Thursday, 30 June 2011

first run

Last night I ran for the first time since ... well, you know ... THAT race.

Anyway it was a local 5 mile race as part of the Harrogate & District Summer Road Race League.  I got all the usual jokes which I sort of expected.  None of them made me feel any better but I guess the other runners had to get it out of their system.

Fay said:  "Let them try run 99.5 miles in 17h 45 ... or even 24 hours."  The big hug that accompanied that made me feel better.

I know they'll be something in this week's Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer as my club (Otley AC) always have something in about recent races, etc.  Haven't seen it yet - I will tomorrow - and then PLEASE let that be an end  to it.

Training continues in preparation for the Commonwealth Championships which is by far the most important race for me this year.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

the future

Alright it's time to move on.  I took a tiny short cut and paid the penalty for my mistake.  On the plus side - very nearly 100 miles in about 17 hours 43 when it's raining for over 60% of that time - I do realise that was a good run in the conditions but a bit slower than I would have liked.

Yesterday was the day when all the emotions finally caught up with me ... anger at myself, exhaustion, pain, feelings of a wasted 18 hours, letting down my crew (who was brilliant), etc.  If anyone was caught in the crossfire please accept my apologies.

As I said before I really enjoyed it despite the rain and I'm sure these experiences will only make me stronger mentally in the long run (excuse the pun).

I've started work on the report which follows all my ultra races and that will appear only on this site in due course.

Right, let's draw a line under the Cotswold 100 ... please.

Last night Norman Wilson phoned to confirm my selection for the Commonwealth Championships 24 hr race in Llandudno in late September.  Hope to do better than last time when I finished fifth with 231 km and came away with a team silver medal.  My report of the first Commonwealth Championships - Keswick, 2009 - can be read here.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

error details

Just looked at the map and found that I didn't actually miss out the big hill.  Which I'm pleased about !!!  Here are the details for those that are interested.

Using the 1:25 000 OS map number 151 (Stratford-upon-Avon) I can now see that I ran up Ebrington Hill from Chipping Campden (GR 165 396 to GR 188 427).  However I took the right hand fork instead of the left about 450m from the summit (GR 187 422) - after running uphill for almost 4 km.

I rejoined the proper route immediately after the village of Ilmington (GR 214 440) and did indeed run only about half a mile short.

initial (brief) report

It's now 28 hours since I stopped running and in that time my thoughts about it all haven't changed much, for the record here they are:
I finished first by 55 minutes but was disqualified for accidentally taking a wrong turn and only running 99.5 miles (and missing out one of the many hills).  This happened at about 82 miles.

The course record was 18 hours 38 minutes and my time was 17 hours 43 minutes.

The race started at noon and it rained solidly from 5pm to 4am and in those conditions, at night, on unlit country lanes, navigating with photocopied maps and a headtorch, it is easy to miss a direction sticker the size of a mobile stuck to a lamppost or road sign.

It is far easier to see these direction markers when running at 14 minutes a mile compared to when running at 9 mins per mile.  Only me to blame though.

I found it a really good race in spectacular countryside - although I couldn't see much of it after about 6pm.

Full race details and results here.

Thanks to Rory and Jen for organising it ... I know I'll be back because I enjoyed it so much (but then I always enjoy these long races).  It is a good one though.

Congratulations to Robert Treadwell for winning fair and square ... and beating the course record by a few seconds.

A fuller report later.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Last minute preparations

Yesterday morning I ran a  6 mile fartlek session - with lots of extra layers - heat training.  Following the tried and tested advice of Ron Daws and others I wore 3 T shirts, a long sleeved top, a sweatshirt and a rain proof jacket.  It wasn't raining but ... every bit helps !!

In case you were wondering ... I also had three layers on my legs.  Tracksters, track suit and shower proof trousers.

As expected my sweat rate was well over 2000ml per hour.  Over three times what I would normally expect for such a run.

That's the heat training finished.  Nine times in the last three weeks is about right.  I know it works if the race is in hot weather but it is very difficult to quantify if the race is in the same conditions as the training.  I know the science is sound but how can I test whether it has worked or not ?

With the race just over three days away now I've started applying vaseline to my feet morning, noon and night (and wearing old socks) in an attempt to prevent blisters which are the bane of many ultra runners.  Luckily I very rarely have blister problems - maybe it's because of all the vaseline I use.

Yesterday my crew and I went through some stuff and checked details, etc.  It's always good to have input from another person, especially crew, because it's essential to strike a balance between what works for the runner and what is practical from a crewing perspective.  We'll go through everything for a final time on Thursday afternoon/evening.

Feel good now and ready to go.  The first big test of the year and soon I'll know whether my training is on course for a good performance at the Commonwealth Championships.  Hopefully I'll also have lots more info about nutrition (particularly protein and potassium) and also whether I can run a bit slower at the start and quicker at the end (ie slow down less during the race).

All this info is vital for good ultra performances.

