Blog Great Eastern Run

It was a tad wet…..

Last Sunday, the wettest since records began*, saw the annual Great Eastern Run. A half-marathon set in the picturesque** surroundings of Peterborough city centre.

Now to say the morning was wet and windy would be an understatement: it was frickin' very wet and frickin' very windy***. I'm not a great fan of running in the rain, so my first thought when I drew back the curtains was: f###ing hell. In fact it was probably not even I thought, I may have actually said it out loud, and probably loud enough it wake up most of my neighbours.

But, having said all that, I'd put in quite a few miles in training for the sodding event so I gathered my stuff**** together and set off for the proxy place. Initially I was planning to post a new half-marathon PB, but after arriving at the start I quickly decided today was not a day for PBs….

This race has been a mainstay on my race calendar for the last five or six years, so I knew exactly what to expect. Although I didn't expect to have to clamber over a fence, which a marshall wasn't amazingly impressed with*****, just to get somewhere near the start. I must admit it seemed a particularly disorganised start, although the weather and everyone rushing to the start at the last minute probably didn't help.

Now plodding the streets of Peterborough on a wet and windy Sunday morning isn't everybody's cup of tea, although I did spot some slightly amusing happenings:

  • Before we had even crossed the start line a fella, too busy waving to friends in the crowd, ran through a MASSISVE puddle.
  • Overtook a particularly knackered looking Batfink, his sponge 'wings of steel' probably not helping, they seemed to have soaked up quite a bit of water.
  • I ran most of the way in the vincinity of a bloke called 'Simon'. Not entirely sure who he was, but he was getting a lot of support along the way from the crowds. He must have been some sort of local superstar. 13.1 miles is along way to run wondering if Peterborough has any famous Simons. One did come to mind, Simon Bamford, him of Hellraiser fame, although I quickly dismissed this possibility…have you seen Butterball******?
  • Darren Ferguson, Peterborough FC's manager started the event, it was quite amusing to see how many people were avoiding the high-five.

Well suffice to say, I completed the race in a time of 1.37, a minute or so off a PB, pretty pleased with that. My reward:

* this is a lie

** this is also a lie

*** this is another understatement

**** flippers, snorkel, etc.

***** sorry Marshall, needs must and all that

****** obscure film reference


Blog Great Eastern Run

Running and stuff….

Just an 8-miler this morning, according to my training plan it should have been 13! Doh!

Although I ran 13 miles last Sunday and 12 miles a couple of weeks before so I thought with just two weeks until the Peterborough Half I'd take it easy a bit. It was a lovely morning and didn't really want to spoil it by going hell for leather* chasing a particular pace. I'm confident of completing the race, just need to decide whether or not I'm going to try to beat my PB. I'm going to crack on with the training schedule, throw in a couple of fast 6-milers and see where we're at.

This morning's run did throw up some interesting observations:

  • The amazingly fast walking man – he was walking his dog and going at such a pace I had trouble overtaking him.
  • I nearly killed off an elderly couple – it would seem that didn't hear me approaching and my cheery 'morning' nearly brought on a heart attack.
  • Caused a bit of commotion at the ponds – some fishermen didn't appreciate the dog jumping in the pond and scaring off the fish.

In other news…..

Currently reading 'The Cry' by Helen Fitzgerald, great book about a baby that goes missing in Australia. A dark psychological thriller with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Well worth a read!

And finally….

Off to see the fantastic Frank Hamilton in Cambridge tonight….lovely jubbly….

* This is not a phrase I use very often and just wanted to point out that I do actually run in running shoes not some great pair of leather clad boots.


Great Eastern Run

Running, indulging the doolally and univocalism….

This morning my 'lovely' half-marathon training plan exclaimed that I should do a long 'steady' run of 12 miles, yes you read that right, 12 miles! Not quite sure why it wants me to run so far considering I still have five weeks until race day. But not wanting to upset the fecking thing, that is exactly what I did.

12.65 miles in a time of 1:38.38. Average pace 7.48 per mile.

Still slightly slower than target pace (although I had to go through various gates, cross roads and climb hills), but it felt good!

I had planned a slightly different route that enabled me to pop into a shop and get a drink at about halfway so that I didn't have to bother carrying a bottle throughout. Also, I had even created a new playlist to accompany me on the run. Get me!

Yesterday included a trip to Peterborough for a bit of a wander about. Once there we stumbled upon The Peterborough Arts Fest – a celebration of Peterborough and its people. With the rather catchy tagline of 'Indulge the Doolally'. According to the programme, we were promised, “jaw dropping spectaculars”, “internationally acclaimed acts” and an “extraordinary finale”. What we actually experienced was an event that nobody seemed to know about, there were very few people about, and actually very few acts performing. So, as you can imagine, we didn't hang around for the “extraordinary finale”. Although I did manage a picture sitting on a massive deckchair (small things and all that)…..

