Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back on my feet

Two weeks ago, during a tempo run I felt a slight twinge in my calf as I set out. It wasn't overly painful, just a little tight so I didn't think too much of it aside from mulling that I would probably miss the evening recovery run. Well, I missed a bit more than that. After the run, I felt a bit more stiff but not in too much pain or discomfort, but as the day wore on, I felt a bit more sore. Definitely wouldn't be doing that evening recovery, I decided.

The next day, I woke up quite sore. I'd arranged to run with Shan and since it was a gentle 8km, I thought it would be a good opportunity to test if it was a real issue. It was pretty sore for the first 5km, though not excruciating, and for the last few KMs it eased off. I was very hopeful that it might just require a few days off. The next day, off I went to Jacinta - who will leave for an exciting new life soon but leave us without her healing touch. She was optimistic, too. I still had decent range of motion. Her advice: three full days with no running and also a couple of days of real rest and then a short, easy run on Sunday. I therefore did nothing Thursday or Friday and just a gentle bike ride to keep David company on his long run on Saturday in Denmark (for just the first 20km). Sunday was D-day, and off I set on my 25 minute run. It felt a bit tight, but not horrendous, so I was hopeful I might manage another 20 minutes the next day. I made it less than two minutes down the road from our place in Denmark before turning around and walking back. Two days later, I tried another little run, again 25 minutes, and again the pain was there but not severe. However, I'd learned not to try two days in a row so decided to leave it at that as the next day, Thursday, we were heading back to Perth and I was due to see Jacinta again on the Friday.

By the time I got to see Jacinta I was way more sore than I'd been a week earlier and it seemed not from the run, but from 4 hours in the car! Turns out I'd developed some nerve spasms, most likely triggered by a combination of the injured calf and the glute exercises I'd been doing that had inflamed my piriformis. It was time for some nerve gliding exercises, plenty of treatment and a bit more rest. I was allowed another small run on Monday, 25 minutes on the flat - hence on a treadmill. I saw Jacinta again that day, and there'd been a fair bit of improvement, but still angry nerves, so the prognosis was another day of not running and then try again. Instead, I decided to spin on the Tuesday and water run on the Wednesday to allow two days off. Today, I tested it out again with a run around the river, just under 10km, in a very slow 59 minutes. And voila, I seem to be pain free - a little tight still, so no tempo or speed work for a bit, but hopefully fully on the road to recovery.

Thank you Jacinta, and please come back soon ...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Variety is the Spice of Life ...

It's certainly been a week of variety on the running front. Aside from a couple of recovery runs close to home on Tuesday and Thursday (and even there I managed to find something completely different to do, meeting David and Zoe at the park one day and doing the loop to home on another), no two runs were the same this week.

Wednesday I headed over to Shannon's place for a lovely 8km run from her house, down past Burswood and along the river, then back for an excellent coffee, chez Coates, before heading back for a busy working day. Thursday, I had the pleasure of Kate's company on my Mona's run around the river. She is amazing - she held on so well given the massive KMs she is running right now. I'll have to enjoy it while I can; in a couple of months when she's back speed training I'll be lucky to hang onto her! Thursday evening was one of my home recovery runs - a busy night at work meant no going out to play :(

After a recovery day on Friday, we got up super early on Saturday morning and headed down to Busselton to watch the half ironman (Sas, Jo, David and I on a caffeine boosted road trip). Jo and I were joining Shannon on part of her long run - she started earlier and did 14km then we joined her for the another 14km, parted ways with Jo and Shannon and I then finished off the final 6km to make it 34km for her and 20km for me. That was followed by a lovely day watching some great athletes complete the ironman. We saw many friends cross the line in fine form - I'm amazed at their stamina and great attitudes. It almost made me want to do one (almost - I still have to get over my fear and loathing of bicycles). We headed home about 3ish; not being able to stay for the after party meant there was little reason to hang around once all our friends had finished their race. So we said farewell to everyone, loaded up with more caffeine and began the long journey home. It was surprisingly quick on the way back - I suspect it was the good conversation that made the time fly.

