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Monday, 1 April 2013

VLM 2013 - Week 11 of 14

VLM - Week 11 of 14
Week 11 - (Mon 25/3 - Sun 31/3)

Mon: Rest Day
Tues: 26.0 Miles @ 8:40/mile
Weds: 6.21 Miles @ 8:53/mile
Thurs: 6.21 Miles @ 8:28/mile
Fri: 12.4 Miles @ 7:11/mile (parkruns x 4 Pennington, Worsley, Wythenshawe, Oldham)
Sat: 4.0 Miles incl. Dewsbury parkrun (8th) 20:01 (6:27/mile)
Sun: 14.2 Miles incl. Tulip 10K (7th) 36:49 (5:55/mile) + (parkruns x 2, King's Lynn, Barnsley)

Total Mileage: 69.2 Miles

In terms of places visited, this week certainly didnt turn out as expected. Early in the week, the outline was looking something like:

1. A 26 miler on either Tuesday or Sunday
2. Thursday - 3,000m track race, Cudworth
3. Friday - Calder Vale 10 Mile, Garstang
4. Saturday - Dewsbury parkrun
5. Sunday - Crewe 10K

By the end of the week,

a) 3 of the planned locations had disappeared for various reasons - Cudworth 3000m, Calder Vale 10 Miles and Crewe 10K.

b) 7 unplanned locations had been visited - Pennington Flash parkrun, Worsley Woods parkrun, Wythenshawe parkrun, Oldham parkrun, Spalding, Kings Lynn parkrun and Barnsley parkrun.

It is a week which could be summarised as mainly bonkers, random and pointless but, at the same time, immensely enjoyable and successful :)

Tuesday - 26 Miles

The idea was to get a 26 mile LSR in roughly 3-4 weeks out from VLM. However, it would have been easy to develop strains and niggles which could have persisted through to VLM if anything had been forced or had become too much of a struggle in the later stages.

So, it was a case of setting off, seeing how the first 8 mile loop felt and taking it from there. To make things a little more challenging, most of the course was unrunnable in it's normal form due to pavements being piled high with snow, up to 6 feet in places.

But because there were virtually no people or cars around, running on the road was perfectly reasonable. It was a bit eerie though being out between 5:15pm and 9pm on a normal weekday and seeing so little activity.

After most of the first loop was completed I was joined by Hannah, who was looking to do her longest ever continuous training run but not quite as far as 26 miles!

It was an unfuelled run, as has also been the case for all the other LSRs of the campaign to encourage fat utilisation as a fuel source.  In this case it meant that the last food consumed before the run was at about 11am.

The run progressed well at a nice relaxed pace and seemed to be over in no time, feeling as strong and controlled towards the end as any other part of the run.

Hannah was also untroubled in completing 21 miles, and 23.5 miles for the day, her longest continuous training run.

The overall pace was not really relevant on a hilly, snow covered course but averaged out at 8:40/mile. All in all, a case of job done and nice to get it completed nearer to 4 weeks out rather than 3 weeks out.

Friday - Random parkrun tour

A very straightforward bank holiday excursion over to Garstang for the Calder Vale 10 was the prospect on Friday.

What's more, with a 1pm start time a very relaxed start to the day was on the cards. What could possibly go wrong?

Hmmmm, well it all went well until getting within 20 miles of Garstang about 90 minutes before race time and then everything came to a halt on the M61. Time ticked away and ticked away some more so we decided to have a bit of a meander, via Blackburn and Chorley-ish, exploring alternative routes. We kept hitting long looking queues no matter what we tried.

Unbeknown to us the race had actually been delayed because of the traffic problems but at about 12:40pm it dawned on us that we werent actually that bothered whether we got to the race or not, so instead of sitting in more traffic queues we went for a bucket of coffee, served by a 6 foot gay rabbit, somewhere on the M6 and started thinking up a creative way to fill the day. The result was:

Friday - Pennington Flash parkrun

I had been to Pennington before, a visit that resulted in me grovelling about on all fours in some undergrowth after taking a wrong turn, so clearly it wouldnt be difficult to find. It was after all just a right turn off the straightforward A580.

Or at least it would have been easy..........assuming travel in the right direction along the A580. As it was, an unexpected visit to Liverpool appeared on the agenda as Aintree racecourse came into view :p

Ah well, we got there eventually and our first running stride of the day was taken some time after 4pm despite a 10am-ish set off. The Flash was looking very scenic and relaxing in the late afternoon sun as we went about our first freedom parkrun of the day.

Both Hannah and myself were quite happy to have a gentle run enjoying the scenery but it became a bit progressive as we started to get into the flow.

Splits were 7:32, 7:10, 6:39 for a 21:54 starter 5K

Friday - Worsley Woods parkrun

The next random stop was another venue that I know only too well.......for getting lost during a parkrun! :p

This was the place where myself and Peter Woodward went slightly off course whilst leading the inaugural event and ended up running a 5.5 mile parkrun!

The main obstacle this time was a handful of random drunks hanging around on the old railway platform.

Nonetheless the run itself was fun and with the outward half being a bit uphill the return turned into a good strong training effort.

Splits were 7:49, 6:52, 6:25 for a 21:43 second 5K of the day.

Friday - Wythenshawe parkrun

It was now a toss up between Guinness and the next Freedom parkrun but because we were really enjoying the runs in the evening sunshine we decided to crack on and visit Wythenshawe for our third parkrun venue of the day.