But also, more excitingly, performing in the Talkative Tent (sponsored by John Clare Cottage) were Dead Poets….

Dead Poets are made up of Mark Grist, him of poetry slam fame….

….and DJ Mixy, the pair formed the collaboration to challenge the preconceptions of poetry and hip-hop. If you get a chance to seem them you should, it's a very entertaining performance. Today was no different, Mark performed a piece of univocal poetry entitled 'The Fens' which was very clever. Univocalism is a poem that uses only one vowel, here is a rather poor attempt….

Jog to Morton

Born to jog,

Sort of hobby,

Good to go.

North from town,

Off to woods,

Lots to look.

Dogs too jolly,

Poop on boot,

Not good look.

Cows in fog,

Not to worry,

Jog on strong.

Boozy horror show,

Bosoms and knobs,

Long story.

Grotty old dog,

Soggy from ponds,

Looks odd.

Horror show,

Jog too slow,

School tomorrow.

In other news, Frank Hamilton has released his first, what he calls, 'serious' video….


Great Eastern Run

I move slow and steady…

Four weeks ago I decided to enter the Peterborough Half Marathon and attempt to beat my PB, currently standing at….

Since then I have been following a training plan, tweaking it in places, running a few races in between, but pretty much sticking to exactly what I am supposed to be doing. It seems to be going ok, except that my target pace of 7.22 min/mile seems REALLY fast. Now I will say at this point that I knew this would be the case; I set my PB a few years ago when I was younger, running more and entering more races. I knew it would be difficult: it is a 'proper' challenge. But recently I'm beginning to think that it might be a bit of a struggle to actually beat the time.

Last weekend I ran the Grimsthorpe 10K, it was a warm morning, it's a tough course, multi terrain: concrete, grass, gravel, track, in fact at one stage, as we approached the lake, I was half expecting to have to run on water. I completed it in 46.12…

But the important stat is the average pace: 7.26 min/mile. Actually slower than the pace I need to run for the half-marathon, and this was only 6ish miles, and I was absolutely knackered at the finish. I have to run double that distance! Now, as I said earlier, it is a tough course, but all the same it's got me thinking. Is this challenge achievable?

So we eventaully get to the part why I called this post 'I move slow and steady'…..

It seems that whenever I go for a run I always seem to be chasing a target time or target pace. Club training sessions are really hard work, even 'steady' paced runs are done with the idea that I should be running pretty close to my target race pace. I haven't really had much chance to 'enjoy' the running. So you can imagine my delight when I looked at the training plan and had a couple of days running at an 'easy' pace. Now I'm not entirely sure what my 'easy' pace should be, I think I read somewhere that I can run them at a minute slower? So what I did was run them at a lovely 9 min/mile pace (probably far too slow) and really enjoyed them. It was great to just run. If I wanted to run fast downhill, I did! If I wanted to drop the pace for an uphill section, I did! If I wanted to jog slowly, I did! If I wanted to pick up the pace for a bit, I did! I just really enjoyed it. So from here on in I'll be running a few more 'easy' runs. I'm not giving up on achieving a PB in the half-marathon, just going to try to do it with a few more 'enjoyable' runs thrown in.


Great Eastern Run

Tilgate Parkrun

I was a parkrun tourist today.

I'm visiting my sister in Kent and her closest parkrun is Tilgate Parkrun near Crawley. So we planned to set off at 8am to give it a go. When I say 'we', I was the only one planning to run it, but my sister and her two kids were coming for the ride. It's been a while since I've had little ones, so had forgotten just how crazy things can be when you're trying to get out the door, Grace is 22 mths and Stanley is 8 mths, so this morning was not a matter of get up and go.

A few things needed doing before we could leave: nappies changed; bottles drunk; breakfast eaten; changing bag prepared; pushchair sorted; clothes on; spare bibs in bag; snacks and drinks in bag; nappies changed; toys in bag; pushchair in car; kids in car seats; car seats in car; and we were ready to go, only a couple of minutes behind schedule.

Lovely setting for a run

Tilgate Park is about 15 miles away, despite having no idea where we were going we made it in good time, and after unloading all the stuff (and kids), walking in the direction of everyone else, we arrived at the start with ten minutes to spare. A quick warm-up and we were off.

As is usual with every other parkrun I have been to, it was well organised and well attended. The 5km course began near the boathouse and does a lap of Tilgate Lake before heading to Titmus Lake, up a short sharp incline (which is not particularly short, but definitely sharp), before turning back towards Tilgate Lake for a second lap, at which point I managed a high five with Grace as I sped whizzed ran past, before reaching the finish in 13th place in a time of 19.57.

After the run we headed to the fantastic looking playground at the top of the hill….

