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