Thursday, 30 December 2010

Mr. K. checking in.......well that`s easier said than done but let`s just say eventually !!!

Well where do I start with this the beginning I guess .

At the beginning of December it was the running Club`s trip abroad – we were off to Benidorm for their half & full marathon. There was 9 of us in the end, which I didn`t think was too bad. We all met up on Friday at Gatwick and all managed to catch the flight (!!!) which added to the fun. Whilst we booked the flights separately we had booked the trip through `Running Crazy` and was met at the airport by Malcolm and his team and went to the hotel (nice hotel - Hotel Poseidon – great location for Benidorm & the very close to the start / finish areas but looking back, maybe we should have gone B&B rather than half board. Impressed with the numbers of runners who also went with `Running Crazy`- great fun to be part of a larger group but still your own group.

The half marathon was on Saturday night. I personally think it worked but it will be interesting to find out if they hold it separately in years to come. We had gain a runner overnight so eight Covies were doing the half now with Alan & myself in support. The weather report was not looking good – it fact at 6.00pm when the runners made their way to start it was chucking it down - I don`t mean slightly raining, I mean a heavy downpour without any sign of easing up – it didn`t ease. I was praying it would stop for the marathon in the morning.

Despite the heavy ran it was fascinating to watch – the leader broke away very quickly and soon it turned into who would come in 2nd & 3rd. The great thing about the course there was a number of loops & switch back, which meant you could almost stay where you were & see and support the runners going past 2 or 3 times. I did think the cut off was a little tight - 2hrs 30mins. All the runners did really well esp in those conditions. We watched & cheered them come home - all completely soaked but all wore big, big smiles. Luckily enough the hotel was nearby so showers & cups of tea were readily available. We decided not to go the `Half Marathon After Party` as we could all go the next night.

The next day & the skies were clear & the sun was out (yeah). Normal pre-race stuff completed - I had brought my own breakfast so I was ready early on. Put on i-pod and relaxed for 20 mins or so. I nipped out for a bit of a warm up - just over 1.3M at easy pace. Met up with the gang for photos etc at 8.00am and wander down to the start (nearly forgot to start the Garmin). Fairly small field of runners (just over 300 or so). Time wise - despite wearing a 3:50 pace band (8.46m/m) I wanted a free run, which I guess why I wasn`t too bother about the fast 1st mile. With the uphill 2nd mile the pace slowed but even this faster pace felt right so I thought I go with it.

After a few miles the pace steadied off and it was nice to see constant splits. I worked out that sub 8.00/m pace for a marathon - OMG that`s 03:30:00 pace - flipping heck :-O I know I need to become a more economic runner for these longer runs I want to do and I understand the by-product of that would be faster times but still a 03:30:00 marathon runner ????? I thought the course itself was a good one - plenty of areas where the lead runners would be coming at you. I did notice that I was a lot closer than normal which was encouraging. I saw my Club mates a couple of times which was great. At the 16M stage I saw them and I thought I was quite `fresh`, however shortly after that the wheels starting to come off...

The wind had increased (plus my tiredness increase) - I tried to keep the same pace into the head wind. At about the 19M mark I took my 1st walk break - without really thinking about I just stopped to walk & take a gel. I could not believe it as a couple who I had stalked for ages & overtook about 14M went merrily past me :-( but it did make me start again. At about mile 20 I saw my club mates - they were only by a Guinness Bar - where was my beer??? For some reason that sea front section was much, much longer this time 2nd time around.

At the turn (22M) I walked again - I limited my breaks to 20 seconds. At about 23M I saw a Hogweed Trotters - he was walking too. We dragged each other along - we had planned to run to the water station & then take a walk break there. Soon enough we were on the home straight (25.5M) - again seemed to get longer. We walked / ran together. I remember that advice - no talking when walking which worked out. We `whipped` up the crowd at the turn which was amazing easy :-) Turned the corner & saw Covies - great stuff. Applauded the crowds & did a bit of show-boating for the finishing cameras.

Through the line and forgot to stop the garmin. After collecting all the `goodie bag` * stuff (* no bag provided) I made my way to my club mates & watched runners coming through.

1) - 1m - 7:52(7:52/m) - 140cal
2) - 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) - 141cal
3) - 1m - 8:07(8:07/m) - 139cal
4) - 1m - 7:58(7:58/m) - 138cal
5) - 1m - 7:45(7:45/m) - 142cal
6) - 1m - 7:49(7:49/m) - 141cal
7) - 1m - 7:50(7:50/m) - 141cal
8) - 1m - 7:47(7:47/m) - 140cal
9) - 1m - 7:41(7:41/m) - 140cal
10) - 1m - 7:47(7:47/m) - 139cal
11) - 1m - 7:48(7:48/m) - 141cal
12) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 140cal
13) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 139cal
14) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 138cal
15) - 1m - 7:51(7:51/m) - 140cal
16) - 1m - 8:05(8:05/m) - 140cal
17) - 1m - 8:23(8:23/m) - 138cal
18) - 1m - 8:34(8:34/m) - 139cal
19) - 1m - 8:34(8:34/m) - 137cal
20) - 1m - 9:31(9:31/m) - 133cal - Boom
21) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 136cal
22) - 1m - 9:39(9:39/m) - 132cal
23) - 1m - 10:39(10:39/m) - 132cal
24) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 138cal
25) - 1m - 10:29(10:29/m) - 127cal
26) - 1m - 10:23(10:23/m) - 133cal
27) - 0.54m - 9:22(17:14/m) - 77cal - *

Race provided data

4.5 Km - 00:24:26
12.9 Km - 01:04:58
13.1 M - 01:45:58
29.5 Km - 02:28:36
(20.0 M - 02:42.12)
37.5 Km - 03:17:48
42.0 Km - 03:45:18

Route -

Back at the hotel we had a couple of beers by the pool and then freshened up for the `After Party` which I have to say was a hoot – one of those classic nights that starts slowly then boom. Loads of dancing (of sorts), fun, laughs and many of those `beer` things.

Edit - Running Crazy Video Clip -

The next day (Monday) was really trying to recover from a hangover. Tuesday was much better – even went on a recovery run. We were staying till Wednesday, so come that morning we had got the hotel to open up for breakfast early – just finishing off breakfast when Malcolm came over & informed us of Gatwick being closed. Ohhh !!!!

He had already secured, if we wanted them rooms at the hotel. After a while we had worked out we couldn`t really do a lot until Gatwick had re-opened, as flights to other UK airports were full. We were all in a bit of a dazed for that day. No better news the next day. Malcolm had suggested a trip to the cross which overlooks Benidorm which was nice. A plan had emerged – two of us managed to get on a flight to Gatwick on Friday & the rest of us were booked unto Sunday`s (+4 days) to Manchester.

Another lesson learnt is to pay for `Speedy Booking` this will ensure you get on an aircraft that over sales seats – 2 extra now needed for the Manchester flight !!! Nice day out in Alicante.

Next day we had to change hotels – again all arranged by Malcolm and we spent the morning on the beach, then off for a 6M run in the afternoon. A quiet night followed as we knew we had long day ahead.

Met up with the other two who were meant to be on the Friday flight and swopped stories. Eventually the gate was called and allowed on the plane – at last. As we were landing we did have a medical emergency which for some reason felt typical for those last few days. No major problems just one of those things.

We cleared customs and found the car hire place. Now we (my brother) pre-booked a 7 seater. After a while we realised that 7 people & 7 bags would not fit !!! Alan had said that he could work in the Manchester office and his Mum lived we cut him loose. Packed in the remaining 6 bags & Gatwick bound we went. To be fair the drive was not bad at all, the worse bit was seeing the M3 junction on the M25 – big thanks Brian for driving.

Eventually we reached Gatwick North......unfortunately the car depot was closed so we had to drive to the other terminal & wait....and wait for someone to check the car over. We met up with the group and made our way home.

For a short break it turned out to be quite long.

Star Awards – a real tight call...........

1st prize has to go to the marathon Wheelchair athlete - who shown absolutely incredible strength. First he had to push himself around the course and then to finish, he had to go up the finishing ramp. He tried to go up normally, then he tried going up the ramp backwards, then he tried zig zagging up - all to rapturous cheering. Finally he made - even from the distance we were it was a `lump in throat` moment it really was – goes to prove that you should never, never give up..

Well done him (sorry I don`t know his name).

Edit - later found out his name is Mike Marten - Interview No. 44 -

Then comes closely followed is Malcolm from Running Crazy who went well beyond what we paid for - massive, massive thanks to him (BTW that`s Running Crazy at ( ). If you ever want to go on an overseas organised running trip then I highly recommend Malcolm and his team.

I do need to mention the rest of Cove Joggers gang - Karen, Julie, Wendy, Alan, Brian, Dave, Dennis, Peter, Steve - despite all the going ons which were out of our control thanks for a great week guys.

Now as it happens I had booked a week`s break to Egypt which meant I was back at Gatwick on Saturday – yeap 6 days – for a relaxing (non racing) Winter sun break. No real plans just chilling out time. Which on the whole that`s what happened............except when we got to the airport for the homeward flight, only to find the flight cancelled due to snow at Gatwick. Now I won`t bore with those details but all I`ll say is that I stayed at the Movenpick @ El Gouna for 3 extra days and it took two flights to get home.........but I did get a shout out on Marathon Talk rate your run (wk 50)

I will picking next year`s trips carefully........and there is already talk from certain corners of barring me from the next overseas Club event :-/

Next Up - Was the Cliveden Cross Country but was cancelled so it`s the Tadworth 10 on the 2nd January

Monday, 22 November 2010

Hopefully I came in last....

Well yesterday`s sweeper at Saloman`s Turbo X at Bordon was a blast.

Was a bit odd going to a race and not racing. Anyway come 10.00am the hooter went and they were off - well nearly all off, I waited for a lone `last` runner to run across the car park, and off we went to great cheers. Got to about 1/2M and on came the radio to hold back as there were 3 late runners. They caught up & off we went again. We soon caught up with main of runners.

About a couple of miles I walked with a runner who had twisted his ankle & pulled out and the next marshal point. Ran to catch the last runners up - who were in the first loads of deep ditches. Had a laugh with them - they `made me` follow the course. Soaked but luckly the radio wasn`t (pheew).

Came across a badly injured runner - twisted ankle resulting in tennis ball sized swell on his ankle. Called up for back up - to be fair it wasn`t the best place to get help to but a marshal on the quad bike came along after 15 mins or so. Gave the runner a hat I found and the choc bar I had in my pocket and off I went again to catch the runners up.

Well when I signed up for the sweeper`s role I didn`t expect I would need to run at race pace during this one. By the time I found the last runners I was knackered. They must have been at least 2.5 away (ok maybe 1.5M - 2M) but I was knackered. The last runner was also someone who had gone over on their ankle. She had done really well to get to that point - she didn`t want to quit. We carried on & entered the X zone - blooming heck, waist high mud ditches, cold water streams - not good when fully fit. She so wanted to finish the course so it was a massive shame when she pulled out with about a 1 mile (or less) to go.

