Tuesday, 8 December 2015

I just don't know what to wear

What to wear when you are running, at least for me, is determined not by fashion but the weather conditions and with regards to footwear, the terrain.  Normally at this time of year I am dressing for cold icy winds and possibly snow. However, the mild weather of late has made picking the correct clothing a bit more of a lottery and seen me wearing shorts well into November..

Two weeks ago, last Saturday and I was out running in our first covering of snow.  Only for the temperatures to rise back up to 13C  or so over the following week.

Last Monday evening, training partner Luke and I more or less skated around a very icy 'Blackhill loop'.  While last night we covered the same route in a blustery breeze with temperatures again back up to 11C.

As to whether global warming is to blame for the situation is possibly still open to some debate.  But what I do know is that it is playing havoc with my wardrobe selection. As I frequently find myself 'over heating' while out running.

At least I am still getting out though.  A heavy cold and some family circumstances meant that I was unable to meet my target of returning to racing during November (I am now waiting until the New Year).  But I have been able to maintain my weekly mileage and more lately increase the quality with some structured speed sessions.

So I will be sitting down over the next few days and picking some target races for the New Year.
 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

My drug of choice

I hope that the title of this post has not lead you to expecting some great revelation of drug taking on my part.  But I do have a drug of choice:

                                                                      Running

Much has been written in the past with regards to the 'runners high'.  However, an article in last weeks AW reported on a study by Cumberland University in Tennessee which found that 16.5% of runners of all abilities, suffer a craving for running that is so strong that it can be likened to a physical addiction to drugs.

Probably not surprising, the study found that those who ran more miles on more days than average were most at risk of developing a dependence on their activity.  'Cravings' they found, were especially prominent among those who ran half and full marathons, and not being able to get a 'fix' of running could lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression in some runners.

I have thought about this article and some of the comments made of me by friends and family over the last week and although I am not looking for some sought of cure.  Nor do I necessarily suffer from either of the above complaints.  I will admit:

                                                    I am a runner and I am addicted.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

More pain, please

It's a while since I posted an update as to how my running is going.......

Well I am happy to report that it is going well.  Since having to miss the Great North Run in September I have been able to steadily put some miles in.  Not massive mileage but between 40 and 50 miles a week.

Initially this was just steady running but over the last 2 or 3 weeks I have been able to start introducing some interval training. 

Friedrich Nietzsche
I must admit that I am not finding it easy to adapt back to this routine, but I am enjoying it.  This is the first decent block of training I have achieved in the last 4 years.  So that has to be good!

The aim, as always, is trying to get the balance right and increase the workload without going too far.  Tonight's interval session will be the second of the week - Can't remember the last time I did two speed sessions in one week.  And although the legs feel heavy, I am ready to go!

So, bring on the pain.  After all as Friedrich Nietzsche (and more recently Kelly Clarkson) said:

                                      What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Why?

I have just been reading a news report regarding a 28 year old entrant ( I will refrain from calling him a runner) in last weekends Nairobi marathon.  Julius Anjou hid himself among spectators and as the race neared its end, joined in and went onto claim 2nd place.

I know this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened but I still can't understand why anyone would want to do such a thing!



On a brighter note.  I must admit to enjoying the odd beer or two after a run.  A practice that is often criticised by some.  So it was interesting to read of two new high protein beers that have been produced with athletes in mind.

The Supplemental Brewing Co. in Illinois  has produced  an American Wheat beer with 7 gms of protein and 5% alcohol. While there is a lager NutrBeer which at 4% alcohol contains 4 gms of protein.

Could this catch on?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Could this be the fastest marathon yet?

The editorial of last weeks Athletics Weekly pointed to  big city marathons that are dropping the use of pacemakers.  Highlighting the Chicago Marathon not using pacemakers for the first time in 20 years and the forthcoming New York marathon which has not used pacemakers since 2007.


It goes on to point out that there are some athletics fans who relish the idea of fast times (and of course the sub 2 hour marathon has featured frequently in not just the sports media of late), while there are those who enjoy a more strategic race rather than just speed.



