Thursday, 19 December 2013

Its been a fuuny old year

As the year draws to a close, I am unfortunately injured again.  But, I thought I would review the year and start the process of setting next years targets.

Last year, due to general frustration at the way my running was progressing, or should we say not progressing, I set my targets for 2013 early, during November 2012.  They were:

- To climb Kilimanjaro
- To perform well in the Masters Cross country championships
- To break the M55 course record at the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon
- To do and complete 1 more marathon
- To run the length of Hadrian's Wall in 24 hours 

And I also identified one A race - The Blaydon Race.

The year started well with some good mileage under the belt and in February, my first target of climbing Kilimanjaro was achieved.

Kilimanjaro viewed from Moshi
View from the Summit
The next target,  Performing well at the Masters Cross Country Championships, proved to be less successful.  Taking place at Sunderland, only a few weeks after my return from Tanzania and full of cold.  I struggled around the course somewhere very close to the back of the field.

By now, I had found out that I had to go into hospital for an operation.  Which took place in May.  Initially I thought that this would prevent me from running my chosen A race, the 'Blaydon', on June 9th.  However, with a few easy runs under the belt I decided to start well back in the field and jog around.  As things turned out I felt better than I thought I would have and, although not performing as well as I had hoped prior to going into hospital, ended up completing the course in a faster time than in 2012 and picking up the 2nd M55 prize.

Finish of Yorkshire Wolds

With regards to the next target, well that turned out to be a comedy of errors.  Although still struggling a little I had got some good mileage in during June and early July.  However, failure on my part to establish what the correct M55 course record was  for the Yorkshire Wolds, meant I was chasing the wrong and a slower time.  I suppose it was a case of that old saying 'fail to plan and you plan to fail'.

Next up was to once again complete a marathon.  Having dropped out of the last marathon I had ran, 3 year go, I didn't want to finish running marathons with a DNF.  I realised, for a change, that I was not going to get anywhere near the times I used to do for the marathon, so decided that the aim was just to finish. 

The Town Moor marathon was the chosen race, which I finished in 3.27.36.  Over an hour slower than my pb for the distance.  But at least I had met my target.

Unfortunately, for the time being, running Hadrian's Wall has been put on hold.

Looking forward to next year.  At the moment it is a little difficult planning set targets, as I already know that at sometime in the New Year I will be returning to hospital for further operations.  However, once I get going again, the sort of things I am considering are for A races:

- The Dentdale run in March
- The Blaydon Race
- The Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon - as they are changing the course this year the M55 course record wont be there to chase but at least I can aim at setting the record for the new course.
- Having completed the marathon again this year. I know I can run faster than 3.27, so am considering another marathon
- There is also the possibility of running my first Ultra-marathon (well its one way of getting a pb)

And of course, there is still a date with Hadrian's Wall to be kept.

So plenty to think about - Bring on 2014!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Two of my favourite things

One thing about being injured, it has given me the opportunity to catch up on some reading. A couple of months ago while scouring the bookshelves of a local bookshop (yes, I still prefer mooching around a bookshop rather than shopping online). The title of Scott Jurek's book Eat and Run (two of my favourite things) jumped out at me.

Ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek's book is in part autobiography, part cookbook and part beginners guide.  Covering the course of nearly 20 years starting with his early childhood in Minnisota  and taking in his ultramarathon career, the autobiographical aspect of the book, to me, is by far the more interesting. 

Although I intend to try out some of the recipes, as a confirmed meat eater, I will not be adopting Scott Jurek's Vegan lifestyle.  However,  having said this,some of the recipes are far too simple.  For example, is it really necessary to include a recipe for making mashed potato's from scratch, ie a potato?

At just over 200 pages the book skirts over a lot of the details of the actual races but gives a good insight into Scott Jurek himself and is certainly worth a read.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Diary of a Sloth

Admittedly its not as if I have done absolutely nothing,  I have tried to exercise around my current hamstring problems by going to the gym and carrying out a variety of stretches and exercises to help rehabilitate the injury.  But, the lack of running has left me frustrated, lethargic and Sloth like.

Slothness  is something that cannot be levelled at local runner Dave Knowles, however.  On Sunday morning, as the chill rolled off the North Sea, I joined a small group of hardy supporters at the Lord Collingwood statue on the banks of the River Tyne at Tynemouth. Where we cheered Dave off on the start of his charity run.  A run that will see him finish in Trafalgar Square, London.  Having completed 13 marathons in 13 days.

Dave is hoping to raise £13000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Details and photographs can be found here and here