Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rest Day Bonus

Today is non-running day, this technically means I might go to the gym and do some weights, but in reality means I have a day of no exercise. Back at work after our holiday so updated my training graph and discovered that I have less running to do this week than I thought, so my long run on Saturday has earned me some shorter runs towards the end of the week - this is a good thing. Also my new watch arrived - see pic. It's a Bowflex the only brand I could find which had strapless heartrate monitoring which was one of the things I loved about my (now expired) Speedo watch. In fact it has pretty much all of the same functionality as the Speedo but is not quite as nice - the Speedo was red and had a more ergonomic design. I'm chuffed at how quickly it arrived as I had to order it from the US - good work Amazon! Oh, and just out of interest, my blogging hr is 53bpm, this may seem fairly low but is above average for me as I have non-symptomatic bracchycardia, a posh way of saying I have an unusually low heart rate (can be down to 45 when doing nothing) but it doesn't have any medical significance.

A Bit Extra

Slightly re-arranged my training week as BIP's hockey team were short of 7 players for this evening's game and so she needed me to play. So had a shorter run (about 6km) than I would have otherwise and will go longer on Thursday. Felt fine even after yesterday's longer run, although my legs were quite heavy towards the end everything was working fine and I felt good, oooh two days running! Very humid while out running and the forecast rain finally hit in the afternoon, but luckily had stopped again by the time we went out for hockey. The oppo were even shorter of players than us, at least we had the bare 11 but they only had 10 and a couple of injuries meant they were down to 9 a couple of times. So I had very little to do and could take it easy most of the time and not overdo it on the running front, and more importantly stay free of injury myself. Sunday night with a glass of wine and the final series of The Wire on DVD should aid recovery.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sunny Smiles

Having spent large parts of this blog moaning about how hard my training is and generally whingeing I'm happy to report that today I had one of those great mornings where everything felt great and my hour and a half run was almost a pleasure. We got back from our skiing holiday last night, and the signs of Spring are everywhere - lambs and calves in all the paddocks and even our grape vine has its first bud. It was a warm morning to be running, but luckily enough cloud and a bit of a breeze stopped it being too hot, it's a good reminder that the conditions for the Hamilton half will be very different from Huntly which was a very cold day which ended with torrential rain. Bumped into G & J just before Scotsman's valley so had a 5 minute chat break which I'm sure helped. Both my hamstrings feeling a little tight so must remember to get some stretching done over the weekend, apart from that nothing to report in terms of sore bits. Last 5 minutes was hard work but all in all a darn good start to my running week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stormy Weather

After being rained off the mountain on Tuesday and not even getting up there yesterday we woke to another wet and windy day and no surprise to find everything closed again. I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer and retrieved my running gear from the bottom of my case and headed out into the wind and rain. The good news was that everything seems to be in working order, nothing hurting and despite a harsh head wind on the way out I had a fairly civilised hour of running (the tail wind coming home was most welcome!). Keeping my fingers crossed that the wind will drop off later today so we can get a final day of skiing in tomorrow before heading home.

Friday, August 21, 2009

No Business Like Snow Business

A beautiful sunny start to the morning promised another glorious day like yesterday up the mountain, but by 10am the cloud had come over and it got progressively gloomier with intermittent patches of whiteout. Having had a full day of skiing yesterday my legs were tired so by lunch time I was in no mood to fight it out in rubbish conditions so by 1pm we called it a day and headed back down. Actually it was much clearer in the lower mountain – although trying to snow when we left. Faced with a free afternoon I looked at my running gear (the deal was that any day it was too bad to ski I would fit a run in ), but having skied half a day my calves and quads were in no mood for it. J fancied 9 holes of golf so I offered my services as caddy and had a good hour and a half of walking instead. Got back in time for our spa booking – although a call from C next door offering gin and tonics nearly swayed us, but we figured a spa first then a gin and tonic. Isn’t it nice to be on holiday?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Timing Woes

