Wednesday, 29 June 2011

PLATT FIELDS race reaction.

                                   PLATT FIELDS 10K RACE JUNE 26 2011 (on Youtube)

Examining the video it shows how many shot off into good upfront positions at 1K, only to subsequently suffer in the unfavourable conditions and fall back, some  quite dramatically.   At my age I CAN'T start fast, going through in 4.25 after the slow get away on the narrow paths  and  maintaining this pace meant steady progress from 51 at 1K to 32 at the end.
 I thought I had come through the race unscathed  in terms of collateral damage to the old legs. .  But whether it was a delayed reaction or a tumble I experienced in the garden, by Monday night the left thigh was extremely sore. 
  So more time spent icing the leg on Tuesday than running. Just a very slow 2 mile jog  in 21 minutes(!)  on the grass to see how  well my self treatment had worked.   More work followed with the polystyrene cup ice massager last night and I managed a much less painful 4 mile this Wednesday morning.  Panic over!   But I'll be having an easier week than normal.  

1986  A look back at this week 25 years ago.
 July 1st.  Carnegie athletics facility.  Leeds City had been organising a series of track meets this summer and as one incorporated the YORKSHIRE 5K CHAMPIONSHIPS a few of us who trained up there on a Tuesday night decided to do it. It was to be my first track race for some years.
  Quite a big field lined up, over 30,  including a 22 year old RICHARD NERURKAR  who just nudged ahead of an M. Salt in 14:26.4.   Holmfirth's international GRAHAM ELLIS  was 4th in  14:54.8 with myself ( 15:18.1) outsprinting my friend and Valley Striders clubmate HILARY McEWAN (15:20.6).   Sadly no longer with us.  7th was now renowned triathlon coach JACK MAITLAND (15:31.2) ;  one of my former puplis RICHARD PALLISTER was  9th (15:35)  with ALWYN DEWHIRST (HOLMFIRTH) 10th in 15:36.   International Alwyn had a best of 28:48 for 10K from '79  and was one of the greats of English cross country running. He is still out every weekend at meets and races in his capacity as a Holmfirth Harriers coach.
      There would be no return to track for races until 1989, competing as a vet for the first season.

Monday, 27 June 2011


 The prediction for a hot race day turned out to be correct.  All the prerace banter was that the conditions would be an uncomfortable repeat of 2010.   So high temperatures, but eased for parts of the lap by a slight breeze.  Once again it would be on short and 3 longer laps;    but  just  90 runners compared with 126 last year.  Possibly many avoiding a repeat of the conditions suffered the previous year.
 I was more concerned about my right hamstring which on arrival was a tad sore. But it eased after the warm up and  didn't seem to hamper me; but the very narrow pathway start did.  Not so winner TOM CHARLES who shot away from the gun; opened up a big lead by 1K and went on to win by nearly 3 minutes in 32:58.
 My start was cautiuous as usual and after 1K I was back in 51st place.  Question was whether I would cope better in the heat with many of those in front wilting.   Answer. Yes; managing to pull back 19 gradually over the 3 large laps.  Playing catch up was the spur as the 1K marker was the only one put out; so no chance to monitor spilts without the garmin.   Finishing in a hard fought 44.17.  for 32nd.  (43.41 36th last year)
  Well beaten again in the age category by FRANK DAY of East Cheshire who ran a superb 39.45 and ALAN POVER of Stockport  42.00
  First place in the ladies race was keenly fought for between JAYNE LOWTON (Stockport) and JESSICA OLIVER-BELL credited with the same time of 42.19.  I hard to work very hard over the last lap to close a big gap  to EMMA JONES  (Belle Vue)  who sadly was not enjoying the heat at all, catching her just before the line.   No doubt reverse the result next time out on a cooler day.
 Evaluation?  Well,  of course on the record it does not look good.  One minute and 38 secs. slower than the Manchester 10K.   A totally different 10K though. Besides the heat, there's a lot of twists, turns and corners in the 4 laps and a considerable amount of  firm trail which I think slowed the pace. But most significantly there were a few I passed from 1K who would normally beat me easily and that has to be a measure of how it went and  offset the time recorded .
 Pat was out with the camera again only this time we did a video (available for view on Youtube...SHORTLY!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

SUN SEEKING..........

