This week my virtual runners are Tom Sharpe, Dave Adie and Mike, thank you for supporting me throughout the week!
Location: Gosforth, Newcastle
Distance: 4.22 miles
Run notes: For tonight’s run I made my way to Wheatslade, quickly becoming my stomping ground (quite literally) for any hill rep activity. (It is the only hill I can think of near me!) The plan was to warm up, then run 10 minutes at threshold, then hill reps of 2 x 8 x 30 seconds climb, jog back recovery and 2.5 minutes jog between sets. Have I told you how much I don’t enjoy the idea of my hill reps training sessions? Who see’s a hill and thinks, yes, that’s a good idea lets run up it?! Apart from probably the Roman’s who let nothing get in their way of a straight route.
I know I have definitely told how rubbish I am at multi tasking – running and counting, is a skill I DEFINITELY need to get better at. It was a lovely evening and I quickly had my warm up and threshold under my belt and soon as I was running towards the base of the hill. As I started my ridiculous running up and jogging down routine, a group of club runners started to run in circle’s around and over the hill. I would like to point out, my route up the side the side of the hill was much steeper. It made for a more interesting run watching the pace of others and the races going on in the group as I ploughed away up and down. On my last up I was pleased to notice I had got a little bit further every attempt. I do hope this training is worth it at some point.
Average pace: 10.35/mile
– Mile 1 – 8:58
– Mile 2 – 9:51
– Mile 3 – 11:24
– Mile 4 – 10:35
– 0.2 Mile – 9.49
Achievements: I ran up that hill. AGAIN. 2 x segment personal records
Location: Vindolanda, Northumberland
Distance: 6.25 miles
Run notes: Tonight Mum, Dad, Paul and I found ourselves at Vindolanda Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall for Run Nation‘s mid week Vindolanda 10k. I have never run a mid week 10k before and was looking forward to the variety of running with a crowd of people mid week. I have also never run in sunglasses before but it was such a gorgeous evening I asked Paul if I could borrow his spare pair. Let me tell you, Clara, my neice would have been very impressed at what a proper runner her auntie looked like! I was very concerned when Dad was driving us to the Fort that my abilities were clearly not going to match my look.
When we arrived we waited in the queue for our numbers, there were a lot of people there already, mainly club runners, all kitted out and stretching. Paul (who I had signed up to the runner a couple of days before and had been grumbling since I announced he was joining me) was given his number straight away and got straight into pinning his number on. However there had been a problem with the registration system and my number had been given to someone else! I had registered at least 2 months before Paul and had been given a much higher number looking like the last minute chump of the group. Anyway, myself and smurky smurkison who was still saracastically announcing to all that I should have got myself organised like him, said goodbye to Mum and Dad and headed off to the start.
We had enjoyed starting at the back so much at the Cragside 10k, we decided to make our way to that point in the group again. It was such a gorgeous evening, the sun was very slowly setting to the right of us, it was lovely just to stand there with a group of runners waiting for the off. Soon enough it came! What a run!
We started by climbing a hill, and this, I realised was when all my hill rep training really started to pay off. I had soon run past a number of runners, turned the corner at the top and climbed again. Then down we went, the weather was so perfect, I couldn’t do anything but let go and enjoy it. And I ran fast. As I past one lady, we noted that the difficulty is what goes down must go back up again, but I felt so fresh and wasn’t struggling with my speed at all. There were a few hills and I was doing fine. Then dear me, there was THAT hill. Many of the runners just point blank stopped and walked the distance, I am pleased to say that neither Paul nor I did, separately we ran our way up. I am not saying it was pretty. I thought I was going to be sick on my trainers at one point. My virtual runners, Tom, Dave and Mike were really with me at that point. Seeing everyone around you giving up is a real trial, but I knew I couldn’t let you down, every step was another opportunity to gain more towards my running total.
At the top of the hill was the water point. I love a good water point. But why is there a trend for the marshals to hand out cups of water? Have you ever tried running with a cup of water? More so have you ever tried running with said cup of water and trying to get any of the water in your mouth?! It was over my face, my ear, up my nose and eventually chucked away as I ran through the little hamlet, passing a couple of women cheering us on with a glass of wine in their hands.
