Ok. So as it turned out, that New Balance prize (for writing about my rubbish runs) I was expecting – the ‘head to toe’ New Balance kit (which clearly was near enough a guarantee of a onesie), turned out to actually be ‘neck to toe’ (admittedly a less well-known english phrase) and included shorts, two running tops…  

…and a shiny new pair of Fresh Foam Zante running shoes…

  

So I’m not complaining! To be honest, if I take that little step back and take a deep breath, I would probably even go so far as to admit that, as a whole, this collection of kit is probably more practical than a onesie would have been, anyway.

I know I will have upset some people by making that statement, but please, we are all different, with different needs, wants and expectations. Please respect my views on this matter, even if your own may differ.  Thank you.

My best kit is now no longer that purchased from my local charity shop. No offense intended by that either, it has been great quality and served me well. But this stuff is super light, quick-dry, comfortable, and the shorts come with (and this is obviously important) a well placed zip-up pocket large enough for my phone, positioned so as not to bounce around too much during my regular* super-speedy interval sessions.

*(Once a year is still regular)

Furthermore the tops have this weird thumb thing…look…
  

I don’t personally find that my long sleeves on shirts automatically roll themselves up my arm without this design addition. Perhaps because generally the rest of my arms are bigger than my wrists. BUT I have seen that this is definitely a ‘runner’ thing so if I need a little hole in a shirt for my thumb to make me aBitMoreOfaRunner then so be it. Bring it on.

Now the shoes. They are super light. On first wear I’m wasn’t sure I would want to wear them for really long runs… I feel like I want a shoe that weighs approximately 20% of my own body weight in order to trust that it won’t collapse in on itself after two strides. But I’m looking forward to doing speed work (it’s all relative) in them. They have ‘5k PB’ written all over them!*

*(they actually have ‘fresh foam’ written all over them**)

**(not really ‘all over them’ so much as ‘on the heel’…and maybe inside a bit)

This time next week Junethon begins. Daily exercise and blogging = daily randomness. Can’t see me lasting the month, but I’ll enjoy giving it a go again.

The weak updates continue with further information about nothing in particular.

Good news: I wasn’t totally done in by last week’s activities of tennis and 5k runs.

Bad news: I was still a bit done in. Didn’t need any days off work but I was unusually tired and the left ankle was complaining at me.

Good news: I completed my son’s school’s 5k fun run in a reasonable 25:24

Bad news: I looked like a bit of a plonker in an attempt to promote my local tennis club’s open day…
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Good news: I’ve lost a bit of weight at last.

Bad news: Because I had put on some weight after deciding originally I would lose some weight, I now still weigh some more weight than I did before the initial ‘I need to lose some weight’ weigh-in weight.

Good news: doughnuts taste nice.

More good news: I ran a parkrun for the first time in ages yesterday and got a course PB, breaking sub 23:00 for the first time at Colwick.

Bad news: I was annoyingly just 6 seconds sort of my all-time, anywhere PB. Maybe next time.

Good news: If I am heavier AND faster then my extensive knowledge of physics – which includes words such as force and distance moved suggests that work done is dramatically increased and my training benefit is thus also dramatically increased. Extrapolating these findings, I am therefore going to also start smoking – to give my lungs a good workout too (working on the same principle as above).

Bad news: I’m not actually a scientist and there may be an unforeseen flaw in my immensely well thought out plan. Also my wife would chuck me out.

Good news: I’ve just been to the toilet and I’m now much closer to my original ‘I ought to lose some weight’ weight.

Bad news: That last bit was probably over-sharing. Sorry.

Good news: I eventually got back to the New Balance people with my detailed waist, chest, inside leg, head circumference etc measurements so they can provide me with my ‘head to toe’ prize package for having written about my ‘rubbish run’ or ‘another rubbish run’ (I still don’t know which one it was that they liked).

Bad news: they got back to me to tell me they just neded to know small, medium, or large? (It could still be a onesie!)

Good news: I’ve finished writing this blog post now.

