Monday, 26 October 2015

There are hills and there are hills

I know, I know my blog posts are like buses .... you don't see one and then three come along at once!

On Saturday evening  the OB and I decided that on Sunday morning he'd cycle, with the dogs whilst I'd run a circular route complete with a hill that I've been wanting to have a go at for a while, before we went to meet friends for a pub  lunch. (For this read, must include chips!!!)

By the way, Coach Steph has said that there hills on the Braunton 10 so I'm looking for different hills to run.

It all started well, especially with the stunning weather for October then at a mile in Tilly started limping. Checked her paw for thorns etc but found nothing so we set off again and she stopped the dot and carry one attention seeking.

We started the hill climb, and the OBOAB had to get off and walk, announcing almost simultaneously that he had a puncture........ and guess where the puncture repair kit was?
Correct! At home!

This was at mile two!

So he and the woofers turned for home and I continued running up the hill. I then turned onto a lane that I've probably only ever been down three times in the eighteen years we've been here, once on a horse and the others in a car but it's been sometime ...... and I'd forgotten what it involved .........

A gentle bit down hill ...... lovely!

......... and then a really steep, potholed descent ...... definitely a first in my running career. I actually found it quite difficult to negotiate ......

Then it was back up hill, which was quite a relief to be able to get a good pace going again before another steep descent where I felt like I was almost sitting on my heels to get down without toppling over!

Then it was back up hill but this time I realised I'd made a mistake in leaving my rope and crampons at home ....... I kid you not it was so steep that I was literally crawling up it and able to walk up the last bit faster than run but failed to get up to 30mph as per the sign at the top!!!!!!

I then ran through Black Torrington, up hill again to lanes that I'm familiar with but having being spoilt with running on the TT for so many months I'd forgotten about the moron drivers ....... Oh yes, even on a Sunday they were out to get me, and I hate to say it but the women were the worst ....... Clearly no idea where the brake is (the middle peddle love!) and four times I had to dive into the bank.
The men on the other hand still kept coming but drove on the verge so that I didn't have to stop. Thanks guys!

Three quarters of a mile from home the OB and woofers met me (they'd got back to the ranch and then come back out in the truck) bearing water and encouragement which was lovely.

So, how far did you run I hear you cry?

Y'er tiz

And here are the hills ......

I didn't pause the bird on my phone whilst looking for thorns, checking the OB's tyre, grabbing dogs, or leaping out of the way for traffic and I'd gone out on this run to enjoy it and see if I could run up the hill (not knowing there were other hills) so I was very pleased with how I ran....... and then I had fish and chips for lunch!!!

Today Coach Steph sent out this weeks training email and one of the runs is a 6 miler where we need to 'work on a moderate pace and be consistent and work on any hill so that our overall pace is even' ........

......... I think I may have just got away with it yesterday!

Oh, and by the way, I really enjoyed it!!!

*OB - Old bloke
*OBOAB - Old bloke on a bike
*TT -Tarka Trail

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I think I need a Garmin

Whilst I was doing my 'favourite hill run' on Monday, Coach Steph was sending out our first training email .......

My first reaction when I read it ......... oh no I'd forgotten about strides!

Yes, two of the three runs involved strides ........ but still it could be worse, we could be doing hill sprints!!! (Ha ha they're probably on next week's menu!)

So there's no time like the present to get out training, however, which one to go for?
Well I learnt my lesson before, never go for the easy option first, you never know what may happen during the week.
Strides then!

Yes, but which run? There are two with strides. Oh ok, the perceived hard one then!

The plan was to get the OBOAB* out again with the dodgy stopwatch, shouting times at me,  however this is where the plan starts to go down hill!

Normally when I run the OB*, walks the dogs, who travel in the back of the van to our start point.

So far so good, but we don't have a vehicle bike rack. This means that Tilly, Jess, and the bike would have to travel together. Not so good! The last time they travelled with company was to Parkrun in August with the apple press that we were lending to someone and when it went flying I suddenly had a collie on my lap in the front seat digging its claws in for two miles.

Leave them behind said the OB!

Not fair said I!

The dogs came and the bike stayed at home.

