Total Pageviews

Friday, 29 June 2012

Team UltraBobban

Team UltraBobban by ultraBobban
Team UltraBobban, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Last time it was three. This time it is just me. I am just about to set off down to Winchester. I'm bloody nervous.

The South Downs Way 100 mile Ultramarathon starts in 12 hours!!!!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

It's not's carb loading!

CP5 Goring food stop; 9pm by ultraBobban
CP5 Goring food stop; 9pm, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

A reminder that I can still do these is a pic from the UK Ultra Distance Championships...aka The Ridgeway 85 mile run, half way at Goring-on-Thames in 2010.

I've approached the SDW100 with a bit less preparation. Agreed I have done a couple of 120 mile weeks in May, agreed I have done it injury free, but I feel far less nervous and feel I might have taken my foot off the gas about 3 weeks early.

I've started to pack in some food over the last 3 days. I got on the scales today and have increased in mass by just over a kilo. I've reduced the meat content of my diet over the last 2 weeks significantly, eating fish mostly (except the Dulwich Park Runners BBQ on Tuesday where I consumed 3 steak burgers) and focusing on pasta, bulgar wheat and potatoes. I have had a couple of cheeky ciders though so that is perhaps not so good.

Today I was due to run with Glenn for a gentle slow amble up to Dulwich and Sydenham Woods and then down to the club for a coaching session on running technique but Glenn bailed due to work commitments. As I was in the West End today for a conference, I made sure I had a large dose of boiled potatoes and salad for lunch and gigantic banana milkshake. Arriving back home I went to tick the last few items from my inventory. Where on God's earth was my trusty Tikka XP headtorch? I searched the house high and low, then the car, the shed, then the house again.........It was then off to Snow and Rock on the Purley Way in teatime traffic......90 min return journey for an 11.8 mile round trip (could've run quicker!)

So I have a nice new Tikka XP2 head torch and as I took it out of the wrapper, inserted the batteries and opened my waist pack to stash it.......there was my Tikka XP!!!!! So now I have 2 lovely headtorches!!!

Its braised rice and veggies for dinner and I'm going to catch the end of the footie.

I've amassed 25 miles this week just to keep me ticking over and preventing insanity. I will save final mention to Mrs UB. She is an expert in spread sheets and organisation. The Uber-Queen of silky smooth administration. Mrs UB has planned a schedule for supporters and checkpoints. I hope the Hotel I have booked for her is a good one as she will need a good night's sleep.

I'm looking forward to seeing old friends on the SDW this weekend and also making new ones......but I'm mostly looking forward to the feeling of crossing the finish line, getting home and spending the rest of the day picking some veggies from the garden and making a roast dinner with Mrs UB

Monday, 25 June 2012

SDW100 prep

Although any mileage now will not add to my training, it was good to get out and do a recovery run on tired legs. keeping the lungs flowing and a gentle stretching run was just the tonic to take the edge off nerves and deconstruct the day. I can't say that I've ever blogged about a 5 mile run since I broke my leg but it felt good to have a trot out. Upping the pace with the last mile also gave me a buzz.

Drop bags are now ready, the spreadsheet will be published later and there are a few excellent friends coming down to support. I'm particularly looking forward to the second half, on familiar territory From Devil's Dyke to Clayton, Ditchling, Blackcap and down to the Long Man. The good chaps at Centurion have a lot of aid stations bunched after 70 miles so I will be travelling light. I'm opting for a Ridgeway-style waist pack during the day and a rucksack in the evening.

bring on the ghosts! Bring on the belt buckle!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Round the Island half marathon race report

With a week to go until the SDW100 it was decision time, stretch my legs and go for broke or take a relaxing run around the best island for miles. Yes its that time again for the Round the Island Half. Me and the beautiful Mrs UB missed last year as I was away working but this was my 5th running of this race and it is such a firm favourite in my running calendar that it would be the end of my taper for the ultra of my life.

Down to the start and it was warm but very very windy. Normally there is a prevailing wind that really helps down the back of the island but the gale was coming in at about 90 degrees different to normal.

Off we went at the start with a lacklustre countdown from the Mayor. I found myself in the front group of runners for the first mile or so and they were only doing about 7.15s, all looking at each other as we looked for the best line across the sand. The wind was hard at this point but I knew that a short section along the road would yield some shelter. I didn't want to go ballistic in case anything went wrong so I slowed down to a comfortable 7.20s past the Company Shed and Dabchicks sailing club.......and then onto the beach wall.

Rewind to the day before and about 5 miles away from home up to my mum and dad's, I turned to Mrs UB in the car......."Shall we go back and get the trail shoes?" ", it will be fine" well it would for a gentle 8.30s skipping around the puddles, not for a 7s into the wind. I really struggled, particularly as a front-foot striker without any grip. I had to slow. I thought if I could 7.30s-7.40s through the tougher stuff, dropping to the occasional 8 when it got really muddy, i could pull back some time with some 6.30s on the tarmac sections that punctuate the last 4 miles.

