As a youngster, I would get home from School, get changed and go out to play with my pals.
Now I'm older, I get home from work, get changed and go out to play with my pals, but now I call it training.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The last post

On boxing day I ran 14 miles. 7:15 per mile average in the snow and ice was good enough for me. Last year we (me and Milly) were not inside 7s when we started the marathon schedule. I felt much better running 14 miles than I had felt running 13 the week prior. I shall continue adding a mile per week and hopefully the pace will increase too.

Monday I was up the fells for a good 3 hours. Although there was a good deal of walking on the steepest ascents we (me and Appleby Stu) were running whenever possible so overall it was a good conditioning workout.

Tuesday was a funny day - despite being off work I didnt get round to running while it was light and ended up joining the Harriers again for their hill reps. I tried much harder this time than last and afterwards my lungs were hurting from the effort and strangely so were my ARMS!?

Wednesday was another late run -  a steady 7 miles jog with the Champ.

Sharp Edge
On Thursday we (me and Penrith Stu and my brother Jason) were up the fells again. Not such a good run this time though, as I was keen to get some photos of Blencathras Sharp Edge. Photos were a washout mostly as it was a gloomy, misty day. But a good day was had by all nevertheless.

Today we (me and Milly and Kev and Tom) jogged about 10miles at 7 pace.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

a LOT of jogging

The latest snow came to nowt, scarcely an inch, but since it snowed it has never gone above freezing - day or night. This means that the pavements are covered in a very thin film of compacted snow and ice - not ideal for running on. Wearing full fell shoes has prevented any slips but I've only been jogging  - nothing fast. I've been every day though (though a couple of days were very short runs due to ridiculously low temps)

Last Weekend I ran my 13 mile circuit in 1hr 35mins  26 secs - not exactly a stellar performance but in the conditions was probably OK for my first 'long run'. Tomorrow I'll do exactly the same circuit but with an additional 7minute out and back loop (to make it approx 14miles).

I managed a couple of decent length runs in the midweek - 8 miles on Wed and Thurs night, and on Friday I ran 5 miles hard. I say hard I mean harder then my jogging efforts of late.

I got some Kahtoolas to attach to my shoes so I can run without fear of slipping on the ice. The snow on the pavements is too thin to use them as they would surely become blunt and damaged. And on the park which is totally flat, my fellshoes get plenty of grip anyway, but I'm looking forward to using them on the fells on Monday.

I should manage to get some faster running done this coming week. Not at work until Wednesday and even then only sort of part time as and when necessary.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I wish it could be Christmas every day

Time marches on! It seems not long ago I was relishing a two month spell easing myself back into 'proper' training - but now I still feel sluggish and unprepared for a marathon campaign having  just 2 weeks of that 2 months left.

Usually I look forward to the Christmas break with an anticipation of getting lots of additional training done, longer runs, and daytime running instead of at night after work. I am still very much looking forward to all of that but in the back of my mind is the fact that I'm still very unfit and still on the 'comeback trail' following my time out. My longest run since the summer is 10 miles (although I have a few 3hr+ fellrun/walks), and I always like to start my marathon campaign with a 16 miler before the end of the year. It is my intention to run 13 miles this Saturday and as long as that goes OK I should manage 15 the following week.

I've been very disciplined of late - having ran every day since I 'missed' Thursday 9th December.

Monday I hoped to meet up with Milly. He confirmed at dinnertime that he would be out as usual at 6 oclock but I was alarmed to hear that 20miutes at 5.30 pace was his intention!!!!!!!!

Luckily he didnt make it due to work commitments - I say luckily because I couldnt possibly have kept up with that pace. Perhaps for a mile but then I would have had to ease back. Instead I ran a similar session but at my own pace. I ran 3 miles in 18.18. Not flat out by any means - just a good steady effort.

Tuesday I was warming up to do 4 miles at similar pace when I stumbled upon the Border Harriers group doing hill reps. As I have no firm schedule to stick to I decided I may as well do something different and in company, so I joined in with the session. To be honest though, these reps were, I feel, unsuitable for my current intentions to claw back fitness. They were very short, possibly less than a minute, and the hill was of no real consequence whatsoever, so they were a bit like doing 300m-400m reps on a track, which is NOT a session I ever do.

Legs were a bit tired on Wednesday even so. Perhaps not surprising as the hill reps were the first reps I'd done since the last week in July. So I just jogged round my 7 mile circuit with the Champion of Manhatten. Probably took us an hour including wee wee stoppage time.

Thursday I was keen to lengthen my pace run by a mile, to 4. I figured that I would go just a tad slower than the 6.06 pace i had achieved on Monday for 3 miles, so set myself a target time of 25 minutes (6.15 pace). Most of my half-mile time checks showed I was only just inside 6.30s though - not so great. A final time of 25.46 left me perplexed and disappointed as to why I ran 20 odd seconds per mile slower than I had on Monday for what felt like a very similar input effort.

So, keen to prove Thursday was a blip I ran exactly the same route tonight too. It would have been very easy to run at a higher intensity to achieve a faster time but I avoided doing this and kept the same steady effort as the night before. I ran almost exactly the same time as the night before (25.38), so Im no less perplexed than I was. Perhaps Im asking too much of myself yet. But then again how did I run 6.06 pace over 3 miles on Monday without flogging myself if I'm only fit enough to run 6.25 pace over 4 miles?

Next week this run will be 5 miles each time I do it. Based on what I've done so far I'd should be no slower than 32 and a half minutes. I made an earlier reference to a plan to do track intervals this week, but after the daft hills session on Tuesday I decided there was little point. Maybe I will get there (track) next week. If I do there will be no daft sub one minute reps - it'll be 4x1mile for my first session - with a target time of sub 5.50 pace off 3 minute recoveries.

So finally, to quell the urge among those in the South to leave comments about boring number based posts lacking interesting photographs I leave you with this masterpiece.


It is of course the very photogenic Ricky Lightfoot who is attempting a winter Bob Graham round this very evening. Best of luck and hopefully that smile will be evident once back at the Moot Hall tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Now, let's get this party started

The first day in Edinburgh I didn't run, which was a bit disappointing as I had, up to then, ran every day for over a week. Got back to it on Friday though, and Saturday too with  treadmill runs in the hotel Gym. Not far, just three or four miles, but including a mile each time at decent pace of 5:40.


The hotel we stayed in was called The Scotsman. I hadn't heard of it prior to this trip but one thing for sure is I will never again need to look for an Edinburgh Hotel - this was the best hotel I have ever stayed in - quite superb.

Back home it was remarkable to see that the snow and ice that had caused nearly two weeks of disruption to my evening training had completely melted!

Keen to make the most of the weekend, today I went up the fells for a 'decent' run. None of the deep snow or steep hills encountered last Sunday meant I was able to run more than walk - in fact when I was walking it was only due to the incline so the heartrate was up there anyway. The ground was good for running - free from snow but a hard enough frost meant there was very little water around - ice in the shady corners was easily avoided and if it wasn't for breaking through some ice into mud up to my shins after approx 3 minutes of beginning the run I reckon I would have had dry feet throughout.

