Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 summary


January - 209 miles, 3,986ft
February - 219 miles, 18,502ft
March - 237 miles, 21,910 ft
April - 168 miles, 18,856ft
May - 191 miles, 19,733 ft
June - 74 miles, 3,889 ft, INJURED!
July - 200 miles, 7,841ft
August - 181 miles, 12,367ft
September - 210 miles, 11,831ft
October - 163 miles, 6,509ft
November - 62 miles, 4,293ft, INJURED!
December - 202 miles, 10,126ft

Total - 2,115 miles, 139,840ft

Big year in 2013, glad to see the back of 2012 - Happy New Year!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Lakeland 50 recce, Ambleside to Coniston

Had a cracking day yesterday (23rd Dec) over in the Lake District meandering around the Ambleside to Coniston section of the Lakeland 50 race. This is the last 15 or so miles of the route and takes in Elterwater, Chapel Stile and Tilberthwaite also through Little Langdale. A combined climb of around 3,000 feet.

Bearing in mind that 35 miles would have been trodden when leaving the Ambleside checkpoint, this is going to be a hellish race. The terrain is akin to the Borrowdale fell race so the feet are going to be battered for much it. A wise choice of footwear will have to be mulled over, x-talon's for an ultra?? Doubtful

We set off from a dry Ambleside at around 9am using the published road book which I have to say was very descriptive and an essential tool. There are a few tough climbs along the way which will not be welcome come race day. It has put me off even considering doing the 100 one year (for now!).

The weather remained dry throughout although blowing a hoolie on the tops.

Final descent to Coniston

We returned to Ambleside via the road route as it was more direct. In total we covered over 23 miles. A welcome pit stop at the cafe above Lakes Runner for a pint of tea and some sugar before the drive home. Cheers JM!

Looking forward to the next recce. Aiming for the Hillforts and Headaches race on New Year's day. Approx 16 weeks to go until the Highland Fling. Can't wait.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Best foot forward

I'm back running again after a two week break to rejuvenate and to allow a few niggles to settle down. I took this decision so I would be ready and raring to go when my Highland Fling training plan kicks in at the end of December. 16 weeks of training building up to my first ultra marathon. I'm really looking forward to it, something new and something which I know will be tough but fulfilling (and thinking of the long term goal of course!).

During my two weeks off I did a little cycling but nothing too strenuous, kind of got used to doing nothing really. It was a good decision as now I'm recharged and focussed on the job in hand. I'm going to make sure I build up slowly as I'm pretty fed up of setbacks this year. Back to the club on Thursday for a track session, should be interesting and tough!

Hoping to do a recce of the Lakes 50 around the weekend of the 22nd December, should be a good day out.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Skiddaw bimble 3,000', 9.64 miles

Headed over to the Lake district on Sunday for a bit of a jaunt up Skiddaw. Picked a perfect day for it as the pictures will reveal!

Could have stayed up there all day!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday jaunt

Had a great run in the Northumberland countryside today starting from Thrunton Woods car park. We couldn't have asked for better weather. Clear blue skies as far as the eye could see. A few bogs to negotiate but inspiring views in all directions. Makes you feel proud to have it on your doorstep.

Ended up doing around 10.7 miles with just short of 1700' of ascent. Magic.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

2 year plan - foolishness or enlightenment....

I've been plodding happily along for the past 3-4 years going through the motions. Train and race for my club at 5k, 10k, 10 mile, cross country, do the odd half marathon or even a marathon at a push (against others' advice). The next year begins and the same routine kicks in. The only variety being some fantastic fell races in Borrowdale, Nevis and the Chevy chase to name but a few.

This year has been a nightmare with regards injury starting around April time and been ongoing since. I always seem to find myself trying to catch up and get back to fitness then something happens and I'm back to square one. Confidence is low...

My weekend up in Fort William for the Nevis race gave me the time and space I needed to clear my head. One question from a running perspective - What do I want to do? Do I want to remain floating in between the bread and butter club races and the long inspiring races or do I want to make a decision and put a plan in place to aim for a particular race/challenge which will make me happy?

Don't get me wrong, representing my club in any race is something I'm proud of. It's the expectation of how I should be performing - "you should do this race", "you should be doing these times", "avoid those fell races if you want to make progress" etc etc. Times are not my motivation, I'm no record breaker nor could I be. There seems to be an obsession about times which is fine if that's your goal. I want to enjoy my running without pressure and without being ruled by a clock. Even if I trained hard specifically for a 10k and came out with sub 34/35 minutes what would that achieve?

