Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Still, it was nice when it lasted. Just have to run a bit faster next year :)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I got up early this morning, having had the benefit of the extra hour due to the clocks changing, and went along to the Strathearn Harriers session at 8.15am in Crieff. There were 10 of us altogether, a record turnout, and we had a very pleasant off road run at a a nice and easy pace. This was just what I needed as I haven't been feeling great for the last few days. Towards the end of the run the conversation turned to the subject of 'junk miles' (see definition above). It got me thinking. As we approach the end of the year I suppose I could be accused of running some 'junk miles', particularly as I try and chase a target such as 2,000 miles for the year. (Incidentally after today I'm sitting at 1,739 miles, with just over 2 months to go). On the other hand an easy session is not necessarily 'junk' and can be worthwhile, particularly when you are feeling tired and your body needs a chance to recover. In these situations I often find it is better to go for a 4 or 5 mile jog with the dog than to do nothing at all - at least it keeps my legs turning over, and I often feel better for having been out. So, having thought about it in detail, I don't think I am generally guilty of running 'junk miles', although I do have some very easy recovery sessions when I feel I need them.
Glad I've got that off my chest. What else has been happening?
I was at the Rangers v Barcelona Champions League match on Tuesday night. Rangers defended well and deserved their point, although I don't think they will win the Champions League. Barcelona looked different class.
After work on Friday I ran round Arthur's Seat, just before it became dark. The views across Edinburgh were superb. It is one of my favourite runs.
This afternoon was the Strathearn Harriers golf day at St Fillans Golf Club. Our team was last in the 'Texas Scramble' competition, but despite that it was a great day out on a very scenic course.
Finally, winter has now arrived here in Scotland. For the next few months it will be dark more often than it is light, it will be a lot colder, and it generally be unpleasant when out running. Hard as it may seem, fellow runners, try not to despair. Remember that all the hard work put in during the winter will produce better performances next spring and summer.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I suppose my body probably needs a bit of a rest after quite a long and hard year. So far this year I've done 2 ultras, 2 marathons and 4 half marathons. Once we reach Christmas I'll start thinking more seriously about next year's WHW (and I'll also write my review of the year and announce the winners of my running awards, so keep an eye out for that) but at the moment I feel as though I am just treading water.
Yesterday was the first East League cross country meeting at Broxburn. There were 9 of us in total from Strathearn Harriers, which was a great turn-out. I think I finished about half way up (or down) the field, around 10 seconds behind Phil M. He built up quite a lead on the first leg, and even though I closed quite a lot on the second leg (reducing the gap from about 30 seconds to 12 seconds) I just couldn't catch him. Still, I'm 3 years older, and our winter club championship is based on age adjusted times, so I'm confident I might end up just in front of him on an 'age adjusted' basis. Having said that I'm not sure I'll be ahead of some of our 'older' members (or perhaps 'less youthful' is a more tactful description), such as Gordon - we'll just need to wait and see when the results and age adjusted times are published.
Finally congratulations to Kim who finished today's Amsterdam Marathon in a time of 3 hours 9 minutes. This was only her second marathon, with her previous one being at Loch Ness in 2002 where she finished in 4.01. From looking at the results I think she finished as 28th lady. Given the quality of the field - the first lady was a Kenyan who ran 2.28 - that's an excellent performance.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
As the course was a distance of 4k, is it reasonable to multiply these times by 2.5 to get a 10k equivalent road time? Looking at the evidence, I think it is. Robert's 'converted' 10k time works out at 30.32, and Ali's works out at 30.45. Robert recently won the Stirling 10k in a time of 30.47 - it's close enough to his time on Saturday to suggest my method works quite well.
That means my '10k equivalent' time on Saturday was 39.02 - probably about right given the way I ran, and the fact it was only 6 days after a marathon. On that basis I can conclude it was a reasonable performance: not fantastic, but ok. As for the other guys, Digby's time works out at a '10k equivalent' of 36.17, Simon's at 37.50, and Colin's at 35.45.
