Cold Shoulder

Once I have taken all the bitching out about a frozen shoulder that has given me sleepless nights and various other levels of jip this week, I thought there would be very little left to report.

I left the Gym session out this week citing it as the probably cause of the muscle spasm in the first place. I also cancelled the gym induction until I was in better physical shape to make the most of it.


Of course this won’t stop the training this week, just a shame it included another set of threshold runs. This time it was in the dark, so I had to think carefully about where the visibility would be good, the area would be quiet and the road would be three minutes long! “What?” I hear you say, “a road three minutes long, don’t be ridiculous.”

What it means is how far I can run in three minutes in a ‘controlled discomfort’ state. The other issue I faced is that I can barely see my GPS at night so I would be unable to know when three minutes had lapsed until I got home to analyse the data.

I sourced a likely candidate in Chiswell Green which conveniently is a 15 minute ‘warm-up’ jog away. Arriving at the far end of Stanley Avenue, I hit the lap button on my Forerunner and set off on the first rep. I ran like billy-o to the other end of the road observing how much of it appeared to be uphill. I arrived in one ‘controlled discomfort’ heap at the other end of Stanley Avenue and gathered myself in the 90 seconds recovery or so before heading back down the other way. Strangely, this way seemed to be mostly uphill as well and I wager, a bit longer too. The third leg of this torture didn’t fair any better, so I quickly made the decision not to do the final stretch up this M C Escher road, instead choosing to head home and cool down around more familiar territory that didn’t change inclination every five minutes.

New shoes

I had to consider that my current running shoes would not be in their best condition come April, so a new pair were in order. After a fruitless visit to Sweatshop for some new runners I decided to hunt down another pair of slipper-like Brooks Vapour 10’s which had served me well over the last year. Ironically I got these on-line at Sweatshop at a highly reduced discount thanks to my work’s health insurance.

Verulam Hills

The first Kenyan Hills session was not the part of the week I was particularly looking forward to, but the time had come to face this new nemesis. Verulamium has some mean contours in it, but the task was to find a quietish incline to practice on, fearing local newspaper headlines of some wheezing oaf acting suspiciously in a local park scaring mothers and kids alike.

I found myself down at the Bluehouse Hill end of the park that is normally occupied by the odd dog walker and beer soaked drunks. Setting off on the first inline for a 20-30 second burst is rewarded with an almost floppy jog back down to the start, only to repeat this until three minutes was up and a 90 second recovery is granted. Four sets of these later I will freely admit that I didn’t feel too shabby, possible I wasn’t trying hard enough or I could be becoming such a finely tuned athlete, you decide?

I jogged home across the park and through the wooded area up by King Harry Lane and oddly observed a tent discretely hidden in the depths of the wood, most peculiar!

Santa Sunday

Finding somewhere different to pound out the long runs on Sundays is a challenge especially if you want to keep off the main roads. I saw an opportunity arise as Sue was playing netball this morning over by Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn. I calculated on the runjogwalk website that this was about 8.5 miles if I ran along the Alban way to Hatfield and then along the A1001 to Stanborough. The Alban Way is a disused railway that runs from the Abbey Station at the bottom of Holywell Hill in St Albans all the way to Hatfield Station. Of course the highlight is the fact it is virtually flat all the way, the extra plus being it was a beautiful morning to run through the lovely Hertfordshire countryside.

I was pleased at how fresh I was still feeling as the hour ticked by, so as a treat I thought I would test out another one of the gels I had purchsed. This time it was a berry flavoured number with added caffeine. I’m glad I’m trying these out beforehand because this one was absolutely disgusting and not going on the list for Marathon day.

As I entered Stanborough I was a bit taken aback when I overtook not one, but three Santa’s and a very small elf. It turned out to be the annual Stanborough Santa Run and not some hallucinogenic episode brought on by glycogen depletion.

I reached the netball courts at Stanborough School in one hour 25 minutes and covered 9.2 miles in the process, which is the furthest I had run since the St Albans half marathon over ten years ago.

Distance run since last entry: 20.81 miles
Accumulative distance run: 161.58 miles
Accumulative distance cycled: 110.77 miles