The Royal Parks half Marathon seems like a long time ago now. The pain and struggle of those 13.1 miles have subsided and I’ve agreed to take on a small series of challenges to raise money for The Huntington’s Disease Association. It started with taking part in the London to Paris bike ride but it now seems to have grown to be more than that. I’ve added the Manchester and York 10k’s into the equation and, as long as I get a place in the ballot, the Great North Run as well. Still, it keeps me busy and out of trouble.
At the end of 2011 I decided that I wanted a challenge for two reasons. First, to raise money for a good cause, secondly, to keep me motivated to continue training and generally feeling fit and healthy. I decided that I’d done running that year so I should do something different. A couple of friends had done the London to Paris bike ride in 2011 and really enjoyed it. That was it, I’m sold. The mere fact that I didn’t own a bike didn’t stop me so I signed up and bought myself a Specialized road bike to train on as well as the obligatory helmet and some fancy clip in pedals and shoes.
A few weeks ago I had my first real long ride out on the bikes with my friend, Tom. He led me on, in his words, a short loop around Sheriff Hutton and back into York. A distance of around 25 miles. All went well and I remembered to unclip out of the pedals every time we came to a halt until pretty much the last junction we came to. For those who know York, it’s the junction on Haxby Road leading onto Clarence Street. Tom managed to make it through the lights before they turned to red but I didn’t. In a moment of panic I tried to shout and signal to Tom that I had got stuck at the lights just as I ground to a halt. It’s at this point that I remember that I’m clipped in but it’s too late. The bike had stopped and I couldn’t do anything other than fall. Off I went in front of a group of students and a long line of traffic. A kind lady got out of her car to see if I was ok, which was nice. I was fine and with nothing more than a large dent in my pride I hit my pedals hard as soon as the light went green.
I’m told that everyone who uses clip in pedals has one such experience and it was nice to hear concern in another of my training partners voice when he rang in response to a text I sent him telling him about the fall. Once I’d said I was fine and explained what had happened Shakey promptly laughed his socks off. He was heading for a swim session with York Triathlon Club at the time so I hope he had stopped laughing by the time he hit the pool.
I kind of kept the running up over October, after the half marathon and through to January but I’ve had an ankle injury which has left me unable to train properly for a time. Since the 3rd of January I have been out a couple of times a week with an old rugby friend who now takes part in endurance events. Shakey has pushed my running and I’m seeing big improvements from the tips and tricks he’s given me. He is the one who introduced my to the now dreaded 5x800m sprints with full recovery. He also introduced the idea of 2 mile time trials with the aim of negative splits. I’ve only done that session once but have another booked in for next week to chart my progress. The first time I did them Shakey led them out and we set a pace were I couldn’t talk, as they say on The Biggest Loser “If you can talk, you aren’t working hard enough”. The first 2 miles we covered in 16:15 with the return 2 miles in 17.45. To be honest, I wasn’t too disappointed with those times…but neither was I too pleased. It sets a bench mark for next time.
Today, I’ve been for a steady 5 mile run which took me 46mins to do. The aim was just to stretch my legs out a little and to keep a constant pace. The bad news is that my ankle is playing up again and I’m getting a lot of pain in my shins. This could well be the start of shin splints so I’ve got to keep it light and stretch at every opportunity.
Right, I think that brings us right up to date…