Tag Archives: #roadtrip

Lowestoft, Stratford and the rest of December

Running wise December wasn’t the best possible month. I slacked off a little although that was largely replaced by a lot of walking but also a fair amount of merriment, fun and alcohol in the name of celebrating my wedding anniversary.

Oh and driving. 660 miles in 18 hours 45 minutes over 8 fantastic days in the south and east of England.

There were two big running events. Firstly, on our wedding anniversary itself, we drove to Lowestoft parkrun. But not before locking ourselves out of the house we had rented.

But once that was sorted, parkrun went brilliantly. We’d decided to run together and my wife ran to her fastest ever parkrun time and I have to say my running had very little to do with it. She just did brilliantly but I loved taking part together with her.

The other race was our latest visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for RunThrough Chase The Moon and I was running the 10k. It wasn’t brilliant for me although was also far from a disaster. I had a few stomach issues earlier in the day so maybe I was a bit under the weather. Maybe I was just tired or a little under trained in the previous couple of weeks. But I finished in a touch over 53 minutes. So, a couple of minutes outside my Silverstone time but not a terrible performance by any stretch either. Just perhaps not what I’d hoped for.

In the next couple of days we’ll be entering a new decade with another double parkrun effort and then training really begins in earnest for my spring half marathons. I’m quite excited for what a good injury free spring and summer will see me achieve. Bring on 2020!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool 2019

Liverpool 2019 has been and gone. It did not live up to the PB setting efforts of 2017 but it still was an amazing weekend and not a bad run.

But first let’s sweep up the pre-race running and training. There was a 10 miler involving me getting a train down to Theale and running back which I quite enjoyed. The following week saw me back in Jersey and I had a fairly tough 12 miler along a different run in quite hot conditions but I sort of enjoyed it.

Then another first time route running in Reading which just went really well. Finally the Wednesday before Liverpool, I had a great 30 minute Foundation Run which felt really good and I enjoyed doing – a real confidence boost.

So that brings us to the Liverpool long weekend itself. This year since we started the trip in Reading, rather than Jersey, we decided to drive up, knowing that it would be a fairly challenging drive. We planned to have somewhere between 2 and 5 stops en route, and eventually settled on one – in Stratford-upon-Avon – but still got held up by a petrol detour and every set of road works on the way too. Stratford was lovely though.

The drive took the best part of 6 hours with the delays and detours (for context, the run back took about 4) but we left early enough that it didn’t really affect anything. Actually we had time for a drink near our hotel, and the race start, around Albert Dock.

or is it “The Albert Dock”. Whatever.

We had a chilled rest of Friday, before the first event of the weekend being the 5k on Saturday morning. Once Jean had decided to run, I’d decided to run with her and I’ve got to say it went so so well. I’m a little reluctant to tell the story of my wife’s race but she finished in a time she never expected and I don’t think I had reason to push her during this run but I’m proud that the two of us went under 33 minutes for that run. I loved the experience again.

For the rest of the day, we visited the runner expo, buying the official entrant shirt with my name on it – hey you’ve got to don’t you

– and just for the rest of the day relaxed visiting the Cavern Pub (across the road from the Club) and going for a lovely steak.

So Half Marathon day then. The build up was fine – not putting it down – but the atmosphere was ok but not brilliant. The runners were up for it and we got going quickly. The opening of the half marathon went well but I had a few concerns at my heart rate numbers and sure enough going up the biggest hills around a third of the way in, my HR rocketed and I decided to take that as a sign to back off the pace dropping from the two-hour group.

In the end I ran quickly but needed to break those runs up quite a bit, but still did enough to finish under 2:10. The last 5km running back to the Albert Dock was really tough with headwinds all of the way along, and this was possibly the least fast finish of any of my half marathons but as I said I got in under 2:10 and on the day I was happy with that.

So the following day, I decided, with my wife’s kind support, to have another dig at a half marathon in Guernsey in a couple of weeks time. I just need to keep the fitness going for a couple more weeks and I do think there’s a sub-2 time in me around that Guernsey course. I really look forward to it. Should be fun however it goes.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance (non-) Runner

Let’s start this post off by noting I’m not lonely – the above title came to me earlier today though and I wanted to go with it. Regardless of the facts.

