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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What lies around he corner....The MASTERPLAN

into the fuschia by ultraBobban
into the fuschia, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

So the plans are now beginning; the wheels are in motion and it is now about getting the races and runs under my belt.

I am joining the HEROS on Saturday to run 16 night miles on the North Downs Way. I hear there is cider involved at somewhere past the half way point. Excited!

That should end what homes to be about a 90km week, all being well.

There is a potential outside chance for the Compton Downland 40 on Sat 7th April

but the rest is as is laid out below:

15th April: Essex Challenges 27

a couple of weeks of South London miles, upping to 100km+ weeks.

May 5th Bewl Water Marathon
May 6th 3 Forts Marathon 27

May 12th Orpington marathon (not sure about this but it's close and cheap!)
Possibly the Halstead marathon on the sunday

May 19th and 20th is Green Belt Relay so I will be going out in the DPR elite team

May 26th; Chiltern Challenges 27, followed by an awesome Eurovision party where we always have a mental time and get a bit tipsy!

Stag do the next weekend (that is my stag do......we are going shooting, horse racing and then getting seriously tipsy)

June 9th Salomon South Downs Marathon

running in Cornwall as at a wedding

Round the Island half as a taper on 23rd June....

then the week after is the big one...103 miles.

So.....possibly an LDWA event if there is anything going. I have seen a 40 miler on the ridgeway.......

Wooo wooo! Bring on the miles!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Not the Sevenoaks 50km race report!

Readers who check out my blog for race reports might be disappointed to find that there is not one for the Sevenoaks Circular yesterday and the picture probably paints a thousand words!

After arriving home on Friday I could barely speak, my throat was swollen. Not even my very first Friday night in the pub in 2012 (yes! believe it dear reader!!) with a few ciders in the new and funky Sylvan Post in Forest Hill could lubricate my engorged lymph glands and husky voice.

I decided to take saturday easy and not run, making an ill end to a good strong week. Painting and DIY and plenty of rest, followed by a hearty meal and I was half ready for the run. Sunday ensued and within 3 seconds of the alarm going off at 5.30, I was back in bed and enjoying a Sunday lie in.

Later than morning, after bacon butty and much coffee, I decided on a full traverse of all of the spurs of the Norwood Ridge, the highest part of South London at 370ft above sea level. I never veered far from home as much coughing might force me to retire to deliver green balls of my lung mucus to the streets and gutters of our fair city. It was a chance to do this small "round" and I lay first claim to it, having googled and found nothing. I have a route marked on my Garmin and will publish as a "challenge"

The route was 28km, although I do believe now, after lloking on the map that there is a small dip at the Horniman museum which rises again to One Tree Hill, down to the Rye at Peckham and back up to Nunhead Cemetary. if this is the case, I think the route will increase to about 35km. I did find the sources of the River Pool, River Peck and the River Effra, all of which flow in some way, into the Thames.

MRs UB joined me for the last couple of spurs, chiefly around Dulwich and Sydenham Woods and Forest Hill. This was ace as we had much banter as we have not run together for 3 weeks.

My throat was improving and just perfect timing as we had been invited to the great East Dulwich bake off, by Gillian from the running club....purveyor of the finest cakes known to any runner. Jezza will recall the flapjacks with cranberry and macadamia that were used as nourishment on the Ridgeway!

So after a hearty sit down lunch and plenty of cake, it was back to chez UB for relaxation.

So this is not the Sevenoaks Circular race report, but I am reporting a full belly and will be publishing a list of the 8 marathons and ultras I will be competing in over the next 90 days in prep for the SDW100

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sunny daze

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

I expected today to be horrible. It went well. I woke up to the sunshine blazing through the shutters. Normally I am up at the crack of dawn and usually before dawn's crack. this morning a sultry lie in until 6.45am as I had a job interview mid morning onwards.

The day went OK, I left kicking myself that i didn't say this, didn't say that, so I put my thoughts together in an email and whizzed it straight to the executive head who interviewed me before my tube went below ground. It seemed to have worked, one imagines, as I have a second interview next week.

Having finished nice and early, I made about sorting out the house and then going for a nice run. The air had gone nippy but the sun was still bouncing over London, reflected by the nearly complete Shard.

I made this a hilly and XC run, taking in CP park, Dulwich and Sydenham Woods and Dulwich Park, with all of the jitties, gennels, snickets and back alleys I could find. As I returned home and the Garmin beeped for the 12th mile I felt good to be a South Londoner, blasting through the streets and parks of our fair city. Even more pleasing was the lack of pain from the metatarsal, save for some minor lacing adjustments at 7 miles.....thanks to Spenser for the text earlier in the day. I got in, having done a bit of shopping for milk and juice with the fiver in my pocket and had there not been a pile of washing up, washing to get in and sort and some evening admin to do, I would have happily gone out for another hour.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

104 days to the SDW100

What will you change? by ultraBobban
What will you change?, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

With just over 100 days until the SDW100, I need to make some changes to the regime so that I can make it through the physical and mental strain of the whole of the South Downs Way.

