It’s been over 4 weeks now since I did Race to the Stones 100k and in that time I have raced 7 times, hence the use of #nevernotracing frequently on Twitter and Instagram recently. Now I know I’m not literally always racing but at times I do feel like I’m in a race I would call a “Race to personal bests”. Now it’s obviously hard to predict when you will run your best race and manage your best results, I may have already done so, but realistically I still have a few years to get quicker and reach my potential. This is incredibly exciting as I look forward to finding out how far and fast I can run but it’s also daunting how quickly time goes by and that the time to get quicker will run out.
As some of you may have read in previous posts I raced Southwark parkrun and the Harry Hawkes 10 miler the week after RTTS. I then ran multiple 10k laps for the Adidas Thunder Run in the Advent Running team. After TR24 I got some speed work in at Track Tuesday before racing again on Thursday 30th July. It was the Assembly League race around Victoria Park. I had done this race in May previously so knew what to expect and knew roughly what time I was capable of. Having done quite a few miles in the lead up to this race I was thinking “I’ll just take it steady” in other words “I’m going to push it, see how the run progresses and then knacker myself out!” I ended up finishing in 19:15 in 22nd place, beating the time I got in May by 2 seconds.
On the Friday I did the Advent Escape the City/Reclaim Darkness trail run in Epping Forest and definitely didn’t get lost. The next day Lorna and I decided to head to Epping Forest and take part in the Orion Harriers Forest Five. I’m lucky enough to hear about these races through one of my work colleagues Mary who is basically a running and racing Encyclopaedia, especially when it comes to Orion Races. The race was as it says on the tin, five miles through the forest. It was great weather and despite a late night due to the AR trail run I was feeling good. Lorna and I felt a bit odd racing amongst all the club runners but we more than stood our own. I thoroughly enjoyed the cross country/trail course and despite a few ups and downs managed to hold just over 6 min/mile pace to finish in 30:30 finishing in 9th place just behind Neil from Victoria Park Harriers. I kind of used him as a pacer. This was the second Orion Race I’ve finished just behind him in 9th having done the same in the 5k Fell Race a month or so ago. Lorna smashed the 5 miler despite the fact she had completed the Snowdonia Half Marathon the previous Sunday. She finished in the top 10 females in 35:35 which was amazing considering the number of club runners there. The only way to celebrate such a good running performance was to go for one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Can’t remember the name of the place, but I’ll be back!
On the Sunday it was strange but I DID NOT race. Instead I ran in to run with Advent running and then I carried on and ran to Primrose Hill with Freya and Paola. So still a fair bit of running was done. This has resulted in the appearance of the hashtag #RestSchmest on the odd occasion. I’m not saying I don’t need rest but to be honest if I can run I’m going to do it. Also then when a rest day comes about it’s extra nice and I generally feel tip-top the day after. Also running back to back days means I’m increasing my pain threshold, stamina and endurance and almost replicating how I will feel, knackered, near the end of a race. Or at least that’s what I think I’m doing. Obviously there are levels to this and now and then I might be pushing myself and toeing the line between running and injury but so far I’ve stayed just the right side.
The AR long run! Pic via Gabi
#nevernotracing made a reappearance on Saturday 8th August when Lorna and I decided to do Burgess parkrun. She hadn’t done a parkrun in a little while but was wanting to go sub 20 minutes. We had a great run but due to the hot weather and a late night doing the Advent Running X Adidas trail run the night before we just couldn’t quite manage it. Still 20:22 and 3rd female isn’t all too bad. Burgess parkrun is a one lap course which is really flat and I think it has PB potential. The only negative is that you do two laps around a pond and therefore may have to weave around people on their first pond lap. I am planning to return in a few weeks time in a bid for a PB and possibly a sub 17 minute 5k. Hopefully I will be able to run with Chris who works for Adidas and we could have a good race. Oh wait parkrun’s not a race!
The AR X Adidas Escape the City/Reclaim Darkness trail run! Photo courtesy of @adventrunning & Gabi @giftofthegabii
Having run with Lorna, Freya and Alan for the Harry Hawkes 10 miler, we were all talking about races and wanted to do a quick 10k. Having done some race research we stumbled across the Run Through Battersea Park 10k and with calendars and diaries checked we were all signed up, bar Lorna who was planning a long run. The aim for the race was to run with and pace Freya to a sub 40. Being a hot day again I knew it would be a challenge and that it would be a close run thing (pun intended!). We planned to run even splits and therefore my aim was to stick at 4min/km. This proved to be a tricky task as the GPS was on and off but luckily as each kilometre was being ticked off up until 7k we were on track, 27:55 was the time then I believe. Nearing the start of the 4th lap me and Alan were still holding pace but unfortunately Freya had started to slow up a little, probably due to the heat and just generally not running at the pace regularly. Alan decided to carry on and go sub 40 but I eased up a little to join Freya for the last lap. We grabbed some water to keep cool and then cracked on with the final lap. I said to Freya to try and keep Alan in our sights so we’d know we would be close to 40, probably just over. We picked it up again on the last lap after that slight blip and managed to finish in 40:17. Later that day we found out she placed 2nd and was only 6 seconds behind 1st place. Maybe we should have raced to win but I just didn’t realise how close we were to first, probably due to looking at my watch a lot.
The sun shines on the sub 40 man. Photo courtesy of Freya @fhotson
After the 10k we met up with Lorna who was running along the river. We ran 7 miles to Spitalfields market for an epic brunch. The pancakes, bacon, eggs and milkshake were amazing especially after running 15 miles in the heat. We all went our separate ways, I decided to chill in the afternoon before heading out for another 10 miles in the evening. The weather was so good I wanted to make the most of it. The final 10k of the 10 miles I managed in just over 36 minutes which was pretty crazy considering I was finishing a 25 mile day and 83 mile week. I’m not complaining its just surprising how quickly you adapt to double run days and can recover.
So far this week I’ve done a few miles plus track and I’ll now be taking it steady before Spitfire Scramble. I’m looking forward to testing my speed and recovery rate at the weekend and meeting lots of like minded runners.
See a lot of you soon
If you want to see what I’m up to follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @StephenSkinner6 &/or just search Steve Skinner on Strava.