Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas Lights.....oh what a plight!

This blog comes a little late and it really does seem as though it's months since I last ran. Continuing the downward spiral in my training, the snow and ice threatened to put a stop to our annual Christmas lights and indeed last club run before the festive season commenced. I managed to persuade a few hardy souls that if we were to set off and find ourselves unable to run we could run/walk to Idle and miss out the planned visit around Wrose and Swaine House to keep it short. Those not wanting to run at all could stay behind and put the kettle on! Before we set off people began offering donations for me to put in the collection box for Marie Curie cancer care which sits in the porch of the very well lit house who's owner has sadly lost his father to the cruel disease.

So a hardy 5 of us set off, I donned my holly 'bell' earrings, and actually it was not bad at all under foot. Myself, Shirley and Laura all expressed how liberating it felt to be out, we really enjoyed it. The lights, as in previous years, were spectacular and the fundraising efforts made it all the more awe inspiring. It really is a sight to behold. Nikos took some photos before we set off back to enjoy a hot drink and a mince pie with our club mates.

Bye all and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

So that was it, work, work, work was all that was left until Christmas. I was rather excited that my family had agreed we would all do the Christmas Day parkrun. We arrived in Lister Park bright and early after opening our presents, I tried to complete a warm up round the park with Dave, by heck it was freezing. We went down to the bandstand meet up area to hear a chap saying it was -13. Believe you me it felt it too! Martin insisted that he would 'sweep' with Dave and I was to run it for a change. Off we went to the start. By this time my fingers and toes were freezing. Gill, Laura and I stuck together, it was absolutely lovely, the sun was shining making the snow glisten. I couldn't believe how many people had turned up to take part! First lap completed, my fingers started to warm up and I felt the familiar pain associated with the thaw! We started up the teeny tiny hill for the second time, as we did so I began to feel dizzy, I then felt like I was seriously going to pass out, I stopped and beckoned Gill and Laura to tell them I wasn't feeling very well and to keep going, they stayed with me until we reached the top and round the corner met Ian and Marc, they then both agreed to carry on. I began to feel slightly better but not enough to get going again.

I was puzzled as to the cause of my malady but could only think it was something to do with the pain in my hands. All became clear as the day went on and I began to realise I had chest problems, was it flu, a cold? I had no idea but what I did know was that there was no way I was going to be able to do the Chevin Chase I had planned on Boxing Day. I text Gill and warned her I probably wouldn't be going.

Over the next few days I went from bad to worse as the illness got a grip, I definitely had picked up some bug or other.
My running is still on the back burner as I struggle to breathe without coughing let alone run and wait for the symptoms to subside.....

and wait.....

.....and wait

Monday, 20 December 2010

Elves Bells!

I was looking forward to the second of this years cross country races at Middleton Park (Rothwell Harriers playing host). The return of the white stuff had me wondering whether parkrun on Saturday and indeed the race on Sunday would be cancelled.... I texted Linda and asked if she would let me know if parkrun was cancelled and planned that if it wasn't I would go be sweeper before going to work. By Friday late evening it started snowing profusely, no parkrun in the morning I thought. I got up bright and early and texted Linda again, surely it would be called off, nothing..... So I erred on the side of caution and went to work as planned. I later found out she had decided to go ahead with it and 11 hardy runners turned up or should that be mad?

There was hope for the cross country then, being off road should prove better under foot, surely? Mick texted me late on Saturday evening to say it was definitely going ahead. We met up on Sunday morning at Morrisons and Sophie and myself travelled with Shirley. We got to Middleton Park well over an hour early, went and got ourselves registered and decided to go down to the sports centre to use their loos. As we entered the building the smell of coffee drifted out, Sophie suggested we sit in the cafe and have a drink rather than go stand in the freezing, snow covered field, no contest! A while later we went back to the car to shed our winter attire, had a really good warm up and proceeded to the start. No more ladies? Slightly disappointed, we found we only had four chaps too so neither a men's or a ladies team..... None the less it was a lovely crisp morning for a run. The person trying to give instructions for the race was hardly audible, except I then heard 3, 2, 1, go! Off we set, charging like wild horses! Not very far into the race I started to struggle, felt sick, gasping, legs like lead, was it the coffee, I had no idea but considered turning back, not something I relish the thought of so soldiered on, things didn't really get much better but I heard jingling bells behind me.... Santa? Reindeer? I turned to look as careering towards me was a rather large elf! Bells a plenty jingling away, I had to smile and plodded onwards. The ground was pretty solid and it proved tough trying not to go over on the ankles. It seemed endless as I approached two young boys, one shouted, 'is this your first lap or second' - first I gasped wishing it was my second, how much further did we have to go? Through a field we lurched and were directed round a right hand bend which proved to be a furious downhill, I just went for it, overtaking about 10 people, the elf included. Each uphill proved to be an energy sapper, it wasn't long before some of those I had conquered took back their reign!

I began to settle into a rhythm until I came to another rather large hill, it was just impossible to keep going, I came upon Mrs Elf again, she was cursing the fact that a marshal had told her a while ago that she only had about a mile and half to go, she hated it when they did that she said. With a wry smile I overtook her once more, got to the top and tried hopelessly to put one foot in front of the other - a wide open field stretched before me, complete with frozen mole hills, 'jingle, jingle, jingle' - I heard once more, to my dismay there was the green and red clad figure ambling past me again, I did my utmost to keep pace as she widened the gap between us - just around the corner I read 'Finish' phew that was a relief. I was convinced I was the last runner in but although I dared not count there were a few more after me, I'll have a peek at the results but hey I've been beaten by worse things than an elf, ...I think! I even felt too sick to claim my mince pie! Oh well this time next week I will most probably have had my fill of mince pies as I try to get myself up the hills of Otley in the Chevin Chase on Boxing Day!

Merry Christmas one and all....Keep on Running.......

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Shoes and Stockings!

Following an indoor coached session at Pulse Gym on Friday we've had a near normal week back at club this week so far and fingers crossed that will continue. I am still in awe of how fast the ice managed to beat a quick retreat in just a few short hours. I went to work on Friday morning slipping and sliding all over the place and came home to completely clear paths. I work in Queensbury and for anyone who doesn't know it's another world at the highest point in Bradford so no reflection of what it's like on the other side of town where I live! I have managed both club sessions quite well including our Monday speed and hills session and then an undulating 6 mile run tonight. Club numbers were very low but it is very near to the festive season now.

However, the training so far has given me an opportunity to test drive the new shoes I finally was able to go and purchase last Friday. I didn't get to 'Up and Running' as I had fully intended (a) due to the weather and then ultimately (b) due to lack of time. I ended up slipping out of work to go shopping and could only justify going to Sportsshoes, Bradford, not Leeds.
Here is the result:

Mizuno Lady Wave

As discussed with Peter I have decided to go back to the make of shoe I had quite some time ago. The assistant in the shop was not convinced that I needed new shoes at all and was very reluctant to encourage me to buy them. She talked to me at length, had me running on the treadmill and up and down the aisles of the shop in both Nike and Mizuno shoes. She also asked a senior sales person to talk to me too. He was very informative, as are all the professionals I have discussed my plight with. He did stress though that 'not everyone sings from the same hymn sheet'! Which I guess is why I feel quite frustrated that one person says one thing while another says something totally the opposite in their advice, I think this is why I feel that I have lost my mojo a little and am just trying to get by but my heart really isn't in it at all.

One thing the senior chap at Sportshoes said was that compression would help, and so in accordance with Peter's advice to ditch my beloved Thorlos socks and get thinner ones I have coupled this with compression too so I'm now running round like someone in those very unflattering hospital tights! Lucky I need long running tights at this time of year!

Black and White

My New Year's resolution? I'm thinking about it but one thing is for certain, I definitely need one......

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

soul searching

It's been a funny old week.

I visited Peter just over a week ago. Following my giving him my account of the Abbey Dash he requested that I take my running shoes and socks to my next visit. I went for my 4.30 appointment with quite a spring in my step since I had enjoyed the previous Sunday's race so much and managed a great session at club the next day.

