Wednesday, 30 January 2013

ME? TOUGH GUY......NO CHANCE!


 I hope this is the last time this winter that I'm posting run photos featuring snow and ice.  These here taken on an "easy"  run from Foulridge to the Nelson shop last Saturday  morning prior to doing a shift on the coal face for a change.  I prefer to have saturdays off but it's always great to be in the shop and discussing the running aims and needs of todays runner who so often gives this old timer a modern view of the sport.  Not that I always agree with some of the things said!

  A major thaw overnight Saturday was sudden and dramatic and I ventured out to the Strid,  optimistic of a return to normal underfoot conditions; only to spend most of the precarious jog trying to cope battling through 6" of icy slush until I found a stretch in the shelter of the woods and covered it safely...... a couple of times.
 But the pace for the difficult weekend runs mattered little as they were bringing to an end a comparatively modest week of just 27 miles, recovering from the Inskip half marathon.
 The thaw continued through Sunday and Monday and so it has meant a welcome return to some kind of normality with a return to the green,green grass of the playing field  following a hill 9 miler on Monday and a welcome return to the reservoirs today for my weekly 6.5 mile circuit. 
 Most runners have a routine which involves favourite routes and venues which we tend to take for granted; it's only when snow and ice spoil the show that we appreciate what we're missing.

 Returning to Saturday in the shop one of the shoe sales was a bit problematic as the young male customer wanted a shoe for the "TOUGH GUY". An event which I've been aware of  since it's inception by in 1987 by Billy (Mr. Mouse) Wilson but never remotely considered "running".  Possibly this description put me off....

 Taking place at the end of January, often in freezing winter conditions, the Tough Guy race is staged over a course of between seven and eight miles (about 12 kilometres). It consists of a cross-country run followed by an assault course, claimed to be tougher than any other worldwide, featuring 25 obstacles, including a slalom run up and down a hill, ditches, jumps, freezing water pools, fire pits and so on (see detail below). The organizers claim that running the course involves risking barbed wire, cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydrationhypothermiaacrophobiaclaustrophobia, electric shocks, sprains, twists, joint dislocation and broken bones.

  The young man admitted when questioned that he was largely responding to peer pressure in doing it. His wife was certainly not very enthusiastic about his decision; probably thinking that the £80 he had paid to enter (plus expenses on the day,of course) could no doubt have been put to much better use.
   I think the only thing the event has in common with my world of running is in terms of the shoes and some of the clothing being used.  I say some of the clothing as whilst some dress as they would for a normal winter's race, others, including a team of policemen took the whole "macho" element to an extreme by wearing trunks!
  The event has spawned other similar events of course. In fact Billy Wilson sued the partners of one such event and was awarded £450,000.  A fact which highlights how wealthy his rivals are and underlines how popular his and the copycat events are.
 Needless to say, I can't see the attraction. I just can't understand paying £80 and more to risk death (there have been 2 fatalities) by drowning, hypothermia or electrocution!
 But runners have died competing in half marathons and marathons ,haven't they?
It could be suggested the risk of a "tough" event is no greater.  But I'm not buying that and I won't be buying an entry for the TOUGH GUY, the TOUGH MUDDER, or the TOUGH WARRIOR  anytime soon!

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MICK HALL  www.mickhall-photos.com
                                        DISQUALIFIED FOR NOT WEARING A NUMBER?.........


Friday, 25 January 2013

RUNNING A RISK......HYPOTHERMIA


 I don't know about you but I hate the cold.  At 5'11 and weighing less than 10 stone  there's not exactly a lot of flab around my oldbones to keep me warm. I'm sat here with the house heating just coming on, a supplementary room heater and a blanket round my legs.
 I certainly believe in protecting myself when I go running in zero degrees or thereabouts.  
Winter Windstopper tights,  good baselayer, Windstopper Softshell jacket for me!
I once remember raising a lot of eyebrows and prompted quite a few quips back in 1987 when I ran the Preston 10 in a pair of plain black lycra tights.  I thought heck I wouldn't train in shorts in freezing conditions (although it was March 1st) so why not?  Didn't seem to slow me down much as I ran the 10 miler in 52.30. 
 I was surprised when I saw quite a lot of runners jogging to the start last Sunday wearing just what they would wear for a race in July.   There was no snow as previously reported but there was bitingly cold north easterly which  worsened as the morning went on.
 Thankfully though it remained dry but what can happen when conditions deteriorate rapidly?   It can happen.
 A cross country event which began with warm, March sunshine late morning  ended in fatal consequences with officials dying from hypothermia as rain, sleet and snow came in throughout the afternoon with severe and sudden drop in temperature.
 Athletes have complained bitterly this week about the cancellation of the Southern Cross Country Championships which were due to take place at Parliament Hill tomorrow.   I have read arguments for and against the cancellation but read nothing about the plight of officials manning the course and the finishing pens if conditions are severe.
 Last Sunday I made a point of thanking marshalls for standing out in the cold, as did several other competitors.  Standing in the spot for over 3 hours is not an eviable task even in the summer.
 If the Northern Cross Country does go ahead tomorrow at Knowsley I hope athletes will protect themselves.  Young ladies particularly seem vulnerable as they seem to think running around in a pair skimpy briefs and a crop top is a good idea.  

