Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Still here and still running.

It's nearly a year since my last post so I really think I should get back and update the blog.

I have still kept running and racing but after a good patch about two years ago things have being difficult running wise. Well over the hour for 10 miles and up to 37 minutes for 10k at the Abbey Dash. I still keep going because I feel the benefits of running are worth the effort for me and I don't wan't to get to the point of no return - where you feel there would be too much to do to achieve the fitness level you want. It also means that I don't have to refuse that extra slice of cake! It is a routine that I don't want to break but there are always loads of reasons to stay back in the warm house.

Often described as the most difficult of sports at competitive level. I think most serious runners would agree that running fitness can be very undulating to say the least. The saying that hard work always pays off sometimes doesn't hold true with this sport. Too much hard work in the form of training and your running fitness can break down and you are back to where you started - or worse.

I have so far completed 3 of the 4 cross countrys this season. This should come through as improved fitness for some 10k road races later on and I already feel stronger from these. Also I have bagged a few 10 milers, with the Guy Fawkes at Ripley and the Harewood 10 miles, done in approximately 1hr and 5 minutes.

So that is all for now. If I don't get back to the blog happy running and all the best for Christmas and the New Year.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Ready to join the comeback trail.

Since my last post in September a lot has happened but nothing very useful to running. Or should I say running fast times?

After about 12 months of vetting and short courses etc we finally got the approval to be foster parents. In the summer we got a new addition to join the family. A baby boy aged 3 months.

We then got the crazy idea to convert the loft of the house to make two extra larger bedrooms and a bathroom. This involved a total removal of one side of the roof to add a double dormer, addition stair case to the extra floor, and due to building regulations, changing all the existing 21 doors for fire doors. It seemed like a good idea at the time and so we went through the process of obtaining quotes for the work. We finally settled on one company who came highly recommended by a friend. They started the work in early November and they finished their part of the job on the 19th December. They were excellent tradesmen and I was over the moon with the job. We are now decorating and carpeting the new rooms so the kids can move in.

After virtually 2 years of research into the most economically way of heating the whole place we decided to come off gas and opt for a wood boiler. This needed to be at least 40 kilo watts, with 2000 liters of water to use as stored heat. These would be contained in 2 x 1000 liter buffer tanks. After calculating the heat loss for the house we estimated only needing to feed the boiler every 24 hours and the house would run off the stored heat within the tanks in the mean time. The boiler and tanks would be situated in the garage. A space would need to be set aside in the garden to use as log storage. So far this is working out really well and it is the first time I am looking forward to the gas bill!

Oh sorry, back to the running. I did the Denby Dale 6 miles in December in 37 something and the Brass Monkey in a very slow 1-29 something. Very windy conditions on that day. I am entered for the Dewsbury 10k next Sunday. I will be happy with something near 37 mins.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

End of summer, another birthday, and a new running campaign

Sorry that it has been a long time since my last post. Over the summer we welcomed another baby boy into the family - making 3 altogether(2 boys and one girl). Although this is a fairly short term fostering arrangement the commitment is identical to your own children and therefore time was limited to go out running.

For me another birthday is coming and next Thursday I will be 47. This will put me virtually mid point between V45 and V50 - race wise it is a difficult place to be. I've noticed lately that a lot of races don't have a V45 category and so just have V40 and V50 etc. This can be somewhat awkward when you have to compete with a 'young' just turned 40 year old.

Over the summer I have continued to train at a lower intensity, doing the occasional short road or trail race. Also cycling and walking to maintain some sort of reasonable fitness base. The last week I have stepped up the mileage to about 40 miles a week, with a long run of about 17 on Sunday.

It has helped reading the blogs from other runners and the problems they have. I don't mean that in a nasty sort of way. It's just sort of soothing to know that this is a difficult sport for everybody and therefore this stops me wasting time moaning or grumbling.

My next race maybe mid September for a 10k.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Leeds Half and another 5k

Last Sunday(8th May) it was the Leeds Half Marathon, which i'd hastily entered, not quite realising it was sandwiched in the middle of a series of 5k events. I did the same silly thing last year and somehow forgot just how silly it was.

It was humid conditions last week which suited me well for the race. My plan was to set of steady and try to have something left for the last 4 mile section along Kirkstall Road. The course is hilly for the first 7 miles. Last year I 'overcooked' the first half and then really struggled along the final section. I planned to use this as a tempo session and a 'train through race' therefore no tapering for this one. I 'locked on' to Duncan Clarke after a few miles and managed to then overtake and gain some ground.

The Leeds Half has now turned into a large event with approximately 3500 runners taking part. The absence of 'serious' club runners helped my cause with a 25th placing and second vet45 - missing out on first v45 by 13 seconds. Setting off with the frame of mind not to race was probably the right thing to do and made fully sure I didn't suffer too much and saved at least something for the Wednesday night.

Last Wednesday nights race was the second of 3 x 5k races at Esholt. This one was not the Yorkshire Vets 5k Champs so there were some different runners to before. Calm and humid conditions were perfect. I set off steady and hoped to gain ground on Rob Gray at the 2.5k mid point. Just losing out by a few seconds at the end but dipping just under 17 minutes at 16-59, with one second between me and Rob for second v45 over the two races.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Race for fitness.

