Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Blog Update

After a 2 month break from blogging I’ve decided to return, to give you readers an update on the boring occurrences of my life. So its mid April, two years ago I had just ran my 1500m pb and was in the shape of my life. A negative split 1.48.78 was coming in a few weeks time and my running was embarking on a future pathway to success. Now, 2 years on, I’ve managed one track session in approximately 4 weeks. For the second time in 12 months I’ve had my pelvis realigned by the physio at St Mary's. It's not completely known as to why this happens but I reckon it could be linked to my cycling accident in 2010. Smashing the road at 30 odd has gotta fuck your back up a little bit. This morning seems to be the start of another go at some quality training. Some steady 200's at a comfortable pace. Calves react badly and lactic comes soon. Seemingly awful however after a long hard week of working for the London Marathon it can only be expected.

Last week was an experience. Five days of printing t-shirts, dealing with customers, eating pasta and sandwiches and listening to the quality Essex lingo of Gavin lewis all produced a memorable week. From Wednesday night until Saturday a group of around 9 of us stopped in a “shitole” known as the St Paul's Youth Hostel. Cheeseman was quite pleased with the accommodation...I’d rather of camped in Bushy Park. This terrible living quality was put to and end on Saturday night when we were treated like gentleman in the Tower Hotel (4* if your wondering). Free bar and a more than mediocre curry was put on and you generally felt part of something special. Sunday's marathon had just under 37,000 runners who completed the gruelling 26.2 miles. I saw a small section of the 6-7hr finishers. Special mention should go to two st mary's athletes, Mary Edmonds and Neil Phillips, who both accounted for themselves very well on there debuts. After getting up at 3.20am and bruising my thumbs putting on nearly a miles worth of branding onto side walks, I returned to my bed and missed the majority of TV footage. Work in the early hours is like a cold, you feel like shit but you just get on with it. Gavin Lewis had perhaps the most absurd night. At 5.30am he asked me how we had gotten to our work site. Clearly intoxicated I explained that we had walked just around from the Tower.

So what’s been going on with me athletics wise? February was completely lost, along with the start of march, to a respiratory tract infection....AKA a hideous cold. Just couldn't shift it and it ended up taking 5 weeks to get rid of. Following this I managed to get a few weeks in but just didn’t feel right, my lower back was so stiff and my hamstrings were in pain. I went home for a couple of weeks at Easter and ran a decent session of 5 x 600. Following this I was just bucked. Tendons at the base and top of my hamstrings were in so much pain. After three visits to the physio im starting to feel OK again so will hopefully get back to some decent form soon enough.

Hope this returning to blogging isnt too crap but that's all I have to say for the time being. Hope you've enjoyed reading about my happenings. As always I’ll end with some nonsense. Tiesto once played a gig to 1 person in a field just south of Amsterdam, that person was wearing chino's and a sweater.


Friday, 10 February 2012

It doesn't rain it pours....

Today I had to concede defeat to illness, thus putting me out of this weekends UK Senior Indoors and World Indoor Trials. I had desperately wanted to run at these championships for a few reasons. Firstly, two years ago I came 4th as an 18 year old, which is probably my career highlight to date. It was a great occasion and my old coach, Tony was so pleased, which was rewarding. Secondly, last year I went up to Sheffield, as I had booked a hotel and trains which were non-refundable, only to be unable to compete yet again because of illness. Finally, I’ve found myself in the best shape I’ve been in for a considerable amount of time. My 3.54 from last weekend may not sound ground breaking to many of you, but considering I only ran 3.51 when I was in 1.48 shape then I was quite excited about competing. Furthermore, Craig set me a horrible session on Tuesday, which led to the inability of walking and a serious case of dry heaving. Winrow smiled on sadistically. It all seemed to come together. However, on Wednesday night I could feel the onset of yet another cold. Probably due to the explicit change in temperature (it's been very cold) and the hammering the immune system takes every time you race. Indoor Cough, as ive titled it is also a nightmare. After pretty much every indoor race you get this horrible dry cough lasting from a few days to potentially weeks. Leading me onto my opinions regarding racing with a cold. I've tried it twice indoors, and its been ridiculously bad twice. As an u15 I ran with a cold over 800m, ran shockingly and was sick outside and couldn't stop spluttering all the way home. Years later I ran over 3000m as a 17 year old and failed to finish the race. I believe the only track race I’ve dropped out of. So, to attempt two high quality 800's at a senior national standard would be na├»ve and rather painful.

All this has led me to think a little about how fickle your health can be. I was thinking about how heartbreaking it would be if you got a cold during an Olympic games. You can't, not run, because it's often a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone around you will be expecting your best effort, which may be limited if you have a bout of aids. So, if the day ever comes where im near to going to a major championship, no one will see me for weeks. Ill be indoors avoiding everything. When leaving the house I will wear a facial mask to prevent foreign bodies entering my system. Then known my luck ill get injured instead.

I'd like to wish all of Craig's athletes who are competing at the World Indoor Trials the best of luck. And...to finish off...If Tiesto was an indoor specialist he would be world class over 60m Hurdles.

Monday, 6 February 2012

One weekend in February...