    "Hey, look at me I'm fast, I'm an  elite athlete, I'm too fast to suffer hypothermia!!!

Compare the approach of GEMMA STEEL compared with FIONNUALA BRITTON.
Fionnuala is unbeatable on the country in Europe this winter, of course!  
  I was curious to read more about HYPOTHERMIA (the opposite of HYPERTHERMIA) its cause and its effects.
INTERESTING.........
The generally recognized risk factors associated with the potential for hypothermia include:
  • Low air temperatures, often combined with inadequate clothing or protection; the reflex   action of the body to cold exposure is to shiver, an involuntary effort to generate heat.
  • Wind chill, the combined effect of temperature and wind on the human body; wind chill is a deceptive phenomenon, as it may occur in all types of cold weather environments, including sunshine. As a general proposition, at temperatures below 40°F (4°C), winds at speeds as low as 5 mph (8 km/h) can significantly induce increased sensations of cold; the greater the wind speed, the more pronounced the effect of cold will be.
  • Moisture; skin that is wet, though either excess perspiration or environmental effects, will freeze more readily than dry skin. Moisture will also magnify the effect of wind chill.
  • Consumption of alcohol, which tends to stimulate blood flow in the peripheral parts of the body, an action that contributes to heat loss.
  • Amount of skin exposed to the elements by the athlete; exposed skin permits heat to be lost by both convection and radiation to the immediate environment.
  • Consumption of caffeine or any other diuretic, which acts to reduce fluid volumes in the cardiovascular system.
In its mildest manifestation, hypothermia causes pronounced shivering, numbness, and a cold feeling through out the body. As the body temperature remains low, the symptoms become more pronounced, as the person will experience an inability to move quickly or decisively, accompanied by dizziness and confused thinking. At its most extreme, the affected person will experience a rigidity of the muscles, followed by a lapse into coma. At a body temperature of less than 95°F (35°C), the person must receive immediate attention or, as a result of a progressive decline in the function of the organs and the internal systems, death will result.

In short,  if you go out on a Friday night...... have a few drinks with your mates, .......try to sober up the next day by drinking coffee ......then race in the Saturday afternoon on a cold winter's  day wearing nothing but a crop top and knickers or even a vest and split shorts .......and it begins to rain 
                       YOU COULD WELL END UP IN HOSPITAL!!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

That end of season feeling!

 The local grammar was one of so many schools which closed on Monday and consequently we saw a steady stream of youngsters coming up the iced up road outside making their way to the Ben Rhydding Golf Course. The golf course is built into the hillside below the famous Cow and Calf rocks and makes an ideal venue for sledging. A good time being had by all, no doubt.
 But not such a good time for runners; particularly those midway through a cross country season with important regional and national championships coming up or those preparing for spring marathons with half marathons cancelled or their favourite long run routes iced up.

  In contrast I would imagine the majority of the 315 who completed the Inskip Half marathon and were fortunate enough to be able to stick to their plans, won't be too upset to see the white stuff stiff hanging about.  I certainly wasn't planning to do very much.  A recovery week was always the intention. But still I would have preferred recovery on the more forgiving surfaces of the grass and trail rather than the roads or the treadmill.  A treadmill which took me several minutes to work out how to work; it's been such a long time since I was forced to use it.
 In common with most runners I was left with the feeling that I could have recorded a faster time last Sunday.   Not having run a half for 3 years perhaps I was far too cautious in the first 4 miles. The fact that the 12th and 13th miles were my fastest would suggest this.
 Problem could be finding a half marathon that is not already "FULLY BOOKED" before the London. Such a popular event.  
 But that's in the future.  At the moment having ticked off that half last Sunday I feel as if rather than starting this season I've concluded the last.  5K, 5mile, 10ks, a 10 and a half marathon done.
 Time for a couple of weeks ticking over; waiting hopefully for a thaw to set in. Time for planning this year's campaign; a need to plan ahead as trying to enter on the day is becoming more and more a thing of the past.
 And as the saying goes,  FAIL TO PREPARE....PREPARE TO FAIL!

