(picture: All runners. Although I look like a junior, I ran with the grown-ups)
Sunday, 30 December 2007
Saturday, 29 December 2007
Long run fun
Finished the 16 mile route in 2:16:42, which was 1:30 faster than last month's run. Horseshoe in 1:16:48. Average pace was 8.33. My goal marathon race pace is 8.20 and that's breaking my PB by 10 minutes, so (fingers crossed) I'm on track for my target time. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6:21.
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Tough day in the office
Or not so clever as the case may be. After a whole day of over-indulgence, I felt more stuffed than the turkey. The only solution was to meet up with my fellow Garscubians for a 12-mile trail run. I probably had enough calories in me to fuel me on the full West Highland Way, but we opted for a small section starting at Kirkhouse Inn in Strathblane.
(picture The Consani Brothers)
Captain Athole shouted "Everyone know the route? Yeap. Yeap. Good" before heading off and leaving a few startled faces behind. Thankfully I was more than familiar with this killer course.
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
Merry Christmas y'all
I had a very restless sleep last night. Despite being 32, I still get very excited about Christmas. Marco opened his eyes at 5am to have me glaring and shouting: "Can we get up yet? Can we? Can we get up YET?". He finally succumb at 5.30am saying: "Maybe we should have kids, so we can have a lie in on Christmas morning". Santa brought me lots of great goodies including a digital SLR camera, a Garmin 50, a lightweight headtorch, ipod radio connection and lots of pamper stuff. I feel positively spoiled.
I headed out for my run at 10am - full of Christmas joy and high on Liquorice Allsorts. Nothing too tough. It is Christmas after all. 4.5miles of one minute intervals. Finished my Balloch - Bonhill Bridge route in 33.57. That's 18 seconds faster than a few weeks ago and almost three minutes faster than October. Surely that deserves a chocolate or two?
Monday, 24 December 2007
'Twas the night before Christmas
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Icemen not Drymen
Out of the town and through Mugdock the grit trail was OK, but it was like dancing on ice from there on in. I was running on my own for most of the first section. Not because I lack social skills, but because the fast group were too fast and the slower group were, well, too slow. I think Marco felt bad about my no-friends situation, so hung back to run with me. Actually he ran off and then stopped to let me catch up. I found it really hard to run on the ice. It was like running on a treadmill. My legs were doing to revolutions, but I wasn't actually going anywhere. Now I know what a hamster on a wheel is like ;-) The slow pace meant that I couldn't heat up. I've got really bad circulation, so my hands and feet were like blocks of ice.
I sent Marco packing before Drymen. I was planning on getting there and turning straight back. The thought of sitting about in wet clothes in the freezing cold was less than appealing. By this point I was so blue, I looked like a smurf. John Kennedy (winner of this year's Devil o the Highlands race) passed and warned me about the bridge at Drymen, as the ice had made it quite treacherous. He also commented that he'd seen my My Race feature on the Devil's race. Oooh I felt like a minor celebrity. When I got to the bridge - as I'm slightly accident prone - I decided to make that my turning point.
The road from Drymen back on to the trail was my lowest point. The roads were a nightmare. I passed another three WHW runners on their way to Drymen. Looked like some of the group dropped off en route, as there was definitely more that set out. I could have easily thrown in the towel, but I had motivated myself with an incentive: to burn enough energy to enjoy guilt-free pizza and chips that night. Yes, I'm that shallow.
After the most boring part of the WHW, I was relieved to reach the steps back on to the trail. I met an elderly rambling group at the Way marker. I warned then about the ice on steps and the extremely slippy duckboards. As I ran off, I heard the distant sound of shrieks and whooping.
Heading towards the Killearn turn off the sun was trying to come up. Thankfully I was thawing out and feeling less murderous. The fast (er) boys past me shortly before Dumgoyach. Ian Beattie told me that he was: "keeping Marco at the back to slow him down". That made me giggle, as Marco is usually like a Labrador that's just been let out of a car.
My encounter with them was short-lived. I was on my own until after the Carbeth Huts, when I ran with Tim for a while. We parted when I had to stop for a comfort break. The fourth of the day. That's frosty weather for you.
On through Mugdock Park, there was a few hairy moments with unleashed dogs. Back on through Milngavie town centre and it was all over. 24 miles bang on. It's amazing how you can programme you brain to tell you body what you need. If you're out to do a 24 mile run, it's mind over matter. Tell yourself you're only doing five miles and your body will give you the energy for five miles, but not a step further. Don't know how my legs will react when I have to tell them 96 miles is on the cards.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Got a PB though. Even with the ice. Finished in 55.57. That's 23 seconds faster than two weeks ago. I finished the last mile hard, but not as hard as I could have. I knew I was on for a PB so I was a little more relaxed.
Before I started with Lesley's training plan, I usually averaged about 1:01 on this route. Pretty pleased that I've shaved off about five minutes. My aim is to get it under 55mins by end of January.
Not that I'm getting better, I'm off to do what I do best. Shopping, eating and drinking wine. It's the Daily Mail Christmas party in London tomorrow night, so I'm hanging up my trainers for two days. Perfect taper for Saturday's WHW training run. I'm sure there will be lots of carb loading too ;-)
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Yes, you've guessed it, it was fartlek tonight.
