I continued with my quest to sample all the Parkruns in my local area. This one was only about 5 miles from where I live. I drove there and warmed up 31 minutes in order to get a few extra miles in the bag. I found this course fairly difficult as after the flat of Woodbank Parkthere are two excursions in to Vernon Park, two steep downs followed by two steep climbs. On the second lap I was catching runner in black with “100″ ( Parkruns ) on the back of his vest. I headed him with about 500m to go and was still ahead as we turned towards the running track. Suddenly someone else shot past, Stockport Harrier, Michael Thirsk. “100″ who was Peter Samuelson, Spectrum Striders, overtook me as well. My heart was hammering and telling me to back off, which I did. My time 27:07, knock off 2 seconds to cross the start line equals 27:05. I was 67th out of 116, and first O/70. I ran back to my car and was home before 10:00.
Tuesday I flew with Graham Richards and Jackie Turnbull to Austin, Texas to attend an exhibition: The Running Event 2011, staying at the Omni Downtown Hotel. I had run in the morning in Hyde so got straight to bed after a long and diverted flight. In the morning I ran down to the Town Lake, which is more like a river, and did an out and back, encountering dozens of runners for a 4.5 miler. I had trained hard for a 5 K associated with the show, early Friday morning. Wednesday evening we walked to the opening of the show and almost there I tripped on a curb and fell forward banging my knee. I seemed to be fine. The next morning I enjoyed a “wander run“ to the east of the city. No obvious problem with my knee.
THE INDIE 5K AUSTIN, TEXAS
Friday morning we competitors were bussed out to Zilker Park for the race. It was early and still dark. As dawn arrived I warmed up. What a wonderful park this would be for training with trails along both sides of a river. It was cold so I ran in tights. I did not feel that good on this hilly course but did my best and clocked 25:59 after a pretty disastrous first mile in 8:50. My left knee had not troubled me. The winner, Benson Cheruiyot, NV Century, ran 15:03. The first woman, Megan Nedio, Karhu NA, 17:23.
I was 279th out of 360.
I flew home that afternoon. The week ended with 31 miles.
On the first run of the week my left knee was very sore. Why? Perhaps sitting on two planes for such a long time. On the second and third runs the knee was sore all the way. On the fourth and fifth days the knee was only sore at first and on the sixth and seventh days the pain seemed to have gone. So 30 miles of gentle running had cured the injury.
The previous week I had had to contend with ice and snow and Saturday 17th December I ran 3.5 miles on slush covered ice. I had promised Andy O’Sullivan I would race the next day but awoke to a further fall of snow. I rang Andy. The race was definitely going ahead at 11:30.
THE LYNNE EDMONDSEN MEMORIAL, COWM RESERVOIR
This was a multi-terrain race from near the Sportsman pub in Whitworth. From the word go I struggled and was almost last. There was snow, slush and ice. Up a steep hill then one full lap of Cowm reservoir, where I managed to pass three, then head out onto bridle paths, mainly uphill and mainly full of snow, mud and icy water. At the top of the climb I had almost caught Northern Vet, Tom Finch, a runner in my age group. We then had to descend on icy roads, only partly gritted. I was careful. Tom disappeared ahead, and I could hear someone behind me. As we reached the flat roads, pride forced me to give everything I had and I just managed to hold off a young woman, not in a club, K. Leech who I had overtaken much earlier in the race. 35 finished and I was 28th in 41:38. First home, L. Morley, Ilkley H., 25:22; 1st F, Sally Morley, Ilkley H, 29:16.
The race had not done my knee any good. Mid-week I wrote in my log, “Decided to see if less mileage would help my knee.” But after a couple of 2.5 milers longer runs crept in. The week ended with 25.5 miles when it should have been more like 20 miles.
As far as running goes Christmas Day is just like any other except there is usually less traffic on the roads but a few more new kiddies’ bikes on my railway trail. Stupidly, I forgot my vow to reduce my mileage and ran 3 X 3.5 milers before my final race of the year and another favourite:
THE RIBBLE VALLEY 10 K CLITHEROE
I was invited and given No. 1. An honour indeed. I was not there to race but to run round, enjoy the event and try not to aggravate my poorly left knee. I stood at the back of a huge field of runners. No pressure. It was chip timing. My first 3 K went 5:51, 5:54 and 5:51. I did not feel comfortable but I could talk. About that point I got chatting to a big guy, No. 339, Nigel Hall of Leigh Harriers. We ran a couple of K’s, 5:54 and 5:38, with 75 year old Brian Scully of Accrington Road Runners, before moving away. I kept telling him to cut the corners. It was not dangerous as the roads were closed to traffic. He kept asking me at each K, “Are we going to beat the hour?” We began to speed up and I was able to tell him we were. Our 5 K split had been 29:09 and we only had to equal that to get close to 58 minutes. Our 6th and 7th K’s were 5:42 and 5:49. “Cut the corners, cut the corners!” Next a 5:22, then a 5:18. The last K includes a steep down then a steep up. I turned to him and said we could beat 57 minutes. He speeded up on the home straight then thought better of it and let me go ahead. A last K of 5:20 gave me 56:39. 793rd out of 896 finishers. 89% of runners ahead!
The race winner was Jonny Howard, Liverpool H & AC, 29:10; first woman, Katrina Wooton, Bedford and County AC, 33:57.
As usual a fantastic race. Perfect conditions and great organisation. Well done to Blackburn Harriers.
Three – X – 3.5 miles, the first of these from the house of our friends, Harry and Sylvia Smith, in Barnoldswick, of which my log reports, “Could feel exhaustion and tired heart from yesterday, “completed the week with 28 miles. 2.5 miles the next day completed the year with the comment, “Cutting back the distance as left knee not responding / healing very well.”