Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Well not quite but close.....

Before I get onto my 2013 plans that I guess I should mention 2012.

The first 4 months of 2012 was a bit pants – we are not talking M&S pants here but `5 for £3.00 bottled grey coloured` pants. Having to jog around my favourite Aerodrome for 1 lap rather than racing 2 laps, nearly getting beaten by Percy Pig at Fleet, ditching my London plans & pulling out from my target No. 1 race. The total mileage for those four months was 133 Miles, and that inc 82M for March.

The next 5 months were better – averaging about 80M per month, which included good 10M runs at Alton & Hook, a nice jog at the South Downs Half, totally enjoying Thunder Run (even thou poor fitness levels were showing), a really interesting 18.6Km race in Greece, a comeback 20M in Milton Keynes & my first (& only) Marathon this year in Farnham – so generally getting there.

The last 3 months have seen the mileage nearly getting there – the yearly highlight was Caesars Camp 50 in mid October in difficult conditions, having a good run out at Gosport Half & a good parkrun blast just a couple of weeks ago. So ending the year nearly on form again & defiantly happier.

(For the `stats` fans among us – 2009 = 1,395 Miles, 2010 = 1,576 Miles, 2011 = 1,434 Miles & so far in 2012 = 811 Miles)

What`s the 2013 plans.....

Well as the picture says "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - is actually fairly close to the truth. As on June 8th I plan to be on the start line of the Run 24 ( ) an off-road 24 hour race, held in Wasing Park, Reading - this would be a solo attempt (yes basically a repeat of last year`s target race).

Many of you know since I`ve started running in 2008, I have done few odd races before - 12 hrs race, 50 Mile race, completed 3 Ultra-marathons before actually running a marathon but this is something different. I am under no illusion that I will be pushing myself, both physically & mentally, on race day & during training.

Training wise - I am looking at following the training plan in the `Relentless Forward Progress` book - I have worked it out that the mileage if I follow this plan is 970 miles (not inc 50 Km B`day Race or Race day itself). With a bit of poetically licence most of my races fits within this plan - except my Birthday Run in the New Forest in March but it`s my birthday & I can do what I want.

I will be looking to raise money for a local charity to Farnborough - Parity for Disability (, they are a great charity that do important work locally in supporting children & adults with severe & multiple disabilities and like many smaller charities they are often over-looked. I will be setting up a `` in the forthcoming weeks - I do have a few ideas to rattle the sponsorship tin for this one (the last time I raised money with back in 2008 for my 1st Half Marathon when I ran the Great North) so please give as much as you can. Every single penny helps these guys to a better life.

I will be looking for a support team on the day so it you want to help please give me a shout.
I am looking forward to this challenge, it`s both exciting & hard work..

Feel free to following me on Twitter (@Mister_KG) or follow this blog

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The power of the mind........& a bit fun.

Things have been going well since Gosport, amazing what happiness & a good run can do for one`s confidence. This had got me thinking about my year`s running - generally not the best since I started this game. I hadn`t pushed myself, distance or pace wise since the comeback - definitely a case of holding back for fear of a repeat injury - unsure if this is normal or not but I guess it is. One season`s best I wanted to beat was my parkrun time - my season`s best was 23:56 - I simply had to do better but was running out of events.

So with that in mind I decided that the 8th Dec was the time to give it a bit of a bash. I eased off the miles in the week before, no 3 mile warm up, head was in `racing mode`. Kit was chosen - Club vest, shorts. Ok I hadn`t planned the weather being so cold (coldest this year) so the `marigolds` came out. Half mile warm up, I made my way to the dizzy heights of the front of the start line !!! Now I know parkrun folks don`t want to call it a race but raced off when the hooter went off. The plan was to sit behind Alison until I got spat out of the back as that should still give me a SB`s time. Within 0.5M I had gone past Alison - opps but running quite well. I was overtaking more folks than being past - all good. I didn`t look at the Garmin when the mile bleep went off. I did find myself slowing, but each time I leant forward a bit more, shorten my stride - thought of the wheel & pushed on. Back on the canal path for the second time & I went past a long time target. Now it was a case of just waving to acknowledgement to the marshals rather than saying "thanks a lot ". In the last mile & I could hear ladies behind me (cough thing) - I thought it was Alison sitting on me then storming past in the latter stages - well that`s what I would do. She pulled along side - it wasn`t Alison.

A marshal said words of encouragement - then said "Well done Jo, 1st Lady".....well that`s sorted then - I can beat 1st Lady (it doesn`t happen that often) - taking my chance I picked up the pace for the final bit & raced, screamed towards the finish line. I stopped my watch & collected my token - position No. 34, then checked the Garmin - I was actually shocked - initially I thought my Garmin had stopped during the run as I could not really believe the said `22:18` That`s ridiculous - that`s only 25 seconds slower than my PB & 20 seconds from my course PB set back in April 2010. Bizarrely my legs were not that tired - nothing left in the lungs but legs fine. Amazing what you can do if you set yourself up do to something & let go any fear or doubts. I did enjoy my scrambled eggs on toast down the post-parkrun cafe.

Splits - 6:56, 7:31, 7:24, 0:26 (0.07 @ 6:05) - Ave 7:16/m

The next day was the Hogs Back Road Race (racing two days on the trot - just like old times ;-) ) A local race, l did like this one but they had changed the course - no legging it up the Hogs Back road from Guildford avoiding the traffic :-( but for Health & Safety reasons totally understandable. Myself & Dave got there early - one cup of tea later & a short warm up it was start time (9.00am). Like normal I hadn`t really looked at the course so it would be a bit of surprise. Race plan as my legs were suffering from previous day speedy parkrun so it was a case of `Have a bit of fun" that was introduced. We started near the back but soon found the pace was too slow so were found the gaps & pushed ahead. Amazing what people wear - far too many folks wearing too many clothes & getting too hot too quickly. The hills towards the end of the 1st mile thinned out the runners but as I like going uphill it wasn`t a real problem. After about 2 miles we headed downwards - now letting go down hill is something I`ve been working on - I let myself go & flew down the hill. I eased up & waited to Dave to come back alongside.Then the course became very interesting - a good mile of twists & turns & up hill climbs. Myself & Dave almost stride for stride. Then came the flat at around 3.5 mile stage...and Dave took off....but didn`t disappear off in the distance as is the norm with him. After what seemed a long time we arrived at the top of the Hogs Back - it was all downhill from here. OK going downhill towards Compton on icy roads wearing my racing slicks (Brooks T6`s) isn`t great & was a bit dicey. We went past where I helped man a support stop at the Pilgrims Challenge earlier in the year.

Despite the tired legs, the distance between Dave & myself wasn`t increasing. At around mile 5 & I guess the 1st time in any race I was very cold in the `shorts department` - painfully cold. I was actually thinking "could I run at this pace with my gloves shoved down the front of my shorts??" I had worked out I only had at best just over 15 mins of running time left - I could manage that. The last mile did go quite quickly, I closed the gap with Dave - nearly in striking distance - maybe 400 to go but then he looked round. I couldn`t believe it - he hadn`t looked around for 4 miles - and sprinted off. I tired to catch him - we overtook several runners in this closing stage but I couldn`t get that distance back. Crossed the line & I wouldn`t like to use the phase "Warmed myself up" but I did feel better. Again really pleased with the finishing time - just by having a bit of fun & letting go.

(Instead of a mug or medal - the freebie was free photos - see above example of the sprint finish)

Splits (& guess the hills) - 7:53, 7:57, 8:53, 8:13, 7:07, 7:29, 7:38, 0.23 (0.06@ 6:15) - Ave 7:52/m

Next up - a bit of R&R & then the Haslmere Boxing Day Run on er Boxing Day - a serious race complete with a beer stop :-)

Have fun & enjoy.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Four years & 31 half marathons later....well I did say I`ll be back !!

