Monday, 31 May 2010

Ilkley Trail Race

Another lazyish day, but one where I feel I get some karma back - marshaling at Ilkley Trail Race.  I do so many races where other people give their time to stand on street corners clapping, it feels like I ought to do my bit when Harriers put one of their races on.  Now not being so altruistic that I want to freeze to death in the name of athletic endeavour I choose the Trail Race, a late May classic that seems to have decent weather most years.

In order to get some exercise I rode over Halton Heights and Langbar to get to Ilkley, and I must say Langbar's starting to feel ok again - I experimented with sitting down most of the way up the steep bit and only got out of the saddle for the last 50m or so.

Once at the Lido I set about finding Laurence and getting my briefing, which was to untie the gate to "the horse field" (easily identified by the large number of horses in it) then retie it after everyone had gone through.

The weather had improved from yesterday, so whilst it was a bit chilly it wasn't an unpleasant couple of hours, and apart from the sore hands from being "friendly and supportive" (as all the best marshals are) it passed pleasantly enough.

The race was won by Ilkley's Tom Adams, seen here zooming back down from the moor, and I like to think I gave Steve Coy the verbal boot up the arse he needed to catch Richard Reeve (who must be getting a bit sick of being caught on the line, as it was he I stealth sprinted past at Rothwell).

Back down to the Lido for a brew and a sausage butty, then a ride home into the stiff breeze brought up 25 miles at 15mph average and a boost to my self-esteem.  Bike ride with the kids today, then probably a few miles later in the day.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

A run home and Parkrun en famille

After my 8m effort on Wednesday I wasn't sure what to do Thursday, but in the end the diary intervened and no chance to run at lunch meant I would have to go at the end of the day.  I decided that I needed to get back to doing a few miles, so as the weather was fair I got The Herb to drive my car home and determined to run to his house at the bottom of the village - about 13m.

I didn't get away til 5:15, so called K (who had a rounders match) and said I'd do my best to be home just after 7.  I'm not sure what sort of hole there is in the space-time continuum somewhere on the stairs in Crossflatts, but it was actually 5:30 when I started running.

Conditions were great, and apart from an altercation with a yappy dog owner (see what I did there?  You're not sure which one was yappy - both!) I had a great run along to the end of the cycle track.  I decided that I was going to stick with the hard stuff, so ran along "my" lane to Silsden and then over the hill to Kildwick.  Having said it's not bad on a bike, it's a long way to run, but this was about miles not pace, so I just got my head down and got on with it.

I got back to The Herb's just after 7, with the watch on 1:42, so an average pace of 7:40 which is fine given the hill in the middle.

Yesterday was a stupid o'clock start to London and a beer or two on the way back, so no running.  Then K suggested a family trip to the Parkrun today.  The Herb announced that he and his daughter were running, so amazingly Maisie decided she was running too.  Rebecca (like her father) is tall and athletic-looking, so we decided she'd run with Lily and I'd pootle along with Maisie at the back.  After a couple of hundred yards Becca was walking, so we decided to swap partners and I ran with Lily.  She was going really well today, and managed to run pretty much the whole thing and at a faster pace than previously.

She came in 24th (I think) in a watch time of 26:46, a 1:15 PB and signs of more to come - really enjoyable.  What was also great is that Maisie was enjoying herself and ran all the way back from the top of the steep hill to be a long, long way from last - so well done to her too.  K looked back to form and must've been one of the first women to finish.

A cake 'n' lucozade picnic in the bandstand afterwards made for a great morning.  I'm going to marshall at the Ilkley Trail Race tomorrow, then Hinsley's bailed on the Chester marathon, so will maybe try and get a few miles in on the moor if the weather's nice.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

That's more like it.

I know I said I needed a rest, and I did, but when I realised it's a week since I ran - and that was the John Carr 5k - it dawned on me I was in danger of getting out of the habit.  I've been tired, and a few days off has been good, but as I left work tonight I was thinking to myself I could just go home, eat, watch telly, and then get a few miles in after work tomorrow.

