Sunday, 28 February 2010

Mudfest Challenge aka Moonlight Challenge

Race Report – Moonlight Challenge.

I entered this event mainly for a training run with a difference and not really as a race. I didn`t mind dropping out after 3 laps rather than finishing the full 5 laps esp if the weather was as bad as forecasted.

Anyway come race day, and it did feel a bit weird not going to Basingstoke`s parkrun. At 8.50am I decided to cheer on my Club mates at Frimley – which was nice seeing `Cove Sprinters` in action :-)

Left for Kent in plenty of time (2 hrs away by Satnav), found the race HQ & the hotel easily enough. Just checking in & saw Debby & Mike arrive (my two friends who I `talked` into doing this after their Goofy Challenge attempt was cancelled). Got changed & almost left for the race check in straight away – which was only 10 mins away.

Plenty of parking at the venue. Fluffed around before the start – odd how darker & colder it gets just before a race esp at 6.00pm. Anyway after the race briefing, we were off with a BANG – we really were - the starting klaxon was a massive firework going off!!

Started off a bit fast – opps but then settled down, mainly due to the terrain. The terrain for the first few miles starts off with a road section then you turn off & follow fairly good tracks (but with huge puddles). Then a muddy section where later during the night confusion sets in & you see runners coming towards you (!!!) – yeap it`s a figure of 8 type of route. Nice friendly & encouraging marshals around. Miles two to just after four apart from a small part is mainly good road surface. In the section is the only hill – a motorway bridge. After mile 4 it`s back to muddy track. Just after mile 5 it`s the through the muddy section again (I did not get this till 3 hours in), about 5.75m it was the `wet section` – I`ve seen drier rivers!! Past the Jelly Baby corner and onto road for the last part of the lap – turn the corner & it`s the Pub – I mean the start / finish point.

Route details -

Completed the first lap in about 1hr 5min, we were very lucky with the weather so far – warned in the briefing that it might chuck it down later on.

Started lap two and settle into a nice pace. I do like lappers as you seem to go around quicker after the first initial lap & you can build up the friendly banter with the marshals – lap two completed in 2hrs 14mins (ish). Decided to pick up from my nearby parked car my water belt for lap three. Chatted away to various folks running this – all had different reasons & plans but no-one racing it.

My original plan was to finish after lap three – well 19.65M would be a good training run. Came around to finishing lap three and still felt good – no real hamstring issues – well after 3.5 hrs of yoga & resting last week I`m not really surprised so I thought of a new plan (honest I did) – I would completed 4 laps = 26.2M & then see how I felt if the hamstring felt bad I would stop if not I would complete the last lap but walking & running at a slower `recovery` pace. So finished lap 3 at around 3hrs 25mins.

Just before starting my 4th lap I did pick up my thigh sleeve – a compression sleeve made from wetsuit material and I ran with this, mainly as a trial. Well it kept slipping down, I was like Les Dawson and his / her ill fitting bra...

Every few minutes I kept pulling it up - but it did keep me entertained for nearly a lap. I also realised I could finish lap 4 in less than 4hrs 30mins (a sub 4hrs 30mins marathon & in muddy & dark conditions who would have thought that – ahem see several blogs below). Despite the constant sleeve adjustments I was running well – maybe too fast as during the muddy section I came a cropper & took an almightily slip – straight into the mud. No damage just lost a bit of time. Tried to make it up by not stopping for water or jelly babies or a chat at the check points.

Through 26.2M in 4hrs 31 mins – knickers :-( Never mind maybe next time.

Last lap `recovery` time – yeah. Stopped at the car to collect Jaffy Cakes & some flat coke Should have also got a thicker running top as running slower meant getting colder. After a while I decided to run a mile then walk a mile, also stopping to thank the marshals for their kind words. I think I equalled my 30M PB (5hrs 22mins). It came around quite quickly and finished, just after Midnight in 6hrs 4mins & 56 seconds.

Saw Debby & Mike at the finished – they finished together, Mike finished all 5 laps & Debby completed her 10th Marathon in 5hrs 15mins I think – which was nice.

Thanks Mike (the RD) for a great event – collected a Certificate & a very nice medal. Who knows I might even be back for a few more laps later this year...

Got back to the hotel & about 2hrs later it started to chuck it down.

Will take some time out this week & then refocus on London.

Roughly the lap splits..

