Wednesday, 30 May 2012
This could possibly be my last post ever. I have a feeling I am about to be stripped naked and tied to a horse with a Corpuscular Beardo mask strapped to my face or arse, or both.
These chaps don't realise that in 5 weeks, my body will be going to hell and back on a 100 mile hilly ultra marathon. i don't want to go to hell and back by being arrested for having my balls superglued to the 500-1 outsider at the 4.30 at the Derby.
So there will be a silly parkrun on Saturday, followed by a livener, followed by a few sharpeners......and then we will get drinking.
I dread thinking about what might happen next......
Sunday, 27 May 2012
With a mad rush round 3 barbeques and Eurovision party (yes indeedy! Sad but fun!) the social aspect of the weekend meant that my 9 miles this morning was at a lovely relaxed pace with the lard arse known as Beardo. Beard has now increased to a corpuscular 13.1 stone, which is significant, seen as he is only about 5ft7.
My training needs to up after a couple of dip weeks. I'm targetting at least 50 this week....which will include a Stag-tastic park run on Saturday morning. All I can say is....watch this space!
Friday, 25 May 2012
It is not quite that hot yet but the wet 5 weeks has given us runners a false hope of a warm damp dawn that we can run off, despite getting wet. Now it is silly season. Idiots being as idiotic as they can with a few rays of sunshine. The smog has increased and the bloody flies stick to you when you run!
I'm just in from work and close to a salad and fish supper with a cider and possibly a glass of wine with some decent cheese later....I am planning a route for the morning which will include either.....a) Crystal palace park run and then some..... or b) DPR beginners 5 mile, plus a 3 mile run there....and then some. My plan is either to take my Oyster and run back from a very North or East London tube or run to London Bridge, rehydrate and jump on a train to Kent/Surrey and run back. Either way, a 30 mile hot run will ensue. There is not a marathon within 300 miles that is available....talk about nuts in May! I was due to run the LDWA Chiltern Challenge......but there are NO RUNNERS allowed in this event. Plonkers. Events like this will suffer without the support of us marathoners...So I am going alone. I've got plenty of thinking to do regarding the pedagogical practices of my lovely school. I have much to mull over vis-a-vis my wedding speech.....so, we make hay whilst the sun shines.........and no doubt I will be building stamina for the SDW100 when it will be ultra-hot.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
After a weekend of a double marathon plus bank holiday recovery run, I thought it would take 2 weeks to recover...wrong.....back again running the next day towards a 100 mile week.
Running 6 min miles and less for periods over the GBR, I feel FUBAR'ed and with a cheeky little club 10 on Tuesday, I needed time off today.
I was due to be running the LDWA Chiltern Challenge on Saturday but the small print states.....NO RUNNERS!
So I am in a bit of limbo. Nothing going on so I might take to the Downs on Saturday for 30 miles, or take my tube pass to the Chilterns at Amersham and run home through London......much needed miles after my mini mid training taper. Just 2 marathons to go until the big 100.
I'm still glad that after the broken leg i can still mix it up with the best runners in London and come 7th in a race against sub 2.45 marathoners. My feet haven't touched the ground since the weekend!
Monday, 21 May 2012
Last year we fielded 2 teams and came in at something like 29th and 34th......This year we had 3 teams and 2 aims.....to get a top 10 finish and not to finish last with our mixed teams. (note.....Chris thought we could top 10 and I seriously did not think that we would have done badly if we came top 15!)
Something else happened....the mixed teams had opened up a gap between themselves and the last team. Amazing work! Sterling efforts!
Bring home the bacon.......the roar from my hoarse gob as the final leg ensued.....
And so the party started! Amazing...........and thanks to Linda and Di and Chris and Tom P for organising, all the runners and supporters and marshals and drivers..........
DPR....ON THE MAP!
The irony is that my legs hurt more than they did 2 weeks ago when I ran the double marathon weekend! Obviously I need to run harder!
Saturday, 19 May 2012
Tappo went off on leg one and came in 3rd. Steve Barber came in 4th on leg 2. Richard got lost on 3 and came in 12th, despite running 1.33 for 14 miles. Ace.
and the dream started to become a reality....
I went off too fast. My first mile was an exuberant 5.56, followed by a 6.04. Too fast. I slowed to a 7.15s pace as we hit the fields and forests of Epping. undulating farmland opened out into vast expanses of skyline, punctuated by the spires of (not doubt) Godfearing Essex-types....through fields of face high oilseed rape, pungent and dosing eyes and cheeks with sneezeworthy pollen, whilst the deep ruts of tractors prevented even cadence.
