Thursday, 24 March 2011

"I gotta find Bubba, I gotta find Bubba"

- The big weekend was here :-)

Well to break up the drive to Ledbury it was a stop off at Swindon parkrun (well would be rude not to plus I didn`t run for 5 days beforehand). A nice, two lapped undulating course, mainly on track which when dries out promises to bear fast times. I managed to stretch out the legs with a 27:52 time (93 - 8).

After topping up the carbs & liquids at the on-site cafe it was a quick detour to find the last minute bits & bobs for the main event....

Found Eastnor Castle & like most the Land Rover car park without too much of a problem - opps. Soon found the entrance to Deer Park. Saw tents being assembly & found `Stringy` (from RW) who drove down from Newcastle and was well into setting up camp. After a quick natter we started to sort things out. Soon enough more & more runners appeared. Vix & Sarah, RFJ (aka MnM - I`ll let him explain what that means :-) ), 18Monty & Faye. With phal, Stander & Running Beer coming over to say hello. Chatted with Sandra & Ian & the dogs.

I decided for two reasons not to recce the course - 1st being was not to waste energy & the 2nd reason was that the course will be there in the morning & I`ll discover all the nasty bits in the 1st lap (which will help past the time). I spent the time sorted out my gear - vests in one bag, short sleeved tops in another, socks (how many socks did I think I would need) in another - the number of bags were growing. Food & drink was sorted to.

We stayed in the campsite that evening rather than finding the local pub or as I like to think we were acclimatizing to the weather - it was flipping freezing - but we had the larger than normal Moon to keeps our spirits up :-/ I decide to set the alarm at 04:45. I was awake beforehand and I did think it was funny to hear the various alarms going off like the morning chorus.

Breakfast was porridge & black coffee, then it was time for the race briefing - I was nowhere near ready - not even in my race gear or been to the loo 8 times.....After a lot of flaffing I managed to get to the start line with 7 seconds to go - yes the person who bangs on about getting to races early & I get there with 7 seconds to go - gulp.

Basically the course - 1Km out of the main field, then uphill with a ditch, through some trees & gently downward section & then up a steep climb to a gate. 2Km was up and down and around the Obelisk - tough opening 2Km. The 3km is much gently on the quads and where you could actually run. 4th Km included 2 fairly steep downhill sections & the climb up to the tree line to the water station. The hard stony track was at 1st welcomed during the 5Km bit did include a steep climb to the marshals point at the top. The 6th Km was a `technically area` marked off through the trees and tracks. 7th was along a section of the road where you could see the Start / Finish. 8th Km was flat and back along the fields. 9th was just heading back to the top of the main field. So a tough little course, measuring just over 9 Km (5.69M) & you do get to see the castle & the beauty of the Malvern Hills.

(Generally I walked most of the 1st Km, hills up during the 2nd Km, the small uphill from the lake up to the tree line before the water station (I ran to & from the WS) & up the hill at the end of the stony track.)

During the first lap things settled down fairly quickly - you could roughly tell the soloists & those who were in a team – some I`m sure were actually flying. I decided fairly early on that I started off wearing too much & that I was going to change out from my Mizuno Wave Harriers after one lap. I had always planned to stop after each lap. Soon enough I arrived at the start / finish area - I went through the timing mats (meaning any down time was added unto the next lap). I dropped off the gear I didn`t need & changed into my Brooks GTS10 (which did include the gel heel) - a quick update on FB (in which I did mention what was the highlight of the 1st lap)

(Note - thanks to everyone who left comments on my status FB - I did update it on each lap only for the sake of my own sanity really)

I was fairly happy with my time - it was hillier than I expected and my `pre-race - not-seeing the course` target of 60 miles was not going to happen (I expected laps to be over 6 miles and not so tough so 11 laps was out of the window). I quickly re-addressed this to 57 miles or so. 57 miles - looking back I still find that a bit nuts but it wasn`t miles it was just laps & time - the miles were just a by-product of those two.

I really tried to juggle the stops between clothing change and food stops so at the end of Lap 2 it was time to start nibbling (I had already taken a gel at 14Km). The camp site seemed so empty I felt like a right slacker breaking off from running.

Lap 3 was change of tops, I had thought of changing socks but thought better of it. Quick drink and away I went. Hearing the guy reading out the race positions was good. I was good to strike up some banter with the marshals & helpers - this pattern followed each lap really.

Some memorable splits (I think) - 20M in 4 hours, 26.2M in around 5hrs 20mins.

