Sunday, 26 July 2009

world 24 hr challenge 2010

I've obviously not been looking.   It's been on the IAU website for a few days apparently but yesterday I received official confirmation that next year's World 24 hr event will be at Brive-la-Gaillarde in France on May 13 and 14.

The website for last year's race in Brive is here.

Now then ... what do I have to do in Keswick to be selected ? 235k perhaps ... can I do that ?

Of course I can ...

PS - very well done to Sharon Gayter who had a great run at Badwater.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

temporary marking paint (not)

For the past week or so I've been the subject of quite a few jokes regarding the orange paint on the road near the scout hut on Burras Lane in Otley.

The paint is supposed to be 'temporary marking paint' but despite lots of rain since the Run To London it still hasn't proved to be temporary.  It has faded slightly though in the nine weeks it's been there.

Although most people who see that writing will know what it was all about I have to have a laugh to myself when I think about the markings on the road at 100 miles, 200 km, 150 miles, 300 km and 200 miles.  People who see those will have absolutely no idea why they are there or what they are for.

The 100 mile mark was about 2.5 miles north of Melton Mowbray, just outside the village of Scalford.

The 200 km mark was in the village of Great Easton, just south of Eyebrook Reservoir.

The 150 mile mark was less than a mile south of Hinwick.

The marks for 100 miles, 200 km and 150 miles were on relatively busy country roads but the 300 km mark was on a very quiet country lane just south of Breachwood Green.

By contrast the 200 mile point though was a couple of miles south of Hatfield on the main road known as the A1000 or the Great North Road.  People must see the words '200 miles' on the road every day and wonder what lies 200 miles away and why those words are there.

Photos by Keir Carver, Huw Illingworth, Helen Barber, Huw Illingworth and Steve Harvey.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Washburn Valley Relay

Despite the rain - heavy at times - and the extremely muddy conditions a very good time was had by all everyone in this years Washburn Valley Relay which took place a couple of days ago.  If my memory is correct it often seems to rain at this popular summer evening relay.

Anyway I ran the first stage for my team ... probably the muddiest stage ... and was pleased to record 21:38 for the 3.25 miles.  Especially as trail running isn't exactly my favourite racing surface.  The track through the woods to the north of Fewston Reservoir was really bad in places.

My trail shoes helped a lot though ... Innov 8 Terroc 330 ... the grip on mud and wet trails is brilliant, not much grip on wet stones, rocks, etc but that didn't matter in this race.

Otley AC won the event and my team finished 39th out of 54.

Thanks to all the organisers, timekeepers, etc for putting on a good event in bad weather.

This afternoon I completed a tempo run of six miles. The plan was to run at about 10k pace but the wind wasn't going to make it easy. My target was 6:37.4 to 6:42.0 per mile and my splits were: 6:18 ... 6:24 ... 6:53 ... 6:35 ... 6:42 ... 6:50. Very pleased with this especially after it comes only a week after a quick 46 miler [see Monday 13 July 2009] and less than 48 hours after the Washburn Valley Relay.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

page updates

The following pages have been updated today:

Personal Bests
Future Races
My Races

Also updated some of the stuff on the left hand side of this page - particularly in relation to coffee.

Recently I've been drinking some coffee which I've bought at Betty's in Ilkley. So far I've tried Bosque Lya (from El Salvador), Ethiopian Mocha Limu, Galapagos Islands, Java Jampit and Sumatra Mandheling.

I've not come across Galapagos Islands coffee before and this is full bodied, rich and caramelly (very enjoyable).  My favourites though have been those from Sumatra and El Salvador - they both have an almost chocolaty taste (Sumatra is dark and El Salvador is milk).

Monday, 13 July 2009

a bad day at the office ...

Well, here's what happened ...

Arrived the night before with a tent and two crew members (Fay and Keir).  Everything was fine ... runners and the organiser, doctor and other officials were chatting away and eagerly anticipating the weekend's race.

Just before going to sleep I stubbed my toe and a toenail came off.  I know it had been loose since the Run To London but I didn't realise it had been so bad.  An omen perhaps.

Woke up in the night with cramp in my left calf ... things were not going well at all.

Before an ultra distance race I usually snack on high carbohydrate foods right up until the race starts.  This time I decided to just have a large breakfast about two to three hours before the race.  The idea behind this change is that food eaten within one hour of a race stimulates the release of insulin, which increases the amount of carbohydrate used during the race.

About an hour before the race I ambled down to see the woman from the Northern Institute of Massage to see if she could help with the cramp problem I had about six hours earlier.  After about ten minutes on her table I felt much better ...

