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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Digging in

Pink Spade - lomo stylee by ultraBobban
Pink Spade - lomo stylee, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Not for winter, but just for my 14.5 miles today. A squally wind whipped up every which way I ran this morning. I bimbled down about 4 miles to Eric's in Dulwich and we had a chit-chat for 5 and-a-bit-miles prepping for new year and discussing targets for the short and medium term. Happily Eric and Cheryl are joining us for new year along with 8 others as we sample an around the word gustation as the clock strikes each hour before midnight.

Chinese, Aussie, Greek and French are on the cards so far. We will be ending with mini-Cornish pasties and apple pie with custard.......toasted with high quality cider, for midnight. This will be my last cider for a few months as I link myself into some sort of shape for the arduousness ahead.

As a technocrat of the running fraternity, I welcomed the box that was on the dining room table when I returned from the hilly 14.5. I waded through Dulwich and Sydenham Woods after Brockwell Park, Herne Hill and Dulwich Park (although we forgot to see the Barbara Hepworth missing bronze sculpture stole by metal thieves last week) up Crystal Palace and back home. The box was my Salomon XT S-LAB Hyreation system........

Wearing it, it fits like a glove (albeit a tight one) and running around the lounge and dining room it feels like nothing I have worn before. Comfortable, smooth against the skin, no chafing points. The hydration system is a click-fit quick release. It has built in first aid kit, whistle, velcro removable pockets that will stick anywhere. It also looks shit hot.


There are 4 problems with this.

1. It is slightly too small. I have a 40 inch chest and this would fit well round a 36 inch or smaller frame.

2. The zip pockets around the back are not reachable when wearing it. Why are they there?

3. Now this is my biggest gripe. The straps that stretch across the chest and clip into the body of the system are rubbish. Very small, hard to clip in and fiddly. Fine in the comfort of your own home but imagine on a cold day? Fingers don't work. Imagine in gloves? Too small and fiddly. Imagine in the wet? Too small and slippy. Now imagine the last 30 miles of a 100 mile race. Fingers become stubs that cease too work. Brain ceases to work.......Even for a dexterous king like me, totally unworkable.

This was my ummmmm, arrrrhhhh, do I send it back?

Then the amazing Mrs UB came to look. "you like to carry your bottles on the they fit?" (this is why we are getting married as she Mrs Utility)

Conventional bottles do not fit in the straps. When smaller bottles (Lucozade/Powerade size) then you cannot run unless you hold your arms out at armpit level.

So it's going back. I am gutted as this was the best fitting back I have had since my Salomon Raidlight. I am still using this, despite it being on its last legs. The OMM bag is too small across the shoulders, although for shorter runs I use a Lowe Alpine Waist Pouch. I'm going to mail Salomon the news.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Round the Island at Xmas

high tide floods road by ultraBobban
high tide floods road, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Xmas eve was a great morning to get out. The higher than normal tide had been caused by strong winds in the night and this had led to the tide being higher and in for longer. I've run round Mersea Island more times than I can remember. Each time is different and I can't recall a more beautiful and fulfilling run than on the eve of Xmas.

With the tide high and the wind strong, I opted for the clockwise circumnavigation of the Island. It is of course, the coast path which totals exactly 13.1 miles forming the Round the Island Half which Mrs UB has delighted in completing on 2 occasions. The clockwise route takes in West Mersea first and I needed a stop off to pick up much needed hydration at the post office en route. In all of my circumnavigations, I have never seen a true high tide. It was awesome. A real deep blue clay-like hue to the normally turbid estuarine flow. The water overtopped my feet on numerous occasions as I dipped close under the cliff, un-Cnut-like in my Trabucos. Note to self....sort out the laces as I am getting a toebox problem when they gently loosen across the tongue.

Around past the world famous Company Shed where I paused to check closing time (to pick up oysers and cockles later!) and round to the bleakest and my favourite part of the Island, punctuated only by the idiots that attempt to cross the saline filled Strood at high tide. Now along the coast path from West to East along the Pyefleet Channel. It looked more stunning than I had ever seen. Moody sky, wind and light drizzle, low sun and deep shimmering sea. I passed 2 people in 8 miles. "What are you doing, running round....?" "Yeah the whole Island...great isn't it!? I replied....."Nutter...." and then they were out of earshot.

I finished off my lap with a bit extra to take me up to 14.5 miles and could have (and should have) done another couple...but dinner needed to be prepped.

Xmas day was less boozy than ever before. I am going totally dry come New Year for the foreseeable future and it didn't bother me too much. Mrs UB is joining me for boxing day tomorrow and I'm not sure she has her runners with her, although I have her other kit here. I know she would have loved the experience yesterday and I hope that I can enjoy it again when I brave the ankle deep mud, then sand, then mud (more layers than a cake) to view the wonders of coast Essex again. Running with Mrs UB is amazing and I can't wait to spend every Xmas running with her from now on. Merry Xmas all ye plodders and sprinters

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab Pack - RacingThePlanet

Wow! It's early Xmas for me I hope! I have just purchased a Salomon XT Advanced Skin S-Lab pack for £92!!! It's £120 everywhere else

300g in mass. I shall be selling my Salomon Raidlight and OMM bag on Ebay if this is a winner. I'll be checking it out first time at the Winter Tanners 30 mile race

Not exactly Spielberg!

I purchased a mini-DV camera a few weeks ago. It is tiny. It has a mass of about 30g. The buttons are so tiny, an ant would feel comfortable operating it. Having said that, in a pair of gloves and on the Gatliff 50km ultra in November, what could be better than capturing Jezza and George along with Bazza. Caged animals released into the wild to run!

Upon reflection as the year draws to an end, it has not exactly been a vintage year, but when I think back to the consultant at King's who said; "When you are fit you will be able to go jogging, but forget about doing another marathon" I haven't done too bad.

No running owing to a triple break (tib/fib) until April
4 Ultras
1500 miles in just under 8 months

It's not all bad.

Happy Xmas

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

I'm getting ready for run 2 of the day. This is the Xmas Turkey Trot at DPR which will feature a run there and possibly a run home. Note to self; after run, do not consume too much mulled wine!

I was browsing through some Ultra Youtube videos and found a shot of me and Immune climbing strongly up the 814ft Ditchling Beacon.

Monday, 19 December 2011

After the Xmas parties.....

Trollied by ultraBobban
Trollied, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.
I've survived 5 Xmas parties and am in the mood to commence "Operation SDW100".

The 2 weeks of 1) illness and 2) parties has allowed me to take a break from pounding the streets of South London. Although I never have a hard and fast training plan that I stick to the letter (rather read........let's see how my body feels), I have grown to like a plan I put together myself.

Week 1: Long slow mileage. Lots of slow hill repeats (1/2 to 1 mile hills). Back to back 10-12 milers on Sun/Mon/Tues

Week 2: Building.....long slow miles, hill reps, long slow hills, some fartlek and a long weekend run followed by a medium weekend run and something faster, say at the running club.

Week 3. Back to back long weekend runs, hill reps, Monday and Tuesday hard and tempo runs later in the week.

Week 4. Drop back. Long slow miles and long hills.

I interspersed this will Core Stability work at the gym, 3 x 1 mile swims a week and elliptical training and plenty of leg drains in the gym sauna.

I managed this in the build up to the 2010 88 mile Ridgeway event, peaking at 100 miles a week.

The difference this time around is that I am far busier, far more committed at work and won't have the added bonus of the summer holidays and 2 training sessions per day.

Base mileage is at 50 miles a week 2 or 3 weeks per month and after Gatliff, feel that the base training is paying off.

