zondag 28 februari 2010

Week Total 427, Month total 1737=28hr 57 min

70 min
Start 17.15
Bonny Blues (kept my feet dry and felt perfect).
The tail end of the storm that had been raging over most of Europe all day was drizzling to its end when I looked at the Rain Radar to see if it would be possible to have a dry run before dark. Not really, but I decided I'd rather run in the wet and the light rather than wait till later when I'd be limited to lit streets. Went out to the Soesterduinen and kept as much as possible to the edges to keep out of the wind. Wasn't actually soaked completely through but was still fairly wet and cold by the time I got back.

zaterdag 27 februari 2010

Hare 'n Hound

83 min
Start 15.00
Green Jewels
Great excitement when Dusty spotted a hare on the Eng. Thrilling chase with the hare sometimes less than a meter ahead. All movement of dogwalkers round the edges of the fields stopped as everyone was following the high speed duo. After swerving from the windmill right across to the flats they disappeared. Dusty reappeared with her tongue hanging out half a minute later. I assume the hare found some escape into a garden or hedges where she couldn't follow.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 I put her on the lead and we trotted out to the Soesterduinen where she could drink some water. Good run about the various dunes and forest paths there, Dusty occasionally playing with other dogs briefly before sprinting off. Running went fine - my calves felt slightly looser than yesterday. Might try a short Vibram break-in run tomorrow.

vrijdag 26 februari 2010

Moss Mountains

101 min
Start 17.00
Green Ghosts
Confession time - I'd set the alarm to get out for a dawn run this morning, but the rain was thundering down when it went off and I just turned over and went back to sleep. I don't mind getting wet once out but I really couldn't face getting out of my nice warm bed to get drenched as soon as I stepped out the door.
Before I went out I noticed that the back of my left knee felt tight and during the run I could feel my calf muscles more than usual. Not pain, just awareness that all was not as it usually is. I suppose it's still just after effects from running too far on lower shoes too quickly and if that's as bad as it gets I've got off lightly. Hopefully this will save me from the agony some have gone through when stepping over directly to the Vibram 5 Fingers after years of running on ultra-cushioned shoes. However I'm seeing this as a warning that I should perhaps pay more attention to stretching, which I've tended to neglect. I heard on one of the podcasts from someone who was also stepping up his stretching regime after years of running injury free as he could feel his hamstrings getting tight. Despite this slight awkwardness in my calves the run went better than I'd expected on setting out. I'd only planned on 80 minutes or so but once out on the Soesterduinen I was running about random paths and didn't notice the time till it started getting dark. Did some more through the woods than on the dunes, all the recent rain has brought lots of moss to peak springiness and it was good to find new running paths there. Also found that the hills on the wooded side of the dunes I normally do my hill training on are actually steeper than on the sandy side so did a couple of runs up and down different paths there. Temperature was round 10 degrees so only had one long sleeved shirt on + a reflective vest + neck buff and gloves. I should probably have done this on Sunday in Apeldoorn too but have got so used to layering against the cold recently that it's difficult to get back into the idea of running with less bulk.

woensdag 24 februari 2010

Soggy Swansong

91 min
Start 17.30
Oldest Green Asics (have decided to note which shoes I wear from now on). I think I'm going to cut the toes out of the newer glittery Asics and use them as summer running shoes - the webbing on the toe of one of them has worn through already anyway.)

After running down to the bank and the post office to post a few money transfer forms I went on out through the village and over the railway to the cycle bridge then along the Klompenpad circuit. Now that the thaw is complete all the fields are very waterlogged and that has attracted hordes of feeding swans.

