Monday, February 27, 2012

Valerian vertigo

It seems I over did the dosing with prosomnia to help with my insomnia. Upon getting to work this morning when I sat down, suddenly the world was intermittently spinning and I was nauseous. Pretty useless for work, so I returned home and researched the error of my ways before crashing out for several hours. Given all the annoying insomnia, I took 2 tablets before I went to bed last night, then another one in the middle of the night when I woke up. Clearly that was one too many! Fortunately no major damage was done with all the side effects dissipating by mid afternoon.

The handicap on Sunday did not end up being a particularly good run. That was because I did a tough training session on Saturday and my legs were tired on Sunday. Saturday I did 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 min hard with 1 min recovery between reps with Minnie, Kirsten and Tori. It was hard work and we did manage to get quicker with each rep. Hence, on Sunday, the legs went WTF?! when I asked them to 'race' the handicap. In the end, all I could manage was a tempo run, HR hovered around 150bpm, I just couldn't run harder. Given that tiredness, I didn't push my luck and run in the afternoon to get the Ks up. A nice nana nap was taken in place.

Latest Training:
Saturday - 5.5K warm up @ 5:52min/K pace; 6 to 1 interval session 5.2K, then a 600m jog cool down. Followed by brunch at Sea Salt.
Sunday - 2K warm up with Heids (very humid, very sweaty!), 6.2K handicap, naughty no cool down, brunch at Scope Cafe on Mount Stromlo. Total for the week 65K
Monday - 11.2K HRav 124 bpm, around 6:15min/K pace.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Track towel ....

My track season is essentially done. Yes, I'm throwing in the towel so to speak. I have decided that I am not mentally or physically ready to tackle Nationals at Easter. I aim to run a 3000m on March 8 and then the 5000m on March 29 and that's it for me this season. I can use those runs as bench marks for the future. In monitoring my progress and looking at my running history, there is no doubt that I have no natural ability and that to make gains I really need to develop a solid, consistent base. It took me a couple of years of consistent training before I saw much improvement when I first started taking running a bit more seriously. With this recent long set back, I am looking at many more months of slogging out the miles before things will start to turn around and I'll start to feel growth mentally and physically. As I love doing those long runs, I look forward to what lies ahead! My running streak continues (day #40) and I am not experiencing any abnormal or excessive fatigue. There is this annoying ongoing wake up insomnia that is messing with me and I have had a couple of tough days of severe dogged tiredness to contend with. That said, it was pleasing to "break through" that tiredness on Wednesday, where I fought it all the way to find it lift with about 2km to go in my run. This week has been mostly 'easy' with the plan to do a training session on Saturday and back this up with a hard run in the ACTVAC handicap on Sunday (and maybe an afternoon run to increase the mileage).

Latest Training:
Monday - Easy 8.6K @6:11min/K pace, HRav = 131bpm
Tuesday - XC event; 2.5K warm up, feeling very tired, 5K tempo (couldn't even manage 6 hard/1 easy) 4:57min/K pace, HRav 150ishbpm, .4K cool down with Ruth and Cathy.
Wednesday - Really tired today :-(, managed to run 7.4K @6:17min/K pace, HRav = 126 bpm
Thursday - Lunch time run around Black Mountain, felt good! 11.8K @6:12min/K HRav = 134bpm
Friday - Lunch time run around central basin LBG and Parliament House. 10K @ 6:05min/K, HRav = 129 bpm.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Swinging back and forth

The running streak continues with me now at day #35. It's mostly been feeling good, although the run on Friday out to Mitchell from work saw me struggle to get my heart rate in the right zone. Probably because it was quite warm and I was a bit tired from poor quality sleep that continues to plague me. The run at track in the 800m went quite well. I managed a PB of 2 seconds off no targeted training in 2:55.84 and I did not get lactic or pull up particularly winded. I don't as yet have the leg speed, but do wonder how adding back in some speed work might go. My PB fades in comparison to Heidi's, she is now on 2:28 pace and showing so much potential! A pleasure to watch and ran a 67sec first lap.