Health-wise, all good. The cold weather does make the pain from the broken leg show itself more often that I would have anticipated, one year one. I have lost 7.4kg since September and am not feeling too bad apart from that.

Next events:

Serpentine 10k New years day (hungover?!)

Winter Tanners 30 - 15th Jan
Thames Trot 50 - 4th Feb
Steyning Stinger 4th March
South Downs Marathon LDWA 1st Apr
3Forts Marathon 27 6th May
Chiltern Challenge -26th May
South Downs Marathon 9th June
South Downs Way 100 (103 miles - 13620ft ascent) - 30th June

At the moment I am struggling to find back to back marathons in late April and May. I've never done a B2B but I am really excited at the prospect.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Keep Clear - A Bah Humbug Xmas Virus

Keep Clear Garage by ultraBobban
Keep Clear Garage, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Sniff sniff. Cough...(hacking) cough. Yuk! it's at this time of the year when a productive, positive week at work is dampened down by a snotty tissue and a husky voice. I managed 24 miles in 2 runs on Monday and Tuesday and have done nothing since. Leaving work at least 2 hours earlier than I normally do on a Friday was the right thing to do. Even a pumping, searing, blistering chilli last night barely registered on my own Scoville scale. Me and Mrs UB have an X daubed across the door (no entry) and its hot baths, early nights and plenty of vit C.

I hope that the filth will pass over and I will wake up right as rain and ready for a 15 mile run in the morning......but I'm not putting any cold hard cash on it.

Ho ho f'kin ho!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Wet and windy recovery

Central Park pathway by ultraBobban
Central Park pathway, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Whilst Jezza is off running the 40 mile Brecon Beacons ultra, I thought I would have a leisurely weekend after last week's shenanigans at Gatliff 50km. I had run Monday through to Thursday so had not had a day off running, even though the miles were fairly short; due to in part by lateness from work and tiredness from the ultra. I cut short the club run on Tuesday as despite my internal protestations, decided publicly that there was little stored energy in my muscles and pulled off the "fish and chip" route and had a gentle 8.45s back to the club.

Saturday morning I felt good again and hit 8 miles hard continuous hills around Palace, Forest Hill, Gypsy Hill and Dulwich Woods. i think that means back to normal and ready for the week ahead. No aches and pains and 95km for the week.

Xmas approaches and I am in 2 minds for Portsmouth Coastal marathon. The prep leading up to it includes 3 Xmas dinners and a number of late evenings out. Ho Ho ho.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gatliff 50km Ultra - Race report

Gatliff XC Ultramarathon by ultraBobban
Gatliff XC Ultramarathon, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.
I nearly hit the alarm and kept counsel under the duvet but instead, at 5.00am, put the kettle on for some strong coffee and a hot shower to wake me from my slumber.

Anyway, with a small stop off for a bacon bap (thanks to Costa at Esso) I bimbled down to the start and by the time I'd sorted out compression socks and body glide, the legends that are Jezza Ultra Magic Forest and none other than the emperor of the ultra; George Celtic Tiger, fresh back from GUCR glory.

Start to CP1.

The Garmin required some maintenance at the start so a 7.45 kick off allowed the morning air to lighten up. It was overcast and miserable. We had a new recruit, Barry, or as he is now affectionately known; Bazza. It wasn't 1.5 miles into the course that we stopped and perused the directions as we realised they had been put together by someone insane. 10 mins running around a golf course looking for markers. Over the railway and away we went. Through and out of Edenbridge and towards Tandridge. Now I have looked on Google maps, across the affectionately known "Rabies Heath Road" which conjurers up all sorts of insanity and frothing at the mouth.....oh yes; Ultra Runners.


Frustration for me here as I thought I knew where I was going after Merv had directed us incorrectly (through no fault of his own; an experienced man that he is) owning to piss poor instructions. After feasting on Jelly Beans, we were all in a better mood and the profanity polluted the Kent and Surrey with our disgusting language.

I bought a cheap 2MP video camera from Ebay that weighs in at about 25g. I'm not Spielberg but I'm practising!

The CPs kind of blend in to one another now but we crossed the M25 and up the North Downs escarpment, ensconced in smutty jokes about ejaculation and the like. 116 steps up the hill and I sensed that I had a bit of oil in the tank for the day.

I was beginning to take more interest in the directions as we had gotten lost a couple of times now and wasted an hour or so, although it was all shits and giggles. We got to a road crossing and what could be described no less than an "utter codpiece of a woman" retorting at my statement about the LDWA directions. "THESE......are not LDWA directions!!" she said. The directions were clearly wrong but she could not resist attempting to remonstrate about teh aboricultural error in the handout. "It can't possibly be that says Cypresses and those....are Scots Pines". After a merry dance down a big hill we reverted to route one and went back to the site and indeed found the Cypresses.....which in actual fact were Leylandii.

Rule number One. Never, ever listen to an old fucker who looks and sounds posh and haggard enough to know.

Lunch was a village hall that had been converted into a sauna at Woldingham. Milky teas and 3 sandwiches later, we decided to head off under the amazing directions that stated turn left......with the organiser stating that we follow the arrow...pointing RIGHT!

From this point on I really enjoyed the race. I felt light on my feet and from CP3-4 whizzed along, talking to George and following poles and even adding extra miles onto the clock while Jezza and Bazza followed us across hill and down.

CP4 was the best of the lot. Some of the marshalls actually had humour.....which was nice. Not only that, they had a great camper van for dogging. Wow.

High on endorphins by now my brain was saturated with the feel good buzz that does not go until at least Wednesday and we hopped across fields (of clay) with vim and vigour. We connived to celebrate Bazza becoming an ultra athlete through Westerham and indeed he did! Good show Baz.

Between CP4-5 I feel a little bad as I should have said to the boys that I wanted to go for it. We came up the Vanguard Way off the North Downs, then onto the Greensand way and towards Chartwell. There were a couple of real killer climbs and I felt like running both up and down at this point. Baz was about with me and then 2 fellas from Reigate running club came past and we got chatting....and then I twisted my ankle. Stopped. Panicked...and then thought...Go!

Then I took a tumble. Don't read maps when running over tree roots. Head over heels and back up with only a key stab mark in my thigh to prove it.

I soon realised that heading though Chartwell and back down towards Crookham Hill that I was miles in front. By CP5 I saw Bazza at the out and back and G and J about 10 mins later. I took a gamble on doing this on my own.

CP5 to the finish was lots on me talking to myself, going wrong 3 times and hydrating. A lot of this was fairly flat and mainly wind behind stuff. he watch hit 33 miles and I knew the finish was close........and then it hit 35 and finally I came into the Edenbridge sports and social club to no applause but a firm pat on the back to oneself on a job well done. According to the legend Jezza, 3825ft of climbing and in excess of 100 styles and kissing gates, many many gates to lock and unlock, slippery slopes, steps, killer hills and no wonder it took 7 hours 43 mins! I think the course record will stand for a while at 5 hours.

Sorry I didn't wait for you both at the finish. 20mins later Bazza came in and by then my legs seized up so I needed to be home and in need of a good cider. These guys are legends and just amazing to run with.

Thanks for a super day chaps and good luck at Brecon next week

Thursday, 24 November 2011

SDW100 I'm in!

Orchid at Wilmington End by ultraBobban
Orchid at Wilmington End, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Deck the halls with blah blah blah........Deck the nips with

I'm in SDW100. The Elson massiv. My favourite running grounds on Gods earth. End of June 2012, 3 weeks before my wedding to the delectable Mrs UB. Please sign up for crewing duties etc. I am over the moon and hopping mental for this event.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Long run is back

london bridge by ultraBobban
london bridge, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

I felt a little bad as I missed the club champs 5k this morning, had a little sneaky extra lie in and then plenty of coffee and headed down to Greenwich. I can follow a small river and get to the Thames crossing only a couple of roads so amazingly traffic free for about 6 miles. Under the footbridge and out across the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf.

