It’s been another lighter week of running
Unofficial Parkrun Getogether
Tuesday was supposed to be my hill rep session, but I had been double booked by the Men’s Health Superdry Fashion Event at the Bullring. I really wanted to get the hill session in but also wanted to go to the Superdry event where I would receive a free £25 goodie bag and also a pair of £45 Superdry headphones if I was one of the first 50 in the queue.
Turns out the decision was made for me because I needed a rest day; I had no energy and felt run-down, which is a dangerous place to be so close to a half marathon.
I won’t bore you with the details about the Superdry event (I did get the free headphones!) but I will tell you that the two gents behind Iain and me in the queue were fellow Parkrunners! Joseph and Gillan Stone are a father and son team that have regularly attended Cannon Hill for even longer than I have, with Joseph a runner at the inaugural event way back in 2010 and mere runs away from collecting his 100 Club t-shirt. They’re due to run the Chester Marathon on the 6th, so we traded stories about training and other running related tales.
Once inside the event, I also bumped into Khalid Malik, one of the members of Cannon Hill Parkrun management. Iain and I had a hilarious chat with Khalid about how for ages, Khalid knew all about my PBs and performances but had no idea who I actually was in the field! This is most likely true for many Parkrunners, where you probably know the names and faces of the runners immediately around you during and when you finish the run, but far less likely to know others ahead or behind you.
It was also good to talk to Khalid about the management side of Parkrun, with the big issue being volunteers or rather the lack of them. I volunteered twice last year as a marshal and loved every moment of it, cheering people on. Dave and I had commented how looking at the runner points table, there were very few regulars that had not volunteered with the big fat zero standing out like a sore thumb against your name. The recommendation is that each runner should volunteer 3 times per year to keep their weekly event going. For both of my occasions, I was either injured or tapering and these are perfect opportunities to volunteer because you’re not missing out on anything.
Charlotte Road and St James Road hill reps
After feeling a little down earlier in the week, I was bright as a button on Wednesday. Feeling quite happy that my speed is at a good place right now, I was keen to use Parkrun as a weekly way to maintain my 5k speed rather than develop it further for reasons already mentioned. Instead, I wanted to build on some hill strength for both Cardiff and Birmingham.
I ventured out towards Charlotte Road and St James Road but only managed two reps. Strung together, they make for quite a long hill and I was running low on energy where I began to feel lightheaded during the second rep. I called it quits and decided to live to fight another day; we’re too close to Cardiff now to risk something happening.
The Garmin data can be found here.
Virgin London Marathon 2014
The running community’s equivalent of winning the National Lottery!
Yes, the rumours are true – I am indeed back in the 2014 Virgin London Marathon!
I’ve written an entry of its own for this occasion, so please head over here to read it.
Cannon Hill Parkrun
Andy versus the Cobra
Conscious that I need to be winding activities down in the run up to the Cardiff Half taper, I decided not to go full pelt at Parkrun. Target time was around 19:45; fast but manageable.
Dave and I agreed that he’d stay with me for as long as possible, so we we’d try and run a consistent pace of 6:20 minutes per mile. We covered the first mile at just a touch faster than target pace. The above Cobra RC runner and I had a few mini battles out on the course, with me eventually holding him off going into the second mile.
I started to slow at this stage as expected, so Dave picked up pacing duties temporarily which is quick becoming a regular occurrence.
We went into the third mile and Dave started to lose the pace, leaving me on my own. I started to have a few mini battles with another chap and dropped him too. I began to chase Neil Muir down who was also taking it easier after running a season’s best time last week. I caught him up whilst approaching the final corner, joined shortly by the Cobra RC runner. We attacked the final 400m together, though I started to drift backwards from our group. With 100m left to go, there was a sizable 10m gap; I decided to give it everything and went for a quick surge to return home just a second before my opponents. I managed to cock-up pressing stop on my Garmin, so I originally thought I’d clocked something around 19:45 or so from the target pacing; I actually scored 19:34 for a third best 5k time and my second best at Cannon Hill Parkrun!
Dave being chicked
Dave came back in with 19:51; a strong result to solidly put him in the sub-20 runners as a regular.
Here’s the Garmin data – please excuse the iffy heart rate result too, where my heart rate monitor slipped down mid-way through the run.
Long Sunday run
After a morning at the Cycle Show with Iain and stocking up on energy gels, I headed out for my final long run before next week’s Cardiff Half.
The weather had warmed-up again and made running in the afternoon trickier. I headed out towards the South Birmingham canals with two Isogels in tow and aimed to get 10 miles in at around 8 minute mile pace. I cut the distance down on purpose to begin my taper; the pace was also conservative to help begin the process to freshen up for next Sunday.
The run went exactly as planned with no casualties. Take a look at the Garmin data here.
Cardiff Half Marathon
Track my Cardiff Half Marathon on race day by clicking here
I’m gearing myself up for the Cardiff Half next week; carbo loading will begin shortly to prime my body with glycogen for the exertions of race day.
I’m aiming for sub-1:33 but something inside me is telling me I have what it takes for around 1:31. Pacing calculators are also telling me I have what it takes for a sub-1:30 finish; a major half marathon benchmark that many decent club runners are measured by. I don’t think I have the balls to go for a sub-1:30 finish just yet, not wanting to risk a major blow-out like what happened to me in the 2011 Cardiff Half. There will be a sub-1:30 pacing group on the day, so I’ll try and keep an eye on them and see where they are on the horizon. Ignoring that for a moment, my own strategy is to go out and complete mile 1 in 7:05, upping the pace to 7 minute miles until mile 6. From there, I’ll play it by ear whether I stick with 7 minute miles or whether I up the pace slightly to 6:55.
The organisers have said I can collect my coloured wristband from the race village next Saturday. The wristband will get me into the orange pen and is their solution to the cock-up of incorrect coloured race bibs that were sent out a few weeks ago.
Nutrition-wise, I’ll be packing two Isogels to take out on the course. I’ll reserve one for around mile 4 or 5 and the other will be used at mile 11 or 12 to help me power through to the end.
The countdown to race day begins!