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, February 27, 2011

Day Three
Woke up late. Nine o'clock. Too late to go running. Instead I ran for 50 minutes in the evening, looking for suitable roads to utilise for my long run on 

Day Four
Got up at Six AM. Ate  toast and banana waiting for daylight. 
Enjoyed a 9 mile loop over some really hilly roads through quiet mountain villages, calling back to our villa for refrescos after 70 minutes.
I then began the more arduous task of the remaining miles under an ever higher sun. In truth, only the final half hour was arduous. I'd decided from the outset to run much slower than my usual 7 minute miling due to the hills and heat. It was therefore very easy to clip an extra few minutes onto the end of my planned two hours thirty four (22miles of 7 min/miles=2:34) and I actually ran for 2:51 in total.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day one
Despite having to get up at 1am to then travel until 1pm I went out for a jog in the late evening.
Turned out to be more of a fellwalk than a run as I couldn't resist the chance to explore the locale and get myself to the summit of the nearest 'mountain'.
The TV transmitter at the top was possible to climb up too but I resisted the urge.

Day Two
Very easy 25 minute jog at 8 o'clock
3x 12 minute efforts in the evening. Not ideal roads round these parts- 8 minutes was uphill into strong wind followed by small descent. Next rep was tailwind and mainly downhill so I ended up way beyond where I originally started off.

Picking out a 22 mile route is not gonna be easy

Thursday, February 24, 2011

in a hurry

over and out

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Faster faster, yelled the children - so I ran faster

After Tuesday disastrous attempt to run, I made a stab at my 5 mile loop on Wednesday. It took 31:30 but the effort required felt like it should have been a minute quicker.

This is supposed to be an easy week so rather than 90 we (me and Scamp) ran for just over 60 minutes easy on Thursday. More on roads though - less grass, mud and puddles.

Friday I met up with Darren (pictured above) at the running track to do 4 x 1 mile.

The very easy start that used to take me over 6 minutes was this week a much faster 5:50. For the next one Darren asked if 5:45 was our target - I suggested sub 5:40 was what we should be looking at and we actually ran 5:32. The effort needed to record the 5:32 was not huge - I could easily have ran another lap at that speed, so for number 3 I decided to go for it and was rewarded with a 5:26. We closed with a 5:40 which felt ridiculously easy after the previous one.  I was shocked to see just how much faster I can now run compared to say two months ago. This ability over mile reps should translate into a low 35 if not a 34 minute 10k race time by the warmth of the summer evenings.

Saturday was a lazy day. I was watching the Birmingham indoor meet on telly with a plan to go for an easy run as soon as Mo Farah won the 5000metres. But the phone rang during the race and I had to go to work. After that I couldn't be bothered to go out running in the dark so it was a second day off for the week (but remembering it was supposed to be my easy week this is not an issue)

This morning I awoke early and after breakfast walked Scamp (pictured below). 

The day began a bit gloomy looking but by sunrise it was glorious. By 0930 when Darren (pictured below) arrived at my house it had clouded over again.

The weather didn't really matter much, we had a tough 14 mile run to complete. My time for the 13 mile circuit the other week was 1hr 22mins (5 mins plus the 1:17 it took me to reach the flood).
Today we ran the exact same circuit but added in an (untimed) approximate one mile loop. Darren was a gonner at about 9 miles but soldiered on to finish about 90 seconds after me. My time was 1:21:30 which is approx 2 seconds a mile faster than last week. If the circuit really is 13 miles then this is equal to 6:17 pace which is a very significant average as it would yield a marathon finish inside 2:45 - the cut off time for qualification into the  London Marathon Club Championship.

I now have 3 days to train before going to Lanzarote, where, obviously, I will train even harder than usual as I wont be tired from being at work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

my own stoopid fault

Aching and sore are the following

General shoulder area

This is all since running the Buttermere Round 21 mile race on Sunday. How I now rue the day two weeks ago when I ran twice the flat Crosby 10 mile loop instead of going to the hilly Talkin circuit. Squatting down for nearly two hours taking photos immediately after crossing the line was not a great idea either. Nor was missing an easy run on Monday which simply allowed everything to hurt even more today than yesterday.

