Posts Tagged ‘Wheathampstead 2k/10k

20
May
12

the loneliness…

It’s not often that I get a sudden urge to run quite a long way. When it rears it’s head, it is such a surprise that I often just blindly follow it’s calling. Which is exactly what happened last Sunday.

On Saturday evening, a glance at the following days weather forecast showed big yellow radiant spheres all around where I live and this prompted the thought of getting out for a long run. So when Sunday morning brightness shone through my curtains, it was an easy decision to make. I had a loosely planned route in my head which was to encompass a little loop of my locale before heading off along the Cole Green Way. I’d been told that there was an underpass at some point that would allow me to get to the neighbouring town without getting mowed down trying to navigate a particularly busy section of dual carriageway.

Off I ventured, heading through familiar territory before looping back and taking the Cole Green Way as far as I could. There is indeed an underpass and it is quite a contrast to enter the underpass, leave the tree lined avenue of the previous few miles and emerge the other side on an exposed tarmac path flanked with freshly planted small trees at shoulder height. From here, a run into the town centre before heading back out the other side to close the loop and tackle the home stretch. At 20kms, I suddenly began to feel tired. Until this point I was feeling positively spritely but a combination of hills and a lack of footpath made me tire quickly. I was having to run right on the edge of the tarmac on a country road as cars whipped past inches from my elbow. My tired feet were beginning to go numb as every detail of the ruined edge of tarmac was felt through the sole of the Vibrams.

25.5kms run and my longest distance ever. I did feel very, tired when I arrived home but it was bolstered by the sense of satisfaction at completing my longest run. It dawned on me that the route would have been much kinder if it were run in the opposite direction – fresh feet on the road edge to begin with and then a (mostly) gentle downhill.

All of which has no doubt helped today when I ran the Wheathampstead 10k. I have written about this race before (here, here and here) and so will not bore you with the details but SonNumberOne ran a great 2k (about 4 mins faster than last year) and SonNumberTwo managed to get a couple of minutes off of his time before I set off on my own 10k. The course seemed a little more congested this year and it was difficult to pick my way past at some points. The queues at the stairs and the kissing gates seemed a little slower than usual and, as I was feeling quite fresh, I was finding this a little frustrating. Apart from that, a very nice off road race. Hilly and challenging but with a good atmosphere. 54.14 this year – a couple of minutes slower than last year but think the hold-ups accounted for a good portion of that.

The question is… do I squeeze in one last Half Marathon in St Albans before my Berlin Training Regime starts. I think I’ll sleep on it…

Soundtrack to this post: Mugstar – Sunburnt Impedance Machine

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11
Apr
12

traditionalist

True to form, the long Bank Holiday weekend was wet from start to finish but that was OK because in a moment of madness I had agreed (oh, alright, partially instigated) that I should spend the time redecorating the bathroom. As always, I enter into these projects and then, after about 5 hours of preparation and sanding down, wonder what on Earth I was thinking of when I suggested it. For those of you that have never tasted the bitter, chalky tang of freshly sanded plaster filtered through a poorly fitting dust mask, you really haven’t lived. Sorry, what I actually mean is that you are likely to live a whole lot longer as this stuff really is horrific – it removes all traces of moisture from whatever it touches – tongue, teeth, skin… at the end of the first day I felt like I’d had all the liquid in me replaced with talc. Horrible.

Of course, 3 days spent cooped up in a dusty and noisy bathroom made me yearn to get out and run but I was so drained at the end of each day, it was all I could do to drag my sorry self off to bed.

In addition to the above, SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo had begun to ask if I could take them running as they are both entered into the Wheathampstead 2k and take their training veeeery seriously. So yesterday, with all decorating duties complete and with specks of paint still dried to the backs of my hands, I decided to go for a run with them… SonNumberTwo, age 6, completed 1.03kms and returned home happy and red-cheeked. SonNumberOne, age 10, was then put through his paces and we chatted as we looped away from the house to run what was just a tad under 3kms. I did feel a bit cruel as he only needs to run 2k for the race but thought he would gain some added satisfaction from knowing that he can comfortably run further. He even managed a final push to the finish when I threatened to sprint past him on the home straight. Very impressed by both of them.