I knew I wasn’t through the hills yet and bang on time came the next climb. At the start of the climb I passed a lovely lady who had run the previous year, and shared words of encouragement as we laughed about the impending hills. The climb was slightly more steady than the first major hill, but this climb just kept going, with 3 false summits on the way up. Paul later regaled me with his successful adventure of over taking a walker/runner at the second false summit. Paul and I have similar goals… once I was at the top it was then steadily down hill where I was joined by a gentleman who ran right on my shoulder. Now Mum/Dad/Paul can tell me from their cycling whilst I run experience I HATE anything just behind me. It doesn’t drive me forward it just means I spend the whole time turning backwards to make sure they don’t step/ride on my heels. The gentleman quickly followed those in front and moved to the other side of the road, while I carried on on the officially designated side. Once the signs indicated to cross I then spurred forward not only over taking him but leaving him far behind. You can’t get too close to me!!
This downhill section turned into a bit of sprint but I knew we must have to go up again at some point and sure enough the ground kicked up with about a quarter of a mile to go. There I cheered my surrounding runners with a rousing ‘We can do this!’ only to get no response but a sideways glance. One of the clubs at the finish was coaching one of their runners, who was alongside me, ignoring all the other runners (Mum pointed out that the clubs seem to concentrate only on their own), but I heard my Mum and Dad yelling their support, so I concentrated hard and motored on towards the finish (to be caught with serious face by the official photographer).
I was very chuffed to find I had been awarded by Strava four gold cups with numbers on for two of the tough segments. Admittedly one of the cup’s numbers got a bit bigger as the runners logged into Strava over the evening (meaning my segment pace was beaten by a few more as time went on!)
The finishing goodie back included a fantastic roman helmet medal, bottle of water, running magazine. But wait as we were driving away Paul discovered his bag had a Penguin in it!!! I LOVE Penguins! I am mean I seriously LOVE Penguins. So on the way to the Swan pub for a celebratory (and very sweaty) dinner we shared a penguin to congratulate our achievements.
This was a tough run but both Paul and I loved it. There were a lot of friendly runners on the course and we supported each other up and over those hills. I loved that I could actually see my training being put into practice. It was great having Mum and Dad cheering us (and I think they enjoyed having the fort to wander around while they waited for us). Did you know they have done several digs at Vindolanda? They have found some seriously exciting stuff over their summers.
The run reminded me of Mum and my walk along the length of Hadrian’s Wall a couple of years ago (something I am very proud of and would totally recommend). Despite it not being easy it is definitely a run I would do again.
Average pace: 9.06/mile
– Mile 1 – 9:02
– Mile 2 – 7:55
– Mile 3 – 8:39
– Mile 4 – 9:56
– Mile 5 – 11:07
– Mile 6 – 7:53
– 0.2 Mile – 9:10
Achievements: 4 x segment personal records and top 10 places! Including 2nd overall woman (all time) for one of the hills!
Location: Gosforth, Newcastle
Distance: 4.06 miles
Run notes: This was a much needed, nice slow and steady recovery run with Paul. Stretching out the legs, particularly the calves, after the hills of Northumberland.
Average pace: 11.23/mile
– Mile 1 – 11:28
– Mile 2 – 11:49
– Mile 3 – 11:25
– Mile 4 – 10:58
Location: Gosforth, Newcastle
Distance: 15.03 miles
Run notes: Wow today was hot. Almost too hot to run. I created my usual water stop in the porch and ran several routes which came passed the water to ensure I kept hydrated as I went. I kept a relatively steady pace throughout and was really pleased with the miles I put in, particularly with the hot weather and my still tight calves. It would be easy to say I can’t on days like today but having a bigger goal and knowing my virtual running partners have believed in me enough to support me in this challenge, means I know I can’t just say no. We can do it and we did!
Average pace: 9.49/mile
– Mile 1 – 9:30
– Mile 2 – 10:06
– Mile 3 – 9:59
– Mile 4 – 9:38
– Mile 5 – 9:39
– Mile 6 – 9:35
– Mile 7 – 9:18
– Mile 8 – 9:41
– Mile 9 – 9:57
– Mile 10 – 10:02
– Mile 11 – 9:41
– Mile 12 – 9:57
– Mile 13– 10:25
– Mile 14 – 9:54
– Mile 15 – 9:46
Achievements: 1 x segment personal record
Thank you Tom Sharpe, Dave Adie and Mike for joining me over hill and through dale in the sunshine this week. Your support definitely made getting up those hill challenges that bit easier for me!