Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Man down but he's ok now. We'll sort of.

 September 2016

Errrm, melt down again.
I thought that 2014's mental breakdown was well and truly sorted. Until one day in September a certain noise made me jump and by God  did I not like that. Hyper alertness was back which was a concern so I decided to ease back on my training and wait for whatever was lurking to fade away. Day by day things gradually got worse, pounding heart, hyper alertness, no sleep, lack of appetite, everything becoming catastrophic, anxiety and sickness. Three weeks later I was forced to take off work once again. I had around six days off sick in thirty years before 2014 and now I was clocking up weeks at a time. PTSD ? Gulf war syndrome? God knows what I have but as time goes by I am learning how to live with it and making the most of my good days. Back on the medication once again , which is another nightmare all of its own. Luckily I managed to get back to work after two weeks as I had learnt how to get some sort of control over it and also  I recognised the symptoms so it wasn't as bad as before when I wondered what the hell was happening and when would the decline stop.
  I don't know why but running and strenuous exercise make things worse, if I put too much effort in then I can sense a weird sensation with hyper alertness. If I stop all training immediately I know that in three weeks time I will be back to normal, ignore those first symptoms and huge problems are just waiting around the corner.
  So for the time being I am doing some easy keep fit sessions at the gym, a couple of run walk jogs with my wife each week and the odd parkrun 5k at my wife's pace. In truth the running became an addiction like I quote at the top of my blog, forever chasing ways to go faster and faster. The enjoyment had long gone as it was replaced by the addiction to go faster and the need to win. Life in the whole is far better now so I can't ever see myself returning in a competitive way but I will be out there enjoying my running without a care in the world a couple of times a week.
   As the patient  with  schizophrenia said to be he Doctor " we are ok now  "

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Hard day to fail.

  I might be slacking in the speed department but the stamina appears to be coming along quite nicely. I did my long run this week on Saturday which was a very hilly 16 mile route, the last time that I ran it I was struggling severely on the four long climbs and this time I managed to tick each one off without any serious trouble. I was pleased with my time as well seeing as it was only ten minutes off my best, though that ten minutes involves attacking the climbs and not just managing them so plenty still to do there yet.
  Today was the hardest part of the week and unfortunately I failed, I had planned to take the day off from running for recovery purposes but by eleven o'clock in the morning I had cracked  and went for an easy 5 mile run out instead. Amongst everything else that was going wrong at the end of 2014, over training was mixed up in the equation as well. All I can say is if you end up with over training symptoms you will certainly know about it. A light case might only take a month to get over it if your lucky, mine took around six months to get over so I'm cautious now as I don't want to ever go back down that road again. That's why I try to limit my interval sessions and hard days as I know how addictive those sessions can become as you improve week by week.
   I have a relative easy week training wise as I have another round of acupuncture for my aching foot on Tuesday morning and then I will be winding down in preparation for the fell race next Sunday. I'm really looking forward to the fell race seeing as I haven't done one for seven years, and it also makes a change for it not to be the Carlton Challenge. I became obsessed with trying to beat the record for the Carlton Challenge fell race on the North York Moors, my closest was in 2007 when I was one second off the record and in 2009 which was my last fell race I was twelve seconds off the record. The Levisham Limping fell race is a new one for me, I have checked the route out a few times so hopefully I shouldn't get lost.
    I can't believe it has taken nine months of training to get my stamina level back to a level so that an half marathon doesn't seem so daunting, my thinking is if I am coping with two hours plus of hilly running in training then a half marathon should feel like a sprint race mentally in comparison.
  Half marathon, ten miles, 5k, fell race, cross country, it doesn't look like a plan to get me under 16 minutes for a 5km race. It looks more akin to a new beginners training plan, and you know what, those new beginners know how to enjoy themselves so that will do for me.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Testing times and an Operation.

  Instead of doing an interval training session on Wednesday I thought it would be a good idea to do one of my  time trial test runs on my way to work. It's only  2 1/4 miles so it makes for  a good lung stretcher that is for sure. My record is 11 minutes 13 seconds which I knew I was never going to get anywhere near, I didn't have much upto date data on what kind of form I might be in so my guesstimation was 12 minutes 30 seconds. I don't know why but I was hoping that I would be in sub 12 minute shape and that would be awesome. Anyway after a fifteen minute warm up it was time to crack on, 12 minutes 18 seconds. No dream like performance there then and I suppose I should be happy with the sub 12 minute 30 seconds but since when has runners ever been happy with  anything other than a P.B.  So what can I deduce from that result, well by my reckoning I would say it puts me in around 16 minute 45 second shape for a 5km race. I can't grumble with that seeing as my seasons best is 16 minutes 51 seconds and I'm sure there is plenty still to come yet. Phase 2 could become fruitful yet before the years out.
    Third time lucky, my plan was to end my season on the 27th November, then I extended it a week so that I could  squeeze in another race and lo and behold I have now gone and extended it by another week to the 10th December so that I can have one last hurrah at a 5k parkrun.
    I gave me new rain jacket its first outing the other week and seeing as it was raining this morning it got another run out. The only problem was that by the time I had finished work and was ready to run back home it had turned into a nice warm day. Should I tie the jacket round my waist or should I just wear it and bear it. I went with wear it and bear it, ooh ! What a bad decision that was, I was totally blathered by the time I got home.
     I'm looking forward to this weekend's long run which is 16 miles and seriously hilly, that last time I ran it my plan was to take it nice and steady on the hard climbs but the only way I could get up them was to go eye balls out and that was at a snail's pace at best. So it will be interesting to see how I cope this time round.
    I'm also planning on a trip to the cinema to watch Operation Anthropoid, what another army film. There must be something deep down inside that attracts me to army things, maybe I wasn't fully debrainwashed properly when I left, looking at some of my ex comrades on Facebook  I think they have forgot that they aren't in the army more. Saying that though I must admit  I had some great times and came away with plenty of funny stories.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hard day at the mill.

