Tuesday, 26 February 2013

“Everything is possible if you believe`..................

So a bit of a last minute entry – I paid up last Sunday but had the slight advantaged I had run this race twice before (2010 – 06:04:56 & 2011 – 06:30:37 ) and been running well so I `knew` I could do it even I ran & walked the course like in 2010.
Come race day and unsure of what the actual weather would be – forecasting cold with snow flurries - I decided to pack everything. Seeing as I wasn`t leaving till 1.00pm I decided I would also run my local parkrun - which was great (30:55), hopefully that burnt off a bit of excitement. I left on time & made short work of the trip across to Kent. Because I booked late the hotel just around the corner was full, this did mean I was about 1/2hr out but ok. The hotel was fine – the message on the key fob was a good omen……
I got changed & left in plenty of time – I wanted to check into the race in plenty of time plus wanted to chat to the newly married Mike & Tracy, also I wanted to catch up with Chris – who I knew I was looking to put in a good time. At first felt a bit odd not being at the pub – I did wonder how I would feel coming around the corner later on & having to run another 1.5 mile or so rather than just the few yards..
By this time the wind had picked up a bit & the temperature had dropped – for the first time this Winter I had put on my compression longs. I was also wearing a compression t-shirt, arm sleeves, long sleeved helly top, another T-shirt plus a wind proof jacket, gloves, hat & a buff pulled up past my nose – yes it was a bit nippy J I had also gone for road shoes – hoping the course conditions were kind. That really was the thing here – good ground conditions = good time, tough conditions & you knew you were in for a tough time. We were lucky the ground conditions were good. I had parked up just after the race RQ which meant on each lap I could check in & then go to the car for something to drink, eat & maybe change shoes / clothes  – I had also planned to `tweet` on each lap.
Soon enough we assembled in the main tent ready for the off – with the briefing from Mike we lined up on the road – I was very near the back. As usual the race was started by the BANG of the firework, with head torches we were ready for the off - `BANG`  we were off….. The `race` plan (still odd that I have a race plan for an event over 32 miles !!!) was maybe sneaked a PB – about 11m/mile. Too slow for Chris – I didn`t see him at all. Like I have found with most lapped events the first lap is always `social` chatting along finding out what other runners are aiming for, what they are training for, what other events they had done etc….and this was no exception. I did after about 3miles run along aide Mike, someone I met through the BUPA 10,000  in 2010 – so did Tracy (Congratulations again) we ran together – we saw Tracy at the pub & chatted for the rest of the lap. I did say I would stop for a drink , Mike said he would carry on….Lap one in 01:07:xx
I did also want to try something a bit new for me (Try nothing new in races eh !!!) was that I wanted to listen to an audiobook on the iPod. The `book` was going to listen to was `The Secret` - LINK  which I was looking forward too. As it happened I was on my own for the started alone for this 2nd lap – that first bit of the lap – wow the wind came right at you !!! Soon enough I found my pace – it certainly helped listening to this `positive thinking` type of book plus it was really interesting. Soon enough I had caught up with Mike again, I turned off the iPod & chatted – again allowed him to get the 1st hug at the pub. Again Mike didn`t stop at the race HQ – Lap two in 02:17:xx  (Lap time 01:10:xx). Again I stopped for a drink & a gel.
That wind at the start of the lap hadn`t died down – in fact it got a bit colder (or maybe I had). iPod back on – if you get a chance & it`s your thing I do recommend reading or listening to this book. Anyway soon I caught up with Mike – I didn`t stop as I was feeling really good – I think I had just equalled my fastest mile – 09:11. I went past Tracy which caught her unaware & I said Mike was just behind. Soon enough I could see the lights of the Race HQ – again quick drink & gel & tweet – Lap 3 in 03:26:xx (Lap time 01:09;xx).

