Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Curse of the slow.

What the blazes has happened to me this week. I am Captain Slow (lets hope that phrase isn't trademarked by TopGear).

4 miles in 40.36
Average of 10.10 a mile

9.28 (0.8 flat, 0.2 uphill)
10.08 (0.4 uphill, 0.6 downhill)
10.47 (0.6 uphill, 0.4 downhill)
10.10 (0.2 downhill, 0.8 flat)

Where have all the (for me) fast runs gone. This should have been a 38min run ... and the 5k time was 31min- wtf is happening? I've had a relatively sensible diet (so sensible in fact that I've just eaten some chocolate and given myself a screaming sugar headache - that'll teach me). I'm hydrated (although not with the free SiS lemon & lime free sachet handed out with Runner's World last month - mingingly foul of foulest). I'm well rested. I'm eating my usual brekkie, resting then running. What is going on?

I suppose these dips just happen and I know that adding this extremely rolling landscape is going to knock the time a bit. I'm enjoying the running - I'm just feeling a bit despondent about the time - especially as I recently knocked out 8 sub9:30 miles in a row. I thought building up steadily at one extra mile a week would be able to maintain this pace- maybe I thought wrong.

Ah well, let me finish this post by saying a few more positive things.

1.Thank you to those that post - it's lovely to know that someone is out there reading rather than clicking through.

2. To all those who come over from RealBuzz - many thanks, I'll be back there soon (and back to my flat training ground - yipeeeeee).

And, finally a short review of the new trainers. (I'm sorry, by trainers I mean incredibly expensive and ridiculously over-designed running technology for the feet.)

I've only had two pairs of running shoes (as I've not been at this lark that long).
The Old are the Nike Air Structure Triax 9 - The New are the Nike Air Structure Triax X.

I loved the Old - they took me from complete beginner to where I am now. My feet have just about become runners' feet over that time. A little extra hard-skin here and there - prevents the old blisters occurring. And, the obligatory black-toe. They have done their time admirably. (So admirably I got another pair as they were in the sale as my 'second pair'.)

The New - well, the first wearing was the 4 mile stint this morning. They did well, no new niggles, no new settling-in blisters.

Excellent new cushioning - even bouncier than the last pair.
Shorter laces - whoooo hooo, just tie them, a quick knot and I'm done - to longer do the bows straggle around.
Only negatives - I think they might be a bit hotter than the old trainers (but this might also be a move to 1000 mile socks). And, this is quite a big negative, they are a little heavier, and I think my poor old legs could feel the difference (but that might also have been the damn hills).

I'll put a full review on Runners World when I can be arsed.

Lets hope the 10 miler at the weekend allows me to pick-up-the-pace a little.
Yours, with only a little despondency.

Monday, 26 February 2007

NEW shhhooooooeeeeeeeesssssssssssssss (my precious)

Yep - you've guessed it. New shoes day. I've even taken a pic so you can compare new and old - but I'll have to shoe-horn (har-de-har-har) it in when I get home and can access T'internet with real technology.

Went all the way to (delightfully pretty and damn right smashing*) Newcastle today. Found the shop I'd enquired at online. Did they have the new Nike Equalon? Did they *&%$. But, nevermind: I tried on the Mizuno things, and Adidas. Hmph, it appears my feet were made for Nike and no others. Mizuno - no cushioning,well that's how it felt. Sickeningly all the Adidias were far too narrow for my (quite frankly) neanderthal feet. (And given that Asics grip my heels like a blood curdling vice - my options are really becoming limited.)

So after all that I bought ... dun dun DUN - the new Triax 10 (and a pair of the old Traix 9). Got a free Adidas running jacket though.

Hmmm bought some gels too - thought I might try them out - see if liquid goo is my thing.
Very, very happy with the trainers - comfy and shiny and new; lets hope the poor old feet like their new housing.

Also got my hit from the greengodess - god bless her wonderful latte goodness (and damn her weird get-a-code-for-the-loo-security-locks). Then went and got some cultcha at the Baltic centre, after walking across and stopping (just for a second as I'm a ridiculous vertigo sufferer) to admire the wonderful Tyne view.*

* All opinions expressed may be ridiculously biased as my dad is a Geordie. (And we wont even mention the possibility that he has Maccum roots. He's going to kill me now... you may never get another post from me...)

