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.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

365 days until London marathon

Brief post to give my result from London.


not the result I was hoping for but it's my best time in 3 years.
I realised at 8-10 miles that I wasn't gonna do anywhere near 2:40, and I then ran very hard from 12miles, hoping to make some time gains, which I did, but at the expense of then blowing to bits at 21miles. I then struggled to hold onto my form and lost a lot of time in the final 3 miles.

Fuller report to come

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taking it easy

Less than a day to go until London marathon

I arrived in the capital yesterday and visited the expo and a couple of other places for some shopping.
This morning I slept late and then completed the shortest run of the year. I was back at my hotel approx 20 minutes after leaving it, having done five or six 'efforts' of just 30-40 metres in a nearby park.

I am now having a leisurley lunch near Charing Cross, having worked up a healthy appetite sitting on an open topped bus being a tourist.

After checking in to another hotel at Covent Garden (much better placed for train to start and a quick shower after the race) I will take another bus tour to fill the rest of the afternoon.

Apologies for any spelling errorrs and lack of photos, but am on the iPhone posting this. Hopefully someone will get a decent shot of me in the race which I can then include inmy race-report post once I am back home.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(Crash Bang) Wallop

Sometimes when out running, something noteworthy happens. For instance I might see a Heron take to flight from it's riverbank perch. Sometimes something noteworthy and rare happens, such as coming across two young deer in the middle of the road on the Talkin circuit. then sometimes something noteworthy, rare and really quite worrying happens. Such a thing happened earlier this evening.

I was running steadily along the pavement, facing the oncoming traffic. on the opposite side of the road was a filling station. A car coming towards me slowed right up and stopped in the road to turn right, into the filling station. Another car also came to a stop behind the first one as there was insufficient room to pass. I took no real interest in the situation until approx 2 seconds after I had passed by when


The car turning right had began to turn right and had been hit by an oncoming vehicle. Immediately prior to the crash I had heard tyre noise but I'm not sure if it was the oncoming car braking frantically or the right-turning car wheelspinning to try to get across quickly.

The drivers were out of the cars and appeared uninjured. Now I'm not a doctor but I'd say both cars are now scrapyard fodder. I couldnt say whether the oncoming car was going too fast, and thats why the right turner failed to make the gap, or if the right turner didnt see the oncomer, or possibly even faltered/stalled as he tried to make the gap.

As I jogged on I did think to myself that such an incident could easily happen to any of us at any time and might not necessarily be any fault of our own.

The remaining few miles of my run wer rather less eventful with just a Flock of Pink Flamingos roosting on a bend of the River Eden and a herd of Wilderbeast roaming across Rickerby Park

Oh, by the way - 4 Days until London Marathon

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lets go back in time

5 Days until London Marathon

Last Wednesday, with still over a week to go until London, I had a go at the Round the Houses race in Keswick. I didn't find time to blog about it until now but didn't want to miss reporting on it and the day in general as it was a really great day in terms of weather, racing, fun with dogs, views of the hills and photos I took.

I was working in the Lake district. The race was in Keswick at 7 oclock which meant I had a lot of time to fill after finishing work at 4 oclock. I took the dogs to the lake edge just down from a layby on the A66. They had a whale of a time retrieving sticks from the Districts only Lake and I took the opportunity to practice my photography skills with these images being my best results of the day.

Scamp and his sister having a whale of a time in the water

This is my favourite of the 'view' photographs I took
This was the view from the Lakeshore. Centre frame is Keswick, with it's white painted houses. Behind Keswick, with remnants of snow in the gullies is the bulk of BG leg 2 clockwise. With Clough Head hidden by Dodd (forested pimply mound on the far lakeshore) From L to R theres Great Dodd, Watsons Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd, then the dip down to the high point of Sticks Pass, then Raise, Whiteside and
finally Helvellyn. To the right of Helvellyn but much nearer are Bleaberry Fell and High Seat.

