Friday, 16 September 2011

Swimming is the new running

Well, it is at the moment.

I've definitely got plantar facsiitis, which is a real bummer as it took me months to recover last time.  Still, I'm feeling optimistic having got myself a Strasbourg sock on the recommendation of Alyson Dixon (Chester-le-Street & Team GB athlete), and it really seems to be helping.

It's a bit like foot bondage you wear in bed, only slightly less glamourous.  Working by stretching the tendon while you're asleep, by keeping your foot flexed all night.

Check it out here: Physioroom

So, I'm determined to be sensible (shock horror!), and get the thing sorted before returning to the track or roads.  This has seem me using the newly refurbished Birtley Swimming Centre, which isn't ideal for swimming in a straight line (dodging random older people and kids) but I'm not keeping times at the minute, so going the long way round is just fine. 

The pool itself is lovely, and at least I'm getting some kind of exercise.  I did briefly consider cycling, but then remembered the last effort, and how I've forgotten how to ride a bike.  Anyways - trying to make a bit of a go of the swimming - so I've done three sessions so far - an 'ok this is how you do it' get back in the pool bimble, then 6 x 200m, and 4 x 400m.  If nothing else I'll be working on not getting bingo-wings - my arms are getting a decent work out.

At least there's been a whole host of athletics on the telly to keep me hooked on running, and I'm off down to the quayside to watch the Junior Great North Run & Great City Games today.  It's a horrible wet morning here in the North East, so I hope the rain clears up for the kids, athletes & spectators early on. No doubt I'll be posting an update later on, or if you're following me on Twitter I'll be updating from the quayside :)

Good luck to everyone taking part!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Graceless Whippet: Space monkey?

It's been a bit of a mixed August & start to the new month, with a new parkrun, a championship race, insect woes, and foot problems.  I'll start with the highlights!

I started the month with some decent training at Jarrow, then on the 13th it was the first Durham parkrun, and it was definitely the unlucky thirteenth for me!  Its a great course, and it was a beautiful day, but with about 1k to go I felt a sharp pain in my mouth - I'd been stung by a bee on the tongue!!  What a nightmare - I managed to run to the finish in a fairly speedy time (going from 3rd to 2nd lady) but the pain in my mouth was incredible.  To cut a long story short I ended up driving myself to Durham University Hospital A&E, where the very efficient staff sorted me out.  Parkrun 5k time: 22:38

This was just as well because I was back up and running the next day at Hexham in the Northern Senior League 4E match. 
800m - 3:07.5, B runner, just to try and pick up a few points for the team. My first race of the day
200m - 37.2, should have been in the same race as Liz Page then I may have done a decent time
3000m - 13:39.5, slow going in the heat and wind. No excuse for being a little on the heavy side though
4x100m relay - 16.7, first leg for the Jarrow & Hebburn team. Finished 3rd team overall in 60.3

No rest for the wicked after that, in the Robin Hood 10k on the Monday.  I had an awful run though (hardly surprising really)  and struggled home in 50:50 - shocking time, and I was bitten by horse flies...boooo

After that I aimed for a few days rest and didn't run again till the second Durham parkrun on the 20th, coming home in 22:48, 3rd lady.

Watergate 5k was held on the 24th of August this year (It's normally September), but it's a great race and I was pleased to be taking part again.  I had a decent enough run chasing down Andrea from PB fitness for the last mile.  We pretty much sprinted through the last 800m, and she pipped me to the post in 22:53, not a great time, but off the back of all the racing I was happy enough, and I won the L35 prize as well as a gold in the VAANEE championships!

I was however starting to have some problems with my foot towards the end of the month - probably caused by running in my racers too much.  Although they're lightweight, they don't have a lot of padding, so when we set off for the Jarrow & Hebburn club time trial on the 30th I should have worn my normal trainers but didn't :/

I set off at a fairly blistering pace (by my standards) and raced through Monkton Village hoping to catch some of the other runners before we hit Campbell Park Road (it's a handicap race with the slower runners going off first).  At the top of the bridge over to Luke's Lane, Frankie (Devlin) caught me and started pushing me on.  This was a welcome addition, as I always seem to run better with someone shouting at me.  We caught Rachel just after the bottom of Mill Lane, and then started to chase Helen towards York Avenue.  At this point I was well out of my comfort zone, and my foot was starting to really hurt.  Despite the fact I caught up with Helen at the top of York Avenue, she got away again, but I came through the finish in 22:06 - a season's best by a good margin, and my best time in a couple of years.

I decided to rest my foot from running for a few days as I knew I had Tynedale coming up, but I also had a couple of golf competitions to play in on the 28th and 2nd, and I think that 18 holes each of those days didn't help much.  So when Sunday came round and my foot still wasn't right, I opted for the daft runners idea that I'd just "try to get round" and "take it easy". LOL

When has a runner in with a chance of a medal ever just tried to get round.  This was the British Master's 10 mile championships afterall, and I was damn well gonna give it my best shot.

So in true Graceless Whippet fashion, I took off like a lunatic at the start, gritted my teeth, assumed I was Mo Farah in spirit at least, and hung on like Murphy with newly exhumed pigs trotter (another grim but true story for a later date).

Maybe I wasn't Mo Farah, but for the first 5k I was floating along on a mixture of lovely fresh coffee from the Hexham Sports Centre, and the heady scent of the liberal application of Tiger Balm on my poor aching foot.  When I got into my (ridiculously fast) stride, I sailed past a couple of ladies who've outwitted me all season, and settled into a canny (but so obviously stupid) pace alongside Mick "the machine" Joyce from my running club.  See - here we are newish the start, with the mighty Joe Prudham right beside us (pic from :

This decent pace lasted right until the downhill section into Corbridge, where my now protesting foot decided it wasn't going to put up with me punishing it, and gave me the same kind of pain last experienced when I jumped off a roof onto a rusty nail when I was 14.  I can still remember how it felt, and it definitely does feel the same as plantar facsiitis.

Determined not to let a mere niggle rob me of the chance of a medal, I pushed on up the hill, trying not to let Mick get too far out of sight.  helpfully he pointed at Maggie Lorraine (Gateshead Harriers) who I've been chasing all season, and the target was now to try and stick with her (or at least keep her in my sights) for the rest of the race.

The foot was now desperately trying to think of new and interesting ways to get me to stop, but the little bugger wasn't getting away with it, and I pushed on regardless.  I could hear Andy's voice in my head saying "You shouldn't be running that race today" and me saying "I'm just going to take it easy", as I pushed on up the hill, with the heavy breathing Kerry from Tynebridge Harriers sitting on my shoulder, then me chasing her downhill after the first water station.  I was definitely taking it easy on the downhill bits cause it was bloody excruciating.

I always had Maggie in my sights though, and she was like the carrot dangling on the stick just to keep me going.  Kerry managed to get away from me, and Malcolm said hi as he went by at seven miles.  I chatted to the guys from Low Fell, and to a few others, cursed my foot, and thanked the kids at the water stations.  Ten miles is a bloody long way when you've been training for 5k, and not much else, but it's achievable, and I didn't stop on the final hill, just kept on plodding.  Rob K from Tynebridge flew past with no more than 400m to go, and I really tried to hang on to his coat tails, coming through the finish in a quicker time than last year: 78:58.  Not a patch on my best time, but surprising to have made it under 80 minutes.

Having pushed on through the finish, the foot now decided enough was enough, erected a picket line and refused to budge.  I took off my shoes and poured cold water over my now throbbing extremities.  Many thanks to Mick for helping me through the race, to David from South Shields Harriers for the cooling spray for my foot, and to Mr & mrs Prudham for giving me a lift back to my car in Prudhoe - most appreciated.!

So...was it worth the effort?

I think so:

British Masters silver in the L35 category.

Of course now I can hardly walk, and I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Still, it was worth the effort, and the painkillers are making me feel like a bit like a space monkey, so I don't feel so bad about not being able to run ;)  I'm sure I'll be back up and running in no time...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

5k's all around and tumbling times

It seems to have been a week for 5k races recently, all of them good for a nice change!

After a pretty savage hill session at the club second to last Tuesday (the 12th) I had a few days to recover and look at doing a mad few weeks of racing.

