Monday, 28 March 2011

Running Begins at 40!

It's been a funny week, I hit the highs of a PB at the Fleet Half Marathon and then the lows of hitting the big 40, seven days later.

The bit in between has been a bit of a struggle too.
Now I don't know if it was because I got my PB but mentally my brain seemed to think it was 'Job done' and 'You got your PB, now you can quit'. I just seemed to shut down and was struggling to get going again. But I was back out running a 3.5 miler on the Tuesday and a 4 on the Thursday. Come Friday I was completing my regular 12 miler to work. What seemed to be comfortable a couple of weeks previous was now proving to be both mentally and physically tough.
Looking back, I should have taken more time off. Although the distance of the Half Marathon was not a problem, I ran it quick (for me) and the course was quite demanding. I had not appreciated how the combination of the two would effect the legs. I guess this is how you learn.
My faith in Running was restored as I commiserated celebrated my 40th year. I've kind of been fearing this Birthday, I always remember when my Dad was 40 and thinking how old that sounded! But where as most people would be relaxing and enjoying a drink or two on their Birthday, I decided to celebrate with a nice Sunny 10 miler around the local Ranges with fellow runner and friend Brian. This also gave me a good chance to try out my new Camelbak, and with the demands of the course (It's bloody hilly!) my new water storage system on my back was just what the Doctor ordered.

So instead of fearing these numbers, I instead embraced them, and I thought to my self...I've just recently run the fastest I've ever run over 13.1 miles, I'm running more than ever, and I'm probably the fittest I've ever been in my life.

Not bad for an Old Boy!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fleet Half Marathon 2011

Me Pre Run
The Asics sponsored Fleet Pre - London Half Marathon to give the event it's full title, is for many a last competitive run before London next month.

With perfect running conditions to look forward to and with the race being local to me, it meant I could start the day relaxed and not panicking to force myself to eat something at the crack of dawn.

The race start was 10.30am. I made good time to arrive to enable a warm up and take in the good atmosphere. There was a few stands set up including a local running store and a beer tent.

There was various celebs running in the event, mostly soap stars. I was close to actress Vicky Binns who played Molly Hobbs in Coronation Street. I refrained myself from saying to her that "I thought she was dead" (Her character was killed off in the soap), I bet she'd heard that a thousand times!

The Warm Up
The start was prompt and the route made a swift left turn down a side street which proved a bit of a bottle neck, especially with the immediate parked cars with which I saw many runners caught out with and almost ran into them. 
Plenty of Stability in that Shoe!!!

I managed to get into a good pace early on as the course took us around the town centre a couple of times and some early hills. This part of the route is much the same as the 10K course which I have run before. Although great support in the centre it was nice to get away from the now familiar town streets.

This was definitely a race of two halves because by mile 6 we were away from the town and into more rural surroundings. In fact as the race went on the scenery got better and better as we were taken through picturesque villages.

The course is best described as Undulating, although the hills aren't horrific there are enough and come steadily throughout the course, but as the old saying goes "What goes up, must come down!".

One village in particular deserves a mention and that is Winchfield, the locals were out in vocal support and were handing out Jelly Babies to the runners. At mile 9 the sugar shot was just what was needed, although 'note to self ' don't use Jelly Babies on a run, they turned my saliva to glue!

Come the final mile we were back in the town centre. I took advantage when there was a down hill and increased my speed, and grimaced back up the hills. The adrenaline then took over to see me through to the finish line. I had smashed my previous PB of 1:58:44 with a new time of 1:44:50.

I collected my medal, banana and water bottle but was disappointed to find there was no goody bag. I quickly refuelled with my Clif Builders Protein bar, which I had brought at one of the stands beforehand, before making the short drive home.

A Well Run Baggage Area
The race was really well organised and ran smoothly. There were plenty of Marshall's on course who on the whole were encouraging. The baggage tent was well run, and there were plenty of portaloo's.

My two moans would be no goody bag and the repetition of the early part of the course. On the whole though an enjoyable event well worth taking part.
The Finish

Finishers Medal

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Bushey Parkrun

Hampton Court Palace

Today's run, once again had me taking part in the Parkrun 5K events taking place nationwide (and Denmark!) every Saturday morning at 9am. I usually run my local event at Frimley but today I was at the original and biggest Parkrun at Bushey Park, London.