Not quite so impressive was my longer run today. I set off mid-morning and didn’t feel like I was running slowly but a glance at the Garmin told a very different story. It was a truly lack lustre performance nicely finished off by getting caught in a short but sudden hail shower which seemed to halt the second I got back inside. Still, 16.5kms in the bank and the Hertford 10k to look forwards to on Sunday.

Soundtrack to this post: Fugazi – Waiting Room

23
May
11

wheathampstead 10k race report – back once again

I hadn’t planned to enter this year. Sandwiched as it is between Grim Beast In The East and BUPA 10,000, I thought I’d leave it this year and come back in 2012. But when SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo started asking when they were running their 2k, I relented and entered… all of us for the 2k and, hell, I was going to be there anyway, me for the 10k.
This was to be the third time I had run this course, first in 2009 when SonNumberOne and I ran the 2k and I ran the 10k, and then last year when I ran the 2k with SonNumberOne, SonNumberTwo and Mrs eatingtrees and then the 10k with the mighty Hauling My Carcass. You can read reviews of previous years here and here.
The event itself has a friendly, village feel to it. A refreshing lack of corporate sponsorship, bouncy castles for the kids and cake stalls and a barbecue for the hungry.
The 2k was a blast… it is so great to see the joy on the kids faces when the race starts… all off like a shot with big grins. Some of the accompanying adults didn’t look quite so delighted as many looked like they were more familiar with the sofa and the remote than the running shoe. Myself and SonNumberOne finished in 16:24 with Mrs eatingtrees and SonNumberTwo coming in around the 22 min mark. And all the kids get medals…
Then at about 10:45, I set off to the start of the 10k. It is a short walk to the start and we make our way there, everybody chatting with each other as we file through along the narrow path. Once at the start, we settle into out respective zones, set out in expected finish times. Previous years I’ve gone for the 55mins – 1 hour zone as it is a challenging course with a few obstacles (stairs, kissing gates) where there is often a queue to pass. But having put in a couple of quick (for me) runs recently, I optimistically settle into the 50-55min section. As soon as everyone is in their place, we are off, bang on time and into the rolling countryside. A mixture of bridle paths, farmers fields, woodland tracks. I settle into my pace and at about 3km find myself running alongside a guy who has fallen into step with me. We begin talking as we run and the next few kms pass easily. There is a water point at 5km and I drop back slightly and put my headphones back in and concentrate on keeping a steady pace for the second half. There is a camaraderie not found in bigger events… runners ahead call back to those behind if there is a dodgy tree root or rabbit hole to avoid, people chatting and queueing calmly to get through the kissing gate
Obstacles successfully negotiated and with only one small trip over an incospicuous root, I finished in 52:43… a new personal best: beating my old pb by 2 mins and 5 seconds and my previous Wheathampstead times by 7 minutes. I see a few of the runners that I was talking to at the start and we swap congratulations and enquire how we each did. I love this event… it’s is completely unpretentious, very friendly, well organised and feels more like a village fete than a race. I will be back again next year.

09
May
11

notion

Not an enormous amount of running accomplished this week. One 10k in the Vibrams on Tuesday and then… nothing. Partly due to prior commitments and partly due to time consuming and mind-numbing tasks at work, I just did not have the opportunity to get out and run. So when my long Sunday run presented itself, despite feeling a bit groggy from a late night and too much food the previous evening (as it was Mrs eatingtrees birthday on the Saturday), I felt I should at least make an effort. The weather forecast had predicted rain but a glimpse out of the window on Sunday morning revealed a mostly blue sky, a few clouds and gusts of wind. So not bad weather for a long run. I set off hoping to match last weeks effort of 18kms but was unsure how well I’d fare based on the general feeling of sluggishness that seemed to reside somewhere between my brain and my feet.
The first couple of kilometres felt arduous but after 15 minutes or so, the lungs seemed to open up, the legs remembered what they should be doing and it all seemed to come together nicely. So much so, that at the 12km point, I started doing what rappers would refer to as “freestyling”… making it up as I went along: A little extra circuit of the block here, a looping embellishment there. I was feeling quite strong and enjoying being out and running. By the time I arrived back at the end of my street (and with almost surgical precision). I had covered exactly 21.1kms. It felt nice to run a Half Marathon distance, just on a whim, for the hell of it, particularly as the 3 races I have planned over the next 3 weekends are all 10k’s, so I also got a few miles on the clock.
So next Saturday is Grim Beast In The East, which I am very much looking forward to. There should be a few of us competing and will be a good opportunity to catch up and also run the course as an unofficial team, making sure everyone gets across the line. The following week, it’s the Wheathampstead 10k, preceeded by the 2k which the whole family will be running. Finally, the BUPA 10,000 on the Bank Holiday Monday, a great, flat course around the streets of Dirty Old London Town which will probably my first race in the Vibrams (and hopefully a 10k PB too!)
Soundtrack to this post: Beastie Boys – Nonstop Disco Powerpack

