Tuesday, October 31, 2006

So close but yet so far ...

I was disappointed with my run tonight at the Bridge Inn. I took it out hard but really fell apart in the last kilometre. I guess all the hard work on the weekend just took its toll but I still can't help but feel disappointed. To come so close to a new Pb to have it snatched away in the last km is just plain annoying. I finished in 18:12, just 2s adrift.

I will be back. More determined than ever. I will train better than I've ever trained before. I will succeed - and you can take that to the bank.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hit jim today

He didn't seem to mind! More correctly, I hit the gym after work today. Strictly no running. It was an OK upper body workout - got keep those pecs in shape and the abs defined, don't you know. But to be honest, I did cut it a bit short. My heart wasn't really in it. In fact, I've been a bit lackadaisical (nice word) at the gym of late. I'm going to try and put in a bit more effort over the next few weeks.

On the running front, my legs feel a lot better today. The aching and pain has gone from the quads. Yesterdays run, although tough, has proved worth doing as I think I'm going to be ready for the race tomorrow. Not sure if I'm going to break any records but I recon I should at least be able to take it out hard and try to hang on.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Sunday

Well, we had a no show by one of our younger runners (whom shall remain nameless). Took it out for around 55 minutes this morning. Through Leigh Woods, around by Abbots Pool and back in for a loop of Ashton Court. We had a fairly good pace going especially considering the couple of hills. It was good to see Sean running so strongly at the end, really pushing up the final hill. He seems to have acclimatised to these slightly longer runs.

My legs felt achy come the end but still managed to work hard in the latter stages. Now I can enjoy my well earned rest day tomorrow before the Bridge Inn 5k on Tuesday. I hope to run somewhere near 18 minutes but it all depends how well the legs recover. To be honest, I'm not too worried about the time. At the moment it's all about being ready for Luton. Saying that though, I will be disappointed if I'm outside 19.

All in all I've managed some excellent training this weekend and in fact the whole week. Just need one more long run next weekend (24 miles!!!) and I'm sorted.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Big miles

Twas a good run this morning. Clocked up about 22.5 miles with no sight of the wall today. The time was a bit slow but there were a couple of contributing factors to this. Firstly my legs felt a bit tired to start with. I guess I still have a bit of last weeks race lingering in them, so I decided it was wiser not to push it too hard. Secondly, have you ever tried running in Leigh Woods when it's been raining? I decided I would stay in the woods for about an hour. I think I must have run up and down almost every path there is! Boy was it slippy in places. Made the wrong shoe decision as well. Should have used the Walshes and not the road shoes. In places I had almost no grip and had to take it really slow to avoid going down. Finished off with half an hour on the exercise bike to let the legs recovery.

Tomorrow it's Ashton Court again for our normal 10am run. Suffice to say I will be taking it easy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lazy git

Had a nice (not very) healthy chinese last night and tonight I can't be arsed to train. At least it proves I haven't got a total addiction to running (although sometimes I feel I'm going that way). I must get out for my long run tomorrow though, regardless of how wet it is. I know I've got to do it and trust my iron will and determination to see me win the day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Tracky situation

The track surface was a bit wet tonight but thankfully the rain held off during the session. No chaffed nipples for me this evening! Tonight we ran eight 600's grouped in 4 sets of 2 with a minute recovery between the 1st and 2nd then a longer 2:30 recovery before repeating. I averaged 1:58's per set and managed to push it on the second rep of the pair to nudge it just a little faster than the first. The pace was about right as I had to work really hard on the last couple to maintain the pace but managed to hold it together. Considering the race and yesterdays session I am well pleased. I have a prior engagement tomorrow so won't get out to train and I'm going to rest on Friday so I can get out for my intended long run on Saturday. I hope to put in about 22 miles. Followed by 24 the following Saturday (as long as the body holds together that is! At the moment the signs are good).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Interval in the park

Tonight's interval session was back over at Combe Dingle on the grass, the first time this autumn. I'm still recovering from Sunday so I took it fairly easy. The full session was 2 x 6 minutes, with 2 mins recovery followed by 4 x 3 minutes, with 1:30mins recovery (the last one only had 1 min recovery) and then 6 x 1:30 minutes with decreasing recovery from 1 min. Suffice to say I let myself off the the final six reps. I ran the 6 and 3's hard though and although my quads felt heavy the rest of me seemed to work OK.

