woensdag 30 september 2009

105 min
Start 17.45
Perfect conditions for me. About 15 degrees, slight breeze, merest hint of fine sprayish rain coming through now and then, as if someone was using a garden hose 50 meters away. Had checked on the shower radar to see if there was any serious rain on the way as I didn't want to get totally soaked while too far from home. 'Computer said no' so I set out for Baarn via the cycle bridge, running most of the way on the far side of the Eem. Stopped briefly to pat a donkey who brayed enthusiastically when I greeted him and came over to have his ears scratched. 20 minutes to the bridge, then 45 to Carin and Julia. Brief water break there and then 40 minutes back home just before dark. I do feel I'm going a bit faster than before but as I don't do accurate measuring of distances I won't really know till the next official race.

dinsdag 29 september 2009

70 min
Start 7:00
Grey morning. First down to the allotments. Whilst stretching at the bench a lone bat flitted overhead. Did my 2 x 6 minute hill circuits in just inside the 12. Stopped briefly during the 2nd lap (also stopped my timer) to admire a wary young brindle American Bulldog. Beautiful animal. On out to the Eem. Reasonable pace. On the way back did exactly 5 minutes over the bit from the railway to the fence behind the firestation. Good straight bit to try to improve my 'sprint' time on. Took a detour through a recently harvested maize field, picking out the softest dusty tractor tracks to simulate beach running. I feel the flesh on my thighs jiggling in a different way when running on soft ground so it must mean I'm using different muscles. Saw a big bird of prey from about 30 meters away, flapping slowly from pole to pole as I approached. Also a sizeable hare shot out from practically under my feet.

zondag 27 september 2009

Week Total 184

85 min
Start 18.00
Out to Baarn via the Eem as far as possible. 46 minutes there. Felt like a good pace. Last bit along the river as fast as possible for 10 minutes. Stopped off to drink some water and hear about Julia's triumphant 3rd place in the jumping competition at the stables this morning. Back through the village - 39 minutes.

zaterdag 26 september 2009

64 min
Start 17.00, Friday
Wonderful run along the beach at 's Gravenzande. First along the shore on the hard sand then back via the dunes. Sun at my back, hard going, but doable and afterwards running on the road felt so easy I could almost sprint along without any effort. Must do this more often.

woensdag 23 september 2009

35 min
Start ca 12.00
Legs still very vaguely reminding me of Saturday but once I got going it felt fine. Did proper stretching after 7 minutes gentle warming up run. Not that the time was planned but this was when I reached the bench I can prop my leg up on. Then on to the bit where I can do the 6-minute hill circuit. Did that twice, first 14 seconds under the 6 minutes, second 6 minutes exactly. Gentle run back with a brief faster stretch on the path down the back of the cemetery.

zondag 20 september 2009

The Day After

Just dropping in to record the fact that every time I bend to sit down my thigh muscles scream silent obscenities at me for what I put them through yesterday. And there was me thinking I was well-prepared. That I had plenty of 'kilometers in the legs' blah, blah, blah. Whereas the training runs I normally do are probably actually nowhere near the pace I used yesteday. And seldom so long either. Though I have read somewhere that your regular trainings distance should be at least a third of what you want to run in an official race and I'm certain I do that most of the time. I should try to increase the pace a bit though I suppose. I've done the occasional 2 hour run in the woods in training and never felt my muscles like this before so that must mean I'm running a good bit more slowly then. I really don't want to start getting obsessive about times and start working with hartmeters and speedometers and all that techno-accessory stuff. But I would quite like to be able to improve my technique to allow me to go that tiny bit faster so that I can complete the half in 2 hours again.

Week Total ca 290

Rounded up the number as I had some warming up and cooling down minutes before and after the main event today (now yesterday, I see) which I forgot to record.

zaterdag 19 september 2009

The Lonliness of the Last Bit of Hattem...

Ok, first the 'bad' news.
2:12:27, when I'd 'hoped' I might be up to doing it inside 2 hours. However there were a good few mitigating factors. It was 24 degrees, which is at least 4 too hot for me. I hardly ever run in the heat, preferring early mornings or evenings whenever possible. Secondly, I was having a tsunami-like-period-day (I know, I know, too much information, but ach hardly anyone reads this, it's mainly for me to keep track of my progress) and running for so long on the heaviest day is never really a great idea. But having said that - ít was an interesting experience and I did see it more or less as a practise run for Amsterdam next month. Ok, let's see if I can remember enough numbers to crunch them... (warning to possible lurking readers - it's about to get even more boring than usual here, feel free to sneak off if you like.)

