Sunday, 30 October 2011

A funny old week, or two........

The last couple of weeks have been the kind 'you're glad to see the back of', one way or another. It happens occasionally and I'm trying not to dwell on it.... Beginning the week following the Bridlington Half with the club Monday speed and hills session it was incredible how much the weather changed since the day before when I had been paddling in the sea. I set off to club hoping that Marc and I were the only ones who thought it was acceptable to turn up, we could perhaps then turn round and go back home. Wrong! Five others braved the hurricane wind and rain. Thankfully as quite a few members had taken part in the half marathon the day before it was decided there and then that the planned 'Enterprise Surprise' session wouldn't be a good idea for most people and we would see what people wanted to do instead, suggesting a 3 mile run would suffice! Phew how glad was I that we wouldn't be hanging around doing sprinting/speed work - given the weather conditions to be honest it would have been near impossible, just trying to keep moving forward was bad enough. The howling wind hurled the rain at us so hard it felt like hail. We managed the 3 mile run and arrived back at Pulse Gym soaked to the skin and freezing cold, despite that I felt a sense of achievement that I had battled through despite the awful conditions. Remembering previous moments of madness is always a great tool for getting me out of the door! Try it and see! A fair weather runner I am not!

Wednesday we had a group joining us from Morrisons HQ on Gain Lane, a stones throw away from Undercliffe Cricket Club. With our Winter training base being on their doorstep it was decided it was worth a try to approach them to suggest that to forge links might well be beneficial to both parties. Helen met with them and they had seemed enthusiastic, a staggering 50 of their employees had completed this year's Great North Run! A very friendly group turned up to join us for a run and indulge in tea and cakes afterwards. Despite us returning to base to find water gushing out of the door when we unlocked it they all seemed to have enjoyed their run with us. Thankfully it was a minor hiccup where the ballcock had detached itself and the cistern had overflowed and it's now drying out nicely, I did, however, expend more energy sweeping water out of the building than I had done running!

The week drew to a close with yet another of those incidents of setting off to a race and not getting there. The Woodland Challenge - although only at Brighouse proved elusive as we set off to support the runners. Confusion as to which direction we should travel along the M62 meant we were delayed and not. it seemed, going to get there in time. Finding out later that the start was delayed by half an hour just might spur my better half on to persevere with our journey if and when that happens again, so instead of cheering in the runners we ended up in Ikea cafe!

Thankfully this weeks training has seen better weather conditions - Autumnal runs have certainly been so much more pleasant but ironically I've ended up with a streaming cold and cough. I keep harping on to myself how fast time flies but by heck it was reiterated as we did hill repeats up Lister Lane trying to wade through the mountain of leaves which have once again fallen off the trees, makes you feel like a kid again, remembering how we used to fashion them into a pile with our feet sideways, then dive in them! Just a shame my week culminated in a visit to the dentist - having put off the inevitable the week before I finally had a tooth removed and have been left with a deep sense of loss almost like mourning and I've been feeling sorry for myself which so far has halted my running for a few days. In my defence it did say on the after care sheet that I hadn't to do any strenuous exercise for a few hours afterwards. Today I thought about running to Saltaire where Marc was playing football so I would be able to get a lift back.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Accidentally on purpose PB

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.....Me and my medal!

Suited and booted.....the new way to run, or so it seems. Running back to the club house with Liz on Friday evening we were confronted by a young man running full tilt, in a suit! I giggled and commented to Liz that it may be the new way to run! Of course, I didn't actually think he was out for a run but he showed no signs of slowing down as we carried on up the road so maybe it is a new fad, who knows! I'd been trying to convince Liz that the upcoming half marathon she had agreed to 'because there was a number going spare' would all work out fine providing she got the idea into her head, since that is half the battle, and it reminded me of the times I have done exactly the same. It is rather daunting when you find yourself on the start line of race you hadn't planned to do, it feels a little like an accident! By and large though it's always turned out fine for me in the so I was confident I had spoken from experience and Liz would be fine.

Thankfully I was still looking forward to said half marathon, thoughts of travelling to the seaside always seem to over shadow the fact that I have, at some point, got to undertake a race, the real reason I am there! 35 of us met to board the coach and there was certainly an air of excitement, despite the fact that we had had a very late night phone call to inform us that in fact the coach we were travelling on had suffered a breakdown and we would now have to travel on two separate coaches. After a stop half way we arrived in Bridlington - way ahead of time allowing us to visit the leisure centre and get ourselves a locker and then watch the junior run ahead of our own race. After a substantial warm up there we were on the start line. The gun sounded and we were off! My plan? Well I had one, for a change, all thanks to my picking up a pace band at the Great North Run. I knew if I could get under the 5k and 10k targets we had set in Newcastle I could better my time of 2:10. It's always a gamble whether you go off too fast and burn out. At mile 2 I looked at my watch, 17 minutes, a little too fast I thought and slowed slightly, mile three 25.51, well under the 35 minute target for 2:10, I felt ok so kept going. I didn't look at my watch again until I was alongside the 6 mile marker, 51 minutes, by now I was quite excited and feeling quite good. I didn't have any other targets and so decided to go on how I felt. Although quite sunny, it was very breezy which proved to be perfect. A while after the 9 mile marker I started to feel sick and my legs felt as though I had nothing in them, I made a split decision to listen to my breathing, sipped at my water and managed to keep going without getting in a panic. I never saw the 11 mile marker but presume by the time I hit it I was feeling much better. Running past the entrance to 'Sewerby Hall & Gardens' I knew we wouldn't be too much longer before we entered said grounds which ultimately lead to the cliff tops and down to the sea front. I wasn't disappointed - before I knew it we were running past pens of rare breed sheep, llamas etc and headlong at their visitors! Running along the cliff tops was quite tough, the breeze had turned into a wind and was doing it's utmost to hold us back, it was literally a fight to keep moving forward. Down the steep slope to the seafront, it was a site for sore eyes, although quite a distance to the finish, the front was lined with people, I glanced at my watch 1:55, my heart missed a beat and jumped for joy, I was nearly at the line, under two hours, I was ecstatic! I was so thankful that it had all gone to plan even if it was accidentally on purpose! The official times aren't yet out but my watch read 1:56 so I'm hoping I wasn't too far out, either way I've smashed my 2:02 half marathon PB adding yet another distance PB to this year's race portfolio!