Gosport Half

Despite only really back in training for 2 weeks (just under 30 miles per week) plus race week after CC50 I was looking forward to returning to Gosport & running this half marathon. My previous outing here was in 2008 & was in fact my 2nd Half Marathon & on that day I ran what was a PB of 1:48:22. A couple of reasons to look forward to this one was the big club turnout - 9 of us went down...and the pub lunch afterwards.....oh and of course the running bit.

From memory it was a very similar day - weather wise - very nippy & blue skies but still going with the Club Shirt & shorts (as it happened I went for the vest). I picked up Dennis - who wasn`t running but fancied a day out - and made our way down. Got there & almost straight away bumped into Dave, Dan, Tony, Anthony & Pete from the club. Drank coffee & fluffed around a bit, collected the timing chip, dropped my bag off & went for a warm run (0.87 M @ 8.16/m pace) where I nearly ran into Alison & David (again from the club). During this warm up I thought about the race plan - I knew I was on for a seasonal best - Fleet 2:07:XX - but a week before it was a sub 1:50:XX, during the week I had added 5 mins so a sub 1:55:XX, however down there & warming up I settled back for a sub 1:50 - with a super top goal of a course best...

We made our way to the start - the new start position - & found ourselves pretty much at the back. Hooter goes off & Dave manages about 20 metres till he gets `bored` and runs off - I`ve tried before to go with him & learnt the hard way so I hang back with Dan & Tony. 1st mile pops up & we are about right. 2nd mile was a bit fast - "easy tiger." We enter the dreaded Aerodrome - now the only good thing when in here is that we you see the faster folks running towards you - always impressive. Loads of Tesco`s runners doing well. Soon enough if was my turn to head out.

As the miles ticked over - the trouble with this course & for me it`s `too flat` - once settled into a stride my mile splits were very much the same. Back into the Aerodrome for a mile or two. Again saw the faster runners - saw Dave looking strong, I wondered where Alison was???? I went past Tony & Anthony a couple of miles back & saw Pete, Garry & David on the switchback parts & could see Dan in front but couldn`t catch him. As we headed out of the Aerodrome I felt my legs getting really bit tired - come on only a parkrun to go....

I expected the course to be along the promenade for a couple of miles then up a bit of incline & then home so it was a bit of shock to see Alison waving at me & coming towards me - I bet the confused look I gave was quite impressive. This kept me wondering for a mile or so. The course had changed - we had to run a small loop & then dropped down to a small path by the beach - during this mile I did feel myself slow & the group I was trying to tag unto moved further ahead. I tried to pull the pace back during the last mile but didn`t quite have in the legs - I did know a sub 1:50:XX was pretty much in the bag.

I saw Brian (Cove Joggers Ex Secretary) on the last corner, then Chris from Farnham Runners - both cheering me on...... 500 to go - I saw my target ahead. I don`t know if he had realised but he put his foot down too - and I now can confirmed that I am NOT a 400 metre runner but I gave it my all up the final part of the course. I went through the finish & nearly collapsed in a heap - it took me a while to catch by breath & stop my head spinning. I thanked the finishing area marshals & made my way through the finishing area. (btw I didn`t catch him).

Splits - 8:23, 8:09, 8:13, 8:01, 8:10, 8:12, 8:10, 8:07, 8:21, 8:21, 8:20, 8:38, 8:28, 1:01 (0.14@ 7:27)

Finishing time - 1:48:41 - 19 seconds away from my 2008 time - very happy with that esp as this is one of the few times I`ve actually felt like I`ve been racing this year and 3 minutes from my best 2011 time.

During the home straight I saw & heard Dennis so I made my way back down the him, chatted for a while before getting cold, so I headed back to the school to collect my bag & get showered. After we got changed we all met up & headed off to the pub for a Sunday lunch - which I have to say was very enjoyable. If you are looking for just one reason to join a Running Club that`s its there.

Weight wise - definitely getting rid of the `ball` - more running plus doing a lot more yoga - I guess up to 4 hours a week.

Next up - Sunday week it`s the `Hog`s Back Run` - and not wanting to pre-judge this one but they have changed the course from a really interesting 8 miler to 11.5 Km so we shall wait & see what`s that like.....

Monday, 12 November 2012

The results are in....

Yes the results are in from the Caesars Camp 50M run & worth waiting for.

I was one of the 45 starters than ran the 50 mile course in conditions & I quote from Henk "the worst they have ever been" & from the 29 who made it to the end I finished in 19th place.

Results - Link thing

I could be a bit negative to say that if I`d finished 7 minutes better I would have gained 3 places but I will not – it was tough, I learnt a lot – quite a lot about me & can honestly say I enjoyed it.

I guess the big question is - which will be next 50 miler or next year`s CC50 race?? :-)

Next up this Sunday – Gosport Half. Unsure of the actual race plan but thinks a seasonal bests is on the cards.

Oh yeah I`ve been making plans for next year...... ;-)

Life is good - thankyou  K

Monday, 22 October 2012

What`s the point if you cannot push yourself............

These key races sure come round quick don`t they? Before I knew it it`s October – which meant the Caesars Camp 50 

Why was I here? Well shortly before making the decision to pull out of my solo run at the TR24 – my 2012 target race I needed a new challenge . I choose this one because it fits – it was laps (helpful when there is no support team), very very local (less than 3 miles) , I knew the course (previous races 2 x 30M + numerous training runs) & that as I`m not very good with hills it will help me to improve plus it`s 50 miles which is a long way Blimey - putting it this way

Training wise was poor but what sealed my place on the start line & not dropping down to the Midnight 30 was when I finishing the Farnham Marathon. My logic was that I could do 26.2M (not saying it was plain sailing) then I could do 30 miles at night & wanted to be outside my safety zone......

The race starts at Noon, this gave me plenty of time especially as my sleep pattern in race week was, even for me, was very poor. Most mornings I was wide awake just after 4.15am. My head thoughts was racing, ideally not want you want in race week but sometimes you cannot do anything about timing - I could not tell if was proper taper madness or a personal matter that knocked me sideways & always has – and now as I`m writing this after the race I`m hoping it was the former but probably a mixture of both but let`s hope it`s not a case of déjà va (have I said that before??).

Anyway just after 4am on race morning I was awake so I put on a film - Forrest Gump – it just seemed the right thing to do plus it made me relaxed. Shortly before 9.00am I nipped out for a bit of fresh air & wandered over to Frimley Lodge parkrun. Very interesting to see from the other side of the fence. I got backed & got ready. I had already sorted my kit into smaller bags with food & drinks in a cool bag & transferred these to my race HQ (my car)..

I got there & signed in – no jokes about doing the smaller `fun` run & returned to the car (which I managed to park in a spot that was the furthest away for Race HQ – a poor decision I later found out). Even though I expected to see a few familiar faces I still felt out of play – this was a proper endurance race. It briefly reminded me of that fox hiding caption..

This thought was soon removed by the race briefing, delivered by Henk. He sure does not sugar coat things – his warnings were stern – and his views on littering the course is so spot on (don`t do it). BTW He doesn`t seem to like compression socks, backbacks & garmins all worn together....congrats that man !!!

Looking back I am unsure how the race was actually started – in previous years it`s something like...”3 – 2 – 1 now f**k off you d*ckheads” – quite odd I just started to jog, there was no thoughts of “Ok, 50 miles here I come” I had gone for what most were wearing – trail shoes, short sleeved top (I wore my Club vest) & compression shorts & around my race number belt I had two gels & tied off I had my buff & arm warmers. The start was nice & slow with many early walking breaks especially up the 1st steep incline (this photo does not do it justice) & then up along the ridge & then the dip down before climbing onto the `Look out` were the best views on the course. Also the first area where care need to be taken – down a steep, wet, muddy, stony tracks that I think catch a runners out later.

