Canals, Country Lanes and Calorie Counting

Week 9 – Build Phase
w/c 15.07.2019
Recommended mileage: 35 miles
Actual mileage: 35.4 miles
The week started with a trip to physio. Rehab had been going well. I’d been strict on myself with the exercise program, doing them religiously 2-3 times a day and I felt there were definite signs of improvement over the past couple of weeks. I’d started running regularly, albeit keeping the mileage down as instructed and there was no sign of any post run niggles. The ankle was still slightly swollen but wasn’t causing me any discomfort and he was confident this would improve over the next week or two. I was continuing to ice, rest and massage post exercise. Once the swelling had completely gone, we would then ramp up the exercises to strengthen the ankle but until then I was told to carry on with the current programme. All was good and I left feeling motivated.
Now that my ankle was on the mend, my focus turned to my weight. My weight has always been an issue and together with my mental and physical well-being, was one of the main reasons I started running.
It was back in 2013 when I remember jumping on a set of scales – probably for the first time in over 2 decades. It also coincided with me buying a new pair of running shoes, a Fitbit and doing the odd mile or two around the park. I was 15′ 6 lbs. Shocked but determined to do something about it.
I’ve gradually lost weight over the years, predominantly through exercise as I still have the odd tendency for takeaway’s, savoury snacks and alcoholic beverages. 
When I signed up for the LiaD ultramarathon, I was bang on 13 stone with a BMI of 25.4. My target weight has always been 12′ 7 which would put me in the healthy weight range based on my height, 5ft 11in with a BMI of 24.5. My weight mainly fluctuates anywhere between 13 stone and 13 1/2 stone depending on my race calendar – the harder I train, the more I lose weight but I’ve never been able to maintain my weight under 13 stone.
Due to my recent injury and the lack of running I’ve crept back up to 13′ 4 with a BMI of 26.0. That’s an extra 4 1/2 bags of sugar that I’m going to have to carry up 14,000 feet of elevation. No thank you. Healthy eating and exercise go hand-in-hand so I’ve made the decision to cut out alcohol, late night snacks and limit the amounts of takeaways to the occasional treat. 
I have 12 weeks to lose 9 lbs.
I can do this.
I will do this.
I went for a lovely 7 mile run on Tuesday evening with Hannah, a friend from club.  The route takes in country lanes, canals and plenty of elevation. Bromsgrove is notoriously hilly so hills are hard to avoid, not that I want to avoid them of course. Tardebrigge Locks or the Tardebrigge Flight as it’s commonly known is the longest flight of locks in the UK, comprising of 30 narrow locks on a two-and-a-quarter mile stretch of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The section we ran as part of my 7 mile loop is all uphill; so even the canal paths aren’t flat! Nonetheless, it was a steady, enjoyable run and added an extra mile on to my longest run last week. I like steady progression.
Average Pace: 9:42 min miles
Elevation Gain: 430 ft
Mile 1 – 9:29, Mile 2 – 9:25, Mile 3 – 9:43, Mile 4 – 9:43, Mile 5 – 10:17, Mile 6 – 9:39, Mile 7 – 9:47.

Tardebigge Canal

Wednesday was another scheduled rest day but in all honesty, I was dying to get out for a run. I’d been in meetings all day at head office and managed to hit rush hour traffic on the way home. Unfortunately for me, Ruth had made plans so reluctantly I was forced into doing the sensible option, stretch and rest as per my training plan.

Thursday was club run and despite jumping on the wrong motorway (I was in work autopilot mode) I managed to arrive just as the pre-run briefing had finished. Garmin on, GPS signal found and we were off.  I joined the back of the 9 – 9:30 minute mile group and enjoyed a sociable, chatty 6 mile route along the Birmingham canals in the evening sunshine.