It started on the 16th at Newcastle Parkrun with a decent time of 22:52 considering how awful the weather conditions were.  Results here

The I had the final VAANEE track & field meeting on Monday the 18th.  This involved doing results, and a last bash at the 300m.  It wasn't a pb, but at 56.8 it wasn't too shabby either.  VAANEE #5 results here

Wednesday 20th saw my only targeted 5k of the year - Sunderland 5k.  The start is a bit mental - like charge of the light brigade straight down hill, but the rest is a nice smooth lapped affair with nice scenery.  I was hoping for a repeat of my previous two parkrun times (22:52 & 22:49) if I could keep things steady.  As it happens I had a cracking run - felt pretty good and had a couple of targets to hang on to on the way round (thanks go to Andrea - PB Fitness, Paul West & Chris Watson of Sunderland Strollers, & Ian Bainbridge of Crook).  They managed to drag me round to a pretty decent season's best of 22:15Full results here

After the success of Sunderland 5k, I went back to the Town Moor on Saturday 23rd, for another crack at the parkrun.  This time the course was ran in reverse - what a great idea!  It's a great deal better getting the gravel section out of the way first, and I felt that even with the wind which is always present on the moor, everyone seemed to do better times.

My time was an almost perfect copy of the Sunderland time at 22:14 - which would have been another season's best had the course been accurate. Newcastle parkrun Sat 23rd results here

On Sunday I found out that there was a race on Monday 24th at Chester le Street, organised by Durham County Council.  it was another 5k !  Though this time it was a trail race, and a bit more of a laid back affair.  The course was very similar to the old CLS cross country course, with all of the twists and turns, then the run alongside the river.  It was a two lap course, which I held the ladies lead for through lap one, but then three ladies passed me all pretty much at the same time, and I managed to hold on to 4th till the finish.  No idea what my time was, but I'm guessing somewhere mid 23 mins - given how tired I was.  I haven't managed to find any results for this one yet, but it's one of three races so I'll be keeping an eye out on the Durham Trail Race Series website.  If anyone is interested the next of the 5k's is on the 3rd of August at Barnard Castle.

That was the end of my little mini-series of 5k's, but we did have 1500m reps on at the club on Tuesday 26th, so I did 3 of the 5 suggested - just to follow the trend ;)  6:35, 6:32, 6:33. 

I'll not be attending tonight's 5k - the Elswick Cup, but good luck to all taking part!

Happy running folks

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Track & Field Championships 2011 & hill session

Hello hello,

Another week, another race.

Or in this case, three races for the price of one at the NE Veteran's Athletics championships at Monkton last weekend.  I was hoping to target the 200m for a personal best, but the wind was against us in the last 100m, so that was pretty much out of the question, and, I had results to do again (in my role as the VAANEE T&F secretary), so it was like other league meetings with me running from the box down to the start line.  I did manage to get some assistance from the super lady volunteers Steph (Tynedale) and Liz (Houghton) - thanks girls!!  so at least I did get to jog around a bit before a couple of the events.

First up was the 400m.  To be quite honest I just did this as a bit of a warm up race for the 200m, so I wasn't surprised with a disappointing 4th place in 84.0 seconds.  I dunno what it is with 400m, it seems three times more difficult than the 300m, yet it's only 100m more.  It prolly doesn't help that I feel like I've got a bit of an arse & thigh weight addition over the last month or so (with my rubbish eating habits before our house move), so much so that I look like I could have possibly eating too many of Helen & Tom's MyPy produce #apprentice.  On the plus side we have moved now, so I should be eating a fair bit healthier.

The next race on the agenda was the 200m.  The wind had knocked hopes of a pb, but I do feel like I've got it in me to go a lot quicker, so I was pleased with an overall 2nd place in 35.2, and a 1st place in my age category.  Since my pb is 34.4, and I still jumped like I'd been shot by the starting gun instead of running when I heard it, I'm pretty sure I could manage 33.x or even 32.x

The 800m was only really on my list of races because I didn't have time (or feel up to) the 3000m.  Again I got round in a pretty naff time of 3:11.0, which is dire given my best time of 2:55.  Managed to walk away with a few medals anyways, so at least it wasn't a wasted effort.

Full results are available here on the Sportsoft website

Watergate 10k was on my list of must do races for this year, but since it fell on the Sunday after we moved house, and I'd left Andy in a sea of my junk & boxes on the Saturday, I thought it prudent to fore go the race in favour of a morning sorting out rubbish & furniture.  This was a pretty good plan, as we really needed to find certain important items amidst the chaos. 

We found time to play in a couple of golf comps recently including a mixed competition on the Sunday afternoon, and a Texas scramble on Monday evening, played like a muppet on Sunday ('cause I was knackered and aching from humping boxes around) and the ok-ish on the Monday.  Both were canny though, and although I'll never be as good as the guys playing in today's little competition in Royal St George's, I am improving.


My favourite session.  Springfield Bank (Field Terrace).

It's a not-too-savage hill session we normally do in the winter, but Evil Coach Darth Jim must have decided that we've already had our summer, and that hill training is back on the menu.  My aim was to keep with Mick 'rapidly returning to form' Joyce for as long as possible, without letting Frankie 'the machine' Devlin lap me.

Set off at a steady pace, running alongside Mick for the first 4 reps, but then he managed to get away from me on the fifth hill, and I was unable to get the distance back.  I did manage to keep the gap no more than 50m though, so I was happy enough with that, and the finishing time after 12 reps of 31.49.  Last time we did it I got round in 32:10, so at least I haven't lost too much fitness, or I'm getting back.

Well done to the rest of the gang for working well and completing the session :)

Just waiting now to see what crazy session we'll be doing on the track tonight!

Happy running folks!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Valley View

My least favourite session, this involves reps around Valley View park in Jarrow.

It's a lovely park, there's a play area for the kids, basketball/football courts etc, and some lovely flowers, and a sweet little stream (the Don - Tyne tributary) running through the middle of it.  There even used to be a paddling pool there (when I was a kid).  All in all a beautiful place to be.

Sounds pretty idyllic right?

Unless you're running

There's a one lap route around the park, which takes in the top path by the play area, to the edge of the park, then down Butcher's Bridge road, back up into the park, up past the parkies house, then up and down the North path, down to the stream, and back up to the South West corner.  It's hideous.

Not just because as you're climbing back up the path from the stream at the finish, you can see nothing but the path (It's that steep), but also because of the swarms of little flies you have to try and hold your breath as you run though the North path, or the overpowering sickly smell from the roses on the South path.

I think that Evil Coach Darth Jim may have been doing that kind of 'Muhahaha' evil genius laugh when this route was devised, because it just doesn't improve, no matter how many times you run round it.

Anyways, down to business.

The session was 5 times round (and yes there were cries of protest at the number), with 90 seconds recovery, with the aim of doing all of the laps in a consistent time.  I managed to stick with Micky rapidly-returning-to-form Joyce for pretty much the whole session, though I did lose it on the last bank on the last two reps.

5:01, 5:02, 4:56, 5:05, 5:06

Not quite sure what happened on lap three, but I'm not complaining at the timings.

Well done to Peter, Frankie, Mick, Anne-Marie, Helen, Barry, & Rachel - Go Team Jarrow!  - at least the portion of the crew who haven't swanned off to Spain to go to the horse racing ;)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Boxes of stuff

Today I should have been waking up in my new house, but it's been delayed a week, so here I am living out of boxes for the next seven days, wondering if I can keep washing the same few items of running kit over & over.  I don't mind if I'm seen sporting the same two t-shirts for the next week, so long as they're clean when I put them on.  Still, it's going to be worth it when I'm sitting in my new garden with a cup of coffee next weekend before bimbling off to do Watergate Trail Race.

The box situation has also posed a problem for my up coming diving exped. Some of my kit is in my dive bag, but my suit is in a box, and I need to get my wrist seals sorted before the 22nd.  I know this is leaving it a bit last minute, but I was expecting to have it unpacked today or tomorrow

On a more positive note my new cylinders are ready to rock & roll :D

Many thanks to Tommy & his custom made twinning bands!

Back on the running front it has been reported that I won the ladies race in the Sunshine Run (in the Chronicle no less)  this is not the case - Angela Hunter was the clear winner (by some margin I might add) in a super time of 18:55, I did claim my second place (38th overall) in an official time of 22:18 - though I'm sure it was less than that by my reckoning, but I'm still not gonna argue with a season best.

