Sunday, 27 March 2011

British Summertime begins

I remember a few weeks ago telling Dawn that I would be totally unavailable to run on Sunday the 27th of March. My brother-in-law had planned a surprise 50th Birthday party for my sister, could I make her a cake, could I go into the venue early and decorate the party room and set out the food ready for him leading her unsuspectingly into a room full of baying relatives and friends, Of course! No time (or no state!) to run!

A week or so later I had moved the goal posts, 'I could probably run in the afternoon of the 27th' (If it meant Dawn didn't have to run alone).

Another week passed, 'I don't drink to excess anyway and I am usually up early after a night out so I'll text you when I'm up and we'll set a time to run in the morning'.

A kindly text from Dawn on Saturday evening reminded me that the clocks go forward and not to forget but have a good time at the party! Oh yes British Summertime begins!

The party went to plan and my poor sister was suitably shocked at discovering she was in fact attending her own party and not the 'going away party for the Sicilian exchange students' she was expecting! Her face was a picture! So, a good time had by all I rolled up home at 1:10 just in time to put the clocks forward to 2:10 a.m.

As I had expected I was wide awake at 8 am (7 am) and so I went downstairs and text Dawn to say I would be ready for off in 2 hours. We met at Rawdon Meadows, Apperley Bridge and Dawn outlined the route, in fact I had emailed her an extract from my training log last year where Lisa had mapped a run out to Horsforth, Adel, Bramhope and back via Yeadon Airport but the directions were a little sketchy but it sounded like much the same route. It was a fine morning - it was lovely to see Helen, Don, Janice & Karon who were also meeting to run. Off we set along the canal, the three Musketeers, Me, Dawn and Alison.

It wasn't long before we heard a voice from one of the barges - there stood Lisa, a fairly new member at club. I jokingly shouted 'that's the life!' after a brief conversation we went on our merry way. It was one of those days where it felt good to be running and everyone (or almost everyone) you encounter is very pleasant, people stood aside for us to pass 'keep going' they would shout as we thanked them for letting us pass. Even the cyclists were pleasant. Horsforth was the first place we passed through and as we travelled along the road towards Lawnswood I began to remember running the same route with Lisa and Sophie but in the snow, what a difference to today's weather! Going through Adel a large crowd of scooter riders we had earlier seen taking a pit stop in a pub car park all came riding past, vying for the front spot they were all overtaking one another, what a site to behold all those scooters in one big group. Next we came into Bramhope, passing Liz and Chris Jones' house I wondered whether they would be at home, unlikely as they too are doing London Marathon they are probably out training, I thought.

A little further along the road we came to a sign saying 'Fox & Hounds' ahh that was the pub which Sophie had to make an unscheduled stop at last year. Dawn announced we weren't going up that way but carrying straight on. Arriving near the top of Pool Bank with about a quarter still to go we set about making our way towards Leeds Bradford Airport. The hill wasn't nearly as bad as it had looked but I must admit I was feeling quite tired and my 'dancing' feet were aching. The traffic was immense and with just a narrow part of the road to run on, facing the cars head on it got a little bit hairy for me, my heart was pounding and I couldn't even bear to look at Dawn in front of me running head long at the traffic, I dropped back behind Alison and put my head down, I was so relieved when the pavement appeared once more and we could get off the road. Phew!

As we neared Yeadon, Murgatroyds etc I visualised our arrival at Apperley Bridge. Approaching the turn off to take us down the hill to the car park Dawn announced we weren't going that way but down to Guiseley first! I turned to Alison and chuckled, she's trying to kill me off! Lo and behold half way down the hill she began talking about carrying on along the canal for a couple more miles. Alison said she couldn't manage any more her hips were hurting and I was at the stage where I really wanted to get finished and I also needed to get back out to Otley and pick up my car which I had left there the evening before. I had to admit I couldn't manage any more so Superwoman got me my bag out of her car and off she trot towards the direction of the canal. I really must ask her what she's on, I'll have some!

