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 ;-)