But the problem is, that way lies idleness, pies and porkiness.  So once I got home I set off for a run, over towards Halton East without any clear idea of what I was going to do.  I reached Halton East feeling like I'd not done much, so decided to carry on over to Bolton Abbey, and on the way down did toy with the idea of doing 10 or even 12 miles, but in the end I turned with the watch on 4m outside the village hall.

Quite surprised to see I was only a touch over half an hour, and even found the climb back up reasonably straightforward.  Finished with 8m done, in 1:01 so an average pace of 7:35 - which as it never felt hard I think shows I've not lost much fitness. 

I'm supposed to be doing Chester Marathon with Hinsley as a team of two on Monday, but we may decide to take a raincheck if it looks too hot.  May run home from work tomorrow, as the weather looks ok and a nice slow 14 miles will give me a decent workout with plenty of time to recover for Monday.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Some gentle cycle action

After a bit of a hangover yesterday when I did nothing except be mildly grumpy, the weather was so fab today I decided that Something Must Be Done. So having toyed with the idea of a steady run to Bolton Abbey and back I decided to cycle over to watch the ladies of the family run in the Race for Life at Broughton Hall. I wondered about riding via Grassington but the thought of the traffic put me off, so in the end I headed over Halton Heights as usual then took a right at the bottom. I hit 50mph on the descent, showing what a difference no wind makes to confidence, as we struggled to hit 40mph down here last time with a side wind.

Over Langbar, and again I felt pretty good for not having done anything since Wednesday night, then through a horribly busy Ilkley and over Addingham Moorside to Silsden.

I rode over Skipton road to Kildwick, which when I've run over there has felt like quite a substantial hill, but on a bike it's pretty short, then I hit what turned out to be the biggest climb of the day out of Cross Hills. It's actually almost 5m of uphill before the drop down into Elslack, and whilst it's never steep it certainly does go on.

A great drop into Elslack, a chip butty and some pop then I watched Lily and Karen come somewhere in the top 15 or so on what must have been a really tough day to run. Maisie and Auntie Ann strolled in about 15 minutes later, having had a rather less energetic time of it.

I then rode the 5m of so back home, giving just on 35 miles at an average speed of 14mph - but over 3,000' of ascent.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

John Carr Race 3 (well, Race 1 for me...)

Finally managed to make the final race of the John Carr 5ks last night, having watched my clubmates knocking out great times for a fortnight - and unfortunately knew from the start it wasn't going to be a great night.  Legs were still really heavy from Sunday's 110 miler, and just felt in need of a rest.  A few desultory strides to try and get some speed up but just felt lethargic and crap.

Set off and tried to stay in touch with Richard.  Then Henry. Then Steve. Then Mark.  However I was quickly 30 yards down and within half a k wishing it was over.  1st k was 3:24, but it's downhill, so the second at 3:38 was just about on my normal pace - however I was already slowing.  3rd and 4th in 3:49 and 3:52, which is slower than 10k pace, although at least Mark Iley had the decency to slow down and give me something to chase, and I did actually pass him on the climb back up.  In the last k I was with a group of about 4 runners, with one guy making a break for home.  Normally I'd have tried to go with him, but the "can't be arsed" feeling was still there and I sat back and waited, thinking I'd maybe try and summon up a sprint right at the end.

I did manage a barely perceptible acceleration at the death, and came in 47th in 18:02 - which is a lot closer to my PB of 17:54 than I felt like I was running, but disappointing all the same as I know I could run a lot quicker on fresh legs - and of course it's the last race of the series.  Having put it into Fetch it shows as a WAVA score of 79.86%, so respectable without being quite what I hoped for.

I really think I need a week without any big endurance sapping efforts, and also to get back to some speedwork and structure.  It's all been effort/recover since Blackpool, so I think a weekend with a gentle bike ride and maybe a 7 or 8 mile easy run is what's called for.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Finally a very steady run

Out with The Herb and Tomes at lunchtime today - decided to do a steady 5, and we managed to keep the pace down around 8:20 most of the way - until I had a brief stretch/stomach gurgle break and did a few hundred yards at 6:30 to catch up!