So now I'm nearly over my ankle problems (still niggling now and again, peroneal tendonitis I think), and nursing injuries inflicted by coming off my bike last week (own stupid fault), I've decided what I want to do. I have a race in mind to complete before I'm 40. Not divulging yet incase I don't qualify.

Qualification means doing some Ultra marathons. I have entered the Highland Fling (April 2013) which I have been reliably informed is a good entry level race. I have also entered the Lakeland 50 (July 2013). Completion of these will give me enough points to qualify but it does depend on the draw if I get in. The entries open in December 2013 so hopefully by then I'll have accrued the points required by then. If I don't get in then I'll try again until I do.

I have put together a training plan taken from various sources on the internet and some advice from runners who have done ultra's in the past. This kicks in around December time leading up to the Highland Fling. Hopefully I'll get support from family/friends and some training input from coach which I will need.

So, why not? You only live once, why wait?

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." T.S. Eliot

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kielder blast fell race 29/09/2012 5.9 miles, 1,558'

I headed over to Kielder on Saturday morning feeling a bit under the weather. I felt the onset of a cold creeping up on me for the past few days but the Kielder Blast fell race was the first English Championship race in Northumberland so I had to do it. It was also being held on the same day as the Sherman Cup, no way I would have put in any kind of respectable position for that.

On the journey over it was blowing a hoolie but thankfully it was dry for the duration. With all the wet weather recently the terrain was very boggy with a few shoe sucking bogs en route. I hung back at the start and tried to enjoy it, conscious of the fact that my position was going to be poor. I have to say that the route was great, up and down, through forest, along trail, hard ascents and fast descents. I do hope this will be held again.

I reached the finish in around 1:11, the distance on the garmin read 6.9miles. A little further than advertised but more time to enjoy the route.

On another note - chip timing on a £4 fell race. Unbelievable, huge thanks to the organisers.

Some great views of Kielder water on the journey home. It reminded me that the marathon is next weekend and I have a chance of a number.... dare I do it as a long training run?

Monday, 3 September 2012

Ben Nevis race, 1st September 2012; 10 miles, 4,406ft of ascent

I had a great weekend up at Fort William for this year's Ben Nevis race, my first! The weather on departure was warm and dry but by the time we passed Edinburgh the clouds and rain set in.
Typical Scottish weather.

We arrived at the bunkhouse at just after 5pm so we checked in and went for some bait. The forecast for the race was to be high winds and low visibility.

On Saturday morning, after very little sleep, I checked in at registration then headed back to the bunkhouse to relax and to take on fuel.

Before the start I chatted to a couple of NFR's who made the journey up. David Armstrong and Billy Fraser (who both had great races). The first mile of the race was at a quick tempo along the road to the foot of Nevis. I got through the gate and then we were climbing for what would feel like an age. I did worry about wearing a long sleeve baselayer at the start as it was quite mild but I was glad of it when we reached the top.

The first half of the climb had some tough areas but it was once we passed the waterfall and left the walker's path the race became a long slog.

The terrain changed from peat to stones to rocks to scree. All sorts. My back was aching from hunching over so much. The temperature began to plummet in the last section before the summit so I reached for my trusty Newcastle United beanie and gloves. The "Ice cream" headache was well on its way.

I handed in my token to the fantastic marshalls at the top (who deserve tons of respect) and began the descent. I was alarmed to see mountain rescue in the next few hundred yards tending to a runner who had obviously taken a nasty fall. The helicopter could be heard minutes later. It would be very easy for something like that to happen with the conditions and the speed of some descenders.

I reached the road back to the sports field with my legs feeling like lead but was buoyed on by the spectators. Great support! One lap of the field and I was done. 2 hours 27 minutes, not too shabby I suppose.

Refuelling and reflecting
Needless to say I enjoyed a pint in the evening at the presentation where there seemed to be awards for every conceivable category going. A great turn out though and met some really nice people.

After a few miles on relatively flat terrain in the morning, we headed back on a long drive home but I was glad I was the passenger. Legs still feeling battered, off for a gentle jaunt.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Borrowdale Fell race 04/08/2012, 16.2 miles, 6562’ of ascent

My first “Lakes classic” fell race was to be in one of my favourites places - Borrowdale. The weather forecast indicated that we could be in for a very wet race accompanied by a lot of heat and thunder. It turned out to be dry throughout, although it was very warm and humid.

