Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Getting Round to Blogging Again

It has been a good few weeks since I posted anything and lots has happened since the last blog. There have been three races and plenty of training in between. Before I get into all the training stuff I want to congratulate my fellow Portland team-mate Trevor Dunbar on winning the NCAA West Regional Championships this weekend. The lad is a quality runner and lad and I'm sure he will go far in the sport. If you watch the video of the race you will see that he ran under control all the way and had more than enough in him to outkick the highly rated Sambu - who finished in second. Fair enough some of the Stanford lads were not running flat out, and doing just enough to qualify for the nationals next weekend, but you can only beat what's in front of you. I loved his comments after the race especially the quote "I figured I was up there, so I might as well win the thing."

My race went well, I managed a new PB over 10k despite the fact that it was a cross country race. Had a great weekend in Track town USA as Eugene is known and met some nice new people (its always good to get some more cheers during a race, thanks Maria and all the Portland alums!) as well as seeing Bill Dellinger, Chris Thompson and Jemma Simpson. I will get into the details of the race in my training blog later but just wanted to let people know that we qualified as #23 for the nationals, which will be held in Indiana on Monday 22nd November. The race will be live on flotrack.org and it starts at 12:48 Eastern Time (I think?!) Dont ask me why its on at such a random time, I think its just because the Americans like being a bit weird. So, in England it will be about 6pm so perfect time for getting home from work and trying to maybe catch a glimpse of me somewhere. I have promised my Dad that no hairband will be worn this time round, I have since managed to trim my fringe before races so hair doesn't blow in my eyes during the race. Yes, Mum I know I need a haircut, its just I don't trust any of these dodgy looking Portland hairdressers to do a decent job on touching my precious locks. But, I can assure you the socks will be on and although they aren't as white as they used to be (students don't wash whites and colours separately, waste of time if you ask me) hopefully you can see them somewhere amongst the crowd and give me a little cheer.

Here is the video of the race (I particularly enjoy the opening minute with all those team chants, I'm so glad we don't get involved in that sort of stuff!)Oh and I also forgot in my original post to give a shout out to another team mate Lars Erik Malde who placed 12th at the meet. Despite his faults in being a Manchester United fan, he had a solid race and managed to get all-region honours by finishing inside the top-25:

Regionals Week: A Boost of Confidence ahead of Nationals

So, onto the week of the regionals and all the talk this week was about how muddy the course would be. Last year, it rained the day before the race making things extremely sloppy underfoot and subsequently effecting the times massively. The forecast for the week was similar, rain the night before and drizzle and cold for the day of the race. This didn't bother me in the slightest as I knew a slower race would be to my advantage. I always struggle when the faster boys can up their cadence and pace on hard, flat courses. I would much rather a muddy, hilly course any day - probably because that is what we are used to back home. In terms of mileage for the week I was looking at doing between 80 and 85 miles, so that I could then cut down to 70 for the week of the nationals.

Monday 8th November
8:48 AM: 61:55 (10.0mi, 6:11/mi)
Ran a bit quicker than normal but felt extremely good throughout and nice to run at a steadier pace on the roads.

Tuesday 9th November
15:15 PM: 21:00 w/u (3mi),1200 flushout, 3 x cruise mile (200 jog), 4 x 800 (200 jog)(6.85mi total),16:00 c/d (2mi).
Reps were 4:11 flushout (5:25/mi), 5:05, 5:05, 5:03, 2:20, 2:20, 2:21, 2:20
Ran exactly to plan which was to do 5:05 miles and 2:20 for the 800s. However, the last few 800s were tougher than they should have been. Probably because it was absolutely freezing out and the wind around the top bend was horrific. I didn't get warm the entire session and had a jacket, hat and gloves on! Felt sorry for the rest of the team who were doing the annual four mile time trial after us. It wasn't a day for quick running and 16 mins into the cool down, I couldn't feel my hands so called it a day and jumped onto the warmth of the van. The shower when I got back was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me - I wont tell Jenny that though!

Wednesday 10th November
9:46 AM: 83:23 (13mi, 6:25/mi)
Good steady run on the roads, legs a little heavy during the last few miles but no serious issues.

Thursday 11th November
8:39 AM: 39:15 (6.0mi, 6:32/mi)
Easy morning run around Lombard and back to the house, feeling fresh and good.
14:55 PM: 50:57 (7.0mi)
Easy run with the lads to Pier Park and back.

Friday 12th November
14:45 PM: 44:02 inc strides (6mi)
Jog on the course with the team, didn't take long to get the picture its four big laps with a small finish loop at the end. Seems very nice underfoot and if it doesn't rain will be great conditions to run on. Went off onto a road for the rest of the jog and listened to how Alf wanted to ride a horse or something along those lines. In the evening we went out to an Italian restaurant on the Oregon campus, which was right near Hayward field. Once we got inside, their sat Bill Dellinger and Pat Tyson, Pre's old room-mate, who ushered over Dunbar for a chat.

Saturday 13th November
9:50 AM: 23:00 w/u (3mi), 30:53 (6.2mi race),16:22 c/d (2mi)
Ill try to go into depth about the race as much as I can remember. I was delighted with the time and how I ran the race and hopefully can replicate the performance at nationals. The rain that again was predicted the night before the race, again came a day late. So, our race was ran in cool, drizzly conditions which to be honest suited me fine. The video of the race is on the 'back to blogging' post.

As per usual, the announcers did their best to get all our team details wrong. 'Portland state' was the name tag on our starting box and Trevor Dunbar was announced as his Dad 'Marcus Dunbar' on the tannoy. The starting box was only big another for the team to line up in pairs of two, and Alf was on his heels as the gun went, but I pushed Frerker so that he pushed Alf so we could get underway. The first 1k is a bit of a blur, we found ourselves in about 100th place and a lot of bumping and elbowing was done by many - including me. A lot of runners went falling early on and I seem to remember at least three UCLA guys ploughing into the pole which was holding the tape and going down. From the pictures it was also evident that one of the favourites Chris Derrick had a big fall early on. Four of us, Frerker, Caulkins, Craig and I managed to 'pack up' early on, which is always a benefit as it allows you to have some space if the person next to you is a team-mate and not someone trying to battle you for position. We went through the mile very slow in 4:55 and to be honest it felt like we were jogging and I had to tell Caulkins to not get to eager as I could see he was looking to press on. However, it was important for us four to stay together and work as a team to move up the field and I knew Frerker has great race pace judgement so it was crucial to never stray too far ahead of him.

We moved through the field nicely in the next mile and probably grabbed another 25 spots and the group of us went through two miles in 10 minutes flat, which is on for a 31 minute 10k. It was crucial here not to panic at the slow pace and just concentrate on working through the pack. To highlight how condensed this pack was is the fact that the leaders only went through in 9:57. At just before the three mile point, a runner just in front of me fell, which caused no end of chaos. The guy who was immediately behind the faller went to jump him but got tangled and only managed to knee the guy in the head. I somehow managed to sidestep the pair and fall into the arms of Frerker who guided me on a safe path. However, I found out later that Craig was not so lucky and stumbled behind me, which he feels cost him dearly.

As we came past the start line at about three and a half miles, a visible gap started to emerge between the top 40 and the rest. I was feeling good so did my best to close the gap as quick as possible. Once I reached the pack I noticed that it was just Frerker who was alongside me from our original four and it was now Alf who we were hunting down. As we approached four miles and a dip which was covered with bark (which the picture below just misses) we both passed Alf, who was visibly struggling once again. This time it would be his calf that ruined his race and hopefully he can be fit for nationals and repeat his performance of last year which saw him receive All-American honours by finishing in 16th place.

I pushed hard at this point realising that if I could maintain this pace, I could possibly sneak into the top-25 for all region honours. I felt good coming through five miles where unfortunately I don't remember seeing the clock and was still picking up places. I could tell from the cheers of the crowd that I had put a few seconds on Frerker and was just concentrating on what was in front of me. However, coming into the final lap I realised that I didn't really know how big the finish loop was and lost concentration in trying to work out how much time I had left. With 600m to go Frerker drew level with me and I decided that because he knew the course and had ran it last year I would wait till he kicked and follow. However, his kick was astonishing and he blasted off and caught two or three guys in the last 150m and gained four seconds on me and five places - he finished 32nd, I finished 37th. Looking at the results its interesting to see that we weren't that far of the top-25, just ten seconds in fact. So, maybe if I could have maintained that pace for the last mile I could have sneaked an all-region certificate. However, I cant complain too much, I ended up with a PB of thirty seconds and have gained confidence from the fact that I know I can run strong through the pack. Up the front of the race, our very own Trevor Dunbar produced a spectacular finish to take the win. The picture below shows just how close it was at the sharp end of the field.

Sunday 14th November
10:05 AM: 83:28 (12mi)
Easy run in the forest with Frerker, Dunbar, Lars, Basset, Craig and Fauble. The last four miles down Lief were rather interesting with most trying to catch falling leaves and in the process doing a new kind of Fartlek. Awards go to Bassett for an amazing catch in front of an audience of two old ladies and their dog and for nearly falling off the hillside in the process. The second award goes to Craig Hopkins for failing to catch a single leaf, poor show old boy.
16:11 PM: 21:13 (3.0mi, 7:04/mi)
Gentle jog on my own after watching the girls football team go out on penalties in the playoffs. It was funny watching it has half the crowd clearly had no clue what happened after extra time. Also, weird to see that the Yanks use rolling subs in these games and apparently have as many subs throughout the match as they want. Oh, and another thing why the hell does the clock count down to zero and then a buzzer sound to announce the end of play or the half. This isn't Basketball or any other of your made up sports, this is Football leave it alone or font bother. Rant over.

Total Weekly Mileage - 80 miles- A great week, the race went to plan as before hand I said anything around 30:45 would be amazing. The crowds at the race were amazing and it shows the enthusiasm for the sport in America. When you have probably nearly sixty guys out on the course screaming for you it definitely keeps you going. As a result of the regionals the team qualified for the nationals, which is being held in Terre Haute, Indiana a week on Monday. Between now and then it is all about keeping the legs fresh and just turning over the legs with a light workout on Tuesday. I will try to post again before the nationals with my thoughts in the days before the event and some information on how to watch it.

