W/C 28th Jan
M – Club run including 6x500m flat efforts including extended run to and from the club for 10 miles total.
T – REST
W – 4.5 mild lunch offroad run + 6 mile club offroader
T – Pilates + 11.8 mile run in Wendover woods including 2000ft of elevation. I had planned 10 miles but got lost and couldn’t find my car at the end!
F – REST
S – The plan was Jersey Farm parkrun to tick J off the alphabet. I set off early but pulled over to check their facebook page as they’d said they would announce after assessing the course at 8am if it was going ahead. It was cancelled, as were most of the other local ones, so I went to Tring for a hilly one in the snow plus a warm up and cool down for 5.5 miles total.
S – London winter run 10km race plus short warm up, then met two friends at the end for another partial loop of the course to take advantage of the photo opportunities and extend to a half marathon distance long run. I was quite chuffed with my 10km time since I’d planned to use it as a tempo section with a long run rather than an all out race. It was a good race, well organised except for enforcement of waves and slower runners too far forward at the start making for some dodging and diving for the first mile or so. I’d like to do it again 10k fit and race it.
Weekly Mileage = 51 miles
M – Club reversal run plus warm up, cool down, and run to/from the club house for 7.8 miles total including 5 miles reversal run of 20 minutes run out and 18:24 back. There were speedsters missing and some people definitely faster than me usually taking it easy so I was running solo, and pretty pleased with myself for pushing it by myself when usually I need a race situation or someone else to motivate me on to go fast.
T – 4.3 miles of hills, running up and down and round and round on the open grass area behind the hospital for 1054ft of ascent, then a very short, easy 1km swim in the lido plus a stretch out in the sauna (mainly to go in and warm up/have a shower) between teaching and an evening out of hours shift.
W – Unplanned rest day – I was so tired from the previous day and getting home from work at almost 1am, that I was less efficient today, and it was a busy day anyway, so I got into a spiral of getting tireder and slower and missed running club, leaving work about 90 minutes later than usual and coming home straight to bed.
T – Pilates + 11.6 mile medium-long road run (broken up with a pilates class and popping into my old place of work for a chat) + Epsom salt bath + sports massage + 5.6 miles chatty run with Luke making 17.2 total for the day.
F – REST
S – Jersey farm parkrun to tick off J from the parkrun alphabet. Jersey Farm is the replacement for Heartwood Forest parkrun which closed down late last year, both located in Sandridge near St Albans. The announcement of Jersey Farm parkrun was a source of excitement for many alphabet chasers, who can now do all but X (doesn’t exist) and Z (Poland or South Africa) without leaving mainland UK. In fact there were 4 people completing their alphabet on this occasion, and one on their 4th time through the alphabet doing their 4th parkrun beginning with a J! There was also a man completing his 400th parkrun! Jersey Farm parkrun is a two lap undulating offroad course with plenty of mud. We ran the winter course with two laps on the bridleway, while the website advertises one lap of bridleway and one lap on grass. I finished first lady in 22:52 and rounded up to 4 miles with the run to and from the car. In the afternoon, it was the last cross country league race of the season in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes. I’ve actually raced this one twice before and oddly there are fixtures I’ve never made it to. My previous times were 25:17 and 24:41 for the 3.2 mile course in 2016 and 2017 so I was aiming to beat them. I remember the first time I was hear being so cold and miserable, I took off my shoes and put my gloves on my feet, trying to fold all my extremities in on myself, huddled in our club gazebo. This year wasn’t quite so bitterly cold. Soon after the race started, I could tell my legs were tired; from my parkrun efforts, and from a few high mileage weeks now. I gave it my all, but came in at 25:04. Not what I wanted but not bad. I was 2nd finisher from the club out of an awesome turnout of 14 ladies this time (we usually get about 5). Finished off the day with a club curry, and a tad too much prosecco.
S – I was aiming for 16 miles today, planning to park 3 miles away from the meeting point of our club long offroad run to flank the 10ish mile route with an extra 6, but the Saturday night fizz put pay to that plan. I ran the 10, but fell over and got absolutely plastered in mud at 8, and really didn’t fancy a solo 6 at the end so came home, washed (producing bath water like a bog), did 3 loads of washing, and slept all afternoon (clearly needed it). I did not make it back out to make up the missing 6 or even 3.5 to round up to 50 for the week.
Anyway, 7 runs for the week including 2 double days so allowing for 2 rest days.
Weekly Mileage = 46.5 miles
M – 15 minutes mobility/stretching in the morning and 6.6 miles steady loop running in the evening with the club. I led the fast group ever so slightly astray getting disorientated in the dark but we got to the planned destination and back in the right number of miles.
