Wednesday, 31 August 2011

On the subject of goals

Something that I have learned over the past year of being a runner is that it is extremely easy to get caught up in chasing result-driven goals. Now, there is nothing wrong with this type of goal but if you don't stand back and focus on the really important things every now and then, these goals can end up dominating your whole running programme.

I think there is a real possibility that what was once a fun hobby can easily become a cycle of over-training, imbalances in our home-lives, frustration when unable to train due to injury, and disappointment if goals are not achieved. It can also turn running into a chore that must be done to hit certain mileage targets instead of an activity that we do for pure enjoyment.

You could, for example, have a goal to run 50 miles per week but if that goal takes priority over all other goals you could quite easily find yourself wondering where the enjoyment has gone or why you are often taking time out due to injury.

So, what if we looked at the initial setting of goals from another angle.

In the book chi-running the author, Danny Dreyer, breaks down different goals into two groups, result-oriented and body-oriented goals.

Result-oriented goals are generally externally motivated and are focused on impressing or earning praise (e.g., to win a certain race), whereas body-oriented goals keep the focus on the process and come from within (e.g., to enjoy running). He suggests removing any goals that fall in the former category completely. As is usual for me, I see the value in both and would like to try a different approach to setting and (hopefully) achieving my goals.



I've decided to organise my goals in a way that lets me use both groups, but with the addition of a couple of rules to help to keep the focus on the body-oriented goals.
  • Body-oriented are primary.
  • Result-oriented are secondary.
  • I must not do anything that contravenes or moves me away from any of the body-oriented goals in order to achieve another goal (result or body).
Previously, all of my listed goals were result-oriented. They have been demoted to secondary ones and my body-oriented goals have taken over as my primary ones (just as the rules dictate). As I update them quite often I'll just leave the link to the page here in case you want to have a look at my current goals. You can also click on the goals tab at the top of the page.

When I have a race I will set additional goals that are specific to that race. They are likely to be result driven, but the rules (above) will still apply!

I feel like I've moved in the right direction. What do you think? Also, if you'd like to share your goals or any tips please feel free to write in the comments box.

Thanks for reading.

stv.c7t



Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Weald 10k Race pack arrives

I had some post today. For once it wasn't a bill. It was my race pack for Sunday's 10k. The contents were - the race number, driving directions and advertisements for various local business in the Weald.


I hope people don't keep stopping me to take down the number of Beadles VW. That'll really mess up my time.

bye for now!


Monday, 29 August 2011

Sevenoaks Weald 10km pre-race thoughts

On Sunday 4 September 2011 I will be taking part in the 'The Weald St. George's 10km race'. The latest news is that Dame Kelly Holmes will be starting the race. I am looking forward to it.

This 10k is scheduled into my training plan as a warm-up for the Tonbridge half-marathon. It's not intended to be the focus of my running. So as it stands I don't know what my plan is for it. It seems a shame to go to the effort of entering a race and then just cruising along, but perhaps that is the point. I'm going to have to re-read my HM training notes for guidance!


Dame Kelly Holmes starting the 2009 race
(photo:Weald Parish Council Website)


Course:

All race details including the course description are on the race website.

The direct link to the official map of the course is here.

I have also plotted the route myself (to check the hill profile), hopefully you'll find it here.

Due to it being an undulating course it is going to be impossible to set a new personal best. For the record my current 10k PB stands at 42:07, that was a fairly flat course in Staplehurst.


Goals:
  • Sub-50 if I stick with HM pace practice OR sub-45 of I decide to race properly
  • To not injure myself
  • To enjoy it and the scenery
  • To get a high-five, low-five, hand-shake etc.. from DKH at the end
  • To cross the finish line smiling

Other:

As of 28 August there are 257 entrants. I'm sure I read that last year there were over 400, what else is happening that weekend to make such a big difference?

My race pack was scheduled to be sent out on 27 August, so it should arrive early this week. I'll keep my fingers crossed because my last 10k race pack did not arrive and I had to contact the race director to have a spare number made ready. It couldn't happen on two consecutive races, could it?

