Blue Runnings

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

Derwent Walk, Derwent Talk! – 12km

on 20 June 2015


I knew it felt like a while since I’d last done a training run when I was uploading the map for today’s route – I haven’t done a training run blog entry since May the 28th! With the large number of races I had through May and into June, I’ve been doing more events than training – and the short 3km training run I did with J a few days before my half marathon, I didn’t do a blog entry for as I was still trying to catch up on the Blaydon Races and get everything squared away at work for my being off for a long weekend! After getting the Newburn River Race out the way last Wednesday, I’ve now got a few weeks race free! I need it after how busy May was. I wonder if it’s possible for me to put any more hyperlinks in a paragraph?!

ANYWAY. With only 12 weeks to go until the Great North Run (or something like that anyway), J is getting understandably a bit nervous about the distance – her furthest run being 10.6k to date, and 21k can look daunting when you’re wanting to try to run the whole thing! So, time to start upping that distance! J likes to watch her watch a lot when she’s running – and can’t be trusted not to try and go for pb 5k and 10k times on a route – which you can’t really intend to do when you’re going out for a long run. I only really use mine for determining when my next water or dextrose break is on the long ones, but unlike J, I am not really competitive! When there’s noone else to race, she races herself!

I’d not actually told J what we were going to be doing today, just told her I’d pick her up at 8am (which I was late for, because you know, breakfast happened). She assumed I’d planned something horrible when in actual fact I didn’t decide what we were doing until I was in the car on the way to her house. I had three options in mind for helping her with her distance – she wants to see how far she can get around Grafham reservoir when she’s on her holidays in 3 weeks time, which is a 10 mile loop.

The first was to go along the Derwent Walk and back – moderately level going, turn round at the bridge at the 6.5km mark and get back to the car park having done 7-8 miles depending on where we decided to end our run from. This one was just for adding miles under the trainers as the terrain is moderately forgiving. That might be the opinion of someone who’s gotten used to running in Consett though…

The second option was to run from my house towards Consett and around the industrial estate, about 8-10k depending on if you do one loop or two, and as there’s several long steady but not too steep hills on this route, it would give her the opportunity to do a distance she was familiar with, on slightly tougher terrain to help with building stamina for the longer distances.

Option three took this a step further – Blackhill Parkrun. 5km distance which we all know she can do, but on the toughest terrain for hills I think she’s covered – which would also be good prep for the Butterwick Hospice Run at Hamsterley Forest, which I can say from previous experience, is not going to be a flat 10k in any shape or form. Personally, I have yet to actively enjoy Blackhill Parkrun, but when I’ve done it I’ve really noticed a difference in my running afterwards – it’s definitely a contributing factor to a step-up in my pace and I need to go back again if I want to get quicker again! I want to be able to do it in under 30 mins if possible. Every running trainer will tell you that 5km of hills is worth 10km of flats, and any flat race of any distance is a synch in comparison! It doesn’t make it easier to do the hills at the time, but it really does help in the long run!

I went with option 1 in the end – J figured out where we were going when we pulled into the carpark, but didn’t know how far – and after starting her watch, I banned her from looking at it again (which she surprised me by actually doing!). We did exactly the same route I did when I was trying to begin pushing my distance above the 10km mark looking for the intermediate milestone between that and the 10 mile when I was booked in for my race at Thirsk. J set off at a fast pace for someone who had no idea how far they were going, but after stopping briefly to look at what we decided was possibly a juvenile cuckoo, we settled into a good distance pace – she still didn’t know how far we were going at this stage. We could tell it was a good distance pace as we spent much of the way there and back yacking! You know you’re not killing yourself when you can have a good natter as you go 🙂 It’s also a really good indicator for both of us in terms of how well our lungs have cleared out for running, and J’s been off the ciggies since February which will definitely be helping!

By the time we got back to the caravan park at around the 10k mark, J was starting to pester me about how much further, still not knowing how far we’d come. I may have lied a teensy bit knowing she was getting a bit on the tired side. I told her 2km back to the car, it was actually 3km… Unfortunately this last 3km had the majority of the hilly bits on it for the whole route (which as I found last time, do not show up on the elevation graph) where the path dropped down to cross a road and then veered steeply back up again.

At the top of the last hill we hit the 12km mark by my watch (almost half a km more by J’s but we’ll have the argument about Garmin V TomTom another time!) and pulled to a brief stop and then a walk. J very impressed with the distance she’d covered when her head had cleared enough for her to read the numbers on her watch! – a new pb by about a mile which is definitely something to be proud of and only slightly mad at me for lying about how much further it was to the car!

We walked the last km back to the car as a cooldown, then around the carpark a bit, then did some stretches before collapsing into the car seats. After putting her through such torture – and there were no walk breaks – I took J home via McD’s for a well-earned and well-needed chocolate milkshake recovery drink! I’ve told her off before for drinking chocolate milkshakes after every run, even if it’s only 2km, particularly as she wants to lose some weight – but this one was definitely earned. Calorie neutral exercise is my sister’s favourite thing.

Definitely know I’ve been out for a run today 🙂 Same time next week?!



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