Wednesday 29 June 2011

I'm famous!

Well, actually I'm not...even remotely.  But I got a tweet earlier today telling me that I should check out this month's edition of Running World, because I was famous!

As soon as I got home from this evening's 10km, I tore open the magazine which had arrived in the post this morning, and flicked through, having no idea what I was looking for, but assuming I must be in there somewhere.  And suddenly, there I of my tweets printed in the "Twitter Tips" feature.  Ironically, bearing in mind my complete lack of motivation this last few was in the motivation section, about how I listen to audio books, but only when I run, to encourage me to go out so I can hear the next chapter.

So there we go.  This month's Runner's World has a feature on Usain Bolt, and he's on the front cover...and I'm in the same edition. Nice! :D

Hurray - I'm back: Hyde Park 10km, done!

Well, I don't quite know what went wrong, but for the last month I've found it very hard to keep to my schedule, often only running one or two days a week, and not really "feeling it"...and obviously I haven't been blogging either.  It's not been great, and to be honest I've been feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing, but have been apparently unable to change my attitude.

However, after a decent 17 mile cycle ride on Sunday, a 6 miler on Sunday and a 10km race this evening, I feel that I'm back on track, my enthusiasm has returned, and I'm ready to start training properly for the next marathon.

But before that, a brief report on today's after work 10km.  It was a two lap run around the incredibly beautiful Hyde Park in central London, organised by the British Heart Foundation as a fundraiser, and although a little hotter than I like it, the sunshine and blue skies made it a stunning day to be running too.  It was advertised as a "jog" event, and there was an option for a 5km or 10km, which split the field by about half, and some people were there walking the route, with everything very relaxed - no timing chips, or even a clock anywhere in sight, and we were all wearing cotton BHF t-shirts meaning there wasn't even lots of lycra.  So, very different to the usual type of race I take part in, but Hyde Park was an absolutely perfect venue, and I thought as I've now started fundraising for the BHF it would be great to be involved in one of their events.

Despite the heat, I had a decent run, especially bearing in mind my lack of recent training, and finished in 57mins 47secs according to my watch, which was fine by me, and faster than the 10km I did this time last year.

So, it was a fun early evening run, and Francis came to support me too which was really lovely.  I probably wouldn't do another of these events, as I think I prefer something a bit more focused on the running, but it was great to be part of a big fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation, especially to run with so many other people who were there taking part in memory of loved ones they'd lost to heart disease. It was quite an emotional thing really, sharing that with all 2,000 odd people who were there, and am very glad I chose this as my July race.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Soooo tired...can i go to sleep now?!

So, after having a very bad time on my last attempt at going for a run, Francis and I went for a cycle ride today on our road bikes, and I had my first experience of riding with cleat pedals.  We had a great time, and my nerves about using my cleats evaporated pretty quickly  - I didn't fall off, and feel pretty confident using them now which is fantastic.  We cycled around some very pretty Essex countryside and across to Mersea island where we had fish and chips by the seaside which was lovely and the smell of the sea really hits you as you get to the island, and it always makes me feel like I'm on holiday!

It was a pretty hard cycle for me though, and although we only did 40 miles, I found it much, much harder going than when we cycled 50 miles on Monday.  Nothing was hurting, but I just didn't feel like I had enough energy, and every hill climb found me fighting for one stage I felt so drained and tired I could have quite happily curled up in the corner of a field and gone to sleep.  Francis had to keep stopping so I could catch up with him (more than usual!) but he did manage to keep me going, and made sure I actually had a really enjoyable afternoon, despite the lethargy!

I'm wondering whether this inexplicable tiredness, and also not having been able to run, is associated with my blood donation on Thursday. I really don't know, but maybe I didn't rest quite enough this week, maybe I'm suffering a little anaemia as a result.  I did read somewhere on the internet that after donating, due to the time it takes the body to regenerate the red cells that it has lost, for a period of time as there are fewer red blood cells than there should be, there is a reduced ability to transport oxygen around the body and to the muscles, which can make exercise feel like you're training at altitude, where the availability of oxygen in the air is lower.  Now, I'm no doctor, but it would explain why I found the cycle so much harder than I'd expected.

Oh well, who knows, maybe I just didn't sleep well.  Will try another run tomorrow & hopefully I'll be back to normal!

Saturday 4 June 2011

How quickly things change

So, after an awesome training session on Friday, I expected my next run to be a pretty decent one and was really looking forward to it, and to see what I could achieve.  But, oh, how quickly things change!  I got up early to try and get an 8-10 miler in without getting in the way of the rest of the day, and managed to get out of the door on time...but then it started going horribly wrong :(

I just felt awful.  No specific injury pain, no real justification, but I just knew that this was not my day to run. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I turned round and headed home - I did run back home but in total I think I probably only went about a mile.  Useless.