 I don't think I'm the only one finding the UK weather really depressing at the moment.  Hardly a clear sky all week.  Sudden frustrating heavy showers sweeping through usually late morning as the kit is just about to go on.   Rain jacket donned then the sun breaks through.  A hot and sticky run.  Runners seen with jackerts wrapped arpund waists. Hardly vest and shorts weather.
 Whilst sales os vests in the COMPLETE RUNNER shops could be better, the weather doesn't tend to effect the FASTRAX  side of the business. We've been sending  out hundreds of vests  each week as usual. Many recently for next week's English Schools Track & Field Championships up at Gateshead next Friday and Saturday.   I hope the event will be on Sky again. Have to look out for that.

 Sadly no TV coverage when I turned out for Lancashire in the 2000 metre steeplechase way back in 1967.
Mind you I wouldn't have look good in black and white.

 The  FASTRAX team have also been busy pulling together a great set of sublimated vests and crop tops for the ISLE OF MAN team to wear at the Inter Island Games.  Some tremendous work  by Alistair and Pat satisfying the demand for quite intricate artwork incorporating the famous 3 leg symbol.
 The sun was due to make a reappearance this weekend but as yet is being a tad shy.  After a steady 6.5 on the trail Thursday and an easy 3.5 yesterday
I ran my usual easy 3 on the grass this morning and it was very warm.
  I forecast the clouds will clear entirely about 10.55 tomorrow morning in Manchester.  The PLATT FIELDS 10k  will start 5 minutes later and  we will be  treated to temperatures in the mid 20s for an hour or so at which point it will probably pour down again!

So if you are racing tomorrow don't forget your sun screen......and your rain jacket. Have a good one!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

TRACK SESSION...with help if necessary

I WASN'T FEELING GREAT TODAY SO I ARRANGED FOR  ASSISTANCE TO BE ON HAND THROUGHOUT THE TRACK SESSION......only kidding, actually it was somewhat unnerving, but at the same time reassuring,  when going through a track session in which the heart rate is at or near maximum to have a rapid response North West NHS ambulance vehicle parked up trackside.
 Once again,as happened a fortnight ago, no sooner had I parked up to start the warm up than the heavens opened ; right on cue.  But I patiently waited and managed a warm, dry session if just a tad blustery.
So much for "flaming June".
 I wouldn't normally undertake a track session 48 hours after Monday's 12 mile effort but I'm booked in for the Platt Fields 10K on Sunday and  thought I'd give it a go today to be able to enjoy  3 rather than 2 easier days. 
   The planned session was 12 x 300  in 75s ;  20.50  an ambitious 5K pace for me.
 From the off  I felt flat footed , heavy with sore hamstrings and a worrying pain at the top of the right leg. Not good at all. 
   76  for the first  rep , 75 for the second. On target but it was ugly!   The discomfort in the right leg was still a concern; hence 76, 76, 77 and a 76 for the others to half way in the session.
 I  kept looking at the rapid response ambulance throughout wondering if the driver was thinking what a silly old b***** was doing on the track.
 Very tempting to call it a day at this point doing  just another 2 for 8 reps.  But  very often in training and racing we have to ask ourselves to dig a bit deeper, question our resilience and  our resolve.  The question I was asking was would my "rivals" give up at this point?  Not the ones that always beat me. 
  So I ploughed on and the second half actually exceeded expectations;  as is so often the case with me.   The legs were becoming looser, less sore and whilst I wasn't exactly flying  I accelerated to
  75   75  75  73  72 and final  71 !   Lesson being  persevere when things don't start off too well, dig a bit deeper and things can be turned around.
  I  passed the ambulance walking back to my car and couldn't resist jokingly thanking the driver for being on  hand  throughout the session.  Although it was bit of a case of tempting fate! 
  A  very  pleasant, attractive young lady replied that watching me do the session had helped an hour or so pass by quickly as she had had no emergency calls to respond to.  She explained how 999 calls would first be answered in Preston in 8 seconds. If not someone in Glasgow might then respond and send her to her next patient. Interesting.