I stopped just once to take some photos. here is one I really like. And here is another, of Skiddaw and her neighbours.

So with the snow gone I'm keen and excited to get some decent training under my belt in this run up to Christmas. Hopefully Milly will be out tomorrow evening - if not I'll do my 3 miles pace run, moving it on to 4 miles for the rest of the week. I might even go to the track if it's reopened after the weather.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pesky weather

After getting the physio's confirmation that all was well and I should be running I moire or less stopped again. Due to the weather really. It was so slippery I thought running would be foolish to try, so I sat in the house Monday -Thursday night. By Friday though I was desperate to run and went out with fell shoes on. There was no problem whatsoever - I didn't slip once during a pleasant 4 miler.

Saturday I ran 10 miles (though not without stopping to let Scamp have a drink from the river)


Sunday I went up the fells. Helvellyn from Thirlmere side. It was glorious, the best weather I ever recall for being up there. On the summit of Helvellyn was not a breath of wind and the views went on for mile after mile.

Scamp atop Helvellyn, behind him,  Coniston is covered in a blanket of fog

















I was derided by those in the South for choosing a route with so little running (due to being too steep to run up). I see it differently though. I think if my heartrate is high due to walking hard up steep ground then that is just as good as jogging along at a steady pace on the flat. There was some running to be done as I crossed Helvellyn summit and on to Nethermost Pike - and then the return of same. But once the proper descent was before me it was a case of hold on to my hat and go for it. By choosing lines through untrodden snow there was little chance of slipping - often quite the reverse as I sank up to knee depth. But when it was only six inches or so it was utterly exhilarating and very very fast as I part ran, part slid my way down the hillside. I bit like a scree run but without the bleeding ankles afterwards.

Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I ran 5 miles in the snowy streets. No point in timing the runs but each took inside 40 minutes (for the 5 mile Houghton loop PLUS about 4 mins getting to and from the start -house).

Despite making the best of the weather I am now rather sick of it. I dont mind how cold it get 'cos Ive never been cold whilst running, but the icy pavements deteriorate in condition with every nights frost.
Off on a mini break to Edinburgh today so may get a couple of treadmill runs done.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All good

So after my three hour fellrun everything was OK. The next evening I met up with Milly and ran about 5 or 6 miles I think. What a pleasant change to be just me and Milly - we had a right good craic and caught up on the latest goings on.

Tuesday was my appointment with the physio. To be honest I knew that my bone couldn't possibly still have the fracture open as four days in a row running would have made it hurt  A LOT. He agreed that it was nicely healed and suggested that the recent problems I had felt were probably a muscle in the same region of my leg which had taken unkindly to the work asked of them after having had 8 weeks of doing very little.

I didn't run on Tuesday but on Wednesday I set off to do my now standard 3 miles at decent pace. I felt blummin great knowing I was over the injury and the ground felt like it was whizzing by under my feet like never before. It was quite astonishing therefore to see my watch recording the splits at nearly 7 minutes per mile!! The run took me longer than the first time I tried it a couple of weeks earlier in that appalling weather. I didn't up the effort level though as I don't want to get into competitions with myself to run it at race effort.

The next night the same route took 19.30 - six and half minute miling - better but still strange to be so slow.

Friday was a day off and Saturday would have been training but when I woke up the world had turned white around me. Keen not miss the first snow since getting seriously into photography I spent the next two hours wandering round the citys parks and streets until it was time to go to the Cross Country meeting where I was event photographer.
Penrith Stu braved the snow in the hope of a win but was 2nd
So what I am saying here is that I didn't train until today, Sunday. Trouble is the place is so snowy the only place to run is either main roads IN the road, or offroad. I ran about 6 miles with Scamp and not very hard effort.
Sunrise captured against the Castle wall
Got to the park before the paths were spoiled by footprints
Check out my photography blog for more photos of snow and an in depth report of my early morning shift

Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 days later

Its been 10 days since I posted owt and complaints have been coming my way so here's the craic.

All was going very well with my return to running. I had been on the road a bit and upped the distance gradually over the first two weeks back. But last Saturday after an hours run in Gelt woods I felt a familiar sharp pain in my leg. Reaching down to press the area I felt physically sick as I realised that the fracture must have opened up again. This was the worst possible news as surely it would mean ANOTHER 8 weeks out of action?

The following day I was event photographer at a duathlon race in Whinlatter Forest. After taking all my photos I had a couple of miles downhill to get back to the van. Wearing wellies and carrying all my gear I jogged along the soft forest track.  Strangely there was no hint of a sore leg.

Next day I met up with Milly who was running 36minutes at 6 pace. I knew I couldn't possibly keep up with him so ran just 2 miles at this pace then jogged around while  he carried on to the turnpoint. Then I ran another 2 miles with him to the finish. This felt hard (obviously because I have lost fitness). Again no trouble from my leg though.

Then on the Wednesday and again on the Friday I ran my 3 mile test. 19:30 and 19:09 were my times (6:30  and 6:23 pace). I knew I would soon knock chunks off the time I first tried this the previous week (19:46)

My leg was still aching a lot and if I poked about at it I could pinpoint the sore bit. I made an appointment with the physio for next Tuesday for his expert opinion. In the meantime though I had to decide whether or not to run the Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile road race. Clearly, 10 miles on road should be avoided if only just coming back from injury and whilst unsure if its properly healed - so I ran it anyway (wouldn't we all?)

It was nice to see so many familiar faces at the start in Brampton, and not from behind my camera lens for a change. Soon we were lined up at the top of the hill and the gun went off. I had thought about running a mile with Milly and Penrith Stu but in reality it seemed too fast to do this even from the start.
I settled into a very unfamiliar position in the middle of the pack  and ran with a steady effort.

At halfway  the clock said 31.30 but I knew the tough uphill at 8 miles and fatigue would prevent a 63 minute result. I finished inside 65 minutes though which I suppose isn't bad for my first 'proper' road run in more than 10 weeks.


Plucky used my camera and insists the results are fantastic. I would go so far as to say they are not rubbish photos and some are usable.
Also running were Milly, and Penrith Stu

Who both ran Pbs. If you want to hear about Penrith Stu's race click here.

Afterwards I had no problems from leg, so as if I wanted to force it to crack open as wide as  chocolate egg at Easter I went for a three hour fellrun today. My legs hurt right now - but it's that good hurt that you get from training.

I will continue with my three mile steady effort runs this week, possibly moving up to four miles and hopefully much nearer to six minute miling. Then, all I have to do is keep upping the distance without dropping the pace and I will run London Marathon in 2:37. Maybe not though eh?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Its harder in real life

When you are forced to sit at home for 8 weeks without running a step you cant help thinking about what it will be like when you resume running. Knowing you are losing fitness every day that passes....

