Thursday, 31 December 2009

No new year resolutions but one eye on the big picture!

2010 is only hours away and essentially the start of new challenges or resolution for most people...however I never set myself new years resolutions, most people never keep them anyway but I figured why wait months or even a year before you deciding you are going to do something!

This year for me will see some quite big changes, going from racing 5000m as your primary event to moving up to the marathon is never going to be easy but with the opportunities that lay in wait (namely qualification for the European Championships, which will be at the Virgin London Marathon on April 25th) the carrot was there dangling. Furthermore a new event can take a few seasons to master properly so with the Olympics only 939 days away (I checked the official website) it was time to make the necessary changes in order to be successful in the future.

I have already started making some changes in training over the past few months with one eye on the spring, with this has come some sacrifices in the short term though. Most recently being the European XC Trials where I missed out on making the team, whilst training had been going ok, some areas of training certainly took a bit back seat which likely contributed to not quite having all the ammo on the day of the trials in order to make the team.

All that said this last 12 months has been a very successful period, amongst other things I made the GB team for World XC in Jordon, won my first National Medal at an Outdoor Track champs over 5000m and ran 64mins for a half Marathon when finishing 12th at Great North Run. With 2010 about to kick off its time to work towards the next chapter.

Thanks to Cannon Asset Mgmt for their sponsorship, without them the past two seasons would have been much more difficult, espicially with Thomas now on the scene. Thanks also to CMC for helping keep me in one piece.

Have a good new year everyone.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Last minute shopping

Last fridays lab test went pretty well, I'm yet to get the official results but on the days things seemed to indicate that the training is moving in the right direction for the marathon. I probably won't get the results until the new year now but will be interesting to see how it compares to the tests I did when I was racing the 800m & 1500m. Plan will likely be to get in the lab again in during the early part of the new year to keep a close eye on my progress but I will also have afew races lined up which will give me a good idea of my fitness, first race being the Edinburgh Intl XC on the 9th Jan, I think this one will be televised.



Anyway most importantly it's xmas eve and I've not finished my xmas shopping yet! to make matters more tricky Thomas has come home sick from nursary this morning when I had planned to get to the shops. The little man is currently asleep while I write this though, he fell asleep eating his lunch...its was kind of like sleep eating at one stage as he was eating with his eyes closed. He literally finished the mouthful and fell into a deep sleep - both funny and cute. All being well though I will get to the shops later this afternoon when Teresa gets back from work. Nothing like a bit of last minute shopping to get into the festive spirt.



Have a great xmas everyone and see some of you on Boxing day for the local full course race!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Miles and more miles

I'm writing this entry from Lougborough, I flew to the East Midlands this afternoon as I will be carrying out a fitness test at the university lab tomorrow morning. It will also be a chance to catch up with my coach who is based here.

As mentioned in my last post I though some pople might like to see what I'm up to in training at the minute. Oh before I do, last weekends local race went as well as expected, I won the race by about 70secs, although I was effectively running this a controlled tempo effort rather than an all out effort. My legs still felt some the hills though, with fairly high mileage in the legs and the course being somewhat up and down throughout. Nice to do a local event again, its been a while. ALso don't know if any of locals saw the Guernsey Press last Friday but they used an old photo of me from 1993 to preview the race, I was fashioning an impressive mullet and my mum called me to say she didn't think it was me! scarily its was though!

In terms of training I'm in the process of increasing my weekly mileage to new levels (for me) at minute so in terms of quality/interval session I'm not doing that much at the minute, although this will change in the new year.

basic jist of what last week looked like....

Monday
am: 7miles easy pace
pm: 6miles steady pace

Tuesday
am:6.5 miles easy
pm: Track session of 10 x 1k (total 11miles with warm ups & cool down)

Wednesday
am: 13miles
pm: Weights & Core workout

Thursday
am: 6niles easy
pm: 9miles with last4-5miles a bit quicker

Friday
am: 6.5miles easy
am: 6miles easy

Saturday
am: 30mins easy jog (4miles)
pm: Guernsey 6miles xC Race (10miles total w/ wu & cd)

Sunday
am: 19miles (2hours)

There are a few other little bits that are incorporated into my weekly routine, such as using the foam roller, running drills, stretching & mobility exercises and the occasional cold bath after hard sessions (these are never fun! but help recovery) I also usually do some additional conditioning exercises on monday evening, just not this week.

Over a 100miles for me this week, with the aim of building this up a little more of the next month or so (at least I will be able to tuck into a few helping of xmas pudding whichout a second a thought!) I think I was quoted in the local paper as saying that I may eventually get up 140 per week, although I think this is very unlikely before my first marathon, I won't rule it out in the future though. I'm having an easier week this week with mileage likely to total in the region of 70 or so.

Any how that's all for now, I will stick some details of how tomorrows physiology test goes when I get back into Guernsey next week.

Cheers for now.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Racing & Sports Personality...

Hi folks

It's Saturday morning and I'm writing this between my morning run and a local cross country race that I'm running in at lunchtime. Now normally I would have plenty of time but I've got Thomas to watch in a minute and he's so active now that you need to be watching him all the time, only yesterday he learnt how to climb up onto the sofa, climb onto the arm and then dive off head first without any thought for the hard floor below (Tom Daley eat your heart out!), lucky I managed to intervene before impact occured! but he now loves doing it... oh dear!


Speaking of Tom Daley, this weekend is the BBC Sports Personality of the year award, I love this program, it just promotes everything that is special about sport. Throw in some carefully choosen music and it motivates me to want to do whatever sport it is I'm watching. Go the BBC website to watch the promo vid's of each athlete. I'm a bit torn now though as to who I want to win, I would love to see Phillips Idowu win, as he is a true personality and surely what the programs all about, the other athlete who has shown real class though this year is Mark Cavendish. I don't often watch the end of Tour de France but i did this year and his victory on the Champs Elysees was impressive, add 10 tour stage wins to boot and it makes good reading. Guernsey also has there very own representive in the junior category in the form of Heather Watson, I will be watching with interest.

Anyway time is running out with Thomas chasing round my ankles and I need to get my gear sorted for the local race. This will be first race on local soil for a while, my memory can be pretty bad but i think this might be my first race this year in Guernsey! usually I am able to do a few races through the year but with training camps, GB selections and races away I haven't had the chance. I'm looking forward to it, hopefully my legs will too as I've run a fairly big week of mileage this week, my highest to date infact (I will post it all up next week for those that are interested). Anyway time to sort my kit out and then watch Mickey Mouse Club House on Disney!

All for now.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Close but not quite enough

I raced in Liverpool at the weekend in what was the 2nd cross country of UK Challenge series and also the British Trials for European Cross Country Champs (which take place in Dublin in 2 weeks). Unfortunately I look set to miss out on making the team this time around after finishing 9th overall. Whilst 6 guys will be selected for the team and I was essentially the 6th British finisher (excluding Ricky Stevenson who is likely to run in the U23 race and the other 2 athletes were foreign athletes) Mo Farah who didn't run the trial race will be pre-selected. The team is yet to be confirmed but the result probably means I have missed out by one finishing place, the different being 9seconds.

One plus side however was that I contributed to my UK Club Newham & Essex Beagles winning the race off amongst the other British Clubs for the European Club Cross Country Champs which take place in February.

Euro XC Trials Top 10 Result...
1. Mike Skinner 28.36
2. Moumin Geele (somalia) 28.37
3. Ben Whitby 28.40
4. Ricky Stevenson (U23) 28.41
5. Andy Vernon 28.42
6. Tsegi Tewelde (Eritria) 28.45
7. Phil Wicks 28.46
8. Scott Overall 28.54
9. Lee Merrien 29.05
10. Teweldeberhan Mengisteab (Eritria) 29.09

I 'm really disappointed to have missed out on the GB Team though. After last years event when I ran so well and made my first GB team it's all still fresh in my memory as one of my best moments in the sport, so missing out this time around feels a bit harder to take. I don't want to make excuses (although I guess it may still sound like one) but the last couple of weeks I've been struggling to shake off a cold, I took last weekend off training and missed a key session and a couple of runs in an effort to recovery properly. Generally I felt pretty good on the day of the race itself so it perhaps wasn't even a factor but I can't help thinking the last couple of weeks didn't go as well as I would have liked and that extra half a percent in performance may have made all the difference, but not to be.