I will of course post a race report as soon as I can after the race with lots of lovely photos taken by my number one fan (the wife).

Don't forget to follow me on twitter. I am @copy7t - I'll probably tweet my provisional result straight after the race. (although the official result may not be available until later).

Take lots of care, run and smile (all at the same time if you feel like showing off!).


ich.bin.7t




Saturday, 27 August 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun nine (RDp9)

After a good week of training and no strange niggles I should have been feeling great as I stood at the start line for the ninth Riddlesdown parkrun. But I wasn't. Maybe it was the fact that I had spent the last week worrying about dog attacks, or maybe it was just going to be one of those days.

I had been hoping for rain, I usually wouldn't but for some reason I fancied a really wet race. However, we were standing there bathed in glorious sunshine (that may be an exaggeration), but there was a slight chill in the air.

I like this one (photo: Cameron Bew)

The clock struck 9am and we were off.

Within the first 500 metres I could tell that it wasn't going to be my best race to date. The pace felt too fast but I stuck with it. At the 1km point I settled into fourth place but started to feel uncomfortable - I couldn't believe it but I was feeling the beginnings of a stitch on my right side. Still I kept the effort level up and hoped that I might just be able to run through it.

at the 2km point

Two kilometres in and the pain of the stitch had not eased, in fact it was slightly worse. I passed the half-way point at 9.39. By now I knew the pain wasn't going to disappear, I'd have to push on through the second half.

almost half-way around

Just after the 3km point, and with the pain of my stitch becoming unbearable, I intentionally slowed my pace. Mostly due to the pain but partly due to a few dogs in the distance that I didn't want to startle. Passed the first dog (black Labrador) and then the next two (German Shepherds) - All fine. I lost fourth place during this section.

around 3km, just before I slowed (photo: Paul Carter)

During the last kilometre the pain of the stitch hit a new level, I concentrated on trying to relax and breathe deeply but it made no difference. With every step I took the pain increased and my pace slowed. This was the first time that I would describe myself as 'sucking air' - This is a phrase that I have read many times but never experienced it.

'having a stroll'

As I approached the finish line I was giving it everything I possibly could, but if I was to tell you that I was running you'd probably disagree, at a push you might describe it as jogging. The wife said I looked like I was 'having a stroll'!

did I mention that I was in pain?

My wife and Daughter were at the finishing line and I fell on my knees just in front of them - I think my daughter wondered what was happening, but she joined me and we played with the fifth place barcode while I recovered. Slowly the pain faded.

Lime inspecting my position barcode

As you can probably tell, I didn't enjoy this race very much. If I was to speculate on what may have happened if I was 100%, I would have probably held on to fourth place, I would definitely have kept my sub-20 streak going. Of course, I can't change what happened on the day. I think I can take away the fact that I had a really bad run and still managed to get around the course in 20:08. A couple of months ago I hadn't even run that fast on a perfect day!

My Stats:
  • Position: 5
  • Gender Position: 5
  • Age Group Position: 2/3
  • Age Grading: 65.15%
  • Time: 20:08
  • 2.5km Splits: 9:39 / 10:29
Official Riddlesdown parkrun results page for event 9.

Goals for today:
  • Maintain my 100% RDp attendance record - Achieved.
  • Avoid being mauled by a dog - Achieved.
  • Stay sub-20 - Not achieved (stupid stitch!)

I'll have to take it easy next Saturday. I have a 10km race on Sunday (4th September 2011) so I need to be fresh for that. I still want to take part in the parkrun, but I definitely won't be pushing for a new personal best or anything outrageous like that! I'll write a bit more about the 10km race in its own post.

As you may have realised by now, my two supporters (and official photographer) were back today. All the uncredited photos in this post were taken by my wife - Thanks.