Stronger and Healthier - 'Getting it done'

The aim of the week was to get a good solid week of mileage in, but not sacrifice the quality of the runs. It would be the last week of mileage before easing down and cutting my mileage ahead of the two most important races of the season. The weather in Portland recently has been extremely good and the sun has been shining allowing for some excellent Fall (Autumn for those in England) 'foliage' - which one of the Freshman is extremely excited about. It is really getting to a crucial stage in the season and I am starting to feel optimistic about my chances of making the nationals. The last few weeks of training have gone really well and I have noticed that I am definitely feeling stronger. Maybe, it was the low iron - which was diagnosed the start of the season and which I dismissed as false - that was having an effect. Over the past six weeks I have been taking tablets twice a day for it as well as some Vitamin C and things have definitely improved. Lets just hope that things stay this way and I don't pick up any niggles or colds over the next week or so now I have said that.

Monday 1st November
8:49 AM: 40:04 (6mi, 6:41/mi)
15:16 PM: 88:56 (13mi)
Easy run in the forest in the pouring rain. It chucked it down for the entire run so the forest had little streams running everywhere. Ran out and back with Christmas who afterwards had a sore hip, which isn't a good sign with some important races coming up and him being a key man in our success.

Tuesday 2nd November
15:18 PM: 22:01 w/u (3mi), 1200m flushout, 2 x 1000, 6 x 817m grass loop, 1000 (8.2mi total). ,19:20 c/d (2.5mi). Reps were 4:14 flushout(5:32/mi), 2:56, 2:55, 2:23, 2:21, 2:19, 2:21, 2:20, 2:21, 2:46.
Tough session, the first two 1000s felt easy enough, but for some reason we all struggled a bit on the grass. I don't know if it was because its a bit softer under foot or we have been hitting it hard the last few weeks but we had to cut down the intended 2 x 1000 at the end to just 1 x 1000. Ran the last rep with Trevor and Joash so it was bound to be a bit quicker.

Wednesday 3rd November
9:18 AM: 83:03 (13mi, 6:23/mi)
Nice steady mid-week longer run. These are now starting to feel good and I feel that I can cut down to 6:20s and feel quite controlled now.
17:50 PM: 34:09 (5mi, 6:50/mi)

Thursday 4th November
9:33 AM: 35:17 (5.56mi, 6:21/mi)
Easy morning run, the pace crept up a bit as I felt really good.
15:20 PM: 75:20 (11mi)
Run in the forest with the team.

Friday 5th November
15:22 PM: 21:38 w/u (3mi), 8 mile tempo (45:00, 5:37/mi) 21:53 c/d (3mi).
Ran the tempo on Lief in the forest which is very undulating and a bit muddy under foot. Started off slow and the idea was to cut down every mile and run 8 to 10 miles. I am never one to go for the shorter of the options but today my gleut tightened up at seven miles so I decided to just call it a day with Bassett and Cody at the 8 mile mark. Dunbar had already gone into the distance as he didn't want to go off really easy and Frerker, Lars, Craig and Caulkins all did ten with the last two miles at around 5 minute pace. I wasn't too bothered about missing out as it will keep my legs a little bit fresher and I still got a decent workout from doing eight.

Saturday 6th November
6:38 AM: 39:30 (5.2mi)
Early run with Craig before heading to watch the Man Utd v Wolves match downtown. Lars (Man Utd fan) and Geiger (adopted Wolves fan) wanted to watch the game and I will watch any game of football, while Craig and Scott were pulled along by the temptation of a full English breakfast. Decent game and decent food and Ipswich managed a win as well, so good start to the day.
15:06 PM: 62:23 (9mi)
Nice controlled run to Pier Park, couple of loops then back to campus. Ran with Craig, Scott and a few others, feeling strong.

Sunday 7th November
10:00 AM: 1:45:00 (15mi)
Shorter Sunday run this week with the regionals in mind. Just went on a short trail in the forest then onto Lief and back to campus. Felt good and the weather for November is unbelievable!

Total Weekly Mileage 110.16mi - Nice week of mileage with a good session on Tuesday and an easier tempo on Friday. From now on its all about easing down for the regionals then nationals as there isn't much I can do now which will benefit either of those races. The only thing I can do is make myself more tired so it will be important to run sensibly, get as much sleep as possible and eat healthily to ensure that doesn't happen.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Portland boys don't slow, thirty-two in a row!

Well, Ill start this blog by saying the lads did a 'great job' (that's some American for you right there) in executing the pre-race plan despite a few set-backs in and before the race. None of us wanted to be on the team that lost the Pilots record winning streak at the WCC - and I am pleased to say that we weren't. The aim before the race was to let Alf go out hard and burn some people off who were silly enough to go out with his pace. The aim was then for Craig, Cosby, Bassett and I to work through the field and pick off as many of these as possible and aim for those top five spots. I will get into details of the race a bit later on, but I also want to say congratulations to my English 'mate' Craig Hopkins for a stunning win this weekend. After a much better performance and week in general, all eyes are now on the regionals in a couple of weeks and fingers crossed with a solid performance the Pilots can roll onto nationals. I have posted a video of the race below and there are plenty of pictures that I will add throughout the post.

Monday 25th October
10:31 AM: 70:36 (11mi, 6:25/mi)
Steady run on my own on the road loop back to campus, now decided that I prefer doing eleven and five miles, instead of ten and six. The reason for this is that if I run at a decent pace eleven miles is around seventy minutes. Furthermore, eleven is my lucky number, which to be honest is the real reason behind the switch.
17:58 PM: 33:04 (5mi, 6:37/mi)
Easy run just before it got dark and after class.

Tuesday 26th October
15:18 PM 22:15 w/u (3mi), 1200 flushout, 2 x 1000 (400 rec), 3 x cruise mile (200 rec), 1000.(6.9 mi total) 27:00 c/d (3.3mi). Reps were 4:12 (5:29/mi) flushout, 2:58, 2:52, 5:14, 5:11, 5:14, 2:47.
Nice Easy session, the miles were very easy as we only aimed to do between 5:10 and 5:15s. I literally jogged at the back of the group and focused on feeling really relaxed. Last 1000 was a little quicker with Cosby blasting off and running a 2:43, I was going to go after him but no need and better to save it for the race at the weekend.

Wednesday 27th October
11:33 AM: 83:20 (13.0mi, 6:25/mi)
Solo run on and around Lombard, ran a little quicker than I intended but felt good.
18:13 PM: 35:30 (5.0mi, 7:06/mi)
Gentle run after class.

Thursday 28th October
9:06 AM: 46:49 (7mi, 6:42/mi)
15:03 PM: 53:28 (7.12mi)
Two easy runs, in the afternoon went out with the lads to Pier Park and ran back to school nice and slow with Fauble.

Friday 29th October
15:28 PM: 49:08 (6.5mi) inc strides
Jogged the course after arriving in San Jose and it was a hilly and these Americans have been making out. Ive added a picture below although you cant really see much because of all the fog. But the race has five good hills in it and lots of other undulations. Stayed in a room with Craigo in the hotel and we had some good quality British time watching a bit of James Bond before the team meeting. The idea for the race is for our pack to go out steady in around 4:50 for the first mile then to hold close to 5 minute mileing from there.

Saturday 30th October
8:48 AM: 23:41 w/u (3mi), race 25:11 (5th, 5mi total, 5:02/mi) ,c/d 35:29 (4.5mi)
Woke up and the promised rain never really materialised so spikes were out of the question as the ground was solid underneath due to Californian humidity. This wasn't a problem as we have done all our workouts in racing flats anyway and I love the streaks. However, when we got over to the course it started to drizzle and this is how it stayed for our race. With the race being in the hills this meant that it was really misty around the course and you can probably see that in the videos.

So, onto the race and all was going well until three minutes before the race, when it soon became apparent that there was only five of our lads on the start line. Cosby came running down the hill screaming "Coach, I don't have my vest!", so Coach had to run off and fetch a number while we frantically pulled off my purple long sleeve and proceeded to rip its sleeves off. I wish the video shows this as I'm sure they were filming it throughout. The starter then ordered that we shouldn't do any more strides and get ready for his gun. But, Craig was still wondering around at the top of the hill, probably sipping on his drinks bottle (the thing is constantly glued to his hand!) and dreaming of England. However, just before the gun he managed to make his way down to us and we were finally ready for the off.

The gun went and by the top of the first little incline about 200m in, I noticed my right shoe felt loose and to my horror looked down to find it untied and flying around. I made the decision not to stop and if the worst came to the worst I would kick it off and run without it. I called to Bassett to give me some space and tried to move into a spot out of trouble where nobody in the pack could stand on it. A mile in the group of four of us were in the perfect position and went through the mile in around 4:50, which is quick considering it has a big hill. However, to our horror by the end of the hill and the start of the two main laps Alf, who had established a good early lead taking a few crazy kids out with him, was visibly in pain and coming back towards us. We passed him soon after that and he called to us that he had pulled a hamstring or something, that was it, it was up to us we had to now all run well.

At around 5k, there is another hill as you pass the finish line to start the final lap. I decided that the San Francisco lad by this point was stretching his lead to much and someone out of the chasing pack had to make a move. I maintained the pace up the hill and by the top of it Craig turned to me and said "it's just me and you mate", as the other two portland guys had fallen off the pace. We were now in a pack of five, us two Portland guys, two San Francisco guys and Boyle of Gonzaga. We managed to quickly drop one of the San Fran guys and at the start of the fourth mile and another of the big hills Craig made a big move to catch Madeira of San Fran who had led from the gun. As soon as he caught him the pair slowed and the other three of us caught up and it was a five way race with 800m to go.

