Archive for Andy Ratcliffe’s runs

Day 349 – Gold it is…and I had an okay day too

A Gold for Mo Farah. Well done Mo. I was all for an early run today until I realised the 5000m was on at 11:30 ish. I had to wait.

For a short while I though Mo was out of sorts, he seemed to spend the first couple of laps at the very back of the group. Something that didn’t look right. All was well by the last couple though as he took the front and held it right to the line.

In true football fan style, when they suddenly believe they’re Beckham, off I went for a run.

For the first mile or two I just couldn’t decide what to aim for. I had 17 miles in mind and I had 7 min/mile as a target too. The two don’t necessarily go together in my world though. I resolved to try and run a sub seven pace for as long as I could hold it and managed 7 miles, including the now traditional first mile with a short steep climb.

At 7 miles I found myself at the petrol station of a certain big supermarket chain in Macclesfield and spent a few minutes buying a drink to help me further on the way. It appears the idea of customer service, or even of a smile is lost on this particular pocket of the empire. Lovely. I can recommend it in the event you find yourself having too good a day. Just pop in and I’m sure they’ll do all they can to make you feel rubbish by the time you leave 😉

Anyway, a couple of minutes finishing off another bottle and stretching and off I went for the return journey.

The first mile of the return was quite an uphill stretch and this is where I dropped my prior consecutive sub 7 mile record with a 7:02. I worked out that a sevens, a half marathon comes in around 1h31 so it seemed a good target to go for. I also reckoned I’d gained a few seconds on each mile, bar the last one, and could be closer to 1h30 if I got a move on.

13.1 miles ticked over at… would you believe it… 1h30m00s on the button.

I decided to stop and walk the last mile home. I wimped out, yes, but given the twelfth mile was a 6m39s and the thirteenth mile was an amazing 6m19s I figured I’d do myself no favours by trying to carry on. I’m happy with that.

More tomorrow…

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Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 13.10
Target: 1047
Miles to date: 1554.70
“No one competes with the reckless abandon they should. What is a race? A race is a complete all out effort. With a few exceptions, runners run hard, (or think they are running hard) but the races are too controlled. When was the last time you saw an American distance runner finish a race and then collapse on the ground? Ten, fifteen years? I’d personally rather watch someone who runs his guts out, throws his breakfast up and passes out at the end of the race.”
John Schiefer

Day 348 – This was supposed to be a long run day, but life took over

…So I ran late, in the dark, tired and just the minimum three. Long run deferred to Sunday…

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Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.07
Target: 1044
Miles to date: 1541.60
“Americans have not had the same successes because of the fact that most grow up in the lap of luxury. They don’t tolerate the type of pain that distance running demands. You can pass your Physical Education classes in school by walking a mile maybe twice a year. It seems that the few Americans who do make it on the international level have a tremendous drive and tolerance for discomfort. I think the main reason Africans succeed in distance running is many have to and we don’t.”
Ryan Wilson

Day 347 – I feel rough today

Quite a few liquid items of the alcoholic variety were consumed over a long evening last night. I feel thoroughly as I deserve to as a consequence. Somehow the body thinks the best way to punish me is a day of feeling like I should throw the towel in and 3 miles of genuine pain in my legs. Horrible. When does it end?

Prior to the run, on the train back I decided to do a little investigation into the qualification times for various world marathons. For those of you who don’t have the foggiest what I’m talking about, there are targets set for age brackets for most marathons which, if you’re able to achieve them or better them, can gain you a guaranteed place in the event without chancing your arm in a ballot or whatever other loony mechanism is used to choose who should be allowed to compete. These are referred to as ‘Good For Age’ times. I’m trying to hit one!

GFA times for me, a 33 year old bloke now (and 35 by 2013 when I could actually be taking part in any of the events – as the 2012 registration windows have mostly passed) are as follows:
London 3h10m (marathon)
New York City 2h55m (marathon) / 1h25m (half marathon)
Boston 3h10m (marathon)
Paris 3h00m (marathon)
Berlin 3h15m? (marathon)

I’d better get running!

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Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1041
Miles to date: 1538.53
“Roger Bannister studied the four-minute mile the way Jonas Salk studied polio—with a view to eradicating.”
Jim Murray, LA Times

Day 346 – It’s cold. It hurts. It’s too early. My first set of hill reps this year. Ouch.

I’m off over to Sheffield today. I figured getting the run out of the way first thing would be wise (and saves me lugging the running gear across the country) so I did. It was very cold at 7am, let me assure you!

I decided to head up the hill to warm up (literally) and did a half mile before turning round with the mad idea of doing hill reps on what is actually quite a short steep ascent.

Four more rounds of the climb…and my three miles (and most of my leg muscles!) were done.

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Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1038
Miles to date: 1535.53
I failed my way to success.
Thomas Edison

Day 345 – TWENTY TO GO!

Twenty days to go. Another month comes to a close. It’s all seeming a bit final. A bit like and end in sight. I feel excited and I fell disappointed. I’m confused about what I should do. Day 1 seems, no, WAS soooo long ago now and soooo difficult. Here we are, almost an entire year of my life (and yours) has passed us all by. As have over 1500 miles. A lot of laughs, a lot of successes, some really tough times and some serious pain later and it’s all about to finish. :-(

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Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.33
Target: 1035
Miles to date: 1532.53
“rapid motion through space elates one”
James Joyce

Day 344 – Never leave your mobile in the office when your mate is running late!

