They always say be careful what you wish for. As week 4 of training came to a close I was shattered. The late nights watching football had left me in need of a break.

I had played with the idea of running Monday morning to make up for missing my 10km time trial on the Sunday. However, the highs, lows and late nights of the penalty shootout in the Euro final the night before put paid to that so I was ready to start fresh on Tuesday.

It should therefore maybe been a sign of things to come when I managed to sleep through my first alarm! I did still manage to get up and dressed by 6:30 so I switched it up and headed out for a nice steady 5 miles before work. That morning however came through the news that was going to shape the rest of the week. My wife got a text from her friend and her daughter had tested positive on a lateral flow and they were off for a PCR test. If that came back positive my son’s bubble was going to be forced to close.

My breathing had felt a little laboured that morning and despite a negative lateral flow for me (and the fact that I would normally write this off to a slightly higher pollen count), I decided to skip the gym Wednesday morning, just in case. Then as we were getting ready for school, the email from school came through. The bubble had burst. We were so close to making it the whole way through the year! As I work from home most of the time anyway, we made a decision that I would isolate with my son for the rest of the week, just in case so running was off Thursday and Friday. I did enjoy the lie in though.

Come Saturday I was getting itchy feet so whilst my wife was out with the younger kids, I persuaded my son we should try a backyard parkrun. After 70 weeks of virtual parkruns, this was due to be the last one and I wanted to make sure I was on the leader board. I hadn’t done every week of the 70 but I had definitely recorded times with more regularity than would be the case with parkrun proper. I had also done plenty of tourist runs in places like Leeds, Northumberland, Wales and several places where my son had football matches. However, this final one was going to be close to home. We set up a course round the garden and up and down our driveway and set off. I hadn’t measured the course so had no idea how many laps it would take but it quickly became apparent that it was going to be around 150-160. We plodded away and it was taking quite a long time but finally after 157 laps, my watch buzzed for 5k, it was done. However, as soon as I saw the GPS track, I realised that perhaps it hadn’t been as accurate as I would have hoped. It looked like an explosion on the map and subsequent pacing of the garden and measuring on Google maps suggested 5k was probably only 100 laps. Never mind!

Not the smoothest looking track!

While we continued to isolate ourselves my Sunday long run got skipped again, unfortunately the 3rd week on the trot. Then on Monday my daughter’s bubble burst as well! However, we fortunately still didn’t have any symptoms in the house but this bubble burst did also impact my PT so the gym was off again. I took the opportunity to start to return to normal and after a negative lateral flow, I headed out for some “hill” training and then to work. I have mentioned in blogs before how flat it is where I live and I’m still trying to work out the best route for hills.

Thursday was followed up with a nice steady state run. The problem I could then see on the horizon was that the various burst bubbles had meant that rather than head up to Leeds on the Friday evening as planned, we couldn’t go until the Sunday morning. This was going to rule out my 4th long run in a row if I wasn’t careful. Therefore, rather than delay until the Monday, I decided to bring forward and get it in on the Friday. With school holidays now started I had no pressure on helping kids get ready for school, even if virtual, so I planned out my 14mile route.

A couple of years ago I had run a longer stretch of the River Ouse near mine but hadn’t made it all the way home as it had been too wet and muddy and I had had to move off and onto roads. I had wanted to complete the stretch and this run was perfect. The first half of the run wasn’t going to be as inspiring, running on a path alongside a dual carriageway but I had the river to look forward to. What I had forgotten was the golden rule, just because something is classed as a footpath, doesn’t mean it is always passable on foot. The first footpath I came across was very overgrown and I was quickly getting stung by nettles and scratched by brambles. This path was only a few hundred metres long though so I reasoned that it would be clear as soon as I got to the river. How wrong I was! By the time I had completed the stretch I had only passed about 2.5km and it had taken me over 20mins. I was scratched to kingdom come and hadn’t been able to enjoy being next to the river at all. Never mind!

The main reason for doing the long run Friday and not Saturday was the long awaited return of parkrun on the Saturday. The ever changing plans for the weekend had meant I could make Pocket. It was great seeing so many people there and it felt so “normal”. There was still time for a moving speech from our ED though as there were 4 members of our parkrun community who hadn’t made it to the restart. I was aware of a couple but what hit home for me was the death of a man I don’t think I ever actually had a conversation with. However, he was someone who was very similar in pace to me so I remember running alongside him many times at Pocket, seeing him out on the streets of a morning where he’d always say hi. He was also a regular in the early virtual parkruns, running with his son while I’d be running with my daughter. I don’t know how old he was but if definitely resonated as I headed out for the run.

The run itself felt good. A couple of small changes had been made due to changes to the paths and also making more Covid secure but they really didn’t change the feel at all. It was great actually racing side by side and pushing for a good time. I crossed in 20:59 which was my first time officially under 21mins (I managed a few virtual low 20s last year) and like that parkrun normality had returned.

All in it has been a strange couple of weeks, here’s hoping it is the only bump in the road between now and October 3rd.

  • Week 5
  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 7.68km @ 5:16 pace
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – Rest Day
  • Saturday – Isolation parkrun
  • Sunday – Rest Day
  • Total – 12.68km
  • Overall Total – 166.82km
  • Week 6
  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – 8x 2min Hill climbs- 11.62km
  • Thursday – 11.2km @ 5:29 pace
  • Friday – 22.01km @ 5:46 pace
  • Saturday – Pocket parkrun 20:59
  • Sunday – Rest Day
  • Total – 49.83km
  • Overall Total – 216.65km

By Mike

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