Monday, 28 March 2011


If anyone accused me of tending to run mainly flat, fast courses I would plead guilty. But,as per last year, in 2011 I thought   it would be good motivationally to try  some races for the first time and if that means some more challenging routes, then so be it.  
 So, yesterday,  Pat and I took the ferry over Lake Windermere and drove around to Moor Top,
Satterthwaite for the GREAT GRIZEDALE TRAIL RACE 10.   Now beware if you ever do this one.  Moor Top (Car Park) is actually 2.8 miles beyond the village and several found access through Ambleside a better route.

   As with most Lake District races,  254 runners from all over the England and Scotland lined up for the  start at the unusual time of 1p.m.  Presumably to allow for the long journeys many will have made.  
  An away fixture but plenty of familiar faces of course.  GB international TARA KRZYWICKI, famous for her Charnwood A.C. successes but now running with Accrington Road runners
discussed  with me what the lakeland trail run might have in store for us.
  No matter how hard it might be I  said I couldn't see anyone around to beat her.
  Pat asked me what I was hoping for.  I said that it was bound to be at  the very least undulating and that if I could maintain or average 8 minute mileing I'd be happy. 
 Couldn't see an age group win if Dave Waywell of Wesham, last year's M60 winner, turned up. Never usually near him but he did tell me at Blackpool that he was suffering from arthritis. So who knows?

 The charge from the gun was maintained for more
than 2  miles  as rather disturbingly  we lost a lot  of
height  from the Moor Top.   My excesses in the garden could be felt in the right hip and the hamstring felt vulnerable as dozens swept past me on the downhill and shot on.  Despite miles in 7.18, 7.29 and 7.39 for the first 3 I must have been way back in the hundreds.  No sign of Dave W. but I knew he was well ahead.  I could see by now we were nearly back in the valley and knew there had to be some  tough climbs to come.  
 Didn't have to wait long!  Around a bend and the fourth mile sees us climb with a resulting 9.50 mile.  But  many can't cope with this drag and several are actually walking.  The tortoise is beginning to catch a few hares, I thought.

  As can be seen from this elevation/ time graph the course subjected us a roller coaster ride for the rest of the race.  Many, including some very fit young men, were finding the hills hard work  and unlike Blackpool no one latched on to share the work overtaking.  
 Meanwhile, my M60 rival, who is actually M65, came into view and the gap was closing, slowly but steadily. 

 We reached mile 8 and I did think  that from there we would coast down to the finish but no such luck. A very nasty sting in the tail with a half mile climb which did however play into my hand as I was able to pass Dave who seemed to be limping. He explained afterwards that his painkillers didn't last for that length of race.
  Meanwhile, 10 minutes in front,  first lady Tara K. (63.52)
and partner Chris Black ,  pictured here ,were no doubt  already
enjoying their cake and isotonic drink. Finishing in 21st and 22nd place.  Well within themselves I suspect.
  It was good that I had not left my effort to win the age group any longer as the last "mile" only took 3 minutes and 20 seconds!
Actually it was only .49 mile from 9 to the finish. The total course just 9.49 miles....... not 10 miles after all. 
  The organisers  do describe it as the most scenic traffic free 10 mile (approx.) forest trail race in the country so in truth they don't claim it to be accurate.

 The downhill seemed to balance out the uphill stretches in the second half of the race. So quite happy with miles of 7.34 7.22 7.52 7.53 in the back half.  
 Young Ben Abdelnoor of Ambleside won the event in 55.45.  But there were 4 M40s were in the first 7.   My cautious first couple of miles seemed to pay dividends as I eventually  ran through to 78th and was indeed confirmed as 1st M60.  
  Pat's support being rewarded....... the prize; a bottle of red wine. 
  What did I learn?  Well, it was tougher than I expected but compared with many I seemed to cope well enough.  Tough but the climbs,  being on forest trail paths,  were runnable . No walking with hands on knees as in a fell race. 
  But,  perhaps most of all, we learnt about a great venue for training runs in the future as we spend more leisure time in the area.    A bit more time spent covering this  type of terrain and perhaps the bottom of my calves wouldn't hurt as much as they do today!


