#Janathon Meet-up, Outlaw Week 9 Reviewed and Week 10 Planned

First Saturday of The Month 5k

In keeping with 100% attendance this year, Saturday saw me line up in Norton Common in Letchworth with 44 other hardy souls (or mentalists?) for the local running clubs 1st Saturday of the Month 5k. With a starting temperature of –7 the pre-race talk was primarily about the cold, and us being stupid enough to be there.

After talking to Soggous and _ed_h at the start we compared our race strategies and with me not really feeling the love for todays race, thought I’d try and use Soggous as a pace setter. Within seconds of the start though Soggous disappeared into the distance.

2 really good laps of the common followed, and the cold disappeared from my body. An unofficial time of 23 mins and 26 seconds, and a 13th place finish, I thought I’d set a new PB – but after checking turns out I need to run some 30 seconds faster to achieve that.

Another really good run, and there seems to be quite a community starting to form now. Looking forward to the next one in February.

Some photos are here.

Janathon Meetup

After finishing the 5k a very quick trip to Hyde Park to meet up with some fellow #Janathon participants. Whilst some of the others did a 5k ran, I stood with trainersintherox and jogblog minding the bags and getting cold.

Afterwards it was a trip to a nearby pub, and then Prezzo to enjoy pizza and cheesecake. Really good to meet the others and finally put some faces to the names of the blogs I’ve been following for a while.

Outlaw Week 9 Reviewed

Not the greatest week of training. Think my Masters starting again has had more impact than I really first considered. Fortunately I managed to get my long bike ride in before the snow came along, and strangely a club run turned into exceeding the planned long run distance for this week.

Another major success for this week was my longest swim ever, covering 2.5km in under an hour.

Due to the snow, todays long ride was going to be a session on the spinning bike at the gym, but (un)fortunately due to the promise of a Sunday roast this isn’t going to happen. Think today will be an enforced race day and I’ll hit the gym tomorrow (or take advantage of the clubs turbo session on a Monday for the 1st time ever).

Swim: 2.55m, 1hr 49m 
Bike: 27.75m, 1hr 50m
Run: 21m, 3hr 45m

Outlaw Week 10 Planned

  AM LUNCH PM
Mon     Turbo
Tue Cycle to Work   Run
Wed Swim   Run (Long – 9M)
Thur Cycle to Work   Run + Swim
Fri   Swim  
Sat Brick Session    
Sun Long Ride (2 hrs)    
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#Janathon Day 7–Got Your Number

Today saw the first race of 2012. Sadly due to my on-going calf problem I took the the sensible option and decided not to race and rather help pace trainersintherox get round her first 5k for quite some time.

The decision was also helped the night before by listening to the JBST Training Podcast which was basically pointing to knowing what session you should be training for before starting – and todays session was meant to be a Zone 2 run. I made a common mistake yesterday by changing my session by reacting to my surroundings when the other runner overtook me.

Unfortunately I left my wig, moustache and 1980s vest and shorts at home as when registering I was given the number:

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At the start line I thought I saw @Soggous. Thankfully I didn’t say hello, as I’d later find out that it wasn’t her.

Quite a muddy little run, definitely better than last time was some trail trainers on, and trainersintherox and myself crossed the line unofficially in 31 mins and 26 seconds – some 34 seconds faster than the training 5k run that Rox did on Thursday night.

It was then that I met @Soggous and @_ed_h_ from Stotfold Runners. Cracking to catch up with some tweeps in real-life and a great way to start the day.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning my bike in preparation for tomorrows ride, donig a bit of work and generally catching up with jobs around the house. #plankaday will come later!

Race 12 of 12–Buntingford Year End 10

And so we have it. The day I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while now. The last and final race of the year, and ultimately this challenge.

This race always sees a slight change in preparation from the usual running races. Changing to turkey and Brussel sprouts for nutrition (from the usual pasta), and using Quality Street and After Eights for carbo-loading rather than… well I’m not sure. Add into the mix plenty of alcohol its fair to say Christmas was rather enjoyable. This race however wasn’t.

Having been in Ironman base training for the past few weeks (and a couple of weeks rest before then), 10 miles would be the longest distance I’d run for a good couple of months. I set off for the 1st 2 miles trying to replicate the form I was showing in October, which went fine. Mile 3 though and the inevitable stitch and sore legs came. These stayed with me for a good 4 miles before strangely I came back to something resembling life for the final 3 miles of the course.

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I remember doing this race in 2009, my first ever race in Hertfordshire. Now having grown up in Hertfordshire (and not having been a runner in that time) I was under the impression that Hertfordshire was flat. This course back in 2009 made me realise that it well and truly wasn’t. I must have removed some of these hills from memory as I’m sure there were more of them this year, despite it being on the same course.

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Another fantastic race in Buntingford, and ultimately after a bath, sandwich and cup of tea it was a very enjoyable experience. I’ll be back next year for certain, maybe eating slightly less chocolate and drinking less alcohol. Well, maybe…

Isabel Hospice

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This saw the 12th and final race this year for Isabel Hospice. Its been a truly remarkable and enjoyable journey. For full details please see here. If you’d like to make a donation, please see here. Thank you.

Race Report–NHRR 1st Saturday of the Month 5k (December)

Having moved recently, and having joined a new running club, one big advantage is having a monthly, free 5k on my doorstep every month (£2 for non-members, just to be factually correct!). And when I say doorstep, I pretty much mean it – I ran to the race start.

