I’ve had so much going on this week, any of which could merit a blog post on its own.
On Monday I tested out my new kettlebell workout. I have to say, it looks really simple on paper and only takes me about 25 minutes to complete, but boy it certainly gives me a workout. I did a tough pilates session on Monday night and was wondering why my arms were really aching in the plank and then I remembered what I’d already done.
Tuesday night, I joined Wallsend Harriers again for another club night. It was similar to my previous session with a warm up run out to a hill, then hill reps and short sprints. They also did a longer stretch of speed work that I messed up a bit. I wasn’t sure how far we were going and tried to stick with some of the faster girls, but couldn’t make it stick. When we repeated the rep, I ran at my park run pace and felt a lot more comfortable. I get a good hour’s worth of training with the club run, so I think it’s a valuable session at the moment.
I took a day off training on Wednesday as I had the more important task of welcoming my good pal Alastair and his lovely wife Lorna back to Tyneside. We had a fabulous evening catching up on Newcastle Quayside. Lots of talking, lots of eating very nice food and just generally the best kind of evening you can have with your friends. I felt very spoiled.
I was still up and raring to go early on Thursday morning for my PT session. The skies were perfectly clear and as I stepped out into the chill morning, the darkness was lit with starlight. And as I trained on the beach I watched the sun come up, rosy red over the waves. It’s a real privilege to have the best moments of the day, moments other people sleep through.
Me, I was far from sleeping. My PT is always looking for new and different ways to train his clients and he’d been hinting that he had something new for me to try. I don’t want to give away any trade secrets, because he works really hard at researching and coming up with ideas, but my workout this week had me bashing a tyre with a sledgehammer and lugging bags of sand around. Well, no one ever accused me of being dainty!
Needless to say I loved it, and it gave my arms a really good workout. So much so that it actually hurt to brush my hair the following morning. By Friday I was ready to take it a bit easier, so I took myself for a swim. A chance to unwind, empty my mind and just enjoy some time in the water.
Saturday I had planned to do a paced 10k run, trying to build up to a target race in a few weeks’ time. I’d orginally thought I’d just go and do my own thing, but then I figured that if I wanted to try and pick up the pace for the first few miles, then parkrun could help. So I went and ran a double, just stopping for long enough to scan my barcode and token before heading off on a second lap.
I ran okay for the first 5k, dipping a bit under target pace for the 2nd and 3rd mile. But it was a bit blustery on the Town Moor and I was keeping in mind I had another lap to do. It was great to see Penny and her parents and dog and she certainly kept me honest through the first couple of kilometres, keeping the pace on. It was when I was running more on my own that I eased off a bit. Still I managed the usual sprint finish and a consistent time of 25:26.
I ran the second lap a bit more slowly at around 9:00min/mile pace but it didn’t feel much easier. It was very strange running the route with no one in sight, knowing there would be people finishing and I’d be way behind the tail runner. It was a nice run though and I relaxed and finished the 10k in 52:43 – which I’m pretty happy with as a baseline for a training run.
Today I had a long standing bike date with Peter. I set off in bright autumn sunshine, but after a bit of sat-nav tomfoolery I was plunged into fog and drizzle over the North Pennines and a rapidly dropping temperature gauge. But you can’t keep a good team down and Peter took me out on a nice out and back route that he’s testing for triathlon next year.
It was cold, wet and rainy. The coldest, wettest and rainiest conditions I’ve ever ridden my road bike in. But I didn’t care. Once we got going, I remembered how much fun I can have on my road bike. The pace was easy at first and then as we turned and hit some downhills on the way back I gave it some welly and just enjoyed the sensation of the wind in my face and the bike beneath me. I even got up enough confidence to ride tucked and dropped. I love my bike!
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. I do feel like I’m missing a bit of bike fitness and my legs were starting to tire. I’m also really stubborn and had ridden pretty much all of it on the big ring, just attacking the small undulations when they came. But eventually I had to stop being so pig headed and drop down and actually use my gears. Just because I can get up a hill in that gear doesn’t mean I should. I need to get a bit smarter about my riding.
But today was just about getting out and having fun in conditions where I think both of us would probably have ditched the ride or called it shorter. Peter did do quite a few more miles than me, as after a bit of a thaw out in a convenient coffee shop he headed back on his bike and pointed me in the right direction to get home. By the time I got back to the coast it was almost 10 degrees warmer and sunny!
So, all in all a pretty full on week. But a fun one and one where I got to spend time with some good people who have done so much to encourage and support me. I have some great friends, especially those I’ve met through running and training.