Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Marathon Madness...

Given that I've had some kind of cold bug and have been coughing like a 40-a-day smoker, I skipped my long run on Sunday in favour of sitting under a duvet with some sausage sarnies to watch the Flora London Marathon. What a superb watch it was too.

Both the ladies and men's elite races were gripping, I guess I was as much on the edge of my seat willing Mara on to win as anyone was, and couldn't help but think that the punishing pace being set by the pacemakers in the men's race was bound to cause problems in the long run. But even though Mara didn't win it was great, exciting, viewing, as was the guys race. Add to this all of the great stories and celebs running, it was far superior entertainment to the usual Saturday night offering on the box.

Have to to say too that I spent a good couple of hours just sitting watching the finishing line feeds on BBCi, managing to spot several folks I know, or recognized crossing the line, most with that look of grim determination, then relief and joy that they'd made it to the finish. I spotted the 'lads' from my running club - big grats to the three of them:

Mick Joyce, who's in my running group, ran very even splits and cracked last years time by an impressive three mins to finish in 3:24:29, 205th over 50 - well done mate! - you looked over the moon as you crossed the line :D

Joe Prudham (my hero), who was 14th in the over 70's in a time of 4:35:27, which is great considering he's had an operation on one of his knees!

and last but not least: Barry Pasco, 311th in the over 60's in 4:48:09.

There were some cracking performances from folks on the Realbuzz & Runners World - many grats to WayToSlow, Blister Sister, CC2 Speedy Goth, Andy Sly and Mandie (who got round even though she took a tumble on the course)!

Was a little dissapointed with the Adidas mobile tracker I have to say, it was supposed to send through texts for each 5k split, but all it send was a starting text, half marathon point, then the finish time. It wasn't far off when the folks crossed the finish line to receiving the text though, so I guess that was something.

All this had me eager to get my entry in the ballot for next years race, and after some technical hitches with the site I managed to get registered late last night. I'm already on three refusals (you automatically get in after 5), but with any luck it'll be 4th time lucky. I've also got confirmation that I am in for Newcastle Town Moor Marathon, so I'd better get into gear and do some training - only 7 months till the big day!

Still have no real idea of finishing times at this point, I'm hoping to finish some point around 4 hours or less, Fetch worked out that I could do 3:32 from last years GNR time, but I'm not convinced, much as I'd love to get round that quick I think it's a bit unrealistic for a first attempt. So I'm gonna aim lower and be pleasantly surprised if it turns out for the better ;)

Feeling better today than I did at the weekend, so I am going to go the the club tonight - no doubt it'll be one of coach Jim's evil torture session, but I'll have to see how my lungs get on.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Wallsend Rising Sun 5 Miles

Afternoon Ladies & Gents

Well I'm now convinced that Wallsend Harriers have some kind of deal on with the sun gods, as their race weather conditions are always gorgeous! But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin

I'll actually begin last night...

It was one of my diving buddies, well two two of them technically, hen night - so we were out in Newcastle from 6:30 - met in the busiest pub in the whole world (the Goose), then off to a really nice tapas restaurant called El Coto, before meeting up with the male contingent for more drinkies.

Given that I was racing today I declined on the alcohol, but still didn't manage to get home till 11:30 (late for me), then ended up sitting watching 'Behind Enemy Lines'. So where I'm normally in bed by 9:30, it was way way beyond that.

This all led to me waking at my normal time of 5am, with hair like Medusa on a bad snake day, and what felt like a stinking hangover, not the best race prep ever, but what the hell, it was a canny night.

I forced down some microwaved cottage pie for my brekkie, then headed over the water and up the A19 to the aptly named Rising Sun Country Park. It was cool when I got there, and me not quite being fully awake thought the race started at 10 (and not 10:30) so I arrived before most of the marshals as the gates were being opened at 8:45.......one doesn't like to be late for these things.

Mick turned up not long after, we picked up our numbers, and went for a warm up. The plan was to use the race with the warm up & down as my long Sunday run, so we did 38:59 as our warm up, dropped kit off at the van, then straight up to the start and only a 5 minute break before the race started. The clouds cleared and the sun came up almost immediately after the starter blew his whistle. We were off, with a cloud of dust being kicked up from the paths.

