Saturday, 31 October 2009

Cross Country

The trip to Mansfield was tense yesterday, I had pre-race jitters at the pressure of running with our fastest ladies team over a 3k cross country course amongst some of the best runners in the land. The nice bit was the venue, back to Berry Hill for a lovely undulating course with fantastic loo provision and a nice trackside cafe offering bacon butties and trays of chips for those deserving a post-XC snack.
Soon after arriving we heard the news that one of our star runners had suffered a run in with a pothole and after a stunt roll across a pavement into the road was lucky to still be with us. Mary W is okay I think but not quite okay enough to race. So Vicky W, me and Jo B took on the XC world together. Vic took on leg #1 and despite the interruption and stress of a foot op earlier this year still looked a lean running machine and brought us through in 15th position to hand over to me on leg 2. I was nicely in touch with a few ladies at the leg start and enjoyed the chase through the woods though could still feel the GSR in my legs. After being passed by one far too perky looking runner I managed to dig in and pass a few more over the climb out of the woods and through the final 800m to bring us to 8th, handing over to Jo B for the final leg. Jo ran a stormer and maintained our position for much of the run, clashing elbows with some of the fastest in the field, even Steph Twell was there. Jo brought us home in 10th place after a battle to the finish line. A good gutsy result for us girls I think. Results here. The boys 'A' team ran strong too, the 'B' boys not making a full team in the end and M's nasty cold left him glad of a lucky escape. Its back to the long run tomorrow.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday Night Fever

As always, time off school has flown by and its now nearly the weekend before going back to work. M is feeling miserable with a cold & I'm trying to be very Zen and 'in the moment' but I can't help but feel all depressed and distracted by the looming miserable Monday back at the office. To distract myself, I've gone for the cheap fix. Yes, a bit of Internet shopping.
I'm a massive music lover and have to avoid going into shops that sell music of any kind (or books, or cameras, or exotic foods, or ice cream for that matter...) I get a bit overwhelmed by the endless list of stuff I want to listen to and have to come away with nothing or risk spending a whole year's earnings. Anyway, I have since discovered a new way, a 'Third Way' of approaching the whole 'too-much-choice-paralysis' that leaves me frozen like a frightened rabbit in front of book shelves, CD racks and Indian restaurant menus. M sent me a link to an Internet site that has a comprehensive range of music for download even for my less mainstream tastes and it is really very reasonable indeed as well as being totally legal (I really don't feel too happy engaging with the illegal download market). Anyway, Xmas has come early in Runningbear's house. The idea is I buy it first on MP3 format cheap, have a good listen before I decide if its worthy of a CD purchase. I am old fashioned and like a good album sleeve and something tangible to stack on a shelf. So far this week I have bought 17 new albums. Yes, 17! Including one by a band called F**k Buttons. Sadly, M doesn't share the same tastes so they are confined to my Cowon D2 and earphones for now. I'm so excited to have so many new tunes to listen to. The blow of Monday's commute is now softened a tad...
Anyways, back to running. I'm in a funny place reflecting on my training this year and plans for the marathon next year. I think I'm in a bit of a rut and am wondering whether my approach needs a review or whether I'm still slowly adjusting to the building mileage. I just don't seem to be running as well as I should after all the hard work over the summer. M reckons I'm being impatient and that it'll all kick in very soon. The main thing to avoid is doing more in a panic to see improvements. An easy run was welcome today after a steady 9m on the trails yesterday. The legs are feeling a bit niggly so I may not be ready for the shock of a 3k XC race tomorrow. Gulp. That just sounds so wrong, 3k is just too short.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


An amble out across the border to Lancashire and a visit to Nelson for half a track session today was a bit of a test for these race recovering legs and a taste of the faster pace that'll be no doubt needed for this Saturday's National Cross Country Relay Champs at Mansfield.
The club are fielding both male and female teams for this high quality event so I'll have to brace myself for this intro to the XC season as it'll be blistering fast, something these old legs are not quite ready for. A VO2 session of 300m efforts today should keep the fatigue at bay but also give me a bit of a kick start from all the long races of late. I was also chauffered by Mr Complete Runner himself today and treated to a fine lunch at a nearby canalside cafe. The ducks were very sweet and obviously on the lookout for any choco softies that might be going spare.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tales of Trails