5km 28:??
7km 42:??
10k 1 hour exactly
14k (+ ca 50m?) 85:36
15k 94:??
20k 126(??)
Half-marathon (21k 97.5m - not 100% certain of this but it's pretty close) 2:12:27

So let's see where things went well and less well.
The course was laid out in 3 circuits. The first one exactly 7k and the 2 following ones slightly more to make up the last ca. 100m.
At 5k I was on target to finish inside 2 hours.
By 7k I'd slipped back as I should have been inside 40 minutes.
Up to 10k I was still doing a km in 6 minutes.
Then took more than 25 minutes for the next 4.

At about this point in the 2nd circuit a few really fast runners came racing past now and then - people who were on their last few kilometers. I wonder if it was this that made me slow down - the realisation that I'll never be this fast?? Whereas I enjoyed seeing them go and even tried to increase my own pace a little, inspired by their example. (Didn't work apparantly! ;-o)

The race was organised so that people who didn't get through the first 2 circuits in 85 minutes didn't get to go on to do the last one so I thought I was going to have to stop but when I passed the finish for the 2nd time I heard the commentator say it was 10 past 6 and no-one stopped me although the clock indicated that I was 36 seconds over time. A few more were let through and off we went for the last circuit. I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or appalled that I was allowed to continue...

The last circuit was a bit weird really. Not another runner in sight for some of the way so in some of the bits through the woods and quieter lanes it felt like just another training run. Did manage to overtake one runner who was a bit ahead of me so that gave me something to aim for but a lot of the time it was just keeping going. Had a small bunch of delicious home-grown grapes some wee girls had been handing out at one point and worked out that if I took one every 6 minutes they would last me to the 20k point. It was nice to award myself these treats at roughly 1km intervals. Ok, it's not Rotterdam with hordes of cheering people lining the route but it was nice to have the occasional passing cyclists or people in their gardens shouting encouragement along the way.

I enjoyed the day really, despite the mildly 'disappointing' time. It was a good run, nice atmosphere and at least I have a more accurate idea of what I'm capable of now and can see if I can improve on the time next month. The route in Amsterdam probably has less inclines (I won't dignify them with the word 'hills' but it definitely wasn't completely flat all the time) too, which should help.

vrijdag 18 september 2009

The Last Supper

Made a delicious pasta meal to prepare me for tomorrow's run.

The fish shaped pastry has nothing to do with the pasta - this was my dessert. From the Japanese stall on the Friday organic food market in Utrecht it's filled with sweetened brown beans and tastes much nicer than this sounds.
Haven't run since Wednesday evening. Off early to bed with De Kunst van het Hardlopen (The Art of Running) which I bought yesterday.

woensdag 16 september 2009

Start 19.10
First run with a dog in tow for a while. Sproet enjoyed our jaunt about the Eng, though he did look a bit amazed when we kept coming to where he thought we were almost home and I would turn yet again for a different bit of circuit. I did the '6 minute circuit' as fast as I could again but added 10 seconds to yesterday's time due to having to slow down to pass another dog. Did a bit 'off the road' through various fields where Sproet enjoyed running at full speed in huge circles.

dinsdag 15 september 2009

Start 11.15
Couldn't face going out in the pouring rain this morning when the alarm went at 6. I don't really mind if it starts raining once I'm out but somehow the idea of being wet before I'm even warmed up is just too depressing. Stayed on and around the Eng so that I wouldn't be too far from home if it started raining heavily again. Various circuits with hilly bits, past the allotments and so on.

Discovered that I can do a circuit along the cornfield and then left through the street, along the railway and then up the hill of the Colonieweg in 6 minutes so did that twice in a row as fast as possible. Managed to do the second circuit 5 seconds faster than the first so it was a good Cooper Test length 'sprint'.