The first and fourth photos are from the Riddlesdown official photos page. Thanks to the photographers, Cameron Bew and Paul Carter.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment *subtle hint* :-)

©7t.Steve.n.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun number eight (RDp8)

As I completed my tenth parkrun I wished I could have been in one of the junior categories and therefore earned myself a lovely white t-shirt (info on parkruns clubs)! Unfortunately I am many years past that so will have to push on with the next forty parkruns before I earn the right to wear one of the special t-shirts. I will get there!

Lap 1, and feeling good (photo: Nicki Clark)

What happened this week?

It was Matilda's birthday weekend (people don't have birthDAYs anymore, do they?) and we had made plans to have breakfast with my in-laws, who are visiting from Germany. After that we had arranged to meet some of Matilda's friends (and their parents) at the park. This meant it was another week where I had to dash off straight after the 5k race.

Before we started I wasn't really feeling that great, lethargic would probably sum it up nicely. This was probably due to a lack of sleep, the Prosecco and the Peroni Nastro Azzurro on Friday night. My left leg had been a bit tight and crampy at the beginning of the week but seemed to be better today.

With this in mind I spent a little longer than usual on my warmup.

Right near the end, looking surprisingly relaxed.... (Photo: Nicki Clark)

Warmup done and the race underway (wearing one of my £2.90 bargain tops)! It all started in the usual way, but very quickly the field spread out and I felt pretty much alone - This was confirmed just before the three kilometre point, when I had the opportunity to glance back. I was shocked to find that nobody was there. In the end there was a gap of almost a minute and a half between me and the next runner.

The only significant thing that I can report on this week was that I had to pass through a pack of about eight unleashed dogs. I do not cope well with dogs, especially big dogs, and even more so while running. I almost slowed down to walking pace to ensure that the dogs weren't excited by my movement. Thankfully I passed them without incident and picked up my pace again, only to slow a minute or so later due to another dog that looked excitable.

Just to prove that it wasn't all easy going! (Photo: Nicki Clark)

I actually managed to finish the race with a kick this week. I felt strong and fast as I ran down the final straight (but I probably looked pale and breathless). I finished in fourth position again this week. Four seconds slower than last week's pb time. Four minutes behind the winner, who set a new course record.

I think the most encouraging thing about this week was that although I worked very hard I didn't feel as exhausted during the race as I have done in previous weeks. (Note: Don't get any big ideas. they're not gonna happen).

My goals for this week were to stay sub-20 and to get home as quickly as possible afterwards. I'm happy to say that I succeeded in both.

A welcome sight! (Photo: Nicki Clark)

Stats:
  • Time: 19:36
  • Position: 4 (I'm starting to feel quite attached to the number four barcode)
  • Gender position: 4
  • Age Group position: 1/3 (SM30-34)
  • Age Grading: 66.92%
  • 2.5km splits: 9:32 / 10:04
Official event eight results page

Next Saturday will be the last parkrun in August. Where has the month gone??

And finally, I would like to say a big thank you to Nicki for letting me use her photos again this week! I especially like the second one.


steven.7t


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Socks (my)

This is potentially a boring subject to write about but I have a week off work and the baby is asleep so I thought I might as well give it a go!

I have seen some fairly expensive specialist running socks. They do some very useful jobs, the main one is to help to keep your feet dry by wicking the sweat away. As I understand it, if your feet stay wet inside your shoes the risk of getting blisters increases, and nobody wants to have blisters. If this is wrong please correct me - I have no experience with blisters!

I did a quick internet search and found that 'Nike Elite Cushioned Running Socks' claim this the following:
  • 'unique footstrike cushioning system' - That's fair enough.
and also...
  • 'Provides advanced aerodynamics to reduce drag and help you run more efficiently'.
Really? Maybe for an elite runner the drag effect of their socks is worth considering (to be fair it does say 'elite' in the description). If I was worried about the drag caused by my socks I'd probably just ditch socks altogether, come to think of it that would also save some weight - That's got to be worth about .01 of a second over the course of a race. I reckon my hair causes much more drag than my socks could ever cause (unless they were fitted with mini parachutes), so I'd probably have to shave my head too!

