Scenic 7, long run, cycle paths and fog

Another week! Plenty of mileage both running and cycling. But somehow it all feels quite hard at the moment. I think it’s the cold. It’s still fun, don’t get me wrong – I am enjoying Autumn rather more than I usually do, but it feels like an effort and going fast is just not possible!

Sunday: Stowmarket Striders Scenic 7. It is so much harder to run now the air is cold. My legs aren’t so bad – it’s the breathing! And I need to breathe! I ran this with Linda and Liz until near the end when we reached a hill and Liz had the energy to attack it and Linda and I didn’t! It was a nice little route, through some pretty countryside and the weather was good for November. In fact, I’ve generally been lucky with the weather for my races but maybe I shouldn’t say that? Anyway, any time was a PB since I had never run a 7 mile race before and I completed it in 1:04:51 which is perfectly respectable. There was no medal at the end (boo!) but we did get a very luminous yellow buff which I guess will come in handy for cycling although it will clash rather with my red club kit!
(7.1 miles at ave pace of 9:09 mi/mile, ave HR 156bpm)

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: I couldn’t make it to efforts (which is a pity as they apparently did hills which is what I need to practise)so I went out and did a long run instead. I ran the same route that Linda, Mark and I did two months ago when we were working up to the half marathon distance – it was one that felt really hard. But this time it felt easier – perhaps because it was cooler but more likely because I started the loop at a different point (from home) so the hilly bit was much nearer the beginning than when we ran it previously. I used the heart rate monitor to stop myself speeding up, keeping my HR under 150bpm even up hill). Anyway, this run felt good – other than the bit where I had to dive into some trees at the edge of Mousehold Heath for a natural break!
(12 miles at ave pace of 10:29 mi/mile, ave HR 143 bpm).

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Cycle Paths of Norwich (which my son misheard as “Psychopaths of Norwich” which would have been a much scarier – and undoubtedly faster – tour). But instead this was a nice gentle exploratory ride, trekking down paths I had not been down before and it was good fun. The cycle paths were mostly good quality but of course you have to cycle slowly because of pedestrians and dog walkers. It’s just a shame that the paths don’t link up a bit better as it’s hard to actually go anywhere much on them – they are just little links between stretches of road riding, most of them not that useful for going places but fun and relaxing to potter along.
(26.4 miles, ave speed 14mph, ave HR 129 bpm)

Friday: rest day

Saturday: Foggy ride with Jess. I think this was the foggiest conditions I have ever cycled in and it was a bit scary in places. We had lights but I did feel a bit exposed on the occasions I rode alongside nearer the middle of the road. It was good to get out and clear my Belgian Beer Hangover but my back was very troublesome and I had to stop a couple of times and stretch it out and by the time I got home and for the whole of the next day it was really very sore. It’s odd as I had no problems on that bike last winter, and other than my shoes, nothing has changed. Anyway, Alan compared the set-up to my summer bike and the saddle was set further back on the winter bike so he has now adjusted that and I shall have to test it out and hope it is better. We stopped for coffee and a cake at the Hen House near Wymondham which was a place I’d never been to before but would definitely go back to again!
( 39.6 miles, ave speed 15.6mph, ave HR 144 bpm)

Weekly mileage
Running: 19.1 miles
Cycling: 103.3 miles


It’s harder to get myself out of the door now the cold has arrived!

Autumn, with hints of winter, arrived this week. And sitting all cosy in the lounge, with the fire blazing, it is so much harder to get those running or cycling shoes on and head out of the door. There is always so much clobber to put on for one thing. In the summer you can just toss on a few bits and bobs for decency’s sake and head out, like this:


Well, maybe not quite like this. This is me, in June 2012, about to do the Norwich 50, my first bike ride in almost 20 years. But the main reason for posting this is because I did this ride on my son’s bike and this bike was stolen from St Stephen’s on Friday evening. So if you see this bike (a Dawes Tamarack in gold and blue) then please let me know, or wrestle the rider to the ground and steal the bike back from them – although maybe that might be a bit much if some poor soul has the same model!

