Monday, February 29, 2016

Huddersfield 10k

Huddersfield 10k Start (Pic - Meg Jarvis)

I'm not sure if I could have picked a tougher track for my first ever 10k road race. The race began wil with a long and gentle uphill section and then a rather steeper hill which had me puffing and blowing early on in the race.

As we reached the bottom of that hill some helpful marshall said "Don't worry, only the two big hills to go.

He wasn't kidding. Fellow runners from the Pacers had told me to enjoy the views and enjoy my run, but to be honest I was head down ploughing away, just trying to keep some sort of running cadence going on the uphill sections, then swearing internally as the equally steep downhill slopes shook my knees to bits. I find downhill slopes much worse than uphill ones.

One really nice moment came via some good thinking at my running club. We seem to be the only club to have our names printed on our club shirts, so as I toiled up to the top of the first big hill people were calling encouragement to me by name. Spectators were sparse around the route, but it's amazing how even a smattering of applause can steel your determination to keep moving.

Still, it was a nice morning, cold, still and sunny in patches. The organisation was terrific, the only change I'd make would be to have more regular kilometre markers on the route so that first-timers could better judge where they were. £10 to enter a professionally organised run and you get a free t-shirt to boot.

Almost at the finish (Pic - Meg Jarvis)

The winner, Tristan Learoyd, who apparently flew round on a jetpack or stepped through a time portal, reached the finish line in a fleet footed 34.27. I thundered over the line, overheated, sweaty and knackered in 56.42.

I was placed 376 out of 572, and down at the lower end of my age category, I'm a 45+ Veteran apparently. Age grading result of 53%.

I was the only Airecentre Pacer to enter this race, so no OrangeArmy photoshoot at the end. Some of the club were running the rather more strenuous half marathon at Harewood House which is the venue for my next competitive run when they host a 10k in 2 weeks time. Let's hope for fewer hills and a better PB.

I think joining a running club has helped me to improve my level of fitness more rapidly than if I'd just been training on my own, and running in a group doesn't mean you get held back if you're of a faster pace. The club practice looping so the front runners to a checkpoint loop back to the rear of the group, faster runners get to do more distance and the rest of the group never get left behind, it's a nice system.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pre-Race Nerves

I'm running my first ever 10k road race today in Huddersfield. I'm a little nervous and excited at the same time, Meg has sent me back upstairs so I'm not pacing the house. We did 10 miles on Wednesday night with the running Club, the wonderfully friendly Airecentre Pacers, so I don't think this distance will be a problem. I've been warned that there are some hills to negotiate though, but that said, you can't really go running at all in this part of the world without encountering a few hills.

I'll be proudly wearing my neon orange Pacers t-shirt, I know, I know, I don't ever usually do anything on a team basis or willingly wear the a uniform that other people are wearing, but you have to break your own rules once in a while.

(Pic - Amanda Connolly)

This was the Sunday Breakfast run last week, 9 miles over Otley Chevin which would have been really pleasant except for the howling gale which greeted us as we left the woods. I'm probably to blame to Wednesday night's 10 miles as I'd mentioned on Facebook that a 10 miler would be good, I'd said that before spending all day on my feet at the cafe of course. It was cold, but that's fine as I overheat after a mile or so, then it started snowing, and I have to admit that the last couple of miles weren't really much fun at all. I kept falling off the back of the peloton as we heading back uphill to Guiseley, although the club practice 'looping' so the faster runners keep returning to the rear to pick up the fat old lads. Tony and Muhammad seemed to have enough energy to do another 10 miles.

This morning some of the club are running the Harewood Half Marathon, just a bit far for me right now, especially as I think it's a trail run. I'll be at Harewood in two weeks for the 10k.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Wasted Time by Burning Lady

Good stuff from a decent French punk outfit.

That's A Salami ?

My Amazon shopping adventure isn't going well, I know that sausages can come in all shapes and sizes, but I'm pretty sure that's a poncho.

Pricing Structure

So, why would anyone buy the top product ?

