Friday, 28 May 2010


Rest - calves sore

The last 9 – 5 day for me and it was possibly the best. I didn’t set an alarm and was quite prepared to roll in late. I woke up at 0744 so there was just enough time to grab some stuff, chuck it in a bag and get out of the door. I made the usual train but looked as presentable as Ander Russell on a good day; I had one eye half-closed and horns of sticky-out hair. Deak was just getting onto the train as I arrived and I said ‘don’t try it Deakin, I know I look a twat.’ We had a 10 minute conversation about the state of today’s youth and then went our separate ways. I got a hot chocolate and a teacake at the ground before flattening down my tufts and washing my face. I was then in a meeting with some real big shots so it was a good thing I was presentable. It wasn’t as boring as it sounds as it was the steering group for the Yorkshire Cricket Mela; something I’ve been pretty involved in. A press pack was handed out and there was my introduction included so I was proud as punch; the fact the ‘author’ was Yorkshire CCC didn’t bother me one jot... one of the guys at the table was the owner of the Shababs Curry House in Leeds and a man me and Ziffy have had a few run ins with over table reservations! He didn’t recognise me and was nice of pie if I’m honest! It was suggested someone should put together an article on the benefits for the local economy. I happened to be halfway through such a publication but waited until after the meeting to casually tell Stewart (Regan – CEO of the club and the man who got me this placement). I cracked on with this article in the afternoon and it was 5pm in no time. My calves were still sore walking home so I decided to miss my easy 30 mins with the aim of being ok tomorrow morning! I made dinner for me and my Dad when I got home (my Mum was out for the evening) and then we went for a father & son cinema trip to see ‘Robin Hood’. It was an enjoyable watch but nothing special; I didn’t leave the theatre marvelling at how wonderful it was if you know what I mean. I organised all my stuff fir going back to Brum when we got back and was in bed for about midnight. Last and by no means least, it was my old friend and current captain Craig 'Gunny Bear/Gundo/No Fundo' Gundersen's 21st birthday today. What a great guy he is and I honestly mean that from the bottom of my heart. I do not think anyone in the world will have come across Gundo and thought anything other than 'what a lovely guy'. I have always used him as a great judge of character; i.e. if Gundo doesn't like them then they must be a twat. He has made me feel so welcome at Birmingham University since day 1 and as a friend for about 7 years he has never done anything other than this. A great captain and a great friend, not to mention a fantastic return to form with 8.19 at the most recent Watford after a winter riddled with injury. I think I speak for everyone in wishing him a great birthday weekend and even more importantly a great 2 years in Indiana at Butler University although it really will not be the same in Brum without him; I am only just realising the act I have to follow as captain.

Second Pre-race Blog: Sports City BMC

So it’s five days almost to the second since my last race where I ran like a bit of chump. Excited or not, wanting to ‘give it a go’ or however I want to dress it up I ran badly. I had explicit race instructions from Phil that we had discussed I advance and I totally forgot about them once the gun went. That will not happen tomorrow. I am quietly confident and the guarantee of a PB (it is my first 5k) takes a bit of the pressure off! We are being paced at 14.30 for 3000m which is ideal when you look at the start list. I had a smashing session on Tuesday so I see no reason why I can’t go out and race well as long as I execute my race tactics properly. The forecast is for cool weather with a little rain which is a lot more suitable for 5000m running than last Sunday! Regardless of field, weather or how I feel, I have to respect the distance because quite simply this is unknown territory and to give anything less than the respect it deserves would be suicidal. I don’t have as much buzzing around my mind this week so this is a lot briefer and less revealing than for Loughborough! Fingers crossed the next time I write I’ll be a lot happier than Sunday evening.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Doing nothing from 9 - 5

am: Easy 20 mins at Beckett Park on the grass
pm: 8 x 31 secs strides, JBR on grass on the clearings @ SLS

