Saturday, 29 October 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun eighteen (rdp18)

In the week leading up to rdp18 my hamstring was feeling a lot better and I had resumed my normal training schedule, but just at a slower pace to avoid pushing myself back into injury.

I had already decided beforehand that I wasn't going to race, but would do a tempo run instead.

After my warmup I headed to the start line and accidentally lined up right at the front.

I started at a strong but comfortable pace to try to hold up as few people as possible and once most of the racers had filtered through I slowed the pace slightly into what felt like my tempo pace.

All was good until I got to the final kilometre where I found myself getting drawn into the battle for 10th position. I stayed in the battle until the final straight but once the finishing kicks started I thought it best to ease off rather than responding. The hamstring isn't ready for sprinting!

All in all it was a very nice run.

Back in the good companions pub the main running discussion was regarding GPS watches and running applications for smartphones with the Android OS. I have been working on a post about this so keep an eye out for it in the coming days. I might even make a video too (possibly in the graveyard opposite our flat).

 My GPS splits showed that I kept a nice even pace through the 2nd, 3rd and 4th kilometres. The first and last were a few seconds quicker. My overall pace was 4:08 per kilometre, which is right in my tempo run zone.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun seventeen (rdp17)

The morning started off quite cold (I think about 2 or 3 degrees) but in the end it turned into quite a nice autumn day.

I almost missed the start of the parkrun. Why? Surely it must have been traffic or something to do with the baby.. Actually it was neither. I was sitting in the car trying to keep warm and misjudged my timing by a minute or so.

I arrived at the start line just in time but had to start right at the back, which I didn't mind because I wasn't going to be racing.

My intended pace was to be around 5 minutes per km. That would bring me home in around 25 minutes, around 5 and a half minutes slower overall than my usual race pace.

I started off slow enough but felt a bit frustrated at that pace so I meandered my way through the field of runners until I found some clear air, my pace was somewhere in the 4:40-per-km region. That was according to the Garmin 405 that I was wearing (in addition to my normal GPS device).

being tracked with two GPS devices (garmin 405 / handy runner android app)
When I reached the sharp corner and incline I slowed and took tiny steps to avoid putting too much pressure on the hamstring. I did the same on lap 2.

On the second lap I was happily running along, I had just passed the three kilometre mark when all of a sudden a wasp managed to trap itself in my hair. I must have looked a tad mental (I apologise if this is a politically incorrect term) as I ran in zig-zags slapping myself on the head. It took a good 10-15 seconds to dislodge it, and it buzzed off into the distance (or another runner's hair).

at the end
I kept a fairly strong pace until the end and finished in 17th position with a time of 21:45. My average pace was 4.21 per km. That works out 'steady-state' pace for me. Looking at my split times it seems that I was getting faster towards the end, my last split was just over 4 minutes, that is almost 5k race pace - definitely not the plan.

The hamstring felt fine all around the flat parts of the course. The only issue was on the sharp incline, where if I had pushed harder would probably have re-injured it. I'll definitely be avoiding hills for a while.

We then went to the good companions pub, where we had coffee, at least I did. The wife brought her own green tea with her because they only have English breakfast tea in the pub. Fellow injured runner, Pete, gave me some good information on hamstring rehabilitation. I'll get stuck into that asap - Thanks.

the ladies
The rest of the day was a mix of sitting in traffic, hanging around a shopping centre listening to awful conversations, and then paying a quick visit to King's college hospital to see my brother. We finally got back home about 12 hours after we had left. Shattered. Luckily I had made some curry on Friday night so we stuck that straight onto the hob to heat up - it always tastes better the day after!


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun sixteen (RDp16)

At the end of a second full week of rest (last week's parkrun aside) due to the hamstring issue I decided to have a slow (park)run to see how the leg was progressing.

the wife perfects the new baba carrying technique (photo:Nicki Clark)
The wife was on volunteering duty again and marshaled at a new spot just next to the start line, approximately 2.9km into the race. She also took the photos that you see here (apart from the one of herself).

I started at the back of the 76 strong pack with Terry, who had reached the start line with just seconds to spare. Our intention was to run at around Terry's personal best pace and then Terry might just grab himself a new personal best with a late surge while I hang back.

