Friday, March 31, 2006

The blasted heath (with apologies to W Shakespeare!)

After the usual work/rest on Monday, I was glad to get out with the club on Tuesday. Hubby and I were having a little disagreement on the way down. He said that it would be light enough to get out onto the heath in a couple of weeks. I said that it was light enough already and we would be out straight away.

Off we went in our separate groups. Hubby with the speedier peeps who played it safe and stayed on the pavements, me with the slower group which headed straight up onto the heath. We did some hilly circuits and stayed on there for most of the session, even though the light was fading fast towards the end. I couldn't resist a 'Told you' when we got back!

Wednesday was my circuits session. Our usual instructor was away and the girl standing in for her is a real taskmaster. She drove us hard all session and consequently I am still suffering from DOMS (delayed onset muscle stiffness) today. I am going to take my remaining sessions before London a bit more gently as I don't want to risk injury at this stage.

Club session again last night and back onto the heath. We ran steadily taking in up and down hills and uneven surfaces. Once I knew we were more than halfway through I started splishing through the puddles and trying to splash the other peeps. I think the words 'big kid' were mentioned. Then coach took a wrong path and the going got increasingly rough. It was raining by then and the light was going fast. We were having to push through the undergrowth and I was very glad that it was still too cold for the 'legless reptiles' to be about. Eventually we found our way barred by a 5 foot fence - repaired since last season. It was getting too late to retrace our steps so we had to climb the fence to get back. I'm not good with heights so needed a lot of help to get over. At one stage I had one leg either side of the fence and was having a little panic. However, not having any choice, I finally made it to the other side - with lots of apologies to my club mates for being such a wuss! I got back with very wet feet, muddy legs and lots of scratches from the gorse and brambles. Bliss!!

Rest day today and tomorrow as we have a half marathon on Sunday. Am looking forward to a nice meal and a couple of drinks tonight, and to spending some time with hubby!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Long, slow, wet.

We did our LSR yesterday. The weather has undergone a transformation. Rather than cold and dry, it is now milder and wet. There are finally signs of spring which are better late than never.

We set off at 9.30, planning to run across the heath to meet up with a club mate, run with her for a couple of hours, then head home. It's usually a joy to be up on the heath, whatever the weather, but this time it was rather sad. There was a very big fire last weekend (started deliberately) and it caused lots of damage. As if the sight of all the blackened habitat was not bad enough, there was also a constant burnt smell to contend with.

As usual, hubby went off ahead leaving me trailing in his wake. Because of this I have suggested that we don't train together but he always assured me that this is supposed to be a slow run so he's happy to wait for me. Doesn't seem to happen in practice though! So, I trailed along behind, muttering under my breath and telling myself that I would go off on my own if he continued like this. Our clubmate is very much faster than either of us, so I was also a bit worried about that. However, when we met up she had her hubby with her. He is a bit faster than me at his best, but is just coming back from an injury so we stayed at the back and chatted. To be fair, the other 2 didn't get far ahead either and we were able to gossip as we went. Hubby and I have little to say to each other when we are out, so it was really nice to be able to chat and pass the miles. However, by the time we got back to their place I was feeling very tired, we all agreed that we had probably allowed the pace to pick up quite a lot in the last few miles. OK for them, but we still had to get home!My tummy was playing up a bit, so I had a quick 'comfort stop', then hubby and I set off home.

It seemed very hard to get going again and we had a 'challenging' section to come. Not only uphill, but also off road as we were back onto the heath at this stage. We both walked for some time, although hubby was able to get going again sooner than I. As we were so close to home I was happy for him to go on ahead, rather than getting cold. It was raining steadily and we were both becoming uncomfortable. After hubby had gone I was able to pick up the pace again (into at least a shuffle!) and happily splished through all the puddles on the way back! Arrived home, soaking wet, just before 1pm, a total of 3hrs and 20 mins on my feet, so am satisfied with that.

My legs felt very tired and stiff afterwards, in places that don't usually trouble me. Looking back, I think that some of this might have been due to my footwear. As it had been raining for about 36 hours, I anticipated the going being very slippery off road, so had worn my trail shoes. These have better grip than my usual shoes and are more water resistant. However, they also have less cushioning and we ended up doing more stuff on-road than we had anticipated so that could well have been responsible for some of my increased aches and pains.

