Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lunchtime Run

Took my stuff to work with me to get out at lunchtime. It was nice in the morning so I thought I would maybe go out after work instead, then I remembered the forecast was for the weather to change in the afternoon.

I decided to do 8 miles at long tempo pace, around 8:50 ish. Lovely and sunny when I set off, a fair breeze too. I decided to run down to Lytham and back, I would have the wind in my face on the way back to work so I decided to do the outward part along the prom as its much more exposed then back through the the more built up and sheltered paths.

Legs felt ok and I settled into pace and pretty much stayed there. Running down the prom the sun was out and the wind was behind me, I was boiling. On the way back it clouded over and the wind picked up and I was verging on being cold. I was cold enough that I picked up the pace on the last couple of miles. I was generally sheltered from the worst of the wind but there were a couple of times when I turned to head towards the beach a little and I was almost blown to a standstill.

As it chucked it down in the afternoon I was pleased I had gotten out there.

8 miles at 8.43 mm. The splits show I was around the high 8.40 mark for 5 out of the 8 miles. The last two miles were faster due to the cold and my legs just feeling up for it but mile 4 was also quite fast as the wind was pushing me along, I was leaning back against it.

The Weekend...

...didn't quite go as I planned it. I spent most of it sleeping it would seem and not much else. I had originally hoped to ride at Glentress on the way up on Friday but hitting the wall on Thursday's run meant I was too hungry and tired on Friday morning to contemplate it.

I thought about trying to get out for a spin on the roadie but the front tyre had a puncture when I checked it on Friday morning - it was flat on Thursday but I pumped it up in case the valve hadn't been tightened up properly. I CBA'd breaking my thumbs trying to change it on Friday morning so it stayed in the garage.

I was finishing packing up the car around lunchtime on Friday and I decided to put the radio on for a bit only to hear the traffic news and they had just kindly shut the M6 in both directions between 32 and 33 - Oh FFS! Just what I needed.

As there is no real alternative to the M6 between Preston and Lancaster I thought I might as well head off and see what progress I could make (not much). It was announced southbound had reopened as the air ambulance had taken off but 2 lanes northbound would be shut til at least 4 pm apparently and there was also another accident on the northbound carriageway to add to melee.

I decided to head across to Kirkham then pick up the A6 near Garstang, which would likely be rammed but I was going to be queueing wherever I went and I figured it wasn't going to get any better as the afternoon wore on.

Driving through the centre of Lostock Hall I suddenly heard this horrendous grinding and banging noise. I thought I had run over something and pulled over asap, got out the car and discovered the back box of my exhaust was being dragged along the ground - oh FFS! I couldn't believe it! Bloody Car. I was kind of in the way so I drove it, grinding and all into the car park in the town centre.

Two young lads sat in Corsa stared at me as I drove past and wandered over and asked if "I realised my exhaust was hanging off" I answered I did indeed know, which was why i was in the car park. They offered to look at it for me (don't think they can do much), which they did, then got a screwdriver out of their car and detached the dangling exhaust from my car. What a couple of stars.

I was at least able to drive it home now without a shower of sparks following me, having travelled all of about half a mile from home. I then had a bit of a dilemma, take Jez's Audi or stay here. I was a bit wary of taking the Audi, its his new toy, I'm not having a good day with machines and it averages 20 miles to the bloody gallon! I decide to take it, I need to get used to driving it anyway.

After a bit of faff swapping stuff over, it may be an estate but it is smaller than my Mondeo land barge, I set off again into the worsening traffic. Suffice to say it took me the best part of two hours to get to 33, at least it was sunny.

A boring and completeley fuel inefficient drive up to Scotland I'm getting the hang of the car, apart from the extra gear and very occasionally enjoying the stupid acceleration on it (though not watching fuel consumption plummet like a stone, 5 mpg !). Most of the time I drove like a pensioner. The tank was half full setting off and I had to refuel before I got to Carlisle.

