Friday, 22 May 2015

My 100 Races - Blog 3 of 5 - The Half Marathons

This is where my running started back in the summer of 2009. Newly engaged to my now wife of 5 years I ran my first race, the Southend Half Marathon on 14th June 2009. Having watched the London Marathon I looked for a local race and found the Southend HM in just 6 weeks time. I managed a longest run of 5 miles before the big event and paid big time! Crawling round the 2nd half and so finishing in 2:17.

I applied myself a little better before my 2nd HM at Bristol and managed 2:08. My brother Luke and friend Pete both ran well at this. Lauren and I enjoyed this race, with the ideal hotel location and the course was a good one.

Next we visited Cardiff and I managed to shave plenty off my PB here as I ran just under 1:51. My first look at the city, and definitely somewhere I'd like to return to. The race has got a bit big now, so not sure I'll run it again.

More time came off the PB at the Great Bentley HM, my 4th Half and a time of 1:39. A good club race, on quiet country roads, and not many crowds which suits me well. Return to this race again and will continue to do so.

My 5th HM was the first where I didn't PB. This was at Bath, a very pleasant weekend and a good course but I just wasn't firing and walked for parts and came home in a time of 1:42.

2010 and I'm back at Southend for my 6th HM and my second at Southend. Ran with my arm in a plaster cast, in roasting hot conditions as is tradition for this race.

Bristol HM the return and a new PB of 1:36. Always loved.

Great North Run. My first go at the Great North. Only two weeks after Bristol and so could only manage 1:40.

Into 2011 and a 2nd Great Bentley running another PB. 1:35. The big time gains are long gone!

HM number 10 was the rearranged Norwich HM. Was meant to happen in the autumn of 2010 but due to the snow it didn't happen until the spring of 2011. I ran a PB of 1:34 whilst Ross ran his own PB of 1:19! Another world!

Southend HM number 3 and the PB's continue to flow, 1:32. My IT Band decided to give up 3 steps after the line, so I hobbled around for an age until I gave my Sister a ring to come up and rescue me.

Bristol HM number 3. Pete came and found me about 3 miles in and we then ran 10 miles together, he really pushed me on and we ran 1:33. Such a lot of fun even though a PB wasn't forthcoming. Felt really strong though.

A week later I ran the Great North Run and achieved a PB, and still my PB 1:30:05. I wasn't unhappy at not going sub 1:30. I was getting faster and faster. The PB's would keep coming.... Wouldn't they?

Southend HM 2012 my 4th running of it and a very disappointing 1:58 with Luke. I had run the two Oceans this year and Luke and I had run really badly at Edinburgh Marathon a month before. I don't think my body had recovered, so we just trudged around the 2nd half.

Silverstone HM in 2013 was 1:44. More than a minute a mile off my PB, but a pleasing run given the shape I was in at the time. Luke ran well at this race, and I will definitely return to this race. Half Marathon number 15 done.

Southend HM 2013 my 5th successive running of it. 1:43. Warm. Not too much else to report.

Great North Run number 3 and a pleasing run of 1:39. My times coming back down from the nightmare of the 1:58.

16.02.2014 was my 30th Birthday and what better way to spend it than running a HM in Barcelona with friends and family. Ross and Luke both ran well. I wasn't very fit so decided to run it with my Dad for his first HM. We avoided the sweeper and made it round in 2:41. Massive achievement!

Southend HM done once more in 2014 my 6th running of it and 19th overall. A disappointing 1:52.

Back to Great Bentley for number 20 and very happy to run 1:35. My fastest run since Sept 2011 when I ran my PB. Feel in good shape in 2015 and may sneak a HM PB before the end of the year. If not, I would hope to break 1:30 in 2016.

So there you have it. 20 very enjoyable Half Marathon's. A really good distance, a good challenging 1:30 - 2 hours of effort and my favourite distance by far. Tomorrow I'll talk you through my 10 Marathon's.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

My 100 Races - Blog 2 of 5 - The 10k's

So following on from yesterday's blog, here are the 10k's I have run as part of my 100 races. The 10k is a fun distance, you can really hurt yourself but still need to keep yourself going for 45 minutes or so. They are a little short, so I haven't often travelled very far for these races. My 15 10k's are made up as follows:

Southend 10k - 1 Run
My first 10k. A nice flat seafront course. Think the course has changed since I did this in 2009. A little too close to my wife's Birthday but a race I would definitely like to go back to.

