Friday 30 November 2007

Up with the larks...again.

Today was my third day in a row of getting up around 5am. It's getting beyond a joke. Went to the gym on Wednesday and planned on doing the same again today. Marco was on the red-eye to London yesterday, which pretty much means I was awake as soon as he was. Although he's as quiet as a bird, I just can't sleep with him moving around. For some bizarre reason I'm still holding it together. I really like early mornings. It's the late nights that kill me. I'm worth nothing after 10pm. It was Marco's plan to go out early this morning, as he missed training last night. As soon as the alarm went off he was trying to wriggle his way out it. Pah! I was awake so it was up and at it. Anyhoo, I'm starting to waffle a bit..

15 minutes of rowing (3070m), 10 minutes on the bike (3.6), some core work and leg weights. Nothing too crazy, as today's a "rest" day. Think the tank was a bit on the empty side though. My stomach was making ridiculous sounds and I could feel the acid rising. Lovely. Now I'm struggling to drink coffee, as it's burning me apart. How am I supposed to cope with this afternoon? Right, I'm off for some Rennies.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Nothing unusual to report...just a hard 5.6mile run with club tonight. It was on my favourite route though - through Bearsden, up Stockiemuir, pass the ski club and along Drymen Road. The first three miles is mostly up hill, so it was easy to steady pace. Picked up the pace to 10K-1/2 and then flat out to the Arnold Clark garage. Average pace was 8.30.

At the finish, a pack interloper offered me some "constructive criticism" about stopping runners hopping on to the road to overtake. I was practically chewing off my cheek, as it went in one ear and out the other. I mean, we're all adults. If I started acting like a dictator instead of a guider, I'd be huckled off the nearest bridge. Mmm now that gives me an idea... ;-)

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Hat trick

The plan for tonight - route from home, which involves a few briefs stints in total darkness. Following the frustration of trying to run with Marco's head torch a few weeks ago, I went on the search of a alternative. Santa (well, my Sister) is bringing me a super lightweight one, but I stumbled across this cap light on my search. Anyone who knows me, knows that I barely ever run without my cap. I'm practically naked without it. To the capped-fraternity this nifty little invention is pure genius. It's marketed at fisherman, but their missing a trick with runners. It weighs next to nothing, but lights up the path better than the headtorch. I was a bit dubious when it arrived. I wouldn't have been surprised if it was like a couple of matches on your head. But for about £5 from ebay, it's a sound purchase.

OK, praises over...let's talk about running. I'm very excited to write that I did my seven-mile tempo in 57.05 - that's 1.5 minutes faster than a few weeks ago. Average pace 8.07 - which is faster than my half-marathon pace. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6.31

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Porsche hill reps

I have a love-hate relationship with this session. It's a great route, but my lord, it's tough. Let me explain ;-) There's a steep killer that goes on for about half a mile (OK, OK about 200m), then plateaus round in a circuit. At the next corner (heading back to the start) there's steep descent at recovery pace, before you turn back and blast back up for about 30 metres. Recovery back down...and it starts all over again. The "less able" clan and I managed four. Fast guys did six. And I think Ali Mo is still out there.

Don't know what my times were, as the circuits were continuous. Whole session covered about 4.5 miles. Felt really good and light on my feet. Especially on the shorter hill.

Hi Stephen. Hope the blog's going well. Sorry about the wee breather award. You're now going to the big bad fire.

Monday 26 November 2007

Monday miles

I never usually have any trouble on a Monday morning. I'm generally quite annoyingly positive about starting a whole new week, but this morning I struggled. After a weekend of over-indulgence, travelling and lack of sleep, I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. My body ached and my eyes looked like swollen, sunken slits. Even copious amounts of coffee and lots of web surfing didn't help me through the day.

So the best way to counteract a weekend on the sauce is to get straight back into training. OK, it's also the best way to secure heart failure.

I was keen to do some reps. Possibly something between 200-600 metres, but somehow Marco managed to convince me to do mile reps. So after work we headed to Knightswood Park to do the mile route round the parameter. This is a route that Marco and the fast boys used to do on their special invite-only training nights. He wibbered all the way up about this being a rough session, but it was the best session to help with my race times. I don't know whether he was preparing me for the worst or simply limiting the moan factor.

Anyway, it was tough. But I really enjoyed it. Well, apart from going over on my ankle on the first leg and the pesky dog owners who let their horse-like hounds chase you down the street. At least the geese were well behaved.

Planned on three milers, with 2/3 minute recoveries. Times were 6.54, 6.43 and 6.43. Going to try for four next time, with a view to getting up to six. Aim to get reps under 6.30 by end of January.

Friday 23 November 2007

Frozen Friday

I'm the first to admit, I have been getting a bit cocky about running of late. Some might say obsessed. But it's the first time I've ever been inclined, let alone focused, on improving my speed. After this morning's performance, I've definitely been grounded.

