Monday, 28 June 2010

PLATT FIELDS 10K....a day for canny vets.

 Well we dashed back from yesterday's 10K race in Manchester to watch a great comedy programme on TV. No, not the "funniest ever You've Been framed", England v. Germany in the World Cup last 16....what a joke......!!!! Enough said...

 Comments flying around before this Platt Fields 10K were all pretty negative as temperatures rose well into the 20s.
 "I'm not looking forward to this one!" 
" This is going to be a survival test!" 
" This could be my slowest 10K ever!" 
"I'm just out to finish!" etc. etc.  
Couldn't be any worse than that Freckleton half:   at least there was a bit of a breeze which would inevitably by cooling on some parts of the 1 small and 3 large circuits of this flat park run and the trees would provide some shelter from the midday sun.  The start was at 11 a.m.
 With shades and cap firmly in place I slotted in a few rows back on the narrow path and several tight corners later went through the first K in 4.25 on the garmin.     The sub 42 would have to wait another day! Judging by the results I must have been back in at least 60th place at this point.   We cover virtually all the small lap again but then divert onto the large lap and find that the next half mile is more trail and quite rutted in places, albeit dry.  Harder to maintain the pace but manage it seeking shade from the trees where possible and , yes, that breeze is very welcome when we run into it.  4.19...4.22....4.20.....for 21.49 at 5K. 
  Unlike last week's uncomfortable outing  when I only overtook a few in the middle of the race here I'm picking runners off throughout as are other canny vets in my slipstream.  4.23, 4.21, 4.19.   Still shooting down the targets ...4.19....with a 4.11 to finsh on the garmin at 43.24.   So good consistent splits melt down as reported and witnessed by others.
   But again, as for the Sale 5, I have to run another 16 seconds to listed time 43.41.   Comparing runners' times today with those they normally run, many were at least 2 minutes slower such was the effect of the heat. 
  Category M60 winner Alan Pover has no 10ks on his record over 40 minutes; yesterday he ran 41:53 (!)  but it was still more than enough to beat me into 2nd place.   Mick Jones of Altrincham was one place in front of me last week and was in my shadow throughout yesterday as we pulled through to eventually finish 36th and 37th ; with me having the edge on him this time.

 126 survived this low key event which had the flavour of a 5k "parkrun" ; just double the distance,  a £7 entry fee and they gave prizes.  Pretty well organized but   lacking K markers; one time the garmin was worn and was useful setting the alert to Ks

  With the sections of "trail", narrow paths and the laps it's perhaps not one for the purists but then again name me a 10K which is perfect.                 Damian Nicholls of Wilmslow won in 32.52 with first lady, Jacqui Slack of Newcastle (Staffs) in 37:59.  A PB for this young lady who has improved her 5K time by nearly a minute this year to 17.37. Oh, to be young! Indeed,  in second place was 18 year Matthew Crehan (pictured below)  marking his 10K debut with a solid 34:28.  Hardly surprising considring the achievements of dad, Jim, and his mother, Sue.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Damn those porokeratotic lesions!

 Those that know me well know that I've never really been a visitor to a sports massager on a regular basis.  This is a aspect of body maintenance that I should possibly address.   I think I can count on one hand the number of times a masseur has given me a good going over!  
 Another maintenance specialist I am certainly going to have to see more regularly is a chiropodist.  I visited my GP a couple of months ago to have her look at the base of my left foot where I had been experiencing quite a bit of pain.  I wanted reassurance that the tumour (Morton's Neuroma) that I had cut out in 2002 was not developing again.  She didn't think this was likely and booked an appointment......for last Friday! the local hospital podiatry dept.  If you have a foot phoebia look away, this is not my foot!

  Problem.?.......porokeratotic lesions......or as the young lady called them "seed corns".  Tiny callus that are extremely annoying to run on as they develop such that they feel like a grain of rice right in the middle of the forefoot.  She set about cutting them out with her scalpel as I have been doing myself confirming that my self treatment had been correct.  I  knew how to treat them : I just didn't know what they were called and didn't really learn from her how they develop. From what I read how they occur is a bit of a mystery but I feel sure that friction plays a part.   Case of ensuring that shoes worn are not too tight in the forefoot for a start.
She suggests using CCS cream regularly.
 These "seed corns" are quite painful but can be tolerated.  Anyone experiencing acute forefoot pain which gradually develops to the point when after a few miles of running the foot can't be even put down  is more likely to be a neuroma.  The curse of the forefoot runner .......just one of the problems experienced by Paula Radcliffe who had to have surgery as I did.  Not good.
 On leaving the hospital on Friday I called in next door to the Medical Centre to say that I hadn't had the result of a second blood test I had had a week ago.  The first showed slightly high glucose levels.  The receptionist flipped through some records and said...."No further action necessary".  
  "Is there a letter in the post? I asked.    No she said...we only notify if there's a problem!  So basically if I hadn't called in I would have spent the whole of  the weekend worrying if I had diabetis as I have done for the last week!
 I'm still intending to run the PLATT FIELDS 10K tomorrow in Manchester.   The forecast is showing a high of 27 degrees which should make it interesting.   It'll be flatter than last week and I'll be more hydrated so hopefully I'll be more comfortable.   Usual prerace jog of 3 miles today with just 4 yesterday.
 If I finish the race with a sprint as the last time I raced in this park way back in May 1983  I'll be more than happy.  Competing just 5 weeks after the London marathon I entered the park shoulder to shoulder with Ken Robinson,  of Kendal,  later Bingley,  and we sprinted to the line just to decide 26th and 27th place!  Ken had me by a second....2:33.14 to 2:33.15  and he never let me forget it, and why not. 
 The Piccadilly Marathon,  in which 9500 competed, was just one of several marathon in the North West  at that time in manchester, Stockport and Bolton.  None of then being held now.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