Coming round the final bend with the finish line in sight, Craig made another move and I went to follow but got cut up by the two San Francisco guys and lost five metres instantly. I never could make the stride difference up and subsequently got also passed by Boyle of Gonzaga in the final 300m. Craig went on to outkick the two San Fran guys and despite their early celebrations it soon became clear that we had secured the win for a 32nd year in a row. Full credit to the San Francisco guys they ran a strong race and were closer than ever to be beating us. If it hadnt been for Cody Wells stepping it up for a 6th place finish, who knows it could have gone the other way. I was pleased to run 25:11 but slightly disappointed with the finish and to lose three places in 500m of running. The time compares well to those of previous years where few people have broken 25 mins due to the hills and undulation of the course. Furthermore, with a loose shoe for the entire race, which was close to slipping off going up the hills, I suppose I should be pleased with it.

The rest of the day was a good laugh, we got to dress up and go to an awards banquet. Then afterwards went to San Fransisco and had a few pictures in front of the Golden Gate bridge with the trophy.

Sunday 31st October
9:58 AM: 1:58:35 (17mi)
Didn't have a great sleep as we went to the 'mansion' for a Halloween party. They seem to love Halloween out here and forced me and Craigo to dress up. DP and Fauble came to the rescue, supplying us with aged 8-10 m and m costumes which went down well. Mine being the better as it was just normal chocolate m and ms opposed to Craig's peanut m and m costume (why put nuts in chocolate? bad idea!). So the run was a bit of a shocker as combined with heavy legs from the race yesterday it was a bit of a death march. Got home and went for a well earned nap.

Total Weekly Mileage: 97ish Miles - All in all, a good week. Another team title and I was pleased that I felt a million times better during the race than I did at either Willamette or the Pre-Nationals. For once, I wasn't looking for the finish line a mile into the race, and felt strong right until the final mile. Hopefully, can reproduce this sort of performance at regionals where I think the course will be more like cross country back home (well underfoot at least).

"Time to get in shape"

A new day, a new week and a renewed optimism in my running. I have put the disappointment of the pre-nationals behind me and with the girlfriend being in town, all is well in the world again. She has helped me remember that I have put in a good few months of training and I just have to be patient and let the good performances come. So, the aim for this week was to relax and spend some time with Jenny exploring Portland, as I had no classes with it being Fall Break, whilst also getting some good quality mileage in. Had a chat with Coach and we both agreed that I didn't really ease down for pre-nationals and the cold I picked up a few weeks ago could still be having an effect. Also, the aim now will be to focus on the quality of my running and really sharpen up for these bigger races in the next few weeks. I now have to run the Conference Championships to prove I should be selected to run at Regionals and Nationals in November, but I'm excited as it means a trip to San Francisco.

Monday 18th October
11:38 AM: 31:53 (5.0mi, 6:23/mi
Went out a bit later than usual, but felt nice and fresh after a day off.
16:50 PM: 77:14 (12.0mi, 6:26/mi

Tuesday 19th October
15:26 PM: 21:23 w/u (3.0mi), 4 x 400 (400 jog rec), 6 x cruise mile (1 min rec), 4 x 400 (400 jog rec) (10.7mi total), 10:22 c/d (1.3mi).
Reps were 70, 66, 70, 66, 4:58, 5:08, 5:06, 5:08, 5:08, 5:07, 67, 66, 67, 67.
Did the session after spending the morning in town, with the girlfriend shopping hard! Session went well I started off in the second group but after running a 5min mile and dropping them on the first rep, I stepped straight into the next group so only had a 15 sec rest between first and second mile. The 400s were pushed at the end but I just did them at my own pace and although they felt tough, they will hopefully be of benefit in the long run.

Wednesday 20th October
13:19 PM: 88:38 (13.0mi)
Run with team in the forest, Alf, Chase, Cody and I decided to do a little extra than the others so went up to the top of the forest encountering some big hills. Pushed the pace on the way back and felt good to open the legs in the forest for once. Went to the cinema and the mall in the evening and was kind of glad that the ice skating was closed by the time we had finished watching the film - it ruins your legs for days!

Thursday 21st October
10:10 AM: 64:40 (10mi, 6:28/mi)
Nice steady run before setting off to Portland zoo.
18:33 PM: 41:23 (6.0mi, 6:54/mi)
Easy run after spending the day on my feet and had a burrito at like half five! I love the zoo and the penguins are actually quality. Best animal by far, end of discussion.

Friday 22nd October
14:37 PM: 21:53 w/u (3mi), 1200 flushout, 1mi, 6 x 800m grass loop, 1mi.(8.4mi total), 21:00 c/d (2.6mi)
Reps were 4:13 (5:29/mi) flushout, 4:40, 2:19, 2:18, 2:19, 2:18, 2:17, 2:17, 4:35.
Best session of the year so far, everything felt really controlled and relaxed. Especially the last mile where we were all sharing the pace and just having a chat. Went downtown in the evening and had a nice meal at a really good italian restaurant before meeting up with some of the lads and Christmas and his girlfriend at a Pub. The two couples decided to leave early but had a shocker getting home with the max trains and buses deciding to be delayed. This all meant that Craig'o' Hopkins had to come to our rescue. I mean he had intended to go on into the night with the lads but the bouncers refused his English id. Frerker being the nice lad he is, donated Craig his car to drive home and the boy did us proud in rescuing us from a 45 minute wait for the next train home - despite nearly running a red light we got home safe and sound.

Saturday 23rd October
14:58 PM: 94:37 (13.0mi, 7:17/mi)
Easy run with Frerker and Geiger after dropping Jenny off at the airport. The wind picked up and the rain was coming down by the time we got out but got it done. The other boys only did six miles so after they left I ran 6:45s to get the pace down to something near respectable!

Sunday 24th October
10:00 AM: 2:12:52 (19mi)
Had to run back to school and it was possibly the wettest run I have ever done. It didn't stop raining from start to finish, the forest was extremely muddy and all in all was an unpleasant experience!

Total Weekly Mileage: 107 miles - Nice solid week of running, the two workouts went well and feeling more confident ahead of the conference next weekend. Had a really good week with the girlfriend and it was nice to finish my runs and just chill out, eat some good food and watch some films. Was accused of being non-existent all week because of Jenny being here, but a mans got to do what a mans got to do.

Pre-Nationals Week

I'll add the training weeks separately over the next few days so that it will be easier to read each of them. This is due to the fact that I probably will have a lot to say about each of the races i have done over the past few weeks which will be too much for just one post. Also, there are plenty of pictures and videos for me to upload to each of the weeks since I last added my training updates. The aim of the week was to ease down and do about 90mi and just do some easy running in the days before the race. Hoping to run solidly around 24:30 if possible and have a good laugh on my first big trip with the team.

Monday 11th October
9:29 AM: 63:40 (10mi, 6:22/mi)
17:37 PM: 39:54 (6.02mi, 6:38/mi) inc strides

Tuesday 12th October
8:44 AM: 30:01 (4.5mi)
15:17 PM: 22:05 w/u (3mi), 1200 lactate flush. 6 x 150, 8 x 817m (precise!) grass loop, 6 x 150 (9mi total), 21:58 c/d (2.65mi)
Rep Times were 4:12 (5:28/mi) for flushout, 150s were at (4.00/mi - 4:10/mi), 2:22, 2:22, 2:23, 2:21, 2:22, 2:21, 2:18, 2:16 (so 4:45 down to 4:30/mi), 150s at same pace as before.
Pleased with how the session went, nice to get the legs turning over with some 150s and I ran easy on the first six 800s just at the back of the pack. Then put my spikes on for the last two reps and started a few seconds behind the group trying to close the gap. Felt a little sluggish but the last two reps felt good.

Wednesday 13th October
12:18PM: 89:24 (13.07mi, 6:51/mi) inc strides

Thursday 14th October
5:50AM: 43:38 (6mi, 7:16/mi)
God knows how I got out of bed this early to run but we were leaving for the flight at 6:45 so had to get it done. It was the first cold morning we have had and nice to get the hat and gloves out again. Was a bit weird running this early in the morning again and felt a lot harder than it does at 9am!
19:08PM: 49:10 (6.5mi, 7:36/mi)
Run with team in Indianapolis after we had landed, ran around some park which smelt of fried chicken and weed (no stereotypes here of course!) Was a bit of a shambles of a run really and the most entertaining part was watching Alf run out into the night so that all you could see was his socks, racial banter! Afterwards we spent nearly an hour driving to find this whole foods supermarket that the girls coach wanted to go to. I was devastated to find that there was only salad to eat and as most of you know salad isn't my favourite food in the world. However, to my surprise the salad was actually really good, but it had to have been considering it cost me $18! What a joke!

Friday 15th October
12:02PM: 49:56 (7mi, 7:11mi) inc strides.
Drove to the course after spending a lovely night with Lars, was very romantic. Just jogged round it and took note of the hills or lack of them! I mean it does climb a fair bit but it is always gradual. It was really firm under foot and am not sure whether the ground will actually take a spike, 6mm at best or quarter inches for the US boys. Had dinner at some Italian in Indiana and we waited for about an hour to be seated, some of the girls outside decided that I was John Mayer, which according to Frerker is a compliment.

Saturday 16th October
8:12AM: 15:24 shakeout (2mi)
11:56AM: 21:00 w/u (3mi) Race (25:13, 118th, 5mi), 21:03 c/d (2.56mi).
Well what a shocker! For a starters it was about 20c but I don't really mind the heat so I cant use that as an excuse. I felt the incline more than I thought I would but it wasn't hilly so I cant use that as an excuse either. It was just one of those days, we went off hard but not anything ridiculous and I was feeling tired at about a mile and a half, never a good sign (as you can see in the pic above I'm struggling after the first lap). For the rest of the race I was hoping for it to end and once Frerker went past me about three miles I just couldn't keep a decent pace. I was behind one lad at one point around 4 miles and could see how slow he was moving yet I couldn't close the gap. I hopefully will put the race behind me and never feel that bad in a race again. Like in the pictures at Willamette its noticeable that I'm working hard throughout by the grimace on my face and I know for sure that I don't usually do this. I know I am in shape so hopefully better things will come and at least I can use the experience of running the national course as a positive. Also, I quite liked the hairband I was wearing and it may feature in some races later in the year. Below is another picture of me struggling, this time down the home straight, just praying for the finish line:

18:23PM: 34:32 (4.6mi, 7:31/mi)
Evening run around Indianapolis from the hotel we were staying at. Lars, Cosby and I decided to do a little run as there wasn't much else to do considering we were staying an extra night in Indianapolis. The run once more was a bit sketchy and we saw some interesting sights of Mid-West America. I wasn't sure if it was the fact we were running, wearing purple long sleeves, or because we were wearing tights but the people were most definitely not giving us the best of looks. Had a good evening chilling with the girls team and was nice to have us all together as a team for once.

