Ryan McLeod

Great North Run
8 September, 2013

Summer’s Over

I know I haven’t written a blog in a long long time so I thought I’d bring people up to speed with what’s been going on in my life over the last few months.

My last blog was from back in April and I was yet to race, I can confirm all went well, I got round the 10,000 on the track and things have progressed nicely since.

Briefly, the summer went average really. I couldn’t have expected too much considering I’d missed the majority of the winter bulk and only got going with training in March.

I finished my track season very early, in mid July after the UK Champs 5000m. I knew I wasn’t able to get into good 5000 shape so I concentrated on working on running a fast 3000 just to give my summer some purpose and set some goals. I opened up with a solo 8:18, backed with up with an 8:15 a few weeks later. Things began to click in training and my sessions really picked up and was hopeful of a really fast one within the coming weeks. I planned the UK Champs 5000, hoping for a tactical race, followed by a BMC 3000 the week after.

In training 2 weeks before the Trials I managed to tear my calf resulting in a week of offloading and sessions in the pool. It wasn’t a bad tear but enough to upset training for 8 days. I made the Trials and it ended up being a flat out race for me and I paid the price in the last mile where my lack of training showed. I still managed 14:13 and 5th. Not a disaster, but not where I would have liked to have finished before the race. That’s now 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in the UK Champs 5000 in my last 4 attempts.

I had to call off doing the BMC 3000 as I aggravated my calf wearing spikes in the UK Champs and that pretty much ended my summer campaign, now with the focus switched towards the Great North Run in September.

I knew with the timeframe I could get myself into good shape for the Great North Run so up went the mileage and in came the long tempos.

It’s been a frustrating few weeks as I’m very much a racer and competing brings me on. I haven’t raced since the UK Champs and the Great North is next week. I don’t think this has hampered me but it would have been nice for a confidence boost with a fast 10k under my belt.

I did do a training race a few weeks ago when I was in London but I don’t really count that one as it was more of a Sunday run for me although I got a little carried away at the end when I could see the leader! It was just a bit of fun supporting my mates’ event- The Bushy Park RunThrough Half Marathon.

This weekend I don’t know what to expect with it being my first half marathon. I’m really looking forward to being part of such a fantastic event. I jogged round a couple years ago in 72:30 and absolutely loved it. Last year I worked at the event when I was injured so this time round it’s exciting to toe the line with the likes of Farah, Bekele and Gebreselassie.

I’ll just make sure I race sensible, put myself in the mix with a good group and hopefully get a great time out of it.

After the Great North I’m still undecided on what I’ll do. I’ll be doing a few more road races for sure, aiming to join the 28 minute club over 10k and then there’s ‘cross country’… The two words I’ve cursed for the last 18 months and swore I’d never do again.

I have no idea if I’ll do another cross race again after injuring myself. My physio tried to convince me otherwise this week and I’m yet to get my coach’s opinion on it, so who knows!

If I turn up to the Euro Cross Trials in November; one thing’s for sure, I’ve either been bet a significant amount of money or I’ve been forced as a forfeit for loosing a bet!

LrUMB
20 December, 2012

Picking Up The Pieces

Well my nightmare year is finally ending, will my body decide to play ball in 2013? Your guess is as good as mine. I last updated at the end of October when things were looking up, they were, I got up to some good volume and was running some miles. I even did a few sessions!
I was on the track running 10 min reps with Wilesy when he was down visiting- he’s my good luck charm. I got an hour run done with him and my first track session in a long time.
Then things went out the window once again when on a Tuesday evening my back decided to pack in on me. A strange feeling, it just spasmed with a quite intense pain mid rep which was weird, something I hadn’t experienced before. I stopped, stretched out thinking it was muscular  and it disappeared instantly. It soon returned as I started my next rep, so I just chopped the session and jogged home. The pain eased however the following day I was in agony after 10 mins of an easy run. I knew it was pretty serious then as I had to walk home in tights. I’m not one showing off my legs in the lycra unless I’m moving quickly!