1986 A time for change in Ilkley

 I must say I was pleasantly surprised how well I felt after Monday's 12 miler on the canal but I stuck to the plan and just ran an easy 4  last night on the local playing fields.  A run usually done pre and post races.
 Quite interesting last night as there was a inter school cricket match going on.  Ilkey Grammar School versus South Craven School from over the hill in Airedale.  I had a word with the Ilkley teacher afterwards, asking him how the game had gone.   Now I'm not an avid cricket fan but know that to score 217 runs in 20 overs as his team had done in winning,  takes some doing!    On another part of the field 20 teenagers had set up temporary goalposts and were enjoying a good kick about.  No adults. no coaches.  So much for their generation being stuck in theior bedrooms, glued to computers!
 Todays' run will have to be more exacting.  The week's track session.  Hopefully I'll have the track to myself.

1986.  A look back to this week 25 years ago.
The local running scene was in somewhat of a transition stage in the summer of 1986.   Many of the Ben Rhydding running group which I'd established at the local hockey club had joined Valley Striders ,the Leeds based  club I belonged to.   Others were members of other local clubs; but all enjoyed training together.
 We used to close the Complete Runner at 8 p.m. during the week.  One evening at 7.50,  one of the group came in to say that there would be a meeting to discuss "breaking away" from Valley Striders  and possibly setting up an Ilkley based club.   I asked when the meeting would take place.
"In ten minutes time", was the reply!
  Naturally, I went straight down to the meeting .  A  "gang of 4" sat facing the well attended meeting and  stated  that there was a feeling that we should no longer be a "satellite" as I called it
of the Leeds club and set up locally instead.
  At the end of the discussion, in which I simply pointed out the obvious that setting up a new club would involve a lot of work ,  a vote was taken.   A split decision but in favour of the split.
  many were surprised that I voted in favour.  I voted that the new club would be a good idea in the long run and so it has proved.   But  as with many others I would stay with Valley Striders;  at that time there was 8 of us who had won marathons, why leave a strong club like that.
I didn't train down there any longer but was saddened to learn that others who wanted to continue to train with the group but also wanted to stay with V.S. were apparently made less than welcome.
 I did subsequently have 2 periods with the newly formed club Ilkley Harriers which has just celebrated the 25 years anniversary growing from strength to strength with about 400 members I believe.

 AIREBOROUGH 10k.  June 22 was then one of the last races which many of the group raced in the white and black of Valley Striders  pending  the new club.   I was back "on the podium" taking 3rd place in 33.00 behind Richard Butterfield   32.24 and Steve Whetstone (Pudsey & Bramley) 32.36.   Ever green Bob Dover was 5th in 33.53 still running well for Bingley.
  There were some good performances from the Ilkley V.S. group with Alan Pearson 35.42, Ian Dolby 36.25 , Norman Blackburn 39.07, Richard Galling  39.37 and Andy Husband 39.47 breaking 40 minutes.
  For many then it would be the last race they would wear the simple white and black kit of Valley Striders. Before long they would be seen in the red and green of newly formed Ilkley Harriers.
The beginning of an era.

