Ballymena Runners 3.1

fullsizerender-7So tonight was Week 3, Day 1 of the Ballymena Runners Cosy Sofa to 5k programme.

I was a little apprehensive this evening (what’s new?) given that my left calf still niggled me after Sunday and that I’d been getting an occassional pain on the sole of my right foot. I slapped some Deep Heat onto my legs before I went out in the hope it’d make things easier.

Tonight’s schedule called for three five minute runs with the usual walking breaks thrown in and I made the very conscious effort to go as slow as I possibly could, just to loosen my calf and not to risk anything.

Again we were split into three groups with mine heading off towards the town centre along Queen Street which takes the dexterity of a mountain goat to walk on never mind run. To that end I was quite glad that it was quite narrow and, being bunched in, I had no option but to take it easy.

However, the group soon spread out and I found myself somewhere around the middle, nice and anonymous.

Previously the last two weeks had seen two minute walking breaks between the runs so there was much surprise tonight when, only 54 seconds after the first five minute run, we were off again!

Maybe the group leader misjudged, maybe it was deliberate but it felt good  – at the end of the second block – to have run for 11 minutes with less than a minute walking break.

The gap between the second and third running sections ground to a total halt as we waited to cross the road and to also let another group pass us – which, of course, messed with the time a little. It would have been interesting to see the pace for the run overall.

As usual, my legs burned up for the first while but I found the last run quite manageable, which was encouraging. There were also a lot of loose stones underfoot so I was careful to pick my way. I avoid this route for that very reason when I’m out on my own so I was aware of it when others might not have been, but it would be very easy to go over on your ankle if you weren’t cautious.

Anyway, whilst it was a step up from the first two weeks, I felt I coped ok – I’ll give it another go hopefully on Thursday this week.


10k? Ok!

fullsizerender-6Lately I’ve been wondering why I’ve included the Sigur Rós song Festival in my ‘Martin’s Motivational For When He’s Blowing Out Of His Arse’ running playlist.

I mean, it’s about nine minutes long and for almost exactly half of that it could generously be described as something of a dirge – and that’s me saying that as a fan of the song! Then, around 4 minutes 38 seconds in the beat, as the kids would say, drops and it transforms into a wonderful anthemic, uplifting, blood pumping, makes-you-want-to-run-through-walls spine tingler.

And when that hits right at the end of a run …… absolutely-fucking-fantastic!

That’s what happened today. I had just finished my 10k, my longest run since before the marathon, I was pretty knackered and just wanted to get home. Then the song kicked in and I was instantly transported into a world of euphoria. I’m not too proud to admit there might have been a little bit of dust or something in my eye.

This  was huge psychological moment for me. As I said, it’s my longest run since London and my first going into double km figures since then. I remember my first ever 10k before Christmas and I felt those same feelings today.

Timewise, I was pleased to get below 1hr 30mins, that was my aim going into the run and the fact I managed it with two minutes to spare was good. The time estimation calculator I use predicted a time of high 1:28 so I also beat that by almost a minute … in fact, because I knew I was on target to beat it I sort of eased off a little in the last mile or so. My first 5k was also faster than yesterday.

Today’s plan was for 6 miles, or 9.6km. At the outset I didn’t know whether to stop at that or to carry on for the full 10km – in fact, the adhoc route I took actually left me around a mile from home and I toyed with the idea of just keeping going but Sensible Martin kicked in and told me to stick to the plan, plenty of time for seven miles next week.

I tried to stick to the Ballymena Runners schedule of 4×2 minute splits for as long as I could and, I think, I managed it for an hour or thereabouts which was pleasing – and even after that my legs felt fairly strong.

All in all a really encouraging and promising run. I’m still a work in progress but I’m happy with how my training for Portsmouth is coming on. Four weeks to go!


fullsizerender-5I wimped out of going to parkrun. Well, I did and I didn’t. In order to avoid the horlicks that was last Saturday morning I printed my barcode out in good time, then went to get ready and whilst the rain was little more than a mizzle, by the time I was ready to leave the house it was, as they say, not taking the time to rain.

It was hammering down. It was raining sideways. There’s no way I was going out in that, not walking at least and not for the 30-40 minutes it would have taken me to get to the start line.

I then thought I’d take a taxi. Problem was I couldn’t get one. All booked, at least they were until about 9:15am and getting one then would have been cutting it very fine to get through the traffic in time.

Granted, it’ll likely not be terribly great weather wise in Portsmouth but that’s something I’ll deal with on the day. There’s no point in risking anything in the build up, especially given how I’ve been feeling this week.

Still, it called for Plan B – do the 5k on my own again, which I did once the rain settled.

But karma has a funny way of biting you on the arse, and she surely did with teeth bared. About one kilometre into the run it started to rain like the hammers of hell. Bucketing down, and sideways too just for good measure.

However, I was out and was staying out.

I decided to stick true to the Ballymena Runners schedule for a while, therefore 4 minutes x 2 minutes repeated three times. After that I then went freestyle, running when I wanted and walking when I wanted.

I was a bit slower than I would have liked to have been but almost two minutes faster than last week but, pleasingly, my last two kilometres were negative splits which is par for the course with me. It always takes me a while to get going before I settle into a run.

Anyway, job done, time to relax for a couple of hours before work and then prepare myself mentally for my scheduled six miles tomorrow. At least the weather is supposed to be significantly better.