Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Another PB!

I have to admit to being a bit of a scaredy cat tonight; as we drove over to Stretford I remembered the unpleasantness of my leaden legs hitting lap 5 a fortnight ago. My old lady knees were knocking at the thought of another frighteningly short race on the track after a weekend of hard running, but its' all good training as they say...

It was my second 3k race ever and what a gorgeous sunny evening it was to be running like a nutter around a giant, flattened rubber ring. After my first attempt at the distance a fortnight ago I was chasing a slightly faster time but feeling a bit doubtful after the exploits of my long run in the sun on Sunday. Anyway, I crossed the line tonight in 9.58.55, a PB by 13 seconds. Yeehah! Needless to say I am very chuffed with myself (sorry for being so boring M) and have at last run my first sub 10 race. I had to go for another run before bedtime just to get rid of the post race buzzin'. I'm feeling good.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


After a rather tropical training week hitting the miles I'd been bracing myself for the extra toughness of the weekend sessions in the daytime heat... and I wasn't wrong. Coach Scobie made no allowances during Saturday's session; he worked us hard with a descending ladder  from 2k dropping down to 400M, all at sub 80 split pace with a total of well over 5k. The session was a bit daunting given my lack of speed work this year.

I struggled with the running rhythm early on and lacked the even pacing but settled into some speedy running once I found the Runnngbear groove. I felt floaty light in my Nerve spikes and managed to finish with a final flourish of 2.35 for 800M and 71 for the final 400M.
I'm actually enjoying track work for the first time in this second running life. I've some work to do yet to develop the strength endurance but for now, I'm learning to run fast so I can race fast...

This morning was another running feat in the heat; a steady 16 miles from home run early but not quite early enough to avoid the scorching sun. I was crawling over the doorstep hallucinating giant chilled bottles of chocolate milk by 11.30am. The afternoon was one long rehydrating blur...

So, another fine training week in the body bank soon to be followed by a small spending spree; a fast and furious 3k session on Tuesday night. Keep all those pinkies crossed my cheque doesn't bounce.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


It was a long and frustrating day at work today; a working-very-hard-but-achieving-nothing kind of day. I was longing for the journey home so I could peel off the suit and burst out of the door, trainer clad and running free. Yippee! The early evening was filled with a fresh and brisk 10 mile run along my usual Dales' trails; the Wharfe was my burbling companion except for the occasional startled sheep interrupting the running flow. 

I've been niggly all week and a bit anxious about my dodgy leg. Tonight it was a relief to feel easy and strong. There's nothing to beat these mid-week summer runs, once the office mania has quietened its swirling in my head. I was soon absorbed in the sights and smells of running through warm grass and enjoying the contrast of a cool green canopy as I hit the woodland trails with summery songs playing in my head. I'm a bit of a running puritan and judge harshly those who use modern distraction devices (IPods etc.); being fully aware and in the moment is surely what its' all about?! Anyway, tonight's run inspired a summertime slideshow complete with a tune that I just can't seem shake off...Haikuesque from Bibio.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A Boiled Bear

I hate to think what someone might have googled to land on this post... It was a tough session tonight with a blazing sun and mile efforts to get through. A tough 16 miles on Sunday followed by a seeing to from Team GB physio Alison Rose at Carnegie on Monday left me feeling a bit bruised and less perky than usual. The calf wringing was eye-poppingly painful and coach Scobie just sat there and grinned as I bit my knuckles!

Apparently I have a rather large difference in leg length and am lucky to not be frequently injured! The analysis of my form suggests this is what saves my bacon; I'm 'very efficient' but I need to build up height in my left shoe to give my right leg a bit of a break. Funny to have not discovered this until now...

So, somewhat overheated and niggly I managed 10 in total tonight with a few mile efforts thrown in. A good session if a bit slow but Saturday at the track will more than make up for that. I am SO getting into this speed work and never want the summer to end. Ho hum.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

M's Masters' Medal

What another fine running weekend it's been. First of all a morning trip to the track yesterday resulted in another great quality speed session in the bank for me; 6x800m at a good lick saw me running faster than ever despite the blustery conditions. M was stand-in coach and was conscientious and dedicated in his whistle blowing to keep me even paced through the effort. The speedy strategy is working well; my recovery run later in the day saw my old lady legs turning over quicker than ever, if only my lungs could keep up!

