January / New Year Review
A bit of a bumper post for the first one of the new year including several January events, marathon fever takes over, I announce my Runner of the Month, we have our 5 runners profile as well as some new years resolutions / goals for 2015.
January 1 – 4
New Years Day and by midday Cwm Ogwr members had already racked up 3 events. New member Chris Roberts, Chris Pratt and myself went for a parkrun double with Cardiff parkrun at 9am and Newport at 10.30am. It’s the only day of the year that you can register two parkruns and all three of us are keen to get that next t-shirt! It was the first time at both parkruns for the two Chris’s whilst I was visiting both for the second time. Meanwhile Nick Harris and David Cappell were running the Prince of Wales 4 miler in Kenfig both getting course PB’s.
Two days later, me and the two Chris’s were notching up our 3 parkruns of the year despite it only being the 3 of January. Over the 90 odd events we’ve been extremely lucky at Porthcawl parkrun with regards to it hardly ever raining at 9am on a Saturday but on this occasion it hammered down. It was a very different story on the other side of the World where Matthew Jones was running the Sydney parkrun in scorching conditions and setting an impressive marker for 2015 with a 20:22 clocking.
Porthcawl seen high tide at just after 9am and this coupled with stormy conditions meant that not only was the normal course not safe to run, but neither was the contingency course! Therefore we had to go to the contingency of the contingency course which meant a slight delay before running 4 and a half laps of Salt Lake Car Park. Not ideal, but fair play to the regular volunteers who ensured they didn’t have to cancel completely as Newport did that morning. Alica Thomas who recently started training with the club took advantage of the flatter course earning herself a new PB. Richard Lowcock James ran with his wife Helen who was returning to parkrun for the first time in well over a year since having their son who Richard pushed round in the buggy. Despite awful conditions before the parkrun, David Cappell, Nick Harris and Liz Davis all ran down to parkrun whilst David Kembery took advantage of remarkably nicer conditions to run home afterwards. On the Sunday, Chris Pratt entered the West Glam Cross Country League fixture at Margam Reservoir becoming the first Cwm Ogwr member represented in the league. It was an odd ‘cross country’ race as it was run entirely on tarmac. There were strong winds to contend with on the two lap course covering 5.6 miles in total, but Chris who is recovering from an injury made in round in a respectable 37:55. This also meant he took an early lead in ‘most events in 2015’ rankings.
I don’t normally include details of training sessions but I think the one on Thursday 16 deserves a special mention. We had two lots of hailstones, snow, thunder and lightning and freezing conditions! Despite this a few brave runners still managed a record 6 reps of efforts up Walters Road for one of our hardest training sessions to date. Funnily enough, we didn’t bump into many other people and I’m sure those tucked up in their houses on Walters Road thought we were absolutely crazy running back and forth up the hill.
Another parkrun and better conditions for the 3 weekend (as long as you don’t mind the cold). Both Nick and I ran our best times so far this year but in both cases nearly 2 minutes slower than our respective PB’s. Chris Roberts ran a new PB of 23:23 putting him in 6 in the 2015 5K rankings. Richard ran with the buggy again only just missing out on his own ‘buggy PB’. Kelly started her marathon training with a run down to parkrun from Bridgend whilst Liz ran down for the second time in a row with Dai Kembery doing the reverse trip again. Alica Thomas notched up her second PB of the month knocking over 30 seconds off last weeks time despite having to tie her shoelaces on the way round. A day later seen Richard and myself at the Riverbank Rollick in South Gloucester. A 9 mile race that involves mud, mud and more mud. Less than 1 mile of the course in on tarmac with the rest being muddy trails, soggy fields and literally dozens of icy cold ankle deep puddles. A couple of sneaky hills in the latter stages proved twice as difficult when slipping and sliding in the mud and then to finish there’s a 50 meter run up a stream which was arguably the easy bit after what had come before. It certainly takes a different style of running and lets say it suits Richard as despite having always finished in front of Richard on tarmac, he finished over 4 minutes ahead of me and was out of sight by mile 2. The cup of tea and a couple of cakes at the end were much needed.
Cwm Ogwr were out in force at the parkrun with a record 15 members running. There were seasons bests for several members and both David Kembery and Kelly Owen ran their fastest parkruns since September and July of last year respectively. I ran with the double running buggy for the first time which was harder than expected, whilst Richard ran with his buggy for the 3 time already this year with his wife Helen running alongside for her second Porthcawl parkrun of the month. There was also a return to parkrun for Brian Cotton and Denise Bradley after a few weeks off.
Meanwhile multiple club record holder John Burridge had kept it quiet that he was running the Cardiff parkrun. He was 41 out of an incredible turnout of 669 runners coming in at 19:38. It equals the clubs parkrun record held by Nick however, John does hold the overall 5K record with 19:28 at last years Merthyr Mawr Lane 5K. The time obviously propels John to the top of the clubs 5K rankings for 2015 and I’d be very surprised if it’s beaten any time soon.
