Saturday, 31 December 2011

NYE! and silly goals

I've finally reached my mile goal this year of 3500. I ended up doing 3514 :) Had to do 34 today which is kind of last minute and makes me laugh but it was kind of worth it for my silly goal. I ran to Alsager and back, which is a run I till now used to do to visit my great aunt who sadly is spending the last of her day's in hospital at the moment. At 92 year's of age she definitely had a good life. I think I'll still run this route if not just to remember her.

Some plans for next year, in no order.
3120 miles! (ha)
UTMB (if I get in)
London silly road running marathon, just to say I did it..
Fellsman (shortly after silly over populated road jogging)
Anglezarke amble
Bob Graham round+ lot's of training on the fell's before hand!
Dovedale dipper
Round Rotherham
No run further, too much else to do!
Marlborough Downs challenge for my birthday :)
Cader Idris
Summer series
Spring Treble
And anything else along the way that I might have forgot..

Happy new year!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bat's day out at the Christmas Cracker

My impression of a bat (although it just looks like I'm wearing a bin bag), closely followed by Elvis at the Christmas Cracker. 

Collectively we kind of look like bat's:

I hopped around with Mark and ran back before we crossed the finish line so the whole club finished together :) Great fun, bloody cold but good. 

As much as I love the snow it seems to be slowing down my miles, that and falling off my bike is getting old very quick. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Leek xc and Xmas miles

Saturday was the North Staffordshire Cross Country League last race: Westwood High in Leek. Featuring THE KILLER HILL!! This year the killer hill was moved slightly to the right, making everyone's time's 2mins slower (at least that's my excuse). When I checked the results I released even the winners were quite allot faster last year. The header image for my blog is from last years race. And this year I looked somewhat worse:
If you look at the train of people behind me making the same face I don't feel quite as bad. Going up that hill 3 times in a row, at speed for a bit over five miles was tough. Yet at the end I still felt like I enjoyed it. It's probably the same feeling as tooth ache and then the relief after the tooth is finally pulled. I don't think I'm built for speed, it did make me laugh though how many quick road runners I took on the hill :) All those fell's and ultra's are starting to pay off even if most of them caught me on the flats. Luckily we finished at the top of killer hill.

Next: I need to start/find time for reccying a section of the BGR. I decided which part. I can't remember the exact's now although I know a guy who has done it and assisted on quite a few. He's given me some sound advise. So I just need to start driving up and plodding away. And next Sunday I'm planning on running the Xmas Cracker dressed as a bat :) Providing I'm not too hungover to run after the club's xmas do. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Busy busy busy...

So busy in fact I've had little time to paint or run as much as I'd like but still getting some running done.

A quick re-cap of the last few thing's I've been up to with pictures :)

Park Hall XC - 6 miles 1min pb, I really enjoy this run. Mainly because of the hills, I can out run quite a few on this route when it gets steep which is fun
New shoes and matching socks. That should secure favour with the club chairman complaining about my kit..

Flying fox 10 - 0 miles apart from the fact I ran 13 to get there and back. I marshalled and generally gave words of encouragement, such as: "not far now.." and "just around that corner (which had one guy run into a hedge)"..

On the way to the FF10 near Standon

Six dales - 26 miles (advertised as 25miles), great day, thoroughly enjoyed the event and the oatcakes from the LDWA Staffs group. Had a good chat with lots of people :)

Nick Ham took some cracking photos

Stafford Common XC - 6.3 miles another 1min pb, however this was flat as a pancake and dry under foot so the road runners got the better of me. Well that and I really shouldn't have had goats cheese and crumpets 1hr before a speedy effort! After the first 2 laps I wanted to stop quite quickly but held out till the end. And promptly heading for the porter loo's! I dropped out 50 places on this one but still mustn't grumble I did pb for that particular route..
Last lap with George, with me complaining all the way..

