Before you read this blog; I would like to say a thank you to Rich Spooner, he pushed me all the way today and how someone can say Thank You and ‘Come On’ to everyone else whilst they are running at that pace is ace!
The Week I’ve Had
After Barnsley 10k last weekend, I felt really good and was looking forward to this weeks Percy Pud. I’m not really a fan of Christmas Pudding, my mum already makes a great one for us every year. But I wanted the fast flat 10k, I knew I was in some sort of PB shape after last weeks relative success. I always try to go out every day and beat my total or pace, from the week before. Constantly trying to look for some minuscule way to improve on my week, week by week. I started off well and recovered well from Barnsley 10k. Running a new record mileage total on Monday in the freezing cold, 31.5 mile. I was so hungry when I finished, I took Bryan for a trip around Asda. Tuesday I ran another high mileage day 27 miles and enjoyed that again, and even had time for some lamppost speed work on Wednesday night. But for me, my week had already began to become a bit of a catastrophe.
I work with Children.
In winter, and I work with children, colds, flus, stomach ache and sickness. Monday I taught gymnastics and 75% of the group had a sick prescribed to them. Tuesday I was teaching football in the same bug infested school, I still felt alright and my mileage was saying that. Wednesday, I was done in that school for a week, but off to another school, a different type of illness, headache and cold; and if you could diagnose ‘grumpiness’ this is also what the kids had. Back in there Thursday, but probably too late. I had no appetite and didn’t really eat anything all day, not feeling like I could stomach it. The inevitable happened Friday, and I woke up with an headache and stomach ache. Feeling lathergic and strengthless. I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t shake this by the weekend. With it being Friday! Saturday I opted for a just my morning runs and take the afternoon off, going to Leeds to do a spot of shopping and the ‘Christmas Market.’ I felt sluggish and slow at Parkrun; probably because I’ve not really eaten anything for a few days, so I was surprised to cross the line in 18:16.
Barnsley Boundary Runs
Now taking to take shape and getting out with some faces this week. Bryan, Mark and Stuart joined me on Monday for a freezing leg 4. Seemed fairly easy to navigate in the dark, apart from car scrap city, a few interesting locals and the temperature; in the summer this is likely a road shoe leg. Potentially a starting point. Well lit in parts.
Leg 3 again for Thursday night, a steady one with Scott ‘the torchless’ Hinchcliffe. Majority off road and I chose a little detour avoiding horses in a field. A good outing as always with Scott and a decent pace in the dark on the boundary; with one headtorch. But probably not ideal for a dark run. But it is manageable if needs be, although I’m yet to complete the full of it in the dark. Always missing the same two/three fields. And there is plenty of woods.
Percy Pud 10k
With the week I’ve had, my view was that I just have to finish today. Hopefully without throwing up, something that I’ve avoided so far. Stomach ache was still present Sunday morning and kept me awake through the night. Unable to find a comfortable position; currently sleeping in the dining room because the bedroom is being plastered, refitted and painted (but that’s another story).
So I got up and ate a little amount of breakfast, three spoonfuls, even made a lot less of it, I knew I wouldn’t stomach it, a bit of a drink. Out the house for 8. Destination, Loxley. Parking can be a issue with it being onstreet and some car parks dotted around, I always try to head for the school, because they open the playground. I got there about 8.30, steady drive and went for a warm up. Stomach uneasy, and I could hear it when I was running, talking to me. Is this going to be a good idea? Seriously considering jogging around here or going home. I went for a quick pee, plenty of toilets and queued for literally a minute! Bit more of a warm up to make sure and 9.30 approached. Startline, I’m really doing this. Stuart Wilson, Simon Haywood, Mark Havenhand, Paul Johnson, Paul Dodd and Shaun Dimelow, all around me. I set off and this is a fast one. I’d soon know if I was up to it. My legs feel a little weak, probably due to the lack of protein and nutritious food! Soup, is not a good build up meal for a few days before a race. ‘I feel good,’ I keep trying to tell myself and I’m holding onto groups here and not really getting passed by anyone. Still around the lads from the start. I’d be content, if I finish around here, only done 400 metres and still clinging. Dropping down to the reservoir before we split up into smaller more over-takable groups. Without the fear of clipping someone’s legs on the way through. My stomach had stopped giving me as much grief and settled more into it, my legs still felt weak. Yo-Yo’ing with Rich for a little bit. I knew I was in a good time here, he’s consistent in races! I opted to hide my watch screen, only really showing me my running man in blue on the screen.
Every marshall, cheering us on and a familiar photographer in Steve Frith appeared.
On what feels like the flat bit now. It’s more like a dunford express, ascent and descent. Climbing before a slight dip to the turn around marker. Ticking off the ‘K’ markers as we go. Sometimes I find an habit in races of running in the gutter of the road or edge of the curbs, I tried to avoid doing that today. Worried that fatigue might make me slip slightly. As well as it being an awful habit, constantly having to jump grates or loose curbs. Suppose it does keep you alert! Still running with Rich around me and now catching up to Mark again. On the way back now, plenty of familiar faces to see.
Rich must’ve said well done to everyone! Or keep going to them, or thanked a marshall. But it seemed to be Mark getting all the cheers! On the dunford down bit now, a little grief from my stomach but nothing like Friday’s run out. Still pushing and plodding, I knew I wouldn’t be far off of a PB and this was the first time that it felt possible now at mile 4. Rich reminding me, to keep pushing and go for it. I tried whatever my legs could do, and had a little surge. Until we reached the Dam wall, now I could see Paul Johnson just in front. If I could keep between him and Rich/Mark then that would be it. My legs really did feel weak by the time we got over the wall and onto the climbs to the finish. Only about a mile to go. I tried to put it all into the hills for the finish, almost trying to sprint up them. Ignoring the signs of my stomach existing for now. Finish arch in sight, not quite blinded by the sun surrounding it. A climb to go. A flat climb compared to anything else I’m used to. Keep moving. I could see the clock, reading 34:** people blocking the seconds, I saw it tick to 35:** I must be close. Stopping my watch. That’s it stomach aching.
25th place, chip time. 26th place on gun time.
2119 finishers for their pudding. Seems a while ago now since the entry went live!
A PB, when I really didn’t expect one. Last Sunday, I would’ve said yes. But the week, stomach and general life, could’ve hindered that.
This time next year, I will not be working with children.
Steel City Striders did another great event. Makes you wonder if Barnsley could ever host something on that scale or larger, again? I’d love a marathon on my doorstep.
Results Link: http://www.chipresults.co.uk/default.aspx?s=desktop
Every run between now and January, is going to be a blind, watch covered run. Just do them and enjoy them. Races are short, but miles will be plenty.
Just Keep Running.