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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…
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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 is …


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 wearing 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 group, d…

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 58th 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 including some s…

From one end to the other

The accepted distance, by road, from John O' Groats to Lands End is 874 miles (1,407km). The straight line distance between the two is actually a 'mere'  603 miles but, since quite a lot of this route is through the Irish sea, which is not exactly conducive to running (and I'm a famously poor swimmer), I decided to stick with the road network for my virtual mission.

If you take Monday 11th March 2019 (when I commenced my Couch to 5k journey) as being the date I set out on my end-to-end odyssey, today I completed the final 10 miles that saw me traverse the full length of the British mainland from one end to the other.

Given the current lockdown restrictions in Scotland meaning I'm supposed to stay within 5km of my home, it's probably just as well that this has been a virtual challenge or I'd probably be in all sorts of trouble (although I could try and claim I was testing my new (at the start) running shoes to see if they fitted me properly as my justificat…


That pretty much sums up today's run. The distance, 5k, was OK. The time, 32:15 was nothing special but by no means poor based on my usual pace. I certainly want trying for any form of PB either on terms of distance or time, but I still felt somewhat deflated after it.

If it had been my plan simply to run 5k, I'm pretty sure I'd have been happy with it; box ticked, achievement unlocked, job done. The trouble was that, while I had no specific distance in mind, I had set out expecting, no, intending to run further but by the time I got to 5k, my enthusiasm had evaporated and I plodded wearily home as my 5 minute cool down.

As I said, not a bad run by any standards, and one that I'd normally be happy enough with but today has just felt a bit flat; which, given that one of the reasons I run is for the lift it gives me, makes this one all the more disappointing.

Ah well, I'm sure normal service will resume soon.

New shoes, new PB

As I mentioned in my last post, my plan for this evening was to take my new shoes out for their maiden run. By some strange coincidence, today also happens to be Global Running Day.

To mark this occasion, I decided to run the same route that I did for last year's event. The result was that this year I ran it a whole 7 minutes faster than last year.

My time of 27:22 was a new 5k PB and was 37 seconds faster than my previous best, set at the end of March.

How much of that improvement is down to the shoes, and how much is down to having had a break from running since I completed my #MilesForMind challenge on Friday is a matter of conjecture, although they did feel decidedly springier than the pair they replaced have felt in quite a while.

Anyway, it does seem like an auspicious start and hopefully it won't be the last PB I set in them.