Unlucky Thirteen?

Or one step forwards, ten steps back!

Last weekend I was feeling quite pleased with myself having seen my parkrun times slowly come back down over the last month.  And I set myself some mini targets to contribute towards achieving that sub 26 minute PB.  The first of those mini targets was sub 26’ 30”, not outrageous considering I did 26’ 33” last week.  So where did it all go wrong?

If only!

Now I’m not especially superstitious but yesterday was my thirteenth parkrun.  Because of the recent rain and subsequent mud fest, the route was changed and became three equal laps rather than the usual 2 x 2km and 1 x 1km.  Normally in my head I’m consoling myself on the second lap that I wont have to do this longer bit again, the last lap is shorter.  And that’s quite possibly what gets me around.  Yesterday I didn’t have that comfort.  Yes, I know the laps were shorter but that didn’t seem to help.  This week on the second lap it was more a case of, oh god I’ve got to do this AGAIN!?  And the walk breaks began to appear, and the four female runners I’d gradually moved ahead of began to move back past me and leave me in their wake!  So I ended up with a 27’ 22” run, my only consolation was at least it was quicker than the 5k I did during the week.  But then I usually run slower when I’m on my own anyway.

I know sometimes it’s all in my head and I took some comfort when later that day I read the following in a Runners World article on training your brain if you really want to achieve those elusive PBs.

“the effort of running is only as hard as your brain perceives it to be” and “we often think of races as ‘painful’ but physical pain is distinct from the sense of effort: effort is the struggle to keep going against a mounting desire to stop” – oh boy do I recognise those sentiments!  So this week me and my brain are going to have some stern words.

So onwards and upwards, and next week will be better – although I’m seriously thinking of volunteering for next weekend’s run instead!

PS: by the evening I knew I had a cold coming – can I blame this?!

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Could All Go Horribly Wrong

Now considering my success this year with prize draws and races (two out of two so far), the following might not have been a sensible idea!

Lucozade Sport are currently running a competition in conjunction with parkrun whereby some lucky souls (I’m not sure how many) can win a place in next year’s Virgin London Marathon.  All you have to do is take part or volunteer in eight consecutive parkruns.  The competition started with the parkrun on 26 October and the last eligible run is the one taking place on 14 December.  My plan is to “appear” at all of them.  So far, three down, five to go and the diary’s looking good.  Each week those parkrunners still involved receive a congratulatory email confirming they’re in with a chance and also telling them how many other parkrunners are also still eligible.  And sad that I am, that’s the bit I find exciting (I did say I was sad!).  I want to see how low the numbers go!  You also get an extra opportunity to go into the draw if you complete a PB on a specific run date TBA but that’s unlikely to happen to me if recent experience is anything to go by.  But I’m going to do my best to be standing at the end!  Although with all the mud around at the moment, that could be difficult.

What about the previous 26 miles!!

And then there was the Runners World/ASICS draw I entered last week for a place on team ASICS Target 26.2 to run the Paris Marathon 2014!!!  Some people have ventured to mention that I should do a marathon abroad next and yes, that’s a nice idea but someone else is going to have to fund it – so what about ASICS!?  I’m sure their pockets are deeper than mine.

Le Route!

So I am now anxiously waiting to hear whether I might be lucky a third or even fourth time and if I am, panic will inevitably start setting in.  Just imagine, two marathons within eight days – I did say it could all go horribly wrong.  Fingers crossed – but I’m not saying whether crossed for success or failure!!!

parkrun becomes cross country!

It’s not been a good running week for me.  Last weekend’s parkrun wasn’t brilliant, I went off far too fast and after 3k was taking frequent walk breaks.  The following day I boosted my self esteem with another 10k treadmill run and that may have been where I went wrong.  For the next few days my right knee was giving me agro, I could run on it but anything else was awkward!  So I’ve refrained from running for five days and done a bit of yoga instead.  I followed a “seated hip opener” session which left my lower body feeling very loose and bendy – I think that’s a good thing!  But that’s the sum total of my exercise this week.

Yup, I can do that! Easy!!!

So this morning’s parkrun was entered with a bit of trepidation.  This was the first run using pacers and I had decided to follow the 27 min pacer.  I could never perform this role – I’d leave a trail of devastation behind me, pacing is not my strong point!

Because of various local parkrun cancellations due to fireworks party preparations we had extra runners this week, in fact the numbers were more than doubled and we had a Shorne Woods record apparently.  Ironically this might actually have helped my pacing at the start and I managed to keep the 27 min pacer in sight for most of the run.  Then at some point I must have passed him but not long after the 4k marker a walk break happened and then another two in that last kilometre.  I only allowed myself 15 secs each time but as I know to my cost, once you start walk breaks, it’s so much harder to carry on – must better to just keep running – obviously!  I actually read something to the same effect in Runners World this week, only in this case the runner concerned was doing 100k ultras!!

Now you may have noticed that autumn is upon us and the weather is changing and the last few weeks’ parkruns have been littered with puddles and mud.  But this week, OMG, those little inner core muscles were working overtime (I don’t mean my core muscles are little – I wish – I mean the little inner core muscles people don’t usually work at the gym but which are crucial for maintaining balance).  We needed a burst of Paul Simon’s Slip Sliding Away to accompany parts of that track.  My trainers served me well though and I didn’t end up flat on my face, but when I got home I was reminded of my childhood when my brothers would come home from football or rugby or my dad from refereeing on a Saturday afternoon with mud all up their legs (and socks and boots).  The bottom of the shower was a bit gritty once I’d finished in there.  I would imagine that things are only going to get worse as the winter progresses so perhaps I should invest in a pair of trail shoes.

A sign of things to come?

Since getting home I’ve done lots of stretching and massaging so hopefully tomorrow I may be able to try a short run if my knee (and the weather) allows.  We shall see.