Friday, 30 April 2010

first open race this year

First race of the Harrogate League last night - in Ilkley.  The weather wasn't too good.   It rained the whole time, not too warm either.  Overall though my impressions this morning are that I ran it like a hard training session rather than a race ... I felt comfortable all the way around the 4.9 mile course and never really pushed myself.

I know there is a big hill between about 0.75 and 1.75 miles but my time of 33:01 just about sums it up for me (6:45 per mile).  Not brilliant but a good training session nonetheless with less than two weeks to go now before the big one.  Full results are here and other details are here.

Thanks to Ilkley Harriers for organising things - it was worth being out in the rain for over an hour just for the food ... wonderful.

Ah yes , before I go, the full list of runners for the 24 hr World Championships has been released.  There are 153 men and 81 women on the start list.   If I hit my target distance and everyone else equals their pb I'll finish 25th.  My lowest ever placing in a 24 hour race - my previous lowest was 13th (in my first one).

For those that are interested the list can be viewed on the IAU website.  Click on the arrows to the right of (30 Apr).

To end on a positive note - in percentage terms that predicted finishing position is slightly better than my performance in Keswick last year.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

nearly there now

GB kit arrived yesterday ... it looks great and the quality is outstanding.  Travel down to Heathrow airport has been organised and now there's just those last minute things to get out of the way now.

Food to buy, training still to do, relaxing, racing tomorrow night in Ilkley, wearing and washing the new kit, keeping focussed ...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

rain, coffee and the London Marathon

This afternoon there was a rather large thunderstorm accompanied by a very heavy downpour.  Needless to say I was running at the time and arrived home rather wet.  And so were all my clothes.  Lots of them.

In places the rain was so heavy that puddles stretched all the way across the road ... three or four inches deep.  Not an enjoyable fartlek session - character building though.  Made all the worse as I don't have any decent coffee to come home to.  For the next three weeks it's all decaffeinated, I finished some excellent coffee from the Sanani area of Yemen just a few days ago though.  Maybe get some more after the World Championships.

Earlier in the day it was London Marathon time.  Chris Finill (of the UK 24 hour team) ran again.  He's one of a small group of people to have completed every London Marathon.  He ran 2h 52 this time.  Personally I think it's a bit too close to the race in Brive but I know that every runner prepares differently and no two training schedules are alike.

From my fellow members of Otley AC Scott Harrington probably had the best run, he was comfortably under three hours. Neil O'Brien was probably the unluckiest - missing the four hour target by a measly eleven seconds.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Recently been speaking (via email) to Thomas Coxon of Hilly Clothing and I'm delighted to report that they have agreed to supply me with enough pairs of socks to last the next twelve months.

I've been using socks from Hilly for a while now and I know they provide excellent comfort and 'blister resistance'.  Essential for 24 hour races ... and fun things like Run(ning) to London.

Of course, with the legendary Ron Hill as the company founder, the products they sell are bound to be top quality.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Icelandic volcano disrupts flights in and out of UK

Training has gone well this week except for the incident reported in the previous post.  Heat training is progressing well but I'm a bit worried about all the cancelled flights over Europe due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland - will we get to Brive ?

Tomorrow will be my last long run before the big race.  I ran 21 miles on Saturday [part of which was with lots of extra clothing], 21 miles fartlek this morning and I'll do 21 miles again tomorrow but half of that will be with lots of extra layers - 5 tops, thick woolly hat, etc.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

a strange day

Let me start by recounting yesterday's training.  In the morning (7.30am) I left home for a 25 miler taking in an eight mile stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.  Overall time 3h 35 ... no problem at all.

In the evening I spent an hour doing strength and conditioning followed by some stretching.  I did this in lots of extra clothing and in an extra warm room.  Again no problems at all ... apart from lots of sweat.

This morning my heart rate was quite a bit higher than normal ... usually in the morning it's about 43 to 44 bpm but this morning it was 51 bpm.  An increase of well over 15%.  I thought that perhaps my cold was about to get worse.

7.15am - headache started ... took two ibuprofen

7.30am - spent 50 minutes on the bike. Wearing lots of clothes and in a very warm room. Headache fading.

9.00am - headache returns with a vengeance. Took two more ibuprofen.

9.30am - feeling very ill now, and getting worse. Symptoms were: headache, feeling cold even though the air temperature is 22 degrees C (71.6 degrees F), restlessness, complete lack of appetite, extreme sleepiness.

11.00am - managed to get into the kitchen to make myself a large cup of coffee.

noon - beginning to feel a bit better.

1.00pm - feeling almost normal.

2.00pm - went for a run ... 13.2 miles in 1h 50. Pleased with that considering I didn't push the pace at all and this morning's experiences were always at the back of my mind.

4.00pm - everything back to normal ... but what will tomorrow bring ?

I can see I'll have to be careful with this heat training thing.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Otley AC handicap

This morning I took part, for the first time this year, in a club handicap.  It was a 6.1 mile race around Eccup Reservoir, north of Leeds.  Here is a route map.  Having a slight cold I didn't expect too much and certainly didn't plan to run too hard as I was also going to run the 6.6 miles back home to Otley.

Setting off with Huw Illingworth we passed the first mile in about 5.55 (about 30 seconds quicker than I would have liked).  Huw was always about 10 to 30m in front of me for the first two miles but it became obvious that he was slowing quite a bit so I pushed on in front ... and continued pushing all the way round.

Finished with a time of 38:24 which means that that the final five miles were run at about 6:22 per mile (my target time for the entire race was about 39:30).  I was well chuffed to beat that by over a minute - and to win the event too.  Full results are on the Otley AC website.  Also pleasing for me was the fact that this was my fastest time on that course since the year 2000 - well before my ultra running days.

After a few minutes recovery and a drink I put on three extra tops and a warm hat (the temperature was probably about 15 degrees C at this point but in Brive the temperature is not likely to fall below 14 degrees C.  For the entire 24 hours.  So a period of heat training is in order ... as used successfully in the 1960s by marathon runner Ron Daws (and also the walker Don Thompson (?) when training for the 50km event at the Rome Olympics of 1960).

And also by more recent ultra distance specialists such as William Sichel.

Anyway, the 6 miles plus home in the early afternoon sunshine saw one or two strange looks from passing motorists and other people out in shorts and T shirts enjoying the sun.  Still ... I'm sure my body got a lot out of the experience which will be repeated with increasing regularity as the big race approaches.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

getting a cold ... but a couple of things to look forward to

Well ... I've been lucky so far but I suppose it couldn't hold out forever.  Fay has had a bad cough for about four weeks now and that developed into a cold about ten days ago.  Despite taking 1000mg vitamin C daily (just in case) I have now started showing symptoms of a cold.  Not a cough though, which is a good sign.

Training has now become quite daunting at times (nothing to do with my cold) as I get closer and closer to the big race.   On Monday this week I ran 25 miles in the morning and cycled for about an hour in the evening.  Yesterday was strength/conditioning stuff in the morning and 25 miles fartlek in the afternoon.   Using the Otley 10 route.  Hard work - windy too.

Although the rest of this week will be tempo running and hill reps I do plan to take things slightly easier than planned to avoid making my cold any worse than necessary. A couple of things to look forward to this month though.

The first is the monthly Otley AC handicap.  For one reason or another I haven't been able to run one this year so I'm looking forward to this event at Eccup (near Leeds) on Saturday morning.  The route is about 6 miles and then I'll probably run home - another 7.5 miles.

At the end of the month is the first race in the Harrogate League.  A very enjoyable series of five races organised by local clubs over distances of 5 to 7 miles.  The first is in Ilkley and is only two weeks before Brive.