I'm the lightest mass I have been for a couple of years. But this needs to drop by another 3-4kg. I have been a bit laissez-faire with my diet for the past month, something that I have been noticing as I have been working later and having less time to cook and enjoy food. I have also been aware that my alcohol intake has increased...which is a bad thing. The good thing is that it starts HERE.

I have to make steely resolve to get home from work earlier, redress the work-life balance and spend more quality time doing quality things.

Foot update is that it does not hurt at all to walk, gentle running is OK, but a loose lace-up is definitely required. I don't want to get to have an x-ray only to find nothing, if it is just a very small stress fracture. I am hoping that a bit of rest is going to be just the ticket for a speedy repair.

With this in mind, I am going to have a lighter training week, coupled with a very light 32 miles last week, should allow me to ease back into training.

Jezza has invited me on a night run next week, of which I am very much looking forward to. Bring on the ghosts I say. It will be a good opportunity to get some heradtorch miles in as I'm sure it will be deep into darkest Kent.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


I've been scuttling along of late. Late from work. The possibility of a fracture of the first metatarsal...but I'm too busy to go to A&E for an x-ray as I don't have a spare 6 hours in the week. I think this was a Stinger injury from the marathon the week before but who knows. It is nothing to do with my leg break last year as thankfully, it is the other leg! If it is a fracture, it is small. It hurts to tie laces tight but loose laces are OK.

I ran B2B Tuesday and Weds with some serious mileage but am taking it easy until tomorrow. Hopefully a few days off will allow me to return gently tomorrow. Mrs UB and I are going to the North Downs Way for an LSR. I will have a gentle week and all should be good for the Sevenoaks Circular 30 mile race next Sunday.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Taking the piss

Public inconvenience by ultraBobban
Public inconvenience, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Work is taking the piss at the moment; it seems to be for both me and Mrs UB too. Fitting in the all important work-life balance with a nice cup of tea and a sit down has taken a dive down the swanny.

Take this week for example. All ready to up to 100km weeks for the next 3 weeks, then 110, 120 by Easter and I am thwarted by 16 hour days and a whole host of small spanners (time consuming ones if you get my drift) in the works; things that slow everything down.

That aside, I have managed 52km in 3 very truncated evenings. Dinner last night was a hastily cooked pasta at 11.30pm. After my run, I found myself to be the only person in the entire supermarket.......and I was soooo tempted by saturated trans-fat additive shite but I relented and purchased fruit for lunch this week, mushrooms for my pasta and a cheeky small bottle of cider.

Life has got to take a turn for the better in terms of work. I've got training to do!

With a big inspection at school tomorrow and Friday, I am prickly with excitement and trepidation but what more to cool the senses than a 20km run tomorrow night. Hopefully I'll get out at a decent time and be able to run. At least tonight I was able to catch up with the mighty man himself; Eric. Eric has been injured for a while and is on comeback highway. Not too fast I hope as sometimes he pushes too hard and goes back to square 1. Luckily tonight we had a Dulwich Dawdle and caught up on, photography, running.......brilliant. I felt...for a while; human again!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

All good

bobban action by ultraBobban
bobban action, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

I was worried on Monday as the quads were equivalent to a minced up pile of carpaccio. I ran the club monthly handicap, letting the last few fast boys motor past and had a jog round with Spen. I say jog round......we were having a chit-chat about the race on Sunday and a general catch up, I didn't really look at the watch but bearing in mind we were so mashed up after the weekend (perhaps exacerbated by the 40mph shunt and car write off on the way home) but I felt as stiff as a vicar at a choir-boy convention.......however, a 7.30s round was better than expected....but no records were broken!

Tonight was a nice opportunity to catch up with George and also say hi to the wonderful Astrid and their amazing new girl Joanne. I had a cold and was a bit sweaty and she had just bathed, so I did not want to darken her clean constitution. She has grown massively and looks a bit like Dad already. As we left she was kicking her legs with such aplomb that we should have taken her for some fartlek!

Anyway a great catch up with the man himself and a nice round 9s in warmer climes than over the last week. We spent some time trying to navigate part of the river that we had not done before, with some success. I am on course for 100km this week and there were no niggles or issues tonight......If I had got back from work an hour earlier, that distance would have not far been doubled

Monday, 5 March 2012


glorious mud by ultraBobban
glorious mud, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

If only the mud was this easy to negotiate, life would be easy! Recovery run of 5.5 easy undulating miles to checkout for any niggles tonight. All clear. Ill be doing 16 miles tomorrow which would have happened tonight had I not been sorting out the mess from the idiot that drove into our car at speed on the way home from the marathon yesterday. No tax, no seatbelt...the fella ended up sustaining injuries that took him to hospital without the utterance of a word in my direction. Dear reader you will hopefully understand that within half a mile of my house the endorphin bliss of a hard run hilly marathon was punctuated by the irresponsibility of a driver way over the speed limit without the necessary skills to stop at a pelican crossing in a 30 zone. When the ambulance carted him away, they asked whether we were ok? Yes we are all very stiff and cold....but we are not sure if this is from the whiplash or from the marathon.