Mile 3-4 I suffered and mile 5 was a quagmire of stentorian proportions.......arrrgghhhhh, the Garmin hinted at a 9 in mile! I had to put a stop to this at once.......with a Serpy, a Dulwich Runner and a Clapham Chaser, I hit the gas and found that I had plenty in the tank. The last 3 were 6.45s and the last half was 6.20s! Very muddy and very happy to happy to glance back and see the other club in Dulwich about 200m behind I huzzed it to the line.....
So I didn't let down the boys. I came in 7th and ran a 6.45s XC hilly run. Fucking brill. Still buzzing and so glad that we are now 6th in the competition.
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
So I embarked on a sodden Tuesday evening run for charity at the Dulwich Festival. Last year I won a pair of trainers for my efforts so tonight, I entered the arena with a tiny amount of vigour to stave off the torrential rain. Note to self.....the waterproofness of the OMM is on the wane. Cuffs and arms seem to be at risk of being non-waterproof.
So wet it was that just a hardy bunch of the running club turned up. Far less than the 150 or so that ran last year. I was wet by the start and soon was wetter. After 5 laps with Rich, I grabbed George's buggy and pushed Jo round......it was great to catch up with Georgie and have a practice at pushing a buggy.
11 laps later and with 15 miles on the Garmin, with the run there....I was soaked to the skin, getting cold and hungry. So I packed it in and went home. A slight niggle with my right IT band that I will need to get foam rollered, stretched and a massage on.
When will this wet weather end. It is getting me down!
Sunday, 13 May 2012
I've decided to have a more relaxed running week. Last 8 days has been 100 miles and I have had 3 hard weeks. Saturday morning I decided with Eric not to do Orpington marathon and to have a nice long slow run down the Thames. A run to Dulwich Park to support week 4 of our beginners course and then up to the Thames at Bermondsey Wall and along to Greenwich to look at the new Cutty Sark and HMS Ocean. Both impressive, as was our 22 mile run. How did we miss the new cable car? Who knows? But a curry and a few ciders later, Charlie and I planned to do some urban photography on Sunday and so that is what we did.
I'm going to wind down tHe miles this week so that I am fresh for Green Belt relay on the weekend. Not that I have far to go.....19 miles over the 2 days.......but I want to be fresh and fast so I don't let the elite team down.
After that, it's back to big miles and then a stag-do run the following weekend.
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
So......step in Customer Service. The Good the Bad and the Ugly. This is a tale of 3 companies.
Those likeable chaps at Likeys sent me midget gear in the post.
New balance 1090v2 road shoes, purchased a couple of weeks ago. They need returning to New Balance. New Balance do not offer an exchange policy. Only. We will refund the money to your account upon receipt of the shoes and you can reorder. We do not offer an exchange service. Irritating.
So, having never had to return a single item of running gear this century, it is 3 in a week. Just like the proverbial bus.
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
What could be more relaxing than getting up on a bank holiday Morning and going for a 10k run with good buddy George? I ran over to his and was confronted with..."what do you want to do then?" "Hills" I said......"Only you would say that after the weekend you've had"
And so we set off, slow at first as it took me a few miles to stretch out the aches and pains. All was good by the end. Then it was off to scoff £140 of Dim Sum with the family in Chinatown in an all comers record of 33 minutes. Never have we been shouted at by waiting staff for ordering too much food to fit on the table! Legendary!
A return to work and some weariness was kept at bay with coffee and a constant supply of cake and fruit. Big Tuesday is always a stress and I was glad to see the end of the day and get on my kit to get to the club. I ran with my usual group for about 2 mins and then dropped off to pick up Lily, Tom H and Mrs UB's group. Take it easy I thought......all was good. The I let it go for the last mile and launched home in 5.51s to see what I had in the legs after 200km in under 2 weeks.
Sunday, 6 May 2012
I have never done the "double" before so was quite nervous when I awoke. The customary post-marathon bedroom shuffle for the first few tentative steps of the morning reminded me my quads resembled steak tartare! A couple of bacon butties and a good glug of Colombian later and we were ready to depart, Katia and Lily in tow as the 3 ladies took on the 3FM half.
