Sunday, August 19, 2018

Night Running!

Chester Marathon Training -8 weeks to go

Cotswold 100 Training - 6 weeks to go

Both of us - Blue 
John - Orange 
Kelly - Purple 

This week posed very different challenges for team Jelly; John was planning a night recce of the Cotswolds at the weekend while Kelly's focus was to keep upping the length of her runs and working at that sub marathon pace speed. We did, however, both have the final Towpath race (5k), on Friday, to think about. A busy week ahead! 

Monday 13th August 2018 

Having ran 30+ miles on Saturday, I had planned to give myself two days of rest. Today was rest day number two and I decided to try another new yoga class called 'yin and yang'. I have experienced a 'yin' class before - it's a slower paced style of yoga where postures are held for longer. I figured (rightly as it turned out!) that 'yang' would be the opposite - a more dynamic style of yoga to build strength. I was really looking forward to a class that encompassed both elements. The first half of the class was 'yang'. It was really challenging; we spent a lot of time holding different forms of 'downward dog' and my arms were definitely feeling the burn! The second half of the class was a wonderful contrast as it involved lots of deep stretching - always important for a runner! I learnt a new pose - double pigeon! 

A recovery run for me - 5K plod around the block. With the weekends long miles and another weekend planned - I do not need to run too much this week. 5K @ 9MM

Tuesday 14th August 2018 

Today was attempt number 2 at Coach Cox's mega speedwork session - 2 x 4miles at sub marathon pace. After failing at interval number 2, I wanted (and was told to) have another go. I wanted to do everything right this time. I got up at 8am and cooked my favourite pre-race meal of egg fried rice. I finished eating at 9am so planned to leave the house at 12:00. I drank lots of water and did some stretching. Having done laps last week, this week I wanted to try and out and back. The only problem would be the hill...

I started off with a very slow warm up mile. When I reached my startline, at the beginning of the Portway, I stopped for a few moment, took some deep calming breaths (thank you yoga!) and tried to picture myself succeeding. I really wanted to nail this session. I shook my legs out; they felt alright. Probably better than last week but it's hard to tell until you start running...

I set off. My aim this week was to get into more of a rhythm so I didn't have to keep checking my watch and altering speed in a panic! I got into a rhythm. The only problem was that my rhythm seemed to be at 6:40 pace. Not the required 6:30. I tried to focus on keeping the rhythm but increasing the pace...It sort of worked. The first 3 miles felt hard but controlled. I was starting to feel positive but then I approached the hill. Those of you who know the Portway, will know that it's pretty flat but does have a couple of uphill sections in the first 3 miles. Then, at the point after the Rugby club there is a steeper section. This was the point that I was at. I knew I only had 1 mile to go in this set and I was desperate to keep my pace close to 6:30. I pushed and pushed as I ran up the hill but my pace was falling...watching my watch go from 6:40 to 6:50 to 7:00mm was really frustrating so I dug deeper and pushed harder. I crested the hill and had 0.2 of a mile to pull some time back on the downhill. My watch beeped and I stopped; head spinning and breathing heavy. 

Mile 1 - 6:38
Mile 2 - 6:38
Mile 3 - 6:38
Mile 4 - 6:52 

1 interval done and 1 to go. I was really exhausted. I spent a good few minutes resting, getting my breathing to come back to normal and shaking and stretching my legs. I wasn't really happy with mile 4 but, considering it was almost entirely uphill, I concluded it wasn't too far off target pace and would still count as a success. Just 4 miles to go. Four little miles I told myself. And I'd done all of the hard work. The uphill was done. I only had to run downhill now - easy! 

With my breathing back to normal, I started the second and final interval. The first 0.2 was of course uphill but I knew I had lots of downhill to come so wasn't too worried. Initially, I felt great. The downhill meant that I was hitting a good pace. When the downhill finished and the ground leveled out, the problems began. I simply wasn't able to increase the pace any more. It was like my legs weren't connecting with my brain. I finished mile 6 in a pretty good pace but I knew I was struggling. Mile 7 was really hard. My legs were simply empty. It was incredibly frustrating. I only had two miles to go...COME ON! I was telling myself. But no. It was just not happening. I guess I must have put too much into the uphill section. As I was contemplating this, I looked up and spotted a bike (on a very wide stretch of pavement) about 1 meter from me coming right at me! I darted out the way in shock and the rider braked suddenly, mumbled an apology and carried on leaving me rather shaken - that was very close!  

Mile 5 - 6:32
Mile 6 - 6:32
Mile 7 - 7:02
Mile 8 - 7:33 

I finished feeling pretty deflated. John came to my rescue and pointed out that we did run 30 miles just two days ago. It was a more controlled effort than last week and I'm sure that, despite not properly completing the session, I am gaining benefits at running these miles quicker than  marathon pace. I'll just have to try again next week. 

