(Insert pithy run-related title here)

When I am running, particularly on longer runs, I often think about the things I would like to write about in my blog, or tweets I would like to compose, whether I actually mean to blog or tweet about the run or not.  This is much more time consuming that you might imagine at first – I mean, how many times do we fire off tweets without really spending any time at all thinking about what they actually say.  The composition of the perfect 140 characters that gets across all the amazingness of the run, but not in a condescending way, while simultaneously being a great advertisement for the wonders of running, and everything that goes along with that, can take up several kilometers.  And not several like two or three, but several like eleven or twelve.  And yet, I rarely send these tweets.  Instead you get twitter gold like this:

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And, as if you weren’t already infuriated by the clear injustice of that, you also don’t get any of the wonderful blog-related paragraphs or wonderful entry titles that I think of.  And, there is one very good reason for all of this.

Yes.  When I get home, I don’t remember any of it.

This, I discovered tonight when I had – seriously – the best, catchiest, pithiest title for this post that I was determined to remember and had in my mind until just after the 14km mark of my long run when I decided to just go for broke and use everything I had left on the last part of the run (I didn’t really, but that’s another story – related to my half-arsing the sprint finish rather than actually committing to going hard out*) and almost instinctively wiped my mind to surge forward.  I do it every single time.  Aght!  What a pain.  So rather than whatever amazing thing I had actually decided I was going to talk about in this blog you got this instead.

But, I had a good run – just over 15km, at a pretty good pace.  I purposely didn’t look at the Garmin for the first 6ish kilometers because I actually – for once – wanted to go ‘easy’ (as per the instructions on the plan).  So, I just ran easy, not worrying whether that meant very slow or medium slow (honestly thinking it couldn’t really mean anything other than those two, particularly after last night’s late tempo run).  I only really looked because I didn’t want to miss my 7-7.5km gel window and I’d lost count of the number of times I’d felt the lap buzz because of all the amazing prose composition that I was doing in my head.

Not much else run-related to say, honestly.  Had the usual long run bump around 13 and a half.  I think everyone gets to a point where they know exactly where they are going to hit the road to struggle-town – and lets be honest, it happens to everyone so there’s no use pretending it doesn’t. For example I always hate the distance from around 3 to 3.5km – it’s long enough into the run that my body kind of wakes up and goes ‘hey, we’re running’ but I haven’t yet hit a good rhythm, so I get this kind of weird buffalo-seal waddle come hating life moment where everything suddenly hurts and I think I’m going to die.  Like this, but attempting to run:

fat-seal

But, that always passes and then I feel okay again.  Which is pretty much what happened today.  So, not that you care or anything, here’s the run breakdown:

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I am extremely happy with it.  Mainly because I really felt good the whole way (baring my moment of seal-like weirdness.)

Intended: 13-15km easy

Actual: 15.27km @ 6:34 min/km

*Oh look, it wasn’t really another story, because that’s it!

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Project Vienna Tempo Run

Well, I have been a bad jogger-logger-blogger but for good reason – cold.  And no, it’s not because I’m a weakling.  Mr. Neon has been working some funny hours this week, and Baby Neon has been a little bit off.  Result = can’t run with baby in the buggy (I suspect the wind on the Tuesday run might have had something to do with this…), and can’t run at midnight (probably could, but wouldn’t be able to function the next day).  In terms of marathon training this means three big changes: 1. Yesterday’s tempo run happened today – this was because of the two missed runs, the tempo was the more important.  2. Tomorrow there will be two shorter runs – one earlier, one later.  3. Long run will now be on Sunday.

But, anyway.  On to tonight’s AMAZING 8km tempo:

CaptureThe big dip indicates the section of the run where I was forced – momentarily – to a complete stop by some non-thinking so-and-so (wow, that’s a much more polite expression than the one in my head…) who decided that he would unfold his Brompton across the breadth of the footpath.

The thing that I am most pleased with is the pace.  I really didn’t feel as though I was running under 6:00 min/km – obviously a very good sign.  I also felt as though I was getting a bit sluggier towards the end, but that’s also not reflected in the numbers:

CaptureI’m feeling really great about that.  It means that my sub 4:15 marathon dream is perhaps not a pipe-dream at all.

