Wonders and delights

Let’s start with a perfect English summer’s day. Blue skies, white fluffy clouds, green fields, golden sands, azure seas and driving north listening to the radio, thrilling to the build up to this magnificent day.

Then add in the bubbly brilliance of a best buddy, who it’s so easy to spend time with, who just fits like we’ve known each other forever.

Give us a van, a packet of jaffa cakes, a couple of bikes, some wetsuits, a fair bit of faffing and a mini road trip to a perfect, crystal clear lake surrounded by trees.

Throw in a swim in the sunshine, a few moments getting tangled in the weeds, then add in a good handful of growing confidence and breathing out underwater and not wanting to get out when we were done.

Swirl in a cycle round country lanes on fast smooth roads, not too hilly, but a good bit gusty until the glorious downhill, wind behind our backs return leg.

Faff about with a lengthy transition to pick up supplies and a brief photoshoot on the lawn before rounding out with a token run through grassy fields with the rain spattering our backs as we neared the finish.

Feed with copious amounts of soup, bread, cake and chat. Load up with books and hugs and send home happy.

I had a brilliant Friday tri training with my good friend Lesley in North Berwick. We always do have the best of times together. And it’s so nice to be able to do all that and it not feel like training – just fun.

I was home in plenty of time to watch the Olympic opening ceremony too. You may have noticed I’m a bit of an Olympics nut, so there was no cynicism here, but it went beyond my expectations.

I sort of thought I might have a tear in my eye, but I didn’t expect to find myself laughing out loud, gasping in wonder and marvelling at the mechanics of all the people, props, films, lighting, dancing, music – the whole shebang.

I loved the story telling and the fact that it wove in literature from Shakespeare to Peter Pan, that it reflected the darkness as well as the razzmataz. I loved the mini story reflecting the digital age and tapping into a juke box of great music. I loved the dancing and the cycling doves and the fact that so many ordinary people took part, that it made it a bit chaotic, and all the more joyous for not being precise and regimented.

I was also touched that it was brave enough to mix in quiet and thoughtful moments, to reflect the people who weren’t there to see this. They always play Abide with Me at the start of the Great North Run and it’s a tear-filled moment. Emile Sande took that melody and words to a new level of grace. So simple, so underplayed.

And I liked the way young people were involved all the way through right up until that final climactic moment of surprise and lighting the flame, which was, for me, absolutely perfect.

Are you excited yet?

I am.

I’ve been wearing my Team GB scarf today and counting down the hours until my day off which I plan to fill with tri fun.

And yes, I’m excited about the Olympics too. And yes I know there’s a lot of money stuff and corporate sponsorship by brands I don’t approve of, and transport is likely to be a nightmare for Londoners and G4S didn’t get into gear. But I don’t care.

I remain resolutely hopeful and optimistic that something good will come of the Olympics in London in 2012. In fact, watching the story of the torch relay on TV last night, I know it already has; as brave and wonderful ordinary people enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.

I’m looking forward to a magic Olympic moment. Whether that’s a lump in my throat or a tear in my eye during the spectacular opening ceremony. Or an athlete’s story of unlooked for success that raises a cheer, like Kelly Holmes storming her way to two gold medals.

I have my favourites, my team I’ll cheer on – Beckie, Jess, Mo, Dai, Jonny, Alastair, Helen, Cav, Wiggo, Kerri-Anne, Paula, Lewis, Beth and I’m sure there will be others.

What must they be feeling right now? I can’t claim to have any understanding of the pressure or the expectation, but I do know in my own small way, what it feels like to train and focus on one event and want to be the best you can be in that moment, at that time.

So good luck team. Be strong in heart. No limits. Dream big.

Two runs, a wedding and a night in a tent

After work on Friday I joined parkrunner Tove for a nice 10k in Jesmond Dene. It’s a bit more up and down than my usual routes, so it was hard work, especially when, at my request, we tackled a couple of the long hills. But it was really enjoyable to run with company and on a different route.

I couldn’t have been more pleased at the upturn in the weather though, as it happily turned out sunny and dry for our friends’ wedding on the Saturday. Given that they live and work on their farm and have been digging trenches to stop water running into their butchery, and most of their crops have drowned this summer, it was about time something went well for them. And really you couldn’t find two people more deserving of a bit of sunshine on their special day.

Gary and I were honoured to be invited to the actual ceremony itself which took place in the nearby town registry office. Then we hot footed it back to the farm to prepare for all the rest of the guests arriving.