We'd done maybe just over a mile when a guy from North Shields Poly Club fell in beside me, he said I was running at just the right pace for him, which was actually perfect for both of us - we kept it nice and even for the whole course - no sprinting off like mad folks, right through the two laps and round to the finish. So a big big thank you to Andrew Webb! Got round in 38:29 according to the results, not as good as previous years, but I wasn't aiming for flat out fast anyways.

Collected our t shirts (a nice techie More Miles shirt), met back up with Mick, Jenny from Heaton, Andrew W, and another guy whose name I didn't catch, and bimbled off for our warm down. fifteen & a half mins back round to the car park. All told around 11 miles - a canny little Sunday bimble! It was a canny last long run for Mick before London too

A quick hark back to the saga of last night....

Because I was at the hen night last night, I missed our club presentation night, which is normally a canny evening but I had to make a choice between the two. Anyways, I had a natter with Micheal Bunn today, and he said I'd won the 'Veteran Athlete of the Year' award - sweet! Will post more when I know more.

Last but not least, a quick hello to Carl - who I said I'd give shout out to - Heya you!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Track Session

After Tuesday's disaster on the roads with my frankly far too slow 5k, I was determined to try and finish the club track session on Thursday. I normally, well I say normally, and I mean since I did my ankle in, try to complete as much of the session as I can, then give up and sit and watch the others finish it off. This has lead to me doing between 50 and 60% of whatever is on offer, or missing out reps to try and recover.

Having talked to Helen and Alan about doing the Newcastle Marathon, she said that a good start would to be to finish the whole session on Thursday. She did have a good point - if I couldn't get round the track for 45 mins, what chance did I have of making it round five laps of the Town Moor

She also mentioned that if I pulled back the speed on the reps, I'd have more of a chance of making it round. This is a bit of what my main problem with the track is - I always shoot off like a whippet at full tilt, then I run out of steam.

So armed with my mission *giggles*, I decided to do a canny warm up with Mick & Graeme, then do whatever coach Jim had in store for us.

16 x 400, 90 seconds recovery


I tried the first rep at less than normal pace, was comfortable enough and got round in 1:53, a damn sight slower than some of my rep times for last year to be honest, but I guess it's a bit like starting over. Decided on 1:50 as a target time, and aim to get to within two seconds either way.

1:53, 1:47, 1:50, 1:47, 1:49, 1:49, 1:49, 1:48, 1:50, 1:50, 1:49, 1:49, 1:51, 1:48, 1:47, 1:49

Took me the first few to get into a rhythm, but after than I was pretty pleased, especially since I was sure I was going to fade off after 12. Looking at my times for last year I was averaging 1:33 a rep for 400m, but I'm still happy enough.

So one track session complete!

Everyone else was far quicker, but that doesn't really matter at this stage - gotta get myself fit first

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Silly little things

It was hot on the success of knocking a few seconds off my 10k time over the week that I decided in a moment of temporary insanity to enter the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon this year. It's a five (yes you heard that right...f i v e) lap course of the town moor. Actually thinking about it five laps doesnt seem so bad, or even better it's only four laps then a 10k race tagged on the end.

Either way it means I'll have to get off my arse and get some long runs in. I'm kinda looking forward to the challenge too, maybe because it's laps and not some insurmountable A to B course, it somehow seems a little more attainable.

So I have till November 22nd (the big day) to get myself into shape.

That's if I get in of course - there's a 100 entry limit, and I'm guessing it's going to be popular. There's also a 5:30 hr cut off too, but if I can't make 4:30 I need to be shot. Though to be fair I haven't a sodding clue at this stage of what time I'll finish in, but lets get real - how often does a marathon suddenly turn up on your doorstep - without the need for traveling expenses, and hotels, and being in an unfamiliar city, with unfamiliar food, when the alternative is your own nice comfy bed the night before, and your usual breakfast on the morning of the race!

