Sunday, 28 February 2010

Too Slow

With a week to go to my half-marathon I've finally consulted a couple of training schedule. The general consensus seems to be that the weekend before the race, rather than going long, the recommended run is a hard 10K. OK with me.

Joy of joys woke up this morning to my least favourite running weather: blowing a gale with driving rain. Immediately switched to plan B - lunchtime run.

11:30am weather check - blowing a gale with driving rain. Plan C...

So finally leave the house at 4pm. Still blowing a gale but at least the rain has subsided. A quick check of the weather beforehand and I know the wind is coming from the north-west. Original idea had been for some sort of Rothamsted Park/Childwickbury loop but given the wind direction quickly hatch an alternative plan to head north up the Luton Road.

Boy it was hard work. The first two miles into the wind (and slightly uphill) were churned out at about 6:50 pace. Turning left onto Kinsbourne Green Lane, which starts with a short section of real uphill, and I’m paying the price for the energetic start.

Mile three was painfully slow (I can’t bring myself type out the split time) after which with the wind and incline in my general favour I was able to regain some lost time.

Anticipated killer stitch kicked in about mile four just as I was coming back into civilisation (well Roundwood). Took the easy option dropping straight down to The Luton Road by which time felt a bit better and so was able to push on.

With a bit of a wiggle round Leyton Rod managed to get back to The George with bang on six miles on the watch - average pace 6:54. Way, way too slow given its two seconds slower than target half-marathon pace. Let's hope it's not so windy next Sunday.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

One Minute Rocket Blasts

A great benefit of going to Rockets is doing sessions you wouldn't normally consider. Apparently it's the nationals this weekend (presumably different to the Grand National) so there weren't many fast folks out and those that were there wanted a light session. Hence, the call was 10 one-minute reps with 30 seconds recovery and a full minute at the turn.

Well that doesn't sound too bad does it? Unless of course you decide to run with the B pack... Karen was taking it easy (but still faster than me), however, Richard was full on and so I judged my pace off him. He got away from me on a couple of reps (including the all important 10th) but in general I was just about able to hang on.

It was good to see Niall's buddy Andrew Stubbs out today. He was saying how much he likes his new Nike Free running shoes. I don't think they'd work for me but it's great he has found something which is giving his running a real boost.

Of course real men run barefoot...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Back To Blogging

Following Friday's Hare & Hounds, Saturday's glorious long (16.1 miles), Sunday's itzy bitzy easy 5 and yesterday's rest day I was all geared up for good hard Rockets session today. All was looking good, with Chris intending to come along too, until I was called in for a one on one with my manager at 12 midday. When her manager also joined us making it a two on one I knew Rockets was looking unlikely. I finally left the office at the same time I need to be leaving the gym in order to make it to the Rockets meet point just about on time. Intervals will have to wait until Thursday.

So today's session ended up as a 5-mile tempo. And what an unpleasant experience it was. Driving rain is my least favourite running weather and boy did that rain drive today. Luckily I decided to head east for a loop round Limehouse Basin which meant the wind was generally behind me on the way back (but hideously against me on the way out). So given I got round 6:44 pace I'm not too happy.

Roll on spring.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


So as I came out from running under one of the canal bridges I was paying more attention to my watch than where I was going. My hand slammed into a metal post with the first finger taking the full impact. Result: instant blood, swelling and pain.

Session over. Hobble home.

Had completed an 8 minutes and was on the second of four 4 minute efforts. However, due to the lack of C runners had run the reps at B minus pace and so was already exhausted and about to pack. So didn't actually miss that much running.

Did hurt though. Still hurts now. Wont do that again in a rush.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Go North Young Man

After Saturday's solitary affair I fancied some company today and so sent out an invite for anyone who wanted to join me to be outside The George at 7:15 for a run towards St. Albans. Kenny and Tony replied in the positive and were waiting for me as I headed down the High Street at 7:14 having put in a couple of sneaky early miles.

10 miles was OK with everyone and with no firm route planned the guys were agreeable, if not somewhat bemused, when I suggested heading north for loop round Perpperstock.