1) - 1m - 9:19(9:19/m) - 129cal
2) - 1m - 9:52(9:52/m) - 131cal
3) - 1m - 9:41(9:41/m) - 133cal
4) - 1m - 10:26(10:26/m) - 130cal
5) - 1m - 9:47(9:47/m) - 132cal
6) - 1m - 10:26(10:26/m) - 131cal

7) - 1m - 9:57(9:57/m) - 129cal
8) - 1m - 9:51(9:51/m) - 132cal
9) - 1m - 10:32(10:32/m) - 131cal
10) - 1m - 9:56(9:56/m) - 132cal
11) - 1m - 10:32(10:32/m) - 130cal
12) - 1m - 10:58(10:58/m) - 129cal
13) - 1m - 10:40(10:40/m) - 129cal

14) - 1m - 12:32(12:32/m) - 128cal
15) - 1m - 10:17(10:17/m) - 132cal
16) - 1m - 10:05(10:05/m) - 133cal
17) - 1m - 9:58(9:58/m) - 132cal
18) - 1m - 10:00(10:00/m) - 131cal
19) - 1m - 12:03(12:03/m) - 128cal
20) - 1m - 14:08(14:08/m) - 124cal

21) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 130cal
22) - 1m - 10:21(10:21/m) - 129cal
23) - 1m - 10:22(10:22/m) - 126cal
24) - 1m - 9:04(9:04/m) - 131cal
25) - 1m - 9:32(9:32/m) - 130cal
26) - 1m - 9:48(9:48/m) - 127cal

27) - 1m - 12:47(12:47/m) - 127cal
28) - 1m - 11:51(11:51/m) - 124cal
29) - 1m - 13:24(13:24/m) - 115cal - walked a bit
30) - 1m - 15:35(15:35/m) - 106cal - walked a bit
31) - 1m - 11:21(11:21/m) - 132cal
32) - 1m - 19:10(19:10/m) - 91cal - walked
33) - 1m - 11:11(11:11/m) - 124cal
34) - 0.03m - 21(11:43/m) - 4cal

Next Race – Surrey Spitfire 20 on March 14th (Mother`s Day – opps I better tell her)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A cold, wet start but later turning brighter

Race report - Wokingham Half.

After last week`s successful progressive run at Bramley 20 I have been wondering what time I should really aim for at London so this week`s race was the perfect opportunity to test out a pace.

Woke up early, only to see what the weather was was lashing down with rain – great...but ok as it could be raining at London, like a couple of years back..

Got there, well the car park anyway in plenty of time & stayed in the car as it was still chucking it down – mmm could be interesting !!! Decided to brave it & wander down (i.e. hike) to the start.

Saw Jock, Gymfreak & Debby & later mlamden. Massage & bag tents were packed full of folks staying dry. Saw Liz Yelling standing in cold, like us normal folks, in the huge loo queues – respect.

After getting changed & dropping the bag decided to go for a warm up. Forgot to start the garmin – opps.

A quick wander down the starting area. Heard the klaxon go off – we were off slowly. At least they didn`t delay & keep us waiting in the wet.

The name of today`s game was steady – 8.23`s

That meant a 1hr 50 mins half today and 3 hrs 40 mins for a I had one of those 1.50 pre-printed pace bands :-)

As I was going around I tried to remember the course from last year but one thing I did notice was that after a few miles no-one really past me. I did seem to be moving steadily through the field without much difficulty. Also I did notice SarahL a fair few times, cheering and supporting along the way – how did she do that..came to the conclusion there must be 5 Sarah’s!! Also said hi to a few fetchies along the way (names on tops please)

Got slightly annoyed at mile 5 – 8.05 – I did not want to see a 7.xx mile – slowed it down for the next few. Thought about posture and form during these miles – leaning from the ankles rather than the waist. Also noticed a tighten hamstring :-( not too bad really, just something I`d rather do without (must do more yoga this week :-) ). Gel during mile 9. Saw the sign for Mile 10 – great 5Km to go. Saw Liz Yelling coming towards me on the other side doing her cool down – talk about smooth. Didn`t mean to but sped up during the last two miles but did – opps. Back in and under the arch.

Splits - 8:29, 8:25, 8:20, 8:22, 8:05, 8:28, 8:21, 8:30, 8:12, 8:20, 8:11, 7:50, 7:48, 0:45 (0.11m)

Total time (garmin) – 1.47.02

A pleasing day – a controlled run. Good postives to take away.

Q. Can I really do 8.23`s for 26.2 miles?

A. Don`t know yet, maybe not seeing as it`s my first time out & it`s at London but I`ll keep asking the questions.

Other stats – seeing as I wore it.

