March 2019

Miles run – 108

Days run – 18 out of 31

Two races this month at San Domenico and Merthyr Half.

All prep for the Great Welsh Half in April.

I achieved a 10 mile personal best at San Dom (1:18:57 v 1:28:31). The previous best was at Brecon 10 which is hilly, San Dom is predominately flat so I was always hopeful of a good time.

I’d run Merthyr Half twice before in 2015 and again in 2017 with Kevin. This year the route was back to the 2015 route. That year I had a tough day and finished only my fourth Half in 2:05:48.

This year I had a great time running the route. It’s undulating and I did struggle a bit but came home in 1:51:07. It was my 16th Half since I started in 2014.

The week after Merthyr I ran at Bryn Bach parkrun. I hadn’t run at pace for sometime, being more focused on endurance. My time was 23:07 which I was very happy with.

I’d planned a 15 mile run the following day but had to abandon it and finished with 5.6 miles. It was due to a tight right calf and hydration issues.

Good Intentions

I started this blog with good intentions to keep it going. Here we are nearly in September and the last post was in March.

I shall update a month at a time over the coming days and then look forward to what I have planned in 2020.

San Domenico 10 – 17 March 2019

This race had to be cancelled last year due to the snow in the UK.

I was due to run the 20 mile race in preparation for the Great Welsh Marathon. I actually went out for a 20 mile run around Brecon instead.I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run 20 miles at this point in the year so opted for the 10 mile race instead.

My mileage will build up soon for Race To The Stones (RTTS) but not just yet.

As I’m still getting through what ever is troubling my hamstring & glute, I ran a test 10 miler on the route last week. This actually went really well. It was also the first time I used TailWind to fuel my runs.

I will be using it at RTTS and it’s always best to try new fuel ideas beforehand.

The 10 & 20 mile races start together on the out and back course along the generally flat Taff Trail. Those running the 20 do two laps.

The start was slow and that was great for me! I had a race plan of taking the first six out easy (9 min miles) and then attacking the four miles back.

After the first mile, which loops back to the start, I felt like I wanted to pick the pace up. The legs felt decent so I went with it.

I started going passed runners with relative ease, although this can be deceptive as some are running the 20 and will be running at a more conservative pace.

I got to the turnaround and was doing really well, I’m sure the TailWind helped with that. I was tired but didn’t feel like I had to significantly slow down or stop.

The legs haven’t run at pace for a while and this was clear as I neared the end. With just over half a mile to go there is a slight incline which made my legs work more than they had been but I’d recovered by the time I got to the short hill under a bridge (locals will know). I was able to get up that relatively easily.

Then it was a downhill dash to the finish!

My chip time was 1:18:57Which works out at a huge Personal Best. My previous best was 1:27 although that was at the much tougher, hillier Brecon 10.

Photo credit to Robert Gale of Parc Bryn Bach Running Club

I’ll be back on the Taff Trail this Sunday as I’m running the Merthyr Half Marathon.

The race starts and ends at the College; first heading out on the Trevithick Trail before coming back on the Taff Trail.

The route has changed in the last few years but is going back to the route I ran in 2015. I finished that day in 2:05:48 so I’m hoping for better than that.

February Roundup

February wasn’t a great month. It began with the Llanelli Half Marathon which was followed by three weeks of not really running.

My hamstring / glute niggle needed rest. Following the Half I ran just 13.5 miles in the remainder of the month. I went to the gym to stretch and do a bit of strength work. I’m a bit haphazard with that which probably isn’t helping.

For the whole month I totalled 27 miles; less than a mile a day!

Retirement (sort of)

My last but one post back in November was about Cross Country running.

In the last paragraph I mention the next race which may be a bit boggy.

Well it was. Very boggy. In fact the worst conditions I’ve raced in. I’m definitely a road runner with the occasional relatively dry trail thrown in.

It took me a little over seventy minutes to complete the 10k course and once back in the club tent I told the few remaining hardy souls there that I had just retired from Cross Country after three races.

It wasn’t necessarily the conditions, it was that it was a race and I had to keep going for the team points when in reality I just would have preferred to walk or stop altogether.

