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.