Friday night was spent catching up with friends to the early hours of Saturday morning then a few hours sleep and more catching up. I then was feeling very tired so decided t go back to my folks for a bit of a lie down before tea. It was just getting dark as I was dozing off, I opened my eyes and it was light again. A "bit of a lie down" turned into about 12 hours of unconsciousness. What a great sleep it was too.

I managed to sleep like a log on Sunday night too. I came straight back down on the Monday to get on with sorting my stupid car out, trying to drive sensibly but I still had to fill the bloody thing up again today.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I had planned a long run yesterday afternoon, hoping to do 14 - 16 miles offroad as the weather was so nice. Due to having to work on Saturday I had some hours to play with, the weather was kind so I thought I would do a long run in the afternoon. I planned to get some miles in but pick some stuff that was easier to run no massive climbs/descents.

I decided I would go from Abbey Village, up Great Hill, along the top and down into Belmont, go explore some new paths over Turton Moor then back towards Darwen Tower then back to car. I had a butty before leaving work and setting off my stomach felt full, I had a few burp breaks on the way up Great Hill. My legs were heavy, not sore but not frisky but I wasn't bothered as I was going to take things easy.

It was gorgeous on the top of Great Hill, I sat at the shelter for ages and basked in the sun (nearly dozed off!) then set off along the flagged path on the top. There was a helicopter flying around, hovering low so I faffed a bit watching that.

About half way along the flagged path I suddenly went from full stomach to hungry, odd. I had a gel and a good drink of water and carried on. A bit more faffing trying to figure out what the heli was up to then I was dropping down into Belmont. At 6.7 miles I was almost into Belmont when I felt my stomach really empty and my legs going to jelly. Really? How can that be? I've only been running for just over an hour (been out for a lot longer than that though!).

I sat down. This wasn't a good situation, my car is at least 5 or 6 miles away! I've never bonked badly on a run before, cycling a few times but at least you can crawl along on a bike and roll down hills. I need something in my stomach, its empty and gels are just not going to cut it. I checked my pack, I often carry a bit of cash in it for just in case moments so I had a look and there were three pound coins in it! Hurrah, hope Belmont has a shop.

The gel that was in the front pouch of the pack has leaked a little and everything is very sticky, took a bit of persuasion to get the coins out and separate them. I teetered off to the village to look around. There was a little post office and in I went and swapped one very sticky pound coin (he wasn't impressed) for a Mars bar and a packet of Starburst.

Its a measure of how hungry I was as I don't really like Mars Bars but I scoffed the lot in about five seconds and had a few chews. Then started heading up towards the reservoir. I noticed a bus stop and thought about checking out the times but decided against it. I got to the reservoir and got the map out and looked at my planned route and thought (I really did), if I give it 10 minutes or so to digest this Mars Bar a bit I may then be ok to continue on round Turton Moor.

Hello!!!! Once I get to this stage its usually a fairly steady downward trajectory and the sensible thing is to pick up the Witton Weavers Way and get back to the car, I reckoned at least 5 miles still to go. Eventually enough glucose got to my brain and I took the sensible option. It was a slow jog along the Witton Weavers way, which was almost as dry as a bone. I at least know that the undulations are a bit cruel when your tired as I've crawled along here in a similar state on a bike before but soon I was back at Tockholes Woods.

I did think about walking from here but decided to get to 12 miles before stopping running, how sensible an idea that was I don't know but I wanted to get back to the car. I picked my way like an old woman down the cobbles of Mill Lane, couldn't really process information fast enough to pick a good running line and I was pleased I was close to the car. I stopped running at 12 miles and walked the last half mile back to the car, my legs feeling battered but I had at least stopped feeling hungry. How does that work?

I had recovery drink waiting to be made up in the car so I had that as soon as I got back - the water was warm so it was a bit ick.

I'm currently sat here in eating everything in sight mode and have revised my plans for the weekend. I was intending on riding at Glentress today on the way to my folks but I'm postponing it to Monday and riding on the way home instead.

Really didn't see that one coming, not good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Night Ride

After much faff on the motorways both trying to get to work and come home I nearly didn't go riding yesterday. I made myself get my stuff together, ate a couple fo mini egss and a bar and drove like a woman possessed to Riv (apart from where I got stuck behind the 20mph doddler from Limbrick on- there is always one!).