Anyway my run passed off with no niggles.

My original thoughts were of the heros of the TP100 as Jezza achieved his first 100 belt at 27 hrs and Dave Immune an amazing 22 hours. reading Jerry's blog was just awe inspiring, particularly as they stopped the race owing to 2 hospitalisations due to hypothermia. I'm glad my 100 is in June but am now thinking the hills, not the weather will be my nemesis.

Hats off to the chaps and it is high time we caught up for a cider. I am the only non-centurian in the team and I have a lot of catching up to do!

I'm heading to territoire locale next for an LDWA event in 2 weeks. After that, Easter, and I have a couple of may include a self nav return from Brighton, or maybe a longer ultra over the bank holiday.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Steyning Stinger Marathon Race report.....Mud, Sweat and Cheers!

Most of the race I had my fingers crossed for Dave Immune and Jezza who were hopefully in the last throes of the Thames Path 100.

The weather was awful. We picked up Lily from around the corner and had a drive down to West Sussex for the Stinger....the rain did not abate all morning.

Straight out of the car and to collect my number, we were running a little late but in plenty of time to get organised and to bump into none other than Spenser from the running club. Hirsute to the max (no doubt for insulation on this cold day in full beard) he introduced me to his work colleague who had come down to support and then we trotted round the back of HQ to essentially a ploughed muddy field for a quick countdown and off we went.

Chalky mud and driving rain are an accident waiting to happen and sure enough, within a couple of miles there were runners slip-sliding all over the shop. I ran with Spenser for the first couple of miles and he took a tumble in his road shoes. Luckily through the farmhouse and up Chanctonbury Hill he seemed fine, but struggling with grip. I trotted on and skirting the Chanctonbury ridge the temperature dropped as we climbed onto the Downs proper.

The first few miles were fairly uneventful. I glanced at the watch and noted that Mrs UB and Lily had probably started and were cursing the same mud on the half marathon; the same first 11 miles and last 2. We crossed the A24 at Bostal, I picked up some sliced up Mars bars and we hit the first sting. Some marathons I feel good all of the way round and some I grow into. This I was still unsure and a very tiny part of my grey matter you want to just do the half? The other overriding art said.......this is going to be immense!

Onto Chanctonbury Ring and one of those moments that defines a run came up. Both of the girls felt this too, although later tha morning. Approaching the 755ft summit with driving rain in the face, the eerie pine trees that adorn the crest of the ridge crept out of the mist and fog. So spooky! But all the same...ace! Jezza would be there in spirit "bring on the ghosts!" At the 11 mile mark the 2 races split and the marathon went headlong into the driving rain. My suspicions that many of the marathoners had opted to start earlier than the mass start were confirmed when I bumped into John who I had met at the London Ultra. We exchanged chit-chat for 3-4 miles but his legs were probably weary from 3 marathons in 3 weeks. Mile 17 I realised I had not had a drink or a feed so downed a flapjack and emptied my bottle down my neck at possibly the most rubbish part of the course, around Worthing golf club.

Back up onto the Downs and the dizzy climb up to Cissbury Ring with a lap around the old hill fort. It was a slippery mud bath and I helped a lady who had gone apex over triangle and I watched bemused as others slid down the back end of the hill. Approaching mile 20 I felt fab. I recalled a section where I had first met the legendary Johnny Mac 3 years ago and that filled me with a fresh zing to my step....or maybe I had a sugar rush? Anyway, back to Chanctonbury and I saw Spenser at the switchback. The last 6 miles were increasingly wet and the driving rain filled my left ear with cold deafness.

I dawdled at the 20 and 24 mile checkpoints as I was feeling undernourished. It is surprising how long a near frozen mars bar takes to eat but thanking the brilliant marshals was my key priority, chocolate teeth and all!

I loved the suicidal hill back down off the brain off, brakes off moments like that are buzzing........and it will be great to see the photograph from that poor SSP chap, snapping away as I plummeted from puddle to puddle down the hill. The last 3 miles were 8.26, 8.07 and 7.27 as I overtook I think about 12 runners to blast in the usual styleee to the finish line. 4.10 for the day was 17 mins slower than my previous attempt but no mean feat in the horrendous slippy, angle deep mud and driving wind and rain.

I finished and then jogged to warm down (up) and was greeted by a fry up and cup of tea from the beautiful Mrs UB who had, with Lily gone round the half in 2.45, demonstrating how tough going this really was.

Marathon number 25 could not have been more different from 24........this is where memories are made.....