Onwards and upwards as they say though and in the whole scheme of things one eye has always been on next April (London Marathon). In recent weeks I have been doing slightly more mileage than this time last year with a view to making a smoother transition when the marathon program kicks off properly in the new year. I'm looking at couple of races in the meantime, which I will post up on here once confirmed.

Until next time.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Mud season under way!

This weekend I was up in Newcastle for the Gateshead Intl XC which was also the first UK Cross Challenge race of the season. Travel was a bit a drag with two flights involved, my outward journey was also on a rather windy Friday 13th, I think I just made it out of Guernsey in time though as waiting in Southampton I noticed that a flight to Guernsey was cancelled due to strong winds. There was a plus side to the windy conditions though as the journey up to Newcastle only 50mins as opposed to 1hr 10. In was nice being in Newcastle again, another chance to catch up with my mums side of the family.


The race itself went ok all things considered, i finished 5th overall, which was 4th Brit due to 2nd place being an Eritrean athlete. I must admit I would have like a higher finish but on a tricky and very muddy course it was solid enough run to leave me feeling confident going into the european trials in two weeks time in Liverpool.





Note checkout the photo, white not the best colour to wear on a muddy course!

After a heavy block of training before this race week I was aware that I might have tired legs going into the race plus I've also had a bit of head cold this week too, which seems worse now after the race. Note sure it effected me much during the race but either way I will be more recovered and in a better state of health in two weeks time I'm sure. Also just heard that there will be a few Guernsey athletes going over too so should have some extra support this time too which is always good.

Monday, 26 October 2009

10th at Great South Run


Yesterday I raced over 10miles in the Great South Run in Portsmouth, finishing 10th overall in a time of 49.23. The time was not as fast as I had hoped for but conditions were not ideal as it was quite blustery in places and the Portsmouth course is quite exposed at the start and finish area.




I competed in this event last year running 48mins 49secs, so after my half marathon at the Great North Run a few weeks ago (where i went through 10miles in 48.50 feeling good) I was looking for more. On reflection with conditions as they were I can't be too disappointed though plus with training volumes having increased since then so tends to take the edge off your performance.

In terms of how the race race unfolded I went through the first mile in just over 4.30 with the lead pack of 10 runners, however before we got to two miles I became slightly detached and i ran the remainder of the race on my own. So it was more of a 10mile time trial for me i guess! there was a chasing group group behind me that I could have started out with but I think I made the right decision as I feel I would have learnt little from running more conservatively and would probably have still finished in the same position.

All said and done the race will bring my fitness on some more with cross country next up on the schedule... the plan is race in the Gateshead XC in three weeks with the European XC trials two after. As for now we are staying a few more days with the inlaws in Poole before heading heading home, which will involve a few weeks sleeping in the altitude tent.
Until next time.

Monday, 19 October 2009

National Relay Gold

Over the weekend I was up in Birmingham for the National Road 6 Stage Road Relays, running for Newham & Essex Beagles (my UK club) we took Team gold with a winning margin of over 90seconds also finishing in a new course record around Sutton Park.

As mention in my previous post it was my first time running the National 6 Stage, I've run the Southern 6 Stage for Guernsey a number of years back but this was my first National. I always used to hear or read about the relays and the general banter amongst the athletes and rival clubs so it nice being part of it this time around.

You can never read too much into individual performances at this time of year but I was fairly satisfied with my run (I ran the 8th fastest leg of the day in 17.10) particularly as I had no one to chase. I was on the third stage expecting when our 2nd leg runner (Chris McKay) came in that I would have a few to chase down, however he came in first so I had a solo run ahead of me. It wasn't all straight forward at the change over either! as just before I was about to start my leg there was a bit of problem with my number!... it turned out that earlier when we arrived (Newham) had been given a few wrong numbers within the team numbers. Without paying too much attention I just pinned on my front and back numbers only to be made aware on the start line literally 60secs before I was due to go that my back and front number didn't match! Fortunately Dave Mitch (our first leg runner) was passing at the time so between the two of us we used part of his number pinning it over the top of mine to make the numbers match, we literally had the last pin in as Chris came in to the change over area and I was off on the course!

Fortunately it didnt seem to affect my run, although it did get the adrenaline going and I had to make a conscious effort to easy back in the first few minutes so i didn't get too carried away. Generally I felt quite strong during my stage and if anything was a bit too relaxed coming home to hand over to our 4th man. I still managed to increase our narrow lead (from when i took over) to around about 20-30secs by the end. Leeds closed us down on the 4th leg but with Mo Farah and Moumin Geele on our remaining two legs we looked good for victory. Our winning margin was quite big in the end and new course record to boot.

Monday, 12 October 2009

White men can jump!

Hi folks

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, I've been meaning to write something for the last week but things have been pretty hectic. With training in full flow, working being particularly busy this week just gone and Teresa being away for a couple of days mid week it was a bit of juggling act with Thomas to consider too. Things are settling down a little bit now thankfully and despite the busy schedule last week I still managed to get all my training in as planned. The last few weeks since the Great North Run have been pretty solid in terms of training, with the weekly mileage building up to 90 a week so far, key sessions have been strong, without setting the world alight. This sort of thing doesn't phase me these days though as I know from previous experience that a few easy days will leave mind and body feeling fresh and ready for racing when it matters.

Speaking of which I have 2 races coming up, this weekend for a start - I will be doing the National Road Relays in Birmingham for my UK club: Newham. I haven't had the chance to run for them since the National XC in February - which we won, so it would be nice to win again. I understand we have a really strong team in place so if everyone runs well we will certainly be in the mix. The Relays are more of blow out for me though prior to racing the following week in Portsmouth. As I'm only home for a few days before heading to the UK again for the Great South Run, Teresa is running too (for her charity 'Get Kids Going') so we decided to go over for a few days and take Thomas back to see his grand parents in Poole. It will be good to get back racing again for the next 2 weeks, its only been 3 weeks but racing is the best bit so it always feels longer!

Lastly I was following the results of World Half Marathon Champs with interest which were in Birmingham yesterday (an event I considered trying to make the GB team but decided against in the end after a long spring & summer of racing). Anyway its was great to see the american - Dathan Ritzenhein running so well, he claimed individual bronze in a time of 60mins flat, in an event dominated by Africans. I've been following Ritzenhein with interest over the past few months as he has run some fantastic times over 5k and 10k, so the half marathon performance wasn't really a surprise but motivation stuff all the same.

Anyway until next time.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

12th at Great North Run

Well that went better than expected I must admit, my finishing time was 64.27 which was quicker than I had hoped so happy days!

I wasn't really sure of my fitness in terms of what I might run being that I have only done 4weeks of training after my end of summer break. Admitedly it was a short break but still if I'm able to run that sort of time now I am confident I can run faster with a good spell of the right training behind me.

The race itself was much more enjoyable that I expected too, other than a couple of the early miles where i was finding my rhythm I felt very good and if anything I felt I finished with more left in the tank. I was in the second group of lead runners for the first 6miles which contained Dan Robinson, Ian Huspith, Neil Renault, Mark Draper (all Brits) and also Alberto Chaica (Portugal), Jon Brown (Canada) and Pete Norwill (Australia). THe first mile was covered in approx 4.45/4.50 but it is partly downhill so I expect it do be a little fast. My race plan was to head out at around 5.00 mile pace but it made more sense to stick with the group rather than get isolated early on, plus after the first 5k (15.10) I was starting to settle into a nice comfortable rhythm and 4.50 to 4.55 pace was feeling good. After 6miles the Chaica started to push things on and only Dan Robinson went with him, I decided to hold my pace but found this sounds stretched me away from the rest as the group started to break up. From 7 miles onwards I was basically running on my own but really enjoying the crowds and feeling good about the race. If anyway reflection back I could have pushed the last 3-4miles a little more in an effort to catch Dan (who finished 11th in 64.14) but as i was operating ahead of my target pace so I played on the the side of caution. I ran very even race though, with exception of quick first 5k the rest of the race was a solid even pace.
Needless to say though the result and time have give me further confidence that the move to the marathon is the right decision and that even these early stages of winter training that faster time are more than possible at the longer events. I ran a very even paced race in the end though, with exception of the frist 5k being a little quicker the rest of the race was fairly even.
Overall a good experience of things to come and good weekend generally (with the exception of Aurigny deciding not to bring our bags back from Mancheser last night - but that's another story!). It gave us (Teresa, Thomas & myself) the chance to spend some time with the family up in Newcastle which is always nice, my mum comes from a large family of seven with most of family still living in Newcastle. Three of the family's live in a place called Clara Vale, which is small old mining village just outside the centre of Newcastle and next to Tyne. Really beautiful place and some great places to run long the river there, it's actually only a stone through away from Wylam another small village and the birth place of George Stevenson. I've had a few histroy lessons from my uncle during my visits - Stevenson was the inventor of the first public steam train.
Anyway thats' all for now. Next race will probably not be for a few weeks, I plan to run the National 6 stage road relays for Newham (my UK club) which is not til 17th Oct and then the Great South the following weekend in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

