Wednesday, 29 May 2013

I`m running……I`m running out of races..!!!!

I think you guys know this already but I do prefer the longer distance runs & whilst I do try my hardest at the shorter stuff, and they are satisfying afterwards I do find them really hard work.      Knowing this what on earth was I doing entering a SINGLE mile race especially 13 days before a 24 hour run !!! The only conclusion I have come up with is that I am a race-addict - there I`ve said it now lets more on..

This race was the inaugural BUPA Westminster Mile race, starting in the Mail & ending just after Birdcage Walk. So a bit of a change to the 5 previous mile races I`ve done, which were all track miles - my PB, set in 2009 was 06:28 and I do have to say I was happy with that which is one reason why I entered this particular event - something different. Myself, Alison & David met at Farnborough Main to get the train up - once at Waterloo we took the `guided tour` route to St James Park via the London Eye, London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben & strolled through St James Park. It is here we see the funniest thing ever…a remote control squirrel - not really but it could easily have been.

Anyway we made our way to the changing / bag drop area. My race was kicking off just after 10.00 - I was in the second Wave - Blue B - I don`t think BUPA has ever forgiven me from dressing up as a Nun & starting from the top starting Wave once. I make my way over to the start (basically just down from the finishing line in the VLM in the mail). I see Mark from the parkrun & wished him well - It is not often I get to a start line & feel out of place, each pen / wave has I guess only 50 or so runners…eeekkk (Going to be a lonely race then). I warm up & I get a nod of the head from a Kenyan runner who is also warming up - this makes my day. We form into the pen. Blue A`s off first…..then it`s my turn….

As we wait to move forward I shake my legs out, jump up & down, shakes my arms a bit more & relax my shoulders…I must of seen this on TV once - feeling so out of place…. We move forward & Richard Whitehead joins our wave - how cool is that….I`m `racing` Richard Whitehead.  I form up near the back. I`ve already set my Garmin on 0.25M laps. The hooter goes….& it`s nothing I known before - it`s like running from a burning building…..trying to get past folks, folks going past…

The turn down towards Horse Guards parade ground & the Garmin shakes - 1/4 mile in…the lactic acid hasn`t quite built up yet..still trying to run in the gaps….. I see the 800 metre to go sign & get caught up in a little group (and apart from the question on why on earth am I doing here the other question I ask is why are runners listening to music in a race like this ???). 400 to go - and my legs really don`t know what's going on…a few runners go past me & go past a couple - this is so mad. 200 to go - Now it starts to feel like I`m getting no-where my legs are going round then signs are not getting closer. I try to stand tall, swing my arms faster, lean forward - I seem to inch slowly towards the line.

100 to go - Come on, how hard is this - my lungs are bursting. We turn the last corner & I see the gantry - just coming up to my `immediate One Mile retirement time` I push for the line - hoping to get it but those few metres seemed to go on & on….I stop the garmin and feel like a Busking shark by sucking in the oxygen.  My goodness that was hard - no `satisfying feeling` kicking in just yet !!!

I look at my time & I am amazed - WOW I am stunned - 00:06:06. Ali & David popped up as I hung on the railings.

Splits (0.25M) & time - 1:25.7, 1:30.5, 1:33.9, 1:32.5, 0:03.0 (0.01 @3:59) - 06:05

Garmin Connect -
Eventually I go & get my gear & wandered back to the finish where we watch more races finish. Soon it`s Ali & David`s turn…..I watch the finishing timer tick over - I see the 1st runners coming through - slight problem in this race as these guys are all wearing yellow Sweatshop tops (except for one runner !!). Anyway I see Ali coming up & manage to take a photo just before she finishes & I look up & I think to myself that bloke just behind her looks a bit like David….IT IS DAVID - blimey !! I wandered up and contract David on an awesome time.. 00:06:39 - amazing run.

Afterwards we watch the youngsters & elite races - two great races to finish on. A brilliant day.

