Back on it… and Secrets revealed.

Sorry guys, it’s a long one this week. Read on – if you dare :-)

With a renewed vigour following my great experience at Silverstone half marathon last weekend I stormed back into marathon training this week. Monday, as per usual, was a rest day and a welcome one despite my legs actually feeling pretty good after the weekends efforts.

The weather on Tuesday afternoon had cleared up and the sun was bright in the sky, we appeared to be heading for a beautiful evening for a run. On my walk home from the station though I could see my breath in lingering in the air in front of me – evidently colder than I had expected having seen the golden orb in the sky. Dressed appropriately for the conditions I headed out for a ‘speed’ session. This consisted of 5 mins hard with 2 mins easy – repeated 4 times. In the session the hard pace was set between 7:50 – 8:10 min/mi. All in all, a good 5.2 miles to start the week off.

I discussed the chill briefly on twitter before heading out on Wednesday night, and got this classic quote in reply from Mr Martin Bown:

it sounds like you need it to stay cool….you’re on fire ;-)

Cheesy? Yes! Awesome and motivational? Totally. It’s so funny the little things that can provide that little bit of motivation.

Wednesday evening was another 5 miles, and again I was feeling good and keen to get out. On the last few nights though I have had a little issue with my knee. Whilst it feels fine all day long, the hill to get home seems to inflame it, and I’d walk in the door in pain from my left knee. It generally just feels heavy, but unable to pinpoint a specific area of issue. Before a run I’ve had a quick go on the foam roller across quad & ITB and the pain seems to dissipate, and it’s not an issue at all during a run. I think it’s probably the insane cambers on the footpaths round here that are pushing my knee out too much. Anyway, the ‘steady’ 5 miles on Wednesday were completed in a comfortable 9:15min/mi for a total time of 46:05.

In a week of 5’s, I was back out the door again on Thursday night for another 5 miles – this time a ‘tempo’ session. Perhaps the best thing about so far this week was just how keen I was to get out of the house for a run. It’s times like this that you really need to savour, when motivation is seemingly flowing through you, and also perhaps to try and bottle some of that feeling for use when you’d rather be sat on the sofa. For this session though, I set Eduardo 8:10 pace. I decided to do the exact same 5 mile route as yesterday – it’s pretty cool that I have finally found an exact (as much as GPS can be) 5 mile loop that takes me from my front door and delivers me back with 5 miles on the dial – but this time, putting the effort in I managed to average 8:07 and so a total time of 40:34.

I took some delight in the fact that I felt good, felt that I might be able to continue at that pace – and that that would mean a 49:30 for a 10km race!!

Now, today is my Mums birthday – not just any birthday, but the big one. :-) And we had a surprise lunch for her today – but of course with 18 miles planned, and a lunchtime appointment, running was going to be an issue today. So instead I took the decision to do the long run on Saturday morning – “but this is parkrun day” I can hear you cry, indeed it is. And what better way to get a long run in?!? Banstead Woods is about 7 miles away ish, so almost perfect for a there-and-back run with a little race included. It meant waking at workday time yet again, and fuelling a little too early than is ideally comfortable to be putting porridge in your belly.

I had planned that my usual long runs have been about 9:30min/mi, but given the hills I allowed about 9:40 average and left the house at about 10 to 8. As it turns out, hills appear not so hilly in the car, and some were simply unrunable. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t make it in time as my average pace dropped to over 10 minutes, and as i turned into the car park I saw just two final stragglers heading up the hill in front of me. I decided that seeing as I wasn’t racing the run it wouldn’t matter if I missed the actual start so long as the timers were still there when I finished.

As it happened though, I joined the back of the group with about a minute to spare before ready-GO. I had to remind myself – this was not even yet the middle of an 18 miler, and that I couldn’t get too excited and go off quickly. I plodded my way round with the back of the pack.

Starting Banstead Woods parkrun - slow and steady

The jacket had seemed a very poor choice as I headed out the door in the morning. I felt too warm – especially up the hill. But the weather report had hinted that rain would come in at about 9am. As it turns out, the weather guys weren’t too wrong as the drizzle started in the second lap of parkrun.

Coming up the hill at Banstead Woods parkrun
No sprint finish for me today

I felt good for the whole of the run, and was assuming I’d be somewhere around 30 minutes. As it turns out I managed 29:06, as timed by Alma.

Long run support crew Alma, volunteering at parkrun prior to racing on Sunday

I had a brief chat with Chris Phelan from the organisation team whilst I refilled my water bottle (thanks Alma) and scoffed some lucozade beans whilst registering my time. And with that completed I headed back out on my run. The route out had been a little less than 7 miles, so I took the executive decision to go back via Kingswood which I thought was a little longer. Almost as soon as I headed out of the woods the heavens opened, and I was to become very thankful for my jacket. Even if it is only ‘weatherproof’.

At this point I must mention the lovely Alma again, who got out of the car, in the pouring rain at about 13.5miles into my run to make sure that I was OK and if I needed anything else. I didn’t but I was really quite humbled by the gesture and it cheered me as my head was starting to drop in the cold and wet. Well, I did use it as a chance to double check which direction I should be headed in.

I hope Milton Keynes ain't this hilly!!

Again though, it never seems so hilly in a car as it was when running yesterday. A couple of times I was reduced to a walk for 50m or so, but overall I am actually astonished by my splits which on the whole were really consistent apart from the very worst of the hilly bits.

Consistent(ish) splits

I got home – looking like a drowned rat, but overall really pleased with the effort and the distance covered, and my ability to persevere in that awful weather!!

Finally, finished my running week with a nice easy 40 minutes this morning to stretch my legs in ideal running conditions – dr, bright, and with a slight breeze to take the edge off! :-) Bliss

and the secret?!?
Well, this is all relating to Mums birthday today and her birthday present. A few weeks ago I had the honour of meeting Chrissie Wellington (4 time World Ironman Champion) at a signing for her new book. With Mum on both Facebook and Twitter I have been entirely unable to mention this fact, and it was absolutely killing me, as no one at work appreciated quite how amazing she is.

Chrissie Wellington - living up to her 'smiles' moniker

I had to hotfoot it to Waterstones from work on my lunchtime having arrived at work an hour early to build up enough time off. When I got there, the queue was already pretty huge, but I still had to go in and buy the book – except they had been overwhelmed by the response, and run out of books. Thankfully though, someone had gone out to another store to get more copies delivered so I purchased and headed to the back of the queue. And boy, what a long queue that was. Evidently – the issue with Chrissie Wellington being so nice is that it takes a while to get everyone seen.

The staff took a picture of us, as Chrissie took the time to chat with me and obviously find out a little about Mum for whom the book was to be dedicated – and she took the time to think of something personal to write. Overall it was a kind of sureal event as I had to rush back to work with minutes to spare of my extended break but I was buzzing for days about how awesome it was to be in the company of such a phenomenal athlete. And I am so glad I could finally share that moment with you all.

Training by numbers:
37 miles this week
308.55 miles this year
48.46 total hours of running
210 donuts burned
68% Marchvellous score
1515.4km remaining in 2012

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11 thoughts on “Back on it… and Secrets revealed.

  1. fantastic running this week, well done you !!!
    what a lovely photo, she really is a lovel lady..
    you are too kind, was the least I could do :)
    how is Luxembourg?

  2. Thanks for making my birthday so special. You are an amazing son (I know you know this really), very inspirational and it is great you are enjoying your running so much. I will treasure the book for ever. :-)

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