I set off to see if there was any others still out on the course (I`ll admit not going through the rest of the X zone) - didn`t see anyone and made my way through the finish. Hopefully I was the last one.

Hope the injured are not too injured.

Good fun & yes I`ll do a sweepers job again. Had a nice cup of strong hot coffee and a pot noodle at the car. So a bit harder as the first day of a taper week than 1st thought but a lot of fun. Roll on next weekend.

Top tip - get to races early.

Not sure how (or if) I should log the miles I ran.

Next up - Benidorm with the club. Weather wise for the marathon on Sunday = 16C with light rain. Sunday`s evening weather - what do I care, as if I`ll remember it :-)

Monday, 15 November 2010

No going back now....

......remember that `Be careful what you ask for, as you might just get it`....

Well today I posted off my race entry to the `SIS Lightning 12` – This is an off road 12 hour event in March 2011 over a 6.2 mile course that "will be as challenging as it is enjoyable". Open for solo runners & teams.

Race details -

Last year`s winner`s blog -

Yep I`ll be doing this solo.

Not too sure about a training plan just yet, but races already entered so far include the Winter`s Tanners 30 in January & the Moonlight Challenge in February. I guess I`ll have to read up on 50M or 100Km training plans (that`s a bit scary - gulp). One thing I do need to work out is race nutrition. As for my target mileage – not too sure as the weather conditions will play a major part but if the weathers gods play fairly then I like the thought of double figures.

Exciting times ahead then :-)

PS I know - I wish I could do links

Sunday, 7 November 2010

My own tribute to the past.....

....& the Athens Marathon.

A bit of a preface - I first saw this Athens Marathon around early March time, and to be honest it wasn`t the fact that it was advertised as the `2,500 year anniversary of Philippides running` (that did help to highlight the event) but what attracted me to this was that it was being held on the weekend anniversary of my Dad`s passing. So I thought it would be perfect to run this for my Day & Brother. What also helped is that I really do enjoy the Greek thing - culture, weather, people, the way of life plus I`d been to Athens a number of times.

So to the actual trip.

Friday - On the plane I played the `guessing` game - Guess the runners. I think I spotted a few, looking at their non 'street' trainers, running club cloths wear. The lady sitting next to me helped out with showing off her duty free in a Sweatshop bag. Turns out she was running with 2.09 events. I told her that whilst I hadn't been away with Mike and his team I had, being local to 2.09 done a few of his races (plus I know someone who works for them). On the flight over I managed to catch up on two podcasts of Marathon talk – inc. the one about international racing - LOL - well better late than never!!!

Collected my free travel card. Got to the hotel (Hotel Attalos in the Monastiraki area) without issue and a quick night walk with something to eat and an early (ish) night was the plan.

Saturday - A bit of a rare lie in as no parkrun. Leisurely breakfast and made my way to the expo. Bit of a scrum but saw & collected everything I needed. After catching a few rays in a nearby park it was back to the hotel - no point on wasting energy before the race esp when I can walk around Athens on Monday & early Tuesday to free up the legs.

Race day - With the early start and clocks changing I didn`t have the best night`s sleep. I was up around 4.15am (I think), had breakfast in the room, showered and out the hotel door at 5.15am, nearing bumping into this couple back from a Halloween fancy dress party - I don`t know who jumped more. Anyway got to Syntagma - the nearest bus collection point and away we went - unlike the `JW Ultra` bus this bus was very, very quiet. So enough we were out of Athens and started to see some of the race distance signs - also made note of the hills & slopes along the way !!!

Got to the Marathon, again all a bit quiet. We made our way into the starting area AND what an starting area it was - Incredible - and that was at 6.45am. All what was at the starting area was basically a running track with a gym, the starting areas with zones, loads of loos & an Olympic torch and a plaque marking where you were BUT what an atmosphere - Traditional Greek music was being played out. Got changed & dropped the bag off and did 2 or 3 laps as a warm up on the track, along with the elites - how fast do they warm up???

About 8.50am I got into the zone - I was in zone 6 (of 7) & TBH I didn`t mind that as it meant a steady start esp in sun. I had a planed to run to a 4 hour pace (9.08/m), again not really knowing how I would react to the heat plus how the legs would like running again after pinching that 3:40 at Abingdon two weeks ago - my biggest worry was cramp. It was fascinating to see how runners from different countries dressed - and stereotyping here - the Greeks (3/4 legs), Germans (loud bright colours), & Chinese (wore red & carrying their flags).

At about 9.15am our wave had started. Kept it steady for the few miles. Soon enough we were going around the Marathon statue (5 Km - around 27:30), seeing the runners in front & behind was a boost. but was a bit busy & tight in this section plus it was the 1st water station. I was going to take a few photos but didn`t in the end. Carried on back, and it did thin out. Heard these two American runners behind - saying how bang on schedule they were, how awesome they were doing.....I looked at garmin - we had just past the 4M mark lol.

A few steady miles later & it was the 10Km point - 55:XX something which was about right, maybe a bit of time in the bank. At this point we moved in land so the views of the sea disappeared. Just before the 10M mark the course took a nasty direction - uphill. Didn`t really need that but then it did go down for a couple of miles, then back uphill again. Through half way (again an uphill section) in around 1:58:xx - two minutes in the bank = NOT ENOUGH.

Kept the pace steady as the miles passed - seeing the small road side shrines & a couple of Greek Churches reminded me of why I was here.

The support from the locals was just amazing - the memories of the shouts out of "Bravo, Bravo, Bravo" & handing out Olive branches I will treasure for a long time. I did try to shout back out efkharisto. The next mile stone point was the 26Km mark - was funny as I cleared there in 02:26. By this stage I changed my water station tactics - first half of the bottle I emptied over me (& my burning left arm) & into my cap to cool me down, the rest I sipped.

Through 20M @ 03:02 which from my pace band was right on the 4hr button - no safety margin. I needed to push on, there's no way I wanted to give them a just over 4hr marathon time. I used the end of the small underpass as the point where I was going to speed up - 21M flew at 8:26 - opps my thought was don`t blow it and get cramp, I needed to save some energy for the 5 remaining miles, reduced pace a bit - seeing more and more runners at the side stretching out their legs confirmed this. Relaxing the lower legs the best I could but maintaining a sub 9/m pace. Each mile past was a mile closer and vital seconds being put into the bank. Mile 24 was a brutal little rise (allowed myself a 10 second walk – did swear to myself to get a move on). As I went around the corner I saw my 1st runner down :-( Never good but reminded me to finish was the first goal & then a sub 4 was goal No. 2. Eased back a bit more, kept the legs relaxed as I knew I had a few seconds in the bank. The last mile I sped up almost counting the seconds down.

As I turned the corner I saw the finishing stadium – WHAT A FINISH – the ancient marbled stadium with the Olympic rings in the background - it takes your breath away. Passing the 42Km flag – which was practically the only Km marker I noticed – hearing the roar of the crowd is simply unforgettable. Those last 195 metres did seem to take an age and I don`t mind admitting that I finished with tears in my eyes and arms waving around – I had done it, not the actual running of the marathon but I had run for something far, far bigger than me – my Dads & Brothers memory. Plus I guess for the romantics it was nice to run in footsteps of Philippides and in the 2,500 year anniversary run.

Got through the finish and met with the medley of the finishing area. Went to the bag bus & after 10 / 15 mins of waving my number around I realised I would be there a lot longer. I walked back to the stands & watched runners coming through. As I turned to find a better viewing area I bumped into Crazylegs1979 – A Reading Roadrunner & had a bit of a chat. After that I sat back down & continued to watch the runners – I guess I sat there for a least 90 mins enjoying the moment (well moments I suppose) – I am so glad I went up into the stands for those 2 hours instead of waiting for my bag. Eventually I did go back to bag bus & collected my bag within minutes & walked back to the hotel. Eating a whole packet of Haribo Star mix on the way.

This race is special to me from many reasons - Ok the route might not have the best views, and is mostly along the dual carriageway but I`ll like to know of better start & finish areas of another marathon. I am so glad I ran it.

After a quick shower & changing into my recovery skins I went to the roof top bar for few beers - got chatting to an English couple & their American friend (who's wife won the V60 age category in the Boston Marathon – Blondie Vucich – 03:28:31 - but was asleep in their room after her marathon). What was more amazing is that after chatting about Greece and where I`d been, it turned out that they live on a small island called Paros, just outside of a small village where I have visited on a couple of occasions for Yoga break. They knew my Yoga teacher out there, we chatted about the village life, where I stay and who owns it – unbelievable – it is indeed a small world.

My race data;

5 Km – 00:27:42
10 Km – 00:55:58
21 Km - 01:58:23
30 Km - 02:50:14

1) - 1m - 8:47(8:47/m) - 136cal
2) - 1m - 8:49(8:49/m) - 139cal
3) - 1m - 9:03(9:03/m) - 138cal
4) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 140cal
5) - 1m - 8:54(8:54/m) - 138cal
6) - 1m - 9:01(9:01/m) - 139cal
7) - 1m - 8:56(8:57/m) - 139cal
8) - 1m - 9:03(9:03/m) - 139cal
9) - 1m - 8:41(8:41/m) - 139cal
10) - 1m - 9:20(9:20/m) - 140cal
11) - 1m - 8:29(8:29/m) - 139cal
12) - 1m - 8:50(8:50/m) - 139cal
13) - 1m - 9:31(9:32/m) - 139cal
14) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 139cal
15) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 140cal
16) - 1m - 9:41(9:41/m) - 140cal
17) - 1m - 9:10(9:10/m) - 139cal
18) - 1m - 9:23(9:23/m) - 141cal
19) - 1m - 9:35(9:35/m) - 141cal
20) - 1m - 9:18(9:18/m) - 132cal
21) - 1m - 8:27(8:27/m) - 139cal
22) - 1m - 8:52(8:53/m) - 140cal
23) - 1m - 8:51(8:51/m) - 138cal
24) - 1m - 8:51(8:52/m) - 140cal
25) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 146cal
26) - 1m - 8:41(8:41/m) - 140cal
27) - 0.31m - 2:32(8:16/m) - 43cal

Finishing time - 03:57:29

Monday - I spent the day at the local beach soaking up the sun - shame I couldn`t find a fish n chip shop – well you can`t have them all I suppose.

Bravo & efkharisto Athens.


Next up is a little rest, then a couple of fun events - Turbo X on the 21st November, then the Benidorm`s marathon on the 28th (our club`s outing) both events I`m looking forward to.

PS Seeing as I`m not running London who knows I might even pop back to Greece for the “Alexander The Great” marathon on the 10th April 2011.....

My You Tube Video of the weekend.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Wise old saying....

Be careful what you ask for; you may get it...