I had an assessment by 2 UKA physios and the UKA doc and all came to the same conclusion of that I had an annular tear in my L4/L5 lumbar. Basically a knackered disc and a sore nerve! The cause of this was a weak core- not much training during the summer months. Understandable really however something I couldn’t have predicted. I was only found out as I pushed my body to the limit in sessions, it was fine on easy/steady running.

So now it’s been a number of weeks of exercises to strengthen the core and the good news (for now) is that i’ve done a couple of runs. So far so good but I feel it’s going to be a fairly long road to run down before I reach where I want to be. I have to stay positive though and i’ll keep on fighting.

So in the mean time I’ll keep busy with work and keep my mind occupied. I’ve got loads on at the moment so that’s a good thing. Hopefully my next blog will have a little more success to tell of but I just thought I’d put in a little update.

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31 October, 2012

Wow, it’s been far too long

By the looks of it I last wrote a blog back in April, it’s been far too long. I had a spare evening so re-designed my site in preparation for a fresh start. It’s clean and simple and a change from the last one. I’ve really pushed on with my web work doing a fair amount of development on various sites and got loads of projects on the go to keep me busy. It does mean long hours but it’ll all be worth it in the end! I’ve got a big one in the pipeline with my best mate so i’m looking forward to releasing that one soon.

If you’re reading this I guess you want to know about running- that thing I used to do! This year has definitely been a load of rubbish when it comes to me being able to run. I chose not to update my blog when I wasn’t running as what’s the point in me telling you about what exercises I’d done, what treatment I’d had that didn’t work and how many nights out I’d had! Most people will want to know about running not the boring stuff when injured. I wrote a fair bit on here at the start of the year about how things happened and my reaction to that. Beyond April I’ve kept most in the dark as to whats been going on with me, even my family at times. I’ve just gone about my business, seeing the specialists I need to see and trying to recover.

In the end I’ve spent a small fortune, about £2300 trying to overcome the injury. I still don’t have a nailed on diagnosis but my take on it is a few different injuries in one. I think first off I knocked my pelvis out of line in Edinburgh on the Saturday. Rested a couple days, did 2 easy runs then a tempo on the Thursday. The tempo really screwed me up big time, it was a progression run which I felt great on, my heart rates were good but my hip didn’t feel quite right. I ran straight into a warm down without stopping and my knee seized up. This was severe inflammation from friction on the bone due to an out of line hip and tight ITB. The data from the tempo is below:

Anyway I think running on the Alter-G treadmill made this even worse which is why it didn’t respond to any injections. I think by running sessions on the Alter-G during March/April/May and trying steady runs ‘hoping it would go away’ (one of the common mistakes for a runner,) caused the bone to possibly stress fracture or stress response of the tibial plateau.

This was pretty much confirmed by a physio I use in the north east, Gavin Cree in Ponteland, and I was advised to rest. I hadn’t tried a sustained period of rest and based on the pain I was in when running I had no choice really. I went on crutches for a short time to keep my weight off the knee then started doing some walking for general fitness.

I rested from all sport, cycling, running, aqua jogging for around 12 weeks in total which took me to the end of August. I started doing some cycling to build up some cardio endurance before I tried any sort of running. Due to a bit of an accident with a pedal falling off, and a tarmac road I ended up cut up and bruised so I couldn’t cycle. I opted to start jogging slightly earlier than planned and things seem to be ok. This was the 1st week of September. I started out with a 20minute shuffle which took me all of 1.95 miles!

Things slowly started to pick up and before I knew it I was running 45minutes worth at around 6:45 pace, although a little tired I was still managing. I had a holiday in early October with my mates, this was meant to be my end of season break after the Great North Run, instead I worked the event for NOVA on the elite athlete team. I really wanted to do that one, so i’ll have to find another half to have a crack at. The holiday interrupted my training slightly with the long flights and  it knocked my back out again. I did an hour run and got some pain in my left SI. Thankfully with the help of the UKA phsyio Cat Riley and also Gordon Bosworth who kindly assisted I was back running properly again. That was last Thursday and I’ve ran every day since, so touch wood things will continue to go well.

