2016: my 1st year of running!

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Well, I was supposed to write this post before the end of 2016, but life, eh?  It gets in the way. I also knew I would find writing this difficult as it’s going to be reflective and congratulatory, and I always have trouble when it comes to saying ‘Well done!’ to myself. But I’m going to force it out in the name of self improvement. Heck.

So here’s a recap of the running bits and bobs I’ve done this year. I feel like I’ve completed a nice mix of things, achieved a bunch of goals and PBs, and most importantly been left with the desire to do MORE. A great first year, though I still feel I’m a long way away from becoming the accomplished runner I wish to be. Things like sitting at a computer all day and eating mountainous piles of crisps keep getting in the way. Let’s rewind to the start of 2016, when this Grumpy Jogger adventure began…

Nike+ and the Blog:

I started running again, (if we’re going to be super honest, in the winter of 2015, shh) to get me out of the house when I was working from home. I got into a routine: wake up, and instead of commuting, run before work. I started this blog at the start of January 2016 as a way of documenting my progress and the first posts were often written after each run I completed. They were mostly about whatever weather or running hazards I had encountered on that outing (ice, sickness, poor fitness levels.) I signed up to Nike+ and started to name my runs with funny names, and found some buddies on there. Nike+ was cool as it tracked my pace and I could see evidence that although each run felt the same I was progressing, however slowly. The running habit was forming.

Then one evening, I drew this:

The first Grumpy Jogger.

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A little doodle of me in my ancient running top and leggings, looking suitably mad, and for some reason running past an AT-ST. I thought it would be cool to draw other runners I knew. I drew them looking mad as hell. People seemed to dig my doodlings, so I drew more.

Although I’ve been drawing for much of my life, the last few years it has become less and less of a habit. Suddenly I had an urge to draw again, and people sending in their run photos was a great source of inspiration, for keeping me both running and drawing. I’m now up to number 41, with a cap at 50 (which turned into 55 because I can’t say no to people.) Now I have a little running army, or as I call it, my living room Park Run. I hope everyone has enjoyed my drawings. I’ll do a bigger drawing-specific blog post when I bring the art project to a close (I can’t draw people running forever!) with a gallery of highlights.

2016 Races! cdfrunnersgrouphalfamara

I entered a bunch of races in 2016. I found them stressful at first… loud, noisy events, nerve-wracking waits at the start, impossibly long queues for the toilets for that one last nervous wee… but overall I think events are pretty fun and motivational, especially for the long races which mean you have to keep up your weekly mileage or risk certain death. Here’s my top three races of 2016.

#3- Cardiff 10k:
This year I completed a few 10k races, but this was the first time I got a sub 1 hour 10k: my current PB of 58:30. I was so pleased as I had been training and tried on a few occasions to get this sub hour goal, and it felt great to finally do it. The PB feeling really is a sweet one.

#2- Cardiff Bay 5k Run In The Dark:
This one is notable because I was the third lady finisher! Yeah, it was a small 5k race, my time was no great record, but shuttup. I never came third at any sporting thing in my whole life ever. I’ll take that victory.

#1- The Cardiff Half Marathon:
The best, and also worst, race of my year was the half marathon. I had to train for it as 13 miles was a distance I had never even thought about before. Going for two hour runs after work was a bit intense during the week when I had a busy weekend and couldn’t fit in a long run. Eating energy gels was an… experience. I got an amazing blister on my big toe after my first 8 mile run. It felt badass to say I’d finished my first ever continuous 10 mile run. 10 miles is a stupidly long way. 13 is even stupider.

The actual half marathon was a splendid mess of joy and misery. You can read the full blog post here. I paced myself badly and it was too hot and as I mentioned before 13 miles is a stupid distance. I was slightly disappointed with my time as I had had a much smoother training 12 mile run, but in the end getting it done was what counted. I also got to experience what being really dehydrated felt like, and there’s nothing like feeling wobbly and getting spotty vision after a race to make you feel like a ‘proper’ runner.