St. Albans can wait for another day.

A few minutes into the run I had a mad fumble moment with the Garmin. The watch won and hence the route below starts just before Hollybush Lane.

I don't think the guys were over impressed by the scenery offered by the A1081, however, after three miles we turned left and had the opportunity to run up a wee incline. Kenny immediately noticed my change in form and threatened to tell Niall (Niall? Names sounds familiar but can't quite place him).

At the top we threw in a loop down Half Moon Lane (hmm - so many Transit vans and electricity generators!) before picking up Pepsal End Road for the journey home.

Having been sick the last few weeks, this was Tony's first run of the year and within a few miles I think he was suffering. No complaints. No short cuts. He stuck with us through to the end - a real mind over matter run. Respect.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Solo Saturday

Kenny snubbed my invite/offer to join him so I was left to run all on my lonesome this morning. With nothing planned for the day there was no rush to get out so I didn’t hit the street until just after 9am.

Yesterday’s mild weather fooled me into thinking it would be warm again. Wrong. The mist and light breeze kept the temperature down and heading into the wind it felt quite chilly.

With no particular route in mind I ventured out with the intention of doing about five on-road miles, at recovery pace, while keeping away from hills. Heading up the Luton Road I was minded to turn right, through Thrales End, over the hill, down to East Hyde and back along the carpet tarmac of the Lea Valley Walk. However, I figured that wouldn’t give me five miles and I didn’t fancy the prospect of throwing in a loop over Pickford Hill and around the back of Batford.

So instead I turned left up Ridegwood Drive, I road I’ve not run up before, and as I neared the summit finally formulated a plan for the remainder of the run: Kinsbourne Green, Expensive Christmas Tree Farm Lane, Roundwood Lane and home. On the way back through Harpenden I added a trip through Lydekker Park for good measure.

Just over six miles at a bone shaking average pace of nine minutes per mile. That should have the boys & girls at Rockets quivering in their spiked cross-country running shoes.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mile(ish) Reps

After Wednesday's recovery run and yesterday's rest day today should have been a straight forward tempo. However, I fancied something a bit different and decided one mile reps would be a good session. That idea evolved into four reps of 7-minutes at 6:30 pace with 3-minute recoveries.

Mid morning I had an e-mail from Marting inviting me join him on an easy Limehouse loop. The idea of company was tempting but I learnt my lesson over the summer that missing out on the tempo sessions is not a good idea. So instead I tried to persuade Martin to join me - I think he was tempted but having done Rockets yesterday wasn't game. He did, however, pour scorn over my proposed "deckchair recoveries". Hmm - OK then. 8-minutes, same pace, 2-minute recovery.

So headed out to St Katherine dock and started the clock once in clear space. It was a bit of a struggle to hit the right pace at first but with the wind behind me I flew down to Canary Wharf averaging 6:26 and 6:16 over the first two reps. After the turn with tired legs and negative wind assistance it was harder going but I still managed to pump out averages of 6:25 and 6:27.

Good session. I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Wet Rockets With The No Hope Mob

Thanks to a biting wind it was rather chilly on yesterday's unblogged recovery run. Today was a milder but wet.

Luckily there was a big turnout at Rockets so jacking was not an option. Richard has now firmly established himself as a B runner; however, there was still plenty of company at the back. Today's roll call included Chris and Josef from work, Mr "just in time" Wood and a guy wearing a blue jacket who I didn't recognise.

The session was ten 2-minute reps off a minute recovery. Yes - very similar to last Thursday's session (eight 2-minute reps off a minute recovery) but it's hardly my place to question the pronouncements from the mighty elite.

With the Christmas Mince Pie handicap still very much in place Martin and Chris proved to be poor competition (sorry guys - but I know you can both run faster than me) and so it was down to Mr Blue Jacket to fight it out to finish ahead in each rep. I think I 'won' the first two and last five with my new found foe taking the other three.

It would all have been quite satisfying if it hadn't have been for how much distance those blasted B runners put on us. Last Thursday I was within swearing distance of Richard - today I would have needed a mobile phone.