I thought the XC run at the Stromlo Running Festival might help me make a decision re Nationals in April. I went out way too fast for my current level of fitness and was cooked by the end of the first lap! Those last 5K were just hell :-(. I certainly didn't pull up feeling at all optimistic about fitness for Melbourne! Darn that early close off date. Maria, Helen, Kelley, Bruce, Heidze, KT, et al all ran incredibly well and we all looked spoofy in our 'uniforms'.
Team no d'feet Canberra

Sunday I did a long run after being inspired by:

I was hoping for 18K, but had to settle for a tough 17K. My recurrent insomnia resulted in another poor quality night, so I didn't make it to a planned group run. Instead I headed out the door and ran over to the Mulligan's Flat Nature reserve. I left it a bit late really as it was heating up with the sun well and truly on display. The last 3K's were a struggle with a side stitch just to make it annoying! I dream of that 'easy' 20K run ........

Latest training:
Wednesday - gentle run around Black Mountain ~8.5K
Thursday - Track with 2K warm up, some run throughs, the 800m and a 1.5K cool down before manning the water station for the 10000m run. It was hot and humid, perfect for the 800m, so glad to not be running the 10000m in those conditions!
Friday - jog to Mitchell ~8K HRav = 140bpm; a gentle uphill all the way!
Saturday - 1K warm up; Age-Sex Adjusted XC 7.5K @ 35:35 (4:44min/k pace), HR up in Zone 5 pretty well all the way; 1K cool down; Yummy lunch @ Rock Salt with Team No d'feet Canberra.
Sunday - 17K long run, very slow, HRav = 130bpm Total for the week, a tad over 60K.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Riding the pendulum

If you look at the headings for this blog, it has indeed been a swinging ride! There are good days and not so good days. However, the bonus is that there haven’t been any really bad days for quite some time. Yes there was the back problem at the start of the year. I have since discovered that dancing at parties is a trigger factor! It is a good thing that is a rare event. I have also been reminded of the negative effect a tad too much alcohol can have on running. Where is that alcohol dehydrogenase when you need it? 

There hasn’t been much change since I last reported. The running streak continues with me completing day #30 today. No major fatigue to speak of, although a hangover from Sat night shenanigans made for a couple of unpleasant runs.

My quandary at present is AMA Nationals at Easter. I only have until March 2nd to decide if I will enter the 5000m and cross country. That is only a couple of weeks away. I will likely go to Melbourne to cheer on the gang regardless of whether I compete or not. It would just be nice to not have to decide about entering so soon. There are no delusions of grandeur, but it would be nice to know I could run well enough to meet my own internal expectations. If there is some positive progress over the next couple of weeks, then maybe I’ll throw in a last minute entry! It would be nice to be able to use the ACT Veterans 5000m championships as a guideline, alas they aren’t until March 29. The Stromlo Age-Sex Adjusted Cross Country is this weekend. I am running in it for fun and to make up numbers. I suspect the 7.5km will be a big ask at this point in time. However, maybe it will give me an indication of where things are at?

The YCRC run tonight was another 6 min hard/1 min easy. I felt good and fully recovered. A special thanks to Mick Horan's son for out growing his shoes and for Mick gifting them to me. I now have a great little pair of Nike Zoom Waffle Racer XC shoes!
The 'new' XC shoes or something very similar.

At present the aim for track on Thursday will be a sub 3 min 800m. Based on the latest 3000m time, one pace predictor says a 2:56 800m is possible. However, a 1000m of 3:55 only equates to a 3:00 800m. Time will tell.

