Archives for June, 2012

We Love Manchester 10k 2012 – 55:14

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 under 10k, Races, Season's Best | No Comment

After Wednesday’s adventures, where I ran 10k at race pace by mistake and got lost in the woods, I had been resting and had no idea really how my body would respond. I managed to get up, and get out on to the bus towards Ashton, where I would catch the 216 into east Manchester. As I got off the bus to make my connection, a young man asked if I was carrying the Olympic torch and what the route was. Turns out my bus route was the torch route, but thankfully the timings meant I missed all the fuss.

Got to Eastlands and my first task was to find a loo. Conveniently, a set of Tardis-like portaloo conveniences were scattered about the place, so I entered one of these and emerged some years later… Although the thing flushed, the wash water had run out, so I nipped into another one on the way, as I was in plenty of time. I had hoped to bump into Neil and Dawn or one of the runners off the forum, but it was like spotting a needle in a haystack so just went and lined up pretty near the back of the amassed mass of humanity about to start the race. It was pretty damn cold and some drops of rain started to fall just before we got underway, but it mostly held off.

The horn or gun must have gone off as we started to move forward. My plan was to start right near the back and just work my way forwards, rather than experience the burn of faster runners and then end up getting overtaken later! I set off at a very gentle pace, though was going past quite a few people already; I mentally checked out my ankles and feet, which had been a bit stiff and achey since Wednesday, but didn’t experience any problems, and coasted through to the 1k marker with no problem and with a big smile on my face. Had to laugh at one of the spiderman lads early on who said “not long to go now!” Although I had the Garmin with me I turned the display to time of day and barely looked at it, planning to just run how I felt and enjoy myself (if the discomfort of running a race can be described as enjoyment, it seems to be for me!). As we turned onto Alan Turing way I felt myself accelerate and took advantage of the slope, getting into a nice rhythm, and started to reel people in bit by bit. A few went past me early on, but not that many, and was to be expected in a field of this size, where faster runners might be a bit late and start at the back.

I felt I was going pretty quickly, and was feeling it at 4k so just eased off a little, knowing the minor hills at the end can be a problem if not accounted for! Just after this I saw a bloke dressed in a sort of bear costume and took a moment to pat him on the back and say I liked his costume, which he appreciated. And then it was into the serious stuff, and the second lap, I got some water at the water station and seemed to lose my way a little bit, but took on water, regrouped, and then knuckled down for the last 3k. Although I was breathing really hard and struggling ever so slightly, I was still passing people which was a good sign, on the second trip down Alan Turing way I had a brief chat with a bloke who said he wanted to beat his age, who told me to go ahead but then sped in front, not long after we hit the uphill and I powered up this and left him behind, also taking over a few people. I was hurting now, but was just in the zone knowing the finish line was close. I took the next hill and then we were almost in the stadium. The crowd noise as I entered really gave me a lift and I kind of bounced along the athletics track and put on a real burst of speed, burning away some people in front of me, then promptly almost dying, and a few got their revenge until I got another burst of something and did a final sprint for the line. Garmin ticked over in 55:17 but for once the chip time was a few seconds quicker at 55:14 – not bad considering my exploits midweek, and thankfully my legs felt fine, no sign of any niggles or problems!

I looked around to see if Neil was around, and got a bit confused about where the goody bags were as there were no people around and I had to ask someone, then a 15 minute queue to get inside the indoor bit ensued, they must have set it up inside expecting the worst rain, but thankfully that held off.

One I got my goody bag, thankfully with some water in it, I headed back out and applauded a lot of the later runners into the stadium, before heading to the finish line to watch the presentations. It was there I spotted the chap from the Sweat Shop run, Tony, and indeed he won the 1st prize in the VM60 category. My friend Neil’s name was called out but he didn’t appear, so he must have run it but had to dash.. Pity as he won 2nd in the VM50!

I then stuck around for the little toddlers race which was fun, and then headed off, bumping into another chap from the running club as I paused to admire a presentation display of Usain Bolt’s run in Manchester a few years ago.

All in all a great day, my goal now is to see how close I can get to 50 minutes, it amazes me I was running around 51 minutes pretty regularly a few years ago, seems I need to work harder as I get older, but I hope another sub 50 will happen one of these days!

Looking at my splits I was around 5:30 or thereabouts most of the race, though one km there was a lull, 5:58, while the last one I managed to do in 5:11 but that was pure endorphins and adrenaline by the end!

