Friday, 21 May 2010

The Humiliation Starts Here

Ever since the Olympics was awarded to London I've been looking forward to them with an increasing sense of dread. If there was ever an international event that our nation, quango-ridden and riddled with interfering politicians and their petty fiefdoms that it is, was guaranteed to fuck up it is this.

Rather than hold out and elect for 'shock and awe' with a hugely embarrassing and pathetically British opening ceremony (complete with London buses doing handstands) they are going to drip-feed the excruciating rubbish gradually in an effort to soften the humiliation of the actual event itself. What other explanation can you offer for the Olympic mascots, Shithead and Wankstain:
You can't beat a committee for coming up with something that fails so miserably on so many levels. It makes you wonder at the conglomerate of fools that must have been gathered to create this pair of alien soft toy penises. Do they not realise that a rainbow is the universal sign of "batters for the other side"?

Anyway, I'm in a good mood remember? It's that time of season where days of perfect execution are interspersed with utterly miserable plods. Wednesday's 800m pace session was spot on - averaging 43.5 seconds for 5 * 300m w / 3:00 jog recovery. Followed, on Thursday, with an excruciating shuffle of 8 miles where I was reduced to 8:00+ minute miling by the end. Finally, having been forced to make way over a footbridge by a ranting geriatric (smelt of piss by the way) in her electric buggy, I gave up and walked home.

I have 4 * 600m @ 1500m pace on the menu tomorrow. It looks like a fine weekend for a beer as has been 2 months after all.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Deja Poo

I thrashed out two reasonably ugly 400m races last year. The first of which was done in 52.0 and the second, a few weeks later, done in 52.03 from an outside lane. So, a reasonably promising start, followed by a few weeks of speed development -followed by a slight regression caused by premature acceleration.

Fast forward to this season. A season opener in 51.8 followed by, 2 weeks later, a second 400m from the outside lane in a hugely wank 52.4 in saturday's Southern Mens League match. Given the 51.8 was run after a hard 800m this was bitterly disappointing. I suspect I went off too quickly but that is a purely circumstantial conclusion due to a crappy time and vigorous water treading in the last 40m. The pea under the mattress is that I felt, at the time, the first 200m was about right.

Some competitors theorised that the wind affected times, but this would be similar to the lightweight at school who threw up after 2 cans of Crucial Brew and from his puddle of puke claimed "I had some wine with my meal".

On the bright side I won maximum points from my 'B string' 400m (beating everyone but our own A string) and the 400m relay and our team swept the meet by a massive 43 points. However, technically sufficient performances are small consolation if you're a selfish bastard whose principal concern is his own glory.

I have 5 weeks to go before the true competition period starts and I have eliminated all racing apart from the first British Athletics League meet on the 5th June. This is the last opportunity to squeeze out some meaningful training.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Positive Negativity

I've mentioned that any workout in a particular season has its place in an overall, progressive training stream. The consequence being that if you can't complete one satisfactorily it's often advisable to repeat it until you can do so. The drawback of this policy, particularly when training has also been interrupted with travel and injury, is that subsequent sessions get treated like an awkward topic before an election. Shunted off into the future.

I'd failed twice to complete a 1500m pace session of 6 * 400m in 65 seconds w / 65 seconds rest, previously having had to split the session up but still falling just short of the time target. So I'm delighted to report that, together with my spikes and a reasonable day, I kicked the session squarely in the nuts and training is on an upward trajectory again. I will even tempt fate by revealing there was a little to spare and that I'm ready for next week's session of 4 * 600m at the same pace.

My knees are a little like the British weather. Whenever you are tempted to frown in to the distance and declare an overall improvement it will respond by absolutely pissing it down. So it's with some scepticism I declare that my knees seem to be a little better recently. A trip to the physio yesterday confirmed this biomechanically with my sole remaining issue being left foot strength and left ankle lateral flexibility (which affects the strength). Enter pothole, stage left, in the near future probably.

I've had my entry to the European old fart Champs in Hungary, for the 800m and 1500m, confirmed by the British Masters Federation. As a condition of competition I must purchase my own kit for the event - glamorous this sport is not. At least when representing your country at tennis a free (but undeniably shite) tracksuit was forthcoming.

Overall this has been an uncharacteristically positive and upbeat post for which I apologise. I will endeavour to do better next time. Probably from a hospital bed or a ditch underneath a crushed car. In fact, recently I've had a recurring dream where my central heating system explodes while I'm upstairs. You heard it here first.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Monty Python's Flying Track Meet

I assume it's part of local authority planning due diligence that prior to granting permission for the construction of a running track they must ensure it is in an exposed location that guarantees maximum wind. The sole exception I have encountered remains Watford track where I assume someone was greasing palms and rogering councillors when plans were submitted.

