Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wrestling Recovery

18.04pm: Am sat here on the train platform waiting for delayed trains, trying to get home after another long day. Though it's a bit of a pain there's some warm evening sunshine and I've an unexpected blogging window... I've been avoiding blogging this last day or two.

Though I'm keen to keep it real as I mutter on about my running adventures, I'm also mindful of the dangers of sounding like a moanywingebag and the need to avoid harping on about my 'troubles' when I'm lucky to have a fully functioning pair of legs and a beating heart in my chest...

However, Runningbear is going through  slightly troubled training times. It seems a bit dishonest to pretend otherwise. After shaking off the lurgy to race in Edinburgh last week I've spent the last week trying to recover and also make sense of the strange empty legs thing on race day. Thursday then brought the start of more lurgy; another sore throat and I'm again filled with a second bout of the stuff! What's going on?!

I've bided my time until Sunday to run anything near a proper session. My last possible chance of a long run; I attempted a 20 at a fairly moderate pace. I was dead by mile 10.

I'm a bit stuck with what to do next and can only assume illness and hard training have combined to bring  this body near complete depletion. I'm properly running on empty!

I'm now taking stock and thinking of my recovery, training and even the racing plan. A May marathon is also under review. A difficult decision to ponder and it feels more like a wrestle right now.

Though I've done lots of work so far to build a good marathon foundation I'm most of all keen to get healthy and feel good whilst running and racing again.  So a week to review, wrestle with  my thoughts whilst I recover and recharge. That's THE NEW PLAN.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Local Heroes

The build up this week to VLM has been unbearable as M and I have eagerly awaited the final outcome to the hard and dedicated training of local running mates in recent months. We've been fraught with vicarious nerves as friends have tapered, carbo loaded and finally travelled down South for their big day today, the London Marathon.

The telly was on at 8.30am sharp ready for coverage as the elite ladies set out at 9am. The line-up included some very good GB women who, not quite elite enough for the very front running, still did a fine job of racing to sneak under the European and Commonwealth qualifying time; 2.38. It was a tad frustrating to not know what was going on back there as commentary focused on the leading pack with the odd reference from Marot to Holly Rush, Susan Partridge and Rebecca Robinson battling for forthcoming Euro team placings. 

Meawhile mates Tricky and MH started their own marathon efforts at 9.45am and though there was little hope of telly coverage we were able to track some of the race on the Adidas tracker via facebook; a clever app that provided 5k sized bits of race progress. It was all quite exciting for a Sunday morning...

Anyway, this is a celebratory blog post to personally congratulate our good friend Richard Balshaw, AKA Tricky. Tricky ran his first sub 3-hour marathon today, clocking a fantastic 2:56:47!! Swiftly followed by Mark Harris in 3:03:56! MH nursed a dodgy foot through the  last week of taper and then through the race itself but still managed a very impressive time despite limping into the finish. Well done boys, you're an inspiration! Other superb runs include Spen runner Kevin Ogden in an awesome 2:45:06 and ex-club mate Jon Sinclair finished in 2:55:22. Very well done all. Results here.

Friday, 23 April 2010

London Calling

A quickie post to wish all our fine running mates and Runningbear blog readers a fantastic racing weekend. In particular, our very best wishes go to mates Tricky and MH for London on Sunday; we'll be watching your splits guys and sending out those good running vibes. Plenty of scoffing now to fatten yourselves up for the mammoth effort on Sunday morning. Good wishes also to Kevin O from Spen too; Kevin is in smoking hot form for a good marathon this year.

It's also the weekend of the Three Peaks Race; a 23.3 miles course of tough racing, part navigation across 3 Yorkshire peaks! We'll be out there at the final mile shouting the poor sods in as they stumble down the limestone pitted descent into the finish; it was a gory sight last year. We'll be keeping our eye firmly on ex club mate Graham P for a fine run tomorrow. 

A final extra good luck to UC  and Charlie and Kate for their turnout at the Fling Ultra Marathon this weekend, both are set to ran for far longer than I'd ever attempt, good luck guys & hope nothing falls off.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Training Aid

The stark reminder on Sunday of my just too tired legs and the building up of fatigue has forced a bit of an ease down these last few days. Plenty of smell the roses type running, skipping through trail and woodland has revived the running soul and given M & I some quality time running together for a change. No hard sessions allowed until the weekend at least and instead some time to reflect on training so far, my next steps and possible aids to be integrated into future training.

A particular discovery, introduced by M's sis this week has proved to be a vital tool for inclusion in any true athlete's regime. I would even go so far as to suggest this is a true innovation in the development of modern sports' science and destined to be a permanent fixture in any elite programme of training. I'm referring to the waffle iron readers. Yes, the Waffle Iron. I've just received a very early b'day pressie through the post and have trialled the contraption tonight. Yes those golden, grid-shaped slices of gastronomic gorgeousness have proved to be just the therapeutic intervention I needed and may well turn things around. Of course, like any new regime one shouldn't be hasty to adopt new practices all at once. I've started with one or two waffles as an introduction to the regime. I'll build up steadily from there. Ah waffles, the fuel of champions.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Shiny Shiny Things

I'm a bit late posting after the epic drive from Edinburgh post-race this afternoon. The glorious sunshine that accompanied our drive up yesterday afternoon was replaced by rather rough, wet and windy weather in Edinburgh this morning. They’re toughies those Scots.