Monday, 20 June 2011

  MONDAY AFTERNOON.  I'm typing this with  the first day of Wimbledon showing on the home office TV and with  a solid 12 miler banked this morning as an opener to week 25.   It was good to make a return to my prelunch run routine today after 4 days of evening running after gardening and other house chores took precedence for once.
  It was good also that the strong winds, which made the first part of both Saturday and Sunday's runs tortuous, had diminshed and certainly helped  achieve the targets as set.   I've haven't  yet booked  a half  marathon but when I do I want to be "ready to launch"  so I was keen to nudge the recent 10 milers back up to 12; hopefully without a loss of pace.  (Chasing numbers again!)   Hopefully progressing this up to and maybe beyond 16.
 Last time I tackled this canal run back in February,  after the usual  intro 2 miles easy (because I'm a still old b*****)  I clocked 85.50 for the final 10.  Today 82.44.   So  pleasing improvement.
  Going back to last week the year's average was maintained with 43 miles.  Shame about  the missed track session .  Saturday and Sunday  runs both proved extremely uncomfortable having to cope with strong winds from the start.  The worst scenarion for the asthmatic!  Even worse in low temperatures.
 A case then of modifying the session on Saturday evening from 8 miles steady planned setting off to  an  easy 4 , slogging  very uncomfortably into the wind,  with 4 brisk on the way back.  37.08 out . 31.52 back.

Yesterday, seeking trail free of walking groups, I made a return to BARDEN FELL where with 12" of snow laying down,  my piriformis problems started back in early December and blighted the end of 2010 for me.
The handicap of the snow in December was replaced at nearly 400 m. yesterday by a strong chilling wind which for a second successive day bit into my lungs on the way out.  Not pleasant but fantastic scenery!

Monday is of course the main day for checking race results from the weekend.   I had toyed with racing the STRAY 5K over in Harrogate but didn't decided against when I saw it wasn't on the road.  Also looked at the STAVELEY STAMPEDE but despite being a relatively low key event they weren't doing "entry on the day".  Bit surprising at £10 per runner. Amazing that fell races can cope with a field of 200 or so...all entry on the night.
 Elsewhere it was the usual clash between the FRECKLETON HALF marathon in Lancashire and just down the M6 at Horwich the British Masters 5K championships.  Viewing Freckleton first time I noticed at least a dozen had been DISQUALIFIED.  No reason given. But viewing again it was stated that they had been disqualified for "number and other violations".  Curious.  Anyone enlighten me?
 At Horwich,  some great positives and some negatives.  The performance which stood out for me was that of DAVID OXLAND of Notts A.C.  who won the M60 category in an amazing 17.03!  Reading his profile he only started running in 2003 but  can boast an 800 in 2.20 35.53 for 10K and 61.56 this year.  Great stuff but of course puzzling that such a talent didn't show itself in some form until over 50.
 There would appear to have been no "easy" medals won in the mens categories at the BMAF 5K CHAMPS but my wife's eyebrows raised when I told her she might be looking at a gold medal  today as her  F60 category was won with a time around 27 minutes.
   In addition, many team medals were left unclaimed on the presentaion table as so many categories failed to see teams finish.  
 MENS 35/44......only 1 complete team Salford
 MENS 45/54......only 1 complete team  Sale Harriers
 MENS  55/64.....only 2 complete teams  Bingley & Blackburn
 MENS 65/74......No complete teams

 WOMENS.... no complete teams in 35/44  45/54  over 55 age groups

 Is it the new age groups?  Is it the venue? Is it the marketing?  Is it apathy of the clubs?   Who knows?
Plenty good vets no doubt reading this who also didn't compete. Any thoughts?
For me with absolutely no chance of medalling and no team interest the consolation is of course a fast time but the drag up the incline at Horwich 4 times didn't go down well with me last year. 
  Perhaps next year a team medal?


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Too old for the track........

 As soon as I saw quite a few cars in the Nelson Seedhill track car park I knew my planned track session would be in jeopardy and so it proved.   I'd no sooner parked than the first of 18 local primary schools  had
arived for the district championships.  Serves me right for failing to frame myself  and getting there earlier.  I could have come and gone by the time they started at 12.15.   
Shame but at least good to see the track being used  for compettion. It was a canal run with efforts instead.  

