Monday, 25 June 2012

Not the weekend I had planned

As you can gather from the title things have not been going quite the way I had been planning.  Saturday was the VAANEE Track and Field Championships and I had entered and intended running the 800m, 1500m and 5000m.  Although I arrived at Monkton Stadium feeling a little flat I was still looking forward to what would be a good workout.

First up was the 1500m.  My race was for 55year old and over. Taking it on from the gun I had a comfortable lead and with about 700m to go and being mindful that I was running an 800 shortly I decided that the wise thing to do was to ease back just a little and maintain the tempo through to the finish.

Then suddenly, at about 600 to go, all the energy seemed to drain from my body, I was struggling for breath and had a mighty pain in the chest.  I have 'tied up' in races a number of times but this was something different.  Forced to stop I managed to pull myself together and get my breath back.  Determined not to have a dnf I decided to jog / run the last 500m.

The problem was the pain didn't subside and I was not feeling at all well.  Without boring you with all the details the result was that I spent the rest of the weekend as a guest of South Tyneside Hospital with a suspected heart attack.

This is quite a sobering experience but one I would not recommend.  However, the Para-medics and all the staff at the hospital were magnificent and I would like to thank them for all of their help.  I would also like to thank everyone at the track for their help, concern and well wishes and apologies for interupting the meeting.

The situation at the moment is that I can do some easy running but no races until I have had further tests as there are some anomolies showing up on my current test results.

Just for the record I finished the race in 2nd place in a time of 5.38 (by my watch) not the fastest but hey......

Friday, 22 June 2012

Make mine another glass of red

Reservatrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes and other fruit as well as in red wine, seems to have had a lot of press over the last couple of years. 

The reason being that high levels of Reservatrol can improve exercise performance due to changes in skelatal muscle and heart function.

A great argument for a post race / training glass of red wine.

Initial studies were carried out on mice and rats.  The problem is that any Human trials that have produced any relevent findings have used doses of 1gram of Reservatrol - the equivalent to 667 bottles of red wine.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Change of strategy

Over the past 30 or so years my basic strategy for training has revolved around a 7 day cycle, starting Monday and ending Sunday.  Based upon two speed session which coincide with club nights at Blaydon Harriers on Tuesday's and Thursday's, a long run on Sunday and steady miles the remaining days, with slight adjustments for whichever races I aim for / time of year etc.  This is probably very similar to most other club runners.

I am however, finding it increasingly difficult to recover from races and hard sessions.  Sometimes racing on the weekend and still not being recovered in time for Tuesday's session.  This means either skipping the Tuesday session or putting it back until Wednesday, which in turn affects Thursday's session and so on.

As a result, from the middle of June I have changed from a 7 day cycle to a 10 day cycle in the hope that this will help the situation.  It's too early to tell as yet but hopefully it will help me get the results I am looking for.

Only time will tell.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Carrying the Olympic Torch

Astounding, Amazing, Exciting, Overwhelming, Humbling can all be used to describe carrying the Torch yesterday. But none of them adequately describe how the day went.

As soon as I stepped off the Torchbearer's bus I was literally mobbed by excited people who wanted to touch and have their photo taken with the torch.

with daughter Francesca

Despite the poor weather and rain the street was thronged with people.  Then after about 20 minutes the preceding runner came into view and it was time to transfer the flame (called a kiss) to my torch.

The Kiss

And then I was off on my 300m stretch.

Despite saying this was going to be my slowest 300m ever and feeling as though I had taken my time, fellow torchbearers following on the bus seemed to think that I had given it "big licks".  But all in all it was a fantastic experience and one which I was honoured to be part of.

The last time the Olympics were held in London in 1948 there were 1688 torches that travelled 3160Km across eight countries and rather than take a direct route from Dover to London The torch was carried through the towns of Kent, Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

This time the torch is being carried by 8000 runners in Britain alone and passes at least within an hour of every home in Britain.

Thanks to Francesca and Ross for the photos

Friday, 15 June 2012

Aiming for my slowest 300m ever

I would not normally set out to deliberately run slower but tomorrow at about 4.30pm I will be carrying the Olympic Flame, as part of the Olympic Torch Relay, along Villa Real Road in Consett.  Each leg is about 300m in length and I must admit I am going to take my time and enjoy the occasion.

I don't think I was the only person, but when people started talking about the Torch Relay, I thought that the entire distance (8000mile) would be covered on foot.  But, the Flame is actually transported by vehicle between those chosen sections where the Torchbearers actually carry the Torch.