 Here we are!

I'll be putting the super orange racers back in action over 5k at the Sunderland 5k on the 20th of July.  It's a cracking fast course, so get your entries in here on the Sunderland Harriers website

Before then I've got the vet's athletics championships next Saturday the 9th, and then Watergate 10k on the 10th - looking like a busy weekend, it's just as well I'm not doing Tynedale on the 6th or I'd be well worn out.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Golf, Diving and the Sunshine Run 5k

Ooh, what a week.  It all started out pretty well with us supposedly moving house at the end of the week, but on Wednesday things took a bit of a down turn with the announcement of a delay.  This after me packing pretty much everything up into boxes and sealing them with packing tape >:|  This now means that we're living out of boxes, and the house is a total bombsite (as opposed to the organised chaos which it normally is).

never mind

Golf, running, and diving are trundling along at a much better rate :D

I took part in my first 18 hole ladies comp on Sunday at the Tyneside Lady Captain's Day stableford competition.  It's just as well it was stableford (where you're awarded points for how close to par you get), and not stroke play (where they count up the number of shots it takes to complete the hole).  I managed 28 points which isn't too shabby for my first go, and I didn't score at all on 5 of the holes, so it could have been even better - but that's what golf is all about right ;)  Looking forward to the next competition.

I seem to be getting back to form after the disaster at the London Marathon.  It really took it out of me but things seem to be getting back on track.  We've had a couple of decent club sessions recently, where I really feel like I'm making progress.  Then on Saturday (25th) I bimbled up to Newcastle (skiving off work) to do the Parkrun.

The rapidly-returning-from-injury Mick Joyce & I paced each other round in a season's best of 22:49 - Go Team Jarrow!  Which felt pretty comfortable despite having to stop (again) to retie my laces.  Those things are getting a float test as soon as I can cadge some replacements.

I took the weekend off from running (to play golf) and the next thing on the agenda was the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Run 5k, on Newcastle Quayside.  It's a super fast flat route, and perfect for running a decent 5k.  I only spotted Angela Hunter in the starting line up as a contender for the ladies prizes, so I thought I may be in with a chance of a podium finish.

Helen, Alan, Frankie, and Angela lined up me me near to the start line, and we were straight off across the start with the horn. I normally have no kind of plan for this race, but I've been trying to be a bit more conservative with my pacing at the start recently, so the aim was to start off steady, then try and catch people on the return back along the quayside towards the finish.  I managed to stick with it for the most part, and headed up river at a conservative speed, just to make sure I didn't overcook things and blow up.

Towards the turn I saw Angela heading back down river in about 5th or 6th place overall, but didn't spot any other ladies ahead of me, so I knew I had 2nd place so long as I could hold on to it.  As I made the turn I could see the next lady a good 400m behind me, but she looked like a decent runner, so the game wasn't over just yet.  I decided to try and put some more distance between us and pushed on pretty hard on the way back towards the Redheugh bridge.  Going off recent training sessions it seems like we all work pretty hard in the second to last rep when we're doing intervals, so I knew I could dig in deep and pull a bit more out the bag.

I felt pretty confident that I'd secured my place by the time I reached the Swing Bridge, as I can put in a canny 800m time, so I just continued with the same pace and pushed on over the Millennium Bridge and across the finish line.

22:10 is the unofficial time, so we'll have to see what the results say.

Well done to Angela for 1st place, and to Joanne Livey (sp?) from Whickham for her 3rd place (get yourself along to a club girl!).

Will post some piccies when I get them - got a snazzy trophy to stick on my new mantlepiece (when I eventually get moved) and a lovely techie t-shirt courtesy of Up&Running - Cheers Guys!

Well done to my teammates Frankie, Alan, Helen (5th Lady - well done) and Rachel :D

The cylinders have arrived - thanks to a super efficient speedy service from Kent Diving - many thanks to Bruce for sorting out my quirky demands for MDE valves in my sparkly new 7ltr 300 bar Fabers.  Just need to get my diving guru Tommy to give them the once over and fit the twinning bands and we're ready to go!

Piccies of the new twinset will definitely be forthcoming!

Just need to find the box with all my dive kit in now :S

Happy bimbling folks!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Track, track, track

Wow, it's been bloomin' ages since I did an update.  Things haven't stood still, I'm still training, but there's been the mad Father's Day rush on at work, and a bunch of other real life things that have intruded on my internet time.  But here I am back on track as it were, with a few cracking sprint distance races - Who knew eh ;)

In a nutshell...I've not done a long run in bloody ages it seems, but I am training still, just all sessions and shorter runs.

Decided not to do Redcar Half after a fairly disastrous run at the Pier to Pier basically cause I'm a bit of an unfit lay-a-bout at the mo ;) 

Recent highlights
June 21st - Summer solstice madness from the Darklord Jim with 5 x 1200m 60 seconds recovery.  Thankfully the Mighty Mick the Machine was back in action, dragging me round to some canny times: 5:24, 5:28, 5:22, 5:19, 5:19 - tough session, but the aim was to try and get all of the reps within a few seconds of the first one.

June 20th - Veteran's Track League meeting @ Monkton Stadium.  Managed to somehow get myself round the 800m despite my ever useless warm up running from the results box to the start line.  Still got a canny time 3:03.4 (and felt like I was gonna see my lunch again at the finish)  then with a better warm up later in the night had a decent run in the 300m, just pipping Elizabeth from Houghton through to 3rd place in 55.1 - whoohoo!

Just finished compiling the results so they should be available tomorrow (22nd June)

gonna skip back to the last meeting now
on June 6th - Vet's athletics again, 400m in 78.7 and for me a new personal best in the 200m with 34.4 - yay!!  now if I could only translate that 200m speed to 300m or 400m.

Not sure why the shorter stuff is going so well, but I'm not complaining.  I'm hoping to have another crack at both the 200m and 300m before the season is finished - lets see if I can smash my pbs for both.

On a wholly unrelated note - Golf is going pretty well too (apart from a fairly disastrous 10 hole comp last weekend which I'm gonna put down to the ghastly weather), it's coming on a treat.  I even managed 19 points in the first 9 on a bit of a knock about after work last week with Andy - sweet!

Diving - Got a long weekend coming up off sunny Sunderland, and I've ordered new twin 7 300bar cylinders with MDE valves for the job.  I'm sure to be posting some really boring nerdy cylinder pics when they arrive!

With all this sport going on it's a wonder I've got time for owt else, but if the lottery gods are listening; a small to medium win which would allow me to retire would be most appreciated.  I'd quite happily fill my days with running, diving or golf in equal measures!

Happy bimbling folks!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Nice little bimble in the park

Morning Campers :)

Well I said I would take a hard earned rest form running, and I definitely have.  The day after London I came down with one of those post marathon mystery cold bugs, so the chances of getting out there for a gentle bimble were well off the cards anyhow.

Still I've used the opportunity to get some housework in order, catch up with some work and have played a couple of rounds of golf.  My hip seems to be well on the mend too, so I ventured out yesterday for a quickie (phnarr phnarr) round the Townmoor at the Newcastle Parkrun.  I was at work, so it was literally a turn up, run, then dash back off to the next call, but I wore plenty of orange for the Lucozade sponsored event, and bagged myself a canny techie tshirt at the finish :D

The aim was just to get round, test out the old legs and see how the hip was.  I wore my sparkly new racers (as I think there's a problem with my Asaics trainers) and the legs were fine.  Set off at a steady pace, nowt too taxing, and was pleasantly surprised by a 23:15 finishing time - perhaps that's the key to success - just turn up, don't expect any kind of time, and run how you feel?

I am going to have to make some kind of effort from Tuesday onwards though, as I only have six weeks to go till the Redcar Half Marathon.  I've done some great times in training this year, so hopefully that'll translate to a decent enough time on the day.  Though to be honest, so long as I don't finish looking like I did at London I'll be a happy chappie.

Talking of which...

