Monday, 12 October 2009

It hurts to move - Royal Parks Half - Race Report

So I'll start with the answers from last weeks post. Can I walk? Not really. Left knee painful so even left the bike at home!! I will try and walk home from work later though. How drunk? Surprisingly not which is one up on last year? And the toes? A couple of bruised ones and a few blisters but I still have all 10 toe nails so bonus!

And the race. First things first. I got my PB!! Very happy with that. Didn't reach my goal for the end of 2009 but a PB is a PB and a PB knocking off 3 mins 39 secs and coming under the 1:55:00 mark for the first time ever is extremely satisfying. My new time is now 1:54:51! Sometime in the future I have to look at knocking off 4:52sec which with the help of a little calculation works out that I need to find 22 secs per mile. Now that can wait til next year!

Getting up at 6am to get some breakfast is never nice on a Sunday. That's earlier than a normal weekday for me!! Left the house plugged into the ipod and an audiobook to kill time on the bus journey up to Hyde Park. Got there. Started raining. Now on no weather forecast I checked did it say anything about wetness! Mind you, better than last year with the sun burning bright I guess. I just hid under a tree and waited for eatingtrees to turn up, mind you, all I could think of was this story!!!

De-bagged, ready to go at 9:15 for a 9:30 start we wandered/shivered down to the start and put our fingers in our ears to protect from the rather loud PA system... and we were off! Starting the race as ever with eatingtrees, we clocked the first mile around 8:42m/m (which in hindsight may have been slightly out distance wise) and then by mile 2, we had settled in around the 8.30 ish for the 2 mile marker. We continued to plod along with me running on eatingtrees' heel until around mile 4 when he started to drop back a little and I continued on my own. Some strategic planning with LG meant that she was waiting just after the half way mark with wine gums and cheering which really did help and knowing that I'd be seeing her again sometime after the 10 mile point kept my spirits up. Mile 7 hit and I ran through it in 1:00:31. Pretty much bang on where I wanted it to be. If I could now run a 54min 10k, I would have my time under 1:55:00. The race was on. The playlist had been resurrected on Saturday evening so play was pressed and Foo Fighters set me on my way.

Lost a contact lens around 7 and a half miles which was annoying but luckily my vision isn't too bad so carried on and if I needed to see anything far away, I squinted a bit. Miles 8 and 9 seemed to go pretty well and were nowhere near as painful as I remembered last year. Past mile 10 and I knew that LG would be waiting and yep, there she was. Camera first and then the declined offer of more wine gums and I must say, I was feeling pretty good at this point. I even managed to stick my tongue out!


Mile 10 to 11 seemed to go really well and I was still feeling fresh and then back on myself for half a mile. Around the bandstand, another wave from LG and then the slight climb to 12miles. I felt myself slow at this point so my mentally having to tell myself to carry on and keep pushing. Through the 12 mile at 1:44:2* so a final mile at a similar pace and I was there. The start of mile 12 pushes away from the finish so I kept myself going at this point before the hairpin after a couple of hundred metres.

Now it was the home straight. I hate this bit of this race. It must be 3/4 of a mile and for quite a lot of it, you can see the finish line and it just doesn't get any closer! I knew I didn't have any kind of sprint in me so I pushed to try and keep what I felt was a pace I could finish at. I could see the clock. It's had just gone 1:56:00 and I knew it had taken around 1:30 to get through the finish at the start so I was nearly there. The last song of the playlist finished so I just got through the last 10/15 steps and it was done. Clocked stopped at 1:54:53 and then had to hold myself up a little on the barriers. Job done and a message through later confirming time of 1:54:51. Happy boy.

Loaded with Mars bars, Lucozade, water and banana's we got changed and with eatingtrees and LG, we headed to the pub to meeting Cathy and Shaun. Drinks were drank, pizza was munched and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

Now I have 3/4 weeks off which will be lovely... especially knowing I've gone into a mini break on a PB!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

And now... the end is near... and so I face

the very likely possibility that I'm going to cry during the Royal Parks Half on Sunday!

