Saturday, 29 October 2011

Lots and Little

The Yorkshire Coast 10k is tomorrow.

I've checked out the weather and it will be sunny/overcast with a 12-13mph SW wind. Hopefully the cliffs will shelter us from most of it and I'm very very grateful it's not a NE wind howling straight off the North Sea! The course is along the seafront in Scarborough and makes a small detour into a park on the return leg, so it should be incredibly flat and could be a good candidate for a PB.

I don't feel particularly well prepared as I only decided to do the race 5 or so weeks ago and had to take a week off due to unhappy knees and a stomach bug. Since then I've been mostly sticking to the plan.

I'm looking forward to getting this race out of the way because I've been finding it hard to run after work. I don't usually get back till 6. While I'm not afraid for my personal safety bombing around the streets because it seems less likely you'll be attacked in the cold dark nights of late autumn than any other time, I am a little concerned for my physical safety because the other night I was running along a street and almost tripped over a discarded hubcap. So after this race I'm going to reduce my running to club runs and Saturday and Sunday.


Aside from running lots I've been cooking lots. I bought Appetite for Reduction a few weeks ago and it's quickly become my go-to book for quick and healthy meals. So far I've made Chickpea Piccatta, Ginger Bok Choi with Soba Noodles, Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale, and Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach. All of the recipes are quick and tasty and more importantly they work. The only change I'd make to any of them is to reduce the amount of water required for the Chickpea Piccatta because there was a bit too much sauce.

Brilliant book.


I've been very busy at my new temporary job and have an hour's commute each way which is why I haven't been commenting as much as usual. I'm still reading!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Harder Better Faster Stronger

Last week was an awful week concerning running. I was resting on Monday due to achey kneecaps from the weekend before. Then I eased back into exercise with a gentle 30 minute cross training session on Tuesday... Then I got a stomach bug and couldn't run until Sunday.

On Sunday I decided to do a tentative 6 mile run instead of the 7.5 miles on my 10k training plan. I didn't want to strain my knees again, and I wasn't sure if I were totally over the stomach bug. It was a beautiful late autumn day with a gentle wind, bright sunlight and blue skies overhead. I found a long, straight run along a disused railway line near my parent's home with a gentle ascent for the whole length of it. I planned a basic 3 miles out-and-back.

I passed dog walkers, walking walkers going down the track as it stretched out through the village where I grew up and beyond. I passed where my friend used to live and the farm where another friend used to keep her horses. I passed the lane you take down to a rocky inlet which has the best rockpools in the north of England, although not the best fossil-hunting - that honour belongs to another rocky cove further north of where my parents live. I passed a cafe where my mother and I once waited an hour for sandwiches and never went back again. I passed new houses creeping into the fields as the village has slowly expanded. I caught my first glimpse of the North Sea, blue-grey in the autumn sun. I passed one of my favourite pubs, which is conveniently located 100m from the track. I passed wooded valleys and rolling green fields.

At 3 miles - the point where I should have turned back - I felt great and decided to go the extra 0.75 of a mile that would expand the run into 7.5 miles. I stopped at 3.75 miles next to a house that was directly adjacent to the track. It was a former railway station. This was the end point of the bi-annual sponsored walk my secondary school used to do. Every other year the whole school would walk along the railway track from the town the school was in to this station. I stopped in the sunshine to catch my breath then turned back for my parents house.

I felt wonderful.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Be kind to you knees - you'll miss them when they're gone.

I went for a gentle 30 minutes on the elliptical this afternoon and my knees still feel stiff. I'm going to try a gentle job tomorrow.

I love this song. Full lyrics after the jump.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Ice, Ice...

I've done something quite stupid and something that you should definitely not do while training for a race. Two weeks ago I went from running 15-20 miles a week over the last month to running around 26 miles a week in order to jump into training for the Yorkshire Coast 10k halfway through a schedule. This is what everyone tells you not to do. Increasing mileage by more than 10% a week is foolish and you risk hurting yourself.