No work this week means less road and more play for me, on the local trails at least. A lovely, damp and foggy autumn day brought a muddy run for me this morning. This is a favourite amble along the river Wharfe, passing through Bolton Abbey, the Strid and heading out towards Burnsall to snap the last of the trees turning copper before the winter sets in. A very easy and scenic 13m before returning home to a bubble bath & a warming lunch...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Grrrr.. The GSR

Yay, we're home! After a gruelling motorway journey we're home safe and half sound after consuming far too much coffee and sugary things, including some rogue cup cakes that somehow smuggled themselves into my bag and then into our tummies around tea time. What a weekend it was. After eating enough food to feed the whole of Yorkshire and a day at a luxury spa it was a bit of a shock to be lining up on the start with the likes of Ndereba and Willis. Just a note about the amazing spa. The place was all rather luxurious and frothy, the highlight of the day being the splendid hydro pool. An erupting water world of jolting jets and terrific torrents massaged us from head to toe, complete with a freezing cold plunge pool to shock yourself awake at regular intervals. That place was heaven though I think we overdid it a bit. Every inch of my body feels as if its been pummelled...
Anyways, the race. What an experience. Arriving was a bit stressy with a two mile scramble dragging the Teasey clan across Portsmouth in a panicked search for the VIP quarters. We finally found where I was supposed to be with just a few mins before the race start and no warm up to speak of. The elite athletes were accommodated in the castle. Yes, it was all very grand with carpeted toilets (complete with no queues), draping curtain thingies on the ceiling and a spread of refreshments including some very nice muffins which I revisited after the race. A couple of familiar faces put me at ease, Sarah Gee (Reading) and Alan Buckley (Leeds AC) who both looked relaxed and in their element. I took some reassurance whilst trying not to stare at the super fit looking types who were stretching limbs at impossible angles and looking far too glamorous for racing.
Anyway, hope you get the picture. The race itself was very tough and perhaps more so with a frightening fast start. I'd left my Garmin behind with its flat battery and think for the first time really needed it if only to slow me down. The start was blistering given the high winds in the first 4 miles and with no gauge of effort I suffered badly and was ready to stop at 5m. The Team Teasey entourage planted at mile 6 was the only thing that pulled me through, (I'm sorry Nige but I think I let Yorkshire down). I somehow kept my legs turning over between miles 5 and 8 and then faced those soddin' winds for the final two miles. It was running hell. After being hopeful for a PB my aspirations sunk to just getting over the finish line. My time was well down and a bit disappointing. After a bit of reflection I was glad I finished and didn't come last at all. I was 16th out of the 28 elites. Not bad really given the hell I felt from 5 miles. That's possibly the toughest race I've ever run. I'd run it all so differently next time ... race results here.
P.s. I feel the need to note a formal apology to John, father of M. After repeatedly insulting him about his age by offering to carry things and clumsily suggesting he might be too old to run alone (God forbid!) I then added insult to injury by mistakenly mocking his ethnic origins. I promise it wasn't aimed at you, I was just trying to mimic the TomTom lady. I like her Irish accent. I swear.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Its just been work, run, eat, sleep, run, eat, work, run, eat, sleep... grumble, grumble... so am very chuffed it was the last day of 'school' today. Woohoo! I've got the next 10 days off work! Just me and M and our furry little cat kids for lots of holiday fun, daytime runs, slobbing about in pajamas watching films and eating naughty treats. First off though is a bit of an adventure, a trip to stay with the Teasey clan for some overdue catching up, good company and hopefully lots of food, oh and a chance for them all to laugh at me coming last in a race.
Its even on the telly on Sunday, channel 5 I think. I'm just thinkin' there's no pressure. I'm gonna be left for dead but will be inspired by the ultra amazing line up on race day. I might even iron my Bingley vest in case I snatch a bit of camera time at the start. Though its pretty doubtful given how vertically challenged I am but just in case, watch out for the ageing woman with silly racing hair looking a bit uncool amongst the star line up and waving 'hello mum' at the TV cameras. Gulp. That'll be me. I'm not quite sure why I thought this was a good idea. Something about a good experience I think... but thanks to fellow bloggers for the lovely comments - feel very touched at the kind words. Will post a report when I get back on Monday, hopefully complete with some 'elite athletes uncut' footage, that's if I can smuggle my camera in...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Posh Stuff