Seeing as I had recently down a training run over there the course conditions for the 1st half was not a real surprise. Soon enough I was at the checkpoint (5.5M in), I think I only stopped for a couple of drinks & some jelly sweets or something. Miles 7 – 9 was the part of the course I had not stuck to when I came over here on my reccie runs...... blimey there was a tight drop which already was very sloppy with (liquid) mud & was sure going cause problems later. Then after a flat section and a rise it was down towards a real muddy section – shoe sucking section – I know this as it took my right shoe off without any problem – one footstep later & I had one wet, muddy sock – great. Then it was back towards the look out and some solid tracks & path. We turned off (I remembered this as this was the cause of my bonus miles in my very 1st trip over here), this track was even more trickery than the one earlier & it wasn`t going to improve. Soon it was less than a mile to go – which was good as I felt a couple of hotspots on my left foot – inside edge of the sole & tip of a couple of toes – the toes I was surprised with as my Mizuno Wave Harriers II`s have a large toe box & the step drops causes a bit of toe bashing. I dropped off the final hill & checked into race HQ before going to the car – see garmin connect to see how far I had to walk – what a dope. I sorted out the feet & after a clean pair of socks & a new top I felt a lot better. I also had about 175ml of flat coke & a muller rice. Out on lap two...

I soon caught up these the 3 (1 x 50M & 2 x 100M) runners who were very experienced & having a laugh, which helped me relax even more. I cannot remember if I went off or if they did but suddenly I was alone – which was nice. Well not quite alone – I met the Caesars Camp Cows along a small track....lucky they played nicely & let me though. Soon enough I found the checkpoint & it answered one thing – they had gone off ahead of me . I left them there. I looked at the garmin – 16 miles down. All felt good – no hotspots anymore, legs ok, running wise good & head was ok. I think I was lucky choosing a route through the mud field so no repeat of the previous lap & losing my shoe. The rest of the lap seemed to go quickly.

Again transition was about 10 minutes, no food – new top & change of race belt with my lights (Led Lenser H7 head torch & rear hazards lights). Now sometime during this lap my head became a trip on its very own – weird thoughts time – The sun will come out tomorrow song came out of nowhere & even more bizarre was where I got the `Cub scout law` from – wow. I need to focus & keep my brain going. They had coffee on the go at the checkpoint so I had a black one. I took it on the go  I managed the mud slide track quite well again. I thought I taken my safe route through the mud field but I hadn`t – big squelch & my shoe was gone – the right one & same results again. I sorted that out & carried on – well within 3 footsteps I lost it again – I mean LOST it ...a proper toys out of pram moment....I am glad no-one was near me. They could have heard me but not in sight. I looked down – 27 miles just gone – my 1st ultra for the year done. That was like a new page – I felt much better. I realised that if I was doing the 30 mile run I would be finishing soon – I didn`t want to finish. Ok I was tired, things were tighten up but I hadn`t finished yet which pleased me.

I may have taken longer at this transition, I wanted a helly top & my gilet – as it happened within a couple of miles it started to rain. I was joined by this South African runner – amazing to just listen & swop stories as the miles ticked off. I think at the checkpoint he carried on. 35 miles in – this was a good point – my second furthest run. By now my walking sections had increased. By now the tricky points on the course were very bad – I felt for the 100M runners & 30M guys. I saw one runner miss a turn so went after them - all I will say is iPod !!! I hadn`t checked but the numbers of runners I saw was getting less I could only imagine quite a few had quit. I made a deal with myself quite early on that I wasn`t going to quit – I might be one of the last 50M runners to finish but I wasn`t going to quit.

Just before Race HQ at the last incline a runner went past – a 50M runner – who was just about to finish 10hrs 25 mins or something. Instead of getting down about that I thought “hey that will be me soon....well soon in a few hours sense of the word”. I got a coffee & changed helly tops & put on my Haglofs smock as the rain had not stopped & made my way out to my last lap.

My time & cuts off`s permitting I had always planned to walk most of this lap – only really running the downhill sections. I thought I walked fast but it took ages ....but each step I was getting closer. At the checkpoint I thanked them for their work & support – they causally accepted it but it does mean a lot. I also bumped into Andrew & we had a good long chat – but soon enough I was back out on the course to finish it off. I walked with a 100M runner for a while then suddenly I was at the bottom of the `Look Out` – so that`s a climb, flat, long downhill, tricky section, firm flat bit & the tree section & finishing straight to go till I finished. As I neared the road & the last downhill to Race HQ a car was driving up & I`m glad my torch had enough light for them to see me as I didn`t want to stop...they saw me & I ran through to the finish.

Ok my last lap was not pretty & I would guess a 8M walk but I got the job done. I had gone out of my safety zone, beaten the head demons & those self doubts that had crept in.

I now have an `easy` 50M PB to break next time....I know I can do a better time.

Some stats;

10M - 2hrs 00mins
20M - 4hrs 24mins
30M - 7hrs 15mins
40M - 10hrs 27mins

19th out of 51 fifty mile starters - unsure how many DNF

Damage – a couple of blisters, toenail count = 9, legs & hips a bit tight. My smile is covering up a lot of doms I think.

Big thanks to Henk & his brilliant team – thankyou.

Next up.....a bit of rest & then in a couple of weeks I`ll go back over there & enjoy a lap.

Last thought.......Now if I can nearly spend 14 hrs on my feet on a hilly course what can I do on a flatter course - either mileage or time-wise terms.......tbc ;-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Nice knowing you............

Since the Farnham Marathon and my little rest afterwards my running has gone well - hit a purple patch if you like. The weekend before last was the seasons best at Julian Farrell 10Km, last Saturday I ran my fastest parkrun this year at Woodley - 23:55 - but I always seem to run well at inugral parkruns....must be the thought of cake afterwards that does it. This bit of `speed work` did lead to a bit of problem about what to do on Sunday at the 10 miler at Tadley - do I take it easy or have a bit of a go.....????

On Sunday four of us (Dave, Peter, Dennis & myself) went over to Tadley - I couldn`t believe none of them had ran this 10 miler before. The weather was a bit chilly - ice scrapper was used & racing gloves packed. Not too much time to spare upon arrival. Only a few seconds warm up. We headed to the back of the starting area & waited for the gun....


A bit strange, anyway we were off. Out of the school, turned right, past some galloping horses, do to a small loop then back past the school & straight into the morning sun (& a bit of car traffic), Dave ran with me for this 1st bit - now the thing running with Dave he does like his progressive runs but his end speed is much faster than I could go....yes I have learnt the hard way before. So it`s eyes on Garmin when running with Dave. We caught Pete up in the 2nd mile - which is generally a fast one, we all ran together for a couple of miles. I think there was a drinks station at around 5 mile where Dave picked it up a bit & Pete dropped back.

As we made our way around the course I couldn`t believe that I actually ran a 1:13:54 (7.24/m pace) - as the course had mores twists & turns & up & downs than I recalled but at least the miles were ticking past. I didn`t bother with any water or gels I just tried to keep the pace steady - anything less than 8.51 would get me a Seasons Best..

Generally I kept passing folks which is always a good sign - someone did shoot past around the 7M point - must of started late !!! As we headed round the corner towards the 9M I realised we still had one long incline to go....I decided I would work that & caught a few more up. I had decided that a Chineham runner would be my target - I never did catch him but that`s sometimes the point.

I crossed the line & saw Dave sitting there - he had ran a 1:22:xx. I looked at my garmin & pleased that it was indeed a Seasons Best by a good few minutes at 1:25:10 - 8:34/m (it was 1:28:49 - 8:51/m - at Hook 10 in May), shortly afterwards Pete came in under the 90 minutes with Dennis teasing the tail runner. All in all a good day on a great course. I think the other will come back next year.    
Splits - 8:56, 8:07, 8:37, 8:23, 8:32, 8:30, 8:49, 8:38, 8:41, 7:52 (0.95M @ 8:17)

Next up is.......spectating at Frimley Lodge parkrun if I get up.

Oh and the `small` matter of Ceasars Camp this Saturday starting at 12 Noon. I really want to finish this one but I am if honest concerned about the 15 hours cut off (03:00am Sunday morning) - this will be tight.

Weather Wise - it hasn`t been good - Very Wet - but hopefully it will be only on the ground rather than still coming down.