How's this:  Picture someone in a world of hurt :S

No wonder it took me so bloody long to do the last 3 mile.  
If I ever, ever, think about doing it again, someone give me a slap and point me at this picture :P

For more piccies of me looking like I'm gonna keel over, and some decent ones of the other Jarrow & Hebburn AC runners, check out this link: link to FB London Marathon piccies

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Virgin London Marathon 2011 - stats & splits

Evening all, I love my results and stats, so here's some info from the big day:

My run - I know where it all went wrong, but looking at the splits it doesn't seem so obvious:

5k - 27:53  slow first two miles, but then settled into the rhythm
10k - 54:49  sun really started to heat up, but kept a nice even pace
15k - 1:23:37 (9.3m) not far off target time from training
10 miles - 1:31:40 only just 2 mins slower than in training, great support from the crowds, jelly babies, orange quarters and great party atmosphere
20k - 1:54:05 (12.4m) Tower Bridge, really struggling with the heat now, had plenty to drink, but the temperature was silly.  Saw James Buis from Heaton heading along the 22 mile mark as I headed towards Canary Wharf
25k - 2:25:06 (15.5 miles) Isle of Dogs, the sun was pretty relentless now, just kind of trundled along pouring whatever water I wasn't drinking over my head.
30k - 2:57:17 (18.6m) It was a relief to be heading into some shade in Canary Wharf, but the humitity in the tunnels was pretty stifling.  Again, superb support from the crowds kept me going, but the temperature on the ground was 23-24 degrees. The wheels fell off my race here as I turned the corner with the big TV screen by the HSBC building my hip went.
20 miles : 3:11:15 - knew now that my hopes were fading and I just needed to survive
35k - 3:32:26 (21.7m) just decided to get through the rest of the race as best I could.  Several folks now collapsed/sitting/lying by the side of the road being sorted out by first aiders.  Tried to run-walk alongside a guy with a 60lb pack.  Saw Stoxy @ 22m and then the Fetchpoint.
40k - 4:12:07 (24.8m) Embankment.  Saw the 25mile marker after hobbling my way up through another tunnel, and just hoped to make it from one mile to the next.  Knew I had no hope of getting round in a quicker time than the Townmoor and felt totally deflated.
26.2 miles - 4:31:58 Birdcage Walk & the Mall.  It took me 19:51 to do the last 2k and I felt every step of it.  I couldn't have finished without the help of the other runners, the crowd, the great guy who got the crowd to cheer me on, or the nice policeman.

I just kept thinking afterwards that I'd somehow messed it up, but once it sunk in that the medal was round my neck, and that I'd made it though without falling or passing out, I felt a great deal better.  I wish I could have done a great time but it just wasn't my day.  Hopefully my hip will recover soon and I'll be back on track for a decent time at Redcar Half Marathon.

On a plus note - the Jarrow Team got a mention on national telly by none other than Steve Cram.

Here is a run down of their results:
overall   category   name   category   HALF   finish time  
235 173 » TAYLOR, GRAEME M 18-39  01:18:58 02:43:36
455 301 » DEACON, CRAIG M 18-39  01:22:23 02:49:49
2019 1007 » ROBSON, COLIN 18-39  01:21:39 03:12:43
10655 43 » PASCOE, BARRY 65-69  01:51:41 04:06:28
11931 14 » PRUDHAM, JOSEPH P 70+  01:57:07 04:12:26
13278 1927 » Ellis, David 40-44  02:03:48 04:18:07
15875 690 » Shiels, Anne-Marie 40-44  02:13:49 04:28:15
16861 2564 » THOMPSON, VICTORIA E 18-39  02:00:47 04:31:58
17521 524 » Marshall, Maria 45-49  02:14:08 04:34:38
17522 2694 » SLOWTHER, ALISON 18-39  02:14:09 04:34:38

Many congrats to them all for some great times in challenging conditions

Alison, Anne-marie, and Maria (shamlessly nicked off AM's FB page ;))

Just want  to add a big THANK YOU to Evil Coach Darth Jim, who's been keeping us all on the straight & narrow for the last few months - we really appreciate all the hard work!  To Helen, Alan, & Mick for their great marathon advice - I didn't take off like a whippet at the start ;) and to my hubby Andy and my folks Tom & Jan, and Susan & Pete - cheers for all the support!!!

Hanging up the marathon shoes for the foreseeable future, and picking up a speedier set of shoes, ones where you don't have to be on your feet for more than say 100 minutes ;)

Redcar Half - Bring It On !

Monday, 18 April 2011

Virgin London Marathon 2011

Wow what a weekend

I don't think I went into this under prepared.  Did the training, did the taper, and had a canny night's sleep before the big day, but hey ho - things don't always turn out the way you want them to.

Started off travelling down at 6am on the Saturday morning, with a clear run down the A1(M) and M11 to the Excel centre, which was surprisingly quiet and easy to snaffle my number and head on back out of the city to our friends in Essex where we were kindly being put up for the night.  Up bright and breezy on the morning of the race and hoping to get dropped off nearish the start.  Our plans were somewhat scuppered by the Blackwall Tunnel being closed, so Andy dropped me off at the nearest DLR station and I met a lovely couple from Oldham (Hi Louise & Andy!) who got me to the start.

I have to say - throughout the whole day the organisation was fantastic - the start is really well done, loads of loos, easy to sort out baggage buses and easy to get into pens, plus an army of folks willing to help you out if you weren't sure about what or where you were going

 Louise from Oldham (hope you had a good run)
 Just into the Blue starting area
 Team Jarrow - Barry, Me, and Peter

Me & Jill

Once we were off it was really hard to get any kind of steady pace going, as there were several hold ups where everyone ground to a halt, which lead to the first two miles being done in 19 minutes, but the pace picked up a little and I went through 5k in 27:53 which wasn't much over my target time.  Unfortunately the sun was starting to split the clouds, and by the 6 mile mark it was blazing down on us.

Despite the heat I kept trundling along at an even pace, going through 10k in 54:49, which was just perfect.  I had put on factor 50 sunblock, but I was drinking water then tipping the rest over myself to try and cool down a bit, and I must have washed it off, cause I really started to burn on my shoulders.  As I went through the 10 mile mark in 1:31 I thought I was spot on my target time from the runs I had done in training, and just hoped to keep going at the same pace.

It just seemed to get warmer and warmer though, and as I went through halfway in 2:00 hours I could feel myself slowing down.  At mile 17 I felt a pain in my hip, and it made it practically impossible to keep running properly, so I dropped my pace and hoped to jog the rest of the course, I knew I still had 9 miles to go, and people were starting to drop like flies with the heat, so the aim was to just try my best to keep moving and hydrated.  By mile 22 I'd slowed to a shuffle and was passed by a para carrying a 60lb pack - hats off to him - he'd run for a couple of hundred yards then power walk for a bit, then start again - inspiring stuff.

I also saw Sophie Raworth being attended too by the side of the road - I have to say the first aid coverage was second to none - world class service and organisation.  Jill Stocks practically leapt out of the crowd as I got to 22 miles too - what a sight for sore eyes, I tried to shuffle on some more, but now it was all about surviving to the finish.  As I crossed the 25 mile mark I stopped to limp on again and a wonderful man from the crowd shouted "You've done all the hard work and you're almost there" then he shouted at the crowd "come on give her a cheer" and they did....I was overwhelmed with emotion and burst into tears, and then I started jogging again.  The crowds were bloody amazing.

As we turned onto Birdcage walk I had to do just that and walk again.  I saw the 800m to go sign ahead, but it seemed like a mile away.  A runner stopped to walk with me and support me down the road, and then a policeman patted me on the shoulder and said "not long now love".  It was just the thing to get be back to a shuffle again and along that last 800m which felt like ten million miles.

What a relief it is to turn into the Mall and see the finish.  I heard someone shouting my name, but I couldn't see them (later found out it was Craig - Thanks matey!) and I sort of hobbled/limped down that last 300m like a champion!

I did it in 4:31:58, with the last 2k taking me 20 minutes, but it's done, I got my medal, marvelled at the organisation at the finish which had the lad on the baggage bus handing me my bag as I walked up to him, but I was physically and mentally knackered, and still had to get myself from the finish to Redbridge at the bottom of the M11 where Andy was picking me up.