I just need to get some consistent miles in now whilst staying sensible and doing my strength and conditioning, that way my body will become stronger and more conditioned. I’ve just got to look at the likes of Jonny Mellor and how he struggled all year, now he’s flying along running 47:35 for 10 miles! Crazy. All I can do is take inspiration from that and use it to motivate me so I can hopefully get back to that level myself. I’m pretty sure i’ll get there, I just have to take my time in doing so. As an athlete I feel I was only just starting to tap into what my body was capable of.

Anyway, I’ll look to bring this blog back to life as things progress.

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2 April, 2012

It’s April Already

The last 3 months have been the toughest of my life to date when it comes to athletics. I would love to say that I’m back training however i’m not and I’m yet to do a proper weeks training in 2012! Not the start to the year that I was hoping for but that’s life, it never goes smoothly.

As mentioned in my last couple blogs I spoke about how i’d been struggling with a knee problem as a result of a pretty awkward slip in the Edinburgh XC in the first week of January. Basically I did something to my biomechanics during that race which then overloaded my Iliotibial Band causing typical ITB syndrome. This was cured with treatment from the UKA Doc however the result was an inflamed fat pad within the knee. This is what has been an absolute killer to get rid of. No matter what I did, the inflammation just wouldn’t go away. I tried icing all day, anti-inflammatory gel, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, even a non steroid trammel injection.

The hardest part was having to withdraw from the New York Half Marathon and cancel my spring training plans. The NY half was a race I really wanted to do and I was looking forward to getting out to Boulder in Colorado for some training with Jonny Mellor and staying with marathon legend Steve Jones. I still wanted to go out but the physio said it was a bad move going away with no medical support as there was no guarantee i’d be training properly. I hated letting Jonny down like that but he’s a wet one and understood. It’s a good job I didn’t go as i’d be incredibly bored out there not being able to train.

Over the last 4 weeks I haven’t ran at all and under the guidance of Cat Riley and other physios at UKA I have been doing intense drills to try and get my body coping with loading again. I was managing strides after each drills session which was great but things weren’t quite feeling 100%. Then last week I went on the alter-g treadmill to try 5 minutes of running at 95% body weight. This was used just to offload my body weight slightly however after a minute or two I was still in a load of pain. I was so frustrated!

I’ve thrown well over £1000 at this injury in treatment and scans but after that run last week I was back to square one. I seen John Rogers, the doc once again last Friday and he consulted with one of the physios who’d had experience with the same injury. They decided to give me a cortisone steroid  injection. So since Friday I’ve been laid up not doing a great deal hoping this stuff is doing it’s job! I’ll know by Friday whether or not whether it’s worked or not, I dread to think what’ll happen if it doesn’t so I’m staying positive.

It’s amazing how I take being able to run for granted. After this experience I don’t think i’ll ever complain about being able to stick my running shoes on getting out the door.

So the last 3 months haven’t been too spectacular for me really, it’s been plenty of work, a few nights out while I can and getting fat. I managed to give up anything bad for me for lent… that includes sweets, chocolate, biscuits, ice-cream, unhealthy deserts and crisps. It’s been pretty useful though as I haven’t actually put a great deal of weight on, about 3 or 4kg so it’s not all that bad. I’ve also had a bet with Lew Moses’ girlfriend Gemma (who’s currently laid up to with a broken ankle after falling off a train carriage) that we will continue the no junk until we run a PB. So if I don’t manage a PB you’ll probably find me running in Australia during the winter aiming to run fast so I can eat a Milky Way.

Hopefully my next blog will be some better news, it’s been a long time coming!

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18 February, 2012

It’s been a month

It’s been a month since I last posted and to be honest, there’s nothing exciting been going on in my life. All I’ve done it work and done bits and bobs of training.

