Ecos parkrun 30.06.18 … and then some

I’ll be honest with you, I seem to have hit something of a lull in my running lately. I’ve been doing lots of it, and achieving lots of things but the motivation has almost gone.

Like the rest of the country, Ballymena has been baking in the soaring temperatures and, as I’ve discovered, I don’t cope well in the heat, at least not to this degree and definitely not running in it.

I haven’t been feeling too well either this week, suffering from cold-like symptoms (I know, right?), lacking in energy and lacking sleep … although the latter two are most likely heat related.

And because of how I’ve been feeling I missed out on a training run on Thursday. It was supposed to be an ‘easy’ four miles but I really didn’t want to do it, nor did I feel like doing it. I also had a niggle in my left knee and so I justified my non-running on not wanting risk injury, even though I’ve ran with worse niggles.

So, it with this backdrop, that I reluctantly made my way to parkrun this morning. It was my local’s 300th running so it was going to be a cause for celebration and came with the promise of cake! It was also on my plan, so I wanted to try to get back on track.

As I walked up I debated whether to actually run the thing, or to go along and support/volunteer. My training buddies would be both there. Iverene was on token scanning duty, and Bronagh was going to run and then do a further four miles afterwards with Iverene so there was the option to do that if I didn’t fancy the actual parkrun.

In the end I did both.

First up, parkrun. Even as I lined up I didn’t want to do it. I reckoned I’d know what mood I was in by the time I got to the first corner. I started alongside Allison, and I think she shared my reluctance to run, but we both agreed it was another tick in our respective training plans so it was time to get the head down and just do this thing.

Because I wasn’t convinced I would finish I needed to block everything else out so, apologising to Allison for appearing rude, I put my earphones in and cranked Rammstein up as loud as they’d go. I didn’t want to hear myself run, and some hardcore German industrial metal was just the ticket for that!

Much to my surprise I started well. The aforementioned niggle was barely noticeable and I felt quite comfortable. Maybe this wasn’t going to be too bad overall.

However, I also went off far, far too quickly. In fact, I went over a minute quicker than I was supposed to according to my training plan, and I knew this would come back to bite me later in the run. I was pleased I’d gone so quickly and that I felt ok on it but, given the heat of the morning, I was well aware I couldn’t sustain it.

So I slowed down. Indeed, I eased off enough for my second mile to be more or less on target pace but, by then, I had lost the momentum I had started with. This, in turn, played tricks with my mind which became convinced I couldn’t cope, I’d be sick, that if I went any faster I’d burn up, that my knee would hurt and so on with the result that my third mile was a bit of a slog.

But I got it done, and whilst I was around a minute outside my PB, I also recorded my third best time at my local event and my fifth best ever. I had survived and on another, cooler day who knows what might have happened?

After a welcome break for some water and cake whilst waiting for Iverene to finish her duties we were joined by Bronagh (who didn’t make the parkrun after all) for a slow, easy four miles out to the nearby village of Broughshane and back again.

If I couldn’t be bothered with parkrun I *really* couldn’t be bothered with this. However, using their powers of persuasion, the ladies convinced me to join them. It would be gentle, they assured me, and it would make up for the four miles I missed on Thursday.

True to their word, it was gentle. Despite being easy I did struggle a little at the start. Not with the pace, that was very comfortable, just my calf muscles on both legs feeling tight and heavy. I think this was because the speed was lower than normal, when we went just a little faster they felt ok.

Thankfully, the longer we ran the better I felt. It turned out to be a progressive run with each mile quicker than the one that went before, and it was pleasing that I didn’t feel as bad at the end as I thought I would. It was good to get seven miles done today, and I do realise this is all to my benefit, I just wish it wasn’t so damn hot!

Relive my run (parkrun)
Relive my run (Broughshane)



Feeling hot hot hot …

Yesterday I hinted that my mojo might have been somewhat lacking for my run (what do you mean you didn’t notice?). My enthusiasm was still AWOL for the latest run in my plan this morning so I knew I needed to do something that would get me out the door.

That something was joining up with Iverene and Bronagh for sections of their respective runs. Iverene was on a long run so I had arranged to meet her at around mile 7 while Bronagh was coming from the other direction, with plans to join us at mile 8.

It sounds complicated but it all worked out well.

My run was a one mile warm-up, followed by 10×1 minute intervals at 5k pace before concluding with a cool down mile. So, the idea was to meet Iverene, do my warm-up mile at which point Bronagh joined, I would do my intervals (two away from them, two towards etc. etc.) followed by my cool down so we would finish altogether.

As I said, it all went to plan.

It was a blisteringly hot morning. My Garmin displayed 24°, there was barely a breeze and the sun was beating down on us relentlessly.

My warm-up mile was therefore more difficult than it should have been, not helped by the fact it was mostly uphill … that was partly deliberate and given the route Iverene was taking joining her a bit sooner would have meant sprinting uphill, and there was no way I was doing that!

Warm-up complete, it was time to set off on my intervals. Given they were so short it was hard to hit the correct speed. My target was to run at 10 minute mile pace but for the first split I ran at 8:51 … too fast. I tried to slow it for the second, 10:14 … too slow, although not as bad.

The next three came in almost the same (9:23, 9:24 and 9:42) so I was finally achieving consistency.

It was bloody tough, although this was largely down to the heat. And still I had five to go, would I have the legs? It appears I did … 8:59, then 10:03 (so close!) with the final few at 9:29, 10:11 and 9:36.

I’ll not lie, I was glad to see this over. I was exhausted but, given the conditions, pretty pleased that I had mostly managed to either hit target pace or get a little ahead of it.

That final cool down mile was a great relief, coming in at 12:13. I did 3.6 miles in total, not a huge amount but this was all about my speed work, which I think was a success.

Next up is a four-miler but, given the conditions, I’m still not looking forward to it. We all go through rough patches when the motivation simply isn’t there and we gain strength from pushing through. Perhaps this is my time, but is there not also an argument for not punishing yourself either? Sometimes it’s maybe best just to give something a miss, recharge and come back a bit stronger?

Relive my run

Box ticking tedium

There are times when running is nothing but a chore. Times when I really just cannot be bothered but, like all chores, it’s something that has to be done.

Such was tonight’s run. I know I’ve had a busy, draining, exhausting last few days but there hasn’t been a run in a long time that I simply did not want to do as much as I didn’t want to do this one.

It was only an ‘easy’ 5k, as per my training plan, but the thoughts of it magnified it to almost marathon proportions.

But I’m determined to do this, whatever ‘this’ is, so out I went. I left it until 8:30pm, thinking it might be cooler after another stifling hot day. It wasn’t, it was still 23° and that made for uncomfortable running conditions.

Because I wasn’t in the mood for it I didn’t really feel like straying far from home so I essentially just ran around the local area, running up cul-de-sacs and parking areas just to get the distance done. This was tedious in itself, just as the whole run was tedious.

It was little more than a box ticking exercise. I didn’t enjoy it, but I did it. Did I learn from it? Did I achieve anything? Maybe. I don’t know. Mentally, perhaps. I fought the urge not to bother. I got out there and did it when I didn’t want to. We all go through slumps, times when our mojo goes missing … is this my turn? I suppose I’ll find over the next few days.

Relive my run