The long surge

18 05 2009

The day of the race came after a late night watching the Eurovision song contest (yes I know). Typically we had to drag the boys out of bed and the most stressful part of racing began. Getting to the start is far more stressful to me than actually running the race itself.

We arrived with very little time to spare and I barely had time to warm up before we were off.

My race plan for Chester was to take it easy until the first drinks station and then surge until the final drinks station and hold on to the end with whatever I had left. An average of 8 minute miles would get me to my target time.

My plans were in tatters when I reached the first mile point in 7 minutes 50 seconds and the second in an even faster time. There was no point in surging now ! I had no surging power left. It was a matter of holding on to sub 8 minute pace for the whole race. I was running at 90 % effort all the way. Why not 100% ? Well, you have to leave something in the bag just in case.

It proved a good tactic there was a hill at 9 miles and then shortly afterwards the heavens opened and soaked us all to the skin.

My poor family : Mum, Dad, Helen, Dominic and Eddie were told to prepare for my arrival at the top of Overleigh Road just as the heavens opened. I stopped briefly to give my Mum and Helen a kiss.

Final time 1:44:26 and just outside of the top 600 out of over 2000 runners. I am pretty sure standards have dropped over the years – that would only have got me 900th place in 1982.

This time I felt no strong emotions just quiet satisfaction. All had gone to plan.

After the race I had to huddle in a tent with many other athletes to wait for Helen to arrive with a warm top. It was far too cold outside and I was soaked through to the skin and shivering.

I am under no illusion that this is good preparation for Madrid. It is just a small step. But I can now run 13 miles at a pace equal to that which I achieved as a teenager. I ran at 7.5 miles an hour. I am now beginning to gain confidence in my ability and feel like a decent runner. I was stretched and worked hard the whole way around but never felt out of my depth.

Now I think I have earned a rest. I am drawing a line and taking a week off from running and then the real marathon training will begin. A 16 week training programme that will get me to Fleetwood. I just hope it gets warmer soon.



Turning back the clock

14 05 2009

This Sunday is my final race before I start my four month marathon training programme.

The Chester half marathon will have quite a large field (2000-3000 runners) and starts next to the Roman Walls. I have included a link of the course here.

View Interactive Map on

The course will be pretty flat and should result in fast times.

The last time I ran the Chester half marathon was in 1983. I came 779th (out of 1,753) in a time of 1:42:36 – my best time ever !

Realistically, I would struggle to match that. I ran Liverpool in 1:47:25 which included a wee stop and so am aiming for 1:45 or so. This would beat the time I set in my first half marathon in Wrexham in 1982 which was 1:46:46.

The beginning of the race looks pretty crowded so I need to ensure I don’t get boxed in with slow runners. I had that problem at the start of Liverpool so this time I will make sure I start higher up the field with runners who will be a little faster.

I know I am getting obsessive and am sure I will be very nervous on the day. Training has been going well and my base mileage now is generally 20-25 miles a week. I am south of Rouen on my map and have covered nearly 800 kms.

When the marathon programme kicks in (Bank Holiday Monday) my weekly mileage will increase steadily to 45 miles a week and so I should start to really eat up the miles to Madrid. My first marathon will be in Fleetwood on September 13th. 13 has always been a lucky number for me so lets hope !!

chester half

Poor Eddie

14 05 2009

Last Monday I had the dreaded call. Dominic had been sent back from school and had been sick. Helen was a bit concerned about whether I would be able to run on Sunday at Chester. With kids and illness it is always sensible to think one day at a time as things blow over almost as quickly as they start.

Although it is nothing to do with running there is a funny story to tell about our youngest, Eddie and how limited I am as a father.

When I got home that evening Dominic was being pampered by mum and I was set the unenviable task of getting Eddie ready for bed. Eddie is a bit of a rebel and a handful at the moment. It was a struggle to get him undressed and onto his potty but we got there..and then it came to the tooth brushing.

All was going well when suddenly he seemed to gag. The poor little thing was convulsing slightly. My mind worked quickly. I pulled out the toothbrush and guided Eddie towards the loo. I knew he was going to be sick. The brave little fella was being so good. “It’s alright” I said as I stroked his head tenderly. Daddy’s here. He was wretching into the toilet the poor little mite. So brave.

I was quite surprised though that he wasn’t upset and calling for mummy. Maybe Daddy’s are just as important after all. He seemed happy with me so whilst I was concerned it was also so nice to comfort him.

No sick came but he continued wretching and produced some clear liquid. I’m sure I heard him say “sick”. What a brave boy. A chip off the old block !

He seemed to recover all of a sudden and I took him to the bedroom to read his stories with a potty in my hand “just in case”. I told Helen she didn’t seem a bit concerned and then started laughing. God what sort of mother is she ?

Well it turned out that Eddie had seen Dominic spitting out his toothpaste and had been practising doing the same ever since. He hadn’t been sick at all.

That little lad is running rings round me !


Running in Lycra

8 05 2009

After the cat incident we had a lovely week or so of quiet nights. I bit the bullet last Sunday and decided to do a 16 mile run. This time I chose a flatish course and again did a figure of eight picking up my running bud on the way through. So a 5.2 mile loop run followed by a longer run of 10.8 miles.

The run went well and I got around with no damage and I only uttered two “Gods”. I only say “God” when it is hurting. The week before last on the long one I’m sure I said three or four “Gods” so on the Godometer I am improving.

As the distances start to creep up I am beginning to feel more pains and aches though. Not surprising but I hardly start a run now without some sort of niggle.

I won’t go on about it but suffice to say I am being a martyr about it – like a typical man.

The other “problem” I have had is friction burns on the inside of my legs from my pants. This usually creeps in at around 10 miles and is due to cotton getting damp (with sweat I hasten to add) and then rubbing.

When searching for an appropriate lycra pant on Ebay all the listings had “gay interest” in the title and were in the same section as sailor suits.

Swimming trunks was the obvious solution. I got the tip from some other runners and so I have bought some lycra M&S swimming trunks for only £3.25 via Ebay. If this sorts out the problem then I will be running in swimming trunks from now on.

Drop everything girls and boys – runner coming through in slinky lycra ?!
I’ve gone for a plain pant. They arrived today in a plastic bag through the door.

…if it gets really hot later in the summer who knows I can even think about discarding the shorts this way. Er..maybe not.

A possible running kit for Madrid ?

A possible running kit for Madrid ?