January 30, 2017
I have only just got back into the swing of my running this year in the last week or so, the cold weather has been deterring me so I have been focussing on doing CrossFit 3 times a week.
But on Saturday I wanted to check my pace over the 5K distance, as I have just started another cohort of Scream if you want to Run faster. I’d set a baseline of 33.58 earlier in the week, so I knew I still had some of my pace from last year, but after spending Friday night dismantling my old bed and putting a new one together I ended up going to bed at almost 2am, so when my alarm went off at 7.30am I almost rolled over and went back to bed.
But I am glad I didn’t because as I lined up at Hackney Marshes parkrun I bumped into a bunch of runners from my club (that I never manage to get to anymore) East London Runners…and my friend Maya who is always a blast to run with.
I tried to stick with her and Stu but after about a mile of running 10 minute mile pace I knew I had to drop back. It felt good to run that fast, but I was sore from the weeks exercise…perhaps on fresh legs I would be able to stick with them, but not today. I finished in 35 minutes something, but I was just happy to have got out of bed.
After the run I briefly spoke to Maya, and she informed me that a bunch of club members were attempting the Circle Line the following morning, 27 tube stops, 15 miles and the hubbub of central London.
I said I would think about it.
And I did.
Now this is the kind of challenge that is right up my street. However, the longest I had run this year was 6.2 miles. And the advertised pace was 11 minute miles…I am a 12 minute miler at best…and I am not the most comfortable running in a group.
I figured though if I didn’t go I would regret it, and as Maya pointed out “bring your oyster card and go home when you have had enough.
So Saturday morning, my alarm went off again at 7.30, I made some breakfast put my kit on and then made my way to Liverpool Street Station to meet the gang for 9am.
I arrived a little early and was so cold I went into McDonalds for a cup of tea…it probably wasn’t the best establishment to be seen coming out of when everyone else arrived.
There were 9 of us of us in the 9am group, a second faster group were meeting at 10am and they were going to chase us down.
We headed off making a bit of a shaky start trying to work out the route using printed instructions and phones, the pace was faster than I am normal but the good thing was we stopped at every station to take pictures and discuss the next set of instructions, so I got a bit of a breather.
Aldgate, Tower Hill, Monument all passing off without incident. Then we were heading towards the thames, a long straight route where we seemed to find our own pace. The group spilt a bit and I started to enjoy it.
By about 3 miles I was wondering how much more I would be able to do though.
But I made it to Westminster, took a selfie and carried on. There were a few points where people stopped for the loo, or to buy water and I went on ahead. this was great because I didn’t feel like I was at the back all the time.
It was great seeing London like this on foot, although dodging people around Sloane Square was a bit annoying.
By the time we reached West London the weather started to turn a bit and the rain arrived, not heavy but persistent. My pace was slowing now and I was having to walk some bits.
One lady called it a day at Notting Hill Gate, this was the furthest she had ever run.
I looked at my Garmin and it told me 9 miles, I wanted at least 10 so I kept on going even though the Central Line straight home was appealing.
Bayswater and then Paddington, and I knew my job was done.
I still had 5 miles ahead of me and I felt frustrated being at the back, even though the rest of the guys didn’t seem to mind waiting for me. I did the maths though and knew 5 miles would have meant at least another 90 minutes of running, and I was cold, sore and hungry now….but in good spirits and quite proud of myself.
This route is brilliant, it takes a lot of navigating, thinking and negotiating with pedestrians and the built environment, so you are never going to get a PB over the distance. In fact I kept forgetting to switch off my Garmin, so my 10.05 miles which I did in 2 hours 14 was pretty nippy…as my PB over 10 miles is 1 hour 59 and that was in perfect race conditions and in the lead up to a marathon.
By the time I got home and had a bath, Maya had posted a picture of the gang in the pub and I was really pleased to see they had all finished. I’m not sure when the faster group had overtaken them, I think we did well to get to Paddington without being caught.
Do I regret finishing at 10 miles…not at all.
I didn’t want to injure myself, or catch a cold, or get run down (quite literally at some points)…and I needed to be able to function this week. I actually got up and did CrossFit this morning which is a miracle…my hamstrings were really tight during the warm up though, but otherwise I was OK.
I love London and I love running…so this was a perfect Sunday mornings activity in my book.
I would never have done it without Maya and the rest of the gang…however I also quite like the idea of heading out there as a lone wolf…a map, a back pack with supplies and the whole day to get round.
Maybe later on in the year I will tackle it again…or maybe I will choose another tube line…the Central Line maybe? Hang on a second thats 53.6 miles…so maybe not!!!
If you are marathon or half marathon training and would like to get 10 miles in the bag, on Sunday 12th February I am leading a half marathon training day in Hyde Park…we have 15 or so ladies signed up already, there will be 5mile and 10 mile options and multiple speed groups…nobody will be left behind.