Saturday, 26 September 2009

world 24 hr challenge 2010

I've just been looking at the IAU website on which are the up to date world rankings - thanks to Andy Smith.

Looking carefully at the statistics shows that if those were the finishing distances and positions in next year's World Championship then the UK men would finish as fourth team behind Australia, Germany and Russia.

That is a fantastic thought and surely on that basis John Pares, Stephen Mason, Jim Rogers and myself will be selected for the race which is on May 13/14 next year at Brive-la-Gaillarde in France

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

random thoughts from Keswick

I'm just starting to get a report together about the race but in the meantime here are a few random thoughts, in no particular order:

The camaraderie was absolutely fantastic, not just amongst English 24 hr runners, but amongst runners in all races from all participating countries.

Thanks to Wendy Lynas for making sure I didn't collapse/faint/pass out at the end of the race.

The staff at the youth hostel were amazing, particularly those in the restaurant who kept us fed and watered ... and laughed at the size of my appetite the evening before the race.

Learnt a lot from Chris Finill, at about 16 hours it became obvious that he was struggling and was having a bad time.  He still continued though and kept plugging away right to the end for the sake of the team.

An amazing new pb from Sharon Gayter - 226k

And from John Pares - 244k

A Commonwealth Record for Martin Fryer - 255k

The temperature dropped to about 7 degrees C overnight and the sight of Arun Kumar Bhardwaj (from India) in multiple layers of hats, gloves, tops, etc was a sight to behold.  At this time of year the night time temperature in India is about 24 degrees C.

Andy Eccles was a magnificent cheerleader.

Alan Young must have some stunning and amazing photos from all four days of competition and from the medal presentations too.

It was a pleasure to meet people whose careers I've followed in magazines for years, eg Bashir Hussain, Carolyn Hunter-Rowe.

Meeting an old friend in Keswick on Sunday afternoon.  I hadn't seen Sharon since 1986 and to see her again was great.

Lots of local people stayed awake all night to watch and cheer the runners.

The smell from the portaloos at the end of the race ...

The weather was fantastic during the race and good for the other races too.  Hardly any rain for four days in the Lake District - miraculous.

The Canadian mountain runner who, on Monday morning at 8.30am, realised he needed to be at Heathrow airport for a 12.05pm flight home.  He had no transport arranged and no money either.

The speed of the 100km runners - sprinters !!!

The thought of Pat Robbins and Andy Eccles carrying Don Ritchie back to his hotel from the pub at 1.00am on Monday morning [this is true - it actually happened].

My fifth position in my first championship race - with a pb too (231k). Also my team silver medal.

Wow ... all those memories. Enough to last a lifetime - or until next time.

Monday, 21 September 2009

back home ... happy but weary

Not been back long and I thought it appropriate that my first post should be a quote from the letter I received from Walter Hill (men's team coach) before he left Keswick.  I hope he doesn't mind, I don't think he will.

"Sorry that I had to go

first England vest
first English runner
fifth in the Commonwealth
silver team led in by you

Well Done
An outstanding achievement [and a new personal best]

What more could we ask for"

When I read the above on Saturday night I almost burst into tears.  Up until that point everything had still been a bit of a blur and it none of what happened in the race had sunk in really.

Thank you Walter for making me aware of my achievements.

Monday, 14 September 2009

nearly there now ...

I've got a few minutes spare here so I thought I'd post something.  At the moment I'm making sure everything is in good working order and that I have all the food/drink I need - as well as all the other stuff.

food and drink ... check
racing kit ... check
other clothes ... check
first aid stuff ... check
toiletries ... check
maps, books, mp3 player, mobile, etc ... check

For the past few days (and the next few days) I'm not doing much at all.  Carbo loading, relaxing, resting, visualising, banishing negative thoughts, carbo loading, reading, packing, trying to keep calm, last minute planning, eating.

Things I'm not doing:  caffeine, alcohol, running (much), loud music, wasting nervous energy.

Over the past six weeks I've had numerous emails from Wendy Lynas (England team manager - 24 hr) and from what I know I would say she's done a very good job so far keeping everyone informed and no doubt answering lots of questions and queries from those new to international competition (like me ...).

Richie Cunningham has a good piece on his blog about the 1978 Football World Cup and the brilliant goal scored by Archie Gemmell against the Dutch team.  Richie seems to use this to psyche himself up for his own attempt at 'beating the English' in Keswick at the Commonwealth Championships.

