Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Harewood Age UK 10k Dash

A misty morning gave way to uncomfortably hot, for the plump runner anyway, sunshine halfway around. It's not as hilly as Huddersfield they said, but nevertheless that hill after 5k seemed endless.

This race had a much bigger field than Huddersfield, around 2,000 runners against 570, so there was quite a wait to get over the start line, let's be thankful for chip timing. We'd warmed up first to some of the most awful music known to humankind, the sort of high tempo dance shite I'd normally run away from, then turned around to find that our place at the front of the warm-up had secured us last place in the starting line, bugger.

Three and a half tiresome minutes went by as we watched the elite runners bounding away from us, we shuffled slowly to the line and then finally got to do a bit of actual running. The route took us on a nice circuit of the Harewood estate, but I've got to admit that although lots of the club runners had said it's a nice route with lovely views, the traffic was heavy and most of the run was spent ensuring I didn't fall over someone else's feet.

I managed 54.11, a new personal best and two and half minutes faster than my last outing. The Airecentre Pacers were well represented with around a dozen of the Orange Army participating. We achieved a slew of PB's from the team, special mention to my near neighbour and running buddy Emma who had targeted a sub hour 10k and smashed it by two and a half minutes.

My sister in law Carole, her sister Lisa, and a group of friends also did the race, all achieving great times.

When I'd told my team at work that I'd joined a running club, one of the lads said "Who wants to run with a load of sweaty old blokes ?". Take a look at the pictures, they have to run with a sweaty old bloke, but I don't!

I'm not quite sure how the age grading figures work, but I got an age grading of 55.8% this time out, an improvement of almost 3% against Huddersfield. You can find various race time and grading calculators on this link.

I haven't got a race for April lined up yet, better get my skates / running shoes on.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What I Know About Running

1) I have to walk a bit, or a lot, am I still a runner ? Hell yes. When I first took to running a few years back I couldn't get to a half mile without thinking I was going to die. If you have run some, half, or most of your route, then you're a runner.

2) Some people can keep up a stream of consciuosness style of chat while running uphill. Usually I can either run, or chat. I'm not being anti-social, it just makes me get more out of breath.

3) Do you need loads of expensive kit ? Er, no and yes. I've found that investing in some good running trainers does make a difference, and having a skin-tight compression top and leggings stops my nipple ends from chafing off and other bits from flailing around uncomfortably. Something reflective for night-time runs is probably also a good idea. Also, I've come across some lycra leggings that would be the envy of any 80's cock rock / hair metal band, so obviously I've bought two pairs.

4) Body size isn't a good guide to running speed or stamina. You see some lithe and limber young folk who look at first glance as if they could run marathons for fun, and yet they're out of breath and struggling before the first half mile. That big lad at the Huddersfiled 10k who looked like he'd locked himself in the Pukka Pie factory for the winter, well he fairly trundled up the hills and thundered back down the slopes leaving slimmer, fitter looking runners trailing in his wake.

5) I have no idea about proper nutrition for racing, and I'm pretty happy just muddling along as I am. So it's crumpets for breakfast before tommorow's race, and then pretty much whatever I fancy for dinner afterwards, including a pint or two, or wine if I fancy. Obviously my approach to food and booze isn't perfect, that's why I'm overweight and might have been part of the reason for my stroke. But energy gels sound disgusting, bananas are foul and as for going down the road of elite athletes like Teresa McWalters, well just end me now, spirulina powder and flax seed isn't food. Steak is food, roast pork and all the trimmings is food, a nice Mediterranean meze with some garlic prawns, olives, bread and chorizo is food. And beer and wine are food, I know I'm not allowed so much these days, but beer is still wonderful.

6) It dies get easier, and then you can run a bit further and faster to compensate for it feeling easier.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The End Is Nigh....

Of my degree course that is, and it's been a fair old slog. I started my degree back in 2011 with a 15 taster module on the arts, a module which I later discounted for scoring purposes so in reality it just gave me 3 months of extra work and essays.

Now 5 years on I can almost see the finish line, I've two TMAs and the last ever EMA to do, and barring major mishaps I'll be able to wear a silly hat and cloak and receive a piece of rolled up paper with a ribbon round it. Woo and yay.

At the mid-point of my studies I was seriously considering taking a second degree in Cultural & Heritage Studies with Leeds University, but the changes in funding brought about the Tories and their spineless Liberal pals put an end to that thought, and to be honest, I feel like I'm running out of steam a bit as I near the end. 5 years of sacrificing days off and evenings to study has been a long time, I'd like some of my free time back, I'd like to take up hiking again, and perhaps going to the cinema, or spend more time with my wife, you know, just normal stuff.

The TMA we're currently slogging towards is a comparison piece taking the text of a music review and a text of our own choosing and looking for literary creativeness and worth in the two. The final EMA is a very similar project, except for that we have to choose both texts with one being ordinary / everyday and the other literary. I'm currently analysing Marillion's Grendel every which way to seek out evidence of creativity and worth, I hope I don't end up hating something I love.