Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Three Degrees

Not talking about the classic 70's pop band. I was surprised to read that the temperature reading this morning was 3 degrees. The birds were tweeting and it felt almost spring like. I was just starting to get used to a lie in and the full English breakfast on my return from the gym. It felt good to get out onto safe clear pavements once again. The legs felt heavy though and there was no way that it was going to be a fast pace; seven minute/mile max. I had done a hard gym session yesterday with some single leg squats and then on to the treadmill after finding out that the Ribble Valley was cancelled. I know it was one of those things and the conditions were not good but a small hand written sign at the race start saying that the race cancelled was a little bit short notice. It was an 130 mile round trip from Wakefield so not a journey I wanted to make for no reason.

All this gym work and I've worked out that there seems to be a world of difference between treadmill running and road running. I did get to the point of enjoying the treadmill once I set myself challenges on it. Viewing it as a running rival and virtual partner rather than a machine. I will include it as part of my training with maybe one session per week next year.

It's close to the end of the year now and I will be reviewing 2010 and thinking about what can be done in 2011 to improve things running wise. I know things went downhill in December when the bad weather hit. A 33-49 10k at Leeds towards the end of November was a high point. This month I have been running to work and back in the snow but unable to put in any tempo work due to the danger of slipping and track work was off due to the ice on the track. Fitness can easily be built back up but bad injuries can take longer to heal - were my thoughts. Keeping a fitness base there means not having to start right from scratch again, although it feels you have lost loads of fitness on your first run out.

So if I don't get another posting out before the end of the year. Happy New Year to everybody and happy running in 2011.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Seasons Greetings

Just got a moment to wish a very merry Christmas to all bloggers, followers, readers and others and also to a successful 2011 for everybody. Not got much time cos the kids are tucked up in bed and Santa is on his way.

Sorry about no recent updates but i've not really done much race wise. Three races cancelled now and I'm eagerly checking the Preston Harriers website to see if the Ribble Valley road race is still on. They have give it out for about 2 degrees on Monday which should hopefully make sure the course is ice free.

I have been running to work and back and treadmill running this past two weeks, managing to clock a decent sub 37 minutes on the treadmill(longest ever run on treadmill, I think) this morning, so it's more a case of holding on to what's there rather than trying to improve - until the icy pavements clear that is.

Doing a lot of strength work at the gym to help my niggly knee, which has improved it somewhat.

Bye for now.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Thirsk 10

I was up for it today and set off like a rocket. I glanced at my Garmin, which showed 3-30 per mile. I knew if I kept up the pace I would be on for a sub 40 minute 10 mile. My nearest rival was at least a mile back, Andy Pearson I think, or was it Mo Farah. I kept thinking the lead car is not going fast enough and I need to ask if they can increase the pace a bit. On the turn round point I saw another group of runners, local star Gary Dunn was among them with Darren Bilton, both snarling at me as I passed them. Just then as I approached the finish I heard a noise - it was the alarm clock going off for me to get up. It was all just a dream, shame it was cancelled.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Leeds Abbey Dash 10k: Consistency in training pays off.

After suffering a cold in the run up to Sundays race, doubts about even running in it began to surface. This was a chance to 'peek at the potatoes' and test the training regime. I have completed a full 20 weeks of training, with a typical week consisting of: 1 x track session, 3 moderately paced 10-12 milers(average pace 7-20) , one long run of about 16 miles and 2 days gym work(conditioning etc.) and cycling.

This is one of the flattest local 10ks that I know. I didn't really want to miss the chance of locking horns with the rivals and finding out where I was in competition terms. This would be one of the last chances of a ranking result this year.

The centre of Leeds at 8-30am was cold and fresh. I decided to avoid the congestion and park off Water Lane and walk over the canal bridge to the start line(about 1 mile). Loads of runners and spectators were gathered at the start and I was looking round to see if I could recognise anyone; a few Rothwell and Pudsey Pacers were mulling about.

I got to the front and caught site of Johnny Mellor(last years winner), Ian Hudspith, John Convery, Gary Dunn, and Will kerr. I got the feeling that I would have to bolt like a race horse to avoid getting trampled in the rush.