Anyway I did brave the cold and the wind and the rain and get out last week although didn’t do as much on the bike as I had planned (because of the weather):

Monday: In the morning I went out alone and did hills on the bike. I am rubbish on hills so this needed to be done. But boy was it hard. I did Skeets Hill x3 on the single-speed. I struggled to get up it to be honest and by the time I got back home my legs were very sore (bit of a bummer that I have to cycle up a hill to get to the house).
(27.1 miles, ave speed 15.5mph, ave HR 138bpm)
In the evening I went to the NRR session. Wendy was offering a hill option and had I not done Skeets on the bike in the morning I probably would/should have done that, but my legs were too tired so I went on the nice gentle 5k route with Claire and some others. It was just what I needed.
(3.1 miles, ave pace 10:52/mi, ave HR 134bpm)

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: Did the usual flat run from home at a nice easy pace. I am surprised I didn’t fall over as it was Guy Fawkes Night and fireworks were going off every few minutes so I spent most of the time gazing up in the sky rather than looking where I was going.
(3 miles, ave pace 10:40/mi, ave HR 135bpm)

Thursday: Another solo run as couldn’t get to club because of a sixth form open day
(4.5 miles, ave pace 10:05/mi, ave HR 140bpm)

Friday: Jess and I had planned on a bike ride (and I needed the bike miles) but the weather was just too horrible (rainy and sooo windy) so we ran instead. It was Jess’ first run in ages (years maybe?) but she did fabulously – in fact, she ran more quickly than I usually do for training runs. It was more of a tempo run, and my legs felt very tired afterwards. But it was good to get out and do something.
(4.5 miles, ave pace 9:17/mi, ave HR 156bpm)

Saturday: Rest day (in preparation for the Stowmarket Scenic 7 on Sunday – will write about that next week).

Cycling: 65.3 miles
Running: 15.1 miles

I wonder if I will ever have a week when I run further than I cycle?

Return to single-speed cycling

Back to normal things this week!

Sunday: My first time on the Single Speed bike since Easter. I was reluctant initially to go out on it as it had been a while and I knew I would find it hard work. But I had forgotten how much fun it is to ride and how simple just to pedal, not to have to worry about gears and to know I couldn’t wimp out and change down to a granny gear on the hills. It was tiring and my back was very sore on the outward leg – probably because the set-up is not quite the same as on my summer bike. I had to stop three times to stretch my back but it was fine on the return journey. It was just Alan and myself and I hid behind him, out of what was quite a strong gusty wind, for the whole trip. Because my back was sore we made an unscheduled stop for coffee at the Angel Cafe in Diss and then, with my back all nicely stretched out, did the 10 miles to Goodies for their all-day breakfast.

There was toast as well!

There was toast as well!

Very tasty it was too. The trip back from Goodies is less than 20 miles and we had the wind behind us the whole way so it was a swift return which was just as well considering my legs were tired and the breakfast was sitting rather heavily in my stomach!
(54.8 miles at an ave speed of 16.4 mph, ave HR 139bpm.)

Monday: Norwich Road Runners session – hills (or “pimples” as Wendy calls them) with Wendy.  This was just what I needed as I knew I couldn’t get to the efforts session on Tuesday.  We jogged along to the roundabout on Woodcock Road and then did 1 minute efforts up the hill, with 2 minute recovery jogs back down.  The idea was that your sixth effort is as good as your first, so you have to remember where you got to on the first one and aim for that point on the next five efforts.  Obviously it would be easy to cheat and make very little effort on the first so that the subsequent ones wouldn’t be challenging but I don’t think any of us did that.  We’d only be cheating ourselves after all!  These effort sessions are always strangely fun – hard work but you feel really good when you have done them and hills are something I need to focus on as I can’t keep registering only for races that are flat as a pancake. 
(3.6 miles at ave 10:49 min/mile, ave HR 131 bpm – forgot to use the lap button again to get more meaningful pace and HR data – silly me!)

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: 3 mile jog from home in the evening.  Did my usual nice flat route.
(3 miles at ave 10:10 min/mile, ave HR 138 bpm)

Thursday: Norwich Road Runners Evening run.  It was a nice evening for a run and still remarkably warm for the time of year.  I ran with Linda, Sophie and a new lady, Rachel and we decided to do the short route.  We chatted the whole way round and other than the final hill up to Club, I was feeling pretty good.  It would probably be a good idea for me to try and do the 6 mile option from time to time.
(4.4 miles at  ave 9:51 min/mile, ave HR 144 bpm.)

