Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Chasing J

on 12 April 2015


I knew I wanted to do a long run at some point this weekend, and decided for some reason last night to check the weather forecast, which I don’t usually bother to do as it is what it is. Unfortunately the forecast was for light rain by 11am, heavy rain from 12 until 2pm, then light showers all afternoon until 6pm – so if I wanted my run to have a chance of being dry, it would have to be an early one, and I was still pottering about the internet at 11pm last night. J was looking to do a run this morning, but didn’t want to do the 10 miles-ish I was aiming for, so I suggested that I would leave from Prudhoe, cover the stretch to Wylam road bridge I had done earlier in the week, and then carry on from Wylam down to Newburn on our usual 10k route – J could start from Wylam, and I’d see if I could catch her up.

J met me at Prudhoe to try on my new pink monstrosities and see if she wanted to get a pair for the No Ego challenge next week – we’re going to be trainer buddies for that one! She then popped home to sort some bits out, and then headed down to Wylam – about a 10 minute drive away. I felt much better than I had last time I did the Prudhoe-Wylam leg, when my heart really wasn’t in it, I can’t say I was bubbling with enthusiasm, and the weather didn’t really help – it was very dingy and grey with the promised rain to come, but I felt much lighter and steadier in gait than I had last time and quietly determined to pootle my way around my intended course.

J had kindly parked her car in a very conspicuous place in Wylam carpark so I knew she’d left on her merry way when I reached there, about 25 mins after leaving Prudhoe. The route along to Newburn has some very long straight sections, and I knew from our interval session last time that seeing her in the distance would still take me a while to catch up when I was relying purely on my trot-along pace being about 30 seconds/km quicker than hers – I’d eat the distance up but it wouldn’t be an exciting movie-style fast-paced car chase. Somewhat depressingly, along the first few long straights there was no sign of her – which meant I wasn’t even slowly closing a visible distance! And when she did finally come into sight, there were about 3 different groups of cyclists heading towards me also in neon green or yellow waterproof tops so I couldn’t even be 100% sure that it was J I’d seen – it was, but she was the far distant one and soon after disappeared again around a corner. This was about the time the rain started – fortunately only a minor drizzle, but it didn’t let up for the rest of the run and turned into heavy rain just after I’d gotten back into the car at the end!

It took another few km to catch J up, and about 25 mins since I’d first caught sight of her, she was around her 6km mark, having run 45 mins, and I’d just passed the 10km mark for my leg and 40mins since I hit her start point (1hr 5m total for me). My original intention was to catch up with J, slow down for a breather and finish her 10km route with her before heading off on my last 4km leg back to my car at Prudhoe, but she waved me past saying she’d meet me at my car after she’d finished. I felt a little bad heading off without her but she has since assured me she bears me no ill will for it (well, maybe a small amount, but what’s that between friends?!).

I continued my trotting on back across Wylam road bridge – this is actually the first time I’ve jogged across this bridge: I’ve crossed it at a walk several times but I’ve normally slowed to a walk before I hit it as the 10km mark when starting from the park is just before the station and I’ve usually stopped my watch and am gasping through a recovery walk back to the car! I jogged back to the footbridge, and walked across this so I could gulp down some drink – I’d only had one energy tablet up to this point, and having only had a bowl of cereal before leaving and now hit around the 14km mark I thought I should have something before I got to the pass-out point. Once I’d crossed the bridge I broke into my jog again and was able to keep this up until just past the Spetchells before stopping my watch and my run at the 18km mark and walking the last stretch back to the car as a cooldown. I’d been feeling pretty steady for the whole route – as can be seen by my pace throughout with the exception of the drink break, but I found the last km really starting to wear on me – if I’d not been so determined to hit 18k I probably would have slowed to a walk at 17k instead.

Slowing to a walk meant that the rain took the opportunity to wash all the sweat from my forehead into my eyes, so I did my walk stretch sans glasses, but as I’d been running most of it with rain-splattered specs anyway I’m not convinced it made a huge difference to my ability to see! J met me just under the bridge – she’d finished her 10km in 1:12:26 – a 3min 24sec improvement on last time! That hill training must be really paying off 😛 She’ll be hitting below 1hr 10min in no time! That 2.5hr target time for the Great North Run in September is looking like it’s going to be smashed!

I hit my 18km in 1:57:12 which I’m really pleased with – it took me 1:53:33 to do 16km only last month at the Thirsk 10, and I beat my 10 mile time by 8.5 mins! I was exhausted by the end, but I’m feeling that little bit closer to hitting the half marathon for June. 9 weeks to go, I’ve now hit just under 11.2 miles of the 13.1 miles I need to hit. I don’t think I could have run the last 2 miles I need today, but I’ll keep working towards it – I’d love to be in a position where I can do the Liverpool Rock and Roll Half without a walking break – and really say I’ve run a half marathon! By June, I should be there. I’m thinking of doing a 10-12 mile run every other weekend from now, and at least a 10km once over the weekend’s in the middle, while continuing with as much of the weekday training with Run England and the Bounders as I can around work commitments.

My usual map this time has some extra pictograms!

Green car: my car was parked here

Black car: J’s car parked here

Eye: first spotted J

Raincloud: the rain started…

Teletubby: Finally caught J here

Fish: spotted J’s husband fishing in the river!

12-4-15 combi


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