So on Tuesday morning I set off from Petrockstowe station on the Tarka Trail (TT) with the stop watch in one hand and a bit of paper with my instructions in the other, along with the bird on my phone in my back pocket....... Well I only have two hands and I have previous for forgetting the training plan.
Funnily enough I've never run on this bit of the TT before and only walked it a couple of times but it is flat and stone free so ideal for sprints and running hard.

I ran the ten minute warm up and then straight into 5x20sec strides with 40 secs recovery in between. Now  I thought this would either kill me or I'd mess up trying to look at the stop watch but actually it all went according to plan. Next was 2 x 1k repeats at hard but constant pace. Mmmmmmm The bird on the phone is doing miles, is in my back pocket and my hands are full!
No probs  ....... it's  .62 miles (I googled it)  ok so this is where it all goes to pot as I'm rubbish at maths and so did a Sarah mathematical  equation. I ran hard for five minutes with one minute recovery and then repeated it. As per my bit of paper I then did 2 x 10 strides with 40 secs recovery and five minute cool down and ended up back at the station almost to the second (hooray my maths works)!!!!

But ...... I think I need a Garmin!

On Thursday we were back at Petrockstowe station for the second strides session, but with the OB and woofers going the opposite way as Jess doesn't seem to like this part of the TT.

Armed again with the stop watch and run notes I set of on the warm up.........

It was almost text book other than the bird in my pocket announcing that I'd run the first mile in 8.32 mins ........... yeah right love, in my dreams!!

 Oh and  my doing an extra set of strides as I lost count/got confused with the time. (I know, I'm hopeless) I did manage to put the notes in my pocket after that and run as planned and although obviously the bird on my phone can't be trusted it looks like I was sub 10 min/miles.

I think I need a Garmin!

The third run this week was to be a 30 minute one, thinking about form, cadence and stride.

 Parkrun then!

What a soggy run this was ....... too wet to take my phone so I had no idea of how I was doing. During the third mile Shirley ran with me and said 'shall we do some strides?' Do you know what? There's no getting away from strides in this running lark!!!!

The great thing about Parkrun is everyone hangs around at the end chatting and cheering the other runners in and despite the rain, today was no exception. During one of the conversations about the winding hill to the finish I mentioned that it always makes me feel like I'm going to be sick and lose my bowels at the same time ....... seems I'm not the only one!! What a relief to hear others thought they were the only ones too!!,

On the way home the OB said ' Do we need to get you a Garmin?'

'Yes, I'm hoping Father Christmas will bring me one!' I replied!

I think he's on the case .....

*OBOAB - Old bloke on a bike
*OB - Old bloke
*TT - Tarka Trail

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's taken eleven weeks .....

Now, you can be forgiven for thinking that after my last post when I chucked teddy in the corner and took my ball home after having a bad Parkrun that I'd given up running and blogging.

Sorry, but I'm still here doing both ......

Well neglecting the blog but running and slowly building my fitness back up, although any hope of running the Bideford 10 or any race for that matter has had to be put on the back burner.

It's been hard and on more than one occasion I considered chucking the towel in and giving up for good, especially after returning from holiday having not run for two weeks and having my legs ache for ten days ......... I had thought all the swimming I did instead would help but clearly my muscles didn't!

So what made you keep running I hear you ask?

Well competitive Sarah is always somewhere in the background.........

 Seeing how my friends have improved whilst and since I was ill, running pb's at Parkrun and running half marathons means that she isn't going to let me give up that easily.

Running on different parts of the Tarka Trail (yes we're still regularly visiting, and making up for not using it over the last eighteen years!) and varying the distance is all well and good but I realised I need something to aim for in my training ......

........enter coach Steph, who suggested the Torrington Christmas Caper and/or the Braunton 10 in January. Well, the first one was out, running 10 miles through streams and mud wearing a tutu and Santa hat doesn't float my boat! However, although there are some hills I've decided to train for the Braunton race which is 10 miles.

On Saturday I ran my 20th Parkrun and had my fourth best time, which made me feel that I was getting back to form.

Yesterday I ran one of my favourite routes on the Tarka Trail (TT) 2.3 miles up hill (yes I know, hill and favourite in the same sentence!!!) and then back down again. It was a good run and Saturday obviously wasn't a fluke!

Today I checked how long it's been since I started running after Shingles and would you believe its eleven weeks!