Heres a closer one to show the far fells more clearly

Scotty (left), George (right) and Scottys mate Chris

The race went OK. I started a bit too fast and then really struggled during the final 10 minutes. I can attribute this to a lack of racing such short distance.
My good pal Mike Scott made a return to racing after 18 months and proved (as I suspected) that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Also racing was George Thompson who wont mind me saying he is well over 50 (years of age) now. Ten years ago George was significantly slower than me - he is all the inspiration anybody from 20 to 50 needs to buckle down, train hard and get the most they can out of themselves - its never too late.
Milly raced too but was taking it easy, aiming for 6:15 pace. It's a good sign that he found it impossible to run that slow. Although I know he wasn't racing properly, the results show finishing times not excuses and a two minute gap between us allows me to say ' c'mon youngster'

I was 13th from over 150 entrants, so despite being almost two minutes slower than my course PB, I am clearly in half decent shape and have in fact decided I like racing and intend to run a lot more events than last year. I reckon I can go sub 35 mins for a 10k by the end of the summer.

I had hoped to get some photos of the race itself. This would have required somebody taking them with my camera. Millys family were at the race en mass but turned up so late that I had to take the camera back to my van for safekeeping else I wouldn't have had time for a warm up.
I am hopeful that one of them will be able to take it and get some photos of London Marathon while I am running.

(also apologies for the terrible formatting of this post - I am still new fangled with the options and after messing up I cant be bothered to begin again)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guess who broke wind?

6 days to London Marathon

Todays run was a very easy 10 miles. I was expecting to run about 66 minutes.
We took 66:30.

Mark has been accompanying us on our long runs for a few weeks now, and today Hayley (Mrs Milly) also came along too.

Mark laughs, Milly and Hayley get a waft.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boring post. Full of data. No Pics

11 days until London Marathon

800m - 2:43
800m -2:33

400m -1:17
400m -1:09

5 minute walking recovery

800m - 2:40
800m - 2:30
400m - 1:17
400m -1:10

Only three miles of reps last night, and with a super long rest between the first and second half, which was supposed to allow me to run the second set perhaps faster than the first. This worked OK for the 800s but the 400s were 1 second slower.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mystery training partner quiz

14 days to London Marathon

I didnt really take todays run seriously. I didn't eat my usual high carb meal at tea time last night. I didn't get up early enough to eat a big breakfast and have it mostly digested before running. I didn't properly plan the route or put out drinks. I forgot to wear my watch and just wasn't generally in the same mindset as most for most recent Saturday runs.

The weather was fantastic. Warm and bright sunshine with scarcely a breath of wind. I say fantastic but if this was the weather for the marathon I would be concerned. Still - fantastic for sitting around in the garden post run.

I didn't want this run to be too hard or too easy, just a moderate effort throughout, which is exactly what it was. From the outset I could tell it was speedier than our usual long run pace, but it never felt as tough as the marathon pace effort of a Tuesday evening run. To learn that we had ran the 16miles at 6:37 was a little bit disappointing to be honest. I thought this effort would net a result nearer 6:30. Not to worry though, I am still confident for London.

Only a very small prize for guessing the identity of todays training partner

Milly didnt have a great run. He lost a stride length to me every hundred metres or so during the final 2 miles, had tight calves and is still struggling with getting his gel intake right. this is a minor worry for me as I want him to run a good marathon just as much as I do myself. For both of us now though there is very little we can do to improve our fitness so what will be (on 25th) will be. We intend to race a hilly 6 miler this Wednesday at Keswick which will be the final hard run of any distance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Track session

15 days until London Marathon

Thursday - Reps on the track with Milly

1k - 3:35
1k - 3:20
800m - 2:36
800m - 2:34
400m - 1:14
400m - 1:11
400m - 1:10
800m - 2:36
800m - 2:38

The first 1k was merely a warm up because I was late and had only ran one lap easy prior to that. I had worked out that 5:30 per mile was 3:24 per k so that was our target pace. Perhaps too easy a target since we easily beat it.

The 800s were well paced with me and Milly taking turns into the strong headwind on the first bend/back straight.

The 400s were a huge surprise to me. Milly had posed the question what pace to run them at? I suggested 75 - 80 seconds (5:00 to 5:20 per mile). This proved to be a very poor guess indeed. Fantastic!

