Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Latest News

I've recently seen that there is likely to be a third Commonwealth Mountain & Ultra Distance Championships.  The organisers have invited countries to submit bids with a view to staging the races in 2015.  The long term aim is still to have mountain races and ultra distance races at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, Australia).

I represented England at both of the first two Commonwealth Championships (Keswick 2009 and Llandudno 2011) and they were extremely enjoyable events at which the camaraderie amongst the athletes of different countries and disciplines was second to none.

I will definitely be aiming for a place in the England team for 2015 and 2018 ...

... but reading the tender document put together by the Commonwealth Association of Mountain and Ultra Distance Running to help with prospective bids I see there is no mention at all of 24 hour races except on the final page.  And that solitary mention is a bit ambiguous in that it could mean that the 24 hour race has been omitted from the document by mistake.  Maybe.  Hope so.

As you probably know I'm now running on two consecutive days (well, running and walking) and it seems to be going well.  No problems at all although I sense that the walking bit is still necessary at the moment.  Getting there though.

Keir finally arrived home on Sunday.  He was due to arrive on Friday evening but his flight was cancelled until lunch time on Sunday.  That flight took off OK and made it all the way to Yorkshire before circling over Leeds Bradford Airport for 30 mins or so.  We did wonder about that but we were then even more shocked to learn that it was flying back to Manchester as there was too much snow to make a safe landing in Yorkshire.  He finally arrived home at about 4.00pm on Sunday.  Normally the journey from Ulster University to Otley would take him about 6 or 7 hours ... this one took an amazing 51 hours.

Hope the weather is better when he flies back at the end of next week.

Before I go, well done to Debbie M-C on her win at the Thames Path 100 mile race at the weekend.  Apparently the weather was atrocious and the race was diverted from it's normal route.  Personally, I wouldn't race 100 miles (161 km) only seven weeks before a 24 hour race but recovery rates vary enormously between runners and I'm sure she'll have a brilliant race in Steenbergen - and come away with another pb and Scottish record.

And finally ... all the best to those taking part in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k in Perth [Scotland, not Australia] in a few days time.  Hope the temperatures increase slightly.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Keir and the World Championships

Woke up this morning to find lots of snow all around - I guess it must have been 10cm or so, everywhere.  I know that isn't particularly deep but for this part of the world, near the end of March, it's lots.

Apparently there are only two places in the whole country with so much snow at the moment - Yorkshire and Northern Ireland and the consequences are that Leeds Bradford Airport and Belfast City Airport were both closed.  They are open now ... but only just and with many flights cancelled or delayed.

Keir is coming home from university today for the Easter holiday.  He is at Ulster University and is flying from Belfast City to Leeds Bradford.  There are three flights today ... he's on the third but the first two have been cancelled.  I think it's fair to say we're a bit worried at the moment.

Apart from that, news has recently appeared from British Athletics [new name for UK Athletics ... not sure why] about the team for the World 24 hr Championships in Steenbergen in May.  On the men's team is John Pares, Pat Robbins, Matt Moroz, Robbie Britton and Steve Holyoak.  If John is fit he should do very well - he's is capable of a top 5 placing at his best.  Pat and Steve are both capable of over 240 km and I don't know too much about Robbie and Matt except that perhaps they prefer the trails.  I really do hope everyone has an outstanding race though.

The women are represented by Lizzy Hawker, Emily Gelder, Debbie Martin-Consani, Sharon Law and Karen Hathaway.  Lizzy broke the world 24 hr road record in her last race of this type (Llandudno - Sep 2010), Emily finished third in the last world championships and Debbie is the Scottish record holder.  An excellent team and, again, I wish them all every success.

My recovery seems to be going well at the moment too.  On Wednesday I had to forego my strength training and cycling though as I had to do some emergency DIY repairs in the bathroom.  Without going into great detail I had to replace the light fitting, pull cord and part of the ceiling.  Managed 20 minutes through the snow this morning with the same tomorrow and all in all everything seems OK.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

end of this phase

Well, today I've finally reached the end of this section of rehab.  Since 24 January I've been running every second day which also means that every second day is a recovery day.

The next stage, beginning on Tuesday, repeats everything since 24 January except that every third day is a recovery day.  Which means running for two consecutive days - will the ankle be OK.

Of course it will ...

And when this stage ends I repeat everything again with the recovery days being every fourth day.  And then every fifth day.

I'm aiming for a long term solution, not a quick fix.

And for the Irish readers (Eoin, Thomas, Daniel, John, etc) ...

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fay and Fiona

OK I know that title is a bit strange but there is a good reason.