Latest training:
Saturday – Warm up of 2K followed by 4 x 100m run throughs and then 3 x 2000m on the AIS track with 5 min passive recovery after each rep. Pace was pretty consistent 4:30/K, with the last 200m of the last rep @ 51 sec. 2K cool down followed by good coffee and brekkie.
Sunday – Drank too much wine on Sat night @ Bruce’s 50th celebration. Did a gym session early afternoon and a long run (12.5K) late, with some nausea during the last few K’s. Slow with HRav around 130bpm.Total for the week 67K (was aiming for 70K, but the hangover had the final say!).
Monday – The hangover continued, short  s l o w  5K run at lunch time, more nausea! HRav 132bpm
Tuesday – YCRC 4K XC run at Telopea Park. 6/1 session ran strongly and managed to get the HR up, peaking at 167bpm. Total time for 4K was 18:49. 2K warm up and 2K cool down with Stu, Ewen and Cathy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fading speed .......

I'm quite perplexed by the fact that I covered 3000m in 12:50 at the end of last year and since then have been struggling to get close to 13:00. My iron levels are so much better now than they were back then. What gives? Furthermore, my base has increased and I am consistently doing some speed work without over doing it. I am also not experiencing any significant fatigue. These are all things that should point to better pace. Alas, something that is yet to be seen!

I have been very careful to keep my easy runs easy - making an effort to keep the average HR around 130 bpm (HR @ 75% HRmax or less). As I am at day #25 of my running streak and not experiencing any significant fatigue, I at least must be getting my easy runs right. Alas, the speed efforts aren't meeting expectations! I will add that we aren't talking unreasonable expectations. These are all based on what I achieved towards the end of 2011. When I showed up at the Boathouse for a XC run as part of the YCRC summer series, it was a rude shock to jog 2K and feel very sluggish and to have the posterior tibial nerve trapped in scar tissue (from that nasty 2010 injury) so that I had some neural pain. I debated if it was even worth doing the 5K XC run on bike paths. However, these runs have a major social component and once you are there, it's hard to not at least start the run. I lined up at the start and planned to just go with the flow, trying to go with the 6 min hard, 1 min easy approach, IF I didn't feel the need to stop. Once we got going, the neural pain subsided and I gave the session a go. My 6 min hard can't have been at a great pace, as I finished in 23:57, for a 4.9K distance. I will add that the effort felt hard, although the HR data do not support the RPE. Wed was an easy run around a local Gungahlin pond after work, keeping the HR around 130 bpm. On Thurday I thought I could shoot for 12:45 @ track in the 3000m. Given I had been feeling mostly good and had achieved 12:50 @ the end of November, this didn't seem unreasonable. Alas, I held the 4:15 pace until about 1000m to go and then the wheels just fell off. I slowed substantially in the 2nd last lap and then picked it up slightly in the last lap to finish in 13:07. It really was a case of just not being able to convince the body to hold on for that last 800m. Very frustrating indeed. I took it easy in the 5 lap spiral at the end, averaging around 4:30 pace, passed by many! Despite all of that, an easy hilly run today around Black Mountain felt good, no fatigue! I also again enjoyed the company of lots of butterflies! I remain perplexed and somewhat frustrated by running stats for 2012 so far!

Running around Black Mountain often brings you in contact with
lots of little black and orange butterflies

Latest Training:
Monday - Easy run around Black Mountain 8.8K
Tuesday - Warm up 2K, XC run 4.9K @ 23:57, 6 min hard, 1 min easy
Wednesday - Easy run around Yerrabri pond - 8K HRav 130 bpm
Thursday - Warm up 2K with 25 sec 100m run throughs x 4; 3000m @ 13:07; Cool down 3 K @ 6 min/K pace; 5 lap spiral @ 4:30min/K pace.
Friday - Easy run around Black Mountain 9K - day #25 of the running streak, a fabulous day for a lunch time run, body felt good.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fading fatigue .......

Dare I tempt fate and suggest that the fatigue has faded into the background? I have just completed 21 days straight running and have not felt any significant fatigue! If anything, running has been feeling pretty darn wonderful. My weekly mileage is creeping up, having just completed 66K this last week. It would have been a bit longer, but today's long run didn't go as planned. I ran with a group today and we stopped and started and weren't always sure of where we were. However, it was a lot of fun and we were on shady trails that stopped us from over heating as the temperature started to rise.

