Sunday, 20 November 2011

A busy weekend!

No doubt the race of the weekend was the Leeds Abbey Dash.   My own interest in this was purely other people as training partners, club mates and local athletes and fellow competitors made the dash to Leeds!

Well done to my training partner Phil Musgrave who clocked a great 36.35 pb smashing over a minute and a half off his previous pb set at Kirby Moorside earlier this year.   A nice reward for someone who has put a lot of effort into his running - he has "tasted" his lungs on more than one session with me!

The course and guaranteed quality of the field means this is a fast course with pb potential....conditions today were also excellent so there were personal bests and seasons bests all round.   As is the case with a lot of Sundays at the moment my priority is junior football as my two boys are both playing league football so the Abbey Dash was not an option for me.

Instead I opted for a crack at the local Albert Parkrun.  Last time I did this was on the 1st January this year where I won in 17.10.  My pb on the Albert Park course is a 16.54 set last year.  

Set off with intent and once I got rid of the three or four junior runners who can be forgiven for going off at breakneck speed and the two or three "senior" runners who really should know better than to go off at sub 5 minute miling and drop off after the first 200m I settled into a hard but manageable pace (5.17 for the first mile).  2nd mile was a 5.21 and then the crowds of people in the race (over 350 regularly now attend compared to the 20 or so that attended the first one - a race which I won as well!) meant that a slowing down was inevitable.  I made the mistake of calling ahead at one point to a group of five youngsters who were fully taking up all the available path which actually had the effect of sending them in all different directions..a bit like sheep being disturbed!   I do think park run is a great initiative and lots of people get into running this way so please dont take this as a criticism in any way but the numbers do make for a difficult last mile - on the plus side there was no shortage of encouragement from people as I wound my way through the crowds!   My time for the 3rd mile was 5.26 but on turning the corner at the bottom of the lake I found a clear path and managed a good strong kick to finish in 16.42.  A win and a park run pb by 12 seconds but not quite a Vet 40 pb which remains at 16.32.

My park run record now stands at 21 events and 9 wins!    Still a long way off the 100 T-shirt !

Training this week has been very good with another 50 mile week.  Plenty of quality this week though with two interval sessions ( a 5 x 800m session and a 4 x 1 mile session).  

This weeks aim is to continue to build some on the quality....I am also going to do a Hill Session!  See my "school report" post of a few weeks ago!  Ever onwards!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

6 month ban for the bus man Sloan!

A 6 month ban from all competition was given out to Rob Sloan today for the infamous "Bus incident" at the Keilder is the link to the story..6 month ban.    Be warned all those would be marathon runners who are busy checking out bus routes that run alongside the marathon course....You will be found out!

Whats the betting Rob Sloan ends up on I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here, Big Brother or even Strictly Come Dancing in the next year such is the level of his fame now!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lazy or Lame?

Having enjoyed a good run at Maltby I went straight into a quality week that went like this....

Monday- an early morning easy run to loosen off the legs (3 miles) followed by a 5 mile run after work averaging about 6-20 pace

Tuesday - an easy 3 miles early followed by a 5km on the treadmill (16.56).   I dont use the treadmill too often but have one golden rule....I am only allowed to use the Increase speed button!  

Wednesday - a lunchtime run where I increased pace over the last three miles to well under 6 minute miling followed by an easy run in the evening covering about three miles in well over 7.30 miling.

Thursday - an easy 3 miler early morning followed by a track session pm.  Aim of the session was a 1k @ 5k pace, 2k @ 10k pace, 3K @ Half Marathon pace, 2k @ 10k pace followed by a 1k @ 5k pace.  I was happy with the times as I hit the last four target times after a shaky start!

Friday - a Day off with absolutely no running just an easy day

Saturday - an 11 miler at steady pace (averaged about 6-33 pace)

Sunday - an early long tempo covering 10 miles in just over 58 mins.

Total for the week was 55 miles.  

