Adidas Runners #UnlockPeckham

On Friday 28th of October I took part in the Unlock Peckham Adidas Runners event. Since the Adidas Runners started a few months ago unfortunately I have only managed to make it to a couple of their runs but I’ve been keeping a close eye on their facebook page as I knew they would have cool events lined up. As soon as the Unlock Peckham event was posted I signed up because I thought it would be good fun as Team North, captained by James & Claudi, would take on Team South. I signed up for Team North as I used to live North of the river and I often run with the advent running guys, it would’ve been wrong to run for Team South despite now living near Oval.

I left work at 6:30pm and ran to Peckham. On the way there I was wondering what the event would be like, all I knew was the route would be around 6k or so and we would split up into three pace groups. As I was nearing Peckham I bumped into Tony To, we helped each other navigate our way to the meeting point. The Adidas Runners set up is really cool; the bag drop van/trailer is awesome and they had done up one of the warehouses in the industrial estate.

Adidas Adios 3 X Stance Crew

I dropped off my bag, put on my Team North/Team Orange bib and caught up with a few friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Photo courtesy of adidas running

After a short wait James Poole got the show on the road, he explained how the run would work and how we would be split up into groups etc. We then went through a quick warm up led by Claudia, Ash and I demonstrated how to do the perfect squat! Ha

Once we’d warmed up we got into our paced groups, I opted for the sub 23 minute 5k group led by James and sub captains Coren and Heidi. Our groups (Team North) were well split up; we had about 25 or so people in each group, which was good. The challenge was, as a group, to beat Team South back to the warehouse. Therefore it was all about working together and encouraging the person at the back. We had a bit of a dodgy start as we ran straight towards a locked gate, how ironic. This only cost a few seconds and then we were back on course. The route was really well marked the whole way round, there were little orange/blue arrows to direct us and marshals were positioned at major crossings/points. The teams were going in opposite directions so we wouldn’t know who was in the lead until we got to the half way mark (3.25k). To begin with the route was a little busy with some road crossings but we soon reached quieter areas and got onto a decent pace that everyone was happy at.

The course was nice and varied; it included one hill, which was around halfway and was lit up in orange and blue. It was along this stretch that we passed Team South, despite being in competition we shouted words of encouragement to each other and high-fived. It looked as though it would be close between the two teams although they were spread out more but there was less of them. We pushed on and covered the next few kilometres pretty quickly. At points of the route there were posts and other various “urban” obstacles. We worked well as a team to give each other a heads up and avoided collisions.

With a couple of kilometres to go we made our way up a little hill, we were rewarded with a great view of London all lit up. One of the best things about doing events with brands is that you normally end up running around new places and get a different perspective of the city. Within the last few kilometres we ran passed Advent Running/Adidas Runners regulars Spencer and Simon who were marshalling. Good work lads on volunteering to help out. We made it back to the warehouse and unfortunately Team South/Team Blue was already there. It was disappointing but we knew that it would come down to the last group in deciding which team won overall.

We all grabbed some pizza and beers and awaited the arrival of the second and third groups. Out of the second groups Team North arrived back first and then it was down to the final group.

Luckily for us the first colour we saw flying through the gates was orange, Team North ran the best on the night. It wasn’t by much as 30 seconds or so later Team South came into view. The running was done, we all enjoyed the free food and beverages and then Ash and I decided to run down the road and home.

Overall the event was really good fun. In the last few weeks Adidas have put on some really cool events, including the Urbanathlon with the Brownlee Brothers that I unfortunately couldn’t make. I definitely recommend following what the Adidas Runners are up to, I’m sure there will be great events coming up.

On Saturday I ran my first parkrun in a while and was happy to finish in 17:12 despite running on tired legs. I feel like I’m getting some speed back now that it’s been four weeks since Cologne Marathon. Hopefully with going to track regularly and racing cross-country etc I can keep up the momentum.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed their running whether racing or training.

See a lot of you soon.

