Sunday, May 31, 2009

Too hot for me today

A year to the day when I fried in the Garburn race I ran another hot one, but at least I learned some lessons from last year and backed off the pace early enough to not end up like one lad I saw passed out at the side of the road (he did not look in a good way). I hoped for 4 hours but finally crossed the line at 4:16 on my watch.

One the plus side I had no blisters, no chafing, all toenails are still there, my hamstring was fine and I actually almost enjoyed the last five miles (just miles 15 - 21 were really awful and sun baked). The only real worry was I thought my upper abs were going to cramp in the last 3 miles which made breathing shallow, weird. I also managed t get some suburn despite the factor 30.

The crowds at the finish were excellent and I pushed hard for the finish - then felt quite ill once I crossed the line. I managed to get myself together after about 25 minutes of sitting on the grass without visiting the medical tent. More later...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Relocation, Relocation Part Deux

Well, all that planning out my commute over the lovely Fylde lanes was a waste of time, we are still being located but to north Preston.

It is actually the best solution for me really but I feel quite miffed for my colleagues, particularly as the parking/public transport situation is pretty dire. As its about 6 miles from me I will be cycling there everyday though it will be across Preston town centre rather than the lovely fast lanes. The Spesh will be the ideal tool for the job (boo, no fancy road bike) and my waterproofs and panniers are will pay for themselves a hundred times over I think.

I had all sorts of plans for running and there was a sports centre less than a mile away from the other site. So need to think all that out again but don't think my lunchtime run routes will be very inspiring...though may be able to get to track to do intervals etc.

It does now give me the option of being able to to get out towards Longridge (and hills, eek) if I want to take the road bike in I suppose.

6 Miler

I had planned some intervals yesterday, nothing serious 2 miles easy, 6 x 400 metres no faster than 8mm, 2 miles or so easy but the wind was so silly I didn't think running along the prom was worth it. I nipped into St Annes centre at lunchtime and got sand blown in my face in the square, never mind on the prom.

I decided to head into Cuerden Park when I got home and do an informal fartlek type session and also check out some tracks in there. An easy couple of miles then some varied pace running including some hill efforts which feel really difficult now. I found some fantastic tracks in there to add into my runs and really enjoyed myself. Legs felt pretty good, left quad a bit tight which I think is from the cycling so I will be stretching that out over the next few days. Not long to go...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Relocation, Relocation

We are being relocated to a new site next year, in Thornton near Fleetwood. Its not ideal but it could have been a lot worse (Warrington, Cheadle or somewhere else horrendous to get to with no chance of cycling there). I need to sort out a new commute route so I headed out there on the road bike today for a bit of a spin.

I had measured it at about 23 miles so it is another 5 miles on top of what I am doing to St Annes (think the Spesh is going to be too slow). I have a pretty good idea of the route all the way to Singleton and I have to say thought of riding across the quiet Fylde lanes of a sunny morning is something to look forward to.

I have no idea about anything beyond Singleton really. I took a drive out that way last week to get an idea of what the roads are like. I was warned that Amounderness Way would be a bit of a nightmare on a bike and I had to agree. Very fast, very narrow and very busy too. A very different route to the one I would drive was needed.

I printed out an O/S map of the area and a street map of the centre of Poulton which as it turned out was nowhere near detailed enough. D'oh. I had a pretty good ride out to Singleton, it was very warm if I stopped but there was a nice breeze when moving to cool things down a bit. The Fylde lanes were as lovely and quiet as they normally are but it will probably be quite exposed on a very windy day, particularly when the hedges die back over winter. When I arrived in Singleton I was averaging 17.5 which I was pretty pleased about as I wasn't pushing. I did think the section across the Fylde had the potential to be fast.

There are a choice of routes I could take, I went for the slightly shorter one on the larger roads. The roads were wide but had a few sets of traffic lights on which slow things down a bit then its through the centre of Poulton. There is a really faffy one way system in Poulton and I got lost in it totally. It has really narrow roads and if you don't know it its not always immediately obvious which roads go in which direction.

