Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of the year

First of all the stats:

Mileage for the year - 2338

Average weekly mileage - 44.96

Number of races run 17

Anyone who has read my posts for a while will probably already know that overall I am going to rate my performance for the year as POOR. I started the year full of enthusiasm with a goal of returning to London to run a Marathon for the first time in 6 years. I did not think I was being over ambitious with a target time of 2.55 to 2.58 (the last marathon I ran was in 2.49). The training seemed to be going fairly well and with regard to quantity and quality of sessions I felt reasonably prepared despite race results leading up to the marathon.

In fact of the 17 races this year, all but two have been in personal worst times, and not just by the odd second or so. I appreciate that I am getting older and slower but the decline this year has been rather drastic.

Again I accept that I will probably never reach the mileage I used to cover in a year (a number of years over the 3000 mark) and that I am not going to recover as quickly between races and therefore race less frequently (again I used to average over 40 races a year) but I need to race more often than I did this year.

However, not everything is negative. Despite what I have just said and health and injury problems aside I am still enjoying my running as much as ever and am looking forward to next year.

The idea of reviewing performance over the last year is to use it as a basis for progressing into the next year. At the moment I have only some broad objectives which I will formulate into some sort of plan over the next couple of days.

Broadly speaking though the aim must be to halt my current decline and if possible reverse it slightly to where I was a couple of years ago. Also to have some specific objectives rather than have a scatter gun approach and try to do everything at once.

Once I have refined my plan I will post it so that there is some sort of accountability. In the meantime hope I would like to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

By the way, Luke joined me again for a run this morning, we did 10 miles off road. There has been a further thaw and apart from Milkwell Woods the trails where fairly snow and ice free, but very muddy.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The great thaw

Due to the Christmas festivities and the distractions of yet more food and drink I have not found the time to post anything since Christmas Eve. So here is a run down of running related activities since.

Sunday (Boxing Day) was a steady 12 miles through Pont Valley, Celestial Way and around Pont Top.

Monday saw a fresh fall of snow and I contented myself with a steady 5 miles along the Derwent Walk.

Tuesday saw a rise in temperatures and rain rather than snow. This meant a 6 mile slither and trudge along the Pont with Luke who had decided to join me on my run.

Wednesday was a brisk 3 miles - I hesitate to call this a tempo run as the pavements had stretches of frozen slush which made for difficult running.

This morning was a steady 8 miles around the Consett section of the Coast to Coast. However the frozen footpaths seemed to be more suited to ice skating than running. As I had been expecting the paths to be difficult and therefore a slow run I took the camera with me and took these photos of the sculptures along the walk at Consett.

As I write this I have just had a phone call from Liam, our club Fixtures Secretary, to tell me that the club have an entry spare for the London Marathon if I am interested. I must admit I am tempted, but after the disaster of this years attempt and my current problems with knees and hamstrings I am taking the sensible (?) option and declining.
On the 23rd November I posted about two news stories I had read. One about the Governments imminent cuts to funding in schools sports and the other regarding the ultimate possible times for world records.
Well both have been in the news again this week. Firstly, it seems as though the Government may be starting to reconsider the cutting of funding for schools sports, with funding (£65m a year) being made available for the two years following the end of the current funding. I suppose a reduction in funding is better than no funding at all.
With regards what the ultimate times for world records could be The Times has reported that John Brenkus, the presenter of an American television programme 'Sports Science' has just published a book 'The Perfection Point' and believes that the pinnacle time for the Marathon will be 1hr 57min 57sec and will be reached in the very near future. However, he says it will take much longer to reach the ultimate 100m record which he believes will be 8.99sec. Brenkus also thinks the ultimate time for the Mile will be 3min 18.87sec.
Sticking with things in the news I see that Athletic Weekly have reported on a recent survey which shows that the number of people who are taking part in athletics once a week or more in the England has grown from 1.74 million to 1.86 million in the last year and is now the 3rd most popular participation sport in England, behind swimming and football.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

The snow is still here,with further fresh falls over the last couple of days, it seems its going to be staying for a while yet. I am still managing to get in a few miles of steady running by running off road, With 6 miles clocked up on Tuesday, 7 on Wednesday and 5 today.

