Citystrides – I seem to have ran a lot!

I’m sure others will have seen this before but I randomly came across Citystrides recently. This site integrates with Strava / Garmin / Whatever and creates the kind of Heatmaps that we’re all familiar with, also showing coverage of your activities in terms of what percentage of a City’s streets you’ve covered.

The definition of ‘City’ is a bit off, in that for the UK at least, it seems to primarily break down into council regions, but its fascinating nevertheless.

Seeing the world view reminded me of some of the great places I’ve ran, from Iceland to Los Angeles to Niagara Falls to Greece and everywhere in between via Loch Ness and Blackpool, but most interesting to me of all is seeing the local map coverage.

The purple lines are the routes I’ve ran in the 9 years I’ve been running and saving to Strava. I’ve seen a LOT of the local area!

I recognise some of the lines here as specific big efforts that bring a smile to my face, the run from Huddersfield to Bradford ahead of the Bradford 10k, running towards and beyond Wakefield in a ‘Get As Far Away As You Can In Six Hours’ event. Happy days!

Review – Tad Ten

Sunday saw me complete my second 10 miler and second visit to North Yorkshire of November.

An absolute downpour almost made me change my mind within 5 minutes of setting off, but that quickly turned to a light drizzle which had disappeared to perfect conditions on arrival at the little market town of Tadcaster…THAT STINKS OF BOOZE!!

Passing the John Smiths and Samuel Smith’s breweries on arrival (and Coors on the way out after)…that seems to be the main focal for the small market town, with no real obvious reasons to visit other than it seems a quite pleasant place.

After a brief visit to race HQ, we were out to the start, which was a bit of a pain, having to funnel past the start line to line up ready to run back in the opposite direction, but soon forgotten in the early stages of the race as the opening mile or so of jostling for position on a big wide surface got under way, with the field stretching out as we crossed the River Wharfe to leave the town centre, up possibly the biggest hill of the route (which wasn’t very big – but certainly slowed a few).

Things were a bit dull up to 4 or 5k in, and then we turned off the dual carriage way and on to the main bulk of the route, a very pleasant mildly undulating country road circuit passing through a couple of small villages.

All the elevation changes were easy to manage and I was running a few seconds quicker than planned/expected, without feeling likely to struggle at all, and decided to gradually (whilst still fearful there may be a hill I’d forgotten about) up the tempo a little over the closing 25mins or so, when the sun also came out – to finish with a course best time of 1h17m36s (1h21m last year!), which I think is my quickest 10mile since early 2019.

I guess I’ll have to return next year!

Official Race Info

Annual Goals – Achieved and Set (Tentatively)

Aside from specific distance and event targets, at the start of 2022 I set a generic run distance target for the year, which I achieved yesterday with 51 days to spare!

Annual Goal – 2022

I didn’t do anything specifically to attain this goal, such as ensuring I hit a certain target each month, and didn’t ramp or ease my weekly running to ensure I’d hit it, I just ‘did what I was doing’, and its merely a passive tick in a box.

It’s not the most distance I’ve ever ran in a year (2062km in 2018, which I can safely say even with 50 days of the year remaining, is not a distance I will stretch to), it was just a reasonable estimate made last December of what I might do, assuming no significant periods out injured.

So, I’ve now tentatively set some tracked goals for 2023. Tentatively, as I may tweak these before the end of the year.

Annual Goals – 2023

The two running goals speak for themselves – a repeat of the tick-in-a-box 1000 miles, a distance I’ve exceeded every year from 2018 onwards, which barring any injury or other reason to avoid running for a month or more at some point, I just “just do”.

The 2194.14km goal is a stretching target that equates to running a marathon distance on average every week across the year. Something I obviously aren’t going to do every week, given that this year I only really hit that week on week across 3 months of the year, as I increased load ahead of the York marathon. So, it’s a “stretch” target, one I don’t necessarily expect to achieve, but something to aspire to. It won’t drive my running across the year, but you can bet that come October time if it looks like 2 or 3 big months might be enough to get close, I’ll be out running some longer distances through autumn into winter than I typically do!