As I'm off to London for the weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze in a long (ish) run before work. OK, it was only 11 miles, but I thought it was better than nothing. I thought wrong. As my dear old friend Kas would say, I ran like a bag of spanners. Now, in my defence there were various factors against me: I was pretty gubbed after three hard training sessions on a trot, I had to get up just after 5am, I didn't have much for dinner last night and completely avoided breakfast. Excuses, excuses. But the main reason was it was BALTIC this morning. -4 when I started. I just could not heat up. My muscles felt really cold and stringy the whole time. The pavements were sheets of ice, so I spent most of my time tinkering round them. Even the rabbits were looking at my funny.

I would have thrown in the towel, but I decided than a tough run on empty would be good training for the WHW. I even managed to convince myself of this when I passed the tube station.

By the time I got to the office, my eyeballs were frozen, I had icicles hanging from my nose and my skin felt sunburned.

The route from Bowling to the office is exactly 11 miles. I'm not even looking at the time or pace. The salty tears might sting my weather-beaten face. Next time, I'm taking a recovery day. Aye, right.

Thursday 22 November 2007

A nice hilly six-mile club run through Bearsden. Yippee. More hills. Just what I need after yesterday's session. Moaning aside, I was glad we weren't going over the west-end. I think I've had my quota of Maryhill Road and Great Western Road for the year.

Took out pack E, but met a stranded Pack C-er on the way out. She taggled behind us for a couple of miles. Stopping and looping back on Rannoch Drive really slowed down my average pace (I know, I'm an a*se now). Made the decision to leave her after Boclair. Thankfully her friend, who runs in our pack, stayed back with her. Ran the rest of the route with Dave Heppell. I still don't know who was trying to kill who, but we kept up a ready good pace. Up Kilmadinny, along Manse, down to Station Road and then up the dreaded Pendicle %-) The fast boys started to overtake us at that point. Ali Mo looking like a gazelle - with his wheezing disciples on tow. Marco was getting slagged for upping the pace when he saw me ahead. And there was me thinking he had given up trying to impress me ;-) Up last the hill past the Porsche garage, Dave and I were still pushing each other. I gave him the big spiel about Lesley saying I should finish hard, which I don't think he was delighted with.

6.2 miles. After initial stop and start, my average pace was only 8.48. Pants really.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Hilly and chilly

Opted for lunchtime reps today, as I'm off to a show tonight. In true Glasgow style it's dull and p*shing of rain. I was almost tempted to use the treadmill in the gym, but remembered that it wouldn't count. I'll save my treadmill rant for a quieter moment.

Headed out to Kelvingrove with Marco, with a view to do some hillreps. It was supposed to be a steady run out, but managed to get caught up to my 10K pace. In the park, I introduced him to the cheeky wee number that Sara, Ali and I used to run. Approx 100m with a tough steep bit at the top. My description of hills are legendary. Marco chose Kenyan hills, whereas I went for the straight forward up-round the monument-and back down as fast as possible. Managed five averaging 1:47.

Then it was over to the steps at Park Circus. A set of three continuous flights, to get the fast twitch muscles into gear. I've finally found a session that I keep up with Marco. Actually, I think he was trying to humour me, but hey ho. I like being humoured. Six sets - with 0:38 being my best time.

Back to the office looking like drowned-rats.

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Timed Efforts

Yep, that's what the Garscube schedule stated. Like every other member, I turned up expecting a 5k time trial. That's what the coach sneakily described it as before. I never thought I see the day when I said this, but I was disappointed it wasn't a time trial. It was a rep session based on pyramids. Reps on time (ascents and descents) rather than distance.

Despite my morning trauma of my morning tooth extraction, I was really looking forward to the time trial. More because I wanted to gauge what improvement my new training plan had made.

Anyway, it wasn't to be. Timed efforts it was. The packs were broken up differently tonight. Usually I do Tuesday sessions with packs slower than me. But tonight I was out with the three packs above me. It was very tough, but very worthwhile. It gave me more confidence to know that I could hang on behind them.

5.5 miles. Reps 1min, 2mins, 3mins, 3mins, 2mins, 3mins, 3mins, hill up to the top gate, recovery.

Had a long chat with coach Lesley regarding next step in the training plan. We discussed key races, club runs, speed training, tempos, training pace and WHW training runs. She going to compile a plan based on this. My main focus is a January 10k, Balloch half, London Marathon and WHW.

Saturday 17 November 2007

Balloch Horseshoe

A tough 16-miler is the essential prerequisite to an afternoon in the pub. Scotland play Italy today, so we're meeting the crew for a bender.

