Sunday, 29 May 2011

My First parkrun

This weekend I finally made it to my first parkrun! (Saturday 28 May 2011)

We turned up bright and early at the Banstead Woods parkrun in Coulsdon, parked the car and headed into the woods not knowing exactly where we were supposed to find the start line. Luckily we stumbled across the race director taping some areas of the woods off to protect the delicate undergrowth that has been worn away during previous parkruns. After a brief chat we knew all we had to know so I went off for a little warmup.

Banstead Woods

As 9am approached I headed along the path to the start line, I noticed that there was a really nice mix of all ages and abilities, including plenty of children, lining up to start. I saw a few people wearing their commemorative 50 and 100 parkrun t-shirts and wondered if I'd ever make it to 50 and receive my own t-shirt!

After a brief announcement regarding the future of this parkrun and effects it has on the woods (good and bad) and we were off.

I found myself starting off in the middle of the pack and moving quite slowly along the first section, which was uphill, over the first kilometre I gradually moved past the slower runners. Half -way around the first lap the course comes back downhill and past the finish line.

Half-way Point

Then I turned a corner to start the second lap, uphill again, this time around it seemed much steeper! Anyway, I dug in and pushed myself on, finally the course levelled out. I noticed a bit of a stitch over near my right shoulder, I focused on my breathing but couldn't completely get rid of it. Before I knew it we were coming back round to the finish, I pushed fairly hard but not all out.

Finish (clearly)

I finished in 34th place (out of 192 runners) with a time of 22:03. Overall 5th in my age group (SM30-34).

I don't think I'll be able to make it every weekend, if there was one closer to home it would be easier (and I'd probably have my 50 run t-shirt this time next year) but there isn't. I'd really love to do two per month, and maybe try some of the other parkruns around the edges of South London. It would be brilliant if I could persuade some friends to sign up (for free) - you know who you are! - and run with me. (My brother-in-law has signed up but I don't think I can persuade him to fly over from Switzerland twice-a-month..) There's also the wife but 5k is a bit too far at the moment)

Thanks to the wife for taking photos of the race!


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Another 10km Race

I have entered the Staplehurst Carnival & Fete 10km Race. According to the website it is a flat course. It's only a very small race, last year only 120 people took part. I don't expect anything fancy here, it does say that all participants get a medal but it doesn't mention timing chips, so I'll have to rely on my phone's GPS and the HandyRunner application and my stopwatch.

It's only a few weeks away and will form part of my training towards the Tonbridge Half Marathon, at the end of September.

If I have a good day (and trouble free training) I should be able to break the 45 minute barrier.

I will of course post a race report, and hopefully the lovely wife will take some more photos!


Video of Bedgebury Race

Trekandrun youtube channel were at the Bedgebury race on 14 May, they made a video. I am in it briefly near the beginning (around 40-45 seconds in the orange top, partly hidden by the runner's world sign).


Monday, 16 May 2011

Bedgebury Race Photo

Bedgebury Forest Race

It makes me feel uncomfortable when I see photos where I'm striking with, what looks like, quite a severe heel strike. When I'm running it never feels as bad as this photo looks. This might be a downhill section, is it more common to strike with the heel while going downhill?

Anyway, it was nice to find a photo of me during the race, the route of the course made it impossible for the wife to take any action shots apart from at the finishing line.

It has that circular pattern on it because I'm too tight to pay for a copy. I'm ok with that.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Race: Runner's World Trailblazer 10k - Bedgebury Forest

The build up to this did not quite go to plan, after I ran my first 10km race ( race report ) my IT band in my right leg gave me quite a few weeks of pain and as a result I had to cut out my long runs - I only managed two long runs (10k+) since mid-march. In addition to that, over the last two weeks I've been feeling pretty rough (cough, cold, sore throat, etc) and I haven't been able to shake it off.

So, on to race day.. (Saturday 14 May 2011)

Arrival at Bedgebury Forest (checking out the finish line)

I woke up with a very strange feeling in my chest (another bizarre feature of my ever changing bug is that the symptoms change daily). The deeper I breathed in the more it hurt. I had almost decided to pull out of the race by the time my wife woke up. After a quick chat we decided that we might as well drive down to the race and I could decide whether to run or not at the last minute.