After my hard work on Saturday churning out the 5k efforts I opted for a more restful run out on Sunday, a nice trail run to grab a break from the tarmac and extending the lovely Strid run a few miles to sneak in 12m. Though I'm keen to maintain the long run momentum I also want to feel fresh for my race at the weekend, the English 10m Champs within the Great South Run. The entry list is now here. OMG. The elite line up is awesome. And then there's poor little me. I'm gonna need all the help I can get to stay in sight of the elite ladies pack. I'm trying to mentally prepare for what it'll feel like to trot through in last place. As you can see the little boy genius went all cross-eyed and giggly when I told him the news.

My secret weapon however will be a trip to a very posh spa on Saturday. A visit to M's family will lighten up the scarey weekend and as a treat M's sis has arranged a day for us to be properly pampered in the poshest spa in the South. We've got a funny flotation type experience thingy booked as well as facials and a pedicure. M is having special manly versions of the same treatments, a 'Turbo facial' and 'Mach pedicure' to help instil feelings of increased manliness. Apparently we get to pootle about all day in flip flops and bath robes whilst supping tea (and I'll no doubt be screaming for my strong coffee by 11am). We'll be generally lolling about all day but I'm convinced I'll be bored. M assures me its gonna be fun and a fantastic way to prepare for race day.I'll have pretty toes at least.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Hard Core

I impressed even myself with my roughtie toughtie training earlier today. After some gruelling miles through the week I was keen to get a tough tempo session in. Original plans had been to run the National Road Relays at Sutton Park for the club but the ladies team didn't get it together in the end. So I waved off M this morning on his own journey in the boys' bus for the men's 6-stage at Sutton Park. He was a bit trembly running his first National fixture in a Bingley team, especially rubbing shoulders with the likes of John (and Sam) Convery and Stu MacDonald. Really awesome runners.
For me it was a packed day, including visits to see mums and supermarkets and the like. So, I got straight out, running from home, looping via Nesfield on the back road to Denton. After a couple of miles warm up I ran my first 5k tempo effort and felt pretty smooth despite my tired legs. The miles splits were nicely under 6 minutes each but the trick was keeping enough in reserve for the second set. Passing Denton I clocked the first 5k and ran a recovery mile out towards Askwith returning to complete a second 5k finishing at golf course corner. The second rep was a bit tougher, as I battled a bit of a headwind and the traffic being less forgiving. Again the reps were near the 6 minute mark if a bit slower but still a healthy pace.

Am chuffed to bits as was making mental allowances for the long run still in my legs from Thursday - a good effort today. A jog home to warm down brought me back to a cosy house, hungry kids and a bubble bath before setting out again for some mum time. M returned home safe early evening. Though initially a bit disappointed with his run, he eventually accepted that tough training through the week does not = fresh legs for racing. The Bingley boys still did pretty good by the sounds on a challenging and longer than 5k course, mixing it with a world class field. Results here.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

More Training Please

Seems like yonks since I posted but life has just got really busy. After my grand 18 on Sunday, college took out my Monday and then Tuesday it was a trip to Seedhill for 8 x 1k efforts. I was intrigued as to how the legs would feel after the epic run on Sunday and was anticipating feeling pretty rubbish. Surprisingly I felt great and knocked out 8 with room for more and all in pretty good times. I'm encouraged that this building mileage is not having the impact I had at first feared and I seem to be thriving on the workload at the moment. Needless to say I stuck to the 8 reps to ensure I don't get too carried away.