Today was M's last day of racing for a few weeks; a team effort in the British Masters 5k Champs at Horwich. Though not a race he'd planned for it was one he was happy to turn out for to complete the Bingley Men's V40 team. The event is a blistering three lapper around Horwich town centre including a not-so-nice hill, painfully situated at each lap end, including the final run into the finish. The course is fairly tough, particularly on a warm day but M ran strong despite the challenges of the course. Close rivals for the team prize were Salford, another strong road club with a killer V40 team. 

The Bingley boys ran strong with Andy Peace finishing first in 16.02 closely followed by Stewart MacDonald in 16.13 , Simon Johnson in 17.08 and M in a fine time of 17.17. All four Bingley boys made up the prize winning Bingley team, finishing second V40 team and swooping silver medals. M's form held well and suggests a sub-17 on a flat course is well within his grasp so watch this space! Many other fine performances were had on the day and after all the excitement I'm off out to do my long run now; I hope to be back before dark... 

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A PB !

Just reporting in on what was my first track race last night. I say first track race but it isn't the first ever. I was a handy middle distance runner as a schoolgirl but the last time I raced in circles on a track was over 23 years ago at the age of 14. You might say I was a tad nervous as we journeyed over to Stretford stadium, the home of Trafford AC for one of their fortnightly Grand Prix Open Series events. 

It was my first ever 3k race and I was dead nervous. It seems a bit silly now as it was never intended to be more than a speed session, especially after a weekend of heavy training. But the prospect of such a short race sent my achey calves all a quiver and I just can't seem to enter any race lightly; I'm just one of those annoyingly competitive types... 

M was chauffeur, photographer, bag carrier and hand holder and endured the long drive over once we'd managed to skip off work early for the 6.30pm race seeding. The whole thing was a bit of blur and after a hurried warm up and a few strides in my lovely spikes I was soon on the start line. It was frightening and eek-inducing but awesome and exciting stuff all at the same time. The pacing plan was a whole new world and saw me setting out at 77"/400m pace with a plan to build a steady rhythm through 7.5 laps of even splits; working to a time as near as possible to 10 minutes. 

I ran well through the first 4 laps but fatigue from the Sunday long run soon caught up and by lap 5 I was flagging. I lost a couple of seconds in the later stages though just managed to pull back the pace on lap 7 to finish strong to take second lady out of 5 with a time of 10'11". Not too bad a restart to my track racing career, especially on these old lady legs. I've now a great target to beat in the coming weeks, with just a few more speed sessions in these legs and I might even manage a sub 10!

Post warm-down and we were both nicely ensconced track-side with a tray of chips from the fab food kiosk and bearing witness to some awesome track talent. Later races included the likes of Lisa Dobriskey and Laura Kenney pictured in a blurry fashion above in the 1500m BMC race, (they were running far too fast). The evening race programme was brimming with track elites and what an awesome sight they were; great motivational fuel to draw on during those tough interval sessions ahead. Results here.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Millennium Way Relay 2010

Blogging en route, the Bingley boys M and Lewis are looking strong in second, just seconds behind Keighley. Eek! M is looking calm and controlled and Lewis the 17 year old has such great hair! The excitement is killing me... The P & B boys are chasing in 3rd at half way...

Later... The boys did good. In fact they did very good. After racing uphill and down dale against some of the best local bloke runners in the area they finally came in a close third, within a whisker of Keighley and in touching distance of fell supremo team P & B. After a hair raising leg 4 the fine Bingley pair handed over to our boys on leg 5, all within a minute or two of the leaders, P & B.

