Monday, 26 October 2009

Brentwood 10k (not ½ as planned)

This wasn't a race that I was planning to do, but being a bit slow on my application I missed out on the ½ Marathon so settled for the 10k. Thankfully it was the right decision as I struggled big time with just the 10k. Last weeks cold was still here and energy levels, although feeling high at the start, with me even toeing the start line at the front of the field, disappeared within the first mile and I found myself struggling for any form or fitness, and, with hindsight after suffering last night, should had dropped out. However this was "only 10k" I told myself I could do this and be aright (this boy's a fool).

Anyway....... Dressed in Buffwear top, shorts and headgear I headed off on the undulating course which was 6 loops of a 1 mile course, in brilliant sunshine and breezy conditions. Each loop started with a 25m climb over 50m which sapped the legs on a wet field, but lead to a straight and then a sharp downhill section through woods to a final climb of about 25m over ¼ mile. This meant that there was a total climb of 275m in the race offset by the same in descents, but when you head is swimming and you can only breathe through your ears it might as well have been in Snowdonia.

After the third lap I was going backwards and taking over 8 mins to do a lap and looking forward to the end of the race, which i duly completed in 48:06. I was later surprised to find I was in 13th place, with the winner posting a time of 40:19, which indicates how hard the race was and makes me think that if I had been fully fit I would have been vying for one of the prizes (next year I will be back).

The rest of this week will be a mixture of small (easy) 4 mile runs with a couple of early starts (8 miler Wednesday) and a nice long 20 miler next Sunday, but only if I can shake this cold off. There is only 6 weeks now until the Doyen of the Downs (30 miles) and this is one of the races I must be fit for and ready to take on, if I am to succeed with the Challenge. I don't want to be making up for large lost distances in the last month especially as until Nov 5th we wont know if we will be able to do the GUCR (Although Ian Corless has a list of 100km qualifying races that could help if we miss out).

Right time for a Lemsip, Chocolate biscuit, oh and work (I guess) - Til next time - Healthy running all.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Sponsors, German Trails and Canal worries

Another eventful week on the running front, apart from a good weeks training after the Henley ½ Marathon, of which we received a little press (minus our Just-Giving web-site addresses, despite promises of featuring it). We also had a very good interview with Sarah Walker on BBC Berkshire - 40 minutes of chat, mainly with Alex, but covering all aspects of the illness and racing plans for the next 12 months. Sadly we were unable to air our choices of music (Voodoo Child - Jimi Hendrix and Proud - Heather Small), but what we ended up with was fine.

We also received an email from Karen King at 1000mile, who have generously given us both 4 pairs of 1000mile socks to help with our training over the next year, and which will get a good workout. I used 1000mile all-terrain socks on the MdS and found them perfect and only suffered minor blisters, due to my own stupidity rather than the design of the socks.

I also received a message from Patrick Lambertz of X-Bionic who, through the X-Bionic network has been in touch with journalist Denis Wischniewski, of Das Trail Magazin in Germany, who himself took part in this years MdS and who is interested in doing a feature on us. We have now sent over a copy of our official press release and will hopefully be able to fly out to Germany for an interview and photos in due course (we are due to be featured in the next issue of Runners World Magazine, due out end of October too)

However after all the positives there had to be a negative. Due to the current bout of postal strikes in the UK the organisers of the Grand Union Canal Race have decided to change their entry approach from being "first come-first serve" to a lottery system of names in a hat and first 120 pulled out are in. This could be disastrous for us if one or both of us fail to get in. No GUCR means no Spartathlon as the GUCR is a qualifying race. The only other way to get in would be to find a 100km race in early 2010 and do that in under 10hrs 30min, or find another 200km race in Feb or May and complete that (cant find any suitable yet). All we can do is hope that we are successful in our ballot and if not go from there. I have drawn up a list of alternatives should we fail, but I don't want to consider them until after the Ballot in Nov 5th.

Finally, for now, this weekend coming sees the Go Beyond Ultra 10km race (Ultra??) at Brentwood in Essex and I will be running in ¾ length running tights, top and head-gear that BuffWear have supplied, and its going to be wet. Hopefully I will get some decent pics to send them after the race.

More next week- until then - run with your heart as well as your feet.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Henley Half Marathon

The first race in my 1 Million Metre challenge with Alex Flynn, went rather well. Weather for that day was ideal for running, slightly overcast, with a threat of rain, that arrived in the last 5 miles of the race.

Both Alex and I were in X-Bionic gear, which despite the rather chilly start and damp, yet warm finish, played its part well and seemed to keep my body tempertaure nice and even thoughout the race. X-Socks on my feet also kept them dry and thankfully odour free.

The pace of the race was dictated not only by a 2 mile long hill, of increasing gradient, but also by Alex due to a niggling knee problem, but with me constantly talking  and pushing him, onwards we completed in just over our target time of 2 hours. The race was, as before, well organised, with plenty of support, and hopefully photos will be comng soon showing me resplendant in my new birght buff and X-Bionic gear.

Next up for me is a quick (ish) 10k at Brentwood, as the half was sold out. Thankfully i have enough metres planned to allow for the odd change in plans, but i plan to use this race as a speed session, rather than just adding to the distance. After that in 8 weeks is the Doyen of the Downs, which starting at 8am in the beautiful town of Arundel, in the first weekend of December, will be decidedly colder, and will probably need longer leg wear, as well as compression socks (already supplied by X-Bionic).

Alex will need to be prepared for hours of nagging to get him round (as instructed by him), but its a race i am looking forward to.


Additional entry - Have discovered today (13th Oct) that i have been rejected by the London Marathon Ballot for next year. Double blow because apart from the fact that it is a great event to run, it has also reduced my meterage total. This will now be replaced with the Halstead Marathon in May (slightly smaller field by about 34,000 but still the same distance)

Flynn & Merry after the race

Monday, 5 October 2009

Another great Sponsor

I have received a call from BuffWear in the UK, who have offered to help us out with t-shirts, shorts and Buffs, of varying colours and types. Again a very generous offer, and I usually wear Buffs on my runs and bike rides and always take them in my kit bag. Am looking forward to running with the Polar Buff in the depths of winter, as some caps aren't warm enough and some beanies are too warm, so this should be a great compromise.
They have also offered to add us to their website with a link to a Justgiving page and also a link to the Buff news at their HQ in Spain, as well as covering us in Twitter and Facebook, so need to get our contract signed and then get a few pics of Alex and myself kitted up and put them on here as well as pass them on to Buff.
Next up is the Henley ½ at the end of this week and the start of the Challenge. Monday October 12th We have an interview with BBC Berkshire and a chance to sit down and sort out our tactics.
Not too bad a week just gone on the running front, half-hearted taper and missed Sundays run, but this week will be easy, with a couple of longer runs in the morning, without pushing too hard. Still hope to hear over the next few days about London Marathon entry. Alex and Mandy have both been unsuccessful, and I don't want to make it 5 in a row, having been turned down 4 times already by the Ballot system. Still to apply for Brentwood and the 2 Ultra's in January/Feb, but plenty of time for those and will apply for Brentwood this week.

Finally i have joined Dailymile, a new website that allows you to log your runs and compare and chat with runners all over the world, alomst like a specialist facebook site for runners. Nice way to meet other like minded people with a common interest.