Archives for Races category

Dennis The Menace 2013 Race Report – 47ish including hurdling Gnasher…

Posted on Jun 05, 2013 under 5 miles, Races, Trail Running | No Comment

Did some pyramids at SRC on Monday and was still feeling a bit heavy legged this morning, but today was the day of the Dennis the Menace race which I haven’t managed to run since 2009, a couple of months after my mum died.

After work etc I set off the the Pack Horse Pub and bumped into some familiar SRC faces (it’s funny how the last time I did this race I didn’t know a soul but now have lots of people I know to talk to), saw Tony and Glen, Rob and some other people, then headed to the start with another SRC runner. Did a quick jog through the woods to try to warm up and felt quite worn out already, so just hung around for the start, we moved back and suddenly the horn went. The rest of the runners seemed to recede into the distance immediately, and I was left wondering not whether I would finish last, but how long they would be waiting for me to finish!

I didn’t feel a temptation to try to keep up with them, just ran my own race, another runner fell behind me and there were 2 running together in front, I just settled in and enjoyed some banter with the marshals about it going dark before I could finish and how I didn’t know I had entered an elite race! I was so far behind at one point some dog walkers must have thought everyone was passed them as I had to jump over their dog – I will call it Gnasher in keeping with the theme, at least it didn’t bite me! As we got to the hill through the woods towards the end of lap one I overtook the 2 runners who gave me some encouragement, for some reason I felt much stronger on the uphills than elsewhere, and found a new gear on the second lap, I slowly started to reel a few more people in, though I had my sights on Rob’s yellow SRC shirt up ahead!

Going round the football field I overtook two more people and then along the canal reeled someone one, eventually moving up another gear and deciding that although I was hurting badly at this point, I was not going to give in. Up the hill again and I was getting closer to Rob, I powered up the hill and then started winding Rob in, pretty much sprinting at this point, went past Glen who gave me some cheerish to the finish, and I could see the finish and realised I was going to run out of trail before I caught Rob. I’d forgotten to start the Garmin until a few strides into the race and forgot to stop it, but it said 47 something, considering that’s only 5 minutes slower than my 41:50 of 4 years ago, it wasn’t bad, if there had been another 100 metres I might even have caught Rob.

Probably the lowest position I’ve ever finished in a race but enjoyed it and loved the banter with the marshals, just ran my own race and enjoyed the lovely evening weather, it was very warmish out there once I got going.
Thanks to all the marshals and the SRC runners for the support, encouragement, and banter 😀

KSwiss City of Salford 10k – A Mystifyingly slow 56:17

Posted on Sep 15, 2012 under 10k, Races | No Comment

A delayed report for this race, as I couldn’t really bring myself to write about it for a while. No drama, no great disaster, just a mystifying end to a season where I started running with a club for the first time, put in a lot of running, ran more consistent 20 miles ish a week mileage than ever before, and ended up running the same, if not slower, than at the start of the season!

Got up early, headed to the bus, then got the Met, and wondered, as the tram meandered through Salford Quays, whether I would be there in time to use the loo and get warmed up! Ended up jogging to the loos, did what I needed to do, and jogged back to the start line. My ankle had been a bit tender, but was Ok as soon as I started running. Also felt on twinge in my calf, but that was it.

Set off and it was the usual crowded start of a bigger race, had the Garmin pace alert etc off, and didn’t really look at it, just relaxed into running, and decided every time I felt good, to push harder, and just keep running to how I felt at a solid pace. Felt OK at 3k and went a bit quicker, when we hit the hill near Old Trafford I sprinted up it, and kept the pace going. It was pretty hot, but I’ve run season’s best times when it’s hot! The water station was welcome, and I tried to run and drink but it was hard, so I stopped briefly to chug some water.

On the long run out, before the roundabout, I was starting to feel it a bit, and paused to take a drink, when I heard one of the Sweat shop running community ladies shout out “go sweatshop” and promptly started running again. I was suffering a little, but knew I could keep going and Jenny’s encouragements would really help me in the latter stages.

