This week’s running – 26th of October to 2nd of November 2014

Running in the dark

I wish there was this much moonlight during my runs!

This week was a bit of a pick and mix – read on for more!

Speed work in the dark

Tuesday was my second outing with my new head torch and for the ultimate field test, I returned to Edgbaston Reservoir to complete a speed work session comprising of a 1 mile effort at half marathon pace, and 2x 800m reps at 5k pace.

The head torch held up well, but there was expectedly some movement and bounce. As before, the range of light was more than enough. There was also the additional problem of fallen leaves, making pothole judgment tricky (yes, I did almost fall into one).

The session went well otherwise. The reps all felt manageable without too much discomfort; all I want to do is try and keep things ticking over until the new year when I will become more half marathon focused again.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

Recovery run from work

I really do enjoy my runs home from work. It’s easy mileage and after a long day of meetings, it was bliss to stretch out the legs.

The head torch joined me once again and proved most useful when cyclists and fellow runners approached from the distance, with all their reflective accents lighting up like Christmas trees. This was less effective (and slightly freaky) when somebody dressed in mostly white regular clothes caught the light for a spectral and unsettling sight.

Upon reaching Brindley Place, I switched the head light up to strobe mode, which worked a treat to alert others around me.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Hyde Park runaround

Hyde Park runaround

5 miles around Hyde Park

Apart from during my two London Marathons, I had never run in London before. Lis and I were both in the nation’s capital for our birthday outings (Harry Potter Studio Tour and Fortnum and Mason afternoon tea – I’ll let you decide who had what) and staying just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, I packed my running shoes for a Friday morning run.

Rather than get horribly lost trying to navigate the internal paths of Hyde Park, I simply chose to follow the outer perimeter (roughly 4.5 miles). As it so happened, this route also took me past such sites like the Royal Albert Hall and Marble Arch. There were hundreds of people out and about at only 8am, though as a contrast to almost exactly a year ago in New York’s Central Park, runners did not dominate the landscape, and the crowds were instead a pretty even mix of commuters, dog walkers, cyclists and bipedal pavement pounders.

I enjoyed myself, though I could not shake off the comparisons to Central Park, which just seemed more runner-friendly with an underground tunnel for road traffic, rather than the main road that bisects Hyde Park.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

Andy Yu's sprint for the finish at Cannon Hill Parkrun

2km sprint for the finish with bonus race face – photo by Lis Morgan

I really wasn’t sure how to approach Saturday’s Cannon Hill Parkrun. My legs were pretty tired from two days of London sightseeing and shopping, along with the Hyde Park run. Meeting up with Nigel, we decided to stick together and see how things went.

Rather oddly, the numbers were rather high for the time of year. Many regulars were notably absent, but were replaced by new faces, with the new runner briefing much busier than normal.

Once we started running, I simply followed Nigel’s lead and let him dictate the pace. His first three splits were metronomic and clocked in at 4:06/km. A very young Birchfield Harrier managed to stay with us for much of the early portion of the run, both of us remarking that he’d develop into one helluva runner when he became older.

The congestion around the sub-20 minute mark was definitely noticeable, with large groups bunching up on corners and narrow paths. Great if you wanted people to work with as part of a joint pursuit to go under 20 minutes, but less ideal for Nigel and I who were just casually running.

Upon exiting the triangle, a bloke from behind the group (there were maybe 5 of us bunched up) overtook us and bellowed out, “If you’re not overtaking, stay to the left!” It was busy and we were on a narrow path – what did his royal highness want us to do?! He had clearly started too far back if he felt he was continually overtaking people. This riled me up and I decided to show him what overtaking with authority really meant, so I pulled out and kicked the pace up. I overtook the guy and within just a few seconds, I’d managed to put a sizeable gap between us. I carried on with my kick and continued to overtake more runners – the adrenaline was in full flow and I felt fantastic!

On the approach to the MAC, I ran out of runners to reel in with the next two over 100m ahead of me. With just 400m left, I had finally caught up to them and began to overtake. One of the runners was a visiting club runner, so I urged her on with the knowledge that a sub-20 finish was within reach. My kick was in full swing and then the final hill hit me. I had to close my eyes and grit my teeth to reach the top; clearly the 2km sprint had left me shagged and even though the runners ahead of me were within spitting distance, I decided to let them go and crossed the line for a 19:49 finish in 27th.

Cannon Hill Parkrun splits

Not a great lesson in 5k pacing… But oh so much fun

I saw Nigel come through the finish and couldn’t resist letting out a wry smile when the guy that had mouthed-off came in a few places afterwards. All’s well that ends well, eh?

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

And no, your eyes do not deceive you because there was no long run this week. My legs were shagged after two days in London along with above said runs, so a day of rest for me. Instead, we’ll skip right to this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book (it was one year ago when I started adding these to blog entries!):

The 7 deadly sins: Running edition

  1. Lust

MANIFESTATION: Dropping over the new Kayanos when the ones you have are perfectly fine

  1. Gluttony

MANIFESTATION: Grabbing more banana halves and bagels from the postrace food table than you could ever hope to eat

  1. Greed

MANIFESTATION: Selling your Boston finisher’s medal on eBay; trying to unload your NYC Marathon entry to some desperate soul for double what you paid for it

  1. Sloth

MANIFESTATION: I think we all know what this one looks like

  1. Wrath

MANIFESTATION: Losing your cool when the guy at the running store says the new Kayanos are sold out in your size, and they aren’t expecting another shipment for 6 weeks

  1. Envy

MANIFESTATION: Coveting thy neighbor’s wife’s half-marathon PR

  1. Pride

MANIFESTATION: Checking your appearance in every storefront window that you run past