Before you read, ask yourself, how would you celebrate a 1000 running days in a row?
Back in the good old days, or so they say. 10 mile races weren’t a novelty, they were a regularity. Often popping up and on the calendar. Being raced just as often as a 10k. Speak to the veterans of our sport and they will tell you, listen to regular chat on Facebook groups or hear the phrase, the good old days. Way back when you’d see numerous runners break the 60 minute barrier and challenge up at the front. They’ll all tell you that as well. They were all faster back then apparently. Probably true, in a fashion, but personal opinion was that there was more faster runners actually running races regularly rather than doing other things, other sports, there was probably less races as well. So that runners were often choosing the same races to enter. Anyway, 10 mile races are alive still you know, they are still kicking and they are great! Run usually at 10k pace until you can’t hang on anymore, bridging the gap between the 10k and half. Plus if you’re a minute per mile man or woman, like me then they’re easy to figure out how to pace. In unique fashion it’s just so happened that I’ve now had 3, 10 mile runs this month. Those being:
With them under my belt and my body memory being set to what a 10 mile at race pace might actually feel like. I’d be going into the flattest of the 3 races, feeling great. Only loosing 6 seconds at Leek over double the elevation, in comparison to Askern, meant confidence was hitting an high. The problem when you’re running confident is you’re typically running fast, and running fast leads to injuries so I’ve got to be careful! The miles for the autumn marathons are increasing steadily, speed is becoming normality. Running has become a little more comfortable again, shaking off my tight achilles from after the Endure 24 challenge has taken a while; but hopefully it’s finally there. Wearing the Forest Gump straps on a night for an hour, as clearly helped! The fun of the race is there.
The week in build up as been steady, with a couple of particular highlights for me. They came firstly on the Tuesday. In the form of a race, a quaint local race. The Highwood Hobble. A charity run, for the right reasons. Pay what you want to enter, organised by members of the Harriers and notably Claudia Thompson. With all proceeds going to charity, stuff your Great North Runs or your expensive Run for All’s. 100% charity. This years chosen charity, Yorkshire Cancer Research. I parked at the chestnut tree anyway, a steady 2.5 mile warm up there and paid my donation got my number and to my surprise Scott Hinchcliffe was there with his children running the fun run. Those that know him, class! But currently sidelined, a chat with him was great. Not seen him in a while, Bryan Harrod as well was there. Amongst plenty other local runners that become too many to name! The course is all off-road, round the bottom field, loop the top field and into the woods, then turn around and S shaped run to the finish line, officially measured 5k. But it’s not flat. I set off quick, setting the pace alongside Richard Bateson, tailed by Scott, he’s not run for 5 months properly! Bonkers. Dry as a bone so Road shoes were great on the off-road and felt comfortable. Storming around the field but not pushing too much, it’s mainly up hill until the turnaround anyway. The old course was much tougher than that! Into the woods we go, and turn quicker than you think. Time to fly back now, passing everyone who was out on their travels. Re-entering the field. Fast downhill before hitting the uphill finish.
My watch time, was down at 18:14. A course PB by around a minute! Official time has me around 18:31. A nice chat with people around the finish line area and hung around to smell the chip butties! A steady jog back to the car, made quicker than anticipated with Bryan and Jane meeting me in the Chestnut tree car park, cause they ferried mine, Scott and Coles prizes back to the car for me! My box of chocolates didn’t last long, Ellie really liked them! The main thing though, over £1000 raised and fantastically organised, great fun and wonderful people in attendance. That’s what it’s all about.
Wednesday night was my next highlight, usually speed night. But with only me, Charlie and Kieron signalling intention, and then Penistone Hill race in my plans. I thought I’d attend the recce with Damien Briscoe instead. Paddy joined us and we decided to hijack the recce and use it as Fartlek hill sprints instead. Hitting hills fast and looping back for everyone as well. Having a crack at Damien’s Hartcliff hill crown in the process, I got 50 seconds on Strava. Damien has crowned it at 50 seconds. A great session, a fancy recce and plenty of faces.
Thursday came quick and 3 run Thursday has now become normality. A normal training run, usually done in silence. On my own, grinding out the miles. Plan was to run at ‘Marathon Pace’ for the second half. And that I did, feeling absolutely fantastic flying on my way back from Silkstone. 6 minute miles and coasting. It was just a normal run, on a normal day. But it made my week. Probably not the best idea, given the weekend I had planned. But ah well, if that’s how it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
A non running related highlight was just being able to chill out for once with Ellie, go a decent walk out at Damflask and actually enjoy not working, just doing life. A decent drive out there, having a day, not doing much on Tuesday. Saturday was the same, just a day, not doing too much, but enjoying it!
Not particularly aiming for it, Saturday brought another strong effort at Parkrun. I woke up feeling alright, a little on the tired side. But soon woke up, didn’t decide I was going to really push for until after the first 400 metres. Ran a 5:37, 5:44, 5:45. To give me a 16:52 Finish for a 1 second PB!
Now onto Sunday, the Gilberdyke 10. 3rd time I’ve raced here, not too sure how long it’s been an official event. But it gets faster and faster each year. It’s definitely catching on as a PB course and that it is! With around 100ft of climb for the full thing, with the only real noticeable climb coming from a railway bridge that lasts for about 20 metres! So not much of a challenge.
