Felsted 10K 2012

The Felsted 10K 2012

Today I would be running the Felsted 10K 2012, I have never ran this race before, all I know is where it was, that it wasn’t cut off from traffic 100%, the course said it was flat and slightly undulating, so I could expect small hills, nothing major.

Oh and I also knew that it had been raining continuously for a good week now, and it was still raining today. This wasn’t a bad thing, I would much rather be running in the rain than in the scorching sunshine (see Southend Half Marathon).

I also knew that I had ran 10k at least 100 times, albeit the majority of those runs were not a race but pounding the streets on my own. I wasn’t particularly worried, I thought it would be a fantastic race, my main concern was for Crispy, he was running it with me, and it was only his second proper race, the first was obviously Southend Half Marathon. The Felsted 10k 2012 would be his first race at this distance, and on this terrain.

Although, he was competent enough to run 10k, and had done so on numerous occasions.

Before the start

I picked Crispy up with plenty of time to get there, assess the situation, warm up and be relaxed for when the race started. We arrived and were guided into a field to park the car, a quick change, consume a quick banana with some water and then walk up to the start.

Plenty of people were milling about and nattering, others were preparing themselves (some taking it a little too seriously in my opinion), we chatted with a few people we knew and then did a bit of a run to warm up as well as some stretches.

At 2 minutes to 11:00 everyone was behind the race car and ready to go.

“What’s the race plan then Westy?” Crispy asked me, I replied with “take it easy for the first couple of miles and then maybe pick up the pace a little, strong finish!” Thumbs up from Crispy.

When the starter went off, we all surged forward, everyone jockeying for space and to settle into their own stride and pace. Crispy and I surged on, darting in between other racers, working our way through the field.

When will I learn?

After about 4 or 5 minutes I found myself running along on my own, Crispy was no where around me. Where was he? What had gone wrong? A quick glance at the GPS told me I was running at just over 7:00 mins per mile. Shit!! I’d done it again, set off far too fast, I slowed down to just over 8 mins per mile.

Crispy caught me up, “Did you have a birth plan for either of your two kids?”   The question threw me a bit “No” I replied, “They both came too early for us to put any plans in place” (one was 8 weeks early, the other was 5 weeks early). “That explains why you went tearing off then!”

We ran side by side for a bit, but I’d knackered myself by setting off way to fast, Crispy gradually eked away from me, my legs felt like lead. I was running slower and slower, I ran steadily at about 8 mins 30 secs per mile.

Perhaps I shouldn’t of ran 10k yesterday, perhaps I was over doing it lately, who knew? All I knew was I was 2.5 miles into 6 and hating myself for running off too quickly. My mind raced with calculations, I wanted to finish between 50 and 55 minutes and in the top half of all racers. I’d be surprised if that happened at all today.

Hindsight and all that…

The Felsted 10k 2012 was not the race I had hoped it would have been for me. Crispy on the other hand had a blinder! He finished in 46 minutes, I was very pleased for him, I on the other hand finished in 50 minutes, OK so I had beaten my 10k PB by 3 minutes, but I was not happy about the way I had started.

I need to learn to start a lot slower.

Here’s the course and my splits.

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Thursday 5th July 2012 – 5K time trial

Running club

Thursday. Running club this evening.

I checked out the website this week to see what route we would be running (I remembered this time). According to the posting we would be doing 5k time trials. Brilliant, the last time we had done this I had crashed and burned half way through, far too quickly out of the blocks.

Subsequently I had finished in about 25 minutes, a gasping wheezing wreck.

Well that wasn’t about to happen again. This time I would pace it a bit more.

5k time trial

Before the run I did my usual stretches and took on some water.

We headed out, a mile or so run down to the park where we would be starting the time trials. I kept at the back, a steady jog to try and conserve some energy.

I knew the route of the trials, 2 laps starting along the riverside, over the bridge, back down through Chelmsford University, cut back through the side road, over another bridge – and repeat.

It was a nice, flat run, and good for setting decent times.

My time trial

I started off quickly and was kicking myself inside, I knew I’d do that, I wanted a slower pace to start and then increase and push for the last half mile. I was running under 8 minute mile pace.

