Monday, 25 February 2013

Huddersfield 10k tough route but a brilliant day

This was it, today was the day I took part in my first big race. Well I say race it was more like a try and keep up, if you can.

The race was due to start at 11 and we were still faffing about looking for things and eating breakfast at 10.20. We managed to leave the house at 10.30 and by 10.45 Sarah-Jane and the boys had dropped me off at the race. They were gonna go find a playground for the boys to play in then meet me back at the finish at 12pm. The start/Finish straight was the drive of the Rugby club and health club which had the river running parallel to it which made it a nice Start/Finish. As this was my first big race I had no idea what I was suppose to do at this point. Did I need to register or tell someone I was here. I worked out for myself that I didn't and then my next question was what sort of warm up to do? There was lots of people doing different warm ups from sprints to stretches and power walking to jogging around the Rugby pitch. I'm always a bit self conscious when it comes to stretches in front of others, as I'm worried I'm doing it wrong and they look at me like "what on earth is he doing?" I did a few stretches and a bit of walking around that was fine by me as a warm up. On my walk about I came across a list of all the people in the race and they had reached their 600 limit. There was also a merchandise area with all sorts of equipment and clothing available, luckily for me I didn't bring any money with me. As 11 drew close everyone started to make there way to the start, followed by lots of jokes about not starting at the front so they don't get overtaken by too many people.

There was a small speech by the starter, who introduce everyone to a blind lady who had guide runner with her. Then we were off and after a slight delay we crossed the start line, as we reached the bottom of the rear entrance driveway a bloke in front if a couple of us went over in his ankle. Tough guy he just carried on he was determined and after a bit of hopping was off and I never saw him again. The traffic was stopped whilst all 600 of us got a head start up the main road to Meltham. There was a good 2 mile steady hill in front of us up to Netherton, then a half mile downhill. This was needed just so you could catch your breath as the next hill was a beast and as steep as you can imagine a road could be. I knew it was coming and as I starting up it I slowed appropriately as not to burn myself out even if it was only halfway and I had plenty of energy still. As I mentioned it was a beast and about 5 metres from the top a Lady stopped and walked which somewhere I'm my brain said I was allowed to do the same. I started walking and as I reached the top I could feel my stomach go and I knew it was inevitable I was going to throw up I pulled over and as I reach the 3 mile marker I thru up. I couldn't believe it I've never thrown up from exercise before and was slightly disheartened, but after a little bit more walking I was running again. After a couple of corners there was a downhill and another chance to get my breath back. Then there was another steep hill not as steep as the last but longer and about halfway up I walked again. I was about 32 mins into the run and this was the course record time for completing it never mind begin 4 and a bit miles in. At the top of the hill was Netherton again and from here we crossed over to Armitage bridge which involved a very steep downhill and I'm sure there were a few fallers on this bit and a few runners coming down with windmill arms. At the bottom there was a small diversion through a car park to add a few hundred metres to the run and then there was a small and final climb up to woodhead rd. this was the final mile and final stretch of the run, I decided to try and pick up the pace to finish on a high. I managed to overtake a few on the way down to Lockwood and as I entered the drive way onto the finish straight I tried sprint finish but it was more like a jog with added grunts. As I crossed the line I turned my App off and was told to keep walking so I didn't block the road. I joined the cue to get my bottle of water and my T-Shirt whilst waiting I looked at my time and I had completed it in 57mins. At first I was really disappointed but taking into account the 2 walks and the throwing up incident I was a bit happier with the time.

I Rang Sarah-Jane to find out where she and the boys were and they were just coming up the drive way. Dexter ran up to me and gave me a big hug which was ace, then said they had been waiting halfway round the route looking for me and cheering others on whilst waiting for me. We missed each other somehow and as they said they were halfway round the route I had to confess my throwing up incident to them in case they were bluffing and waiting for me to come clean. They weren't and I had come clean oh well it was always gonna go in the blog. On the way back to the car at the end if the drive Dexter decided he needed a wee so I sent him up a little bank and behind a tree to wee but he choose to wee towards all the people leaving at the same time so they got 1 last treat before they left.

It was a great day and a great experience and I will almost definitely do it again next year. But training now goes on and it's 3 weeks till my run the Shepley First School Fun Run, it's getting close. But most of all its getting exciting and we're still getting people signing up.....

Keep running everyone.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Saturday morning run in my new shoes

It had been over a week since my last run and my PB run of 10 miles. It snowed again on our usual run day (Monday) do we didn't get out and then we were pretty busy Tuesday and Wednesday. Rob and I would have normally gone out on Thursday but Rob was working away and for once I could be bothered. We had planned to run and it would have been quite funny to have run together on valentines day and leave our other halves at home. It didn't happen so the next time we had planned for a run was Saturday and the Fun Run 10k route.

Friday came and so did a taste of spring the sun was out and the temperature was almost mild. Clark and I went to pick Dexter up from school and met Sarah-Jane there, and from there we went to Meadowhall to buy me some new running shoes. After a good 20 mins looking at the same 20 pairs of shoes I choose 3 that I liked, all Brooks (who I'd never heard of before). After trying them on I went with the Brooks Ghost GTX as the felt like slippers on my feet. I was now looking forward to the run in the morning even more. When we got back home I wore my new shoes for an hour or 2 to try and break them in a bit and to get my feet used to them and because I'm 12 years old still.