No running yesterday as it was the works Christmas do and I succumbed to the temptation of food and alcohol. Tomorrow is Christmas Day and I always take Christmas Day off'

So here is wishing you all a


Monday, 20 December 2010

By the light of the silvery moon

With the thermometer reading -6C and the footpaths and by-roads still little more than sheets of ice with a layer of snow on top. I had two options for tonight's run. either the treadmill or as it was clear skies and a full moon reflecting off the snow, an off road run. As you will see from the photos below I opted for a steady 5 miles off road in the snow.

Despite the sign, there was no bull - too cold!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

This weekend

Still mindful of my dodgy hamstrings the Saltwell 10km was out of the question, even though it is one of the few races to have gone ahead in the last month as the weather plays havoc with everyone's race plans. For a report of the race see

For me, well I was reminded of a quote by Jesse Owens:

"I always loved running...... it was something you could do by yourself, under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wished, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights. Just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs"

So for me the weekend looked like this:

Friday evening was cold (-5C when I set off) but the sky was clear and the moonlight reflecting off the snow made for a great off road night run.

Saturday, with the paths still very icy and slippery was another off road run. This time a steady 5 miles. Cutting across the fields, down to Cut Throat Lane and down on to the Derwent Walk, up to Ebchester then back up the fields home,

Sunday, again off road, steady down into Pont Valley, up to Leadgate and along the Celestial Way to the Transformers before returning home by way of some paths I have never used before. For a solid 10 miles.

No races but an enjoyable 3 days of running!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Up date

Well the good news is I have managed 2 outside runs since Monday's treadmill session. Tuesday was a 7 mile run around Scotswood and Newburn Bridges, with 3 miles tempo in the middle. Wednesday was a steady 5 miles on the partially cleared paths around Medomsley.

Thursday saw the return of the snow and although nothing in comparison to the amount of snow we had last time, the low temperatures mean that it has promptly frozen, making walking and running treacherous. At least with the weekend arriving I should be able to get a couple of off road runs in. The forecast for today is dry and cold (max temp 0c), with more snow for possibly Saturday and probably Sunday.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A lull between the storms?

With the return of more moderate temperatures over the weekend, it was hard to believe just how quickly the vast majority of the snow has melted. However, the paths are still covered in hard, rutted ice and ever mindful of dodgy hamstrings I once again opted for the treadmill, followed by a weights session. So another 5 miles on the treadmill, starting easy and gradually increasing the pace throughout.

Tonight is club night at the Harriers and I am planning to go down to Blaydon to train with the group, especially as the paths are a lot clearer down there. The (small) difference in height between Blaydon and Medomsley has a significant affect on the depth of snow we receive and it would seem, how quickly it thaws.

With the weather forecast predicting a return to the snow and freezing conditions from Thursday, it looks as though this may be just a brief respite.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Treadmill running

Because of the poor state of the roads and paths and my continuing recovery from hamstring problems this week has been a self imposed exile to the Gym and treadmill running. Although the treadmill provides a useful alternative to running outdoors, I find that I get bored very

easily and start to sympathise with caged hamsters.

I can't understand those who prefer running indoors on a treadmill, rather than outside in the fresh air, with differing terrain and scenery - see
Terry Lonergan's post today http://runningonempty/.

Anyhow, following Monday's session of 5 x 400, Tuesday was a steady 5 miles, as was Wednesday. Only this time to make things a little more interesting I set the T/mill at an easy but steady pace with an incline of 1%. I then increased the incline by 1% every 500m. Last night I managed 6 miles with 4 x 4mins, with 3 min jog recovery.