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Making it snappy - Unlike the Run

Right, I'm on dial-up at a friends - so it's their crap technology and their 'phone bill. I am going to try and make it snappy.

Route was: roughly 2miles in an up-hill-ish way on a quiet country road.
Then 5 delicious miles round-and-round (in hamster wheel-ish way) a small country lake. (It was ankle deep mud, slippy as hell, rolling landscape and pissing it down for miles 3, 4 & 5.)
Then 2 miles home in a mostly down-hill sort of way.

For some reason I turned into a snail, and I bloody loved it! Splits below:

Run time 1:39.31
Distance 9 miles
11.04 average pace (WTF)


Wow - I don't know what happened - the slipperiness was a serious factor - especially over these duck boards covered in chicken wire - you knew if you fell it would be like impaling yourself on a cheese grater... ick.

But it was brilliant. It was so nice not to push myself ridiculously hard, I don't care (that much) that I was 14 minutes slower than expected. It was a great run, really relaxed, really enjoyable really muddy. Didn't feel knackered at the end - mental note, push harder!!! Revelled in just being able to run that far. Felt horribly smug.

On a sad note, my trainers might have died, this could have been the last straw for them... good job I'm off to get some new ones tomorrow. I had to soak the mud and grime out (not for fashion reasons, just because they weighed a ton and stank) - they are stuffed with paper and lying by the aga - but they might have run their last, they look all bent out of shape... I'm very sad.

Camelback was amazing - especially as it's now been adjusted to fit my frame. Hmmm, drinking and running and breathing simultaneously - a whole new era dawns.

Keep running people.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Toot, toot, toooooot - A HUNDRED POSTS YOUNG

My 100th post - I can't believe I've made it this far.

Miles run - 294 - they creep up bloody fast, don't they! Damn it - new trainers necessary.

Races run - 1 (but 2, 3, and 4 are fast approaching).

Today was also a first.

I went for a run without a watch or Orwell. A brand-spanking new experience. I think it did me good. I was running with the HUGE BLACK POODLE (did I ever mention we look after dogs?).
Being a boy (the dog) he needed to stop and scent* every 100m. He was almost turned into poodle sausages by the end of the run. I set off on a 4 mile jaunt and I can safely say that 3 miles of it were absolute hell. Massive amounts of self-doubt, irritability and general grumpiness dogged my every step. Hmmm, beginning to think that the longer distances really do make a difference.

But I made it back to the car in 39min (checked on car clock) - this despite the huge anchor-like dog who kept stopping and shock horror walking for about 20 steps at the half-way point (I was really really pissed off - see above). So it was about my average 9:30 pace which is good to know. I think it was quite free-ing just thinking about the run in its entirety rather than in little 1mile/split chunks. (But I don't think I'll be repeating the experience in a hurry - too much worry, doubt, and anxiety.)

Also had a chance to test out my new Camelback "dream". I have to say it did its thing admirably well. It's nice to have somewhere to stash my mobile, some cash and the keys. (Even if I did feel like a pillock only running 4 miles, when my kit suggested some kind of ultra.) The decision to get a camelback was made as I'm off to housesit for a friend for 10 days and the idea of running round where she lives (great countryside, very quiet roads) without my phone and some cash was just too daunting to bear. On long runs it is also nice to have your hands free.


Some questions. Why did it feel so rubbish today? I honestly thought I was crawling along - I imagined (in my head ... hmmm, where else would these imaginings take place I wonder) that I was doing 10/11min mile pace and was genuinely surprised/pleased to see that 9:30 was still on the cards. Why do I get so anxious before a run? Like an over-excited child.


I should manage to blog from hers (even if it's *shudder* dial-up) - so wish me luck - I intend to have a super hard training week with lots of yoga and plain food - got to fill in the hours somehow!

ps A massive thanks go out to sheactive (not affiliated) who were ridiculously helpful and got my order of socks and camelback to me super-quick! Used them as they were one of the few places I could order said Camelback & 1000 mile socks - which ROCK MY (sad and pathetic) WORLD.