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Winter pain....springtime pleasure.

 Well, hard to believe it's nearly a week since the ill-fated Northern relay; but what a fabulous few days it's been weatherwise.   Unseasonably warm temperatures and brilliant sunshine just calling those of us fortunate enough to be able to train in the day out for our daily run.
 Of course, that response to the call can only be made if the runner is fit enough to take advantage on a daily basis.   I was in the shop yesterday and one customer said that he was desperate to get out for a run on Thursday but was too exhausted from Wednesday that he had to miss out.  He said he kept looking out of the window and thinking if only....!  
 Yes, if only he'd  steeled himself to run more in the cold, dark winter months .  Day after day when he would find some excuse or other NOT to go out.  So now like so many others he has to rebuild his fitness levels carefully and gradually missing days at a time when he could be enjoying the fantastic spring weather..............
                  "Whatever a man soweth, that shall he reap"

Or in other words, well done for getting out throughout the winter.... go and enjoy some great spring running, you have earnt it!

The main danger for me though with the coming of spring is that the sun, hidden by the moor through the winter, returns to our back garden. If I am not careful I can end up labouring for hours out there which does not help the running.   Case in point this week with niggles in the back and hips following a few sessions. 

       Hopefully won't spoil tomorrow's trail race  in the Lake District around Grizedale Forest....... 

 The Wednesday track session and a pretty tough trail run the following day naturally left me a tad weary and Friday's 4 was  hardly brisk. 
  Usual prerace jog today around the local playing fields for 3 miles.   Marc T. and partner  Sarah J.  appeared later to  similarly maintain this "tradition2 before their Thirsk 10 miler tomorrow.  Let's hope all goes well for them and anyone else reading this who may be joining them.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

A run of 2 halves

  Another fabulous spring day in the North with just a whisper of cloud and a gentle cooling breeze.  As near
 as we get to perfection for today's outing; a run of 8 plus miles. Yesterday, a very pleasing track session. Today,  a great trail run with just short stretches of  tarmac  with some magnificent North Yorkshire views.

  A bit longer than I would generally cover after a speed session but the Grizedale race on Sunday is hardly the Olympics,  so no real ease down necessary.
  I parked up outside the village hall at Timble Village and headed off down the road towards Swinsty reservoir.  A clear view of the Memwith Hill U.S. / RAF base in the distance ("the golf balls" as we call it).
Wearing the ADIDAS SUPERNOVA RIOT GTX today and my delicate feet certainly felt the benefit of the excellent cushioning in this shoe on the first road section down to the reservoir.  As can be seen from this shot the level of the water is already going down.  People in Leeds having too many baths!  A Thursday morning but still plenty of walkers to greet on this first half of the run.  The three miles around Swinsty res made much easier and faster by the improvements to the waterside trail.  Not a sign of mud anywhere.

Completing the circuit of Swinsty I cross the embankment between it and Fewston res (pictured here today) and head out for the second half of the run.  A run through plantations which will serve as a good rehearsal for Sunday's GRIZEDALE race and proves to be a complete contrast to the first few miles.   No greetings at all to anyone in the last isolated 4 miles.

Quite testing in this second half through the forest which does not attract the leisure walkers as the res do.   The mile uphill through the forest proves no real problem compared to week 2 of this year when the slightest gradient proved a trial.  Emerging from the forest, I make  a left turn and I'm heading back to the start in Timble Village.

Spring is very much in the air as I finish the run with daffodils  lining the road through the village and new born lambs frolicing in the nearby fields.  I went into the Timble Inn and booked a table for Pat and myself for dinner tonight.  I will not be having the lamb....

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mad Dogs, Englishmen & track runners go out in midday sun.


