Thursday, 28 May 2009

future plans

Been back from London less than four days and I'm still aching all over. A couple of hours ago my thoughts turned to training and planning for the Commonwealth Championships which are now only 16 weeks away.

The thought just crept in there - I didn't encourage it, honest.

Hope the soles of my feet stop hurting before then.

Friday, 22 May 2009

all the best to everyone

I know I've got a big event going on this weekend - see this page for details - but other ultra runners I know are also racing this weekend and I wish them all the best in their endeavours.

Sharon Gayter is in Surgeres doing the 48 hour race and Pam Storey & Gil John are taking part in the Wessex 100 (LDWA event).

I've also updated the media page with a new newspaper article.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Ultra Squad Weekend

I was at the England Athletics Ultra Distance Squad Weekend in Gloucester on Saturday and Sunday.  I wasn't particularly looking forward to the five hour journey involving two buses and two trains. It could have been worse though.

Everything was fine until we reached Birmingham a bit late. The train was supposed to arrive at 1107 but arrived at 1128. My next train was supposed to leave Birmingham at 1130 so I was beginning to panic a bit until I found that it was due to leave from the same platform I had just arrived at ... but it was going to be 10 minutes late.  We all got on and a few minutes later heard the following message over the public address system:  "this train will now leave at 1200 because there's no driver available."

Arrived in Gloucester half an hour late and not too happy.

Got to the hotel at two o'clock, on the early side but it would give me time to meet everyone before proceedings began at three.  Never been invited to one of these before - never considered myself 'elite' before and that's still an unfamiliar tag.  Chris Finill, Vicky Skelton, Ramona Thevenet-Smith, Andy Smith, Jez Bragg, Dominic Croft, Matthew Lynas, Brian Cole and the other runners I spoke to were great at making me feel very welcome and I'm very grateful to them for that (particularly Chris and Ramona - you were both fantastic).

I always find these type of get togethers rather awkward, mainly because I'm a shy and introverted person by nature - mainly because of my medical history.  Apart from cancer as an adult I had recurring major throat problems as a child and I spent three or four weeks in hospital every 18 months or so having throat surgery and not being able to talk for a couple of months afterwards.

Had less than four hours sleep before going for a run on Sunday morning with Jez Bragg, Chris Finill, Matthew Lynas and Dominic Croft.  I found that quite a surreal experience ... running down the road with a group of international runners, chatting away and covering well over nine miles in 70 minutes or less before breakfast.

Then came a long relaxed breakfast before the rain started.  That wasn't good as I had to walk back into Gloucester to the train station [no buses there on a Sunday].  Journey home was uneventful except that we left Sheffield seven minutes late and arrived in Leeds two minutes early !!! The scheduled journey of 48 minutes actually took 37 minutes - very strange.

Overall a good weekend.  I picked up a few tips from Chris Finill, Andy Smith and Hilary Walker and learned about the forthcoming Commonwealth Championships. It still rankles a bit that I haven't been officially selected yet even though I exceeded the tough qualification criteria easily in my last 24 hr race ... all this waiting makes planning and training a bit difficult.

Oh yes, less than four hours sleep.  Well, the bloke I was sharing a room with snores, loudly.  Very loudly at times.  So loudly that, a couple of hours after getting into bed I decided to try using my MP3 earphones as makeshift earplugs.  Not much better but I eventually drifted off to sleep ... sort of.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

updates and major changes

Updated this page.

You may have been aware from reading my blogs recently that things have been a bit hectic here recently. Well things seem to be getting better but I had to take drastic action to make it happen. I think I'll be a lot happier for taking that very tough decision though.

Apologies to everyone at Otley AC - hope you understand.  I needed to make major changes to my life.  I just couldn't cope with the stress anymore.

Monday, 11 May 2009

bad weekend

Looks like John Pares had a bad run in Basel. I don't think he'll be happy with 133k. Ramona would, I think, be pleased with her 162k. Les Hill I think will be disappointed with 180k but where was Jim Rogers ...

My bad weekend has resulted in me having to take some drastic action to restore my sanity. More details another time.

The reasons for Sharon's bad run in Bergamo appear to have been of a medical/nutritional nature ... too much sodium.  Electrolyte imbalances over a long period of time when exercising can cause major problems.

Friday, 8 May 2009

chasing the distances

All the best to Les Hill, Jim Rogers and John Pares who are running the Basel 24 hr race this weekend no doubt in a bid to get a qualifying distance for the Commonwealth Championships.

As Les is Scottish and John is Welsh their performances won't effect my chances of being selected for England. Jim is English and although he had a bad run at Tooting Bec last October he is definitely capable of passing 225k to join Chris Finill, Ken Fancett and myself with the English qualifying standard.

I hope Les has a better time than his previous 24 hr race (Hull 2008) when he collapsed during the 22nd hour whilst in a good position - I don't think he ran again in that race.

Ramona Thevenet-Smith is also running ... hope she does well too.

Thanks to Nadeem Khan for posting the piece on the IAU website. I feel honoured to have my story on the site of the world governing body (I did find a small mistake when I read it but I think it's just a typo).

I certainly don't feel as if my life has been extra ordinary ... I'm just a lucky guy doing something he loves which he happens to be quite good at.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

World Challenge & European Championships (again)

Yesterday I studied the results carefully and Anne-Cecile Fontaine of France had a sensational race missing the world best performance by a mere 14 metres.

Let's put that into perspective for those among us who are not ultra runners.  She ran 243.644m and the record is 243.657m.   That is equivalent to missing Paula Radcliffe's marathon record of 2h 15:25 by 0.43 seconds or missing Usain Bolt's 100m record of 9.69 seconds by 0.0005 seconds.

Even comparing it with Tomoe Abe's 100km world record of 6h 33:11 gives the result that Anne-Cecile would have been a mere 1.26 seconds behind.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

World Challenge & European Championships

When I've had the time this weekend I've been keeping up to date with the World & Euro 24 hr race in Bergamo, Italy. All the details have been on the IAU website ... the final results are here.

It appears that a lot of people ran less than expected. Stephen Mason stated that his target was 160 miles (257 km) and for the first 9 hours or so he was on schedule ... he then faded badly and finished with 133 miles (215 km). The three British women also had bad runs and none of them managed 200 km.

Possibly this was because of the warm conditions (25 decrees C during mid afternoon and 10 degrees C at night). It obviously isn't as simple as that though. Eoin Keith broke the Irish record with 237 km (147 miles). He set the previous record at Tooting Bec last year when conditions were much cooler ... brrrr (235 km/146 miles). Congratulations to him on his new record and on his sixth place finish.