Sunday, 30 November 2008

Planning begins.

Began planning in earnest today.

Training schedule: the 48hr race starts on a Wednesday so I'm taking the unusual step of beginning my training weeks on a Thursday !!!

Eighteen weeks and three days to go. The first two weeks will be stage two (of three) of my rehab following the minor knee injury. This involves running mixed with walking. I'm also stepping up the cycling and strength/conditioning exercises. Also continuing the straight leg quadriceps exercises three times daily until at least Christmas.

Still to decide which charity to support and made enquiries as to the cost of flight, accommodation, etc.

Need to find out (in detail) what the weather is likely to be like to help with planning fluid intake - must remember to drink less.

Looking forward to the challenge.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Plans for 2009

First of all an apology for not posting sooner. A few days ago I badly twisted my knee descending a ladder after putting some shelves up at home. Swollen with minor ligament damage - nothing too serious but enough to stop me running for a week or two.

Now ... onto next year. So far in my ultra running career (which began in late 2005) I've competed seriously in one 40 mile track race and five 24 hour races. I've also competed [but not seriously] in two 50 mile trail races. After my last race - London about six weeks ago - I took some time out and decided that 2009 should be different.

After looking around at all the options and lots of different websites/blogs I've decided that I'd like, once again, to raise money for charity. Most of you will be aware by now that I had cancer back in the 1990s so that seems the obvious choice. However, unlike most people apparently, I don't like to raise money by doing something within my comfort zone. So ...

There's a 48 hour race in Athens, Greece beginning on Wednesday 8 April 2009 and I plan to use this race threefold:

- raise money for a cancer charity to be decided shortly
- a new challenge for me
- to show the selectors of the England team for the Commonwealth Championships that I am fit

After that I can fit in another race in June or July before the Commonwealth Championships in mid September and then the fun filled end of year mudbath which is the Round Rotherham 50.

Lots to organise then. Travel to Athens and accommodation for myself and crew (have already asked Phil Robertson of Otley AC), choosing a suitable charity, sponsorship, fundraising, press, etc.

I'd like to thank Dan Rose for turning me onto fundraising again. He's done wonders raising over $7500 this year after suffering cancer in 2004.

Of course, plans could change if UK Athletics select me for the World and European Championships in Ciserano [Italy] on 2 May 2009. Personally I think that's unlikely though as in recent years qualifying standards have been higher than my 228k.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Personal Bests

There's a rather large article about me in today's Yorkshire Evening Post.  Read it here (with the photo) or here (without the photo).

Also, just found this on Greg Crowther's blog.  I hope he doesn't mind me reproducing it here if I put a link to his blog afterwards.  I'd like to ask his permission but I can't find any contact details on his blog.  One thing though ... being American he talks about Personal Records rather than Personal Bests, good stuff though.

The five stages of PRs

1. You set PRs because, by definition, your first race at each distance is a personal record.

2. You frequently set PRs by large amounts because you're still growing and maturing, and/or because you started training relatively recently, and/or because you're in the middle of a successful weight-loss program, and/or because you're now training much more sensibly than ever before.

3. You set PRs less frequently and by smaller amounts, and you find these modest improvements disappointing because you've become accustomed to stage #2.

4. As PRs continue to become more elusive, you learn to savor each new one.

5. You are now too old, too injured, and/or too unfit to set PRs.  To compensate, you either invent new categories of achievement (such as "seasonal bests" and "age-group PRs"), try events that you've never done before (and thus return to stage #1), or stop racing altogether.

I guess I'm in stage 1 (for the second time) ... what about you ?

Originally posted on Greg Crowther's blog, 11 November 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Medical Research

Club run last night - just over 7 miles at a fairly quick pace. Enjoyable.

Today I took part in a survey by UK Biobank. UK Biobank is a major UK medical research initiative with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis and forms of dementia. They are recruiting 500,000 people aged 40-69 from across the UK to take part in this project.

Basically I had to answer hundreds of questions about my lifestyle and have measurements taken such as height, weight, body fat %, blood pressure, etc. Then samples of blood and urine were taken for analysis.

This is an ongoing research initiative and I will be asked back at some future point for more of the same - to see how things have changed I suppose.