My First Club Run With Sweat Shop Hyde Running Club – Bit Embarrassing! Approx 10k in 1 hr 15 mins

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 under 10k, Club Runs, Milestones, Trail Running | 2 Comments

For some reason, aware that my local SweatShop in Hyde has a running group, I decided to give it a try. Perhaps it was the fact I have just finished my course. The weather was nice and I had been discussing the summer solstice with a friend, I thought it would be nice to get out an celebrate this part of the year with a nice evening run with some other runners. I checked the website and it said their intermediate/experienced group was for sub 10 minute milers. At my current pace that didn’t give me any cause for concern as I’ve been managing 9 minute miles on my 5 mile runs, and I figured I could run with the slower runners at the back and have a nice easy run in preparation for Sunday’s race and meet some new people as a bonus. I rang the shop and they said they were running 5 or 6 miles so I said I would be along.

I set off for the shop and enjoyed the cool breeze that was about, although it was quite hot in the sun. Got to the shop and saw some people there in running kit, the chap behind the counter saw I was new and sorted me with a membership card. It appears the SweatShop Running club, at least at this shop, is not only free, but you kind of get running air miles, and win prizes along the way, including a Garmin or pair of running shoes… Anyway, I endured the ordeal of a newbie as loads of people who all seemed to know each other turned up, and made some conversations along the lines of what sort of pace the group would be running at. My idea was to just have a nice easy run at the back of the group with the slower runners. One lady said her PB for 10k was about 51 minutes, so with mine being 49 I figured I should be ok. A few people said they were doing the City of Manchester 10k on Sunday, so it was nice to know. As we set off a couple of these people advised me to just take it easy, they would be too, saving themselves for Sunday. That was certainly my intention!

We set off and made some light conversation until I found myself in a pocket alone for a bit, realising too late I had forgotten to start the Garmin, but started it anyway just to get an idea of the distance and time. The pace didn’t seem too demanding as we headed down to the canal, and I felt quite comfortable, there was a pack in front of me and one behind, and I settled in, looking forward to the run.

Not long after this the pack behind me came past me, and as we crossed a bridge I looked back to see I was at the back by now. The chap from behind the counter (one day I will know the names!) told me not to worry as someone would always stay with me. By now I was already feeling mildly anxious about what I had let myself in for! Then I recognised where I was as we headed up some stairs cut into the side of the Tame valley, suddenly Sunday’s long run was being replicated! The stairs were quite painful and I seemed to be matching some of the back runners, but then they pulled away again.

It seemed a friendly group, and they kept waiting at certain points for everyone to come together again. At one point the leaders went the wrong way, and the counter chap made us all turn around to go back to the planned route. At that point I had thought we might be heading back already! The real torture began when we ran to within 100 yards of my house along St Lawrence Road. When we turned left I joked that my house was to the right, and was sorely tempted to go home at that point, but thought it would be worth sticking with it.

I didn’t however bargain on the remainder of the route being all the way down Stockport Road and all the way through Denton Woods, again replicating my long run on Sunday. Checking the Garmin a few times along the way I realised I had been running 5:30 or quicker per k in places which was total madness, and by the time we got to the woods I was struggling to keep going never mind try to keep the back of the larger group in sight. I had a real sense of cognitive dissonace as my running spirit was telling me to push and work hard, while my commonsense was yelling at me that I had just done my longest run of the season 2 days before and I had a 10k race in 3 days, and this sort of hard slog was the last thing my body needed – I think my body itself had also come to that conclusion!

A very kind lady stayed back with me and could tell I was struggling, she suggested we take a short cut and at that point we lost the rest of the group as there was some confusion about the rendezvous point. We spent about 5 or 10 minutes waiting for the group when they had already gone past we later found. I plodded to a somewhat painful finish, finding the hills towards the end a struggle, and starting to feel sharp pains in my feet. I really appreciated the way they made sure someone stayed back with the slower runners. Erm, I mean runner – Me!

Pretty much the first time I have come so far behind in anything and I felt rather embarrased and annoyed that I had held the other runners up. Was a very humbling experience as I’ve been feeling nice and confident about my running lately and this made me feel, to put it bluntly, slow and crap! The chap behind the counter said they have another group on Mondays that takes it easier, so maybe I will try that, though I can’t help but feel if I had gone with fresh legs expecting a pacy run, I would have been OK. That thought about the race at the back of my mind wasn’t helpful and I hadn’t really recovered from my long run fully, so I was bound to run out of steam.

I did enjoy the company of the group (before it vanished ahead of me) and it’s nice to know the group is there, but next time I will make sure it coincides with my plans for a hard run, or if I want an easy run, join the beginners 5k that starts about an hour earlier!