After the first few minutes it was clear that we were going much slower than this, so we accepted that there would be no pb for Terry and proceeded to put the world to rights.

The reason I knew so much about the pace was that I am currently testing a Garmin 405 GPS watch (loaned to me by Race director Nicki) and had set our goal pace beforehand.

On the Riddlesdown course when you reach approximately 900 metres there is a sharp right turn and a short incline. As soon as I hit the incline I felt my hamstring tighten up, once back on the flat it felt fine again.

entering the final straight
We stuck to our easy pace for the rest of the course and coasted through the finish line in 40th and 41st positions. In the end we were only just over 30 seconds adrift from our intended pace.

The hamstring felt fine afterwards and we proceeded to the good companions pub for coffee. Unfortunately Terry had to leave to pick up his sons before we got around to having the coffee but it was good to see him again anyway.

after you, sir. no, after you, sir.
That left me, the wife & the baba plus the rest of the RDp crew. We hung chatting for a long time. In the end we left at 12:26 and took the scenic route home.

Once at home it was time to write the official race report. The wife had made a few notes during the race to assist with the style I wanted to write it in, it is now up online and you can find it on the Riddlesdown parkrun news page.

post race
Finally, back to the hamstring. It's not ready for me to resume training so I am looking into alternative cardiovascular training which avoids using it, or if it does is very minimal. If I don't do this I'll start to lose some of the fitness I've gained over the last few months and I don't really want that to happen.


Friday, 14 October 2011

The ongoing hamstring saga

My left hamstring has been a bit of a weak spot for me for as long as I can remember.

I know that I should really attempt to strengthen it, but I've always been nervous about lifting weights with it as it doesn't take much to pull it. I know that lifting weights would probably help and my intention is to put some more effort into this in the coming months.

Anyway, the left hamstring has been tight for a number of weeks and I think I pushed it to the edge with some of the hill training (did a few big hills on consecutive days - lesson learnt) I did in the run up to the half-marathon.

I think it is firmly in the 'overuse' injury category, what I mean is that there was no sudden pain or any sensation of anything tearing. It just gradually started to tighten up. I first noticed this happening while running uphill during some training runs.

I'd definitely classify it as stage 1 (just like last time), basically it's not too bad. Most days I feel like I could go out and run. However I have been very good and avoided doing so.... apart from last weekend when I raced at Riddlesdown parkrun (RDp15) (bad 7t). In retrospect that wasn't the cleverest thing I've ever done because it has pushed my recovery back a few days.

I haven't done a full run since that parkrun, I did pop out on Sunday morning to see how the hamstring was but that was just 2km so doesn't really count. Since then I have been resting.

As people that follow me on twitter ( @copy7t ) will know, I have been icing it daily (using various types of frozen vegetables).

During the last couple of days I have been back on the trusty ol' foam roller and it feels good (I hope I'm doing the right thing here).

I am going to head out for a parkrun on Saturday, I'll be running an easy pace and I'm mostly using it as an opportunity to assess where I am with the recovery.

I was scheduled to race on Sunday in the Dartford Bridge 10k, but I seriously doubt that I'll be anywhere near Dartford on Sunday morning. In fact it is quite convenient because I get to stay at home and watch the Formula 1 instead.

Every cloud..

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun fifteen (RDp15)

The Race:

This week saw a change in weather from last weekend's glorious sunshine to into something that felt almost wintery. There were a selection of kit choices, ranging from full running tights, double layers and gloves, to short sleeved t-shirts and summer shorts. I fell somewhere inbetween and stuck to my usual shorts plus my long sleeved top and gloves.

off we go!
I had been resting a tight hamstring for most of the previous week, so I arrived not really knowing if I would race or hold back and just put in a few easy miles. I had a warm up, chatting to the Dude (braver than me in his short sleeved t-shirt!), and then to Jo Q along the way. The hamstring felt good enough to line up at the front for a good ol' race!

I stayed just behind the leading pack for the first kilometre and felt very comfortable there.

Once in the trail section I caught up with David C, who was also maintaining his 100% attendance record. (congratulations on your pb!)

if you look closely you can see me too
At the end of the section I saw Peter G, who was marshaling in order to rest his calf (I wish I was as sensible as you!). After this I had warmed up enough to remove the gloves, I had originally intended to pass these to the wife as I passed her at her marshaling point but I decided to keep hold of them so I could put them back on after the race.