Examining my Nikes really closely, twisting and turning them, Peter declared that he had once purchased a pair of Nike shoes, run 3 miles and put them in the bin! Astonished I declared that these particular Pegasus model were the third pair of said make of shoes I had had due to owning the Nike sportband, I had wanted the shoes that allowed me to place the sensor for the sportband under the sole in a purpose made 'well'. He urged me to look back to the time when I had not had Nike shoes and to think what make I had previously purchased and when my injury problems began. I began to cast my mind back to the first pair I had bought, then the second and finally these I wear today. If my memory serves me correctly the first time I ever suffered any kind of injury was when I moved from Mizuno to Nike. Peter said that any kind of numbness as I had suffered in the latter part of the Abbey Dash was not good, each time I saw him my ankles were swollen, he counteracts it with massage and then the next time I see him it's back again. This he concluded was down to my shoes and circulation, ditch the socks and get thinner ones and get some new shoes, Mizuno if possible, flexible ones and make sure they are not tight, don't lace them too tight and have a week off running all together with a view to be wearing new shoes the next time I do run. I have done much soul searching over the past week - just how much more I can take I don't know, being put on the bench again has really dented my enthusiasm and I fear this could become the norm as I fail to summon up not a drop of disappointment that I don't have to run.

I'm now well over a week since I have run, not may I say due to my own decisions but more due to the weather and partying, my brother's 60th Birthday and a farewell get together for fellow runner and dear friend Lisa as she moves to Spain to start a new life. At least 7 inches of snow has fallen in my garden meaning I haven't been able to get to the running shop to purchase the new shoes. So at the mercy of the weather I live in hope that some time soon I will indeed be able to make that all important visit and put an end to my soul searching, if, that is, there is an end to it.

Monday, 22 November 2010

PB or not PB?

I had a fantastic race on Sunday courtesy of the Abbey Dash. A notorious PB course pancake flat and an 'out and back' course, I had made a decision to chase my current 10k PB, something I haven't done for months. After queueing for what seemed like an age to leave our belongings at the baggage tent, Sophie and I then joined what seemed like a never ending queue for the toilet. So baggage free we managed about a four minute warm up before fighting through the crowds to get somewhere near to our predicted finishing time start area. Sophie boldly fought through the throng of runners until we were as near as damn it to where we needed to be. Phew! It wasn't exactly the perfect start to a race but within minutes we began to move forward and in what seemed like no time at all we were over the start line.

My hands were cold and at one point I felt searing pain as they started to warm up, nonetheless I felt confident and powered on and what seemed like only moments later Kirkstall Abbey came into view and at the same time I heard my name shouted from the other side of the road, it was Jill, a runner I first met through fetcheveryone and have seen her at countless races since we first met at a 'fetch mile' a couple of years ago. The boost you get from spotting someone you know is immeasurable and since I knew I would be coming back past the same point on the way back in it was double bubble!

I was well on my way back in when I looked at my watch, 37 minutes, I wasn't too sure how far I had left to go but felt as though I was doing really well. I was still passing people - which doesn't often happen but the sheer volume of people taking part in this race means you are always surrounded by other runners (unless you're winning of course!). Still pain free I began to realise that my ankle was numb - was it going to turn into pain? It never did and I crossed the finish line feeling in great shape. I didn't however, beat my PB - it turned out I had looked at the wrong race in my portfolio and my PB was actually much better than I had thought, I was trying to beat 56:13 when in actual fact it was 54:03 so finishing in 56:12 I was a fair bit out but not disappointed, how could I be that was the best run I'd had in months. So the Abbey Dash is firmly top of the list for next year - and that PB is etched in my mind!

Tonight's club session was a new route for our structured session. Harrogate Road Hill reps saw all our members putting in maximum effort, everyone seemed to enjoy the session so no doubt this will now become a regular feature for our Monday nights as we constantly strive to make participation varied and interesting for our runners.

Another visit to Peter tomorrow should set me up for the rest of the week!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

He's back!

After an emotional and sudden retirement last week, Haile has announced he's back! So the running legend has said that once his knee is better he will begin training again and get his focus back for the London 2012 marathon. I can't say I will be focusing on a marathon but I do feel that I am almost back. Peter has suggested I have two massages per week until I am at the stage where I can just go for 'maintenance' massages every six or so weeks. I tread tentatively still as I am only too aware that I have felt that I was on the road to recovery several times before and then found myself back to square one. After our club run last night though I did feel I had put a great deal more effort into the run than I have been able to put into anything I have done over the past few months - with the exception of the off road races the last two weekends - but I think it is a totally different ball game and I am now beginning to feel better about my road running.

I can't stress enough that it is not wise to be complacent and I don't think I have ever felt more inclined to think about not taking for granted the things I put my body through, that may well be my age! If I can just get a couple of people to think about maintaining their bodies in good order be it by cross training and sports massage or otherwise then I will feel a little better about what I have been through and this I think is only the tip of the iceberg I do hope that nothing more serious bestowes itself on me in the future. I am heading to the pool tonight to implement another one of my action plans. I won't, however, be at club on Friday as family business prevents me but my weekly run/walk with Dave at parkrun* should stand me in good stead for the love to hate Abbey Dash 10k on Sunday, Monks not included!

*do visit the Bradford parkrun website, the homepage features a lovely photo of none other than Eccleshill's Helen running in the sunshine alongside the pretty daffodils in Lister Park - a vision to behold - won't be long before they're back.....

Monday, 15 November 2010

Onwards and upwards....

ERR at Spenborough

Well it's been a very eventful week this week. Not least, weather wise, we've had some very adverse weather including very icy cold rain, gale force winds and it's been generally very cold. Not surprising then that numbers were a down as only a very hardy six of us turned up for speed and hills last Monday. Lister Lane Hill reps, not very appealing at the best of times let alone in driving wind and rain. Nonetheless we managed a decent session - the first hill session I have really put any effort into since being injured.
Unable to attend club on Wednesday due to post 16 evening at school for Marc I felt really enthusiastic on getting to club on Friday. The six mile run felt longer than it was and I still feel that my fitness is below par. No doubt this will improve with the increase in training. I also had to take into account the work that Peter May had done on my calves the previous evening.
Interestingly Peter has some differing views on warming up, stretching etc and thought that some of the exercises my physio had given me might have been having an adverse effect on me. I have therefore, made a conscious decision to abstain from these in the short term to see what effect, if any, this has. It's another one of those situations where you really don't know what advice to follow as it sometimes appears to be conflicting but again I remind myself that I should listen to my body and so that is the course of action I intend to follow for the moment.

Getting up early for sweeping duties at parkrun on Saturday morning I didn't feel too good at all, my lower legs were more than a little uncomfortable and I questioned my judgement as to whether I should still go. Fortunately I consoled myself with the fact that I was only going to run/walk and felt absolutely fine all the way round.

Renewed confidence emerged as I got ready on Sunday morning to go to the last of this year's YVAA races at Spenborough. Dejavu set in as I remembered feeling much the same as last year having had a bit of a tipple the night before the race! Glutton for punishment or what? I do usually avoid alcohol before a race but to be quite truthful I had ignored my own warnings and decided to enjoy the night instead, it was after all a fundraiser for Marc's football team! Thankfully I suffered no ill effects and had a brilliant race, even managing a bit of cat and mouse with a Pudsey Pacer, a Kirkstall Harrier and a blue-vested person, the Pudsey pacer 'outpaced' me on the track at the finish but I'm confident I beat the other two - one of the few times I felt I had really put some effort in and despite encountering every terrain you can mention, paths, tarmac, fields and even cobbles, coupled with fences, stiles and just about the worst mud ever, I really enjoyed it and finished in a half decent time beating last year's time by a very fulfilling 1 minute and 3 seconds!

I also managed a fairly fast paced (for me!) tempo run at tonight's Monday speed and hills session with club. Even though it was bitterly cold and threateningly frosty we had a brilliant turn out and everyone seemed to enjoy the session.

