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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Port Talbot half marathon and more

Last Sunday was the Port Talbot half marathon, organised by Port Talbot Harriers. This was the second time I have participated in this event having run it last year where I strained a calf muscle at the six mile mark. I finished that race in 02:07 which I didn't think was bad considering the injury, so of course I had to run it again this year.

The forecast wasn't great with rain showers forecast all day, and anyone who knows me knows that if the rain is more than just a bit of drizzle, then I don't like it at all.

Running friend Claire joined me for this race and we had an easy drive to race HQ at the Glyncorrwg Ponds Visitor Centre although the drive took longer than I anticipated. We collected our race numbers and met up with other Caerleon RC runners for photo's and a chat before heading to our start pens.

The course is fabulous! It consists mostly of tarmac paths, deep down in a wooded valley with the river Corrwg flowing through the middle, which we crossed several times. But the first 6.5 miles leads you into a false sense of security as it is a very gradual downhill most of the way, but of course that means that the second 6.5 miles is a gradual uphill, and your legs really begin to notice that by mile 10 or 11.

The rain the night before and that morning meant that in several places there were some sizable, ankle deep puddles, which most people tried to tippy toe through in order not to get wet feet. I learned last winter whilst taking part in my first cross country races, that the best way to negotiate puddles and mud was to just plough straight through them at full speed, and that is what I did here. The rain began again just before the race started, only very lightly, and then it stopped, followed by some drizzle. And then by the time I'd reached mile 8 or so there was one hell of a downpour that just soaked everyone totally through to the skin.

My race went well and pretty much to plan. I was aiming for a 2 hour finish and I got in at 02:01 so I was happy with that. If you've never run this race then I can thoroughly recommend it.

Tuesday evenings run was different to the usual club run. The club run was to run the Llanhennock Loop in reverse, which meant some fairly sizable hills but, my calfs and glutes were still aching from Sunday's race and I really didn't fancy that. Fortunately fellow club member and friend Michelle came up with an alternative which was to run from the 14 locks canal centre with some of the runners from the Run Newport group. This was a nice, easy paced run along tarmac paths , an open grassy field, and some trail paths before getting onto the canal path where we headed back to 14 locks, and my achy muscles thanked me for not subjecting them to big hills.

Wednesday evening was something different, a 1 mile track night at Newport Stadium with Lliswerry Runners. This was divided up into times, so for instance there were groups for sub 7 minute runners, 7 to 8:30 minutes, 8:30 - 9 minutes and 9:30 plus minutes, and I was in the 7 - 8:30 minute group.

Running on a track was a new experience for me, the track felt slightly spongy and a bit of a weird feeling to it, but after having run a lap or two to warm up I quickly got used to it.

My race began and I think I was somewhere mid pack, and I did manage to catch and overtake a few people. Then with just 50 metres to go I could hear my Caerleon running buddies shouting that someone was on my tail and catching me. I had a quick glance behind and Eddie was there, but I knew if I put a burst on for those last few metres then Eddie wouldn't catch me, and so it was, I finished with an official time of 07:30

All in all it was a good hour or so, and good fun too.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Running update, this, that & the other

Since running the Cardiff Epic 10k Trail I haven't done a lot other than the usual club runs. 

When I was away camping in Cornwall and Dorset in May, when I also ran the Ocean City (Plymouth) half marathon, I did something to my lower back which proved to be quite painful, but after a week or so the pain subsided and I thought nothing of it. Then just before the Swansea half marathon I was putting my wheely bin and recycling boxes out for emptying and I must have twisted in a funny way and the pain returned. I mentioned this to a friend who recommended a physiotherapist in Cardiff, who I went to see. He checked me over, laid me down on his couch and stuck acupuncture needles into my lower back and left me for ten minutes, then returned, manipulated me into a particular position laying on my side, stuck his knee in my back and pulled. He then told me to come back if I had a repeat of the problem.

I ran the Swansea half marathon alright but my back pain had returned so I went to see the guy again and he repeated the same treatment, but a couple of days later I was back to square one.

Daniela Gormley of Advanced Sports Massage, (you may remember I featured Daniela a few months ago in my blog), recommended Michelle of Whitchurch Chiropractic. Dr Michelle Thomas was an elite swimmer and trained for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and is a very experienced practitioner in chiropractic treatments, and so I made an appointment for 8 AM on Saturday morning. I explained my problem and Michelle examined me from head to toe and diagnosed my problem as a strained ligament within my pelvis, and began treatment for this. She sat me down, showed me on a model of a spine and pelvis what the problem was and what treatment was required, saying I would require a course of treatment, and so I booked two sessions per week for the next two weeks, and then we would reassess at that point, but she did say that being a ligament problem it could be six weeks or so before I really begin to feel the improvement, which was the same when I badly sprained my ankle at Cwmbran parkrun in 2016.

I will let you how how I progress in future posts, but I felt that Michelle was a HUGE improvement on the other guy I saw and has instilled confidence in me that there will be an improvement. Fortunately it is not affecting my running much.

As for other running? Well I have missed the club Thursday interval/speed sessions over the last few weeks due to other commitments, so instead I have been going out after work on a Friday evening for a 10 mile run, and last week was no exception, so I took myself off down the canal path to Newport Riverfront, ran a loop of that before returning home a similar way for 10 miles. I have to say that I didn't mind the heat that evening but the humidity was off the scale and I don't think I have ever been so wet with sweat on any run, not even Tenby.

Last Sunday I ran in the inaugural Barry Island 10k, a new event for 2018, and judging by its popularity, one which I think will be back next year. It was quite a nice route, taking in Romily Park and The Knapp. It was a very hot morning but at least we didn't have the humidity that I experienced on Friday, but I was very pleased with my time and my performance on the hillier sections of the route. It was also a bonus having my picture taken with Welsh althletics legend, Iwan Thomas, who ran the course for charity in 48 minutes.

Myself with Claire Louise (aka Candy) & Iwan Thomas

Tuesday evening was the final race in the GLCL road race series, hosted by Griffithstown Harriers & Fairwater Runners and held in and around the park in Cwmbran. There was a good turn out by Caerleon RC with some members running their first league race.

Caerleon RC race competitors
I think I was still feeling a little tired from Sundays Barry Island 10k but still managed to put in a performance I was happy with.

Me coming in to finish

This Sunday I am running in the Port Talbot half marathon, which is actually held in the Afan Forest and follows a former railway route. I ran this race last year but my calf went again at the 6 mile mark. I had to walk a little before breaking into a slow jog to the finish with a time of 02:14 so this year I am looking to complete it without injury. The surrounding scenery is lovely and the atmosphere is great, and with only about 600 runners taking part, it isn't very crowded.

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...