2016, I was here and managed 59:55 for 6th place. 1st time I broke the 1 hour barrier and although it wasn’t my PB for the year, that coming from Preston later in November, 58:27.
2017, I returned. In a purple patch of form and feeling quite alright at the time. 57:19, for 3rd place. Not bad and a PB for the year.
So 2018, I knew where my target 10 mile race was going to be and where I was going to go all out. Not knowing what to target really until the week before the event, but to PB was a bare minimum. To run sub 5:45 minute miles, that’s all it would require! Scared much? I am. Pains me to even think it, it worries me the pace I have to run at, to 5k PB, to marathon PB. Crackers and seems so unachievable. Makes it surreal that I’ve ever run that fast before!
The morning of the race, I woke up rather early. Struggling to get comfortable and actually get some sleep, was laid there for an hour from 6 until I got up and out of bed. Ellie will say I was banging around, but honestly quiet as a mouse. Left the house around 8.15. A steady 45 minutes through to Gilberdyke. West of Hull, near North Cave. Holland country, pan flat! No hills in sight, watch said 7 foot above sea level, don’t know how believable that is? Off to get my number, and a steady 2 mile warm up. Toilets a plenty, so the emergency just in case pee was a bonus! They had been delivered this year.
Last year, they arrived just as we was lining up to start! Quickly spied Simon Lambert, who I’ve previously met at many a races! First race I believe was York marathon 2013. But really spoke to him since Ackworth 2015, when he pipped me to first place. Got to know him really well since, talking to him around the start. First speaking my target of 55 minutes. High on confidence from recent races and believing I could. Saying, if I die off trying, at least I’ve tried. Secretly believing if I do slow, gives me 2 minutes still to play with, to get to PB. His target undecided, said he’ll go off at my pace and see if he can hold on. But looking around me, definitely someone to run with. Rob Weekes, Ben Sadowyj, Timmy Davies and Steve Bateson. All quality runners, who you would anticipate being around that time. Or faster. Simon, told me like a running geek, there would be a tailwind for the last 4 mile, it would just be a case of battling and holding on until then. The course is a bit of a square, out and back. Headwind, crosswind, tailwind.
Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune starts the race here, followed by an air horn. Blasting out building the tension on a Sunday morning. Before we knew it, we was off. Quickly kicking into gear, setting off fast, probably a little too fast. Finding myself as the pace setter early on, in the lead. Not ideal with an early headwind, so I slowed and let Ben and Steve pass me. Hoping I’d be able to hang in with them, lasted until about mile 2. 5:11 for the first mile anyway. Set off quick, like I said. Hoping to hang in, dropped off them two around mile 2 and then hit an headwind. Not nice. And made it a tough battle on my own. In a small pocket, a check of my shoulder let me know Rob Weekes just behind and Timmy as well. Soon let me know they was there around mile 3 as they came steaming pass me. Towing and struggling on. Not liking it at all. Trying to grind out the miles at 5:30 pace. Dropping off, knowing I had to kick somewhere and then we hit our first built up area. Not on a country road, just a small quaint village. Going through Yokefleet. I kicked and was heading through a crosswind. I managed to claw my way back on Timmy and sat in behind only to pass him half a mile later. He was last years winner, so I know anywhere in front of him. I’ve done well. Put my body felt like I could go faster. Trying to move up the gears and get moving forward. Next little village was Blacktoft before heading into the tailwind and pace came then, the battle through the head and crosswind was over. Finding myself in 4th making some up on the guys in front. Seeing the battle for 1st place decided and seeing Ben drop off, with Rob catching him. Kept moving forward, head up and driving on. Looking around, seeing the panflat land. Looking ahead and seeing Gilberdyke getting closer in the distance. Ticking down the little landmarks, trees, windmills, people supporting. Nearly home and nearly beating the rain.
I held out for a:
Just short of a 2 minute PB for the course and for 10 mile.
Set off fast and just didn’t die as bad as I thought. Happy with the time, not my sub 55 target but a PB and a fast time. Hopefully stands me in good stead as after next weeks 10k at Wetherby it’s Half Marathons or the beast of the Marathon on the agenda. We’ll see how they go. I’ve things in mind, but I’ll no divulge them until the the day.
Cheers to Kris Leacher and his team for organising the race, it was ace!
Off I went anyway for a cool down, slow down with Simon Lambert. 4.5 mile ish. Nice chat and a few nettles stings, oops! Afterwards the plan was a drive through to Farsley and watch Ellie play against Farsley at Throstle Nest. I called for a shower in some motorway services because there wasn’t a shower at the Gilberdyke venue, I felt resourceful and then carried on my drive. Ellie played for 65 minutes up front. I love a completely sport orientated life! They won the game 3-1.
Did you manage to answer the question? Because I tell you what, that is how you celebrate a 1000 days of running!
By just doing what I do everyday, and that is run!
1000 days in a row. Of running everyday. Ups and downs, literally sometimes, oh man the hills! Highs and lows! Fantastic and rubbish at the same time, having mile days when I had my chest infection, long days when I did the Boundary, successful days when I won at Milton Keynes, achey days, the day after, days where I haven’t had any time or motivation but we’ve just kept going. Wonder what the next 1000 will bring?
Just Keep Running!