I finally rocked up at 6:55 pm, we were supposed to be setting off at 7 but when I got there everyone was still faffing so no worries. I was on the Titus again as not sure the On One brake is completely sorted yet and I actually wanted to complete the ride. I couldn't get my rear light on the seatpost, ah well cars will just have to flatten me or I'll make sure I'm not last on the road sections.

An easy bimble to set off with whilst others finish faffing and the trails are pretty dry and its warm!!!!!!!!!!! Shame its not daylight. Because it was such a nice evening most of the ride was done at chatty pace and I could actually ride my bike tonight rather than fall off it which was great.

We did the new bit of trail in Healey Nab which was interesting to say the least as I had no idea what it was like, I'm glad I had my Joystick on my head as it was quite twisty. There were a few drops that I had no idea waht was on the other side and as it was so twisty there were lights everywhere so I couldn't see exactly where it went or even if the track was still there. I loved the tight bermed corners though there was at least one where if you got it wrong you were off down a fair way. This was a good section for me as by the end of it I felt I was actually riding my bike rather than being a passenger.

I managed to get stabbed in the ear by a branch going up the rock step (one of these day I will stay away from the buch at the side of the track) and down into the gully which was reassuringly muddy. I was feeling pretty good actually and decided to attack the road hill, which was a a complete waste of energy as I just succeeded in pogoing the bike up and down. It made it harder than usual to get up the rest of that section.

Ed and Drew left us at the bottom of the climb up to the pigeon tower as time was getting on a bit. A nice social chat up to below the Pike then up the cobbles to the Pike itself. I took advantage of the rear suspension here and didn't have to push to get the back wheel over the cobbles. Up to the Pike then back down and along the track by the reservoir which has now had all the technical interest flattened out, shame.

Back to the car and it was nearly 10 pm, oops. I still had to feed my friends cats, make my tea, sort bike etc. I didn't finish my tea until 11:30 pm but as I was planning a long run tomorrow I knew I had to eat it.

What a difference dry trails and a warm night make.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ooh, that was warm.

I arrived back at work after my lunchtime run beetroot red and radiating heat from my face. I was a little over dressed for todays speed session. I seem to have been avoiding doing some really hard sessions for a while so today's interval session was 4 x 800 metres (half a mile for me) with 90 second recoveries.

I headed down towards Lytham for just over two miles of warm up, as it was into the wind I it was quite refreshing. I set off far too fast for the first interval as usual and finished the half mile at 7.10 mm (3:34) average. The were supposed to be at 7:30 mm at the fastest, oops here I go again overdoing it but the marker was set to I thought I had to try the remaining ones at that pace. I had a quick pitstop in the loos before setting off on the next one (finished coffee too close to run).

The second one felt pretty good and was as it turned out even faster, 7.02 mm (3:30). I recovered well and set off on the third one, going pretty good until turning off the prom and up the main path along the road. The sun was out and I was behind the dunes and was being sheltered from the wind, it was like running into a sauna. I was boiling by the end of that one and had slowed down a bit as I felt I was overheating but 7.10 mm (3:34) pace again.

I actually stopped after this interval, stopped the timer for a bit, took my buff off my head and faced the cooling wind until I cooled down a bit - its probably not even that warm really but I'm so used to it being cold. I set off on the last interval and ran part of it into the wind which was just lovely and 7.12 mm (3:36)pace. Three out of four intervals were quite consistent, just one that was too fast.

I finished off with a bit of a jog along the beach before heading back to work. Nice to do a proper session again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Test Run

What a beautiful day today was, I didn't take my kit to work today but by mid morning I had decided I was going to go out for a run to see if I had shaken whatever had been wiping me out for the last week or so.

I did have the customary "can I be bothered" moment as I first got home but as Jez is away for the next however many weeks the alternative was just being in the house with the cat. As he isn't much of a conversationalist I got my stuff together and headed out the door. The plan was to do about three miles at long run pace (9:30mm or less than 160 if possible) and see how things were.

