Exbury 10k – 18 March 2012

10k map

10km route and speed/elevation chart

It was one of my New Year’s resolutions, and today I ticked it off the list – run, and finish, a 10k race.

In hindsight, picking a race that was consistently uphill for the second half was a terribly bright choice, but I can hold my head up high with some personal stats:

  • completion in 59’53” – not bad for a hilly course
  • first three miles in 27″15 – well, it was downhill
  • race position #260 out of 363 finishers (and approximately 450 registered starters – so 87 no-shows or gave up)
  • the last race I did was in 1995 – 10k in 57″30′ and that was totally flat – so I’m not too concerned about being two minutes slower

I’ve also learned a few things which I’ll put into play next time (yes, I think there will be a next time!):

  • I would have been better off with a protein bar ahead of the race than a protein shake – six miles of sloshing around wasn’t the best
  • I really must try to go at a consistent speed – the first half of the run was too fast and hampered me on the way back
  • I should carry something to drink – I’m pretty sure I needed a slurp around the 7km mark and had to wait until I’d finished

But, all things considered, I had a good run and I clocked a time I’m happy with – and one I can improve.

Any suggestions, running hints, or race tactics always welcome.

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The common cold – and happy thoughts #6

Sandpaper, nails, a jackhammer, and a tidal wave.  The ingredients of the common cold which has beset me this week, afflicting my throat, eyes, neck/head, and nose.  Although, of course, as at least half of the people likely to read this will understand, it was really manflu and consequently a potentially lethal biohazard.

But if the last few days have been plague-ridden, what better moment to think positive and look for the happy thoughts? This week I’ve been introduced to biomechanics and how to improve my posture and gait – ideally becoming rather more flexible than an oak tree.  I’m looking forward to progressing and heartily recommend it.

Some years ago, in the dark days before the Blackberry or the iPhone, when we were ‘off sick’ we were physically separated from work and had the chance to peacefully recuperate – although often all that happened was that the work piled up and we just had more to do when we got back.  Whilst at home for a couple of days this week I had my Blackberry and could keep the plates spinning with a instant meesage here and an email there – this is probably better for the business, and it meant less of a backlog for my return, but did it help my work/life balance?

Likewise, when we are on our holidays, is there a fine line between relaxation and separation anxiety? We want to be thought of as invaluable, but is ‘workaholic’ any better an epithet?

New Year’s Resolutions

As 2011 passes wearily away, and Auld Lang Syne fades into the chimes from Big Ben, my thoughts turn to what I will endeavour to do differently in 2012.

  1. Use technology smartly: I collect far too much paper in my study, hoarding statements and documents that I might need one day.  I can scan the documents and store them online, available from anywhere, and get rid of the dead trees making my workspace look untidy.
  2. Use my mind and provoke thought: I will try to blog two or three times a week.  I don’t know whether I’ll write about current events, my latest peeves, or something altogether more highbrow.
  3. Continue my search for the fitter me: I think it will be a lifetime of search, but I will aim to
    1. enter (and finish) a 10k race
    2. improve my cardiovascular fitness by running or playing racquet sports three times a week
    3. improve my musculoskeletal fitness by training with Amy
    4. lose weight

Should this list be longer, mention something inspiring (like solving world peace and famine), or set outrageous expectations (such as climbing Everest)? Nope, lets stick to what I want to do to make a change.

So, what are your resolutions?

Exercise

Even my mother would never have described me as sporty or athletic or svelte. But despite the fact that gym lessons at school were a tacit agreement that I probably had an excuse note (the teacher decided never to ask me to produce it, and I reciprocated by never offering), I now enjoy my exercise … which is a good thing as I also enjoy my food!

I’m never going to win any prizes, break any records, or set the world on fire, but I am sure that I am fitter than the average couch potato.  I play squash and badminton (probably very badly), run along country roads or treadmills, and try to improve my times or distances (despite the occasional setbacks).

Is there a secret to this change of heart? Self-motivation, achievable goals, having fun doing it with friends, and expert coaching.

And despite the fact that I might well be at the back of the field, maybe I’ll enter for a 10k next Spring.