My second massage with Peter May tomorrow will hopefully iron out some more of my leg 'issues' as Peter would say! Onwards and upwards.......

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Highs and Lows

The Stunning Pontefract Park lake

I'm on a high today!

Lyndsey put it in a nutshell as we stood chatting (after our warm up of course) waiting for the 11:00 am start of the first of the season's Peco Cross Country League races. She recounted how she hadn't said anything, just got up and got ready to come and take part, her husband had questioned her as to why she was doing it, because, she said although she really hated the thought of cross country and questioned herself whilst running it, afterwards it gave her a real sense of achievement, my sentiments exactly you may recall!

Hosted by Ackworth Road Runners and AC, today's race was held at the stunning Pontefract Park which has a racecourse, golf course, numerous football pitches and a beautiful lake. Idyllic.

So upon getting kitted out to set off and meet fellow team mates to travel to the Pontefract region I got out my club vest, should I put something underneath? I asked myself, recounting last weekend's Guy Fawkes, I had put a long sleeved top under the club vest and was far too hot for the most part of the race, 11 am start, it will have warmed up by then, so off I trot in only the vest. Waiting at the start it was absolutely freezing, my feet were cold, my hands were cold. I began to think I was going to stand out like a sore thumb once I took off my jacket as everyone seemed to be well wrapped up,gloves, hats and long sleeves a plenty, I had surely made the wrong decision hadn't I?

Minutes into the race, the sun was beating down upon us although I felt really comfortable, I had made the right decision!

Apart from there being only a narrow path through the fields of crops (winter cabbage I think!), well trodden out by my faster predecessors, making it quite tough going on the old ankles, I thoroughly enjoyed the race, finishing 86th out of a field of 113 ladies - not bad at all considering I had had doubts as we walked to registration and I actually turned to Shirley and said 'they all look like die hards'! An amazing race set in amazing surroundings, if Ackworth decide to host a race in next year's series, at the same venue, I'll be first in the queue!
The only downside to the day was we didn't manage to field a ladies or a men's team, we were one lady short and three men, but hey we all had a great day.
Here's hoping my account of the day to fellow club members will tempt them to some of the four remaining races.

Meanwhile a low point to the day has to be the news that marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie has announced his retirement from athletics. Haile made the announcement after dropping out of his first New York Marathon after 16 miles with a knee injury saying "I never thought about retirement. But for the first time, this is the day". As a runner at any level one cannot help but echo the words of Sebastian Coe: He is the greatest athlete of the last 50 years and arguably the best of all time. I'm just pleased one of the highlights of standing at the finish line at this year's Great North Run was a chance to see the great man himself win....

For me, retirement is not on the cards just yet as I try to stick to the goals I have set myself, first off I have a session with Peter May on Thursday, should I really be looking forward to it?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Forward Planning

Shall I, shall I not? Thoughts of the ERR photos from last year’s Guy Fawkes 10 mile race – and me not being on this year’s – was just too much to bear. Following a good track session last Thursday I made the decision to have a go. It felt odd as I went to pick Lisa up in Pudsey for us to then go and meet Gill, Ian & Sophie at Five Lane Ends for a lift to Ripley. My heart wasn’t in it and my head was telling me I shouldn’t do it. Moments earlier I had been literally shaking as I gathered my kit and tried to keep focused on what I needed to take with me, freeze patch in case anything serious happened, ice pack so I could apply it in the car on the way home. Painkillers, was I fit enough? I fought off the negative thoughts telling myself that I could take it really steady and if necessary pull out. Sophie had said that I could do a ‘DNF’ , Gill had said we could run it together – I’d warmed to the idea and made up my mind that I would do it but was it the right decision? Think of that lovely goody bag at the end.

Here I was at the start, Lisa had said she would run with me, I tried to warn her against it. It’s an odd scenario when you offer to run with someone, usually for your own benefit as much as theirs but in either case it’s a noble thing to do and I have to say after the first mile and a half I felt pretty bad, things settled down and then at around mile four we hit ‘The Birstwith Brute’ and it was just that, a brute of a hill, I tried to negotiate it by run walking, Lisa gallantly kept going and waited for me at the top. I really considered dropping out at this point, not because I was in pain but because I felt so tired, my fitness has really has taken a nose dive. I managed to carry on with Lisa’s encouragement which continued throughout the race, there were a further two hills, again I was reduced to run /walk but fared much better on the final one, managing to run up it for the most part. At 91/2 miles Gill came up behind us and we managed to keep a good pace to the finish where there were crowds, in amongst them some of our team mates, cheering and shouting as we willed ourselves up the incline and into the stunning courtyard of Ripley Castle to the finish. That’s team work for you. Brilliant, I had managed it, unscathed, if worn out, and with a little help from my friends.

I now feel able to plan ahead a little and set some goals. I aim to work on my fitness now, lose the extra pounds I've gained whilst not training and as I have just gained entry into the 2011 Brass Monkey half marathon in January (entries closed in just one day), I’m looking forward to hopefully beating last year’s time and setting my new half marathon PB. Fingers crossed! And that all important team photo? We even managed to coax the man himself, Guy Fawkes, complete with explosive, to pose with us!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

to do or not to do?

I have continued to steadily get back to training this week and increase my mileage slightly. I visited Ove my physio again yesterday and he was very pleased with my progress as I explained I had increased my mileage with little more discomfort than stiff ankles each morning. I had intended to seek his opinion as to whether I should take part in the next of my planned races, the Guy Fawkes 10 mile this coming Sunday - Halloween, I think I knew what his answer would be and bottled it. I came away feeling pleased with myself that he had said I didn’t need to go back but continue to carry out the exercises he had given me and adding the ‘plank’ to my routine!
Why oh why are we so complacent and just expect our bodies to perform the gruelling training we put in week in week out? It isn’t until you are unable to train that you sit and consider where you went wrong. It’s only by talking to experts like Ove and Brian Scobie that you realise. It’s a bit like wiping the steam from the windows and then you can see in a little more clearly. I for one am taking stock and going to rethink my current regimes, and consciously try to make amends, I certainly don’t want to end up back to square one. First off is a phone call to Pete May (Runner’s Rub fame) to arrange regular massage to try and prevent future injury and also make an effort to cross train with a different form of exercise, maybe I’ll get back into my twice weekly swimming.......
I cannot believe how quick the sixth and final session with coach Brian Scobie and Assistant coach Michael Delmonte has come about and it was much as I had expected, further progression with the interval training in the form of increasing the effort without increasing the distance. I have to say that these sessions have been absolutely fabulous and left me with so much respect for the experts involved. There is rumour that the sessions may continue with coaches within the Airedale Athletics network aiming to run sessions in the future and if this does materialise I will certainly consider taking part and recommend them to others. I can see how the sessions have helped fellow runners to improve even in such a short time with Sophie gaining PB’s abound and Gill and Dawn motoring along, I am only slightly disappointed that I had to miss out on several of the initial sessions and really wasn’t able to give maximum effort in those I was able to partake in. Never the less I still feel I have benefited both from those I didn’t take part in and those I did.
So now the question is Guy Fawkes or not Guy Fawkes...... oh the lure of a fab goody bag!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Words of Wisdom

Dave is performing magnificently as ‘tail’ runner at Bradford parkrun. It’s certainly not an easy task for the both of us. One minute you’re steadily trailing the last runner, the next they’ve completely stopped, the next they’re off like a shot and we have all on catching them up. On the whole though I’m really proud of him, except that he’s still really giddy when people come over to see him and all he wants to do is chew on their hands, rather embarrassing but I’m seeking literature on curbing that. He’s looks the part in his new coat, which is much thinner than the expensive one I first bought him and more suited to running in as he was getting really warm in the thicker one.