 Some results eventually appeared on the web for last Sunday's BMAF 5K champs.  Not surprisingly a document littered with errors and even lacking a heading stating the title of the race.  It confirmed nevertheless that my below par performance was indeed my slowest competitive 5K ever but then again I've never been as old as this before.

Others however defied their aging.  M65 winner, Martin Ford  (327 Cheltenham Harriers) ran 18.34 only 1 minute and 9 seconds slower than his time in 1999 when I ran this event last.  That year as a M50 I ran 17.19;  picking up gold with Neil Robson and Les Haynes for Bingley.  2010 saw me running 3:48 slower.  Others who ran that 1999 race in Annan also ran 3:24 and 3:48 minutes slower.  It's amazing how some retain their speed with age, but of course they are the ones now picking up the medals.  Needless to say, many top runners from the '80s and '90s aren't competing at all.

 Fred Gibbs of Bingley won the M70 category  with 20:07; again another great performance.  Another seemingly ignoring the date on his birth certificate.   Fred and clubmate John Smethurst should have added the M70 team medals to their collection but their 3rd counter pulled a hamstring the previous Tuesday night doing a trail race (failure to focus?)  leaving the door open for my club Sale H. We fielded 4 M70 runners more than in any other age group!?
  Anyway, with another "back on the horse" race on Sunday it called for an easy few days this week. No track session and nothing too lengthy. Just as well with high temperatures, a list of gardening tasks and preview meetings.   This is the time of year when the running shoe and clothing suppliers roll up to show the retail side the gear that you runners will be offered next Spring/Summer which for them starts in January.
Basically they show,  we speculate with orders, they arrange manufacture and deliver.  Think our side is the riskier, wouldn't you say?
   Problem for them is that they will have fixed their "suggested" retail prices for 2011 already and now the VAT will be going up from Jan 4.  Problems!  Put simply a shoe with an SRP of £100 should be on sale from January 4th at £102.14.  So if the shoe is to be kept at £100 who takes the loss.....the supplier or the retailer?
  It's hard to see how this VAT rise will benefit suppliers or retailers in 2011 in any sphere of trading.  More so of course on high end purchases where 2.5%  is much more significant than a couple of £s on a pair of running shoes.

Monday, 21 June 2010

BMAF 5K. Bronze medal consolation for below par run!

   Fabulous weather yesterday for those watching and catching photos at the British Masters' 5K Road Championships.  Not so great for the runners.  We arrived in good time. Strolled down to enquire why we had to register and it turned out that this meant picking up an age category number for the back of the vest. Why it didn't come with the race number was just another query.   As predicted with the lack of printed information the BMAF road sec. was being bombarded with questions?   Where's the start? How many laps?  Is it just one race?  Why is there only one toilet!? Felt quite sorry for him but then again he hadn't checked the local organiser had done his job.

  During the warm up it was obvious that the incline we would have to tackle 4 times in the race would be certain to add on to regular flat 5K times and the temperature was rising but at the top of the climb the first time just after the start I was immediately concerned about added tightness in the chest and restricted breathing.   I looked ahead and several runners I normally beat were already way down the road.
  All prerace intentions to run tall and relaxed went out the window.  I did make up some ground in the middle section but my normal surge over the last part of  a race just wasn't there . 

A timing near to my 2010 best of 20.20 was way gone and with the uphill finish I couldn't even nudge under 21 mins. finishing a few seconds over.   Not a total disaster but certainly a tad under par personal performance.  Some consolation though is the fact that we apparently managed 3rd place, a set of bronze medals, in the team competition. 
 Not that we think for an instant we are the 3rd best M60 in Britain. I can name at least 5 M60 squads in the north that would have beaten us.   But they didn't turn up did they?