Tomorrow sees us off on a brisk 16 miler. Saturdays have been sub 7 pace, Tuesdays have been sub 6:15 pace so I have made the executive decision to run tomorrow at 6:30 pace. Fast enough and far enough to be a decent training effort but not so tough that it will take more than a day to get over it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The nearly man

19 Days to London Marathon

I'll not pretend that tonight's run was a normal marathon pace run as we have been doing most Tuesdays. Last week it more or less was but tonight I must admit that I ran pretty damn hard from the outset. I wanted to be inside 61 minutes and actually, secretly, I was hoping to dip inside the magic 60 minute mark. Sub six minute miling. Over Ten MPH. Alas, it wasn't to be. On the way out there was no detectable wind and I was just a few seconds inside those magic figures. Not feeling the wind did not mean it was not blowing though, and it was troublesome on the return leg, meaning a loss of pace and a sub 60minute run became extremely unlikely. Three miles to go, less than 18 minutes until the hour passes. In a last ditch, all out effort I did in fact manage to run 6:00 pace for this last part, and that was despite a headwind, a gate, a busy main road to cross and a two minute climb out of the park.

Without any photos pertinent to todays post I decided to take this one

to indicate my actual time for the Ten miles. Certainly can't complain about that time (but without another hard 10 miler before London I am not going to 'beat the hour' in training until the faster, sharper, summer training.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mike Scott said

3 Weeks until London Marathon

Originally I was going to run my interval session 4/11 x4 around the 10mile circuit, followed up the next day with three laps of Talkin. Mentioning my plans to my good pal Mike he suggested that may be too much at this late stage and I should instead do the intervals around the first two laps of Talkin, then jog a third lap very easy to make up the distance.

I have always held Mike opinion in high regard and so didn't hesitate to take his advice. As I arrived at the church in Talkin where I always park I was amazed to see two runners get out of the vehicle in front of me. Chris bunker and Claire Burrell are two people I often see training at gelt. I think they may have been here today due to the motocross meeting which takes over one of the fields on the Gelt circuit. I waited to begin my run until they had so as to allow me to take this photo. I have received constructive criticism suggesting I add pictures to my posts, and although originally and still primarily a training log, I may as well attempt to improve the experience for readers.
Lap one was 42:25. My best time this year. I felt great as the lap was completed so carried right on with lap 2 which took me two seconds less. Thus far I had completed a half marathon including 1200ft ascent inside 85 mins - not bad for a training run , especially considering that 24 minutes, (over 25%) of that time was jogging very easily in the 6 recovery periods between the 6 efforts. I considered running lap 3 at a decent effort in a bid to get a good time for the whole run but decided it made more sense to take it easy as Mike said. 48 minutes was a slow lap 3 but I put no effort in, and am very happy with the run overall. Anybody who trains regularly will know that doing 'running recovery' intervals over a circuit is unlikely to give as fast a result as a steady/hard effort so I'm chuffed with 6:50 pace for 19.5 miles.

I only ate one gel during this run but I didn't get lost at any stage. Afterwards I asked for a free coffee in the village pub. They looked at me funny and asked for one pound thirty!

I hope to include more photos in the future. I don't usually take a camera with me running but always have my iPhone which is OK for impromptu snaps. I have recently purchased a Canon DSLR and am trying to learn all about it's various settings. It's a whole new world to me, ISO, shutter speed, focal length, changeable lenses etc. For now though here's another pic to keep the critics happy.

This is Scamp, one of my two dogs.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Training on a Friday?

Usually Friday is a day off but with things being mixed up this week and not being at work I thought I may as well go running. I decided it might as we be a worthwhile run so I ran the 10 mile circuit at an easy pace. I had in mind that it would take 65 minutes but with a mild headwind my time at halfway was 33:30. I was mindful of keeping the effort the same all the way home but think I may have gone a bit too easy at times. It would have been easy to run progressively harder and acheive 65 mins but that wasn't my idea for this run. In the end, 66:16 was quite acceptable. On my final Sunday run prior to a marathon I always run this exact 10 mile circuit at an easy conversational pace. It gives me an indication of my fitness and can be compared to previous years.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pre marathon musings

Last year I was coming back from serious lack of fitness (3:26 at NYC Marathon 2008) and targeted sub 2:50 for Boston marathon. I ran 2:52 on the day and was relatively pleased as the course was much tougher than I was expecting and it was a light headwind for the whole of the course.

What time can I realistically expect to do in London? As Lloyd Grossman famously used to say - 'lets look at the evidence' (don't forget to try his daft accent).

