Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Weekly Running Roundup # 10

Last Saturday was my biggest test of my fitness as I took on the Fission 20/20. This is actually two races using the same course, one race is 20km and the other is 20 miles, hence the 20/20, and I was competing in the 20 mile event.

I managed to grab a lift there with a few of the girls from Lliswerry Runners, and as we drove along the country lanes to the start at Berkeley Power Station, we could see that there were some huge puddles in the roads from the previous days heavy rain, and one of them was just before the start line.

After the race briefing we proceeded to the start line and we all had to negotiate that puddle somehow. Some removed their trainers and socks and paddled through, but most of us took to the verge and made our way in single file.

Now, the organisers could see what was happening, and so they could have delayed the start by 5 minutes to ensure that everyone had got to the start line OK, but no, they started the race at 9 AM and I was then 3 minutes late crossing the line, and our times were on gun time for the start and chip time to finish. Oh well.

So off I went and I had previously decided not to keep to a minutes per mile pace, but to go by my heart rate instead, which is what I have done for my last few long runs, where I have tried to keep my heart rate to a maximum of 145 bpm, this way my pace would be fine without me huffing and puffing for over 3 hours.

The route was a big loop, which for the 20 milers we had to run two laps of, and it was on the return leg of each loop where the biggest puddles were, and most of the puddles were over ankle deep, apart from one which by the time I came to it the second time around, the reen next to the road had burst its banks and the water came to just below my knees. And of course with every puddle, my trainers would fill with cold water and then it would take a little while for my feet to warm up again.

Teej & Trudy splashing about in the puddle

I had no dramas, nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected happened, apart from those puddles, and I completed the race with an enormous sense of satisfaction and now feeling more confident about completing my marathon, even though it is a further 6 miles. I only have to tell myself at that point that it is only a Tuesday evening club run and to keep turning my legs over for another hour ish.

I did have a bit of a scare towards the end of last week with what felt like a slight muscle strain, but it didn't affect me at all during this run, and on Sunday it felt fine also, but on Monday morning I was feeling it. Fortunately I had a massage booked for Monday evening with Daniela, and it was feeling significantly better the next morning, but I have decided to rest it this week totally and not run, which won't do me any harm at this stage of my training I'm sure. But I'm running in the Weston Super Half on Sunday and so I need to be right for that.
Just 4 weeks to go to Manchester now and counting 😲

Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Weekly Running Roundup # 9

Last week saw me doing no running whatsoever! Actually, that isn't exactly correct. The Saturday saw me running to Parkrun, helping with the C25K group, (who actually completed the full course length with a mixture of running and walking), then I ran home for a total of 10 miles. I did a quick turn around at home and then I was off to Haweswater in the Lake District for the weekend.
The Haweswater Hotel

I'd managed a couple of 6 mile walks whilst I was there, in bitterly cold weather with the occasional snow flurry here and there, and then on our final morning we awoke to about 1" (25mm to you metric people) of snow on the ground.

After breakfast we began our journey home along the narrow, snow covered, winding roads towards the main road at Shap, when driving conditions improved and the sun made an appearance.

The rest of the journey was fine although I did drive through a couple of blizzards on the M6 motorway in Staffordshire where visibility was so short I had to turn my fog lights on.

So it was back to work and normality again on Wednesday, and I did think about going out for a run, but the outside temperature was - 4°C and I don't like the cold at the best of times, and I was thinking that I would be stupid to go out running in that, particularly as I usually get a bad, chesty cough at this time of year which keeps me off work for a few days, and at the moment, I can't afford the time off work or running, so I went to the gym and I ran 5 miles on the treadmill.

I don't particularly enjoy running on treadmills, and gyms I find are a bit warm for distance running, but it was better than enduring that cold outside, and particularly as I was running I could see through the window the Lliswerry runners on the track at the stadium, and I didn't envy them at all.

The weather forecast for the next day was for significant amounts of snow beginning in the afternoon until the early hours of Friday, so the running club made the wise decision to cancel that evenings run along with the C25K session. I had to leave work by 2:30 PM as the snow was coming down quite heavily and I had a 30 mile journey home.

