Friday, 26 February 2010

Run! Here come the Deltoids

I had every intention of cracking open the new Scottish running season with the Cupar 5, but the forecasts gone abit doolally just over the border (unless of course you're into skiing, have a team of huskies or drive a snow blower). The mileage this week has been very modest but I have crept around the gym twice trying to keep out of the way of those huge chaps of iron who spend much time talking about pecs, reps and deltoids.
Just who are the deltoids anyway?
Not that it's dull (much) but as I bounced back and forth on the rowing machine I estimated that you would need to spend 10 minutes on it to work off the calorie intake of a packet of quavers. Its anyones guess how far you'd need to row to burn off a fish supper, sauce, a tub of mushy peas and a can of Irn Bru thrown in for good measure. You could be half way to Norway.
This morning I pushed the boat out and went out for 2 hours around Thrunton and the Crags. It was cold. It was foggy. At the top of the crags it was horizontal icy snow but it produced that buzz that you can get when its just you, the grizzly elements and the open country. Oh , not forgetting my partner at arms, the daft dog. A ball fixated collie/lab cross, the dog loves the wilderness. She can reduce a new tennis ball to a quivering mass of green felt at 30 yards and she got a good soaking today. I was well pleased to open the flask of piping coffee back at the car.
Memo to self: More Thrunton Woods please.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

South Shields Cross Country (NEHL)

It was a fine day once the snow had melted making the ground soft. With a crowd of several hundred runners there was still ice covering the ponded water and boggy ground at the back of the course. The juniors had been round earlier and I joined the slow pack of around 200 for 3 two mile laps of Temple Park, south of the Tyne in South Shields.

For once it wasn't windy and after 2 laps I think I was around 15th but after a late night and still nursing the remnants of a cold I failed to improve and it was all backwards on the last lap to finish around 30th. You have to be philosophical about these sorts of performances and I was happy enough that there were no new or old aches or pains afterwards. Decent form is hard to find at present but that just means there is loads of room and time to improve. Might try some new runs. Some more flickr photos coming soon....

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Absent Friends Trail Race, Billingham

Arriving early in ideal conditions there was quite a crowd of mostly local runners signing on at the Cowpen Bewley Woodland Country Park. Its next to Seal Sands on the Tees Estuary which is flattish and where seals bask on the salt flats (if that's what seals do?)

Marshalls shepherded the procession of cars down the lane and it was busy but not overly so. The course wound its way around an undulating track through the woodland park before heading north along the side of some exposed fields and crossing Greatham Beck. The route turns south again taking runners along the side of a railway. While some of paths are gravelled the majority of the run took place on a yielding muddy surface where traction's at a premium. Definitely fell shoe territory.

After a minutes silence, we were off and I spent much of the early stages trying the cling to the edges of the track where the grass was thicker and conditions a bit drier and I was still around 6 or 7 seconds down on the runner in front halfway round.

At 4 miles, 2 tall lads came past both with a easy long gait. As you watch runners with a good style, you can't help thinking to yourself 'I should be running like that'. However, there was no temptation to track them and in any case I wasn't up for a hard day and for a change had no problems keeping the pace steady rather than going all out.

Arrived back just behind the 3 in front in 33:07 and around 15th. Well signposted and organised and with a T shirt, water and some choc at the end, a very 'canny' event.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Road to Bally

A bit of work took me across the water. The plan was to get the ferry to Belfast, run to the site near Ballyclare, do the survey and get the bus back. I had to take my 'tools' which fitted into a medium sized backpack. When I felt it the night before it didn't seem to weigh much at all.

The A75 is some sort of Truckfest with artic's thundering along the winding and scenic highway from Gretna to the ferry terminal at Stranraer which I'd never been to before. I caught glimpses of some nice hills through the trees north of Newton Stewart and Creetown that might be worth a visit. The roads a little like the road along Loch Lomond in parts. I dumped the car and occupied the customs team for about 5 seconds as only 1 of 7 foot passengers.

The trip on a flat murky green sea was 3 hours long and it took another 20 minutes to disembark by which time I was late. As with all good British transport, the bus had left 4 minutes before so an executive decision had to be made and I grabbed the only taxi before the 2 ladies and 4 lads had a chance and we sped off. What a gent!

I wanted the driver to go via the Doagh Road to see what the road back was like and we got snarled up in some roadworks. The meter rose with alarming speed and I de-bunked a half a mile early in an effort to avoid the national debt. He was very helpful and asked how I was getting back. Dressed in my hoodie and ron hill bottoms I replied I might run, to which he recoiled 'what are ye, some kind of marathon man?!' After all whats 12.2 miles to a time seasoned old blogger like me, eh?

Work done , I collected the gear and hit the road back to Old Smokie. Hillhead Road was narrow with no footpaths along much of its 2 miles and its an old road that's banked up at the sides. The drivers were pretty considerate on the whole though. I chose Cartmel Road at the roundabout with some modern artwork. It is the old 'high' road over the motorway and it was grind up the hill with a sign at the top just in case I didn't appreciate the sweat. After that it was downhill through Mossley, past a biddy who didn't know her geography but tried to be as helpful as possible and then down the Doagh road at 7 miles by which time the backpack was making its presence felt.

A stop for water and a long 3 mile jog along the flat Shore Road (with the light and my legs failing) earned me a fish at the chip shop and I walked the last mile through the deserted docks to catch the evening trip back across the water. A mini adventure.

Friday, 5 February 2010

My Ghost likes to travel

Last night was a hill session with the gang and being shorter in distance than a typical training run, it took a 10 miler through the rain soaked winding lanes today to finish the week. Starting out late, it was soon dusk and the steady rain soaked the road as I wound my way round the refurbished farm houses and early evening life on a wet Friday in Northumberland.
Folk glued to their flat screens (probably blogging), some busying themselves in the kitchen; it seemed another world. Once or twice I caught a whiff of some aromatic or spicy aroma escaping from a casserole or pot like something out of a cartoon. I've been listening to Peter Gabriel lately during steady runs and there's one or 2 tracks where the beat is ideal for keeping pace, 'Growing up' being one of them. He was terrific in concert (youtube link)
Tomorrow I think I'll try some off road miles. But for now... its pizza!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Eat to the Beet

I read that Beetroot is the new wonder food. All that folic acid and fibre, B6 (whatever that is) and lots of antitoxidants. So beetroot juice it is then, although it can make a right mess of things if you're as careless as me (-I had put in some mildly witty banter here but then took it out again - that's apathy for you!). I've clocked up a Fagin-like 32 this week with another 8 tonight, so this weeks looking alot like last week in the mileage stakes. If I can squeeze in 12 tomorrow it'll take the total to a dizzying 50+