LETJOG14 – Week 5

What I lacked in quantity…

This is the first time in a long while that I haven’t had the inclination, nor the motivation nor the energy to haul my arse off the sofa or leave my desk to go out for a run.

I’ve managed one run this week, and to do that I seriously had to pull myself together and give myself a kick up the backside with my own size 10s.

An evening run around the village, ‘perhaps blowing the cobwebs out may get the buzz and the motivation back’ I thought.

 …I made up for in pace!

My one single run this week was a blinder. My pace has been getting slightly quicker on the shorter runs, and this one was no exception.

It was only 3.9 miles but each mile was under the 7m 30s per mile. Not sure why or how, no change in diet, perhaps the rest had done me the world of good, but it was pretthy quick for me!

This Week’s Run!

Monday – 3.9 miles (click here) – great splits, quick pace, and not all on the flats!

Weekly total = 3.9 miles

Total covered this year = 67.15miles

Distance left to cover = 803.85miles.

Hopefully it will be much better next week.

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The Southend Half Marathon

The Southend half marathon

Well the day had finally arrived. I’d been building up to this for a while now. Yesterday’s short easy run with Rob had relieved a little nervous energy and I felt relatively relaxed.

Although like most race days I was eager to leave and head to the race venue in good time. I didn’t want to leave it too late incase we got caught up in traffic or delayed somehow. I’d been training for this day and missing it or arriving late was not an option.

The Weston clan with Rob in tow headed off, we were due to meet up with Crispy and his clan before the race. Turned out he was as keen as me to get there and arrived some 20 minutes before we did.

The race atmosphere

We got there and parked up. Hundreds of people were already milling about. Some spectators but the majority were runners. All adorned with their individual race numbers, all either warming up, stretching or gentle jogging.

The atmosphere was buzzing. Me and Crispy kissed our respective loved ones farewell, got a pat on the back and words of encouragement from Rob, and headed on the direction of the start/ finish line.

We did our stretches and warmed up. Although we were already pretty warm: the forecast had been cloudy with some rain showers today yet the skies were blue and temperature was already rising. I hoped the heat wouldn’t have too much of an affect on us. We just needed to be sensible and run at a steady pace.

On your marks

Crispy and I huddled in amongst the other runners, everyone chatting or doing last minute stretches. The start time was 10:00am. We had a few minutes to go.

I was pretty much relaxed. I’d been in couple of races before, Crispy hadn’t though and I wondered how he was feeling.

The klaxon sounded on the stroke of 10:00 and everyone bottle necked to get under the inflatable start. It took us a couple of minutes to get through, as we crossed the line (which then activated our chip strapped to our ankle) I caught a glimpse of Wifey Rob and the boys to my left all waving and cheering. Today I would do them proud.

My targets for today’s race were a) finish in the top half and b) finish in under 2 hours. Crispy and I thought we could finish around 1h 50m mark but we hadn’t banked on such warm weather.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing

We started well, and the first couple of miles took us through a bit of a residential area before dropping down onto Shoebury front and heading towards Southend. We were to complete two laps up to the Sealife centre and back and them back up to the park where we started.

Between miles 2 and 3 people around us were already dropping off. It was very warm. I was a little concerned, we were running around 8m30s miles and I think we should of slowed a little. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Thankfully there were plenty of water and sponge stations but I was carrying my own bottle filled with water. I didn’t need water stations. I am a fool. Still people were dropping out. Still the temperature rose.

Mile 8 was my nemesis. We’d completed one loop and were a third through the second. I was busting for a wee. I felt dizzy and sick and my legs felt like jelly. I told Crispy that I may have to stop and for him to keep going. I didn’t want to hold him up.

I took water at the next station, followed it with some segments of orange a spectator was handing out, an energy gel I had with me and a jelly baby that another spectator was handing out. Before I reached mile 9 I was right as rain and re charged. I took water at every station from then in.

I felt good but I’d lost Crispy. I kept glancing over my shoulder trying to find him. I wasn’t sure if he was ok? Or if he’d stopped or what!? Just after mile 10 we all turned left and ran up a short hill. Turn right at the top and through residential area. My legs feel like lead. I stopped at a water station and looked out for Crispy as I caught my breath. No sign of him.

I carried on.

Crossing the line

I ran slowly on. The crowds cheering and clapping was great encouragement. We turned onto some parkland and ran along the sea wall. I stopped again. We were less than a mile from the finish line and I had intended on crossing the line with Crispy, yet I couldn’t see him anywhere.

I had to carry on without him, I ran as hard and as I could to get to the line, my legs were heavy, and my heart was pounding inside my chest. Wifey, Rob and the boys were all at the line cheering and clapping, I crossed the line and pressed stop on the GPS. 

I fell into the line of people collecting bottles of water and a finishers medal, continually looking out for Crispy. There he was coming in through the line behind me, looking a little dazed and knackered but he’d finished! I was both relieved and pleased for him!

We’d completed the Southend half marathon, I was very pleased, I crossed the line in around 1h 58 minutes (could of been quicker) and position 716 out of 1493.