The Cambs County Champs took place today in miserable conditions - pissing rain, strong winds and low temperatures. Despite this I was looking forward to the 800m as it was stacked with 12 runners - many of whom were strong runners. Unfortunately, with many of the entrants life members of the Fair Weather Pussy Running Club, only 3 of us toed the line. One of whom (a U20m) was guaranteed his County title given he was the only runner in his category - he'll be dining off that one in his old age. As it transpired the other runner was quite happy to play windbreak and I sheepishly followed him round and took it up in the final straight after he was fucked from front running. To be perfectly frank I found the whole affair quite embarrassing - it's no wonder track is dead in this country. In the land of lepers the acne-faced man is king.

Due to the weather I decided to go home and have lunch followed by the obligatory nap. Unfortunately I overcooked the nap significantly and woke up nearly 2 hours later. As the meet (at noon) was already running typically late I was quite surprised to learn upon arrival that my race was starting in a couple of minutes giving me time for one stride as a warm-up and no time to change into my spikes. As it happens I got exactly what I deserved during the race and struggled all the way round.

A day to forget.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Yorkshire Kipper

Sunday was spent icing the knee and celebrating my good fortune at having survived saturday's racing unscathed. Monday was spent managing the gradually increasing hamstring soreness as a result of saturday's racing whilst marvelling at sunday's naivety. Still, as far as an old shite like me is concerned, sore hamstrings are small price to pay for racing a young man's itinerary. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It's perhaps a cliche that runners must listen to their body, but certainly a truism that the majority will ignore its message. My legs seem to be very heavy and, for want of a better word (or rather for want of an actual word), very lactic-y. I felt as though another quality session would be a bad idea given my upcoming racing so I settled for a long run of about 14 (slow, dead legged) miles at a pedestrian 7:35 pace.

It did get me questioning whether I was perhaps listening too much to my body. Arriving at speculative ph levels in the muscles and then adjusting training based on this nebulous calculation is a step nearer to the cuckoo's nest. Next I'll be farting with a French accent and hearing voices coming from a Polish headstone as a prelude to belting prostitutes on the back of the head with a ball-peen hammer.

Assuming I'm not hauled in for questioning on more serious charges after being caught for an inconsequential traffic violation I'll be racing the 800m and 1500m in the Cambridgeshire County Champs on saturday. My legs better feel a lot different by then otherwise I may as well stay at home.

On reflection a bit of a weird entry m'lud.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Southern Mens League 3N Meet 1

All in all my first Southern Mens League meet was a rather bizarre and enjoyable experience. The meet consists of a selection of 4 teams (out of a total of 16 in the division) with A and B events for each discipline. As long as you have 2 representatives in each event you are guaranteed at least a point for each. This of course leads to some farcical situations where you have shot putters running the 5k and unwilling victims being forced to negotiate the steeplechase barriers in the spirit of taking one for the team. I was almost swept along with the current and had to thrust my hands deep in my pockets and bite my tongue when volunteers were requested for the triple jump. That really would be rolling back the years - and peeling back the knee caps.

2:45p.m. 800m. I'd resolved to be in 2nd place at the bell whatever happened and not to give the leader too much rope. Ideally I would win with the minimum of effort or go down fighting. Felt pretty good during the first lap and managed to split about 59, according to plan. Typically in the third 200m of 800m races there's a bit of a lull during which I'd planned to close right up and pressure. As I closed the leader seemed to pull away with good form and I was starting to have to work very hard down the back straight. I kept pushing to line him up for my kick but he kept pulling away. I never got to kick in the end as the lactic started to build up and he was uncatchable - so I took my foot off the gas in second for the last 40m or so to save myself for the 400m.

Turns out I'd met the winner before but I was too gormless to realise - the same guy had won the Watford Open race I was in last week. To my surprise I ran 1:57.7 so was kicking myself for easing up. The difficulty in today's race was that there was absolutely no respite throughout - the 3rd 200m was brutal and then just got quicker.

3:30 p.m. 400m. Drew the inside lane with some very unlikely sorts outside! Ran pretty much evenly but was missing a bit of spark in the legs. Only really one guy for competition and had run down his stagger by the final straight where I accelerated clear to win by a second. Slightly disappointed with my time of 51.8 because I thought I was much quicker this year - but who knows how the 800m affected me.

5:15 pm. 4 * 400m relay. I ran the last leg and it soon became apparent we had no chance of winning. I took the baton in 2nd place and let the third place guy overtake me on the far straight. This was the guy who I'd beaten in the 400m so I stuck with him and kicked clear to get second. Decent effort given the circumstances and I apparently split 51.3 in this leg - although we all know about the vagaries of team mates and hand timing!

It's about 16 years since I last ran a relay and I must admit to really enjoying it. I typically choose to tread my own path in life and that partly explains my sports of choice but it was good to be part of a team - and one that did pretty well. Oh, and as a club we won the meet as well.

I wonder how I'll feel tomorrow.