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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Even though there was 50cm of snow in the Balkan mountains, I still got out for a good solid hike. Conditions of -6 degrees and 50cm of snow in the mountains led me to not run. Although I have not been getting the big miles in lately I have been working on speed and now have got my 5k time down to 20.08 or 6.25s per mile. I'm quite pleased with this as it is now near to my 19.56 PB for 5k.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Stort 30 Race Report

So it is a bit of a delay in the write up. Usually it is within 24 hours but over a month later I needed to get round to it. A nice drive up to Hertfordshire for a nice race temperature start for this time of year. For me t-shirt weather but for some, it was a case of the 'Yukon Ultras' for others.

Dear readers might notice a change in my perceptions about the sport but in the last few months I have ditched the gear and gone for a lightweight approach to the longer runs. No backpack, no waistpack, just a bottle and what I can fit in my pockets. Liberating!

I arrived knowing very few faces. There were around 250 runners and after a packed race briefing and some race admin of my own it was off for 2 laps around the field. I spotted Craig Holgate from Centurion running team on the front laying down the marker as he went off like shit off a hot chrome shovel. I gently stretched out my tired legs and after the 2 laps we were on the road for a 1km descent to the Stort Navigation channel where we would out and back over the 30 miles. Ever short of miles this year I enter events now with some trepidation and this was no different. After 4 miles of feeling shit but striking up some good conversation with a local chap (sorry your name escapes me) I felt like I could give it some beans and caught up with a chap I had done the Downland Ultra with Dave Immune who remembered I had broken my leg 6 months previous. I felt a bit embarrassed I hadn't remembered his name and again this escapes me! So we ran together and beasted the next few miles racing through CP1 and heading onto CP2 for just a quick drink and then the turnaround at 15 miles which we did in 1hr 57 mins. I stopped for 5 to gather myself and drink and off we went again. I kept this up to 20 miles and then the wheels came off a bit.

What I really enjoyed was the high 5-ing runners coming the other way.....but sweating my bollocks off by this point seeing the throng of overdressed Hoka-compression-tight-rucksack-wearing-jacket-wearing-sunglasses-wearing obese runners made me question for a moment the technology in our beloved sport. I have been a bit of a sucker to some of these fads and fashions but now am becoming a bit retro in my belief that mind and body get you through the harsher parts of races and there is nothing that a couple of cups of coke and a handful of crisps won't solve. My favourite was the portly Lara Croft man who sported a gun belt of at least 20 gels across his chest and Buff to toes in Buff sponsored gear.......both these guys were BIG UNITS at potentially 18+ stone.

Anyway after my giggles at the caravan of colour, I hit the skids at around 20 miles and ploughed into the checkpoint and grazed like a horse. I was clearly light on training longer miles but enjoying the day with a permanent smile on my face. I hooked up with 24hr Track runner Nathan at about 24 miles in, recently projectile vom Nathan....we had a bit of a laugh and then trotted back the last 6 miles with some run-walking to come in 47th at 4.40. Not too bad for a lack of training but still well under the 5 hours I had in my head. A bit more sensible eating earlier and we would be looking at a 4.15.

Marathon #55. Done