You vow to yourself that you will train so intensely hard when you can run again.
You see yourself pounding the streets at night after work.
You long for that hurt in your legs and lungs and pledge that you will endure the pain like never before.
You picture yourself running fast and long and hard.
You relish the idea of running 20 miles and more
You plan the races you will enter and times you will achieve


Well,

I've been back running for about a week and half now.
I've gone through the run-walk-run-walk stage.
I've ran over a lot of grass and stepped in a lot of cow poo
I've tentatively ran on tarmac
I've managed to run for 45 minutes without stopping
I though it time to begin living out my 8 week daydream and do something a bit more difficult

So tonight (Matthew) I put myself through a little fitness test to see where I'm at pace-wise.
I have a 5 mile circuit I like to complete most nights at this time of year. I like to try to run it as close to 30 minutes as I can without flogging myself in the process. I decided 5 miles was a bit far for the first time so after a mile warmup jog I ran 3 miles and timed it at 19:45 (yes fact fans its the return of posts full of statistics).

Now I know what you are thinking - you're thinking 19:45 isnt very good for 3 miles (or if your name is Penrith Stu you are thinking 'blimey thats fast - did he mean 2 miles?'. But I must stress that this wasnt me running 3 miles flat out to see how fast I could do it. This was me running 3 miles at a decent pace, a steady effort, but well within myself. The weather was terrible tonight, storm force wind and driving rain which I reckon might have knocked a few seconds per mile from my pace. I also think that my first effort run in over 9 weeks was bound suffer from a lack of recent similar workouts and surely the next time I do the same I will be faster?

The distance felt fine and I have no qualms about increasing this to 4 miles probably next Tuesday. I may also do some mile reps on the track on Thursday. But I wont be risking any road based long ones for a while yet. Stick to the fells for Nov and Dec.
Ill be honest with you here and say I wasn't gonna include a photo. But Reeds Runners would only complain so here's Cumbrias answer to Chubby Brown on a recent field trip

Friday, November 5, 2010

Everything's running smoothly

Last weekends fell outing resulted in this highly acclaimed photo

After Mondays brief tour of the local grassy areas my leg was a bit achey for a few days. Nothing to worry about - it wasn't the injury that had failed to heal - just a bit of grumbling I think.
Tuesday I didn't run (on purpose) .Wednesday I covered four miles, again with walking breaks, but some of the running I did was very fast - as fartlek session I suppose if you want to be Swedish about these things.

On Thursday it was raining so ridiculously hard all day and night that I allowed myself a day off when I should have ran (as if 8 weeks of days off wasn't enough recently). So tonight I ran the same four miles as Wednesday - no fast stuff but no walking either.

Not sure what I'll do over the weekend. Up the fells tomorrow - maybe a bit or running involved - depends on weather and who comes with me. Sunday I'm  event photographer at a local 10 miler - may have chance for a half hour run.

Next week I will try road running for the first time, and also up the mileage to about 6 and also try three days in a row.

Oh yes, nearly forgot to say,  I won a lottery today too. Which was nice.

I'm so pleased with it I thought I'd include it again

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's been a long time coming for a short time running

"I went for a run today"

I haven't said that for 8 weeks

I was in such a good mood all day. Relishing the prospect of going for a run after work.....

Scamp was a bit miffed at getting a very curtailed walk. But little did he know that once we were home, put out the recycling for collection next morning, lit the fire, sent a couple of emails etc etc we were heading back out the door wearing not-yet-seen-this-autumn long sleeved top and shorts and back over  to the park and riverside trail.

I felt I could have ran constantly without incident but I took it sensible and interrupted the two miles  we covered with several walking breaks. It was spitting with rain, windy and damn cold when I was just walking but that didn't matter one jot. It was just good to be back into the normal routine.


Cow poo on my running shoes and sweat on my fave running  cap - great







Thursday, October 28, 2010

Here's that tunnel I was telling you about.......

..........and theres every chance that I will indeed run through it next Monday


Lots of complaints recently-

First off,  apparently I haven't been updating my blipfoto account often enough for some photography enthusiasts. Many apologies. I suppose its a bit like when you look forward to a great band releasing their next single with such eagerness and anticipation only for them to take an absolute age to do so. Don't be expecting owt  interesting today though - it'll almost certainly be the same image as you see above.

Next issue - Somebody said they thought the photo I took of them at a cross country event would be better if it had more interesting things in the background. Well I had been reliably schooled in the idea that race photos should be as clear and sharp as possible of the athletesinaction (see what I did there?) and NOT include background elements to distract from the subject. I even spent several hundred quid buying a lens that would make my backgrounds MORE blurred. However, the following week I took lots more photos of said complainer and ensured that they included all manner of background additions from farm buildings to, stone walls, gates, cattle troughs - you name it . Hopefully some purchases will follow.

And now onto the running. Well theres still no running  so lets move straight on to the cycling.
Last Sunday I once again trained with my pal Popsy and his CTC cronies. I was expecting it to be a similar ride to the previous week, ie under 2 hrs and quite hilly. But it turned out to be nearer 3 hours and VERY hilly. I was struggling a bit by the last half hour but remained in my position on the front of the group where I had been most of the day.

Finally, don't forget to have a read of my interesting photography blog

Friday, October 22, 2010

Found this - not really a tunnel - just an arch - close enough!

Light, tunnels, and the end

Yes its nearly time to go for a run. The advice was to quit for 7 to 8 weeks and it was me that decided to wait until 6th November even though thats almost 9 weeks. So I have decided that I will take my first running steps a few days earlier. Monday November 1st will be exactly 8 weeks from my previous run and that is the day I will resume.

Not that I'll be doing 10 miles hard or owt daft like that on the first day. I will begin by running for no more than 15 minutes on grass. That 15mins will be within a one hour walk with Scamp so it wont be a sudden bolt out the door and back home again. The next day I will not run. Then I will run for 20 mins and possibly two days in a row. I intend to go on like this throughout all of November, gradually building up the time on my feet and consecutive days until eventually I'm back on the road and on a 5 day week.

December will see me move back to 6 days training per week and then at Christmas it will be all out for London 2011.

All of this is of course presuming that when I resume running there is no problem with my leg. I don't think there will be, but its always a worry, and until about 12 months after recovery I always get scared whenever I feel ANY slight niggle even remotely close to where the problem was.

Sorry photo fans but despite taking many thousands during the last few weeks I don't have anything suitable to accompany this post.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Braithwaite - nowhere will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy

After a tough but short fellwalk with Scamp on Saturday I watched and photographed the Cumbria League Cross Country race at Cockermouth in the afternoon. Penrith Stu ran well and the photos turned out as good as any I have taken, but more about that aspect on my other blog.

Sunday saw me make the effort to get back on my bike again.

I met up with my pal Popsy mid morning for what I expected to be two to three hours steady riding. Three other lads came along too (actually it was probably me who came along too - they probably always turn out). As we started out I rode on the front and chatted to Popsy who I hadn't seen for a proper crack for a long time. The pace was more than steady but I felt OK so persevered on the front. The route was hilly, very hilly. No significant climbs as such but plenty of short steep hills. Most notably it was on these hills that I was found to be lacking a little in strength to push up in as big a gear as the others seemed to be managing. Perhaps it's to do with having done so little biking for the last few years? My CV system wasnt struggling though, so I could keep up no problem by putting in an occasional spurt of acceleration, spinning like crazy in my lowest gear.

