Simple Bank Holiday 5K

Muddy

Today’s jog was a very simple, slow 5K out down along the towpath and back. I almost didn’t go; I’ve had a fairly busy weekend, not enough sleep, and I was pretty tired.

But I bought this chocolate flapjack, see, at lunchtime, from Chandos Deli in Clifton Village. And it was meant to be my reward for going on a run. So, in order to eat it with a clear conscience, I struggled out along the towpath and back again. On the way out, I stopped to snap this photo of the old combined (double-deck) road and rail bridge that’s gently rotting into the Avon.

And that’s all I’ve got to report. Over the next month or so I’m hoping to start improving my distances, to get somewhere near half-marathon distance again. But not today…

But Is It Art?

Just went for a simple 5K along the towpath tonight, nice and easy. Although RunKeeper’s showing it as a slow 6K, because I included the warm-up and cool down, and forgot to stop the tracking when I’d finished the cool down…

Hotwells Spring

About the only thing of note — apart from the rather lovely view I spotted on the way back — was the lack of graffiti on the pedestrian ramp down to the towpath. It’s had some fairly offensive stuff on it for months, with the relatively recent addition of a swastika.

On last week’s run I took a photo of it — I’ll spare you the image itself — to remind me of it when I got home. Thus prodded, I found Bristol City Council’s graffiti reporting web page, and stuck in the details.

And sometime since last Wednesday evening, the council have painted it out, so I don’t have to look at it and feel mildly annoyed by it. Win! This being Bristol, home of some seriously good street art (and no, it’s not just Banksy), the council tend to be a bit more switched on to either extreme of the stuff-painted-on-walls spectrum, I guess.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

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Wow. That was quite an intense 7K. Not because it was fast, or anything, just because I didn’t get out until about half past eleven, which meant I was running in the midday sun. That’s not been a worry so far this year. But on wandering outside, it was pretty obvious that we are no longer in Spring. Today is definitely, clearly, 100% summer. It’s a cloudless 24C out there, and that makes quite a difference to running.

I’d used up all my water by the end of the run, and the middle section — around the Downs, without much tree cover — was particularly punishing, just because of the relentless sunshine.

Still, I managed, and it’s all good experience. I’ve not run through a summer, yet. I only started this lark in July last year, and for the first month or two I was mostly walking, and even then it was mostly in the evenings. I guess there’s one important thing I learned today, if nothing else: if there’s a chance of it being that damn sunny at midday, I should drag my arse out of bed and go running at 8am, not 11…

Anyway. Today’s picture is the shadow of the Suspension Bridge at the start of my run. Enjoy the day, wherever you are!

Quickie

Way HomeJust a quick blog today. I got out for a simple 5K out along the towpath. No RunKeeper log to show for it today, as the GPS just didn’t want to lock. So I ran for about eighteen minutes, then turned around and ran back, on the ground that that would be at least five kilometers.

Not sure what’s going on with the GPS thingy; I tried turning it on and off again, and it wasn’t having any of it. It normally works. Today it was in an armband, though, although (a) I’m sure it’s worked fine in there before, and (b) it’s normally in a pocket of my shorts, which you’d think would be worse. Ho hum.

Anyway. Just making sure I keep up the momentum, with both jogging and blogging.

Today’s photo shows bits of Clifton and Hotwells, and the muddy banks of the river.

Back on the Road Again

20100516-20100516-P1000433.jpgThis month has been pretty slack for me, running-wise. But that’s a fairly conscious choice. I didn’t want to too much the week before the 10K, and I felt like resting on my laurels a bit after it. Plus I normally take it easy after any long jog, and 10K definitely counts!

But today I got back on the road again, out for a normal Sunday jog. A lot quieter than last week’s, and sans cheering crowds, but still nice. Bridge Valley Road remains closed to traffic, which means you get to jog right up the middle of it rather than being relegated to the narrow strip of pavement up that runs up the one side, plus it was mostly sunny.