From the above, you might think that I am going to say that I just buy some cheap and cheerful socks.. well, not exactly.

The brand of socks that I wear are from Marks and Spencer's sports range and have been successfully cushioning and wicking away the sweat from my feet for about the last 20 years.

The only socks I wear (current packaging)

They were originally chosen for me by my Mum, back when the socks I wore were about the last thing on my mind. They use silver technology to help keep your feet fresh - I can confirm that it works! I wonder if she has any idea how amazing they actually are, I must ask her when I see her next.

I simply cannot wear any other socks. Once I bought some expensive socks to wear with my walking boots but found them less effective than my M&S socks. I double up when it gets really cold and they still perform as expected.

I've just bought a new pack of them, five pairs for £12. Considering that the specialist running socks can cost the same (or more) for one pair, that is an astonishingly good price. I have noticed on the packaging that they are the official socks of the Pentathlon GB Team . So, clearly I'm not the only one that realises how good these socks are!

'Does what it says on the tin'

The downside is that they have stopped selling my favourite colour (grey). The choices that remain are black, white, and navy.

There are of course many other options for socks to wear whilst running. I hear a lot about wool socks being a good option. I don't think I'll ever try them because, in my opinion, I have found the perfect sock already.

So there it is. A post about socks. Was it as boring as the title suggested?

cpy.7t.stv


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Nine hours in Bluewater

Apart from the insane amount of time we spent there, it was a standard shopping trip to Bluewater with the main purpose being for my Father-in-law to pick up a few gifts for my daughter's 1st birthday.

I took the opportunity to have a browse in the Nike store and also in Sweatshop. I saw a couple of nice tech-shirts but they were quite expensive, unfortunately my running budget doesn't stretch to their prices anymore.

Then almost by accident I found myself in Uniqlo, there I found a selection of tech-shirts marked up at £7.99. I'm well aware that these tops will probably not perform as well as the more expensive ones but it gives me more colour choices to wear during races and parkruns - My wife takes photos during my races for the blog and it's nice to be able to tell the different events apart by the clothes I wore.

uniqlo tech t-shirts

Anyway, upon closer inspection I found that the tops had been reduced from £7.99 to £2.90! I grabbed an arm-full and headed for the changing room, worked out that their 'small' was too large for me and went back to find all of the 'extra-small' tops they had. Unfortunately, they only had three left. I bought them all for the absolute bargain price of £8.70!!

So if you fancy grabbing yourself a bargain and don't mind if they aren't the same quality as the big brands pop down to Uniqlo before they sell them all!

They had also reduced the prices on shorts and some strange looking tops in a style that I'd never seen before (short-sleeved running t-shirts but had a zip and a hood like a tracksuit top). I tried one on but it was a 'small' - as in too big, so I had to pass on that.

they sound good enough

Expect to see me at the Riddlesdown parkrun in my £2.90 running tops over the next few weeks!

That reminds me, I need to write about socks.

Stv.(7t)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun seven

I woke up at 6:45, got ready and started to loosen up. Then I looked out of the window - it was raining! Upon hearing this news, Dani decided that the sensible thing to do was for her and Matilda to stay in bed while I went off to the parkrun.

Fast forward an hour and a half..

Standing on the downs there was a slight misting of rain but that soon cleared and the race took place under the overcast South London sky.

I didn't think too much about strategy today, I just decided to get on with it. The only goals being to hope my IT band behaved (which it did) and to stay sub-20.

Just a few seconds after starting ( Photo: Nicki Clark )

I set off at a hard but comfortable pace and completed the first kilometre in just under 4 minutes. The second kilometre was pretty similar. It was at this point that this week's excitement started.

I was in fourth position when I caught sight of one of the junior runners just ahead of me. As we progressed through the next kilometre I found that I had closed in on him. We went around Condon Corner and shortly after, I passed him (or maybe he let me pass).

