Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bike stuff & running stuff

I'll start with the bike stuff.

After a pretty hairy time on the bike last week I was kind of thinking that it would take some kind of act of god for me to be able to improve enough to take part in the triathlon next year, but I decided to give it another go this morning.

After I got the lads vans loaded up and they set off I got the bike out and wen't for a bit of a bimble around the warehouse again. The dog was loving it - trying to leap onto my lap, but once he realised he was actually getting a really good run-around, he set off ahead of me and I was able to do some laps.

So (and I know this is very slow, but I'm rubbish at the mo), it was seven laps at around 300m per lap, in 8 minutes - bearing in mind that I had to slow down for the bends, and to avoid colliding with the hound. That's 6:09 mile pace - 9.75mph (and I did my 200s on the track quicker last week) but it's a start.

On with the running stuff...

Tonight was the club 5k time trial - the conditions were perfect, and we had a pretty good turn out. I was set off after Alan & Helen (30secs?) so my aim was to try and catch up. I caught sight of them as we left the village, but it took me all the way past the Lakeside pub to catch up. I was literally only metres behind them for a good mile, but didn't seem to have that bit of oomph to get me there. Once I did catch up, Alan took up the pace and motored past me again. Brian came flying by with Peter hot on his heels. I was tiring, but managed to make it through to the finish in under 23 mins which was my goal.

Distance: 5k, time: 22:47, pace: 7:20

Not too unhappy with that to be honest - it's pretty much on par with the last couple of parkruns I've done (22:44 & 22:41) on a much tougher course. Smile

Well done to everyone tonight - and a special well done to Peter for going sub 20 mins for the first time!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Goals, races, training and the year so far

Morning Campers Laughing

Well it's coming up to that time of year where you start to think about next year's targets, and how you've done this year. I'll start with the year so far, then crack on with my list of goals for 2010.

2009 - year of the sicknote Wink

I had a pretty rubbish year to be honest, starting in January & February with the ligaments in my ankle - couldn't run properly till March. Since then I've had two bouts of flu which had me laid up in bed, and a chest infection. It's not all bad though. I managed to crack my 1 mile & 10 mile pbs, and I survived my first marathon (even if I was disappointed with the time). I couldn't get close with my 5k & 10k times, but given that I started my marathon training in June I only really had a few 10ks which I entered this year.

Another good thing to come out of 2009 was the addition of the Sunderland Parkrun, I've done two so far (because of work and pulling my back), but I'm hoping that next year they should serve as a good fitness gauge.

2010 - year of the triathlon Laughing

I'm really looking forward to doing my first tri, I've now been out on a bike (after a 24 year break), and did manage to do a few laps inside the warehouse at work once I'd got the hang of it (and Andy let go of the seat Embarassed). The cycling is gonna be the toughest part, but I've got 8 months to train for it, and it'll be a sprint tri - 400m swim, 20k bike, 5k run, so even if I'm totally rubbish at the bike at least it's not a huge distance to try and cover.

I've also got some canny race time goals for next year too - keeping my running fitness up.

  • Sub 2:55 800m (pb 2:56)
  • Sub 5:40 1500m (pb 5:49)
  • Sub 6 mile (pb 6:09)
  • 12min 3k (pb 12:23)
  • want to get as close to 20:10 as possible over 5k (pb 21:07)
  • 43:30 for 10k (pb 43:50)

I'd also like to crack 1:14:00 for 10 miles at Tynedale in September (pb 1:14:04), but I'm not worried if I don't

Races for 2010

I'm entered for the Resolution Run 10k on New Years day - 10k on the Town Moor again, not sure I'll be loving or hating it but at least it's only two small laps and not five big ones. I lost my shoe in a bog the last time I did it, so I may have to tape them onto my feet, or give my xc spikes a go if it's really muddy.

I've also got my entry in for the North Tyneside 10k - one of my favourite races along the coast from North Shields to St Marys lighthouse. That one is on Easter Sunday.

Other than those I'm hoping to do these:

  • 9th Jan - NEHL 2 (cross country) at Cramlington
  • 30th Jan - NEHL 3 (xc) at the Town Moor (lol not again...'ware the moor)
  • 13th Feb - NEHL 4 (xc) at Wrekenton
  • 20th Feb - NEHL 5 (xc) at South Shields
  • 6th March - Royal Signals Relays (if I can get a team from the Jarrow & Hebburn ladies)
  • 27th March - NEHL 6 (xc) at Prudhoe
  • 4th April - North Tyneside 10k
  • 11th April - Sanddancer 10k multi terrain
  • 18th April - Rising Sun 5m (Wallsend)

I'll also do the Pier to Pier depending on the date, Clive Cookson 10k, and the Sunshine Run 5k in July. This leads me up nicely to my choice of two sprint tris in August - the T&W Fire Brigade Hebburn tri, and the Sun Tri in Ponteland. I'm pretty sure that the Hebburn one fills up pretty quickly, so I'll have to be on my toes getting the entry form in.

Training - back down to earth now for a training update from this week

After picking up that silly back injury last week I was sensible - listened to my training gurus (Alan, Helen, Jim and Mick) and took a week off. It's done me the world of good, and with the assistance of a microwavable heat pack (thanks for the heads up on that one Mick) I'm now almost fixed! Laughing

Tuesday 8th saw me back at the club for a pretty swift training session on Wood Terrace. Anti clockwise round to the roundabout (.42 miles average for each rep) 200 jog recovery
3:02, 3:00, 2:54, 2:46, 2:46, 2:43

total distance:2.52 miles, 17:11 (6:49 pace)

Wednesday 9th - usual Wednesday bimble - shorter route cause I was bloomin' knackered Embarassed

Thursday 10th - track session:

17 x 200 - 3 man 10k relay, this was first proper track session since my marathon and I was feeling good.

First rep was pretty slow till Jim said "these are supposed to be fast" lol, but I got progressively faster finishing on 39 secs for the last 200.

total distance 3400m 12:55 (6:07 pace)

Apologies for the epic post, but some inconsiderate so & sos stomped down the back lane shouting at each other at 3:45am Yell So I've been awake for bloody ages Frown Hoping to get a bit of a nap at some point this morning.

Happy running folks!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Bloody Christmas tree lights

I love Christmas, let me say that before we start, I guess I have to seeing as my Christmas starts with my first delivery at the end of August. So it's no wonder that I have to get into the spirit of things and put my tree up early. Actually not as early as some, but two weeks into November is early enough for me.

So (you're wondering what the point of my ramblings are right), I've had my tree lights switched on and off for the last three weeks no problem, then as soon as I start to feel fit and ready to get back into training, bang goes a muscle in my back switching the sodding things off.

It's so frustrating, especially with how good I was feeling after Farringdon xc. I just wanna get out there, but after a couple of test-bimbles on Tuesday & Wednesday I've had to give up the idea as a bad 'un. I was hoping to do the Sunderland Parkrun this weekend too, but that'll have to go on hold for the next two weeks now.


Oh, on another note

George has put some Newcastle Marathon footage on YouTube (see here), This musta been before I lost the will to live on lap five, as I'm still moving and lying in 4th place. I'm still annoyed with myself for not trying harder, but it's done now, and I'm already thinking about what to do next year.

I thought I'd have a go at triathlon.

