Jump Start Sunday

My plan had been to run the ten miles from Woodingdean to the old Shoreham power-station this morning.  And then to run back again.  But the forecast was for extreme inclemence, consisting of North-Easterly gales and heavy rain… and for once the forecast turned out to be right.  The thought of running the second ten miles into driving rain was not exactly appealing so I decided to stay home and listen to Martin Archer on Kiss FM, with his 3-hour Jump Start Sunday programme.

Of course this left me with a slight quandary: what to do while I listened.  I’m not exactly one for sitting down & listening to the radio whilst doing nothing and it’s difficult to play guitar or to read a book, so I decided to have a gentle run on the machine.

Beyond this, there’s not a lot to report about today… except that I ran for all-bar one minute 36 seconds of the programme and covered 20 miles.

After a three or four mile warm-up, my heart rate stayed around 155 before passing 160 around the 14 mile mark and  slowly creeping up to 165 by the end.  The machine reckons that I used 2659 calories.   I’m not quite sure exactly what to eat to replace these… I don’t think the shops sell anything with this many calories any more.  I had to demount at the half way point as the machine only counts to 99 minutes, but despite my bladder faking that it required attention, I ignored it and only walked to open the door before getting back with the programme.

Two curious things:  Firstly, I set the machine to 6.7mph for the whole duration, but the time shows that I managed to average 6.726mph… I don’t have enough calories left for my brain to work that one out.  Second, somewhere in the combination of man-made-material running kit and a lot of movement, I always manage to create a little static… I was doubly shocked then,  when I managed to earth out via the leaf of the plant that hangs expectantly over the machine!

Alas, I have no landscape photos to share with you… this was all I could see!

Slow and early

It’s late now, but when I climbed aboard the magic carpet to do my Friday run it was only just light.  More to the point, I was hardly awake… and maybe I just dreamed that I ran.  Who knows?

Because it was early and I was half asleep (and also because I’m building up to a long run Sunday), I couldn’t bring myself to stress my legs by making them do 8+mph, so I pootled along at 7mph for the first 10 quarter-miles and then increased to 7.5mph for the balance of 5 miles.

Although I really sweated it out, my heart-rate stayed below 165 and I finished in 40minutes 49 seconds. .. average 7.35mph.

It makes me tired just thinking about it, but maybe that’s because it’s late!  Zzzzzzz

Wednesdix run

Once again, the prospect of a ten-mile run on the machine was not a welcome one.  I had planned to get it out of the way really early on this morning, but this didn’t happen because I sat up watching Deja Vu last night… and thus found it hard to drag myself out of bed!

Following the emergent pattern of my training, I started off at 7.7mph and celebrated each quarter-mile that I ran closer to my goal.  My heart-rate climbed slowly to 170 by about the 3-mile mark and at 5 miles I paused for a slurp of water, a stretch, some jelly-babies (I had skipped breakfast and eaten only a banana) and to open the door for some fresh air.  To be fair, this took 3 minutes, but I’m sure you won’t hold that against me!

With the machine now set to 7.8mph, my heart-rate took another mile to get from 124 back up to 170 and it stayed there until the 7.5-mile mark when I increased the speed to 7.9mph.  Between here and the end my heart-rate hovered around 172 to 174 which is higher than last week, but still acceptable given the pace.

What is interesting is that the simple stretch that Andy/Marina showed me has resolved the issue with my hip tendon, at least over this distance… although I was aware of it hovering in the background towards the end.  My focus in these runs is on making a positive and steady footfall, training my legs and my mind not to waiver, which has also helped overcome little niggly pains.

So 10 miles in 77 minutes 12 seconds (ignoring the break) is a speed of 7.77mph, which I think is a PB for me over this distance even though I wasn’t racing.

Keeping the pressure on

In the context of training for a marathon, I have wondered more than once whether running three miles on a Monday really gives me any tangible benefit.

As if to answer my question by analogy and knowing that I have no fee-paying projects right at this moment, one of my colleagues called me this morning to pique my mental faculty with some interesting thoughts and ideas.  These ideas might not pay the bills, but they keep my brain muscle exercised in the way that my little Monday runs do for my legs.

So even though my legs took me 15 miles yesterday, I had a quick 3-mile run on the machine this morning.  25 minutes 47 seconds.

Now to do the same for my head.

