Out of the Blue 10k (Road to Bournemouth Week 6)

6 weeks since I started running again, 20 weeks to go until the Bournemouth Marathon, and the idea of running 26 miles seems laughable at the moment. I’m doing a good job of sticking with my plan, but just doing 12km in one go felt like a struggle and I can’t help but wonder how I’ll managed to put almost another 20 miles onto that, and attempt to pace it, which is something I’m beginning to realise I’m very very bad at!

Part of this weeks distance was made up at the Out of the Blue 10k run at Ashburnham place near Battle. Out of the Blue is a fundraising body raising mental health awareness and raising money for three different charities.

On the evening of this run the heavens opened and boy did it rain. It rained, and rained and rained, not letting up once. we were soaked before we even started, and the weather made the pre-race email that claimed that trail shoes wouldn’t be required as all the trails were dry laughable. Luckily I had ignored this advice and wore my terraclaws, but by the second lap, with the rain still pounding down, I wished I had gone with the more aggressive grip of the x-talon 200’s, so kudos to those that managed in normal trainers as I was sliding around all over the place in trail shoes!

Soaking wet before!

The run itself was great, despite the rain, lots of muddy trails through the woods, still a few bluebells peeking out between the trees, a fair amount of uphill, followed by some quite treacherous downhill in slippery mud. I saw a fair few people stack it, or slide around uncontrollably, momentum and mud taking them way off course. I just about stayed on my feet, but I did slide around all over the place laughing while I did so. This race was two 5k laps so with the constant rain and 400 odd runners the mud just got worse and worse by the second time around.

I finished this race feeling pretty positive, I’d had very little knee pain, right up until the final push to the finish line, I felt reasonably strong without trying to push to hard and I managed to finish in 55mins which I was really pleased with.

Soaking wet, muddy, and smiling

I have a few weekends race free now, but the next time I run it will be a heavy weekend of brutal 10 and then a half marathon which was my first mini-goal on my way to the full marathon, but its flying round fast now!

Week 6 running total: 28km

 

Maverick Race Original Series: Surrey (Road to Bournemouth Week 5)

Oh boy was I worried about this race! It came round much sooner than I was ready for, 10 miles of trails and hills around Polesden Lacey in Surrey where we have actually run once before back in 2014 at a night race, the blog of which can be found here if you’re interested.

Although my total weekly distance has been well planned and is increasing steadily and, crucially, slowly, it occurred to me that what I hadn’t planned quite so well was how much I was running in one go, and this was a big jump, from 10k to 10 miles and I was very aware that my knee has been struggling past about the 8/9 km point up to now. I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t finish exactly, but about how hard I was going to find it, and what kind of condition I would be in when I finally crossed that line.

Route profiles – I was running the middle (blue) distance.

In the week leading up to the race I kept the running intensity low, doing a total of around 10km made up from a 5km run and 5km from the running done at bootcamp and ASPT circuits, so my legs were pretty fresh, although I had DOMS throughout my upper body thanks to a beasting at PT the day before.

At the start line I ran into my friend Chris, who in turn introduced me to his friend Graham, and we had a nice chat while we waited to start. We were caught right at the back of a huge mass of people at the start line, and couldn’t hear a word of the race briefing, but it was soon time to slowly edge over the start line. Starting at the back was an accident but it was actually a good move for me, as having to weave around people (and dogs – this race allowed canicross entries as well) stopped me from getting caught up in the starting rush and meant I couldn’t go off to fast.

At the start with Chris and Graham

I think worrying about the distance had put me in a bit of a dodgy place mentally and the first mile I wasn’t really enjoying myself, and rather than thinking about what was happening right then I was just worrying about how much further I had to go. I gave up on the first hill and started to walk near the top, glanced behind me and to my surprise saw Graham working to catch me up. He told me that Chris had injured himself early and dropped down to the short course and asked me if would I like some company. I happily agreed and this instantly turned my race around. Now I was plodding along at a comfortable pace, walking if we needed on some of the hills, stopping to take a few photos and having a lovely chat.

Having someone to talk to distracted me completely from having nothing to think about but feeling tired, achy, the distance and all the other self sabotaging thoughts that can run through your mind on a longer distance run and I started to really appreciate how beautiful the place we were running was, taking in the gorgeous views from the top of hills, pretty bluebell woodland trails, tree shaded paths and sun-kissed tracks.

Some of the pictures I snapped during the run

As we cruised through the 10k point it occurred to me that I was still more or less pain free, my knee was holding up well with the slower pace. Having a running buddy had completely stopped me from pushing too hard and blowing up before the finish. I was still pain free as we came round past the big house towards the finish line, and it was with a huge smile on my face that I crossed the line and received my medal.

Finished with Graham

I had been told before that Maverick races were good, and this certainly lived up to the expectation, I enjoyed it immensely and am looking forward to the Kent race in September where I’ll be trying the longer distance. I only have two small criticisms, one, they need more portaloos! I was busting the whole race, and close to wishing I was a man and could just whip it out behind a tree and two, they should think about setting the Canicross runners off separately to the main body of runners, as navigating around other runners is hard enough, without adding in wayward dogs and dog leads – although once the pack thins out a bit this does become less of a problem.

All in all I would highly recommend these races and I’m sure to be doing more of them in the future, and I’ve learned that sometimes the best way to race is to take the time to stop and smell the bluebells!

Week 5 Running total: 27km

 

Hastings Runner 5 Mile Race (Road to Bournemouth Week 4)

After running the Burgess Hill 10k at the beginning of the week I had another 5k of training runs to complete, finishing off the week with the Hastings five miler at the weekend.

I had planned to run the 5k after my PT session on Friday, however I decided to take my watch to my Bootcamp sessions and circuit class during the week, and managed to rack up over 5km worth of running during the warm ups and sprints that were incorporated into the classes, even scoring my fastest ever kilometre in the process (not something I should have been doing, as I’m still supposed to be keeping the running intensity low!)

New 1k PB

The Hastings 5 Miler took place on the Sunday morning and this year it was mild but not blazing sunshine like last year which would make running much more comfortable. The great thing about this race is that the start line is a 10-15min walk from my front door, and with no need to register on the day, for once it wasn’t a ridiculously early get up.

This run starts in the centre of Hastings outside the Town Hall, takes you out along the seafront towards St Leonards, along to just past the Hastings Half Marathon start point before turning you around and taking you back on yourself and all the way along to just past the crazy golf at the other end of the seafront before turning you around again, diverting you down an underpass and back along to the town hall to finish. It’s a flat and fast course for those that want to push themselves.

I started out too fast, getting swept up in the race atmosphere, but found it comfortable so kept going, and this was fine until the first turn around point, were my knee was starting to really make itself felt. I knew I had to slow down, or risk making my knee worse again, so I deliberately slowed the pace, but it was frustrating as people started to pass me. I struggled through the middle couple of miles, trying to balance the pace and the pain, but once out of the underpass I went for it with a sprint finish.

Finishing

Once uploaded to Strava it turned out that there were seconds between this years time and last years time, and my average pace was identical. This surprised me since my fitness is not what it was this time last year and I’m hauling around a significant amount of extra weight, however it is heartening to know that as my knee gets better, hopefully my fitness will return.

I have since been suitably chastised by my PT for pushing too hard this week, and told to calm it down and remember the long game so I don’t end up injured again, and I fully intend to follow that advice, no more PBs for me from now on, until i’m much stronger!

Finished

Week 4 Running total: 25km