My calves were pretty sore post spikes @ track. 1500m is the longest I've gone in spikes. The good thing is it's DOMS rather than an injury. The calves have had to work a little harder without the usual training shoe heel support! I made the mistake of running on pavement the day after track as I wanted a flat run. Hills may well have been a better choice! The concussion brought out the DOMS.

Saturday I chose to do some hill reps as I was rather tired of doing the 6min hard, 1 min easy work out, as good as it is. I did 8 x 1 min hills reps with a decent warm up and cool down. Running rep 8 made it clear that any more reps would probably not be welcomed. I needed to be in good physical shape for a challenge later in the day! Saturday was a special day as I finally passed the M.O.S.T. to move on to my P plate on my motor bike. The Year of the Dragon is indeed going very well. Beware Mr Dragon Slayer wannabe!! I'll be joining you for that March 29 5000m. I don't expect to be close to 20:12 at that stage, but I am looking forward to seeing what I can manage after all this time in fatigue land!

Early days with the motor bike.

Latest Training:
Friday -  11K easy around LBG and Telopea region. HRav 127bpm, @6min/K - ouchy calves
Saturday - 8 x 1 min hill reps, jog downhill recovery; total with warm up and cool down 10.2K. I also did a session in the gym. The back is going well and I'm making sure I include plenty of core building exercises!
Sunday -  Group run around Aranda and Black Mountain - 12K HRav 127bpm, @7 min/K due to lots of stopping and starting - a pretty fluffy run really. Followed by brunch at Ricardos - they make the tastiest mushrooms!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A running streak!

There are a number of fellow Canberran runners on running streaks, no days off from running. Cathy at is up to something like day #66. Ewen at is not far behind. Even speedygeoff is in on the party! They all make my day #19 look pretty minuscule in the grand scheme of things. However, as someone that usually schedules a day off each week, I'm impressed to be getting to the end of my 3rd week and to still be feeling pretty marvelous. There is no doubt that keeping the HR low is key in allowing the body to recover even when running!

It's been a fun week of various running events. I ran my first YCRC cross country run in 12 months at Stromlo on Tuesday. This was a training session of 6 minutes hard, 1 minute easy. Actually a great mental boost knowing that at the next beep you can take it easy for a while! On Thursday I attended the ACTVAC Track and Field meet at the AIS. Not a nice night unless you were a duck. It was wet and not particularly warm! Understandably numbers were down. My goal was to have a go at the 1500m and try and break the elusive 6 min that I was able to do so easily back in 2009/10. Alas it was not to be, finishing in 6:06. My HR data supports my RPE, I didn't go hard enough! At times during the run I felt myself holding back despite feeling I could go a bit harder. I'm not sure what the motivation was behind this, but c'est la vie! HRav was only around the 158bpm mark.  It may well be a lack of sufficient 'hard' sessions teaching me what I can and can't do. I also ran the 3000m, but took the same approach I took in Tuesday's XC run. 6min hard, 1 min easy. A good session as the HRav was only 152 bpm.

I did finally get around to making a video of some great 1500m running at Track a few weeks back.

Alas I can't get it to embed so go to this link:

It was great to see Bruce Graham break a very long standing 3000m record for the M50s. He ran 9:30:33, taking 16 secs off the old record of 9:46.9 set by Bernie Millet in 1991.

Bruce on his way to the M50 3000m ACT record!

Latest Training:
Monday -  Easy 8.9k - the Little Black Mountain loop HRav = 133 bpm; chose this loop due to very windy conditions, would have preferred a less hilly run today!
Tuesday - XC at Stromlo - 5K in 23:35 + 2K warm up and 2.5K cool down- Total 9.5K. Quads still quite sore from Saturday!
Wednesday - LBG central basin - easy run 7.2K HRav = 132 bpm
Thursday - Track night; 2K warm up + some run throughs; 1500m 6:07; 3000 13:25
Friday - Easy run (calves sore from spikes in 1500m) 11K 5:55min/K pace HRav 132 bpm.