Despite a river wind, it was warm and I was over-hot in a merino wool top and short sleeve top. Running around Limehouse basin and along the Regents canal is never a dull run. I find the architecture, graffiti, wildlife and the constant dodging of cyclists, runners and walkers along the route. The only time I really run in the countryside is when I race, but urban squalour and deep-seated decay afe just the tonic for a loping strider through the byways of Hackney, Islington and Shoreditch.

I often read Jezza's blog and get jealous about the North Downs at dawn, but have to concede that my prep is far more low key; take a tenner and cash card. Start running. Luckily I never have to carry anything as I can just stop at a shop. Today I tasted for the first time, Cola Capri Sun. Amazing! A first for rehydration. Anyway I realised that the clock was ticking so I zipped along to Islington, then a Southerly turn towards the river again and back home.

A consideration of mine has been to remove my beard, something that has been growing for 5 days...however, it seems they are on a comeback. Shoreditch and Hoxton were awash with hirsute hommes.

Viva la long run!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Wheels off

I've been ill this week. Horrible, horrible virus with lots of and cold. Time to recoup and get some energy back.

All being well I will have a sort of LSR 20 on Saturday, which will include the club champs 5km on Saturday morning. The course is undulating but I have been training in CP Park which is a beast. I'll run the 5 miles there and race.....have a sit, chat and re hydrate as Mrs UB is driving down to compete in the same race. I'll hopefully find a running partner for the next 10plus and then saunter home for a relax. This is my mini-ramp-up before Gatliff. All being well, this should be OK. If not....???

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Double Race Saturday

Driving road by ultraBobban
Driving road, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Some things come unexpected and this weekend was one of those running weirdness-es. Friday night, rolled in after a 60+ hour week at work and felt like doing nothing over the weekend. Got up Saturday feeling lethargic but ready to trot round Parkrun at Palace. Now CP Parkrun is not flat. 247ft of climb over the 5km route. It is very twisty and turny and most of the club say that this adds about a minute onto the time.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I pb'd by 16 seconds and came 8th. Following that, an 8 mile bimbly warmdown at about 8s, cleaned the house, chatted with the 12 ladies thathad come round for the double baby shower, chowed down on a bacon buttie and then left for the second race of the 2XU cross country league.

I felt pretty tired on lap one of the race and having gone off a bit fast (erm.....6s) I gained a good pace at about 7.15s but it was a very congested race. A simple non-technical course around Epsom Downs but hard to overtake unless the long grass was the best way. Tappo came in 29 mins, followed by Chris, Rich, Smithy and then I managed to almost clip Tom P at the line. We had a full turnout and Glen even came in 11th with a sub-40.

Having a busy week of late things going on I know I'll struggle to get in the 55 miles I did this week but at least a 8 mile recovery this evening has filled be with tiredness and some hope. Bring on Gatliff!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hot Action

Hallowe'en by ultraBobban
Hallowe'en, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Back in the black as one might say. A nice 14 miler on sunday, 7.5 hilly but slower recovery run and a hilly 10 mile club run tonight. It felt magic to leave work about an hour earlier than normal but got in early to do stuff so felt vindicated. I took the club run to a new hilly route with relentless long hills to put hairs on the chest of a really big group of 15 in our category tonight.

Gatliff looms and I am slowly building up the stamina and positive mental attitude to be on my feet for possibly 6 hours plus. All being well this should be a 50+ mile week so am feeling back in the hot zone

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Withnail and I moment

Bampton Phone box by ultraBobban
Bampton Phone box, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

If you have not seen the film "Withnail & I" then I suggest you do. Download, rent or buy the best film known to humanity. I spent at least 20 seconds in the phone box of said film 2 weeks smelled of wee.

I'm now in GATLIFF mode. I have a nice 14 miler under my belt this morning with another few to come from my 2 run a day sunday run. Despite turning my ankle on an unseen discarded coke can at the top of the Norwood Ridge (aka Crystal palace) and a bruised ankle, I knocked out 14 lovely miles with Beardo and Tom H. More your mum jokes than you can shake a stick at and some time discussing poo and social housing....although not together. up though Sydenham, Forest Hill and down to Beckenham Place Park, Kelsey park and then back up into London.

Now I have realised that the problems of swollen and bruised ankles rest in long distance driving, I am vowing to drive less for long periods........and tackle the Gatliff Marathon (50km) where the course record is a v slow 4.54.......I can only imagine it is a quagmire.....

get IN!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A balancing act............

Parkour with spectators by ultraBobban
Parkour with spectators, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

After the disappointment of not featuring in the Blackwater Marathon this weekend, I consoled myself to getting in the car anyway, albeit after a nice lie in :) and driving up to Mersea to cook for the folks. 5 hours of cooking later and a nice hearty melt in the mouth shoulder of lamb followed by a few ales quaffed and I felt better.

This is the first time back to the island where I have not run round the island....the 13 mile round route +1 if you count the down to the beach and back. Did I miss it? Yes! Did I regret it? No!

After an afternoon catching up on paperwork ready to go back to school tomorrow I went out for a tentative late afternoon run. The plan was to run as "off road" as I could, preserving any impact on my leg. I ran down to Beckenham Place Park and did a circuit of the 2 lap 10k trail route (12th Nov for the race - although all being well, A20Marathon) and back. I was pleasantly surprised until mile 6, then the niggle started, although disappeared after a mile of slowing down well below 8.30s. A nice 9 mile round trip to put me in a better mood.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

hopping mad

I awoke at 5.38am and promptly decided that the Blackwater run was a no-go. I went downstairs, looked at my leg and the dull ache that I had not appreciated for the last 2 days manifested itself as some internal bleeding again around where I broke my leg.

In the main, the pattern seems to be when I have driven a long distance. Time 1; drving back from France. Time 2; driving back from Lake District. I might not drive long distances for a while and see how the recovery goes. Anyway, I was not gutted this morning but as I sit here now, I am more disappointed with my own recovery of late and a reminder to seek some professional assistance with this.

Marathon 22 will have to wait a few weeks I think. More to the pity, a chance to enjoy the flat Essex countryside on a glorious end-of-october-day with temperatures of 16 degrees will have to wait until next year.

Friday, 28 October 2011

A different climb

Summit boy by ultraBobban
Summit boy, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Having been away for a few days, the camera came out and the running boots swapped for walking boots to bag some peaks.

Work commitments meant only 25 miles last week. Not great but a rest needed was fulfilled with a walk up the 2800ft Blencathra followed by a very very windy ascent up 2600ft Carl Side and then the scramble route (hair raising!) up to the summit of 3064ft Skiddaw. There was a lot of leg and arm work invoved in the route to the top but we took the gentle way down via the main footpath.

Back down to earth for the 19th Blackwater Marathon in Essex tomorrow. I will have just 2 x 10 milers in my legs for this week ready for the XC muddy fields and coast marathon. XC shoes or road shoes.......I think a fairly easy choice if the ground is wet.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

doing my head in

after a steady stream of 50 mile weeks and the loss of 6.1kg body mass in 5 weeks, I have hit a problem. The area around and below the leg break wound has turned black with bruising.

Not that it hurts to run, but driving, walking and sleeping is burdensome. I have done 2 runs, 11 miles and 4.5 this week. The 4.5 was a tester run as it was hurting the day before. Both were fine after a mile or so. I managed sub 7s on the last 3 miles of the short run, but running home from work on monday I found that the downhills are the aggravation to the old injury.