Although I intend to return to the treadmill tonight, I hope to get back outside for a run at least once over the weekend, if only for my state of mind.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

5 x 400

Last night I gave up on running in the snow and headed for the gym. The session was a modest one at 5 miles, with 5 x 400m in 89 sec with 400m (3 min) jog recovery. Not a session to set the world alight but it is the first speedwork of any kind that I have done for 5 weeks and more importantly, there has been no reaction from my hamstring. So hopefully it is going to be a case of onwards and upwards. I also finished the visit to the gym off with a weights session.

Another fall of snow last night, although only a light one in comparison to what we have been receiving and continuing freezing temperatures mean that I will probably be heading to the gym for most of the rest of the week.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Give me 5

With all this snow and the associated travel disruption I was, luckily, able to work from home.

My initial thoughts were to get out early morning for my run, before settling down to work. However, with the thermometer reading -10C I decided to re-assess the situation and go out at lunchtime.

And so it was, with temperatures at a balmy -1C I headed out the door for another five miles as gradually build the mileage back up.

There have been some pathways established in the snow, however, these have become rutted and frozen, so don't make for easy running. But still I am out and the miles are starting to build up, which is more than I can say for last week.

Anyone lucky enough to find a race that has not been cancelled this weekend - have a good one
and Julie at hotlegsrunner have a great marathon

Thursday, 2 December 2010

More Snow

Today's run was only 5 miles but it was tough going. With the snow over knee deep in places it was at times more of a yomp (is that a word) than a run. Slow, hard work, but fun. Definitely no chance of any speedwork but good for working on that knee lift. I May have to run up to the gym and do some faster work on the treadmill if this lasts much longer.

Cut Throat Lane

Derwent Walk

Derwentcote Steel Furnace - built early 18th century

River Derwent near Blackhall Mill

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pont Burn

Rather than run on paths where the snow has become compacted and icy, or play dodgems with the cars on poorly cleared roads, I decided to run down into the Pont Valley and along the Burn. It was not quite as cold as yesterday morning with the thermometer reading -2c.

I had planned another very easy paced run and before the novelty wears off, I took the camera along for more snowy pictures. However, as there was no adverse reaction from the hamstrings the planned 3 to 4 miles turned into 6.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Since my hamstrings are feeling a lot easier and this cold has just about disappeared I decided it was time to get out for a gentle run to see just how the hamstrings would respond and with a view to starting to get back into it.

So with the thermometer reading -3C (about 26F) I headed out into the snow and since it was an easy run, decided to take some snaps en route.

Despite my lungs feeling as though they had been cast into Dante's inferno and the memory patterns for my legs to run being replaced by those for Bambi on the ice, it was great to be back running (although shuffling is probably a better description) and there was no adverse reaction from the hamstrings, so I'm thinking same again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

In the news

A couple of news articles have caught my eye over the past couple of days. The first was regarding Michael Gove's decision that the Government cuts £162 million of sports funding in English schools. This is despite a supposed commitment of providing a lasting sports legacy for the country following the 2012 Olympics and the fact that England is currently bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

Figures show that when the last Conservative government had power in 1997 only 25% of children at state schools were given the statutory minimum of 2hrs PE per week. Under the last Labour government this figure, by 2010, had risen to 93%.

Surely reducing funding to such a degree will result in this figure dropping again, as well as having an adverse effect on other initiatives, such as the fight against child obesity. Which we are being told is increasing to epidemic proportions in this country and the resulting burdening effect this will have on such institutions (and their associated costs) as the health service.

The other article, which appeared in 'The Observer' discussed how fast man could ultimately run, featuring particularly the 100m and the marathon.

Frequently statistics of past performances and trends in performance are used to predict the possible limits of how fast a man can run. However, the article set out, that scientists are still only in the early stages of understanding the limits of human performance and that humans will continue to throw up unpredictable variables which make the prediction of ultimate world record times impossible.

I don't think many people are expecting British athletes breaking world record times in the near future, but when looking at the way things are going funding wise I think that any that do will do so despite funding and support as much as because of funding and support.