On lap 4 – it had started to snow / hail –which made seeing the ground by head torch very interesting…. Now this all this `positive thinking` been playing into my ears I couldn`t help but feel good. It seemed the laps were getting quicker to go round even thou my actual speed was not increasing – an odd feeling. Despite the course being a bit churned up at this stage esp at the cross over I kept to the same plan – run (i.e. no walk breaks) & only stopping to drink at the half way marshals point – I did steel the odd jelly baby along the way esp at the aptly named Jelly Baby Corner  J I do recall I mentioned to the marshal at `half way drinks` station I had 1.5 laps to go rather than saying 10 miles left which I guess is how good I was thinking. Anyway  and soon enough the Pub & Tracy & then the last mile or so to the Race HQ. - Lap 4 (26.2M) in 04:36 (lap time – 01:10:xx) – which was really pleasing.
In this last mile of my lap 4 a runner went past me – Keir Williams - who finished 32.75M in 04:32 – an amazing time.

I was a little sad to start out on my last lap as I was feeling so good – really an odd sensation but I was feeling really good. As this was my last lap I made sure I thanked all the marshals for the last time – they were superstars at least we could speed up if we wanted to warm up. I saw a few runners in trouble & made sure they were ok. Again quite quickly I found myself with half a lap to go. I recall picking up the pace a little here. Through the cross over – and still I was getting a bit confused by the actual layout out the course…past Jelly Baby Corner for the last time & out on the road section – past the pub which was closed by now L I decided to see what I had left in the legs in this last mile or so….After what seemed a few minutes I was heading towards the Race HQ for the last time.
I thanked all the marshals, the time keeper – I collected my medal & certificate & grabbed a coffee – I saw Chris who, despite stomach problems ran a blinder & got 4th spot. After getting changed I thanked Mike for putting on a splendid event & grabbed another coffee.
My time was 05:44:11 – the final lap in 01:08:xx
Splits – 9:46, 9:57, 10:14, 10:23, 10:24, 10:20, 15:22, 9:39, 9:48, 9:54, 9:30, 9:46, 10:14, 15:06, 9:19, 10:11, 9:19, 9:45, 9:52, 14:16, 9:28, 9:35, 10:13, 9:38, 10:07, 9:41, 15:00, 9:40, 9:52, 10:02, 9:58, 9:56 7:40 (0.92M @8:23). Guess where I stopped at the car.
I am so happy with this run – it has to go down as one of my best runs – Even lap splits, Ran all 32.75 Miles,  a double run with a parkrun, a 20 min or so PB PLUS it makes the `scores on the Marathon doors` even – Marathons run = 10 v Ultra Marathons run = 10 :-)
PS I nearly finished the book -  `Everything is possible if you believe`

Results - LINK
Next up – This Sunday – Surrey Spitfire 20 - and if you see me running at PB please feel free to rugby tackle me or climb on my back and ask for a fireman`s lift.
A great video clip……` Life is all about perspective – change how you look at the world!” or as they say in the book – “If you are unhappy then change the channel”




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bramley 20 - As Hannibal Smith says…"I love it when a plan…….goes out the window, let`s go to plan B"

Another local race which I had run back in 2010 so it was nice to go back. The 20 is a 2 lap, very scenic slightly undulating course with the lumps & bumps all happening in the last couple of miles. The plan was to run a progressive run of 5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 2 (or 09:03, 08:53, 08:33, 08:23, then as fast I could manage for the last two miles). The trouble with this plan is that you look at the Garmin ALL the time - very difficult if you are not a fan of this…which I think you know I`m not a time watcher !!!.
Anyway race starts at 10:30am so I collect Dennis (who is just spectating today) early & set off. The car park is about 15 mins walk away so it`s another race you need to get there early to. We wandered in the Race HQ, had a coffee & saw many faces from Basingstoke parkrun which I hadn`t seen for ages, I saw Ben but missed seeing his `baggage` J With about 10 mins to go & I know I`m not racing the 1st bit of the race I head out for a small warm up. I bump into Heather & her 10M pacer (Jock) have a bit of a giggle, which is always fun when you start a race smiling.
The `gun` goes off - it takes a while to cross the line but soon up & running. Within a few miles I`m already sick of looking at the Garmin…..The 1st mile is quicker than planned, 2nd was spot on, 3rd too fast just & 4th too slow & the final mile too fast….. I was thinking what is actually acceptable on the `too fast & too slow` limits??”. Plus I had realised the last time I did this type of pacing I had set the Garmin data fields to a `Last lap pace` & `Lap pace` rather than the normal run setting I`m used to – so I was guessing really on speed…..headache !!!
I still hadn`t really controlled the pacing by mile 7. What made it worst that a rather loud, chatty loud runner who was pacing someone was matching my pace – did I mention he was rather loud? I did actually think about saying “Hey you do mind this is my quiet time” but didn`t so I did the next thing - I sped up J When I saw the `8:22` I did actually think this pace was nice (my 3:39 PB marathon pace), the next mile I did slow it down a touch but basically knew `Plan A` was out of the window.              What made it worst that during the last mile of this lap & there was me happily running along thinking about not a lot when who do I see heading towards me but this Heather with a massive grin & after some abuse about my speed she tells me of her superb run – apparently I need to run a 10M race in less than 1:11.xx. She left me with that thought….
I go through half way in 1:27:57