* By scent I obviously mean: piss copiously, so copiously that I have to jog on the spot and wait for him; I swear that dog is made of 3% wool, 97% urine!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

New fastest Mile & Gear

Went to the gym yesterday - got to get those muscles up to scratch. Did my 1 mile (mini speed session in my head) and clocked up another best - 8.04 - delighted, especially as I wasn't dying at the end (and yes, this did mean I tried not to obsess about those 4 seconds - and failed). Although the 1 gym-mile will always be faster than in real life as when you get tired you can rest your arms on the sides and still keep going. A real run doesn't let you do that. I then did the usual bunch of machines - but not enough to feel the burn today... obviously didn't work hard enough.

Today I've spent my time (unwisely) trying to prepare for my week away from home ... where I will be mostly running (out of boredom).

Trekked to my local Sweatshop (a good 30min drive) to get some new trainers, socks, and a camelback as I know on a longer run I'm going to need the water - and it would be nice to have somewhere to put my phone, some cash, and a key! ( I can't stand running with something round my waist as it has to be tight enough to not move, which is just constricting and crap.)

No trainers - well, the new Triax (which felt weird) but no Equalon - I'm desperate to try them... they sound great. No Camelbacks - well, only a cycling specific one (which she had no info about and didn't know why they had that one... or why it was different to a running one). Both of these things they have online in abundance. And no 1000 mile socks.

Popped into JJB (I know, I know, always a mistake) and found lots of lovely running gear (hard not to be distracted by the pretty colours) but no shoes apart from cheap shite or Asics (which I can't wear as I have wide heels and they cut me to ribbons). Extremely frustrated.

Went to Starbucks to cheer myself (this worked nicely). Went home and ordered the camelback and socks online, with priority shipping. Just received confirmation that the camelback is out of stock for 3 days; tried to call and ask if other colours where in stock but 'website' person not there, I'll have to try tomorrow. Aaarrrrggghhhhh so frustrating, need these things to go away with on Saturday.

Was going to get stuff in Newcastle as special shopping trip but have discovered that their running shop (as seen online) has nothing I want and doesn't even stock Nike. Damn it. Nothing like making a plan and having it foiled at every turn.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

What a difference 3 days makes... just 72 little hours

Finally upped the mileage today. 8 miles - the furthest since the 1/2 in training almost 10 weeks ago. I can't believe the difference between today and the 15th. Today was brilliant, really, muscle achingly brilliant. I had my porridge, there were no dogs, it was just me, and Orwell.

Set off well, played around with the route in my head and eventually settled on a weird 6 mile loop, then a 2 mile loop - it worked well.

Splits are as follows:
8 miles
average pace - 9.24
932 calories


I'm still not managing the magical "negative splits" since I've attained 9:30 pace. Hell, I suppose these things just take time. I'm delighted with this run though.

My 5k was 29min dead and my 10k was 59min - so I was happy with both of those too!

Feel like a mental weight has been lifted as the jump between 8 and 13 miles no longer feels as difficult. Today I felt like a 1/2 was possible; that's the first time I've felt that in ages. Maybe, ultimately I'm suited to longer distances? Who knows, I know I prefer 10k to 5k ... lets just see how the rest of the training goes before I get too over-excited.

Off to cook enormous Sunday lunch. Mmmmmm - can't wait.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Bloody Awful Run

Worst Run Ever - or that's how it felt.

Managed 4 miles (as I set out to do) but practically had a breakdown half way round as I discovered it's almost impossible to cry and run simultaneously. (There was some horrible choking and wheezing.) Took an unusual route for me - went through the woods on an extremely undulating course (ridiculously hard when used to running on the flat); then back along the road as I was a giant wimp and not coping with the run in any way.

So the splits managed to be:

total 38:51
average pace 9:39

Which is fine, not great, but fine (said with clenched teeth and aching facial muscles) so I don't really know why I felt so bad. It shouldn't be hormone related (although you never know, they're sly buggers). I can only think that the EAT - wait 2 hours - RUN isn't just a guideline for me, it's a necessity. Today due toTheO fannying around incessantly I had to wait 3 1/2h which made me grumpy as all get-out; and somewhat lacking in energy.

