Saturday, 25 May 2013

summer is here

Weather improving ... ankle improving again after a less than pain free few runs midweek ... things are looking good again.

Today's 40 minutes run, for instance, took me up the valley to the village of Burley in Wharfedale and on the way back I came across Zack Whitehead and we ran together back into Otley.  Zack has been running recently after a few years out of the sport because of a knee injury.  If he can get back to running the sort of times he was five years ago that will be a great boost for Otley AC.  Good to see him back running - enjoying it too.

My run, for no reason at all, was a over 15s per km quicker than expected.  I have noticed recently that I do seem to be running a bit further in the time allowed.  I guess my speed is returning as my fitness improves.

On Tuesday next week we travel to Belfast to help Keir tie up the loose ends regarding accommodation, etc at the end of his first year at university.  And he wants us to help carry all the stuff he has to bring home.  It's his birthday on Wednesday so we'll do something a bit special while we're there but he has recently acquired a girlfriend which we'll meet for the first time.  Apparently she's very nervous about meeting me and Fay ... that's OK though because we're quite nervous about meeting her.

Next Saturday I plan to run another race but I'm undecided between the Kirkby Malzeard 10k or the local parkrun 5k.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

seasonal weather ... very strange

I've been running on three consecutive days for a few weeks now and everything is still progressing well.  Recently progressed from alternating running and walking to running non-stop.  Feeling good but still doing lots of rehab exercises ...

... about 35 minutes a day at the moment which is much less than the 55 minutes I had to do daily in February.  It will continue to decrease over the next six months or so but I strongly suspect that I'll have to do a little for many years to come.

Thoughts of racing have recently started to come my way.  I'm trying very hard to not look for a race until late June or early July.  The very fact that I'm thinking that way is a good sign and mentally I'm ready to go.  Just need the body to catch up.

At last summer weather appears to be on the way.  The bad weather during the World 24 hr Championships in Steenbergen ... well we had similar stuff here in Yorkshire.  And William Sichel apparently had a heatwave during the 6 day race in Hungary at the same time.  It seems to me that the world's weather is not how I remember it back in the 1970s.  Summer's were hot and sunny, winter's were cold and snowy ... simple.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The race I didn't run

By all accounts the weekend's race in Steembergen, Netherlands was a hard one.  At one point there was a facebook post by the Aussie team which read:

"at the moment we're having four seasons worth of weather ... every 15 minutes."

No doubt about it that is the stuff that makes things very difficult in a 24 hour race and, I guess on average, performances will have been reduced by about 5 % and the winner's distance was probably not as far as expected in a World 24 hr Championship race.  Previous winning distances (men) are shown below and full results can be found on the DUV website.

2013 ... 269 km
2012 ... 277 km
2010 ... 273 km
2009 ... 257 km
2008 ... 273 km
2007 ... 263 km
2006 ... 272 km
2005 ... 268 km
2004 ... 269 km
2003 ... 270 km
2001 ... 275 km

Some of the UK performances seem to have been quite amazing in those circumstances ...

Steve Holyoak ... over 246 km and a new pb
Robbie Britton ... over 239 km and a new pb
Sharon Law ... over 226 km and a new pb
Karen Hathaway ... over 210 km and a new pb

Sharon set new Scottish records for 200 km and 24 hours (on the road).  Amazing.

Debbie Martin-Consani, Emily Gelder, Pat Robbins, John Pares, Matt Moroz and Lizzy Hawker had less successful races and, unfortunately, I wasn't there so I can't really comment as to the reasons for that.  Perhaps an injury or two.

Congratulations also to Torill Fonn who beat her personal best by almost 5 %.

Overall, as I'm a recovering injured ultra runner, I found it quite difficult mentally to keep up to date with all that was happening in Steenbergen ... I guess I'm just missing the racing a bit.  I'm glad I persevered though as it has given me some much needed motivation for racing next year and training in the second half of this year (with perhaps a race thrown in ...).

Full results here.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Fay and me

As regular readers will know Fay and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  We didn't really know how to celebrate this milestone (not having done that before ...) but, in the end, we decided to go back to the place we spent our honeymoon.  Not the same hotel - I don't think that exists any more - but the same part of the world.

I suppose the story starts back in early 1985, a few months before Fay's 18th birthday.  We decided, without much fanfare, that we would get engaged on her 18th birthday and married on her 21st.  Between mid 1985 and April 1988 we hardly talked about marriage at all but we hadn't forgotten.

In March or April 1988 (I forget which) I secretly organised a wedding for us.  We both knew what we wanted - a quiet marriage with a minimum of fuss.  And that included nobody from our respective families and no large party afterwards.  On the first of May I asked Fay if she still wanted to marry me - the answer was 'yes' so I told her what plans I had made.  Bradford Register Office three days later, 4.00pm.

At that point we still didn't have a ring but that was no problem, on the morning of the wedding we went and bought one - but the one Fay liked was a bit too small, hmmmm.  After explaining the situation to the jeweller he agreed to try and stretch the patterned band of gold a tiny bit.  But we had to go back at 3.00pm to collect it.

As the time approached we remembered that we needed two witnesses ... no problem, I'm sure these two passer's by wouldn't mind helping out for a short while.  Luckily they agreed and our wedding went ahead without a hitch.  Afterwards we adjourned to McDonalds and laughed quietly to ourselves about what we had done.

Our honeymoon was spent on the wonderful Gower Peninsula in south Wales.  We were there five or six days touring the area and it's beautifully unspoilt beaches, coves and villages.

We realised we had to tell our families sooner or later so we arranged two trips and two bottles of champagne to help break the news.  Of course some people were not happy that they had missed out on a wedding.  Tough.  It's our life ... we'll do it our way.

Twenty five years later the whole area is still an undiscovered gem of a place with many quiet beaches and bays which are absolutely stunning on the sunny days we were there.

PS ... all the best to the UK runners in Steenbergen at the weekend.  Hope you all have a good one, and injury free.

PPS ... the same for William Sichel in a six day race he's running in Hungary (I believe Sharon Gayter will be there too).

PPPS ... also all the best to the other runners I know who are running in Steenbergen (Torill F, Sharon S, David K, etc).