Sunday 12 December 2010

Running back to fitness

Its been a while since my last blog update, various reasons, one being I've been coming back from injury - mostly sucessfully too. Secondly, not many events to blog about till the last few weeks, not that I haven't been enjoying my running. I appreciate it more than ever. Thirdly, a change in my personal life in the last two months which had my emotions rollercoastering at first, but I think that I've evened out now and things are good. Never been quite so happy :¬)

The good - or bad - news is that I feel a blog coming on, not so much about one amazing adventure, but more of a summary of whats being making me tick and what is next.

After a run/walk program culminated in my leg still not feeling quite right following a run I visted the doctor several weeks back. His evaulation was almost "what is all the fuss about?" as he felt no swelling or bone damage. So I took him at his word and got out there again three months after the last long run - a day after which I could barely walk - and "went to town" with an 8m fartlek run with the club. It felt goo-ood I managed the distance, pace and I wasn't even that far behind club compatriots I'd measure my form against. Just some slight upper leg stiffness  the next day which faded quickly.

That was well over a month ago, getting on for two. I've been back into decent quality training since, anywhere between 3-5 runs per week and I'm starting to get close to a good 40 miles-per-week base - when weather permits. Some highs and lows then....

Return to distance - I built up over a few weeks with long runs initially breaking 10 with 12m steady paced in the wolds and then met up with a friend the next week to do a hard work 18 in the Wolds near Garrowby Hill.

Aching muscles - Between those two long runs I had to drop out of a club winter league handicap road race with a very sore hamstring. A reminder to be steady on the comeback.

Sunday Speed - Following a heady mix of day after an 18 mile Saturday run and a good dozen or so beers and spirits the night before I managed a Sunday afternoon course record on my little 4.3m XC loop. Better still as my previous best times were all set on bone dry summer trails, this day there was distinct muddying as winter approached.

Cross Country - Dretwon Woods, a trail-like course with woodland and proper hills. I was tired after pushing hard on the first ascent and descent, but held my pace and over 4 minutes faster than my previous best on this course three years ago (since shortened by about .2 mile). The next XC should have been Landale End in the North York Moors today, a really muddy, hilly beast of a trail course with stunning views from the tops and my favourite race in the XC calender. Alas, the dumping of snow forced cancellation.

The LDWA way - I hadn't expected to do the Wensleydale Wedge and if I had I thought I'd be just breaking myself back in with hopes to have a real blast at Rudolph's romp two weeks later. Loaded up with a good meal out the night before I had a great blast around, keeping to a good pace and even picking up late on to try and close out the 23.2m in 4 hours. Not quite to be with a final climb forcing a walk, but 4:02 and a 24 min improvement on last year made quite the happy bunny! Lovely course with a great early climb and descent from a high moor and then varied lower level trail running in the second half.

Snow problem - I don't let the snow get me down and have mostly run through it. Glad I did a good one at Wensleydale Wedge though as Rudolph's Romp has been postponed to next year and several other short races and training sessions have been cancelled too. On the date of Rudolph's Romp I eventually set off out at twilight, using the fluorescent glow of the snow to run through dark plantations and Welton dale headtorch-less for a tough 15 miler. RR would have been a killer this day!

Good reasons to make a regular return to the Regular Irregular - An enter on the day for me to this unusually named low-key event which tours the hills near Holmfirth. After the disappointment of RR cancellation this was a really nice day out. After the -5 to -10c common in the last two weeks it felt almost tropical, well above zero, sunny and only a slight cool breeze on tops. Three loops in different directions from start - of increasing difficulty but decreasing length. Although you needn't do all three or in that order it made sense to do it that way to me to rack up 23.6m and a fair whack of climb overall. Not as much snow there as here, but plenty of mud. Great thing was that with returning to the start after each loop, we got an indoor feed each time. After the first 11m+ I could tell it was a sunny enough day to dump some gear from my backpack and windjacket I was wearing. Especially as I was struggling to keep the pace of Mark who I was running with today He just had a waist pouch and seemingly rocket boots on. After the second loop (7m+) we dumped all kit but route desc as just 4m+ for last loop. A nice luxury to have and one I shouldn't get too used to.

Good, but these events have been quite hard work for the promising pace, don't think I'm up to speed/strength for next weeks 36m Tour of Helvellyn next week just yet. One for 2011.