Steve

 

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Tough 10: Epping Forest, London

On Sunday the 23rd of October I took part in the Tough 10 race in Epping Forest. Tough 10 is a new series of races from Cancer Research UK. The events have been organised so runners can challenge themselves and take on some of the UK’s toughest terrain. At the same time participants would be raising money for a great cause and helping to beat cancer sooner. I decided to sign up to the Epping Forest event because I’d run there a couple of times and knew how nice the trails are. I also signed up because it was relatively easy to get to and some of the Advent Running guys were going to be there as James and Claudia are ambassadors for the series.

I woke up around 7:30ish on Sunday morning to get organised and travel across London to the forest. I was really looking forward to the event as I was wondering just how tough the race would be and I knew the route would be nice and scenic and a good change from running on the road. Due to the race not being a main focus for me I had run 20k on the Saturday along the river. I got to Epping Forest at 9:15am so I had plenty of time to pick up my race number and drop my bag off.

Inov-8 X-Talon 225 & Stance Speed Crew

Being a new event I wasn’t sure how many runners would be taking part but I was pleasantly surprised to see a few hundred or so people around the start area. As I previously mentioned some of the Advent Running group were racing, this included: James, Claudia, Ben, Alice, Alan, Emma, Jason and Laura. As there wasn’t long to go before the start we had a quick catch up and got in a short jog to warm up. It was needed, it was absolutely freezing! Racing vest and split shorts seemed like a bad idea.

Photo courtesy of Claudia (@claudi8s, @ar_collective, @adventrunning)

Rubbing my hands to keep warm/praying the route wouldn’t be too tough!

We made our way to the start line and some of us got into the first group of fifty runners. The organisers let us know that we would be set off in waves as parts of the course were narrow. It was recommended that those of us aiming for below 45 minutes should get near the front. On the start line I bumped into Alex, a friend who I met racing in a couple of the Run Through events (we had an epic sprint finish back in 2014 I think it was). We had a quick catch up but before long we were off.

To begin with there was a group of five or six of us at the front, however after a kilometre or so Alex and another runner had opened up a gap from myself, James and another couple runners. The first kilometre or so was relatively flat and there was a nice short downhill section through the trees. The first steep hill came at around the 2k point. We followed the edge of a field whilst heading up, having started along a flat trail this was a shock to the system and the longer grass killed the initial pace at which we started. The route then took us most of the way down the hill to the middle of the field for us to then climb back up, how cruel! One plus point of being on higher ground was the great views.

After about 3/4k I was thinking “I hope this whole 10k isn’t as up and down as the last few kilometres!” and “Why did I decide to run 20k yesterday”. My legs were feeling heavy on the uphill sections but I loved the downhills. Once I got over the hills and caught my breath back I was feeling good. I got to 6k and was holding a decent pace, luckily I had a couple of runners just in front of me to focus on and try to chase down. At around the 6k point one of the marshals said “last hill!” I immediately thought “this is going to be a big climb”. However, I was also looking forward to getting over the hill and then enjoying the flat last few kilometres. The hill seemed to go on forever; I just focused on keeping a consistent gap between myself and the two runners just in front.

At the top of the hill I was in familiar settings. I had run on some of the trails as part of the Orion Fell Race last year. Unfortunately I couldn’t make that event this year but I’ll definitely be trying to squeeze it in the race calendar for 2017. From kilometre 7 the rest of the route was nice and flat with a few slight downhills. At 8k we had to cross over Bury Road, there was a marshal positioned there and she told us to cross straight over and take the immediate right. The three of us had picked up our pace knowing we were so close to the finish. We headed through the trees along trails used for the Orion Forest Five, another great race. With a kilometre to go I upped my pace and managed to pass the two runners I was tailing for the majority of the event. My legs felt strong on the flat after tackling some tough hills around the course. I crossed the line in just over 40 minutes which I’m happy with considering the elevation and terrain and the amount of racing I’ve done over the last four weeks.

Having crossed the finish line I was surprised not to see Alex and the other runner that were flying from the start. Apparently they had got a little lost, they still finished 6th/7th or so which is impressive. James finished shortly after me; I can’t imagine how his legs must feel just three weeks after Spartathlon and having paced Nicolas for part of Autumn 100. Alan was next across the line and looked really strong before Claudia took the win in the women’s race. She maintains she hates 10ks but still tears it up despite preferring the longer distances, well done! The whole Advent Running group ran strong and really enjoyed the event.