On the Sunday we went for a walk, that's right a walk! Up Mam Tor. I didn't run for the first Sunday in a month and 10 days. Lovely day with soup in the camper, the low mist makes it look a little higher than it actually is which is pretty cool

And this weekend I'll be up Long Mynd.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Round Rotherham 50 and Tamworth 10k

Rowbotham's Round Rotherham and according to the local expert in Stone was started by the rugby club a while back, one new years eve while discussing the boundary changes to the Rotherham area. They then decided to do a winter run, which would be back then 50 miles of water logged fields. Comparably today's Rowbotham's Round Rotherham is now in October and this year actually quite a nice day :) Last year I attempted this with fellow club runner Bernie and enjoyed it for the most part but more or less endured it more. I can see I'm definitely all fitter this time around. That's not to say there's not room for improvement, I still struggled with a few dips in energy but only for a short while. Thanks to a staple diet of jaffacakes, cola, winegums, squash, two quarters of a tuna sarny and one gel, oh and some ibuprofen (although I'm not sure that counts as sustenance) I seemed to be ok for the most part. It all seems like a balancing act with these races. Eat enough or else! But don't eat too much or definitely "or else!". Also I think I need to ditch the back  pack for this distance as one runner pointed out (who I found out was Andrew James runfurther champ, I think he was taking it easy that day. I say this as I was running with him for a section before half way and he tends to win the events I've seen him in.) It was overall annoying me and too heavy in the long term. I could have stuff most of the stuff into a waist pack or similar. But still every event I do I always learn something new either about myself or gear.

The run it's self was great, really spot on weather which is strange for this time of year. Rotherham really isn't as bad as I remembered it. It has some bad spots but most places do if you cover 50miles. Roche Abbey was as ever stunning and I saw a small herd of deer shoot past in the last lot of fields. The morning mist really set off the long view's across those endless plains. I guess it must have been the weather bringing out the best in the area. I didn't see the floating fridge from last year in the canal and no ditched mattress at the 35mile mark. Maybe people have started taking more pride in the area. Even the parks were busy, even if one guy was drinking tennents super and muttering at me at the 45mile mark as I ran past. Honestly by that point if he poked me I would have probably flopped over and fell asleep. I never seem to get the start of this event right, this year I arrived at 4am! And travelled straight from Stone at 3am. I didn't fancy sleeping on sports hall floor or a hotel. God knows why as I got no sleep at home either. Although despite all of this I still felt better at the end than I did last year. Only one small niggle which seems to be progressing around the top of my ITB.. I finished 8:10, 20mins faster than last year which made me 20th overall and 13th overall in the Run Further series. Which I'm happy with, last year I kind of came into Run Further half way so I didn't finish the series which was a shame. I really enjoyed it :)

On Sunday I decided to accompany Claire to the Tamworth 10k and possibly race. I basically got there jogged around a bit and then decided to race. My basic thinking was if it's over quick it might hurt less and I kinda think it did/didn't. Of course there's the argument that if I ran slower for longer it might also not hurt as much but the way my legs felt. Either didn't sound like a good idea. Another good run, a great route from the castle, to the road, around some canal tow paths and back in along a road/park with 2 laps'. The lap's didn't bother me at first until I realised on the second lap when I could see the castle that basically meant I was 2 miles away. And that didn't go so fast as everytime I looked up it didn't seem to move. No pb but still 38:53 and 15th overall, so I'm happy with that. 40seconds of my best time.

At the end of the RRR 50, mumbling nonsense but generally happy.

