The last week has been really busy and I’m finding it hard to fit everything in. Work is always busy, so fitting in studying and London Marathon training around that isn’t easy.
The final Sunday Runday
Last Sunday was the final Sunday Runday ahead of ABP Southampton Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k. My training schedule said that I needed to run 24km, so I planned to run 8km ahead of joining the group. Unfortunately, I ran for a while before I realised that I hadn’t turned my watch on. I also dawdled a bit, so by the time I got back to the start point for Sunday Runday, I had only done 7.1km. Fortunately, the group run was longer than I expected at 17.08km, so I ran 24.18km in total.
For the first half of the run, I ran with Peter and Steph. We headed through the parks and to the far end of the high street before going over the Itchen Bridge. Not far from the supermarket, I saw a banknote in the gutter. The people who were running with me were surprised and commented on my luck. I said that it didn’t feel right, but I didn’t have time to examine it – I just shoved it into my pocket to look at later.
A closer inspection of the banknote reveals that it was a poor forgery or advertising gimmick.
We ran along the waterfront at Weston Shore. At the end we stopped for a rest and to regroup, however the faster runners quickly left the back half of the group behind.
I continued to chat with others when the group split. The faster runners were ahead with Nic and then the slower runners got strung out. Gus was leading the next fastest part of the group, Peter and I were with a small group and then the back marker had some people with her. We asked Gus to stop at the far side of the Northam Bridge so that we could regroup.
Peter and I continued running with a lady who was starting to tire. Unfortunately, she stumbled when we were on Cobden Bridge. I had run out of water and energy sweets, so I went to a workshop by the water and asked the people there to give me some water. Hopefully, the injured runner found it helpful.
On the way back to the Common, I started to struggle. I was feeling tired and thirsty and think I hadn’t had enough to eat or drink. I ended up speaking to a runner called Sandra who is aiming for 70 minutes in the 10k. Hopefully, she’ll join my pacing group and we’ll help her to achieve her goal.
Even with the slowdown at the end, my pace was 20s/km faster than dawdling around on my own. If I can do 6:46/km in London then I’ll be going for a 4:45 finish time.
No running Monday
I got ready to go running on Monday night and then checked the schedule. It was a shared track session with Itchen Spitfires. Normally, I love track running, but I just didn’t feel like going to a session where I wouldn’t speak to anyone. I was also feeling tired and thought I’d be better off studying. I’m doing an exciting project at the moment using VR and need to find time to explore the software.
On Tuesday, I’d forgotten about an on-campus meeting and wasn’t feeling 100%, so I enjoyed walking to and from campus and getting some fresh air.
Thursday night endurance session
I was so grateful that Lynne was there on Thursday night. This meant I had company for the whole run, which makes the time pass more quickly. We covered 10.64km with an average pace of 6:39 including rest sections and cooldown.
Saturday long run
I was dreading my long run on Saturday. It’s been a long time since I last ran 20 miles. I ended up putting out a plea on Facebook to see whether anyone could join me for at least some of my run either before or after parkrun.
Fortunately, Marion saw my post and invited me to join her, Helen and Hayley on a long run out to Ganger Farm parkrun and back. I was a little nervous that they were quicker than me, but I really thought some company would do me good.
After arriving at the Common early, I jogged around until I had reached 5km. I still had some time to kill before meeting the others at 7:10am so I kept moving. Unfortunately, I got nervous and 7:07am and thought I was in the wrong place, so I ran over to the other side of the Common. I couldn’t see the others there, so I sprinted back across the Common at a pace that was far too fast for me to maintain. This meant that I was late.
We headed back up towards Bassett and then out into the woods at Chilworth. I had some comfortable new shoes on… but it was a bit muddy. by the time we’d done about 12km, I asked if we could stop for a drink and snack break. We also took some photos.
I was conscious that I was slower than the others and started to flag. I had completely forgotten that I had run around for over 45 minutes before we started running. This meant that I was worried we would miss all of parkrun. Marion was very patient with me.
Ganger Farm parkrun
We arrived at Ganger Farm parkrun just as the event was starting. Everyone was running at their own pace, so I decided to walk for a bit and drink something. Chris Stocks was park walking, so I spoke to him for half a lap before I started to jog again.
I last participated at Ganger Farm parkrun in November 2022. My time was pretty slow as I was unwell at the time and started the event with M. (She finished with Stu as she decided she wanted to run). I was confident that I could get a PB this time. Success: I finished in 43:29.
Last part of my long run
I was tired when I finished. Marion arranged for me to run back with Michael, Loraine and another person. I gratefully accepted. Michael contacted me on social media recently and I’ve known Loraine for a long time, so I knew we would be able to run together.
Michael had parked in North Baddesley. I only needed to run another couple of kilometres, so I resigned myself to running on and then walking back up through Chilworth, which includes a steep hill. Michael offered me a lift to the far side of the Sports Centre, so I gladly accepted. This meant that I just needed to run downhill by the cycle track and on the central path by the running track. I finished my 32km run by the golf course.
I was so glad to finish my long run. It was a short walk back to my house. I didn’t mind as I knew Stu and M would be waiting for me with a refreshing pint of orange squash.
I also managed to squeeze in some volunteering by being the volunteer coordinator for Southampton parkrun.
As I was tired after my long run, I decided to do some baking. I decided to try a recipe for Portable Porridge Squares from the back of a Bioglan Superfoods Cacao Boost packet. The Cacao Boost can be used as a substitute for cocoa powder in recipes. I didn’t have almond milk, so I used cow’s milk in the recipe.
Here’s what the producer says about Cacao Boost:
We have chosen superfoods Cacao, Lucuma, Maca and Hemp for their energy-enhancing properties in this unique organic blend. Lucuma (a fruit native to the Andean valleys of Peru) and Maca (a root vegetable also native to the Andes) give the blend a delicious malty, caramel flavour. These blend perfectly with the richness of Cacao and the nuttiness of Hemp, which is also a source of protein.https://bioglansuperfoods.co.uk/product/cacao-boost-70g/
The recipe was simple as it just involved mixing six ingredients together and then pressing the mixture into a baking tray.
The resulting porridge squares were moist and tasty. I think they’ll be good fuel for my long runs. I don’t know whether I’ll eat them quickly enough, so I’m going to freeze some.
St Ives Bay 10k 2023
Finally, I’ve seen an advert for St gives Bay 10k. Its date changes every year as it’s reliant on tide times. I’m desperate to return and get a good time, but a weeknight in early July will be hard for me to make. If you can register for this event, I’d strongly recommend it.