Tag Archives: 5k

Run 160 – Sub20 Aztec West 5k!

Date:  Tuesday 27th January 2015 7:30pm

Distance: 5.00 km

Time: 19:35

Pace: 3:55 min/km

The Prep: Race #60 for run 160. Attempting this three days following after a trail marathon, I’ve been through a sports massage on the legs, and cold bath and “recovery” 8km run. Monday felt amazing, so light, and so ready. Tuesday was a different story. It may be psychological, it may be DOMS from my exuberant 8k Sunday recovery run. The legs just seem to be a bit more niggley than they were yesterday. They’re sore after the alternative lunch walk and they’re not as light on the stairs. Can I really do this?

I leave early and get back home and I’m tired! I last ate at 1pm and I don’t want anything bouncing around in my stomach for the 7:30pm race. Stomach is grumbling. I lie on my bed for an hour. The wait is killing me. And then the first of two saving graces; Prodigy’s new track. It’s brutal!


I close my eyes, lie there, listen and let the images form. “The day is my enemy, the night; my friend.” There is no 9am start for this. It’s dark and I own the night. This race is on my turf. The bass kicks in just as the race bursts open at the start. Running round the curves, hunting down that time like a deadly animal.

I get changed and do a few minor stretches. I walk out the door, and I’m on my way to register. I’m listening to this track and literally bouncing around. Can’t wait to do this, COME ON!!!!

Then, reality hits as I see who’s registering. Fuck! I’d hoped that I’d get away with attempting this 5k PB without certain other people being here, but that’s not gonna be my luck tonight. And suddenly, here I am in this glass atrium, 1 minute away from my house, feeling like an imposter. Even though I’ve run this circuit more often!

But then I see a shining beacon, someone I know, but who I can actually talk to without a SWAT team taking me down! Marcus! The guy who helped me get round the whole of the Greenman route on NYE.

So I tell him I’m here to claim my first sub20 5k, three days after my 6 hour trail marathon, and he says something amazing. I can’t remember the exact words, but he refers to my stubbornness to finish the Greenman and trying to get this PB right after a marathon. He says something like I don’t know the meaning of the phrase “that can’t be done”. It just doesn’t apply to me. And hearing that, felt incredible. That, here in this room full of the elite of running in Bristol, to someone that was once given up on for not being inspiring. Wow! If only I could hear that, from the person over there.

Despite this, my warm up didn’t feel great, nor did my stretches. There’s a couple of faces I recognise, but don’t claim to know. And to be honest, yeah, it’s all pretty intimidating. I’m here now on the start thinking “I don’t know if I can do this”. This is despite Marcus saying he’s aiming for a sub20 tonight and that I should just pace him. And another Southviller in green, Pete, aiming for sub20 as well. Slightly less of an imposter now, but still intimidating. “30 seconds…”

The Race: And rather than the bass dropping in that Prodigy track, I’m thinking shit, shit, shit as the race starts and I set my Garmin going. I concentrate on only two things, keeping Marcus within distance, and watching where my feet are as they get very close to the kerb. I do not give a shit where anyone else is except my pacer. I only occasionally glance at my Garmin to check that our pace is neither too slow, nor stupidly quick. It’s 3:50km/min. I’ve run at least 2km at this pace, this is…manageable.

In a semi-haze I only half register that this middle lap is a little bit tougher than the first. There’s a small amount of moving around people to keep pace, but nothing that’s going to waste too much energy. All the pre-race studies of the inclines and pacing mean very little right now, even on the back straight. Suddenly, somehow we’ve crested the highest point and we’re well in to our final lap. This is getting really tough now, but it’s nearly over. I haven’t been paying any attention to distance, only pace. When we go past the 4km mark I remember that I’d calculated that I’d need to be bang on 16mins or less by this point to have a chance of a sub20. It’s 15:?? something. Okay, just keep this up. The pace has definitely quickened. Marcus tells me to keep up with the girl in front, Tracy. So without thinking, or emotion, I do. And for a while I over take. At this point I look further ahead in the field, and think I can make out someone in green in front, and someone tall in a white and blue top way out in front. Then Marcus comes back and offers me more encouragement. I’m losing him as we start the last little incline to the finish. 400m to go. I am so close to throwing up. I can’t be bothered to think about how shit I feel. I just try to sqeeze out every little bit of gusto I have going up that incline, knowing that I just have to keep going faster if I want that sub20. I can’t remember if I over took many people, it certainly didn’t feel like that. And it certainly wasn’t a highly accelerated sprint finish. Round the corner and the last 100m. This is it, do or die.