Down Pyefleet channel I hoofed it for a bit and overtook about 20 people. The wind was coming from sideways now.....not usual for this part of the island.....I've run it about 25 times and never has it been like this. The bizarre drinks station at mile 6 had a 10 metre incline off the pathway through some nettles to the water stop. Not one person stopped to drink!

Then it was around the corner at the Mersea Stone at East Mersea and then the wind hit. Now usually the wind down the back is enough to give you a lift. I have never run into wind on the sea-side of the island that was so strong.

Round the corner at the aid station and it was head-on 35 mile per hour wind with the occasional big gust. I got to halfway in 46.30, thinking that I could go mental over the last couple of miles and chuck in a 6 over the last mile off the beach which should see me close to my 1.30PB. No, no no!

The wind was bonkers, the sand was blowing in my eyes and stinging my skin. When the sand became clay and sand I looked at the watch and there was an 11 in there! Nobody was having fun, all the fellas were swearing and spitting out sand. The last 5 miles (course change and about another 0.4 miles added along the beach) took 12 mins longer than last time around! Looking at my Garmin, most of the miles were close to 9s!

I was really chuffed to be over the line and then wait for Susie. Then, the heavens opened! Mrs UB came over the line in a very credible 2.11, a couple of mins slower than her best, but better than her previous time.

Wind. Rain. These are the enemies of the runner. But we still loved it. Now my mind turns to a bigger run next week. I've got worries and niggles now. I need to iron out and relax.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Three Amigos

Tom and Jessie's wedding by ultraBobban
Tom and Jessie's wedding, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

If you don't know Smiffy, Tappo and Lane then you don't know what hardcore nutters they are. Dave is nearly 75 and can still run a 1.24 half marathon. Tappo defies logic as he can run 36 mins for a 10k after 16 pints. Laney breaks all lung capacity rules as he has Emphysema after smoking 20 a day and can still knock out a 3.11 marathon.

These are the chaps that are backbone of our running club. Chiselled men, hardened by the rigours of life. Like coal men at the face, working hard all day and then running harder afterwards.

If I can add some vim and vigour to the club rites, then I shall try to emulate these fantastic fellows. If I could squeeze a pic of Mangioni with his sub -3 or his Ironman or Woolly rowing for Oxford in the boat race 6 years ago, I would.

Just 10 days separate me from my first 100 miler. I'm now hungry for it. The training is over. The taper begins. 3 marathons and 3 ultras, plus lots of miles, well, nearly 2000km in 23 weeks and I feel ready. I am undertrained as have had a couple of work and gastro-setbacks in the last month but I want to be hungry for this.

All that is to do is the last part of the logistics, the letting friends know where I intend to be and the fuel and accoutrements that will provide me with the necessary energy and boost to accomplish this.

One more thing.......Mrs UB and her superb unwavering support and strength to guide me through the darkest hours......and keep my spirits up.

Bring on the cider at the finish!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


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

Getting my appetite back after a week of food poisoning has been good as I have not had any compunction to eat meat or cheese or too much diary. I've been switching to fish, pasta and plenty of fruit and veg. I jumped on the scales tonight and in a week I have lost 3.7kg or 8.2lbs in old money. This is a mass loss of Beardo proportions (for readers not familiar with Beardo.....this is an imaginary friend that might belong to a running club I run with who writes a fairytale blog about losing mass........he seems to be able to lose a stone in a week???!!!!!) was brought about by a gastro-bug.

It has taken some serious toll on my running as I have been less than comfortable at anything sub-7.45s and feel like it brings on indigestion and heartburn. Not that I will be running 7.45s in 19 days........

This week will be a comfortable 50-55 miles at LSR pace. I am not happy with my mileage but have to balance that with the massive workload I have on and the want to be fresh for the SDW100 and not be injured. Faster times will come after the summer. This is all about the LSR.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

South Downs Marathon Report

froth out by ultraBobban
froth out, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.
Off we went in the marathon machine with myself, the amazing Mrs UB and Lily, to the SDM on possibly the sunniest day for ages. Having looked forward to it for ages, there was no sense in me not running the marathon, despite a bout of illness this week. I would take it easy as the girls ran the half (starting with a tough climb of nearly 800ft straight up Butser Hill!) so at least I could recce for the SDW100 in 21 days time.

No sooner had I arrived in Slindon for the point to point marathon start than I was able to catch up with John Kipps, and then a good old chat with Helly D, Chaz and none other than 100 marathon legend Johnny Mack.

