Trail Slope Repeats and Planning

Ooh slightly behind on my running blogging. It’s marking season. Life sort of stops during marking season and I’ll emerge feeling a bit fuzzy and disorientated in a couple of week’s time.

Anyway, I’m sort of sorting paperwork and hanging about after lunch waiting to go for an afternoon little jog. Kath has a slightly sore knee so is sitting this one out. I’m not really sure how far I want to go or where but I’ve got a couple of hours to decide. However, I haven’t told you about Thursday morning’s run yet.

If you’ve been following this blog a while you may know that I don’t like hills. I have always ignored hill repeats if they appeared on a training plan (even if I put them on the plan). I mean, running up a hill once is bad enough, why on earth would I want to walk/jog back down just to run back up? Anyway, on Thursday morning we did hill repeats. Well, we did slope repeats. We used the slope on our sheep loop which isn’t steep but it’s uneven and very much trail territory and it’s a slope I have always struggled on. So we happily tootled along to that slope which starts just after our far field – so just about a mile away. Then we took it in turns to run up the slope as fast as we could and then jog back down. Kath went first and she went all the way up to the top. I went second and I went to where the slope levels before a final little climb. The first run took me 45 seconds exact and it was hard! I was tempted to walk back down and I was huffing and puffing like I haven’t in a long time. But I jogged.

Then Kath went again. Then me again and I think it was faster. I don’t know exactly because my watch battery gave up as I set off. The temptation to collapse in a heap was quite overwhelming but I managed to jog down. Kath went for round three. She’s too bloody fast. She was back in no time which meant I had to go. This was definitely more measured and my legs were screaming at me to stop from about half way. I got there, whimpered, turned round and sort of rolled back down. Kath went for the final time. Then she was back and off I went. I tried to keep an even fast-ish pace all the way up. My legs were a bit jelly-ish as I got to where I’d been turning round. I walked a few steps and decided I would take the last one right to the top so set off again as fast as I could (which wasn’t very fast at this point!) I made it. I jogged down and we walked a little, had a little jog and then we walked home running just a couple of hills en route. 3 miles total. It was a really good exercise actually. It was really hard work but also sort of felt doable. Choosing a slope rather than a hill was a good start to get used to it and choosing trail terrain meant I could practice going faster (rather than slowing almost to a stand still) on an uneven surface. I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoyed it but it felt good to have done it.

Yesterday was a rest day. Today we were going to run several loops with breaks in between but Kath’s knee needs a rest and I don’t fancy going out on my own repeatedly. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow but for today I will just do something which allows me to feed the sheep on the way. We’ve also been planning though. We are going to run the Dirty Double in the Lakes in October. Lakeland Trails does a 15km Helvellyn Challenge on the 14th October and a 14km Ullswater Challenge on the 15th October so we have booked onto those. I really like this idea – there is a race version with a tighter cut off time and then a challenge option with a more generous cut off so you can still do it if you’re slower or if you just want to take it easy, enjoy the scenery and not race. Given these challenges, I suspect I will be doing a few more hill repeats between now and then! The week after we’ll be off to Scarborough to do the Yorkshire Coast 10k there. It should feel lovely and flat after the hills the weekend before!

Scarborough running – but not as planned

I had been looking forward to the Yorkshire Coast 10k run. Last time we did this 3 years ago I was so totally unfit that I didn’t enjoy it at all. I was looking forward to taking it all in this time. I was looking forward to running a race which didn’t require me to be out there for about 3 hours… then I got flu. Even as we packed our bags into the car to drive up to Scarborough in Friday afternoon I  really didn’t think I’d be able to run but I still had a day and a bit to recover.

Seeing the road closure signs heightened the excitement and I began to be hopeful that I might be able to run.

Road closed scarboroughWe woke up early on Saturday and decided we’d go for a little jog just to test my lungs and Kath’s knee. It was a gorgeous morning. We walked down to the seafront – the North Bay and turned left to run towards Sealife. We started with a 1 minute run and a 30 seconds walk and kept that going until we got to Sealife. This was our view:

Scarborough morning 2 Scarborough morning 1

Once we turned round we decided to run back without stopping and Kath opted for the softer ground and dropped down onto the beach. I tried to take a picture of her running while running and also tried to capture the view I had running along the beach huts. It was all a bit wobbly but somehow I quite like the pictures:

Scarb running 1Scarb running 2

I tried to run the last 100m as fast as I could just to see if my lungs would hold out. It didn’t  feel top bad as I stopped and we walked back to the hotel for breakfast feeling pretty positive. But then how could you not be happy with this view

Scarborough morning 3

We had a lovely day Saturday but we did walk quite a bit and by the time we got back from the restaurant at maybe 8ish I felt really flakey. I basically just curled up and fell asleep feeling poorly. My foot was also sore. Not sure what I’d done but the arch of my right foot and round my ankle felt like it was burning. Still I thought I’d be fine for Sunday. When we woke up on Sunday it quickly became apparent that neither of us was really up for running. Kath had started with the symptoms that started my flu off a couple of days before but had got much worse over night and felt very poorly. While I felt a bit better my foot still hurt and I was worried about how much just walking the day before had wiped me out. We both really wanted to run but decided it wasn’t sensible. We had a little cry but both felt better having made that call.

We did walk over to the harbour area and cheered the runners on as they went past on the way out and the way back. It was such a gorgeous day and I really wanted to be out there. I watched the runners go by with a mixture of envy and admiration. Admiration for those running those amazingly fast times but somehow more admiration for those further down the pack for whom just putting one foot in front of the other is probably a huge deal, for those who didn’t think they could do it but did, for those who seemed surprised by us cheering them on telling them they were doing really well, admiration particularly for those who were scared and unconfident – I was there not so long ago and on most running days I still am.

We drove home. We made it til about 6.30pm and went to bed. I slept til just before 6am and woke up feeling poorly, with a sore throat and a temperature- cancelled my London trip and went back to sleep for a couple of hours.

I guess the Yorkshire Coast 10k will have to wait another year!