It was 1 year ago today (23rd March 2013) that I started running at the ripe old age of 50 🙂 and today I was due to celebrate that by running the Rome Marathon but alas after my Achilles injury just before Christmas I was strongly advised to cancel it which I sadly did. So I was looking for a way to celebrate my 1 year anniversary and I think I found it, Read on to see how my “anniversary” weekend panned out……
Its hard for me to take in that I started running 1 year ago today on a wet and cold March 23rd at Southampton parkrun and I ran it with my Son Andy in a time of 26:02 which I was very happy with, 120th out of 250 runners. It was a god awful day, minus 1 and we had a mixture of sleet, rain and a tiny bit of snow too so just perfect for my first run but it was only March so things would get better 🙂 Although I have not completed many parkruns just under 20 I think I have completed lots of races and loved most of them, from 5k trail racing to half marathons and everything in-between. As you can see in this first picture I wore just about everything I could find to keep warm, thankfully these days I run a bit faster and am able to wear shorts and a vest for most races, its good to show off my gorgeous bod 😉
This weekend to celebrate my 1 year anniversary I had booked in the Rome Marathon but sadly after picking up a pretty serious achilles injury during December I cancelled it in the new year so was pretty pissed but I have booked some pretty awesome races for 2014 including 3 in Disneyland California and a Marathon in Ventura California as well as a couple more here too so no complaints really, still as I approached this weekend I could not hide my sense of sadness that I would not be racing Rome.
So what could I do this weekend that would not take too much training and that would not hurt my return to fitness that I estimate will take about another 3 to 4 weeks, when I say estimate I really mean HOPE 🙂 Well to start off with the obvious thing to start with was Southampton parkrun which actually falls in the 22nd March this year but a perfect way to start my weekend of celebrations. My parkrun PB currently stands at 20:43 but I am determined to hit sub 20 this summer.
I woke on Saturday to sunshine and almost dry underfoot, when we got in from work it was just past midnight and lashing it down with rain and I must confess I did think twice about my foolhardy plan to run today, its bad enough after a real long day at work but raining……. But logging into Facebook I saw that my buddies were all at Stanstead Airport heading to Rome which made me feel even more determined to enjoy this weekend and I will rain or shine.
So at 08:20 Sue and I headed off to Southampton parkrun and after chatting with a few buddies and catching up I had a quick warm up and we were off, I had a reasonably steady run of 22:48 and 103 out of 485 finishers and 4th in my age category which was my best for a while but a couple months ago I would have considered this a mere amble around 🙂 Today tho was all about marking the occasion and enjoying the run whilst saving myself for tomorrows races which were far more important to me. I do love the whole parkrun ethos but if I am being honest I struggle and always have down with giving it 100% effort although I intent to try over the next 4 weeks and hopefully I will be back to my target time.
Here are a couple of photos Sue took today, one at the start and one at the finish, I was going to say that I looked better than last year but to be honest I was smiling then and I am smiling today, I struggle not to smile when I see my Sue.
The most important thing about today was I remained injury free and it felt quite good so now time to stretch and look forward to tomorrow’s races starting at 10:00 at Eastleigh for the 10K. Eastleigh is not a race I would normally run because they don’t give a finishers medal and right from the start I have loved my medals, lots of my fellow runners said that will die off after a few months but here we are 1 years on and I still love my bling and pick my races accordingly, I also quite like a good technical tshirt but the cotton ones are pants. But as I had already booked this afternoon’s half marathon and it starting at 14:30 I thought what the heck lets take one for the club, we have around 120 runners racing so it will be an awesome race to help celebrate my 1 year anniversary medal or not.
SUNDAY RACE 1 Eastleigh 10k
We woke up good and early and after a very large coffee I had my usual pre race breakfast of Porridge with Banana, honey and flax seed and a few blueberries which seems to work for me, I also packed a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich to have at 9am if I felt I needed it but like most of these things they are really a precaution rather than a necessity. We headed out the door just after 8am mindful of the possible parking issues with 2800 runners plus spectators heading towards Fleming Park we thought it might get busy if we left it any later. Needless to say we arrived 10 minutes later because of zero traffic haha but we did get a great spot on the road out which would make heading off afterwards really easy so it was all worth it.
After chatting with literally hundreds of friends (this running malarky is an amazingly friendly sport) and grabbing my very bright Eastleigh 10k T-shirt Sue and I headed out to the field to take a very special LRR team photo in honour of one of our amazing members Brian Grierson who after many years would be running his last race today for personal reasons. Once done we all headed off to the start line to warm up, there were over 120 of us today so it was quite a spectacle.
The start was very crowded but well organised and off we went, I had a lovely run and the whole thing felt good for me today, I averaged 7:11 min miles which although was 2 minutes away from my PB for a 10k it was still my quickest pace since November and I am super chuffed about that and definitely I could have given it loads more today if it was not for my recovery plan and for the fact that I have a a half marathon to run this afternoon too 🙂
The whole race was very well supported, although there were 120 + lordshiller’s racing today it felt like there were that many out supporting too including my Run Leader Stuart and loads of our great members who were either resting or recovering it was awesome to see and hear so many of them and a big THANK YOU to you all. One of my biggest achievements this year was becoming the fastest V50 in our club champs and also one of my proudest, I am a very happy Lordshill road runner.
As I finished the race I was proper buzzing today, again loads of LRR support and nice cake too 🙂 It was a boring route but a very fast route too and I cant wait to run it next year hopefully fully fit because I am sure it has PB written all over it.
Eastleigh gave us a T-Shirt, not a proper tech one but I wore it this afternoon under my LRR vest and it faired very well on the half marathon so looks like it might be ok, although to be fair I have enough really nice ones that are proper technical to worry.