Heart Rate Zone Summary
HR Zone: 80-147bpm (Sub 70%): 75.9%
HR Zone: 147-151bpm (71-75%): 13%
HR Zone: 151-156bpm (76-80%): 3.6%
HR Zone: 156-161bpm (81-85%): 1.1%
HR Zone: 161-166bpm (86-90%): 0.1%
HR Zone: 166-170bpm (91-95%): 0.6%
HR Zone: 170-175bpm (96-100%): 0.5%
HR Zone: undefined: 5.4%

Back in time for the gym..well steam & jacuzzi anyway (weight 12st 2lb)

Ohh - And it didn`t rain once whilst I was out there.

Next race – Moonlight challenge – a 6.55M lapped course (max of 5 laps = 32.5M) in Kent. Starts at 6.00pm next Saturday..may be my first DNF as 3 laps sounds ok – it`s meant to be a LSR not my 3rd ultra attempt. Good practice for the Thunder 24 hour run. (team of 5 on a 10Km lapped course running for 24hrs). Batteries for head torch are on charge :-)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Let`s get this show started...

Race report Bramley 20.

Thought it would be best if I ran one of these 20 milers as everyone else seems to have already put in one or two of these already this I do seem to like running / racing over that way - Tadley 10, Mortimer 10Km etc.

I`ve been a little bit concerned as over the last week or so I`ve been having a bit of trouble with my inside left thigh muscle - apparently it`s full of knots!! Hopefully it would be OK for Bramley - I wasn`t going to be racing it but did have a plan.

This if follows would give a time of 2 hours 58 mins & 02 seconds - and would beat my only previous 20 miler by about 12 mins.

Early start to the day, as I needed to massage & stretching the thigh plus wanted a good breakfast & always good to get to a race early. Driving along the motorway was fun, as it started to snow - well at least we were not going to get too hot!!.

Got there and luckily the snow had stopped, mingled around the school - talk about crowded. Got changed & said hello to a few people - RachE & Gobi, RuthB2, Richard & Ewan & a very brief chat to the legends - Mick and Phil. A quick warm up & nearly bumped into RFJ, and finally moved into the warmth of the pack. Chatted to Sue from the parkrun. I love local races. And off we went - took about 2 mins to get over the chipped start line *

The plan was in 5 stages -

5 miles @ 9.18 m/m (MP+45) ,
5 miles @ 9.04 m/m (MP+30),
4 miles @ 8.49 m/m (MP+15),
4 miles @ 8.34 m/m (MP),
2 miles @ what ever pace I could do....was thinking 8.30 m/m (didn`t really know)

I made up a pace band to follow, which did look a bit complicated but the way I looked at it my longest race was 5 miles.

1st Stage;

Wanting 6.5 pace (9.18 m/m) - Everyone raced off, except for me - yes I didn`t race off, I was trying to run slow at 6.5 pace - which I found incredible hard to do but if I raced off I would finish in a big heap somewhere along the course plus I didn`t want to push the leg too much. 1st mile down - 9.16 - close enough, through mile 2 in 9.14 - all very relaxed, mile 3 in 9.09 - still happy with pace. I heard Mick & Phil sneaking up from behind - keeping the runners, marshals & supporters very happy - I couldn`t believe how fast he shot off. Mile 4 in 9.02 - opps & the final mile in 9.05 but the average pace on the Garmin was showing 6.5.

1) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 127cal
2) - 1m - 9:14(9:14/m) - 130cal
3) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 130cal
4) - 1m - 9:02(9:02/m) - 130cal
5) - 1m - 9:05(9:05/m) - 130cal

Split Summary - wanted 46 mins 30 sec......actual 45 mins 46 sec (44 seconds ahead of stage schedule) - Pleased.

2nd Stage;

After a gel & cup of water increased to 6.6 pace (9.04 m/m) - Through mile 6 in 9.04 - spot on, mile 7 in 9.03. The hill at mile 8 made it a 9.16 m/m, so thinking I needed to catch up mile 9 was 8.53 m/m. Went past Tiptoes and saw Tim & Lynn & Katie from the parkrun. Did a bit of POSE running and a quick chat on the move & thinking I was a few seconds down by then I sped up a bit and through the start finish area in 8.45 m/m.