Sunday saw the latest NYSD Cross Country which I opted to watch from the sidelines.  Its not something that I particularly enjoy doing as I would much rather be running but family (and football!) commitments meant that this year I would be watching the Summerhill Cross Country rather than enjoying all those climbs, water jumps and general cross country fun!   It was good to see some cross country stalwarts rolling back the years including the evergreen John Hunter finishing in the Top 10, Ian Cook (slightly further down the field than we used to see him) and Dave Parkin of Loftus and Whitby who I enjoyed many a good personal battle with on the country! 

The race was won by Marc Scott of Richmond and Zetland who enjoyed over a minute lead over Paul Bentley who definitely sported the top Movember Moustache of the day!    Gary Grounds was the first Vet 40 on the day finishing in a creditable 5th place overall.    Good runs by two members of my ever expanding training group saw Phil Musgrave finish 22nd and Eddie Meehan finish 109th and Fourth Vet 60.   Well done to both of them.  

To add to the excitement and the question on everyone's lips was....  What happened to Adam Blowers Spikes!    Impressive barefoot running to get a Top 10 place!   Not sure when he lost his spikes although the rumour is that his coach confiscated his spikes to stop him from running!   You cant keep a good man down!

Its always interesting to see people's reactions to runners spectating and most people assume you are injured......

Not running? injured? never felt better!
Lame or Lazy?   Erm.....neither actually?

The idea of entering the Marathon of the North on May 6th 2012 is becoming more appealing.....It was always my intention to run a Marathon when I was 40 and that will be a week before my 41st birthday so the timing is right....If running friends Pollard and Frodsham are correct I will only have another four good years as apparently all runners go downhill after 45!   I have heard that the infamous Rob Sloan (Ex Sunderland harrier and the new face of Arriva Buses) has entered already!   If that is true then I wonder what stunt he will pull this year... I heard he was checking out the possibility of parachuting into the Stadium of Light!

Finally How about this for the "race report of the year" - Well done Jon Skidmore for writing this piece of prose that could easily feature in both Athletics Weekly and Farmers Weekly....

Maltby 7 Report by Jonathan Skidmore

Parked car, did warm up, stood on start line, and shuffled back a bit.

First mile ok, 2nd mile ok, felt good, decided to risk increasing pace, flock of fieldfare in Lowcock’s field, must be eating slugs on his rape, still felt good (sadly pace isn't what it used to be), noticed field of wheat near Seamer with majority at 3rd tiller stage, left at Seamer, still felt good, ran past Peter and hounds at Cold Pool, didn't appear to tut or shake his head, can't have seen me. Through Thornton, Case MX125 pulled out of farm, nice tractor, down and up hill and through Maltby to finish in 46.09. Very pleased.

Great Report Jon!

For those wanting further info on the Fieldfare (aka The Turdus Pilaris) here is a link and a nice picture....

For those who like a good motor instead of a bird then here is a picture of the Case MX125...nice bit of kit by all accounts!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Maltby 7

Lots of positives today at Maltby....

3rd overall and 1st vet 40....Last year I managed 6th overall.
39.49 for the 7.1 mile course - 6 seconds up on last year

The best thing about today was that I felt strong at the finish and my last two miles were 5.30 and 5.43 miles - unlike recent races where I have felt like I was going backwards in the last mile or so today I felt good, in control and running with a bit left in the tank.  The first few miles was a bit of a cagey affair with a group of four of us watching NYMAC's Matty Hynes disappear off into the distance.   James Askew took advantage of the early climb to pull away leaving me to work with the two Middlesbrough and Cleveland boys up the hills.  My pre race strategy was to work hard in the first half and see who was with me.  As it turned out the first half was where the race was decided and I found myself clear in 3rd on the hill into Seamer.   Once the hills were out of the way it was just a case of working hard downhill and into the villages of Stainton and Thornton.   Just the Maltby hill to go then home and was nice to finish a race feeling strong and not having a certain fellow clubmate and veteran chasing me down!   Only joking Vic!

Maltby is a great race, lots of support, a cracking course and today was a perfect day for running!    Well done Sid Rudd and Billingham Marsh House Harriers for a great event.  Just one minor criticism though - if you are going to give out wine as team prizes dont give us low alcohol!   After 7 tough miles I think a proper drink was in order!