There's one organised by Tyne & Wear Fire Brigade in Hebburn (near where I do all my running training), so it'd be rude not to take part Wink. Though I haven't been on a bike since I had my paper round in 1985 or 86 (It was many many moons ago), so god knows what kind of cyclist I'd make, but seeing that I'm willing to give almost anything a go I was thinking 'why the hell not' Laughing

Will keep you folks posted on my biking efforts, if nothing else they may earn me two hundred & fifty quid for looking stupid on You've Been Framed Undecided

Happy running people!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

NEHL 1 : Farringdon XC

Morning Campers!

Well, it's a week since my jaunt around the Town Moor and I'm actually feeling pretty good. I had a bit of a bimble around on Tuesday at the club with Graeme - nothing too strenuous, then a day off on Wednesday, before throwing myself back into the mix on Thursday with the club track session.

It was 16 x 400 with 60 seconds recovery, I had thought I might just make it to ten, but told Coach Jim that I was aiming for 12, so when I tried to skive off the last two he got me going again Wink

Total Distance 4.8k, total time: 20:36, pace: 6:55/mile

Rep times: 1:45, 1:46, 1:44, 1:41, 1:41, 1:43, 1:43, 1:43, 1:43, 1:43, 1:43, 1:41

Took the first couple to get into my stride, but felt pretty comfortable once I stopped chasing Alan *grins*


North East Harrier League meeting 1 - Farringdon, Sunderland

I had to get there early to meet up with Alan & Simon to do any late registrations and then the results, but after my feel good session on the track on Thursday I felt that I was strong enough to take part. So I grabbed my kit, went to work, called into Start fitness for a sweet new pair of shorts (sorry folks the luminous ones are retired till my thighs shrink Embarassed), and then headed over to Sunderland.

We had a couple of minor glitches with the junior races, but nothing too troublesome, then as the mens race was finishing I dashed over to the start. Was nice to get some pre race encouragement from the Jarrow & Hebburn lads, and to catch up with some ladies I know from Sunderland Harriers, Strollers and Heaton, including a couple I saw at the Moor last week but hadn't met yet - well done ladies!

Before I could really get warmed up we were on the start line and off.

I'd been warned by my xc gurus Mick & Micheal, that the course was a fair bit muddy in places, but to be honest it was no worse than normal. The mud was in all of the usual spots, on the decesnt down the first hill (a lady took a tumble infront of me), on the corners, and as you climbed out of the stream.

My aim was a nice steady race, happy in the knowledge that no matter what happened I couldn't ever be as knackered as I was on the Town Moor. The plan seemed to work too, I'd kind of planned to take the first hill fairly steady, check out who was around me that I recognised and then hopefully stick with them.

Jenny from Heaton was well away, and I couldn't see Lisa Walker (Wallsend) either, but Helen Morris (Blyth), was pretty much right infront of me. I know she's a bit quicker than me, but the plan was to hang on for as long as poss.

I think we must have tag teamed it right round the course, because if I couldn't see her infront, I could hear folks cheering her on behind Laughing

The big hill didn't coma as a shock, so I just slowed and ran up it using Helen's (J&H) "I'm a little mountain goat" mantra. It got me to the top - along with some verbal encouragement from Micheal & Craig. Lap 2 was a carbon copy of the first, with the addition of the fast pack flying past, just nice and steady - could this mean that I've finally cracked this pace thing lol.

Anyways (I'm rambling and my stomach is rumbling for my brekke)

It felt a great deal slower than I'd normally do this race, the pace was very even, no crazy fast start, no dyig towards the end, nothing like my running style infact *giggles*


I came through the finish in 28:10, a good 70 seconds faster than the last time I did it! (29:21)

What the hell is that all about! The course is the same, I know I've ran it often enough. Freaky huh!

Over the moon with that to be honest.

I had to the run from the finish, back round to the school (changing from my spikes before I got mud all over the reception), then cracked on with the ladies & junior womens results!

Busy day, but pretty rewarding Laughing

Many thanks to Sunderland Harriers for hosting, to all of the officials, marshals and timekeepers without whom the event couldn't take place - your work is most appreicated!

I didn't manage to catch up with Helen at the finish (will try and see you at the next one)


I've got copies, but they will be available here: sportsoft race results

I'll post a direct link when they're up.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Ok so I've been a little remiss updating this blog, it's not cause I've stopped blogging, I'm just really pressed for time at the mo - so take a bimble over to real buzz and check out my updates there, and I'll hopefully get things back to normal here when I have some free time.

Happy running folks :)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

GNR 2009

Hello Campers

The prep for the race was good, I felt pretty happy with my training before the start, but once I arrived in Newcastle I just couldn't get warm. The temperature was only 7 degrees, a little on the cool side to be standing around for 2 hours, but nevermind - the forecast was for it to warm up, so I just tried to keep moving and hope that I'd be warm enough by the time the gun went off. I had a chat to Alan from my running club (he looked bloody freezing), after meeting up with some forum folks.

I managed to get into my pen (Orange B) in plenty of time, despite a 40 minute wait in the loo queue (I'll be going back to the bushes again next year), and eventually met up with my clubmates Mick & Jimmy just before the race started.

The gun went off, and we went streaming along the motorway. This year for me the first time I'd gone on the right hand side of the carriageway. I'd deffo say if was a much quicker start - even by the time we started to go up the first incline there were some people walking and jogging on the left hand side (the carriageway that goes underneath). I'm not sure which is the better route though, as at least on the left hand side you get a little respite from the sunshine.
By the time we hit the Tyne Bridge the sun was really starting to heat things up. The forecast was for 17-18 degrees by noon, but it felt warmer than that even at eleven am. I had lost Mick & Jimmy by the beginning of the Felling bypass, where Speedy Goth (RW forums) came past and said her hellos.

I was desparate for water by Gateshead Stadium, not to drink, but to tip over my head. I didn't feel dehydrated, just close to melting. I got a bottle from Vicki from the Strollers, had a few sips and tried to cover myself with the rest. Things picked up a little after that, and I felt quite good up to Heworth where my family were waiting to cheer me on , then it was another long slog up to the Black Bull. I didn't have any of the Powerade on the course as the bottles were a bit on the large size, and I don't really like the taste, so I hung on down to the next water station at Whitemare Pool. At this point I was so hot I'd just decided to try and enjoy the race rather than go for a time, there seemed no point in trying to kill myself for a few minutes off my pb, so I just settled in for a bit of a bimble in the sunshine.

The firemen at York Avenue were a godsend - I could have stayed there all day in the spray, but I pressed on and Alan came striding past me, he tried to get me to press on further, but I was boiling hot, and just wanted to try and cool down a little. He cruised off up the hill, and I followed, seeing him head off into the distance.

The crowds through Jarrow and South Shields are fantastic. I had two quarters of orange, and an icepop from the wonderful folks on the John Reid road (much appreciated thankyou!), and the gel I'd taken at Whitemare Pool seemed to be kicking in, so I actually managed to put on a bit of an effort as we came up the the Bupa power zone. There were people there with big tubs of jelly babies!! Fantastic stuff. I was tucking into my second when Rachel came past. I actually felt good enough to stick with her all the way up the Nook, I think I was Jimmy (on the other side of the road) as we climbed, then she pressed on and I lost her, but could see Frankie from the club up ahead too.

Alistair from Knaresmere Harriers got me up to the Marsden Inn (spotted MTS - Hi mate!), he said he had credits riding on me on Fetch, but I was well outside pb times by then. I just wanted to try and catch Rachel again now. I saw her not far ahead so I pressed on, caught up with Alan again, and then the chase was on as we hit the seafront.

