Thursday, 8 October 2009

Fast run Tuesday, tough run today

On Tuesday, I ran with Krissi. Now, I really should have known better. I'm the dill who told Krissi that I ran faster with Fontessa on Thursday than I did with Krissi the previous Tuesday. Only 7 seconds per minute faster, but it was definitely faster.

Who in their right mind tells their personal trainer that they can run faster? Who in their right mind inadvertently implies to their personal trainer that said PT could perhaps be pushing them a little harder? Who in their right mind would make such a blunder?

Nobody, that's who. Which means that I must not have been in my right mind when I mentioned in passing in an email to Krissi how pleased I was with my faster pace on Thursday.

On Tuesday we headed out for a run. I kept up fine for the warm up. I kept up fine for the first few km's. I started to develop a sneaking suspicion that we might be going a bit quickly when I glanced at my Garmin to see how long we'd been running and Krissi told me not to worry about the pace. I hadn't even thought about the pace at that stage. Krissi then told me that she was determined that we were going to break the 8 mins/km barrier. She didn't care by how much but we were going under. I thought, I only have to find 4 seconds per km to achieve that. I can do that.

I worked hard not to ease down too much, especially on the hills. I wasn't sure that I'd last the whole way. Fortunately, when we got to the big long hill on the way up to the top of the dam, Krissi pointed out that it was all down hill back to her place. If I'd had any breath I probably would have pointed out that there were still some hills on the way back, but as (a) the big long hill was definitely the worst of the remaining ones and (b) I was incapable of talking and puffing at the same time, I just gritted my teeth and kept on running. It did give me some heart though, which was much needed at that stage.

When we got back to Krissi's we'd run 7.75 km in an hour. My Garmin had our pace at 7:47 mins/km while Krissi's said 7:51 and slightly less distance. I'm sticking with mine as it sounds so much better.

The real bonus was that I had the runner's high well into the afternoon. :-)

This morning was a different story. It was much colder. I got to the lake 20 mins earlier than Lola and Fontessa, because of dropping Graham's son at work at stupid o'clock. Fortunately, I'd thought it through and decided that the smart thing to do would be to run the lake clockwise, meeting them coming in the other direction.

It seemed like a good idea until I got started. Actually, the first km wasn't too bad. I ran it at 7:42 mins/km then eased up, mainly because I got down to the lakeside where the wind was freezing. My legs felt like they were twice as heavy as usual, I was cold and I was miserable. I got slower and slower, thinking "why didn't sitting in the car waiting for 20 mins sound like a good idea yesterday?" At one stage I was feeling so bad that I dropped to a walk - the first time in ages. I only allowed myself a maximum of a minute walking, then shuffled off again.

I was doing the maths in my head - I thought I'd meet the others after about 30 mins. I was determined to be across the bridge and on the other side of the lake by then. I was hoping to have run at least 4 km by the time I met them. From somewhere I managed to rustle up some momentum. The breeze wasn't so bad crossing the bridge and then I had it behind me. I jogged along, hoping to see the girls at every turn. Finally I recognised them running towards me. They looked fantastic. I glanced at my Garmin and I was past the 4 km mark. Even better.

I turned around and headed back with them. They'd been struggling with the cold too, but they were running at a faster pace than me. I tried to keep up, then finally accepted that I was going to be behind them. I ran along, back into the breeze again, half hoping that the traffic would hold them up when we crossed the road and half hoping that they would go off and leave me to my misery.

Fortunately, the traffic held them up. Catching them up gave me a new lease of life and I managed to run along with them the rest of the way. Fontessa likes to run in front, so I tucked in beside Lola. We weren't chatting much, until we made it over the bridge and back to the flat. The breeze seemed to die. We all felt warmer and I started to enjoy the run.

Funnily enough, the day before I'd been talking to a workmate about how the bad runs made you appreciate the good runs even more and there I was, having a bad run the very next day. When I was struggling at the start of the run I took comfort in remembering the conversation, knowing that my run was something I'd be pleased about later, even if I was suffering now.

When we finished we compared times and distances. The girls had done a great job, running 6 km at approx 7:45 mins/km. Their extra pace meant that I ended up running 8.33 km at approx 8:00 mins/km. A good result for everyone.

I didn't have quite the runner's high of Tuesday but I did have a feel good buzz all day. You've got to love that.