1986. A look back at this week 25 years ago.
This week in 1986 preparations were being finalised for the ILKLEY 8 MILE ROAD RACE.  The  local Round Table initiated the event and invited me to join their race committee.  They set out their plans for a big "Fun Run"  hoping for participation by local runners of all ages.
  I immediately pointed out that registered club runners  couldn't compete against children and  the plan would rule us out.  Hence, a one lap 3 mile "Fun Run" and a longer lap of 4 mile run twice would take place instead.
Both involved the very steep Carter's Lane; so quite testing courses particularly for the "Fun runners" who included a great number of very young children in their number.   So not ideal but it was deemed to be best route available without closing roads as the recent "Race For Life"  organisation was able to do.
  Regretably, despite being on the organising committee and processing all the entries I never received a copy of the results!   My diary merely states 12th. Tough!  an obvious reference to not only having to cope with the hill twice but also the impact of a very steep descent tackled twice.
  I've mentioned before that in the '90s the event "went metric" with the change to an ouit and back 10K race up to Askwith and back.   But the route along narrow country lanes created inconvenience for local motorists and   was changed again with the introduction of a trail race.  This itself has seen course amendments but seems fixed now, currently ably organised by Ilkley Harriers with 272 taking part just recently.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Water? Going down......

 Typical.  Back from a weekend away and the weather improves.   Sun high in a cloudless sky with   warm temperatures with just a hint of breeze to make  the morning run  near perfect.
 This week's routine "maintenance" run around the 2 res with an eye to seeing just how much time  the good people of  Leeds have left before a hose pipe ban is declared.  Answer...probably not long.
  Quite obviously too many baths, too few showers.............but very clean people....for now!
           As quickly revealed in the first mile....the water should be where the trees are!
A long walk to the water for some.........
                       Men ......women prefer to sit and read......

Swimming?......some water would help!
What's under the you can see.....

Monday, 13 June 2011

Another typical Lakes weekend...

 Another weekend in the Lake District. Another weekend of mixed weather. Another weekend of varied runs. Two of which couldn't have been more different.

 Sunday,  it was the 10 miler on the very quiet lane  up and down LONGSLEDDALE,  one of the most "secret" areas on the fringe of the Lake District, north of Kendal   Sparsely visited but offering a really atractive backdrop for a run, with just the occasional vehicle to cope with  ( just 5 in the 10 miles)   occasional   walkers and being a "no through road" no cyclists as we "experience"  in Wharfedale.
 It's often said we learn something from every run we do.  I learn continually that the longer the run the better the pace. Sunday morning's run started , albeit uphill, with a  9.38 minute slog but reassuringly improved over the following,  undulating 4 miles,  just as  I was consoling myself  with the lack of pace by enjoying the marvellous scenery.
 Turning in 44.51 and despite coping with a strong  chilly headwind, something seemed to suddenly click and another gear was found with an 8.05, 8.19, 8.15,8.08 and a final effort of 7.29.   Two minutes faster than the first!.  A very pleasing 40.19 on the way back.   So, a  sound 10,  minutes faster than 10 on the canal last week and completed in less favourable  conditions.  A quite pleasing end to the week which saw another 44 miles in the bank.
 A ten miler which certainly calls for a search for a decent half marathon or two in the second half of the year.   Perhaps I should consider a return to Amsterdam which couldn't be any flatter.  Other recommendations welcome!
 In contrast to this "secret" part of the lakes,  today  we revisited one of the lake District's most popular little gems, TARN HOWS,  situated in the hills between Ambleside and Consiston.

