fairweatherrunner

running blog


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London Winter Run

Janathon might have technically finished on Saturday but I ended it in style on Sunday running the Winter 10K with Alma and Giselle.  This was my first race since September and the longest I have run since then.  A comeback run.

So far this year I’ve not run further than 5K so I had planned to get a 6 mile training run or two in before the race but that didn’t happen for numerous reasons.  In an exchange of texts with Giselle about pace I thought an aim of 9 min mile was realistic for me although running under 55 minutes would be a good goal.  Giselle’s aim was to get as close as possible to 50 mins (I said I’d love to be back there and would be with her at that pace for a mile or two tops!) or practice pacing at 8.50, to which I agreed I should be able to manage for most of the race.

The start of the race wasn’t as organised as it could have been and the published ‘start waves’ were more a ‘guideline’ about what time to shuffle out of the loo queue towards the start. We joined the queue aiming for the latest of the times we had together at 10.02  but in the crowds up the embankment it was a matter of first come first served, all participants mixed up together.  While waiting to start and trying to keep warm we all began to worry about the race being a bit chaotic. I suggested it might be hard work to try and run together in the crowds.

Fortunately it all turned out better than feared. The crowd was good-natured and there was music and a warm up to keep us motivated. Although we didn’t finally start until 10.17 we were fortunate to be close to the front of the start pen and so when we finally got going the 8 minute gap between waves meant that the race was spaced out and we had a lovely clear run up the embankment.  I caught up with Giselle and joined her to run at her pace after all.

She was an excellent pace maker.  I watched the mile splits clock by at very consistent pace just under 8.40/mi.  Giselle told me to stop looking at my Garmin and just stick with her.  It’s true, it is all in the mind and when you just have to concentrate on running with someone your mind can’t contemplate the pace and pass on ‘I’m tired’ messages to the legs.  Her cunning plan was to slowly up the pace in the second half.   I lasted until mid way between the 8 and 9km markers.  The combination of an 8.08 min 5th mile, the slight slope back up to the embankment and the lack of miles in my legs were finally showing.  I convinced Giselle that she needed to keep pushing and I really did have to just hold average pace to the end. I followed her up the last km of the embankment at an increasing distance and managed a modest sprint past a few others at the finish line half a minute behind her.

I was very chuffed to have run 52.52. With a little help I proved to myself that I’m not so out of form after all. Come back race an enjoyable success. Big thank you to Giselle.

So I’m signed up for next year, and a half marathon while I was at it. I’ve decided winter races suit me because apart from a few shivers waiting to start I find the cooler temperature kinder when trying to up the pace. I also don’t have the hassle of carrying water and on Sunday nor did we have to pause to grab water en route.

An excellent race. A little disorganised towards the start but the 8 minute staggered starts worked well at spacing out the race. We coped ok starting further back than planned and having to weave through runners when we caught up with waves in front.

There was a good atmosphere, a perfectly organised bag drop and a lovely bit of Bling at the end. Plus hugs and photo opportunities with polar bears if you’re into that sort of thing. At the start we were more interested in stealing a polar bear suit to keep warm!

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Jan-don

Another Janathon is over. Rather too quickly as usual making me feel I’m still in catch up mode. I haven’t run or exercised as much as other years but have hopefully re-started some good habits which I can build on and continue rather than going for broke and spending February recovering.

This week I’ve run a bit less due to some mild niggles in my hamstrings and piriformis which feel worse when it’s very cold  so I stuck to alternate days exercising.

Today, the last day of Janathon and being Saturday it was parkrun time. I’ve been using parkrun for the past few months as my way back into running so for the last day of Janathon, I gave back and volunteered and did finish token duty. My exercise was therefore just cycling there, a bit earlier than usual, (and in a snow/sleet shower) and back. Unless walking round and round in circles while looking after all the bags and trying to keep warm waiting for runners to finish counts. I do have a 10K race tomorrow to make up!

Day 30. 1 hour BMF class 2.7 miles run, 5.5 miles cycled.

Day 31. 2.4 miles cycled (part in snow) 1 parkrun volunteered at with a few circles paced, in the freezing cold!

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parkrun

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I nearly didn’t make parkrun today. I snoozed my alarm many times and while I lay there semi conscious I was convincing myself that my body ached too much from BMF yesterday (no mention of the wine I drank last night of course) and I was sure I could hear it was raining outside.

At 8am, the point of no return, I got up and looked out the window. Dry cold and sunny. One of those lovely mornings that I would regret not getting out there. Two cups of tea, run kit, 2 nurofen, a bit of toast and 40 minutes later I was wrapped up and dragging my bike out the door.

Thank god for my local parkrun at Wormwood Scrubs for being less than 10 mins away by bike and being, in the winter at least, reliably wet, boggy, ice and mud filled to make it not really matter (for the likes of me) what state of hydration, fuelled or hungover I turn up in, it doesn’t really affect my overall pace.

Bike and warm layers deposited at the finish I was off to the start and wondering what I was up for today and what bits of me really did ache after yesterday.

It was very soggy under foot, wet soggy grass and puddles covered in a crusty ice surface hiding the lovely mud underneath. I started trying to avoid the worst of the puddles and mud but once one foot had plunged completely into an ice bath most of us just ploughed straight through it all.

My legs didn’t ache too much but my hamstrings convinced my head that any attempt at pace was out. In the end I finished not too much over my recent ‘muddy times’ and went to enjoy a post run cuppa and flapjack. A lovely bright, cold, blue-sky morning to be out. I was really glad I made the effort. A bit of mud is always fun!