At the 2km point I was in fourth position, the front two runners had split from myself and the eventual winner of the women's race, Christine C. We stayed in that order as we passed the half-way point (my time here was 9:42). As we moved on through the second lap the first placed runner, Oliver C, had broken away and was opening up a substantial lead.

me and the eventual women's race winner
We eventually caught up with the second place runner, wearing his 100 parkruns t-shirt, and passed him. At the far end of the course the wind blew hard and cold into our faces.

Now in third place I was faced with a decision. Should I attempt to pass the lady in front of me now or wait until the last 500 metres. I held back and as we entered the trail section I thought I might as well push a bit harder. Just before the four kilometre mark I moved into second place.

I could see the race leader every now and then as the path weaved through the trees but he was too far in front for me to mount any serious attempt at a challenge for the lead. Anyway, I had more pressing issues. I was currently in second place but I was going to have to work hard if I wanted to keep it!

As we exited the trail section Peter G gave me some words of advice to not push the hamstring too hard. (Thank you, the advice came at the right time).

I kept the pace up in order to try to hang on to second place, as we approached the final straight Christine was gaining on me. I didn't want to break into an all-out sprint and risk damaging the hamstring. Fortunately I had done enough and crossed the line 5 seconds ahead of her.

this may be the lowest number i'll ever get
The race winner was also volunteering as this week's official report writer, and in true reporter style conducted some post-race interviews. I'm looking forward to reading his report on the official Riddlesdown parkrun news page.

My Stats:

Overall position: 2nd/55
Gender position: 2/29
Age group position: 1st/2 (SM30-34)
Age grading: 67.32%
Time: 19:29
2.5km splits: 9:42 / 9:47


Terry, donning his swanky new running kit, came down for his second parkrun. I didn't see him until after the race, as he had arrived at the very last minute and I hadn't spotted him. He ran an amazing race and managed to knock 50 seconds off of his previous Riddlesdown personal best, coming home in 26:41! Congratulations!

the ladies
The wife volunteered as marshal again and looked after the 2.7km spot with the baba. She also took the photos for the blog. Thank you.

We had originally intended to leave straight after the race but at the very last minute we decided to pop into the good companions for a quick coffee before heading off for the day's chores. We had a sneaky peak at the unedited photos and all the runners got their official times earlier than under normal circumstances. Congratulations to Barb R, who got herself a nice pb and set the bar even higher in her age category!

And that was RDp15 from the eyes of me.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

Riddlesdown parkrun fourteen (RDp14)

Standing at the start line there were noticeably fewer of runners at Riddlesdown this week (40). It seems that this was down to the rugby match between England and Scotland. The weather was glorious (officially the hottest October day for 26 years).

My left hamstring was still recovering from my first half-marathon so I decided not to race this week's event. Instead I decided to use the parkrun to do a tempo run (for me that works out at 4.05 - 4.16 minutes per kilometre).

The wife had volunteered to be the official photographer again, and took some amazing photos from Condon corner.

I started off quite slowly and gradually picked up the pace until I settled in behind Jo Q, who I knew would be running at about the right pace for my tempo run, and September's monthly prize winner Paul G. Jo was only doing one lap today as she was down as a volunteer and had to be at the finish line before the first runners came in.

Once the first lap was out of the way I couldn't resist the urge to pick out runners up ahead that I'd like to chase (while still sticking to the tempo run plan, of course).

With only a slight change of pace I gradually picked my way past a few more runners and with about 300 metres left to go I caught up with Graeme D, and after a brief attempt at an out-of-breath chat, I pushed on to overtake one more runner on the final straight.

I crossed the line in tenth place with a time of 21:22 - That works out at an average pace of 4.16 per kilometre, just about right for my tempo run. Interestingly, if I had raced I would have been in with a very good chance of finishing first. I'm still happy that I took the tempo run option.

We then went to the Good Companions pub for coffee and muffins (which were made by Ange N, who recently celebrated her birthday) afterwards.

My Stats:

Position: 10 / 40
Time: 21:22
2.5km Splits: 11:06 / 10:16

I'm hoping that the hamstring is feeling better for next weekend because I really want to race!


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