Birmingham Canal and Matfen 10k

Week: 21.08.17-03.09.17

This week my virtual runners are Cam, Anonymous (30/10/16), and Emily. Thank you for your support on this slightly more relaxed week!

Date: 16.08.17

Location: Birmingham

Distance: 3.3 miles

Time: 50:13

Run notes: I was away for 5 days at a conference for work. The schedule was action packed, and so there was going to be very little time for running but I packed my kit just in case, as I didn’t want to do no running at all before the Great North Run (I am a bit superstitious like that).

I got my opportunity on the third night, and having used Strava to see popular running routes near my hotel. I headed for the nearest canal, where the paths were well trodden and cycled. But first, as is my won’t I got a little lost and ended up the very lovely high end shopping and eating area going up and down several narrow flights of steps and over bridges. I must have been a right sight for those eating their dinners, but I tried my best to look cool and like I knew what I was doing. I think I failed at that.

It was a lovely and simple route, out and back (although I avoided the posh bit that I had stumbled across for my finish).


I was surprised however how uncomfortable it felt to run, it was probably because of the long days and constant sitting. I passed a number of other runners and I felt very adventurous running somewhere where I had never been before. It makes me keen to get out running in different places more often.


When I got back to the hotel I felt really chuffed that I despite the option of having an excuse not to run I got out and did it.

Average pace: 8:06/mile

Splits: (min/mile)

– Mile 1 – 9:44

– Mile 2 – 9:05

– Mile 3 – 9:33

– 0.3 Mile – 10:03


Date: 03.09.17

Location: Matfen, Northumberland

Distance: 6.2 miles

Time: 49:47

Run notes: Today it was the run, that is billed as the last race before the Great North Run. I have run this run before, 4 years ago. I was really intrigued to see how I would find the run this time in comparison to my last outing.

It was another Run Nation run, so of course it is running through gorgeous scenery but via some challenging elevations. Got to love the run organisers, they give with one hand and take away with the other!

Paul had come to cheer me on my way. He helped me with my pre-run nerves as I was anxious of a really nasty hill half way round. However I was obviously feeling good because when I started the race, I did something very unusual for me. I set off very quickly. In hindsight this was a very good lesson for me that came at exactly the right time. After running a very quick mile (for me) which is something I save to the end of the race, I started the first hill climb and I was a little tired. I kept going looking at the surroundings and trying not to see anyone who might be passing me!

We were soon descending and several people definitely sprinted passed me towards their fate, but I knew what was coming so I held my pace. And then there was that hill, keeping my same pace I managed to pass a number of those who had just previously sprinted passed. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a comfortable run up the hill and it did make me feel slightly nauseous but once again Cam, Emily and Anonymous’ support got me up there. I wasn’t going to let you guys down!

There was a gentleman runner passed me as he sprinted down hill, then I got to heels on the climbs, then once out on the flat he picked up his pace again. I let him go, always keeping him in my sights but still staying at my own pace.


Then I saw the final 9km sign – only 1k left to go and I let rip. I pushed on, giving it my all. I had decided I wanted to see if I could catch him again. He seemed to spend the next several hundred metres checking behind him, then as I heard the spectators cheering I managed to sail passed.


It is at this point an incident happened which Paul still mocks me for. I was running so fast (for me) I couldn’t really see the people at the side, and although I thanked the spectators as I always do (it’s so good that people will give up their time and cheer random strangers on) I included Paul in this.


He video’d me running – and yep the evidence is there, you can tell as he’s cheering me on, I simply stick my thumbs up and sigh an impersonal thanks to the random male voice that was actually Paul. Sorry Paul!

I was really chuffed with my performance for this run, so much better than my last outing. I even managed to finish as 8th female runner and 2nd place for my category!

Average pace: 8:06/mile

Splits: (min/mile)

– Mile 1 – 8:13

– Mile 2 – 8:47

– Mile 3 – 8:26

– Mile 4 – 8:31

– Mile 5 – 7:20

– Mile 6 – 7:32

– 0.2 Mile – 6:58

Achievements: Course record on Ritton Bank Hill Climb, Best 2 mile effort, Best 1 mile effort.

Thank you Cam, Anonymous (30/10/16), and Emily for joining me for this unintentionally slightly more relaxed running week with a great end, which showed all the running/training was working! Thank you for supporting the MS Trust and the fantastic work that they do.

Posted in Run

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