 Yesterday's interval training was a tough old session, it would of been hard enough a few years ago never mind nowadays when I'm not upto  scratch with my interval training.  The session was 1 minute 30 seconds at maximum effort uphill with a recovery of 3 minutes jogging back down. Staring at that hill ten repititions was too daunting so I opted for the good old mid way extra recovery period of 5 minutes instead of the 3 minutes. First of all it makes sure that the first 5 reps are run at maximum effort as you look forward to that extra recovery period. Secondly  I want to know if I can go faster in rep 6  after the extra recovery than rep 5, and more importantly can you keep that going into rep 7.  I knew I wasn't capable of blasting out 10 reps within an acceptable margin so the last couple I was prepared to give it my all no matter how long it took, besides it would give me something to beat next time for starters.
Rep 1 - 1m 34s
        2 - 1m 35s
        3 - 1m 35s
        4 - 1m 36s
        5 - 1m 36s    + extra recovery period.
        6 - 1m 35s    faster than rep 5
        7 - 1m 37s    fighting against legs failing.
        8 - 1m 36s    fighting back against failing legs.
        9 - 1m 39s    legs gone and just taking what time I can.
       10 - 1m 40s   legs totally gone, but strangely felt quicker than  Rep 9.

 Then this morning it was a case of another hard day at the running mill in the form of a twenty one mile  long run on undulating roads. My legs were smashed to bits by 15 miles and my sore foot aka plantar fasciitis was as bad as it has ever been. Other than that is was a perfect morning for running or better still if you were racing.  Myself I have another weekend similar to this weekend and then I will be back in action with a fell race after that which I'm already looking forward to.
 My new route home from work by running entirely cross country made for an enjoyable change, it might of been shorter but in the end it took longer than what it takes for me to run the extended route home.  As expected there was some overgrown areas, and some paths that were unrunable which meant I had to run through ploughed fields. The closer I got back to Thirsk the better the route became. I have another route to try before winter comes and then I will be confined to tarmac for my commute.
  I now have five races before calling it an end to this year's racing,  It was supposed to be at the end of November but I couldn't resist squeezing in one more race so it is now the first weekend in December.  Excluding any cross country races or indoor races it should give me four months of good solid training to build the all new 2017 war machine. 2016's war machine must of had a default, I think I forgot to fit a gun by looking at some of my results.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Same old, Same old.

   I might of been looking forward to getting back into a training routine and already I have started to stray off track slightly. I must of run the same old route to and from work over a thousand times and tomorrow I have finally planned to take a different route, not only is it a different route it is also all off road. You would of thought by now that I must know every public path and bridal way in the countryside in a ten mile radius from where I live but as soon as I pull out a map out and study it, I notice there are still plenty of paths out there that I have not experienced yet. I have discovered two new routes, the one tomorrow will shorten my usual journey as in distance, I have no idea what the going will be like so time wise I it could be about the same though knowing my luck I will be deep in nettles head height and cut to shreads by brambles. The other route will extend my route and looks like it could be good going. Either way both will keep me entertained for a short period as I can't see myself going cross country in the dark through the winter months.
    The second round of acupuncture on my sore foot doesn't seemed to of done as well as the first round did, though I must admit it's early days yet. I will see how it is after Saturday's hill training intervals followed by Sunday's long run. Nothing like testing it out to the max.
   The fell route recce went well on Sunday morning, both in terms of how my sore foot felt and also the enjoyment factor of venturing outside my local training grounds. It will be interesting to see how I get on in the race which is now only two weeks away, I have no worries about any ideas of trying to win the race so it will be another case of getting stuck in, giving it my all and thoroughly enjoying it.
  I did some speed training yesterday on my way home from work, kilometre intervals at 100% effort with no regard for equal pacing by two minute jog recovery, it felt like there was  a slight head wind but looking at my time for each kilometre it is obvious it must of been a full on gale force 10 headwind. I have a half marathon race coming up soon and if I can only just about run one kilometre at the pace I am aiming for then it appears I might struggle somewhat.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Barefoot running and a new invention.