6) - 1m - 9:04(9:04/m) - 130cal
7) - 1m - 9:03(9:03/m) - 130cal
8) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 131cal
9) - 1m - 8:53(8:53/m) - 130cal
10) - 1m - 8:45(8:45/m) - 130cal

Spilt Summary - wanted 45 mins 20 secs.....actual 45 mins 01 sec (19 seconds ahead of stage schedule) - OMG

3rd Stage;

Only a 4 miler, gel first thou. Despite a bit of rain in the air this stage seemed to fly past, so hard to slow down. Kept thinking that was a fast mile, slow it down for the next mile but ran out of miles. Wanted 6.8 pace (8.49m/m) - Mile 11 - 8.07, Mile 12 - 8.32, Mile 13 - 8.21 & Mile 14 - 8.34. I did smile when I went through the half marathon point. Seemed to go past a huge number of runners here.

11) - 1m - 8:07(8:07/m) - 131cal
12) - 1m - 8:32(8:32/m) - 131cal
13) - 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) - 131cal
14) - 1m - 8:34(8:34/m) - 130cal

Split Summary - wanting 35 mins 16 secs.....actual 33 mins 34 sec (1 min 42 seconds ahead of stage schedule) - I know, I know too fast.

4th Stage;

My last stage that I had to run to just wanted to run rather than run to the plan - Boy did it feel like if I had OCD by the constant looking at the garmin & then the pace band, back to the garmin. Wanted 7.0 pace (8.34 m/m). Mile 15 after the gel & the water managed a 8.19 m/m, Mile 16 came the first of the hills again - through in 8.38 m/m, Saw Sue up in front who was running a fantastic race, Mile 17 in 8.19 m/m - still trying to slow down a bit. Mile 18 & my last `controlled` mile in 8.09 m/m.

15) - 1m - 8:19(8:19/m) - 131cal
16) - 1m - 8:38(8:38/m) - 130cal
17) - 1m - 8:19(8:19/m) - 131cal
18) - 1m - 8:09(8:09/m) - 131cal

Split summary - wanting 34 mins 16 sec.....actual 33 mins 25 sec (1 min 9 seconds ahead of stage schedule) - never mind just two miles to go.

Last Stage;

This was the part I was looking forward to the most. Ran past the 18 mile marker and I will admit I did cranked it up. Mile 18 through in 7 mins 35 seconds - blooming daft that but quite surprised I felt ok. Going past other runners. Mile 19 - One last mile to go & remembered about the 1/2 mile & 1/4 mile to go signs. Pushed ever harder - was not worried about my legs even thou one my toes hurt (!!!) saw the parkrun runners point (Tim & Lynn), I was giving it all...I couldn`t run even faster..1/4 of a mile to go and slightly down hill. Saw the `arch` pushed even harder overtaking a few last runners on the run in & through Mile 20 in 7.25 m/m (plus the last 0.09m in 34 sec (6.19 m/m).

19) - 1m - 7:35(7:35/m) - 131cal
20) - 1m - 7:25(7:25/m) - 131cal
21) - 0.09m - 34(6:19/m) - 11cal

Not much of a run off area, quick chat to Ruth as I finished, who had a good race too !!!

Could not believe how good I felt - Final time 2 hrs 53 mins & 20 seconds. (The official time was about two minutes up but never mind)

Yes I know it was ahead of schedule by 4 and a bit mins but that was close enough for me. The race was ran in a controlled manner - 1st time ever for a negative split and by some margin too. I felt relaxed & in control. Lots of positives and yes, maybe I could have run faster but that wasn`t really the point of today. I will follow this plan in my next 20 mile (Spitfire 20 on the 14th March) - well as near as I can. Good to meet so many people. I did have a blast.

Thigh feels ok but toe next to my big toe is bruised & a little sore. Recovery week this week with, and a sports massage booked in at the end of the week.

Enjoyed an after race food & drinks get together with the parkrunners at Sue`s whilst watching the terrible Rugby :-O

Ohh I do like marathon training :-)

Next race - Wokingham Half this Sunday (Not racing)....not including Saturday`s NHTT (yes Basingstoke ;-) ) parkrun of course.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Quick round up -

Nice mileage for January...drum roll please.....181M. Which I don`t think is too bad with the weather and all. Just goes to show the power of `streaking`. Planning a slightly easier February thou.

Entered a couple more races - well you always need to have something to look forward too;

The JW Ultra on the 25th September and,
Abingdon Marathon on the 17th October,

I am hoping I can piggy back the Abingdon on the end of my ultra training, this does mean & rather sad about this that I`ll miss doing Caesars Camp & the Midnight Run (might pop down to say hello whilst wearing my off road shoes of course).