After one hour of riding I suggested to Popsy that we let somebody else go to the front and take the wind. Not ten minutes later though the pairing at the front failed to remain together and at tandem pace so I went to the front again myself where I remained (apart from on the hills) until we finished the ride.

A total of 1hr 40 mins was a bit shorter than I expected to be out for but the pace was higher. No idea how far we travelled or therefore what speed we averaged, but after one hour we had covered 18miles. The last 40 minutes was far less hilly and mainly tailwind so I expect 19-20 mph. An ideal workout.

In the future (ie when I am back running) I may try to do a ride similar to this followed up by a short easy run of 5-7 miles on the 'other' day of the weekend (ie the day I don't do my long marathon training run)

Saturday we walked up Barrow and Causey Pike. This is the view of Braithwaite from  Barrows lower slopes




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

itchy feet getting

Three and a half weeks to go.

last week I was at the stage where I thought

"I know its better but if I ran now it would soon deteriorate and I'd be back square one"

this week I'm almost thinking

"it's so much better. I havent felt anything for weeks - surely I could run now and everything would be ok?"

But I'm not as green as I'm cabbage looking so I will stick with the plan and keep counting down the days
 'til 6th November.

I did actually run today - about 20 metres. Scamp was off the lead and spotted another dog across the main road. Not usually a problem but there was a "never opened" open gate in the railings that form the park perimeter and he made for it. He seems to be a quicker runner than me. My heart was in my mouth as he luckily found a quiet spell in the traffic and crossed without incident.

Scarcely half an hour later a cyclist was killed in the same place following a collision with a lorry!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Precious few adventures this week

Ive settled into a routine......

finish work - longer than usual dogwalk - get home - spend several hours in front of iMac - eventually slump in front of telly by about 930 and pig out on sweets or pudding.

.......and its not doing me any good.

This week I began to feel generally unwell and I NEVER get ill. I'm run down from lack of exercise and excess of junk food.

The good news is that we've had the 6th of October. The 6th of October is (approx) halfway between the 6th of September and the 6th of November. The 6th of November is the day I will run again - not very far and not very fast, but run I will, and now I'm on countdown.

T'other day I happened across Dave who is the new owner of my beloved Daisy (now called Jess). I only had my cameraphone to hand but here is the bad tempered, bad attituded, evil to Scamp, won't keep of the sofa little bitch in all her cute butter wouldn't meltness.

She will be three years old on Sunday

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Slippyhands comes up trumps

Today I went out on my bike again. I'm getting quite well disciplined at getting out for a decent length ride now - it's still several weeks until I can run again so any fitness I can hang onto is important.

We set off from Iains house near Penrith and travelled to Shap (village), over Shap (summit) then descended almost to Kendal, cutting the corner off to reach Staveley via some minor country lanes. A little bit of main road toward Windermere, then cut through to join the road which climbs up to Kirkstone Pass. From Kirkstone it was a pleasant tailwind down to Patterdale, Glenridding, Pooley Bridge and finally back to Askham where we had began 3hrs 15 minutes earlier. 

Those are the facts of the day. The stories of the day include me taking a severe whipping at the supreme fitness of Mr Kelly. As the day wore on I was reminded of the big run we did together a year or two ago over the Derwent watershed summits - that day I grew ever weaker but  somehow clung on to the pace until we finally bagged the final summit and I could drop down the waiting car. Today I still felt strong until about 4 miles to go but those final few miles included a killer climb which despite being probably just a tenth of the scale of Kirkstone,  sapped the last morsels of physical strength from my legs to accompany the mental beating I was enduring watching Iain disappear into the distance.

We had a good day out overall though, really caught up the craic, then enjoyed a superb cup of tea and delicious cakes at Ians gaff before going home (in the van). 



And here is the star of todays show - Iain 'slippyhands'  Kelly at Kirkstone Pass summit.




Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm the fat bloke in the middle

Tidying through some junk and papers recently I came across this photo.




It was taken just after I won my first running race in 2003. 

Despite having another 5 weeks or so to endure not running I am VERY positive about my injury as I can no longer feel anything wrong in the affected leg. I know it's too soon to run on it as the fracture will just open up again, but compared to those few weeks when I was nursing it on soft ground and it got no better or worse I now feel confident I will make a full recovery and one day will be running again as far and as fast as ever.

Earlier this evening I was scanning the FRA forum and noticed a thread mentioning that the entries had opened today for the Four Villages Half marathon next January. So for some obscure reason I entered it. Its not a fast course, it's miles away to travel to and at £18 it's in the bracket I usually say '"im not paying that much for a race that isn't an international  marathon". I'm just feeling so buoyed of late that anything and everything seems possible, so racing is an exciting prospect. The joie de vivre  is with me.

My number came through for the London Marathon this week. In the magazine is a list of record finishing times dressed in various fancy dress costumes. Unless I regain 2:40 kind of fitness I may consider donning a lightweight silly getup and attempt to be the first sub 3hr carrot/panda/leprechaun.

Cycling planned for tomorrow - 50 miles including Kirkstone Pass and the 8 mile climb out of Kendal to Shap summit. Hope it doesn't rain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cycling to Loch Ness

Managed two Sundays in a row on my bike now. Most recently I went to Penrith again via the hilly A6 and home via a flatter route. Managed approx 20mph average - not bad going.

My leg doesnt hurt at all now (well sometimes it's a bit achey) but I'm not tempted to go running as I know the bone will not be fully healed for a few weeks yet.

This coming Sunday is the Loch Ness Marathon - I wonder what my time would have been?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Q. How do you know when summer is officially over?

A. When you light the fire for the first time since about April


(and you've got until about 6th November to put up with tripe like this)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More boring stories

Nothing to report on from last week.

The weekend did at least see me doing some stuff for fitness.

Saturday was the Three Shires fellrace from Little Langdale. Two of my pals were running, Iain of 42 Tops fame and Penrith Stu.  Iain pulled out last minute but I was in time to meet him atop Dunmail Raise just before he set off with a couple of lads on a BG recce of leg 3. I wished I was going with them and I probably could have as it turned out they were very slow so walking wounded Steve may have been able to keep up.

Instead I drove on, deep into the heart of The Lake District. Upon reaching Little Langdale I carried straight on through as there was nowhere to park and the tiny hamlet was thronging with fellrunners and their supporters and families.

Despite having dreamt last week about driving up a road so steep that my van tipped over backwards, I braved Wrynose Pass, parking near the top where the Three Shires Stone sits. Me and Scamp then studied the map before heading what seemed like it was probably South up a fellside I really hoped was the one the runners would come down some time later.

Indeed it was the right way and before long the runners were streaming towards me  as I clicked away on the old (new) Canon, capturing smiles, grimaces, trips, slip and falls. And even a bloke struggling to 'push' his bike down the hill to the road below. More on the photo aspect of the day will be found on my other blog. (I wonder how you do that thing where clicking on the words 'other blog' would open up said webpage? Penrith Stu often does it so it can't be that difficult - perhaps he gets his wife to help.