Here is the very hot half marathon info!

Time for a challenge!

March Madness

As you know I need something to challenge me. I need a goal to drive to. Take the 10 mile run I achieved a few weeks ago. I had it mind to run  the 10 mile route, and built up to it over a few weeks. I achieved it.

And by achieving it I felt good, it built my confidence as a runner, and has given me further confidence to enter other races (more of that in another post).

So this is my aim, I am going to attempt to run 155K in March. There are 31 days in March, and I am aiming for 5K per day! Some of you may be thinking ‘that’s not much of a challenge!’, but it is to me.

It’s really that simple!

Is it really that simple? What am I going to need to do to achieve it? Well I don’t intend on running every day. I still need my rest days. I figured I need to do 20K during the week, and make the rest up at weekends, rest days will be Monday and Friday as normal.

I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a bit of a mission! but that’s what a challenge is all about right?

Challenges present themselves as different things for different people. We all run at different levels right, some are quicker runners, some short distance, some better at long distance, some trail runners.

Then there are some folk who are lazy fat bastards who sit on their arse all day taking the piss out of people that like to keep fit and eat healthily, they have no get up and go, no drive or real focus. They will never achieve anything. They are miserable, and to a point probably jealous!

I do not wish to be like that, I intend on bettering myself, and if I can do that whilst doing something I enjoy, then good for me!

Healthy diet and plenty of rest!

I eat quite healthily, but I think I could eat healthier. More fruit, less bread. I need to drink more water, every day I mean to drink more, but get caught up in what I am doing or distracted in one way or another. So I need plenty of focus.

I know my Wife will support me, and perhaps join me on the occasional run.

Fatigue will play a major factor in this challenge. I am normally comfortable with running 5K in the mornings, but a challenge is meant to get you out of your comfort zone, so I will be upping the ante a little and aiming for 7-8K if not more. This will tire me out, therefor more rest will be needed.

How I am going to manage that I don’t know!!

Inspiration

I read a lot of other people’s blogs and articles, and gain a lot of inspiration from them. Some set themselves similar challenges and goals, some are just setting out on their running experiences and others are hardy marathon runners. All of these people are just ordinary folk like me.

If they can do it, then so can I.

 

Saturday 11th February 2012 – 10 Miles!

A week with out running

I woke up this morning full of excitement with a little bit of fear / concern thrown into the mix.

I was determined to crack the 10 mile barrier this morning, but due to the recent crap snow and ice I hadn’t been out for a run since last Sunday, so either A) the long rest would be a great help or B) the long rest meant I was a little out of practice and was going to struggle some what. I hoped it was option A.

I’d been keeping an eye on the conditions of the pavements and pathways, and they had been improving daily, but I wasn’t prepared to go out running in the dark on a still icey path. Today would be the day. I could feel it.

A touch of frost?

Running kit on, downstairs for a stretch and a warm up (feed the cat), check the weather outside…and low and behold it was clear, although it seemed we had been on the receiving end of a very heavy frost. Temperature check, minus 4. Crap.

The sun was just poking it’s nose over the horizon, the cockerel was making a row in the garden, time to hit the road!

Setting a pace

Something happened as soon as I started running this morning; on the opposite side of the road was another bloke running, from the village up the road into our village, nothing odd in that, in fact nothign odd at all, but he was properly running. Not jogging slowly or quickly. Full on running.

Well that was me ruined. Instead of settling into a nice pace to start off with, seeing as I wanted to push myself that little bit further this morning, I wanted to catch up with him. Not only did I want to catch up with him, I wanted to over-take him.

I did neither. He was way too fast. A hardened pro no doubt. After 150 yards or so I realised 2 things; Firstly I was not going to catch him, and secondly my legs were fricking stinging! Bollocks.

I needed to concentrate on the job in hand!

The first two miles flew by, albeit I was bored, and my pace quickened a little, I wanted to get the first 4 miles out of the way, and into the meaty bit.

What a fool I am.

Having torn through the first couple of miles at about an 8m30s pace, I got a stitch at 4 miles, this lasted until mid 6 to 7. I was struggling. The stitch was really pissing me off, I couldnt shake it, but was glad to be at 7 miles, and new that I had plenty in me to keep going.

The stitch, and not my pace or technique, had been my point of focus and I needed to get back into my stride…which took me about half a mile.

Home straight

At 8 miles I knew I had 2 miles or perhaps more to go, the home straight is 2 miles long give or take a few yards.

Down a hill, up the other side, a mile of flat straight, chuck a left up a short hill and back down, at this point my right calf was cramping a little, no time to worry about it, I was almost home. Left again, half a mile to go. Pace quickened again, running full out for the last few hundred yards…

10 mile barrier…BROKEN!

I’d done it. It had taken me a couple of months to achieve it slowly, but surely.

Very pleased. I am now ready to book in for some 10 mile runs, and 10K runs.

You can see my route and times here

Saturday 4th February 2012 – the whole 9 miles!

The weekend has landed

I lay in bed last night thinking about what route I would run today. I wanted to break the 10 mile barrier, desperately.