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Rest day

Weekly Mileage
Cycling: 80.2 miles
Running: 11 miles

The Peterborough Half Marathon and its aftermath!

This week started, on a Sunday of course, with the Peterborough Half Marathon (or the Perkins Great Eastern Run to give it its official name).  And what a wonderful run it was.  Who thought I’d ever say that about a half-marathon – or running 13.1 miles?  But it was.  Liz and I cut it very fine to get to the start on time, partly because of queues for the car park but mainly because there were not enough loos and there was no way we could run without “going”.   We almost didn’t find Linda – in fact, we only met up with her after the gun when we were moving through the pens towards the start line.  But I think that not having any time to stand around and wait, stopped me getting as nervous as I might have been or from getting cold.

Off we went!  And despite all our good intentions we did of course go off rather faster than we intended.  Our aim was to run each mile in 10 minutes.  We ran our first mile in 9:14 and the second in 9 minutes.  Oops!  We did on occasion try to slow down but we just couldn’t.  The course is flat, and it was good to run when I had no idea where I was or where I was going.  The crowds were supportive and the weather was the best we could hope for – no wind and never cold.  Because Linda, Liz and I had started near the back, we overtook stacks of people throughout the whole run.  For the first half of the race we chatted away merrily, kept trying in vain to slow down a bit and had a super time.  For the second half we were definitely quieter and our pace did drop with each mile that went by but even so we never took longer than 9:52 to run a mile.  I felt quite tired between 9 and 12 miles but then when I saw the 12 mile marker (and they were all significantly later than the mile beeps on my watch) I suddenly got a second wind and did a wee sprint for the final half a mile, with Liz and Linda hot on my heels.  Melinda and Sophie from the club were on the home straight and it was great to get that final bit of encouragement to get me to the line.

Here I am approaching the finish!

Here I am approaching the finish!

And our time?  I finished in 2:05:48, well inside the bronze club standard time of 2:18:00.  And I felt good!  Our average pace was 9:29 min/mile.  Oddly the course seemed rather longer than 13.1 miles – my watch measured the distance as 13.3 miles so I suppose we must not have taken the shortest line through the bends and made detours to get water?

I enjoyed the whole day so much – the run itself, the company of Linda and Liz, the support of other club members, the lunch afterwards on the way home that it left me raring to go for some more events.

Monday: Slump on the Sofa day

Tuesday: Efforts on the field at club – not that much effort was made as my legs were still tired but it was good to get out and stretch them a bit.  I was thinking though, that when I do efforts in the future I must make use of the lap button on my watch so I can see how quickly I run the actual effort parts as the overall average pace is pretty meaningless when we all jog and walk on the recoveries.  It will be interesting to see just what the pace is for the various parts of the session.  So I need to work out how to use that properly.

Wednesday: I did my longest ever solo cycle ride – 49.9 miles (my previous longest was 48.6 miles so it wasn’t a lot further) I’m not sure this was a sensible thing to have embarked on just days after a half-marathon but cycling uses different muscles and I was not riding quickly.  I enjoyed it but my legs were indeed very tired for the final 10 miles or so.  But it was good to be back on the bike and I was pleased that I managed to navigate the VCN Goodies route successfully, only getting slightly lost once.
(49.9 miles at an average speed of 15.2mph, ave HR 133)

Thursday: rest day with a lovely leg massage from Carolyn Weston in Dereham.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: Catton Parkrun.  This was the first time I had run at Catton and whilst my legs felt tired still, I liked this course.  It is more interesting and less congested than Eaton Park and you run on a variety of different surfaces and through little wooded areas as well as through open parkland.  It also has a bit of a hill and doesn’t involve running laps to the same degree.  It is one I will definitely do again as it can’t be a lot further from the house than Eaton Park and more people from Club go there so it was nice to have people to chat to.  I ran round with Linda and Mark – as usual rather more quickly than we intended!!
(3.1 miles at ave pace of 9:18 min/mile, ave HR 151)

Weekly mileage

Cycling: 66.9 miles
Running: 21.3 miles

I thought tapering would be fun

but it’s not! It’s actually flipping hard work and very frustrating. After months of getting out and doing as much as I can – long runs, efforts, little runs, plenty of cycling, feeling guilty if I didn’t quite do as I should – this week (and last week to a degree) I have had to sit around. And you know what? It has turned me into a hypochondriac. First of all I imagined I had a cold that was going to my chest (I don’t – just the usual runny nose I always have in the UK), then I had a pain in my knee, then a twinge in my Achilles and finally yesterday shooting pains all down my right leg. I’m not saying these things aren’t real – just that I wouldn’t usually notice them or perhaps that sitting around doesn’t suit me at all and leads to aches and pains. Or maybe my body is looking for excuses not to run. But it won’t win – I want to run, I have trained for it and am looking forward to it in a rather trepidatious kind of way – and I shall run whatever twinges it sends my way.

