Injury

Swings and roundabouts 

It was all going so well, got rid of the lurgy, knee was starting to feel good, was only 1 second off my 400m PB in our squad TT and had a solid race at the Southern XC Champs at Parliament Hill. Buoyed by this I booked my London marathon travel, a warm up half marathon and a post London 5km. It all looked like it was finally starting to come together. Midweek miles were stacking up and the weekend mileage about to start. I had a great 70 minute run on Wednesday followed by squad swim, then boom, penultimate rep, last length and cramp in my calf. Tried to kick it off but ended up hanging off a lane rope trying to avoid getting mown down by the boys behind me.

It’s not the first time I’ve had cramp swimming and normally by the time I’ve got out the pool it’s subsided except this time it didn’t. Next morning I struggled to walk and my swim on Friday was mostly completed with a pull buoy. So off to the physio I hobbled and it turns out I have managed to tear my calf swimming. That’s me with no running for two weeks, will miss the final Chiltern XC League match for my club and may well put my London place in jeopardy.

But foregoing London would not be the end of the world. In all honesty it’s not my A race.  It is a ‘nice to have’ and I would really  like to go sub 3:30. It would be a great confidence boost going into Copenhagen but at what cost? The time I need to spend running costs me time on the bike and to be honest this year I think I’ve only ridden outside once and when you’re supposed to concentrate on your weakest element of the race it just doesn’t add up. So as annoying as it would be missing London, it would mean I get more time to get some miles in on the bike and might even pass a few people come Copenhagen!

So, the next few weeks will dictate what happens over the next few months – I’m still gunning for London but it wont be the end of the world if it doesn’t happen as there are benefits to be gained by not doing it – as they say, ‘swings and roundabouts’…

Categories: IM Copenhagen, Injury, London Marathon, Races, Training | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Countdown to Copenhagen – 30 weeks to go…

Thirty sounds like quite a big number so there’s no nervousness yet. It’s a long way ahead and plenty going on between now and then. Although with plenty going on, I know thirty will become twenty, then ten and then we’ll be into single figures and then I’ll really start to worry!

The lurgy has now passed and the knee is starting to feel a bit better so training last has been back in full swing. After a relatively easy week last week, this week it ramped up a little bit, not much but the most training I’ve done since well before Christmas. Last weekend was the penultimate Chiltern Cross Country League match. I’ve not really done much running at all since the Winter Half marathon so was a bit nervous about it. Especially as it was a flat and fast course and I had raced really well there last year. As it happened, it wasn’t too bad considering! Got some good points for the team, had two rather cold runs through a water jump (it was held at an equestrian centre) and although not at my best felt like a solid run so good news from that point of view.

The main focus now is London. With just over 12 weeks to go there is plenty of time yet. I’m in better shape at this point that I was last year which is good. Still a couple of niggles but nothing to worry about at this point. Just need to stay healthy and keep the miles ticking over…

 

 

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2017 – time for the big one!

A few years ago I heard someone say if you publish your goals for the year you’ve a greater chance of achieving them. I suppose it’s the fear of failing in front of a wider group of people which motivates you to succeed. So this post is to set out my goals for the year – to make them public so I have to go through with them. We’ll gloss over the fact that when I researched this quote all I could find was reasons not to tell anyone your goals!20160424_152810

To kick off the season I am lucky enough to have a London Marathon place by virtue of my time last year (pays to get a bit older!). Swiftly followed by the Outlaw Half. Hopefully my legs will have recovered from the marathon for this. I’ve finished fourth in my age group for the last two years having come in second off the bike – I need to rectify this and stop my head falling apart on the second half of the run!

GreenlightPT are then doing the Jubilee River Swim again in June. We were first ladies team last year so it would be good to give that a go again although I was thinking of possibly doing a two person relay (if I can find a partner) as it would be good training for LoveSwimRun Llanberis at the end of the month (except I was late with my entry and it’s full so I’m now on the waiting list – doh!) so that might not happen! After that I’ve nothing until The Owler Half in July. It looks like a nice event and also happens to be the National Half Champs so will be a good test four weeks out from the big one…

captureFinally, after years of procrastination and deliberation I finally took the plunge and entered my first long distance triathlon. On 20th August 2017 I will attempt to become an Ironman at IM Copenhagen. I’ve been thinking about doing one for years but have always managed to come up with an excuse as to why it couldn’t be that particular year – World Champs, injury, not experienced enough…you name it, I’ve used it. But finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am ready to do this. It’s not going to be easy – I already live in a time starved world of family, work and training but with Adam from GreenlightPT looking after my coaching I know he’ll get me there in the best shape possible. We’ve even got the inaugural GreenlightPT training camp in March to kick things off. It will be great to get out there with the gang and get a good solid week of training in even if the biking side is scaring me stupid! I’d be lying if I said I really enjoyerd cycling and I’m not the best cyclist in the world so the climbs on Lanzarote will be a definite test – but if I’m going to become an Ironman I need to learn to love my bike…

