The School Run

This running lark can be a bit addictive, can’t it?

After a parkrun, a half marathon and a recovery run on consecutive days I decided that instead of doing something sensible like take a rest I’d do two runs on the same day instead.

In my defence, today wasn’t supposed to be a rest day. My Dublin plan scheduled my weekly intervals session for today so I was always going to do that anyway. What wasn’t scheduled, however, was a race … but more on that later.

Back to my intervals … today’s session was 12 x 0.25 miles at 5k pace with one minute recovery between each split. In other words, I had to run a quarter-of-a-mile in two-and-a-half minutes and do it 12 times.

I was joined by Bronagh, with whom I’m running the Dark Hedges Half Marathon in around five weeks. This was her first proper run for a few weeks so whilst it was great to have her company I was a little concerned it might have been too much too soon for her … spoiler alert, she coped just fine in the end.

Anyway, the intervals. Perhaps because it was much cooler today I found myself completing each split fairly comfortably and also judging my pace much better than in previous weeks.

Well, almost. For some reason the third split out of the twelve went extremely awry. I’m not really sure why, although I suspect it was nothing more than a case of forgetting what we were supposed to be doing and just running without focusing on the task in hand!

But, other than that, we got every other split pretty much spot on … some faster, some slower but more or less on target whilst still having something left in the tank. Certainly it wasn’t the flat out effort from previous weeks even though the target pace has been the same. Temperature, or just me getting stronger/faster? Hopefully the latter.

And so onto the race in the evening. Regular readers will know I’ve been assisting (or attempting to!) with the C25K scheme being run in the nearby village of Cullybackey.

The group completed their programme last week with a 30-minute run, with tonight’s event designed to allow them to show off their new found ability in a race environment. It was also a fundraiser for a local school, the Diamond Primary, so a good cause all round … raising money, and encouraging new runners.

I hadn’t really planned to take part, but Bronagh was keen to do it to continue her return to running, and with my other training partner, Iverene, intending to do it too I was very easily persuaded.

A surprisingly large number of runners turned up making it a much bigger event than I had anticipated which was great to see.

I had heard it was an undulating course, and so it proved when we were presented with a hill right from the start. What an introduction to the race!

However, after a minute or two in once I regulated my pace and breathing everything was ok.

After that initial long climb there was, thankfully, a most welcome lengthy downhill section ahead which lasted for the next mile or so.

Unfortunately, as we turned the last corner and onto the final mile the road rose up in front of us again, and it was like this for the rest of the race.

I should mention at this point that I ran the entire race with Bronagh. After not having done much over the past few weeks here she was doing her second run of the day, and whilst she was not finding it easy she displayed massive grit and determination not to let it beat her.

She didn’t stop once, despite her obvious discomfort at times, and even mustered up enough energy to challenge me to a sprint finish right at the end! It was an amazing and inspirational show of strength.

All in all, it was an enjoyable run and, indeed, an enjoyable day.

Relive my run (intervals, set one)
Relive my run (intervals, set two)
Relive my run (The School Run)



Down the rabbit hole

Because I wasn’t flying back home until the evening I knew I wouldn’t be back in time for my regular Monday night club session.

So, in order to stick as closely as possible to my Dublin training plan, I decided instead to do the equivalent time (30 minutes) in Chippenham at midday before getting packed and prepped for the journey back to Bristol Airport.

Yes, you read right, midday. What is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen? Ok, I’m not English but I was in England so I’m allowing myself a little artistic licence 🙂 – it was warm, really warm … and then some. Thank goodness this was only going to be a short, easy run.

Leaving from Dawn’s house I decided to head towards the nearby Monkton Park, home of the Chippenham parkrun, before making my way to the second part of the course.

This is the trail section of the route but it was nice on this occasion to enjoy it without the pressure of trying to keep my footing whilst being aware of other runners around me.

A major ‘feature’ of this is the great big rabbit hole part of the way along. At parkrun they have this coned off to alert runners to it’s existence but, obviously, at other times it’s just there without warning.

Part of my reason for going this way was to take a proper look at it, to see just how deep and wide it was. As I ran I thought I’d missed it, it seemed so much further along the path than I remembered.

Then it appeared in all it’s glory. I can report that it is indeed deep and wide, certainly wide enough for a chap to fit both feet into and deep enough for it to come well above the ankle. Definitely a big old hole!

I ran around the rest of the trail, then onto the tightly packed gravel enjoying the peace and tranquility of my surroundings, and the glorious weather.

It was all downhill thus far but, of course, that meant I faced a steady climb on my return back upto Dawn’s. If you look at the run profile image below you’ll see it looks like a giant bite mark … I don’t know why, but that amuses me.

The real purpose of this run was to take it easy after the weekend but I still couldn’t resist pushing myself when it came to the numerous little rises on this return section.

I figured it’d be a good training exercise given the extreme heat. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t uncomfortable and it took a lot out of me but I know it’ll have benefitted me.

All told, it was a really pleasant little run, only 3.5km or thereabouts but it was important to get out and get loosened up … it certainly would have been easier not to bother, but I’m glad I made the effort.

Relive my run