Monday, 21 January 2013

INSKIP HALF MARATHON 2013 ....A PERSONAL VIEW

Walking from the bathroom back to the bed at 2.a.m. this Sunday morning I stopped to look out of the window. Snow still covered the cars  and the steep road we live overlooking Wharfedale. Great for sledging.
 Back in bed I lay awake and a whole stream of negative thoughts flooded my mind about today's race, the INSKIP HALF MARATHON. It would mean getting up at 6.45 a.m., getting to the race might be problematic with ice on the roads on the 90 minute journey, the fact that I'd hadn't race a half for nearly 3 years,  I would be 30 minutes off my best. 
  So what's the point?, The zero temperature due to the stiff north easterly would no doubt play havoc with the breathing.
  Simplier to not bother and I suspect that's what 20% of those entered   decided to do!  the entry limit was 400 and only 316 finished.
I'd gone back to sleep before any positive thoughts kicked in and before I knew it, it was time to get up, pack a bag and go!   But not before checking emails for any last minute notice of cancellation from race organiser, Alan Taylor of Wesham Road Runners.  No message. So off we went.
   The further west we went on the journey so less snow we saw on the fields and even the country lanes approaching the venue at HMS INSKIP , just north of Preston  were well clear of snow and ice. So we would be good to go.   But from the car we couldn't detect the outside temperature..........zero!
  Knowing I would be out in it for the best part of 1.40 I opted for hat , gloves, longsleeve,  club vest,  capris(?) and compression socks.  But many seemed to be sticking for full length tights and jackets as they would for a training run.  Except for the "fast" boys of course who many of whom were toughing it out in vests and shorts as if it was July!

 Rightly or not I tend nowadays to look at prediction times for races. I'm hardly likely to suddenly pull a vast improvement out of the bag as an emerging runner might do. So based on the GUYS 10 time of  71.52  the chart I should be looking at 97.50 or thereabouts.  7.28 mileing.  Could take some doing I thought!
 Stupidly I failed to "locate satellite" on the old Garmin before the gun went and so I lost my "crutch" to guide me threw the first 3 miles but I could clearly see that my young friend, JAYNE PERRY, from Lancaster who had finished just behind me at GUYS was already way down the road. 
   Once again I'd set off too slowly. I'll blame the lack of a decent warm up!    
 I set the Garmin at the 3 mile point  and said to the group I was with, 
  "OK, let's go get them!  An intention I just hoped I would be able to fulfill.
 I caught Jayne at the 4 mile point and as I suspected after her initial surge she was having to tough it out having run another half in the same area just two weeks before.   But still she responded well  and shoulder to shoulder 
we continued to overtake  through the country lanes. 
 At the 8 mile point I asked her how she was feeling. She replied that she was finding it tough and having to work hard. I reminded her that was why she had a number on her vest. She was in a race and giving it her all. 
  The lanes were completely free of snow except for one 1/4 mile stretch between 8 and 9 but would have only add a few seconds to that mile.  A tractor blocks the lane in front of us ; it's load at a precarious angle lodged in the drainage ditch. The driver is on his phone, calling for help.  We slide through and "plough" on. Deliberate pun!
  Splits from 3 to 11 had been 
                7.33     7.29    7.22    7.32    7.23    7.34    7.29    7.36.

As we turned a corner at 11 we could see the field tall communication masts in the distance and  the sight of them sparked a late surge with  the last time mile in 7.20 and 7.14.  Jayne  had stuck to her task was still in  the slip stream, finishing just a few seconds behind.  Slower than the one a fortnight ago but a good solid run, another building block for a spring marathon. Well done Jayne.
 Final time was 98.37. It WAS 30 minutes plus slower than my PB. and a tad slower tha predicted.
But heck, it was my 103rd and at 64 I 'll take that.  BUT clearly those first 3 miles must have been too slow and instead of thinking that that will be it for half marathon running for this 64 year old, I'm left with the strong feeling that all things considered I could improve on the INSKIP time.