Sunday 17th October
Flew back to Portland and girlfriend week kicked off. We drove the bus to the hotel Jenny was staying at (she flew in on Saturday evening) and it was nice to see her after so long!! Spent the day sleeping and watching films, eating chocolate and generally chilling out, just like old times.

Total Weekly Mileage: 85 miles - could have done 90 to 100 but was nice to have the day off on Sunday to relax and spend some time with the missus. Also, needed a little break after the shambles of Pre-nationals to allow myself to recharge and come back fresh and ready for the next few weeks which could make or break my season. Below is a video of the race, not sure if I ever feature in it, because I haven't actually been able to bring myself to watch it! You may notice my team-mate Trevor Dunbar "getting it done" though:

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Taking it Easy (well sort of...)

The last two weeks of training have been a struggle. I managed to pick up a cold a couple of days before the race, which is still annoyingly lingering about as I write this. I hate making excuses, but to be honest the way I have felt in these last few weeks has been nowhere near my normal self. As, during the race and in hard sessions, I have just felt like I have nothing extra to give when the going gets really tough. It is frustrating in the fact that I would have liked to open up the season with a race where I felt strong and to some extent felt controlled. But, on the other hand if this can be the only illness I pick up this season then I suppose that it is a good time to have it. As there are still six weeks before nationals and if things improve this week then hopefully I can have a good race at the pre-nationals next weekend. Anyway with being ill and generally feeling a bit run-down we have decided to ease the mileage off slightly this week and next week plan to take things down another notch before the race. After the pre-nationals, I will hopefully be refreshed enough to then have three solid weeks at 105-110 miles, before easing off for regionals, then taking it down again for the main goal of the season - the nationals. Next week is also going to be exciting as after the pre-nationals, during fall break, Jennifer is flying out for a week to visit. Oh and before I list my training, yesterday we did our long run in the forest because the bridge would be closed today due to the Portland marathon. We were obviously not the only ones to do this and as we rolled down Lief on our last mile recent European 5k and 10k gold medalist Mo Farah cruised past us, along with American distance prodigy Galen Rupp. Then one minute later to cap it off Alberto Salazar, American marathon legend, jogged past and I'm not going to lie, I got a little excited.

Monday September 27th
7:05 AM: 37:30 (5mi) - Ran really easy around campus with Cosby, Geiger and Craig. Just did long campus loops and kept the run on the grass to help my Achilles. No problems and ran without tape for the first time.
15:18 PM: 83:02 (12mi) - Easy run with team in the forest as my class was cancelled. Achilles tweaked a couple of times on the uneven surface but no real problems.

Tuesday September 28th
9:11 AM: 34:51 (5.0mi, 6:58/mi) - Easy solo run on Lombard loop. No problems with the Achilles, legs a little heavy.

15:18 PM: 21:21 w/u (inc lactate flush 3.11mi), 9 x 810m loop at Fernhill (6.9mi total), 20:00 c/d (2.5mi). Reps were 2:25, 2:18, 2:17, 2:15, 2:17, 2:18, 2:18, 2:18, 2:18. Was Tough workout and had to drop back to Christmas and Lars for the second to last one as Dunbar, Joash and Alf were starting to drop me. Nice to be back running hard with the front guys again and had no problems with the achilles.

Wednesday September 29th
7:11 AM: 90:00 (13.5mi) - Ran with Joash to the forest and back, ran pretty hard and my legs were tired from the session yesterday. Used the mile markers on Lief to gage the pace and we got down to close to 6min mileing for a few miles, so a bit quicker than the easy run planned.

Thursday September 30th
9:03 AM: 48:33 (7.0mi, 6:56/mi) - Solo run on Lombard and the streets near campus. Felt nice and controlled although woke up with a sore throat.
14:59PM: 63:00 (9mi) - Easy run with the team to Pier Park, did a few loops then ran back to school. Was only planning on going 7mi but felt nice and controlled.

Friday October 1st
11:40AM: 63:00 plus strides (9.5mi total)
Went a little further than I would usually do the day before a race. Cosby, Craig and I went down and did a shortened version of the shannigans loop. Not sure if I should do this much before a race, but with the race being not overly important, it wasn't worth easing down too much. Woke up with a sore throat and a headache, hope it is just dehydration not a cold.

Saturday October 2nd
5:55 AM: 17:00 (2mi shakeout)

8:36 AM: 22:39 w/u inc lactate (3.15mi), Race 8k (5mi), 32:00 c/d (4mi). I ran 24:17 after dying in the last 3k. The only splits I remember are the 3 mile which was 14:30ish and 5k which was just under 15mins. Apparently we went through the first mile in around 4:40, so in reflection I probably went off to hard and the cold I had picked up just killed me later in the race. The course was odd for xc, a mixture of road, woodchip trails and grass. There was a couple of hills in it, but these were on the road and where I usually do well on the hills, I struggled to find any sort of power. After setting off in the lead group, I re-established myself with two other Portland runners in the chasing pack. At about four miles Christmas and Cosby pushed on and I just couldn't go with it and fell off the back of the pack and struggled the rest of the way in. Not the best of races to start my American career but I'm hoping that I wont feel as bad as this in a race again this season. Was going to do an easy run in the evening but my cold got much worse after the race and I felt like doing nothing other than going to bed.

Sunday October 3rd
8:56 AM: 2:13:06 (20mi) - Usual Sunday loop and then added on a mile and a bit at the end. Aiden Irish took the role of leader after about four miles and brutally pushed the pace and to be honest I was hanging on for most of it. I woke up feeling pretty awful due to the cold and having a bad nights sleep because some of the lads in the house had some people over and the music was pretty loud. But the main thing is that I got it done and hopefully this cold will subside soon.

Total Weekly Mileage - 106.5mi - Looking back on the week there are probably a few things I will do differently when it comes to the bigger races. I will only do 6 or 7 miles the day before the race and only a double of two seven milers, two days prior to the event. I think I didn't allow my body enough time to recover after the workout and running hard on Wednesday didn't do my body any favours. This combined with the cold I think may have been the reasons why I didn't feel great during the race. On the plus side, another week of solid mileage completed and the achilles is feeling much better.

Here is a link to the a video of the race filmed by another team,Charles Bowles Willamette Invitational,
alternatively a better video can be seen on our website in the right hand corner of the page cross country section.

Monday October 4th
8:28 AM: 63:05 (10mi, 6:19/mi) - Ran solo looping around Lombard and the streets around campus. Was going to split the run today as I woke up still feeling bad, but once I got into the run things felt not too bad. And also I didn't fancy the thought of running again later if I felt like I did in the past few days.

Tuesday October 5th
15:25 PM: 21:28 w/u (3mi),800 lactate then 12 x 1min hard, 1 min steady 27:40 (5.25mi total), 29:00 c/d (3.75mi). Ran at Fernhill, was meant to do 15 x 1min but just felt awful, the minute on was just below race pace and the min off was between 5:30-6:00/mi. I think the cold is still affecting me when I push things, because as soon as the going got tough I couldn't stick it out. Did a longer cool down as the others finished off the session.

Wednesday October 6th
9:42 AM: 88:19 (14mi, 6:19/mi) - Ran solo on the slough loop then did a loop to Columbia Park and back to school. Felt pretty good and was surprised to see that I was ticking along at a decent pace. Cold starting to go now and felt better while I was running.

Thursday October 7th
9:11 AM: 32:04 (5.0mi, 6:25/mi) - Solo run on Lombard loop, felt pretty good and tried to keep under 6:30/mi.

15:30 PM: 70:00 (10mi) - Easy run in the forest with the team, Charlie Mc was pushing the pace, which only Dunbar and Joash followed. The rest of us sat in and listened to Cosby first announce that usually by this time of year he is injured and on every corner tell everyone "This is where Scott snapped his leg". Hopefully, everyone can stay injury free now, as we have a chance!

Friday October 8th
15:20 PM: 22:50 w/u (3mi), 800 lactate flush, 1mi controlled (6 min jog rec), 8 x 2mins hard, 2mins easy (6 min jog rec), 1mi hard (9.14mi total), 17:21 c/d (2.06mi). Hardest session I have ever done, did both miles in 4:35 which is about the equivalent of 4:31/2 as the dirt track we used was 25m long. The first mile felt pretty controlled and we kept a good group of us together. We then jogged down to the park where we did the 2mins on, 2 mins off on the thick grass at Fort Vancouver. I felt Ok for the first 4 or 5 where we were averaging 4:40/mi pace, but as soon as Dunbar, Alf and Joash put the hammer down a bit I struggled. But I managed to keep at around 4:40/mi pace and despite Coach Marcus' attempts at trying to make us all 'pack up', Cosby, Lars and I all sat off the pace slightly and somehow managed to complete them. By the time it got round to the last mile on the track it seemed like we had been running forever. I thought the mile wouldn't be so tough as I could sit in behind a few of the guys and get pulled round. I couldn't have been more wrong, Dunbar, Joash and Alf tore off with others in pursuit and I dint have the speed or the desire to run at such speeds! I managed to pass a few who fell back and running solo did the same time as the first mile, the front boys did an easy 4:15ish!

Saturday October 9th
9:00 AM: 91 mins (13mi) - Easy run in the forest due to the fact that we cant get over the bridge to run here tomorrow because of the marathon. It had been raining all morning so the trails were pretty muddy but Bassett kept a nice pace and didn't follow Cosby and Olberding when they saw Silvey and William.C ahead on the trail and tried to impose senior superiority in catching and passing the pair. The last four miles were on the main trail, Lief, and Cosby enjoyed saying "morning fellas" to every group of the girls xc we passed, he didnt get much response! I was a little disappointed that he didnt say "morning ladies" when we passed Mo, Galen and Salazar, maybe he was as starstruck as I was. Then again they thought that Mo Farah was Meb, silly Americans.

