Monday, 21 September 2009

Four down - seven to go!

On Saturday I remembered that there was a 7.25 mile trail race on in Kirkstall so decided to substitute my planned LSR for that. That increased my planned races to 11 between 23/08 and 29/11 but now its done I'm still over a third of the way through.

It was a challenging but enjoyable race, starting with a lap of the grounds of Kirkstall Abbey's ruins, across Burley rugby union's pitches, a drag up the A65, down and along the river until the footbridge at Newlay, then across some fields to the canal which was followed until The Railway pub. That was just over halfway and the turnaround point.

From The Railway we headed over the ancient packhorse bridge across the river Aire and then broadly alongside the river before heading up a steep hill to a new housing estate and back to Newlay to head back up the valley to the A65 and a descent that reversed the opening 1.5 miles.

This featured paths that I didn't know were there but it was hillier than I'd expected and at one point - after the steepest section - I could feel the bile rising and was reduced to more of a shuffle for 100m or so. That particular hill immediately followed an undulating but long and general uphill track away from the river and I'd decided to take it easy up there. Trouble was a couple of Abbey supporters had positioned themselves there and their cries of encouragement made me feel I had to go onwards hard!

The other difficulty I'd had was that my Garmin had frozen just before I went to register. This meant I had to run with no guide as to how far we'd gone or what pace I was maintaining. This wasn't essential as I wasn't chasing a PB but it felt strange. Not sure if it may have helped me though as despite the terrain, the hills, the extra 1.05 miles and the twists and turns I completed it in 53:25 meaning my average pace was exactly the same as for the 10k PB in Sheffield a fortnight earlier!

I only ran two other times in the week. Partly because there was little opportunity to run with Bethan but mainly as I was taking it easy on the psoas.

I ran with the faster group at Abbey on Tuesday evening. The overall pace was 8:01 - faster than I ran with the slower group as you'd expect - but there were very few stops and those there were lasted only a few seconds, meaning we covered 7.28 miles in a couple of minutes under the hour. I'll stick with them from now.

Thursday's run wasn't so great. I did a little over 6 miles but it felt hard work. Opening mile was done in 8:20 and each one hereafter got progressively slower, yet each felt like I was running a minute a mile faster. That's the last two Thursdays that felt tough, but I've a plan to tackle that (more later).

My other fitness thing for this week was taking delivery of a bike on Tuesday. I haven't rode a bike in nearly 15 years and even through childhood didn't ride that often so I felt a bit nervy taking it out for a short ride on Tuesday. Yesterday I went out for an hour and a half with a friend and by the end of that felt alot better about hills/gears/bends/traffic. It was a nice ride round Bramhope, Otley Chevin, Guiseley, Carlton, Yeadon and back home. Also pleasing that my running fitness transfers fairly easilly to cycling.

Weight was also good news. By Friday I was down to 11st 11lb. I've over eaten and not logged since then but I'll be back on track today and hope to see a further drop this week.

Yesterday's run also gave rise to another idea.

I'm facing 16 weeks of long runs along the canal again before Paris*, starting in mid December. I like the canal side runs - traffic free, scenic, quiet, flat - but I do want some variety, espescially after my last 2 runs there haven't felt so good. I do have the Abbey run on Tuesday evening but need to do one or two more decent runs a week - especially while Beth isn't running as much )which had added in short, light 'filler' runs).

The solution: Kirkstall Harriers run Monday & Wednesday doing runs of 6.5 - 7 miles. I'm going to look into running with them and maybe joining as second claim club. That would give me another run, in company and of a reasonable length, that I could do each week assuming I did one or the other of the Mon/Wed with the Abbey Tuesday run fixed.

I'm in Birmingham on Wednesday but hopefully could get back in time to try a run with them this Wednesday.

If I do that as well as Tuesday plus the 2 races planned for the weekend that'll take me over 30 miles for the week even without warm ups, cool downs or a run with Beth. Only possible fly in the ointment is a trip to the physio today to check out the psoas where rest might be reccomended.

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