Iain said he usually did a long bike ride on Sundays so we arranged to meet up. Rain upon awakening was no discouragement to me but Iain (who had been out for over 6 hours the day before ) poo poohed the bike riding idea altogether. Having been promised home made cakes during our brief meeting the day before though, I rode through to his house beyond Penrith. Bacon butties were a welcome late breakfast but the cakes never made an appearance yet - the greedy bugger must've eaten the lot himself as reward for his fell outing!

I rode home 10 minutes faster faster than I had rode out. I dont have one of those bike computers, I find them far too elaborate (name that Reeves and Mortimer sketch) but my iPhone said it was 25 miles which I reckon to be pretty much correct. SO 17 MPH there and over 18 MPH home - not bad considering the hilly road I used and a town to ride through at either end of either ride. I am obviously still quite fit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jampacked

Running, (as I haven't been doing so for a week now) requires very little kit, and that's one of the great things about running compared to say, cycling. Running every day means theres always some kit in the washing machine, some in the laundry basket and some hanging up to dry.

Not running means that everything ends up clean and put away in its place, and this......

is my shorts/socks drawer. It is usually plenty big enough but with everything clean it is jampacked full.

Don't worry though, my vest/T shirt drawer is OK, as is my long-sleeved-top drawer, because they often remain filled anyway if the weather dictates one or the other are superfluous to requirements.

(with the photography blog tending to be updates only after a photo shoot and usually  at considerable length, this is the type of thing likely to pop up on here whilst I am out of action running wise - sorry)

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's been quiet and it's gonna be quieter

Following last weeks 'test running' to see if road mileage made my injury worse I can report that indeed it did. It took a while to fully develop again but last Tuesdays 10miler was the final straw. On Wednesday it was hurting sufficiently for me to decide it is definitely a stress fracture as first diagnosed. So that's a couple of months off running - shame because I had attained  a peak of fitness and results not bettered since 2004.

I am not too downbeat about it though. Its better to know now and take the 8 week hit rather than mess about for weeks on end running easy on grass, getting less and less fit and possibly still not allowing it to heal whilst doing so.

I need to get out on my bike, especially during the relative light nights of September, but can't get myself motivated to faff on with all the prep'. The extra clothes, the bike to check over, the drink and  food to take in back pocket, the additional time spent actually doing it compared to running. All in all I am reminded of why I packed in cycling in favour of running 10 years ago.

I have also found myself doing lots more photography, especially at the weekends when I have sought out racing events to photograph. Inevitably this means I have blogged more on.....

blogaboutphotography.blogspot.com

.....than here, and am likely to continue in the same manner.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A different hill

After resting on Friday I was at Gelt on Saturday morning. A very easy first lap was followed as usual by a quick lap 2. Plucky was mostly a stride behind me even though I thought it was no more than steady effort. At one point he did begin to tax me a little but then it became much easier again near the end of the lap. 32 and a bit minutes is not a mega time, it seems just right for the effort put in. Plucky says he fully expects to run a 34 in the forthcoming 10k this Wednesday. I have my doubts. He seems no fitter than me at present and I must have lost fitness since my two 35's earlier in the summer. We'll see. I will be taking photos of the race as I see little point in racing until I have safely resumed full training.

Yesterday I was taking photos as well as getting a half decent run in. Helvellyn Triathlon is great to watch, especially if the weather is as good as it was yesterday.

A lot more on how I got on with the photography aspect on my other blog but heres the link to the images

http://www.flickr.com/photos/racingevents/sets/72157624885639274/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An iPhone picture of Blencathra but no ascent today

Blencathra in all her Glory. Isn't she a beaut'? To be honest although this is the classic view of the mountain (its the one you see whilst driving along the A66 between Penrith and Keswick), I actually prefer  a view from further East. I might try taking some pics from Souther Fell next time - the early light should illuminate the ridges nicely.

The permanent cairn on Clough Head provides a windbreak, the lee of which is a good spot to set up ones tripod.


From several thousand feet ascent recently to zero feet ascent today. Tonight was track night. A return to interval training. Very wary of my not asking too much of my leg I did just 5x800metres. A couple of them were 5:20 pace the others about 5:35. No problems with leg. I can still feel something but wouldn't class it as pain of any description. It just feels different to my good leg. I don't think it can have been a stress fracture, or even the beginnings of one - probably more likely that I bashed against a rock in the Rydal Round back in July (as that's the first day I felt a bit of a sensation in that leg) and did some damage that took a while to come out and then even longer  to repair.

I think my 'test week' has gone well. Five days of running has not caused any exacerbation of the problem. I will rest on Friday as always and do summat a bit longer at the weekend. One great thing about not doing Loch Ness is that there is no pressure now until January 1st. Four months of training for pleasure - no target mileage or pace - bliss

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

...or Blen again I could go somewhere different

The weather was so nice today I decided to go up them there fells. I though Blencathra would be a good choice.......

Oh my god I am Bill Murray.Whats next? Andi Mcdowel doing a hair advert from my back garden? And to make matters worse its nearly Thursday - will the day pan out differently from Tuesday and Wednesday?

As long as my leg hurts just as much as it has then all will be good (ie it's not really hurting anymore, just a bit achey at times - so probably not  broken or owt serious after all).

Bed

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scamps a good boy now

This afternoon the weather was so good I thought a trip up them there fells was in order. Not surprisingly if you know me, Blencathra was the mountain of choice. I opted to run up Doddick Fell instead of the usual Halls Fell route as I had never been on that ridge before.

This is by far the best way up this hill if all you want to do is reach the top quickly. I got up in 58 minutes (from the south side of theA66) and this included going a bit wrong through the lower fields and also stopping for a couple of photos enroute.

Best news of the day was that my dog Scamp ran 95% of the time off the lead and didn't chase any sheep.
What an absolute joy to have your dog follow closely behind as  you run through such magnificent scenery. Often he would go across to the edge of the ridge and look into the distance toward the Eden Valley - I wondered if he was equally in awe of the view as I was myself? (probably just checking out the sheep in case I took my eye off him)

Once at the top I chatted at length to a bloke who was interested in photography, running and sheepdogs. He and his mate were enjoying a beer as they admired the 360 degree view. I  pointed out my white van in the carpark nearly 3000ft below and mentioned I would be back at it within 30 minutes once I set off down - I'm not sure they believed me but I made it in 31 including taking more photos and having a wash in the Ghyll at the bottom of the ridge.

An OS trig point marks Blencathras summit

Prior to setting off down I popped along to the top of Sharp Edge in the hope of getting a photo of someone struggling up this famous ridge. there was just one man going down though, and he was way in the distance. On such a peaceful, calm evening as tonight with 50 mile visibility it is quite remarkable to think there have been so many lives claimed on this single route alone. I didn't go down this way 'cos it would have took too long and going down such terrain is mostly annoying to me - going up it is tremendous fun as it is challenging as well as a good all round workout.
Lone adventurer safely making his way down Sharp edge

Anyway, to get to the point of the whole blog entry - my dodgy leg feels better today than at any time in the last month. This is despite running 10 miles on tarmac yesterday and thousands of feet of descent, hopping down off rocks etc today.