The race started and the runners soon thinned out. I found my own space and the Garmin showed 4-52 per mile - good so far I thought. I felt really strong and tried to make ground on a group of runners in front. Another small group of runners tried to pass me, which included John Convery from Wakefield H. I stayed with him for a bit until he steadily broke away. I was comfortable up to the turn round point and caught sight of the front runners going the other way. There's a feeling that when you hit the turn around you can then 'fly' down to the finish. It doesn't quite happen like that and running down a slight incline felt like hard work for me. I reached the 5 mile point in 26-56, which would have been a recent PB for 5 miles. I knew then that there was a possibility of breaking 34 minutes. I was aware of the incline to the finish, so all reserves were needed in the final half mile. I got a view of the clock which showed 33-20ish, so I put in a last sprint over the line to clock 33-49. A hard fought sub 34.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Barnsley 10k: The need for a finishing kick.

After e-mailing the race organiser late last night(Saturday) regarding the Barnsley 10k I managed to secure a number, although there appeared to be loads left on the day when I got there. I had decided to do this race as late as last night with the other option the cross country at Spen. Conditions seemed perfect so I set off to Royston in good time.

This was a well organised event with chip timing, portaloos, canteen and ample parking. The new chip device which fastened to your leg, rather than your running shoe, with a simple strong paper strip seemed like another well thought out innovation. This caused no problems for me whatsoever during the race, it held tight and was easily removed at the end. Also the organisation of the chip devices into miniature drawers which were numbered, allowing for on the day entries to also have their own chip seemed a winner too. Four pounds extra on the day seemed justified this time.

There was a familiar crowd at the front with John Convery(now Wakefield), Shaun Dimilow(Barnsley), Andy Whitworth(Meltham), Kev Lilley(Sheffield) and a few others. I set off steady with the plan of trying to catch up with the main rivals later. I then overtook K. Lilley and A Whitworth before attempting to catch up with J Convery. Mark Hall(Otley) joined me along with Darren Newbould(Hallamshire) and I stayed with them and felt comfortable with the pace, even up to the 4 mile point. After that is when things started to get tough and the course turned hilly. There was only a short gap(about 20 seconds) between me and J.C, but the hills expended all my reserves and I was labouring at the finish, passed by Mark Hall and David Thomson(Barnsley) near to the finish. With a position of 10th and time of 34-40 another good performance apart from lacking the killer kick at the end which cost me 2 positions.

I notice that the link from chip time to power of 10 rankings seemed to have speeded up somewhat. I checked tonight and it's updated already - Technology rules.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Guy Fawkes Tough 10 mile

Having done this race quite a few times the weather has varied in the past from dry, cold and sunny or raining, to mild and wet, calm or windy. This time it was calm, fairly mild and damp - Probably ideal running conditions.

Having had the privilege of browsing the entry list the night before there appeared to be no runners who would be likely to dominate the race fully. There were a few runners who I wasn't sure about. I didn't have the time to 'Power of 10 them' to check them out. Plus entries on the day were still open at that point.

This race has a tricky start which goes downhill through the back of Ripley castle. I wasn't about to get carried away at this point and I set off steady. This was well within myself, although it is rather daunting when loads of runners are in front of you. I always tell myself that any race over 5 miles is along way and there is plenty of time to catch them up. The first 1.5 miles is off road and a rather stoney farm trails through sparse woodland. This didn't suit the racing trainers and I was happy when the race hit the tarmac roads. I could then get into a steady rhythm and concentrate on my tactic of 'clawing' runners back. A runner from Harrogate made an early break at the front and Ian Crampton(Durham) made a steady attempt to catch him. At that point I was in forth place and comfortably holding on. Later a runner from Ripon(Micheal Appleton) and Matt Hayes from East Hull Harriers joined up to make a group of 3. We were then joined by a young unattached runner(Jackie Simpson). We all then took turns to push the pace along. Matt Hayes from East Hull fell off the pace slightly and me and the other runners were all closely together until we hit the trail part to the finish. Once again this affected my rhythm and it seemed to give the other runners the advantage. I pushed close to the limit at this point and glancing over my shoulder was then aware of Will Kerr(St Bedes) making a late charge. One last push to the finish gave me 5th place overall - 59-54, quite pleased.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Fastest Finger First.

