This week’s running – 10th to 16th of November 2014

Standard week of running

A rather typical week, distance-wise

A fairly non-eventful week that ended on a bang. Read on!

10k along Hagley Road

Anybody else suffering from the lack of natural light? I’m just about able to get a few minutes of sunlight on the way to work, but whilst I’m at the office, I’m generally indoors until quitting time when it’s dark again. It’s wreaking havoc on my energy levels where I feel drained all the time.

I took things pretty easy on Tuesday where I just wanted to get some miles in the legs. Once again, the knackered Nike Pegasus I wore did little to stop the shockwaves of the road surface from travelling up my legs.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

5k from work

Another easy plod home from the office with a high number of cyclists using the canal route. Oddly (at least to me), one cyclist went past me with a bright as anything rear red light, but she didn’t have any front-facing light at all.

After thinking about the idea, I’ve decided to start running home from work on Mondays as well as Wednesdays. So long as I keep things really easy, there should be almost no risk and only gains from the slight volume increase.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

10k fartlek along Hagley Road

I like structure and order when it comes to running; set splits, distances and all that. Turning this route into a fartlek run wasn’t the first thought that popped into my mind, but I also have limited opportunities to simply maintain speed at the moment, so this was the lesser of two evils.

And do you know what? I’m glad I went with it because it was exactly the spice that I needed to shake things up a little. And somewhat ironically, the busy junctions along Broad Street and Hagley Road that have caused me so much grief before, served as perfect markers to begin and end the faster and slower bursts.

Me thinks I’ve found my new sesh for the winter months.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

It burns! It burns!

It burns! It burns! – photo by Lis Morgan

I’d been steadily shaving 10 seconds or so off my Parkrun finish times for the past couple of weeks and had committed myself to running 19:29, which would have equated to a second all time fastest run at Cannon Hill for me.

Kings Heath Running Club had kindly laid on pacers for people to follow, ranging from 19 minutes up to 30 minutes. I had completely forgotten about this and quickly adjusted my goal for the morning – stick to the 19 minute pacer for as long as I could bear the pain! Scott was leading the pace group and with a 5k PB of 17:51 to his name, I knew I was in good hands. “This is gonna be messy…” I thought to myself. The last time I attempted a fast 5k at Cannon Hill, I had an almighty meltdown and ended up limping home a minute slower than target.

The opening pace was expectedly swift, but I managed to draft behind Scott in his slipstream. My Garmin’s virtual pacer reported we were a few seconds up on target after only a few hundred metres, but I’m now firmly back on board with the idea that a fast 5k requires a fast opening split.

Things settled down apart from my breathing – this was all over the bleeding shop. I’m out of practice in the land of 5k and my body was screaming at me for this very alien situation it was going through. I was still hot on Scott’s tail, but the rise towards the tearoom put an end to that and created a small gap. I tried using the descent on the other side as an assist to get me back to him, but he was steadily creeping away from me. In the blink of an eye, 10m had formed between us and there was no way the metaphorical piece of elastic would ever get me back to him.

Turning left at the approach to the triangle, two guys managed to overtake me with ease, with a third not far behind me. When he passed, I decided to latch on to him to minimise the pace rot, along with the possibility of being dragged back to Scott.

Expectedly, things slowed even further in and out of the triangle. I was in major distress and whimpering somewhat, thinking that a major blowout wasn’t far off.

On the approach to the MAC, another chap from behind had caught up to me. There was a gap of 10m or so between the guys ahead and us; I said to my new compadre that we needed to work together in order to catch them. He took flight and led us both to our targets with a nice little surge. After a brief moment of recovery, I put in a surge of my own to get ahead of the group, and also overtake another chap further ahead. I was blowing hard and didn’t realise a member of the group had gone with me and was hot on my heels.

We reached the final hill and my pursuer managed to put in a tidy kick to storm past me; he clearly wanted it more than I did, so I urged him on with, “Go for it!” Reaching the summit, I was at my limit and had to close my eyes. I could tell I was weaving all over the home straight, so I had to open them again to make it across the line.

I was nauseous and doubled over; the last time I’d worked that hard over 5k was waaay back in July on a much flatter and faster course. 19:17 was my reward; a 1 second course PB and the first time in 14 months that I had PBd at Cannon Hill. I thanked Scott for his efforts; having a pacer to follow can make all the difference.

I didn’t quite make it to sub-19, but it bodes well considering I’m not in any particular kind of shape at the moment.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Long Sunday Run AKA 3 and a bit Cannon Hill Parkruns

I wanted a break from the canal towpath towards Bournville, so I opted to drive over to Cannon Hill Park for a few laps – as if I didn’t get enough of the venue already!

My legs were knackered from the previous day, so a very easy run was on the agenda. I even took my heart rate monitor along with the aim of staying below 140bpm (my max is 207bpm).

Halfway through the run, I wished that I’d headed out on to the canals instead. I was bored out of my mind, going round in circles without any feeling of journey.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

It’s time for this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

To truly know someone, run a relay race with them

Events like Oregon’s Hood to Coast Relay – a 197 mile race from Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean, usually done in teams of 12 – are unbelievably fun. And challenging. And a great way to find out what someone’s really made of.

Nothing strips away the artifice and reveals your friend’s true nature quite like spending 24 or so sleep-deprived hours with them in a van full of sweat, gear bags, pretzel crumbs, and door handles made sticky by Cherry Coke.

Somewhere out there on God-know-what-rural-route, in that van at 3:30am, cramped and cranky and struggling to get some sort of rest in between legs, you get a rare glimpse of man at his best. And worst. And smelliest.

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