 I’m not sure whether I am able to make any of the other Tough 10 races but I definitely recommend them to anyone that’s up for a challenge. I’ll be keeping a close eye on them to see how everyone gets on; Box Hill is going to be an epic one for sure! If you want any more info on the Tough 10 series head to the website: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event/charity-runs/tough-10

I hope everyone that took part enjoyed it. Tough 10 was the last event of four races on back to back weekends for me. I’ve loved racing regularly over the last month taking on distances from 10k to a marathon. I’m looking forward to getting in a few good weeks of decent mileage including track and then taking on the Kingston 10k at the end of November.

See a lot of you soon

Steve

 

First Cross-country fixture: Not much mud

On Saturday the 15th of October I took part in my first cross-country race. A couple of months ago James & Claudia (Advent Running/AR Collective) announced they would be putting men’s and women’s teams into the Surrey League. I was interested straight away as it made me think back to when I ran a couple of cross-country races at school. I just remember it being freezing cold, tipping it down and struggling to stay on my feet due to ALL the mud. It was so much fun! If you’ve read my blog before you probably know how much I enjoy racing, I couldn’t wait for the first xc fixture to come around.

Being the “new kids on the block” we have joined the Surrey Cross Country League in Division 4. Going into the first race I was a little apprehensive, as I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was wondering how quick our competition would be and how tough the course would be. Things not worth thinking about really as I couldn’t control them. I was also apprehensive because I didn’t know how my legs would feel being just two weeks after Cologne Marathon and six days after the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Wanting to do well I decided to rest a lot in the week, the only real hard session I did was at Track on Tuesday night. The rest of the week I kept my legs ticking over by doing the Running Works Run Club on Wednesday and Thursday lunch times.

As the race started at 2pm I got a nice lie in and chilled for a couple of hours before heading to Wimbledon Common. Luckily as I now live near Oval it didn’t take long to get to the Common, once I arrived I met up with the lads. As James (Poole) was pacing Nic at Autumn 100 and Claudia was racing in Nonsuch Park, James Brewster & Tony To got us organised handing out our cool AR XC race vests and race numbers.

Once we’d all got our race kit on, including race spikes or trail shoes, we got in a couple kilometre jog to warm up. We ran the first few kilometres of the route; it was good to see how muddy and narrow/wide it was going to be.

Photo courtesy of Tony To

Once we got back to near the start line we were greeted by some of the girls, they had travelled over after their race to support and cheer us on. They let us know their race had gone well.

As the start time neared we positioned ourselves behind the line, knowing there were a couple of narrow sections we got pretty close to the front of the pack. It’s only when everyone makes their to the start that you realise how many runners are competing. For some reason I imagined that there would only be 50/60 runners racing, turns out there were hundreds. This was because we were racing with Divison 3. We were due to be given division numbers to have on our backs so we knew who we were racing but unfortunately none of the teams were given them. Before we knew it we were off. Thinking the route was 5.6 miles (as described on the surrey league website) I set off at what I thought was a maintainable pace, somewhere around 3:45min/km pace. The first few kilometres were spent trying to work my way past runners, in hindsight I should’ve positioned myself a little further up on the start.

I settled into my pace/rhythm and was feeling good; the course was pretty firm which helped. There wasn’t much mud at all. After 2km or so there was a section through a field where the grass was pretty long and soft and this meant more effort was required to maintain a good pace. The first 5/6 kilometres went by really quickly, mainly because the route was varied, there were a few ups and downs and I was focussing on the runner in front trying to chase them down. Knowing the route was two loops was a little surprised that I hadn’t passed through the start area until I got to around 6k. I was thinking, “this course is a hell of a lot longer than 8k, maybe we are doing 11k?” or “ok, the second loop isn’t the same as the first and will be 2/3k long”. I carried on running between 3:45 and 4min/km pace and just thought I’d have to hold on for as long as possible.

