Archive for April, 2012

Sneaky extra run…

Posted: 07/04/2012 in Uncategorized

Just a quick run, as I’ve never tried the route of the North Tyneside 10k from the start to the end of the Fish Quay – it’s only about 2km, but as people have been telling me about the downhill at Borough Street, I thought I’d better go and have a look for myself.

It wasn’t bad – not as steep as the downhill at the Priory (if you’re going against the race, it’s an uphill tomorrow). Running along the Fish Quay was nice – might be an area to head for when I up my mileage a bit further – wonder how far towards Newcastle I can get?


Time: 12:18
Distance: 1.35 miles
Av. Pace: 9:07/mile – yikes! Need to hold that back tomorrow
Climb: 52 ft, but it was all about the downhill today

Right, off for some DIY I suppose…


Friday. Good Friday. So good they had to give it a name so you’d know it would be good.

The North Tyneside Riviera. Bit cloudy, no rain, light breeze.

A palpable air of excitement hangs over the borough, or at least the parts of the borough that are:

  1. Awake
  2. At the coast
  3. Running
  4. Preparing for the 10km on Sunday

Normally when I run the coast, I might pass one or two runners, sometimes none. But this morning there must have been a good twenty or thirty hammering out different paces as I plodded towards Tynemouth. Can they all be preparing to turn out on Sunday? Could be…

When I first started running, I had no idea what ‘carb loading’ was. If pushed, I might have suggested it involved getting as many potatoes as possible on your plate at one of those Sunday-Roast-all-you-can-shovel carvery places, though if I was hopeful I may also have enquired whether drinking lots of real ale also counted – I still believe it must, mustn’t it?

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been living on a roughly 80% raw food diet, though that’s just a planning number. I’ve had the odd slip into Quorn burgers or chips, but mostly stuck to it. Lots of juice, carrot, apple, tomato with the juice of a lime is remarkably nice, and I’ve been (probably) irritating the heck out of colleagues at work by eating apples and bananas almost continuously. The theory being that if I’m going to fill myself up, it may as well be with healthy, fruity things rather than delightful tasty biscuit things, yes?

Anyhow, with the race on Sunday, and having read a little about the mystic art of carb loading, it seemed to me that the most technical aspect of the discipline is to be able to cook (or, I suppose, order) pasta. So I purchased some pasta, some pesto, a bit of cheese and some tasty bready thing. All cooked up and eaten for tea last night (sorry, that’s “dinner” to folk from further south). It was nice. I was very full. I wondered if this was a good idea or not – I don’t eat a lot of wheat even when I’m not on the raw food thing.

This morning, I got up, got ready and headed out.

And ran.

And ran.

And.. well, no, not quite that far, I’m not Forrest Gump after all. However, what was planned as a 6km last attempt to cram some learning into the ol’ muscle memory turned out to be a lovely 8km jaunt along the route of the race on Sunday – even went down (and back up) the hills for a laugh. So something was going right. Could it be the pasta-y goodness? Perhaps, so I may have another vast plate of Italian goodness on pre-race night.

Bit nervous about Sunday – first race and all, and worried that the excitement and such will lead to me heading off too quick. Still, got my Soleus 2.0 GPS, which is doing sterling work keeping me in the picture, so hopefully all will go well.

If you feel all generous and glowy, then there’s still time to sponsor me – see the “Sponsor Me?” tag at the top to get to my JustGiving page. Every pound makes me run just a little faster, so if I raise enough I’ll be in real danger of coming first…

Next report will be my first race report! Get in!


Time: 46:40
Distance: 5.04 miles
Av. Pace: 9:15/mile – bit quick
Climb: 148 ft

And saying that, it was a very odd wind blowing off the North Sea this afternoon. I had some stuff to take care of this morning, on my last day off before going back to work, so I busied myself with that before heading home. But where to go? The coast is wild at the moment, not as bad as yesterday by any means, but crtainly a bit…  well, blowy. Goodness knows what inland would be like what with tales of 7ft snow fall in Durham – I was tempted by Hadrian’s Wall, but figured that may be a bit too far to go, and there are other things I want to get sorted today.

So, up the coast it is then. Go left towards the Lighthouse. Now it’s only a few short days until Sunday and the North Tyneside 10k, so I wanted a short, easy run to keep me going but not tire me out. A nice circuit up to the Lighthaouse and back, 6km all told sounded about right. Try my ‘race pace’ again and see how it fares.

All well and good, but as I started, I realised I’d managed to shift the fields on my GPS and had neither the time ‘nor the wit to turn them back. So on I go, with chrono, lap split and distance. That’s OK, but I really wanted pace, and I’m not too grand at doing those calculations in my head while running.