I have a new running mantra which is ‘don’t fight the pain.’ So, I’m trying to really get that to sink in – use the pain, don’t fight it.  I will let you know how that goes.  I’m sure it will be tested more on my 15km long run on Sunday.

I’ve also think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with my shoes  – they were fitted to me when I didn’t really know how to run, and I don’t think they suit my gait.  Speaking of shoes, I’ve also signed up to road test a pair of Pure Connect 2 trainers from Brooks.  I’m pretty keen to get a pair of Brooks trainers after reading about their company ethos, and – most importantly for me – because all their trainers are vegan.  I think it’s pretty fair to say that vegan-ness is something that’s really important to me.  You know, as a vegan.  If you want to have a look at the Try It On for Pure Project 2 you can do so (and sign up to test a pair of trainers for a week) here.  I’ve even signed Mr. Neon up to test out a pair of Pure Cadence 2!

The very last thing I want to mention is that Ultra Tales 4 is now out!  If you’re interested in Ultra running in the UK, you should at least have a flip though this really interesting user-generated online magazine.  The download links can be found at their blog here.

So, the numbers (adjusted from the ‘plan’ to the ‘this week is crazy plan’):

Intended: 6-8km tempo

Actual: 8.12km @ 5:43 min/km.

Addendum: 11 months ago tomorrow I ran 5km for the first time ever.  And, I mean ran the whole way.  I ran at the blistering pace of 7:04 min/km.  I joke about that now, but at the time it was blistering for me!  I can’t believe that less than a year after that first 5km run I’d have a half-marathon and be actually looking forward to a 15km training run for fun!  Amazing.  I’m so, so proud of myself!

It’s Jantasticathon! It’s Janathontastic!

Well, today was the first day of Marathon Talk’s Jantastic, which I am participating in alongside Janathon, and regular marathon training.  Today was another quality run.  You probably don’t remember, but last week I did intervals that went around 2km longer than I intended (through shoddy planning on my part, to be fair.)  Well, today’s shambolic interval session more than made up for that goodness!  Yep… I attempted intervals with the running buggy.

Normally on a Tuesday Mr. Neon gets home around 6:30pm and I go out then.  Today, however, he’s working a funny shift which won’t see him home until well after 9pm.  That meant that if I wanted to get my quality run in I would have to do with with Baby Neon in tow.  Honestly, I should have gone out earlier as well, because the failing light and looming closing time of the park didn’t help.  The biggest problem, though, was me.

Here’s what I said on Garmin Connect (I think that sums it up best):

Well, my first truly failed session of marathon training. It wasn’t great for a number of reasons – failing light in the park, for example – but the biggest thing was my legs. Honestly, I think I underestimated the limitation that having the running buggy would have on my ability to surge at the intervals. As a result… aborted the run early. But, look – it’s not a regular week and I won’t usually be doing these quality runs with the buggy. Next time I have to, though, a session other than intervals might be wise! Maybe just having the buggy makes a session quality… hm…

But, looking on the bright side of things – another day ticked off for Janathon, the first Jantastic run done (I’ve pledged five a week, as per my marathon training plan).  And, it’s better than having not gone out at all.  Tomorrow’s an easy run and a good time to start over.  I’m planning on testing out some metronome apps – I’d be interested to hear if anyone has run with a metronome and how you found it.

So, here are the stats:

Intended: 6-8 km Quality

Actual: 5.04km @ 6:23 min/km.

PV Week 4 Cross-training and one week of Janathon!

Today was meant to be a 45 minute cross-training session, but I really wanted to go in and get my teaching evaluation forms from my classes last term.  All this led me to one conclusion: ride my bike into the city!  What it means is that instead of 45 minutes of cross-training I dragged my own weight, my super-awesome bike and 12 kilograms of Baby Neon an hour both ways.

I totally love my bike.  I admit that it’s not fast, or light, or going to win the Tour de France.  But, it’s not only badarse and super awesome and all of that stuff.  And, also, Baby Neon’s chair looks something like the captain’s chair from the Enterprise, but pink.

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(well… close enough)

All in all, there is only one conclusion that can be drawn and that is, my bike rules the schools.

wpid-IMAG1104.jpgSo, today:

Intended: 45 minute cross-training

Actual: total of 28.46km, total time of 2:08:54*

*Although this will be uploaded for my Janathon total, you’ll notice that it hasn’t been added to the running total I am keeping on the right hand side of the blog, on which I’m only tracking running.

