This week’s running – 29th January to 11th February 2018

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Tom Bosworth can frequently race-walk faster than I can run!

Sorry for the delay again, folks. Two weeks rolled into one!

5k recovery

I continued to feel supercharged from the weekend’s speedier than usual running, though I was conscious to play it easy and safe at no more than a typical jog.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

9 miles from work with fartlek

In spite of having climbed the steps several times from the canal near Fiveways to street level, it was still an incredibly jarring interruption that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. At least the diversion will only be in place until sometime in March.

It was evident term had started again, for The Vale was bustling with students coming and going.

Returning to the canal towpath, the eerie quietness was noticeable from a lack of cyclists. Normally of an evening in the winter, I still spot perhaps 15 to 20 cyclists; there were perhaps just 5 cyclists, so the remainder had probably found other routes to temporarily bypass the canal entirely.

The fartlek bursts felt tremendous and took less of a toll on me compared to previous sessions. My heart rate settled back down far more quickly, so clearly the right adaptations had taken place!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 mile run-commute

I kept the strides going in a bid to keep my glutes activated.

I almost exclusively don’t listen to music whilst I run apart from during these recovery paced run-commutes. If I’m lucky, there’s frequently a new episode of Marathon Talk waiting for me as I depart the city centre for home. If I’m unlucky, I normally then fall back on some episodes of movie or technology podcasts (GEEK!). If I’m really unlucky and have no new podcasts, I’ll cue up a new album I’ve been listening to. I did indeed run out of podcasts, so out came The Greatest Showman soundtrack! It’s such an infectious assortment of tunes that I’ve been humming them on a near-daily basis since watching the movie in late December, including during the last couple of races I’ve participated in…

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

9 miles from work

With the Stoneleigh Park Reindeer Run due several days later, I kept the effort largely easy whilst peppering the distance with a few strides to keep things ticking over nicely.

Gradually, I’m finding I can delay switching my headtorch on more and more until it’s truly needed – a good thing on this occasion as I’d forgotten to charge it and it was running perilously low on juice…

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill parkrun

Almost every Saturday since the beginning of the year has been miserable, wet and cold and this particular one was no different. But at least the police were out in the park, which was a fat lot of use as I’m pretty sure all 600+ of us were perfectly safe that morning!

With a race scheduled the next day, I wanted to keep the effort incredibly easy whilst still racking up a further run to edge me ever closer to 250 runs. Simon, who had just returned from a whistle stop visit to Philadelphia in the States, was also in no mood to go fast, so we jogged around at an incredibly leisurely pace whilst catching up about his trip. I was green with envy, as I’ve always wanted to visit Philadelphia, the home of one of my fictional heroes: Rocky Balboa. Of course, Simon ran up the famed museum steps!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Stoneleigh Park Reindeer Run 20k 2017 (2018) review

For the full write-up, please click here.

King’s Lynn 5k

Work had me in the far-flung reaches of King’s Lynn on the East Coast, so naturally I packed some run attire with me. I really should have skipped this run due to how awful I felt, with what felt like the very early stages of a cold, but I didn’t want to back off as I needed one final faster paced run ahead of the Draycote Water 10k due a few days later.

Inevitably, I slept poorly in the hotel so I was up earlier than I would normally be for a regular workday. Laced up and ready to go, I was greeted by the chap on the reception that informed me that it had begun to lightly snow… Stepping outside, there was a definite sharp intake of breath as I immediately questioned what I was about to embark on. This was actually my second ever run in King’s Lynn, recalling that I’d completed a track session in the summer of 2014 at the local leisure centre. The conditions couldn’t have been more different!

The first thing that struck me was how flat King’s Lynn is. Hailing from Birmingham where I’m never more than a few hundred metres away from a hill of some description, it made for a refreshing change. I ran progressively and ended up completing laps of the local high street to get the distance beyond 5k. I chuckled to myself each time I passed the still in business Wimpy restaurant!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Achoo!

So, that cold that I suspected I’d been carrying flared up mid-week to leave me coughing, sneezing and generally feeling sorry for myself. Thankfully, the symptoms were quite mild and paled in comparison to the god awful cold that wiped my Telford 10k out in December 2016. Having been burnt once before, I took several full days off from running, which I’m sure my body was grateful for.

Cannon Hill parkrun

Within 48 hours, my cold had shifted as quickly as it landed; you’d never have known I was ill if you saw me on Saturday morning!