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One slight fly in the ointment though is that I am currently injured – well it wouldn’t be January if I didn’t start the year with an injury – every year without fail…2012 it was plantar faciitis, 2013 it was achilles tendonitis, 2014 it was patella tendonitis, 2015 it was calf trouble and 2016 calf trouble again! At least for 2017 it’s something a bit different – knee pain caused by tight hips. Despite a few weeks off over Christmas and various stretches and exercises it’s still there so I was back to the physio this week for a new set of strengthening exercises to get me back on top again. I’m hopeful it’s just a brief annoyance and will soon be on the mend. Everyone is so excited at the start of the year and is churning out long rides, long runs and fast track sessions it’s a bit worrying when you’re sat on the sofa knowing this week I’ve managed one short ride and a short run before sucumming to the New Year lurgy that is doing the rounds as well as a dodgy knee. But hey, things can only get better…

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Three weeks and counting…

Exactly one year ago today, I made my GB Age Group debut in Edmonton at the ITU World Championship. In three weeks time, I get another opportunity to race for GB in the 2015 World Championship in Chicago.

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I targeted qualification for the World Champs at the start of the season and registered myself for all three qualifiers. With Outlaw Half at the end of May sandwiched between the qualifiers it was a busy couple of months but under the guidance of my coach Adam at GreenlightPT managed to perform well at all three qualifiers and Outlaw and managed to win my age group at the first qualifier at Belvoir Castle and therefore booked my place for Chicago!

I was really pleased with how this first half of the season went. I was swimming, cycling and running faster than I have ever done and for the first time ever actually pass people on the bike leg! With Chicago in the bag, it meant the pressure was off for all my other races. Outlaw Half was a great experience again. The weather was awful – it poured from the start of the swim, all through the bike and then dried out for the run but I loved every minute of it. Despite the weather, I knocked nearly 5 minutes off my bike time – which was pretty good considering most of the bike leg was under water and it was my first ride on my new TT in the wet! I’d set myself a target of 5:30 – 11 minutes quicker than last year and on the day came in at 5:31 – partly due to the weather on the bike course and blowing up towards the end of the run. But, it was still a 10 minute PB and I know in decent weather there’s plenty more to come there.

The other two qualifiers Deva and Dambuster were also really good for me. Having spent three years in Chester at university I was excited to race here and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a fantastically well organised race with a great course. Even got myself on Breakfast TV and the Channel 4 highlights by virtue of the fact I came out of the swim with TV host Louise Minchin! The bike course was fast – my fastest ever ride and the run, on paper sounded dull – three laps of the Meadows and along the Groves – but in reality it was great, really pretty and varied terrain. It was also the National Champs so I was super pleased to finish 7th in my age group. I really recommend this event and hope to go back next year.

Dambuster was another favourite of mine. I qualified for Edmonton here last year and the course suits me – the bike is interesting with the first third very hilly (the Rutland Ripples), the second third mostly downhill and the final third lots of ups, lots of downs and not a lot inbetween. It’s challenging to say the least but you are rewarded with a nice flat out and back run to finish.

With things looking up I settled into some training ready for the European Champs in Geneva when the old calf problem raised it’s head again. With three weeks until Geneva it was a race against time to get fit. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan – with a panic attack in the swim (don’t ask!), an ok bike leg, the run was a painful 10km. My first experience of the European Championships is one I’d quite like to forget! It was a great event in a beautiful location but for me, not my best experience.

Post race in Geneva - at least I'm smiling!

Post race in Geneva – at least I’m smiling!

Post Geneva, I settled back into training and trying to get my leg sorted. All seemed well by the start of August and GreenlightPT took part in a fun relay event, well sort of fun, it was the East Midlands relay champs and for me, I felt I was back on form – running still had a little way to go but after three weeks out it wasn’t too bad! My team – the ‘Green Goddessess’ came third in the women’s race so bit more bling for the collection and a good day out was had by all.