   We have all heard about barefoot running and all the benefits that come about by going back to basics. I have come up with my own version of this, well sort of. Bare wrist running. My plan this morning was a good old long steady run of 17 miles, this time I went bare wrist as in no GPS, stop watch, heart rate monitor or anything else of that nature. The freedom to be able to run along at any old pace made the run much more enjoyable, it was that good at nine miles I took a detour to add an extra couple of miles onto my overall distance.  It's not the first long run I have done this year going bare wrist as I have been trying to get my legs used to coping with the full distance and not wearing them out after ten to thirteen miles. Today was the first time this year they have actually gone full distance without starting to seize up, obviously it is a big difference between running at speed for twenty miles and plodding for twenty miles but it's a start and I'll take that thankyou very much. Don't get me wrong the GPS watches etc are awesome, my idea is that now and again it's good to get out on a Sunday morning for your long run and not be governed by a watch. 2007 was probably my best ever year and that year I did every Sunday morning long run at any old pace with no time limits whatsoever.
   It's the Great North Run tomorrow morning which I always enjoy watching, I will miss it live on TV as I will be checking out the fell race route that I will be doing in October. I will record it and catch up with it tomorrow evening instead. Today I have the Tour of Spain cycle race to keep me entertained which finishes tomorrow and today's stage is the final big chance for Chris  Froome to try and get back his first place, I can't see him doing it but I will enjoy watching him give it everything he can to succeed.  Oh! Then there is the boxing tonight, Kell Brook v Golovkin, I can't see Kell Brook winning at all but if he does then he must go in the Catergory as being one of the best ever pound for pound fighters. If all that's not enough then there is the Tour of Britain bike race to watch which British Steve Cummings is in first place at the moment.
    The acupuncture on my sore foot is still showing good signs of improvement so I have tried changing my next appointment from two weeks to this coming Thursday.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

It's a kind of Magic.

   Well the acupuncture actually worked on my plantar fasciitis or sore foot and I was considering a way of describing how much it has improved, the simplest way is using the runners description method  which is that it's miles better. I just hope the improvement stays until my next treatment in two weeks time and then the acupuncturist might as well have a go at my slightly niggling achilles tendon on the other foot as well.
  Marathon plan. I have come up with an idea regarding doing another marathon and the plan is to do a qualifying time either next year or the year after and then go for it big time in 2019. I will aim for gold in the V50 class at the London Marathon. Qualifying should be a walk in the park entering by the good for age route, the Championship entry route appears to be well within my capabilities as well so either way there should be no reason for not going for the challenge. One question and the only question is " would I be capable of winning " and my answer to that is of course I can.  It sounds like a good plan for now anyway.
   In the meanwhile I have a long steady run Saturday followed by a more interesting prospect for Sunday in the shape of a fell race route recce. I did a recce of the Levisham Limping fell race on the North York Moors a while back so it should be a straight forward enjoyable trot come recovery run.
    I received an e-mail the bog standard usual type asking for a review of a product that I recently purchased.  I was tempted to reply for the OMM waterproof jacket that I bought the other week. The jacket looks absolutely awesome hung up besides the door. It's that good it hasn't rained on any of my training runs since I bought it. I have only had it a few weeks and it still looks brand new. It is very warm, though I must admit it was on a very hot summers day when I first tried it on. I hope this answers all your questions that you were looking for.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Straight to the point.

   Straight to the point, I took action with my sore heel aka plantar fasciitis and had some acupuncture to see if it helps with sorting the problem out. I don't expect miracles and I will settle for any  sort of improvement, a 30% improvement would be awesome 50% would be totally fantastic. I will soon find out as I need to rest my foot today and then it should be good to go for a test run in the morning.
   I woke up this morning got out of bed and my foot didn't feel too bad, which is about the same as when I have gone to the doctors for something and then felt ok by the time I got there. As I set off to run to work I didn't need to wait long to see if it was ok or not because within two strides that God dam heel was hurting like chuff. It took a couple of miles for it to get going then it was ok for the rest of the 7 mile run to work. I'm sure that if anyone that lives nearby sees me setting off to work they will be saying " It doesn't look like he's going to make it today" as I hobble off down the road.
  Apparently the sole of your foot can be the most sensitive to sticking needles in, "just get them in I have no problem with pain it's tickling that I would have a problem with". With that the needles were in and doing their magic. What kind of magic I am yet to find out.
  Good foot or no good foot I will be looking forward to this weekend's 17 mile long run, after over racing and doing nothing it will be good to get back into a routine.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Tholthorpe 10k and it's just a phase.