Saturday came and Rob came to pick me up and we drove to Windmill Nursery cafe which is the new start to the Shepley First School Fun Run. This would be the first time Rob would run the 10k route and it would also be his first 10k this year. We started well keeping a low 5 min pace and within no time had passed 3km, this is the first point on the route where i plan to have a water station for the Fun Run. It is also the start of the 1km uphill that drains your energy quite a bit, not too much so you wanna give in but enough so that when it does level out you slow for a minute to get your breath back. It was just round the corner when we hit 5km and my new lovely shoes started to cause me some pain. OH NO. It was slightly rubbing on the arch of my left foot, I could still run on it so carried on but I had to stop 1km later. I tried to adjust my foot in my shoe and tied my laces tighter to see if it helped. I got a couple of hundred metres further on and had to stop again it was too tight, so I loosened my laces again and just had to put up with it. We reached the location of the second water station or at least where it will be in 4 weeks time. It is at the 7.5km mark and also the halfway point of the 5km Route. It was a lovely day and the views around us were fantastic which made the last climb a bit more bearable, at 8km Rob started to tail off a bit and at 8.5km had to stop. Rob had developed a blister on the ball of his right foot and his legs were a bit tired so we walked for a little bit. I didn't mind too much as we had stopped just under the windmills and I think the noise they produce and the scale of them are amazing. We got going again and finished the run in 56 mins which considering we stopped 3 times wasn't bad at all. After a little breather Rob drove me to stables and dropped me off with Sarah-Jane and the boys. It wasn't until I got home that I could assess the damage to my foot and it was a quite impressive blister. It was about an inch wide and about an inch and a half long, it's a good job the shoes come with a 30 day guarantee. I will try and run in them again on Monday to see if it was just because they were new but if it still cause some pain it's back to Meadowhall for them.

It is now 1 week until the Huddersfield 10k , 4 weeks until the Shepley First School Fun Run and 10 weeks till the big one the Yorkshire Warrior.

Keep running everyone.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Yorkshire Warrior and Great North Run

Yesterday was a really good day for my fitness regime and targets for the year. I arrived home from picking Dexter up from school and checked my phone as I had received email on the way home. I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised, I wasn't expecting any news on this until today. I got a email from Bupa congratulating me on entry into the great north run on 15th Sept 2013. I was really happy and instantly put a photo on Facebook to share with friends and family. It was only then that it occurred to me I was gonna have to get there and early so might have to sort out a hotel for the night before travel to the race in the morning and probably a whole lot if stuff I don't even realise yet. I'm still excited thou and that carried on through to my run last night.

I was due to run with Rob but he was stuck at work, so I was in my own. I was running with an extra spring in my step because of the news of the great north run and probably because I had remembered to eat something too. When I normally run I find that around 8km I hit a wall and have to dig in for a bit. This time however my App told me I had completed 9km and it was only then that I realised I hadn't hit my usual wall. This also gave me a boost and I started running with an added vigour, and before I new it I was at 12km still feeling great. With my Endomondo App friends of mine can send me messages or pep talks as I'm running which is a really cool feature. As I completed lap 5 and 14km I got a message from Sarah-Jane asking if I was coming home. As I had past my previous best of 14km I was feeling ace and still wasn't feeling the run too much, so I took her message as a joke. I soon realised that I had been running a while and that she was probably being serious. So I decided that even if I was on a brilliant run I was gonna complete 1 more lap and 16km then go home. I wanted to complete 16km or 10 miles as this was the distance of the Yorkshire Warrior run that were signed up for in April. I managed it in a respectable 1hr30 and was in slight pain but nothing unusual after a long run. I kept thinking to myself that I could quite easily do another 5km to make it a half marathon. Not this time but I think I could do it if I had the time another day. I was glad I had done a Yorkshire Warrior distance now with plenty of time to the run as I now have time to prepare for the obstacles that I will have to do as well as the distance. All I have to do now is help Rob to that distance and we'll probably have to drag Luke to that distance. Luke is gonna have to pull his finger out and start running again soon or he won't make the 10k Shepley First School fun run.

I gained another confirmed runner yesterday too and I'm getting close to the magical 30 mark. I say that but I would have been happy if only 10 ran, its going to be brilliant whatever happens.

Keep Running everyone

Monday, 4 February 2013

Practise run of the 10k route

I had been trying to get this practise run done for about a month now, but things kept getting in the way or taking priority. I had put it on Facebook that I was thinking about doing it this weekend but no one seemed interested in running it with me. This was until I sent a group email out to all the runners of the Shepley First School Fun Run. I sent them all the new route map as we have changed the Start/Finish line location. Then I got a reply from Andrew Jagger asking if I was running the route soon. Now I would have told him that I was planning on running it this Sunday, but as things always seem to come up and I didn't know him too well I didn't want to agree to run with him only to let him down if things changed. As things turned out, I did manage to run the 10k route this past Sunday. Since we had to say goodbye to Sarah-Janes horse FeeBee, Dexter and Clarks ponies have been up at stables so we all jumped in the van and head up to stables around 10am. As the 10k route is nearby I jumped out to run it and Sarah-Jane took the boys to see the ponies at stables.