Running went well, had a few fast bits with good music now and then. Finished off with a circuit of the Eng and an uphill finish from the fish shop up the Molenstraat.

dinsdag 23 februari 2010

Snelle Soesterduinen

56 min
Start 16.30
Took my old green Asics out for a flying visit to the Soesterduinen. I wasn't sure if I'd have time for a run today but luckily I could leave Utrecht in time to get back to go for a run before the time I'd arranged to go to be fed by Fokko. My legs are still a tiny bit 'well-used' feeling from Sunday, but no actual pain and I can run with no problems. Bit of light hills, no wind, rain, snow or ice - the sun even tried to break through the clouds at one point.

maandag 22 februari 2010

Muddy Waters

26 min
Start 17.30
Recommended practise is to have a 20 minute loosening up run the day after a long competition run to keep the overworked muscles from stiffening up. The steady rain wasn't very inviting but I decided as it wasn't going to stop I'd give the so-called waterproof Goretex Bonnie Blues a proper test run through the mud. I think they were actually doing quite well at keeping my feet dry till I ploughed through a water filled tractor tyre track which had ankle deep water in it...

zondag 21 februari 2010

Week total 416 + Apeldoorn Midwinter

168 min
Start 12.00
Distance 27.5km
(I think my official time was around 2:47 but I jogged back to my bike afterwards and this is the time I have on my clock. But let's start at the beginning...)

Left for Apeldoorn in thick mist. Barely 50m sight so mist lamp on and speed right down. About halfway there it cleared a good bit though it was still dull and grey and misty, just no longer the impenetrable fog I'd left home in. Parked my car in Jan and Anke's drive and within minutes the first suspicious neighbour had come to ask if she could help me with anything. I explained what I was doing there and she seemed reassured that I wasn't after the family silver. I'd planned to cycle into town to register and collect my startnumber before bothering the neighbour-with-the-key, as I thought he might be having a Sunday lie-in, but before I'd sorted out my stuff and got the bike out the car he too had apparantly spotted me and came across to see what I was doing there. (Neighbourhood watch is obviously alive and working like clockwork in this particular corner of the world.) So, with the key stuff sorted already I cycled off to find the place where I had to sign up.

Helped a Lithuanian fill in his form, collected my 'free' t-shirt and got back to the house where I spent a pleasant hour listening to another episode of The Extra Mile Podcast on mYpod while I pinned my startnumber to my shirt and looked through the running magazines I'd picked up. Studied the route and played with the cat. Got to the start in plenty time, took a few photos while we were waiting for 12 o'clock.

I'd decided not to make the same mistake as in Amsterdam by starting too fast so I took it easy for the first 10k, letting lots of people overtake me without trying to keep ahead when I heard yet another set of footsteps gaining on me. I did have a short sprint just after the 1k mark as I spotted a Scots flag hanging off a shirt and ran up to say hello. I didn't actually achieve the ideal of a negative split (when the first part of your race is run slower than the second half) but there certainly wasn't as ridiculous a difference between start and finish as in the Urk/Zwolle extravaganza. Around the middle of the distance (and I don't even know if it was an exact measurement, but somewhere between 13 and 14 I heard someone say we were halfway round) I had 1:21 on my clock. My half marathon time was 2:09. Just after 18km I got a stitch in my side (right, low down) but by running a bit awkwardly for a few minutes and breathing in deeply and blowing out as hard and quickly as possible I got through it and could speed up easily for the last glorious downhill bit. (I wonder if that had anything to do with the sportdrink I took by accident at the 15k drinkpost? I'd only drunk water and tea before then as I usually avoid unknown sugary drinks.)

I stopped twice to take photos - I'd decided not to stress about getting as fast a time as possible and just to enjoy the run. Various people along the way asked about the book I was as usual advertising on the back of my shirt and I enjoyed telling them about it. Some others knew it already and made appreciative noises. I was just surprised that I am in fact capable of running and talking at the same time as it's not something I do very often. Also met one woman in Vibram 5 Fingers and had a chat with her about them. At one point towards the end there was a bit of panic when various people started shouting 'Car! Car!' when we were on a bit of closed off road. I suspect Apeldoorn still has a collective trauma from the Koninginnedag drama last year... (The car had warning lights on and was coming very slowly.) The last bit was all downhill and I felt great as I was fairly certain I was going to get to the finish inside 2 hours 50.