Results - Power of Ten LINK

Unto Bank Holiday Monday now & for the 4th time in a row it`s was the BUPA London 10,000 (please do NOT mix this up with the London 10Km as these are two different races). This BUPA event is a fantastic event - ok a bit expensive but it`s so worth it.

Like the day before we meet up at Farnborough Station - Ali, Lou, Dan, Dave, David, Dennis, James, Maurice & myself - the pre-race chat buzz is just great. We take the same route to get there - it`s the same set up as the previous day (no remote controlled squirrel though).

(Why do I think of this song.... YouTube LINK )
As we walk past the pens I see the `Tesco` boys & girls (Andover AC) & stop for a chat…I lose the others.. After a while I go over to the baggage area after saying hello the Chineham & Basingstoke lots - glad we got there early!!!! As I walk down to drop the bag off I see Tracy & Mike - who met at this race 4 years ago & this year got married so it was great seeing them. I go for a short warm up in the park - less than 5 minutes WU I guess. I wandered past the pens to see if I can see the others & wish them well. As I wait out my pen & bump into Ali, Dan & Dave & in hindsight we should have move in before we did to get a place near the front. We hear the wave in front go off…we move up…

The `hooter thing` goes off - and thank goodness the starting pace is not like yesterday…we head out under the - so this must be the 3rd route the organisers have tried out. I see Dennis & Maurice supporting - they shout out. We head down the Mall & left into a connecting street before the Embankment I see Dan goes past….a couple of moments later I see Dave chasing him…those two were not to be seen again…

This is good as I could tell that pace was a bit too quick - I try to keep the same pace going as we head down the Embankment. I grab a water - only really to throw over me. We go up & round to the 4 Km mark & hear this massive cheering coming back towards us - Mo flying past & Phil Wicks giving chase….it`s kind of like a Mexican Wave but a running version.. I like the next bit of the course as twists & turns through the market. Martin from Andover come past me - well he did start a wave behind me. As we head back we pass the runners going out - I love courses like that - I see Lou & give a shout (iPods got to love them…)

I didn`t look at the garmin but I felt I was running faster on the back half of the course - the space had opened up to run in. The downside was that I felt I was going too fast - I see I had 3 Km to go. My thinking was a gently 7 Km, then pick the pace up towards the middle / end part of the Embankment, round the corner to the 9 Km mark & go for home…sounded simply… I couldn't wait till the 9 Km mark then round Horse Guards parade ground & then seeing the 400 Metre sign… I hit the corner with thoughts of smacking down the Mall - instead I saw the tiny gantry way in the distance & my legs instantly gained 4 stone…how far is that !!!. I felt so tired I could hear the crowd pushing us on. I saw & heard Dennis. Long finishing straights should be banned….

I eventually made the line & I think never have been pleased to finish a race…it was indeed my last proper race in my training plan for Endure24 - I do plan to jog out Yateley 10Km a week next Wednesday or maybe do a bit of pacing.

Garmin splits & time - 7:10, 7:07, 7:11, 6:51, 6:58, 7:00 2:02 (0.30@ 6:54) - 44:22

I waited near the goodie bag area to see the others coming thorough - I missed them all except for Maurice who came down to chat.  After a while we headed to the baggage & changing area & met the others. Another great race. All the Cove Joggers do well.

Afterwards we headed back towards Waterloo stopping off at a pub - just to break the journey up a bit & then it would have been a bit rude if we didn`t stop at Dennis`s club - Jubilee Club for another pint & a bite to eat - I do have to say I am enjoying these post-race do`s almost as much as racing then.....

Garmin Connect -

Results - Power Of Ten LINK

So a brilliant Bank Holiday weekend starting out with an excellent Friday night, Westminster Mile on Sunday & the BUPA London 10,000 on Monday.

As I write this it`s only 10 sleeps till `No Sleeps`……ENDURE 24 - Website LINK
As it`s says in Dean Karnazes`s `Ultra Marathon Man – Confessions Of An All-Night Runner` book - "Sleep is for wimps` ~ Christopher Gaylord, underground ultra-endurance legend.  


