More Hills + More Intervals = Pain (and Rewards!)

Following last weekend’s parkrun PB, enjoying the fun run with the girls and watching the other half smash his half marathon PB, I felt pretty flat once I returned to work on Tuesday. It was just one of those days where I couldn’t shake off that glum feeling. There was only one cure for that – a run as soon as I finished work! I could have gone to the track session at the club. I should have gone really but I just needed to get out as soon as I got in from work to, hopefully, boost my mood.

Once again, I set up a little interval workout on the Garmin. This time I’d do one minute fast with one minute jog recovery repeated ten times. It was rather warm but blasting out the efforts, although tough, really boosted me. I completed the session and then jogged slowly home, covering just over 4 miles. It was tough but it worked – I felt so much happier and relaxed when I finished, if not a trifle exhausted!

intervals 2On Thursday, I headed through to Carlisle for the club run. It was a chilly evening but, once we got moving, I warmed up quickly. It was one of those runs were I just felt great! I pushed the pace a bit and kept thinking I’d struggle towards the end or suddenly slam into the wall. However, neither of these happened. It was so strange and I really felt like I could have kept going forever! Runs like these don’t happen all that often but it does show that my training has been effective and I am, and can continue to, make improvements. Sometimes it seems like I am making no progress and it can feel demoralising. However, runs like these serve to remind me of just how far I have come in the few years that I have been running regularly.

scotby run

Strava results: Great for motivation!

Strava results: Great for motivation!

On Sunday, after dropping the girls off with mum and Auntie Karen, me and the other half set off down to the Penrith Rotary 10K Trail run. I’d done this run in 2011 but couldn’t remember much about the course apart from the evil hill towards the finish. It was bitterly cold and, after registering, we stayed in the car in an attempt to keep warm, only venturing out several times to the toilet which was conveniently situated right next to the car! We met up with Ali, who’d made a last minute decision to enter, and ventured to the start just before 11am. It wasn’t long before we were off. The first half mile was congested and overtaking at this point was nigh on impossible. However, it wasn’t long before the trail opened out on to a fantastic downhill section. Once out of the field, the run went along good farm tracks and it was easy to settle into a comfortable pace. The first half of the run is generally downhill, although there are a couple of sneaky inclines.

Penrith 10k Route

Penrith 10k Route

The hills!!

The hills!!

The route then took us on to a farm track and the hills began just after the half way point! The first real tester took us through some very pretty woodland although, by this point, my lungs were bursting and my quads were screaming as the hill kept going on and on and on! On reaching the top, my legs felt rather detached and it was a real effort to keep moving through the grassy field. An awful stile then served to further kill off my legs and it took a while before my legs felt like they belonged to me again. Just as I felt the strength returning into my legs, another hill appeared! It felt relentless! Once at the summit of the hill, we were rewarded with a lovely downhill section. I just kept plodding on, attempting to push the pace because I knew the last bit, up the evil hill, would be slow going.

It wasn’t long before I saw that hill looming. As predicted my pace really slowed and I ran/walked up the hill. Once at the top, I knew it wasn’t too far to go now. I could sense the finish! I increased my effort and sped up. I did then feel like I may have pushed on too soon but I could see someone up ahead and I knew I could get them! I kept on plugging away and eventually managed to overtake my target. I then passed the 10k marker and started thinking the finish line was never going to arrive! Eventually, it did and I stopped my Garmin at 56:37, the course measuring 6.39 miles. I felt happy by that effort as it beat my 2011 time by just over 2 minutes.

penrith pace 1

Strava Results

Strava Results

Ali appeared after a minute and then we waited for Tristan to finish. It wasn’t long before we saw Tristan approaching the finish line and we all wandered over to the village hall to pick up our goody bags. A nice red T-Shirt and a few odds and ends in the goody bag made this a really good value race – it’s only £10 to enter on the day. Bargain.

I finished in 91st position out of 201 runners and I was 9th out of 41 in my category. Really, really chuffed with that.

penrith picIt’s been a great week of running for me and has really helped with my motivation and enthusiasm to continue striving for further improvements. It feels like the hard work (and the pain!) is paying off and I’m just enjoying getting out there. Long may it continue!

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