Meanwhile, from a personal running point of view, I have picked up a heavy cold and since my training has already been curtailed do to hamstring problems, this is probably the best time to have caught cold.

Finally congratulations to Catherine who knocked a minute and a half of her 10km pb at the Leeds Abbey Dash.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Someone may have to tie me down

I am absolutely itching to get out for a run!!

Yes my hamstring problem still persists. I have given up on running the Leeds Abbey Dash on Sunday, and this week has consisted of stretching and gym work, with the aim of not aggravating the problem, aiding the recovery and strengthening the surrounding muscles.

I must admit I have enjoyed the gym sessions but it is not the same as getting out for a run

Even getting out in poor weather conditions and dark wet nights for a run is much more satisfying.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Keep on running

As, It would seem, just about everyone expected; following his decision to retire after failing to complete the New York marathon on 8th November. Haile Gebrselassie has decided to change his mind and keep on running.
A decision I think most people will agree can only be good for athletics.
I wonder - will he again race the Great North Run next year? (see post for 10th November).
My day job, today brought me into contact with a company called Kinesio UK. A company who specialises in elastic therapeutic taping. "It involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support or to prevent over-contraction." This allows the muscles to be supported while at the same time allowing a full range of movement.
Has anyone used Kinesio tape? What are your thoughts?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Too much, too soon

As per usual, for me at least, enthusiasm got the better of common sense. Following an easy 4 mile jog on Thursday, a gentle 2 miles on Friday and a rest day on Saturday, Sunday saw a bright, cold and frosty morning and I decided an easy 6 miles would be achievable without having an adverse affect my hamstring. - WRONG!

Just after 3 miles the hamstring started to tighten and by the time I had completed the run the pain had spread to include my hip and abductor.

So its back to the ice, anti-inflammatory's and stretching. As this Sunday's Abbey Dash in Leeds appears as though it will be a non-event as far as my participation is concerned.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hitting the Wall

Two blogs that I have read today, Julie at Hot legs runner and Terry Lonergan at Running on empty have both discussed hitting the wall.

So flicking through December,s edition of the Running fitness magazine, it was a bit of a coincidence when I noticed an article entitled 'New carb calculator could help runners avoid hitting the wall.'

The article reports that Benjamin Rapoport of Harvard University and MIT has formulated a mathematical model to calculate how much carbohydrate a runner should consume to prevent their fuel reserves running out.

The calculator has been developed to allow a runner to calculate their own individual caloric needs both quantitatively and specifically. In the past runners have worked on averages with at times only a vague idea of how to quantify their own personal fuel requirements and as no two runners are the same i.e. different weight, different aerobic fitness, different builds, etc. etc. the calculator allows the runner to calculate their own personal needs.

The calculator can be found at

If anyone out there tries this calculator I would be interested in your thoughts

Reviews and a short retirement?

Following my stretching routine on Monday the hamstring did not feel too bad so I decided to brave the elements (strong winds and hail) and gently jogged 2 miles. Although not great, there was definite improvement and I hope I will be back running properly very soon.

Last night I attended the Great North Run Review evening and a very enjoyable evening it was. However one snippet that came from the evening came from Brendan Foster who indicated that following a chat he had had with Jos Hermens, the agent of Haile Gebrselassie, the recently retired star was already reconsidering his decision to retire and could possibly be racing again next year.

Could we be seeing Haile Gebreselassie at the Great North Run again next year?

Meanwhile I am considering another gentle 2 miles this evening.

Monday, 8 November 2010

That was a stupid thing to do

As my hamstring continues to play up there has been no running since Thursday. Although I did nothing to help myself yesterday. While walking from the house two young lads with a football knocked the ball in my direction. I controlled the ball with little effort and then drew back my right foot to return the pass - yes you guessed it. As my foot hit the ball my hamstring reminded me why I wasn't running and I was left to hobble back home.

I have been using some of the time I would have been running to catch up on some reading and in particular 'Joss' a biography about fell running legend Joss Naylor.