I generally view this as the fairy of rep sessions. Verging on the not-to-bad side of tough. Unfortunately tonight, I was teamed up with three packs above me. Therefore I was the goose breathing out my ears at the back of the group. Managed to keep up for bursts, varying from 100m, two minutes, 800m, 200m, 1000m, more random sprints and hungry hill to finish. It was only on the longer reps that I noticed a gap. Jill (coach for the evening) said that "it was a better session, as the runners were closer together. No waiting about". I'll take that as a compliment. Cheers, FB ;-)
Monday, 17 December 2007
I also presented Garscube: The Oscars. This is the club's alternative awards. More of a p*ss take. Verging on the offensive.
Anyway, after waking up feeling slightly delicate...and confused as to why I was wearing Marco's Santa suit as PJs...I was surprised that I was still looking forward to Kelvingrove step reps after work. Any other suggestion would have been thrown out, but this is my favourite session just now. I took most of the day to convince Marco into joining me. And it took us about 20 minutes to get out of the car. As the cars around us were freezing over, the great outdoors was less that inviting.
After a short warm up, we headed to the steps with a view to completing a set of 12. My muscles were cold and tight, but running made me feel so much better. Good start to the detox. Only three more sleeps to the next party ;-)
Times were 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.37, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36, 0.36 and 0.35.
The race was hilarious. Running down the switchback to the sound of honking horns and cheering pedestrians. Took the focus off my red wine hangover and aching legs. Finished in 24.55...without spewing.
It's the club's Christmas party tonight, so we booked a hotel for the night. I don't know what was funnier, going round Asda for the post-race munchies or checking in to the hotel. Dressed as Santa and an elf definitely raised a few eyebrows. It could be the new festive fetish.
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Royal Mail red-faced tale
Struggled for the first few miles until I warmed up. Didn't take long as, even though it's mid-December, it's still really mild. I took a pip-stop at three miles to remove some clothes. After that I felt like I'd been reborn. I've never been a fan of hot-weathered running. Give me 12 degrees with slight drizzle any day. I won't drivel on, but if you want to hear me hiss, just mention the 30 degrees of this year's Paris Marathon. Sssss.
Feeling cooler I started to pick up the pace. One thing I've noticed about running that wee bit faster is that there's been an increase in the number of "emergency stops" I've made. I'll spare you the details, but I'm sure any runner reading this will be nodding knowingly. At mile five I had to make an emergency sprint into the grounds of a country estate. Just when I thought I was at my lowest ebb, the postman decided to drive through %-) We've become quite familiar, as our routes pass frequently on a Saturday morning. It was the quickest I'd moved all day. Deeply embarrassed when he beeped and waved. Die. Hope there's another post strike soon.
Anyway with a redder than normal face (and I usually look like a Halloween cake) I pushed on. Feeling great, I was making up for time lost in the first few miles.
Finished the horseshoe in1:15:54. Home in 1:24:20. Average pace 8.32. Two weeks ago my times were 1:17:47, 1:26:03 and 8.43.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
So it was off to training for me...we did the Bearsden (ski centre - Stockiemuir) route in reverse. Didn't arrive in time for a proper warm up, so the uphill route through Bearsden was a bit of a struggle. Picked up the pace from the ski centre, down Stockiemuir, through the park and on to Milngavie Road. I was really keeping an eye on pace, but new we were under 8m/m from the ski centre onwards. New bloke, Davie, ran with wee Ann and I. Think we were a bit slow for him, as he was far more chatty. Finished the 5.6mile route on an average pace of 8.29.
Home feeling quite self-righteous. I'm sure there will be a few sore heads in the office tomorrow morning. I'm presently celebrating my abstinence with a lovely glass of red wine ;-)
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
When I left the Garscube Estate there was another running club in front of me. They kept slowing and looking round at me, as if they had left someone behind. Thankfully they turned down another street, and I followed on to Anniesland. Managed to keep marathon pace up to Knightswood and then picked up the pace to Lincoln, down to Danes, past Victoria Park and up to Anniesland. The last mile up to the Garscube Estate is our equivalent of Boston's Hungry Hill. A lot of our routes finish here. Just when your legs are tired, it's up and up. Nice fast finish down to the end though.
Covered 6.07 miles in my 10K PB time (0.6m faster than last Wednesday's tempo). Finished route in 50:21 (last week 55:43, although we did more of a recovery up last mile). Pace was 7.58 (last week 8.43). First time I've broken the eight minute barrier.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
I teamed up with new boy David. He hasn't done any races for a while, but I think we were about the same. Although I'm sure he was slacking off towards the end, as I seemed to be covering more of the circuit. Even on the recovery. Hey ho, I didn't have my Garmin with me, so don't know what the distance was.
Monday, 10 December 2007
Not really much to report. Did three reps in 6.45, 6.43 and 6.42 (two weeks ago is was 6.54, 6.43 and 6.43).
Saturday, 8 December 2007
This is a quote that I'll keep in the back of my mind, as I've spent most the this year just getting the miles in my legs.