There's nowt there's nowt to blog about

International followers should know that 'nowt' means 'nothing'


I don't know how long I've spent running on grass. A couple of weeks I think. The 'thing' in my leg is no better or worse. It doesn't hurt to run on it, but its still there and as long as its there I'm concerned it may become much worse.  Not training properly is driving me up the wall though! I SHOULD be getting out on my bike, especially as the weather has been half decent, but I just can't be bothered most days. I've only been on two rides - not even 100 miles in total.

I have been up the fells a lot more than usual in an attempt to simulate the heartrate of a run whilst walking up the steep bits. But I also take my camera gear in a backpack to increase the effort required - this then results in me spending so long on the first summit experimenting taking pics that I run short of time and have to just go back down again and home rather than bag a few more summits for the day.

Time I  might have spent training or writing my blog about training has been spent poring over Ebay in the hope of snapping up a bargain lens or equipment. (Me and a thousand others).

On Bank Holiday Monday I decided to begin a test week. I ran 10 miles on the road. A decent effort was put in and although my lack of miles began to tell near the end I was pleased to go sub 66mins.I thought I would be so unfit that a 70 minute result would be tough to achieve. I plan to run very easy offroad  tonight (Tue), then effort again on Wednesday  for 8 miles. All being well I will then do a short session on the track Thursday. If all of this causes no exacerbation of the problem I will consider reintroducing a longer run at the weekend. If, on the other hand this causes the problem to flare up then I will go back to the physio and take the whole of September and October off from running. Two months off will be enough for a stress fracture (if that's what it is) to heal. It would then give me two months to slowly get back to 5 days a week so that on 1st January I could begin a structured schedule for London Marathon. I would also be able to run (probably very slowly) the Brampton to Carlisle 10miler in November, a race I have not missed since I first ran it in about 1998.

Watch this space

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tentative Steps

I hadn't ran at all for 12 days, and hadnt 'trained' properly for over three weeks. At first my layoff was due to being on honeymoon, but the couple of short runs I did whilst away were worrying, as my leg hurt quite a bit.

Back home I convinced myself it was another stress fracture (as it was in exactly the same place as 5 years ago but on the other leg). The big difference this time was that I was aware of what might potentially be wrong and so sought advice at an early stage (in 2005 I ran in increasing pain on the fracturefrom february until mid May, even doing a 74minute half before finally getting diagnosed and told to stop running for 7 weeks).

My physio said he thought it was my bone that was hurting, not soft tissue, so most likely it was a stress fracture as I suspected. However....

There is a chance that I caught it in the very early stages, possibly as the bone was grumbling away to itself prior to actually having the fracture fully develop. The advice was to quit running for two weeks then resume gradually on soft ground. So tonight I took my pick from overflowing drawers full of clean kit and ran about a mile and a half on the grass. There is certainly something going on still in my left leg that isnt in my right. But it doesn't hurt more after running on it so I'm hopeful I can get away WITHOUT the 7 week layoff this time.

I have already decided to bin off the Loch Ness Marathon, its only 5 weeks away and I have missed 3 full weeks of my 12 week schedule with more 'easy' weeks to come as I nurse myself back into things. This does at least allow me to save a few pennies in what has been a big year for outgoings. Unfortunately though it also means I will not be on the championship start at next years London Marathon as I was relying on running the qualifying time (sub 2:45) at Loch Ness. As a back up plan I have entered the Good For Age but only posted it yesterday and it has to arrive in London by 21st - fingers crossed they get it in time otherwise it could be Brighton Marathon for me next spring.

Brighton beach looking toward the East Pier

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rant

This is nowt to do with running (which I can't do at present by the way) but I am hearing the news about people being stuck abroad when the travel company fails again today and really can't understand why this is  the case.

Here's my thinking,

We all know from experience that before you get your tickets or set off on holiday you have to pay the full balance of your trip to the holiday company.

So the holiday company have the money in cleared funds in their account which they (presumably) then pay out from to the resort hotel, transfer bus company, airline etc.

So if the airline has been paid for the return flights why do they not fly the people home as booked and paid for?

If the holiday company HASN'T paid the airline (ie the holiday company pay the airline in arrears) then surely the airline is duty bound to fly the people home and pursue the directors of the holiday company in the usual manner for the money owed.

As the planes are flying back to the UK anyway with all the other passengers from other holiday companies, and it would seem highly unlikely that the airlines would somehow find different people wanting to fly to the UK from these resorts who hadn't already arranged their flights home, the plane seats will surely mostly remain empty? So what would the airline lose by flying them back? they might even make some cash selling duty free/gifts/perfume etc.

Perhaps I am missing out on something obvious here. Perhaps I am over simplifying the situation. I'm not a doctor but it seems perfectly simple to me that if the holiday company used the money they received from the holiday makers to pay the airlines for both flights prior to the holidaymakers leaving the UK then nobody should ever get stuck abroad.

Rant over

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home again home again yippety yip

Blimey!

What a week and a half I have had since my previous post. I dont know where to begin. Theres probably too much for one post so here's a list of recent goings on

Thursday  - Rydal Round Fell race (part of Ambleside Sports) - Finished 15th in the biggest field the race has known - 5 mins or more inside my course PB. I think they only let me lead 'cos I knew the way from the field through Rydal Hall to the fell. Penrith Stu also racing in this one. He finished nearer to me after 90 minutes of racing than he did after 36 the other week on roads. Born to race the fells that lad was.





Friday - Offroad run in the rain with my pal Gary who was up from Yorkshire. Somehow we managed to get lost only one mile from the city - by the time we retraced through mud and shoulder high weeds we were soaked through and cut to ribbons from the brambles. Great Fun

Saturday  - Married the love of my life, Janet. Fantastic day with so many friends


The view of reception was stunning
Sunday - still feeling like I was in a bubble - drove to Cardiff for the first leg of our honeymoon.
The hotel was out of this world - seriously. Look at the view from our private balcony




Monday - Went on a shopping spending spree then to theatre in Cardiff Bay

Tuesday - Decent one hour run then drove to Brighton

Wednesday -  Staying in The Grand where we paid £25 per night. TO PARK  THE CAR!!!!!
Spent perhaps the best hours of the holiday loading tuppences into slot machines in the arcade on the East Pier. Cheap honest fun that took us back to childhood.

Thursday - Ocean front run then drove up to Derbyshire


Friday - With little to do we watched daytime TV until one in the afternoon then sauntered round Derby before going to one of those Japanese restaurants where they entertain you by cooking (and juggling) your food right in front of you


Saturday - (Today) Back home - Steady 7 mile run over familiar ground to test my dodgy leg (more on dodgy leg later)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Packed Weekend

Last Friday I left the city on a familiar journey that ended at Keswick. Well just outside of Keswick actually at a campsite in Thornthwaite. The site was located quite high up the fellside just short of the lower tree line of Whinlatter Forest. The views on Friday were magnificent. It was a warm, sunny, clear day which provided a panorama  starting at the extreme left with the open  mountain-less gap to the Solway, then the bulk of Skiddaw and Carlside, and just a hint of the edge of Lonscale. Further round right was the gap of the A66 then Clough Head, The Dodds and down to Helvellyn. The site itself was merely a field in a farm allocated for caravans and tents with a wc and sink. The place was all but deserted as there was a more conventional site with showers and a shop only 100yds further down the hillside. An ideal location for a weekend of activities with a group of my best mates.

