My niggly calf restricted the mileage again this week. In my ideal World, I would be running between 60 and 70 miles five weeks out from the marathon. However, there is no point pushing it when your body is creaking.
As it was pay-day this week, I treated myself to some more new Hoka running shoes. I shamefully admit that I now have 6 pairs on the go. My new ones are Tracers, light in weight and hopefully imbued with speed. I gave them a debut run-out at Woodhouse Moor parkrun yesterday.
Back in the day, I was part of the furniture at Woodhouse Moor, I hardly ever missed a week. Ten years ago, there weren’t any alternative parkruns to go to. It was nice to go back and I got a lovely cheery greeting from Anne Akers, one of the great stalwarts of WHM. I also bumped into Tom and Helen Williams, who were instrumental in establishing the event all those years ago.
In the early days, I ran around the moor each Saturday morning with fewer than a hundred fellow parkrunners, it was like belonging to a wonderful secret club. The cat is firmly out of the bag now though. Nearly 600 ran yesterday, the course got very congested and it was difficult to really blast around on the final lap. I’m certainly not complaining; parkrun is for everyone.
I caught up with an old mate Al Chapman on the start line. Al and I have had many a battle around the moor over the years, usually finishing within a few seconds of each other. I saw that he did a great run at Thirsk last Sunday – running a 10 mile PB of just over 60 minutes, so I knew he was in good nick.
I wasn’t feeling hugely confident in either my calf or my form, so I set off a little steadier than I normally do and hoped to build into it. Its a three lap course, and I ran the first mile in 6:03. Al was behind me, but as we passed the finish for the first time he stepped on it and surged past me strongly. I clung onto him during lap 2 (6:06), but the elastic was approaching breaking point as we wove through the field on the final lap (6:05).
A sprint at the end brought me back within 4 seconds of Al and I finished in 18:31 for an 80% age grade and ninth place, which I was happy with. Hopefully, I will run a bit quicker than that at the Even Splits 5K race this coming Wednesday evening.
Today I joined a group of Valley Strider team mates doing a variety of long runs on the Leeds-Liverpool canal towpath at various paces. I ran with our fastest lady, Myra, who has a marathon in 3 weeks – Ian and Joel ran with us for part of the way..
I stupidly forgot to take any nutrition and I bonked spectacularly after 20 miles, Myra left me trailing in her dust as she sped up and ran some sub 7 minute miles at the end. Still, I did what I had to do – I ran for exactly 3 hours to the second and covered 22 and a half miles.
LM -5 weeks
11 stone 4.2 lbs
40.1 miles, longest run 22.5 miles
Aerobic efficiency on long run : 1,000 beats per mile
Parkrun : Woodhouse Moor 18:31 (9th)
RunBritain Ranking 2.87 (+0.1) (MV50 rank 226)