I had no idea what pace I was running, but started overtaking people in the last few k. I was melting and gasping but still kept pushing. As we got to the bit where you see the finish line, only to have to turn and run about another km, Tony Hillier the coach at sweatshop yelled my name and I started to pick up speed, then fade, then pick up speed, then fade. I thought I might be in with a decent shout of a good time with all the running I’d done with the club and my increased mileage, and in the last 200 metres powered to a sprint finish despite feeling half dead. I crossed the line feeling quite ill and was sick, first time that’s ever happened, my body was really not happy with me!

I checked my stopped Garmin and swore under my breath at a time of 56:17 – a minute slower than the City of Manchester 10k, after a lot of training and hard work. It all suddenly seemed a bit of a swizz, and certainly not worth running to the point of being sick over. I gradually calmed down and got a drink, and then went off for my goody bag, feeling a bit bemused.

I caught up with the sweatshop runners and we hung around for an hour for Tony to get his prize, there was some kind of cockup with the timings, and most people had gone before the winners were announced. Tony was winner of the V65 I think, but they said they would post out the prizes so we had waited around for no real purpose! Jenny was kind enough to give me a lift home, and I felt pretty shattered for the rest of the day.

Looks like it’s back to the drawing board if I ever want to run close to 50 minutes for 10k again. I’ve suggested this might be my age, with some saying that’s nonsense, but I don’t know – for 2 years I was getting close to 50 minutes quite easily and often but for the last 2 that’s pretty much gone and even going sub 55 is becoming a challenge.

Watch this space!

We Love Manchester 10k 2012 – 55:14

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 under 10k, Races, Season's Best | No Comment

After Wednesday’s adventures, where I ran 10k at race pace by mistake and got lost in the woods, I had been resting and had no idea really how my body would respond. I managed to get up, and get out on to the bus towards Ashton, where I would catch the 216 into east Manchester. As I got off the bus to make my connection, a young man asked if I was carrying the Olympic torch and what the route was. Turns out my bus route was the torch route, but thankfully the timings meant I missed all the fuss.

Got to Eastlands and my first task was to find a loo. Conveniently, a set of Tardis-like portaloo conveniences were scattered about the place, so I entered one of these and emerged some years later… Although the thing flushed, the wash water had run out, so I nipped into another one on the way, as I was in plenty of time. I had hoped to bump into Neil and Dawn or one of the runners off the forum, but it was like spotting a needle in a haystack so just went and lined up pretty near the back of the amassed mass of humanity about to start the race. It was pretty damn cold and some drops of rain started to fall just before we got underway, but it mostly held off.

The horn or gun must have gone off as we started to move forward. My plan was to start right near the back and just work my way forwards, rather than experience the burn of faster runners and then end up getting overtaken later! I set off at a very gentle pace, though was going past quite a few people already; I mentally checked out my ankles and feet, which had been a bit stiff and achey since Wednesday, but didn’t experience any problems, and coasted through to the 1k marker with no problem and with a big smile on my face. Had to laugh at one of the spiderman lads early on who said “not long to go now!” Although I had the Garmin with me I turned the display to time of day and barely looked at it, planning to just run how I felt and enjoy myself (if the discomfort of running a race can be described as enjoyment, it seems to be for me!). As we turned onto Alan Turing way I felt myself accelerate and took advantage of the slope, getting into a nice rhythm, and started to reel people in bit by bit. A few went past me early on, but not that many, and was to be expected in a field of this size, where faster runners might be a bit late and start at the back.

I felt I was going pretty quickly, and was feeling it at 4k so just eased off a little, knowing the minor hills at the end can be a problem if not accounted for! Just after this I saw a bloke dressed in a sort of bear costume and took a moment to pat him on the back and say I liked his costume, which he appreciated. And then it was into the serious stuff, and the second lap, I got some water at the water station and seemed to lose my way a little bit, but took on water, regrouped, and then knuckled down for the last 3k. Although I was breathing really hard and struggling ever so slightly, I was still passing people which was a good sign, on the second trip down Alan Turing way I had a brief chat with a bloke who said he wanted to beat his age, who told me to go ahead but then sped in front, not long after we hit the uphill and I powered up this and left him behind, also taking over a few people. I was hurting now, but was just in the zone knowing the finish line was close. I took the next hill and then we were almost in the stadium. The crowd noise as I entered really gave me a lift and I kind of bounced along the athletics track and put on a real burst of speed, burning away some people in front of me, then promptly almost dying, and a few got their revenge until I got another burst of something and did a final sprint for the line. Garmin ticked over in 55:17 but for once the chip time was a few seconds quicker at 55:14 – not bad considering my exploits midweek, and thankfully my legs felt fine, no sign of any niggles or problems!

