Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Nearly got some sleep

Cranleigh 21

With the clocks moving it was an early morning - but all good practice for London I suppose..

Picked up Alan at 6.00am - in olde money anyway and managed to get to Cranleigh without any sat nav problems. Had a bit of a nosey around & saw the early runners off (you could set off 30 mins before everyone else if you didn`t think you would hit the 15 M cut -off).

Met up with the rest of the club runners. It was a good club turnout (for us `Covies` anyway - 12 of us) and heard the normal pre race excuses....niggies here, not much training, couldn`t find my luckily socks etc etc. The outcome was that there was a lot of keeping cards close to their chest - my plan was that I was aiming for 9m/m (easy to work out) - 3 hrs 9mins for the 21M & to ensure I kind of followed this plan I told everyone.

Hooter went off, a bit bunched at the start and managed to dodge a couple of cars that sneaked past the road closure. I saw my fellow club runners race off into the distance - so tempted to chase them down & race them - we did have a couple of our fastest runners there.....but that wasn`t the plan so I didn`t.

First mile down - still a bit cramped but steady and on time but I decided to find some space to run in so the 2nd mile was a bit fast. To be fair I don`t think I was in the best of moods - found it hard to switch off from the other runners - talking, i-pods leads, odd sounding feet slapping, birds singing in the trees etc., generally finding it hard to find my `running head space`. Third mile settled down a bit but still in front.

To distract my head I though I would keep count of where I was against the plan. My speed wasn`t helping me as the forth, firth & sixth mile I was still ok that`s +3 sec then - 32 sec = 29 sec ahead, then - 10 sec = 39 sec ahead. -18 sec = 57 sec ahead -25 = 1m 22 sec ahead, -23 sec = 1 min 45 sec ahead....etc etc....lost count after a while.

Whilst not hitting the 9`s I was happy with the pace. The course itself was good, a few lumps in the roads, mainly country roads. - one lap of 9 mile & a lap of 6 mile (which you do twice for the 21M).

Water stations were well placed except I had nightmare with them. I was told once that coming up to water stations you stick you arm out & make eye contacts & keep moving - 1st WS - ran in the back of another runner - water everywhere! Another WS - someone `took` my cup by swooping in at the last minute so ended up with orange !!. The best one I nearly ended (by accident) throwing the cup over the water marshal - a mixture of me running & him turning around.. If I was one of the dwarfs then call me `grumpy`!

Through the village of Cranleigh was interesting and made a nice chance to the countryside, and unto to 6M loop & past the jelly baby station (how many jelly babies in the buckets???). After about 1hr 40 mins the first of the leaders went past. I am in ore of how they make it look of easily & effortless - even thou are working hard it does amaze me (winner for the 21M was just under the 2 hr mark). Oh well never a prize for me for running fast...maybe distance but never speed !!

Passed through the half marathon mark (yeah - opps too fast) and passed the start / finish point and unto the second lap of 6M. This lap I felt happier with, as it`s good practice for forthcoming lapped races - Thunder Run - maybe a few laps in the Kent 50 etc.

Kept the mile splits steady and found myself passing runners in the last few miles. The last hill going downhill I found a struggle - more hill work required I think. `Sprinted` through the finish to finish my forth long run.

Garmin Spilts -

9:03, 8:28, 8:50, 8:42, 8:35, 8:37, 8:50, 8:51, 8:33,
8:38, 8:47, 8:36, 8:37, 8:13, 8:40,
8:27, 8:44, 8:35, 8:41, 8:26, 8:41, 1:03(0.15)

Garmin Finish Time - 3 hrs 2 mins 36 sec

Good event, found it hard thou - much harder than the Bramley 20 & the Surrey Spitfire 20 - tough on the legs. Maybe my race preparation (food & drink) wasn`t as good as it should have been but generally pleased with time (even thou it was 6 and half minutes too quick) - still a bit grumpy and decided that a soak in the jacuzzi & steam room afterwards would be the best plan forward.

Unsure of my last long run (20 + 32 + 20 + 21) - so maybe a 15 to 18 miler on Bank Holiday Monday.

Also need to firm up on my taper plans for London, maybe 80%, 60% , 40% of current mileage - hoping to keep the number of sessions the same.....!!

Next event - Maidenhead 10 on Friday (not racing - maybe pacing - 8.00 m/m)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Training going well.....unlike First Great Western Trains...............

Reading Half race report.

Such as easy plan - Get up early cycle to the train station, hop on board, get off at Reading and cycle the few miles to Reading Football stadium and be at the start nice and early.....and it could mean I could have a couple of beers afterwards. Sadly First Great Western had other ideas - like engineering works from Gatwick to Reading with replacement buses (only folding bikes allowed) - that`s no blooming good. So in best interests I got to Three Mile Cross (1.5M away) and ran in as a warm up.