I think I have hurt myself. I think the extra miles coupled with a 6lb weight gain, and mainly the extra miles have made my knees a little cranky.

So my kneecaps started feeling a little stiff while running earlier this week. I ignored it thinking it was one of those niggles that would go away but now they feel a little stiff all the time and with a vague ache while running. I was supposed to do a long slow run of 7.5 miles today which I had to abandon at 4 miles because the ache and stiffness was increasing. I wasn't in particular discomfort nor experiencing any sharp pains, but that couples with my shorts chaffing me made me decide to abandon the run and return home. I'm icing and resting and I'll see how I feel tomorrow. If my knees are still aching and stiff I'll have tomorrow and Monday as rest days.

If you're interested in the story about Paula Radcliffe losing her world record (it's now merely a world best) due to a ruling from the IAAF check out Episode 90 of Marathon Talk  where they discuss the rule change, particularly in reference to Radcliffe and also in reference to the use of male pace-setters at the recent Berlin Marathon. The presenters do explain that the IAAF ruling was intended to be a positive one recognising women's achievements without men being present in the race, but make the entirely sensible point that it could lead to unnecessary specialisations in marathon records. To quote: What next, the world best for fastest downhill marathon? The fastest marathon on a Saturday?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Paula Radcliffe to Lose World Marathon Record

No running today, just a running-related story which outraged me.

A new ruling which comes into effect in the new year means Paula Radcliffe's 2003 marathon world record time of 2:15:25 will be invalidated because she ran with male pacemakers.  The new rule says only marathon times run solely against other women will count, as there is the consensus that women run marathons faster when paced by men.

So they're saying she's good, but only that good because she had a helping hand from the boys. This has really annoyed me because it completely disregards the skill, training, determination and fitness needed to run fast enough to complete a marathon in 2:15:30. It is verging on the superhuman, regardless of if she had several people running at that pace, It is not like she grabbed handful of the pacemaker's shirt and got him to pull her along.

'Luckily' Radcliffe holds the record for the second fastest marathon - 2:17:42 from 2005 - which will stand the new ruling because there were no accompanying almighty penises to chivvy her along.


A 2:15:25 marathon means an average pace of 05:09/mile. I would have difficulty keeping up for 100m.

Monday, 3 October 2011

September Recap

September's been a difficult month and I haven't achieved any of the goals I set, really. Stress about work has led to regular insomnia and lots of overeating. I've put weight on and I still haven't finished reading Intuitive Eating. I've barely stuck to my 10k running plan as well. I didn't like the Hal Higdon one I was following because it was heart rate driven and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself and if I'm honest I didn't enjoy running so slow. Don't get me wrong I don't go hell for leather every session, but I like a bit of speed to keep me entertained.

I'm in two minds about October goals because I have consistently failed to meet goals I have set over the last few months. I want to lose the weight I've put on. I want to finish Intuitive Eating. I want a PR on the Yorkshire Coast 10k. I want to reduce the amount of dairy I'm eating because I feel uneasy being vegetarian for moral reasons while supporting the meat and dairy industries through buying milk and cheese. I want to use more functions on my Garmin FR 610 (notably interval sessions and HRM managed tempo runs) so I can write a thorough review.

I'm just not willing to say these are concrete goals.

Either way last week was very good.
Monday: 3.5 miles
Tuesday: 10 x 1 minute intervals with 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down (3.07 miles covered)
Wednesday: 4 mile run in 38:37 with a 5 minute warm up and cool down
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 40 min tempo run (10 minutes warmup, 20 minutes faster, 10 minutes cool down covering 4.01 miles)
Saturday: 40 minutes cycling instead of an easy run because a ligament in my ankle was pulling. (9.5 miles)
Sunday: 6 miles in 56: 47

Total: 30:08

My knees hurt a bit so I'm icing them.