If any of you read this many thanks and hope to see you again, but maybe not the back of you disappearing into the distance, ha ha!!!!! 😀

13.5k Long Run in the evening sun – 1:23:56

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 under 10-15k, Long Runs, Trail Running | No Comment

Saw the Dalai Lama today at Manchester Arena, was a wonderful event, so wanted to get in a nice long mindful run as the evening was nice and sunny for a change, and chose to run a long loop through the trails of the local woods, without a care about time.

Set off nice and slowly and the first km ticked over in just over 6 minutes, then I entered the woods which seemed to play havoc with the Garmin as it seemed to keep insisting I was running at 5:30 pace and indeed the next km ticked over in that, but I think it was just measuring the straight lines when it could get a signal (it kept bleeping weak gps signals at me!). But no matter, I felt relaxed and wasn’t concerned about the time, so just carried on, mindful of the dogs I kept bumping into, and a few times I stopped to stroke them!

Had a nice jog past the river and saw a running couple who didn’t say hello back but never mind, then I took a bit of a break walking up the steps cut in the hillside near the waterfall (they really are steep!). By that point I was getting towards 6k and so knew I would easily do 5 miles but wanted to get a longer run in, so continued, aware of the irony of killing half a million flies after having been to a talk by the Dalai Lama earlier in the day! Still it couldn’t be helped and I expect it was the flies’ karma to end up going down my throat…

I got to 5 miles in about 50 minutes, and then ran out of trails so opted to continue on one of the local urban routes, slowing my pace a little (having done some 5:30 kilometres according to the garmin I had also done some 7 or 8 minute ones, but once I got out of the woods it settled back into a 6 minutes-ish pace which was fine. I was feeling a bit tired but opted to loop through the Haughton green estate, going past some kind of police incident on the way. As I got to 11k I started to feel a bit of a stiffness around my left knee, and was starting to get a bit more heavy legged, but continued plodding on and decided rather than go for 13.1km (which I could have maybe done under 1 hr 20 even though I think the garmin was short) I could add a bit more and make it the longest run of the season so far, which would be good prep for my race next Sunday, so getting ever tireder, I plodded around until I reached the 13.5km mark just outside my house, and was thankful to come to a rest and get home for some water.

All in all a really enjoyable run and now I plan an easy week running wise, maybe just a few easy runs, before the city of Manchester 10k on Sunday. Hopefully on this form I can go sub 55 and anything else will be a bonus. We shall see!

Bog Standard evening 5 miler – 49 minutes

Posted on Jun 14, 2012 under 5 miles, Regular Runs | No Comment

No attempts at any great pace today, aware the We Love Manchester 10k is looming next week! Decided I needed an easy 5 miler to keep my legs and lungs ticking over and blow away the cobwebs and stress of a few days of DIY (not my most natural skill!!)

Set of gently choosing a wide looping circuit via Mill Lane and back again, so a variety of up and downhill running early on. Felt ok and was going at quite a sedate pace, but after the climb up from Hyde started to get a bit breathless and was working hard to stay with it, ended up running around 6 mins per km and didn’t feel I wanted to go much quicker, just tried to maintain it but struggled in places and was breathing really hard. Managed to run through the pain to complete the 5 miles in 49 minutes and felt quite hot!!

A Flying 5k Season’s Best – 27:20

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 under 5k, Season's Best, Tempo Runs | No Comment

Had an odd afternoon and did some bits of decorating (mainly trying to get a bit more of border off the room I am converting in a therapy room and trying out my new paint!), and needed a run to clear the cobwebs away, but not having eaten properly earlier decided a fast 5k would be the best option rather than a medium to long run.

One of my left toes was a bit painful so trimmed he nail, then got out into the cool evening air. Set off at a brisk pace, wary of going too fast but not wanting to go too slowly either, and felt fine, with the first km ticking over in 5:37, which is pretty fast for me these days, and I just aimed to keep that going, figuring if I ran around 5:30 per km I could come in at around 27:30, although not having done a fast 5k for a bit, couldn’t remember what my season’s best actually was at that point.

Second km ticked over in 5:33 and I was on target, though just slightly starting to wonder if I could maintain that kind of pace for another 3k. While my intention was just to maintain pace, when I felt good I just seemed to quicken up, and this was revealed in the splits, as the next kms were 5:30 and then 5:19. By the last lap I was starting to struggle just a little and really breathing very hard, and was really glad to peter out to a well deserved stop, clocking 5:17 for the last km and 27:20 for the 5k, which is a season’s best by some margin. I checked through the Garmin history to see if it was a season’s best and came across a 26:33 5k in February, which puzzled me until I realised that had been an intervals session and I had been running those 1k intervals pretty flat out, so to be under a minute away from that on a continuous run seems a good sign of progress!

So all in all a good, fast hard run which left me breathless and shows my running is starting to get closer to where it was a couple of years ago!