Who would have thought that the most basic of human function(running) would be affected by the technology revolution. I'm not talking about Garmin or the million mile sock. Those(and me) that rushed to their computers before 9-am on Saturday morning to enter next years Brass Monkey experienced it first hand. A few clicks of a mouse and your in. Time was short and not even the greatest procrastinator can put it off. Simple on-line entry forms and secure payment makes for easy entry. The draw back of this is the race has limits and some people will be disappointed. The organisers have no choice but to limit entries due to safety issues and the sheer speed of information technology is out of their hands once the word is out. Some people have suggested a ballot system is used similar to the London Marathon. I have to say I disagree with them; deemed to be equally fair or unfair, depending on whether you win or lose. Also too time consuming for the organisers for a relatively small race. Choosing people on their running merits would also be a difficult task. Who do you choose - the sub 65 mins runner - or the runner raising money for charity. Both worthy entrants you would say, but a very difficult call to make.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Brid Half: Not a leisurely day at the seaside.

Near perfect conditions produced a large turnout for this annual event; a cool but welcoming on- shore breeze with clear blue skies. Judging by the amount of cash on the table quite a lot of people opted to enter on the day. This is one event where anyone who doesn't pre -enter misses out on the prizes.

Gathered at the front were: Andy Pearson(Longwood), Mark Hall(Otley), Tim Midgely(Bingley), Stuart McDonald(Bingley), Stuart Carmicheal(City of Hull), Paul Marchant(Leeds City).

As predicted, Andy Pearson was in front followed by Paul Marchant. Andy soon increased the pace on approaching the first roundabout. I set off fairly fast and it took to about the 2 mile point for the Bingley pair to catch me. I then stayed with them a bit until Tim M opened a gap and increased the pace. This was too fast for me and I stayed with Stuart M for a bit until he decided to try close the gap to Tim M. It was then solitary running, until I was caught by Mark H at about the 10k point - which I reached in 34-40. I passed the 10 mile point in 58-15 and then struggled with the remaining 3 miles. I was overtaken again on the final 500 meters. Legs were seriously mashed at this point and I was happy for the race to finish.

I recorded a time of 1-17-16, which was a little down on what I was hoping for, but collecting a Yorks Vet 45 trophy and £25 cheque helped mask the disappointment.

Mile splits were: 5-37, 5-38, 5-29, 5-39, 5-57, 6-04, 5-59, 6-19, 5-38, 5-48, 6-13, 5-56, 6-00

Friday, 15 October 2010

Fitness Update

Sorry it's been a long time since my last blog entry. I have to admit I rather enjoy reading other peoples blogs and commenting rather than writing them myself. It is interesting to read about some runners returning to the sport again - after taking some time out. I've heard it called the sport you never give up(unless through injury). However frustrating, however painful, we never seem to want to stop doing it. Nothing prepares the mind better than going out for a run or doing a race. Only a runner can understand the buzz of it all.

The Horsforth 10k was my last race and it felt good to mix with the front runners once again. A time of 34-49 on the day was fairly respectable, given that it's not really an easy course. I was just over a minute off the winning pace and so no real complaints about that. Beating team mate Kevin O was a bonus.

I am still training hard and managing to do about 50 miles a week; one long run of 17 miles and a fast session on Thursdays. Last nights fast session was a total of 6k; 5 x 500m in 1-35, 2 x 1000m in 3-20, plus 5 x 300m in 51 seconds.

I have a number for the Brid Half on Sunday, so that should hopefully be a good test of my fitness.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ryedale 10 Mile - Some more improvement.

I decided to make the trip to Old Malton today to do the Ryedale 10 Mile Road Race. This seemed like an ideal training race for the up and coming Brid Half and Thirsk 10 Mile in October and November. I wanted to test myself over 10 miles and treat this like a time trial. I am pleased with the way the training as been going to date. Thrashing out a few 17 minute 5k's on the treadmill. This race seemed ideal to test it out.

This was a small but well organised event with plenty of volunteers willing to help out with the marshalling etc. I did feel this was one of these races for charity so I had no regret in handing over the cash to enter.

I only recognised a few runners in the line up at the start, so I had to use the tactic of setting off steady and seeing if anybody could match the pace. Or even if I could match their pace.

