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!