I looked around to see if Neil was around, and got a bit confused about where the goody bags were as there were no people around and I had to ask someone, then a 15 minute queue to get inside the indoor bit ensued, they must have set it up inside expecting the worst rain, but thankfully that held off.

One I got my goody bag, thankfully with some water in it, I headed back out and applauded a lot of the later runners into the stadium, before heading to the finish line to watch the presentations. It was there I spotted the chap from the Sweat Shop run, Tony, and indeed he won the 1st prize in the VM60 category. My friend Neil’s name was called out but he didn’t appear, so he must have run it but had to dash.. Pity as he won 2nd in the VM50!

I then stuck around for the little toddlers race which was fun, and then headed off, bumping into another chap from the running club as I paused to admire a presentation display of Usain Bolt’s run in Manchester a few years ago.

All in all a great day, my goal now is to see how close I can get to 50 minutes, it amazes me I was running around 51 minutes pretty regularly a few years ago, seems I need to work harder as I get older, but I hope another sub 50 will happen one of these days!

Looking at my splits I was around 5:30 or thereabouts most of the race, though one km there was a lull, 5:58, while the last one I managed to do in 5:11 but that was pure endorphins and adrenaline by the end!

BUPA Great Manchester Run 2012 – 56:45

Posted on May 20, 2012 under 10k, Races | No Comment

After my struggles in races and injury woes last season, and my more recent calf injury scare, the Great Manchester Run 2012 was a comeback and a challenge. My main plan was just to enjoy the atmosphere, run how I felt, and hopefully get a time of around 55 or under. But most of all enjoy the day.

Had not gained any recent experience of running earlier in the day, so wondered how my body would react. Just getting up was a trial in itself and it wasn’t until the second cup of coffee that my brain actually acknowledged that I had got out of bed 🙂 My plan had been to go in the blue wave if I was running late, but as it happened all was well and I was up in plenty of time to start with the white wave!

On the way into central Manchester another runner sat next to me and we had a chat about training and how hard it was to get sponsors these days, and then he went off to meet his chums and I went to hang out in Manchester Piccadilly station to keep warm and use the loo. The queues were not so bad this year, and I only went once (sometimes I go about 5 times to make sure!) I walked down to the assembly area, wondering whether to pay a final visit in a portaloo, but there were long queues and I felt fine. Until the white wave started to move forward ready to start! At that point he bladder gods decided that they wanted me to make another sacrifice… I resisted the urge, thinking it was probably adrenaline, and that it would go off once I started running. But that 10 minutes or so before I got through to the starting funnel played a few mental tricks on me, and I had visions of having to stop mid race to use the portaloos!!!!

I had the Garmin on, but only showing the time of day and distance. I heard it beep before the first kilometre marker so I was glad I had decided not to pay too much attention to it! The only time I did glance at it the display said 6.66km and it’s surprising how often the number of the beast presents itself to me in random ways like that, eek!

I didn’t feel that I was going particularly fast or slow, but at 4k I was starting to get pretty hot and was breathing hard and wondered if I’d gone off too fast, but I managed to keep going at that pace. I was finding the cheering stations, the music, and the crowds really inspiring, and was enjoying running with others for the first time in ages, and soaking up the atmosphere. By 5k I was feeling pretty relaxed and knew I had enough to reach the end so decided to really get into the spirit of things and made a beeline for the sidelines where I started giving high fives to kids who were holding out their hands, and then I started encouraging adults to give me high fives as well and most good naturedly went along with this! When we hit a sort of techno band/DJ at about 6km I started doing a techno run dance, waving my arms in the air and bobbing my head about. I ran through the shower to cool down, and screamed mock-shocked at the chill! More high fives with kids and grownups, and then on the long stretch to the finish line. With 3k to go I was feeling pretty good, so increased the pace bit by bit, although the race nearly ended in disaster when I turned my head to shout encouragement to a colourful parrot going along the other side of the road, at the same time as someone on front of me decided to stop running so I had to kind of bounce off this chap…