The book, as well as covering his exploits as a runner, details his hard upbringing on a lakeland hill farm during the 1930's and 1940's. and his life and work as a shepherd.

Joss Naylor, now 73 and still running over the fells of the Lake District, achievements include in 1975, running 72 Lake District mountains in under 24 hours (23hrs 20mins to be exact).

In 1997, aged 60, he ran 60 Lakeland fell tops in 36hrs and in 2006, aged 70, 70 lakeland fell tops, covering more than 50 miles and ascending more than 25,000 feet in under 21hrs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Playing the percentages too long

Regular readers of these posts may have noticed that I have latterly been whinging a little about my knees and hamstrings, while at the same time trying to ignore them and train as usual. Well unfortunately, last night my hamstrings gave me a final warning, and this time I am going to listen.

Last night the session was 8 x 2 mins with 2 mins jog recovery, and as I was completing the third rep I received a rather painful tweak in the right hamstring. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour and attempting another rep would probably result in worse damage I decided to just jog the 3 miles back.

So its a couple of days stretching and TLC towards my hamstring.

If anyone is racing this weekend - have a good one

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Virtual race

Christina at Laceitupandrun is celebrating her birthday today. To help her celebrate she has asked people to join her in a 3.1 mile virtual race.

So to help her celebrate I ran my 3.1 miles on an out and back course. The route can be found at in a time of 20.34. Weather conditions were 8c and raining.

Happy birthday Christina - have a great day!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

In the dark

The clocks going back to GMT at the weekend has meant a reduced choice in routes as the dark nights limit us to running on roads with street lighting.

Monday night was also a battle against the elements as strong winds buffeted me throughout a 7 mile run, from Medomsley, up to and around Consett, and back again. I also included 2 x 1.5 miles at tempo.

Last night, we managed to avoid the worst of the weather as the torrential rain eased off just as six of us set out for an interval session of 5 x 4mins with 3 mins jog recovery. The route was once again around the streets of Dunston and The Teams, with two laps of the track to take the distance up to 8 miles.

Although it has been very windy and wet, temperature wise it is very mild with temperatures averaging 9C.

My knees and hamstrings are once again objecting to my attempts at speed work so an easy 6 miles should appease them tonight.

Monday, 1 November 2010

North East Harrier League - Race 2

As I had a couple of days holiday from work at the end of last week I took the opportunity to get a couple of days away and to take things easy. I also bought a new pair of spikes for the rest of the cross country season.

Saturday's cross country race at Farringdon turned into another hard slog. The course was less muddy than in previous years but very tight which made passing difficult. After starting too far back (I should know better after all these years!) I found myself well down in the pack and forced to come to a standstill on the second bend.

I then threaded my way through the field as best as I could over the next two laps only to find myself dropping back over the last lap and final small loop, to complete the course of approx. 5.9km in 41.19 and finishing in 131st place.

After comparing Saturdays results with last weeks race at Cramlington, there is a slight sign of improvement as I finished ahead of a number of people who beat me last week. But its still a case of back to the drawing board.

Race wise I have nothing planned now for a couple of weeks when it will be a return to the roads with a 10Km at the Leeds Abbey Dash.

Sunday was a heavy legged fourteen miles along the Derwent Walk.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

More hill work

My knees and hamstrings are protesting this morning. Following a steady 6 miles on Monday, last night saw a return to hill reps. The session was a variation on last Tuesday with 6 x short hills (about 100m in length) with a brisk jog back recovery, 3 minutes jog recovery, then 4 x long hills with a steady jog back recovery. The long hill was the same hill we used last week which is 260m long with an elevation of 50m.

Again I found the session tough but enjoyable and since it is a relatively short session at 6 miles I went out ahead of the group to get some extra miles in, taking it up to 9 miles for Tuesday.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cross Country Season

Saturday was the first race in the North East Harrier Cross Country League. The race took place at Cramlington over a 9.6km course which, although has no steep hills was very heavy and muddy.