Friday, 24 May 2013

`Balls out finish`……

I hadn`t realised this but I`ve been at `Hook` in one form or another every year since I started this running lark….

Hook 6             -           50:12 (2008) & 45:33 (2011)
Hook 10            -           1:18:58 (2009) & 1:17:31 (2010) & 1:28:49 (2012) & 1:14:53 (2013)

So as you have probably guessed this is one of my favourite events - it`s the typical `Village Fete Event`. I like the course (both the 6 mile & 10 mile courses), it`s local, proceeds from the day go to local needs, I know loads of folks running there - if you are thinking about putting on an event then basically copy this one - it ticks all the right boxes. This year was no different & the weather was perfect too.

The plan was I`ll see if I can get a PB - quite non-committal I guess. My PB was set back in October 2009 at Tadley 10 - 01:13:56 (7:24/m pace) - which I think even running how I am now is pretty good & looks fairly strong.

I arrived early as my training schedule said `15 miles` but I knew I wouldn`t do that much. I do go for a nice 2.5 mile (21:38) warm up around Hook though. I got back in time to get changed, said hello & caught up with a few folks I hadn`t seen for ages which was really good. Somehow time just disappeared and soon we assembled in the starting area for the countdown - no chip timer here. I didn`t get right to the front but not right at the back either. The hooter went off & off we went. Out of the school & then onto the roads around Hook…..

I tried to keep steady splits but it was way too fast in the 1st mile, by mile two I was slowing it down to where I wanted (around 7:20/m). Mile 3 included the incline towards Rotherwick (I know this area very well as that`s where I go to yoga every week). At this stage I noticed that I had got myself into a small pack of runners inc a Sandhurst lady runner which was pretty good - we kept the pace steady & stuck together. Just before the 5M water station the SJ pushed on in front & all in a sudden opened up a bit of a gap. Now around this time my shorts had developed a bit of a malfunction - the elastic had gone - thankfully it wasn`t the elastic around the waist !!!! I did feel rather exposed. It was fortunate that the course isn`t not very busy with spectators !!

Well at least it kept busy for a few miles.   I do like mile 7 as it`s on a corner of the pub & to me it feels like you have just turned for home. I wasn`t paying much attention to the pace I was running or my mile splits but I could see as it`s a long straight road who was in front & how far. Just by the turning I saw Dennis who was looking strong - I wished him well as I went past. By the roundabout we had 2 miles to go….this mile despite the twists & turns went quite quickly. Into the last mile & I felt strong. I went past a few more runners -  could see the SJ in front - I had gained a bit of ground on her. As I turned into the final housing `estate` I went past Mike Hewison - so he must have had a blinder of a race. I was gaining on my targets…down into the final straight - at this stage I had totally forgotten about my short situation - I wanted to finish… in the last few metres I went past the SJ runner. And I can confirm I am NOT a sprinter..

It took me a couple of minutes to grab my breath back. I grabbed a drink & poured it over myself. By this time Ali, David, James came over to chat, James kindly got me another drink but before I could drink any of it I gave it to another runner who was just finishing...

I looked at the Gamin & even though I got within a minute of my PB I was a bit disappointed – I guess this was a result of `non-committal race plan & the fun & games with the shorts. Afterwards we headed to the Raven for lunch - all in all a very good way to end a very good event.

I did have to ask the Race photographer to remove two of my race photos - sorry…..
Hook 10 - 1:14:53

Results 10 - LINK

Results 6 - LINK

Splits - 7:02, 7:14, 7:25, 7:49, 7:33, 7:36, 7:40, 7:58, 7:44, 6:46 (0.92 @7:21)

Woodland 5 & a bit.