Sunday seen 8 Cwm Ogwr members run the Lliswerry 8 miler for the first time. Conditions were pretty much perfect with cool temperatures and minimal wind to contend with. As advertised the course was very flat which helped produce some excellent times with Kevin, Nick, myself, David and Richard all coming in between 54 and 59 minutes. Two runners coming back from injury battled it out in a sprint finish on the 70 minute mark with Lorna just getting over the line in front of Chris whilst Liz finished in a very respectable 73:26 which isn’t far off her parkrun pace! It turns out that nearly all of us would have had 10K PB’s had the race finished at 6.2 miles and Richard may even have set a 5K PB at some point during the race.
With Anthony Williams, John Burridge, Liz Davis, Nick Harris, Lucy Thomas and Kelly Owen all running London Marathon, and then me, Helen Davies, David Kembery, Aled Hughes, Fiona Evans and Lorna Domachowski running Manchester Marathon we were already going into 2015 with a lot of marathon running in place. However, it doesn’t end there. Early in January David Kembery posted to say he’d entered the Snowdonia Marathon! At first everyone else were silent on their intentions after there was a bit of interest having watched the highlights from last years race and Fiona’s glowing report of the race from running in before. Kelly was next to bite the bullet and admit to signing up… or so we thought… a check of the start list showed that Fiona had also signed up for another go. With places going at a rapid rate I literally spent two hours discussing the race on Facebook with the entry page open watching the number of available places drop below 100… below 50. Lorna was almost convinced before realising it was on her husbands birthday and Nick said he wasn’t entering as he ‘was doing less races this year’ – well definitely refer to that quote later in the year. I think what clinched it for me is local runner Paul Bigmore who is due to complete his challenge of running 100 marathons in the next few month stating it was his favourite marathon and that he’d signed up again (despite the fact he’ll have done the 100 by then). So I’m in along with David K, Kelly and Fiona.
Meanwhile last years Snowdonia Marathon finisher David Cappell has his sights set on going even further and has signed up for the Vale Coastal Ultra Marathon – a first time event starting from Penarth and following the Wales Coastal Path all the way to Ogmore by Sea for a total of 30 miles. This caught the attention of the off road race seeking Richard Lowcock James who has signed up for the shorter but still very challenging 18.5 mile version which will be his longest distance run to date. Kevin Raymond is looking at entering his first marathon, and possibly even second and third before the year is out. To state the obvious - I think Cwm Ogwr members are going to clocking up some miles this year!
Chairman’s Runner of the Month - Alica Thomas
I think everyone’s been impressive with Alica’s efforts in training this month and it’s certainly paid off. Alica has achieved a PB in each of her 3 parkrun’s this month and in total has had a PB in each of her 5 parkruns to date taking her time down from 35:10 to 29:47. Well done Alica.
Runners Profile # 5
Name: Lorna Domachowski
Joined Club: April 2014
Parkrun Age Category: VW40-44
First Event: (Ever) Cardiff HM 2013 (with club) Porthcawl Parkrun 19/04/14
Total races: (Ever) 24 (with club) 21
Breakdown of events with club and PB’s:
5K or parkrun: 8 (PB 23:05)
5 miles: 1 (PB 40:32)
10K: 5 (PB 49:27)
10 miles: 1 (PB 01:31:11)
Half Marathon: 4 (PB 01:51:00)
Other Races: 2
From the beginning
Lorna started running in 2013 when she decided to start running a mile or so on almost a daily basis. Eventually she ventured a bit further and built up the miles and entered the Cardiff Half Marathon 2013. Lorna achieved a sub 2 hour finish on her first attempt with a time of 1:58:15. A few weeks later Lorna ran the Porthcawl parkrun and started thinking about joining a running club with someone mentioning Cwm Ogwr to her. It would be a few more months before she joined in which time she ran her second half marathon, this time in Llanelli, and achieved a PB with a time of 1:57:32.
Joining the club
If I remember correctly, Lorna’s first session with the club was on 10 April 2014 (it’s only because it was my last training session before London Marathon and I remember a new female member running with Helen Davies). It wasn’t an easy one either as it was one mile efforts which is quite a welcome to the club. Although not a regular parkrunner due to working shifts, Lorna came along to Porthcawl parkrun on 19 April showing her potential with a 24:34 clocking which was good enough for 3 on the club’s female 5K rankings. Lorna’s next race was the Cwm Ogwr 5 miler where she was the clubs first female finisher coming in 1 second ahead of Helen Davies who had been our first female finisher in every race she had entered to that point. Lorna followed this up with her first 10K event (Treforest) and finished in 50:57 which at that point was the fastest 10K for a female club member in 2014. As if this wasn’t enough to prove she was in contention for the clubs fastest female runner, Lorna followed this up a week later with a 23:05 PB at Porthcawl Parkrun (paced by me). This put her second on the female 5K rankings and just 18 seconds behind Kelly’s club record that she had set just a few weeks earlier.
