Thursday, 26 September 2013

I`ve been down this path before…..JW Ultra III

Yep the 3rd time at JW Ultra for me. As per previous years I stayed at the re-named `Etap` in Birmingham - 15 mins approx. away from the finish if you are thinking of staying there but remember to take your own kettle, tea / coffee etc.. anyway it`s quite nice. Due to Friday night traffic issues I did arrive quite late so with a pre-planned early night I didn`t venture out. Up at early o`clock - after the normal race breakfast - coffee & porridge I was out the door.
Slight change (for me anyway) the Race HQ was at the T.S. Sherbourne - all very nice esp. afterwards when sitting out in the yard in the sun….We jumped unto the coach to take us down to the start at Stafford-Upon-Avon. I sat next to Garfield - her 1st Ultra…how good is that? We got there and had about 40 mins or so before the start - which just disappeared but it was nice to have a brief chat with Suzy, Plodding Hippo & Lady Alton (* Not their real names except Suzy`s). 
We made our way down to the start area..after the race briefing we were off. Like last time I thought around 5 hrs would be good - why because it`s about 10 minute miles which easy on the brain. The first section is not along the canal but as soon as we hit the towpath we soon settled down to our own pace..we past friendly & cheerful marshals along the way inc `2FF` in Stratford - I thought he was running - anyway soon enough we had gone 6M - 00:57:xx - which was about right….
Just before the 8M mark we went across the `Edstone or Bearley Aqueduct` - which is the longest aqueduct in England at 475 feet (See Sharon I do read these route cards).
No Rich K there this year so I took my own photo...

From previous years I remembered the first checkpoint was just shy of 10M (about 9.5M) - I went through there in about 1:30:xx - I just grapped a water & re-stocked my hand held…I was pleased with that time, it was about right, maybe even slightly ahead of schedule of PB pace (4:54:08 - in 2010) & despite my lack of long runs since Salisbury I was feeling ok. I took my second gel around the 12M mark (01:54:xx) - the blister I picked up from the Farnham Half wasn`t bothering me (mainly due to a whole tub of Vaseline being used) also glad I went with the vest & shorts approach. I knew I was ahead of PB time but didn`t have too much to play with……around here I had a bit of a nasty coughing fit - caused by swallowing one too many flying objects - the trouble of running like a basking shark. I did have to stop for what seemed to be several minutes - not nice - esp as I was in a good rhythm too!!
I saw Elaine & Colin around 14 / 15 which was really good as it was me a chance to empty my shoes of stones - one drawback of wearing loose shoes..anyway soon off - cross the canal & quick peek down towards down the Grand Union Canal…
Just around the 18 mile mark I went past a runner who I saw go off at a very fast pace at the start - he had over-cooked it. He asked where the checkpoint was - I said it wasn`t far….opps sorry about that. I got there about 03:14 - `20 miles in & 10 to go`. I topped up the hand held & grapped a few jelly babies & off I went - I got some cheers from the pub - thanks. My PB margin was down (03:14 + 01:35 = 04:49:xx) to about 5mins….despite the miles ticking away I kept the pressure on…but I was seeing a lot more 10:xx:xx coming up..
I hit the marathon mark in 04:14:xx & again I thought "right 3.8 Mile in forty minutes" - just about do-able esp. as the course measures short on the Grmin………then disaster - my legs went heavy - just under 3 miles to go. I had to stop…I thought you are not going to go anywhere being still so I walked - it felt like I was staggering so I jogged. A relay runner came past - I tried to tag myself on the back of him. We went over the bridge where it went `ever so slightly wrong` last time - I looked across & there was a jogger (nothing to do with the race) coming towards us - "Oh been there before" I thought & carried on with a little grin. The next bridge is a biggie…well it is if your quads have gone…I did struggle - it felt like I had to climb a mountain. Time was ticking past…another 00:14:xx mile…..
My PB was gone - my next target was a sub five…I was in the last mile..I knew I was close…was is it about that last mile?  I forgot the legs & ran. I saw 04:58:xx - did I really deserve a sub 5??? I knew the finish was just past the bridge. I ran through the finish & stopped the garmin - I haven`t felt so exhausted in ages - I looked it was 05:00:51 - knickers !!
It was good to see Sharon, Hilary, Elaine & Colin at the finish..& after a while I got my bag & made my way back to the Race HQ - which did give the legs a chance to recover.