What's pleasing is the very low HR in the slow bit - 120 or less for lots of it.  Legs feel a bit worked over from Sunday so no idea what tomorrow's John Carr will be like, but as I get curry after - who cares?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Etape du Dales - a bit of a wake-up call!

 Me on the run down to Halton Gill, after the climbing is over...

EDD today, which I must admit I'd been dreading.  I've done relatively little hilly cycling in the early part of the year because of marathon build-up, and 110 miles over virtually every big hill in the Dales was always going to be tough.

The Herb going over the top of Buttertubs

Set off with the Herb as the Harrowgays have sacked us, and managed to pick up a fairly brisk tow all the way to the start of Fleet Moss.  This wasn't too bad, but I could already feel my legs going "Hello! What's going on here?  We not running today then?".  Buttertubs was also ok, and we were passing people up the hills then getting passed on the descent as we tried to conserve a bit of energy.  Down Swaledale was quick, but the climb over to Arkengarthdale was steep and gnarly.


As we turned up towards Tan Hill we realised that the wind was in pretty much the worst direction - a stiff north-westerly.  There's two climbs in succession heading straight into it, and they're both long - about 6 miles each.  On a short steep climb like Park Rash the wind doesn't have much effect, but on these two climbs you really need a still day of some help - we got neither.  At one point we had about a dozen riders strung out behind us and got no help at all.

After Nateby I started to feel awful, and was glad to sit on the back of a bunch to the Moorcock.  A few sandwiches and a pork pie gave me the necessary fortitude to head for the Coal Road.  I was really worried about a complete shed collapse, so took this very steady indeed - although I must have passed a dozen people walking.  Once we descended into Dentdale it became clear that The Herb was having his bad patch, and for once he didn't get away on the climb.

Ribblehead - one more climb to go

The ride down to Stainforth was hard, but by now the "miles to go" on my Garmin was heading down towards 20, and, barring accidents, we were going to get round, which had been my only real objective.

Dropping into Littondale - no more up!

We got a real second wind down Littondale and did the last 16 miles at an average speed of over 20mph.  We finished in 8:12, which includes about 30mins of stops - remarkably close (considering the wind and how slowly we did some bits) to a silver standard, which is 8hrs.

Suppose it means we'll have to do it next year...

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Running in the Park

Whizzed down to Bradford for the Parkrun this morning, and this time without Lily.  She was off school with a "tummy ache" (hmmm...right...) yesterday so she wasn't allowed to run.

Met Emma O and Paul Sugden before the start doing their first Parkrun, then Rich and Lindsey Hinsley showed up, having apparently been still in bed 15 minutes before the start.

As usual I was looking at who the fast boys were likely to be, and there were a few racing snakes in evidence, but once we set off I found myself in the first 2 or 3, and the guy that was leading was perhaps going a bit slower than I thought I could manage so before long I found myself in front.  Very odd...

Having never run this course fast I wasn't really sure on pacing, and being out on my own I had even less idea, so it doesn't surprise me to see I slowed down on each mile - however looking at km splits it's more interesting.  They were:

3:31 (exuberance at the start)
3:50 (first time up the hill)
3:32 (surprisingly close to km 1)
3:49 (up the hill again and quicker than km 2, although also including the downhill bit again)
3:51 (down then up, but also when I was passed by the winner and eased back)

I was eventually passed by a guy who looked and sounded much more comfortable than me and rather than dig in and race I let him go a bit (in the end he was only 10 seconds ahead at the end) and started to think about tomorrow's Etape du Dales.

So - second place and a reasonable WAVA score of 76%, which on a course that seems to be a minute or so slower than the John Carr means a PB could be on the cards next Wednesday.  We'll see...

PS Replacing my HR battery seems to have done the trick for now - no comedy spikes today.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hillier run with Hinsley, and more HR weirdness

Rich and I decided to get out after work tonight and as we both feel a bit lacking in effort (and I've been spending far too much time in the car with 2 trips to Newcastle in 2 days) we decided to do our Slightly Hilly route past the Fisherman's (not the Very Hilly one - that would have been A Bit Much).