It was a bit of a task remembering the first part of this course, despite various markings on trees, so we ended up doing a bit of Benny Hill like random running around any old trees we came across to get this one underway.

As was now becoming the patterm, a progressive run was had with the following splits:

7:37, 7:07, 6:47 for a 22:11 third 5K.

Friday - Oldham parkrun

Although it didnt take long to get from Wythenshawe to Oldham there was just enough time to go from full daylight to pitch black nightime by the time we pulled up at Alexandra Park.

The park was empty except a group of drunk teenagers, who must have been hardy because the air was icy at this point, and some angry sounding geese that didnt seem overly pleased with our presence.

The first lap was a bit of a shivery one but once in the flow it was again another enjoyable progressive one, albeit a bit slower than the previous ones due to not being able to see much of the course.

8:07, 7:27, 7:10 for a 23:14 fourth 5K

Still keen to carry on, despite the dark and the cold, we then moved on to Heaton Park. We were prepared for this one with headtorch at the ready. But when we arrived to find the park gates locked and an 8ft steel fence around the perimeter, it seemed that the dead batteries in the headtorch were a sign that it was now time for pub refuelling. So that is what we did :)

In summary though, what appeared to be a day of just messing about and having no end of laughs along the way, the day actually turned out to be a decent block of training. We were both quite happy with the way the day had turned out as opposed to tackling a 5 mile continuous climb in the middle of the Calder Vale 10.

Saturday - Dewsbury parkrun

There was still lingering snow and ice dotted around the park, but despite this, this week's parkrun was run in bright sunshine and had a definite Spring like feel to it. At last!

I tried to keep it to a relaxed effort with a view to having a good go at a flat 10k the day after. The result was 20:01 at 6:27/mile.

Sunday - Tulip 10K, Spalding

The intention for Sunday was to have a crack at a flat 10K at Crewe.

That would have required entries on the day to be available, which they weren't, so as a result Crewe was replaced by Spalding on Saturday evening and the Tulip 10K became the target instead with a travelling party of Dawn and John Broom, myself and Hannah.

We knew this was quite a low key race but the words 'flat and fast' lured us down into Lincolnshire.

What an impressive array of tulips:

Dawn Broom getting cuddly with the 2km Tulip marker:

The warm up consisted of running up and down in the car park of a bulb processing factory trying to trigger the lorry speed limit  sensors. I was feeling rather chuffed with my 13mph until someone topped it with a 15mph clocking. That is 4 minute miling warming up!

It did indeed turn out to be a flat, out and back, course but the outwards 5K was into a bit of a headwind. It certainly wasn't anything remotely resembling the strength of what was encountered last Sunday in the Thirsk 10 but it was still nice to get to halfway with the prospect of tackling the return 5K with no wind obstruction.

Splits of 18:32 and 18:17 for an overall 36:49 for 7th place was very pleasing just 5 days after a 26 mile run.

Mile splits were: 5:46, 6:01, 6:07, 5:54, 5:56, 5:48

To give context, these are the 10K/10000s since last October's Chester Marathon:

18th Nov - Abbey Dash 41:34
16th Dec - Telford 10K 39:33
3rd Feb - Dewsbury 10K 38:12
6th Feb - Track 10,000 38:29
31st Mar - Tulip 10K 36:49

And this was even more satisfying because it was pretty much a solo run, in fact for the last 5K there were long stretches during which I couldnt see another runner, so to keep the concentration consistent was a good sign.

The other performances were

8th John Broom 37:31
14th Hannah Oldroyd 39:35 (1st lady)
29th Dawn Broom 42:38

The performance of the day was undoubtedly Hannah's with a time something like 90 secs quicker than her previous PB!

Sunday - King's Lynn parkrun

After the Tulip 10K it was time to get back into some freedom parkrunning, for no other reason than because it was there.

The unique feature of King's Lynn is that you get to swing around a lamppost on each of the three laps. Some people are easily amused :) But it was well worth the 60 mile round trip.

It was good to have a pair of legs that were showing no sign that they had just run a hard 10K.

Splits for this one were: 8:45, 8:20, 7:30 for a 25:10 post McDonald's session.

Sunday - Barnsley parkrun

After dropping off John and Dawn we then went and squeezed in a final random freedom parkrun of the weekend... at Locke Park, Barnsley.

This one was a relaxing way to get a few more miles in the bank without straining anything.

Splits were: 8:20, 7:59, 7:49 for a 25:08 last parkrun of the week.

I am advised that the important stats for this somewhat unusual VLM training week are (for two of us):

McFlurries -  8
Miles Driven - 600+ ( some of them were even in the right direction!)
Occurences of travel in wrong direction - The fingers on one hand wouldn't suffice.
Miles Run - 135.04 Miles
parkrun courses run - 8
McDonald's coffees - 25
Costa Coffees (buckets) - 2
Counties visited - 11
Lost phones - 2
Minutes of Stress - 0
Impromptu Fits of Laughter - 792 (approx :) )
Guinness - 23.5 pints
Raisins - 0 (an obvious area to work on........)

Next Week:

Week 12 will be the last week of full training before VLM.

The first fixed element is already starting to look decidedly unfixed due to remaining weather problems around Barnsley.

There will be plenty slow, steady miles and then the weekend will consist of a parkrun somewhere and a longer race somewhere, but as is the way of things at the moment race scheduling is fluid! (and that isn't just the Guinness :p )

VLM Prospects:

Three weeks to go and, as has been the case for the last few weeks, the nearer it gets the more ready the legs feel. Really looking forward to it.

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