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End To End

I opened my 2020 running account on 2 January with a fairly leisurely 10k. It was only 10 months after I'd started my Couch to 5k Journey but, having already completed my first Half Marathon distance  and getting my 5k PB below 30 minutes in November, I was pretty chuffed with the progress I'd made so far. My plans for 2020 didn't really come to much at that point. This was before many of us would discover just how important running would become over the course of the year, but I had some vague goals; keep chipping away at my 5k time, get my 10k under an hour, bring my Half Marathon time under 2 hours 15 and, in addition to Parkrun, take part in a number of the organised events locally. The  distance/time goals would be achieved, but sadly every event (including Parkrun) would be cancelled. The one thing that was becoming obvious was that both my pace and stamina were definitely increasing. I had set a very vague goal of averaging around 100k per month, but I was exceeding
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The 100 mile month #LeaveNothingButFootprints

Like a lot of people, back in May, I signed up for Miles For Mind , organised by runr , and managed to push myself to 75 miles for the month. I had actually run slightly further than that in both March and April this year, but this was the first time I had set a target for the month that I was essentially accountable to anyone other than myself for achieving and I did it with a little over a mile and a quarter to spare. The team at runr  decided that this year they would organise their first autumn challenge, #LeaveNothingButFootprints . Yet again, this would be in aid of the charity, Mind UK . Now, while Mind  are a fantastic charity, they don't currently operate in Scotland but, because mental health is a cause that's important to me, I wanted to get behind this so, instead, I dedicated my fundraising efforts on behalf of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) . October 10th was World Mental Health Day and, by a spooky coincidence, October was the month where I clo

Journey's end...

They've been through a lot. Since I first laced them up on 11 March 2019 and set out on my Couch to 5k adventure, to their final 10k tonight; covering every distance from that first one minute "jog" all the way through to a half-marathon. In total we've shared a shade over 500 miles/800km together, but now their race is run. We've had a lot of good times up to this point, and a few not so good ones, but they've always got me safely to the end of whatever run I've been on with them. The cushioning may be a distant memory and my big toe has rather assertively made its presence known through the top of the tight toe-box but I think it's fair to say that they owe me absolutely nothing and can now enjoy what time they have left as those trainers I use for pottering around in the garden. Enjoy your retirement...

Ticking along...

Tonight's run was one of those unremarkable in every way runs. It wasn't especially fast, or slow, the weather wasn't in any way notable, good or bad; everything about it screamed average in every way (obviously it didn't actually scream as that would have been notable, it was more of polite volume, but you get my drift). Runs like this are sort of bread and butter. Not every run needs to be, or even can be a personal best; the majority of runs are just about getting out there and enjoying (if that's the right word) the feeling of just getting out there and putting some time and distance into the legs. Trouble is, I am a bit of a stat fiend. So when I logged tonight's effort I couldn't help notice that this otherwise unremarkable run was the run that took my 2020 distance to date over 1,000km. Given my average monthly distance, I knew I was likely to get there at some point, but I was pleasantly surprised that I did it tonight. So, it turns out that tonight&

Negative splits

Sometimes this running thing throws up occasional pleasant surprises; the unexpected additional distance or the unintended PB. Today's surprise was discovering that I'd managed the "holy grail" of negative splits. I wasn't aiming for a fast time; I'd already done a 7k+ session with my Sunday morning running group and this was simply a solo after-group session that has become my traditional "scenic route" home from the park where the sessions are held. The route is one that I have run many times (although usually in the other direction); a mixture of roughish forest path and hard packed dirt former railway foot/cycle/bridle path. I wasn't putting any real effort into it; just simply zoning out, plodding along enjoying my surroundings. I wasn't paying any attention to the timings when each kilometre split buzzed on my wrist. The was no "pressure" on me to achieve a particular time, pace or distance. The thing with doing a route that i

Hmmmm

So, with the cancellation of just about every event possibly this year on account of the "C-Word", the organisers of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival decided to go virtual . All you had to do was pick a distance, 5/10/HM/M, send them evidence of your time along with the entry fee and they would send you a finisher's pack (bib number, medal, t-shirt).  I sent them my 2 hour 14 HM from May when I was doing Miles For Mind, and I duly received my goody-bag.  Much as I do love a "freebie" t-shirt, I can't help shake the nagging feeling that, with this year being the way it is, actually we aring this any time before 1 January next year is possibly being slightly presumptive.

Two very different runs

On Saturday, a twitter friend was celebrating having got up early and smashing her 10k PB. as it was nearly lunchtime when I read her post, I congratulated her on her achievement and commented that given the temperature, there was no chance of any PBs happening on the run I was about to head off on. It turns out, I lied. I ran only my second ever sub-60 minute 10k, setting a new PB of 58:19. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be the understatement of the year. Tonight, I went out for another run; 10k again. There was less elevation, I was deliberately taking it slow, but dearie me it was a tough one.  I was well rested, well hydrated; it was actually cooler than Saturday, but I was obviously still experiencing some sort of hangover from my weekend exertions. Not to worry though, it's still another run in the legs and under the belt, taking me to 55k so far for the month.

For those of us missing ParkRun

I suspect it's not the actual running we're missing; since many of us can just go out and run when the mood takes us so long as we are fortunate with our health and the COVID-19 restrictions in our particular part of the world allow us to do so. It's possibly not even being able to run in a group; since as much as I enjoy the social side, I tend to be a solitary runner. For me, what I actually miss is being able to have something to judge my performance against. Not my overall position on the weekly email (although that has its own value), but the arcane calculation that is the age adjusted performance and how it varies from run to run. Then I discovered that Running Heroes has a weekly 5k challenge. OK, so it's on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, but it gives you a leader board and age tables and all of those little things that turn a run into a "non-competitive" competition. It's not really the same, but it is nice to feel that you are part of gro

9 Days, 5 Runs, 50k

Actually, it was only meant to be 7 days, 4 runs and 40k, but, annoyingly, I got the start date of the challenge wrong and so the first 10k didn't actually count towards the challenge. I wasn't going to let that get in my way though, so today, with rather weary legs, and between the showers, I set off to complete the challenge and run the final 10k. Having had a quick recce earlier, the problematic riverside stretch that I ran on my first ever 10k turned out to be no longer submerged, so I decided to rerun that first 10k run from 1 July 2019. So, despite it being decidedly squelchy in places and my poor trails shoes having had another 350km on them in the intervening year, the difference between then and now was just over 15 minutes. Now, I think, I'm going to give my legs a couple of days off while I work out my next challenge.

Another running anniversary

. On 1 July 2019, I ran my  first ever non-stop 10k . I qualify the "non-stop" bit because several weeks earlier, before I'd even completed Couch to 5k, I'd covered just over 10k  refereeing a rugby 7s tournament . It was stop start, spread over six 14 minute games, but I still include it in my distance totals. Anyway, I digress; 1 July was the day I completed  Ju Ju's Magic 10k Plan  over on  Health Unlocked's Bridge to 10k Forum , so that's the day I'm counting. The time that evening was 1:19:36. Tonight, one year on and not including the rugby tournament mentioned above, I completed my 58 th run of 10k or more. When you consider the that 4 of those 58 runs were half-marathon distance, I've actually completed the 10k distance 62 times in the last 12 months. Tonight's time was 1:04:51, which is a bit off my PB of 58:58, but that wasn't what I was aiming for tonight given the conditions underfoot following several days of rainfall incl