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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life is good - then it went and got even better

What a ball!
What a caper!!
What a time to be fit and well and out there in the big (not so) bad world.

I love this time of year!!!

Actually, I love all the times of the year. If it is cold and dark I dress for the weather and enjoy the lack of flies intent on committing suicide in my mouth and eyes. If its too hot to train comfortably I endure it best I can then enjoy a stretch in the garden with the sun on my back.

The light mornings are the best thing about May/June/July. I can't wait until I 'camp out' in the van halfway up a deserted dead end road somewhere in the Lake District. Come down off the fell after sunset then climb it again a few hours later for the sunrise. Then into the nearest town as the shops open up for coffee and toast - good times.

It would be easy to think about 'wasted time' spent training for London Marathon but where would that get me? - Nowhere! Better to enjoy the fitness gains that training issued me and enter a few races to see how fast I can run.

It's not just races though, training is something I enjoy immensely. When fit and running well, the harder the session the more I enjoy it. Sub 60 minutes over a 10 mile route is a good time for a race, but seeing 59minutes something on my watch when I have been out there alone, of an evening, after work, - it goes a long way to make me feel Im doing something right.

After my awful attempt at running a fast 13 the other week when I blew and struggled in the final 2 miles to record 1:23:30 - On saturday I set off on the exact same route with an intention to...... run 13 miles. No target time.

It was quite windy and I deliberately held back a little despite the early miles tailwind telling me I should capitalise to make gains for the headwind to come later. I was cruising along, really enjoying the training and I think that is key to running well - force the pace beyond what feels right and it will be a chore you will struggle to complete.

At the 10 mile stage I was feeling fantastic and probably ran faster than the early tailwind section. At 13 miles the clock showed 1:24:45.  I had taken just 1min 15 sec more than the previous week but had felt it was no more than an brisk jog which I could have lengthened for another 2 or 3 miles if necessary.

Sunday I was in the fells for a couple of hours - not the high fells - just the tourist path from Ambleside to Skelwith Bridge. The Lakes 50 in July takes this route and I am keen to recce all the way to Coniston in advance of the race proper at the end of July.

Monday I ran my usual 5 mile route. It was ridiculously windy - storm force so I saw no point in timing it.
Tueasday I was enjoying walking Scamp along the river, surveying the damage from the previous 24 hours weather, and I didnt run!!

Wednesday I intended to run my 5 route VERY HARD. I did, but was a bit disappointed not to beat 30 mins. Nevertheless I ran my fastest time of the year with 30:17. Despite a 1 mile warm up I actually ran faster 2nd half which was mildly headwind.

From memory I think I used to be able to run 10-20 secs/mile faster in races than I could in a similar length HARD training run. So to beat 35 mins at 10k I need to run nearer 29:45 in training. This will come - I'm sure of it.

Running aside - Photography is going very well too - I'm still learning new aspects about shooting in differing locations, using wide lens for sports instead of the 'zoom in and pick em off' easy option. Even my erstwhile nemesis  Penrith 'cowboy' Stu admitted my Foo Fighters photograph was a stunning capture.

Charles Dicken wrote...

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Not really clued up on my Eng' Lit', and I'd love to know what the 'epoch of incredulity' means, as its a quite superb phrase, but this is certainly the best, the best, the very best, of times.

Friday, May 20, 2011

racing and repping

There can be no better reason for missing a days running than to see The Foo Fighters perform for 90 minutes in a tent in a field 8 miles from my house. It was one of the top 10 days of my life. A report on how I managed to get some photos can be found here, and more photos can be found here.
No shortage of good looking fellas atop Latrigg
Sunday was a normal day. About 8 miles easy run.
Monday about 7 miles with Gareth - fairly easy.
Tuesday - a 10k race at Workington. In 2010 I ran 35.46 for this event. I feel fitter than one year ago and hoped to run under 35 minutes. It was a cool and fairly windy evening. The course was changed to now include a longer downhill to the turnaround point which meant more hill to climb overall. I didnt manage sub 35. Nowhere near in fact, but 35.26 is 20 seconds faster than last year so as suspected I must be fitter.