So, I guess today marks the end of my training for the 10K. And the start of my training for the Bristol Half Marathon, which is on 5th September. Which feels both a long way off and scarily close at the same time, bearing in mind I’ve never done a run longer than three quarters of that distance…

Before I go, I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me on my Just Giving page, and elsewhere. If I figure in the Gift Aid for the UK donations, and the £250 my company are going to donate, I reckon I raised a total of £709.08 for St. Peter’s Hospice, which is fantastic! Thanks all!

My First Race: The Bristol 10K

20100509-20100509-P1000324.jpgSo, having checked I’d got everything about three times, I set off this morning to walk down to the start of the Bristol 10K. Everything was very civilised and well-organised. I got a preview of what was to come by walking in through what would become the “handouts at the finish” section, where they were already stacking up space blankets, laying out trays of water bottles, and building the T‑shirt racks.

The race “village” was centred on Millennium Square, which gradually filled up with a huge crowd of what turned out to be more than 10,000 runners. And that’s a lot of Deep Heat fumes, believe me. Everyone seemed friendly, the queues to drop bags off were nice and short, and I soon found a few people from work who were running, too.

Bumping into my colleagues pretty much set the whole race up. I formed up into the big queue for the slower starters — the race got going in a couple of consecutive streams — alongside some of them, including my friend and erstwhile boss Mike. As we filed toward the start, first shuffling, then walking, then at a slightly unsure, crowded jog, we stayed together. We agreed we’d go at our own pace, and if it felt like we needed to fire our iPods up and blast on ahead, or slow down and walk for a bit, that was fine, and we’d split up guilt-free and maybe meet at the end.

But, as it turned out, Mike and I run at pretty much the same pace. My carefully-selected iTunes playlist fell by the wayside because I never felt the need for music. We just jogged along, nattering occasionally, keeping each other company while enjoying the unusual experience of having random people cheer us on every now and again.

The race headed out of Bristol along the A4 Portway, under the Suspension Bridge, turning back towards the city centre again at the 4K marker. On the return leg, I heard my friend Tara cheering me along, which was fab 🙂 I was feeling fine; the weather was pretty much perfect for running, cool and overcast, but not too cold, and with no rain. And it was fantastic to run along the A4 without any traffic to get in the way, or any fumes to spoil the Avon Gorge air.

We struggled up the short and sharp uphill section of flyover to cross over the water and come down on the south side of the water, to complete the loop around the entire harbour and back to the finish line. This was the bit where things started feeling a little harder. Cumberland Road, that runs in a straight line along the south side of the harbour and the north side of the river, is a long road with a slight incline, and the main thing that kept us going was the encouragement from small pockets of cheering people, and passing the 7 and 8K markers. That was definitely the bit where we just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and not much else.

Once we got closer to the city centre again though, things got easier. The roads were lined with people, lots of support and cheering, banners, kids, people shouting out to friends they were waiting for — it was a proper welcome. We crossed over Prince Street Bridge — again, nice being able to do that without worrying about traffic — and passed the 9K marker just as we hit the Centre. Lots of music and cheering by this point, and we just kept on going.

20100509-20100509-P1000330.jpgComing up to the end, Mike said to me, “Sprint finish!” and upped the pace. I’d not even thought about that; I was in a bit of a steady-pace trance, but I followed his lead and we crossed the line together!

On the whole, it was definitely a much more sociable experience than my normal long-distance runs. Not that I seem to be affected too much by the “loneliness of the long-distance runner”, but running with 10,000 other people, and one running partner in particular definitely felt pretty good.

It also seemed to do good things for my pace. The official times aren’t in yet, or at least not for the slow people like me. The front runner, Kenyan Gordon Mugi, managed it in a smidge under twenty eight and a half minutes, which seems almost inconceivably fast to me. But looking at my RunKeeper log, which seems pretty accurate, I think Mike and I managed to get through in around one hour and ten minutes, pretty much dead-on seven minutes per kilometre pace, which is a lot quicker than I normally manage on my distance runs.