Race Pace Trace (try saying that fast, over and over and over!)


The Result: I’ve made it in to the funnel, then I recognise a green shirt in front of the person ahead. I go to try to tap him on the shoulder, but I’m told to get back in position. I’m too delirious to be thinking straight. I hear someone take my number and I wobble back out of the funnel. There’s Marcus, I’m so relieved it’s over. There’s a couple of green shirts ahead so I wobble over to them and shake their hands. They say something to me, but I can’t talk. Only shake their hand and smile. Then I suddenly remember I haven’t stopped my Garmin yet. I go to stop it, and see 19:55. Holy shit I did it, I DID IT!! MOTHER OF GOD I’M SUB20!! And then as the euphoria hits like a tidal wave, I find my voice again. “Sub20” I squeek/croak! (Think of a frogmouse. I may have just made that up.) “I did it, sub20!” As I say it and the weight of what I’ve just done sinks in, I can see the two faces I recognise talking. I really don’t care about how far in front they were. I just wish to high heaven that one of them could hear me right now, and see the time around my wrist. After an appalling September last year, I vowed to make October better and to set my mind to running a sub20 5k. Tonight, I delivered on that promise. Half the satisfaction is achieving the time. Half of it is achieving that three days after running a trail marathon. If you only knew!

I AM SO FUCKING HAPPY RIGHT NOW. I walk in and get my bag. On my way out I see Marcus again and thank him so much for pacing tonight, and that I couldn’t have done that without him. As I leave the finish and get back on to the pavement opposite, I burst in to life again and jog home. My mind wants to run another marathon!

The Aftermath: I get back to the flat and tell my flat mate about it. I must seem like I’m off my face. And I am. I feel incredible. He has a couple of ice packs, which I use to rest my calves on. Bliss. But I can’t stomach much of the stir fry. I know that after such a natural high, there’s gonna be a crash, and lack of food and sleep wouldn’t help.

But even the next day, I went to work feeling so happy and bouncy. I wanna to tell EVERYONE! But in the end had to settle for a select few. It’s all I wanted to think and talk about. Had a good chat with fellow SRC runner Sergio. At lunchtimes, the official results come out. 19:35! Holy fuck! 19:35!!! I did that! My legs! Marcus and Pete are only a few seconds ahead of me. Someone else is now sub19. (Holy fuck that’s fast.)


And then another amazing thing. The effective boss of my boss is amazed at my time, that it’s bloody fast. That it’s “something to look up to”. Holy shit, that’s effectively saying that what I’ve achieved is inspiring, isn’t it? That’s almost saying that I’m inspiring, no?! And more comments “You are so quick”, “Just wow”, “fair shouts that’s amazing”.

But all I really want is just one single word of praise from the person downstairs. Or just an acknowledgement of how happy I am that I can achieve something like that. I leave work…restless. When I get home, I write a very short and concise message saying well done on a hugely fast time, and that I’m happy with my sub20. Nothing. And then I hear the door slam. And now, second day in a row, I’ve lost my appetite. I was happy with my 19:35. The more time goes by, the more I think it’s not enough.

Heart Rate steadily increasing and going over 200bpm (that would explain the sickness)
The Heart Never Lies: Did half my race in Zone 5 working anaerobically. The other half was Zone 4. Does this mean I have more juice in the tank if I want to do Zone 5 throughout? Time will tell. Until next time…



RUN 152 – Not the Little Stoke Park Run

Date:  Saturday 10th January 2015 4:00pm

Distance: 5.00 km

Time: 20:34

Pace: 4:07 min/km

Description: Not bad. Pretty happy.  11 seconds slower than the perfect Brighton PB, but still 34 seconds faster than my Little Stoke PR PB in Nov. 17 seconds faster than fastest Aztec.  But this is the place where it counts.

