Monday, June 01, 2015

Fast Running - phase 1

 Tonight I set off for my first speed run training. It has been 2 weeks since Slateman and I have managed a couple of runs since, the last being 9 days ago - a slow plod to work with a slightly accelerated finish.

Tonight I set off up the road and tried to pin an effort level to my run. I fancied a long race pacing run. The idea to do a few of these getting faster leading up to the race. By long I mean race distance - maybe more so 10k.

If 50% is plodding along and 100% sprinting then I was aiming at 60 -70. I settled for 65% and lost a layer as I was already warm. I enjoyed pacing by feel better than the hrm running, it feels more "free". It was easy on the road.

I followed the sea wall (more of a dyke than a wall tbh) as far as the eye could see. The trail got more difficult as open gravel gave way to overgrown baked mud, all uneven, wet and cloying. I found a hide which I couldn't resist going inside. I had been sweaty but cold and exposed on the elevated sea wall, surrounded by marsh land all around. By comparison the hide was like a sauna. Out of the wind it felt as warm as a sauna, it smelt woody like a sauna and under the pressure of the wind it sounded like a sauna but the birdsong was overwhelming and the views, though flat, were very calming. I soaked it in for as long as I dared without muscles going to sleep then had a look to see if any wildlife had come out. Seems Marsh Harriers are quite shy but curious enough to have a good look at me once I blew my cover.

The track was starting to feel a bit long and I was concerned for both my pace and my table for dinner.

I checked the sign post cruelly located in the bog (what do short sighted people do?) and it said only 1km to Shellness.

That put a spring in my step.

Past the house or two  at the end of the trail I joined a vehicle track. I took a pre-emptive manoeuvre back onto the sea defences to avoid a lone transit connect van... it is pretty remote.

I wonder at this sign before realising that I have stumbled upon Sheppey's nudist beach. Very briefly I considered a short naked run just to see if the hype is justified then thought better of it based on how cold my exposed hands were and y'know, transit man.

300m later I ran past an episode of the bill with 3 cop cars and a few words being had related to a scraped car. I just ran by, driven now by dinner.

I turned onto familiar territory but couldn't remember quite where it came out. At least it was back on gravel road and I could focus on the speed again.

I was really enjoying myself and revelling in the combination of strength training and a form-regenerating rest period. I practiced some yoga technique, switched my sight on to silent and instead reeled in the smells and put all the sounds of the birdsong, my breath and footfall and the wind in the rushes, into my mental library. Those will be drawn on when I am stressed one day.

A few running quail amused me before I met the main road and the worst part of the run. Just as everything was starting to hurt consistently, a sign that said 1.5 miles came into view. The road was long and straight and I didn't seem to be getting through it very quickly.

I looked to the sky for some reassurance but it was unfathomably still compared with the head winds I was experiencing. Instead I tried to guess the distance i had travelled. . I reckon 8 miles and worked out how to calculate my corrected time.

Finally I could see the last bend before the descent to the hotel. Lying in the road was the button off a piece of (guess) farm machinery. It had 'PUSH' written on it in large, reassuring letters so I took it as a sign and pushed down the last straight with a strong finish. Practice makes perfect.

8 miles, 1hr 20 minutes. Bob on a 1hr 10k - and some.

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