Phil Winskill
Won the 10k on Tuesday.
 Third in the fellrace next evening

Wednesday I ran about 4 miles quite easy in the pissing rain then spent an hour traipsing round a hillside taking photos of fellrunners.

 Thursday I was completely knackered and couldnt face running a step, so tonight I ran the intervals planned for Thursday. Five, 3 minute intervals off a minute recovery. A strong wind saw good progress made at first then I was slowly pegged back to finish with 5:27 average for 3 miles.

Friday, May 13, 2011

We continue

So. As I already mentioned, Monday 5 in 31, Tuesday reps.

Wednesday I ran the same 5 again but tried a bit harder and was rewarded with 30:20

Thursday was with Plucky for 70 minutes. We ran within a few seconds of last weeks time at a checkpoint  approx 30 minutes into the run. We certainly didn't slow up as last week so I'm confident we will have ran 6:15 pace again, if not a tad faster.

Friday, usually a day for no running but I don't think I will get to run tomorrow as I am helping Dave Grohl remember some lyrics. So  I ran the 5 yet again. Fifth day of decent training in a row made itself known through my legs and 30:45 felt quite hard to achieve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I like to Prattle on..... here goes

Friday I did no running.

Saturday I set off to do my 13 mile loop quite hard. I hadn't really given much thought to the fact that it was less than 48 hrs since the 10 miles very brisk run I had completed with Plucky. I should have though. By the final two miles I was facing ruination - probably doing just 7 minute miling. 1hr 23 30 was a good time and proves I must be pretty fit these days but I need to be more careful about overdoing the hard mileage.

Sunday was a day of Photography. Not so long taking the pics themselves but by the time I sorted them all and got them on interweb site for sale it was a 16 hour day!!!

Monday I decided a brisk 5 was in order. 31 minutes exactly (6:12 pace) felt well within my capability and thus I decided that tonight (Tuesday) could be a hard but short interval session.

Track was paid for and after a 'every lap harder than the previous lap' mile as warm up I ran 3x 800 metres.
A poor start of 2:48 was then followed by 2:40 for the next two. A minute was the recovery between.

Then walking lap to recover and prepare for something I hadn't done in a long long time - 400 metre reps!

I reckoned 5 pace was possible and managed to slip inside that pace with  73 then 72 then 75 second laps. again, one minute recovery.

Another lap of walk recovery then 3 more 800s. I was really in a fighting mood now though and keen to get everything out of my lungs and onto that track.

The first was 2:40 again. As I began the next a lad also set off on a 200m effort - he took 26 seconds for the distance and although he was away from me in just a few strides I must have latched onto him mentally as I ran it in 36 seconds (4:48 pace) and was still on exactly 5:00 pace at "the bell". Something had to give here and the next lap was 80 seconds to give 2:35 for the full 800. The final one I was pretty knackered but determined not to be proved silly on number 2, I maintained a decent effort to record 2:38.

Overall a very good session. Not as far as normal with only 3.75 miles effort, but I don't believe short efforts should add up to the same distance as when doing say mile or two mile reps.

Stu says I'm obsessed with photography, but I think I have achieved a healthy balance between cameras, lenses, camera review websites, lens comparison websites, going into Jessops, developing (geddit?) ideas for new photography based websites,  running, singing Foo Fighters songs to myself in the excitement of One Big Weekend and admiring the summer outfits being (mostly)worn by the young fashionistas around town.

...and I've constructed a new door for my greenhouse - no glass in it though - i'm saying this is  for safety reasons - the tomatoes are saying its *%$*&£* cold!!