I’m still not back 100% yet although i’ve been ticking over nicely with the use of the alter -g treadmill so my fitness isn’t too bad right now. A lot has happened with this very very frustrating injury in the last month, I have sent a shed load of money trying to get it fixed. I’ve been seeing the doctor at UKA who’s been looking after me each week and a couple of physios up in Leeds- Alison Rose and Fraser McKinney. Both have been fantastic in their rehab and getting my body right again. The main problem was that my awkward slip at the Edinburgh XC knocked my biomechanics out which I had no way of knowing until it was too late. Training for 3 days seemed to really mess me up and then it was on and off from there.

The pain moved on my knee from the ITB down onto the joint line so there was a worry it could be cartilage damage so the decision was to get an MRI scan done. It was a costly decision but it was required really as we didn’t know what treatment I needed until we knew what was going on. Thankfully the scan came back all clear and there was nothing major wrong with my knee or my back so I knew that it was purely biomechanics overloading the knee. I was out of line so physio was needed.

That’s when I started going to Leeds for treatment and after a full assessment my whole left side wasn’t behaving. Thousands of exercises later I feel like I’m making progress. This week Cat Riley returned from Kenya so now I no longer have to drive up to Leeds for treatment.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to use the alter-g treadmill, this is an anti gravity machine where you effectively run inside of bag of air and the pressure of that airbag dictates how much weight goes through your legs. It’s great for those with stress fractures to reduce their body weight, I just run at 90% so there isn’t quite as much force going through my knee. It seems to be working and it behaves itself when running quickly. On Thursday I did a progression run from 6:30 pace down for a mile, then 5:30 for a mile, 5:00 for a mile,  4:36 for a couple miles, down to 4:17 for a couple minutes then back to 4:36 for 2 more minutes. I then just relaxed and warmed down. Turns out I ran a pretty swift 5k in the middle of all that but the alter-g doesn’t give a true reflection as I’m effectively running as a 67.5kg runner rather than a 75kg runner but you still get a good aerobic workout and get the lines going through their full range of movement. It shows how useful this treadmill can be though as I wouldn’t have a chance of going on the roads and doing that sort of thing.

I had more physio on Thursday evening with followed by some treatment with the doctor on Friday morning so fingers crossed it will be the end of all this rubbish and I can get my build up finished for my half marathon in New York next month. A few people have said ‘are you not worried you haven’t got much time?’ I’m not worried 1 bit, I ran 48:33 at the Great South off the back of very limited training and looking back it was only 3-4 weeks of real work. The rest was just steady running to gain fitness after a long summer break. This time round I’ve come off the back of a huge winter where I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in and that’s all in the bank, nobody can take that away. I just need a couple weeks to bring it back out again, so hopefully in 4 weeks i’ll be ready to roll in the concrete jungle.

Aside of running it’s been a chance for me to work my ass off with website and design stuff. Some days I’ve worked 18 hours but it’s all worth it at the end when you get a happy customer and a nice looking website to show for it. I’ve got 4 websites on the go at the moment so that mixed with training and college work I don’t really have much of a life right now. One of the sites is a running shop so i’ll post that up once it’s complete if the owners don’t mind- it’s great to see them entering the retail side of running as some areas don’t have specialist shops and you often see people running down the street in crappy shoes looking like Phoebe off Friends.

I also managed to sell my car yesterday, I’ve no idea if it was quick or slow, it was up for sale for about a month. I thought it was quite quick as I expected it to sell while I was away in America on my travels. My next one, a white VW Scirocco, is now on it’s way from a factory somewhere in Europe.

