Sunday, 31 May 2009

Hot Sunday Hot

Hot day was forecast but having got back late and generally feeling wiped out I knew joining Running Fource for an early morning ‘long’ was out of the question. Instead the garden wall got the lick of paint owed to it from Thursday and what with other ‘stuff’ to do didn’t emerge over the threshold until 4pm. As promised it was hot but took it very easy and stuck to shaded paths were possible. Route was a good’un – even if I say so myself: Sauncey Wood, Great Cutts Farm, Little Cutts Farm, Peters Green, Bishey Wood, Kimpton Bottom, Blackmore End Mackery End & home. Lots of paths – many of them new to me - or at least seen before but never traversed. Did just over 10 miles in quite a long time: which is fine with me.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Lee Valley (but not the usual one) Intervals

Away for a few days so packed just a short sleeved running top and longish shorts. Over breakfast heard on the radio temperature was going to hit 25 so knew I had to get out and soon (would a running vest really have added that much to the overall weight of my holdall?). Struck me it had been a while since short intervals had been on the menu so ten to twelve 90 seconds intervals with same for recovery were the order of the day. Warm-up took me down Carr Lane (first time for about 30 years) and over the M62 to Netherley, or Lee Valley as it now seems to be called. Intervals took me on the circumference road round the tower blocks now replaced by aspirational housing. Perhaps not the most scenic of routes but it served its purpose and well worth it for when my best Southern Counties “Good Morning” was greeted by a 100% full-on Scouse “all rite” by an old guy walking his dog. Felt exhausted after the eighth interval so decided I’d do just to the 10 reps. However, somehow lost count and what I thought was the tenths interval was actually the eleventh and as I couldn’t possible end on an odd number I had to go for a twelfth. Jogged back a convoluted route that took in The Park, the “railway path” and the Asda petrol station. Six and a half miles in all of which the intervals spanned the middle four.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Harpenden Hill Reps

The fine weather of the last week or so has been placed by damp and cloud so painting the garden wall was out of the question. Had already decided on hill reps before checking the weather and so late morning headed out into the drizzle for a bit of pain. Made sure I did a good 10 minutes warm-up before starting on Westfield Rd and then did every uphill road on the way back (St James Rd, Lea Rod, Ox Lane, Manland Way/Stewart Rd & West Way) finishing with Manland Ave. There was a strong easterly wind, but thankfully only really hit it on Stewart Rd). Probably took it a bit to easy as didn’t feel awful at the end but at the same time couldn’t face running up Station Rd. Still, 6.5 miles under the belt and an afternoon staring out of the window at the rain to look forward to – bring it on.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Redbourn and Rapeseed

Bank Holiday Monday and Running/Curry Fource (well 50% of) are out patrolling the byways of Hertfordshire again. Another late start (07:30 – I could get use to this) and Niall was already waiting for me at the end of his road. This is worrying; I’d already seen an e-mail from Kenny crying out with the too much work excuse (at this time on a Bank Holiday). And with Niall obviously raring to go, that easy run I’d been promised was looking less and less likely. Luckily (for me at least) Niall was still getting over a nasty case of Man Flu and his keenness was more to do with wanting to be back by 08:30 than the usual quest to run me into the ground (phew).

A trip over to Redbourn was quickly agreed and off we headed on another mild (15 degrees) but cloudy morning. I took Niall’s heavy breathing on the first hill as positive reinforcement that we wouldn’t be killing ourselves and when he mentioned he was open to cutting corners I though all my birthdays had come at once. And so once on the Nicky Line skirting the outskirts of Redbourn we did indeed cut a corner and crossed the road to join a footpath directly opposite the entrance to the travellers’ site. I had a feeling I’d run this path once before in the opposite direction and as it turns out I was correct although I wasn’t able to confirm this at first as we traversed a field chest high (I’m only short remember) with Rapeseed. I think it’s fair so say the footpath is not extensively used and was for the most part overgrown to the extent that I made the comment if you were to fall you would probably lie there for weeks before being discovered. The path improved thereafter as it tool us round the posh golf course and I brushed up on my knowledge of great battles of 1066 (Battle of Stamford Bridge: King Harold II of England defeats the Norwegians under Harald Hardrada and of course Battle of Hastings: King Harold’s run of good luck come to an end thanks to Duke William of Normandy).

So back into Harpenden via Rothampsted Park and home for 8:30 on the dot. I’m not sure how far we ran, as at the moment I can’t find my running watch... [EDIT: Just over 7 miles - found watch in my running shoe (don't ask)]

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Solo Sunday Someries

Running Fource was replaced by running solo this morning as Dave had a small matter of 26.2 miles in Rotterdam to deal with, Niall was under both the weather and the thumb and Kenny was well I’m not sure, although he does have that “it’s too far, it’s too fast” mantra of his to deal with. So I get to sleep in and didn’t head until mid morning – OK make that 07:30.

Planned route, which for a change I actually stuck to, was an anti-clockwise loop in the direction of Luton. This involved heading out on the ridge to the east of the Lower Luton Road, through Peters Green bearing towards the airport and the Someries before tuning left into Copt Hall Road which gives you a mile of glorious downhill (although funnily enough I’m not quite so full of praise when running in the opposite direction), turning left at the bottom onto the Upper Lea Valley Walk and back to Harpenden. The new foot/cycle bridge over the Lower Luton Road at East Hyde is a joy; however, progress upgrading the rest of the path is painfully slow.

From the moment I set out my legs felt heavy and sluggish – I know I did a short ride on the bike round Chiswell Green yesterday but for the most part I was taking it very easy (OK except for that bit on the way back on the Harpenden Road – well I wouldn’t want to be overtaken by another cyclist would I?). So I was glad to be out on my own and taking it very easy. The weather was glorious: about 12 degrees, sunny and best of all no wind. Yes no wind – fabulous. The flies were out in force but the paths were generally nettle free (give it a month). The first section of the route along the Lower Luton Road was OK that time in the morning, but in future I think running up Bower Heath Lane and cutting left at the junction at the top would be a wiser move. So all in all about nine miles, one big hill and back home before 8:45. Sorted.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Thursday Intervals

Rather unusually there were five us for Thursday intervals this week. Chris was back, having spent a number of months out with IBS, while Markus, having suddenly found his workload much reduced, was also able to make a welcome return. The warm-up jog down to the start was all the more interesting when Dave dropped the bombshell that this autumn he’ll be swapping his pin strip suite for a stab resistant tweed jacket as he’s signed-up for a PGCE teacher training course. I wonder if they will teach him the fire extinguisher shuffle and how to get out of a locked stockroom – or was it just my school that was so welcoming to new teachers.

Anyway, having dodged the Tower of London tourists we finally made it to the steps at the start of Spirit Quay for the session through to Narrow Street via Shadwell Basin. Six times three minutes with two minutes recovery is the order of the day and we’re off. Complete the first interval with Markus and Chris and finish following three generally with Chris but falling further and further behind Markus. Damn I need to get that guy out on a Tuesday with Lockett’s Rockets and see how he handles running with the big boys. From here on in stomach doesn’t feel so good and start and finish the fifth and sixth intervals well behind the dynamic duo. Feel happy to be able to complete the final interval with a couple of surges even if my speed is nothing to write home about and I’m not actually racing anyone.

So a good session overall. I didn’t need a wake-up call to tell me how slow I’ve become but having Chris there certainly hammered the message home