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!).