  There was much talk of the course adding up to a minute onto times but I am more concerned about how uncomfortable I felt.   I shall certainly have to reassess the use of the preventive inhaler on hot days such as this.  
  I'm writing this on Monday evening having just run 3 miles at a pace 2 minutes slower than yesterday's race pace . Felt OK but on blowing into the peak flow metre which we asthmatics use to measure output it showed a quite low 390.   I speak to quite a few runners who have inhalers but don't always use them. I certainly will be using my preventive inhaler twice daily and taking into the reliever inhaler before running.  I always carry it just in case.

I will be surprised if the BMAF ask Horwich Council to host these championships again as so many competitors were disappointed with so many aspects of the organisation.  I am told even the presentation  left much to be desired. 

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Lancashire bound.........again!

 Certain occurrences over the last 48 hours prompted me to ask Pat to name for me any memorable athletics TEAMS she could recall.  Her response was....
  "that 4 x 400 GB team"
"which one?, I asked.
"the one with the Welsh guy in it"
"Which Welsh guy, Ewan Thomas?"
"No, Jamie Bolt!"
"You mean Usain Bolt?"
"No, he's not Welsh!"
"You mean Jamie Baulch"
             So basically I said, you can't name a memorable athletics TEAM.   But anyone can call to mind dozens of outstanding athletics INDIVIDUALS.    Coe, Cram, Ovett, Elliott, Bikile, Aouita, Moses, Owens, Carl Lewis,  Ron Clarke, Bannister, Herb Elliot etc etc etc.
   The point being athletics is essentially an individual sport.   When you look back on what you've achieved you will think foremost of individual  triumphs  whilst perhaps also having some good team performances to speak about.   I'm proud of team titles won at Sale first time around,  marathon successes as part of a tremendous valley Striders squad and British medals won with Bingley vets. But it's the  personal achievements that will be uppermost in ther mind.
   There is a danger though that commitment to a club, whether it be in racing or training, can deflect the individual from what's best for themself.   Racing "for the club"  to the detriment of an individual performance
in a significant race soon after,  or perhaps taking part in a tough club session with a tough individual session in the legs from the previous day.   In a perfect world, of course, the  aims of other club individuals are shared and several athletes focus on common events.   Tomorrow is a race I've focussed on over the last few weeks and have not been distracted from that focus.   But I will be pleased to see a couple of other club mates toeing the line as well.
  So....  Saturday evening.   British Masters 5K Championships still on for tomorrow.  Can't say I'm particularly looking forward to it.   3 laps around a fairly non descript  mid Lancashire town; but the atmosphere with the loud speakers booming is usually good. Hopefully will spur me on to a PB for 2010 and I can make a decent contribution for the Sale Harriers M60 team.
  I "enjoyed" 3 very easy days of 4.5, 3 and 3 since the last track session on Wednesday; unlike one or two others I've  not had to put in a midweek race so should be reasonably rested.  Not that it ever feels like that does it?    But once this gun goes all should be well.
 I don't think I could have done any more in the last few week's preparations for this one.  The four track sessions went to plan and had no collateral damage on the aged legs. Whether the plan itself was a good one is another matter!
                      If you're reading this prior to your race tomorrow ...have a good one! 

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

At last, hot and sticky!

 There have been many days in recent years when I've spend the whole of the day working in the garden then experienced a very tired run in the early evening.  With  dozens of plants, shrubs and bushes there is always something to do.  Not any more. I eventually learnt to moderate the labouring to two or three hours at a time.  So today although the planned track session would be late afternoon, I called a halt pre lunch.  Wise decision as the temperature continued to rise, the session would be hard enough  even though I've enjoyed 2 comparatively easy days in anticipation.
 Not that I'm complaining about today's conditions.   I've been moaning on about cold , windy days at the track so a hot and sticky day like today with little breeze certainly made a change.  Hopefully it will be possible to notch the average pace up again for this 4th session in this 3 week period.                 5k....5x1k.....8x600....8x300..........key being gradual accleration. I was aiming for sub 70 for the whole set of 300s.
  The first two were disappointingly a fraction over. So having done 8 I added another 2 to make up.  No problem as this would still only total 3K.  Job done.
    70.36    70.04    68.64    69.44    68.12    68.29    68.14    66.94    68.67    66.66

So averaging 68.53 run at 19 minute 5K pace, quite satisfying; as my year's fastest is only 20.20.  More to the point these track sessions are certainly getting me back on the  forefoot, I'm concentrating on running more upright and less like a question mark! i.e. bent back and lowered head!
 Having reduced weekly mileage by up to 50%, I've been asked several times why I still keep up these track sessions.  I think with the inevitable deterioration in muscle fibres with age as long as I'm still competing it's the best way of minimizing this fast-twitch fibre loss (apparently it's fast twitch fibres which go first) and as I said maintain a more coordinated , more efficient running style.  And besides anything else I still think there's no better intrinsic, aesthetic pleasure than speed on the track....yes, even at my humble pace! Can't be plodding around all week now can we? Still find it hard to believe that some clubs abandon speed work in the summer having battled hard in the winter with ice and snow on the ground.  
 No threat of snow today though.........unless you are in South Africa where they are playing in gloves.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


Well I forecast the score of the England -U.S.A World Cup match correctly; just a shame that I didn't have a
bet on it!  Anyone know what the odds were for a 1-1 draw?