I kept cycling round and round trying to find the road I needed to be on, as I hadn't printed a detailed enough street map out this proved difficult. The O/S map reckoned there was a church right in the centre (and there is, I've heard people talk about it) and I kept looking for it as a landmark but could never see it! Eventually I got lucky and managed to find the road and get to the new site. 26 miles, I'd added three on by riding round the bliddy one way system! Still, I think I've got to know it better (probably not knowing me).

From there I decided to head to the beach, it was only about 2k away by the direct route, which I didn't take as I headed down to Bispham. I fancied an ice cream but by the time I got there I was hungry and couldn't resist some chips. I don't normally eat much on a ride so I hoped they wouldn't make me feel queasy. A bit of riding up and down the prom then I decided to head back to Singleton a different way. Apparently there is a route through Blackpool to Stanley Park then out to Staining. I found a leaflet on Lancashire councils website and printed the rather sketchy map out.

It started opposite North Pier so I headed down there, weaving in and out. My average speed had taken a hammering after all my getting lost and dodging people on the prom so I was just going with the flow. I found the start of the route then headed up Talbot Road aiming for the square. Missed the turn, faffed around Blackpools one way system (another one!). I got back on track, luckily traffic was reasonably light. Talbot square was completely dug up so I had to walk the bike round the narrow paths trying not to hit people with the bike.

Back on the road, still struggling to find my way. I had kind of expected some signage, possibly some ASL's or on road cycle lanes, anything to indicate this was a recommended route for cyclists. There was none of that, however there were a few right turns required at some large junctions which were less than entertaining. I finally saw my first cycle way sign at the entrance to Stanley Park. The Park was heaving but I expected that and it was also signposted.

Once I got out the other side I'd had enough of the "cycle route" and got on the main road back to Staining and Singleton. I rode along the other route I wanted to check out, it is slightly longer (0.3 of a mile) but has no traffic lights on it and will hopefully be quieter. Just got to hope its not a rat run in rush hour traffic.

Back into Singleton then across the busy road then on the lanes again. It was fast progress back towards Preston, I managed to pull my average speed up towards a more respectable 15 for a while. It had been steadily clouding up on the way back and it started raining as I left Roaseacre. It didn't last long, thankfully as I had forgotten to bring an extra layer. I was starting to get an attack of hot foot here, my shoes felt like they were too small, I'm sure all the running has made my feet bigger. As I crossed the M55 I was glad I wasn't driving it today, it was absolutely rammed. I got back home just in time for it to start lightly raining.

In the end it was 60 miles in 4:06, which may be a litte excessive during taper but I felt like I could have gone on all day. Apart from the hot foot, that was really annoying. It was also the longest ride I have done on the road bike, not surprising a few niggles would surface.

Saturday "Long Run"

8 miles on Saturday and legs felt even better than they did on Thursday, there may be something in this taper lark. Found it hard to keep my speed down to 9mm, partly because my legs had perked up and partly because in my head it was a short run.

8 miles at 8:50 mm even though I did keep slowing myself down apart from where the Garmin started under reading the speed in some heavy tree cover, I was practically sprinting trying to maintain speed by the time I popped out of the trees. I'd forgotten it did that.

For some reason on Sunday I had a complete attack of the CBA's, it was too hot for doing intervals but I never managed to get on a bike either. Think I was possibly taking taper a bit too far.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Club Run

Quite a bit faster and further than I was expecting, no idea exactly as I left the Garmin at home (after switching it on to let it find itself, d'oh and I set off running still wearing the strap too). 6/7 miles maybe but not at a social pace at all, very enjoyable actually. Knee was fine and legs actually felt the best they have for weeks, apart from my lower legs they still belong to someone else.

As the easing off is working and the run wasn't at social pace I decided against riding in to work today. I also remembered I am on call this weekend and have to bring my laptop home which meant a laden ride on the Spesh rather than an easy cruise on the road bike. Just hope there are no bank holiday problems on the M6 on the way home.