  It has been some time since my last visit to the 10k race at Tholthorpe in North Yorkshire and it was busier than I had ever seen before which was probably due to there being around 350 entries. Weather wise it was quite good besides the slight breeze which from past experience can be a touch more gusty whilst out on the course. The course is reasonably fast if you attack it hard and get stuck in which is exactly what Darran Bilton the course record holder did when he ran round it in a time of 30 minutes 26 seconds.  If for any reason that you are not giving it your all then your fast time can suddenly disappear right before your eyes.
  The race got under way with two young lads leading the way, one from Scarbrough and the other from York Triathlon and with myself controlling any of my fast start ideas tucking in behind them. There was a good bunch of us ( size of the bunch wise and not a bunch of pals ) by the the time we passed through the first kilometre in around 3 minutes 15 seconds. There was around seven of us in the group and because we were running into a bit of a head wind nobody was that keen to give it their all working on the front, saying that though Jonathon Johnson Harrogate AC, Guy Bracken North Shields Poly and Dominic Dunn North York Moors AC were doing more than enough on the front. Myself I would of attacked and tried to thin the bunch down but seeing as I was struggling being tucked in behind them then there was no chance that I was going anywhere other than backwards when I could no longer hold the effort. We passed through two kilometres with myself feeling ok, three kilometres I was starting to get into my mind that if I can just hold on for another kilometre, 4 kilometres and I was still struggling to hang on and by 5 kilometres I had taken enough punishment and slipped off the back of the leading bunch, in  around 17 minutes 20 seconds.  It was not  long after that  when I came across another victim from the lead bunch in the shape of the young York Triathlon lad, I soon caught him up and was thinking of working with him to keep the gap to the lead group in sight but for some reason I ended up going straight past him and left him behind at the 6 kilometre marker. Damage limitation it was then for the last 4 kilometres I thought,  that was until the young Scarbrough lad became detached from the front group and gave me a new incentive. I managed to increase my pace slightly and even managed to  sprint up the hill at around 9 kilometres and the distance between didn't seem any different. Going down the hill on the side I was surprised to see the York Tiathlon lad come flying past me which I was unable to respond to, I did sort of blast up that last incline before the village though it was too little little to late as there was no chance of catching the Triathlon lad before the finishing line. 7th place it was then in 35 minutes 26 seconds. Which was just about what I had expected to run, I was a bit gutted though because during the race I felt I was on for a sub 35 minuter. Overall I must admit I felt much better than my last race and I'm now looking forward to phase 2 of my plan.
Jonny Johnson won the race in just over 34 minutes, Dominic Dunn North York Moors (doing our surname proud ) was second and Guy Bracken North Shields was 3rd.
  Guy Bracken 3rd, I first came across Guy in 2014 at the Middlesbrough 5k when he pipped me to the finnishing line in 16 minutes. I then came across him at the British Masters 5k Championships in the same year, I was going better by then and thougiht to myself that I would beat that Bracken chap because for starters he was an age group above me. I finished in 15 minutes 52 seconds and you guessed it yeah he beat me on that occassion too. As I faded away as the year went on Guy went on to run 31 minutes 49 seconds for 10k which for a v50 is absolutely unbelieveable. Inspirational  to say the least. He also has a couple of age group world records and in a few months time he moves up an age group so God help those v55 lot.
  Phase 2 of my training plan.
Phase 2 was never in my plan it came about because the first part of my year failed. I never managed to run sub sixteen minutes for 5km by August which I thought I could do, so instead of continuing down that line I put an end to it and invented Phase 2 known to me as operation 16.  Phase 1 might of failed but I did enjoy the challenge and I'm already back up to full keeness planning and plotting my way to that sub 16 for 5km before December.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Hot stuff and Coconuts.

 Tuesday's long run was a tough old day, the plantar fasciitis was not happy with yesterday's speed training session and boy did it let me know. It might of wanted to let me know it wanted resting but I showed it who's boss and punished it for fifteen long miles or I should say it punished me. If that wasn't bad enough then the heat today was and by the time I arrived back home I had a strange feeling of comparing myself to a roast chicken. After guzzling down a couple of bottles of water and with salty sweat stinging my eyes it was funny to see my Original Mountain Marathon rain jacket had arrived.
  As you can tell I haven't made much headway with getting the sore heel/foot (plantar fasciitis) sorted out. My next plan of attack is going to get some acupuncture treatment seeing as I am running out of options. Stretching, rolling, arch supports, natural health healing and the torture foot contraption that you wear at night have all failed so far. Learning to live with it doesn't really work as I would say a fifth of my total mileage is really uncomfortable. It's not that bad that I need to give up running so in retrospect I can't complain too much. Besides at times it forces me to take a rest day which is exactly  what I should be doing anyway after a hard training session or race.
    A while ago I was contacted to see if I would test out some cold pressed pure coconut oil by Skinny and Co and give a write up on what I thought about their product. The best part was that they would send me some free goods to trial the down side was that I couldn't see how it would be of much use from a running point of view. After reading up on the stuff and hearing  plenty of good reviews I now realise I was a touch hasty in my thinking and there are in fact plenty of uses running wise plus there are also a few ideas that I would like to test out for myself. Firstly it is to treat the bit of dermatitis that I have, secondly to rehydrate my mush after it has been out running on cold windy days, thirdly I wonder if it works in preventing chafing and also it says it is good for your hair. I wonder if it will restore the shiny black hair that I once had, errrm it doesn't say anything about miracles so I will forget the last one. Diet, nutrition and  anything else running wise that I find it is good for I will report back.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Need for Speed.

