Short and Long

I’m playing blog catchup today, because I’ve been for a couple of runs since the last entry.

On Thursday I went out for a quick 5K along the Portway. Sadly I forgot to tell RunKeeper to stop timing me, as I found out about a half kilometre into my walk into town on Friday morning, when the RunKeeper voice unexpectedly chimed in on my headphones, telling me I’d run seven kilometres in a little over sixteen hours. A new personal worst, I guess…

Yesterday I went out without much of a route in mind, just with the idea that I wanted to run a bit further. I started off down the Portway again, with the idea of maybe doing a bit of out-and-back before heading up Bridge Valley Road.

In the end, I made it out to just past Sea Mills, and then decided to follow the signs for the Zoo, up Sylvan Way, on the grounds that heading for the Zoo would take me to the Downs. And so it did, up a very long hill (well, there had to be one somewhere), past Stoke Bishop along the Shirehampton Road and Parry’s Lane, to emerge at the entrance to Wills Hall.

After that, I just jogged around the outside of the Downs and back to Clifton Village for lunch. All in all, it was 11.35km, and quite a pleasant route. Not too many roads to cross in the suburban bits, and some new things to look at to keep my mind off the hill 🙂

So, pretty enjoyable. And my longest run of the year so far. Hurrah!

I’ll leave you with a photo of some people I saw on a route I won’t be taking. Crazy Avon Gorge climbers!

Rock Climbers

Eight, ten… Thirteen?

I was only going to go out for a 10K last night, but it was a lovely evening, I was feeling fairly awake, and the towpath, though pretty muddy in places, gets even prettier past my normal turnoff.

I usually just use the towpath for a quick shady jog out and back a few kilometres, or to get to the far entrance to Leigh Woods for a circular route that comes back across the Suspension Bridge. But the towpath extends beyond there all the way to Pill, and gets increasingly countryside‑y as it goes along.

So, instead of turning around at the 5K point, I headed further out, almost to Pill, and hit the 7.5K mark before turning around. I did a nice, easy pace. It was warm, and this was the longest jog I was going to do since the Bath Half in March. Plus I stopped to take photos every now and again. Shame I didn’t take a real camera out with me, but I did my best with the camera on my old 3GS and Instagram…

I was further slowed by stepping out of the way for the occasional cycling groups and sometimes other joggers; the path between the end of Leigh Woods and Pill is very narrow indeed. All things considered, I’m happy enough with 1 hour 53 minutes for the 13+ kilometres I managed.

Here’s my snaps 🙂

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The Right Direction

April was a good month. I ran twice as far in April — 62.5km — than I did in any month in the previous year. So that’s a definite “win” when it comes to building up my momentum.

There’s been a slight faltering, though, in the first week of May, as I only went out running the once. Social commitments, work, rain, and, I confess, too much beer at Thursday night’s Flickr meet, saw me put off running until yesterday.

But! When I finally ran, what a good run it was. Not only did I do a full 10K, but it was also the fastest 10K I’ve ever run!

I came in just under a minute faster than in the Bristol 2010 10K. Hopefully that bodes well for the 2012 10K, which is in a couple of weeks, on May 20th. But whatever happens on the official race day, it’s nice to have set a personal best in training.

This week I’ll try to get out more than once; maybe Thursday and Saturday. We’ll see…

Rain rain, go away…

And so ends another week where I only managed two runs. My lack of time this week was somewhat exacerbated by the current UK weather situation.

The UK media have been having a (waterlogged) field day recently, because if there’s one thing that the British love talking about more than weather, it’s ironic weather, and we’re currently in the middle of severe rain and flooding. During a declared drought. With hosepipe bans in place. The news reporters are loving it, when they’ve got time to spare from asking awkward questions about Jeremy Hunt, anyway.

This morning, I checked the weather (using the rather swish WeatherSpark) and found that today would be fairly representative of April so far:

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So. I decided to wait until later to get out of the door. In the end I headed out during the promised gap at about 8pm, which — surprise! — materialised exactly as promised.

As I’d been feeling guilty about not getting out for a second mid-week run, I decided to put in some decent distance today, and actually managed a whole 10K, which I was pretty pleased with. 1:14:27 is only five minutes away from my best 10K race time (almost to the second), so I think that was pretty good for running alone on a wet Sunday night…

This week is looking like more of the same, so I may try the same pattern again, fitting in a couple of longer runs rather than three shorter ones. Not too long until the Bristol 10K, so it’s good to be getting some decent distances in!

