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...........

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


This week has not exactly gone to plan!

After trying to assess whether I should run or dine on my birthday I decided on the run (less calories) and entered the Helen Windsor 10k in Halifax, on the night. Having not done this before I did wonder what I had let myself in for. As I feared it was rather hilly and the muggy weather didn't help either. On the flip side though it was a very scenic course and well attended. Once we got up the 'undulations' to reach Greetland it was fairly well down hill or flat from there. Unusually the memento was a pair of socks! Well pleased, made a nice change from a t-shirt!

After the race we stood around chatting with other runners and as it often does the topic of conversation turned to injuries. Mick and Dawn again sang the praises of their physio/masseur, Penny Brooke - so I have finally bitten the bullet and contacted her with a view to making an appointment for a massage and hopefully obtain some advice on my ongoing Achilles injury, meanwhile Sophie has loaned me a book which has a section on just that so I plan to follow that advice forthwith.

Somehow I don't think a 10 mile race would have been advisable by the physio or the book but that's what I decided to do instead of going to Honley to do the Vets race and found myself at Eccup instead of Huddersfield! I now feel as though my training and racing are suffering and although I think this is more psychological than physical I think the time has come to address the problem before I end up in deep trouble (I think I might have said that before!).

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Paula Radcliffe came to town!

The day before I'm another year older - hmmm they're flying by!! The question is whether I run a race on my birthday or go out for a meal. I can't decide. However since it is only days away from my Wedding Anniversary too I'm leaning towards the race as I will be able to celebrate after the Vets race at Honley on Sunday our 29th Anniversary. Time will tell.

Marc with both feet off the ground! He believes he can fly!

Another busy week in the running stakes, the Jane Tomlinson 10k on Sunday was an experience I can only liken to the Great North Run, a very congested race with a fantastic atmosphere! I ran it alongside my Sister, Sue who was running her first ever race, she only started running recently and I managed to encourage her most of the way round resulting in her only having a few walk breaks! I'm now trying to impress the benefits of running with a club on her in the hope that she might join us at Eccleshill Road Runners! 10 Runners turned out for ERR, my son Marc was one of them, running his first ever 10k race - this was the replacement for this year's Leeds Family Fun Run he was disappointed to learn he was too old for that one this year. After the race he was star struck having run alongside Paula Radcliffe for part of the race, exclaiming afterwards that he had 'beaten the one and only Paula Radcliffe' (there was just the small matter that she was 7 months pregnant!) Nonetheless he had a fantastic race and flew round as the photo shows finishing in 45 minutes and 4 seconds - truly fantastic for our junior member. Accolade of the day though goes to Claire Elener who finished second lady overall! Claire was presented with her award on stage by Paula - I missed it being just a little way behind her, I'll try and go a bit quicker next year!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Back to it.......

The second of our monthly coached sessions last Friday was extremely enjoyable! I highly recommend it - not only is it a fantastic form of cross training it really does give you an alternative workout! Kick started with a warm up from Sophie we were treated to a myriad of circuits in the form of ladders, hurdles, skipping and also relays and even a pelaton around a circle of cones, finishing off with a game of rounders! I was pleased I had made the decision to take part in this session after my week of forced rest due to a painful Achilles tendon, I figured if I were to set off on a run and then find I couldn't complete it I would be in trouble. However, the session provided me with the opportunity to work as little or as much as I wanted, yet another advantage of our 'field based' structured sessions. Fortunately once warmed up I found I eased back into training without too much discomfort.
It is by no means totally eradicated but is feeling much better and my next step is to try a recommendation from a fellow runner - charity runner Stephen Auker recently wrote his blog around the subject of ice baths versus ibuprofen to manage pain. I have been thinking that may benefit me as I'm suffering with a painful knee in addition to the ankle area. Stephen's conclusion was, following medical advice that the NSAID Advil gels far outweighed the benefits of ice baths and also his doctor dismissed any ideas of Ibuprofen causing stomach problems. I too am going to consult my doctor with a view to trying Advil.

Monday's speed and hill's session had a good turn out of members and we made our way down to King's Road for hill reps. I am one to champion our speed and hills sessions because I know how much my running improved when I decided to attend these sessions in addition to the Friday sessions I was already attending. Anyway much to my dismay I felt I had to hold back and take it really easy as the advice for Achilles injuries is to cut back on your training and avoid hills, in addition you're advised to look at your footwear which is another thing I aim to do in the next few weeks - my birthday is looming and of course birthdays = pressies! I had planned on requesting gift vouchers to pay for massages but I feel I have to prioritise and so new shoes it will have to be.........

Wednesday - another glorious Summer's evening - saw another good turn out and so we were able to split into two groups - the faster ones left us in their dust as we strived to get up the hilly climb to Guiseley in the heat, once on the flat though we all got into our rhythms and had an enjoyable 8 mile outing taking us through Guiseley and down to Baildon then onto the canal for a traffic free amble back to Apperley Bridge, a couple of the ladies chose to take the same route as the faster group and work their way back through Shipley along the traffic laden Leeds Road - and a couple of miles longer into the bargain. I was glad of the slightly shorter, scenic route and as yet my longer jaunt has had no ill effects.