Bad news: …apart from this bit of course…and I’ll be back at some point soon too.

No. Not a typo.

If there has been any progress at all, it has been very weak.

It seems that in order to lose the 10kg I want to before I will allow myself to enter the Nottingham marathon, my body has decided it would be easier if I first gained a bit of unnecessary weight first. Hmmmm.

I blame my children.  Well one child in particular. My son. It was his birthday, you see and he wanted me to eat loads of bbq food – two types of sausage, chicken, burgers, steak, spare ribs ( + the usual extras) all in one sitting.  And then he didn’t want all that cake and those crisps hanging around for too long afterwards, of course.

I’m obviously being very unfair to him there. It’s not his fault. He didn’t buy all the food. He didn’t choose to be born.

It’s clearly my wife’s fault.
But all blame aside. I’ve not been very well this week either. Just colded up, not breathing well, sleepy, sore throat, etc.

I’ve not done parkrun for ages for various reasons but I think I’ll give it a miss this morning too. I’m supposed to be playing in a tennis match this afternoon and it is my son’s school’s 5k run this weekend too. I think those activities might do me in enough on their own.

It’s amazing how little I have run since the marathon, actually. An element of ‘post-marathon blues’ is there, I’m sure and I’ve got out of routine.

Here are a few things that might help with motivation though:

1) Juneathon is coming up again! If you are uninitiated then click the link and have a look.  Basically, it’s an activity/blogging challenge requiring some form of activity (and activity reporting) each day in June. 

2) Bounts. I came across this fairly recently. It’s a website/app that links to various fitness apps/gadgets and awards you points based on the exercise you do. When you reach a certain number of points you can trade them in for various £5 gift vouchers in their ‘shop’. In addition to the points, for every activity you do, you get a credit to spin the reward wheel – and in doing so have a slim chance of gaining extra prizes.  It’s totally free (unless you want to pay to get extra points per exercise) and if you exercise regularly anyway, it is essentially something for nothing.

They are doing a bit of a reboot of systems at the moment so if the website is down then just try again in a day or two.

(If you do sign up however, use the code ‘avery1132‘ and we’ll both get a few extra points!)

3) Do you remember that rubbish run I did a little while back? …which was followed up a few weeks later by another rubbish run ? Well those lovely people at New Balance decided they liked it as part of their #UseYourRun campaign and so have informed me that I have won ‘head to toe’ New Balance gear. Nice eh?

Of course, I don’t know what ‘head to toe’ entails. Possibly it’s a New Balance  onesie, I have no idea, except I know it does include their new ‘fresh foam’ running shoes.  I shall let you know when it arrives and let you know what it’s like.

So there you have it – my weakly weekly update.

————————

At 94kg I am a bit further away from my 82kg marathon-entering weight. 

(This isn’t going to turn into a weight-loss blog, I’m just doing this at the end for a little extra accountability/motivation)

I really am not much of a runner.

I can just about remember how I started really. Here’s the short version…

Stress relief during a student placent,     I believe. Keeping a friend company on her runs when she didn’t want to head out alone.

I don’t think it was the running that I enjoyed but more the sense of accomplishment after the run. I remember that I used to hate running at school (sometimes hiding by the bushes on lap 1 of cross country just to rejoin the group on lap 2), but as a university student, feeling a real buzz after the first time I ran for over an hour! 

Telling a friend about this while I was doing some youth work they pursuaded me to really challenge myself and enter the London marathon. I didn’t get in. But surprised at my disappointment at this, I entered again the following year and this time I was successful.

 It was the year 2000, my final year at university, and I had just turned 23.

I was possibly the fittest I had ever been and possibly the lightest (as an adult) …. oooo maybe with the exception of the gap year I spent in Zimbabwe when I pretty much only ate whatever the local farmers produced and lived in the mountains for eight months.