All seemed OK though, and there were more high fives, and then I got my head down as I could see the Beetham Tower getting closer as the finish loomed. I gave the crowds at both sides long thumbs up as a way of thanking them for their support and cheers, and then headed to the finish with a big grin on my face. It probably looked more like a grimace, but I was smiling inside and out because I had really enjoyed the whole thing.

My chip time was 56:45, though on the Garmin I went through 10k in 55:40 so my pace estimate was about right, and what’s an extra minute or 200m anyway?!

I saw something on an advertisement, which said something like “I am made of every stranger who cheered me on today” and that kind of sums up my feelings about the whole thing, and fits into my philosophical views too. Sometimes, all too briefly, we join together and do something good together, and that’s what today was about for me.

And a big thankyou to all those – both friends and strangers – who kindly sponsored me, I think I ended up raising more than last year in the end 😀

City of Salford 10k – a strange 57:39!

Posted on Sep 04, 2011 under 10k, Races | 1 Comment

With the last 2 runs not being quite what I expected, I tried to lay their ghosts to rest and start with a clean slate. Was up early, having not really slept much. Last race I took some Nytol the night before to ensure sleep, but wondered if it had interfered with performance, so this time settled for a restless 6 hours with the saturday night wailers penetrating the ear plugs at times… Had breakfast of porridge then went to get the bus, then hopped on the Metrolink to Harbour City in Salford Quays, seeing some of the Manchester Frontrunners on the tram and a couple of others too, so I knew I was heading in the right direction (last time I got a taxi but the tram is rather cheaper at £2.20!)

My friend Chris had texted me that she was there already, so looked out for her but couldn’t see her, headed to the loos in the Lowry Outlet Mall, and when I came out saw Neil and Dawn in the distance so was nice to catch up with them a little. Wasn’t long to go at that point, so we went and lined up, and there was a bit of a delay as a big boat had gone through one of the adjustable bridges, and as we were running over it we had to wait for it to be lowered again!

So we set off and I kept to a sedate pace at first, running how I felt and feeling OK, wondering if this would be the race where the training actually paid off. Was quite cool and cloudy which was a help. Anyway, we went through MediaCityUk and out into the industrial part of Salford Quays approaching Trafford. My Garmin bleeped and I couldn’t resist a peak at the KM time – it read 4:40 for the 2nd km, so far so good I thought, I felt I wasn’t going hard and could maintain that pace. However, a good while after that the official 2k marker came up and it wasn’t long before I realised that the Garmin had gone a bit crazy and was short counting for some reason (when I looked back, they were all out after that one, including one that I did in 3:30 – yeah right!). So good job I wasn’t really relying on it!

At about 4k the great Ron Hill overtook me and as I know Ron runs about 50-52 pace these days, and he went past me quite quickly, I got a bit dispirited, but resolved to keep keeping on. Got past the 5k mark and someone shouted out 28 something, it was some way past the 5k mark but I kind of thought that was pretty slow considering my perceived effort at that point. Got a bottle of water at the drinks station and then really started to struggle as I saw the runners coming back the other way. Stopped and walked a few times to take a drink. Made it down the long stretch to 7k then turned around the little roundabout, and kind of jog-shuffle-walked for the next 2k.

Got to the last bridge and could see the end in sight but had no pace left at all, just forced myself to keep going up over the bridge, knowing this course has a cruel little trick whereby you run straight at the finish line, then turn and there’s actually another km to go in a loop before you actually get to it, along a tree line boulevard. Saw Neil as I turned the corner and he shouted some encouragement. I sped up past a veteran lady, and then realised I could only hold that gear for about 20 seconds and there was a long way to go, so I slowed and she caught me again, and we duelled a little until the last stretch, when I was able to put on a finishing burst that was pretty fast and powerful, and won the duel, but had my heart hammering and I felt sick for a few minutes on finishing. Was nice to have my name read out as I crossed the line. Was so off the pace I didn’t even bother to stop the haywire Garmin (which was probably caused by a lot of winding in between tall buildings early on) but the official time eventually came out as 57:39. Which wasn’t awful, but 4 minutes slower than last time I did this race, and well off the pace of the City of Manchester 10k. Wasn’t really an improvement on last week’s race, as am sure I would have been over an hour if there had been a few hills! But it was flat as a pancake really!