I don't know if it's the cold but my ITB doesn't seem to be getting any better so I may be considering these as neither does the current weather situation!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

VLM acceptance :)

Claire just told me I had a letter through from the Virgin London marathon stating my acceptance for my good for age application for 2012's marathon. Very happy now :)

Also on a random note, I don't often run to music however I noticed the other day that my jog pace is the exact same beat/pace as White Zombie - Black Sunshine. I try not to ever run to a beat, which is one of the reasons I don't run to music. I feel I probably speed up slow down all the time when doing so. But sometimes it's nice:

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

High Peak 40 and St Thomas 7 (the day after)

On the Saturday it was the High Peak 40 and this being my second attempt I wanted allot more than I could get out of it. I set off fast and maybe a little too fast but it felt good. And not just for a few miles, I felt good till about 20miles. I then realised I was more or less repeating what I did last year. Last year I got to 20 then felt terrible for some reason. I think I just need to train more hills. I was overall faster than last year but I'm quite sure I walked loads more than last year. I had this incredible heart burn pain at 20 which felt like a small heart attack. This didn't go away until the other side of Cave Dale (30miles maybe?) by which time I'd pretty much lost my pace and the will to live. I almost had a come back at 33miles when I started running with a few people and then completely bonked when I hit a small hill. On the way up the hill I saw a sheep with rigour mortis which was pretty much how I felt. On the last mile I was reduced to a stumble, I've never bonked like this before. The 1st lady in caught me and said: "Are you ok? Do you need some sweets?" I didn't even think about that, I was so out of it. I immediately went "Yes that's it I'm sure I'm low on sugar". And i was! I managed a run in for the last mile. On the last 10miles I went from 13th to 21! God know's I've learnt a valuable lesson on this attempt, take more sugar! I actually think I may have over hydrated before the race which may have caused the heart burn but I'm not sure and I've had it before. It was probably just unlucky. Any way I can't really complain I did 6:51 which is 66mins faster than last year. So if I actually run it and kept up with the guy who said "at this rate we'll be in around 6hrs" I guess I'll be in around 6hrs.. But it is a tough one and I don't really know why. The hill's aren't that steep but I think the combination of hill, general not well being and 35% of the running was on road made it tough..

As for Sunday, why would any one run a 7 mile race the day after a 40miler! FREE OATCAKES! That's why. That and to support Mark C as he's a nice guy, fellow club runner and he organised it all. This surprisingly went better than the day before, which I guess means I'm fit enough just unlucky in the first race. I set off with Craig from Newcastle AC and a steady pace and generally chatting, probably too much for his liking but still we had a laugh taunting Gary about nicking his Oatcakes. I was really at odd's whether or not to race this one so I took it steady and said to Craig "I'll stick with you till I either go backwards or forwards". And surprisingly at 3/4miles I started to slowly easy away from him. I then at what I thought was the same pace. Still not pushing too hard and not that out of breathe took 4 more runners. I wish I had this on the 40, I guess that's a different game! I felt comfortable and happy. The course was great, undulating but not too hilly. The hill's were runnable and the down hill's were fast. Unlike the High Peak I think I'd like to do this one again next year and actually race all the way. I finished in 48mins and 16th overall, 5th in my age group which I've been told doesn't count but still it's something and I'll take what I can get.. At the end I jogged back for Claire and ran her in, hense the above picture. Although it would have looked better if I wasn't running with my goodie bag. Kinda looks like I did some shopping before I met her. We also finished just in take for the rain to start so we all hobbled back to the car. On returning I necked all 6 of my Oatcakes with cheese and brown source and I don't care! Screw you runners world diet plans!

All that's left now is my favorite: winter XC's and Britains premier ultra marathon the Round Rotherham.. I wonder if they removed the floating fridge from the canal.. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Thursday's beginners run!

Beginners running group meet at 6:30 Thursday, walk run 12 week session. £1 one off fee for temporary membership. We meet at Stone Tennis club. For more info please get in touch or check out the Stone MM website for info about them:


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Le marathon des Oussaill├Ęs

Try saying that with a mouthful of cheese (and I did). Ok where to start here are the things I like in order of 1 being good 5 being not so good:

1. Friendly
2. For the most part down hill
3. Massive 1 mile at 25
4. Large French man not telling me which road to run down so I went from 3rd to 4th
5. They didn't even write my time down when I came in. I think this was because some relay runners were with me.