I've cut runs short before but never given up even before I've warmed up...I feel like it was an absolute failure and don't quite understand what was going on in my head to make me just go home.

I suppose just have to put it down to experience, and hope that the next run is more successful :(

A proper training session

It took me an hour and a half of sitting on the sofa last night, in my kit & trainers, before I finally found the motivation to go for my run.  I was so very close to not going out but I knew I had to and and so glad I eventually did.
I had a fantastic speedwork session, which to be honest was really the first time I've pushed myself properly in training and it was hard work but pretty exciting.  I did 5 miles in total, including three sessions of half a mile each at 6.56/7.06 and 7.12mins/mile.  That first session of 6.56 was amazing - it's so much more fun running fast, although I did become acutely aware of how bad my running form is! The feeling was so different to my usual runs of 9.30m/m and really felt like I was properly running - a concept I do sometimes struggle with at the slower pace.
I can't help thinking that the fact that I've never really tried running with this level of effort before means that I've wasted so many of my training runs.  But there's no point thinking about what's happened in the past, I just need to take on board the positives and make sure I commit to regular speed sessions in the future! I still can't believe that I was able to run at that sort of pace, even if it was just for half a mile before needing to recover a bit - when I think that I could barely run half a mile at a 12min/mile pace when I started, I've come a long way :D

Thursday 2 June 2011

Running & blood donation on the same day?

Well, we're a day in and I've already screwed up my Juneathon...although that doesn't mean I'm giving you can see, at least I'm blogging today!  So, what's happened?

Well, last night was a late one as I was celebrating my cousin's birthday (no drinking but home late) so I decided not to get up at 5.30am but to have a couple of extra hours sleep, and to go for my run this evening. Unfortunately, what I hadn't factored into this plan, was that today I had an appointment to donate blood.

Now, donating blood really isn't a big deal, and it's something that everyone who is eligible, I think, should do.  I went along to the local clinic during my lunch break from work, and felt fine for the rest of the day with absolutely no ill effect.  However, it is recommended that you don't do any "vigorous activity" for the rest of the day after donation.  In my mind though, all afternoon, I had still planned to ignore the advice and head out for my speedwork session that's required by my training schedule, at about 10pm. But this evening rolled around, and as 10pm got closer and closer I realised that I really didn't feel 100% ready and running was probably a pretty stupid thing to do a few hours after losing a pint of blood!

After doing a bit of online research, I didn't find anything that suggested I should run this evening - every article & forum said I should rest today, and furthermore, to expect a reduction in my pace & an increase in perceived effort over the next couple of weeks! Doh!

Oh well, I think giving blood is an important, worthwhile thing to do - blood stocks are relied upon by thousands of adults & children either being treated for illness or accident and those blood stocks only come from you and me going to the clinic and donating! If by helping the cause it means missing a day's run, or a PB at my half marathon next weekend, then I think it's probably worth it.  Now I just need to get ready to run tomorrow!

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Day One of Juneathon

It's been a great week for my training, culminating in today, the first day of Juneathon which, if you've not heard, is where the running community (well, some of us) group together, get over the excuses, and commit to run (or do at least some sort of exercise) every single day during June, and to blog about it!  The idea is that everyone reads each other's blogs and we support each other in our running efforts, and it motivates us to work just that little bit harder than usual.  It's certainly a challenge, especially for those of us (i.e me!) who are pretty rubbish at frequent blogging, but I'm hoping that the exercise side of things shouldn't be too difficult.  I am determined to make it through Juneathon in both ways but we shall see...

So far this week, I have stuck to my training schedule well, and in the last eight days, I've run 24 miles, and cycled a massive (for me!) 61 miles.  The running has, for the majority, gone really well, even including three miles at 8:27min pace which was a great step forward on the speed side.  Having a fortnight's rest seems to have given me nearly new legs!

The cycling is a pretty new thing for me, but I'm absolutely loving it.  Francis and I completed a 50 mile ride on Monday, from Billericay where we live to the seaside at Burnham on Crouch, and although towards the end I really started to feel tired, I coped much better than I had expected, ending up with just a bit of hamstring pain to deal with once we'd finished..  It helps that Essex is relatively flat (although there were times when it felt mountainous), I was on a geared road bike, and that I wasn't on my own...oh, and that we stopped at a pub half way through...and had some ice-cream later does make a difference!

Just to make the commitment about a daily blog about my daily exercise, this morning I headed out for an easy 5 mile run.  It was my hardest run of the week to be honest, and I got up later than planned, but the weather was lovely, I got out and did it, and the hamstring and calf pain that the cycling had caused disappeared after the run.  All good! And so...onto tomorrow.  The schedule says another 5 miles, but this time with some speedwork.  Is it really possible I can run two miles at 7min50s pace?? We shall see....