  Awesome speed training session.
  Since March I haven't done many speed training sessions and I have only done a handfull of those against opponents, I call them opponents because training partners sounds too friendly for Speed Training. If I'm not leading from the front on each interval then you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be giving it 100% trying to catch whoever is in front of me as if my life depended on it and the closer the battle the better. Today's session was a good old pyramid session of 1 minute, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3,2,1 all with two minutes recovery. A right old mixed bag of different paces to be running at though it did the trick at the end by making sure there was nothing left in the tank. Oh and the last 1 minute effort was just the sprint training that I have desperately missed this year.
   I suppose I feel better than I did last week for the race I have coming up this Sunday which is the Tholthorpe 10k.
Memories of this race;
- First road race that I ever competed in.
- Team mate Cameron Choules double bluffing me with his expected finishing time, I thought I was going to beat him but never did. I learnt never to believe anyone again before a race and to be honest it has served me well.
- The last short hill before the finish, if you sprint up that and keep the effort going to the line you can gain 30 seconds.
- It always seems to be hot when I turn up and it's already looking like it is going to be another scorcher. Let's just hope the lady with the hosepipe is on hand at the finish to cool everyone off.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pain in the leg.

  I woke up Thursday morning with a bit of an hamstring pain that was  just above my knee, I wasn't sure if it was running related or if I had done it at work. So to be on the safe side I  missed out training on Thursday which was of no concern seeing as it was the day after a race. By Friday my leg seemed to be a touch better and for once I actually took the sensible option of giving it  another day of rest. By Saturday for some reason  my leg had got worse as in that it was sheer agony even trying to straighten my leg. After walking around  for  a while it would be sort of ok so it had to muscle related, using runners mentality I wondered what it would be like running so it was on with the trainers and out the door and funnily enough it was alright. I still had no idea what it was or how I managed to injury it but it was a good feeling to know it was good to go on the running front. I can cope with not being able to walk properly and having to hobble but not being able to run is a different matter altogether.
    I got up this morning and thankfully my leg felt a whole lot better which meant it was certainly good enough to give it some stick with today's training run. The plan was for a steady 12 miler with a group of us, because I had missed out training  I decided I would go hard on the uphill sections then slow down and join back up. I Know it can be off putting with someone doing that when its supposed to be a steady long run as it can quite easily turn into an hard session as the others feel compelled to join in. The 90 minutes flew by and even the rain that was forecasted didn't show up.
   The same group of us are meeting up tomorrow morning for a speed training session, with the four of us being of a very similar ability I have no doubt whatsoever that tomorrow will  be severely hard.  After that I'm thinking of taking a trip to the Yorkshire Dales and going to the Reeth show, which just so happens has a Fell Race which I will be getting involved in. From a spectators point of view only that is.
   Them chocolates that I came away with from Wednesday nights race  lasted until yesterday, every time I opened the cupboard door they were there teasing me encouraging  me to eat them. I knew I should of given them away because the temptation was too much yesterday and I scoffed the lot, well to be honest I did let  Helen have one or two I didn't want to be greedy.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sessay Swiftish 6k.

   So much for taking a step back from racing and concentrating on training. Due to the Sessay Swift 6k being a club championship race I had to put my plans on hold for the time being and take the race as it comes. I know I'm on a bit of a slow down phase at the moment which is of no real concern and with having a week off over eating and drinking I guessed that I would be happy with a finishing time of 21 minutes 30 seconds for the unusual race distance.
   The event was at Sessay and based at the cricket ground which was excellent for parking and also for warming up before the race.  It had been red hot through out the daytime and thankfully by the time of the race in the evening a few clouds had appeared which made for a glorious summer evening.
  The race started and I found myself leading the way, I was well within my comfort zone and by the time I was approaching  the first kilometre marker I was starting to think maybe the week off and greediness was
Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers - Sessay Swift 6k. 
working in my favour. That thought soon dispersed as Johnson of Harrogate AC and Pease of Ripon came sailing past me which was exactly what I was expecting. Not much further on Dalton of Ripon Runners came past which in truth I wasn't expecting, but good on him though as he appears to be improving. By the time I had got to the two kilometre point my body was complaining, " you muppet we don't do any of this running stuff anymore, we do putting feet up and dossing. " Somewhere near the half way point I was convinced it was a ten mile race I was in and not a swift 6k, Oh no there goes another runner past me  a York runner followed by Middleton of Richmond Zetland Harriers. It wasn't long before I made my way to the back of our recently formed trio and then ooops off the back I went loosing contact. In race mode I was really gutted about that and also by the sheer lack of will power to stay with them. Time wise I was going better than I had expected and was ahead of my target time so all was not lost. Forgetting the two ahead of me I switched to trying to get under 21 minutes. Five kilometres in 17 minutes 20 seconds or there abouts, aha,   fitness level not as bad as I had first thought. With just a kilometre to go I couldn't really fail to finish in under 21 minutes  and that is exactly what happened. 20 minutes 53 seconds and 6th place. A blinking good hard race if I say so myself.  Johnson won the race, Pease 2nd and Dalton 3rd. I haven't seen any results yet which is probably a good thing as I might get demoralised when I see how far behind I was.
   I might not of been too keen to be racing at this present time but I was chuffed to bits that I went in the end as it  was good to catch up with some old running friends that I haven't seen for a long while.
  I didn't manage to qualify for a prize which was quite funny, being a chocholic and cake munching machine that is in the process of giving up, the prize was in fact a box of chocolates. If the race free time can wait so can the chocolate free time.
  Prize wise it reminded me of the fell races, after turning to sport to get away from alcohol I found it funny to be winning bottles of spirits. Time to give up cash on that basis me thinks.
   Finally, it was another awesome race organised by Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers. A great job by Marian Codling and the other members that helped out.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Time Out.