Just a quick update our kids (r-kids). The weekend was fairly eventful for pretty much all St Mary's athletes, with athletes competing at the BUCS XC and also the Indoor City Challenge. Firstly a note on the cross country. Our guys dominated as expected. We have a huge intake of athletes so the numbers combined with the level of coaching here was always going to provide results. Despite not being in Cardiff I was fairly nervous. A silly bet had been made between myself, Carl Goose and Ollie Crux. Basically, if Carl won the B race I had to wear GB kit to all championships this year, if he was top 5 but not first then Ollie had to pace make a Watford Grand Prix in GB kit and if he was outside the top 15, Carl had to wear GB kit in a Watford race. Luckily, duck duck Goose came 13th, after a Borzakovskiy like final straight moving himself up from 16th to 13th. All participants were safe!

Meanwhile, in my favourite northern city, Sheffield, several athletes took to the EIS indoor arena representing a range of cities in the McCain Indoor City Challenge. On a personal note I had a very good run. Improved upon my indoor pb and ran my second fastest time ever, clocking 3.54.99. The race was mental. Twice Olympian Anthony Whiteman, put his balls on the line and went out at a very quick pace, going through 800 in approximately 1.58. This guy is a legend. Now 40 years old he is trying to become the first ever British sub 4 minute miler at 40. The sub 4 mile at 40 was first achieved by irishman Eamonn Coghlan, the titled "chairman of the boards".  Hopefully he will do it. As for Saturday he had to settle for second in a very good time of 3.47. Myself and fellow Winrow coached athlete, Oli Heeks, went through 800 in about 2.02. Which at the time I thought was too quick. Running low on confidence effects this part of the race a lot. I was almost sure I was going to blow up, but after running a pedestrian 66 for the third 400 I managed to quicken again to produce a 45/46 last 300m, suggesting I had too much left. With about 3 laps to go I moved out to pass Oli and give him a hand with the work, but I just didn't think I could hold it so decided to stay in behind. I must thank Oli for helping me to a decent time for me, as he did take me for approximately 1300m before I could kick on. Felt like bit of a dick for this but sometimes you don't believe you have much more to give and then you find yourself with another gear. Hopefully, with the confidence gained from this run, I can apply myself a bit more between 800 and 1200, and get close to running sub 3.50.

For those of you who have not ran in the indoor city challenge I would highly recommend it. First of all, you get travel expenses, free hotel room and meals. Secondly, if you break an indoor personal best, which I did, then you get paid £50. If you win the race you get £100. All excellent incentives. With regard to last weekend's trip I had a great time. I shared a room with a nice scouse lad called Mike Sweeney who is a talented multi event athlete. One of the benefits of athletics is that you get to meet new people, which I never used to enjoy but now I love it. On Friday evening some of the guys down here couldn't get a meal in time so I took them to an Italian in Leopold Square. There was myself, Oli Heeks, Ben Wallis, and Norwich lad, Rick Ward. Initially, Rick did not take a shine to this so called “bistro”. However he did enjoy the spaghetti ragu, which was basically “spag bol”. Some hilarious 70's hair doo's provided much comedy at the table and it was genuinely a funny night. I'm looking forward to a similar event this coming weekend when I will be competing at the UK Senior Indoors, which doubles as the World Indoor Trials. With the final being shown live on channel 4, I purely just want to make the final. If I could do it two years ago then I'd hope to be able to do it again now. I certainly couldn't have ran 3.54 two years ago. But... I’ve had plenty of problems. Hopefully should be a good week regardless, as im just enjoying being fit and healthy at the minute. No need to get overly serious. Above is a picture from my heat two years ago, which i had to front run in order to get a fastest losers time.

As always to end, here's a stupid Tiesto related fact/myth....

Did you know that Tiesto's favourite film is Black Beauty, because he likes horses innit.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Its February Already...

It seems like only yesterday that I was at home for Christmas. Life at home is very different to life in London. There are positives and negatives to both. Ill start with the negatives. Firstly, its cold and it rains so much in Cumbria. My parents don't believe me when I say it hardly rains in London, but seriously in the 18 months or so that I’ve been here I’ve been forced to run in the rain maybe twice. Secondly, its always windy for some reason. The biggest negative about Cumbria is the track situation. There's a track 5 miles away from my house in Whitehaven, but its never open. It used to have a hole in the fence round the back, but that’s since been covered up. In the rare event that I do get on it then its not a pleasant experience. Whitehaven is basically a coastal town with high banks on either side of the valley which it lies in. The track is on top of one of the banks, thus it gets battered by wind. Its a poor version of altitude training. So, the next option is Carlisle. Forty-five miles away. In a car it takes around an hour, maybe forty minutes if Tom Marper's driving. On public transport its about two and a half hours. Over Christmas there were times where I was leaving the house at 9.30 am and returning at 5pm and all I had done was a track session, no messing about or anything.

So what are the benefits of home?From a running viewpoint the quality of runs are much better than south west London. People rave about Bushy and Richmond park but they don't really compare to the mountains and forrests of the Lake District. This is a picture from a few years ago but its an example of how good it can be when it snows...looks like Narnia. The other picture is from a forrest not far from my house called Lowther Forrest. Its about 4 miles away from my house and its pefect for doing fartleks in.