Race laden wind

It was the Brighton Half Marathon today and I crossed the finish line shortly after the winner had come in at 1.06.59.

Sad to report that I was going the other direction and at a much slower pace.

I had started from Woodingdean, bracing myself against a biting, rain-laden wind.  My hands were frozen within 30 minutes by which time I was running along the top of the cliffs into the wind.

But actually it wasn’t as bad as I had expected, with the force of the wind bouncing up off the cliff and missing me for the most part.

Despite the inclemency I had expected more people to be out, but I had seen only three by the time I reached the marina.  And then I saw where they all were, turning like a giant snake on the Marine Parade below me to head into the wintry wind towards Shoreham.

I ran on, dodging the confused race marshals to reach the Palace Pier at 52 minutes (pretty consistent in this) and then on towards the West Pier.  In this section the front runners started to pass me in the opposite direction and I had counted thirty by the time I reached my one hour turning point at the Peace Memorial.

I headed back along towards the Marina with the faster runners sliding past me with increasing regularity until I reached the Palace Pier again where I took a more direct route to the finish.  A little further on I came to the Martlet Kayak Club where Cliff and Paula were helping with refreshments for the runners.

Once back on the cliff-top I was treated to occasional blasts of wind from behind which carried me forward like an Elite runner, at least for a few paces.  I passed a few more runners along this section, battling against the wind towards me and it seemed to make them more sociable than normal.  As I reached Rottingdean I came upon a wet runner with a bedraggled dog and was delighted when I got closer to realise that it was Jane, complete with her bump.

With the wind behind me I was faster up the Falmer Road (than last week, at least) and I ran past the Downs Hotel and right to the top of the village…

… before dropping back down to the 15 mile (and a smidgeon) finish at 2 hours 13 minutes.  This is 6.77mph, a shade faster than last time I ran this distance two weeks ago, but somewhat slower than the 11.73mph average that the marathon winner managed!

Five on Friday

Strange to tell, but my legs are changing shape… I noticed this morning.  No, they’re not pear-shaped, although they may well be after the marathon, but there are definitely muscles developing that I’ve not seen before… at least on my legs!

So I kept up the pressure earlier with another lunchtime run on the magic carpet.  One and a quarter miles at 7.9mph, two and a half at 8mph and the final one and a quarter at 8.1mph gave me 5 miles in 37minutes 43 seconds and an average of 7.95mph.

This is 8 seconds off my PB on 3rd Feb, although that was an interval session and I was not even outside my comfort zone today.  I’m guessing that those new muscles could be quite useful to my running.

Another Wedtensday

It was a beautiful bright, sunny day but fweezin cold outside, so I was glad that I was inside on the machine this morning.

There are days when the miles just whir past effortlessly, but this was not one of them… in fact, each quarter mile felt like a whole one and since there were 40 in total, it seemed to take an age.

Nevertheless, the run was in my schedule so I got on and did my best.  I started the belt at 7.6mph and focussed on not tweaking the tendon in my right hip/knee… not easy, but possible it appears.

At the 5 mile mark, which I reached in 39 minutes 38 seconds, I got off, had a quick slurp of water and increased the speed to 7.7mph.  At the 7.5 mile mark I got off, opened the door to let some much-needed fresh air in, had another slurp of water and reset the machine to 7.8mph.

I completed 10 miles in 78 minutes 18 seconds, which is an average of 7.66mph overall and despite the increases in speed, my heart rate was still below 170 at the end.

Post run run

After yesterday’s run I expected to be quite a bit stiffer today than I was… the programme must be working.

Still, it wasn’t that pleasant running on the machine as my hip is still a little painful.  At least I know how to alleviate the pain now though and hopefully, with a little persistence, I can resolve the problem.

So three miles at 7mph, with a little break after a mile to stretch. 25 minutes 57 seconds.

Tiger feet

There was a larger number than normal against today in my running schedule and I was interested to know whether I was going to be able to complete it… and if so, what state I would be in afterwards.

I’m waiting for Kurt at Run to get some new woollen Thurlos in for me and my mother had kindly darned my current pair ready for me… thanks Mum!

The one thing I love about going from Woodingdean is that you have to start by running downhill and I made Rottingdean in about 20 minutes.  From there I headed West along the coast and it was another chilly day, with shallow icy puddles in places on the pavement.