Sunday, David and I joined the incredible distance runners in the Relay for Life. Francis had put together a team to do the 24 hour event. Most had camped over and Kate had done the toughest stint - 10pm to 4am! We rocked up at a civilized 7.45am and David did his hour at 8am. I followed, with plenty of company (funny, no one seemed to want to run with Sugar - was it the deodorant or the pace, we'll never know ...), then after a bit of fun and chats, David and I did another five laps with a bit of entertainment thrown in for good measure.

This morning's run took us back to King's Park and I have to say hills were very welcome after two days of flat running. Becks surged ahead and the rest of us - Jo, Gina, Joe, Kate, Shannon and I trotted along until the first hill, when we let Jo and Gina take off, with Joe just behind them. Kate, Shannon and I, weary from many KMs (well, Kate and Shannon weary from many KMs - my excuse is perhaps down something entirely different) dropped back a bit and trundled up the hill. But it was a gorgeous morning and a lovely run to do. As you come up the hill, the sun starts to rise and there is the most amazing view of the city through the trees. It's hard to beat that!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Autumn sunshine

It's been a pretty good week of running, overall, with a few notable exceptions, but let's not dwell on the negatives.

Last Sunday, Jo, Viv and I did a little 6km recovery run in East Perth before the all important breakfast. It felt particularly hard that day, but then the day before had been a tough run, with 6km of down hill to finish - always murder on the legs.

Monday's KP run was a little more up-tempo. Becks and I ran together for the first 4km then when the hill hit I just hung in not too far behind her. The main goal was no stopping and keep it under 6 minute KMs, which I did without too much difficulty, averaging around 5.45 pace.

Tuesday morning was my 4km recovery plod - it ought to feel very easy, but sometimes it's the last thing I feel like doing. Later, it was off to JK's session - my first visit in ages. Traffic put an end to my long warm up plan and so I had to do the session on just 7 minutes of warm up. As it turned out, I felt pretty reasonable and managed to improve during the session. I did feel compelled to do a reasonable cool down, though, after missing the warm up so forced myself to run around and around the track (it being dark by then) at least five times! It's not exciting, I have to say.

Wednesday is spin day normally, so the legs get a break from the pounding but still have to work hard on the bike. It's quite a fun little session, but who told the instructor Country Roads remix was bearable! I want to leap out the bike and smash the stupid CD player. Good grief!

Thursday was a gentle jog in the morning for 7km with the plan to do the 5km in the evening. This was probably one of my worst runs of the week, and realising there was no point flogging a dead horse, I pulled the plug at 3km. It was 7 1/2 laps of solid wheezing - no way to run!

Saturday's run couldn't have been more different. We started off downhill so the pace for the first 5km or so was fairly brisk, but I felt pretty good. I had great company, chatting to Kate for about 8km and completely forgot where I was. The stretch from Pechey Road to John Forest is pretty exposed and on a windy day can be tough, so I took advantage of the four well-build guys who were running just ahead and used them as a windbreak for most of that section - I hope they forgive me. The last part was Becks, Viv and I. Viv wasn't feeling too great so Becks and I went on ahead. It was great until the haul up Park Road, but even that wasn't too bad. We then had a lovely social run back down the hill to complete a very pleasant 20km. Making it even more appealing, Jo had a birthday breakfast booked at a nearby cafe. Fabulous food and company made for a wonderful morning. It doesn't get better than this.

Sunday I decided a lone run was in order. We'd had a latish night the night before and I didn't want to commit to getting up early. I ran from home around 8ish for 9km, doing it at easy pace rather than recovery pace (5.45). I felt okay for this, which is good after a long run the day before. I knew Monday would be difficult to get much of a run in as I was helping at the 32km - well done on this Kate, it's a huge job and you did really well! I managed a 4km in the afternoon, but really struggled through it with a stitch. Once I'd managed to get rid of it, the run was fine, but talk about agony!

