Race Review: Yorkshire 10 Mile 2018

This is the second year running that Geth and I have run the Yorkshire 10 Mile.  Last year, it was a very pretty race, and although I was struggling a bit as my training had suffered, I really enjoyed the scenery.  This year, it was the opposite way round.

As forecast, it was absolutely chucking it down in York today, and it was the wettest race I’ve ever experienced.  My running glasses are not water-resistant, and so, because the rain was so heavy, I was basically running the race blind.  I couldn’t see the puddles, resulting in very wet feet.  My hearing aids were getting waterlogged and kept cutting out.  In short, I was pretty sensory-deprived and unaware of my surroundings.  I didn’t notice a single mile marker, and I only realised two of the water stations were there after I’d already run through them.  Luckily, it was so wet and cold that I really didn’t need to drink much water en route today.

However, Geth and I were both hopeful of PBs, as last year’s race was the only 10-mile race we’d done and we both felt we were in better shape this year.  Geth took a good chunk off his time, as he’s had a really good year training-wise, though he is suffering with a knee issue that needs to be seen to.  Last year, I’d aimed for sub-2hr but had ended up with 2:06:38.  This year, I aimed for sub-2hr again, and was fairly confident I’d get it as my training between the GNR and Yorkshire has been much better.  I ended up with a time of 1:47:31 – a 19:07 minute PB!  I’m really happy with that, especially as the conditions were so miserable.

I doubt we’ll do this race again next year, as the organisers are moving it to later in October and it doesn’t really fit in with our race plans for next autumn.  However, assuming I don’t end up saying ‘never again’ to marathons after I do London in April, I may come back and do the full marathon sometime.

Race Review: Great North Run 2018

Great day out racing today!

An early start, aided by my new Spotify playlist that collects all my favourite running-reminiscent songs!  After getting our stuff together, Geth and I headed out for a good walk to the Great North Run start line.  We put our rucksack on the baggage bus and got ourselves settled in the start pen.

GNR start line selfie
Start line selfie! I am still no good at taking these.

It was a good hour-long wait until we finally started moving, and probably another twenty minutes after that walking down to the actual start line (being the world’s biggest half marathon, it takes a good long while to get nearly 60,000 runners over the line), but before too long we were off, and I was able to settle into my comfortable pace for the first few miles.

Unfortunately pretty much all of my recurring aches and pains showed up during the course of the race, and so I didn’t get anywhere near the sub-2:30 I would have liked.  I did get 2:43:19, which is a 10 min 36 sec improvement on last year’s PB – ergo I can’t really complain!  Looking forward to the winter, though, as I will be able to train a lot better for the various races I will be doing in the run-up to the London Marathon in April.

South Shields and its pubs were as wonderful and necessary as ever.  We hung about for a while to avoid the Metro queues, but are now finally home with pizza and prosecco.  A very quiet day planned tomorrow.

OOTD 9th September 2018
OOTD: the only piece of clothing that matters today! Glasses Moschino (2006), t-shirt Great North Run (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ashford & Simpson – Solid

(Another short playlist due to a whole day of having music played at me!)

parkrun touristing: Horton Park

As part of Infest day 3, Geth and I got up early and went to Horton Park parkrun – a nice convenient parkrun that’s only a twenty-minute walk away from the Jurys Inn, where we stay for the festival.

I did Horton Park for the first time last year, with friends Ruth and Mark (Geth was recovering from injury so didn’t join us).  Ruth drove us last year, so the walking route wasn’t familiar to me, and Geth was having some trouble with Google Maps so it took us a while to find the parkrun and we only just made it in time for the run briefing.  That’s why you leave in plenty of time when parkrun touristing!

Horton Park is quite a tough route.  It’s a three-and-a-half-lap course, with four downhill stretches and three uphills, so not at all a PB opportunity.  Still, I got 32:20, which is a big improvement on my 35:44 from last year, so I was very happy!

