This week’s running – 9th to 15th of September

There was a bit less running this week.

After an amazing experience at this year’s Cardiff 10k, I decided to give myself 3 good days of rest and recovery where there was no running.

Training resumed on Thursday at 6:30am when I ran 6 early morning miles along Hagley Road. I hadn’t run that early in the morning since we were last in Malgrat de Mar last year. I also didn’t have any breakfast before heading out, only some water for hydration. I’m the sort of person that needs a shower in the morning and at least an hour to really come to my senses. The first mile was sluggish and nothing felt right. There was a surprising amount of traffic out on the roads along with a couple of fellow runners. I finally felt more like myself at the halfway point, which you can see from my splits where there was a dramatic improvement. All in all, it was a pretty decent run and it helped to wake everything up again after a few days off. The Garmin data can be found here.

Saturday was Parkrun day at Cannon Hill. I was in good shape and wanted a course PB, but I don’t think I was hungry for a course PB if that makes sense? I had agreed to pace Dave for the first 2 miles at 6:16 minutes per mile and the rest would be an unknown quantity. Despite warnings to take care on the start line not to fall over, some plonker only went and fell over! The first mile was a tad behind schedule but felt fast. It was a very crowded field up front despite only 386 runners turning up. We spent much of the first mile weaving and dodging fellow runners, not helping us run a clean line. The second mile was pretty shocking at over 10 seconds slower than target race pace, usually caused by pacing off other runners that are also slowing down. We managed to lift the pace going into the third mile but Dave wisely dropped back slightly, now going into unknown territory. My second wind came out of nowhere and I started to chase runners down. On the approach to the final corner, I was overtaken by a chap wearing a Marathon Talk t-shirt; I told him to go for it and “zip up the Yuki-suit”, to which he replied “foos your legs!”. Leaving the final corner, I had caught up to a young lad that was running superbly; he was starting to fade so I told him to stay with me for the last 400m, pushing him on to just overtake me. I crossed the finish line for 19:39; Dave came back home moments later for a superb 19:46 PB. We both looked pretty fresh and still had a bit more to give, so next week might see records fall again. Whilst I didn’t achieve anything for myself, it was great to be able to help others out and proved to be one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had in recent times. Here’s the Garmin data.

Volt Nike Flyknit Racers

Everybody knows the brighter the shoes, the faster the finish times!

I purchased my third pair of Nike Flyknit Racers in fetching Volt. Dom and I had popped into the Nike Store in Cardiff last weekend and sadly, they wanted too much for them; at £150 a pair, that’s roughly 50p per mile if I can get them to last 300 miles. Runners Need wanted far less and whilst still expensive, they are a superb racing flat for me and part of my arsenal for racing. My orange pair from last year are now starting to show significant signs of wear, not in the sole or midsole but in the upper. Due to the weave construction, the more ventilated areas like the toe box are starting to give way and I’ll be really lucky to be able to get 300 miles out of them.

Sunday started off with the Great North Run. The women’s race was superb, with Priscah Jeptoo crushing the competition of Defar and Dibaba from Ethiopia. She’s making waves this year and is one to keep an eye on after winning the London Marathon and now the Great North Run. The men’s race was also fantastic, with a brilliant move by Kenenisa Bekele to catch up to Mo and Haile with a 25m gap initially and then go all the way to win it! I felt so bad for Haile where he did all the pacing work for the first 12 miles only to lose it on the hill, never having the chance to regain the lead.

The triathlon finals were also tense affairs, with Non Stanford taking the win in the women’s event. Full of surprises, many participants thought to be in contention either wiped out and never finished or simply weren’t a real threat in the end. It was also unfortunate for Alastair to be injured and Jonathan just missed out on victory by a few mere metres.

Hannah England at Daegu 2011

Hannah England trains in Birmingham

Today’s long run possibly didn’t have the most thought put into it. The Skyride took place in Birmingham, ruling out another bash at the upcoming half marathon course. In a moment of madness meeting convenience, I decided last night to cover 8 laps of Edgbaston Reservoir, making for 12+ miles. During the first lap, I saw a female runner ahead training with their coach. They had a long blonde pony tail and initially, I thought it may have been Gemma Steel. As she got closer, she looked too slender to be Gemma Steel and I realised it was Hannah England! I said “hello Hannah” to her as she ran towards me and she replied with a smile and a “hi!”. I saw her another 3 times but left her to it rather than disturb her training session. It’s not every day you get to share your training session with an elite for inspiration! Running laps around Edgbaston Reservoir was hard as nails. Some parts of the course are incredibly exposed with the wind battering me senseless today. The loose, uneven terrain also drained my legs of energy compared to running on the road, leaving me running on near empty for the second half. Finally, the mental challenge of running laps almost broke me where I wanted to quit after 6 laps. Included in the negativity mix was my heart rate monitor causing a stitch; I had to take it off and carry it which explains the erratic readings during the run. Oh, and the rain came with one lap left to make an already difficult run even harder to complete. Take a look at the Garmin data here.

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