I've ran this last mile many time, in training when I lived in Shields, and for the Fetch Mile challenges, but I can honestly say that when I hit that last 800m, it was the longest 800m of my entire life. The road seemed to suck the life out of me, I gave up all hopes of catching Rachel, I just wanted to hang onto the sight of her and Frankie ahead of me and not let them get too far away. I was thinking at the Marsden Inn that if I could do the last mile in 7:30 I could at least equal last years time, I had managed the last mile in 7:03 last year, but there wasn't a hope in hell of it happening in the heat of the 2009 race.

The end finally came, thankfully as I don't think I could have ran another step. I felt like my face & shoulders were melting with the heat, and Alan crossed the line only seconds behind me, we hugged, and I've never felt so thankful for the end of a race.

My time 1:43:44

We actually only had a seconds difference on our watch times, which was a clear indicator that the up & over righthand carriageway makes no difference other than a speedier start. I will be returning to the left hand side for a few reasons next year, not least that it makes me run a little slower at the start, but I'm glad I gave it a go, just to see for myself.

Split times as follows:
5k: 22:1510k : 47:1415k: 1:12:52finish: 1:43:44

A good minute slower than last year, but acceptable in the heat. I'd love to do a half in the winter where I could really go for it without overheating.

A big thanks to all the folks who come out to cheer us runners on, to the water station peeps, folks marshalling, to the clean up crew who tidy up afterwards, and a specialy 'many thanks' to the gardening guys who were out at 9pm on Saturday night making Gateshead & South Tyneside look lovely for everyone on the Sunday morning!

Club stuff to follow

Jarrow & Hebburn runners finishing times
ANDREW CLARK - 01:29:11
Caitlin Lloyd - 01:30:51
IAN SALKELD - 01:31:23
michael joyce - 01:31:35
Roy White - 01:32:16
Rachel Lowther - 01:40:00
Robert Seaton - 01:40:22
ALAN JOBLING - 01:43:40
Victoria Thompson - 01:43:44
stephen rodgers - 01:43:58
JAMES FORD - 01:47:29
barry pascoe - 01:51:47
Michelle Hartley - 01:54:55
Anne-Marie Shiels - 01:55:23
Maria Marshall - 02:07:36
ALAN SLESSER - 02:15:16
SUSAN BARNES - 02:16:16
Jeff Clark - 02:23:00
Rachel Andrews - 02:23:08
Alison Slowther - 02:24:14
margaret quinn - 02:24:34
simon simpson - 02:31:14
JAMES BARKER - 02:32:50
Emily Coyne - 02:36:05
Emma Winter - 03:02:20

Monday, 10 August 2009

Diary of a Scapa Virgin

I've been thinking of titles for this post all week, I came up with a few decent ones like (wo)Man verses Midge, The Cider and Soup diet, and The Wreck Witch finds Wrecks, but I think the Scapa Virgin sums it all up quite nicely.

So, a week off from running, replaced with a weeks work of wreck diving - superb

It all started early in the am on Saturday the 1st. I could start with all the planning and packing, and checking (and rechecking) I hadn't forgotten any kit, but it all kicked off with a 6:20 am pickup from my two diving club companions Hunter & Tommy. After an eight hour drive from my house in Felling, to John O Groats you might have thought we'd have ran out of things to chat about, but it was like traveling with two James Mays (of Top Gear fame), all very entertaining, they even managed a ten minute conversation on the merits of an articulated lorry trailer (yes I know the mind boggles), but it was all in good jest. In true magpie like diver form they even managed to find some kind of valve or switch in a car park eliciting much ooohing and ahhing :S

We caught the new Seacat ferry from Gill Bay, and after a short crossing, we were on the Orkney Islands!

By 9:30pm I'd eventually found the place I was staying (with the kind assistance of Gordon & Viv), and the lads headed off to the boat.

Sunday: My first day diving in Scapa Flow.

We were aboard the Sharon Rose, everyone all eager to get going, I didn't know everyone yet, but they all seemed very friendly. My buddy for the week was Tommy - which is just as well because most of the time I haven't got a sodding clue what I'm looking at, but he's happy to give me some sign-language-like clues Wink.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I had thought it was going to be pretty cold, 14-17 degrees, that's almost tropical! It was soo much warmer than what I'm used to in the North Sea.

We dropped down the shot descending to our first wreck - the Köln or Coln

..the wreck was impressive, a massive hulking figure disappearing into the gloom, and this wasn't even one of the battleships, it was a light cruiser Surprised We didn't drop right off to the seabed, making it a canny bimble around at 29m. I'm not going to go on and on about the dives (even though I could I'd be here all night) but it was hard to get your head round the sheer scale of these ships.

A brief run down of the week went as follows:

AM: Koln - 29m, PM: Karlsruhe - 23m
AM: Brummer - 35m , PM: The Doyle (blockship) - 13.5m
AM: Kronprintz Wilhelm - 36m, PM: Seydlitz - 21m
AM: Dresden II - 33m, PM: F2 & Barge - 16.5m
AM: Konig - 39m, PM: V83 - 15m
AM: Dresden II, PM: Karlsruhe

The battleships were bloody enormous, the vis wasn't brilliant for the Kronprintz Wilhelm, but you could get an idea of the scale. The Konig was equally impressive, but my favourite dives of the week were the two we repeated for the Friday dives - the Dresden II and the Karlsruhe. I could have probably spent every dive of the week on the Karlsruhe and still been happy, it's a fantastic wreck dive with loads of stuff to see (here's some youtube footage).

Our non-diving (or at least my non-diving) highlight of the week was when the lads did their hard hat diving in Stromness harbour. I haven't had as much fun in ages. They were using some gear in the days before Scuba, with the big metal helmet, and the bloomin' heavy lead boots, and loads of lead hanging from their chest. Its surface fed, with two people operating a pump, basically the harder you pump, the quicker the air is fed to the suit - the diver has to hit a valve inside the helmet with their head to dump the air, or they automatically head to the surface.

The first to give it a go was Todd. After his bimble about in 4m, he made it up to the surface and bobbed about like the Michelin man face down in the water (I'll have piccies at some point). Tommy, Tony and Gordon all looked as if they had a fantastic time, grinning from ear to ear when the helmet came off.

Richie donned the suit, and after his epic trudge from the harbour wall 40m under the lifeboat and back, he made it to the point where he was going to do a graceful ascent back to the surface. He had the pleasure of Tony & I operating the pump for his turn though, and we'd decided that it would be much better if he could come out of the water at a pace, then float around like a beached whale Wink. When we got the word he was ready to go, we picked up the pace so we were turning the wheel like some mad comedy hand operated railroad truck from a black & white movie. I was bloody knackered, but the cheers of applause & laughter from the gathered crowd told us we'd had the desired effect Laughing.

On to the midges. I have a few battle scars from the trip - not least the 14 (count them and weep) midge bites on my head alone, not forgetting the ones on my arms - I've been eaten alive Frown, and that was only from one night in the garden!

I'm a happy bunny though...

My cider & soup diet appears to have done the trick. Normally I'd go on holiday and put of weight, but after a week of eating not much more than soup, apples and cornflakes during the day, then drinking (far too much) cider and eating fish & chips on the night I've some how managed to lose half a stone!!!!

To be fair I've done a lot of diving, and I did 5k runs before breakfast on the Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, but Ali's soup on the boat was the best soup I've ever tasted (wonder if he does take outWink), very very filling, and worth the trip for that alone. Not sure how the hell I managed to lose weight, but I'm not going to knock it.