I kept going, breathing hard but maintaining the pace. I looked at my GPS, a quick few calculations, I could beat 24 minutes at this rate.

I ploughed on, I slowed a little but nothing major. I came over the second bridge and headed for lap two, still feeling ok, still breathing hard, but all the while pushing hard. I had the 24 minute target in my head.

Half way around the second lap I could feel myself slowing, perhaps I hadn’t quite paced this out correctly.

A left turn after the Uni, across the bridge and then turn right, the last 100 yards or so to the finish line, where 80% of the rest had already finished. I stopped my watch 23m:59s….

Here’s my 5k time trial PB

Tuesday 3rd July 2012 – Running at the same pace

Running at the same pace

This was the beginning of my last week of ‘solo’ running for a while. As of next week I would be working to a marathon training plan, 16 weeks of tempo, easy and long runs in the build up to running the Amsterdam marathon at the end of October.

Today I wanted to cover 5 miles running at the same pace. This may sound easy and probably is for some people, but it’s something I tend to struggle with, so this morning I was going to practice it.

A simple route around the village at a manageable pace was the plan.

Setting off too quick

As per normal I set off a little too quickly, this is becoming a very annoying habit I have, and something I need to work on.

My pace slowed down after a mile or so, my target pace of 8m 20s to 8m 30s per mile, seemed manageable. I set out and headed down toward the village.

A quick right at The Cock, up and over the A12 and back not only adds distance to my route but throws a short sharp hill in both the beginning of my run and at the end too.

Back down to the main road, left at Plantation Road and then around the back of the village to the top of Church Road.

On Target

I turned left then, past The Lion, down hill then up to the A12 junction, over that and back on myself for the 2 mile run home.

So far so good with the pace, although I had slowed a little, something which I expected to do, I hadn’t gone over the 8m 30s per mile mark, I felt pretty good too, the legs were holding up nicely and my breathing was steady.

The last two miles were good, the uphill run back toward The Lion was easier today (I’m sure that’s just a mental thing). I tried pick pace up a little once I’d come back down the hill by The Cock and started the last half mile home.

All in all a good run this morning, happy with it.

Here’s a good 5 mile route

Bike ride to work

Stupid ideas

I have had many stupid ideas in my time, mostly when I was younger, you get wiser as you get older, not quite true in my case, ok, so maybe slightly wiser.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I was going on a bike ride to work, I was going to borrow a company pool car for a weekend, I couldn’t drive my car and pool car home so I decided to ride my bike to work and put it in the boot and drive home.

My journey to work when I drive is 16 miles door to door. I had mapped a more ‘direct’ (?) route at about 20 miles for the bike ride in. I reckoned I could cover a mile every 5 minutes, quick calculations indicate a journey time of about 1 hour 40 minutes.

I must be nuts

I woke up the following morning and checked the weather outside, it looked like it was going to be a warm one, a slight breeze and the odd cloud.

I showered, dressed and went down stairs. I felt ok considering yesterday’s hard run and biking to and from the running club, I was pretty sure, well maybe only quite sure, that my legs would hold up for the next couple of hours or so.

I left home at 6am, heading for the country lanes and back roads and as fewer hills as possible. The first 4 miles were good. Mile 5 was mainly up hill to Danbury, turned right went through Bicknacre, along to Hanningfield.

I came to a T junction which was where I picked up my normal route to work. I had to turn left and face a rather large up hill ride. I took a breather for a couple of minutes, swallowed and energy gel and some water before battling on again.

I’d reached 12 miles and was feeling pretty good, I was an hour into it, and reckoned another half hour and I would be there.

What goes up must come down

The ride up the hill wasn’t as bad as I had expected, after pedaling through Retendon village it was a case of what goes up must come down…a nice steady downward, effortless glide to the bottom of the hill to the main roundabout, straight over that, and the next one immediately after.

Then it was a slow grinding battle up an ongoing hill to the lights at Rawreth, and then another ‘legs in the air’ and ‘flies in your teeth’ few moments as I sped down hill towards another roundabout.

I was very close to work now, a mile and a half, two miles tops maybe. I threw a right at the roundabout, my thighs were aching and my backside was sore.

The last few hundred yards were both annoyingly slow yet exhilarating, and as I got off my bike when I pulled into the car park I was very happy to be off of that bloody saddle! My bike ride to work had been amazing, a challenge and rewarding.