Keeping the trend of wet and miserable Saturdays going, I had a dilemma on my hands as I was that cold and really could have done with a faster paced run for the heat! Dave and I stayed resolute to the plan of an easy jog ahead of the Draycote Water 10k the next day, both commenting that it felt radically different to be in that part of the Cannon Hill parkrun field.

Tom Bosworth, race-walker extraordinaire, was the special guest that morning. Whereas neither Dave nor I saw Tom in action that morning, I did get a chance to have a brief chat with him. He has an eye wateringly fast array of race-walk PBs, some of which are faster than my own run PBs! My burning question for him? How fast could he run the 5k distance if he didn’t have to adhere to the race-walk rule of always requiring at least one foot to be on the ground? He shared his 5k run PB was in the low 16 minutes!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Draycote Water 10k February 2018 review

For the full write up, please click here.

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This week’s running – 25th to 31st December 2017

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Our first ever Cannon Hill Christmas Day parkrun

So, who got a visit from the jolly fat man, and who became a jolly fat man from overindulgence? Put me down for one of each!

Cannon Hill Christmas Day parkrun

This was my fourth year of visiting a parkrun on Christmas Day, and my first at Cannon Hill in all the years I’ve called the venue my home event (there was one way back in 2010). There was a great vibe in the air, expectedly, with many familiar faces making appearances. Simon, Nigel and Dave joined me, with Lis opting to volunteer to help the event get underway.

With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, that meant the pace was firmly to be easy and of recovery in nature. Dave shot off like a rocket, whereas Simon and Nigel held back with me; topics of discussion included Nigel’s and my love of brining turkeys, and Nigel possibly being in the doghouse for nipping off to parkrun (he was actually OK)!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

10 miles with 2 at half marathon pace

Lis and I alternate which of our respective families we spend Christmas Day with. In 2017, we had my parents with us, so we spent Boxing Day and a few additional days with Lis’ folks.

I had intended to visit the University of Birmingham one final time for 2017 before heading to Wales, but it never happened, so I made do with a 10 mile out and back route to Usk with some pace work thrown in.

The route’s largely flat, with a couple of steep climbs thrown in here and there for good measure. Needless to say, I opted to cover half marathon pace on the flat and out of the way of the strong gusts of wind that blew!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Illness strikes again!

Ever since 2012 when I began running with some serious intent behind the training, I’ve picked up a cold or the flu leading up to, or during, the Christmas break. It’s really as simple as it appears; I have more time on my hands, so I do a bit more training than usual to also suppress my immune system; couple that with socialising with all and sundry and I pick up all manner of bugs.

At the time of writing this post up, I look to have sidestepped any colds and flus that have done the rounds this season (touch wood). But! I did unfortunately pick up a bout of food poisoning (dodgy peanut butter) to have my stomach doing cartwheels and leave me being unable to efficiently take on much nutrition from food.

Rogiet parkrun

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Me and Ben at Rogiet parkrun – photo by Lis Yu

For those wondering, it’s pronounced Rog-it and not Ro-jiet as I originally thought!

Rogiet parkrun emerged from the ashes of the former Caldicot parkrun, which you may recall me missing out on numerous times due to cancellations aplenty over the summer. With the Gloucester New Year’s Eve 10 Mile race the following day, I wanted to finally get myself over to this event but absolutely had to hold back and take it easy. Lis and I invited our friend Ben to come and join us, taking in his third different venue since his parkrun debut in October, whereas this became my 23rd.

The Rogiet event couldn’t be any more different from its original Caldicot format! Caldicot formerly took place on a largely flat and straight service road, but unfortunately had to be cancelled due to safety concerns from cars finding their way on to the course. The new event takes place inside Rogiet Countryside Park and is entirely off-road for a much slower paced run.

As promised, Ben and I kept the pace easy and conversational. By holding back early on, we were able to move our way through the field with relative ease as others ahead of us tired and dropped back. The course was a pretty confusing affair, with a couple of switchbacks, a crossroad, and all over multiple laps! Also, the mudbath that was promised delivered; if I were a regular at the event, I could be convinced to buy a cheap pair of cross-country spikes to gain some much needed traction!

In spite of my finishing time of 27:55, I still ended up finishing in 23rd, and Ben achieved his highest finishing position to date with a time of 27:54. Taking first place in 20:35 was a celebrity – CJ from Eggheads. If I’d not had the race the following day, I reckon I could have given him a run for his money for a decent battle out there.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Gloucester New Year’s Eve 10 Mile 2017 review

For the full write-up, please click here.