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Bite my lip and close my eyes
Take me away to paradise

With over 5 months until my big challenge on La Palma, it seems so far but is actually very close so I really should be thinking about doing some of that thingy stuff, err, what’s it called, oh yeah ‘training’!  Problem is I really can’t be arsed with conventional methods (which all re-invent each other) as they are too rigid and require precisely measured efforts as though everyone is a full time pro Olympic athlete trying to squeeze a microsecond out of a marathon, so I shall be following the *DuST method of preparation.

*DuST –Distance equals Speed multiplied by Time – My own relaxed method of running faster. It’s simple. It’s fun. It works – for me. (See next line!)

With new PB’s this year at 5k (official if not fastest), 7k, 5m, 6m, 10k and 10 miles, my parkrun best for the year of 20:47 has been looking a bit out of place against a PB of 19:15.

Due to Run Directing commitments, there were only 2 chances before the end of the year, and so I identified Saturday for a fast parkrun at Heaton Park. After a 10.5k packrun on Wednesday, I reduced my chances by running home from work on Thursday, 20.5k but caught watch and suspect it was longer.

I then discovered that Heaton had a course diversion that would likely add time, so switched plans to Oldham parkrun instead. A slower course but more familiar and after a good warm up I was confident of a sub20 if not an all time PB. Despite a decent start my breathing never settled in the cold damp air but managed to blast a nice chunk off previous course best, at 19:32 – joint 3rd fastest parkrun ever, with tired legs, happy. GPS.

The following week was a quiet one, with a packrun and then a planned Fell Race on Saturday, in which I just needed to jog round to up my points in the club Grand Prix to secure a first ever top ten place in the GP. Unfortunately Saturday afternoon races involve negotiating a lot more traffic than usual and the eta slipped back until stuck in another traffic jam I turned back as wouldn’t have made it.

Those that did get there scored good points which has all but ruled out a top ten place, which along with the ‘admin error’ in missing out on the Road Champ qualification is a reminder to get some safety races banked in early in future. Even a PB at the final race in Wesham will probably not be enough now.

At least my legs were fresher when we headed off to the Preston 10 arriving nice and early for a good warm up. Having already secured a 10 mile PB this year, I wasn’t too bothered about time but had a vague plan of running a nice even pace for a time close to that.

Right from the off I was pushed along at much too fast a pace, and decided to switch to running the first half fast. Legs were feeling good and the miles were flying by. Couldn’t stop smiling as it was crazy as I went through halfway about a minute and a half faster than Swinton. Towards 10k it started getting harder but still passed through in 39:45 – 4th fastest 10k ever.

The second lap was getting tough but still managed to gain a few more places until I was finally passed. Tried to go along but couldn’t and then another came through with same result. Finally a 3rd runner came by that I could stay with and we see-sawed position until the last km, when I made a push for the finish to get clear. I knew a sub 1:05 was on and crossed line in 1:04:45 smashing my Swinton time by a minute and a half, with the 2nd half just the 1 second faster. GPS.

Another run home on Tuesday, this time the more accurate 21.6km and felt a little easier. Another 10.2km packrun and then the first of the winter Todmorden 5k series on Thursday. Poor air and no warm up, so struggled with breathing on first lap but gradually eased. Increasing comfortable effort for 20:19 with each km faster than the last. GPS.

Rounded off a busy week with a gentle 15.6km on Sunday.

 

 

 

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Handle With Care

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down

The problem with having a target goal, is that once you have achieved it there’s a sense of what next? Plan B isn’t needed so it’s time for a bit of downtime before a new target.

After a very wet short packrun on Wednesday and another Run Directing at Watergrove parkrun on Saturday, I was itching to go on Sunday at the Woodland Challenge near Bradley, but legs were still in recovery period from Scarborough so wasn’t planning on a hard run.

After a very steady loop around the streets, I started gaining places but made sure I kept it comfortable for the first km, before building a bit as we headed down into the woods. Everything was going well, picking up the odd place when I got stuck behind a couple of runners, along a narrow path in the woods, took the opportunity for a bit of recovery and dropped back a few paces to get a clearer view of footing.