And so the snow came down, and my alarm woke me at 05:45 AM as usual and I got out of bed to check on the snow conditions outside, already knowing that there was no way I was going to be able to drive to work that day, and in fact there looked to be about 5" -  6" ( 125 - 150mm) of snow on the road, so I climbed back into bed and checked Facebook to see what others were experiencing.

It snowed for much of Friday and I just watched it through my window, as well as others who had decided to try driving in it but only ended up wheel spinning a lot before giving up trying.

Saturday came and following some on line chat with friends, it appeared that the main roads were now clear but side streets still had lots of snow, and so a few of us decided to walk into town and meet for coffee. The 6 mile walk on the slippery pavements wasn't easy, but I felt I needed the exercise, and walking was better than no exercise at all.

Once home again I decided to clear the path leading to my front door and it turned out that it was approximately 18" deep (450mm ish).

The big melt began on Sunday when the sun made an appearance and the temperature rose to a whopping 7°C. So my running program was now able to resume with the Tuesday evening club run.

Tuesday's club run was titled, "The Estates Run", as it does exactly that, the route takes us through many of the housing estates in the village, and this route also includes the two big hills on College Glade and Trinity View before becoming more level for the rest of the 6.7 mile route.
The Estates Run Route

After having not run properly in over a week, it felt good to get out there and stretch my legs again, and most of my other club friends were saying the same thing.

Due to last weekends snow, the Newport half marathon had to be postponed, as it just wasn't safe to run in those conditions, although a few people did go out and ran the course on that Sunday morning.

The race has been rescheduled for Sunday 18th March, but unfortunately I'm already booked to run in the Weston Super Half, so I have contacted the organisers requesting that my place be deferred to 2019.

Wednesday evening saw Jenny and I back together again for another speed session, and this week it was back to hill reps.

Just a bit hilly 

This coming Saturday morning I was going to run my first of two 20 milers, including the C25K course in that. However, at the weekend I was chatting to Roni of Lliswerry Runners who said that she thought there was a place going at the Fission 20/20 race, and she and a load of others from Lliswerry were taking part in that and did I want her to see if she could get me a place. And so as it happened, there was a place going and it was mine if I wanted it. Well running is far more enjoyable, (for me anyway), as a group and so I agreed to take the place.

My reputation for baking is well known among local runners and so I know that if I don't turn up with cake, I'll be in big trouble, especially with one Lliswerry runner particularly, (she knows who she is 😉 ), and so I'm making a Coca Cola cake, which proved to be a firm favourite at Caerleon RC last year.

Another thing I'm going to make and try are Peanut Butter Energy Balls, a recipe I found on The Running Bug web site. I will let you know how I got on with these, and the race, in next weeks Running Roundup.

And so, until next week guys and girls, keeeeep running.

P.S. Only 4 weeks until Manchester 😲

Friday, 23 February 2018

The Weekly Roundup # 8

I have only had this blog for a few months now, and it does takes a while to establish an audience. I've been checking the statistics and they make interesting viewing, showing that my audience has now increased globally as well as in the UK. Here are the number of views from each country for the last month.

United Kingdom
United States
United Arab Emirates

Thank you for viewing and I hope that you are enjoying reading this blog.

Last Friday evening I went to the gym, as planned, for my core strength session, and man is that tough.

I think that I am now beginning to see some signs of improvement as the first half of the session didn't feel as tough as it has been previously but, in the second half of the session, my abs must have been getting tired as I was definitely struggling.

I have been doing this session with a personal trainer, Deborah, and a young lady by the name of Nadine, who goes to the gym five days each week, usually doing various classes. Deborah had us doing this one exercise in the second half of the session, where Nadine and I were sat facing each other on a mat with her legs between mine. Then Nadine was given a 9lb medicine ball which she had to raise over her head with a sit up movement. I had to do the same movement and then take the ball from her, lay back down and then sit up again and pass the ball back to Nadine. After a good few reps of doing this, my abs were really straining, but I know they are doing me good and will also improve my running also.

Saturday morning was my LSR day. I did the same as last week where I ran the three miles to Parkrun where I helped with the C25K group. This week they did 90 seconds running, 90 seconds walking, 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, then the session was repeated.