Anyhowser, never mind, I know it will go away in another day or two.

After last weeks poor show of training I felt I should be putting in some work this week but tonights intended hard 5miler was abandoned after about 100metres of the warm up due to the leg pain - I know enough to know that straining to run hard with muscles as knotted will only risk injury. In the end I just jogged for about 25 mins, but notably, everything felt better as the run progressed.

The day before the race I ran a very easy 10 mile Crosby loop with Darren at 6:50 pace. Good craic.

The race itself...

...went very well. As always I deliberately set out very cautiously, taking 41.30 for the first rolling 10k. I was in 12th place when I saw this chap...
...taking photos for a well known sports photography website
All fun and games at 6 miles
Soon after came the climb of Honister Pass where I gradually eased up to the man in 11th. The descent off Honister into the Buttermere valley is brutally steep - not nice to run down at all. But there is no point in pussyfooting around when you have just lost huge chunks of average pace running up a two mile climb so with the grace of a caravan falling into a quarry I launched myself at the valley below - it paid off alright though, as five minutes later I was in 9th and closing rapidly on 8th.

Not so happy now eh? (I was actually, I was relishing it)
The climb of Newlands pass began in Buttermere village and here I passed another lad who was forced into walking. By the summit I was in 7th place and again launched myself at the descent, gaining 6th immediately. There must be 6 miles of downhill and 500metres of uphill to end this race and I knew that the bloke a minute ahead of me was dead meat. Sure enough I caught him and dropped him and enjoyed the final couple of miles knowing I had equalled my best ever position of 5th in this event.
As I crossed the line I noted that for the third time in a row I had beaten my time of the previous year.
This was not quite so difficult to achieve this year as the course was 600metres shorter than 2010 when it was lengthened due to a weak bridge being unusable. but at nearly 3 minutes faster than last time and in appalling weather I reckon my performance was equal to last year. Can I run even faster in 2012? Yes certainly if I get 364 days injury free and get myself out into the steep hills more during January.

Nearly forgot to add that I was first veteran too. I missed the presentation as I was still sitting on the finish line capturing the other runners moments of glory/relief.

Thanks to Penriths chuckle brothers Stu and Dave for the photos

Friday, February 11, 2011

But what did Mr Ashcroft sing

Yes indeed, folloing the appalling weather, it was Tokyo STORM warning by the talented Elvis Costello.

This week I haven't trained very well at all. Easy jogging Monday and nowt at all on Tuesday - I was very cold and tired once I got home.

Wednesday I had to go back to work for a couple of hours in the evening so I ran 5 miles quite hard at about 4 oclock. (30:45)

Thursday I ran for 90 minutes but all very easy/slow jogging with Scamp, and tonight I was a bit late home and with a 10 miler planned for Saturday and the 21 mile race on Sunday I allowed myself a double day (off) week.

But it was Thursdays run that I want to drone about for a bit if you will indulge me.

After 25 minutes of running much too slowly I was sick of running and really wanted to stop. Not because I was tired or had sore legs but it just felt so slow that I seemed to have been out for ages and was getting nowhere. And with another 1hr 5 to go it really felt an arduous task.

But as I reached the hour I started to think some more positive thoughts -about how few other people might be doing what I was doing that night - running into the ever growing darkness through hideously muddy fields and ankle deep freezing water, blinded by occasional car headlights, and growing ever thirstier as the minutes ticked by.

Instead of thinking how foolish my actions were, I thought about all those other people who might laugh at my choice of ways to spend my leisure time, and I realised that in fact the majority of those people would in fact BE UNABLE to do what I was doing, even if they wanted to. I thought about some of the things I had done in the past that I was proud of.

When I crossed the line at the end of my first 100 mile bike time trial

The first time I sprinted for a race win - and finished in second place

How hard I ran to drop my one remaining opponent to record my first race win

My 40th birthday and the Ten hours I spent running through my own glorious backyard that is the Lake District with such great friends at my side

The hundreds of miles of magical memories running London, New York, Boston, Langdale, Windermere, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam marathons

Most people will never have the slightest desire to put themselves through such rigours as I choose to endure myself, most will instead choose a life of underwhelming normality. They will never strive to reveal what their bodies are capable of achieving, never push themselves to utter exhaustion for no reason other than to make doing exactly the same again marginally easier the next time, never choose a hard, cold van floor over a soft comfy bed just to help a total stranger run over some mountains they can't even see because its three AM and raining.