Well Athletics Kenya have recently announced that they are to hold their first ever Olympic Trials for the marathon.  Taking place on the second weekend of February next year.  When the first three male and female finishers will be selected.

Given the plethora of fast marathon runners within Kenya then this could  surely be one of the fastest marathons ever - unless of course the runners become wary of each other and it turns into a slower, more strategic race?

                                                               .....................................................

As far as my running is concerned I did a session of Mile reps last week,  as I start to pick things up a bit, and yes I did need the help of someone (a pacemaker) to pull me through - Thanks Liam!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

You're so vain

There has been lots written and studies carried out regarding the difference between actual effort and perceived effort when exercising.  Often people feel that they are exercising harder than they actually are.

To help counteract this people often use strategies such as listening to music to help them concentrate and so exercise at a harder rate.

I am not sure if this is a surprise but a study conducted at Northumbria University found that men, when exercising in the presence of a female, that their Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) dropped.  However, if they exercised in the presence of a fellow male their RPE goes up!




With regards to my own running, I seem to be over my calf problems and have been able to get a few weeks steady running in - The aim now is to introduce some speed work and aim to start racing again by the end of the month.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Cross Country but not as we know it

Well it's that time of year again, with the cross country season kicking off this weekend at Tanfield and the first fixture in the North East Harrier League.  Unfortunately though I will not be running it due to on -going problems with my right calf.  Although, I have started running again.

The calf problem also prevented me from doing the GNR and is also the reason why there have been no blog posts since the beginning of the month.

Although the conditions should be fairly good for the race at Tanfield it won't be long before we are faced with the muddy courses we are all familiar with. Unlike the one at the Masters World Championships which I ran in Puerto Rico back in 2003. The course was alongside an idyllic tropical beech and the race was ran at 6.00am to avoid the heat of the day, on a flat, lapped course with the only obstacle a small tree trunk which you had to 'jump' or should I say step over.

For the record I finished in 8th position in the M45 race with a time of 29.09 for the 8km course.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A touch of serendipity

It is a little while since I posted anything here.  This is due to the fact that unfortunately, not much has been happening on the running front.

Firstly, I picked up a calf injury which resulted in missing nearly 3 weeks of running.  I then managed to get a couple of very easy short runs in before I was off on our family holiday to Santorini.  For the first week I managed an easy three miles every other day.  Keeping as far as possible on the flat.  The second week I found some hillier routes, especially the trail up to the Spring of  Zoodochos Pigi (spring of life).  But towards the end of the week I was having difficulty putting any weight on my left foot, which resulted in a further 3 days without running.

Now back at home, although my left foot is still giving me some problems I am again running and hopefully I can get into some sort of shape for the Great North Run a week on Sunday.

                                                             ........................................


Having read 'Running with the Kenyans' on a previous break I decided that this year's holiday reading would include 'The Way of the Runner' by the same author, Abharanand Finn.

 In this book he investigates how Japan, with its in depth distance running talent (52 Japanese men ran sub 2.15 for the marathon in the year following the 2012 Olympics, while only 12 Americans and no UK athletes achieved this) cannot translate this into global success.

One of the main area's Finn identifies as a cause for this is the massive emphasis the Japanese place on ekiden events.  Which are just about a national obsession , with massive TV and media coverage.  Particularly the Hakone event (see my post of 12th June).




                                                           ..................................................

And a touch of serendipity..............

Kanagawa station
It may not be obvious from this blog but I do have other interests, other than running.  One of them being Ukiyo-e.  Over the last few years I have built up a small collection of 19th century Japanese woodblock prints and have two examples from Ando Hiroshige's 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road.

As mentioned in my post of 12th June Ekiden is the Japanese term originally referring to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communications by stages.  The view from the end of each stage or station is what is these pictures show.

Kuwana station

However, it was only upon reading 'The Way of the Runner' that I discovered that the route of Japans most popular ekiden, Hakone, follows the route as portrayed by Hiroshige in his Tokaido Road series.

The two pictures of the prints to the left, of Kanagawa and Kuwana are from my collection.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cross Training


Unfortunately it is now a week since I did any running.  I was about 2.5 miles into a 7 mile run last Tuesday, when I felt a sharp pain across the top of my right calf.  This resulted in my having to walk/jog /shuffle back to the changing rooms.

