Round Portsmouth

I’m running the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in December and I’ve been in training with several other runners for the past three months. We’ve been slowly increasing our distance each week. Starting at 10 miles and adding a mile or more every week. Yesterday’s run was 17 miles round Portsmouth. Nice and flat.

Four of us set out and a steady pace from the entrance to Farlington Marshes, down the Eastern Road and across the tracks at Hilsea Lines. We crossed the A3 and followed the roads round to the Mountbatten Centre and then up to Tipner Lake where we got caught in a shower, the only one of the day. We then ran parallel to Whale Island, past the Ferry Port, down to Hope Street which we followed until it became Queen Street and we ended up at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The SeagullAfter that we headed round past Gunwharf and round Spice Island, which is very small and there are really only two roads to run on. Ann gave us a bit of local history here. There’s a pub, the Seagull, with a “witch’s hat” that used to be known to serve anyone, even sailors. Unfortunately for them it was also known as a place there the Navy and Army recruited. If you took the King’s Shilling there you were in for life.

After Spice Island we headed along the seafront past the Round Tower and the Square Tower to Clarence Pier and the fun ground. Then all the way to Southsea Castle and the Pyramids. We start the marathon from the Pyramids so, even though we were 10 miles in to our run it was a bit like starting.

After that there’s a long, and a bit boring, run along the Esplanade until we got to Eastney toilets where Lisa left us for a few minutes and Ann had to stop to do some stretches. We carried on after refuelling to Southsea Marina before looping back along Ferry Road all the way to Bransbury Park where I was marshalling the Great South run last week.

Across Bransbury Park and the right to the end of back to the end of Locksway road we rejoined the coastal path. Here’s where the wind really hit us. For about four miles we ran with a strong wind in our faces. The coastal path has nothing to stop the wind at all. It was hard going then but we pushed through and followed the road back to Farlington Marshes where we started.

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#RunEveryDay

My morning run today, a measly 1.5 miles round the recreation ground, was Day 30 of Ron Hill’s Run Every Day challenge for October. Tomorrow I finish it off with a 5k run on the final day of our club’s Couch to 5k course. Not a bad way to finish the month off.

How do I feel about this? Well, running every day has been enjoyable, surprisingly. Some of the runs have been very short, literally half a mile from the Train Station to Tesco when I’ve been too busy. Some have been very long. Yesterday’s marathon training run was 17 miles round Portsmouth. Most are in the 5k region.

Going without a rest day has been most difficult on a Monday after a long run the day before. Running on tired legs is difficult enough but once I get the first half mile out of the way things loosen up quite nicely.

Will I carry it on? Probably not every day but I will run more often that I have been. I’ve enjoyed the 5am morning run and the lunchtime run at work more than I thought I would. I had the most difficulty fitting in an evening run when I wasn’t at the running club. Getting home tired from a day’s work, having dinner, and then getting the motivation to run was extremely difficult. Much better to stumble out of the door half asleep with a head torch on before my brain could tell me to stop.

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Isle of Wight Half Marathon

iowI tend to book most of my races these days in half yearly chunks and then rely on race numbers arriving or reminder emails to be my prompt that I have a race that weekend.

I’ve received neither from Ryde Harriers which is why I’m slightly surprised to be running on Sunday at the Isle of Wight Half Marathon. It’s not their fault, it’s mine so don’t think that I’m blaming them or anything.

With my current injury I’m not expecting a PB but I am looking forward to it. The Isle of Wight is a fantastic place to visit and Ryde is a beautiful town. I’ve never run this particular course before but like everyone on the Isle of Wight it is going to be really hilly. I expect to be walking some parts of it but I’ll try not to and I’ll try to remember that every hill I climb means that I’ll be coming down the other side too.

This Saturday I’m pacing at Havant Parkrun because it’s a pacing event. If I’d remembered that I had a race I would probably have set a pacing time lower than the one I’m doing so I could dawdle round and have a chat. As it is I’m just going to run and enjoy myself.

That’s what it’s all about after all.

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Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar facsi fascii heal pain has been bothering me for the last six months. It has made running difficult and painful though only when I stop or start. When I was training for the Milton Keynes half back in May it was bad straight after a run.

I joined Victory AC for the tail end of their marathon training so I could be a few 10+ miles of training in. After the runs we’d stop for a chat and wait for the slower runners. Then we’d go our separate ways. I’d always planned on running the mile and a half home afterwards but each time my heel would flare up in agony after two steps and I’d have to stop.

Mornings are bad but even sitting down at work or in front of the telly will cause a problem. As soon as I stand the underside of my food screams bloody murder at me and I have to limp around until it loosens up.

My running speed has dropped by a full minute a mile and my usual distance has gone down from a comfortable 8 to 10 miles to around 5 to 6 miles. I’ve put on weight again and even my parkrun times have suffered.

Fed up with this I was prompted by the lovely Hil to do something about it. Compression socks, exercises, and stretches haven’t really helped. While I was running an event, Why Not Run with On the Whistle, another runner, Ian G, put me on to a product called Super Feet.

The next week I took an afternoon off and went to Alexandra Sports to try out a pair. The pain was immediately better but only while wearing them in my new shoes. Another runner put me on to physio room and their collection of things that are useful for physio generally. I picked up a night splint which I’ve been using for nearly a week.

The morning pain is much better. I’m not cured yet but I can see myself recovering. Things are looking up again.

Time to get training. I’ve got some fell running to do next month.

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Upcoming races

I’m entering the Great South Run again this year. A nice 10 miles round Portsmouth. Honestly out of all the races I’ve run the Great South has had the very best support from the crowds and the best atmosphere too. It probably helps that Portsmouth is such a small city. Everyone can join in the fun without having to travel far. Lots of people do.

It’s the 25th October this year, two months from now. I know I can do the distance without any more training but I want to try to do it quickly. As such I’m starting my marathon training now which includes a lot more speed work than I’m strictly used to.

For a warm up I’m running the Pieces of Eight on the 4th October.

All in preparation for the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon on 20th December.

That means for a 17 week marathon training schedule I’m officially in week 1. No more slacking off.

I must say though that the Portsmouth Half Marathon on Valentine’s Day next year has the best bling. Try as I might to get my other half to join me I think I’ll be running it alone.

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Portsmouth Coastal Half

After several months of running only short distances and not doing any races or real training I’ve gone and signed up for a half marathon. I went for an eight mile run on Sunday and it was hard work so I’m really going to have to put in the distance and training if I’m going to be ready.

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Stansted Slog

So, it’s the morning of the half marathon, the Stansted Slog, and I start running in 3 hours. I loaded up on pasta last night and I’ve eaten my apple for breakfast. Nothing more to eat now until I finish. I just don’t run very well on full stomach at all.

I’m hoping for sub 2:30:00 given that the course is “undulating”, or massive hills that go on for miles and miles. To be honest I’m looking forward to the last 3.5 miles, which is downhill all the way, where I can bet a nice fast pace to finish off. Miles 4 to 5.5 is a long, steep climb. I’m not looking forward to that at all though the steep downhill for the next mile should allow me to recover before the water station and another climb.

I’m well rested. I did a slow 5k on Tuesday and tail ran for Parkrun yesterday (practically walking) so there’s little chance that I’ve overdone it. If anything I’m concerned that I haven’t put the miles in in the weeks before. I should have been doing a minimum of 30 miles a week and I’ve only managed about 25. After this half marathon I’ll increase my distance and try to do at least two sets of 10 miles each week rather than just the one.

Wish me luck.

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