At the end of the day I can't complain, I ran my heart out and still felt pretty good for it at the end. And it's not often I get to run between a mountain, lake and small beautiful villages with random French people shouting what I can only assume was encouragement at me. I forgot to mention the start, at the start I went for the pre race nerve induced toilet stop. Which happened to be under a road down some steps by a very fast flowing river in the rain. It was actually a toilet I'm not trying to be disgusting (honest). I went into the cubicle and then out again as I realised there was no lights and then back in again after I realised there really wasn't any light but still needs must. When I flushed I realised a pipe was broke in the system, I knew this by the shower I got down my back before I left.

Other thing's that made me smile probably not for the right reason were: A guy at a drinks table telling me I should drink the whole cup of water before leaving. (I didn't argue but then I didn't hang around to either). And a few relay runner's at each of their leg racing me, passing me and then after 3 miles burning out and I passing them to hear strange French breathless verses. Again some kind of encouragement perhaps? All in all not to bad :)

Friday, 12 August 2011

Lakeland 100

There's way too much to say on this subject but here goes: The landscapes were amazing, the support was unreal, people in day and night cheering us on! I just wish I could have stopped at all the lovely pubs. Everything went to plan for me apart from my feet getting shredded by the unforgiving loose rock. I decided to use nuun's and I'm pretty sure they really helped, I had no cramps and no real muscle pain. I went slower than the Housman but honestly I don't care and because of the mountains of loose rocks I think in my case it was almost impossible (for me at least). I think the only way to get good at running the Lakeland ascents is to just run them. There's nothing like them at least that I've seen so far. They're unforgiven but very cool. The stats are a bit scary 250 entered 130 dnf'd :(

Everyone I spoke too/ran with was very cool and very friendly even when there was large groups of us getting lost in a field..

30hrs 7mins and 7 or more blisters some of which were bandaged up at Mardale head.

Here's my at the start still far to fresh:
I wasn't too sure why everyone was running so fast at this point but still it was a bit of a giggle..

Back to marathon training then followed by more ultra training, starting want a brake about now but i'm sure i'll pick up :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Stone circle #4 (I think)

Well I ran the stone circle again, 35miles in a pw of 7 hours I think this was dew to the field before Yarnfield. The farm seems to have used 110% of his field and not left any room for the public footpath. I guess he could argue that no one use's it. Yes correct "because no one can access it!". But still for the most part it was enjoyable and I befriended some cow's and 2 sheep who were hiding in a tree. It would have been better if the camera worked slightly faster, instead I just have a picture of them leaving the tree.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ringing Roger and other places in the Peaks..

Some inspiration, I just thought I'd google the Ringing Roger and other area's in the Peaks:

I found that site, it makes me feel all warm inside looking at places I've seen and run in the past. Remembering the pain and feel of each season with varying degree's of sun, snow and rain on my skin. I'm sure it's all worth while in the end. Lately I've not been running as much dew to a slight ankle niggle but i'm sure it's nothing. And i'll give it another go later with a 6 mile recovery run. I must get back out there on to the hills, I think that's what I'm chasing. I'm not sure any runner know's what they're really chasing (apart from the guy in front..) but still that's what makes me smile.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Housman Hundred

Well I did it and it was as tough as expected but not more so. This is my first 100 miler so for me the following came as a shock.

1. seeing people throwing up in the middle of the night, by food tables and telling me in a happy manner how they spent 2 hours in the loo throwing up.
2. Walking straight into a Jersey cow at 3am (made me jump somewhat)
3. Eating what i'd eat on an average lunch every 8 or 10 miles (although to be honest I'm glad of that)

It was an amazing event, some truly outstanding people in the field and the marshall's really looked after us. Near the last few legs they took the time to check on each runner, make sure they had food and enough water for the rest of the run. The whole course had quite allot of ascent I think the average per 8 mile leg must have been around the 1400ft mark. You were either going up or going down and the down was just as hard on the legs at times. Also stiles! By the end I was struggling to get my leg up but still somehow managed.