Since last Tuesday, I have been relying on cross training (mainly swimming) to try to maintain my fitness levels.

The problem is however, that these exercises are only maintain or build functional strength and getting this injury following on from an already poor year, I am definitely in need of something more specific soon.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Return of an old favourite - sort of

The Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race was at one time the countries oldest road race, held every New Year's Day, the event, I believe, began in 1904.  'The Morpeth' was a race I enjoyed (?) on many occasions.

Originally the distance covered between Morpeth and Newcastle was 13.6 miles.  This was extended to 14.1 miles in 1983.  However, following some issues regarding safety precautions the distance was reduced to the standard half marathon distance of 13.1 miles m 2002.

Unfortunately, these safety issues continued and led finally to the event coming to an end, with the last race being held in 2004.  Since then Morpeth Harriers have hosted an 11km race in Morpeth each New Year's Day.

Now, however, there are plans for a new Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race in 2016.  In fact there are plans for two new 'Morpeth's'.  As there will be a choice of a marathon and half marathon' on fully closed roads between Morpeth and Newcastle, with sections of the race encompassing sections of the original route.

The race will not, however, be taking place on it's traditional date of 1st January but the 17th July.

For further details check out @M2Newcastle on Twitter or click here

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon Results



Winner - Phil Taylor






The leading positions for this years race were

1st Phil Taylor (Bridlington RR) - 76.32
2nd Trevor Wicks (Leeds City) - 81.23 - Also first M40
3rd Lindsay Toulon (York Knavesmire H) - 82.00 and 2nd M40

First Lady - Sharon Barlow
 







First Lady - Sharon Barlow (Darlington H) - 92.09
2nd Tara Spillings (unatt) - 96.53
3rd Cheryl Oakshott ( City of Hull AC) - 99.44












AS for my official result - I finished in 46th position in a time of 99.35.  With regards to my age group, I finished 4th M55.  David Spillings taking the honours in 96.27.

Full results can be found here









Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon 2015

As stated in the previous post, my aim for this race was just to get around, hopefully in a time faster than last year.  So as we gathered for the start on the road outside the Bishop Wilton Show Field.  I wormed my way well down in the field.  Opting for a easy start and hopefully being able to work my way through the field.

 
There had been 158 pre -entries for the race but a flurry of entries on the day took this to over 200 and most of them seemed to be ahead of me as I settled into a steady rhythm.


Although my aim was just to get around in a quicker time than last year, I must admit I did have an eye on a time of around 98 minutes.  Not a fast time by any means but certainly a time that would be a vast improvement on my recent form.

The first mile is a quick mile but I was still surprised to find that I passed the mile marker a minute and a half quicker than I expected from my loose plan.  But still the hills were to come and I had no doubt that I would loose time there.

One of the advantages of starting way back in the field was that, at least the first part of the race, I was passing people all along the way and that included on the hilly sections.  In fact on the long uphill to the finish I was still able to hold my position.


The race was won by, probably the pre-race favourite (at least in my eyes) Phil Taylor of Bridlington.

At the moment I am unable to find a copy of the official results but I think  I managed to finish in about the mid 40's in a time of 99.34.  Just over 6 minutes quicker than last year.  So I have to be satisfied with that.

At least until next year.........................................



Thanks as usual goes to Francesca for the photos.  More pictures of the show can be found www.francescadent.wordpress.com


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Old favourite

Well it's that time of year again - mid July and time for the Bishop Wilton Show held in East Yorkshire.

More importantly, as far as I'm concerned - held in conjunction with the show is the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon.  This year will see the 31st running of the event and, if my calculations are correct my 25th attempt.

Start of Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon
 2012
When my race number and the race programme arrived on my doormat yesterday it was nice to see that I was still listed as the M40 course record holder at just over 73 minutes.  That was 18 year ago and the second time I had won the race outright.

The last three years have seen poor performances by yours truly due to on-going health problems and unfortunately it looks like a similar story this year.  As a recent visit to the hospital has confirmed that the Cardioversion I underwent in May has not been successful.

