Friday, 29 June 2012

Harrogate League 2012

Let's begin by saying a big 'well done' to everyone from Otley AC who turned out for the final Harrogate League race yesterday evening.

The off-road 8k course was exceptionally muddy and, in places, it was like trying to run on an ice skating rink.  I slipped, of course, at about halfway but got up (covered in mud, grazes and bruises) and managed to run strongly and pull back lots of places helping the club to their first overall League win since 2009.

The women also won their competition, for only the second time ever.  And we also won the elite competition ... that's three wins out of six team competitions.  Fantastic.

Thanks too to Nidd Valley Road Runners and Vocalink RC for organising the race, and to Paul Wood for all his hard work compiling results.

Last night I finished in 57th position (out of 232) with a time of 35:49.  I know it's not too fast but I'm happy with that for three reasons:

1 - it was only six days after a 100 miler and I just ran how I felt ... faster if I felt good, slower if I didn't
2 - the mud was terrible, I never feel comfortable when slipping and sliding everywhere
3 - I beat at least five runners that I expected to finish behind

Also ... I won a prize in the raffle.  Some electrolyte tablets which will be very useful indeed.

Well, that's all for now.  I've got a race report to write.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

ULTRArace 100

This will be just a short, preliminary report - no doubt I'll gather my thoughts for a proper report in a week or two.

You know it takes me a while to get those things together.

A month or so before the race I set myself a target of 16h 30 and I was about 5 minutes ahead of this until about 59 miles when I needed an emergency toilet stop.  At about 69 miles I was sick three or four times.  When approaching the 80 mile checkpoint I tripped/fell and whilst dusting myself down, locating the pain, limping, etc I ran past the turn and continued for about three quarters of a mile before realising - this means I ran about 1.5 miles EXTRA this year.

Makes up for last year I suppose !!!

At 80 miles I was scheduled to finish in about 17h 20.

So I dug in deep and finished in 16h 41:16

Pleased with that for three reasons:

(1)  an hour quicker than last year
(2)  to run a very fast last 20 miles after those mishaps was very satisfying
(3)  UK Athletics wanted me to run sub 18 hours to prove my fitness ahead of September's World 24 hr Championships - just a bit of added pressure

Disappointed with only finishing second though.

Many thanks to Hugh Pearson for being a great crew person ... and to Rory and Jen for organising a fantastic race.  I only wish there were more events of this type in the UK.

And not forgetting those people who anonymously donated via PayPal using the link on the right.  I welcome your faith in me and hope that faith is beginning to be rewarded.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

63 hours and counting

Almost there now ... one more training run, two more sessions of strength work, two of stretching and no more cycling.

And plenty of rest.

Glad to be able to report that last weeks selection stresses have been resolved and it's fair to say that good old fashioned common prevailed.  I would like to think that all sides have learned a few lessons for the future though which can only be a good thing.

The weather has been excellent in Yorkshire for the past few days ... warm and dry with sunny spells.  I'm not sure it's going to last until Friday though but I don't expect it to rain as much as it did last year ... PLEASE.

Apparently there are a few other races this weekend, so ... all the best to all the runners but especially:  Richie Cunningham, Adrian Stott and Paul Tranter in the West Highland Way Race; Jez Bragg in the Western States Endurance Run (Western states 100); and Racheal Bamford in the UKA Olympic Trials (1500m).

Hope we all have a good one.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Not much to report today

After a week of high stress (needlessly so in my opinion) I now feel back on track for a good run next Friday.

Hope the weather holds out though.  At the moment it seems to depend on which forecast one uses.

The stress levels are falling and I'm putting the finishing touches to my pacing strategy - plotting planned split times and their locations.

Not much else to report today ... I'm sure they will be in a few days.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Otley 10

Spent much of yesterday helping out at the annual 10 mile road race organised by my club (Otley AC).  OK, OK the club doesn't belong to me but you know what I mean.

