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Thursday, 21 December 2017

T'was the week before Christmas

The Riverfront Parkrun was fun on Saturday with many runners dressed in Christmas attire. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to show you as I didn't see any posted on line, although I know some were taken. Anyway, the run was good, and then many of us went into the theatre cafe afterwards for coffee and a sing-along of Christmas songs. And that was also my 46th Parkrun completed so, I will be doing the run on the 23rd, then again on the 30th, the New Years day run at Barry, and so my 50th should be on the 6th January at my home run at the Riverfront, and a nice way to begin the New Year too, but, my friend and fellow Caerleon runner Michelle Clabon is also very close to reaching her 50th also, so we shall be coordinating our runs to coincide and run this together.

On Sunday I took part in the Christmas Tree race, organised by the Forest of Dean AC. This is a 5.5 mile trail run through the forest beginning at the Ellwood football club. To say that it was muddy and hilly is an understatement. My friend Daniela, (top sport massage therapist), was there also, after having done a fell race up the Skirrid mountain only the day before.

Daniela is a top ladies runner with Griffithstown Harriers and I'm glad that she had done the fell race the day before as she is a quicker runner than me and this was maybe a chance for me to beat her to the finish line. Alas it wasn't to be. I did manage to stay ahead of her until I'd reached about ¾ of a mile before the finish line but, there was this very long hill, and I just didn't have the strength left in my legs to be able to run at any pace along its full length, so I resorted to power walking, (which probably wasn't that much slower than I could have run up it), but that gave Daniela the chance to catch and overtake me. She probably finished about 30 - 40 seconds ahead me.

The course

Check out that long climb at the end

Daniela (in the red top) arriving at the finish

The set up was good for this race. I think it cost me £8.00 to enter, race numbers were collected in the football club on the day, and then the club was open after the race for refreshments. Tea and coffee were free, as were the vast assortment of cakes on offer, although they were raising money for Parkinson's disease and so a voluntary contribution of £1.00 was requested, and £128.72 was raised for this worthwhile cause. This is a race that I will definitely look at running again next year.

Tuesday evening's club run was the Village Venture, a 5.5 mile route around Caerleon village taking in that dreaded hill known as Trinity View.

Many of us were dressed in festive garb, including myself in my Christmas pudding outfit. And it was a mild evening, so by the time I reached the top of Trinity View, I had to stop and cool off a bit. I could actually see the steam rising from my head and body.

Pre run photo

On Wednesday evening I met up with Jenny at the Roman amphitheatre in Caerleon for our weekly speed/interval session, and as the last three weeks have been on a nice flat course, I decided to up the anti and throw in some hills this week.

I don't know what possessed me really as I ran up a big hill the day before, and several big hills on Sunday, and my calf muscles were now aching and tired. So my plan was to take a nice and easy pace along Ponthir Rd before turning into College Glade and hitting that first hill.  Then a little respite before tackling Trinity View, then once at the bottom, take Roman Reach and Home Farm to get to the cycle track and back to our starting point for roughly a 4.5 mile distance.

All went as planned and I have to say that my calf muscles, (which had been achy all day), felt fine on the run, and in fact I felt better and stronger than I did the evening before, (maybe due to the slower pace),managing both hills without having to stop or walk. And Jenny did a great job too. She's actually quite strong and she didn't stop or walk either, and just for good measure, we finished the run with a sprint along the Fosse section back to the car park.

I'm really impressed with Jenny. She is totally focused on her marathon training and keen to do anything that will help her improve her speed. She doesn't moan or complain and she's actually quite inspirational to be around.

Wednesday's run route around Caerleon

And the elevation graph

Yesterday a friend told me that she didn't know where I got my energy and motivation from, particularly as I have run five days in a row this week. I don't know where I am getting my energy from either but, the motivation is knowing that in about three months time I have to run 26 miles. That is motivation enough for me. The only things that will stop me completing the course will be injury or illness.