Anyway, I have been a good girl and tapered properly. I have done roughly two thirds of my usual weekly mileage both running and on the bike and all of it has been at an easy pace. So I should be fresh and ready for tomorrow!

So this was my week (4-11 October 2014) – I know it’s odd to start a week with a Sunday but in terms of planning my mileage I find it easier to start with the club ride, where I never know how far it will be, than end with it!

VCN Club Ride to Goodies!  And what a glorious day for it.  The forecast said it would be colder (7 degrees at 9am, rather than the 17 degrees it had been the previous day) so I had to scurry about hunting down all my winter gear and headed off all layered up.  And I was glad to be warm.  It was perfect cycling weather – full sun all morning and next to no wind.  We had a good turn out for the Club and each of the three groups was large.  Kraig led the Club Ride and we had a very pleasant ride, at a nice steady consistent speed to the Goodies Farm Shop near Long Stratton where I had a very large and tasty sausage roll (49.5 miles at an average of 16.9 mph, average HR 133bpm).

I did the first of my three taper runs – a nice flat 3 miles from home. This was when I convinced myself I had a cold. The run felt hard even though I was trying to go slowly. Mostly it felt hard because I wasn’t going quite as slowly as I planned and also because I never feel good running in the morning. For me, running is always so much easier in the evening. But I mustn’t say, or even think that, because of course the half marathon is in the morning! (2.9 miles at 9:34 min/mile, ave HR 143bpm)

Second of my taper runs – a very similar run to the one yesterday but this time I went out in the evening.  It was after this one that my knee felt twingy although it was fine whilst I was running. (3 miles at 10:05 min/mile – got the pace just right this time – ave HR 138bpm).

Rest day

The third and final taper run.  Nice gentle run/walk from Club.  Linda and I discussed how we would NOT set off too quickly on Sunday. We plan to run a nice steady 10 minute/mile pace throughout but we are both prone to setting off faster, chatting merrily and not noticing.  Hopefully the congested start will ensure we keep our pace down. Poor Linda has had a bad cold so has been forced to rest up even more than she intended.  This time it was my Achilles (coming out in sympathy with Sally) that twinged a bit after the run.  But again it has been fine since! (3.1 miles at 11:31 min/mile, ave HR 127bpm)

You’ve guessed it – rest day. The day of the shooting pains in the right leg. I have never had anything like these before. They only last a second or two but were quite bad. But I know if I get them on Sunday (and they seemed to disappear when I went out for a walk so hopefully they are a result of too much sitting) I can just stop briefly til they pass and then carry on.

The Day Before!! And so far all my pains and other imagined ailments seem to have disappeared. I shall have a nice restful day, pottering about doing chores and going for a few very short slow walks. And I must get my stuff ready and make sure I eat good foods and not drink too much wine tonight.

I do feel a bit nervous but mostly just excited. It is always good to do events as part of the club and once tomorrow arrives and I meet up with club mates I will be fine!

Running: 9 miles
Cycling: 60.4 miles

Training (21-27 September 2014)


VCN Club Ride to Mundesley. It made a very pleasant change to ride to the coast as we’ve not done a lot of that this year as the wind has tended to be south or westerly (VCN always ride out INTO the wind so that we have a nice swift ride back after the cafe stop).

We were a good sized group of similar abilities and inclinations, so a nice steady ride of 50 miles at an average of 16.6mph was had ie spot-on for club ride pace.


Rest day


NRR efforts. Didn’t go on the field this week. Did a 15 minute out and back with Linda, Sophie and Liz. It wasn’t as tough as efforts on the field although we were good girls and ran the return leg more quickly than the outward leg.


More rest


Rest – really going for the rest this week!!


