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

Friday, 22 May 2009

Clive Cookson 10k

Morning folks!

It only seems like last night, but it's a whole three days since the Clive Cookson 10k. Maybe it's because I've blocked last night's track session out of my mind...another of Coach Jim's evil torture sessions, but more of that in a bit.

First to the race.


I doubt I'd had enough time to recover from the Pier to Pier to have really had a good bash at this one, but it's one of my favourite races, and a bloody quick course to boot, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Craig had asked for a lift, so i picked him up, whizzed through the tunnel, avoiding all the traffic in the van lane...white van woman and all that ;) and arrived in time for him to take part in the 5k race. While he hurtled round the course at a breakneck speed, I wen't for my warm up, had a chat to the girls, and to some of the folks from Low Fell, and a couple of other clubs.

Craig managed a super time, 15 seconds off his pb and a really quick time of 17:36....not even if I had a bike I reckon :S

It was only another 10 mins to the start of the 10k, so we took a wander over to the start, had a bit more of a natter with the Jarrow & Hebburn girls, then decided on some kind of race plan. Given that my legs felt like they'd been beaten with bamboo sticks, I opted for the "just get round in whatever time I could muster" plan. The horn was blown and we all set off, I wasn't up near the front so I had a bit of weaving past folks to do, but once we'd made it through the estate I settled into a comfortable pace.

The route takes you through a housing estate, into farmers fields (staying on trails) then up a winding country lane, then back out onto Rake Lane which is a good 2k long stretch back round to the start again. I found the trail through the fields a little hard going, as my legs were still sore, but I got a few shouts of encouragement from the marshals (thanks Andrew!), which really lifted me up. I started to target people to pass going along the lane and tried to pick up as much speed as possible on the long down hill stretch of Rake lane.

On the first lap I must have clawed back around ten places, then passed through the 5k mark in 23:21 - was very happy with that to be honest, it was a lot quicker that I'd expected. Even though I'd done a mile warm up before the race my legs only seemed to really get going on the second lap which seemed to be a lot easier than the first. Again I got a load of support from the marshals and the lads from Low Fell (cheers guys!).

I managed to catch and pass a lady from Claremont who'd been infront of me for ages, then pass a fair few others in the last 2k again. I caught a girl from Gateshead, but she responded well and we had a little cat & mouse before I told her to push on and try to catch the next three folks infront of us. I settled in to try and maintain my position now, but got caught by two guys in the last 200m, coming in in a time of 46:41.

I'm actually really pleased with my pace on this one - looks like I maintained a good even pace throughout (or I managed to speed up on exactly the same bits of each lap). The Jarrow & Hebburn ladies all did very well with a sprinkling of pb's and third place for our team (out of three mind you, but you've gotta be in it to win it ;)).

Results from the race are available on the NSP site: here

Many grats to Craig who managed to come second in the 5k (17:34) before going on to do a sub 40 in the 10k...oh to be 21 again :P

I was going to take it easy on the track after racing Sunday & Wednesday, but Coach Jim had us doing 200's in a relay. We were in teams of three, doing 10k in total. I wasn't the fastest there by any means, and the other team beat ours, but I gave it my best shot. My legs felt like jelly after 17 reps, and my 1200m warm down took forever. I woke up on Friday hardly able to move :S

I took the day off on Friday, before deciding that I'd go diving today (Sunday), which meant I had to somehow fit a 2 hour run into my weekend. I was going to do it on Saturday, but by the time I'd finished up with stuff I needed to do it was too hot. I did a neat little 6 miler and opted for Monday early am for the 2 hour run. Will keep you folks posted!

Happy running :D

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Pier 2 Pier

Evening folks!

Here's today's race report from the Sunderland Strollers Pier to Pier race....

As ever we were up at the crack of dawn with at least one of the two early birds i.e. our faithful guard hounds, one of which I found sprawled out in the bed, under the duvet...I mean how in hell did she get there without me noticing during the night. Meg is henceforth now known as 'Stealthpup' the invisible collie

I got my race kit together, had a double helping of Oats-so-simple for brekkie, walked the dogs then Hubby and I drove to Roker. I dropped off one van and he drove me to South Shields. Had a nice bimble through the marine park in what can only be described as the complete opposite to the bbc's forecast for this morning, so instead of vile winds and heavy rain we had blazing sunshine and a light breeze...hurricane? what hurricane?

Met a few fetchies, club-mates, and folks I know from other clubs before the start, the had a bit of a warm up and bimbled over to the beach. Didn't manage to spot Alan who I was supposed to be 'dragging around' but it was the biggest turn out they've had for the race so it's no wonder. I did manage to meet up with the girls from the club and Criag, Alan Wiers group, and the veteran guys, so all in all Jarrow & Hebburn had a pretty good turn out.