So another week has ebbed away leaving just three weeks until London and their taper in sight! I can clearly remember getting to that stage last year, the feeling that all the hard work is done and it really is just a case of keeping your head when all around you lose theirs and getting to that start line. OOOh the excitement and that's just me!
Footnote: I've been dreaming again, this time I dreamt that I got a number for VLM from a complete stranger who pulled out - she told me her name but I can't remember it! I really must stop this late night eating!

Monday, 21 March 2011

All the twos

I have warnings to shout from the rooftops this morning on several counts!

Firstly this blog was written last night and lost last night after I pressed the control key by mistake so be warned ctrl + d = delete! So here I am on Monday morning starting from the beginning......

However, it's not such a bad thing since I am now in a position to report about how I feel having acted like a boy (well they are often accused of acting like girls!) and after raving about my ice bath last week, I was unable to face it this week! Having run 4 miles before a race, run the Epilepsy Action Bradford 10k and then run to Bingley town centre and back - 22 (albeit fragmented) miles I got back home and literally felt wiped out, extremely cold, very hungry and fatigued, I got into the bathroom and visualised a hot, bubbly bath, considered an ice bath, no points for guessing which one won! Consoling myself with the fact that this lovely hot bath may well serve as proof that ice baths really do work (but praying that it's on the contrary) I laid there soaking up the lovely hot water.

The verdict: I have to say contrary to last week when I felt tip top on Monday morning after 19 miles on Sunday it was truly a very different story this morning. I had broken sleep, kept waking up with pains in my lower legs, and this morning I positively know how many miles I did yesterday - or at least my legs and lower back do.

I never indulged further than 20 miles in training before I did London last year so this was a (training) first for me (and Dawn) - which brings me to my second revelation, carb gels really did help in keeping me fuelled. You do have doubts as to whether forcing the terrible gloop down really does help or whether for the most part it's psychological. I think due to the fact that the mileage was going to be broken up I didn't pay much attention to whether or not I needed fuel. Didn't buy any gels and during a fleeting last minute thought I grabbed a Boost bar at the till at Morrisons on Saturday teatime after reading the word 'energy' on the wrapper, got home packed a couple of small boxes of raisins and a bottle of juice into my bag and gave it no more thought. The focus for Sunday really was on the race even though I had made the decision to run a few miles beforehand and stay with Dawn throughout the 10k so fuelling regrettably took a back seat. I have to say on the way back to the car to ready ourselves to run to Bingley I felt quite light headed, got to the car and sipped some juice and had a bite of my Boost bar, I could have eaten it all but thought better of it. I ate a small box of raisins and began to feel much better and off we set.

It turned out to be much more of a traffic fest than I had anticipated. Being an average kind of Sunday, fine and dry even though the sun wasn't out, the Sunday drivers certainly were! I was glad to see the sight of the Bradford and Bingley building towering over all the rest as we approached a slight incline to the town centre. Once there, we paused for a moment for Dawn to take fuel on board and set off back the way we came. I found myself drifting off into my own little world, focusing on every step. Getting back into Bradford along Canal Road seemed to take an age, again I think due to the lack of energy I found the last few miles really tough. Dawn on the other hand, expressed dismay at the fact we hadn't quite hit 22 miles as we approached the point where we had left our cars, she proceeded to turn around and run back out along Canal Road. I sat on the wall in disbelief, just where does she get the energy? Oh of course carb gels!

This week I hope to take a step back as I have family celebrations to attend to, a cake to make amongst other things so the mileage may drop slightly but I'll be back!

4 weeks to London and I'm nearly as excited as the runners are - just a tiny bit envious now that I am going to be on the other side of the barrier this year..... Hmmm how things change!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Ice, Ice Baby!

Our planned 15 mile run yesterday turned into a 17 mile run at the blink of an eye! Torrential rain through the night on Saturday would mean puddles galore on the canal. Puddle dodging is not something to partake in at the end of a 15 mile run!