He He this diet coke has gone straight to my head tonight - C'mon Dave, lets have an encore... I got another confession to may-ake

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Time Machine

After the half marathon I went for a jog on Monday. Tuesday I was far too tired to even consider running a step. Wednesday I met up with Scotty, George and Darren for a session of reps. We ran a mile out in 5:40 then another one in 5:24. Then we ran the two miles back in 10:49. These are my best times for a long long time and I'm pleased to be running this well. After training I went down to the Lake District and jogged up a pretty high fell to take photos of a race - then jogged back down again to make for a very tiring but satisfying evening of leisuretime pursuits.

Is it true that some people opt to spend their leisure time  drinking beer in public houses?
Really though, do they?
Even when its sunny and warm?
Theres some weird folk knocking about!!

The next evening I went through to Scotby to run 10 miles hilly and steady with Darren and Plucky. A decent pace was initially set by Plucky. None of us had any means of knowing how fast we were running but I knew we were clipping along at a fair old lick -  Darren dropped off the back with a mile to go and Plucky, on his longest run this year, started to tire in the second half. When we completed the route in just 62:30 I was surprised, though  I reckon I could have ran 10 secs per mile quicker if it had been a hard run scheduled.

Having done nowt on Tuesday I would and should have ran tonight (Friday), but as this is the third of four weeks of indulgence post marathon I am still just doing whatever I feel like doing each day, whether that is lying on couch or running flat out.

10k race coming up soon - really looking forward to that one. Im determined to run a 34 this year.

Whilst running on Thursday I asked Plucky what he thought it would take for me to regain the fitness and speed I enjoyed in the 2002-2004 period when I set most of my best times and race wins. Thinking that the obvious (and my own) answer would be "give up work so you can train twice a day and sleep more", he said......

(loop to title)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I cant realistically say (and hope to be believed),

"heres a good half marathon result so obviously I would have ran 2:45 in London".

But I think I have salvaged something from my Winter/Spring of marathon training with 10th place in Keswick Half Marathon today.

Over the Easter weekend I jogged in the fells a bit, jogged in the local park a bit and also ran my 10 mile loop in 66 minutes. Two days after the 10 I ran it again, more or less as hard as I could. This took 61:08. It was a test run - I decided if I could run 10m at a decent old lick without any trouble from legs or getting that stitch return then I would enter the Keswick event.

The rest of the week was just more jogging and on Saturday I cycled for the first time in 9 months. Not far, just up to the top of Newlands Pass to take photos of a cycle event, but with a backpack containing 3 drinks bottles, 3 DSLR cameras, 2 sandwiches and other assorted paraphernalia it was a somewhat slow, bottom gear, then walking up the steepest part, ride out in the blazing sunshine.

Today I got up early so I could be finished eating 4 hours before the race started. The last thing I wanted was to have the stitch return again. A good couple of miles warm up also helped in this respect and I felt fairly confident I would not suffer the same trouble as two weeks earlier.

The field thinned out within a mile and I was running at a fair old lick and in the top 15. Lots of climbing throughout the first 3 miles was followed by a lengthy downhill at about 4. I felt a faint hint of abdominal trouble on this downhill and held back a little. So I was then pleased to be running uphill again soon after.

At 7 miles we had several minutes continuous downhill to the bridge at the top end of Derwentwater. This was a real time loser as I didnt feel confident to let myself  go with gravity because the additional load with every footfall was sure to bring back the old trouble.

Once onto the main Borrowdale road it was just a case of toughing out 4 miles of rolling undulations before the final half mile downhill into Keswick centre.  I was pretty wasted during the final 10 minute push, and the result of 1hr 22mins was not as quick as I thought I might have managed, but overall I'm happy enough.

That'll do for long road races now - at least until after the summer. I will be entering the usual various 10k races over the next few months, but still running the 13 mile loop in training. And hopefully plenty of long days over  tough fell terrain too. I reckon I might do the lakeland 50 again too - try to beat 10 hours thus finishing BEFORE dark

But for now....

Perhaps, after all I will be allowed just a little Salvation?