Tuesday runs pre Boston marathon 2009 were at a target pace of 6:30 which I struggled to achieve after Christmas but managed to beat by a few seconds by March.
Boston 2009 result 2:52 but possibly worth 2:50 if it had been Londons better course.

Tuesday runs 2010 were targeted at 6:20. Even in the snow and ice we were inside 6:25, and recently they have all been nearer 6:15 pace. So I think it is realistic to say I am 10-15 seconds per mile quicker .
London 2010 possible result - 4m 30s to 6m 30s quicker (than 2:50) = 2:43:30 to 2:45:30

2004 time for 4 laps of Talkin circuit = 2:52
2004 time for London = 2:36 (16mins faster than Talkin time)
2010 time for 4 laps = 2:58 (6 mins slower than 2004)
2010 possible time for London = 2:42 (16 mins faster than Talkin time)

Bit of a difference between the above figures but I at least both are suggesting sub 2:45 is possible.

What time would I like to do? - a pb of 2:36:08 would be great but I am clearly not that fit.

What time would I be happy with? Sub 2:50. (but I wouldn't exactly be over the moon)

what time would I be really pleased with? - sub 2:45 to regain my place in the AAA championship for next year.

What time do I think I can do if everything goes well, weather, etc?
2:41 to 2:44. Bold assertion! and one which mostly dismisses the fact based figures above. I am basing that on running between 6:10 and 6:15 per mile which I am managing on the Tuesday effort runs. The marathon is 12 miles longer than my longest Tuesday run though - can being rested and tapered etc really make it possible to carry that pace on for 26.2?

This entire post is a vocalisation (if you read aloud) of the thoughts and workings that consume my every waking moment in the final few weeks prior to a marathon. I won Langdale marathon with time to spare, but I have also struggled hopelessly in New York. After 6 years and 13 marathons I am still learning. Just as well I love running as much as I do, this much training without races to boost confidence would be truly awful if I didn't enjoy it all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Glad I didn't do Wilmslow

Sunday and Monday slipped by without any running. Monday I intended to but the weather was horrendous. On Tuesday I faced the 10mile course with trepidation. Being less than 4 weeks until London the 14 and 15 mile Tuesdays at marathon pace are finished with. But in place of the distance there is more speed to be aimed for. 6:20 had been our target pace since xmas and more recently I have been inside 6:15s, but could I run tonight inside 6:12s? The wind was reasonable in strength and directly in my face for 5 miles, then directly behind me all the way back home. The first couple of miles felt great. Even with the headwind I could tell I was moving rapidly. A quick check of my watch as I covered the 2mile section we use for reps showed 12:30. Spot on.

Once I had the tailwind I actually found it difficult to run fast enough to keep my CV system working as hard as it had been on the way out. I may have lost a little time to this but once I was in the final 2 miles the effort made itself felt once again and I forced on to the finish. 61:31, 6:09 pace. Very happy with that. Hopefully manage sub 61 next week.

Wednesday was the first time I trained with Milly for several weeks. Just a 7 mile jog but great to catch up with the crack and lay some plans for the next couple of weeks and indeed the marathon strategy. Milly told me the wind at Wilmslow was horrible so I'm pleased I didn't bother entering it. He more or less quit at 8 miles and jogged home inside 81 minutes.

Tonight (Thursday) I was alone again for the interval session. As with Tuesdays run the distance is reduced (to 5miles from 7 last week) but the intensity increased. I did 800m x10. Due to having very tired legs before I even began, and as it was really very windy tonight I decided to complete the session without using a watch. I would only have been disappointed to see poor times recorded and figured that as long as I did the work then it didn't matter what my times were.

Tonight my good pal Appleby Stu* was over to give my tired legs a much needed rub down. Painful! At 41 (birthday yesterday, no cake, still resisting all such bad foods) you would think I might have learnt to look after my ageing body a little better. No stretching, no warm downs, and warmup for me means jogging to the course and doing the first rep 10% under effort.

*Appleby Stu must not be mistaken for Penrith Stu. Appleby Stu is the epitome of a dedicated, professional, hard working, internationally qualified sportsman. Penrith Stu is some bloke from Penrith who I met up a fell one day!

(To be fair though, he does seem to know which way up to hold a map, which is more than I can boast.)