  I took my six days off from running whilst I was away on holiday and seeing as I wasn't training I also used the time sensibly by eating way too much chocolate and cakes and also by having plenty of drink as in the  alcoholic variety.  You would of thought by having time out from running that any slight niggles or aches might improve but as usual it doesn't seem to of made any difference. I still have the heel pain as in plantar fasciitis which I was just tolerating and trying to ignore. Not the bestest of ideas I know so I will be changing tactics on this front and instead I will be trying everything possible to get it sorted.
   My plan is to slowly  ease my way back up to full speed by the end of October. I do have a couple of races coming up that I need to run though in truth I could of done without them so that I could of concentrated fully on training instead. I will be trying my hardest as usual and battling for each and every place even though my finishing times will be of little importance to me.
  I tried a couple of different rain jackets on and from a running point of view I'm going to go with the OMM Kamleika. It might not of been the best in certain aspects but overall it would take some beating, and because I said it was the best running jacket I had ever owned the last time I bought one made me biased towards it anyway. I'm also in need of some new training shoes and some new race shoes, on that score all I can say is roll on Christmas.
   I have the Tholthorpe 10k in September which is one of my clubs championship races which unfortunately is the same day as the Wetherby 10k. Given a choice I would of changed the date of one of the races as I think they are both awesome races and well worth running no matter what fitness level you are at. September has never been a good month for me fitness level  wise but it has never stopped me from entering these races. Tholthorpe 10k is a good fast course and it was the first race that I ever did which was in 2003, it is also the North Yorkshire 10k Championship race. The Wetherby 10k is multi terrain though the slight  off road section is nothing to worry about, it's a good quick course that is well marshaled and the whole event from start to finish is superbly organised. I suppose if I was young enough I could of done them both because one is in the morning and the other in the afternoon. That would of been a worthy and interesting challenge.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Paying the Price.

  Today's 5km parkrun result confirmed my feeling in that my best times are now in decline as I am beginning to pay for all the racing that I have been competing in and also by not training properly. Today I had another job to do at the parkrun besides running as fast as possible and that was to set up some checkpoints and take timings between them. I set up four checkpoints, though five probably would of been a better choice. Five so that  the last section would be the last 200 metres up the incline to the finish, that way I can see how my sprint finish is doing or not doing. My  first checkpoint was going through the finishing line on the short lap which I ran in 5 minutes 29 seconds, I was operating way above my capability for that first section as I was in close battle with Toby Osman of Ripon Runners and Scott Cassidy and both of them were in front of me by the time I hit my stopwatch at the checkpoint. It will be interesting to see if I can go any faster in that sector without setting off too fast that is if I manage to improve. Today's finishing time was 17 minutes 08 seconds and third place, the winner was Osman in 16 mins 25 secs and Cassidy second in 16 minutes 49 secs.
   I have a long steady run planned for  tomorrow morning then I will be taking five to seven days off from running. My plan is to gradually build back up again and hopefully by October time I will smash my 5k parkrun P.B. at Ripon.
   I have some of those Newton race shoes that I have used a few times lately  and they do appear to be a match for my usual Adidas option. I thought I would put them on for the 5k race this morning. I jogged down to the parkrun course and began my warm up. The ground was slightly wet and after just a couple of strides at 5k pace I could feel them slipping whilst pushing off on each stride. Believe me, within 5 seconds  I was soon off the course and making my way back up the hill to the car to switch into my Adidas race shoes. With my number one race shoe option on I was soon back on the course and warming up with 100% full traction. As I learnt all those years ago in the cubs, "Be Prepared". The Newtons might of had three races and a few speed training sessions but they hadn't been tried and tested in all race conditions so the old pair of Adidas always came along just in case and thankfully so. The Newtons were ok on wet tarmac but the wet footpath stuff at Fountains Abbey was too much for them. Another fault with the Newtons is that they don't like stones, if there are any stoney sections then you can guarantee that a stone will get lodged in the sole unit. In my opinion they are not worth the high price that they ask for them and I will be getting myself some new Adidas race shoes as soon as possible. If you have found yourself a race shoe that meets all the criteria that you require then my suggestion would be to stick with it. I used to use Mizuno that I was more than happy with but would often get blisters but since I switched to Adidas I have never had a problem. Training wise I think I must of just about tried everything, and what I have found the best for winter is a pair of goretex shoes. Hundreds of miles in the rain with dry feet, I read years ago that once water gets in then it can't get back out so you are better off with normal training shoes. Unless you are running down rivers I would ignore that statement and get yourself some goretex shoes, you won't be disappointed especially with the way our weather .
    I won't be buying one of those G.B. tops that they use for the medal ceremonies at the Olympics, did nobody try one on before they bought them ? They look like some sort of designer potato sack. The rest of the kit looks good though.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Plan ahead.

