Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Do the Double...

Well it was a monumental night on the track at Clairville last night.  My first 1500m on the track since 1993 and my first 800m since 1995.  Since becoming a vet 40 I have become reinvigorated and looking at vet rankings made me think...maybe a few track races might be in order to get some speed back in the legs.  It feels a bit like a mid life crisis! Its all about the rankings!

So the 1500......last done in 1993 on the same Clairville Track.  I finished in 4 mins 26 seconds on that night in 1993 and it was the last one I did (usually opting for 3000m and 5000m on the track having realised I wasn't fast!).   Last night I finished in 4.40.3.   So 14 seconds slower in 19 years!  That works out at around a 5.5% reduction in performance in 19 years - not too bad! 

The Reebok Pump Circa 1993 - the last time I ran an 800m! Yes I had a pair..fine until they punctured!

Onto the 800m....last done in 1995 as part of the Chester and Ellesmere Port AC Cheshire League Team.  I was asked to do the 800m because we were short.  I went through the first lap in about 65 seconds thinking that's not too bad..there is nothing to this 800m lark....then one by one the whole field passed me and I finished last in 2 mins 14 seconds cursing my lack of speed and vowing never to run an 800m race again!
17 years later, a lot wiser I was lining up again for an 800m.  First lap 72 and in last place...second lap another 72 but managed to pull a few places back to finish in 2.24.6.   Probably a more pleasurable (???) experience than my last 800m but 10 seconds slower.   That works out to be about an 8% reduction in performance in 17 years...again not too shabby!

So how does this reduction in performance hold up against the 5000m that I did at the 5000m best in 1995 was 15 mins 26.  In Saturday's 5000 I did 16.33 - a reduction of 67 seconds.  That works out to be about a 7% reduction in performance in  17 years....

So Track targets for the year to come are to get within 5% of my 1993-1995 track pbs.

800m = Under 2.21
1500m = Under 4.37
5000m = Under 16.12

Mmmmmm...mid life crisis...wonder if it might just be easier to buy a sports car!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Busy Weekend

Enjoyed a busy weekend of Athletics/Running this weekend.   Saturday morning was Park Run morning in Redcar and we enjoyed a bumper turnout of 104 runners.   The previous best was 72 so we welcomed a whole host of new runners into the park.  I opted for tag handing out this week as my mind was on my first 5000m of the year at Whitley Bay later in the day.   The Pearson representatives on the day were my two boys Jacob who managed a 31.20 min 5km and younger brother Tom who managed 33.13.   Although 10 year old Jacob holds the bragging rights this week it is younger brother Tom (7) who edged on the Age graded by over 3%.....Tom followed his 5km up with a mile junior run and then after everyone departed Whitley Bay wanted to do a 400m timed run!   Duly completed in 2 mins and 3 seconds he earned a share of an Egg Foo Yung chinese meal after a long day!   It was he said..."the best day of my life".....

Onto my we had a full team I only needed to run the 5000m which was quite a relief given that I had not raced since the Marathon.

There was a lot of talk of sub 16 efforts before the start and it did look like a good line up.  

First lap the whole field was fairly bunched and I sat at the rear of the field wondering who was going to make the early move.  In the end it turned out to be Carter of Tyne Bridge and Mcmillan of Jarrow closely tracked by clubmate Tom Danby of New Marske and Sparrow Morley of Tyne Bridge.   Throughout the race I worked my way through the field and ended up in 5th place chasing Sparrow Morley down who finished in 16.27.  Had I managed to get near him on the last lap I suspect his finish would have been stronger than mine as I saw him do a super fast 55ish second relay leg as part of the 4 x 400m team!  Im fairly certain my legs do not possess a 55 second 400m especially not at the end of a 5km.

In the end I finished 5th in 16.33.00 which I am pleased with as it represents a personal best as a Vet 40 for the 5000m and also it is almost 7 seconds quicker than the same fixture last year.   Its always nice to see progress being made!   Breaking 16.30 has become quite a focus for me now and it is something that will hopefully come by the end of the summer either on the road or on the track.

Today I opted for a spectator role as I took brother in law Phil to the Melmerby 10km and for the first time experienced life on the other side.....I saw the start go off, took a few photos then headed to the village hall to see that the boys had made about half a dozen friends and were in the middle of a mini soccer game.   So there was only one thing to do....  A cup of coffee and a big slice of homemade fruit cake made by the village hall committe at Melmerby...delicious!    There were some extremely hot looking runners coming back from the narrow lanes and I think times were probably affected by this with Phil coming in around 38 minutes.    Given the heat I didnt think this was too bad at all!
Half Time Scone!

Feeling the Heat!
There were lots of other races on today but special mention to Ross Murray who followed up a big pb at the BMC Sport City meeting last week with another big pb today at Hengelo with a 3.34.76 will be nice to be within a minute of that when I run a local 1500m at Clairville on Tuesday night.    That result puts him 21st on the all time list for 1500m on Power of 10...nice also to see Jess Ennis hit pbs in three events contributing to a British Record in the Heptathlon.  

Things are looking good......

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Hamstrung no more....