Saw a lot of crows with some sort of fruit in their beaks so was looking out for the tree they'd fallen from. Turned out they were tiny hard pears which were lying on the ground in roughly the same place as the tiny yellow plum-type things from a few months ago. So from the neighbouring tree. Not really edible (I tried) but good to see the birds enjoying them.

maandag 14 september 2009

Week total 219

Start 20.15 Sunday
Good clear luminous darkening sky.
(Just came across a very fitting quote which describes this better - from Romanno Brigde by Andrew Greig: "They drove ont into the last of the day's blue, so pale, haunting and intense in the way brief things are.")
Round the Eng 1.5 circuits + the hilly bit of street.

zondag 13 september 2009

31 min
Start 20.00 Saturday
Stopped at Harderhaven on the way back from Groningen as I'd have time to run there before dark. Out across the landtongue, over the road, up and down the slope to the entrance to the nature reserve several times as hill training. Back via the same way. Up and down the steps a few times. Decided to not go on till complete darkness as I wasn't sure if there was light in the shower and wanted to be able to find candles on the boat first.

vrijdag 11 september 2009

91 min
Start 5.45
Out before first light. Was halfway down the road when I realised I was breathing heavier than I should be and realised I'd forgotten the Ventolin. I could probably have plodded on without it, but as the morning air is colder and damper than it is later in the day I decided not to risk my airways cramping and making things difficult so turned round to go back for it. As there was only the faintest beginnings of lighter grey in the east I stuck to the lit streets for the first 20 minutes or so. Then out over the railway into the polder - I should really have had a flourescent vest on but ach, there was only the very occasional cyclist on the roads and it was by now just light enough to see where I was going. Out to the cyclebridge, which I saw in its open position for the first time as a cargo boat was going through as I approached it. Few streaky clouds letting the light through in places making the horizon a bit more interesting than the greyness behind me but no real spectacular morning light effects.

Glad I got out in time this morning, this week has been a bit of a non-event as far as running's concerned. Wednesday I just couldn't get myself out the door - I really have to get my ipod fixed as it's given up the ghost totally now and it's one of my greatest motivations to enjoy longer runs. Ah well, I should really be toning down the training now in preparation for next week's first 'practise' half-marathon run in Hattem. If I don't have the fitness for it now I'm not going to get it in the last week. I'll do Sunday night, Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening and then have 2 days with just a bit of mild dog/horse walking to keep things ticking over before the main event.

maandag 7 september 2009

64 min
Start 6.55
Out to the Eem, stretch exercises at the gate by the oldest house in the village (1681) then out over the cycle bridge and back via the hill of the Dalweg. Good pace though rather wish I'd managed to get up when the alarm first went as I missed what I suspect was a lot of good streaky cloudy pre-sun-up light effects by staying in bed too long.

zondag 6 september 2009

Week Total 248

78 min
Saturday, Start 19.45

Through the fields with the Highland Coos. A couple of the bulls making a lot of lowing noises - do cows in the wild have a rutting season like deer do?

vrijdag 4 september 2009

65 min
Start 6.30
Howling wind made me put the alarm out twice but then got up anyway and it wasn't as bad as it sounded. Out to the cycle bridge and back, slight detour to take in the hill of the Dalweg. Dramatic shifting clouds, one tiny glimpse of the sun. 2 young (Jersey?) calfs playing with a heron in a field. Running went reasonably well but I wasn't really fully warmed up for anything very energetic. Hours spent running definitely down this week but I'll see if I can get some more in next week.

donderdag 3 september 2009

Walking/cycling interval...

Schedule messed up a bit this week as last night I was in Utrecht and so couldn't run (but did cycle into the centre and back with a passenger on the baggage rack so got at least some exercise) and this morning I had my 4 x 45 min walks in the woods with the horses and their disabled riders so didn't really have the time/inclination to run as well. Hope to get back on track (not literally this time) tomorrow.

dinsdag 1 september 2009

105 min (incl Cooper Test 12)
Start ca 14.00
Across cycle bridge, turned right towards Hoogland, right again over the Eem, back to Soest via the industrial estate and the... Birkstraat? Ideal temperature and very light drizzly rain - perfect conditions for me.

Cooper Test 2295m

130m less than the last time... Various 'reasons' (or should that be excuses?) I was on a different track - one with a 555m circuit instead of the usual 400. This meant I couldn't aim for my 'circuit inside 2 min' pace. I was just running as well as I could with only an inaccurate idea of how I was doing along the way. Also forgot to take my Ventolin this morning and felt my lung capacity wasn't optimal after about 2 circuits. Not that I was really wheezing, my fitness has improved enough to allow me to run reasonably without it but it certainly helps open the airways up properly. Bit annoying really as I'd thought there should have been some improvement as I've been running well the last few weeks. Anyway, off to do my 'proper' run now as I didn't get out of bed in time to do it this morning. (Dull grey morning glimpsed from through the gap in the curtains when the alarm went off didn't inspire me to get up to see the sunrise...)