Both of us were finding our 7:50ish pace along the canal rather hard work, but looking back at my HR readout I actually wasn't working very hard, as it was down at mid-120's, about where I'd expect.  The hills also weren't as tough as I was expecting, and by the time we were back on the canal above 5Rise normal service had been resumed - except my HR monitor was showing 200+.  I'm wondering if this is a battery thing - think I'll change it and see if it makes any difference.

Some great performances from some of my work chums at the John Carr last night - Linz took 2 minutes off her parkrun PB to be down near 28 mins, and Sarah N got under 28 - great stuff from newbie runners.  Hopefully I'll get to run next week, with a lot to live up to from all the Harriers who seem to be down near 17:30 - eek.


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Recovery from Leeds

Woke up quite stiff yesterday morning, and had planned a recovery run up in Newcastle as I had to go up there for work (one single, solitary meeting for a single hour - but it was at 8am.  Yawn.).  Agreed to drop The Herb back in Skipton as he's having more witch doctory done on his poorly back, so realised I was driving within half a mile of home so decided to drop in and see the kids.  Then once here I decided I might as well run from home and drive up to Newcastle afterwards.

So - a steady 4 miler on quite sore legs ensued - just up to Halton East and back.  Quite surprised to see the average pace come out at 7:35, but I was keeping an eye on the HR and it was way down at 130ish all the way, so I guess it counts as recovery.

I've decided I do need to get back to a more structured training programme though, as I don't want my Abingdon build up to be a "start from scratch" jobby, so we now have Friday LRs back in the diary, and will talk to Hinsley and The Newmanator about tracking again once the John Carr season has finished.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Leeds Half - hmmmm...

Leeds Half for me today - bit of a tough day at the office.  Set off with Justin P, speedy clubmate, but let him go after about 10 yards (literally - I ended up with a sub-6 mile and he was miles away!).  Slightly disturbed to see my HR up above 155 during the first mile, but I think this cold that is still very definitely with me caused that.  Never felt under pressure but just didn't seem to have the legs or the inclination today.  Managed 39:58 for the first (hilly) 10k, but knew that to get under 85 (with which I had said I'd be pleased) I was going to have to run a negative split - which isn't too hard as the second half is generally downhill.

Kept thinking I really ought to push on, but by now we were on the downhill bit and I managed to convince myself that 6:20 pace would do.  I had thought that my marathon stamina would enable me to knock out a fast 5k to finish, but in the event my cold had other ideas and in between coughing up lumps of gelatinous material the colour of a Rothwell vest I was back down at almost 6:30 by the finish and whilst I wasn't being passed by many I'd stopped catching folk.

In the end I ran 1:24:00 on the chip (1:24:04 on the gun) and have to be happy with that - 2 minutes slower than last year, but conditions must've been tougher as I was 53rd last year and only dropped to 58th with a much slower time, plus my HR and my nose were telling me I'm still a bit cold-bound.  I was also within 40 seconds of my speedy mate who's run sub-80 this year, so all in all a satisfactory day but not sure whether I could/should have gone quicker.  I'm also very happy with the position - it's not the highest quality field, but top 60 out of 3,000 or so, and 6th M45 are ok.

It just feels like I was holding back at times, perhaps because subconsciously I'd decided I'd be happy enough with sub-85.  It's a shame my HRM had a dicky fit again as I'd like to see how hard I was working at times - I've got another load of 220+ spikes that make the data pretty useless.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A day or two without blogging

Been neglecting the ol' blog for a day or two, mainly on account of being away since Wednesday with work - London for a chat with some nice folk from RBS and then somewhere in Buckinghamshire playing golf on a corporate jaunt.

Managed a run in London, so quite proud of myself as I've been feeling a bit slovenly about structured training recently.  Arrived in London late pm, meeting til gone 7 then managed to get out and do two laps of Regent's Park at a reasonably brisk pace before meeting some work chums, eating no tea and drinking a couple of beers - steady away though.