This playground may have looked fantastic, but the items in the playground had a dark side: they were slightly more tricky than they looked. Standard swings: no problems. Springy bouncy jeep thingy: fine, until a lad jumped on and began rocking the thing like it was traversing the moon. Slide one: no problems. Slide two: huge metal corkscrew slide, which was vey high, had one go but too scary to attempt again. Slide three: steeper than it looked, Grace even managed a bit of free fall at one stage whilst travelling down it. Scramble net bridge: tried but too difficult, one step on and feet fell through holes.

Grace loves the swings!
Me and Stanley

After the playground we settled on the grass for a little picnic, a little relax, and three 'little' trips to the bin.

Lovely morning! Cushty!


Blog Great Eastern Run

Running shoes….

I have been thinking about getting some new running shoes for a while. My last pair of running shoes, Adidas Litestrike EVA, have done me well. Bought them over a year ago and in that time they have covered a fair few miles. I'm not entirely sure how often you should replace your running shoes…300 miles….500 miles? Then I remembered seeing this in Runner's World magazine asking how long your trainers usually last….

So a couple of weeks ago I began checking out new trainers. I looked online, browsed sports shops and generally faffed about. I am very good at faffing. The problem is I don't particularly like to spend a lot of money on trainers. I know trainers are the only real expense when it comes to running, but even so, over £100 for a pair??

Another thing about hunting for new running shoes are the names. It is amazing what the manufacturers are calling their shoes, a quick browse through the first dozen pages of a running magazine: New Balance 880v3; Mizuno U4ic; Brooks Ghost 6; and Nike Lunareclipse+ 3. I'm not fussed what they are called, although I would be very happy with a pair of trainers called Lunareclipse+ 3! How cool would that be?

So what was I looking for?

  • Price – around £40-45
  • Colour – wasn't particularly bothered, apart from black, I think black trainers look ridiculous
  • Weight – well I'd like a pair of the really cool very light trainers that cost £100s – but I knew I'd probably settle for something reasonably light, yet supportive.

So when out shopping yesterday, in Ely of all places, I popped into Paul Day's Sports. It was only a small, independent shop so wasn't expecting too much. In fact, they only had half a dozen running shoes to choose from. I began the long process of looking, picking up, turning over, weighing up, trying on, etc. After a fruitless ten minutes, and as I was about to leave, I looked down on the bottom shelf. There in front of me was the most perfect looking pair of trainers: Nike Flex 2012 Run iD Men's Running Shoes in Red. I looked at the price: £40. I weighed them up: reasonably light. I tried them on: perfect.

I bought them!

This morning was an easy 4 mile run… issues with trainers….in fact I ran like the wind!


Great Eastern Run

This is a ‘proper’ challenge….

Forget your project365, your monthly projects*, your Juneathon, your Janathon**, your 1SE***, and any other pathetic ‘little’ challenges.

This is the mother of all challenges. Run a half-marathon. Run a half-marathon I hear you say?!? Sounds rubbish I know, but let me fill you in with the details. No it’s not dressed as a donkey, a gorilla, a fairy, or any other ridiculous outfit. Nor is it running backwards, or juggling, or any other ridiculous combination of activities. It is simply to beat my PB. Simple.

My current PB stands at 1 hour 36 minutes 30 seconds. Which, even if I say so myself, is pretty quick. I ran this time four years ago when I was running and entering a lot more races than I have been lately. So this challenge is a proper challenge. It will require some actual training, something I have not done since 2006 when I completed the London Marathon. I have a training plan: a tweaked Runner’s World half-marathon training plan. The chosen event, Peterborough Great Eastern Run, the same race I ran current PB on. This is a good flat, and they say, fast course. Race takes place on Sunday 13th October, so I have plenty of time to build some speed into my legs.

I do have a couple of concerns:

  • Time. The next four weeks are ok, I’m on holiday, but finding the time at the start of a new school year maybe slightly more tricky.
  • Pace. To complete the 13.1 miles in a PB my target pace is 7.22 min/mile. It is very rare that I’m ever running at that pace, except maybe club training nights, but anyway never at such a long distance. Hence why I plan on actually doing some ‘proper’ training.

I was planning on running this half-marathon a while back, but since then the school where I work is now entering a team and raising money for Cancer Research UK, I think under the rather fetching name of ‘The CBEC Stars’. I’m sure there is an online site somewhere to donate, but I have absolutely no idea where. But don’t be despondent, I know you are all eager to sponsor such a worthwhile charity, so will post a link in the coming weeks.

So let me just clarify, the time to beat is:


So what about some sort of fantastic mantra for the challenge? An inspirational phrase that will see me through to completion? I thought long and hard about this….

“Fortune favours the brave.” Publius Terence

…’s hardly brave running a half-marathon….

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi

….too long, I’ll never remember that whilst running…

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt

….sounds a bit negative… discounted them all in favour of…..

“Get Better” Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

* Failed – the unicycle is REALLY hard to ride

** Failed – cba

*** Failed – updated app and it deleted all previous video clips!! Grrrr!