Sunday, 13 March 2011

Surrey Spitfire 20

Boy, was that hard work. Our aim was to run a marathon pace of 8:30 minute miles (we are going for 3:45 in Brighton) to see if we could hack it. It was a rainy, dank morning and I really didn't feel like running and neither did my brother. But run we did and the weather was kind as by mile 4 its had stop raining and was a very nice temperature. We started way too fast running sub 8 for the first 2 but we settle down and we hit just below the 8:30 pace every mile on the first 10 mile lap.

We had over 4 minutes 'in the bank' as we started lap 2 but it was starting to hurt. My stomach was horrible due to the gels and maybe the clams I had last night. I felt I was hanging on and it wasn't surprising give I hit the half marathon point at about 1:46; my PB until the Brighton Half.

I dug in, knowing I just had to keep going to beat my previous PB of 1:53:26. My brother has bursts of speed but I could see he was working hard. The last mile was agony but I was under the 2:50 mark. My brother decided to sprint the last 500 meters but I let him go.

I was delighted with my PB and it gives me a real chance of a 3:45 in Brighton.

Time: 2:47:05
Position: 235 out of 661
First: 1:50:39
Last: 4:16:53
Nutrition: Water at every opportunity. High5 gel (x1), Clif Blocks (x1), SiS Gel (x1).

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Meon Valley Plod 2011

What a race. This was my fifth running of this race and one I always look forward to; it is my favourite. It all started so well. It had rained on the Saturday so the course would be wet but not too bad. It was nice and sunny which looked great and the forecast was for run after 5pm so I had on shorts, my compression top and a running top along with my sunglasses (these would look ridiculous by the end).

The first 7 miles were fine with good weather, good conditions and a decent pace (9 minute miles unless it was a big hill or blockage like a stile). Then, we hit the mud. This was nasty, sticky, evil stuff that tried to suck your foot down on every step and collect all over your shoe. I spent a good proportion going sideways, trying to stay on my feet and generally acting like a drunk on my way home from the pub. It sucked all the energy from your legs. Then, it started to rain and kept going for the last 8 miles.

The mud just never ended and I started to get very cross with it, calling it lots of names and using abusive language. It turns out mud can take a lot of insults.

I ran strong over the last couple of miles to make sure I was well inside the 4 hour mark and would have been 5 minutes quicker if I hadn't tripped up and gashed my knee but that is cross country. With all that, I love this event.  I didn't enjoy it this time as much as other years but it is still my favourite and I will be back next year.

Monday, 21 February 2011

It only took seven years

I arrived in Brighton having only run 10 miles that week and 3 miles in the previous 3 weeks due to my twisted ankle. I had sort of been given the all clear by the Physio. I had done the runs she had suggested and then had all gone well without and pain during or after. Then I tried a fast run on Saturday which also went OK so I gave myself the green light.

The plan was to run Brighton but only gently. Just get round, get the thirteen miles in my legs and test the ankle at the next level. Trouble was, running with my brother has many benefits but some drawbacks, some of which was the same. Namely competitiveness.

So it was on the start line that I thought I'd just run the first few miles with Phil. I thought that with the combination of my ankle, my 3 weeks out and a slight cough/cold I had, there was no way to run the 1:47 my brother was after but I'd do a few at 8 minute miles. The first three were 7:49, 7:47 and 7:45 which were fast. My heart rate was high and it felt hard. I stuck with it and it did get easier. The next three were 7:46, 7:44 and 7:29; pretty consistent.

What to do? Risk my ankle flaring up on me to get a good time or pull back and wonder what could have been? I knew 8 minute miles was a 1:45 time so I was under that. Four more miles and I'd reassess. 7:23 (oohh), 7:38 (good), 7:48 (on track) and 7:43 (blimey, that hurt).

The last mile was really tough. By the end of it I told my brother to go on as I could see he was starting to pull away. I didn't want him feeling he hadn't given his all due to me. Mentally, this allowed me to take my foot off the gas and I did an 8:35.

I was cross. I couldn't let this slip. I told myself that I had to endure 17 minutes of pain and made myself go faster. Mile 11 was 7:52. A PB was mine but by how much. I wanted to go faster to finish with a sprint but couldn't; my legs had nothing. 8:18 for mile 13 and the finish in sight. I lumbered towards the end and the last 0.1 mile in 1:05.