I woke up at 4.30am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Tossed and turned before giving in to BBC 24 viewing. When I set out for the Balloch Horseshoe at 8am, I was a little on the tired side. My legs were fine, but my heart was racing and my chest was really tight. After a few miles I was right as rain. Started to pick up the pace, even though the route is fairly hilly and I was cursed with the runner's wind. No, not the too many brussel sprouts wind. The runner's wind is the wind that's in your face no matter what direction you're running in. Considering I always run circuits, I always find this phenomenon hard to explain.

Route - home - Balloch - horseshoe - bonhill - Dumbarton - Renton - home. 16 miles. Total time 2:18:14. Pace 8.39. Weather wet and windy.

Even finished my last mile with a hard run. From the sweet shop home in 6.31. That's 20 seconds faster than last week.

Don't think my post-run bagel and apple lined my stomach enough for a day on the sauce. I was gubbed before the football had even started. Obviously the kebab-shop demolition on the way home was a fabulous idea. A feast for athletes.

Thursday 15 November 2007

hard five

Club run tonight. Shocked to see that the schedule had a hard five run, considering a lot of folks will be running the Glasgow Uni 5-miler on Saturday. Or maybe the coaches realised that the majority of the Scottish population will be watching the football that afternoon.

Had a really good run. Legs were totally fine from yesterday. The route was 5.5miles round the west end. A few cheeky wee hills to slow you down though.

I realise and understand that there are varying degrees of ability within our club, but let me tell you about something that really annoys me :-x The faster runners who wants to join our pack because they "feel rubbish/sh*te/unwell". As if that's not patronising enough, when they out with you they start skipping along beside you. Feeling charitable if they slow down and wait for you. Bugg*r off, we're not taking any strays anymore. Rant over.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Best west test

Went out at lunchtime and did my usual 7.5 mile route round the west end. Aimed for two miles easy and then tempo. I usually use this route to test how far I can run in an hour. Managed to take three-four minutes of my time! Woohoo tempo runs seem to be working for me. Finished the circuit in 59.34.

Off to Tiso tonight to hear Simone Moro talk about his adventures on the seven peaks. If I detect a glint in Marco's eye, I'm out of there.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Short but sweet

One minute intervals. 4.5mile route from my house through Balloch over the bonhill bridge. Set my watch for one minute alerts (yes, Marco, all by myself) and off I went. Why oh why do all the fast minutes happen to be on hills? Felt really light, even when I started. Thought I might have to crank my legs after Saturday's journey. Finished route in 35.34, which was over a minute faster than last time. Aim is still sub 35 before Christmas. Nice wee route to test times.

Monday 12 November 2007

You Know You're A Runner when ....

Your partner complains about how cranky you are if you miss your training run
You have to think of your run schedule to remember what day of the week it is
You can name at least 3 writers of running blogs
The family holiday just happens to coincide with a race in Paris, or New York, or Rome ...
You actually think "It''s only 26.2 miles"
You wake up thinking about today's run and go to sleep thinking about tomorrow's run
You drive your route after your runs to find out how far you went
You even dream about running
Giving directions, you give the distances to the nearest metre
You use the words "easy" and "long run" in the same sentence
You continue running despite the fact that your eyelashes are stuck together with ice and snow
You cross the finish line of a marathon and you start considering when the next one will be
You can say "fartlek" without a single hint of a laugh
You spend your free time reading nutrition labels and race results
You are running a race and your calves are cramping and your knees are aching and your lungs are burning but you still find yourself thinking, "This is fun!"
You'd rather run than have s*x
You notice that the only footsteps in the snow are yours and they are from yesterday
You leave the New Year's Eve party at 11pm because you have a race in the morning
You have to drive for 20 miles before you find a road you haven't run on
You have your race schedule set out for 5 years in advance but can’t remember your work schedule for tomorrow
You pee in public when you aren't drunk
Your partner suggests that you give up running for Lent

Saturday 10 November 2007

Meeting the gang

After weeks of nervous anticipation, I'm glad to say I survived my first WHW training run. I neither want to question my sanity or fake an injury. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm really looking forward to it. Meeting some of the "family" has put me at ease. We met at Drover's Inn at headed north to Tyndrum. After about a mile we naturally split into groups. No guessing where I was. And you won't need clues to guess where Marco was. Yep, I was at the back with the social ones. Marco was up the front trying to put everyone in an early grave. So much for his race tactics for being the "dark horse" ;-).
The run was great - albeit wet and windy. It was nice to share nerves with WHW virgins and gain some knowledge from the more experienced.
I chat mostly with Ellen. She's off to do the Everest marathon next week, so we gibbered about running, trekking and altitude.
When we got to Tyndrum the lead group had been there for sometime. Davy was contemplating which way to reject the Cullen Skink that he had consumed. Not an obvious choice, but I'm sure there was reasoning. I didn't hang about for long, as I had to get back to Drover's toute Suite. Marco and I had a wedding reception (Tom and Caroline's) to go to in Aberdeen. I ran the whole route back by myself. The rain had stopped, but the wind was still pretty strong. The Way backwards is actually much tougher going south in this section. There are some nose-bleed hills. Anyway, made it back in one piece. No aches, no detours, no dramas. I must thank Sharon for the en-route text entertainment though.