Here are a few photos from the Eastleigh 10k, I am now home having lunch and prepping for this afternoons race.
SUNDAY RACE 2 New Forest Running Festival Half Marathon
I know I know I am crazy but hear me out…….
I actually booked this one first because I knew I was ok for half marathon even a tough one like this and i had absolutely NO intention of running Eastleigh because it goes against my “no medal no race” policy but when I realised the half did not start until 2:30 it got me thinking ! what better way to celebrate 1 year of running (dur obviously other than Rome) than to run 2 races in one day so I thought sod it I am going to enter Eastleigh too because around 120 hiller’s were running it and I thought it was acceptable to take on for the club 🙂
After an hour at home having lunch and a cuppa we headed off to the New Forest and was pleased to arrive at about 1pm which was 90 minutes before the start, ideal for a nice walk I thought, save me tightening up a all that 🙂 but the running gods were having none of it cos it pissed down for about half an hour, rain and hail and boy did the temperature drop ! soon after it stopped the weather brightened and I collected my number and chip, I then bumped into my good mate Leo who I have run with many times, sadly he was doing the 10k so no running together today, I then heard that my race had been put back by 30 minutes so we watched leo head off and took a few snaps and then headed back to the car, Incidentally Leo ran like a lion and came in 7th overall, well done buddy that was fab on this tough course.
After a fun and very tongue in cheek pre race briefing we were all whisked off to the start about 200 metres away and told to “run down the hill and turn left once we reach fat ugly Joe” hahaha I am pretty sure Joe was not happy about that name ! After passing Joe we headed off up our first hill which took us into the New Forest proper, this followed tracks and trails for about 6 miles it was quite hilly but I was not racing this one rather taking it all in and making the most of telling everyone I happened upon that it was indeed my second race of the day haha, this was fine until I found out some chap had done like 6 races this weekend and the half marathon I was running made it 100 miles YIKES makes my 19.3 look a bit puny 🙂
After mile 6 there was a long uphill road section which went on until mile 7 and as I reached the top it said “half marathon if this is your first lap turn left, second straight on” B****Ks that meant we had to do the hilly circuit again 🙂 sure enough I reached the sign again at mile 11 and bugger that was a hilly 4 miles, hold on 8 miles !
Then I decided I had run 17 miles with not much since breakfast so I would stop at the water station and down a few Gel Blocs, unfortunately the pack I had was opened and although they tasted great they were very hard so it took me like 3 or 4 minutes to eat them and I had to keep my cup of water to wash them down lol so I walked for a 100 metres or so and chewed hard !
I then happened across a lovely chap from Hardly Runners and we chatted and kept each other going right through until the end which was about 13.8 miles but hey who’s counting 😉 we ran over the finish together and thats when I saw my Sue and try and stop me smiling 🙂
It was a lonely race for the most part but that does not normally bother me, yesterday tho I was not running full speed so I noticed a lot more of the landscape and other runners, I normally just race and pace 😉 there were plenty of marshals who were all friendly enough but like most forest races the local support was almost non existent but appreciated when we did see it.
I collected my goodie bag which was a lovely technical T-shirt and the most amazing bespoke medal along with a banana and water and a flap jack so all VERY GOOD if they can do this for a £17 half then Eastleigh get your T-shirts sorted or get a decent medal !
I said my goodbyes and stretched well then we drove home feeling very happy 🙂
WOW what an amazing weekend
All photos thanks to my amazing wife Sue.
Today was never going to be about speed, I was conscious all the way around Eastleigh that if I pushed it I might not have made the New Forest Festival of Running and I also knew that the NFFoR was going to be tough terrain and for the sake of my Achilles I would have to be seriously careful. Having said that I was only 2 minutes off my PB for Eastleigh which is really encouraging and despite the NFFoR being just as tough as they predicted I still came in 39th overall and 5th in my age category. There were an awful lot of DNF runners today which given the course did not surprise me at all 🙂 thankfully I was not one of them.
I am finishing this blog post at 6am Monday morning, it’s quite normal for me to struggle sleeping after an epic race so I knew after 2 in one day it would be tough haha but I am pleased to say that after racing for almost 20 miles at a fairly decent average pace (given the terrain) of 7:56 min miles I am still very much pain free albeit a little ache in the leg and feet department 🙂 also I am 100% confident that even without any long run training since December I could have today finished a marathon in sub 3:30 which is pretty cool considering everything. Mind you if I did it would have to have been a bloody decent course haha.
Well it’s been a wonderful way to celebrate my 1 year of running and after going over my polar and garmin stats plus the races and runs I did in the first few weeks with no GPS watch I have calculated that I have run around 1383 miles which is just over 115 per month or 26 miles a week which is pretty mad but I am betting this post on my second anniversary will have bigger numbers 🙂 I am loving my longer runs more and more and my preferred distance at the moment is the half marathon but who knows I might just love the marathon distance !
I have too many people to thank for this past year, my club run leaders and coaches have all been awesome, my club mates truly inspiring and a few have really made a huge difference to me both mentally and actual running, Andy Griggs, Tony “superman” Rickman, Jim Davies, Stuart Smith, Emily Smith, Mike and Di Mattingly, Dean Jones, our son Andy, my coach Ant Gritton (god only knows how he puts up with me) and all of the F’er’s you guys have been a constant source of inspiration for me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to love something so very much but my biggest thanks goes to my amazing wife Sue who gives me total support with everything I do, she sits and waits for me no matter where or what I am running, camera in hand and always smiling. It’s the highlight of every race when I clock her and honestly I get a bigger kick out of seeing Sue at any mile 8, 10, 12 or finish with her camera than I do high 5’in Mickey Mouse running Disney, although it’s close haha.
Thanks for listening to my rumblings and run safe
p.s Thanks Paul Eves for the blog post title inspiration 🙂