I’m pleased that being the tail runner for the last few weeks has given me the opportunity to run/walk thereby not causing me too much discomfort while I was supposed to be resting. I hope that Dave and I can keep up the good work in future. Meanwhile my thoughts are turning to the Winter season of running now that the Summer is finally over with the clocks going back this weekend signalling the end of British Summertime. Here’s hoping club Members can discover the satisfaction of getting themselves out of the house throughout the coming dark, cold nights that are Winter training!!
This month’s Runner’s World (November) contains an excellent article on cross country running – the impending XC season no doubt influencing the Editor’s decision to run said feature. I think if you ask most people these are the races they ‘love to hate’. Runner’s World quite rightly says that ‘knee high mud, driving rain, howling wind and numb hands form many people’s memories of cross country running at school’ – how true! Most of us harbour a dislike of cross country running through our school experiences. I always feel that the races seem many more miles than they are, they do though, provide you with a sense of achievement on completion. Also in the article they state that cross country running is the training backbone for many of our successful distance runners including Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe and to quote Mo Farah, ‘ cross country is a tough discipline as courses can be hilly, muddy or even snow covered, but it makes you strong and it’s a great way to progress your training’. So I’ll try and keep those words of wisdom in mind when I’m cursing as I encounter another batch of mud or a seemingly impossible hill! I also love the team spirit if we can manage to coerce enough people to indulge! I must say I am quite looking forward to them and as one of the club captains will be doing my utmost to attend all 5 races in the Peco series.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Scobie Dobie Do and the seaside capers!

The Thursday speed and endurance course was excellent once again. Although Brian seems to be staying with the same theme each week it is still varied as he introduces new principles into the session. We began with the usual warm up 2 lap jog around the track and dynamic stretches. We also once again used the hurdles for flexibility training, again using differing techniques to step over the hurdles. This week we took the speed work a step further in that instead of timed sprints which resulted in 10 x approx 100m distance followed by walking recovery of 50m across the grass back to the start point we completed 10 x 150m sprints with 50m walking recovery and 200m recovery jog. In effect each week we have progressed with effort without increasing the distance. Simples!

Quite predictably I didn't feel able or indeed that it would be sensible to take part in the Bridlington Half Marathon. We did though, make the trip to the East coast in order that Marc could take part in the last of the ERR junior Summer championship races which he did with gusto. Arriving in plenty of time we had an amble on the beach beforehand. It was absolutely beautiful, the sun shone but there was a lovely cool breeze, perfect for running. In no time at all the throng of juniors were lined up ready for off. The gun was fired and off they shot as if they had been fired from the barrel! Within minutes I saw someone gesture that the leaders were on their way. Excitedly I dashed to the barriers and peered along the sea front. I could see them careering towards the finish line, Marc was amongst them, he gave everything he had and managed to finish a fantastic second place. He had no reason to be, but I knew he was disappointed not to come first, there's always next year, incidentally it will be his last at Junior level and I look forward to him moving up to longer distances.

So to the senior race, we had seen Claire and Rob warming up and spoken to Brian, still no sign of Sophie who I had text to see where she was, she had replied they were en route and then again that they had arrived but were having trouble parking. She was cutting it fine with 10 minutes to go until the start. We decided to walk along the front and find a suitable position to spectate, bid Brian good luck and walked on. Not too far along and there was Sophie, what a relief! She seemed relaxed despite having been unwell all week and sounded up beat and confident but said she was going to run without her watch and just enjoy it, sensible. This is the point when I so wished I was able to run, it's no comfort thinking 'oh well there's next year' - it's then and there that matters. People started to mill around as officials were shouting to get runners onto the start line. Tension mounted and 'bang' went the gun again, they were off. Just 1 hour and 7 minutes and 18 seconds later and the first man was home - amazing, the next one didn't appear until 1:11:52 fantastic lead. The first lady appeared at around 1:23 so we were anxiously waiting for Eccleshill's Claire, who we thought quite likely would make second or third lady. 1 hour 30 passed and still no sign of her, we began to wonder what was wrong. Moments later Martin spotted her along the sea front, walking, I dashed along my thoughts looming, had we missed her crossing the line and she'd walked back? No, she'd pulled out of the race. Was she injured? "No", she replied "CBA" - well that's acceptable we all get a case of 'CBA' every now and then - just not usually in the middle of a race! Next came Rob in a brilliant 1:38:17, then Brian in a PB of 1:47:35 and Sophie again a PB in 2:03:59. A visit to Wetherspoon's rounded off a fantastic day beside the seaside beside the sea.

It does sound as though the Bradford runners had a great day too with Eccleshill out in force with 9 taking part in the Half Marathon and 4 forming a relay team. Excellent times for what was a tough course so next year's decision will be a tough one Sunny Brid or (gut) Bustin' Bradford? Time will tell.......

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Goodie bags and get togethers

Team ERR

I've been extremely busy this week and as I prepare to attend the track again this evening I'm amazed that we only have another two weeks of our 'taster' training course left. How time flies!

So to date I have missed several planned races, the latest casualty being the Woodland Challenge last Sunday. I did however, have a brilliant day supporting the people who did run, these included 11 from ERR and quite a few from Hyde Park Harriers. I really did enjoy the day, it is run in beautiful surroundings and there was a fantastic camaraderie and excellent catering facilities too (bacon or sausage butties!) To top it all ERR's Claire came third lady, giving us a valid excuse to stick around for the prize presentation - wonderful hampers for all presented by the legend that is Ron Hill! The only downside to the day was the fact that the race clashed with the penultimate Vets race at Skipton which split the club up, many probably having done the same as I had done and entered Woodland Challenge many moons ago before the YVAA races were announced on the premise that it is a difficult race in which to gain entry, quite possibly due to the lure of the infamous goodie bag.

A girlie get together at 'Don't Tell Titus' in Saltaire afterwards reiterated the advantages of club running once more! Am I starting to paint a picture that I partake in this sport for the social side of things? That's ok isn't it?......

So next on the agenda is the final race of Eccleshill's Summer Championships, Bridlington Half Marathon, another race I have been looking forward to as I ran it with a groin injury last year and despite really enjoying it I was going to give it my 'all' this year, although I'm not sure what my 'all' is anymore. It isn't, however, looking too promising at the moment.

I don't envy those people taking part in the Bradford Half this weekend whilst we are beside the seaside but I do wish them luck. I am told a tough course awaits them so this is one race I don't have a longing to take part in but I'm sure they'll all do their best and have a brilliant day whether they take part in the half or the relay. So on that note I better get moving on down to Horsfall Track and see just what Coach Scobie has in store for us this week.....

Friday, 8 October 2010


Yes today I'm positively 'BUZZING'! Not a word I usually use but very apt in this instance. I'll tell you for why. After several short jaunts since last week my ankle was still feeling slightly sore but ok. I have been careful not to over do things and ice the area when I get back home. Still being left with some discomfort after each attempt but being something resembling OCD or perhaps anal about carrying out the physio exercises twice each day, every day, Ove has given me. Wednesday I did a very steady 2.85 miles, setting off with Gill, Val and Tony from club and returning alone, I have to admit very dejected. However, still determined to attend the Thursday 'speed work for endurance runners' course I turned up in my kit intending to do the warm up this week, last week I didn't even do that. So after our tete a tete with Brian off we went out onto the track. Two lap warm up followed by some dynamic stretching. Everything felt fine. Hurdles? Yes hurdles, we didn't however leap over them in the usual manner, more a case of using them to attempt the correct style in which to get over them. Nowhere near as high as the professionals use and nowhere near as fast. The techniques used though being extremely beneficial in assisting with stretching and warming up. Yet another light bulb moment, I'll definitely be putting it to the committee that it would be advantageous to purchase some, four to six being sufficient.

