Thursday, 27 June 2013

bits and pieces

I thought it was too goods to last ...

Things were going so well until Monday afternoon when, right at the very end of my strength training session I decided to do some dumbbell Romanian deadlifts.  Well, I guess the weights were too heavy because a few hours later my lower back began aching and by Tuesday morning it was quite painful.

I immediately decided against any cycling weight training for that day and I knew that Wednesday was to be a day free from all training so hopefully a couple of days recovery would see me back to normal.

Today ... everything's back to normal and the back is fine too.

I'm sure the coffee I managed to buy yesterday had a positive effect too.  Coming towards the end of my rehab I decided to celebrate with some of my favourite coffee.  I have long been a fan of coffee from Yemen but in recent years it has been increasingly difficult to find ... but I guess I was lucky because I found some in Leeds at Whittard of Chelsea.  Had a first cup this morning and it is absolutely divine.  Most readers will know that I've never been much good at writing reviews [need more practice I suppose] so I think it best to direct you to the Whittard website where there are a few.

Also bought the new album by Deep Purple which is probably their best for a decade or more.  It's really good and I'm looking forward to seeing them in Manchester in October.  At the Apollo again, been there numerous times over the years - my first visit was to see Rainbow in July 1981.  In the 32 years since then I've also seen Black Sabbath, Evanescence, Iron Maiden, Jethro Tull, Rose Tattoo, Samson and Whitesnake at that venue ... some good shows.

Friday, 21 June 2013

onto the final phase

Yesterday I proved to myself that my body (specifically my right ankle) is now strong enough to withstand running - alternating with walking - on four consecutive days.  For me this is an important milestone because my normal training regime includes running on four days and resting on the fifth.

Now ... the final phase of rehab is to do exactly the same but without the walking bit, ie running the whole time.  Beginning with 10 minutes tomorrow morning and ending with a full hour on Friday 5 July.

The following day I have an appointment with the physio just to confirm that everything is OK and that I'm fit enough to train normally again.  Also going to the doctor to check that the medicine for my gout is working and that it is the drug that suits me best ... I strongly suspect that everything's fine there.

Something to look forward to then.

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Spent a (mostly) enjoyable day on Wednesday helping with various tasks at the annual Otley 10 mile road race which attracted about 400 runners this year - the most for at least ten years.

Myself and a small team of volunteers began at 10.00am by putting up lots of signs around the race HQ (Otley Cricket Club).  Stuff such as 'car park', 'late entries', 'first aid', etc.  Then we set up the finishing funnel  and marked out the running route around the edge of the cricket pitch before getting organised for the afternoon's task.  Colin Best also drove around the course putting up lots of 'caution runners' signs.

At 4.00pm we reassembled to begin the task given to us this year by West Yorkshire Police.  We had to erect a temporary barrier along Pool Road so that runners had no choice but to use the footpath (not the actual road) for the first 1.3 miles of the race (2.1 km).  As we were doing this Tom Hannah drove around the course putting out the mile markers and one or two other signs.  This has to done fairly late because, in the past, some have been known to go missing.

That took about 90 minutes and afterwards I hurried home for a snack only to realise I had lost my house key.  Shit - I knew where it was - in the grass verge somewhere along Pool Road !!!  I also knew that it would take many hours to search for it properly so I just accepted it was lost for good and was thankful that if it was ever found there was no way it could be traced to my house.

6.20pm - time for the evening shift.  Began by giving out marshals high visibility clothing and explaining where they were expected to be, at what time, and what their duties were.  The latter varies with location of course.  After the race my job was to help Hugh Pearson write down the race numbers of every finisher - strictly in finishing order.  Not easy when two finishers didn't have numbers and a third had the number on her back.

Overall it was an enjoyable way to spend a day.  It is a good exercise for all runners for only then can we truly appreciate the effort that goes into staging even a small road race.  Colin Best has been race director for a few years now and he deserves much credit ... especially organising the 40 + marshals that are needed.  Well done to him.

