Friday, 19 October 2012

After the race

..quite a long time after the race actually.

I should have written this ages ago, it's now a couple of weeks since I ran in the half marathon, and the aches have been, and mostly gone again, and the memories are a bit less sharp than they were.

So, the big day arrived, and despite carrying a bit of a foot injury mostly kept in check with a carefully deployed roll of tape, and the makings of a cold, I'd decided I was going to run the race, and my objective was to get there in under 2 hours.

The day was pretty much perfect running weather, cool but not cold, and not too windy, I'd really no idea of the course, and it was the first time everyone racing would have done the route so that made things more fun. In reality the whole thing is a bit of a blur now, 2 hours passed more quickly than I imagined it would and I pretty much stuck to my sensible 9 minute 'get me round in under 2 hours' pace consistently, apart from taking advantage of any downhills.

The course wasn't all that exciting as things go, but it was (as promised) flat.  The bits I remember are the tight and twisty corners early on, then a run out of town down a bit of dual carriageway (with an annoying loop down a random road halfway) followed by a bit of a trek across the boots site, which was mostly just like any large industrial estate.  Once that bit is out of the way it got more scenic with a loop around the university campus (I'd say that was probably the best part of the race, especially the bit with the band.. (yes there was a band)..  but the scenery was all over fairly quickly, from there it's back to town, then out across the Trent Bridge and round the meadows before a loop along the embankment and a narrow section that made overtaking tricky, followed by a couple of really treacherous turns right at the end, and all done..

The atmosphere and the people were great - along the way I chatted to a few random strangers and it seemed everyone was having fun, and generally the whole event was a really great time. I wasn't really sure I'd enjoy the half marathon, but I did.

By the end the pain killers had worn off somewhat and the limp came back about 2 miles before I crossed the line, but by then adrenaline was a pretty good substitute. I made it round under the 2 hours I'd set myself, with just a bit to spare. I know in hindsight I could probably have gone faster, maybe done a 1:50.. but that's for another time.. maybe.

So, would I recommend doing a half marathon? Absolutely.  For all the moments I hated the training, and felt like I'd never find the time it's all worth it to do the distance on the day...

...and hopefully now I've built up the fitness I can keep hold of a lot of it and the next time. (what am I saying.. Next time? Honestly!)

Plus, as well as the glory, there's also the race bling!

Finally, although it's actually pretty unimportant, here's the numbers.

Chip Time: 01:56:15

Avg Pace

So, there it is.. 13.1 miles. Done.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Day Before.

It's been a strange couple of weeks.. I pushed too hard in training and haven't run since.  Didn't really want to blog about it in case I cursed my recovery.

So, despite it being a while back, I'd got a couple of decent runs at the beginning of the week, my legs felt great with 8 or 9 miles in the bank, just the sort of thing I want  leading up to a race.

Then came Thursday, on Thursday it all went off the rails a bit. For some unknown reason my foot was really quite sore when I woke up, it felt bruised, particularly on the top. I couldn't work out how it got that way and the only conclusion I can come to is that I must have done up my shoe too tight and then run not noticing. A bit uncomfortable but I still managed 4 miles.

After a days rest it didn't feel a lot better, but with the run in 2 weeks I (perhaps foolishly) decided I needed to do a long run anyway, then if need be take some time to let things mend which might take a day or two, and maybe I'd miss a run.. So a cup of tea and some ibuprofen and I set out with the plan of mirroring the last weeks route, but without the ice cream, and maybe with a couple of stops along the way.  It wasn't the most comfortable run I've done, and in places my foot got downright painful, but I pushed on anyway (maybe this was another clue it was a bad idea).  The pain really kicked in around mile 10, as I think you'll see from the numbers.

Distance 13.1mi
Duration 1:58:59
Avg Pace 9:04
kCal 1549

Avg Pace.

Anyway, I'd done race distance, but was still a couple of miles from home, and visibly limping.  So, I walked about a mile to try and shift it, that didn't work and actually seemed more awkward than a slow jog, so I did 1.5 more miles at a 10.04 pace then stumbled through the front door a bit of a wreck...

By the Monday I was limping constantly, and got shooting pains every time I fully weighted my foot, I even had to pick my shoes carefully as some were just too uncomfortable where my foot seemed to be bruised, the only option left to me at that stage was rest, so I haven't run at all in the 13 days since then, and surprisingly it's made me a bit grumpy at times.

Rest seems to be doing the trick, and the pain has been less every day.  As a little test I tried 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer last Wednesday evening whilst I was away in London for work  Obviously it's not the same with no impact, but the legs still feel ok, which is a good sign, and I reckon my foot is about 90% good now, so it'll do..