Once I'd finished with this group, club mates Sally and Rachel were waiting for me as we had planned a 10 mile loop. We had only run for about 1 mile when Sally complained of having a tight calf. Sally had run 14 miles on Thursday, so maybe she hadn't rested enough? Who knows, but I suggested that as a precaution maybe she should should divert from our route and just have an easy run home. The last thing she needs right now is an injury.

Sally left us and Rachel and I continued down Corporation Rd. It was quite a pleasant run with the weather being kind, (no rain, hooray). We took a path that links up with Nash Rd at Pye Corner and we turned right, then we turned left into Straits Lane, then we turned back to Nash Rd via Broad Street Common. This is all very flat and generally farm land. The Wetlands Reserve is nearby also and we spotted a few large Herons, which are always a nice sight to see, as well as ducks and geese at some of the farms we passed.

The return leg back to our starting point at the Riverfront was uneventful, but I think I was running at a slightly faster pace than Rachel would have preferred, but she did manage to keep up with me.

We then parted company and I began my 3 mile ish run home, keeping my pace nice and easy as I was looking at completing 18 miles, a new distance record for me.

With about a  ½ mile to go, I did contemplate, (very briefly), extending my run to twenty miles, but I then thought better of it, thinking that I shouldn't push too far too soon and that I still had time to get a couple of twenty mile runs in, and so I completed my run, with over 18 miles completed and feeling OK although naturally tired.

I went through my stretching routine outside before heading  inside and running a hot, Epsom Salts bath. Ahhhhhh the relief .

You can see from the chart below that at miles 4, 5 & 6 was where I was with the C25K group. 

Tuesday evenings club run was the Frechfa Frolic. This is an out and back 7 mile route with a long uphill on the out section, which of course means a nice long downhill on the return.

I was pushing myself on this run and my heart rate was in the red zone the whole time, but I did knock 3 minutes off the previous time that I ran this same route, which was at the end of January, so it was only about 3 weeks ago. I reckon my marathon training is making me faster over the shorter distances.

Thursday evening I joined the C25K group at Caerleon with the intention of running 13 miles afterwards. However, my right hamstring had been growling at me all day in work, and it was still growling whilst I was out with the newbies. 

I set off but I only completed about a mile before deciding I'd had enough and I turned around and headed back to my starting point, my hamstring just didn't feel up to it, and with a half marathon looming a little over a week away, I decided that I would be better off resting it. I've put in all the hard work for that and I know that 13 miles will be easy enough so I don't think I will lose anything by not doing that run.

I am going away for a long weekend once I've done Parkrun on Saturday morning with the C25K group and so I may try running there and back, (to Parkrun that is, not the Lake District 😃 ), for a total of 9 - 10 miles, then I shall do the club runs next week, hamstring permitting, and then ready for the race on Sunday.

My hamstring has been growling for some time now and it was bound to shout "stop" at me sooner or later, I'm just glad it was sooner. 

Have a good weekend guys and, keeeeeeeeep running 😃

Friday, 16 February 2018

The Weekly Roundup # 7

I know it's still February, but I've had enough of winter now. Last Thursday's LSR was horrendous, running for three hours in heavy rain, soaked through to the skin and being freezing cold, and Saturday, although not as cold, was very similar with heavy rain.

It all began at 8 AM on Saturday when I left home to run down to the Riverfront to help out with the C25K course at Parkrun. The weather forecast did show rain, and the forecast did turn out to be correct as there was a little bit of rain in the air as I shut my front door behind me, and I was glad that I'd made the decision to wear my waterproof jacket. The three mile ish run was easy enough, and I just took it really easy as I had plenty of time and I was in no rush.

Once again I was helping with the C25K course, and being week # 2 the recruits were running for 1½ minutes, then walking for 2 minutes.

Group # 3 C25K 2018

Again we had a good turn out. There are those that cannot make the group runs on either a Saturday or some during the week, and so they are encouraged to get out and run alone or with friends. I was going to help out with last weeks Thursday evening run but a motorway accident delayed my return home and unfortunately I missed it.