I was hoping that he might fade, but he stuck to me like glue all the way through the trail section of the course. We came out of the trees and entered the last 500 metre stretch. When we were about 400 metres from the end he put in a little kick and passed me. He kept pushing and in the end he crossed the line four seconds ahead of me and took third position.

After lying down to recover for a few seconds I shook his hand and congratulated him on his fine running. I learned a bit more about racing today.

I didn't have much time to hang around this week, so I took my fourth place barcode over to the desk to be scanned, then I headed back to the car.

Another thing I have learned this weekend is not to drive while under the influence of post race adrenaline / exhaustion. The driving itself was fine, but my head must have been drained of vital thinking juice. I was driving along the motorway, it gradually dawned on me that the scenery didn't quite look familiar. It transpired that although I had started driving in the right direction, I somehow managed to get myself on to the M20 heading towards Ashford. After a bit of faffing around I found an exit and managed to find a road to Tonbridge. I arrived home about 30 minutes later than planned.

Being chased by a pack of parkrunners! ( Photo: Nicki Clark )

My stats:
  • Time: 19:32 - A new personal best!
  • 2.5km Split Times: 9:40 / 9.52 (approx)
  • Position: 4
  • Gender position: 4
  • Age Group position: 3/9 (The 30-34 year old males were out in force today!)
  • Age Grading: 67.15%
Official results page for event 7

I hope Dani enjoyed her unexpected Saturday morning in bed!

Also I'd just like to add a huge thank you to Nicki Clark for letting me use her photos!

Steve (7t).


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My Iliotibial Band Problem (4)

It has been a while since I last posted about my ongoing iliotibial band problems. If you need some background you can read my previous posts at the links below.
-------------------------------------------------

Generally they (IT bands) have been fine, but there has been one flare up that I didn't write about back in June and a new one that I need to figure out.

The one that I didn't write about occurred during my hill running sessions down at Beachy Head. I think that was caused by way too much downhill running, it sorted itself out very quickly once I cut out the extreme (down)hill running.

The latest flare up is on the left side. It has been very mildly saying 'hello, remember me?' on and off for about two weeks. In order to get on top of it I need to look at the things that have changed recently that could be causing it, ready?

This is what I've come up with so far..
  • Not enough foam-rolling and pigeon pose stretching
  • Downhill running (going up the hill is fine)
  • Racing too often
  • Increase in mileage
  • Running whilst wearing my backpack
What now?

One thing that I know from experience is that NOT running does not work. It might help to ease the initial soreness, but the cause of the problem is still unknown and it is likely that the pain will return on the next run. With that in mind I will keep running, if it gets worse I may run shorter distances and increase the number of running sessions - this helped me to keep the mileage/running time up but each run was short enough to avoid bringing on the pain.

The first step is to foam roll and get into the pigeon pose as often as time allows - at least twice per day. I have to admit that over the last few months I have been doing these less than I should. When I am not at home and need to roll a good alternative is to use an unopened 2 litre fizzy drink bottle. Both IT bands seem to be knot free at the moment so it could be that my glutes are tight again ( please don't laugh - :-p ).

I'm also going to stick to running on the flat, or at least just walk any steep downhill sections I come across. Not a problem on my London route because it is as flat as a pancake!

I hope the mileage is not the problem. It hasn't risen drastically, I make sure I keep any increases to a couple of kilometres per week. I won't cut it significantly to start with (Although I could trim the long run). To be on the safe side I won't raise it either. Also, not sure if wearing a backpack (only during the runs to work) could contribute to this or not but I hate it anyway so this is a good time to stop.

Please don't let it be the racing (I love it so much). :-(


Steve. (7t)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun number six

This week I volunteered to write the official Riddlesdown race report, at the time of writing it is at the top of the page but it will move down as more are published ( Riddlesdown News Page ). I don't have the time to write two completely separate reports so here you'll find the bulk of what I wrote officially but with a few modified bits and some photos to make it more personal.

It was a lot of fun

-------------------

It was 9am and 66 of the local area’s finest parkrunners had assembled at the start line for the 6th Riddlesdown parkrun. The weather was on our side again, and although cloudy, it was dry with just a light breeze floating across the downs.

