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!

Slow, slow, quick quick, slow

Not a terrible effort tonight, though it didn’t go as planned. I’ve got a bit bored with the run/walk combination of the RunKeeper “FitnessPlan” I’m following, so I thought I’d just go out for a normal run.

As it is though, partly because I’m tired today, and partly because I was overambitious with my speed at the start, it turned into a run/walk session anyway. Still, I managed to do 5K in under 35 minutes, which is definitely better than my recent averages.

Next time I try a normal run, I’ll see what I can do to start off at a normal pace!

Starting My Speed Training

I was in London at the weekend. I ate most of it. Well, it felt like it, anyway. My friend Kavey invited me along for the weekend to celebrate her recent birthday, and we went along to Chocolate Unwrapped, and also had a fab afternoon tea at the astoundingly stylish Bob Bob Ricard.

That meant that (a) I missed the start of the RunKeeper FitnessClass programme I’m meant to be doing, and (b) put on about half a stone in the course of two days. Although that may be an exaggeration.

Either way, tonight I tried to catch up with the FitnessClass thingy by doing day 3 of the programme, which I was meant to do yesterday. Then I’ll hopefully catch up with the schedule over the next couple of runs, and get myself roughly in sync with the other people doing the class across the world.

The main difference between tonight’s run and my normal weekday runs was that this was broken up into intervals — four minutes running, one minute walking, repeated six times. This means I can work on my speed a bit without actually killing myself, because I’ve got a chance to take a breather every now and again. It seems to work — I tried to up my pace significantly from my normal running, though not so fast that I was sprinting, and the log shows that I did okay. Even including the walking, my average overall pace was under 7 minutes per km, which is pretty good for me.

So, there will be lots more of this, plus some longer weekend runs with a slower pace, also with some walking breaks, over the next month or two. We’ll see how I get on…


Very quick catchup — did a simple 5K last night. I think I was a bit faster than my recent averages, but it’s hard to tell, as I added a timed walking warm-up to this, and RunKeeper still, annoyingly, doesn’t knock off the warm-up from its average speed pace calculations, so the five minutes of walking skewed the pace calculation.

Anyway. Enough wittering. This was just a quick checkin, as I’ve got a few busy days in a row right now…

Winter Fitness Class

Just a quick 5K down the Portway for me this evening. After I got back, I signed up for one of RunKeeper’s new “virtual FitnessClasses”, which I’m hoping will give me a training plan to stick to through the winter.

My half-marathon speed was really quite rubbish — hardly surprising given that I’ve never pushed myself to go faster in training (and, of course, I’m quite lardy, and it was my first one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud and happy that I did a half marathon at all!) So I’ve signed up for the 17-week “Break a 2 hour 20 minute half marathon” plan.

I’m liking the idea of these virtual fitness classes, which I’m presuming will deliver plans straight to RunKeeper for iPhone to save me having to think too hard about what day I’m up to in the plan or what I should be doing on that day (though the blog post isn’t clear on exactly how it works.) The other nice aspect is the social one — I and a bunch of other RunKeeper users from all across the planet will be doing the training plan at the same time, and we’ll be able to see each others’ progress, too, which should give a good feeling of solidarity.

I don’t know how likely I am to increase my speed that much in seventeen weeks — bear in mind my time for the Bristol Half was 02:53:43, so I’d have to knock more than half an hour off! But hopefully the regular interval training that’s part of the plan will get me going a bit faster, at least. And it’ll be good to have a solid, three-times-a-week plan to take me through the winter.

One thing that strikes me as truly unrealistic about this fitness class: will I really get out for a 20km jog on Boxing Day? I’m pretty sure I’ll still be weighed down by turkey and stuffing from the day before!


Bleh. That was one of those runs where I just knew I didn’t want to be running as soon as I started. It didn’t get much better, either, as I struggled fairly slowly through 5K. Still, at least I did struggle through. Sometimes just getting through it is enough.

I think it’s because I’m tired. Getting back to work this week has been a bit of a shock to the system after my break up in Windermere, plus I’m reading Iain Banks’s latest, Transition, and it’s difficult to put down of an evening, which isn’t helping!

Also, I’m getting a bit of pain from the arch of my left foot. Not sure what’s going on there. Nothing severe, just enough to make me worry a bit, as it’s been going on for a couple of weeks now. Hmm.

Anyway. I will probably take a break until the weekend, as there’s a Flickr meet tomorrow night and I hardly ever have the motivation to go running on a Friday evening…

I Don’t Feel Too Steady on My Feet

I don’t feel too steady on my feet…
“…I feel hollow I feel weak”

Well, I did a bit. And just as that line in the Stone Roses She Bangs the Drums came around, too. But I had just powered up Bridge Valley Road deliberately a bit faster than normal, to see if I could improve on my uphill pace without actually dying.

And I did. Although the pleasant benches that are scattered around the Downs looked a lot more attractive than normal by the time I got up there. But I resisted, and ploughed on with a 6.75km route.

It was hard work; it did take me about three kilometres before my legs didn’t feel quite so heavy and uncooperative after the hill, but I came in with an average pace of 7:49 per kilometre, which is significantly faster than I normally manage when I include that bloody hill in my runs. The last time, a few weeks ago, I did it in a leisurely 8:14, so it’s not surprising it took a lot more out of me…

Still, good workout, and I feel fine now, especially after the large Boston latte from Boston Tea Party 🙂 They’re lovely in there, and have now taken to keeping a loyalty card for me under the counter, so I don’t even have to remember to carry it around with me when I’m running.

Less than a month to the Bristol 10K now. Can’t see it being a problem, really. I shall probably do at least one more 10K pretty soon, then go back to my normal routine for a week or two, then take a week off before the race itself…