Has proved right. Opened an e-mail last night and thought `OMG`

Have I bitten off too much???? ....going to fun finding out :-)

More to follow next week !!!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Great South Run

Great South Run..

Trouble with entering races from a year out is that come race day it may not fit your programme. Which is exactly what happened here - a flat 10 miler, big event, chip time, plenty of support etc etc etc and I couldn`t race it - well I could have but I think I would have broken myself - gutted really. Unlike last year when I (successfully) challenged the white zone number I was quite happy to run from the 2nd zone - I had decided on 9.00/m (1:30) - easy on the head and hopefully easy on the legs.

The feeling of de ja ve ...... another early dark morning, scrapping the ice of the car, moon still hanging around the dark skies, promise of clear blue skies but with a nip in the air...

Soon enough the dark skies cleared to a bright blue sky, the sun so low that the sun visor was almost useless - still very nippy thou. Got to Gosport (despite missing my junction on the M27 - opps in plenty of time to spare !!!). Parked up and got the ferry over and walked over to the starting / finish area.

A quick look around and nipped over to the changing area (basically to keep warm). Bumped into Big John (Ex-Cove Jogger now Sandhurst), whilst getting changed Tiptoes & martinthemedic came over. Told them that with Abingdon last week & Athens this week that I wasn`t racing. Fingers in ear job. Saw & wished Euan (Basingstoke parkrun RD) happy birthday & saw Richard. Soon enough it was time to venture out into the cold. More for leg muscle protection rather than warmth I wore my full leg `skins` & a vest. Met up with Sue & Lynn (her first 10M).

Got in the `zone` - I do mean of course the white zone rather than THE ZONE, soon enough we shuffled forward and crossed the start line and we were off.

Just Mile 1 spot on, just before mile 2 we went passed the Victory (or `Nike` as I will be saying next week - did you see what I did there???). Without the `racing` head on it did mean you can look around more - read some of the messages on the various running tops - TBH I struggled a bit there. Quicken the pace a little during the next mile as compensation I guess. During mile 3 you start to see runners coming past the other side. As I moved over to the side & I saw `RLTW` - a GNR runner - in front of me (names on the back of tops, as well as front work). Had a brief chat & pushed on. Got shouted at by Sue A little bit fast during these miles but it so hard to keep a slower pace when getting loads of support from others runners & spectators.

Through 6M & you get to see the faster runner nearing their finish (I so wanted to be there racing). Pushed a bit through 7M & then 8M. Missed out on the showers & didn`t drink during the race - wanted to practise getting hot & running. Around the corner and into the final two miles, will admit on pushing the pace a bit here - through the BUPA section. Backed off a bit at the 800 metres to go sign & giving out high fives where I could and through the finish. Nearly ran into the back of Sue, Andrew, Ian, Jon, Nick, Philip and a couple of others who had shortly finished before me.

Split Summary

1) - 1m - 9:02(9:02/m) - 138cal
2) - 1m - 9:15(9:15/m) - 140cal
3) - 1m - 8:29(8:29/m) - 141cal
4) - 1m - 8:54(8:54/m) - 140cal
5) - 1m - 8:38(8:38/m) - 139cal
6) - 1m - 8:40(8:40/m) - 140cal
7) - 1m - 8:36(8:36/m) - 139cal
8) - 1m - 8:29(8:29/m) - 139cal
9) - 1m - 8:18(8:18/m) - 140cal
10) - 1m - 8:12(8:12/m) - 140cal
11) - 0.15m - 1:03(7:01/m) - 19cal

5 Km = 00:28:20
10 KM = 00:55:25
15 Km = 01:22:04

10M = 01:27:48 (Garmin 01:27:36)

(What is an acceptable tightness of mile splits anyway????)

Entries are open now for GSR 2011 but will (try to) resist as running in October 2011 has already been earmarked (& it means unable to run the Basingstoke Half too) !!!

During the run I did have the thoughts of becoming a guide runner....will investigate more I think but if you know anything please pass it on.

Afterwards had fish n chips on the beach - tis a great way to end the day.

Glad to report no issues with the legs or feet. Looking forward to an easy week - 4M Tuesday & 4M Thursday.

Next up is the Athens Marathon this weekend.

* BTW `Nike` is

Monday, 18 October 2010

A six months wait finally over.

Abingdon marathon - My 2nd road marathon.

My 1st road marathon was London, where I was running to and planning a 3:40:00 (8.23/m) attempt so when I ended up with 4:00:08 I was very disappointed .... OK, I know it was London and I had started in the 4:30:xx zone - I was not even bothered about those 8 seconds - thought that was funny - I just knew I could do much better.

Come race day I really didn`t have a clue about what time / pace I wanted I run, I didn`t think I was in Pre-London shape but did manage to squeeze in a two week taper more to do with the couple of marathons coming up so I really settled around 3:50 (8.45/m) - I know huge window.

The race started at 9.00am which did mean a very early start to the day. Awake at 4:50 ish but at least breakfast was out of the way, could not really tell what the weather was up to as it was DARK. Slight delay driving out as I had ICE on the rear screen - it was blooming cold & dark !!!!

Arrived at Abingdon - at least someone had turned the lights on but not the heaters - it was chilly. I had decided on a vest with arm sleeves (if I got warm then at least I could tie them off). Met up with loads of folks I knew and that was even before I got outside. Got outside very late - no real warm up (mistake). Chatted to Kelly & wished her well for her big race, saw Ruth and ask what time she wanted & she replied 3:50... Anyway before we knew it the gun went off and over the two sets of mats (which one do I start my watch on???). Around the lap we went and out of the gate...

First mile down - it was a bit fast. Saw RachE & heard Gobi :-), through the 2nd mile also fast. I saw OS at about 3M, I guess I settled down after 4 or 5. Saw Ruth & Alan ahead, I resisted the urge to chase them down as I knew they were running faster than they had planned to. Through the 5M mark at around 40:36 - still up but OK. Now I don`t normally get any pains but my Achilles was giving me a bit of grief (no warm up I guess) anyway shorten my stride, imagined lifting my heel up in the wheel - it seemed to be OK after a few miles (a good warm up). Caught up with Ruth & Alan around the 7M mark. Alan dropped back a bit so carried on running with Ruth. No problems there as I had run with Ruth before, we were going OK, no strict time plan just wanted to finish strongly. Went through 10M at 1:20:54 (40:36, 41:18). Then we turned into the trading estate & I saw the balloons for the 1st time - hundreds of them. Around the corner & we were spotted - they went mad. The noise was deafening, didn`t stop - so couldn`t really say who was there but thank you all - what a buzz and that `Fetch wave` carried us for a few miles. As we turned down the track I said we needed to steady the pace as we still had quite a distance to go.

Didn`t really look at the halfway split or the 15M split but looking back it was 2:01:55 (40:36, 41:18, 41:01). We kept a steady pace with the miles ticking away nicely. We used the small undulations well when overtaking other runners, had some fun at the water-stations. One thing I had learnt that Ruth wasn`t that good at taking the cups at water stations. I ended up giving her marks out of ten. At one station, and to be fair to Ruth the water marshal did offer the water quite late....not much water left in that cup then - score 6/10 :-) This kept us going for a few miles.

The Fetchpoint seemed to come around quicker than before. Saw Mick N Phil who sadly retired but they were there cheering through the runners. Shortly afterwards I roughly work out that 20M split - 2:43:13 (40:36, 41:18, 41:01, 41:18) - which was a 20M PB by about 5mins - odd how the mind works as soon as I worked that out I felt very tired. We had picked up 2FF, during the next mile I dropped back a bit - loo stop & then stopped to remove the sleeves (didn`t want to drop the garmin). That 2nd stop was a mistake as it was a bit of a struggle to get the momentum back up again so dropped back even more. The small subway was horrible. I saw a lady that helped me during the Dunstable Downs 20M so I encouraged her to stick with me. Saw TracyB & Mike during this last bit...out of nowhere the 25M sign appeared - great but what wasn`t so good was a runner fell over a raised man hole cover but luckily enough MOAT was there & helped her back on her feet. Back into the college ground, then a loop of the outer fields which dragged on & on & on - I switched screens on the garmin to one screen - run time in BIG numbers - I didn`t want a 3:40:and a few seconds - imagine the grief so I sped up a bit and finally back into the track......

...Around the track & through the line......a six month wait was over.....Clock time - 3:39:41

Saw Kelly almost straight away after I had finished - she had a cracking race and finished with a 3:28:30 - a great time, pleased for her. Saw OS - who took some great photos and made my way to where Ruth, Gymfreak (another PB), RachE & Gobi were - got a big hug from Ruth and saw Alan come in. Shook hands with Ben (storming time) who somehow knew already about my PB. Martin & Mark were there too.

Great facilities afterwards - great viewing area, tea & coffee, hot showers, cheap massage area, BBQ, clothes stall, even the walk back to the car parking area helped ease the legs....ohh we got a medal, T-shirt, water, mars bar, pen.....

So many wonderful memories from the day - the lady with the speakers on her bike, the numerous helpful & happy marshals (SE cheering us past), the wonderful company I had for over half the race, the smiling faces of finishing runners, some with PB`s - so many memories that I`ve forgotten half of them - sorry.

On the way home Alan & I were trying to find areas where they could improve things...we were struggling & couldn`t find any.

Basically this is an event that every marathon runner should do at least once.

Splits -

1) - 1m - 8:00(8:00/m) - 139cal
2) - 1m - 7:51(7:51/m) - 141cal
3) - 1m - 8:03(8:03/m) - 140cal
4) - 1m - 8:19(8:19/m) - 142cal
5) - 1m - 8:23(8:23/m) - 140cal
6) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 141cal
7) - 1m - 8:26(8:26/m) - 139cal
8) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 141cal
9) - 1m - 8:13(8:13/m) - 140cal
10) - 1m - 8:11(8:11/m) - 140cal
11) - 1m - 8:08(8:08/m) - 141cal
12) - 1m - 8:06(8:06/m) - 139cal
13) - 1m - 8:03(8:03/m) - 142cal
14) - 1m - 8:26(8:26/m) - 140cal
15) - 1m - 8:18(8:18/m) - 140cal
16) - 1m - 8:20(8:20/m) - 140cal
17) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 141cal
18) - 1m - 8:16(8:16/m) - 141cal
19) - 1m - 8:17(8:17/m) - 140cal
20) - 1m - 8:16(8:16/m) - 141cal
21) - 1m - 8:16(8:16/m) - 140cal
22) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 140cal
23) - 1m - 9:10(9:10/m) - 138cal
24) - 1m - 8:52(8:52/m) - 139cal
25) - 1m - 9:32(9:32/m) - 139cal
26) - 1m - 9:03(9:03/m) - 140cal
27) - 0.28m - 2:20(8:19/m) - 37cal

Pace Zone Summary
Pace Zone: 6:40-6:59/mile: 1.7%
Pace Zone: 7:00-7:19/mile: 2.8%
Pace Zone: 7:20-7:39/mile: 7.1%
Pace Zone: 7:40-7:59/mile: 18.1%
Pace Zone: 8:00-8:19/mile: 21.5%
Pace Zone: 8:20-8:39/mile: 16.4%
Pace Zone: 8:40-8:59/mile: 11.2%
Pace Zone: 9:00-9:19/mile: 7.1%
Pace Zone: 9:20-9:39/mile: 3.8%
Pace Zone: 9:40-9:59/mile: 2.7%
Pace Zone: 10:00-10:19/mile: 1.6%
Pace Zone: 10:20-10:39/mile: 1.2

Pleased with time - just wished I finished stronger. I can use that magnetic race time strip from VLM.