Four tube changes later (it could prolly have been less if I knew where I was going) I made it, and the journey just continued the fantastic nature of the event - with the tube being free for runners!  There were folks congratulating me left right and centre - who says the city folks aren't friendly - it's not true.  I managed to clamber up the station steps like a robot, and there waiting was the love of my life :D

And he bought me doughnuts...

What a day

I don't think I'll ever repeat it, but for anyone wanting to give it a go I'd say Yes - Do It, it's a cracking race.  I'd have done better without the heat for sure, but I could have had my hip injury on any day of the year.  I'm walking like C3PO at the mo, but there are a whole bunch of folks out there with the same medal, doing exactly the same thing.

Happy running folks!

Monday, 28 March 2011

End of the xc season & Hartlepool Marina 5

Saturday saw the cross country season draw to a close at the North East Harrier League's final fixture at Prudhoe.  I couldn't run as I had too many results related things to sort out, and there's a good chance of injury on the course which I couldn't chance this close to London Marathon.  The day went off without a hitch though, despite Simon swanning off to Malta ;)  and the results went pretty smoothly.

Results for the final meeting & the grand prix available here on Sportsoft Race Results

Many congrats to the winners, and the winning teams!

The third reason I didn't run, was that I was doing Hartlepool Marina 5 mile on the Sunday morning.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be possible after a couple of niggles in the middle of last week, but I woke up bright & early, packed my racers & club kit, and headed on down.

The conditions were vastly improved on the previous years race - 2010's race was probably the windiest conditions I've ever ran in, but I still managed a canny time then, so the course is good.  It was clear and sunny, with a light breeze - perfect.

Met up with several folks I know at the start for a bit of a natter, then headed on round to the start.  It's a bit of a nice twist to have the race started by cannon that's for sure - the noise echoes round the dock and it sounds massive.  They've changed the course this year so we did a loop around the block passing the start again, so once we hit the promenade the dogleg part of the course has been taken out.

I went through the first mile in 6:58 which was a tad quick, but I reigned it in a bit, and went through 2 miles in 14:23.  The winner had already turned and passed me by this point, and was miles ahead of the guy in second place, So I knew now all I had to do was count the ladies going past to see what position I was in.  Tracy from Chester le Street was a good way ahead of the next lady - so I knew she was in for a convincing win too.

By the time I hit the turn I had counted 16 ladies (as well as waving at Tim from Strollers, Carl from Low Fell, Jeff (HaHa) and Graeme & Frankie 'the machine' from our running club group) so I knew I was in with a pretty good chance of a good placing in the vet's championships.  I went through 3 miles in 21:40 which is probably my best time months, but once we had the breeze behind us I really started to overheat despite just wearing shorts & vest.

A couple of ladies caught me between 3 and 4, but I pushed on and caught a couple more that they had been chasing.  Missed the four mile marker, but knew I didn't have far left to go once we left the promenade back through the housing.  Played cat & mouse with another lady who caught & passed me a couple of times, before a bit of a sprint through the final 400m.

Managed a decent enough finish and through the line in 37:10.  Happy enough with that, even if it was a few seconds slower than last year's time (despite the lack of wind).  Got a gold in the vets L35 category which I would have got anyway because I was the only entrant :S  But I didn't know at the time, so I gave it my best shot.

Going off this performance and recent training runs, things are looking good for the year ahead :D

Happy running folks!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

London here we come

Tonight was the return of the club 5k time trial.  After my previous stunning performance (read that I managed to be slightly less slow than the last time) I thought I might improve my chances of a decent outing by a trip to my favourite store, and the only reason I go into Newcastle, Start Fitness.

It was in that hallowed place that I saw the mighty orange Saucony racers and didst purchase them.  And they were bloody light.  Actually both shoes weigh less than one of my new Asics Nimbus 12s

This didn't however help me in any way, as they have daft sparkly slippy laces and the sodding things came undone as I left the car park at the start.  So I'm blaming the laces (even though they were double knotted) for my time.  However, I did get round in 22:38, so at least I was exactly the same as last time, and therefore quicker ...had I not had to stop blah..blah..blah.

There was also the matter of the 20 miler I dragged myself round on Saturday.  I had some kind of tummy bug at the end of the week, so I wasn't really sure if I was going to manage it at all, and after some pretty poor times on the track I thought I may have to knock it down to 10 miles or so.  But I was fine after work on Saturday afternoon, and stepped out in the new Nimbus 12s - see above right.

I have to say they are aptly named, and I did feel a bit Harry Potter-ish as if I was floating along for the first of the four 5 mile laps.  I'd chosen the Hebburn-Jarrow-Hebburn route again, as it's easy on the legs and there aren't too many hills.  but boy is that wind savage on Leam lane as you run up by Felgate.  Each lap seemed to get windier too, but at least it was at my back on the trip down Victoria Road each time.

It was a pleasure to see some folks I know on the way round - Brian on laps 2 & 3, and Alan on laps 1 & 4, and the back of my parents car on one of the laps - I didn't see them pass as I was engrossed in Mambo no. 5 which is at my perfect running pace.  Talking of the music I'd downloaded some just for the run, so it was nice to have something a bit different on the phone to listen to including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Shakira, Katy Perry etc.  I know I'll have the atmosphere at London to get me round though.

By lap 4 I was really starting to feel the burn, I had a gel at 2:15, and I think I prolly could have taken it earlier - will have to look at my fueling strategy.  As I came round to Leam Lane again the wind seemed to pick up again, and I was trying to just battle my way through to the turn on to Mill Lane again.  As I rounded the corner I saw a figure at the top of the hill heading my way - Helen!!  After 18 miles of slogging it round the town, it was like the sun coming up!  I could have hugged her but I didn't have the energy - just one more hill, then the run back down to the lights at Station road.

It was excellent having that bit of company for the last 2 miles - I really appreciated it, we kept up the pace, and ran through to the finish.

5m: 45:20
10m: 1:30:28
15m: 2:12:17
20m: 2:58:50

decent consistent speed throughout - though I did get a little quicker according to the garmin, it definitely didn't feel like it, and in fact I felt like someone had stolen my legs and given me a duff pair as I walked back down to my car.  I hope I can manage to keep the same consistent pace on the big day, there isn't any reason why not.  I will not take off like a whippet at the start - that's a promise.

Looking at that course profile it looks a bit uppy-downy, but it's really not that bad - more like gradual inclines.  Unlike my golf course - now that's hilly as hell, and the perfect way to do a recovery the day after a race pace 20 miles - talk about knackered, I was worn out, and ready for Andy to give me a piggy back by the time we got to the 15th.  Bless him he was as tired as I was, what a pair of crocks we are! is all in the bag now - just got to get through Hartlepool 5m, and Blyth 10k then I'm on the home straight - London here we come!

Happy running folks :D

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Hills, Cross country, and Waistlines

Morning Campers,

It's been an interesting few days sportswise for me, starting on Friday.  After I bottled out of Thursday's track session because of the weather, I was feeling a bit guilty, so I had planned to do something around the 18 mile mark on Friday afternoon.  Alas it was still blowing a hooligan, so in the words of the mighty Bette Davis: "Rules are made to be broken. At least mine are, by me".  So the planned 18 miler went out of the window, and I opted for a swift 10 miler, with a savage 3 mile warm down back home into the wind.

Pretty pleased with the time any way - 1:17:17, which is just a bit slower than my 10 mile race pace.  I'm sure the wind helped of course, but it was more than made up for having to run back up the hill with it in my face.

Saturday saw the 5th in this season's North East Harrier League, held at Shibdon Pond by Blaydon Harriers.  It was nice to see that the chicanes up and down the hill made it back in to the course this year, and it wasn't a total mudfest, just soft enough underfoot to make best use of my spikes.  Finished in 28:19, a good 2 mins slower than I've ran the course before, but that was 2008, or 07 (a while ago anyhow), and I'm happy with the pace, which I think was over a 6k course.

Results didn't go quite as smoothly, but I am hoping to get the U13 girls mix up sorted before this weekend, so I can get the grand prix points sorted out, and the Davison Shield results mailed out to people.

Sunday saw a decent recovery run of four and a bit miles, before my best round of golf so far.  Andy did some fantastic shots himself, but I was really pleased with how I'm progressing having managed to get my first ever 2 on the 9th.  Long may it continue.