London in 2000 was the best marathon experience I’ve had. And it remains my fastest. I can’t actually find my official finish time, but the clock said 4:28 as I passed underneath and I know it took about 15 minutes from the gun to cross the start line (I can’t find the official online results anywhere now so if you know where I can find them, please do tell me). 

I had to get this out of storage to snap the photo

 

I’m not 23 anymore.

I’m not the lightest I have ever been as an adult.

I don’t live in the mountains.

And it just took me over twenty minutes to get out of bed because I happened to do a few sit ups the day before yesterday!

I completed the huddersfield marathon recently. It took me over five and a half hours but despite this, (and a significant amount of cramping) in the last few miles, I was happy with that because it really was a tough course and besides, I knew that a month earlier I had run twenty miles in 3 hours 5 mins on a reasonably undulating one in Ashby.  I know another six miles would have been tough but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have taken me more than 90 minutes would they?… Or would they?

You see, I don’t really know. But I’d like to.

Being sort of marathon-fit at the moment (minus the post-marathon beer-drinking, takeaway-munching slob-out) it ‘makes sense’ (if it ever makes sense) to run another marathon soon – if I’m going to at all.

Nottingham’s Robin Hood Marathon is in September. 

I’m tempted.

04:30:00 would be the target but I would REALLY need to shift some weight if I was to aim for that.

It’s expensive too I think, at £40 so I am saying now,  

“I will only enter if/when I lose 10kg” (So I’d be 82kg)”. 

Please, please ridicule me / call me out / shout at me if I tell you on here that I’ve done otherwise!!

If I’m honest, I would like to actually beat my first and best marathon time too… But this would be like racing against my 23 year-old injury-resistant and lighter self. Is that realistic?

Perhaps not. But I fancy giving it one (last) go.

Well, here we go again… an attempt to write a race review.  I always struggle to write reviews because everything is a blur.

On this occasion however, nothing is a blur. I wasn’t moving fast enough for anything to blur.
When people have asked me how I got on, I have told them my time and then felt compelled to inform them just how hilly it was. It was really very hilly!

It was my slowest ever marathon at 05:35:58

I know. But it was really very hilly.

   
   When I ran a similar time at London in 2005 I was very disappointed. I think if this had been a flat marathon, I would have also been disappointed and would be considering hanging up my marathon shoes.

  
But it wasn’t a flat marathon. It was really very hilly. This wasn’t a surprise – I wanted to do a tough marathon and I got that. I paced myself well over the first half (I thought) keeping things very steady and hitting the half-marathon distance at 02:15:00. At the recent Ashby 20 road race, I covered the 20 miles in 3 hours 5 minutes, passing the half marathon mark at 01:52:38

So slowing this up by over 20 minutes was a good thing, I thought. But those hills took more out of me than I knew. Not just the ups… but the downs too. They were too steep to run down. Every step was braking, (maybe breaking) and pounding the joints, and over-working my poor quadriceps.

   
   (The photos never convey steepness, do they? I’m taking a spirit level next time*) 

*as if there would be a ‘next time’!

Having done these hills once already, I had resigned myself to not actually ‘running’ at times and it was nice to have that ‘do I?/don’t I? run’ question completely removed from my psychology. There was no choice. At least the views were good…

  (That was actually taken at mile 14 of the two-lap course)
I passed mile 19 (and a nicely decked out ‘nutrition’ station) at approximately 3:45 and a sub-five hour marathon seemed likely…  

 

…but MAJOR cramps kicked in at mile 23 and I literally could not move for over 5 minutes each time it happened (as well as being in serious pain).  Things didn’t look so pretty now…

  
The clock kept ticking. I was walking now and every occasional attempt to resume running ultimately stopped me in my tracks as the cramping hit once more. I had experienced this during a Nottingham marathon that I hadn’t really trained for, and it is not fun. I had said after that one that I never wanted to run for over five hours again. I stand by that. I don’t.

On my first lap there had been a chap pressure washing the war memorial as we passed mile 12ish… I enjoyed a little refreshing shower at the time and took this photo looking back on it… 

 

The workman was no longer there by the second lap (unsurprisingly).  It would have felt even better at that point BUT was probably for the best as I was later informed it would have been a water/bleach mix anyway!