It was great to have a cheer crew, complete with cowbells, around the route. Having started pretty quickly the last few kilometres were always going to be about holding on. My legs were tiring quickly; they felt heavier and heavier having to lift them out of the long grass through the open field for the second time. I passed Spencer and Cassie (the dog) on this section and it definitely helped seeing a friendly face there. I really enjoyed the section after that as there is a slight downhill and you’re weaving your way through some trees. I soon got to 8k and knew that I was still a fair way from the finish line. I had to ease up a little as my legs were tightening up, especially on the one long hill. I got up the hill eventually, I felt as though I was crawling with concrete blocks tied to my feet. Once over the hill I knew there was only a kilometre or so to go on the flat.

I passed the Advent Running crew again and collected a power boosting high five from Claudi. I was working hard and couldn’t wait to see the finish funnel and clock. My watch had just ticked past 10k and then I was on the home straight. I would’ve like to have been capable of a sprint finish and to catch the runner a hundred metres or so in front of me but all I could muster was a slight increase of pace trying to avoid pulling a hamstring. I crossed the line in 38:56 but more importantly in 23rd position overall and 5th in Division 4, helping the team.

Once through the finish I spoke with Martin who had a great run, he was the first of the AR team to finish in 3rd place. We cheered our teammates in, and they were crossing the line thick and fast. Not knowing which runners were in Division 3 or 4 we had to wait until Saturday night for the results but we knew we’d done well as everyone was placing so highly. Post race we refuelled, Nikki had baked some delicious cakes for us, and Claudia had brought along some bananas etc.

On the Saturday evening my phone was going crazy with notifications from Facebook due to photos being uploaded. Then the results were posted and Claudia announced the girl’s claimed sixth place in the league, well done!! She then let us know that we are at the top of the men’s league by a considerable margin. Great work lads!

Overall it was a great day, I can’t wait for the next fixture in November and I’m hoping for more mud. To keep up to date with how the AR teams are doing follow @ar_collective @adventrunning on Instagram & Twitter.

Next up for me is Tough 10 in Epping Forest on Sunday, should be a fun event!

See a lot of you soon

Steve

The Royal Parks Half Marathon 2016

On Sunday the 9th of October I took part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon. I decided to enter the ballot earlier this year because I ran the event in 2014 and really enjoyed it. Back then I wasn’t in great shape so I thought it would be good to take part again and try and achieve a better time. When I signed up I didn’t know I was going to be doing the Cologne Marathon the weekend before so my approach to the race changed slightly.
During the week between Cologne Marathon and the Royal Parks Half I rested quite a lot. The only real running I did was for The Running Works Run Club and even then I did less sessions than normal. Thanks Nikki for looking out for me and telling me to rest. As the race was approaching my legs were feeling more normal as the days were passing. I knew they wouldn’t be completely fresh but I was hoping they’d feel good enough for me to give it a good crack.

With the race starting at 9am I got an early night on Saturday. Lorna and I woke up a bit before 7am to give us time to get stuff together. She would be cheering me on from the sidelines as she had chosen not to enter due to other races and the entry fee being expensive. For the second week running (pun intended) Lorna looked after all my stuff so I didn’t need to use the bag drop and gave me lots of loud cheers. It definitely helps having someone alongside you at races to take away some of those little stresses. We got the bus to Hyde Park Corner and met up with Tom at the entrance to the park and Ash, Julian, Laurent & Mark in the race village.

The race start time came around really quickly. As I had put in an estimated finish time of around 1:20-1:25 (I think) I was in the orange start pen, which was good as it meant I didn’t have many people in front of me. Mark Foster and Ben Fogle did short speeches about the Royal Parks and the race and before we knew it we were off. I’d decided to aim for around 1:20 so set off at 3:45min/km pace. I wasn’t really sure whether my legs would have it in them after Cologne Marathon but I was willing to find out. I think its good every now and then to push it on tired legs, as I mentioned in my last blog post I am trying to use races to pick up fitness and get back into the shape I was in when I ran Cardiff Half.

I started the race with a 3:43 minute kilometre, which is testament to getting in one of the front start pens and the width of the roads in that section. After 1km you are running through Green Park and shortly after you head past Buckingham Palace and along Birdcage Walk. Running in that area of London always gives me flashbacks to finishing races like the London Marathon, London 10,000 and the Westminster Mile. I’ve got some great memories of racing near Buckingham Palace, I feel incredibly lucky to run in London day in day out around such epic landmarks. The next few kilometres were less scenic as you are running along a few main roads, you run east to near Somerset House before doing a U-turn to head back along the strand and onto The Mall. At this point I was feeling strong and maintaining my goal pace. That said it was early days as when you are running along The Mall you have covered 5 miles.

