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Sunday, 30 May 2010


Orchid at Wilmington End, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Walking on the South Downs today brought me to life. A luncheon of game and good cider followed a walk up and beyond the Long Man of Wilmington where I photographed this orchid. Having run this way on a number of occasions it has drawn me to next weeks South Downs Marathon and my utter love of running these chalky Downs.

After my 3rd week of 80km I am pleased with my progress. Dropped some mass and have strengthened the core. Had a great 18.5 miles yesterday and am ready to jump to 90-95km next week. Now I need to finish the consumption of the days other delicacies.....Suicider and ImPearMent; A top class cider and a perry from Middle Farm picked up earlier today which has left me thinking about what I would like to consume on the finish line of the Ridgeway Challenge.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

UltraBobban at the end of stage 5

Not sure how to feel about this one. Much faster than last year and at least an hundred increments hotter. Wow. Felt good in the last 8-10 miles and despite the new socks, felt like I could do it again tomorrow.

Green Belt relay

Don't these beautiful people look they should have run faster???!

GBR start 2010 Hampton court

GBR start 2010 Hampton court, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

It started at about 8.00am. Green Belt Relay. 220 iles around the best parts of outer London. With the Nuns and the Gimp People we were unsure about arriving early as there were possibly some late night stragglers but a superb day as DPR managed for the first time to field 2 full teams. Looking at the competition, it was tougher than last year. 10 more teams, no jokers in the pack and lying 36th and 32nd with mixed teams was a hard task. Tom came 7th today in his leg, Chris managed 14th and me, 21st. A really really good field that have seen DPR in the last 5 in nearly every stage. Having said that, what a beautiful race with so many great people. It's no wonder we are now making this a permanemt race fixture in our calendar.

My leg, Great Kingshill to Chipperfield, only 13.5 miles but with 14 tomorrow and both the hardest legs of the course, I feel a bit tired before my ascent of the Downs for a couple of hours tomorrow.

Can't Wait

Monday, 17 May 2010

Let's go!

Let's go!, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Well I have my 100 mile plan from Immune. I have now fully organised the crew for the Ridgeway as Mrs Ultrabobban and Astrid are being just brilliant and helping out. Work has taken its toll on the mileage as I managed 79km last week and will struggle to hit that again this week. I feel like I should be moving up to about 90km+ within the next couple of weeks.

Injury is not as much of a worry as it was last week. The speedwork session in the Brooks T5s did me no good at all. I managed 9 laps of the track with recovery at about 4.50s but after donning the cushioned Asics it was a stiff run home and had to pull out of the fast group at the club the next day. Having said that I had been at a conference in Nottingham all weekend with my good buddy, "greaseless Bengay" Kenneth (don't ask) and we did a fantastic Nottingham Parks and Gardens 8.50 in well-sub 8s. That after a fair few wines the previous night and a morning run too.

It's the Green Belt Relay this weekend so at least I know I have a couple of tough 14 milers in a row. Can't wait!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ready for the summer

Decided this morning on waking up that the best thing not to do would be the Orpington marathon. Perhaps it was the thought of unlucky "13" or the prospect of running down the A21, the fact that there were just 24 competitors last year. Maybe it was the notion that Eric was not running or even the remote possibility that my legs were empty and I had 3 ciders last night. Anyway I opted for a nice chatty 12 with Isidro from the club and heling out at the beginners. A new Haglofs top for my birthday from mum got a good outing and is very comfortable (along with a Ronhill Singlet...cheers Mum!), as are the Sunwise sunglasses, although I opted to leave these at home today. Owing to a metal fence post on the Neolithic marathon I am awaiting my new Asics Cumulus 11s to arrive and to top this off, I am heading off to Decathlon for some new shorts as mine are shot to bits in the nether regions as spotted by Immune on Sunday! Enough of shopping!

85.45km this week and a busy week at work so quite pleased with that.

Dave Immune has sent me the training plan for the Ridgeway 85 and I am feeling confident after our chat at Neolithic last week. at the moment, 50 miles a week until the end of May is the schedule. June will see a gradual hike from 60 to 65 miles a week and we should be on 70 miles a week by July, peaking at 85 miles in the first week of August. This fits right in with my summer 6 weeks holidays so I am happy.

I have runs coming up that I have entered and club runs:

Green Belt relay: 22/23 May
Dulwich Park Runners Summer League 6 June
South Downs Marathon 12 June
Eltham 5 13 June (plus run there and back, 7 each way)
Mersea round the island 13

and have further plans to run South Downs Ultra and at least 4 more marathons. I am not planning on running in excess of 30ish miles for my longest runs owing to recovery time but am planning to run at least 10 miles the day following a marathon.