More than that though ... I'm just looking to enjoy the race and I hope the weather isn't too bad.  The current forecast is for the temperature to be 17 C during Friday afternoon, dropping to 11 C at night.  Dry during the day but perhaps a little rain overnight into Saturday morning.  Winds of 11 mph from the west dropping to 6 mph later.  Overall that sounds OK to me.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Aaarrrgh ... Keir has a bad cold.  I hope he stays away from me, I definitely don't want a cold so close to a 100 mile race.  Luckily for me he's a teenager which means he spends most of his time either in his bedroom or outside.

Heat training has been going well generally but causing lots of extra laundry.  Running with lots of extra clothes is quite a bit harder sometimes and about a week ago I found a 6 mile tempo run to be extremely difficult when wearing 2 T shirts, a long sleeved top, a sweatshirt and also tracksters and tract suit bottoms.

Tomorrow, with only a week to go, I start on the beetroot juice.  You may remember that I drank 500ml per day in the week before the Perth 24 hr race last September - with excellent results.  It does taste better than expected and 500ml isn't too much really ...

All the best to those who are running the West Highland Way Race - I hope the weather holds out for you all, or at least that it doesn't rain solidly for the entire race.

And watch out for Richard Hamer - Otley AC member - who set off yesterday to walk the route.  I hope he doesn't get in the way too much !!!

This morning I noticed the route changes for next week's race.  Especially the major one involving the first 8 miles or so.  Looking at the map (and being a former Race Director) I can understand the reasoning behind it but personally I would have preferred the original route as footpaths on the course of old railways tend not to be too inspiring - those I have used anyway.

So long as the overall distance is the same.  That's the main thing I suppose, along with runner's safety.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Almost There ...

Eight days to go before my first important race of the year.  I'm ready to go but in a bit of an unusual situation really.

I've now taken part in thirteen ultra events and won three of them.  Of the other ten, one was a solo run and two were trail races in which I wasn't competing seriously.  So ... I've competed seriously in nine ultras and won three, not a bad record overall.

But now, for the first time I think, before the race starts I'm expecting to win.  In a few of the others I knew I could win ... but this feeling is different because I know I should win.  I've got to try and keep that pressure under control.

As part of my planning I looked at the route map and decided what my times should be at 5 mile intervals.  But yesterday I received an email from the organisers which shows the exact location of all the checkpoints ... and also shows that the points on the route map at 5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, etc are all wrong.  Still, I'm very glad to get this revised information - changing my plans slightly won't be too difficult and will make things easier during the race.

Thanks to those people who have voted in the poll about my finishing time.  You seem to have quite a bit of confidence in my abilities.  I'm not telling what I'm actually aiming for but my planned running pace (minutes per mile) does seem slow compared to normal.  But maybe that's because I'm also using this race to try out a few new things regarding nutrition and pacing.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

11 years into the 21st century

At last I've taken the plunge and started using some of the available technology to have my posts appear on facebook.  I know it's taken a while but it was suggested Carl Walsh (whose company - The Divan Centre was my first sponsor).

It's taken a day or two to sort out but I've also added something on the right which allows followers (or others) to receive an email notification every time I post something.  Perhaps it my be of use to you.

And there's also a light-hearted poll on the right.  I'd better say a couple of things about that ... my training has gone very well and I'm fit and confident.  I haven't trained specifically for this race though so, in effect, this has come at the very end of a long period of base training.  My training is all geared up to running well in Llandudno in September.

Back to the usual stuff.  Yesterday Keir went to a scout camp near Bingley.  I went with him on the train and ran home.  It was a wonderful evening and a good run over the moors - just over 9 miles in total.  Came across Dick Hudson but decided not to stop a while ...

I know a lot of runners find tapering quite difficult but for me it's an opportunity to catch up with a few things I've had to put off because of a lack of time due to all the training I've been doing.  It's also a good time to relax and reflect on the race to come ... less than two weeks now.

Fay is also organising a camp for the very young members of the scouting organisation - called Beavers at that age.  She began hers at 7.00pm yesterday and they all had an adventure filled night sleeping in the scout hut (it really is an adventure for 6 - 7 year olds).  Today they will be going to Ilkley where there are lots of activities planned for this afternoon ... I hope the dry weather continues for them.

Keir is due home at about 5.00pm and Fay at about 7.30pm.  Until then I've got the house to myself.

Peace at last !!!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Otley 10

The 27th running of the Otley 10 took place yesterday evening.  As usual I helped out where I could - setting up stuff in the morning and working as a finish recorder during the race itself.  I also did various other miscellaneous stuff during the course of the evening.

I'm not actually the race director any more.  Colin Best now has that thankless task - and he did an excellent job too.

This year Keir was running his first 10 mile race [it was my first 10 miler too - back in 1992].  He knew the course was a difficult one but I'm not sure he quite appreciated just how energy sapping that second big hill would be.  He finished in 1h 40 and I'm very proud of him.   At 17 years and 10 days he was by far the youngest runner and I'm sure he'll enjoy his well earned memento - a bottle of beer !!!

