Day 82–Cold, Cold, Cold

The intention yesterday was to head to Newark to take part in parkrun. However through Friday evening it was clear I had caught one of the daughter’s colds – my throat was on fire and my nose rapidly becoming more and more blocked.

A fraught night’s sleep which saw me wake pretty much every hour to relieve the throat, saw me clearly in no fit state to take part in a swift run. I’d debated long and hard whether to run at all, in the end I did because I felt the cold had not got any worse since I’d risen and indeed was starting to get a little better.

So it was six easy paced miles on the usual riverside park out and back run. The legs were a little stiff and I couldn’t have gone much faster than I did, but I don’t think I did too much damage running – the heart rate remained as I’d expect it too and the pace actually quickened over the miles to be not far off what I’d expect for an easy paced run.

I just hope now I can continue to recover to be fit for tomorrow’s long 24 mile run. I don’t really have an alternative date in the calendar if it cannot be tomorrow, so have to keep my fingers crossed.

Day 81–Quicker Than Yesterday…

After yesterday’s interesting club run which remarked a particularly telling Strava comment are you logging your walks now? it was back to business this morning. A narrow window to head out, I was originally planning to run ten miles but only had time for eight.

The legs felt a little tired, but not unbearably so. The only real developing issue at the moment is a grumbling left hip (the opposite one to the one that’s been giving all the trouble for the past few months) which can also be felt at times in the IT band and the Piraformis. Hopefully this can be kept under control with massage and stretching.

Using the eight mile run that takes me up to Barrowby on the A52 and back into town, the opening miles are hard going because its uphill, the rest of the miles are pretty easy as they are all flat or gently downhill. With the breeze less than it has been in recent days, this was a pleasant and fairly straightforward run which leaves me with the option of running parkrun in the morning if I choose.

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

Day 78–On Course

A key day in the training schedule. An easy paced morning run followed by a ten mile marathon paced run in the evening. Marathon paced runs have become the new intervals – something I generally dread all through the day then, when they are over and done, generally feel much better for it – if a little stiff in the legs for a few hours after.

The morning run first – the sun shining and cool, but rising, temperatures, after the first half mile or so this became a very straightforward, trouble free run. Using the Dysart Park and back route – which is a little longer than usual for my AM Tuesday double run, the pace stuck at around seven minute miles and felt as though I could easily pick up the pace if I wanted to. Whether I could pick the pace up by a minute a mile was another question however.

Split Summary
1) 1m – 7:31(7:31/m) 134/148bpm 94cal
2) 1m – 7:17(7:17/m) 145/150bpm 102cal
3) 1m – 7:14(7:14/m) 146/153bpm 99cal
4) 1m – 7:10(7:10/m) 143/149bpm 91cal
5) 1m – 7:00(7:00/m) 147/152bpm 93cal
6) 1m – 7:03(7:03/m) 149/156bpm 95cal
7) 0.21m – 1:27(6:54/m) 149/155bpm 19cal

The legs didn’t feel too great for the rest of the morning but by mid-afternoon they felt much better. Leaving the house wafting with smells of pancakes served up to my daughters, it took plenty of willpower not to leave the house on an empty stomach and not tanked up on batter.

Clear skies meant temperatures were dropping rapidly and the first mile or two was a real struggle for the lungs trying to catch my breath. What’s more, there was no warm-up or gradual increase in pace – it was pretty much full on (marathon heart rate) effort from the off. Whilst it felt pretty hard going at times, at least the legs were feeling responsive. The worst bits were, unsurprisingly, the hills, which were a real drag this evening. At least once I cleared the crest of any climb, the lactic like feeling soon left the legs and I was back up to pace.

At six miles I had to decide whether to follow the path of previous marathon paced runs or whether to head out on the A607, then up to the Meres and then the A52. I decided on the latter and pushed on again. The slowest mile (apart from the first) came at mile eight, but this was slightly uphill pretty much all the way. The toughest hill of the climb was to come – thankfully by now I was in full spring and made fairly light work of it, pushing on harder once the hill was tackled.

Onto the A52 by the Muddle and I knew it was pretty much downhill or at worst flat all the way home. I pushed on but relaxed and was pleased to see that the legs were able to knock out the quickest miles of the run. I stopped, as planned, at ten miles, but felt I could have gone on further. The average of 6:09 per mile was better than the past marathon paced runs this year, so showed that training is progressing well.

Split Summary
1) 1m – 6:24(6:24/m) 146/159bpm 91cal
2) 1m – 6:08(6:08/m) 158/163bpm 95cal
3) 1m – 6:06(6:05/m) 162/168bpm 94cal
4) 1m – 6:07(6:07/m) 164/168bpm 97cal
5) 1m – 6:13(6:13/m) 163/166bpm 96cal
6) 1m – 6:03(6:03/m) 158/164bpm 90cal
7) 1m – 6:08(6:08/m) 161/165bpm 94cal
8) 1m – 6:20(6:20/m) 162/165bpm 97cal
9) 1m – 6:08(6:08/m) 158/167bpm 87cal
10) 1m – 5:52(5:52/m) 160/165bpm 86cal
11) 0.13m – 54(6:52/m) 159/163bpm 13cal