924.77 – 942.87KM: Into The Mighty Forest (Robin Hood 10K & Boston Poppy Run)

November 12, 2013

With only 7 weekends left in 2013 (8 as of last Friday), the end of my challenge is drawing nearer and the number of races left to run becoming fewer. This past weekend was another busy one with two races, the first the Robin Hood Trail 10K on Saturday, followed by the Boston Poppy Run on Sunday and saw me take another step closer to 1000KM.

924.77 – 934.77KM: Robin Hood 10K

First up was the One Step Beyond’s Robin Hood Trail 10K, as part of their Robin Hood Adventure Challenge weekend. If anything is to stick in my mind from this race it is how bitterly cold it was waiting around at the start, supposedly around 2 – 3c. After spending several months earlier in the year complaining about how hot it was, followed by moaning about the wind for the past couple of weeks I’m now set to thoroughly complain that it’s too cold every week until Spring, or at least until I find my gloves.

After getting up stupidly early to drop Jenny off at the train station I was able to drive home, lay down and watch TV for an hour, before then setting off for the race, get lost and still arrive nearly two hours before the start. Set to start at 12:00, the 10K was the last event of the day, following the Duathlon and Kid’s Fun Run. Whilst it was absolutely freezing, there were benefits to arriving as early as I did as it allowed me to watch the tail end of the Duathletes come across the finish line, as well as being able to visit the toilet a record breaking four times before the start.

After a short delay waiting for the final competitor from the Duathlon to cross the line, the race started at quarter past 12. As I have too often this year I found myself (or everyone else) way out of position at the start, so spent the first half a mile trying to overtake people until I settled into a more natural pace. As the first of two races this weekend I had no intention of running at a pace anywhere beyond comfortable, coupled with the temperature and my failure to even try and warm up beforehand, I knew I had once again already made it unnecessarily difficult for myself.

The first lap went by without much hassle, but after having to stop on the second lap to go for a pee (again!) any hope of running sub 45 had gone. The second lap was just a formality and a case of ticking the miles off without exerting myself too much.

The day was nearly significant for the fact that I intended to try and met up with someone who had already been through topical steroid withdrawal and was now enjoying the freedom of a ‘normal’ life. I’m still remaining healthily pessimistic about the whole thing and the fact that Jenny seems to have had it relatively easy so far isn’t helping matters. However the fact that they have been able to recover fully from the withdrawal and are to compete in races such as this without any signs of regressing gives me some hope for the future. Unfortunately though I missed them as they crossed the line and was oblivious to their partner finishing just 12 seconds behind me.

The race was one of a handful that I’ve ran this year that I’m wanting to have another go at, only with much fresher legs. The course was reasonably flat, and a few areas of soft ground aside, it was a stable course with trail PB potential.

Distance: 10.00km | 6.21 miles
Time: 00:45:38
Official Time: 00:46:08
Average Pace: 04:33 min/km | 07:19 min/mi
Playlist: Carcass
Goody Bag: T-Shirt, Isotonic Drink, Bottle of Water

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934.77 – 942.87KM: Boston Poppy Run

(Remembrance) Sunday’s race, the Boston Poppy Run, was another late entry, granted not as late as last week’s,after only stumbling across it at midnight on Thursday. As another local race it had a smallish turnout, but was full with lots of familiar faces.

Learning nothing from the day before, I again forgot my gloves and tights and suffered in the bitterly cold winds on the walk to the start line. Celebrating its 11th anniversary, the race held every year on Remembrance Sunday, boasted a fast, flat, if a little uninspiring 5 mile course. Mild head winds and general fatigue again forced me to run a little slower than I’d normally wish to, but still managed a similar pace to the day before, crossing the line just over 37 minutes.

Whilst I expect to be running more next year, I must admit I’m looking forward to getting my weekends back. I’m also keen to start getting into a proper training plan tailored around races so I can go in feeling fresh and ready to attack a PB rather than feeling like I’m pushing myself too hard and struggling to get round.

After getting home from the race I saw I had an email to say that this weekend’s race, the Rother Valley Half Marathon had been cancelled due unforeseen circumstances. Fortunately I already had a backup race, one I had originally planned to enter instead, the Stilton Stumble. In a rather fortunate twist of fate this change now means that I will be running 24K this weekend, instead of 21K and it brings my 1000KM reaching run forward a week. More importantly than that it means that I will be reaching the target at the Norwich Half Marathon, a ‘home’ county race and one I have a little bit of history with, so it looks to be a great occasion.

This Saturday is the first ever Lincoln Park Run, after waiting 5 years for it to finally happen I’ll be sure to be down there at 9am. I also finally got round to booking the Travelodge for the Liverbird New Year’s Eve Marathon last night, so plans for the big finale can start in earnest. All I can guarantee is that there will be cake and maybe the burning of a very worn pair of race pants.

As always, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can and please share news of what I am doing with others.

Distance: 8.10km | 5.03 miles
Time: 00:37:16
Official Time: 00:37:22
Average Pace: 04:36 min/km | 07:24 min/mi
Playlist: N/A
Goody Bag: Medal

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