Today, if I’d been in the same place mentally as Thursday night, this would have been a PB. Probably much closer to that two zero.  But Thursday and Friday eating didn’t turn out too great, and despite going to bed early and enjoying the sound of the wind outside, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep.  So I wasn’t as fired up physically or mentally as I’d hoped.

I seemed so slow to get off the mark, and the first kilometre seems harder than it should have been.  The head wind on the subtly uphill straight didn’t help.  Second km seemed a bit better and I told myself that my body and heart rate just need to get up to speed and then it’ll be easier.  It was a little, both just under 4:00min/km, until the third, when my pace went off to 4:20min/km. That’s it I thought, no chance of a PB today, and I started the fourth km with a little less fire and a little less speed.  Fourth was still slow, but steady. If I can keep this up, maybe it won’t be horrendously slow.  Fifth and final I tried to speed up a bit, put in a bit more effort.  But I’ve left my warm flat, there’s no one here physically to fight and chase with, just me and my mind.  And a few dog walkers to avoid.  It might have been better if I’d been chased by a dog, but no such luck. But the time wasn’t too bad, and the distance was quickly passing.  Try as much as I can up the final straight, over the little ramp and thankfully at 5k I have a time of 20:34.  Bloody pleased it was under 21, and under my Aztec PB.  Would have been great to be 4 seconds faster, but I can live with that.  On a good day, there will be a better time!

Lessons. People can slow you down to begin with, but they can make you faster overall.  Perhaps the slight ease off of the third km gave me breathing space to attack on the final km.  I might get this PB if I do the first 2 on pace, 3rd just off, maybe 4:10, 4:15, then try and get back on to pace for the 4th and then just give 150% until you throw up or black out on the final.  We shall see what it takes!

Clothing: So, it’s been blowing a gale here, and although it’s mild for this time of year, I was considering my clothing options carefully before today’s run.  I’ve found the Helly Hansen tops fantastic, but wonder how they compare with my merino tops.  Should I wear the merino next to skin with HH on top, or vise-versa? This article helped: http://thenextchallenge.org/comparison-base-layer-materials/.

I’ll concur that merino is GREAT for low stink.  But I don’t expect it to be so great at drying out when wet, but it’s warm and feels good next to skin.  So, it’s not raining, just windy and a bit chilly.  So put on a HH t-shirt with a merino longsleeve over the top.  Also wrapped up a lightweight running jacket with hood around the waist (hardly felt it).  And great.  Jogging out I could wrap the long sleeves over my hands, buff keeping my neck warm, running fast I could roll up the sleeves, buff wrapped around wrist to wipe away the sweat while the HH shirt kept me fairly dry.  Then at the end, sleeves go back over the arms, the buff goes on the head, and the jacket on and hood up. Walking back home in to the wind was fairly pleasant as a result.  Win.

Recovery: One mug of Cadburys Hot Chocolate = 15.5g of protein [6.8g from 200ml semi-skimmed milk + 7.7g from a serving of hot chocolate!] Plus 27.1g sugar (~100kcal).  Not to mention 0.53g sodium, or ~8% RDA. (Which surprisingly is the same as a small bag of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps! Go figure!)

My whey protein mix has around 20g of protein and only 2g sugar.  If I were to mix that with water, I’d be better off with the hot chocolate, especially after a winter run! Similar level of protein, but more sugar and calories, and it’s hot.  And tastes damn good too!

“All types of milk, from whole to nonfat contain 18 amino acids: all nine of the essential amino acids; six semi-essential: arginine, cysteine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine; and three nonessential: alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. These are the same amino acids found in eggs.” – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/amino-acids-contained-milk-eggs-3992.html

Looking at the back of the whey protein tub, there’s a load of amino acids on there.  And I usually mix the strawberry flavour with milk anyways, which would give me 35g of protein in a glass.  But if I’m on a run away from home, but near a café, I’ll be trying to order a hot chocolate, if not a latte.  Maybe I’ll have a protein shake with milk after a particularly punishing run, or when I want something cool and refreshing.  And who knows, I may get a tub of chocolate whey protein and add a scoop and experiment.