I feel ultimately it was a good experience to run a ‘bad’ race. It makes me want to run it again to finish stronger, and it feels good to know that even when everything hurts and you’re having a real bad time, it will eventually pass. Something about grit, you know? I wonder if this is one of the reasons why exercise is so good for depression, as well as the endorphins thing. It proves to you that bad times are transitory. If you can feel that awful and make it out the other side then it make life’s challenges feel that bit easier. (This blog post is going to get into the gooey, philosophical side of running, I can feel it. I’m not sorry.)

So basically despite my first half marathon experience not being the best, it taught me a lot, and I won’t forget the day.

Run Club:
Here’s a shout out to CDF Runners, the Cardiff Nike Store Run Club. They are super friendly, welcome all abilities, are obsessed with cake, have good twitter game… they are all the things a run club should be. They are the single reason I do any speed work. (Shudder.) They’ve helped me improve a lot and are a great bunch or people. GOOD JOB GUYS. Thank you.

What’s happening in 2017?
So what now? I posted my 2017 run goals in this handy tweet.

I’m a little afraid of the 5k and 10k times. But when I started running I thought I would never be able to get under 30 minutes for a 5k and now I did that at last week’s Park Run on icy paths with a hangover. So who knows. Maybe it’s doable.

I’m going to continue running, in a year it’s given me lots of new experiences and taught me a lot about both my body and mind. As I mentioned with the half marathon, in a weird way I like that running is something that is quite horrible and uncomfortable a lot of the time. There’s a great comic from The Oatmeal that explains why being ‘happy’ all the time isn’t really something that’s worth striving for, and how running can often fit into that: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/unhappy
It’s this quote I like the best:

“I run. When I do these things, I’m not smiling or beaming with joy. I’m not happy. In truth, when I do these things, I’m often suffering. But I do them because I find them meaningful. I find them compelling.” -The Oatmeal

Meaningful and compelling- aw yeah. Running for me is not a skill that comes naturally, but I embrace my average-ness and celebrate every hard-won victory. And it means I can eat all the cake.

Here’s to 2017! Thanks for reading.

Grumpy Kate x

Run In The Dark! 5k

16/11: Cardiff Run In The Dark!

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the hi-vis CDF Runners group!

My first night race! Despite having a few issues, I really enjoyed this one!

Run In The Dark is a global race 5/10k with 5 official locations: Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London and Manchester, with many ‘pop-up’ locations worldwide. Proceeds from the race go to the Mark Pollock Trust, which is a charity set up for funding research to battle paralysis. There main website is here: https://www.runinthedark.org/

Cardiff was one of the mini pop-up events. I think this was the second time it had been held in the city. The run was not officially timed: it was a fun run, so chill out! The routes were either a little over or under, with the 5k measuring as 5.28k and the 10k as 9.65k. I think most people were running this mainly for the experience of running across the Cardiff Bay barrage in the dark, so the times and distances weren’t really an issue.

I turned up at 7.30 for an 8pm start, and darkness had already fallen. I signed up and picked up my flashing arm light and glowsticks, and tried to keep warm. The race fee also included a ‘Run In The Dark’ buff, which great for keeping my ears warm. (Side note: why are  they called ‘Buffs’? Seems an odd choice of name to me…)

I had signed up for the 5k race, many more runners had opted for the 10k. I’m glad I went for the shorter run as I had completed the Morunning 10k the Sunday before. The race organisers hadn’t specified the need to run with a head torch, but I was glad CDF Runner Stewart had lent me his. (I was glad for the buff too, it was a good head cushion for the torch straps.)