02
May
11

worms?

I am constantly hungry at the moment. No sooner have I tucked away an enormous meal, I start scratching around for something else to eat. Cheese. Bananas. Chocolate Biscuits. Perhaps I am looking to replace some of the calories used up in last weekends frenzy of activity? Maybe I am subconciously carb-loading for the 3 races I have in May (yes, an organisational SNAFU means I have 3 races in May… Grim Beast In The East, Wheathampstead 2k & 10k and the BUPA 10k) but what ever it is, I am devouring a huge amount of food.
Fortunately, the second Bank Holiday weekend afforded me a little time to spend eating and also a little time to spend running.
Thursday morning I crept out for an early morning run in the Vibrams. I have upped my mileage in them sufficiently to be able to run roughly 10k in them each time I venture out so a 10.7km run was executed before breakfast. A quick glance at the Garmin as I passed the 10k mark indicated that I had run my fastest ever 10k at 52:51 which set my good mood up rather nicely for the rest of the day. Thursday evening was spent with training partner, bad influence, inspiration, calibrator of the moral compass, epicurean and all round gentleman Hauling My Carcass at Kaslik in Soho, where we had arranged to meet, catch up and eat delicious Lebanese food.
Friday, there was a street party for the Royal Wedding and again the day was spent eating, chatting, eating and eating. Saturday we had friends round for a barbecue (yet more eating and chatting, obviously) and, by Saturday evening, my indulgences were beginning to play on my conscience. I went to bed vowing to get up and run first thing on Sunday.
Sunday morning was glorious and after making the family breakfast and powering down a capuccino, I set off. A beautiful bright crisp morning and I decided I should run off some of the excesses of the previous few days. There was quite a strong breeze and that kept me cool although as soon as the breeze dropped, the sun began to beat down and I tried where possible to run in the shade. I was feeling good so I just ran and ran and enjoyed running. A few deviations from my normal Sunday long route saw me complete 18.1kms. I was actually still feeling pretty good but cut the run short as to return home any later would have meant the rest of the day’s activities would have needed shuffling around.
So, it would appear that I am currently on a bit of a roll… enjoying running and getting just a little quicker without any kind of speedwork, fartlek or intervals. The VFF’s are fast becoming my shoe of choice as my regular running shoes begin to feel heavy and soft. I am intrugued to see how far I can comfortably run in the Vibrams – certainly a 10k race is do-able. Hmmm… then, who knows, maybe a Half Marathon..?

Soundtrack to this post: Zoo Music Girl – The Birthday Party

24
May
10

wheathampstead 10k race report – what a difference a year makes

Back For Another Go – 2 kids: 2km – Scorchio

Having run and enjoyed the Wheathampstead 10k last year, I’d decided to tackle it again this year. Last year, myself and SonNumberOne attempted the 2k together and then I went on to also run the 10k. And it rained. Enormous amounts of rain – stopping just before the 10k meaning the course was muddy and slippery and the run was a cold one.
This year we decided to do the same with a few alterations. I would run the 2k with SonNumberOne, Mrs eatingtrees would run the 2k with SonNumberTwo, then I would go on to run the 10k with Hauling My Carcass whose heavily pregnant LG would sit patiently in the shade for the duration as this year it wasn’t raining – it was 27 degrees with no discernible breeze.

SonNumberOne completed the 2k in 16:35 with Mrs eatingtrees and SonNumberTwo coming in approximately 8 minutes later. The boys were very happy with their medals and both did amazingly well. There was just time for a congratulatory hug and a hair ruffle, and then Hauling My Carcass and I needed to make our way to the start of the 10k. It was little before 11am and despite wearing only running shorts and what has affectionately become known as my “Village People” running vest, I was already beginning to feel the heat.