We all pitched in, fetching, carrying, decorating and arranging a huge feast. It was a great wedding party, very casual, laid back and home made. There was a lamb spit roast and huge loaves of fresh bread, home made beer, strawberry cider, elderflower champagne and acres of salad. The vicar did a blessing in front of their poly tunnel and the dress code was summer chic with wellies! Most importantly of all, our friends enjoyed it and looked very happy.

The party wound down in the early evening, with just a few guests remaining to help clear up. All summer Gary has been angling to camp out up at the farm and has bought all the kit to do it. But the weather’s really not been kind and, as a camping virgin, I only agreed to go along if it promised to be fair.

So Saturday night was my first ever night under canvas. And it was reasonably comfortable although we were woken by the pet lamb who seemed to be calling out come and shelter in our tent!

I’d been a bit concerned about Sunday’s run, knowing I’d be picking it up after a busy day and not sleeping in my own bed ( I love my bed) and that I planned to do 10 miles. So while the wedding party started brewing tea and sizzling bacon butties, I made my way home for porridge and banana and a slightly later than usual start to my run.

In honour of the Northumberland Coastal Run, also taking place this weekend, I devised my own coastal route along the cliff top paths between Tynemouth, and Whitley Bay, towards Seaton Delaval. It was quite a glorious day for a run. A bit of a breeze and a smattering of clouds, but still bright and warm enough to feel like summer at last.

I took my feet off the roads and pavements and struck out on the trails to help keep my pace slow and easy, but I had to keep reminding myself to pick my feet up and go lightly. I deliberately tried to keep it slow, but didn’t really pay much attention to my pace, just figuring it as time on my feet.

I was surrounded by beautiful scenery, blue seas, rockpools and even a sandcastle building competition on the beach. The paths and pavements were busy with walkers and cyclists and there were plenty of cheery smiles as people enjoyed the sense of summer in the air at last. Along some of the narrower coastal paths, walkers even stopped and stepped to one side to allow me to keep up my running rhythm. I thought of my friends out racing and as I made my way home, looked forward to hearing about their adventures.

So all in all, it was a nice run, albeit a slow one. My only slight irritation was forgetting to restart my Garmin after I’d stopped for a drink of water and missing a couple of miles where I tried to pick up the pace. But overall, I’m just happy that I am managing to do more miles, without any sign of my injury problems returning.

Why I love Thursdays

Thursday morning is regularly my earliest alarm call. And I often wake before it goes off.

On Thursdays I’ve been rained on, wave soaked and sand blasted. But more often I’ve felt the soft sunshine, the cool quiet of the start of the day, the fresh tang of sea salt and the gentle ripple of applause from the sea.

I have run, jumped, stepped, pushed, pulled, twisted, reached and dragged myself through workouts with kettlebells, a weighted bag, a tyre and sledgehammer, a sledge, and rubber bands. Run, crawled and variously shuffled along the sand. Made use of steps and walls, iron railings, slopes and flagpoles.

It remains my favourite day of the week.

Today was no exception as I started the day in my usual fashion, saying hello to Ian, catching up on training and wondering what lay ahead for the next hour. It’s always a challenging workout, always fun, always different – even though now I know a lot of the moves. And the time always goes by too quickly.

But there was something different about today as post workout, shower and porridge, I didn’t have to scramble to make myself presentable and get to work. Instead I got to spend the afternoon, chilling out with my friend Beth at Linden Hall, enjoying a swim, massage and afternoon tea as a pre-wedding treat for her. It was lovely, and it felt very much like skiving as we tucked ourselves up in a cosy armchair and read our books for part of the afternoon. What absolute luxury!

I do owe an apology to the nice massage therapist who got the knots out of my shoulders with a nice back massage and then told me to take it easy for the rest of the day. Sorry pet, I don’t reckon you’d think shimmying into a wetsuit and swimming in a lake counts as taking it easy.

But it was such a nice evening, it was too hard to resist the lure of an open water swim session at the QE2 lake near Ashington. Besides, I had afternoon tea to burn off!

I don’t have any more open water races planned this season, so I think it says a lot about how my attitude towards open water swimming has changed, that I actually wanted to go and swim in the lake. Besides, I need as much practice as I can get if I’m going to step up to swimming 1500m open water next year.