The sun had come out briefly when I was having breakfast this morning, but by the time I got out running it had disappeared behind a blanket of cloud… and one which kept spitting snow at me at that!  But the breeze in my face was only gentle and as I wear all the right gear it was actually a good day to run.

There was about the same balance of unsociable runners as last week, but enough people waved back at me, smiled or simply nodded to keep me happy and I reached the pier in 52 minutes.  I continued along the seafront and past the peace memorial where I turned around last week.

I continued on.  Past the King Alfred centre.  Past rows of colourful beach huts huddling together in the cold.  Past the tennis courts.  And then… some git deliberately ran into me.

Actually, that’s an example of the writers imagination… Cliff didn’t run into me at all, but rather made out as if he was going to, while Andy, Clive and Garth looked on!  I’m still amazed by their sense of timing.  I had said that I was going to run to the Hove Lagoon and they had set out from the kayak club around the time I left Woodindean, had run right up past the old power-station to the very end of the spit and arrived back at the lagoon just before I got there.  They even humoured me by turning around and running back to my turning point with me!

Alas, in the hubbub, I forgot to make a note of the time, but I do remember thinking that it was an awfully long way back to base from there… and how much my legs were already hurting!

Garth, Andy and Cliff quickly drew out a lead, leaving Clive to run back with me… I’m not sure how well that suited Clive, but it suited me fine and it’s always great to catch up with him… which I finally did when we got to the kayak club!  En route he saw first hand how unsociable the other runners are, although I did manage to get a few people to say Hi back to us.

Here I paused for a few minutes to be sociable, asking for a stretch to ease my painful thigh… Andy showed me the magical stretch and Marina, a physio who just happened to be standing beside me, told me how to rev it up a bit.  AAAARGH was all I could manage by way of thanks when it hit home!

Actually, looking at this photo, is it any wonder that people don’t say Hi to me!

I left the ensemble, thankfully noting the time (1 hour 55 minutes) and headed East, passing more self-absorbed runners, along with a good few who were thankfully more engaging.  And then, just before the Ovingdean roundabout, my faith in human nature was completely restored by a lady on a bicycle who slowed up beside me to ask what I was training for and then wished me luck before pushing on again.

It’s about 2.5 miles up the hill from Rottingdean and my legs were openly shouting how painful they were, but I pressed on.  I’ve probably said before that I find it really interesting trying to figure out what is holding me back at any given moment.  Here it was not my heart or my lungs, both of which seemed to be purring along quite happily, nor my running muscles per se… although they were clearly tired, they seemed very happy to continue pushing me up the hill, step after step.  The limit really seemed to be the tightness in the tendons in my right hip and my knees… more stretching required!

I made the end in 2 hours 55 minutes, overshooting my target by covering 18.35 miles in total.  This is an average of 6.29mph, which is mildly disappointing when compared with the 6.7mph last week and the 6.48mph the week before and is not fast enough to gain the marathon time I require.  Still, this did include a social stop at the kayak club, and also two subsequent stops to get something out of my sock.  The fact that I covered 5.5 miles in the final hour  means that I covered the previous 12.85 miles at 6.7mph… which makes me happier again!

By the way,


Which I think means Happy New Year… it being the start of the Chinese year of the Tiger.  So Gung Hay Fat Choy and Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Life without broadband

The broadband went off last night and has only come back since about 4.30pm today.  It surprises me how lost I instantly felt without it, being suddenly without access to research tools, internet banking (admittedly, only paying bills), this site etc.

I have actually had quite a good day though, getting some off-line chores done as well as reading a little more of John Mullins & Randy Komisar’s excellent book Getting to Plan B… which, as far as I’ve read so far, is highly recommended!

I also managed to squeeze in my lunchtime run and in sharp contrast to last week, I was really looking forward to it.

My current general plan with my Friday short runs is to slowly push the speed envelope, so where I ran at 7.7mph last week, today I dialled in 7.8… not a whole lot, admittedly, but worth two and a half minutes across a marathon distance.

It was quite a comfortable pace and with my heart rate still sub-160 at the half-way mark, I increased the speed to 8mph for a negative split.  This was also quite easy to maintain (over this distance, at least!) and I wondered about upping it again, but I think the key at the moment is gently building consistency.

So 5 miles in 38.39, which is 37 seconds better than last week and way easier than the intervals that gave me a similar time on the 26th January.  As much as anything, the run left me feeling great… which is always welcome on a Friday!