I'm gonna call it a night before I ramble on and on and on, but I had a great time, and I'd be back up there next week if I had the time and spare coin.

Many many thanks to my dive buddy Tommy & Hunter for taking me up there, to the crew of the Sharon Rose - Kev & Ali, and Andy from the Jean Elaine, and to the rest of the group - Tony Twintanks, John, Stuart, Ruth, Richie, Gordon & Viv, Gordon (Hunter's bro), and Todd & Sam, for making it a cracking holiday!

...a Scapa Virgin no more Tongue out

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Weekly round up

It's been a bit of an interesting week or so since I did my unintentional 18 miler. I think the run really took things out of me, but by the Monday night I was at the track and ready to compete in my last veteran's track meeting of the season. With being on hols for the next one I did want to make a bit of a go of it, so I entered the 800 & 3000m.

The 800m was a warm up, tester race to see how I felt after running 18 miles the day before, and to be fair my legs didn't actually feel too bad, sure I was much slower than I'm capable of, but didn't feel completely drained, which means I must have had at least something left in the bag for my marathon.

The problems came with the massive gap between races. My 800m finished, then because of other events, and the British Milers club events, then was an hour and a quarter before the 3000m. This meant that the race didn't get going till 8:45pm. By this time the sun had dropped below the trees and the temperature seemed to plummet, and during my warm up with Mick I was starting to shiver. Thinking this was just a minor thing I just got on with it and did the race (in my worst time in two years). By the finish I was feeling decidedly under the weather.

Distance/Time : 800m - 3:25.6, 3000m - 14:14.9

By the time I got home I couldn't get warm, even with a bath and two hot coffees I was still freezing, had a sore throat and my head was thumping. Two double duvets on the bed made no difference whatsoever, so it was back in the bath to try and warm up. Conclusion...Piglet Flu Wink.

I actually don't think I had the real thing, it was prolly just one of the summer bugs that are flying around, but I deffo couldn't run for a few days, and missed Sunderland 5k Cry.

Fortunately I'd recovered enough by Sunday (after five days off running), to do my long run, and what a cracker to make up for the rest of the week. I did one large, one small lap & a bit or Hebburn, Jarrow, Wardley & Pelaw, with Alan, Helen, & Jim. The conditions were great, glorious sunshine, but not too hot.

Distance/Time : 14.5 miles - 2:00:34

Tuesday saw a bit of a 'return to form' ... We were on the slagheap park, 3/4 of a full lap (around 1220m) x 6. I worked hard and managed to stay just 100m behind Rachel for each lap - pretty pleased with that to be honest.

Distance/Time : .76m x6 - 5:13, 5:31, 5:33, 5:39, 5:53, 5:38 (300 jog recovery)

Wednesday was our usual York Avenue - Mill Lane - Victoria Road route. Just me Alan & Helen, had a canny run despite the rain

Distance/Time : 5.76m - 45:06

Thursday - track session. Was feeling a bit tired after work, and I had the session via text, so I really wasn't looking forward to it. The wind picked up by the time I got to Monkton too (excuses out of the way first Wink). But once I got warmed up I felt a bit more up for it. The session was 4 x 1 mile, with 400m jog recovery. The first was a little too fast, and the last a little slow, but I was happy enough with my efforts.

Distance/Time : 1m x 4 - 7:20, 7:37, 7:41, 7:52

So, the total mileage for the month is 113m - not my highest this year, but not too bad considering a few weeks where I haven't been able to run during the week for whatever reason. I'm off diving next week too, so that knocks a couple of long runs on the head, but hopefully my marathon training won't suffer too much for it.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Unintentional eighteen

The title says it all really,

After a week of doing next to nothing, recovering from the Northumberland Coastal Run with my two black toenails, I had decided to go out for a bit of a bimble on Sunday morning. The weather was beautiful, and in the absence of my other half who was off killing golfs in Scotland, I had to take the hound out for his daily constitutional first.

We donned our running kit, me in my brand new shoes, replacing the now defunct 964mile trainers, and him, resplendent in his bright red doggy harness. Collies do suit a bit of scarlet. We set off up the hill, then round to the gardens, where all of his favourite sniffs may be found. Afters several 'pit-stops' and an emergency stop to avoid another canine, we cruised down the hill, and round to the main road. It had been raining almost constantly the day and evening before, but the sun split through the clouds, causing me to sweat profusely in my cotton t-shirt. Sensing I wouldn't be able to continue in the garment, I headed back up the hill to swap it for something more appropriate, and to let the dog chill out in the shade.

I had accomplished my second task of the day, dog fed: check, dog walked: check two.

Once changed I locked up again, and set off to meet up with Alan & Helen. I knew I wasn't in time to get to our normal spot, but figured if I went in the opposite direction I would eventually bump into them (not literally of course). The heat was starting to increase, but a handy techie t-shirt did the trick, and I wasn't leaking enough to look too grim yet. I spotted the pair coming up the hill to the Black Bull, they were smiling (or perhaps grimacing), as I waited at the top, we, or should I say I, did an about turn and headed back up Felling bypass along the path to Heworth.

We followed the normal route, heading down from Heworth, through Pelaw and into Hebburn where we met up with Coach Jim. The route then continued downhill, our conversation concluding that Helen was 'returning to form' after completing the Sunshine Run in her fastest time since 2005. Jim, Alan and I headed to Jarrow once Helen left us at the lights, I was actually feeling like I was starting to bake now, but once we'd made it to York Avenue at least we were in the shade of the trees. This is where I would normally leave the car, and I was wishing I had, but still, at least it would mean that I'd be doing that little bit extra on my run, maybe twelve miles, or thirteen perhaps.

**Pause for breath**

Alan would have normally headed off home, but he was upping his mileage too, so we continued ending up back on Mill Lane. The breeze had picked up a little and it was really making a difference, no overheating! Alan left us on the bridge, and so Jim and I headed back up to Victoria Road once more.

This is where I had the make or break decision.

a) Head back up towards Felling, and the mother of all evil hills back home.
b) Downhill all the way to my parents house

No contest really.

I took the right-hand option and headed back downhill, Jim went on home, and I was left to bimbling along at my own pace, merrily making my way to my folks. Feeling rather pleased with myself and the imminent cold drink which was going to be available, I picked up the pace a little and finished off my run in a tad over 2 hours. Perfect!


My parents weren't in Undecided

Now, I did try their neighbour, imagining that he'd have a key, but hopes were dashed. He did give me a cup of water though which was some blessing at least. I couldn't phone my hubby as he's swanned off to Scotland, my sis was at her mother in laws in Grimsby, and my great aunt was in Northampton...bloody typical. Add to that the fact that the metros were off the only option available was to run back home...uphill all the way.

Actually I could have cried, but I didn't, I just took a deep breath and started bimbling back up Victoria Road for the third time. At least it had clouded over a little, but the wind picked up and by the time I got to Bill Quay bridge I had to stop and walk.

Oh the shame, but I figured a ninety second break wouldn't do me any harm.

Then (the saga continues), some ignorant tw@t in a silver estate car decided I needed the value of his wisdom. Rolled down his window and shouted "You should be running you lazy git!"

I swear down if he'd have been walking past me, I'd have lamped him.

I burst into tears

I guess it was just the emotion of having ran sixteen miles, then someone (who was prolly driving 500 yards to get his Sunday paper), had felt the need to try and humiliate me for a two second laugh. The tears were wiped away, and I started running again. I was starting to feel like the naked bloke in the Visa advert, and thinking about the tune helped me get some kind of rhythm going again. I made it up the next hill without stopping, but bumping into another runner I knew who stopped for a chat (result!).