A PB and a good one. My previous PB was set on the 3rd August 2003 in Battersea Park. A run organised by the shop Run and Become; several laps of the park designed to be flat and fast. I had given it all and just failed to get under 1:45 but was delighted at the time. I'd run 21 half marathons since and the closest I had got was a 1:47 at Tunbridge Wells.

I could not have been happier with 1:42:40, over 3 minutes quicker than my previous PB. My brother got 1:40:18 which was incredible for his first ever half marathon (but he now has to do another to get under 1:40. Its going to bug him).

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A whole 7 minutes of running

17 days of no running and I'm going nuts.  My training was going so well, probably the best a marathon build-up has ever gone for me.  Then a stupid tree root intervened and my ankle needed attention.

Since seeing the physio, I have been a good boy and done everything they have said.  I returned last night and went through many checks including some more aggressive movements like jumping.  All seemed good; I could still feel it a little but nothing like it was.

My physio was pleased enough with my recovery that she let me run on the G-Trainer. Its a treadmill where your legs are in a bag and you can reduce your body weight to let you run without the impact. I did 5 minutes at 80% body weight and then 2 mins at 90% with no reaction. I have to wait and see if there is any reaction tomorrow and then I can do some cycling at the weekend.

If that all goes well, I will do 30 minutes G-Trainer session on Monday and build up from there.  My goals are now to just get to the start of the Brighton half next week (50/50) and then do the Meon Valley Plod the week after (75/25). 

Sunday, 30 January 2011

An enforced week off

It turned out that rolling my ankle last Sunday resulted in more of an injury than I first thought.  It was very sore walking down stair on Monday morning.

What didn't help at all was falling off my bike on the way too work.  My handlebars had come loose and took me by surprise when they rocked sharply.  I over compensated and jackknifed.  It think it was quite spectacular as I learched over the handlebars.  Luckily, no cars were near and I escaped with a skinless elbow, a grazed shin and a sore hip.

The hip and ankle have kept me out all week with another bloody cold on Friday adding insult to injury.

So its now Sunday and I am thinking of just heading out for a gentle few miles to test the various injuries.  That way I will know my plan of attack for next week.  I think my hip is back to normal but I can still feel an ankle twinge when walking downstairs.  We will see.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

IceMan Cross Country 12k Race

Getting up at 6:40 on a Saturday morning to go and run in the cold is not everyone's idea of fun but I was really looking forward to this. I was very tired and did struggle to get out of the house but I made it to Clapham Junction with 3 minutes to spare.

An easy trip to Ask Vale and then a 5 mile cycle to the race in Deepcut took less time than expected so I had about an hour to stand around in the cold. Not pleasant.

Race started at 10 and I needed a quick comfort break just before the gun so I found myself at the back of the field. This meant a slow first mile as I got stuck at tight pinch points and had to run around people. By mile 2 I was in my stride and loving it.

My plan was to push fairly hard. I enjoyed a previous HumanRace cross country event (WildMan) back in November but was disappointed in my finishing position so I wanted to do better. I really pushed on the hills (there were lots of them), tried to be braver downhill and aim for a 10k pace on the flats.

I felt good and only tired in the last mile or so. I'm still waiting on my official position but my pace was over a minute per mile faster than the WildMan so I'm delighted.

9:45 - 3 or 4 pinch points in the first half mile where everyone had to walk.
8:12 - Space opened up. Started running well
7:52 - Chasing down and passed someone
8:15 - Still feeling good, attacking the hills
8:12 - Still good
8:33 - Beginning to tire
9:08 - The first mile and this mile is where I lost the 2 minutes I needed for sub hour.
2:17 - Wanted to beat a man in a silly hat. I beat him :-)

Disappointed with mile 7 but overall, I'm very happy.  The only downside of the day was leaving my SealSkinz cycling gloves on the train.  Its very annoying.  I left them on the seat next to me.  I'm sure the girl sitting opposite saw them as I was standing with my bike for about 5 minutes before I got off.  Oh well, better go shopping.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Good couple of weeks

With the marathon less than 3 months away, the weekly mileage is starting to rise.  I've managed to keep the incremental weekly rise around the recommended 10% so I have avoided injury so far (cross fingers, touch wood etc).

I managed 36 miles last week including a 15.5 mile long run which was tough but great to get that sort of distance in.

This week has been a little more tough.  My speed is down from the last three weeks.  I have struggled to get going; partly due to being very tired and partly because I think I'm coming down with something.

I'm hoping I get to the weekend in one piece as I have the 12k Iceman cross country run and another 15 or 16 mile run planned for Sunday.