Having said that I still feel better than prior to the procedure and at least hope to beat last years time.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Scott Says............

Always run through the finish line


If I ever get anywhere near the front of a race again I will be sure to remember this.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Red Kite Trail Race - results

Further to my post yesterday  - the good news is that I actually finished in 14th position and not 15th as I thought.

For the record the leading finishers were:

1st  Matt Hornsby (Durham City)
2nd Patrick Duffy (Blackhill Bounders)
3rd David Heslop

1st Lady Adele McAteer (Blackhill Bounders) and 11th overall
2nd Lady Lesley Jackson (PB Fitness) and 16th overall

Full results can be found here

Monday, 6 July 2015

Red Kite Trail Race

As we lined up along the side of the road on a sunny Sunday Morning, the ringing of a cow bell got this inaugural 8 mile trail race underway.  The race starting on Dipton Front Street was hosted by Derwent Valley Trail Runners.

Although just working my way back to some fitness, as this race was more or less on my doorstep and the course covered a lot of the paths I run on in training, I felt that I just had to turn out.

I knew it would be a bit of a challenge for me and so it proved.  As we headed out on a short section along Front Street, before turning off and heading down into the valley along gravel tracks, climbing stiles and through the fields until we reached the woods.  With plenty of fallen trees and other such obstacles to navigate.

By halfway I was beginning to struggle and had dropped from 9th place to 12th.  But, by the final 2 mile, consisting of very muddy tracks and mainly uphill  I was definitely floundering and reduced to a walk on some of the hilly sections.

On the final climb up to the finish I was passed by a further two runners and now back in 16th position.  However, as we hit the front street again and the short run in to the finish I managed to muster a sprint finish and pull back one place for 15th.

This was a great little race and with plentiful post race tea, coffee and soup  it is already pencilled into next years diary

Friday, 12 June 2015

More running events in the Olympics?

Their have been applications from 26 new sports to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  The list of applications includes, Baseball, Sport Climbing, Surfing and Karate, see Inside the Games

No pun intended, but currently the only running orientated event to find its way onto the list is Orientation.  However, Brett Larner in his blog Japan Running News suggests that an Ekiden would be ideal.

For those who don't know an Ekiden , which comes from the Japanese term originally referring to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communication by stages, is a long distance relay running race, usually on the roads.

The Ekiden is very popular in Japan, and although the distance can vary, as can the number of runners.  Brett Larner suggests a course that already exists.  The Hakone Ekiden Day One course which comprises of "five stages, each roughly a half marathon, with 900m of climb on the final stage finishing in full view of Mt. Fuji.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Blaydon Race - Photo's

 
      Blaydon Race -Twas on the 9th June
 
On the road to Blaydon  
 








Thanks to Francesca for the photos - more can be found here

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Blaydon Race 2015

Warm, near perfect conditions greeted the 4000 or so runners for this year's race.  My original plan was to just jog around the course and enjoy the atmosphere as we wound our way along the route made famous by Geordie Ridley.

However, as we lined up on the narrow starting line I spotted someone ahead of me who I recognised and knew would keep a steady pace and my plan changed to tracking them for the first 3 mile and then see what happens

As we got underway I homed in on my unsuspecting pacemaker, only to pass him after about 50 metres.  So much for plans!

As 7.10 pace is the quickest I have ran in the last 4 months (and that was only for 1 mile) reaching the first mile marker in 6.40 I thought to myself that this could get interesting (painful) by the end.  However, I kept it going, passing 3 mile in 19 minutes.

Then just after the 3 mile point as we hit the drag onto Scotswood Bridge I started to slow and I noticed people I had already passed coming back past me.  But, I kept it together and completed the 5.7 miles in 38.22 (chip time 38..09). 55seconds quicker than last year and an average pace of 6.43.

So I have to be happy with that and can now start picking things up a bit in training.  For  the first time in years things seem to be moving forward!