I’m going to deal with the runs I didn’t get to do later in this post though. I’ll start first with those I did and actually in the month or so since I last posted here I’ve done only five runs, two of which were races.

First up was the Stroke Association Resolution Run, an optional 5 or 10k around Les Quennevais Sports Centre – essentially two times the Parkrun route. Since my foot injury of late January it had continued to be a struggle to get going and at this point my foot certainly had not improved enough in order to get my fitness up enough. My heart rate shot up and showed quite quickly that I wasn’t going to be at my best. A finishing time of 1:02:12 certainly was not what was expected.

I then took a week off before running seven miles the following weekend, followed by an easy 2 miles the day before we flew to the mainland.

Wednesday saw us heading to the mainland and another run around the Olympic Park for the Chase The Moon 5k. With the half marathon coming at the weekend I deliberately took this easy, although allowed myself some acceleration in the last kilometre (timed at 5:12) to come in just under 29 minutes.

So that brings us then to Reading. We had a great time before the run with a day in London (we loved the Ice Bar and don’t understand why everyone else left so early) and a great time with our daughter.

I’m not going to dwell on it here – yet – but let’s just say that for reasons I don’t fully understand the organisers seemed caught out by the weather that had been predicted and ended up cancelling the Reading Half at 6:30 on the morning of the run. The organisers are yet to offer any kind of benefit or compensation for the cancellation – I’d take a significant discount from next year’s entry fee – and generally their efforts seem to have been focused on Reading residents for some reason. I’ve found that disappointing and as of right not I can’t honestly recommend the run to anyone outside the town, which is a shame because I loved it last year. Anyway, I might moan more fully another time.

However, I made the most of the conditions and got out for a good 4km run in the snow.

What the whole debacle has done though is left me wanting a replacement event but without being prepared to pay significantly for it – once bitten, twice shy and all that. And that in turn has left me with very little enthusiasm for running at all, which will need to change.

Hoping to get out tomorrow though which I hope will put a little spark into my running.

February put positively

Ok my last post was a teensy bit negative about February. Probably because I focused on running, and let’s be honest February has not been kind to me running-wise.

However, much of the rest of February has been quite cool. There’s been two trips to the mainland the second of which finished today, and they have been excellent. These are the recommended highlights.

The first trip was around half term and involved the best part of 200 miles of driving and only a little running. Oh and getting very wet.

The first night saw us up in Reading for a post-birthday celebration including cocktails!

We also took a trip to Ikea which can only be fun! The next night took us down to Arundel. We were going to visit Arundel castle but it was closed for some reason.

Following that we went down to Bramber once again to visit the lovely Old Tollgate Hotel. If you follow that link to see the hotel, try and imagine the photo on their front page in black and white. With the wind, rain and cold we suffered there, that was about how the hotel looked, but it was still no less lovely.

When we were there, we were planning to run down to Shoreham but the weather was too miserable and as a result so were we, but we did still have a good run.

Then on the Wednesday – Valentine’s Day – my wife and I went to Stratford to run a brilliant event around the Olympic Park called Chase The Moon. The run was tough again largely down to filthy wet weather but we had a lot of fun. And the medals were cool too.

We ran together and had a great time doing it getting round in about 35 minutes.

So that brings us to this weekend then. We did a bit of traveling around again but probably no more than 100 miles which is evidently quite slack in comparison. The whole family were back together again with the four of us attending a family event.

We stayed near Havant at a Premier Inn with the connected Beefeater pub being elegantly named the Rusty Cutter (or Rusty Gutter as it was delightfully renamed). That was a great base for the weekend actually and we’ll certainly be back.

On Saturday morning, I added a fifth venue to my Parkrun collection. After Jersey 43 times and Southwark, Reading and Old Deer Park (near Richmond) once each, we visited Southsea for their run. I ran on my own on this occasion and found my foot to still be quite sore. The first and last 2 kilometres were pretty good but I had to walk much of the bit in the middle to rest my foot. It’s certainly going to be tough to make Reading although I’m confident I can get round safely if things get no worse.

My time of 28:22 was one of my slower Parkruns but it was still good fun. An amazing venue though and again we’ll certainly be back.

Then yesterday we visited Spinaker Tower and Gunwharf Quays and enjoyed ourselves hugely.

All in all, two amazing trips which we’ll look back on very well in the future.