Hills and Driveways

IMG_8563I mixed up the route again tonight and headed up Braiswick Hill which is rather steep and long – the run to the top, along Bakers Lane and back again is a round 5K which is great for my current routine.

It was more effort (obviously) getting up the hill but I feel the difference in my legs afterwards which is good.

For a straight road with a pavement it can be a challenge as there are a lot of big houses with wide driveways so there is a lot of up and down in the run – it makes you concentrate on where you are going otherwise you could easily loose your footing from under you.

I was worried about the weather because the sky looked very threatening during my train journey home.  The cloud however was high enough and moving fast enough that it cleared whilst I was running.

It’s definitely colder though due to this cold front coming in over the UK and I can feel the difference on my breath and my chest – looks like it’s an early autumn for us :(

I had a good stretch session after the run and have made sure that I keep doing other stretches to help my back and my legs even on my off days – it appears to be paying off as any niggles etc have decreased and I am feeling better during the runs.

Stretch!

Stretch!

Take a look at my run on Garmin ConnectStrava or say hi on The Running Bug ;)

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Faster than a speeding bullet..?

Captured mid run - honest!

Captured mid run – honest!

Well it certainly felt like it today.

I wasn’t sure I was going to run as I had a bit of a twinge in my back and left work with a headache.  I was determined to get out and at least manage an easy run – I simply don’t know what happened when I put on my trainers!

After waiting an eternity for my Garmin to find a signal (again!), I headed off down the drive and went the opposite way to normal.  I decided I was too used to the route and knew when I would reach the lap markers so I thought I would mix it up.

Part way into the run I realised that I mis calculated and would have added lots of hills which wasn’t part of the plan.  I made the decision to run some loops, head back to the house and keep a good pace.

I changed my Garmin from showing last lap pace to average pace and I am not sure if this helped but the faster pace on the watch seemed to spur me on.

I was happy with my speed and made it to 3K relatively easily so decided to keep my foot down and push as hard as I could until I reached 5K.

It was a cool great evening (I missed the rain) and I simply enjoyed every minute of tonights run.  Yes my legs were sore, yes my chest was a little tight and my breathing was heavy but it was all controlled and measured.  There was no pain in my back either and the ache in my legs was equal in both so I had no mental reason to think there wasn’t anything wrong or I was doing any damage.

Upon arriving home I made my way to the back garden and grabbed a milk chocolate shake from the fridge which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I completed my stretches and then had a vigorous hot and cold shower ro revive my aching limbs.

I am not sure what gave me the energy or the drive but I hope I can tap into it again as I really enjoyed myself today.

Sadly I don’t think I beat my 5K PB (although that was never my intention), but if I can keep this up at least once a week,I am sure I will see speed improvements and a new PB very soon.

UPDATE Just checked my Run Keeper account and I have improved my average weekly pace – I knew tonights run felt fast and now I have proof :)

Proof of my new found speed :)

I have been looking around at races and am not clear which ones I want to do – I do however have an interest in the Southwold Adnams 10K which I have convinced my friend Enda to run with me (actually he took very little convincing).  It’s a smallish race with a field of 500 so please keep everything crossed for us – hopefully we will manage to secure a place when ballots open on Thursday afternoon!

My only concern is that the race is in the middle of November which means it will definitely be cold and probably wet and Southwold is high on the coast, running alongside the North Sea.  Definitely a run to be completed in layers!

Doesn't Paul look like he's having fun (nice socks mate!)

Doesn’t Paul look like he’s having fun (nice socks mate!)

Take a look at my run on Garmin Connect or Strava.  Why not sign up to The Running Bug and say hi!

On a separate note my very good (and very fit) friend Paul is now working for Cancer Research UK.  He took the brave step to move from a big global business to the third sector and is throughly enjoying his move.

What he failed to tell me (until today when he sent me the link), was that he has done a bit of modelling for the new Stand Up to Cancer Shop which launched online today.

I honestly laughed out loud in the bus queue when I saw the photo of him in this rather fetching onesie – mainly because it was a surprise.

I am proud of his charitable work and thought it was a worthy mention.