Upon arrival, my online payment had duly not been processed, but this had been the case with a number of runners so a swift form completion allowed me time to return to the car to don waterproof and collect my magic ingredients that would keep me alive.
3 years ago I top 20'd with a 3.45. Such were the conditions today that the same time would have placed me 7th. But conditions were fairly 'orrible! I bumped into Helen at the start, Elaine and Peter. All had run Bewl so were taking it a bit easy. A second before the gun went off I met Spenser and within a flash, we were off.
Now runners of this monumental event will know that the first 2 miles go uphill to the 781ft high Cissbury Ring and it was halfway up that I realised that this was a bad idea. Rain beating down upon us, a path with a mud the consistency of wallpaper paste and plenty of squally wind. Great, I thought. Things didn't get better with a 2 mile descent back to the bottom of the Downs and at 4 miles, quads on fire, I though about chucking in the towel. So many were overtaking me and my watch was clocking 11 min miles, I thought of the cut off and just turning around and walking back. No!
So onto the River Adur and up to Botolphs. The SDW turned to road and I wished for muddy soft paths, so much so that the next 3 miles went by, runners silently going about their business, bedding in for the long haul. Mile 7 was a chance for me to grab some juice and hob-nobs at the well stocked checkpoint and the long climb up to Devil's Dyke from sea level, another 718ft. I wanted to chuck in the towel again but dug in and started to get into the groove. The idea of a DNF in a marathon is for hospitalisation, not losers. As I came up the hill, the first of the runners approached from the 11.5 mile switchback. Running in 50th or so place was big man Johnny K, looking fresh. "Why are you behind me?" he stated........"John, I ran a marathon yesterday!" and off we went about our business. 30 seconds later I spied Spenser coming down the hill. The 11.5 switchback is a strange affair. It always has been. 4 marshals, an oldskool caravan and plenty of cake and sweets. This was the exact point my mood changed. Ruth asked me how long we had been running as her Garmin had died. 2 hours.....shit.....I thought, that's slow! I asked the marshals if they had any juice, to which they replied....."what juice do you want?" "Cider please!" and we all had a good old laugh. This lightened my spirits no end and with that, off we skipped at 9s.
I caught up with Spenser and ran with him for a while, commenting on the points at which our support crew would be most welcoming and I selected the top of Devil's Dyke. I thought we might run together for the rest of the race, but I got chatting to a poor chap who's Garmin had fallen off and sort of trotted on ahead. (Note to self......I know the Garmin nightmares well!)
I hit mile 15 and felt really good. I couldn't understand why there were so many walking? An ultra-shuffler really know how to drop down and ultra-shuffle when the need arises. And so I did. Miles flew by and all of a sudden 20 was up and I felt great. I only walked the last hill after that. I had a great chat with Beanie who was running 3 in 4 weeks for charity, a lady from Stragglers who we caught up on the forthcoming GBR race that is organised by her club and Ruth...who was killing the downhills. From 15 to the end I must have passed well in excess of 100 runners. Another UB and Immune moment came and the last for the last 2 I pulled up the anchor, switched off the pain button, switched off the traction control and pressed the "fucking nutter" button. (Dave...you would be proud!) Yes it is downhill, but after 26.6 yesterday and 27.4 miles today, the last 2 at 7.00s and then 6.10s were bonkers. 4 hrs 38 is never going to win any prizes....but it was never meant to be fast, it was meant to be a voyage of discovery.
So. How is the first double? Fucking great. I have a cider at my side, reggae on iTunes and dinner at George's tonight. Thank the lord for the bank holiday Monday.
So. If there was a marathon tomorrow I would run it. But Belfast is a long way and I could do with a day off!
Saturday, 5 May 2012
It was wet on the journey down but the rain stopped between arriving at the car park and picking up my number. A light drizzle ensued for the next hour through the start but it did nothing to dampen the spirits.
I walked into the registration and saw no one that I knew, so got a cup of tea and went back to the car to get my trail shoes on. It was really muddy. The race had been billed as "trail shoes not needed" and this some felt, was a joke.
The start kicked off with a wet band of club level runners doing a lap of the steep dam and off around the lake we went. Some of the throng had run the Bewl 15 which circumnavigates the lake, but this took in the hills around the high southern edge. The first 3 miles were "Torvill and Dean" country, with runners flipping and falling by the wayside with deft pirouettes to balance the slides and slips. CP1 came up in no time at 3 miles. I had bumped into the 100 mile legend Helen at the start but she went of like shit off a hot chrome shovel, sniffing out the 1st female place.