Average Pace: 9:12 min miles
Elevation Gain: 190 ft
Mile 1 – 9:02, Mile 2 – 9:21, Mile 3 – 9:13, Mile 4 – 8:51, Mile 5 – 9:31, Mile 6 – 9:15

Lovely evening for a run along the canal

I worked from home on Friday. I’m working away in Norwich next week for three days so had various reports and courtesy calls to make prior to the trip. The Great British Summer time had temporarily deserted us, replaced instead with torrential rain and high winds which had set in for most of the day. I’d planned to get out for a short run at lunchtime but this was pushed back to late afternoon as I couldn’t quite force myself out of my warm, sheltered office. Actually – it was more the fact that I’d struggle to settle back into the warm, sheltered office if I’d ventured out. Due to the bleak weather conditions I opted for a short 2 mile circular route, followed by a couple of miles of hill reps locally to where I live. 4 miles in total, with some decent hills but at a comfortable pace. I did get soaked through to the skin though!

Average Pace: 8:45 min miles

Elevation Gain: 240ft
Mile 1 – 8:51, Mile 2 – 8:58, Mile 3 – 8:28, Mile 4 – 8:43

Alone in my own thoughts…

I had no intention of doing parkrun this week but as the boys were up, fed and entertained, I grabbed my stuff and headed to Arrow Valley. I missed my Arrow Valley parkrun by 1 second last week so against the physio’s orders, I started towards the front of the pack and decided to go for it. I ran the first mile way too quick which ultimately was my downfall and crossed the line in 22:30, 10 seconds slower than last week (when I wasn’t even trying for a PB) and 11 seconds off my Arrow Valley PB. Oh well, never mind. I can’t be too disappointed after having 5 weeks off!

Average Pace: 7:15 min miles

Mile 1 – 7:02, Mile 2 – 7:27, Mile 3 – 7.25

Position: 38/421
Age Grade: 60.6% 
4th in age category.

I’d agreed to meet up with some club members on Sunday morning and join them in their weekly long run. One of the perks of joining a running club is that there’s always someone training for an event of some kind which you can buddy up with. Solo runs have their place but having company on your long runs is invaluable sometimes.

My ankle was feeling fine after this weeks efforts so I wanted to ramp up the miles slightly with the Teesdale Trail 92 miler still in the back of my mind, which if it was still going to happen, would be in 2 weeks time. I had a distance of 15 miles in the back of my mind but knowing that the route contained loops, I’d never be too far away from the car if I needed to cut it short for any reason. Any signs of discomfort or pain and I would call it a day.

I met up with the group in Kings Heath Park for an 8am start. The route consisted of a 10 mile loop followed by an optional 5 mile loop for those who wished to continue. We’d agreed to run at 9.30 minute mile pace which suited me perfectly. We settled into a nice rhythm, there was plenty of chat and the miles soon ticked by. I felt comfortable up to about mile 7 then my distinct lack of fitness started to show. It was warm and muggy, and although my ankle felt fine, my legs in general started to ache and felt very tired. I’d decided not to carry my race vest so had left my water in my car, which in hindsight was definitely a mistake. I struggled on for the last three miles before regrouping back at the car, exhausted and welcome of a rest. A few of the group decided to call it a day at 10 miles, leaving 3 of us to continue to do the additional 5 miles. I grabbed some water and a Chia Charge bar from the car and then carried on for the last stretch. This seemed to give me a second wind and the rest of the run felt comfortable, although I was physically tired but managed to keep going… apart from that last bloomin hill which had beat me mentally before I got to it! I walked the last section.

All in all, I was delighted to get 15 miles in the legs, tired but injury free.

Average Pace: 9:25 min miles

Elevation Gain: 584ft

Too much time in Zone 4 for my liking…


One thought on “Canals, Country Lanes and Calorie Counting

  1. Great work, well done! I love club for that and will enjoy helping others build their distance now I'm not training for something myself. So glad you're back on it so brilliantly. And I'm with you on the watching the intake – I'm determined to cut the snacking now I've stopped being rungry from the ultra. So better sleep leading to less need for sugar mid-afternoon. I'm sure you'll succeed in your plan, too.


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