Once we had finished running, the three groups finished their session with stretching and I took my leave and joined up with friends Sally, Rachel and Maddy for a six mile run, which was the same run as the one I posted about last Tuesday.

Still the rain was coming down, although not very hard, and I was feeling alright and enjoying the company and the chat. It is so much nicer to run with others and chat away, you just don't notice the miles ticking by so much.

About an hour later, we had arrived back at our starting point, I said goodbye to my companions and began my final leg, the run home. But by now the rain had begun to come down that much harder and my waterproof jacket was waterproof no more, and I could feel the wet seeping through. My feet were already wet as I had no choice but to run through some puddles, but at least my feet were not cold.

I headed home along the canal as it is a flatter route, and instead of turning into Bettws Lane and following the tarmac footpath into the estate, I carried on along the canal path, partly because I enjoy looking at the wildlife, and partly because I miss a stretch of incline that way, and I'll do anything to miss any kind of hill.

I reached my final point along the canal where I had to cut off and head into the estate, but there was no avoiding one particular stretch of hill.

Finally, 2 hours and 52 seconds after I had begun, I reached my front door and I stopped the GPS on my watch. I was soaked through to the skin but at least I wasn't as cold as I had been on the previous Thursday.

Now that I am running the longer distances, I thought it was time for me to purchase a hydration vest, and my running pals had recommended the Camelbak range, so I had a look on line to see what was available and which type would suit me best. I don't drink a great deal of water during a run, so I didn't need to carry 2 litres of water with me, and to have a vest that had pockets for me to carry keys, phone, mp3 player and any other bits and pieces, including a £10 note in case of emergencies, as well as keeping my hands free, was what I needed, so I ordered the Camelbak Circuit, which appeared to suit my needs perfectly with a 1.5 litre capacity.

This was delivered to my work on Friday and so I was able to try it out on my Saturday run. I have to say that it felt perfect. The bag itself is light and comfortable to wear, (in fact I barely noticed I was wearing it later in the run after I had drunk some of the water from it), and it didn't move on my body at all. I was able to carry everything I needed to within its pockets. Absolutely brilliant!

Another good thing came out of this run, and that was the lack of hip pain. You may remember that I had said previously that I was getting a lot of severe hip muscle pain, (the gluteus minimus), and so for the last couple of runs, I'd done less mileage, as was recommended to me. Well, after last Thursdays run with Tracey, I had no hip pain at all, only a light, dull ache, possibly due to the much slower pace? So that got me thinking that maybe I'm trying to run too quickly, and that is why I'm getting the pain, so I would do the same on this run, and I deliberately slowed my pace, and blow me if it didn't work, I had no pain at all, only a light, dull ache which I can cope with. So now my confidence has been boosted and I can see no reason why I can't make 20 miles in training. 

Tuesday's club run was called, "Eddie's pub run", because it passes most of the pubs in Caerleon. It's a simple route that incorporates many of our other club winter routes.

Each mile got quicker

With only a few hundred metres to go to the finish, I could hear running footsteps fast approaching from behind me, which could only have come from one of the faster runners in the 7 PM group catching me. There was no way I wanted to be overtaken by one of these guys and so I accelerated and probably ran the fastest 200 - 300m of my life. The runner behind me was Matthew and when I checked the stats on Strava later, I had run that segment in 06:22.

Jenny and I have missed our speed sessions the last two weeks as Jenny has been unwell with a dicky chest and a cough. But on Wednesday evening we got back down to it with one of our usual Fartlek sessions, running loops at the Riverfront, but this time we were also joined by Ann from Caerleon running club. So it was a fast pace along the long straights, then a slow recovery as we crossed the bridges.

My heart rate graph shows it was up and down like a yoyo 

Thursday is usually the club speed session, but lately I've had weekend commitments and so I've had to do my long run on a Thursday evening, but this week I'm going to do that on Saturday. So after having helped out with the C25K group last night, I joined my club mates to do 400m sprint reps on the Caerleon cycle track. 