Monday, was going to just do a steady 5k, but the weather was lovely and we shot back up to Tyneside for another round of golf.  Managed 13 holes before sunset, it seemed as if spring had well and truely sprung!

Last night was the return of the dreaded Springfield Hill session.  I say dreaded as it doesn't seem overly popular, but it's actually my favourite club session.  The 4 and a bit mile run up and down the same hill 12 times isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy it (in a semi masochistic style), as it's a good test of endurance.

Got round in my best time since October '09, in 32:10.  Considering I barely managed it in 34:42 in November last year, it appears that all of this training is doing the world of good.  Frankie & David Mills we're well away on lap 2, but I managed to hold out for all 12 reps at a pretty even pace, catching all but Helen by lap 10.  Just got to keep my fitness going now for the next 4 or 5 weeks, then hopefully I'll be sitting with a big smile on my face after race day.

The other effect of all of this running seems to have been a reduction in my waistline - which can only be heralded as a good thing.  Started the year a good 2" bigger than I am now, and although I've only lost a couple of pounds, the inches are definitely dropping off.  Big up the marathon training!

Happy running folks


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bacon butties & chocolate biscuits

I've been a naughty girl.

Well, not really naughty, but I've missed two runs this week, so efforts will have to be made to appease the running gods and ECDJ (Evil Coach Darth Jim), with virtual offerings of bacon butties and chocolate biscuits.  Still managed to slot in a fairly decent session on Tuesday night with the running club though, and I'm planning to do 18-20 miles this afternoon (work permitting), then Blaydon XC tomorrow, running depending on whether or not I have time to dash out from doing results (and if the team need me).

Speaking of teams, a big Thanks! to Team Jarrow (David & Peter), for dragging my arse round the reps on Tuesday.  It was 3 x 2700m reps, with a 300m jog recovery between each.  We had been lulled into a false sense of security by ECDJ who said it was 2500m, but even with just 200m extra tagged on it's still a bloody long way.

Realising that I'm not as fit or fast as the mighty Frankie, I didn't take off like a whippet at the start of the session (see - I am learning even at my grand old age), and settled in to try and keep up with the currently injured training partner of Frankie - Peter, and David Mills, who clearly has a decent running pedigree, but is currently reduced to best whippet pace. 

We went through the first rep in 11:55, but every lap of the new road seemed to get windier and windier, so the subsequent reps were a tad slower.

Rep 1: 2700m (1.67m) 11:55 - 7:08 min/mile
Rep 2: 2700m (1.67m) 12:14 - 7:20 min/mile
Rep 3: 2700m (1.67m) 12:12 - 7:18 min/mile

If I could managed a wee bit quicker on the track it'd end up being a canny 3k time - we'll have to see how things go after the London Marathon, in the vet's track league.

...and talking of the vet's league - here are the dates for my up & coming races & track meetings for spring and summer.

12th March - Blaydon XC
26th March - Prudhoe XC (won't be running - just doing results)
27th March - Hartlepool Marina 5m (inc. vets 5m champs).
3rd April - Blyth 10k
17th April - London Marathon
9th May - VAANE Meeting #1 (Veteran's track league) 400m, or 3000m depending on how I am after VLM
18th May - VAANE Meeting #2 (Veteran's track league) 800m / 1500m
22nd May - Pier to Pier 7 miles
6th June - VAANE Meeting #3 (Veteran's track league) 400m / 1mile
12th June - Redcar Half Marathon (looking for sub 1:40)
20th June - VAANE Meeting #4 (Veteran's track league) 300m / 800m
22nd June? - Clive Cookson 10k (looking for sub 44)
9th July - VAANE Track & Field Championships 3000m
18th July - VAANE Meeting #5 (Veteran's track league) 800m / 3000m
20th July - Sunderland 5k (looking for sub 22, hopefully sub 21)
24th August - Watergate 5k (vet's 5k champs)
4th September - Tynedale Jelly Tea 10m, British Masters 10 mile champs (looking for sub 75)
10th September - VAANE 5000m track champs (if I don't get 20:xx please shoot me)

It looks busy, but there's a whole bunch of races I'd normally do which I've missed out.

Judging from recent performances I should be looking at a decent season, after last years write off!

Happy running folks :)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Empire Strikes Back

This time with a vengeance!

Following on from the long run on the 20th Feb, Darth Jim seems to have invented some new and wonderful ways of killing us off, possibly whilst plotting the demise of the universe from his Death Star base (located somewhere in Hebburn, and rumoured to be the home of a canny bacon buttie).  On Tuesday 22nd, he had us running up and down Field terrace again, this time with a twist - run along not one, but two of the streets at the top, just for an added treat.  This brought the session in at 5:75 miles, add in the warm up & down and you're looking at a lot of running time.  I'm putting this in the diary as "Springfield ++" with the notation "bloody knackered"

Thursday 24th had us on the track doing 12 x 500m (50 walk, 50 jog recovery).  I started off with Frankie (Why oh why do I do this, when I know that he's a machine, and I'm a mere human), then realised on rep four that I was doing Wrekenton cross country on Saturday).  So I pulled it back a few seconds per lap and settled down a bit.

2:04, 2:04, 2:04, 2:04, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:11, 2:10

Not too unhappy with that - it's a canny pace for the distance - 6:52 minute/miles

Saturday 26th was the harrier league @ Wrekenton.

It was a fairly unremarkable performance at Wrekenton cross country, which saw me (and everyone else) ankle deep in mud, and I got round the 4 mile course in 33:54

I was thinking it was a bit of a damp squid ending to February.  As it happens I looked back on the monthly mileage and at 121 miles it was my highest month since August 2008!  This does appear to have had an effect on my overal speed, with an absolutely cracking start to March this week.

Evil Coach Darth Jim's words of wisdom were shouted at me on the first rep on Tuesday 1st
We were doing 5 x 1 mile (which was actually 1.05 miles), round Wood terrace opposite Monkton Stadium.  I had started a wee bit quickly (as per usual), but after 400m realised that Frankie "I'm on iron tablets" Devlin was using some kind of Force of his own, and had taken off like a racehorse too.  So I pulled it back a bit and settled in at best whippet-speed. 

Halfway round the one and a half lap loop, Darth Jim shouted his "Be consistent" but since I was running with Peter & David right next to me I figured if I could just make it round without losing too much ground that would be a decent effort.

First mile done in 7:19, which wasn't too bad having to dodge wheelbarrows, scaffolders, dog walkers and young kids (one of which was almost ran over by Frankie).  I was hoping to do the next four reps in around 7:20, but came through in 7:11, 7:11, 7:11, and 7:11 - how's that for being consistent? !

To be fair I think Peter helped massively on the last two reps, as he was pretty much setting the pace on the last 800m, but I'm not knocking it - 7:11 is 7:11, regardless of how I got there :D

Weirdly because of the extra point x of a mile each rep, the overall stats for the session showed the average  pace at just under seven minute miles - 6:52 to be exact.

I just bimbled around with the dog on Wednesday after finishing work late, but Thursday 3rd had us back on the track again for 800s.  I was feeling a bit achy after Tuesday & the cross country, but I thought I'd just try and go for as many as I could before the niggles got the better of me.  On the fourth rep I was feeling that I ought to stop, so I didn't do rep number five.

The session was yasso's 800s - 800 flat out, with a canny recovery (200 walk, 200 jog).  This time I did stick with Frankie for all of the reps (though he did go on to do another 2),

3:14, 3:18, 3:18, 3:18

It's looking good for London, just hope I can stave off any injuries, and keep up the good work.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Jedi powered by music

Evening Campers :)

I'm sufficiently recovered from yesterday's run, and golf today to do a wee bit of an update.

Tuesday saw in a pretty decent progressive intervals session.  Evil Coach Darth Jim mustn't have annihilated any planets recently, because the session didnt finish till after 7pm...infact I was back so late I thought my car may have turned into a pumpkin on the way back.  As it happens it didn't, but the guy I was following didn't even get to the dizzying heights of 25 mph, never mind the speed limit, so perhaps the pumpkin transmutation was a closer call than I thought.

