Wednesday, 29 August 2012

one week and counting

As race day approaches I've found a few interesting snippets of information ...

American ultra runner (and fellow ex-cancer patient) has written a fantastic preview of the race on his blog.  Unfortunately he won't be in Katowice this year but I had the pleasure of spending some time with him at the last World Championships in Brive.

The start list has now been confirmed and is available on the IAU website.  The most interesting name on the list is one Yiannis Kouros.  I don't think he's in the kind of form to win the race but one thought stuck me ... will it be the first time he's not finished first in a 24 hr race ?

Also missing this year will be Amy Palmiero-Winters.  An amazing woman who runs with a prosthetic leg after being involved in a motorcycle accident back in the mid 1990s.  Very close to 200 km (124 miles) in Brive but still about 15 km (9 miles) below her best ... truly inspirational.  If she can run 24 hrs there's nothing to stop you ...

The official race website is,news.html and it looks as if there may be live coverage.  The IAU website will also have regular updates, interviews and other information.

I'm sure many press releases have gone out over the past few days from runners, associations, sponsors and others.  One source of internet news local to Yorkshire which I've recently found is The Yorkshire Times.  An excellent site for anyone born and bred in God's own county.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


As the big race gets ever nearer the training has now changed focus.  The last week (and the next two) will see an ever increasing amount of speedwork.  Got to be careful though whilst tapering ... so, more and more speedwork whilst also decreasing the total volume of training (and no long runs).

This means, in theory, that I should have recovered from all the hard training over the past few months.  So, yesterday I travelled to Leeds to run one of the weekly parkrun 5k events.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect but in the end I decided to go out at 18:20 pace (3:40 per km) and see what would happen.

My kilometre times were 3:41 ... 3:50 ... 3:50 ... 3:50 ... 3:31

I finished 10th out of 259 with a time of 18:42.

Slightly disappointed with that but training the day before may have left me slightly tired.  I did 5 x 1200m in 4:35 each with 600m jog recovery between the efforts.  A very busy week helping Keir organise himself for starting university on the 15th September probably left me slightly tired too ... all that's finished now though.

Anyway 18:42 represents an age graded time of 16:33 which is only a few seconds slower than my best ever age graded 5k time.  Something positive there then.

Hopefully we'll see an improvement next week when I don't have any speedwork the day before ...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

happy and proud ...

Busy few days ahead ...

Last Thursday Keir received his A level results.  They were good and what his university of choice wanted but ...

That university was unwilling to formally offer him a place immediately !!!  We have no idea why, and when he phoned to ask about it he was told they would phone him back on the Friday with a decision about whether to offer him a place or not.

So, after a few sleepless nights worrying about his results he had to wait another day.  Not good.  By 5.00pm on Friday they still hadn't phoned so he called them ... again.  This time they told him he had to wait until Monday.

Waiting over the weekend wasn't much fun because we began to realise that if they couldn't offer him a place then most of the courses available through Clearing would have been taken.  By late Monday afternoon he still hadn't heard so he phoned for a third time.  This time the tale was:  "sorry for the delay, you'll definitely have a decision one way or the other within the next seven days."  He began to feel like he was being fobbed off.

What's going on here.  Don't they realise that the longer it takes the less options are available at the end.  Although Keir was panicking a bit on Thursday and Friday by now he was almost complacent.  As if he knew that the longer they left it the more likely he was to be offered a place.

This morning, at about 11.30am, he received that dreaded call.  At last.  So ... he'll be reading History and Politics at Ulster University from Monday 17 September 2012.

Now there's all the other stuff to organise ...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

almost there now

Well ... it's tapering now.  Last week was my last week of 'proper' training and it went very well indeed.  It included a club 3000m track race on Thursday which I completed in 10:54 ... my fastest time since the year 2000.

On Saturday morning was my last session of hill reps.  Up and down Newall Carr Bank, to the north of Otley, twenty times at about 8.00am.  Ouch ... Felt very good though, especially when I passed a group of cyclists from Otley Cycle Club on my last rep.

For some reason cyclists don't enjoy me passing them up the hills.

I've also spent the last week or two preparing pacing and nutrition plans for the big race early next month.  That's now out of the way and UK team management seem very happy with those which is a bonus as that means I can now concentrate on tapering and relaxing properly.

You may have noticed that this blog has undergone a few changes recently.  Hope everything works OK but if you find a link that doesn't work please let me know and I'll correct it.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

last long run

This morning I set out on my last long run before Poland.  A few days ago I decided to make it a bit more enjoyable by catching a bus somewhere and running back home through some of the fantastic Yorkshire countryside that we have around here.