Green Goddesses - 3rd place!

Green Goddesses – 3rd place!

Before Chicago I had one more event to do – the Vitruvian. It’s basically Dambuster, twice over and was an event I’ve been keen to do for a few years. Roughly three weeks before Chicago it’s a good gauge of my fitness and form and I was hoping to get a decent 70.3 time (bike is a bit short so was hoping for sub 3 hours on that leg). But, as has been the case this year, for every high, another low and a week before I tweaked my calf again…With physio and staying off it and praying it was just a bit tight I went ahead with the race on the understanding if I got to the run and it hurt – to stop. It was a real pain as I was swimming well, biking quite well (a lack of proper run training means more time on the bike) and I can normally wing the run despite no training. I felt good race morning – after my disastrous swim at Geneva I was keen to put that right and adopted a different more relaxed approach – i.e. forget about everyone else and do my own thing. It worked and I really enjoyed the swim. It was a two lap route with a short run between loops and I came out first in my age group. Straight onto the bike, knowing there weren’t too many girls in front and I got my head down – bit too quick for the first lap – I did it quicker than I’d done Dambuster – that’ll hurt later! A girl from my age group passed me on the first loop but I managed to maintain second and hit the run in 10th place overall – not bad for me…the run started well. I was under strict instructions to keep it slow which was hard as my legs wanted to go much quicker but eventually I settled into the agreed pace, but by 5km my calf was starting to twinge a bit. Not badly but enough to know it could put Chicago in jepoardy if I continued so at the 5km turn I decided I’d walk/jog back to the start and then drop out.

Vitruvian swim start

Vitruvian swim start

Except I got to the halfway point back near transition and the commentator announced I was still in second in my age group (despite my walk/jogging effort!) and the competitor in me took the turn around and carried on. However, 400m further along my sensible voice came through and I took the decision to stop. It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make – to be in contention and then walk away was really difficult but I know it was the right one. I swam really well, I biked well (2:41 split) – so it wasn’t a wasted day and I still got my hoodie!

And here were are today. A year since my GB AG debut and now looking forward to Chicago with a few more weeks training to get done. Not sure how much running I’ll get done but hey it’s only a 10km and I’ve nothing else in the diary after September – I’ll blinking well hop round that Buckingham Fountain if I have to – bring it on!

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Getting ready – plans for 2015

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Edmonton, Canada

Watching Top Gear tonight and their trip to Canada made me reminisce about my trip to Edmonton last year and also reminded me that I hadn’t written anything here for a couple of months. As my race number for the MK half dropped through the door this week it seems quite timely to update what is going on in my world.

The MK Half will be my first race of the year. It should have been the Bucks County XC Champs but as has been the case since May last year, my calf had other ideas. A common theme throughout my posts last year was my struggles with issues with both my calf’s. Although my running has gone from strength to strength (I’ve PB’d at every distance raced in the last 12 months) my calf’s neglected to join the party. Any time I run over 10 miles or a hard track session they give up, cramp up and generally cause me grief to the point I finished most of my running races nearly in tears and then need loads of physio to get me running for my next triathlon. Funny thing is, I never get the problem in a tri…

Anyway, after the MK Winter Half in December, I took some time off from running, ramped up the physio and have spent most of the winter doing strengthening exercises. Touch wood, the problem has eased massively but I’m nervous about next Sunday. It’s so early in the season and I’ve lots planned so first sign of trouble and I’ll be backing off!

Aside from my running woes everything else is going pretty well. I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to have a bit more structure to my training so have teamed up with Adam from GreenlightPT and it’s already working wonders. My time off the road has been well spent on the bike (mostly the turbo thanks to the wonderful British weather) and in just 8 weeks I managed to increased by FTP by 10%. I also decided to treat my swimming with a bit more respect, rather than the necessary evil that triathletes have to endure and have made some big gains in the pool over the last few weeks.

'Percy'

‘Percy’

I also treated myself to a TT bike. After my son started school in September I decided to up my hours at work back to full time and along with an unexpected pay rise, the extra cash was burning a hole so I now am the proud owner of a Planet X TT. It’s still sat on the turbo but as soon as the weather clears up we’ll be whipping up and down the lanes of North Bucks and South Northants. I know it’s all about the engine that drives it but to quote a well known supermarket ‘every little helps’!

