Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saturday 28th November

Quite a while since my last blog entry and indeed my last run out with the Saturday Squad.  This retirement lark is fantastic but it don’t half swallow up time enjoying yourself this much!   

Good to see folks at the start and along the way, setting off with TF, EtU, YJ and TM for a trot out through the paths to Dangerous Corner.  Not bad conditions although the light for snaps rather dull.  TF nursing a niggling knee, after a recent tumble, turned back from the fire road out to Bomber Memorial taking EtU with her and leaving TM YJ and me to take a simple path up onto Spitler’s Edge to the main flagged path out to Great Hill.  Disaster of a route through completely unrunnable ground led by yours truly.  A moment of disorientation before realising we were just below the summit shelter of Great Hill having missed Spitler’s completely.  Just glad it wasn’t misty!   Pleasant run off via Drinkwaters and down to White Coppice where I took my leave of my two companions who were heading out to Healey Nab.  My intention being to get back to the car before the forecast rain arrived.  This I did, but not before bumping into JtE and SN with whom pleasantries were exchanged and arrangement made to meet in the Lower Barn for coffee at the end.  I then hightailed it to the car park and changed into dry clothes thinking how civilised this all was.  On the arrival of YJ and TM from their sojourn over Healey Nab I was informed that coffee would not be likely as SN had taken a heavy fall.  Sad to report that after a visit to hospital SN has sustained a broken collar bone - a very painful injury and I’m sure we all wish her well and a speedy recovery without too much discomfort. Sad smile

Saturday Run-6

TF covering the ground on the fire road

Saturday Run-9

The trees showing the prevailing wind direction

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

UTUP Saturday 28th November

I shall be turning out this Saturday, as, I believe, will be others. Things are on the up.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter Solstice/Christmas 'Do'

I have made a provisional booking at the Black Horse, Limbrick, for the evening of Friday 11th December. Can EVERYONE please let me know whether or not they plan to come.

As soon as poss please.

Monday, November 16, 2015

UTUP Saturday 14th November

It's been a while since I had company on a Saturday morning, so my timekeeping has been (even) worse than usual. To my surprise, on this occasion, when I arrived, there was KLM. Unfortunately, he had by then done an ET to report the situation and that he planned to return home (this was also why ET had phoned home).

However, on seeing me he made another call to report that he would not be returning home for some time as he now had company and would be going for  a run - brave man that KLM.

With this belated start, we had a very pleasant meander over the Pike, Two Lads and thence to the far end of Smithills Res, with my companion frequently waiting for me to catch up.

After about three hours I returned to the Barn leaving him to grab a few more miles - very brave man that KLM.

So, in order to avoid any future prospective companion/s risking being on the receiving end of domestic violence, I will in future endeavour to be at the UP at the UT.

Thank for for your company, KLM, a good run.

I plan to UTUP next Saturday 21st Nov.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sub 1:50 HM - Training so far

Thought I'd update you on how the training was going, or not as the case may be!

Last Saturday was XC day at Sherdley Park in St Helen's. I was on official duties so no running for me as too busy making the butties and erecting tents. The butties fared better than the tents is all I say! (Nice to see TYC out doing his bit for the club)

This left me with Sunday for a run, so I headed over to Hebden Bridge for the Wadsworth Trog. A slight change in route this year and despite thinking I had it covered, I still managed to mess up my approach to the 6th CP which nearly cost me 3rd from back. Time out on feet was 2:18, with a fair amount of running and not a lot of walking. Comparing with previous results and allowing for a course change this result meant it wasn't going to be a sub-4hr ToP for me this year. Oh well, all miles in the bank.

Roll on to Wednesday and do remember that cold I had 2 weeks before? Well this time it was back in the guise of a very annoying irritating cough. By yesterday I'd made the decision that ToP was a 'no-no' and emailed the organizer to offer my place to someone on the W/L. I still felt well enough to manage a steady road run so opted for a little bit of running/thinking doing the Night Street League that MDOC put on.

I have always maintained that my worst injuries occur when running on tarmac. Well this time I wasn't even running, I tripped over a kerb stone I hadn't seen, and landed on all fours. Anyway, true professional I dusted myself off (first having had a glance round that I hadn't been observed) and hobbled to the registration. Probably running slower made me think better and my %par (too complicated to explain how it works) improved from 111 to 123 in the series so far. Downside now is that getting up and down hurts and no-one's getting any teeth out today as I can't grip the forceps!

I'm having a weekend off from running (think it'll be safer!) and plan to be out next Saturday for a Utup and a 10-13m road run on the Sunday (venue TBC) if anyone fancies it?