After I got in I walked back up towards the house, seeing the 3 hour marathon finishers and also the fastest runners in the 8km racing in. I'd been warm enough during the run but when I stopped I noticed I was cooling off, even though I'd pulled on the warm trousers and jacket I had in my bike bags. Got back to the house and my fingers were white and frozen. Peeling off my clothes I saw that they were all wet through. Despite the cold I'd been sweating more than I realised. (I had on a high necked sleeveless shirt + a long sleeved t-shirt with my Born to Run t-shirt over this. My hat and neck buffs I'd taken off after the first few kilometers and my gloves had been on and off throughout the race depending on the wind.) Got into the bath and ate grapes and drank fruit juice and water and read my book for a while. Felt fine - none of the collapsing feelings I'd had in Zwolle in November afterwards. The forecast wintry showers didn't happen till I was on my way home in the car so I drove home at about the same slow speed I'd used in the morning but was still home before dark.

I really enjoyed the day - the route was well set out with the last bit downhill (after going up gradually to the dizzy height of 90m above sea level - ha! ;-) Must remember never to do a whole marathon there though as they have to do another circuit uphill - when we were running down the last bit we met slow runners on their way up. I really don't think I could have faced that. Oh and I'd been mistaken about it being an off-road event. I'd thought from the pictures that it was on trails through the woods but it was all on roads or cycle paths. I think I learnt a lot today about pacing and enjoying the route and the company of other runners.

vrijdag 19 februari 2010

Extreme Kitesurfing

90 min
Start 17.00
Wonderful sunset run along the beach with kitesurfers leaping through the impressive waves alongside me at the start. Only passed 2 other runners (well, I didn't actually pass them as in overtake them - though I did gain on one and the other one I met on the way out and then again on the way back.) No dogs, no walkers. Ran out towards Monster and then turned round to be coming back with the sinking sun in front of me. (I did have the wind against me then, but it was worth it.) Did some hill training in between running up and down the various beach entry places a few times. In the shower afterwards I would swear I saw actual muscles in my calves. I've never had visible muscles there before.

woensdag 17 februari 2010

The Green Jewels' Full Length Test Drive

88 min
Start 17.15
Took the lightest of my new winter-tyred shoes out for their proper run-in this afternoon/evening. They feel totally different from the other ones. Less built-up under the heel, which is what I want, but it does take a wee bit of getting used to. At the start of the run I felt great, as if I really could go faster in these lightweight shoes. After a while I could feel my calf muscles, not protesting exactly, just registering that there was something different going on. Once out in the dunes I did a lot of picking out the most uneven bits to run on, hip-hopping (huh?) over grassy tufts and bushes and up and down hillocks. Which these shoes are ideal for. It was dark by the time I got home and there was a very light fall of sharp sleety type stuff occasionally making itself felt in the air. Somewhere between snow and miniscule needles of hail. But luckily so light that I barely got wet from it. Gave my calves a good rub with lemon oil when I came in and they feel fine now.
Climbed in this tree to take a few photos.

dinsdag 16 februari 2010

Winter Tyres

70 min
Start 16.45
When I was telling Carin the saga of the new shoe buying extravaganza this afternoon she summed up my reasons for needing them with the phrase 'So they're your winter tires?' Yes, that's it exactly! Dusty and I went off for a run while Julia was at her riding lesson. The last time we did this the sun went under 72 minutes earlier so now we could do our whole run in daylight and did another bit behind the stables (where Dusty can run off the lead) after completing the big circuit in 45 minutes.

Spotted a white heron (as opposed to the normal grey ones). Good steady run in perfect conditions (apart from me not pressing down my water bottle top so that it drenched the back of my shirt again).

After her exertions Dusty had to catch up on her beauty sleep.