Monday, 28 February 2011

Snake Lane 10

Well I did say it would be a case of seeing how it goes. Unfortunately it didn't go that well.

As I warmed up before the race I was happy to notice that the recent knee pain had disappeared, so started in a positive state of mind. Going through the first mile in 6 minutes dead, I felt as though I had made a conservative but steady start. However, things soon started to backfire, with twinges from my right hamstring.

Reaching 5 miles in 34minutes, things were looking bleak as I as I continued to drop back towards the rear of the field. Fearing the worse, I decided that if I could not break 70 mins for 10 miles I was going to retire from racing altogether.

It was shortly after making this decision that I latched onto a group of four others and was able to use the group to up my pace with some success. However just after 7 miles, my lower back, glutes and both hamstrings had tightened and I was some discomfort as I had to let the group go.

The next 2 miles or so was as quick a shuffle as I could manage, reaching the finish in 66min 33sec and 106th place.

The race was won by Ricky Stevenson of New Marske Harriers in 48.03 which I think is a new course record. First M50 went to Philip Teece of Billingham Marsh House in 60.00

Thursday, 24 February 2011

See how it goes

Well with Sunday's race (The Snake Lane 10) looming it seems as though its going to be a case of seeing how it goes. Running this week has turned into a bit of a disaster. Having felt out of sorts during a shortened Sunday run, things have not improved much as the week has gone on. I seem to have cold like symptoms but cannot go so far as to say I have a cold and am feeling generally tired all the time. To add insult to injury, my knees have decided to start playing up, with pain just below both kneecaps and slight swelling to the right knee.

As a result I have only ran an easy 3 miles on Monday and last night 6 miles, with 2 miles at tempo, to see how things would go. I managed the 2 miles in 14.37 and felt I had worked a lot harder than necessary to run that sort of time.

Hopefully things will turn around a bit for the weekend

Sunday, 20 February 2011

End of week review

Awoke yesterday morning to about an inch of snow. This was confined to the higher ground however, for when I dropped down onto the Derwent Walk for today's steady 5 miler, the snow was just about non existent. I found the run a bit of a struggle, feeling very heavy legged and lethargic.

This morning I was still feeling out of sorts, so contented myself with a steady 8 miles, again along the Derwent Walk.

I recently posted about the Government plans to sell off a proportion of the Forestry Commission controlled woodland. Well, the good news is that late last week Caroline Spellman, the Environment Minister announced that the Government policy has now been scrapped.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Its a race to race

I am coming to the conclusion that training and racing are the easy part of running. Getting into the race you want is the difficult part,

The entries for this years Blaydon Race went on line this Monday morning and were full by 10.00am. Luckily for some, for the Blaydon Race (entry limit 4000) only half of the entries are on-line entries the other half are postal. So there is still a chance.

I have read recently of other 'larger' races where others have not been so lucky, such as the Brass Monkey half marathon. Where all entries were on - line and filled within a day, leaving some regular runners in the event without an entry.

Other races that I know of, which have filled quickly, so far, this year are the Northumberland Coastal Run and the Snake Lane 10.

Luckily, so far this year, I am on for a new pb, having so far entered 3 races which fill up quickly and got into each of them. Starting with the Snake Lane 10, next week.

Training wise it has been a bit hit and miss this week. Having struggled badly with a steady 15 on Sunday and feeling a bit under the weather, Monday became a rest day. Tuesday was 8 miles with 3 x 10 min, with 5 min jog recovery. Last night was 5 miles easy and the plan tonight is for 2 sets of 5 x 1 min.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Change of scenery

Saturday dawned cloudy and miserable, but as the day went on, it gradually brightened and became warmer.

Fancying a change of scenery we headed up the Northumberland coast to Craster and I ran from there, past Dunstanburgh Castle, Embleton and up towards Beadnell and back again.

Although the sand on the beach sections was firm, the grass section around the castle was muddy and heavy.

As the sun burned off a light mist, the temperature began to rise and it became one of those winter afternoons that promised Spring was not far away.

This section of the coast forms part of the popular Northumberland Coastal Run from Beadnell to Alnmouth. Held every July it has been voted (I think by Runners World magazine) as the most scenic race in Britain. As a result entries now fill up within a couple of days of opening each January.

All in all a magic run!

Photos by Francesca

Friday, 11 February 2011

5 x 5

Club night, last night took us along one of our popular routes, from Blaydon, along Scotswood Road, around Newcastle Business Park and back. The session, which I found tough, was 5 x 5mins with 3 mins jog recovery.

The legs were still a little heavy from Tuesday's session but I was able to maintain a good pace throughout each rep and not give too much away (apart from 30 years) to the younger members of the group.

I also managed to squeeze in a quick 4 miles yesterday morning, so things are starting to pick up a little. I can remember when training twice a day was the norm rather than the exception, but still ......

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Last nights fartlek session was a group affair, with 12 of us taking turns to decide the recovery, length and speed of each effort, as we put in 8 miles around the Ryton loop. It turned out to be an enjoyable but inevitably fast session as even the slower members of the group felt they had to up the pace significantly on their turn to lead.

To add a bit of spice only the person leading the effort knew its duration, and everyone else just had to hang on / follow, until they decided to slow to a jog.

Last nights efforts have again resulted in very tight hamstrings, although thankfully no adverse reaction from my knee.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Mud glorious mud

Yesterday's 6.2 mile North East Harrier League cross country race on Newcastle Town Moor was a bit of a slog. With a very heavy and water logged course, persistent rain and a chill wind.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find any results,as yet, but I managed to get around the two short and one long lap in, a not very impressive, 46min 50 sec to finish 3rd counter for the team of 6 behind Luke and Daniel, with Steve, Paddy and Brian making up the team.

Despite a little disappointment it was an enjoyable run in testing conditions. The heavy ground, did however, take its toll as I ended the day with very sore and tight hamstrings and a swollen right knee.

The North East Harrier League is primarily a team event and each race is ran on a handicap basis.

The Harrier League was my first taste of success as a runner, when I was a part of the Blaydon team that won the league in the 1981/82 season (my first winter of running). Four year ago was the nearest we got to winning again, only losing out to Sunderland Harriers on countback after the final race. Unfortunately the following years resulted in a mid league placing, followed by relegation to Division 2 and last year further relegation to Division 3.

This year we are making a concerted effort to start working our way back up and hopefully yesterday's efforts will consolidate our position at the top of Division 3 with 3 races remaining.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

30th Anniversary

February 2011 is the 30th anniversary of my starting to run. As I have said elsewhere in this blog I started running in 1981, in order to complete the first Great North Run. The GNR that year was in June and I started my training in February, not sure of the date in February, but it was February.

Following the GNR I had no intentions of continuing running. However, Anita was still in Teacher Training at the time and one of her lecturers just happened to be a coach at Blaydon Harriers. Following some persuasion by him I decided to try out the Harriers in the August and have ran ever since.

I did not start keeping training logs until September 1981, but looking back over them I have managed to clock up a total of 79,105 miles since then. I have also competed in 916 races (every distance from 100m to the marathon) and won 54 of them.

So by way of celebration, last night was an 8 mile run around Newburn and Scotswood Bridges, with 5 mile at tempo.

Here's to the next 30 years!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Hug a tree

Following on from yesterdays post if anyone is interested there is an on line petition against the Governments proposed sell off of our woodland. It can be found at: