Reflection & Recovery

Ok, right, I suppose I best start from the beginning of this year! And what a year it has been, I’ve taken this week as an easy week in training, just to give myself a mental break from training, it’s needed lol. So I’m sitting and reflecting back on the years training and racing. Training has been the best block I’ve ever put together! It’s been amazing, no injuries ( touch wood) now for over 18 months, mileage has picked up over the months. Ok let’s go back to early parts of the year, winter ❄️ training, and over the winter we had some pretty varied weather thrown at us, the snow was definitely fun though. Going out in the evenings while the snow was on the ground, seeing nobody around, and all that was lightning your way was the street lights, so peaceful 😊…

But the snow did mean pulling back on speed work, so more the case of going out and just getting it done and putting in the miles. And with pandemic, sports facilities where closed, so no track workouts. But as things started opening back up slowly, my local track at Boston re opened and I managed to get some workouts in again, but going back onto the track on those cold frosty mornings didn’t fill me with to much joy lol, extra long warm ups 😂

But as athletes, no matter what the conditions we just get it done! I suppose that’s one thing I have definitely learned over this past year being on my own, training in solitude has taught me to hold myself accountable ! Nobody is gonna do the work for me , so if I want the results I have to get out and put the work in! Gary ( my coach) has been amazing, supported me thought my running and pushing to be the best I can be. The sessions he sets me are tough, but they are so satisfying when your done and you’ve nailed it!..

So why’s it been such a good year so far !!!!

Throughout training I was hitting paces I never thought I could, but once I got through that mental barrier and I saw I could run the paces, it seem to set a spark off inside me. Times in sessions where coming down, I mean a example, pre pandemic I was doing sessions like 12×400’s in about 92-95sec ( which was fine) but now the same sessions I’m hitting 71-75! I also managed to purchase a treadmill, this has really helped me stay consistent in training and take some of the pounding off my joints ! My main reason was to help me out when I had my other 2 kids every other weekend, I could continue training in the evenings.

Throughout the pandemic the little village of Heckington put together a virtual running group, which has now evolved into a Wednesday night group run ! It’s nice to run with ppl again once a week, and ppl from all abilities to, and seeing them improved week after week is so nice..

Races where coming back and I booked myself into a midweek 5k race, Prestwold Hall, it was on a airfield, so very open to the elements, and boy was it ever ! It was one of the worst evenings you could ever race in, 40 mile hr winds, driving rain ! It was awful! The thing is I felt in great shape, but I did my warm up, got back into my car, changed shoes, I remembered thinking “ what am I doing 🤣this is bonkers “ but I lined up and I was away! Head wind straight away, being blown all over the place, I remembered seeing the kilometre boards being blown across the course 😂. I was so glad to cross the line, but deeply disappointed with the time ! I knew I had to forget about the race and move on because of the weather conditions..

I knew I was in shape so I started hunting around for my next race. And I found a 5000m track event at the Midlands masters championship.

So this gave me focus, and also I felt excited to be competing on the track again. Luckily the weather changed and we’ve had some blistering hot days this summer! And it was a very warm one on race,

Beautiful day at the Pingles Stadium, so was set for a great day ( hopefully) The warm up I felt great, and mentally I was ready, I remember lining up, and I had a plan in my head, Gary given me instructions about lap splits to, but I had an idea to lap my watch ever 400 to keep myself on pace, this I found really helped me, and kept me mentally on track, cause I knew I had to manually lap my watch , pacing was bang on, the race couldn’t have gone any better! I remember hitting the bell lap and closed the gap to the next athlete, got to 200 to go and kicked past him, crossing the line in 18:19 and a new PB, was sooooo happy 😃

Next event was gonna be the Masters Grand Prix where I was competing at the 1500m and 3000m. The 3000m was up first and the first event on the track, still feeling great from my 5000 pb 3 weeks ago, and knowing I’ve got some more solid training behind me, I lined up feeling confident. The day again was very hot, probably hotter than the previous race ! They even had a hose pipe out on the start line for the distance races, but I was very happy with race and the way I paced it, I crossed the line in 10:29, another Pb! 4 hrs recovery, then it was the 1500m, for me this was just gonna be what I have left in the tank, so I just went for it ( well as best I could lol ) but I came out of that race with a Pb of 4:56 !! So a fantastic day on the track.

