Week 41 – Super super Surrey League

Day 281 – Sunday 8 October

11.1 miles – 7:52 – 136bpm

A standard, comfortable long run without being slowed by any tightness or pain – perhaps it wasn’t so standard after all!

Day 282 – Monday 9 October

3.7 miles – 8:20 – 125bpm

I started off intending to run my 6 mile towpath benchmarker but after a half a mile I decided that my legs were so tired from last week’s mammoth 64 mile week that I needed take it very easy this week outside of tomorrow’s session in order to compete properly at Saturday’s cross country race. I headed into Bushy Park, followed a grass trail for a mile and a half and then stretched on the cricket pitch before heading back to work. I have a lot of work to do to freshen my legs before Saturday.

Day 283 – Tuesday 10 October

7.9 miles – 7:58

The standard pre-Surrey League club session tonight, 6×3 minutes.

It is always a good benchmark session and I know if I am in reasonable shape I can manage the uphill 3 minutes at 5:50 pace and the downhill reps at 5:30 unless I really push it. Only once have I managed sub-5 minutes for the downhill rep.

Today’s session was a bit of a struggle. The uphill rep was into the wind and I could feel tightness in my right hamstring. It was only the final rep where I started to feel like I was running strong – 5:17 pace – but I held back towards the end to protect my legs.

Day 284 – Wednesday 11 October

4.7 miles – 7:52

The main purpose of today’s run was to test out my old spikes and make sure the 8 months spent in the garage being infested by spiders and mice hadn’t left them incapable of completing 5 miles around Reigate Priory park. Unfortunately I had left my running shorts at home and had arrived at work with two running t-shirts instead.

Luckily, I was able to complete my run wearing the shorts I cycle to work in. Which would have looked fine had they been cycling shorts. However, they are grey, knee length, baggy, cargo shorts. I must have been quite a picture prancing around Bushy Park wearing spikes and baggy cargo shorts! The spikes are still in good condition and even seemed immediately enhance the quality of my running.

The first mile was in 8:27 which took me into Bushy Park where I immediately changed into spikes. The next three miles were all about 7:40 pace and I didn’t feel I had intentionally picked the pace up – just the magic of the spikes.

My excitement levels for Saturday have just gone risen from ‘its just another race’ to ‘this is going to be the best day of my life’.

Day 285 – Thursday 12 October

5.1 miles – 7:59

As I approached the Hampton Hill exit to Bushy Park, I heard an elderly lady walking towards me loudly exclaim ‘you shouldn’t be doing that in here’. My first thought was, I was about to remind her that running was a great form of exercise and she should be encouraged that I am looking after my health. But I soon noticed her words were aimed in the direction of another man who was relieving himself against the wall. I raised my eyebrows as our paths crossed (mine and the ladies, not mine and the man’s, I wasn’t joining in with his external siphonage) and reminded the man that he could at least have found a tree to hide behind.

Day 286 – Friday 13 October

4 miles – 8:10

A gentle run to work. I’m now regretting not doing strides yesterday. I feel that I need to do strides but my legs are feeling quite good and I am concerned that anything more than a jog is going to wreck them.

Day 287 – Saturday 14 October

9.3 miles

Surrey League is back and my legs felt great in the morning, this was going to be an amazing run! By the time it came to leave home, the hour taking two patience testing young children around Sainsburys had taken its toll and I was tired and interpreting my increasingly achy legs as a bad omen for the forthcoming race. Why can’t these races be in the morning before I have had a chance to exhaust myself?

I started quite cautiously but felt good after a mile so picked up my pace and caught a couple of team mates. We exchanged places a couple of times until the bottom of the steep hill at the start of the second lap which I found so tough I may as well have walked up.

After I recovered from the hill I found my second wind and caught back up with my team mates, over taking both of them on the final descent only to see three pass me at various points during the final km.

At various points in the race I was our 8th to 13th scorer and with 200m remaining I was our 11th scorer, just outside the A team and this was the perfect motivation to push myself a little bit harder and overtake the team mate who was in 10th. I told myself that this could be my last chance to score for Ranelagh and then I gritted my teeth.

I finished 85th in the race which was far better than I was expecting and my time was just a few seconds outside my course best – although I am sure minor alterations to the course had added 100m.

As a team, Ranelagh had a disaster and finished 8th out of 9 teams, eventhough this is far from the weakest team we have put out. Having nearly finished second last season, it is disappointing to be back to the familiarity of a relegation battle!

My struggles up the hill on the second lap convinced me that I needed to strengthen up so I will be heading to Richmond Park for a hill session each week until the next Surrey League meeting in four weeks time.

Weekly totals

  • 7 runs
  • 43.1 miles
  • 5 leg freshness score

Yearly total

  • 333 runs
  • 287 days
  • 1872 miles
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