Nicki Clark, the race director, gave an overview of the course, thanked the sponsors and this week's volunteers - who had been busy marking out the 5k course since the crack of dawn, announced a change of venue for the weekly post-run coffee (It's now in the Good Companions pub, which everybody is welcome to attend - just leave your chocolate buttons at home) and announced the winner of the Sweatshop runner of the month prize for July.

The runners had warmed up and were eager to start.

The timers were poised to start their stopwatches.

GO!

As usual, the speedsters darted off into the distance, leaving the rest of the runners to jostle for position whilst trying their best not to trample the long grass on either side of the path.

We all squeezed past the picnic bench, trying not to trip on the uneven surface. Being on quite high ground, this section provides a fantastic view to the West. Next up was the very sharp right hand turn and short incline up to 'Condon Corner' where Brian Condon was on hand to direct and provide much needed encouragement - especially on lap 2!

We then entered the tree lined trail section and, after a few metres, passed the first kilometre point. The path was uneven and rocks protruded from the ground. We tried to find the smoothest path through, but every now and then a thorny plant reached out in an attempt to grab our legs as we ran past. This week’s photographer, Richard Carter, selected a position about half-way through this section - the photos are online and are great, as usual. Just click on the photos link at the top of the page to see them!

At last we exited the trail section of the course where two juniors were marshaling - James Hall, who ran all five events in July, and Madeleine Brooks were giving some of the most inspiring cheers I have heard at any race. We then moved into what is usually the warmest section of the course. On a sunny day the heat seems to collect here as the trees block most of the breeze. Following the path around, we passed the 2km point before finally reaching the gravel path, which is home to the half-way mark. Here, Christopher Hall, who had taken a break from his five week parkrunning streak to volunteer as one of this week’s timers, called out each person’s 2.5km split times.

Sporting my Bedgebury Forest Trailblazer 2011 shirt

A few hundred metres later we left the gravel path and headed back towards the start line and, shortly after that, the 3km point. Then around ‘Condon Corner’ for the second time and back through the trees, where we eventually reached the 4km mark - Almost time for that final push!

Finally we were out of the trees and into the final section. After working our way around the path, we split from the course loop and onto the final straight and across the finish line to the welcome sound of cheers from the assembled supporters and volunteers!

-------------------

My Stats:

Overall position: 4/66
Gender position: 4th
Age Group position: 2/3 (strong SM30-34 field this week - All finished in top 5)
Age Grading: 66.19%
Time: 19.49
2.5km split times: 9:58 / 9:51


Another week, another role (Photo: Richard Carter)

Dani volunteered as a course marshal this week. The role came with less pressure than her usual role as photographer! She enjoyed it very much and will marshal again soon.




I just love this photo (hand courtesy of Nicki)

After the run we went to The Good Companions pub for a coffee with all the lovely people we have met at the event.

Thanks to Dani for taking the photos for the blog again!

Thanks to Matilda for looking so damn cute!

Thanks to Nicki for giving me the push I needed to write the official report and also for the Mars bar!


Steve (7t)


Friday, 5 August 2011

New Balance Minimus Road (MR10)

After months of reading about minimalist and barefoot running, I have finally coughed up the cash and bought a pair of running trainers that fall somewhere between the standard everyday running shoe that we are all used to and the more extreme barefoot-style running shoe.

My choice was New Balance Minimus Road. They certainly feel different to my first running shoes (Adidas Adistar Ride 2). The big thing for me, rather than the minimalist/barefoot aspect, has been to find a shoe that doesn't have a large heel-to-toe drop. My current Adidas trainers have a whopping 14mm difference between the height of the heel and the forefoot/toes. These shoes have 4mm difference, I'm interested to see the difference.

New Balance Minimus Road (MR10)

Update June 2013:

These shoes have a nice wide toe-box and give a firm ride. If you like your foot strike to be accompanied by some nice cushioning, these shoes are not going to be for you. If you want to try a minimal shoe but would like a softer ride, one of the Nike Free shoes might be a sensible alternative.