Breathing back to normal, I was ready to go. Only three more (evil) hills to go - the next time I move house we're going somewhere flat Tongue out. I had to walk again as I neared the top of the next hill, just as an old guy came out of his garden. We got to chatting as I was walking at much the same pace as he was. After a brief convo about the weather, and how far I'd ran, he finished with "Don't give up, keep on running"

It was just the boost I needed to make it up that last of the hills. I practically crawlled through the front door, drank enough to feel I'd quenched my thirst, then went to bed.

So that was it, my unintentional 18 miler, my longest ever run, even if I did have to stop and walk.

At least my trainers were comfortable!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Northumberland Coastal Run

Morning Campers Laughing

Have sufficiently recovered enough from yesterday to actually write a report...

Was up with the larks as per usual, but I had sorted all my kit out on the Saturday, so I had plenty of time to get up to the parking at the start. Met up with Mick the Makkem and Anne-Marie from the club and got the bus together up to Beadnell - I was thinking that we seemed to be on the bus for ages, so it was going to be pretty tough on the run itself.

After registering and walking round past the start to the car park we met up with a whole bunch of Fetchies, Stoxy and her friend from Kirkstall Harriers, Joy and a few other Sunderland Strollers, Lisa from Wallsend (who couldn't run due to an injury Frown), and Kelly from Heaotn (& hubby) - had a good natter and a cuppa - thanx Mick, before a short bimble down to the start.

It was basically like the Pier to Pier - just a long line drawn in the sand - I wasn't quite sure how the chipped timing was going to work as there were'nt any mats to run over, at least where we were standing - but figured they must be using a gun start and a chipped finish. I'd told Mick I wasn't going to race either, so I was going to try and stick with him - many, many thanks for that little piece of advice!

The horn went off and everyone started hurtling down the beach! I know if I hadn't of been trying to stick with Mick, I'd have been off like a whippet, but I kept my cool and ran along side him at a nice steady pace - this had another advantage of him giving me terrain advice as we were moving. We hit the first of the mini-rivers crossing the beach and I attempted to try and get through without getting my feet wet, but by the time we hit the third & fourth I thought 'sod it' and plodged through. I was keeping a good pace with Mick, and we weren't far behind Joy, catching up with her as we exited the beach.

It was like bouncing on clouds running on the trails and tarmac, so I didn't really notice the next couple of miles till we hit the next beach. My feet had just about dried out when we hit more water and I was so glad I'd worn my 950 mile trainers and not the brand new pair! There was a bit of a scramble up the rocks and a steep trail before it leveled out and we were running towards and then past Dunstanburgh Castle.

I've got to say the scenery was stunning - I've never done a race were you can forget about the running just to look around at your surroundings - superb stuff. Anyways, back to the race Wink I started to find it a bit tough going as it was getting a bit hot, but Mel (Bunny-Phobia) from Low Fell dropped in beside me, Mick moved up a few metres to chat to a guy from Claremont, and I settled in next to Mel. We had a bit of a natter as we were crossing the grassy leas heading towards Craster, it seems she had too much clothing on at the start, so I took the t-shirt she was carrying and tucked it into my belt, I wasn't going fast enough to notice the extra weight if I'm honest.

There was a bit of a dip down in Craster, and I was tempted to nip into the shop for kippers, but the local support was super and we pushed on. I saw Lisa who shouted me on too (thanks!). The next couple of miles were a bit of a blur, Mel pressed on and I tucked in behind Mick again - his Sunderland vest was easy to spot, I was now around 100m behind him (where I was to stay for the rest of the race) but was quite happy with my pace. We went down some kind of gully, across a bridge and up a steep bank on the other side, I'm glad to say I managed to pass a fair few folks on the bank, and I didn't stop to walk, even though my legs were complaining.

Back on the level at the top of the bank and the trail turned a bit gravelly, pretty rough underfoot, but I pressed on in the hopes of some improvement in the terrain. I could still see Mick up ahead, I was using him as a target - pretty difficult as the wind picked up, but we eventually made it back onto tarmac and my running improved again. I was just approaching the "about 2 miles left" sign when I heard someone shout my name - Wendy (Jovi-Runner) from the RW forums - had a brief one sentence convo, then headed down onto the beach.

The last two miles were like running on a treadmill - the wind was strong and in my face, and the ground seemed like it wasn't actually moving. To add to this it started to rain, so I had to just put my head down and try to concentrate on finishing. There was a guy up ahead who kept stopping and looking behind, I was thinking that if I had the inclination to stop I wouldn't get going again. By the fifth time he turned round it was starting to bug me - why couldn't the guy just concentrate on finishing the race. Thankfully I eventually caught him about 800m from the finish line. I heard a lady breathing right on my shoulder (I actually thought that Wendy had caught me) but it was a girl from Heaton I didn't recognise. I tried to kick off, but I'd left it a little late and she beat me across the line by a couple of seconds. It was silly of me to even try if I'm honest, but it's the greyhound and rabbit thing all over again Wink

Finishing position 311, 47th female in a time of 1:54:27

A lovely lady marshal cut the tag off my shoe and I hobbled round to meet up with Mel, Joy from the Strollers and a few other folks I recognised. Then a quick nip over to collect my shirt, before meeting up with Mick and Craig from my club. I was knackered, but happy - the race is stunning, and I guess it'd be even better if the wind dropped and the sun came out. I bimbled over to collect my kit from the baggage area with Mel, and we managed a bit of a warm down (and a natter with Running Beard from Fetch & Bill from Low Fell) back down the hill to the school.

My feet are bloomin' killing me today, I guess that's what I get for racing in my 950 miles, (well now 964 mile) trainers...time for them to retire me thinks.

Many thanks to all of the marshals for a fantastic job! and I hope to be there next year Laughing

Full list of results are now available on the Alnwick Harriers webbie

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Morning Campers!

I'll do a quick training catch up before we get on with the craziness!

Last week was a fairly hefty week running wise, Tuesday's session was 5 x 1mile reps, this after a 2 mile warm up, then the usual 5.5 miles on Wednesday. Happily Thursday was 300s on the track. I took a couple of days off, then did my long run on Sunday at 6am - my furthest run to date at 13.57 miles in the grand time of 2:07:49. Pretty pleased with how my long runs are going at the mo.

On with the meaty stuff....

By some strange twist of racing fate, I somehow managed to enter three races this week. To be fair though, the Sunshine Run is normally the first Wednesday in July, and it would have been last week.

Race No. 1 : The Evening Chronicle Sunshine Run

I'd been sent two race packs for this one after some clerical mix up, so I got there fairly early and sorted it out, before meeting up with Alan for a bit of a warm up. There seemed to be a pretty good turn out of folks as we jogged up and down the quayside. Saw Geoff & Prestomum from FetchEveryone for a bit of a natter, before Helen turned up and we ran a bit more.

I thought I saw a few fairly fit looking ladies, so I was guessing that I wasn't going to be in with a chance of the prizes, so I went out to just really enjoy the run. We lined up pretty close to the starting line (shy kids get no sweets and all that), so we could get a clear start.

My plan (as is normally the case with 5k) was to try and run as fast as possible without keeling over - not very scientific I know, but there's not much else you can do over such a short distance. As we got going I saw Tracy from Chester-le-Street club, so I knew I wasn't in with a hope of catching her, but I thought I'd try my best not to get left too far behind. The first few kilometres were a bit too fast to be honest, and by the time we got to the turn I was wondering if I could sustain the pace any longer.