Apart from all that I managed to fit in a short run of my own early in the morning and some strength training early in the afternoon.  So, a good day all round then.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

summer cold, etc

Just when things couldn't get much better they took a turn for the worse.  Over the past few days I've developed a rather bad cold.  Over the past five or six days I've noticed my morning pulse getting progressively higher and higher and that's usually a sign of illness.

It hasn't been high enough to reduce my training in any way (until today) but yesterday afternoon the cold began in earnest.  Streaming nose, tiredness, lethargy, etc.  I immediately began taking lots of vitamin C as advocated by Frank Horwill and others.  Not as much as he suggested but I realise now that I should have started the 'medicine' a couple of days ago.

One thing I have noticed over the past six months or so is that I seem to have forgotten stuff like that.  I'm sure it will all come back once I get properly into training mode again - only another four weeks to go.

As mentioned above my morning pulse was exceptionally high - over 20 % higher than normal.  So, I've decided to ease back on the cycling and strength training for a few days.  The running, such that it is, is only at a very low level anyway at the moment.

One thing I have noticed ... England Athletics have put on their website details of an English 24 hr Championship - this year held in conjunction with the Tooting Bec race in London.  There appears to be some confusion though because there are slightly different details on the two pages it is mentioned - here and here - and no mention on the race website (or on the entry form).

If this is the beginning of an annual English Championship then that can only be a good thing as athletes in all other disciplines have a national championship to aim for.  For me it's just a shame I won't be fit enough to take part but hopefully it will be something the powers that be continue with - and maybe (hopefully) us it as a selection event for a home nations 24 hr championships.  Or is that a step too far ...

At this point I should mention that I suggested a championship to England Athletics back in 2009 when I also pointed out that the list of English records did not include ultra distance events.  Within a week or two some ultra records were included but, even now, the men's 100k is missing and the women's 24 hour (road) has not been updated to include Lizzy Hawker.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

three days ... four days

Today I reached another milestone.

I have now finished running three consecutive days with the fourth being a rest day.  On Friday I start the next, and final, phase of rehabilitation.  Running four consecutive days.

This morning's run was good in that there was no pain at all in the ankle ... but the calf muscle did ache a bit during the final 2k or so.  No aches or pains at all now, and no running tomorrow so I should be fine on Friday ... especially as I'm starting again at a very low level.

Looking forward to the final phase.  Hope the wonderful weather continues.

Summer at last.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

short race

Well, well, well that was unexpected.

Whilst in Northern Ireland, midweek, I decided which one of the two races this weekend to take part in.  I chose the local parkrun 5k - partly to make amends for messing things up at the beginning of March.

This morning I made absolutely sure I arrived in time for the 9 o'clock start.  I probably arrived a bit too early really but that's better than being late.  Not having done this 'racing' thing for a while I wasn't sure what to expect time wise ... recent training couldn't help either as I had only done one fast run all year and that was  12 weeks ago.  I decided 22 minutes would be a sensible target (4:24 per km).

After a good warm up and a few words from the race director we were off.  Of course I was blocked a bit at the start and couldn't get properly into my stride for 15 seconds or so.  But after that the first, downhill, kilometre flew by and as I approached the km marker I began struggling with the pace.  My watch showed 3:59 as I passed the sign so I wasn't surprised to be struggling a bit.  I immediately stepped off the gas and expected the next 2 to 3 km to be difficult.

The second kilometre was hard work but a 4:13 split was pleasing.  At this point I was still struggling a bit from the too-quick start but I began to think that I could indeed run under 22 minutes.  A 4:18 third kilometre confirmed this and by now I had very nearly recovered from the start and was running comfortably again.

The penultimate kilometre took 4:15 but is slightly downhill on the course around Woodhouse Moor in Leeds.  At this point I was saving myself for the final push but in reality I didn't think I had anything left for that final big effort.

In the final 500m or so I had a race for the line with another runner and together we pushed each other hard all the way to the finish.  I was surprised to find that my final kilometre took 4:13, my speed and effort at the end indicated something quite a bit faster than that.

However, I was well pleased with a time of 20:59.

Feeling pleased with myself I jogged down into Leeds for a well deserved coffee at Laynes.