This morning it was back to tempo running. I probably should have had breakfast and gone a little later, but I wanted to get going. So I set off at 7.25am with just Sustagen to keep me going. About 20 minutes into the tempo part of the run (35 minutes into the run) I was battling, I pushed through to 30 minutes, took a quick break and then forced myself to do the final 10 minutes of tempo to make a 40 minute tempo. The jog home was tough, too, but all in all I managed a 1 hour 5 minute run, with 40 minutes of tempo and the KM or so before being easy pace. It will be nice to have a few recovery runs now!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Late start long run

It was a wonderful treat today, starting a couple of hours later and still getting to do a good long run. Becks, Viv, Rod and I headed up to the Discovery Centre, courtesy of a lift from Sugar, where we waited for the Yummies and C Team. The plan had been to join Jane and Kate and others on the second half of their 38km run. Poor Jane was really ill today and the thought of another 17km (for 34km) was worrying enough. Fortunately, Sugar was doing a run from Mundaring so she just had to get there and wait for him to finish. Great to have that option!

So the four of us followed the C Team speedsters, keeping them in sight for long enough to know the way. The start of this run is fairly tough - up and up until you get to Ian's hill, which is one tough hill! Becks and I trotted up in silence, but doing okay and then kept going to the store (where the longer-distance runners were buying coke). From there, the four of us headed onto the trail, waved to Becks as she sped down the hill with the speedy boys and enjoyed a lovely, gentle run. We caught up with Jane at Mundaring, who was looking a lot better now that she had rested a while - she just had another 25 minutes or so to wait for Sugar, so we headed off down the hill again.

The run was lovely and Viv and I were getting into a fabulous groove, when a rock jumped up and tripped Viv up. She is a tough cookie and was up quickly and after just 30 seconds of walking was ready to run again. We joined up with Rod at Glenn Forest, got Viv's wounded knee washed and took off for the last 3km down the hill.

It was one of the best runs I've had in the hills in a long time. Perhaps the later start, with breakfast beforehand, was the key. At any rate, I'd do that again anytime.

I'm very glad not to be in Europe now - we just heard that Damien, Emma and co. are stuck at Stansted Airport, unable to get to Nice for their half marathon. What a disappointment that must be! I hope they at least get to have some fun in the UK!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A fresh, new start

Okay, it's not like I haven't been running, I've just been very slack on the blog front. For someone who writes for a living, this regular writing stuff is not always tempting, but I'll give it a go.

I've hired a coach - I pay him with dinners and walks with the dog - and have a programme under way to get me to New York fit and raring to run.
With the Master's Nationals out of the way (a PB and last place in the 800m - what can I say, I'm a champ!) it's time to get the distance up. Things have begun in earnest this week. After a 17km struggle in the hills in Saturday, made lovely in the end because of a fabulous catch up with 40Miler legend Kate, I headed to the Gallipoli run on Sunday and struggled through a bit of a tempo (nothing left for racing). The time wasn't great, but I did a reasonable effort. I'm happy about that as I felt sick most of the weekend (I suspect side effects from the flu shot I got last Wednesday).

Monday was recovery run day with a nice, gentle 8.4km run around King's Park. I actually felt pretty good, though talking went out the window when I hit the long hill on Forest Drive - sorry for the 5-10 minutes of silence, Damien. Still, I never felt the need to stop or walk, so that's a good sign.

Coach Sugar has me doing twice daily runs twice a week, and the first of those was on Tuesday. The morning was a gentle recovery run of just 4km (25 minutes is his edict) and the plan had been to go to JK's session in the evening. But with the weather looking ominous, we both decided to head out for a Mona's session before the worst of the storms hit. It was pretty windy, but it didn't feel unpleasant, probably because it wasn't too cold. I started with a 2km warm up towards the Scout hut on the freeway, then turned around (with the wind behind me - yes!) and did my session. It's a fantastic session - 20 minutes of effort. I felt pretty good until I got to the Mount Henry bridge when a headwind (and lunch) reminded me of my fallibility. A short walk and then back into it for the last couple of minutes before a 20 minute cool down. The rain came down pretty heavily in the cool down, but it was kinda pleasant, even into that strong northerly wind. But by the time I'd got to Rookwood, I decided a short steep hill was preferable to going the longer way home and took a bit of a short cut. Still, it was close to 9km in total, which added to my 4km in the morning meant a good session.

