Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Ok - Time to start thinking 010

Next year's running plans are affected, My sentence of 6 years or so hard labour on home improvements is affected and work will be affected a little. In the past I've fallen out of trees, I've played Rugby Union as a prop way under weight for the position, I've Rock and Ice climbed - taking two falls over 12 years (1 4o footer and decked out) I've fallen off mountain bikes and wiped out skiing more times than I can remember and pretty much got away without serious injury. Running (I thought) was sedate in comparison to some of these things. So it was irritating to say the least to be diagnosed with a extruded disc at the C7 area. Also my surgeon says it can't be fixed without invasive surgery. The 'pins and needles' down my left arm I'd been experiencing was due to a root nerve being compressed by the damaged disc. So decision to be made on when to have the op? Soon as possible in the new year I thought so as not disrupt life too much. I had a cold that lasted over 30 days at the beginning of last year yet still had my best year's running so far. January 12th 2010 I'll have the op (unless I'm advised against it). I'm still to talk to some people about that. I've decided to treat it as 'routine maintenance'. Oh and how did it happen? sitting on my backside at a desk - the irony. I'm still running at the moment and have a couple of short distance races to do before the op. First one is 9th December a local 10k - I've only run one in my first year of running at about 46min 20sec. Looking to PB that. So, I'm finding it difficult to plan next year at the moment, but will be doing a couple of Ultras and a couple of marathons amongst other stuff.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Snowdon 2009 - PB time!

Vince - my training partner for the HP-40. He knackered his achilles and couldn't do it or Snowdon - But he was still up there shouting me on!

Third time and 4th Marathon. Prepared on the back of a loose conversation with the mighty T-Rex'(Vegetarian?) Why do I die on Waunfawr Hill? Answer - It comes at 22 miles when you've been pushing hard?, or you haven't eaten correctly?, or you're completely psyched out?, or you ain't got the hill miles in you're legs sonny?, or...or...or? Whatever the reason all you can do is try something different the next time. So it was that I sat in the bar of a Llanberis pub indulging in some post race analysis with T'Rex and Collie Dave of the RW Snowdon forum. Mr. Rex convinced me that all I needed to do was do a couple Ultras during 09 and get the legs sorted for hills. At the time I thought I'd done enough climbing work although only short distances. So the day came with two Ultras under the belt and the miles from the long days out during the training up to them. I didn't do too much in the 4 or 5 week gap between HP-40 and Snowdon. I did however put a few track sessions in and 1 x 16m road session the week before Snowdon itself. I needed to get use to road shoes! The plan was to rely on the hill miles and distance I'd already put in up to HP-40 staying in my legs - and run Snowdon fairly rested. I traveled to the race on my own this year which allowed me to get ready at my own pace, Which in turn ensured I'd be late. The weather on the day was pretty much as it has been each time I've done it. Grim. Still, this brings with it a certain challenging atmosphere which ads to the experience. I set off steady not wanting a repeat performance of last year's disastrous start. The steady climb out of the pass was controlled. It was a relief to reach the top with breath to spare. The wind was directly behind and made running the decent side of Llanberis pass great fun - with long strides being made easy. At the bottom where you make an about turn directly into the wind the stride became shorter! I found a nice pace and stuck to it enjoying the weather and feeling good. Before I knew it I was climbing out of Beddgelert and was heading up the middle climb. The freshness had worn off by now and it was time to do some work. I wanted as much time under the belt as possible for Waunfawr Hill. Upon reaching the hill I won the first mental battle and didn't stop on the approach to the right turn that puts you on the narrow lane which takes you to the top. A few hundred yards along that lane I decided that I'd walk just the steepest crests in the road and run everything else. The trade off would be getting to the off-road section with strong enough legs to make up any lost time. The plan worked. Once I reached the off-road section I was away passing runner's who were struggling with muddy decent and foul weather. During the decent I knew I was on a PB and it was just a matter of how much by. I even found strength to push on around the back lane and then to sprint finish to nick a place or two at the line. I knocked 16 minutes off last year's time with a Marathon PB of 3hr 49min 20sec-ish which was beyond my expectations by some way. This was a great result for me and a great end to my long race season.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

HP 40

Mam Tor from Castleton

OK the run up to the HP 40 was enjoyable, running was good, health was good. The day came soon enough. It was a bit of a fiddle driving from N.Wales to Buxton Derbyshire for the start and typically arrived a bit late. Registered and changed in a flash and next thing I knew we were cheerfully snaking out of Buxton's streets and onto the first section across open ground and off towards the Goyt valley. I decided I was not going to get into too much passing the time of day chatting with fellow runners and got on with the job of trying to settle into a sustainable pace. I had 8 and half hours of running in my mind. The early autumn cool came to an end with the first serious bit of climbing up out of Chinley and up onto the hills. In fact, it got quite warm. It was about time for my newly tried and trusted feed plan. 1 peanut butter sandwich every 2 hours and 1 gel an hour after that. The first sandwich went down on the hoof without too much fuss. in fact it tasted ok. Climbing the rutted, grit stone strewn track up to Mam Tor was interesting running, made the more interesting by the descending mountain bikers. Grim faced and 'get the hell out of my way' stares from most of them. Soon I was running the ridge and enjoying the cooling breeze and views towards Edale. Soon after Hollins Cross it was time to descend and head towards Cavedale and on towards 'Somewhere-elsedale' Must have been about 5 or 6 hours in the bag by then. Started feeling the sun by then on a tarmac section into Monsal head. Got chatting to a guy who was feeling the distance a little i ran with him for a couple of miles offering a little encouragement where I could, it was here that I got lost (lack of concentration) I ran around an unsheduled lake for a while before correcting the error and running back on track. I decided to leave the guy here and pick up the pace for a while. Run steady up until the long road section at about 30 miles, this was tough, stomach sickness was creeping in, I lost a lot of time on this section. Once on the grass again I cheered up and tried to perk up for finish. Through Deepdale 2 (Strange gash in the fields - comes from nowhere just when you don't need it!) and past the last checkpoint without stopping. I could see the church towers of Buxton now. Once again had to stop with a stone in the shoe which I had to remove. Bending to do this was a chore because a 'trapped nerve' in my upper back that made bending uncomfortable. I pushed on with one or two runners who'd been around my position over the last 10 miles. There was no speaking, just grinding out the last few miles. I caught a young guy who looked fresh enough to me. he was wearing some technology so I asked him how far to the finish - 2 miles. A quick check of the watch told me I'd need to put in 2 8 minute miles to hit 8hours. I tried to drag the guy along but he'd had enough. I ran up the ramp to the finish table flat out and finished 8hrs 20secs. So I didn't go sub8 - ask me if I care! A great day out was had and once I got my breath back I felt great. 40m in the bag.