Blue Runnings

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

Puffin(g)s and Kites

on 3 September 2015


I had all sorts of good intentions today. I actually had a moderately productive day at work for once and was looking forward to a jog along to Wylam, which even with a later finish I would be able to do if I got changed and hurried myself out the door again. Then I got distracted by facebook as one does, but I found a freebie running book that looks amusing in the process on Amazon so that’s my evening’s entertainment sorted (I’m doing this first or it wouldn’t get written at all) so it wasn’t a completely fruitless use of my time!

That pretty much set the tone for my evening…I left the house, and literally a minute later saw 2 red kites overhead on the main road – it’s unusual to see them quite as far South as we are – they’re usually in the villages to the North or West where we see them often and I normally only see them in the distance or from the car – we’ve had a few close encounters from the car. I don’t usually get to experience them flying straight overhead when I’m not sitting in a metal box zooming along the road. So, I threw the car up the kerb as one does and dashed down the road to where I’d seen them. I don’t know why I thought I could catch them up, when they’re gliding in the opposite direction to you and particularly when they have the wind behind them they go a fair clip with very little visible effort! I think I dashed most of the length of the road before giving up and heading back to the car laughing at myself. It was a good warm-up anyway!

I got another 800 yards down the road, and there were more kites! A big flock of them right over the Derwent Walk pub car park. In for a penny in for a pound right?! I swerved into the carpark to ogle them, so of course they all flew out of sight over the high embankment, except for one who was kind enough to glide over me for a minute or two and let me ooo at him. They’re a bird I’d love to catch on camera, but typically I only had my phone – which is terrible for photos of anything that moves even at a snail pace so I had to content myself with eyeball ogling.

So, quite a chunk of my run time disappeared in my travelling time back to Prudhoe increasing by about 50% with my birdwatching detours… I’ve been thinking over the last few days about trying to get back to how I got into running, which was why I was intending to head along to the bridge at Wylam – it used to be my regular intermediary distance between the 5km and 10km distances. Before I stopped for my second kite detour, I thought I might have time for an 18 minute there-and-back again along the river, but the second stop put paid to that one as I would need to finish in time to pick P up from work, and I didn’t want to do a 12 minute one as I’m thinking of doing that tomorrow before I pick P up if I get out of work in time! I opted for another old river haunt route – along the back of the Spetchells and back along the riverside, which was actually probably the first route I started doing when I began doing a short run before picking P up when he first went on shifts.

Last time I did the 12 minute there-and-back, I tried to push my pace for the first km before dropping down: this time I kept my starting pace for longer knowing I always start too quick. The temperature’s starting to cool off a bit and it’s actually getting to be a little chill if you’re just standing around, and I wanted to see if that made a difference to my pace. By the time I was thinking about dropping down to a jog, I was not a million miles to the halfway point, so I pushed myself to keep going until then, and then that was only a stone’s throw off the 2km mark so of course I had to do that – by this point I was properly puffing like a trooper – slightly gasping breath and cheeks puffed out when exhaling – god knows what I looked like but I felt like I was flying along!

I hit the 2km mark in 11:58, and actually the second km was faster than the first one! At one point I even managed to run about a minute at less than 5 mins/km, and very briefly apparently touched on 04:31 min/km! I’m not sure how much I credit any GPS tracker with being quite that accurate – maybe it missed me cutting a corner, but it looks good anyway 😉 I’m really pleased with this, but need to do some training to sustain it longer – somewhere between the first km pace and the second one is where I need to sit to be able to hit a 1hr time on a flat 10km course. Looking back, I have no idea how I hit 1hr 2mins on the Tyneside 10km unless it was slightly short or it was much cooler – and it was the first blue skies and sunshine day we’d really had all year.

The second 2km was obviously slower, particularly at the start while I got my breath back – 13:33 in total which is more like my 10km puff-along pace and I had to loop the car park to get the last 200m at the end – I wasn’t stopping at 3.8km after that start!

I’m actually looking forward to getting the GNR out of the way so I don’t have a monster mileage route on the immediate horizon (I am so seriously underprepared for it, it’s ridiculous) and I can just concentrate on finding new places and enjoying myself. I really felt that tonight I gave myself a run I could be really pleased with and enjoy – I still got ridiculously sweaty even over this short distance, but I didn’t feel like my head was going to explode and was able to push myself without passing out.

Here’s hoping this is a hint of what’s to come through September!



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