Its all about choices

Then there are the  people who would love to  do some of the things I take for granted but through no fault of their own can never do. Perhaps they were born with a disability, or in the 'wrong' country or in such poverty they are forced to spend their life working to feed themselves and their family.

And when I think about those people I find myself singing along with Mr Ashcroft.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Integrated lyrics quiz

Ok, perhaps it hasn't been as bad as some people are having it but the weather has been quite appalling this last few days. On Thursday at the track it gusted so hard that I was forced across into lane 2 where, if were not for his being forced into lane 3 I would have knocked into Darren. Such awful conditions as these meant our times for reps would be much slower than normal so to avoid being discouraged I didn't even bother to time them. We ran a 2 miler, then a mile then a 2 miler. Then I stood in the shower for a very long time indeed.

The sky fell over cheap Korean monster movie scenery

Wednesday was my midweek long(ish) run which last year had been 9-13 miles at 7 pace. Without Milly I may as well save myself an hour or so by jogging this with Scamp around the fields, parks and riverside trail. The pace is certainly slower - possibly just 8 minute miling, and we stop from time to time so I am doing this 'session' on a time basis- 80 minutes this week.

...and spilled into the mezzanine of the crushed capsule hotel

On Tuesday I ran 6 miles fast. Not steady fast, very fast. I managed 6:06 pace which, considering I had ran 5:58 pace a couple of weeks ago with Milly (and THAT felt as hard as a race) I guess is quite a good result on my own. I cant remember what I did on Monday - (oh, I've just remembered but am going to leave my previous typing undeleted as fill, in case I run short of things to say later) - I ran for a while with Gareth and Pipesy (not to be confused with Popsy), maybe six miles or so - very easy. Friday was horrible weather too, so I did nowt. Saw no real point in doing owt with a tough 13 miler due on Saturday. And anyway, running 7 days a week isn't really necessary.

......between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Saturday morning dawned as I was sitting having a spot of breakfast. The wind had abated and the rain was light. Not bad conditions for a flat, fast marathon pace run. I set out at 0830 - a bit too soon really as I had eaten only one hour prior. After 5 minutes of running I was stopped by the police! I wasn't in trouble for speeding (although they did remark that I looked like I was running very fast). The park was flooded and they were preventing people entering until the council arrived with barriers to close the road off. If they hadn't been there I would have carried on regardless but not wishing to breach the peace I turned round and jogged back to where I had started.

...and I knew I was in trouble but I thought I was in hell

So I started again, this time running the opposite way around the same circuit. I didn't know what would happen when I reached the flooded area again 12 miles later, but that wasn't of concern to me at this point.

There was no way to know what pace I was achieving so I just concentrated on running at a decent effort. Once or twice there would be a landmark that I might use as a checkpoint when I run the 'normal' way round and by adding the time I often take to there to the time I had on my watch I was assured I would finish 'well inside' 1:30.

When I got to the flood I stopped my watch and waded through the water (which was about halfway up to my knees). Unsurprisingly for floodwater in Cumbria in February it was a tad chilly!!!! I was intent on running again for the last few minutes after the flood but my feet had gone numb with cold and my troublesome achilles had tightened up so I just jogged to the finish. Next time its dry I will run this section and time it to give me a time for the 13 miles, but I am already certain that it was about 6 minutes worth, which added to my time up to the flood would give 1hr 22 or 23 minutes.

Following training I quickly gathered my photography gear together and drove out to west Cumbria to cover Jarrets Jaunt fellrace. Only now as I sit here have I thought that I probably didn't really try hard enough today as my legs aren't complaining the way they usually do after 13miles hard. I think I ran much too soon after eating which possibly forced me to hold back the input effort a little. It's important that I don't let photography interfere with training in this way again (I only covered the fellrace 'cos I was running less distance than I usually do, and I rushed out to train so I had plenty of time to get to the race)

Q. What do they carry in the main streets of Montgomery?