Next up - A sports massage tomorrow night, then easy runs on Thursday night & Saturday morning, then the Great South on Sunday - again easy pace. Then a little trip to Athens which will be bitter & sweet.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Soaked but happy

Autumn Spitfire 20

I was actually thinking should I really be doing a 20 miler run a week after the JW Ultra .....????? I justified it as if I could do this then I could do Abingdon marathon on the 17th & then two weekends later the Athens marathon plus I wouldn`t be going flat out. I did think I could use the `5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 2` running plan but then I settled for straight 9.30/m so aiming for 3 hrs 10 mins or thereabouts - nearly planning a PW time !

I had run this route before in March (Surrey Spitfire 20) so I knew the set up & the course - it is my PB course @ 2:47:18. I`ve not done too many 20 milers but I do think it`s a fast course. Two laps of 10M, starting within the Aerodrome then out unto the local roads, fairly flat with a few lumps here and there - one near the front gate (2.5M & 12.5M), then one at 6M (16.5M) & one at 8M (18M)*.

* This time the start / finish line had moved to the far side of the airfield meaning the loop of the baron airfield was the first few miles and the rises moved out by approx 2 miles - I like it. Great improvement & made for faster course as not blown around when you are tired.

One thing I didn`t like this time around was the weather report - heavy rain !!!! But if it rains for your A race then it`s all good practice I suppose. Collected number & warmed up....not in the normal sense but by turning heater up in car - only venturing out of the car at the last possible moment :-) To be fair the promised rain wasn`t failing at that stage and clipped away by cap (handy having a race belt as you can hang all-sorts of stuff on it). Anyway after a bit of a surprised start (or was me not paying attention) we were off - it was a steady but a little fast first few miles - I wanted to be slower.... I knew where the 1st rise was so knew I could ease the pace there. Hit my target pace with 3 miles - nice but still up by 90 seconds. Ran with runnaholic for a few miles, chatting about parkruns, local races, mad races etc. Past the water stop at 5M - near enough on target now.

Great support from the marshals - but I did feel like a bit of a fraud really when they shouted `Looking Strong`, "You can do this", Enjoyed the steep rises at 6.5M & 8M - kept the workload the same rather than dropping pace. Unto the far side of the course. A bike race was also being staged and to be honest I would rather be running then cycling as it looked liked a couple of them had taken a tumble in the wet conditions. Told a couple of the 10 milers to chase down runners in front & finish strongly, which they did. Past the pub & through the back gates and one lap done. (10M split - 1:33:41)

As soon as I passed the half way stage & out onto the open track the rain became to fall a lot heavier - typical !! I was running a touch too fast esp the open part of the course. Got the pace right around 14 M & 15 M. At 16 miles I was about 90 seconds up against the predicted 3:10. At 16.5 M it was the first rise - a bit of a sharp incline really - I thought it would good to whack the speed up, so I pushed up this rise, along out onto the main road, just about managing to grab some water at the water station and
push on. Down a sharp ish drop, then around the corner and pushed up the longer rise at 18 M. Kept the pace constant which was pleasing. I looked at the garmin - I was around the 8 mins mile pace - COME ON !! I was loving this part. Heard shouts from this car that I had seen at several places around the course..."Come on Mr.K - you are going faster and faster" - I wasn`t really but a great shout out. Into the final mile and kept pushing the same effort and passed the old & crashed `Top Gear` cars and through the finish line.

A pleased run esp happy with the last 2.5 miles.

I would like to give the 10 miler event a crack as I`m sure it`s a PB course but when there is a 20 miler race there........a great, well organised & well marshalled event (thanks for standing out in the rain), water & gels offered at the water stations, chip timed. Well worth getting soaked for and a huge gong for a finishing medal.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 8:41(8:41/m) - 137cal
2) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 139cal
3) - 1m - 9:30(9:30/m) - 140cal
4) - 1m - 9:48(9:48/m) - 141cal
5) - 1m - 10:00(10:00/m) - 142cal
6) - 1m - 9:48(9:48/m) - 143cal
7) - 1m - 9:35(9:35/m) - 141cal
8) - 1m - 9:25(9:25/m) - 140cal
9) - 1m - 9:14(9:14/m) - 142cal
10) - 1m - 9:14(9:14/m) - 140cal
11) - 1m - 9:10(9:10/m) - 139cal
12) - 1m - 9:02(9:02/m) - 138cal
13) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 140cal
14) - 1m - 9:32(9:32/m) - 142cal
15) - 1m - 9:32(9:32/m) - 141cal
16) - 1m - 9:24(9:24/m) - 141cal
17) - 1m - 9:01(9:01/m) - 139cal
18) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 143cal
19) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 143cal
20) - 0.81m - 6:27(7:58/m) - 114cal

Garmin Time - 3:02:08 - Chip time - 3:02:03 (10M split 1:33:41)

A good boost for Abingdon.....but still not fully decided on pace as I need to be mindful of Athens on the 31st.

Next up - `Taper` time...a bit like `Hammer Time` but without the colourful trousers. Abingdon on the 17th.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

JW Ultra

JW Ultra.

I`ve been looking forward to this one for ages as heard many a good things about this one - it`s put on for a good reason plus it`s a 30 miler - which after 10 mile races is my favourite running distance (must be from where my first 2 marathons - let alone ultra marathons (Caesar`s Camp Midnight 30 & Doyen of the Downs) were 30 milers plus it`s easy it`s a heck of a lot easier to work out on the gel situation - every 5 miles - simples).

So come race week...and I get a sore throat - great!

Drove up to Birmingham and found the hotel (Etap) without problems - alas didn`t find the kettle in the room so easily thou so after a quick shopping trip a kettle was purchased meaning I could have my breakfast when I wanted (6.00 am) * Next morning I packed up & checked out nice and early (the sore throat had eased) - saw a mass of Yellow & Black covered pirates at the hotel. We had bright blue skies - OK the man got it wrong at the Great North but redeemed myself very well for this one.

I was leaving my car at the Pavilion & catching the coach to the start. Have to say when I went past `Cadbury World` I was rather disappointed that it`s not made of chocolate. Anyway parked up, fluffed around for a bit said hello to GF & LJB1 and got onto the coach. It was quite `odd` seeing actual faces of forums people - none of which looked anything like their aviators or how I imagined they would be. Coached trip, despite very pleasant conversation it did seem to take a while to get there (hope I didn`t bore you too much Lalli). Disembarked and was met with even more Fetchies & Pirates - not many had names on but at least I knew a couple. Soon enough it was bags away, race numbers in place & route cards into hands and off to the starting area (Rail Carriage cafe) we went.

One thing I have learnt & look forward to is that the starts are normally all very causal & a bit of a laugh - which is great. After some type of count down we were off. The first bit was all very jolly - along the track cutting back along the side of a field, down through a wooded section - down some steps (thank goodness we ran that way rather than running up them) and unto the canal. Saw a man doing Tai chi in the sun on the opposite canal bank - made me think of chi running points & relaxed a bit more. Went past the food show - all very cruel running past freshly cooked bacon. Before we knew it we had run just over 2 miles already (mind you I had already lost count of the number of swans). Stafford seems a very nice place - esp in the sun. Went passed a pirate cheering point - they have everything - balloons, banners, headbands - all the clothing you will every need.

At this stage I could see GF & Gritts a little way ahead so I increased my pace a fraction & caught up - I don`t mind running by myself but company is always nice. The miles ticked past - 5 miles down & first gel down - blooming heck 45 mins in :-O ...still feeling OK.. I had aimed for 5 hrs (6 miles per hour) - so just under 10 mins ahead. It was nice to run with the sun on your back. The canals boats, locks & aqueduct did make a nice distraction to just running along the towpath, some nice houses too.

Coming up to the first checkpoint - it was touch & go - I think if we `stopped` for 10 seconds then I`m over stating things (10 miles down in 1 hr 30 mins). Still with GF & Gritts - really good company but I knew that GF had run a trillion miles this year already & was running very well recently & Gritts seemed a very fast runner so I knew at some stage I would bail out from the back but I was OK with that. We went through the `13.1M` stage at around 1 hrs 57 mins - OK I know my 26.2M PB is fairly weak (3:59:68) but still I don`t think you are meant to get a marathon PB during an ultra - bit concerned when I thought of it like that!

I think it was half way at 2 hrs 16 mins ---- mmmmm --- but from the photos I didn`t look too bad (even if I say so myself)

As it happened at around 16.6M at one of the locks where you cross over I had to clear my shoe of stones by the time I looked up the dust from GF & Gritts had settled - they were long gone. That was ok, time for a little walk break plus some running repairs - legs & feet were fine but my nips were getting very warm so out came the vaseline - bliss. A quick update on FB and off I went again.

Pushed on - only a few miles till the second checkpoint (breaking the distances down seems to be the way - gel every 5, then a couple of miles to a checkpoint etc). Ironically when I set off by myself I was too fast ! Saw another runner in front & we swopped places a number of times - through the muddy section. Saw the second checkpoint - massive cheers from there plus the from the pub & from Pestomum (thanks) - collected my Lucozade and off I went. Another trigged point came shortly up - 3 hrs 15 mins - roughly 21 miles down. Only a few miles left now but my long run completed. Played `leap frog` with a few more runners now - saw a couple of very fresh looking relay runners go zooming past....

I knew that Yeti would be somewhere soon - 25 or 26 Miles. Soon enough just after the bridge at 25 miles I saw her - which was really great. Stopped and had a chat - I did see a couple of runners sneak past - never mind. After a few minutes I carried on as I didn`t want too get cold. I only had just over 4 miles left plus I tend to take a walk break just after the 26.2M point away (which I did - around 4 hrs 22 mins or so - still a sub 4:30 marathon).

At 27 M I found myself walking up slope - a runner came along side & I asked how she was and she swore at me :-O well it turns out she had never run this far before (see there are others who run ultras before marathons - OK maybe not 3 of them but still I am normal). Helpful & cheerful marshal at the top who directed us down towards the canal. We only had a couple of miles left. I was thinking I could just about sneak at sub 5 & over take 4 runners who were just in front of me.....