8 miles on Saturday (short, short, short!). Hopefully get the road bike out for a spin on Sunday as its forecast to be warm. 6 miles of "intervals" on Monday/Tuesday, I will speed the legs up a bit but not flog myself and then my last run on Wednesday. I'm not going down to the club as don't want to be doing a run like yesterday so close to the marathon (eek).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shuffle is alive.

Had a last ditch effort to resuscitate the shuffle yesterday, I stuck it in a bag of rice and put it in the airing cupboard overnight. This morning it was working fine, fab. I have left it charging but obviously will have to avoid getting it so wet.

Quality time with the foam roller

Had one of those silly "accidents" yesterday, pivoting round on my left foot except my foot stayed where it was and my knee twisted instead - in the staff kitchen of all places. It hurt for a while but at least did calm down but as I was trying to stretch it out I realised how very tight all the muscles round the left knee are. I couldn't do a simple quad stretch without feeling like I was pulling my knee cap off to the side.

So riding plans abandoned and an evening of stretching and rolling for me. It hurt, a lot but I think it has helped sort things out a bit. Club Run tonight hopefully to see how things are.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

RIP Shuffle

Shuffle is dead, its not taking charge or switching on. Maybe it didn't like getting a soaking? I've had it a couple of years I think and it even survived me shutting it in a car door but it is no more so I need to get another one.

I quite fancy the look of the new 4Gb shuffle but Apple have put the controls on the headphones, leaving aside all sound quality issues with Ipod headphones the buds are just far too big for my ear holes, they fall out when I'm sat still never mind running. Unless I can find some aftermarket ones (Sony preferably) but I think the unit is a little new for that then I'll be getting another 1Gb one.

To be honest that will be enough, I only use it for running, I've never managed to put 1Gb of songs on my running playlist and they are now £30 so not too bad.

Long (ish) Run on Sunday

A rest day on Saturday which turned out to be the better day weather wise unfortunately but my legs needed the break. I was getting ready to head out about 1pm on Sunday but I got a message from my friend asking if I could come and help her with her shopping as she was now on crutches!

About 30 minutes into her very first snowboard lesson her free foot had slipped off the board and her knee twisted very badly. She was in agony and had to have a big orange splint put on and be taken out of the Chill Factore to A & E on a stretcher with gas and air. It caused a bit of a "commotion" apparently (a trifle understated I think).

Nothing actually broken but likely ligament and cartilage damage, ouchie. I think a straightforward break of the leg would have been a better outcome. When I think to the amount of times I used my free foot as a brake coming of chair lifts (as I'm rubbish and have no ability) on a board I think I've been quite lucky.

I picked her up and took her shopping. The biggest downpour of the day happened when I was driving her back so at least it saved me from running in that. I was starving when I got back and even though I knew that a Tartiflette was probably not the best thing to be eating before a run its all I really had easily available.

I eventually got out the door at 15:45 into the wind but no rain at this time. I chucked arm warmers into my bag but it was actually quite warm for running. Plan was to do an out and back route 6.5 each way at 9mm. 13 miles, no more, no less.

I headed out towards the A59 again, into the wind but at least it would generally be behind me on the way home. Hitting the narrow lanes I could tell the camber was not helping my hamstring at all. About 4/5 mile in it started raining, then it started heavily raining and I was now feeling cold. I spotted a dry patch on the other side of the road and ran over to shelter under a tree and get the arm warmers out, which were a complete pain to get on with wet arms. The Tartiflette was weighing very heavy and I never managed to completely rid myself of the slight nausea of too much in my stomach.

I set off again and was soon wishing I had brought gloves along too as my hands were freezing. The rain was really driving into my face which wasn't ideal as I was running alongside a road and couldn't see the cars approaching. I spotted a footpath which allegedly was going to cut off a bit of a road corner and set off down it to get away from traffic. The rain was still heavy and I was shivering. At just over 6 miles I thought sod that for a game of soldiers and turned round.