Sunday, November 08, 2015

Trying to turn the clock back

Firstly, in case I have not mentioned it before, thank you to all those who came to my 60th party.
On reaching 60, I decided to return to the race which I have only run once before, back in 1990 in my first year as a member of Horwich. I'd been to the race before, in fact every year, as I was highly involved in the oranisation of the Abbey Dash, marshalling its most major road crossing at Kirkstall each year.
From its humble beginnings in 1985, the race has grown out of all proportion. Last year there were just short of 10,000 finishers, this year the limit of 12,000 has been reached. My daughter Diane and neice Debb have also entered.
I optimistically set my expected time as sub 45 minutes with thoughts of even getting close to my previous time of 40:25 from 1990. There's no chance of that, a time which might get me into the top three V60 on the day. 
Having put on about 10lbs in the past few months, I am quite surprised at the times I'm doing. Before my little encounter on The Knoll, I had reduced my parkrun 5k time to 22:01. Last Saturday I did my second parkrun as a V60 and managed 22:14, taking my second category victory, although this time there were two V65s ahead of me (Tony Hesketh was one), but still 12th out 245 on age performance times will do for me.
This weekend has been a dead loss as I have caught the cold virus that is doing the rounds at work. At least better now than next weekend. Hopefully, I will be recovered for the race.

Don't Do a Parkrun...

...if you have any tendency to addiction.

When I first considered a Parkrun it was with the intent of working on my speed and having a fairly absolute monthly measure of how it was going. So I decided just to do one per month, usually on the first Saturday and to stay on the fells for other the other three or four Saturdays of each month.

I did my first one at Leverhulme Park in September and left with two lasting impressions:- first, just how great the mood was and how everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, and second, just how slow I was - over 30 minutes for 5k!

October saw me back at Leverhulme Park to run almost a full minute slower!

Knowing how interested YJ would be in the statistics that the weekly results include - especially the one that compares your run time with the world 5k record for your age - I persuaded him to try a Parkrun with the result that we chose the Cuerden Valley course as being approximately midway between our homes and met there yesterday morning. The rain came down like it was going out of fashion, but it failed to dampen spirits.

YJ finished 54th out of 126 finishers - BUT on the basis of the world record for his age as a percentage of his time, he was 5th overall! I didn't do so well, but I did read later that this course is 'officially' recognized by Parkrun as being the toughest in the area, with an average finish time almost two minutes slower than that for Leverhulme Park.

Back to the addiction issue - There is a new course at Haigh Hall which is quite runnable from Grimeford Grange, so I might need to slip one in there before my December return to Bolton. YJ was wondering if he could try one at Brighton on the day before his long planned 10k there on the 15th Nov but perhaps most disturbing of all, at Cuerden we met two CleM runners, who I have never seen anywhere but at a fell race who have clocked up 143 Parkruns between them at twenty-odd different venues! Could this be the death knoll for fell running?

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Peak postscript

It was indeed a great day out in the Yorkshire Dales.  Many  thanks to TLoB and his Chief of Staff for their hospitality.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Third Peak

Last year, EtU, YJ, TF and TM came up to the Dales and ran Whernside and Ingleborough, so they needed to do Pen y Ghent to complete the set. So EtU, YJ and TM came to Settle to do just that. We have had a lot of very misty days here recently and today was no better but it was not at all cold, and at times the visibility was excellent.

We started our day by taking the train to Horton in Ribblesdale and then ascended Pen y Ghent from the north using the Pennine Way. On our way up we met JtE's brother Edwin and his friend on their way down - any excuse to stop and chat! We couldn't see much from the top but never mind; everyone was happy. The way down was tricky because the rocks were damp and slippery but we avoided the second tricky section by taking a narrow grassy trod.

We then had a long, but wet in places, descent into Stainforth, followed by the climb up to hills east of Settle. Finally home to tea, cakes and biscuits. A great day out in superb scenery, My thanks to the gang for coming up to the Dales. It was really good to see you all.
WFDBWGUA on the Road

Following on from my performance at Stevenage, I've decided to try and challenge myself to improving my Half Marathon PB. This currently stands at 1:55:44 (Haweswater 2013).

So I've entered Wilmslow on the 3rd April 2016. Renown PB course. Well I achieved one in 2005 (1:58:27) until it was improved in 2007 then 2013. So I'm hoping the omens are good.

I'm setting myself some targets and these are as follows

Gold + Standard  = Sub 1:50 (Gun Time)
Gold Standard = Sub 1:50 (Chip Time)

Silver + Standard = Sub 1:55:44 (Gun Time)
Silver Standard = Sub 1:55:44 (Chip Time)

Bronze + Standard = Sub 1:58:27 (Gun Time)
Bronze Standard = Sub 1:58:27 (Chip Time)

To achieve Gold + Standard I'll need to up my min/m pace from 9min/m to 8min/m. I achieved this in 2011 but only over 10K.

So major catastrophe aside, I'm hoping that I'll achieve something on the list of targets.

Training-wise, my only concession may be to try and throw in a road race once every 6-8 weeks. The first one I've spotted is the Guys 10 on 6th Dec near Preston. Info reports it being flat, and given that it's my flat speed that needs improving, it could be just what I'm after.


Monday, November 02, 2015

A Village too far

Since my injuries started three years ago I've only run one race(The Pike, earlier this year ) and the farthest I've run is six-and-a-half miles. A couple of weeks ago I noticed "Through the Villages" road race  was advertised for Sunday November 1st, so thought I'd up my distances with a view to running the 8.45 mile race. Naturally, straightaway I got a bad throat and cold which dashed my plans(well dash doesn't really come into it where I'm concerned) but last Thursday night I managed to do a longer run, a bit too long I fear.