The woods opened up a little and I could see a drop down to a wooden bridge, instantly accelerated to get past them both before the bridge, at the same moment no.2 moved right to overtake, so I switched left through some leaves.

Just as I drew alongside – Bang! – I was flying upside down? Skidded back to ground and rolled over nearly taking them both out – apologised – and continued the roll back onto my feet. Glanced back to see guy behind shifting a sizeable boulder off the path, so that’s what I hit – thanked him and hared off all in what seemed like half a second.

Over the bridge quickly ran through a body check, foot a bit sore, knee buzzing, but otherwise legs ok. Body felt fine and shoulder felt like it had taken the bulk of impact. Having only been talking about dislocations the day before, I tentatively moved it around to be reassured that it seemed to be moving normally.

Happy there was nothing serious, I quickly closed back in on the pair, still running checks in my mind on everything just to be sure. Finally decided I was ok and shot past them, gaining a few more places before adrenaline shot faded.

The route involved two loops and as we came round 2nd lap it began to feel like hard work, as various aches started making themselves known.

Worked hard to stay with a couple of girls on 2nd lap but on the long climb back towards the finish I wasn’t able to live with them. Glanced down and noticed knee was covered in blood, shoulder had stiffened a while back and with about a mile to go I decided to ease back slightly as things were starting to hurt.

WP_20141019_001 (3)Lost a few places and struggled on final slope, before a token effort to the finish line, for the crowd! Disappointed to find that once I was cleaned up knee only amounted to a tiny scratch and shoulder had a couple of shallow scrapes. Hand was a bit sore, and it was until later I realised it was possibly fractured!

42nd place for number 42 in 45:32 GPS. Decided to give the prize ceremony a miss – which was a shame as they had a wheelbarrow spot prize!

 

I had recovered enough by Weds to risk a packrun, and it turned out to be a long one – 15.2km. Took it carefully as last thing I wanted was another fall.  Fairly certain I have a fractured hand – very consistent with previous occasion – but things seem in the right place so can’t face the ordeal of a visit to A&E.

In the quest for a new goal, decided to go for a long run the next day and clocked up a 28.6km run! Happy that I would manage the distance, promptly entered the mini Transvulcania mediamarathon in 2015. At 26.6km will be a doddle… only 2000m of constant climb in the first 18km before a bit of undulation to finish!!!  May need to get a few long runs and hills in over winter.

preview_ultramaraton

Saturday was a tail run at Watergrove parkrun and dropped plans for Sunday’s Tandle Hill Trail to protect hand – it was tough enough helping out on results so the right decision.

Decided to reduce running a bit and following week was just a 9.8km packrun and then onto Sunday’s Through the Villages 8.45 mile race.

I hadn’t really decided on a plan, had a vague desire to beat my previous best for the course and a lovely sunny day with clear if a little cool air boded well.

After a gentle start, picked up pace on first hill and started gaining places. All to plan until our Watergrove ladies record holder glided past and I decided to latch on and see if I could manage 5km at her speed. It would make the rest of the race then a battle of fatigue to keep going but I was in the mood for a (mad) game.

The climb up past the quarry was tough and lost a bit of ground but reeled her back on the way to Abbey Village and wasn’t feeling too bad at the 3 mile point. Unfortunately it was round then a big hill arrived that I had forgotten about and started to struggle and dropped away.

At the 4 mile M65 turn I was hitting a low, mentally as well as physically and dragged myself back up another hill, thinking that I would be lucky to finish. A well timed water station meant a nice cold cup over my head shocked me out of the negative spiral.

Instantly refreshed, I was back on it and my legs quietened down. It was still tough but I started gaining again. Worked hard to catch another down into Withnell and along the bottom road, to the final big hill through Brinscall. I was sure I was on for a good time and so took it very steady up the hill, before pushing hard downhill as I realised I wasn’t doing quite as well as I thought. A pleasing 56:55 for almost a minute of previous best – GPS.