Last weeks blog was a mixed bag of recovery, post marathon thoughts and talk of tight hamstrings and a below par track session. In my experience of quite a few years of running sometimes the body needs a kick start. Since the track session where I struggled throughout with tightness in my hamstrings I have been running with a spring back in my step and a renewed focus. A decent park run at Locke Park in 17.42, a 13 mile effort on Sunday, a tempo on Monday night and a great track session last night have set me up nicely for a blast over 5000m on Saturday in a league event. Last nights session was a 1 mile effort @ 5km pace followed by 6 x 600m followed by a 1 mile effort @ 10km pace. All target times were well and truly hit with the mile efforts @ 5-17 ad 5-24. 600s were all around 5 minute miling.

What a difference a bit of sun makes...sunglasses remained on for the whole of the session and a real sense of achievement in the air from all the group!

An easy 40 minute run along the beach at Marske was a well earned recovery session today. The sun was hiding behind so much sea fret (sea fret: a wet mist or haze coming inland from the sea) you couldn't see the pier at Saltburn which is quite bizarre but a stunning run all the same. It always happens that I hit the beach for a run and end up thinking "why do I only run on the beach once in a blue moon!". The beach will now become a regular feature over the summer!

Treated myself to a new pair of Brooks Adrenalines! Couldn't resist jumping on the Union Jack/ Jubilee bandwagon and went for a red white and blue version - jubolympic!

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 Men's Running Shoes (SS12)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Post Marathon Thoughts

Almost two weeks ago my efforts were directed at the marathon. It's been a case of recovery since both mentally and physically.   I have run easy most of the first week except for my post marathon Monday when I took a day off. 
Any running straight after the marathon was always going to be a bonus so I'm happy to have run about 80 post marathon miles in the last 12 days.   Up until today whenever I started to up the pace I felt like my hamstrings were seizing up so it was a case of keeping things nice and steady.   I did manage a fairly light track session on Tuesday consisting of 6 x 800m.  It was nice to look at the watch and see sub 6 minute miling again but the hamstrings were twitching for the majority of the session!
On Wednesday I expected sore legs but it didnt materialise.  In fact I felt pretty good on my morning run and managed 4 miles @ about 6-30 pace.   Today was equally satisying with a 5 mile run before work at about 6-30 pace and a woods run tonight with a fair bit of climbing.  I felt strong and back to my old self.  Whenever I hit the woods I always work on an overall target pace of under 7 minute miling which means pushing it along the flat sections to make up for the climbs.  6.55 average tonight for the 6 mile loop so generally happy.  

I have not over analyzed my marathon performance but have felt a bit disappointed with the way i finished.  The splits tell a story...

Miles 1 to 5 completed in 30.40 (Garmin time).  Fastest mile 6-02, slowest 6-11.
Verdict:  Held myself back and ran a sensible (if slightly fast) pace.

Miles 6 to 10 completed in 29.54 (Garmin time).  Fastest mile 5.55, slowest mile 6-03.
Verdict:  Went a bit fast here.  Four sub 6 minute miles - would I pay for these later??? In my defence it was here I was chasing the lead two runners but this is the section where I went wrong and went too fast.
Miles 11 to 15 completed in 30.28 (Garmin time).  Fastest mile 6.03, slowest mile 6.07
Verdict:   Solid section of the race.  got myself clear in 2nd and was making an effort to reign in the leader.  When else in the future might I get an opportunity like this?

Miles 16 to 20 completed in 30.39 (Garmin time).  Fastest mile 6.02, slowest mile 6.07
Again happy with this section.  Clear in 2nd and enjoying the atmosphere going to the stadium but knowing the last 6 miles were almost upon me!

Miles 21 to 25 completed in 34.51.   This is where the wheels fell off.  A 6-18 followed by a 6-17 was not too bad on paper but I think i lost a lot of concentration at this point having missed the turn into the University section and U-turning.  Then some confusion over where to go meant I went into the tough haul up to Seaburn knowing that my glycogen reserves were low and i was beginning to slow.   Mile 23 in 6-41 was followed by Mile 24 in 7-13, Mile 25 in 7-18 and finally mile 26 in 7-39. 

Relief to finish in a new pb of 2-46.29 but as the dust settles its a case of learning from the experience and looking forward to the Chester Marathon in October.  The tweaks for me to make are:

- Nutrition - work out optimal nutrition strategy to delay onset of the wall!

- Hill work to build strength

- Variable pace sessions (In his Marathon talk podcast Charlie Spedding talked about a session on the track as follows:   5 x 1 mile @ 4-40 pace with 400m jog recovery between efforts @ 6 minute miling - that is hard core and of the reasons he was a 2-08 marathon runner!)

-  Core and cross training - maintaining good technique over the later stages.

Its 142 days until the next Marathon...roll on October 7th...Its revenge time on that wall!

No not that wall.....

That wall !!!
Thats wall folks...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Determination !

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about much more than
sporting excellence. Underpinning the Games is the
philosophy of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the
Modern Olympic Movement

He saw in the Games an ideal opportunity to develop a set of
universal principles – or Values – that could be applied to
education and to society as a whole, as well as to sport itself.