The lake was as clear as I’ve seen it, and not too cold from the comfort of my wetsuit. I made sure I took my time getting in and just floating around before I started swimming. Sadly, clear doesn’t necessarily mean clean and there was a distinctive whiff of eau de duck poo in the shallows. Thankfully it disappeared as I struck out into the lake.

I’m still a bit nervous heading away from the shoreline, and I took my time, mixing in a bit of breast stroke and treading water to take a bit of a breather at the buoys.

As usual, I kept away from the long and fast swimming groups, content just to do my own thing and swim around the short route. The aim was not to complete any distance, just to enjoy the experience.

It has got easier to relax every time I have ventured into open water and I managed quite a bit of nice, slow front crawl in the clearer water. I still find small distractions put me off and make me nervous, and that can be anything from spotting a rock on the bottom, to becoming aware of a swimmer nearby.

And there are times when the negative thoughts say things like “How am I ever going to be manage a longer distance for a Standard tri?” But I remind myself that my swim confidence has come on step by step, or stroke by stroke. Not so long ago, I was worried about completing 400m in a pool. Now that feels relatively easy.

I also draw great inspiration from others, including my friend Peter, who couldn’t swim 3 years ago and just completed his first iron distance event. He’s telling his swimming story on his blog.

So, little by little, I take positives from each swim, but know I have a lot to work on. Getting out of the lake on a sunny evening, after a short swim, I found I could actually say I enjoyed that.

Upcoming races

We’re very fortunate that there’s a good tradition of running in the North East of England and an excellent choice of races throughout the summer, from small club championships to mass participation events. And if you wanted to, you could find a local race every weekend and many week nights as well.

There are two popular races in the region this weekend, the Great North 10k in Gateshead and the Northumberland Coastal Run.

I haven’t actually run the Great North 10k, but it’s one of the Great Run events, organised by the same people that put on the Great North, Great South, Manchester and Edinburgh runs and I have friends doing it. I know it takes in some of the Gateshead Quayside, including a steep hill towards the finish.

The Northumberland Coastal Run is also a popular race along the beautiful coastline from Beadnell to Alnmouth. It’s a point to point, and the precise distance depends on the route you take and the state of the tides, but it’s around half marathon distance or more.

I ran this last year and it really is a wonderful, scenic and challenging route along some of the most beautiful and unspoilt coastline in the country. With water stops and local support in the little villages you pass through, it’s a long way from the mass event on the quayside, but one well worth doing. Here’s my blog from last year’s Northumberland Coastal Run.

I won’t be there this year, but will be eagerly waiting to hear reports from friends running it. My next race isn’t until September, although I’m toying with the idea of doing a 10k in August, but really I’m now just trying to get some decent running distance in to prepare for my half marathon on September 16.

All three disciplines – weekly round up

It’s been a good week of training and really the first one with my mind focused on the next big race, the Great North Run on 16 September.

On Monday I enjoyed my weekly kettlebell session, a good weights workout on the beach, with a little devil of a leg finisher at the end. Probably not ideal preparation for a fast, flat 5 mile race the following night, but I still managed to coax a decent performance out of my legs for the Bridges of the Tyne race.

On Wednesday I punched my way through a boxercise class – always a good way to let off steam, sweat out some calories and energise me out of a mid-week slump.

Then Thursday was my usual early morning PT session with Ian on the beach. A no kit workout this week, just using my own body weight for a good mix of core, cardio and resistance work and a good chance to catch up on goals and progress.

With a fair weather forecast on Friday, I decided to brave my first cycle to work. I’d scoped out a couple of routes last summer, but never actually tried them in week day traffic. I opted for my trusty mountain bike as the safe and sturdy option and because I planned to take a bit of an off road route that I thought would be a short cut.

I set off nice and early, allowing myself plenty of time to get to work, and hoping to dodge most of the traffic. My bike felt heavy and I immediately remembered why I enjoy riding my road bike more – the gear changes are so much smoother. But my mountain bike is solid and the riding position gives you a good view of the road.

My off road short cut was over rougher ground than I remembered and with lots of overgrowth and a bit of an upwards incline, it was hard work. I’d planned on the journey taking just over an hour and 30 minutes in, I felt I still had a long way to go.

Luckily, the rest of the journey was mainly on the road and away from too much traffic, so I found that much smoother going. With a few stops and starts for traffic lights and busy road crossings, I made it to work in 1 hour and 7 minutes and felt really awake and ready for the day.

During my lunch break, I took took advantage of the new cycle option on Google maps to see if I could plot a slightly easier route home. With a combination of electronic and paper maps, I worked out a slightly different alternative, but it would only be clear what the terrain was like once I’d ridden it.

