Wednesday, 28 July 2010

training update

Another round up of what my running has been like recently.

SUNDAY:  100m intervals, 6 miles in total.  This went OK and it was good to run quick for a change, even though it was in very short amounts.

MONDAY:  just a steady 7 miler around Menston.

TUESDAY:  long run ... Bramhope - Headingley - Kirkstall - canal to Baildon - Guiseley - Menston - back to Otley.  About 25 miles in about 3h 30.

WEDNESDAY:  another long run ... 24.2 miles fartlek in 3h 13.  Very tired now !!!

TOMORROW:  rest day ...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

team news

Found, on the England Athletics website, all the news relating to the England team for the Six Nations 24 hr race in Perth.  I mentioned earlier that my selection had been confirmed and now I can also say that Richard Quennell, Chris Finill, Pat Robbins, Marie Doke, Vicky Skelton, Sandra Brown and Angie Sadler have also been selected.

Congratulations to them all.

Richard ran exceptionally well at this year's World & European Championships.  Chris was also in Brive and also took part in last year's Commonwealth Championships, as did Pat, Marie, Vicky (second woman in Keswick) and Sandra.

Pat holds the course record for the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race, Marie was also at this year's World & Europeans.  Vicky was at last year's World & European Championships in Italy whilst Angie ran well in the Commonwealth Championships 100km race only about nine weeks after winning outright the Hull 24 hr race.

Norman Wilson, when he phoned, explained that the selectors have decided to send a fourth man and a fourth woman for 'development' purposes - these will be non-scoring members of the team.  The aim of this policy is to help those who are just below international selection get the necessary experience.  I hope it works out that way and we get a really good performance in Perth and a few more runners run the distance needed for next year's championships.

I plan to do well too of course.

Which reminds me ... it's also been decided that there will be another Commonwealth Championships for mountain and ultra running and it will be staged in either 2011 or 2013.  This depends on what bids are received for staging them.  Good news indeed.

Friday, 23 July 2010

recent running

Here's a quick rundown of my running over the past four days:

TUESDAY - tempo run first thing in the morning.  My target, after a suitable warm up, was to run 7.1 miles between 46:51 and 48:09.  These paces represent my 10k and half marathon paces ... or they did at the end of last year !!!  This morning I managed 47:40 with no difficulty whatsoever.  Pleased with that at 8.00am.

WEDNESDAY - Golden Acre Relay.  This local event is for teams of three over a 2.75 mile off road circuit which is undulating, twisting and narrow in places.  I was placed in a team with Dale Foster and Andrew Robertshaw (both much quicker than me over short distances).  Dale ran 16:05, Andrew 16:20 and myself 17:50.  Overall we finished ninth team ... and then I ran 5.5 miles home.  I was pleased with my run at 6:29 per mile considering the previous days training and the fact that the course isn't really conducive to fast running.  Good to see fellow ultra runners Derek Martin and Sam Black too.  These Abbey Runners were a big help at last year's Run To London.

THURSDAY - 10+ miles steady in the morning.  Nothing to report about this.

FRIDAY - 35 miles.  The original plan was to run along the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Skipton to Kirkstall.  That plan had to be changed yesterday morning when Keir and his teenaged pals decided to alter their camping trip in the Yorkshire Dales.  In the end my route was:  Otley ... Burley ... Menston ... Guiseley ... Baildon ... Shipley ... Saltaire ... Bingley ... Leeds Liverpool Canal to Kirkstall ... Headingley ... Bramhope ... Otley.  Very enjoyable slow run although the temperature rose significantly during the last 8 miles or so which made it very uncomfortable.

Ah yes ... it's good to hear that Derek Martin is running again after a couple of years of back problems.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

coffee ...

Today I just finished a bag of very special coffee I bought in Leeds last week.  This coffee is from Yemen, on the Arabian peninsula and very few places sell coffee from that part of the world.

I've had this one three or four times over the past couple of years and the same thing happens every time.  The first cup, from the freshly opened packet, tastes very strange indeed.  So strange that the second cup tastes rather good.  It's almost as if my taste buds couldn't cope with such an unpredictable coffee at first but then they remember the flavours and tell me it's good stuff.

Definitely my favourite, read about it here.

Perhaps it just suits my personality ...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Perth Ultra Fest

Yesterday afternoon Norman Wilson from England Athletics phoned to confirm that I've been selected to represent England again.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I've been expecting it for a few weeks now and planning/training accordingly.

The race is an international competition between Scotland, England, France, Ireland, Italy and Wales and will take place in Perth, Scotland on 4/5 September.

I don't want to put the names of the English runners on here yet (just in case they haven't been officially informed) but I do know that:

John Pares (Wales) cannot run due to work commitments,
William Sichel (Scotland) is running,
Jim Rogers (England) is not running.  In Brive earlier this year he spoke of his desire to compete in the Spartathlon, which is also in September.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Washburn Valley Relay

Friday night was the annual Washburn Valley Relay and I ran for Otley Mixed A on the four mile stage 2.  This has always been one of my favourite events as it takes place in one of my all time favourite running places - and it's just seven miles north of where I live too.