It didn't take long till the back of me was soaked too. My Shuffle started playing up then died as I got back to the road. I was sure I had only just charged it but it was dead. The rain eased off quite a bit soon after so I took in an extra little loop to keep the distance up then headed back home.

It felt good to be heading back homewards this quickly, the wind mostly behind me and the rain had stopped. A fairly steady trog back, a lot more puddles around than before though. About a mile from home my left foot and ankle really started to ache, just under the ankle bone. It really was painful, it felt like I had gone over on my left ankle but I haven't done that since February. I had to stop to cross a road so tightened up my shoe to see if it helped, seemed to but there was still an ache. I was going to be just under the 13 if I headed straight to my front door so I took the longer way into my street and ended up at 13.1.

Arriving home it was nice not to feel utterly dead, very cold but not as battered as last week. Straight into a hot shower then some food but not having to eat epic amounts like last week.

13.1 miles at 8.50, bit fast but I was really cold on the second half and needed to get warm. I am so glad I didn't have to do anything longer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thursday Club Run and a Friday Tempo Run

One thing I've just about had my fill of now is running on my own, it was necessary to get the miles done at the pace I needed to do them but after the 21 miler I am now verging on bored! It doesn't help that I've backed off the MTBing lately too as my legs have been battered from the running and Jez is away.

I was tidying up last week and found the cheque I wrote for my club fees in the bottom of a bag, I was supposed to hand that over at the last XC I did - in February, d'oh! So another reason to get down there.

It was a nice social paced run but my legs felt totally dead and heavy, hills felt difficult and odd so I'm going to have great fun once I start hilly offroad running again. I'll be building it back up almost from scratch again, sigh. I think it was just over 5 miles but being a muppet I forgot to start the Garmin for ages so just a guess.

Friday was supposed to be a tempo run, 1 mile easy then 5 miles at around 8:40 pace . It was windy and grey but actually good running temperature. I managed to dodge the showers. After the easy mile I set off too fast which I was surprised about as my legs just didn't feel like they belonged to me at all. I kept running too fast then it dawned on me that I was going to hit mile five as I was running through the centre of town, no chance of maintaining a consistent pace.

So I changed the plan to a four mile tempo which fitted in better with pace I was running at anyway, I worked hard on the last mile and had gotten progressively faster as the run went on:

8.33, 8.20, 8.12, 8.04

Which I was pleased about as I really felt like I was running with someone else's legs, I wouldn't have gotten that speed out of them the day before. However, once I gave my legs permission to slow down it was like they wanted to stop completely. They came back eventually after about 5 minutes of shuffling but it did show they are really still quite tired. It was a good plan not to try to run fast through town, all the biddies had decamped from the grey prom and were getting in my way in the town centre.

The plan was to rest on Saturday as the forecast looked better for Sunday then out for my long run, a nice "short" 13 miler. I couldn't believe I was regarding a 13 mile run as "short". Only two hours runnning instead three and a half!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Puncture free commute yesterday

I rested on Monday and continued eating food like it was going out of fashion, my legs still felt a little battered so rather than run I thought I would ride to work on Tuesday to save some impact on my legs. The upshot of eating all day Monday was I woke up on Tuesday starving, how does that work? I can't remember the last time I absolutely had to eat before riding to work but I did on Tuesday.

No punctures but not an incident free ride in. About half a mile into it I heard something hit the ground, I looked and the Garmin was still there (I'd already knocked that off the bars as I set off) but my little light had fallen off and skidded across the road. As I stopped to retrieve it a car came along and run over it, smashing it into tiny little pieces. Arse! It wasn't one of my super duper expensive lights thankfully.

After that I was blown into work by a strong tailwind with almost no effort on my part. I spotted Mr S heading the opposite way to me and I could tell just by looking at him he was finding it really hard work. I got to work in less than an hour, with seriously no effort the wind was so strong.