I felt pretty good from the off, legs very springy given a few days off though my left hamstring was tight. It will be from all the digging/faffing in the garden I did over the weekend (I didn't have a completely lazy weekend). I really enjoyed it, total endorphin high by the time I got home which was just fantastic. I speeded up for the last mile I was enjoying myself so much.

Just under five miles at 8:50 pace and looking forward to getting my training back on track - 11 weeks til M day!


...time just seems to have disappeared lately, not that I have been up to much.

Jez and I were in the Lakes for our birthday at the beginning of the month (yes we do share the same birthday). We celebrated getting another year older by walking up Fairfield from Patterdale, in the snow. I would write lots more about this as I took loads of photos but for some reason Jez's laptop ate them and they were never seen again. I was left with about 8 completely random photos on the memory card out of a few hundred. Only the Fairfield ones hadn't been copied elsewhere, ho hum.

It started as a beautiful day, lots of fluffy sparkly snow and lots of ice around. The climb up onto Farifield itself was very steep but the snow was pretty good so kicking steps was the way to go, except when I booted hidden rocks, that hurt. We followed some fell shoe tracks up. The tracks were actually heading down the mountain and fair play to whoever it was because we only saw a couple of elongated prints where they had had a little slide, there had been no application of technical hands or arse.

Some quite thick snow over the top and I got a view from the top rather than the pea soup clag I had last time I was up there. It didn't last long as the weather was coming in and Helvellyn had disappeared in the cloud. Our plan was to head back via St Sunday Crag and down into Patterdale. Once the cloud came in the light went really flat and I found negotiating some of the little ridgy bits on the way down to Deepdale hause a little tricky as I just couldn't make things out properly. I had a little lateral foot slip on one of the narrowest sections which sharpened the mind somewhat!

At Deepdale Hause we decided against continuing with the planned route as it was snowing and the cloud was down and we had to gain a fair amount of height again. We decided to drop down into Deepdale and head back that way, and what a drop down it was! It felt vertical (and looked it when walking away), lots of side steps to get down. A long boring trog along Deepdale then into the pub in Patterdale for some beer and a humungous plate of food.

An easy day after walking where we go pick up Jez's new car then an MTB ride on Saturday 7th where I managed not to fall off, which is a good thing. The bad thing is I achieved it by riding like a complete wuss, really demoralising. I felt really shattered for some reason and wasn't particularly enjoying myself in the driving rain and wind. We headed out in the afternoon, just as the lovely morning was replaced by minging weather. Very wet and cold and for once wasn't bothered about the ride being short!

Sunday I was supposed to be doing a long run but just couldn't get myself to do anything, thought I might have had a bit of a sniffle. On Monday I woke up thinking I had a bit of a sniffle but I was fine in the afternoon so I headed out after work for a run. I mile easy, 4 miles at 8:40 and 1 mile easy again. I headed into Cuerden park where there are a few hills so I knew I would need to work harder on the easier sections to compensate for the hills. First fast mile was 8:47 and I never paid attention after that. In the end the tempo section averaged 8:13 mm which was far too fast and I had massively overcompensated for the hills and I had a feeling I was going to pay for it.

Tuesday I felt a little coldy but got up and cycled to work, I was feeling fine after about 20 minutes and had a really good ride in, little wind and an average of 16mph which is quite fast for me on the Spesh. The ride home was supposed to be a bimble but for some reason I pushed a little bit on the first few miles, I think it was just nice to be riding home in proper daylight. At Freckleton a roadie came screaming by me (as they do), then up ahead two blokes joined the Marsh Road in front of me. They weren't going particularly slowly but for some reason I decided to try and catch them.

I was averaging about 19mph (it has its own momentum I think the Spesh) and caught up to the first one, who was on a road bike but wearing fairly normal clothes. I had to wait for a gap in the traffic to overtake then I got passed, I had to accelerate hard but I was off. I haven't worked that hard on my commute for quite some time. It didn't take me long to get to the second guy but I had to wait a little longer to pass him. I remember looking at the computer and I think it was reading 23/24 mph as I accelerated to get past before I got flattened by the traffic.