I just want to say huge congratulation to 2 of my good mates Jonny Mellor and Lewis Moses on both picking up gold medals at last weeks UK Indoor Champs. Jonny, I just don’t know how he does it. 13:55 on Thursday night in Ireland in Armagh followed by a crazy last 200 to win the 3000 in under 8 minutes. I hope he gets under that World indoors time of 7:50 today! And Lewis, where do I start with that lad, a 4:03 man when he came to uni off a football background. He just sums up hard work, grit, determination, persistence. He’s worked so hard over the last couple years, had his ups and downs but finally got his first of many medals. Watch out for that one. I was absolutely delighted last Sunday. He was brought back down to reality though on Thursday when we played our weekly poker game and he was first out- that meant he had to do the dishes hahaha! And obviously I made it into the money, coming 2nd to Rob ‘the biggest bluffer’ Whittle.

I best get ready as I’m off to watch the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix today in Birmingham to support the 2 lads. If you’re watching give them a shout, Lewis is in the 1500m and Jonny in the 3000m!

I had a request for a blog to detail some of the training I did as a youngster and how I progressed so when I have time i’ll go through my old diaries and see what I can find.

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17 January, 2012

Tough times since Edinburgh

Last weekend was a bad day for me, not only did I disappoint myself I let my country down. I find it tough having a bad run but this is feeling is amplified 10 fold when running for GB. I guess you could say it wasn’t a bad run as such because of the circumstances. The race was 4 laps of 2km and feeling good after the first lap I moved into a position near the front of the field and made an effort to cover a break from the 2 leaders. Around 400m into the 2nd lap I slipped on one of the corners, I somehow managed to stay on my feet and I carried on running thinking how the hell did I not go down there? I lost around 10m or so but got back into my running however once the adrenaline wore off I soon realised my back wasn’t feeling so good. I was feeling pain just above the butt cheek and my left hamstring seemed to have lost power. I didn’t contemplate dropping out, I just knew I had to get to the finish at all costs. I dropped out of race in the summer and I hated myself for it, I think it took me about 3 weeks to get over that feeling so unless my leg falls off you won’t see me taking an early bath from  a race ever again.

Because it was a GB team event there was medical help on hand and Toby Smith was very good in assessing and treating the injury. I had inflamed the lumbar of my back and this had aggravated the left hamstring. He treated the injury with acupuncture and soft tissue massage and told me I needed to rest a couple days. He referred to the injury similar symptoms to twisting an ankle so the rest was needed to allow the inflammation to go down. I took Sunday off then went for a 10min jog on Monday and it didn’t feel too bad. On Tuesday John and I both agreed it it has improved good enough to do a couple of easy runs then an hour on Wednesday morning. All went fine so on Thursday I did an 8 mile relaxed tempo with the lads. I felt great doing that, started out relaxed at 5:30’s then progressively got faster doing the last couple miles at 5:00 pace. Warming down is where it all went wrong, my left knee went crazy. I was soon in agony and struggling to walk. Something had tightened up and pulled on the iliotibial band causing pain on the lateral side of my knee.

I didn’t do anything Fri/Sat/Sun apart from get a deep tissue massage on Saturday from Becky Ellis in Loughborough. That seems to have helped and I managed to jog 30mins tonight which I was very happy about. Tomorrow I’m off to Leeds to see physio Alison Rose and hopefully she can work out the route of the problem. I’m down to run Antrim this weekend, I’ve no idea just yet if this will happen but I guess I’ll find out off Alison tomorrow.

The plus side to being injured is that i’ve got a tonne of work done. My web design is going really well at the moment and I’m just finishing off an e-commerce build for cycle shop. I’ve managed to get a lot of hours in over the last 4 days (and nights) however the late nights are not something I want to get used too!

Ryan McLeod Mike McLeod Saltwell 10k Trophy
19 December, 2011

Saltwell

I decided to go up north and run the Saltwell 10k this year because it was the 100th anniversary of England’s oldest road race. It’s a pretty special race within my family after my dad won it 16 years on the trot- I thought it was 17 but looking at the program it was 16, from 1974 to 1989. That’s some going though!  Just to be fit and running for 16 consecutive years is good going never mind seeing off the challengers every year and winning.