So… Yeah, a particularly slow final few miles but despite the slow time, I was pleased to complete it. 

  (Final straight)
And in terms of ‘placing’ this is likely to be my best marathon ever… 44th!

Ok… Only 86 had entered, and they didn’t all complete it…but still. Top 50 finisher 😊 !

  (Post-marathon nutrition)

This wasn’t a big marathon in terms of numbers and it very much had the feel of a local club-run event. 

Signage could have been a little better in places (mile 10 / mile 23 for example) where my lovely wife ran after a runner or two to redirect those who had missed a turning…. They don’t know how priviliged they are – my wife very rarely runs (though she did join me for the odd minute or two for support along the way – I am also very honoured).

Water stations only had bins right next to them, so if you wanted to appropriately dispose of your cup you couldn’t run and drink.

There was no goody bag to speak of at the end, but there was a technical T- shirt, and unfortunately my medal said ‘HALF marathon finisher’ on the ribbon (look carefully at the beer photo again). They did apologise for that – I don’t do it for the bling anyway.

I did do the full. I promise. I have a million strava segment PRs to prove it (and an equal number of ‘second best’ times for the repeat lap!).

It was very good value for money though. And very friendly.

Of course the people were great  – runners, marshals, supporters (particularly my my own personal support – the actual present one and my virtual ones – thank you), and in all it was a good day. I can say I enjoyed it. A few quid was also raised for my local charity.

So… Did I achieve my goals?  
Well…  three out of four ain’t bad!
Good luck to you if you are marathoning soon!  I might be back.

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Another rubbish run – not referencing my recent marathon in Huddersfield (an update for that can be found here shortly), but instead a follow-up on MY OTHER BUBBISH RUN that I did in March (partly inspired by the New Balance #useyourrun campaign).

In that post I went a little further than the usual ‘putting few bits in the bin’ as I run and I’d taken a couple of carrier bags to clear a beautiful area nearby that I use for hill training. But on arrival it was worse than ever, so the plan was to return…with bigger bags.
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So it was that yesterday, while my son was at his cub scouts group nearby, I ran to this area again but this time armed with larger bin bags and a reinforced, stronger bag for the glass pieces I knew I’d seen last time. Oh… and gloves. Definitely also with gloves.

I had to work pretty quickly, as I only had 75 minutes before needing to collect my son again so I didn’t take loads of before and after photos, but I really feel I made a difference.

Three very full bags – including one full of glass bottles (broken or intact) which alone, weighed in at 6.6 kg
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(I figured as I had gone to the trouble of separating the glass, I may as well take it home for recycling too)

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It was a beautiful evening. I felt good having cleared this area. The workout was a good one. I was absolutely dripping with sweat, especially after carrying the bags most of the way back. Thursday is bin collection day so I borrowed some space at the top of the locals’ bins that they had set out already, but that still meant carrying all three bags for a mile or so and the glass one all the way.
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Drip sweat, drip sweat, drip sweat.

I’ll leave you with a pick of this little fella (or ‘filly’…I obviously have no idea)…
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…that I found while clearing an area just off the path. It seems their defence mechanism is just to stay really, really still, in a sort of ‘kids in the car versus the T-Rex in Jurassic Park’ kind of way. It allowed me to get super close, anyway and snap that albeit poor quality picture on my phone.

Job done. Had fun. Nice one…

#useyourrun

[For maximum benefit, the following should be read in the patronising tone of a children’s TV presenter]

Hello children…

Are you sitting comfortably?
It’s time to listen with NotMuchOfaRunner

I’d like to introduce you to the Taperwoes.

Give the children a wave, Taperwoes.

*Ickle-Niggle waves*
Hello, Ickle-Niggle

*Tipsy waves*
Hello, Tipsy

*Bleugh-Bleugh  waves*
Hello, Bleugh-Bleugh

Oh… Where’s NoMojo ?