But first... the half marathon

In my last post I talked about my decision to prepare for a potential spring marathon, well I figured I would get things started by running a half marathon this weekend! My wife Teresa and her good friend Jo Walker (hope you appreciate the name drop Jo) have been training for the Great North Run for the past few months and we decided a while back that we would head up to Newcastle as a family and spend the weekend up North. Initially i was just going up as a supporter and to look after Thomas while Teresa raced, however this scenario didn't last long as I decided I would get in on the act too! If i know I'm in the UK and there's a chance to race, generally I will, unless I'm injuried or have something else on the horizon that I'm preparing for. I think Teresa was a bit annoyed as last time she raced in the UK (last years Great South Run) I got myself a late entry on that one too! Luckily we have plenty of family in Newcastle, as my mum is from Newcastle originally, so I'm hoping one of them will be ok with looking after Thomas on race morning - I haven't asked them yet though!

Fitness wise I'm getting there, and although I'm not expecting to set the world alight this weekend I should be able to run a personal best time for the distance. This is partly down to the fact that I've only ever raced the distance twice. The first time was a long time ago and I'm a much improved athlete since then and the last time was the Guernsey Easter half in 2008. I ran 69mins that day, running very easy for the first few miles and feeling quite controlled in general over the distance, so even though I'm not at full fitness at the moment I think I can better that time. The Great North run is a fast point to point course too so as long as the conditions are ok I should be able to post a decent time, if I'm going to run achievin the qualifying time for the Marathon next spring for the European Champs I will need to be able to run sun 69 mins back to back for the distance anyway.

Oh Teresa has just set up a Just Give page for her charity, which is 'Get Kids Going', if anyone wants to make a donation they can at http://www.justgiving.com/Teresa-Merrien/ I did my bit by giving away much of GB Kit in exchange for cash :)

Look out for post-race report from myself, and Teresa! this time around.

All for now folks.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The marathon becon's !

Hi folks,

Sorry its been so long since my last post, I will endeavour to post more regularly from now on. Since my last post I've had a bit of quiet time in regards to training with a fairly low key couple of weeks. After my short break though I'm starting to put the training back in now and looking forward to some autumn racing.
















Other news which I didn't get round to posting up includes confirming a kit contract with Asics for the next 12months which will see them provide me gear and footwear, its all helps as I go through trainers like you wouldn't believe! The contact ties in with my main sponsors Cannon.

Anyway as the title of my post implies I'm looking at making the transition to the marathon! It's something I've had in mind for a while, as the event to take me to the London Olympics. After some reflection of this past season and with the Olmpics only three years away, now seems the right time to start making the changes required. Last season was arguably my most successful to date with two GB selections on the country and my first Outdoor National Medal on the track. I was however disappointed with my track season, which was below par after struggling to recover from illness and general fatigue after over-cooking training in April. Anyway after looking at things as a whole I think the future in lies with the longer distances in order to achieve what I want from the sport. The changes in training need to start now though as whilst a 5k runner might still be able to race well at 10k and even a half marathon the training required for the marathon is significantly different. I've recently spoken to Janne Holmen (the 2002 European Marathon Champion) whom I raced in at the Island Games this year as well as John (Nuttal) my coach, who I will continue to work with and I think I have a good idea where I need take things in order to run well at the event, although some of the specific's of training are still to be worked out. It's still early days and nothing has been finalized yet but next year is also the European Championships and I think I'm capable of achieving the qualifying standard (which is 2.18), so next year you might well be seeing my line up at in the London marathon for the first time.

More shorter term this weekend it's the Inter-Insular in Jersey, although I'm doing no track work in training at the moment it's always nice to run and get one over on our Channel Islands rivals. As ever ours mens team looks very strong and without wanting to sound over confident we should walk the mens event. I believe our women are a bit short on numbers so might struggle a little, hopefully that will change over the next few seasons. For any Guernsey people out there I will try to post up results on twitter, the senior fixture is on Saturday from 12.30 til 5pm. I'm travelling over Friday with Teresa and Thomas as planning to have day out and take the little man to the zoo.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The most impressive thing I've ever seen

Just watched the final of the mens 100m at the World Athletics Champs in Berlin... incredible performance by Bolt, 9.58!!!

The reaction of a speechless Michael Johnson (arguably the greatest athlete of all time until Bolt came along) was brilliant !

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Rest week

Hi folks, I'm currently making the most of a week off running, after last weekends cup match, which we won, I've decided to take my end of track season break now. It made sense to have a rest now, let the body get some needed rest and then get back into winter training over the coming weeks.

In terms of last week 10 in 100 Cup match the CI team narrowly beat Blackheath (2nd) with Cardiff 3rd. I finished 3rd in the 1500m, having a close race with James Thie and Scott Overall, whilst it's never nice to get beaten the race was fun. Before the three of us had a gentlemens agreement to wait until 200m to go before kicking for home, unfortunatley I just lost out!

I had a few complete rest days at the start of the week, but have since been out on the push bike and been in the gym a couple of times too. I always feel better having an active form of rest rather than sitting on my backside for too long! although its the World Athletics Champs this week so that's as good a reason as any to sit in front the TV.

It's always quite nice to do something different and to give the body a break from the impact of running, my achilles which sometimes bothers me is also feeling much better already. Only downside is my backside is not used to sitting on a push bike and is feeling sore as a result.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Berlin Race Report & Cup Final

A little late in getting this post out but here it eventually is...

Mixed feelings about the Berlin 10k race, I finished 2nd which I was reasonably happy with in terms of position however my finishing time was far from what I was aiming at. I ran 29.57 and considering I was looking to run around 29.20 or better this was a little disappointing. The route was potentially very fast too, as the streets around Berlin are long and perfectly flat. The only factor that likely affected things was the humidity, it had been quite warm during the day and come the evening it clouded over. It wasn't just myself that ran below par either, the other England boys ran outside their aims too, Gareth Raven finished 3rd and Phil Nichols finished 4th, the winner who ran 29.07 last year won in only 29.40 this time around. The course was also apparently shorter this year after it re-measured and found to be 100m long last year - hopefully they messed up this years distance too! The three of us running for England had a close race with a battle over the last 2km, I pushed on with about 1km to go and took a few yards out of Phil and Gaz, only for Gaz to pass me with about 400 to go, I kicked again though with 200m to go and took 2nd. Whilst there was no team prize as such with 2nd, 3rd and 4th we comfortable out placed the Germans, Dutch, as well as a few athletes from Denmark and Poland. The race was won by the dutchmen Martin Lauret in 29.40.

Didnt get to see much of Berlin as it was a whistle stop trip but did get to see the other races at the event which included a rather impressive mass participation inline skating race over the same 10k course. The first skater over the line covered the route in about 15mins! Also our race was an evening start, by the time we cross the finish line it was dark and we had flashing lights lining the the final 100m with good crowd support too. The race was a pretty unique experience.

This weekend I'm off to London with the Channel Islands Athletics Club for the 10 in 100 Cup final. Its basically 10 events in 100minutes, hence the name! I'm running the 1500m this time round and we have quite a strong team and have a good chance of winning if all goes well.

Will let you how we get on.

All for now.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

I'm off to Berlin after all !

Ok it's not the World Championships but I've earned a late call up to an England Team going out to Berlin this weekend for the Berlin Road 10k race on saturday evening.


I had put my name in the hat for selection a few weeks back but initially missed out on selection, however one of the original selections has pulled out only this week and I was next on the list. This has certainly come at a good time, as you'll see from my last blog post I'm a little short on good quality competitive races so this has proved ideal.


I don't know much about the race itself other than its apparently a night race and if the Berlin marathon course is anything to go by it should be fairly flat and fast - many of the fastest ever marathons times have been on the Berlin course. The race is also an England v Germany v Denmark match and is the second race of a triangular series of road races this summer.


