Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Out of the mist... a revival?

May 18th? Are you serious? The break between blogs here would have Kathleen Lindsay turning in her grave. With the start of a new year and a new running season I intend to blog semi-regular now, at least once a week if not more frequently.

A bit of the last 9 months before I go any further. No, I haven't given birth. What has happened is 3 Pb's, 2 race wins, a complete and utter self-destruction, knee issues and a whole bunch of new friends.

Chasing down #83 at Forfar (image belongs to
Summer went well - plenty of miles, plenty of good-quality sessions - July had just one rest day and a record 248M in just 31 days - 8M per DAY. I was able to fit it in around a full-time summer job (frequently starting work before 7am), the heat and my girlfriend who was now back in America. With Forfar 10k in the horizon I was confident of a good result and based off of the quality I had been doing a sub-40 10k seemed extremely possible.

Unfortunately race day proved hot, the course unfriendly and the late end at work the day before tiring. I ran 40:27, and I maintain to this day had I ran at a better venue and on a cooler day I could have run ~ 45-60 seconds quicker.

Still not to worry, a 2 week break in America beckoned and I needed the time to recharge my batteries. 8 days of no running passed by and when I got back I was looking forward to the Moray Half Marathon at the weekend. There was one small problem - I had a virus.

Nothing devastating but nothing that could be pinned down and nothing I noticed either - I never knew I had it until it hit with a vengeance during the race! My HR was high on normal runs (nothing untoward with that after 2 weeks off) but aside from that I was perfectly normal. I put it to the back of my mind and even during my warmup before Moray I felt better and forgot about it.

The first 10k went well and I was comfortably hitting 6:47/m pace with no real concerns. I don't tend to look at my heart rate during races, but this was one of those times I wish I had. Post-race analysis showed even after 10k I was hitting 97% MHR.

The wheels came off in spectacular fashion less than a mile later. It started first as just a general slowdown, but I didn't feel in any past my LT and it was more of general fatigue. The pace dropped like a stone: 6:53/7:05/7:16/7:35/7:50/9:07, and by this point I could hardly stand up straight let alone run.

I finished - somehow - in 1:35 but I spent 30 minutes in the medical tent before being able allowed to leave, by which point of course I felt fine and was more than slightly embarrassed. It turned out later on I had been leading the U21 category by over 5 minutes before my blow-up, and I finished second by 3 minutes!

2 weeks of cautious running followed and by the last week in September I was recording normal HR levels and started by 18-week base programme, with an emphasis on aerobic endurance via MP runs and aerobic power sessions. At least, that was the plan. 3 weeks in a fairly innocuous knee-to-bar-stool incident in the union one night reduced me to a hobble and for a week I could hardly bend my knee. I did the natural thing and diagnosed myself via Google, after which I was told I had cracked the cartilage in my knee and would be out for up to 6 months.

Obviously that was complete crap, and after some sensible advice on The Middle Ground (which, by now was one of the most viewed and informative threads in the training forum on RW) I settled with the slightly less disastrous ITB syndrome. A three-week rehab ensued, of roller therapy, stretching and rest was entailed and afterwards the knee hasn't peeped once.

It was during the latter stages of my rehab, while browsing Fetch I noticed out of the corner of my eye "Aberdeen Fetch Mile - Anyone interested?" on the forum. I jumped straight in, enthusiastic to meet the Fetchies from my home area. Their race date was set for a time I was home for the weekend - perfect. I recognised a few of them (Shanski & Mrs Shanski) from a few local races and I knew Sheri3004 from RW so I was hoping for a good occasion to meet some new runners & make friends.

The first 'deen Fetch Mile - hot on Mike's shoulder
The Mile was a great occasion on a wonderful day. I was in the faster mile group and instantly it was a race between myself and MikeR. I stuck to his shoulder like a little shit for 1400m before out-kicking him to win the race in 5:56.

For my efforts I won a shiny trophy to keep before the next mile and soon after I headed back down the coast to St Andrews.

It was around this time the snow descended, which funnily enough was fine with me as I was still cautious about the knee so enforced rest was probably the best thing for me at that time. I was ensuring I was still getting out regularly, if only for 3 or 4M at a time to keep the routine there but the dark winter is never fun.

'deen beach race, and the sand...
December was my return and I was able to get some decent miles before heading home for Christmas and back into the snow! Most of my training was fighting with mum for the treadmill (and I did manage 13.1M on the damn' thing) but I was able to get out once or twice on the roads.

Did a beach race on the 27th which involved jumping over the groynes on Aberdeen beach. Being a handicapped race I was constantly chasing people down and I really enjoyed it. Also got the honour of being passed by Robbie Simpson like I was standing still.

Nywanda, Mrs Shanski, Me, Mum and Sheri3004 + random Fetchie
6 days later, and into the new year for the Lumphanan 10k and my first race of the year. Didn't expect much on a really hilly course, and finished in a respectable 44:11 on a course that's probably 3 minutes slow. Met up with most of the Fetchies again and we had a great time.

Starter's orders for the second mile. I'm furthest from the camera.
Over exams it was more a case of building mileage to somewhere normal levels and I got a considerable amount of low-medium intensity running done over the exam period. Headed over the water again afterwards to see the girlfriend and managed to get a small amount of running done, mindful of what happened last time with the virus I made sure I went prepared to combat any illnesses that might come my way.

Thankfully I managed to get by with no ill effects and have now spent the last 3 weeks in a 'pre-mesocycle' phase of 5k training. Track sessions have included 400s @ 5k, 300s/150s @ 3k and 200s @ 1500m in varying volumes since the start of February.

2 weeks ago was the second Fetch Mile, which took place in crap conditions in Aberdeen once again. This time it was a straight head-to-head between myself and my mother, and despite a slow time of 6:07 I managed to beat her and win the second Mile.

So that's the current state of affairs. I have a 5k race in Glasgow on Saturday, which I think sub-19:30 is a definite possibility. After that 2 and a bit months of solid 5k training before the Dunecht 5k and the Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k, after which I switch to 10k mode, building towards a hopeful sub-39 later on in the year.

And I'll try and update more.

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