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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Spring in the step?

I'm trying to get a spring in the step....although tonight did not get home from work until 8.10pm and by the time I had watered my new flock of children......erm veggies and seeds, it was time not to run. I had a good long run along the Thames into a fairly bracing wind on Sunday but was plagued by a tight hamstring that I believe has been a product of my new Saucony Cortanas and the introduction of speed work and hill reps last week. I switched back to the old Asics last night for a slow recovery run and found myself trundling along at 7.40s again. Where has this come from? I decided o test the hamstring and to my surprise, even a mile at 6.50s was not a problem. I think it my be getting used to the shoes. I wanted a more robust pair than my Kinvaras that are lovely for about 8-10 miles and then loose all cushioning and wear out at about 1mm per run (no rubber sole, just EVA)

So this spring in my step has been awesome. I have been doing a bit of core work, but only a bit, twice a week. I haven't lost any body mass recently, if anything, could do with losing 4kg before the 50 and 100 mile runs coming up.

There is that fine line between faster running and getting injured, but over the last few weeks, running at 7s and below has been far more fun than a plod at really feel like you are going somewhere!

So.....busy busy weeks ahead. Bewl Marathon on Sat, 3 Forts 27 miler on Sunday (hopefully I will see Immune for a catch up) and 2 weeks later, the NC50.

I'll need to be blossoming and not shedding petals.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Proud of Mrs UB

An amazing run on Sunday for Susan.....she definitely enjoyed it on the way round. She looked ace at 7......more than a little tired and stiff at 21 and wobbly at the end.......

Having said that, on the train on the way home, she couldn't stop smiling. I am very very proud of you Susan!

More mundane matters now and my own training seems to be OK. I ran last night including some hill reps so was tired at the club. With the marathon party at DPR in full swing, Mark and nipped out for a quick run......I ended up doing 7.4 miles at 7.15s.........Something that was far far quicker than I had expected. We chatted all of the way around and never dropped below 7.30s, finishing in 6.50s. I was genuinely shocked that I went that fast after all of the long slow plods I have been doing. Most pleased!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Big Week

Green Belt Relay 2012 by ultraBobban
Green Belt Relay 2012, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Not sure why I've used this pic but am having a couple of ciders and listening to Port Vale trying to get into the promotion spot for League 1.

115.5km this week. Wow! How did this happen? 65 hours at work this week left not a great deal of time for running. Having said that I wanted to run on tired legs after the Black Dog Marathon last week where I came 41st after a slow training run.

What happened today was a lovely 23 mile training run down the Lee Valley and onto the Thames path and then the waterlink way with the legend Phil Beecroft. Awesome run.......

Monday, 15 April 2013

38 at 38

Lada Action by ultraBobban
Lada Action, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Over the next few weeks I am going to see a Lada action............a-boom-tish.....

I have just completed my 37th Marathon at 37 and am edging towards 38 at 38 over the next couple of weeks as I celebrate my 38th BD with a marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday. This will not take place on the weekend of my birthday but a week later to take in the Bewl Marathon and the 3 Forts 27 miler. Regualr readers will know that I have completed the 27 mile 3450ft marathon twice before, finishing in the top 20 at my first attempt (which would have seen a top 5 last year based on the time) and a top 50 last year the day after my first ever DOUBLE weekend.

So Mrs UB is off on a hen do and I am off on marahon duties to hit the dizzy heights of marathons 38 and 39.

This year started slow but in preparation for the longer events, there certainly will be a Lada action for mind and body.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Race Report - Bungay Black Dog Marathon

It was a hot day. Hot in comparison to the previous 5 months of near and sub-zero conditions so the heat was a bit of a shock. I arrived back in the UK on Tuesday to 2 degrees. it has warmed up all week but the next run I did was today at 23 degrees. A veritable scorcher!

This was a fairly last minute addition to the race calendar as regular readers will know that I have bemoaned lack of miles, cancelled races, yada-yada-yada.......However, it dovetailed perfectly with a visit to the awesome Tracy and Mark in Diss, Norfolk. Tracy and Mark left London 3 years ago and purchased a 15th century cottage and are enjoying the country life. Tracy and Mrs UB go way back and Mark and I share a passion for cooking, drinking cider, ale and wine and all essentially all things anti-lugubrious!