The race began and I felt strong, it went like this:

plan - to run at 7:47 per mile (1:56 per lap)
actual - ran at 7:47 per mile (1:56 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run at 7:51 per mile (1:57 per lap)
actual - walked for 7:30 then ran at 7:41 per mile (1:55 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run at 7:59 per mile (1:59 per lap)
actual - walked for 7:30 then ran at 7:59 per mile (1:59 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run at 8:03 per mile (2:00 per lap)
actual - walked for 7:30 then ran at 8:03 (2:00 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run at 8:07 per mile (2:01 per lap)
actual - walked for 7:30 then ran at 8:07 per mile (2:01 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run at 8:15 per mile (2:03 per lap)
actual - walked for 8:45 then ran for 8:55 per mile (2:13 per lap)

plan - to walk for 7:30 then run for 8:19 per mile (2:04 per lap)
actual - walked for 10:00 and later for 5:00. Ran at 9:03 per mile (2:15 per lap)

During the seventh hour, when I was beginning to try and understand why I was struggling, it suddenly occurred to me that the 218 mile Run To London was only seven weeks ago and it was obvious that I hadn't recovered enough to be able to run a quick 100 miles.

What came to mind next was a section from Tim Noakes' book Lore Of Running (fourth edition, page 662):

"Continuous running during marathon and ultramarathon races produces a specific form of fatigue due to eccentric-induced muscle damage with associated changes in neuromuscular function."

"Once this fatigue develops, it is irreversible, causing the runner to slow precipitously, or even be reduced to walking.  Complete recovery may take weeks to months."

I then decided it would be wise to stop as I didn't want anything getting in the way of a good build up to the Commonwealth Championships which are only nine and a half weeks away.

Another thing I was trying for the first time was a different length of walking break.  I usually walk for ten minutes every hour but this time I thought I'd try seven and a half minutes in a slightly shorter race.  It worked well for the first five hours but then I needed more time walking ... I had been running faster than usual though. This needs to be tried again when I'm fresh.

Some of the new food and drink choices weren't due until a few hours after I stopped running so I still don't know whether or not they would have had any benefit.  The Shot Bloks electrolyte chews were very good:  a useful way of taking on board sodium, etc and easier to chew and swallow than expected.

The REGO Rapid (protein drink) tasted much better without the addition of a Shotz electrolyte tablet.

After I retired I spent much of the remaining 17 hours enjoying the race and talking to people such as Alan Young, Adrian Stott, Eleanor Robinson, Mike Blamires, etc. I'm always willing to listen and learn from what others have to say about training, racing, nutrition, etc.

- Seven weeks recovery after 218 miles is not enough for me.
- Alan and Adrian very kindly pointed out that two bad races [by my own standards] from nine ultras is quite a good ratio.
- passed the marathon distance in 3h 38:39 and 60k in 5h 16:17 (the latter a pb by over 20 minutes).

Many thanks to Dave Annandale for organising a fantastic event and thanks also to all the lap counters too (especially Emma Annandale who was mine [sorry for not collapsing at the end though !!!]).

Thursday, 9 July 2009

experimenting in Hull

As I'm only going to be running 100 miles at the weekend, and as my major race for the year is the Commonwealth Championships in September, I've decided to use the race in Hull this weekend to experiment with one or two things.

A few different foods, hypertonic drinks near the end instead of isotonic.

Different amounts of electrolytes ... and a different source.  Thanks to the good folks at Shotz for this.

I'll also be trying a different run-walk ratio and a different running speed.

As the weather forecast is for quite a bit of rain I guess I'll be also using, for the first time in an ultra race, clothes to try keep me dry.

I'll report back after the race to let you how the experiments went.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Commonwealth Championships

Well, well, well ... what can I say except "at last ..."

Had a phone call early yesterday afternoon from Norman Wilson [chairman of ultra selection - England Athletics].  He was phoning to confirm my selection for the Commonwealth Ultra Running Championships which will take place in Keswick in mid September.

I've been selected for the 24 hr event on condition that I run no more than 100 miles next weekend at the East Hull Harriers 24 hr race. This condition poses no problems at all because I was never intending to run more than 100 miles ... I want to make sure I'm fully recovered in time for the Commonwealth Championships.

Still a few questions need answering about the Championships - crew, accommodation, meals, kit, etc. I'm sure these will all be answered in the next few weeks.

For now I'm just happy to have my selection confirmed - only about six or seven months later than expected.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

weekend away

Just returned from a good weekend in the Yorkshire Dales.  On Saturday morning Fay and I left for Barden Bridge, a few miles north of Bolton Abbey, in Wharfedale.  Arriving at 10 o'clock we then walked along the Dales Way for about 14 miles or so to Kettlewell - stopping at Grassington for something to eat.