Saying that, I think they are a very nice looking pair of shoes and although they are not really my go to shoe, I do occasionally slip them on for a bit of firm semi-minimalistic running.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun number five

We managed to leave the house slightly earlier than on previous weeks and headed along up the A21/M25/A22 to reach Riddlesdown in good time for a short warmup and for Dani to get kitted out in her florescent volunteers' jacket! It was the second time that Dani had volunteered as the official photographer - You can find the photos on the Riddlesdown parkrun photos page or on the Riddlesdown parkrun flickr page.

Official photographer and Lime

We had a chat to a few of the regular volunteers and runners (including a fellow twitterer). It's really nice to talk about running without seeing people's eyes glaze over! After that the race director persuaded me to write the official race report for next week, I'm a little worried but she assures me that only 14 people read it anyway!

So, after coming up with a plan to try to run a negative split this week, I placed myself near the front of the pack and upon hearing the word 'GO' bolted like uhm... a thing that bolts.. (I think it's called an Usain). A quick glance at my stopwatch at around the 1km mark told me that I had indeed done the same thing as the last couple of weeks. I knew I'd be in for some serious pain during the second half (again)!

...and they're off!

I'd say that I enjoyed pretty much the whole of the first 2 kilometres, and at that point I would have been much happier if this was a 2km race rather than 5! The lactic acid build up pretty much controlled my pace from that point onwards - All I did was select the effort level and let my body take care of the speed it would let me travel at.

This wasn't a week for smiling or doing aeroplanes for the camera - sorry Dani! I did try to thank, or at least acknowledge, the marshals as I passed them - The volunteers do a great job, I promise that I'll do my bit soon. I was thinking about volunteering when I have a race the following day. My next ones are in September.

Trying to manage the pain..

It find it interesting to think back to what goes through my head while in this zone. It starts with fairly gentle thoughts like 'this is hard work, keep it up', then they seem to drift into 'why am I doing this?' and then it moves on to a voice that is shouting things like 'THIS IS STUPID, STOP STOP STOP!!!'.

Thankfully I somehow managed to ignore the shouting and reassured myself that it would all be over within just a few minutes. Then before I knew it I saw the yellow sign pointing towards the finish line. With the start-fast-and-hang-on strategy it doesn't leave any energy in the tank to sprint down the finish straight. I pushed as hard as possible, I even managed to avoid crashing into a man walking his dog before crossing the line. I was given my position barcode but had trouble grasping what it was (I would have preferred cake), I think I dropped it - I was in a daze.

All over, time for breakfast.

And another week's racing was over. Here are my stats..
  • Total number of finishers: 68
  • My overall position: 5th (4th male)
  • My age group (SM30-34) position: 1st/5 (at least some others turned up this week!)
  • My age grade position: 16th
  • My age grade percentage: 66.69% ( info on age grading )
  • My time: 19:40 - That's a new personal best, also my first sub-20 5k!
  • My 2.5km Splits: 9:30ish / 10:10 (that's an estimate because I wasn't concentrating when the half-way timer called it out)
I am actually really shocked at my time this week. The reason is that last week I set a new personal best of 20:19 and that was giving it everything I had. I thought I had reached the point where I would be chipping away at my personal best, maybe knocking off a few seconds here and there but not anything significant. But this week I knocked 39 seconds off of that time, I don't quite understand how it was possible to do this. I'll try to not think about it too much and just enjoy that I have run sub-20. This also means that I have to cross 'to run a sub-20 5k' off of my running goals list . I just have to decide whether to replace it with 'run a sub-19:30 5k' or 'run a sub-19 5k' - It's a tough decision! (Update: I decided to stick with full minutes).

Have a good week and I'll see you next Saturday!

And last but not least - Dani, Thanks for the photos and your patience. Shameless plug - Not that she needs it.

Steve (or some form of 7t in the interweb land).


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