Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Grabbing the bull by the horns – The OX

Sneaks in…

So many good races & results since I last blogged it would be difficult to catch up & give them justice. So to give a quick summary - Last November I went to Nepal & ran a fantastic event in the hills & trails & hiked the Annapurna Base Case Trail. Then spent 48 hrs in Delhi – amazing place. Unfortunately I picked up a stomach bug  - no details but I managed to drop 8 KGs just like that. It certainly curtailed my Cross Country Season. I treated it like coming back from injury – slow short miles at first which gave my leg muscles a chance to build back up. I couldn`t even picture any fast miles or sadly no elevation until March time.

During that time it wasn`t all training by myself..

January – 151 Miles inc.  Tadworth Ten, Farnborough Half Marathon &  Stonehenge Stomp.
February – 167 Miles inc. Bramley 20 , Wokingham Half MarathonMalta Marathon (awesome Cove Joggers weekend away event).
March – 201 Miles inc. Amersham Ultra  & The Good Friday Marathon
April – 151 Miles inc. London Marathon & the re-arranged Fleet Half Marathon.
May –  112 Miles (so far)

Elevation - 39,528 ft

I would say all of those were controlled runs except the Amersham Ultra where this event was too early - 50 Km in the trails & hills around Amersham was really too much but it was my Birthday.  I did also start the South Downs Way 50 in early April – I should have gone with my instincts about the elevation & trails on this one & pulled out beforehand.  I managed 27 miles (in 6 hrs) before pulling out – no real damage except for missing toenails. Should have gone with road shoes really. My altitude to that was that there is no such thing as a bad race as I leant so much in those 6 hrs.

At the start of March I introduced intervals in my training – proper interval training now. Very privileged to be running in a group organised by Paula Fudge.  The group is fantastic and it`s held locally - lucky enough to be `warm up warm up` distance range. The sessions are mixed around which I like and the actual sessions I seem to be able to handle – legs do not always appreciated the Caesars Camp hills the next day though.

With all this mind the targets this year &`A` races included – solo running at Endure24 and Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach 100 Mile run in September.  London, despite the warm day was a good steady paced controlled run. With Endure24 in mind I really had to do a 50 mile run (which is why I entered and started the SDW 50). After my DNF (only my 2nd) there I entered the Ox50 race. An eight lap 50 mile event near Salisbury – prefect testing arena for Endure24. I also dropped a Marathon run (North Dorset) in the build-up week and went for elevation instead.

So to the Ox50. My last official 50 mile race was the Caesars Camp 50 back in 2011 – I completed CC50 in 11hrs 51 mins but did beat that time and running further during both Comrades. I think I ran 9hrs 30 mins for first 50 miles in the down run in 2015 so based on that I knew I could beat my PB at the OX but 50 miles is a long way and anything can happen….

Arrived late afternoon on Friday I pitched what could be my Endure 24 tent set up. Small tent, Food & Kit tent & gazebo tent. I did not have to wait too long until Richard Boese turned up & pitched his tent. The race start finish was away from the campsite area which made it interesting but hey you cannot control something that you cannot control – control the controllables as I heard Tom Evans say . My first time at one of these `White Star Running` events – they do have something for everyone (but like the course itself), Friday night there was a 10Km, Saturday was the 50M & a 12 hour event (which most were using as a marathon) plus a relay race, Sunday was another 10KM & a Half Marathon. My only interest was the 50M and to be honest I wanted to race (as much as you do when it`s 50 miles). The weather wasn`t brilliant on the Friday so Saturday was going to be even more interesting….

As it happens the weather was prefect – slightly chilly. My race plan was like most of my races I had broken down – laps 1 to 4, then laps 5 & 6 & then lap 7 & then the final lap – a lap of honour. One thing which was ticking away was that the course & distance didn`t really tie up – 4 laps equals a Marathon and 8 laps equals 50miles……. Ok we’ll see what happens… (as it happens each lap was 6.7 miles).

I had gone with the Hoka Speed Goats 2 (one whole size up). For laps 1-4 I started off in my `Round the Guernsey Island` race top plus arm sleeves then after completing the marathon distance a quick wash and change of top. I completed the 4 laps in around 4.45 / 4.50 hrs and feeling fresh – this is where I expected to be during the SDW50 not battered and bruised. Right half way and I felt good. I put on one of my Caesars Camp t-shirts and grabbed the ipod. Now I have in the past run listening to audio books, motivating podcasts or high BPM music – today`s motivation came from Chris Tarrant Ultimate Summer Party Album (amazing what is on my ipod..) it did the job as soon enough the next two laps were done. A quick wash & change into a Comrades vest – well time had ticked on and it was the afternoon now. I also used during this 7th lap my sticks – I thought that during Endure24 or the Stagecoach run I would NEED then so it was about time I practised using them during the back end of an endurance race. That 7th lap went really quickly and soon I was at the start area dropping off my sticks & fishing out my Club vest for the final lap. I have to say it was a weird feeling knowing you are running quicker than PB pace despite being a hilly course & still feeling good. It was clear that the course distance would be around 53 or 54 miles. I ran through the 50 mile mark on my Garmin at 10:01:05 – so close and still hadn`t gone past the half way feed point. Talking of which and thought out  the whole race I hadn`t eaten ay of my own food (which was much the same & what I`ll be using at Endure24) but replied on the snacks and nibbles on offer – this worked out ok as it certainly cut down the amount of fluffing around time I seem to generate during a lapped event. The last half lap came round so quickly – it`s amazing how the body can work. Soon enough I found myself on the last field sprinting to the line….ok not really sprinting but in my head I was.

Finishing time = 10 hrs 45mins 56 sec (Garmin distance = 53.7 miles & 6,093 ft elevation).

Job done.

Lap 1 = 1 hr 6 mins 18 sec
Lap 2 = 1 hr 12 mins 50 sec
Lap 3 = 1 hr 16 mins 30 sec
Lap 4 = 1 hr 23 mins 6 sec
Lap 5 = 1 hr 28 mins 42 sec
Lap 6 = 1 hr 29 mins 16 sec
Lap 7 = 1 hr 28 mins 51 sec
Lap 8 = 1 hr 20 mins 38 sec

Results – Full Results

Garmin -

If you get the chance to enter a White Star Running event then do so. The relaxed atmosphere so helps to a good race day performance.

Next up – well going with the flow esp. in these last few weeks before Endure24.. I would say I`ll do more yoga but maybe not with the state of my toes..