Recovery Run, a.k.a Janathon Day 6

Day 6 of Janathon, and my fifth run of the week.  An easy recovery run to round out the week, and oh my it was an easy pace (although for various other reasons, wasn’t necessarily easy!)

CaptureRan most of the way with Baby Neon in the jogging buggy (this is a photo from a time of significantly better weather…):

2012-08-20 10.05.41The run was fine; pushing the buggy makes the runs a bit slower, but this was a slow one anyway.  I like running with the buggy for a few reasons, but mainly that if I do it enough then it makes my running much faster.  The inadvertent resistance training does wonders, and it’s something that I didn’t ever really think about when I first got the buggy.  If you have (small enough) kids, and you run, I cannot recommend getting a running buggy enough.

I need to roll and stretch more regularly.  By that I mean, I need to stretch and roll.  At all.

Here’s a look at my training week in review.

 

Project Vienna – Week 3 Review

This week has been great!  Apart from a few small hiccups (sore feet on Saturday’s long run), it’s been really good!

  Intended Actual
Monday XT 30 mins XT 30 mins (bike)
Tuesday Quality 6-8km 4.89km
Wednesday Easy 3-5km 9.84km
Thursday Tempo 6-8km 5.01km
Friday Rest
Saturday Easy 11-12km 11.88km
Sunday Easy 3-5km 5.00km
TOTAL 29-38km 36.62km

And here’s the proof from the Garmin Connect calendar:

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I’m not really going to go into the training this week, because it’s all been documented in the Janathon entries.

Project Vienna Long Run Week 3

IMAG1509Most of the time I really like running along the Thames path.  Today, the uneven ground really hurt my foot – or, more likely, aggravated a foot-pain that started on my way to the river.  But, aside from that the run was pretty good.

Honestly, I should have  run the whole thing a fair bit slower than I did.  I used to do long-runs at 7:30 pace, and – as you’ll see – was a bit faster than that, particularly at the back half of the run.

CaptureThe biggest negatives of today were the foot pain and that in the end I was really struggling to breathe.  I did push a bit harder than I should have because I just wanted to get home.

The biggest positive was hugging a giant, fluffy, blue octopus.  I wish I had got a photo!

Intended: 11-12km

Actual: 11.88km @ 6:17 min/km.

Addendum: Many years ago, in the folly of my youth, when Mr. Neon and I had only first started living together he used to run.  At the time I thought he ran a lot, but with the wisdom of time I realise he ran a perfectly acceptable amount.  The biggest thing that I found odd was that he would always complain of foot pain.  It got so bad at one point that he went to see a podiatrist, who wrapped both his feet in tape.  One terrible allergic reaction later, and poor Mr. Neon-to-be ended up spending three days sitting on the couch with his feet in a bucket of calamine lotion.

The thing that strikes me about today’s run and this story was the foot pain.  I often wondered why he didn’t just come home, why struggle though kilometers and kilometers of foot pain?  But, today, I did just that.  I was well within walking distance when the first twinge in my foot occurred.  After a brief self-assessment of the type of pain I was feeling (i.e. is this a pain that should make me stop or not?) I made the decision to keep going, even though I would likely be in pain at least on-and-off during the run.  Not without coincidence I also was listening to a book by Ed Ayers (who was, among other things, the founding editor of Running Times) called The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance.  A section that came up on my way down the Thames Path was about the oft-cited runners’ mantra ‘listen to your body.’  I think it’s really important for that to be in the forefront of every runner’s mind – if you hurt, it might not necessarily mean that you need to stop, but if you start thinking you can run though any pain then you are running headfirst into trouble (bad pun intended.)

Another thing I want to briefly comment on is the listening.  Today’s run was a bit of an experiment to listen to an audio book rather than music.  Music is great, and I will still listen to music, but I thought it might be nice to try the audio book out on my longer runs.  I have a tendency to ignore what’s going on around me, and what’s going on inside me, when I start getting into the music.  That’s partly what turned Thursday’s 6-8km tempo run into a 5km time-trial. So far, so good, on the book front.  Although, I might try something more melodic next time – maybe Homer’s Iliad.