So the next few months will be a lot of hard work to get ready for the ITU qualifiers, Outlaw Half and the ETU Champs in Geneva. I’m really looking forward to Outlaw. With an improved bike leg I know there’s gains to be made as long as I can run comfortably. I’ve no idea how the qualifiers will go. I’m now the baby in a new age group with the over 40s – I only turned 39 10 weeks ago so have no idea where I sit in the scheme of things, and am very conscious of the fact I got lucky with my qualification for Edmonton last year – hopefully luck with be with me again this year!

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Outlaw Half – Race Day – this is it!!!

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19 weeks ago I decided to blog about my training for the Outlaw Half – thank you if you’ve stuck with it and apologies for my endless droning on about injury and tiredness and whatever else I felt like moaning about. Despite the groans, I have actually really enjoyed it – I’ve been pushed to my limits at times both mentally and physically and this has felt way harder than marathon training.

Four weeks ago I felt super fit and ready to smash it – three weeks and 6 days ago I hurt my calf enroute to a half marathon PB and to be honest my confidence has taken a bit of a blow. I feel ready, but not as ready as I did feel. I’m quietly hopeful my leg will hold out on the run and let me run how I want to.

But, it is what it is and the race weekend has arrived. I’m all packed, washed the bike, cleaned out the car, had a kit run through as per our GreenlightPT training weekend, packed up my son’s bag for a weekend at the Grandparents and apart from finishing off this post am all set…

Kit check

Kit check

There’s a large group of us from MK travelling up to Nottingham tomorrow, plus a sizable section of support. We’ve done the training, can’t do anymore now – come on boys and girls – let’s do this!!

To follow the action there’s a live tracker http://www.onestepbeyond.org.uk/the-outlaw-half-live-results.php – I’m #1065

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 16-17 done – PB, injury and taper

Week 16 was the final recovery week before the taper starts and what better way to start a recovery week than a race! Bank Holiday Monday was the Milton Keynes Marathon and Half Marathon and I ran the half and ran myself into a new half marathon PB. The downside was the pain in my achilles and calf I felt towards the end of the race didn’t disappear with the other achey muscles and by Thursday I was at the physio. The muscles were so tight to continue running would be asking for trouble – with the St Neots Olympic Triathlon booked for the Sunday it didn’t look good. After been told I shouldn’t run for a few weeks I mentioned that fact I was due to race and was told I could race but shouldn’t really run – although if it felt ok after a short test run on Saturday I could take it slowly.

Probably didn’t help matters that I took the day off on Wednesday and went out with the ‘Wednesday cycle group’ – a group that my father in law rides with – they do push the speed a bit but I felt I needed a bit of a test after a relatively slow ride to the Beacon the previous weekend. It was also the day the Womens Tour of Britain started and came right through Northants finishing in Northampton – just up the road from me – so the route for the group was a trip to the Dairy Farm at Upper Stowe then a saunter across the other side of the A5 to Kislingbury to catch the peloton as they raced past. I struggled to start off with as I still had the tough half marathon in my legs but once I got going it wasn’t too bad and it’s not every day a major cycling road race passes through your manor! by the end of the ride I’d another 47 miles under my belt.

With no running possible I did an 40km on the bike on Saturday followed by a 10 minute easy jog to test my leg. It didn’t feel right but wasn’t painful so I resolved to race at St Neots but decide on the run when it happened.

The St Neots Triathlon is one of the first open water triathlons of the season. Run by NiceTri Events it was the first time I’ve taken part. We had a 150om swim in the River Ouse, followed by a two lap bike that headed out towards Grafham Water before takinig in a bit of a hill at Little Staughton. The run was then a four lap run around the Riverside Park. The race was supposed to be a bit of a warm up for Outlaw, a chance to race half the distance a few weeks out but to be honest with my bad calf I realistically knew I couldn’t race it so my heart wasn’t really in it. I enjoyed the swim and felt I’d swum well coming out of the water quite well up. It was very cold so I struggled to get bike shoes on and then just couldn’t get warm on the bike. I struggled big time and spent most of the bike leg being passed.

I got back from the bike leg and started on the run but it was clear after a lap that I probably shouldn’t continue. The ground underfoot was a mixture of path and grass so wasn’t the best mix of surfaces if you have a dodgy calf. My leg didn’t hurt but wasn’t right – after one lap I pulled out. Not how I wanted to end the day but there was no point making it worse. On the upside I did get a chance to cheer on the others which was great.