I'm looking for a half marathon in mid November. I intended to run an even pace and will try to get 81:00 / 81:30. I learnt a lot about myself on Sunday. I (think) I know what level I'm at and hope to apply that knowledge successfully. I believe I'm capable of running 6:10/12 minute miling. We shall see.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Managed to put out the flames

The official results of the Stroud Half Marathon are now online and my chip time is 2s quicker than the time I clocked myself. At 1:22:51 that's a new Pb in its own right by an earth shattering 2s. There's nothing quite like spending almost an hour and a half and thirteen miles punishing yourself to claim a 2s Pb!

And race suggestion just in, the Weston Prom Series 5 mile races, next race takes place 16th November. As it's pretty close to home it seems like an obvious choice.

PS, I was the first Bristol and West AC finisher (doesn't say much because there weren't any good ones running!)

Crash and burn

Well today was the day and, as per my suspicion, I'm not quite ready for 1:20. I set off on 6 minute 5s pace (and if anything just a tad quicker which probably added to the burning). I was through 5miles in 30:23 (an unofficial Pb by about 1 minute 15) still feeling good. The hill at mile 6 to 7 was made harder by a tough wind. It was after mile eight that I began to slow and the slowing was pretty damn rapid. Still managed to get through ten miles in another unofficial Pb of 61:39 (by about 1 minute 40). But by then my average pace had dropped to 6:10's and continued to drop. I was f***ed ... I mean spent.

The last three miles were all about hanging on. It was tough. With the wind picking up into your face it was not the most enjoyable twenty minutes I've ever had. My pace over the last three miles was shocking, 6:50's. I just could not go any quicker. Each time I tried to inject some pace I came up blank. I had nothing left in the tank.

My finishing time (unofficially) was 1:22:53. Amazingly, this is exactly the same as my time at Bristol, and I mean to the second! I'm hoping my official chip time will by rounded down to 52s but it could, I guess, go the other way. We'll just have to wait and see.

So, am I disappointed? Not really. I pretty much knew that I wasn't quite ready to go sub 1:20. I don't blame the conditions either. Although there was a bit of wind, the conditions were pretty good. It was cool and the rain held off for the most part. The cold truth is that I'm just not quite ready to run that quick. It was a good learning experience though. To find out what I could or, in this case, couldn't do. At the start of the year I was targeting this race at Stroud to go sub 1:25. I achieved this and more. Setting numerous Pb's at distances from 5k to half marathon. All in all it's been a good year and I don't feel in any way disappointed. In fact, my unofficial timings at five and ten miles have given me a big boost (and these timings are based on my GPS distance/time which were pretty much exactly to the race distance markings). I believe I can definitely break 30 minutes for five miles and get down to 61 minutes for ten.

Now you'll have to excuse me as I'm off to find the next available five and ten mile races!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Long run day

Today I went on my normal long run, out into the hills .... only kidding. Actually, I enjoyed the delights of defrosting the freezer compartment of my fridge. Boy can that baby produce some ice. There was so much of the stuff I didn't know what to do with it all. First off, I considered building myself an igloo. Then I came to my senses with the idea of selling it on eBay for any would be house building Eskimos, I mean Inuit people, out there. Then finally I came up with the idea to beat all ideas and bung it down the drain. Oh yeah, the little grey cells were cooking on gas today.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Just a jog

Went for a gentle twenty minute jog, and I mean gentle. Tonight's run was about feeling ready for Sunday rather than gaining any training benefit. The hard work has already been done.

I've been drinking water like a fish and cooking pasta like an Italian. The final critical component for me is to get enough salt. I know the advice from the health police is to cut down on salt but I add it by the bucket load to my cooking in the last phase before a long run. If I don't I get cramp in my calf muscles. All that exercise and drinking water seems to flush salt out of my system so it's vital I get enough.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Today's session (suprisingly) today

Met up on the track for the Wednesday session. All the usual suspects were there. Captain Rick had a nice easy session planned for the lads. Four sets of 800m followed by 400m with a sharp recovery of 30 seconds between the eight's and four's with a longer 3 minute recovery between sets. The boys dun well, sustaining good pace throughout, although as per normal, one or two (who will remain nameless) went off a bit quick on the first rep. I gave myself permission to only run the eight's as I'm on my taper. I felt good and ran nice and quick, the last couple covered in 2:31 (which is not that surprising considering the 5 minute recovery). It's still good to run them that quick, while feeling easy, especially considering my PB is only 2:25!