T – Went to the gym for a swim but forgot my costume so went to a spin class instead at lunchtime. Then club hill efforts in the evening plus an extended warm up and cool down for 8.7 miles total.
W – REST (worked til midnight)
T – 3/2/1 mile efforts with 1 mile warm up/cool down/recoveries for 10 miles total + 1000m recovery swim + pilates class + easy 3 miles solo because my plans for an easy chatty 6 with a friend fell through.
F – REST (driving to the mountains)
S – Dragon’s Back Race recce day 4 part 1 (20.5 miles). Lots of hills and …. ft of ascent. I didn’t have a map (ours get issued at race registration in May, and he 2017 leftovers have sold out) but had the route on my watch and on the Viewranger app on my phone. However, knowing how these drain their respective batteries, I tried to pay as much attention to my surroundings as possible and try to memorise the route. Being used to organising everything in my life and most events/outings/trips for any groups I’m part of, it was a huge novelty to have someone else take the reins on organising this weekend and I completely took a backseat to the point I felt a bit useless and didn’t have a clue what was going on or planned. I definitely lacked the mountain and navigation experience of many in the group so am very grateful I have all these recces planned.
S – Dragon’s Back Race recce day 4 part 2 (23 miles). The start was more runnable, but we still did …. ft of ascent. We did an out and back today to save on complicated car shuffling logistics, skipped a long road section, and allowing us to test two different route options. It certainly divided the fell runners from the road wussies when we got to a very steep descent and I got left for dust! We only encountered 3 other humans. One a slightly weird looking man, who I initially thought was wearing a Napolean style hat. He was at an isolated house with around 10 angry dogs tied up in the yard around an odd makeshift teepee structure, some equally angry turkeys who chased us, and some uncharacteristically placid geese. I wondered what was in the property to need quite so many dogs guarding it. The other 2 were a man also recceing for Dragon’s Back, and a man helping him who had done the original 1992 running of the race, before it were deemed to difficult, dangerous, and stupid and got cancelled for the next 20 years.
Weekly Mileage = 72 miles
T – 1 hour yin yoga class + 6 mile hilly run
W – 11 mile run including 1 mile downhill, 3 miles easy on the prom then 2 x 2 mile efforts with 1 mile recovery, followed by 1 mile back uphill to the house, and a massage, then 1 hour yin yoga in the afternoon.
T – Early morning 3 mile easy run (with hills) followed by 1 hour yoga class. In the afternoon, I went on a group ‘meditation hike’ comprising a reasonably hikey half hour walk down to the beach at Praia d’Ursa for a guided meditation followed by a glass of wine, before hiking back up.
F – 1 hour morning yoga class on the harbour wall then a day of rest in the sun.
S – Long run day! I had two destinations in mind and practised using the view ranger app to get between them without using the main roads and instead picking interesting trails. Well, at least for the first 1/3 from Sintra, through the forest to Praia d’Ursa and Cabo da Roca (the Western most point of mainland Europe). Here, like Thursday I hike/scrambled up and down, but did a couple of routes so it took about an hour to do 1.5 miles of ups and downs. Then I got an icecream and some extra water, designating this ‘aid station 1’. From here, I set off on some more technical trails, and then dirt road, before getting onto a fairly main road and had 2 choices (one inland and around 8km and one down to the coast and along, measuring around 12km). I picked the latter, and when I got to the sea there was a beautiful designated cycle/pedestrian path stretching several miles to Cascais. Here, I got to ‘aid station 2’ where I had another icecream stop, and checked my map for the shortest route back, a little worried I’d run out of daylight. I walked the first section sipping an iced tea then run/walked it in to finish at 33.2 miles with around 4000 ft of ascent.
S – 4 mile run straight up and down the hill (up via road and back through the botanical gardens) for over 1300ft of ascent. My legs felt surprisingly good after Saturday’s long run, but due to the incline and sightseeing, there were a few walking and photography breaks.
Weekly Mileage = 53 miles
(And phone recorded 200,000 steps for the 6 days in Portugal. The distance estimate seems a bit out, giving 9.25km for my morning 7km run, but not sure if the walking is more accurate. It suggests I covered over 180kms for the 6 days, so give or take I must have walked about the same distance again as I ran. Total icecream intake = 16 scoops.)
M – REST
T – 8 mile run with mum along the beach and back through the dunes. A stunningly beautiful day.
W – Planned a run the same as yesterday but in reverse and without doubling back for mum should have worked out at 7.5 miles, rounding off a 210 mile month. But I rolled my ankle while blasting through the dunes, really enjoying myself only just over 2 miles in so turned back, cursing that I was ‘wasting the lovely weather’ and hobbled back for 4.5 in total.
T – REST
Total Monthly Mileage = 207miles / 333kms
Total Monthly Elevation = 6133ms /20121ft