Last night was a swift 7m on the grass, to ease the ITB and in response to news of an unexpected XC fixture or two in November; the National XC relays and also news of selection for the W35 England team for the Masters international later in the month. So I really need to get the legs used to the grass again. Tonight was another go at the second long run mid week, a 13m jaunt from home in a long wiggle via Ilkley and back. Legs are coping well but the dark is depressing me. Long runs on school nights in the dark are about as tough as it gets I reckon. Bring on the marathon...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Big 18

Today was a big day. I ran my longest training run ever. I ran 18 whole miles. Hope you're impressed. It was hard. M & I opted out of the XC in Halifax today. I entered these thinking most were on a Saturday but later found most were confirmed as Sunday fixtures, forcing a choice between that or the long run plan - these long 'uns have already been sacrificed for races too many times these last few weeks and its beginning to show. So we opted for the time trial again Saturday and then a return to building up the long run today.
The route from Bingley took in plenty of canal and road with the mile climb up to Guiseley and on to Yeadon before the punishing and seemingly endless descent back to Apperley Bridge. We'd been clocking 6.59/7.00 minute miles and feeling pretty easy. At mile 10 we realised why when we turned into the evil head winds on our return home. The final miles were gruelling, my hip & ITB screaming at me in the last 3 miles after all the road running of the last few weeks. We'd considered an off road route today but didn't get it together in time to agree a route long enough that would avoid the perpetual stopping at stiles. Its nice to have a country amble but not good for simulating the demands of long pacey road races. M completed 17m whilst I pushed on to squeeze out another final mile which hurt. It also involved lots of angler dodging and what really got on my nerves, shouting at annoying pedestrians in the vain hope that someone might be willing to share a bit of towpath. I think I'm turning into a very grumpy old woman. Why is it that these people stare straight at you, can see you coming for quarter of a mile and yet fail to anticipate that you'll want to pass without having to jump in the canal or dive in a hedgerow to get by!? I guess tired and achy legs wear your patience thin. That's my excuse anyway. Am otherwise chuffed to have run that far after a heavy week and now hoping I'll recover in time for a return of track work & intervals (oh joy) on Tues. We've resisted naps this afternoon though both were close after a late lunch and a warm bath. That's getting old for you.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Triumphant Trials

Yep, back again to Leeds Hyde Park today for a stab at another 5k time trial - the most hated distance but as ever its best to face the fear. After the long run on the road on Thursday these old legs weren't very happy about the far too early start this morning, a 2m warm up before the usual lung bursting start at too-early-O'clock. The morning was fine, clear and pretty warm for October so a more pleasant than usual outing. I ran strong though felt the road miles in my legs and somehow managed my quickest time yet on the course by 2 secs but I sort of pootled in on the final mile with no blokes to battle with. M on the other hand had a stormer, a PB on a not very fast course and his first ever sub 18min 5k! And only 9 secs behind me! Results here. M's rate of progress is impressive and that gap between us is now the narrowest of slivers. I reckon it wont be long now before some serious PBs for M, starting with a sub 60min 10 miler for our race in November.
It was good to see some friendly faces there too with Mark H also running his fastest HPTT yet and Mr. Springer from Horsforth, as always looking awesome fit and no doubt running the HPTT in amongst several other races this weekend. A long run planned tomorrow and a bit of a chance to work off all these extra pounds the new bathroom scales keep blinkin' reminding me about.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Next Big Thing

There just seems to be so little time for blogging at the moment. Not sure why as not much has changed. As I type guiltily I can only think that the dark nights just make the evenings feel shorter and my hurry to get my run in and then wallow in the bath feels like more of a squeeze than it did during the lovely summer nights not so long ago...

This week has been rather hassly trying to balance recovery with my constant need to feel like I'm getting some proper running done. All these unplanned races have sort of gotten in the way. I'm very impatient. It drives M nuts. After being good early in the week M & I pushed the pace a bit last night with a nice and brisk aerobic run clocking sub 7 minute miles around the village. It's been interesting to note that as fitness develops through each training phase it's not usually the heart and lungs that feel taxed but the legs that seem to need the time to adjust to faster cadence. It feels a bit like running downhill and not being able to turn the legs around quick enough. I assume that's what those fancy track drills are all about.