I had been studying the route for several months prior to this race trying to get a feel for how tough it would be. The elevation profile was very daunting. I also looked at past reports from the race reading about others’ experiences.
I was out to enjoy it more than anything as I’m still on the road to getting back to full fitness.

The race was a counter for the English Fell running championships this year, so upon arrival I wasn’t surprised by the amount of cars in the field car park. I parked up and trotted off to get registered.

The start was quite narrow for the first half a mile or so, queuing to get through gates but it was fairly easy running all the way to Bessyboot. The sheer gradient of Bessy meant it was a hands on knees job, occasionally on all fours clambering up to the summit. That was one climb over, only several more to contend with. Not least Scafell Pike.

The ground was quite dry and firm apart from the obligatory bog littered around the place, which made it quite difficult to avoid dipping a leg in here and there. The terrain from Bessyboot up to Esk Hause and on to Scafell Pike was varied. Negotiating boulders and sharp edges certainly exercised the ankle joints. Having to concentrate so much on where the feet were landing does take it out of you and unfortunately you can’t appreciate the fantastic views all around.

This was my first ascent of Scafell and there was something endearing about being on top of the highest mountain in England. The descent was unbelievably treacherous. The pressure on the quads all the way down on the scree made the legs burn, I have never descended anything so steep and slippery with high risk of injury. Yells of “below!” were ringing out to warn runners further down that a rock had been displaced and was on the way to meet them.

Great Gable came next and it seemed to go on forever. By this time I was chomping on jelly beans and cracked open an energy gel. Looking back at Scafell was a fantastic view. The legs were beginning to suffer now but I was still in good spirits. 10 miles done, 6 miles or so to go.

I reached Honister in around 3hrs 20mins, well in advance of the cut off point. With only Dale Head left to negotiate I was hopeful of a sub 4 hour finish. Wishful thinking! I topped my water bottle up from the kind marshal’s stash and made my way up. About 200 yards later cramp began to set in. The adductors were in pain and I had to stop to do some stretching. Looking at the elevation profile, Dale Head looks no problem compared to the other climbs but it was just as tough. Reaching a crest then seeing that there was another in the distance was pretty demoralising. This happened a few times on the way up. I finally made it but the descent was just as slow and just as bad on legs. So, it took over an hour to get from Honister to the finish. Disappointing but very pleased to have finished.

A great event organised by some great people. The support on the course was fantastic and I thank everyone involved. The tea and sandwiches at the end were very welcome (after a scraped myself up off the field). Ben Nevis is next, I can’t see it being as hard as this one though.

Garmin activity:
Pics from Sports Sunday:

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Chevy chase fell race, 15.4m, 2,900'

I’ve been looking forward to the Chevy chase fell race since my first one last year, although it was touch and go if I would actually participate having had several injury problems since Gisborough moors back in April. Nevertheless, I didn’t let that stop me and committed to doing the race, however slow that might be.

The weather this year has been absolutely dreadful, no comparison to last year’s race when it was boiling hot with no breeze whatsoever and crystal clear visibility. Weather warnings were “pouring” in during the week before the race so I knew it would be a proper mucky affair, rain pounding the windows on the eve of the race set the tone for what was to come.

The closer to Wooler we got, the less we could see. Very low cloud cover and a drizzly atmosphere. We were promptly informed that the race had been shortened to “approximately 12 miles”. This was disappointing but perfectly understandable given the conditions. Thanks must be given to the organisers for arranging the alternate route which took out Cheviot summit and Hedgehope. Safety is of course paramount importance. The descent from Cheviot summit would have been quite dangerous if it had been included in the route.

The first mile or so was good running, mostly on road before turning off and heading towards Broadstruther. Needless to say I went off too fast (a downfall of mine), and the lack of training over the past couple of months began to kick in quite quickly. This wasn’t my main concern, I just wanted to finish the race without any niggles which would give me the impetuous to knuckle down and get some quality training under my belt.

Visibility was quite bad in places, but aided by the silhouette's in the near distance, I reckon it saved me a few wrong turns. Checkpoints seemed to come quite quickly, the same can’t be said about my running! Well done to those standing by and dibbing the dibbers.

I think there must have been some confusion at one point during the course after bumping into some fellow runners and walkers at a crossroads. Either I had gone the wrong way or they had. Talking to a few folk after the race it seemed a common occurrence.

