Monday, 5 March 2018

Still going - slowly but surely

It has been some time since I posted anything here mainly due to there being very little of interest to say.   I have not raced, due to a series of illness and injuries since July.  As a result, progress towards my target of reaching 100,000 miles before my 65th birthday have also taken a bit of a battering.  Although it is still achievable.

I am definitely running slower but at least I have managed this year to get in a reasonable 6 weeks of training and had planned to turn out at the last Harrier League Cross Country meeting of the season at Alnwick, last Saturday.  However the so called 'Beast from the East' had other ideas as it dumped tons of snow over the region, causing the race to be cancelled.

Although mileage was down last week I still managed to get out for a few runs in the snow

Future plans for the year include some of the usual races eg Blaydon Race and Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon.  But by way of a change I have entered, as part of a mixed pair team with my sister, the Endure 24 in Leeds at the end of June.  Which should be interesting!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Running behind bars

Last weeks Athletics Weekly reported prisoners participating in the first of the weekly parkrun events being held within HMP Haverigg a Category C prison in Cumberland.  The idea that sport (and voluntary roles involved in parkrun) positively impact upon inmates' physical and mental health, leading to self confidence, improved mood and stress reduction.  If Haverigg parkrun is a success then the initiative could be rolled out across the country.

Although this may be new to UK prisons, Oregon State Penitentiary in the US have ran (no pun intended) a monthly race series from March to October since the 1970's.  when American running legend Steve Prefontaine started coaching a group of inmates.  The series consists of seven 5K's and 10k's (run concurrently) and one half marathon.

These are both examples of organised events held with the specific purpose of aiding prisoner rehabilitation.  Delve a little deeper though and there are examples of individuals taking it upon themselves to run whilst being detained.

There is the case, for example, of Charlie Eagle who ran a solo ultra marathon of 217km (135 miles) within the prison walls of Berkley Federal Prison in West Virginia.

Even way back in the 19th Century, George Wilson (The Blackheath Pedestrian) whilst in Debtors Prison at Newgate Prison, Newcastle upon Tyne, successfully walked 50 miles in 12 hours over a tiny circuit within the gaol.
George Wilson
The Blackheath Pedestrian

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Can any form of cheating be supported?

Parkrun is an undoubted success. It gives thousands of people, every weekend, the opportunity to run / walk a timed 5km course and provides a vehicle for them to measure their progress and it has encouraged non-active people to become engaged in our sport.

Some people, though, still can't get their heads around what Parkrun is about.  One of these would appear to be the editor of Runner's World UK, who recently despatched a journalist to take part in a parkrun and to secretly 'cheat' by not completing the full 5km and then to write about his experience.  Whether you are a fan of parkrun or not, surely this cannot be condoned.

Can encouraging any form of cheating be supported?  You would think that a national magazine that covers and supposedly supports running would be the least likely to support such an act.  And instead positively record the increased participation in running and volunteering, not undermine it.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon

Well I am glad to report that my annual pilgrimage to the Yorkshire Wolds went a lot better than I had feared it would last week.  Ok,  my run didn't set the world alight but finishing nearly 7 minutes faster than last year confirmed that perhaps I am starting to head back in the right direction, despite recent falls and injuries.

Starting off very gently and well back in the field I had to resist the temptation to push on from the start and force myself not to respond when people passed me and just concentrate on my own pace.
I have started wearing a watch again (having not bothered for the past 3 years and relied upon running how I feel) and concentrated on the pace it showed  that I was going.  However, it is a downhill start so I was running faster than the average pace that I had in my mind.

The Start

Although I struggled on the uphill sections, things were going ok as I maintained a steady pace and started to catch and pass some of those who had passed me earlier.

Winner - Tristan Learoyd

Unfortunately at 8 miles recent injury problems started to catch up with me and my right hamstring started to stiffen up.  However, easing the pace ever so slightly meant I was able to keep going.

Phil Taylor - Bridlington RR
I struggled on the last hill up to the finish and dropped 2 places.  However, as mentioned earlier I was happy to have finished quicker than last year, in 46th position.

The leading runners were:

1st - Tristan Learoyd - New Marsk Harriers in 76.56
2nd - Phil Taylor - Bridlington RR in 78.04
3rd and 1st M40 - Stephen Maddison - York Knavesmire Harriers in 81,54

1st Lady was Tara Spillings - Unattached in 93.39 and 17th position overall.