Richard took over pacing duties for Lorna at the Caerphilly 10K with Lorna getting another PB with 50:16. She was a little disappointed to miss out on sub 50 but it was a very warm day and a bottleneck at the start cost most of us at least a minute or so. A couple more parkruns followed over the next few weeks including an agonisingly close 23:07 time – just 2 seconds away from her PB. Lorna’s third 10K was the Cardiff 10K where Lorna set a new PB with 49:38 and was delighted to break the 50 minute barrier finishing 4 out of a massive 20 club runners and just 10 seconds behind Helen. Skipping forward a couple of months and continuing with 10K’s, Lorna ran the Richard Burton 10K and got yet another PB making it 4 out of 4 at that distance. Her time of 49:27 was also the fastest female 10K of 2014 beating Helen’s efforts at Cardiff by a single second with Kelly’s time at Caerphilly just 20 seconds slower. We’re looking forward to seeing all 3 race against each other at some point as it hasn’t happened yet.
In between the 10K races Lorna also found time to try and lower her half marathon PB. First up was the Stroud Trail Half Marathon back in May where she ran the hilly, mostly off road course with Kelly and sneaked in front of her on the line (writing this I’m now noticing she does this a lot). Obviously there was no PB on what was actually a 14+ mile course but a great effort for someone who hadn’t done too much off road running to this point. The next half marathon was in August at Afan Argoed for the Port Talbot Harriers free event which is used as part of their club championship and supposedly ‘a training run’. Despite telling Lorna to take it easy with the Severn Bridge Half Marathon just a week later, she smashed her PB by over 5 minutes with a time of 1:52:10. As it was a free event, there were no race numbers and it was manually timed with names taken at the end, so it did make me laugh when a very out of breath Lorna was asked to spell Domachowski to the volunteer writing down the results just seconds after a sprint finish. As I mentioned, it was just a week later that Lorna was in half marathon action again. I was struggling to get anywhere near my PB so decided to help pace Lorna for the Severn Bridge Half Marathon and hopefully another PB and possibly even sub 1:50. The course was described as undulating but I think most of us found it a lot hillier than expected so a PB seemed out of question in the early miles. However, Lorna continued to stick with me as we increased the pace in the second half and I was amazed how strong she was in the final miles to achieve another PB with a 1:51:00. I think Lorna really gave it her all and seem to remember her saying ‘never again’ immediately afterwards but as us runners know – that’s never the case and Lorna had already signed up for Cardiff Half Marathon anyway. Unfortunately it didn’t really happen for her that day and she ran most of it with Kelly, both of which had completed the Survival of the Fittest the week before which might be one reason for the slower time but I think there was too much chatting going on as well. However, Lorna still had a bit in reserve for another sprint finish to finish ahead by a few seconds and be the clubs first female finisher.
Unfortunately shortly after the Richard Burton 10K, Lorna picked up a knee injury that kept her out of training for several weeks. She did still manage the odd treadmill session and spent time on her bike to keep her fittest up which had been a keen passion before running. Lorna returned for the much hyped Merthyr Mawr Pudding Run but in the end it was probably a bad move and certainly not a race for someone recovering from a knee injury. More gentle runs and time on the bike and Lorna was ready to return just in time for the Liswerry 8 race mentioned in my January report above where she yet again beat a fellow club runner on the finishing straight. Be warned anyone who’s alongside Lorna with the finishing line in sight!
Lorna has signed up for her first marathon joining me, Fiona, Aled, Helen and David Kembery at the Greater Manchester Marathon in April. Although she hasn’t said this, I think time-wise Lorna will definitely be looking for a sub 23 minute 5K and sub 1:50 marathon having got very close to both last year.
Running Resolutions 2015
At the start of each year I like to think up a list of running goals for the year. Normally this consists of ‘beat my previous years mileage total’ and ‘PB’s at every distance’ – both of which become increasingly more difficult by the year. Therefore this year I’ve gone for a more specific list of goals which whilst still very challenging, I hope are also realistic and achievable. I posted these on the clubs facebook page and invited other members to share their goals with some going for a similar list approach and other keeping it simple. I thought I’d share them on the blog so people can refer back and of course I’ll be checking back at the end of the year to see how people got on!
Just to note at the time of writing I’m already up to 74 parkruns and on course to achieve 100 on 25 July if I didn’t miss one but realistically I’ll achieve it by end of August. Arguably I achieved a sub 45 and maybe even a 10K PB during the Lliswerry 8 but really want to do it officially in a race. A cold resulting in a one week break from running and a very slow and steady start to marathon training means I’m a quite a bit behind schedule on the mileage but with two marathons to train for I feel it is doable. Volunteered once at parkrun already and done an off road race with Riverbank Rollick. Only officially signed up for 1 half marathon so far but have a list in mind to achieve the 8. Overall, pretty good progress, but could be better. Now onto everyone else’s goals.
Richard Lowcock James
Helen Davies – complete Manchester Marathon
David Kembery – finish every race started
Maria Lalic – complete Race to the Stones 100K over 2 days
Ross Jones – come back to club and do a race at some point this year
Quite a variation in aims for this year. I think Chris may win for most ambitious as the 15 Half Marathons and not just PB’s but knocking a big chunk off 5K, 10K, HM times. Lots relating to marathons. Although not on the list, Erin Wood and Rachel Turner are looking to complete their first half marathon with Newport a possibility. We could also have our first official Ultra runner and it’s going to be a busy year for me keeping up with all the stats. 2014 was amazing, lets make 2015 even better.
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