He shares the world record with 2 other runners for most consecutive wins of an annual race, the other two, one is American in a marathon and one is South African in a 15k. I’m not sure if they’re still running to better their own streak’s though. His record for the original course is 29:14- this doesn’t sound too fast but Chowdene Bank is around a mile long uphill so it’s certainly worth faster but times were never important, it was just about winning.

I won the event back in 2007 and 2008 and that was the end of my streak but I wanted to go back and try and get my name on the trophy one more time.

Unfortunately the old course is no longer ran due to the cost to close the roads so a new course was brought in back in the early 2000’s, maybe 2002. The new course loops round Saltwell Park 3 times taking in a couple of hills each lap so it’s pretty challenging.

Off the back of the Europeans I was quite tired so I took things easy during the week and I didn’t want to go too hard in Saltwell and kind of hoped nobody would take it out too hard on the downhill start. Thankfully that’s the way it went, Rich Morrell took up the early running at 5 min mile pace so I was just happy to follow. After a couple of miles I just continued on at that pace and he dropped back a little. I felt quite controlled and relaxed at that pace so I didn’t ease off and I just enjoyed the experience of running round.

I still had to keep pushing as at the time I didn’t know how quick I was going and it can be deceiving when you’re going up hills, I find sometimes I get the feeling I’m going quite slow, which I probably am!

On my 3rd lap I had a check behind and couldn’t see Rich so I just kept a nice tempo round to complete my 3rd lap and then begin the final downhill 800m to the finish. I picked up the leg speed over the final 400m just to work on the strong finish. It’s a good job I did because when I crossed the line someone shouted I’d broken the course record. I had no idea what the record was but I’m told it was my own from 2008 (31:08). That was an added bonus to hear that and shows I was moving quite well when relaxed.

In the end I won in 30:57 with Matt Armstrong of Coventry in 2nd 32:01 and Rich Morrell 3rd in 33:37 after he struggled badly with cramp, which was unfortunate as he was in 2nd with 1k to go.

I even got a ‘well done’ from my dad which is a rare occasion so I think he might have been a tiny bit proud on Saturday morning!

Now I’m going to crack on with some training over Christmas before Edinburgh XC on the 7th Jan.

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13 December, 2011

European Cross Race Report

The Euro Cross is always a very strong race at the front end and very competitive. Last year in Portugal I was 29th and 3rd Brit home, my aim was to build on that performance and hopefully break into the top 20 this time round. Qualifying for the event was very tough and the trial in Liverpool was pretty close, only 10 seconds separated all 6 of us so we knew we would have a great chance of a team medal.

On the Saturday we had a walk round the course to see what it was like and much to my surprise it was very dry, no hills and no obstacles to jump. It was just very twisty and turny and multiple laps. This was great for me as I’d been hoping all week that there wouldn’t be too much rain as i didn’t fancy a muddy slog. It didn’t bother me too much if it was soft as when you’re in good shape you can run on any course. So I went back to the hotel on the Saturday evening feeling pretty confident I could perform to the best of my ability.

Race day came round and I was pretty annoyed as i’d forgotten my Weetabix! I had to make do with crappy European muesli instead. It wasn’t the end of the world though, there will be times when I have to eat different types of food before a race so sometimes it’s good to try other things.

We set off to the course around 12pm, a 30minute drive, and the race started at 2:30. We managed to catch the U23 mens race when we got there so it was good to shout Wilko and see him do so well getting 2nd after his fall in the trial. While I was warming up I seen Gemma Steel, who trains in my group, get 3rd in the womens race- a great result for my coach John. We had a lot to live up to as every GB team had picked up at least a gold or a silver team medal so the pressure was on us!

We all had our own individual goals and different race plans and none of us really spoke about how we’d run the race. I imagine the lads all spoke with their coaches to discuss how to run it. John usually leaves it up to me to decide unless he feels I should run a race in a certain way. I learned a tough lesson earlier in the year at the World Cross and got carried away early on and died a slow death. At the time, I though to myself I never wanted to do that to myself again as I felt embarrassed. That was the last time I pulled on a GB vest so I wanted to make up for it to myself.