I'm really hoping I get in 'cause I'm really quite excited about it. Plus it's the day before my hubby's birthday - should be a canny weekend :)

I'm hoping it goes slightly better than this evening's club session, 5k handicap and I came last :S I'm not suprised with racing on Friday & Sunday, but it's still a bit demoralising - hoping to improve on these short sessions - my times a getting steadily slower at the moment :(

Never mind - I did get the results of the NT10k today, and I managed 5th L35 - so happy with that one at least :D

Sunday, 12 April 2009

North Tyneside 10k 2009 & Elswick Good Friday races

Morning Campers :)

Just about recovered from yesterday enough to write a report. First on the menu was North Tyneside 10k, a nice little stroll from the Parks sport centre in North Shields to St Marys Lighthouse. I picked up one of my running partners, Craig, at 8:30 and had an easy drive through the tunnel to the start.

Met up with Mr SJ from North Shields Poly club, then went for a warm up in the park - the weather was glorious - not a cloud in the sky, and next to no wind (unlike last years blizzard conditions). Saw a few more folks from the RW forums & Fetch Everyone for a bit of a natter, then another quick warm up and head to the start. Saw a few more of my Jarrow & Hebburn clubmates, and tucked in for a canny starting position.

I had a fairly steady race, after last weeks slow pace at the Sanddancer 10k, I was hoping for something a lot quicker yesterday. It wasn't quite up to spec, but I'm still not recovered from my ankle injury. Anyways, went through the first mile in 6:24 (obviously far too quick, but who wasn't with that big drop), then pulled it back for 2 @ 14:14, happy enough with my 5k time 22:22, but then fatigue started to set in.

Jenny from Heaton passed by me just after 5k, and she dragged me along to the 4 mile marker, was hoping to stick with her for the rest of the race, but I was too hot, and I could have done with the water station this year with it being so warm, even though I normally don't bother in a 10k. Rachel from J&H passed me at 4 miles too, was suprised it took her so long tbh ;)

The last two miles were a bit of a slog, but I had a mini race going on with three guys, we kept passing each other then someone else would take the lead. Managed a bit of a sprint into the finish, but didn't stop my watch, I do remember seeing it was around 46:40ish - over 30 seconds quicker than last week which I'm pleased about, now I just have to figure out where my other 3 minutes have gone.

Looking forward to trying to get my fitness back for Clive Cookson 10k - a super fast 10k course, where I got my pb of 43:50

The goody bag was super as ever

Spent the rest of Easter Sunday playing golf with my hubby and walking the dogs - was so worn out by the time we got home I chucked in the towel and went to bed at 8 ;)

Elswick Good Friday races

Maybe I should have done this one two days before the NT10k, but I actually managed to pull a ladies team together, which is almost unheard of in my club ;) This wasn't to say it was without it's problems, with one girl pulling out on the Thursday night, and me giving Helen a bit of an emergency phone call to fill in for us. Still, we got there, got our team registered, and did a wee bit of a warm up before we set off on the 2.28 mile course. The weather couldn't have been better - sunny with a slight breeze. My plan was just to try and stick with Gail & Helen for as long as possible, without going off far too fast.

Mission accomplished. Gail was ahead of me by three or four places for most of the race, and Helen passed by just after the halfway mark. I managed to hang on to her (not literally of course), for most of the rest of the race, finishing in just over 16 mins. Will have exact times when the results are published. Was pretty pleased with our team effort, though we were nowhere near the prizes, at least we got out there ;)

No photo's from either race I'm afraid, unless I manage to trawl the net around and dig one or two up.

I've got work today, but this afternoon I should get off a little early, so I'm gonna try and do a recovery run.

Happy running folks!

Monday, 6 April 2009

South Shields - Sanddancer 10k, 2009

Morning Campers :)

Here's my Sanddancer 10k race report for 2009

Got down to the coast none too early for a change - had left the house when I realised the van was running on fumes, so I had to make a bit of an emergency detour for some diesel. Filled up and headed onwards, getting to Gypsy's Green around 10ish. Met up with a few club mates and collected my number.