So the session progressed onto the speed work following on from the previous weeks. I'm obviously a little out of the loop as the rest of the groups have progressed each week. I joined the (slowest) group - I'm not keen on that word but the other two groups were faster groups and were having to do longer intervals. This week instead of distance, say 50 or 100 m we did timed sprints. Starting on the line and sprinting until Brian shouted 'stop'! The plan was that we would reach the exact same distance round the track each and every time. With each rep I began to realise that my ankle wasn't giving me much, if any pain at all. I decided to push it and completed all ten reps. I have to say I regretted it afterwards thinking that I would suffer next morning. Oh well what would be would be, I went home, iced the area whilst having my tea, got in the shower, massaged my lower legs with my trusty 'Runners Rub' and off to bed. I was awake for a large part of the night with toothache (I'm in the middle of root canal treatment) and on finally getting out of bed to stay out I realised my ankle was not hurting.... I'm still smiling now after an emergency hour in the dentist's chair. Toothache doesn't even come close to ankle 'ache'. Buzzbuzzbuzzbuzzzzzz.......
Off to club tonight and a short steady jog with Tracey who's also suffering with injury and fingers crossed that things get better and better.

Reading a blog I'm following the author made a reference to yet another running website. is a website where as well as lots of useful information, runners can input their 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon times for the year so far and obtain their handicap score and rankings. This is a quote from the Runbritain website:
The runbritain handicap scoring system is a unique way of measuring your progress and comparing yourself with other runners.

As in golf, handicaps go from scratch (zero, or even slightly negative for elite runners) to 36 with increments of 0.1.

To compute your handicap we take a combination of your recent best performances at 5K, 10K, Half Marathon & Marathon but adjusted for course difficulty and weather conditions using our special formulae.

This means that you can improve your handicap at any race as on harder courses you won't need to run quite as quickly as on faster ones.
I'm not particularly impressed with my handicap score of 22.3 but I intend to keep checking back and see if I've improved - once I start racing again that is!
BTW Eccleshill's Claire Elener's handicap is 7.5 she is also ranked 37/100 for the marathon distance - Mara Yamauchi being 1/100. Claire having run 3:09:20 in Berlin last month!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tail running

After the incident at Parkrun last week where the finish area was packed up before the last runner had crossed the finish line I decided to action something I had been considering for some time. I emailed Linda Bussey to offer mine and Dave's services as sweepers or tail runners as my 'thank you for volunteering' email aptly titled it!

Linda replied to my email accepting my offer and saying it was a brilliant idea. She has been away for the last few weekends and was not going to be there this week, giving consideration to that and of course, my injury I toyed with the idea of whether or not to go and 'sweep' this week or simply carry out my usual marshal duty. I made the decision to go ahead with the 'sweeping'. Went on Ebay and searched for 'high vis dog coats', ordered Dave a 'marshal jacket' and looked forward to it, run/walk, hopefully would be perfect in helping with my recovery.

The coat for Dave didn't arrive in time for Saturday but hopefully it should be here for next week. So, how did it go? Fairly well. Obviously it is going to be a learning experience for a few weeks. We positioned ourselves at the back of the pack and off they went, on the first lap the back runner overtook to leave a track suited lady in front of us, all going well, a really steady jog ensured we stayed a fair distance away from her, one of my concerns is not to make the back runner feel intimidated or pressured. Up the 'teeny tiny' hill we went for the first time still keeping our distance, upon us came the left turn to signal the start of the second lap when much to my surprise the lady we were following carried on up the hill - panic set in, we weren't behind the back runner at all, how could this be, my heart sunk and I began to speed up in an attempt to catch the lady who had overtaken her. All the while thoughts that this was a no win situation loomed around my head. How on earth does one know who is taking part in Parkrun and who isn't? Anyway not too much longer and I was back behind the back runner, much to my delight she had now overtaken someone else and this someone else was the lady from last week who had endured having to crossing the line as the finish was being dismantled. I rested my laurels on the fact that she had returned despite probably feeling disappointed last week.

We will continue to learn from our experiences, and in future I will ask the race director to request that the runners give the tail runners a wide berth as at one point a chap came a little too close on a bend causing me to panic a little and in trying to get Dave as close to me as I could I tripped over him! I can't see who is coming up behind me. No harm done but it could so easily have resulted in us tripping the runner up or me standing on Dave or worse! Another lesson learned this week is that we need to take along a dish and some water so that Dave can have a well earned drink afterwards.

All in all our first duties went really well. Let's hope that it continues to do so and becomes beneficial both for Parkrun and Dave's exercise regime!

Friday, 1 October 2010

In awe...

On many occasions throughout the (nearly) four years I have been running I have found myself in awe of people in this field. They may be runners, coaches or 'famous' athletes. Few however, have I been able to get in close proximity of.

I do admire many people and quite recently have been privileged to speak to and feel the benefits of those in the know. Firstly through being given the opportunity to take a Leadership in Running Fitness course and the multitude of people I have come into contact with through our club being in the Airedale Athletics Partnership. Most recently the Speed work for endurance runners course I signed up for. Despite my inability to take part due to injury I have turned up each Thursday for the sessions in the hope of gleaning information from the experts. I have not been disappointed. I can liken some of the things I have listened to as 'light bulb' moments. To quote athletics coach Brian Scobie from this weeks session, 'the human body is lazy' - Brian went on to explain how it is necessary to train the body to do more (in our case push ourselves when running). Our bodies will not voluntarily work harder, we have to physically train our bodies to do more. Which makes sense. Continually running at a pace which is comfortable for us will not help us to sustain running at a higher pace - hence speed work, intervals, fartleks etc all help us to train our bodies to do more. He raised chuckles from the group as he mimicked the body speaking - 'I'm not going any faster, bugger that' - he reminds me of a tamer Billy Connolly with his Scottish accent - minus the obscenities so often heard from the comedian! It makes you consider your own training, plodding along doing the same things week in week out for years until presented with opportunities such as taking part in topic specific courses, gives you a 'wake up call'.

I'm still hopeful of being able to join in the course before it ends but if I'm not able then I shall just try and store the valuable information in the hope of using it in the future and of course, passing it on ***frantically making notes from last night's training session***

Monday, 27 September 2010

Back on track...

Some months ago Airedale Athletics announced plans to provide taster sessions of various strands of running. Six week enhanced training courses would provide anything from fitness testing to speed work for endurance runners and all sorts in between. After consideration of what was on offer I decided to enrol for a Thursday evening course at Horsfall Track. Without further adieu here we are and the courses are about to start.

At the beginning of this week I contacted Jill Jones the Airedale Athletics administrator for the upcoming training courses and advised her that I would not be able to join the course I had applied for due to being injured. I requested that I be allowed to observe the sessions in the hope of picking up tips to pass on to our own members on training nights and maybe help out where I could, that really is how far ahead I was thinking that I would not be able to run - sometimes I entertained the thought that I may not run again. However, following my visit to the physio on Wednesday Ove's advice was to run. I came out of the clinic wondering if I had the courage to go for a run the following morning. I didn't.
I decided to turn up for the training course, Lycra at the ready and see how I went on! After a very inspiring talk by Brian Scobie, our coach, we went out onto the track to warm up. I managed to run several laps of the track and the warm up drills and we began some interval training. After which, I began to feel mild pain and so decided not to 'push my luck' and took a seat in the grandstand with Claire and Mick Brearley to watch the rest of the session. Result!
I went home and iced the area and next morning felt no ill effects.

I carried out my usual marshaling duties at Bradford parkrun on Saturday followed by football training for Marc.
I turn up early each week to collect Marc and walk Dave around the park so this week I decided to have a jog around with him. I must say he did very well and apart from trying to chase the odd leaf blown by the wind and showing great interest in the squirrels scurrying around, it would appear he's a natural runner!
I intend to take it one step at a time and try not to rush things, and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that Dave and I will have a long and happy running relationship!
Whilst marshaling at Parkrun this week I was once again unsure of when it was time to leave my post. I'm sure lots of people have been in the same situation themselves when marshaling. I find it totally unacceptable that there are still runners out on the course and the organisers start packing up and marshals leave their posts. I am aware though that as in this case it's sometimes unintentional as it was on Saturday. We were packing up, collecting the cones which mark out the finish funnel when in came a lady. I was certain the last person had passed me. I have been thinking for some time that there is a real need for a sweeper. Recalling my delightful sweeping antics at the Wrose 5k a few weeks ago I started to think about how we could resolve this situation.
So....I have emailed Linda (Parkrun race director) and put a suggestion to her, watch this space!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Over and done with

A whole month has gone by now without a single run! I decided against trying to run as I was simply terrified of ending up back at square one. Ove had reluctantly said to try a mile or two when I pressed him as to whether I could run but when it came down to it I knew that I shouldn't. I get the feeling that is a natural process. You know when all is well and when it's not. Just as we learn when and how to gradually increase training when we first start running, I figure it's the same when we're injured - we know when we have over done it and it's no surprise when we end up with unusually achy muscles or even worse, a pulled muscle. Sometimes we get away with it, sometimes we don't.
I got away with it for longer than I probably should have done! In the end though I came to my senses and I'm not about to take any risks and run before I'm fully recovered. I can't explain why all of a sudden my attitude has changed and I have finally accepted that I really do need to make sure that I don't run before I am ready.

