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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Some time off to enjoy the cricket

Susie, Anouck and Simi, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

What a well deserved weekend off with 3 marathons in 8 weeks and up to 90km a week, I needed a bit of R&R, especially since having a viral bug which kept me low for a few days last week. Unusual for me. Anyway with a short run on saturday early, I went off to a wedding on saturday which was fantastic and a day at the cricket with my best mate Simi, his gf Anouck and Mrs UB. England were head and shoulders above the Aussies and it was really good to see how the team has come on in the last 12 months.

No running sunday or monday gave me a revitalised 15 miles tonight and after 5 miles of long slow hill reps I ran to the club and had a great chat with Victoria and Claire. Theme; Isn't it nice in Dulwich and Forest Hill!

Felling great and thinking positive about upping the mileage over the next couple of weeks to over 100km. This will be hard in 2 weeks as I have a wedding in Holland on a weekend. However, come the school hols, I will be running twice a day 3-4 days a week and LSRs on the weekend. At least I will have time to fit in the gym, of which I have not been to for 3 weeks owing to work committments.

Luckily, with regard to the Ridgeway, the checkpoints seem to be at the same places each year. TRA have sent nothing through yet so I am getting a little edgy as to how we can sort out drinks and nutrition. I am looking forward to a feast!!!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Mind over matter

Knowing that I will be at work until 8.00pm and not home until at least 9, with a late one tomorrow, a wedding Saturday and then a drive to Manchester on Sunday at 6am to watch the 2nd ODI as England look to take a second win against the mighty Australia makes me wonder where the miles will come from this week. 90+km will be a real struggle.

On this note of struggle, I can't see my weight coming down.....In fact it is rising, accumulating fat for my impending oddessey. So I have 2 dilemmas; not enough time to train and too much work and therefore rubbish food. The Tanners is entry on the day at 10.00am in Leatherhead and that can't come soon enough. Wisely last night I ignored the Midsummer relays at the club, chosing to run down with the big kit bag and time the relay teams and not engage in anythig silly to gain injury.

Prior to this I embarked on a pre-run stretch which took at least 20 mins. My quads are in knots and I think it is time for some is just when ?!?!?!??!

Mentally and physically I need 3 hours on my feet to do 20 miles this week. it might be friday night. Possibly by then my new Raidlight Bottles with straps to fit onto the Salomon Raid Revo 20 will have arrived and cheered me up. £16.99 each was quite a bargain. Immune bought a new rucksack and I watched with some green tinges at the ease at which he could remove and return bottles. I am not going to faff about with a Camelbak and bladder, I want bottles and lots of them. Saves time at checkpoints. The thing is the Raid Revo is the most comfortable of rucksacks and believe me I have tried many. So I have opted for front bottles with straws. Brilliant.

Entry for the Downland Ultra 30 was confirmed so I have 2 x 30 hilly races in July and then I just need to find a marathon in August as my training will peak at about 110km a week on the first week of the hottest month. Lots of twice a day training followed by ice cold baths and gym work.

So, I am not f##ked, but growing stronger and stronger. PMA

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Round the Island - Race Report

me coming in to finish, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I love this race. I love the weekend. It changes with the tide. Literally. It can only be run at low tide as the race from 7-8 and 10.5-11.5 miles are only accessible at low tide, otherwise the sea comes up to the cliffs.

This is my third outing at the Round the Island Half. Mum and Dad live on the Island...Mersea Island which is accessible by causeway at low tide in North Essex. The wildlife is just sublime as the Colne and the Blackwater Estuaries meet. Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Sand Piper and Egret were all spotted today.

A smaller field than last year (same day as the North Downs Run) but the visit to the folks was more important. After the South Downs Marathon 8 days ago and the fear of running too fast to get injured I went off far too fast. The first 3 miles in 22 minutes into the wind saw me in about 25th out of 200ish in the field. I was not a fan of the first 3-4 miles but soon got into a rhythm and overtook a couple of runners on the Strood turn. I then ran with a Springfield Strider who was first woman for the next 4 miles. She was hurtling along at about 7.08s and I was just about to hang on after a 7.20s last couple of miles. She pulled off to tie her lace near water stop 2. Within about 2 miles her fellow runner went past and was now 1st female.

I then had a nightmare mile. The course had not changed since last year but a number of runners took the longer route across the sand rather than through the grassland. There were no marshalls at this point so I followed. With a steep incline in the short sandy bay, I pulled a Soleus muscle and dropped to an 8.30 for a mile in the sand. Back on the coast road I picked up the speed for the last mile or so but was totally blasted from last week's marathon. 1.31.42 was 90 seconds slower than last year but upon reflection not bad for this year. Mrs UB flew across the line in 2.08 which was 7 mins faster than last year so brilliant, despite her taking a tumble. Brilliant day!! Managed a 5 mile recovery run 6 hours later and feel much better on the Soleus

Monday, 14 June 2010

Lucky Charm

Fertility Charm, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I need one, I think. Having got over the fact that my Garmin went for a burton, the new one is fine. Racing yesterday, the day after a marathon is a first for me. 36.50 for a 5 mile XC in Eltham Park is not exactly PB material. In fact, it is 5 mins slower than my normal time for that distance. Who cares as the marathon was just brill!

The splits on the 2.09 website make impressive reading. We aimed to go out easy and I finished in 156th, with Dave in 157th. However, our slpits for the last 7-8 miles were the 27th fastest on the course. Nuts! Bonkers! Twice now we have done that at this distance.

