2016 – start of the running season

Near the top of Bakestonedale Road

An unintended consequence of setting up the business has been the greater use of social media in the forms of Twitter and Facebook, and I’ve ended up spending less time blogging.

If I’m honest, there hasn’t been a huge amount I’ve wanted to blog about. The running season is only just beginning to get going and, due to a limited income at the moment, my wish to go out splashing the cash on random bits of technology has also been curbed.

Despite there not having been much in the racing calendar, I have been doing a fair amount of running over the winter. In fact February is going to come up short at only 75 miles for the month, but that’s been reduced due to a long spell of winter cold / manflu which took out about 10 days of the shortest month of the year. Not helpful.

However in the meantime, I’ve finally joined a running club, with the specific intention to try to correct my running style and to get more efficient and faster. Early days yet, but it does help to persuade me out for runs that I wouldn’t otherwise go out for.

The last couple of weeks have seen me venture out early on a Saturday morning. In part due to the fact I’ve been working, but it’s been an excuse to be up to participate in one of the local Park Runs.

ParkRun itself is now a global operation, setting up local 5k routes which can be participated in for free. Yes, you just turn up (you register once with the organisation and get a barcode for your results) a shade before 9am, and there’s a 5k route set out for you to follow, with marshals directing you, and at the end, having scanned your barcode, your time is magically emailed to you. This isn’t about racing other people, this is about doing something for yourself. So it doesn’t matter if it takes you an Olympic 13 minutes or a steady 53 minutes. All it means is next time you do it, you have an opportunity to beat your own time. If you want.

Stockport is an odd place for many reasons. From a running point of view, we seem to have a disproportionate number of recreational runners. And whereas many places have a parkrun within 10-15 miles of them, we have five routes within Stockport itself!

Despite this, up until 8 days ago, I’d only ever done 6 parkruns, five of them at my ‘home‘ course and one on another course when I was running late to get to my home course. And again, despite organising the running groups up at Lyme Park, I’d never done that ParkRun either. There had been plans, but they went awry with colds, other commitments or just random excuses.

So last week I made my Lyme debut, and I think it has certainly helped that I know the course to stop it phasing me in the way other people get overawed by the fact there are hills in it. That said, with the tail end of the winter lurgy and a lack of recent running, I was done for at the end of it! But I survived.

Today was a decision day – to return to Lyme to see if I could do a better job, or to try another of the Stockport routes I’d not visited. Owing to a job in Bramhall, I decided that I’d tackle that course today instead, so at least I was en route to work. Bramhall Parkrun actually the first of the courses to begin in Stockport and still remains the busiest, with 350 people running today – it’s been over 400 before, which given it’s one of five local courses, is pretty amazing. However it’s much flatter than Lyme Park and the rest was a PB at 5k distance of 19m39s. So I was doubly pleased as this was my first sub-20 minute measured 5k. Yippee.

Next weekend I return to half-marathon racing again which I’m thoroughly looking forward to. And there will be a write-up about that.

There will be further details about the charity fundraising I’ll be doing for Myeloma UK this year!

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