Ride home was a very different story, very strong headwind. I rode on the drops for most of it, to get out of the wind a little and have more control over the front wheel. When the wind stopped being in my face it decided to swirl around everywhere and the front wheel really seemed to catch it. I had a few moments where the bike just got blown sideways.

I didn't bother trying to fight it and got home in 1:14, 15 minutes slower than the ride in. I quite enjoyed it really, probably because I wasn't trying to flog myself to death and I was on the road bike, if I was on the Spesh it would have taken longer and felt much harder.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last Very Long Run before the big day.

I just couldn't motivate myself to go out and run on Saturday, the weather was rubbish during the day. I got out on Sunday instead. I wasn't looking forward to the run at all until I started getting my kit ready and then I seemed to acquire some motivation from somewhere.

Plan was for 20 miles at 9:35 mm, a bit more distance if my legs were up to it. I planned a slightly different outward route this time, still flat and still tarmac but lovely lanes. I felt much better at the start than the last long one, running felt smooth and was holding it back a bit at the start but I have learned that this restraint really does pay off later.

As I knew where I was going for the first 7 miles or so it was pretty uninterrupted, in a world of my own really. At the first map check I had a gel, a couple cycled past with their kiddy on a bike seat on one of the bikes, with a potty strapped behind the seat. Okay, odd thing to see! Incidentally these are great lanes for cycling so will no doubt be getting the bike over this way soon.

My left leg was a little grumpy here, hamstring still stiff but some of the lanes were narrow and had pronounced camber at times and I figured this was contributing. Out to Much Hoole and another map check, I decided to head back up the A59 then through Walmer Bridge and out towards the Marshes again.

I knew where I was again so this was pretty uninterrupted running. I got to the marshes at about 12/13 miles, can't exactly remember. I had another gel here then carried on running, I didn't have any of the faff I did last time deciding which footpath to follow so I was soon back at the road and on my way to Longton.

I had been drinking a lot on this run, a lot more than last time even though it wasn't as hot a day. As I suffered after I ran out of water I headed into Booths to top up, get some jelly babies. A fair bit of faff getting the bladder topped up without spilling water anywhere, I put a handful of jb's in my pocket and set off again. Legs a little creaky at first but soon settled into the plod again. I started eating jb's and just kept on eating them, don't know if I was hungry or just glad of the distraction.

Out of Longton, under the A59 and noticed another bike with child seat and child heading other way, recognise my friend V and her little girl and stop for a chat. I don't think I've seen a bike helmet that small before! 15 miles in at this point and my legs are hurting, setting off again was hard, not too bad once I was going though.

Out of New Longton I kept plodding on, as starting running again seemed to hurt most I tried to keep moving all the time, which made crossing the roads a little interesting. Soon I was at Booths in Penwortham and 18 miles in. I could choose to take the cycle route home, 4 miles or a more direct route, closer to 2. I went for the four, don't know why but my legs started running that way before my brain had time to catch on I think.

It has a long gradual downhill which hurt quite a bit, my left knee in particular was getting very grumpy and my feet were hurting. My feet didn't hurt at all last time but I had more cushioned socks on. Plod, plod, plod.... I got to 21 miles and things were really painful. My left knee felt like it was on fire, though it wasn't ITB pain thankfully and I had a stitch. I had a good stretch then carried on but it wasn't really improving and my feet were sore. I also noticed that my gait was changing as my knee felt quite stiff. At 21.5 miles I had an attack of sensible and decided to stop, go straight home and not go for the other 0.5 mile.

I had been debating this for about a mile and a half but refused to stop but it was hurting and I don't want to injure myself this close. My No.1 goal for this marathon has always been to get to the start line uninjured. So, I walked the last 1/4 mile home, shaking and stretching my legs as I went.