As it happened I left it a bit late & the finish came into view - tied to pose for the camera and with a huge cheer I went passed the balloons (I don`t recall being told to stop running) but anyway ultra number 4 completed (& 6th marathon). It is amazing that you don`t feel all those miles when you have finished.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 8:49(8:49/m) - 139cal
2) - 1m - 9:44(9:44/m) - 135cal
3) - 1m - 8:54(8:54/m) - 142cal
4) - 1m - 8:54(8:54/m) - 140cal
5) - 1m - 8:51(8:51/m) - 139cal
6) - 1m - 8:55(8:55/m) - 141cal
7) - 1m - 9:20(9:20/m) - 141cal
8) - 1m - 8:49(8:49/m) - 142cal
9) - 1m - 9:05(9:05/m) - 141cal
10) - 1m - 8:39(8:39/m) - 141cal
11) - 1m - 8:53(8:53/m) - 140cal
12) - 1m - 8:47(8:47/m) - 140cal
13) - 1m - 8:48(8:48/m) - 141cal
14) - 1m - 8:45(8:45/m) - 140cal
15) - 1m - 8:49(8:49/m) - 138cal
16) - 1m - 9:23(9:23/m) - 139cal
17) - 1m - 11:46(11:46/m) - 130cal (WB)
18) - 1m - 8:54(8:54/m) - 141cal
19) - 1m - 9:22(9:22/m) - 142cal
20) - 1m - 10:20(10:20/m) - 141cal
21) - 1m - 10:22(10:22/m) - 140cal
22) - 1m - 13:56(13:56/m) - 147cal (WB)
23) - 1m - 11:16(11:16/m) - 136cal
24) - 1m - 11:47(11:47/m) - 130cal
25) - 1m - 10:55(10:55/m) - 134cal
26) - 1m - 15:59(15:59/m) - 140cal (Chatting)
27) - 1m - 13:51(13:51/m) - 126cal (WB)
28) - 1m - 10:16(10:16/m) - 139cal
29) - 1m - 10:05(10:05/m) - 136cal
30) - 0.22m - 1:53(8:35/m) - 28cal

Final time - 4:54:08 - so managed to sneak under the wanted 5 hrs plus graped a 28 mins PB

A personalised goody bag was given to me - how cool is that - and the conversation turned towards the energy drink inside "Pussy" - what a good idea as it certainly kept the sprits up, also a nice running `JW Ultra` vest.

It was good to see Yeti at the finish and we waited till the last runner came home. I wander back to car at the Pavilions & in time for the prize giving - I do love this part esp at the smaller event where you can feel how much personal pride, passion & commitment the RD`s have got for their event rather than the huge business run events if you know what I mean. The speeches had not disappointed me - quite moving for me knowing what`s coming up.

I do my fair share of events and I`m struggling to think of a better one so well done to Sharon, Ed, Mark & LJB1, all the marshals & helpers, the `other Mr K` on the camera & the other runners - this is a truly wonderful event & MUST DO event - even if you do the relay but don`t tell everyone as it hard enough already to get a place.

Some cracking photos on here thou ( ) Should have taken some photos too - I guess there is always next year for that plus I think I could go say 15 to 20 mins quicker.

Edit - From RW....

"Well done Sharon and Mark. it took my 5 minutes longer than last year must be my age! still I think 4:58:05 for an over 70 isn't to bad and my 158th marathon/ultra. think I will be around to do it next year. hope to see you in January!! "

Remarkable running - good for him.

Next up - Autumn Surrey Spitfire 20 this Sunday (maybe 3:15 - 3:20) then maybe a little taper for Abingdon....I still know what time I shall aim for at Abingdon - would not mind a PB - but I know I have Athens at the end of October too.

PS I wore road shoes for this one.

PPS Anybody want to buy a kettle?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Another `great` weekend.

The Great North Run weekend.

To me this is where my running all started. A quick re-cap - I entered the GNR 2008 via a MIND charity place in March 2008 - 1st half marathon, now I need to start running & training. On the 5th October 2008 I went through the finish line at South Shields in a time of 1:57:19. Last year (GNR 2009) it was my 13th Half Marathon (& 1st in fancy dress - ran as Asterix) and finished in 1:48:04. This year it seemed a bit special that I would be running my 21st Half Marathon at Newcastle.

So the weekend. Like last year I flew up from T5, and again I ran the Bedfont parkrun before the flight - well would be rude not to. We got there to Bedfont early (I was with my cousin who had managed to get a ballot place in the GNR but dogged by injury), saw a couple of ex-club runners beforehand. I do like Bedfont as the corners seem to work for me. While I didn`t feel like I went for it I managed to beat last year`s time by 11 seconds;

Splits - 7:07, 7:23, 7:27, 0:42 (0.1M @ 7:00/m) - final time 22:39

Pleased with run and course PB. A quick chat afterwards & jumped in the car for the short drive to T5. No problems with the flight except for my Cousin, Colin, posing for the full-body scanner :-)

Arrived at Newcastle via the Metro from the Airport (great service that), and wandered down to where they were holding the Great North Games & a walk around the expo. Race morning woke early - not as early as some thou - looked out of the window to see rain pouring down - a wet run then! Breakfast done & out the door nice and early. Met up with Colin under the footpath bridge. Shortly afterwards, as I`ve just been reminded, the `usual RW suspects` arrived in shifts - Shielsy, Mick the Mackem, Dasher Dart, Shrek, Spongecake, Vicki GW with her amazing outfit, Mandie & Steve in fancy dress complete with bike :-) , WTS, Rtg, RLTW, Stringy, Old Shawdowfax....I`m sure there was a couple more but I`ve done well remembering that little lot! Stayed till about 10.15, did a short warm up as I made my way to my zone (Left hand zone B and on the left). Didn`t see Vicki GW or Jovi Runner.

Soon the hooter went and we were off. I had a rough plan 1:45 + /- 5 mins . Crossed the start line within 3 mins - saw Minnie & Mickey Mouse (30 GNR Club) & wished them well. Almost silently we made our way under the carriageways but soon enough the cheers & shouts were heard and we were off. The crowds looking down is still very much amazing. A quick check at the mile one marker - a fraction fast but ok. Saw Floella Benjamin, saw another 30 GNR club- Geordie Nick in his Buzz Lightyear outfit - shook his hand. I was a little earlier for the Red Arrows at the Tyne Bridge (around 12:xx) - I didn`t wait around so I carried on. Saw Vicki with her pink dress at I think around the 3M marker - just after the water station - I graped a bottle as I thought she might be a bit warm.

Even though the course is undulating I didn`t find too much a problem, the only thing that caused me `concern` was that I was caught in two camps - Shall I race it (@ 7.30/m - sub 100) or steady as she goes @ 8.00/m - so I did a bit of both. Also I ran through a few more Chi Running drills than I guess I would normally - column, lean, feet moving in circles, heels up, elongate the neck & bar through the ankle (like the kids robots) which lead to short strides.

Saw the chuckle brothers which was so funny - well done them. The miles ticked away, no Powerade, just water & a gel @ 9M, soon enough mile 10 came round & the Fetchpoint - looking forward to this point. Thanks guys esp Lisrun. Soon enough the final incline - kept it steady. The sea seem to appear from no-where, down the hill which I have to say was the most painful part of the race & along and into the never-ending but fantastic final mile. Through the finish and pleased with the result - two course PB`s in two days :-)

After a quick chat with Dave B (storming run) & HOD I made my way to the pub to meet with the `usual suspects` - I do love the buzz of post race chatter. Waited for my cousin to finish & made our way to the South Shields Metro station, should have caught the ferry to North Shields but we would not have raced Vixx76 for the metro (which I think was a draw in the end)

Splits from this year & 2009 in brackets.

Mile 1 - 7:24 (8:01)
Mile 2 - 7:52 (7:59)
Mile 3 - 7:46 (7:57)
Mile 4 - 8:01 (8:08)
Mile 5 - 8:08 (8:29)
Mile 6 - 7:35 (7:57)
Mile 7 - 7:33 (7:46)
Mile 8 - 7:45 (8:09)
Mile 9 - 8:03 (8:23)
Mile 10 - 7:56 (8:26)
Mile 11 - 8:00 (8:34)
Mile 12 - 8:03 (8:37)
Mile 13 - 7:32 (7:59)
Last Bit - 1:38 (1:33)

Final Time - 01:43:15 (01:48:04)

5 Km - 00:24:19 (00:25:08)
10 Km - 00:48:57 (00:50:36)
15 Km - 01:13:25 (01:16:15)

Overall Position - 3,313rd (4,926th)

(* Didn`t record 2008 stats)

Overall a pleasing run (3rd fastest half of the year behind Brass Monkey & Bracknell) and I know I can go faster on this course.

Out with friends on Sunday which is just so fantastic as it just finishes the weekend off perfectly. It was a wet weekend but certainly didn`t damper my enjoyment – roll on next year.

Next up is the JW Ultra this Saturday, then the `silly season`.

Friday, 3 September 2010

You know it, I knew it - who was I kidding.....

A bit of a catch up...

You know it, I knew it - who was I kidding - I did enter those two events I mentioned - Trial Challenge & Burnham Beeches Half

Trail Challenge an interesting evening`s run - given a electronic finger & a map with check points. Ran it with a non-runner friend in a very respectful time of 48:12(was a little short @ 5.46M) - Nice to finish it esp after last year`s `issues`

Burnham Beeches Half - Superb event (as most Championship events are). Basically from my feedback on RW it is a well organised, very scenic race with lots of shade from over hanging trees. Plenty of off-site parking. Can make use of the free swimming pool afterwards. I was looking forward to this year`s event ever since finishing last years race - basically I ran like a muppet - such a poor race last year where I started off with one of our fastest club runners & we increased the pace until I fell off the train at the 6 mile point - well it was 12 months ago. Please to say I had a far better run this year. Great to see a few faces before & afterwards too :-)

This year`s splits

1) - 1m - 8:47 (9:34)
2) - 1m - 8:41(8:46)
3) - 1m - 8:33(8:18)
4) - 1m - 7:46(7:39)
5) - 1m - 7:46(7:40)
6) - 1m - 8:19(8:05)
7) - 1m - 8:31(8:18)
8) - 1m - 8:39(8:51)
9) - 1m - 8:45(9:01)
10) - 1m - 7:52(8:48)
11) - 1m - 7:50(7:55)
12) - 1m - 9:00(9:25)
13) - 0.75M - 6:09(8:12/m) (9:16)
14) - - (0:43)


Last year`s splits in bracket the finish time of 1:52:20.

Other news - Managed a week away. Started to up the mileage a little in preparation to the forthcoming Great North Run & JW Ultra and then the few marathons I`ve got lined up (Abingdon, Athens & Benidorm). No real target / racing times in mind just prep work for next year. Talking of which - plans have started to take shape as I`ve entered the Moonlight Challenge & Dartmoor Discovery (both 32 Milers), with thoughts on entering the County to Capital (45 miles in January) soon.