Breakfast??? (Thanks to Colin for the photo)

As we head out on the second lap I find myself starting to use `Plan B` - run at 8.00`s. Even since Benidorm Marathon I have wondered if I can run a 3:30 Marathon but w`ll see. I did slow down during the next mile – again by watching the Garmin. I get fed up with this & decided just to run. By this stage I`m overtaking loads of the folks who overtook me earlier in the race. I saw Jon, from Chineham Park but past him at a water station, I saw another Chineham runner way in front who looked like she was going strong. .

I will admit to cranking up the pace to see how long I could hold out at 7:30`s. I have been working with this technique that if something is bothering say a feeling or a negative thought etc,  you move from the front of your mind to the side. So each I `felt` tired going up a slight incline or very flat straight part I pushed that `tired` thought to one side. It seemed to work as I was gaining on her & still overtaking loads. So hills at miles 16 & 17 came & went. I think it was around mile 18 just at the top of the rise I went alongside her. We pushed each other in these final few miles which was a great way to finish off a long race….in the end she did pull away so her final must have been incredible - impressed.

Through the finish & I did know I was on for a PB – Old PB was 2:47:13. I wondered if I could get a sub 2:45. I stopped the Garmin at…………. 2:43:58

The second 10M was in 1:15:30 – a 12:27 minute negative split race - Well at least I got that bit right J Very pleased with race & legs are feeling good.

Results - The Power Of 10 Results

Next up – And it`s not a case of Rock & roll up Ultra – but I am doing the Moonlight Challenge this Saturday Night (starts at 6pm) purely as practice for the Run24 (5 laps of 6.55M) so it`s jogging round & may even be a bit of walking / running……and a bit of tweeting. Let`s hope there is no snow….

Oh the Race Director is this guy – super impressive `Book` - Unstoppable - by Mike Inkster

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lightning sometimes does strike twice......

Quick round up since the last blog – January ended with stats of 174 miles or as I am preferring 25:36 hrs of running with & 6 hrs yoga which was quite pleasing. Confidence was boosted by the two PB`s gained. To me January was always going to be quick miles working on speed & tempo with the following months working on longer runs.

So to February and after what seemed a slow start to the month – basically I took a Sunday off running but knew it was probably the best thing to do. The weekend just gone was Frimley Lodge`s parkrun 3rd Birthday so I felt it rude not to give it a bit of go plus I think it will be the last time for a while I`ll be able to do a bit of a speed session with big Sunday runs coming up.  So after the prize presentation we made our way to the start line – I got near the front of the start line (still feels a odd mixing it up the fast boys & girls). The `hooter` went off & I found myself around 15th spot as we ran up the canal towpath – I did think to myself it would be rude to overtake a 2:44:XX runner so I backed off a bit :-) I tried to keep on the back of fellow Cove Joggers - Dan - but he pulled away towards the end of 1st mile – instead of my head dropping I thought “right let`s try not to widen the gap”. On the long straights & around the field I could see him in the distance so it gave me something to aim for.
One the second lap I heard my number being called out by Maurice “21st" – blimey !!! I kept pushing with a few runners overtaking me – I also managed to overtake a couple myself J. With about ½ mile to go no-one was going to pass me & if they did I was going to gain my place back – thankfully it only happened once but I did think he was going to re-claim that position on the line. I pushed towards the line & stopped the Garmin – I was amazed when I looked down......21:06 – an incredible 45 second PB. I `knew` I could run 21:30 but 7 seconds short of a 20:xx – WOW. I made sure I had double helping of birthday cake J