After having very windy conditions to contend with as well as running below par generally in the Manchester 10k back in May this is a great chance to rectify my seasons best and personal best.


I will try post up the result on twitter on the saturday evening.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Anyone fancy a race?

I seem to have recovered from my suspected swine flu - apparently some people haven't been affected as badly as others but I was never tested to confirm the diagnosis so who knows! Whatever it was it didn't seem to bother me on Wednesday when I got on the track for the first time since the Nationals. Session Wednesday was only 400m reps though and this morning is a longer reps session and so will be a better indicator of things.

Wednesdays session went well though and all being well today it looks like I'm coming into some good form. My problem however is the lack of quality races! I misses out on the LOndon Grand Prix last night - at the time of trying to get the race I was ill with flu though so I can't blame them for not wanting me in the race! The race turned out not to be as good as it looked on paper though as the weather wasn't kind, I would still have jumped at the chance to run though. I'm looking for a good 5000m to run a fast time in, which is proving quite difficult being that the World Champs are faster approaching and there's limited meetings left before it kicks off in a couple of weeks.

Anyhow time to go training.- I have tough track workout this morning!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Bronze at Nationals

A good result on at the weekend, racing in the 5000m I picked up my first outdoor medal at the National Champs and I also ran a seasons best in the process. My performance also suggests that there's a lot more come now in terms of faster times.

The race started at a reasonable pace over the first 2km and I was happy to sit in the pack and let things unfold. Things slowed over the following 2km, with still most of the field together until about 4 laps to go where it started to split up a little. By the time it was 2 laps to go I had worked my way up through the field into a leading group of about 5. With 600m remaining Scott Overall started to wind the pace up and the final lap turned into a race for the medals between 3 of us. Down the back the back straight I felt good and moved rounded Ryan McCleod into second and for a moment I felt I might be able to take victory, but coming off the final bend I started to tie up a little and Ryan reclaimed 2nd and I so I had to settle for 2nd. I really can't complain though after a difficult couple of months I've found my form at the right time of the season.

1st Scott Overall 13.57.75
2nd Ryan McLeod 13.58.52
3rd Lee Merrien 13.59.35

Below is a link to the full results over the weekend on UKA website .... http://www.uka.org.uk/uka-major-events/2009/aviva-world-trials-2009/ you just need to scole down to Sunday, my race was at 6.55pm.

Unfortunately since the race I have come with suspected swine flu. It seems no worse that the normal dose of flu and apparantely in some cases is no worse than common cold. However yesterday certainly felt like a case of typical man flu for me and rendered me useless at home. It did at least give me time to catch up with the Tour and see what Lance has been up to! I've been advised by the doctor that as in most cases of flu I will be find within 4-5 days so all being well I will be healthy by the weekend and can get back running. After Sundays performance I'm keen to race in a fast paced race and run a fast time!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Next Stop Birmingham

This weekend is the UK National Champs which also doubles as the GB Trials for the World Championship, these take place in Berlin next month. I'm entered for the 5000m this weekend in what looks like a more open race that expected as a few guys have decided to race the 1500m instead and Mo Farah (GB no. 1) has decided not to run so he can focus on breaking the British record at Crystal Palace in 2 weeks.

The race on paper still certainly looks like a very competitive race but with the withdrawals I definately think the medals are up for grabs. After last week in Aland and a few better training sessions under my belt I feel I'm starting to find some form at the right time and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

The Championships kick off on Friday evening but my race is not until the Sunday (late afternoon). I haven't seen anything confirming what will be shown on TV but it is televised on the BBC both Saturday and Sunday. I'm not sure however whether my race will be shown live or not at this stage, but the program looks promising in that respect.

Also look out for a number other Guernsey athletes also competing at the weekend.

Below is a link which has the start lists so far and timetable etc, it should also have the results up as the happen too...

http://www.uka.org.uk/uka-major-events/2009/aviva-world-trials-2009/

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Link to video clip

Below is brief video clip of the closing stages of Wednesdays 5000m race with Janne Holmen...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05w2urFe4kI

Last day of the athletics program

Yesterday saw us pick up another good medal haul on the final day of the athletics program; as always checkout the Guernsey Athletics blog for the full run down of results and race video’s. From a personal perspective I retained the 1500m in a time 3minutes 49 seconds, a time I was reasonably happy with being that I ran from the front and it was also a bit on the windy side. My performance didn’t quite match Ingy’s commentary however! As coming down the home straight he announced ‘ and this is what sub 4minute miling speed looks like’. Ingy is Paul Ingrouille a local stalwart of Guernsey Athletics who was invited to come out to help the Aland organising by providing some English speaking commentary alongside his Swedish counterparts. Whilst I wasn’t necessarily looking to run sub 4min mile pace (which would have been 3.43/3.44 pace for 1500m I was at the very least hoping to run inside the games record of 3.51, which I set at the last games in Rhodes. This was my first 1500 race of the season (excluding Thursday’s heats) but I was still aiming to run a time somewhere between 3.45 – 3.50 so it was a case of job done I guess.

After the race I got pounced upon for a few interviews, which admittedly I enjoy doing. However, when one of the interviews from one of our local radio stations described my race back to me before then asking if I was pleased to win I couldn’t resist in saying, deadpan… ‘No it was awful’ and then leaving an uncomfortable silence for effect J it got a laugh off the camera man at least!

Feeling a little tired this morning I must admit, as a team the athletics crowd all had a meal together at the hotel last night before heading out for a few social drinks. At the meal we had presented our usual games ritual of ‘special’ awards… basically everyone in the team gets an ironic award for an incident or comment that they did or said during the week. Dale Garland got the ‘I’m still Jenny from the block award!’ whilst Martine Scholes got most likely to be sponsored by a foot care company award – after being called Martine Scholls all week by the stadium announcers, Steve Dawes also picked up a similar style award after being referred to as Stephan Daves all week only for the announcer last night when presenting his half marathon medal to refer to him as Stephen Davis. Subsequently he also got the award for the best snooker player in the team!

Also just before I sign off, Tom Druce just told us about his night last night… I will spare you any long stories but the culmination of his night, whilst walking a young lady back to her hotel, involved him stumbling and falling in the harbour, losing his mobile in the process!

That’s likely to be it from me in terms of Island Games posts, next weekend I have the National Champs & World Trials in Birmingham. In the meantime I’m looking forward to see my wife and son after a week apart.

That’s all from Aland.

Tack tack.

Lee

Thursday, 2 July 2009

5000m success all-round...

Last night proved a successful night all-round for Guernsey distance runners, I came out on top in my head to head battle with local athlete Janne Holmen in the men’s 5000m and Louise Perrio & Martine Scholes dominated the women’s 5000m, taking gold and silver respectively.

As I previously posted my decision to race the 5k was a late one but I’m glad I did as the atmosphere was electric; I’m not exactly sure how people were in the stadium but the stand was full and hundreds more scattered around the rest of Wiklof Holding Arena. From the moment they announced the athletes on the start line to the time we crossed the finish line the support was fantastic, and was is definitely one of the best atmospheres I've experienced in an Island Games.

In terms of how the race unfolded the first 100m of the race starting at a pedestrian pace, but Janne Holmen was clearly eager to set a strong pace and dashed to the front when he realised no one was prepared to take things, I quickly slotted in behind him. This was my race plan from the outside and I was expecting Janne to take the lead fairly early on if the pace was slow. I knew he would prefer a fast race rather than a slow and tactic affair so I was more than happy to sit in for the ride initially. After 4 or 5 laps of this he moved out a few times to encourage me through, initially I did nothing and continued to sit in. I did take the take for a lap but Janne soon realised I was happy not to force the pace so continued working off the front. Things stayed like this until 500m which was when I decided to use a couple of back markers as the moment to kick for home. Approaching two Jersey athletes I went round Janne and surged for home which gained me a few yards, a lead which I stretched out over the next 200. At that I point I glanced over my shoulder to see that I had good lead but I decided to keep not to take my foot off the gas until about a 100m to go, despite easing back slightly I understand my last lap was around 58/59secs.

As I say the crowd support during the race was superb and it was awesome to get a standing ovation from from the full stand down as I came down the home straight for the final time. I even had the Guernsey football team singing at me after I had crossed the finish line. The guys are currently playing Jersey in the semi finals so all being well we will be able to watch the guys in the final tomorrow night.

Thanks to Steve Dawes, below are some pics of the race, will try and attach the video tomorrow but running out battery right now!...