I didn’t take many photos, but here’s some snaps from me and CDF:

 

 

I really enjoyed the run. Once we were off, I was glad to get moving to get warm again. As it wasn’t a big group in the 5k I was on my own from about the half mile mark, but I enjoyed the solitude. (Running is possibly the only time I’m content to be alone…)

The 5k route was a simple out-and-back across the barrage. The barrage isn’t lit by street lamps, so when they say Run In The Dark, they ain’t kidding. The head torch came in handy. I found running in the dark to be very peaceful. The darkness makes you feel as though you’re running in a bubble, it’s just you, the sound of your breathing, the puff of your breath in the cold air. Once I was halfway across the barrage the sound of the sea permeated my bubble, and if I looked to my right the bright lights of the bay could be seen, mirrored in the water. It was tough work, but most of the run I was feeling good, concentrating on the even pace of my footfalls and deep but controlled breathing. I always wax poetic about that feeling in running when you feel your body is working hard, but in a good rhythm. As long as you keep that rhythm you can keep going. (You know, before the pain and grumpiness sets in.) I love that little window of feeling like your body is doing a good job of moving. I had that going across the barrage; it was nice.

The last half a mile was a bit more sticky and a lot less enlightened, but I managed to hang on until the end. some CDF runners had formed a little Cheer Squad near the Welsh Assembly. They clapped and hollered and rang a cow bell as I ran past.

There was no official finish line, so I ran down Roald Dahl Plas and asked the people at the registration tent “Is this the end?” to which they nodded and handed me a snack and a bottle of water. I went to meet the cheer squad and was delighted to find out I was the third lady back from the 5k. Another CDF runner had come in first lady, we’re such an awesome squad. I felt happy and cheered the other 5k-ers in, and waited a bit longer for the first of the 10k runners to arrive.

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The 10k route was a full loop of the barrage, not an out-and-back, and reportedly had some problems. I’m not sure if it was down to lack of marshalls along the course or lack of high-vis signs, but the race organisers have noted this in the feedback of the race and I’m sure more will be done to signpost the route next year. However, it seems everyone made it back in one piece and for me it was one of the most enjoyable and unique races I’ve done this year.

Next time, I’ll take on the 10k.

GK.

CARDIFF HALF MARATHON 2016!

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THE CARDIFF HALF. It had arrived. 13.1 miles, training done, no backing out now. Heck!

5k races, 10k races, done… The next goal was a half marathon. I remember the billboard advertisement at the end of Lloyd George nagging at me every time I walked past it earlier this year. Fear held me back for a while, then one payday I felt a bit blasé and booked it. My first half marathon. Heck.

I’d been training for this run, but maybe not as much as I would have liked. I had slowly been increasing my mileage on long runs, and had got up to 12 miles at my peak. I had never run the full distance, but didn’t mind that; I thought it would make race day more exciting and challenging to run the unknown 13th and a bit mile on the day.

THE ROUTE!

Like the Cardiff 10k, the half marathon route is described as a “predominately flat and fast course,” good for PB’s and beginners like myself.

Also like the 10k, the Runner’s Village and start line is situated near Cardiff Castle. The route heads out through Riverside and Grangetown, before sweeping towards the Penarth Marina. Then a lil’ hop over the barrage and down through Cardiff Bay, past my house on Lloyd George Avenue. That’s seven miles.

The second half of the course then heads north, looping round Roath Park Lake, snaking up a mean but thankfully short hill and then smashing back into the heart of the city where the finish line awaits.

The race goes through most of the run routes I’ve discovered in Cardiff. (Though missing out Bute Park for once!) Cardiff Bay and the Barrage are my main routes now, and I used to run around Roath all the time in uni, so I was looking forward to smooshing the two routes together to make a nice nostalgic run sandwich.

Cardiff Half is also the biggest race I’ve taken part in, with over 20,000 runners participating. The crowds were a little daunting. When you arrive at the Runner’s Village it’s like being dumped into a music festival where the majority of revellers are sober and in active wear. The bag drop seemed well-organised and well-crewed, with multiple baggage drop tents allocated to race numbers. I met up with the CDF Runners at 9 o’clock, (see group photo above) helped a friend with the bag drop and queued in line for a pre-race pee. Those little tasks took nearly an hour thanks to the crowds, so it didn’t feel long before I made my way to yellow race number pen and soaked up the excitement as everyone around me prepared to start.