I was working far too hard by then but I kept pushing at around 18/19 mphwhen I realised that I was reeling in the roadie who screamed past me earlier, think he must have backed off quite a bit. Unfortunately he got through the lights at the end of the Marsh Road and I had to wait else I think I would have got pretty close. I had to take it really easy for the rest of the ride home as I felt toatlly knackered, not a good sign and not very clever.

I paid for the hard efforts by being barely able to make myself get out of bed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I couldn't believe how tired I felt. On Saturday I woke up with a proper sniffle, at last, I have been trying to fight something off! I was stuck working on Saturday so I coudn't get to the XC race or go out for a run but I didn't mind as I was ill anyway. I rested again yesterday as still felt a little sniffly in the morning but woke up this morning feeling like a new me.

I hate when a cold is trying to get a hold for ages, there have been a few going round the office and I've done well not to catch one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I learned something today...

Scoffing a custard filled doughnut close to a run does not a happy digestive system make. Bleurgh. It wasn't a very successful run, I only did about 3.5 miles in the end.

I was wearing the Wave Creations today to get some miles on them and they felt like a couple of bricks strapped to my feet, they feel nice and cushioned when walking but not when running. I can only surmise its because I land on my heel when walking and I don't as much when running. That was the first annoyance. I had forgotten my gloves so I had really cold hands and I was dressed for a spring run so I was a little chilly setting off.

The sun was glorious so I decided to head to the beach, I wasn't moving very quickly and after about 3/4 mile I realised why as the custard doughnut started repeating on me. I felt like I was going to be sick.

On the plus side when I got to the beach it was lovely, beautiful sunshine, cold wind though. There was a very, very black cloud further north but it didn't seem to be moving much. I faffed about on the beach a bit taking in the fresh air hoping the doughnut would digest. No such luck so decided to jog back to work, slowly.

Its snowing in St Annes!

Proper flakes and everything, though the sun is trying to break through now. Hope it clears up so I can get out for a run in a bit.

Had an interesting drive to work from Warton after dropping Jez off, slippy roads, particularly in Ansdell. I was using engine braking to come down off the railway bridge there was no way I was touching my brakes as cars were sliding round all over the place.

Strangely, when I got to St Annes you would never know, the roads were clear.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Taking my own advice

After telling RedBikes that he should rest I will be taking my own advice today! My quads are still feeling battered from Sunday but everything else is fine which is great, my lower legs have been feeling it lately with all the tarmac pounding and Sundays run really gave them a workout without the impact. I've brought my kit with me but I could feel my quads just walking across the carpark so I don't think an interval session or 7 tempo miles would be good for them.

My plan for this week was to run today, rest tomorrow then we are off to the Lakes on Wednesday night for our birthday, two days of some chilled out walking and perhaps riding (Jez wants to check out the new MTB trail at Whinlatter) so I wasn't to worried about going hard at the beginning of the week as I would be relaxing later. Now I will rest today and run tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I rode to work today, my quads were a bit sore from yesterdays run so it wasn't sensible to run. Due to falling off on Saturday I have various bruises dotted about on my legs which means I couldn't really get at them with the roller, another reason to stop falling off!

Ride in had a fair headwind for some of it, the last forecast I looked at had a Westerly for the morning but more of a South Westerly (i.e another bit of headwind) for the way home. Quite slow on the really open sections but I just spun the legs out, they weren't up for pushing.

When I got to work and reversing the bike into the cupboard I thought the rear wasn't rolling well, I picked it up and it wasn't spinning. I couldn't make up my mind if it was the brake or not but left it til the afternoon as I was hungry.

I missed the rain that came through for the ride home. I had a bit of a faff with the rear wheel before setting off. The Spesh has a very old pair of Hope C2s on it, as its a closed system you can back the pads off a bit (and if they stick on and heat up then they bind solid) but I couldn't get the dial to move so I jiggled the QR around a bit and that managed to make the wheel spin better.

Out on the road it seemed to be rolling fine and stayed ok for the whole ride. It was a bit of a headwind until Warton where it got more behind me. I was entertained on the Marsh Road as the Eurofighter was out to play, circling around over the marsh making a racket. It was a little distracting and I found myself drifting into the traffic lane, oops. Just as well there was a lull in the traffic, they don't hang around on this road.

