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.