This showed at this weekend's Great North Run when far from dreading standing on the finish line I was really looking forward to it in the end. We had a fantastic weekend and apart from feeling emotional when Martin got off the transfer bus at the start of the race and five of us stayed on to go to the finish and again when I watched him cross the line, I found it a great experience seeing all the elite athletes, Haile Gebraselassie, Berhane Adere and of course Mara Yamauchi and one or two celebrities, Nell McAndrew and Tony Audenshaw. It was, of course, even more uplifting when I spotted Gary from club who finished amongst the fast club runners in a fantastic 1:29 and Jo who also clocked up a brilliant 1:56 despite them sporting charity vests when I was looking out for club vests! I don't however, want to repeat this year's event and am now looking forward to next year when with a great deal of patience I hope to run it. I've happily transferred my Horsforth 10k number for this coming Sunday to Martin and I hope that good sense will prevail for the next of my planned races. So with my final mention of a great weekend going to my son Marc who completed the Junior Great North Run (3 miles) in great time of 20:10 beating his Parkrun PB I'm going to log on and see if the official photos are uploaded yet.

So the (30th Anniversary) Great North Run is over and done with for another year...........

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A week on Sunday

Here I am on week two of solitary confinement (yes that's exactly what it feels like). I'm feeling more miserable by the day and really thought that by now my attitude to whether I will or will not be able to run the Great North Run a week on Sunday might have changed but unfortunately for me - it hasn't. Just how do you train yourself to accept that you more than likely will not be able to do something you have looked forward to for months upon months? I wish I had the answer. It's not been made any easier by the fact that everyone around me are receiving their race packs containing race day info, timing chips and race numbers.

I have lightened my load a little by continuing to attend club training nights - this way I can keep in touch with everyone, meet new members and generally keep abreast of what's going on at club. This way I'm still in the same routine of getting out of the house three nights a week too. I'm also trying to volunteer where possible, my latest job being to marshal at the Epilepsy Action Alice's Run in Mytholmroyd last Sunday. Helen did the race report and wrote 'Lyndsey was flying the flag for ERR at Alice's run this weekend. She had cunningly positioned 8 ERR marshals along the route to keep her going on throughout the full 10k. Interesting route in this picturesque valley with good weather to boot. Thanks to our volunteer marshals and a special guest appearance by Dave Steele, who was adored by those who met him.............' I met a charming gentleman with whom I was manning the water station at the half way point and also directing the runners and traffic, all in all I was kept very busy and really enjoyed it. Marshaling can sometimes be as rewarding as running and certainly was in this instance.

Having not run for over two weeks I am now entering new territory for me. I went back to see Ove the physio this afternoon and whilst his treatment was not nearly as painful as last week, it was still very unpleasant. I've also been given a green exercise band and been shown how to do some exercises to strengthen my ankles as well as carrying on with the 'clam' exercises I was shown last week.

Questioned as to whether I can run this week Ove suggested I try a mile or two but if I feel any pain I must stop, ice the area and not run again but if it does go ok to increase the mileage very slightly a couple of days later. I must say I am not looking forward to trying to run as deep down I know all is not well. I also pressed Ove on the possibility of my taking part in the Great North Run - he put my chances at 50/50 and added that there were other races............

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The moral of this story is.....

Just so that it's not assumed I've disappeared off the face of the Earth I thought I would keep up to date with my blog even though I'm not running at the moment. Yes, you guessed it, things with my Achilles have come to a head.

I went off for a few days to stay at my sister's house in the Washburn Valley region to look after her 2 dogs, Ben the Labrador and Jess the Dalmatian along with Jim the very large horse and Molly the not so large horse (required as I have two nieces, one very tall and one not so tall!) whilst they went on holiday. Of course I took Dave along with me. I had fully intended having a week of total rest from running whilst away (packed my kit just in case though) and this was going very well until Martin announced he was getting up early on Wednesday morning to go for a run around Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs. It is well documented that this area is one of my favourite places to run. Could I resist? Erm.... no......

I'm going to say no more on that subject other than I was in pain all the way round and had a terrible run as a result.

A few days later and I was back home to the Ponderosa and I mulled over my options, I began to entertain the possibility that I may not get round the Great North Run this year. That thought is not a very appealing one.

Saturday morning I remembered I had volunteered for the Bradford Parkrun so off Marc and I went, him to run and me to marshal. After the run we were chatting away to fellow runners in the Lister Park cafe (as usual!) and Gill suggested I should go and see a physio she had seen earlier in the year with much the same injury. No bones about it I shy away from such activities, scared of the cost. Gill's husband Ian emailed me the details of said physio and I completed an online enquiry form on their website, knowing it was Bank Holiday Monday coming up so it may be a few days before I got a reply. They telephoned me at work on Tuesday, lo and behold I was able to make an appointment for late Wednesday afternoon. After a rather long drive to Garforth I sat gingerly in the waiting room mulling over the story I was going to tell him. I knew I would be unable to admit I had had the problem as long as I have. However Ove (the physio) was understanding as you might expect, deep down I knew he had heard the same stories hundreds of times before and I must admit I was sceptical when after explaining my problem and telling him that I wanted to do the Great North Run, he worked out that we had 19 days to get me fixed!

He completed his assessment of my injury and began manipulating various areas of my lower right leg, I use the word manipulating very loosely, I can honestly say I have never felt such pain before (no not even during my massage with Penny Brook). Afterwards, I tried to compose myself and await his verdict.

My heart lifted when he said, 'you have a bit of tendinitis, don't run until I see you again, but I think we will be able to have you back running again next week'. Hooray, I felt as though he had just handed me a million pounds, believe me I really, really wish I had gone to see him sooner.

The moral of the story?
Never put all............
I really don't think I need to answer that.........

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A Lesson Learned.......

I quite like the feeling I get when I know I've touched upon an inaugural occurrence. However, the usual interpretation of that is that I have had some participation be it running or organisational in the first staging of an event. Last nights inaugural event was not so pleasant, missing a race I set off to run.

The Vets race at Stainland was at 7.15 pm on Wednesday 18th August, I had read the race details on the Yorkshire Veterans Athletics Association site numerous times in the weeks before the race. Why then did I have it in my mind that it was taking place from the same club house as the Helen Windsor 10k back in July? I really don't know the answer to that question.

I had discussed with my husband Martin what time we should set off, we had downloaded a route finder and entered the postcode of the venue, established it was a 30 minute drive, what we didn't do was print off the YVAA details or the route finder - still thinking we knew exactly where we were going as we had been there on 7th July, my birthday, how could we forget. "Six O'Clock" he declared will be plenty of time to get there in time for the 7.15 pm start, pay your £3 and run! Now, on Wednesday afternoon I had been shopping for a new dress for my Niece's (very short notice) wedding this coming Saturday, off I popped upstairs to try on my new purchases, lovely, all set for the wedding I decided that I would not get dressed again but instead get into my club vest and running gear, pinning the veteran category onto the back of the vest, I did just that, 5 pm and I was ready to go!

