Friday, 23 September 2011

Time off (sort of)

I have just returned from my two week break, it was a break of sorts shattered at the end by an insanely large amount of running to get me back into things!

It was fortunate that i had some time off as work went into overdrive working on average 9-10 hour days, the joys of receiving a promotion and being given a few more projects. Although it has been character building and excellent experience with juggling multiple projects and resourcing appropriately. Anyway enough of work.

During the time off I took advantage of the time to do a few other activities, golf, rock climbing a bit of football all things to keep me active and not put a stone on. I threw in some small runs every other day with a maximum of 3 miles.

In the second week I went to Switzerland with Matt Barnes meeting up with Darren Talbot, who lives out there, Mike Skinner and Team GB's number 1 fan club Trevor and Lynn Pearce.

On the Thursday we went to the Diamond league meet in Zurich, it was amazing. The atmosphere was 10 times better than what i have experienced in the UK and they love all disciplines so there was a constant buzz. We were in the standing area next to the high jump and javelin so we got to see a lot of action and as you can see a lot of the winners of each race.

The following day consisted of a float down a river to bern in a few rubber dingys as well as a stop off for a BBQ and swim. When we got to Bern we had to pack up and the 3 other lads ran back up the river (12 miles) to the cars while i went out for 4 and came back.

The next day was where the real fun began, a two hour trip to the wine region of France for a small matter of a half marathon which we had entered. We were hoping for a nice steady run and to clean up the prizes, this was dashed by a local turning up who was planning to run New York Marathon. Lets just say he was in better shape than we expected. The 32 degree heat and rolling hills did not help matters. Several stops, about a gallon of water and a slight detour at the end of the race i finished in about 1 hour 22 min (should have been longer considering my detour). The most painful 13(ish) miles i have run in a long time. So the next day we did it all over again, just a little slower this time, and finished it off with a swim in the Rhine.

Since then I have got back into some steady training, one 40 mile week, a painful 16:35 5k park run tied in with a saturday morning session in wythenshaw, a 4 mile tempo and 8*300 reps. All perfect preparation for the Northern six stage relay this weekend.

Or not.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Season in Review

So the domestic season has come to a close. 2011 was a better year than 2010, 09 and 08 so i can't complain... but i will. A little inconsistent and my better races or at least when I felt best came at the wrong time. 

Still going sub 9 for chase, getting within 1 second of my 1500 and 2 seconds of my 3k pbs is again ok but would have preferred to be breaking them. After all I am not getting any younger and the youngsters are starting to show me up!

My last race I reported on was the World trials in Birmingham. In the week after I felt extremely drained and had to take a couple of days off to recover. Maybe a virus, maybe just overcooking it was however not the best feeling!

In August I competed in the remaining British leagues and UK challenge final. The third league meet in Manchester saw me doubling up in the B events for the 3k Steeplechase (9:21) and the 3k flat (8:20), which was within 2 seconds of my PB. Not too bad considering the the hour recovery between the two races. Maximum points in both of these races which helped the City of Manchester record a victory in that particular meet, the endurance team (800 to 3k including chase) only dropped 4 points that day (3rd A in the 3k) which was a stark contrast to previous meets.

In the UK challenge final the following week I tried putting myself in a position to run a fast time. However going through the first 4 laps in 8:35 pace following Stokes, Gunn, Wilkinson et al. I suffered for the last few laps and my pace dropped and finished with a 9:15. Again extremely frustraiting! 

Over the bank holiday weekend was the final BAL in Newham, this time I was doubling up in both the Steeplechase and 5k, the killer double! Again I was able to win the B steeplechase in a controlled 9:14 ( which proved to myself that I could run a much quicker time in a evenly paced race), the 5k an hour later was a little more tough than the 3k two weeks previously. I felt comfortable through the first 3k however the last 2k including a sudden change of pace indicated the effort I had put in earlier took its toll. The time of 14:59 was not too bad considering, but next year i would hope to finally update my 5k PB! However again the team again won the meet and league overall which will mean a European trip next year to pitch ourselves against the best in Europe! 

One of the big things i am taking away from this track season is the fact that I have been able to compete the whole season without breaking down. Being able to stay healthy and fit will allow me to push on over the winter and as long as I am sensible, I should come out next year stronger again.

I am currently having a brief end of season break. However I will return to racing as early as the end of September in the Northern 6 stage road relays.

As odd as it is to say, Bring on the Winter!