Eek! 14 miles with Linda and Mark. Yep 14 miles!!! I was feeling quite nervous about this after the run last week which had felt so hard. But I had some useful hints about eating more (before and straight after the run) and I had made a big effort to rest all week, and this time I felt so much better. It was still tough of course but until 11 miles my legs felt OK. From 11 miles my legs were achy and the last mile or so were definitely longer than the miles earlier on. But we did it. We only really walked one section – a long uphill drag at about the 10 mile point. So that’s it. The long runs are over now until the big day itself. Next week I need only do a 7 or 8 mile run which is going to seem pretty short compared to these 10, 12 and 14 mile efforts.  Yippee!


This should probably have been a rest day but I went out and jogged round the Norwich Parkrun with Karen and Helen. Darryl Davies, a local CoNAC and tri-anglia runner collapsed and died last Saturday whilst taking part in the Round Norfolk Relay.  Darryl was a regular Parkrunner and local club runners had been encouraged to attend the Parkruns and to wear their club colours as a tribute to him.   And we did – there were more than 600 people running at Eaton Park this week!  I didn’t know Darryl but it was moving to be there amongst so many people who did.  I feel so proud to be part of this running community of ours.  There is something so haunting about this photo someone posted on Facebook of Darryl running last weekend


– it is, on one level, upsetting to know that not long after it was taken he would never run again, but also uplifting because he looks so relaxed and happy and was clearly doing something he enjoyed so very much.  So I must remember to always enjoy my runs however long or hard they may be.  Because that is what it is about.  Always.


Cycling  73.6 miles

Running 20.2 miles

Next week
Hopefully I will get out on the bike with Jess!
Oh and there are two fun running events too – but I will write about those next week when I have done them!

Training and Events (14-20 September 2014)


5k East Anglian Air Ambulance Runway Run in the morning.  This felt hard.  I’m not sure why that was – the long run with Linda on Thursday, a rough course over grass with a few inclines and some wind – or whether I was unfairly comparing my time/effort with some of my better Parkruns which are on much easier terrain.  Anyway, my chip time was 26:24 which was a minute inside the bronze standard time that I was aiming for – so job done.  And it was a nice event too with a fabulous goodie bag.

40 miles on the bike with the Dandy Horse guys in the evening.  This was a fun ride and it was good to be able to get out after missing the VCN Club Ride in the morning.  My legs were tired and they complained a bit on the hills but I’m glad I went and I’d probably go again on another occasion if I was unable to get out for the morning ride.  It’s good that there are more and more possibilities for people to get out and ride with a group.


Rest day.


NRR efforts on the field.  The efforts sessions are always worth going to and provide an effective and fun workout whilst taking up very little of the evening.  This week we had the annual club photo so we were a bit later getting out on the field.  The session was run by Richard High and was a pyramid session.  I am never exactly sure how hard to push myself for the effort bits but I suppose 5k PB pace is probably ideal ie 8 minute/miles.  But really I have to go by feel as I can’t be peeping at my watch whilst running around the field and very soon it will be too dark to see my watch anyway.


Rest day.


Long run with Linda and Mark in the evening – 12 miles this week.  I hadn’t been feeling very up for it all day, the weather was warm and I felt a bit slumpy.  Linda said the same.  Once I got started I felt better but this was a hard run.  Mark was good at keeping us to pace (10’30 min/mile) but by 9 miles we were tiring and walked up a few hills in the last mile or so.  But we did do it.  I felt a bit weird though later in the evening  – got up to unload the dishwasher and felt very faint so had to slump back on the sofa.  I don’t think I am great at these distance efforts even when I run them at a nice easy pace.  Next week we are doing 14 miles but are doing the Marriotts Way so at least that will cut out the hills.  After that I think we taper.  I hope so anyway.


Rest day.  And I needed it!


Rest day


It is hard to balance the time spent on cycling and running without worrying that fitness in one is compromising that in another.  At the moment I am focusing on running because of the half-marathon (now less than a month away!) and last week I turned down the opportunity for a nice brisk evening ride with Jess because I didn’t want my legs to be too tired to do the long run.  I did cycle on the Brompton Monday-Friday (59 miles in total) but that was it for cycling other than the Dandy Horse ride on Sunday.

Total mileage

Running 17.8 miles

Cycling 100 miles

Aims for next week

To make sure I get plenty of rest before the long run at the end of the week

Concentrate on running rather than cycling