It was fairly easy through Preston and home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Off Road Run: Abbey Village - Great Hill - Darwen Tower

I faffed around all morning trying to motivate myself to get out. I was intending doing a long run, maybe 15 miles or so. If I had gone out when I had originally planned I probably would have been fine but I started doing some little jobs instead.

Then I was hungry (this was about 11am) so I had some food then I had to wait for that to digest. I was struggling to make myself go, I tried to decide where I was going - into Cuerden park or to the tramway. Maybe I should do a shorter run this week, the thought of 15 tarmac miles didn't seem a nice thought. As neither option was particularly inviting, I thought I would go run offroad instead.

Got all my kit together and rescued my trail shoes and off I drove to Abbey Village. My plan was to run up Great Hill then down to the Belmont Road and make a decision there as to where next. If tired, back to Abbey Village, if not then some more miles.

It felt weird running up hill from the off, especially on stodgy grass. I decided to run at close to long run effort level, on any easier running sections I aimed for long run pace and on descents I was aiming to stay comfortable. I didn't really start to get into it until getting close to the wide track up to Great Hill. Once on that I did the gradual climb quite comfortably, being Sunday afternoon there were a lot more people around than I'm used to.

I continued on up Great Hill at my usual slow climbing pace though I did notice my heart rate was a lot lower than it was last time I did this run, I wasn't climbing any slower. A brief stop at the summit shelter then I slip/slid my way down towards the road. Some parts of the descent were very cut and boggy, other parts surprisingly good. I did see motocrosser tyre tracks which was a bit worrying. I ran where I could but the nearer this got to the bottom it was more jumping, stumbling and walking.

I got to the road and thought I would carry on but not exactly sure where so I headed to Hollins Head Hall ruins then up the little bridleway (which now has some very cheeky narrow ruts in it, must remember that for on the bike) to the road. I could go left along the road for a short while then up onto the top of the moor or go straight over the road onto some track then onto the Witton Weavers Way. I didn't want to do any tarmac so headed off on the track.

The climb up onto the moor was ok, very stodgy at the top, a few slips. There is an old bench at the top of this climb so I sat on it and had a gel, looking over at Great Hill.

Great Hill

I then headed over towards the Tower on my preference of the two obvious tracks along the top of the moor. It was surprisingly runnable, a lot less boggy than I have seen it so a quite enjoyable jog. I was really enjoying myself.

I continued on and decided to investigate the eroded singletrack to see what state it was really in, ok for running but a dead loss on a bike, best avoided for riding for quite some time I think. I had thought about missing out the tower and going straight back down, being a Sunday afternoon there was bound to be loads of people out. There was but as I was up there I might as well run over to the Tower (legs were feeling quite good at this point).

I dropped down on the track that was really stodgy on Wednesday night and it was now worse, due to lots of foot traffic I think.


Really stodgy, I'm surprised I managed to get as far up it as I did. Strangely when the track began to climb up towards the Tower again it was all dry and firm, unlike Wednesday where the ruts were quite boggy.

I didn't bother stopping at the tower even though I acquired a headwind. I ran along towards one of the steeper descents off the side. I had a look at the top of the long drag to the tower to see if they had done any trail repair. They have, but not as much as I expected. There is a new waterbar at the top and they have filled in the narrow deep rut right at the top but looking further down it looks like they haven't gone overboard with repairs (yet). So it should still be an interesting climb.

I dropped down off the top then down the cobbly track to Ryal Fold. Then it was just the last couple of easy wide woodland track back to the car. My legs started to complain about a mile from the end, I think due to the fact the track had gotten pretty flat and firm. When I stopped running at the main road through Abbey Village and walked to my car I could feel my glutes and quads, lower legs absolutely fine.

12.8 miles at 10:40mm and a very enjoyable run. I can't remember what the ascent is on this run, not as much as it feels like, about 1700/1800ft or there abouts when I last plotted it on Memory Map I think.