The run was ok - pace about 6:40 round the park, which compared to my last tempo type session there was a bit slower (average pace this week was 6:55 compared to 6:40 for the last time, and "effort pace" was about 15-20 secs a mile slower, although the HR was higher in December - but reading back it looks like I thought the HR was a bit spiky.  It certainly was this time with some of those rogue 240 readings making it a bit pointless to compare.

Played golf Thursday, then taking today off with a icky cough I've still got - hopefully ok for Sunday's Leeds half, although anything under 85mins and comfortable will do fine.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Rothwell 10k, one year on

A year ago I went to Rothwell to run the 10k and found it full of Ilkley Harriers, ran well to get a PB of 38:02 despite having to stop three times to tie my laces and generally started to believe that I'd made something of a breakthrough in my running.  That week I PB'd at the fist John Carr and Leeds Half too.

Today I had no real optimism as my legs were tired and I'm still leaking snot like an Icelandic volcano gushes ash, but it's a measure of where I am now that I was thinking I'd be happy "just" to break 38 minutes.

The Newmanator was along for his first ever 10k, so I took him for a bit of a warm up before lining up maybe 5 or 6 rows back.  The only other Harrier I spotted was Richard Reeve, who's in a rich vein of form, so when Richard moved up nearer the front I thought I'd let him go.

As it was I was slightly alarmed to see that I ran the first mile in 5:48, although looking at the gradient I think it was predominantly downhill.  Richard had vanished into the distance, so any thoughts of hauling him back in disappeared, so I just tried to settle in to run 6 minute mile pace and see how close to my 37:14 PB I could get.  The second mile was also sub-6, but by this time I knew I'd slowed a bit, and 3 and 4 were almost bang on the 6 min mark.  5k came in 18:16, which were I feeling stronger would suggest a 36:xx PB would be a goer, but I knew there was some uphill and, crucially, some upwind running to be done.

The 4th mile was an odd one - into the stiff breeze and slightly uphill, I slowed to 6:09 pace but I also noticed a big group containing Richard were slowly coming back to us.  I was running with a guy from Baildon who was flying one minute and sitting back the next, but I was definitely conscious of trying to preserve some energy whilst keeping the pace up enough to pull the group ahead back.

Into the 6th mile we were reversing the route from the start, and we held out pace at 6:05ish and by the time the watch bleeped for 6 miles the watch read 35:52 and Richard was only 20 yards ahead.  Not wanting to show my hand too soon I accelerated and passed him with maybe only 50 yards to go, hoping I'd timed it right so I maybe could get that elusive sub-37 after all.  In the end I missed out by a single second, clocking 37:01 and 46th place.  In retrospect if I "lost" the sub-37 anywhere it was in mile 5 where I sat back and allowed the Baildon guy to set the pace when he was taking a bit of a breather, as the last 0.2m were at 5:35 pace, which is pretty sprinty really.  Given that I wasn't expecting a lot on the back of a marathon and 300+m of hilly bike riding, plus not being physically A1, I'm pretty pleased with a 13 second PB and beating Richard, who had seemed to be in a different league recently.

The Newmanator did well to run 43:40 for his first ever 10k, and it'll be interesting to see how he does in his first 5k on Wednesday as he slowed dramatically in the second half.  Sadly I won't be able to run the John Carr as I have to be in London overnight, so my 5k PB may have to wait for a few weeks to receive some attention.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Lumpy way to Otley

I've often thought that much as I love doing it, road cycling for pleasure is pretty illogical.  We go out when we don't need to, ride somewhere we don't need to go, and then come home again.  Today's ride to Otley added in that extra element of nuttiness - we went somewhere we didn't need to go by a route that was far from being the sensible way to get there - home to Otley the lumpy way.

A steady ride with the Herb was what was on the agenda, especially as I've been suffering with the snot-monster disease AND I was out for a meal with K last night celebrating her birthday, so when I woke up this morning and realised I'd suggested riding to Otley over three of the larger hills in the southern bit of Wharfedale I was regretting the choice of route.  Even more so as The Herb had roundly kicked my arse last time out every time the road went upwards.  However, I do not, and have never previously, lived in Harrogate, so bottling it was not on the agenda.  Long fingered gloves, 3/4 length tights and a gilet were all required, as the wind was out of the north east and quite strong.