* I`m not really working through the alphabet - Abingdon, Athens, Benidorm, County to Capital.....

Next up - Great North Run. The scene of my first half marathon in October
2008 so it brings back so many really good memories - it`s a cracking weekend.

Friday, 6 August 2010

And now for something completely different.....

Thunder Run 24hr - Basically an off-road 24 hr event with teams of solos runners, pairs, fives or eights (mixed & un-mixed) running in 10 Km laps.

Got to Catton Park about 6ish on Friday. At that stage not many runners / campers had arrived so found Mr SJ & Stringy (captains of the Willy Wonkas & The Oompa Loompas) & Chris straight away and pitched up the tent - just about managed it before the rain started. Had a look around & saw the familiar faces of Elaine & Colin, then Leila, Martin & Mark. The Fetch village was growing. Wandered over to the marquee tents - food tent (c/w with chandeliers), Adidas were there (strange that) & massage areas just being set up but the starting / finishing areas looking good thou. A bit of food & an early night was in order.

Woke early but decided that staying in the sleeping bag was a good plan but eventually poked my head out of the tent....Runners arriving all the of the time and the field filling up. Watching tents being put up gave us cheap entertainment.

Kick off was at 2.00pm with a race briefing just before. It turned out that last year`s numbers around 160 off - this year it was approx 1,100 runners (I have to say except for the 1st lap it didn`t look packed). The Captains went out first - well it was only fair and then it was down to the umm err highly planned running order. The Oompa Loompa`s running order was Stringy, Vixx, Becky, me & Richard - I couldn`t wait for my go...24 hrs to be at a race without running & watching others run is a long time esp for me but soon enough it was my turn.

Resisted the urge of rushing off at the start and kept it steady - I really didn`t know how many laps I would be doing or the actual course. It was an interesting course with a mixture of grass, tight trails, twisting wooded section complete with tree roots, stony tracks & not forgetting the inclines & grassy meadows & down-slopes - with basically meant we were in for a fun time esp at night :-) Also I may of picked up on the fact that the event was sponsored by Adidas with parts of the course named like Kandida Climb, Adistar Descent or Supernova Stretch. There was a water station at half way just before a slope so instead of gulping the drink down I carried it - which cause a bit of laugh with the FETCH point & one of the solos runners who kept swopping positions with me asked if I was going to carry it all the way round (the empty cup came in handy at the end).

First lap completed in just over 52 mins and pass the baton * unto Richard ( * the `baton` was a basically a rubber wrist band) - smiles all round. I had planned to eat straight away - like within minutes of finishing, then washed & changed & maybe even a quick nap. Let’s just say it didn`t happen like that - note to self need to be more disciplined next time. After the shower I had a massage which helped to sort out any 1st lap niggles which I`d seemed to have picked up. Couldn`t wait to go out again. Back at base camp it was quite odd - runners coming and going, eating not eating, putting race numbers on taking them off....all a bit odd. A bit like the runners out on the course - each one having their own agenda & race plans.

Next lap would be in the dark - head torches on at 8.20pm - the best bit. Again kept it steady not looking at the garmin, not looking for a time. Back in safely in 56mins which I was pleased with. Niggles all gone. The second transitional period was better – a bit of food and even managed a kip of about 90 mins.

I was back out in the `swop over` zone in plenty of time for my 3rd lap - I saw a couple of incoming runners who had no-one to hand the baton over to (one runner got very upset with his team mate after having to wait....for 6 minutes - which oddly enough turned into at least 8 minutes by the time he had finished shouting at his next runner - not a morning person I guess). The sun was just sneaking through the early morning clouds. Hearing the birds start to sing was a great feeling going round the course. Just sneaked a better time of 55 mins.

Back to base camp - for food. Was this breakfast, evening meal or what???? Managed to have another 90 mins of sleep & showered & changed ready for the next lap. Time was just ticking away too quickly now.

Back out for lap 4 - just about getting used to the course. So enjoyed the rise up around 7 Km - views are the top were just great. All downhill from there (well not really but it gave you that impression). The support in last Km was great. During this 4th Lap I did wonder if I would be going out again - who knows.. I just made sure I came in as quickly as I could. Came in with my 2nd fastest time of just over 53 mins which was good & constant. Pleased I didn`t walk any of the course in any of the laps.

I didn`t go out again and the team did 21 laps in 23:56:05 which was a great performance.

Packed up the tents and went over to watch the prize giving – some truly remarkable performances - In fact everyone did a fantastic job I do mean that from the runners & walkers who did a couple of laps to the long ultra runners fighting over silverware (special mention to the Willy Wonkas & Monty`s Shooting Stars in the mixed 5`s - great running). This was a truly great running weekend. Great for meeting Fetchies – missed saying hello to a few thou :-)

I just loved the spirit of this event and the sheer enthusiasm of the race organiser. I`ve been luckily enough to have been to some really good events and this is right up there with the best of them. Many, many thanks.

My splits;

1M - 9:23/m - 10:52/m - 10:37/m - 9:36/m
2M - 8:32/m - 9:49/m - 9:00/m - 8:45/m
3M - 8:52/m - 9:50/m - 9:29/m - 9:05/m
4M - 10:06/m - 11:13/m - 9:28/m - 10:01/m
5M - 8:43/m - 9:10/m - 9:23/m - 9:06/m
0.82M - 6.46/m (8.15/m)- 0.69M - 5.38/m (8:09/m) - 0.96M - 7.55/m (8:15/m) - 0.81M - 6:46/m (8:21/m)

Lap times;

52 mins 22 sec (Sat 5.30pm)
56 mins 30 sec (Sat 10.30pm)
55 mins 52 sec (Sun 04.30pm)
53 mins 19 sec (Sun 10.30am)

I know I have said I`ll be hitting the ball long next year and I like the idea of running in `timed` events but surely, and even looking at the male solo results, this is a bit far..............but who knows what can happen in 12 months....

Next up – Nothing entered for August but a few enter on the day events ear-marked, a bit of downtime maybe even a holiday before building things up for the Great North Run & the JW Ultra next month.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Worthwhile effort...

Wycombe HM

Never ran this one before & only made aware of it only recently. I didn`t really knew too much about this one except that I could enter on the day & it was 45 mins away. I had run doubles event before - half marathons & a 10 KMs but never two HMs back to back. I would do this for more Thunder Run training than anything - a supported Long Slow Run. To be honest it was hard to get the motivation going for this one. I had easier options - club run (most of the guys I run with were at Surrey Slog), treadmill run, or go for a run later in the day.....

Got there with plenty of time - booked in, saw a couple of faces (MicknPhil chatting away, Sarah Gee checking the route). I had decided to wear my compression full legs for a change - first time I had worn them for any real distance. Went for a warm up - legs felt surprising good but it was only a mile warm up. .I guessed about 2:00 hrs (9.09 m/m or 6.6mph) would be good - I didn`t really want to see any 8:xx mile splits...

Met up with a couple of fetches (Kallywag & Footpad). Waited around for a minute or two before the big off - 10Km & HM runners starting together...

The first section is over the field = not that quick = excellent. Then turned a corner and unto a solid path. A few twists and turn - I looked up and couldn`t really believe where we were going. It was like an alpine pass - a `S` shaped route to the top. It was steep. Well at least I was dashing off! Felt for Mick at this point but from what I heard the hills ended after about a 1 1/2M

Heard the 1st mile bleep - 1 down 12 and a bit to go. I settled down quite quickly, OK I had a couple of slightly quicker than planned miles but found my rhythm well. At this stage I was running with `Too Much Water` which helped. We chatted away as the miles clicked over - I did check my garmin every so often just to be sure. It was a nice pace.

Just before Mile 6 is quite a sharp decline - too sharp for me really (One reason why I like hilly events is to practise my hill work - I`m `ok` going up but I am rubbish at going downhill (can you tell by my brilliant mile split) - I guess it was down the Munro went I got injured coming down to the finish. I make sure I don`t extend the leading foot out but it comes at a price - I lose so many places as the other runners fly past me) Of the many runners that went past was footpad - he said why...I didn`t ask anymore.

The course bottomed out and we were back on the flat. I kept the pace steady. TMW wanted to catch a breath and dropped back a bit - I had a feeling he would pass me in the later stages. Took a gel in mile 9 which was good as I found mile 10 a struggle. Stopped briefly to help out footpad and carried on. TMW came flying past.

I calculated that I would just be over 2:00 hrs - even thou I wasn`t racing I didn`t want that so I sped up a touch. It was nice that I didn`t want or need to stop - a bad habit that had crept into my recent long runs. By mile 12 I knew I had to put my foot down ever more to get a sub 2 hrs. One sharp incline left then unto the track that went around the finishing area. Unto to the grass area and through the finish.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 10:15(10:15/m) - 126cal
2) - 1m - 9:44(9:44/m) - 129cal
3) - 1m - 8:46(8:46/m) - 130cal
4) - 1m - 8:50(8:50/m) - 130cal
5) - 1m - 9:01(9:01/m) - 129cal
6) - 1m - 9:11(9:11/m) - 132cal
7) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 131cal
8) - 1m - 9:07(9:07/m) - 131cal
9) - 1m - 9:10(9:10/m) - 130cal
10) - 1m - 9:29(9:29/m) - 129cal
11) - 1m - 8:51(8:51/m) - 131cal
12) - 1m - 8:51(8:51/m) - 130cal
13) - 1m - 8:17(8:17/m) - 130cal
14) - 0.14m - 1:00(7:09/m) - 19cal

Garmin time - 1:59:40....excellent

Went through into the finishing area and was awarded with the most generous goody bag which included a technical T-shirt, a huge medal, massive bottle of water, fruit, energy bars, more nibbles, pen etc and it was a start gun to finish timed event all for (a pay on the day price of)...£15.00 - so generous...I have a feeling they feel guilty about the first mile and half.....and a cup of water from TMW - thanks

Stayed to watch the prize giving - some super times....

Saw MicknPhil finish with an inspiring and had the pleasure of chatting to then for a while - giving high fives to Phil.

An incredible event - a must do event.

Weekend`s bling

Got home and checked my time and my start gun to finish time was....2:00:01 opps

Coming up - A bit of a Running Club weekend. A few of us are meeting up at the Frimley Lodge parkrun, then on Sunday it`s the club`s Ray Tapp memorial run - a 4.25M run (without any timing / HR devices) and who finishes closest to their predicted time wins. Then on Wednesday it`s the Woodland 5 and then the weekend`s Thunder Run..

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A trip down (well UP) memory lane...

Swanage Half

I was asked couple of weeks ago if I wanted to run this event in the place of an injured runner (thanks RFJ) - a legal change by informing the RO and everything. Unfortunately we never received a reply BUT the damage was done and the seed was sown could enter on the day and the race was on a Saturday

As a kid we used to camp nr Crofe Castle so it would be nice to go down to Swanage again. however the downside was that the trip would take just over 2 hours to get there so I decided that I would run if the weather was decent (beach afterwards).