After Adoption 10k - 1 Run
A well run charity race through Hyde Park. Got a PB at the time and Joe ran this with me.

Cancer Research 10k - 1 Run
Nice run with Amy. Helped her round to her sub 1 hour target.

Billericay 10k - 4 Running's
A tough local, hilly 10k. In November so have had some horrible weather. Love the flat, straight, finish. One of my favourite. Always run the last km well here. Was the site of my PB until very recently, set when I ran with Luke for 7km's before moving away late on. Have also run with my Dad when he PB'd.

British 10k - 1 Run
The poor man's BUPA 10k. Too crowded, long walk to the start, too expensive. Won't be returning to this one. Had a disappointing run on my one attempt.

Canterbury 10k - 1 Run
Nice flat course, some interesting wooden boards protecting the cattle grids. Wind against on the way out and then flew home wind assisted. Really good race where Luke was also in attendance.

Leigh 10k - 1 Run
Another tough, challenging local race. Very hilly early on, but then the second half is along the seafront. Ran very strong in the second half in a pleasing performance.

Notfast 10k - 1 Run
I lived up to the races name and was not fast! A disappointing personal performance, but fun to race with Luke and Dad.

BUPA 10k - 3 Runs
2 very pleasing runs round the capital by myself and a 3rd running round with Amy to a sub 1 hour 10k. Always enjoy my runs with Amy, shame she's half a world away now. I am running the BUPA this Monday, and it is definitely my favourite of the 10k races. Fast and great to see London, generally nice warm weather too.

Colchester 10k - 1 Run
My latest 10k and where I achieved my PB of 41:59. A good race, a little bit too much on pavements, but a great finish on the running track. Had an exciting finish and won a sprint + the PB made me a very happy runner.

So there you have my 15 10k's. Only a few stinkers of runs in there and a couple of classics. Tomorrow, the Half Marathons.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My 100 Races - Blog 1 of 5 - The 5k's

I ran the Great Baddow 10 the Sunday just gone, and this marked my 100th race/event in the 6 years since I started running. I have decided that this deserves 5 blogs and they will be as follows:

1 - The 5k's
2 - The 10k's
3 - The Half Marathons
4 - The Marathons
5 - The Rest

So on to today's blog, the 5k's. They make up 46 of the 100 races (I know they are 'time trials') All of them parkruns. I have run parkruns in 6 different locations.

Middlesbrough - Albert Park - 15 Runs
The venue of my first parkrun and also the place where I have run my PB of 19:21. I have run under 20 minutes 4 times and 3 of them occurred here. A fast and very slick parkrun venue.

Southend - 26 Runs
I ran the first Southend parkrun and 6 of the first 7. I haven't been able to run it quite that regularly since, but still get there when I can. Am yet to break 20 minutes, with my fitness not quite being there and also with the seaside location, wind plays a big factor in slowing me down.

I have reached the dizzy heights of 5th place before the quickies found the parkrun. Other highlights are my brother Luke and friend Pete both winning the event, and my 29th Bday when I managed to get myself and 8 friends and family down to run it. This was also the location of my defeat by my other brother Joe as we went toe to toe.

Have also paced my friend Amy and my Dad to PB's at Southend.

Brighton - 2 Runs
A friend lives in Brighton and I have enjoyed a good couple of weekends down there. Both included a parkrun on a Saturday morning before the drinking really began in earnest. I finished behind Ross and Matt but managed to beat Graeme and Jane.

Bromley - 1 Run
Travelled a crazy amount of miles to this parkrun, before Southend had been created. Managed to pace my brother Luke round to his sub 20 target. He got 19:59 and I got 19:58. A tough course with much of it on grass.

Cambridge - 1 Run
Took my wife away for a nice romantic weekend but still managed to fit in a parkrun at a very muddy off road Cambridge parkrun. One of my slower runs and was also beaten by a guy pushing a buggie.

Paramatta - Australia - 1 Run
My first and as yet only overseas parkrun. Run in bucketing rain on a waterlogged course. The worst conditions of my 46 parkruns and we were in sunny Australia! My brother is more used to warm Aussie conditions and so the British style weather suited me. I levelled the series at 1-1 with victory here.

So there you have it. 46 very enjoyable parkruns. I hope to grab myself a 50 t-shirt before 2015 is over and will also look to tick off a few new parkrun venues. Come back tomorrow to find out how I faired in the 10k's.