The race was won by Morpeth's Jonny Taylor in 26.25, while Alyson Dixon led home the ladies, finishing in 19th position overall in 29.40.  Full results can be found here

Hopefully my next post will be some photo's from the race.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Getting back into it

Last night I did an 8 mile fartlek session.  This was my first attempt at any kind of speed work since the Cardioversion procedure 3 weeks ago.  The week of the procedure saw me get 18 miles of very easy jogging  in.  The following week I managed 28 miles and last week I up'd it to 43.  All slow and easy miles.

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon
I am feeling a lot more comfortable when I am running now, which is great, but the problem now is after so many months of slow / easy running it is difficult to pick up the pace for any length of time. So I am viewing last nights session as the start of, "getting back into it".

Although it is a little early to start thinking about racing, my clubs race, 'The Blaydon' is next Tuesday and I intend to just run around the course, treating it as a harder training run and enjoying the atmosphere.

I have also entered the Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon on 18th July.  Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know that this is one of my favourite races.  This will be my 25th time of running it during its 31 year history.  As to whether I will be in any sort of shape to race it rather than just run around remains to be seen.  But, here's hoping!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Zapped

Well my Cardioversion went ahead on Tuesday and I am glad to say that it was a success and I once again have a regular heartbeat.  Basically the procedure consists of a metal plate being placed upon your chest and another on your back, while an electric current is passed through you stopping and restarting the heart.  If the procedure is a success then your heart beat returns to a regular rhythm.  When thinking about it I keep thinking of a scene from an early black and white Frankenstein film, where The body is lying on the table waiting for the lightning strike to bring the body to life.

I have only done a couple of very easy 5 mile runs since Tuesday and although I am not bounding about like some spring lamb I do feel a lot more comfortable when running than I did prior to the procedure.  Whether this is all in the mind, actually the case or a combination of both I am not sure.  But whatever the case I feel a lot happier and I can now start planning and working towards some races.

                                                    ................................................

Back in May 2011 I published a post about art in running. This week I came across a video celebrating the 61st anniversary of the sub4 minute mile. Entitled IffleyRoad icons which consists of 270 hand drawer frames, featuring icons of British running.


Video from Iffley Road

Friday, 8 May 2015

Then and now

THEN...........

The copy of the race results in my last post got me to thinking.  1997 was a good year for me, the club championships on 1st April were just over 6 weeks before my 40th birthday.  Already that year I had finished 13th in the Morpeth to Newcastle on New Years Day, Finished 7th in the Redcar Half Marathon in 69.56 on a very windy day (the last time I went sub 70 mins) and 3rd counter for the North East team in the Inter Counties 20 mile race held in conjunction with the Spen 20 (14th overall in a time of 1.54.17 - it was won in 1.59.30, this year).

Looking back through my diary There were plenty of other good runs. However, my main targets for that year were to run the first leg at the Masters National Road Relays at Sutton Park on the day of my 40th birthday and come back first, which I did.  And to win the Master's 10,000m championships.  Unfortunately I could only manage second in 32.12.9.

NOW............

Well I am still just running easy and clocking just over 30 miles per week, trying to maintain a base level of fitness.

Next week, however, I am due to go into hospital for the Cardioversion on Tuesday.  So hopefully I can soon start to slowly build things up fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

That was then.........



Over the last weekend I was clearing out some old stuff and found this set of results from the Club Cross Country Championships of 1997 tucked inside the cover of a book.

Looking through the list of names the main thing that struck me is, unfortunately, that most of them don't seem to be running any longer.

Apart from myself, those that are:

- Phil Walker is now running for Morpeth Harriers.
- Liam Frail is still running but currently suffering from a long term injury.
- Dave Mitchinson has just turned 60 years of age and is plotting a comeback.
- Brian Liddle  was Blaydon's third counter in our recent  Over 55's Bronze medal Team at the NEMAA Cross Country Championships.
- Reg Parker is currently helping out with coaching the youngsters at the club and having ran every Great North Run to date, is getting himself into shape for this year's Run.
- Tony Livingstone, no longer runs but is the 'throws' coach at Blaydon.
 

Friday, 24 April 2015

A quick round-up

Apart from last week, when I had a particularly poor week in running terms.  I have managed to maintain a weekly mileage of 35 miles.  Unfortunately it has all been steady /easy paced running, but it has kept me sane.

