Monday, 28 June 2010

news ... news ... news ...

Just three short news items today:

(1)  The Planet Ultramarathon website has an interesting post about solo running and the logistics of keeping records of those feats.  After my Run to London last year my main thought would be that some people do those kind of things just for fun.  They may be interested in the record aspect of it but do not want to get tied down with all the red tape and/or paperwork and/or other requirements that may be needed to absolutely prove they did what they claim to have done.

It is a good idea to have a body recognising these achievements though.

(2)  The German website (DUV) has been uploading lots of ultra race results lately.  Some of them going back to the 1970's.  This website is proving to be a great repository of results and provides a brilliant statistical service for the last six years over a wide range of distances and times.  Well done to Jurgen, Bertram and Andreas.

Good to see Alan Young at number thirteen in the British 24 hour rankings for 2010.

(3)  William Sichel has uploaded loads of podcasts, many of which were filmed with the Athens 1000 mile race in mind.  They contain an amazing amount of information and show just how meticulous ultra runners have to be with their preparation and racing.  Amazing stuff which is well worth a look.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Park Run

Took part in the Bradford Park Run this morning.  It's a fairly new weekly 5k race around Lister Park in the Manningham area of the city.

I've not been to that park for a few years now and I'd forgotten just how wonderful a place it is.  Well worthy of being Britains Best Park (2006).

Anyway ... back to the race.  I decided to run to the start this morning as the weather was so lovely.  It's about 8.5 miles and I left home shortly before 7.30am aiming to arrive in plenty of time before the 9.00am start.  There were loads of other runners out and about and I must have seen a dozen or so within the first 30 minutes.

At Lister Park I was told that this week the route would be slightly different because of other events happening on parts of the course.  We would be running a slightly slower route which incorporated a fairly long steep climb parallel to Emm Lane (two and a half times !!).

No problem ... I don't mind hills ... I'm quite strong on the hills ... as long as the surface is tarmac and not moorland.

Set off on the slow side, not having raced anything so short for twelve months, but after half a mile (or less) I settled into a pace I felt I could maintain for the next twenty minutes or so.  After about a mile we came to the hill and, as expected, I pulled away from those running with me (Andrea Dennison and ... ) and caught some of those ahead of me.  One person flew up the hill though only to be reeled in about 400m after the top.

A similar thing happened on the next lap, except there were less people to catch, and for the final half mile or so I tried to increase the pace a bit and almost caught the runner in front.

Overall I'm happy with my time of 19:29 on a hilly course.  Age graded that's 17:33 which is only 5 seconds outside my age graded best.  And that was set on a pancake flat course which hadn't included a nine mile warm up.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

club handicap

Yesterday was the latest in a long line of Otley AC handicap events.  This was was a 10k event starting and finishing at Leathley, near Otley.

Just to make things a bit more interesting (for me ...) I decided to incorporate it into a long run.  Leaving Leeds at about 5.15pm I ran the 11 or so miles to Otley before embarking on the 4.3 miles from my home to Leathley.  I arrived just before 7.30pm and was told I had eleven minutes before my allotted start time.  Good timing.

I started with Mick Jeffrey, John Armitstead and Michael Pickard and together we began the 3 mile climb towards Almscliffe Crag.  For much of that distance Mick was about 20m in front with John and myself giving chase.  At about 2.5 miles we caught Mick and opened up a slight lead whilst also catching most of those runners who had set off earlier.  The steep downhill stretch between 3.5 and 5 miles proved quite hard work [I had already run 19 miles by this time].

The final mile or so was interesting as Mick Jeffrey managed to catch me again and made repeated attempts to pass.  He finally managed it in the final 10m or so.  Having not run this course before I was caught out slightly by all the twists, turns and undulations as we approached Leathley.  Still, he did very well and I was pleased with 43 minutes in the heat (about 23 degrees C) on a very hilly route after running 15+ miles to get there.

After a few minutes recovery I said my goodbyes and ran the 4.3 miles home for a nice round 26 miles.  At home I decided to try a new recovery drink.

I have used Lucozade Sport recovery drinks in the past but I think they taste really bad so stopped using them about six months ago.  However, recently I had an interesting idea ... instead of mixing the powder with water I could mix it with fruit juice in the hope of a better taste.  I mixed tropical flavour powder with orange juice and the taste was massively improved.

Also at home I found it increasingly difficult to walk, climb stairs, etc.  My right ankle was quite swollen and painful.  Took two ibuprofen before bed and woke up this morning completely pain free and able to move normally.  Very strange.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Commonwealth Championships

Just found an important announcement on the Commonwealth Championships website which reads:

"It is with great pleasure we announce the sanctioning of the 2nd Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Distance Running Championship by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Norm(an) Wilson. Chairman of the Commonwealth Championships met with delegates of the CGF and secured the sanctioning last week. He says, "This was not a straight forward process. I had to do a lot work to ensure this application was successful."
The event is scheduled for either 2011 or 2013. The Commonwealth Championship committee is currently looking at bids to host the event."

This is excellent news.  The five days I spent in Keswick last September were incredible.  The whole atmosphere surrounding the events was fantastic and the friendliness amongst athletes from different disciplines was truly amazing.

Definitely something to look forward to.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Harrogate League

Last night's fourth Harrogate League race was a bit strange.  It was a 4.8 mile trail race hosted by Nidd Valley Road Runners at Harrogate Hockey Club.