Looking at that heart rate graph, I barely touched the red zone 5 area, which I find surprising. At the end of last year or the beginning of this year I'm sure it would have been up there in the red. But I have noticed that my heart rate has steadily been falling and my speed has been increasing, so it is all good.

This evening I am going to the gym to do a core strength session, then Saturday morning will see me running to Parkrun to help with the C25K group before putting in some long miles on my run home.

So until next week guys and gals, keeeeeeep running 😃

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Interview with Daniela Gormley of Advanced Sport Massage

I first came across Daniela in early 2016 after I had sustained a calf injury the previous November. I had been on a Tuesday evening club run and I was a couple of miles from home when I pulled up with a calf muscle strain and had to limp back to my starting point. I gave the muscle good time to heal and I didn't try to run again until I was off work for the Christmas break, but as soon as I got to the three mile mark, my calf went again, and this kept happening and I just couldn't seem to get past three miles, no matter how slowly I ran.

Daniela was brought to my attention after I had asked advice from my fellow runners at the running club who suggested I see a sport therapist, I was given Daniela's phone number and so I contacted her and I made an after work appointment to see her.

She was very good! Daniela explained what was going on with my calf and showed me in a picture which muscles were giving me the problem and she set to work on it. She was firm without being brutal and she chatted to me all the while. Daniela also gave me advice as to what I could do to help myself, with stretching exercises and slow recovery runs.

I was going to see Daniela every two weeks and found improvement was going on, but then I would have another set back, so I tried several other things to help myself. I bought a foam roller, did more stretching, tried compression socks to help support the muscles and improve blood flow, and I changed my trainers also, shying away from cheap trainers to something much more expensive, and I did notice the difference. Later I also changed the compression socks, on Daniela's advise, to a good quality calf guard.

All of these things put together, the change in equipment, Daniela's recovery running advice, and her massages did the trick, and in March 2017 I took part, and completed, (without injury), the Newport half marathon, and I followed that up with completing a further six half marathons that year.

I was still going back to see Daniela every 2 - 3 weeks for a maintenance massage and I feel that I have really benefited from that, and Daniela was noticing the difference in my muscles too, which weren't so tight as they had been when I first began to be treated by her. Daniela has always advocated maintenance massages, and not for athletes to see her only when they have an issue.

Daniela is also a runner, having competed in many races, including marathons, but she absolutely loves trail and fell running, and so she loves running up and down hills, and she doesn't like running on flat courses at all, which she finds boring. She has also done wild water swimming and plays hockey for a local team, so when it comes to running, she has a vast amount of experience.

Here is the interview.

Daniela, what made you take up running?

I started running in Hereford , I used to climb gym aerobics 5/6 days a week and I knew many local runners who used to head off from the river steps. It was on one of these evenings where I met the Wye Valley Runners and I took up the sport.

My first run was with Harry Franklin, 6 miles along the river to the springs mostly path off road ( I think I was 25 and a late starter)

I know you belong to Griffithstown Harriers in Cwmbran, what do you like about being part of a club?

I think running with Griffithstown Harriers has kept me competing as I don’t think I would race as much if I didn’t belong to a club.  This year I won the Club championship, 1st female over 45 and 1st Female overall !

I know you enjoy running off road, what is it about off road that you find so appealing?

I started off road running when I moved to Torfaen and I found that there were several fab off road routes to do.  As a New Years resolution I took it upon myself to do a fell race and contacted the Welsh Fell Runners who told me of a race, and with only 2 weeks notice I ran the Darren in Risca and I was hooked. The 2nd was Llanbedr to Blaenavon, 15 miles over Crug Mawr, Sugar Loaf and Blorenge. I was about 30 I think !

I do like to mix up my running and over the next 2 years I will be heading more off road, and trying out some trail races . I recently did a night race and I have plans to do much more.

Do you take part in any other sports or use a gym?

I should cross train more but currently I do 3 runs per week, 1 strength training session, (which I had neglected doing for 2 years 😱) and I play hockey usually once a week. In the summer I replace hockey usually with some swimming and once feeling stronger in the water I do a bit of out door swimming in the rivers Usk or Wye.

Please tell me about your Advanced Sport Massage business. Why and how did you get started?

