Taking inspiration

I’m not sure if it was last year or the year before but I posted something here about how I felt about being told how much of “an inspiration” I was for what I was achieving. Whether that was one of our earlier half marathons or maybe the twelve races in twelve months, I forget now. But it was incredible to be told that.

Then I watch what I’ve seen tonight at the World Athletics Championships. Mo Farah giving his best but never really looking like it was enough. Incidentally I think I’ve watched Farah run twice live and he’s lost both of those races. Sorry about that.

Then the relative chaos of a 4×100 relay run where the British team always looked in control but you find yourself looking for Usain Bolt at the finish because he was there or thereabouts at the start of his leg but isn’t there now, only for the TV to cut to him lying on the track in obvious pain.
And then to reflect on it all a few moments later and consider that where that British relay team were celebrating,

 I was celebrating myself with my wife a couple of months ago. The relay team cleared their summit just like I cleared my two hour target in Liverpool earlier this year. Or my sub 7 mile. Or sub 24 parkrun.

I look back on my running year so far with immense pride. I’ve cleared so many mountains already. Next week might be another one with it being my first and possibly only competitive 10k of the year. And then there’s the marathon in only a few weeks time.

You can’t help sometimes but watch something like that shocking and excellent relay victory and take something from it. Or when Paula Radcliffe ran her last London Marathon, taking the hand of someone nearby and running in with them, and feel a little bit affected by it.

For so much of the time running is a solitary thing, but it’s those times when you come together with others – whether as competitors, training partners or spectators. That’s when you can step back and take in what you’ve seen or what you’ve done. That acknowledgement of “I’ve been there” or “I’ve seen that” really brings it home.

I ran down lane 3 or thereabouts of the London Olympic Stadium with my wife next to me, us both holding a Jersey flag. These are the kind of experiences we live and live for. And I look forward to many more.

Miles and holiday smiles

After today’s run I decided it was about time I posted here, but thought I’d focus on my recent running exploits, rather than whatever we’d been up to on holiday recently. I’m going to hold to that save for some running we did in Greece, but suffice to say our holiday in Greece was absolutely fantastic. A brilliant week and we’d certainly love to go back to the same place sometime.

So about that running then. Well our first run was on the way out for our holiday. Sort of. We had an extra day in the UK before our flight to Greece and we decided, on a recommendation, to visit Reigate and go for a run.

I’m struggling to remember now but I think I’d planned to do 12 miles around Reigate Park and its neighbouring Priory Park. It was a hot day and the terrain was decidedly lumpy, as well as more unstable and trail-like than what I’m used to, and in the end I was pretty much spent after 6 and a half. But I hadn’t run very much in the immediate period prior so I had to be happy really.

While we were away we took the opportunity for lots of swimming and a bit of kayaking. Some football too which reminded me that I probably can’t run up and down a football pitch for the full length of a game like I used to be able to.  But we did also make some time for running. Firstly a two miler, which was enough to run to the nearest town and back then towards the end of the holiday an early morning 4.5km around the same sort of route but extending one end of it as far as I could without crossing any main roads. Those runs were tough but fun.

The proper distance training has kicked in since we’ve got home. Last week I completed a scheduled half marathon in exactly 2 hours 10 minutes. I was really happy with that and it made me think I was slightly ahead of schedule in terms of my marathon training.

Which pretty much brings us to today. Today’s run was designed to be 16 miles although it was eventually a little bit more than that. I wanted to explore a new running route and to do that I decided I would start with the course of the Durrell Challenge and then return home.

The day before I’d done Parkrun #96 and I think that despite lots of signs of good fitness including a run of 24:14, there was still a great deal of tiredness in my legs. I walked up the steepest hills and had a couple of other walks but it didn’t do any harm to the ultimate pace and performance.

Today’s run was solid. Only my 8th fastest half marathon, but it was, of course a training run so it didn’t really matter. That being said it was also my fastest 15 miles ever. A brilliant run really.

During the course of the week we decided to register for the Jayson Lee 10k here and now that’s only two weeks away. I haven’t raced over that distance since last December so it is about due. The last time, though, still stands as my second best 10k ever. What with my current 5k form, i don’t really know how well it might go, but i do know however that I’m looking forward to it.

I’m taking this week as a recovery week so I’m hoping to have a little more rest before building up to my final couple of long runs in the run up to the full Marathon. 

Guernsey, Newham and a lull in the running

It’s been about seven weeks or so since my last post here but I’ve still managed to squeeze in a couple of races in that time.

Training went ok. After Liverpool I did a couple of gentle runs then a ten miler on the Sunday after the half marathon. Then a few more little runs including an aborted effort at trying to beat #mymile record and the following Sunday another great long 8 mile run.

A couple of days on from that I had another go at my mile record and achieved it getting a 6:49 – a brilliant effort. Which pretty much takes me up to the Guernsey Milk Run.

In the build up to the run, my wife and I had decided that we’d try and run this one together, ideally in order to get her a best for the half marathon, but probably just to enjoy ourselves. While we were in Guernsey, we stayed at this lovely pub with rooms, the Longfrie Inn. The staff there were just brilliant and I really hope we find a reason to go back next year, although if I do the same run next year I probably wouldn’t stay at that hotel.

The first couple of miles in Guernsey were great. We both had lot of fun.

But as the race got on the heat took its toll on Jean so we didn’t do as well as we wanted too but the 2:54 time was perfectly ok in what were actually horrible, hot conditions.

After Guernsey I had only a couple of runs before running the Great Newham London Run two weeks later. Work had got really busy so training ended up taking a lower priority.

I think my wife and I had differing views about Newham. I thought it was an amazing event and I hope to be able to return one day, but again it was very hot and there wasn’t a lot of shade out there on the course.

Again we didn’t really meet any speed objectives but we had a good run. I really enjoyed finishing in the Olympic Stadium and while yes there could have been bigger crowds it still had a great atmosphere.

Then since Newham I’ve done very little running at all. Work has still been stupidly busy so running time hasn’t been available. But the Jersey Marathon is still a fair while away yet.

Before that though we have the pleasure of an all inclusive week in Greece and after the past couple of weeks I can’t wait.