I saw that the next lady wasn't too far behind me, being chased down by Alan, with Helen not that far behind him. I got a fair few shouts of encouragement on the route, from other runners and the marshals, which spurred me on to try and keep 2nd place. By 4k I was almost completely out of juice, but I ramped up the pace as we passed under the swing bridge - there was no way on earth I was going to let another lady come gliding past without at least a passing effort, so by the time we went under the Tyne bridge I was prolly not far off my 800m pace.

The Millennium Bridge loomed ahead - the only elevated bit on an otherwise flat course, I ran up as fast as my legs could manage and spotted the wonderful smiling face of my hubby, he was videoing my running with his new fangled phone! I pushed on, back down the other side of the bridge , and ran through the finish in around 21:30 - very pleased.

Will have to wait for the results for my exact time. Very happy with my second place, Tracy came through in just over 18 mins, so even on my best day I couldn't have caught her, but the lady in third was hot on my heels crossing the line not long after Alan. Helen got fourth lady so well done to her too! I met up with my family at the finish - it's always fantastic to have their support, and to do so well when they're there!

There's a story in the Chronicle here & I should have some piccies from my sis & Andy when they can get them to me.

Race No. 2 - Low Fell Running Club's Angel View Run


I just about had a day to recover before my next race. My legs didn't feel too bad during my warm up, so I felt quite happy to do the run as a hill session, rather than actually racing it. I managed to catch up with a few ladies I know including Jenny & Kelly from Heaton, and Geoff again (is he race stalking me I wonder Wink), and a whole bunch of Sunderland Strollers (did you guys get a group rate or something? hehehe. The conditions were perfect - sunny but cooler than it has been, and the wind dropped right off too.

We were off with a whistle - the fast lads dissapearing off into the distance, and I settled into a nice comfortable pace behind Jenny. The course circles up and round a small hill before heading down the path under Durham Road. I picked up a fair bit of speed there and we started to catch Lisa & Kelly (Heaton ladies). The course has a fair few twists and turns but we managed to pass the girls just before the bank up to the Angel of the North.

The next two miles saw me trying to catch Joy from Sunderland Strollers. I know I was just going to bimble round, but I couldn't help myself, she was very steady though, and I just couldn't catch up. Still managed to pass a few guys and girls before the big hill.

The track up to Wrekenton is the hardest part of the course, it's narrow, there are fast runners heading back down the hill coming straight at you, and there are french nettles to either side - it's like some mad chicken run. I saw the first two ladies coming down the hill (both form Morpeth club, swiftly followed by Vicki from the Strollers. The next girl to come flying past shouted "whippet" at me...I had to laugh, and guessed it was Bunny-Phobia (or Mel for short) from the Runner's World forums. I'd had shouted Bunny-Phobia back at her, but I didn't have the breath Wink.

We had a quick turnaround at the top, I could see how close the ladies were behind me, so I attempted to get a move on back down the hill. Then the pain of last nights race really kicked in. My legs were still fine (all of those Coach Jim evil torture sessions I guess), but my chest was killing me - I couldn't seem to catch my breath, and every step was starting to see me wheezing. I slowed it down a touch and one of the ladies I'd passed on Durham Road came flying past. I gave chase, but didn't really had much left to catch her with. Eventually we came off the bottom of the track and back round onto the first hill again, there was only about 800m to go now and another lady came past (gutted), but I chased as best as I could and started to gain some ground again.

Joy still wasn't too far ahead either, but not close enough to catch before the finish. I made it round the last 100m without being caught by anyone else though, so I was pretty happy.

75th Joy Champion, Sunderland Strollers 37.54
76th Frances Harkins, Unattached 37.55
77th Clare Fearns, Gateshead Harriers 37.56
78th Bill Kirk, Sunderland Strollers 37.59
79th Vicki Thompson, Jarrow & Hebburn AC 38.04

As you can see there wasn't much in it, but at least Joy managed to hold off the two ladies that I couldn't Laughing

There's a full list of the results on the Low Fell site

Over the moon that I managed to get first lady over 35 again - really wasn't even considering any kind of prize after the Sunshine Run!

Race No. 3 - Northumberland Coastal Run

Well, I can't write the report yet, as it's on Sunday, but that'll be the triple. I'm really, really, absolutely, doing it as a training run - I deffo can't race again this week, and it's 14 miles over some interesting terrain including at least three miles of beach - so I'm guessing that any kind of decent time will be well out of the question.

Still I'm looking forward to it, after two days of complete rest - yay!

Curry tonight as a treat - yum Laughing

Saturday, 27 June 2009

NE Fetcheveryone one mile challenge

Morning Campers,

Just a quick update of the weeks events, nothing too staggering on the training front to be honest - Tuesday was my least favourite session out of all the ones we do at the club - Valley View park.

The route round the park isn't too bad to be fair, but that last climb up from the stream to the top of the bank is a killer. Anyways, it was five reps with two minutes recovery. Distance is around 1200m (.75 mile) per rep. 4:35, 5:02, 5:10, 5:03, 4:52 - not too shabby as the last time we did it I managed 4:57 for the fastest lap, and 5:49 for the slowest - I must be improving!

Wednesday's run was a write off - I must have eaten something dodgy, because after a 20 min warm up I felt really unwell, met up with the guys and said I couldn't run, then dashed back to the car :S

Thursday however was a different kettle of fish altogether

I skipped the scheduled track session to take part in the one mile time trial at South Shields. Did a canny warm up with the other fetchies, and set about organising a handicap as there was a pretty decent turnout. We went off in four waves starting at 8:00 min mile pace, then every 30 seconds down to 6:30 pace.

I set off with the 6:30 folks, though I was aiming to get down to my pb of 6:26. Everyone shot off like greyhounds and I was left trailing at the back, but I just settled in for a nice steady first 800m. Geoff had kindly marked out every 400m, so I had a pretty good idea of how I was doing. With all the track races I've been doing recently I have a fair idea of how fast I can do 800m, but with the mile there's always that added little extra distance to think about.

800m came in 3:10 - almost perfect 95 sec 400s, but it meant I had to really work for the second half of the race. I put my foot down and started aiming to catch people. The next 400m seemed to fly over, and before I knew it the end was almost upon me. I'd caught up with one of the other ladies in the group, but she just pipped me through the finish. I stopped, stopped my watch and felt like I was going to be sick.

Checked the time, and I had to double take. 6:13. 13 seconds off my pb! I was over the moon :D

If it had been a timed race I could have had at least another second there too. I so, so, have a sub six mile in me. I know it. With the right conditions like Thursday night, and without a whole day on my feet at work, it's definitely there.

All of this recent speed-work has definitely paid some dividends, and I the long runs are doing wonders with my stamina - looks like I may be back on form at last - only taken 6 months to get back to where I was at the beginning of last year :S Wonder what kind of standard I might have been at without that darn ankle injury.

Still, it's great to be out there running - I have no complaints what so ever, just fingers crossed that I don't get injured for the rest of the season!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

VAANEE Track & Field Championships 2009 - Monkton

Yesterday was the North East veterans track championships - had a great day doing a whole host of events, and picking up a few medals along the way.