This year was the 28th staging of the popular evening race which, strangely enough, seemed to enjoy much better weather when it was held in mid May.  The course itself winds it's way through beautiful countryside to the north of Otley and is well known across northern England for the two rather large hills - see the course profile here.  I don't believe this course was particularly designed to be difficult, it's just that it wasn't easy for the club at that time to find a suitable route locally for a road race without incorporating some hills.  I now think it's quite rare for such a long standing race to have a course record which is over 50 minutes.

The course records are:  50:56 (Colin Moore - 1989) and 57:40 (Veronique Marot - 1989)

This year's winner was Matt John (Otley AC) who finished in just over 56 minutes.

Colin Best deserves much credit for organising the race this year (and last year too).  Hopefully he can continue for many years to come and also hopefully I can be of more help than I was this year as the race has always been a bit special for me.  I was race director from 2000 to 2008/9 but had to resign when the pressures of Running to London and trying to secure selection for the 2009 Commonwealth Championships began to take their toll.

I'm sure Colin would want to join me in saying 'thank you' to all the marshals and other helpers who make this race possible.  I think that many people not involved in organising a race fail to appreciate the manpower needed to stage an event like this.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Crisis ... what crisis

Bad news (I think) at the weekend.

I've been told that the 100 mile race I'm due to run in less than two weeks is not a suitable race in which to prove my fitness for the World 24 hr Champs in September.

I've also been told that I was required to prove my fitness before the selectors met a couple of days ago.  Despite the fact that I entered this race BEFORE the selection criteria was announced.


The good news is that I'm injury free again but working with lighter weights than normal for the next few days 'just in case'.  That was a strange injury though - painful at the time but quick to heal.  Prompt action I suppose.

Still tapering hard.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ouch ... maybe ... or maybe not

On Sunday, when training with some weights, I felt a pain in my lower back ... ouch.  I immediately applied ice, took some ibuprofen and stopped exercising.

On Monday I went to the physio and was relieved to discover that it isn't at all serious and that I can continue running ... so long as I continue with the 2Is *  No weight training for a while though and I've booked a couple of light massages.  The first was this morning and I fell much better.

After that scare I'm fully confident of being completely pain free and back to normal next week.

Must congratulate Debbie Martin-Consani on her fantastic run in the Grand Union Canal Race at the weekend.  She finished first in appalling weather and set a new women's course record.  And, I would suggest, secure her place in the UK team for the World 24 hr Championships - although that is for the selectors to decide when they meet at the weekend.  Well done Debbie.

* 2Is ... ice and ibuprofen

Saturday, 2 June 2012

this week

It's been quite a busy few days since my last post ...

Tuesday 29 May - Keir's 18th birthday.  He had already told us that he didn't want to spend too long celebrating as he wanted to not be distracted from his exams (which have already started).  We still managed to ensure he had a memorable day though.

Wednesday 30 May - long run.  Over thirty miles in the morning and strength work in the evening.  My last long run before the ULTRArace 100.

Thursday 31 May - 5.5 mile race (8.9 km) race in Yeadon which forms part of the Harrogate League series.  I ran 38:11 on the muddy (and slippery) trails and finished in 45th position (out of 262).  Quite surprised by this for two reasons:  (1) only one day after a very long run and only 6 seconds behind my best on that course, (2) I, along with about half a dozen other runners, lost about 30 seconds after taking a wrong turn in Esholt just before the long climb through the woods.

My club, Otley AC, seems to be doing very well indeed so 'well done everyone'.

Friday 1 June - 7.6 mile tempo run (12.2 km) in the afternoon.  The target was 6:51 per mile (4:15 per km) and I thought I might struggle with that less than 24 hrs after quite a hard race.  However, without pushing too hard, I managed 6:43 per mile (4:10 per km).  The idea was to run quite fast but also to 'run to feel' - always being in control of any residual niggles from the race or long run.  Pleased with that.  More strength and core work in the evening.

Day off today but thing about those running the Grand Union Canal Race, especially Debs, Jerry, Pat R, Mike B and Richard Q.

Back to training tomorrow but I'm now in tapering mode for three weeks.  I just hope the recent summer weather holds out and we don't have 12 hours of rain on 22/23 June.