I have a flat marathon in 2 weeks which I may or may not do. I'll just need to get it checked out if I ever get time to do so

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Green Chain Marathon 2011 - Race Report; a day of missing markers and a dozy marshal

Green Chain Marathon 2011 by ultraBobban
Green Chain Marathon 2011, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

It's been more than long enough since I penned a race report and and I am glad to do so.

The GCM is a local race and I am more than hapy to support low carbon "just down the road (8 miles)" race.

Bright sunshine woke me up.... I was up and ready to race but my blinking leg was still asleep. After the 20 min drive down to Avery Hill; Greenwich, I got out and signed in, meeting Helly D at the start. She told me about the Ridgeway where she ran 5 mins slower than last year but managed 2nd lady overall. She keeps coming 2nd!! Anyhow we went off at a fair clip and Helen was keen to stay with a group. I said that I felt a little slow owing to my broken leg and dropped my pace by 20 secs a mile. Soon finding myself running all alone, perhaps 20 secs per mile faster than the big group behind, but equally slower than the big group in front, I went through CP1 and then CP2 without stopping. The course was through wooded hilly parts of our lovely City that I never knew existed.....and then we traversed Lesnes Abbey and then bang....Thamesmead (on Thames). I am so glad that the concrete jungle was asleep as we ran through perhaps the most income deprived area of south london. I can't imagine what being there on a saturday night would be like but the broken bottles, evidence of burning and vandalism conjured up a place that I did not want to be.

Along the Thames Path to smelly Crossness and down to Erith. Helly was probably about 10 mins in front of me but at the finish, we shared our thoughts on the "James Bond" style buildings that were retro-modernistic. I was cantering along and soaking up the sunshine. Cutting back towards London with the Dartford Bridge just a couple of miles away and into Franks Park and bizarrely past my mate Nick's house......must give him a call.....I haven't heard from him an an age.

Uneventful miles uphill though woodland and then came the point of becoming lost. Plumstead Common, a marshall sent me and another runner straight. Dozy bint.....she should have sent me right. We ran right down to the Thames at Woolwich down Ha Ha road and the round trip was 4 miles.

Back on course I caught and passed about 20 people. The checkpoints came and went until the lovely Eltham Palace and then the last few miles were along roads. I put my head down and miles 27-31 were all 8s or abouts.

Pity I got so lost and spent so much time with the map and asking locals where I was. Yes a Landranger would have helped but I still enjoyed it as I saw so many parts of London that I never knew existed and I have lived here for 15 years!!!

Will be back next year....A low key LDWA style event but very friendly. 4 hours 30 running time for 31 miles but with mapping and hanging around on street corners.....5.00 overall.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

ready for action again

Start of Downland Ultra30 by ultraBobban
Start of Downland Ultra30, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Tomorrow is the Green Chain Marathon; 27 miles of self navigation in the deepest corner of South East London. Eltham to Abbeywood and back via the Thames Path. I'm not feeling superb about this one as over the last 4 weeks I have felt that anything over 12 miles has been a chore and has aggravated my leg break injury. I had thought that intensive training and the odd day off per week would have meant that it would be sorted by now but 5 months after operation number 2, I think that I will be thwarted for life with the pain that wakes me every morning or, in particular, after a long drive of say 200 miles, renders me unable to run more than 10k without a grumble for a week or two.

That said, I have lost some body mass this last 4 weeks, 5.2kg, which has allowed me to go a bit quicker. This might seem like a lot, but I have been eating far less and working for 13 hours a day, following that by a 10 mile run every night of the week and after coming back from a lard filled holiday in France, is just what is needed.

I am running tomorrow and then running the Blackwater marathon in 4 weeks. Tomorrow is a map work PB challenge. The start is 9 miles from home so not far.....

bring it on!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Beardo is on the charge

I've had a lax few weeks. I got up this morning to run the LFB Chiltern Challenge this morning. I was up at 5am, the cogs began whirring and then I drifted back to sleep....for another 5 hours! After my 22 with Beardo on Tuesday around the grimmest estates in south east London, I had a recovery, then a 10 and then a day or two off. After my slumber, I could not take myself from the sofa to witness the amazing Mo Farah take GOLD at the world champs in Daegu.....what a LEGEND!!! I After a coffee and a crumpet, I went out for a brisk hilly 17km at 8s or sub 8s and then a spot of gardening. The first part of my run included the 360ft climb up to Crystal Palace, something I seem to do every day on a run....but no less impressive at any time to run along the Norwood ridge from Forest hill to Streatham and back down to Elmers end 500ft below and the long drag back up 150ft over 3 miles back home.

Even though I am targetting a couple of longer runs after xmas, I am finding getting my morale up with all of the other distractions; work, wedding, house.....a little tough. Perhaps being back at work will work wonders with me and a new pair of trainers to spur me on. I have invested in something different to my Asics Cumulus into Brooks Ghost 3. I am not sure, but I can't wait.

Meantime I am inviting Steve Beard to run the Green Chain Marathon along with Eric. The run starts in Eltham in 2 weeks and is a 27 mile run around the Dirrrty south east. I have other plans for the Autumn term; Blackwater Marathon in Essex (near to mum and dad's) and then a nice run in to xmas to get ready for the C2C 45 and the various 50s I have in mind to build up to my 100 mile challenge for 2012.

Beardo; well he is on the charge.....he is cycling 70 miles a week and running 38. I am not sure why an 11 stone runner cannot go faster than me up hill and down dale but you need to feel his handshake. So wet!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

End of the holiday

Stop by ultraBobban
Stop, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Stop has more meaning than one first might imagine. After 2 weeks working in Nottingham, eating hotel food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and only one 11 mile run in the last week, there was only one thing going on...body mass. Follow this up if you will with 8 days in the beautiful Loire Valley with 11 lovely friends, 34 degrees and hot sunny days and long evenings of drinking and eating French style. The food got more and more adventurous as the week went on; snails, veal, horse, pig cheek and finally, pigs head stew. Couple this with a few lengths in the European wine lake and some of the finest vineyards in all of France, it was no wonder my 11 mile trot yesterday felt a relief. 6 with Mrs UB and then another 5 of hilly for me afterwards. Moving up from Mrs UB's pace to sub 8s, then 7.30s and 7.14s to finish, I felt like clearing the cobwebs.

My run tonight was another story. 22.16 miles through some of the most income deprived areas of south london. My running partner tonight, Beardo was shitting himself at some points during the run, particularly as it is going dark earlier and earlier in the evening. Sometimes I enjoy this kind of run as it re-energises me about my job and the need to work hard to give London kids the chances they need to get out of the social mess parts of our fair city are in. I am not sure the landscape over the next few years will help at all....but it makes for a good conversation on the run.

I see Immune and Jezza are off to the Kent Coastal Marathon on Sunday. I am giving it a miss, driving is not great for my recovering leg and after 1400 miles of driving in the last 9 days, I might take the Tube to Ruislip and run the LFB Chiltern Challenge 27 mile run. But only maybe.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

No Way NDW50

After a week of coaching in Nottingham, 15 hours a day, plus the friday night traffic fuelled drive home, added to a heavy cold and with a session of diahorrhea (sorry) thrown in, the last thing I needed was to run 50 miles. I slept soundly for 12 hours and awoke late on saturday morning. The alternative was to drive to Salisbury for the 5-4-3-2-1 tomorrow but I just don't have the will or the inclination.

Instead i will run to Battersea to join the running club for the summer league. It is only a 10km but I figure a run there and a recovery home will see me to 20 miles. Being away over the next 2 weeks will play havoc with training but I have spotted the LFB Chiltern Challenge 27 on 4th Sept in Ruislip. Looks a nice undulating challenge and a tube ride there and home, meaning a cider stop on the return.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

cheering me up

time to have a couple of days off training and enjoy the CAMRA real ale and cider festival at Earls Court. I have pounded the streets recently so am enjoying a morning of uploading photos of the Downland Ultra 30 from 10 days ago. It is a great feeling crossing the finish line, no matter how many times I do it.....never a chore, always a buzz. These moments need savouring and used for mental focus when those demons need exorcising part way around a tough course. Sometimes I think that when the training is done, these events are 40% fitness, 60% mental toughness and resilience. Emphasis in my case on the "mental"

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

in a state

Hackney Hardcore by ultraBobban
Hackney Hardcore, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

After training and racing nearly 400km in the last 31 days, my body is feeling quite crap. I lost a little mass, gained it, lost it and gainedit again. I probably need about 6 hours of massage on my legs just to get the knots out.

I have been attempting to train in high heat, to get my body used to the rigours of the NDW50. It is 29 degrees today and if the hot August keeps on, it is the sort of training that will make me rather than break me. It is hard work though. I feel like every mile in the heat is like 2 in the cold. At least in the cold if you run faster, your muscles warm up. This way, it feels as if half of your energy is being diverted to cooling you down.

I was going to running club monthly handicap tonight but I am going to elevate feet and quaff cider, catching up on The Thick of It Series 3......i would recommend it to anyone who enjoys swearing.

Monday, 1 August 2011

NDW50 preparation

training has been OK for this event. Even though I ran the Downland Ultra quicker than last year, I am certainly concerned that my recently recovered leg can accomodate a 50 miler. I am sure that it will, it will be more of a case of mind over matter.

I have run much of the route over the past few years. This is a shot of me near the start of the green Belt Relay although the haircut and the waistline have thankfully disappeared!

Hopefully the waether will be on the better side of 20, rather than the mini heatwave that we are having at the moment, although I know that the climate, especially near to the finish, which is only a few miles from my school, can be much colder than it is here in London, with the temperature being 2-5 degrees below that which is expected. Hopefully a 9-10 hour finish.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Downland 30 Challenge; Race Report

Downland 30 Challenge by ultraBobban
Downland 30 Challenge, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.
I had what you could call a hangover. Not of the cider or wine variety, but a running one. 60 miles in the last week including the Fairlands Valley 50km plus getting lost. The weird thing is that I woke up this morning with DOMS. Having legged it around Dirty South at 6.30s, Saturday was fine, Sunday was ouch. Quads and calves.

So I met Johnny Mac and Helen at the start line with some trepidation. JMac introduced me to Allan Rhumbles, who I had run with some 3 years earlier at Doyen.

The first hill is what can only be described as silly. 0-500ft in about a mile. Quad and lung bursting and I was sweating like the proverbial after a conservative start. Hot weather and warm winds prevailed and I ran the first 4 with JMac, swapping stories and contemplating his 100 marathons (this was #97). I made my excuses as he was on 8.20s pace, too quick for me for a 30miler, especially near the start so I ran alone for an hour or so, in awe at the steep escarpments and relentless hills around Ditchling Beacon which at 814ft is the 3rd highest Down. Clayton at the start is not far of sea level. Black Cap was somewhere on this stage at 676ft.

It was back down to about 40ft above sea level and then up 713ft Firle Beacon, a long, relentless climb. I got to running a good clip but conscious of the second half being the tough one. At CP1, I discovered that there was only water. Shit! A problem. I have never come across an ultra that didn't at least have some bananas, cheap biscuits or orange juice. This was just 2 moody old geezers with water. I was going to be in trouble here with only a buzz bar (300cal) a jordans bar (100cal) and a gel. (100cal)

I slowed to accomodate my concerns and found myself caught by Steve, running his first ultra, although he had run 4 marathons. We chatted, in fact we chatted lots and I ran with him towards the turning point near Southease, about 15ft above sea level. Reaching the one marshall with just water at CP2 was a chance to fill bottles and realise that I had just my gel left for the next 15 miles. I decided that although our conversation was good, the going was too slow and at 2.37 at the turnaround, I had to get a move on.

The next part of the course is hard. Back up to Firle from sea level is a tough, into the wind climb. I started to wobble at mile 17. I thought that I was going to hit the wall, something I had never ever done before. Transition from carbs and glycogen to fat burning was a worry, but the transition was short and by mile 19, I was sub 10ing up Firle and reached CP3 (or CP1 for the second time)

Quafing the gel was my only joy here and I know that 2 years ago, running with Immune, I told him to go on and run as I hit a bad patch. Last year with Helen and Flynn I felt pretty much the same and we walked vast swathes of the return leg. This time I dropped my pace to 10s and stayed there for the duration. With only a couple of walk breaks, 10s was what I hit, mile after mile after mile, all the way to the top of Ditchling. 1 gel, 15-30 miles. I overtook 20-30 people so hopefully would get to about 30th place

Met Jez in the last 5 miles and we chatted on the downhills but my leg injury prevented me from going brain off, brakes off mode. I rolled in to a 5.14 finish, only which was unbelievably 3 mins faster than last year!! However, unlike last year, my back half was the same as my out half, which I was over the moon about. Ultra number 20.....done!

An hour later, fish, chips, curry sauce and mushy peas in Brighton with Mrs UB, Simi, Anouck and all this I forgot to praise Mrs UB who ran the Jack and Jill 5 miler up Ditchling Beacon and back. She is a true running legend and I am so lucky.

Friday, 22 July 2011

I'm in NDW50

I'm in by ultraBobban
I'm in, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

I am a prat. A bottle of wine later and am in the NDW50. Nice shoes.....indeed. I ran 8 tonight, 2 warm up, 2 at 7.30s and 4 at 6.30s in these new hotties.

I then got drunk and entered the NDW 50


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Fairlands Valley 50km. Back to Ultra racing....a race report

UB is back. Not really with a bang, but the boy returns to Ultra Racing. I did FW Marathon last year and is my slowest marathon to date. Whichever crazy fool writes the directions uses the most random points of reference that have an out of date quality to them. Having knocked out a B2B 2 weeks previous, I had a fairly sedentary week, owing to the 12 days without a day off and so much going on at work.

Having said that, I got to the start line with heavy legs. The first 2 miles through Stevenage must rate as the worst new town planning nightmare known to humankind. I pity the people that see that every day. Then open fairly flat and occasionally rolling countryside more than makes up for the cack that is new-town-ville.

The rain held of to a mild drizzle for the first 5 miles and CP1 was upon us quickly. It wasn't particularly chatty in the middle of the pack. I ran the race with Johnny Mac last year and we talked gibberish last time round. This time, I focused on me, my self talk dragging me up from heaviness and into a clip that would see me enjoy the first round of bread pudding. having not trained on the famed coconut water for 9 months, I found it particularly hard to stomach and the bitterness sent my iron stomach into convulsions. Happy to trot along for the first 10 miles, I passed CP2 and on to CP3. The CPs were very close together on the front 16 miles and 9 miles apart on the back of the course......very weird. Feeling more lively from CP2+ and now on cordial OJ, I had a bit of a punt at going faster. Catching up and running with a chap who had run the Houseman 100 a few weeks ago, we had a good quality LDWA conversation and chatted about the Jubilee 100 next year. Irritatingly, we got caught up with a group of guys who were running relying on one for map work. They tagged along and followed through CP4 at 16.6 and then to an issue.......There was a discrepancy in the instructions and a fair few went wrong. The more eagle-eyed spotted the WM point that I think the organisers did not spot and made a turn. about 15 mins of conflab, compasses out and 1.4 miles off track, we returned to see the rest of the field coming at us..... pants.

