This blog is basically back to one about running, a sport that has (it’s fair to say) taken over much of my life since I took it up at the age of 44, can that really be nearly 13 years ago? But for once the subject today will be almost (note the ‘almost’) as much about Dorina as it will be about me.
I’ll start by going back to the 6 week lay-off I took from running after the self-inflicted flaring up of my Karakoram ankle injury after I decided to run the Snowdon marathon in the back end of October. It was a race that I thoroughly enjoyed despite only ‘jogging’ it but paid the price of a swollen reaction in the days afterwards. For once I took the more sensible decision to lay-off & think about the longer term. Of course such sense could not last a lifetime & by mid-December it felt like it was time to start running tentatively again.
I needed a focus so within a week entered the odd race for 2023, namely CyB Winter Trail Half Marathon (Jan), Nick Beer 10K (Feb), Coniston 14 (Miles) (Mar), & Copenhagen Marathon (May). ‘So what about Dorina?’ I hear you ask, well by the miracles of my friendly persuasion a couple of weeks later she’d also entered all four races too, must be something about being the same age as I was when I started running all those years ago (hope that counts as not mentioning a girls age, forgive me please Angel). In truth this was a very un-expected surprise as Dorina has only raced twice over 5K the last of which was in 2015ish.
‘Right then we need a training plan, first up the start & finish sections of the CyB Half (inc. The Sting) from home WITHOUT STOPPING, that’ll give you a race like experience for the Winter Trail Half & clock up about 10 miles to boot’, her personal trainer exclaimed. For once she did what I asked, well done Dorina! Sadly this progress was undone by snowy & dangerous conditions leading into race day itself resulting in the race being cancelled. Never mind, our thoughts were with Matt Ward (such a tough decision for him to bear) as we went for a Friday run around the Goldrush from home (another 10 miles or so) at a safer trot a day before the race should have taken place. We’d made the best of a bad lot.
‘Right then, we need a training plan for the three road races’ her personal trainer declared, again she listened & resigned herself to her fate with a worried half-smile. The ‘scientific’ training plan was basically an increasing variation of a one trick pony – ‘What we’ll do is run down the wonderful Mawdach Trail for 30 minutes at our respective paces then turn around & try & maintain the same pace so that we get back to the car at the same time as each other. Then next week we’ll do the same for 35 minutes & then increase it by 5 minutes each week from there.’ Now I knew from experience that this was going to be harder than it sounds & that the Mawdach does not always feel wonderful when you are on the return leg knowing just how far you still have to go. That said it’s served me ‘well’ over the years as prep for road races so that is just how it’s going to be.
To her credit Dorina is sticking to the task with actual relish & joy (better than me if I’m honest) & last week saw us reach 50 minutes out & 50 minutes back with me reaching the car 2 seconds ahead of her & our friend Ali who had joined Dorina. I covered a little over a Half Marathon whilst Dorina & Ali notched up 10 Miles, impressive progress for us both. Admittedly I’m training at a pace that is 3 to 4% down on this time last year but considering the ankle issue have to take that as more than good enough. As for Dorina it’s paying off big time, she completed the Nick Beer a couple of weekends ago in under 56 minutes (my estimate of sub 60 minutes will be good for her), very impressive!
Turning back to me, I took receipt of a brand new whatbike last Wednesday in a vain attempt to stop the aging process having read Richard Asquith excellent new book ‘The Race Against Time’. If anyone is in any doubt that aging is inevitable the book spells out that it is inevitable but that some remarkable runners do it in real style & at a simply unbelievable running pace. Many of them adapting their training to suit there age, basically more speed/short bursts less junk high mileage. This ‘called me out’ for what I am, the whatbike will hopefully be my way of correcting the balance at least a little I hope.
Coniston 14 awaits us so watch this space, in the meantime I’ll conclude with a simple ‘well done Angel.’