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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Race Report - Brighton Trail Marathon

What I really enjoyed about this weekend was going to Simi and Anouck's house in Brighton for a feast the night before the BTM. I was particularly apprehensive with the knee in mind but plenty of ecentric stretches and a couple of glasses of Anouck's Swiss wine (from her Dad who visited recently) (btw, petite arvine is a fantastic acidic white - try it!) and a big fat fish and chip supper, onion rings, gherkin, mushy peas and curry sauce sorted us right out.

Arrival at the start was via a 3 mile run with Susie and Anouck whilst Simi paraded around the house in his jim-jams drinkng coffee and planning his next Barbour purchase. Nice. The start was a friendly affair and I caught up with Martin R who I hadn't seen since Doyen. We decided to run together and what a nice relaxed banter we had around the course, soaking up the sights of the 3000ft plus of climbing along the way from Brighton seafront out towards Seaford, Lewes, St. Ann Without, Falmer and back to Brighton. Out of the 6 or so marathons or ultras on this territory this has to be the most scenic! Water checkpoints were between 5-7 miles apart. The route took in the SDW and some other random farmers paths. Grundy's farm was met with a silage strewn mud path and 2 chaps in Hunters with guns. I ran in road shoes and at this point was feeling a little unsure but the chalk paths are free-draining and the concrete sections (4 miles along the beach wall, that horrible hill up, then down, then up and down more than I care to remember near the end was well worth not running in the Inov8s). The b'stard that planned in the 216ft climb through the allotments up to the to of Beacon Hill just moments from the end needs a kicking.

As per usual, Denis at ER provided a handshake at the end and a shot glass and t-shirt.

From then on, off to thenewly refurb'ed pub (Hampton Arms) just 100m from Simi's for a fantastic roast Pork washed down with a couple of pints of Thatchers Vintage Scrumpy to recount tales of the quadriceps turning to mincemeat. 28th place from a field of 150 for me but not a fast race; a memorable sunday saunter with a good running buddy. Well worth it and despite the steep entry, well worth it.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Don't be a dummy

don't b a dummy, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

a sign for the BTM in which I have yet to hear back from the chaps at extremerunning. Despite my quick return to form, I am looking to run the trail marathon next weekend as have completed a nice 17 miler at just sub-8s on a hilly-ish run down to via One Tree Hill, Dartmouth Hill Blackheath, Charlton, Shooter's Hill, Greenwich Park, Lewisham Hill, up to Bromley and via Beckenham Hill........

The knee appears to be in good condition although I think the last 2 miles there was some soreness like something was about to set in. A sauna and a jacuzzi precluded by a 30 min stretching session whilst having a chat with the good people of the gym helped and a rucksack carrying 6.30s for the last mile or so was fun all the way. Any opportunity to build up that lactacte threshold is welcomed. Running past the track in Dulwich yesterday and catching up with Tappo (who was doing 10x300s) left me for dead as I attempted one lap and was soundly 4 seconds or so behind after half a lap......reminded me of how much the long slow miles have taken their toll on the fast stuff.

I will be sticking to the 8s group at the club.....the faster group are just about a month or so ahead of where I need to be and I found it frustrating this week to be on the back of the pack after taking a good lead early on.

The next plan is an attempt at runderground...perhaps over easter? Jezza was thinking the same thoughts on the same day. Odd?! Susie has agreed that whatever day it is she will come to meet us for a pub lunch afters. Great.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


So much work this week has meant that a paultry 25km has been run so far. Certainly not what I wanted. However feeling rested and no significant knee problems. Just entry to the BTM has stalled and am anxious to get that sorted out ASAP. short run today before Dim Sum and a long slow run tomorrow.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Brighton Trail Marathon

After the trainer wars, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

A long awaited lie in was required this morning as it has been a tough week at work, circa 60 hours at school. It has been good to get out and run earlier this week but as I am beginning to feel stronger in the knee department, I can get back towards the goal of 80km a week which I haven't done since early January and not with regularity since November.

I'm off for 12 miles in a minute, followed by the gym. In 2 weeks I have the Brighton Trail marathon at which I had a text from Dave Immune to ask if I was doing it. Indeed I feel up for a long slow run but an conscious that it might be a bit of a junk marathon in terms of time as I feel that miles over speed is the important factor. Nevertheless, a marathon is a marathon and is no mean feat and this will be number 11 for me in the last 21 months. Any opportunity to get to the south downs and have a run around on those beautiful chalky hills is going to be taken, particularly as I missed out on the Stinger.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

What I like

Doyen2009 Me adjusting shoes, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

What I like is thinking about the next race. The anticipation. The feeling that I get when I am running. Cross country. Hard.

