This week’s running – 30th of March to 5th of April 2015

Happy Easter

Or as I like to call it, “Zombie Jesus Day”…

Happy Easter everyone! This week saw me firmly back on the road to 10k town.

Canal 10k

With the lighter evenings, a whole wealth of options and opportunities has come to life that simply weren’t safe or even possible in the winter.

I opted to take advantage of the canal for a bit of a blast. The elements also opted to have a blast and sent some head winds my way. The first couple of miles didn’t feel great; I was hungry and dehydrated due to not fuelling up properly before leaving work.

Having said the above, I still managed to keep the pace largely even. Also even and steady was my heart rate, disregarding the minor cardiac drift towards the end.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

5k from work

I always run home from the office based on how I feel with no pace target in mind, so imagine my surprise to see how swift this dash was when I had finished; Strava even reported this as a PB on this particular stretch!

Here’s the Garmin data.

1x 1600m, 2x 800m, 1x 1600m

This is the one I had been waiting all winter for – the chance to get back on to the interval train again! Having well defined rep distances to run at specific paces does the OCD-esque part of my mind some good.

Very conscious that I needed to ease myself back in (nothing really further than 400m during my fartlek runs), I chose to run the jack of all trades sesh that is 1x 1600m, 2x 800m and 1x 1600m. The 1600m efforts would be at my 10k pace (3:59/km) and the 800m efforts at my 5k pace (3:50/km). Each was followed by a 90 second recovery.

It felt great to be going at speed over a measured distance again. The 1600 effort after 2x 800s felt positively pedestrian. Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

The way of the runner

The Way of the Runner by Adharanand Finn

After months in pre-order, it finally arrived!

A few of you may be familiar with Adharanand Finn’s previous work, Running with the Kenyans. I recall listening to an episode of Marathon Talk a number of years ago when the author spoke briefly about his new project focused on elite-level running in Japan. Well, that project finally came to fruition and The Way of the Runner was launched, with my copy landing recently.

I’m a couple of chapters in and so far, so good. I’m a huge fan of Japanese pop culture and this book combines two passions of mine. Watch this space to find out how I get on with it.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

I went to Cannon Hill with little expectation; the last couple of weeks have seen me doubt my own ability due to less than stellar performances.

Relatively speaking, attendance was low given it was Easter weekend. This also didn’t bode well for me in terms of people around my pace to work with towards the finish line. As I said, all bets were off.

A special congrats goes out to Paul Harris – Cannon Hill regular and regular reader of this blog – he received the Parkrunner of the month award.

On the start line, I had a brief catch-up with Alex, once again congratulating her for the recent sub-90 half marathon at Reading. I asked if she would use her sub-90 finish to enter next year’s London Marathon via a championship place, and she wasn’t sure!

On “Go”, we all charged off.

Not having a solid goal or target in mind, I set off at 3:50/km pace, which would have roughly equated to a 19:10 or so. Lately, I’d been charging off at slightly faster than target pace and inevitably faded beyond the point of redemption. The pace felt perfectly manageable with no pressure from that screeching monkey on my shoulder to perform.

I was totally wrong about not having people to work with towards an end goal. Jonny and Alex were just ahead of me and proved to be good pacers to follow and reel in. Heading out towards the triangle, I was nipping at Alex’s heels and did what I could to convince her to stay ahead of me. Sadly, she wasn’t able to keep to the pace and I charged ahead.

My next target in front was a very talented, young Birchfield Harrier girl. She’s regularly finished in first gender place at Cannon Hill and I suddenly thought I was doing dramatically better than originally envisaged. Over the course of the next 400m or so, I caught up to her and successfully managed to overtake. She was having a mare of a time with her breathing, so clearly an off-day for her.

Andy Yu at Cannon Hill Parkrun

Fire! I’ll take you to burn!

With roughly 1km left to go, I had my eyes on two guys up ahead and with only 400m left of the course, I surged past them. Everything inside me was screaming and the tailwind that was present during my warm-up was non-existent when I needed it most. Tackling the final hill, I upped my cadence because I could hear somebody on my shoulder; in a flash of blue, one of the guys I had overtaken during the final 400m came storming past me and created a sizable 10m gap.

Kicking for the finish, I clocked in with my typical 19:20. I was somewhat disappointed by this, only because I had what felt like a really positive run with no distress; something around 10 seconds faster would have set me right up for the Easter weekend.

Here’s the Garmin data for this Parkrun.

I helped some of the ladies out afterwards with token sorting. A number of them had shared with me that it’s a very satisfying volunteer task that’s tangible and hands on. The ladies also told me how regularly tokens are lost due to people not returning them for scanning. There is a system for replacing the lost tokens with replacements (and the replacements with spares), but we encountered a problem where we ran out of a spares for number 438 – clearly a very popular number for some reason or another! Cardiff Parkrun forces everybody into the finish funnel that ends next to the barcode scanners; I would dare say Cardiff loses very few, if any tokens due to their arrangement.

10 canal miles

Easter Sunday was long run day, and whilst most others were having a lie-in, I was out pounding the canal towpath whilst it was still quiet.

What started out as a typical 10 miler quickly turned into a royal flush. A few have asked me what a “royal flush” is; it’s a term that came from the Marathon Talk podcast, referring to each subsequent mile or km being faster than the last for the entire run.

Like earlier in the week, I also donned my heart rate monitor and it was nice to see a low and steady heart rate in action. Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

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

Don’t rattle, jingle, or jangle

As a courtesy to the runners around you – and as a measure of self-preservation – make an effort to secure the stuff in your pockets or waist pack. This means everything from keys and loose change to Sport Beans and pills. This is especially true during a long run or race; nobody wants to run next to someone who sounds like a giant box of Tic Tacs.

If you do all of this and still hear a rattling or jangling sound when you run, see a physician.

Exception: I once ran with a heart attack survivor who produced a chik-chik-chik sound with each step. The noise, he explained, was a tiny bottle of nitroglycerin tablets in his pocket. In the event of another heart attack, his instructions were to swallow the nitro. Folks like this have earned the right to rattle when they run.

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