Mad Dogs and Englishwomen

Training Diary 2 Comments

This post may be being brought to you from the after life. I know, exciting! And it’s not even Friday the 13th or Halloween. In case you’re wondering, it feels a lot like the before life, but with more stillness. I’ve written a farewell email to my husband (who hasn’t responded, by the way, so he’s clearly concerned about my probably dead status! Unless… maybe it didn’t send because my fingers no longer execute keyboard commands!!) *cue haunting type music*


Anyway, my final communiqué with my dearly beloved went along the lines of:


I might not be typing this: it might be my ghost. It’s hard to tell.

I think I might have died.

This morning’s interval session was REALLY hard and now I believe I have expired.

You should ring the house to check. If I am a ghost, I can’t answer because I can’t hold a phone – my hand will shoot straight through. And if I’m not dead, I might not answer because the phone is not directly beside my hand, and I don’t have the energy to reach for it.

Thank you for being my husband. I liked being married to you in life.

Love, xxx

The interval session referred to was one hosted by SBTC, run by PAT 422 running. Between these two conspirators, they provide a weekly opportunity for torture speedwork/intervals every Thursday. You’d think I would have cottoned on to the fact that these sessions are hard by now, but I’m not that smart, so I keep turning up.

In fact, I encouraged others to turn up today. I’m sorry, Katrina. Well done Mel, Laura and Renee for sticking to your guns and doing whatever was on your plan. I enjoyed knowing you all in life, too.

Club running is a fairly new concept to me. I have largely avoided it for fear of fast runners. Not that I fear fast runners, per se. Unless they are running fast directly at me, of course. No, my real fear is holding them up. Being TOO SLOW.

The nice folk at SBTC and PAT 422 have actually designed sessions to allow everyone to participate, though, so even slowbies like me can join in. Good work, South Bank!!

The sessions follow a standard outline.

First we warm up with a jog. Well, the front runners warm up with a jog. I perform what I believe is sprinting to try and keep the pack in view. (I long for the day when I can run their pace and it become a “warm up jog”!)

Then the group stops for some dynamic stretching. (I usually arrive in time to do the last set of whatever stretch they are performing).

Then the others start their actual workout. I continue my workout, having already performed sprints… 😉 You see, this is one of the few things I agree with Kanye over: what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So I keep trying.

For those of you, like me, who have avoided running groups, there is something else you need to know about coaches.  They like to be liked. I have deduced this from observing their clever shifting of the blame for the evil session they inflict. Rather than claiming it as his own, today’s workout was billed as a “Mona Fartlek” (and not just because I was moaning about how hard it was) – you see, this particular brand of torture delightful running fun was invented by Steve Moneghetti – so we can’t blame it on Pat. He gets to be the nice guy. And that’s probably why people keep coming back each Thursday. Cunning work, Coach!

But I do think the finishing flourish at the end might have been Pat’s own handiwork – we had 6 x 100m hill sprints to complete, too. REALLY.

I was all for bailing before the hill sprints. (Long before the hill sprints, to be honest, but such is the motivational power of a running group). And this last delight – this is the penance you pay for telling people it would be a fun session and so they are convinced, or not convinced, but turn up anyway. Katrina was not going to let me off the hook. We were doing ALL six. Thank you for keeping me honest out there!! It made me feel all badass and runnerish.

However, now I think I may have expired.

In fact, seeing as the Grumpster had failed on his part in testing my theory telephonically, I thought I would perform a home-based test.

I thought I would check if my hand would pass straight through the brush handle, fairly confident that I would NOT be able to wield it. HOORAY. (I do triathlon to avoid housework – just so you know).

The brush is the bane of my life. Well, not the brush, so much. The floor tiles and the dog fur are the actual bane of my life.



And just for the record, dogs see dustpans and brushes as a challenge. The more you brush up, the more determinedly they shed fur. #FACT And when they worry they aren’t winning the moulting war, they go outside, muddy up their paws and pad antagonistically over each tile in your house. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Unfortunately, the brush test was inconclusive. I was able to move the object. Dammit.

But that only proves I might be a poltergeist.

Which means I am writing this as a plea. It is approaching lunchtime. PLEASE BRING FOOD. AND/OR COFFEE. AND FOOD. To my stool where I am currently perched. I can’t move!

And the other thing. Don’t be scared of running groups – actual in real life or virtual via the interwebs. Or intervals. Or other forms of speedwork. They will help you break through. (Obviously, they don’t generally help you break through to another life. And you, being less histrionic than me, will be fine).

But they will help you break through to a new level of performance. 🙂


On reading this back, I think it is worth adding that neither the club or coach put runners under any pressure to work outside their range of capability. Adaptations are available for different levels of runner, as well as those training for specific goals. Any ranting is simply because I am very loath to leave my comfort zone, and having shockingly stepped outside it this morning, I’ve now morphed into a total whinger.

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