This pic is from the Doyen of the Downs but reminds me of the gritty truths one faces when embarking on ultra-miscreancy. I am enjoying being back to about 75% fitness in the last few days. Tuesday with Dulwich Park Runners was the first time with the fast group since just before xmas. I decided to turn for home at 7.5 miles as I didn't want to hit 10 miles at speed in case of the knee. A few miles this evening followed by a sauna and steam and I am beginning to feel better. After 12 hours at work, the stress just melts away after a few miles of south london streets, the mind empties and the day gets it's declutterisation, compartmentalisation and cleanse. I feel good for a small Guinness and a chat over the dinner table about the days ahead.

What I like is the possibility of a late entry confirmation to the Brighton Trail Marathon on 28th March.

What I really would like would be to finish and banish the knee troubles for good. Foam rollers at the ready!!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Take time

Well I had decided at the very last moment not to take part in the Steyning Stinger XC marathon last night and perhaps for good reason. I went out this morning in thebeautiful sunshine and with the puddles being covered with the meerest smattering of ice, set off at a nice 8.10 pace with a 10 mile or so in mind. After heading into the wind towards Deptford I hit the twists and turns of the Thames Path and upped the pace to 7.45s. Running along the Thames early in the morning is a liberating feeling, great vistas and the odd runner here and there but essentially deserted. Just how London should be on a sunday morning!

At Greenland Dock I upped the pace once more and turned for home at 7.15s. Perhaps this was too much too soon. Through Surrey Quays and Rotherhithe, Bermondsey and Peckham, back of Camberwell and up to Dog Kennel hill I felt like the old me, pre-injury. Then coming back through East Dulwich at 12.6 miles, it started hurting so a slow down for the last 2 miles to 8.45s. After the elation of reaching a comfortably fast pace I was reduced to a jog by the stupid knee again.

Sports Injury Clinic again after work tomorrow. Lets hope that this feeling of woe quickly dissapates. I have missed 3 races and DNF'd another since mid January and it is so frustrating. Chin up!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Training Starts Here

Well I am feeling back in the swing of things as I gently return to fitness. Now the training starts as I build up my mileage for the Ridgeway. Just 25 miles this week as my first one back, a gentle introduction to the long and winding road to take me up to 60 a week in mid year.

Races that are on my radar are both for training and because there are just some runs that I love because of the people that I know are doing it.

Black Dog Marathon - April (Me and George return to my marathon PB course (note; only 2 of my 10 marathons have been road ones!)
Brighton Trail Marathon - April
3 Forts 27.1/Neolithic marathon (on the same day so need to make a decision!)- May
North Downs 30k - June (what colour will the t-shirt be this year???!!!)
July - Lakeland 50 or Grimstorpe 70
August - Ridgeway Challenge 85 miles.
October - Clarendon Marathon or Beachy Head
December - Doyen of the Downs

Now after my saturday morning relax of 3 cups of English breakfast tea, a bacon and mushroom butty after a long lie in (a few ciders quaffed with Tom and Chris in Crystal Palace necessitated this!) I can think about my long slow run on the South Downs tomorrow morning. I think the body needs to become a temple. Training it seems, starts here!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Ridgeway

It is official. I'm in! We three last bastions of beauty......into the ether of the 24 hour ultramarathon.
85 miles along a 5000 year old trackway through the Chiltern Hills and North Wessex Downs. 9000 feet of ascent and I guess we will have to be team Immune-Jezza-UltraBobban. I am likely to change shoes along the way......Jerry will remind everyone about my self-styled nickname WardRob for the pit-stop on the C2C.

I can't wait. The cider afterwards will be monumental.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

slowly but surely

Well it might be time to divulge my first week back and the mileage that I have done. The physio said run, if it hurts, slow and stop, rest, ice, stretch and take days off. Well, I am slowly but surely working through the miles, 5.6 thursday, 9 saturday, 8 sunday night, 5 monday and the DPR club handicap tonight. I was never going to set any records but that was not the intention. 15.40 for 2.1 miles.

My PB on the monthly club handicap is 13.19. This puts me in the last few runners but not anywhere near Chris, Andrew and in particular, Tom who is at 11.50 and aiming for the club record 11.15....which I sure he will break. I just want to get fit and healthy and aim for a sub 13. I think 12.52 is 6.00 min miles and this would be amazing.

Anyway, it feels great to be treading the streets of South London again, mentally; for the work-life balance and stress and physically just because I love it. I am just so grateful to be a runner again