Broughshane 10k

After an extremely iffy week I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely looking forward to tonight’s Broughshane 10k.

In fact, I was dreading it.

It’s almost on my doorstep, which obviously means a huge turnout from my club. That’s good in one respect because there’s plenty of support and friends around but, on the other hand, I somehow feel it adds extra pressure – everyone knows me, will be watching me and judging me. Utter nonsense, clearly, but still a concern albeit a totally illogical one.

My own form hasn’t been good either. I’d fallen out with running. I’d become bored with it. I have let the pain and discomfort dictate my performances again when I had just about cracked pushing through. This had disaster written all over it.

But it wasn’t, far from it.

After the obligatory club picture (see below, I’m in there somewhere – honest!), I actually found my nerves had settled considerably just from being around lots of familiar faces, many of them seemingly as apprehensive as I was.

Pre-race my plan was to exercise control and restraint during the first mile, I knew there was a bit of trail and some hills further along the course so wanted to save something from them.

So much for my plans. I completed the first mile in 9:52 … way, way too fast. Despite feeling ok at this stage I still made a conscious effort to slow it down for the second mile, but even that came in at 10:41.

The trail section was then upon us, I knew that would temper my pace but I was also on a bit of mission by that stage.

Saturday’s less than pleasing parkrun performance was still playing on my mind, but I realised as I passed the 5k point tonight that I set a time that, had I done it during parkrun, would be a new personal best. It might have been a minor thing to most people but, to me, it was a genuine morale booster.

The second part of the race was back on the roads, but it was also quite undulating. By now I had settled into a game of cat and mouse with Maria from the club. We had done something similar at a race over similar terrain last year so it was good to have her company again.

I was totally content with my performance by this stage. I had settled down completely and was happily running along almost to feel, without a care for my time. I approached the hills without any fear or dread, just taking them slowly and methodically.

My usual two running buddies, Bronagh and Iverene, were ahead of me but I didn’t know by how much so it was nice to see them during the short out and back section, and to see that they weren’t too far in front. They both produced great runs themselves, which was brilliant to see.

This wasn’t a pb course, that wasn’t my target tonight, but I did at least want to beat last year’s time. Quite often during races I’m mentally calculating my finish time and at one point this evening, whilst I knew I’d beaten last year, I was still quite disappointed that I wasn’t on course to beat it by too much.

With that in mind I put a bit of extra effort in over the final 3/4 of a mile. I was aiming to beat last year by six minutes ie: a minute per mile faster, more or less. I’m happy to report that’s exactly what I did, bar a second or two either way depending on whether you believe Strava, Garmin or the chip time.

So, all in all, the night went so so much better than I imagined it would. I’ve got my confidence back, my drive back and I feel renewed. Maybe, on reflection, whilst it didn’t feel like it, I just needed last week.

Relive my run



Ecos parkrun 28.07.18

Confession time … I haven’t run much this week, not since club on Monday night.

On Tuesday I went out to do my scheduled intervals session and only lasted 47 seconds. I just couldn’t be bothered. Physically I felt ok but, mentally, I had nothing left. I know that is precisely the time to dig deep and push through but I really couldn’t do it.

I decided to take Wednesday off. I reckoned there was no point even trying because I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. I’ll try again on Thursday I told myself.

And I did … for a whole 17 minutes! I went out at 7am (well, it was supposed to be 6am but it took me an hour to persuade myself to go) and intended to do the intervals session I bailed from on Tuesday. But it was still better than nothing, right?

Again, my legs felt grand but my mood just wasn’t right for running.

I ‘rested’ again on Friday but by now the old doubts were starting to creep back in. Too much rest isn’t a good thing for me. My legs might thank me but my messed up mind definitely doesn’t.

Ah well, surely parkrun would ‘fix’ me.

Today’s event wasn’t originally in my plan, but because I’d more or less discarded it this week I reckoned I’d at least go, get a decent run in my legs and salvage something from the week.

Going into it I knew my legs would freak. They always do after a few days of next to no running. I expected this. I tried to offset this a little by going for a brief run around the car park but I knew, deep down, that they’d still object in the strongest possible way.

I had Bronagh for company all the way round, and it was just as well I did otherwise I could very easily have stepped off.

She cajoled, encouraged, supported and dragged me when I just wanted to give it up as a bad job. She insisted on staying with me when I wanted her to go on and enjoy her own run. She’ll say she was only repaying the favour from the Dark Hedges a week ago but, in my mind, that was different. That was her first half and I wasn’t for leaving her but this is parkrun, something I’ve done lots of times so there was no need for her to ‘waste’ a run on my behalf. But, thanks Bronagh, it’s been a while since I moaned and groaned so much during a run so maybe I was overdue one!

So, what about the run? I made the classic mistake of going off far too quickly. So quick, in fact, that Strava tells me my first kilometre was my fastest ever on the Ecos course.

That’ll possibly explain why at around a mile in I felt the power totally drain from my body, especially in my arms. They felt like jelly, as if they were just hanging from my shoulders, and painful too. I couldn’t use them to help push me forward which, of course, meant that I had to rely on my legs which, in turn, put extra pressure on them.

Things were quickly falling apart. My body wasn’t responding well, my mind decided to follow suit and …. well, you know what normally happens then.

Thankfully my arms began to recover again. They don’t usually suffer like that – the last time I remember it was back in January – but the pain in my legs remained throughout. Nothing out of the ordinary there. I’ve become better and better at coping with it, usually with the help of a strong mind, but that wasn’t the case today.

I battled on. That first mile took a lot out of me but there was a group of three men a little behind me so I decided that if I could keep them there then I won’t have done too badly.

That’s the thing. I wasn’t doing badly. After two miles my time was more or less as it had been for the past few weeks, it just hurt a lot more today.

In the end, after the obligatory Bronagh inspired sprint finish, my time turned out to be my fifth fastest at my local course and, using age grading, my sixth best ever including my tourist runs. Weird, huh? It just felt so much tougher than that.

But, hopefully, that means my blip this week has been put behind me. A rest was probably what I needed when I think about it logically, I just wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did!

Relive my run


Apologies to anyone who doesn’t understand the Ballymena lingo, but it was lashin’ down tonight!

This entry can probably best be summed up in a few words … Monday. Rain. Warm-up mile. More rain. Club. Even more rain.

I think you get the message. It was a tad damp.

But it was great. Because we’re in the middle of a seemingly never-ending summer I haven’t run in rain for a while. A light drizzle, maybe, but nothing like this. This was proper ‘soak you right through’ rain. I was wringing by the time I got to club.

My t-shirt was clinging to me, and probably revealing more than I would have liked and definitely more than anyone else deserved to have inflicted upon them!

The run itself was grand. The warm-up mile was amongst my quickest yet, but probably a desire to get out of the rain caused that. It didn’t even feel tough for a change, which was a nice surprise.

A few of us went with the 30s as part of the recovery from Saturday’s race. I felt good, experiencing absolutely no ill-effects in my legs but, after a mile, I decided to drop back into the bunch and take it easier.

Not that I was struggling or anything like that, it was just a case of self preservation. My legs felt good so there was no point risking burn out especially with another three days running ahead of me before my next rest day on Friday.

A decent enough little outing.

Relive my run