I'm catching up on my blog here and I cannot remember anything of note from Thursday. I finally had a frappuccino and unfortunately it was overpriced and sickly. I made a beef chilli and Phil & I stopped at a chippy on the way home for some chips to go with it. they gave me a mouldy bread-cake and thus we shall never go there again. I felt great running at lunch time and it is quite a miraculous turn around. For whatever reason, this week I have been like a new man. I felt so fresh today and had such a low HR. I just did 3mi as Phil told me to cut down my first run if I was to do one at all. I just did not want this run to end and the fact it was only 20 mins made it even worse! There was one downside; my calves are still very sore. I went down to SLS to do some strides with Dale on the clearings with Dale and felt decent. We were covering pretty much 200m on each stride and jogging back in a brisk 60 seconds. My calves were still quite sore so I didn’t do any dynamic drills and just strode in my regular running trainers. It was a bit windy but a lovely temperature for running in the evening. I genuinely do not know what I did at the cricket ground from 9 to 5. It seems tedium has set in so it is probably a good thing that Friday will be my last non-match day. My new trainers arrived this morning and I wore the new version of the Supernova Glide for both runs; they were like a pair of slippers! I went to bed earlier than usual and missed what looked like a potentially great episode of Question Time.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

'That's Dawlish Baby'

pm: 1 hr easy on trails & grass

This morning I rocked up to Headingley Cricket Ground with the intention of getting the bulk of my assigned tasks done. I ended up getting a fair bit done and hob-nobbing with a few people who were here for interviews. I found out a bit of internal gossip on player and commercial activity which was cracking and then had a longish lunch to feed the bowling machine for someone in the indoor school. I had a bit of a bowl first and considered taking the sport back up and enrolling at my local cricket club such was the level of turn I was getting. I quickly let this temptation dissipate when I remembered we soon have the North v South cricket match at BUAC; a big enough stage to showcase my cricketing talents. The main thing I learnt at work today was just how fast 99mph bowling is. It is like a gun-shot and extremely frightening to face! I had to spend quite a while working out which T20 matches I can and cannot attend this summer and I also found out I can get discounted tickets which has got to be a bonus; then again I am working here for free after all. I fixed up a run with Danny and headed home. I spoke to Mikey Williams on the phone for a while about Lance Armstrong and THAT article in the Times and had a bit of a giggle about it as the mounting evidence is bordering on the ridiculous now! I caught the train to Woodlesford and as ever it was packed to the rafters. I was stood over a chavvy 17/18 year old girl, trying to decide if she was a goer. Sat on her right was a moderately attractive ‘emo’ type girl, a little older. I quickly formulated a list of pros and cons but was struggling for time as I’m the first stop on the Hallam Line so we are talking 7 minutes or so. Thankfully, the decision was taken out of my hands. Both delved into their bags, almost instantaneously, pulling out a marvel comic and an iPod. Remarkably, the ‘emo’ put some horrific dance music on full volume and the slutty little bird started reading what looked like some sort of variation on ‘Radio Active Man’ from the Simpsons. I was pretty unsettled by this latest turn of events as it was far too similar to the plot-line of the Jennifer Garner movie ‘In Her Shoes’ for me to draw any other conclusion than the most obvious; exactly the same had happened here. I was relieved to get off the train, free from the worry of being catapulted into the body of the obese ginger haired motorcyclist a few feet down the train who liked to pick his nose and wipe it on Robbie Paul on the ‘Northern Rail Cup’ advertisement. Back to reality, I got home, got changed and did an easy hour with Dan. I am now convinced it is better to run later in the afternoon on the day following a session. Last week I was borderline disabled for the first mile, today I was as fresh as a daisy. My calves and Achilles were still tight/sore (especially when running on hard ground) but I didn’t have tired legs. I ran very easily with Danny but it was a decent pace with little effort and a low HR. I hope my calves settle a bit tomorrow as they are quite sore just walking around. We had a bit of an event in the middle of the run which is worth including here. We came to a fence covered in barbed wire and obviously, the only option is to climb over it. Firstly I threw my dog over, not realising it was quite deep on the other side so he was not too happy. I then put my foot on the bottom of the fencing and it immediately snapped off. I now carefully had to step over the barbed wire and then step on the highest bit of wood. It took my weight ok, and then as if in stages it started to collapse in on itself until I felt the barbed wire on my buttocks at which point I sprung off into the ditch. Danny was in stitches and I almost literally needed some! The Kid likes to use the phrase ‘I nearly tore myself a new arse-hole’ when you get chaffing from shorts or do a huge shit. Well, I almost did tear myself a new arsehole so I won’t be using that phrase again in a hurry! I made a rhubarb crumble before dinner with the rhubarb generously picked from the farm by Dale. I was then looking forward to a pizza my Mum had bought from the supermarket and as I got ready for dinner she took it out of the oven and dropped it on the dirty kitchen floor. I nearly blew my top that she’d done it was quite ridiculous the way she tried to take it out. I decided it wasn’t worth it, picked up the phone and got some Dominos in; worse things have happened after all. After dinner and a cracking crumble, there was nothing at all on TV so I ended up just killing time until bed. I tried watching ‘Junior Apprentice’ but what a load of shit that turned out to be. The highlight of the evening was being alerted by an excited Alex Davy that for some reason Michael Salter had put this video blog on

