Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Bad News

Well, here we go with some sad news before Christmas ... as you all know I plan to take part in a 48 hr race in Athens and raise funds in aid of Orchid.

Unfortunately, events of the past two weeks have necessitated a change of plan. In order, these events were:

late Nov: announced plan to race in Athens
10 Dec: lost job therefore no means of paying for travel, accommodation, etc
18 Dec: major high street retailer offered to pay costs
23 Dec: said retailer pulls out of deal as they are now in administration
24 Dec: unless a business (or individual) offers to pay costs I'll have to withdraw from the race

So, there we have it. In a nutshell I cannot afford to get to Athens and back. However I would still like to raise funds this year in aid of Orchid so I'll have to think of something else ...

Apologies to all concerned but keep reading for updates as soon as I have them. If anyone out there has some spare cash (!!!!) please get in touch.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Shoe Review

OK, time for a review of the running shoes I have been using for the last few weeks. Thanks to for supplying them. Please understand that reviews do not come easily to me – in fact I find reviews the most difficult writing task to get right.
These top of the range New Balance trainers are packed with technology including ABZORB FLo midsole housing a full length perforated ABZORB strobel sock with ABZORB DTS in the heel and ABZORB SBS in the forefoot. Also features a midfoot stability web, a supportive N Lock unit, breathable Lightning Dry fabric and a seamless Phantom liner throughout.

Very good but what does it all do ? Well, ABZORB is an innovative foam which, according to the New Balance website "cushions and hugs your feet, effectively removing all excuses for you not to spend a few more minutes with running." After a few runs of different length in these I would say that the cushioning is indeed very good, ideal for neutral runners out on long runs. One Runner’s World reviewer wrote "You could run all day in these and then some without your feet feeling the effects." Perfect for me then …

Midfoot stability web … rigid arch support preventing midfoot flex. Very good but I wasn’t aware of this at all when running. N Lock unit … a novel idea integrating the lacing system into the fit around the foot – I like this idea which means that all runners will have a good around the top of the foot. Lightning Dry fabric is for moisture transfer keeping the feet dry and comfortable throughout the run – not for running through puddles.

Other useful things to know include the fact that like most New Balance shoes they are available in a range of width fittings which is good as my feet are on the wide side. The unusual laces are a fantastic innovation which really do keep them tied – no more stopping to re lace shoes.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Handicap

This morning I took part in Otley AC's annual Christmas handicap. The route is about 5 miles round Swinsty Reservoir and the village of Timble.  For more details see Otley AC's website.

Weather wasn't too good but we had 25 or so runners for a decent competition. I managed 35 mins for the undulating course.  Not fantastic but OK considering my limited training of late.

Just been invited, by Norman Wilson, to an England Athletics Ultra Squad training weekend, etc in Gloucester at the end of January.  Not sure whether I can attend yet but if I don't will it damage my chances of representing England at the Commonwealth Championships or other future championships.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Rehab going well

Apparently I was wrong about the weather at the Round Rotherham 50 last weekend ... it was just as bad as last year, if not worse. Well done to Les Hill though who finished in 9 hours (well over an hour slower than he's capable of).

Today I moved into stage two of my rehab from knee injury. This means I can run continuously for 35 mins (slowly increasing to 60 mins). I'm also cycling 3 to 4 times a week and doing strength exercises three times weekly. Still doing the straight leg quads exercises twice a day.

Congratulations to William Sichel on being guaranteed a world number 2 ranking for 2008 in six day races - well done to him and his crew.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Athletes of the Year

Following on from the post on Monday 1 December about 'Athletics Weekly' Athletes of the Year 2009.

I've identified the following performances which are worthy of consideration but I'm sure there are many others I've missed - if you know of any please let me know.

Chris Finill - 243.238k - Tooting 24 hr (London, UK)
Stephen Mason - 239.396k - Perth 24h (Scotland)
William Sichel - 857.071k - Hamm 6d (Germany)

Lucy Colquhoun - 8h 09:24 - first British woman in Euro Champs/World Cup 100k (Italy)
Sharon Gayter - 219.178k - Bislett indoor 24h (Oslo, Norway)
Vicky Skelton - 211.986k - Tooting 24 hr (London, UK)

Eoin Keith - three Irish records (100 miles, 200k, 24h) in Tooting 24 hr (London, UK)
Yiannis Kouros - three 48h races in two months - 408k, 422k, 433k
Tony Mangan - world treadmill record 48h - 405.220k
Wolfgang Schwerk - two 6d races in five weeks - 912.000k, 872.264k

Margrethe Logavlen - 135.425k - Bislett indoor 12h (Oslo, Norway)
Cornelia Bulig - 775.255k - Antibes 6d (France)
Martina Hausmann - three 6d races in four months - 743.000k, 713.492k, 756.400k

Chris Finill - 243.238k - Tooting 24 hr (London, UK)

Martina Hausmann - 756.400k - chasing Yiannis Kouros in Hallsberg 6d (Sweden)
Eoin Keith - three Irish records (100 miles, 200k, 24h) in Tooting 24 hr (London, UK)
Tony Mangan - world treadmill record 48h - 405.220k

Well, who would you vote for ?