An hour later we were literally getting set to walk out of the door when my sister and niece turned up, 'I won't keep you' she said and outlined her reasons for calling in to see us. Off we set, making our way confidently, if a little late, to Greetland. As we came upon the club house I could see the place was deserted, with that I noticed the sign outside 'Greetland All Rounders Club' - we're in the wrong place, we need to be at Heath Rugby Club? How had I made such a mistake? I'll never know, frantically I began ringing fellow club members mobile phones, nobody answered, those who were at the race would have obviously left their phones in their cars. It became clear we weren't going to make it to the start line. My heart sank as Martin declared we would have to go back home, in a last ditch attempt he drove down the road hoping to find a sign pointing us in the right direction, moments later a sign appeared 'Huddersfield'.

Dejected, we followed the road signs back to Bradford. The sinking feeling was one I have so very nearly felt before when we have been momentarily lost on the way to a race but found it at the last minute. This time though it wasn't going to go away, we were going to have to return home still clad in our race numbers and remove them not having taken part.......

I hope we have learned our lesson and take better care next time we are planning our journey to a race and that is the first and last time I miss the start.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Prizes galore!

It worked - the lure of a wager if he came in under 24 minutes and Marc had the trainers on ready to take part in the Wrose Challenge 5k with it's 1 in 6 gradient hill and all! All in all a brilliant race, being a 'sweeper' was even more enjoyable than I had anticipated, I think because the course was such a tough one. The thought that I had to stay at the back instead of trying not to be at the back was very uplifting. Marc didn't manage to finish in under 24 minutes but just outside at 25:31 so I paid him the bet anyway as his fantastic effort saw him first in for Eccleshill. He has put the money towards new running shoes - all good. The highlight of the race came at the end. We had gone into the clubhouse for a drink, they were also serving free chip butties and selling raffle tickets. I bought a couple of strips and so we were standing around hoping it wouldn't be too long before they made the draw and presented the prizes to the winners of the race.
Without further adieu the prize giving began. Various prizes were presented and then they shouted 'Men's Vets 35, first Mark Scott, Eccleshill Road Runners', unfortunately Mark had gone home, so up I stepped to collect it on his behalf, it felt like I had won - and even though I hadn't I felt very proud that it was someone from our club. Moments later 'Ladies Vet 35 - First Debbie Trolley Eccleshill Road Runners' - those of us standing around gave a roar for the second time. This is another benefit of being part of a club, we all share in the excitement of prize giving even if we as an individual don't win anything! I did, though, win a raffle prize of a Nike cap and a new kit bag in the raffle!

The week was topped off with a lovely club run on Friday evening around Esholt, photo taking and cheering at Bradford Parkrun where Marc was awarded his 10 T-Shirt and our now monthly 'away day' Sunday run in the Washburn Valley, Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs. Made all the more pleasant by the fact that we all either took cake or tea and coffee for after the run. It was idyllic running round the reservoirs at a steady pace after the recent relay races saw us charging around them like lunatics, that memory is now long gone as we are left with pleasant memories of a summer Sunday morning....Wonder where next month's 'away day' will take us?........

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Sweeping up that hill..........

6 of the 8 Eccleshill runners + Marc at Askern

Here we are well into August and already thoughts are turning to our return to our Winter training base. Other than the dark nights I don't have any reservations whatsoever about that. In fact, I nearly prefer the Winter training. It's not too hot and I really do think it gives a greater sense of achievement when you've managed to get yourself out of the door in all that the diverse British weather has to throw at you! On the flip side there is nothing like the draw of a Summer's evening run with a group of friends to tempt you to don the Lycra and pull on the trainers so I'll enjoy it whilst it lasts!

Another busy week has passed me by culminating in my participation in the Askern 10 mile race near Doncaster on Sunday. I discussed at length with Dawn, a fellow club member who has been struggling with various injuries and trying to heed advice from her physio to take it easy, whether we should run it together, although there isn't much between us pace wise, I also wanted to exercise some restraint as the realisation that we are now only six weeks away from the Great North Run (the highlight of my year!) dawned on me and I so want to arrive on the start line in reasonable shape to be able to complete it. So thoughts of beating my Askern time from last year, which is also my 10 mile PB, had to to put on the back burner. Needless to say we managed to agree that we needed each other on this one and stayed together. The result was a brilliant race where I wasn't focusing on finishing times or racing, never once uttered the words 'why am I doing this' and really enjoyed it.

We held our monthly club committee meeting on Sunday evening and I it gave me great pleasure to be able to report a significant rise in members attending training nights and Gill, our Membership Secretary, reported an increase in new member applications. It really does seem that all our efforts are reaping the rewards and our small but friendly club is going from strength to strength and long may it continue.

A first for me this week is being 'sweeper' at a race. The Wrose Challenge 5k is being run on Wednesday and Edward East, one of the organisers, asked if I'd like to step into the role, I'm just hoping he doesn't give me a brush! I've managed to rope Martin, my husband in to do it with me and I'm really looking forward to our duties of running at the very back of the race to ensure the all important back of the field return safely after their run. I've just read that under 15's must be accompanied by an adult and realised Marc can take part, now to convince him that it's a good idea to run up the infamous Carr Lane - the hill with a 1 in 6 gradient - as part of a race!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Stats, Ale, Runner's Rub & Dave....

I'm doing my level best not to get hung up about race times but can't help noticing I'm getting slower... as many runners know mileage and race times keep a lot of us going. Without my stats on Fetcheveryone I think my last three years worth of running would have been 'less of an achievement' I think is the most suitable turn of phrase. Yes, I would still have had the satisfaction of knowing that I'd 'stuck at it' and yes, I would still have made all those wonderful friendships, but I would have had nothing to look back on with regards to my training and racing.

So it seems that my race times have plummeted since the VLM back in April, and as I struggle to work out why, several reasons come to mind, first and foremost, my ongoing Achilles injury which readers may ask themselves 'if it's so bad why is she still running?'. Well the short answer to that is 'because I can'. I can deal with the soreness afterwards, I can deal with the stiffness next morning but most of all 'I can still run'. I must admit I was a little concerned what effect three days consecutive running would have but I'm pleased to report no ill effects - could it possible be that the reduction in training is the cause of my downward spiral? I don't know.... So still heeding Penny's advice of the stretching exercises, I am now also using Peter May's runner's rub, twice a day, self massage into the lower limbs including the Achilles and ankle areas. I am also constantly on a quest to seek advice from past sufferers, everybody who posts anything on a forum or physio site have the same symptoms so I know I'm not alone. What I am alone in is my ability to make a decision to rest and when I say 'rest' I mean for a significant number of weeks. Left alone in that decision I have a feeling I know the outcome....

Anyway enough of the doldrums, I'm going to try and be more positive in what I'm doing to rectify my current situation after a fantastic last few days beginning with a club run up to the Leeds Bradford Airport last Wednesday evening, Friday run in the pouring rain after our coached session on the field was scuppered, Bradford Parkrun on Saturday and the delightful Idle Trail Race on Sunday - which incidentally was Yorkshire Day and we were fittingly rewarded with a bottle of Idle Trail Yorkshire Day Ale coupled with a spot prize of Peter May's Runner's Rub! Dave made his race debut at Idle - spectating that is, and he behaved impeccably until the last half hour when he had had so much attention thrust upon him that he got really giddy and was nipping anyone who dared to come and fuss over him! Let's hope it's the first of many for him (races that is, not nips!).

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bad to worse.......

I'm hoping that today, Monday, signals the end of my downward spiral of the last couple of weeks.

After the awful experience of the Golden Acre Park relay I was looking forward to a nice steady 5 mile 'Hospital Route' club run on Friday evening. The sun was shining and it was truly a lovely evening as we all congregated down at Rawdon Meadows ready to set off. Linda, being leader of the session directed us up Apperley Lane to assemble at the end of Woodlands Drive to do our warm up stretches before proceeding up through Woodlands. I elected to stay at the back with Arthur, after a short while I could see Marc walking ahead of me, knowing this was unlike him I hurried along to find that he was being sick. Once he seemed to recover we decided that walking back was a better option than him waiting around for me to run back and get the car to drive back and get him, however, things just went from bad to worse when he became more and more ill. One and three quarters of an hour later we got back to the car park.... in true club ( spirit some members ran back for us and we later learned that most had hung around as long as they could. I'm pleased to report that Marc recovered from his ordeal and although he didn't do his usual park run on Saturday was fit and well enough to run the Pudsey junior race on Sunday and finished 3rd Boy, 4th overall - in fact all 4 ERR juniors ran brilliantly!