 ALAN TAYLOR and his team are to be congratulated on the organisation of the event ; excellent in all aspects.  Parking, mobile toilets,  marshalling (hope they've all thawed out), goody bag (medal, water, chocolate and a Thinsulate beanie) and after race food included for probably a third of the Great north run price at just £14.
 Blackpool based STUART ROBINSON (Salford Harriers) won the race in 68.25 with MARIA KELLY (Penny Lane) first lady in 89.10. 
 It would have been so easy to give in to those overnight negative thoughts and not bother running the event. Particularly as I was likely to record my slowest ever half marathon time.
.  But I'm  glad I went and whilst the conditions were less than perfect I did learn that   I can  race 13.1 miles at not just a consistent pace but accelerating towards the end. Not just getting around.  I have something to build on.  
 I don't think for one minute that I was 100% ready and it was tough but I survived.   So many very able runners shy away from racing until they feel they are 100% ready because it is races do hurt and are tough.  But if we never bite the bullet and test ourselves we never learn just how ready or not we are, do we?  If YOU haven't raced for a while you know what they say..JUST DO IT!
 All in all a good solid start to my 2013 race campaign.  Now what's next?


  


Saturday, 19 January 2013

FIRST XC RACE,TODAY 50 YEAR AGO. LIFE CHANGING!

  The banter from the other kids  on the estate  continued throughout the week following me saying that today, 50 years ago,  I would be competing in my first ever cross country race.   There was no malice in the jibes. As far as they were concerned, whilst they knew I could run around a football pitch from dawn until dusk, I would have no chance against lads who were already in their third season of cross country competition in either the North or South Manchester leagues. Particularly the kids'  "local hero" the famous Sankey who was enjoying another unbeaten season.
   I could say that I knew better; I would show them what an underdog  could do, today would be my day. Today I would emerge from the pack in triumph; to the astonishment of all and sundry.  But in truth I was more concerned to run fast enough to have the race done and dusted in time to do my Saturday evening paper round across the road from Heaton Park.
  My dad came home from his morning shift at the nearby AVRO's plane factory at lunchtime. He liked to have a bet on his way home from work and after lunch he would settle into the corner of the couch in the lounge and watch the racing on the telly.  Mam would continue with her chores; looking after nana, my two older brothers and my younger sister.  Meanwhile,  I  quietly packed a bit of kit together for the race, (including the football boots we'd been advised to wear!) slipped  out the door and said I would see them later.  Likely as not I didn't even tell anyone where I was going.  I was 14 after all!
 My school, St. Bede's College, was 7 miles away across Manchester  but the park was just a mile or so down the road so I walked down by myself to meet and  up with the teacher and the rest of the team.  No chauferred trip by parents.  Only one family in the entire street owned a car!
 The French teacher was the same one who had had me caned for doodling in the margin of my French exercise book but today his demeanour was somewhat different.  Smiling and reassuring. he reminded us that whilst we had never run cross country, we weren't exactly novices.  We had all done well, recording good times in our school sports events and a couple of us had won medals in the city championships only last Summer. I had managed a third in the 880 yards event.   But today would be longer than that and over rougher terrain.
 As we waited around  before the race I became aware that although they were wearing different school vests a lot of the lads seemed to know each other.  I sensed a lot of rivalry, but friendly rivalry.  I mentioned this to one of our team saying I felt like a foreign intruder. He told me they were at different schools but many of them ran for the local clubs.  Heck, I thought, we're taking on professionals!!
 The race started on the field where they started the English Schools a couple of years ago but unlike
  many events in the park nowadays; cross country and on the roads, it took us around the back of the lake and was comparatively flat.  Good thing: as I don't think I would have coped with any hills after the initial charge from the gun. I was way back.
   But gradually on the flat, gravelly path I was weaving through well as the fast starters began to fade.  The leaders were in view. Many of the lads I was curious about before the race visible up ahead.   I wasn't going to catch them but at least I was working towards what looked like a top ten place.
  A voice from the side shouted, "Come on Sankey, you're not going to make the team!"   as  I slipped past to his right.    A late surge took me past a few more, a final sprint and I was home.
The French teacher came towards me and congratulated me. I asked him the big question.
  "What time is it, sir?"  I was still concerned about my paper round!
"Never mind that, he said, " you finished 7th. You made the city team for the Lancashire Championships!"
 Back at the school changing rooms at the side of the park there was a lot of talk about the city team selection.  Several boys and adults came up and said, "You should join a club".
                It all sounded like a big commitment to me and anyway I was a footballer!
 Back at home it was just another Saturday as normal. Except that I'd gone off  to do some sport in the afternoon rather than the morning.  No big deal.
 As we assembled for the Sunday morning kickabout,   the kids on the estate never mentioned the race . Nor did I. We just put our coats for the goals as usual and got on with the game.   But they knew how I'd gone on. They'd have learnt from Sankey. He was first of the North Manchester lads as usual but been pushed back to 9th. He hadn't made the team. They selected the first 8. All those in front of him were  from the southern areas schools. All members of SALE HARRIERS,  MANCHESTER A.C. or MANCHESTER LADS CLUB HARRIERS.  
  I would come to know these very well over the next few years.  The lads  would become my team mates, rivals and friends particularly those from Sale Harriers. The club I would be asked to join after the Lancashire Schools event; back in Heaton Park where I would finish 17th. The second of over 700 races I would compete in over the next 50 years. Not just on the country but on the track, on the road , on trails and on fell.
 But just think if I'd have had said I couldn't compete in that race 50 years ago because I had to do my paper round.  Would I have have eventually got into the sport  and enjoyed decades of  running, training and racing, would I have set up the COMPLETE RUNNER and FASTRAX?  Clearly not.
                  This day 50 years ago was life changing and I'll never forget it!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS.......2