Olympic Creed

These Values are:
  • respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
  • excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
  • friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences
The Paralympic Values are based on the history of the Paralympic Games and the tradition of fair play and honourable sports competition.
They are:
  • courage
  • determination
  • inspiration
  • equality.

Apparently according to my son Tom who is 7 and his classmates I showed determination in carrying on running on Sunday when my legs hurt!  

I am now featured on the Westgarth School Olympic Values Noticeboard under "Determination".  He also took my Marathon of the North finishers medal in with him to school for "Show and Tell".   

He also said that Pierre De Coubertin visited the school last week for an assembly....

File:Baron Pierre de Coubertin.jpg  That must have been exciting!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Marathon of the North in Pictures

The Marathon of the North

Pre Race thoughts...

They say the marathon takes a long time to master and I have to say that is very true indeed.  Yesterday was my third marathon and my third under 3 hours.  It was also a pb by over 2 minutes as I clocked 2nd place in the first Marathon of the North in 2 hours 46 minutes 29 seconds.

The weather was almost perfect pre race with a light wind, cool temperatures and the start area around the Stadium of Light was well organised, everything within easy reach of the start and plenty of toilets, baggage areas and lots of people out supporting the first event. 
My race plan and aim was to run under 2.45 and set off at a pace that was going to take me comfortably under that goal.  In the back of my mind my ultimate goal was a sub 2-40 but I was not confident that the course profile was going to make that very easy so I put that at the back of my mind.  What I didn't expect was the kind of race that this turned out to be with a podium place coming into my head and ultimately affecting the way the race turned out.  

The first five miles (30-40 Garmin time) heading through Hendon and Grangetown was a case of holding myself back.  The lead pair of Wilson and Atlee had pushed ahead and held a decent lead and I found myself in third place with a fairly big group of runners tracking me including Steve Potts of local club Sunderland Harriers who had a large contingent of supporters tracking him on bikes and giving feedback on those in front.   Steve and I ran together for a few miles and found ourselves clear of the group.   I decided after about 7 miles that I would push on a bit as it seemed the lead two were coming back in particular early leader Atlee.   Miles of 5-59, 5-59, 5-55, 5-56 pulled me clear in third and then it was a case of watching Atlee come back to me.  He did after 12 miles and despite a surge from him in response I pulled clear and found myself in 2nd.   The next few miles I was steadily running miles of 6-07, 6-05, 6-04, 6-07, 6-03, 6-08, 6-02, 6-07, 6-09, and 6-11 saw me go through 20 miles in 2-01.41.  At one point the leader (Paul Wilson of Hartlepool BR) was about 45 seconds clear and the feedback I got from a few locals were that I was catching him.  

The next few miles once we passed the Stadium again became tough.    Losing a bit of concentration I managed to miss the turn into the University area and had to double back for a short while before coming to a couple of points where without marshalls I was trying to work out which way to go...not ideal when you are tired and on your own but I am sure the organisers will address this in future years.   Miles 21 to 23 were hard work and my mile times reflect both the toughness of the course and the start of the tiredness coming into my legs.  6-18, 6-17 and 6-41 meant a tough last three miles was coming.   The road and beach path up to the turn at Seaburn felt like it was going on for ever and I was relieved to get to the turn.   What happened after that was simply a case of my body running out of energy but thankfully being clear in 2nd I resigned myself to the fact that a sub 2-45 was becoming less likely.   The last three miles were the toughest miles I have run for a long time and finished with 7-13, 7-18 and 7-39.  

People often make comments after such races that the garmin distance was much longer.  I know from conversations about race measuring that the measurement is taken on the running line and often the course can become over or under distance because runners stray from the running line.  In the end my Garmin showed 26.5 miles a good 400m+ over distance.  One of the reasons I think for this was that as you were running on closed roads and lots of twists and turns you often were not aware until you were almost on the junction which way you were heading so it was difficult to take an effective running line.   This is not a criticism but an observation from someone who was running completely on my own from 7 miles out except for a brief encounter with the 2nd place runner as I overtook was a lonely run so all in all am happy with the time in the end which on a flatter, faster course with a bit of company would be worth a sub 2-45 or quicker.

I think it is worth congratulating Steve Cram and the event team for bringing this marathon into the race calender and it is definitely worth doing.  I'm sure they will learn a lot from the event and will make it even better next year.  Well done Sunderland!

It was super exciting (once I had some energy inside me and had a massage) to meet marathon legend Charlie Spedding at the presentation.   Charlie is a 2-08.33 marathon runner and the current English Record Holder.   It was a proud moment to be on the stage being presented with 2nd place in a big marathon and 1st Veteran.  

Paul Wilson Hartlepool Burn Road ran a great race to win in 2-43.30 and Ian Bloomfield (59 year old ex 2-17 Marathon legend) finished 3rd in 2-51.25.

I have learned a huge amount yesterday about the marathon and will make some changes to my build up for October...nothing drastic more tweaks.   The sub 2-45 still eludes me but it is getting closer.

Recovery time for me now and then tackle some shorter races before the next big one!

Pictures to follow......