The crowds were out in force as it was such a nice day. It was particularly busy around Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill, which was good, as when trying to hold a quick pace, that straight seems to go on for a while. As mentioned by Ben Fogle on the start line you don’t want to be struggling as you enter Hyde Park, there is still 7 miles to go. I still felt good at this point but knew that at any moment my legs could tighten reminding me I’d run a marathon the weekend before.

 I covered a few kilometres within Hyde Park but then unfortunately came a first for me in a race; I needed to nip to the loo. I was around the 8 mile point and had to ease up. I ran at around 4min/km pace for a while before getting to the toilets near the bandstand on Serpentine Road. After a quick stop I was back on my way, I knew that 1:20 would definitely be out of reach but I aimed to claim a few seconds back over the next few kilometres. Despite my best efforts my stride had been broken and I could only manage around 4 minute/kms until the finish.

 I was a little frustrated that I couldn’t run quicker and get closer to 1:20 but on the other hand I was happy to be able to run a nice half marathon the week after a marathon and enjoy it. My legs were tightening as the final kilometres were passing and I was entering cruise/damage limitation mode. I got massive cheers from the Advent Running crew at mile 12 and from Lorna and Nat as I was running down the long home straight of Kensington Road. Thanks for the shouts everyone, really appreciate it! 

 I crossed the line in 1:23:11 finishing in 86th position, pretty happy with that considering the circumstances. One day I’d like to race the Royal Parks Half fully rested and see what I could do. 

  

I collected my medal and then joined Lorna and Nat in cheering other runners through the line. We didn’t quite have the same effect on runners as the guy with the megaphone 800m or so before the finish line shouting “push, push, push, push!!” but we tried. A big shout has to go to Ash, Tom, Laurent, Mark, Julian etc for all running great times.

Overall the race was great fun, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone. I’d kind of class it as a mini London Marathon so if you want to run a flat, fast route and be cheered on by great crowds then enter the ballot. After all everyone loves a ballot right! Ha

Hope those of you in the ballot for London got in and to those of you who didn’t there are plenty of other great marathons out there so start doing some research.

Next up for me is some cross-country on Saturday with Advent Running. See a lot of you soon.

Steve

The Cologne Marathon 2016

On the 2nd of October I took part in the Cologne Marathon. Over the last couple of years Lorna has taken part in various races in Europe with her brother/s and friends from Colchester. We decided Cologne would be good as they organise a half marathon and marathon on the same day so people could choose the distance they preferred. Initially Lorna and I were going to do the Marathon and Alex (Lorna’s brother) and Robbie were going to do the Half Marathon. As we hadn’t been doing long runs or specific marathon training since Paris Marathon Lorna opted for the half marathon. Due to the half marathon starting at 8:30am and the marathon at 10:00am the plan was for them to run and then grab food and BEER to cheer me round. 

Unfortunately as the race neared Lorna picked up an injury and therefore made the sensible decision not to race. After all we have lots of other races coming up including the Boston Marathon in April. Having not trained specifically for the marathon I had mixed feelings about it. On one hand I was relaxed as I knew I wasn’t in PB shape but on the other hand I was nervous as I didn’t really know what pace to run at and still wanted to be relatively close to my personal best. Luckily over the last three or four weeks I made it to track on Tuesdays and managed to squeeze in a couple of decent long runs. 

We travelled to Cologne early on the Saturday morning and headed straight to the expo to pick up our race numbers.  

The expo was really well organised, despite arriving at what was supposed to be a peak time for pick up we walked straight up to the desk and had our numbers and bags to drop within a couple of minutes. Guess that’s German efficiency for you! We decided it was best to not hang around at the expo, after all we had a lot of running to do the following day so didn’t want to be on our feet for a long time. We then got the train into the city centre to drop stuff at the hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt hotel that is perfectly positioned for getting to and from the race start area.  