It had taken me an hour and a half to cover 18.5 miles, a lovely sunny morning through some stunning countryside…should do it more often really.

Here’s the bike ride to work.

Thursday 28th June 2012 – multi terrain running

A cunning plan

Whilst driving to work today I was thinking about tomorrow morning. Already thinking ahead. The reason for this was I would be riding my bicycle to work (I would be using a company car over the weekend – unable to drive two cars home), the plan would be to put the bike in the boot for the journey home.

So anyway, this got me thinking, why not ride my bike to the running club tonight, complete the run / route and then ride the bike home. Simples. It was four miles from home to the running club. That was manageable right?

I’d forgotten one thing

I was looking forward to tonight’s mini endurance test. Like the fool that I am.

To be honest the ride to the club wasn’t too bad, it took me just over 20 minutes to get there. That was the easy part. I had failed to do one thing today, and that was to check which route we would be running is evening at the club. The route is always posted on the website on the day, this was something I had totally over looked.

It turned out the route wasn’t a simple 5 miler, along tarmac covered pathways, nope, this was partly along pathways, but mainly running along the river bank, through fields, and around fields for about 8.5 miles.

The run was far from easy, I struggle running through fields, I struggle with the uneven surface and nigh on running one foot inline with the other…and hoping the person in front of you doesn’t go for a burton.

Back on my bike

It was tough but enjoyable. I managed to run it in 1 hour 15 minutes, not bad considering the multi terrain running challenge.

So once we were back at the running club HQ it time for stretch and then back on my bike for the four mile ride home. Perhaps a little slower than the ride to the club, and a little more up hill.

In had ridden 8 miles and ran 8.5 miles. I was knackered..but buzzing..!

This is the run.

Running though the fields.

Tuesday 26th June 2012 – Taking it easy

Making the wrong decision

When I woke up this morning and turned my alarm off, I had that “can’t be arsed” feeling, I was tired and in no mood to haul my ass out of bed, even though the sun was shining through the window and it looked like it was going to be a lovely day.

I decided there and then to stay in bed and get an extra hour sleep, or at least try to.

This, as it happened, turned out to be very much the wrong decision to make, for the rest of the day I had the hump. I was annoyed with myself for not getting up and going for a run. A run wakes me up and sets me up for the day…I know that, yet felt it would be better to stay in bed.

Making the right decision

I stewed all day. I regretted not running this morning. I was snappy with people when I could be bothered to speak to anyone.

I didn’t like it. I decided to go for a run this evening instead, and to make up for being such a lazy arsed git this morning I’d run 10k instead of the 5k I was going to run. I’d managed to cheer myself up a bit, and was now looking forward to a nice steady run on a summers evening. Assuming the rain holds off, I’d be able to get a good pace going and be taking it easy, nothing too manic.

Slow and steady

So once the boys were bathed and in bed, and wifey was settling down to read them stories with Gruffalos and diggers, I was throwing my running kit on and heading out.

I’d planned a simple, slightly undulated route that took me around the village and headed over the A12 down passed the BMW dealership, up to the Sainsbury’s roundabout and then head back over the A12 and the 2 mile straight through the village home again.

The temperature was nice, the roads weren’t too busy, and I soon settled into a good stride and pace. I wanted to take it steady and try to maintain an even pace throughout. I needed to work on this in preparation for the half marathon and marathon I had entered.

Happy again

I ran just over 10k (6.65 miles), in just over an hour. Not a record breaking run by any means, but I had managed to run steadily. I was happy again.

Taking it easy.

Saturday 23rd June 2012 – New routes

A new route

With boredom comes complacency.

I’ve been running the same router variables of it for ages now. Sometimes adding a bit, sometimes running a little less. New routes are needed.

Today was time for a change. It’s Saturday so that’s long run day, minimum of 10 miles required for today.

I had planned a new route along county lanes in peace and quiet (for the most part anyway).

The early bird and all that

I woke up earlier than expected this morning, I was up and about, running kit on and doing stretches way before our cockerel had even thought of addressing the world with his cocka doodle doo.

