Little by little

I really have been a lazy sod during June. An unwritten rule of mine was not to leave it any more than three days between runs, in fact three days was an absolute maximum.

Take March, for example, 12 runs in 31 days or 14 in 28 for February. Even last month I managed to keep the average under a run every three days ….. but this month only seven runs! What’s that all about? What’s wrong with me? What’s got into my head?

Is it any wonder I’ve been struggling lately? When I was going out more often I felt stronger and the runs felt better, more comfortable. I need and must get back to that.

So tonight’s run, my first on a Sunday since the Westminster Mile at the end of May. I’ve got out of the way of a Sunday run so tonight was really all about attempting to reestablish going out without worrying about the distance – and the idea is to increase on that week on week.

Setting off with no idea of a route or distance in mind I took to the dual carriageway towards Pennybridge as usual and thought I’d decide whereto after that. If I was doing a bog standard 5k I’d turn back after the first mile to follow my normal route but tonight I decided to carry on, settling on a loop around the industrial estate and then back towards the town centre before turning off for home.

It came to 3.74 miles, I wasn’t OCD enough tonight to round it off to 4 miles or even 6km – pretty rare for me!

The run wasn’t difficult energy wise, it was pleasing to record a relatively decent time again but it did hurt my calves a fair bit. They feel fine again writing this but at the time they burned up too quickly, something I’m pretty certain is related to my lack of activity.

So that’s going to change. Tomorrow night is club night – all being well I’ll do five miles, which will leave me 12 miles short of May’s total.

If I can then fit another run in before the end of the week I’ll bring that deficit down to single figures which won’t be too bad and will mean I’ll have salvaged something from June.

Relive my run


Run Lisburn 10k

20170621_185447Goodness me, that was a tough one.

The latest race in my calendar was the Run Lisburn 10k, which was part of an overall event including the Northern Ireland Half Marathon Championships. The 10k was also the latest in the season long Novosco Grand Prix series. As such it felt like a big occasion which, indeed, it was featuring around 6000 runners spread across three runs (the other was a 3km fun run).

First of all, the cold hard facts … I finished in 1:20:46, my slowest competitive 10k to date. That disappointed me. Some of my mile splits were on par with the later stages of the marathon. However, I wasn’t the only one, I heard quite a few other people saying the same about their own runs.

But I’m not going to beat myself up over it … there are a couple of extenuating circumstances for that, namely the twin perils of heat and hills. Oh, and throw in a bit of chaffing for good measure – you can use your imagination on that one!

The event was described as ‘fast and flat’. However, as one woman so eloquently put it in her best Jim Royle, “Fast and flat, my f**king arse!”

The hills weren’t huge in the grand scheme of things but, combined with the heat and humidity of the evening, they presented quite the challenge in places.

I don’t know Lisburn at all, so the route was all new to me. There seemed to be a climb just after the first kilometre and then another one just after that, which set the tone for the entire route. I knew then it was going to a difficult run, especially since I was really glad to see the first water stop only a few minutes into the race.

My splits got progressively slower up until the 5k point. My calves were troubling me, the climbs troubled me, the heat troubled me – all combined meant it took me a while to settle into it, longer than I’d have liked.

After the halfway point, however, I began to adapt a little more and my splits started to improve. They still weren’t great, but at least they were going in the right direction.

It was a night when PB’s weren’t an option, it was all about finishing. I wanted to finish well. And I did, out of the 10km splits my final one was my third fastest of the evening, surpassed only by the opening couple as you’d expect.

Despite the time and despite the conditions I was an enjoyable night, I had a good time. I travelled up with a few ladies from the club and, once there, we met up with a fair few other members too. It was nice to be part of the team, to see familiar faces and chat beforehand and analyse things afterwards.

I also bumped into one or two people I hadn’t seen in years from other parts of Northern Ireland and whom I knew only through football, so it was interesting to see them involved with running too.

To conclude, it was tough ‘un, I struggled, lots of other people struggled. It was well organised, it felt like a marathon, the support from the spectators out on the course was plentiful and the encouragement from those already finished in the final 200 yards or so was very welcome, something you don’t always get. Bring on 2018!

Relive my run

A real melter

Remember how I work on the loose theory that after every bad run comes a good run?

Let’s hope that’s the case because tonight wasn’t good at all, and my next run will be the Lisburn 10k on Wednesday night …. so, according to the theory, I’ll do well in that.

Then again, I couldn’t do any worse. I went with the club 45-minute group tonight but despite this being my normal group I really struggled.

I think a lot of it had to do with the heat. In fact, I’m sure of it because at one point I felt a sickly sensation in my stomach, although that came after shuttle ‘sprints’ up the Frys Road – never easy, but definitely a challenge in tonight’s conditions.

I wasn’t the only one feeling it. I know a few of us were, which is why I’m putting it down to the heat.

Another contributory factor is what feels like a slight ‘pull’ in my left calf muscle. It happens from time to time, and I felt it tonight, but it was also pointed out to me that I seemed to be running/walking with a limp. I’ll need to keep an eye on that.

Speed wise it was, by a considerable amount, my slowest run for quite some time, my slowest average per mile – marathon aside – for well over two months.

Tonight was a one-off, I can do better, I have done better and I can do better. Let’s leave it at that and move on.

Relive my run

Running for people who think they can't