I've really focused on speed and pacing over the past few months, so for today's 15-mile run I wanted to concentrate on hills and running form.
I chose a route from Hardgate through Bearsden, over the Langbank hill and then back through Milngavie. It's very undulating to say the very least.
I've been researching running form, so tried to put some theories into practice.
Running uphill: Increase forward lean (but not from the waist). Shorten stride. Increase arm, foot and knee drive. Switch to ball-heel foot action. Maintain breathing. By shortening stride and maintaining strike rate, it should be easier to keep moving at pace when you've reached the crest. Since the rate it there, you only have to extend stride length to regain speed.
Running downhill: Take the breaks off and roll. Lean forward from the pelvis. "develop a feel for downhill running so you flow smoothly with the hill like a mountain stream". The key is quicker turnover. Decrease stride at the start of hill. On steep declines, land on the ball of your foot. Push off from the heel. Strike lightly. Arms not needed for power - just balance. Stay relaxed.
The main aim was to try and keep a consistent strike rate - regardless of the gradient.
It was pretty windy out there and the hills really emptied my legs. The course takes in a few stonking hills. The last one nearly had me on my knees. Even the last two miles downhill was a struggle.
Finished in the 15 miles (drenched, frozen and cross-eyed) in 2:16:58. Pace 9.08. Pretty gutted, as I wanted to keep long run pace under 8.45, but the hills really slowed me down. On a more positive note, according to McMillian my long run pace (for my target 3.40 marathon) is 8.54-9.54. Check me out, trying to stay upbeat. Now I just need to get some life in my legs for my office Christmas party. After ceilidh dancing in heels, today's adventure will seem horseplay.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Six and a bit
Six mile tempo was on the cards for tonight. Or at least it was six miles until I took the troops on a wee detour and added on an extra half mile. Another oops. Route though Knightwood and back up Crow Road. We picked up the pace down Lincoln Drive (which is the road we shouldn't have been on) to 7.45 or 10k pace.
I couldn't help but notice that Knightswood must be the international culture capital of the world. There was so many different nationalities kicking about, it was hard to believe we were in Scotland. The girls were reminded of their location when a random runner sprinted through the middle of us, forcing me to collide with some tree branches. The harsh vulgarities I spat, were definitely apt for a Glasgow scheme. Little did we know that we were running in the path of Victoria Park's club race and were soon to be stampeded by superfast six-year-olds.
Tempo continued up to Anniesland. Felt this pace was quite steady for me. Could have easily pushed it. Glad that I can "lead" quite comfortably without have to kill myself trying to keep up.
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Wet 'n' wild
Started out OK. Didn't really hit the head wind until mile three. Being that little bit faster these days, I didn't find the wind as bad as usual. It was pretty full on most of the way home - with mile 3-5 being the worse. I was actually looking forward the dark, dingy bit, as I would at least be sheltered by the trees. The traffic at that bit was busier than usual, so I spent a fair bit of time hopping on and off the pot-holed footpath.
I covered 6.01 miles in my 10K PB time, so fingers-crossed I should be on for a smasher next time I brave the distance. I always been quite vocal about my hate for this distance, but now I'm really looking forward to it. Jack Crawford on Jan 12 is my goal.
Finished in 56.20 - that's 45 seconds faster than last week. Considering the blustery conditions, I was absolutely delighted. Last mile from the sweet shop in 6:21.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Anyway the group were split in three. Our pack was moved up to the intermediate gang. I knew it was going to be tough, because some of the faster boys had dropped back for an "easy session". There was me and three of my E pack that were pulled along.
The circular route is about 450m. A few sharp bends, but no hills. The wind picked up, so the last stretch was a struggle.
We did 10 reps - with a 3.5minute turnaround. Just for the record (the boring bit) my times were 1.41, 1.40, 1.39, 1.39, 1.39, 1.38, 1.41, 1.40, 1.41, 1.39.
Monday, 3 December 2007
Marco's a wee bit tired after his PB in the East Kilbride 10K yesterday came in 14th in 35:45. Funniest thing was that was the time I predicted for him. I'd even worked out the splits for him for that time. I'd even given him a lucky penny I found yesterday morning. Therefore, I'm taking full responsibility ;-)
Anyway, enough about him and more about me. Used his weak state to try and close the gap during the step reps. Hey now I'm a Consani I better state getting a bit more competitive.
We went for 12 x up and down. Times were 40, 39, 38, 38, 38, 38, 38, 38, 37, 37, 36, 35. Marco's average was 34 seconds. Close but no cigar :-(
Sunday, 2 December 2007
Now I'm off to the land of the roundabouts. Oh the glamour.
Saturday, 1 December 2007
I forgot to tell you about the cracker her came out with this week...
Apparently when he does his Wednesday morning run round the west end, there's a girl he passes on Crow Road. And apparently she's my double. So much so, that he's convinced it's me. At first I thought she was out running at this time, but he duly informed me that "she looks like she's never ran a step in her life". So, how can she look like me, Marco? Eh? He did try to retract the comment by saying: "I was just saying that she looks like you from behind". It's a good job I'm thick skinned.