With the race bag packed I was up & out of the door by 6.00am (start was at 10.00am with the entry desk closing at 9.00am) - another trip down the M3, M27 and thankfully the traffic was not a problem and got there nice and early. I drove along some of the course getting there (around the 7M mark) - and I really wished I hadn` say it was undulating would be an understatement - the race was billed as "TOUGH BUT REWARDING`

After warming up we all filled into the starting area and pretty much on time we started. Like most races I had a rough idea on my expected time, for this one it was 1:50 to 2:00 (or 8.23/m to 9.09/m or 7.2 mph - 6.6mph). Been practising not racing off too quickly at the start recently so I kept it steady - the steady incline in the 1st mile also helped to slow it down.

Mile 2 was also uphill, At mile 3 there was a decline but then a sharp incline - I wasn`t going to be fast one but still quite pleased with the mile spilts. At about 3.5M we generally dropped down & the views over the sea made a nice change.

Around the Mile 4 I saw a local club vest - Sandhurst Jogger - said hello and pushed on a bit. Nice section from mile 4 to mile 7.

Just before the turning at Crofe Castle it was around the halfway point - I notice my garmin clicked over the 56 mins mark at 6.55M. We turned off the tight busy road section & unto a single track / road - it was the hilly route I had seen on my way in. With the overhanging branches & the twist & turns it seemed that the hill just kept increasing - I took another `tea break` (walk break) - a bad habit I had got myself into recently. Just before the mile 9 marker we went downhill. The rest of the miles seemed to fly past and before I knew it we were back in Swanage. Ran along the front - Shouted out to Ian & Sandra and went through the finish line.

Through the finish at 1:51:25 (Garmin time) - pleased with that esp with those hills - see profile.

Collected a very unusual race memento - a golden trainer. It was also nice to get a choice - trainer or a glass paperweight. Never been given a Golden shoe before so it was an easy choice.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 8:26(8:26/m) - 128cal
2) - 1m - 8:42(8:42/m) - 132cal
3) - 1m - 9:02(9:02/m) - 131cal
4) - 1m - 8:00(8:00/m) - 132cal
5) - 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) - 132cal
6) - 1m - 7:49(7:49/m) - 132cal
7) - 1m - 7:59(7:59/m) - 133cal
8) - 1m - 9:49(9:49/m) - 132cal
9) - 1m - 9:22(9:22/m) - 126cal
10) - 1m - 8:20(8:20/m) - 131cal
11) - 1m - 8:23(8:23/m) - 133cal
12) - 1m - 8:00(8:00/m) - 132cal
13) - 1m - 8:19(8:19/m) - 131cal
14) - 0.12m - 54(7:32/m) - 16cal

The afternoon was spent on Studland beach - mixture of reading & napping - the sea water did wonders for the legs but did sting a bit a first.

Another cracker of an event - if you get the chance then you should enter this event - thanks again RFJ for pointing this one out to me.

Next event ......................................well I do have a Sunday free now............

Thursday, 15 July 2010

One packed weekend

A good weekend away.

Managed to successful switch off the auto-drive on Saturday morning and so instead of turning off at Basingstoke on the M3 I ended up on the M27 and arrived early at the Eastleigh parkrun. It was good to go back. For some reason the course seemed longer and it was good to see just under a 100 runners there now. Anyway the race plan was to run 8:00`s. I finished in a (non-train delayed) time of 24:48, which was no where near my course PB of 22:49 but pleased with general time as it was my 1st real race since Devon. Good coffee & cake in the cafe afterwards too.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 7:55(7:55/m) - 130cal
2) - 1m - 7:58(7:58/m) - 133cal
3) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 132cal
4) - 0.1m - 41(6:50/m) - 12cal

The reason to run Eastleigh was that I was running in the New Forest 10 the next day so it made perfect sense to camp over - last minute test out for all the gear for the Thunder Run too. Camp site was OK - def set up for the younger camper. Pitched tent in record time & like the true pro I plonked a hankie on my head & fell asleep in the sun. In the evening I took the `bike from the boot` (SF-FDB-2000 Bugatti Royale - LOL) & set off for the Chequers Inn. Very nice Pub - watched the semi-finals and a good fish n chips. Cycled back. The plan was to get an early night....there was a slight flaw in this plan. As then the fireworks started !!! after they had stopped it was the music, shouting etc - I guess I woke up 8 or 9 times. At roughly 5.00am the people in a nearby tent went to sleep !!!! Then the rain started !!! Thankfully it stop after a hour or so.

Finally decided to get up, have breakfast. Luckily for me the clouds cleared & the sun came out & dried off the tent. So I packed up my gear & drove the few miles to the start line & I was coming in from the other thus avoiding the delays at Lyndhurst.

I found out late on Thursday that a friend of mine was also camping in the New Forest...they were staying less than half a mile from the start line AND on a very much quieter campsite. They had deer & singing birds on their site - I had rottweilers & pit balls...!!! (Their campsite for future reference it was the Long Meadow Campsite)

Anyway ran to their site as a warm up. Met up with them and show them where we would be running & which side I would be running. Their daughter had been practising shouting "Come on Kelvin". Finished off the warm up & got ready. Met up with Ruth, JohnJ, Monty, Sue, Richard & Lynn and got into the starting area. With the start time of 11.15 am - It was getting hot already.

I had ran this event before in 2008 - it was my first 10 miler. I almost cried when I had to hand back my race number in 2009 due to injury so I knew the course - a bit of a slow start through the gate, then a smallish track then onto Forrest, with a small road section where we had to make way for the four legged wildlife then back into the Forrest.

We set off & I made sure I didn`t go off too quickly - out of the field and saw my friend with his daughter on his shoulder - as I approached the corner to the track all I could hear was her voice shouting out "Come on Kelvin" even when I had past that`s all I could hear - I think she was shouting that at everyone but it was great to hear. Briefly met up with helly d - we compared future battle plans - she won with her trump card - Ridgeway 85 - blooming looney !

Made our way unto a track - 1st down @ 8.33 - mmm a little slow. I wanted about 8.00`s (1:20:00) so increased it a little. Marshals seemed to be everywhere. Just settled into a good pace - saw Ruth in front & going well - wasn`t tempted to chase her down just running at my own pace. I past her at the 2.5M water station and onto the road section. Great to run along - open woodland either side watching the horses graze. (Yeti - I spoke to a Bournville Harrier but forgot your surname - mind you she didn`t give me long as she sprinted up an incline just before 4M mark). Saw James - a Sandhurst Jogger and played cat and mouse for a while.

All going rather well till about 5.5M - Ruth passed me (no connection) and then I had to stop for `water out` - maybe a bottle of Lucozade just before the start wasn`t the best idea ever. Found it tough to get going again but did overtake a few runners again. Really enjoyed the water spray around 6M. At the last water station (7.5M) I decided to stop & drink rather than drink on the move. I was looking forward to mile 8 - second to last mile. Soon I could think only a mile to go. Went around the corner and saw a short sharp incline - quick walk.

Then the final mile & unto the same track as going out. Past the final marshals & into the finishing straight - I did give it all in those last few metres - good for the folks watching (cheers for the shout out Monty) but it shows I had more to give during the run.

Through the finish in 1:24:28 & collected the horse brass (nice change to a medal) - afterwards we had a very nice picnic with fizzy wine & everything (said no to the bizarre beetroot thou) - thanks Sue, Lynn & Richard (parkrunners) for that.

Ok 11 minutes over my HM PB but with a bit more work I shall be there again...

Basically if you get a chance to enter this one then do so - it`s a great event with nice scenery, loads of cheerful marshals, fast enough at the sharp end of things, fun runs to keep you busy, plenty of parking, space & time to stay on afterwards, nice horse brass but it does get hot thou.

Split Summary
1) - 1m - 8:33(8:33/m) - 128cal
2) - 1m - 7:50(7:50/m) - 132cal
3) - 1m - 8:04(8:04/m) - 132cal
4) - 1m - 8:06(8:06/m) - 131cal
5) - 1m - 8:07(8:07/m) - 131cal
6) - 1m - 8:52(8:52/m) - 130cal - er `water out`
7) - 1m - 8:17(8:17/m) - 132cal
8) - 1m - 9:12(9:12/m) - 129cal - stopped for water in
9) - 1m - 9:07(9:07/m) - 127cal - quick walk
10) - 1m - 8:10(8:10/m) - 125cal
11) - 0.03m - 10(5:42/m) - 3cal

Next up - and it`s really not my fault - I might be doing the Swanage Half marathon this Saturday (I know a Saturday race). I`ve checked out the comments from last year and it`s billed as a `tough but rewarding` event. I would be doing it as a training run. I can enter on the day (too late for postal entries) but I need to be all parked up & signed in by 9.00am at the latest........but Swanage is 2 hours away !!!

I did also played with the idea of going over to Kent and watching the mad folks doing the Kent 50 - if I do, then I hope I (& the runners) don`t get dizzy as it`s on a 6.5M lap (same course as the Moonlight Challenge in Feb)

Also what about the Wycombe half on Sunday too - again can enter on the day???

Decisions, decisions, decisions....will come down to weather I think.

Looking forward to the Thunder Run at the end of the month - One BIG race or loads of smaller races???.

(PS I didn`t run Yateley 10Km in the end - so that`s two races I`ve DNS this year :-O must be getting sensible in my old age)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Nearly a photo finish.....

North Devon Marathon

Looking forward to this event for such a long time, as I`ve been to Woolacombe so many times before on boys weekends that when I saw this event I knew I just had to enter.

Training wise - from what I knew from the area I knew that I wouldn`t be running all of the course but feet time would be important. I was also hoping some of my long runs from VLM would carry over. My actual long runs were - 17M (with a parkrun in the middle), a 20M & a very hilly & warm 18.3M (30Km) Plus Doking 10 & the Bracknell Half - I was fairly happy with that.

I was staying at a friends parent`s cottage - in the middle of nowhere. Stayed there before - didn`t see Johnny Kingdom :-( in the local pub On Friday afternoon I managed to miss all of the Glastonbury traffic which was great so made good time. Saturday I spent on the beach at Saunton Sands & roaming around the local area. It was going to be hot.

I`d plan to be at the starting area on Sunday at 9.00am so all fairly normal there. Parked up in the main car park (£5.50 per day). Arranged to meet my Mum there (who was in the area - holidaying) which was cool. Fluffed around a bit before the 10.00 am start. .

Basically the route (and to include the half) was a figure of 8 with Woolacombe in the middle - 1st half going over to Croyde way & the second half was over Mortehoe, Lee area - I didn`t know this part of the course !!!

Soon enough we were herded into the start area. Saw a few folks I knew - Gymfreak & Foxy Davy. Said hello to Muds (who had a great run). Gymfreak pointed out some of the 100 marathon crowd including Brian Mills - who has completed over 720 marathons!!!