According to David Lowes in Athletic Weekly this week,
  "Where many athletes fail in their training plan is the amount of work done at 80-100% VO2 max. (half marathon to 3K pace) which is usually 10-12 per cent of their weekly mileage quotas"

He goes on to write that, "top Africans are noted for doing approximately 33-35% at those levels."   In between "some very slow runs". 
My relatively slow run along  the canal today of 8 miles, taking in the splendour of the rhododendron bank, brought the week's total to 49.   With two track sessions,  5 x K on Wednesday and 8 x 600 yesterday my percentage of 10K pace "work" would firmly put me in his "failure" zone at 12%! Not sure how and where I could fitted in another hard session in this particular week;  but Monday, Thursday, Sunday might have worked on another week.   What percentage of your training this week has been at 5K/10k pace?
 Perhaps you are being held back by training with a slower partner all the time.  Perhaps you feel like you are always one step ahead ME AND MY SHADOW........i.e.  one canal boat towing another
....get the picture!.................
                                               No shadow for me............another solo effort.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


 Saturday.  Going to Nelson track,which as previously mentioned will officially be closed.  I will have to resort to trespass; gaining access via the unofficial entrance,  i.e. squeezing between a gap in the perimeter railings.  Consequently, only thin people can use the track at weekends!
Track session 3 of 4 in a mini 3 week build up to the BMAF 5K.  Let's hope the session goes better than Wednesday's wind battered 5 x 1K efforts; the sun is out, the wind is minimal so it should be more positive.
  I've done nothing hard since Wednesday; just a flat, grassy 6 followed by an amble around the Bolton Abbey strid yesterday.  Apparently it's how top Kenyans train......slow, slow,  quick......slow, slow, quick.   I've done the slow, slow bit, can I do the "quick" bit?!  
   Again I'm reducing the distance to hopefully achieve further acceleration with a personal favourite session 8 x 600.   Usually I manage sub 2.30 on the only last couple of reps.  On this warmer, breezy day I'm going to try to get them all under 2.30.  41.40 10K pace; not bad but I would expect a younger runner to manage their 5K pace for these.  The first was spot at 2.29.9  and for once the whole session was more consistent and pleasingly the overall target was achieved for once.
                       2:29.9   2.29.6   2.27.6   2.29   2.29   2.29.1   2.28.1   2.27.6
I did give myself a very generous 2 minute recovery which was no doubt a factor in the session.

Perhaps I was trying to impress a film crew which set up; having also squeezed through the railings as I had. As I went through my reps it was very puzzling working out just what the "story line" was for their filming.  The central character  (white t-shirt showing product to camera) ran around.....a bit......practised some sprint starts .....a bit.....jumped up at the water jump barrier...a bit.....never once taking off a rather large winter jacket despite the rising temperatures!  Very queer.   They were still around as I finished and they told me they were filming a comedy advert for Asian Music channel.   The young man was supposed to do very little,  hardly breaking sweat and then spraying himself as if he had.   Yes, well........I'm sure it will come out better than I've described and how it looked!

So far so good then.  Track session 3 of 4 done and dusted.  The
 last time I managed a set of 600s all under 2.30 was back in January 2008 over at Halifax in the company of 2 young female runners.  For once I left the track feeling that the times had brought some reward for the effort put in.   I will have lost a couple  of pounds so squeezing back through railings posed no problem!

Nearly 7 p.m. now and the build up to England's first game against U.S. of A. is coing to a climax.  Some fans are forecasting a high scoring England win despite the copnfidence of the American team.   Knowing England ...sorry ...I'm going for 1-1.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


  No danger of heat exhaustion for the 335 runners in the latest version of the long established OTLEY 10 mile road race hosted by the local club. Yet another damp, cool evening with that strong north easterly I suffered earlier in the day still prevalent and adding no doubt to the times.  The race at the sharp had come down to a head to head between TIM MIDGLEY of BINGLEY and GARY DUNN (M40)of THIRSK as they passed through at 3.5 miles but last year's female winner, JOSIE HODGETTS of the host club had already established a significant lead over PAULINE MUNRO (f45)
( Bingley).  She would have to fold significantly over the very hilly middle part of the race to not repeat her 2009 win; but the duel between the two men was another matter altogether.