My anger and ridiculous emotional state during the run was not helped by the Little Golden Anchor pulling me along for the two miles back. It wasn't helpful, it was just crap and made me grumpy with her too (which she didn't deserve).

I suppose these days just happen. I was really up for it today too. I just kept thinking I wasn't going to be the fat girl who humiliated herself at the half-marathon by lack of training. I just freaked out - ridiculous!

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Well, as promised, I'm back. The work is done (for now), the little parcels are winging their way across the UK to delight happy lovers on Valentine's day. Well, that's the thought that kept me going when on returning from quick trip to Oban (7h in a car is not a profitable use of time)! It was wonderful to see my nephews (3 1/2 and 13months) but not the best of trips; just a bit fraught, the children were fraught, the parents were knackered, we tried to help and therefore returned knackered. Also, with Valentine's coming up the timing suck-eth much-eth.

Today I finally had an outside run, the first for 8 days (disgraceful, I shall whip myself at once). There really is no substitute to outside miles. Managed a respectable 10K in 1:00:22 - don't have any reliable splits as I was just using my watch and doing a run I knew. (Arrrg, those 22 seconds!)

I didn't want to run today - a feeling I really hate. Normally (and this is sad) I get excited at the thought of a run. My problem is that I resent feeling like I should run. I like to be able to go often enough that (if I have to) I can delay a run to the next day. I hate knowing that I have to run or fitness will decline, mileage will become scant, and I'll generally hate myself.

Going out for a slap-up feed tonight as pre-Valentine's dinner means we can sit at home on the actual day and bask in the romantic light of the TV unencumbered by other (and often newly spliced couples trying to be romantic).

As weird Valentine's gifts go I think I might have excelled myself this year. TheO is getting a miniature gong to announce the start/end of parties/dinners/tedious conversations etc... I can't wait to see their face. (No, seriously, they should like it...)

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Exercise and Grumps

Today I was both blue and grumpy. (I'll blame the hormones and self-induced stress.)
Exercise happened late in the day as ... toot toot toot tooooot toot (again with the trumpets) I got my hmrc cheque and got the car fixed. So the bank is happier, and the only prob. with the car was a wee bit of welding on the exhaust bracket - not too expensive.

So too much of the day was spent hanging around in town drinking star$'s and freezing my arse off. But this evening I managed 4 miles on the elliptical machine in 38:04 (so 9:31 pace). Obviously wish I'd pushed a wee bit harder and made it 9:30 - buy hey it was on rising intervals and damn hard work. The exercise really helped to even out my mood and I did feel like a whole new woman after the workout. Also felt about 3lbs lighter as I became a weird human puddle after the first 20min (less pleasant).

As for the self-induced stress. I'm sure you can imagine - I make jewellery: valentine's day is fast approaching - you see the obvious link.

Any advice for those unable to get their arse moving some days would be appreciated. I love, love, love what I do but find motivation impossible when faced with daunting tasks. Therefore they get left until they have to be rushed and I feel sick to my stomach; this makes me a tetchy bitch to live with. Feel better just saying it sometimes. Ah well, tomorrow is CRUNCH day.

TheO is off to the rugby and I have hours, and hours, set aside to work and work and work. Have to get it all done as then on Sunday we're off to Oban for the day to meet family. Looking forward to seeing them but wish it wasn't that particular day.

Finished lots of housey things today (you know, the crap no-one blogs about - washing, dishes, blah, blah, blah) but now it's done I can focus all my attention on work tomorrow. About 8 hours should see me clear - shame the dogs are going to have a crap day.

I'll report back when I'm DONE.
Hmm, also have to try getting an 8 mile run in too - this half-marathon isn't going to run itself. (Well, it will, but I need to participate for the sake of all my lovely sponsors.)

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Maybe it's time to make an admission:

There's a possibility that after 6 months I might be (shhh, I'll say this quietly) a runner. Not a quick runner, not a record breaking runner, not a marathon runner; but in my own quiet way a runner.

