Monday, 31 May 2010

Views from my run

Since I was doing an easy 6 miles this morning I decided to take the camera and get some pictures to brighten up the blog.

These are the views across the Derwent Valley from Allandale Cottages and the Derwent Walk near High Westwood.

Last week did not quite see the increase in mileage I had intended but at 47 miles was still slightly up on last week.

A tempo run on Tuesday, a hill session on Friday and 10 x 1 min with 1 min jog recovery on Saturday did however see an improvement in quality.

Sunday saw a group of us doing a brisk 14 miles and I would like to thank Caroline, Liam and Paddy for helping to keep the pace brisk.

So a good week under the belt, with some progress being made. I am now looking forward to the remainder of this week.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Mind numbing runs

Circumstances over the last two days have meant that I have been unable to get in the planned mileage and with regards to tonight, the planned interval session. Instead I had to make do with a quick 3 miles and yesterday 5 miles on the treadmill.

Treadmills obviously have their place and can be useful training tools, but doing any sort of mileage on them can be boring and mind numbing. Having talked to a number of people and read in a number of blogs, such as Sunflower Kisses recent post in Lace it up and run, where she covered 8 miles on the treadmill, I know a lot of people feel the same.

But check this out for a mind numbing run (and without a treadmill!):

In 1813 'Pedestrian George' Wilson, whilst in Debtors Prison, for a bet, covered 50 miles in twelve hours. He did the 50 miles in the small prison yard which measured 11yards by 8 yards!!

'Pedestrian George' Wilson was a famous pedestrian of the time and in 1816 covered 1000 miles, in Hull, in 17 days 23 hours 19 minutes and 10 seconds.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tempo Run

After a heavy day at work I was feeling rather tired and jaded but it was a fine sunny evening and I had what turned into a very enjoyable session as seven of us set out on an 8 mile run with the middle section from the Viaduct on the Derwent walk, around the Gill loop (with its steep hill) and back to the viaduct (3.15 miles) at tempo (19.25 for me).

I intend to do this timed tempo run periodically throughout the summer in order to gauge progress. Some of the others in group did the following times:

Luke 19.10
Eric 19.30
Alex 19.35
Paddy 20. 20
Liam 20.22

I will of course be keeping an eye on their progression and how I improve against them also. so with 13 miles in for the first two days of the week I am 2 miles up on this time last week and looking forward to the rest of the week and a bigger weekly total mileage than last week.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sunday morning run

Stuck to running on the Derwent Walk again. It being a hot and sunny morning the tree lined Walk provides some welcome shade. As I worked quite hard doing a 13 mile run with long surges throughout, I felt for those doing the Edinburgh Marathon as the temprature continued to rise throughout the morning.

It felt good as I picked the pace up and really enjoyed the effort. Things seem to be getting back to normal now and this run took me to 42 miles for the week, which is a step up from the 20 mile a week I have been doing since London.

This week should see a further step up, both in mileage and quality.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Snods 6

Last night Blackhill Bounders hosted a social evening for 6 of the local running clubs at the tiny village of Snods Edge and the evening started with a 6'ish mile multi - terrain race. The first 3 and a bit miles on narrow country lanes and the final 3 and a bit, off road.

I felt this would be the perfect way to get back into racing and so lined up on a warm, muggy, country lane with about 80 others ready for the off.

The steep down hill start resulted in the obvious fast start (to fast for some) and at the bottom of the hill I found myself in 16th place. The steep downhill was, however, followed by a steep uphill section and this saw me move up to 12th. The rest of the next mile and bit were predominantly a steady climb and I worked my way up to 6th. The next two mile being, on the whole flat, saw two younger runners come past me, however I was able to maintain 8th place into the last mile. Having climbed at the beginning of the race, the last 2 miles or so were downhill and as we wound ourselves through the fields I started to lose contact on the Derwentside runner in front and was past by a young Tyndale runner. Entering a wooded section in 9th I was still hopeful of a top 10 placing. Out of the woods and hurtling (well it felt like hurtling) down two more fields, it wasn't until about 20 yards before reaching the boundary wall that my brain clicked into gear and I realised that there was no gate and that the wall would either have to be jumped (not by me) or traversed via a stile (so stile it was). Hitting (almost quite literally) the tarmac on the other side it was about a 600 yard incline to the finish. Making an effort to raise the pace I was disappointed to be caught by two other competitors 200m from the finish.

So 11th position it was ( all of those in front being much younger and nowhere near the Veteran age groups) in a time of 41.02. The race was won by Patrick Duffy of Crook in 36.48.

Although, looking at who finished in front of me , I would normally have expected to have finished in the top 6. I still feel I had a great race (following on from London situation) and really enjoyed it.

The race was followed by a fantastic buffet and a couple of pints.

THANK YOU Blackhill Bounders for a great night - I will be back next year, even if it is just for the curry.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Read all about it

At last some warmer weather seems to have arrived. Last night saw a steady five miles on the Derwent Walk in what is the start of my getting back.