Why not pop by the shop, check out Paul in his Onesie and make a purchase – this all goes to a great charity.  Who knows, you too could look as caper as Paul in this little grey number ;)

Please remember to vote for me in the Blog section of this years Running Awards :)

Dunwich Heath

Richard and I love Dunwich Heath, whatever the weather it’s always a breathtaking spot.  

Unfortunately when we visited with Richards sister and family it was in the wake of Hurricane Bertha.  Saying that, I still think it’s stunning even in these conditions. Check out my short video:

Cool

I'm not smiling as I snapped this mid run

I’m not smiling as I snapped this mid run

That just about sums up todays run – cool.

I enjoyed the 5K today and didn’t look at the pace counter on my watch at all – I ended up running slightly longer and quicker than my last run – cool.

The weather was awful this morning and has thankfully cleared now to leave a sunny afternoon with a cool breeze – cool.

I had a pretty crap day today even though I worked from home.  I got wound up over a couple of things (which I have since sorted) but the run has really helped me calm down and focus on other things – cool.

I plan to run at least three times a week (my old average) and to run at least 5K on each run – cool.

I felt much better today and have been making sure I complete enough stretches and spend time on the foam roller – just to ensure I get rid of the twinges following the Pride 10K.  It’s not been painful but I have had the odd twinge in my calf and back and want to get on top of it before it progresses into something more serious.

I have lost a kilo since the Pride 10K which is a bit of a jump in weight but I guess I have put in the time and energy – and most importantly have stopped eating copious amounts of crap!

I am thinking of purchasing an activity camera so that I can record my runs and show you what I see when I am out running – I imagine this will be far more interesting when running in London than the countryside of

The cute Polaroid Cube

The cute Polaroid Cube

Colchester – cool huh?  Do any of you use activity cameras?  I don’t want a GoPro but am considering the Sony HDR AS 30v or the new Polaroid Cube.  Anyone got any suggestions?  (I am not planning on surfing or sky diving anytime soon therefore I simply want something small, light and durable to record my runs and maybe clip to my bike).

Mind you if I do get an action camera I must remember to smile!  I was trying to capture a photo of my running with my iPhone but was concentrating on making sure I did not drop it – the result was a fairly boring, glum photo as you can see :(

Pop over to Garmin Connect or to Strava to see how I got on during this run – you will be able to see how I upped my game from my last run and ran a better time.

Don’t forget to sign up to The Running Bug and say hello – it’s such a great online community, what are you waiting for?

If you are in the Mile End/Braiswick area of Colchester why not join the Mile End and Braiswick Group on Facebook.  I’ve not managed to schedule a run with the group yet but it’s great to know there is a running community on my doorstep – and a friendly one at that :)

Please remember to vote for me in the Blog section of this years Running Awards :)

 

Legs of lead

IMG_8497This was my first run since the Pride 10K race at the weekend and even though I have been stretching properly, my legs felt quite heavy today.

I had some initial pain in my knees but once I got going it all seemed to fall into place. 

Determined to reach 5K for today I was doing ok unit about 4K when my calves and thighs (especially the right one), felt very heavy.  Although now I have come home, stretched and settled in for the evening, it all feels pretty much ok.

I will use the foam roller before I head off to bed and again in the morning just to make sure.

It’s nice to be running without getting to a target but I want to ensure I keep things going and decided mid run that from now on my shortest run will be 5K and I will try to fit in a 10K every week.

There is now a running club of enthusiasts which has been set up on Facebook by people who live in the area.  I think joining them will help me with my pace and drive.  It’ll also give me more reason to focus on running as I will commit myself to running with people (not that I duck my runs anyway).

I feel good following Saturday although I think the extra ache in my legs came from all the walking we did in London and the beach combing amidst the aftermath of Hurricane Bertha on Sunday at Dunwich Heath.

I’ve tried to convince my running friends to put a team together to run the Color Run at the Olympic Park in September but there does not seem to be much interest ( 😔  ).  I will spend the next couple of evening spooking up other races and see what else I can sign up for – I want to ensure I have new targets to work towards.  

Take aloof at my run on Garmin Connect, Strava or say hello on The Running Bug.

Please remember to vote for me in the Blog section of this years Running Awards :)

So what’s next..?