Met up with my cousin, Colin who was also running (& who is doing GNR). As luck would have it we were near the Fetch pre-race meeting point and soon enough more fetches started to appear. Some I know & some new faces. After a quick chat & a couple of photos we were `pose`d out. I still had to drop my kit bag off and find my running partners - I was pacing a 1.50 run. Dropped bag off, found Sue and Jon but did manage to lose seeing off my cousin.

Made our way down towards the start area. Either everyone was late or the race had huge numbers but there were runners everywhere. Managed to find a gap in the crowds and started to run. Arms & elbows everywhere - Slowish but steady start. I knew we could easily catch up any time.

Mile 1 & 2 came around fairly quickly, by this stage Sue went on in front but knew it wasn`t a problem. Quick chat with Plodding Hippo & Footpad, saw andyp.

After the 3rd mile marker found a faster pace, under the flyover which is always a great place - that band - what a lift and into Reading itself. Spaces started to appear which meant room to run, however the bottleneck area in town seemed a lot busier this year. The miles kept ticking over. Saw loads of Fetches on the way.

Saw Ruth & HarryB at the Fetchpoint - just after 8 miles I think and saw Sue in front. Just passed the jelly baby station caught up with Mick n Phil but sadly didn`t have chance to chat much. Through mile 10 and into the homeward `straight` but it`s only 5 Kms to go. Took it steady here - still on pace just a bit more steadier than before. Soon enough the crowds started to appear around 12M, just down, up and round to go. 20 Kms sign appeared - it was going to be tight but still do-able.

Round the back of the Stadium, down the slope (in a safer fashion than last year) and with the help of the Stadium finish we sprinted and through the line.

Spilts - 8:48, 8:37, 8:39, 8:09, 8:08, 8:05, 8:28, 8:29, 8:19, 8:07, 8:20, 8:23, 8:24, 1.29 (0.19m).

Finish time = 1.50.24

Other split info;

5 KMs – 00:27:08
10 KMs - 00:52:36
15 KMs - 01:18:43
20 KMs - 01:44:48

Nice time but I suppose a little disappointed we didn`t sneak under the 1.50 but there again there is always another race and Sue had still loads of positives to take away form the run.

Nice chat afterwards, whilst recovering hearing all the race stories - some fast running going on.

Could I have beaten my 1.38.20 time???Who knows but I kept telling myself that I`m in marathon training and shouldn`t be racing halves (or is that halfs). I still may have run this race too fast but another long run controlled. (I did enter Reading before I knew I was in London)

Did over hear someone saying that a runner pulled a moonie when finishing his race Can I just say that was NOT me......I was pulling a moonie ALL of the way round

Afterwards I made my way back to Fleet but just missed out seeing that finish - I did mange to catch up with Mr C & Mrs E thou.

Reading is such a great event & I think become even bigger (!!!) and it was really good to see everyone but shame it clashed with Fleet Half. Different days next year please..and no engineering works please.

Next event - Cranleigh 21 next Sunday. Nice steady - 3hrs 10min+

(Latest news - I`ve entered the Athens Marathon on the 31st October 2010)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Surrey Spitfire 20

After running to a great plan at the Bramley 20 I was looking forward to this event. This one had a similar feel - 2 laps of 10M, a 10M event being held at the same time, I had the same plan - a progressive run of 5 Miles @ 9.08m/m, 5 Miles @ 8.53m/m (10M @ 1hr 30mins), 4 Miles @ 8.38m/m, 4 Miles @ 8.23m/m, 2 Miles @ funtime, the weather would hopefully be warmer, more miles in the legs as this being my 3rd long run (20 + 32 + 20) of the London plan etc etc.

I had read somewhere that this was the weekend to test things out for the big day - so I was even sure of my racing gear, gels & shoes.

I slept well, woke up in time for a leisure start, breakfast was perfect (i.e. not burnt), I even remembered the sunnies (ok I did have to turn back home - note to others - Pack your race bag the night before) and so except for having slight difficulty finding the place but still arrived in plenty of time it was going well to `The Plan`.

Saw Jock & Dave B beforehand - Can I just say NEVER, NEVER play poker with these fellas as they came up with all the excuses under the sun about `not running hard today`, Jock even had visual aids to back up his claim - his upper leg taped up like an Egyptian mummy - All I will add is that they both ran PB`s....!!!! Nicely run guys.

After a slight delay before the start, I didn`t mind too much as there was plenty of space for warming up (& I do mean warm up as it was very open on the runway), and we were off....