Body Wise - feet & legs are good. I`ve eaten & drunk well this week. The head, however has been in a total spin this week - that`s life I guess - if not it`s Taper maddness kicking in big style. Hopefully after 50 miles it will be the other way around - my Head will be good but legs destroyed.

Training Wise - Very much undercooked this one but I did hear that`s it`s better to go into a race undercooked rather than overcooked.

Kit Wise - Taking everything I have.

I do plan to tweet every lap - follow me on @Mister_KG

See you on the other side as they say....

Never give in, never give up - focus

Monday, 8 October 2012

"Come on you Purples"

What a weekend of running for both me & the club.

Friday afternoon after yoga I decided I had better check out Caesars Camp. Despite there being no easy place to start I found the first bit OK (I started just after the mile 9 point on the official course), the course was looking good but very wet - in some places even being on the `top part of the course` paths were submerged in water. Coming down the `Look Out` was very interesting that with the wet conditions & small stones !! I guess I was 2 miles in before the rain came down again, lucky I brought my smock with me & need to practise wearing it. I went around and saw an old friend - the cows, well one large one in particular really - looking for the rest of the herd - not a happy cow.

Anyway I ran most of the course - only took a couple of wrong turns. The rain hadn`t stopped which caused a classic comedy moment on the second trip up to the `Look Out` - all I will say that it involved a hood down, hood up & me getting even wetter esp the back of my head !! Anyway it was a nice run - 8M in just over 1 hour 40 mins. Quite pleased as the next morning I thought I would take it easy at the parkrun but still ended up with quite a nice time & a cheeky progressive run.

On Sunday morning there was a couple of local races - Basingstoke Half Marathon & the more local `Julian Farrell 10Km`. A couple of the club members went to Basingstoke to see if they could flatten out the hills - they couldn`t !!, ten of us went over to the `Julian Farrell`.  I popped into the club beforehand and saw another 15 or 16 runners going out on their runs - so taking it up to 28 Cove Joggers pounding the local streets which I think it`s great. 

Anyway back to the Julian Farrell, my 10 Km results (inc TR24) over the year had been disappointing (Frimley Park = 52:26, BUPA 10,000 = 1:.01:52 (pacing duties), Yateley 1 & 2 = 51:22 & 52:30, Tadley = 50:54) so, and I keep saying this, I just wanted a good performance esp as it was a prefect day for running - misty & cool plus I was wearing my Brooks T6`s racers.   One funny moment arose beforehand was when Steve Connor (AFD) came over  to chat - he asked what time I was looking at. I replied along the lines of, well last year I ran 50:53 but I had ran a 9 mile warm up.............but before I could get any excuses in for this year - being heavy legged, not running that well, no real speed work, no endurance work, lack of tempo miles, next door neighbour budgie keeping me awake etc, etc, etc, Steve said I should aim for a low 48:xx then - well I`m not sure about then I thought to myself.

I was practising new fuelling strategy - breakfast was 2 x black coffee, a couple of slices of cold pizza & in my warm up (0.5 mile @ 9.05/m pace) a gel. Soon enough we were told 6 minutes to go & made our way to the nearby start area. As we assembled I looked round - a small field of runners (117 runners) some of which shall we say very, very coy with their starting positions in the line up - both good & bad positioning.

`Bang` went the gun - note to self pay more attention as I was looking the wrong way. I was running with Alison from the club, she asked what time I was looking at - I thought I better now say 48 - 50 mins, she replied "I`ll run with you for a bit" - now my understanding on a bit was not till we hit the first turn - some 75 metres of so :-) To be fair I did get blocked in & could not get those few seconds back. The course was one small loop, then back past the start / finish then out on the local streets & footpath (using the Frimley Park 10Km course).. The loop was fine is came & went pretty quickly - got some good shouts out, I didn`t mind the A325 - Portsmouth Road part - went through 5 Km point in 23:54 (I made an exemption by looking at the garmin there) - my fastest 5 Km this year. A little further up I got myself (foolishly) in with a group of runners but instead of pushing each other we just ran together resulting in a slow mile. When I realised this I changed pace and pushed on, hoping one would come with me as I knew we were heading towards `the hill` just around the corner at around 7 Km !!

I turned the corner on Crawley Hill (even the name does inspire you to run fast! ) I saw Alison in front - clocked her about 90 seconds in front or so using the accurate `lamp post timing` method. My garmin beeped - I looked at the pace just cleared that last mile at 8.00/m exactly - I wondered what the next mile would be !!

That hill is a toughie, a runner caught me at the top & shot past - good I thought someone to chase when I got my breath back. Threw some water over me which helped & gave chase. Now I thought I was doing well - till another runner came up along side. It was Tony from the club - cool can use each other here & that`s how it was for the last 1.5 mile or so. I think we must of looked good - side by side, stride by stride, I think we gained a couple of places. Where I could I used the centre of the roads due to the camber of the road & not a huge fan of running on the uneven pavements. Soon enough we could see the last big turn - a couple more runners we caught. We swung through the gate & into the school - I thought by judging from the sounds Tony was with me so I sprinted off towards the finish & through the finishing gantry. I made my way down the finishing tunnel and turned round - it wasn`t Tony.

My time, and I was quite shocked was 48:16 (a seasons best & Steve was right). I was pleased with that & had managed to sneak the average under 8.00/m (7.54/m to be precise). After catching a quick drink I joined up with the Cove Joggers who had already finished & the CJ `groupies` -Jean & Maurice, oh and Buster the dog to watch the remaining runners come through & hear all the race stories - some successes, some not - one didn`t know where the finish was despite the BIG sign & got pipped to the his son ;-) 

All in all a good day for me & the club.

Splits - 7:33, 7:29, 8:18, 8:00, 8:18, 7:52, 0:42 (0.11@ 6:39) -  (5Km splits = 23:54 / 10Km = 48:16)

Results - Power Of Ten Results

Next up - Tadley 10M - my 10 mile PB course - and no not going for it there. Just a tempo kind of run..................but I would like a seasonal best ;-)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

On the comeback trail....

....Farnham Pilgrims Marathon.

(Oh and no that isn`t me)

This one had been planned for a year, only because it meant breaking a 4 year streak of running in the Great North Run. This event was local, reportedly a tough off road organised by the local Rotary Club with lots of well supported water / feed stations. I was also looking forward to it as I early in the year I marshalled a race which was along the North Downs Way some of which we would cover in our route.

My race plan - was an estimated time of 4:45 to 5:15 hrs. I did wonder how I would get on from 20 miles onwards plus I did hear that the course had a harder back nine. I will say my choice of races this year has been good - mainly off-road & hilly stuff. My nutrition plan was simple - a gel every 5 miles, I was also using my hand held water bottle.

One of the main advantages (& disadvantages) of this one was that the start was only 15 mins away....this did meant I got there later than planned (09:15 for a 09:30 am kick off) & was a bit rushed. I saw a couple of folks I know - Tony (Cove Jogger), John (Ex Cove Jogger - who was aiming for another sub 4). I chatted to Ruth before & during the start. I also missed a few people I wanted to say hello to but I wasn`t going to go sprinting after them :-) Shortly before the start we all assembled & had the race briefing - basically we had to follow the Orange Spray - I did have my concerns beforehand about getting in some (unwanted) bonus miles on this but I didn`t need to worry as the marking of the course was one of the best I`ve seen - I would be really surprised if anyone got lost.

As we headed out of the start / finish field turned left and down - I was thinking hang about we need to go up here when we finish - gulp. The first couple of miles ticked away as I was chatting to Ruth, we saw Superman (100 Marathon Runner) helping Blind Paul along, which was amazing to see. I hope they got on alright with the uneven ground. Now I did set the garmin on virtual partner for 5.00 hrs pace - I had noticed I was a little quick but nothing to worry about. One thing I do like about running longer, slower runs is that the miles just seem to tick over.

