Thursday, 31 March 2011

An affair of the heart...

I've blogged before about the wayward nature of my heart rate readings. Somehow, if I set an HR target, I can never actually run to it.
Until today.
I set out intending to do a fairly short run, keeping to a heart rate of 147bpm, which is my aerobic target rate. And I managed it!  2.39 miles, 131ft of ascent at 09:11 min miles, average heart rate 146 (with a max of 164 going up the steepest hill on the course).
Rather ridiculously, I feel very pleased with having done it. It was a cracking little run too. Very blustery, but with lots of  lovely lambs to keep me company.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Runners' beer goggles

Why do we do it? Why, on a beautiful Spring day with fluffy white lambs in the fields and fluffy white clouds in the sky, do we go out and make everything hurt by running intervals?
I don't know. But it is what I did this lunchtime. 8x400m (roughly - it's two fields worth of effort) with 1 minute rests between them.
It was a slog from the word go. As they do, they got progressively harder until it got so embarrassing I stopped. Not the most technically advanced way of training, but I'd recently watched the film about Graeme Obree, the Scottish cyclist; his home-made approach worked pretty well, so I'm optimistic mine will work for me.

Whisper it quietly, but I'm thinking very seriously of entering a fell race. Somehow, running with a number pinned wonkily to my chest seems strangely alluring. It's probably the endorphins talking. The runner's equivalent of drinking too much beer and taking on the world.
Smileyrating  4/10 for the effort, 10/10 for the conditions

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Oo-er, I might be in PB-land

My usual lunchtime run is a route I call the River Loop, because it essentially goes up one side of the River Sprint and down the other. Looking back at my times for this rather lovely little trot out, I see that it usually takes about 27-30 minutes.
So you can imagine my delight when I did it in 25:13 today.  For the 2.7 miles/174ft of ascent/descent it meant an average moving pace of 08:55 min/mile, which is the first time I've dipped below 9min/mile, offroad, for ages - if ever before!   This could be a PB.
Of course, the dry figures tell only half the story.  It was the first run this year without wearing leggings! The first without needing a windproof top! The first without serious mud! All in all, it was a beautiful dry day and underfoot was lovely sheep-cropped grass which is the finest running surface of all. After all my tribulations of last year, it is such a joy to be running - and to be running hard - once again.

Happiness abounds in the Smileyrunner camp.
Smileyrating  9.9/10.    To be 10 it  needed to have hurt less!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Ooh! me aching parts...

From which title you've gathered that today's blog is a tale of creaking and groaning. In short, and continuing my apparent fixation with Garmin stats, I did 9.73 miles, with 954 ft of ascent, in 01:49:08 this morning, between the muesli and boiled egg courses of today's breakfast.  My average moving pace was 10:58 min/mile, my average HR was 156, max 172.

All that just goes to show that figures are only part of the story. Because it was a gorgeous run, even though the weather had not yet decided to play ball by being sunny. That came after I got home. I started off in the gloom and headed off up Potter Fell, by way of the first part of my normal River Loop route. The very preggers sheep were grazing contentedly as I trotted past and my friend (and fellow dogsbody for the Mountain Rescue Search Dogs) Peter's soppy old collie, Jess, came to see me for a stroke. 

Some 38 minutes of pretty continuous climbing later, I was astride the stile at the highest point, watching the clear sunny skies approaching over Windermere to the west. The wind was pretty cold up there; the temperature was only about 5 degrees, so the wind chill was noticeable.  I then dropped down to Staveley and came back along the River Kent, through the woods where the bulbs (possibly little narcissi) were poking through anticipating the forthcoming warmth before bursting into flower. 

At about mile 8 my legs and lower back had decided they'd had enough, and it felt as if I slowed considerably. Never mind, the river was flowing, swift and silent, the grass was getting greener as I watched and there was the unmistakeable feel of Spring in the air. It was good to be alive and so, so good to be able to be out running. It was the 12 March 2010 - one year ago - that I had my hernia diagnosed and my running ground to a halt....

The boiled egg was pretty good too. Especially as it was followed, in pretty short order, by lunch at the Punchbowl in Crosthwaite - one of the finest eateries in the Lake District and, therefore, the World!
Smileyrating 8.9/10

Monday, 7 March 2011

Lots of work to do, so only a little run today. I did the River Loop, which is my default run. It goes from the door, up one side of the river Sprint, across a bridge, and down the other side. Though, of course, this being the Lakes, the River is the only flat bit of it. The route climbs 154ft up and down.

It's mostly run on grassy footpaths with just a bit of road in it. 
It's 2.68 miles long (thanks Garmin) and I did it today in 26.07. This isn't very quick in absolute terms (my average moving pace was 09:23 min/mile), but on looking back at my Garmin records, my best time from a couple of years ago was 26.04 - so maybe I was close to my PB today! I actually felt quite good too. I pushed up all the hills, tried to push over the tops and then did a couple of fartlek-y bits on the way back.

Not much to report other than I did it. Definitely more sheep about. It won't be long before we have the fun of lambs to look at (that'll slow things down a bit!) so it's a great time of year.
Smileyrating 8/10

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I've just run a mile uphill. Admittedly it was the same 0.13 miles eight times over, but it all adds up. Yes! it was a sun-bathed Kenyan hills session today. And what a gorgeous day it was. It was only 5 deg. C, but the sun shone warmly on my back as I headed out to my hill rep field. Last time I was here it looked a bit different...

There's not much you can say about a hill session is there? I went up and down, in one continuous movement until I was knackered. Then I went home. It's one of those sessions where the benefits won't be felt until you find yourself easing up a hill that you normally struggle up.
He says hopefully.
Still, the fields are beginning to be populated by sheep now. The farmers are bringing them down to be nearer the farm to make it easier when they're lambing.  It's an exciting time of year.
Smileyrating 8/10