Day 44–It’s A Good Way To Unwind

Another long day behind the computers following the F1 test in Jerez meant I knew that it would be pretty late before I would be able to get out for my run. As I briefly went outside at around 7pm to test the right hamstring (which tightened up at the end of yesterday’s run) I  briefly winced at the iciness of the wind and recalled the days not so long ago when I would be able to run the very pleasant Spanish circuit at the end of the day, basking in T-Shirt and shorts weather in late January. A far cry from this evening, where apart from not reaching out for the extra thermal tights (Still unused this winter) I was full thermal spec.

I’d been a little concerned by the hamstring all day. Thankfully it showed no discomfort from the off and indeed the only discomfort was the on going abductor / right groin tightness. In getting ready to run I must have been lost in my thoughts for around 1km into the run I realised I wasn’t running any hi-vis clothing at all. This was ironic (in the Morrissette sense) as I’d just signed off my 111/2 hour stint on the computer with a Facebook comment on a lively thread discussing the merits of such attire. Being in the you’re better of being seen than being dead camp I had little choice but to loop round back to home and pick up a bright yellow reflective bib, which maybe about as useful as paper armour in protecting me against a 12 tonne truck but gives me at least the comfort I did everything possible to be visible.

Of course to the H&S purists I threw away all the good work of being visible by wearing earphones and listening to music and listening to it in the dark!  I tend to find the inspirational side of music more beneficial when I just want to knock out some easy miles rather than trying to bust a gut during a tempo session, and so it proved this evening when the beloved Sansa Clip set, as always, on Random Play, knocked out a succession of cracking tunes, kicking off with what may be my new favourite running track:

Ok I realise that restrictions mean you cannot play it in here, but the sentiment was there. You can click and enjoy on YouTube, and work out why it was that before I knew it 7:30 miles had become 6:52 miles and not long after 8 miles had been covered and I was back home. Job done. Mission accomplished. Think about the next run.

Day 43–Well That Was Quite Quick…

The day was long covering the opening day of F1 Testing at Jerez, at the computer for 6:30am and not able to leave until exactly 12 hours later. I put on my running gear in double quick time and headed out with barely a stretch to try and catch the, club, who were set to leave for their intervals session in around 6 minutes, when it normally takes me 11 to get to HQ…. As it was I just caught them leaving, I needed to visit the bathroom so I said I’d meet them in a minute. It took a 6:10 mile, after a 6:27 to catch them just as they stopped outside the pub.

The session hadn’t been finalised but it was decided to do 6 x 1 mile with a 2-3 minute recovery. I let the others have a 40 second or so head start for the first interval, I needed to stretch. The first mile felt really quick as I caught and passed all my club mates. Normally the mile in this direction is a fair bit slower than the return leg as it climbs 10 or so metres, but when I finished the mile the Garmin clocked 5:25, nigh on as fast as anything I’d done in the other direction and around 30 seconds quicker than normal. I felt though like I’d over-exerted myself somewhat, although I quickly recovered.

Then I turned around and realised why the mile was so quick. There was quite a stiff wind blowing, in the opposite direction to the usual prevailing wind, which had aided us significantly on the upward stretch and would hinder us on our return. And so it proved on the second rep, which turned out to be the equal slowest of the night at 5:30. Reps three and four were hard work clocking 5:30 and 5:29 respectively. At the end of the fourth rep I even felt a little nauseous, as well as feeling the right abductor.

Knowing that I had only two reps left I put aside any tired thoughts and worked hard on the fifth rep, clawing back time after a sluggish opening 800 meters to clock 5:27. The same happened on the sixth rep – I was averaging 5:38 at the halfway point before I put in a sustained effort to finish with a 5:29 rep. On this rep the right abductor and possibly right hamstring began to tighten significantly. Once everyone came back from their final rep and we began to jog back I decided to say my goodbyes, one because I still had a little work to do at home, and secondly because I felt the abductor was sorer if I ran slower.

I came home with at an average of 6:45, finishing the 10.5 mile run in a barely believable 5:59 per mile average. I don’t think I’ve ever run a training session that quickly. Hopefully the right leg will respond to a little massage and stretching, and another day in front of the computer tomorrow.

Day 42–When Running Feels Easy, It is So Good….

I put in a longer than usual Monday run as the rest of the week and the F1 test in Jerez which I am covering means finding time to run could be a haphazard affair. The legs felt good from the off and when the Garmin beeped to tell me the first mile split, I was surprised to see it read 7:30 as that continued a chunk of hill and I was putting in no effort.

The good times continued, splits in the low seven minutes until I changed direction at Barrowby and the headwind became a tail wind, soon enough the splits were sub-7 and edging closer to 6:30 as the run continued, stopping for a brief pit stop at the leisure centre. With only a dull ache in the right groin, helped again by some last minute massage to the hip before leaving, the temptation was to continue on and on, but I had work waiting so had to call it a day at 10 miles, averaging dead on seven minutes per mile.