Let's start with Fiona.  She's a Scottish ultra runner who is seriously ill at the minute - and not for the first time.  She's a lovely woman who needs all the support she can get, and if she reads this she should know that I really do wish her all the best.  I know she'll make a full recovery - she's a tough cookie, that one.

Now let's move on to Fay.  On Tuesday evening, at home, we had a little 'episode'.  Well, quite a major episode as it turned out.  She began feeling unwell at about 6:00pm and at 7:45pm I phoned for an ambulance which took us to the A & E in Leeds.

We were there until 3 o'clock the following morning when the doctors finally managed to sort out what was wrong and get things under control.  I'm not going to go into great detail (you really don't want me to ...) but the problem was that the new contraception we're using had caused a blood disorder.

For a menstruating woman, having blood that doesn't clot is not good.

Happy to report that everything is under control now but it was quite scary on Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning.

There was light hearted moment when we finally got home though.  Fay said to me:  "I know you're supposed to go for a run after breakfast but why don't you go now (4 am).  You're tired and it's dark outside, it'll be just like a 24 hour race.  You'll enjoy it."

I politely declined on the grounds that I was too tired.  But really I wanted to keep an eye on her to make sure everything was OK.  It is, and everything's back to normal.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

bad race

This morning was a shambles.

The original plan was to run for an hour but include a local 5k race.  But with the slight recurrence of ankle pain a couple of days ago I decided to only run for 50 minutes but still include the 5k race.

But ... for reasons totally beyond my control [traffic problems and Fay being ill] I arrived late and missed the start by at least 20 minutes.  Never mind, I thought, I can still run a quicker than usual 5k which will be good training if nothing else.

And then, after about 1.8k I took a wrong turn.  Unbelievable.  Today was just getting worse.  I continued and eventually got back on the correct route.  Back at home, looking at a map, I can see that I probably ran about 60m short.

And so to the times.  I knew that my official time would be of no use whatsoever but I had set myself a tentative target of running the 5k in about 22:30.  Using my stopwatch I ran the first kilometre in a quick 4:11 - slightly downhill and chasing people.  I didn't time the next three kilometres (the wrong turn would have made the second and third km wrong anyway) but the final one was timed at 4:35.

I stopped my watch at 22:11 but have adjusted that to 22:27 which is my slowest ever timed 5k.

Officially my time was 45:17 which is my slowest ever time in a 10k race.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Anyway ... a fun exercise in fairly bad weather.  The time was OK too.  And the ankle held up better than expected so I've decided my next training runs should be:

Monday 11 March ... 50 minutes
Wednesday 13 March ...50 minutes
Friday 15 March ... 60 minutes
Sunday 17 March ... 60 minutes

and then, on 19 March, back to alternating running and walking (10 minutes at first) but on two consecutive days before a recovery day.  This is six days later than planned but I don't want to rush things - a proper, long term, recovery is needed.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

now what ?

Today's run was not good.

Apart from it feeling unusually difficult to run for 50 minutes my ankle began hurting about 5 - 6 minutes before the end.  Now, it could be that the course was not as flat as my recent routes.  Or it could be that, at the moment, 50 minutes is my limit.

Or maybe it's just a blip.  After icing the area and taking some extra protein I got some advice from the physio.

The suggestion is that, for the moment, I should continue so long as it isn't debilitating.  The problem is that ultra distance runners have a different perception of pain to the rest of the population ...

Will listen extra carefully to my body for the next few days.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

40 minutes ... and a UK team

On Friday, and today, I ran for 40 minutes.  Non stop.  I managed 7.6 km and 7.8 km respectively but the pace wasn't important in the slightest.

The important thing was that that 40 minutes was the longest time I've been able to run since last September. Although 24 hours is a bit longer than 40 minutes.

Feeling good at the moment though.  And next there's 50 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday and then 60 minutes on Saturday - which will incorporate a 5k race.

And now I can also begin strength training with the legs.  Very small weights at first though, but it is progress.

The UK team for the European Championships 100km has recently been announced and I was amazed to find that no men have been selected.  Four women but no men.  After thinking about this for a few days perhaps the reasons are:

- the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km is only weeks before the European Championships
- qualifying times are not easy to come by, especially as there are very few 100k races in this country
- few races partly because of the increased difficulty in staging road races (stringent licencing requirements, etc)
- few races also because ultra trail races seem to be ever more popular, more people enjoy those apparently
- many runners capable of achieving the required standard would rather run an enjoyable ultra trail race in the UK than a long road race abroad

I'm not sure what can be done to reverse this trend but I do believe we should be represented (men and women) in all championship events.  Congratulations to Emma Gooderham, Susan Harrison, Karen Rushton and Helen Taranowski.