For those that enjoy it and the challenge it entails, my hat is tipped to them. I’ll stick to what I enjoy.

And Stretch…

Yesterday I ran Llanelli Half Marathon. It was my 15th Half and my 5th quickest. I finished in 1:55:38.

Llanelli was my first Half in March 2014. I ran it last year too. This year the route has changed a bit. It’s a fast course, the winner comes in around 64 minutes.

My running in 2019 has been hampered by a persistent hamstring and/or glute niggle that won’t go away. Comparing year on year I’m about 45 fewer miles this year. Not great preparation. The DOMS I’m experiencing today are proof of that.

I’ve been reading lots of advice as to what I can do to try and strengthen my glutes but I’m yet to take any real action.

I have five weeks before my next race (San Dom 10 miler) and six weeks before my next Half at Merthyr.

Plenty of time to get my butt (arf!) into gear and make headway in solving the problem.

The niggle reared it’s head at Mile 3 yesterday and continued until I crossed the finish line; with intermittent calf and Achilles tightness thrown in for good measure.

I’ve never been one for stretching but that’s what I need to do now. Whilst my right leg is the one in discomfort, my left leg is even tighter.

Now that we are kicking into 2019, I need to sort myself out. I’ve booked lots of races this year including two Ultra Marathons and it would be awful not to be able to make the start line.

So I’ll give the DOMS a day or two to settle down and then get to it!

Cross Country

At this time of year runners eschew the relative comfort of road running and go in search of lumpy bumpy off road courses.

I’ll start out by saying that cross country is not my thing. I first ran at a meet last year in Brecon whilst with Parc Bryn Bach Running Club. I only ran that day as I felt that living a mile from the course, it would look odd that I didn’t turn up; even if I did have to borrow suitable footwear! I did intend to do a few more races, buying trail shoes in the process, but I never got myself to the start line.

That is until I travelled with Brecon Athletic Club to Pembrey in order to run a 9.9km course which would include a small section on sand.

I haven’t figured out why yet but when I’m on a cross country route, my leg speed slows down, I just can’t get going. Those runners who I know are speedy on the road, are equally speedy off road. It’s something I will try and address.

There is still a disparity in the league that we were competing in, in that then women run a shorter route than the men. Several of the ladies who run for Brecon AC can easily out run and out pace me, and I wonder why the length of the courses haven’t been equalised yet. If we all signed up to a 10km, half marathon or marathon, then we would all run the same distance.

So, the men had to run two big laps around the course. The course wasn’t particularly hilly, its bumpy. Although one young lad at the club who is more than twice as fast as I am, told me it was pretty flat! The bumps were nicely spread out though.

I started towards the back of the 400 or so men who were running, They of course set off at a dash, I being a little more sensible and wary of what was ahead, kept a pace I knew I could maintain.

In the initial stages I kept with club mate Paul. A few weeks before over a 10k trail race Paul had easily left me behind. So I decided to keep with him this time and see if I could hang on. About three quarters of the way around the sand appears in the form of a short sharp incline up to a dune. Paul and I were side by side and he told me to go ahead, it being a narrowish path, I bounded up the sand, surprising myself and managed to keep the effort level the same and powered away from Paul. He congratulated me at the end of the race for overcoming the difference in our times over the two races.

Our running friends group has a motto; “Love a hill”. They are vital really for good running performance and strength and we do love a hill around Brecon. It’s that mentality that saw me gain many places on the longer bumpier bits of the course. At each one I overtook at least one person and held that place on the way down.

On the second lap I knew I was near the back. There is one section that makes a wide sweep of a field where its possible to see whose behind you. I felt like I was slowing down but the splits seemed okay. I took a few places on the sand dune part and the final hill before managing a sprint finish to gain a couple of more places! Every place counts in cross country.

I did enjoy my run to a point, the not being able to be as fast as I’d like is a bit annoying but something I can work on.

The next race is on Sunday at Parc Bryn Bach where we have been warned that it could be a bit boggy in places!! The weather has been rather wet this week so conditions may well be challenging.