Towards the end of lap 6 I found it tough going - with a mile left or so I had met with `Stringy` who had done really well - his goal was reached - 5 laps - his 1st ultra (& his 1st marathon) so he was well happy. I was hurting all over, getting a touch of cramp when I increased the pace a little. I thought about declaring but decided just a longer stop - food, wash, clean clothes, chat, coffee etc. One more lap to 40 & now this is my longest run (furthest before was 32.75M - twice) was how I was thinking & then it`s downhill from then.

The break had done me well & soon found myself back out there.

Lap 7 was I guess was the one I enjoyed most - I even started to think about if I picked up the pace could I get an extra lap in and end with 10 laps & getting to a double marathon (crazy thoughts) - at this stage it was looking like 9 laps thou.

Soon enough 10 hours were up - a big milestone as I could only get 2 laps in. I wanted to finish no later than 30 minutes of 12 hours really. One more lap Mrs Wembley I thought as I headed off. This last lap I found was very draining esp the last 3Km seeing the finish, hearing the megaphone, hearing the clapping but sure enough the finish came into sight. Sandra & one of her dogs passed me with a 1Km – I quickly dismissed a sprint finish :-).

I entered the top of the field - heard shouts & went through the finish as odd as it sounds feeling quite fresh. Patrick, the RD was there to shake the hands of the finishers which I thought was a great touch - as was the fact they tapped off the course to stop you going round again.

I pretty much downed the coffee that was handed to me - thanks. Shook out the legs and in a bit of daze grabbed some food & collected my finishing memento & watched the prize giving.......

I later learnt that Vixx, who had fallen quite badly early on had gone through the ultra marathon distance with 5 laps – so another pleasing result there.

In the evening it was nice to have a beer & a chat & chill.

Laps & data;

Lap 1 - 00:58:04 (5.7M)
Lap 2 - 01:06:29 (11.4M)
Lap 3 - 01:10:49 (17.1M)
Lap 4 - 01:11:02 (22.8M)
Lap 5 - 01:19:42 (28.5M)
Lap 6 - 01:46:42 - big stop (34.2M)
Lap 7 - 01:32:40 (39.9M)
Lap 8 - 01:33:51 (45.6M)
Lap 9 - 01:30:31 (51.3M)

Total of 51.43 Miles in 12 hours 09 minutes & 47 seconds & 3 blisters.

12th Place in the Individual Men

Full Results -

Roughly what I ate & drank -

3 x Mullur Rice (2 strawberry & 1 original)
3 x Jaffa Cake bars
1 x 500ml Bottle of flat coke
2 x 500ml Lucozade (1 x raspberry & 1 caffeine)
1 x High 5 Energy Source 4:1 drink
2 x High 5 Energy Source 4.1 bars
2 x Gels
2 x Black strong coffees (with extra sugar)
2 x Cheese the end,

Feeling better for this year`s Dartmoor Discovery & maybe even Caesars Camp 50 at the end of the year. Shame I didn`t bag the double marathon but not bad effort for my 1st long ultra but at least I now have a new 12 hour go and beat :-)

Damage wise - When I run I must roll over on my right ankle as it`s quite sore or I was trying to protect the 3 blisters I picked up on the inside of the same foot. My biggest worry pre-race was the `Achilles tendon` after changing shoes at the end of the 1st lap was quite calm. Also had a sore forefinger where my thumb was rubbing on it as I ran - to the delight of some folks. As for DOMS - I`ve had worse by doing a certain half marathon up & down Box Hill !!!

Next up - some rest (inc getting social life back in order) with only light jogging at the next couple of parkruns..

Thursday, 17 March 2011

This weekend & #runforjapan

Motivating videos for me includes these two.....

(I do like the backing track)

The human spirit, when challenged, will soar!

After seeing the horrors unfold in Japan I`ve decided to give £2.00 for every mile I run at the weekend to Run for Japan -

Please join me & show suppport.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

I can`t moan or `wine` about my weekend...busy as a PB.

Just had a cracking weekend - full of running & races. Which I guess is what you want to keep you mind off things – namely SIS Lightning 12hr next weekend.

Saturday started off with a trip over to Reading for `two` races – the first Reading parkrun & my second trip there (92-7). The course was a lot firmer than I thought it would be, as Gavin pointed out great conditions for Reading, no waiting at the scanners either. Myself & Dan from the club went around in an easy 28:02, both agreed to go back in the Summer and give this a real crack as I think it`s a fast course. Good to see OS from RW who had a blinder.

