There’s still plenty of running to do in 2016 but with all my target races completed it’s time to relax and look back on my running year. And what a year it turned out to be!
After 6 years as a regular runner I finally acknowledged I should be taking on the cross country season. This afternoon it was time for me to embrace the filth!
Feeling less than 100% this week has actually helped with mt attempt to ease off at the end of my busy running year. I’ve made a good start at the short term goals I set last week and also decided to hunt out some muddy puddles!
Less than two weeks ago myself and The Wife decided, at short notice, to have a jaunt into London Village. We love London and are fortunate to make the relatively short jump of 60-odd miles fairly frequently. This visit wasn’t for the normal shopping or sightseeing, although we did see some sights; this visit was to cheer on 3000 men, women, boys and girls round a muddy field in Hampstead!
This blog is a touch late, as was my plank. I blame my good friend Steve “Super” Naylor, my running idol, who was round catching up. When we get nattering we can natter for Team GB. Just ask The Wife!
I was supposed to be acting as chauffeur for Steve tomorrow, taking him to run in the Southern Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill but the bad weather forced it’s postponement.
It was a very tired plank this evening:
Plank duration : 1m 32s
Janathon planks : 25 of 25 (just!)
Plank streak : 25 (just)
After a long day of briefing sessions to roll out a new quality system at work meant I was too shattered to go for my Janathon activity yesterday. It was my first fail of Janathon, although the tide has been against me since the beginning of January. I had already had t claim two walks as part of my Janathon activities which is not ideal. The weather and dark nights haven’t helped but it’s been the busiest January of my working life that has caused most difficulty.
I managed to get out for another interval session tonight and will continue to get out as much as I can for the rest of January. I’m up to 880km covered on my 12 month running & fundraising challenge for Maggie’s, and I’m on target to hit my target of 1000km and £1000. I need to concentrate on quality, rather than quantity of sessions to ensure I can hit my personal target of smashing my personal best at my challenge climax at the Carterton 10k.
In other running news, I was in Cardiff at the weekend to watch my friend and running inspiration, Steve Naylor, compete in the UKA McCain Cross Challenge. The weather was great and after walking the course it was clear that it’d be a good race, although not enough hills for Steve’s liking!
It was great to watch so many young people run in the junior races, although the Primary school age groups had The Wife aah-ing at some of the little ones sobbing their hearts out as they pegged it the last 200 metres to the finish line. Soon enough it was time for the Senior Male race. As I’ve mentioned before, Steve is only a couple of years into his running career but he’s got natural talent so was aiming to be in the top 10% of the 120 on the entry list, and be within 2 minutes of the leader at the finish.
The 5 laps seem to fly by as a spectator and the speed of these runners just amazed me. The winner, Frank Tickner, covered the 10.1km course in 32 minutes and 10 seconds – a superb pace in a road race let alone for a cross country. My friend Steve, struggling with bruised ribs after an over-enthusiastic chiropractor session, managed to come across the line in 13th, just 1m19 behind the leader so not a bad effort. In two weeks time he’s got the Southern’s before competing in the Inter-County XC and the final McCain Cross challenge to close the cross country season.
On another note, I have been so pleased at the reaction to my last blog covering my reaction to the most recent Facebook game purporting to be raising awareness of breast cancer. Please read it and let me know what you think.
Today was going to be an interesting Janathon day: I was heading to Middleton Cheney for the Oxford Mail Cross Country League Round 3. Needless to say, I wasn’t taking part – I’m not quite up for dashing around muddy fields on a cold Winter’s day. Instead The Wife and I were there to see local running superstar, Steve Naylor; an old schoolmate and close friend who has taken the local running scene by storm since he started club running in November 2009.
Steve has always been fit and active but had never really taken to running, preferring his football and mountain biking instead. He joined me and a couple of other mates for a Great North Run some years ago and easily blitzed round the course with very little training so we all knew he had some talent but it took a number of years for him to get into running.
He kicked off his running career by winning his first race, the Eynsham 10k, becoming County 10k Champion at the same time. Not bad for someone wearing an old England football top with a Woodstock Harriers vest over the top and his now trademark, Sheffield Wednesday shorts. In his first full year he was only beaten by 2 people, Matt Ashton and ex-Olympian Anuradha Cooray, and went on to secure the 5 mile County Championship as well as defending his 10k County Championship.
Last year he was introduced to the world of Cross Country and didn’t disappoint, securing the Oxford Mail XC series and picking up another County Championship title in the form of the Oxfordshire XC Championship. He went on to come 42nd in the National Cross Country Championships and secured a call up to the England team following a 22nd at the Inter Counties XC Championship. He went on to pick up team gold for England at the Home Countries XC International.
His road racing continued to improve and entering bigger races came onto the agenda. He finished 22nd at the BUPA 10000 in London, only 89 seconds behind the legendary Mo Farah and in front of the all the elite women, including Jo Pavey, Gemma Steel and Paula Radcliffe. He built on this by breaking into the top 10 at the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run and sacrificed the chance to secure a hat-trick of 10k County Championships to compete at the McCain UK Cross Challenge in Liverpool, to finish in 49th in his first race coming back from injury.
This afternoon he comfortably picked up his second XC County Championship in succession, in the blue and white of his new club, Bedford. Next weekend sees him travel to Cardiff to compete in the next McCain UK Cross Challenge race, which The Wife and I are travelling to cheer him on.
The other lovely surprise today was being able to cheer on The Wife’s cousin (well, second cousin or cousin once removed – I’m never sure which way round it works), Ryan Meredith compete in the Senior race and qualify for the Oxfordshire Inter-Counties team by finishing 4th in the under-20 category. It was great to be able to cheer him on and also catch up with Steve, Jackie and Mitch.
After watching all this running I was shattered! But I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with counting that for my Janathon activity so I dragged myself off the sofa to get a 5km loop in. This has taken my running challenge total to 858km, to match my fundraising total of £858.
It’s now only 11 weeks to the climax of my challenge. I’m finishing on the 25 March at the Carterton 10k. If you fancy like joining me on a great PB-potential course please read my earlier post containing the PDF entry form.