There were some very encouraging words from the walkers and the checkpoint staff, so thank you for that. Not sure about the sheep carcass on top of Langley crags! That made it even more Hound of the Baskervilles.

I reached Hells path at a snails pace and checked the watch, 12.6 miles. Ok, I thought, it’s at least 2.5 miles to the finish. I had a little in reserve and stretched the legs in the last mile.
Legs aren’t too bad today, a little sore but a few miles on the bike this afternoon will sort that out. Most importantly the ankle seems to be cured.

Thanks to Wooler running club for their impeccable hospitality. Cracking sarnies and flapjack. Good to see and chat to NFR’s, a great bunch.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Inching forward

After the doctors' diagnosis of a fracture I decided to see a private specialist for a thorough investigation incorporating an ultrasound scan. The scan proved beyond doubt that the tendon over the talus was significantly inflamed, no fracture! A relief but still time off.

Electro therapy and laser treatment later, and a bill (not too bad actually) I was advised that I could run, little but often. This was 4 days ago, I had my first run today. An easy 5 miles. Hard work seeing as I hadn't run for well over a week but pleased I came through quite optimistic!

Chevy chase on Saturday followed by borrowdale at the beginning of august then Ben Nevis at beginning of september. If I go to Chevy, it'll be a jog!

Biked to work 3 times this week, around 100 miles. Thoroughly enjoying the bike. Wish i'd taken it up a long time ago. Certainly helping! Noticed it was the cyclone today, could be a goer next year.

Off to a team building assault course tomorrow, my fear of heights will be tested! No running or bike.

Next update may be about the Chevy done or the Chevy that could have been!

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Finally bit the bullet and went to the doctors for a diagnosis on the ankle. It hasn't been right since Gisborough moors fell race back in April when I went over on it but managed to finish the race. I've been resting and running and biking and resting. Not painful, only in certain stances and positions but very uncomfortable.

Doctor diagnosed it as Avulsion fracture of the ankle. Rest, no off road running for at least 4 weeks. Hell. Chevy chase is in 2 weeks followed by borrowdale. I need to get it sorted in time for Ben Nevis, beginning of September. We'll see how it goes. Missing the lads at harriers, and the crack. Frustrating!

For now it's bike, bike and more bike!!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Borrowdale & bike

Had a great day out on Sunday (20th May) over in the Lake District "competing" in the Borrowdale Trail Half Marathon. Advertised as a trail run, it was more like a fell race climbing up Watendlath. My GPS indicated a total ascent of 3,500 feet and it felt like it! Weather was fantastic.

The first 5/6 miles from the start at Nichol end marina right through to Grange was good running with some undulation but once we passed Rosthwaite and ascended Watendlath it became a lot more challenging. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the run and I'm still trying to get the stiffness out the legs!

The trail run was on the last day of the 5 day Keswick Mountain Festival. Triathlons, swims and lots of other activities were going on. Will probably try something different next year. Great atmosphere!

The dodgy ankle survived the race but is still quite sensitive. The achilles is improving.

I loaned a mountain bike from a friend a couple of weeks ago and i'm really enjoying the change from just running. I've even had a trial run cycling to work and back (30 miles round trip, under an hour each way). Enjoying it so much I've just ordered a road bike and aim to cycle to and from work at least once per week. Going to make sure it doesn't interfere too much with my running though! It is allowing me to rest the ankle.

Blaydon next in under 3 weeks. Hopefully I can put in a respectable time, not counting on it though.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

State of play

Having discovered that my ankle ligaments had been strained during the Gisborough Moors fell race, I have been on a rehab mission for the past couple of weeks. The day after Gisborough my ankle was swollen and very stiff. This was another wake up call, injuries have been coming far too frequently recently. Damned frustrating! Needless to say my planned Cheviot summit race was a write off, a shame as I really enjoyed it last year.

I returned to the club sessions last week (I had been training, but mostly on my own since the NT 10k). I have also seen the healing hands of my sports therapist who gave me some tip top advice to get over the ankle issue and to try and relieve the achilles tenderness once an for all. Simple strengthening exercises with a weight and a tea towel has worked wonders, especially as I can do it at work while sitting at my desk!! The week has gone well, just need to get the quality sessions under my belt as I'm quite a way off the pace at the moment.

Had a great run today around one of the usual routes but in reverse. Tranwell, Whalton, Murton, Molesden and Mitford, Around 16 miles this morning and the ankle held up wonderfully. It was best to stick to the roads today as I didn't want to risk the ankle off road so soon.