As regular readers know Seedhill track has served as my speedwork playground on a regular basis for many, many years since THE COMPLETE RUNNER ,NELSON branch was opened.  My regular routine has been to deliver a weekly restock into the shop then go on to Seedhill for my speed session.   Sadly local government cutbacks mean that the facility will only be opening at 4 p.m. from April 1st.   I may well continue with my late morning session but in the future they may well be "illegal" as I will have to run from the shop and squeeze through the very narrow railings to get on the tartan.  Fortunately,  we have a shower at the shop.

at least that's what theNoel Coward song tells us. Well make that track runners as well. The temperature today by the time I started my session increased to double the seasonal average to 18C/64F !   Ever the pessimist I completed my 2 mile warm up wearing t/shirt, long sleeve and jacket  but enjoying the unexpected spring midday sun I was able to strip down to just the tee. 
As the "race" on Sunday was only about 4K I pushed the track session forward to Wednesday from Thursday as I have entered the 9th Great Grizedale Forest trail race on Sunday.
The Stanley Park 10K has served to give me target times for spring. Based on that 43.28  a seesion of 5 x1K at 10K pace should make 4:20 per rep an acceptable target. 
But of course racing shoulder to shoulder is different to solo track efforts.  Nevertheless I would be very disappointed if I couldn't record some improvement on times achieved 6 weeks ago. 
As usual the reps produced pleasing acceleration.
(today)   4.35   4.31   4.27   4.24   4.14   
compared to......(6 weeks ago)   4.47   4.41   4.38   4.39   4.30                                         
For the record the jog 200 recovery (interval!) was 2.10. Average  4:26  (44.26 pace)

Back in the changing rooms,  a local runner asked me about the session and  I mentioned the acceleration.   He said that I should be setting a target for the reps and achieving this each time.   I told him that's what I did.  I achieved the target on rep 1 but, as he may well find out if he is running in 12 years time,  the aged legs respond better as the session goes on.  Not sure he was convinced. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

Young guns run free in Northern 12 man relay

"A" team James Wignall, on leg 12,  flew past close to finish line as I finish leg 10 for "B" team.

 Pat and I arrived at Catterick  Garrison at 11.30 for the Northern Road Relays.  We'd had a very pleasant, relaxed,  almost traffic free journey through some very attractive,  idyllic North Yorkshire villages,  having decided to avoid the A1M with its contraflow roadworks.
  Just in time to see around 47 men start out on the first of 6 "long" legs of approx 8K/5miles alternating with 6 short legs of 4k/2.5 miles. Already would be champions Morpeth, Leeds City, Derby were showing upfront plus teams who would fall away and aspirant Olympian Tom Lancashire of Bolton who was running their first and only leg!
   Five minutes later the women flashed  by on the first of their 6 short legs.  It was pleasing to see the green, white and red of the Sale ladies. But no Bingley or Otley ladies in the bunch.  Before long of course the races would merge.............

Sale's Cara Kavanagh battles with Gerry O'Neil (Salford ) and Adam Osborne (Leeds City)

 First task was to find the Sale Harriers tent and report for duty !    Team manager, Dave Rodgers  gave me number, pins and,  for the first time at this event ,  a timing chip card for my shoe.
 I looked at the team sheet and could see that our "B" had already suffered alterations and sadly Dave confirmed that the team would finish "incomplete" after my 10th leg.  For the second year running I would run knowing that no one would be there  at the changeover to carry on the relay!
 I immediately reacted by saying that I would run leg 11 and leg 12 as well to complete the event.  Ok we would be disqualified but at least we would achieved something.  But of course it was pointed out that this was impossible with the chip system in use.
 I returned to the car for the 2 hour wait before starting my warm up. 
                                   Deflated, disappointed, frustrated.......and just a bit angry.
It was 2.45 or so by the time I eventually set out on my leg.   The commentator gave  me a namecheck as I started out and said I was the man to talk to if "you need club vests"!  If nothing else then I'd achieved a free advert by turning out.  Scant consolation.
Our "B" team had finished the first leg in 35th postion and we more or less stayed there throughout.  I went through the motions on my run with the adrenalin level on zero but appreciating the encouragement of former rivals lining the course. I lost no places in the event but by this time the faster teams were sending out runners on legs 11 and even 12 and of course they simply flew by and went on.  Far too fast to latch onto and share the 4K sprint.
  So our "A" team,  hoping to win medals as they did last  year,  were 7th.  Our ladies were similarly down in 14th spot.  
 For the record, Morpeth took the lead on leg 3 and were chased down by Leeds City until leg 10 but went away on leg 11 and 12 to win by 1.20 minutes with Derby A.C.  third.   Good to see local club Bingley up in 5th place,  with neighbours Keighley in 21st and Otley  29th.