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Update & will there be 5k head to head?

Hi folks,

I didn't take the laptop down last night to the athletics so wasn't able to post an update but below is a breif update...

Yesterday evening there was good medal haul from the Guernsey Team and some exciting races... Kylie Robilliard & Lee Garland picked up a silvers in their respective events and Louise Perrio won Guernsey's first gold in a dramatic 10,000m race! There were also good performances from our junior athletes who would have undoubtedly picked up some good experience in their first island games. Checkout the the official clubs blog for full reports, video's and pic's of all of the days races.

In terms of my racing plans and for those of you that have been reading my recent posts will be aware that I wasn't planning to race the 5000m at the games, as originally mentioned this was due to having the National Champs/World Trials the weekend after. Last week I had a discussion with my coach and we decided that it would be better to get some training under my belt in the build up to the trials in Birmingham. However the temptation to race Janne Holmen has proved too much and the plan is now to race the 5k. Holmen is a Finnish International and former European Champion over the marathon so needless to say a worthy opponent. There are still conflicting reports as to whether he will actually race the 5000m tomorrow evening as he might decide to stay fresh for the half marathon friday but I guess we will find out tomorrow morning. The race is at 8.10pm.

Anyhow I'm going to get back to watching the relay heats.

Cheers

Lee


utine involves a pre breakfast run out along the Mariehamn coast line

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Opening Ceremony & First day...

Unfortunately internet access in the hotel isn't currently working but hopefully will be by tomorrow, luckily there is wifi access at the athletics stadium, so currently sat in the stand with the team with the first event about to start!

We all arrived ok Friday evening at our hotel via our direct flight to MarieHamn (where we are located and also where the stadium is located). We've only been here a day but I think every is impressed with the place, the weather has been fantastic and Games Street which is located 5minutes from out Hotel -The Pommern has plenty going on.


The opening ceremony was held in the athletics stadium these things can be a bit on the long side but this year was ok and there was some interesting entertainment too! From a Queen tribute band to a musically comedian who wasn't scared to swear despite it being a family attended ceremony! below are are a few pictures off it all to check out....





Above: we were given cushions to sit on during the ceremony but at the end they turned into throwing implements!!



For more pictures and gossip on what the Guernsey Athletics team are up to generally checkout the Guernsey athletics blog (http://gsyathleticsaland2009.blogspot.com/. As there is internet access at stadium we plan to video the races live and get them online quickly via a utube link on the blog so you'll be able to watch most peoples races not long after they happen.

In terms of my training this is the end of another 80mile week, feeling ok generally after the travel and a just a couple of easy runs yesterday. Got on the track this afternoon before the racing started and felt ok, hot today though! temperatures in the high 20's and felt particularly hot training as due to competition program starting at 6pm I had to go out mid afternoon.

Will post more tomorrow, hopefully get access at the hotel but if not I will make use of the free wifi at the stadium again.


Catch you all tomo.


Lee

Friday, 26 June 2009

Off to Aland

Just a quick post before I head off to Aland for the Island Games week. I'm all packed and ready to go, packing proved a challenge mind as we are only allowed to take 15kg of hold luggage and 5k of hand luggage, so to had to pack quite light in some areas.

My race isn't until a week today (1500m) so i will have the best part of a week to maintain my training in preparation for the National Champs whcih is the week after I get back from Aland. It will also be my first 1500 of the season being that 5k has been the focus this season but it will be nice to have race over what was previously my main event.

Since the Watford race training has gone ok, I had an easier week after the race with the aim of letting the body recover a bit more, so it was predominately steady running but I still clocked up 80miles during the week. My track session Tuesday was ok whilst nothing spectacular but funnily enough since then the body and particularly the legs have started to feel pretty good. I'm still on course to clock around 80miles of training this week but again this has been mostly steady stuff with a couple session, but these have been fairly controlled.

I must admit I've really enjoying my running the last few days particular with the good weather so hopefully Aland can provide much of the same. In terms of the Guernsey team there is a fairly young team heading out this year with many new faces, which is great to see. Over the past few years and particular when I was involved with the athletics development role I saw many good young athletes in the sport and now many of those are heading to Aland which will hopefully act as a spring board for bigger and better things for those individuals. There is certainly still no shortage of experienced athletes going along despite a few absentees and I'm sure we the team will still bring back plenty of medals.

Next stop Aland.

Ciao

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Race Report from Watford BMC

Well i finished in 8th place in a time of 14.11, so not really what I was looking for, unfortunately things don't seem to have moved on as they should have from the Manchester race 2 weeks ago. Legs still feeling a little lack luster and its more frustrating than anything else after the successes of the winter months that both training and racing isn't quite going as expected at the moment. I don't have a race now for a few weeks so the plan is to kick back slightly over the next week and not too push training too much during this period and allow the body to freshen up a little. Despite the time i finished with on Saturday and how the race felt in general I still at least managed to find some strength and speed over the closing stages, and the one thing which I do take a lot of confidence from is that whilst training and racing are clearly not quite on song at the moment I'm still not a million miles away. Only a 1-2% improvement for example would see me nearer to what I expect from myself and the sort of performances I feel I'm capable of on better day.

On a lighter note it's great to see the local paper are quoting me on my races using my twitter, presumably this modern day reporting :-) Perhaps I should try and seem what crazy quotes I can get printed up :-)

Next race is likely to be the Island Games 1500m, which is at the end of the games week. With the National Champs the week after I get back from ALand its unlikely that I will compete in another event as I need to get some key training completed while out there.

Assuming internet access is easily available while at the games i will try to keep people updated with details of what is going on in team and in general within the team accomodation.

All for now, Cheers

Lee

Friday, 12 June 2009

Race weekend...

Very quick note as I'm currently sorting out last few bits before I head to the airport. Racing in the BMC GP meet tomorrow evening at Watford, in my second 5k of the season. Have eased back the training this week so hopefully legs will be nice and fresh for the race tomorrow. Watford has been a good track for me in the past with a number of my PBs over the shorter distances having been run on this track, have never a 5k here though so all being well I can add to the list.

Hopefully I won't be stuck in the aiport all day Sunday (unlike last time) and will be able to post a race report on sunday evening.

All for now.

Lee

Monday, 1 June 2009

Race Report from Saturday

On Saturday evening I was racing in the BMC Grand Prix in Manchester. I finished 6th in the race in a time of 14.08. Check out the link to the results ....

http://www.britishmilersclub.com/results/results.aspx?meetingid=26409

In terms of my finishing time I'm a little disappointed but that's partly down to my high expectation this season, I believe my 5k personal best is a little weak and after the winter I've had I feel that I'm capable of running faster times, when everything falls into place. All things considered though it's a reasonable start to the season, as my legs are far from feeling recovered from general training at the moment and conditions also weren't ideal for fast times.

I set off fairly conservatively and ended up working my way from the field as the race went on and was able to finish quite strongly over the last lap or so. I think with a slightly stronger field i.e. more people running in the region 13.45-14.00 minutes, and without the wind we encountered on the back straight each time I could probably have run my PB close (currently 13.57). I feel at the moment I'm still waiting for the past few weeks of training to come out the system (hence the heavy legs at the moment) and once that starts to happen I will be ready to run faster times.

With 6 weeks to the National Champs I still have plenty of time for performances to start falling into place and essentially start peaking at the right time. Before then I also have Another BMC meeting at Watford and the Island Games in Aland.

Right time to get a run in.

Cheers for now

Lee

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Weekend of local athletics & looking ahead...

Saturday afternoon saw most of the Guernsey Island Games squad competing in the Meespierson Golden Series match, which had numerous athletes from the UK including squads from Wales and the RAF competing. Unfortunatley yours truely wasn't running but it was good to see pretty much all our local athletes running on home soil for the first time in while. There were plenty of competitive events and we even had the good weather to go with it!

Teresa was away on saturday afternoon and evening so I was on Thomas duties. I took him along to watch - not his first time to the track... trying to get him familiar with the environment :-) Not sure he knew what was going on but seemed happy enough. The athletics club also kindly presented myself, Martine Scholes and Rob Batiste with a gift each for our work for the athletics club, all three of us have recently stepped down from our posts, myself as development officer, Martine as the clubs hub for all things admin and whatever else people were able to palm her way and Rob was the Clubs president. It was comletely unexpected and nice to get some recognition but couldn't help feeling a bit of a fraud seeing as the club has a wealth of hardworking volunteers. Hopefully the work I did has helped athletics move forward over the past 3 years though. Certainly Rob deserved his after filling the role of club president for many years and is largely responsible in helping bring on local athletics so much in the past 5 years.