Splits – 09:06, 09:01, 09:06, 0:51 (0.1M @ 08:15/m)

We only had 90 mins to wait for our next race – the Reading St Patrick`s 5 Mile Scurry. Drove to the University and eventually found the Student Union (nice one Dan but we did see some of the course). Met up with Sue & some of Basingstoke parkrun crowd and waited for the start. The course itself was a 2 fairly flat laps with a mixture of terrains and my aim was a PB – I had to beat 38:37. We assembled at the start – fast students at the front, old vets in the middle & leprechauns at the back (great shout guys) and off we went.

Due to my lack of speed work I`ve forgotten how to run at pace and off like a loon I went. I kept thinking what Gobi had said to me only recently – it goes along the lines of – 1st 15 seconds you can run like a loon, the next 45 seconds to calm down, the next 60 seconds if you carry on then the race is blown.

So the first mile came around very quickly, shortly after that I said to Dan to go on this pace is too fast for me. Then it seemed the 2nd mile marker was in sight – I steadied the pace down. Through the start finish and around again. I looked down at round 5Km and saw I was only a few seconds from last week`s parkrun time - !!! I felt that in the next mile – I was blowing hard - but seeing the 4th mile marker you knew the pain would be over soon – I pushed on and soon enough I had two sections of the race left – around the corner & down & up & through the finish.

Splits – 07:07, 07:33, 07:37, 07:54, 07:53, 00:17 (0.04m @ 06:50/m)

I looked down at the garmin and at least I had a reason to feel beat up. 38.20 was showing – a PB by 17 seconds.

We went to the bar – well would be rude not to drink Guinness and wander through to the prize giving – which we arrived just in time. After clapping the race winners I was surprised to hear the words......”And 1st Male VET - from Cove Joggers – Kelvin Gower....” Well you could have knocked me down with a 3 leafed clover. Apart from my parkrun runner of the month my actual first award for a single running performance – a bottle of red. A bit of a belated birthday present - Cheers.

Today was the Surrey Spitfire 20 – a favourite of mine. 2 laps around the Dunsfold Aerodrome and the surrounding area. Slightly undulating but nothing too worrying. I did last Spring and ended racing & grabbing a PB (02:47:18 – av 08:18), last October I ran in the Autumn version (roughly 17M @ 09:30 & last 3M @ 8.10`s). Today I was also pacing out a time – I had decided on 10.00/m (easier on brain) – 03:20. I picked up Denise from the club and made our way there. Even thou I was in disguise I soon met up Gymfreak & Jock & John. Soon enough it was start time – as we lined up we bumped into Alison & David from the club and discussed race plans. David would come around with me & Heather – with that sorted we were off (why worry with well thought out advance plans – simples).

The miles ticked over nicely – 5 down and on the homeward stretch for the first lap. We crossed the 10M marker on 01:40:05. Now the thing with the new start / finish position is that by the time you exit the aerodrome you have covered 3 miles already – only 7 to go, then from 5 you can count down. Went to finish going up & down the last lumps you know you are practically done. This was David longest run and he was doing really well – for the last few miles I kept just in front for him telling him to keep the imaginary tow rope tight which he did.

As we entered the Aerodrome we had cheers from the supporters, then myself & Gymfreak had to practically sprint to keep up with David who found some hidden speed from somewhere – an incredible finish. (I will remember that David at Frimley Lodge)

Through the line & congratulations all round – another great mornings running.

Splits – 9:58, 9:55, 9:44, 10:12, 10:20, 10:12, 9:51, 9:46, 9:41, 10:06, 9:59, 9:35, 10:18, 10:37, 10:23, 10:19, 10:35, 10:35, 9:41, 8:25 (0.88m @ 9:35/m)

Oh the finishing time was 03:20:11 (opps had 03:40:11 there)

A good event for all of the Cove Jogger`s on show in fact - Alison testing out a 02:39:02, Denise`s progressive 03:02:18 - not bad for her 1st 20M & David`s great effort of 03:20:13.

I cannot wait till the Autumn one - Date Released as the 4th Sept.

Next up – SIS Lighting 12hr Run but only after tomorrow`s sports massage & Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evening`s yoga ....yes I`ve planned a relaxing week ahead with my only running coming at Swindon parkrun. Then after that some time off – with only parkruns in mind.

What others have said about last year`s events.....