Anyways..I digress

The session was "steady - fast - flat out" 300m - 300m - 300m, with 300m recovery.  I (of course) took off like a scalded cat on the first one, imagined that I was Alyson Dixon, and attempted for at least 300m to keep up with Frankie.  This was a fools errand of course, but I don't call myself Graceless Whippet for nowt, and the name is well deserved.  But, after the usual chuckle from Darth Jim, I got down to serious business on the next 7 reps (yes that really is 8 x 900m in total) and managed a pretty consistent set overall:

3:56, 4:14, 4:14, 4:15, 4:11, 4:10, 4:11, 4:10

The first was a bit silly and I have no excuse for it, but I got home thinking I'd put in a canny effort.

Thursday was the return of the dreaded 300 parlaafs 

We had 2 sets of 8 to do, with a 400 jog recovery between each set.  I teamed up with Jimmy and just hoped to finish the lot. 

Set 1: 77,77,78,78,77,77,77,77
Set 2: 75,71,71,71,70,70,70,64

The second set did seem a fair bit quicker than the first, and it was pretty good to get the lot done.  Will try and aim for closer to 70 seconds for all next time.

I took Friday off as a recovery day, and opted for a looped route on Saturday for my long run.  Rather than to go walkabout I'd plan my route on gmaps pedometer beforehand (as my garmin is hit & miss at the moment), and opted for three laps round Jarrow & Hebburn, plus the run from home and back up through Bill Quay to work.

I saw a fair few familiar faces running on the way round, as well as a thumbs up from Peter from my running club route, bumped into Anne-Marie as she was finishing her run (I was very jealous having only just done 30 mins of mine), and a beep from my sis & brother in law as I was coming up to finishing my first lap.

It was also the first time I've ran with music - loaded up a bunch of stuff onto my blackberry and hit the roads.  It had fortunately stopped raining by the time I set off, so at least I missed the bulk of the horrible weather.

Gotta say it really made the time pass much faster with sommit to listen to, and run a lot faster (perhaps I shouldn't have had the Ramones or Marilyn Manson on), but it really gave me a boost when an uplifting track came on.  The best of it was on lap three (and it was dark by then) I was at about mile 18 when Bohemian Rhapsody came on,. and then Binary Finary - cracking stuff

21.12 miles - 2:58:04

Much quicker than I was expecting to be honest, but not having the garmin on, and just running comfortably was the reason.  I had also put the Phantom Menace - Duel of the Fates (the bit where Obi wan & Anakin take on Darth Maul) and when that came on I just kinda floated along ....I am a Jedi !

So, a pretty decent round up to the week, and I've already equaled last months mileage by the 20th :D

Playlist as follows (I had 'em on shuffle, so this is in no particular order):

The Trammps : Disco Inferno
The Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
The Cardigans - My Favourite Game
Fat Boy Slim - Weapon of Choice
Planet Perfecto - Bullet In The Gun
Duran Duran - Rio
Leftfield - Phat Planet
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen - We are the Champions
Soft Cell - Tainted Love
Starwars Phantom Menace - Duel of the Fates
The Ramones - Do You Wanna Dance
Paul van Dyk - Binary Finery
Paul Oakenfold - Rendezvous (quadraphonic mix)
Faithless - Insomnia (monster mix)
Morrisey - The Last of the Famous International Playboys
Wild Cherry - Play the funky music white boy
Nine Inch Nails - Head Like a Hole
Jamiroquai - Canned Heat
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence (Sasha & John Digweed remix)
ATB vs Faithless - Don't Stop vs Insomnia
Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People

Add to that lot a round of golf today and I'm well and truly done for the week, though three and a half hours meandering round the golf course was definitely the perfect 'recovery run'

Happy running folks!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Super woman

Wow! what a week :D

If Carlsberg made training sessions, they'd probably be just like the week's running I've just had.

It started with the club time trial on Tuesday.  I had a bit of an incling that it was going to be the 5k, so I put my shorts on despite the cold.  Leggings are for training, shorts are definitely for proper running.  After my disasterous time in last month's club handicap (24:46), I wasn't hoping for anything more than just under 24 mins, but I thought that if I could just not fly off like a loon at the start, then I might manage 23:xx.

To be fair to Evil Coach Darth Jim, he gave me a decent enough handicap - off after Helen & Alan, so I wasn't chasing Jimmy.  The conditions were perfect so I just went for it.  I'd caught Barry (who missed his slot cause he was nattering), as we came out of Monkton Village, then I was tracking down Alan & Helen right up until Mill Lane.  Helen pulled ahead on the bank, and it was a real struggle to try and catch her, but I did (eventually) and then started the chase to try to get to Graeme & Rachel.  As I went past, Graeme left Rachel and was hot on my heels, We both flew by Maria, and the race was on.

York Avenue Garage to the finish is a lot longer than it seems, but I managed to hold Graeme off right through to the finish, and 1st across the line in 22:40 ! 

I have a feeling that I'll be suffering for the better time in next month's handicap placing.

Wednesday, saw a wee recovery run with Alan & helen, then the dreaded postponed 400s from last week was the track session on Thursday.  I had been told to try for consistency, and that's exactly what I pulled out of the hat!

16 x 400m, with 90 secs recovery:
1:43, 1:40, 1:41, 1:42, 1:42, 1:42, 1:42, 1:42,
1:41, 1:40, 1:41, 1:42, 1:42, 1:41, 1:41, 1:40

Aside from the first one, the others were all within 1 second of 1:41 :)

I had a break on Friday, then Saturday was the dreaded long run.  I'd planned for 19-20 miles, and had kind of a rough idea where I wanted to go, but no actual distances till I got out and on my feet, with the aim of running till I hit 3 hours or near enough.

Setting off from home in Felling, I ran down through Pelaw, Hebburn, Jarrow and Tyne Dock (cheers to the council guys who gave me a wave and a thumbs up) till I got to Laygate in South Shields (where I bumped into my aunt & uncle).  Then it was down Commercial Road, past the market place, round to the sea front,  along the promenade, onto the beach, then back up past the dragon playing fields.

At this point I thought I'd be hitting the 1:30 ish mark, but it was actually over two hours, so instead of going up to the Nook as planned, I headed back into South Shields, past the Town Hall and back towards Tyne Dock.  I ran past the same woman outside smoking at the Tyne Dock pub as I had on the way down (she smiled and said hello again).  The trip back up to St Pauls & Bede's World was pretty uneventful, and I got to Morrison's in Jarrow in just over 3 hours.

After a quick pitstop I thought it would be madness to run back up to Felling (which would have put the run at well over 3:45) so I jumped on the metro up to Heworth, then bimbled back up the hill as a warm down.

20 miles covered in 3:22:24

Pretty pleased with that to be honest, as I don't think I could have covered any more distance without some gels or more fuel.  Will have to look at picking some up from Start Fitness for next weeks run.

So, after all of that I'm feeling pretty happy with the marathon training so far, except for feeling like a narcoleptic cookie monster - alternating between eating and sleeping (with not much of anything else in between).

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Four boroughs run

Evening all,

What an exciting end to the weeks running (assuming I manage not to run at the Town Moor xc tomorrow), today's run was perfect - great conditions, felt good, it all came together.  I decided on another walkabout style trip, just me and the garmin, and an approximate distance of between 16 and 18 miles.  I kind of had a bit of an idea that I'd head down to the river Tyne again, as it's got some interesting scenery, and once I'm through the pedestrian tunnel at the far end, I'm not a million miles from home.

Anyways - here's the route:
It's a canny start with a steep decent down to Felling and Gateshead Stadium, and the north side of the river is mostly downhill, but after that it's just climb after climb back up to Felling - see the elevation map:
actually - that 0 elevation should read below sea level as I went under the river in the pedestrian tunnel.

So, some top facts about todays 17.4 mile effort:
  • I went through four local boroughs: Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, and South Tyneside
  • Passed over the Tyne, went under the Tyne, over Ouse Burn, and over the Don (tyne tributary) twice.
  • I passed the end of Hadrian's Wall at Segedunum (Wallsend) 
All in all a canny bimble out, finishing in 2:37:41 though it may have been quicker without that savage climb back up the hill at the end.

Happy running folks!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Thursday night track session

Got to the track early to do a bit of a warm up and the wind was hideously strong.  It was fine for 300m of the track though, so Jimmy, Frankie, Barry and I opted for 300s instead of the requested 400s (sorry Jim).  We did have to jog in the last 100m which was like running in one of those wind tunnels they use to test airplane aerodynamics.