Another event I`ve done a number of times over the years…

2008     -           50:37 (July)
2009     -           41:55 (May), 42:35 (June), 42:31 (July)
2010     -           41:45 (July)
2011     -           42:43 (June)
2012     -           47:18 (May), 47:29 (June), 48:07 (July)
2013     -           40:35 (May)

This is a good course - a good test - an incline to start with then two laps inc a couple of sharp hills but at least it has a downhill long straight to finish with. The length is 5.3 Miles. We got there early & I realised I had forgotten my Garmin - opps - only the second time I had done that. !!!! At least I had plenty of club vests to chase down. After a small warm up we assembled & waited for the start, after a gently start I gained a few places as we run up the 1st incline. Dave from the club disappeared from sight… My plan really was to use this as a bit of a tempo run - not planning record breaking times esp. with the hill (x 2) coming into play & yes I had planned to walk up them. As we approached the hill I thought about changing my mind but then saw it - I think 5 or 6 runners went past as I walked up it but even before we made it onto the main path - I guess 100 metres from the crest of the hill I had caught them. Even though I didn`t have anything to gauge this on I felt my 2nd lap was quicker than my 1st lap - I was running past a lot of folks. I used the same strategy for the 2nd lap as I used with the 1st. Again I caught the runners who ran past me as I walked up the hill within a 100 metres or so - this time we turned right & down into the long finishing straight - I did feel this was strongest part of the course. I went through the finish line and asked what rough time it was…40:41

In the end it was 40:35

Results - LINK

Ok maybe a bit faster than a tempo run but felt good. As it happened all Cove Joggers did really well & quite a good turnout too…..

Next up – two trips into London this BH weekend….Westminster mile & the BUPA 10,000 – yes racing a MILE. I have really lost the plot now I think.

Just over two to go before...ENDURE 24 - LINK

Friday, 17 May 2013

Double trouble or double the fun??

One of the biggest weekends in my 24hr training plan & oddly one I was looking forward to - my first back to back marathon days - Sunday being the Neolithic Marathon & on Bank Holiday Monday the Milton Keynes Marathon….
The weekend started - as it normally does with a parkrun. Due to Frimley Lodge park being taken over for the weekend it meant a rare `away day` run - a few of us from Frimley went over to Crane Park parkrun. A good, flat 2 lap course set in a nice park in Twickenham / Richmond. As is my way I do like to put in a fast time on new course so I was pleased with a good time esp. after Friday night`s social event.

Results - LINK
Garmin - 

The next day was the Neolithic Marathon. An event that catered for Marathon runners & Half Marathons runners & walkers also being able to choose the two different distances. When I entered I had booked the bus pass - which meant basically arriving at Stonehenge & taking me to the start at Avebury. I was booked on the 1st bus which meant a very early start to the day. I left my place just after 6 am, stopped for what now is a pre-race must - a large black coffee with enough sugar in it to hold the spoon upright !! We board the bus and I have to say the dogs which were on board were the most well behave dogs I`ve think I`ve seen - and that did include the dog licking his own refection in the window !! Anyway we get to the start - a place I`ve not been before - very nice - it has its own Stones. The time did soon disappear & the village became packed with runners - the walkers could go at any time. On the bus I saw running legend Rory Coleman & the very fast Jen - amazing endurance runners the pair of them - nether less to say I didn`t see Jen during the race at all - I did for the first 11 miles `play leap frog` with Rory.

My plan was to take it easy - no heroic at all - I had no real true gauge how I would feel in tomorrow`s run so it was a case walk where possible (& no I didn`t bring my cheating sticks). As it happens the 1st half of the course is where the hills are esp. the one up to mile 4 & the stepper hill at 11.5M. I just used these to walk up & tweet from. I had run the half marathon in 2010 so when we came across that start line (i.e. the last 13.1M) the course was a bit familiar. Almost as soon as we started (10.30am) the sun had broken through the clouds & so by half way it had got very warm - luckily I had brought my hand held water bottles & I was testing out my new sun cap (the `French Foreign Legion` style hat). I do have to say the 2nd half of the race is the most scenic - wide open stony trails with brilliant views across the plains - it was so nice to run along. By this stage I did take the approach of running / walking strategy esp. on the inclines & I had now dropped a NUNN tablet in my water (this did make a nice change to plain water & the taste of gels which I was taking one every 5 miles & I made sure I was drinking a bit more than normal).  