It's hard to believe we are approaching the midpoint of the year with the start of week 24 today.  A week which started with this visit to TARN HOWS  for this Monday morning's run.  I recall running around this much visited Lakeland beauty spot years back when staying at the famous Drunken Duck Inn.
  I had it in my mind that it was about 3 miles around and planned to do a couple of circuits; but it turned out to be just 1.7 and a bit of "padding" was needed to make it a 5.  
  Despite the damp, overcast conditions  the National Trust car park (£4 for 2 hours!) had few vacant spots.  I think running around on a warm, sunny day might have been a lot more problematic.
                   Good to see the money was being used to maintain the excellent trail around tarn as captured by Pat coming the other way on her walk. 
 The camera was passed back for a couple of shots of the foxgloves which are prevalent in the area.  These enjoy great over to the Langdales....through the low cloud.........

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Rain? Do it your worst....I'll shelter!

TIME:  11.30 A.M.

Conversation takes place between El supremo head Weather Controller AKA  "the Boss" and Underling i/c  local conditions ref. Nelson, Lancashire, England.

The Boss,  "Ok, Lancahire lad, what you giving them folks down there"
Underling:  " Usual June weather, sir,  cool, breezy overcast with rain threatening"
The Boss:  " But I promised them rain today and lots of it"
Underling:  "When do you suggest, sir?  Before or after lunch?"
The Boss: " Help me decide. What can you see down? Anything interesting going on?
Underling: " No, motorway's pretty busy. Rain won't bother motorists though.
The Boss;  "Nothing else?"
Underling; "Oh wait a minute. Yes, that old guy's just driven up to that red circuit and looks set to run around and around like a lunatic again time and time again. Seems to do it most weeks"
The Boss:  "OK. Go for it. Give it to him.  Maximum hose strength. Plenty of wind as well.  Make it really tough for him. Should know better at his age! Silly old beggar"
Underling:  "How long for sir?"
The Boss: " Just give it ten minutes at max.  That should be enough . It is June after all!"

By the time they'd turn rain taps to maximum I'd done my warm up and tricked the rain gods by huddling up in a corner undercover at the track entrance clad in Goretex over trousers and Jacket.
Quite enjoyed the rest actually. Though it did mean having to warm up again with another mile.
Having sheltered for 15 minutes as the torrent  came and went ,  I abandoned the planned 5 x 1K session and settled for  a straight 5K  "time trial" as I call it to save time.
  Now logically one would expect that  the sum total of time taken for 5 x 1K  with intervals would be significantly less than a 5K straight off.   Agree? Not so in my case.
  Last  5 x 1K session  (just 3 weeks ago)  4.34.  4.35  4.30  4.25  4.24.................22.28
  Today  5K ...1.49  1.51  1.49  1.50  1.49  1.49  1.48  1.48  1.48  1.48  1.46  1.42  49 ... 22.30
                                  (January  25.27  February good progress!)

Perhaps if I had been able to train in the rain and then run in and get a nice hot shower i would have braved it but with the track changing being  closed  I wasn't didn't feel like getting drenched to the skin then driving 45 minutes back to Yorkshire.  But it is going to happen again and begs the question whether a change of routine might be a good idea.