  Week 1 of 2013 was brought to a close with  an undulating 13 miler on the quiet roads between Thornton and Gargrave   in preparation for my first event a  week on Sunday.  So no apologies then for beginning week two with two days of easy recovery running on the grass.  After hitting tarmac for the best part of two hours on the Sunday the spongy green stuff was very welcome!
  We journeyed up to the Lake District then for a Tuesday afternoon meeting at INOV 8's new showroom; a chance to see what the company will have to offer for next Autumn /Winter. Available from July; for us to order  a.s.a.p.  Look out for some great new colours on existing product and some new tasty clothing items!
  Interestingly the catalogue featured local "startlet" RACHEAL BAMFORD (Otley A.C.) taking time off her training and racing with a spot of "modelling".

 We stayed up in the Lakes overnight and so Wednesday morning saw me tackling my regular 6 miler up the TROUTBECK VALLEY and back.  The National Trust has done some great work improving the first mile of the run in which the trail was often more a stream; better,  but for the best part it's still a run for Goretex lined footwear as  throughout the year water runs down the steep sided valley and lodges on the path.  The scenery does much to compensate.   It's not a run if you're looking for  a bit of pace.More of a watery slog!

A much drier trail run on Thursday. My weekly visit to the reservoirs. Made even more enjoyable as we benefit from all the great work done by Yorkshire water as reported recently.  Much the same distance as the lakes run but much faster pace.............and much safer!

A faster pace but still way off the pace I'll need to be operating at a week on Sunday. So Friday was calling out an injection of pace.  Opted for a 2-3-2  (2 miles easy 3 miles tempo 3 miles easy) over the border from SALTERFORTH .   7 miles on the canal towpath
free from both 4 wheel and 2 wheel traffic.  A good venue for this tempo session.  10K race pace plus approx. 10%......for about 7.40 per mile
 Splits were 7.41 8.02 and 7.39; so falling short on the middle one.
 Look at that next time I do it.
 

Following another hour of undulating trail on the STRID  on Saturday, Sunday saw me back  back on the flat LEEDS LIVERPOOL canal  towpath for the week's longest run of 10 miles , out and back from 5 RISE LOCKS..
  Run  comfortably in  89 minutes; "keeping  my powder dry"  for Sunday's half marathon!
  So that was the week that was......n mber 2.
  2 easy days,  several days on picturesque undulating trail, a tempo session, topped off with a comfortable  but solid 10 miler.  44 mile in total.
  Two weeks into the year and we  were still free from snow here in Wharfedale; but it wouldn't spare us for long.  Week 3 would prove somewhat more difficult for Yorkshire's runners!






 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

JAN 1963. FOOTBALL,YES. CROSS COUNTRY ,NO

ST. BEDE'S COLLEGE , WHALLEY RANGE 
SOUTH MANCHESTER.  JANUARY 1963.