We awoke for our pre-race breakfast at 6.30am to my annoying electronic cock-a-doodle alarm. The hotel staff were fab, giving us free access to the kitchen to sort our far-too-early breakfast. After a bit of faffing with a strangely foreign microwave we’d sorted some pre-race porridge and with our tummies pleasantly plump we jogged to the start; a mile or so from the hotel.

Clad in full waterproofs with our racing shoes in our bags we were pretty much soaked by the time the start came. We shivered in our soggy racing pens and felt grateful for the start after a meagre mile warming up on the very crowded and puddle-covered track. I’m using the term ‘warm up’ very loosely here. I'd kind of anticipated a bit of a windy course, it being a coastal route and everything. The cold and unwelcoming rain and a very soggy start were an extra surprise, or kick in the shins, depending on your outlook.

The Chris Hoy Half Marathon is a pretty big race, but we thought it a good chance for A) a rehearsal marathon trip for me and B) a PB opportunity for M. It was worth the trip. The first couple of miles were pleasantly flat, breezy and slightly downhill. Hitting the promenade was the stark reminder of what was to come though; a gruelling 10 mile slog into pretty strong coastal winds, with rain sprinkles on top. By mile 5 I was strangely spent and running on empty. I’m not sure why but I’d felt drained and depleted in my last couple of long runs. I suspect I just hadn’t recovered. M was on my shoulder and pressed on without me and by mile 6 was off and away into the distance. It was all I could muster to keep it together and dig in. It really was a marathon rehearsal run.

M had a storming run, chasing down the unattached (!) Andy Hume and then working together with him to push on, completely kicking my a** and coming home in 78.16, a huge PB and a superb time on such a rough day. I was nearly a minute behind in 79.11, a disappointing time but an indicator of where I’m at. A bit of a warning to back off for a few days perhaps. It was a tough mental challenge to keep running hard whilst feeling so beaten but I finished. I was sort of chuffed to have not completely crashed and burned. 

I was first lady by a good lead (2’30’’) and won an awesome bundle; a very fine and rather heavy silver cup, £300 cash and £100 vouchers. I feel a bit of a fraud picking up such a generous haul but it did perk me up a bit. I also tested out some racers too; my Brooks T6s were a gamble today as these frisky little featherlights weigh next to nothing. I'm stunned at how responsive they felt and I may risk them in the marathon. Not a tweak, groan or blister came from my usually grumbly feet over the full 13.1 miles. Most of all though I’m really delighted for M who ran sub 80 for the first time. I was secretly thinking he’d run 77:xx and reckon, given a better day he would have done just that. He had an awesome run.

The race was incredibly well organised with over 3000 finishers despite the very sodden and cold start. I’ve just about warmed up now after being dripping wet and chilled to the bone all morning. The rather comforting albeit damp warmth of the shuttle bus ride home was a welcome refuge. It was made all the sweeter by meeting Dean; a very nice physicist who ran his first race today. Dr Dean, you chose a very tough race to start with! Great to meet you and well done on finishing today. Keep in touch! Race results here.

P.s. Well done to Julian M today for his well earned race win at Halifax 10k, go Julian.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


Get Set..

Thanks for thoughtful comments and emails wishing us well for tomorrow. I've been checking the race route and we'll be running our half exactly on the marathon route so a great recce weekend.
We've just set off north, well sort of west for a bit first. The weather is glorious and the BB camera is just not doing the views justice! Nevertheless, I'm very excited about my first trip to Scotland and will be snapping all the way... Edinburgh here we come! Woohoo!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Almost Lurgy Free

Work is hotting up and I'm really getting my teeth into things. I'd go as far as to say I'm really liking the new job. I must remind myself of this post next time I moan. Unfortunately, the hotting up also includes much increased general busyness, including too little time for blogging or ruminating on all things running. Another upside is that the lurgy is passing and the nostrils are recovering from the constant blowing and sandpaper-like scratchy soreness from excessive nose wiping. I'm on the mend readers. Yay.
This week's been tough still despite the sniffles, including a long and windy 15 miles with threshold sandwich on Tuesday and then double runs both these last two days. Nothing too tough planned now until Sunday. A massage tomorrow should see me good as new and ready to run hard again on Sunday, this time for the Edinburgh half marathon. I'm ashamed to say this will be first trip across the border and very excited I am too. I might check out the legend of the deep fried Mars, to fully immerse myself in the culture you understand.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Fluffy Ducks

I saw my first batch of little ducks this morning as I was preparing myself for the Sunday long one. All cute and fluffy they were as they bobbed about on the canal chasing the dappled sunlight.
A drop off from M at Silsden kicked off my long run, taking in the canal towpath all the way to Shipley before turning left up to Hollins Hill for the slog back up the hillside. 23 miles in total was the plan though at a slighter easier pace to allow for the week's fatigued feeling and the continued slime that seems to be filling my head and oozing from each nostril (sorry). The morning was gorgeous; cool, sunny and slightly breezy. I'd expected to struggle a bit after running the time trial yesterday and the legs did start to seize up a bit after mile 19. I pressed on, reminding myself of the need to win any mental battles in training if I was hoping for a good time in the marathon. I got home eager to check on any news from today's marathon races; the Brooms had planned to run at Taunton and a few ex club mates made the trip to Blackpool . Nothing posted yet, the suspense is killing me...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sunshine Smiles