Splits - 9:33, 10:44, 8:57, 9:02, 9:11, 9:10, 9:20, 9:23, 9:19, 11:07, 8:51, 9:20, 9:07, 9:55, 9:01, 10:16, 9:46, 9:25, 10:22, 8:14, 10:08, 9:20, 11:24, 10:40, 10:18, 10:26, 11:43, 14:08, 14:10, 8:19 (0.71@ 11:42)

Main Website - LINK (which does include my 2011 blog)

As I`ve read before “there`s no such thing as a bad race, you either run well or learn a lot”….what did I learn?             Basically the same words as when I ran in 2011….`The JW Ultra is 30 miles long !!`
Next up – A bit of pacing a Frimley Lodge parkrun (32 mins) & the Mortimer 10Km, then my final long run before Caesars Camp 50 the Bournemouth Marathon on the 6th October.



Friday, 13 September 2013

Want It Get It …………….

Stockbridge 10Km.
I ran this event last year - See Blog – and I had a bit of nightmare of a race. No excuses I blew it so this year I wanted and knew I could do so much better..
Like most races I got there early & got booked in. I went to a 1.5 mile warm up - along the High Street & past my Aunt & Uncle`s old house - the old Garage now Stokes Of Stockbridge – nice memories. I didn`t venture too far up the hill going out of Stockbridge. As I jogged out to my Aunt new house I saw Sandra & Ian - which is also nice to see familiar faces at races..
After the race briefing we formed up - I was thinking about the race tactics & how it was going to roll out - keeping it steady in the first two miles, before `attacking` the hill (the place where it went all wrong last year) & using the downhill section at mile 4 to `carry` me home….only for my thoughts to be interrupted by fellow Frimley Lodger (& 1st place finisher of the previous day`s Winchester parkrun) - Dave Bush who was jogging out along the Test Way & causing all sorts of `trouble` with our race marshals….
We started & around the small estate we went before heading past the Pub & Church…here I notices that Sandra was just in front …”ok time to back off” I checked the Gamin and I didn`t think 7:22 m/m pace was `too fast` - I gave a high 5 to the marshal holding the gate & back along towards the start finish area - I noted the course was a bit slippy…maybe wearing the Brooks T6`s racers wasn`t the best move in the world !!
We went around the Pub & Church again & out onto `Cow Drove Hill` - I knew from last year this started off flat before a sharp corner & the start of the hill. As I was getting into my rhythm two runners came almost alongside & starting chatting to each other - it was almost they were having a contest who could be the most negative… "This pace won't last", "Don`t know why I bothered entering this race when I know I`m not going to do well" etc etc….. arrgghhh - why be so negative ???? I just thought this is good practice to keep positive despite all of that talk…
Up past the sharp corner & up `the rise` - there was a small group of 6 runners in front - still early days. Pace wise still ok & feeling relaxed. As we progressed up the hill I went past this small group & started to pick off a few runners up the hill. I was feeling great - swinging the arms like a loon, driving forward. I saw the water station at the top and knew it was far till we turned down along the `Test Valley` - I had actually forgotten how much downhill there was and that this first section was almost road rather than trial,…I didn`t look at the Garmin but I knew I was going fast by the numbers of runners I was overtaking…
We hit the trail of the `Test Valley` it was quite sticky - both underfoot & weather conditions as we were under trees. There was a runner in front - about 10 secs & then a pair of runners in front of him - these were my targets . I felt so much better than last year so if I kept the pace going I would be ok… I did think the guy in front was also using the runners in front as `targets` - I tried my hardest to catch him but I wasn`t really getting anywhere…..
Past the Marshal on the gate - another `high 5` - I knew where I was…one final last push I thought…oh make that we both thought. I could see the finish..& went though. I shook his hand & said to him he was my target - he knew….
I looked at the Garmin - so pleased I had kicked into touch last year`s race…45:42 was totally surprising. This is a good race & so pleased I could give it justice.
Splits - 7:24, 7:42, 7:49, 7:14, 7:50, 7:08, 0:33 (0.09@ 6:10)

Next up - This Sunday is the Farnham Half Marathon. Yes a half - I switched from the full just after the Salisbury Marathon when my toe / knee / hip hurt - a good decision bearing in mind next Saturday`s jog along the canal at the JW Ultra.