Tuesday, 23 February 2010

New Balance

Short but sweet this week, ahead of Saturdays Moonlight Challenge.

Recovery is going well and despite one or two other issues the last week has gone well running-wise, with 40+ miles training over various distances and paces and a good split day last Friday, when I ran to work and home again in the evening.

This week will be relatively light with only a 4 miler on Tuesday and then nothing to the weekend, except keeping hydrated and warm. The weather for Saturday looks to be cold and wet, so Hedgehogs will get what will probably be their last outing and hopefully the Gore-tex uppers will do their job.

Finally on another note - I have to say a big thank you to New Balance for their help with a damaged jacket, which they couldn’t repair, but replaced with a Motion Jacket and complementary pair of Winter Laminate running tights, which will come in useful this weekend end.

A big thanks to them and 'til next Monday - Safe running.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Fruitful Labours

Mid week and a couple of gentle runs have caused no problems with my thigh, although both have been very easy. Before Saturdays run I had pleasure of meeting Lee Chamberlain - a Guinness world record holder on the treadmill, and thoroughly nice guy. He had already run the route of the race from the finish to where we were and was also running back again - 100 miles in under 24 hours - unbelievable effort - Check out his web-site and send him your support.

I took the chance on Monday to pick his brains over training, nutrition and running in general and as a result am now changing a few areas, namely pacing and re-hydration to hopefully improve my running and stamina. As mentioned in the previous post, one thing I must work on is leg strength and have already added squats and extensions to my gym work, albeit light exercises as I don’t want thighs like Mr Universe.

As for the title of this post, i have today received a goody selection from Sandy Letman at Whitworths the UK’s leading supplier of home baking, cooking and healthy snacking products, consisting of:

Nibl Snacks - Fruit and Nut Berry Burst, and Jaffa Berry Choc
Juicy Mini Apricots
Fruits Multipacks
Sunny Raisins
Jumbo Mixed Raisins

All in handy snack bags, ideal for taking on runs.

All very kind and offered to me before the Marathon Des Sables (an offer stupidly forgot to take up at the time). With me burning over 13,000 Kcals in January alone energy levels need to be kept up, and these are a better way of maintaining that than using high calorie, high cholesterol snacks such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits etc, and taste even better.

I have always loved dried fruits, easy to carry with you on a run, ideal to snack on at my desk and add to breakfast cereals, salads, etc so, avoiding prunes, they will keep me heading in the right direction (prunes in another direction, but let's not go there).

I have the pleasure of adding their logo and listing them as one of my sponsors and hope that next time you go shopping you think of them when you fancy something healthy to snack on.

Next blog in a few weeks time when I will be able to confirm if I will be running in the Moonlight Challenge, although intentions are there, recovery may hamper.

Healthy living all

Monday, 8 February 2010

Thames Trot (and 3 fatal letters - DNF)

Saturday 6th February - 8.30am - Oxford.

130 runners line up ready for a 50 mile slog alongside (for most of the way) the River Thames, following a track that goes under the name of Thames Towpath. However this "towpath", is nothing like the paths you see by most other canals etc this was 40+ miles of mud, dirt trails and glassy banks, interspersed by the odd bit of road and tarmac (ideal for off-road trainers).

The one thing that was obviously missing from this race was Alex Flynn - running partner and someone to nag at for not keeping up the pace (his orders). Due to a combination of heavy cold, long office hours and a flight to JFK on Sunday morning for 2 weeks of business conferences, he needed family time and did the sensible thing and gave this race a miss. My original plan was to drive to Henley the night before and stop at Alex's, before going on to the race in the morning, however our cat was badly mauled in a fight on Thursday night, so after a trip to the vets i decided it was better to make sure he was ok, before going, so set off at 5am on Saturday morning.

I had loaded up my waistpack with Sports Beans / Chocolate covered Espresso Beans / cereal Bar / camera and filled both bottles (one water, one Nuun), spare socks, double tied shoes laces and took my place.

Once i started, after a briefing by Steve Adams, the early morning nerves vanished and i was quickly into my pace, albeit not too quick (8 min miles), and headed off along the path away from Oxford and toward CP1. The going was tough almost straight away, as the route was extremely boggy underfoot, with the kind of mud that sticks in great clumps. The scenery and company was great, chatting with Quentin for most of the way to the first CP, although something didn't feel right!!

CP1 was at Culham after 10 Miles, which we reached in 1hr 35min, and served the famous Go Beyond fruit cake - one of the best i have tasted (sorry Mum!!), and a huge incentive to get to the next CP, stopping for only a minute to refuel, we quickly moved off , my pace quickened slightly and i was off on my own, but again my leg (left) felt weak and i found myself struggling with the turns......... Finally at 17 miles, as we turned onto a footbridge across the River Thames, my left foot slide outwards at an angle and a sharp "ping" in the top of the thigh spelt the end of my race. The next 1½ miles could only be taken at a slow walk and i could feel my body temperature dropping quickly, as i could keep no pace going, so continuing to the end would be a disaster, and i have to think long term.

I made CP2, at Benson after 19 Miles in 3hrs 15, and called it a day - something a runner never wants to do, and even though another 27 runners also withdrawing on the day, its still no consolation.
However it did teach me a valuable lesson.......................

It has only been 3 weeks since the 45 mile Country to Capital Race, and in reflection, i had taken too much for granted, as my training had been low key, due to recovery and then a minor taper, and i had neglected to keep my leg strength up with other exercises, assuming that the running would suffice. The injury was a combination of heavy feet, slippery surfaces and reduced leg strength, that i should have worked on. A mistake i intend to rectify over the coming months, so I am now putting together a series of leg and core exercises to add to my gym routine and build the strength that i will need to cope with all these races i am undertaking over the next 6 months

My next race is in 3 weeks time, but thankfully the next race on 27th Feb is only a short (well compared to this one) race, the Moonlight Challenge, a 32 mile run starting at 6pm, which i will be undertaking as revenge for not finishing in 2008, after a knee strain after mis-judging a pothole. So this time "its personal". That will then be followed by a another 3 weeks off, before the Wiggle 12 hour race on 21st March. However i need to fully recover from this injury and re-assess what i do (i.e. miss the next race) as long term i have to be fully fit for the Grand Union Race at the end of May.

Finally - My Kit consisted of mainly the same as last time (why change a good set-up)

The North Face Hedgehog GTX XCR - Courtesy of Fitness Footwear
Mizuno Performance Tights
1000 Mile All Terrain Socks
X-Bionic Accumulator L/S Top - Courtesy of Ardblair Sports
Ronhill Jacket
Camuflaje Polar Buff - Courtesy of Buffwear UK