Monday, 29 October 2007

Feeling like a real runner

OK, so it's only at a pace of around 11 minutes per mile; but 4.74 miles in around 52:30 without a single stop is the biggest achievement yet.

And I didn't feel that I had to stop because it was hurting - because it wasn't. I could have continued for at least a little longer, and it was a steady pace and rhythm, and I enjoyed it.

Oh, wow.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The best compliment

Gym session (Kim & I are doing our best to include one a week for strength training). Girl at desk takes my card, swipes it, hands it back. As I go to walk away, she asks "What's your name?" "Cassie Tillett." She frowns at the screen in front of her, and says "That's the name I've got here, but it doesn't look like you in the photo..."

I peered over the desk and confirmed that it was indeed me, 20 lb heavier. She said "That's amazing. I was going to ask you if you'd borrowed your mother's membership card..."

Friday, 26 October 2007

Round and round the ... lake

A trip to the post office in Lenwade was required, so I took the opportunity to take in a run. 5 laps, one break, 5 laps; 0.44 miles per lap. Always rougher going - not hilly, but bumpy paths, potholes and other hazards - so it was harder to get into rhythm. But doing 4.4 miles in 48:15 (plus the 4 minute break) wasn't bad. Still amusing the fishermen and dog-walkers with my antics.

Was glad to have made the investment when we got to the village quiz night that evening to find giant chocolate bars and bags of Kettle Chips on each table...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The best run yet

Foot? What foot?

Kim had had a really long day at work, and I was feeling under the weather too, but we were very glad that we talked each other into it.

It was cold when we set off today - a dark evening. I was dressed in my (new) luminous t-shirt and proper running trousers (as opposed to the rather heavyweight, always-get-sweaty cotton stuff I usually wear). Whether it was psychological or not, or the genuine effect of the lighter fabrics, but the running felt lighter and easier.

We started by promising that we'd take less breaks. (Usually a 3-4 mile run will make for at least 2 if not 3 stops for stretching.) Kim's dad had told her off: "you can't do that in a race!" So our only concession was that we really did need to stretch after the initial running as it was so cold.

We did our usual 1.5 miles from the Longwater roundabout down to Bowthorpe. "Just a bit further", said Kim: "down to that car at the end". A few minutes later: "no, not that car, that one." And then: "I lied: the end of that road." Sneaky cow. That added on an extra five minutes at that end of the route! We stopped and stretched there. But then we ran all the way back - not just to our usual starting-point, but right round the car park at Longwater too, which is exactly one more mile.

And you know what? For the first time ever, I really enjoyed the process of the run - not just the sheer bloody-mindedness of having kept going, fighting against discomfort, which is more usual. That hamstring kept mostly quiet, with just a bit of awareness (not pain) at the very end of the run; I think that the cold helped, as I found it invigorating (and perhaps it numbed the muscles against pain - who knows?!); and the breathing wasn't at all laboured, even on those uphill bits. I was completely triumphant.

And the triumph was complete when we got back when we clocked the route accurately on Fetch Everyone, and found that we'd run a total of 4.57 miles in 49 minutes' running (plus a four-minute break after 18 minutes). That's an average pace of 10:43, and we know that as we slowed right down from time to time, some of the pace will have been well up on that.


Saturday, 20 October 2007

B*gger. That hurts.

You know I said earlier today that the foot-down-a-pothole wasn't being a problem?

Iced and elevated it on my return home, seemed ok, wasn't more than just a bit inflexible.

Now, having relaxed (watching the X Factor - what's relaxing about that?!) for the evening, and warmed up, it's now hurting like mad. Across the middle of the right foot, on the left hand side.

This had better sort itself out fast. Or I shall SULK.

No sense of direction...

... can be an advantage. Or not.

Beautiful October day. I carefully planned a 4 mile route - this being the intended traing distance by end October. From home, down to Ringland church, following the road round to the other side of Weston Longville and back in through the village that way is 4.25 miles. I walked the first 0.25 miles (which I didn't count) in order to be able to stretch before I started, and off I went.

I was aware that the first leg - about 1.6 miles down to the church - was downhill all the way. Still, really nice, and trying to ignore the voice that was saying "so guess what the hill will do on the way home?!" Paused for three minute stretch and water by the church, set off again. The next bit was the promised hill with a vengeance - steep, hard work. Evened out, get breath back, HR round about 150.

Came to a junction. Paused for two more minutes, stretched and considered. Decided that left hand fork was the one that I wanted - right hand one looked like a dirt track rather than a road.

Finally emerged onto the main road coming back into our village. Expected to see Rectory Road very soon on my left. No sign of it. Kept running, and finally saw the road that I should have taken (the right fork) coming in on my right...

Caught my foot in a pot-hole in the road in the last bit, which was a pain - have frozen peas on it now - but it didn't actually cause too much bother in that part of the run. Got home, remapped the correct route, and found that my 55 minutes less 5 minutes breaks had covered 4.6 miles. Not Olympic standards (and still well over the 10 minute mile I'd like) but at least I did it. And it means that, in terms of distance at least, I'm ahead of my own game by about three weeks...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

First four miler!!

Amazing. Kim & I met up at the gym, ran our usual three mile round trip from the Longwater to Bowthorpe roundabouts, and then continued round the route that I'd mapped as a further mile, down to the gym and around the roads and car park of the Longwater estate. We were triumphant to have done it in 43 minutes' running, including 9:30 in three stops for stretch and water; next time, we need to stick with the 4 miles but do it with less pauses.

The difficulty is, at this time of year (excuses, excuses) that it's getting cooler when we run; so the need to stop and stretch after the first mile or so is important. However, we won't get the chance to stop (or pride won't let us!) during the Wymondham 10K, so we'd better take out some of those pauses...

but it was high-five time, nonetheless. And at a 10:39 pace, too, which is encouraging - given that my pace in the May Race for Life was over 12:30...