Still looking forward to the Borrowdale trail half marathon in 2 weeks time. Beautiful part of the world. Blaydon race number collected too (and entered the London Marathon ballot - heat of the moment I think!- if I get in then I'll deal with it then). Ben Nevis in September too!

I have introduced some weights to my weekly activities, just 30-60mins of bar bells, dumb bells etc. Also thinking of scrounging a second hand bike for a bit of variety. Good for the quads!

My plans to do an ultra next year are still near the top of my list!

Back to the club tomorrow and hoping to have a good quality week, careful not to pick up another injury!!

PS - the barefoot running is going brilliantly - doing at least one session per week at the moment (4-5 miles on grass or sand).

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Gisborough moors fell race and stuff

It's been 2 weeks since the North Tyneside 10k debacle in which I lost a great deal of love for running. Achilles trouble (ongoing since the Great North Run) and now strained ankle ligaments from a slight altercation with a bog on top of Gisborough moors! Hey ho, on we go.

Since the dreaded NT 10k I've been keeping a bit of a low profile, still keeping my mileage up but trying to get the race out of my system with some long steady runs. I'm still convinced I was coming down with something as I was champion until miles 2-3.
I journeyed off last Sunday for the Gisborough moors fell race, stopping at a mates on the way to drop the car off and cadge a lift. Pleased I did as my thermostat ceased to work and the bonnet on the car was about to blow off! Needless to say that got sorted later.

The race was a very laid back affair, I intended just to enjoy it and treat it as a Sunday run. The weather was cool but clouds were gathering fast! The first mile or so is pretty much uphill through the forest which was particularly boggy this year after the amount of rain we've had recently. Once onto the moors it's a decent run until the ascent to Captain cook's monument. Rain, wind, sleet, snow, sun. All weathers!!

I must admit I was very lethargic again and struggled for the first half of the race, the last 6 miles were fab. Roseberry topping was once a gain a killer! Smooth running, catching people and generally not giving a toss. I must have taken 10 runners on the last descent through the woods.

I was fairly pleased with the run, although slower than last year, I was still glad to be back in the countryside enjoying my running.

This week has been pretty much the same, although I did a speed session this morning which was like starting all over again!

Pondering entering the London marathon next year, entries open on the 30th April. Watch this space!

Next race for me is the Borrowdale trail half marathon in a few weeks, oh and the cheviot summit fell race next week (3miles up, 3 miles down). Not fit/sharp enough for any PB's in races before then. Need to get this achilles and ankle sorted before then. Frustrated.....

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

North Tyneside 10k, 8th April 2012

Difficult to take any positives from this race other than the fact that even though I considered dropping out at least 10 times, I kept going.

The start was fine and was sitting comfortably up until 3 miles. Then nothing. No energy, no drive, like a switch being flicked to the "off" position.

Runners began streaming past me which was very disheartening. My aim was 36 minutes or better, I ended up with 37:51. Still a PB as I haven't run a 10k for over 2 years - but considering my 10k split time at last year's Great North Run was 37 minutes you can understand my disappointment. This also followed a 17:18 5k 2 weeks ago.

Anyway, I had a great 15.5 mile run the day after and cleared the head. Back to what I love - long runs with no pressure from anyone.

Gisborough moors fell race this Sunday and can't wait - going to enjoy it and not going just to "race".

Elswick Good Friday relays, Newburn Business Park

A decent day at the annual Good Friday relays. Conditions were good although the route had changed significantly following a fire at one of the leccy pylons a few weeks ago. It was basically an "out and back" and then "out and back" again course. Still, a short 2.25 mile blast. A bit unnerving when I was informed I'd be in the Morpeth "B" team - a bit above my station to be honest, better runners were in the 'C' team.
Nevertheless I ran the 3rd leg a little too quick at the start which meant I tied up at the end. Talk about treading water with full length waders! Morpeth A won the race and the B team came 5th. Well done to all who competed, good atmosphere. NT 10k 2 days later, this would prove too much for one weekend!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Welcome boost

I've had a pretty lackadaisical attitude towards running over the past couple of weeks, a mixture of tiredness and work pressures. I have also been putting a little too much pressure on myself to improve. Since January I've not really had much of a rest so this week I tapered off considerably and even doing a half session at the club on Thursday.