16:37 PM: 35 mins (5mi) - Run with Olberding to Columbia Park, did a couple of loops then back to school. Legs felt better than they did this morning after a good nap.

Sunday October 10th
9:00 AM: 76 mins (10.75mi) - Easy run with Scott, Cosby and Craig on the Slough loop. Kept things really easy in the rain, which apparently will know continue for the rest of the year. Portland marathon had started by the time we went out and the leaders had just passed the 19 mile mark outside school, what an awful day to run a marathon - 26.2 miles of heavy rain. Cosby fulfilled the role of educator for the Brits today in pointing out the various pieces of wildlife to be seen on the run, lovely stuff.

16:16 PM: 41:36(6.25mi)

Total Weekly Mileage - 100 miles - A week of less quantity and more quality. I am glad that I got through the session on Friday and even though I was not feeling 100 per cent, at least I got the workout in the bank. Will now try to run an easier week before pre-nationals and fingers crossed will feel stronger during the race because of it. Below is a video of the pre-nationals last year and we are going with the belief that we can win it this year!

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Media Frenzy

With the cross country season now hotting up, a few bits and pieces have been written about the team this week. In addition to that I found a short video of our home meet at Pier Park a few weeks back. I wasn't racing at that one but will be in a few days time at Willamette, where in addition to the main race there will be a side race also occuring. The 'Internationals', Malde (Norway), Hopkins (England), Kipchumba (Kenya) and I (England) will be racing an American Select Team of Osoro, Dunbar, Cosby and Christmas or Bassett - Osoro is yet to confirm the exact team, he is busy meticulously studying his options. There was a nice little piece on our boys in the newspapers this week after a reporter held an interview with Joash Osoro on his thoughts for the season. I should add Joash that you shouldn't have admitted to needing to call your girlfriend before races, schoolboy error. The winners prize is to be a bought pizza from the losing team, which for Lars and I will be nice considering the debacle of last weekend, see http://thegrapecrush.blogspot.com/2010/09/grape-crush-institutions-lombard.html. A little message for you American boys -"we are going to destroy you, cheers mates!"

Monday, 27 September 2010

What a Difference Three Days Off Makes

After my last training log, when things were going really well, I had the the achilles setback. However, after some help from the medical staff I have somehow managed to get back into full training after only taking three days off training. I have still taken precautions though, and the work-outs have been a bit easier just to see how the achilles responds to faster paced efforts and in order to not aggravate matters. The weather here is has been all over the place, it seems to be cool and raining one day then really hot the next. First race of the season for most of our varsity team is next weekend at the Charles Bowles invitational over 8k. I can't wait to make my American debut on what it seems is a very fast course. Hopefully, the team and I can produce some good performances for me to talk about next week.

Monday 20th September
9:30AM: 35:00 (5.0mi, 7:00mi). After getting my achilles taped up by the medical staff i tested it out on the roads. It was odd for the first mile or so running with my foot being restricted from flexing but it seemed to do the trick. i didn't have a single pain throughout and was able to complete the morning run at the usual pace.
15:19PM: 81:59 (12mi). Ran in the forest on Lief with Cody, who's ankle was also sore after twisting it on the trails yesterday. Lief is the flatter of the trails on in the forest and despite it being muddy from the rain of the weekend, it was relatively good under foot. Didn't feel a pain until 11mi when I turned it slightly and then when going uphill near the end. But all in all the achilles was good, and its good to be running properly again.

Tuesday 21st September
9:05AM: 34:05 (5mi, 6:49/mi). Getting used to running with the tape now and it is feeling relatively normal. The only problem is when it is too tight across the top of the foot which gives some soreness on top of the ankle. I figure that if I can keep the routine of heat, ice, physio etc. then things can only get better.
15:37PM: 21:24 w/u (3mi), 7 x 1mile (7.38mi), 19:25 c/d (2.63mi). Initially I was going to do a tempo on my own while the team did their 8 by a mile workout at Westmoreland. But, I realised I would probably run too hard so set off with one of the slower groups in the mile repeats and then worked my way up from there. So, on some of the repeats I didn't get the full minute recovery, which was fine as they were at a slower pace than normal. Mile reps were 5:38, 5:27, 5:28, 5:26, 5:07, 4:57, 4:54. Was nice to get back into some race pace stuff at the end of the workout with the boys I would have been with if I was sure of my achilles. Didn't feel any pain throughout which is a good sign that I can run at race pace with the tape and not have any problems.

Wednesday 22nd September
12:10PM: 1:39:23 (15.0mi, 6:38/mi). Had to run solo because of class and went out to where a few of us did a tempo last week and was looking to loop back to campus. But, after 7 and a half miles I realised I wasn't going to find the loop so had to double back and ran slightly longer than I had wanted. Legs were shot towards the end probably due to the fact that my legs were suffering from the increased pace yesterday. It was also hot by the time I ran which didn't help matters on the way back.

Thursday 23rd September
9:30AM: 42:00 (6mi). Morning run on the roads with Lars, who has made a fantasy football team for all four of us football fans on the team.
14:59PM: 75:13 (11mi,6:50/mi). Easy run with the team on the sloo loop which was the loop I was meant to do yesterday. I realised that I had turned the wrong way yesterday and that is why I couldn't find the way back to campus. Rich had taped the foot a little tight so was getting some stiffness on top of the foot which was a bit annoying.

Friday 24th September
9:38AM: 34:43 (5mi, 6:57/mi). Easy solo morning run, was going to do the workout this morning but coach said that a freshman couldn't make practice so could I do the tempo with him in the afternoon. This meant only having a few hours rest in between but I suppose I could do with some company.
13:37PM: 22:30 w/u(3mi), 47:58 (9mi tempo, 5:19/mi), 23:24 c/d(3mi). Mile splits 5:13, 5:28, 5:26, 5:21, 5:23, 5:27, 5:14, 5:16, 5:07. Nice workout, was really hot and Craig Hopkins, Michael Young a freshman, and myself were the only ones doing it as the rest of the team were doing 1k hill repeats. There was no point risking my achilles doing that sort of workout so opted for a flat, road tempo. The route is basically in a cycle lane and goes out 3 miles from coaches house past uni to a pub then turn back, then repeat the first 3 miles again. Started out a little quick, although I think that is due to the first mile being gradually downhill and probably why mile six was one of the slowest. Ran as a group for five miles, when Young tried to push the pace although this lasted for less than a minute before he fell back, he was only doing six miles. Craig had a tie a shoelace at the turn of mile six so also fell back and I tried to push the pace for the last three. It was nice to be in racing flats again and feeling no pain!

Saturday 25th September
9:48AM: 31:26 (4.5mi, 7:00/mi) Tired, and legs felt terrible for the entire run, went a bit later as I realised once I had left the house that I hadn't checked the Ipswich score. So had to go find a computer on campus to go look at the result before I could set off.
16:46PM: 71:28 (10mi) Easy run with housemates to Pier Park, couple of loops, then back to campus. Roasting hot day for this time of year, nice to know that back home its freezing so I wont complain. Legs a million times better than this morning, don't know how as I had been shopping for most of the day.

Sunday 26th September
9:00am: 2:10:00 (18.5mi). Usual Sunday run at the forest, but it had been raining all morning so it was pretty muddy on the trails. The rest of the group call the run 19 miles but I only needed 18 and a half for 120 so ill call it that. Achilles was ok, top of foot a bit sore from my poor attempt at taping it myself.

Total Weekly Mileage: 120mi - Probably a little excessive, but I was just taking each day as it came and things added up. I'm a runner who doesn't like to miss the training that I have planned and after losing some runs last week wasn't going to sacrifice any this week. Anyway, it didn't seem to cause any problems so with an easier week next week, hopefully can then put in the mileage again before the bigger races come.

I found a video of the race from last year which shows it is a mixture of grass and pavement, while also showing some dodgy American pre-race motivational techniques!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Injury Update

After my last blog on Thursday night things took a turn for the worse. I went out on Friday morning for an easy jog to see how the Achilles had reacted over night, the jog turned out to be quarter of a mile long. The pain wasn't overly intense but the fact that I could feel it tightening up every foot strike was enough for me to call it a day. I went to see Rich our x-country trainer (physio for those in England) who pointed out that the Achilles creaked every time I flexed it. This he explained was bad, a sign of Achilles tendonitis (or something similar to that it was a bit more technical), and that I shouldn't run on it till this went away completely. Consequently, I was told to take three days off running and to come in for treatment each day.

As painful as it was to take three days off - the most I have taken off since February when I was in Australia, it seems to have worked (fingers crossed!) Basically I have a routine before and after every run which goes like this: Heat up the Achilles with heat pads, ultrasound the area for five minutes, tape the area and then go on a run. Come back stretch everywhere but not the Achilles, use the foam roller, stim machine (seen in the picture at the top, basically the wires attach to two pads which are stuck on the area of injury) for 20 mins with ice, then either put my foot in an ice bucket or go in the ice pool (exactly the same to the one in the video below). This has enabled me to complete a full week of running so far and even do a session of sorts on Tuesday in which I finished with 2 miles of 4'55 or 8k race pace, which is a good sign it is getting better. I will continue to do this for the next week or so leading up to the Willamette race. A full training blog will hopefully go up on Sunday night, and I intend to regularly update my training on this day in the future.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Full Update of Training in Portland to date

Below is the training I have completed in the US to date (bit of an essay sorry). So far, so good, and I am enjoying my running and can't wait to race in October. The course I am doing isn't so great, simply because I really can't be bothered with school work after promising myself I would never write another essay after my dissertation in 2009. But, it has to be done if I want to run out here, so I'm persevering with it.

The facilities are top-class and we have access to everything you need, ice baths, physio, massage, shoes, kit the lot. Most days the team runs in the forest which is three miles from campus and is a training paradise for distance runners. It has miles upon miles of trails and gravel track through the middle which is ideal for tempo runs. I have been stretching twice a day for over thirty minutes after having the 'tightest hamstrings in the US' to add to my tightest hamstrings in the UK award � things are slowly improving.