I am looking forward to the Mersea round the island half as it is a nice course, apart from the first mile and a half on sand and the penultimate mile on sand. Last year I found my Dad waiting at the finish line with a can of Carlsberg Export. Fantasitc! No wonder I did a PB

Monday, 3 May 2010


Well the 6 miles at 8.30s turned into 8 at 8.15s this morning. Recovery runs don't often make me feel good about anything really but this morning was a breath of fresh air. There is something cheeky about running early on a Bank Holiday. Am I meant to be at work? Is this like bunking off? Well if it was, and it is (!) it was a worthy use of morning with a 2 mile run to Dulwich Park gate and a flat run that dropped to 7.50s with a great chat with Eric saw me sweating in the unseasonably cold May morning. There were so few souls about that it appeared in my mind to be a bit post-apocalyptic but my thoughts waned to the excellent 1000 mile compression socks that seemed to be making my legs feel better.

A slight niggle in the left knee after a couple of stoppages but with a rounded up 8s at sub-8.30s I felt that the conversation with Anna yesterday was a good idea. Batter some resilience into those legs and the long long sessions will feel less of a chore. The probability of the Orpington marathon on saturday seems good, suffice to say that a couple of days rest and plenty of good quality vegetables and salads will perk me up will be a good thing. I have heard on the grapevine that a mystery runner will be running Orpington. I think I know him but I will wait to see if he turns up in "those" hotpants on the start line. If I could keep up then I am fitter than I thought I was but if not, this is training and the bigger picture is the most important thing. Immune is going to send me the training plan for a 100 miler. Can't wait

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Race report; Sarsen Trail; Neolithic Marathon

Well the weather deteriorated after I left London and the temp dropped to 8 degrees and I felt woefully under-dressed but high spirited as I bumped into Dave Immune about a minute after I dropped the car in the car park at Stonehenge. Point-to-Point races are for me a much better oddessey than a circuit and I had half an eye on the hills as we departed Stonehenge by coach and the other on the conversation with Dave, plotting tactics, strategies and game plans from now until the Ridgeway 85.

Avebury at 9.30am in the rain is a quaint place. Within minutes we had bumped into Capricorn (who muct have been on fire as we didn't see her the whole way round and usually she overtakes me in the last 10k!) and Robbie. The cramped registration centre gave way to a wet and windy start line with 300+ souls setting off for Stonehenge. Immune and I stuck to the back......we were thinking of the training run, the long slow miles and preparing for the summer.

After the first mile, I wished I had worn the trail shoes. After the second mile I was cursing out loudly as I slip-slided across the undulations. Fairly early on Immune latched on to Anna, the Vegan Runners club runner who was in this month's RunnersWorld for a conversation and tips about going long. She is running 10 in 10 at Brathay next week so was taking it easy. We exchanged conversation about nutrition, tapering and loads more. Robbie then took off like a rat up a drainpipe up a long hill at 8s. In tow, until the top I slowed and took the option of putting my top back on as it was FREEEEEEZING as we came over the Neolithic hill fort. It was at this point I opted for a long grass descent to enable me to get a grip as a number of runners and a poor cyclist had taken tumbles. I hit a metal spike, possibly a fence post with my right shoe and unbeknown to me had ripped a huge hole in my shoe.

After the 6 mile mudslide of 10s+ I said that to Dave that I was feeling good and he was to. In an attempt to claw back many lost minutes at styles, gates and slippy hills we went a bit nuts and ran at 8s for a while. One toilet stop and a catch up with Immune was actually a 7.07 mile!

The undulating hills were pretty relentless punctuated only by regular drinks stops and the very occasional steep hill walk break. From mile 7 there was no-one that overtook us that we didn't repass, exchange pleasantries with and speed past. In fact we were lolloping with such aplomb that we had to reign ourselves in for a few sub 8s. Halfway saw a 2.02 and we had by that juncture decided that the LSR was going to be an attempt at a sub 4.00. This meant a negative split. Only one thing could have aided our journey more and that was the piss-stop at 17. Many walkers were around so the knee-hign stinging nettles stung our legs back into shape and got the blood flowing like some crazy mid run acupunture!!

During my last ultra I had not used enery gels but Buzz bars (essentially sugary and nutty flapjacks) and each has 300 kcal. All organic and no rubbish at all in them. Much more palatable than gels. I might email and ask them to sponsor us on the Ridgeway! Dave and I shared one and maintained our pace at about 8.30s for most of the journey towards Stonehenge. Up to Larkhill was tough and a few 9s and then into the wind for a mile before turning for home. Through Larkhill we managed a 7.40 and at one point we 7.13s and must have passed 50 or so runners in the last 10 miles. The last mile was a toughy and with the finish out of sight under the megalith that is Stonehenge a nervous pair glanced at the watches to calibrate what was required in the last mile but all was not required as we had made up plenty of time and crossed the line in 3.57. A 5 minute negative split was celebrated with a cider and acup of tea. Fantastic race and a couple of things learned;

1. George's Game Watermelon energy powder drink is very palatable and no cramp whatsoever.

2. Thanks to my Bro for the compression socks for my birthday last week

3. Buzz bars keep you going and you don't feel sick like with gels

4. Beetroot juice as an antioxidant the day before is fantastic and it makes your piss purple!

5. Negative splits are the new black