I had a new route to try out. Out the door and raring to go (waited a while for the bloody satellites to align with the GPS), a sprightly chirp from the watch meant we were all ready to go.

The route took me along the main road into Boreham, I turned left at The 6 Bells, down Plantation Road, left again at the end of the road onto Church Road, and down hill for a few hundred yards towards the river. Over the bridge and beyond…

Running alone

This was new running territory to me, I’d ran as fas as the bridge before and then ran alongside the river. I’d just passed the 2 mile marker before the bridge, and I knew that at the end of this road was a roundabout at junction 18 of the A12.

This was the back route. This was the scenic route. This was lovely.

I was running along the road, listening to the semi hypnotic sound of my footsteps hitting the Tarmac and the steady rhythm of my breathing. A tapping noise to my right caught my attention, there about 50 yards away clinging to a tree was a woodpecker, merrily pecking away.

The road was quite flight, a few very slight hills which were only 100 or so yards long, enough to make me breath and push a bit harder. I reached the roundabout at about 4.5 miles, ran around it (keeping to the verges) over the A12 and then back on myself, heading back along the country lane, retracing my steps back towards the river and the bridge…and then the hill.

I reached the bridge and stopped for a few seconds as I took an energy gel and washed it down, preparing myself for this new never before challenged hill. I took a steady run up and tried to maintain my pace as I conquered the winding hill step by step. This was so much easier on the way down…

Back through the village

At the top of the hill the road bends round to the left, I could of gone right, back up Plantation Road, but kept running ahead, past the church and up towards the main road where I turned right.

I felt great, the fresh morning air filling my lungs, the peace and tranquility and all at a good pace. I turned right onto the main road, about a mile and a half to go. I took a cheeky left at The Cock Inn and ran up and over the bridge across the A12 and back to the main road – nice to work the legs a bit before the final half mile home.

I managed to complete 10.1 miles in about 1 hour 27 minutes. Happy and ready to take on the rest of the day.

Here’s the route and the splits

Thursday 21st June 2012 – Riverside running

Thursday – Running club

Thursday already, it rolls around so quickly.

Today’s run was with the running club, I’d checked the website to see which route we would be running this evening, it seems we would be running the river route. I’d not run this one before, it looked about 6 miles. I was looking forward to it.

Running conditions

We’ve had a bit of rain recently, but this evening was warm with a slight breeze, nice conditions to run in.

We headed out of the running club HQ and over the bridge, down past the Audi garage to the roundabout, straight across and turned left. A public footpath through trees and thickets past a few houses and down to the river.

With all the sun and heavy rain we had been experiencing lately the bushes, grass and nettles had grown thick and luscious, which was nice, except they intruded across the foot path at the side of the river, that mixed with the slippery muddy conditions underfoot made for an interesting, careful and steady trot.

Slip sliding away

We ran single file along the river for a mile or so, through Sandford Mill and onwards towards the bypass. A small group of us eked our way through the grass, skipping over muddy puddles and dodging nettles.

Why is it there are always nettles crossing the path where there is lots of mud? You either get stung or go ankle deep in the brown stuff!

The chap behind me was quiet, I guessed he was concentrating as hard as I was on balance and not getting stung. “I’m angry!” he suddenly said. I shouted over my shoulder “what’s the matter?”. It turns out he had slipped over (that’s why he was quiet). I felt for him a bit, the last thing I wanted to do was to slip and injure myself.

Suddenly the lady in front of me went over. Her left foot caught a very slippery patch and down she went. Luckily I was some 15-20ft behind her otherwise there may have been a pile of bodies laying in the mud and nettles!

Home stretch

We reached the bypass, by now it was just me and the guy that had fallen over behind me earlier, we crossed a small bridge and ran across a field towards the under pass. It was so much nicer to have some more solid ground underfoot. Through the under pass and back up onto the pavement. The last three quarters of a mile up to club HQ.

We were caked in mud, him more so than me. Our legs were red and stinging. It felt brilliant. What a great route!! I’d thoroughly enjoyed it, we’d completed about 5.5 miles in about 48 minutes.

Riverside running; it takes concentration, it’s muddy and full of nettles – I loved it!

Can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Slippery and packed with stinging nettles, here’s the route!