Towards the end - around mile 20 - I thought it would be nice to get a sub 4:30 but I could see I wasn`t just quick enough - no way was I going to smash the final few miles to get that target so I settled for a time of my PB plus no more than an hour (so 4:39:26).

As it happened I did out sprint a couple of runners and finished with a time of 4:33:24.

Once I finished I almost dashed to the car to freshen up, get on my recovery tights & grab some money as I wanted as much food & drink as possible - I don`t think I`ve eaten so much after a race. It did go down very nicely.

Splits - 10:13, 9:56, 9:41, 10:32, 9:46, 9:21, 9:18, 9:25, 11:55, 9:27, 9:55, 15:21, 8:44, 10:41, 9:20, 10:31, 14:31, 10:09, 10:43, 9:46, 12:01, 10:48, 10:48, 9:44, 9:59,  9:53, 0:40 (0.11 @ 6.12)

Garmin -
After about an hour or so I got back into the car & drove the hour or so home & almost jumped straight in the bath - bliss…. I couldn`t stay there too long as I needed to get up to Milton Keynes & book into my hotel & get ready for the next time. I did managed to stop half way up there for more food - and had a great chat with Richard finding out about the smack down which happened at the Frimley Park 10Km (gutted I had to miss that gem of an event)…

The next morning I awoke really early - 4.30am or something - more coffee :-) My legs were not that bad - yes I could tell they had just done a long run but surprising good - I slept in my recovery tights - it is a good job I have 4 pairs of these !!!

I got to the race (Stadium) & dropped my bag off - I straight away I bumped into Foxy & he asked what the plan was….it was another 4:30 ain (basically it`s 10 minute milling so very easy on the brain). He said I needed Rosemary the 4:30 pacer - perfect. I made my way to the start line - packed with 3,000or so runners. I saw Chris & it was nice to catch up with a bit with him. We did start the race together but after about a mile he pushed on - not surprising. At least he got a PB.

Just before the second mile I joined the back of the 4:30 bus - Rosemary was leading the way. I saw Plodding Hippo (Ruth) and wished her Happy Birthday - who does a marathon on their birthday ;-) I do have to say running with a really good pacer definitely took the pressure off - it`s like riding on the back of a tandem bike - putting in the same effort but not worrying about steering, braking - so easy. We were chatting, grabbing water from the many stations and feeding them into the runners in the middle of the pack. Cheering when we hit another mile bang on pace (see the splits below). She did a brilliant job. We did halfway in 2:14:xx.

At around mile 18 the course got a bit narrow so I pushed on in front of the pack - thinking if I did slow down then I could re-join the pack. As it happens I felt good - but making sure I didn`t over cook it & making sure I stuck to my gel & drink plan. The last thing I wanted was cramp or pick up an injury. By mile 23 I took my first walking break - it was strange that the steeper inclines came towards the back end of course inc a 1/4 of mile incline at mile 24 - which felt a lot longer. I walked up this one.

As we entered the last mile I thought it would be good to pick the pace up - I did actually feel strong. We went over the footbridge and along the foot path where we could see the Stadium looming down on us - great. I could even see the gantry so I picked the pace up even more… …..this however was a bit of a mistake……

This `finishing` gantry was not the finishing gantry but in fact was a gantry to indicate the entrance of the stadium…opps. I still had to run down into the stadium AND along the whole length of the pitch AND across the width of the pitch AND back up the far side of the pitch AND half way across the remaining width to the actual finishing gantry  - What a Muppet - I was knackered !!!

I have to say the Milton Keynes marathon is a fantastic event.

I stopped the Garmin - really pleased with the time - 04:22:48  (a combined time of  8:56:19)

Splits - 9:26, 9:53, 10:06, 10:03, 10:00, 10:05, 10:10, 10:07, 10:18, 10:12, 10:06, 10:09, 10:02, 10:17, 10:11, 10:08, 10:22, 10:10, 9:56, 10:08, 9:36, 9:33, 10:38, 9:37, 10:57, 8:30, 1:55 (0.25@ 7:39)Garmin -

What I learnt here is that anything is possible if you are open to it - Don`t say no I can`t before you even attempedt it – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
By The Way - it was double the fun :-)                 Now what comes after two……….