However, I just found out yesterday that a team from Endurance Life have tried to set up a route following the Olympic Torch around Britain. But, running every step of the way. Called the Real Relay, the aim is to try to reach the games before the opening ceremony.

The relay started 10 days behind the official torch relay and is currently in Scotland.  All runners who sign up for a stage are asked to donate a minimum of £10 to CHICKS a charity providing week-long respite breaks for disadvantaged children across the UK.

Not all of the stages have been taken up yet.  Most stages are about 10 mile and runners need to be self supporting so if you are interested you can sign up by visiting either facebook or

Unfortunately, though when I tried to sign up, all the legs I could manage were already taken.  However Ian (@Ianlovesrunning on Twitter) of Blackhill Bounders has agreed that I can keep him company on his 13 mile leg on 24th June, from Castleside to Esh Village via Tow Law.

 Big Thanks Ian

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

VAANEE Track Meeting Number 3

With only two days since the Blaydon Race and coinciding with Englands first game at Euro 2012 last nights track meeting at Jarrow was never going to be a big draw, and so it proved.  Having said that there were enough entries to run three 1 mile races.  one for ladies, one for over 60's and the race I ran in for 40-59 year old's.

England had already drawn 1-1 against the French as 11 of us lined up to await the starters pistol.  Still feeling heavy legged from Saturday I settled my self in 4th position for the first lap.  Going into the second lap Knight of Durham and Emmett of South shields started to pick up the pace.  I tried to go with them but could not sustain it and spent the remaining 3 laps keeping a Houghton runner at bay.  The final positions; First went to K Emmett (M40) of South Shields in 5.14.5, second K Knight (M40) Durham in 5.21.4 and me 3rd in 5.29.4

Legs are heavy now though!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Blaydon Race Results

Full results of the Blaydon Race can now be found here

I have mixed emotions over my run with my official time at 35.01, finishing in 186th place and first M55.  It was a very enjoyable run but feel that I should still be doing better!

Anyhow here are some more photos from the race - thanks to Francesca:

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Blaydon Race 2012

Despite the early afternoon brightness and sunny spells that fooled us into believing conditions would be good for this years race.  The atmosphere as usual was excellent.

A light rain started to fall as around 4000 of us lined up for the 32nd running of this event and my 29th attempt.   This year however, had extra significance as it celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Geordie Ridley's song The Blaydon Races.

Starting a little bit back from the front of the starting line I set off feeling pretty comfortable despite the usual frantic start, going through the first mile in 5.33.  However, as we hit Scotswood Road the heavens literally opened and we were deluged by torrential rain.  rain so heavy that we were soon running through ankle deep water on some parts of the road.  In fact, eventual winner, Kenyan, Peter Lemuya, was quoted in today's local Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Sun as saying "I've never raced in conditions like that before - in Kenya, when it rains we don't run!".

With a second mile in 5.52 I was still fairly comfortable but just after 3 miles as we hit the ramp up to Scotswood Bridge I started to struggle.

As we reached the turning point just past Scotswood Bridge I could see training partners and fellow club mates Mike, Alex, Peter, Dave and Davey all lined up behind me.  So it was a case of getting my head down and keeping on working.

Mike (in the photo above) caught me at the flyover and although I got back past him at the top of the incline he pulled away from me as reached the slip road about 800m from the finish.

Full results are not available yet but will publish a link when available.  In the meantime the leading results were:

1st Peter Lemuya (Kenya) 27.35
2nd Tewodros Shiferaw (Ethiopia) 27.36
3rd Tadele Geremew (Ethiopia) 27.37

1st Lady Lauran Howarth (Leigh Harriers) 30.26

1st M40 Ian Hudspeth (Morpeth) 27.51 in 6th place overall

For other views on this years 'Blaydon' the following sites are worth checking out - Running toward 40 and beyond; Runner Wanderings and northeastrunner

Photos by Francesca

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Catch up

Since it is over a week since my last post, this is a bit of a catch up as to what's been happening with my running.

Not being a great fan of the Monarchy and all things Jubilee I decided to go across to Belgium for a few days.  As I also had a few niggles and was feeling tired I decided to make it an easy few days on the running front also.

As a result over the five days I was away I swapped my usual daily running for one four mile treadmill session in the hotel gym, a three mile easy run around the northern suburbs of Brussels, sightseeing and liberal helpings of Mussels and Chips washed down with a variety of Belgian Beer.

Now that I am back home and with only two days to go until the Blaydon Race, I am beginning to wonder whether or not I 'rested' too well.

I noticed that on Twitter, today is National Running day, so at least its a good day to ease back into things.