The Road is Always Long

My journey through the world of ultra marathons.

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Edinburgh parkrun # 279 – 28/02/2015

This blog post is about a month late.  The reason being, I am a bit lazy when it comes to blogging and I also kept forgetting about it.  It will be a short one as it is now officially British Summer Time (that’s a contradiction in terms) and we lost an hour of sleep last night due to the clock change, and I’ve a long run to do in about 30 minutes time.

Training has been ticking along very nicely, very nicely indeed and the plan leading into the Glasgow to Edinburgh ultra included another wee test of where my speed was on the 28th Feb.  So I took myself along to Cramond for the 279th parkrun to be held there.  I can’t believe it is that many, I ran the first one in 2009 (I ran 15:53 then by the way, which shows just how slow I’ve become in recent years), so there has been nearly 6 years of 5K events held there, every week.  What a credit to the organisers.  Actually, across the UK and beyond, these are held every week by a series of dedicated volunteers, it’s quite staggering.  I really must make an effort to volunteer more often.

Anyway, I warm up with a little jog of the route and then make my way back to the start.  After the usual celebrations of those achieving particular parkrun milestones we are off.  There is the usual sprint start and about 20-25 people stream past me and start very fast indeed, I look at my watch and see that I am running under 5 minute miles and slow down, more people pass.  By the first mile many of those have slowed to their true race pace and I am sitting in about 5th place.  2 lads are about 40m in front and I work hard to catch 4th, and 3rd who are both about 10m ahead.  At the turn the leader has opened a gap on 2nd and I reach the half way mark in 3rd and by the 3km marker I’ve caught 2nd.  However, the leader has increased pace and the gap increases to about 100m and I settle to try to retain pace to the end.  I started to struggle in the last 800m or so as the headwind takes it toll, but manage to hold onto 2nd across the line in 16:51.  Not a startling time, but it is an improvement on the 17:00 only a few weeks ago, in tougher conditions. I spent most of February working on speed, having many 1k and mile reps in the training, so I am definitely regaining some pace.

March has been mostly about endurance.  The long runs have been particularly tough, a 4 hour 15 minute long run at 7 minute miles, then 2 back to back long runs on consecutive weekends left me feeling very tired last week, but as I am now in my taper for the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra (on 4th April) I can start to absorb the training effect from these training sessions.

Last Saturday saw me run a 3 hour 30 minutes at expected race pace.  However, both kids had been up most of the night, with illness and I slept for a maximum of 2 hours.  Add to this the very early start (5am) and I was not expecting much.  The run was a struggle, I felt a bit awkward throughout the run, but still manged 30 miles at 6:46 average pace with a few miles warm up and cool down.  Quite a confidence booster as I was running on very tired legs and generally tired from the lack of sleep.  This run in particular has shown me that the 55 mile race next week is achievable at the pace I want to run it at.  Of course, on the day things could change, my longest training run for this race was 36 miles and my longest run ever has been 42 miles (Devil O’ the Highlands Race last year ), so this really is an unknown distance for me.  I’m looking forward to the race, there are a few decent and very decent runners taking part, so it could turn out to be quite an event.  I’m hoping to run well, winning the event could be tough considering there are more experienced runners taking part and some with GB vests to their credit, but I will race hard and I will make it as difficult as I can for them to beat me.

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