Of all the tests I undertook I was given the following results:

blood pressure ... 146/85 mmHg

weight ... 57.3 kg [126.3 lb] (clothed)

height ... 1.67 m [5 feet 5.75 inches]

body mass index ... 20.5

waist ... 71 cm [28 inches]

body fat ... 14.1 %

heel bone ultrasound ... 162 dB/MHz

lung function ... FEV1 value ... 2.87 litres

lung function ... FVC value ... 3.60 litres

lung function ... FEV1/FVC ratio ... 80 %

As expected, the lung fuction tests are slightly less than normal because of my medical history (in 1993 I had part of my right lung removed due to cancer).  For my age, height, gender and race FEV1 value should be 3.41 to 3.64 litres and FVC value should be 4.50 to 4.80 litres.

I'm happy with this though - I'm alive, running, have a wonderful family and I'm enjoying myself.

Monday, 17 November 2008


Forty miles last week including back to back 10 milers. Not much, I know. This week I plan to run with the club (Otley AC) tomorrow night, run again on Wednesday and two 12 milers at the weekend.

With another run on Thursday or Friday the weekly mileage will be around 45. Also planning to have two sessions of strength/conditioning exercises - the first was this afternoon.

You've probably noticed the recent changes and additions to this site. The first is that from now on I'm only going to use the metric system for results, etc. At the bottom of each relevant page will be a suitable widget enabling you to convert to miles, etc quickly and easily.

Apologies to all my American readers for this (and some British readers too no doubt).

This page has quite a few changes down the left hand side too. These other pages have had a facelift as well; some major and some minor. Please take a look around and let me know what you think:

Sponsor Me
Tooting 24 hr race report - 2008
My Ranking
Help & Advice
Future Races
My Races
Personal Bests
Contact Me

Over the next few days I have plans to add a couple more pages too - stay tuned.

Oh yes ... before I forget ... if any of the links don't work please let me know.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Next year's races

Hello again

Began the strength and conditioning exercises earlier this week - at a reduced level of course.

Ran 10 miles yesterday and 10 miles again today with no ill effects at all ... pleased with that. On course for a relaxing 40 miles this week before training steps up a bit next week.

Almost finalised my racing plans for next year, between January and September there are over 200 races in Europe and from these I've picked a short list of 17 which are:

8 Mar - Barry 40, Wales
20 Mar - indoor spring 48hr, Brno, Czech Republic
21 Mar - Rennes 24hr, France
28 Mar ? - St Catherine's Hospice 12hr, Crawley, England
5 Apr - A Coventry Way Challenge, England
7 Apr - Athens International Ultramarathon Festival (72hr), Greece
8 Apr - Athens International Ultramarathon Festival (48hr), Greece
11 Apr - St Fons 24hr, France
1 May - Sene 24hr, France
2 May - 24 ore del Delfino, Ciserano, Italy
9 May - Steenbergen 24hr, Netherlands
9 May - Torrejon de Ardoz 24hr, near Madrid, Spain
9 May - Basle 24hr, Switzerland
24 May ? - Anglo Celtic Plate 100k, UK or Ireland
11 Jun - Antibes 48hr, France
12 Jun - Antibes 24hr, France
11 Jul - East Hull Harriers 24h, England

Still plan to use shorter races (5k - 10 miles) as speedwork or incorporate them into a long run. This worked well in 2008.

After two or three of these it's the Commonwealth Championships in Keswick, UK (assuming I'm selected) then another race toward the end of 2009. No idea which as yet.

Beginning to update all the stuff on this site now.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Club handicap

This morning I took part in my first club handicap event since the Danefield race in July. These races are very enjoyable - when the weather is fine - and I was surprised by how well I ran.

My target for the 4.44 mile course near East Keswick was 31 mins (7 mins per mile). I managed 29:09 but it was hard work. This shows how well I've recovered since the Tooting Bec 24 hour race three weeks ago.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Tentative plans

Two days after the Tooting race I developed a really bad cold, the worst I've had for years. I don't often fall ill after an ultra race but this was a bad one.

Possibly a result of not showering immediately after finishing the race. So, in the future I may have to choose between Exercise Associated Collapse and developing a cold. No contest really ...

Didn't run for eight days but since then I've been out every other day and the aches and pains have slowly subsided and I'm beginning to look forward to the next challenge ... an ultra next spring probably, to confirm my fitness and injury free status before the England Athletics team is announced in June/July for the Commonwealth Championships.

I may do two races in the spring.

This morning a journalist from the Yorkshire Evening Post phoned asking for a quick interview - he's sending a photographer round on Friday.