Anyhow, the massive headwind takes my mind off the pace, and makes me concentrate on keeping going – I feel like I’m leaning at a 45 degree angle just to stay on my feet – it can’t have been, but it surely felt that way. I think it’s raining, but it’s just spray driven in from the beach a couple hundred metres away a a bit lower down. TICK, full marks fol putting on my old and knackered biking waterfproof.

OK, and we’ve made it to the half-way point. There’s a little road towards the lighthouse that runs at right angles to the main road, and when I turn onto this short path it’s all I can do to lean into the side and try not to be blown into the impressive municipal drainage gully that runs alongside. This really is some kind of wind. A moment later and I’m onto the cliff tops, turning my back to the wind and being blown back to Whitley Bay. It’s quite nice having that helpful hand, until I get to the bankthere’sabankandyou’reblowingmedownitaarghIcan’tstopandohhellherecomethestepsnow. The thought that passed through my mind was that I’d either make it down the steps in record time or not at all. Thank God I kept on my toes and made it, but it was a bit of a close call.

Having avoided death or dismemberment on the steps, I’m now feeling like a Greek God, and stride manfully across the tiny troll-bridge at the bottom and up he hill at the other side,ending up on the Promenade. The sea is right up to the prom, and there is huge amounts of foam – goodness knows what it actually is (I secretly believe it’s sentient and will take over at some point – ah, guess it’s not so secret now) but I’m quite sure I don’t want to swallow any of the clumps that are floating in the air, thank you.

Along the prom, andthen back up the very steep hill I surprised the tourists on last time – now you might have noticed that I’m quite proud of that? By this point I’ve run over 4km, I reckon, and I approach the (albeit not huge, though ver’ steep, it’s maybe 20-25ft high) thing and just keep on going. This must be how hill runners feel, only for longer – getting to the top and I wanted to do a little victory dance, but I figured it might be misconstued as my trying to control the waves, and as we all know, they’re still laughing at King Cnut for exactly the same behaviour.

So along I plod, past the Spanish City (as made famous by Dire Straits) and onto the home straight. Finish up, then stop my GPS – or think I’ve stopped my GPS, I’ve actually started a new lap by pressing the wrong button. Thirty seconds of walking later and I realise my mistake and stop the recording.


Time: 35:05
Distance: 3.71 miles
Av. Pace: 9:27/mile – bit quick
Climb: 105 ft

What no weekend?

Posted: 02/04/2012 in Uncategorized

Indeed, I didn’t make it out once this weekend – why could that be? Is it part of my crazy preperations for the North Tyneside 10k on Easter Sunday, or did I just forget to get up for two days?

Well, neither, truth be told. I had a couple of weddings to photograph at the weekend, so all my time was taken up with those. I had an ace time, the weddings were both very cool, and I got a bit of a work out carrying my uber-full camera bag around the venues. Slightly knotty thighs this morning from all the crouching and leaning.

To banish the knots, then, a nice long run this morning – let’s say a 10km, as a final longer run ahead of Sunday’s excitement. After a bit of difficult calculation, I figured that if I want to finish the 10k in under one hour, then my time per kilometer must be…. erm… must be…. oh yes, less that 6:00/km. D’oh – how could I not just know that, what a buffoon.

Off I went then, the weather was cool and cloudy with the occasional drop of rain, so I’m back into leggings for the first time since I don’t know when. Trying out the Medecins Sans Frontieres vest ahead of Sunday in case it chafes the ol’ nips, with a long-sleeve over the top to keep me toasty. Sporting the Soleus 2.0 watch that I’ve now come to rely on for pacing, and away I plodded.

I think I may need to find some new routes, as I think I’m getting a little samey about my current routes. I could be wrong mind, maybe I just need to figure out how to vary the runs with intervals or a spot of fartlek (snigger) to spice things up, and really I don’t know there’s any other option nearby, these are my choices:

  • Turn left, run towards Seaton Sluice and the Lighthouse
  • Turn right, run towards Tynemouth and the Hills of Doom (in a nice way)
  • Go straight ahead, into the sea
  • Head backwards, into suburban hell

See what I mean?

Anyhoo, 10k today, and it went alright – there was a moment in the middle where I realised I was rather overachieving on the keeping-the-pace-down front and was at danger of not finishing in the hour. Managed to pick it up, including a surprising (to me, at least) run up the steep bank from the Promenade to the Links above – gave some tourists a bit of a shock too, I reckon.

All looking god for Sunday then – think I’ll fit in an 8km on Wednesday and a 6km on Friday, and that should see me right for Sunday. Just hope the Metro’s running on Easter Sunday so I can get down to the start… 🙂