Does Richie also remember the Home Championship football competition from the same year when England beat Scotland 1-0 at Hampden Park with a goal by Steve Coppell ?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

team news

Recently there's been a couple of last minute additions to the England team for the 24hr race in next week's Commonwealth Championships.  The five men are:  Ken Fancett, Chris Finill, Pat Robbins, Jim Rogers and myself.  The five women are:  Sandra Brown, Marie Doke, Sharon Gayter, Vicky Skelton and Ramona Thevenet-Smith.

There are 22 runners in the men's race and 22 in the women's race from the following countries:

Australia (six men and six women)
Canada (three men and four women)
England (five men and five women)
India (one man)
Isle Of Man (one man and one woman)
Kenya (one man)
New Zealand (one man and three women)
Scotland (three men and three women)
Wales (one man)

A few surprises here:   Kenya - hope their guy isn't as good as the top 10k and marathon runners; only four countries have sent men's teams - increasing the likelihood of England being among the medals; no runners from South Africa (none in the 100k race either).

I would guess that the individual favourites would be Martin Fryer and Jonathan Blake (both from Australia) and Sharon Gayter (although Vicky Skelton isn't far behind).  Martin ran a fantastic 48hr race in Surgeres earlier this year to place second on the all time list with 433.686 km - his feet were a real mess afterwards though.  Sharon had a great run at Badwater [hope she's recovered].

Still relaxing lots - no loud music, no late nights, no stress ... and no caffeine.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

nine days and counting

Everything seems to be moving in the right direction again thanks to my father (Keith), my mother in law (Elizabeth) and most importantly my father in law (Keith).

Special thanks to Sharon too ... reading her email brought a tear to my eye !!!

Back to normality.  Over the last few days I've been buying last minute supplies of custard, protein recovery bars, flapjack, jaffa cakes, dried apricots.  Only have grapes to buy and obviously I'm going to get those nearer the time.

Second week of tapering and I'm beginning to relax a lot more now.   Tim Noakes writes: "the more time you can spend in solitude and in personal reflection during this period, the better you will cope with the mental demands of the final quarter of the ultra marathon."

With a teenage son I know this isn't going to be easy but it can be done and now that all the planning and shopping is out of the way there's an increasing amount of time for relaxing.

Nervous though - this is easily the most important race I've taken part in ... and I started running in 1972.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

well prepared

Well, today is the first day since my crash training week that I've not felt tired.  The worst day for tiredness was yesterday ... five days after crash training finished.  I've still been training - about half my normal load, but that's OK as I'm now in tapering mode anyway.  The big race is only two weeks away ...

I've also had a headache for the past couple of days (it is slowly getting better now though) which I reckon is due to my switch from normal to decaffeinated coffee in preparation for the Commonwealth Championships. Caffeine withdrawal sucks.

Now, lets have a look at some statistics.  These figures refer to an 'average' week between 1 Aug 2009 and 28 Aug 2009.  I've included for comparison, in red, figures relating to an 'average' week between 31 Aug 2008 and 28 Sep 2008 which was just before my last 24 hr race (when I set my pb).

miles per week ... 104.34 ... 87.68

running time ... 15h 11:16 ... 12h 54:34
cycling time ... 2h 19:25 ... 2h 05:24
stretching time ... 1h 47:13 ... 1h 25:09
strength/conditioning time ... 1h 15:52 ... 1h 41:42
eccentric achilles stretches time ... 30:01 ... 27:21

total time ... 21h 03:46 ... 18h 34:10

running sessions ... 8 ... 5.75
cycling sessions ... 2.75 ... 2.5
stretching sessions ... 8 ... 6
strength/conditioning sessions ... 2.25 ... 3
eccentric achilles stretches sessions ... 2.25 ... 2.5

resting heart rate ... 43.4 ... 45.5
weight ... 57.2 kg (126.0 lb) ... 57.7 kg (127.1 lb)

The upshot of all this is that I appear to be quite a bit fitter and healthier than I was 12 months ago.  I'm in good shape to do well at the Commonwealth Championships in a couple of weeks time - I'm looking forward to it.  Seven days intensive training inevitably took it's toll but I'm feeling much better now and tapering hard.

Although as a non-driver it isn't going to be easy getting there on public transport, especially as Keir wants £200 to £300 in the next fortnight as a deposit for a school trip to Russia as part of his A level History course. Is anyone out there driving from (or through) West Yorkshire to Keswick on Wednesday 16 September and can give me a lift ?