The weather has been good so far, the main difference from England (Lincoln in particular) is the lack of wind here. I don't think I have noticed it in any of my runs so far; however Portland is renowned for its rain, which is on its way. The main races are in late October and early November and after being ranked 8th in the pre-season NCAA Div I polls things are looking good!

Friday 27th August
14:26PM: 16:38 w/u (2mi), 20:59 (4mi) 1 min race pace, 1 min steady.7:21 (1mi) c/d. Did the run at Fernhill Park, which has one little hill in it. Pace was around 4'50s for the minute on and 5'30 to 5'40 on the minute off. Legs felt a little heavy so only did 20 mins worth where as the rest of the team did 25mins. Coach didn't want me going to hard as I only flew in last night and am still feeling the effects.

Saturday 28th August
14:54PM: 75 mins (10.6mi, 7:00/mi). Easy run with my new housemates Trevor Dunbar, Clif Campbell, Cody Wells and freshman Scott Fauble. Did what is called the 'shannigans' loop I think (no idea why its called that), which passes the Adidas US headquarters and goes down to the railway tracks and then back to campus, it was nice and warm a welcome change from the UK.

Sunday 29th August
9:58AM: 2:04:50 (18.5mi). Long run in the forest with the team, I am reliably told that the route is between 18 and 19 miles and is definitely more near 19 in my eyes. It involves quite a few climbs on single track trails and although it was pretty firm under foot, it apparently gets soft in the winter. I managed to fall over on a root and have a pretty badly grazed hip to show, although it's nice to know i wasn't the first to fall, after Craig did the other week, and most definitely won't be the last.

Total Weekly Mileage: 65-70mi, can't remember what I did in the days before I came out! Hopefully can get four good weeks of solid mileage before my first race in October.

Monday 30th August
2:30PM: 80 mins (12mi). Garmin wasn't charged as I had been doing lots of other things in the day. Had a pretty rough day as was feeling homesick as I couldn't access the internet and hadn't set up my US phone yet. Was meant to do a double day but missed the morning run because I wanted to make sure I had stuff sorted so I could speak to people back home. Coach reassured me that this was the right thing to be doing and was a massive help in making me feel better. Just ran solo out to Pier Park, where we do our home cross country meet in a few weeks, did a few loops and ran back to campus.

Tuesday 31st August
8:28AM: 37:08 (5.51mi, 6:45/mi). Nice easy morning run on my own out onto the bridge which goes to Forest park and then back to Campus. Great views of the City in the distance and Mt. Hood, felt good and legs starting to feel better after the long flight out.
15:42PM: 19:37 w/u (2.7mi), 8 x 1 cruise miles (1min rec) (8.3mi), 17:30 c/d (2.5mi). Mile splits were 5.02, 5.10, 5.08, 5.06, 5.06, 5.09, 5.06, 5.06. Felt very good in the session had a group of five consisting of myself, Craig Hopkins (my English 'mate'), Lars (Norwegian), Cosby and Bassett. We were the second group after Joash, Dunbar and Alf were running the miles in around 5.00 � 5.05. Coach just wanted us to run controlled around 5.10 pace, but we went slightly quicker. Ran at Westmoreland Park which is flat on soft grass and loops round a pond, weather was pretty poor though much like England.

Wednesday 1st September
10:18AM: 90:01 (13.5mi) Did the first five miles with Dunbar and then carried on to do the rest. Picked up the pace after I hit the road and just looped round Lombard Street and back to campus. Nice and controlled legs a little tired from the workout but nothing to bad.
18:02PM: 40:00 (5.5mi) Really easy run with Craig only wanted to do four or five but we didn't really know where we were going. Did a loop of a little park which was pretty rubbish so just went onto Lombard street and back to campus.

Thursday 2nd September
8:42AM: 35:01 (5.2mi, 6:45/mi) Ran solo on the road on the lombard loop, felt good.
14:59PM: 92:18 (13.3mi) Ran out to the forest with quite a few of the team some doubled back who were just going for ten. Myself, Joash, Lars and Dunbar did a loop in the forest and then headed back to campus. Tough on the legs as it involved a few climbs which Ill have to get used to!

Friday 3rd September
7:07AM: 70:00 (10.0mi, 7:00/mi). Did longer in the morning as we were going to watch some of the team run at the OSU invitational in the afternoon. Ran with Joash and Craig and ran easy on the tracks to pier park and then did a loop before going back to campus.
16:39PM: 35:13 (5.1mi, 6:54/mi). Ran loops of the cross country course at Corvallis, Oregon with Joash and Craig before watching the team place second behind Oregon. We didn't run any of our top 8 runners and ran a lot of the second year people. My housemate Clif Campbell had a pretty solid run out and was our best finisher in 3rd. Nice to get a feel for the way cross country works out here although it was just a small meet. The course was flat and very good for running fast, hopefully the rain comes and makes things a bit tougher which will suit me more, but I cant wait to race now.

Saturday 4th September
9:30AM: 24:15 w/u (3.2mi) inc 3 mins at 5'30 pace, 10 x hill loop at Vancouver (6.8mi), 23:45 c/d (3mi). A few of us who didn't race went up north of Portland to Vancouver park to do a workout on a surface which is more like the national cross course. Reps were 1.43, 1.43, 1.41, 1.41, 1.40, 1.38, 1.38, 1.41, 1.41, 1.38. Between the reps we had about 2.45 jog (6'45 pace) recovery. So we ran pretty consistently I started off quite steady running with Lars and Bassett and Craig, but worked up and passed Alf to run with Joash and Dunbar. Pleased with how it felt and I am starting to feel a lot stronger. Team barbeque in the evening which got a bit messy for some people (who I won't name!) but a good laugh.

Sunday 5th September
10:03AM: 2:08:48 (18.5mi) same route as last week but we went a little slower although it felt about the same amount of effort because of the workout yesterday. Ran with Lars, Geiger, Olberding and Kilberg (an ex-Pilot who has run 28:20) as some of the others wanted to go shorter. Nice to do these long runs off the road on some softer ground although I can't say I'm overly delighted with the amount of hills involved.

Total Weekly Mileage: 115 miles. Good solid first week, with two good sessions in it. Hopefully can carry this on and do 120 mpw for the next three before easing down for the Willamette race.

Monday 6th September
7:45AM: 81:00 (12mi). Ran solo out to Forest Park and did a few miles in there and then ran back to campus. Felt nice and controlled was meant to be meeting some of the lads at 7am but I slept in.

Tuesday 7th September
9:31AM: 34:15 (5mi, 6:51/mi). Solo on the Lombard loop legs felt good ahead of the session.
15:06PM: 26:22 w/u (3.8mi) inc 3 mins at 5'30 pace. 8 x 1 mile in Pier Park with 2 mins jog rec (9mi), 24:36 c/d (3.3mi). Reps were 4.58, 5.01, 4.58, 5.03, 5.05, 5.04, 5.04, 4.59. Very good workout despite the torrential rain which meant you couldn't really see where you were going on the first two reps and that's probably why we ran too hard early on. The aim was to run them at 5.05s so ran slightly quicker but felt good and ran with Cosby, Lars, Hopkins and two freshman Fauble and D.P. The group of Alf, Joash and Dunbar ran slower than we did so pretty pleased at how things are going. The loop is not flat either and has a few little climbs in it and combined with being soft underfoot because of the rain made things tough.

Wednesday 8th September
7:07AM: 92:11 (13.5mi) ran the first ten with Joash on the shannigans loop, and then carried on doing a little loop on the roads. Felt quite tired after we picked up the pace and a bit tight from the hills on the workout yesterday.
17:48PM: 34:13 (5.09mi, 6:44/mi) Usual five mile Lombard loop and just kept things nice and easy.

Thursday 9th September
9:01AM: 33:35 (5.0mi, 6:43/mi). Solo on the Lombard loop legs feel good again and felt really controlled.
15:08PM: 70:00 (10.0mi, 7:00/mi). Ran with the team to Pier park and did a few loops before coming back to campus. Ran nice and easy because a few are racing tomorrow and was nice on the legs to do such an easy pace with a big group.

Friday 10th September
10:02AM: 82:00 + strides (13mi). Solo to the forest and had to do a few out and backs in there as part of it was closed due to some work being done.
15:28PM: 37:00 (5mi) Ran really easy with the team during their warm up and then with some freshman who were cooling down after a workout. The team won the meet, our home meet, and Joash was impressive running 24:40ish for the 5miles without breaking a sweat. Craig also ran well to finish third and is getting fitter as the weeks go by.

Saturday 11th September
9:23AM: 22:17 w/u (3mi), 800 at 5'25 pace then 10 x 1k (400 rec), 17:41 c/d (2.2mi). Reps were 3.00, 3.00, 3.01, 2.56, 2.55, 2.54, 2.53, 2.49, 2.49, 2.49. Very pleased with the workout the idea before was to run all the reps controlled at 3min pace but Dunbar was looking to run three at 3min, three at 2:55s then four at 2:50s. So, a few of us followed suit and worked through the gears. Weird to be on the track at this stage but Coach wanted to get some speed in the legs and get the legs used to turning over at a quicker pace.
17:28PM: 30:11 (4.5mi, 6:43/mi). Nice little shakeout on the roads to get some of the stiffness out of the legs.

Sunday 12th September
10:01AM: 2:06:33 (18.5mi). Same route as the last two weeks and ran with Cosby, Geiger, Lars, Hopkins and Garcia. Lars and I both struggled a bit as the legs were still a little tired from the hard workout the day before, but got it done.

Total Weekly Mileage: 122 Miles. Record week, but legs are feeling good and no ill effects from the increased mileage. The fact that both workouts were completed to a decent standard also shows that its not having a detrimental effect on my running.

Monday 13th September
7:48AM: 73:44 (11.0mi, 6:42/mi). Solo run and went out with the intention of doing five or six but with having class later I decided to just get it done and felt surprisingly good the further I went.
15:00 PM: 43:30 inc strides (6.0mi). Easy run before class with Geiger and Frerker who were doing ten. Finished up with some strides on the football pitches outside the Chiles centre.

