Report from Howard Jeffrey
Despite pulling up after two minutes of speed-work last Wednesday morning with a weird sharp twinge on the lower inner thigh I managed another busy weekend of racing (I like to race). I applied Volterol for three days and applied the ubiquitous KT tape which has unfathomable magical qualities and felt confident to do the parkrun at Cross Flatts on Saturday. I did this because I have entered the Leeds race series and consistency is one of the keys to potential success and I like to think I am pretty consistent (I came 2nd in the Leeds Grand Prix in 1988!) My racing is geared to Sunday races and I had entered the North Lincolnshire half marathon (based at Scunthorpe) which I was prepared to give a miss to as it is the Leeds half next weekend (an Otley target race and one of the Leeds series) and I want to perform well there. The parkrun was to get a finish time, however slow and to test out the effectiveness of the remedies. I set off gingerly and was able to stoke up to a satisfactory 20.59 without apparent problem so a steady half at Scunthorpe was on the cards.
The conditions were good on Sunday, a perfect temperature with overcast sky and maybe a slightly stronger wind than I would have liked and the course pancake flat apart from two bridges across the motorway. I can recommend the race as it was well organised, with closed roads and ample pacers with finish time flags. I kept a T shirt on under the vest and selected calf guards again today as I have experienced calf cramps in the latter miles of flat halves in the past which I do not recommend. Today my target was between 1.30 and 1.35 depending on the wind and how I felt. I set off at a distance behind the 1.30 pacers and slightly in front of the 1.40 pacers and eased into a comfortable pace once the field had opened up a bit. The 1.40 pacer overtook me but as I have previously observed it is my own judgement in these cases that I prefer. I went past them fairly quickly and clocked the first mile at 7.05. Comfortable and no ill effects. I gradually overtook maybe a hundred or so runners and got into a solid rhythm with a youngster who was happy to alternate the pacing with me. The danger today was actually going too fast as the zip that I had been lacking last week was delightfully present in the legs and I was able to surge at will to close gaps in order to get shelter from the relentless if not particularly severe breeze. 10 mile marker past in 70.55 and plenty of gas in the tank so was able to sustain the effort to the finish on the athletic track in 1.32.48 (chip time) in 178th place out of 1579 finishers. The race was won by Mohammed Ahmed in 1.07.31, first lady Natalie Burns of Lincoln Wellington AC in 29th position in 1.19.54. Thought I spotted fellow Otley AC when speed scanning the results but one was Totley and the other was me! Down in the results as James Jeffrey (James actually being my first name). Hope to see a few at Leeds next weekend, all being well.