Complete aside: Andrew, you asked about the Urban Polaris. It's a bike ride around Canberra in December. You ride around in pairs with a map for 7 hours, collecting points. It sounds like a fun way to learn a few new things about Canberra.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Three runs this week

This week I managed to meet my goal of running three times in a week. I haven't managed to do that since the half marathon back in May.

On Tuesday I ran with Krissi, 7.85 km in just over an hour (8:10 mins/km). We took the warm up a little faster than usual, on purpose, as I'm trying to work on my lactic acid threshhold. I was struggling with feeling sick but managed to survive. I was relieved when we were able to ease back though. It was a lovely day in Canberra, which made the run even more enjoyable.

On Thursday, Fontessa and I ran bridge to bridge, 6.18 km is just under 50 mins (8:03 mins/km). Fontessa runs faster than me. My plan was to encourage her to go on ahead and come back for me at regular intervals, while I aimed to stay reasonably close to her. After a couple of kms I was ready to ease right back. Fortunately, I looked at my Garmin and realised that I'd probably already eased back. I stuck with it and found that I was able to stay in touch. At the end I suggested that we take it home quickly, which was a great idea, up until the point where I lost some of my breakfast on the pedestrian bridge. I felt terrible, particularly as there would be more foot traffic there than usual because Floriade is on. It was also the first time in ages that no rain was forecast! Oh well, as Fontessa said, "Food for the ants!".

On Friday I had a mini run, doing my warmup on the treadmill before my PT session. It was only 15 mins, 5 of which were walking. Krissi was pushing me to go a little faster than usual. Only a couple of decimal points but it seemed a lot more.

I was supposed to meet Krissi and Fiona for their warmup on Saturday morning. It rained overnight (good for the pedestrian bridge at least) and was still raining half an hour after I got up. Not heavily but I was running on Sunday as well, so I gave it a miss. Later that day Fiona called to ask if she could come along with Lola and me as she'd not been well that morning. As Fiona is training for the Melb marathon she didn't want to miss this weekend's scheduled run. Her plan was to run with us around East basin then do a loop of Central basin.

On Sunday I didn't even notice the weather when I woke up. I was focussed on losing my hour's sleep. I am one of the "hate the start of daylight saving with a passion" brigade. It seems to take me a week to settle into the change.

On my way out the door it occurred to me that I didn't know how to drive to our meeting place at the Hospice. I've run there and cycled there, but never tried to drive there. I'm glad I realised it before I was on my way. Graham kindly gave me directions and I made it there on time.

The three of us headed off clockwise, which had us running through the wetlands before we got to Kingston. Lola and I had discussed that during the week. Neither of us was confident of the path going the other way so we decided to stick with what we knew. It was a lovely run. The first 4 km were part of the route my first Mother's Day Classic had taken. I remembered it as much more of a struggle on race day. Mind you, I weighed a lot less and ran faster back then.

Running through the wetlands was enjoyable, although I didn't really try to spot any birdlife. I was too busy watching my footing on the pathway, which was covered in puddles every so often. We made it to suburbia, which was a little dull, then back to the lake again. Fiona decided to do a figure 8 which meant that she ran back across King Edward Ave bridge with us. We turned back towards the car while she headed on around central basin.

I was tempted to go with her, but I'd told Graham I would be back early enough to go to the Hall Markets. As it happened, we decided not to go because of the weather. I'm glad I didn't go with her though, as I found myself struggling along back to the car. I realised that it was the longest run I'd done in months. Lola and I were out there for 1 hr 20 mins, running 9.5 km at an average pace of 8:27 mins/km. We were both pretty happy with that.

All up, I ended up running 23.5 km this week. It doesn't sound like much compared to a lot of people, but I'm proud of myself. If I can keep this up over summer, I'll have a great fitness base for next year's half marathon.

Next week, Lola and I are planning to run bridge to bridge on Thursday and then do a run out at Mt Ainslie on Saturday morning. The weather forecast for Tuesday is good, so Krissi and I will probably run then as well. My friend, Alex, is going to walk up Mt Ainslie with me on Wednesday evenings during daylight saving, which is part of my training for my goal of being able to run up it in March.

All I have to do now is get the eating part right and I'll be on track to lose my last 20 kilos. More of that on "The Last Twenty".