Friday evening we sat drinking tea and catching up until the sun stopped warming our old bodies, then we decamped to the famous Swinside Inn where a hearty feast and couple of pints of the black stuff was enjoyed.

Saturdays breakfast was a right faff as I had omitted to bring any pans to cook the bacon, eggs and sausages in. Everything had to be done under the grill which took ages. Beans were cooked in their can directly on the gas burner. It was all very tasty and enjoyable though, especially for Scotty who had been out for a very early run and returned to find the food all ready for him to tuck in. Plucky arrived at 0830 and Scotty went home at 0845 as he didn't have enough wife-permission-vouchers to stay any longer.



We cycled slowly up Whinlatter Pass to meet everyone else at the Go Ape high wire site. Go Ape was great fun. I was terrible at balancing on the obstacles. After a cafe stop in the Visitor centre we left Whinlatter behind as we cycled over into the Buttermere Valley. A bit of rain around but we were soon out of it again as we crossed Newlands Valley top and dropped  towards Keswick. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the ride and it hadn't taken very long so I suggested an additional loop under Catbells to Grange then back along the main Borrowdale road into Keswick. After more tea and delicious homemade cakes at the camp we ventured into Keswick for a pub meal. Getting up at 6am and being busy all day was enough to have me zonked out by 9oclcock. By just after 10 we were back at the site and in bed!!!


Sunday had been arranged to do a fell run over leg one of the BGR route. After a pleasant breakfast in Keswick we met the others, Penrith and Appleby Stu's and Penrith Stu's pal Steve (and me and Plucky). We walked our breakfast off with a stroll along the railway line path to Threlkeld.





Upon reaching Threlkeld the two  Stu's and Steve went up Blencathra like their pants were on fire and they needed to reach the big puddle on top ASAP. Me and Plucky took it much steadier. As we ascended ever higher it became clear that Plucky was not enjoying the day. (see his miserable face on photo). To be fair he was less than a week from completing his Ironman event which in itself was the culmination of many months of tough training. At the summit he realised he had dropped his favourite gilet and decided to look around for it before descending back the way we had already come.

The rest of us continued over Mungrisedale Common, through the Caldew and up Gt Calva. Down to the Cumbrian way and over Hare Crag to Skiddaw. As we descended Skiddaw I made some quick calculations and realised that we had taken little more than 3 hours for the leg. Considering the several stops we took and the short retrace I did with Plucky this was a damn quick time. No wonder Plucky wasn't enjoying it as the rest of us were just as fit as he is, more used to fells and also much more rested.

Back in Keswick we chatted a while at the cars and tried to help Appleby Stu push start his motor. To be honest I'm not sure he's ever done a push start before.


After a quick pint I nipped across for chips. Next door to the chippy was the New Balance shop where they were having a half price sale. So I returned to the van with chips and TWO pairs of my favourite 1064s for the price of one (and the usual price is about half the RRP anyway 'cos they are  seconds (but you can never tell why they have been rejected as firsts)). I checked my email before driving off and was also delighted to find I had won an item on Ebay for only half the price I had bid.

A great weekend from start to finish. Cheers Lads

Thursday, July 22, 2010

winning ways

On Monday I realised that there was a good race coming up on Wednesday so instead of the planned  easy jog I had to do my interval session. This allowed Tuesday to be an easy 8 miles, race Wed then easy 10 tonight. 

Mondays reps were my 5 by 3 minute over a 3 mile course. A good enough result of 15:51 is only 1 second slower than my best this year.

Wednesdays race was a hilly 10 and a bit KM. My scheduled session was to run 6 miles inside 36 minutes. To manage that in training is a seriously tough session, but being a race helps enormously. Despite the hilly course my time at the six mile marker was 35:20. I got 6th place in the event and first Vet, the prize for which is a very handy voucher for a shop in Keswick (where I am going tomorrow).  I don't suppose I will ever win another race outright but it's quite heartening to pick up these vet prizes. I think I've had about six or seven firsts since turning 40 last year. Penrith Stu also running. I would say also racing but as he took about 3 minutes longer than me to finish the route he can't have been trying very hard.

Tonights 10 miler was fairly easy pace but on tired legs it felt a very long way. At 9.5 miles I saw some people in the park I knew so I had no hesitation to stop to chat a while. Tomorrow I'm hoping to find the time to run another 10miles at a decent pace. Busy weekend ahead - Go Ape high wire adventure in Whinlatter Forest Saturday morning, cycling over some Lakeland passes Saturday afternoon, fellrun on Sunday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beware brain eating ants

On Wednesday I ran in the rain with Scamp - very refreshing, although we did shelter under a tree when the rain was at it's heaviest.

Earlier on Wednesday I had disturbed some ants during the course of my work. A few crawled on my arms and clothes which I brushed off. I was suddenly then aware of a serious pain in my right eye. I think an ant must have crawled onto my eyeball. I don't think it bit me as it wasnt a sharp pain - more like when you get soap in your eye only about 20 times worse, perhaps a reaction to the chemica's on the ants feet? Anyhowser, the pain soon went off and I was left with a bit of irritation in my eye from all the screwing up of my face and poking my eye in attempts to remove whatever was in it.

The next morning all seemed normal until about 5 minutes after getting out of bed when I was aware of a strange whooshing sound in my right ear accompanied by a constant feeling of aeroplane earpopping in both ears which wouldn't clear whatever I did and also the whole day long I had a strange woolly feeling like I wasn't really in my own body but possibly watching myself go about my daily business from just behind myself. I convinced myself that the ant must be alive inside my head and was busily eating its way through my brain. I kept closing one eye to check if I had gone yet gone blind in the other. That afternoon I constantly stumbled as I walked Scamp along the unevenly sloped river bank path.

By evening I was sure I was gonna be properly ill so I went to bed very early without doing any training. On Friday morning I awoke with the symptoms at about 5% of the level they were previously and during the day they went away completely. Panic over.

I'd hoped to get finished work sharp on Friday so I could go running in lieu of Thursday but I was late finishing and couldnt be bothered - also, it would have forced a plan change for the weekends training if I had done a reps session on Friday.

So to Saturday (today). Very wet weather and a blowy wind. Schedule said 12 miles at 6:10 pace. Without a means of measuring how far I am running unless I stick to known length routes I was going to have to either backtrack a lot on a short circuit or do the 10miler plus 2 one mile loops. Instead though I decided I may as well run my 13mile loop. It was always going to be a headwind home but for some reason I still don't really know I set off the opposite way round to usual. This meant that the final few miles were quite flat and very open to the wind, wheras if I had run my usual way round the final 4 miles would have featured a decent downhill and been in the town which is obviously much more sheltered by buildings and also has some direction changes to break up the persistent headwind. These are probably just lame excuses to justify why I took too long to complete the distance. 6:10 pace for 13 miles is 1:20:10. I ran 1:22:21 or about 6:20 pace.


