This week’s running – 23rd to 29th of March 2015

I know how you feel, cow

I know just how you feel, cow…

After last week’s disaster, this week was a major improvement apart from the weather.

10k fartlek

I had hoped the ever-increasing amounts of daylight would provide me with enough time to make it to Edgbaston Reservoir and back for some 800m reps, but alas it was not meant to be.

The trusty 10k fartlek made a return and crucially felt pretty damn good. Only one car tried to mow me down on this occasion!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

5k from work

Strava reported this was the second fastest instance of this weekly staple. I was originally rather reluctant to jump on-board the Strava bandwagon, but I’ve got to say all the statistics and data appeals to my inner nerd.

Currently, I find myself managing my profiles on Garmin Connect, Nike+, Strava and Jantastic…

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

7 canal miles

Ignoring the warm-up mile for this run, the 7:20 miles are a rare pace for me to cover these days and probably went some way towards making this an exhilarating run. I felt positively alive out there and want to try and make an effort to include this pace in my weekly quota. The only downside with this outing was the sun had completely disappeared on me during the final two miles on the canal; thankfully the well-paved towpath offered some air of predictability to get me back home.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships

I will be attending the World Half Marathon Championships to be held next year in Cardiff. No, I did not suddenly become an elite and qualify, but rather handed over the king’s ransom of £64 for the privilege. Why so expensive? It takes place on a Saturday during the Easter weekend, so road closure costs will have definitely bumped things up. And I’m sure the organisers are price gouging us for the novelty of the experience. Having said that, we’re still nowhere near what the US typically pays for races. I recall the Dash to the Finish Line 5k I ran in New York costing American citizens $50 compared to the $25 or so it cost me as an international runner!

I expect the course will likely change, given the 25,000 limit, and even accounting for the 10% of no-shows, that’s still in excess of 22,000 runners to accommodate on Cardiff streets. The regular half marathon route just about copes with the 14,000 or so who turn up each October.

I’m genuinely looking forward to this race, along with the pomp and ceremony that it’ll come with. I was asked to provide a finish time estimate and had to gulp a little as I typed in “1:24”. That time is currently 3.5 minutes away but with a year to go, I’m reasonably confident I can get there, even if a 1:24:59 finish does equate to an 18:21 5k and a 38:07 10k… *double gulp*

Cardiff Parkrun

We were in Wales at the weekend, so I paid a visit to Cardiff Parkrun and roped Vince Nazareth in to join me. I’ve mentioned before how Vince is my lucky charm – three races and three PBs each time we’ve run together, so the pressure to keep the streak going was on.

The weather forecast for the weekend was rotten, with strong winds and torrential rain predicted. We didn’t fancy our chances but were still keen to have a bash at getting as close to 19:00 as possible.

We set off at 3:45 for the first km with the odd random gust of wind getting in the way. A clear break in the pack appeared, with the front-runners charging off and leaving the rest of us behind. We found ourselves in a small pack of four or five runners, trading places amongst ourselves.

As anticipated, my lack of 5k focus was revealed going into the third km. Sensing I had slowed, Vince went past and I struggled to latch on to him to pull me through. I found myself drafting behind an older runner, who was also fading but I decided staying in his slipstream was for the best; if I went out on my own to try and catch Vince, I’d have probably been left in no-man’s land as per usual.

With 1km left, I decided to kick the pace up and left the old boy behind. Vince was battling against a 10 year old kid and they both proved to be good targets on the horizon for me to try and reel in. The gusts of wind returned for almost the entire final stretch of the course; I simply didn’t have the fight in me to push on any further to come back in with 19:18. No disappointment on my part – breaking the run down into its component parts and this was probably the best I could have achieved under such conditions. My PB streak with Vince was over! Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Vince finished with a 19:05 and said he began to feel especially positive in the final km, regretting he didn’t push on a lot earlier.

Vince and Andy meet Peppa Pig

Never to be left to our own devices ever again…

Post-run, we even bumped into a celebrity for some selfie-action!

10 miles – to Usk and back

Right on cue, the weather worsened further on Sunday morning when I was due to head out for a long run. Crazy high winds caused the rain to go almost sideways!

Early into the run, I came into contact with two guys on a 20 mile training run for the London Marathon, and ended up covering the first 5 miles with them.

On the return, I was running almost dead on into the head wind for an incredibly challenging time. My gear was completely saturated from the rain, and despite being made of technical fabric, everything was clinging and weighing me down.

The final uphill drag for home with a raging head wind was all I needed at the end, with my climb feeling more like a walk. Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

I was incredibly pleased to have gotten out there, especially when I didn’t have anything resting on the run. It would have been far easier to just sack things off for another day under such circumstances and conditions!

Farewell, Jantastic

Andy Yu's 2015 Jantastic score

A slight improvement on 2014’s score…

Jantastic has come to an end once again. I finished with only a 91.9 to my name, but still marginally better than 2014’s 91.5 due to improperly playing my joker cards.

I probably won’t participate next year, only because I couldn’t see any tangible benefit for myself given that I was running when I could anyway.

And without further ado, here’s this week’s piece from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

Avoid crashing

And we don’t mean the “hitting the wall/running out of energy” kind.

Most people don’t associate footraces with crashes, the way they might with bike racing or stock-car racing or downhill skiing. But even runners can go down during a race, alone or in a pileup.

Usually this occurs during crowded starts, when adrenaline and flailing limbs can combine with unpleasant results; in a race’s latter stages (particularly the final stretch), as exhausted runners lose fine motor skills, and small cracks and bumps in the road seem to reach out and grab you; and whenever several runners stream around a sharp corner.

All it takes is one clipped heel and wham. You collide with another runner or with the road. Or both. You won’t cartwheel down the street and burst into flames, the way a NASCAR driver might. (Wouldn’t that do wonders for marathon spectating, though?) But it sure can result in some nasty road rash.

So: Keep your wits about you, and keep some distance between yourself and the runner in front of you.

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