Blue Runnings

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

Run England – 11-08-15

With P currently being off from work and it not tipping it down with rain, I had zero excuse for not making it to Run England tonight! It’s the first time I’ve been to the new leisure centre and from the first few peeks, it looks snazzy! Going to have to look into how to book badminton courts with P (he will not come running) and possibly look at getting a gym induction if I want to try using any heavier weights than my small dumbells at home. We shall see.

Having not really done a longer run for a while, I opted for going out with group 2 today – I’d gone for shorts and t-shirt and was quite cool before we set off, but still melted after I started running, I wish I’d stuck with my original vest option. It’s definitely cooler than it has been, but it’s still really close with not a breath of wind to cool down. I’d had enough by the time we got to the 6.5km mark and knew I still had about 1.5km to go to get back to the sports centre. I’ve learned from previous runs that when going out with a spaced out group, it’s best to stick near the front if possible so you get the maximum rest when waiting for the rest of the group to catch up – if you’re at the back, you don’t really get one at all and it’s easier to start at the front and drop back one or two people then try to keep up from the rear!

With the exception of the Butterwick Hospice 10k, this is somewhat depressingly the longest run I’ve done since the 28th of June! A whole month and a half and with one exception, 8.4km is my longest distance! Really need to work that back well into double figures again. This was also, again with the exception of Butterwick, the toughest terrain I’ve run in a while. I’ve been avoiding the hills of Consett in favour of the rather boring flats of the Derwent Walk, Derwent Reservoir and Prudhoe Riverside while I try and adjust myself to the stuffy British summer.

My pace when I was running was between 5:50 and 6:20 mins/km almost regardless of the terrain, which I’m pretty happy with, it’s the breather stops that have skewed my average – but I’m not going to pretend I didn’t need them! I’m still not happy with the humidity at the moment, but I’ve been out and I’ve run for an hour, regardless of how far I went, and that’s pretty good for the last 6 weeks 🙂 Now if I could just find some sort of gadget fan hat that I could run in…

11-08-15

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Run England Rearguard, Reporting for Duty

Well, it definitely feels good to be able to put that logo up again! It has been 5 weeks since I last went to a Run England session, and I’ve definitely missed them, in more ways than one. It was good to see some familiar faces and feel part of a group again – particularly when out and about as it helps keep me going possibly further than I would have gone without slowing to a walk if I were by myself – proving to myself that I can go the distance if I put my mind to it! Apparently the intention for this week was to do 5.5-6 miles, but we got to 2.5 miles and a few people with dodgy legs were intending to head home, so we headed back the way we’d come and got into the leisure centre at about 5 miles all told – 8km on my watch and for me a most respectable Run England distance. I was a little nervous at the prospect of doing nearly 10km in an hour – but why go with the fast group if not to push my comfort zones?

We went out along the path to Hownsgill viaduct, I’ve done short stretches of it before as part of other routes with Run England, but never gone as far down as we did today and out over the viaduct itself – it’s a shame really that I didn’t get to find out the circular route but I may go explore again myself sometime as it was nice and flat! I could park up at Morrison’s and hardly do any hills at all 🙂 Almost unheard of in Consett 😛 It was good to get back into the group on a flat run, even if it sounded like it would be longer and therefore slightly quicker than normal (we’re out close to an hour regardless of distance travelled and group you run with!). I was also grateful they’d picked a relatively shaded route, there was wind about but when it stopped gusting it was uncomfortably warm. The viaduct itself was awesome – high over the wooded valley, and very windy! It was a welcome cooldown, but also so windy it almost took my visor off and nearly robbed the air from your lungs rather than providing it in vaster quantities! Would be nice to do as a walk sometime if I can drag P out with me 🙂 I’m still dreading the summer proper. I think the combination of lack of exercise and higher, stuffier temperatures is putting between 5 and 10 minutes on my 10k time at the moment. Bring on October and November!

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Run England – 21-04-15

I decided that tonight I would go out with group 2 of the Run England rather than the Bounders, wanting something a little shorter and slower than when I normally go out…so much for that! 7.72km and some of the fastest paced stretches I’ve run! The group had a variety of different abilities in it, so was quite spread out, and we went a moderately road-y route, particularly for the first half, so there were several stopping breaks while we waited for everyone to bunch back together again before we got spread out several crossings apart. Cars tend to be pretty good at stopping for a group of 20 people.

We took what felt to me like a slightly odd route around Consett, it covered some stretches I’d done before and several that I hadn’t, and we seemed to spend quite a bit of time weaving through the housing estates at one point until I was quite turned about and had no idea where the end was in relation to us. There was one stretch we did which went up and then along the side of a hill – and the view was absolutely fantastic, I could see for miles straight out over the fields – helped by the weather: a very clear, sunny evening with the sun still moderately high for pre-sunset. I’m not really looking forward to running in June-August… it’s going to be far too hot! It was warm enough for me tonight!

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Run England – 7.88km

I was out with the Run England guys again tonight – for the Bounders, this was a relatively flat route, but just to make things a little more interesting, they decided to throw in some interval training along a mile stretch – half a mile down, half a mile back. 10% faster than normal pace for 2 lamp-posts gaps, slower for 1 lamp-post gap. The distance between lamp -posts one and three has never been so far! I survived the interval training, but it exhausted me afterwards and I was trailing along at the back of the group for the rest of the route!

I’ve not tried interval training before, and I’m sure it’s one of those things that’s really good for you, but it doesn’t feel it when you’ve got another 3km to run back to the leisure centre! I may try it on my own along a nice level stretch – but I think I’ll need to be in a particularly enthusiastic and possibly naive mood first!

I’m pleased with my progress so far with the Bounders group on the Run England sessions, for the most part I have been keeping up roughly with the middle, but today has made it very evident I still have some way to go to be keeping up with the group the whole way round through thick and thin!

10-3-15

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Run England – 8.36km

After missing the last 2 weeks, I finally made it to another Run England session with the Blackhill Bounders! I confess, I have missed them; I’ve only been going out with the fast group for 2 weeks (not including the two I missed obviously!), and it really pushes me outside my comfort zone and to go faster and further. My current goal is to hit a PB of less than 30 mins for a 5k and less than 1h5m for a 10k, this year if possible. The 5k is looking increasingly achievable, the 10k may be more of a challenge – the pipe dream is to come in at an hour, but at the current moment in time that might have to be next year! Time will tell. Expect lots of dancing if that happens!

The route we took today is one that I’ve not done with the Run England group before, but it covers very similar ground in places to my local 4km route – so it was interesting to see how I found these stretches with the faster group. I felt I kept up pretty well for the first half – and for the first mile I actually came in with an average time of under 10mins/mile for the first time I think ever! The second half, when we left Medomsley and back up the hills again I was starting to flag a little…I’m not sure I’ll ever be entirely comfortable with hills – I don’t think there’s a fell-runner in me anywhere!

The really big positive for me from this run – I got a new PB 5k time! I beat my previous best of 34 mins by 1m16s – giving me a new best of 32m46s! This really buoyed me up for the second half when I was starting to lag a little bit – and I have the optimistic hope that I’d have been in for a really good chance at getting a 10k best too if I’d kept it up for an extra mile instead of bottling it when the group finished! Given this was a hillier route than my normal long-run route by the river on the flat tow-paths – it’s really given me something to aim for when I go for a longer run this weekend!

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