I am resting this evening and tomorrow evening, (party night 😃), then I am running a extended Cwmbran Parkrun with some of my Griffithstown Harriers friends. So my plan is to run from home to Parkrun, partake in the after run Christmas singing and a bacon butty, then run home again. I've worked out the distance to be approximately 12.5 miles. I will try and post this over the weekend as my final post of 2017.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

This weeks news

Last weekend I traveled to Cornwall and took part in the new Eden Project Parkrun. I was fortunate as the Eden Project is only a five minute drive from where my son lives in Luxulyan.

It was a nice morning, although pretty chilly, but not as chilly as back home where most Parkruns had been cancelled due to icy conditions. I think I'm right in saying that only Cwmbran still went ahead.

The Eden Project course begins just below the car park, then takes a down hill path into the bowl where the "biomes" are situated before the path then begins to zigzag its way uphill again. Once at the top it then heads downhill again. There is then a slight uphill followed by a short downhill, then you do two more laps of the zigzag course again.

I was a bit slow stopping my watch and my official time was 25:36 and only 8 seconds off a 5k PB. It didn't particularly feel fast, especially with the uphill sections, and we all know that uphill isn't my forte but, I must have made up the time on the long downhill stretch.

I did like the course although I'm not really a fan of running laps, but I hope to be back again at the end of May when it is my intention to run the Ocean City half marathon in Plymouth. 

Jenny met me on Wednesday evening for another Fartlek session, so it was back to the Riverfront in Newport to run the Parkrun course, and this time we ran at a steady pace up to the George St. bridge, then we picked up the pace until reaching the SDR bridge where we dropped back to an easy chatting pace up to the turn around point and back to the SDR bridge, where we picked up the pace again until reaching the George St. bridge, then an easy pace back to the Wave, our starting point.

You can see from my heart race analysis the peaks and troughs, with a little sprint finish at the end just to finish off.

We have one session left to do before we take a break for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, so I'm thinking that it's time to toughen things up a little and do some hills, which will be as beneficial to me as well as Jenny, but don't tell Jenny, it'll be our secret. 😉

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

This weeks news

Newport Live is a local government initiative revolving around Newport's sporting and recreational venues, such as the Wales National Velodrome.

A few weeks ago I saw a competition posted on Facebook , the prize being three free months membership to all of the Newport Live sporting venues, which seemed ideal as I want to do some core and strength training as part of my training regime leading up to the Manchester marathon in early April. The competition only involved me having to complete a questionnaire about my previous fitness, my current fitness, and my future goals, and amazingly, I was selected as one of the winners.

Last night I had to meet with Dee Montague of Newport Live at the Wales National Velodrome where she took some photo's of me standing next to gym equipment. These photo's may be made into posters and billboards and dotted around the city. Fame at last eh. I then asked Dee what happens next. In January I will be given my free three months membership and assigned a personal trainer who will then write up a personal training plan for me, based around my available training times. Once the three months are up, I then receive nine months half price membership and my progress will be monitored throughout the year. So by this time next year my overall fitness should have improved no end, and hopefully I will be a stronger runner.

On Saturday I needed to do a long run, so what better way to do this than run from home to the Riverfront Parkrun, and then run home again, although the bus was quite tempting 😉

The run out was done at a nice, easy pace as I was in no rush, and I wanted to keep some "umph" for Parkrun itself, which was done at a strong, steady pace, about a minute off my PB time, and the run home was again going to be at an easy pace. I began feeling tired at about 8½ miles and I put this down to only having eaten a couple of slices of toast three hours before, so my fuel tank was running on empty and I was now using my considerable fat reserves.

Monday evening and the running club had organised a core and strength taster session at a local gym. There were so many people who wanted to do this that we had to be split into two, hour long groups. The exercises were mostly basic stuff like, sit ups, press ups, burpees and variations of those, but doing plenty of reps of each. We were then split into groups to compete against each other in other exercises.

All in all it was a really good session which highlighted areas of my body that need improvement, like my core muscles, glutes and quads. Hopefully I can concentrate on these once my Newport Live membership kicks in.

Watch this space.

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...