Looking ahead I have my first track race this weekend. Another trip to Manchester , this time I will be racing at Sport City - the athletics stadium adjecent to Manchester City football ground. This was also the warm up track for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has been used a number of times in recent years for the National Champs so I guess its a bit of home from home as far as UK venues go. The meeting is a BMC (BRitish Milers Club) Grand Prix meeting and I'm racing over 5000m. Being the first BMC of the season usually means a good turn out so Im looking forward to getting in a good race and all being well running a PB first time out.

Anyway that's all for now, track session this evening which will be my last intense workout before the weekend, after that it's about recovery and getting ready to race.

Laters

Lee

Monday, 18 May 2009

Manchester Race Report

Well it wasn't quite the race I was hoping for, I finished 14th overall and 6th British finisher but it was more the time and the run in general that I was a little disappointed with. I ran 29.47 which is approx 20secs slower than last year, conditions were far from ideal admitedly with a strong head wind for large sections of the race. Many of the athletes thought the wind could account for 20 to 30secs which mean the run was on par with last year, however I had set my sight on running a lot faster this year. Teresa ran and she ran a pb of 51.10 so at least one of the Merrien family was happy. She has her sights set on further races now - it's catching this running bug!

On the plus side I have a race under my belt now which has blow the dust off things and my race fitness and sharpness will only get better from now and into the track season. My body has struggled a little bit to recovery from heavy training over the past month and sometimes it just takes a little longer to recover than you plan for.

Overall I still enjoyed the event and being in and around the city with such well participated event (33,000 runners) is always fun. I think it's the first time I've raced Gebrselassie too (if you can call it that!). We happend to be in the hotel life together on Saturday evening coming back from dinner but i decided against asking for a photo together! I regret it now!

The organisors also had a rather novel sprint event arranged in main Street (Deans Gate) in the middle of the City - they closed the road and set up a 150m stretch of temporary track which saw the fastest man in the world Usain Bolt run a new world record for the distance. Unfortantely the race was on at 6.30pm and I had to be at the airport for my flight home so we didn't get to see the race.

Right I better go as I need to get started on some D.I.Y. I have some blinds to put up in Thomas' bedroom which I've been putting off for a few weeks. Myself and D.I.Y. don't usually get on well with one another, whilst I'm not too bad at it, it does elevate my stress levels. Teresa is still away until tonight so at least we can't fall out over it! which is pretty much guaranteed if we are in the same room whilst I attempt to construct something. Finger crossed I have a stress free afternoon.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Great Manchester 10k

This weekend I'm off to Manchester for the Bupa Great Manchester 10k. This will be the 3rd year running that I have competed in the event, which has usually acted as a good first race of the season for me in the past. It's also usually very popular with elite athletes home and abroad and this years entries suggests no different with a strong start list posted. This year entries include the living legend that is Haile Gebrselassie. Check out the link below on the runnerslife site which has a comprehensive list runners along with notable performances for each...

http://www.runnerslife.co.uk/includes/images/manchester10k.pdf


Since the training camp in Portugal I have been carrying a bit cold, partly down I believe in getting used to juggling training with family and work again off the back of some heavy training. Plus Thomas seems to have had his fair share of illness recently, so ended up picking up his sniffles on returning home. The immune system seems on the mend now and probably stronger than ever after the past 2 months! With an easier week of training the past week or so body and mind are starting to freshen up in time for Sundays race. The immune system has certainly felt healthy enough to cope with the introduction of altitude this week, as I've started using my altitude tent again which I plan to use regularly now over the next month or so. This basically involves sleeping a sealed tent at night which simulates being at higher altitude. I'm used to it now (as I have used it on and off the past couple of seasons) but it's bit noisy at first as you have a generator the size of small fridge inside the tent with you!

Check out a rather sleeping looking me inside the alternative to the mile high club...





Race is 10am Sunday morning but look out for the results on Sunday evening or check out BBC 1 on Sunday afternoon for courage of the race.

All for now.


Friday, 24 April 2009

Camp draws to an end

I only have the weekend left of the training camp now and whilst it's gone really well and I have enjoyed my time with the group I'm really looking forward to getting home and seeing Teresa and Thomas. I'm also looking forward to an easy week of training next week too ! the volume of training starting to catch up on me now so I see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a rest day on Monday!

I have missed being around the family the past two weeks, it's longest I've been away from home since Thomas was born but I think it was particular hard as the training camp came immediately after spending a week together as a family in Tenerife. I'd like to think my wife is looking forward to me coming home too and that Thomas hasn't forgotten what I look like! Teresa has been performing a juggling act, while working fulltime and having a busy time of it she has been looking after Thomas, attending study days for her banking exams and still getting her own sporting activities in too. I have a lot to thank her for and without her support I wouldn't have managed to achieve what I've done so far this year.

In terms of training this week Tuesday was a soid track session with a good of us working together to complete the session in target times in what was hottest day of the trip so far...





I've spared you the horror of my rib cage! by being tucked in behind Nick McCormark (in the blue cap & yellow vest). In the session we had the girls joining us for a couple of the reps so another good size group for what was long session on the track.










(from L to R... Helen Clitheroe, me (just), Nick, Ryan McCloud, Steve Sharp, Andy Vernon (tucked in behind Steve)

Below is another pic from last Saturday out on the Cross country Course that mentioned in my last post. It was very humid day that day as there was a lot of cloud about. I kept my shirt on for this one though!




Just a weekend of training left to complete before heading home now. Right, off to bed now as earlier start to training tomorrow.
Cheers

Lee

Friday, 17 April 2009

More from Portugal...

After a couple days of rain the sun was out again for our long run this morning. I'm not too fussed about the weather to be honest as long as it doesn't effect training as my main reasons for coming out here were to train hard in a group and have the extra recovery time, any good weather is a bonus though!



Today is the end of heavy week of training, with some 100miles in bank, some tough workouts under my belt as well as the strength and conditioning workouts, to say i'm tired today would be an understatement.



We went on the XC course for a grass session yesterday, a tough workout and still feel like I'm finding my feet after the world xc champs but overall the session still went pretty well and it's great to be doing a session as part of very competitive group with similar targets.



The xc course was apparently the course used for the World XC champs in the 80's, 's pretty nive venue in an area called Alburfeira which is only a few miles run from accommodation in Vilamoura. There's a few nice trails around to locations for running, which also run past the venue for 2000 World XC Champs, unfortunately that course is no longer used.

Currently enjoying my afternoon off watching the football on tv with Gaz (Gareth Balch... he wanted a mentioned!) and D (Damien Moss) both are 800m runners staying with a group down the road. Have know these guys for a long time, as we used to have the same coach from my days of racing the shorter distances.

All for now.

laters

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Portugal latest...

Settled in to my accommodation now after being here a few days now, i'm sharing a place with Andy Vernon. We are a short walk from the Old Village within the Vilamoura complex which is wear the Loughborough crowd are staying, approx a 10min walk away. I must admit I'm quite jealous of their places in the old village as our appartment is fairly basic one bedroom which is ment to sleep 4 adults! (two pull out beds in the lounge) but we don't need much to be honest and we are eating with the others in the evenings at their place now.

We paid a visit to the local supermarkets yesterday and stocked up on food for next week or so, you tend to eat a lot on a training camp! all good nutritional food though. However I did enjoy a chocolate ice cream crepe the other night but for 7 euro's I won't be eating too many! Supermarket food isn't too badly priced considering the exchange rate isn't in our favour these day but oranges are a bargin. They sell them road side... 2 euro's for 25 large organges and they taste great. There's a number of orange groves (if that's what you call them) nearby.

In terms of training things are starting to tick along nicely now, I did my first track session this morning, my first since the Aldershot training camp over 3 weeks ago. I felt I lacked a bit of spring in my step but that's to be expected after an illness and mostly steady running until today. All in all it went well though and i'm looking forward to running again later with seemingly no stiffness from the session. The only thing i need to look after is a slight achilles niggle, I wore my racing flats rather than spikes this morning and my calves feel ok at the moment. Weather has been mixed today, it rained for the first time when we were having breakfast but during the track session it was hot and sunny. Most of us finished covered in mud though! as the water on the track plus I guess the usually dusty conditions made the water quite dirty, and with something like 20-30 athletes on in the group at various points it ment a lot of water being flicked up.