Everything still remains in (good) working order - which is nice. Just need things to hold together for four more days until judgement day. I'm aiming to run Stroud on 6:05 miles. Just saying it, sounds scary. Don't know if I'm quite ready for that kind of pace yet but as Dell Boy would say, Monge Tou Rodders, Monge Tou. Oops, I mean, He Who Dares, He Who Dares.....

Yesterday's training today

Went for an easy session yesterday. Forty minutes at a leisurely pace. Just going through the motions (oh er) really. Nuff said.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Easy like Sunday morning

Twas the seventh day before Stroud and all around was quiet but for the gentle crescendo building to a veritable cacophony of expectation ... what the hell?

It was an easy hour run today followed by an hour on the exercise bike at fairly hard interval level. The legs are well rested and the tightening calf problem seem to have disappeared with the easing down through last week. I still have a slight ache in my left hamstring, which has been there since June. It doesn't seem to get any worse so I just ignore it.

Finally, a quick mention to Phil and Helen who ran the Cardiff Marathon today, conditions were not perfect, a bit too much wind ... stop it, I'm talking weather here ... but they both managed to achieve their goals. So well done.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I've been a bad boy

Have had back to back days of no training. In addition I have been eating entirely too many pies! I have been wicked and must be punished .... but not until after Stroud.

I intend a short run tomorrow morning and on Sunday then it's legitimate rest during the coming week with only a sprinkling of light training together with Wednesday's track session of course. I can't miss my track session now, can I?

Then, showing at a town near you, Stroud and the Half Marathon Of Doom, starring The Mad Runner. Miss it at your peril....

PS, I lied about the pies.

PPS, Cheers Nick

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This goes out to the boyz at the track

Yes - you know who you are!

It was another good session at the track tonight, ten 400m's with a 90s recovery. Each lap was between 72 and 76 seconds and we all managed to run fairly consistent, maybe a bit quick on the first couple but overall not too bad. Nick, Harry and Sean all started back up the track a bit, they gave me a head start on account of my old age and general decrepitness. On the first few reps they came firing past but as the session wore on there was life in the old dog and by the last couple I was managing to stay ahead, oh yeah, bring it on (I still had the head start mind but we won't mention that again).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The joy of hills

Today's session was a simple 6 repetition hill affair. We all had to wear our Sunday best as apparently they don't allow you into Sneyd Park without it, they don't want any old riff-raff moving through their streets, don't you know! The lap was approximately 1km with the first 400m along the flat before hitting the hill which got steeper towards the top and then a 200m dash (or not) to the finish. Managed to knock out all six within a few seconds of each other in an average of 3:46. A few months ago that would have been a good session on the flat so I am still heading in the right direction.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Walking harder than running?

Went for a walk in the afternoon with the brunel walkers group, first time out with them and it was quite relaxing. We went on a circular route that took in part of the Gloucestershire Way from Minsterworth to Longhope. It was only about 13 miles but I am amazed how tiring it was. I feel more tired now than after my run yesterday which seems so odd. The weather held off until about an hour to go when the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. Despite this, it was thoroughly enjoyable and a nice change of pace from the running. There were great views of the river Severn from the top of one of the hills we went up.

I would like to go out again with them, maybe on one of their more challenging walks in the Brecon Beacons. I will have to make the time because it is definitely something I think I can enjoy for relaxation.

Easy does it

My legs are fine today, not feeling any after affects of yesterdays run. I thought I might be feeling it in the calves but they seem fine. Went on our easy Sunday run, 50 minutes through Leigh Woods, along the tow path and back into Ashton Court. It's been a really successful training week, with some good quality sessions. Don't feel I've put in any wasted miles which is always a nice feeling.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A not so bitter pill

Had a great training run today, 23 miles of leg busting running out to Pill and Portbury, really felt the buzz afterwards. In fact, I covered the distance quicker than I ever have, and that includes my three rubbish marathons, and this was just training and on a hilly course. The marathons have been relatively flat and today's run was most definitely not flat. Really had to grind it out from Portbury up through to Failand on country lanes that take in the top of the hill just above Failand. Once I was there it was mostly downhill or flat, apart from a couple of miles around the Ashton Plantation loop which has another bad hill. Didn't hit the wall as such but I did have slight wobble at about 20 miles and had to mentally focus hard to keep going. Got through that and then picked up the pace to 7 minute miles, the fastest of the whole run, for the last few miles. The calves held up great, although the left one twinged a bit on the way up from Portbury but after that it was fine. Finished off with 15 minutes cooling down on the exercise bike at the gym.