Had a chat with Neil then went to get my goody bag, and then saw Chris lining up for hers so Neil went off to find Dawn who was doing some shopping, and I caught up with Chris while we had a coffee. Caught a few of the presentations and then it was time to go home and I went off feeling rather tired and deflated, without a good time to finish my 10k season, but at least no nasty injury!

I know have to figure out what went wrong over the last month. Possibly my half marathon training run took more out of me than I thought, although I did rest very sensibly afterwards, and I tapered somewhat down tot he final 2 10ks of the season, to no avail. I’m also aware that I’ve not done many all out 5k time trials this season (in fact none!) and this may have taken off some of my edge and mental toughness – I do wonder if it was partly to try to protect myself from another injury that I’ve unconsciously been trying to take it easier than I have in the past!

Oh well! Time will tell. Will now get in some base miles and enjoy it a little bit (after a rest of course) and maybe start doing some 1 mile and 5k time trials once recovered, to see if I improve over the next few months! And then maybe enter the Stockport 10 mile and possibly even the Wilmslow half next year…

East Manchester 10k – A 1hr plus personal worst!

Posted on Aug 28, 2011 under 10k, 5-10k, Races | 1 Comment

Given my training this year, with long runs, and a sub 54 in my last race, and feeling good in the week, I had some hopes of a reasonable time in this race, possibly sub 52. But it was really not meant to be!

It was quite a chilly morning, I had to stand in the sunlight at the bus stop just to stop shivering, and was glad to get on the warm bus! Got to the venue in plenty of time and did the usual stuff of milling around and finding the toilets, before doing a gentle jogging warmup and joining in with the mass warmup a little bit.

They lined us up in 3 waves, fast at the front, medium, and walkers etc – though I wasn’t really sure what fast or medium meant so just put myself a few rows back. We had a countdown, then the horn didn’t go off, then it did, and off we all went! I started the Garmin but just had it set to show the time, and set off running how I felt, trying not to go too fast early on.

There was a bit of an incline then a descent, where I gathered speed, and then another descent. Then, as I thought, the payoff was some hills going the other way. I took these slowly, determined to conserve a bit of energy for the second half of the race, and tried to go back to a more normal pace when coming off the top of them.

At around 3k I tucked in behind another runner, and had a mini race with her, sharing the work, and it felt like we were doing a pretty decent pace, I was starting to breathe hard, but kept going, then we came to some more hills. When we got to 5k I glanced at the Garmin and to my chagrin in was showing 10.30 as the time. The race had started bang on 10, so it looked like my pace was actually horrendously slow… A little further on there was water station, I stopped to get a quick drink, at which point my companion seemed to speed off into the distance, I could see her for a while after that, and set myself a challenge of trying to catch her again, but it wasn’t happening. At about 7k there was a squall of torrential rain, which I would normally relish, but just found it irritating as it washed suncream into my eyes. By that point I had given up on the race, really, and decided to just use it as preparation for next weekend’s season finale – there was no point trying to push the pace and risk an injury. My Garmin felt much the same as when I glanced at the time for a prediction of just how bad my time would be, I saw that it had died in protest!! I got overtaken by people who had been a long way behind me, tried to stay with them, but couldn’t. By 9k I just wanted to see the finish line and stop, I walked a bit, a lady from the Steel City Striders gave me some encouragement, which helped me to actually run the last half km of the race.

As I approached the finish arch I saw the clock, I was surprised in fact that it was only just over the hour, as in my head I had got the time to 1hr 15 minutes!!! I smiled to myself as the PA man said “Stop being so casual about it number 46” as I guess I had just gone into a nonchalant jogging mode and to be honest had nothing left!