 With the evening closing in and the light fading, as they passed the 8 mile point Gary looked to be forcing the pace with Tim on his shoulder, well clear of the rest of the field.  Question was with Edinburgh marathon from last month and a recent
10K in his legs could he break down the younger man.

  Having successfully covered the hardest section of the course with just 2 downhill and flat miles left and under no threat from behind, a smiling, happy Josie H. sped past at 8 mile going on to finish in 64.29 followed by Pauline Munro 65.53 and Racheal Bamford (Otley) 66.38. 
  Another female "master" running away from younger rivals on the very tough middle section was my friend SALLY MALIR (Ilkley H.) seen below pulling a group through at 3.5 miles and at 8 miles, having run away from them on the hills.  No wonder she's smiling as well.......

Gary's aggressive downhill surge appeared to have paid off with his younger Bingley rival broken,  but "terminator" Tim came back in the last half mile, surging past to take the win.  Done and dusted as they say, (sorry, Gary!). So Tim M. (56.30) nudged ahead of  the battling Gary D. (56.38) to add to last month's win over 5K down at Esholt.  So coincidently, victories for 28 year male and females on the new slightly rearranged course, being credited with new records, albeit significantly slowly than those on the "old" course.     But perhaps the outstanding achievement of the night was that of local Skyrac AC runner, Roger Dawson who was presented with a certificate for having run the race for 25 continuous years.  I ran in that 1985 race, 9th (!) in 53.27 and said "never again", although I did do in 1990,  so to maintain his sequence is admirable. Well done, Roger.

Sadly a significant absentee last night was OTLEYclub stalwart, Julian Mawson,  hospitalised since the weekend.   Good news today from Julian was that he is hoping to be let out tomorrow.  I'm sure we all wish him the very best for a speedy recovery.


 A cloudless sky.  The sun's warm energising rays covering the track. The gentlest of breezes ensuring comfort levels are maintained for the session.   Runners warm up in t-shirts which they shed as groups began to form for their various sessions.  Great! 

 At this point Pat wakes me up.  I'm not in Barcelona!

"Are you going to the track today?"   "Yes"
"Well,  you are going to get cold and wet!"

I planned 4 visits to the track in the 3 weeks between races; ideally looking for a gradual increase of pace per lap as the length of the rep shortened.  Simple.  Not quite so....
 Last week's 5k tempo went quite well averaging 1.48 for 22.34.   K reps at 1.40 should surely pose np problem for 4.10 each.   Simple. Not quite so..
 It's June 9th. and the weather is so poor that it could be late February.  Low temperature and a 14 mph north easterly winning the fight against my puny 61.6KG frame.   I'm losing 6 seconds per 200 and so the first 3 reps bring poor returns for the effort put in.........4.29 (!)  4.26   4.24.  The last 2 offer some meagre consolation 4.17 and 4.12.   Just a disappointing 4 seconds faster than the pace of the tempo run.  Very frustrating, no surprise so many emigrate to escape days like this.   In fact there has been very little break in the cloud cover all week. No change  this Thursday morning as rain sweeps down Wharfedale and the flag of St.George on top of St.John's church is buffeted by the strong winds. Great!   So much for a shorts and vest summer.
  Still,  thinking of England St.George flags, with the World Cup on the horizon starting with the game on Saturday versus U.S.A. we'll all be indoors anyway, won't we (?), watching the football so what's the problem.  Great!
                 Can't wait.  Just a shame Republic of Ireland were cheated out of their place.
I hope, reader,  wherever you are you are fairing which item of rainwear shall I wear today.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


 Just had my number through for the BMAF 5K race.  BMAF as in Briitsh Masters Athletic Federation Championship 5K race with all the race information stapled on it!!  Race information stating simply that registration (?) will be in HORWICH PUBLIC HALL from 9.00 a.m.  Nothing else!

Entry fee £9 . I think we might have expected a bit more than a slip stapled onto the number simply stating venue and time for registration!
 NO travel directions to Horwch for those who might need them, NO  venue directions once there, bearing in mind Horwich is a small town not a village, NO course dettils, for those who have never run the event before,
NO timetable for the full day's programme, there's a lot more gong on than just the BMAF race,
NO instructions regarding team declarations, how to register if we want to count for a younger age group?
NO information regarding prize presentatons etc etc.  Should anyone feel that a BMAF medal is worh having!   I think we get the picture.  These British veterans championships aren't especially well supported particularly with regard to the team entry. Last year NO teams actually finished in several age groups. Is it any wonder?
  Me being me, I have emailed the BMAF sec.......she's not pleased about what's gone out......she emailed the BMAF road's set his "heart racing"!   The local organiser  "just assumes"   we all know the format, it's on the "website".   Which assumes all competitors have computers, of course.  Simply not the case given the age profile of competitors. Many will have entered using the entry form on the back of the BMAF magazine so haven't seen the website.  All in all very unprofessional and very disappointing for a British championship, don't you think?
  I had to postpone Tuesday's track session until today and judging by how the 7 on the road went (laboured !) which I did instead ,no bad thing.   That "easy"  6 up and down the moor was probably not quite as easy as was intended.  But then again we've always suspected that, haven't we?