When the race started a chap from Beverley AC set off fast, and because I didn't know him I wasn't sure whether this was to win a bet at the pub or he was a seasoned runner. It turned out that he had a sub 56 PB for 10 mile. Nobody else seemed to challenge us and my plan of just 'sticking' to him and hoping I have the fitness left to run for 'home' seemed the best option. I felt good even to the 8 mile point. Now the thoughts of winning the race and the mental imagery of collecting the winners prize at the end was dulling the pain. I kept surging with the pace, only in the hope that he would then give up the chase and let me win. With 1k to go I gave everything and went for the finish. This was too early and I think the chap sensed that I was beginning to labour. He then overtook me on a downhill section to the finish. I checked my Garmin and the pace was then 4-50/ mile. At the finish he had a lead of approximately 15 seconds. However, I was still happy in the knowledge that I gave everything and this had the result of producing a recent PB.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Askern 10 Mile - Some improvement

This years Askern 10 mile didn't seem as hot as previous years and with a tapering phase from Thursday onwards things were looking good. A cool and fairly gentle breeze. The legs felt fresh and the mind set was good.

Up to last Sunday I was averaging a steady 50 miles per week, mostly running to work and back with a rucksack full of sandwiches and a water bottle. The home bound run(with empty rucksack) usually tops up the daily distance to 11 miles in total.

There were only a few runners in the front line that I recognised. With D Allinson, J Wardman(Rothwell) and M Hall(Otley) the only runners that should stay in my sights. I exchanged a few words with J Wardman, who said he would be trying to go for 56 mins, with the first five done at comfortable pace. It seemed reasonable to try and keep him close by to achieve a good time. When the race started a runner from Sheffield soon opened up a lead on the rest and a small chasing group developed behind him. This contained about five of us. The pace felt good to me and I was not struggling to keep up. It was only after about 6 miles that I started to drift off the pace with the group and then it became a case of damage limitation after that. I was overtaken by a chap from Goole Viking near the end and eventually finished in 59-13, first vet 45 and £20 in Rundirect vouchers. Some of the other runners seemed to have struggled which made it easier to take. Ive had worse days.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Why am I not a champion?

Reading blogs and listening to other runners has finally given me some insight into what attributes a runner needs to become a champion competitor.

I have found that to be a champion you need to be obsessive about winning, but probably more importantly, obsessive about your training and everything else to do with your sport in order to win. Champions also seem to have the ability to control this obsessiveness and use it to their up most advantage. It seems you also need to have the desire to win at all costs, the ability to overcome setbacks, learn from it and to come back stronger. I have observed that champions are usually but not always naturally gifted in their chosen sport and mostly single minded and determined. Those who are not 'blessed' with natural talent can still be champions if they have the mental strength, the desire and the commitment to train hard to overcome this. Certainly, natural talent alone is not enough to make you a champion. True champions are not usually content unless they win and anything less than first place in a race can be a disaster for them. They are sometimes very self critical of what they have achieved. I can now understand why some champion runners give up the sport even when they are still very good and so not choosing to compete at veteran level - unless of course they can be assured of an outright win. They are usually very focussed individuals, usually paying particular attention to detail and organisation in their lives, more particularly when it is related to their chosen sport(running). They take their sport seriously, train hard and usually have superior mental strength. They are ferociously competitive and mostly possess an element of 'killer instinct'.

I have to admit I think I have a little bit of all these qualities but probably not enough of any of them to make a champion runner. At least I know that winning a race is not just about clocking up miles.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A little hiccup at Eccup

I was not sure whether to do this race this year. It was the cooler morning which made my mind up, having got up early and eagerly checked out the Abbey runners website making sure the race wasn't full.

I was just going to turn up and treat it as a long Sunday tempo run, trying to average 5-50 per mile and dip under 60 minutes. This 'joggin' round the race stuff never seems to work for me though. The competitive instinct kicks in and you sometimes can not hold back. Seeing rival runners in the line up and friendly competitiveness from your other club mates can start the fire burning.

Among the front runners that I recognised on Sunday were Andy Pearson from Longwood , Ian Fisher(now unattached) ,Tim Midgely(Bingley) , Kevin Ogden(Spen) and Mark Hall(Otley).

It was great to see Ian Fisher back in action after taking some time off. Without much training and even showing some resemblance of his old form in the windy conditions.

I just managed to finish outside the 60 minute mark with 60-04. This was after trying to power to the finish realising how close it was going to be.

I may do the Pudsey or Harrogate 10k this month and maybe Askern 10 mile in August.

It's a shame about the foot in the photo. It almost looks like I'm leading the race!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A long run with a difference

Today four of us decided to do the 3 peaks challenge at Horton in Ribblesdale.

