The previous week we had travelled by train to New York with Paul Rimmer and his wife Jill who had been in Washington to look after the Sportstours International group of marathon runners. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis Hotel just off Times Square. At first I was worried about training in all the traffic but after studying a map headed off in the early morning down 45th street west until I reached the Hudson River. There I discovered a riverside pedestrian trail which gave me, out and back, some great 3.5 mile runs. Only once did I run up to Central Park and that was after Vince Regan and his team had arrived to take care of the huge Sports Tours group of marathon runners. It was a group run in a park alive with runners from all nations. The night before I had had the honour of carrying the Union Jack for the British group in the Parade of Nations. We were kept standing for about one and a half hours before we moved and it was very cold !
THE NYC DASH TO THE FINISH LINE 5K
The snow that had hit us in Washington had devastated Central Park and work had continued for days clearing fallen trees and dangerous branches to prepare for the finish of the marathon and our 5 K the day before. The start was by the United Nations Building on 1ST Avenue at 8:30 am. I ran down from the hotel and complete 1.4 miles warm-up so that I could put 4.5 miles in my training log after the race. It was another cold day and I wore tights, long sleeve T and singlet plus cap and gloves. It was slightly uphill overall and the streets were packed; 5346 finishers. I struggled. Miles of 8:47, 8:17 and 8:23 plus 51 seconds got me to the finish in 26:18. I was 1253rd getting me ahead of 77% of runners this time and 2nd in the 70 – 74 age group to Rubin J. Coriat Snr, Houston, 25:18.
First was Chris Thompson, UK, 13:51. First woman, Sara Hall, 13:51. 2467 men and 2870 women finished.
The next we flew home. 5 runs there gave me 27.5 miles for the week.
October had passed with 118.5 miles ( 191K ) bringing my lifetime total to 155,609.5 miles ( 250,429K )
Ready for off again. Photo credit – Sports Tours International
GETTING GOING AGAIN
The results of the last two weeks have convinced me that I am over my pulled hamstring and it is time to start training again, especially as I have a 5 K race in Austin, Texas on December 9th which could be on a hilly course. My short term plan is :
1 Race every weekend, including local Parkruns where necessary.
2 Include “speedwork” twice a week.
3 Hit 30 miles each week.
I got there early and did a 2.4 mile warm up. The run was warm enough for shorts. At the off I seemed to be left behind by practically everyone. I struggled the whole way. My K’s went : 5:25, which gave me no confidence; 4:45, that was better; 5:01, OK; 5:16, obviously tiring but showing a possible sub – 26 minute finish; and 4:54 with some effort. 25:22 . Best for a good while. Half a mile warm down to the car. My stomach had not felt right and maybe a banana followed by a jam toast was not ideal for me . Next week I will try porridge.
The results were on the net by afternoon. I was 94th out of 171 ( in front of 45% of the field,) and 2nd MV 70 to John Riley, N vets AC, 24:24. The first past the line was “unknown,” maybe he was not registered.So, first, Rob Sloane, Trafford AC, 17:01; first lady, Ashley Pia Ryan, Chorlton Runners, 20:03.
Sunday, 5.5 mile recovery run. Monday, 3.5 miles with number stride fartlek up to 40 and down, Tuesday, 3.5 miles , mostly easy. Wednesday a scare – 4.5 miles including a long climb up to Windy Harbour. 2 + 2 + 2 X 70 secs. strides with 50 secs. jog, 4 m 50 s interval between each set. The first set began at the bottom of the hill. Midway through the second 70 secs. my right hamstring began hurting exactly in the same position that I had been injured in my left leg. I slackened off a bit and before the next set which was on the steepest part of the hill, Cock Brow, I stretched that hamstring. Thankfully that seemed to do the trick. No more pains. Thursday, 3.5 miles more or less easy. Friday, 3.5 miles very easy. 30 miles. Job done.
I have it in mind to try all the Parkruns in the Manchester area at some time. Meanwhile I will stick with my plan of a race each weeekend until my Austin, TX. 5 K race December 9th.
