This week saw the start of a New Year and I began 2019 the only way I would want to - running! After welcoming the 1st January and surviving the return to work/normal routine, the weekend saw me head to Liverpool to watch my recently adopted second favourite football team, Lincoln City, take on Premier League Everton in the FA Cup. Here I was able to complete more parkrun tourism and run miles with my ever supportive sister and her boyfriend. Simply put, its been a good start to the year.
MONDAY: New Year's Eve Body Pump class. After a week away from any form of strength training over Christmas, this class tested me a little - it really does not take long for this form of my fitness to start to fade.
TUESDAY: welcoming in 2019 with a New Year's Day double parkrun seemed a great idea to me, as it appeared thought many hundreds of other people, with record turn outs recorded at parkrun events across the country. I opted to 'do the double' at Normanby Hall parkrun at 9am, followed by Scunthorpe parkrun, which started at 10.30am. I had ran Normanby once before and really enjoyed the course, which is set in a beautiful country park. My work colleague also runs here, and he always encourages me and takes interest in my running, and this spurred me on more to go back. I did not hold back at Normanby, thoughts of another 5k to follow were far from my mind, and I pushed my legs hard through the enjoyable mix of woodland and tarmac course. On a section where its possible to pass other runners I spotted my colleague and his wife and waved enthusiastically at them - 'less waving, more running!' - came my colleague's reply in his typical no nonsense attitude. This made me laugh and simultaneously made me even more determined to sprint for the approaching finish. I crossed the line as second female in 21:04 - my best time for many months. Arriving at Scunthorpe parkrun I already knew I was going to have to dig deep to ask the same of my legs again, but I wanted to give it my best shot. At the start my legs felt jaded and the course, which is two loops of a park, tested me more than it should. Although virtually flat, there are a couple of minor inclines, which felt like full on hills to my legs each time I attacked them. I finished in 21:46, a time I fought hard for to keep in sub 22 minute zone. Scunthorpe was a new parkrun for me and I would like to go back and test myself there again one day - maybe with fresher legs!
WEDNESDAY: back to work and back to the 5:30am alarm call for early morning running. 5 miles at 8:30 min/mile pace were on the plan and I made sure I stuck relatively close to this, averaging 8.22 min/mile pace, as I could feel the slight tightness in my legs from effectively racing a double parkrun the day before!
THURSDAY: I felt slightly anxious about today's tempo run; whilst at the moment the mileage demands of my plan are not too much of a jump for me, speed work is something I have not been focused on a for a few months now. I ran 5 miles with the middle 3 miles aiming for half marathon pace, logging splits of 7.46, 7.53 and 7.44 min/mile. Maybe my anxiety was slightly caused by the fact I probably optimistically thought my tempo pace should be akin to my current half marathon PB pace - on reflection this is a little too ambitious right now, and I quickly stopped myself being too harsh on myself post run when I did not quite meet this target.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: in Liverpool and staying with my sister we headed to Croxteth Hall parkrun, another new parkrun tourism destination for me and my third parkrun of the week. A further new aspect was also the fact that this course is a 'one lap' route, something I have never completed before. I was looking forward to running here and it lived up to expectations; set at another country park type setting, the course wound through paths and woodland - I felt like I was truly exploring. I worked hard to keep my pace strong, my GPS was lost a little in the environment, so I simply ran to feel. Finishing by the hall itself, the final metres are a straight sprint along the drive to the funnel, which I loved pushing myself on. I finished in 21:05, another good time for me and as second lady, with my sister coming in third (see image).
SUNDAY: long runs are always good with company and today I was spoilt with both my sister and her boyfriend joining me for 12 miles around Liverpool (see image) - they even planned the route for me! Chatting makes time fly by, particularly as we reminisced about my last ventures running around the city at the Liverpool Marathon in May last year - certain roads brought back distinct flashbacks! We kept the pace comfortable with my plan saying today's run should be 'easy', averaging just under 8.30 min/mile pace. Although running with my sister, who is in fact my identical twin, causes a few stares from passers by who clearly cannot get over the fact two people can look similar (this really does annoy me at times!) I love running with her and feel fortunate to be able to share something we both enjoy whenever we get the chance.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...