We had decided beforehand to run as much of the route as possible whilst avoiding running the really rocky bits and severe inclines. We arrived in good time and managed a pot of coffee and Flapjack before clocking in. There seemed to be masses of people there and I think it was something to do with Macmillan Cancer Care. We all did the run in just under seven hours, which considering we stopped for lunch and picture taking it wasn't too bad.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Reindeer Romp Trail Race

Last night me and a few other Spen runners did this short trail race(2.7 miles). It was kind of a friendly race run from the Reindeer pub(Middlestown). It was a surprise to receive large plates of chips at the end and loaves of bread so you can make your own chip butties. Much tastier than a T shirt I would say!

My race tactic of steadily easing into it and then increasing the pace later was totally wrong. These were narrow paths and woodland where there was no place to overtake. The race also started on a downhill section allowing loads of runners to start at great speed. However, I was pleased with the experience and workout.

My next race may be the Eccup 10 mile - will wait and see.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Another build up phase needed.

It feels like an age since my last race which was the Esholt 5k on the 19th May. June has been a busy month for me, what with family holidays and the like, so I haven't had much chance to put in many miles. I have put in some 2 hour bike rides just to keep up some fitness.

It's the annual Joe Percy 10k tonight night at Farnley Tyas(near Huddersfield). It's certainly too short notice to get into any sort of shape for that. This race requires teams of 10 and for our club it will be a difficult task getting 10 of us together. I will just turn up and rely on the reaction taking over. Maybe a race is what I need to make me train hard again.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Leeds Half Marathon

The race plan last Sunday was to run the first half very conservatively and then to try surge past runners on the downhill bits and along Kirkstall road. I still had memories from last years race and suffering total burnout by overdoing the first half. This meant that last year the 'run in' along Kirkstall road was a hard slog to the finish. The Leeds course is virtually uphill for 6.5 miles and then mostly flat and downhill after that.

During the line up at the start I was aware of the presence of John Convery(Bingley), Richard Pattinson(P&B) and Duncan Clarke(Abbey Runners). All these runners are in my age group, but I wasn't in any position to give chase or run side by side this year. I was sticking to my plan of running very steady and totally within myself until the halfway point. This is so hard to do when you see other runners that you know in front that you should be running with. I had no intention of listening to the devil and going with the reaction this time.

When the race started Andy Pearson(Longwood) was off like a rocket and seemed to be averaging well under 5 minute miling. In my sights I had a group of Abbey Runners containing Andy May and a few others. Andy May is in great form so I knew that if I kept him in sight I should be in for a reasonable time. Before reaching the two mile point I noticed Duncan Clarke on the pathway along the race route. This was the end of the race for him and I didn't stop to ask what was up. Up to the 5 mile point I felt comfortable, very relaxed and felt that I had loads of running left in me. When I reached the Ring Road towards the end of King Lane at the Moortown roundabout there was a downhill section in which I decide to open up the pace. I checked the Garmin and it read 5-17 per mile. I thought this was slow considering that this whole section was downhill. The group of runners that I had tried to keep sight of were gaining more lead on me and that seemed to destroy my confidence for the uphill stretch. I tried to dig deep into that uphill section and this had the effect of wasting too much energy. The race route then dropped down towards Horsforth and the Hawkesworth roundabout. At this point all form had gone and I was running at near maximum just to maintain even pace. When I reached Kirkstall Road the pace slowed to just under 6 minute miling and I was in no position to improve on that. With 4 and half miles to go from there I was just trying to make sure I didn't lose any position towards the finish. I eventually finished in 1-20-23, somewhat disappointed, but with 2 previous races in my legs(Rothwell 10k and John Carr 5k) I couldn't really expect much better.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

John Carr 5K

Can anybody ever say that a 5k is enjoyable? Only when it is all over I say.

These 5k's are usually run at close to aerobic threshold pace and if your not careful some step over into anearobic running. In my view these are perfect training for the distance runner; virtually flat out pace but must still be controlled, painful but not too far and fairly easy to recover from. A few of these must make a half marathon seem like a walk in the park. I will find out on Sunday at the Leeds Half.

I was happy for the race to start as the midges were starting to bite. After Mondays run at Rothwell my legs felt tired. However, when the race started the reaction kicked in and the pain subsided. I finished with a respectable time of 16-39 and second V45. I was chasing Kevin Ogden who had a storming run to finish in 16-20. Sister Nicola from Pudsey Pacers came in at 22.22. Well done on her first 5k.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Rothwell 10k - changed course

This years Rothwell 10k was a changed course and most runners I spoke to said that it was harder than the last course. This was no surprise bearing in mind that the other course was mainly downhill.

