I set out for the run a little later than planned, watching the bobsleigh on TV and reading about the controversy over in America with Nike/USADA disqualifying a Brooks athlete in the ladies 3000m in frankly ridiculous circumstances. If I moaned a couple of days ago about short track speed skating not having an appeal process and some baffling decisions, then athletics took it to a new level with Alberto Salazar appealing the appeal of an appeal and eventually getting his way when some Nike people had a closed door meeting with USADA officials.
I thought briefly about burning my seven or so pairs of Nike trainers in protest, but thought the better of it for when push comes to shove, for my feet anyway, they make the best trainers on the market. I just wish they didn’t, allegedly, have such a questionable influence on the outcome of elite sport.
With that injustice out of the way I drove out to Somerby to follow a route known as the Old Somerby 19 based on a Strava upload from a club mate which I downloaded and eventually managed to get it uploaded to my watch (a process that took way longer than it should have). As the title of the run suggests it was 19 miles and I wanted to run something closer to 22 miles, so I began the run with a loop of Somerby, stopping to return to the car and discarding the gloves which, despite the strong wind, were not necessary as the temperature was a balmy 12C.
The first mile was 7:09, which is quick for me for an opening mile. The second was 6:42, then 6:43, and the fourth in 6:28. Regardless of whether the wind was helping me this was swift stuff so early in a run. It was reminiscent of an 18 mile run I did back in October when, similarly to today, I hit 6:38 after the second mile and was pretty much able to hold that fairly comfortably for the rest of the run. The next four miles confirmed I was in that kind of form: 6:37; 6:23; 6:39; and 6:37.
Then things briefly went awry. My Garmin 910XT has a known issue where, when following a course, it is horribly prone to repeatedly telling me I am off course and then back on course (When I never left the course in the first place), delays in refreshing the course line and, worse still, random power offs. Ever since that happened mid run last November I now make a point of checking the watch frequently to the point of paranoia. That was justified today as somewhere around 8.2 miles the unit powered off randomly. It turned back on, took a while to find satellites and I continued running, but something wasn’t right – the distance didn’t appear to be increasing and the route I was taking on the course map bared little relation to what I was actually running.
I made the decision to stop and stop the following of the course. This had the effect of resetting the mileage and elapsed time to zero, something it doesn’t usually do. I powered the watch off and on again, was relieved to see at least my run was stored in the history rather than disappearing into the ether, and recommenced the run. It was ultimately no more than an annoyance, but for flagship watch it is unacceptable and Garmin will be receiving a phone call in the morning. At the end of the day my old 305 could handle courses near perfectly and this more expensive watch handles them badly to the point of it being nearly broken.
The rest of the run went fairly quickly as my mind mulled over exactly what I would be saying to Garmin in the morning. There were a few tough miles when I turned to face the head wind, which almost at times had me stopping in my tracks. By and large though the pace was relatively consistent and the legs remained good, albeit with a little tiring in the closing legs, which is only to be expected. At 7.6 miles on the new run the watch powered itself off again. I kept cool, gave it a few seconds and turned the watch back on. This time I was able to recommence without having to create a third leg to this long run.
As I returned to Somerby the watch was showing around 12.5 miles on the second leg of the run. The maths wasn’t too great at this point of the run, but I reckoned I should do another lap of Somerby to ensure the run was over twenty miles and hopefully nearer 22. It ended at 13.3 (Half marathon completed in 1:28) which mean a total of 21.7 miles, both segments averaging 6:41. The pace was unarguably consistent
This also meant a new record mileage week of 86.5 miles, which came as something of a unplanned surprise. There were very few quick miles as I spent most of the week recovering from Stamford, but today’s run left me in no doubt that things are coming together very nicely – as long as I stay fit and healthy!