Anyway I turned  up on the day, started at the back of the field and for the sake of consistency finished at the back of the field as well. I recall doing this race a few years ago with EtU and whilst it was quite hilly it wasn't too bad. However they've altered the course so that now, somehow, there's a great deal more uphill than downhill, and on the flat. Now I've been going downhill ever since I was born so I'm not really inclined to go uphill. Back doesn't want to know, legs don't want to know, lungs don't want to know, heart doesn't want to know, head doesn't want to know. You could say that when it comes to running uphill, I'm on the slippery slope. Halfway through the race I realised I'd run my course if not theirs, and started to regret Thursday's long run. I can see the look of disapproval on YJ's face as I admit to walking some of the uphill stretches in the second half of the race. Somebody said that in some publication  the race had been referred to as a "race in hell", or some such phraseology, and it was for me if nobody else.

This is YJ's type of race. This course is right up is street, or road. He is a rare bird, not in the ornithological sense but in the running sense, because he derives an almost masochistic pleasure from running uphill. What's that all about YJ? Forget winning the  M75 category he'd have won the M45!(That's not a motorway).

Anyway I came in 265th out of 304 in a time of 1-25.45. There were two of us M75's and the other one somehow contrived to come in 9 minutes after me which is a considerable feat and deserves a prize in itself. I can only think that when the race started he was in The Dressers Arms ordering his fourth pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar.

Despite a most uncomfortable run the occasion has whetted my appetite for more races, so EtU's email outlining his race plans was immaculately timed. Back, knees, calves and colds permitting I look forward to joining you on the Longridge Pudding 7, where I'll have no problem entering into the spirit of the occasion, by running like a pudding.

Before that, someone at the race mentioned the "Stockport 10 mile" at the beginning of December which aroused my interest, having a daughter who lives in the area. Then they said it's a hilly course which soon disaroused, inaroused, unaroused(take your pick or make up your own) me. What is it with these course designers that they're so obsessed with going uphill?  What about us wimps?  Why can't they have a "Wimps 10 mile"? Sounds hugely attractive to me.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Stevenage Half Marathon Sunday 1st Nov 13.1m/ negligible ft  (66ft off one GPS trace!)

Why Stevenage you ask? Well in 2004 it was my first half marathon, so I have a bit of affinity for it. I repeated it in 2007 (new course) as a V35 and knocked nearly 15 mins off my time. So roll on a further 8yrs and what could I do this time?

Well I'd not had the best of build ups with an injury and then 2 colds in October, the last the week before threatening a no show, or at the very worse a repeat of 2004 when I'd run with a chesty cough and packet of cough sweets to keep me going. Older and wiser, yeah right, a non-refundable Hotel bill meant I was going!

Weather-wise couldn't have asked for a better day, brilliant sunshine and about 12/13 degrees with very little breeze. A little bit of foreboding whilst sat on the Transfer Coach when Daniel Powter song 'Bad Day' came on the radio, .

Where is the moment we needed the most
You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost
They tell me your blue skies fade to grey
They tell me your passion's gone away
And I don't need no carryin' on

You stand in the line just to hit a new low
You're faking a smile with the coffee to go
You tell me your life's been way off line
You're falling to pieces every time
And I don't need no carryin' on

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

It's a catchy enough tune, but could there be worse songs to set you on your way?

The one thing I like about this Half Marathon is how well organized it is, a very smooth operation. No worries this year of how to attach the timing chip as it was stuck on the back of the number. It does amaze me though (with my race organizer hat on) how some runners seem to think the number is worn on their back. When there's 500+ runners milling about at the start and you're one of a small handful of 'odd ones out' you'd start to wonder. Wouldn't you? (Instructions stated to wear on the front).

We set off on time and I soon settled in to a steady pace. I had thought about running watch-less, but couldn't quite bring myself to do that, so opted to do as I did for Haweswater and just clock my time for the first mile and then again at 10m. Nearly to plan until I got to the 6th mile and could hear Church Bells ringing. Thinking I could be nearer the hour mark, I had a sneaky look. 54mins, phew! I was still maintaining about 9min/m pace. At 10m I was spot on 90mins. So far, so good.

I tried to push a bit in the last 3m, but try as I might I couldn't squeeze anything less than 9min/m pace, so ended up with a Gun Time of 1:58:05 and a Chip Time of 1:57:01.

So a slower time than 2007, but the devil's in the detail

Here are the comparable Stats
   2015                                       2007
Gun Time            1:58:05                                  1:55:52
Chip Time           1:57:01
Overall                 286/507                              376/588
Females               51/146                                 59/165

Vet                      10/35 (V45)                         24/56 (V35)

In all other aspects I improved, or is it just that everyone else has got worse? Quite telling that the winning time today of 1:14:27 was just shy of 7mins slower than 2007.