When the race started I set off with the two leaders which included eventual race winner Andrew Pearson. This pace was way beyond me but surprisingly I felt very easy and relaxed for about 1k. I was aware of the charge from behind from Spen pal Kevin Ogden, V45 runner Duncan Clarke, Kev Lilley V45, Tim Midgeley and John Convery V45. Also with others that were in that fairly large chasing group. Most of the course is on one of my long Sunday run routes through Methley and then onto the main road back to the sports centre, so I know the course well. In my mind I had a time of 34-30, which would have been excellent given the changed course and windy conditions. However, I was still happy with my finishing time of 34-52 and third V45.

Thanks to all the organisers and others who were shouting support along the route.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Windy Wakefield spoils PB attempt!

A proper taper this time with no speed work on Thursday, easy running on Friday and a gym session on Saturday. This meant that the legs were fresh and ready for the challenge. Having done fast paced runs of around 16 miles on the previous 3 Sundays I was more than ready to race this one.

The race is now an out and back course along the A642 Horbury road, setting off at the side of Thornes Park. This is different to the previous course around the city, which had more bends and turns.

At the start point the wind didn't seem too bad but as soon as we hit the main road there was a strong headwind. The legs felt good at that time and I settled into a rhythm, having focused on some runners who are capable of sub 34 mins. Tim Midgeley(Bingley), John Broom(Holmfirth) and Andy Whitworth(Meltham) were in the group with me. I felt very comfortable with the pace. I was also happy that the front runners were not disappearing out of sight, which can only mean they are also slowing with the strong head wind. I prefer racing in a group rather than out alone, this seems to make you focus more and the race pass by quicker. On the negative side it can also make you go faster than you are capable of. I was aware of this but felt I had built the fitness to take these guys on -that's what my mind was saying anyway.

At around the 5k turn round point Tim Midgeley fell off the pace and eventually pulled out of the race altogether. It then became a battle between Andy Whitworth and myself, with Daniel Fisher(Valley Striders) and Paul Humphries(Rotherham) joining in. Again, I felt fit enough to take it to the line and it was just a matter of knowing when to go for it. At the 9k marker I decided to go, I sprinted to the line clocking 5-19 for the last mile and just missing out on a sub 35. I was slightly disappointed with the time but pleased that I had won the battle with the group that I was with. I came second V45 with Carl Thackery taking first V45 by quite a long way.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Norton 9 - Stronger for longer

Cool and perfect running conditions on Sunday saw a good turnout for the annual Norton 9 Mile Road Race. I like doing this one because although it's all on the road it's mainly country roads and very scenic. It reminds me of parts of the Ackworth Half Marathon course or the Askern 10 Mile, both good courses. I wasn't sure what time I was going to get, I thought I was probably as fit as last year if not slightly fitter. I have been doing some long runs at tempo pace and I think this as helped my endurance enormously.

In the line up at the front was Andrew Pearson(Longwood), Pumlani Bangani(Salford), Kev Lilley(Sheffield) and Paul Marchant(now Leeds City). I had no thoughts about 'clinging on' or staying near to these guys and my plan was to try to reduce the gap over the full nine miles. As expected, Andrew set off like a rocket and Pumlani tried to follow but quickly had to ease back. A chasing group formed, which contained me, Paul Marchant, Kev Lilley, Steve Roebuck(Penistone), James Wardman(Rothwell) and Darren Newbould(Hallamshire). The pace felt good and I did think I would be able to maintain this pace all the way, hoping that some of the others would fade. I was mindful of the fact that Paul Marchant was well within himself at that pace and was just wondering when he was going to give chase to the second man(Pumlani). I was surprised that I was able to run comfortably alongside Kev Lilley, even up to the half way point. He is in the same Vet group as me(V45) but much higher up the rankings and showing greater consistency this year. At about the five mile point the chasing group started to break up with Kev Lilley and Darren Newbould from Hallamshire chasing for 4th and 5th spot, with me and James Wardman battling it out for 6th and 7th. A gap opened between me and James Wardman and I eventually finished in 7th, with a respectable time of 51-14 and an average pace of about 5-41 per mile. I was well pleased with it.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Norton 9 and training update

This Sunday is time for the annual Norton 9 Road Race. The hope of some mild weather and spring sunshine appear to be fading fast and it may be another cold one. For those runners who can't manage the full 10 miles the Norton 9 is a good race to do(joke!). Other than that I can't see why it is a nine miler - probably just to be unique.