We headed through Seale, along to Puttenham Golf Course - I did ask a golfer who was practising if he wanted to swop for 10 mins - he said no thanks. Down past these really nice cottages, down under the Guildford / Hog`s back road - I`ve never noticed those crosses before. The course was varied, we crossed a canal - just as two canal boats were trying to ram each other. I was mainly running by myself which was good - each time I tagged unto a group they stopped at one of the many, many feed stations along the way - the tables were nibbles were well stocked with different drinks, biscuits & sweets - all very nice but because I was using my own gels & carried water I just carried on. The views were simply magnificent, even spotted some buffalo & lamas, the cottages & houses were stunning - in Shalford there was a lovely sounding cottage - Lemon Bridge Cottage (didn`t see any lemons though) - 11:55 Miles just over 2 hours

At about mile 11, just before the sand, I caught up with a local legend Mike from Sandhurst - for the next few miles we leap frogged each other (well not actually leap frogged cos that would be silly in a marathon, half yes, full no). Special mention goes to the very vocal marshal up towards St Catherine`s Chapel - brilliant effort for us to get up the hill. Have not been up there for years. It also meant we were close to being halfway .

At about 15 miles Mike had caught me up again - must of been when I was tweeting (damn touch screen phones). We had to go up & around a Roman ruin - which caused some fun.

Almost three hours to the minute I was at the 16.2 mile point - so only 10 to go. Easy to break down - 2 x 5`s or 3 & a bit parkruns, I went for the parkruns. At about the 18 miles point we had joined up the outward course
- past the tea room. I recognised this point as this was `my marshalling point` on the Pilgrims Ultra in the snow in January - I hadn`t recognised it on the way out. Up under the Hogs back, towards Puttenham, past the cottages again & I saw a couple of old tractors - which was nice,

At about 20 miles I had my last gel - I did offer it to some very lazy & rather large cows - they were massive (I was here at 3 hrs 47 mins), At this point I hadn`t seen anyone for ages but kept following the orange dots & seeing the marshals. Mentally the views & scenery kept me going & busy - physically, despite the lumpy course I was doing OK, tight hamstring but was only expected really but I was still moving forward. At 21 / 22 miles was almost the nicest part of the course - it was a wooded area with small lakes, flat with a hint of downhill. Here I overtook an Aldershot , Farnham & District (adf) runner Matthew Brown - this does not happen too often when I`m running. Now to be fair I did say this to him & he replied back that he was really a 800 metre runner - so I guess this marathon was like a LEJOG attempt for him - respect . I was glad we didn`t have a sprint finish !!!

Just before 25 miles was a bit tough as we to head over a field almost in a straight line for a good half mile stretch, a couple of runners overtook, then headed back under tress - I bet in the January snow these North Downs looked good. For me the worse bit was running up the hill towards the end, past the car park, pasted the pub - seeing all the runners who had finished.

I got to the top & through into the Start / Finish field & through the finish. My comeback marathon completed - I wasn`t feeling all that bad, tired, tight legs but all in all not that bad - I think I got my nutrition & drinking about right. I collected my goody bag - T-shirt, Medal, Calendars, etc - fantastic value. I made my way back to the start - saw Tony`s car still there (or as I think it was a very similar car) so I got changed, freshen up & made my way back to the Start / Finish HQ. Either Tony was in the pub or I missed him but he wasn`t there. I had a cup of tea, had a look at the Great North results that had come through. I saw Ruth finish which was good & in time headed back to the car & home. Very handy being 15 minutes away.

Totally enjoyable event, tough but so enjoyable.

Oh the race was won by Holly Rush in an impressive time of 03:07:03. How good is running where you have a 2:37 lady burning up the trail & a 800 metre runner in the same race.

Results - Full & Half

My thoughts on the way home was if I can do 26.2 miles I know I can do 30 miles. Now if I can do 30 miles then I think I can do.......................................

(Score on the doors - 10 Marathons completed v 8 Ultras)

Next up - after a couple of easy weeks it`s OMG October starting off with the Julian Farrell 10Km on the 7th October & need to think about next year`s plans.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Getting out there...

One thing which I do love about running races is the I wish, I really mean is the getting out there & discovering new places, new routes & courses often in very familiar places.   Take this weekend just gone for example. I have been to Stockbridge many, many times but this was the first time I ran the Stockbridge 10Km - I know last time was it`s inaugural event but still.

Now for those that don`t know Stockbridge I think this will give you a good idea....

"The pretty Hampshire town of Stockbridge lies midway between Andover and Romsey in the stunning Test Valley. The lovely chalk streams of the upper River Test, famed for its excellent fly-fishing, flow through and around the town and it’s here you’ll find the Houghton Fishing Club, the oldest fishing club in England based at the Grosvenor Hotel in the High Street.

Lying in the heart of Test Valley, the wide picturesque Stockbridge High Street reflects its early role as part of a drovers road where it was common to see flocks of sheep or herds of cattle being driven through the town on route from Wales. Seek out the Drovers House and you can still spot a sign in Welsh.

The Test Valley is famed for its rolling hills and tranquil beauty and not far from Stockbridge you’ll find many picturesque Hampshire villages with their thatched houses, pretty churches and traditional country pubs as well as the spectacular Test Way”

Sounds lovely eh? Well that`s what I thought and a good time to place to crack a good 10Km time, well a seasons best at least.

I arrived early, parked up & walked down the Primary School to sign in & collect numbers and stuff. As I was a bit early I warmed up with a jog down the High Street - the coffee shops were packed with runners chilling out. I headed back towards my car to drop the bag off & unexpectedly bumped into my Mum. I made my way down towards the start area.

Now for some reason I though it started at 10:40am - it wasn`t it was 10:30am - so glad I didn`t have to give everyone a 10 mins head start in a 10Km. I saw my cousin & my Mum again (my Mum wasn`t running but my cousin was), caught the end of the race briefing - opps, but did hear something about a low lying hill. My plan was to see how close I could be to a sub 50. Hooter went off & I found myself a going a little fast but ok, soon enough we had done the smaller loop and out into the country roads, Even by the 1.5M point I felt I was in a good group.

Just before the 2M point we turned the corner & almost straight up, then the road levelled off & the pace was back to normal, however about a mile later the course starting to reveal it`s dark side....and I wouldn`t describe it as `rolling hills and tranquil beauty ` - it was thigh burning, eye popping, energy sapping incline, followed by another turn and another incline this time even longer & straighter. I walked, I ran, I could see my time disappearing. - a 9:15/m flashed up, I walked, I ran I got to the top, I gasped a thank you at the marshal at the top for pointing us downwards. Despite the downhill & overtaking loads the group had gone (9:22 came up - the damage was done).

From here it was a straight, flat back home - at least it was under tree cover. Several runners were walking at this stage - unsure if they run completely up the hills or not - but I had done my walk, no more but my sub 50 min pace was all gone. Miles 4, 5 & 6 drifted into one but soon enough I could hear cheers & saw the `odd` runner who had finished walking back down the course. The finish was literally where the Test Way footpath popped out into the open. I ran through the finish - thanked the guys removing the chip tags & the medal hangers.I turned around and my Mum said `she had missed my finish` - I didn`t offer to run the course again (but there is always next year).

A little later Colin my cousin finished, and after we recovered we made our way to see the results & the prize giving..

Garmin Connect

Splits - 7:37, 7:53, 9:15, 9:22, 8:59, 9:01, 1:31 (0.18 @ 8:23/m)

Full Results - LINK

Nice event, great support from all the marshals, tough 10Km course (& I think the results show that).

Next up - this Sunday & after 4 years, a change to meeting up with friends under the footbridge by zone E & lining up with 50,000 or so other runners for the Great North Run I`ll be at Farnham Pilgrims Marathon - expecting a time for around 4:45 to 5:15 hrs.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A return to the scene of the crime...............via the beech.

Yes the beech rather than the beach. Of course it was the Burnham Beeches Half Marathon a couple of weeks back - you must remember it because it was the hottest day of the year (I know that could mean anything but it was really hot). This event seems to be fixed within my race calendar & despite the reduced milage this year was no exception but the really good thing was that it a good Club outing - 5 of us (well 6 on the results !!).