Sunday, 5 June 2011


  Saturday's short evening run after Friday's speed session was supposed to amount to a gentle 30 minute run on the grass.  But not entirely without purpose as I donned my Asics Fuji low profile trail shoes and spent periods of the run deliberately focussing on forefoot running and concentrating on good form. Afterwards I spent a few minutes working  the hamstrings with some  stretches on the move.  Seemingly harmless amd beneficial.  You would think so, wouldn't you.
  Not so.  Setting out on this morning's canal 10 miler I felt as if I spent a week on a horse;  the groin area was so stiff and sore.  Two phrases were going through my mind.  The infamous title of Joe Henderson's old book,
Long Slow Distance (this run would be medium slow distance!) and the phrase , "the spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak".   "The spirit" was up for a good solid medium distance run around 83/84 minutes;  but the "flesh" was not obliging.   Not quite the Biblical meaning of the phrase but  you perhaps get the point.
 Labouring through the first 2 miles in 9.27 and 9.36 I couldn't see the legs improving at all and was envisaging
a total time well over 90 minutes.  Medium slow distance indeed.  Henderson has always refuted that he never claimed that we should run LSD (long slow distance) all the time.  Just use LSD as a form of recovery running between races and sessions.  Of course like the bottle a night wine drinker who takes the advice that drinking red wine is good for the blood  to its extreme,  so many runners in the past heard that the phrase LSD was good and that's all they did. Consequently they became good at running long distance very slowly. Not what he had in mind.
 Anyway today was to be one of those days.....until the groin gradually  dissipated and the paced picked up a tad.  But still only 45.40 at the turn.
 From this point the "spirit was willing"  in that I was keen to take advantage of the wind behind and "the flesh" was less "weak" as much more respectable mile splits were recorded of 8.34  8.29  8.30 8.28 with  a final  mile  in  8.23.  A full minute faster than the first.   45.40 out and 42.26 coming back. Much better.
 Based on those first 2 uncomfortable miles Besides it was important to make a return to a bit of distance with a half marathon pencilled in for September.   Scanning the training sheet had revealed a lack of distance work with 4 races run in  May.   At my age it's been a choice between speed work and distance in between races and the former has been considered more important. 
 So,  the end of another week.  A good solid week, I think, of 47 miles; returning the year's average per week to 40 (Chasing the numbers!)  but more importantly  a good length run today, a reasonable track session in a comfortable temperature for a change,  an undulating 9 miler on the trail  and a bit of  (short) slow distance in between.
 Not far off the mid point in the year.   Mine has picked up well after the frustrating, troublesome start.  Hopefully yours is going well too!


Friday, 3 June 2011


                                      TO TRACK OR NOT TO TRACK?
I drove to Nelson today fully intending to drop off this week's delivery and just do an easy 5 on the canal on the way back.   Having raced on Monday and done 4 (Tuesday)  6 (Wednesday) and 9 on the trail yesterday the old legs were feeling a tad heavy and I thought I would give the track session a miss for once.  Particularly as temperatures were reported to be well into the '20s.
  But  manager John asked me what the session would be and so I changed my mind and decided to stick to routine.
  I started to think about races to come and how a hot, steamy track session would serve as good"
acclimatisation" . I reminded myself that my rivals wouldn't be avoiding a speed session because of  high temperatures and tired I shouldn't  either!
  I must admit I nearly changed my mind having warmed up as even with just a t-shirt on I was feeling somewhat overdressed in the  lunchtime heat.   But I wasn't complaining.
It made a nice change  from all those cold  windy days I've suffered this year.   The t-shirt  came off after the first of 8 600 metres reps!   A much welcome  natural  dose of vitamin D.
  The session  of reps  went as usual  accelerating throughout; from 2:40  to 2:28, averaging out at
my 10K pace in 2:35.  So well worth  doing  and leaving me  well satisfied; but definitely an easy day tomorrow.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