Training wise, I am slowly getting back into increasing the mileage after a long period of reduced training to allow this knee problem to settle. The core strengthening and weight training workouts are definitely helping the knee. I am also trying to replace some running with aerobic workouts on the rower and cross trainer to reduce any impact. I can still run though and the problem is now much better than it was. Last Sunday I completed a long run of 17 miles at a steady 7-36 average pace, finishing with just some slight soreness. I hope to resume some higher intensity training in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Dewsbury 10k

A short travel to Dewsbury today and a perfect early starter(9-00am). With no signs of a recent cold I was up for it and mentally 'pencilled in' a sub 35 minutes for today. Early starters are perfect for me; I can get my race done, get home and avoid any family conflict. Lining up at the start never tells you how you are going to do in the race and sometimes I've felt great and run bad, other times I've felt bad and run great.

I wasn't sure whether to go for the comfort of the Ascics 1140's for the run or the lighter Brooks racer's. The Ascics 1140's feel like a pair of comfy slippers when they are new and the Brooks are lighter but the comfort is compensated with a much thinner and harder sole. I am certain it's all in the mind but the thought of running in an 'heavy' shoe could be all that's needed to put you off.

I noticed that the start of the race was brought further forward down the hill from last year, so presumably the turn round point was further away too. I think this was a plan to gain a little for those chasing those miliseconds off for a PB. Among the line up at the front was Andrew Pearson(Longwood), Mark Buckingham(Holmfirth), Mike Burrett(Leeds), Gary Dunn(Thirsk and Sowerby) and John Convery(Bingley Harriers).

My race plan was to stay within site of another V45, Duncan Clark(Abbey Runners), and close the distance on him(if my fitness allowed) for the return 5k. I had no chance of a top prize today- with John Convery in the line up, a second or third place was the only option for me. A near disaster at the start when my chip timer came loose and was held on by one tie. Not wanting to run with a wobbly chip timer, I quickly pulled the whole thing off and held onto it for the whole race. luckily my time still registered on the mat and I bent down with the chip timer at the end to make sure(see you tube video)

I finished the race fourth V45, with a time of 35-20, which I think is a similar time to last year. I hope to be much fitter for the Wakefield and Rothwell 10k's in which I can challenge the sub 35 again.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Brass Monkey Half Marathon

Having missed the deadline for this years event once again, I was resigned to the fact of not running it again this year. I unexpectedly received a text with an offer of a number only last Tuesday. I had heard that non runners were not allowed to transfer numbers to other runners. To clarify this, I e-mailed the race secretary at York and they sent me instructions on the legal way to do it. So I then arranged for a special next day delivery of the entry form and transfer details to York and I was in the race. I wasn't planning to do the run so the training as been on and off and I can't really complain about my time because I've hardly done any quality training.

During the first few miles the pace was comfortable and I felt reasonably ok. It wasn't until the 10 mile mark that the legs 'gave up' . I reached 3 miles in 17-10, 6 miles in 34-40, 10 miles in 58-30, then the last 3 miles were a drag and I could only manage 6-20/mile. This is a real consequence of not doing the long runs and the over distance work. Early in the race I had my sights on another V45, Duncan Clark, who dropped off from the chasing group at five miles. The distance on him was closing, but started to open up again as my legs started to give way. Team mate and fellow Spen runner Kevin Ogden had a good run and finished in 1-15-10, which should help towards his spring marathon campaign.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Charge of the Resolutionists.

I thought this year was going to be different, there were no signs of the masses of people that usually follow the over excesses of Christmas and the New Year. How wrong was I? The weather just held them back for a short time. You now need to be faster at getting to the treadmill than on it! If your a man who wants to work your bum, tum or thighs you have to wait in the queue behind several ladies(complete with copies of Womans Own). Also the men just seem to be interested in training their arms, chest or shoulders with little regard for anything else. I don't suppose we can complain because these people must keep the gyms going; usually paying upfront and hardly any wear and tear on the equipment.

I am lucky that I am a member of a very large gym with about 30 treadmills, loads of rowers, steppers and cross trainers. I managed to do a threshold session on the treadmill on Tuesday; 5k in 17-50 plus 6 x 500 meters at 20kph pace.