 226 runners completed  the short leg.  The fastest time was run by Richard Weir of Derby in 10:50. His best for 800 metres is 1.52.   Two of our junior men ran 2nd and 4th fastest; sent out to tackle the seniors in this event as we had been back in 1968.   Unfortunately I can no longer run 800 metres in 2 minutes and my 16:19 was only good enough for 217th!  
              But at least I answered the call!

This shot includes Dave Rodger out on the course supporting James Wignall and myself as we finish, as he had done all afternoon. Thanks Dave.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

(Far from ) easy on a Sunday morning

9.00 a.m. Just prepared my racing kit for today's North Of England 12 man Relay and I must admit to feeling pretty apprehensive.  Hard to believe I know as I first raced this event way back in '68 as I wrote yesterday.
Thing is that today is an elite regional event for young ,fast club runners.  Our "A" team for example has one young man hoping to make the 2012 Olympics! There'll be no novices, no "fun runners" in this one.
  I really just wanted to attend this championship to take a few photos but knowing I would be frustrated if Sale H. didn't complete a "B" team, I would feel like a whimp, so I said stick my name down.
 I didn't really think that the absence of younger, much faster runners would mean that I would have actually have to turn out.
 But needs must and I suppose the overwhelming feeling at this moment is that I will let the team down, losing places, possibly meaning the "B" team doesn't make the National 12 man  ( we have to finish in the top 25 teams) and of course appear like a decrepit cart horse alongside seasoned racing thoroughbreds.

I'm down to run leg 10 so it means a 3 hour wait from when the event starts but not as long as 1974 when they had me on leg 12. 

                     Minimalist shoe fan? Check out the blue Onitsuka Tigers we all worn in those days.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A willing volunteer for Northern 12 man relay....once again!

One good aspect of our sport is that participation generally does not discriminate  against age or ability.  I say generally if there are runners of my generation who are not computer literate they may struggle to actually participate  in  races in the future as so many race are going "online entries only". 
 That aside, many events allow us lesser mortals to share the stage (I deliberately avoid the word compete) with world stars or national top flight athletes.  For example, in the Great Manchester 10K Run I'll join thousands of others as we follow in the red hot footsteps of the great wee man, Haile Gebrselassie and top Aussie Craig Mottram.
 Tomorrow, it looks like I'll witness at close quarters the speed of some of the fastest Northern middle distance runners as they flash past me on their leg 11 of the N.Of E. 12 man relay as I plod around on leg 10 for the Sale Harriers "B" team.
 Yes, I "got the call".  Actually,  I made the call Friday a.m. to beleaguered team manager Dave Rodgers to see if I was needed.  He said it would be useful if I could turn out to complete the team.  This will mean running a late leg   where the slower runners will do least damge to the team's position!
  Having been in the position of having to organise a 12 man team with Bingley I have sympathy for Dave R.
who may well end up running himself. You know your best 12 but if one or two drop out the team can suffer a real "domino" effect.  So, it's an   unenviable task trying to produce one team let alone 2.
  At my age I am of course way,way down the pecking order over 5K (the leg is 4K) I just hope that the reasons for failing to support the club are genuine rather than indifference.  But I can guarantee that several faster men will have run Park Runs this Saturday morning.
 Still, it gives me the chance to participate once more in this regional  relay which I first ran in back in 1968 when I was just 19. That day in my first spell with Sale we "medalled" in 3rd place.   Later appearances were with Bingley (a silver in 1978) , Valley Striders and Ilkley Harriers. 
  With tomorrow in mind  I thought it sensible to give this week's track session a miss on Friday and as
today enjoyed a leisurely 5 mile run to leave something in the tank for Sunday's 4K sprint.  I say sprint. I don't get going until 4K in a race so the warm up will have to be a thorough one and well timed. Which could be difficult given the nature of the event.  Time will tell.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Another week flying by....