Disaster has struck, my trusty Speedo watch has met with a watery end. This is no ordinary watch, it has a built in strap free heart rate monitor, dual time functionality, lap and split timer functionality and a rubberized strap which doesn't perish however much you sweat. I'm gutted. J bought it for me several years ago (she had to import it from the UK) and it has seen me through duathalons, more runs than I can imagine, cycle events and overly long meetings where I just wanted to keep an eye on my heart rate to make sure I wasn't being bored to death. A quick squizz on the internet seems to confirm my fear that Speedo aren't making them any more either. So now I need to find a replacement - if anyone out there can recommend a good, strapless hrm watch please let me know. On the running front last night's outing with the marathon clinic still seemed unnecessarily hard, but I got through an hour long run and although my achilles and knee were both still a bit grumbly neither seemed any the worse for it this morning. Today was speed training on the treadmill - yay!!! I actually eased it off a bit this week by not doing the fast bits at such a high pace as I have been, but kept everything else the same so it was still more than enough of a workout.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Full of Beans

I don't know if it was having a rest day yesterday, or the fact that the sun is shining and Spring is in the air, but I'm full of beans this morning. Even having to try and motivate teenage hockey players at 7am didn't dampen my enthusiasm.
A quick stock take after my day off, left achilles a little sore and tight (must stretch calf muscles!), right hamstring tight (more stretching there too) and my right knee is just a bit niggly but nothing that can't be safely ignored. So, all ready for my run with the marathon clinic crew tonight then - hopefully my energy levels will still be as high then as they are now, although the SH girls have a hockey game right before again so I'll no doubt expend a fair bit as nervous energy - semi finals are looming!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Too Hard

As I suspected I didn't make it up in time to get into town for the club's 15km run, instead I had a bit of breakfast, read the paper and then set out for my own local version instead. The first 40 mins was ok but then I hit a total wall, body and mind both giving up in perfect unison - pah! I dropped down to a walk and managed to at least keep heading out in the right direction rather than just turning round and heading for home. Through considerable determination (and a little voice in my head reminding me that this is a peak week and if I cut today short it's going to make the rest of the week really hard!) I slogged out the rest of the distance with a mixture of running and walking and finally got home. After a shower and a coffee I still feel like a wreck - I guess it's just a bit of cumulative fatigue hitting me, tomorrow is a day off though so I'm sure by Tuesday I'll be raring to go again (!). Proof, if it was needed, that half-marathon training is hard.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday Hills

With so much beautiful, hilly, scenery around us it's hard to find any excuse to avoid the perfect place for hill training. Even the weather forecast of high winds and heavy rain easing to showers later didn't put me off. As it happened the worst of the rain seems to have passed over last night and while there was plenty of evidence of it out and about (including whole paddocks under water - wish I'd had my camera) the rain held off. I drove up to Tauwhare school and ran from there so I could run through Scotsman's Valley for the whole run. It's a great place to train as even though the out leg is all heading uphill it's also very undulating so every time you go up you get a brief downhill or flat bit to recover. There was a pretty major headwind which hit me as I got higher up and at one point I seriously felt like I was running but standing still - the good news was this was just before I turned round so I had the benefit of a lovely tail wind all the way back down. I'm starting to get a better technique on the uphill which is definitely helping - higher knees and pumping arms. One word of advice, don't get so focussed on your technique that you forget to stay at the side of the road - windy roads, cars, runners - never a good combination. Ooops, if it's any consolation I probably got a bigger fright than the car driver.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Easy Does It

After a couple of runs this week which were longer than planned, all I had left to do today, my last day of week 2 training, was a 3km easy run. Hardly seemed worth getting out of bed for to be honest! Given how tired my legs were after yesterday's exertions and having shifted 2 trailer loads of wood into the woodshed last night I probably couldn't have managed much more though.
The funny thing about short runs is that you just get the worst bit of the run as it normally takes me 3km to get into my stride and stop grumbling to myself. As always it was good to get it done though and with the weather forecast threatening lots of rain and high winds I'm glad I made myself get out of bed and do it first thing while it was still dry. Just as I was leaving for work I had to detour and move the cows into the next paddock as they were just being too much of a pain about eating everything they could reach in the garden. They'd broken the wire that keeps them a reasonable distance from the fence (again! I only fixed it last night) but the final straw was that one of them was leaning over the fence trying to eat Mac's rose, even J running across the garden yelling had no effect so I gave in and shifted them early.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Speed Work