Felt really shattered after getting my t-shirt, and after cheering in some more runners, went and got a coffee in the cafe tent and sat mulling things over. I really had felt I was doing a half decent pace, and have run close to 50 minutes on courses with worse hills, and even my most unpleasant race ever which included the Vernon park mega hill 3 times on a monstrously humid evening, had not resulted in a time over one hour (in fact 55 mins I think). So I have no idea what happened apart from the fact it was just an off day. My last race was sub 54 in blistering heat, and I have done quite a bit of training since then, so didn’t really expect to run my SLOWEST EVER 10k race!

At this stage there is not much to be done before the City of Salford 10k next weekend, but once that’s done maybe I need to look at the drawing board again. I have complained of feeling slower in my intervals this year compared to last, maybe I am just getting slower. One thing I have not done this year is much in the way of 5k time trials, or tempo runs, so maybe that has been my achilles’ heel, or maybe I just had a bad day.

Will see how Salford goes. At least it will be very much flatter! 😀

City of Manchester 10k 2011 – A very hot 53:48!

Posted on Jul 03, 2011 under 10k, Milestones, Races, Season's Best | 3 Comments

My third race of the season (and my third outing to the City of Manchester 10k) began with a largely sleepless night, went to bed quite late and couldn’t seem to get off, then woke early. Fortunately this meant I got up in plenty of time to have coffee and breakfast! Was looking forward to seeing Neil and Dawn at the race, and also Chris.

It looked like it was going to be a scorcher. I chose to wear my Nike running singlet, and spent a bit of time liberally applying factor 50 to all the exposed flesh which included pretty much all of my head and face! Got the bus up the road then towards east Manchester, and had fun walking past the building where I used to work. Arrived at Sportcity and spotted some toilets, so joined a line, finding the athleticism it took for some to hold a faulty door shut while using said toilet to be somewhat admirable… I chose to use the one without the broken lock 🙂

I headed into the indoor track where I have seen Neil and Dawn before, but no luck, and tried to spot Neil at the front but no luck either. Positioned myself relatively near the front and we waited while they allowed the ladies’ loo queue to diminish so they could join the field. The sun was already starting to feel hot as the Lord Mayor of Manchester got us underway, and I set off at a gentle pace as we wound around the track. I had the Garmin set to just show the distance and the time of day. As usual at this race, the Garmin clicked over 1km long before the official marker, I accidently saw the lap time which was 5:01 – so a little quick, but I decided to ignore the bleeps after that.

Even 2k in it started to become clear just how hot it was going to be, I could see people tearing off in front of me, felt they were going far too quickly, but just ran my own race and resisted the temptation to speed up early on, as I knew by the end I would be suffering hugely if I ran the first half of the race too quickly in the sun. At 4k I was starting to get really puffy, but just held my pace, and at 5k a chap asked me what time we were roughly on, but I couldn’t tell him, I also asked him if he knew if there was a drinks station as my mouth had started to get dry, he didn’t know, and said he needed to catch up to his friend, and off he went.

At some point, maybe after 6km, there was a sign or someone said water ahead. Eventually we got to the water, and I took a bottle, which was a plastic bottle with its top off. I stopped to take a drink, and poured a little over me which gave me a shiver, and then ran with the bottle for a bit, stopping every now and then to drink until it was finished. By that point there was just over 7k to go, so I knew I could complete the race and the heat hadn’t devastated me, though it certainly felt tough running out there.

city of manchester 10k 2011 pictures road runner rob

I ran in the shade of some trees for a short while and the Garmin went a little crazy and didn’t move, in fact by this point it had been behind the KM markers anyway. I didn’t really care, just needed to run how I felt, and did stop a few times to get my breath, particularly up the last hill, and I could see the stadium and hear the announcer saying 50 minutes had just ticked over. I knew then I was going to make sub 55, which had been my target, and thought I could maybe get around 54, so just maintained my pace, and although people were doing mad sprints for the line I really didn’t have much left so just went at a decent pace. I looked out for Neil cheering me in like he usually does but there was no sign, and Neil and Dawn weren’t at the finish line (they said they’d wait, but no sign, so I figured maybe Neil had to pull out).