Wednesday is currently cross-training day, so I head to my luxurious Next Gen gym in KP for a spin class. After Tuesday's effort the legs had gone into a full sit-in protest. When we hit the climbs, they just refused to go any faster. I tried to push them and though the lungs were fairly willing the legs weren't budging. I gave it all I could, but couldn't muster the sweat I normally get from that session. Oh well, there it is.

Thursday is the next double session day. This morning I headed to Mends Street where Sugar and I met up with Viv and Becks. Sugar does his recovery and Becks joins him in a bit of a tempo, so Viv and I set off together and a reasonable pace. The goal today was to sit on marathon pace and do a few sprints. It started off okay, but I think I struggle to really know what easy/marathon pace is and ended up doing the second half a bit fast. That's okay, but I don't want to burn out. Average was 5.38 pace, which is great if I can comfortably sustain that, but I suspect 5.45 might be a more comfortable marathon pace run for me. We'll see as the year progresses. Tonight I have a 4km recovery run in the offing. I'll aim for a break in the weather ...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I do seem to enjoy playing catch up with this blog - must have too much life to keep it up :)
Anyway, Saturday we did the Park Road loop again. I must say, I felt a lot more tired this week - probably down to the tough Thursday session on top of going back to intervals on the Tuesday. Park Road nearly finished me off and even the climb from Midland to Pechey Road was a tough one. But I got through it okay. I felt pretty tired the rest of the day, which meant my body was crying out for a rest, but tough luck!
Sunday, as I had promised, I turned up for the Women's Classic. Turns out it wasn't necessary as none of the people I was supposed to run with were there, but I felt I might as well head out since the weather had turned out glorious. No chance of racing today, but I pushed a little harder than I planned and finished in around 55 minutes - nothing earth-shattering but a decent tempo given my long break from tempo runs (track aside). The rest of Sunday was taken up with a fabulous afternoon/evening at Trish's, including massage and BBQ - makes the pain well worth it :)
Monday I took my much needed break and enjoyed a session at the steam room, and then this morning (Tuesday) I met Kate for our Mona's session. I felt pretty good on this today, so the day off did some good. We kept all our intervals faster than 5 min KM - not earth-shattering, but good and steady, and we did it all without any stops, which is even better. I had hoped to head to the gym for a pilates later, but work was a bit busy so it will have to keep for another time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday I decided not to run as I knew Thursday was going to be a tough day; instead I went to the gym and spend half an hour on the bike, did a few light weights and lots of stretching. Thursday morning I woke to the sound of rain. I kept an ear out for my mobile, half hoping Shannon would text to call off so I could go back to bed and avoid the rain. But I turned up as did Shannon and many others, despite the awful weather, and we ran the bridges loop. I kept my pace really slow to save myself for track in the evening - 6.26min pace - not sure if I've run that slow in a long time, but it did feel rather nice. Shannon is coming back nicely with her running and pushed on, which was great to see.
Later in the day (helped out by a recovery session at the gym involving a steam room and cold showers) I headed to the track with Sugar. The plan was for a 3km and a 1km. After last week's 14.57 I was looking to take my 3km a little faster. The conditions again were perfect; clear, cool and very little wind. I set out at my goal pace, slipped a little in the second lap, but managed to pull it back a bit and hold on reasonably well. I finished in 14.42, which I'm very pleased with - a 15 second improvement over last week. I was well out of breath when I was done and couldn't imagine doing the 1km, but there was a good gap, so I decided to front up. Having never done a 1km race before I had no idea how to pace it. It really showed as I realized too late that I was feeling way too good for a 1km - with just 400m to go I had a lot in the tank. I pushed much harder, but too late and ended up with a time of 4.39. I know I could have gone under 4.30, so I guess next time I'll have to hurt from the start! Still it's a learning curve and I'm very pleased with what I did tonight