It was perfectly normal until about 10 minutes before the start when all the runners were walked to the start area.  OK so far ... until we realised that the narrow path we had spent five minutes walking along was actually part of the course.  The first part.  This was made all the worse by the realisation that I was now at the wrong end of the massed runners.  I wasn't the only one who, for the first 400m or so, was faced with a wall of slower runners on a narrow path.

And then came the bollard at the end of this path followed by a few sharp twists and turns until we got onto the course proper which was basically a disused railway line which had been transformed into a very pleasant public footpath northwards to the River Nidd.

The final four and a quarter miles along these paths (quite narrow in places) saw me passing loads of other runners from all clubs.  Not a single soul passed me though and towards the end I even passed Simon Anderson who was obviously having a hard time of it.  He should be at least a minute quicker than me on this course.

Overall I was extremely pleased with my run which shows that I have now recovered from the Brive race (and the Bradford Millennium Way Relay last weekend).

It was good to see Julian Mawson there after his recent health scare and major operation.  He was still recovering and I'm sure most people there were made aware, for a short while at least, of our own mortality.  Julian isn't yet 40 years old so hopefully he'll make a speedy and strong recovery.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bradford Millennium Way Relay

Took part in the Bradford Millennium Way Relay today.  It's a five stage race with two runners from each team on each stage - running in pairs.  Otley AC team organiser Colin Best paired me with Hugh Pearson on the final stage from Ilkley to Bingley via Rocky Valley, Burley Moor, Weecher Reservoir, Shipley Glen and the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Approximately 11 miles in total - the longest of any stage.  Hugh and I arrived at the start to be met by Colin with the news that the stage four runners would be expected in about 15 minutes.  No rush then ... get changed, pin number to vest, have a pee ...

Actually Edward and Huw were later than expected but Hugh (confusing, I know) set off at a gallop.  Definitely quicker than I would have done had I been running solo.  The first four miles or so included lots of climbing.  On top of Rombalds Moor we encountered a few deep bogs.  Knee deep.  At least.  But after that it was easy going down towards Shipley Glen.

But then we took a wrong turn and added over a mile to our route.  I must share some of the blame for that mistake as it was me carrying the map.  Hugh thankfully spotted the mistake and got us back on the correct path - to Shipley Glen.

From that point on there were no problems at all and the terrain suited me much better.  Moorland running doesn't really agree with me - especially at speed when coming across deep marshes and streams to jump over.  Or not.

Anyway the final few miles were good and overall I was well and truly knackered.  Especially during the first half when I struggled to keep pace with Hugh who's obviously used to this sort of thing.  The blister was quite painful on the rocky uphill sections but not enough to slow me down and for the last third of the route I hardly noticed anyway.  I had drained it yesterday afternoon and used a Compeed blister plaster and two pairs of cushioned socks.

Thanks to St Bedes AC for organising the event and to Colin Best for organising Otley AC teams.  And to Hugh Pearson for not letting me slow him down too much only one month after my last 24 hr race.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Otley 10 and Bradford Millennium Way relay

Yesterday was the annual Otley 10 mile race.  Although I'm not the race director any more I still helped out wherever I could in the morning and again in the evening.  Colin Best and Steve Wentling did a great job organising things this year.  Especially as the venue was changed at relatively short notice.  Thanks to Otley Cricket Club for being so accommodating.

It seems though that when the race was held in mid May the weather was a lot better than it is now we stage the race about four weeks later.  Full results can be found via the link on the Otley AC home page.

Those of you who know me will also know that in general I get very few blisters.  Even during 24 hour races I often finish with no more than a single blister.  This morning I acquired one though.  During a 13.5 mile fartlek session.  It's quite painful at the moment but hopefully it'll be OK for the weekend's Bradford Millennium Way Relay where I'm partnering Hugh Pearson on the final stage.

Friday, 4 June 2010

here we go ... and it's good to be back

OK I know I haven't posted for a while and there's a good reason for that.  I haven't had anything to write about.

I still don't have much to write about at the moment but I have been busy planning my training schedule which will take me to my next 24 hr race - the Six Nations event in Perth over the first weekend in September.  That's Perth in Scotland, not Australia.

When I arrived home from Brive I took a few days mental recovery before trying to find out why I ran a substandard distance in France.  After the Commonwealth Championships I reviewed my training and made slight adjustments for, what I thought, the better.  I now believe these changes, especially in the running side of things, were wrong and so I've reverted to a very similar running schedule to the one I used last summer.

The other aspects of my training:  although I'm still incorporating cycling and strength/conditioning exercises it will probably be a bit less of the former and a bit more of the latter.

Flexibility training remains unchanged.

At the end of May I took part in the second Harrogate League race.  It was only seven days after the World 24 hr Championships and the plan was just to run the 5 mile course.  I managed 41 minutes on the hilly route at Temple Newsam, Leeds.  Although my left hamstring ached a bit I was happy with that.

Then I ran on alternate days - 6 miles, 7 miles, 8 miles and 9 miles.  My hamstring getter better daily.  Since then my weekly mileage has improved to 40 miles.  Next week 50 then 60 then increasing by about 5% weekly.

Yesterday I took part in the third Harrogate League race.  Five and a half miles from Yeadon, near Leeds which included a hilly stretch through and beyond Spring Wood.  Managed 38:05.  Sub 7 minute miling and a good springboard to faster racing over the next few months.

Ah yes, one last thing, my club [Otley AC] decided to award me the accolade of Runner of the Month for May.  I can only assume that no-one else had any good runs last month.  Or is that me being overly critical ?