Week 17 was the first week of taper – same training sessions but turbo brick changed to a ride and I exhanged interval session for a physio session as I couldn’t really run. I needed an easy week as I think as well as being injured I’d still managed to over do it – 160 miles of cycling plus a hard half marathon and most of an Olympic Triathlon.

I did have a long 80km ride/run to do which went really well – I used it to test out my nutrition and managed to get a reasonably steady 3km run done after. I rounded off on Sunday with a quick lake swim and an easy 4 mile run – leg was ok but still not right.

Just two weeks to go…

Outlaw Half Swim Cap

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Outlaw Half Training – Week 12-15 done – the hard work is complete (I think)…

Week 12 was a recovery week – all the usual sessions but without the brick runs and a much shorter ride and run at the weekend.

Week 13-15 was the start of the second block of build weeks. Longer brick runs and the rides building up to 90km all followed by a run. At the end of week 13 I also took part in my first triathlon of the season at Duston, which as I’ve already blogged about was a great success!

I also took another swim clinic with GreenlightPT as it had been a few months since my last one. I had been working on the various points that Adam had picked up last time with my head position, cross over on my pull and my exit on the pull so was keen to see if I had managed to fix these issues, plus the session always has a few time trials to check on performance.

I am pleased to say I had improved on all counts and my 400m TT time was a season’s best by some way and not too far off my overall PB. As ever though I came away with more to work on and a super tough endurance session that has really made me work in the pool.

Week 15 was rounded off with a full length 90km ride followed by a short run. I wanted to try to build a hill into the ride similar to the main hill at Outlaw and received a variety of suggestions, one of which was Ivinghoe Beacon, which would be around 50 mile round trip from home. I’ve never ridden this hill before so thought it would be a good one to try. Just to make the day really tough it started early in the morning at Box End, near Bedford. A quick lap of the cable lake – my first open water dip of the year – before heading home for a quick bowl of porridge and out on the bike.

I rode alone as my brother-in-law, who I normally cycle with has injured his hip and was unable to ride but it was a good test for me as I have to ride alone at Outlaw. It made for a tough ride as it was quite windy in places and although the only notable hill was the Beacon, there were a few undulations out there to keep the legs burning, but took me through some beautiful countryside before the climb up to the Beacon. The inital climb starts down in the village of Ivinghoe – I started the gentle incline strongly when a 4×4 decided to come round me and slam its brakes on – no idea why but the end result was me in a heap in the road still attached to my bike and said 4×4 driving off. The road was quite a busy B road so I didn’t want to be lying in the road for long, but typically couldn’t get my shoes off my pedals as I was lying down and then realised my Garmin was still going! Not sure what concerned me more, lying in a main road or the thought of my Garmin still running. Either way, I resolved both situations swiftly. A couple of drivers had stopped to check I was alright. Luckily no damage to me or the bike that I could see, although I was concerned about my new trisuit which I was testing as I had landed heavily on my side.

I dusted myself off and continued on my way, a little bit angry at events – I have no idea what the driver thought they were doing but they clearly had no concept of other road users, particularly cyclists and it was clear why so many accidents happen. With the bit between my teeth I took the Beacon by its horns and had a nice steady ride to the top – even passing another cyclist on the way. It wasn’t as bad as I had been led to believe – quite long, but more of a gentle drag than a major slog. It kicks up a bit towards the end but the views you are rewarded with on the way more than make up for it.

I stopped at the top to have a check I was alright after my fall and I could feel my left leg had taken a bit of a bashing – nothing too serious but could feel there would be bruises in a few days. From the top of the Beacon I was a bit hazy about the route back down to Ivinghoe. I could return the way I came but wanted to take a more scenic route through Ashridge Park, down Tom’s Hill and through Aldbury (anyone who watches Midsomer Murders will recognise it) – only problem was my phone couldn’t get a signal so my route wouldn’t show. i decided to play it by ear and make it up as I went along. I knew roughly where I wanted to go so set off down through the Park, eventually arriving at the top of Tom’s Hill (glad I didn’t come up that!) and descended into Aldbury. From Aldbury I found a signpost that pointed to Tring (wrong direction) so took a punt on a random road that I thought headed in the right direction – luckily it did and I found myself back in Ivinghoe village and on the route home.