It’s been a bit of a funny week overall. With a visiting lurgy and considerable sleep deprivation whilst visiting the Big Smoke, I've just not been feeling my usual self. The running has felt too much like hard work and I've gone off it all a bit. After my hardish run on Tuesday I've been less than hungry to get out and about, despite the mild weather and some time off work. I've not really shirked on the training but just feel less than chirpy and generally had to work to motivate myself to get the trainers on. This is quite unheard of for me.
I'm not really sure what's going on but am told that feeling a bit overcooked and stale during marathon training can be a common experience. I'm putting it down to a general washed-out-lurgified-feeling and that the bounce will soon be back. The Runningbear mojo tried to make an appearance at the Leeds Parkrun this morning; a 5k time trial with a 9am start. Feeling less than excited about some track intervals on my lonesome last night I opted to join M and running mate Tricky for a brisk 5k time trial this morning instead. It sort of counts as an equivalent session.

The boys had another blistering run, both hitting great 5k PBs on what is a pretty slow course. I forgot to mention the spectacular run from Spen AC's Kevin O, he ran a blistering run leading the field from the start to finish comfortably under 17 mins. Results here. There was definitely nothing wrong with the boys' mojo and recent race progress would suggest M is gonna have a flyer next weekend at the Chris Hoy Edinburgh Half Marathon. A PB in lightning time is expected. As for me, I'm hanging in there and hoping the funny feelings will pass. The sun is bringing a smile to my face today at least and the lurgy is receding. All will come good in the end.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Eggy Tunnels

Technology is great. I'm blogging live on the train, whilst slurping my way through a large americano and scoffing a tube of mini eggs. You'll notice the light work I've made already of those crispy little orbs of chocolate delight and we're not even past Doncaster yet!

A trip to the Big Smoke for a couple of days means M gets a holiday from me and I get to catch up with an old uni mate 'darn sarf'. That's if they let me in through passport control.

Like any running obsessed maniac I've pre-planned all training opportunities, starting with the mid week long run; a steady 15 squeezed in between breakfast and bag packing this morning. A solid 6.40 pace on the windy canal saw me right for today, if a bit snotty and red nosed from too much hanky action.

Only short and steady stuff now around and about the parks of North London; I've got my Google maps ready to see me through until the trip home on Thurs.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Long Runs & Lurgy

After the Easter efforts of my pretend race session and M's near PB on Good Friday morning the day then deteriorated into what has since been a bit of a lurgy filled few days. The scratchy throat that I thought was the result of leaving the central heating on too long turned into a bit of a baby monster of a cold that has turned me into Mrs Sniffles the last couple of days. Saturday's run was a welcome easy recovery but Sunday was the return of the fast running pal for a long run reunion. A seriously broken collar bone could not hold the man back from marathon training and back he was on Sunday, running like a demon. I sniffled my way along my 20 mile route determined to make it through the various snot stops. I've felt better but a head cold can be beaten and I finished the run dizzily triumphant. A trip to Linton for some face stuffing followed, including a bit of a walk in the gorgeous spring sun. No more tough stuff for a couple of days in the hope the lurgy is beaten off. Better now than on marathon day I say.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Salford Success

Since early in the year, M has had a Good Friday 10k planned for an Easter treat as part of his own racing plan; the Salford 10k. This is a fab, fast and as flat as you get in the North of England for those fancying a bit of frisky Friday running before an Easter weekend of Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and long runs. After my Wilmslow weariness I'd guessed I wouldn't be up for the race though was planning a threshold run and bobbed along to play team support role for a change for the two Bingley boys. Both M & Tricky were out running their first 10k in a while and seeking a good indicator of fitness after their recent injury woes.

The 2 lap course is a pretty brisk one though a bit breezy on the back straight. The plan was for me to split off 20 mins before the start and run a healthy warm up before rejoining the boys to chase the race for a 6 mile threshold run. We parted at 9.40am and both were a little ruffled with pre-race nerves but eager to get going. Unfortunately, M missed his lucky kiss as I arrived from my warm up a couple of minutes after the start. I had to belt around the course to catch the stragglers up and then quite enjoyed a fun chasing game for the next six miles, maintaining threshold place and passing through the field, eager to see how the boys had fared at the end of the race.

My own run was a good solid session if a tad confusing for spectators but nothing compared to the fab performances of two fine sub 36 minute 10ks! Tricky led the pair home in 35.39, not far off his best on the same course last year and M stormed home, just one second off his PB set in late December, finishing in 35.58. This is so impressive after the frustrations of M's glute injury early in the new year. So, a very worthwhile trip out and a very promising indicator of the coming months. I may have to withhold my lucky kisses in future; it seems to do just the trick.