As usual the beer tent was the first port of call on finishing and once gain another great day out at Bishop Wilton Show.

Hopefully another 7 minute improvement next year!

Friday, 7 July 2017

As you like it

I have in the past used the 'ascent of man', in a previous post, as an analogy as to how it feels getting out of bed some mornings (particularly after a hard training session the night before), see 5th October 2012 post.

Using comparisons and inspiration from other sources being common when people seek to describe their thoughts and experiences.

Jacques in the 'All the world's a stage' speech (As you like it) describes the Seven Ages of Man.  Where a person will become seven different characters throughout the course of their life.  The seventh and final stage ends in oblivion, having commenced at stage 1 as a 'mewling and puking' infant.

Richard Askwith takes up this theme in his book Running Free, where he suggests that there are 'seven ages of the runner'.  Although he is still defining stages 6 and 7.  Perhaps because he hasn't reached them yet?  Having said that, taking a cue from Shakespeare, then guessing stage seven shouldn't be too difficult.

The first stage, is also, fairly obvious.  As we start our running journey as hesitant novices.  From a personal view point I remember when I decided to start running and headed out on what I thought would be a 3 mile run which turned out to be little more than a mile and a half, and although I was not puking and mewling it did end in me lying prone on the kitchen floor as my body came to terms with what I had just put it through.

My reason for taking up running - the first GNR (Stage 2?)

The second stage is where we start having fun and enjoying our running, its becoming a part of our lives and our excitement and enthusiasm quite probably becomes a little irksome to our friends and family - that's right, we become the 'running bore'.

For me, I am glad to say my third age has lasted the majority of my 'running life'.  The third age is all about times and competition.  It is about pushing yourself harder and achieving the best possible result.  I admit, like many, I have continuously sought to prolong this third age.  One such method being to sub-divide my goals and performances. Just look at how I have listed my pb's by age category at the side of this page, for example.

According to Richard Askwith the fourth stage is where you take on a monumental challenge before moving onto the 5th age where you stop chasing times, becomes less absorbed by the watch and simply enjoy what he calls 'slow running' - nothing to do with pace but just running for running's sake.

For lots of runners, after their peak there is nowhere else to go but down and as a result many never get beyond their third age.

Which begs the question, At what stage am I now?

Probably moving into the 4th age - although I have not set myself any monumental challenges - yet!
I don't think my goal of 100,000 miles before I am 65 quite meets the criteria but is probably heading that way.

Never the less it is something to ponder as I leave you to head out on a steady 6 miler - after all I have a half marathon to run next week.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Plodding on

As usual, things aren't going to plan.  Although last week saw me pass the 91,000 mile point in my long term goal of running 100.000 miles I am a little behind the schedule I set myself. 

From yesterday's hobble along the Derwent Walk
A heavy fall the week before last has resulted in my mileage taking a significant bashing, along with my body,

The resulting shoulder and hamstring problems
have also affected my preparations for my annual trip down to the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon. 

Although I was not in startling form I had been making steady progress and had fancied myself to have a reasonable run and perhaps even figure in my age category. I still intend to turn out but once again I fear it will just be a case of  running around to complete the course.

It will at least keep my 'run' of, I believe this will be, 28 consecutive times I have ran this race, going, 

Perhaps I should change my emphasis away from racing for time / position and just concentrate on longevity?

Friday, 16 June 2017

It's a u - turn

Margaret Thatcher may have famously said "the lady is not for turning'. But it would appear that this runner is.

While training with the group the other evening I was reminded that a couple of year back I had said that when I failed to break 40 minutes for the Blaydon Race then it would be time for me to hang up my running shoes and buy a pair of carpet slippers (and perhaps a pipe?).

Seemingly, nobody thought I would actually keep to my pronouncement but reminding me of it was a good way of winding me up a little and probably had the desired affect.

Yes - unfortunately, that day has come.  A time of 40.21 for this years race should be heralding my change of lifestyle.  But there is not a chance - I'm sure it was only a blip anyway and I will be back under 40 minutes next year (although I don't think I will ever get back down to the sub 30 minutes of the past).

Anyhow I have the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon coming up in four weeks time.  Not to mention my long term goal of running a grand total of 100,000 mile (should reach 91,000 next week) before my 65th birthday.

The end of this years 'Blaydon' and just about to be passed by
Eric who kindly reminded me of my retirement pledge