Saturday 26 March 2011

Thanks, Anita

Another amazing creation.... I love it. Thanks, Anita.

Thursday 24 March 2011

All in a week's work

How do you taper? There is lots of conflicting advice, isn't there? This year started with cram-training because I was scared of undertraining. Then with the rapid increase in miles - mainly road miles - I was concerned about overtraining. Then I hit taper and someone mentioned the concept of de-training and then there was more panic.

Personally I like to knock back on the miles, but stick with some speed work. Not de-training, but possibly overtraining? Who knows?

Mon, March 14: 8 x 3 mins (60 sec)
6.58,6.52, 6.59, 6.29, 6.32, 6.55, 6.44, 6.41
Tues, March 15: 6 miles easy
Wed, March 16: 3 x 10 min (2 mins)
7.10, 6.58, 6.51
Thurs, March 17: Club session with 2 x 2 mile tempo
Fri, March 18: Rest
Sat, March 19: Rest
Sunday, March 20: Get this. I did 42 laps round the pond in Victoria Park. Even the ducks wanted to throw things at me. I thought it might help get my head round the repitition. It didn't. 12.5 miles all in. Although I felt so good doing a normal long run and being home for 10am.

Mon, March 21: 15 x 1 (30 sec)Average 6:30 - although the last one was 5:57!
Tues, March 22: 5.5 miles easy
Wed, March 23: 8, 6, 5 (90 sec) 4, 3, 2, 1 (60 sec)
7.11, 6.50, 6.58, 6.44, 6.43, 6.52, 6.07
Thurs, March 24: 5.5 easy

That's all from me, folks. I've hung up my trusty Garmin and my ipod for the foreseeable future. I just need to stop eating my supplies for Sunday now.

Saturday 19 March 2011

D33 in pictures

Congratulations to all who completed today's D33 Ultra on The Deeside Way in Aberdeen.

Click here for some race pictures

The race was won by Grant Jeans, who broke his own course record, in 3:29. Scott Bradley put in stirling performance breathing down the neck of the course record holder in 3:30. My Sonic came third, taking 20 minutes off his PB, in an amazing time of 3:38. In the girls race, Lucy Colquhoun took pole position in 4:05. Our all-American girl, Jamie Aarons was second in 4:24 and Claire Imrie third in 4:35.

Friday 18 March 2011

Mothers' of multiples: I salute you.

I almost choked with laughter reading Andrew Lemoncello's weekly training diary. It all sounds very lovely. A wee run in the morning. Nap. Wee run in the afternoon. The bagel run on a Thursday sounds particularly exhausting.

Granted, Mr Lemoncello, you can run faster than I drive. But just by way of contrast, here's a day in my life. Wednesday being the example.

I got up before 6am to hit the pool before work. 100 lengths - front crawl no less. And it's a 25m pool, in case you think I'm splashing about in the spa. Ironically, I view this as my morning "off". I say this in the loosest term, as it means I do and sort everything the night before. Sonic has to dress and feed himself and Cairn, but still manages to be spectacularly late for work. 11.30am is the record so far. For a 9am start.

I'm out before 7.45am and at my desk for 8.30. First meeting is at 9.30 and the morning goes a bit t*ts up. I was supposed to meet the boys with the jet-propelled legs for a lunchtime speed session, but a few dramas later and I'm ten minutes late. Oh well, a lonesome 3 x 10 minutes with two minutes recovery. 8 miles all in.

Back to office, quick shower and I slide back into my office trying not to draw attention to the fact that I've been out for 20 minutes longer than the allocated lunch hour. I hope my employers are as lax about the concept of "lunch hour" as they are about the concept of "9-to-5".

Afternoon of juggling my department of one, which not only covers my own position but anything that no one else knows how to handle - namely readers of our beloved newspaper. I have many bizarre conversations which I tip-toe around in fear that a recording will reappear on some radio wind-up show. Note to self: Call switchboard to remind them that Newscastle is in fact not in Scotland.

Although I try to leave the office at 5:30, I'm bombing to the car at 5:50pm to pick up Cairn at nursery - which closes at 6pm. Sometimes I get the sweet satisfaction of not being the last parent there. Rarely though. I'm sure there's a Dad there that tries to race me.
On the five mile journey we sing songs from Cars (I’ve lost control of music choice) and get super-excited at the site of trains, buses, planes, ducks, trees and clocks. Quick detour via the petrol station and Tesco and I arrive at the front door laden door with shopping/gym/nursery bags, with my head doing 360ยบ to make sure Cairn doesn’t make a run for it. And we’re home. Phew!

First of the evening duties is Cairn's dinner - home-made of course - which has to be eaten with the Buzz Lightyear Spoon and splashed on the carpets and smeared his hair.

Then it's bathtime, but not before I scrub the bath that Sonic used to clean the mud from his trainers that morning. The pre-bath ritual usually involves me chasing him (Cairn that is, not Sonic) and removing items of clothing which are deposited around the house. There's often a screaming match as I try to coax him into the bath. Once he's in and realises that soaking the floor is really good fun, there's often a screaming match as I try to coax him OUT of the bath.