Carb loading was next on the agenda, having had a large breakfast Lorna and I opted for a pretzel whilst Alex and Robbie went for some pasta and pizza. In the afternoon we relaxed in the hotel and had a nap, as we were all pretty knackered due to the flight out being at 7:40am. It wasn’t long before we were carb loading again, this time we went to Vapianos for more pasta and pizza. As we would have to be up around 6ish to get ready for the race we got an early night. 

As I wasn’t aiming for a specific time I felt quite relaxed as the race start was nearing. It was good to have Lorna, Alex and Robbie there; maybe if I were racing on my own I would’ve been over thinking it. Lorna and I went with Alex and Robbie to drop their bags about half an hour before start time and then we headed to the bridge to find a good spot to cheer them on. Robbie was feeling good and I was excited to see what time he could run. He generally runs on track but had been training more specifically for this half. Being capable of a sub 5-minute mile I knew he would post a good time. Over the few weeks leading up to the race Alex had been struggling with a dodgy knee and therefore wasn’t too sure on how he’d feel. I obviously wanted Lorna to be running the race but due to her injury I was glad she decided not to run. If she had taken part I would’ve been worried about how she was getting on and thinking about it whilst running the marathon. Also it meant I could look forward to seeing her around the course and this would break the run up into chunks. 

Having seen Robbie and Alex run past Lorna walked over the bridge and found other spots to cheer at whilst I headed back to the start area to get ready. Luckily at this point the sun was out so I was keeping nice and warm. I dropped my bag off and stripped down to my racing kit: AR Collective vest, Adidas Split Shorts, Runderwear, Stance socks and Adidas Adios Boost 3. Typically once I was just down to my racing kit the sun disappeared and it was cold and windy, it looked like a storm was brewing but luckily it passed and the conditions were ok. 

 On the start line I was feeling good and ready to go. My only worry was that my hips were feeling a little tight. On Thursday night I had done a run with The Running Works, Under Armour and Midnight Runners and was feeling sore from doing a few different exercises. In hindsight being in a taper week before a marathon I should have just done the running part. You live and learn I guess. After listening to some horrendous German “music” the countdown began and we were off. I struggled to get onto goal pace straight away as the road was rather narrow and I had positioned myself a little far back, somewhere between the 3:00 and 3:30 pacers. The first kilometre was around 4:40ish as opposed to my goal pace of 4:15 (equates to around 3 hours for the marathon) but once it thinned out I got onto pace and made up a few seconds per kilometre over the next five kilometres or so. I was feeling comfortable and my legs were loosening up. The weather was pretty much perfect, nice and cool and the odd bit of drizzle. After a few kilometres my watch was already out of sync with the kilometre markings on the road. I was 500m or so ahead of the markings really early on and knew the end total was going to be long. This was frustrating but meant that I would have to try and up my pace to counteract the extra distance. I’m not quite sure why there was a difference between my watch and the course; I was sticking pretty close to the racing (blue) line so maybe it was just the gps or something. I carried on at goal pace and was enjoying the route, it was nice and flat and Cologne is a really picturesque city. 

I took my first gel after 11k/7 miles and was feeling good, having not done many long runs over the last few weeks due to having a cold etc I was having fun. I maintained my pace and went through the half marathon distance in 1:29:28. As the race was going on my legs were feeling better and better and the pace was feeling more comfortable. I carried on taking gels at regular intervals and felt well fuelled. 

 I made it to around 40k on target but by this point my legs were tightening and my pace was dropping. I was still only just over goal pace, frustratingly by my watch I went through the 42k distance in 2:57ish yet I knew I still had about a kilometre left to run. I wasn’t going to make sub 3 but despite my legs tightening I pushed on. I saw Lorna, Alex and Robbie with about 800m or so to go and despite Robbie briefly chasing me down the road I couldn’t up my pace or muster a sprint finish.  

Similarly to how I finished London I was shuffling towards the finish line at damage limitation pace, I didn’t want to pull up. I crossed the line in 3:01:03. I was annoyed I hadn’t managed to go sub 3 again but I was happy I wasn’t that far off my PB (2:54 in London). The crowds were great along the last few kilometres, I was struggling so it was hard to really appreciate it and take it all in but overall it was a great race. 