A week on the Isle of White seemed like a good idea - with a planned mix of family pursuits and training. I'd set off with the intention of an active rest and recovery break - sometimes called the family holiday! The Rothwell 10k was entered on the Bank Holiday Monday and something had to be done to stop the fitness decline. I have to admit to catching the lazy bug and only ended doing a few short morning runs. This meant that the Rothwell 10k produced a below par performance (36-41) and nowhere near the V45 prizes.

The next race was the first of a series of 3 x 5k races run on following Wednesdays from the village of Esholt, with the first one on the 4th May. Surprisingly, I felt better at the start of this race than the Rothwell one and very nearly managed a sub 17 minutes. This was helped by a hard fought tussle for the finish with Wetherby runner Rob Grey. The time was 17 minutes and this will hopefully provide a guide to any improvements of fitness after the next 2 races.

On Sunday it's the Leeds Half Marathon and I will using this to build fitness and to gain race stamina for a mid summer key race - possibly Eccup 10 mile.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Wakefield 10k

Not the ideal prep for this race; it was a preplanned meal on Saturday night at Red Hot Buffet in Leeds with a group of friends. This place has probably got the largest selection of performance inhibitors gathered in one place, but it would be silly to spoil things, avoid all the puddings and munch on salad all night. It's also been a hard week of training, the Thirsk 10 mile last Sunday and a hard speed work session Thursday night. The only good thing was the race was local and less than five miles from my house to the race start. I had my number so I didn't have to get up too early.

It's an 'out and back' course but certainly not flat. The race start is elevated and there is a short distance of downhill until it meets the main road. Some runners can get carried away with this downhill bit and then suffer later in the race. I was happy to set off steady and increase the pace later if I could. Kevin O set off fairly quick and I tried to dig in and 'claw him back'. One of my main rivals at V45 class, Duncan Clarke, was a good way in front of me in the first two miles. I did wonder if I had set off too slow. I then noticed I was gaining ground on him and overtook in the next mile. Tricky Ricky Balshaw looked to be going good and was with a group of other runners. They were just a bit too far to zero in on and I was just hoping that they would fall of the pace on the back 5K - they never did. First Lady, Helen Singleton, was shoulder to shoulder at 6k and provided a useful pace maker as my legs were hurting. Near to the finish two other runners caught up and tried to pass. I found the switch for race hell mode and gave it everything for the line. I later found out that one of the runners was Donald Kennedy from Longwood who is a V45 and I beat by one second to claim first male V45 and a time of 35-26.

Other Spen runners had a good day; Kevin O did 34-42, Gerard Skippings 37-46 and Ian Ogden(Kevs brother) 40-42.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Thirsk 10 - Maybe a lesson in pace judgement?

It was a drive up to Thirsk Sunday for the rescheduled 10 mile road race. Perfect weather conditions also provided a useful wife and kids picnic opportunity. We set off in good time and arrived in Thirsk about an hour before. A quick jog to the well organised entry desk and I was all 'numbered up' in no time.

Thirsk race course provides a perfect venue for the race - with ample car parking, toilet facilities, refreshments and off road areas for warming up. Perhaps the only thing missing would be shower facilities, which I find are most useful when you are spending time after the race shopping and sight see-ing etc.

A quarter mile jog to the start was a useful pre-race warmer. In the line up were a mix of runners, some preparing for Spring marathons, some recovering from injury and others who are just very friendly and seem to be at every race that I do. I noticed Andrew Pearson from Longwood Harriers in the line up along with Spen team mate Kevin Ogden, local runner Gary Dunn, Sarah Jarvis(Bingley), Marc Teasy(Bingley)Marc Hall(Otley), Martin Firth(Queensbury), John Broom(Barnsley), Tim Midgely(Bingley), Mike Burrett(Leeds) and Will Kerr(St Bedes).

The race started steady and even Andrew Pearson didn't bolt off. This allowed for a fair size group to form. Those that I recognized in the group were, Kevin Ogden, Gary Dunn and Marc Hall. After approximately one mile Andrew Pearson opened a gap with Mike Burrett giving chase. I was aware of Gary's injury and wasn't sure whether this was an 'ankle tester' or a serious race for him. Either way I was happy with the pace at that point. Team mate Kevin was slightly in front and we were gaining ground on him. Marc Hall was slightly in front of him and not gaining on us. The group were holding together at 5-25 mileing and I was quite surprised then how easy it felt. I think it was at about the five mile point that the group split up and I was running alongside Kevin after that. The early fast pace was now beginning to tell and after getting to the five mile point in 27-51 the legs were hurting. We then caught up and passed Tim Midgely from Bingley who tore off his number, probably after realising it was an off day and runners were passing him in droves. I think the race turn round point was about 7 miles and that's where Kevin gained the advantage and I didn't have the legs to respond. Closer to the finish Will Kerr charged passed me and I got to the finish in 57-27 - identical time to 2008. A bright T shirt, small trophy and £25 cash. Then a picnic nosh up, a walk round Thirsk town center and a drive up to Ripon. All in all a good day out.

Mile splits; 1= 5-24, 2 = 5-31, 3 = 5-34, 4 = 5-40, 5 = 5-41, 6 = 5-47, 7 = 5-50, 8 = 5-53, 9 = 5-57, 10 = 5-57.

Well done to the wheelchair athletes too.