The next race was the next weekend, The Heckington 10 mile road race, so keeping the training relatively easy the next week I went in the race feeling strong, I really wanted to do well in this one, it was my backyard event, I train on the course nearly every day lol! The start line was only a 15 min walk from my house, so on the day of the race, I got to the start line, did my warm up, and got focussed! They started ppl off in waves, I was wave 2, race starts and I eased my way into the race. Found my race pace pretty quickly and relaxed into that rhythm,

I felt so good all the way round, don’t get me wrong, I was definitely working but I felt good, mentally and physically. The course is a 2 loop course, and when I hit about mile 8 I was definitely feeling it 🤦🏻‍♂️, but I knew I was on for a good time, so I just kept pushing one, I managed to pick off a couple more ppl, turned into the finish, and saw the clock! I was so happy, a huge Pb taking about 4 minutes off !

64:24

So delighted with that result, just puts you in a good place for training..

The one thing I haven’t really spoken about, and find difficult to speak about is the solitude, I know some ppl won’t understand this, but don’t get me wrong I feel blessed that I’m in the position I’m in, I can train everyday when I want, and live like a pro athlete, my day to day job is caring for my disable son. But coming home to nobody to congratulate you on your results or even just in day to day chat, it’s tough, but you just get on with it, this past 18 months I’ve lost a lot, I don’t feel like a chapter has closed in my life more like a hole book has closed 🤦🏻‍♂️😔. But trying to rebuild and move forward is a day to day process. Running has definitely kept me going and kept me sane!

The races keep coming tho as next up was the 5000m track challenge in Nottingham. My previous result was a 18:19, I was gonna try for a sub 18, the conditions wasn’t great on the day, but for my race they did improve!

The rain did stop, and it was humid. Gary was there on the day, and my friend Sophie, so I had a cheer squad 😂, they really did help tho, giving me support over each lap and keeping me focused! This race was tough, my first lap was a little quicker than I wanted, so tried to rain the pace in, but as they say, the damage was done 🤦🏻‍♂️, so had to gut it out, and was on pace for a sub 18 until the last 4 laps, just slipped away, but I did come away with another Pb 18:12 ! So I’m definitely not gonna complain about that! That one hurt tho, I remember getting home, crashing on the bed, lying face down, cause my glutes and hamstrings hurt ! Didn’t run the next day, focused on recovery, hot bath, foam rolling, and massage gun, worked ! Cause the next day I felt great ! No time to rest tho, onto the next race, Bassingham Bash, 5 mile road race the next week !

This race for me was a indication race of how I would go in the 10k. The course was flat and fast ! Enjoyed the race, but again this hurt, felt this race when I hit mile 4 ! I went into this race thinking I want a 30 min or sub! Now I’ve not raced a 5 miler for many years , and I got a 35 min last time. Coming into the finish of this one looked at my watch and got the result I wanted, 30:35!

Thank you Ellie for the photos 😊

So what’s next, well I have a Half Marathon in 5 weeks and and 10k 2 weeks after that !

I have to admit, some of the training I’ve done this year I have been proud of 😊, not just the results, but just getting it done in these hard times, and the places I’ve training in. I’ve loved training in the Peak District around Langsett in the mountains!

A few images ☝️ above around Langsett.

Hill training in Belton has been fun too

The trails have brought me a lot of joy this year, I do think they have helped me stay heathy, mixing up the surface I run on, tarmac, track, grass trails, gravel, sand ! Yep even managed to get some beach running in over the summer 😂

So I think that’s me up to date 😆, a 4 week training block will start on Monday for the Half marathon!

Thank you to everyone who reads this, I really appreciate it 😊..

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