Tuesday 14th September
8:00AM: 36:00 (5mi). Easy morning run with Lars along the tracks and back to campus.
15:28PM: 21:36 w/u (3mi), 40:48 (8mi tempo, 5:06/mi), 20:00 c/d (2.5mi). mile splits were 5.12, 5.11, 5.08, 5.06, 5.06, 5.06, 4:57, 4:57. Good tempo out and back on a cycle path with a few of the team. I picked up the wrong flats so had to do the workout in trainers and despite the heat ran very well. Went out with Joash and Alf for first half, but Alf pulled up with a tight knee. Then I stuck on Joash till the last mile when he dropped me by about 10 secs.

Wednesday 15th September
7:13AM: 90:52 (14.07mi, 6:27/mi) Joash didn't turn up to the locker room so I ended up doing a solo run out to where we did the workout yesterday and back along a cycle path. Right IT Band was a bit tight but other than that things felt good. Nice to get the run done early so could relax the rest of the day.

Thursday 16th September
8:03AM: 49:37 (7.16mi, 6:55/mi) Easy run with Clif, was only going to do six but thought I would keep Clif company for another mile as he was doing twelve. Felt my Achilles tighten as I went down one of the curbs but didn't really give me any problems.
15:19PM: 80:26 (11.5mi) Run with the team in the forest. Achilles was sore from the word go but didn't get any worse so stuck with it. Went to see the trainer after practice who did some ultrasound and iced it and he said it should be ok to run on just got to keep an eye on it. It's just one of those things that happens when you land awkwardly or swerve round a car it can just get irritated. Fingers crossed it won't mess up my training.

Below should be a video from Flotrack of Forest Park, where we do most of our easy running:

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack


Monday, 6 September 2010

First few weeks of American life

Will add more when I have time, but have been here just over a week and completed my first full week of training last week. Here is it in basic form:

Mon 3:30PM: 80 mins (12mi)

Tues 9:00AM: 38 mins (5.5mi)
3:00PM: 8 x 1 mile (1 min walk/jog rec) average 5:07s, 13.5mi total.

Weds 10:30AM: 90 mins (13.5mi)
6:00PM: 40 mins (5.5mi)

Thurs am: 35 mins (5.2mi)
pm: 93 mins (13.3mi)

Fri 7:10am: 70 mins (10mi)
4:00pm: 35 mins (5mi)

Sat 10am: 3.3mi w/u, hill loop x 10 (1.41 avg, 6.7mi total), 3 mi c/d.
pm: team bbq

Sun 10am: 2:09 in the forest on the trails (18.5mi)

Total Weekly Mileage: 115 mi

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Big Move

It only seems like yesterday that it was early June and I had just ran my 5000 PB at Watford, England were still in the World Cup and I received a scholarship offer from the University of Portland. The last few months have flown by and all of a sudden I find myself writing this blog with just three days before I fly out to the USA. The journey over the next couple of years will hopefully be a productive one and it would be strange not to feel excited about the venture. I have become accustomed to moving away from home in the past, through travelling and university here in England, but this time I will be thousands of miles away from my family and above all my girlfriend, Jennifer. I have no doubts that I will cope out in the States, but I feel selfish in the respect that I am doing all of this while Jenny has to stay at home and do two-years work experience in order to apply to do a doctorate. However, the continued support that Jenny and her family have given me will hopefully pay dividends and I can come back with more qualifications and as a better athlete to further our lives in the UK.

Anyway, with that bit over with this week saw the completion of another steady week of base mileage and I can now look forward to sharpening up in September for the forthcoming cross country season. I ran a 10k trail race on Saturday as part of my long run, which was interesting to say the least, but went well. The main concern of the last week is how I have felt pretty fatigued during a few of the runs, which is probably normal due to the amount of miles I have clocked during the last ten weeks. I think some of the fatigue is also mental in that most of the running completed has been on my own and I can't wait to get to Portland and run with the team as I think it will make a massive difference. With all these miles I have got myself into the best shape I have ever been in and hopefully come October, with a few specific 10k sessions in the bank, I will toe the line in the best possible condition.

Mon 16th August
15:25 PM: 79:26 (12.10mi, 6:35/mi)
Legs and hamstrings a little tight after the two track races yesterday and probably shouldn't have gone to Rutland water to do the run with this in mind. This is because it is extremely undulating and you never have a prolonged period of running on the flat, I feel sorry for those who do the marathon or half marathon that is run round there. I probably ran too hard and although the time doesn't reflect this, the effort I put in was too much for a recovery run.

Tues 17th August
10:31 AM: 33:46 (5.0mi, 6:45/mi)
Nice and easy relaxed morning run.
18:37 PM: 69:02 (12.05mi progressive run, 5:44/mi) + 2.03mi c/d. Mile splits 6:33, 6:36, 6:00, 5:58, 5:41, 5:34, 5:38, 5:27, 5:29, 5:17, 5:15, 5:14. Was going to do an interval session on the grass but legs felt a little heavy and it was chucking it down, so did a progressive run on the roads instead. Two miles easy to start and then picked it up from there, felt strong on the last five miles even when the last two miles were into the wind.

Weds 18th August
13:14 PM: 91:11 (14.0mi, 6:31/mi)
Ran at ferry meadows and most was off-road or on the footpaths round the lakes. Legs felt very tired after 8 miles and worryingly was a bit of struggle but maybe the long tempo was something to do with that. Looking back at the schedule coach set, these runs are only meant to be at 6:45/mi so maybe should put this into effect.

Thurs 19th August
10:09 AM: 36:46 (5.5mi, 6:43/mi)
Easy morning run on Thistleton loop, nice and relaxed.
17:48 PM: 64:43 (10.0mi, 6:28/mi) +strides
Felt loads better and could have upped the pace if I wanted to, but tried to keep it controlled and relaxed. The strides went very well as well and hopefully the rest of my runs this week can feel this good. Was back home in time to see Mo smash the British record and Solinsky go under 13 mins 'again'! So inspirational to see these boys run these times and hopefully there can be a few more who mix it with the Africans.

Fri 20th August
11:31 AM: 80:03 (12.0mi, 6:40/mi)
Legs felt terrible and again I felt fatigued like I did on Wednesday, no idea why they feel so different to yesterday when I thought the tiredness had subsided.
18:43 PM: 34:47 (5.0mi, 6:58/mi)
Recovery run to try and make the legs feel a little better. Left shin was a little sore but nothing too much to worry about, decided I needed a beer and lots of food to relax and refuel.

Sat 21st August
9:10 AM: 75:01 (11.23mi, 6:41/mi)
Nice easy run out on Buckminster loop, felt a bit tired towards the end but least it wasn't as windy as it has been in recent weeks.
18:09 PM: 34:12 (5.0mi, 6:50/mi)
Easy run after going to the zoo and before a meal with Jen's family for a joint celebration of her mum's birthday and my move to America. Wasn't going to do this but after Ipswich managed another three points was in a good mood!

Sun 22nd August
10:00 AM: 17.25 miles inc. Welbourne 10k trail race (1st 34:23). Mile splits 5.03, 5.17, 5.18, 5.21, 5.42, 6.12. The race starts off on the road and you do just short of a mile on the road before turning off into a corn field. I ran this fairly hard knowing this was going to happen and went through a k in 2.57. After the corn field, which cut my thighs to pieces (I was glad I put the compression socks on!) the course followed farm tracks, where in places you could manage a decent stride, until about four miles. Then the fun began and the course went back across fields for two miles and I ran across ploughed soft mounds of mud and hay and over stiles and through various forms of gates. Least I was fit enough to just laugh at how tough these last few miles were and even though I was wearing racing flats I don't think I would have been any better off in trail shoes as nothing was suited for the difference in terrain. I managed to win by about a minute and a half and think the early pace had an effect on some of those behind that followed it. Its a great event and well organised by Chris Smith and his Toonie Express adventure racing group and once again they got some great weather for it. I managed 5 miles as a warm up and did 6 miles as a cool down before the presentation, was tempted to do another three after it but by that time it was too warm and I just wanted to get home and get clean!

Total Weekly Mileage - 112.16mi

Monday, 16 August 2010

The American Dream and 9 weeks of training

I have neglected writing my blog over the last few months due to the fact that I have been busy finalising a scholarship to run at the University of Portland, Oregon. This offer came off the back of my 5000 PB at Watford in early June and after plenty of discussions with the coach out there and close friends and family it became evident that it was too good an offer to turn down. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and at the end of the day it is something I have always wanted to do, but always thought I wouldn't be fast enough to get a decent offer.

Portland is a top university both academically and athletically and from what I can gather it is a great place to live and train, with the city playing home to a host of top American distance runners such as Ritzhein, Solinsky and Rupp. The University XC team is always around the top-ten in NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships and boasts an impressive crop of lads on their roster for this season. Hopefully I can add to this talent and be fit and healthy to be one of the seven-man squad to fly out to the top meets and help Portland improve on last year's performances. They train in fantastic environment and run mostly on the miles upon miles of trails of forest park just round the corner from the campus. This fantastic setting combined with training with 20+ other lads of a similar ability will hopefully bring the best out of my running and help me achieve the targets I have set for myself this year. I fly out on the 26th August and am hoping on seeing a few more people before I go, so the next ten days or so could be hectic and the next time I will be writing a blog will probably be in Portland. Here is a video of one of the sessions the lads from the uni do on the trails:

Anyway to the training and it has been adjusted slightly since the scholarship offer. The BMC 5000 at Watford was to be my last real race on the track for the season and instead I would hit some base miles in preparation for cross country in the States. However, I have touched the track since as I still needed to do the AAA National Champs at Gateshead, for eligibility reasons, and was penciled in for a couple of low-key northern league meets for Lincoln Wellington. But, I had to accept that my times would be affected somewhat by the heavy training load and just take the races as training to some extent.

