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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Bucket List

Tree of the buckets by ultraBobban
Tree of the buckets, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Much to the concern of Mrs UB, my entry to the LLC130 will mean that I have to sneak in some training. I've got a bit of a bucket list for 2014.

Midnight Challenge 50k - coming up in 18 days
2nd March - Steyning Stinger
Easter - plenty of runs but fitting in a couple of cheeky marathons might be the case.
Then we get into May and I am torn between the Malvern 52 and the 3FM.
Bewl will be a goer in mid may....or even neolithic....One that me and Immune blasted a few years back.
I'm hoping that if I can wangle a nice hotel and something to do on the other non-running day then possibly 3 rings of Shap 100k(would love to) and a big wish would be the Osmotherley Phoenix 30 in the summer. There are some easy getaways for the morning such as Fairlands Valley 50k and SDM
All in all, exciting stuff.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

How to get in the miles?

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

Since this little UB has come into the world, running has taken a back seat. Not that i am begrudging this at all as this is the most amazing part of me and Mrs UB's life so far, such a journey.

Not only that, work has been crazy and school has been very busy, both from a leadership point of view and also working with GCSE and A levels at this time of year. So luckily I took the initiative this weekend to become a postman and hand deliver the thank-you cards to the very generous friends in the South London area. 2 distinct runs; Saturday, t-shirt and blasting out the miles. Sunday, pissing down with rain, a tight calf and a bruised couple of metatarsals still from the Winter Tanners 30. Not a mega weekend by any stretch but still a decent 20 miles of running that is much needed as I did not get out from Monday-Friday! That has not happened for a while and I'm sure it won't again.

Luckily I have loads more cards to deliver this week after work.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Winter Tanners 30 Race report

It was a cold and frosty morning as I arrived traffic free at 7.40am in Leatherhead Station car park. The dashboard stated that it was just -1 degrees C. Time for an extra layer. I walked down to an amendedstrt at Leatherhead Leisure centre where I had a quick chat with Kelvin, who we had agreed would start at 8.00am. Kelvin had already picked up his number and was keen to go so after a chat, off he went. I was looking to catch up with Jerry at the start and after some race admin, picked up my number and conscious that I was a little later than planned, checked if he had picked up his. I waited around at the start, for Jerry and as I realised that I needed to get on: it was now 8.42am, decided to head off on my own. It was good to bump into Pete and also Paul Ali who was running with his buddy Matt. Paul has a pic on his own blog which has him top-to-toe in all black Salomon. Snazzy. However, it will only end up as brown later!

Off I went. The first couple of miles were 'grind-out' uneventful and then came an awesome view.

This was the NDW in full spleandor and lifted my spirits. At the time it was needed as I was feeling a bit mopey and wasn't really enjoying it. There were a lot of ups and downs across Mickelham Down and Juniper Hill. After a particularly hair raising descent of a few hundred feet I started to get a clip on. However, only 5 miles covered in the first hour meant a long day ahead. Nevertheless, short conversations with other runners during this part allowed me to spend time thinking about important stuff like my new beautiful daughter Audrey and my amazing wife who needs a gold star for letting me out on my first 'daddy ultra pass'. CP1 came and went with a gob-full of Jaffa cakes. 

The next hour was slightly quicker and grinding out 5.5 miles this time. I hooked up with a small group of chaps but frustratingly, their navigation was pretty bad and they would run off, get lost and then wait around for people to check with. If I had heard how many extra miles they had already done but 12 miles in, then it was time for me to get away and do my own thing. The mud here was incredible. I caught up with Kelvin at this point, then ran along for a couple of miles with a Dorking and Mole Valley runner who was at Boston when the bomb went off at the marathon. Insane.

After what was clearly now a much less swollen River Mole, all of the surrounding fields yielded muddy water, once the ice had melted.

Muddy bridleways, woods and trail gave way to metalled track for a couple of miles. It was time to get my foot down and once I had crossed a railway and snaffled some gels, my energy levels were up and CP2 came about quickly for a refuel. 3 hours in and 16 miles down. Slow going I know but the mud and surface water slowed everything down. Off road and back onto established Forestry Commission trail, I got chatting with a couple of runners who were quick, but unsure of directions. Jen and her running partner Chris (?) were training up for the NDW50 of which I am laying the markers for James Elson's Centurion Running. Both were fairly new to running but we struck up  conversation that lasted for the next 14 miles or so, on and off. This was great as it was about the right time for me as I had been in quiet contemplation and definitely enjoyed listening to their training and experiences. I like to run with my own nav work and it was down to me to do this now. The other two were on my instructions and this was quite nice for me to lead. I took down my last gels between CP2 and 3 and a small mistake here to pack 3 and not 4 or 5. I usually graze at CPs but didn't spend too long today. CP2 was populated by none other than Peter Bowles, fresh from blasting the C2C yesterday. He said that Helen was here, and was there yesterday, although I didn't see her.