First race of the day. To be honest this is prolly my least favourite distance, but I really wanted to give it a go, so I lined up with the other ladies and the M60, 65 & 70s who were all in the same race. It's 3 & 3/4 laps of torture - sort of like a 400 but much much worse. I managed my pace pretty well over the first 800m, but then it was a case of hanging on and hoping to cross the finish in one piece.

Finishing time: 6:10.0 (WAVA 65.27) - a good 3 seconds quicker than my last effort in the league, but still way outside my pb of 5:49.3

Next up was the 400m, After trying this again in a league meeting a few weeks ago, I found I really enjoyed it. It's a little intimidating lining up and watching folks use sprinting blocks (when I haven't the faintest how to even do the kneeling start thing), but I just kind lent forward and waited for the gun. It's pretty hard to figure out where people are in relation to you (with running in the lanes) but that seems to fade away as I concentrated on just getting round as quickly as possible.

Had a prettty good start, then faded a bit as I passed through 200m, picked things up after the bend once I was back onto the home straight.

Finishing time: 78.5 (WAVA 65.1) - again 3 seconds quicker than my last meeting, and not far off my pb 76.2 from a few years ago

My third race of the day and probably my weakest of the days events. I was aiming for sub 3 mins, and was pretty much on target as I passed through 400m in 88 secs. Was hoping for a quicker second lap, but it wasn't to be, and I finished in 3:05.0 (WAVA 61.25) - pb is 2:55.2

Last of the days events. My comfortable distance. I could have made this the only race of the day and put a real good effort into it, but I really wanted to give the other events a go, so my 3k time suffered a little for it. Was hoping for sub 13:30 and wasn't dissapointed. I actually managed to pace myself pretty evenly throughout, and didn't take off like a whippet in the first couple of laps. Gave it my all in the last 800, and actually felt quite strong coming through the finish in 13:24.1 (WAVA 63.91). It was a lot slower than my best time from last year of 12:23.3, but I was still pretty happy, considering I lost a lot of fitness over the winter with an ankle injury.

Managed two gold & two silvers in the L35 category - pretty pleased with that. The turn out wasn't brilliant, but hey - "you've gotta be in it, to win it" Wink

A big well done to Lisa Walker from Wallsend, Lynn Marr from Tynedale, & Helen Morris from Blyth - they all had some cracking races. Also sending a virtual 'Hope you get well soon' to Andrew from North Shields Poly club (who pulled his achillies). Everyone racing seemed to have a great time, and so a big thankyou to all of the officials - the day couldn't take place without you!

Results from the days races are here

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Morning Campers :)

I'll get straight into the race reports...

Monday 15th - North East Vets track meeting 3

I'd decided to give a few more of the running events a go, just to see how I am running out of my comfort zone. So after doing the 800m at the last meeting, I put my name down for the 200m, 400, and 1500m for Monday's races. A fairly wide selection of distances, but I was thinking "What's the worst that can happen?"

I wasn't expecting much from the 200m tbh, it's been a while since I did anything this short, I enjoyed the race itself - but the lactic in my arms afterwards was really painful, even with a good 30 min warm up. Finished in 36.3 only .8 of a second outside my pb (35.5) which I was fairly pleased with.

Second race of the night was the 1500m (my target race), I felt comfortable on the way round, but a tad slow, could have prolly aimed to go a bit quick, though saying that with a 6:14.0 finish I was actually a lot quicker than my last 1500m (6:22), though I'm capable of 5:45.

Really enjoyed the 400m, was the last race of the night and I was wishing it'd been the first. Felt strong till 150m, dipped for around 20m then picked up the pace again. I reckon I could make vast improvements at this distance with some strength training and short reps on the track - maybe next year after my marathon. I finished in 81.3 (pb 76.2) which isn't too bad after two other events.

Wednesday 17th - Newburn River Run

I always really enjoy this race, it's very scenic and the second half is a bit more challenging that the first so it's a bit of a challenge to keep your cool for the first 3 miles, then start the hard work.

It was great to see 4 other Jarrow ladies there (practically unheard of Wink) managed to catch up with Anne-Marie, Maria, Rachel & Alison just before the start, but I'd kinda set myself a bit of a race plan to help pace Jenny from Heaton, after we did our warm up and she said what a horrible race she'd had last year. So, my plan was to get her to halfway, then back down the south side of the river and not go daft myself.

We started near the back of the pack, but once we got going, managed to weave our way round quite a lot of people in the first mile. A girl from Wallsend Harriers joined us running a fairly even pace so I tried to work with her over then next 1.5 miles (she'd actually make an excellent training partner but I didn't catch her name). We did pass Caroline from Wallsend at just over the two mile mark too (sorry Caroline Wink). Jenny was running well. I asked how she was just before the bridge, and she was fine, so time to work our way down the narrow trails. It seemed to fly over pretty quickly on the south side, but there was a guy who was heavy breathing right on my shoulder and it was starting to do my head in, I moved to one side several times to let him past, but he just stayed there. After around 2 miles I slowed to the point where he had to go past - very annoying.

We caught the girl from Wallsend again as we were running along the trail through Ryton golf course, and both Jenny and I went past. It was starting to get very humid - lots of puddles there from the rain we'd had earlier, but it wasn't as muddy as I thought it was going to be so I was glad I'd opted for my racers.

By the time we hit the gravel path opposite side of the river to the start a girl we knew from Tynedale came cruising past. Jenny told me to make a move, so I gave chase. She was ahead as I crossed the bridge, but Jimmy from my club was on the other side shouting at me to get a move on "come on it's only 800m, you can catch her".

I know I can run 800m pretty quickly from my recent track efforts, so I just thought "sod it" I might as well go full tilt and try and catch more than one. I cruised by the Tynedale lady as a guy from her club gave her some encouragement, then managed to catch a couple more. Then a quick dip down to the finish line in 49:58 - slower than I can do on the course, but I think I enjoyed the race more than I have before.

Had a good natter to the girls from J&H (well done ladies), to some guys from Low Fell, Heaton & Wallsend Harriers.

Results are available here

And now for the murph...

My sis took this pic, it shows just how big Murphy is for a border collie - he's actually right at the top end for height for the breed standard, and he's deffo a collie - I have his full pedigree sheet, but boy is he large (and heavy)

Vicki & Murph

Sunday, 14 June 2009

On a happier note....

Had a canny week of running, and a few things to blog about.

Tuesday 9th - 10k - 56:55

Everyone but Mick & I were either working or off to the Blaydon Race, so instead of the planned Springfield hill session we did a pretty long warm up and then the time trial route.

Wednesday 10th - working

Couldn't make it to my usual run due to work commitments, and popping out for food for my Dad's birthday. Was also our wedding anniversary, but Andy in his wisdom, decided to organise the knockout for his singles golf comp on the evening :P

Thursday 11th - track session 10 x 700

Quite a little tough session, but the weather gods were smiling upon us, with no wind and light showers - perfect running conditions. Pushed on as best I could and managed to finish after saying I'd only manage 8 at the start.

Friday 12th & Saturday 13th - work

Didn't manage to fit in any running at all due to a pretty hefty workload. Hoping next week will be much better! Least we managed to get out for curry on the evening :)

Sunday 14th - The highlight of my week

Was invited down to South Shields to run the senior ladies "doggy mile" by Tony Carlisle, who organises the Butcher's Great North Dog Walk. I've done the full 5k in previous years, but this year I fancied having a bash at the one mile. I was gutted that Meg couldn't have been down there to take in the atmosphere, and started to fill up when I had a chat to the very nice folks on the Border Collie Trust stand.