Anyhow that's all for now, hope the athletes back home in Guernsey enjoyed the Easter races, sorry I missed them.

Cheers

Lee

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The travelling continues...

It's been a while since my last update and lots has been going on, unfortunately not as much running as I would have liked though, after returning to Guernsey after the world xc i came down with a virus. This explains a few things, perhaps why I was struggling in Jordan a little. After a few days of feeling like I had man flu I had to unpack and re-pack as it was only a few days at home before headign off to Tenerife with the family and friends. Its was Thomas' first international trip and he was good as good as gold on holiday, even slept in every morning - what a star. Holiday was good and it was nice sharing with another couple (Tricky and Sharon) who also have a baby (Lauren). I got my first run in on the Saturday a week after the world x which didnt feel too good but I managed to run morning & evening most days, I'm still coughing a bit off the back of the virus but I feel on the mend, just bored of airports now! Im currently in Gatwick waiting for my flight to Faro, Portugal where I will be training for 2 weeks. Looking forward to the trip but not sure I will enjoy being away from Thomas for that long, it was nice spending a full week with him in Tenerife, we took him swimming for the first time.

Next time I write will be from Portugal. Oh someone remind me to tell you about my two nightmares while travelling! one was on the way back from World x one was yesterday! They should be amusing for others if nothing else. Right better dash.

Cheers

Lee

Sunday, 29 March 2009

World XC Results & diary...

Well I'm back from my first World Cross Champs, with mixed feelings about the trip but on a whole it still been a very positive experience. Admittedly before the trip I was aiming for a top 60 and I think looking at a few the names that finish in or around that, a top 60 wasn't out of the question but it didn't quite go to plan. Finishing 91st in what is considered the most competitve foot race in the world has only give me a taste for more believe it or not and I'm sure on another day I would have achieved a better placing.

It's been a few days since my last post, so below you'll find an updated diary of the trip after my last entry in Heathrow....



Tuesday 24th March


Land in Amman about midnight as expected, I don't feel good after the flight. Started feeling a bit off colour into the last 20mins of the flight. After collected our bags we are met at the airport by Spencer Barden (who is looking after the organisation of the trip) plus our 2 security guards! who will be looking after us during our time here. During the 30min drive to the Hotel we are handed our room keys ( I'm rooming with Phil Nichols) and get a security briefing. Whilst Jordan is currently considered a low risk UK Athletics have decided to take no chances, unfortuntately it means we only allowed out of our hotel to go to the training venue (by bus) and to the supermarket (across the street - which we are escorted to as a group). We go straight to bed on arrive at the hotel.



Wed 25th March



After breakfast we have a team meeting and then kill time socialises in the hotel. In the afternoon we all get the coach to the secure training venue which is a 2k offroad loop policed by arm guards. I get in an easy 45minute run but breathing is a little heavier than normal today as Amman is at a slight altitude of 3000feet (I didn't know that until we got here, its not a problem though as we have sufficient time to adapt and its not particular high altitude). Haven't feel good today though, stomach has been playing up since last night.



Thurs 26th March


After breakfast we head over to the training venue, its just an easy 30mins this morning but I have stomach cramps which makes for an uncomfortable run. I see the team doctor later on who gives me something to help matters. Decide against running again later in the afternoon so stomach can settle down. End up going to bed early tonight as feel worse in the evening, don't sleep well either.

Friday 27th March

See the Doc. first thing, no sign of an infection so thats good news. ts decided that I should buy food from the supermarket rather eat the hotels though as precausion. After breakfast we get bus to the course, it looks far from being ready to run on! plus to say this is a gold course there's no grass to be found! Sorry, we do find some for the last 100m, its espicially laid out turf, unfortunately the remaining 11900m of running will be hard solid compact stoney ground. They are also putting a large steam roller over it today! The lap is 2000m long with essentially 3 similar length sections a long uphill, a fast downhill and particular hard flat section along the bottam of the course. The course is also very narrow, it's going to be an interesting race. Some of the others get an easy run out on the course but my stomach still hasn't settled so I decide to sit this out. Later in the day the stomach does seem to settle down a bit which is promising. Evening is spent discussing the tomorrows race, order in the starting pen and what length spikes to wear, some of the others are considering racign flats due to the hard underfoot conditions. I decide on 9mm spikes and arrange my kit and bag for race day before bed.

Sat 28th March

I get up early for a light breakfast (own food again), mid morning we get a bus to the training venue and most do a short easy jog and strides to loosen up the legs. My stomach seems to feel ok which is reassuring. Have light lunch before getting bus to the course. On arrival we find it is heavily armed with guards that look like something out of robo-cop! Weather is a bit cooler today, its patchy cloud and a bit windy too. Warm up area is small (approx 200m loop on not very good ground) which makes a train of running traffic when there are around 150+ athletes all warming up in the same location, its does the trick though. Last call closing 25mins before race so we go through early as a team and complete our warm up in the last call area which is immediately behind the starting pens. Again a small area for 150 runners but it good enough. I feel ok in warm up with signs of the stomach problems of the last few days. 10mins to go I decide to remove my tracksuit and gets some strides in (we only have the start straight which is uphill to do this on) i get a good 4 or 5 strides in and feel ok. with still over 5mins they close off the start area so no more strides, Im ok but a couple of the other lads haven't completed there warm up but can't do much about it now. We line up in the pen and try to stay warm ( the wind makes it a bit chilly, air temp is recorded at 12c) I am in the second row in the pen, which suits me fine. They make sure we are all lined up correctly in our pens we await the starters orders. When the guns goes its a fast start as expected up the hill (approx 200m long) to the first corner where the course narrows to only 3 or 4metres wide, traffic is a bit crazy here as people jossle for position after the bend the course is then downhill for 600m - with hard stoney ground underneath and unable to see my feet due to 100m other athletes immediately in front of me I just try to stay on my feet and hold my position. After the first lap the pace settles down and we end up packing close together as a team. It stay like this for the first 3 laps where we work our way through from outside the top 100 to into the 80th to 90th. I find that I'm struggling on the hill and regularly seem to loose ground to people here and then close the gap on the fast downhill. After 3 to 4 laps of this though I loose touch with a group containing 4 of the other GB lads running much of the remainder of the race in small groups just behind. Whilst the hills is tough the atmosphere is electric, the banks alongside are packed with hundreds of noisy supports from around the world with speakers blaring out old school music from chariots of fire to Peters Kays Amerillo! The speakers are right next to the course and help to blank out the pain in a strange kind of way! I hear a lot of support from english supports out on the course which helps and in particular the last 200m finish section I here a scottish chat shout my name and tells me to finish like I did at Nottingham (that wasn't a pretty sight that race though!) I finish strong and close on the guys in front but don't quite catch the French men in front of me.

We finish 14th and I'm 91st from 137 finish. Check out full results and further info and stats on the link below.

http://www.iaaf.org/WXC09/index.html

After the race my calves are in pieces, a get a short warm down in but don't do much as my calves and achilles are sore. I get brief and painful massage on my calves - Mike Skinner the git take a photo of me during this. The pain is etched all over my face - I might try and get hold of that one from him and post up for a laugh!

I will post some pictures up later in the week if I get chance.

In the meantime below is a link to a few pics of the us during the race...

http://www.letsrun.com/photos/2009/ammanrace/index24.html

Cheers for now

Lee

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Last update before Jordan...

Hi

Currently in Heathrow airport killing a bit of time, we fly out later this afternoon and will be arriving at our Hotel in Amman about midnight all being well. I'm having a rest day today but yesterday was my last session which was a 10min controlled effort followed by 2 x 5min efforts and then 10 x 1min efforts to finish off (all on the grass), the 10 and the 2 x 5 were fairly controlled as were the minutes to be honest, although they were a bit faster. Generally felt pretty good, although my right calf/achilles is a little tight - but nothing an easy week won't fix i'm sure. Last night we had a send off meal at the officers mess with some of the soldiers from the block we are staying in, before sorting out the packing in advance.

That's pretty much it from the UK, if internet at the Hotel in Jordan will post again later in the week.

Cheers

Lee

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Inside the Training Camp...

Hi

Just thought I'd provide a brief low down from inside the training camp...