Stretching my Legs

20120212 DSC02443On Sunday, I felt pretty good, and the weather wasn’t quite as damn cold as it had been on Saturday, so I set out to do a respectable distance. I did my first 10K training jog the year, though Leigh Woods (handily, my normal Leigh Woods route plus a loop of the “purple path” works out as pretty much exactly 10K.)

It wasn’t fast, and I had to stop for a minute or two to get my breath back halfway through the really steep bit, but it was pleasant and I felt pretty good all the way round. It’s nice to run through the woods at this time of year, though it’ll get even nicer as we head into spring.

I also made sure I took a route through some of the muddier, more slippery bits of the woods, so I could see how well my shoes gripped and how easy it was to run in them. I did that for a very particular reason, which will hopefully be revealed later in the week 🙂

Back on the Road

Back to the A4 Portway for a nice simple 5K this evening. It was warm and close, and the wide open feel of the road felt like a better antidote than the pleasant, yet sometimes-claustrophobic towpath.

Just a token effort, really, my first since Thursday’s 21km epic, and I took it slowly. No problems, though.

In fact, looking back, I felt better after Thursday’s half-marathon distance than I did after the Bristol 10K, possibly because I took it slower and steadier. I was a bit of a wreck Thursday daytime, but I’d mostly shrugged off any aches and pains by Sunday, and even Saturday didn’t feel too bad.

So, I think all’s going well, generally. Might nip out for a perfectly normal weekend run this weekend, just 7K, or something. I’ll let you know 🙂

8K and No Pink Tutu

Got out early this morning — well, before 9am, anyway, which I thought was pretty good for a Sunday — and trogged up and around the Downs for 8K.

Getting out early was a good idea for two reasons. The main reason was to avoid the midday sun that nearly fried me the last time I went for a long run on a sunny day. But, as it turned out, another good reason was because today is day two of the Race for Life on the Downs. And I managed to time things just right, getting out early enough so that some of the roads were already closed to traffic, but not so late that I had to put on a number, a wig and a pink tutu in order to be allowed on the paths.

Looks like a marvellous day for it. I wandered up to take some pictures of yesterday’s 5K, and it certainly looked like everyone was enjoying it, so hopefully today will be just as good.

Anyway. I have a Boston Tea Party chocolate crunch to eat as a reward for getting around 8K on a Sunday morning, when any sensible person is obviously still in bed, so I’ll leave you to a hopefully sunny Sunday, wherever you are…

Distance

Like I said in my last update, I fancied getting out for a nice long run this weekend, and this morning I made good on that.

I ran from home, out along the towpath under the Suspension Bridge, all the way to the far entrance to Leigh Woods, then up into the forest. I did a fairly big loop of the forest, then came out to head back across the Suspension Bridge into Clifton, then all the way around Clifton Down and Durdham Down, and back to Clifton Village.

All told, it was just over 15km, although I lost GPS signal for the last kilometre and a bit, so I can’t be certain. I manually fixed the route in RunKeeper, and it came out at 15.59km, which can’t be far out.

I also took out two new things: First, The Indelicates’ new album, Songs for Swinging Lovers, available right now for download — for the price of your choice, including “free” — from the Corporate Records website.

Second, my shiny new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP3 camera. So, I took a load of photos, too 🙂 They’re all here in this set on Flickr, but there were two I particularly wanted to post here, because they say quite a lot about my route. They’re both photos of the same place, the “Sea Wall” railings at the top of the Avon Gorge, at the edge of Clifton Down.

Here’s the first one, taken on my way out, about 2.5km into the jog. The railings are just about invisible on the skyline, at the top of the cliff:

Sea Wall I

And here’s one taken of the same railings, at the 10.5km mark, up close and personal:

Sea Wall II

So, yeah, think that gives some idea of the vertical height involved in my jog today, as well as the overall distance!

I reckon I can declare myself ready for the Bristol 10K. And it’s nice to have done roughly three quarters of a half-marathon, too 🙂 I don’t, on the whole, feel too bad, although I’m not entirely convinced I’ll be able to move tomorrow! I might give myself a few days off and not do a mid-week run until Thursday, this week. I think I deserve it!