I managed to consume the free ale at the end as the first thing that touched my lips after the finish, glad I stuck to that it was well worth it. Although at 85 I didn't think I could have stomached it. At the 85 mile mark I felt sick and empty, I could barely walk so I tried eating some sweets and drinking some coffee. Which I managed to keep down and then a fellow runner who I met on the way: Tracy gave me some ibuprofen and after a few mins of stumbling and walking and saying "I might not be able to move any faster so you go on" I pulled myself together and ran. Luckily the last 15 miles were fairly flat (apart from one massive hill at the end OF COURSE!) and we really did put an effort in.

All in all tough very very tough. I said to my dad "It wasn't like the feeling you get at the end of a marathon, it was more like just being glad you didn't give up at any point and survived". Well that may be in experience talking but that's how I felt. Very happy with my time: 27:07 and about 11th from what I can work out from the results. The winner finished in 22! Crazy! I said hi to him at check point 2 while eating a cheese sandwich. He was making that sandwich fly!!

Oh before I forget, thanks to everyone who sponsored me:
I've raised more than I ever imagined. My aim here wasn't to see how much I could raise that's why the target was £100. There are plenty of people in the world who'd raise 10k for a 10k but how many raise £100 for 100miles? I wanted to make this stand  out in a different way. This was purely a statement for me and everyone who know's me and knew my mother. I wanted to do something to remember her by.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Housman 100 cometh..

Only a few day's now till I run the Housman 100 mile LDWA event. 9 in fact if you count today. I'm going to do quite a large tapper next week as I don't want to turn up with anything wrong with me as I'm sure at some point in the race I'll think there's something wrong with me.. If any one wants to sponsor me that would be great:

I've been told from a friend who did the marshall's walk "it's tough and quite allot of hills" She said to get allot of hills under my belt. And I have, well I think I have basically most day's if I've been running it's been up and down a hill. The downs always seem to get me more than the up's. Although after last year's Long Tour of Bradwell I where I got shin splints from both I guess both are just as bad. But we'll see, I will want to take it steady, get to around 65 feeling good and with plenty of fuel and generally enjoy the route and have a good time. I see these events as holiday's. The immense view's and vista's keep me going and motivate me to carry on. This is probably why off road appeals to me. If I'm running around a housing estate or city scape at max efforts I tend to get bored. More rolling hill's please. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Marlborough Downs Challenge (33 miles, run further #1 short)

For my birthday this year (not yet happened till the 19th) I asked the gf if she'd kindly give me a lift to Marlborough for the Marlborough downs challenge. My first race in the runfurther series: I thoroughly enjoyed it, I went out quite fast and some how kept it going, I could see the top 3/4 runners most of the way, well up till the 17 mile mark. The great thing about this race is the field of view. I'm sure I could see near a mile in front of me at some points so it was easy to track my position in the race. The route was well marked in places but they did say this would be the case so for some parts you really had to find your way and others not so. I mainly relied on my new found love in navigation terms which is my garmin 205 and route description when of course a small digital map with a line just doesn't cut it at a two way path.. Fortunately I didn't run into any hedges trying to read this time.

I was really impressed with the more or less everything on this run the Marshall's were mega friendly. My favorite thing said by one Marshall was when I passed a turning point by a few meters then went back on myself, they said "would it help if we put a marker there for that turn?" I said "it's a bit late now I think". They weren't too offended I think/hope :) The finishing mug was fantastic, a locally hand made mug by The end meal was also great: I chose pasta, pesta with salmon! My end result was 4:31 (although my garmin read 4:24 but it did die at one point so probably was wrong) and 5th overall. Probably worth mentioning Dave Jelley who came 4th who runs/organises runners holiday's: Also I can't believe how great my socks are, after numerous testing as most runners seem to have to go through with gear. I'm using running bear socks and they're awesome for these events. They don't seem to retain water when wet and are really comfy, another blister free run!

