Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ilkley incline!

Little 5 kay killer hill work. 170 metres of ascent and descent, straight up from guitar teacher's house to the Cow and Calf rocks and back down. Stunning views.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

BUPA Great North Run 2013

Sunday saw my sixth Great North Run but, more importantly, Emma's first and very first half marathon.

Emma decided to take on the challenge and got a place in the ballot, unfortunately I didn't so applied for a charity place with Mind. Emma wrote several training plans and did go out and do some running but really didn't do much in the way of time on her feet or mileage. There were a few parkruns and more recently a very good run at Alice's Run but I have to admit to being a bit nervous of Emma's chances of running 13.1 miles when the most she'd done was 6.1.......

Still, race day arrived and there didn't seem to be any real nerves and no sense of backing out of the challenge - there was also over £400 in sponsorship for Save the Children riding on Emma's performance! The forecast for Sunday was rain, rain, then more rain. We did get a bit wet, but it really wasn't too bad and the strong, blustery wind was mainly on our tails pushing us towards South Shields from Newcastle Gateshead.

My role was to act as pack horse! Carrying waterproof coats, cereal bars, water and inhaler. All very easy in my Ultimate Direction backpack. 

The start was an easy one mile walk from the hotel, a quick loo stop at the Children's hospital dodged the massive queues and we walked to our 'pen' with about 20 minutes to go until the start. It was very grey and overcast and the spectators in their dark waterproof coats were in stark contrast to the buzzing, brightly coloured runners.

Then, at 10:40 on the dot, the gun went and.....nothing happened! Well, not well back in the pack. It took a few minutes before we started moving and in all about 10 minutes to cross the line. However, that did mean that it wasn't too crowded and we were able to get running without too many obstacles.

After that, it was a fairly smooth run to the line. The red arrows were spectacular flying over the Tyne Bridge just as we were crossing. Emma took her first walk break at about 6 miles, one inhaler stop, a couple of loo stops but impressively just kept on at a steady pace towards South Shields. Infact, the 5, 10 and 15 kay splits were fairly even and it was only in the last 5 kays that Emma's pace slowed.

The final mile, dead straight along the coast road was a real slog, it just goes on and on, but Emma found a little bit of energy to pick up the pace in the last hundred metres and crossed the line in 2 hours 9 minutes and 16 seconds. Simply awesome!!

On the way we bumped in to Sue Verspyk from Ilkley Harriers, Sue was my next door neighbour when I was growing up in Coventry! And at the charity village we met Al Chapman, Leeds parkrunner who had run an amazing 1:20!!

We met up with Pamela at the Save the Children marquee then started the long journey home, the mile walk into South Shields to the car (accompanied by a Red Arrows display), then the slow drive out of South Shields and then the very wet, rainy drive home.

A great day out, still smiling!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

10k training run with Emma

Set out to run 10 miles but Emma was a bit tired so we cut it short and ran exactly 10k instead. A fair bit of run/walking, but even at that pace we should still be able to post an OK half marathon time. Great North Run next Sunday.

parkrun and the Leeds Golden mile

Two races yesterday after my week off from running.

Started with Leeds parkrun at 9am. As I was running again in the afternoon I couldn't decide on a plan (and its always nice to have some sort of target for a run), so in the end decided to run with Pamela. Target was 27 minutes and we finished just outside that in 27:17. Not bad.

I haven't done the Leeds Golden mile before, or in fact run a mile on the track, so was looking forward to the race, but was very unsure how to play it, other than trying to run even splits.

My 'heat' was at 5:10, so I turned up about 4:30 to register and check things out.

Quite a few park runners taking part, including James who was in my heat and Roy who went in the heat before. Roy was clearly in the wrong heat as he lead from the whistle and romped home in clear first place to claim his bottle of wine! Tough running a fast race from the front though.

James was also to win our heat, taking the lead on lap three and holding on to his lead to the finish line. The first two laps were very evenly paced and I was with the main group, strung out in a line at the end of lap one but started to slip off the back a bit on lap two. The lead group was still within touching distance though buts I was conscious of making sure I had enough in my legs to finish! 

If anything, I probably slipped back too much on lap two, but increased the work rate on lap three which actually felt quite good and, on the bell (though not sure I actually heard it!), I decided to put my foot down and run the last lap as hard as I could. Again, 400 metres of flat out running was new territory and I wasn't sure if I could keep motoring the full distance, but as I started to pass people in the back straight it helped to keep up the motivation and I eventually moved up into fourth place but had left it too late to catch second and third.

But, very happy with my time of 5 minutes and 20 seconds, which is a new mile PB by 10 seconds. James' winning time was 5:17. Three seconds might not sound a lot, but on the track, at speed, the distance is significant, a very healthy winning margin.

All in all then, a very enjoyable day out, which also included brunch at Betty's at Harlow Carr and a brief stroll around the gardens in between the two races. What could be better?!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Beetroot and horseradish soup

Made from fresh beetroot and red onions from the garden. Fantastic colour and tasted absolutely delicious! Even if I do say so myself.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sunday 1st September 2013 - Alice's Run

Full turn out of the Otley Trotters AC at Alice's Run this morning, a 'gentle' 10k trail race in Mytholmroyd. OK, it's actually a bit of a killer.

Despite still feeling tired and out of form (I so need a rest day), I knocked some 40 seconds off my previous run, coming in at 45:37 for 26th place.

Next across the line Emma, who despite very light training recently, ran 60:10 for 120th place and 34th female.

Hot on Emma's heels Pamela completed in 62:14, 130th overall and 42nd female.

We then tucked in to the crisps and chocolate Freddo's, all part of the Alice's Run tradition.

Also nice to see Frances and Asa. Both Asa and Ini took part in the children's fun run, Asa proudly wearing his medal and and, it has to be said, quite a bit of chocolate!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Day 365 - the 365 challenge, completed!

Sluggish parkrun this morning, so as I coasted along knowing it wasn't going to be quick, I decided to run 20:13, which I did, almost timing it to perfection, just hesitating to walk the last couple of strides to the line.

So, that's 365 days of running everyday, finishing with 3 miles in 20:13 and a total mileage of 2,013 miles. 

The year in numbers:

72 races - which includes the six days of the Wild Coast Ultra, my one multi-stage race of the year

4 ultra races including a new PB in the West Highland Way Race

9 marathons - in five weeks in April/May I ran my 4th fastest London Marathon and quickest since 2007, knocked 30 minutes off my Northumberland Coastal Challenge time and then ran my fastest Edinburgh Marathon 

2 half marathons - my time at the South Yorkshire Half Marathon was my 5th fastest ever and quickest since 2006

2 10k races - in April, one week after London, I ran my second fastest 10k ever at Bradford, my quickest since 2001!

49 5k races - 43 parkruns in the last 12 months at seven different venues, including my 100th parkrun and my 100th parkrun at Leeds

6 'other' races including a new mile PB by 2 secs

All in all, a good year of running. After a while running everyday became routine, and judging by some of my performances, has enhanced my running rather than hindered it. So much for my evangelical fervour about rest days in the past. I guess, it's whatever suits you best.

And next? Well, Alice's Run tomorrow, a 10k trail race and then on Monday, I might just have a rest day.....

Finally though, a big thank you to Martin Like from Likeys.com for instigating this challenge. It's been fun!