I heard a commentator say on loudspeaker that the weather was “perfect” for today’s run, and I politely disagreed. It was too sunny, too hot! Maybe in the shade it was cool, but it felt hot to me in the direct sun, and I hadn’t started moving yet.

Before I go through my more in-depth race breakdown, here’s some pics from before and after the race!

Mile 1-3: Over the start line, I whooped, I cheered, I was excited. I started off with two friends, Rachel and Beth, and it was really nice to share the start line experience with them. The very start of the race was quite boring, scenery-wise. I remember straight roads, warehouses, garages, that sort of thing. I committed the number one rookie mistake and zigzagged past people for the first two miles. I should have been more chill and conserved energy, a lesson I learnt hard after mile 8.

There was a steady incline just before the 5k mark, but since I was still feeling fresh I kept pace and ran up it, stopping to grab water from the first water station and pouring most of it over my head. That felt great.

Mile 4-5: This was definitely my favourite part. I felt uplifted at the first glimpse of Penarth marina. The sun on the water, the pretty boats and the slight downhill incline made me feel glorious. I achieved that elusive zen feeling, where you’re feeling strong and as if you could run forever. I’ll remember that little section going down into Penarth for a long time.

As we were crossing over the barrage, a spectator yelled:

“Don’t look at your watch, look at the view!”

It was good advice. The bay is magical in good weather. With water either side of me, as I strode out along the small pathway, it really felt like an adventure. I can’t romanticise that part of the race enough.

Mile 6-7: GEL TIME. I brought my own SiS gel, as that’s what I trained with. It went down fine, washed down with my original water bottle from mile 3. Heading down Lloyd George I kept an eye out for my support crew, Rob and Christina, and sure enough I found them cheering me just outside my house. I stopped briefly for a quick hug, probably sweated gross amounts over both of them. Buoyed up, I set off. Second half of the race, begin!

Mile 8: This is where the Unfun began. The crowds were getting thicker now, and the cheering was helping.  But my pace was slowing.

Mile 9-11: Heck. This was plod central for me. The worst part. I couldn’t see the crowds much because of the sun. My knee started to ache. The zen feeling I had at mile 4, this was like the opposite of that. Roath park’s steady inclines had reduced me to walking speed, but I was stubborn and still kept plodding on. I saw lots of different spectators handing out jelly babies at this point, I took one for a sugar boost and kept on.

Mile 12: Mile 12 gets a special mention for that hill after Roath park. Ugh.

Mile 13: THE UNKNOWN! THE LAST STRETCH! I tried to pick up the pace  as I entered the last part of the race. When I saw that finish line it was much easier to do so, and Rob and Christina had made their way here to cheer me though the last 100 metres. The later miles of this race had felt like a slog but the finishing part felt real good. I got a time of 2 hours 31 minutes.

I  was handed my race-booty: water, a banana, a finisher’s pack, a race tee and of course a medal. I was feeling tired, thirsty, but also a new thing: wobbly. As I headed to meet my cheer crew my vision was starting to blink out a bit and I felt lightheaded. It was a new sensation so I was mildly vexed, but since I didn’t feel like I wanted to throw up I was also strangely calm. When they found me by the museum they said I was really pale, and we headed promptly to Sainsbury’s where Christina prescribed the best post-race potion: a massive bottle of cold water with added Dioralyte. I don’t know what’s in those magic sachets- salt? Sugar? Electrolytes? Whatever is was, it really helped and stopped the weird vision thing. Now I could head to the Gatekeeper for a beer or two. Huzzah!

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My first half marathon was a tough one. Looking over my mile splits, it was obvious I started out too fast. I felt I was crawling from mile 8 onwards, and didn’t enjoy the parts around Roath park because of this. It’s made me doubly, triply, infinitely more in awe of people who run marathons. I think I would have died if I had attempted that route twice.

