My “ultimate” running challenge??

Further below is a copy of a response I gave in a closed Facebook group to the post: “Have you achieved your ultimate running goal?  If so, what is it?  If you haven’t achieved it yet, what is your goal?

What have you achieved that you are the most proudest of to date?”. My response seemed substantial (i.e. rambling) enough to justify putting it here. People shouldn’t allow me to talk freely about running, or at least they should accept the consequences if they do start to read my stuff. You, dear reader, evidently get it because you’ve had to click on a link to come here, but poor unsuspecting Facebook users probably aren’t used to lines and lines to wade through. At least, when put back in context, all of the readers there are runners. Anyway here’s my reply.

I’m not sure I have an “ultimate” running goal. Not “ultimate” as in when I’ve done it I’ll I know I’ll have achieved everything I want to I’m running. There’ll always be something else, another race or challenge. I think anyway.

My greatest achievement to date though was my sub 2 hour Half (actually 1:56:35) at Liverpool R’n’R this year. I then moved on to the sub 50 10km which I did in a local event a few weeks ago. I suppose my current goal is running under 50 minutes at the Poppy 10k in Bexhill-on-Sea next month – as that’s an event that should count on Run Britain it will mean a little more than the local event where I’ve set my PB now. I know that’s a little bit wrong as 10k is still 10k whether you’re chip timed or not but my name didn’t appear in the local event’s results due to a time recording mix up so in my head there is a little asterisk next to that performance.

It’s that last point that got me thinking. The 10k in question was, of course, the Jayson Lee Memorial 10k, and yes it was, and still is, my PB and yes I was left out of the official results although I think I know what my official time should have been.

The organisers really couldn’t have been sweeter and nicer about the whole thing. I would certainly do that run again if I am available to do so in future years. So I’m really keen to not sound ungrateful for the organisation of the event.

But the reality is due to the mix up, the run does have a little asterisk next to it in my head. Even in these very pages I list my time for that run as “49:33 (est.)”. (Oh did you not know there’s a list of my competitive runs and parkruns around here? There’s a couple of links at the top with those. Go and have a look after as I’m proud of lots of them).

So Bexhill-on-Sea is now my target. I really want to run sub 50 there. In fact I really want to run sub 49:33. I’m not sure I’ve got the form for it yet but there’s plenty of time to build that up in the next few weeks.

Beginning a streak

For the first time in a little while my running has been wholly uneventful. I haven’t set any PBs, I haven’t injured myself and I haven’t particularly struggled anywhere.

That’s not to say things have been indifferent either, because I’ve had some really good runs.  Particularly Parkrun #104 where I quite surprised myself with an excellent 24:32. My time is certainly creeping back down towards the 23s again.

It’s taken a couple of weeks to properly get over my back issues but a good gym session tonight including a quick 2km rowing had pretty much confirmed I’m over it. But even before now I’ve been running ok.  I did a really good Fast Finish run last week which felt really good.

A rather nice and welcoming Facebook community, who I first personally encountered at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool weekend, issued a challenge for October to run (or walk) at least a mile every day so I started that on Sunday running with Jean, then on Monday doing another mile and a half when we were staying over at a hotel near the start/finish for the Jersey Marathon (a rather pleasant by-product of entering the marathon which we’d already paid for so we had a weekend of relative luxury).

By the way – speaking of the marathon – I know there aren’t thousands of readers of this page, but if the person who called out to me while I was watching the start of the Marathon last weekend could make themselves known to me it would be much appreciated. Just because I’ve looked up your name in the entry list and don’t recognise it at all so I’m curious how you know me…. I don’t think I have fans…

Continuing the challenge, Tuesday saw me going back to my training plan for the Poppy 10k for an interval based 5.8km and then tonight another 2km on a treadmill as part of a gym session. Tomorrow should see a more steady paced 45 minute run which should be my longest run since hurting my back so that’s a really good test on the way to the Poppy event in Bexhill-on-Sea.

We’ve been making lots more running plans actually, partly driven by the October challenge. We’re going to Reading next weekend so decided to take in the parkrun there, just next to the wrong Oracle, but we’ll also need to find time to run on a couple of other days as well. So much for traveling light I guess…

Then for when we’re away on holiday later in the month we’ve been thinking about how to fit that mile a day in – there’s a hotel gym so it should be ok, although the two traveling days could be challenging. We’ll probably need to find a route somewhere around the roads around Gatwick airport, which will certainly be different.

For later in the year, we’ve also got plans to do a bit more parkrun tourism, one of two events near Richmond – a destination picked largely for its accessibility to Premier Inn hotels, Gatwick airport and parkrun sites. I think even Christmas shopping might not take priority over running which might make for a cheaper festive season at least.

I’m sure once we did talk about doing less racing in 2017. I’m glad we didn’t really follow through with that…