Anyway, today is a rest day again. It is also Mother's Day so I am looking forward to spending time with our Mums, then going out this evening for meal with hubby and son.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Club session

Had a relatively relaxing day yesterday and really enjoyed my club session. We ran steadily for an hour, but this took in the 'killer hill' that I struggled with so much last winter. At that stage it was a real achievement to reach the top in one go, and I needed 5 minutes at the top to recover. Yesterday we went up steadily, chatting for much of the way. At the top we turned left and kept going for another mile or so - not as steep but still uphill. I will admit that the 'chatting' was down to just a couple of words by that time! It was nice to be at the front of the group, rather than struggling to hang onto the back of the faster one, and to feel strong. It started to rain just as we started to run downhill. 'Soft refreshing rain' has never felt more welcome!

Today is a rest day. I have written my March newsletter, need to visit Tesco and then plan a route for our LSR tomorrow.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another week finished.

OK, I know that the week hasn't really finished. However, as I only work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I am ready to relax!

Mondays at work are always hectic, but at least this week was manageable. I have little energy for anything other than food and rest by the end of the day, so (unless I'm not at work) it is always a rest day.

Tuesday at work was fairly quiet and I felt ready to get out and run hard in my club session. We did a 'fartlek' session, sprinting for a while and then jogging slowly until the group was back together again. This is the slow group, but even then I'm far from fastest. However, I do notice that the faster runners have less stamina than me, as they become much slower as the session goes on. So it seems that I have lost some absolute speed recently, but have gained in endurance which is, after all, the object of the exercise!

Wednesday was hectic again at work especially in the afternoon, so I was glad to de-stress with circuit training. I am totally inept when expected to work with any sort of apparatus. I can't use a skipping rope, fall off the 'Swiss ball' and was useless when trying to 'shoot hoops' yesterday. It causes great hilarity amongst my fellow sufferers!

Am hoping for a quiet morning, then meet hubby for lunch. I usually see a friend on Thursday afternoons, then club session again this evening. Bring it on!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Eastleigh 10k

Did my 1st 10k of the year yesterday. It was a bit of a funny day as the race was not until 2.30 but we traveled there in a minibus with clubmates and arrived at 12.30. Went and had a drink in the cafe at the sports centre, but still had too much time to spare and ended up hanging around for some time. Had breakfasted at 8.00, bread and honey at 11.00 and banana at 12.30 but probably didn't take on as much fluid as I usually do before a race.

The day was bright and sunny, but very cold in the wind which was strong at times. I'd worn 3/4 length tights and a top with 3/4 length sleeves and wondered whether I would be warm enough. In fact, once I got started I was a little too warm, although nothing too uncomfortable.

There were quite a lot of competitors and we all set off around the streets of urban Eastleigh (just outside Southampton). Many people were obviously quite inexperienced and had started too far forward (even though there were signs telling you where to start according to your predicted finishing time) so was having to try and pass them right from the start. My previous PB was 57 mins and I was hoping to be somewhere around that time. I looked at my watch after the 1st k and knew I was in trouble as it had taken me more than 6.5 minutes! Tried not to panic but to settle into a steady pace. There was just one significant hill at around 3k and I managed to steadily move past a few people there. By 5k I was starting to feel very uncomfortable and knew that I still had about 30 mins to go. 7k and I told myself that I just had to dig in for a little while longer but I was struggling to maintain my pace. Finally 9k! Just the push for home now. I was overtaken by 1 lady after this point, I really tried to go with her but just couldn't do it. However, I had overtaken quite a few people in the last couple of k so wasn't too disappointed. Turned a corner, just got to run through the field to the finish - I could see the big red arch at the bottom of the field and it seemed such a long way off. Stopped looking at it, just gritted my teeth and tried to keep breathing. Passed hubby and clubmates who were waiting to cheer me home - thanks guys! Suddenly the people in front of me stopped. What the **** did they think they were doing?? Then I realised that I had actually crossed the finish line which was some way in front of the arch!!

Final time was 61 minutes, so not terribly pleased with that, especially as I was working so hard. However, having spoken to clubmates and several other people afterwards, it seems that very few people were happy with their times, so perhaps that is a reflection on the course or conditions as much as anything.

I was hungry and very thirsty by the time we got home (no time to stop for a drink as the speedy peeps wanted to get off, having finished about 20-30 minutes before me). Son cooked dinner, which was lovely and then I collapsed into bed very early.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Long, slow, cold.....

Well, the party went off OK in the end. We don't have much in the way of family, it was mainly Mum's cronies from church and the flats where she lives. Slugboy did the dutiful thing, then went off to get drunk with his mates.