I didn't start the route from the new Start/Finish line but from the turning point of the new 5k route. I did this as it was the easiest and closest point to stables and so I could check the distance of the 5k route whilst running the 10k route. The idea of the practise run was to make sure the distances were about right and that the places I had in mind for the Marshals were ok and had space for the Marshals to park a car too. So they have somewhere to wait and so the can get off as soon as they last runner has passed them safely, without having to walk back to the start/finish line.

The weather was a bit drizzly and windy but not too cold, it's the kind of weather we might get on the day of the fun run in a worse case scenario (praying that it doesn't snow). This gave me an opportunity to wear my new running coat that Sarah-Jane bought me for Christmas. I set off on the run heading towards the Windmill Nursery cafe (Start/Finish line) and as usual when I run on my own set off too quick and had done 2km in just over 9 mins. Way too quick for my usual pace and this early in the run. I passed the windmills and their buzzing noise they give off is slightly off putting but it is a spectacular sight. As I reached the Windmill Nursery Cafe I stopped to check on my Endomondo App that the distance of the 5k route was ok. It was 2.7km from where I had started and from where I think the turn around point was gonna be. 2.7km wasn't too bad at all, I could put the turn around a bit closer so it is exactly 5km but at 2.7km is a very good place for a water station. I also took a couple of photos whilst I was stopped, they aren't the best photos because of the drizzly weather but you can just make out the windmills. I stood around too long messing about with my App and photos which lead to my calf cramping up and I had to stretch it out before I could carry on. Once I got running again I came to the bottom of the hill and was faced with the steep hill back up to the viewing point at the southern end of the run. It's quite daunting as you reach the bottom of the hill as you can see the road back up, it seems to get bigger and steeper as you get there. Once your on it if you keep your head down and just push on you don't notice it too much and before you know it your at the top. From this point I was thinking I would be a steady downhill and by the time I came to the next uphill I could take it at a nice steady pace. As always I'm so wrong or miss judge other factors. For instance the wind, I was running head first into the wind which made it hard on the flats. This zapped my energy and when it came to the uphill up to windmill lane, my legs felt twice as heavy. It was at that point that I thought we should have a second water station at the bottom of the hill. By the time I had reached the junction to windmill lane I was really struggling with my pace, and I still had 2.5km to go. As I hit 8km I was again on a steady downhill on the final part of the run, this part winds down a road that is very quite and has about 4 homes on it which must be about 3/4 million each. My envy was blown away and as was I nearly by the big gusts of wind that were trying to cram themselves down my throat. It wasn't until I reached the end of Birds nest rd that the winds let up. I rounded the corner and hit 9km still on a bad pace of 6+ mins, but at this point I didn't care I just wanted to finish the run. I trundled on and completed the run which overall was good but harder than I remember from last year when I ran it with FeeBee (and Sarah-Jane). From there I ran down the road to stables to meet back up with Sarah-Jane and the boys, but I almost didn't make it as I had to climb over the gate to stables and almost didn't have the energy. I manage it and completed 10.79k in 1hr a bit slow but worth it.

I know why I was so tired and my legs were heavy, this is because and I know it obvious but I had no breakfast. I'm so used to not having breakfast that when I need to have breakfast I tend to forget and only remember when it's too late. I'll have to get back in to the routine of having breakfast if I'm gonna do more morning runs especially for the Fun Run. Overall thou the run was good and a challenge, we don't want it to be easy now do we. I checked out everything I wanted to and everything seem good. The water stations will be in good places, the Marshal will be situated alright with enough space for parking etc. The surrounding views and windmills are all spectacular and as the Fun Run will be as spring will be kicking in, it should make it more picturesque.

We now have 27 confirmed runners with a few still to hand in their forms. It's looking good for my first attempt at an organised run, and should be a great day what ever happens.

I paused for a while whilst writing this so I could go out for another run with Rob even if it was raining a little. It just shows how far I've come in my running and fitness, 2 runs in 2 days is a new experience for me and its amazing that my body and I were fine with it. What my body wasn't ready for was the rain to change to snow and then back to rain and then to hail and really strong gusts of really cold wind. This was all topped by the thunder and lighting crashing and bashing around us and at 1 point was directly above us. We were both surprised at how well we were doing considering we had both been busy this weekend, I had done obviously done the run yesterday and today whilst Rob had done his first bike ride of the year, 35 miles over the hills and back. As well as crashing his bike won't tell you how its a bit embarrassing, you'll have to ask him yourself.

We did a lap of Shelley park and a lap of Shepley so we did 7.64km by the end of the run and if the weather wasn't so bad we probably would have done another lap and completed a 10km run. We were both pleased with what we had done so we finished on a high, which is always good.

Keep running everyone