This week’s running – 18th to 24th of January 2016


“Pray for mojo” indeed

Recovery of my running mojo was the name of the game, this week.

5k from work

My first run of the week fell on Wednesday, partially because I simply couldn’t face any runs earlier in the week, but also because work got the better of me. As I write this blog entry, I count my lucky stars that I was able to get the Brass Monkey out of the way before this my day job wreaked havoc on me! This simple 5k run from the office was kept incredibly easy to compensate for the utter bedlam.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

8 canal miles

“Why is that man exercising in the cold,” the young boy asked his mother as I ran past… I questioned it myself for the briefest of moments before falling back in line with the planned 8 miles.

Much like the day prior, I covered the distance entirely by feel with no heroics on show. The tactic was very much necessary, considering I had foolishly under-fuelled at lunch to leave me incredibly ravenous throughout the run.

As I arrived back home, I noticed the measured distance on my Garmin was a few hundred metres further than usual on a route I knew like the back of my hand. Studying the GPS track, it’s incredibly dirty with the Garmin struggling particularly through Brindley Place and a number of straight stretches on the canal. Incredibly odd, because these are areas the Garmin has handled without even breaking a sweat in the past, and worryingly, has been a growing issue of the past few weeks. I hope my Garmin isn’t on its way out after three years, because I can’t afford a replacement!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

The busy workweek finally caught up to me, leaving lethargy and sleep deprivation in its wake. I reached Cannon Hill with no enthusiasm and decided early on I would only aim to duck under 20 minutes as an arbitrary target. This coincided with Nigel’s outlook to build himself back to regular sub-20 performances in time for his 100th run in a few short weeks – the deal was struck!

There was a massive attendance, driven partially by yet more newcomers to the world of Parkrun, but mostly down to King’s Heath Running Club filling the volunteer roster, and drawing out more of its membership base to run. Pacers were also provided, which have historically proven very popular.

Now, I’m gonna have a bit of a moan. Yesterday, I witnessed a large mass of a few hundred runners departing for the start line before the run briefing had even finished – the second time since the New Year. I know Cannon Hill is a busy run (frequently second largest in the UK after Bushy Park) and we want to get ourselves in a good position in the start grid, but how about we show some common courtesy and let the run director finish what they have to say without rudely wandering off? I like to start near the very front, but I still stay until the run director ushers runners away, and simply jog a bit quicker to reach my preferred start position.

Once running, Nigel and I kept the 20 minute pacer in our sights. My Garmin indicated we had a buffer of 10 seconds or so to hit sub-20, whereas the pacer was probably closer to 19:35 or so.

Bar a slightly fast second km, I kept the pace pretty steady as I worked with Nigel to tick off the splits. If ever he drifted backwards by a few strides, I eased off the throttle to allow us to regroup and did my best to imperceptibly get back on pace without putting too much strain on him.


David and Nigel in hot pursuit – photo by Geoff Hughes

We picked up David Brayne in the final km, who had slipped back towards us from the official 20 minute pacer. Approaching the final hill, David and Nigel both continued to drift from the prescribed pace, so a few words of encouragement were in order. David protested that he was at his limit – a place I knew all too well – a few Alistair Brownlee style barks that giving up wasn’t acceptable was all it took to light a fire underneath him to send him charging up the hill for the finish, with Nigel in tow!

I got my guys back in with just a few seconds to spare, and Nigel ran his fastest 5k since early October. Whilst I clocked my own finishing time of 19:45, the official result gave me 19:50 to leave me scratching my head. Dave, of the Burton variety (who ran a superb 19:23), was confident the timer had missed a button press somewhere amongst the group of runners before me, leaving everybody with a time that was one place out of sync – the runner immediately above me in the results has a time much closer to the one I recorded myself.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

11 canal miles

We all occasionally have runs where nothing seems to go right, and this was one such example.

I underestimated how warm it would be outside; thinking a t-shirt, some shorts and gloves would suffice. Wrong! I easily could have done without the gloves, and I would have been far more comfortable in a vest – such was the problem of going from near zero degrees to a temperature in the low teens over just a matter of days.

I also underestimated how under-recovered I was, too. The intention was to cover 13 or so miles, but the fatigue I still carried cut that plan short.

Finally, I foolishly left too little time between breakfast and heading out through the door. My guts were in knots as I suffered through stitch after stitch for an incredibly unpleasant ride.

There were some highlights at least. I bumped into Alex Mold twice and a chap I didn’t recognise congratulated me on my Brass Monkey PB.

Hopefully next week’s long run will be kinder to me!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Time for another batch of Mark Remy’s running rule shorts from The Runner’s Rule Book:

Running rule shorts – 51 to 60

  1. If you care even a little bit about being called a jogger versus a runner… you’re a runner.
  2. Women who race in full makeup are never fast.
  3. Women who race in full makeup don’t care that they’re not fast.
  4. The best time of day to run is the time you’re most likely to actually do it.
  5. Whenever possible, choose a primary care physician who is also a runner.
  6. You can’t go wrong with Fig Newtons.
  7. Shop for running shoes late in the day, not in the morning. (Your feet swell as the day progresses.)
  8. A sock makes better TP than a leaf does.
  9. If the shorts have a liner, underwear is redundant.
  10. If you can’t live without it, don’t leave it in a gear-check bag.



2 thoughts on “This week’s running – 18th to 24th of January 2016

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