It's so weird that this is something I love doing, something I chose to do, something that makes me feel more alive with every breath. After the age of 15 (when I was on every team and a sporty, if chunky girl) I did no sport. The closest I came was: putting on games kit, walking to the squash court, signing my name, having a fag, and walking back. At uni I went to the gym very sporadically but never did any real cv work. The occasional swim or yoga session have sufficed for the last 10 years - now all that has changed and I don't know why. Is it age, is it time, is it just a weird switch that flicks in the brain of so many 25-35 yearolds'?


So, today I only did one mile. And then some gym work - but the one mile was run in 8:27 with a 1% incline. It took looking back through my log to realise that this is literally my fastest ever mile. I know it's a word I overuse but I was properly chuffed - that one mile was a real marker of how much my running has progressed in the last 6+ months.

The rest of me enjoyed the gym too - it was good to get all the muscles going again. Even did 10mins on the step machine at the end - that turned me into some sort of human puddle and made the calves burn - I hope they appreciated it.

Ah, feeling the buzz and the burn today.
Car still sounds like crap (possibly more metallic and clunky than crap).
I've finally tracked down my eye drops so the delightful demon pink is going to subside.
Didn't get the work done - and the deadlines are really LOOOOMING
Still no cheque from hmrc ...

Bah and Hummmmbug

So, after the elation comes the drop.
Damn f'ing hormones have put me into a slumpy slump.
This will, of course, pass as suddenly as it has arrived. But while it's here my world does not look rosy. This is not aided by waking up with an eye infection (how random is that?); my car sounding like someone has poured a bag of spanners into the engine; and going all the way into town (9 mile drive) and back only to discover that I forgot the eye infection clearing cream that I went to buy in the first place! Not even a trip to the green goddess (Starbucks) cheered me fully.

So, the brain is addled, the pain in nestling helpfully in my lower back, and I am cranky. I thought burdening my blog readers would be the next, best, course of action. But tomorrow will be a better day. I have plans: plans to get some work done, plans to go to the gym and follow new Runners World instruction to only do 12 reps (sounds blissful), plans that the hmrc tax rebate cheque will arrive and my state of penury will subside a smidgin; plans not to go shopping instantly and return myself to the penniless state just to feel the momentary rush of a good shop.

Okay, I think I might have to calm myself and stop being paranoid - I keep wondering if the extra buzz of being pmt-ish made me run faster a few days ago? Hmmm, or did it make me more competitive and therefore push myself harder? I wonder what the hormones do to us while running - there must be books and books on this subject.

Before I rant and rave (or cry and wail depending on the exact moment in time) any more I am going to try and go to bed, with a hot water bottle, and a dog. Wish me luck for tomorrow - I've got all the work in the world to get through (and no real desire to get it done).

Monday, 5 February 2007

Before I get on with some work today I've got to wax lyrical about the weekend.
This weekend should go down in history as one of the BEST EVER.

Friday a whole bunch of friends came up and belatedly celebrated by bday. This obviously involved gifts and was generally wonderful. We had oriental banquet which was damn good fun to cook. (From a running perspective gifts included some 1000 mile socks - which I've tried and are amazing, and a wrist cuff which not only stones key/cash but has a flashing light on it for darker runs - brilliant!)

Saturday a few more stragglers joined us and we went Clay Pigeon Shooting for the first time ever. Apart from the first shot when the gun kicked the crap out of me it was the most fun you can have while standing up. (My view of this might be aided by the fact that for some unknown reason I rocked at it.) TheOther and I came top of our respective teams so there was some hidden and ridiculous coupley pride going on. We returned home to have tea with cakes and mini sandwiches and huge pots of tea.

Sunday morning went for a run, ran with jewellery girl (she loves unusual jewellery and statement pieces) for the first time. She was lovely to run with as she is faster than me and pushed me but was happy to slow her pace when she saw I might be dropping back a little (blessssss).

The run was:
10k at the usual woods.

pace 9.28
calories 792


Total: 58:43 - best time ever.....

previous best 1.01.08
so 2min 25seconds off previous best (which was Dec 21nd).

Am delighted with this run (particularly as I don't feel bad this morning either) as I've finally cracked that one hour barrier for 10k. But I do know that where I run is on the flat and any hills quickly eat up those extra seconds.

Recovery was a huge roast Sunday lunch before everyone headed home. Blissful.

Arrgg, have to get off to work now as Valentine's is coming up and there's stuff to be made.