Monday, 7 June 2010


  When I lived in Yeadon I trained on Ilkley  moor.  When I taught in Menston I trained on Ilkley moor. When I lived in Burley In Wharfedale I trained on Ilkley moor.  When I moved to Ilkley I trained on Ilkley moor,,,,,,,, for years and years including one Christmas Day up to my knees in snow!   But over the last couple of years,  having fallen a couples of times.....I've stopped..... training on Ilkley moor.
  Anxious to add a few more venues and a bit more variety to my programme I thought I would make a return visit.  Running from home would have entailed a hard steep climb so  I drove back towards Menston to give myself the "kindest" approach.  Running from home wasn't an option on this particular Monday when an easy day was pencilled in.  Checked  and determined that it would be 6 miles out and back  taking me past the SHOOTING HUT and THE 12 APOSTLES

  The ascent to the shooting hut is testing but not too severe.  Enough for me to be driving off the forefoot and reasonable under foot on the wide track.   Heavy cloud cover today but reasonable visibility unlike yesterday when the moor was shrouded in low cloud.   After a mile and half the route starts to level off as the best of the distant landscape comes into view although there will be better days!
  Reaching the stone circle, said to have been built
over 3000 years ago!, after 2 miles I meet a solitary walker completing his climb from the opposite direction with the aid of his walking "poles" otherwise deserted; a good place to get away from it all.

Another mile on narrower paths which demand a bit of tricky dancing footwork and I reach the turning point. TRIGPOINT 0704  , sharing the spot with a less formal cairn of stones.  Like thousands of runners over the decades I have sped past this summit without much of  a second thought and certainly without stopping.  Today, being an "easy" day, I stopped and took a couple of shots.  TRIGPOINT is of course the popular name for triangulation pillars used by the Ordnance Survey to map out the country.  Placed on high to give a direct sight line from one to the next. 

My reading tells me that an accurate compass built into a telescope would have been sat on top of the pillar so that precise bearing to the nearby "trigpoints" could be taken.  Hence triangulation !
Fascinating! Now I wouldn't have learnt all that without doing this run.  Bear in mind I had no geography lessons beyond the age of 13.
                             Here is a picture of the top of the the next time you are looking for somewhere to mount your theodolite you know where to go.............
  On the side of the pillar  below the OS marking is what apparently is called....wait for it....the FLUSH BRACKET NUMBER(?) this case 2959
  So anyone tired of bagging or even completed bagging Monroes in Scotland  or even wanting a change from train spotting can walk or run to similar points ticking off these FBN's!  But beware there are several thousands of them; fortunately  they are not all on summits such as Ilkley moor. 
  I only "garminned" the descent today which proved to be the pre measured 3 miles in 27.15 so when I return to do the run again I'll be looking for about 60 minutes on the watch and a better set of photos on the camera in contrast to the rain bearing clouds of today.
 Good views coming back down the trail over to the Chevin above Otley.  Not a great day for flights in and out of Leeds Bradford airport ...........


Sunday, 6 June 2010


I'm not alone in making reference to cyclists on our local Leeds Liverpool canal flashing past from behind without any warning.  Well, it seems complaints from pedestrians have triggered a positive response from the Police and Leeds Safety Units. For 2 days recently they stopped and spoke to dozens of cyclists and gave them bells to fit to their bikes to enable them to warn other canal users of their approach from behind.   It will be interesting to see  hear if they use them!  I'll be down the towpath
later today to find out...........
  The incessant rain certainly made for a quieter 9 miler on the canal; far fewer walkers and cyclists, with or without bells!   Tempting to go further but with another speed session planned for Tuesday decided that 9 would be enough.  Usual scenario for the run.  A first mile loosener at 8.59 then 4 miles just above target pace of 8.30 requiring a nudge over the final 4 miles to achieve the overall average.
8.59    8.39    8.38    8.35    8.38    8.19    8.13    8.07    7.56........averaging 8.27 (target 8.30)
 So the end of another week which started unusually with that 5 mile race, followed by 3 recovery days, a track session on Friday, easy 8 yesterday finishing with 9 today.   49 miles on the week.
 I was quite happy to face the challenge of a hot and sticky track session on Friday. In fact I was even disappointed that there was a fairly  strong breeze blowing as usual.  As I keep saying we have to race in heat don't we?   Avoid it continually and we miss the chance to acclimatise. I decided to leave the choice of session until the end of the 2 mile warm up  and opted for a strong tempo 5K rather than faster paced short reps which I'll be building back up to over the next 10 days.
The 12 and a half laps went much the same as today's canal run.  Acceleration throughout.  1.52 down to 1.40........for 22.34.  Best  time for a long time for this solo 5k track effort despite the strong breeze.
            55.3   1.51   1.49   1.51   1.52   1.52   1.50   1.48   1.47   1.46   1.45   1.44   1.40

Friday, 4 June 2010

Hybrid course...a test of fortitude and patience!