Back home for recovery drink, a shower and compression tights. One of the problems I have after long runs is eating, I'm not sure if its a case of no appetite or just too knackered to contemplate sorting anything out but I'm sure the fact I didn't eat much after the last really long one contributed quite a bit to me coming down with a cold. This time I had left overs from last nights dinner waiting for me so I made myself eat it. It was like force feeding myself for the first few mouthfuls but after that I was shovelling it in. Then a small slice of cake, then a larger slice of cake, then a banana then Jez asked when I wanted dinner and I replied ASAP!

So a large portion of Gorgonzola risotto (yum), some ice cream and a glass of wine and I finally felt almost full. Hopefully this will help me recover better this time!

So 21.5 miles, 3:22 of running time, 9.26 average and a little faff. I'm not sure the last mile properly counts though.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back to running

I started running again last Wednesday, at first an evening run in Tockholes woods exploring some tracks I have been meaning to for ages. No pressure, no plan other than to just get out there. It was also very windy so thought it would be more sheltered. I'm usually passing through the woods on the way to/back from a longer run or ride and never really take the time to detour. Some of the tracks were excellent, some less so and they all could do with drying out a little before taking a bike on them. I had good fun, scrambling up muddy banks, ended up with two very muddy knees. I got a few funny looks.

I did realise my legs have lost the ability to run hard down steepish hills though, nearly buckled my legs to prove it! That will need building back up again. Just under 5 muddy and windswept miles, nose still running in an annoying fashion.

On the Thursday I headed out to do the run I had missed over the weekend: 10 miles at 9mm pace. It shows how the training has progressed, a few months ago I would have considered 10 miles a long run not an after work jaunt. I had a good run even though my legs were feeling it a quite a bit from the hills the day before (bit pathetic really) and I managed bang on 9mm average. Nose still running and occasionally blocking up but definitely on the mend. I had a rest day planned for the Friday before my last stupidly long run at some point over the weekend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Been Quiet...

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth but I ended up coming down with a heavy cold the Wednesday after my long run, boo hiss! I had a rest day after the long one, then another rest day on the Monday as I woke up with a really stiff hip - my own fault as I spent a lot of Sunday sitting on a hard chair, slouching, cross legged which is always really bad for my hip. I have an air cushion thingy I sit on at work to stop me from doing it and support my hip generally.

A day of stretching and it was fine on Tuesday. A colleague and I were discussing on Tuesday morning that we had both woken up a little sniffly but had dismissed it as hay fever/stuffy building as we felt ok. That would turn out to be an incorrect diagnosis! As I felt ok I set off for a hard interval session at lunchtime.

Planned session 2 sets of 4 x 400 m. Legs a little stiff setting off but soon were up for it. I set off way, way too fast for the first interval and it felt like my speed was yo-yoing all over the place. I contained myself a bit better for the remaining 3 in the first set. Rested then set off for the second just as fast (good thing I suppose). I was really enjoying myself but at the back of my mind I did know I was pushing too hard. The penultimate interval was the fastest, as often happens but I still felt ok on the very last one. A jog back to the office feeling pleased with myself.

I had thought the timings were all over the place but looking at the stats:

Set 1: 1.43, 1.42, 1.44, 1.43
Set 2: 1.44, 1.44, 1.39, 1.42

Due to a clogged up M6 on the Wednesday I ended up working from home, I was fine in the morning but by the afternoon I knew I was coming down with something. I pulled out of riding and rested but Thursday morning I could barely get out of bed. I would have stayed in bed if the bedroom telly hadn't been stolen but I took up residence on the sofa for the day watching rubbish.

Strangely, I wasn't panicking too much at that stage. I know if I have to take a day off work then I'm not going to have shaken the cold in a couple of days, I had done a good long run so just concentrate on getting better.

I had a short, easy MTB ride last Sunday morning as a tester, the cold was still with me a little but my heart rate was doing normal things. I was recovering well from effort and felt like I could've gone on and ridden more by the end but I was drowning in my own snot which made breathing difficult sometimes so I decided to have another couple of days off before resuming running again (still wasn't worried at that stage either).