Looking at the Twining Swiss Hot Chocolate info, it also contains a load of vitamins and minerals crucial for metabolism of carbs, proteins and fats, as well as ATP release. We’re talking around 30% of RDA! Looks like I’ll be defecting to Twinings Swiss Hot Chocolate as my recovery drink of choice this winter!

Keep warm.  Keep running.


Run 136 – Aztec 5K

Date:  Wednesday 26th November 8:30pm

Distance: 5.00 km

Time: 22:11

Pace: 4:26 min/km

Description: Well, aren’t I a bit of a dumbass!

Guy from my running club, who also works in my building at work, (and who’s also doing the Hamburg Marathon) posted about sub20 PBs from yesterday’s Aztec Fast 5k. Two years I’ve been living 2mins away from Aztec West, lots of companies I know, but I’ve never been there.

I’ve had my rest day yesterday, but after a long day at work I’m exhausted. However, I have to make the most of my time. I have to be faster. And I have to make the most of the non-shit weather. Cool and misty, but not cold and raining! So I get in, force myself to change, and head out wearing a high-viz top. I need a nice flat, well lit, quiet place to train on winter evenings…so I go explore this Aztec West.

Wow! Dumbass! This place is PERFECT! One warm up lap around the loop on the inner footpath. It’s much better lit than a Little Stoke or Scotts Park at this time of night, it feels a lot safer (some fairly important businesses are based here with security), there’s almost no traffic this late, I never had to stop for a car when crossing junctions. And it’s got a strange tranquility about it. Only three laps round and I have a 5k in the bag, as opposed to 10 laps for Scotts. I can see myself coming here every other evening 🙂 I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m sub21. Over the winter weeks I’m sure I’ll get that down to sub20. Maybe at Jan Fast 5k race?

As for the run, it started well, but tailed off. I guess I’m just too tired, missed lunch today. But I think what I need to focus on is breathing and cardio. My breath is still labored, so my heart rate is still obviously quite high. So even though it wasn’t my fastest time, off by a minute, I was still pushing pretty damn hard, it wasn’t a jog, and my heart and lungs were having a good workout. More of this, and they’ll get used to this and I can push harder for longer!

After the run I feel mentally good. Physically, I wanna throw up, curl up in a warm cocoon of cotton wool or paper shreds. Mentally, I’ve got my run in. My legs have been flexed, my heart and lungs have been worked out. I’ve found the perfect winter evening training ground, all I need to find is 30mins to fit it in. There’s nothing to stop me doing that every other day or more. It’s just up to me!

So why am I dragging my sorry ass out the door again right after I’ve finally made it in after work? Because I want two things: i) I want to run Olympus, I want to run Green Man, I want to see how far, how high I can run. And ii) I want to be faster. Recently I’ve seen a load of people I know achieving sub20 5ks. I believe I can do that. I damn well KNOW that I can, given enough effort and time. What I once thought was a weakness, is actually a strength. I’ve unlocked a fire and a drive that I never thought I posessed. These results fan the flames. I’m fucking well gonna be sub20. I’m DAMN fucking well not gonna be a #2 runner forever!


And once the adrenaline wore off…as a further bonus, I get back to an email with the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon entry list. Looks like there’s a decent Southville contingent going on the 21st December! And one of my best running buddies is due to defect to SRC in the New Year. Come on Green Army! Hopefully I’ll be seeing more Southvillers up this way in future!


Run 101 – Dresden Park

Date: Thursday 5th June 8:30pm

Distance: 7.28km

Time: 43:06

Pace: 5:55min/km

Description: My last visit to Dresden. I’ve wanted to see what the park is like. It’s been raining it’s humid and I’ve been travelling for 12 hours. So maybe I shouldn’t expect blistering times, and I need an early night, so I can’t go too far either. This jog was a combination of shopping, getting lost, and doing a very small number of interval sprints. Not very fast tonight. But it was nice to see the park.

Auf wiedersehen, Dresden.



Run 100 – Blaise Blazer #1

Date: Monday 2nd June 7:30pm

Distance: 5.85km

Time: 29:54

Pace: 5:08min/km

Description: A very special run. A very special race.

