Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Buchlyvie 10K and beyond

Saturday found me in the small town of Buchlyvie, which is just outside Stirling, apparently.  Thank goodness for satnav because my running calendar would be pretty bare otherwise.

I had been to parkrun in the morning to carry out marshalling duties so walking to one of the further away marshal points and back was my only real warm up as the weather was terrible once we reached Buchlyvie.  I was accompanied by Strathclyde parkrun event director and fellow Sunday squadder Ally Robb who used the heating system in the registration hall has her warm up.  This would be her first race since the New York marathon.

I asked myself a number of times on the way to Buchlyvie, 'why am I doing this' as the rain and wind hit the car on the long journey but as soon as we reached the starting line I remembered why.  As the 225 runners all huddled together at the starting line and celebrity chef Nick Nairn sounded horn, I remembered why.  The camaraderie of the run, exploring the back and beyond of tiny little towns that you have never heard of, recognising those runners that you often find yourself running along side in more than one race and the will and determination of moving up the field rather than slipping down it.

I was originally not going to run at race pace with this run but before I knew it I had completed the first KM in  4.34 and felt comfortable.  The run started off on the faithful tarmac roads, firm underfoot and minimum risk of going over on an ankle, but that quickly changed.  With a sharp turn off the main road after a slight incline the route followed a disused railway line.  This had conveniently been covered in a clay substance which when wet, turned into thick, deep mud.

The weather was completely against us on the day, strong side winds which was forcing the horizontal rain right into my face and making it difficult to look ahead.  This along with trying to avoid the deep mud puddles made the next 8 KM more than difficult.  The trail underfoot was heavy and hard to run on.  If the mud and puddles were not as bad it made it even more difficult as there seemed to be more rocks and boulders to contend with, I went over on my ankle twice as did most of the runners around me throughout the race.

I had reached the turning point which was a sharp turn around a traffic cone and the long road back along the same path, if you can call it that, that we had just run along.  The wind had now turned also and it was a complete head wind for the next 4KM, thankfully the rain had calmed down.  I had found myself maintaining my pace through the whole race, completing the 6 KM in 4.37 and 7KM in 4.34.  This was my fist race since the Strathaven 10K which I paced pretty poorly so I felt strong and confident that I had managed to maintain a steady, consistent pace throughout the race.

Finally coming off the trail path and back onto good solid tarmac I found I was pushing myself up the field, in fact this is the first race that I never actually had anyone pass me and managed to crawl up the field quite well.  There was a small incline on the way back and I took this as an opportunity to make my break from the 3 - 4 runners that I had been running along for the last few KM or so.  This worked well and before I knew it I was turning passed the school and onto the home stretch.  I hadn't even glanced at the official timer as I passed it and I had even forgot to stop my Garmin so was unsure of my time.

I stood at the sidelines and cheered all the runners coming in with a special well done to Ally as she crossed the line.

The official time was 46 min 27 sec and came 68th out of a field of 225 runners.  That makes a new PB for the 10K distance, shaving 30 seconds off my time, not bad in the conditions.

Monday, 9 January 2012

just a little update

So I haven't quite given up on running!  The Marcothon challenge for me failed miserably, giving up on day 7 and pointing the finger of blame at 'hurricane bawbag'.  I did however take something invaluable from the whole 7 days of experiences, learning to run while on night shift.  It was also my first real experience of running in some serious snow.  I will give it a go again this December, I'm also hoping to try it before then in one of the more weather welcoming summer months.  December was a major set-back for my marathon training, running very little but I am determined to get back on track with things.

Cross-training has stepped up in my training plan, I've set up a small home gym with some weights, cross-trainer and kettlebells.  I'm trying to cross train at least 3 times a week on top of my running, so far so good and it seems to be helping out with my regular injury prone spots.  Really enjoying the kettlebells, only just started working with them but it is a great workout and you can squeeze a lot in, in just 20 minutes.

I had a enjoyable run at Strathclyde parkrun this Saturday, no pacing and no pressures of trying to set PB's.  I had an easy 6KM warm-up before the event with a flat lap of the loch.  The weather was wet and windy but it didn't bother me, it is good to just be back out running.  The main event kicked off and I quickly got into a comfortable pace.  It was strange not running in a pacer vest, I didn't have half a dozen people around me the whole way round.  It did feel like a bit of a race and it wasn't until the last 2KM that I realised that I had actually been running at a reasonable pace.  I recognised a few of the regulars running in front of me and could judge that I was in the 22 minute bracket.  I pushed a bit on the last 1KM and fended of the 3 or 4 runners that I was conscious of coming up on me at the 400M point.  I managed a top 20 finish, coming in 18th with a time of 22.08, no record breakers but it was a morale boost for me knowing that I hadn't lost all the speed in my legs.

photo by Fraser Connal

Sunday was a run with Moira, Ally, Neil and Tony or the 'Sunday Squad', missing of course John, who unfortunately had to work.  It was a hard intervals session with a 5KM warm-up followed by another 5KM but with 3x1KM efforts.  The pain didn't stop there, we had 6x200M sprints with recovery, this included me making my usual mistake if giving too much effort in the first 200M and really struggling with the other 5!  Then to finish it all off an easy lap of Strathclyde park, about 11 miles in total covered on Sunday and bringing me up to nearly 30 miles for the week.

Today I made a long overdue trip to the sports therapist for a much needed sports massage, my usual tight hamstrings and quads made the session a little 'uncomfortable'.

So things seem to be getting back on track, no more room for hiccups and 100% effort needed to see this plan of a completed marathon being achieved..... 

Next race is the Buchlyvie 10K