Here are the results......Malby 7 Mile race 6th November 2011

Saturday, 5 November 2011

What you think about when you are running!

Today's run was a nice steady 5 miler.  The sort of run that feels good and you feel like you could run for a lot longer than you actually do.  In fact I stopped myself from doing too much as I want to leave something in the legs for tomorrow.

About half way round my run I thought about some of my early races and in particular my first race.  I say my first race as I dont include the odd cross country race at school where it could be argued were forced upon me!  I was never a natural runner at school so when I took up running at 16 it was because I wanted to run not because I had to.  I remember my first ever race as a 16 year old.  It was the Saltburn Carnival fun run although I must have entered the wrong race as I remembered it being around 7 miles long taking in lots of hills, Errington Woods and more hills!   I dont remember a lot about that race apart from adopting a run - walk strategy, feeling good when I finished and almost collapsing later on the afternoon on my friends sofa watching football on the TV.   I was given the idea of running in that race by my cousin Mark (Edwards) who was a prolific marathon runner at the time and soon became a hero of mine on the running took me well over a year to beat him and i've not looked back since!    Next year as well as being Olympic Year it will be my 25th year as a runner!    

1993 was a year when I saw real progression.....12 personal bests in that year saw me progress my Half Marathon from 1.21 down to 1.16.36, my 10km pb from 35.01 to 33.56 and my 5 mile time go to 27.11

Over the next two years from 1993 to 1995 I progressed at all distances taking my Half Marathon time from 76 to 72.26 minutes,  10miles pb  52.27, my 10km down to 32.26, 5mile time down to 25.17 and 5km down to 15.11.     I may be a little way off those pbs now but they are closer to me now than they have been for some time.    

The motivation to run is still there and who knows maybe those pbs are not as far off as I think!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Mixed week!

In my last blog I spoke about doing the North East Harrier League but the Thursday tempo completed less than 48 hours after the 10 x 800 super session was sign enough to persuade me that I was feeling tired....for me it doesn't really matter too much what the tempo speed is but it should be controlled hard pace...comfortably hard maybe but on that day I struggled to stay under 6 minute miling but more importantly it felt terrible...definitely not comfortably hard...!!

Soon after that session I felt a sore throat come on and this ended up with a bit of a cough so racing was put out of the mind and I opted for steady running only.  

Just about recovered I enjoyed a fairly decent 4 x 1 mile session last night with all four reps around the 5.35 to 5.40 mark.    Next race is the Maltby 7 on Sunday.    My aim is quite simple on this race...quicker than last year!    Last year I definitely wasn't as fit as I am now but managed an average pace of 5-40 per mile for the 7 (and a bit!) mile course.     Looking back at the last year since last years Maltby 7 I have enjoyed an ultra consistent year...the stats show an average of almost 51 miles per week and I have managed to keep those quality sessions going most weeks.    In my next run (expected to be tomorrow morning!) I will have notched up all of my run mileage from last year with almost 2 months left in the year.

In this weeks Athletics Weekly there is an article debating the benefits of twice a day running.   For me it works.  I dont run twice a day every day but usually about four days a week I have a morning run and follow that up with a second session in that day.   A typical week for me is:

Monday:   Easy run am.    Run pm either steady or a tempo session
Tuesday:   Steady run am  Run pm either steady or a tempo session
Wednesday:  Easy run am then Run pm steady
Thursday:  Easy run am then Interval based session pm
Friday :  easy Run am
Saturday:    Long Tempo Session - 8 to 12 miles
Sunday:    Either long steady run (12 miles plus) or Race (if racing Saturday would be an easy run depending upon how important the race is).

For me this seems to work ok and the twice a day running session has the following benefits:

- First run of the day can be a nice loosener and make the evening run more productive with a greater emphasis on quality

- Allows for a bit of a recovery session

Running twice a day is, however, not for everyone and it is important that you build up the number of sessions you do in a week gradually.   It does take a bit of getting used to but in my opinion is worth persevering with.

Finally the sad news this week that Cigar Smoking Marathon Man Sir Jimmy Saville died aged 84.   What an amazing guy.......212 marathons completed amongst many many crazy and outrageous achievements.   What  a legend!