I arrived at Heaton Park in good time on a sunny cold morning, began my warm up and immediately bumped into Rick Bennett a friend and manager of Sweatshop, Arndale Centre, Manchester, who was putting out signs for the run. Deciding it was cold enough for tights I ran back to my car struggled into the extra garment and continued with a 27 minute warmup. There was a good tunout and I stood back from the start line. It took me 5 seconds to cross the line and I just went with the flow. There was one short hill in the first 1 K which I managed quite easily and towards the end od that stretch I spotted FV 75 – 79, Louise Gilchrist. I was glad to pass her with a, ” Come on young ‘un ! ” 5:21. I did not want to look at my watch during the run. This second K included a long climb up to Heaton Hall. I just kept my head down. Then we rounded the hall for more climb. I remember thinking, ” Hills. That’s life, full of hills. Hills that have to be conquered even at my stage of life ! ” I saw a sign up aheadand realised I may have missed the 2nd K marker. It was the 3 K point, but I glance at my watch just to be sure and saw 10:…. something.
I was having quite a good run ignoring the time. The only problem I had was that I could not get a deep breath – essential to get full use of my lungs. The next stretch was downhill. I relaxed and passed one or two. Then the last K; around the lake on a stoney dirt trail. As we approached the finish I did glnce at my watch, the cumulative time, and saw I was not going to berak 26 mins but still strode out to do the best I could. 26:14 which minus the 5 seconds at the start would have given me 26:19 with a chip, only one second slower than the mainly flat New York race 2 weeks previously. I had to be happy with that. And 123rd out of 241, 49% of runners behind.
First man home, Roger Alsop, Herne Hill Harriers, 17:04, First lady, Bev Jenkins, Salford Harriers, 5th overall, 18:09.
At the start of my 10 minute warm down I passed Louise Glchrist and asked, “Did you enjoy that ?” ” No,” she replied,” I got too hot and had to take some of my stuff off.”
I looked at her result later. 27:28. I had only taken just over a minute out of her in 4 K. A remarkable woman ! And she was best age graded runner of all Parkruns that morning with 93.29% ! !
Sunday I did a 5.5 mile recovery run and felt pretty good at the end. Monday, 3.5 miles with number stride fartlek up to 45 and down. Tuesday, 3.5 miles easy running but feeling really tired. Wednesday, a hilly 4.5 miles with 2 + 2 + 3 x 70 seconds strides 50s interval, 4m 50s between sets. Thursday, 3.5 miles easy in 38:21. Friday same 3.5 mile run easy, but feeling tired in 42:27 ! 30 miles for the week.
THE SILKSTONE SHUFFLE
Saturday 26th November saw me lining up for my 30th race of the year, the Silkstone Shuffle multi – terrain, my 30th race of the year and one of my favourites. Starting from the back I struggled to make much headway and with a long uphill, into a gale force wind, I resorted to sheltering behind a posse of orange shorted Barnsley Harriers. With the wind behind they left me behind and along the fields I had difficulty getting over the stiles. My knees were just not flexible enough. I was holding my own over the last mile and successfully negotiated a tricky stile, downhill, with a drop into thick tree roots at the bottom. I did not fall. Great! These were the driest conditions I had experienced on this 4.5 mile course but my time of 42:16 was still slower than my 41:44 of November 2009.
The race winner was Steve Worthington, Lancaster and Morecambe AC, 26:45 and the first female Annabel Mason, guest, 27:14. My position was 145th out of a record 171 finishers and I was second in my age group to Ray Brown, Penistone Footpath Runners, who ran 40:15.
I had a good week of training after that running twice on Tuesday, 2.5 miles in the morning and 5 K in the evening from the Sweatshop, Arndale Centre, Manchester, where the Manager, Rick Bennett, led a large group of runners through the darkened streets and I gave a talk on running afterwards. This latter took my distance for the week to 33 miles (53 K) November showed 127.5 miles (205 K) bringing my lifetime total to 155,737 miles (250,634 K)