Preparation for the marathon included a 5 mile walk around heathland and fenland. The fens were utterly waterlogged and I traded my XC shoes for bare feet to traverse sunken pathways whilst the crew soldiered on in a workmanlike fashion in stout walking boots. Following an hour in the pub, sampling local cider, a spicy but gorgeous Thai meal washed down with wine and then a glimpse into Mark's drinks cabinet saw a great evening but a less than perfect preparation evening.

Bring on Sunday. Last year Jezza and I drove from the crack of dawn.... (poor Dawn!) but this year was a lie in until 8am and drop scones, bananas, bacon and maple syrup for brekkie....again, not ideal prep for marathon duties. Howver, Mark's drop scones (aka Scotch Pancakes were moreish) and a 20 min drive to the start.

Mrs UB dropped me there and went for morning tea and then luncheon with Tracy in Beccles. I set off at a 6 rasher of bacon and 5 drop scones 8.35s for the first 6 miles. The sun was out...the 4 hills were knocked off and then turning into Beccles was getting the "runners high" that I had not had in ages. Miles 7 through to 14 were just lovely. Not fast.....7.45s to 8.15s but this was only a training run, nothing else. Such a buzz round the back of the course.

I spotted many a possibility for other runs.....The Angles Way, The Godric Way, The Broad Circular Way...

So puffing up the second round of hills up above the River Waveney and her valley I felt the heat beat down and realised that I was overtaking many of the earlier marathon runners. The half marathoners were whizzing past (the winner in 1.15) but I was content with expansive views over the Waveney, dykes and ditches, fields of Phragmites australis, corncrakes and the occasional sound of predatory hawks. Taking on the hawk concept, I was definitely a Dove today. Flitting from runner to runner...."Are you OK?" "Want some Jelly beans?" as I was going along. I dropped pace at 20 to a sedentary 8.45s and then a couple of 9s back into the ferocious headwind. Sunburnt (despite factor 50!) I began picking off some slower half marathoners and having a chat with some of the old boy 100 marathoners. 5 miles back I had a 3.35-3.40 finish but I was content with the conversation and camaraderie to enjoy and crossed the line in 3hrs 51 mins.

I love the Black Dog as it gave me 2 things...friendship with the amazing Johnny Mac 4 years ago and a PB back then. I've now done this 3 times and each time I am slower on each occasion. Awesome weekend.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

CBMT (Central Balkan Mountain Training)

walking from Dobromirka by ultraBobban
walking from Dobromirka, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Tomorrow Mrs UB and I are off to our place in the Central Balkan Mountains. I'll be running every day out there as the temperature has increased in the last 20 days from -10 to 22 degrees. I'm packing shorts and t-shirts....and running gear. Can't wait!

Urban London Plod

Deep seated urban decay by ultraBobban
Deep seated urban decay, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Well it took me longer to get over that marathon than I think it has for some time. Plodding the streets of South London in this bitter cold, I put my hat on for only the 3rd time this year. Stiff quads and back for this hilly South london run.....

Monday, 1 April 2013

Some recovery

I've been relaxing with my two best buddies in the last couple of days. Simeon and Charlie came up to London for my vegan Laksa with Mike, Andy, Ruth, Phoebe and the beautiful Mrs UB on Saturday, followed by a day of doing culture and then an evening of reggae with Ken Boothe in Camden last night. I probably drank too much and definitely have eaten too much but what a weekend.

I thought after a bank holiday lie in, the tightness in my quads would have relented but I'm not sure if it is still marathon legs or reggae dancing that is making them feel a bit stiff.

I thought I would have a look at the splits on the Garmin and was pretty pleased, aside from the lengthy stops at CPs and the 42 kissing gates.......which all seem to show up, though the pace was pretty even until the last mile or two.......consistency paid off it seems.

I might get out later this evening for a loosener around the block but an now focusing on a couple of events that are upcoming....again I am going to keep my cards close to my chest on this next couple of weeks but am celebrating my birthday with a double weekender: Bewl Marathon on Saturday and 3 Forts 27 on the Sunday. Green Belt Relay is cancelled this year so there may be something there but I'm awaiting Phil's OK on the Norman Conquest 50 before the build up to the big one, the SDW100 in June.

There are a couple of weekends free so short notice marathons are a possibility too. I'm still behind in my training and diet but I hope that the next couple of months will be fruitful. Oh and there is the VLM supporting role for Mrs UB.