Andy B and Steve B ran a stormer despite recent injury woes to pull up over a minute, passing Keighley early on to come 2nd overall by a mere 40 seconds. It seems crazy that a 48 mile race could finish with such a close race in the end. So, feet up and footy on for M, until next weekend of course. I'm quite enjoying this team support business, though I'm not sure it's any less stressful. Oh, I also managed to squeeze in a steady 15 miles after all the drama. I got soaked and my legs were leaden. But I'm back and settled  in for the night with a belly full of dinner.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Feels Like Flying

This week has been a proper week. No excuses, no more holidays, this is it. I'm back to it and have actually managed two great quality sessions this week. After the longer efforts on the canal on Tuesday, this morning was a return to some fast stuff and it felt great. So, this morning was a trip to Carnegie to meet the great and good coach Scobie as he tirelessly held his stopwatch, raised the odd eyebrow and shouted encouragement as I completed a full set of 400s. It was brill.

I'm now fully adjusted to my track spikes and can feel the massive difference to my running form and my split times. It's been quite some time since I've put in speedwork sessions at the track and each week the splits are getting faster and I'm feeling more motivated. Today the splits were better than ever with strong winds on the first bend and no company to chase. The iron tablets must be doing their thing. So, a satisfying session it was and a great lead in to my first track race on Tuesday. 

Inviting a coach into my running life was a big step but one I don't regret. I can't  easily explain how good it is to share the simple joys of running with someone who really knows what it means.  In any case it's working, my running fire is blazing and I'm ready to rocket round my first 3k. Bring it on.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Buzzy Fun

As the days go by and the training starts to take shape I'm increasingly returning to my old self; that training buzz is returning. After watching M run a fine race on Sat I was inspired to return for the ladies record next year. I set it myself whilst adding half a mile to the course following a wrong turn at the finish. It's been on my mind...

Sunday was a steady 15; my first longish run in weeks that hasn't ended in near collapse. So signs are good that my health is back on track and the Runningbear warrior strength is returning. Time to plan some races.

Last night saw a return to canal towpath training; a medium run of 10 miles interspersed with some efforts; 5 x 3mins to be exact. I was tired but in that satisfying, working hard kind of way that leaves you with a residual buzz and ready for the next session.

I'm being good, avoiding leaps in mileage for now and just trying to regain some strength and confidence. First test is my first track race next Tuesday, a 3k at Trafford track. I'm excited and scared all at once. A track race, moi?!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Every Picture Tells A Story

Today was M's big day, it being a key race in the calendar; the Wharfedale Half Marathon. This is a lovely off road race taking in plenty of climb, skirting Conistone, Kilnsey and taking in the very long, hard slog of a climb up Mastiles Lane. The race ends with a very fast final descent back into Threshfield and is superbly organised by Bingley club mate and supremo runner, Mick Hawkins

The day was a hotty and with the race setting out at 11am no runner escaped the bright but harsh rays of the sun today. M has focused on nothing else this last week or two and was eager to run well and find out exactly how good his race preparation has been.

Setting out a tad fast, M led the first mile over the fast boys at the front; the initial road section lulling him into a slightly too fast pace. The race soon settled down with some tough running over glorious dales terrain, a hazy sunny day with slight breezes and breathtaking scenery. The views were the last thing on their minds as they dug in, racing from checkpoint to checkpoint and hydrating where they could.

My snippets of the race were wee snatches of action where the car could take me, though admittedly I nearly missed M whilst absorbed with a lovely scattering of limestone boulders! The area is one of my favourites, Burnsall and its environs being my dream home, if only. 

The final stages of the race forced me to rouse myself from a happy-snapping-stupor just in time to chase M to the finish; a bone rattling descent of 2 miles into Threshfield for the final sprint home. After a near tie with a Leeds City boy mid-way, M came in to swoop 6th place overall. A few mispunches and wrong turnings for the leading two took them out of the final results. It has to be said that all boys looked truly wasted by the finish. Nice one M, first V40 and 6th overall! Well done to all Otley and lkley mates too including Jon S, Andy W and Ewan (he braved the full marathon!). Marc S of Horsforth also ran well, racing well over his usual distance and for the third time this week. A nice prize and a bacon butty followed by cake finished off the afternoon nicely. We'll both be back next year, there's a ladies record to break. Results here.