Of course. There he is – raiding the fridge in a fit of self-destructive sabotage… Come on NoMojo, say hello.

*NoMojo waves half-heartedly*

What are you up to today, Taperwoes?

What’s that you said, Ickle-Niggle? You are spending the day worrying about that intermittent ankle pain and knee twinge? That sounds like fun!

Oh, Tipsy suggests that as there is no running happening at the moment, it would be fine to drink a couple of large bottles of beer. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?

Oh dear… Bleugh-Bleugh isn’t feeling very well. He says everything is pointless and depressing and marathons are stupid and why bother doing them anyway when you are slow and heavy and unmotivated and spending time away from your family who work much harder at doing important things and haven’t spent the previous few months getting up at silly-O’clock in the morning to do 15 miles before breakfast, only to then ruin it all before the marathon by eating badly, sleeping badly and drinking badly.

You may have a point Bleugh-Bleugh, don’t you think so NoMojo?

NoMojo can’t be bothered to respond. He’s eating ice-cream.

Oh dear! Taperwoe Town is not a nice place to be at the moment. And this episode lasts another whole week.

Hey! After that, though children, the sixth series featuring the ‘There’sNoWayI’mEverDoingThatAgains‘ is going to start up… again. Do join us.

Bye bye now.

Bye bye.

Bye.

Bye.

———————

Full credit must be given to the creators of ‘In The Night Garden’, ‘The Teletubbies’, and ‘Waybuloo’ without whom this blog post would not have been possible. Full credit also to anyone who has endured an episode of the above.

Today I was planning to do some hill repetitions.  It didn’t go to plan.

There is a decent hill near to where I take my children to school. It’s about a mile away, down the road and along the canal path to get there. 

It used to be an artificial ski slope in its day and I’m still waiting for a decent snow fall so I can grab the sledge and head out (I suppose, taking the kids with me if I must).

Trail shoes on… At the start line…



Ok. This is admittedly not a start line but the car park bay. It’s my start line, though.

Today, it wasn’t snowing. It wasn’t sunny. Or rainy. It was just one of those typical, English, nothing-in-particular, dull days. But it was also hill rep day… and in the village it was rubbish bin collection day.

Something I try to do on my runs is definitely in line with that quote, 

“Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.”

Where I can though, I think it’s nice to leave a place even nicer than I found it. 

This all fits in well with the current New Balance ‘use your run’ campaign. You may have seen the advert incorporating the folks from @goodgym where they fix up a park.

Well it got me thinking how I use my runs and if I could use them more.

I will often, when out on a run (especially if there’s a bin in sight) collect the odd bit of rubbish, chuck it away, and carry on.  This post was intended to be one of those, ‘let’s all do our bit’ sort of posts encouraging us runner types to take literally a few seconds out of our runs to make our own environments a little better.  

It certainly started out that way. As I ran down the road, before I even got to the canal, I was popping a few bits of rubbish in the bins. Thursday = bin day, so it really was dead simple and I didn’t have to carry anything (although I did have a couple of plastic bags stuffed in my pocket just in case). 



Excuse the ‘rubbish’ photography… Sweet wrappers, cans, take-away cartons, etc – binned.

Then I got to the canal. Rubbish along here seems so much more out of place. I mean… I don’t like it anywhere, buit seems even more incongruous next to the water, juxtaposed with the trees and wildlife (get me and my big words, today).



This is where the bags come in handy. 

And this is where things change slightly.

You see I came here today with the intention of clearing some rubbish on my way to my favourite hill, but there had obviously been some sort of ‘gathering’ here and folks had just chucked stuff left, right and centre.



It spoils the view somewhat, don’t you think?

I certainly wasn’t able to clear the area totally, I won’t go near anything that looks sharp or dangerous, and I only had two bags, but something’s better than nothing, right?