This is some of the best work yet from The Dawlish Boys of Birmingham and I enjoyed everything about it if I’m quite honest; he IS going well over the barriers after all.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Frustratingly Delayed Adaptation

am: Easy 30 mins on grass & trails
pm: 3 (3 x 500 @ 3k pace) + 5 x 200 @ 8-15 pace, 100 jog (45 secs) & 5 mins btw sets - 83, 82, 83, 81, 83, 82, 81, 82, 82, 29, 29, 29, 28, 30

I saw today as another day to tick off at the cricket ground and I’m looking forward to a bit of time without working as I’ve decided to go back to Brum after Sports City on Saturday. So many of the guys will have finished their exams on Friday that it feels like the right time to go back; I didn’t want to be a bit of third wheel while everyone was revising. There is only so long you can go without being around your friends and really my whole life is in Birmingham. When the guys were going back to University on Sunday evening and I was going with my parents I just felt pretty shit and flat. Today: I was set to do an easy 30 with the Kid at 11 but had to cancel as I got stuck in a very dull meeting about IT so had to run on my own at 12. I felt so much better again today, as I did yesterday. I found my HR monitor this morning and it was encouraging to see that my HR echoed how my legs felt as it was super-low on flat sections and dropped down very quickly once I finished. Both achilles were stiff again and my calves & hamstrings are still a little tight. I was hugely pleased that I am finally feeling a lot better easy running. In the afternoon I did a bit of planning for the match day YCM and soon enough it was home time. Now these past few weeks, for some reason I've had a nostalgic urge to get a strawberry and cream Frappuccino from Starbucks in Leeds Rail Station. The nostalgia is attached to the fact that between the ages of 13 & 15 my best friend was current GB decathlete Dan Gardiner and most our weekends were spent trying to look cool in the coffeehouse (during holidays replace most with all and weekends with days). Frustratingly, every day I have been too time for time when I’ve wanted to abate the stifling humidity of the train station and give into to my craving. Today was different; I had bags of time. Time was not an issue, the issue was the fact it was bloody freezing and it just was not the right time. The one day I can is the one day I choose not to. Tomorrow's another day I suppose. I had a good conversation with my pal Alex Davy as I called to see how his exams are going. He seemed pleased enough though a bit stressed out, understandably. I hopped on the train, tapping my feet to the sound of Buble and thinking about dropping a great session in a few hours time. I had a snack at home and watched some very old ‘Friends’ – I felt for Ross when they let slip his baby was going to be a boy. It was very muggy tonight but pretty still so good conditions for a big session. Today was one of those days where I knew going into the session that I was going to train well for some reason. However, I almost postponed until tomorrow. My legs were still a bit sore today, mainly my calves, so I decided to see how I felt warming up. They weren’t that bad so I thought I’d be much better training with a group when I felt in the mood rather than waiting until tomorrow evening and hoping for the best. I trained in my XC spikes, a bad idea given the state of my calves and one I’d pay for later. I felt very good tonight and the target times were 85 and 30 but I had no intention of running any slower than 83. I shared the pace with Smithy for the majority and felt within myself. My calves got progressively sorer but I just had to get on with it. I had to ice my calves afterwards as I was in considerable discomfort walking around! I was very pleased to bank this session and if it means sore calves for a day or two then so be it. Phil said that although I trained faster this week, I looked better last week but I am not sure why. I can’t wait until I combine both! My chest was very tight tonight but only on the recoveries. I didn’t take any hay-fever medication today so I reckon that could be why. It was such a relief to train well tonight and having spoken to Phil I am pretty sure I know why I seem to have struggled these past few weeks compared to where I'd like to have progressed to. Having spoken to a lot of the guys who also went to FR I am the only one who was able to do a session the first weekend back. I happened to train well that day but unfortunately I think it has meant I hav adapted a few days later than everyone else; almost all the other guys have run a PB or close to already. The other consideration Phil was keen to stress yesterday when I was being overly analytical was that I should wait to feel like there's some altitude benefit and maybe even post-testing before drawing conclusions. Everyone is individual and it is impossible to predict altitude response. Maybe my excellent performance has been delayed until the BMC 5k then! I got home, had some dinner and tried in vain to find something half-decent on TV. I realised just before bed that I have not spoken to my housemate Matt for literally months so I called to see how his life is going and tell him the good news that I’d be in Birmingham on Saturday night. This was a relief to him as it coincides with Wilko going back to Leeds for a few days next week and Midge can barely cook toast.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Adidas Supernova Glide