Great work from KD after a long weekend of running. How the Portway is hilly I'll never know but still, a good effort and I'm sure she'll smash this session come next Tueday - third time lucky!

MORE recovery for me... 5K @ 9:20MM

Wednesday 15th August 2018 

I started today with a sports massage from Jenny at Comfort Health in Clifton. Legs were fairly tight but Jenny confirmed that both of my feet felt good - no sign of the Plantar Fasciitis returning. I drove to physio and then dropped my car (with changes of clothes and wash things for me and John) off at the running club and walked home. 

I rested for the rest of the day. 

14 miles on the plan for today. The 'medium-long' run is a great Marathon Training tool. Over the years, I've really noticed the benefits of having two long runs a week. As John was stuck in traffic, I ran to club alone. 4 miles done. I then joined the 10 mile route gang - an especially large gang this week which is brilliant -  and we headed off towards Leigh Woods. John managed to escape the 
Bristol traffic eventually and met us at the entrance to the woods. It was a great, social run. I finished on 14 miles with an average pace of 8:44 mm and 1623 feet of elevation gained (hilly!). 

A hilly and woody 10 mile club run for me, breaking in my new trail daps: 
They're cosy and offer great grip and support across the trails without being too heavy and bulky. Legs still feeling the effect of running 40 miles on Sunday.. So a steady plod at the back of the club group for me. 9.6Miles @ 9MMs

Thursday 16th August 2018 

Rest day for me today so I did another yoga class. I'm really starting to notice an improvement in my balance and coordination - especially doing poses on 1 leg. 

More recovery... trying to get fresh and strong for the upcoming weekends long run and tomorrow nights race! 5K @ 8MM pace

Friday 17th August 2018 

John had a day off today - hooray! With the final Towpath 5k race this evening, we had a pretty chilled day. We had a bit of a walk but generally rested and John caught up on missed sleep. 

After a sports massage and a rest day, I was feeling pretty good for the 5k race. I set myself a challenge of sub 20 which is a pretty decent time on a slightly undulating course. As it was the last race in the series, I knew I had to put in a good performance to be in with a chance of a prize. This year, the competition has been fierce; a much stronger field than in previous years which is great- there is nothing like being beaten to encourage you to want to get faster! 

The horn sounded and we were off. I started at the front and was initially right behind the first two ladies but quickly realised that this pace was un-sustainable and decided to run my own race. I focused on my body position: run tall, lean forwards, drive with arms. I felt light and my legs felt strong. It was going to be a good race. Mile 1 went by really quickly. I love 5k races - only two miles left - brilliant!

Mile 1 - 6:11 

Mile 2 had the turn in so my pace dropped a little but I still felt strong and knew that I was in with a chance of sub 20. 

Mile 2 - 6:32 

I picked it up again in mile 3 as I knew it was nearly over! I managed to overtake a Southville runner but I could hear someone (I guessed it was him) right on my shoulder. Just before the line I saw a flash of blue - Will (a GWR rival!) stormed passed me. I tried to push back but didn't have anything left. Grrr...I'll get him next time! 

Mile 3 - 6:25

Total average pace - 6:21 and a time of 19:44. Really pleased with that. A solid run and my fastest every time on that course. 

I finished as 3rd lady for this race and for the series! Woohoo! 

A surprisingly good race for me! Being off from work and on holiday I treated myself with a massive fry up.. and not much else, so I wasn't well prepared or expecting much from tonight's race.

I started as usual, too fast, and banked a 5:31MM. Feeling strong and in a good position whilst within a strong group of three, we worked together and kept the pace going; mile 2 was 5:33 - well chuffed and enjoying myself, so far. Going into mile 3, myself and one other from the group broke away. I led for most of the last mile but then lost my rival with about 400 mtrs to go. There's a short, sharp incline at the end of the mile just before going into the finishing straight, I told myself to hold back until then and I'd get him on the hill.. It wasn't too be. He had an awesome last mile, much quicker than mine; 5:42.

Official result: 5th place with 17:21. Considering the way I'd eaten today and the previous weekends long miles, I'd of taken a Sub19 let-alone a Sub18. A great result on the night which landed me with 3rd overall for the race series! :-)

Saturday 18th August 2018 

I decided to do my long run today rather than tomorrow as I would be up for quite a lot of the night, supporting John and Marcus on their night run, so would probably be rather tired. 18 miles on the plan with 3 miles at marathon pace. I wasn't sure how I'd feel having raced yesterday but hoped I'd be alright as it was only 3 miles. 

Despite having a mega long run to do tonight, John agreed to cycle with me to keep me company, motivate me and pass me water. My aim was to run at a good pace with most miles under 8mm and for my 3 miles to be at sub marathon pace of around 6:30. 