Helly and I were in the last wave of runners to leave, of which I clearly stated I would be lingering near to the back. Off up and up Westwood Down from near sea level to 699ft on a long, long drag. I knew what I was letting myself in for having done the race before. I was travelling light as I was not hungry in the slightest so overtook loads of people up the Down. I then had to stop and walk and dart in to the bush for an unscheduled retch. I felt a little better and was hoping that the multicoloured anomaly would have cleared my system and I would be able to enjoy the rest of the run......

Up to the top of Sutton Down at 799ft and then another unscheduled stop, not far after the first water station at 5 miles. Lucky I had a Lucozade tropical with me to wash the sickness out of my nostrils. Time to carry on.

The next couple of miles were good miles. I wasn't in a chatty mood, just one foot in front of the other and head down with a job to do. Off Scotcher's Bottom down to about 300ft and then back up to Woolavington Down at 790ft. The next unsheduled stop was near Teagleaze Farm, about half a mile later where the rest of my breakfast joined the South Downs Way. Luckily I had someone else to stop for and check out here as a chap who had gone in wave 2 had tripped over a root, dodging some mentalist cyclist who had "route one" and to hell with the runners. Cock. A couple of other runners helped him up as he had a bloody face and was clearly shaken. He told us to carry on and a chap with a mobile called for help and stayed.

I felt that the smell of vomit might not help. The route undulates through woods here so was nice and cool out of the sun. Time to see if I could manage a drink....No! The last retch convinced me that the 13 mile checkpoint at Cocking would be my first DNF. Sadly, looking up to the summit of Didling Hill at 814ft was lovely, with a trail of day-glo miature figurines bobbling up the hill from the halfway point, spurred on by the recently quaffed gels at the marshall point.

This meandering mindset reminded me that I was probably dehydrated by this point and I should follow my head and not my heart. I managed to find 3 lovely ladies who were driving off to CP3 at Harting Down. After I checked with the marshal that it was OK to leave the course, I bailed. Despite the sickness, I managed the first half in a pleasing 16 minutes quicker than 2 years ago.

The ladies were supporting their brother/BF/nephew and were very posh and it was his first marathon. I gave them directions and we had chit chat for 6 miles about running, tennis and maps. Then I commandeered another ride to the finish from Matt and his wife and kids and friend who had been running the marathon relay. All very posh but all very nice. Good luck to the both of you brilliant runners and supporters.

And then I had to speak to the organiser to give them my number as a DNF......really sad point as I might have been able to finish.......but I also could have ended in hospital so now am feeling glad that I did.

So.....lessons learned......

1. Mind bikes on the SDW. Most are nice but some think they own the track and are cunts.
2. When people say that some parts of the Downs are easier.....this bit is not true for this section. It is a beast and will strike.

3. There is more shade here than nearer to Brighton

4. Don't run marathons after a heavy bout of food poisoning.

5. Hitch hiking is the new black

Friday, 8 June 2012

Food poisoning, heat, mountains and the SDM tomorrow

I'm a little under-prepared, a little voice was saying in my head as I got off the plane just a couple of hours ago...having resolvedly decided to run the South Downs Marathon tomorrow. Less than 24 hours ago I was suffering from some acute form of gastro-filth rendering me incapable of much more than relaxed duties whilst in the Central Balkan Mountains this week in Bulgaria.

The plan had been to relax after the Stag and Hen shenanigans of the weekend, which were by the way; AWESOME! Immune has some catching up to do on the drinking stakes, as does Tappo, but the other gents, in the main, were in red trousers and tweed and looking fine in their sartorial eccentricities! Glen and Eric, Woolly and Chrissie (in ladies trousers!) especially. However, this was not the case. No doubt fuelled by a total lack of all faculties by the end of the Saturday evening, I must have picked up a wretched bug as by Monday morning I felt woeful.

The week was a plan of run mornings (as it was 35 degrees in the day) followed by walk/sight see and eat later. Mrs UB had also brought kit too.

Even though I managed to do some sightseeing and visiting friends during the week, much of the time was rendered not eating and sleeping/lying in bed doubled up in pain. I couldn't think of a nicer place to be as it is totally tranquil.

So with Mrs UB and Lily running the half, along with Beardo, I thought "What the hell!" and am now running  the marathon tomorrow. Nice and relaxed....a trot round in the nice weather....... at a snail's pace....(and no..I didn't eat them)

 and pick up some much needed miles (I have run 4.87km this week!)

NO! I arrive off the plane from the searing 35 degree heat and to a wet and windswept UK. Not only that, when I get home and open my envelope and find that I am in the elite group.......ARRRGGHHH

I might see if I can swap at the start and run in the mid paced group as I am feeling fragile......but lets see what happens. I am distinctly behind schedule for the 100 miler in 3 weeks time. My taper should start here but with very few miles in the tank over the last 3 weeks, this is squeaky bum time!