I had a canny race, tried to keep a few folks in my sights from the start, but the sand was so soft on the beach it sapped the strength from your legs. Eventually decided enough was enough and jogged across the really dry sand on to the prom next to the elevated walkway. Much easier going on the firm ground there before heading up onto the leas and into the wind.

It actually wasn't as windy as I thought it was going to be, and crossing the leas seemed to fly over. Met up with Phil (flip) from Elvet by Souter lighthouse, well he came striding past, so I tried to use him as some kind of marker. We played cat & mouse round the bottom of the army range, then he pulled away passing Whitburn School. I saw MTS, said 'hi' and had a chat to a lady from North Shields Poly club, and one of the guys from Low Fell that I know, which probably meant I wasn't working hard enough, but I felt ok so I pressed on a bit - too little too late to be honest.

We made our way straight onto the promenade round by the cottages in Seaburn, I can't remember seeing anyone take the beach option this year, but the tide was high, and there had been warnings about the Cat & Dog steps being slippy. Phil was still in my sights, so I made a final push to catch up with him just before we turned round to the cafe (where he almost ran into a gate). I told him to finish it off - he was having a great race, and I had though he might drag me through to the finish.

Back down onto the beach at Roker, but the last 150m were pure torture, it was another stretch of soft sand again, with bloomin' great big pebbles. I heard Shielsy & Mick the Mackem shouting, but I couldn't see them. Then through the finish in a super slow time (for me) of 55:57 (official time, my actual time was 30 secs quicker) - as opposed to last years time which was 50:44.

Picked up some sweeties, red bull and a canny jacket at the finish, had a chat to Phil and his lady, who said my shorts would be visible from space lol, spoke to Ivanhoe from Fetch (see I said you'd get a mention ;)) then a quick looksee to try and spot some more familiar faces again before heading back up the hill to pick up the van.

The one thing I haven't mentioned yet is how much I love this race. I may not have done a really swift time, but this race has everything in it - Sun, Sea, Sand and the Strollers who put on a super race. Many thanks to all the marshals for a great job...cheers guys!

The results are out here:

Many grats to Craig who came 31st and to Paul Dixon from Elswick - 21st Well done you!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Saturday to Sunday

Ok...that's actually last Saturday, to this Sunday, so a whole eight days to catch up :)

Saturday 2nd : 3.81 miles, 32:27
Had been kind of contemplating taking the day off running as I had work in the morning, and two ton of housework to do in the afternoon, but it was really nice outside, so after my third load of washing was hanging to dry, I donned the trainers and set off.

Of course, do do live in Gateshead, on the side of a bloody great big hill, so it was gonna be a hill session in anyone's book. From Felling up to Sheriffs hill, round to the Wrekenton XC course and up to the highest point in the area. Then back down through Windy Nook nature park and home.

Sunday 3rd : 12 miles, 1:44:28
After yesterday's slowish bimble I decided on a fairly brisk pace for my Sunday long run. I set off pretty early and managed to get 7 miles (an hour) in before meeting up with my club-mates. Felt totally worn out by the finish, but pleased with my pace. Need a new sports bra, the one I had on chafed a bit and needs to go the journey.

Monday 4th : 7 miles, 1:11:22
Fetch Everyone Rendezvous Café Run: a meet up for folks from the site to do a canny bimble around the coast. It ended up being the perfect recovery run pace for me, a little too slow at times, but that's prolly just what I needed. Had a good natter with everyone on the way too, picked up and dropped Shielsy off at home, and the bit bit - cake in the café afterwards ...yumm!

Tuesday 5th : 4.14 miles, 31:03
Reps of the slagheap (which sounds grim but is actually a pretty park). 1 large & 1 small lap .68miles & .35miles
5:04, 2:33, 4:50, 2:36, 5:11, 2:41, 5:15, 2:49

Wednesday 6th : 6.2 miles, 54:00
Even though we ended up taking a shorter route through the park for Wednesday's run, it still ended up just over 6 miles with the warm up I did. Felt completely knackered by the time we got back to the car :S

Thursday 7th : 3.11 miles, 21:56
Track session. Evil coach Jim had devised some new kind of torture session for us tonight, though to be fair it wasn't half as bad as one of his regular pyramid sessions.
The aim was for 10k pace: 1900, 1500, 1100, 700, 300 with 100m jog recovery.
Despite trying to get my lap times correct I still managed to run too quickly, plus I had to make an emergency 'pitstop' in the middle of the 700m rep.

