5,000 miles

During my run this morning I completed 5,000 miles since my first recorded run:

tweetmyrun - 2016 06 12

It has taken quite a bit longer, about eighteen months compared to the anticipated twelve, to complete this latest thousand. I completed 4,000 miles on 4 January 2015, but injuries interrupted my running significantly throughout 2015 and into early 2016. Now, though, things seem to be back on track.

tweetmyrun - 2015 01 04

Here’s to completing this year, and the next thousand miles, injury free.

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The big five oh!

No, no, not my fiftieth birthday; that was on the first day of the month and I celebrated at Bromley parkrun. This morning was my fiftieth parkrun! And fortunately, having anticipated this for some time, I managed to align several significant moments, numerological and otherwise:

  • my 50th parkrun – as I may already have mentioned
  • my 5th consecutive parkrun – the first time I have put such a sequence together
  • the 5th event in my #50at50 challenge
  • the first time my dad has seen me run
  • my runningest sister also ran – although she did forget her barcode and so doesn’t appear in the results

At the start line I had a target of nineteen fifty in mind for obvious reasons, but wasn’t too optimistic. Although I started the month at Bromley comfortably running 20:50 inside a target of 21:30 and ran 20:08 the next week at Dulwich inside a target of 20:30, the subsequent two returns to Dulwich produced 20:17 and 20:08 against a target of 20:00.

I mentioned in my post on Bromley at the beginning of the month that some fluid on my right knee was causing me some concern and this has persisted since becoming more obvious as the weeks pass. As a consequence I hadn’t run at all since last weekend’s parkrun when I arrived at Dulwich Park this morning. The support of friends, and particularly family, makes a difference though. Several friends wished me well on my fiftieth parkrun at, or in one case shortly after, the start and I then had my family – my dad and his wife, my own wife and our daughters of four and six – cheering me as I passed on each of the three laps.

My parkrun 50 club shirt. Currently virtual.

My 50th parkrun qualifies me for a 50 club shirt. Mine is currently virtual.

My result of 19:55 was very satisfying and something of a surprise given my non-training. I attribute this to the facets of the day already described and in particular that the first time I passed my family my eldest daughter was crying. I think I ran that second lap more quickly because I wanted to be there for her. It momentarily crossed my mind that I might need to stop and support her, but of course when I completed my second lap she was fine. It transpired that she’d fallen off her bike just before I arrived the first time.

After I had recovered, talked with my family and some friends and cheered other parkrunners over the line, my eldest daughter and I set off on a ‘training run’ once around the park. She is now ready for tomorrow’s junior parkrun 🙂

First 100 events

9 years, 3 months and 2 days after my first event, the London British 10k on 2 July 2006, last Saturday’s Bromley parkrun was my one hundredth. I have run in 12 different disciplines; listed here in order of my first running of each.

event count first last fastest
10k 22 2 Jul 2006, 46:40 16 Nov 2014, 39:04 39:04
5000m 2 23 Sep 2006, 20:27 15 Apr 2015, 19:01.53 19:01.53
SSRC 4 mile fun run 4 28 Jan 2007, 27:48 24 Jan 2010, 28:28 27:43
10000m 1 15 Sep 2007, 44:04 44:04
half marathon 7 28 Mar 2010, 98:13 29 Mar 2015, 87:14 86:29
5k 47 11 Aug 2012, 22:39 3 Oct 2015, 20:50 18:53
5 mile 4 2 Dec 2012, 33:11 7 Dec 2014, 31:28 31:28
Beckenham RC handicap 5 13 Feb 2013, 23:27 9 Oct 2013, 25:35 23:02
800m 2 6 Nov 2013, 2:30.1 4 Dec 2013, 2:25.9 2:25.9
1500m 3 6 Nov 2013, 5:18.2 5 Feb 2014, 5:20.9 5:18.2
10 mile 1 1 Mar 2014, 66:41 66:41
1 mile 1 5 Mar 2014, 5:31.7 5:31.7
SSRC 10k (short) 1 25 Jan 2015, 39:19 39:19

Whilst many of those event disciplines – 800m, mile, 5k, half marathon etc – are commonly understood some will be unfamiliar: Just what is a Beckenham RC handicap for example? An explanation of these anomalies, together with an up to date event count beyond the date of this post, can be found on the Event Counts page (also accessible via Stats on the site menu).

event-count-100

9 years, 3 months and 2 days after my first event last Saturday’s parkrun was my one hundredth.