Link -

Link -

Results -

And from their facebook page – “Are you ready for the Science in Sport Lightning 12Hr Run? It's this time of year again when we make our way to Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Ledbury to kick off the season with a bang. 12 hours of all cross country running with around 1000 ft of climbing per lap. We will have Facebook and twitter updates live from the event so for friends and family tell them to follow @provelosupport on twitter and the provelosupport Facebook page to see how you are doing. Good luck and see you on Sun 20th.

I shall be updating my Facebook status during the event too.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mad March 20 - Mad that you mistook March for not being a Summer month

A new event for me & was highlighted to me by our Ex-Club Secretary – so it would be rude not to do it (ok poor excuse I know but I did miss out on Bramley a couple of weeks ago – so am I let off??).

An early one, I picked Dave up & we made light of the drive down there. Parked up & wander over to the HQ & checked in. Wandered back to car to grab the gear & bumped into Brian & said our hellos.

Soon enough race time came along – slight matter of starting the 10M race off first & off they went. Soon our time to line up, as we stood there HOD & ndellar (fellow Fetchies) said hellos. The plan was 09:30`s or 6.3 (03:10) & Dave was under strict intrusions not to sped up. Have to say it was a nice social run chatting to HOD about Chi Running – I didn`t even notice the 9:09 mile 4 sneak in – I thought we were being good.. As we passed the 10Mile marker I looked at the Garmin - 01:34 so bang on target. The course took us around a loop so we missed out seeing Brian was just in front but we did see the first two runners – miles out in front & not really surprising either as who they were. Anyway as the miles ticked off I kept an eye on the pace – slowly creeping up to 6.4. Around the 14M mark the clouds had now decided to clear & the sun came out. It was pretty warm so off came the gloves & arm-warmers – still had my long sleeved top & club vest one (yes I hadn`t expected such warm weather – not checking the weather forecast beforehand – what a rookie !). The last 5M went quite quickly – I did see mile 16 & 18 being low 9.00`s – opps. Mile 19 and then two small sections & into the finishing area. Over the line and only 3 minutes ahead.

This is a great event & very pleased we made the effect – if you have the chance then this is a must do event. Many thanks to Zoom Tri Club & all the helpers & marshals (esp the two lovely ladies with the bunny ears at mile 1 & 11) & to Gosport Road Runners for the support & cheers around the course.

1) - 1m - 9:36(9:36/m) - 138cal
2) - 1m - 9:33(9:33/m) - 139cal
3) - 1m - 9:29(9:29/m) - 140cal
4) - 1m - 9:09(9:09/m) - 140cal - opps
5) - 1m - 9:28(9:28/m) - 140cal
6) - 1m - 9:18(9:18/m) - 139cal
7) - 1m - 9:23(9:23/m) - 140cal
8) - 1m - 9:20(9:20/m) - 138cal
9) - 1m - 9:24(9:24/m) - 140cal
10) - 1m - 9:19(9:19/m) - 139cal
11) - 1m - 9:24(9:24/m) - 139cal
12) - 1m - 9:20(9:20/m) - 139cal
13) - 1m - 9:17(9:17/m) - 140cal
14) - 1m - 9:13(9:13/m) - 139cal
15) - 1m - 9:18(9:18/m) - 139cal
16) - 1m - 9:00(9:00/m) - 139cal - opps
17) - 1m - 9:22(9:22/m) - 139cal
18) - 1m - 9:05(9:05/m) - 139cal - opps
19) - 1m - 9:20(9:20/m) - 140cal
20) - 1m - 9:16(9:16/m) - 138cal
21) - 0.04m - 24(9:15/m) - 5cal

Other news I have decided that before I reach 100 parkruns I will do as many different events as possible. Currently I am 91 for 7 (that looks like a England Cricket score line). When I decided this I had been to 6 different locations & all 6 had been on or below 23:00 mins (rather pleased with that). So this week I got to Old Deer Park parkrun, which is a nice quiet 3 lapper feeling that was the end of that little achievement. Anyway after 3 laps & after managing to get breathe back I looked, and looked again - 22:54 – however a sub 23 will not happen when I go to Swindon (93rd) on the 19th on my way to the Lightning Run – aim is at least 30mins.

Next up – Another easy week then next Saturday the St Patrick`s 5M Scurry & Sunday Surrey Spitfire (03:25 / 03:30) then a proper rest before the Lightning Run – these main targets races do come round really quickly don`t they?