Quickly removing myself from this group I made a pace towards CP5, filled both bottles and a quick face-full of wonderful bread pudding and off again. Which idiot made us run though the middle of a field that was rutted and 6 ft high in oilseed rape? No one could run! I went wrong twice more and then increased pace to catch up. I bumped into Helen who was fresh of the GUCR as second lady overall and SDW100 run. We had a good old catch up as I hadn't seen her since the Ridgeway. after about 4 miles, on I went. The instructions were increasingly annoying me....more like LDWA events but on acid "on veering left across the field with a dead tree in the distance, take the second nettle patch to the left. If there are no nettles, look for a house in the distance!!" bonkers!!

Last 15 km was enjoyable, passing 50 or so running in various states of wellbeing. The rain was driving at this point and this made the running through the open farmland slippy in the clay and filled every groove with claggy mud, reducing the peleton to a slide/walk. Thank goodess for the sight of the metalled track!

A nice run into the finish, but with slightly over 7km over the 50k, a slow 5.40 finish. Would have been good to go under 5 but I can't complain, sat here with a cider and with legs feeling utterly fine. I am hoping recovery will be fine for the Dowland next sunday. Welcome home! It has been a long time coming but it is good to be back

Sunday, 3 July 2011

B2B weekend. Day 2. Relentless Forward Progress

The first BIG weekend and test for my body and mind came today where I woke up, very tired from the 23 miles yesterday. As my first day off in a couple of weeks I duly ran for all could yesterday. 3 crumpets and 2 coffees later; I was on my way to Forest Hill Station to meet Susie Wood who is training for the San Francisco marathon on 31st July.

Our route is an old favourite of with plenty of vistas, old and new, industrial and post-industrial. Along the waterlink way (River Ravensbourne) to Deptford, which I absolutely love as you can run 5 miles in London and have to cross one road! Then on to Greenwich and the oppressive foot tunnel. Once out on the North side, a cut across Canary Wharf and join the Regent's canal at the lovely Limehouse Basin and traverse the locks uphill through Mile End, Victoria Park, Hackney and then Islington. Once at Islington, a left (south) turn through Old St, Moorgate, The City and over London Bridge and 5 miles south taking in every park and traffic free byway possible.

London can be a great place to run and we saw plenty of wildlife along the canal and beyond. A great run and great chat that puts my sunday run to 21 miles with a weekend total of 44 miles. This is the first B2B since Ridgeway training. If I was not already going on holiday that week, I would be chompining at the bit to achieve the impossible for the year. However, relentless forward progress is my aim and when the 50ks are behind me next month, the plans are to get to a 50 miler some time soon. Any suggestions are welcomed!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Gods are smiling

The Gardening Gods by ultraBobban
The Gardening Gods, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

day 1 of my back to back weekender. I had planned to run 20 miles with Eric from the club but secretly knew in the back of my mind that with 12 days working without a day off and a few ciders on a friday night, that this might not come off. A saunter upo to Parkrun this morning with Mrs UB and we bumped into Glen, Beardo and Tom P. I ran a conservative lap 1 but as I approached the lead up the hill to lap 2, something strange breathing, arms and legs hit a sweet spot and I began to get quicker. The final mile was 6.16s and I knocked 41 secs of my Parkrun PB. Still 2.20 off my flat 5k time but CP park is very hilly indeed. After a warmdown, I ran round Docklands with Eric and made my miles up to 22 for the morning. Feeling quite good now and am up for a 20 mile run with Susie Wood in the morning to peak my training for the Fairlands Valley 50km in 2 weeks.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

1000km for the year so far

Note to self.......Year began in late Feb. Year began with tentative dropping of crutches and trying to run to the end of the road. Then it all stopped again after I had the metalwork out. Actually it was 100km until march 31st and 900km since I am feeling happier than maybe a couple of months ago. Proof will be in the pudding when I don my shoes and attempt 50km. This pails into significance when I see the miles that Immune and Jezza put in but I am thining that 2012 is the year of the 100 milers. I am so excited! June......Jubilee 100mile. Starts in Olympic Park and joins the GBR route round to Windsor. Bring on the cider!!!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Round the Island runner

Round the Island runner by ultraBobban
Round the Island runner, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Mrs UB has been running again. A PB in parkrun and the London Summer League race in Harrow. I am most impressed at 2 runs in 2 days.

My own endeavours were truncated with a weekend away working in Nottingham. I packed enough gear for 3 runs and set off 3 hours early so that I could get a big run in, up to the hills North West of Nottingham. I arrived back late on sunday and the unused gear went straight back in the drawer. A tired monday 7 miler was counterbalanced with an early finish at work on tuesday, meaning I was home just after 6 and enjoyed a 19 mile run.

I decided against the club run and donned backpack and braved the impending rain and thunderstorm. I ran to London's highest point, Shooters Hill, followed by a traverse of the A2 down to Bromley and back home. 1.1l of fluid and a packet of sweets was all I consumed. I felt more "slow burn" ultra than I had felt in ages. My last mile was a euphoric 7.20s.

After a 9 mile recovery hilly run tonight including a stop at Eric's for a chat, I feel fine and am now getting ready for the Fairlands Valley 50km in 3 weeks.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Cider Heaven

Well it is not usual for me to pass on a Sunday LSR, but with the best cider known to man procured on a Saturday afternoon, Sunday Runday was all but written off. 99km for the week, a parkrun PB on saturday follwed by a nice easy 11 mile hilly run up South London's biggest climbs, relentlessly going up, down, up down and up again. Crystal Palace Hill, Anerley Hill, Gypsy Hill, Forest Hill, Dulwich and Sydenham Woods and then back home. The Garmin read something like 1500 ft ascent as I did each hill in the early morning as MRs UB and Penny went for a coffee. A sunday spent doing more mundane tasks like looking after the vegetable garden and some blasting round the countryside with the roof off the car was more of a pull than a 20 miler. Having said, I still managed a brisk evening run through the parks of SE26,21, 23 and 19. A work filled week will not see me emulate a 60+ week but will at least see more miles ready for Fairlands valley ultra in a few weeks

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Rusty, but improving

Rusty Camper by ultraBobban
Rusty Camper, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

I feel a bit rusty with the increase in miles. The 10% rule has gone out of the window and I hope that my muscle memory will help me out as an old friend would. I am at 51 miles for the week so far and there is the outside chance that I can get a sneaky place in the Picnic marathon. Failing that I'll either have my LSR on saturday morning and do 20, or possible join Mrs UB on Parkrun and slog my guts out for a hilly 5km preceeded by a run there, preceeded by a large strong coffee and a bacon, egg, mushroom and tomato butty courtesy of my other old friend Mr Giant Fridge. If all goes well then I will follow this with a couple of bottles of the free stuff at Parkrun and then I'll knock off a couple of hours slow run down to the Thames and along up to Greenwich and back up via Shooters Hill (tallest hill in Inner London...closely followed by Palace).

I have been toying with the idea of getting a bike too. I must be mad. It is an investment but I know it will be a good one. Hybrid mountain bike/road beast or pure thoroughbred racing bike. I really am not sure as I am not the smallest of people at 6ft2, and there is a 600ft ascent up the chalky outer rim of the London basin to the highest point in London overall, Biggin Hill. Answers on a postcard please.

Monday, 13 June 2011

arse kicking

It's not everyday in a good field of runners that your mate and hardcore drinking chum aka running buddy Tappo came 5th in the Eltham Park 5. Pissing rain and a XC course with twists and turns and he still knocks out a 28 min run. My pb is 31.59, which in comparison is a bit slow. However, this run was the turning point in my training. After a severe hangover that started in Nottingham and continued in transit, ending up at home with a takeaway and more wine. Never mix the grape and the grain!