Limited only by where buses from the small town of Otley actually go to, I decided on Leeds.  And from there I chose a 30.3 mile route (48.8 km) which would take me through Seacroft, Thorner, Collingham, Wetherby, Sicklinghall, Kirkby Overblow, Weeton, Castley and Pool.

Obviously I had a decent cup of coffee in Leeds before running but the only places I found open at 9.00am were Costa, Nero and Starbucks.  I chose Costa.

The weather was lovely when I started running at 9.45am and it remained good all day.  Mainly cloudy but dry with temperatures peaking at 19.8 C (67.6 F).

The running went well although the first 50 minutes or so were spent leaving Leeds to the east, after that though the route was almost entirely on country lanes and it was a joy to be out and enjoying the day.  Passed through Thorner in 1h 10 mins and Collingham in 1h 45 before reaching Wetherby in 2 hours exactly.  That's 13.8 miles (22.2 km) at, what I felt was a fairly slow pace ... so I ran a bit faster for the remaining 16.5 miles (26.6 km).

Between Sickinghall and Kirkby Overblow the 360 degree views were awe inspiring and in the distance I could see Otley even though I still had over 10 miles to run (16 km).  The time from Wetherby to Otley was just under 2h 20 and the very last mile took just 7:54.  Overall that was very pleasing because it seemed so easy.  The times weren't spectacular but I did stop for a bit of food every hour which meant that the 'official' time of 4h 19:56 should probably be reduced by about 6 minutes.  So that's quite easily under 8:30 per mile (5:17 per km) which is always a benchmark for me on long runs.

Feel very good at the moment - long may it continue.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

training and Olympic news

Training this week has been very enjoyable indeed - mainly because of the sunshine (at last) but also because I decided that the three final long runs would be done plain and not fartlek.  Perhaps running 25 to 27 miles (40 to 43 km) with 12 x 7 to 8 minutes at 10k pace is a bit too much for my old body.

Especially as there are a couple of bits missing.

For those reasons I am seriously considering not doing the week of crash training which has characterised my build up to major races over the past few years.

So, yesterday I rose early and was out of the house at about 6.30am for a long run of about 26.5 miles (42.6 km).  I only ran up the valley to Addingham and then over the hill and down into Airedale before turning for home via Menston.  A wonderful early morning run which was made all the more pleasurable by being able to run on the roads BEFORE the early morning rush hour.

Today - another long run.  This time it was 29.3 miles (47.1 km) which used a long section of the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Kirkstall and Hirst Lock.  The trek up Hollins Hill after 3.5 hours of running wasn't much fun ... but was greatly rewarding.

As an aside, the Royal Mail are painting some of their pillar boxes gold in honour of the UK Olympic gold medallists.  They will be in the winners' home towns.  By coincidence I happened to run past one in Horsforth (near Leeds) this morning.  The paint was still wet and the workman had just finished the job and was putting his tools away.  I know Yorkshire has a few gold medallists but I wasn't aware of any that came from Horsforth ... and then I remembered, I know Alistair Brownlee lives in Bramhope but he was born in Horsforth.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympics and World Championships

Fantastic few hours for UK last night at the London Olympics.  Gold for Jess Ennis in the heptathlon.  Gold for Greg Rutherford in the long jump.  Gold for Mo Farah in the 10000m.  Great Stuff ... especially when added to more gold medals in cycling and rowing.

Shame about the men's football though.

As I type this the women's marathon has just started in a rain soaked London.  I don't think we'll get a medal in this event though.  Especially now that Paula Radcliffe has withdrawn because of injury.

Planning for the World 24 hour Championships goes ahead unabated.  Flights have been booked for the runners, team managers, physio and helpers.  Accommodation will be booked shortly.  Then there's kit to sort out.  Fay reckons we'll be wearing the same kit as the Olympic runners (minus the 5 rings logo) but I'm not so sure ... we'll have to wait and see.  I guess UK Athletics are a bit busy at the moment.

It would be good to get the stuff as soon as possible though so that it can worn, washed and worn again in training to make sure it fits perfectly and won't chaff or rub anywhere.  Twenty four hours is a long time to wear running gear ... it NEEDS to fit properly.

Training today is 6 x 1 mile (1.6km) and tomorrow is just cycling and strength work.  Long runs on Tuesday and Wednesday but on the former I need to leave home early so that I'm back in time for the men's triathlon in which the Brownlee brothers are competing for Wharfedale.  Start time 11.00am

Must go now ... the flapjack needs to come out of the oven and then I'll start on the bread.  The smell of fresh bread ...