Day 80–So Easy It Was Hard

For one reason or another it was the last possible minute before I got out for the club run, the usual four and a bit so miles as a solo warm up run pretty quickly as I struggled to make it to the club on time.

Once there and it was a shock to the system as the next two miles were well outside nine minutes. This was almost painfully slow, the body wanting to break into a quick walk. Thankfully there were a couple of guys who wanted to push the pace a bit, but even then it took another few miles before we began to tickle eight minutes; only one, substantially downhill, mile did we break eight minutes.

Quite the reason behind this outbreak of slow miles I don’t know. Perhaps everyone was really tired, maybe they were resting ahead of the Ashby 20  on Sunday, a race they really shouldn’t race if they want to race well in April. Whatever the reason we were dawdling along, and the further we went the harder it become.

I  need to put things into perspective and it shows how far I’ve come in the last nine months or so. Eight minute miles were quite an effort back last June on all easy paced runs, it says something when they now feel like an awkward shuffle. I cannot speak for nine minute miles as I don’t think I’ve ever run that slowly unless it was either a. massively uphill or b. I was massively injured (Apologies to anyone for whom nine minutes is race pace….)

By the time we’d got back to club, chatted a bit and I’d ran back home, seventeen miles were covered at dead on eight minutes per mile. Good time on feet, to coin a phrase, and hopefully legs will be the better for it ahead of Sunday’s key run, where I’ll aim to run 24 miles at significantly quicker pace.

Day 79–A New Beast

I’m pretty keen to make this a big mileage week, so this morning’s run would not be my usual six to eight miles, but something closer to ten miles. By the time I got out of the house it was a pleasant late winter’s day, comfortable to run in shorts and long sleeved top; the gloves came off after three miles or so when I realised it was a bit warmer than I’d anticipated.

The run I had in mind would take me on a new route in part – tackling a hill I’d not heard of until a club mate created a segment on Strava. Minnett’s Hill is its name. Sounds unassuming, but I’d been warned it looked like a wall was about to hit you when you came up to it. Such things surely cannot exist in flat Lincolnshire I presumed, so dismissed this advice as scaremongering.

The legs felt pretty good for ones that had done ten hard ones the previous evening plus six in the morning. The power of a good night’s sleep, protein shake, and maybe the couple of pancakes consumed just before bedtime had all helped. It wasn’t long before I was running around seven minute miles and watching the miles click by.

Minnett’s Hill would see me leave the main road through a small hamlet and initially up a steep, but not unbearable climb – surrounded by fields covered in crops. Before I knew it I’d climbed the hill and was on a gentle descent. Not much of a hill I thought to myself. Then a few hundred meters on the narrow lane would disappear into a copse and seemingly disappear into the sky on an ever increasing angle of ascent. It was, as warned, like looking at a wall.

The legs, especially the quads, which were the bits of me that felt tired, began to protest before I even started climbing. As the path ramped up I went quickly into survival mode, found a pace I could cope with and stuck with it. A few moments later I realised that pace was far too fast and I slowed to a shuffle and wondered whether walking would be quicker. Determined to keep on running I shuffled on, by now the heart rate racing up to racing levels and beyond.

Just as I thought I couldn’t go on the hill lessened in its severity and it wasn’t long before I was back on the level. Whilst we lost the ascent we also lost the tarmac lane, the road now a farmer’s track, and with the recent volume of rain, a very muddy and wet farmer’s track. My new trainers looked decidedly second hand by the time I reached a proper road again; the rest of me looking fairly mud splattered as I was passed by a number of scramblers on their motorbikes who wished me a good journey in the form of coating me in mud.

Back on road and it wasn’t long before the hill climbed would be a similar hill descended – this proving nearly as painful on the quads as the ascent. With seven miles covered I had the option here of heading straight home or taking a detour on Five Gates to add a couple of extra miles. As the weather was good and the legs felt okay, I opted for the latter. enjoying the scenery by a road I’ve only previously ever run in darkness. I was particularly taken by a large herd of deer who, to a buck and doe, were statuesque as they grazed silently on grass.

The rest of the run was a formality – only in the very last mile did the legs throw any signs of distress signals as the calves felt a tough tight. Other than that it was twelve easy miles and a beast of a climb – one that I would like to tackle again in anger when the tracks have dried up – if that could ever happen.

Split Summary
1) 1m – 7:43(7:43/m) 135/144bpm 106cal
2) 1m – 7:10(7:10/m) 141/149bpm 101cal
3) 1m – 7:10(7:10/m) 144/150bpm 100cal
4) 1m – 7:11(7:11/m) 151/167bpm 106cal
5) 1m – 7:31(7:31/m) 158/173bpm 117cal
6) 1m – 7:07(7:07/m) 151/155bpm 101cal
7) 1m – 6:53(6:53/m) 141/150bpm 76cal
8) 1m – 7:04(7:04/m) 147/154bpm 92cal
9) 1m – 7:03(7:03/m) 146/152bpm 85cal
10) 1m – 7:06(7:06/m) 139/150bpm 59cal
11) 1m – 7:01(7:01/m) 143/148bpm 75cal
12) 1m – 6:57(6:57/m) 144/148bpm 75cal
13) 0.35m – 2:32(7:11/m) 144/148bpm 26cal