Yesterday morning we did our long, slow run. Had breakfast around 8.00 and went out just after 10.00. Hubby had a new heart-rate monitor and was trying to keep his HR down to around 60-70% of his estimated maximum - hence did the whole session at a brisk walk! I have pointed out that he needs to find his true maximum if he wants to use the HRM for training. I have also suggested that this might be better left until after FLM rather than trying something new at this stage! Anyway, the outcome of this was that I had an incredibly slow run and we were both feeling rather cold. Fortunately, it stayed dry, and I really enjoyed my hot bath afterwards - even though I have to be careful not to make it too hot, otherwise I tend to faint when I get out!

Thursdays are usually club sessions, but it was lovely to snuggle up in front of the TV, smug in the knowledge that we had already done our bit for the day.

Hubby's car is now back on the road, so at least he's out and earning again.

My fundraising has recently had quite a boost, and I am delighted that I have been given permission to put up a poster at work. If you would like to see how I am doing, please visit www.justgiving.com/lynsmarathon

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Back in the groove

I enjoyed my circuits session on Monday but have sore tummy muscles again today. In fact, I felt them yesterday when I started to swim breaststroke. Nevertheless I really enjoyed my gentle swim, sauna, jacuzzi, lunch and - most importantly - time with my friend. Then I went to get my hair done as I had forgotten my appointment on Friday! I did feel a bit of a muppet when I turned up for my club run with nicely 'done' hair, and it certainly didn't stay like that for long once we had started.

We did a hill session and I resisted the urge to go sprinting off like everyone else. I took it much more slowly and made sure that I was in control for both the up- and down-hill sections. The hill was much too steep for it to really be 'Kenyan hills' and we did have a breather at the bottom, but it was the best I could do. I was certainly nearer the front at the end of the session than I had been at the beginning. I actually feel as if I have lost some speed recently since doing longer distances. We are doing the Eastleigh 10k on Sunday, so I will find out whether that is really the case.

Mum's 80th birthday today and she's having a party for about 30 family and friends. I can't say that I'm really looking forward to it, but needs must etc.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The best laid plans...

What I was planning for Saturday was a 90 minute run, then friends round for dinner. What I got was a tummy bug, hence no run and no evening with friends. I was feeling a bit more human yesterday and had thought I might go out for an early run but, having discovered that it was snowing, I went back to bed. Later in the morning I went to marshal at our club's new 5k race in aid of a prostate cancer charity. Several of the men taking part have the illness, so it was quite a moving time and I was glad to be involved.

Mum, aunt and mum-in-law came round for dinner and we had a nice evening, even though I didn't want to eat much of what I had cooked.

Today dawned and I'm much better, although still feeling the need to be careful what I eat. I'm hoping this will help break me of the 'binge' habit I've got into again recently. As I'm not at work this week, I was able to go out and do the planned 90 minutes this morning. The weather was grey and cold, but at least it was dry. We were lucky to escape the blizzards that hit much of the country yesterday too.

I've done a bit of cross training around Matalan but only spent £20, so a bit of a feeble effort I'm afraid!

This evening I will go to circuit training as I'll have to miss Wednesday's session due to Mum's party. I think that will be enough for today!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Club session

Having had a fairly quiet day at home yesterday I really enjoyed my club session in the evening. We started off nice and slowly and meandered around the local housing estate. Not the most scenic of routes, but it's still much too dark to get out onto the heath in the evening.

The roads were undulating, so I tried to treat the session as if they were 'Kenyan hills'. Uphill I concentrated on posture and technique, keeping the breathing under control, rather than thrashing up as fast as possible. Downhill I tried to lean forward, relax and let the incline take me. As I've been suffering from some neck pain recently I also made sure that I was running straight and tall, rather than slouching onto my hips and pushing my chin forward, a habit I seem to have developed since my mileage increased.

The last mile or so was flatter and a couple of us increased the pace as much as we could. My mate's hubby is much faster than us but tends to run in the slower group anyway. He came with me and pushed me hard - although he was kind enough to say that he was only trying to keep up, but I know that is not true!!

The session was shorter than it often is, but I'm sure that is what I needed after the weekend. It was great to get back feeling that I would have liked to do more, rather than being shattered!

Rest day today, apart from some domestic stuff, and looking forward to tomorrow's LSR.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Holiday!