pm: Easy 45 mins + light circuits

I didn’t sleep very well last night as I could not stop thinking about yesterday’s race and also it was roasting hot. The straw that broke the camel's back was a huge argument between a chav couple that I tried to ignore for as long as I could. Eventually I had to get up and look out of the window as it sounded like it could get a bit violent; thankfully my baseball bat stayed in the wardrobe. I felt tired this morning and would have missed my train had my dear mother not run me to the rail station. I had to eat porridge out of a tub on the train but once I'd finished I composed myself, washed my face in the toilet at the station, had a nice orange juice from Starbucks and was ready to click into being a big shot in a suit. The first thing I did at work was log onto Start Fitness. My foot was a little sore yesterday so I have ordered some new shoes: 2 pairs of trainers at a cost of bloody £130 as unfortunately I cannot play the trick of getting shoes for 66% of original SRP as I am forced to buy the new version! The correlation between those who have worn the Supernova Glide and those who have had enflamed sesamoid bones is too strong to ignore any longer. Phil has been begging me to buy new trainers for weeks and I have finally given in. My foot was a little sore warming up and down yesterday but ok in the race. What tipped me over the edge to part with £130 was when Wilko said afterwards 'my foot's sore' and I said 'mine too' but he quickly replied 'not my sesamoid bones, just blisters; my foot's fine since I changed shoes.' It would be nice if he got Adidas to send me some free ones as I am very, very brand-loyal. It's Adidas shoes, IPods, The Times, Quaker's Oats and Activia Yoghurts - some things just cannot be compromised for cheaper alternatives. I had woken up with a cough and a sore throat this morning and it wasn't until lunchtime that I could speak properly; luckily I didn't need to. I achieved nothing at work all day as my boss lost his head and was down in the dumps for some reason; as a consequence he gave me no work (literally none). The only activity I undertook all day was walking up to the Otley Road for lunch with a colleague to waste as much time as possible. We went to 'Brod' as it is a particular favourite of Stephen Lisgo (he used to, and still does, go on about it all the time) but I never actually knew where it was. To be honest, it was a pretty standard tuna sandwich for £2.50. I got home about 5.40 to run with the guys. I felt pretty good tonight. I expected to be quite knackered from yesterday and was prepared for a very easy plod in 8 minute miles but was pleasantly surprised. I was stiff and sore from the knee down on both legs with my left shin feeling a little irritated. I also had slightly tight hamstrings; I think these are to be expected after my first proper track race though. I didn’t do any strides because of these niggles. It was cooler and nice for running which helped this evening although it was still vest and shorts and very hot for Leeds. I didn’t do much at circuits as I was sore in my groin and glutes and I don’t want to be too sore to train tomorrow. I stretched quite a lot though. My grandparents came round in the evening to ask questions about my adventures and watch a fairly abject 3-1 England win, worth watching for Glen Johnson's wonder strike. Bed at 11.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Loughborough Intenational 3k