Keep On Running

Well the blog's not dead, although there's hardly been a breath of life in it for almost two years and I have no idea if anyone will even read this, does anyone read blogs anymore ? I'm happy to write for my own amusement anyway.

The last time I wrote about health and exercise I'd managed to lose 4 stone and had run a half marathon. At the time I said "Becoming big is just something that creeps up on you gradually." And it does. At some point after that achievement my regular running dropped away, I stopped watching what I ate and the weight crept back on. At the end of 2015 I'd gone back up to 15 stone, still a stone a half short of my heaviest, I was drinking pretty much every night, eating what I wanted, taking no exercise and them boom, at the start of December I had a stroke.

I thought I had food poisoning, I was up half the night with violent vomiting and diarrhea and I felt awful. In the morning it dawned on me that my left arm wasn't working at all properly, I couldn't pick up a glass or fasten my shirt buttons. I called the doctor and got Dad to drive me across, a few basic tests later and I was in the back of a 999 ambulance on the way to Bradford Royal Infirmary.

I seem to be halfway between stroke and TIA, the effects lasted more than day which my doctor tells me is the diagnosis for a stroke, but the effects had gone within about three days leaving me feeling just as I did before the event.

I've had a ton of health advice, all of which I'm trying to follow, lose some weight, cut down on fatty and rich foods, cut down on alcohol, eat oily fish at least twice a week, eat 5 A Day, get more exercise, don't forget to take my morning stash of tablets.

I've really cut down on my drinking. My habit had become to open a bottle of beer and drink that while I was cooking dinner, then have at least two half a bottle of wine with dinner, and then a whisky after that if I fancied, and if we went out I'd have a whole bottle of wine to myself. I like wine and beer, they taste great, and wine with dinner just seems normal and civilised to me, but if the Doc says to cut down then I will. I'm trying to stay somewhere close to the recommended 14 units per week. 

I'm back to running again, I have even gone so far as to join a running club, the Airecentre Pacers, aka #OrangeArmy, although Dutch football fans might have first dibs on that. From struggling to do 3 miles at New Year, I'm now breezing through regular 6-7 mile runs and trying to get back to half marathon levels of fitness.  The running club is good fun, they seem like nice folk and running in groups both keeps you going and fires up that bit of competitiveness in me, I definately run harder when I'm running 'against' others.

I've lost a stone, again, and I'm back down to 14 stone, so still some work to do there, but at least it's coming off. 

When I was in hospital it seemed I'd had the luckiest of escapes. I'd had a stroke but comparing my situation to that of others on the ward I wasn't in a bad state. There were blokes whose strokes were life changing events, brain bleeds that left people unable to walk or communicate, left them locked within themselves unable to function without help. Me, I'd had a bad night, had a hilariously wobbly arm, got a months' driving band and the everything went back to normal. But I don't fancy another one, you can bet that a second event wouldn't be quite so harm free as the first, so diet, exercise and moderation it is.

Me and Dad would toast ourselves with "Everything in moderation, especially moderation" and we still will, but now I'll have to raise a glass of lemonade for half the week.

Ilkley Real Food Market

"Ilkley is going to host a speciality fine food market on the first Sunday of every month.
The first Real Food Ilkley Market will be held on South Hawksworth Street from 10.30am to 3pm on 6 March.

(pic from

Stalls range from handmade Yorkshire artisan cheeses, chutneys from Ilkley and fruit liqueurs from Addingham to authentic Indian sauces from Leeds and award-winning gluten-free cakes from Burley-in-Wharfedale."

Full article on

When playing a game really means something.

"It's a scary one when your mortgage is due to come on the first of the month and you're playing in a game where you might not have a job the week after," said Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond when speaking about the play-off game against Bradford Bulls.

This rather neatly sums up one of the major differences between football and rugby league, there are very few wealthy players in league, none at all who compare financially with the big earners in football, and also none at all who fake injury or try to get opposing players sent off.

Roll on the new Super League season.