In any case, I’d done it in 53:48, over 4 minutes off my Great Manchester Run time, and I was even more pleased to have smashed 55 minutes in such heat. I thought I could catch my friend Chris coming in, and went and cheered in loads of runners, but no sign of her, so wondered if she had turned up either 🙁 I chatted to a bloke about the oases of the shady bits and the water station, and cheered in lots more runners, then headed back to the start line and cheered more people in and observed with some concern the people in ambulances – it was so hot that people had been collapsing with the heat and dehydration and breathing problems 🙁 I felt really fresh and buzzy once I had got my breath back, and enjoyed wandering around, then had a bit of banter with the elites as they went up to get their prizes. I watched the toddler’s race and presentation before finally drifting away.

city of manchester 10k 2011 pics road runner rob

Got home in time for Wimbledon final, and looked up Neil’s name on the results page – he’d done it in 39:01 so it looks like he was there, but they didn’t wait around at the finish line, so I don’t know what happened. It also turned out that Chris had done really well and got well under the hour, so she hadn’t come in that far behind me – so had finished by the time I got to the stadium entrance to cheer her in.

So a day of achieved times but missed friends, but all in all I had a fab day, and really enjoyed the sense of having survived the heat and achieved another milestone for the season. I have begun to think it may be possible to go sub 50 again before the end of September, who knows – I have entered the East Manchester Legacy Event 10k, and am looking around for other races. Who knows, the Offerton 10k is happening this Wednesday, couple of years ago I ran that a few days before the City of Manchester one… I will see how I feel and maybe roll up for an on the day entry. Will see! 😀

Edited to add City of Manchester 10k 2011 photos. 🙂

Legacy Events East Manchester 5k Debdale Park – 26:03

Posted on May 22, 2011 under 5-10k, 5k, Races, Season's Best, Trail Running | No Comment

Races are like buses, none for a year then suddenly two come at once!

The Legacy Events East Manchester 5k at Debdale Park was a different affair altogether from the Great Manchester Run last week – 5k, so shorter, and about 38,000 less people, but these kinds of races are just as important, if less well known, and see runners of all abilities.

It had been an exhausting week for me, with some bouts of insomnia, things have been very hectic, so an early start on Sunday morning was one of the last things I needed, and as usual on race mornings I woke up groggy, disoriented, and wondering “why on earth am I doing this?” (or words to that effect). I has some toast wth bean pate on it, then went to get the bus (really should get better sorted these buses, the online timetable never seems to match the one at the stand, which can be very confusing). Anyway, got to Debdale Park in plenty of time and saw the Marshals dotted around. Was pretty cold and very windy. Found the grotty debdale park toilets which were thankfully empty, though am glad I only needed to pee as there was no toilet paper in sight! Lol. Could probably have held on for a 5k anyway…

Did a little jogging around for a warm up, then went to join the organised warmup, had to improvise when they started doing side steps, as that is the surest way to buggering up my dodgy knee! Massaged my legs, right hamstring felt really tight and muscles felt brittle, like cold plasticine, which wasn’t good. A bloke in a red top chatted to me on the way to the start line and said he used to do marathons in 3 hours in his army days, but wasn’t sure what he would do today.

Felt excited as the horn went off, and off we went. I usually struggle pacing 5ks and this was no different, and haven’t done one for quite a long time! And this was actually my first real 5k race, with a number – as opposed to a park run. Felt like I was going a bit fast, went down the first little hill, went round a corner, and my right lower leg almost collapsed underneath me and developed weird spasming shooting pains all of a sudden. Had visions of pulling out, but just slowed down and it went away, but was a bit scary to say the least 🙁

Overtook a few people early on and was overtaken by one or two, but the field seemed to spread out very quickly and I started to find my own pace. On the little incline past the reservoirs just before the water station, a young lady came past me, and I responded by sticking with her; she went through onto the long straight path which was very windy, and I tucked in behind her to shield me from the wind. We were destined to to share the work for the rest of the race, she would pull in front of me, then I pulled in front of her, and it was really handy to have someone to work with like that and kept me motivated. I was really hurting by 4k, but then again, only 1k to go, and somehow I found something extra and pulled away from my companion, then sped past a woman who had overtaken me early on, but who I had kept in my sights. I was wincing and hurting as I entered the finishing straight, had no idea what the time would be, but sprinted with whatever I had left for the line, and cross, according to Garmin, in 26:03, which is 2 minutes off my 5k best this season so far, so all in all the race day adrenaline and my temporary running companion really helped pull me on to an improved time.