Bushey Park is one of the Royal Parks that sits proudly to the front of Hampton Court Palace former home of Henry VIII.
"No I am not joining in with this mornings activities"
One of the many wild deer that roam the park
I went along with friend Bob who the Race Director at the Frimley Park Hospital 10K run. The Bushey Park team are going to be doing the timing at the Hospital run next month and Bob wanted to talk through some final preparation with the organisers. This was not a problem for me though as I listened in and enjoyed the early Spring sunshine and fantastic surroundings.
The Park is soon filled with early morning runners
The great thing about the Parkrun series is that once you have downloaded your barcode (You use this at the end of the race to log your results) you can just turn up at any event and run for free!

Mid Run

Along with the 690 other participants we were gathered at the start line ready for the prompt 9am start. The claxton sounded and we were off. I was towards the back of the crowd, I hadn't really thought about positioning and in my mind today was just going to be a pleasant jog around King Henry VIII's front garden.

But amongst the fellow runners and a good atmosphere, my race instincts took over and the chance of a PB on a flat course was now the focus of the morning. The paths are nice and wide so it was not long before I was able to move up the field. I took off too fast, but my thinking was that it is only 3 miles and the pain would soon be over. I managed to maintain the pace, although the legs were feeling quite tired from the previous days 12 miler into work.

I finished a respectable 198th and managed a new PB of 23:02. My official time on the website results is 23:08, but I started my Garmin once I started moving across the start line. The great thing about the system is that once you have scanned in your personal barcode at the race finish the results are waiting for you once you get home on the website, and all of your previous times are kept on the data base too. This is how my results look to date:

A great mornings work at this great organised network of events, as with both locations of the Parkrun I have done, another 10 out 10 for this free event :)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Nike Lunarglide +2

2nd August 2011 - I have updated this post with further comments at the end.

The favourite day in any runners year has arrived.

I've had some minor niggles in the knees, this yearly occurrence always seems to coincide with the need to purchase new trainers, so that's exactly what I did.

Although I've recently got myself some Orthotics, which have been working a treat, I still wanted to try something new.

This time I've gone for the Nike Lunarglide +2 trainer.

I overpronate and have flat arches so always have to go for a well supported trainer which normally tend to be a heavy trainer. I tried these out in a reputable running store on the treadmill. The video analysis surprisingly showed that these were keeping my lower legs nice and straight. I say surprisingly because these are quite lightweight and appear to have less support than other stability trainers.

I love the look of the Nike Lunar Range, and when you put them on, it truly is like putting on a pair of comfy slippers. They are the most comfortable trainer I have worn to date. I know you are meant to break trainers in gradually but I decided to take these out for a good 8 mile hilly test on multi terrain.

On the flat roads, the trainers felt fast and very responsive. As I moved onto the wooded trails, again the trainers did not disappoint and there was plenty of grip to handle the more uneven terrain.

Where I was really pleased was when I hit the hills, with the Lunarglide's being a lot lighter than I am used to I was able to, well literally 'glide' up and down the hills.

I felt some slight pain in my knee, and I'm worried that these may not have the overall support that I require but my thinking is I can always replace the insole with my Orthotics.

It's early days, and L love the look and lightweight feel of the trainers. After an 8 mile first run, there was no signs of rubbing and blistering which again emphasises the comfort of the trainer.

Too good to get dirty!

As well as tarmac, I gave the trainers a good workout up hills and wooded trails
Overall Performance 35 out of 40

Cushioning - 8 out of 10, Soft cushioning, rather than firm & some medial support.
Comfort - 9 out of 10, Perfect and unbelievable comfort.
Flexibility - 8 out of 10, Generally Flexible.
Responsiveness - 9 out of 10, Very High with good movement with the foot.

Post Updated 2nd August 2011

I have now covered about 500 miles in these trainers. My thoughts above have not changed. These have been the best trainers I have had to date, I've been injury free and the trainers have kept their comfort and responsiveness. I have been on all terrains, none of which have caused the any problems. I will definately be buying these all the time now, the only dilema is whether to upgrade to the Lunarglide +3. I would highly reccomend these trainers to anyone who overpronates, a great lightweight supportive trainer.