 I don't plan weeks weeks ahead as previous but I do like to map out a week based on the  previous one
and any events rapidly approaching.   This year I've been keen to ensure that the "rebuild" was sensible and cautious.  The weeks have gone 16  22  24   36 (!)  40  40  45  38  39  43.  so perhaps my fitness returned faster than I thought but then again I'd really only had a low december not a complete shut down.
 I had this week pencilled in until an email came from the club stating the likely "A" and "B" teams for the North Of England 12 man relay at Catterick on Sunday.  I was listed (last) as a possible to make up the "B" team but there are so many other "maybes" in front of me that I think they would have to be absolutely desperate to need this old geriatric.  So I'm reverting to original plan and doing a track session tomorrow.  I will travel to the event anyway and I'll have my kit but will be saddened if the response from the young 'uns is such that I'll be needing it.  Last year, you may recall, I ran the 4th leg (and last) leg for an incomplete "C" team.

 Looking back at my training record it was clear that I needed a run of at least 10 miles yesterday. Nothing above 8 in the last 3 weeks.  So I set off over to Airedale,  hoping to leave the fog of Ilkley Moor behind, for a spin on the canal.  No such luck . No better over there. Equally cool, damp and  grey. A road closure forced me to change my starting point  meaning I had the pleasure of  testing myself on the drag up 5 Rise Locks.  No problem.
  With that 10 following the trail 9 on Tuesday an easier day was called for today. 
  An afternoon run gave me the chance to meet up with an old friend with whom I shared many a mile  in 2004.  Her applicaion and dedication to daily training saw her reduce her 10K time from 42:57 in October 2003 to 38.50 by the end of November 2004.  That time plus a top ten placing in  the regional cross country league were rich reward for the time and effort she had put in.   As with all of us injuries sadly set up her back but her intrinsic enjoyment of the sport is obviously still evident.  
  It was just unfortunate today that the run was marred by my breathing being extremely laboured such that I was forced to use the inhaler half way through.  Lesson for asthma sufferers. Always carry your inhaler; you never know when you might need it.  I just have to work out what triggered it off! 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Through the mists on time

 Yesterday's 4 mile (8 x .5 mile laps!) on the local playing fields, my easy day,  meant that a longer, more testing run was called for today but with heavy cloud cover screening the sun and generally dampening the spirits,  I resisted the lure of the tartan (track) and opted for the undulations of the Bolton Abbey trail and the Strid.   I figured light pedestrian traffic on this miserable of days.


  It's many months since I've tackled this 9 miler so it would yet another test of the piriformis troubled left leg.  Another chance to lay a brick in the wall of recovery.  Some slight numbness in the hip and between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals where the nerve end but generally the run went well. 

No improvement in long distance visibility on the way back ; the abbey eerily emerging through the mist.

Quite frequently on runs I'm stopped by people walking who ask me to take a picture of them. no doubt happened to you as well. They hand you their expensive camera, confident that you will take their picture and hand them the camera back.  Next time,  turn and pretend to run away with their precious possession!
These young ladies asked me to photograph them today and having done so I said that I would now run off and add their camera to the hundreds I "stolen" before.  

 A general look of relief  when I said I was only kidding!  I took a photo of them on my camera and promised them a blog mention. 

Monday, 14 March 2011

Week concludes with moor, moor , moor!