But, frankly, if I’d taken an hour and a half I’d still have been happy: I’ve done my first race. I’ve been there, and got the t‑shirt, literally. And a medal. And race-pack with some goodies. And Jess, Mike’s wife, took us both up to Rocotillos on the Triangle to treat us to some extra-large, extra-thick milkshakes, which were bloody fantastic, and probably replaced every single calorie we’d just lost…

So, that’s my race report — I honestly can’t think of a single way it could have gone better. Looks like I’ve smacked through my charity target, too, with £275 raised on my Just Giving page, and somewhere between £50 and £100 to collect from the paper sponsorship form I’ve been hawking around work. That and the fact that my company is going to match the first £250 should see me hit somewhere around the £600 mark for St. Peter’s Hospice, which is ace.

Right. Think I’m going to have a nice bath to see if I can minimise any aches and pains for tomorrow. And pack my medal in my bag for the morning. Not, of course, that I want to show off. No, of course not. I just need to prove that I ran the race so I can collect the sponsorship money. And the best way of doing that is to take the medal into work. No showing off involved. Really. Ahem.

Medallion Man

Playlist

My playlist for tomorrow. I won’t get through all of this, because there’s two-and-a-half hours of music there. It’ll be on shuffle.

Song Artist
America The Indelicates
The 32nd Of December Babyshambles
Science Monkey Swallows The Universe
Spinnin’ Speech Debelle
Acetone Kenickie
Arcady Peter Doherty
Albion Babyshambles
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles
A Dog’s Life Nina Nastasia
Exit Route Thea Gilmore
Live And Learn Speech Debelle
Ain’t Goin’ To Goa Alabama 3
Entertain Sleater-Kinney
Nancy Boy Placebo
Pipedown Babyshambles
What Katie Did The Libertines
Unbilo Titled Babyshambles
Brother 52 Fish
Can’t Stand Me Now The Libertines
Boys Don’t Cry The Cure
Searching Speech Debelle
She Bangs The Drums The Stone Roses
A’Rebours Babyshambles
The Love Cats The Cure
Better To Know The Indelicates
Northern Star Hole
Dy-Na-Mi-Tee Ms. Dynamite
Portobello Belle (Live) Dire Straits
Beg, Steal or Borrow Babyshambles
What Became Of The Likely Lads The Libertines
Tunnel Of Love Dire Straits
Punka Kenickie
36 Degrees Placebo
Feelgood By Numbers The Go! Team
Savages (Acoustic Version) The Indelicates
Paparazzi Lady Gaga
Dog Days Are Over Florence & The Machine
Skinny Little Bitch Hole

The Day Before

Despite what I said last time, I didn’t get a chance to run last weekend, so I’ve had a full week off. Which feels fine to me.

And tomorrow, I run the Bristol 10K 🙂

I’ll be starting off in the second of the two groups — i.e. with the slow people, at the back — at 9:45 tomorrow morning. This is my first ever race. Not that I’ll be treating it as a race; there’s nobody I want to beat. I’ll be happy just to get around and to enjoy the shared experience of running with a whole bunch of other nutters, whether they’re the pros who I’ll only see passing me on their way back as I head out towards the Suspension Bridge, or the people in gorilla costume who I might stand a chance of keeping up with.

If all goes according to plan I’ll be using RunKeeper to track me as I go around, and if the technology works then you’ll be able to watch me run on a live map at my public RunKeeper page. Just visit the web page during the race and you’ll see where I am, and be able to watch a little dot crawl slowly around a map for an hour and a quarter. No, I don’t expect many avid viewers, but hey…

Anyway. I’m runner number 9210. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get through the start, but I should be finished about an hour and a quarter after that. I’m really not sure how long it’ll take me, because I’ve never run 10K on the flat, or run with a bunch of other people before. But I’m sure I’ll be posting a post-run update sometime tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll let you know how I get on!