The turning point was my sub 8s 9 mile run to the start and then in the wet, mud and rain, a creditable 37.07 5 miler; this being the fastest I have run since breaking my leg. Not deterred, I knocked out a nice 11 mile run straight after work today. No pain, slight stiffness.

I have been nagging the runners world site for a place in the Picnic marathon this weekend. I feel ready. I doubt I will get a place as it is as full as of last week. Work committments over the next 6 out of 10 weekends are limiting me to Fairlands valley Ultra as my first foiree over 26 miles. This has been a time I have been anticipating; relishing and I will savour the finish line and remember the day for the rest of my life when I once again become an ultra runner.

Then I can kick arse.

Friday, 3 June 2011

50 miles and then some

51 miles this week, with 8 day running total at 65 miles. Lots of niggles though. Inside heel, outside of tibia, swelling. Never good. However it pails into insignificance compared to the chaps and chapesses on the GUCR, the UKs longest ultra. Comiseration to Jezza who pulled out with a gigantic and bulbous blister. Well done to George who completed the even in 43 hours and special well done to Claire who not only completed in 30 hours but was 1st lady and 3rd overall! Amazing considering that 18 months ago she was running the C2C, her first Ultra! Can't wait to have a chat with you down the gym to get all the news. Brilliant!

Monday, 23 May 2011

green belt relay - a weekend of cider and running

green belt relay - DPR team!, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I'm a bit of a fan of this 220 mile race. I think that Immune, Jezza and I should do it over the course of a long weekend in the future as a training run. (Obviously something bonkers!)

I've done the race with Dulwich park Runners over the last 3 years and it really brings people together. 39 teams across London and the south east. We fielded 2 mixed (read: fun) year we will but out 11 of our best. (immune - keep the weekend free) but we still put on a good show and my team A came in 26th out of 39 teams.

My leg was the longest and hilliest on saturday and I duly ran this with Tappo. Tappo came 5th, I came in 29th! Having said that I really enjoyed the run through the Chilterns from Great Kingshill to Chipperfield through Amersham, a picturesque and quaint part of the Green Belt. Marshalling and ferrying people and water, food and support take it out of you so I slept like a log after a fish and chip supper with a couple of ciders.

Day 2 and after a small lie in it was back out on the road again, ferrying people to their start or finish or bag drop and then to my start. Just a 10.5 miler from Tatsfield to Merstham. After necking anti-inflamatories as I couldn't walk in the morning, it was all go. I was flying along at 7.45s which is the fastest I have run since the metalwork came out. I was placed about 17th and then after a heavy shower and some poor signage, I took a wrong turn (and another runner) and managed to run an extra 1.5 miles. This dropped me 13 places, although powering into the finish in a 6.50 last mile made me feel less annoyed. The guy I got lost with me came in 26 mins later so it shows just how mental I went over the last couple of miles to make up the time. Off to drop Susie off and she ran the penultimate leg with Ian and Gilly taking on the glory leg. We met the club at the finish for a cider and beer and another cider. Great suntan, great company and a great weekend. Roll on 2012 as we are going to top 10!

A nice gentle 7.5 and a sauna and I feel as right as rain.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

pace improving

Mutai in the leading men. , originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

OK, so I am not Mutai or Kabede but I am getting quicker. A very comfortable 8.20s for 11 miles last night and would have been quicker without all the stop/starting of the roads of south london in the evening. I particularly liked driving the group from the running club at 8.30s up Knights Hill to Crown Point near Streatham. Then an 8.25s up to Beulah Hill. I felt like another 10 miles at that pace.

Tonight is a night off as I'm just in from the coalface and need a feed, read and watch the Tour of California cycle race.

It's the Green Belt Relay all weekend so I am exited about running saturday and sunday with the club. Tuesday after BHM I am in the Liverbird marathon. Ace

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Up and up

His and hers, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

We've just finished a book each in the UB household. Guess which one is mine?! I had a week or performing last week. Had I not had stag duties on saturday night for Ian's forthcoming wedding and a fast paced friday night drinking session in Shoreditch, I would have broken the 50 mile barrier for the first time since the leg break. Suffice to say, 47 miles was enough to make me feel like I am sort of approaching normal. The speed still needs to increase but I am wary of pushing too hard too soon. My endeavours took me to the Dulwich running festival on tuesday night, most excellently organised by Gillian and Dave. 145 runners were in Dulwich Park and I managed to have a very social run with Sue, Glen and a host of others. I even won a spot prize. Adidas supernova Glides. £82 of cushioned trainer. However after trying them on in the shop, will be popping them on ebay as they are far too cushioned and far too narrow for my running style. Consequently they have a higher mass than I am used to and quite franky I think that they are shit! Hopefully a few quid on ebay will go towards something down the line. After Ian's wedding on BHW in the Welsh borders, I am going to have a go at the Liverbird Liverpool marathon. It is a double, one starting on BHM and one on the tuesday. Unusual to see a marathon on a working day but it seems like some 100 marathon club runners have organised it. £30 is steep for entry but it fits right in with my schedule and gives me time to spend with the inlaws and plenty of half-term recovery.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Back to racing

Finishing in 6.28s, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I thought for some time the night before the 3FM about the merits and issues about switching from the marathon to the half. I awoke and decided to do the half. At the start line I had no regrets. I met up with Johnny Mac on marathon 94. I knocked over his tea....I hope that is why he didn't run faster than 4.44. Having said that, it is a tough tough course. Having run 3.54 for the 3450ft and 27.2 mile course 2 years ago, I knew what I was in for, so felt OK doing the half.

After the 2 mile climb to the first hill fort I was worried about the leg. It was playing up. The next 3 miles were beautiful in terms of scenery but forgettable in the battle to stay with the pack. I was struggling to keep to 10s as I sweated out the hills. Then, as the heat of the sun beat down upon my back, something that I not felt for many months came over me like a wave of euphoria. The endorphins kicked in. What had I been missing for the last few months? The MANTRA was going round my head, again and again and again. I overtook perhaps 40 people in the next mile and glanced down at my watch, shocked by how quick I was going. Mile 7 came and went and I was after a nightmare first 5 in 10-11s, now knocking sub 8s for the first time since the leg break. Mile 9 was a tough climb back up and I hit a brief walk and an 11 min mile but raced the last 2, coming over the last mile in 6.28s. 1.56 for a half sounds rubbish; but a number of things happened. I came in 92nd out of 309. I sub-2 houred in a 2000ft half and I felt the buzz that has eluded me for God knows how long. The marathon and Ultra plan is NOW ON!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

100 mile man

Immune at Mile 7, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Well it is hats off to Dave Immune. I thought that running 27.5 miles as mule 1 to help towards his run of a lifetime was something, bearing in mind I am only 2 weeks out of hospital, but no. Not even Jezza (mule 2) and his 2 marathon run through the night scraped the surface of how in awe I am of this unassuming giant of ultra running. Dave is no self publicist, unlike a growing number of our ultra world. He does not big himself up. He does not demand the publicity that some of the imposters in our exhalted field attempt. He lets his mind and his feet do the talking. Dave is a legend and I hope that one day I am fit enough to run something amazing with him in the future. Perhaps we do Badwater, perhaps the BGR or the Yukon. All I know is that the words "giving up" do not nexist in the vocabulary. Legendary day. I enjoyed it not for what I did, but for what he did.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The metalwork is out!

