Monday, 31 December 2012

Ending on a high

On December 12th I set myself a mini target, by way of saving something from what turned out to be a poor year for my running. The target was to reach 2012 miles for 2012, and I am pleased to say that 9 miles along the Derwent Walk this morning took my mileage for the year up to 2012.

So at least I have finished the year on a high and can now look forward to 2013.  Having already chosen my targets for the year (see No pussyfooting post October 12th) the first one, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, is up in just under four weeks time.

For the record the other targets are:

BMAF Cross Country Championships - March
Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon - (M55 course record) - July
BMAF Marathon Championships - October
Run the length of Hadrians Wall in 24 hours

In the meantime, all the best to everyone for the new year and I hope you achieve your targets

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Don't stop the world

The world can't end tomorrow.  I have a whole new training schedule for the new year!

The Mayans seemingly predicted that the world will end tomorrow.

21st December 2012 is the end of a five, 125 year long cycle in the Mayan long count calender.  This has led some to believe that the end of the calender signifies the end of the Mayan fourth world.  The fourth world being the world that the gods built for humans to live in.

Well, if they are right then not too many people will be reading this after today.

But, if by the end of the world they mean the end of society as we know it - then I look forward to meeting you hunter gather types in the hills,

Happy Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Walk and run

With the cloud stubbornly clinging to the tops of the hills this weekend saw us in the Yorkshire Dales. With our impending trip to Kilimanjaro now only 6 weeks away it seemed like a good idea to actually do some walking.  The result was that 5 of the 7 heading off to Tanzania in January headed for the 'three peaks' this weekend.

Leaving Horton in Ribbledale on Saturday morning we headed up Ingleborough via Gaping Gill.

 Considering the time of year we could not really ask for much better weather.  The tops of the hills though had some snow and quite a bit of ice which slowed things a little.

Ingelborough completed by lunchtime, Whernside was next on the agenda.

Sunday, however, we reverted to type and ran 9 miles which included climbing Pen y Ghent.

All in all a smashing weekemd

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A mini target

Last night's training turned out to be an 8 mile run with 15 minutes at tempo, rather than the planned interval session.  The reason for the change was down to one of safety.  With the temperature below freezing and paths icy and slippery, we decided we would have more control and therefore be less likely to fall/become injured by doing a tempo session.

Whether this sense of security was purely psychological or not I am not too sure and is open to conjecture.  But, the session passed without incident and was therefore a success.

The weekends activities in Hartlepool are still obviously having an effect as my legs were still feeling on the heavy side.

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that things, this year, have not gone quite as planned.  One of the things that have not met my expectations for the year is my overall mileage.  Currently standing at 1873 miles for the year, it is somewhat short of what I expected.

So, as I result, I have set myself a mini target of reaching 2012 miles for the year.  In the past this would not have been in any way difficult, or indeed a worthwhile target. But today it is something to aim for as the 139 miles required over the next 2 and a bit weeks is in excess of what I could achieve on my current weekly mileage. 

For the record my biggest ever weekly mileage was 116 miles - those were the days!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

"Mud, mud, glorious mud"

I think the next line of the song is "there's nothing quite like it for cooling the blood".  However with the temperature hovering not too far above freezing, the cooling properties of this veritable mud bath was not going to have to be called upon.

Summerhill, Hartelepool was the setting for yesterdays 107th running of the North East Cross Country Championships.

I had ran at this venue on two previous occasions and knew it would be a tough and testing course.  As we toed the line I headed to the middle of the pack, as we stood Penguin like, huddled from a cold breeze coming off the nearby North Sea.

Then as the gun sounded, I was seduced. whether by the call of the Siren just off the nearby coast or by memories of previous good runs here (2nd in the VAANEE Cross country Championships in 2001), who knows.  But, the result was that I went off harder than I should have,

At the end of the first of four 3000m laps I was closing down on training partner, Luke,who had gone off even faster, and was feeling pretty good.

However, as I forded the stream for the second time and started up the next climb, I was reminded of just how fit (or unfit) I currently am.  Although I managed to maintain things for the remainder of the lap, I started to drop back during lap 3, before going into free-fall on the final lap as everyone I had worked hard to pass over the previous 3 laps all came back past me.

Hopefully, they had time to admire my impressions of Bambi on ice as my legs turned to jelly.  The course and conditions took there toll and there were numerous fallers.  Surprisingly I saw none on a short, steep downhill section about three quarters of the way around the lap.  Which was so muddy and slippery the only thing to do was to adopt the tactics of a Lemming.

Coming into the finishing straight, which was about 60m along the side of a football pitch, I was passed by two other runners sprinting for the finish.  Initially I had the unfamiliar thought of 'just let them go, I'm knackered' but a split second later I was giving chase and although I held off one of them the runner from Durham Harriers got the better of me.

With a finishing position of 190th in 55.48 it was not the best of runs by any means.  But a little later as I sat in a semi vegetative state with a restorative cup of Green Tea in hand I realised just what a grand afternoon I had had.

The race was won by Andrew Wiles of New Marske Harriers in 39.48, from Leeds City's Carl Smith in 39.52.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

"We come from the land of ice and snow"

Winter is once again back with us and as I skittered and slid my way around a six mile loop last night, the words of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song sprang to mind.  Unlike in the song, there are no hot springs here abouts but a nice hot bath to soak in post run was more than welcome.

View across Gibside
Sunday Morning
Sunday morning had dawned bright sunny and very frosty and the Derwent Walk seemed to have attracted a host of runners.

Although I struggled over the final three miles, I was happy with my total of 17 miles for the day.

Overnight Sunday and into Monday morning the snow arrived and although we did not have a heavy covering the cold temperatures throughout the day ensured that it had frozen by evening.  Making the footpaths quite treacherous.

So it was a steady but stuttering run on heavy legs to start the week off.