Greenwich, Southend and a new Parkrun best

My last sort of catch up post was reasonably thorough about the number of runs I’d done in the past few weeks since Reading – and boy doesn’t that feel like a long time ago now. But what it did omit was a rather lovely trip to Greenwich and Southend.

We went over on the back of one of my fairly regular trips to London so met up on a Friday evening in our favourite Premier Inn hotel around Gatwick. We headed over to Greenwich in the late morning and aimed to get out pretty quickly for a run. Having been to Greenwich Park last in December we knew it would make a pretty fair site for a hill interval session 

but it was loads tougher but better than we thought. With the hills of the Durrell Challenge in mind we knew it was important but we did well. A nice pint or two was consumed in a sun-trap garden of a pub just down the road but we feel pretty spent at that stage.

We went back to the park the next day to have a look around the Royal Observatory, a really lovely walk around the park and a wonder down to the Cutty Sark to get the river bus across to North Greenwich by the O2. From there we took a ride on the cable cars which was something we’ve wanted to do for a little while. I was quite surprised how close City Airport is to them really.
On Sunday afternoon we went down to Southend and discovered a pretty fantastic Chinese on that first night which I’d seen good reviews for but which if I’m honest didn’t look up to much from outside. It was really well worth it though.

Monday morning saw us go out for our long runs. Mine was 8 miles and I enjoyed it. The fog was pretty thick so the views weren’t what they could be but it was fun – and even better it was followed by a great breakfast. We had a great relaxing break, had some fun and did a bit of running too.

So bang up to date then and today saw us going up to Parkrun. We weren’t definitely planning to but this morning we felt good so got on with it. On the first lap I went out strong but felt fresh. I faded a little over the second half of the run but still came in in a PB time of 23:55 – my first sub-24 race ever, although my Strava time had me down as low as 23:37. I set three other records on the way round so it’s fair to say it was a great run.

Tomorrow morning brings us another 10 mile run, with the Boat Show in the way of where we’d normally run to but I’m sure it will still be fun.

Building towards Liverpool

As I’m writing this I see that I’ve completed 18 running sessions since the Reading Half Marathon. That’s 18 sessions in a month and three days. Reading was really successful in a sense but still wasn’t enough due to irritating illness. The past few weeks have really seen my pace and strength improve.

I’m not going to attempt to list all of those training sessions but there have been some real highlights. The Parkrun I did last weekend was much better than I’d expected seeing me over the finish in only a little over 25 minutes despite not really having worked on my speed in a little while.

Then today’s run, which was planned to be nothing more exciting than a threshold run but actually turned into being a little bit special. The run had a block of ten minutes run at Heart rate zone 3 so tough, yes, but not something i can’t persevere with.  In the end I stormed through that middle section of the run including my seventh fastest ever 2km section – second fastest if I take away Parkruns and races. And I’m not going to say it felt easy but it did feel like i could carry it on. I came away thinking that a sub-24 minute Parkrun is properly within reach but of course I’m focusing on the hills and half -marathon at the moment and probably for the next couple of months too.
The next challenge is the Durrell Challenge in three weeks time and once again I’m not really looking forward to the hills that it will feature. I wasn’t massively happy with my effort in the event last year but I’m feeling like I’m coming back into something resembling decent form. Then there’s the two Liverpool events at the end of May which are going go be great fun.

We’ve also added an additional run into our schedule for the year – the Guernsey Dairy Milk Run on Fathers’ Day in June. I’ve looked at different events in Guernsey over the past year or so and its great to have one signed up.

But for now its still the routine of training. Tomorrow sees me running ten miles using Waterworks Valley. That could be painful!