The wrong choice of shoes, studs rather than spikes, did not help in what turned out to be a poor run. Running from the slow pack I started well but soon found myself slipping back through the field as I felt empty and heavy legged. Completing the course in 42.38 and finishing 120th.

The second race in the series is this coming Saturday at Farringdon. So I have an early opportunity to put things right - Roll on Saturday!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Magic moments

Arriving home from work last night I was determined to use the remnants of day light to get an off-road run in, as the opportunities to do so over the coming months will be scarce as the evenings get darker. I must admit that I did consider taking a camara but decided against it, as the light was rapidly fading.

However, having left the house I had ran no further than 3/4 mile, when as I made my way along, just inside the woods heading for Make Me Rich Plantation. I spotted what would have made a great photograph, with three deer standing in the corner of the field as the setting sun sank behind the trees.

A little frustrated and slightly annoyed that I had left the camera behind, I continued on. The route I had chosen was a circular one of 6 miles, through fields and woods and footpaths down into the Derwent Valley with a steep climb back home again. The skies were clear and there was a cold wind blowing, and as I made my way into the last mile, dusk had well a truly set in. With just enough light provided by the remains of the setting Sun to the west and a large, bright, waxing gibbous moon. You could also see what I think was Mars, brightly shining. A beautiful night and a fantastic run - Magic

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hill reps

As I have indicated in earlier posts that I seem to be struggling with hills lately, last night's session was the start of a series of hills sessions which will (I hope) start putting this right.

As this was the first specific session it was a relatively easy one which we shall build on over the coming weeks. The session itself was 8 x Crawley Hill in Dunston, with a jog back recovery.

The hill is 260m in length with an elevation of 50m and all efforts were carried out in 50 - 52 secs. and was an enjoyable session even though I found the hills quite tough going.
The only problem is that this morning I find that my knees are once again stiff and sore, although not swollen as has been happening. I will just have to keep an eye on the situation and the ice pack handy.
So with a total of 6 miles last night and a steady 5 on Monday it has been a conservative start to the week.
image by Running stock photos

Monday, 18 October 2010

The first frosts

A busy weekend, socially, a friends bachelor evening on Friday and his wedding on Saturday, along with an (un)healthy intake of alcohol meant that my running has had to be strategically squeezed in over the last three days.

Having said this. I still managed to do an easy 4 miles on Friday (as a recovery run from Thursday's session).

5 miles off road, across the fields towards Cut Throat Lane and around Make Me Rich Plantation on Saturday.

While Sunday morning was a 14 mile run on the Derwent Walk on what was a bright, cold and frosty morning.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Wading through treacle

Last nights run was an interval session of 10 x 90 secs with 90 secs jog recovery.

The run took us around the streets of Dunston and The Teams as we did the Redheugh loop with 2 laps of the track added to bring it up to 8 miles.

90 seconds effort doesn't sound much, but it is sometime since we did short intervals and I found the last four efforts tough as the lactic acid built up and I worked to maintain my speed, while my legs felt as though they were wading through treacle.

Good luck goes out to Alan Storey in Sunday's Kielder Marathon and John and Glynis who are running the Amsterdam Marathon. Anyone else racing this weekend - have a good one!

picture by Craig Allen

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

All together now

Last nights session turned out differently to the one I had originally planned. Due to knee problems following Sunday's race and I thought it best to postpone the hill reps in favour of an 8 mile run with the middle 2 miles at tempo. Conditions were once again good for running with a still, clear night and temperatures at 7C. and although the legs still felt heavy from Sunday, the knees stood up ok and it was a very enjoyable run.

When I first joined Blaydon Harriers the club was based at Blaydon Comprehensive School. Seven years or so ago, the school was closed and pulled down. The club then split up with different groups training from different sites. We had always had problems with moving athletes through from the youth section into the Senior ranks and this was further compounded when we all trained from different sites. With the result that the club has a thriving Youth and Junior section and a thriving Masters section, with very few Seniors between.