I haven't done a listy blog for a while so here goes:

Reasons I'm gonna cry:
-That shin thing started hurting again last night so stairs are a bit of a bugger at the mo (I'm sure it'll be fine)
-I nearly drowned yesterday. I was only cycling home
-I haven't run since getting very lost on Saturday. What if it happens again and I don't make it back in time for Sunday? (hmmm, there's a thought)
-I've never walked during a Half Marathon. Sunday might be a first
-Training has been 'limited' recently. I have loads of excuses none of which are valid except the word 'Lazy'

Reasons I don't need to cry:
-If I finish and stay alive. I eat pizza and drink beer with friends, old and new
-I have the chance of finishing a big event and if I push, maybe, just maybe, they'll be a PB around somewhere
-Once it's done, I don't have another race until Grim 8 in December
-Once it's done, I'm giving myself 3/4 weeks off
-Once it's done, I'll only be 12 days away from going on holiday with my Lovely Girlfriend

See, I reckon that's a good balance of good and bad stuff.

How my mood could be improved:
-Sleeping through an entire night just once!
-Getting less text messages from my parents telling me how much of fantastic time they're having with the orang-utans, monkeys and snakes of the Borneo Jungle and yes, I'm extremely jealous. My parents are having more fun than me at the mo. Surely not fair!!
-Not having my wonderful, clean and simple bike fitted with mudguards but I was fed up with wet pants so the decision had to be made
-1 or 2 certain people within my company being able to organise a piss-up in a brewery if it was needed

Why my mood is already quite good:
-We're nearly at the weekend (I'm ignoring the whole 'run' thing)
-Today I was given 3 new albums by Ian Brown, Bombay Bicycle Club and XX and I love getting new tunes
-I get to see my Sister and family in a couple of weeks time
-I'm pleased my parents are having a good time even if it is without their favourite son
-I finished writing a blog post and ended on a high!

Check here on Sunday evening Monday at some point for full race report including delights such as: Can I walk, how drunk did I get on one bottle of beer after the race due to dehydration and also an exclusive insight into the state of my toes! Nice

Monday, 5 October 2009

Training falls off the rails. Backwards. While upside down

So how do you deal with a situation in which you have one training weekend left before a half marathon and you've lost all motivation to put on your trainers?!? Yup, I bet inviting a mate down from the north, drinking too much and dragging his non running butt round Richmond Park wasn't top of your list either but alas, that's what I did!

Last time I checked, this thing formed some resemblance to a running blog so that is the part I will blog about and not the fact I stayed unbeaten on the pool table for 3 hours. No, no, that wouldn't be right! The running part had been arranged in advance and he'd been doing some 'training' to accommodate this part of the weekend. The plan was just under 6.5miles, around the towpath between Putney and Hammersmith bridges. That was until we went to the pub on Friday and decided that it would be a better idea to go to Richmond Park and run the loop. Just a little longer at around 7 miles but a nicer area in general to run in.

Richmond park is a loop. There is nothing to argue with here, it's fact. Just ask the 74000 cyclists and 23000 runners who appeared on a Saturday morning dressed an some quite amazing lycra in it's various forms. People use it for running, cycling, duathlon training, walking, hiking and probably some other things that I haven't worked out yet.

This is a map of the Richmond Park loop.

And this is what we actually ran!

There are some serious navigational issues going on there! So an extra 1.8miles than we thought. Getting completely and utterly lost by trying to avoid going out of the park and making one monumental wrong turn. It took us around an hour and a half with the walking, stopping and asking directions thrown in but it was pretty good. Northern bloke, to his credit did extremely well and more through stubbornness than fitness, wouldn't let himself walk unless we couldn't run due to the fact we didn't know which direction we were going or the terrain didn't allow it.

So to my own personal battle with running. I'm going to have a break from it. 4 weeks or so when I don't force myself to go out or feel guilty if I don't do a pre-arranged run. If I really fancy hitting the pavement then I will as this'll be a good thing but after next weeks Royal Parks HM, nothing until mid/end November. I want all the little annoying and niggly injuries to sort themselves and just want to enjoy it again and forcing my way through November isn't going to make that happen!

There will still be blogging as I think there may still be the odd run and to be honest, there's many other geeky hobbies I can bore people with blog about but lets take the pressure off and start to enjoy it again. Decision made! However, anyone thinking they need to push themselves through and pick up the pace should wander over to Fit Artists blog and join her for Octoberthon! Rather you than me though.