There is another cross country this Saturday, with the first East League meeting taking place at Broxburn. I ran there last year: I'm pleased to say it was a traditional cross country course with mud, steep hills, and a biting cold wind. It looks like there will be a good turnout from Strathearn Harriers. I'm looking forward to it already :)
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Talking of allybea, she was so inspired by the marathon last week that she has decided to take the plunge again herself, and has entered the 2008 London marathon! More information on how she came to this monumentous decision is provided on her blog, as well as a great report of her previous marathon in New York:
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her entry is accepted. I might even enter it myself, if I can get another entry form before Friday's deadline.
I've had a busy weekend. Yesterday I ran for Strathearn in the East District Cross Country Relay championships at Dunfermline. Each leg was 4,000m over an undulating parkland course, a distance which I find incredibly difficult because of my complete lack of speed. Despite my involvement we did pretty well, finishing in 20th position overall in just under an hour. Not too surprisingly I was the slowest of the 4 with a time of 15.37. Digby did 14.31, Simon did 15.08, and Colin was the fastest with 14.18. Well done guys. Central had an amazing day, winning all 4 relays (men, women, young males and young females), and picking up a few seconds and thirds as well. It just shows what an incredible depth of talent they have within the club.
Today I headed off early for the Aviemore half marathon. I wouldn't normally do a half marathon just one week after a full marathon, but Aviemore is a pretty special event and I didn't think I could miss it. The event website gives an excellent description of the course:
A spectacular, scenic half marathon course on road and excellent forest
tracks starting in the shadow of the Cairngorm Mountains, around
breathtaking Loch Morlich, through stunning Glenmore Forest Park
and Rothiemurchus Estate, crossing the River Spey and finishing
in the new Aviemore Centre.
Sounds great, doesn't it? I can guarantee you it is every bit as good as it sounds. This is, in my humble opinion, the best half marathon in Scotland, and I'd be surprised if there were many better anywhere in the world. It's that good.
We were fortunate that conditions were just about perfect for running, and the views across the loch to the Cairngorms were indeed spectacular. My time was also a pleasant surprise. Despite last week's marathon and yesterday's cross country, I finished high up the field in 1 hour 27 minutes and 31 seconds, almost 2 minutes faster than last year. I think the scenery must have inspired me.
Finally, it's going to be a late night tonight, as Channel 5 are showing their highlights programme of last week's Loch Ness marathon from 12.10am to 1.05am. I just hope it is worth staying up to watch it.
Monday, October 08, 2007
We left home about half 3 on Saturday afternoon and, like most of the popluation of the world, were very surprised that England had beaten Australia in the rugby before we reached Crieff. Picked up Liz and Shelagh, and headed north. Stopped for soup at the House of Bruar (highly recommended), and arrived at registration at the Sports Centre around 6.30. Met up with Phil, Liz, Duncan and Keri, collected number and chip, said hello to Adrian at his Run and Become stall, then headed off to Pizza Express beside Inverness Station. I had a nightmare trying to get parked, but on our 3rd time round the city centre we managed to find a car park. We had a pleasant meal in Pizza Express, the only complaint being that there were too many mushrooms in the mushroom pasta, then headed north to our B&Bs at Muir of Ord. Headed to bed about 11pm. The first time marathons (Liz and Shelagh) were definitely more nervous than the anyone else.
The next morning we got up shortly before 7 am for our pre race breakfast. The textbooks say that, prior to a marathon, you should eat a high carbohydrate breakfast of porridge followed by wholemeal toast with honey. They are wrong. What you should have is this: 2 slices of bacon, a sausage, 2 poached eggs, a tomato, and some haggis, accompanied by a couple of slices of toast and some coffee. It was superb. I have learned my lesson. In future, before a marathon, I will try and make sure I have a full Scottish breakfast.
