Running update Christmas and New Year

I’d hoped to increase my running through December in preparation for running four times a week to follow the marathon plan.
Unfortunately a combination of lethargy and illness just prior to the festive season put paid to that.

The plan was to run parkrun’s on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day but I was hit with the Norovirus aka Winter Vomiting Bug on the 22nd so I didn’t manage to run until the 27th; running a 5k with Mrs B.

I followed that up with a 5.4 mile run at my Marathon pace of around 9:30 /mile on the 29th.

A few months ago, I forget exactly when, Mark D suggested to run four 5Ks in 26 hours over New Years Eve and Day.

I put this suggestion to Andrew, my regular race day partner, who agreed. Fast-forwarding briefly to New Years Day in the car between Cardiff & Barry, I asked Andrew why we were doing this and he politely reminded me that it was my idea! I’d completely forgotten. Mostly due to Andrew usually coming up with races for us to run.

Sarah and I had already signed up to run Nos Galan on New Years Eve. The race has been going since 1958 and is a 5K which takes place in Mountain Ash.

So that was one 5K, the other three would be parkruns, which would enable Andrew and I to tick off some other Welsh parkruns. Wisely Sarah decided to run Nos Galan and leave the other three to us.

Our schedule looked like this:

Sat 31st – 9:00am – Pontypridd parkrun

Sat 31st – 7:30pm – Nos Galan

Sun 1st – 9:00am – Cardiff parkrun

Sun 1st – 9:30am – Barry parkrun

I was running Nos Galan with Sarah and decided to stick with Andrew for the parkrun’s, well that was the plan until we got to Pontypridd. Once there, my legs felt good and I decided to have a go and see if I could maintain a decent pace. I finished in 23:36 with an average pace of 7:41 /mile which I was very happy with, considering there is a slight ‘bump’ which is navigated three times during the run.

Nos Galan was an experience like no other. We were lucky with the parking but had we arrived ten minutes later it would have been a challenge. That said the park and ride service provided free of charge was smooth, it just may break under the strain of its own popularity soon.

What I found difficult was the waiting around once in the town. We knew we would have to get there early because of the parking but then knew that would mean at least 90 minutes waiting in the cold before our race would begin, thankfully it was not raining! 

Sarah ran one of her best 5K times and we both enjoyed the run. We wouldn’t rush back but I may be persuaded to run in 2018 and the 60th Anniversary.

Two down, two to go! But that meant getting up rather early in order to get down to Cardiff for the 9am start.

Andrew and I have both run at Bute Park before but not from where we started this run. A total of 493 runners lined up to take on the damp course and we plodded around with slightly tired legs in respectable times: 28:09 for me and 28:15 for Andrew.

Then it was off to Barry for a later than normal start at 10:30am. This is a parkrun New Years Day only tradition of doubling up.

A course record 303 runners, including many like us who had run at Cardiff, ran the route. It was a bit wetter than at Cardiff and a lot colder too! The hilly route is technically the hardest parkrun I’ve done but due to the setting right on the coast, was my favourite so far. I’ll definitely go back but I’ll wait until it’s a bit warmer!

On even more tired legs we went around in similar times to Cardiff: 28:16 for me and 28:23 for Andrew.

After a tour of Barry trying to get back to the M4 we were done! Even though it’s only 3.1 miles x 4 over 26 hours it was tiring. I think it was the driving distances involved, as living in Brecon means you need to drive at least 30 minutes to get to events, Cardiff was nearly an hour.

The New Year is off to a good start, one day in and I’d already run 6.2 miles / 10K!