Tomorrow it's the race, I've not quite followed the plan perfectly, I've had a few little injuries, but I've made it this far and suspect (perhaps with the aid of a couple of ibuprofen) that I'll make it round just fine and live to fight another day.

See you on the other side.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

13.1 miles, down memory lane.

I started writing this a week ago then life got in the way.

Three weeks left until the race and I managed the biggest week of running I've ever done, slightly over 31 miles in a single week and approaching five hours of treading the streets. I expected it'd hurt, but since I slowed down for my training runs it's been a little easier on me.

I ran between three and six miles every day between the Tuesday and Friday, and even managed a tempo run at just a couple of seconds slower than my last 10K race pace on the Wednesday (despite some of it being uphill due to poor planning). Those tempo runs are still hard work, and I like them least out of all the runs on my plan - I'd definitely rather run intervals.

By the time Sunday came around it was a glorious day, probably one of the last ones we'll see this summer so I thought I'd make the most of it. Since I started building up the distance I've wanted to be able to do a run from home to Elvaston Castle and back, which even by the shortest route ends up being close to 12 miles.  The plan said I needed to do an 11, so that was close enough for me. The route also meant I'd get the chance to run along the streets I grew up by, and past my first school, which seemed like an interesting way to pass the time.

This weeks long run took me past the Rolls Royce site, then off down Boulton Lane, Holbrook Drive past my old infant school, then along Field Lane to the Alvaston playing field, where for some reason they've got rid of the slide that for a dare I remember riding a BMXs down as a kid (What do you mean that's unsafe?), and past my old junior school, before heading out over Stocker Flats and the lane to Elvaston Castle..

Everything seems smaller than I recall it being, but it was nice to run a route that featured familiar landmarks.

I stopped around the half way mark and treated myself to an ice cream - usually I try and do a training session in one go with no pauses, but I figured as long as I do the miles overall then I'd get all the benefits, and maybe a bit of fuel wouldn't hurt.

The journey back followed more or less the same route and I stuck fairly closely to the stready 9:45 pace I'm supposed to do on my long runs. but spurred on with ice cream I decided I'd actually take a few extra roads on the way back, so added in an extra loop with Keldholme Lane and Shardlow Road taking the grand total to just over 13 miles, and race distance!

So, now I know I can make it around the course.. a few weeks to go and probably just one more long run.

Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 2:07:04
Avg Pace: 9:41 min/mi

Avg Pace

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Slowing down, to speed up.

So, the second and final week of my holiday is over. I've been avoiding computers (and to an extent all technology) because once I'm back at work I'll spend far too much time sat in front of a screen for hours at a time.  As well as taking a break from technology I've been trying to embrace the whole long slow run concept even though it still feels a bit odd to me

Last Sunday I had another 10 mile run to do so I picked the same route as I'd run the week before, but this time went around anti-clockwise so all the hills were at the end of the run.  I focused on trying to stick to the 9:45 pace on the plan just as closely as I could, probably the worst thing about how I usually run is I never seem to stick to one pace, so I end up tiring myself out before I've hit my distance.

Probably the best long run I've ever had - I even managed to keep to the same pace going up Manor Road where usually I end up slowing down and running out of breath. I'm starting to feel more confident I'll make it round the half marathon without too much trouble now. No idea what my race pace will actually end up being though, I'm really going to have to work that out on the day.

Distance 10.34 miles
Duration  1:38:54  - (Spilt times: 9:48, 9:45, 9:34, 9:45, 9:30, 9:43, 9:32, 9:44, 9:14, 9:20, 3:02*)
*1/3 mile
Avg Pace 9:34 min/mi

The rest of this week was pretty much a recovery week on the plan, so apart from Thursday when I just had no energy at all and really struggled to run at a 10 minute mile pace I just stuck to the schedule..  (I also realised that all I'd actually eaten the whole day on Wednesday was a Chinese take-away at around 8PM - oops!)  I think for the next few weeks I might have to pay more attention to my diet.

The good news is that most of the time 5 mile runs seem fairly trouble free now I'm getting used to longer distances.. It bothers me a bit that I'm running quite slowly all the time now, the 6 miles I did earlier today was a whole minute per mile slower than I'd usually run a 10K race at, but hopefully I'll still remember how to go faster when I need to, and in the mean time avoid injuries or making the aches that won't go away any worse.

Here's this weeks running straight from my Garmin...

I also looked at the stats for the month, and was quite surprised that I ran a total of 88 miles even though I took almost a full week off.  By the middle of next week I'll have totalled 300 miles this year, probably not a lot compared to some people, but given only a couple of years ago I was starting out trying to run a mile in one go I'm really pleased with the progress I've been making.

And now, I'm pondering how busy it'll be when I get back to work and wondering how I'll manage to fit it all in during the next few weeks, especially when most of my midweek runs might end up being quite late at night.