I just hope that work doesn’t mean that is as good as it gets for the rest of the working week.

Day 41–A Tale Of Two Runs: One In A Town, The Other In The Big City

Saturday night in the West End of London saw a great time had – The long awaited trip to see The Book of Mormon was well worth the wait, I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a theatre.

Unfortunately the night’s sleep was not so pleasant. Not seeing the pillow until around 2am, I then had the most frustrating time. I’m sure I never actually had any proper deep sleep. Instead I seemed to doze gently before waking constantly every ten minutes or so until I put myself out of my misery at around 7am and began the long process of waking myself enough to be able to step out of the hotel and begin running.

I wanted to run 20 miles. It soon became clear that if I wanted to return in time to have breakfast and catch the train back home I wouldn’t be able to run the full distance in one sitting. So a plan was hatched to run half in the morning and the remainder once I’d returned to Grantham in the afternoon.

The hotel being less than a mile away from Greenwich Park, I thought that a suitable place to knock out some easy miles without fear of getting lost or constantly stopping at junctions. What I’d not envisaged was the immaculately maintained park sat on a fairly steep hill, which, in places, was fairly savage to try and run up and down – especially first thing in the morning. This made the going tough at times although after four miles or so the legs properly woke up and this made things considerably easier. Moreover, despite the early hour, there were a good number of runners in the park and they provided a welcome target to chase down and pass.

At ten miles I called it a day and ran back to the hotel, packed and headed to a local cafe for a rather tasty Full English (Veggie) Breakfast. The promised rain began to fall and I thanked my lucky stars I’d been able to run when it was cloudy, but dry – the cold wind would have been totally miserable in the rain.

We made it to King’s Cross in plenty of time to catch the train back to Grantham. I managed to get a few minutes fitful sleep on the train – although at just over an hour, the journey didn’t allow as much sleep as I would have liked. Once home I downed a large mug of tea, ate a rather large Snickers and rather than curl up on the sofa for a highly tempting nap, I put on the running clothes, trainers, and headed out for the second run of the day.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, having never run twice in the day when the first run was more than six miles. Happily it felt fairly good – the legs more alert than they were in the morning and the niggling groin and hip somewhat less niggly thanks to a quick massage with the therapy ball. I was soon able to knock out miles at sub 7 minute pace and was closer to 6:30 by the time I had a steady tail wind to push me on. It was only in the last mile or so when I began to flag a touch, in part because I was running around in circles to bring the day’s mileage up to 20 miles.

The best part of the run though was that after around six hours of heavy wind and rain, the sun came out for when I came out to run. The stories I’d heard of biblical thunderstorms during cross country races and Long Sunday Runs made miserable by the weather meant I felt very fortunate that I’d escaped the weekend without seeing a drop of rain whilst running. The flip side was that it rained every time my wife and I headed over our anniversary weekend. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Day 40 – The Gruesome Early Morning Run After A Curry And Quite A Few Drinks The Night Before Run

The title says it all really. Free of all parental responsibilities for the first time in well over a year, my wife and I wasted no time in beginning our weekend celebrating twenty years since we first met. A day in London beckoned, first we had an evening out in gloomy Grantham to endure enjoy. I’m not saying the company was bad, far from it, neither was the meal nor the drinks. It was the weather that was about as depressing as EastEnders – wet, cold, windy – pretty miserable.

To ease the pain of the weather a fair few drinks were drunk. The meal was simply delicious, the Gurkha Square Restaurant delivering on taste and service.

Not long after the meal the night was done, soon fast asleep in a slightly drunken stupor. I woke early, cold from the perennial winter risk of wife stealing the duvet and holding it with a vice like grip. I hung around for as long as it took to for sun to rise, then got ready to go running, aware that our train to London left in around two hours.

Not long after heading out for the run, it was apparent that my shorts were suffering from Partridgesque perished lining syndrome, meaning that for much of the run it felt like I was running free, so to speak. I hope no-one saw more than they were supposed to….

The run, the usual Dysart Park and return was made more interesting by Dysart Park being closed -the park keeper clearly enjoying a lie in. This meant I made a slight diversion to make a loop out of a fearsome climb that did not sit well with my slightly hungover head or delicate curry filled tummy. It did though allow possibilities for different variations in the future for my now very familiar recovery run.

The three miles back were a delicate balancing act of trying to run as quickly as possible without tipping the belly into critical overload. It got a bit touch and go near the end, slowing to a painful trot to avoid the trots, but I made it, six and a third miles survived.

A swift breakfast and shower and I was off to the station, London bound. I have written this on the train on my phone. Technology blows me away sometimes….