 Race course design is a hard task at the best of times; but generally the course designer works within the parameters of  "road",  "fell" or "trail".  Take this defining restriction away and of course the course designer has virtually a free hand, within boundaries of common sense and of course, health and safety, to take the competiors wherever he wishes.  One of the local midweek leagues in  this Yorkshire area used to be called a ROAD league but as finding 100% tarmac races seemed to prove more and more difficult for the participating clubs it is now just called a RACE league.  Hence more licence for the organisers!
 Last night's event was a real hybrid.  Starting close to the centre of Yeadon the 281 runners (16 to 75 years of age) sped down a tarmac disused rail track then descended into woods via a rocky trail; returning via a dense wood with twisting narrow pathways which made for difficult overtaking.  They emerged from the wood to then climb back via the trail and fields before the easier last mile back on tarmac. 

  As they reached the end of the rail track after nearly a mile 16 year old MARC SCOTT (Richmond & Zetland) was already well clear and ran unchallenged throughout to win by 41 seconds on the 5 mile plus course.   The mixed surface was ideally suited to this young man who can boast a 3K PB of 8:54.51 enabling to establish a good lead on the tarmac at which point his fell running and cross country (17th in the English schools XC)  skills came into play and he ran out a clear winner. This shot shows him bounding up the last hill with no one else in sight.

 In contrast, last year's league ladies winner
JOSIE HODGETTS (Otley AC), seen here after
the first tarmac mile , is at her best when running rhythmically hard and fast on good surfaces and I knew she wouldn't enjoy the off road sections which would try her patience!   Fortunately she heeded advice not to wear her flexible lightweight road racing shoes.
But it was decided that if she could start fast and be in the lead at the end of the tarmac it would be very difficult for others to catch and pass.  This plan worked and she held a lead of a minute over LISA MAWER, recovering from the recent Edinbuirgh marathon.
 I stood with one of my ex pupils as the runners wearily tackled the final gruelling uphill stretch.  As JOSIE came into view up the last hill. I turned to him and said ,
  "I bet she say's ..."I don't like this!"   A minute later she passed and did indeed say....."I hated it!"

So there you have it. Who'd be a race course designer!   The men's race won by a very able, very young man
demonstrating excellent versatility on  road, trail and cross country surfaces which the event encompassed
whilst, let's just say, others weren't so happy!
  I would say though that bearing in mind the age profile and fitness levels of many  competitors the race could have been a lot kinder and more thoughtful given the choices of route in the area.  I couldn't help thinking that the hybrid course, a mixture of tarmac, stony trail and narrrow rutted paths climbing through the woods hadn't really taken into consideration the agility and strengths  of over half of the largely veteran competitors.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

I WEAR.........

 Thursday 9.00 a.m.  Pat has already been out for her run, had breakfast and scooted off to look after my business interests! Where would I be without her......working!! She forecasts a hot and sticky run for me later in the morning with little breeze and the sun up to maximum.  Eyewear a must! Eyewear being the word the trade uses for what we call sunglasses.  as they call watches etc, timing and clothing, apparel!
 Apparently the damage caused by ultra violet rays is such that at some schools in Australia sunglasses are mandatory.  Eyes being 10 x more sensitive than skin; damage can be caused to the macula which we use for detailed close up work and cataracts develop when UV radiation from longterm exposure leads to disturbance of the fragile of the eye lens.  Not good!


There is a double page review of "eyewear" in RW.  They are showing  £200 for a pair of Oakleys or £165 for adidas. Great until you  sit on them or otherwise lose them.  What do I wear?   I have worn adidas but found they "fogged up" when breathing out.  I did have a good pair of Nike but left them on the top of the car when I finished a run, they fell off and the person I'd run with drove over them.  They were good because they featured a gap at the top for your expelled air to pass through.
  Without paying a fortune Sunwise glasses have this feature plus several models which offer the facility of interchanging lens according to the strength of the light.  I'm currently wearing such a model, the RUSH by Sunwise.
It comes with smoke mirror, beige and yellow polycarbonate lenses for low, medium and strong sunlight respectively.
Great value at a fraction of the Oakleys price!

