These are just a few of my favourite things.

If you ask any of my mates they would say running, we all know from this blog alone that I am more than passionate about growing activity whatever that word maybe. Along with running my friends would maybe list castles, Wales, bridges, piers, mountains, walking so when my last race of many was the Bangor 10K you can imagine my joy as all my favourite past times were placed in one day events.

My legs started to feel tired with all the running which did not make sense as I was doing fewer miles in my weeks running but was really going out for speed. After the Manchester run last week I really thought the Manchester marathon had finally caught up with me and weekly 10K races were not that good idea.  The truth was the 10K’s were suppose to be all about recovery runs and the game plan was to take it slow and steady with 9 minute milling, not my usual 7.30. What happened every time with the gun bang was my legs speeding at a very comfortable 6.50.

So come Bangor I was going to take it slow, plus the fact the temperature was a cool 26 degrees. The race was not the best organised event and was a small gathering of only 400 people. Roads remained open and the crowds were not exactly lining the streets. The course was down the high street, along the coast, out and back on the pier then a long steep climb with a long drop back to the coast to climb again until you turned off to club back to the finish. The essence here is that this was one hilly course, and I mean hilly, 2nd gear if you were in a car.

Anyway the race gun went and as usual with no wave’s, people who would slowly drop to the back of the pack were lined up in front of me soon to be over took. My steady game plan of a 50 minute race due to weather and gradients went straight out the window again and I shot off. trying not to stop to look at  Snowdonia mountain range or  Bridges over to Anglesey was hard work, but I managed to carry on running while taking in these wonderful sights. The race was feeling good and then the first hill hit, 2K worth of a climb and the pace slowed down but still quick enough to pass some runners. The down hill section started and I wanted to fly down but needed to keep my quads fresh so took it easy. one of the runners I over took came whizzing by and out of sight but I soon caught him on the next up hill section. this is how the race panned out, as we passed one another several times for him only to beat me at the end. Once over the line a friendly handshake and congratulations were exchanged with my competitor. Over all I came 26th in my category and 72nd over all. The best race I think I have done. I really enjoyed it and the result shows how much I have come in a year, if this course was flat and the breeze and temperature was right I really think I might have broken sub 40. Oh well maybe that will have to wait till the Mersey Tunnel 10K in a couple of weeks.

After the race, I spent the day in Wales looking at castles, mountains and all my other favourite things before finally coming to the thought that I would have to leave and head back along the A55 to England and leave the place where I am happiest behind for another day.

Advertisements

Sticking to the Game Plan

Let’s face it they are called races for a reason. Even the fun runs which are organised for charity and meant to be for every one are called races like ‘Race for Life’ I realise that the name of that event is a clever pun as it’s all about running to raise money for Cancer research which can save lives, hence the name ‘Race for Life’

But when you are on that start line and hear the gun, depending who you are with you will shoot off like a rocket and before you realise your mistake it’s too late to slow down into you steady pace. Even come the sight of the finish line you spy another runner and your captain shouts down to the engine room ‘Full steam ahead’ and with that you sail past your competitor and over the line with your heart trying to make a bid for freedom.

This Sunday is the Manchester 10K the race that started it all off for me and I want to return and get a new PB and smash my time I achieved last year, however I doubt that I will be able to achieve this. While I was training for my marathon I ran the Liverpool half with the game plan being ‘run marathon pace and see how you feel’ however the gun went off and I went with it, after 1 hour 41 minutes I crossed the line 2o minutes earlier than I’d expected and I had picked up a PB in the process. Last weekend I ran the Port Sunlight 10K on the Wirral and for all those who want to start running or are looking for a friendly nice 10K then this is a must do. I entered the race as a recovery run, just run the 6 miles and make sure my legs work as a warm up for Manchester. However the gun went and I was at the start of the pack and off I went to cross the line with yet another PB. I should also add that this was a quick race. I think the bulk of the runners had crosses the line on the hour and these were a mix of first times, kids, fun runners and the clubs.

So am I able to get another one this weekend, or have I burnt out. I have still not fully recovered from the marathon, as they say it normally takes a day a mile to recover, which works out around a month. While you can still jog and run, training and running hard on tired, worn out muscles is not a good idea and here I am speeding round Port Sunlight at 6.40 mile

The question is why can’t I stick to my game plan? What is it about a race and the adrenalin that spurs me on and gets me so competitive. Does every runner have this? I know training for the 10K last year my friend who also participated often moaned about the runs we did as I ‘was too quick’ and even I have to admit that he was slow. Running with him around Sale water park a cool 9 minute mile would be fast for him, however on the day he crossed the line just two minutes after me. I was injured on the day but was still running pretty fast for a newbie at 8.40, so there was something in the air with having other runners that made my mate pull it out of the hat.

So is there a point to a game plan? or should you just run and enjoy it, after all we all know out limitations if we have done our training correctly and on the day you will be surprised at what your body can do.Maybe the game plan should be to be to cross the line and enjoy yourself and that way you will always keep to the plan.

Good luck to everyone running the Manchester 10K especially to a fellow blogger (Runs like a Penguin) for what I believe is her first time. Her training diary as been a joy to read and I know all the hard work will pay off for her. Good luck to all those others who will be running in this very special event and one that I hold very close to my heart partly because I’m a local lad but also it’s the one that started all this madness off.

Ten is the magic number

 

Well those of a certain age will know that ‘three’ is the magic number but for me at the moment ‘ten’ is looking very good.

This weekend kicks of the first of many 10k’s one of which is Manchester’s Great 10k run, the race where my obsession all began. Sure back in November 2010 I had started running to lose the belly and as motivation I entered the race to make sure that the past times I use to loathe and have such distaste for would not beat me  and force me to give up my aim of dropping the excess weight. Up to that put, I would run and then feel shattered so would leave that past time alone. But now I had an aim, a race and further more I was doing it for charity so I couldn’t escape from the torment of running.

But now just almost a year on to that race which opened my eyes to the joy of running, I’m running in several races. Since that first race I have gone on to loose two more stone, ran a marathon, several halfs and a handful of 10k’s all of which sees me running five days a week to a tune of forty miles.

So ten is the magic number. It was the number that got me into running and is a distance I can just beat out before I go to work. It’s also a good race to train for as you can do some good hill and speed sessions and that is where this post is born from. For the last six months I’ve been working on my marathon training and now that I’m rested and recovered I can look forward to my preparation for the 10k races which means I can rediscover all those benefits of speed and hill sessions, not that I ignored them while training for 26.2 but I felt building miles in the legs were a bigger benefit and now I can just run and fit in speed sessions into my weekly training. So tonight at the gym (because I have more control of the speed and inclines) I did a stocker of a session that left me a little drained but still wanting more.

So here’s to one of my favorite distances and races both for what it means to me and the training that goes with it.