I dry him whilst he clings to my neck and try to pin him down so I can apply lotions and put his pyjamas on. I liken it to trying to put shoes on an octopus. Then he has a bottle of milk, which he drinks very, very slowly, as he has wised-up to the fact cartoon viewing is over when it’s finished. Despite watching Cars/Toys Story/Thomas for the 715th time, it’s still compelling viewing for a two-year-old. NB: I also lost control of TV viewing.

When I tell Cairn it’s bedtime, he jumps round the sofa and hides behind the curtains. I draw him out by telling him there are "spiders in there!” to which he shrieks and crawls out. I rue the day that the spider trick doesn't work.

Story. Bed. Bliss? Not quite, now I have to answer all the missed calls from office and proof pages for the next day’s paper, which can keep coming until 10pm.

I make dinner, which is pre-packed vegetables with baked potato - nuked in the microwave - accompanied by a tin of tuna. Healthy, nutritious and requires limited involvement. Whilst said dinner is nuking, I clean the kitchen floor and sort out clothing for the next day.

After dinner, I’ve got a basket full of washing to do. Two runners and a toddler keep the laundry cycle pretty fluent. Then I tackle an ironing mountain, which is more challenging that some of the hills I run up. The only saving grace is that I can catch up with missed episodes of Glee.

Bed at 10.15… Me and Mr Tim Noakes… before it all starts again the next day. Thankfully I’m in taper for next week’s 62 mile race, as high mileage weeks are way more dramatic. Night, Mr Lemoncello. Good luck with your 26 miles. Look how we’ve reversed the digits

Monday 14 March 2011

There's an old saying that goes...

If you want to run faster, you have to, erm, run faster. Simples? Well, these days I've been running slower and getting faster. Go figure.

I generally run 5/6 days a week and include a swim session mid-week. Friday is my beloved rest day. I do an easy/steady run on Tuesday and Thursday and weekend runs are as they say on the tin: long and slow. Now I reserve my effort for the spped sessions I do on a Monday and Wednesday. Focusing on two days really seems to be working for me. There's a little bit of zip in my happy-plodding pins.

Here are a few examples. Some of you speedsters may snigger, but this is good for me.

MJ's Wednesday session:8 mins (90 sec rec), 4 x mins (60 sec rec) and 8 mins: 7.08, 6.51, 6.51. 6.32, 6.27 and 6.52

Club Monday fartlek: 3mins, 4mins, 5 mins, 3mins, 4 mins, 5 mins: 6.58, 6.39, 6.53, 6.40, 6.57, 7.00

MJ's Wednesday session: 5 x 5mins (75 sec rec) 6.58, 6.47, 6.44, 6.47, 7.01

So basically by running slower, I'm running the fastest I have have ever run. But guess what? In two weeks time, I'll be back to square one. Simples?

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Waterboarding, anyone?

As some/most of you will know, my next race is the Anglo Celtic Plate in Perth at the end of the month. Some of my trail-loving friends may find it hard to comprehend the idea of 100K on the road. Flat road at that.

To be honest, it's not something I would have willingly signed-up for, but to wear the Scotland vest is not an opportunity I can pass up on. But for those who remain aghast at the concept of 62 miles on tarmac, please allow me to delve into the true layers of horror.

Firstly it's a 1.49 mile lap. Now, I'm not good with maths (terrible, in fact) but I knew that was a lot of laps. 42 in fact. Ultra-running supremo, Jez Bragg informed me that it was "42 opportunities to eat, drink, change kit, lap up the atmosphere from the roaring crowds". Personally, I think that’s 42 opportunities to throw myself in the river!

Then I was informed all GPS and pacing devices are prohibited. I haven't run without a Garmin - even when I was preggers - for about five years. I'm not sure my feet will work without it. Thankfully we're allowed to wear a watch and I had the sense to go pace the course last month.

There are also strict rules about feeding/supports stations. Runners must pick up and drop off at the tables only. Support can't move along with the runner, which is incidentally what I was going to get Sonic to do.

The race starts at 7am on a Sunday morning. Now I quite like an early start, especially for travelling home afterwards. But the day chosen for the race is the day the clocks go forward, so really it's 6am in my head. I probably won't sleep for worrying about what the real time is.

And finally, runners are also prohibited from using ipods, MP3 or similar devices. Of course I discover this three days after buying a new ipod nana with inbuilt radio - specifically for this race. All not lost, as I'm sure I will make good use of it. But really? 62 miles of just me. Alone. With only my crazy thoughts.

Next time I'm going to opt for waterboarding as a more humane and civilised form of torture.

...and then the postie delivered my lovely new kit, and all is forgiven and forgotten. I've put in the miles (I think!) and I can't wait.

Taper time, folks. Don't you just love it?