am: Very easy 25 mins shakeout
pm: Loughborough International 300m - 8.43
WEEK: 60mi - A bit of a lower-mileage week which I think I perhaps needed as I've been struggling for quality of late. Good session on Tuesday and then a steady week should set me up for a good 5k debut as I think all my fitness is still trapped in aerobic conditioning - NOTE: must go off slower next race!

I had a good night's sleep in Singhy's bed last night surrounded by Burnley FC memorabilia. I went downstairs to discover Peersy and Lewis watching some retro Gladiators. Rhino was particularly impressive and the travelator looked much easier than I remember. We the went for an easy easy morning shakeout and it was stiflingly hot, quite ridiculous. I didn’t feel too great this morning and was a little out of breath at points but I think a lot of that was to do with how hot and humid it was. We did very little all day, conserving as much energy as possible and staying out of the baking sun. We watched The Hangover, a lot of SSN and had a nice chat with Lew's parents and grandparents who arrived early afternoon. Bowser popped in a couple of times to say hello; I think he was just driving around Loughborough all day to waste time. We walked down to the track about 4pm and I was sweating almost straight away. I was given an informal 'history of Loughborough' by Adam Peers and was suitably impressed. I got my number and went to meet my Mum & Dad who were sat with the Brum mob. I caught up with a few of the guys, watched the 1500 and went to get ready. It was so hot that all I did was a very slow 10 mins jog and a couple of drills before dousing myself in water to keep cool - it was pushing 30°c track side. I was pretty nervous today but I didn’t let it get the better of me. My mind was doing its best to try and talk me out of it, even on the start line a little voice in my head was saying ‘it’s not too late to pull out now, what are you doing in this race – they’re all too good for you.’ I fought it off by telling myself I wanted to be in this race, this is what we train for. The gun went and I was fine. If anything, I may have been a little too pepped up as I ended up going out too fast although I had done everything to remain chilled out pre-race. I went through 1k in roughly 2.43/2.44 which was too fast, but the main mistake was the way I ran this first kilometre. I felt fantastic on the first lap with a lot of bounce but by 600 the race was starting to split up into its relevant groups. I found myself naturally picking it up to close the gap and heard Phil shout ‘it’s too fast, stop moving through.’ I tried to ease back a bit but as soon as I did I felt much worse. By about 1250m I was on my own in a big gap and it was an uphill struggle from there. Up until that point I’d been sheltered from the wind and now I was taking all of it. I managed to stay relaxed and try and get into a rhythm to slowly close the gap to Craig Hopkins up in front. I slowly reeled him in but he re-overtook me with about 60m left. I went to pieces in the final 600 and dread to think what I ran the last lap in. I didn’t kick really in the last 200, I just ran to the finish which isn’t ever acceptable as when you’ve run 90 odd % of the race it is a crime not to finish it off regardless of how it has gone (22nd out of 23 is obviously not the aim). I was sick a few times afterwards and had a bad head but managed to squeeze in a very slow 10 minute mile to warm down. I did another 1mi jog when we got home as I stiffened up in the car; especially my right groin and my calves. I felt much better for jogging. I had some dinner and watched 2 episodes of 24 before going to bed. I had a huge blood blister that I had to clean up in the shower as I didn't want to stain my sheets (with blood from my toe before anyone tries to twist my words) overnight. I got into bed a lot more dissatisfied with today than I had been earlier. It certainly didn’t go entirely to plan but I have to be richer for the experience and although in hindsight I probably could have run much quicker had I gone off a couple of seconds slower per lap early on, I don’t necessarily regret having a bit of a go for the opening 3 laps; doing it in 30°c with a bit of wind probably wasn’t the best tactic though.