Sunday, 28 June 2015

Oh god, I needed that!

*beam*

I'd been gagging for a race and really didn't realise quite how much until I'd finished today's - the Hitchin Hard Half.  A half marathon with a bit of up and down in it, almost all on (not closed) roads.

My aim was to enjoy myself and get around before the 2.5 hour time limit.  So that meant a minimum average pace of 11:27/mile.  Very do-able on the flat at my easy pace at the moment (as proven on yesterday's parkrun).  Add hills and it would need a bit more effort than simply "easy".  The plan was to hike the ups, relax on the downs and run the flats at a heart rate of around 170bpm.


To cut it short, I had an awesome run. It took about 3 to 3.5 miles to warm up; and the grassy grounds of the Priory at the start featured a twisting route that took you up and down the same sharp hill twice before you left the grounds, off out onto the road. But then I had a great time - hiked the ascents hard (equalling and overtaking some people who were running uphill), enjoyed the descents (having to ask people who were not taking any advantage of the descents at all and were really rather taking up the full width of the path, to let me through as I was going quite a bit faster than them) and ran the flats easy for the first 6 miles. Then I turned up the gas a bit as I was feeling pretty good. At that point I had to stop off for a couple of minutes. I'd been running behind a chap in a union flag vest and he kept pausing and bending over, so I asked if he was OK or had cramp or something. It turned out he wasn't OK at all, and was dizzy and nauseated. So I told him to sit down and I'd get a marshal. We'd passed one about 20m down the hill, so I lamped it back to the marshal who then called for medical assistance. Running back up the hill to the poor chap, I found a couple of ladies giving him water and using a running vest as a pillow for him. I let everyone know there was a marshal notified and on the case, decided he was doing OK and that those ladies were coping nicely, so I could carry on. There was a water station right around the corner with two marshals, so one of them headed on down to lend assistance. Happy that all was under control, I got back on with my own race. There was an immediate long descent after that, which I enjoyed a little too much and pushed my heart rate higher than I was happy with so had to settle it down a bit for a while.

Having paced pretty well and kept my effort level in check, I overtook a ton of people in the last 5 miles. Lots of people ending up walking rather less steep inclines than they might have done earlier and then another long downhill which was a bit wet from the rain and gravelly so a bit tricky but I gained a lot of speed from that. I'd been leap-frogging an older chap for a lot of the hills to this point, he'd jog gently past me on the ups and I'd lamp it past him on the downs and it became a running joke between us - the last two or three hills he said he'd get me on the next one and he did. Until the last hill where I made my downhill and effort after that pretty good and I didn't see him again until after I'd finished. Then one long last uphill grind along a pretty straight road, so it was a bit mentally difficult but as it was likely the last real hill, I ran it all instead of hiking. I was a bit worried we'd end up doing the same up and down the hill in the Priory grounds as we had at the start, but it turned out to be a simple downhill over wet grass to get to the finish line; a relief!

Afterwards, I felt bloody great - a good run, not a totally shabby pace, especially considering the extra 4kg I'm carrying at the moment. I really needed that run and it felt good. (Finished in 02:18 including stoppage time - moving time was 02:15:29.) I did manage to catch up with one of the ladies who'd also stopped to help the other runner and established he was fine - it turned out he'd been running with his sister who just buggered off and left him to feel horrible by himself. Poor chap!

Me, I hit my A, B and C goals; enjoy myself, get around before the cut-off and go under 02:20. Result!




Monday, 15 June 2015

Sod patience, I want to race!

Everyone else is having fun except me!

That's how it feels anyway.  So, I've signed up for a couple of races and got plans for a few more.  The first is a rolling trail half marathon in just under two weeks.  So what if the longest run I've done in 5 1/2 months is 8 miles!?  I really really miss being in a race.

I've also signed up for my most hated race distance; a marathon.  In October, which is ages away and it's on the run up to a 3 day ultra (if I'm allowed have the Friday off work - it's only 84 miles over 3 days, which averages less distance per day than I did on the Thames Path last October).  And a couple of others; another rolling trail half marathon more locally, and a 10 mile trail run and a half marathon in the Lake District in September.

I'll probably come last in the Hitchin Hard Half, but I don't care; I want to race!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Patience... *yawn*

Patience is not my top skill, but I'm getting to exercise it now I'm back under Centurion James' coaching.  We're Being Careful not to break my recently repaired ankle by taking things too hard too soon.  Which means really low mileage and really easy runs.


So, I started back with James on 1st June (after a week's very indulgent holiday which had a little running in it, but not much.).  And it's meant I'm doing *less* than I had been by myself, which I know is right, but when I see the Training Peaks progress graphs I get a bit sad as the fitness line (blue line below) has stopped going up now.


Still. I'm back doing strength and conditioning with at least some regularity (work travel volume is making it tricky to keep a twice a week rhythm at The Athletic Edge).  And I'm back being coached by someone who knows what they're doing.  And I'm getting parkruns in enough that I should hit my 100th parkrun before the end of this year.  So overall, things are looking good!  But I have to be patient.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

On the road back...

I'm fat (I was a bit chubby, but tolerably so, and then I put on 3kg between surgery and starting new job, but stabilised there) & slow ('s what happens when you don't do anything for 4 months) but...


I peaked at 25 miles last week; of actual running (well, OK, jogging really - averaging 11mins/mile) not even run/walk.  So I'm really pleased with how things are going.  Although, I've got a horrible sore throat today and I generally feel rough so today's run is off and I'm travelling on Friday so I won't be running that day either (unless I can figure something out in the morning before the 7am shuttle bus leaves).


Hopefully I'll get something in tomorrow and then a quickie on Saturday (I'll miss parkrun by several hours due to being on a plane) after I get home in the afternoon and a long amble on Sunday again.  Trying to build that base back again and I'm pretty sure it'll take at least as long as I had off.  So at some point around the end of July I should be fit again.

The weight is another matter altogether.  One thing at a time!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

So! Tired!




I've been out in Michigan for work the last week and I thought I'd been doing fine with sleeping at the right time, getting up at the right time etc. and generally only feeling tired towards the end of the week due to a rotten cold. And then, when I got back on Saturday morning and had a day in the UK, Saturday night's sleep happened... having gone to bed at around 11pm, I woke up enough to get up out of bed at 1pm!

I did get some running in before my cold set in deeply onto my chest, so I hit my longest run since my Thames Path run back in October on Sunday after flying in the day before.



It was nice to get out for a similarly long run again today, up on the common.



I tracked back through the sleep tracking for last week and it uncovered that, despite going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up between 6am and 7am local time, I was getting very little sleep indeed.  No wonder I needed so much sleep last night!