Monday, 27 June 2011


Recent circumstances have meant that I have not had much time to post anything over the last week.  however, hopefully this will change.

I am still struggling to pick up the miles, with only 38 miles in for last week.  The reasons remain the same, with a continuance of the knee problems I have been having.

One of my favourite races, The Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon, is in 3 weeks time.  Described as a challenging course, I have ran this race every year since 1990.  Although there is no way I am going to be fit enough to race it, I still intend to turn out and just run the course, treating it as a hard run.

I have just finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  This is a book that is written in part as an adventure tail and in part as an editorial, but which I found to be a good read.  The book combines the history of the Tarahumara (an Indian tribe, living in the Copper Canyons of Mexico) known for their amazing feats of endurance and running abilities; the American Ultra Running scene; the authors own experiences; and theories of how man was born to run; while at the same time taking a swipe at the running shoe industry.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A frustrating week

9 arch viaduct - Derwent Walk

Yesterday's steady 13 miles on the Derwent Walk was quite a pleasing end to what started as a frustrating week.

Having got over enthusiastic following actually completing the Blaydon Race on the 9th June and putting in a few miles over the following 3 days, my knees decided once again, to mutiny.  This resulted in no running on Monday and Tuesday and a slow and steady build up to the 13 on Sunday.

Patience is obviously a virtue I have not quite mastered yet.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Is it the water?

In his posts at Terry Lonergan frequently describes one of his regular runs around 2 local reservoir and recently described that due to lack of rainfall, how empty they are becoming.  But having read an article in this weeks Athletics Weekly, from an athletics performance point of view, dwindling water supplies may not be so much the problem but the water itself.

Stoud AC runner Derek Hough, has written an article where he points the finger of blame, not just for a decline in general running standards, but also for the general increase in the size and physical shape of the general population, over the last 50 years, on the water we drink.

He believes that the decline in western distance running is due to environmental pollution, in that chemicals in tap water and elsewhere have lead to fat gain.

He argues that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC) in the water supply are the culprit.  EDC's get there by waste water being pumped into the river system for re-use in the water supply.  These EDC's come not only from natural hormones that we all secrete but also from the likes of contraceptive pill hormones, medicines, detergents, pesticides, etc and affects the endocrine system, altering its normal function.

The endocrine system controls the secretion of hormones into the body.  Hormones, of course, having a major effect upon how the body's growth and development are regulated. 

The article goes on to argue that it is not the case that young runners are not training sufficiently hard but that an increased body size is contributing to a general lethargy by the population towards exercise such as running.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Blaydon Race pictures

Some more pictures of the finish of the Blaydon Race - Thanks Francesca

A short video of the race can be found at

Friday, 10 June 2011

Blaydon Race 2011

Winner Edwin Kipkorir
time 28.25

2nd place T Shiferaw

First British man home
4th place Ryan McLeod
 After spending the whole of the last week in two minds whether to run Blaydon or not I eventually decided to just try and run around as best as I could.  I also decided not to wear a watch so that I had no pressure from checking times etc.

Conditions for the race were good with temperatures at around 13C, although there was quite a fresh headwind for the majority of the 5.9 mile route from Newcastle to Blaydon.

As usual with the sound of Jackie Browns bell ringing in our ears, the field was off to its customary fast start.  Up front there was a terrific race (or so I am told - too far back to see any of it) between Kipkorir, Shiferaw, Kiptoc and local lads Ryan McLeod and Ian Hudspith (first V40 in 5th place in 28.37).

In the ladies race Justina Heslop, of Clapham, managed to hold off her rivals to once again take the ladies title in 31.44, finishing in 24th place overall.  Also in the ladies race Blaydon's Hester Dix had a great run to finish 8th lady, 70th overall in 34.15 and first Blaydon Harrier home.

From a personal point of view, I started off steady and managed to keep a consistent pace until Scotswood Bridge (about 3.5 miles), where once I hit the incline onto the bridge, I found myself starting to struggle.  I had decided before the race if I could manage to run around in under 40 mins I would be satisfied.  So I have to be happy with my 37.28 clocking. 

Hester Dix
Blaydon Harreirs

me heading for the finish

And a welcome bottle
of Ale at the finish

Thank you Francesca for the photo's - hopefully more to follow

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Dont you just love the British summer

Still in two minds as to whether to run Blaydon or not, I was again at the Riverside track at Chester - le - Street.  The session was 6 x 600, but I decided to just do every other one, in case I do turn out on Thursday.

Just as we got started we were greeted by a roll of thunder, quickly followed by a heavy downpour of hailstones the size of peas.  Within 400m the track was totally white as we crunched our way around.  Thankfully, this did not last the whole session and we finished off with clearing skies.

For the record I did all the 600's in 2 min. but this was obviously with a longer recovery than I usually take.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

More than a race

Following an easy four days Sunday saw me once again doing 12 miles tempo.  Although more successful than the previous Sunday, I am still no where near being race fit.  However, with the Blaydon Race this Thursday, I am going to have to decide if I run or not.  If I do it, I will have to try and treat it as a tempo run rather than a race.

Frequent readers of my posts will know that the Blaydon Race is a race I refer to often and as I have posted elsewhere that the race celebrates the original horse races as described in Geordie Ridley's famous song.

Next year will see the 150th anniversary of the celebrated song.  One of my early childhood memory's is at the age of 5, standing in the crowds on Scotswood Road, outside the Ord Arms, watching the parade celebrating the centenary.

I think, I have since read, somewhere. that there was also a road race that day, not a version of the current one, but I am not sure if that is correct.  If anyone reading this knows could you please let me know.

Anyhow, getting back to next year, there is a group campaigning to have special celebrations once again.  which would be great.  Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has agreed to submit a formal Parliamentary petition on the campaigns behalf.

Anyone interested in added their  voice to the petition can do at

Friday, 3 June 2011

An easy four

Since I am easing off again due to knee problems, this evening was an easy four miles. Starting at Medomsley dropping down through the fields to Ebchester along to the the River Derwent (above), a loop around the woods, back to Ebchester and then the long climb back up to Medomsley.  The knees felt reasonable but  my legs felt very heavy. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Getting the balance right

To improve in your running and to get faster you have to repeatedly threaten the bodies survival instincts with training stimuli so that your body adapts and is able to physiologically overcompensate.  So that when the same stress is encountered again you do not suffer the same degree of physiological stress again and your body is able to handle the threat

Obviously though, it is a question of balance.  Not enough stress and there will be little improvement, too much and the body will breakdown.

Sitting here typing this post with an ice pack strapped to a swollen right knee would suggest that in my efforts to get back as quickly as possible, I have been heading for the latter.  So it will be a case of backing off a little over the next couple of days.

Last night was a track session of 4 x 1000m with 2 min jog recovery at Chester -le- Street.  The conditions were good despite the usual stiff breeze down the home straight.  Unfortunately, my knees,  particularly the right one, became increasingly painful.  So decided to opt for the cautious approach and ended the session after the third rep.

For the record the times were 3.30; 3.31; 3.37

Every cloud has a silver lining though.  When looking back at the session of 3 x 1000m I did on 4th May with 2min 30sec recovery the times were 3.37; 3.41; 3.42.  So there is some improvement at least.  I will just have to be patient and keep the progress slow but steady, I guess.