I used the Bristol to Bath cycle path because it's easy for John to cycle with me and because it is  relatively flat. The first 3 miles of the cycle path are the hardest because they are the most uphill. The rest is slightly undulating but mostly flat. 

The first half of the run passed pretty quickly and felt really comfortable. I was great having company and useful having water passed to me without me having to carry it! 9 miles came and I turned and headed back. Most of the miles were between 7:15 and 7:45 mm pace depending on the gradient.

 I waited until I was on the downhill section before attempting my sub-marathon paced efforts. As I exited the tunnel, I kicked and managed to hit 6:40mm pace surprisingly quickly. As I said earlier, I think 6:40 is the pace that I find a natural rhythm in - bodes well for the marathon! I wanted to get closer to 6:30 so I tried to push a bit harder but couldn't drag the pace down for this mile. Never mind, still sub marathon pace so all ok. Mile 2 was more downhill so felt easier. 6:33 pace felt hard but do able. I felt pretty tired by the time it came to mile 3 and was quite looking forward to finishing to be honest! I dug deep and managed a 6:24 to finish my efforts. 

Finishing the marathon paced efforts felt great. What I really wanted to do was stop and rest before continuing the last two miles to home. In the past, I would have stopped here but I managed to keep going (progress!). I did slow down massively but I think that's ok. 

18 miles in total with an average pace of 7:32 mm. Really pleased with that. 

It was lovely to spend a couple of hours with KD and pretty straight forward keeping up on a bike. We finished her workout (she did a great job) and I wasn't too concerned whether or not it was sensible to cycle 20 miles the day you're gonna run 40...

7:15Pm and our night run commences! The Maestro and I headed out to run Legs 3 - 6 of the Cotswold Way. Cleeve Golf Club to Dursley. 40+ miles. We started steady and made sure to run within our comfort zone throughout. The fist 20 miles flew by and the only surprise was how early we had to put our head torches on. It was VERY dark before 11pm. At this point we were half way, feeling ok and at the start of Leg 5 of the CWR - a leg I have recced and raced just a few weeks a go. We took on some food (a pork pie and a snickers bar) and got on with it. Throughout the leg I surprised and impressed the Maestro with my (unusually) amazing navigational skills... We reached the point where you come to a canal path and I remembered this vividly from racing earlier in the year as this was the finishing straight... as it turns out, this path is only used for the relay. When running the whole thing, you go straight past the canal path! D'oh! An extra mile added on which was energy sapping but didn't spoil the day as it was pretty much our only mistake. The miles ticked by nicely and come 30-something we're starting to feel a little tired and in need of a pick me up. Our favourite ultra recovery drink, chocolate milk! Usually extremely refreshing and semi-elixir like, we were left with a sour taste in our mouths... 6 or so hours of the milk shake, shaking, and shaking... on my back... it wasn't great, it certainly wasn't rewarding. Oh well. Single figure to go and not long until we'd be confirming with KD our ETA.  At mile 35, we'd decided that we'd had enough accent and hoped the rest of the course would comply and reward us with an escalator like long, sow and lazy downhill pootle into Dursley... no such luck! The last few miles just went up and up and up and up and... We kept going, not as chatty as the previous hours but together and getting on with it. We finished! Greeted by Kelly with much needed water, snacks and a warm ride home.

42 miles with 6000+feet of accent! We were knackered and we'd had enough but we'd finished feeling glad to have banked a night run in preparation for the impending Cotswold Way 100. Two 40+ milers in the space of 8 days - surely this is good ultra training?

Home to bed!

Sunday 19th August 2018 

I wasn't planning on running today but I joined John for a slow 3 mile plod around the block. Really nice to be out running together. 

I'm running every day this year... starting at 7pm and finishing at 5am yesterday/today, technically I was still streaking... BUT.... I couldn't bare to look at a day on my Strava calendar and not see the little circle with a distance in it... so I ran... another 5K plod and that's 231 days of running 5K+ every day - my OCD and Ego sorted for the day!

It's taper time for me now. I'm not really sure there's much more I can do. It's 2 weeks until the Ring of Fire. 135 miles over 3 days running around Angelsey and only 5 weeks until the Cotswold Way 100. We've got the Severn Bridge Half marathon next week which I'm gonna have a blast at, if anything else to make sure I earn my roast dinner but otherwise, between now and the big 2 races my runs are gonna look mainly like this: 5K at Recovery Pace... It's scary how close the big challenges are but I do feel ready. I've got no idea what that means but instead of being scared I truly am excited about challenging myself to see what my body can achieve over 3 days and 100 miles respectively! Whilst the recovery miles are boring, I will have KD's impressive road marathon training antics to keep me entertained!

Total Miles for the week

Kelly - 47.4 miles 

John - 67 miles (including 1 night run of 42 miles!!)

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