I am super up for another half though. I want to get stronger, more experienced, so I’m ready to take on another 13 miles and beat my time. (I think this is where the runner addiction really grabs you.)

When I got home, after much food, I felt inspired to draw:

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My knee is sore as heck today, and running is bullshit! I still love it though.

Grumpy Kate x

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.

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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:

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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.

 

The Butetown Mile Race Report!

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28/08- The Butetown mile! 

It’s only a mile, right? How hard can one mile be? Answer: really darn hard…

Hasty research: The Butetown Mile started in the 1980s but stopped in the ’90s. It started up again in 2014 as a way to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It is one of only three places in the world to host a straight mile road race alongside Fifth Avenue, New York and the Champs-Élysées, Paris! Isn’t that awesome? NEW YORK! PARIS! CARDIFF!

I bought my ticket for this race way back in April. Then life happened and I couldn’t make it, so I gave my ticket to run bud Jake, and then life happened again and I was suddenly free so I bought another ticket. (This did mean I was entered into the race twice with wildly varying times…)

I also managed to convince run buds Christina, Rob and Gregg to come along too! A whole Grump Team! (See above pic.)

I’d not really given the mile distance much thought before, either opting for 5k/10k runs or speed sessions which never went over 500m. The Thursday before Rob and I went out for a test run, a mile lap of Atlantic Wharf to see how it would be. It wasn’t fun, but doable; uncomfortable but over fairly quickly. We ran past some bemused fishermen, then got drenched in a downpour. I missed my mile PB by 10 seconds, but I figured Race Day would sort that out.

RACE DAY. I both nervous and excited. We arrived at the tent and signed in without hassle. I think about 200 people took part in the race. A few of the lovely folks from my run club- CDF Runners– were there, some in the Elite (sub 7 minute) race and some in the Fun Run race.

I warmed up more than my practice mile on Thursday, a half mile jog, some squats/lunges, and lots of stretching. I remember it being muggy so I was sweating a lot. (An awkward moment when I didn’t shake someone’s hand because I had just run it through my very sweaty hair…)

We watched the elites start and quickly disappear down Bute Street, then nervously waited for the start of our race.

Things I remember from the mile:

  • A klaxon noise started the race
  • A poor girl took a tumble at the start of the race (an adult was there immediately to assist)
  • Lots of cheering along Bute Street (I couldn’t remember anything they said but I assume it was all good)
  • Mile breakdown: 0.25 miles felt great, 0.5 miles felt challenged, 0.75 miles deeply, deeply upset

Then just as I was starting to hate the whole business of running the finish line was upon me and it was over, thank goodness. That last bit of a mile race really slaps you in the face and legs and lungs. I couldn’t summon much up for a sprint finish. Still my hard work paid off and I was rewarded with a mile PB of 7’48”! I was over the moon, as I was hoping to beat my 8’24” time, I had no idea I would have the beans to get under 8 minutes! Running elevation swept over me, once I could breathe properly again.

With all of us over the finish line, Jake was suddenly accosted by a BBC news reporter and had to be a talking head about an issue about the Welsh Assembly. I really hope he answered all the questions with metaphors about his mile race. That would have been awesome. (“Yeah I’m really happy with it…Started out strong… Put in the training… Pushed through the pain at the end… Breathing felt steady…I’m sorry, what about the government!?”)

We all got a coveted Bute Town Mile tee and posed for a grumpy post-race photo. Can you see the contrast from the Before photo?

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CDF Runner @stukulele also filmed the whole thing on a go pro- so you can see the whole race in speedy glory HERE! 

Overall it was an awesome event. It was cheap, fun (well…) and most importantly right outside my house. I will definitely be back to beat my time next year.

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:

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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.

 

 

End of April Runstuff!

April’s been a joggy month. I’ve ran 48.3 miles in total!