We were off - we were given a 10 minute head start on the Half Marathons runners.

Kept it steady for the 1st few miles (did go a bit fast during mile No. 2 - opps). Saw the front runners already opening up a very impressive lead. Just before my 3rd mile the first half marathoner came flying past - he was quick & had a good lead. Gladly we didn`t have to go up the Pole. Even this early into the event the views were just impressive - took your mind away from the terrain. First lady came past - wow! Down into Croyde - took a gel at 5M and Gymfreak came along side. Then in a bizarre turn we were sent across the beach - sand running - Ohh good I read about sand running in my Chi book. Anyway across the stream, over more sand & unto the rocks - so that`s Road, track, grass, sand, water & rock - we had just made it to 6M point. !!!! Walked up the hill. We followed the coast road which looks towards Saunton Sands. Then about mile 8 we had to go up the first of the major steps - not a lot of fun. Then along the top of the ridge - you could see all around the local area. One of the half marathoners asked me if I was doing to the full event - I said "yes, only because that way I get the most out of my car parking fee".....time for a couple of jelly babies I think.

Beforehand I was guessing I`ll be through half way in around 2:00 - 2:10 but I knew it was going to be later, we run the same bit of the course from about 11M so I guessed around 2:20. Picked up a Lucozade (Fuel & Focus) - I thought I was be pretty sick of gels & water during the 2nd half. As I ran through the start / finish area it was great to hear your name being called out. Momentum carried me through to around 15 - then I had to stop due to the scenery - took out the phone & took a couple of snaps. Saw Sammy the Seal sunbathing on `The Point`

At this stage it was like one of the Ultras - running by yourself, maybe seeing the another runner in the distance. The course got harder from about 16 with the ups & downs, `steps` and then the small hill around 18 that seemed to go on and on and on.....(Lee) but with water stations every two miles or so there was always something to look forward to - the marshals were just great - they knew what we wanted. I can`t actually describe in words how my head felt when I squeezed the sponges over it or how it felt when I put back on a soaking wet cap - let`s just say it was one of the many great memories from day.

There was a nice section by the Water Reservoirs along the disused railway line, however it was slightly uphill but I ran next to a chap who was a bike (I felt like a slower version of a Boxer & his trainer). At the water station at the top the lady said only 6 mile to go - which actually I thought was a shame. What seemed only a stone`s throw away the next water stations appeared - only 5 Km to go :-( Just follow the road down and up into Woolacombe. Great feeling to see the finish in the distance. As I ran along the side of the hill I heard a massive cheer - I guess England had scored...well I didn`t think it was for me :-O I did take my England flag from the Camelpak.

Down the final hill and unto the road we had started - half mile to go and I get a bit of cramp in my left calf. Well crap to that - carried on and through the finish.

As it happened my Mum was behind the finish line with the camera - instead of taking a photo she took a small video of my finish with my name being called out and everything....

Saw the prize giving and headed over to the Red Barn to watch the remaining second half of the England game. It was packed - enough said about the rest of the afternoon I think.

On reflection - it was a great day and maybe even the best event I`ve done this year. Also despite running further on three occasions this was the hardest marathons I`ve done esp the second half - and yes (IMO) even beats Caesars Camp Midnight 30.

I`m hoping the next marathon would be easier. *

Final Time 5:46:37


1) - 1m - 10:01(10:01/m) - 126cal
2) - 1m - 8:44(8:44/m) - 130cal
3) - 1m - 10:14(10:14/m) - 132cal
4) - 1m - 10:28(10:28/m) - 125cal
5) - 1m - 9:17(9:17/m) - 129cal
6) - 1m - 10:40(10:40/m) - 128cal - Croyde beach run.
7) - 1m - 12:09(12:09/m) - 119cal
8) - 1m - 16:30(16:30/m) - 113cal - 1st steep hill,
9) - 1m - 12:20(12:20/m) - 118cal
10) - 1m - 11:22(11:22/m) - 122cal
11) - 1m - 11:44(11:44/m) - 121cal
12) - 1m - 10:22(10:22/m) - 127cal
13) - 1m - 10:30(10:30/m) - 128cal
14) - 1m - 13:22(13:22/m) - 114cal
15) - 1m - 16:27(16:27/m) - 114cal - Photo point
16) - 1m - 17:43(17:43/m) - 112cal - Photo point
17) - 1m - 20:21(20:21/m) - 101cal - Steps
18) - 1m - 21:05(21:05/m) - 99cal - Lea Hill
19) - 1m - 19:07(19:07/m) - 92cal - Hill
20) - 1m - 16:17(16:17/m) - 101cal
21) - 1m - 12:53(12:53/m) - 118cal
22) - 1m - 17:37(17:37/m) - 104cal - Walked / Ran
23) - 1m - 13:30(13:30/m) - 111cal
24) - 1m - 12:46(12:46/m) - 116cal
25) - 1m - 10:35(10:35/m) - 121cal
26) - 1m - 9:25(9:25/m) - 128cal
27) - 0.13m - 1:07(8:39/m) - 15cal

Next up is Elstead Marathon *

(OK hands up time here...the Elstead Marathon is an off-road 5.4 mile event with a river crossing and I only ran to get my trainers back on - completed it in 45:06)

Next one is the tomorrow night - Yateley 10Km (jogging) & then Sunday`s New Forest 10 which I am looking forward to.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Forgot to mention the ups

North Downs Way

It`s a good job I do not name events as I would have called this one `The North (Up Down, Up Down, Up) Down`s Way`.

Not having run this one before I thought it would be good practice for North Devon Marathon – and it was a case of “just be careful what you wish for” – my goodness I found it tough but a great event.

I had only done one previous 30Km race before. I had to beat 3:34:56 (I know) so I guessed around the 3 hour mark (6 mins per Km) - easy to work out too.

Got there nice and early, had a wander around, saw Mrs BooBoo, Mr Boo & Too Much Water which was nice. After a short warm up it was time to assembly. I was testing out my marathon gear - new camelpak (Camel Rogue 2ltr), gels, sweets (Randoms - are great btw), patch up kit, sunnies, - I was all kited up.

The course started off with a lap of a nearby field - great nice and flat & can work out the pace - bit fast but not too fast. Then out onto the road & through the nearby golf course. One advantage of being a `km` distance is that the garmin beeps come around quicker. Found the first hill at around the 4Km marker - that got my pace back on track. Just after the 5Km marker we had a bit of a wait for the first of many kissing gates (at least a minute) - but still on track. One thing that I hadn`t worked out was my gel strategy - I normally take them every 5 miles - quick mental bash around and all was ok. Went through the 10Km at spot on the hour - great. Bugger forgot to take the gel. Opps..

At 11Km found a whopping great hill in the way - first walking point :-( Kept it steady after that - bouncing around the 6 min km mark. Went through 15Km in 1:32 – knickers two minutes down. I thought to myself do I catch up now or wait and have a strong last 10Km - best not to burn out...faster last 10Km it is then. At around the 17Km point we went through this field - it was so nice. Open field full of corn with a few poppies growing in between - we were on this small track of course but the wheat was growing so close I could run with my hands down sweeping through the corn ears - an inspiring moment - I could not help but to think of Russell Crowe in the Gladiators in the corn field..

A real motivating moment - "At my signal unleash hell” I was ready, bring it on.....

....then like a kid with the tv remote I suddenly thought of this.....

...The moment had gone...damm my upbringing.

Never mind - I did laugh at that for miles to come.

I was nearly back on track then at 19Km another hill - it was quicker to walk - but gutting I knew the minutes were ticking over and I don`t like to walk. Through 20Km in 2:04 or something - mt garmin had lost 0.25Km somewhere under the trees.

The next few Kms were great, I especially liked the section through the vineyard. Then a killer hill at 23Km. At the water station at 24Km I practically had a wash.Right 5 Kms to go – well that`s a not actually. Well those last few Kms through the field & then over the golf course were tough. At least you didn`t see the finish somewhere off in the distance.

Through the finish in 3:06:05 (pleased I got that obligatory 5 seconds in)

2nd PB of the week – nearly 29 mins Still more to come off that thou.

Watch the prize giving (1:48 flipping heck that was fast) & chatted to BooBoo and TMW at the car.

Great event, well marked – almost to the point of every large stone or tree root w, happy & friendly marshals. There was water & Isotonic drinks, gels & jelly babies at the water stops esp at the key points. Tech T-Shirt, Medal & Cakes (as many as you like). Great start & finishing area – even a free swim afterwards if you wanted it (which I did) - free car parking. It`s almost a case of "what kissing gates" or "really - stiles you say" - "nope never saw any hills" – well maybe not. Thanks Istead & Ifield Harriers.

Split Summary
1) - 0.62m - 5:28(8:48/m) - 77cal
2) - 0.62m - 5:24(8:42/m) - 81cal
3) - 0.62m - 5:25(8:45/m) - 82cal
4) - 0.62m - 5:57(9:35/m) - 80cal
5) - 0.62m - 6:43(10:50/m) - 77cal
6) - 0.62m - 7:22(11:53/m) - 78cal - wait for a kissing gate
7) - 0.62m - 5:40(9:08/m) - 79cal
8) - 0.62m - 6:12(10:00/m) - 84cal
9) - 0.62m - 6:15(10:05/m) - 81cal
10) - 0.62m - 5:58(9:38/m) - 80cal
11) - 0.62m - 6:47(10:56/m) - 77cal
12) - 0.62m - 8:09(13:09/m) - 72cal - hill
13) - 0.62m - 6:11(9:58/m) - 84cal
14) - 0.62m - 5:58(9:38/m) - 83cal
15) - 0.62m - 6:29(10:27/m) - 80cal
16) - 0.62m - 6:07(9:52/m) - 83cal
17) - 0.62m - 5:30(8:52/m) - 85cal - through the cornfield
18) - 0.62m - 5:52(9:28/m) - 82cal
19) - 0.62m - 6:03(9:45/m) - 79cal
20) - 0.62m - 7:51(12:40/m) - 75cal - hill
21) - 0.62m - 6:27(10:24/m) - 76cal
22) - 0.62m - 5:49(9:24/m) - 81cal
23) - 0.62m - 6:14(10:03/m) - 82cal
24) - 0.62m - 6:54(11:08/m) - 87cal - hill
25) - 0.62m - 7:05(11:26/m) - 82cal - washed & clean finger-nails
26) - 0.62m - 6:17(10:08/m) - 84cal
27) - 0.62m - 6:29(10:27/m) - 72cal
28) - 0.62m - 6:16(10:07/m) - 77cal
29) - 0.62m - 5:56(9:34/m) - 81cal
30) - 0.37m - 3:18(8:55/m) - 48cal

Next up – North Devon Marathon this Sunday. Which is going to be tough but I`m so looking forward to it. I might even have a pint of cider afterwards