 Whilst being pleased with 43.28 in that "comeback"  10K race  the strain is clear to see on this cropped shot taken at 9K.  On the positive side both legs stood up pretty well and in the week following I've been able to maintain the "rebuild".
  Unlike forner times I allowed 4 days of easy/steady running to elapse before even thinking about attempting a quality session.  But as gales hit the country on Thursday  I abandoned the planned track session.  27 m.p.h. westerly winds would have left me motionless on the back straight. . Instead I opted for 1.5 miles jog into the wind on the canal,  with 3 hard miles with the wind behind leaving me 1.5 jog recovery.
  An easy 4 on the grass on Friday.  I say easy. I'm using this run as a "style" session at the moment ; really trying  make a return to my forefoot lead gait, with the head up and back straight.  In short trying not to run like an old, grey wrinkly!
I decided to popstpone a long run run at the weekend with the race still in the legs and just went for 8 on Saturday followed as usual by a trail run on Sunday, yesterday.
   I avoided the busy Wharfedale leisure trails by returning to Barden Moor.    I opted for a clockwise circuit which meant a 2 mile uphill testing slog into a chilling westerly;  fortunately, I had looked at the weather forecast and hadn't been deceived by the March sunshine.   So was dressed to suit.  The second mile was timed at 12.27!
Downhill then to the upper reservoir and of  a chance for a return to normal form and pace.

  This 6 mile circuit  brought  the week's  total to 43 and the year's total to 346 lifting the average to a more respectable 34.6.  Respectable all things considered but still progress to be made. But I shall not returning to the training of 25 years ago, as outlined below........
 Continuing a look back 25 years,  a fortnight after that Malta Marathon  I had run a 7 mile race in Rochdale (3rd) and on March 16th  tackled a half marathon which closed off one of my biggest weeks ever with 91 miles.   Bear in mind that the following was made easier by the fact that being self employed my working day in the shop was very flexible.
  MONDAY           A.M.    8      P.M.     8................................16
  TUESDAY           A.M.    6      P.M.     21xHILL (10)...........16
  WEDNESDAY    18 MILES (2.03)......................................18
  THURSDAY       A.M.    4      P.M.     10 INC 8X400...........14
   FRIDAY            EASY 6......................................................6
   SATURDAY      EASY 6......................................................6
   SUNDAY            HALF MARATHON  10TH 72 MINS 91
                                         (Calverley. Undulating)

  With the April Bristol marathon in mind there had been no real ease down for this half marathon.
Hence the 18 on the Wednesday and 8 x 400 on the Thursday.  Those were the days!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Running barefoot...Inter Counties cross country

 Two, seemingly  unrelated,  running matters occupied quite a fair amount of my time  yesterday.  One watching a TV programme and the other reading a magazine.  It's a hard life but as they say someone's got to do it!
 First job, before going for my usual late morning run of course, was to look at a recording of last Saturday's Inter Counties Cross Country championships  which was on Sky Sports.  Besides enjoying watching some excellent competitive races, across all the age groups, it gave me a chance to see  our fastrax   vests in action which have gone out recently to several county teams for the Birmingham event.
   I was hoping of course we would have one or two winners  in our vests.   But if nothing else the four hour long programme would serve as an excellent advert for our work supplying specialist vests.