No, I'm not actually going away, but I do have some time off work. I'm feeling generally tired so will be glad of a quiet week. It's my Mum's 80th birthday on the 15th of this month and she's having a 'bit of a do' so I need some time off on the day to help her with that. It seemed logical to take the whole week as I have quite a generous leave entitlement.

I enjoyed my circuit training session last night but still found that my legs were reluctant to do as much as usual. Instead I worked hard on my abs and upper body in order to improve my overall condition. The schedule says just 90 minutes for our LSR on Saturday, so I'm hoping that will feel like a walk in the park - as long as I can convince hubby that this is still supposed to be done at slower than marathon pace, otherwise he'll want to go rushing off at 10k pace and we'll both be worn out! Having some running club friends round for dinner on Saturday evening, so am looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mad March Hare

I had a quiet day on Saturday to prepare for Sunday's race - the Mad March Hare 20 miles. In fact, I was never planning to actually race 20 miles, but I was still going to need all my energy to get round. I had decided to treat the whole thing as my marathon preparation day, so tried to eat the same sort of foods, at the same time, as I would expect to the day before the marathon.

I was really nervous and woke quite early on Sunday morning - would I make the distance? Would my tummy be OK? Would I get blisters etc etc. Breakfast was toast and honey, and then into my kit which I had laid out ready the night before. As soon as we arrived for the race I joined the queue for the loos, just as well as I had to wait about 15 minutes! Then off to the start. I had promised myself that I would be sensible, and also that I would slow down considerably after 3 hours. The pace I wanted to do was 11.5 min miles, but that just felt soooo slow that I stuck with 11 mins instead. I ran with an older guy for the first 12 or 13 miles, but then he started to struggle so I went on. After about 14 or 15 miles I really started to tire, that 'faster' pace was telling on me and I was runing out of energy. I did 16 miles in just under 3 hours so power walked for a mile or 2, then went back into a very slow jog. At about 19.5 miles I picked the pace up again so that I could look as if I was finishing strongly! I was delighted with my time of 3hrs 43 minutes, just 10 minutes slower than hubby.

For much of the race I was completely on my own and couldn't even see the person in front. This seemed very lonely but I know it won't be something I have to worry about in London! I do feel more confident now that I have done that distance. I know that the other 6 miles will be very hard but at least the first 20 will be a known quantity. Of course, I could always do 6 miles first, then the 20, that will probably be easier!! However, I will have to start of even more slowly if I am to last the distance.

I had expected to be really stiff the next day, so was very pleased to find that things really weren't too bad. I did a club sesion tonight and felt OK, but my legs didn't want to do the hill work and I felt much slower than usual. Never mind, that's to be expected and I know it will be OK. We have a much shorter run planned for this weekend so that we have time to recover properly.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Cold....

It's been bliddy cold of late. I listen to some of my friends who suffer really extreme weather conditions and I know that we are so lucky in Bournemouth. Nevertheless, it has been very cold here and I do hate it sooo much. I ache constantly from being scrunched up against the cold, and I just don't want to do anything even though I know that I would warm up if I got moving! It's been a real struggle to get out and train, and it was great to discover that last evening was milder than anticipated. The temperature was just around zero, but the awful cutting wind had disappeared. I'd worn my long sleeved top and a new running jacket and was actually a bit too warm! Thank heavens for the club sessions as that gives me a specific time to be out, no putting it off until tomorrow.

My last couple of club sessions have actually been quite gentle and I know that I need to be putting in some better quality training. However, the only way to achieve that currently would be to go out on my own and, realistically, that's not going to happen until the weather warms up a bit. So - club it is!

We've got a 20 mile race booked for Sunday. This is the one that the Trailplus coaches advised me not to do on the grounds that it would be risking injury and exhaustion. However, having entered and paid I really do want to take part. So, the plan is to go out slowly for the first 5 miles, do the next 10 at marathon pace and the final 5 very slowly indeed. The coaches actually said to walk the final 5, but we will see... Whatever, I am determined not to push myself too hard and will stop and walk, or pull out, if it seems neccessary. However, I don't think I'd have the confidence to do the 26 miles without at least one very long training run under my belt.

Today is a rest day. So it's a very slow start this morning before visiting Tesco. This evening we're going out for a meal with some of my drama club friends. Must remember to take my trusty sponsor form with me!

Speaking of which - yesterday I got a cheque from the school I visited. £20 towards the funds, which is about what I expected, so I'm pleased with that.

Rest day notwithstanding, it really is time I got moving.....