We arrived in good time esp as there is a good 20 min walk to the start, literally bumped into a friend & fellow Thunder Runner team mate (MrSJ) who was on holiday from the North who fancied a holiday race (see not only me then) & made our way to the start. Time seemed to disappear & soon we all assembled on the grass for the start.

The race plan was really to take it easy - wouldn`t mind a seasons best but really & despite the heat I just wanted a good run. We made our way out of the starting field via a huge grassy bank then out onto the main course. I kept it very steady for the first two miles, then seemed to speed up - opps. I did think "Would I pay for that later on??". The course has a few lumps & bumps esp in the 2nd half of each lap (2 lapped course), I ran the first lap & went through halfway in just under the hour. Then I took on board water - and almost immediately felt terrible. I slowed down, started to walk - blimey I still had a long way to go. I think the garmin was also having a funny turn as mile 9 came up with 8:15/m inc a best pace of 2.27/m.

I had a gel but noticed it was out of date - the trouble buying bulk and not running I guess. Normally I carried a pack of Randoms but being out of practice I had forgotten to stock up. Eventually felt a bit better and managed to find a steady but slower pace as I moved closer to the finish. As I said the lumps are towards the back end of the laps so I felt those second around esp the incline towards the turn back into the school & finish line. It felt like I `zoomed` down the grassy bank, around what seemed to be extended `home straight` & through the line.

My old mate Muttley (from RW) was there at the line - which was nice as I don`t think I was 100%. I was given a goodie bag - I think it was a spot prize but wasn`t really paying too much attention but did thank the finishing team for their work. I checked the garmin - 2:07:32.....what was my Fleet Half time????

I got home and checked on my Fleet half time was.............2:07:08     Darn but things are looking up - terrible race running wise, much hotter conditions but only 24 seconds so cannot complain too much.

Result - link (need to drop down to BB Half)

Next up was only 8 days later & a return to where I think my ankle problems started to happen last November. It was a trip up to Milton Keynes and a new event the `Enigma Gold 20`  Yes 20 miles - my longest run since the 17th December 2011 (Andover Track Marathon) - not that I was counting this day down or anything * :-)

I had completed a few half & those were a couple of hours on feet time, I wouldn`t have minded a 15 or 17 miler but hey hoe. I was only 90 mins away but I did have a `club`s` BBQ the day before but somehow I managed to leave nice & early for the drive up. I got there and signed in for the `fun run` - tongue in cheek I know but there was also a 30 miler being held at the same time so it was good to fool the brain that I was kind of being a slacker for the day - that was my way of thinking which seemed to work for me. (I wonder if that trick will work at Caesars Camp??). It was good to see a few folks again - Foxy, Plodding Hippo, CC2 Speedy Goth, HOD, Joe & good to say hello I haven`t met before.

11 of us made our way to the 20 mile start line. The course was a shorter lap & then 5 of the full laps. It was clear from the outset I would be towards the back of the field - I had set the Garmin to show Virtual Partner, which was set on 10.30/m (I knew I would be faster but 10.30/m would be a good gauge) rather than the normal 4 screen splits of Time, Distance, Average Pace & Speed.

Foxy started us off & straight away I was in last place - I had never finished last in a race before not that I minded as someone comes in 1st & someone comes in last & the rest in between (however we did know who was going to come in 1st place....CC2 Speedy Goth). I kept close to the last group - just to make sure we all went the same way esp for the first one & half laps.

Unfortunately at I guess around 5 & a bit miles HOD slowed down & dropped out. I think we saw our first ultra runners on the course & wished them well, soon enough it was the water station, cheering point (& finishing area) which is always good. Even at this point I had no real actuate idea on distance wise but concentrated on keeping the pace steady.

The laps ticked away, I had taken my iPod if needed but it was actually nice to listen to rhythm of my running & the noise of the course. Occasionally I ran with someone, like miles 11 - 13. I think it was Paul from the 100 Marathon Club & a lady from the 20 Mile race. I didn`t mind the pace dropping off I knew it was so steady, They both stopped at the water station - I just grabbed a bottle & continued running. In fact I only `stopped` 3 times & they were only to remove a stone from my shoe.

Suddenly I had Foxy ringing the bell - one lap left. I couldn`t really believe it as body wise I felt good. Ok a slight tightness in a left hip & left hamstring (slightly worrying it was that side) but ok. Ankle wise good. Soon enough I was on the far side of the course & felt the buzz of another mile being clocked over - two left, Round those horse shoes then buzz - One left. I picked the pace up & came around the last corner & through the line.

I thanked Foxy for putting on this 20 as there seemed to be a lack of 20`s around. As I recovered I chatted to CC2 - who kept to her name & won in a speedy fashion (talking of fashion she did had some nice slippers on). Soon after Joe finished his 30 - in a very good time I add. Myself & CC2 had some chips in the warmth of the restaurant while watching the remaining ultra runners going by. Soon enough it was time to head back down the M1.

A great day with the Fox & it was good to go back to the course where I think my ankle problems started & have a really good run.

Results -

Splits - 9:59, 10:03, 9:59, 10:18, 10:18, 10:11, 10:12, 9:56, 9:57, 9:49, 10:26, 10:21, 10:26, 9:41, 9:59, 10:06, 9:25, 10:09, 10:09, 9:39, 1:27 (0.17 @ 8:45/m)

Ohh and wondering 17th Dec 2011 - 27th August 2012 is 254 days, which you must agree is a nice streak to break

Next up - I went a bit mad & entered a few events but the next being the Stockbridge 10Km next Sunday.

Looking forward to this as been to Stockbridge so many times as I have family who live there & good memories of catching Rainbow trout in the small stream at the back of my Auntie & Uncle`s old Garage - which is now a very nice restaurant (Stokes Of Stockbridge), plus I`ve never done this event.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Thank goodness for Google translator.....

I know most people look through travel agent brochures to decide on holiday destinations but mine this year was decided by `Running News Greece` & the help of Google Translator. I saw this race & thought that could work - hot & hilly plus I hadn`t been to Peloponnesus area of Greece before.

The race itself was `Vrettakeia 2012 - In the Shadow of Taygetos` - Race Details - in brief a race held in the memory of a local Poet. It was an out & back course between two nearby villages (Krokees & Lagios). The profile of the course was basically a `W` shape - downhill to start with then uphill before the turnaround point & back again. The length was 18.6 Kms (PB guaranteed - yeah). Oh and it was a free race.

As I said I`ve not been to this area of Greece before but had read stories about it - Krokees was approx 30 Kms away from Sparta - this basically sealed the trip for me. I flew into Athens on the Tuesday & took an internal flight to Kalamata, stayed there the night & the next day I made my way through the mountains to Sparta & then unto on final destination Gytheio.

I have to say the trip through the mountains was spectacular. I arrived in Sparta & despite it being 32 C I did have goose bumps when I saw the Statue of King Leonidas - the finishing line of the original ultra-marathon (for those who don`t know about Spartathlon - yes the course record is indeed 20 hrs 25 mins) - before you ask I am too slow to enter this race - it does have a 36 hrs time limit.

I spent a couple of hours in Sparta & who said the Greeks don`t have a sense of humour...

Just what you need after a 153 mile run - best check on the opening & closing time first though.

After I left Sparta I made my way down towards the coast to Gytheio. I picked a great place to stay -Kalypso Studios - I chilled out for a few days, the race wasn`t until Saturday evening (start at 6.30pm). except for this race I wasn`t planning to run on holiday. I got used to the heat - it was reportedly about 37 to 40 C. Anyway Saturday arrived & I drove out to Krokees - as I drove UP towards the village I had wondered what I let myself in for. I found a cool place to park up & went to sign in. I was given my race number - it was hand made by local school kids with each number had a different design.

I decided not to go for a warm up but as I wandered around the village before the start - Paul the Race Director made his introduction. I thanked him for the information he sent beforehand - he did wonder where I heard about the race. There was a walking race before the main race so everyone watched them off & then the main introduction - I`m not going to say I understood too much but did clap when everyone else did. I did feel the atmosphere build thou. Soon we all made our way behind the start line & we were off.