I recalled the 8.42 mile run from a couple of weeks ago. Remember last week? I didn’t run due to wine over indulgence, and if I am honest, I had to test a few of Wifey’s cakes too.

I had an idea of a few extra roads I could incorporate, hopefully it was a mile and a half plus! and it would take me beyond that 10 mile barrier.

No pain, no gain and all that!

Normally my longer run starts out as a bit of a mission, the first mile or so bore me if I am honest. The same route, the same streets, the same houses, occasionally the same dog walkers.

Mile 3-5 are a little more interesting. Mile 4-5 I hit a mental barrier, I struggle a bit, my running style goes a bit wonky, my breathing is all over the show. Mile 5-6 back in the zone and heading home.

This morning was cold, as it has been all week, at least minus 2 or 3, a bit of a brisk wind and dark. I did a lot more stretching than normal, the last thing I wanted was to cramp up or something more serious. This played on my mind a little.

Keep on running

I have learnt that once you get into a decent pace you can pretty much keep on running until your legs fall off. Not quite literally obviously. But if I didn’t finish at my house, or if there was no finish line, I think I could keep running.

Not like Forest Gump. But I think mentally I could run and run. Not sure what  my legs would say to that mind!

The run.

I incorporated the additional parts of the route, I felt good, my legs were stinging (my thoughts frequently moved on to lycra shorts), and finished my run in 1h 23m 10s. A whole minute slower than the run a couple of weeks ago. The difference was that run two weeks ago was only 8.42 miles, this morning was 9.28 miles.

My pace was quicker, the distance was longer. I had done it again. This was the furthest I had ever run. Part of me was very happy, the other half of me was gutted that I hadn’t broken the 10 mile barrier.

Gotta do it next time!

Post run notes

My legs are quite achy, more so than they have been after previous long runs. Not sure if it’s the pace or the weather, or maybe I didn’t warm down properly.

You can see the route here.

Saturday 14th January 2012

Accidents happen.

Rules are there to be broken. Boundaries are there to be tested. Personal bests are there to be beaten!

Accidents happen.

Setting a target.

I woke up at 6:30am this morning, bleary eyed, pillow stuck to my face and cold where Wifey had nicked the covers in the night.

I was looking forward to my run, I really enjoy my Saturday morning runs. I am in no rush to get back, I haven’t (normally) got to be anywhere in a hurry. A relaxed run.

I don’t normally set a target on Saturdays, during the week I have set route, it may differ slightly depending on what time I get out of bed, but it’s generally a 5K route.

This morning I knew I wanted to run at least 4 – 5 miles, I had a rough idea of the route, end of the road and back, give or take half a mile or so. Simple.

Beautiful scenery

I stepped outside the back door to be welcomed by a thick sheet of frost and ice laid everywhere. The chill licked at my bare legs ‘bollocks, this is going to be a cold one!’ I thought.

I hit the main road, no cars around, with the sun just peaking his nose over the horizon. At about a mile and a half I there is a right turn bend where I pass a row of houses, and in between fields. The view was spectacular, the colour of the sky was a soft peachy pink, the low sun rays lighting up the misty frost laden fields was breath taking.

I almost stopped and took a picture…but coming up behind me was a lady walking her dog who I had not 2 minutes ago just scared the crap out of as I ran up behind her and over took her. How she never heard me coming I don’t know. I didn’t really want to stick around to get another ear bashing!

At the top of the road I turned left which would take me up to the main roundabout, upto there and home would give me about 4.5 miles.

In the zone

I got to the roundabout and thought I would go a little bit further, trying to do distance / time calculations whilst ignoring the stinging sensation on my legs, I figured a 5-6 miler was on the cards.

Another roundabout and another mile under my belt, I re-calculated and seeing as I was feeling good, I was running at a good pace, I went for the 10K! I went all out for it.

I got to 4 miles and memories of last weeks epic 7.35 mile all time personal best distance sprang to mind. Now you know I am a bit competitive, and I was now daring myself to run further than I did last week, literally talking out loud to myself as I ran, encouraging myself to run and run, I think I even bet myself a tenner that I couldn’t beat it.

Another half a mile up the road, turned right, heading back onto the route I had came on, doubling back on myself now heading home, which was about 2.5 miles away.

I was feeling fantastic, legs were good, breathing was steady, the cold air felt tiptop with each inhale. I was so going to beat the 7.35 miles.

What an acheivement

The music on the iPhone quietened down, the familiar voice of my running assistant lady (she kicks in on the mile, every mile) gave my the time, pace and distance just reached, 7 miles, and I had over half a mile to go.

Pace quickened, arms and legs pumping, flat run in to home.

I stopped the clock at 1h 14 minutes and 24 seconds, with a distance of 7.69 miles. You can see more of it here.

I could of kept going. Seriously I felt so much better than last weeks 7.35 mile run. I don’t know if it was the time of day that I ran, the surface, the weather? Maybe the fact that I hadn’t planned it, I don’t know, but it was a damn sight easier.

I am going to ‘not plan’ an 8 miler for next Saturday.