This is a really enjoyable part of the Dales Way.  From Grassington to Kettlewell is one of my favourite stretches with wonderful sights from unusual locations.  For example Kilnsey Crag is hardly recognisable from the other side of the valley but can be easily found by looking for Mastiles Lane which snakes up and over the fell onto Malham Moor just to the south of Kilnsey.

We were lucky with the weather too.  The forecast had been for an increasingly showery afternoon and evening.  What we actually had was sunny spells and quite high temperatures all day until 5.30pm by which time we had already arrived in Kettlewell.

Apart from having an enjoyable walk the other reason for our trip to Kettlewell was to attend the wedding reception of two friends - Jake and Becca - at the village hall.  A fantastic party ensued until the early hours when a group of about a dozen of us trekked up Great Whernside to Hag Dyke which was where we were staying for the night.

Finally got to sleep at about 4.00am - woke up at 7.00am at the very latest.  A group of six of us then proceeded to make breakfast of coffee, tea, bacon sandwiches, croissants, pork pies ... and cereal.

After packing everything away we all walked back into the village and helped with the clearing away of the stuff from the village hall.  The DJ, another friend, was with our group who stayed at Hag Dyke and he left his stuff overnight in the hall.
After another coffee in a local cafe we left for home, finally arriving mid afternoon.

A fantastic weekend with a brilliant party and good company.  All the best to Mr & Mrs Carpenter - may you have a long and happy marriage.

Almost forgot ... pork pies.  The reception was slightly unusual in that the food on offer was pie 'n' peas.  The pork pies were absolutely brilliant though, quite a few of the 200+ guests mentioned that they were the best they had ever tasted.  At the end of the evening there were a number of pies left so we took half a dozen or so up to Hag Dyke.

Friday, 3 July 2009

early day motion

Had an interesting lunchtime today.

The Member of Parliament for Leeds North West (which includes Otley), Greg Mulholland has been in fairly regular contact over the past few weeks regarding my Run To London.  He's a runner himself and completed a marathon at the beginning of May.  Anyway the point is that he recently felt compelled to mention my Run To London in the House of Commons in the form of an Early Day Motion.

For those who are unfamiliar with the workings of the UK Parliament the official website states that:

"Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons.  However, very few EDMs are actually debated.  Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.  An MP can add their signature to an EDM to show their support.  They can also submit amendments to an existing EDM."

Today, at noon, I met Greg Mulholland and the Otley Town Mayor (Councillor Gerard Francis) and was presented with a framed copy of the wording of the Early day motion.

  • That this House congratulates Mr Chris Carver on the extraordinary achievement of completing a 218 mile run from Otley to London; further congratulates Mr Carver on managing to raise over £2,000 for the charity Orchid, a cancer charity dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating male cancers; is hugely impressed that he managed to complete this challenge in just under 45 hours and recognises the physical and mental discipline as well as intensive training that is required to complete such an impressive example of ultra distance running; and wishes him every success in his future endeavours, including the Commonwealth 24 hour Championships which takes place in September.
Very impressed that my fundraising and ultra distance running exploits seem to have reached an audience of MPs - unexpected though.  In some ways it's all a bit strange; doesn't the UK Parliament have more important work to do other than briefly talking about people such as myself.  Funding research into the prevention and treatment of cancer for example.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

long runs

Yesterday morning I had a good long hilly run around Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs.  Although the paths around the reservoirs are not really hilly - they're not flat though - and the road to/from my house also includes some serious climbing.

I knew the weather was going to be hot so I decided to run in the coolest part of the day - morning.  When I left home at 8.30am the thermometer showed 19 degrees C (68 degrees F) in the shade.  On the exposed hill top roads of the first and last five miles it was quite a bit hotter.  The trails were excellent and had lots of trees providing nice shade.  A really enjoyable run in one of my favourite local places.

When I arrived back home at 11.50am (after 21+ miles of running) the temperature had risen to 24 degrees C (75 degrees F).

This is the area where Otley AC stage their annual Washburn Valley Relay.

Today I decided on a different route of exactly the same distance (21+ miles).  This time I ran up the valley to Chelker Reservoir and back.  Not as hilly but with a bad climb at the far side of Addingham.  Included in this run was 10 x 5 minutes at 10k pace - hard work but enjoyable.  I left home at 8.30am again when the temperature was 20 degrees C (68 degrees F).  When I got back home at 11.25am the temperature had risen to 22 degrees C (72 degrees F) but it was far sunnier than yesterday.

Only nine days to go before my next race - Hull 24 hr track race (but, as you know, I'm only running 100 miles).