My aim - to rejuvenate and be in a better position to rectify my poor park run the other week. I chose today to do the deed but forgot that it was also harrier league time at Prudhoe (which would've been enjoyable with all the hills!). But I stuck to my plan.

I arrived at the town moor and it was pea soup, temperature was spot on and no wind. no excuses! I ensured a proper warm up this time, 2 miles with a few strides and stretches thrown in for good measure. Having started the previous park run like a bat out of hell then suffering badly at the end, I held myself back on the first mile. At 1 mile I was in 5th position, happily cruising at a consistent pace. By 3k I was up to 4th and in sight of 2nd and 3rd. This kept me going and dug deep for the last mile. I finished in 4th with a PB of 17:18.

Feels like a weight has been lifted, I can now move on!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Brough Law fell race, 4th March 2012

Race number 2 in the NECAA championship, but only number 1 for me having missed Danby Beacon back in early February.

This is a short race but it's definitely a tough lung buster! I ran it last year on a cool windy day and was surprised by the amount of climb - especially at the start. This year the weather was a lot cooler and as we headed off to the Breamish valley we spotted snow on the hills and on the vehicles coming from the opposite direction. I had not brought the relevant apparel! oops.

I registered at the start line via slipping a guy a fiver who was sitting in the passenger seat of a saloon car. And of course filling in my entry slip. Off we trudged for a 2 mile warm up.

We all huddled together at the start line awaiting instructions. I suddenly realised I hadn't even brought a jacket - the minimum requirement. A couple of runners were giving me a dodgy look. Even the guy giving the instructions!

Remembering last year's tough start I decided to go off easy. This still didn't help the quads or the lungs as they were gasping by the time I reached the top of the first climb. Once onto the open fells I could stretch the legs and shake off the excess acid only to find the snow to start, and the worst climb was to follow. It was bitterly cold up there. I was around 15th at this point and maintained around that for the remainder of the race, too-ing and fro-ing with one runner who liked the uphills more than me but I got my revenge on the downhill!

I reached the finish (tentatively due to the sheer steepness) in 18th, around 01:30 quicker than last year. Enjoyable, but it took about 20 minutes for the pain to leave my fingers from the cold. Bad circulation! No cream egg this year as Easter is now back in its rightful place of April.

It's an 'AS' race for a reason - short but brutal.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Half day skive

I booked a half day off work today, trying to use up my spare leave before the end of March - use it or lose it! So, to make the most of the time out, I packed my rucksack in preparation for another jaunt up the Simonside hills.

I knew the weather was going to be dry and bright, and particularly warm for this time of year. I picked a good day! I started at Lordenshaw's car park and headed up the first climb, veering to the left and aiming for Spy Law. The intention was to run part of the Simonside Cairns route. Having run the race before the route was familiar but I did tend to go off course on several occasions. There was quite a lot of standing water on the lower ground which didn't make it easy running, but I was out in the countyside away from the daily grind.

As usual it was quite breezy on the tops and I was trying to keep to the soft ground rather than the massive amount of paving there seems to be up there now. Could be quite dangerous with a bit of rain! (and tough on the legs)

I ended up running for around an hour and a half, approximately 8 miles. Great to be out there with not a soul around, apart from a jet flying so low I could almost touch it!

I intend to run the Brough Law fell race on Sunday so hopefully this will be a good training run. It's also the harrier league at Alnwick on Saturday but it's one or the other. I know which I'm going for!!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Royal signals road relays, Hetton

Turned up for the road relays today for a 2.3mile sprint. A long way to go for such a small effort but worth it for the club. As usual it was at the forefront of my mind for the last couple of days putting unnecessary pressure on myself! Always the same though, peer pressure and trying to be the best. When will I learn.
(Pic thanks to

Weather was cool and breezy but nothing to severe. I was 2nd leg in team B. 2 laps of the 1.15 mile course awaited. I went on a preliminary recce, there was 1 hill after 400m and another gentle climb near the end of the lap. This was highlighted by a club mate earlier saying I would "feel" it on lap 2. I certainly did!

Lap 1 was kind of all about getting into a rhythm. Conscious of the fact that I always go off too fast, I held back and attempted to stride out to avoid lactic acid. I made up a couple of places on lap 1 (5:12) and lost a place on the 2nd lap (5:30). The last incline hurt!! Overall I was pleased with my run, the team did well. I'll still worry about the next race, I can guarantee it.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Breath of fresh air

I headed off to the Simonside hills today for a change of scenery and to make the most of my annual leave from work. Weather was quite mild leaving Morpeth but I had my hat, gloves, wrag and double base layers just incase! Once I reached Lordenshaws car park it had become very overcast with a few spots of rain beginning to fall. I was prepared!