Afterwards I realised that some parts of my glute muscles got more of a work out during Friday’s tuck jumps and jump squats than I realised. Time to stretch and think about the foam roller.

It took longer to soak the mud out my feet and legs than run parkrun and my socks and shoes (once yellow) needed special treatment.

Janathon day 24. 29th parkrun done.

5K run, 3.4 miles cycled


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JFDI

Fitflo and Plustenner in their blogs this week have set good examples of getting on with their Janathon / marathon training runs despite having had long days, not feeling like it and having a full list of excellent excuses.

If they could get out there and JFDI well so can I. So after a day of maybe later, after this, after that, can’t until… This evening I threw my kit on as quickly as possible and stepped out the door before my brain could work out what was happening.

Both Carla and Alma reported having good runs once they got going and it worked for me too. Once down the road and into my ‘Janathon Loop’ I was happy to be running and felt good.

Janathon day 22

3.1 miles run.


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Old friends

The result of me being friends again with running and my mileage slowly creeping up and running more days per week, is it’s time for me to reacquaint myself with a couple of old friends. My foam rollers.

I realised it was time at BMF today when my knees moaned during jump squats, my calfs felt like rock running backwards and my hamstrings winged during the 100 burpee challenge.

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Well my legs did ask for it. Think I’ll start with with the nicer friend first.

Janathon day 19.

1 hour BMF class with 2.8 miles running. 5.8 miles cycling.


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Getting the hang of it

After 18 days I’m finally getting the hang of Janathon this year. This afternoon I went out for another non parkrun or BMF, solo run. It felt right and I enjoyed it. Only 5K but it’s finally feeling routine to do at least that each day. I think this is the most I’ve run in a week since I ran the Ealing half at the end of September and before that at Thunder Run in July.

Five days in a row and I think I can say I finally like running again.

Janathon day 18.

3.3 miles run.


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PB hunting.

I do like cycling to parkrun. It’s the best time to cycle in London and the bright fresh feeling of being out on my bike at that time of the morning, especially as the parkrun gods usually send a glorious morning, is well worth crawling out of bed for. I also arrive at parkrun fully awake and warmed up.

Today I was off PB hunting. I went to Fulham Palace parkrun which is the nearest fast flat and on tarmac parkrun because today was one of their regular paced runs (odd numbers this week). I arrived just in time after a cautious cycle (I didn’t want to slide off round a corner on ice). The main gathering area was worryingly icy but as we walked to the start the course looked a lot better. It was a record turn out of 300. Too many other pacer following PB hunters or refugees from muddy winter parkruns!

I had planned to get the 23 min pacer in my sights and follow (at a suitable distance) for as long as I could. My goal is a sub 24 so I thought i’d try 23 pace for a mile at a time as a bit of training and maybe sneak a pb while I was at it.

The start was rather busy. I inched
in front of the 31 and 29 pacers but couldn’t get sight of any others. The first half mile I was dodging and over taking and trying to get past dogs and small children. I finally managed to get past the 27 and 25 minute pace makers but the 23 pacer was long gone. Oh well, next time. I tucked in and settled to a steady pace, got my head down and planned to keep going at best effort but not be silly and embarrass myself by falling over at the couple of icy patches on the course.

I finished in 24.38 and was well pleased with that despite worrying that things didn’t go as I wanted at the start. I’d knocked 12 seconds off my Fulham time, scored a 2015 PB, inched back towards my overall PB and made another step towards my long term goal. I even cycled home and bought milk, papers and was drinking coffee before the rain arrived.

My good day was topped off this afternoon when I went with Alma to cheer Louise to the finish of the 45 mile Country to Capital Ultra race. She finished in 8 hours 18. Amazing. Congratulations to her, and all the other runners. They looked so good at the end they make me feel ashamed of the fuss I make of aches and pains after a fraction of the distance!

Janathon day 17.
My 28th parkrun.
5K run, 6.7 miles cycled.


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Are we nearly there?

Janathon day 15 and we are finally at the half way point. It’s partly going very slowly (when I get to bed and remember I have yet to blog…yet another days limp excuses?) and partly going very fast. (Are we really half way through January?)

To celebrate I decided to go out for a solo run. In true form I procrastinated all morning and it didn’t happen. I couldn’t this afternoon so planned a 5pm run. The time came and it was getting dark, getting windy and felt very cold. I was ready to give in. But how many days have i already made excuses and done a token plank this month? Too many. Five years ago at my first Janathon I ran 5K every day. Have I really got that old and soft?

So I dug out my extra warm running top. You guessed it, yes, the one I’ve had for years but rarely wear because it’s always too warm but because it’s a pretty colour, is nice and soft and cosy (and cost a bomb) I never have the heart to give away. Well it got a trip out the door this evening and I slapped on a beanie hat for good measure and went out to face the cold wind.

My old regular Janathon/Juneathon 5K loop at ‘just go run’ (i.e. it’s too dark to read my watch) pace, and yes I was too hot after 1 mile.

Janathon day 15. 3.2 miles run.


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Improving

I had a great BMF class today. I felt on form and was pleased to see my Garmin stats which show that over recent BMF classes where I have worn my Garmin my average moving pace is improving.

Today I ran 3.2 mi during the class at average pace of 8.08 min mile. Plus of course the usual Burpees, sit ups, squats (can’t forget squats) and press ups and plenty of getting up and lying down in the mud.

Janathon Day 14.

1hour BMF class, 3.2 miles run
5.5 miles cycling.