I was there with my Dad to run with my folks' dog Alice, a Hungarian Visla - very very quick, so I was expecting a canny time. Rkid (my sis) & pete, and my aunt & uncle turned up with their dogs too to cheer me on.

After some confusion about the location of the start (at the Marsden end) we eventually found it and I was off like a shot. Alice is a very good running partner, but she does tend to get a little distracted by all the other dogs, so I took a route straight down the leas, trying to avoid the majority of the other walkers. We almost came a cropper with a couple of guys with dogs on extending leads (for which read trip wires), but we managed to get back on target and romped home in 6:26 - equaling my one mile personal best....sweet!

Will post some piccies when I get them :)

Feeling a lot better about Meg now, but still have the odd dodgy moment. Hopefully that'll ease over time, I just wish she was still here.

Friday, 5 June 2009


Not at all running related, but I don't think I can't blog about this.

Our beautiful border collie puppy Meg had a seizure yesterday morning, and after spending the whole day to and from the vets, she had to be put to sleep. To say I'm gutted is a total understatement. She was exactly six months old yesterday, and I was expecting another 15 years with the little bundle of fun.

You couldn't have had a nicer temperament in a dog, a loving, playful, loyal companion.


I'm missing her terribly already, what a damn shame Cry

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Watergate Trail Race

Hot hot hot!

I knew it was going to be a scorcher when the dogs got me up at 4.45am. The air was warm and humid even then, and sunny! How the hell am I supposed to have a lie in when the dogs reckon it's time for food and walks Undecided I managed to fob the dogs off with a handful of dog biscuits, and went back to bed for an hour, they weren't too happy but I wasn't going to give in and get back up till a more sensible hour.

It was even warmer when I did get back up at six, the predictions were for the hottest day of the year, and the weathermen looked like they got it right. I had my porridge, had the usual panics about forgetting some vital bit of race kit, or getting there and them not having any record of me entering the race, but I was fine. it was only a short drive from home to the race HQ, and I collected my number no problem.

After a bit of a chat to a few folks from Low Fell, I caught up with Stuart and his family who I'd last seen at Gibside in November. He did the fun run with his kids (well done to them in the heat), then it was only a short wait till the 10k. I've done the 5k before so I had a kind of a mental image of what I thought the course was like....totally wrong Tongue out

We set off from the path just behind the college, followed the 5k route right around the lake, up the hill, and back along passed where we started. Then the fun started. I was chasing Stuart right from the start, he was about 200m ahead of be, and you couldn't miss his bright orange shirt (kind of like my shorts). I was aiming to stay steady and gain ground slowly, but it was tough as he was a lot stronger on the hills. He headed into the woods, and the the course became what some might call 'undulating' I'd call it bloody hilly. Up-down-up-down and totally disorientating, the trails in the woods were narrow, but at least it got you out of the sun which by this point was bloody roasting. Stuart was still there ahead of me, I could see flashes of orange through the trees when I wasn't looking at my feet to avoid obstacles.

Over the next 2k I managed to gain around 150m, and then we were out of the woods into farmers fields. I was aiming to pass him in the next five minutes, but he suddenly diverted off the course - pit-stop Wink I couldn't really count it as a victory, so I tried to target some other folks to hang onto.

Before long we we back near the lake, I thought we must be doing another lap or something, but I spotted the 6k marker and thought "hang on, this cant only be 6k, surely" but unfortunately it was and we were back in the woods. Stuart caught me on the trail just as Carl (one of the marshals) gave me the ever helpful advice "Keep going", but then followed it up with "It's not like you have an option". *giggles*

We chatted a bit through the woods, well the sort of one word breathless "Do you know where the hell we are" conversation you strike up with your fellow competitors. Then we had to cross a stream, and the course climbed up again to a much needed water station. I wasn't really struggling so much, just that my legs wouldn't go any quicker Undecided, but then we were flying down a steep bank back towards the lake again.

Stuart pushed on on the other side, on the last big hill. I managed to run up 80% of it, then had to walk and stretch my legs for a few seconds. It's a bit of a mental blow walking, but my legs were complaining at all the hill action. He was away now, but I just concentrated on making it through the last kilometre. As I turned the last bend I could hear someone hot on my heels, and a guy who I'd passed earlier came striding passed. I didn't have the energy to chase him in the heat and was glad just to have made it round.

Finishing time: 51:20

I collected my goody bag, had a chat with Ellen (a friend of Jenny from Heaton), Sarah from Blackhill Bounders (3rd lady well done you!), and Joy from Sunderland Strollers (1st L40 - many grats!), and then hung around for the presentation - I got 1st L35 Laughing

All in all I really enjoyed the race, it was far too hot, and there were too many uppy-downy bits, but the course was interesting - even though I spent most of the race cursing. I'd definitely give it another go next year.

Many thanks to Low Fell RC and to the guys & gals out marshaling in that heat!

Friday, 29 May 2009

....So there I was, doing my monthly blitz of the paperwork on my desk, when I came across my race diary. I know I should look at these things a bit more often than I do, but I have little enough free time as it is without updating all my training every night. Once a week or even two weeks is good enough when the garmin stores all the info for me, or my system of times and dates on post-it notes scattered around the general vicinity of the desk seems to work out

most of the time :S

so, back to my monthly blitz...

I happened across my race diary, then clocking that it was the 29th today, and not some random other date, I realised that I have a race this weekend...eeeek. This near state of panic is normally avoided when the organisers send out race numbers, but this is a 'collect on the night' so I'm totally unprepared. This after a fairly harsh week training wise, and me telling my running companions that I'd be out for a fourteen miler this Sunday coming.

The race is the Watergate trail race, approx 10k. Just thinking that I may be able to squeeze in the odd mile or two here and there as a warm up, but it's not going to bounce up to 14 by any stretch of the imagination. I've had to rule out Monday for a long run too, it's the Vet's track league, so I'll be doing the 800m or the 3000m or both, I don't really know yet. I guess it'll come down to how knackered I am on the night.

Anyways, back to this weeks training.

This ended up being my long run day. Big mistake as far as the session on Tuesday was concerned, but I did manage 13.3 miles in 2:05 which isn't too shabby. I went out before 7am and still started to roast by the time I got back.

5k time trial. I had a feeling it was going to be the time trial, but I couldn't fit my long run in any other time, so I was worn out by the Tuesday night. Excuses out of the way I did ask for a minute extra head start (which was laughed out of the window Wink) so I set off kind of in the middle group. Everyone had left me by the time we'd got out of the village, and then the fast lads passed me on Mill Lane. I wasn't really struggling to be honest, it was just that my legs wouldn't go as fast as I wanted them to. I knew I was last by the time we passed by the Lakeside pub, but again I didn't have enough leg speed to catch little Jimmy.

Came in in my super slow time of 25:15....shocking really, and the second time in a row I've been last.

After a night off running due to work, I felt in fine form for Coach Jim's evil Thursday track session. I've been told to 'get used to the miles' and the session was a bit of a killer. 4 x 1 mile, 150m walk, 50 jog recovery. After a bit of a whippet like first rep little Jimmy suggested I needed a drugs test lol, but I managed to tame it down for the next three and earned myself a pat on the back - cheers Jim!

Finishing times: 7:07, 7:37, 7:37, 7:45

pretty pleased with those times, would have liked a bit quicker on the later reps, but overall I'm a happy bunny, and it makes up for Tuesday Wink

So, I'm going to take today & tomorrow as rest days before the fun starts again on Sunday morning!

Happy running folks Laughing