Tonight was an attempt to get back to some proper running, a 13 miler on the road. A run in the dark with a faint hint of frost in the air and a crisp breeze. Lovely. A long run mid week is an essential element to building sufficient strength and endurance for those longer races. At least I reckon so and it is highly recommended by those who know their stuff, including fellow club mate Tricky and M of course. So, the weekly formula is building up the volume of those quality sessions in the week, sandwiched around a moderate long run and then the biggie at the weekend, with the odd race in between. The next big race is the Great South Run. I've got a freebie elite start which is great (the free bit I mean) but I risk being left standing at the start line as the proper elites leave me eating dust. I feel a bit of a fraud but couldn't pass up the free entry to a pricey race. It sounds like a good 10m course too and a good excuse to make a very overdue and welcome visit down to M's family folk. It is also a chance to show those Southern softies what us Yorkshire folk are made of. Eek! I wonder if Paula's running...I take that all back. I'll make sure I wave if its on the telly ;)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Running Hungry

So, I've just about nicely recovered from traumas of last week. The big race weekend complete with red running pants followed a nasty week at work and with college on Monday nights its all just felt a bit of slog these last few days. Having had a couple of early nights, lots of food and time to reflect on it all I'm now hungry to get back into the training swing after what's been another fortnight of disrupted training building in an unexpected HM race.
The run on Sunday was a great experience for me. It was definitely a step up to a different level of racing and I was competing with women who are marathon strong. If nothing else Sunday's race has fired me up even more in my efforts to build for a marathon seeing the strength this brings. I also feel some renewed confidence in what I might achieve with that kind of training in my legs. The course at Warrington was a great one for racing; the first 7 miles of gentle incline were a strength sapping slog and then the flatter final miles suiting a fast finish for those with anything left in their legs. My lack of regular long runs in recent weeks meant the course found me out - I just didn't have enough in my legs to take advantage of the faster final miles.
I'm now hungrier than ever to get the long runs in and think some targeted training to peak at the end of the year could produce a good HM result in January. I'm even thinking that some significant sacrifices need to made. The dates for the Complete Runner XC series have confirmed my fears that many of the fixtures are on Sundays, forcing a choice between that or my long run. I think the long run has to win and XCs will have to come second place. I do love the XC season but this year brings different priorities. A steady week until Thursday when a return of a longer run will lead into a start of quality training this weekend. It'll be good to get back to the hard work, intervals and long runs. [Yawn] Night night.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Yay, England won! After all the build up and nerves about pants it was a successful day. The English team won in both ladies and men's races after a very delayed start hanging about on a freezing cold & rainy Sunday morning. I'm completely knackered so cannot report other than to say that I came 4th overall in the race and didn't die of embarrassment in the horrific outfit. Report to follow when I've recovered a bit. Off to put my feet up now... Results here.

Friday, 2 October 2009

XC Is Back!

Well, its the night before the night before and M is readying himself for his big relay tomorrow, the BMAF XC relays at Mansfield. Its a stunning boys team and they will no doubt do some damage on the loveliest of of XC courses at Berry Hill. This is my favourite ever XC course, usually multi-laps over undulating and soft, grassy terrain with a very fine patch of woodland for some good chasing, particularly in team relay competitions.
I'll be standing at the sidelines feeling a tad jealous, mixed in with a few guilt pangs for not running with our ladies team & of course trying to put those red pants to the back of my mind. M is fit and hungry for racing so can't wait to see what he and team mate Tricky can pull out of the bag for the team performance tomorrow.
Then its a hurry back up the motorway for my overnight bag and a last cuddle with the furry feline kids and then back in the car for the trip to Warrington & the team meeting at 7pm. Another night in a Premier Inn, counting down the hours in a strange bed until race day. Its a 9am race start (yuck) so am hopeful I can swallow some breakfast early enough to avoid any repeats of the Nottingham experience. Wish me luck. I may nor may not post some race pics depending on the state of me in an England 'bikini'. Until Sunday then.. all pinkies crossed.
Some pics of the Relays... Results here.