It seems latterly that everyone has been talking about it and reviews in the Athletics Weekly etc have all been positive (no not my 5 mile run). I have started reading Charlie Spedding's book From Last to First and I have hardly been able to put it down - so much so I was nearly late for work this morning. I have also got a copy of Joss by Kieth Richardson to start when I do finish Charlies book. Joss is about the life and times of the legendary fell runner Joss Naylor.

Over the years I have read quite a number of 'running' books and some that stand out are:

The Running Man by Gilbert Tuhabonye
The Perfect Mile by Neal Boscombe
The Perfect Distance by Pat Butcher
Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Compiling this list it has just occurred to me that I have still not read what was considered essential reading when I first took up running and that is the book(s) by Ron Hill. I wonder if they are still in print?

Last weekend saw us have a weekend away and I have just been skimming through some of the posts from the blogs I have been following and one that caught my eye was from Terry Lonergan's blog Running on Empty where Terry suggests that prize money and expenses be diverted away from foreign athletes in favour of UK athletes. My club Blaydon Harriers holds the Blaydon Race which each year attracts 4000 runners and as such is the largest race in the North East after the Great North Run. In the mid 90's we started to offer expenses, prize money etc which attracted a number of foreign athletes, mainly Kenyon, who subsequently took all the spoils away with them. Last year it was decided that although the prize money would remain the expenses would not. Although we still had some foreign athletes in attendance I wonder if it is any coincidence that Ian Hudspeth's 27min 44sec run for the 5.9 mile course saw the first domestic winner since 1998 when Carl Thackery won in 27min 25sec (5.7 miles that year).

Friday, 14 May 2010

Follow the yellow brick road

Last night saw a, mainly off-road hilly 8 mile fartlek. A group of 9 of us set out through Derwenthaugh Park , along a section known as the roller coaster, through Thornley Woods and down to Lockhaugh. From there across the fields until we hit the road just below the dog kennels. We then followed the road down and through the houses before going off road again, fording the stream to reach the 'yellow brick road' which we followed down into Rowlands Gill and onto the Derwent Walk, taking in one more hill on the way, up to the view point and the magnificent view across the Gibside Estate and the British Liberty monument. From there it was back onto the walk and back to Derwenthaugh Park - a thoroughly enjoyable run, felt good for the first time in weeks.

Eric,although a little disappointed with his London time, seems to be coming off the marathon well and is looking strong. I think he will be revising some of his pb's over the coming weeks.

Talking of the aftermath of the marathon I have had blood test results and there seems to be a 'slight abnormality' so have had further tests and a hospital appointment arranged - oh happy days.

So the plan for now is to stick with the plan - from Monday start to steadily build up towards a decent run at the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon in July, taking in the Blaydon Race in about four weeks time.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A run on the walk

Last night was a club night and saw a small group doing a steady 8 miles along the Derwent Walk, around Rowlands Gill, back along the walk and around Derwenthaugh Park. It was a bright but chilly evening a temperature of 5c and dropping (we had snow showers yesterday morning). But despite the cold it was a great run, felt comfortable all the way (so much so that I pushed on ahead of the group without any real effort). Paddy, Luke, Eric and Andy were doing an interval session and I intend to get back to some proper work from next week. Meanwhile just enjoying getting out and running.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Parkrun and a Rant

Well Parkrun seems to be hitting the news again. Firstly, news that Parkrun is now sanctioned by Runbritain. Then locally, when last Saturday Ian Hudspeth of Morpeth won the Newcastle Parkrun in 15.07, despite running into a herd of cows on Newcastle Town Moor. Then this morning I received my weekly newsletter emailed from the Parkrun organisers, which contained the following plea:

"Please do not use your car to get to the park if you can help it. When the car parks fill up at 9am on a Saturday Parkrun is blamed. This in turn brings the authorities down upon us which, believe it or not, threatens the existence of your event."

Now I don't know if I am just being tetchy because I am not training properly at the moment (or as my daughter would say just a grumpy old man) and putting aside any 'green' issues, but is the function of the car parks not to provide parking space for the park user or and I can only speak of the Newcastle event here, does the proximity of the shopping facilities give preference to Shoppers?

Are runners and particularly road runners being made into second class citizens at the expense of 'the shopper'? In recent years a number of road races have either been lost or, if you are lucky, moved to parks or off road due to increased road usage by motorists, and is it any coincidence that this phenomenum coincided with the introduction and subsequent increase in Sunday shopping a few years back? and all this while the Government spends a fortune trying to encourage people to exercise!

I think I need to get out for a run!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Still taking it easy

I must admit to still feeling a little under the weather and I did promise Anita not to do too much until had results from doctors, so still taking it easy. Which means Sunday and Monday saw a very easy 8 miles and 5 miles on the Derwent Walk. Although both mornings were a little on the chilly side at 7C the sun was out and the trees along the walk provided enough shelter from quite a stiff northerly breeze.

I went to the track last night, but only did the warm up and warm down. Instead of doing the session in the middle I acted as timekeeper for Luke and Eric while they did a session of 400's. At first this seemed like a nice easy time but I was soon itching to join in.

So it was back to the doctors this morning for blood test and ECG. There was some discussion as too my heart rate being so low (34 bpm) even for someone who is fit and have to wait now for results of blood test - so hopefully following next weeks appointment we can kick-off again!