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Friday, 30 June 2017

Midweek Training Run

With the Wales half marathon in Tenby, (part of the Long Course Triathlon weekend), taking place a week this Sunday, I felt I needed to undertake one more long, hilly run, and so I arranged to do this last night with Rebecca and Antony to keep me company.

The planned route is one that I had run twice before and so I knew it to be approximately 10.5 miles long. It begins fairly level for the first 1 ½ miles before climbing steadily until you reach the halfway point. It is then level for a while before beginning a steady decent back to the starting point.

It all went to plan and in fact I ran it at a faster pace than I intended, due to trying to keep up with the other two.

So here are some stats for you.

So my next planned run is next Tuesday when it is the fourth in the series of Leisure League Road Races at Pontypool, a full 10 km route which I have run before. I'm sure I will probably post something about that midweek. 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Swansea Half Marathon

Originally I had no intention of running in the Swansea half marathon as I am running a hilly half marathon between Pembroke castle and Tenby on the 9th July, but last weekend, Samantha, (from CRC) posted on Facebook that she was giving up her place due to injury, so I thought to myself, why not? I hadn't done enough training for Tenby so I figured I'd use this as a training run.

I picked up Rebecca, Mark and Chris from our usual pre-arranged meeting point at 6:30 yesterday morning and we headed off to Swansea.

Once there the usual pre-race stuff began and we headed off to our pens to await the start. Samantha was in the slower green wave at about an estimated 2 hr 10 minute finishing time, whereas all the other CRC guys and girls were in the faster red wave, so I was going to be running this alone.

Pre race photo in the race village

The drizzle was coming in waves and I was getting chilly standing there until eventually we began to be moved towards the start line, then at 09:17 off I went.

I had already decided to try and keep my pace at around the 09:30 min/mile mark as I wasn't sure of my fitness to be able to run 13 miles. By three miles and the first water station I was feeling good and running slightly quicker than the 09:30. At the six mile turnaround point, my pace hadn't changed and I was looking at a 02:03 ish finish time, but of course there were still seven miles to go and I didn't know at what point I might begin to feel the strain, I would begin to fade and my pace would drop off.

At the turnaround point I saw Vanessa walking off with what looked like a member of the support crew. I called out to her, asking if she was ok, and she replied with only one word, hamstring. Ouch! And by this time the drizzle had long gone and the sun was now shining.

It was at this point that I took my first bottle of water, which I held onto for a while, slowly sipping the water to help replace the water I had sweated out.

I took another bottle of water at the nine mile mark and I still appeared to be running at the same pace and feeling good.

It must have been at around the 11 mile mark I saw a familiar figure wearing a CRC vest, it was Eddie, and he was walking. As I got to his shoulder I asked if he was OK, and he replied that he had twisted his knee. This isn't the first time that Eddie has had knee issues and just as I have problems with my calves, Eddies recurring problems seem to be mostly in his knees.

By twelve miles I had gone past the marina and was inside the last mile with just a hill to go before the finish line when, I spotted another CRC vest walking to my right. This was Peter, who said he was ok, but he looked totally knackered.

That last hill was tough with only a tenth of a mile or so left to run, and then the finish line came into sight and I pushed myself a little harder for a strong finish and I stopped my watch as I crossed the line.

Approaching the finish line

I was particularly pleased with my 02:02:43 time as this was a new PB for me and beat my previous PB by a whopping seven minutes, and this was faster than my last half marathon at Newport in March by twelve minutes.

You can see that my pace was fairly consistent 

Just a few of us CRC runners wearing our finishers T-shirts and medals

From the left, Mark, myself, Chris and Rebecca

Monday, 19 June 2017

Caerphilly 10k

Yesterday was the 5th annual Caerphilly 10k, of which this was my third time taking part in this race.

Although there are a few hills on this course, there are also some long flat stretches also, but with temperatures around the 26°C mark, this years event was looking like it could be a tough one.

I met up with other runners from Caerleon and in discussion with them, they all had the same plan as me in that we would just be running to complete the course without collapsing from heat exhaustion. So I planned to run at about a 9:30 min/mile pace.

CRC Caerphilly 10K participants

The race began as usual, with a slow start due to the numbers of people in front of me, then after a couple of hundred metres, we hit the first hill which took us into town and the field had spread out a bit by then. It then heads downhill past the front of the castle and a very long, flat stretch before hitting a shallow hill which seems to go on for a very long time before flattening out again. The route then heads back into town with one last steepish hill before the final downhill leg to the finish line.

There were two water stations and usually I wouldn't bother taking water for a short 10k run, however with this heat I felt it was prudent to do so. I grabbed a bottle and took a few sips and poured a little over my head, and instead of just throwing the bottle away, I held onto it and continuously took sips and poured a little more over me until I wasn't far from the next water station.

I think this helped me because although it was hot out there, I didn't feel the heat was affecting my performance any, and my pace was better than I expected.

My official time was 57:42 , which I was happy with considering the conditions.

