MoRun 10k!

13/11/2016

Movember normally means two things: around the nation, dodgy moustaches are carefully being cultivated, and people gear up for a 5 or 10k Morun.

 

I do quite like race days now. They have a bubbly atmosphere which is quite infectious. This one was no different.

The Morun was my fouth 10k race since I started up as Grumpyjogger. I’d managed to hit my sub 1-hour goal during my previous race, the Cardiff 10k, so I wasn’t super anxious about trying to hit a time or anything like that. Also, I hadn’t run any distance above 5k since the half marathon, another reason to not put too much pressure on myself. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been before a race…

I felt the Morun had a more chilled vibe to it compared to some other races. It’s not an officially measured 10k route so a lot of runners wouldn’t use it as a PB course. I’m no super athlete though, and I haven’t quite got sick of running around Bute Park just yet, so I was happy to give it a go. As well as an unusual curved ‘Mo’ medal, the race fee also included a bright orange headband, which would come in handy for a fairly sweaty runner like me. (No one likes sweat in the eyes. Sting-y.)

A sneaky email said the registration tent would close an hour before the race, so I turned up for 9.30, which was faaaar too early. I arrived like, before the toilets were forming queues early. I ended up waiting around. The registration didn’t close at 10.15, and I glared at the people who got an extra hour in bed before swanning over. A lesson learned for next time, don’t believe what emails tell you…

As it was Remembrance Sunday there was a 2 minute silence just before the runners set off. It was humbling to hear the hush fall quickly over the crowd of excited people and to pay our respects, only marred by the barking of a dog who got a bit weirded out by the sudden change in the crowd volume.

Then, the usual excited queuing at the start, bumping into people from the CDF run club, taking quick pre-race photos, and then OFF!

The 10k route was all within Bute Park, two laps which started near the Welsh Royal College of Music and Drama, then towards the castle, across the river and then up towards Blackweir. It was a very similar route to the Women’s Running 10k I did a few months earlier. As I was feeling chill about this race I started off near the back, and it took a few miles before I’d settled in with people who were running at roughly my pace.

I didn’t really mind about stopping for little walk breaks this time around, so when the crowd got too congested and slowed at the narrower parts of the course I was happy for a little breather.

I made sure to high five the kids who were out offering their adorable support, and I loved the kid who was complaining that his arm hurt around mile 5. High fives are powerful magic, you know, hang in there kid!

Some CDF Runners were positioned as Cheer Squad near the finish line, shouting, waving, taking photos. Below, please see the BEST run photo of me ever taken. Look at the pain and resentment etched in stone on my sweaty face:

grumpymoruncropped

(I like that you can see my Nike + clocking in at 6.11 miles in that photo. No fakin’.)

Once it was over, I got a medal and a mo, and my time was 59’01” , which I was happy with. My first ever 10k was around 1hr 12 minutes I think, so feels great to be able to get under an hour now without too much training beforehand. Next year’s goal will be a sub 56 minute… heck.

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GK.

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Cardiff 10k Race Report!

The Cardiff 10k: 11/09/2016

The Cardiff 10k was a race I entered way back, when I first saw a banner pop up for it somewhere around Cardiff. After having a great time at the Bristol 10k, I was really looking forward to another big (ish) event, and as 10ks are still quite a new experience for me, I was excited and nervous leading up to race day.

kategrump10k

My Bristol Great Run time was 1 hr 4 mins. My Women’s Running 10k time was 1 hr 3 mins. My goal was set for a sub 1 hour 10k. I was hoping after the recent Bute Town mile race I had proved to myself I could speed up my overall mile time quite a bit and more importantly hang on when things started to get painful.

On the lead up to this 10k I had been going to the CDF Runners Speed sessions, and also completed some longer (6+ mile) runs as part of the Cardiff Half Marathon training. I felt like I had more fitness since the Women’s Running 10k, however anxiety, hot weather and overthinking things had been my enemies before.

The Cardiff 10k has been going for 30 years, and is described as a flat, fast course perfect for achieving new PB’s. I didn’t know about fast, but I could get onboard with flat. It had sold out a few weeks prior to the event- 6000 runners total. The race pack arrived within two weeks of the race date, and although at first I was a bit skeptical of the white technical tee design I decided the black and red motif worked well on it. Some people have commented the tees were too short, but the Medium size fit me okay, if a little bit baggy.