Big thanks to all the team & volunteers at Frimley Lodge – well any parkruns really as they are truly wonderful events.
The next day was the Wokingham Half…..
I do like this event, I`ve ran it several times. The weather is often terrible, the start area is always a bit confusing, if it`s rained the mud around the baggage area is always there……these all add to the event itself in my eyes. The facilities at the start / finish, the marshals & first aiders around the course is spot on. They even put this event back on when it was snowed out one year. The course itself is flat - ok a couple of motorway bridges & a slight incline around mile 11 & shaped in a rough `6` shape - out & back with a loop but I think it`s a fast course - similar to the Brass Monkey course in York….well in fact 20 seconds faster :-)
Come race day & the rain all weekend hasn`t stopped - it`s going to be wet. Myself & Dave from the club get there in plenty of time as the car parks are quite away from the Race HQ - so do not arrive late as this race otherwise you will miss it. We grab a coffee & get under some shelter, one thing I do like about this one as its local I see a lot of familiar faces - some from other races, some local club runners, many from parkruns. I chat to `Muttley` who I`ve not seen for a while, I see Lisa - the lady who bashes my legs to bits - she is looking good despite her comments about not running well…blah blah blah - I know she is going to smash the course (& she did). Just before the start we make our way through the `starting time positions` - I catch words with Mike, Ben, Mark, Darren, Jonathon, Garry as I`m moving along…. then I spot an old face* in the crowds - it`s Heather - which is absolutely great to see her at a start line again. Always good to catch up with Lee too. We didn`t have to catch up before we were off  & out under the starting gantry. Heather is off like a rocket - I think no worries I`ll catch her later on somewhere….
Now my race plan was a little undecided - race it / hard effort / paced run. Could I race a half ….I wore my club vest, compression vest, marigolds & gloves & shorts - with the Garmin under the marigolds…..which meant I couldn`t see it. So the plan changed to a `feel as it`s goes` run - which I guess isn`t a bad thing. We headed out unto the course - I`m still wearing my clear bin liner (cheapest waterproofs I know), I get into, what I think is a good pace but still runners are streaming past me…...inc what seemed like a bus load of Sandhurst red vests. Lisa H. goes past & I wonder what time she is after…
I guess because I`m running in a relaxed way i.e. not worrying about the mile splits or keeping on schedule I enjoy the course & look at other runners. I notice, unlike a lot of races I don`t seem to be in the same group for long - not that I`m chasing runners down but seem to be moving well. I hear the odd chatter of times around the course but generally not playing too much attention to it  At around mile eight I chat to Jon & Faye from Andover & have a little chat there & see Dave up in front - but just before I could pass him he dives off into the bushes - I`m sure he knew I was gaining on him!!! He catches me back up in a little while anyway. We chat & ran together for a couple of miles before he pulls over again……
At this stage we are on the part of the course where we head for home - I decide I`ll pick up the pace in the closing miles & take the bin bag off just before the last mile. I see so many local club vests to chase. I caught loads who went past me earlier which is always good. The incline section caught me out as I got blocked in a bit - what a rookie mistake !!! Now it`s around this point I think "Where`s the f*ck is Heather" - a bit like that song "Who the is f*ck is Alice" but with different words - this does actually make me run a bit faster…she must be around here somewhere…….I`m sure I didn`t pass her…
Two miles & a bit left and I pick the pace up again - I see `targets` come and go but still no Heather…. At mile 12, just on the bend I rip off the bin bag & give it to a marshal & went for it (OK, it did help that there is a slight incline there). I pass the section where you can see the back of finish area & the take a look at the Garmin…..Mile 12.4 the Garmin says 1:33:xx - I think "Wow I could just about do this but where the f*ck is Heather??...."    I take out another target - I have three corners to go…..two corner to go - I see Mick n Phil on the side encouraging runners through. I gasped a "thank you" I pick the pace up again - it feels I am in full sprint mode….still no Heather thou (but to be fair I could have passed all my family in this section & not noticed)…around the last corner - I could not catch my last target…..as she has already finished…
I did congratulate her on a fantastic run - I looked at the Garmin & had to think…was that a PB or not……to be fair I was a bit fried. I`m sure it was - at it happens it was a PB by 20 seconds.