Caerphilly 10k route

My pace/speed in minutes per mile

My heart rate zones

This was the first time I'd had a chance to try out my new Polar M430 watch, which has built in wrist based heart rate monitoring. This is the first time I've used a heart rate monitor and I new that for my age, my maximum heart rate should be about 163, which as you can see from the graph above, I exceeded a little, although my average was 158, so I spent the whole race near enough in the red zone. But hey, I felt fine and didn't feel like I was over exerting myself.

Next Sunday is the Swansea half marathon, which I wasn't intending on running because I am running in the Wales half marathon at Tenby on the 9th July but, one of the ladies at the club who had registered for this event, still has a niggling injury and was offering her place, so I decided to take it. So next Sunday I will be known as Samantha 😉. I am going to treat this race as a training run and not going for a specific time.

But before then, the club is holding the first of four 5km time trials on Tuesday, which I believe are used to see how individuals performance improves and points are awarded which go towards the club championship. Then instead of doing the club speed session on Tuesday, I'm intending on doing a 10k run.

Wish me luck for Sunday eh.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Gwent Leisure Centre League Race

Yesterday saw the third in the series of five Gwent Leisure Centre League road races hosted by the Islwyn Running Club at Penallta Parc.

From the car park there is about a half mile path to follow to reach the starting position. The course is 4.7 miles long and begins on tarmac but then quickly changes to gravel/dirt tracks, and we do two laps of the course before heading back along the path and onto the road leading to the car park.

We have had a lot of rain this week and the dirt tracks were particularly muddy, you just couldn't avoid it.

There is a long, steep hill, then it levels out somewhat before you begin to descend back to the tarmac again. It is steeper at the top and I found myself having to hold myself back, as I didn't want to slip and fall as I could have taken the skin off my legs and arms.

As for my race? It went well although I could feel tightness beginning in my right calf at about 3 miles, then as I was approaching the road to the finish line, it felt like it could go at any moment but, there was a guy in front of me from Bryn Bach Parc club that I wanted to get past and so I launched myself into a sprint with about 100m to go to the finish line, and I got past him with no problem at all.

In front of him were two girls, one from Bryn Bach Parc and the other from Islwyn, who appeared to be racing each other, so I set my sights on them and quickly went past. I looked behind me and I could see I'd left them well behind and so I eased off the pace up to the finish line.

I have to say that was the most satisfying part of the race for me, when a 57 year old guy beats a couple of 20 something year olds. The speed training I put in on Thursday club nights paid off.

My calf was quite sore and stiff at the end, but at least it didn't give way. I have a sport massage booked next week so that will help it immensely.

A tradition at CRC is that club members bring cake or other sweet goodies for all to enjoy after race meetings like this one, and I had made a Coca Cola cake, a recipe I found from a website called, Joy of Baking, and this recipe originates from Atlanta, Georgia where Coca Cola have their head office.

The recipe intrigued me, as it did those that were to try it. They must have enjoyed it because there were only two small pieces left at the end.

Our next GLCL race is on July 4th at Pontypool, |I hope to see some of you there.

Monday, 5 June 2017

A most uncomfortable run

Last Friday after work I went for a longer run, which was planned at being about 15kM/9.5 miles.

Right from the word go, I experienced the most uncomfortable sensations in my groin and upper thighs, which I can only describe as being like a small electrical charge, and I thought that I could probably run this off. But it didn't go, it stayed with me for the full run and it definitely slowed me down.

By the time I'd finished, my legs were very tired and my calves were extremely tight, so I did an extended stretching session to try and loosen them, and this seemed to work as I awoke on Saturday morning with no aching at all.

I had volunteered to marshal at the Riverfront Parkrun on the Saturday morning, and after this a few of my running buddies decided to go to a cafe for breakfast, so I took a jog back to my car to put a couple of items in the boot, and I had that same, strange sensation in the rear of my thighs, but NOT in my groin.

Yesterday, (Sunday), I was assisting as a taxi driver for a couple of my CRC buddies who were taking part in this years RACK Raid, and I had to get them to their starting position, and then meet them at the finish line to take them home again.

All of the legs on this relay race are hilly, although some more than others, and the leg that I'd delivered Paula and Tania to had a hill which wasn't particularly steep, but it did go on for about two miles, and Tania was finding this a bit grueling, so I decided to keep an eye on her and I would drive on a little bit, park up, get out of the car and give her some encouragement, and a couple of times I ran back to meet her and then ran with her until reaching my car again.

This was me dashing back to the car after ensuring Tania was ok

Tania did ok in the end and she managed to complete the run before the required cut off time. But I did notice during my short runs that there was no sign of the sensations that had inflicted me on the Friday before.

In talking about this to some of my running buddies, it was suggested that this may have been a nerve thing, and I have experienced the very occasional episode of sciatica in the past, so I am assuming that this is what it was.

Tomorrow evening, (Tuesday), I am taking part in the third of five Gwent Leisure Centre League races at Penallta Park, near Ystrad Mynach, so I am hoping that I will be ok for that. I will let you know how I get on with that.

Then on Friday I'm going to run that same 9.5 mile route again and see if I can run it quicker, and without feeling so tired and tight at the end.

Autumn Catch Up

Hi all, it's been a little while since I posted so I thought I ought to tell you about what has been happening in my purple running worl...