Santas Dashing

Woops, it seems that I’ve left it another fortnight since my last blog post. Surely there must be much to catch up on.

Since I left you I have enjoyed some killer track sessions, some 5km efforts, some PB chasing, some long runs, and plenty of mud. As much in order as I can remember:

Track Sesh 1:
This was a toughy. 15 reps of 400m with 30secs recovery. Ouch. The track was slippy and simply in the 50 minutes of so running around in circles it was easy to see the frost settling on the track. I don’t know how much quantifiable effect it had on my pace, but it certainly made for some interesting running around the track. I was mostly pleased with the relatively consistent splits and especially so with the pace I was maintaining.

Mud 1:
On Wednesday I decided that I didn’t fancy a boring road run home int he dark. So I donned my trail shoes and headed the slightly more direct route home. It was muddy and sloppy and wet and miserable and cold, and SO MUCH FUN!! Just one of those nice runs that remind you what it is about running that can be such fun.

PB 1:
I’m not sure why I hadn’t been out since Wednesday, but I had decided that I was going to try my new local parkrun as it has been such a long time since I’d been. I was feeling good, and although I didn’t know the course I was hoping to set a new 5km PB, and dreamed about my 21.xx time. The course itself at Guildford is maybe not the most picturesque (I’ve been spoilt by Bansted Woods) and it takes in two loops of Stoke Park. It’s probably a 50-50 split of tarmac-ed paths and field, and on a good day it would be a fantastic course I think. As it was though, it was so wet and swampy, that I couldn’t help but struggle a little. Track sessions were definitely paying off, and I knocked 20 seconds off my parkrun PB. But I was so frustrated as my official time came in at 22:05, so close to my target time.

Loooong running:
As per last week, I set my alarm for insanely early in order to fuel up and head out the door. I started, in the dark, with two loops the same as last weekend. By now though, I was getting bored with this particular loop (having completed it 5 times) so I decided to head out on a longer final loop, all the while hoping that maybe I could get my run up to 26 miles. I had a dream of achieving my first ‘training’ marathon. It wasn’t to be though. My legs started to fall of a bit, and my run fuelling was clearly all wrong and by 22 miles I was struggling to keep moving. It was definitely time to call it a day. I was pleased with the distance and time on my feet really – and the fact that I ran the whole way, but it wasn’t quite all I had hoped for. And most disconcerting of all was the pain in my knee. It doesn’t seem to go away very much, but I’m hoping that when I can finally rest for a little bit after my race it’ll all heal up OK!

Track Sesh 2:
This night was so cold that all the junior groups had been sent home due to the slippy track. Strangely enough it wasn’t as visibly frosty as last week – but maybe that was because the freezing fog was so thick that we could not even see the other side of the track. But we soldiered on, and completed the 9 reps of 800m with 45secs rest. Again, average pace at about 6:40 min/mi which is pretty cool :-)

More running:
This last week was a bit mental at work. It’s the last week at term, and days seemed to ebb and flow between mania and dull boredom. Wednesday was a long one, despite a slap-up meal on behalf on the boss, and I couldn’t wait to get home and get out on the road. On Wednesday evening I had nothing in mind, I just went out and ended up covering a fantastic 7 miles. It wasn’t so much the distance that was so great, but the run itself was lovely. Thursday was a ‘Tempo’ run home. The Garmin wouldn’t stop beeping at me ‘cos apparently I was running too fast, but I was enjoying it.

Slightly less long running:
Yesterday I headed out, back on the trails this time, for a long run. It was early, I was tired, and I had decided to attack the mud and hills with my walk/run strategy. Fueling was better, and I felt good – even after doing 6 reps up some nasty steps at work, and a few of the local hills thrown in for fun too. 14 miles were covered, I had loaded up the waistpack and had a nice run.

Speedy Santa:
And everything came down to this. Mum had mentioned the Cranleigh Santa Dash ages ago as her December ‘new’ event for this year. I finally entered recently and Mum and Dad came up this morning. I had picked up the Santa suits yesterday afternoon.

Suited and Booted
Suited and Booted

We were ready to go and the three of us walked to town. I was worried there wouldn’t be many people there having seen the pre-registered list of about 20 names. Thankfully, some more people turned up, but sadly it probably only doubled. We were started by Mark Evans (of a 4×4 is born fame), and I just set off with everyone else. Quickly I found myself in 5th place, and I waited for runners to overtake me. I didn’t look at my watch, so I had no idea how hard I had gone off. The only thing I knew for sure was that it is bloody hard work breathing through a big polyester beard. I kept pushing, I had a Santa in my sight, and I tried to chase him down.

Run Santa, Run
Run Santa, Run

The race went past the house, so Lyndsey was waiting for us to run past. I was pretty pleased that I was currently 5th, and hoped that Lyndsey had noticed this fact :-) I still waited to be over taken, though I did allow myself a cheeky glance behind me at about half way – and I couldn’t see anyone. The route was far from flat, but the last 1.5km was all downhill, and here I caught and overtook one runner in front of me. I was in fourth. I pushed on towards the only other Santa I could see in front of me, but it wasn’t to be. He was just a bit too far away. My finish time was 22:52 (including a slight delay as I posed for a picture, rubbing my belly, over the finish line and then not pushing finish button straight away as I got medal.) My Garmin time for 5km though, was an incredible 21:40. A brilliant 25 seconds off of last weeks time – and included a final mile of 6:40!!!!

To come across the finish line in fourth place was amazing, and given that there was no podium, I didn’t miss out on anything major!! I was so chuffed. I was also incredibly warm in my felt suit, as was Mum in her crushed velvet outfit. She had a good run though, and we benefited from amazing weather for it.

And finally, this week I have the running club christmas party – including a magic mile race, can I go quicker than I did in the summer? I also am not at work, save for a few hours when I have to open post, so it’ll be nice to continue my taper in the daylight hours!!

Until next time….. Keep Running :-)

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