1:12, 1:13, 1:13, 1:13, 1:15, 1:16, 1:16, 1:16, 1:15, 1:20, 1:20, 1:20

Now I know I was supposed to be aiming for consistency here, but the variations weren't actually my fault.  It was getting windier as the session went on, and the last three laps were particularly challenging, with a crosswind which blew me from lane one into lane four as we came round past the hammer cage.

I was happy just to get to twelve as I think the last four would have knocked me on my back.

Then it was a quick turnaround and 'up t'the toon' for the North East fetcheveryone one mile challenge on the quayside.  I got there in plenty of time, but by this point was bloody freezing.  Had a quick natter, then we were off.  I managed the lap in 7:28, nothing stunning, but I'm happy enough with that.  Will look at something quicker when the weather's a bit nicer.

Happy running folks!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wood terrace

Darth Jim's first session of the month: pyramid session on Wood Terrace.

700m, 1700m, 2750m, 1700m, 700m
2:28, 7:31, 13:08, 7:53, 2:48

Took the first at a daft pace, but otherwise was ok

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Marathon miles month 1

Well that's almost one month done and the marathon miles are adding up.  In the words of the immortal bard, or in this case, Evil Coach Jim, 'I've got my proper running head back on'  and it seems to be doing the trick.  Looking at my monthly mileage chart on Fetcheveryone, it seems like I've done my best running off something like 120 miles a month (those months where I got the most PB's).
So this seems like a pretty good start to the year considering I didn't actually start training till the 6th, an this was my best month of training since July 2009.  It seems like I should just write off 2010 for running, but I'm thinking that my heart just wasn't in it for most of the year, and now (in the words of wor Cheryl Cole) 'Av got me mojo back'.

Session wise it's been a great couple of weeks.

Darth Jim has returned with a vengance, and we've been treated to a couple of pretty savage road sessions, and two very different time trials.
Club sessions this month have been:

Tuesday 11th - 5k time trial (road) - a dissapointing 24:46
Thursday 13th - 10 x 400m track session: 1:48, 1:46, 1:48, 1:46, 1:46, 1:43, 1:44, 1:40, 1:40, 1:46
Tuesday 18th - Hill session 5.4 miles up and down Springfield bank, 44:54
Tuesday 25th - Intervals on New Road, 900, 1500, 900, 1500.  4:01, 6:55, 4:16, 7:05
Thursday 27th - track session, 800 flat out (3:20) then 3k time trial 13:48

After doing the North Eastern's XC on the 8th, I've switched my long run to a Saturday, and have been using Sunday for a recovery run, so I'm on good form for Tuesday's club session.

Long runs this month have been pretty interesting routes.  Instead of planning before I've just gone walkabout with the garmin and seen where my feet take me :)

Saturday 15th - 12.43 miles (1:35:26) 2 and a bit laps round Hebburn & Jarrow, windy as hell.
Saturday 22nd - 13.5 miles (2:02:08) Windy Nook - Gateshead Stadium - Millenium Bridge - Ouseburn - Byker - Walker - Wallsend - Pedestrian Tunnel - Hebburn.
Saturday 29th - 14.5 miles (2:11:08) Felling - Wrekenton - Springwell - Birtley - Team Valley - Dunston - Millennium Bridge. 

Next Sunday I've got the Townmoor xc, but I'll prolly still do my long run on Saturday and use the cross country as a recovery run as I'm there all day doing results (and I really don't like running round the moor) 

Next month should see more of the same sessions, but I've really pulled my finger out and I'm actually starting to train harder and enjoy it.  If I can keep on the right track, according to Coach Jim, I should be a proper runner by the time I do London Marathon.

Happy running chaps & chapessess


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Saturday, 8 January 2011

North Eastern Counties XC

After weeks of doing basically bugger all, I finally got off my behind and went out on the track on Thursday.  The session was 10 x 600m, but I managed six with my bad chest before calling it a day.  I'm pretty sure that this wasn't the level of training required before doing the Northeasterns, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, so you have to work with what you've got.

As it happens I was asked to help out with the results, so at least I was inside in the warm for the majority of the day, and it was a damn sight less hectic than a regular harrier league meeting.  So what is normally a frantic dash to the start between results sheets pouring in was actually a leisurely meander over to the race start.

Actually that just about sums up my race strategy on the one, a leisurely meander ;)

I knew I wasn't going to set the world on fire with my speed, so I didn't bother with the spikes and ran in my fell shoes.  This was a good plan, as there were few really hilly points, and the sections on the flat were very comfortable in the innov8s.  I did get pretty soggy along the really swampy sections, but hey, that's what its all about right!

Once I'd settled into a canny pace it was just a case of trying to maintain my position (nearish the back) and try not to let too many go past.  Towards the end of lap one Lyn from Tynedale, a girl from Low Fell and another from Saltwell came past, so I tried to stick with them.  The Low Fell girl flew off into the distance, but I could see Lyn & the Saltwell girl just ahead for most of lap two.  This is when I started a came of cat & mouse with someone from Durham City.  She past me, then I'd pass by her.  I know I wasn't going to win the war, but it's the little battles you can try and win which makes it worthwhile racing.

I chased the Durham girl through the first half of lap two, then caught her on the hill rising up from the stream with the railway sleepers, then it was a case of her catching me then me getting away again as we travelled along the path behind the fire station.   Now we both had Lyn & the Saltwell girl in our sights,  I caught Lyn on the last hill by all the spectators, with the Durham Girl got on my heels.  I could hear folks shouting for all three of us as we got towards the turn at the top.

It was a pretty distant hope to catch the girl from Saltwell now, but I knew the Durham girl was just behind me as we turned onto the playing fields and the last six or seven hundred metres.  Her team were shouting her on, but I plucked out a last bit of effort and made it across the line.  Great effort by the two of us!

Then it was a quick dash back to race hq, to finish off the results with the rest of the team.

Job's a good 'un

Results will be published on the Northern Athletics website when they're available: here

Monday, 3 January 2011

2010 Review, races & results

2010 wasn't the greatest year for me running-wise for be quite honest.  I kind of lost my enthusiasm after the Townmoor Marathon in the November of 2009 and didn't really recover it till well into the year.  I also forgot what it was like to do any kind of distance after the mind-numbing boringness of the laps, leaving me with a longest run of 6 or so miles by June.  This didn't really set me in good stead for Tynedale 10 or the Great North Run, but I'd opted for fancy dress in the latter anyway, so a decent time really didn't matter.

Duffed up races I ran last year:
Any of the numerous 5k's I participated in.  The closest I managed to a decent time was 22:15 at Sunderland parkrun in April, still a over minute outside my pb.  Tynedale came in at an abysmal 1:19, and of course the GNR at 1:59, though in fairness that was a bloody good time in a ballgown.

Average runs, stuff I'm fairly happy with:
Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile  36:53, WAVA - 67.26% (Age grading percentage) (5 mile pb 36:02)
Blaydon Race  5.9M   43:04, WAVA - 68.47%
Sand Dancer 10k (trail race) 45:25, WAVA - 68.38% (10k pb 43:50)
Fetch North East 1 Mile Challenge (8)  6:21, WAVA - 68.53%

Highlights of the year: 
Well, I didn't drop the short speedwork, so my track times well pretty decent.  I managed to do a few of canny performances over 200, 300, 400 and 800m at the vet's athletics meetings at Monkton and the North East Senior league.

200m: 34.8,  WAVA - 62.34%
300m: 54.8,  WAVA - 71.31%
400m: 73.5, WAVA - 70.33% (unofficial as part of a relay)
400m: 78.8,  WAVA- 65.82%
800m: 2:56, WAVA - 64.97%

According to the powerof10 webbie I managed UK rankings in the V35 age category of the following:
UK Rankings

Everything over 800m was pretty slow to be honest, which will hopefully be rectified by the increases in mileage this year. 

One good thing about the Townmoor marathon is that I now know a couple of things:
a) I can get round 26.2 miles, even if I do have to walk the last six
b) I need to keep fit & healthy, and put in the training
c) I now have a target time to aim for
and d) London will have more support, stuff to look at, it can't possibly be as cold or windy.