Getting back, Radiohead and Durham parkrun…

Since my 5k PB in May I’ve gone a bit quiet!

I was really pleased to finally crack the sub 17 minute 5k. That had been my key goal since 2012/2013. It felt like it might never happen. This year I really focussed, made some subtle changes to routine and mindset and achieved it.

Everyone says the journey is more important than the destination.

I can confirm that is true.

Perhaps its the yearning for wanting something, and to feel like you might not get that keeps you going. And then when you get it, yes there is elation but why not celebration?

With hindsight I didn’t celebrate enough. In fact the very next week I was in Dubai. Another work trip. I tried to keep up the training, even step it up a notch. Even to the point where I was running 50m up and down alongside a motorway in Dubai centre, in 35 degree heat – the locals must have thought I was crazy.

I had Blaydon in my sights and a desire to build on my 2015 performance.

After Dubai it was back to blighty. I was feeling distracted. It feels like the country is going down the pan… I had done well to ignore politics leading up to my 5k but I was getting sucked back in by the election fever. It felt like deja vu from the Brexit debacle a year earlier.

It started to suck my mental energy. But I pushed on to the point where a knee and hip injury suddenly flared up out of nowhere.

I was forced to treadmill walk in the week leading up to Blaydon, still every intention of running.

Waking up on the 9th of June and the deja vu was confirmed. Surely May had to resign!

As the day went on and my mind refused to contemplate Blaydon and my right leg refused to stop being cranky the decision was made to pull out of Blaydon. Very disappointing.

The mind turns now to GNR. This will be the first year since I started running that I will be trying to train with purpose over the summer. I confess to not being a summer runner. I am a winter runner. Couples of reasons – firstly I suffer from Hayfever which doesn’t help what is an already difficult endeavour! Secondly I always have a 2 week holiday where I try to forget everything – including running!

This year is no exception. The difference now is I have 11 or 12 weeks to get on the start line at the GNR in the best shape possible. I have had a few hayfever episodes but my mindset is better than ever before and I will not allow it to bother me. I am also going on holiday for 2 weeks in July. So I will need to navigate through that getting some running in where possible, seeking to maintain fitness so that when I get back I can hit the final 6 weeks preparation and have the confidence to get out and perform.

The last 2 weeks have been a slow build up. The knee and hip injury has subsided and this week is probably the first proper week back training.

Today I got out for a parkrun and the first real leg stretch since a 20 minute threshold run in May, not long after my 5k PB.

It was a reflective day. I had spent Friday evening watching Radiohead at Glastonbury. Very emotional, exciting and amazing – always a band that make my hairs stand up on my arms. So many songs that remind me of different periods of my life.

The Bends and OK Comptuer the real teenage angst of my secondary school years – loner, getting lost in the melancholy.

Kid A and Amnesiac the lost University years… Still angsty, still lonely, still confused but now fuelled by alcohol etc…

Hail to the Thief leaving Uni with a 1st and signing on the dole…

In Rainbows – being in work and hating every minute – nothing but living for the weekend.

So its always emotional to watch them play some important songs that resonate 100% every time.

And so I set off for Riverside, OK Computer the soundtrack to the drive. On arrival at Riverside I noticed that there was another event on. Parkrun was cancelled. So I quickly looked up Durham parkrun which I had never done before and set off with an expected arrival of 8:52.

Luckily the parking facilities were good and I was able to squeeze in a short warm up.

The course is good but challenging. It starts on the Durham Uni running track and then onto grass, over the bridge and more grass, a loop round and back to the bridge and to the finish.

Running a new course is always a bit of an unknown. I didn’t really have a plan other than to not look at pace and just see what happened. Deep down I knew I wasn’t looking for a hard effort. Although it wasn’t too hot there was a slight breeze.

Starting off I didn’t feel like the pace was strong. Mark Snowball of Morpeth Harriers (who I met at the Clive Cookson 10k in 2016 where I was DQ’d for not wearing my race chip) came alongside and we had a small chat. He said he was just jogging which made me push on.

I was shocked to go through the first mile in 5:22 which is around PB pace (16:44). That didn’t help me as I felt I’d been rash and overcooked it as I was probably looking for something sub 17:50 given I hadn’t done any harder running since May.

The second mile slowed considerably and Mark was back with me. We exchanged some more chat and I’d accepted I wouldn’t be pushing any harder. Actually Mark held pace and I dropped off. The second mile was 5:50ish and the 3rd mile slowed to >6:00 minute miling.

I didn’t feel good at all. I was able to finish off in just over 18 minutes. The Garmin had the course as slightly long and I’d averaged 5:46 miling.

Given that I’m looking for a target of 5:45-5:50 miling for the Great North Run this is a gentle reminder that I need to get back to some proper training and just start getting some confidence building runs in the bag.

On to the next step…

Thanks for reading.