Between the 3 mile CP and 6 mile CP I ran past a yellow-jacketed figure and was so focused on not falling over that I failed to look up. "Oi Rob!" and none other than GUCR legend George poked his face out from beneath the cap and we engaged in some good chit chat. George is an amazing chap. he has run the GUCR and the Cotswold 100 and is so laid back about it all. it was good to hear that his (not so) new job was going well and the family were all good too. I'm not sure how but a couple of us got into conversation and I started running with a primary school teacher called Susie and as I turned around, George was not now behind. I ran with Susie having a chit chat and a slip-slide for about 4 miles, I conceded that I was keeping something in the tank for the Sunday 27 miler. While we were together we passed a fair few runners.
Each of the laps departed from the lake and up a set of nearby hills which were on the road. At this point, I thought that the second lap would be a tougher one and had prepared myself to walk.
Lap one was met with a cheer from the late finishers to the half and it was back to the slide-a-thon. I had a little wobble at about 14 but after that the miles just went by. Crabbing over a flooded bridge where a tributary was coming over, such was the flooding, was fun, as was the sides and backs of runners who had hit the floor and were covered in cack.
I felt really good coming through 17 and 18, and with a flapjack and a big glug of beetroot juice.....much to the marshal's distaste....beetroot juice...are you mad.....yep!
The last 10k was as cheeky as they come. With a smallish field, they were pretty far apart so I set to task to catch the person in front, have a chat and catch my breath and then repeat for the person who was about 500m in front. Each time I increased my pace and realised that I was now in negative split land.....holy shit....I don't often do that!
There were no checkpoints from 19 miles onward so I put my head down and legged it aka Immune and UB stylee. Brill! Last 3 miles were definitely sub 8s and I wanted to hold position. I did.
As I came over the line, there were a few runners at the finish, including Susie who I had run with. She came in 3rd and first lady! I had come in 9th, trailing 3rd place by only 7 mins. Had I had the beans in the tank...bearing in mind the 27 mile 3FM coming up tomorrow, I would have attacked the last 10 miles and not the last 10k.
Still. Hermes running....well done and I'll be back next year. 3.53.50 on a very challenging course has left me v happy.
Friday, 4 May 2012
It is the "double" weekend. Have I got the kit out of the wash? No. Have I just got in from work? Yes.
WTF is the start time of this marathon anyway?
When I've knocked out 65+ hours at school this week, I have to do a minor bit of marathon prep for tomorrow. It will be a long road. By Sunday, I should have knocked out a marathon and an ultra. I'm running on about 5 hours sleep a night and my jaws hurt slightly from teeth clenching due to what I think is stress and maybe a lack of coffee (no time to have any)
This, on top of miles accrued at 9pm in the evening most days this week have meant a poor-ish diet and a lack of time to relax. Perfect preparation! I'll be relaxing on the route tomorrow. I'll likely take the trail shoes and settle into a clip that will allow me to chill and have a bit of fun and chit-de-chat with the other competitors. I have already found a chap who is doing both and will be lloking out for him. He's doing Comrades. We shall have plenty to talk about. But NO manriding.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
I've had a penchant for seafood this week. Fishcakes, Smoked salmon, tuna. Must be a subliminal build up to the "double" this weekend. Milk too....and cheese.
I've had an extraordinarily busy week at work again. Arriving around 7am and getting home at 8 most days. Traffic willing, it is a 25 min drive so I'm not wasting too much time other than catching the start of the news on radio 4 at breakfast and the start of a footy match on 5 on the drive home. Tonight was no exception.
Perhaps I should have gone for a massage this week? My legs are tight after been run ragged on Tuesday at the club by Eric and Dave. I had a quick 5 miles this evening, mainly flat, mainly 7.30s.
After my debacle at Black Dog, I have succumbed to a salvo of gels to be stashed on my person on Saturday, with enough for Sunday too. I ran in 20th in 2010 at the 3FM and "hozzed" it round in 3hrs45 which is not too bad for a 27 miler with 3500ft of climb. If it were a flat, run, that would have probably been a 3.20 marathon! I'm not rushing on Sunday though. The important thing os to turn out on both days to get the legs turning over at a decent clip and then to have a nice 10 miler on Monday at slow pace to recover, followed by a nice long swim. Then some more delicacies from the deep briny.
Soul (sole) food!
I've worked hard this week.