I had my doubts that I could get myself ready in time to run Luton but now I know I'm ready. Luton is supposed to be a bit hilly and with three laps you get the hill three times. So my hilly long runs are perfect preparation. I feel I am totally ready for it. I should be able to hit 3:10 no problem. I don't want to go any faster than that at this time so that I'm not totally broken after and then I can run some good races over the winter period. With a good winter behind me I will be ready for a sub three attempt in the Spring. If everything goes to plan I shall be gracefully retiring from marathon running and looking forward towards duathlon/triathlon.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lazing on a Friday afternoon

Well, I didn't make it to training on Thursday but I did go down the gym. Didn't go training today either but hopefully the calf muscles will be at full capacity tomorrow for my 22 miler. I am going to run tomorrow's hilly run at 3:10 marathon pace and if I make then I am all set for Luton in December.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Running on the red stuff

Ran a great session on the track tonight. It was a pretty big session consisting of one 1000m, two 800's, two 600's and three 400's to finish, 5k of hard running in total. The calf held up brilliantly and I was able to run with full effort throughout the session. Ran the 1k in 3:22, the 800's in 2:40,2:38, both the 600's in 1:57 and the 400's in 72,72 and 70. I think I needed to have run the 600's a bit faster, maybe 1:54's but I will learn from this for next time. I'm going to do the interval session tomorrow night and then rest on Friday, maybe going to the gym straight from work to get in a upper body workout.

On the work front, the new job is going great so far. It all seems very interesting. I really think I'm going to like it. It's been difficult acclimatising to working again though as I have missed a few gym sessions this week. I am going to make a start of going for a small run before work and heading off down the gym straight from work before going for my evening training sessions.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Way out west, Aztec that is

Went over to Aztec West for some mile reps. Ran the first two in 5:36 and 5:39 which is thirty seconds quicker than I've ever gone before. On the third rep my right calf began to tighten again, I have been suffering with this for a few weeks now, so I slowed down so as to not aggravate it. I want to run a track speed session tomorrow so hopefully it will ease off by then. It is not really that bad, yesterday I was limping so it does ease off pretty quickly with a days rest. I will have to see what I do for the rest of the week though as I desperately want to get out for 22 miles on Saturday at 3:10 marathon pace. I will see how it is on Friday but I recon it will be OK.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well I made it but only just

There was a lot of flooding on the roads and the road to Aston Court was really bad. So bad I didn't think my car world make it through so I turned around and went the long way which made me late. So late, in fact, that the group had set off without me! They were just heading out of Ashton Court into Leigh Woods as I hopped out of the car. Luckily I had all my gear on, locked the car and shot off after them. I chased them down and caught up to them inside the woods. Again, luckily I chose the path that they had taken. There are a couple of ways you can go when you enter Leigh woods, so it was a good guess.

So how did the run go? Pretty good actually. I felt a lot stronger than I thought I would after yesterday. Felt good on the hills and overall really pleased. It was a relatively easy pace but normally after a long run, where I have worked hard, I am terrible the next day. My right calf is really tight now but then it started off that way so it's my own fault. Good news is that the left one is fine now and that's the one that has been giving me trouble of late so I'm not too worried. I recon it should be fixed by Tuesday for the session at Combe Dingle.

And finally, it didn't actually rain while we were out which was pretty amazing as there was thunder and lightning before and after. The gods were truly smiling on us today and we were blessed.

9am and it's raining outside

It's thundering outside and I up ready to go out for my 10am run in Ashton Court and Leigh Woods. Am I going to go? One part of me says yes but the other says, hell no. I think I will force myself to go up there and hopefully no one else will turn up then I can go to the gym instead.