But now I have had confirmation that my Cardioversion is to take place on Tuesday 12th May.  So hopefully the end is in sight and I can now look forward to planning a slow build up to, hopefully, some kind of form.

                                                        ----------------------------------------

At the end of last month I wrote a post about Nell McAndrew's new book, A guide to running.  Which was published on 9th April.  So it made my day when, this morning, whenI received a text from a friend saying that they had just watched an interview with Nell on Lorraine Kelly's show on ITV and that I had got a big mention

- Thanks Nell!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

What does being a runner say about you?

With the General Election getting ever closer here in the UK, it was interesting to read an article at www.northernrunningguide.com who were reporting on the findings of a psychological study carried out on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.

The findings suggest that the type of sport we choose say's a lot about our personality traits.  For runners this was that we are more likely to vote Labour.

Alongside being a Labour voter the findings also suggest runners are likely to be extroverts, love being the centre of attention and listen to lively, upbeat music.

The results also indicate that our choice of sport is also an indicator of where we live.  With running being the sport of choice in Newcastle and Leeds.

From a personal viewpoint, I know that I tick some of these boxes (not telling which ones) so maybe there is something in it.

To read the full article and a summary of the other popular sports click here

Monday, 30 March 2015

Out April 9th

Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis will know that I frequently post my thoughts on any books about running that I have been reading.

This time it's Nell McAndrew's Guide to Running, due to be published on April 9th.  The book, co-written with Lucy Waterlow, highlights Nell's love of running.  Aimed at those who are looking to take up running as well as those looking to improve, the book is packed with practical tips.  With specific sections looking at areas such as nutrition, women's running and the marathon.

The book also describes experience's of 'real' runners.

I suppose that it is here that I should admit my bias towards this book as I was asked and gladly submitted some training schedules for beginner, intermediate and experienced runners for the half marathon and full marathon.  Although if you are looking for schedules for sub 2.45 and sub 2.20 marathons, then these are provided by someone much more qualified to talk about those sorts of times than me - Richard Nerurkar.

There is only one slight problem as far as I am concerned. When checking runners pb's someone has obviously used the Power of 10 website, as the page shown opposite list my pb at half marathon as 1.16 and marathon as 2.49.  These are times I did in 2004 as a 47 year old.  The problem is that Power of 10 only goes back as far as 2000 and like many an older runner my pb's pre-date this and were achieved in 1986/87.

Luckily further into the book where the training schedules are presented they list my correct pb's 67 minutes for the half marathon and 2.25 for the marathon.

Nevertheless, I still think that this is a great book, especially for those just starting out and those who have been running for a little while, have now got the bug, and are looking to improve.

If anyone uses the training schedules then I hope they result in you getting a pb (especially if you use one that I have written).

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Easy running

Is there really such a thing as easy running?

Following the instructions I received from the consultant following last weeks trip to hospital, to run easy with no racing or speed sessions, that's exactly what I am attempting to do.  But, I must admit I am finding it bloody hard.  It's like trying to drive your car with its top two gears missing. So, running easy still ends up feeling like a tough session.

Anyway, over the last two weeks I have managed to log 31 and 36 'easy' miles, respectively.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Hopefully this will be the jump start I need

Following the Masters Cross Country race a few weeks back I decided that the poor performance reflected the fact that my training wasn't really working.  I was running heavy and tired and struggling on any run over 6 miles.  So I decided to concentrate on running shorter distances at a quicker tempo and fit in some speed specific sessions as I went.

This seemed to work as I felt less exhausted and could see improvements in speed almost immediately.  With no runs further than 5 mile during the week and 10 mile on a Sunday.

On Saturday I decided to do the Blackhill Park Run as a measure as to how things were going.  Having ran there on the first Saturday of the year I felt confident that I would get inside the 21.58 I had posted then.

Blackhill Park Run is three laps of a course set on the side of a hill, with an uphill start. As we got underway I struggled from the start, feeling totally flat, coming almost to a standstill at every incline, no matter how short. I struggled around in 22.02 and felt totally exhausted.