Home for the past few days and until Tuesday is Keogh Army Medical base in Aldershot. It's excellent venue for what we need, great places to run whether it be the nearby woods, the canal and a short drive to the track and large grass fields. Rooms are large, although very warm! as my radiator broke and is stuck on max, so I have the window wide open! not very energy efficent I know! The food is also pretty good with 3 meal laid on everyday in the offices mess, where we need to wear full GB kit, their is normally a strick dress code but have dispensation to where GB kit. Our barracks are basic but have everything we need, with small kitchen for snacks and drinks and washing facilities onsite too.

Check out the picture of our barracks below, its a great setting...



Here's brief run down of the past few days...

Friday 20th Feb

I arrived in the evening so not a lot to mention. Got my security pass at the gates and settled into my room (everyone has there own room) and then went to dinner with the others. A few others arrived tonight but most of the seniors arrive tomorrow, juniors have been around since Wednesday.

Sat 21st Feb

Track session in the morning with a few of the others seniors... Phil Nichols, Andy Vernon, Keith Gerrard. Sessions was 5 x 800 (200jog) 400 (200jog) then after 2 lap jog 6 x 200 again with 200 jog recovery. 3 of the junior men also did session in part with Simon, Tom and Nick doing either 3 or 4 sets of the 800/400 and then rejoined for some of the 200's at the end. Weather was great, felt more like summer!

Times of session varied but 800's were generally 2.13 getting down to 2.08 by the last set. 400's were 62's getting down to 60's by the end. The 200's were quicker than planned at around 28/27secs, the competitive nature kicking in no doubt :-) 200m jog between reps was generally 70-80secs throughout. Check out the pic of the guys that were involved below....


After the warm down we drove back to base for some lunch. I managed to get some physio later on to loosen up my calves as in try school boy style only had spikes to wear for the session and Aldershot track turned out to be quite hard. Some massage seemed to help and I didn't feel too bad on the evening run later. After watching some of the rugby we headed over for dinner, where Vernon (Andy Vernon) proved to be an eating machine by polishing 2 large main courses and 2 desserts. We spent some of the evening killing time with a games social games, Vernon made US! pay for his eating spree but exposing us to the worst possible smells produced by man!

Sunday 22nd...

Had a bit of lye in for me (8.15am) then headed over for breakfast in the officers mess. Txt my mum happy mothers day before meeting up with a group at 10.30am for a long run. My calves were tight to start with but after 10mins they loosened up and enjoyed the rest of the run. Myself and Mike Skinner were doing pretty much the same amount of time (70 to 75mins) so ended up running together. Weather great again, was a nice run. Again brief stretch and shower before heading to lunch. Chilled out around my room and the tv room for most of the afternoon a team meeting followed by brief chat with John (my coach) about the summer season. Evening was dinner and social time.


Monday 23rd. So far...

Early morning run before breakfast. Spoke to wife this morning... Thomas has started rolling right over onto his front, he's also teething at the moment so didn't sound a happy little man this morning. I'm Currently typing this out but later the afternoon a few of us are doing a Q&A after lunch with some of the soldier then mid afternoon I will be doing my last training session of note other some easy running and strides, we travel out tomorrow afternoon.

Not sure if we will have internet access in Jordon, although the hotel is meant to be quite nice so hopefully there will be. Weather in Jordon at the moment is raining but its meant to be sunny and temps of 17c by the weekend, so not much different to here.

All for now,

Cheers

Lee



Thursday, 19 March 2009

Training camp here I come...

Just a very quick post before I hit the hay...

I leave for the holding camp tomorrow afternoon, which is at the Aldershot army base. Had a call this evening from the team manager and the facilities sound excellent so should be great for training without any distractions. This week has been a bit manic with work, family, training and getting everything organised for the trip. On top of that after returning from Jordan I'm only home for 4 days before I head out for a short break with the family before then heading to Portugal for another pre track season training camp with a Loughborough crowd. It's all good stuff though and thoroughly looking forward to this weekend and next weeks race. The World XC is without doubt the biggest event I will have competed in thus far and after my first taste of running in a GB vest at the Europeans back in December I can't wait to do it again. Although I must admit I think I will find being away from home more difficult now in that other than a few weekend races it will be longest time away from home with Thomas now on the scene.

Oh one other thing that's kept me busy is the HealthChek Running Group which we are launching on May 4th, aim is to help others of all levels of ability with their running. Check out the link http://www.healthchekuk.com/Running_Group.html

We are also offering free training sessions during April and May in the build up to the race for life. As you can see there's been plenty going on!

Anyway that's all for now, if we have internet access in Aldershot I will post more, I also plan to start putting a few more details of my training sessions (track sessions, weights sessions etc) will try get some pics and video's linked in too.

All for now

Cheers

Lee

Monday, 9 March 2009

Photo's from the weekend...

Lining up for the start...


Just before the gun goes...


The early stages (i'm hidden in the group, you need to look closely, check out the Guernsey contingence in the background)...



The first move at the front of the race starts to spread the field out...



Working to hold a top 5 place...


Mid race battle ....

The Closing stages....


I make my move with 400 to go....


The podium (3rd place for me and automatic selection for World XC)...


For more pictures (including some of the Guernsey Junior athletes chekc out the link below...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

World Cross Trials Report....


Race went really well! I finished third winning a bronze medal and most importantly gaining the third automatic qualification spot for the Great Britain team at the World Cross Country Championships, these will be held in Amman, Jordan on Saturday 28th march....


The race yesterday was tough as you'd probably expect, for those who watched I'm sure could see that from the look on my face in the sprint for home! watched the highlights this morning on http://www.eightlane.com/ which was painful in itself! Whilst this is probably my best achievement in a domestic cross country race to date, it's certainly wasn't my best look in front of a camera! and i've had some bad ones :-)


here's a link if you fancy watching it http://www.eightlane.com/generator.php?search=Video&id=827


I also did a post race interview which can be found here on the same site http://www.eightlane.com/generator.php?search=Video&id=828

After getting myself into a good early position off the start line I soon found myself having to work back an early break made by the front of the lead pack. I almost lost contact at around half way into the race but after working back to the lead group I had a good tussle with Phil Nichols and Keith Gerrard which seemed to pull us clear from the others and also meant we caught and passed the Eritrean guy running for Scotland West County who held 3rd for first half of the race. At least I thought we'd got clear as whilst I made my move on the 4th and final lap going into the long stretch for home drawing clear of Nichols and Gerrard, Tom Lancashire came through strongly finish just 2 seconds behind me for 4th.

There were some very good performances from Guernsey athletes too which bodes well for the future...

Seniors Womens: Louise Perrio 92nd
U20 Women: Sarah Mercier 28th (Sarah won Team silver for Hampshire)
U15 Girls: Nicola Petit 139th
U13 Boys: George Mason 54th / 294
U13 Girls: Katie Rowe 17th (with 2 years left in the age group!) Claire Heaume was also 98th
(Katie won team bronze for Hampshire and was the first scorer over the line)

Should have some more pictures of the race up tomorrow.

Cheers for now

Lee

Thursday, 5 March 2009

World Cross Trials Pre event post

Inter Counties / World Cross Country trials are only 2 days away and the body is starting to freshen up nicely, which is exactly what you want going into an important race. I've put the bad run from 2 weeks ago behind me now but on quick reflection and to use someone else's words... it was a different sport! (in describing the underfoot conditions & terrain of my last race). I guess that's the unique thing with cross country running in that every course/race is different and you can't change that so you just have to give yourself the best chance of success by focusing on what you can.

I would be lying if I said that the result from 2 weeks ago hadn't effected me a little bit at the time, as training had been going so well, but I've looked upon it as a blessing as its removed any danger of complacency I might have had this weekend. I still remain confident in the knowledge that I'm in good shap though, better than ever infact. Plus if anything I go into the race in a very similar position to that of the European Trials back in November, as an underdog to make the team. I know that I need be on the top of my game in order to qualify for the team and suits me fine as it adds pressure, which you need to bring the best out of yourself.

All the races will be shown live on Sky sports this saturday, my race will be just after 2.30pm but there are junior athletes from Guernsey running through out the day, first event starts at 11am. Whilst the event is also the Inter Counties (hence you would normally be running in your county vest - Hampshire for me!) I will be running in a club vest, I didn't manage to get hold of the Hampshire team manager until last week and the team was already arranged, thankfully someone sorted me out with a guest spot! As I'm first claim Newham & Essex Beagles for road and cross country look out for a black vest with a yellow horizontal stripe through the middle.

For those that miss the race live, check out my twitter for updates.

All for now.

Cheers

Lee