There was one thing about the race that was filling me with dread though. A ruling that had been announced a few weeks before:

NO HEADPHONES.

No music? NO MUSIC?!? No steady paced, calmly assured Clubbed To Death by Rob Dougan? No unapologetic cheese Try Everything from Zootopia? NO ROCKY 2 THEME TUNE?!?!?!

My run training was now No Headphones Training. I went out and ran a 10k in 1hour 5 minutes. Alright, but no closer to my goal. I started running all run club sessions without headphones. I soon learnt that listening to fellow runners conversations on steady runs is just as good as music, even better if I had enough breath to join in. Headphones are pointless on the speed sessions. I couldn’t register music or much of anything else after 200m sprints.

Race Day

The start of the race was outside the museum, an easy walk from my house, so I showed up, dropped my bag off and posed with CDF for this great photo:

cdf10kgroup

It was very crowded, so I found a small side street around the back of the museum to warm up before the race. I learnt a powerful lesson that day.

Don’t run races in new untested clothing.

I had bought some new, colourful leggings on sale, and whilst I had run in them before, never a 10k, and more pressingly, I hadn’t worn them since their first wash. I remember the horror, the drop of cold dead weight in my stomach when I started doing some high knees during my warm up and the leggings immediately started sinking to the floor. I hitched them up, I did more high knees, they fell. I sprinted to one end of the street, they nearly took my pants with them. Less than 10 minutes before the race. Oh shit. I wildly searched around for a pair of running tights that someone might have casually discarded nearby, of course there were none. The thought of trying to do a 10k race whilst continuously holding up my waistband was scaring me. Was getting a new PB out the window now? Should I call it a day? Should I just let them fall down and penguin waddle the whole damn thing?

No. Of course not. I hitched them up HIGH, I folded the waist band DOWN, I peeled the bottom part of the leggings up over my knees. I warmed up. I got sweaty. They started to stick to the sweat glue, the folded over waistband acted like a kind of belt. That seemed to be holding them in place. Time was up anyway. It was time to run!

The waiting in line bit just before a race is always exciting, nerve-wracking and pee-needing. Luckily after the legging debacle there wasn’t much time to process all of that before the klaxon had sounded. I was much positioned quite near the front and it didn’t seem long before I was over the start line and off.

The first 2k I let the excitement get the better of me, and I set off too fast. But once I was out of the main crowd I felt myself slow down, and I concentrated on running at  pace where my breathing wasn’t getting ahead of me. One of the CDF runners had told me for races she uses a trick borrowed from Paula Radcliffe: Count to 100, not in time with your breathing or anything, just count, and when you get there, start from 0 and count up to 100 again. I started counting at around the 4k mark, although I wasn’t feeling too bad I welcomed something to focus on.

The route was flat, as promised, and the crowds were spread pretty evenly throughout the whole race. I was so focused on the counting that I didn’t really register much of the crowd encouragement, though of course it was very appreciated. A runner behind me was whooping and yelling and cheering much more than the crowd, almost bullying them if she spotted anyone not clapping. It made me smile and kept my spirits up.

I started to hate running about 7k in. 7k is when it gets tough for me. We went past the castle, and although the spectator crowd was thickening on the way to the end of the race, so was the pain. (Pain thickening? I don’t know, go with it.) Once we got back into Bute Park for the last 2k I was holding on to the count-to-100 method for dear life, but messing it up and forgetting how to count a lot.

The last stretch I hoped I would have some gas left in the tank to go full speed over the finish line, but when I turned the corner the finish line was SO far away. I had started speeding up but soon pulled back a bit, so I could get a good speed across the finish line later down the road.

As I entered that last jubliant 0.10k of the race, my face fell ever so slightly as I saw the clock as I passed the finish line. 1:00:20 . So close, yet so far! Still, a new 10k record, and without the mental buoyancy aid of music.

Here’s some photos of the race, courtesy of me and fellow CDF runners:

 

I headed off with my goody bag, ate a massive burrito, and gave myself a well done.