My stage comprised one complete circuit of Fewston Reservoir and I've raced along those paths seven times previously.  Those previous times were:

19 June 1999 ... Otley AC handicap ... 24:03
25 May 2000 ... Otley AC handicap ... 24:57
6 June 2000 ... Washburn Valley Relay ... 24:17
6 June 2002 ... Otley AC handicap ... 27:12
24 July 2003 ... Otley AC handicap ... 27:23
14 June 2004 ... Otley AC handicap ... 28:17
17 April 2007 ... Otley AC handicap ... 26:23
16 July 2010 ... Washburn Valley Relay ... 25:47

My time this year was most surprising as it was my quickest in over ten years.  I was not expecting that at all - the path around the reservoir is undulating, twisting and very narrow in places - how I managed to pass thirteen people I'll never know.

My team, which also comprised Sharron Smith and Renee Saxton finished 16th overall (out of 50) and second mixed team behind Pudsey Pacers.

Also, for the first time this year, there was a relay for junior runners on a 1.1 mile circuit.  Overall a brilliant event at which I met up again with Helen Barber and Tony Hazell who played such a large part in last year's epic Run To London.

Thanks to everyone for organising and helping stage such an enjoyable event:  Nick Hodgkinson, Julian Mawson, Chris Stacey, Andrew Robertshaw, Hugh Pearson, John Armitstead, Beate Schmidt-Rohlfing and I'm sure there are a few more whose names escape me ... apologies to them but well done.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

long runs

Training going well now.  Last weekend's problems are long gone and this morning's 23 mile fartlek went well.  The route was (from Otley):

Menston - Guiseley - Rawdon - Calverley - Leeds Liverpool Canal to Saltaire - Baildon - Guiseley - Menston - Otley

For those of you who live round here you can see that the route included Hollins Hill - at about 18 miles.  Not fun after 2h 25 of running.

On Friday 23 July Keir is going camping in the Yorkshire Dales with his friends for a few days.  I've offered to take him to Skipton on that morning so that I can run home again.  My route will probably include a large section of the Leeds Liverpool Canal - to Apperley Bridge or beyond.  A total of about 32 miles when I get back to Otley.

I'll be in Skipton bus station at about 9.30am and if anyone would like to join me on my run home you'll be most welcome.  I plan to leave at about 10.00am (unless I have a coffee before leaving Skipton).

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

back to normal

Training over the past couple of days has gone very well indeed and I'm now fully recovered from last week's experience.

It's been strength training, stretching and cycling today ... and a run of over 22 miles first thing this morning.  No problems at all.  Morning heart rate back to normal too after being elevated over the weekend.

Feeling good now ... confidence returning fast.

Oh yes ... Spain 1 Netherlands 0 [but Netherlands were very lucky to finish with a full team].

Sunday, 11 July 2010


Had a good few relaxing days in Filey on the east coast of Yorkshire.  A small town with lots of nearby trails for walking and/or running.  The weather was very hot (often over 27 C or 80 F) but windy most of the time.

On Thursday I had a bad day though.  Went for an early morning run (7.00am) of about 6 miles through Gristhorpe and Muston before returning to Filey.  Very hot and humid even so early in the day but all went well.  Later that day though - about nine hours later - I began to feel ill, very ill.  It's obvious to me now that it was a heat related illness.

Normally I'm very careful with hydration, shade, suntan lotion, etc but had lapsed whilst in Filey and things had caught up with me - severely.  After four hours or so of vomiting and feeling bad I went to bed and woke up on Friday morning feeling more or less normal but vowing to be more careful in future.

Back home on Saturday and went for a for a run in the afternoon and began to feel ill again as soon as I did something other than steady running.  Came home again after only 10 hill reps instead of the planned 20 and rested for the remainder of the day.

This morning I feel fine and I'll go for a run this afternoon.  I had planned to do 6 miles at about 6:40 per mile but I think I'll just run steadily instead - it's far too windy to run so quickly anyhow.

On final thought for today.  Who'll win the World Cup this evening ... Spain or The Netherlands ?

Sunday, 4 July 2010

training, web changes and the seaside

Training going very well at the moment.  Lots of running, cycling, stretching and strength exercises.  Quite a few races too (speedwork).

I also realised a few weeks ago that this site is getting a bit out of date on a few of the pages and it generally needed a good makeover.  So ...

The following pages have seen a few changes recently:

 - this home page
 - Future Races
 - My Races
 - My Personal Bests
 - Rankings
 - Help & Advice
 - Sponsorship
 - contact details

Please feel free to have a look around while I'm away for a few days at the seaside with Fay and Keir.  See you in a week or so.

If any of the links don't work, on any of the pages, please let me know.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Harrogate League

Last night was the final counting race in this years Harrogate League.  After five races between the end of April and the beginning of July Harrogate H & AC have won the team title.  Well done to them.

However the women and women's vets from my club, Otley AC, have done remarkably well to finish first in both categories for the first time ever.  Brilliant result.

Last nights race was 4.8 miles from the village of Hudswell in Swaledale.  The results show that I finished 38th in 32:12.  I'm happy with that ... the last time I ran this course was two years ago and my time on that occasion was five seconds quicker.  The results also show that this was my best result from this year's five races.

The route was basically 1.5 miles uphill from the start followed by two undulating miles then a final 1.3 miles downhill to the finish.  I started steadily and passed loads of people near the top of the hill but even more people during the third quarter of the race.

The hills suit me at the moment as I'm doing lots of hill training and feeling very strong.

Many thanks to Swaledale Road Runners for organising the race - and the food at the George & Dragon was as good as ever.