Monday, 24 January 2011

That's more like it

A cracking run this lunchtime.
I ran the length of Scout Scar which is a limestone ridge to the west of Kendal. It's a great, airy ridge, with views southward to the sea at Morecambe Bay and northward to the Lakeland hills. Underfoot it is quite tricky because it is composed of knobbly limestone. Barely any footstep falls on the flat. Not a place to run if you have weak ankles. And where it is muddy it is that soapy, slippy mud you get in limestone areas. 

The part of the ridge I did was 2.17 miles long, giving me a nice 4.34 mile round trip which took 42 mins. So, roughly 10 minute miling, which is OK at my state of fitness.  What I failed to realise as I set off was that the whole ridge slopes down gently southwards towards the sea. So the outward leg felt fine; but coming back was always tending uphill. That's why it felt so hard.
 Still, I wheezed my way through. In the bright sunshine and cold wind it was one of those runs that restores your faith in this essentially daft activity that we all enjoy. (Or should that be 'enjoy').
Smileyrating 7.5/10

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A duty run

Popped out yesterday lunchtime for an easy 3 miler. Beautiful day; cold, bright, sunny. Underfoot it was soft but not too marshy, with only one stream to run through. Everything was set for a gorgeous run. So why was it such a struggle? I felt leaden-legged right from the off. Every uphill was a grind. Every downhill was a creaky plod. No flow. No looseness. Nothing doing.
 I'm old and wise enough not to worry about the occasional run being like this, but it's been a while since I felt so yeeuch while out. It felt a shame to waste such a lovely day. Ah well. Things can only improve.
Smileyrating  4/10

Sunday, 16 January 2011

I now know why I'm a rubbish runner...

I've joined a local gym. Well, it's what you do in January isn't it! As part of the service they give you a Health Assessment where your blood pressure, BMI, flexibility and lung function among other things is checked. Well, everything's tickety-boo (I was unfeasibly pleased with my body fat of 16%) - except for my lungs. My peak flow rate is a measly 460l/min. This is less than that for a small woman (apparently); the normal range for my age, sex and height is 506-626l/min.   So I'm running around with only about 75-90% of the amount of lung function I should have.
 I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Miffed, I suppose. Wondering how much better I'd be with 10-25% more puff. Resigned to my fate. Wondering, in my more miserable moments, if I've got some weird lung disease. On balance, I think 'Stuff it - I've just got to play the hand I've been dealt'. 
 And so, having been on a course all weekend, I seized the opportunity tonight to pop out for a short, hilly, tempo run. This was made all the more enjoyable by stopping briefly to pat Jess, a lovely collie who guards the drive of a house I pass. It was made more interesting by running through a flood that spread right across the lane. This flood is often there as it sits in a depression in the road that is drained only by a small hole under the stone wall. But we've had a lot of rain. So, as I ploughed into it, it was a lot deeper than normal and the water came up to over my knees. Needless to say, it wasn't particularly warm! And, of course, just as soon as I'd managed to warm up a bit, I had to go back through it all over again. It was like having your post-run ice-bath while you're actually running.
 Still, it was a bright, clear night with a good moon, which made the running a pleasure - even with micro-lungs.
Smileyrating 7/10

Monday, 10 January 2011

New Year, New Optimism

Well, hello again and Happy New Year to all readers!

My, it's parky out isn't it? Mrs HF and I are a tad more sensitive to it at the moment because we've spent the festive period on an Exodus trip touring Vietnam and Cambodia (hence no blogging). We're used to 28-31 degrees C and humidity upwards of 80%. So it was a bit of a shock when I went out this lunchtime for a quick half-hours poddle around the lanes in the sleety rain!

After the diabolical year that was 2010, I'm hoping 2011 will be a lot better, running wise. To that end, I'm going to try and introduce a bit more structure into my training this year.

I've been hugely impressed with Runningbear's spreadsheet, target HR, scientific, precision-running, timetable approach, even if I know that I could only stick to it for about 5 minutes before it all went pear-shaped. 

So my programme will be more yer classic slow, steady Sunday run, dipping into a rotating selection of intervals, hill reps, Kenyan hills, fartlek, doglek and tempo runs during the week. I'm going to go through the Bible, otherwise known as the FRA Fixtures Calendar & Handbook, to try and pick out some races that can act as mini targets through the year.

But first I needed to assess my baseline fitness after having spent three weeks doing nothing more strenuous than a bit of flat cycling and a couple of hours in a kayak. I also had my traditional festive cold which I'm now just getting over.  That was what today's run was about.

Basically I went up the hills from home for 15 minutes, turned round and came home, all the time monitoring the following:
  • aches
  • niggles
  •  degree of raspyness of the breathing
  • closeness to the 'bugger this for a game of soldiers' mind meltdown
  • level of agreement/disagreement with the statement: 'I'm getting to old for all this nonsense'
  • degree of curiosity about  'How fast can I run if I train properly and consistently?'
  • scale of enjoyment about defying the weather
  • my personal coefficient of belonging (0= outsider, 1=committed) to the fellowship of runners
 - not stuff that can be spreadsheeted (?spreadshit) very easily!  My conclusions are: my fitness is rubbish, but miles better than this time last year, my cold's got a way to run, I feel younger for having been out than not, sod the weather, and, though I tend to do my own thing, I like being part of the running fraternity.

Let's hope this optimism lasts.

Smileyrating for this run 5/10. Not great. Not total cr*p.