AFTER getting a PB at last week’s parkrun I was hoping I might be able to get a 3,000m PB at the Barnsley AC Winter Track Race.
It was the second race in the series and conditions were much better than the very blustery weather we had for the 5,000m two weeks ago.
There was no traffic jam this time, but I still managed to get to the track with only half an hour to spare. Then there was the faffing. With two numbers to attach to my vest, things were rather fiddly and then I got chatting, which meant I only had about ten minutes to warm up.
I was half way through the very brief warm up when Kerry, a friend and AC coach, jogged across to join me. ‘Do you have a plan?’ she asked.
‘A plan?’ I shook my head. ‘No. Do I need a plan?’
‘You need a plan.’
Kerry asked for my current PB and trotted off to consult her book of plans. She came back. ‘Your plan is to run 1.34 a lap.’
JUST when I was about to retire from running and take up darts, I ran a personal best.
It was a parkrun 5km PB, and it was extra special because it’s taken me a year and three weeks (yes, a year and three weeks) to do it!
You can understand why I was on the verge of retirement. For weeks and weeks, I have been training hard – intervals, speed, tempo, threshold, small hills, bigger hills, long runs, strength conditioning, reducing chocolate intake, reducing cake intake. You name it, I’ve done it. All in an attempt to get my fitness back.
I’VE been looking for a running shoe for my long and steady runs, mainly on the road. I wanted something comfortable, with lots of cushioning, something that would last the miles.
I decided to return to the Asics Gel Cumulus, a shoe I ran in years ago when I first started running. I did the London Marathon 2006 in these shoes and although many things went wrong for me in that race, the shoes were not one of them. The only problem with the shoes came after the race when I was too exhausted to bend down to untie the laces. My dad came to my rescue if I remember rightly. But I digress!
The latest model is the Gel Cumulus 18, pictured here in a lovely blue and pink.
The minute I put them on and went for a run, it was like returning to an old friend. They were so comfortable and cushioned, that I just bounced down the road. The Cumulus is a neutral running shoe, suitable for high mileage. I liked them immediately, but I wasn’t sure if they’d be great for speed.
I SPENT most of the day on Wednesday hoping that the 5,000m winter track race would be cancelled.
We were experiencing a spot of windy weather – 60 mile per hour gusts at least. ‘They’ll cancel,’ I told Chris confidently. ‘It’s madness running in this.’
I sat at my desk, with the wind rattling the windows, checking my phone for news that it had been aborted. The news never came. It was on!
The wind was causing chaos. Leeds had been brought to a standstill, so I was stuck in traffic. A lorry had blown over on the motorway, so Chris was stuck in traffic too. After a two-hour car journey, we arrived at the track with only a few minutes to spare.
The race was 5,000m, twelve and a half laps of the Dorothy Hyman athletics track. Normally, 5k doesn’t seem so bad, but on Wednesday it was cold. It was dark. It was January. And it was blowing a gale. I just wanted to get it over with.
Chris’ race went first. He stepped off the track looking like he’d just returned from an expedition in the Arctic. ‘Up there,’ he pointed to the far side of the track. ‘It’s like hitting a wall.’
THE first rule of my running club, Kingstone Runners, is to boo other members who leave for other local clubs.
‘Boo! Boo!’ we shout whenever we see the former club mate wearing the blue colours of Barnsley Athletic Club, or the orange of Barnsley Harriers, or the white of Penistone.
Under normal circumstances I would never ever boo anyone. It’s just not very sporting, or actually very nice. But this! Leaving our lovely Kingstone Runners for another club, well, I was all too happy to join in. In fact, I joined in with passion.
‘Boo! Boo! How could you?’
When one friend left I was still chanting ‘boo’ six months after he’d left.
It was all in good fun. I’m not sure the friends I was booing enjoyed it half as much as me, but they deserved it. I’m mean, leaving Kingstone. How could they?
But what goes around comes around.
This month, Chris and I decided that we would leave too. It has not been an easy decision, but Continue reading →