I take some satisfaction from reaching 100 events and find it is interesting to reflect on how the frequency and diversity of events has increased since my early years. Although my progression has been slowed over the last two years by injury, I am certainly anticipating my 200 event milestone already. Although I may not add many new disciplines – just marathon, 50k and 3000m currently come to mind – I am hoping to reach the next milestone relatively quickly. My #50at50 celebration, which started at Bromley last weekend, should get me close to 150 by this time next year if all goes well.

 

4,000 miles

During my run this morning I completed 4,000 miles since my first recorded run:

tweetmyrun - 2015 01 04

It was at around the same date last year that I recorded my 3,000th mile:

tweetmyrun - 2014 01 27

I reached 2,000 miles in 2013 whilst setting a half marathon PB in Bournemouth:

tweetmyrun - 2013 04 07

And it was in 2010 that I completed my first 1,000 miles:

tweetmyrun - 2010 02 14

Before the first run for which I now have a record, 31 May 2006, there were probably a few hundred miles more in total from 2004, 2005 and the beginning of 2006, but they are now, sadly, forever lost.

Quality Street, quality running

On Monday night a friend came to visit and brought us a small tin of Quality Street chocolates as a gift. It was only a small tin. It still is only a small tin. It’s just that it is now a small, empty tin*. I have blogged about binge eating in the past and whilst it is not an overwhelming problem for me, it remains a recurring theme. Based on the product’s nutritional information, slightly ameliorated by the Cyclist and our friend eating a polite number of chocolates during the evening, it seems I wantonly consumed around 1000 junk calories after our friend had left and the Cyclist had gone to bed. Extended nutritional highlights; 42g of fat (20%) and 123g sugar (58%)!

Unfortunately such an occurrence remains ‘normal’ for me; although it cycles through periods of higher and lower frequency I would estimate an average of once a week … Fortunately I am currently running so much, and enjoying it so much, that such a binge is all but cancelled out by the combination of running and the good eating habits which I maintain the rest of the time. Since my weight has remained constant, at around 67kg since June, the calories themselves are clearly fully consumed by my metabolic furnace; averaging 30 miles a week as I have for the last four months burns an additional 3,300 calories a week. I am aware that, although the furnace seems indiscriminate about its fuel, the flaws in the quality of my nutrition will have an effect on my running performance.

My youngest daughter woke me up at around 4:40am on Tuesday morning and, despite insistently remaining in bed for a further 40 minutes, I failed to convince myself that sleep was still an option. Influenced by the excesses of the night before I decided to bring my long run forward from its regular Thursday morning slot. A long run for me is currently 10 miles / 16 kilometres or a little more and when not tapering for a race I do one most weeks. Consequently my previous long run, of 18km, was towards the end of November before my efforts of the last two weekends at Oak Hill and Perivale.

Just before 6:00am I set out from Beckenham, South West toward Croydon, on a route of approximately 10 miles that I’ve run several times before. As I’d not done a long run for a few weeks I planned to limit my pace to around 5:20/km for the opening kilometres so that I would get the most training and fat burning benefit from my run and simply so that I could ease along and enjoy the morning. It was cold enough that running tights, two top layers, gloves and a hat were necessary.