I set off conservatively mid pack, I think I was around 45th after the first 500m. We had 2 small laps of 500m to navigate followed by 6 longer laps of 1500m making 10,000m. The plan was to just try and pick my way through the field in the first few longer laps then hold my position in the later stages. I sat tight for the first km and then as we started the longer laps I began to push on. After 2.5km I was in 36th and feel nice and relaxed, the following lap I was in 32nd and then I moved onto 30th at 5500m, just passed the halfway stage.

At this point I was still feeling in control and I was running with Walshy in my sights. We both seemed to have had similar game plans and were moving through well. There wasn’t a 7km split on the results so i’m unsure as to where I was but there was a group of lads not far ahead of me running together but I was finding it tough to get on terms with them. I felt like I was constantly upping the pace but so were they.

With 1 lap to go I was in 20th position and the group were within touching distance, 10 athletes only 6 seconds in front of me. Having been completely deaf for most of the race and not hearing anything I somehow heard the commentator say that GB were in 4th position and 2 points away from the medals and 1 point ahead of Italy in 5th. Just what I needed to hear as it gave me something extra to fight for.

I made a real effort on that last lap to get onto the back of the group which was now starting to string out as people were making breaks for home within the last mile. I finally got up with Walshy just before the downhill and gave him a shout telling him we were 2 points from the medals. As I said it, he just surged hard. Clearly it worked! I remember doing that back in 2007 to Tom Lancashire, telling him we needed to beat Poland and we both ended up getting beating a Polish athlete on the last lap and that won us the team gold.

I knew where 400m to go was and I could just see a line of athletes and here I was with 1 minute of running left knowing I could get some of them. I started to increase the leg speed, got the arms working. I got round a couple athletes just before we hit the tight turns and I was pretty much eyes balls out at this point sprinting. I got 3 more in the S-bend and then as I came off the last corner I seen an Italian starting to wobble in the last 80m and I found something extra to get him on the line coming home in 13th overall.

It was an anxious wait for the scoreboard to be updated. I thought we’d done enough to get the bronze but to see Great Britain in 2nd was fantastic. We’d all ran well as a team and got rewarded with a team medal.

The other finishing positions were 9th for Andy Vernon, 15th for James Walsh, 22nd for Mark Draper, 25th for Andy Baddeley and Frank Tickner, for the 3rd time, was 37th (2007, 2010 and now 2011). Maybe he should put that in his lottery numbers?

Obviously I was delighted with my own performance, and even more so with the way I achieved it as I’m not usually a ‘come through the field’ type runner. It’s a great reward for the work i’ve put in this side of Christmas and sets me up nicely for the start of a new year. I think next time i’m in a competition like that I’ll be a little more aggressive in my race tactics but sometimes you have to take little steps before you take big ones. I wanted to run a smart race and come away with confidence and I feel I did that at the weekend.

I do think that the senior men have taken some unnecessary criticism though. France had 4 athletes home in the top 12 and a team total of 34 points. Unless we had Mo and Thommo picking up individual medals we were not winning against that French quartet on Sunday.  As team we got the best possible result, we were 2nd best on the day and that’s the reward we got and as you can tell i’m pretty proud of it! In the last 11 years GB senior Men have only won 3 team medals, a bronze and 2 silvers. Both times they won silver Mo Farah was on the podium. We had a relatively young team and no doubt we’ll all be back gunning for gold next year when we’re all stronger and faster.

Anyway enough of the negativity. Next up for me is an outing in the famous Saltwell 10k road race on Saturday. It’s England oldest road race and it’s a special one this year. It’s the 100th running of it and it’s also a race which is important to my family with my dad winning it 16 years on the trot back in the stone age. After that I’ll be getting some hard work in over Christmas and the answer is yes, i’ll be training on Christmas day. It’s a Sunday so i’ll have to get out for a long run!

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