Saturday, 26 November 2011

North East Harrier league #3, Blaydon

The next fixture in the North East Harrier league took me to Blaydon today, on a windy but dry afternoon. This is the first race of 3 in the next 3 weeks with the Hexhamshire hobble fell race next week and the North East cross country championships at Cramlington the week after. This one was the least favourite of the three.

The weather was fairly favourable when I arrived, noticing instantly the increase in temperature from back home in Morpeth. Positively balmy in Blaydon! There was a strong wind but on the warm up lap prior to the race it seemed to be quite sheltered and it was nowhere near as strong as forecast.

I arrived with 30 minutes to spare so headed to the club tent, got changed and tootled off for a warm up. The course was quite flat with a couple of steep but short inclines near the end.

The slow group took off like a swarm of bees after a pot of honey. There were hundreds of them, lots of hustle and bustle around the first corner. I made my way to the start for the medium pack, considerably smaller in size!

The first lap was fairly easy running and I tried to settle into a rhythm and push on from there. I started to catch some of the slow runners quite quickly and this spurred me on for the remainder of the first lap. The second lap was a little harder, my legs felt heavy from Thursday's club session, I should have taken it a bit easier but it's easier said than done. I was making good progress through to lap 3 and even caught an old foe from my Colt's races back in the 80's, making myself feel old now! That was quite satisfying though.

Lap 3 was a bit of a chore, legs becoming increasingly heavier but I was nearly at the end. I finished in 32mins which I was reasonably happy with although I know I wasn't going flat out. It'll be interesting to see the results to see how I compared to fellow club mates who started in the slow pack.

Looking forward to next week's fell race, that's where I am most content, a good fell run!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

52nd Derwentwater 10 mile road race

I travelled over to Keswick with a couple of lads from the club for the 52nd Derwentwater 10m road race today (6th November).  It was a very cold start to the day having to de-ice my car before departure but the sun was out and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

We reached Keswick passing through several large areas of fog, especially on the M6 at Penrith.  But upon arrival the weather could not have been better.  It was around 10 degrees and the air was crystal clear.

 I duly registered at the school noticing that this was the first year they introduced chip timing to the event.  Technology eh!  We had around 40 minutes to kill before the start so we went to my friend Mike's mums house which is conveniently right next to the finish.  We got changed and headed out for a mile or 2 warm up.
I was pretty pensive about today's race.  Last year I had run 1:07:30 which I knew I could improve on as last year I had just finished the Kielder marathon and all the training that goes with it.  Training has been going well recently.

The first 5 miles are undulating and I managed to get past the Grange in under 30 minutes.  Only thing was the hard part was just around the corner.  This was lingering on my mind from the start but I thought oh well, it has to be done!  I managed to make my way up the climb in fits and starts, grateful for some respite between each climb.  By this point there was nobody around me and I could only just see the next runner in front of me edging away further and further.  The descent was quick, but slippery with all the moist leaves on the tarmac.  I had my racing flats on so there wasn't much grip.

Reaching 8 mile I kept saying to myself that there wasn't long to go, the hard part was over.  The last 2 miles were looooonnnnggg!!

A little support on the home straight certainly gave me some focus and I powered on to the finish.  I crossed the line and was over the moon with 1:00:33.

Sub 1:00 next year perhaps!

Homemade lasagne followed by mince pie and cream was most appreciated at Mike's mums!