A shower, a trip to the local Weatherspoons, followed by a paddle in the sea and an ice cream cone to top off a really fab day!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Flying by....literally!

It seems as the years progress the months, weeks, days, hours and seconds follow suit. A week passes at the blink of an eye. Just days away from my next half marathon and I must admit I'm feeling good! I'm really in a good place mentally and feeling that I can give it a 'good go' (overuse of the word good, I know). Though still not 100% fit in the leg department I (and Pete May) don't feel there's anything detrimental to worry about so I'm happy to carry on with my monthly massage, icing and compression regime which really does seem to be keeping things in check. I've now got into such a routine that it's part of my everyday life, for the foreseeable future anyway. It works for me and whilst it continues to do so I'll stick with it. The alternatives don't appeal anyway!

Eager to keep putting the miles in the bank I was going to run with Helen and Janice on Sunday. Tales of their exploits in and around Baildon Moors the previous week left me feeling that perhaps I should think twice as they were planning to run the same route of about 13 miles again. A little apprehensive I told myself it would be ok and if all else failed I would rack up and see how I got on. Praise the Lord, fellow club member, Alison texted me on Saturday evening to enquire if I knew if anyone was running on Sunday morning. Explaining the options we decided on getting a lift to Keighley with the footballers (as they were going to Silsden for a game) and having a steady run back to Apperley Bridge via the canal.

Picking Alison up for the journey a phone call informed us that the football match was cancelled but luckily Martin said he didn't mind running us through to Keighley anyway. Dropping us at a convenient place where we could get onto the canal we set off, no navigational skills required - a straight route all the way back, it was drizzling but it wasn't long before we had to remove our rain jackets and tie them around our waists due to the humid heat. A little way into the run, whilst chatting, a fly swooped to the back of my throat, I spluttered, took a swig from my water bottle and it seemed it had completed it's journey downwards! Seconds later I coughed again, the blighter was trying to escape! *cough*, *cough, cough* and so it continued. Eventually I had to give in and stop running, unable to breathe and coughing uncontrollably, the offending insect appeared in my hand, it's mission accomplished, although it was dead. Now there's a first, it's usually 'what goes up, must come down' not 'what goes down, must come up!!' A flighty heron flew up from the canal bank, a sight to behold, I love the tranquility a run on the canal brings, the ducks and swans gliding by, although I have heard others describe it as 'boring', I don't agree.

Monday evening and our weekly speed and hills session, short interval, was very well attended. A short warm up then jog down King's Road, dynamic stretching and jog a little further down to Canal Road to start and run 12 1/2 minutes out, turn round and run 12 1/2 minutes back. The idea being that the faster runners get furthest but we all arrive back at the start point at around the same time. I was elated to find that I was only 11 seconds outside the total time it should have taken me to run out and back! Everyone worked really hard despite rain blowing in our faces on the outward journey, by and large all arriving back within a few seconds of each other.

Days away from the Bridlington half marathon and I'm looking forward to completing this week's training to take me to the start line.

Monday, 3 October 2011

(Unsuccessful) Ballots.......

The person who posted this comment some time ago will know who they are......

Next year together! 2012 is your year for another 26.2 London miles, I feel x

As I read it today it made me realise that the chances of this happening are slim.....

I have lost most of my faith in the ballots of these popular races, 6 years of entering the ballot for the Great North Run have been fruitless each time as have my (now) two entries into the London Marathon. Thousands and thousands of people will now be recipients of a 'commiserations' magazine informing them they were unsuccessful in this year's Virgin London Marathon ballot. All is not lost as this year (unlike last year) I am eligible to enter the club draw for one of the two places up for grabs! My first thoughts are of trepidation with regard to running 26.2 miles again. I know in my heart of hearts if I had got a place in the ballot and indeed if I am lucky enough to have my name drawn out in the club ballot in November then I would certainly have another 'crack at the whip'! A few more weeks to wait and we shall know the outcome.

How though, do you prevent yourself from entering time and time again. I know that whether or not I do get the opportunity to run London again in 2012 I will find it very difficult not to enter the ballot for the 2013 race 'just to see if I get a place'. It could very well turn into a vicious circle, as I said this year, 'if I am privileged enough to get a place in the ballot, I would have to run it'. Where will it all end. The only difference between London and the Great North Run is that for the most part, I will continue to seek out a charity place for the world's biggest half marathon, whereas charity places for London are not even a consideration, the demands placed on runners by charities are way out of my grasp. I would not even consider taking on the task of raising that amount of sponsorship year in year out. Which is a shame as they are all worthy causes but the demands placed on the people I plague year in year out are already enormous, though very much appreciated, our final sponsorship total for Scope now stands at £590.10 - and the offline portion of the money is now winging it's way to them as we speak! Until next year when I will most probably be seeking out another good cause to raise money for it's a big 'thank you' from me and a big 'thank you' from him.