Not quite the sunshine and warmth I was hoping for in Malgrat de Mar
This week was all about taking a break, recovery and being a spectator.
Malgrat de Mar
After the PB effort at the Worcester Half Marathon, a well-deserved break was required and arrived in the form of a week’s holiday to Malgrat de Mar (about an hour from Barcelona) in the Costa Brava.
The beginning of my post-race recovery was not great with having to get up at 3:15am to then be stuffed on to a plane and coach for several hours. My legs, despite plenty of stretching and foam rolling after the race, were really stiff (especially the quads). An easy, gentle recovery run along the beach was much needed to shake things out. Easy recovery runs were pretty much the staple of the break to allow my body to absorb the recent training, but also to minimise the calorie spikes from all the great grub I was eating. On our first night at dinner, I ate enough food to easily feed two people – I’m a fat person trapped in a thin person’s body I tells you!
Thursday morning was supposed to be a more structured interval speed sesh – something like 1x 1 mile, 2x 800m and 1x 1 mile. I simply couldn’t face it given I’d spent the entire previous day walking in Barcelona, so my legs were shagged. Instead, I opted for a 2 mile run with a few bursts of fartlek thrown in here and there.
It was odd running in Malgrat de Mar, where this trip seemed to lack that spark that it did two years ago. Perhaps it was simply because it was no longer a new location?
12 miles of Birmingham canals
As I thought, the running in Malgrat de Mar did little to offset all the additional calories I was taking in (3x hearty meals per day and regular ice cream breaks…), with my weigh-in showing a 2.5lb (1.1kg) increase! To give this some context, I hadn’t weighed this much since Christmas 2013 and normally hover around the 9st 5lb mark. Holy shit…
I really wasn’t in the mood for the scheduled long run but this was too much to ignore. The weather looked spot on for a long run and I had plenty of time ahead of the Birmingham Grand Prix athletics later on in the day.
The route took me back to my marathon training stomping ground around the canals heading out towards Spaghetti Junction. I was into a really nice rhythm until I hit Millennium Point; all the fences around a construction site had been pushed over, so I ended up hurdling over canal locks to detour around the obstruction.
I wanted around 12 miles or so out of this long run, so I ventured back through Brindley Place and towards Edgbaston Reservoir. I wasn’t paying attention and missed my exit on the canal… I simply continued on to the next bridge to take me on to the other side of the canal for a loop back to Brindley Place and then home. Job jobbed!
Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
Birmingham Grand Prix
Me and my new mate, Brit Bear!
Remember a few weeks ago when I found out I’d won some athletics tickets as part of shopping at Sainsbury’s? Well, this was the event it was for and what a day it was.
In the end, it was Lis, Dave and Mike (Kings Heath Running Club) who went along to Alexander Stadium. For Lis and me, it was a completely new experience watching live athletics. Our seats were fantastic (for free prizes) and had us situated four rows from the front – close to the steeplechase hurdle with the water thing (please excuse my lack of technical terminology here!).
David Rudisha during the 600m at Birmingham Grand Prix
Highlights of the day included Mo Farah claiming the European (and British) 2 mile record, Lynsey Sharp’s victory over 800m (and a £1,000 performance of the day bonus to go towards her handbag fund) and David Rudisha’s lead over the odd 600m distance.
Mo Farah during the 2 mile race at Birmingham Grand Prix
I think we all had a cracking day and I questioned why I hadn’t ever considered going along to Alexander Stadium before to catch the athletics when it’s been in town. Our seats fell into the £24 category and I’d have happily paid that for the same again.
Here’s this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:
A route is a route when it becomes a route
If this sounds like circular logic, that’s it is. It also happens to be the best answer to the question, “When does a running route, you know, become a route – as opposed to just a series of roads, streets, and paths you happen to be using for your run?”
Anyone who has run for any length of time knows what I’m talking about. A real running route, or “loop,” is greater than the sum of its parts. A route has a history, a personality, a name. A route can be short and sweet or long and ugly, urban or rural, hilly or flat or rolling. A good route, over time, becomes another member of your running group. A good route wears a groove into your collective psyche.
So: How do you know when a route truly becomes a route? When two or more runners in your group can refer to it by name without confusion or further description.
When someone can suggest doing the Susan Seven, backward; or the Bait Shop Loop; or, simply, Fifth Street, and everyone else knows just what you mean… congratulations. You have a route.
But not before.