What a weekend - a 21:06 parkrun followed by an expected 1:38:00 Half.

Sometimes good things do happen when it`s not expected or planned.
I saw Dave finish, we collected our stuff, after a shower we & headed off to the pub for a relaxing chat & Roast....again getting soaked in the process.  All in all a very good & unexpected weekend.
* That will teach you & those 35 seconds ;-)
Splits - 7:36, 7:42, 7:35, 7:42, 7:32, 7:34, 7:24, 7:31, 7:34, 7:35, 7:50, 7:10, 6:58, 0:12 (0.03@ 6:42) - Ave 7:31 min / mile.

Near the last corner....

Other stuff – Weight wise & recent increase in speed – I do think this is down to weight loss (was 84 KGs now 70 KGs), I feel better, fitter, faster. I am training better too but another main reason is that changing the way I think – becoming more positive / looking at things differently.  Just to recap I started to notice this weight loss around December time, and  while this is a good thing it was also worrying so much so that in mid January I went to the Doctors, who recommended blood tests. A week or so later the results came back – and I was amazed at the number of tests they ran came back with nothing wrong. 
Also around the same time I had been in contact with an old friend, which hasn`t worked out & can never work out now – there are always two sides to a story but trust & honestly are so important to me & I do deserve better….something I had chosen to ignore & disregard.
Another big step around December time I started to work, basically with a `Life Coach` – and I guess I could ask 100 folks about what their thoughts are about that & I would get 100 different views back.
I know it`s a bit `alternative` but I like that - I gave up smoking through hypnosis.....next month I`m looking forward to my first meditation course. It fits in with my belief system.
Now a couple of things that is changing is how I`m dealing with sorting out my `old cupboard` - dealing with the new stuff at the front then digging out the stuff at the back.

The other & has already changed to a certain degree is my thought process – it is quite amazing what happens when you think differently. I certainly have noticed this in my running esp at that point when you are tired & can easily slow down or cut a run short.
This is why you are seeing so much `Positive thought / inspirational` phrases being shared on my FB page – all I say & I know it`s not for everyone but try it before you knock it - it works. Even a listening to a `positive thought`  podcasts on long run helps too…..and makes a difference to hard banging house music.
I also recommend that you read Brian E. Millar`s blog - his latest blog is brilliant - see `My Blog List`

“Your words have power. What you tell yourself throughout a day can be one of the most important conscious choices you make in each moment. Be mindful of what you say to yourself. Think about what words you use in quiet moments with yourself. Be selective and work on empowering, self-coaching and loving yourself !”
“The fastest way to become the master of your thoughts and emotions is through challenging situations. If your life is going along fairly smoothly, there are not the same opportunities that enable you to strengthen your determination and will over your own thoughts and emotions.

It's when we're challenged that we see exactly how much control we have over ourselves. One way to get back in control is to distract yourself by focusing on something else, and keep distracting yourself until you feel much better. keep doing this until you can return to the challenging situation and only feel optimism about it – “ From The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne.
Anyway enough about that.......Next up – This Sunday it`s the Bramley 20, another local race set on an enjoyable course. This will be a progressive (5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 2) run - so I will have some fun there.

My Endure 24 Charity Page - LINK