And then two goals relating to HIIT and Strength training, equating to a couple of hours per month of each. Again, I don’t necessarily expect to achieve these, I tend to do an odd month here and there of a half hour session each week, and then nothing for 8 months. These goals are just me acknowledging to myself that if I want to get better at running, I need to do more of this.

It should be easy, I have a multi-gym for strength workouts, in a foam rubber floored garage where I can do HIIT type sessions, along with a couple of apps to guide me along the way. But for whatever reason, it isn’t. I know I definitely don’t want to join a class or a gym – and I think its a case of just getting into a habit over a couple of months and then carrying on.

The hope is that just logging these as goals will inspire me to do something. We shall see!

I’ll write about race distance and event goals another time.

Review – Guy Fawkes 10

Another foggy drive towards and beyond Leeds, this time to Ripley for this mornings Guy Fawkes 10.

With a non-official race time of 1:22:29, I did knock 5mins off my course best from last year, and Garmin’s Race Predictor was also ludicrously suggesting a time another seven minutes short of that – but all things considered this felt like a particularly successful race effort.

A nicely busy start line gathered outside Ripley Castle in excellent weather conditions (rain did threaten briefly about half way in, but stayed away until 10mins after I’d finished) – and after a short race briefing, that I couldn’t hear a word of, we were off!

The opening couple of km’s is a pretty frustrating single track path/road, that takes you up the first gentle climb, where any race plan is out of the window and its just a case of settling in to whatever pace the crowded route allows.

As usual, this works well for me, as I have a tendency to go off far too quickly!

Fully warmed up as we emerge onto the more regular road surface, and swiftly greeted by a decent downhill section on to just past the 4k point, I stretched my legs out and soon pulled back any time lost in that opening 5mins or so.

And then comes the worst hill, a steep 2km upwards, plenty dropped to walking, I normally would, but cruised upwards at a little quicker than the faster walkers, which was pleasing, and without really struggling at all, which was even more pleasing.

Having reach the summit of the course, there’s a little flattish bit to sort of recover a bit, ahead of a long downhill through Longscales and Tang, another short uphill at 10k followed by a chance to stretch the legs out yet again, there was really only one hill left now, as we turned off back towards the start/finish leg of the course and back onto the single track road.

Pushing along here as hard as I feasibly could, it seemed much shorter than it had at the start of the race, and before I knew it, I was running up and through the castle gates, crossing the finish line, and after having timing chip snipped from shoes, then onwards to pick up a big goody bag (lots of chocolate and a pouch of surprisingly tasty snacking olives), a long-sleeved shirt, catch up with a few pals and then we were back on the road again…(with my car struggling, lambda sensors to be replaced tomorrow which will hopefully resolve the issue!).

Race Preview – Guy Fawkes 10

Tomorrow will be see me taking on a ten mile race ran primarily on undulating country roads and (I think!) a few sections of well surfaced bridleway, this is a long way from being either a flat fast PB course, or a slower trail event- although I do hope to improve on the time from my only previous attempt, which was last years 87:33.

My lack of memory here is I think down to the start and finish location, with runners running through the gates into the courtyard of Ripley Castle for the finish line, its definitely one of the most memorable locations of all the reasonably local events.

With memory jogged from looking back at my info on Strava, Guy Fawkes 10 is more or less uphill for the first half, with the return being a series of short sharp climbs interspersed with longer drawn out downhill sections, so lots of opportunity for gaining the time lost on the hills. Hopefully.

I don’t tend to run many 10 mile races, for me this being the slowest of the five different 10 mile courses I’ve attempted, I’m targeting trying to take it off the bottom of that list, which would mean knocking five full minutes from last years time.

Garmin’s prediction however is 75mins, which seems a bit ridiculous given that beats my all time 10mile PB, on the super flat Thirsk 10 route. We shall see 🙂 Report to follow at some point in the day or so after completion.

Ripley CastleWiki and Visitor Info

Guy Fawkes 10 Official Info