   I have given the 2017  marathon idea some serious thought and I have  decided that it is not really worth all the hassle and that I would have little to gain from running one personally. I think it is because my race results are not anywhere I thought that they should be by now, so the marathon will have to wait until at least 2018.
  Speed  is what I am looking for in 2017 and the faster the better, I will be training towards the British Masters Championship races with the aim of trying to get a medal. The cross country championships and the 5k road championships will be the most important if I'm going to try and get back in the England team for the International Cross country race. I know I am a long way off the required level at the moment and there is doubt as to whether I can actually get there but at least I will have something to focus on and train towards.
   I was running home from work when the heavens opened which was actually  quite refreshing for a change. I have been meaning to get a new waterproof jacket not that there is any great rush at the moment seeing as it's  summer time, well I think it is summer time. Anyway I was struggling to make my mind up with so many jackets to choose from,  the OMM  Kamleika Jacket is looking favourite at the moment. I have had one before and was happy with it for at least a couple of years before the inner membrane wore off which in turn meant it lost it's waterproof capability, other than that it must be the best waterproof jacket I have ever owned. The Inov 8 stormshell sounds great but in a review someone said the inner membrane wore off quicker than the OMM and the Gore Mythos 2 sounds good as so does a few others.
    With the price of running gear these days the sooner that run to work scheme comes in the better, the bike to work scam seems to be popular so us runners might as well get in on the act. £400 pounds of running gear a year would be a good start which would probably workout at around £25 a month.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

10k Time Trial.

  It's a bit of an odd ball race for me personally the Darlinington 10k as I am usually worn out by the time August arrives with too much racing. It's an excellent race, well organised , a good two lap course and a brilliant finishing straight in the town centre for a sprint finish.
  I was sticking with my plan before the race in that I would be targeting 34 minutes 30 seconds, I wasn't  feeling any pressure whatsoever and was looking forward to the challenge ahead. The wind was picking up so it looked like my target time was going to take some doing but seeing as there was a good field I was sure there would be a runner or two I could tuck in behind.
  The race got under way and this time I was well below my usual launch pace and in fact I would go as far as to say I was almost spot on pace wise. I missed the first two kilometre markers so I hadn't looked at my watch and for some reason I felt that I wasn't going well at all. The wind that I had thought would effect my race was in fact no hindrance at all and then finally I spotted the 3km marker and passed through in 10 minutes 18 seconds. Slightly ahead of schedule and with that my moral picked up and I suddenly clicked back into normal running
feeling. I then checked off each kilometre which is something I very rarely do in races but in fact it broke the distance down into nice bite size chunks. I was making it a very boring race for myself as I ignored the other runners around me and concentrated solely on my time between kilometres. There was a slight concern in my time between a couple of markers which didn't add up to my constant effort but I soon dismissed them because if that kilometre was long then the one before or after was going to be short. I should of gone for a sprint finish but in the end I just rolled over the line with the constant hard effort that I had been doing for the last 10k.  Finished in 25th place in 34 minutes 35 seconds. Five seconds outside my target so I'm more that happy with that, I will put the 5 seconds down to the wind and that would be a poor excuse at that.
  I will definitely be back next year and hopefully I will be back were I expect myself to be and that is under 33 minutes.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sports Tape.

  I could do with some of that special tape for my legs. No! Not that fancy kinesiology muscle support tape some of that fragile handle with care warning tape. Because that is exactly how my legs now feel after the pasting I gave them at the race on Sunday, I managed a very easy seven mile run after work and easy as in pace and not how I found the run in general.
  I have looked back through my training diaries to see what state I was in the days after doing the same trail race and in 2010 by the Wednesday I was back up to full health and doing interval training. Which means I have either not been doing enough hill training, racing harder than ever before or that I am getting old and therefore take longer to recover, so obviously it is the first one and not doing enough hill training. The main thing is to make sure I'm fully fit and raring to go for the Darlington 10k this coming Sunday.
   My training has been a bit hit and miss of late as I have been busy with racing and it is starting show due to the fact that I have now just about come to an halt with my ever improving performance. I really should cut back on the racing and refocus on my training to kick start the steady progression again. Unfortunately I still have a load of races on my busy calendar plus an holiday to squeeze in, so it's looking like it will be October before I can get back on track with trying to get my 5k time down below 16 minutes.
   The squirrel has gone nuts or he will do soon. We must be his number one feeding zone by now and we only give him some of that boring looking squirrel food out of a bag, not for long though as I'm off to go and buy him some proper nuts when I win the lottery. I say that because have you seen the price of nuts.
  Not long to go now and then I will be glued to the TV watching the Olympics, athletics and anything to do with cycling will be high on my list of must watch at all costs.