A massive thanks has to go to Lorna for supporting me and looking after me over the weekend. Once I had finished I met up with Lorna, Alex and Robbie.  

Robbie had run really well! He smashed his PB finishing the half in 1:24. Alex didn’t have such a great race finishing in 1:36 but considering the dodgy knee that’s still a good time. Robbie ran really well. 

If you are looking for a flat, fast marathon or half marathon you cant go wrong with choosing to enter Cologne. I am hoping to run the marathon or half again in the near future. The trip was relatively cheap as well, which is always good when you’ve got lots lined up. After the race we went straight for food and drinks and over the Sunday and Monday we did some sightseeing. This included going to the Schokoladen Museum (Lindt chocolate museum) that was awesome, I felt like I’d earned some chocolate.  

 Overall it was a great weekend visiting Cologne and running the marathon. Its given me a good base to work off and now I’m looking forward to racing the Royal Parks Half Marathon as well as other races in the next few weeks. I am planning to race myself back into PB shape. 

I hope everyone’s running has been going well, see a lot of you soon. Give me a shout if you see me at the Royal Parks Half. 

Steve

The Run Through Chase The Sun Battersea Park 10k

On the 14th of September I took part in the Run Through Chase The Sun Battersea Park 10k. I wasn’t planning on racing in this event but decided to get a late race entry on the evening. The initial plan was to run from work to Battersea Park to watch and cheer on Michalis and Lorna running the 10k. Michalis is training for the Athens Marathon and was using the race to gauge his fitness and as Lorna runs at a similar pace she was going to pace him. Unfortunately after running at Track on Tuesday Lorna picked up an injury and was unable to take part but we were still going along to cheer him on. As I hadn’t raced in a while I decided it would be good to see where my fitness was.


It was a nice evening for it.

Having not ran at track or done decent mileage consistently over the last couple of months I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near my PB. Add to that the fact I had done the work run club at lunchtime (8k) and ran to Battersea Park (10k) then I couldn’t expect a super quick time. However, I thought it would be a good test of my fitness to try and do a quick 10k having done track the previous day and a fair few miles in the day. I decided I would pace myself to try and aim for 36 minutes. Having done a Run Through Battersea Park 10k before I knew the route was nice and flat and that there weren’t many corners to slow me down. Before the start I was excited to be racing again after a while off. Having picked up my race number and dropped my bag off, Michalis and I went for a little jog to warm up. I was already pretty well warmed up from the run across the city. Before we knew it we were off, I started on 36 minute pace and felt comfortable over the first lap. It was good to see friendly faces on the route, David Gardiner was marshalling so I saw him on the first corner every lap and Lorna was positioned just after the bandstand so it was nice to have her there cheering me on and taking snaps.

As the laps went by my legs were tightening and it became harder to stay on 36 minute pace, the last two laps were especially hard. I was feeling the effects of track the previous day but after all it was the plan to push it and see what I could do on tired legs. Over the last couple of kilometres I eased up as I didn’t want to risk an injury so close to the Cologne Marathon. I managed to finish in 4th in 36:20 which I was really happy with, I thought I had lost more fitness since the London Marathon.

After crossing the line I picked up a drink, some flapjack and this cool medal:

 Lorna and I then cheered Michalis through the line. He ran through the finish looking really strong, smashing his PB. Over the last few months he has put in great training, I’m excited to see what he can do in the Athens Marathon in a few weeks. A massive shout out has to go to Paul Piper who won the 5k in 15:49, rapid! Also Martin White who I run with at The Running Works Run Club ran really well clocking 18:31 on tired legs having raced loads over the last couple of months.

Overall it was a productive and enjoyable Wednesday evening. I always enjoy the Run Through events. They are well organised, the route in Battersea Park is perfect for a fast time and the goodies at the finish line are great. If you haven’t done any of their races before I definitely recommend you check out what they’ve got coming up, no doubt they will be organising a race in a park/area near you in the not too distant future. Their website is: http://www.runthrough.co.uk. I will be trying to make it to more of their events soon.

Hope everyone’s running is going well. See a lot of you soon

Steve