So, Mick rather helpfully suggested to Dawn to cut off Baildon Bottom and follow the road round behind the canal side apartments and return along Leeds Road from Shipley. This obviously didn't register in my mind as I would have recalled doing a similar route last year which was 17 miles, the last few being torture. However I happily went along with the plan and it wasn't until we came under the railway bridge at Dockfield Road I realised we were actually joining the bottom of Leeds Road. I tried desperately not to think about the long haul ahead but my effort was in vain. Thankfully it wasn't too long before we reached Thackley and the road levelled out. Starting to feel much better if a little achy we arrived back at Apperley Bridge in no time at all. focusing on my aching limbs, thoughts of a cooling remedy lurked in my head. Ice bath? I thought. I remembered some weeks ago I had read (BBC newsreader) Sophie Raworth's blog (she is training for London), she documented how she considered an ice bath a la Paula Radcliffe, she however, chickened out, I didn't intend to. At the time of reading Sophie's blog I filled several ice cube bags and placed them in the freezer, as I hadn't plucked up the courage to use them until now, I forthrightly filled the bath with cold water and tossed in the bags of ice cubes. It seemed like a good idea at the time! I placed my watch on the toilet cistern so that I could monitor the time I spent in there, just how long was one supposed to immerse ones self in the icy depths? Ah well I would play it by ear....

First one foot, then the other, finally I managed to sit down, focus on my breathing and devour the rest of an energy bar I had started during our run. Goosebumps a plenty, I managed 7 minutes before the pain in my toes got the better of me - wondering if I had spent enough time in there for it to be of benefit - I pulled out the plug, turned on the hot tap followed by the cold until I had a luke warm mix to get washed in, hopefully not undoing the good that the cold water had done.

Result! Today my legs feel tip top! The 17 miles just a distant memory! Looking forward to tonight's speed and hills session at club.

I hope that I can now become a champion of the benefits of ice baths - time will tell, if I have the courage to partake further after next week's long run......

Friday, 11 March 2011

I won, I won!

I know what it feels like now to win a race.

For the most part of a week now my sleep patterns have been very erratic. No not because I won a race and can't sleep for thinking about it. In fact I wish I knew why. I have a few theories of course, thoughts of a long run, thoughts of a long race, eating too late, pain following a sports massage, certainly not because I won a race and the excitement lingered long afterwards!

Of course, you may have guessed, I was dreaming! The elation, however, was very real. It may have only been a 5k but I crossed that finish line in first place. Proud as a peacock I strutted over to my waiting family to be hugged and celebrated like a champion! I won't dwell on what might have been because it simply won't be. I accept that. That doesn't mean I don't have goals though. Everyone needs goals otherwise what's the point of it all. My goal for the foreseeable future is that by the middle of the year I'm back to where I was at the same point last year. Enjoying my running and racing and achieving the odd PB. I am still treading carefully and building up my fitness in the hope that I can build up my confidence to once more believe that I can beat previous times in a races. I am fully aware that half of the battle is convincing myself what I'm capable of in my head, once that battle is won then everything else will, hopefully fall into place.

I reported back to Peter May on Thursday following our Wednesday club run. He is so passionate about keeping his clients running that he asks for feedback when you run following a massage. I often forget but not this week. I explained to him that I had toyed with the idea of not running after my massage but decided to give it a go, after which I felt as though a steam roller had run over my legs. Thursday morning however, was a different story and they felt much better. He assured me that I should be feeling back to normal by Sunday. Good job then since Dawn has a 15 miler planned. I'm just waiting to see what coach Mick has mapped out for us.

Due to a disastrous day today and not leaving work until 8:40 pm, least said soonest mended, I ended up not going to club, so parkrun with Dave in the morning should set me in good stead for the long haul on Sunday.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

What a lovely sunny spring day it was today for the Trimpell 20 mile race! Arriving in Lancaster in good time to collect my number, having travelled with Mick, Dawn and Alison, we strolled up to the registration area where we met up with fellow Eccleshill Road Runners, Sophie and Gill and also our recent Pudsey Pacers training partner Karen. Although slightly chilly, the sun was shining which always gives a boost to ones attitude towards the run that lays ahead.

