Monday, 30 May 2011

Small News

After sampling the delights of the beautiful new running track at Keighley and revelling in the fresh, new and very bouncy running surface my training has taken a bit of a back seat this last fortnight. That goes for blogging and blipping too ... 

Another promotion opportunity at work came along unexpectedly, all at very short notice and demanding lots of nervous energy and attention. The very long and complicated application went in on Friday 13th, assessment centre was then endured on the very same day as my birthday, Monday 23rd and then bam! Shock job offer on 25th. It's all been a bit unexpected really and not much time for thinking in between. I'm very chuffed though and am now planning for my job move to Greater Manchester with very little time to hand over the old one in West Yorkshire. In between I'm planning my next marathon effort in October and trying to squeeze some training in. To add to the excitement, M and I have just booked our first proper holiday in years. I'm so excited! A week's trip to Austria in June with mountains, lakes, lots of trail running and plenty of fine pastries for me and German sausage for M. It's gonna be bliss. Life should calm down soon. (I'm the one in the frock).

P.s. to any local runners fancying a session on the new Keighley track - you can use the new facilities from 6.30pm Tuesday & Thursdays for a small fee of £2. John Dennis is your man to contact for more information:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Big News!

This Saturday 14th May sees the grand and official opening of the fantastic new facilities at the University Academy Keighley. The athletics track and associated sports facilities will be unveiled at the newly-built University Academy, Greenhead Road, Keighley. The day has been organised by students from Leeds Metropolitan University as part of their Sports Business and Sports Development degree course, in conjunction with Keighley & Craven Athletic Club and UKA.

A wide range of activities and opportunities are planned from 11am to 3pm and will give athletes a chance to look around the facilities, culminating in the official opening of the track by Mrs Angela Woodcock, whose late husband John was such an inspiration and driving force behind athletics in the Keighley and Bradford area before his untimely death from cancer in 2006. John would have been delighted to see the fabulous facilities that have now, after many years of hard work been developed in perfect time for the lead up to London 2012 and the legacy beyond.  

Keighley is now a real centre for ongoing high quality sports development for all standards and abilities and the future looks very bright indeed. If you're local (or even if you're not!) get down to Keighley on Saturday. I'll definitely be there ogling the new track along with M to celebrate the arrival of some top notch facilities at long last. In the meantime pass on the news round your networks to kick off the summer athletcis season in style... hope to see you there. 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Thirsky Work

What a joy it was to be back running in the Harrogate summer league this week. It's been 3 years (at least) since M and I stepped out for this summer race series;  a very sociable set of evening races comprising of 5-6 miles along road and trail followed by a summer supper. Each race is hosted by a participating Yorkshire club in the Harrogate district and includes a fine sandwich and cake spread to aid runners with post race refuelling after a long day at work. It was great to be back, these events were my introduction to road running and racing with Ilkley Harriers six years ago; check out my first ever result.

This first event of 2011 was hosted by Thirsk and Sowerby. Though a bit of a trek for some, it was well worth the trip up north. The mad dash from work via Leeds to collect M lacked the usual relaxed pre-race prep, as did the drive up the A1 through the downpour. It's moments like these I wonder what on earth I'm doing; dashing from work to race 6 miles in the pouring rain. There were a few sideways glances from colleagues when I answered  polite questions about my evening plans. They think I'm slightly mental. In any case, as is the way with these things, I was really glad we made it. The rain freshened up the air and had eased off to a light drizzle once we got to the race start. The field was a fine, scattered rainbow of club vests, peppered with lots of old friends and running chums, some I've not seen in absolutely ages. 

Our own club is not a participating member of the league so we both opted to join up with friends' clubs, second claim. M ran for Dragons, alongside good mate Tricky (a Dragons celebrity and featured on their site!). As you can see M's sporting his new Dragons vest proudly (as I shiver from the back of the car like a big wuss). This was my debut race for Otley AC, a fine local club full of lovely folk that I've got to know in recent years. It's the club I nearly joined as a new runner a few years ago, (though they've got women in the club nowadays thank goodness!). 

The race itself was bit of a shock; 6 miles being a bit shorter than my recent adventures. The faster pace on the back of a return to some proper training this week all felt a bit too much for the legs. After a very cautious start I managed to keep working my way through the field and after a couple of miles the first lady was in sight. I edged to her side eventually and we ran a fine race together; working hard on each other's shoulders (especially me when Charlotte dropped me like a bag of spuds on the bobbly grass tracks - I was useless). 

This has got to be the most exciting race I've run for years and I loved every minute! The final half mile came around so quickly not knowing the course and with a short push on to the finish I managed to  rob the win with only a couple of seconds to spare. Rob G of Wetherby was also by our side in the final miles, pushing hard but no doubt still feeling his run at John Carr this week. Either that or his mid race chat tired him out, (how do you do that Rob?!). Thank you to Charlotte S for making me work hard and for being such a fine and gutsy competitor.

M had a great race, he was barely in my sights from early on, pressing on with his go-faster knee socks and new T7s. He worked well to take 15th position overall, closely followed by Tricky who ran amazingly after his fine run at London and not yet three weeks gone. Our respective clubs enjoyed fine performances given the trek for many  members. Otley ladies finished second team overall, with us lady vets taking first position. Results here, pics here

Monday, 2 May 2011

Next Steps

It's now three whole weeks since M day and only blissful, unstructured, smell-the-roses kind of running has followed. It's been a perfect post marathon recovery break with endless sunshine, cool breezes and clear days to amble about the Dales in shorts and sunnies with no sessions to worry about or mileage to reach. I've been truly lazy, eaten too much, slept late but am now feeling race hungry and ready to plan my next marathon. 

This last week I've tinkered with training plans, dabbled with race entries and today was my first official day back to proper training. It marks the last of 11 days off work; a blogging and training free few weeks and I'm feeling kind of refreshed, though also a bit spacey at the thought of being back working in an office tomorrow.

I've now a second marathon planned for October with lots of time in between to do all the fun stuff over the summer, kicking off with the postponed treat of the Calderdale Way Relay this weekend. We dared not risk racing without a good recce and this is my first time on Leg 4; a real beauty of a route from Blackshaw Head to Wainstalls. 

The 9 mile run was slow and relaxed and gave plenty of time to admire the magnificent, and lush Calder Valley. Once upon a time this place was home and it felt wonderful to be back running across the sweeping moors with the wind in my pigtails and warm sun on my legs. It was a pure delight filled with nuggets of teenage nostalgia. 

This week also sees a return to the much loved Harrogate League; a summer race series starting this Thursday. The race diary is brimming with summer race delights; I'm just not sure when I'll fit all the marathon training in.