Now, I know this isn’t practical for every run. Apart from anything else, I ended up only having time to do a couple of hill repeats…

…but it felt much better, doing them on a cleaner hill…

…and the run back to the village was a good arm workout too… but it was as though the world was a slightly sunnier place on the return journey…



Also, thankfully there were plenty of bins available.

It was, afterall, bin day. 

#useyourrun

Ashby 20 review

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Marathon, Reviews, running
Tags: , ,

I’m not actually very good at straightforward race reviews. A few things usually end up happening: I start boring myself, it will follow no chronological order, and will have no point… but nonetheless I think it would be useful to do anyway for this twenty-miler before the memory of it fades and I miss my opportunity to reflect and learn any lessons.

A couple of other blog posts I have come across reviewing the same race, worth a read can be found HERE and HERE.

I entered the Ashby 20 a while back after considering it for about….oooo…all of 20 seconds. One of those ‘last twenty places remaining’ posts on social media spurred me into action I wasn’t even sure it was a twenty mile event at that point (I just hoped it wasn’t a 20 hour, endurance one!). But it was close enough to home to not disrupt family life too much and was perfect preparation for Huddersfield marathon.  I had thought , “If I can’t manage this one, I shall pull out of the marathon for sure”.

The day began beautifully. The sun was shining, I felt recovered from my midweek half marathon effort, and I could find all the running gubbins that I had failed to prepare the night before.

The journey was straightforward. I was on my own, but even with my less-than-perfect navigation skills, I didn’t get lost and grabbed a parking space right next to the finishing area. Desperate for the loo and sufficiently blind not to see the rows of portaloos over the other side of the cricket field, I walked through town to use the ones at the leisure centre. There, you see, important stuff… I totally rock at this review-writing malarkey!

Returning to the cricket field I had a bit of time to kill so I set up a justgiving fundraising page via my mobile phone, in preparation for next month’s marathon.  I then pootled over to the start gathering area where I placed myself with the 3 to 3.5 hour pace group. Here, I recognised a chap from Colwick parkrun… There is a photo somewhere of us crossing the finish line at a similar time…but I’m wearing a dressing gown And dark sunglasses… I’ll see if I can find it…

Yup… Here it is…



Anyway, we had a nice chat before we were led to the actual start point… and we were off!

It was essentially a two-lap course, running about a mile out of Ashby-de-la-Zouch doing two 9-mile loops, then hobbling back in to Ashby again.

Inevitably, I went out faster than intended. I know, I know… It just seemed so easy… I know!

However… Having managed to maintain sub-nine-minute miles fairly comfortably for 11 miles, I figured, “let’s see how long you can keep this going for then, shall we?” 

At least to cover the half marathon distance, I thought.

The original plan was to attempt to run a half-marathon in approximately 2 hours, which until my final training run last week, was pretty much as fast as I had ever done that distance. I would then inevitably slow down, but would attempt to cling on to ten-minute miles for the final seven.  This would give me a 3:10:00 finish time and was therefore my target.

This was not taking into account the undulating nature of the course, so I thought this was perhaps an ambitious target.

The course was indeed undulating and the first lap was significantly but perhaps unsurprisingly somewhat flatter than the second one :-/

Here are my splits (I don’t normally do this but, well, I am doing so today so you’ll just have to deal with it)…



I think it is fair to say that mentally as well as physically, I let things slide a little after the 13 mile point.

My total, chip time  =  3:04:19

Happy with that.

And a few more personal bests to add to the collection…
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Support was great, the whole way round. Fantastic organisation. Lovely weather. Regular drinks/sponges/’nutrition’ stations brimming with wonderful volunteers.
The only negative I can think of is – despite the wonderful pre-race information pack and well-signed placards after drinks stations saying, “no rubbish to be dropped past this point” some runners were obviously still just chucking their cups/gel packets/bottles/lids at the side of the road wherever they fancied. There was even a bin at every mile marker so there really was every effort made by the organisers but some selfish runners still somehow see it as their right to throw rubbish where they like and expect someone else to tidy up… Grrrrr!

