Monday, 21 March 2011

Out and definitely Down

Another weekend has passed and with it the Fleet ½ Marathon, the 3rd race this year I have missed, and not the last, due to a re-occurring left calf strain that won’t go away, which means I have missed a fair bit of training and therefore have had to make the very hard decision to pull out of the London Marathon (deferring my entry for another year). Although the calf issue is only a minor one and I could have probably done the marathon in 5ish hours the annoying niggle seems only happy when I am cycling, and with other races ahead (Halstead Marathon could also be a victim of this) it was common-sense to say “forget it” and save myself for another day. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement!!!!

However this also made me realize how much this is all costing me, as race entry fees are still rising, which, with the increasing costs of petrol or train fares, hotel bills and restaurant bills to consider for both me and my wife (in the case of London Marathon) it make racing extremely expensive, and that’s only basic road races! Once you start getting into Ultras (most are £40 entry) as well as Triathlons/Duathlons and even further then you can quite easily spend over £500 just doing a handful of races each year.

With new trainers being required once you get past doing 350 miles in a pair and kit wearing out (luckily I have great Compression gear from CompresSport – which is lasting well), the cost of racing rises quicker than a politian’s expenses sheet and surely this must all start to impact on race organizers soon, as turn out starts to dwindle.

However I am lucky in that I am doing the Shotley Challenge in September – 55 miles of countryside, woods, fields and estuary bank in “Constable Country”. It comes with 10 Check-points, all stocking cakes, tea, coffee, biscuits, rice pudding and hot food (at half-way) and all for only £11 – why, because it is organized by the Long Distance Walking Association!! OK there are no shiny medals or t-shirts at the finish (badge and certificate available), and it doesn’t have the razz-a-ma-tazz of big road races, but having done it 2½ years ago, and enjoying the whole thing (even after 50 miles), being able to be alone in the middle of the night in moon-lit stunning countryside makes being a runner a hobby worth doing.

As with all sports there are always highs and lows and yes! I am currently experiencing an extreme low (hence the grumble) and looking forward things hopefully will get easier (robbing a bank isn’t the solution I have been told), but with the greatest show on earth coming to London next year surely race organizers and sports councils could take note of how the LDWA can do their events so cheaply and so well and learn from them!!

Oh well lets be positive - spring is here so the old push-bike will get plenty of use so I can keep fit that way, and with petrol prices still rising there won’t be as many cars on the road – Happy days!!!

Next post will have a review of the Polaroid Stride P7123C Sunglasses, which i have been given to test by Polaroid, and with limited running ahead will see how they perform on the bike - watch this space!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Out but not Down

Its been a frustrating few weeks, after seeming to be doing so well on the training front (only 6 weeks until London). With plans to do plenty of extra training during the school half-term break I managed to end up with an aching ankle after the long Sunday run, so I thought I would do shorter runs and swim and cross-train just to keep things moving. However a very long day in London on the Monday and then a few appointments later in the week put paid to anything happening until I fought my way round an 18 miler last Sunday (thankfully with no ankle pain).

So with all this in mind I decided that I would be better off abandoning the Dunmow Duathlon, in favour of a split-day training run on the Friday (19 miles) and a nice slow run on the Sunday. Friday mornings run (11.5 miles) was a bit of an ordeal, more due to a lack of food from the night before (I usually run to work and then have breakfast, that way I can start earlier and not wake the family up crashing about cooking porridge), once there a decent day of re-fuelling meant that I was fine for the run home (7.5 miles) and once showered made full use of my Compressport Full Legs to make sure I would be fine for Sunday. I did look at entering the Essex 20 miler, but with no entries on the day settled for a nice countryside amble, and feeling happier with the ankle and the fact that with only 6 weeks to go that I was making progress towards getting round the marathon in a reasonable time (aims for a PB are long gone now)!

Looking further ahead I am planning to sign up for South Downs Marathon in June for my 3rd time at this great race – very challenging and stunning scenery, as well as a well-organised race and top goodie bag. I want to do the Braintree Duathlon in May, now that I have pulled out of the Grand Union Canal Race, however time with family is very important, but with the race only 10 miles from my house, I’m sure I can get way for a few hours.

Big ones for this year now are the Grimsthorpe Ultra (either 70 or 105 miles) and Shotley Peninsula Challenge (55 Miles), in August and September respectively, although with other matters to consider training time may be an issue, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. Also i may be getting an entry into the Outlaw Ironman - but more on that when i know!!

Next up is the Fleet ½ Marathon on Sunday 20th, and report the next day, so until then enjoy the spring mornings!