14.40   Run done for the day.  My weekly circuit of the 2 reservoirs; temperatures in the low 20s. Very pleasant indeed and with just a bit of a push up the final hill managed to nudge under 60 minutes.  5 minutes faster than just after that depleting Manchester 10K! Having 2 very easy days of 5 miles each after Monday's  5 mile race at Wythenshawe has paid dividends.  Should be ready for a track session within the next few days.  The focus now being shorter reps as I've entered the British Masters 5K at Horwich , two weeks on Sunday. 
  This fine weather is set to last at least another couple of days.  (Not great news for Yorkshire Water.)
Temperatures staying in the low 20s. So take advantage; get your shorts out, put your shades on but don't forget the suntan cream! 

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


  The last weekend of May is an extremely busy time locally for races.  A trail race on Thursday, the Colne 10K on Friday, Lancaster 5K and fell races on Saturday (plus of course dozens of ParkRuns) a whole host of road and trail races on Sunday including the town's Ilkley Trail Race as previously reviewed.  Plenty to aim for and of course impossible to run them all but some do try their best...........!!
  I talked to one young lady for whom the Ilkley race was her 4th in 5 days.   I spoke to a club mate today doing his 3rd race in 4 days.   More reasonably,  quite a few who raced at Colne on Friday had an easy weekend and turned out again at Sale yesterday.  Oh, to be young!
 At my age,  races take some recovering from and so I was quite content to keep my powder dry  for our club race over 5 mile on a dry, flat course;   back for a third time this year at Manchester's Wythenshawe Park.  The course was as expected; out from the track, Andi Jones seen here leading the way out, into the park,  then two loops involving 4 "out and back" hairpins which inevitably detract from the pace and the rhythm. 
 The race went more or less as expected. Following the initial two laps of the track,  half a dozen club mates have accelerated away and  have as usual set themselves up as targets for me to go at over the first two miles.   At glance at the Garmin after mile shows 6.36.....33 minute pace.....mile 2  in 6.39.....suggesting my pace is more on the money.  Still going through as so many  slow down,  as per usual. Case proved as at the half way point I've broken through.  Problem then being that  as I pull them along  there's a massive gap somehow developed in front of  me of about 200 meters.  Without an immediate hare to chase the pace slows .....6.49 for the 3rd and 6.48 for the 4th.   But the 200 metre gap is being continually eroded and a Swinton runner provides someone to go at over the last mile.  Which incidently on the garmin starts .44 of a mile before the 4 mile marker which has "been put out on the wrong side of the road" on an out and back part of the course!!
I do manage to catch the Swinton man and reach the 5 mile point  (on the garmin) in 6.29 for 33.23.   Trouble is I still have .11 of a mile still to go around the track !   This takes 39 seconds and I finish in 34.04.  You can tell from the photo how pleased I am to be able to run the extra distance!
 All fairly academic for me whether the course was accurate or not as PBs are no longer an issue; but might be for others.   But eyebrows were certainly raised about the accuracy of the course when a mile marker is nearly half a mile out of position; and if only something could be done about the out and back loops was a frequent comment afterwards.  Another Garmin clocked it at 5.1 but another at 4.99, so who knows?  All that said a race is a race and those taking away the excellent cash prizes will have no complaints.
  Similarly for myself I felt I "raced" well going by the splits and pace judgement.   Managed 74th of 211 in another mainly club based field.   My time, faster than Preston Docklands 5 where I won, was good enough for only 5th. M60. Interestingly, the category winner was one Terry Hanley of Southport Waterloo.   Pictured left here..
Last seen at the Leeds marathon in 1982 (!) when I nudged ahead of him (6th and 7th) in 2:32 to 2:33.   Yesterday he exacted "revenge" 4.35 minutes!! Did he have to rub it in! Well done.  Obviously doesn't indulge in sex, drugs and rock and roll like others of his age......although judging by his hair flow I'm not too sure...well done, Mr. Hanley.

 For the record Salford's Andi Jones took away the £200 for first in 24:34 with Dionne Allen of Horwich similarly better off,  winning in 29:32.  Good to see "follower" Kevin Ogden, well to the fore in 13th place with 27:29.  pictured here in the red/yellow colours of Spen A.C.
  So a very busy Bank Holiday week culminating with a well earnt, superb lunch before making the return journey home.
  Time for reflection today on the year so far.  11 races run by end of May compared with 11 by August 18 last year.  Time to
ease back?  Certainly time to set targets for the second half of the year. Certainly a need to find one or two races which will bring a better reward for the training being put in in terms of finishing times.   
  So a very busy Bank Holiday weekend culminating with a well earnt, lunch before making the return journey home from the Red Rose to the White Rose county.

Finally, some of the many SALE HARRIERS who supported the club's own event; although we did have to wait until 25th for our first runner in, where were all our "A" team?