Monday, 6 June 2011


Tapering for the ULTRArace 100 miler has now well and truly begun.  This week will see a reduction in training to about two thirds of last weeks level.  Next week it will be down to less than 50% and for the final week before the race about 20 to 25%.

Obviously I can't fit in long runs but everything else is per my normal training - less of it that's all.

Also started heat training this morning.  I know the ULTRArace 100 will probably not be a hot race but the physiological benefits gained are still useful.  The most meaningful physiological adaptations that occur is an increase in blood plasma volume ... other adaptations include changes in sweat rate, changes in sweat sodium concentration and changes in core resting temperature.

Two of the most useful articles I've read about this stuff are from Endurance Science and from which is turning out be an exceptionally useful resource.

Friday, 3 June 2011

what have I been doing ?

Not had much time for blogging recently.  Training mainly but also Keir's birthday a few days ago.  He's 17 now and halfway through some AS exams.

Anyway ... training.  A brief resume of what I've been doing since the last post.

24 and 25 May
A long run on each day ... 25.6 and 28.2 miles but also some strength work and stretching.  Five hours training on the 24th and 5h 30 minutes on the 25th.

26 May
Harrogate League race in the evening but cycling and weights in the morning.  The race was brilliant as far as I was concerned.  I knew it was quite a hilly 6 miles (well two big hills actually) and my plan was to use this as a a quick training run - 6:30 to 6:45 per mile.  I set off steadily and passed loads of people on both hills.  Approaching the finish a few other running tried outpacing me not realising I had always been holding back.  I bet they were surprised by the speed of my sprint finish.  My time of 40 minutes equates to 6:36 per mile ... perfect.

27 May
Hill reps using a 750m stretch of Farnley Lane in Otley - only the steep bit (as Phil Robinson put it).  I began, in February, with six of these with the aim of gradually increasing to twelve.  I ran ten on this day with no problems at all except for the strong winds.  Also did lots of strength work which took the total training time to over 3h 50 minutes.

28 May
Took part in the Park Run in Bradford.  The 5k race around Lister Park took me 20:59 [my worst time ever for 5k].  I did run the 8.5 miles to the start before the race though ... and the 8.5 miles home again.  Not too bothered by the very slow time because it came at the end of a very heavy training week.  Did the usual strength work this evening which took the total training time for the day to almost 5h 20 minutes.

29 May
Keir's birthday so I had a rest day.  We spent an enjoyable day in York with friends and the only training I did was about half an hour's stretching before bed.

This weekend's Grand Union Canal Race saw Pat Robbins win again in yet another course record.  The 145 mile race from Birmingham to London follows the Grand Union Canal as closely as possible and the record is now 25h 37 minutes.  Mike Blamires also took part and he must have been pleased with his time of 40 hours considering his limited training in recent months.

Chris Finill was also running in London - testing the course of the 2012 Olympic marathon with a few other runners including Ian Fisher of Otley AC.  I hear that towards the end the other runners decided to hold back slightly and let Chris finish slightly ahead ... out of respect for his feat of finishing EVERY London marathon (1981 to present).

30 May
No running ... only three and a half hours of cycling, stretching and strength work.

31 May
Long run - fartlek - 27 miles.  Felt very good and ran well in the windy conditions.  My route from Otley included Menston, Guiseley, Shipley, Leeds Liverpool Canal, Kirkstall, Headingley and Bramhope.  Cycling and other stuff pushed the training time up to 5h 15 minutes.

In the evening I attended the final Otley AC committee meeting before next week's Otley 10 mile road race and everything seems in hand and well planned as usual.  Should be another good race.  I'm not running (helping as usual) but Keir is - his first 10 miler.

1 June
The final long run before the UltraRace 100 miles at the end of the month - 29.7 miles using the canal again but a different route not including Kirkstall, Headingley or Bramhope.  Felt good running in the unseasonably warm conditions.  Strength and flexibility work made this a long training day - over 6h 45 minutes.

2 June
Just a nice run in the sunshine up the valley to Askwith and back.  No problem but with all the other training the total time rose to almost three and a half hours.  Weather still warm.

Unfortunately I couldn't run in the Harrogate League race because of the local scouts committee meeting.  Being chairman I should attend if at all possible.

3 June
Early this morning I did more hill reps but this time on the shorter and much steeper Newall Carr Bank.  Then I spent some time shopping for things needed for the upcoming race:  food mainly but also a new wristwatch/stopwatch as mine finally packed in a few weeks ago.

Just finished today's other exercises which takes total to about 3h 30 minutes.

Well, that brings us up to date.  It's been a very busy week with all the training, Keir's exams and two committee meetings.  Hopefully next week will be a bit less hectic - especially as it's the first week of tapering.