I only hope this is the start of things to come with regards to my position and time for this event :) Awesome, awesome run, I'd recommend it to any one. Most hills were runnable and definitely not boring.

Garmin seemed to mess this up but thought i'd add it any way:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Stone Circles GPS

Just thought I'd share my GPS route of The Stone Circles I made:
(May need to right click and save, this is for the Garmin forerunner series but can be converted to other devices.)

Note: There's a part near the Holy Bush Inn in Salt where I went wrong but it's pretty obvious when you see it on the GPS device, just stick to the route. I basically go back on myself any way at that point and it's only a few meter's out so you won't get lost. I may figure a way to correct this in the future or republish a new version when I get time. 

The Spring Treble and Market Drayton 10k

Going short again with race distances and this was a first: I raced twice in one week. I always wanted to do the spring treble as it's run by my club and it's cross country, also the last race is a mile from where I live so great to get to. They were all superb apart from being savaged by the mosquitoes! Any who each course was pretty tough and everyone had trouble deciding which was the toughest, personally I'd say the first and last but then some thought milford (the middle one) was the toughest. So I'll go with they were all pretty damn tough! But fun, 5miles and great support. Market Drayton was interesting, I more or less stopped racing 10k's but Muller was my favourite when I did and as the Market Drayton 10k is more or less the same I thought I'd give it a go. They managed to pull of just as good turn out as last year if not better in terms of the technical t-shirt which I actually prefer to the cow from last. Over all pretty sweet, great weather and a 9min pb :)

The Spring Treble 12 overall for the series 32.20 was my best race time and Market Drayton 10k 28th: 38:02

Here's my grr face at The Spring Treble on the last lap of the Kibblestone race, note here Ray is next to me who seemed to keep up with me on each race then beat me at the end of each by a few seconds. He won his age group:

Awesome t-shirt from The Spring Treble with a map of each race on it:
Back to the long efforts this week, 33 miler at Marlborough Downs on Sat (my birthday treat)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

In the begining and The Stone Circles

Hmm where to start, ok I've been running for 2 and a half-ish years mainly 1 serious-ish year. I still don't take it that seriously but seem to do an awful lot of it. I do find myself in odd debates at times which makes me think I take it more seriously than I do but at the end of the day I run because I like running and know perfectly well I'll never be a high end runner but that's not to say I don't win a few things etc (so please don't leave the page just yet, I kind of have goals honest). My aim here is to document my training and racing.

Which un-neatly leads me to my most recent bit of training: The Stone Circles, this is a route developed/organised by the Stone Ramblers: They have a great book on there for only a few quid with this route in it. Any way the route is part of my 100 training, at the end of this month i'll be running the LDWA Housman 100! (my first 100) So I'm basically trying to do a few long runs close together while managing to hold down a job, relationship and not die from exhaustion. Which usally works out that i'm running between 80 - 105 miles a week and cycling 90.. Any way the Stone Circle is 34miles in total I think in the ramblers guide it is down as 36 and highlights pubs, bus stops and such of which I never seem to get to enjoy but do like smiling to myself about in a kind of "one day I'll really enjoy the beer there" and never actually do. It might be worth mentioning I made it 36 as I had to run to where the loop started so I added some and took some off at the end which still made it more although I wasn't that bother. I've done this route 3 times now and this is the first time solo. Also the first time I've used my garmin 205 to navigate with the course training option and it worked great, although it did grate on me somewhat when it kept beeping to say I was off course when i wasn't and thus ran up a hedge talking to my garmin saying "happy now"! Some good friends and injured gf met me at around 26 miles for the last leg which was great to see.

Fun fun stats (fastest time I've done The Stone Circles so far :D )

Look I made a heart ^

Also I had some lamb chasing me
And a shy peacock

What's next: Thursday: Spring Treble: Kibblestone Clamber, Sunday: Market Drayton 10k

I sware tough 5 milers and 10k's can hurt more than ultra's but it's a different pain etc. Plus the biscuits and cake on the ultra's make me forget..