Monday, 15 October 2007

Going the distance

A return to the lakes at Lenwade - first time down there for absolutely ages. Having discovered that the circuit isn't "half-a-mile" but 0.44 miles, I have to revise my (perceived) achievements! However, today I managed 9 circuits - giving me a distance of 3.96 miles - just slightly more than Kim & I achieved the other day when we did the "roundabout run" and then added on a trot round the Sainsbury's car park (as you do). It remains the furthest I've run to date.

I managed this distance slightly faster today - 44 minutes' running time (50 minutes in all, but two three-minute breaks for water and stretch after the third and sixth lap). It's still a pace of over 11 minutes per mile, but it's the distance I'm after now.

The left hamstring remains a niggling problem, and the right shin seems to have taken over from the right hip. The terrain, though, was a good deal rougher than I remembered - yes, it's not exactly rough compared to some, but it is against the even pavements we've been using recently, and especially when you're trying not to twist your ankle by stepping on an unseen conker!

At least that means that one more lap of the lake will take me over my four-mile target for the end of October. Mind you, I also need to do that four miles in one hit, without a stretching-and-water break!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Not a lark

As Kim came over on Friday night to have dinner with us and my parents, who were visiting, we persuaded her to stay overnight and help us finish the bottle(s)! And as our original intention had been to have a run before Friday's dinner - but by the time she'd finished work, it seemed like a bad idea - we promised (at the bottom of the bottle) to make up the shortfall on Saturday morning.

A lovely morning. We took the full 3 mile route round the village, which includes a few hills (yes, even in Norfolk). We both found it very hard work; my theory is that as we'd gone out before breakfast, we were feeling the lack of fuel! The hip stayed quiet but the hamstring did its usual. However, we were well pleased to have managed it in 31 minutes' running time - 35 less a four minute stretching break after the first mile - which is about the best we've managed.

The six-miler still feels like it's a long way off, though...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Back on the road

- much to my relief.

After several days of non-running - crocked last week, sore muscles after gym, torrential rain - I was SO happy to run again. Kim & I returned to our Longwater-to-Bowthorpe-roundabouts 3 mile circuit, and (including two breaks) did it in 34 minutes - not bad, especially after a week out.

However, as we started to walk down the road to the gym (where we'd parked), Kim suddenly said "I've got a suggestion..." and headed off across the road into the shopping estate - round Sainsbury's and the Range - where we'd done our very first run, 'way back in March.

If she'd said in the last quarter-mile "let's do another bit round the car park" I'd have probably told her in good Anglo-Saxon where to go. As it was, I breathed heavy and kept going; and when I got back, mapped it to find that we'd done very nearly an extra mile, bringing us to 3.87 miles - the furthest I'd ever run in a session. No, it wasn't easy; but I was hugely relieved that the hip didn't play up, the hamstring coped, and I knew I could do it again...

... all we need to do is keep adding it up so we can do 6.2 miles by New Year!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

A bit of encouragement

What a crappy week for exercise

A wonderful visit to the gym on Sunday was followed by the worst aches in the legs and the butt that I've felt since I started exercising - I think it was that darn' stepper machine. I could hardly walk up the stairs, never mind run. The only thing to be said for it was that it made me forget about (and also rest) the hip and hamstring that have been causing so many problems.

Today I woke up feeling more mobile than I have for days. Great, I thought - I can get out for a run at last. (The last run was last Tuesday. A week ago. A WEEK AGO!!)

And what did it do? Not just a shower, but torrential rain all day. Even if it had let up before dark (which it didn't), all the country lanes have turned into paddling pools. Just great.

So tomorrow is the day. And then it's back to the routine. But I am getting SO crabby... (waddya mean, "getting?"...)

Friday, 5 October 2007

Crabby does it again

OK, so her post was actually a month ago, but hey.

You know my favourite mantra, which originated from one of Crabby's readers: "half-assed is good enough"? (I think I need it made up into a logo to wear to the gym on a t-shirt.)

This entry sums it up again wonderfully. How many of us have had this conversation with ourselves? (but without a conscience as smart as Crabby's...)

Painful legs, pretty feet

That blinkin' hip and hamstring...

After that fabulous run earlier in the week, the two problem areas have really not stopped paining me. So Thursday night's run with Kim was called off (oh, let's be honest, she came over for dinner instead) and this morning I went to see Tim-the-physio. He's made it feel easier, given me some exercises, and we'll see where we go from here.

I made myself feel better in the afternoon by catching up with some beauty treatments from Kayla, including some mad nail polish designs - hands and feet - which I'd never have dared try before... amazing what a new view of yourself can do.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

A new route

After Friday's try at Easton, Kim & decided we needed somewhere a bit better lit. So we met at the gym, walked up to the Longwater roundabout, and headed from there down to the Bowthorpe roundabout - which proved to be a 2.9 mile round trip. Much safer, nothing actually on the road (all pavement) and plenty of street lighting.

On the way there, we deliberately kept the pace down to about an 11 minute mile - as we're trying to improve our distance - and that felt great. We both really enjoyed it, CV was well under control - about 155, in my case - and no problems. However, the return journey showed us that one reason for the ease had been an almost imperceptible downward slope - and now it was upward...

By the last quarter-mile or so, I'd slowed noticeably. The top of my right thigh, immediately below the hip, is now very sore (this did have the advantage that I didn't notice the left hamstring!) and feeling a bit crocked. Kim has instructed me not to run tomorrow, and we'll try again on Thursday. I have a feeling that another visit to Tim the physio - or James the sports masseur - might be in order, though...