Monday, 1 August 2016


  Well can you believe it, after having a great day yesterday I woke up this morning to find out we had intruders overnight. There was no signs of a break in and nothing was taken. I must of slept through it all as I never heard a thing and the only thing that I can find that they have done is that they must of battered my legs with a baseball bat. If it wasn't that then it must  be the after effects of yesterday's race, I thought it was a tough one and my legs concur.
  I can't see myself doing any speed training this week as I will be busy trying to get my legs back in order for Sunday's 10k race at Darlington.  In the past I have struggled after an half marathon to get back to full strength in seven days so it might be a close call, I'm sure I will be ok but there is always that a bit of self doubt that pop's up now and again.
  I have decided to aim for 34 minutes 30 seconds for the Darlington 10k and that is being very ambitious, I will try and stick to that pace or a touch quicker for as long as possible and see what happens. I can't see the sense in aiming for 35 minutes which I should be able to achieve as it would be very boring. I will report back with my kilometre timings to see how the gamble went. Push them boundaries and extend your limits. Sounds good on paper and also a good quote to add to my list  of quotes at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

James Herriot Trail Race 2016

  After a couple of nice and easy days winding down after the previous weeks 92 miles I was ready and raring to go for today's 14km race at Castle Bolton. The weather was slightly breezy but it was just about right temperature wise for running.
  My plan was take it steady for the first half a kilometre or so before turning left and up the first big climb which is known as  Black Hill. On the ascent my plan was highlighted " No Red Zone Stuff " and then switch to race mode and take it as it comes after that. Not much of a plan I know but with it being my first off road race for a while and quite a tough one at that,  I couldn't really see myself being in any sort of a position to have any energy to play tatics with.
  The race got under way with a Keswick AC lad taking the lead, I was staying with my plan and going relative steady as I was in the leading bunch behind. As we turned to take on Black Hill I switched to full on steady mode, a few runners came past me that I had expected to, Andy Grant / Harrogate, Michael Joyeux / Darlington, Mike Jefferies / Richmond. It didn't take long ascending that my plan went out of the window as I found it impossible to run up the hill using anything other than my so called red zone stuff. As I approached the summit of the
Blackhill - James Herriot Trail Race 2016
Photo thanks to Pete Richardson.
steep section a runner in a purple vest came past me with John Young / Harrogate just in front of us. We then turned into a strong head wind (so much for the slightly breezy condition I thought before hand.)  It didn't take long before I found myself tucked in behind Mr Purple vest and with Young behind me as I tried to compose myself with all the effort I had just used up. As we continued I gradually started to come back  to life and then was confronted with a decision to make. As I was looking ahead I could see Jefferies and Joyeux pulling away from us, should I push on in pursuit or stay tucked in behind Mr Purple vest. I felt I needed to save more energy so I stayed tucked in but at the same time I was wishing Mr Purple would speed up. I could of taken a turn doing the hard work running into the wind but fighting for the fifth position was far more important seeing as I was never going to take fourth place. At the 5k point the route takes a sharp left turn down a steep decent, an excellent time to attack I thought. Mr Purple vest had the same idea and we both shot off  downwards and eventually opened a slight gap to Young. After the decent I found myself running side by side with Mr Purple Vest and then Young caught us back up. Enough is enough and with that I switched to full on race mode. As I started the second big ascent to an old shooting hut Jefferies was near the top, I did wonder if I could catch him by the finish. Over the top,  then  a long descent and not once did I ever see another runner until I crossed the finishing line in 5th place, 58 minutes 57 seconds.
  Keswick runner was first in just over 53 minutes, Grant 2nd, Jefferies managed to reel in Joyeux before the finish to take 3rd, no wonder I didn't see him again. Young 6th  and Mr Purple Vest about 10th in the end. The timing person got a bit mixed up with the stop watch so the timings were  a bit screwed up. Other than that it was well organised and marshalled yet again. Old arch rival from my better Herriot Trail Race days was there as in Shaun Whelan of  London Front Runners but unfortunately he wasn't competing.
    I think I have earned myself a day off tomorrow from running, saying that though we did stop at a cafe when we got back home and blew my winnings on drinks and cakes, so I may need to rethink the day off.
   The dog absolutely loved her return trip to Castle Bolton and the cafe afterwards, she loved it that much she has been asleep ever since we got back home.
  The squirrel can't believe his luck with his new feeder, what with at least four visits today that we know of.
  Just one other thing, the older you get the harder this race becomes that is for sure. So to see Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers  team mate Ian Codling take on the race in his late seventies is inspirational to say the least.