Plucky and a few others are in Germany this weekend for their Ironman. Apparently it is red hot  - not ideal for a 10-15 hour event. My mate Popsy got a lift with his pal Brian. Brians car broke down enroute. Cost for taxi to get there? 550 euros! Makes the breakdown service membership seem cheap.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Geranium experiment

Saturday - Gelt Woods - 2 laps. Lap one very easy pace chatting to Plucky and Gill who I hadn't seen in a while. Lap 2 I thought I would blast off as hard as I could manage. I gave the others a head start as I knew I would catch them by the end of the lap. Darren also started with me but I was immediately aware of him being a few paces behind. I eased back a fraction in case he was able to get back on terms but by about 2 miles I was really going for it full on.

Halfway round the lap I caught up to Plucky who I understood to be taking it easy again. But he got right on my heels and stayed there for the remainder of the circuit. I did drop him by a few metres on one of the longer flat sections but he soon regained when we next went downhill. The end of the lap arrived after 30 minutes 15 seconds - my second fastest lap ever - beaten only by the time I 'raced' a lap with Plucky.

On Sunday I was well up for my first proper long run of this marathon campaign. 20 miles said the schedule so 20 miles it was to be. Well 19.5 actually, because that's how far 3 laps of the Talkin circuit happens to be. The weather was horrendous. Heavy rain and very strong winds. Lap times were clearly not going to be up to my usual standards. I set off pretty easy and only very gently ramped up the effort as the hours went by. Each of the laps was faster than the previous and my third was significantly faster. It was probably just outside 7 minute miling which is OK for my first long run on such a hilly route and in atrocious weather. My legs felt pretty rubbish during this run - clearly the 5 miles of effort round Gelt the day prior had had some lasting effect.

Monday I really enjoyed a very short, very easy run with Scamp (and Milly and Gareth).

Tuesday I was looking forward to a 10k race at Kendal. I felt pretty rubbish during the day and knew I would struggle to do my 6 miles sub 6 pace run if was just for training so the race would kind of give me that pace for free. Checking the website for the venue and start time I noticed the event was actually on Wednesday - Damn. I really couldn't be bothered to run hard so instead ran the 10 mile loop at a brisk pace.
I wasn't best pleased to see 33 minutes at halfway so upped the pace from 7 to 8 miles (ran in 12 minutes exactly) to record 64:30 for the 10.

Tonight (Wednesday) I jogged for an hour or so with Scamp.

Tomorrow the schedule says 5 miles of reps. Meeting Darren at 530pm. Probably do a couple of mile reps  steady then some 800s or 3minute reps.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Welcome back Sarah

Tuesday - Reps - 800m x 6 with 90 second recoveries

Warm up effort     2:45
proper effort  TW  2:31
proper effort HW  2:36
double recovery then another set of 3x800

real hard effort TW 2:26
real hard effort HW 2:34
warm down effort 2:37

I was intent on making 5:00 pace for these reps. Managed with my fourth and fifth - 5 minutes exactly.


Wednesday - very easy pace. Five or six miles probably


Thursday - six miles effort run. Felt absolutely great for this run. As usual my aim was to beat 6 minute miling. Gusty tailwind for the three outward miles required a faster target, -we decided 5:45 was suitable and made 5:43, 5:47 and 5:52 for each successive mile to reach the turning point in  17 minutes 22 seconds. The wind slowed progress on the way back but I still ducked inside 6min/miling to finish in 35:05 (5:51 pace).  Darren back to normal after his poor form t'other week. He was with me until the turn then only just 30 metres or so behind at 5 miles when he eased up to jog the final mile.

My idea behind this session is to run pretty hard but not flat out. I was certainly well within my abilities for the first 4 or 5 miles tonight and so am delighted to achieve this time. Based on tonight and also running so much better at Skiddaw last weekend, surely I can run 15 seconds per mile faster than this in a race situation and get my first 34 minute 10k for several years? Just need to find a not-to-hilly midweek 10k somewhere...




Tonight was my last day of 'messing about' training for a long time. This Sunday it is 12 weeks until Loch Ness Marathon and next Tuesday sees the beginning of my pre-planned schedule. The sessions should be manageable as they are very similar to what I have been doing since London - but they do get progressively tougher as each week passes. I suspect the Wednesdays may prove the toughest to force myself out the door for 8-10 miles easy pace (sub 7) as I have often ran just 4 or 5 miles in the park with Scamp (run with dog = lots of stopping for wees and to throw sticks).


Despite not even having started my Marathon schedule yet I am already looking forward to the final racing period of the year when we have the Derwent and Brampton 10 milers (November). I should be recovered from the Marathon and hopefully will still be enjoying this renewed fitness. That's not to say I 'm not looking forward to Loch Ness - I'm relishing the chance to run my second-fastest-ever 26.2 miler but a marathon is akin to a lot of eggs precariously placed in a fragile basket, whereas 10 milers and 10ks can be done every few weeks so afford a greater chance of a top performance.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Skiddaw Fell race

Travelling through to Keswick this morning the weather was so atrocious that running up one of Englands highest summits seemed a ludicrous notion.

Luckily about 140 folk thought it was a good idea so I wasn't on my own as I tackled the motorway ascent of  Jenkin Hill. There were hailstones and gale force winds to contend with as we neared the summit. Then suddenly a runner blasted back down the hill toward me - the leader. Either this lad was the fastest runner in the history of the event. Or I was running MUCH slower than last year. Or they were turning people round short of the summit. Not surprisingly it was the third option due to safety concerns. I would like to have gone to the top so I could compare my race time to 2009 but I can see why they did it. There were a few lads near me who also ran last year and I noted that on average they took 12 minutes less this year over the shorter course. Adding 12 minutes to my time would give me 1hr 19 mins which is 3 minutes quicker than I have ever ran. Progress indeed.

I still need to get better at descending steep rough ground though - one lad passed me going at least 50% faster than I was. Near the bottom of Latrigg I caught three people (including the first female) and was confident that with the safety of the less steep ground and then the short tarmac section I would be able to beat them all. I did, but it required a sprint finish to take my 14th place.

After a bite to eat in Keswick we returned to the van to find the lights on. That little monkey Scamp had obviously knocked the switch and flattened out battery for us. A push start got us going again and on the A66 at Threlkeld en route home I stopped to take a couple of pictures of my favourite fell. Remarkably the rain had stopped, roads dried and the summits cleared. Back home we sat in the garden enjoying the sunshine. Cumbria! I love it. (which is handy 'cos I live here)



Yesterday I ran my long run in the morning. I intended to go really early before it got too hot as I couldn't be bothered driving out to place drinks en route. I didnt get up soon enough really and so setting off in  considerable heat I kept it to just 13 miles. 1:28 was a decent time considering I was never trying hard - just a nice steady run - if a bit sweaty.