It’s also a very pretty course, and the multiple laps make it feel quite quick.  Definitely my go-to parkrun now for whenever I’m at Infest.

I spoke too soon

After bombing it round Edinburgh parkrun last week for a PB, I was sure it would be months before I managed another one.

I got another one this morning.  Whoops.

Today’s parkrun didn’t feel anywhere near as fast as last week – there were many stretches where I felt I was taking it easy.  I still somehow managed a 30:38, a fourteen-second improvement on last week.  Very happy!

I really feel like sub-30 might be on this year now.  If I’ve not managed it by the second week of November, I will be making use of the Newcastle parkrun pacer week and attempting to keep up with the 30-minute pacer.  The pacers at Newcastle tend to be a bit too fast so I’m not sure how I’d get on, but we’ll see!  Sadly I’m doing races and/or otherwise engaged on all the intervening pacer weeks (Newcastle does one the second week of every month), so I will have to be patient.

Another quiet afternoon and evening working (and listening to Geth working out DJ stuff for a wedding disco playlist!).

OOTD 4th August 2018
OOTD: super comfy hanging-around-the-house outfit that could have been easily dressed up if we’d decided to go out tonight (we didn’t). Bonus mirror selfie as Geth was busy DJing. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt modified Deviant/Fruit of the Loom (thrifted from Geth 2014, originally from the early 2000s), leggings Primark (2018), shoes La Redoute (2018).

parkrun tourism: Edinburgh

When Geth and I were in Scotland this weekend, we went out to Cramond on the Saturday morning to do Edinburgh parkrun.

I’m in Edinburgh fairly often for obvious reasons, and so I’ve done Edinburgh parkrun five times now – second in quantity only to Newcastle.  It’s a lovely flat out-and-back course with a lollipop loop at the halfway point, and on a good day you get fairly spectacular views of the Firth of Forth.  They also have an infamous ‘parkrun weather window’ – so although I’ve often been there on days when it’s been pissing with rain before or after the parkrun, it’s never rained during the parkrun itself!

This last weekend, the conditions were particularly good – not too hot, not too windy, could have been less crowded but it wasn’t too bad.  I went out fairly fast, and I found I was able to keep it up.  I knew I was doing well, ’cause I was knackered most of the way round – but it wasn’t until I got to the finishing straight and Geth was standing there shouting ‘PB is ON’ that I allowed myself to hope.  I couldn’t pull off a sprint finish, ’cause I didn’t have the energy left, but I was able to speed up just enough to get a time of 30:52 – which is 54 seconds faster than my previous PB from April!  I doubt I’ll beat that again for a while!

Looking forward to being back at Edinburgh parkrun around Christmas time.

parkrun tourism: Whitby

Canada part six…

 

On the Saturday in Toronto, Geth and I got up very early, and went to Ontario’s only parkrun, Whitby parkrun.

We walked for about forty-five minutes to get to the train station, bought tickets, spent another forty-five minutes on the train, and arrived in Whitby shortly after eight o’clock.  It was at that point that Geth realised he couldn’t really remember how to get to the parkrun.  I’m not leaving him in charge of directions in future!

After a bit of a saga involving asking lots of people at the train station and the nearby leisure centre for directions, we made it to the parkrun start line with just a few minutes to spare, and met a few other Brits who were also parkrun touristing.

The parkrun itself was a really nice route – a simple out-and-back course through a lovely quiet park with nice wide paths.  There were only twenty-odd people taking part, and so Geth and I both came first in our age categories – something that I doubt will be repeated any time soon!

parkrun sprint finish
A rare running photo where I actually look like I’m running! Photo by Whitby parkrun.

I got my standard-for-now sub-33, which I was fine with considering I hadn’t run for two weeks.  I’m really pleased to have done some international parkrun tourism at last!

Whitby parkrun
Far-flung parkrun souvenir photo! Photo by Whitby parkrun.