The metalwork is out!, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Went into King's College Hospital today and after a somewhat nervy wait, the anaesthetist pumped my veins full of the good stuff and within seconds I was talking as incoherently as a moron on ten pints of cider and fighting the tunnel of light that I was falling down. I awoke 2 hours later with a bandage on my leg and a feeling like I had just been somewhere amazing! Anyway, blood pressure was high (which alarmed me) but pulse was a pleasing 56 BPM and oddly the stasff nurse asked if I was a dissolved 02 in the blood was 94% which was low. Erm....I run marathons exclaimed a puzzled me. But after a sit up, cup of tea and a wander up and down the ward, I asked her to do it again and it topped 99% Fine!

So the canulated screws are out and I have a range of movement that until December, thought I would never have again. 2 weeks of no running are the orders......Stiches need to settle and skin, soft tissue and tendons need to heal but I feel right as rain. I'll have a tentative wander round the block later in the week but I am really happy that the op was a success.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Improving distance and time

Approach to CP3, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

Refecting on the last week I feel that I am in need of a confidence boost and I now feel it. 62km for the week and I was looking at my stats. Rather than be a slave to the Garmin, which is frustrating when you start out from such a slow base, I have been doing a weekly 10km time trial. Although this is not 100% scientific as I am altering the main control variable; the course, I am making sure that I chart my return. Now my PBs for the shorter distances were all set in 2009:

5km 18.52
10km 41.20
half: 1.30.15

The comeback is paultry by comparison but no less impressive in its improvements. So this last 4 weeks the times are all for 10km

1.04.25 - 4 weeks ago
57.47 - 3 weeks ago
54.30 - 2 weeks ago
47.58 - end of last week

I would like to think that this would continue and in 3 weeks I'll be running 38s but this won't be the case. I can see this slowing down but I am setting some short term goals for 2011. Aim to beat 10km PB by the end of the year. Run 3 marathons by the end of the year.

new shoes on the way

I'm having a few days off running. Not feeling good so actually off work. I hate being off work as I love it. I will be in tomorrow as the healing and rest has taken place. Yesterday I slept for 19 hours only getting up to take painkillers and a cup of tea so awoke dehydrated this morning. Now I am up and about and steady on my feet I will be back at the chalkface tomorrow. I needed a cheer up, a boost so purchased some of the new minimalist Inov8 255. I have always lovingly cherished each pair on inov8s I have owned, particularly as I have never run less than a marathon in either of the pairs I have. I now am trying out the road shoes. It would be crazy to go straight to the 155g pair (????) but am looking to try out this minimalist revival that it seems Anton Krupicka has spearheaded over the last couple of years. I figured with my out of training body, a small drop from 347g to 255g would be a start. Hopefully they will arrive on Saturday so I can open them as I come out of the general anaesthetic from my operation on friday afternoon. Then the training will begin as soon as the swelling is down.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

light at the end of.....

I'm pretty pleased with the week in terms of running. I have 6 days until my operation to take out the titanium in the tibia and fibula. As much as I can peak before friday to hit a high enough level of fitness to enable a swift recovery. So it is why my first week over 50km this year was a 62km week ending in a 20.27km run this morning to run including Sydenham Hill, then running with the beginners course at DPR and then the Knight's Hill, Beulah Hill, Crystal Palace Hill reverse club run. All in all the last few kms were a bit tough. There is only one way to knock myself into shape and that is to train harder, run further and stay on my feet longer. That, I am sure will come. If I can hit this level again within the next 6 days then I'll be happy going into the op, and will just be crossing my fingers for a swift recovery from surgery

Monday, 21 March 2011

in awe

A little tribute to Mr Immune himself. The guy is a ledge.....a true ledgend. It won't be long before he will be knocking out sub 6.30s for a marathon. I feel slightly pedestrian in comparison, but I managed my first sub 9s sustained for over 5 miles. There is nothing but a bit of V)2 and the metalwork that is stopping me from dropping less. This was not a flat run and some of this included/..... wait for it.... about 200m of sub 8s.

Back in the day, a sub 7s was a chatty 10 miler down at the club and now I can only start to dream of it.....but I am still in awe of the man they call Immune. I guess I have a lot of catching up to do!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cider with UltraBobban

I'm going to settle down for a cider. A well deserved cider. It has been a week of 13 hour days at the office, weekends of painting, decorating, sanding, wallpapering, flooring, carpet removal, furniture shifting, tree cutting and cleaning. For me, this is the busiest time of year at work and with moving to a new house; the project, things are never far from busy.

So how does running fit in with this? Well It has now been 4 weeks of running after the mental broken leg. After tentative 15 min miles at the start, things are looking good. I have developed a semblence of musculature in my calf, with a gastrocnemus coming on well. The soleus is slower in the making. I have not had chance to test the V02max yet, but have increased speed this week with a club run 8 miles at 9.40s, followed by a 10k at 9.20s. I went for a cheeky 5 miler this evening, a stock run including the 110m climb of Crystal Palace Hill. The downhill has been causing me consternation but a flat last mile at 8.30s is my fastest for a while. 48km for the week. I am really loving running now. Just 12 days until the BIG operation and perhaps within a month I will be running again.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I'm going to die here but it's worth a try

In the dinosaurs footsteps, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

I'm getting married next July.

Already I am looking at where to honeymoon.....

Perhaps we go to Namibia for the honeymoon?

then I can run the Fish River Canyon 100k there!

or Mongolia.....and I can do the Gobi desert challenge (140 miles!)

or China....the taklamakan 100km


Broken leg feeling

I'm off to hospital on April Fools' Day for my amputation.......erm hopefully not, but I am getting all of the titanium out. The physio sad that i mught get a greater range of movement. The fitter I am before then, the higher my base is for recovery.

I am looking at 48 hours off everything (I have got the operation on a friday so I don't miss any more work) and then 2-4 weeks of gentle recovery that allows the bones time to heal from the screw cavities. General anaesthetic here we come.

Aside from a swollen leg today, I feel good. 5.1 miles sunday, 4.5 monday and just under 11 miles for the club run on tuesday. Yes, it was my first venture over 10 miles in many months. Wow. I ran with James P and Tom P for a while, then joined Esther and Charlotte for a run through Dulwich to the bottom of CP and then home. Man I am sore but the buzz (?) wait relief of running 10 miles was good. Now I need to up my game and stop running like every step is going to break my leg. It won't!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Some might call it junk miles......

Handful, originally uploaded by ultraBobban.

But with the first month of running coming to an end after leaving the crutches behind there are a few notable points. I am sustaining a drop to sub-10 min miles for the last few days, partly becaue I am pushing myself a bit harder now. The pain is subsiding a little although I ran up Crystal Palace hill quicker...9.34s than I could run down the other side so there is some soft tissue damage that is occuring and preventing me from going full throttle......well when I say full throttle, I mean a sedentary pace. The last time I went full throttle down CP hill, it was a brakes off/brain off 4.30s and I thought I was going so fast I was going to die!

I am managing 4-5 miles with not much pain and I guess, as any marathoner would do, build it up from there. I am hoping to get past 20 miles this week and then start shaping up above this. My aim is in 2 weeks to get to a 10 mile run. Then if this is the case, I will attempt a half in the next month. All being well I am 3 months from a marathon.......if all goes well with the metalwork removal. Hospital tomorrow so all will be revealed

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Life's a beach

Beach, originally uploaded by ludwig van standard lamp.

OK, well it's better than it was. The metalwork in my leg will be out in weeks. I did the club handicap tonight. I have run 14km in the last 2 days, this evening, I dropped my pace to sub-9s for the first time this year. I am slightly worried that I will snap some of the pins but it felt good. I got some special dispensation in the club handicap and was thus promoted up the order to start, finishing in 2nd place overall! My last half mile was at 8.19s........

Mundane measures will come in soon and I shall return again to crutches when I return to hospital, but the signs are encouraging and I am loving running now.