Then:

A few hours later, the race results were published and I gave a whoop: I’d got a chip time of 00:58:20 !

My first sub hour after all! I’ll take that. I was super happy. 😀

Thanks Cardiff 10k! I had a great run, despite the wardrobe malfunction at the start.

GK.

 

Women’s Running 10k & More!

29/05/16 – Women’s Running 10k!

Yesterday I ran in the Women’s Running 10k Series in Bute Park, Cardiff. I run a fair bit in Bute Park, and have already run the Sport Relief 5k there this year (blog post about it here.) I thought it would be interesting to experience a 10k event there, and was also interested to run in a women’s only event too. I found a Groupon for it online and signed up fairly last minute.

Because I signed up less than two weeks before, I didn’t receive a race number in the post. This resulted in a fair amount of queuing when I arrived at the start line. Luckily a friend of mine had tagged along so I had some company as I waited.

It was a beautiful day, but not a day for running. It was a day for people who had gone to the park for a picnic, or an unhurried amble with the family dog, or an idyllic gentle bike ride along the river. I felt mad at these people for not understanding the heat as I dashed between each patch of  dappled shade from the park trees. As the K’s ticked by I grew tired of hating the people out enjoying the weather and instead directed my rage at the race itself. The last K in particular felt particularly uncomfortable, but that was a similar experience to the Great Run.


THINGS THAT MADE ME GRUMPY:

1. The Sun. Seriously. Stop it. GO AWAY.

2. The K markers around the route were not placed correctly or even remotely in order. The 1k marker appeared about 2 minutes in. The 10k marker appeared around the 6K mark. I was unsure if this was a genuine mistake or the organizers were conducting some kind of mean mind experiment making the subjects believe they had reached 10k when they still had a good third of the run to complete. Very evil.

3. A group of three kids lined up on the side of the path and I gave them all high fives as I jogged by, which made me feel like a champion. This did not make me grumpy (the opposite in fact), but by the time I had come around again on the second lap I assume they had got bored of getting their hands gently slapped by a hundred strange women and were playing leisurely on the grass a few feet away. WHY DID YOU ABANDON ME KIDS, YOU WERE MY ONLY HOPE. (It was a lot less fun running past without the high fives…)

4. I didn’t get close to getting under an hour. Within my earshot, A man shouted to someone he knew in the run: ” You’re just behind the 60 minute pacer!” which made me super hopeful I could catch up to them. It was a short lived pipe dream, as I never even saw team 60 Minutes. The 1 hour quest continues…

 


I didn’t realise the race was being timed, but it was, and the time recorded for me on the Results Base Website was 01’03’45”. About 15 seconds faster than The Bristol Great Run. Not much of an improvement, but one I’ll take onboard anyway! I feel like now it’s going to be a case of really working on runs longer than 6 miles to build up endurance to make that last K seem less of a dying effort, and speed speed speed work to boost up my fitness and speed. (Yeah, that’s right, I actually may have been learning stuff about running recently.)

So whilst not without it’s flaws, Women’s Running gave all participants a great goody bag. Tea, supplements, blister plasters, a teeshirt, a copy of Women’s Running Mag, water and coconut water, a reuse-able water bottle and post race snackies were all included. After the race I opened up a bag of peanut butter popcorn and that was weird but tasty. Of course, like a big grumpy hypocrite I was loving the sunshine immediately after the run. I lazed in the park, I ate ice cream, I watched my friend Todd do diabolo tricks. All in all it was a great day.
30/05/13

Today was a lazy day. Two run buds, Kat and Gaz, were at my house. Some of us were a bit hungover from the night before, but we still went out and boshed through a 3 mile run in the Bay, despite it being very sunny and busy. This was a nice social run, and it taught me that sometimes it’s awesome to take it easy and chat your way through exercise with your buddies. I forgot to get a post run grumpy photo after, so this will have to do:

katekatgaz

 

Other stuff:

The last few bits and bobs that happened this last week: I ran home from work, and I went to the CDF Runner’s Speed Session on Wednesday. It was tough.

 

I ran over 50 miles this month (highest monthly mileage ever!) and I bought a new running backpack. Will try running to work with it soon.

GK.

 

 

 

The Bristol Great Run 10k!