And off too fast I was. The 1st 5 miles were meant to be at 9.08 m/m, ok round a bit of a loop and out the Aerodrome. Even running faster than my plan the 1st mile marker came round very quickly. Mind you so did mile 2....and if honest so did mile 3 - all at 8.39m/m - OPPS. Around about here I was joined by Dave B, who was meant to be running 9.xx`s.

It was nice to run with a familiar face, as we chatted & looked at the nice scenery the miles ticked away - each time the Garmin indicated another mile down we took it in turns to say "Opps". First gel taken at Mile 5. Soon enough the two hills came along. To be honest I wasn`t really expecting them especially the second one about mile 6. Have to say I am pleased with my running up slopes but going downwards is still quite slow & awkward. Even thou the pace was faster than planned it felt very relaxed - a run running place both physically & mentally.

We turned back into the Aerodrome, past the water station at about 7.5M, then straight into the headwind - my goodness talk about in your face. So much effort needed to move forward at the same pace. Around the switch back & through the start / finish line and unto lap 2.

First 10 verdict - 7 minutes UP against the plan - OPPS & very much guilty.

Second gel taken at the turn and just managed to finish this gel and into the first hill which was not good timing. Did have ideas of going back to the plan (8.38 m/m`s) but soon disappeared. About mile 12 I switched off and managed to box myself in behind two others running - nearly running up the back of them - opps, sorry about that. Dave & I sped up a little just after that. Passed the water station & through the 13.1M barrier - in the region of 1.48.xx I think. I do enjoy this stage now, somehow mile 14+ is so different to the miles before - quite odd to explain. What wasn`t odd were the hills again - at least we could watch the cyclist free wheel coming down !!!! Final gel at Mile 15.

The last mile outside the Aerodrome was enjoyable - still having thoughts of `going for it` during the final couple of miles. Into the Aerodrome,past the water station and I saw Alan, a team mate in front. I seemed to gain on him quickly - I did have thoughts of drafting on the back of him for a while but thought I push on and into the wind - still as fierce of the first time around. I wasn`t even looking at the pace (thou afterwards I was very pleased at the final few mile splits), passed the final marshal and a final push till the line.

Through the finish in 2 hrs 47 mins 18 seconds.

My mile splits were;

8:38, 8:37, 8:39, 8:16, 8:21, 8:13, 8:04, 8:20, 8:16, 8:11
8:27, 8:28, 8:21, 8:06, 8:22, 8:29, 8:13, 8:00, 8:09, 7:58, 1:09 (0.15m)

Even though I totally failed to run to `The Plan` in one way I`m glad I did run that way as I do now know, without any doubt what so ever that I can run at 20M+ at MP - The Fetch prediction was 3:40:59. (If you offered me that now before London I would say thank you very much....but still run it anyway :-) )

In reflection a good but bad running day.

I will be very disappointed if my final few long runs including the Cranleigh 21 at the end of the month are as fast as this one - I will be more disciplined....I will be more disciplined....I will be more disciplined - said while clicking my heels together in a Wizard of Oz type of way.

To round the day off - In the evening I went to Rachael`s birthday party...and I didn`t managed to bore everyone there about my day`s racing, nor did I eat all the cake :-)

Next race - Reading Half this weekend...and even thou on pacing duties I`m planning on having fun, even maybe, maybe in full fancy dress......

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Ok I am weak !!!

Not often I get sucked in via the Sales pitch but.....

“...The route is challenging with over 1300 feet of climbing in the half-marathon and over 3300 feet in the full marathon. It will certainly test your resolve.

The timing will ensure that the countryside is at its best with a whole host of plants in blossom. Don't forget to watch the seals, birds and waves as you run by.

....runners will be given delicious cream tea when they finish (but don't worry, water will be available to all as well).

Facilities - Unfortunately there are no changing or shower facilities nearby. There is an outdoor cold water shower nearby that surfers use, and of course, there is an enormous bath with built-in wave machine right next to the finish line. “

Ok I am weak – how could I refuse that I`ve entered the North Devon Marathon on 27th June 2010 – Starting at Woolacombe.

(Website - )

Does still feel a bit odd entering marathons :-O

Other news the battle plan for Sunday Surrey Spitfire is complete...I think

5 Miles @ 9.08m/m
5 Miles @ 8.53m/m (Through 10 @ 1hr 30mins)
4 Miles @ 8.38m/m
4 Miles @ 8.23m/m
2 Miles @ funtime

If followed and the last 2 miles @ 8.00m/m then that`s a 2 hrs 54 mins 04 sec – just outside by PB...mmmm ;-)