Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Back in my happy place

My original regular training run was home-to-Morton-Hall. I started by thinking it was "about two miles" round trip; was a bit disappointed when FetchEveryone informed me it was actually 1.75 miles, but hey. It usually took me about 20-21 minutes in splits.

It was the site of my first walks-with-running breaks; my first (nearly) mile without a stop; and then the whole lot in one hit.

I realise that I haven't run that route since September. The September-November period was given over to much longer runs, both round the village and at Longwater, when I tried to build up mileage; and my few runs in the last month have been with Kim round the new state near the gym.

Including today, I've done 13 miles this month - not huge, but getting back to where I want to be. My only residual niggles right now are the left hip, and a weird discomfort in the right foot (same foot as the ankle problem was) but specifically in the middle toe - as I put weight on the foot and bend it to walk. Very odd. Not even a pain, but - as I've had in other places before - a "there". Looking forward to the appointment with the podiatrist next month.

Anyway, I hadn't run since last Thursday. Six days? Not good. A planned evening with Kim earlier this week didn't happen, as she was under the weather, and I just hadn't shifted my ass to get out on my own. Today was a glorious day, and I really fancied the run, but thought I hadn't enough time (physio this morning, computer training client this afternoon). But when, in the event, my client decided we had covered all the work she wanted to do in just over the hour, instead of two hours, I found myself with a bit of time to spare in daylight, so got out there.

A steady pace, 1.75 miles in 19 minutes dead, pleasingly sub-11:00 pace; kept to the middle of the road to avoid problems with camber. Breathing fine; ankle OK, toes OK; left hip a bit sore but nothing drastic. A gorgeous evening, just before sunset; and best of all, the baby bovines were out. The cattle in the field on the right of the track often come and watch me; this time, they had their new-borns with them, who were absolutely tiny and clearly mystified by what I was up to. I'll take the mobile with me next time and photograph them.

I've realised that I really have to take this building-up process pretty slowly, and also that I was slipping back into the "if I can't do it properly, I won't do it at all" mentality. When I first used this route, I was of the opinion that while any increase in distance or speed was good, but just doing the same as last time was fine, too. And that's where I need to be now for a while. I love running with Kim, and I love pushing myself to train; but these quiet evenings in a familiar environment, with no company but scolding blackbirds and curious cattle, are very precious, and I'd forgotten how much I'd missed them.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Any other Norfolk runners out there?

I'm always thrilled to realise that somebody actually reads these ramblings of mine from time-to-time, and better still if they prove to be folk I have a fighting chance of meeting some day because they live in the same county!

An email from Nicki this morning prompted me to wonder if there was any (forgive the pun) mileage in setting up an online resource for local runners to be able to find each other when they need motivation - somebody to run with. So, for any readers in Norfolk (that's UK), have a look at my newly-created Yahoo group - join us if you'd like - and perhaps I'll see you there!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A bad week

Last week was brilliant - at least, on the exercise front. I had done three sessions in rapid succession (Thursday: solo run, Saturday: run with Kim, Sunday: serious weights with Kim). Each time it had improved my constantly blue mood (result of business being appalling at present, but that's another story) and I felt that I was finally getting back both to the level of fitness and the shape (especially shape of my face) that had made me so much happier. And at least the ankle is now fine (whisper it) and the only aches-and-pains relate to being on the bench for three months, not to injury.

During this last week, however, I haven't done a thing. And I haven't been busy - quite the reverse, and taking myself down to the gym would have been an obvious remedy for a fit of the miseries. But I have been avoiding running on the local roads, as I still think that the camber on them was one of the culprits for the ankle problem - and that was the quick-and-easy way of getting my exercise fix. Now I need to jump in the car and go somewhere else to make it happen. And when I'm in a real strop, the more effort it takes, the less likely it is to happen.

The two planned sessions didn't happen, either. One with Kim fell on an evening where a real pea-souper of a fog descended, and even the driving to meet up didn't seem like a good idea - never mind running when we got there. And the second occasion - a beautiful sunny afternoon - was scuppered by a long discussion about computers with a friend, which I don't begrudge, but by the time I'd got away it was very dark!

The net result has been that I've been six days without any exercise, and feeling as down as I have been recently anyway, this was not good. So this evening's run with Kim was a life-saver. We started, as usual, at the gym for a warmup; then headed out to our new "tough run" - the very hilly couple of miles into the new housing estate being built round the back of Longwater. However, this time we (a) didn't split the run in two - we kept going, albeit at a pace that could hardly be called running; and (b) added on a bit more at each end, bringing the total distance up to 2.83 miles in 32:30. Not exactly speedy - average pace of 11:29 - but given those hills, we were still pleased. And, more to the point, it's the first time since November that I've run for that long without stopping.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

First solo run in three months

I went down the gym on my husband's instructions, as I was in such a miserable blue funk that he was fed up with me. I decided to take the running gear; did 10 minutes each on bike and cross-trainer, and then went out to run. Took myself on a loop from the gym, round the good old Longwater car park (site of our first ever run, last March); kept a steady, fairly slow pace, but kept going. A pretty mild evening for February, and a comfortable, mostly totally flat route on pavements.

It turned out to be 0.84 miles per circuit, and I ran it twice (in 18:45 without a stop); so just slightly short of my old 1.75 mile run to Morton Hall, which was my main route for months. Pace of 11:10, which was pleasing considering that I seldom got better than 10:30 back in the autumn. No problems with CV; some aches in legs, which took my mind away from the ankle (which didn't play up at all); only noticeable discomfort was in the left hip, which I suspect is some sort of weird biomechanical compensation going on for the right ankle. Or something.

And there were just a few bits of the run (OK, mostly on the downhill bits, but hey) where nothing hurt, and everything got in rhythm, and I knew what it was I'd been missing so desperately.

And I came back much happier - to husband's relief...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The girls are back in town...

Tonight was my first run with Kim for over three months (29 October since we ran as a team, to be precise; 7 November was my last long run solo).

Start at gym with warmup on cross-trainer, head out for "a gentle mile round the car park". Spot a road off the route round the back of the complex, head off down there for what turns out to be just over 1.8 miles for there-and-back, including a steep hill down-and-up, there-and-back, and into a strong wind on the return journey. Very, very weary legs, but (hooray!) the ankle hasn't complained. 20:45 running time, plus 3 minutes walking/stretching halfway.

I'm therefore back to roughly the pace (11:20) and feeling ("this is hard work, but I can do it") that I was in the summer; so having been on the bench for three months, I've essentially gone backwards by three months, which is reasonable.

Back to the gym; not the most flattering photo of either of us (self-taken on my mobile), but the momentous moment had to be recorded.