  As it turned out we couldn't have asked for more as both the winners of the senior races wore vests carrying our brand.  Namely Andy Vernon and Charlotte Purdue, both representing Hampshire.  Plus several others!
  It was interesting to see how the performances of runners who had competed in both the National cross at Alton Towers, in which hundreds of athletes struggled in the thick quagmire of mud,  and  Saturday's County championships compared.  The latter course being much drier and therefore faster.
 Not all fared well in both. A case of horses for courses.  Like horses, we come to realise that certain runners perform better in certain conditions. Senior athletes come to accept this and can choose races accordingly but for developing young runners it must be hard to see rivals they've beaten two weeks previous on a hard, hilly,muddy course take the medals on a flatter, drier,faster course
   The  magazine article? Well that was yet another article on barefoot running. (Runners World, April 2011)  A long article, which I may come back to, but basically like using spikes for the first time,  the message is before going "minimal" or even barefoot tread warily. 
  We can't just switch from well cushioned,  supportive shoes to minimalist shoes, or even go barefoot overnight, without great risk of injury.  The transition is too extreme. 
 When I started running in the early 1960s our shoes couldn't have been any more minimal.  So  to run barefoot was not such a big transition.   As teenagers we inevitably followed the example of Ron Hill, Bruce Tulloh , Jim Hogan et al but generally only  on good, firm grass.   Certainly not on the road and I personally never risked a cinder track. 
     But coincidentally  I did risk one  major cross country event....
 The Inter County championships of 1967 held on March 11th at Markeaton Park Derby,  looked ideal for running shoeless;  grass like a bowling green,  Going:  good to firm! But the look of horror on the face of our Lancashire team manager will never be forgotten,  as half the team peeled off shoes and socks and jogged to the start.  
                                 Particularly when it started snowing!!
 He need not have worried as we placed 5 in the first 12 in the race (won by David Bedford) to easily win the team prize.   Unfortunately for me it was only 4 to count and I missed out on a medal as I was 12th.
 But it was much better performance than the week before in the National where having shared the lead with a Sale team mate after the initial charge, I slumped badly to 97th  as we hit farm fields of plough and mud.  
                           As we have said.....horses for courses!  

Monday, 7 March 2011


                                                     STANLEY PARK 10K 2011 START  

I had to go way back to 1997 to find a year without any races recorded for January and February.  So for better or worse I was quite keen to find a race last weekend. I know there are a lot of runners who are reluctant to race unless they are 100%.  For myself, still  recovering from that pirformis problem ,I was keen to get some feedback as to how the build up was going and what would be required in training and racing in the coming weeks and months. Needs must and all that!

  Regular readers will recall that 8 weeks ago I couldn't manage a 2 mile walk along the shores of Windermere without stopping several times so it was with some trepidation that I faced what would be ...all being 132nd ,  the STANLEY PARK 10K in Blackpool..  With frequent twinges from the leg I wasn't expecting much but could I avoid it being another personal worse?  That being 45.19 on a very hilly Boggart Hole 10K last year. 
 Inevitably prerace conversation involves expectations and my reply to several was "anything lower than 45 would be a satisfactory start to the season". That would need 6.2 miles at 7.14. A pace I have only run at once in a 5X K track rep session.
 Having managed my very necessary 2 mile warm up with only one interruption  it felt good to toe the line on the track in the park. We would complete nearly 2 laps before exiting for 2 meandering , virtually flat circuits of the paths of the park ; well used on this dry Saturday morning.    The warm up reveals that despite it being 2011 the race is mile marked as opposed to kilometres;  so I leave my garmin on mile splits.  
 The first mile shows far so good....followed by a 7.02 and a 7.06.  So confidence was growing as we (with Joanne Titterington in picture above) left the track for second half. My cautious start seems to be paying dividends as I'm pulling back faster starting runners continually and it's starting to flow. Sadly my attractive young companion has drifted back!
 4th mile in 6.55...where did that come from....and I'm feeling the pressure, but still overtaking with no response (despite encouragement)  until one young man latchs on and adds support as we continue to go through.  He says he is looking for a sub 45.  I look at the watch again and say that is on the cards but we will have to keep at it!  5th mile in 6.48 and within minutes the track comes into sight. 

  I'm really feeling it now but my young friend looks under pressure too.  I try to encourage him by teasing him that he can't let a 62 year old beat him, so just keep going!  We go through mile 6 in 6.49 and set up for a final sprint around the track.  
 No let up and a final charge  which sees us going through together in 43.28 !

Can't help but being very surprised with this season opener as it promises much for the immediate future.  But  those adrenalin fuelled miles of 6.55  6.48  6.49 on the second ciruit were hard work (witness picture left!) and if I'm to go under 43 minutes again I have to be doing that kind of pace and faster in training frequently...which I'm not.  So that needs to be addressed.
 On the positive side the acceleration, with negative splits, was pleasing and shows that stamina levels are pretty good compared to many who fell away in the second half.   Some overtaken at halfway finished nearly 2 minutes behind. 

