Sadly, but not unexpectedly, my dear 93 year old mother is no longer able to look after herself and is now in a North Manchester Care Home. Pat and I visited her this morning and I went on to do this week's "speed" session at the Sports City outdoor track, adjacent to the Etihad stadium; the Commonwealth stadium which, of course, became the home of Manchester City F.C.
Perhaps not the ideal venue for a Manchester United supporter but needs must.
I say "speed" session but it's all relative isn't it?
I could simply describe today's SPEED SESSION and I'm sure many would read it and raise one if not both eyebrows, thinking " Call that a speed session?" But scoff ye not!! Wait 'til you're 63!
Back in the '80s when I was running marathons at well under 6 minute pace, many ,many steady miles would have been completed at between 7 and 7.30. Mile reps would have been nearer to 5.
Nowadays "speed sessions" have to relate to recent 5k race times of 21 mins or 10ks this year between 43 and 44 minutes.
So what was "steady" pace back then constitutes "race pace" today and sets the target for the track sessions.
It's a bit to tough to accept the slowdown but it has to be accepted I suppose as part of the ageing process. I think without the track sessions race times would deteriorate even more.
I wasn't sure what to expect for the lunchtime session. At Nelson there would only be me; would the Sports City track be any different? Well, the indoor facility was being made use of by a dozen or so including Olympic pole vaulter HOLLY BLEASDALE; but only one runner came through to join me outside.
I was concerned that I would be getting in his way executing my 5 x 1K rep session; but his coach had him do a couple of 300s and off they went, saying they would be back for more tonight! Strange.
Running solo then and with a cool, autumnal wind swirling around the arena, inevitably I was just short of target 10K pace at 4.20 and had to be content with reps of 4.30 4.32 4.31 4.29 4.25 off a 2 minute interval.
Times which might NOT look speedy to many; but certainly hard enough for me!
As I walked back through the indoor track facility to the changing rooms I broke off to jog one lap of the 2oo track; thinking it might be useful on days when the snows come.
But might have to think again; I hadn't realised how much of a camber there is, even in lane one, on the track's bends. A real injury concern.