22 August 2013

Push push

Tuesday, 8x800 metres plus run to and from the Site made a good 10K. Yesterday, short route from Paddington to the office (1.9 miles) but 4.35 coming home to make it up - including several times up and down platform 4 at Paddington, until I had the right mileage on my watch. Tonight, a 1500m time trial with another 19 laps to get the right distance. Four consecutive days running 10K and I feel good.

19 August 2013


Some days I know I just can't run. Then the only sensible thing to do is sit it out, wait for the urge to return. It's never more than a few hours away, and last weekend I could just watch the World Championships on the devil's fishbowl for inspiration.

But we are not always sensible, rational beings, and I can say that without having to produce in evidence a colleague who ran Leadville over the weekend, in a little over 29 hours. I hope he got a buckle for his trouble. No, to prove how irrational we are, and despite a 1am late night on Friday, I lined up to start the Abingdon Park Run.

In one sense, no running event can ever be too successful, but when it comes at the price of hordes of children who, if they did not need to be escorted under the rules can only marginally have been within the cut-off level (12), some might say that's too much success. And the Abingdon course has some bottlenecks, the first after only a couple of hundred yards.

My legs were not really good for that couple of hundred yards. They felt like they did one day when I essayed a 5K the day after giving blood. A distinct shortage of oxygen going to the muscles, and a general feeling of fatigue from the hips down. I hoped things would come together as I got into my stride but that bottleneck put paid to that, and by the time I'd passed the lock I knew this run was not going to happen.
Of course, part of it is wanting to run a PB for the course. If your run is thwarted, why go on? That mindset prevented me from running the other 4.6 or so km. I went home and watched other people run on TV, along the Moscow river, past the statue of Peter the Great, past the Red October chocolate factory, past the Kremlin, four times in each direction. It gave me ideas for where to run next time I am there.

Today I cycled to the station and ran from Paddington to the office, and this evening I ran back and will soon be cycling home. A good 10K running, to prove that 5K is nothing and I can do a Parkrun whenever I want provided I have a good night's sleep and a bowl of porridge. (There's another prerequisite too but I won't go into that - suffice to say that a 5K is too short to be stopping behind a tree). Flat battery, so no data.

One moan, though. At 0906 the gate at the west end of Lisson Grove moorings was still locked: the eastern gate was open, and the sign said the opening time is 0730. This evening the eastern end was closed at 1802 (so, it must have been locked pretty well spot on the hour as advertised) but not the other end. What is going on? I hate to leave the footpath there, although it does avoid a couple of flights of steps and a 30 foot climb.

15 August 2013

Onion: 4 Copy Editors Killed In Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

I can't resist posting a link to this article on The Onion, which calls itself America's Finest News Source: 4 Copy Editors Killed In Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence. 

Parody of the best sort, with no need for any sort of spurious exception from copyright protection. I hope that the University of Chicago or Associated Press do not now prove me wrong by taking legal action over it.

13 August 2013

Speed of sound

After a few sedentary days, missing a couple of possible sessions last week, I got myself down to the Site, as it is known locally, for a speed session with Compton Harriers. Only four other people: a friendly group. Speed training takes the form of laps round a block behind what used to be AEA's head office, and before that was probably the main building for the old RAF station - maybe the officers' mess was in there. Must check. Anyway, it's now all conveniently outside the wire so we can use that for 800m reps.

The session was supposed to comprise 8 of them, but for starters three of us headed off round a 1 mile loop, me tagging along to be shown the way - knowledge that might come in useful one day. I started off in my Mizuno Wave shoes, maximum cushioning to protect my very tired and aching feet: I fear I might have a touch of arthritis or something in my left foot, which suffered the self-diagnosed stress fracture earlier this year. Then I changed to Vivobarefoot Achilles sandals for a lap, which wasn't too bad: a little friction between big toe and its neighbour on my left foot, and a lot of slapping down on the road on the right - suggesting one was tighter than the other. Lucy pointed out that I hold my left shoulder higher than my right when running, which could all be associate - I am anxious about injuring my left foot, and perhaps I tense up in avoiding this.

I ran the next four reps in my Vivobarefoot shoes, which now just feel so natural: running in anything else feels odd. They are extremely comfortable and light, and I am used to them after all the running I have done in them. On the third or fourth lap, having addressed other matters of form on previous laps (stride, arm swing) I tried to lean into the run, and felt as if I had really started to fly - although I doubt I would have seen sub-7:00 on the Watch if I had looked. And this evening I had taken the HRM with me, which means that the usefulness of the Watch on the run is diminished because every time I look at it it seems to be telling me my heart rate. Useful , to be sure, but it would be nice to see other data too: it just seems to scroll past the other stuff before I can see it.

A bit more training like this and I will be closing in on that 20 minute target for 5K.

05 August 2013

Monday monday

Finally broke through 200 miles for the year to date - not a very impressive total, but I might just make it to my target by the end of the year. 3.5 miles from Paddington via Little Venice, the Regent's Canal and the Park (round by the boating lake to add some distance) to get to work. Conditions were near-perfect: dry, clear, still, not too sunny, and I kept up a cracking pace through the Park. But coming home was a different matter: waited half an hour for a cloudburst to pass, then jogged through the streets to the station, only a mile and a half - better, marginally, than nothing, but indicative of how exhausted I feel at the end of the day, and how reluctant to throw myself on the mercy of First Great Western for the ride home. No cycling, either, because of the likelihood of foul weather (and general lethargy).

03 August 2013

Indian Summer

I find this hard to understand. Off very little running, none of it really fit to be called "training", I had done a couple of fast Parkruns culminating in a personal fastest time, and a couple of 5 milers not far off 40 minute pace - one of them with a nasty cold (which lingered for nearly a fortnight). Nor am I any younger than I was, at any time before, naturally. So where did these performances come from?

With a fastest Parkrun time from an outing at Abingdon, which is definitely not the fastest course in the world, an attempt on my PB at Newbury (RAF Greenham Common, as was) was hard to resist. This morning the weather was perfect: no wind, and not too hot or sunny. I lined up in an unaccustomed spot a little bit from the front, eyeing a couple of young boys who perhaps should have been accompanied warily - will they get in the way of faster runners? - and worrying a little about the guy with the racing stroller (thank goodness they were not long invented when my daughters were small). I had already discussed running with a springer spaniel with the man who was doing precisely that, and it was clear from what he said to me that he'd be off into the distance (whereas Hugo would have had to be dragged along).

What can I say? It felt good from the start. A few people came past, and I passed a few optimists who should have started a little further back. My friend with the springer headed off at a storming pace until nature called and I passed them with the dog squatting and the runner rummaging in his shorts pockets for a plastic bag. Shortly afterwards they came blasting past me again, the bag grasped more firmly in his hand than ever such a parcel is in mine.

One mile, and the Watch beeped. 6:48. I don't know when I last saw that sort of pace on it. Another mile, another beep. 7:04. Could be more consistent, but that first mile was not a complete flash in the pan. But the third mile was tough, and the little bit at the end (not as little as it should be though: 3.14 miles means I can deduct a few seconds to give me a reliable 5K time) not inspiring enough to lift me - perhaps because the new finish was not as visible as the old one was. I was struggling, though the splits still look respectable. Perhaps next time I'll do it in metric and see what it gives me. But however you look at it, that's a big PB for a Parkrun, and 68.79 per cent a good age-graded result (though I have bettered 70 per cent in the past, something else to aim for). And Newbury's fast, but not completely flat and certainly not smooth ...