24.04.16 -Sunday 5k

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This was supposed to be a 6 miler, but I couldn’t face it, so I opted for a 5k instead… I remember feeling very tired before I began… This run was awful actually. I remember tweeting about it. I called it a stinker. And boy did it stink the whole place out. I think that might actually be a genuine grumpy expression.

Bristol Great Run- Race Number acquired!

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I got my Great Run number through the post this week! I like my number. It has two “6’s” in it. I like the number 6. But the fear is growing. No backing out of it now…

26.04.16 – another 10k

So with the Great Run race number now in my house, a tangible, inescapable object blaring out reminders I need to run longer distances, I did another 10k on Tuesday. This was the second time doing this distance. I basically smooshed two of my normal 5k routes together and it was alright. A new PB of 01:04:56. The 1st mile was a warm up, mile 2 felt quite hard, then the 3rd and 4th mile hit me with that sneaky lying feeling of HEY I COULD DO THIS FOREVER COME AT ME 10K! BUT THEN…

Mile 5. The pain kicked in then. I was getting quite grumpy at this point, and unhelpful things like stairs and ramps and slopes were popping up in my route around the bay. At one point I told a flight of stairs to fuck off. (Luckily no one was around to think I was swearing at them. I promise it was just the thought of jogging up stairs after five miles of running!)

The last .22 miles I don’t remember, but I can best describe it as: F?”3HQ$TA!!TGRy78GEHNGGGgARGHHHHHHHHHHH

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29.04.16 -Speedy stuff.

Not much to report here. 1 mile warm up, 1 fast mile (new PB! 08’35”!) and then sprint/stop/sprint for the last mile. Pretty knackering.

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30.04.15 – Pontypridd Parkrun!

And finally, by far the most fun run of the whole week, I ran in the Pontypridd Parkrun!
My stalwart run buddies Kat and Jas accompanied me, although sadly J-man had to drop out a mile in due to knee probs. =[ (rest up and get well soon!)

The Ponty run has about 400 less runners in it than the Cardiff one, and although I do love the Cardiff Park run, it is nice to be in a slightly less massive crowd. I nearly fell over a speed bump checking the distance left on my phone, but apart from that it was good. A few of Kat & Jas’s friends ran it too, so we got an awesome post-run selfie together, and then hit up ‘Spoons for a massive well-deserved breakfast ;P

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SUCH PASSION! MANY GRUMP.

GK.

 

 

A long run, a fast run, a Parkrun.

Here’s what happened this week, run-wise.

17.04.16 – 1st 10k run!

I’ve signed up for the Bristol Great Run which is now less than a month away (tiny scream) so I  thought it would be good to get some long runs in so I’ll have a good idea of how long and how painful 6.2 miles is. Answer: Quite long and quite painful.

My goal was to set off reallllllly, really slow, have a halfway point break, and generally take the whole thing easy. I think my first mile was nearly 12 minutes (I walked some of it). I think this is a legit game plan though, as I didn’t tire out until right near the end, and gradually got faster, the last mile being my quickest. It was rather sunny so I went out with my sunglasses and got a heroic post-run pic because of it:

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I got a PB, but only because it’s my first 10k… I loved all the trophies I won on Nike+ for this. Longest Run! Furthest Run! Most Calories Burnt! YAY!

I had a Zen-like thought at 5.5miles in. (New levels of fatigue and delirium for me.) I was listening to my Spotify Playlist and James’ song Nothing But Love came on. It made me think this: My body hurts, my breathing is so ragged, I’m tired, my feet ache and I want to stop. But all I have right now is my love for doing this, of running and being outside and making progress and that’s the only thing keeping me going. No one is yelling at me to run faster, no waving and cheering crowds are urging me on. It’s just me. And that was a nice thought. 🙂

I’m not hoping for a sub 1 hour 10k or anything at the Great Run but it would be nice to get a time a little quicker than this one 😀

21.04.16 – New 5K PB!