I did a small wrong turn here. Luckily not much mileage lost (about 100m) but a total confusion after a missed footbridge. Back on track I hooked up again with the lost couple I had run with before. We got a good clip on and apart from the massive steps and hill up to Steer's Field CP3 at 25.8 miles, all was good. A hot coffee and a blast for the last 4.7 miles. All was going great until the last 2-2.5 miles. being out of sugar (potentially just that one extra missed gel from 25) was the difference between a cameo 7 min miler for the last 2 and changing down a gear for an ultra shuffle in. Determined to get under 6 hours, the last mile was painful and took a little out of my legs. 5 hours 50 for the round, 30.5 on the instructions and I ended up doing 30.74 so hardly any mistakes. 

I really enjoyed today, the mud, the run, the weather, the people, but most of all coming home to the family and a big fat roast dinner with brother-in-law and my sisters-in-law. Marathon/Ultra number #46. Done. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

'A' Race for 2014

Thank you Dick Kearn for accepting my entry as I am now 'in' the 2014 Liverpool-Leeds Canal race. 130 miles of northern monkey. Scousers? Great....Mrs UB is a Scouser. Mancs? Great, I grew up in Manchester.....Leeds? The only thing I know about Yorkshire is hills, rain and Geoff Boycott. Still, I am looking forward to this....

and then some minor undulations up to a max of 450ft along the way

So it should be a blast. Bank holiday weekend. Any crew would be most appreciated.

Winter tanners 30 pass

beware soft mud by ultraBobban
beware soft mud, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

I'm posting the same picture I know....but the weather is pretty unreal. Last year was snow for about a month. This year it is incessant rain! The Tanners is on and I am going to run my first ultra of 2014......also first as a Dad.

I have my tested new Inov8 X-Talon 212s and am raring to go. Towels at the ready as there are 12 flood warnings on the route......I am not taking the mobile phone this time but an old brick that is waterproof just in case. Race report will be here but in the meantime, running is on the backfoot for being a daddy and a 60 hour week at the chalkface.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Crystal place Parkrun

beware soft mud by ultraBobban
beware soft mud, a photo by ultraBobban on Flickr.

Undeterred by the howling gale and driving rain, I expected a smaller than usual crowd to be at CP Parkrun. Bromley Parkrun was closed due to flooding so the numbers were swelled. Good. More to huddle around at the start! I bumped into Katie on her first parkrun since baby Frank. Tappo was on his way too.

A slight course alteration owing to the flooding and waterlogged ground but a god awful muddy, with some slippy tarmac and lots of areas where the incessant rain had gouged an undulating surface on the gravel. Puddles I went straight through, but fallen branches and trees needed avoiding, as did the half dozen random dogs this morning. I definitely ran within myself today. I had 2 niggles so took it at a reasonable pace and timed in at 22 mins and 15s. CP parkrun has 250ft of climb on the 2.5 laps so for me, an OK time.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year 2014

It is always nice to start the year with a purge from NYE. This year it was a stay at home affair with the gorgeous Mrs UB and our new baby Audrey. Aside from about 3 hours sleep as would be expected with a new born, a number of ciders and a glass or two of cava needed to be purged from the soul. The answer: Parkrun. 

I think a number of the usuals from the running club had deferred to the Serpentine 10k in Hyde Park so a small number of the club; Margaret, Derek, Cookie and myself set off in the cold pouring rain for the only Parkrun in South London at Dulwich. Cookie had recently run an 18.56 so I said goodbye to him after exchanging pleasantries, happy with a sub 24 as I was feeling a bit lacklustre. Off I went with 172 other hardy new year runners and quickly found that I settled into a nice pace...not looking at the watch but running very confortably. After mile 1 I caught up with Cookie and we chatted for the next 2 miles as we trotted round in 7.10s and caught up with the Xmas and New Year news and gossip. Cookie blasted off for a cameo last 300m. Nice to clock a 21.58 for an event that an hour go I was still in bed. There is some real quality at this event as I came in 50/173 runners.

A nice 3 mile warm down in the heavy rain and a big fat sausage and onion sandwich later and all is well. Happy New Year readers.