A chap ran as the Marie Curie Daffodil

That leads me to the Pudsey 10k Challenge, the best bit about this was the fact that I took great pleasure in saving 20 x 20p pieces to donate to Marie Curie since it was the 20th Anniversary of the running of the challenge. I still could not justify why I was standing on the start line when I had vowed after last year's race that I would not do this race again. I really am tempted to say 'least said, soonest mended' but I rather think I should go on with my account so that I may read it before next year's race and be reminded just why I said 'never again'. We had 8 runners on the start line and off we went, Jo, Sophie, Lisa and I were running side by side for about the first 1/2 a mile, I quickly dropped back as I struggled to get my breath, the heat was immense as we turned a corner to go uphill back to where we started. A short while later we were in a familiar wooded area where I knew the first of the 'challenging' hills was before me, I really tried to keep going up it but was reduced to walking half way up, most people in front and behind me were walking too, at the top I set off again and managed to catch up to Lisa, she too was struggling with the heat and said she felt terrible. I managed to stay a little way behind her for a while, she then became very laboured and I was really worried about her. I managed to get alongside her and keep chatting, we managed to keep a good pace.....until the next hill, it was nearly impossible for us and those around us to walk up it let alone run! I joked with the marshal at the top of the hill that a stair lift would be great at the bottom of that, he replied 'that would be cheating!'. I have to say the marshals were the best thing about this race and I was very pleased to turn a corner to see the entrance to the park where the race finished. I really mean it this time 'never again'............

If I haven't had enough hills tonight's club session is speed and hills, in the form of the Co op pyramid, I just thank my lucky stars it's not Eccleshill's two steepest hills, Park Road and Bank!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Birds of Prey at Golden Acre Park!

Last night saw the second of our planned relay races at Golden Acre Park! Nearly ended up swimming there as we drove through the flooded roads en route. Coupled with this the traffic was horrendous and I suspect that may have been the reason some members didn't turn up.

So after being uber organised and downloading and completing the entry form for each team viz; Eccleshill Eagles, Eccleshill Ospreys, Eccleshill Kites, Eccleshill Buzzards and Eccleshill Owls it all turned to pandemonium as it got later and later and we had to make a decision to swap the teams around and take out those who hadn't made it so that we could submit our entries, as it was the organisers delayed the start by 15 minutes and we managed to get our last team entered at 7.10!

Thankfully though it stopped raining not long after we arrived at the park, and although very muggy and damp it looked like we were going to spared a soaking!

The reshuffle of the teams saw the demise of the Eccleshill Kites and so it meant team members Lyndon joined the Eagles and Sophie joined us owls! Gill who was travelling from the city centre was no where to be seen, no doubt stuck firmly in the traffic. Moments later as the first leg runners were being called to the start Gill appeared, nothing could be changed we had entered our teams and there was no going back. Off to the start line I ran, and the start was signalled, anyone who has run around Golden Acre Park before knows it's not the easiest of courses and tonight it seemed was going to be no different, around a field and up a hill, when I got to the top I figured I would turn back, I felt so ill, my legs were tingling, I had nothing in them, was this down to the massage? I suspect so. Note to self: do not book a sports massage on the same day a race, no matter how short the race is! I managed to recover and kept going - in true cross country fashion the twists, turns, hills and hazardous tree roots continued to be put before me. I was trailing two runners, one from Kirkstall and one from Wetherby, a short downhill and I managed to overtake them both. Finally I got back to the field where it all started and welcomed the sight of the finishing line. It may have been short but it was very, very tough!

As each runner finished we nearly all agreed that it was a very tough course, somehow it didn't seem to have the camaraderie we had experienced at Fewston a few nights before, no doubt down to the tough course, the hold ups, confusion and of course the weather. Let's hope we get better weather next year!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Pleasurable? Pain?

Finally! Penny Brooke phoned me back on Tuesday and after a short discussion she said she had an appointment free on Wednesday morning. Without a second thought I jumped at the chance and booked it! Panic then set in, along with the fears I already had about how painful it might be I then realised I had a relay race in the evening, would I be ok to run? I emailed Mick for his advice (he's a massage frequenter!) - his reply said that he doesn't usually run when he's had a massage - oops. Anyway I went ahead with it and gingerley entered the health centre where Penny is based, gave my name and took a seat to await my fate!

Penny called my name moments later and I was led like a lamb to the slaughter into a side room. She proceeded to ask me questions around my running, health etc and examined my old trainers which she had requested I take along, 'these tell a story' she said, and proceeded to tell me I'm a heel striker with a funny swirl to my foot strike, amongst other things! Let the massage begin. She guessed I had had children by the way I was able to stay relaxed through some of the painful massage techniques. I have to say that it was way worse than I was expecting and most especially the soles of my feet, by heck it hurt! Other parts of my body made me giggle with a mixture of pain and relief! The good news for me though was her analysis of my Achillles. She said that it was not too bad and a 'thickening' of the tendon had not ocurred as it often does. She gave me some excellent advice and I came away with a leaflet enabling me to stretch and rehabilitate the injury. I haven't made up my mind whether I will go back yet, the next few days will no doubt be an indicator of whether I feel I have had any benefit from it so watch this space.

Now to see how the relay goes this evening, I'm sooo looking forward to it!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Relays and Football

Team ERR at the Washburn Valley Relay
Last Friday we had club visit to Fewston Reservoir for a recce of the Washburn Valley Relay and I had looked forward to taking part in the real thing all week! What a week it has been, it feels like most of it's a blur, it's gone that fast.

Jo & Jack get me up the hill
I'm still waiting for that all important phone call from the physio and desperately looking forward to being able to book in for my massage, I have tight muscles upon tight muscles now! Partly due to the effort I put in at the Washburn Valley Relay and partly due to careering around on a football pitch all in the name of a 'Ladies' match organised by Marc's football team! I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed both.

Eccleshill had 18 runners in the relay, 3 per team, so 6 teams entered! Fantastic! We all had a brilliant night and I was once again reminded of why I am a member of a running club. There is no feeling like 'team spirit' and we certainly had plenty of that at the relay. Each and every runner was treated to a rousing cheer as they finished their leg and the next one took off on theirs. Being one of the leg 3 runners I absolutely gave it all I had and was dreading the steep climb to the finish, however, several team mates ran down to run me in, including Jo and her little boy, Jack, and what a brilliant feeling when I got to the top of that hill! We are taking part in the Golden Acre Park relay this coming Wednesday and I, for one, can't wait!

Meanwhile on the football pitch I scored two goals and although on the losing ladies team we all had a great day and I don't even mind the fact that I can hardly walk today! Speed and Hills this evening? Hmmm..........

Friday, 16 July 2010

A New Running Buddy?

Ever felt you had been 'ganged' up on? I have recently : (

I'll start at the beginning........ A few weeks ago we suffered the loss of our beloved dalmatian Millie, and though she was getting on in her years it was all too sudden for me and I was left somewhat in shock after her death. As the weeks passed we started to realise life was a little easier without a dog and I came to the conclusion that we would not have another one - not at the moment anyway. My husband and sons then decided they wanted one of our elder sons whippet x greyhound puppies - after much fratching I was forced to accept they were going to get one with or without my consent (one of the disadvantages of being the only female in our house!) Enter... Dave and I have to admit his beautiful blue eyes are captivating and you really can't help but fall in love with him. I know they say a dog is a faithful friend but he's a boy so that may not be the case!

So the advantages of having a dog now have to be sought, the only one that springs to mind so far is whippets/greyhounds are good runners...........