Because of this and as I had been feeling some tightness in the chest and shortness of breath, I took a trip to the GP's on Monday morning.  As a result I have spent the last couple of days as a guest of the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

The diagnoses being that I am suffering from Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and will now, to try to correct the situation, undergo electrical cardioversion in three or four weeks time.  Although I have been advised not to race or do any speed sessions I have been told that I can continue with some gentle running in the meantime.

Although there is no guarantee of success, hopefully this will get me back to where I should be.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Every cloud has a bronze lining

Saturday saw Darlington blessed with a bright sunny day with temperatures reaching 11C for the NEMAA cross country championships.

The going was firm as we set off on the first of 4 laps of the 8km course (although in reality I think the course was a little shorter) around The Education Centre.  While the usual suspects, Stewy Bell, Jonathan Archer and Mark McLoad took up the pace I struggled to settle into any sort of rhythm until near the end of the first lap. 

Although the second and third laps felt much better I was unable to make any progress through the field and was passed by team mate Alan Storey as we approached the final lap and despite slowing a little maintained that position through to the finish.

The race was won by 35-40 category runner Kevin Jeffress of Sunderland Harriers.  Although I was well down in my age group, with the help of Alan Storey and Brian Liddle, Blaydon finished third team in the 55-64 age category.

Training partner Eric Steele had a good run in the M50 category but the best Blaydon result of the day was Angie Telford's 4th position overall to give her first place in the W50 category.

So first race back and definitely need a few more under the belt to get back into the habit.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

34 years and counting

In my last post I described how, after a poor training run, I had considered packing it all in - but in reality it was never going to happen and I'm sure that those people I told and some of you who read the post were well aware of the fact.

This month sees my 34th anniversary as a runner and despite things not going my way lately it would take a lot more than a few bad runs to make me give up.  Also I have my long goal of covering 100,000 miles before my 65th birthday and with the total currently somewhere above 86,500 I am well on track to achieve this target.

Obviously a lot has changed (apart from me getting older and slower) over the last 34 years.  From technological changes to running shoes and clothing to online race entries and race results texted to your phone within minutes of finishing a race.

However, a sign of the times we are now living in will be reflected in the forthcoming Tokyo Marathon on 22nd February.  Japan Running News reports that 65 riot police will be running the marathon armed with video camera's and pepper spray as part of a counterterrorism operation.

Monday, 2 February 2015

A quick update

Having been hit pretty hard by a heavy cold I was struggling last week to pick up the mileage again.  Initially I thought I would get away with training through it but should have known better. 

I had planned on about 13 /14 miles yesterday but was struggling so badly that I had to cut the run short.  In the end only doing 8 mile.  In fact, I was so disillusioned by it that I was considering giving up running altogether.

However, these thoughts were short lived, as I was on-line at 6am this morning in order to get an entry to this years Blaydon Race.

But first, hopefully I can get myself sorted for the NEMAA cross country this weekend.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The history of running

I have just finished reading Running, A Global History by Thor Gotaas.  Although I enjoyed reading this book it would not be my first choice if recommending a book on running to someone.  It is an ambitious attempt to chart every aspect of running since before records were kept in 348 pages.

Invariably, by trying to capture so much you find that the book actually comes up short on all the areas it covers.

As he says at the beginning, the book is written from the perspective of a European, living in Scandinavia and the bias that this  brings.  There is also a tendency to present the narrative in a story format which I think takes something away from the book.

Never the less still an enjoyable read.

As far as my running is concerned I am slowly increasing the mileage but am still struggling to up the pace and am still finding hills difficult.  But I feel things are moving in the right direction.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A small step

It feels as though I have spent the last couple of years posting on this blog how I get slower every time I run.  This morning I decided to turn out at the Blackhill Parkrun to find out just what sort of form I am in.

I last did this Parkrun back in July on a warm and sunny morning.  Although the temperature was, as you would expect some what cooler it was still a mild morning with the temperature hovering around 4C.

As expected I struggled on the uphill sections and my left hamstring was rather tight.  However, I managed to keep a steady pace and finished in 11th place in 21.58.  Not a brilliant time but 7 seconds quicker than in July and the quickest ever time by a M55 - M59 on the course.

So it's a small step in the right direction and a positive start to the new year.