Apologies for the lack of bloggage recently but I haven’t had anything too exciting to talk about on the running front. Don’t worry though, I have collected up a bunch of my inane running-related drivel to bore you with now…
Post-Harvel 5 I began gently pushing up my weekly mileage, to start getting back to somewhere near my weekly totals of last year. The advent of warmer weather (and sunshine!) saw me take the plunge and spend some money on running sunglasses. I was a bit reluctant at first, as they make you look like an over-equipped burk, but they are worth it. They are definitely cooler and shield your eyes better than a hat or visor and, although you still obviously sweat, it’s much less so. And more importantly you get to look cool as well, wiping your brow and putting your sunnies back on like triathlon legend Mark Allen (tiny shorts optional). Result!
A couple of weeks after Harvel I decided to visit my local parkrun at Great Lines park in our home town of sunny Gillingham. I hadn’t been for nearly 6 months, a few weeks before I got injured, and was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure where my fitness was and more importantly my 5k pace as I had been focussing my limited training on longer runs for the Kent Roadrunner Marathon. There was only one way to find out though, run.
And it was fine. It was nice to see familiar faces and be part of the parkrun community again. It’s always good to be standing around with an array of fellow runners, both before and after the run, and catching up. I ran it quite cautiously the first mile or so and felt ok so sped up a bit and started to pass people who were slowing (always a good motivator). By the last mile or so I was pretty much all out and hurting a bit, but on the run downhill to the finish I managed to pick it up nicely to squeak past a runner in front and get 11th place in 20:18. That’s a good 40-odd seconds off my best, but not bad three weeks after my marathon and with minimum speed work in my legs.
And now to get my excuses out early; I was knackered from my momentous effort at parkrun the day before, I didn’t fancy the 4 hour round trip early on Sunday morning by train, there was the threat of rain, a high pollen count and… basically, I chickened out and didn’t use my free space at the City of London Mile. Sorry. I felt bad to take a place from someone else and then not use it, but even the guilt couldn’t motivate me onto the train into London. I settled for a remorse-filled, and hayfever laden, trundle round St Mary’s Island as penance. Forgive me.
I’d booked on to the City Mile partly for a good chance at a PB but mostly to use the run to qualify for a virtual race I’d entered with POW Virtual Running. I chose the Flash Dash over one mile (and it’s awesome medal) as a long-standing fan of the DC comic book (long before I started all this running lark and my almost daily confirmations that I’m not fast as lightening…). So a week after parkrun and the abandoned place at the City of London Mile (sorry) I went out on a Friday morning and a rare work from home day to get a quick mile done.
I warmed up for a mile or so and then got myself to the nearby university campus, which is shared by a number of universities and has a oval route you can follow twice to make up a mile. The moment I set off I knew things were going to be tough; my legs felt heavy and my breathing was laboured (bloody hayfever) at only a third of a mile in, and that was just trying to get to my current mile PB pace of 5:44, let alone go faster. Things began to fall apart at the halfway point and I slowed to over 6 minutes pace in sections. Things weren’t helped by the tight corners on the oval route I’d foolishly chosen and I felt myself tightening up and my form go. I tried to dig in and I managed to not slow any further and even rallied a bit at the finish but my watch stopped at 5:52. A decent time for me, but annoyingly short of a PB.
I sent off evidence of my run to POW anyway and am looking forward to wearing the medal on the train to work and in the shower etc.The attempt did come at a cost; I had a sore knee and IT band the following few days so decided to rest and thankfully everything eased back to normal. It’s a reminder I need to be careful though and not take my legs (and dodgy knee) for granted. The following week I did still manage to get more miles in and actually ran the furthest in a week (bar the week of the marathon) for over 6 months. Yay!
The plan is to keep increasing the mileage by 10% or so a week, with a moderate long run in there somewhere, and most importantly not break anything. I’ve even added in a mid-week trip to our local park, the Strand, to use the outside gym stations there and try and strengthen myself up a bit. I’ve done it twice so far so haven’t noticed a difference so far, apart from achy arms, but will stick with it and see if it helps things. With a few more weeks of steady running in my legs I might be brave and start looking for some races or planning an adventure run (trademark pending), but don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Right, onwards and upwards. Ta-ta for now