5km… well that was the plan..

Recently a few of us have been discussing whether you could run or row 1km faster… and also in the same conversation, whether it is realistic to run 5km in under 20 minutes (unless you are a ‘runner’)!

Although I have run a marathon (back in 2011), and plodded many a mile in the training run, and have done the ‘Great Midlands Fun Run’ a few times, I didn’t know what my ‘5km time’ was. Partly because I had either run shorter or longer than that, and/or wasn’t using Strava to record my workouts.

So, today without any form or specific training, nutrition, rest, etc I thought I’d give it a go. I did a quick look on Google Maps to see if there were any suitable routes from my house that was relatively flat and didn’t involve crossing too many roads, etc which would kill any momentum. I then considered running in Sutton Park, but felt that I would be too uncertain as to whether I’d run far enough (I need not have worried!)…

I opted for a local running track. A quick calculation later and I had to complete 12.5 laps of the 400m loop.

With a bright blue sky, and even brighter sun, around 20 degrees Celsius I did a warm up consisting of 50 meter walk, 50 meter run, 75 meter walk. and then I was off..

No frills, no headphones, no fans/supporters/spectators, no pacer, no plan…

I spent the first couple of laps getting into my stride, and realising that the ‘home straight’ appeared to have a pretty strong headwind, but the ‘back straight’ didn’t seem to have a wind pushing me along! I tried to keep my breathing in a good place, steady, not to heavy.

I was aiming at somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, expecting to be slightly north of 25 minutes, with the lower time the better of course!

laps 1 and 2 I was tracking at around 7 minute per mile, which was in my view not a sustainable pace, but I was going with it, and would just try and ‘survive’…

To cut a long story short, I finished in a time of just 22 minutes and 22 seconds…which I could hardly believe, until I realised that I had stopped 1 lap short..!!

By this point my relief of finishing, joy of a better time than I expected, turned to being pretty annoyed at myself. I should/could have checked the distance covered on my watch before I finished, but I was confident I’d counted right, and by the time I realised, I was already swigging my drink and lying down on the track just after the finish line!

If I was to assume that I would get around the next lap in around 2 minutes, I would have completed it around 25 minutes (as hoped), which was a good benchmark time to start from.

In answer to my could I run 5km in under 20 minutes. I would say that I think that I could, but it would probably require a change in focus of my training (reducing upper body / muscle building, and increasing long distance and speed work). My nutrition would need to be focused more on reducing my body weight by around 1 – 1.5 stone. May not be happening any time soon when I had this post run..

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Fitness Personal Bests

Below is a record of my personal bests, and the date they were achieved. Unless I can remember or have a record of it for sure, I’ve started a fresh from the beginning of 2018 with many of the weight lifting related PB’s, starting with my Beach Body 2018 programme.

Continue reading “Fitness Personal Bests”

What to do when Shark Diving is cancelled…!

My wife and I visited the wonderful country of South Africa for our honeymoon, during which I was looking forward to getting up close to one of the most fearsome predators in the world, a great white shark! However, although it was peak season, and we were in one of only two places in the world that you can dive with sharks in their own habitat (the other being Mexico), the sea conditions unfortunately resulted in the shark diving being cancelled on two consecutive days!

So, with the news that we weren’t going to be able to dive with sharks, what should we do with the already pumping adrenaline..? The answer was a no brainer considering where we were… Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, the worlds highest commercial bridge bungy, a full 216 meters above the Bloukrans river!

When arriving at the bridge there was a mist that had descended over the bridge, creating quite a spooky feel. There was a bit of a chill in the air with cold air blowing steadily along the river from the coast. After a bit of a safety briefing, including signing my life away and paying, I saw this sign, which I gave me that motivation to ignore any doubts or fears that I had and get on with it. It’s a great moto for life, not just minutes before signing up to throw yourself off a bridge with a thick elastic band wrapped around your ankles!

Then myself and a small group of others walked along a walkway under the road bridge, which appeared to be constructed of a thick version of chicken wire… not for the faint hearted! As we approached the platform, the music was getting louder and louder..

Once in the middle of the bridge, the music and atmosphere was great! The staff were buzzing with huge smiles and full of energy.. Occasionally the sound of the music was surpassed by the vibrations of a HGV driving over the bridge (which felt more like an a380 taking off!). Following another safety briefing, we had our harness’ put on and put into a holding area, where we had full view of the group ahead jumping off one by one, and then seeing them coming back up, with a huge grin on their (sometimes very pale) face!

At this point, I just wanted to get on with it, get to the front, clipped in and go for it! The wait was making my heart beat faster and faster! I had my go pro [add link] attached to my arm, all set for the jump, and then it was my time…

After being clipped in, told to walk to the edge and jump forward head first (as if to dive into a swimming pool), there was a countdown of 3, 2, 1… bungy!

As you can see (and hear) from the video, the wind took my breath away. For some reason that was the bit that shocked me the most. I felt as though I couldn’t get any air into my mouth and had a short moment of panic. However once I got my breath I found the experience amazing! It was over in seconds, and if you are wondering, it didn’t hurt/jar my back or my neck, and I didn’t think the rope would tear or anything like that.

After the jump, one of the staff came down on a different line, turned me upright and winched me back up onto the platform on the bridge, along the walkway and back to my relieved wife who was glad to see me back on safe ground!

I was disappointed to not dive with sharks during our time at South Africa (and it remains on my bucket list to do one day) but delighted that it resulted in me enjoying this amazing experience! Awesome experience which I would highly recommend to anyone driving along the garden route, or visiting South Africa in general!