The return journey was a bit easier. I told myself it was downhill to the coast and I soon covered a good number of miles on the road section. Traffic wasn’t too bad either, with a long run of cycle lanes. It was only when I got to a large roundabout and tried to find the off road paths that related to my map, that I really slowed down.

I couldn’t find the exact one I’d plotted, but with a bit of exploring and heading in the right general direction, I got onto the gravel paths of a country park and then onto the smooth tarmac of the waggonways. Now it really was down hill all the way and I was zooming along, happy to be almost home and hungry! When I do this again, I need to plan a better mid afternoon snack to fuel my return journey.

Anyway, I made it home in the slightly quicker time of 1 hour 4 mins on a journey of 11 miles and a round trip of just over 22. I wasn’t really cycling hard or fast in either direction, as I was just happy to manage to get some bike miles in and fit them around my regular day.

On Saturday I went to help out at Newcastle parkrun, catch up with some of the usual crew and meet John, from the Brighton parkrun, up here for a stag do and volunteering on the course. Now that’s parkrun dedication for you!

Home for a few chores and the usual pottering about, then off to join the Tyne tri club for a swim at Blyth pool. It’s been ages since I swam with the club and I knew it would be a tough session.

This week, coach Sean advised me to try and keep one of my goggles in the water when I turn my head to breathe in, so that I’m looking at the water, rather than up towards the walls of the pool. As always, it’s one thing at a time with me and my swimming, so any effort at pacing was lost as I tried to get to grips with this advice.

A couple of times, I ended up spluttering with a mouthful of water and broke into a bit of recovery breast stroke. But I like to think I was making progress, and I did get a good long swim in, thanks to lane newcomer Kerry who kept me going. Needless to say, I slept very well on Saturday night after an hour in the pool.

Sunday was long run day. And the weather was perfect – bright, sunny and warm with a bit of a coastal breeze. I’m changing my focus to running now in preparation for the Great North Run. I’ll still keep my other training going, but now my most important sessions will be the weekly long slow runs, gradually increasing in distance so that I can confidently tackle the 13.1 mile route.

With a good week of training behind me, I just decided to relax and go easy today and not worry about pace. So I kept it deliberately slow, with easy breathing as I set out along the coast. I was about 2km along when I realised I hadn’t heard anything from my Garmin and when I looked, I wasn’t getting any pace or distance readings. I stopped and reset the GPS, making sure it picked up the signal this time, then set off again.

I really had a nice run. It was good to be out in the sunshine and greeting the many other runners out doing the same. With no pace or time targets, I was just free and easy and taking my time. I ran out towards the lighthouse and then turned back, mentally allowing for 12km and adding the 2km I’d run earlier but not recorded.

As I came up off the promenade and past Spanish City, I felt good and strong, relishing the easy miles at the start and began to stretch out a little, mentally in ‘cruise mode’ and relishing the fitness that allows me to just do this.

At this point I saw Diane, a Tyne Bridge Harrier I know from parkrun, coming towards me alongside another runner. You could see on her face she was feeling the same as me, just out, running and enjoying the sunshine. It was great to see her and I lifted up my sunglasses, gave her a shout and we high fived as we passed.

The nice easy running feeling stayed with me as I clocked up 12km, so I decided to continue and finish the 14 I had on my plan in one run, effectively treating the 2 I’d run but not recorded on my Garmin as a warm up. I kept my focus on just turning my legs over nice and easy, picking my feet up and shortening my stride, never really getting to a speed that stressed my breathing in any way.

The extra couple of kilometres did turn out to be a little tough and I started to feel my hips knees and ankles beginning to strain. But a bit of focus on technique and relaxing my thoughts and I managed it, grateful for the early pace that felt a little too easy, now giving me the endurance to keep going. With my mileage and a bit more done, I stopped and enjoyed a cool down walk and stretch and felt good about my first long run completed.

Exciting news

I’m going to train for a Level 2 Fitness Qualification.

The new advertising campaign at work is based on ‘discovering your  business potential’. And there was an internal competition to pitch for a share of a prize fund to help develop a business idea or fund something related to a business you’re involved in outside work.

I had just one minute to record a video pitch saying what I wanted to do and why. So I put together a speedy 60 seconds with an Olympic theme, asking for the chance to start me off in a fitness career. And I won!