Now though, re-development of the old school site is complete - they have kept the track (although still not a tarten track - despite promises, negotiations, plans, etc) with new changing facilities, Gym, Swimming Pool and NHS Walk -in centre. The result being the Club is now all back together and hopefully we can start getting some seniors moving through from the younger groups. The Club needs it to survive!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Hellhole 10km results

I cannot blame my slow time for Sunday's Hellhole 10km on taking the camera - But passing through Hellhole Woods looked a lot different (more mud, more hills) to this photo of the woods taken by Brian Clark.
An update on the results:
1st Liam Taylor (Sunderland Strollers) 36.33
2nd Stewy Bell M40 (Chester le Street) 37.59
3rd Steven Grey M40 (Elswick) 38.02
1st M50 was actually 4th placed Ieaun Ellis of Elswick in 38.25, with 6th placed Peter Walton of the Royal Navy, 2nd over 50 in 40.37 Making me actually 3rd M50 in 10th place and not 2nd as I reported yesterday.
First lady home was Michelle Holt of Sunderland Harriers in 41.14.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

10Km at 10am on 10-10-10

Today was the Hellhole 10km and probably like a lot of races today started at 10.00 So they could line up all the 10's - well I took it one step further by finishing 10th.

Again I felt very one paced, at least until I hit a hill when I seemed to come to an almost standstill (so I think a spot of hill work is on the cards in the coming weeks). My time of 41.59 is not the greatest (over a minute slower than the last time I ran it 2 years ago) but I do enjoy this multi-terrain course.

I have not as yet been able to get any results but I do know the race was won in 36.33 by I think Liam Taylor of Sunderland Strollers. I was 2nd over 50 about 40 secs behind the first over 50.

Congratulations to the only other Blaydon runner - Luke Aston who finished 5th in 40.59.

As I write this I am watching the Commonwealth Games, Di Green has just received his gold medal for the 400 hurdles. I must admit I have hogged the TV this weekend watching the Commonwealths - having been limited to just highlights during the week, its terrible when having to go to work gets in the way of things! but to date the most exciting bit for me has to be the last 400m of the men's 5000m.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Following last nights 9 miles (once again along Scotswood Road) which included an interval session of 5 x 3mins with 2 mins jog recovery, my legs were a little heavy and knees tender. So I decided a fairly easy run and a change of scenery were the order of the day.

So taking advantage of the last of the days sunlight I headed for the moors for a steady, although undulating, 5 miles. As it was a fairly easy run I decided to take the camera with me. These, then, are the views from today's outing:

Smiddy Shaw Reservoir:

Waskerley Reservoir:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Recession ends race

The Gateshead International Cross Country races have unfortunately been cancelled by Gateshead Council. this year, because of 'value for money issues'. This is rather ironic when Gateshead is supposed to be 'The European City of Sport 2010'. But, I suppose, only reflects the sign of the times. These races boasted many leading athletes as well as local runners but the Council felt that with numbers stagnating at about 1000 runners it had to withdraw from the event.

The International races only returned at Gateshead in 2007 after an absence of 10 years. So you never know - they may return again one day.

Meanwhile, it may have been a sunny autumn evening, last night, but the constant rain over the weekend had made the tracks into a mud bath as I slipped and slid my way around the woods of Pont Burn.


This weekend coming there is a multi-terrain 10km hosted by Derwentside Harriers, one of the local athletics clubs. The route takes in a section of the Celestial Way and Hellhole Woods, near Beamish, hence the name of the race being the Hellhole 10km. This will be my next stop on my racing back to fitness strategy. Definitely not a pb course, but fun and hard work.

After a miserable weekend the sun is shining and at a pleasant 13C it is a wonderful autumn evening - so I'm off for a run over the tracks to Pont Burn.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Window of opportunity

The quickest section of last nights training was actually before we started - Torrential rain made the dash from car to changing rooms one that Usain Bolt would have been proud of.