I started my Advanced Sports Massage business when I was injured. I couldn’t train at all, no swimming, biking, nothing due to a pelvis injury, I had multiple stress fractures. So after climbing the walls and after watching more TV than I could possibly face, I decided to do something with my time and there was a Sports therapy course, which was just what the doctor ordered ( although the doctors didn’t diagnose what was wrong with me for 18 long months). 

So self fixed and qualified, I started up my business, and I haven’t looked back.  Each year I do 2 courses to add to my knowledge and I learn new techniques which I can pass onto my clients.
This year I did a sports taping course with Welsh rugby player, Sam Warburton  and last weekend I spent on a mountain in North Wales doing a 2 day first aid course.

Your business appears to have grown greatly since I have known you. Do you have any future goals for this business? Expansion maybe?

I was thinking about business direction, and unusually for me it doesn’t have one . I am just happy to be day to day helping out with peoples questions on injuries, strains, pulls etc. I never know what treatment is coming next and I have dealt with compressed trapped nerves in the neck to rehabbing knees after serious surgery, to multiple crash whiplash trauma and clients with on going issues to help eliminate or reduce pain or movement limitations.

I am happy just being as I am. I pay my bills and I have a bit left over, enough for race entry and 1 or 2 holidays a year, which is enough for me .

Thank you Daniela, you certainly helped me through my injury problems, and without your help and guidance I would probably have given up running altogether, and I am happy to say that you are not only my sport therapist, but you have also become a good friend.

If you feel you would benefit from Daniela's services, she can be contacted on 07595 218994 or, see her Facebook Page for details.

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Weekly Roundup #6

Last Saturday was the first day of the new C25K course at Newport's Riverfront Parkrun. Numbers had been restricted to 100 and a good crowd certainly turned up and were split into three groups with group leaders giving the new recruits a talk about what to expect.

Once the main Parkrun had started, the recruits set off themselves, with a five minute walking warm up, followed by one minute of running and two minutes of walking, then repeated seven times, and they all did very well.

I did need to do my own run though and so I ran from home to the Riverfront, and then after Parkrun, I ran home too.

You can see the huge dip in my heart rate whilst running with the C25K recruits

Sunday was the GLCL XC race hosted by Usk running club. This was the fourth of five races and was a mixture of muddy tracks, soft ground, steep uphills and downhills. It was tough but I did enjoy it, and I must be getting better at XC, or maybe I'm getting fitter because on my last XC I was the last Caerleon runner to cross the finish. This time I had two other guys behind me, hooray 😅

You can see the four times I ran up that hill

Tuesday evening is normally club night, but some of my friends and I decided to do a run on our own, for old times sake. Most of us are into marathon training at the moment, so it was nice to run at an easy pace and chat most of the way around our chosen route.

Thursday evening was my chance for a LSR, so I met up with Tracey at the CRC club house and off we trotted to head down to the riverfront, where we picked up the route in the picture above from Tuesday's run, although we extended this a little.

By the time we reached the SDR bridge to cross the river, the rain was coming down heavily, and as we turned into Corporation Rd, it was smack in our faces and freezing cold.

A couple of miles further on and Tracey was complaining of having numb toes. Apparently this is something she gets regularly during a run, but as we were now into new mileage territory for her, her toes were becoming increasingly more uncomfortable, so by the time we'd completed the return Riverfront stretch, with a little over three miles to go, she was in some serious discomfort and we had to walk some and then run some. And because of this, we got colder too. In fairness to Tracey, we really didn't do a lot of walking, she was a real trooper.

By the time we reached our cars, I couldn't feel my hands, they were so cold, and that was with wearing gloves, and I couldn't bend my fingers. I struggled to remove my car key from my rear pocket of my leggings because of this, and also the uncontrollable shivering. And I couldn't turn off the GPS on my watch so it recorded my drive home as well. 

Once home and I eventually stopped shivering, I synced my watch to the Polar app and it recorded a distance of 18.7 miles, which of course included my drive home, but looking at the data, it appears that we actually ran about 13.9 miles, and it took us about three hours, which is slow for me, but I promised that I would get Tracey around 13 miles, and as a relatively newbie runner who completed C25K only last year, it was only to be expected. 