Even thou the first few Kms were downhill I didn`t want to rush off - I had a feeling I would need my strength later in the race. I almost fell down one part of the course - I thought that`s going to fun on the way back. I saw many runners with the `Athens Marathon` running tops on - I decided not to wear my 2010 T-shirt till after the race.

The scenery was just fantastic - olive groves, even orange trees, hills in the background & at one point we could see the sea. I will admit I started to feel the heat at around the 6Km point & thought great only a 1/3 of the way in. Luckily there was plenty of water stations & I used the water to cool down rather than drink. I saw the lead runners come through - impressive stuff. Suddenly we went around the corner & saw the turnaround point - what I didn`t see was the sharp slope taking us up to the village & the real halfway - I felt a great sense of relief when I saw the arrow on the road leading us home.

I cheered the runners on who still had some way to go. The `steep part` did feel a lot better when we were going down. I was using most of my water (& half filled discarded bottles to tip over myself to cool down), the water hose was a welcoming sight. Soon enough we started on the uphill part but at least we were getting closer.    I found myself in a group of runners that seemed to be overtaking & passing each other every now & again - encouraging each other when we dropped back a bit. Soon we entered the edge of the village. The kids were cheering us through - I didn`t think they expected someone to say "Thanks" in English - I got in returned "Keep running" etc etc - brilliant stuff.

I saw the sign 18Km in the road - great only 600 to go...what a 600 !! A couple of corners & soon enough the last corner & saw the finishing gantry. As I finished I was given the medal & olive branch & a massive goodie bag - all totally unexpected.  Also was unexpected was the microphone being put in front of me & the guy asking me all sort of questions (I guess) about my run - I did say it was a great event & tough course.

I went back to `my` car to change & freshen up a bit & went back to the finishing area to see some of the after race entertainment. After a while I made my way back `home` - boy did I enjoy the couple of Mythos I had later.

Yes it was a tough course - hot & hilly bit so worth it - so glad I made the effort. Paul & his team put on a great event - well done them. Bravo

Write up & Results Link (& yes I was 1st Brit)

My Garmin story

Here`s a short video I made up....

BTW - the next day I didn`t feel guilty at all about lying in the sun & taking it easy. Next up - a parkrun (a what - well it would have been a 3 week parkrun break) & then Burnham Beeches Half Marathon.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Opps been a bit slack (read lazy) on the blogging side - so quick catch up time.

To be honest it`s been a bit of a slow return to running since my ankle problem - no mid week runs, no racing hard or running `free`. Every ache or niggle has been over analysed & comeback plans easily cancelled...all in all not very Mr. K like but on the postive side it so much better than non running like January & February this year.

I have enjoyed being able to make the local, favourite races even if I sneak under the radar at some, these have included;

Forest 5 - Always a good one. Plenty of club vests to `chase` down, 41:30

Woodlands 5 & a bit - I managed to sneak in all three races, which was useful as a fitness test rather than a time trial over the 3 months. Race 1 = 47:18, Race 2 = 47:29 & Race 3 = 48:07

Tadley 10Km - A new race to me. Organised by the folks of the Tadley 10M (my 10M PB course) I was looking forward to this one & I wasn`t disappointed. Interesting course with one hill.

Yateley 10 Kms - Managed two of the 3 this year. Race 1 = 51:22 & Race 2 = 52:30. Never good to get piped by a club mate by 3 secs - I did get my `revenge` in the 2nd race & got `told off` my a marshal for laughing too much - opps.

Elstead `Marathon` - Excellent event - one of the best events in my race calendar. I`m sure the course was long at 5.6 miles.

New Forest 10 - Shame the weather was so bad. The race got cancelled, tents got waterlogged – felt sorry for the Race Organisers & the Campsite owners...always neat year.

Bounders Relay - Another excellent event. Cove Joggers managed another 4 teams.

Down Tow Up Flow Half - I found this tough, again due to lack of long / medium runs plus the warm weather, normally my freind didn`t help – thanks goodness I took my own water & buff. Hey time on feet thou. (positive spin)

Adidas Thunder Run - How would I feel about this knowing this was my cancelled solo run – honestly didn`t mind. If I was going to run 24hrs solo I wanted to give it my best shot – 90 miles (15 laps) would have been my target. Now in a mixed team of 5 we sneaked in the top 20 with a total of 26 laps - I did 5 laps over the 24hrs – my laps times ranged from 57 to 66 mins. Boy could I feel it towards the last lap. Still a great event & really good to catch up with friends esp as I`m missing the Great North Run this year......but what am I going to do next year???

parkruns - A couple of new events plus I managed to sneak in my 150th parkrun – only 100 to go before I hit gold.

Next up – A little holiday, generally recovering well I say recovering ;-)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A map of recovery and you are here ----->

Doing alright :-)

So taking it steady, easy & sensible in my running comeback has seemed to have worked, also other stuff in Mr. K`s world has settled down after a turbulent but necessary time which means Mr K can smile at the world again.

After May`s 85 miles & looking at June`s plans I decided to play it sensible and taper before the South Downs Half marathon, well I say taper in a loose sense of the word - if you count 3 parkruns in 4 four days, followed up with a 10Km during the week a taper BUT I did only run 9 miles in the week before that.

Within those 9 miles it did include a fitness test or commonly known as the 1st in a series of 3 Woodland 5 & a bit - 5.27M in 47:18 - Ave 8:59/m.

Yes and big thanks to the Queen`s long reign it did mean 3 parkruns in 4 four days. On the Saturday we went over to Bushy Park for their parkrun, it was great to go back - my other two outings were in my early parkrun days & did include a Christmas day run. For so many runners they do run a slick operation there (basically if you get the chance do make the effort but get there early). Pleased with my run as it was a `good effort run` - in terms of constant pace, work rate & final time - 3.14M in 24:26 - Ave 7.47/m.

On Bank Holiday Monday we went over to Riddlesdown parkrun - a great set-up on what I thought was a great course. Again a good effort run & sneaking a sub 25 min run (3.06M in 24:50 - Ave 8.07/m). The post run coffee was unusual in the fact it was at a pub but pleased to see that quite a few runners made the way over there. On Tuesday it was back at Frimley - felt like ages since I ran there last - it was actually good fun to jog round except for the last 50 or so metres when `someone` could not resist racing ~ 28:xx + mins

On Wednesday night it was another fitness test - I do think these series of tests will be a strong feature this Summer plans - it was the Yateley 10Km. The plan was again a `Good effort` run, which generally it was but no-one likes to be beaten by a club mate of 3 seconds....always next month I will plot my revenge. (6.24M in 51:22 - Ave 8:14/m)

So the South Downs Half Marathon. I had originally entered the full when I was planning in my TR24 but changed it to the half...and thank goodness I did :-O Now having driven past Queen Elizabeth Park & the radio I had often seen walkers going up to the radio mast - not many running thou. It has been a while since I`ve entered a 2:09 events race, I had tried to get there early and watch the marathons runners going off but a Costa Coffee stop & Danish on the way down got it the way.

As the runners assembled the time ticked towards 10.00 am start - soon enough we were all on the grassy bank above the start / finish gantry. We had a count down then we were off. The start was fairly flat for a short while then up, up & up a lot more. I hadn`t checked the course (much more `fun` this way) but it felt to me like the start of the Midsummer`s Munro Half Marathon on Box Hill - I did that half in 2:33 (& torn my shin tendon) - 1st mile in 13:xx, managed to get my lungs back into working order at the top. The 2nd mile was unfairly slow as we all made our way down a slippy chalky track & waited patiently at a stile. After that we made our way around the Radio Mast & back down towards the start / finish.

The 5Km in just over 40 minutes - right that was my parkrun out of the way lets do this 10 mile run. As we made our way over the the other side of the Park, and even thou I wasn`t racing I clawed back quite a few places which was nice. It was such a nice course & pleased that we could enjoy the views & SO pleased the weather had completely changed & it was turning out to be a nice day & that the tracks had dried out otherwise it would have been a long day. At 7 miles I took the opportunity to tweet an update - I made 5 miles in 60 mins.