Although hit wasn’t particularly hilly going home it did feel like a long slog but gradually the miles ticked over and I reached home in 61 miles. A fair bit over the 90km I was supposed to do but with a few stops I figured it had evened itself out! A quick run after to round of the full triathlon day and that gave me the confidence to know I can complete the Outlaw Half.

Outlaw Half

 

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Milton Keynes Half Marathon – Race Report

I was looking forward to this run, first time I’ve actually really looked forward to a running race in a long while. My training for the Outlaw Half on June 1st has been going well and my long runs have been much quicker than anything I’ve done in the past, and all done on tired legs following a long ride the day before.

So, with a day’s rest before the race I knew this could be a PB potential race! My current PB for a half is a touch under 1:46 and based on what I’ve done in training I knew that was a good realistic target.

As always the day started with a team photo. DLRR met outside McDonald’s at Stadium MK, home of the MK Dons although without our revered leader (he was managing the marshals today) it was a somewhat less formal affair – no idea who actually took the photo, but it appeared on Facebook during the event so the result was there!

The Milton Keynes Marathon is now in its third year. After marshalling the first year in torrential rain, running the marathon in a heat wave last year, I jumped at the chance to run the half when they introduced it this year. You get all the camaraderie of a major marathon, but only half the distance to run – what more could you ask for? The course for the half followed the same route as the marathon until just before the 10 mile mark when the marathon runners turned off to continue along the city redways  while we continued to the stadium to finish.

Stadium MK is a great venue to start and finish an event – plenty of parking, as many toilets as you could want (all very clean!) and loads of space for runners and supporters.

The start was a short walk away from the stadium on one of the main roads heading towards the city centre. There were no waves this year so runners were free to start wherever they wished. This was good news for me as I was keen to run with the 3:30 marathon pacer (8 min miles). I headed to the start and tried to look the pacer out – all the pacers had big blue balloons  so they could be spotted easily, except I could only find the 3:45 guy – there were two other pacers near the front that I could see but hadn’t got a hope in hell of getting near enough to find out whether that was the one I was looking for. I decided to just pace myself and see if I could stumble across the pacer early on in the race. With the course doubling back quite a bit in the early miles I knew I should be able to spot him.

The first couple of miles follows one of the main city roads up towards the City Centre. It’s a gradual climb so it’s good for keeping the pace in check early on. The first of the loop back sections came just before we entered the City Centre and was a good chance to check where I was in the scheme of things – plus I spotted the 8 min pacer – he was quite some way ahead of me so I doubted at that point I’d be able to catch up so I decided to carry on as I was. Miles 3-7 consisted of loops of the City Centre grid square. It sounds bad on paper but in reality it was great – the terrain is undulating – we entered the City at almost its highest point and ran down almost to the station before running back up and looping around the various boulevards. For a club like DLRR it’s a bit like a normal Sunday run – we loopback to the slowest runner to keep the group together – it’s a very social format and I spent most of that 5 miles waving and shouting at fellow runners as we spotted each other across the carriageway!

All this joviality meant I wasn’t clock watching too much which is no bad thing as the undulations meant my mile times varied by over 30 seconds but I was making good time as we left the City Centre and headed back down the main road towards the stadium. The road out of the city was a nice long downhill and gave me a chance to stretch my legs a bit and see how I felt – still plenty of running there – I could also see the 8 min pacer getting nearer – I was averaging well under 8 min miles and even by mile 8 I hadn’t caught him so not sure how far under he was!

At the roundabout before the stadium the course turns left and heads along the V9 Groveway – a road I know well as I drive along it every day on my way to work at the Open University. It starts nice and flat then as you approach the river Ouzel it swings down before sweeping back up past the OU. We had to run the length of it as far as the roundabout before taking a U-turn and running all the way back again. It was a great opportunity to see other runners coming the other way – I could see the top end of  the half marathon race heading back towards the stadium. At about 8 1/2 miles I finally caught up with the 8 minute pacer. I was actually travelling faster than 8 minute pace now so swung straight past his group – best laid plans and all that!

About half a mile after the U-turn the marathon and half marathon split with the long haul guys heading off onto the redways and the half marathon continuing back towards the stadium. Once the split occurred the road suddenly thinned out and first time I ran on my own for a bit. We climbed back up the road and headed towards the stadium but as we’d only reached 11 miles we had to run back past the stadium and round a small lake before running back up to the stadium again.