I really really really really hate doing speedwork, it sucks! If I try and do it out on the road I inevitably get slower and slower while convincing myself that I'm working hard, so for the first half of my current training schedule I have one day a week on the treadmill. No chance of skiving off, 40 minute run with 20 mins fast - yuck! In order to avoid completely killing myself I break the 20 mins up into 5 minute chunks, so warm up, 5 mins fast, 2 min recovery, repeat another 3 times, cool down and that's it. Still it always feels good when I've finished even though I will have a face like a tomato for most of the afternoon. Hopefully it will all pay off though, I'm following the same training schedule I had for Huntly but including the hills and speed work (which I didn't last time round) in the hope that it will help knock some time off. We will see......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sooooo Tired

Out running with the marathon clinic last night. Had a mad rush to get there on time as SH school hockey team were playing just before and I had to fight my way through traffic to get there. SH won by the way, 3-1, despite some dodgy officiating and some very unschool-like language coming from the opposition dugout!
Anyway, back to the run, four of us went out together and did a 70 minute run with a bit of a break midway for JB2 (not to be confused with JB!) to stock up on sugar. I actually found it harder than my 80 min run on Sunday but I think this was partly due to accumulated leg tiredness and partly more evidence that I run much slower when I'm by myself. Good news is that the evenings are getting longer too so we actually started in daylight, although once it got dark I still lived in fear of tripping and breaking something (some of the street lights in Hamilton are really feeble!) just prior to my skiing trip next week. Club 15km run is this Sunday but don't think I'll get in for it - why do they insist on starting at 8am on a Sunday, my one lie in for the week?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Training in my Sleep

In case any more evidence was needed that running is at the forefront of my mind, last night I had not one, but two dreams in which I was running a half-marathon! Actually in the first one I was just coming up to the finish line (and managing a sprint finish so I knew I was dreaming!!) but had managed to knock 3 mins off my Huntly time so I was pretty pleased with myself and didn't feel remotely tired -- maybe this is my subconscious mind telling me that I can go faster :-) This morning I was up early for a training session with the school hockey team I coach, they were particularly low-key and apathetic this morning, I wish I knew how to convince them that at their age they can do anything they want and that with a bit of enthusiasm and hard work some of them could be really good hockey players. Ah, the wisdom of age!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lighter mornings

At last the days are getting longer as Spring approaches, so this morning when I got to the gym at 7am it was already light. More daylight hours at each end of the day makes fitting running in so much easier, I'm just more motivated when it's light outside. Anyway this morning was a super easy 30 mins, I decided to run round campus and throw in Edinburgh Street hill for a bit of hard work, but all in all it was a nice easy start to the day. Feet and ankles were a bit stiff first thing after yesterday's longer run but soon warmed up and didn't give me any trouble. I was trying out a new pair of running socks having been lured by the Shoe Clinic's 'buy 3 pairs get 1 free promotion' which might be a good deal, but it does still feel a little decadent spending over $100 on running socks! Anyway the free pair are Thorlo experia which have padding in all the right places, but are much thinner elsewhere. They seemed fine this morning but as I buy my runners for thicker socks I'm not sure how they'll go on longer runs, maybe I'll just save them for light training.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Some Days are Better than Others

After changing my rest day this week from Monday to Saturday (a polite way of saying I just couldn't get my a into g yesterday!) I was still feeling fairly unmotivated this morning. However, I got myself out there and after a hard first 5 minutes of grumbling and mumbling I settled into it and by the time I hit the half hour mark I was feeling great and inspired to tackle a couple of the smaller hills at the start of Scotsman's valley. At the top of the second and just over 40 mins I bumped into a friend (on her way out for a 30km cycle) so I had a brief recovery chat before turning round and heading home.
Legs feeling ok, and spent the afternoon shifting 70 bales of hay so everything got a good work out in the end.
Looking forward to a quiet night in and some good wine, a great recovery tool.