I thoroughly enjoyed this weekends Pride run. It was such a great atmosphere, good to have some friendly support and even better that I beat my personal best.

Now I am looking for my next race. It doesn’t have to be anything big but something to keep my legs ticking over.

What races have you got lined up? Are there any 10Ks coming up you would recommend?

Pride 10K – 59:58 – New PB :)

Very proud of my medal

Very proud of my medal

Done it!  I completed the Pride 10K in London in 59:58 – beating my dreaded over 1 hour 10K and beating my personal best.

Thankfully this course was much flatter than the Hatfield Forest 10K but boy was it faster!

I started the run far too quickly and had to pull back – it was a mix of the field and my determination to finish under and hour.  

I did pay for the quick start though as I was uncomfortable most of the way around, I had a stitch and I needed to pee – I couldn’t stop in the park though as it’s very open and there were loads of people around (and I didn’t want to ruin my changes of getting a PB!).

My training did help and I was able to pace myself better but the need to pee did distract me somewhat.  I had gone for a wee before the race but there was a 10 minute walk from the bag drop and the start line which didn’t help as it meant I couldn’t pee immediately before the race and I know I consumed at least another bottle of water in that time.  

The weather the night before was terrible (I stayed in London with Paul and Mike – thanks again guys) and the forecast for Sunday was the tail end of a hurricane – thankfully Saturday was dry and sunny.  It was warm but not humid and the breeze helped cut through any humidity.  I would say the weather conditions were pretty much perfect.

The route

The route

The course was three laps of Victoria Park and was fairly flat.  There were nearly 900 runners so it was busy but not too busy – the park was big enough to accommodate the race and the cyclists, dog walkers and others enjoying the lovely summers day.

As this was Pride run there were lots of fit young men in tight shorts and vest tops – there was one muscular guy running in a pair of rainbow underpants and another running tight green shorts and braces!

For once this was a race where I didn’t mind focussing on the butt ahead of me to pace myself ;)

The first guy over the finish line made it in an incredible 31 minutes – he lapped me twice!

The route laps were straightforward enough but I forgot about the been in the middle of the course and on the 2nd lap I thought I was heading up the final straight, I was disappointed to find another section of the course.  physiological things like this didn’t help my planning or pacing.

The route markers were a little off too which was a bit of a pain but it all came out well in the end.

About 7K into the run I had a loo at my watch and could see I would be close to my PB as long as I didn’t over (or under) do it.  I did stop to take a drink just before the final push of the race but had enough in the tank and enough time to make it back to the final on time.

My final time was 59:58 which is just under the hour and I am really really please with my achievement.

Crossing the finish line - look at the smile on my face

Crossing the finish line – look at the smile on my face

I ran with a couple friends of mine – all of home came in with good times.  It seemed that we all benefited from the fast course and the field of runners.

I had some support from the crowd to as Richards eldest sister is visiting with her family, so they came down to London to cheer me on.  It was nice to get a bit of personal support on such a personal race.

The goody bag was very nice at the end of the race – we were given a rucksack which had a number of vouchers (gay and sports themed), a nice medal, banana, bagel and some water.  Funnily enough my bag was handed to me by a friend of mine who was volunteering for the day.

I also passed another friend mid run who was out walking with her girlfriend.  I think we were both surprised to see one another during the race!

I’d like to say hi to Andy B who was visiting from Merseyside.  We were chatting to one another before the bag drop opened and it seems that he came in around the same time as me.

This has to be one of the friendliest races I have attended and I am sure all the gay runners and spectators made the most of the post race barbecue!  :)

I stretched, returned to the office to shower and then spent the rest of the day showing Richards sister and co the London sights.  I think I completed 20K+ yesterday with all the walking thrown in.

Amazingly I am not feeling too bad today – a bit of a stretch twinge here or there but nothing major.

I really enjoyed this run and would love to race it again next year – maybe with more concentrated training to get an even better time.

I have no more runs booked in this diary this year – anyone have any suggestions?

Check out the race details on Garmin ConnectStrava or say hello over at The Running Bug.

Please remember to vote for me in the Blog section of this years Running Awards :)