15 minutes later when we left the changing rooms the rain had given way to a damp and relatively warm evening (perfect for running) and on our way back from the session the temperature dropped dramatically as fog rolled its way over the river bank and across the road.

This window of perfect running weather was taken up with a 9 mile run which included an interval session of 5 x 4 mins, with 2 mins jog recovery. The old legs were still a little heavy - but some easy miles over the next couple of days should sort them out.

I am not racing this weekend - but anyone who is - have a good one!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Pushed for time

Things have been a bit hectic this week so I have not been able to update posts. In brief, this week so far has gone like this:

Monday - legs heavy and knees sore so a nice easy recovery run of 4 miles

Tuesday - 9 miles with 4 x 7 mins, with 2 mins jog recovery.

Wednesday - Gym, for weights session and 5 miles on treadmill. Since I am not a big fan of treadmills (getting bored very quickly) I decided to keep things interesting by starting off at a 2% incline and keeping the pace steady, increasing the incline by a further 2% every 2 minutes up to 14% then 2 minutes at 15% (the highest setting for the machine) before reducing the incline by 2% every two minutes until back to 1%. I followed this with a 6 minute mile and then a nice easy jog to make it up to 5 miles.

As promised, here a some photographs from Run Preston, from last Sunday

The Elite Mile:

Helen Clitheroe on her last outing before leaving for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi

The 10 km:

Just keeping ahead of first lady - Gemma Adams

"I used to be able to run up hills"

photos courtesy of Francescsa

Monday, 27 September 2010

Preston 10km

The pre-race information stated that this was not a pb course. A fact I will support for two reasons, firstly the course itself which is undulating and twisty in parts, and secondly, from a personal point of view, the state of my fitness. Having said that it did feel good to be racing, especially after having raced on Wednesday evening also.

The race was won by Gary Pennington of Preston Harriers in a time of 32.33, with Danny Parkinson of Kendal AC, second in 32.40.

After errors in the initial results, there was a pleasant surprise when it turned out that my 39th position in a time of 39.10 was good enough for second M50 place. First M50 was David Baker of Preston Harriers in 36.40. So I am still, however, a long way of the pace.

First lady home was Gemma Adams of Preston Harriers, who pushed me all the way and finished 40th in 39.11.

The 10km race was preceded by a fun run and followed by a 5km race and an elite mile race, which along with the nice sunny weather made for a great day out.

Hopefully I will have some pictures of the day to follow.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Warm and Wet

A balmy 16C and rain met the field of 17 runners as we toed the start line for the North East Vets (Masters to the rest of the world) 10000m championships at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow. As the gun sounded, Stewy Bell of Chester le Street hit the front in his usual, take no prisoners, style.

I had decided to start steady and see how it went. At the end of the fourth lap, as I moved up into 6th position, it soon became an exercise in concentration as I splashed my way around the next 21 laps. With those in front, to far in front to catch and those behind, far enough behind not to threaten.

I managed to keep the pace fairly even and finished in 39.03, 6th overall and 1st M50. Stewy Bell won the race and was 1st M45 in 34.49.

Although this was my first track race this year, this was the last track meeting in the area this season, so will now have to wait until next year for another outing on the track. I am determined to race more though and Sunday will see me travel over to the North West for the Preston 10km

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fashion faux pas

Following the publication of the picture of Nell Mc Andrew and myself (see yesterdays post) I have received a number of comments regarding the 'ancient' top I am wearing. Comments such as "Tell me you were wearing it in honour of 30 years of the Great North Run" - thanks Simon, or "You must not have picked up any prizes lately" - thanks John.

Yes, this is a bite from me - This is not my normal sartorial elegance - I was only wearing an old top to keep warm and I dumped it before the start of the race.

Below are more images from Saturdays Great North City Challenge:

For more photos of the Great North Run checkout AMcDs Running Commentary and for further comments on the GNR see Terry Lonergans Running on empty and Francesca's Journalism blogs.