Sunday, 19 February 2012

A quality week

This week has been a quality week - last blog post I was trying to kick start some quality with a fast session wearing my racing shoes.  Whilst that session may not have been particularly quick it certainly set me up for a decent training week of 76 miles with plenty of quality runs included an 8.5 mile run @ about 6-20 pace on Monday. 9 miles @ marathon pace on Tuesday, 14 miles steady on Wednesday, Easy recovery run on Thursday followed by a 9 miler at marathon pace on Friday.

Saturday was kept clear as we were in Birmingham for the Aviva Grand Prix but as it turned out I enjoyed a steady 6 miler around Solihull on the morning of the event followed by some strides to get the fast twitch fibers re-invigorated.  

Today's planned long run of 21 miles would be the longest run for some time (I am talking at least four years here!) so I was going into unknown territory but having seen progress on my long runs in the last few weeks I was confident the distance would not be beyond me.

As it was it turrned out very nicely with 21 miles completed without any real hiccups in a time of 2-18.20.   According to my schedule I should be doing my long runs between 6.43 and 7.19 minutes per mile.   Today my average was 6.35 pace at the end thanks to a strong finish.   Splitting the long run into three seven mile sections I went from 47.11 (Miles 0 to 7), 46.11 (Miles 7 to 14) then 45.58 (Miles 14 to 21).  Very happy with that and good progress being made with the marathon still 11 weeks away.

Lots to report on the world of athletics this weekend with some absolute stellar performances at the Aviva Grand Prix.  This was the first time I have been to an indoor athletics event and it certainly did not disappoint.   What is great about being at the event live is being gripped by the events I dont normally watch or to be honest pay a lot of interest in.   The field events (Womens Pole Vault, Mens and Womens Long jumps and the High Jump) were all fascinating encounters with lots of british interest with the star performer being Shara Proctor who broke the Britsh Record in the womens long jump twice.  JJ Jegerde breaking the 8 metre long jump and Holly Bleasdale winning the Pole Vault were all dramatic but for me the real interest was in the distance events.  

An unbelievable world leading performance by Meserat Defar in the 3000m with 8.31.56 was a true grit performance, local athlete Lewis Moses (New Marske) was impressive in the 1500m breaking his pb with 3.41.33, Joe Thomas (the one with the popstar hair!) was very impressive in the 800m with his 5th pb in five races clocking a speedy 1.46.35.

Asafa Powell (60m) was certainly a fans favourite but for me looked a bit too casual in the heat and was then beaten into third by two fellow jamaicans with Lerone Clarke taking the win in a Jamaican National Record. 

Jess Ennis was outstanding in the 60m hurdles smashing her personal best by a mile....she must be a medal favourite in 2012!

The event most of the crowd were looking forward to was the final event - the 2 miles with Mo Farah.   The atmosphere in the arena was electric and the crowd went wild every time Mo went past - like a mexican wave that lasted 8 minutes!    In the end despite a cracking and competitive race Mo ran out of track and steam and finished second behind Olympic silver medallist Eliud Kipchoge (8:07.39).   Mo's second place in 8.08.07 was still a British Record and he earned every dollar of his bonus for the record!   Cometh the hour cometh the man and I am sure Mo will be using this race as a stepping stone for future glory this year!  

In the same two mile race there were three other GB athletes - two found the pace too hot to handle and dropped out but Liverpool's Jonathan Mellor had a gutsy and lonely run to finish the two mile race in a pb of 8.40.50 some 30 seconds behind the 5th place athlete.

Check out the report and results here...

For some time after the event Mo stayed around and signed autographs, shook hands, signed shirts, posed for photos - what a truly fantastic ambassador for the sport he is.   I was one of those who waited round with my two boys for the chance to get an autograph and in the end we ended up with autographed postcards and high fives from the man himself!    I also bumped into one of the greats of British Athletics - John Regis who still looks like he could put in a decent 200m!   What a day!

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