So what is next in my running calendar? This evening, (Friday), I have a core session at the gym. Then tomorrow I will do a longer run with the C25K group run in between, so I'm thinking of setting off from home early, doing 9 miles before C25K, then with the run home I should be able to complete about 13 - 14 miles.

Friday, 2 February 2018

The Weekly Running Roundup #5

Friday was a rest day, but I did have the Casnewydd Championship dinner and awards ceremony to attend at the Holiday Inn, Newport. This is a dress up do with a lighthearted feel.

The Casnewydd Championship is a competition run between Lliswerry Runners and Caerleon Running Club, and there are awards for best in age groups over certain races, and also for those that have improved the most from the previous year. Unfortunately I wasn't up for any prizes.

There were only a token few from Caerleon there, and Carl said that he felt like a gatecrasher, and I understood how he felt. We were seriously outnumbered there. Maybe it would be worthwhile, now that CRC is a much larger club than it was when I joined it three years ago, for us to have our own annual dinner/dance and awards ceremony. Currently we dish out the club awards at the AGM after the main business has been concluded. Food for thought my CRC friends?

Saturday is Parkrun day, and the day was a bit gloomy and drizzly.

Because I was racing the following day, I wanted to conserve some energy, so I didn't extend my distance by running too and from the Riverfront.

Sally asked me if I would mind running with her 10 year old son Euan? He was complaining that his mum isn't running fast enough, and as I am faster than Sally, I was her obvious choice, I guess. In the end, Tony Derrick was there also so the three of us ran together.

Riverfront Parkrun is becoming more popular now, regularly exceeding 300 participants, so the Z bend by the theatre is now becoming a little tight. In hindsight, maybe we should have started closer to the front of the pack, as Euan was looking for a 25:30 ish finish, and we did get held up a little here.

After the turn around point, I felt it was time to open up the taps and drive us home to a good finish. The pace kept increasing and with just about 800 metres to go, my left shoe lace came undone, but I wasn't about to stop and tie it up. Euan accelerated, and with him being under 11 years old, the rules are that he has to keep within arms reach of a responsible adult, so Tony and I had no choice but to try and keep up with him. My God that was tough! And boy can that kid run.

We didn't get the PB that Euan wanted, in fact we were a good minute off it. I think a change of tactics are what is required.

  1. Start closer to the front of the pack
  2. Run with a faster pacer 😂

You can see that slow 1st mile, then consecutive miles getting faster.

Aprez Parkrun with Euan at the front

Lliswerry 8
This is a 8 mile, totally flat race run around the country lanes on the south eastern side of Newport, beginning at Nash school. It was the 33rd year for this event but my first time running this.

I really wasn't sure what my pace was likely to be, but I thought I would aim for 9 minute miles and see how I got on. That would give me a finishing time of about 1 hour and 12 minutes, and I was happy with that. So I headed off to the starting pen for the 9 minute and overs where a few of the CRC ladies were.

The start came and I headed off and got myself quickly into a nice pace, but hoping that it wasn't going to be too quick. I was quickly overtaking many people, leaving the CRC girls behind and catching up with others in front of me, all of which I overtook. I had set up my watch to show me my estimated finishing time, and in the first mile it was showing a 1 hour 9 minute finish.

After the first mile I had settled into a really nice pace and my watch was now showing a 1 hour 7 minute finish time.

We reached the turn around point, which was new for this year due to road works on the usual route, and I could see fellow club mates Steve and Mark ahead of me, both who I managed to pass in the next half mile.

With just two miles to go, I was beginning to feel the first signs of tiredness in my legs. My watch was still showing a 1 hour 7 minute finish so I couldn't slow down now. Besides which, up ahead I could see three more CRC purple shirts, and they were my next target to reach and overtake.

I was just inside the final mile when I overtook Michael, and I could see up ahead that Morris was running with, and encouraging Charlene to the finish.

