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?