This is a little disheartening as you can see the finish area and people already running towards it, but you have to run right on past it…it was at this point that I could feel my calf and achilles getting really tight – almost cramp like. I felt like I had loads left in the tank but couldn’t up my pace too much for fear of doing some damage. This isn’t my A race of the year and I couldn’t afford to take  the risk. It got to the stage where almost every step sent a pain up my leg, made even worse when we left the road to run round the lake. This was on footpaths that weren’t in the best condition, not good when your leg is on the verge of cramping up. Nevertheless I stuck with it, I knew I was on for a PB, but not sure how much.  Somehow I managed to  churn out a 7:30 mile just before the end and held on.

The run out into the stadium is magnificent – for a reasonably small club the stadium is large – Rugby World Cup matches will be held here in 2015 so it holds a fair few people. Nowhere near full today but enough to make a noise to get the heart pumping. We had to run around three sides of the pitch to finish – never has a football pitch seemed so big – but I managed to step up a gear and cross the line in 1:42:18 – a new PB by well over 3 minutes!

I was so pleased with my run, everything went to plan, apart from the calf/achilles issue and I know I had more to come. It means I go into Outlaw knowing I’ve got a good half under my belt but also know 1:40 is there for the taking later in the year…

I must add that the marshals and volunteers out on the course and at the stadium were amazing. There were loads of them and were all very vocal – although it helps that a lot of them were from DLRR! Having marshalled a few years ago, I know what a long day it can be and they did a sterling job. Some of the best in the business – and I’ve run a lot of races over the years to know that!

It does go to show that you can still run well off the back of triathlon training – I’m only really running twice a week properly under my GreenlightPT with an interval session and a long run but it seems to be working for me…

 

MK Half medal

The medal – one of the best I’ve got in terms of design!

Milton Keynes Marathon Half Marathon Route

 

 

 

Categories: Injury, Outlaw, Races, Training | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Outlaw Half Training – Week 10 & 11 done – the really hard work begins

Week 10

Turbo on Monday was a tough start to the week as usual, especially following the Cobbler from the previous day. We finished with some core work and I then ran 3km to make it a brick session.

The GreenlightPT swim session was a toughie and one of the hardest I’ve done (20x100m). The pace was 400m PB pace which sounds easy enough but not when there’s 20 to do and there wasn’t much rest involved. But I did them all, and got rest and gave a good indication of the what might be coming up as this training plan really gets into its flow.

Intervals on Thursday were what most people would call ‘character building’. The rain was tipping down as I left work and by the time I’d reached my starting point for the intervals it was torrential! This was then followed by lightning and thunder. I was completely soaked, but three of the intervals were the fastest yet – one was actually on target pace! Only taken four sessions to get there…

My early morning swim session on a Friday is now a firm fixture and I actually quite enjoy starting the day with it. I usually do some 400m reps and my times are now consistent so the endurance is coming together. This is also the chance for me to work on specific drills that have come out of my swim clinic.

Saturday was my first long bike/short run brick sessions. It looked chilly outside but wasn’t. With not enough water and being rather overdressed so I struggled towards the end of the ride. Once home a quick change and I was out for a run. I was quite pleased to be able to keep a reasonable pace. The first kilometre was tough but I was surprised how quick the legs responded and recovered to run normally.

I rounded off the weekend with a long run on Sunday. It was a nice day and I got a bit carried away on the way back with the last four miles around 7:45 a mile which was a bit quick for me really but was a good confidence booster to know it’s in the tank if needed! My body bit back though and my troublesome knee flared up afterwards – back on the ice and ibuprofen…

WeeK 11

Following the hard run the day before my knee still felt a bit tender so for a change I listened to my body and took my rest day a day early, but missed my turbo/run session as a result. By Tuesday it felt a lot better so took my bike out, with its new tribars for a quick spin up the road and then a quick 3km run after so this made up for the missed Monday session.

I swam as usual on Wednesday but had to miss my interval session on Thursday as the other half was really late home from work. With the GreenlightPT 70.3 Training Weekend this weekend I decided to miss my Friday swim session and went out for a run instead as I knew we’d be swimming on Saturday.

The weekend was consumed by the Training Weekend – a post covering this will follow, but it is fair to say – it was a full weekend of training!

 

 

Categories: Injury, Outlaw, Races, Training | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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