June 14th to 20th - Total Weekly Mileage 97.05mi

June 21st to 27th - Total Weekly Mileage 97.62mi

June 28th to July 4th - Total Weekly Mileage 102.91mi

July 5th to 11th - Total Weekly Mileage 99.6mi

July 12th to 18th - Total Weekly Mileage 54.58mi

July 19th to 25th - Total Weekly Mileage 109.54mi

Mon 26th July
9:31 AM - 40:26 (6.0mi, 6:45/mi) - easy morning run out and back went off
road was a bit dodgy underfoot.
16:50 PM - 69:14 (12.10mi, 6:33/mi) - just out and back, nice and steady felt

Tues 27th July
11:32 AM - 3mi w/u, 51:13 (9.15mi, 5:36/mi) tempo, 3 mi c/d - mile splits
5:34, 5:51, 5:42, 5:42, 5:36, 5:34, 5:30, 5:30, 5:23. - tempo on the
sewesten loop, its got a good few rolling hills in it, but after a fast first mile
managed to progress quite nicely. Aim was to run from 5:45s to 5:30s so spot
on really.

Weds 28th July
10:25 AM - 90:01 (13.85mi, 6:30/mi) - felt really good, probably best 90
minute run I have done for ages. Always know i'm running well when you do an
hour without even noticing and it was one of those days.
17:15 PM - 33:20 (5.00mi, 6:40/mi) + strides - still feeling good, just nice and

Thurs 29th July
8:59 AM - 65:27 (10.20mi, 6:25/mi) - bit tougher this morning, ran the
greetham route and was tough into the wind on the way back. Its quite open as
the run takes you around RAF Cottesmore airfield.
18:35 PM - 46:20 (7.00mi, 6:35/mi) - went back to lincoln, decent fifa session
with tom straw then ran with the road group as everyone on the track was
doing a session. Also bought some more shoes as the one of the old pairs have
been hammered, got a decent deal from keith at the runner who persuaded me
to get the pair which nike had forgotten to put the swoosh on one of the shoes.

Fri 30th July
9:12 AM - 79:57 (12.00mi, 6:40/mi) - ran out and back at Rutland Water, that
place is ridiculously hilly and you always are running up or down an incline. I
always go back though thinking it cant be that hilly, but yeah it still is.
16:52 PM - 33:18 + strides (5.02mi, 6:38/mi) - nice and relaxed evening run,
no probs.

Sat 31st July
7:04 AM - 2 hrs (18.25mi, 6:35/mi) - did the sunday run a day early as I was
off to Cardiff for my girlfriend's friends birthday. Started really gently and ran
into a pack of 50+ dogs also out for a morning trot, if only Chrissy Fullerton was
with me, the boy hates the things. I mean i usually have a moan at dog owners
and often have a thing or two to say to them, but this boy nearly cries when a
dog chases him. Anyway, rest of the run went smoothly and an improvement
on how i felt last week.

Sun 1st Aug
10:02 AM - 53:38 (8.0mi, 6:43/mi) - out and back along Cardiff bay, really nice
run and was ok as didn't stay out too late. Was only meant to do an easy 35
but felt good and wanted to have a look round Cardiff.

Total Weekly Mileage: 114.68mi, the aim was to do 110 but did loads in
preparation for not doing much on Sunday and then felt better than expected
after the night out. Another three weeks of solid mileage in England before
flying out on 26th, first race will be in October as there is only a couple of low
key races in September so no need to rush into things.

Monday 2nd August
11:39 AM: 78:13 (12.0mi, 6:31/mi). Out and back to Buckminster felt good
and gradually increased the pace.
17:38 PM: 33:20 (5.0mi, 6:40/mi) + strides. Out and back along Moor lane nice
and gentle.

Tuesday 3rd August
9:20 AM: 3 mi w/u, 6 x 5 mins (3min jog rec), 3 mi c/d (15mi total). Averaged
about a mile each rep starting just under a mile and last couple the miles were
4:55s. Done the session on the roads so it was undulating and wind was in my
face for the first three reps. Felt good to get some faster stuff done after weeks
of steady mileage and tempos, and did the job of breaking up the monotony of
week after week of tempos.

Wednesday 4th August
12:09 PM: 90:11 (14.2mi, 6:21/mi) + strides. Again felt good and was able to
get quicker as the run went on, nice to know that these longer runs are starting
to feel the norm and feel easy like they are meant to be.

Thursday 5th August
12:14 PM: 66:18 (10.0mi, 6:37/mi). Out and back to Sewstern. Kept it steady
today and controlled. Found a podcast called marathon talk by Tom Williams and Martin Yelling about training and loads more, worth a listen by runners of all abilities.
18:12 PM: 39:35 (6.0mi, 6:36/mi). Out and back along Moor Lane.

Friday 6th August
14:01 PM: 79:17 (12.06mi, 6:34/mi) +strides. Gunby loop.

Saturday 7th August
10:40 AM: 43:36 (6.5mi, 6:43/mi). Felt comfortable no real problems other
than the wind which is starting to do my head in, it never is still round here.
17:38 PM: 62:08 (10.0mi, 6:12/mi). Out and back to Sewstern, felt good
managed to drop below 6 min mileing for last couple of miles. Getting a bit
lonely doing all these solo runs so hopefully get some company from some lads
in Lincoln tomorrow.

Sunday 8th August
8:30 AM: 2:18:50 (20.00mi, 6:56/mi). Went to meet Bowser in Lincoln as he
said he was doing 15 but only ended up doing 11ish as he had to work, the rest
of the lads bottled a long run after a drinking sesh the night before. Decided to
drive to Newark and finish the rest of my run there while the half marathon
was going on.

Total Weekly Mileage: 112.75mi - Another good solid week of mileage and
managed a decent session on tuesday.

Monday 9th August
11:51 AM: 79:24 (12.08mi, 6:34/mi)+ strides. Ran on the normal 90 min loop
but cut back through north witham and onto the hills.
6:53 PM: 34:30 (5.0mi, 6:53/mi). Thistleton loop, not feeling too great probably
got the illness that my missus has, the girl is forever ill.

Tuesday 10th August
9:24 AM: 3mi w/u, 43:40 tempo (8.0mi, 8:27/mi),1.26mi c/d. Mile splits -
5:32, 5:34, 5:31, 5:30, 5:24, 5:20, 5:25, 5:20. Was feeling pretty sick at the
end and it wasnt really a tempo anymore, so called it a day a mile short. The
cool down was just the jog home and I couldnt even manage to go any further
just felt horrible.

Wednesday 11th August
18:48 PM - 89:43 (14.01mi, 6:24/mi). Had been down to London to get my
Visa and was knackered when I got back. You could not believe how much
waiting around you have to do for a ten second interview, what a joke. Managed
to get out and struggle round the 90 mins but got it done and thats what
counts. What kept me going is listening to marathontalk's interview with Dan Robinson and the way in which he came from nothing to our best and most consistent marathon runner.

Thursday 12th August
10:52 AM - 70:01 (10.88mi, 6:26/mi). Sewstern loop, still feeling the effects of
the illness of Tuesday, just felt lethargic.
18:05 PM - 34:11 (5.12mi, 6:40/mi) + strides. Strides felt good after feeling a
little sluggish on the run, also they are getting quicker so hopefully I am
maintaining some speed in the legs.

Friday 13th August
10:16 AM - 35:22 (5.0mi, 7:04/mi). Out and back along moor lane, tried going
very easy to loosen legs a bit and it felt a lot better.
16:40 PM - 65:22 (10.0mi, 6:32/mi). Out and back to sewstern, legs feeling
better but very windy on the way out again!

Saturday 14th August
13:28 PM - 1:43:51 (15.96mi, 6:30/mi). Cut the long run short due to race
tomorrow, horrific summers weather managed to squeeze out inbetween the
heavy down pours but very windy and cold. It seems to be forever windy at the
moment here and it makes such a difference to parts of my run. Quick weather
check of Portland, next 5 days clear sunshine 5mph winds max and average of
28 degrees, that will do nicely.
19:49 PM - 32:46 (4.5mi, 7:16/mi). Gentle evening run with 4 x relaxed

Sunday 15th August
14:47 PM - 11.19 w/u (1.51mi)
15:30 PM - RACE 1500m (4:07ish) and 5000m (14:57ish) (4mi total). Lincoln
were in a northern league playoff match at Barnsley and with half the time
absent (Bowser, Straw and some others slagging it in Kavos) it was left to the
remaining group of lads to double up and try and get as many points as possible
for the team. I was B scorer in the 1500m as I had the 5000m straight after
and the aim was to conserve as much energy as possible to give the 5k a
decent crack. But, from the gun at the 1500m I shot into the early lead as I
prefer to be out near the front controlling the pace. I tried my best for three
laps to string the field out a bit for Tom Doe to also seal maximum points in the
A race and sure enough with 450m to go Tom came by my shoulder and only
had one lad from Trafford who was able to keep with the pace. I looked round
and saw I had 5 secs or so on the next lad so just eased down on my final lap to
secure the B race victory.
The 5000 (about 20 mins later) was always going to be the tougher of races
and as Mark Buckingham appeared for Holmfirth I knew I was going to have to
work hard for a decent result. Mark set off straight into a decent pace but was
surprised to see after just one lap we had dropped the whole field except the 'B'
runner for Holmfirth. I stuck on the back of Mark for the next few laps and we
dropped the other Holmfirth guy and the pace actually felt pretty good and I
was feeling controlled and comfortable. But with about 900m to go we were
lapping some backmarkers and Mark just gently increased the pace and I had
nothing in my legs to respond with. So, in the end I think he got about 12
seconds on me in those closing laps but I was happy with a solid run out
especially after the 1500m and after some hard weeks of training. All in all a
good day for Lincoln as we finished second and got promoted to division one!
16:49 PM - 17:41 c/d (2.13mi)
20:14 PM - 28:58 (4.0mi, 7:14/mi). Easy out and back in Witham needed a
stretch after the drive home. Even though it was broken up by stopping off in
Retford on the way back to see my mate Ian who's brother has just gone out to
the US to play football and is loving it. We had the discussion that if I ever come
back saying 'soccer' he has the right to shoot me.

Total Weekly Mileage: 108.45mi - Solid week, had to move things around
slightly to race on Sunday but pleased with how things went. Next week will
just be much of the same but I think that the week after the coach wants me
to drop things and have an easier week with all the travel etc.