My Garmin Connect activity shows that at least I kept my pace over 5:00/km for the first four kilometres – 5:14, 5:12, 5:06, 5:08. After that I remained at or slightly under 5:00km for the next few kilometres which is the pace I naturally fall into when I’m running at my most relaxed. The most significant feature of the route starts 8 kilometres in; a 70 metre climb spread over 2.3km, 50 metres of which is within the tenth kilometre. This felt significantly easier than I remember it and my splits for kilometres 9 and 10 were 5:00 and 5:11 respectively. Moreover my HR averaged 133 and 140 in those kilometres in contrast to the 124 I’d maintained up until that point. I ran at under 5:00/km for the remainder of the run.

Activity map from my Garmin Connect activity record.

Running along the North East side of Crystal Palace Park was the high point of my run both literally and metaphorically. I felt strong, light and fresh and completed kilometre 12 in 4:34. The endorphins which fuelled that also inspired me to not to cash in my elevation immediately and run down the North West side of the park towards Penge, and home, as I normally do on this route. Instead I continued past Dulwich/Sydenham Woods and only then turned downhill into Sydenham where I joined another route I know well, one I learned when out running with my club: I turned into Venner Road and then onto Lennard Road towards Cator Park. By now I had run just over 17km and I was little more than a kilometre from home. I was heading in that general direction mentally as well as geographically. However at the junction of Lennard Road and Kent House Road the traffic lights and traffic flow were against me and so I turned right rather than continuing straight on as I otherwise would have done. At the next junction I did the same, again influenced by heavy traffic.

track in fields

Running along the North East side of Crystal Palace Park … doesn’t look like this, but during my run it felt like this.
And I believe it is compulsory for every runner’s blog to include a version of this image anyway.

Passing through Penge I completed 19km and arrived at Lidl at the North end of Elmers End Road. I definitely had it in mind to continue straight ahead down Elmers End Road, to the station, and then turn left home; a further distance of a little over 2km. Instead, in a state of heightened euphoria, I turned right and headed directly away from home. Reflecting on my Garmin data now I can see that for five of the preceding six kilometres I had been running downhill and had lost 80 metres of elevation in the first five of those. Notwithstanding that the final sixth kilometre actually climbed 20 metres the net effect was that I felt very strong and, more significantly, very excited at feeling so good such a long way into a run. As I continued my run I began to think about writing a blog post. I came up with the title and contemplated how far I might run in total. I knew that my longest single runs ever were around 22km and that I’d once run a little over 23km with two short breaks whilst on a group run with my club. With my recent Advent Running experience in mind I thought 25km, or perhaps 25.25km, would be appropriate. Feeling all but invincible I started thinking that maybe my first marathon won’t be such a big deal … quite pleasant even. And that my sometime fantasy of running the Sri Chimnoy 24 hour race wasn’t something from an alternate universe after all …

My route home was essentially dictated by the limitations of my geographic knowledge; as I passed Norwood Junction station, at around 20.5km, I rejoined my outward route and simply re-traced the opening kilometres of my run as I didn’t want to risk getting lost exploring possible alternatives. I did use the one cut through I know in the area, past Blackhorse Lane tram stop, to shorten my return slightly. Which was a relief because as I completed 21km I quite quickly went from feeling fine to my right ankle feeling sore/painful and shortly after that both legs became heavy and tired and I felt sore and stiff in various unusual locations. My run was no longer the stuff of fantasy. Reality kicked back in and it occurred to me to check the time for the first time since I’d left home: 7:45 and I realised I needed to get home promptly so that the Cyclist could go to work! We passed on the doorstep as I arrived home and it didn’t seem to be a good time to share my new running milestone and hope that she’d be enthusiastic …

DISCLAIMER: The author in no way advocates the use of Quality Street or any other confectionery items to enhance running performance. Any persons using confectionery items to enhance running performance do so entirely at their own risk. Any loss or injury caused directly or indirectly by confectionery items in a running context remain the sole liability of the individual(s) administering the confectionery and/or doing the running.

* Well except for two coconut eclairs, but nobody knowingly eats those. I did eat one in the low illumination of the TV screen and reminded myself why I don’t.