food though part of the problem lately seems to be my seemingly irrelevant decisions when making baking purchases. For instance, today I called by the supermarket, a last minute stop for a Saturday paper and a lucky dip purchase. Inadvertently, I walked down the baking aisle and stumbled across a bag of mini marshallows. After pondering the purchase; plain white or the mixed pink and white; the two colour schemes stumped me. Then I noticed on the shelf underneath a supermini version of marshmallows. These were double the price but much more suitable for use as sprinkles. This delayed me another 3 mins as I calculated the additional costs for the rather cutesy size and packet. After 6 minutes of pondering and evaluating value for money and potential uses I opted for the mixed variety bag at £1. Of course, these were just to be kept for future baking creations or even for the odd mug of home-made hot chocolate. I dutifully tidied them away to the baking cupboard, near the front of course, so I didn't forget they were there. Anyway, tea time came and hunger set in and as time ticked by I was feelin' somewhat peckish. The seemingly irrelevant decision to purchase these little pink and white pillows of sweet perfection was fully exposed in all its ugliness as I gorged on the bag, trailing guilty, floury fingerprints in my wake around the kitchen. This is not the first time I have seemingly purchased a devilish item disguised as a baking provision only to feed in a frenzy when visited by the sweet tooth fairy. Don't know how many bars of cooking chocolate have fallen foul of the same fate.
Anyway, am 5lbs heavier than a month ago and very determined to start burning away these love handles soon. After a search for graphic illustration of my sugary sins I also came across some interesting alternative uses that might inspire readers out there to get creative.
As for running, did an easy 6 today, same planned for tomorrow somewhere lovely and green underfoot. Have decided not to race Rothwell or anything else for a couple of weeks now and just enjoy the time off. Not too much of course. Just until the marshmallows have all gone...