Timing Chip

Once we arrived I treated it like any other race - I registered, picked up my number and timing chip and got ready. I then went to have a little warm up to see how I was feeling. After a few minutes it became apparent that my chest actually felt a little better while running, so the decision was made to continue as planned with the race.

A bit of stretching with Matilda

The start line was a 5-10 minute walk from the main race ' village'. After the official warmup each wave were taken down to the start at for their scheduled start time. I was in the blue wave (sub-50 minute), this was the second wave to start.

Checking the Stopwatch

I knew that the first km was uphill, so once we were off I took it easy and reached the 1km mark in 5.09. After this I was expecting most of the course to be fairly flat - How wrong was I!!??!?!?!

I had sped up by the time I reached the 2km mark and hit that point at 9.30, but I still felt like I was going uphill the whole time. Still I kept the pace up. I started to long for some level ground, but every time I turned a corner it seemed to be yet another hill!! At some points I must have run downhill but somehow my mind has blanked these sections out.

I was in complete agony but I kept up the pace, all I could think was that the quickest way to put an end to the agony was to reach the finish line. I continued to push through each km (I didn't see a sign at the 5km point so I don't know my halfway mark time).

I pushed on at a hard but manageable pace. That was until I hit the 9km mark and my agony turned into something worse, I knew the last km was a steep uphill section, and I knew it would be tough, but I felt like I had hit a wall (probably not the wall they talk about in marathon running, but it was still a wall). My legs felt heavy and I could barely move, but I knew that to stop would just make it harder to start again. The grass was long and felt like it was pulling at my legs the whole way up that damn hill. After what felt like an age I could hear people cheering so knew I was almost there, I turned a corner and entered the last section, the finish line seemed so far away, but I knew that it would all be over in a few seconds. I had nothing left for a finishing kick and just crossed the line in a daze, relieved that it was finally over.

The End

My chip time was 47.13 (85/730) - I was very pleased with that, especially considering how hilly the course was plus my lack of long runs and random illness. I'm pretty sure that on a flat road course I would be able to go sub-45 minutes.

Even though the race was pure agony I enjoyed it thoroughly. I thought it was well organised and would definitely sign up for it in the future.

Post Race - I felt worse than this photo shows!

I also got a goody bag containing;
  • May Runner's World Magazine
  • June Runner's World Magazine
  • June Triathletes World Magazine
  • Men's Health Fitness Special - Magazine and DVD
  • Naked Bar
  • Sports Recovery Milkshake (ready-made)
  • Sports Recovery Milkshake (Sachet)
  • Jointace Gel
  • Deep Freeze Patch x 2
  • Tech T-Shirt (They actually gave out the t-shirt before the race)
Plus, of course, my finisher's medal!

All in all about £45 worth of stuff, plus the free car parking - It's usually £8 to park at Bedgebury Forest. The race entry fee was £30, I thought quite expensive, but the bits and pieces made it good value.

On Your Marks (Looks like we have a budding sprinter in the making)

Lastly I have to thank my two fans, Dani and Matilda, for cheering me on and also for taking some lovely photos. (and not getting annoyed at my constant running talk).

The Ladies

Until the next one.....


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Pre Race - Bedgebury Forest 10km

I've been feeling quite groggy for the last few days (headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, congestion etc..) but today I feel like I might be turning a corner. *fingers crossed*

The off-shot to that is that I haven't felt like running as much as I'd like, plus I have a race this weekend and I don't want to do anything silly in the next few days!

Anyway, the race....

It's the Runner's World Trailblazer 10km at Bedgebury Forest, near Tunbridge Wells.

This is my first race that has staggered start times, I am in wave 2 - which is the first sub-50 minute wave. Unless the course is extreme hilly I should comfortably come in well within 50 minutes. If I have a very good day I could be looking at a time somewhere near 45 minutes, if I break 45 minutes I'll be ecstatic! (current PB for the distance was during a training run and stands at 47.12)

There are 894 entrants listed on the race website (I'm no. 761), I'd be really happy to make it into the top 10 percent - So overall 89th position or better will do that (unless some people drop out).