Well, my parents make sure im kept well. Decent meals, plenty of tasty takeaways just like it used to be. As for Bryan, well im sure some of you will have heard many “craics” about his humour. Basically, if he was a better public speaker and based somewhere in the south there's a decent chance he'd be a comedian. Either that or....locked up in a mental asylum. “Spike Milligan made a living from it” , he says when I call him a nutter. Janice and Katey are very good cooks, but that's there role as northern women, in the kitchen. Another huge benefit of home is my mates. Whether its playing snooker with the lads or having a quiet Beverley down the Stanley Arms in Calderbridge, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its become routine for the boys to go for an Indian just before the students amongst us go back. Seriously, the amount of ethnic produce we put away is ridiculous. Spice Land Indian is where we go, there motto is “Spice Land...meaning Land of Spice”. Retards. But they make good food.

Some big performances have went down in the last few days. Fellow Cumbrian, Tom Farrell ran a disgusting 7.52 a few days ago. The thought of running 15 laps indoors, at around 4.10 miling, gives me diabetes. Mitch Goose, brother to my house mate Carl, ran a very impressive 7.58, for his first time under 8 minutes. Over the shorter distances, Joe Thomas ran 1.47 in Glasgow and looked like he could of went a lap further. That boys in ridiculous shape. As for me, well im racing this weekend in Sheffield, the premise is 50 quid for sub 4. Should be able to pull it together.

Random Tiesto fact of the week is; Tiesto's pets are covered by morethan pet insurance. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Who am i?

This is my first ever blog so if its crap then i apologise. I've been persuaded into doing one by my house mate Carl Goose, after I found what he had currently produced via a Google search. For those of you who don't know me I’m basically a northern lad from Cumbria, living in London, trying to run quick over 800m whilst enjoying the university experience. I study at St Mary's University which has had a hard time of it amongst the athletic community. A lot of abuse about the quality of our degrees and the standard of our students has been given. To be honest they do make it very easy to get into, but a degree is a degree and requires time regardless of where you’re at.

Let’s recap...my best year was 2010 where I first represented England and GB, setting a pb of 1.48.67 and placing fourth at the Senior UK indoor champs. I was third place in a ridiculously highly contested UK u20 championship race at Bedford, which had 4 juniors under 1.50 and Niall Brooks the winner in 1.47. In September 2010 I began studying at St Mary's and found the change very hard. I went to university with a fractured scapula (due to me being a daft lad on a bike in the Lake District) and also a heart murmur caused by anaemia (too many curries not enough fruit). In October 2010 my coach Tony Ward, who had taken me from 2.05 as a 14 year old to 1.48 at 18, passed away. I obviously found this quite hard to deal with. Moving away from the comforts of home was difficult. I had been used to wonderful meals cooked by my Mum and Sister and was then thrown into the awful ref food of St Mary's. Due to inactivity with my broken shoulder I had put a bit of “timber” on and thus needed to lose it. Going about this the right way is integral. I did not, thus resulting in a lot of illness in my first semester. In my first 5 months of university I had been ill 8 times and had managed about 5 or 6 weeks of complete training.

On the training front, the difference between Tony's philosophy’s and those of Craig Winrow’s were colossal. I had always done speed work year round and had only ran around 35 miles a week before my 1.48 season. Under Craig I'm doing more volume and a lot more conditioning, which will hopefully allow me to run a lot quicker over 1500m as well as furthering my 800m. In my first year I found it hard to get my head round not running quick all the time and when my first race indoor didn’t go well (1.53.8 in Bratislava) I panicked and became overly negative. This was a recurring theme throughout 2011. Outdoors I could only run 49.6 over 400m at BUCS, compared to my opening 400m races in 2010 of 48.8 and 48.5, done in the same day. The following week I ran 8.58 at Watford over 3000m, my only Pb of 2011, but not close to what I could have produced in 2010. I ran 1.50.11 early in May and that was to be the highlight of my summer as I displaced my hip in July. Incidentally, I produced 1.51.8 with a hip that was out of place, so that was probably my best race.

At this point I knew something had to change. I decided not to continue living in university halls and to move into a house with Carl Goose, Tommy Carroll and Ollie Crux. Despite not knowing any of these lads particularly well before moving in, I can honestly say it’s been a great decision. The presence of a double bed is most appreciated. In the summer I learnt how to cook and now love cooking, mainly curry's I must add. So far this year I’ve been ill, twice. One of which is now. I've raced well, by my standards, over longer distances (16.00 for 5k and 26.14 for 5miles). I ran at the Northern Indoors and ran 4.00.3 over 1500m, which I was pleased with as I’d only been on the track 4 times since July, due to shin splints. All in all I’m in a good place and looking forward to the summer. 2012 Is a big year and I’m intrigued as to who will make a big breakthrough, it might, just maybe, be me!

Im going to finish each blog with a random fact (almost certainly not true) about my favourite DJ, Tiesto.Did you know that Tiesto's favourite UK supermarket is Sainsbury's?