Now… ‘Nutrition‘… 

There were a number of things on offer: Gels… Jelly Babies… Chocolate… Bananas…    But up til this race I had always done my long runs on just water (I’m still not Jesus though), convincing myself that I was training my body to use my fat stores for energy.

If this had truly happened, then I would not have run out of energy for a very long time, but as it was, I was suffering from about mile 15, I would say (the splits show I was slowing before this but that’s when I felt it), so I accepted a banana half… Then later – a few Jelly Babies… Then later still – a square of chocolate.  I didn’t have any gels (It’s easy to resist the gels – they’re disgusting!)
So I’m still not sure of a nutrition strategy for the marathon :-/

I think the mental boost gained was greater than the physical one and I was too mentally weak to resist at that stage.  I also got a good mental boost by playing ‘Chariots of Fire Theme‘ by Vangelis over my iPod for the final 0.5 miles (using its internal speaker, of course – no headphones allowed).  That felt good. 

http://youtu.be/CSav51fVlKU

My phone GPS actually measured my route as 20.4 miles … Here’s that last 0.4 miles pace…



8:02 minute mile pace! – I should have had that tune on loop since mile 15!

One final thing…

I won!

Well… Not the whole thing – obviously, but I got an ALDI sponsored ‘spot prize’ of £5 in an envelope after I crossed the line – presumably just for being brilliant ;-)

This went straight to the Rainbows charity who were collecting donations in exchange for a post-race sports massage at the cricket pavilion.

Painful but great!

Which is a summary of the massage and the Ashby 20 itself.

I wasn’t intending to post again before the weekend but on Thursday, I found myself worrying that I hadn’t done a proper long run for a while (giving the ankle a bit of a rest) and was concerned that I had lost some fitness ahead of this weekend’s Ashby20 road race.

So with approximately two and a half hours to dedicate to a run after I had taken the children to school/nursery, I headed off on an out-and-back run along the canal path.  I figured if I kept the pace up, I could easily manage a half-marathon distance with time to sort myself out before needing to collect my youngest from nursery again.

I felt like I was flying. 

At about 6 miles or so, I passed a big open field and felt a sudden urge to do some StravaArt. If you are reading this and have no idea what I’m on about, you are probably my parents… So predominantly for their benefit… It is where you use the GPS tracking of your run/cycle to ‘draw’ an image on a map.  With the bird’s eye view of your whole route effectively providing you with your image.

By far the best examples of which I’ve seen can be seen >>>here<<< , but I’ve included an example below in case you haven’t got the time or inclination to click…



Well, don’t expect anything like that from me.

I had been listening to Marathon Talk during my run, (a running podcast with news, stories, funnies, interviews, etc from the running world – worth a listen if you don’t already) and the presenters, Martin Yelling and Tom Williams had referenced this activity in one of their conversations, deciding that they would, before next week, create some Strava Art each in a competition with each other to see who could produce the best piece.

So there I am feeling like I’m flying through my run, and reckoning I’m well below 2 hour half-marathon pace when I decide to go into this field and make the various dog-walkers there think I had gone barmy by running up and down, backwards, in circles, etc – like I had repeatedly remembered that I had left the iron on at home and was indecisive as to whether or not I should return to turn it off.

Here’s what I did…
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Ok… To be fair, that’s a bit far away…
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Can you see it yet? A bit closer perhaps…
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And finally… properly zoomed in and flipped…
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Ok…Perhaps that was too close…revealing my poor form, but in my defence, apart from the lower, straight-ish line, which was the footpath running along the edge, the field itself had no lines or markings at all, and the dodgy-looking initial ‘M’ aside, I’m pretty pleased how that came out.

What’s more, despite this little folly (which I subsequently shared with Martin and Tom themselves) I still made it back to nursery just in time to collect my little girl.
Better than ‘just in time’, in fact…
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PBs (Personal Records) galore.
Thank you very much!

I didn’t need to worry about losing fitness at all…

…Now I’m worried that I’ve peaked to soon though, of course!