You can see some course details - here! It's the second race in the series.

I'm hoping that the wife will be able to take a few photos on the day and I will of course write a race report at the weekend.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Workouts - Week Commencing 2 May 2011

Monday: (May bank holiday)

  • Gym - Chest / Back / Core

  • 6km Treadmill Run (Intervals) Fast at 15.5kmph - 16kmph (3.45 - 3.52 min per km)

  • 3.3km Commute Run ( summary / map )
  • Gym - Chest. Back, Core, Biceps, Triceps

Friday: (Day Off)

  • 100 Pushups (10x10) and a bit of foam rolling / stretching


I made an effort to spend a bit more time using the weights in the gym this week. Also managed to clock up 31.6km's worth of running plus another 12.4km hiking. I think it's been a pretty good week.

During our hike on Friday we passed through Knole Park (where I raced my first 10km, in March) and came across some deer that seemed quite happy for us to get close enough for a quick photo!


Friday, 6 May 2011

I've only gone and.....

..... entered my first half-marathon!!!

It is the first ever Tonbridge half-marathon and will take place on Sunday 25th September 2011. I've been thinking about this one since I first heard about it a few months ago and finally I have whipped out the credit card and coughed up the £20 entry fee.

At the moment I don't know if I'm a little scared, excited, or maybe it's just too far away to really feel anything. Anyway, my summer training now has a new focus. Will I find and follow a half-marathon training plan? Will I make my own plan??? - I'm not quite sure yet, but I'll get the thinking cap on straight away!


Monday, 2 May 2011

Workouts - Week Commencing 25 April 2011

I'm a bit late with this week's workouts. The family came down to visit us for the day (on Sunday) and I was too tired to get this posted after they had left. Anyway, only 24 hours later than planned...


  • Run - 7.2km ( summary / map ).
  • Foam Rolling / Pigeon Pose.

  • Weights - Chest / Triceps / Core (plus a few pull-ups, for funzies).
  • Foam Rolling / Pigeon Pose.

  • Interval Run (Treadmill) - 6km ( summary )
  • - - Fast interval at 15.2 kmph, which is 3.56 minutes per km pace.
  • - - Recovery at 12ish kmph, approx 5 minutes per km pace.
  • Foam Rolling and pigeon pose sessions (gym/home).

  • Run - 5.54km ( summary / map ) Note: My GPS cut out as I entered Green Park and reconnected as I left Green Park so I had to re-calculate the distance, map only shows 3.75km. Maybe this has something to do with the satellite dishes that have been installed in Green Park for the press to cover the Royal Wedding on Friday.

  • Rest Day. Just did a foam rolling and stretching session. We were supposed to go on a 12km hike from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks but as we were all feeling quite groggy we postponed.


I almost managed to do my first ParkRun but still felt groggy first thing in the morning and gave it a miss - Next week maybe?? I felt a little better by lunch time so I squeezed in a little run.
  • Run - 4.13km ( summary / map )
  • Foam Roller / Pigeon Pose.

  • Run - 8.55km ( summary / map )
  • Foam Roller / Pigeon Pose
  • 100 Push-ups (10x10)

Very happy with the running this week. No IT band pain, but I will continue to stick to the foam rolling/pigeon pose routine as it seems to be making a difference. I've taken my eye off of the weight training, so it has suffered over the last few weeks. I hope to at least manage to work each body part once during the week in future. To be honest, I'm enjoying running a lot more than I enjoy lifting weights at the moment and have more goals that relate to running so I'm investing more time on that side, makes sense to me. Still, I need to maintain some kind of balance so I'll work on that.

It was the first week ever that I managed to break to the 30km mark, I hope to make that my base level for all of the weeks in May in the hope of finally passing the 100km month mark that has so far proved elusive!

Now that April has come to an end it's worth noting that I managed to clock up 91.7km, at one point I thought I would have trouble reaching 50km, so I'm really happy with it. I'm still on track to meet my goal of 1000km in 2011.

Due to the IT band problem I started to run more often but shorter distances, that's how I made up the mileage even though I took a whole week off running earlier in the month.

All the best,
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