There were some other really worthy winners too,  so I am really chuffed to have been chosen. I have wanted to do something like this for a while, and the competition gave me the perfect opportunity.

So what does it mean? Well it should give me the skills and understanding to be able to teach basic fitness training to other people and to plan and safely supervise training sessions.

There are a number of different options, but the one I’m looking at doing is the gym instructor programme, as I think this will give me opportunities to extend into personal training, which is ultimately, what I’d like to aim for.

I’ve had a look around and got some advice and recommendations from people I know who have done these courses before. There’s one that offers a distance learning option, which would be good for me to fit around work.

Because, I’m not giving up on my full time job and I haven’t lost my love of words and writing. It’s just a great chance to test what I’ve learned so far on my own fitness journey, learn a whole lot more and give me another angle to explore in future.

I’ll probably take up the course later on in the year, after the Great North Run, when I can focus a little less on my own training, but I’m really excited about doing it.

I owe a lot of thank yous to the people who have supported and helped me with my own training, who have given me the confidence to go for this. I get a lot of advice from the forums on Fetch Everyone – from asking questions or just reading what others have asked. Sure, there are always differences of opinion, but there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience on there.

I read a lot too, sports biographies, news articles, blogs – anything related to my interests;  and there’s always something to learn or a new thing to think about.

In the same way that people offered me advice and encouragement about running or training or races, when I was just getting started, this year, I’ve noticed I’ve started to pass that on.

Danni, who I got to know on Twitter is a really keen and enthusiatic runner who has definitely got the bug and I see her improving all the time. But she must have wondered who this strange woman was chipping in on her running tweets with an opinion. Luckily, she’s local and we have actually met in real life and even run together a couple of times. And she’s just as nice as she is on Twitter.

It’s still a bit of a strange feeling that people look at me as a runner, and I get a real thrill of pride when someone asks me about a race or about their training. I feel like I’m getting  a lot of credit just for passing on what I’ve learned from others. But it’s a nice feeling and I’d really like to be able to back up what I’ve learned with the theory behind it. Hence the training course.

I’d also like to say thank you to anyone who has commented on my blogs, here or on Fetch Everyone. Just knowing there are people interested, encouraging, or offering advice has given me a real confidence boost. It’s like having my own mini cheering squad to get motivated to train or keep on trying to get over something like my nervousness about swimming in a competitive environment.

And then there’s Ian, who I can never thank enough for getting me started, for sticking with me and for being the inspiration for all my training and now taking my first steps to becoming a trainer myself. When you learn from the best, you have a lot to live up to, and I only hope that some of his patience, knowledge and understanding has rubbed off on me over the past four and a bit years.

And of course, not forgetting Gary, who I’m sure would like to see a bit more of me than all me training allows. But who puts up with it with a good grace, supports me at my big races and knows how much it means to me.

Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile road race

It’s always fun to try out a new race, and this was a brand new addition to the North East’s racing calendar. New and fast growing club Tyne Bridge Harriers did a fantastic job of their inaugural race, getting all the ingredients right for an event that I hope will become a regular on the calendar.

I made my way down to Newcastle’s quayside straight after work, under grey skies and a persistent drizzle. Meeting up at the race HQ at the Tyne pub, I saw lots of familiar faces from parkrun and local running clubs, and it looked like it was set to be a very speedy crowd.

Runners hanging around before the start of the race
Catching up on running gossip ahead for the race (Photo: Mick Durnion)

I caught up with some friends and was able to wish good luck to Karen and her mum Isobel, running her first race in preparation for the Great North Run in September. And I caught up with a couple of girls I’d met at the start of the Blaydon Race. Running really is a very friendly sport.

I picked up my race pack, complete with number, and a very nice technical T-shirt and took advantage of the plentiful safety pins to get myself ready for a quick warm up, before a good walk back down to the Quayside to find the start line.

I hadn’t actually worked out where the start would be, and it was a good bit further along than I thought, but the walk, even in the drizzle was a nice warm up and the rain sodden skies weren’t dampening anyone’s spirits. Goodness knows what those drinking in the Pitcher and Piano thought of a stream of lycra clad runners passing by though.

No sooner were we all together than we were off and racing along the flat pavements of the quayside towards the Tyne Bridge, complete with Olympic rings.

With potential hazards of street furniture taped up or protected by marshals, I wasn’t aware of anyone having trouble negotiating the course, which is a fast out and back along beside the river. A few cheery spectators gave us a shout or a wave as we passed and the fishermen further up river looked on with amusement.