I was expecting my legs to be HURTIN’ after the 10k on Sunday but they were fine, which made me suspicious… Apparently my legs can run 6 miles and not be sore the next day now… that’s a new thing.

I had three days off from running, then the guilt hit hard on Thursday so I set out for an evening run. I was originally thinking to do a fast 2 miles. I read somewhere on Twitter that if I can go the 10k distance, some last minute speed workouts would be a helpful thing. I got to 1 mile at a good pace, then 2 miles, then that little not-often-heard voice in my head said “If you keep this pace up, you’ll get a new 5k PB …” and that was it. Gauntlet thrown. I went for it! It was a tough 3 miles for sure, I was only .5 miles in before I felt a little stitch-y. Whilst the discomfort never really left is was bearable enough… AND I TOOK ABOUT A MINUTE OFF OF MY PB. I didn’t expect it and it felt awesome. I got home and was an annoying level of happy the whole evening. Yay! Sub 28 minute 5k, I’m coming for you!

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My running mantra for this was:

THIS WILL BE OVER SOON

THIS WILL BE OVER SOON

THIS WILL BE OVER SOON

Maybe not the most motivational mantra, but it worked for me.

23.04.16- Flyin’ Cardiff Parkrun solo!

I went out on Friday and got to bed late but still managed to respond to an early wake-up call for the Cardiff Parkrun. Not much to say about this one, except Parkrun is the best and even running it by myself I was never alone, I was in a big lovely crowd of fellow runners and that was great. Last mile was a bitch and a minute faster than my first. Thank you as always to the marshalls and volunteers, they are always so great. I didn’t see the Parkrun Pug this week… maybe I’ll encounter him next week. Fly, little Pug!

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Maybe do another 10k tomorrow. WE’LL SEE.

GK.

17/04 Runstuff!

Or, Why Did I Sign Up For The Bristol Greatrun?

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I’m still trying to work out what it was that made me think it was a good idea to sign up for the Bristol 10k on May 15th. I’ve got a month to try and lock in some longer distances so I don’t die out there. I have previously ran one 10k race, and it was pretty terrible. I signed up without much training for it, (kind of similar to the situation now, hmm…) and was pummeled for it as a result. Hopefully this time I a more staunch base of fitness to work with, but memories of that stitch-y tortoise run linger…

Jogging Around Bristol:

I’ve been working and staying in Bristol, so I’ve been doing my best to keep up my running in this new city terrain. Bristol, or at least the part I was staying in, is much, much hillier than Cardiff Bay. I have battled many hills this week. This week I learnt: if there’s a hill in your route, try and do it in the first half of your workout, as nothing made me cry more than having to start a hill already quite a bit out of puff. The extra amount of sweat that comes with a hill in your run is pretty impressive! But to quote my Bristol-based run bud Gaz:

“Hills rule buddy, no doubt they hurt but you’re getting way more benefit out of the same time running. Then again, my entire morning run in downhill so I’m kinda a hypocrite. 😛 “

I need to spare a moment for the wonderment that is running downhill. It’s like you’re flying! wheeee

Here’s some photos I got during/after my Brizzle runs:

Cardiff Parkrun:

On Saturday I was determined to check out the Grangemoor Park run, but thanks to a bus being late/ a bus timetable LYING I bailed on it and went to the Cardiff Parkrun instead. I managed to drag Rob out with me too. He said it was much more fun doing a 5k running with me at a “steady pace”. His “steady pace” for me felt like an all out, ain’t-got-nothing-left-in-the-tank level of effort, but still a good time was had all round. I got my Parkrun PB and a whisper over 30 minutes on my Nike+ recordings. Here’s some pics, before and after:


Lastly, a celebratory thing: I’ve hit the 200 mile mark on Nike+! And, to quote run-bud Trev who recently broke 1000 miles on the app: “…and I still don’t know what Nike Fuel is.”

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GK.