With just a few hundred metres left, the school in sight, and crowds of supporters lining the road, I was feeling strong and I had caught up with a guy, who had a lady in front of him, but because we had been guided by the marshals onto the pavement, I was unable to get past on this narrow section until we turned into the school and the finish line was clearly in sight. I accelerated into a sprint and overtook the guy and set my sights on the girl, who had also accelerated into a sprint. The guy I had just overtaken,  obviously disgruntled that this short, old guy had overtaken him, tried to get past me again and was right on my shoulder, but I managed to hold him off but I was just short of catching the girl. What a finish! Phew.

The route

My pace
You see it also says my 2nd best 10k time, my PB being 48 minutes at the Torfaen (Mic Morris) 10k, which is mostly downhill.

It's meeeeee 😃

Jo & Michelle

Sam, Sally & Claire

Griffithstown Harriers friends, Andrew and Jenny

Me turning into the home straight

Some of the CRC crew enjoying tea & cake

Striking the Steve H pose in our race finishers shirts
Sally, Sam, Claire & myself

This weeks Tuesday club run was the Frechfa Frolic, a seven mile out and back course. It's pretty much straight forward, beginning fairly flat before it makes its merry way uphill for a fair old while. Once at the top, you touch the railing by the dual carriageway and head on home.

I wasn't sure whether to run with the faster 7PM start bunch or, the 6:45 slower group, as I'm somewhere in between speed wise. So I came up with a plan, my own challenge, to go with the slower group and ensure I was the last to start, then to try and catch the lead runners before we ended up back at the club house.

All was going well and on the outward bound leg and I caught and past a couple of groups and I could see that I was slowly beginning to catch the lead group.

At the top of the hill is a bus stop shelter and this group had stopped there, rather than carry on down the path 100 metres or so to the railing by the dual carriageway, as I did. By the time I reached the bus stop shelter again, that group had gone and I couldn't see them ahead of me in the dark misty drizzle. The next couple of miles were going to be level or downhill so hopefully I may just be able to catch them.

With about 1 ½ miles to go, I could see the red lights on the runners backs in the distance and I pushed hard, determination driving my legs.

Coming to Forge Close, and the final hill ahead of me, this final group were now within range and I pushed hard up the hill, and I knew that once over the brow, I could catch them. They turned off Ponthir Rd and into the final 100 metres on Usk Rd when I reached the rear runner. The road behind me was clear so I ran onto the road and past this group before jumping back onto the pavement and slowing down ready for a final, easy jog back to the club house.

I'm taking part in a 1000 mile challenge, which is exactly what it says, to run 1000 miles in 2018. So far it's going good, is all I will say.

Thursday lately has been "long run day" as my weekends have been too busy to do this. Last Week Tania joined me for part of my run and it was lovely having the company, so much more enjoyable than running alone, with only my music and my thoughts for company. So this week I put a call out on the Caerleon running club Facebook group page and a couple of ladies responded.

Sarah and Tracey are newbie runners, having come through the C25K course, then the 5210K course. Last Sunday they ran the Lliswerry 8 and this was the first time that they had run over 10k. They wanted to push themselves up to 10 miles as in four weeks time they will be running in the Newport half marathon, which I will also be running in. So I devised an "out and back" route, heading from Caerleon to the Riverfront in Newport, over the SDR bridge, back along the opposite side of the river, then follow the same route home.

Tracey was beginning to struggle a little by 8 miles as she'd developed a sore ache on one foot, possibly due to her trainers? But she carried on and I made sure she finished running, and not walking. Well done ladies, it was a pleasure running with you, I am sure that they will have no problem finishing the half marathon.

A very easy pace for me but challenging for the ladies

I don't think I've ever seen my heart rate so low on a run

This evening I have a core session at the gym, Saturday is Parkrun and the start of a new C25K course, so I am helping out with that, which means I wouldn't get much running in so, I'm going to run to and from the Riverfront which will get me at least 6 miles in. Then on Sunday it is the penultimate GLCL cross country race, this time being held at Usk.

I shall be reporting on all of these next week, so until then fellow runners, keeeeeep running 😃.

The Weekly Running Roundup # 10

Last Saturday was my biggest test of my fitness as I took on the Fission 20/20. This is actually two races using the same course, one race i...