Purple Patch

Posted on: 17 Sep 2018

How many more plays on the word ‘purple’ can we manage between us I wonder?! I thought I’d get in early with this one as the description is fairly apt for what have been a satisfying few weeks of running.

Purple, of course, refers to the Buzzer meet up at St Albans parkrun last Saturday which I managed to attend.  And, unlike the HU5K where I was on spectator duty, this time I was able to lace up and take part.

We wore purple in honour of former Realbuzz member Marika.  Not someone I knew personally, but I could tell from the memories and emotions from other bloggers that she was clearly a much loved and valued member of the group.  The same goes for her local running club, who also attended on Saturday to remember her, adding even more to the sense of occasion.

As well as celebrating Marika’s life, we were also there to cheer on Realbuzz’s master of parkruns Nick Sirs, who (by a happy coincidence) was clocking up his 200th event.  It was great of the organisers to give him a pre-run shout out and I enjoyed meeting Nick for the first time and chatting afterwards over cake and coffee.

He and several other attendees had some useful words of advice for this Snowdonia novice ahead of next month’s marathon, so it was definitely time well spent and absolutely worth the 200+ mile round trip to St Albans.  While that may sound like a long way to travel, so much of what I do is a solo affair that I jump at the chance to add a social element to my running now and again.

Performance-wise, it wasn’t a bad showing from yours truly on the day that St Albans parkrun debuted its new two-lap course.  Our group were all lined up together at the start and things were pretty congested.  There were around 500 runners participating and it got worse when the course began to narrow as it crossed a small bridge. 

I was going to hang back and take it steady, until spaces started to emerge and then… Well, two hours cooped up in a car chugging down the M1 made me want to stretch my legs, so I put a sprint on and went about making up some places.

The end result – 21:40 and a top 50 finish.  I’m pleased with that, and our resident super snapper Kathy (sadly not running this time, get well soon Kat) managed to get photographic evidence that I was giving it my all on the final straight.

I really enjoyed Saturday, especially cheering the rest of our purple-clad clan across the line.  Thanks once again to my fellow Buzzers for making me feel welcome at a meet up.  There are some strong friendships building here with like-minded people who are just so easy to get along with.

The only niggle was that distance-wise I’d only covered three miles / 5k.  Going by my Snowdon training programme, I should have been doing eight.  The traffic was relatively kind going home and I didn’t need to be back to pick Izzy up until 3pm.  And so, I decided to double up and stop en-route at Chasewater for a cheeky 10k.  The pace was good too for tired legs – just under 49 minutes.

This notion of doubling-up – two runs in a day – is becoming quite commonplace for me at the moment.  As with Forest of Dean, my long runs are having to be in the week because of childcare commitments at weekends.

For the past three weeks on a Thursday, I’ve ran to work covering distances of 14 (the shortest route), 15 and 16 miles.  Then to get home, it’s three miles to the train station nearest the office and then two or three more to my front door.

It’s leaving me tired, but satisfied in terms of still being able to keep running on stiff legs.  Hopefully it will prove good for building stamina, something I’ll need by the bucket-load come Snowdon.

Next up is an 18-miler, which I will be able to do at the weekend for once because Izzy is off to camp with Brownies.  This will be as much a test of my fuelling and nutrition strategy as it will my running as the new Camelbak vest gets loaded up with food and drink.

I’ve got just over a month to get the combination right and smash that wretched wall down once and for all.

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