Before leaving the house I tried to work out whether the course would be cross country or on trail paths / tarmac. I opted for the path / tarmac option and picked up my road shoes. 1st mistake of the day.

An excellent, but slightly challenging course, taking us across grass and mud in a local park in Letchworth. It consisted of 2 laps, and with me having no idea where I was going, meant at least I knew what was in store for the 2nd lap. The wet weather over the past week made it difficult to stay upright in places! Really wished I’d picked those trail shoes. And then the inclusion of a hill towards the end of each lap really was uncalled for.

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The most pleasing aspect was my consistent pacing throughout – something that has been sorely lacking over my past couple of races.

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So thank you very much NHRR for another wonderfully well organised event.

Letchworth Cross Country 2011

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I love the thought of running through England’s lovely countryside. Being at one with nature and all that. And today was a lovely autumn day, slightly breezy but with a gorgeous sunshine. Lining up at the start with 500 odd other runners, this was the life. (Admittedly a slightly cloudy head from 8 beers last night might not have made this ‘the life’ but it was pretty darn close).

Half a mile in and the pain in my legs and lungs reminded me why I hate cross country. This being at one with nature soon went out the window as I cursed and swore my way round the rest of the course, with hills appearing from nowhere, along with those looming in the distance.

In all honesty, it maybe wasn’t quite as bad as all that. Some enjoyable ‘mini’ races on the course made it very challenging, and I crossed the finish line with maybe a little more than expected in the tank. Still, now I know the course and I’ve got a target to beat for next year. 4.6 miles in 36mins 09secs.

The Course

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Course Profile

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Mile Splits

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Still, 2nd ever cross country and trainers still appear to be far cleaner than I’d expect to them to be!

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Race 11 of 12–Stevenage Half Marathon

Its taken a while to get round to writing this blog post – basically a fairly hectic couple of weeks in work! But still, better late than never I guess.

Arriving at Ridlins Athletics track for the 11th as part of the challenge (and actually my 5th race in 6 weeks!) I once again didn’t really know how to approach the race. Both me and my mate were eyeing up a sub 1hr 40m performance. After standing around in the cold debating whether we should just become summer only runners we eventually built up the bravery to get changed and then joined the queue for the baggage tent. In this queue I spotted @Soggous looking very professional and warming up on the track. Unfortunately by the time the queue had gone down I’d lost sight of her and thus another tweet-up went passing by.

Moving to the start line we wondered past the 2:30 marker sign, past the 2:00 hour sign and then suddenly found ourselves about 2 runners from the front. A great starting position, but unfortunately it might I spent the 1st 7 miles of the race just being overtaken by people – very uninspiring! Coupling this with an empty feeling in my legs and some calf pains at about 2.5 miles I was very tempted just to drop out after the 1st lap.

Then something changed at Mile 8 and things just seemed to come together. A shout out from a member of my tri club, who was spectating, at about this time also helped to spur me on. Fairly gutted to cross the line in 1hr 42m 8s, but another PB – just wished I sneaked in 9 seconds earlier!

Another thing to point out is I think mile 6 of this race signified 1000 running miles for the year. Another goal ticked off the list. Unfortunately with this being my last half marathon this year I does mean a sub 1hr 40m time will have to wait. I can’t be too disappointed though – I was only dreaming of going sub 1hr 45m this year – something which I never thought would actually happen, let alone twice in a matter of weeks.

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Isabel Hospice

Once again this was race 11 of 12 from this years challenge to raise money for Isabel Hospice. If you would like to donate please visit my JustGiving site. Many thanks.

Race 10 of 12 – Great South Run

Another Sunday, another race. Or at least thats how it felt! After travelling down to Southampton on the Saturday and enjoying a nice little shopping trip, it was an early start for the short drive to Portsmouth.

Thinking we’d left too early, suddenly we hit the traffic and it took us close to an hour to get to the sea front for the main car park. Jumping out of the car, and joining a relatively short queue for the toilet in the car park, the guy on the PA announced that he didn’t understand why we were queuing as the other toilets were empty. We headed over that way to find out that he probably couldn’t see the massive queue round the corner for them. That ate up all the preparation time and we decided to dump the bags in the car rather than search for the baggage area.

With all these delays, it resulted in me missing my allocated start pen of ‘Orange’ and so I sneaked into the ‘White’ wave. The 1st 2 miles were incredibly slow, due to the sheer numbers of runners on fairly narrow streets. On more than 1 occasion we were reduced to walking pace. Things spread out a little after the early miles and I managed to get my pace on track, but ultimately couldn’t grab back the earlier lost time.

Watching the highlights show yesterday I realised how little of the scenery I took in. I think this was mainly due to clock watching too much and also being wary not to clip peoples feet as the course was incredibly busy.

Still, as per all the Bupa Great Run events this year a pretty good atmosphere out on the course. Finishing with a new PB of 1hr 18m 59s it sets something of a target for Buntingford Year End 10 miler – the final race of the 12 in 12 series for me.

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The nightmare of this race though was trying to leave the Sea front car park afterwards. After sitting in the car and not moving for an hour we decided to get out and grab some chips and a coffee. Eventually we managed to get out the car park at about 3.30pm, some 3 hours after finishing the race. Of course once we got out the car park, we just ended up joining the queues in Portsmouth.

Unfortunately due to the travel problems, I suspect I’ll not be returning in a hurry to this Bupa Event.

Isabel Hospice

As with all the other races I’ve done this year, this one was run to raise money for Isabel Hospice. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving site.