Hauling My Carcass had not run for 49 days and was sure he would come in around 1:05 although he is quicker and fitter than he thinks. I’d been running 10k’s recently at around 56mins so I thought I’d finish about 57-58 mins to allow for the few bottlenecks on the course. We’d agreed to run our seperate races so I set off a little quicker and we would meet up at the end.

The route itself makes it’s way along bridlepaths and around the edges of farmers fields. Last year, we dodged the puddles and tried not to slip over, this year we wanted to not twist our ankles on the baked hard uneven earth or swallow too many insects. There are a few shaded sections in the first half of the race but as it creeps towards midday, the heat increases, the amount of shade decreases and the body temperature rises. I was wearing a cap to protect my head from the sun and with each step, a small drip of sweat would fall from the visor. Because I’d already run the 2k, I was feeling warmed up and had set off at a relatively spritely pace, picking my way through other runners. It wasn’t until about 7kms that the heat started to wear me down. I wasn’t suffering too badly but was noticeably slowing. I didn’t notice many people start to pass me though so think everyone was slowing in unison.

At 9km, Hauling My Carcass appears alongside and we run the last part together, both crossing the line in 59:32. I took myself off to sit in the shade for a few moments before meeting up with everyone. Some water and a banana provided by the organisers made everything alright again and we then spent a little while all sitting in the shade of a tree before saying our goodbyes and heading off.

So a very different experience from last year but this is still a very enjoyable race, whatever the weather. Organisation is good, course is testing but not too tough, marshalling is friendly and encouraging and the crowd over the last 500 metres was very supportive and vocal. Stalls and a bouncy castle add to the relaxed “village fete” feel and I think I’ll be back for a third try next year.

Soundtrack to this post: Cluster – Heisse Lippen

14
Feb
10

two fives are ten

Unauthorised Absences And Disappointing Distances – Who’s The Daddy – Anger F**king Management

Haven’t blogged for a while. Haven’t run for a while. Although I did go out for a run with an (understanding) friend of mine last Sunday and managed a fairly poor 8km. Except the left leg was hurting from about 4km and I returned home feeling a bit dejected. It was so poor that I decided not to blog about it.

And I’ve finally admitted to myself that I’m definitely out of the Wokingham Half next weekend but have a few things in the pipeline to give me something to aim for.

Firstly, after Hauling My Carcass’ wonderful announcement about his impending fatherhood, his LG very kindly offered me her place in the Richmond 10km on 27th Feb. After a few hasty e-mails back and forth between myself and HMC and the organisers of the race, they very graciously said I could run in LG’s place. My race number arrived midweek and, unusually, has not only the number but the runners name printed on it. Except mine has the runners number, the runners name crossed out and mine written in marker pen. Still, I get to run a 10km so a big thanks to David at The Fix UK for sorting out the entry. I’ve also been busy filling out entry forms for another couple of races – The Wheathampstead 10km which some of you will remember I tackled last year. There is a 2k before hand which last year I ran with SonNumberOne. This year, I shall be running it with SonNumberOne and SonNumberTwo and Mrs Eatingtrees which I am really looking forward to. I’ve also signed up for the Hertford 10km which I got accidentally caught up in a couple of years ago whilst I was out training and was completely oblivious to the race that was going on around me. Currently, 10km is all I feel confident in signing up for as I haven’t fully sorted out my dodgy left leg, but…

Today I felt I should try and get out for a run. After an incredibly frustrating week at work, I wanted to get out and expend some nervous energy. I bashed out about 6 miles on the fixie yesterday and planned on a 10km run today. And I kind of managed it. It wasn’t exactly 2 x 5km runs, it was a 5.8km run, a stop and stretch, a 5 min walk and then a 4.2km run. So I actually did more than 10km but only 10km was run so that’s all that counts!! And I returned home relatively pain free and without the urge to scream and throttle anybody that mentioned that I have to leave the house at 6.30am tomorrow morning for a 7 hour round trip to Leeds for a meeting. Aaaah, therapy…

Soundtrack to this post: Massive Attack – Splitting The Atom




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