Last weeks training was nothing but a hard slog. I felt tired and lethargic and was well off the back during the group training session on the Thursday night (8 mile run with 15 mins tempo then straight into 3 x 3 min with 2 min jog recovery).
This week, however, things seem to be turning around. Last nights session went very well (7 mile run with 6 x 2 min with 1 min jog recovery), and I don't think it was because it was an 'easier' session.
(I don't think there is really such a thing as an 'easy' session).
Looking back on why last week was such an effort. I am, rightly or wrongly, putting the blame at the door of my preparations for the first of my 2013 targets - trekking up Kilimanjaro. As in the space of 7 days I subjected my body to 6 vaccinations (Yellow Fever, 2 x Hepatitis B, Rabies, Typhoid and Diphtheria/Polio/something else!), and I still have another 3 to come. I am starting to feel a bit like a pin cushion!
Outside of running, one of my other passions in life is beer (I do enjoy a good pint or 3). Although I rarely drink heavily prior to a race I have been known to have a little tipple. So it came as some dismay when yesterday I read Rob Hadgraft's blog Diary of a Clapped-Out Runner which details results from some recent research which suggests that although a pre-race beer may not be a good idea for the male population, it may actually be a good for women runners.
Further to yesterday's post about Geordie Ridley - His brother Stephen Ridley was Mile Champion of England. He started racing in 1854, in which year he raced '2 well known pedestrians' around Newcastle Town Moor racecourse, with 6000 spectators looking on. He won by 40 yards.
His other achievements included, in 1861, finishing 4th in a race in Sheffield, and in 1871 winning the One Mile Sensation Handicap in Gateshead, where he gave fellow competitors between 50 and 180 yards.
Compared to today, apart from major events, you are more likely to have 6000 running rather than watching. Also, races back then tended to be for wagers and heavily linked to gambling. The handicap race, probably as a result, also seems to have been a lot more popular than today.
Although, locally, there are still one or two handicap races about. For example, all of the North East Harrier League cross country races are handicapped, with runners running from one of three packs (Fast, Medium and Slow) and there being a two and a half minute handicap between packs. Also this Sunday's Blyth Sands Race is a handicap race.
Source of info on Stephen Ridley:
Gannin' to Blaydon Races! The life and Times of Geordie Ridley by Dave Harker