Next up - after a bit of unplanned restful weeks one of my favourite events - the Hook 10 .

Eeeekkk I`m running out of races before my Endure 24 one - only in 3 weeks or so now…

Charity Page - LINK

Thursday, 2 May 2013

What`s that saying……"yesterday`s goals will not win today`s game"

So after a really good London - so many positives - I took my `five clear day break`. My first run out was at Winchester parkrun and I have to say I was really pleased with the steady pace I ran (7.10`s) PLUS it`s always great to catch up with folks at these inaugural parkruns (scores on the parkruns doors - Different events - 25 & Inaugurals - 9 & Total No.- 186).
Next day was the Bracknell Half & I only really entered this to get the legs moving again & back to plan. I did help that I really do like this event, I have run it twice before (2009 - 1:42:56 & 2010 - 1:41:52) so I knew the course. Despite all the twists and turns it is surprising fast - I also knew I wouldn`t be that fast this time around.

I got collected by Dan nice & early, we met up with fellow Cove Joggers - Duncan & James, along with Richard from SJ. Now I did beforehand I would be happy with a time of 2:00hrs+ but….the sun was out, shades were on, the birds were singing away, I had a race number on my vest, I was wearing club colours, I had my bright shoes on, I like the course …….what other excuses can I come up with. Let`s just say it didn`t happen that way.

Just before the start I found the boys, watched the nice helicopter display. The plan was for myself & Heather to run together so off we went - noting how many people run with their numbers on the backs (Guys it`s a very simply instruction - numbers to be worn on the front). The 1st mile was a bit fast but ok, the 2nd mile I think we did slow down on purpose but also the course narrowed a bit - this did feel very easy. I did want more of a test than that.

Somewhere during Mile 3 we picked up the pace, opps but overtaking folks & chatting away & feeling relaxed did feel good. This how it really carried on. Even going up the two main drags on the course. It was great to spot Alison & Brian from the club - how did they manage to see us so many times plus see the other behind too??? Also big high 5 to Ben (Heather`s O/H).
Great to meet during & afterwards from Fetch – Fleecy J

Even towards the end of the run the pace felt relaxed, the conversation flowed along. I guess it was just after the 12.5 mile point I ask Heather if she wanted a gel - she declined :-)  
We crossed the finish line with a time of 1:46:33 - all in all a good, social run in the nice sunshine. Thanks Heather great to run with you again.

About 10 minutes later the boys came in - all very close to each other - all getting PB`s - brilliant. With Duncan the oldest brother getting in front of James (making it 2 v 1 to James so far in the `Ball Brother faceoff), also really impressed with Richard as he also ran London.

Two, well three things will stick out in my mind from this race;
1) Duncan`s Nike watch measured short so he had to run an extra 400 metres or so in circles afterwards so he could `clock` the distance. Which is ironic really as James did say while running these loops "Look at Duncan, what a clock !! ".

2) James`s post-race beer selection needs to seriously
be addressed.

The 3rd thing is a bit private but I did receive some brilliant news after the race which almost proves the theory behind `Karma` - fingers crossed that justice shows through & the punishment & repercussions are to the maximum.

Race data….

Splits - 8:36,9:14, 8:15, 8:06, 8:05, 8:15, 7:58, 8:05, 7:54, 8:03, 8:07, 8:09, 7:40 (0.99 @7:43)

Also this week I`ve pushed my details of my 24hr hour - the amount of donations already is simply staggering - thanks - see link

LINK - My Charity Page Link

Next up - A new thing for me - a double marathon weekend - On Sunday the Neolithic Marathon ending at Stonehenge & then on Monday the Milton Keynes - a bit of a contrast but my plan said a `50 mile run` and this was the second best option. Pace wise - unknown really but it will be interesting to find out :-)