By this stage in the race I had noticed two things I had forgotten - the smell of the countryside - I had not taken any Clarity tablets in the days before so suffered a bit but have to say that was really a small price to pay & the other is that the Garmin loses distance in the tracks & up & down the hills. By half way I was apparently `out` by about 0..5 miles, the upside to this was in the latter stage was seeing 10.4 miles on the garmin and then seeing the 11 mile marker on the course. I didn`t appreciate the energy sapping climb at 9M - this passed & I enjoyed the run for home.

Afterwards I made my way to the grassy bank to watch the remaining runners coming home but my running efforts & the sun beating down got to me & I fell asleep - opps sorry about that.

Totally enjoyable day & pleased for Mike & his team at 2:09 that the day turned to be good one. It is on the expensive side but totally worth it. I have a sneaky feeling that I`ll toe the start line again....unsure if it will be the half or the full......

My recovery run on Sunday made my weekly mileage a yearly best of 34.8 miles - I am planning an easy week this week,

It would seem that my paces are;
5Km - around 8:00/m
10Km - around 8:14/m
10M - around 9.00/m

Next up is the Forest 5 next Wednesday.

Monday, 21 May 2012

On the road again.....

Not wanting to upset the Running Gods but I think I`m getting there. After I ran the Fleet Half in March I was still planning to jog around London but I wanted to run without the constant thoughts about the ankle. So I decided to rest up completely again.

My monthly mileage since the start of the year is 6M for Jan, 12M Feb, 82M March & 33M for April.

Whilst I was happy with the recovery of the initial problem I wasn`t happy with a click that has developed - it only happens when I bring the toes in from left to right & I was concerned that it was bone rolling around somewhere it shouldn`t so I went to Physios again. Nothing to worry - basically my arch on the left foot is dropping which is putting pressure on the front tendons making them inflamed which then clicks. The answer is to wear `Formthotics` - the jury is out at the moment on these at the moment but I`m giving them a try. He did say I can run but no more than 20 miles a week. This limit is quite challenging itself as it`s a mid week run, parkrun (plus W/U) & a Sunday run but it`s quite fun too. So far I`m on 60M for May but the important thing is that I cannot feel or constainstly thinking about the ankle when I running. I do think of my form, drills & lessons learnt from the recent Chi Workshop which is good.

Bearing in mind all this I have changed my plans & targets for the year - no longer doing the Solo Thunder Run (this year) as I wanted a real crack at 15 laps or maybe 16 laps. My training plan was to follow a 100 mile training plan (taken from Relentless Forward Progress – Bryon Powell) but I`ve missed so much training & pulled out of many races already that this postponement is the best option. I will be there as part of a mixed 5 - I guess it`s one of the few times I can be called a lightweight of a group :-) If you don`t believe me then...

The photo on the right was taken last September at around mile 10 of the Great North & the one on the left was taken shortly after I found a ball during a recent parkrun.

It is nice to be able to run again - running for the fun of it. A couple of weeks ago it was the Frimley Park 10Km (52:26) and then last week I totally enjoyed the Alton Ten - a new event for me. Set around the hills of Alton & for the bargain cost of £9.00 I couldn`t resist it plus seeing as it was hilly I knew I would not be fast plus my stride would be shorter than normal when I tackled the many, many hills. Even thou I wasn`t racing & was my longest run since Fleet I was pleased with my time of 1:34 :56 (unsure what`s happened with the Garmin connect timing splits but e-mail has been sent to Garmin)

Basically I wanted to know that if I could do the Alton Ten then I could one of my favourite events of the year - the Hook 10. I do like this one - 4th year on the trot but last year I did do the 6M event. Again the plan was not to race it (unsure if I`ll be able to `race` the NF10 in July) but to finish with a good run under my belt. Yes it was tempting to run hard but on the whole really pleased with effort & finishing time. I kept the pace steady & constant with a push towards the end the only disappointed was the post race analysis of the garmin data - again poor recorded timing splits. Must remember to charge the 305. BTW Cracking medal.

My current plan is to build up the running & then after the TR24 is to move to the longer distance later in the year.

9th June - South Downs Half Marathon

8th July - New Forest 10

28th July - TR24 (mixed team of 5)

16th Sept - Pilgrims Marathon

20th Oct - Caesars Camp

I do have my eye on one for the Salisbury events - 30Km, 42Km or the 50Km in August, and maybe just one or two other events ;-)

Next up - is my jog around London - BUPA 10,000............................must remember it`s this Sunday & not Bank Holiday Monday.

Seeing as I`m posting music videos - I quite like this one...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The tricky stage......

Since the 1st March I`ve been `running`...well so far this month I`ve run 77 miles. I think I am being sensible - no banging in `fast` parkruns *, keeping mileage down, cutting out the odd run here & there, building up the `long` runs.

My `long` runs;

4th March   6.72 miles @ 10:09/m (av)
12th March 8.76 miles @ 10:26/m (av)
18th March 11.5 miles @ 10:39/m (av) - inc Tempest 10M in 1hr 45 mins.
25th March 13.1 miles @ 9.41/m (av) - Fleet Half in 2hrs 7 mins.

* As I said I think I`m being sensible - I did run a 25:11 parkrun but it was my birthday and it was `promote your club` day so when a couple of rival vests went past I knew my 30 mins plan was out of the window :-)

As for the Fleet Half - this was a major point in my recovery I so wanted to be in a position where I could run / jog those 13.1 miles (I had planned to run there & back), as for the latter part of the race on Sunday I did increase the pace for 2 good reasons;

  1. I did want to see what I had - I can confirm that I`m not in 9:00/m shape !!
  2. I did want to get ahead & importantly stay ahead of Peppa the Pig & Denise the Menace.
This Sunday I will be taking a more leisurely run around Reading with a couple of miles before making up to 15 & a bit.

As the injury improves & even though I do still feel it a bit, my tendon is improving I guess I am at the stage where it`s just so easy to make silly mistakes and ramp up miles too quickly or run too fast and slip backwards in my recovery.......hey at least I can see more stuff around me - it is amazing what you see out and about when you go slower.

My Chi Running workshop was kindly re-arrange to next month so I`m looking forward to it does give more time to read that book.

Next up - Reading Half, then the following weekend I might even try a `long` run with the club.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Dusty Old Shoes.....

....Well ok maybe not this dusty but you get the idea.

(Is it just me that `Dusty Old Shoes` sounds like a song title, and no not by Jimmy Nail as that was `Crocodile Shoes`? )

Anyway & quickly moving on it`s been a while since I last blogged - and since that time I`ve run in total a magnificence 15 miles (my longest run being an ankle testing 4.5 miles).    Things have improved – no pain in the shin muscle when raising the toes now but still slight swelling in the tendon around the joint area on the ankle. The physio said there was also signs of Tenosynovitis (inflammation of the actual tendon, as well as the sheath) which is why it`s taking longer to improve than first thought.

I have not been bored thou – but didn`t hit the gym & pool as much as I thought I would thou. I have watched & marshalled a few races & parkruns. I marshalled both days at the Pilgrim Challenge (2 day x 33M) – one day was nearly a DNS for me as the car nearly got stuck in the snow...great weekend supporting those runners.  I watched the incredible good Wokingham Half – I was just before the 3 mile mark & it was such a great place to watch as no sooner had all of the runners gone past me on the way out the lead car came back with the lead runners trying to chase it down.

I guess it`s all about mind set when injured – it`s good to put something back into races, whether it`s donning a high viz jacket or giving other runners a cheer & abuse...err I mean encouragement when they go past.

Next event – jogging this Saturday at Frimley Lodge parkrun & really take it from there but I hope it will be the start of the comeback. I have also booked another Chi Running workshop next month.

I best clean off these shoes then :-)

Oh - if you go to the Virgin gym in Farnborough and use their weighing scales I think they are `a bit off`..........if you know what I mean :-O