Summer mugginess

Somehow, despite saying after last summer – which involved a busy work period and four weekends on the bounce in August where we were travelling away somewhere or hosting guests – that I wanted to have a much more chilled summer this year, it’s ended up being similarly hectic.

Fortunately/unfortunately work has been quiet during June and July (so I’ve been able to get on with other things, but I’m also a bit broke now).  Fortunately/unfortunately this will not be the case during August as I have two huge projects lined up (more money – yay!  More stuff to do – argh).  However, the house stuff is still ongoing, the now-finished Now! marathon ended up taking up more time towards the end than I thought it would, and Geth and I ended up booking a lot more trips away than we expected.  As such, I find myself doing the whole ‘argh! can’t wait till autumn when I can relax a bit!’ thing yet again – and I shouldn’t wish the summer away, especially when the weather has been so nice this year.

Today is yet another hectic day – I’ll update more fully later this week – so I’ll leave it there.

Oh, and I went swimming again this morning.  Eight lengths this time, although I think I’m actually getting worse!

Back to swimming…after some considerable time

I went swimming this morning.  In an actual swimming pool.

The reason this is notable is because the last time I swam at all was about five seconds of halfhearted bobbing up and down in the Mediterranean Sea in July 2015.  The last time I swam in a pool (or rather, managed to flounder about for about half a length of a ten-metre pool before my chest felt like it was going to explode) was January 2013, when Geth and I were in the Bahamas for our honeymoon.

I did manage a bit more than five metres today.  I managed six lengths of what we estimate is a twenty-metre pool, with breaks in between lengths, so a hundred and twenty metres in total.  It was still much harder than I expected it to be, given how much fitter I am these days with all the running.

I probably just need a bit more practice (I’ve never been that good at swimming).  Not that I’m going to get it any time soon – I barely have time for my running at the moment, let alone swimming as well!  I will try and make more use of pools when I’m in hotels though, so that I don’t end up leaving it for another five years.

Race Review: Great North 10k

I’ve done the Great North 10k in Gateshead twice before.  The first time was in 2016, which was the first and (hopefully!) last time I ever came dead last in a race.  That was a special day, strangely.  Last year was better for me, but Geth was running it with a broken toe, which wasn’t ideal.

Today was a fairly good race for both of us – it was a hot day, so no overall PBs, but we both got course PBs – mine by about five minutes, so I’m pretty pleased with that.  I find the Great North 10k to be quite a pleasant race, as the bulk of it is an out-and-back section where I’m always too preoccupied with looking out for people I know running the other way to dwell too much on my own discomfort, and the views of the Tyne bridges are very pretty.  The ninth kilometre, meanwhile, goes through a nice bit of park – there’s a short steep hill at the end of that section that everybody makes a really big deal out of (it’s nicknamed the ‘Slog on the Tyne’, but it only takes a minute or so to jog up it, and it’s really not that hard), and then the last kilometre is a nice flat run into Gateshead Stadium and round the track.

I don’t know if I’ll do it for a fourth time next year, but definitely at some point.

parkrun touristing: Whitley Bay

Another week of the fair on the Town Moor meant another week of no Newcastle parkrun, so Geth and I took ourselves off to the coast for Whitley Bay parkrun this morning.

I’d done Whitley Bay once before, last summer, on a morning where it was pouring with rain (and of course we arrived forty minutes early and had to shelter against the wall of a tiny hut near the start).  Geth had just come along for support on that occasion, as he was recovering from a broken toe, so today was his first parkrun at Whitley Bay.  For me, meanwhile, while it was my second run there, the course this summer is so different that it was like running it for the first time again.

This is largely because last summer, the front at Whitley Bay was mostly taken up with works, and so large parts of it were closed off.  As such, the finish funnel is now in a completely different place, and you get a straight sprint finish along the front – unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the course, it’s difficult to time when you should start sprinting!  I’ll know better next time.  Hopefully they won’t move the finish again.