I stayed behind for a bit to clap more runners in, including a parrot, some nuns, and a fairy. The bloke in the red top finished in about 31 mins and came and found me for a chat. I was getting a bit cold by then so wandered off to get the bus home, buzzing and a little more lively, although by the time I got home I was looking forward to a very lazy day!

Great Manchester Run 2011 Race Report – 57:50(Photos to follow!)

Posted on May 15, 2011 under 10k, Races, Season's Best | 2 Comments

My first race report in a long time!

The day before had been derailed by some pesky hackers deleting various websites of mine or defacing them, so ended up trying to sort that out till late, rather than relaxing, and as a result got to bed late and probably got 4-5 hours at most.

Woke up, got up, and felt very groggy. Looked cold, and grey, and miserable outside. Got some toast and marmite and half an oaty flapjack down me then set off for the bus, which seemed to be late, so jogged round the corner to the next stop and eventually the bus came. For some reason there were no other runners getting on the bus, or on the bus, this year, normally there are quite a few, maybe they got on later.

Decided to hang out at Piccadilly Rail Station, and had great fun and games with the toilets with no paper in the paper holders… But got sorted eventually, then for some reason got caught short when I got to the start line so used a portaloo after the warmup and the queues weren’t too bad…

The field was quite dense and there was no way I was going to be able to push through to the front of the wave as planned, so I decided to just go with the flow, the Green Wave went off, and I switched on the Garmin, I was standing next to some guys dressed as Austin Powers, and oddly enough on the other side of me were two people wearing daffodil heads identical to the one I wore last year!

Then we were off, I crossed the mats and started the Garmin, and started to enjoy the atmosphere and the feeling of racing for the first time in a long time. I did a lot of overtaking, Garmin said I was going really slowly, but wasn’t sure, and didn’t really care, just wanted to enjoy it all, and felt good as the first K marker came up, and good as we went out on to Chester Road. I was overtaking many, many people, and saw a few 75 minute pacers around, I knew I would probably be under an hour so was just running my own race. Got to 4k and the drinks station past Old Trafford, took a bottle of water and drank it, then prepared for the long run back into central Manchester. Gave some kids high fives and gave Superman bloke a thumbs up, then started to pick up the pace, said “WoW!” to some blue Indian chaps, who seemed to appreciate it, then concentrated on the final straight, still feeling good with 3k to go.

I wanted to pick the pace up more, but did start to hurt a bit by that point, I’d caught up with the Green Wave by that point (who started some half an hour before me), there were people flying past me, I just tried to keep up the pace. With 800m to go I put on a burst of speed that had me going at 4:08 per k, but I couldn’t sustain it. My Garmin ticked over 10k in about 57 mins (which I had predicted based on my current training) and the finish arch was still a distant mirage. I was petering out a little but gave one last push, grimacing hard to get every last drop out of myself. I made it over the line in an official time of 57:50 and it took me a while to recover.

I nipped home and had a shower, before returning to town to catch the second half of the Great Manchester City Games 2011, and got a nice vantage point near the end, where I got some close up glimpses of Jessica Ennis, Tyson Gay, and the other runners, including Haile Gebrselassie who was doing a final interview, when asked if he would come back, he said “Sure!”.

The weather was crap, but it didn’t put a damper on the day, the atmosphere, the people, or my spirits one bit 😀

Great Manchester Run 2010 – The Daffodil Video

Posted on May 21, 2010 under 10k, Fun Runs, Injuries, Races | No Comment

And now here is THE video of the Great Manchester run 2010 – the one and only daffodil waving, saluting and bowing to the adoring crowds. Muchly amusing 🙂 😆