Friday, 12 December 2008

charity fund raising

charity number 1080540

Well here we are - the big announcement. Regular visitors will know by now that I plan to raise some money for charity next year. After much deliberation I've decided to raise funds in aid of Orchid.

Orchid is the only UK registered cancer charity to focus entirely on the male-specific cancers; prostate, penile and testicular. Orchid exists to save lives and suffering caused by these diseases by funding medical research and promoting awareness about them. More information can be found here.

The race I plan to take part in is a 48 hour race which is part of the Athens International Ultramarathon Festival 2009.

I'm sure you lot will give generously. Most of you know by now that I had cancer back in the 1990s (testicular which then spread to my lungs) so this is quite dear to my heart.

Right ... moving on ... the song lyrics on the last post. Well Alastair Humphreys got the first one correct. They were Nothing Else Matters by Metallica and Ain't Gonna Cry No More by Whitesnake. The latter especially has lots of memories for me ... when originally told I had cancer I couldn't seem to stop playing that particular Whitesnake album (Ready an' Willing). Must've driven all the other patients mad but it certainly helped with my frame of mind.

Another brilliant song which puts things in perspective is When A Blind Man Cries by Deep Purple.

Now then - why would Alastair Humphreys be reading this blog. I don't have anything in common with this adventurer type bloke except that we're both Yorkshiremen. He's twelve years younger than me and I don't recall ever meeting him ... if he does though I 'd be interested to know when and where. Anyway I wish him all the best for his long journey home !!!

All the best too to Steve Battle, Les Hill and Paul Tranter who are taking part in tomorrow's Rowbotham's Round Rotherham 50. I hope the weather is better than last year for you ... it can't be worse. Commiserations to Phil Robertson who has had to withdraw through illness.

Remember - Orchid exists to save men’s lives from testicular, prostate and penile cancers through pioneering research and promoting awareness.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Remembering the bad times ...

Rehab is going very well indeed. Easily on target to resume full training on January 1st.

Things also seem to be advancing well with my plan to raise money for a cancer charity whilst taking part in a 48 hr race in Athens in April.

Looks like we've got over the current bad spell of weather. Of course, with it being winter here we can expect more snow and rain and wind and cold temperatures - not my favourite time of year. In fact, when it comes to bad weather, I'm definitely a wimp !!!

It very rarely stops me training though - probably because I know that the pleasure I get from running outweighs the negative aspect of being outside in terrible weather. I know there's lots of other health benefits too but just being able to run gives me a thrill - I remember times in my life when I was too ill ...

Sorry about that - I'd better stop now or I'll start weeping.

A couple of songs I remember, helped get me through those hard times - read the lyrics below and see if you know what they are [answers next time].

(1) So close no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

(2) Rising with the morning sun
I turn to greet the dawn
Knowing I must face another day
Sleepness night behind me
Just a memory of pain
My heart has always been a cross to bear

Lord I know the sun shines
But I feel the tears of rain
Falling down to wash my sins away
I'll try hard to remember
So I won't be fooled again
I ain't gonna cry no more today

All around me shadows fall
The day has just begun
I realise I'm on my own again
Memories of broken dreams
As distant as the sun
Are drifting like an echo on the wind

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A short update

Very bad weather this morning making it difficult to go for a run. A blanket of snow covered everywhere and just got thicker and thicker until mid morning - wonderful. Cold but wonderful. I managed 45 minutes through the soft stuff as planned. At the moment I'm also alternating on a daily basis between cycling and strength/conditioning exercises.

Also doing stretching and the eccentric achilles stretches (still every third day). The wobble board had to go back to the scouts a few days ago but I don't think I need to use it anymore - I can always borrow it again if necessary. Fay is a Beaver Leader so that'll be no problem.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Rehab proceeding well

Used new running shoes ... very good. I only had them on for 40 minutes but I was impressed by the comfort and cushioning. A fuller review will appear shortly.

Today's training went well. 5 mins run, 5 mins walk, repeated for 40 mins. Iced my knee for 15 mins before and after running. Overall I would rate it at 92.8% (1 being very bad and 100 being perfect). I expect to be running properly again before 20 December and training normally by 1 January.

Going to the pantomime this evening (oh yes I am ...). In Otley by the local amateur theatre group. I'm invited every year by the local scout leader to help look after the 6 to 8 year olds. I don't mind ... I quite enjoy it really.

And as we ask the older scouts to provide two water stations at the Otley 10 in June ...

Monday, 1 December 2008

New Shoes & Athletes of the Year

Forgot to mention yesterday (or perhaps it was the day before ...) the good people at have sent me a pair of New Balance MR 1062 EU to review.  They look very good, I plan to wear them for the first time tomorrow - expect a brief report.  A full review will be posted before Christmas.

I know it's a bit late but I've just seen in Athletics Weekly a voting form for readers to vote for their 'Athletes of the Year'.

Categories are: British man, British Woman, International Man, International Woman, British Junior Man, British Junior Woman, British Performance, International Performance.

How many ultra distance runners/performances do you think will get a mention when the results are announced at the end of the year ?

Send me your nominations and I'll put the 'ultra performances/runners' on this site if there's enough replies.