The lads were now back in the track changing room. It had been  another gruelling session but there was a mutual feeling that it had gone well and a sense of satisfaction filled the air.  Sweat from their brows dripped onto the floor and steam rose from their backs as they peeled off their shoes.
  Charlie examined the inside of the tongue on his Brooks ST4s.
"What you looking at?", said  Jim.
"I'm just reading what it says on the inside of the tongue of the shoe".
  "So, what does that mean?", says Ray.
"I suppose it means different things to different runners. Could mean lots of things"
"It's clear to me. Means the number of miles I run every week.  I have to get my 80 miles per week in. Whatever. I wouldn't sleep a wink on a Sunday night if I didn't!", says Ray.
"Yeah, and that's why you keep getting injured!  You never take a break, you never ease down for races, you do long runs on a Sunday to hit that target when you have a race on the Tuesday. Just to hit that number. Stupid!", said Charlie.
"Me stupid!, replies Ray, "what about you. You HAVE to run your blessed 50 races every year no matter what.  Can I remind you of last year when you HAD to do a race on Boxing Day and fit in another 2 in the last 4 days of the year to hit your number!"
 "Then didn't race until Easter because you pulled your calf in all that snow, remember?", says Jim.
 "Yeah, well. At least I'm not totally hung up on race times like you, Jim.   Race times are the only thing that you go on about.  P.B. this and P.B. that.  There's more to racing that chasing P.Bs, you know."
 "So you aren't pleased when you run a P.B.?
"'course I am,  but I'm not afraid to run tough courses with great scenery to look at ;   even if I know that the time I run will be well down on what I would normally run.  All you want to run are flat ,fast races. You won't come to the Lakes, for example, when we go up , will you?"
 At this point a runner sat in the corner who had been listening to the discussion felt obliged to make a comment.
 "Don't mind me interrupting, but you guys should think yourselves very lucky.  All this talk about 80 miles per week,  races run per year and P.Bs. The only numbers I concern myself with are the numbers I see when I stand on the scales.  I only have to walk past the biscuit section in the supermarket and I put on weight.  I hate running, positively hate it.  Nothing so bloody boring but I enjoy my food and running, well jogging, is the only thing that helps me maintain a reasonable weight!"
 "Supervet"  had finished his session and had sat silently taking all the banter in before putting in his "two penn'orth"  (2 cents for our US readers). 
 "The number one. That's the only number I like against my name after a race.  I race every week.  Never fail. Two races in the summer most weeks.  Love seeing that number one.  Nobody round here to touch me.  Could open a shop with all the prizes I win.  Never buy any running gear ever. Vouchers by draw full!", says our supervet.
 "With respect," chips in Ray, " didn't you have seven months off last year with hamstring problems?  Months when you didn't race at all?
 "Yeah, well that was last year.  They're fine now. Well, just a bit sore".
 "So it's going to happen again then."
  "Yeah, maybe.  But I'll be Ok. I've just won some vouchers for a good physio."
" Vouchers!  There is of course a sacred few who only look at the numbers on the cheque they receive for turning out in a race.  Be nice to just be able to race 3 or 4 times a year and bring home a big fat pay cheque every time,"  said Charlie.
"I'd rather do what we do lads.  We may not be super stars and we may chase different numbers but we all get on, train and race well together, enjoy a few pints together  and we're part of the real sport  doing loads of different races including club relays and such like," replied Ray.
"Yeah. We'll be running and racing long after those so called big names can't run their 120 miles  a week, can't achieve their P.Bs and the invites have stopped coming."  concludes Charlie.
Supervet, meanwhile, had cannily slipped by into the only shower available. Number one again.
 Stepping out of the shower was another runner who had been listening to all the group's banter. He felt obliged to make a contribution. 
  "The only number I look for is the number of runners in the race. I'm not interested in taking part in your small time local races. No buzz in them. I keep fit to run just 2 or 3 televised races a year. Races with a bit of atmosphere.  Don't care how much they cost; as long as the numbers taking part are in the ten of thousands. That does for me.  A medal, a t-shirt and a wave to the camera. Can't beat it!"
  Quietly soaking all the banter in whilst drying himself off,  one of the club's stalwart  had the final word. 
"Just my humble opinion, but whilst  your miles per week, your races per year and chasing loads of vets prizes are great for motivation the number you should try to increase is the number of years you have been running.  If you enjoy it, and you all would claim you do,  don't do silly things which cause injury and prevent you running for long periods.  Keep your "number" targets sensible and hopefully you can maintain it 'til you 're receiving your pension.  Which the way the government's going might well be 75 or so.  Best of luck!"
 He reached down for his kit bag and carefully folded his sodden running gear into it.  As he reached the door to leave , he turned back towards the changing room and said,
 "By the way, did I mention, it's been 999 days since I last missed a day without running!"