Perhaps I now need a lucky charm? Tanners in a couple of weeks and then Downlands Ultra at the end of July. There is a cheeky marathon that needs to pop into my radar along the way to complement these excellent events!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

South Downs Marathon; Race report

Hopefully on the Ridgeway 85 mile race we don't attempt things that are too silly but today was a good laugh and a great day out....despite the issue with me bringing my bad luck to the arena of running perfection - the south downs.

The day started in QEII car park at the end of the Downs near Portsmouth. Immune met me in the car park and we caught the bus to the start. Deep in discussion about training plans (interestingly nothing about diet this time?!) mileage and what-not. We got on to discuss Garmins and I showed Dave the ding in my 310XT and that it would not be a good idea to do a triathlon as there was a crack in the glass, top right corner.

On to the start at Slindon College, despite a bizarre detour by billy the bus driver. Soon we met up with Sole Man aka Johnny Mac fresh from his tour of the MdS. It was like a who's who of ultra runners as we bumped into loads more people, Dave from Billericay Striders, South Down's Man and Mkie and George from ORR. George is incidentally using this as a cheeky taper for his Cotswold 100 mile challenge in 2 weeks. He looks amazing!! Then, shaking Johnny Mac's hand I realise my 310XT had fallen off....literally. No Garmin for the race, despite a search for about half an hour. Thanks btw, for the help Immune.

On to matters running and after a look at the course profile of 5728ft and a hot day, it was with intrepidation that we set off. The first 4 miles felt tough as they were all uphill to 650ft and on the Downs. Stunningly beautiful vistas punctuated with nutters on mountain bikes hurtling toward you and lots of walkers. Occasionally a relay runner would shout and charge past. CP1 was at the foot of a 700ft hill so a welcomed refuel and onto CP2. This time of year is amazing, nightingales and larks punctuate the air with trill tunes and the crops take on a wave like compression and rareifaction movement in the wind. We were bimbling along at theis point and at CP2 we made half way in 2.04. Leg 3 was the toughest and time to take control of the race. I had been feeling a bit rough from 1-5 and from 9-13. This soon somehow disappeared and Dave, who had been positively chatty got down to running the most difficult leg with me as we began to overtake more and more runners. At mile 18-19 Stuart Mills; of wave 2 came storming past up the hill and then across the top of Harting Down (a vicious climb) at 7 minute miles. Dave shouted out..."Stuart Mills", I turned round to cheer him on and promptly stacked it into the dust! Marathon 13 struck again! How amazing to see a 40 something balding Professor fly towards the finish. I was fine by the way!!!

Mad dogs and marathon runners go out in the midday sun. This was Immune and UltraBobban in the zone. 18-26 miles were our fastest splits for the whole race and mile 20 saw a 7.10 mile. We whizzed to the finish up and down, up and down just rehydrating on water as we had enough fuel to finish. This is 2 marathons in a row that we have blitzed the last quarter. Our splits from Dave's watch show this was the fastest part of our race. Indeed, my attempts at picking up a relay runner and allowing him to draft me down the hill for 1/2 mile while having a chat was just completely insane. Turkey mincemeat quads or what?!

Sitting down at the finish after a 4.11.32 with a beer and a chat with George was great. I managed to pick up a new 310XT from Up and Running in Dulwich for £ expensive day out but at least there will never again be a marathon 13.........

Saturday, 5 June 2010

the long road

There are probably some ultra runners that will laugh at covering 91km in a week. I've just upped to that from 80km and am going to go through another 2 weeks until I hit 100km a week in mid-June. There are a few sacrifices; Friday at the pub, saturday and sunday lie-ins and non-running social life. Having said that, the miles are coming and going and I am trying not to have junk miles; i.e. coming home and running for 45 mins and just getting warmed up. Better to have a day off and run 15 miles the next day rather than 2 x 7.5 miles. This morning was a pleasant but slow run, after getting up early I read for a while and missed the start of the club beginners so had to catch them up but had a nice chat with Eric on our run afters. Crown green bowling on Peckham Rye Bowls Club after the race tomorrow. I believe this will be the first outing into bowling land for me.

Onto matters running. A week to go to the SDM and hopefully the weather will cool down. I have just been reading Mark Hartell's blog (uber ultra-runner and Bob Graham round in 14:54 and record holder for the Paddy Buckley (the hardest round in the UK at 18:10) and am jealous at the cool temperatures that some of the Northern events are run in. OK, my run is only oging to be 26.2 and a few thousand feet of climbing but I would rather run cold that hot. Track back to summer 2008 with a run in Phoenix, Arizona where I dived into the swimming pool at the end of my run and was sweating from the only point of my body above the head. 2 hours later and I was still sweating in an air-con room after running in 44 degree heat. Now switch this with 3 days prior and running in the Grand Canyon......30 degrees at the canyon edge but as soon as you hit the ravine hundreds of metres below, it was soooo cool.

Note to self....must run GC again oneday.

So the the SDM. A lightish week planned with a club race 10k tomorrow, run to and home. 15 miles on monday and 12 or so tuesday followed by rest until saturday for the SDM. Looking forward to running with Jezza and discussing tactics for the Ridgeway. I have scoped hotels and recorded all of the checkpoints for the crew. Sadly, I have recorded the event by printing out some crew t-shirts. Susie and Astrid are going to crew for the 3 of us. Note to self 2; get them a nice hotel!!! SDM will be in the new road shoes with 2 600ml bottles of Georges Game water melon and 2 buzz bars. Hopefully Immune will finish near abouts our time and we can have a cider with Jezza....and plan the 50th Summer Tanners Surrey Hills 30 miler together.