Monday, 22 March 2010

Spring sunshine, not-so-nice dogs, and some very friendly dogs!

Sunday 20th April, 20 mile LSR in the beautiful spring sunshine.

I really wasn't motivated and wanted to stay home, I even had a moan to Ellen afterwards about marathon training taking over my Sundays when all I want to do is stay at home with the family! I still feel worryingly under-prepared for Paris with only a couple of 20 mile LSR's up to now.

Anyway, I got going at around 08:30 and pounded my way around my usual course looking forward to the additional miles before having to head back home.

The good thing about running a familiar route is that you get to know where all the dogs live. Shortly after the 4 mile mark, I know of a house which has 3 dogs...BIG dogs, one a Mastiff of some sort, the second a Rottweiler and the third....something else. I had seen them loose on the road before as the owner lets them out briefly before taking them for a walk and as I approached the house, the Mastiff and Rottweiler locked eyes with yours truly. 'Screw this, turn back, 8 miles is fine, enjoy the garden!' , were my initial thoughts until the owner came out, waved at me as if to say 'don't worry, I'm here and in control' and walked off with them. On I went, if just a little more cautiously.

No other mishaps until I approached the midway point and regretted my choice of shorts (sans pants!) and the old soldier downstairs started chafing. Cue to call Ellen to meet me with the Vaseline. I knew it would be a while before she got to me as she was bringing the kiddies. I decide that I would persevere and get some mileage done before the quick pit stop. I carried on and met the gang at around mile 16ish, coping with the chafing by pulling my shorts dangerously low. I basically owe Ellen some new Vaseline; let's just say she won't be using that tub anymore for her lips!

The 16 miles were again comfortable, as they were last week. However, in attempting to re-start, the body wasn't fully engaged, however, by this time Ellen had gone back home so I had no other option.

I met dog number 4 of the day a little later, just outside Foxley Nurseries. I saw it from way back so decided the cautious approach was the best bet. It was lying on the verge at the side of the road and clocked me quite early on. I found this a little strange as although my route is very rural, vehicles can zoom past on occasion so I feared for both the dog and my ankles if it took a dislike to passing runners. I shouldn't have worried, however, the dog couldn't wag her tail fast enough! She rolled over and just wanted to play; ever so friendly! The problem was that she wanted to run with me and wouldn't stay put. I wandered into the Nursery and established that she belonged to the owner and that she often follows runners into Malmesbury!! He didn't seem to grasp that she could also get hit by passing cars; I could have taken her home personally, she would be great fun on the trails!!

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, especially the run/walk/run/walk patter between miles 17 and 19. I managed to muster the energy for the final mile but I am pretty disapointed with the time. Advice suggests to keep to a constant 9 minute/mile pattern throughout for a sub-4 hour time. However, my natural half-marathon pace is sub-8 minute miles. I wonder if upping the speed, and therefore spending less time on my feet, would be better as I seem to be getting more tired when running slower????

My recovery seems to be great and we managed to get out in the sunshine for a walk. Maybe I'm not pushing myself hard enough??

Answers on a postcard please.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Long Slow Run....

Saturday's planned 20 miler was pushed to Sunday, then pushed to Monday (due to Mother's Day). I left at 16:00 in glorious warm sunshine, returning over 3 hours later in freezing pitch blackness.

The first 16 miles were as comfortable as you could expect. I then had to pop home to say goodnight to the kiddies before heading out for the final 4 miles. Those final 4 were harder than the first 16, mainly due to lack of gels, but also having to drag myself back out from a nice warm house into the freezing cold with a sweat soaked running top on....not pleasant!

Anyway, I finished at 03:17 which is a marathon finishing time of 04:19. Considering lack of fuel, the cold and dark and not forgetting the sheer loneliness of it all, I am pretty happy with. I could probably knock 10% of that time off with a proper refulling strategy and then more time due to the atmosphere and adreneline on the day.

Still hoping for a sub-4 hour finish, but not so sure at the moment.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Bath Half Marathon 2010

Sunday 7th March - Along with 10,910 other runners (and boy, did it feel like it!) I did the annual 13.1 mile jaunt around the streets of Bath.

Ellen and the kids, plus my mum and dad, came along for support which was fantastic. Clear blue sky but bitterly cold winds made for quite ideal running conditions once underway and warmed up. Again, the start was busy with some jostling for positions and evidence of slow runners/walkers starting too far up the field (with some pulling over to the side of the road after the first mile!!!!)

All in all quite a good run, but felt tired from a bit of a manic weekend (Jack's birthday and sick kids), yet still finishing in a new PB of 01:44:34 - 2,474th position (top 23% of the field).

I believe that with better weekend preparation (i.e. proper rest and relaxation) we could be on for a sub-01:40 in Bristol in September!