Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Week 1 - in the bag?

Well Pfitz and I are back at it again. Like any intense relationship, I think a temporary separation was a good thing. Running easy miles, at my own pace, was good for me. But before hooking up with him again, this time, I prepared myself for him. I was ready for him. In the weeks leading up to the beginning of my 14 week Pfitzinger training plan (12 + 2 weeks for life getting in the way) I ramped up my mileage and my tempo runs and, to be honest, our first week together was less demanding than the fortnight before we reunited. However. However. As you know - we are now in the middle of moving house. I had a ball to go to which required a late night, dancing in high heels and a stay away from home (well, required, but you know). And work just never stops stressing me out. So the first week, was, well a bit of a struggle. I bought a new version of the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathoning as I had been told he's changed his plans a bit. I haven't had time to read it but yes he has. He's introduced doubles. Running twice in a day. Good lord that is a challenge. Fitting one run in is something but two! So I promptly missed the first double. Then I had 5 easy to run which I ran on a hilly path with a heck of a hangover - not much of a recovery run, more of a punishment run. But I doubt the Pfitz approves of dancing in high heels and drinking champagne so this was his way of telling me to get back on the wagon.. And then I had 13 to run on Sunday. But Sunday I moved furniture and - stuff, SO MUCH stuff - all day. Up and down stairs. I was going to run at 9pm but I was finished. Done for. In the bath, soothing my aching muscles, I perused Advanced Marathoning to see if he would let me off the hook. No such luck. "There's really no excuse for outside commitments to regularly interfere with your marathon preparation". Cheers Petey. Guess I'm off out tomorrow morning. So in the tradition of truly hardcore runners like the ROHOs I set off at 5am with an empty stomach. I only got 9M in. I was running slowly (running on empty man!) and had a big, full day ahead at work and home - I had to be in the house again by 6:30am. All day this bothered me. So when I got home, stressed and ratty, guess what I did? Yup I went out and ran the other 4. Yes this is not what Pete wanted. He wanted me to run the last 8M at marathon pace. But you know what Pete? It's been a hard week.

However, on the upside - we are nearly done. By Friday I think I will be moved - temporarily. There is an 0ff-putting pile of boxes in storage and still amazing amounts of just - stuff - to be moved - but the big ticket stuff has been done. And there have been some true highlights. I found a handbag I was so upset at losing that I allowed myself to be hypnotised to try to find it. (that didn't work - duh.) I found a dress I saw recently in a sale and wished I had bought in my size - guess what? I did! It was hanging in my wardrobe all this time... I am SUCH a ditz.

We're camping out for a few months, wedged together with my in-laws (that conjures up a pretty picture hey?) but little need to worry about my house. I can just go out running. So watch out for me peeps - I intend to get back on the blogging, commenting and generally being present wagon. Till soon!

Finally - I've been so bad at most things recently - friendships, prioritising, blogging, being-on-the-wagon - that it just drops into the ocean of my failures but I haven't posted any photos recently. So here's a recent photo of me in my new running gear after a 10M run. Forgive the hideous house I posed in front of.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Onwards and upwards (and downwards too)

A fellow blogger emailed me a few weeks ago asking me how I had managed to fit the Pfitzinger schedule - which is pretty demanding, time and distance-wise - into my schedule.  The answer to that is - simply - by prioritising it.  

That sounds decisive and straightforward enough but can be much more problematic than it seems.  To run the mileage that Pfitzinger demands, and to fit in the rest, sleep and nutritional focus that will help to maximise the mileage I have been cutting corners out of all corners of my life.  

And some parts of my life have very few corners to cut.  Take my family.  They are used to my Sunday morning long runs.  They are used to waking up in the week and finding me either still out on the trail, or just coming in.  But to fit in Pfitzinger's 8 - 12 miles before 7am is harder than my usual leisurely 5.  Getting up at 6 I can cope with.  Getting up at 5 takes some getting used to.  And of course, everyone pays the price for my getting up at 5am.  By 9pm, after a day at work and all the joyous and not-so-joyous tasks of the mother, housewife and wife that greet me in my second shift as I walk through the door, I am not the best company.  This is not the time to come to me with a "I can't sleep".  Or a "let's do our finances now".  Or any conversation or activitity which requires patience and engagement.  Because I no longer have it. 

Work is fairly unaffected.  That is to say that I do a very stressful and demanding job part-time which is really a full-time job wedged into part-time.  I definitely have my bad patches - I am in the middle of one now - but I think that, on balance, I deal with my work stress by running and this is definitely a blessing for my colleagues.   

Other interests?  Well - this blog is a case in point.  While I've never been as "regular" as some, my blogging has definitely tailed off in the last 6 months while my mileage went up.   Which I don't like because I need you all, more than ever.  I like hearing from everyone, sharing with everyone and feeling a part of it. But right now I am training and running so much that I can't actually find the time to share much of it.  I keep composing audio comments while I'm out on a run but I never make the time to sit at my desk and actually record them.  My recipe blog - there are photos on my computer, recipes written up but actually putting them together?  I hope it will happen but something big would have to happen to free up that chunk of time.  

And just as I felt my plate was full - we are moving!  Only next door - my in-laws and I are swapping houses.  No - don't ask.  Our domestic setup is unusual, we live next door to my father-in-law and his girlfriend and, as their house is bigger than ours, and they are getting older and we are taking up more space, we are swapping.  So!  I am packing up the whole house. The icing on the cake of this gem of a domestic situation is that we are living with my in-laws while they renovate our house.  There is plenty of space but still.  It will be interesting.  So not only am I packing, but I am also storing lots of things that in the short term I will not be able to have around.  As anyone who has done this knows, this is very tiring work.  So wedging in my runs around this as well is adding another layer of complexity. 

On balance the running is helping.  The stress relief, the boost I get from running well - all well worth it.  But I would say that training, and in particular following a demanding schedule, does cut into the rest of your life.  And while we have all spent a lot of time thinking about the positive aspects of running, and I wholly believe in them, there is no denying that spending that much time on a hobby affects your life, not always where you would wish it to. 

Training - thank you for asking - is going well.  I have just started my 12 week training plan for Berlin and the Bizz, tacking two extra weeks on to cope with the summer holidays / injuries and /or illness.  In the weeks prior to starting the program I managed a 40M week and a 38M week, a 10 miler run at an 8 minute mile pace and a 12 miler at 8:30 minute mile pace.  I feel ready for the Pfitz.  Bring it on boy!

So now from the ethereal to the more, well, earthy aspects of my life.  About 4 weeks ago I realised that I had progressed from being to having a pain in my a**.  Yes I pulled my hamstring.  The very top of it.  I had never given much thought to my hamstrings but now I had to.  I didn't even know where it was.  The name is a clue.  I had a pain in my ham.  So off I trotted to my friendly osteopath, font of all running and physical wisdom.  He did not seem unduly concerned but recommended stretching and .. massage.  A .. well .. ham massage.  I've had two of these ham massages and they have made me realise just how English I've become. While I'm lying there on the massage table having my issues dealt with, so to speak, we speak about climbing mountains, training schedules, nutrition etc.  In other words - we both make very sure to avoid any mention of the massaging of the ham.  

You will be delighted to hear, however, that the awkwardness and embarassment has been worth it as my ham is much happier and so am I.  I think that tomorrow we can just go back to my usual ITB stretches and knee massage... 

So if you don't hear from me, it's not because I've given up.  I'm probably out running.  Or at my osteopath's.  But I haven't forgotten you - don't forget me.  I'll be back!