The route basically follows the smooth riverside paths, with runners passing beneath the Tyne’s bridges up towards the business park. Here there is a small incline to round the waymarker for the sea to sea cycle route and then it’s back along the same paths, giving slower runners like me a good chance to cheer on speedier pals.

Tyne Bridge with the Olympic rings
Costa del Quayside (Photo: Mick Durnion)

After my injury in the first part of the year, and my recent tri focus, I don’t feel like I’ve raced properly on a run other than at Blaydon this year. My thinking going into it, was just to give it a blast and see how my pace is coming along. So I went out fast, with a tactic of go hard and see how long I could keep going.

After talking to Ian on Monday night at our kettlebell session, I also tried to focus on shortening my stride and turning my legs over quickly, trying to run more on the mid/forefoot, rather than stretching my legs out and braking with a heel strike.

It felt good to be running quickly and just pushing it at the edge of where my breathing felt comfortable and where it began to get a bit too stressed out. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘running easy’ as I recovered and I still enjoy just easing into a longer run, but I need to remind myself of how it feels to run when it hurts a bit. My PBs didn’t come running easy.

With the wide pavements and space on the Quayside, I found I had plenty of space to run and very much ran my own race. I deliberately kept clear of the Garmin, just giving it the odd glance, but really running to feel and trying to keep pushing at the edge of what was comfortable

I’m sure I went through patches where I eased off to catch my breathing and I know I started to drift off my fast starting pace after two miles. But I was pleased I still had the mental race focus to keep pushing, find a rhythm and stay in the race.

I was chasing a group of three Tyne Bridge Harriers girls at the turn. They came past me on the grass, then I caught them, before one put on a spurt of speed and broke away. I ran alongside one of them for a while until she too dropped back.

But I can’t remember many passing me in the last two miles and as I started to really feel the strain, particularly with just over a mile to go, I kept trying to focus just ahead and inch in the distance to the next runner.

Me and a couple of all4Ali runners
Cathcing up with the All4Ali runners post race (Photo: Mick Durnion)

The next runner in this case was a girl in a blue t-shirt with a justgiving link written across the back of it. She had a few walking breaks and each time I tried to reel her in. But she must have been a tasty runner as, no sooner had I eaten away at the gap between us, than she lengthened it out again as soon as she started running. So I never did get close enough to read the whole of the link.

With the finish approaching and a few shouts of encouragement, I kicked it up a notch for a sprint over the line and was pleased to stop my watch with 44:xx on the clock. That’s an average of 9 min miles, and considering I’ve been running at more like 10 min miles recently, I’m very happy with that.

As I cheered in some of the remaining runners, I also caught up with the team in the blue fundraising T-shirts and was delighted to find they were from a group of local running and triathlon clubs All4Ali raising money for North of England Children’s Cancer research. I knew of their fundraising efforts from my Twitter pal Adi, who I ‘met’ at the Northumberland triathlon, so it was nice to hear how they were getting on and say hello. The north east running and triathlon world is a very friendly and supportive one.

Stats and stuff:

5 miles 44:27
1)  – 1m – 8:29(8:29/m) – 103cal
2)  – 1m – 8:48(8:48/m) – 104cal
3)  – 1m – 9:00(9:00/m) – 104cal
4)  – 1m – 9:07(9:07/m) – 105cal
5)  – 1m – 9:03(9:03/m) – 104cal

Race results


Tyne Bridge Harriers Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile race

Just a quick update tonight on a great new race organised by Tyne Bridge Harriers. A really fast, flat 5 mile route along the quayside, with plenty of quality club runners.

I was very happy to run 44:29 and really feel like I kept my race focus throughout.

Great atmosphere pre and post race at the Tyne, and a very smart race T-shirt.

Full report from me tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are the results.

Race calendar

I’ve added a race calendar to my blog, so you can see what races I have coming up and also find links to some of my old race reports.

I mainly race in the North East of England where there are plenty of great events to enjoy, including a good number of triathlons.

I find out about local races from the excellent northeastraces.com, fetcheveryone.com and through word of mouth.

Triathlons and other multisport events are covered by VO2MaxRacing events and Tri Hard

I’ve not included every parkrun I’ve done, as it would be a very long list. But I have linked to the odd one or two, particularly when I’ve run in a different location. Parkrun is a free weekly, timed 5k run and they take place all over the UK and now all over the world too.  My home parkrun is Newcastle on the Town Moor.