Halton Heights was first up, and we were straight into the wind from the off.  The Herb kindly didn't zoom off and leave me on the first steep section (although a little acceleration showed he had a fair bit more in the tank if required), but I was disturbed to see another cyclist approaching the hairpins as we came out of Eastby.

"Oh shit..." I said,

"What's up?" enquired The Herb.

"You're going to chase him, aren't you?"

And chase him he did, with me just hanging onto his wheel, The Herb reeled the baggy panted mountain biker in and passed him on the steep section at the top, having taken about 100yds out of him in 1/4 of a mile.  My HR was now pumping away merrily, and any hopes of a gently pootle were over almost before we started.

The descent into the wind was slow by normal standards, and even scarier than usual as the gusty wind gave me several wobbly moments, but we were soon turning south towards Bolton Abbey.  Langbar was next on the agenda, and I realised I've not ridden over it much this year.  Last spring I seemed to ride it almost every week, as I was attempting to condition myself not to worry about it, as it comes right at the end of the White Rose, one of the sportives I did last summer.  Today it really didn't seem too bad, and I even had time to remember to check my Garmin as we started and finished the steep bit, so now I know that it's less than 2 minutes of effort.

Down into Ilkley, including a descent of Carter's Lane where I ran my 5:23 mile on Thursday, then left to Askwith and the final climb of the day up onto the Moor Road.  This proved possibly the hardest climb of the day, with a long straight climb into the wind.  It's just under a mile and a half, and on a calm day is very easy, but today it felt tough and we were glad to head down to Otley for a break at Dunnies.  A sausage, egg and tomato butty for me, a plain sausage one for The Herb and a brew each meant we were stung for a total of £2.50 - compare that with £7.50 for a sausage butty and a bowl of soup at the Cav Pav last week - with no drinks.  Someone's bonkers - just not sure who...

We rode back up the valley, through Ilkley, Nesfield, Beamsley and Bolton Abbey, before the last, wind-assisted (at last) climb through Halton East and home.  37 miles at an average of just over 14mph, with approaching 3,000' of climbing.  Looking at the elevation graph, it's interesting (for me, anyway) to see that on the way to Otley we climbed over three lumps, but each time the descent left us lower than the start point, meaning that our "flat" ride home was actually almost all uphill.  Best lie down and rest up before Rothwell tomorrow!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Parkrun No.2 - and Mummy came too!

Set off to Bradford en famille today, as Lily was keen to do another Parkrun and K was being bullied into doing it by me, despite rivers of snot emanating from her nasal passages. Hinsley was there for a run out, as was Linz, her 3rd on the trot.

Maisie came along to be team photographer, so after a quick warm up from K and Lils we were off.  The deal me and Lily had was to run all the way apart from a quick walk for some lucozade aftre each lap.  My key objective (apart from to get Lils a PB) was not to get lapped by Hinsley, so the pace was quite brisk on lap 1.  I'm convinced Lils doesn't warm up enough as she struggled a bit on the first lap then found the second really easy, so maybe a lesson for next time.

We were definitely going a bit quicker than last time, although it felt like we were further back in the field, and by the time we came up the hill for the final time we'd only been lapped by the first two blokes and neither of them was Hinsley - happy days!

Lils gave her characteristic kick for the finish and came in on 28:00 dead, a PB by 30 seconds and in 35th place out of 63 runners.  She beat Linz again, plus lots and lots of other grown-ups - and again won her U14 category.  Just reading about on the Parkrun website I found Rob's report of Race 1, in which Lils is mentioned in dispatches - clever little thing.

Karen, despite snot, was 3rd woman in 25:11, so overall a successful day for us.  K's promised to let me have a run on my own next time, as proud dad though I am, I can't help feeling a certain shame when I get an email congratulating me on my new 5k PB of 28:01!!