By the time we got to the hotel, the wedding party were mulling about. We were trying to disguise ourselves at the check-in, whilst the reception stared us up and down. We were slightly mucky with crazy hair.

Once we were cleaned and spruced up, we un-did all the good we had done by drinking copious amounts of Corona. Our legs were a little heavy, but we managed to dance all night. OK, it might have been more of a upper-body shuffle. By 10pm the energy burning run had taken it toll and Marco took out woman and children to get to the buffet. Watching him devour stovies and macaroni pies (only in Aberdeen) was not the romantic break I had in mind ;-) I won't even begin to list what he demolished for breakfast. Or explain his theory behind his "extra stomach when the food is free". Again, thus confirming his status as the fattest skinniest man I know.

Thursday 8 November 2007

Park reps

I'm off out tonight, so will miss training. Went out to Kelvingrove Park with Marco at lunchtime for some reps instead. There's a wee circuit (about 600metres) that we used earlier in the year.
My lord, it was windy. leaves, litter, cars flying round about us. My legs felt a bit tired, so battling against the wind and dodgy the suits on the way through Park Circus was not pleasant.
Opted for five reps. Marco, on the other hand, opted for nine - for reasons which escape me. He set his Garmin for one minute recoveries. My session was much less structured. I ran. And then ran again when I felt like it.
2.23, 2.18, 2.17, 2.18, 2.15. Now before you laugh, there's a belter of a hill in the middle. Well, that's my excuse.
Now I'm off to a curry comedy night. My life is just oh so glamourous.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Love shine a light

Thought I best add some light to my dark back road runs, so I swiped Marcos head torch. If anything, it would be good training for the first and (fingers crossed) final stages of the WHW. After about half an hour of adjusting - cap, no cap, over ponytail, under ponytail, adjusting straps, maneuvering lamp - I headed out on my usual seven mile tempo. After the initial drama, I had it off before I got to the end of the street. OMG! It's like running with a table lamp on your head. It's far too heavy. And that's the lightweight one. I ran with it in my hand until I got to areas without street lighting. The light's OK until a car comes along. Then it takes awhile for the eyes to readjust. Think it may take a few shopping trips and trial and error to get use to using it.

Anyhoo...back to the run. Felt really good and light on my feet. Really thought I was on for a good time, but was gutted to notice that I'd messed the timer on my Garmin with the stopping and starting for heargear rearranging. Did the last stretch (from the sweet shop) hard run in 6.49. Last time I timed it, I was 7.22.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

First day on the job

As a newly qualified coach, I was in charge of taken out the packs A-E for 1000m reps. I was hoping to wiggle my way out of training tonight - playing the I've just raced card - but needs must. Jill had emailed me to see to the "less able" ;-) I hope she was referring to the pack beneath me, and not my troops.
It was a bit of a drama, as there was a big split in ability. Even the warm up down to Great Western Road took some maneuvering.
I managed to fit in my reps - at 4.30m - around looking after the gang.
There was even more of a drama when a random refugee decided to swipe Ailsa's jacket - which she'd tied to a fence. She found him in a bus shelter trying to stuff it up his jacket and gave him a colourful mouthfull of Glasgow hospitality. Girl Power!
By the time we'd finished with the reps and I got everyone back to Garscube it was after 8.30.

Sunday 4 November 2007

Ready, steady, Eddie

Eddie's half-marathon today. Considering my DNF (barely started actually) in Glasgow and my performance in gale force winds in Prestonpans - the only way was up.
Decided I wanted to finish in a reasonable time (average for me) rather than going for a PB.
Started out very steady, as there's a gentle incline for the first few miles. Paced the race pretty well and finished in 1.47.17. I wish I had gone faster in the middle, because I practically sprinted the last few miles. Loads left in me. Suppose it's better to finish strong. Definitely gives me more confidence for the next race.

Mr Debs put in a dazzling performance. Finished in 5th place with 1.17.

Got home in time to watch the end of the New York marathon coverage. Paula the great outsprinted her nearest rival to take first place. It was very intense viewing. I was screaming and jumping so much, I'm surprised I haven't got an ASBO.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Tempo six

Club training tonight. Six mile tempo. Two/three miles steady. Two tempo and one steady. Not a bad wee session. Felt better than I have done on Thursdays of late.

Bloody boiling tonight. 16 degrees. In November. At night. Who said global warming is over-rated?

Marco kept up with Alasdair Morrison - huge milestone in our household - so he could barely turn the key in the ignition. Somehow I think I'm going to be hearing about this for the next couple of days ;-)