We set off as a foursome, Gill, Dawn, Alison and I. Sophie was accompanied by Karen. Run mainly on cycle tracks, this race is one where for a large part of the time the faster runners are passing you in the opposite direction. I was shocked today though to see the front runner when we had completed only two and a half miles! I'm sure I got further round the course last year before I saw any runners coming back! I actually love seeing the runners on their way back, it keeps you on the look out for people you recognise. Just before 10 miles, Dawn and Gill had got a little in front, I hung back with Alison, she kept reiterating that she was struggling. Dawn turned around to see where we were and I motioned for her to carry on with Gill. She did. Alison said she would rather I caught up to the two in front and she would drop back with Liz Jones from Hyde Park Harriers. It's not easy when you are put in the position of choosing to stay or go but it causes you to question whether staying is the best option for both parties. After several attempts to make sure it was what Alison wanted I agreed to go on ahead, even though the pace wasn't much faster we still seemed to make great progress and the miles began to drop one by one. By 15 miles I knew I needed to take more energy on board. However, I couldn't face the thought, I began to feel sick. I also had packed an energy bar into my bum bag but I couldn't face that either. At 18 miles I began to feel much better, even though I was weary and my legs felt like they didn't belong to me! Gill stopped dead and began to walk, we tried to carry on and encouraged her to get going again but she was having none of it, I started to edge back and forth towards her all the time shouting encouragement, finally she managed to get going again, this happened again when we only had just over a mile left to go. Once more I managed to encourage her to get going again. We came upon Mick & Sophie who had finished, Sophie shouted encouragement and told us we only had ONE lap of the track to do to finish not two as we had anticipated. This gave me a real boost and I kept talking to Gill to keep her going. Finally we crossed the line - done. A small boy rushed up to hand me a medal. Fantastic. We had done it. Utter team work! Alison wasn't far behind although she had dropped behind Liz too, she too was elated to have finished.

Sadly the picture below of Salt Ayre Leisure Centre swimming pool was the only glimpse we runners got of it! Apparently the race director had used last year's information for this year's race and we weren't allowed to use the pool, just the showers..... We close in 45 minutes was her next words - presumably to prevent us from offering to pay for the use of the pool...... Kill joys!

So hopefully with plenty of confidence instilled into our marathoners they will continue their training plan and have a brilliant marathon run in London!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The wonders of the Wii

I'm really pleased that I have, so far, managed to keep up regular training on my Wii fit plus. Starting out with yoga on the nights I don't run has been great! I've started to really enjoy it and really do think it is contributing to keeping me on an upward journey back to full fitness. I do keep letting the fact that I am not getting any younger creep into my thoughts but then I try think about our veteran member Arthur who despite having a current knee injury which he is waiting to have surgery on, is still keeping very active by doing Bradford parkrun each week and also walking countless miles with Queensbury Walking Group. He also still attends club when it's a session he thinks he can cope with. Then there's fellow Eccleshill member Gill, in her 50's about to embark on he first marathon in London in a few short weeks. So you see age really is no barrier unless you let it become so.

I must admit I had to 'pass' on the hill session this week though. Following our indoor coached session last Friday I suffered greatly with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The long run on Sunday, no doubt was also a contributing factor to my aches and pains. So a 3 mile recovery run it was.

I've now begun to explore the other features on my Wii fit in the hope of keeping my interest from waining. I've now discovered muscle training which is much more aerobic than yoga and also balance training. I ask myself, Why oh why didn't I explore it's features sooner, I've only had the thing 18 months!

Tonight's club run is another 10 miler. This distance seems surprisingly tame these days! Trimpell 20 on Sunday will end another week of quite high marathon (that I'm not doing!) training. Oddly I'm looking forward to it even though I know what's in store.

On Friday the lovely Lisa who left us in September to reside in sunny Spain for a while is coming to visit and run with us. Drinks in the UCC bar afterwards are enough to tempt anyone to run a few miles!