I’ve not posted about running since the Bristol 10K, have I? That’s lax of me. Good news: it’s not because I’ve been that lazy about exercise, just about posting.

Last Sunday I went up Bridge Valley Road and around the Downs, which felt good.

Since then I haven’t run at all, but that’s because I dusted off my bike on Wednesday to go for a quick 11K down the Portway and back. I’ve not been on a bike since last year’s balloon fiesta, from what I remember. I really want to start riding some more, mostly for getting around town and doing stuff. Walking’s great, but for longer distances or quicker trips, a bike’s really convenient…

Anyway. Just checking in, really! More after my normal run on Sunday, probably…

Charity Update

Shaking the collection tinJust like to say a big “thank you” to my sponsors for the Bristol 10K! In total, I raised £135. That’s matched by my company to make £270, and counting the gift aid we’re at £301.03 for Saint Peter’s Hospice.

That’s a fab result, so thanks, all! I’d imagine I won’t be shaking my virtual tin in your direction again until we get close to the Bristol Half Marathon in September, so you can relax for a bit now 🙂

Image courtesy

Bristol 10K 2011

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The Bristol 10K was my first race, this time last year. It’s a good, fun race, with a whole lot of people — 9,000 finished this year — and it’s right on my doorstep. It only takes me twenty minutes to get to the start line, and then we run right back past my flat and run out along the Portway, my default jogging route.

Last year I ran the whole way around with my friend Mike. This year I did it solo (though Mike met me at the end to take me for our now-traditional post-race Rocotillos milkshake!)

Running solo, and having done two half-marathons in the meantime, the race felt quite different from last year. For a start, I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Once you’ve done 21K a couple of times, a 10K is distinctly less intimidating.

It felt significantly easier, in fact, all the way around. I kept up a very steady pace, except for putting on a bit of speed here a couple of times to see what it felt like (not that sustainable, sadly!) And I just kept going, knowing I had plenty of distance in reserve, and enjoying the atmosphere.

And the costumes. The team (I’m guessing husband and wife) who jogged past as policeman and convict, joined with handcuffs; the “three amigos” with their sombreros and inflatable horses (mules?); the breasts bobbing along for breast cancer, and the Royal Engineers (I think), in uniform rather than costume, who did it with big heavy packs on. Crazy people.

On the downside, I don’t know whether it was lack of speed practice, lack of a running partner, or just the extra weight I’m carrying this time around, I came in at 01:11:15, which is 1 minute 47 slower than last year’s time. Still, that’s just motivation to train a bit harder for next year’s race!

On the upside, I’ve raised at least £135 for St. Peter’s Hospice, thanks to some generous donations from lovely people. Work will double that, so that’s a very decent £270 minimum for the hospice. Thank you, most excellent sponsors!

The next big race I’ve got planned will be the Bristol Half Marathon in September. I need to knuckle down and do some training and lose some weight for that! Maybe I can beat my personal best from the Bath Half…

I’ll leave you with a picture of my 10K medal, as it’s a really nice one — much more decorative than last year’s! I’m really building up quite a collection now…

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Run-Up to the 2011 Bristol 10K

It has not been a brilliant run-up to the Bristol 10K. I feel pretty good, mind you, and I’m sure there’ll be no problem doing it. But I’d had hopes of losing more weight (I’ve plateaued since I was ill a few weeks ago. I’m well now, just not back on the wagon.) And I should have run a bit more, recently.

I would say that things keep on getting in the way, but let’s face it, a quick practice run takes about 40 minutes, and I’m sure I’ve had more than 40 minutes of extra spare time in the last few weeks. I need to work on that, and figure out what’s going on. And practice getting back on the diet wagon when I fall off, too. Bah.

Anyway. The Bristol 10K. It’s this Sunday! I’ve just kicked off my donations page at Just Giving, which you can find here if you’d like to help the lovely people at St. Peter’s Hospice. And my day-job employers have very kindly agreed to match the money I raise, up to a maximum total of £250, so at the moment, anything you give counts double 🙂

My aims for this year? Well, I’d like to beat last year’s time. I’m not sure how realistic that is, as I don’t seem to have got much faster over the last year, but it’s good to have an aim, isn’t it? Last year’s time was 1 hour, 9 minutes and 28 seconds, so anything faster than that will probably make me happy.

I’ll almost certainly be running with RunKeeper, so you can track me as I go around, if you’re interested. I’ll be starting some time between 9:45 and 10am, and you should be able to see a red dot moving around a map of Bristol on my RunKeeper profile page between then and whenever I finally stagger over the finish line.

I’m sure I’ll post an update here after the event, so — more to follow on Sunday!

New Toy

Garmin Forerunner 305I took a new toy out running with me last night. I’ve been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor for a while now, and when I found out that RunKeeper lets you easily throw Garmin devices’ data at their website, the Garmin Forerunner 305 — currently on offer for around £110 on Amazon UK — seemed like a good choice.

So, it being bonus month, I decided to treat myself. This little GPS watch seems to work fine, though I’d probably be happier with the vibrating alert offered by pricier models than with the quiet beeping from the 305, which means I can’t really run with music if I want to pay attention to its alerts.

But mostly, I bought it for the heart rate monitor, so I’ll probably run with this recording my position and heart rate, but with RunKeeper telling me what to do through my headphones while I’m doing a training session.

The web upload to the RunKeeper site is great, too. Thanks to a browser plugin, there’s no fiddling around with exporting files, or any of that annoyance. You just plug the 305 into its little docking station, go to the RunKeeper site, and choose which track from the watch you want to upload, straight from your web browser. Nice.

So, if you look at my latest track on RunKeeper, you’ll see a third line, for heart rate, has joined the elevation and pace tracks in the graph at the bottom.

Now, of course, I’ve got to do a bit of reading up about heart rate-based training…

If you’re in the UK, enjoy the nice weather and tomorrow’s bank holiday! I’ll catch you later on in the week…