For the record, Wesham's Steve Littler was first man back in 32.06 with Jodie Ferguson of Blackpool first lady in 39.51.  Sale Harrier team mates Callum Rowlinson (17) ran 34.20 for 8th place followed by dad, Gary in 9th in 34.41.  I was 2nd in the M60 age group but also beaten by John Murray an M65 who ran 42.01.
                               The post race suggestion from my dear wife Pat that
                               I'd make a better long jumper did not go down well!


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Supernova Riot Goretex Vs. The Bogs of Ilkley Moor

 How would YOU define adventure when it comes to running?  A "quote of the day"  came in from Amby Burfoot, Editor at Large, Runners World, in which he stated he firmly believed that...
 "every run brings new experiences. You just don't know what they might be until you actually do the run.  That's one of my major reasons for pushing out the front door as often as I do.....the adventure of it all"

  I would suggest in reality if all his runs begin at his front door his options for new experiences and  adventure must be somewhat limited.   That's why I'm so fortunate being able to train in daylight late morning every day and very often drive out to so many different venues. 
 Now I think you might well say that two elements  in an adventure are a sense of fun and a soupcon of danger.  On that basis  I would definitely suggest that today's run on ILKLEY MOOR would qualify.
 I began by driving to the moor edge to avoid a mile of road.   The first two miles of incline charm walkers and runners  as the underfoot conditions are dry and free of mud.   With the sun high in the sky today there are great views to be had all the way up Wharfedale with the River Wharfe meandering through from  Addingham towards Ilkley town. 
 Swinging left up the moor I am faced with two hundred metres of bog saturated by days of winter rain.  This is the first test of the shoes I'm "christening" today,  the  ADIDAS SUPERNOVA RIOT 3 M GTX (Goretex) chosen for exactly this type of run.

 Now when I've done this run before I end up throwing the socks I've worn away and have to spend much time scrubbing my feet.  Would the Goretex membrane work?  
 Having climbed up from the bog I meet my first walker (as opposed to earlier dog strollers) and  he kindly captures the fantastic day for me as I throw the camera up to where he is having his lunch (thanks Paul Turner) on top of a huge rock with splendid views way over to Memwith Hill where I did a very wet 9 mile road run a couple of weeks

ago. What a contrast to the spring like weather of this Tuesday.
  But the "fun" will really start as I try to cope with the moor top stretch from the masts to the Trig point.  In the last few weeks a helicopter has been flying up stone slabs to lay down and connect to existing slabs as with a constant stream of human traffic the path has widened and widened over recent years such that there is a great risk one day of a walker or runner sinking in never to be seen again!  The risk element in today's adventure!  The fun? Well with the Goretex shoe on I felt able to run through bogs that previously I would have run around much as a young child has to splash in every puddle if he has his "wellies" on!

  Further I run tentatively across the boards several inches under water. Never seen that in all the years I've run up there. More stone slabs lay in wait by the path ready to put into place.  Will be a great improvement.
But no doubt upset some purists.
  How did the shoe cope with all this?  Well, starting out on the dry stony trail I could really appreciate the tremendous cushioning and medial
support of the shoe. It's NOT a minimalist low profile trail shoe; so bags of protection which suited my thin aged feet.  The Continental rubber outersole proved up to the wetter conditions gripping well but obviously you'd have more bite on a less versatile fell shoe. The Goretex membrane worked a treat.   No need to throw the socks away, they were as white (yes white) as at the start of the run and my feet did not need 10 minutes of scrubbing in the shower.   No feeling of the foot overheating at this time of year of course. 

  For the record today's bog trotting adventure on the moor with its rise and fall took 80.25 for what I made up to be 7 miles compared to yesterday's 7 on the road in 58 minutes.
   But then again that wasn't so much of an adventure now was it?