A Regular 5 miler – 47:31

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 under 5 miles, Regular Runs | No Comment

Having had a few more days of quiet meditation with some other stuff thrown in, was enjoying the French Open Final and planning to get a run in afterwards – except it then started to look as if it might either go 4 or 5 sets or start raining, so I decided to risk going for my Sunday run at the end of the 3rd set and take a punt on the next set not being over by the time I got back.

It looked cold out so I put my long sleeve top on (apart from anything else I couldn’t quite put my hands on a short sleeved on so just picked the first thing I found) – turned out to be a bit of a mistake as it soon got quite warm, but bearable. Did the first km pretty slowly, 6:20ish, then found my pace picking up without really trying. Decided to run through Haughton Green estates, so the incline that way was a bit punishing but then could coast down the slopes.

Kept feeling the pace pick up and was going down towards 5:30 in places so eased back on the throttle at times as my only intention was to run sub 50. In the end I smashed that and was only a minute off my season’s best, with a lot of slowing down the pace to complete a week of light, easy running after last week’s high mileage 🙂

And when I got back turned out I had only missed 3 games of the tennis since it was pouring at Roland Garros 🙁 and 🙂

An easy 5k embracing Mindfulness of Running – 31:30

Posted on Jun 06, 2012 under 5k, Easy Runs, Musings | No Comment

Have had something of a personal retreat over the long bank holiday weekend, avoiding facebook, forums and text messaging as much as possible. Well to be honest have avoided facebook altogether, forums altogether, and just maintained brief contact with a select few. Have spent a lot of time meditating and entering into some quite blissful states, and this morning I needed to go the the shops, which was an interesting walk, I had to stop and marvel at the beauty of a single red rose in a garden, and everything had a certain aliveness.

So I wondered what a run would be like, and was due a run, so had to resist the urge to contemplate my navel for another 24 hours and slowly got my kit on (deciding to wear my casual La Santa t-shirt rather than a proper running top for a short easy run), then stepped out into some nice early afternoon sunshine, though there were dark clouds here and there. Sunglasses and baseball cap on, I set off and played slalom with the bin men, one of whom kindly let me past before he dragged two bins to the van. Quite often I feel aggressive and irritated at people in my way when I run – probably hormones and adrenaline and all that, but on this occasion I felt quite at peace with the world around me, slowed without complaint for cars and road crossings, and just concentrated on my breath and running at a nice easy pace after a high mileage week last week.

Even the hills didn’t get a curse and I felt a sense of flow about this run, I did get quite puffy with the hills but didn’t overheat and kept the pace nice and easy and enjoyed really engaging with my surroundings – cars, leaves, cyclists, litter, tarmac, sky, it all had this quality to it that is hard to describe.

My weather control faculties were fully operational, as I had nice cloud-filtered sunshine for the run, and as soon as I got home and opened my back door to cool off, the heavens opened! In keeping with the tone of the last few days I walked out into it and embraced the sensations of the rain cooling my skin and felt quite at one with everything.

Am not sure a hard 5k time trial would have left me feeling quite so peaceful, but I think these easy mindful runs should definitely form a more regular part of my schedule in the future!

A Rainy season’s best half kilomathon – 13.1km in 1:21:20

Posted on Jun 03, 2012 under 10-15k, Long Runs, Season's Best | No Comment

For a June day, the weather looked atrocious, and when I was getting ready for my run the floor was almost icy to my bare feet. Almost weather for thermals by the looks of it, rainy, breezy, grey. Stepped out and felt a shiver down my spine and my legs goosbumped straight away, so was keen to get going and shivered a few times before the Garmin found its satellite and I set off without further ado just to get warm.

At that point it was dry, but from about 1km in I was to be accompanied by a steady light rain, not too bad once I was warmed up. Tried to keep the pace down, as the intention was to run 8 miles/13.1km and if not run under 1 hour 20, at least beat the 1 hr 24 odd I did for this distance last time. The first 3-4km felt quite tough, though seeing a couple of other runners and exchanging waves gave me a little boost. The route I chose had some hilly bits (mainly motorway or viaduct bridges etc) which added a bit of spice, though I wasn’t too keen on the bit where I got to quite a few dual carriageway crossings that didn’t go in my favour, but I needed the extension to the route as I was somewhat too close too home going another way. I gather quite some pace in the latter stages including a 5:50 split for one of the kms, but by the end of the run I was really starting to flag and as luck would have it the most of the last km was up a long slow incline which not only slowed me down but also sapped the last of my strength, and as I manged to reach the 13.1km mark fortuitously close to my house, I was slowing down almost to a crawl and was relieved to hit the stop button on the Garmin and start enjoying the endorphins running around my system 🙂