We were a bit tight for time, and made the bus with only seconds to spare, having met up with John K and John McL. It took about an hour for the bus to get from the Sports Centre in Inverness to the race start just past Whitebridge, then I had 45 minutes or so to go to the toilet, stretch, go to the toilet again, put on some vaseline, go to the toilet again, put my bag in the baggage lorry, go the toilet for a last time, and then head up the road to the start. I didn't bother with the mass warm up. A pipe band came right through the middle of the waiting runners playing some inspiring Scottish music (always a nice touch, I think), and then at 10am exactly we were ready to go.
I set off at a good pace, and noticed I was through 2 miles in a fast 13.11. The first few miles are downhill, and I knew if I was to have any chance at all of beating 3 hours I needed to make a good start. I was pleased that my breakfast seemed to have settled well, and in general I felt good. I was through 5 miles in 33.16 - still a bit fast - and kept going well until about 8 miles. Just before 9 miles I saw Phil M, who had cycled in from Inverness to support his wife Liz. Phil, apologies for my grumpiness, but I was going through a bit of a bad patch - it was nothing personal, honestly. If it is any consolation I was even more grumpy when I saw Gus and Jean a couple of miles further on, and positively rude when I saw Simon about 14 miles. Anyway, I went through 10 miles in 1.07.16, but was starting to find it hard going and slowed a bit before the half way, which I reached in 1.29.10. It wasn't getting any easier, and by the time I reached 15 miles in 1.42.36 I knew I wasn't going to beat 3 hours. A Channel 5 motor bike and camera appeared in front of me. I thought that was great - I do like being on the TV - but then realised it was only because I was running beside the 2nd lady. Much to my annoyance she shot away from me at a great pace, right in front of the camera, but if you see this happening on TV please make a note this: I overtook her again at the big hill outside Dores at 17 miles and never saw her again. So there. Just a pity the cameras didn't capture that. The hill caused me to slow a bit, although not too much, and I went through 20 miles in 2.19.38. I don't think anyone passed me all the way up, which pleased me no end. After that it got even more difficult - I suppose the last 6 miles of a marathon always are - and I was pleased when I finally reached the houses just coming in to Inverness. A couple more painful miles and I was into the city centre, over the bridge, heading up towards the stadium, and through 25 miles in 2.56.50. I worked hard over the last mile and just managed to get over the line under 3.06, recording an actual time of 3.05.54. Of the 44 road marathons I have done it was my 11th fastest. It is also worth noting it was my 60th race of marathon distance or longer.
Other performances were as follows: John McL ran a PB of 3.06; Phil finished in 3.13, John K did 3.15, Bobby M did 3.19, Duncan did 3.26, Tim did 3.41, Ellen did 3.47, Liz (in her first marathon) did 4.24, and Shelagh (also in her first marathon) did 4.29. Keri did the 10k in just under an hour. It was a perfect day for running, but it is definitely one of the tougher marathon courses. So well done to everyone. I'm looking forward to next year already.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
It was the 24th time the great man has set a world record, and I was fortunate enough to see one of them. In 2003 I was doing some work for UK Athletics in Birmingham, and I was invited along to the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix meeting that night at the National Indoor Arena. Gebrselassie set a new 2 mile world indoor record of 8 minutes 4.69 seconds. I felt priviliged to have seen it. If I remember correctly there was also a women's pole vault world record that night from Svetlana Feofanova of 4.77m. It was quite an occasion.
(PS Just in case anyone is wondering, I checked both these records on the internet just before typing this. Did you really think I remembered them? How sad do you think I am?)
I think I'll settle for something a bit slower on Sunday.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
We should be back in time to see the Scotland v Argentina game in the quarter final of the rugby world cup. I don't fancy Scotland's chances at all, but it would be great to be proved wrong. What price on a 'Super Sunday' double of a sub 3 hour marathon for me and a Scotland victory in the rugby? If that comes off I might even be tempted to open the bottle of champagne that has been chilling in the fridge for the last couple of months :)