Have you ever experienced an email that stops you in your tracks? I have. And one today did just that. More on that story in a few day’s time.

A chaotic three miles this evening. I left my phone in the office and Damian was late. David and I found him running on his own half a mile down the road as we came up to 2.5 miles.

A couple of beers and suddenly we’re all doing the Alice Holt 10k a week on Saturday!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.17
Target: 1032
Miles to date: 1529.20
“The start of a World Cross Country event is like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It’s a thrill if you keep up, but one slip and you’re nothing but hoof prints.”
Ed Eyestone

Day 343 – This feels like a post marathon run and hurts just as much!

Last night’s 20 miles left me feeling weak at the knees (quite literally) and aching all over. I woke up this morning feeling like I’d run a marathon yesterday and had a heavy night on the sauce too. I felt shocking! So much so, the run got left as late as is practicable today due to some relatively long distance travel required this evening.

Summing up my week offI stumbled the first few paces as I tried to coax the body and more specifically the legs to make like a runner. It worked, eventually, but it hurt. I really do feel like this is a post marathon day. The first 13 miles were brisk yesterday, but this is silly!

Anyway, enough of the running lark. Those of you who follow the blog religiously will have noticed I’ve been skiving off work (annual leave really) for the last 10 days. The picture below appeared as I walked into the kitchen today as a perfect summary of the week just gone; tile adhesive coated jeans and a multitude of running shoes. I’ve done little else!

Back to the factory tomorrow and then a quick trip to Sheffield for the latter part of the week. Back to that big hill run again I guess!

More tomorrow, maybe a Tuesday run for once! 😉

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Silver/Yellow Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1029
Miles to date: 1526.03
“Coming off the last turn, my thoughts changed from ‘One more try, one more try, one more try…’ to ‘I can win! I can win! I can win!'”
Billy Mills

Day 342 – Long run for me, a shorter one for Mo…

Well done to Mo Farah on his performance in the 10,000m at Deagu, South Korea. I really thought you had it there, but those pesky Ethiopians really can run 😉 Silver is a superb achievement, especially for a Brit!

Anyway, here’s what Mo had to say after the race:
“I saw with 100m to go he was there but my legs just couldn’t give me any more,” said Farah. “I thought I had the speed to win the race. I ran a 53-second final lap and I gave it 110% but it just wasn’t enough.”

When asked if he had sprinted for home too early, Farah added: “I don’t think so. Not really. The better man won on the day – great credit to him. I always wanted to go with 500metres, 400metres to go. That’s my best tactic.” (Source:

On the other end of the running spectrum, and of course spurred on by my fellow countryman’s exceptional effort on the other side of the world, I went out for a run myself. Now, I’m conscious I’ve effectively taken three or four weeks off and frankly was scared of what might happen if I ran long again without any build up. Chatting to Nick S from the club the other day, he was boosting my confidence by suggesting that the stamina and the strength is there and won’t just disappear in such a short time. I was hoping he was right.

I decided to ignore the marathon schedule this weekend and head out for a 20 miler, just to see if I could still hack the big miles. It’s been weeks since I ran anything like this long and it was always going to hurt.

I went off for the first few miles at a comfortable pace and felt ok. By 6 it was really starting to hurt. Everything below the waist was aching, not a good start and barely over the quarter distance mark.

A brief but torrential shower on the way towards Macclesfield did nothing to lighten my spirits. At least the lack of anything but a single layer meant I dried out pretty quickly. Turn around, head back to the start and I should hit about 13 miles, just another seven.

At 12 miles a realised I was on for a good time. In fact I was on for breaking my Wilmslow Half time. That’s my PB for 13.1 miles at 1h36m30s. It’d take a little bit of a push to do it, but I gave it a go and crossed the 13.1 mile point at 1h33m54s.

Now obviously my annual venture north for the Great North Run is fast approaching and I am keen to see what I could do over a half marathon distance by then. I think it’s about time to start taking bets on my time. Anyone care to throw their predictions into the mix? I’ll find a plugin for the blog and we’ll get your guesses set in digital stone prior to the event…

Having set a good time for the first 13, the latter 7 hurt way more than was ever needed. As I finished and stopped running my legs gave way a little and I nearly fell over. Walking suddenly felt wholly unnatural!

I ache a lot now. Not sure I really want to say it, but more tomorrow is inevitable!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Silver/Yellow Kayano 17s
Miles today: 20.00
Target: 1026
Miles to date: 1523.03
“You only get to negatively affect your DNA.”
Manciata’s explanation for why some people can’t run a marathon.

Day 341 – Short run

Today’s run was about hitting the mileage minimum and no more. Tomorrow is a big run (I hope).

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Today’s shoes: Blue/White Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1023
Miles to date: 1503.03
“…just like Charlie don’t surf…trout don’t run…they swim. Runners have slimey protective coatings too, after a few hard laps… but that’s where it ends, baby…If trout ran…they would understand that pain is just a state of mind…they would not need a bunch of tree huggers to sympathize with their plight…”
The Rage on Wimpy Trout

Day 340 – 340 Days, 1500 Miles!

Seven today, in between the rain showers. Maybe a Parkrun tomorrow at Bramhall. Long run on Sunday.

25 more.

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Blue/White Kayano 17s
Miles today: 7.00
Target: 1020
Miles to date: 1500.03
“If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.”