This ended up being only slightly slower than my pace for last years 5k races, but a good deal quicker than this years so I'm not too unhappy ;)

Friday & Saturday - rest - if you don't count work, decorating and dog walking as cross training exercises ;)

Sunday 10th : 13.39 miles, 2:00:45
My longest run ever...literally :D
The furthest I've ran before is 13.1 miles in the Great North Run, but today I kind of had 13.2 pencilled in as the 12 miles from last week plus 10%. I got down to Jarrow early and ran the small Hebburn loop (York Ave-Mill Lane-Victoria Road-Bedeburn Road) on my own. Then I had a quick bimble into the garage for some Gatorade before meeting up with Alan & Helen for the big loop (basically the same but takes in Whitemare Pool, Wardley, Heworth and Pelaw too).

I felt really good after the first lap, and the quick swig of Gatorade really helped, it's sooo much nicer than Lucozade which I find far too sickly. Then we set off up Leam Lane into the wind. it wasn't too cold but a bit gusty in parts, but we dug in and cracked on with the run.

After leaving Helen at the lights in Hebburn, Alan & I continued down Victoria Road picking up speed as it's pretty much all downhill. I still felt ok at 11 miles if just a little achey. Went through a bit of a bad patch coming round to Jarrow Park and we pulled the pace back a bit. Then Alan dragged me all the way back along Bedeburn & York Avenue to the garage again. Picked up what remained of my drink (stashed in someones garden) and continued back along to where I'd parked up.

Felt great to be honest, I know it was a lot slower that my race pace, but heck, you're not supposed to train at race pace :D Felt canny for the rest of the day, but crashed and burned by 8pm and had to go to bed.

I'm really pleased for that extra .29 of a mile - it puts me in to unknown territory ;)

Happy running folks!

Friday, 1 May 2009


Afternoon Campers!

Just sitting down after consuming a probably slightly-too-large bowl of stir fry, contemplating on what training plan to opt for, for this marathon in November. I've been offered a few different options from folks, and have been given some advice on predicted times from coach Jim and Mick at my running club. The formula suggested is (2 x half marathon time) + 20 mins. This works out for me at 3:44, so I've been looking at some 3:45 schedules.

To be honest I'll be happy with anything under 4:30, but if I do the training for 3:45, and it comes out a little quicker than 4:30 I'll be a happy chappy.

The Runners World ultimate marathon schedule looks to be a canny starting point:

A 3:45 marathon is approximately 8:30 per mile. To break 3:45, you should eventually be capable of a sub-1:45 half-marathon (8:00 per mile) and sub-46:00 10K (7:30 per mile). Right now, you should be running at least 25 miles per week, and be able to run for 1:15 non-stop.

Well based on last years times I can tick the boxes for HM and 10k times, maybe not quite as fit as I need to be at the moment, but I am working on it. These plans all seem to be for 16 weeks, so looking at that I should be starting in the last week of July, so that gives me plenty of time to get fit and lose a few pounds.

This brings me nicely round to this weeks running round-up

Following a weekend of doing nothing but coughing and working, I tried to get back into the swing of things on Tuesday.

Tues 28th
Coach Jim's evil hill torture session, i.e. Springfield bank x12.
I actually only had time to do 8 reps as I was going out for food with my folks, so I did a little extra on the warm up. It was minging out there, and was soaked through before the session even started.

Warm up: 19:28 - 2.03 miles
Springfield x8: 23:19 - 2.59 miles

Weds 29th
Was tired before I even left the house, but tried to get there a little early to get a bit warmed up before meeting up with Helen, Jim & Alan. Took the shorter route back as I was worn out by the time we got the the council offices.

Hebburn loop: 51:25 - 5.71 miles

Thurs 30th
Track session 16x300m parlaufs. Basically run 300m then your partner sets off, you jog back 100m to meet them. Fortunately I was teamed up with Claire and not Craig, who set off like a bat out of hell, and managed to keep the pace going for the whole session. Poor Graeme had to jog across the grass to get back to his starting point.

Warm Up: 9:16 - 1.03miles
Parlaufs: 16 x 300, 1:27 1:27 1:26 1:21 1:19 1:18 1:15 1:26 1:16 1:28 1:22 1:20 1:17 1:24 1:20 1:16 (Total distance & time: 21:48 - 3:02miles)
Warm Down: 5:48 - 0.80 miles

Fairly consistent on the reps apart from a few dodgy fast ones towards the end of the session, followed by slower reps to recover.

Thinking about having a bit of a bimble tonight as it looks like it's brightened up out there, and I will be getting out for a longer run on Sunday, not sure what time though as I may have to work.

Happy running folks!