Day 83 of 200 – NYD Bolton parkrun

Tuesday 1 January 2019

(Blackpool half-marathon training)

Well, that was soon over. Christmas has been and gone. We enjoyed it all. It’s been a great time to sit back, reflect, look forward, go to the football, read, watch TV, run, eat. It’s been great. Apart from getting a stinking head cold, that part has been painful. Whenever I do get a cold (which is very rarely, I think this is the first one I’ve had in five years) it seems to stick to the inside of my head and eye sockets.

Running has been great. I managed 144 pain-free miles in December. Last week I completed a ‘long’ run of 9 miles and the day after a treadmill session of 7 x 1K and comfortably hit sub 4 min for the last three reps. But by Saturday I felt wrecked and had to jog round Bolton parkrun sweating profusely. It’s never a straight line. But considering where I was in November, it’s amazing that I’ve been able to build some consistency with the sessions. It’s a shame that this cold has taken the edge off it, but that’s life.

By New Year’s Day I felt well enough to do the NYD special edition event at Bolton. I jogged for a few miles before hand and then ran round with my mate Shay in 24:16. Even that felt difficult towards the end. As I walked off the track I had to remind myself about what I promised myself as the start of this half-marathon project: I just want to be able to run without pain. So in this respect it was a successful start to the new year. I’m not allowing myself to think about times just yet. I think that by the end of February I’ll have some form of target in place for the half, but for now it’s all about building on the solid foundation of December and getting rid of this stinking cold.

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Week 1/52 – A tale of three parkruns

It’s not long after seven in the morning on New Year’s Day.  I’m in the carpark at Leverhulme Park. More precisely, I’m in my car looking at directions to a parkrun that is due to start at 8:30. I’m waiting for two Burnden Road Runners teammates that I have arranged to meet.  The plan is to drive over to Rochdale for the Watergrove parkrun at 8:30; trot round this; drive back to Bolton for the parkrun that is due to start at 10:00. Normal parkrun times have been altered because it is New Year’s Day. In honour of this, extra parkruns have been slotted into the schedule and the ‘double’ is now a recognised way to take advantage of the additional events on offer.

With the directions settled in my head, I wait for Katy and Aidy to arrive while reflecting on the fact that it’s over five years since I had a drink, let alone a hangover. New Year’s Day hasn’t always started so positively.  I’m grateful.

A quick pitstop for some coffee and we are on our way. We drive past houses that are still in darkness until we arrive at Watergrove Reservoir on the outskirts of Rochdale. There are already lots of runners here and lots of volunteers donning hi-vis making their way to the start.

We decide to jog for a while to get limbs… well, limber. A local parkrunner tells us that the course is hilly and that we are in for a treat. He isn’t wrong. Hilly it is. By the top of one of the two main assents that make up the course my lungs are protesting. I’m not fit at the moment having spent a lot of time since the start of October just jogging around or worse: resting. I’m trying to resolve this ongoing ache deep within my left hip.

But, the burning lungs aside, it’s a lovely enjoyable course. More like a fell race than a parkrun. I’m sweating by the time I meet my two clubmates. We exchange our views on the course and walk back to the car.

Next up: Bolton. By the time we arrive there it is already looking busy. We’ve twenty minutes to loosen legs before it’s off again, another 5K round Leverhulme Park. I can’t imagine ever being fed up of running around this course. It’s great, and before we know it, it’s over.

The rest of the week passes by just as quickly until I find myself lining up for the Sale Waterpark parkrun. By quirk of the calendar this will be the third parkrun in 6 days. I’ve never done this one before. It’s a simple out and back course along a section of the River Mersey. I muster a 6:23 first mile before taking my mind off it and allowing myself to drift. By the time I realise what I’ve done the second mile has passed in just under 7 minutes despite the course being almost pancake flat. I make an effort to get shifting again and manage another quicker mile and the finish arrives in 20:24.

I run 46 miles during the first week of 2018, and I end the week with a 12 mile ‘long run’ at just over 8:30 pace. It’s not fantastic, but it’s progress of a sort: my left hip is stiff rather than painful. Sometimes in running, that’s enough.

Year to date: 46 miles

Watergrove parkrun results

Bolton parkrun results