What different weather conditions to last years race. It was a blizzard before the start last year, and folks were huddled up next to the pub trying to find some shelter. This year couldn't have been any more different. Blazing sunshine, and a light cool breeze. Lovely.

Did a bit of a warm up with Michael Bunn and the lads, then headed back to the start. We seemed to have a pretty good club turn out, including Maria & Michelle, so almost a ladies team ;)

Whistle was blown and we were off!

Took it nice and steady on the first lap, but the sun was getting a bit stronger and I could feel myself overheating in the 'out of the wind' parts of the course. We ran up the promenade, then up onto the leas path, not quite as far as Marsden before heading back north and down towards our second lap.

I managed to stay with Graeme for almost 3/4 of a lap which I was quite happy with, went past Jimmy, before Mick the Mackem and Frankie strolled past. Tried to pick it up a bit on lap two, and caught a few folks, but the lads were too far ahead by now to catch. I'm sure I did a quicker second lap round before we headed back down off the leas and onto the promenade again. I saw Lynn Marr from Tynedale ahead of me, I half thought I must be doing canny, before I realised she was injured (calf cramp - hope you're ok now). Steamed as best as I could around the stadium and into the finish.

Approx finish time 47 mins (won't know for sure till I see the official results), and a good 3 mins slower than last year. This kind of equates to the 3 months off - lost a minute of fitness per month, but at least I know how far behind pace I am for future races.

Still, despite the overheating, and lack of fitness I managed a silver in the North East Vets L35's :D Joanne Dooley for Tynedale got the gold, but I know there wasn't a cat-in-hell's chance of catching her, even if I was fit as a fiddle.

Happy enough with the outcome, but slightly dissapointed with the time. Will have to make up for it next year.

Happy running folks!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Well, where to start...I haven't had much of a chance to do an update, and hence the race report is more than a week overdue. I had to get it our this morning though, as I have Sanddancer 10k at 11am, and didn't want to turn this into an epic update ;)

I've been incredibly busy with work, and all my free time seems to be spent running, or grinding rep for my hunter on WoW (no idea? - check here), I've not had much chance to do that either to be honest, but hopefully the light nights, and a reduction in workload should help things somewhat.

Back to the race ;)

I actually really enjoyed it, despite the fact it was 'blowing a hooligan', in fact the windiest conditions I've ever raced in (something like 38mph +gusts according the the weather peeps). but the ground was firm, and it wasn't raining. Used lap one as a bit of a warm up, trying not to take off like a whippet and burn myself out. Then lap two was a catch-up, trying to make up lost ground. The whole race was really just a training exercise, as I'm definitely not up to pace yet and my stamina is still shocking.

Finishing position was a not-too-bad 51st (made it onto page one of the provisional results lol) in a not too bad time of 29:45, though my fastest time for the course is 28:21 in much muddier conditions, so I really need to up my game for next season.

Full race results here

One other distraction in my week was an interesting find whilst walking the dogs at work. No, I know the dog walker always finds a body, but it was a little less gruesome....A life buoy. It had been washed up on one of the shores at Bill Quay, so I fished it out and a couple of calls later had arranged to drop it off after work Laughing

Vicki - Swingbridge

Me and my sis went up on the off chance we'd get a look-see round the engine room, and we weren't dissapointed! We got the full guided tour, including a history of the bridge and a peek down the 60ft drop of the battery on the west side. It's a real feat of engineering. Many thanks to Swing Bridge engineer George Fenwick for showing us around

Swing Bridge

More Swing Bridge info on the Port of Tyne site

Other than that, my folks 40th wedding anniversary, Great Aunt's 88th birthday, and my brother in law's 30th birthday, it's been a quiet week ...lol

Hoping for a canny run today - it's the first spring 10k, so a bit of a tester of how well (or badly) my fitness had improved. I've got a fair few races penciled in for the spring/summer, so I need to be doing well.

Last, but by no means least - a very big thank you to Melanie at Nova, who sorted out my muppetry with the Great North 10k - you're a star!

See y'all later for this morning's race report ;)

Tags: North East Harrier League - Temple Park XC 2009