The bell signalled the end of morning lessons and we started to make our way out of the classroom to start the walk across to the main college block.  There we would queue up in silence or risk being given detention or maybe even being strapped.  When instructed two files of boys would merge and side by side make their way through 3 sets of double doors and then climb the steps up to the refectory for lunch.
 Only on this January lunchtime my progress to the main block was halted by my French teacher who beckoned me towards him.  This was the French teacher who has had me caned for "doodling" the logo of my pen manufacturer in the margin of my exercise book.  My immediate thought was to what punishment he had in store for me today.
 To my surprise he was quite pleasant.  Obviously, 50 years on, I can't remember the exact conversation but my recollection is that it went something like this.....

TEACHER:  "Lonergan, as I recall you did pretty well in the School Sports, didn't you?"
ME:  "Yes, sir, I won the 880  and the 440, sir."
TEACHER: "Yes, I thought so. That's why I chosen you to represent the school at cross country"
ME: "But we don't have any cross country teams, sir.  We only play football; I'm in the team."
TEACHER: "I know that, but the Manchester Cross Country Championships are coming up and it's been decided that the school should enter."
ME:  "The lads who run will have been doing cross country since September at least, sir. For some it's their 3rd season.  We've no experience. It's not fair"
TEACHER:  "Maybe, but we have decided"
ME:  "When is it ,sir?"
TEACHER:  "A week on Saturday, in the afternoon"
ME:  "Then I can't, sir, I have a paper round. Starts at  4 o'clock"
TEACHER: "Where's the shop you work at?"
ME:  "Near Heaton Park. I live in North Manchester."
TEACHER:  "No problem then. That settles it. The championships are actually in Heaton Park!"

He had me. I had no more excuses. I would have to run.

  So that was that.  Despite not having a cross country team we would be lining up against schools from all over the city. With no experience and having done no training we would face lads well into their third cross country season.  The best would already have represented Manchester and the very best would already have been snatched up by athletics clubs in the city.  Salford Harriers, Sale Harriers or Manchester & District Lads Club Harriers. What chance did we have?
  The weekend before the race I mentioned the race to the lads on the estate. They told me that there 2 cross country league operating in the city. One for schools in the north and one for the south.  
 They informed that a boy at their school called "Sankey" had won all the north based races. He was unbeatable.  So as a complete novice obviously

        " you'll do nowt! you've no bloody chance!", they said.

A part of me was intrigued as to how it would go.  On passing the 11+ exam  several boys from the primary school class had opted to go to Cardinal Langley in nearby Middleton. It was a new school but they  tried to uphold the "grammar school" tradition of rugby union and cross country with no football being played at that time.  Set in suburban Whalley Range St. Bede's College turned out teams in football from under 12 and both football and rugby from under 13.  But no cross country teams.  But..........

       WHO KNOWS I MIGHT JUST BE GOOD AT THIS RUNNING GAME!


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

THAT WAS THE WEEK.....WEEK ONE

 Well, I managed to hit that 2080 miles set target for 2012 and so averaged the 40 miles per week that I had set for myself. BUT to do so required an extra effort over the November and December. The last 3 weeks all needed to be well above that 40 mark. Certainly no rest on Christmas day. But then again it was just another Tuesday wasn't it?
 On that basis I thought I would make WEEK ONE a moderate one and did run easy for Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday but then I decided to kick start the year with a half marathon on January 20 (Inskip half) and so  reverted to par for the second half of the week.
 All the recent rain has made training a bit troublesome, hasn't it?.
A case of deciding which roads and which trails will be under water or not.    But rather that than skating on ice!  So far, so lucky!
 I haven't been doing much running at pace over the last few weeks but I seemed to cope quite well with the GUYS 10 miler in December so I thought I would kick off 2013 with more of an endurance challenge rather than a sharp, fast 5k or 10K. Plenty of those to attack later on in the year. Hence the half marathon entry; a distance I failed to race over in 2012.
 But the half marathon entry called for a training run over the distance to finish off week one. Problem being where?   Flooded Wharfedale lanes, spending the best part of two hours looking behind for perilous groups of cyclists or puddle hopping on the canal?

 In the end I opted for a short ride into Lancashire was pleased to find a dry very quiet road between Thornton and Gargrave  which I shared with just half a dozen bikers and less than 20 cars in a run of nearly 2 hours!
 The hilly run over the 13.1 distance served to confirm current fitness and served to  boost the confidence but I'll need to be running 20 minutes faster a week on Sunday to run to prediction!
 Preceded by 30 miles on the trail and grass those 13 miles topped a good week one of 43.  A good opener for the year.
Reasonable quantity but the quality is going to have be worked on; but then again I've another 51 weeks for that!