17,000m ascent

1,200km distance

135 hours spent running

100 runs

19 races

15 months of training

2 people

1 second

That’s right, after 15 months, 1,200km, 17,000m of ascent, 135 hours of heavy breathing, sweating and calorie burning, I reach my 19th race and 100th run! A century!

I wasn’t even sure I was gonna run this race, bearing in mind 24hours ago I was dragging my feet up nightingale valley exhausted, and dripping with sweat after 28k! But it was looking like a great Southville turnout, and I was looking forward to the technical off road bits. So despite the heat, the soggy mud and what little energy I had, I thought what they hell…

…It was a great SRC turnout. A warm up and a recce up those final steps to the finish, it’s time to start. Nervous, conscious of the formidable competition present. Part of the reason I think I did so well at the one last year was a blistering start and no other option but to hold on till the end. I don’t want to spend this entire race being distracted and worrying about other people. So I just edge my way to the front, and then run like fuck. Just get out in front and try to stay there!

It’s tough to keep up. One blessing is that I’m in a group of two people from SRC I get on well with. We occasionally swap positions over the undulating terrain, but we cheer each other on with “go on Southville”.

I’m still in front of where I want to be. I’m not gonna look back. I’ve just got to believe and keep running. I overtake one SRC on the long straight field, and then when we get to the final steps I overtake the other. The last few steps are pretty muddy and I have to slow a bit to get traction. I keep pushing up those last steps, but I think I must have this in the bag now. I probably ease off a few percent as I can see the light through the trees. Past the treeline, I’m onto the final flat to the finish. Nearly there.

After a slog up the steps, my mind dull, warms to the relief of seeing the finish. It wanders, thinking of the relief of walking and sitting down once through. But now there’s a knife at my back. I can hear breathing behind to my right. That’s got my attention back. I turn my head. OH FUCK!


“COME ON!!!” I scream.

I run, I sprint for my life.

“COME ON!!!”

Arms, legs flailing, saturated with adrenaline, I charge my way to that line. I’m so close. The stewards are waving at me to slow down through the funnel. No fucking way am I slowing down! I shoot out the back of the funnel like a raging bull and don’t look back. I manage to slow down before I hit the trees. But there was no one in front of me when I crossed that line!

That’s for that ParkRun!

After gasping for air like a fish out of water, finally getting my breath back, I stagger back to the SRC gang. They say they have never seen anyone sprint finish so fast.

On the bus home, I sit on the top deck and reflect. What a run that was! I was faster, but only by a whisker. I was so close to losing out on that. I walk away from that thinking that was too close. There was nothing really in that, but to me the glass seems half empty.

No let up.




Run 98 – SRC Ashton Court 5k

Date: Thursday 29th May 6:30pm

Distance: (3.86+) 5.00km (+2.80)

Time: (23:46+) 25:02 (+15:18)

Pace: (6:09+) 5:00min/km (+5:28)

Description: What’s going on?! I can do this in 22:25. Yet I’m here at 25:00?! Slooooow L

Maybe it was the 4k warm up, or the fact that I ditched my running group, but after Dresden, I’m feeling pretty slow. 3k warm down back to SRC HQ!








RUN 89 – Highwood Fast 5k

Date: Tuesday 22nd April 2014 8pm

Distance: 5.00km

Time: 22:03

Pace: 4:25mn/km

Description: Target for the Bristol 10k is 44minutes.  I did it last year in 47minutes.  Easy to find 3minutes, right?  Wrong.  There’s a big difference running at 4:45min/km and 4:25min/km!  This was tough to maintain.  But I managed it on pace.  How I’m gonna extend that to 10k without gels I do not know yet.



Run 85 – RACE – Ashton Court Parkrun #150

Date: Sat 12th April 2014 09:06

Distance: 5k

Time: 22:25! (PB!)

Pace: 4:31min/km

Description: Fantastic new time for AC Parkrun: 22m25s!

Couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  And it didn’t feel too dreadful either.  (Maybe that’s down to getting some breakfast, a later bus, a caffeine gel, and small warm up to get the heart rate up.) Makes up for the 24:27 and hyperventilating of a few weeks ago and trumps the 23:29 of last August.

Starting to get to where I want to be with that hill.

Ashton Court Parkrun #150

RUN 85 – Ashton Court Parkrun #150