I set off on one of the marked courses aiming to do about 5/6 miles of easy hill running. Upon the ascent to Dove Crag the wind picked up very quickly and it was quite literally blowing a hoolie. I felt good and was enjoying the trip out
It was great getting into the hills, I don't do it often enough, but isn't that aways the same. Must make extra effort to vary my training runs.

It's the Royal signals road relays this Saturday and I'm running for the cub's B team. A 2 mile sprint, DO NOT GO OFF TOO FAST JOHN!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Today I took an impromptu half day off from work and decided to try a barefoot run along the beach at Seaton sluice. Cracking day but blooming cold!
Thoroughly enjoyed the 3 mile up and down route and felt great afterwards. Quite liberating really. I've been transitioning to minimalist shoes for around 6 months now and have had a few niggles during this time - plantar fasciitis for one!

Training has been going exceptionally well recently and the ongoing issue around my plantar fascia seems to be drawing to a close. The past few weeks have been pain free. About time too! 50 miles per week since new year including some great rep sessions at the club.
Tried my hand at a park run last weekend and same old story - nervous, went off too fast and couldn't get into a rhythm. I need to find a way to convert my training into a race....and soon. The weather didn't help either, i'm sure it didn't reach above zero degrees. Hands and feet were numb by the end.

On course for a 60 mile week this week. Off work next week so hoping to get to the beach for another barefooter and definitely into the hills for a change of scenery. Looking forward to the time off.

Simonside or Cheviot.......

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Things 29th January 2012

Hey, not checked in for a while. Training has been going extremely well since the morpeth 11k on new year's day. I have been hitting 50+ miles per week incorporating the usual two rep/interval sessions at the club as well as a tempo run on my own and the long Sunday tradition.

I had a great run today approx 15.7miles from home to guidepost through Longhirst, pegswood and fulbeck. Weather was cold but no wind and was dry until around 14 miles. Felt great and could've ploughed on but I set a target and stuck with it.

I've been very pleased with the club sessions over the last few weeks and even had some great feedback to motivate me. Probably in the best shape since I was a youth!! The speed is there and I've been advised to stick to shortish races in the mean time and maybe dabble in the long stuff in the next few years. I think I did the Kielder marathon and Edinburgh way too soon. I put the work in training wise but it had an adverse effect on my speed. The advice is right but I love fell races too. How is this going to affect them???

Anyway, easing off this week to around 40 then pick up again next week. Toying with the idea of doing a park run this weekend to set a benchmark! Let's see how it goes!
Bye for now.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Morpeth 11k, 1st January 2012

Morpeth Harriers New Year's day 11k road race was held today. Weather was good. Sunny with no wind and surprisingly mile for this time of year. This race is free to Harriers members and I put my name down around 2 months ago knowing I would have to take it easy on New Year's eve! We were asked if we could provide some food for after the race to raise some money for the club and a duly whipped up my homemade flapjacks to help out. They're good, courtesy of a recipe from River Cottage! Thanks Hugh!

I have had a lingering cold for 2 weeks now and it was at the stage where everything that came out of the nose was green and phlegmy. Otherwise I felt ok if not a little tired from the festive indulgences.
The race started with a quick tempo as usual and I tried to hold myself back. First mile was 5:30 which I feared may catch up on me later! Nevertheless I was positioned around the top 15 and the field was becoming widely spread out. Mile 2 was slightly slower but was aware that mile 3 was going to be tough heading up Mitford steads. I've had many sessions up the steads with the training group but not in a race. By the time I reached the top I was beginning to flag.

Turning the corner at the top I was grateful for the encouragement from the home spectators. From that point on it was flat/downhill for the last 3 or so miles. I began to get into a rhythm again and speeded up, one spectator informing me that I was 13th with quite a gap behind me. This eased the pressure and enjoyed the run back into Morpeth.

I reached the finish, calves quite tight by this point, but maintained my position and very happy with 39:45 - checking the GPS I reached 10k in just under 37:00 - I ran faster at the Derwentwater 10 miles! The nose was cleared temporarily.

Aims for this year - PB for 5k, 10k, 10m & half marathon - with plenty of fell races thrown in!

Happy New Year!!