15/05/16 – Bristol 10k Report!


The day of the Bristol Great Run arrived! It was too sunny, I hadn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep, and I was freaking out about the pre-game portaloo situation. I hadn’t looked over the route and my last run on Friday had been a tortuous slog of 2 miles at 11 minutes per mile each… I have to be honest, I was feeling nervous.

I woke up just before 7 and ate 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana. I had two cups of tea, one redbush, one normal. Rob and I walked down into Bristol city centre, seeing how many runners we could spot making their way to the event. Some were walking, some were running, because apparently some people just can’t get enough running in their day. Weirdos. Also walking through Stokes Croft it was evident some kind of SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL PARTYING had gone DOWN the night before. (What happened Bristol? It looked intense!) We bumped into so many people stumbling home, beer cans still in hand. One of them gave Rob a double high five. (I was glad he took a high five bullet for me.)

We made it to the Waterfront. The noise, the crowds, the way the roads had been closed off meant the centre of Bristol was trussed up to be a different kind of centre to the one I was accustomed to. I would definitely use the words ‘Buzzing’ and ‘Atmosphere’.

I met @jakeharv and @johepworth at Millennium Square. We decided that whilst we may not be running the whole 10k together, we would all set off together in the Pink Wave. We arrived 15 minutes before the start of the warm up, so I rushed off to queue in a cafe for forever to have one last nervous wee. After the warm up we still had 30 minutes to wait until the pink wave was released, so I did spend half an hour worrying I needed to wee again. Pre-race nerves!

LESSON LEARNT #1: In an event this big, the internet just don’t work. My awesome Spotify Grumpy Jogger playlist was refusing to play. I had to default to a months old iTunes playlist I still had on my phone. Next time: have all your shit downloaded onto your phone.
The race began! The first mile was crowded. It was basically a crash course in learning to dodge legs. (Or not, in which case it was a literal crash course.) It did mean that the first part was nice and slow and stopped us from setting out too crazy too early. The crowd started to thin at around 2 miles, and miles 2-3 for me passed like dream. I was probably going a wee bit too fast on mile 3, and paid for it later…  Because no one had told me there was a FLIPPIN’ UPHILL BIT in the SECOND HALF of the route (meanies), so once I hit that my pace took a bit of a battering. My only rule to myself was that I wasn’t allowed to walk, (caveat: I walked briefly to grab some water) so although some of those hill sections were painfully, painfully slow, I kept those grumpy legs moving.

LESSON LEARNT #2: Feeling amazing during Mile 3 doesn’t mean the latter part of the race is going to feel the same way. PACING IS HARD.

I high-fived a little kid who was holding out his hand to the crowd. That was fun.
A group of Firemen were doing the race carrying massive fire extinguishers/ breathing apparatus / whatever it is they carry that looks really heavy, what crazy folks. I saw a bunch of people dressed up in tandem as a dragon. There was a guy running in a Spiderman outfit. A big group running with bright green wigs. Do people not get hot and bothered enough just running a flipping 10k?!?

LESSON LEARNT #3: NO. PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS WEAR CRAZY COSTUMES.

The last two miles were really, really not fun. The sun was zapping down on me. My breathing wasn’t too ragged but I felt a general heaviness  in my limbs, so hard to keep moving forward. My last mile just a bit quicker than my first mile, but oh my it was much much more of a struggle. HOWEVER:

LESSON LEARNT #4: Because of the spectators, the last 0.2 miles of a race is really, really, REALLY, AWESOME.

The crowds make your heart sing! I took out my headphones to listen to the cheers. I think it’s the memory of the last teeny bit of the race that makes me certain I want to do it again. That feeling must rise exponentially for longer races, I think if I ever do a marathon that final, exultant, cheery part of the race would make me bawl out hot, proud tears of joy. But then again maybe I would be too dead to even notice. Anyway, 6 miles in, tired as a dog, that crowd made me feel like a hero! Thank you.

I got a recorded time of 01’04’01”, and I came in 7143rd out of over 12,000 runners. I was also the 5th Derrick to cross the finish line, out of 9 Derricks. I’m happy with that!

In conclusion: 10/10 WOULD RUN AGAIN.

GK.