Tuesday 19th June 2012 – Fartlek

Dinner with friends

On Saturday evening Wifey and I donned our finest and went out to dinner with a couple that we know. Nanny was babysitting the boys, and we were off to let our hair down and chill out for a few hours.

The husband of the couple we were at dinner with (let’s call him Chris – as that’s his name) happens to be an ex runner. I’d heard him mention this months ago, but never managed to talk to him about it in more detail. He’d been a very competent long distance runner.

“So then, how’s the running coming along Paul?” he asked. I told him it was going well, and that I’d recently completed my first half marathon. He asked how I got on? I told him about the race, how hot it was, how I struggled a bit, how much I enjoyed it and how nice it was to have Wifey and the boys supporting me.

Finally I said “I think I was very under prepared for it, and could of trained better for it”

Getting some advice

I’ve read various forums and articles in magazines about hill running and fartlek training, but never quite understood just how it would benefit me, or how to actually carry out the training process. How would I know if I was doing it correctly?

Chris said to me “have you been doing any hill runs?” Well that’s a good question… “What about your fartlek training?”

I explained that whilst I had heard of it, hadn’t tried it, wasn’t sure etc. Chris told me in some depth about how it works, the benefits etc and what sort of other stuff I should or could be doing in preparation for the marathon in October.

I was buzzing, I couldn’t wait to get out and carry out some different training.

I had to wait until today though.

My first fartlek session

I sprung out of bed this morning, and was soon out of the door and pounding the pavement. The first mile was at a very slow 9m 20s ish pace, just a bit of a warm up. Then it was a sub 8m pace for 2 minutes, then back to a slow pace for one minute, then quick again for 2 minutes. I repeated this several times. Slowed down to 9m 30s ish for the last mile home.

At the end of it I felt great, felt like I’d had a good work out. This was definitely going to become part of the training programme!

Fartlek rocks!

Here’s my first fartlek session.

Saturday 16th June 2012 – Mind over matter

Saturday morning

I was up and out of bed all raring to go this morning, I felt good, and was looking forward to going for my run.

After the run on Thursday at the running club I had planned to tweak one of my usual routes a little to try and incorporate part of the run from Thursday. This would form the last part of the run and entail running through the back of Beaulieu Park and round the back of Newhall School and down to the A12, before heading home.

Today’s target was 13 miles.

Mind over matter

I may have mentioned this before, but I have struggled for quite sometime to get through the 3rd mile of each run, except when running a 5K. It’s within this mile that I get the ‘white flag’ moments.

You know those moments when you are already planning a shorter router. Or wondering how far you will get before you will stop and call someone to come and get you. Or if that ever so slightly aching leg or arm will stop your run today. Anything that will make you stop and turn around and go home. These ‘white flag’ moments drive me nuts. I hate them.

The odd thing is, as soon as the GPS or iPhone indicates that I have passed the 4 mile mark, my whole mentality changes, and I look forward to the rest of the run.

It’s a case of mind over matter really. Throughout the 3rd mile I am constantly fighting the darker thoughts and ‘using the force’ as it were.

There go my legs

The run started well, the first two miles around the village were good, I wanted to try and maintain a steady pace. I needed to complete my long runs at a continuous pace, practice for completing the half marathon and marathons I had planned.

All was going well, we’ll skip the 3rd mile and head straight to mile 6. I had ran through Chelmer Village and was now heading back up towards the running club HQ, and my legs stopped moving. Now warning. No pains, niggles or aches. They just stopped.

I walked for about 30 seconds, took and energy gel and some mouthfuls of water from the bottle and continued to run as if nothing had happened.  I was baffled, and remain so.

Heading up to Beaulieu Park I had a decision to make, did I go straight on and head for the route around the back of Newhall School or did I turn right and head for home, thus cutting the run short by a couple of miles.

I went right. Not sure why I had stopped earlier, I didn’t want to risk anything so I opted for the shorter route. I headed back towards the A12 interchange and was just starting the 2 mile straight towards home and my legs stopped again.

I walked for another 30 seconds, took another energy gel and began again, slowly making my way back home.

I managed to complete the 10 mile route in 1h 34m – ok it was slower than I would of liked, but I am still not sure why my legs stopped moving, and wasn’t going to increase the pace just in case.

Here’s the geeky bit!