Friday, 4 April 2014

Chiltern Warrior 2014

The Chiltern Warrior is a 10K cross country run with obstacles.

Here's the website for it.

I said yes and before I knew of it, I was rubbing on the 'deep heat' onto my legs and warming up. The start was a bit chaotic as there were two races (waves) with the second wave warming up at the start line while the stragglers from the first wave were still coming in. Also, since there were obstacles - they had to let runners out in batches to prevent bunching up. This could have been handled better: I would recommend that they get runners into a long line and release runners sequentially every 10 seconds or so and away they go.

Still, slight grumblings aside, the run was through some nice woodland areas but two killer hills and switch backs right at the beginning. The course is 5k so all 10K runners go round it twice. Now, psychologically - knowing that you have a 20-ft high fence to scale and some rather tough and uncomfortable crawling to be done, is ahead of you - it can sap your morale somewhat!

My initial 5k was pretty fast, I felt fresh and energetic though I tired around the 6.5k mark mid-way through the first hill (again) - felt a lot tougher second time round!

I was pretty exhausted by the time the last obstacle came along: a 20-ft high fence to climb over and then a steep mound of rubble.

However, enjoyable for sure and I will try again next year. My next run I hope will be something a bit flatter. Am eyeing up the Bearbrook 10k or Thame 10k. The Aldbury 5.3M is not possible for me this time round.

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 70 minutes 10 seconds
Pace: 7.0 min/km
Total run so far: 368.86 km

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tring Ridgeway 2013 - a wet and muddy affair.

Look Ma, I am on the internet!

It was a wet day for the 2013 Tring Ridgeway but I had already signed up and had no excuse. It is a 15K run and it was wet and muddy and glorious.

Decent time and I am proud of it.

Last distance run:15.0 km
Duration: 98 minutes 24 seconds
Pace: 5.1 min/km
Total run so far: 358.86 km

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A 'fun' run? LOL

Not my picture - Aldeburgh Carnival
Over the month of August, I visited the lovely town of Aldeburgh and was roped into a 'fun' run - this was part of the Aldeburgh carnival that has been running for a while; they called the run a the 'fun mini-marathon'. I think that should have been a clue. So I signed up thinking it would be a fun run with kids around the Thorpeness Mere etc. etc.

Nope, the Aldeburgh 'mini-marathon' turned out to be a 10K - not too much of a shock but I wasn't really prepared for this! Over 200 runners eventually turned up - I was there early and managed to get number 5 (!)

So I lined up with my brother in law and away we went. We kept up a decent pace but we were slightly perturbed when a 10 year old over took us and kept on going to the end! The course was challenging as it involved a run through the shingle and sandy beach. Both very tiring for the calf muscles and feet.

We both finished at the same time, keeping each other company and chatting away throughout the run. Oddly, I beat me Bearbrook time from a week ago. Another PB for 2013!

My finish time was 00:51:35
97th overall position (brother in law was 96th)

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 51 minutes 35 seconds
Pace: 5.1 min/km
Total run so far: 343.86 km

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bearbrook 10K - completed

Me and a friend before the run...
With little training (no football during the week and DIY takes up some of my weekends) I had signed up to run the Bearbrook 10K and without really noticing; the weekend rushed up to me. havong not done much training meant that I was a little bit apprehensive. However, it was a beautiful day - cool and bright. I had a banana, a decent night's sleep and felt quite hydrated. I assume that a single banana probably wasn't enough.

Anyway, my wife was there to cheer me on and I assembled at the start (alongside the 45-50 minute crowd) and off we went. The pace was faster than I expected but I wanted to get a decent pace and then throttle it down, at least that is what I told myself!

By the second kilometre, the pace (around the 4.5 minute / kilometre) was beginning to tell and I started to slow down to something that I was happier with; I had another 8 kilometres of this so I had to finish in good order.

I reckon that I should think 'run faster' to actually get faster but that's between races! The rest of the race was a sedate affair. I took on water around the 7.5 km mark and continued through to the end. The last 1 km was a fast run, with me chasing two runners who I managed to catch up and beat to the finish line.

Best time in 2013 so far.

Not bad.

My finish time was 00:52:27
My chip time was 00:52:06
93rd in the men's senior category
281st overall position

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 52 minutes 06 seconds
Pace: 5.2 min/km
Total run so far: 333.86 km

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Completed Thame 10K

Need more energy....
Not the best preparation for the Thame 10K - the day before I was out with friends eating and drinking and more eating and since most of them were Spanish; it meant a lot of food. All good food mind, especially the evening's tortilla: it was divine.

So getting to Thame for a 09:30 start (09:00 arrival to park up and collect numbers etc) was to prove a challenge but my wife was up to it and took me to the start line with five minutes to spare. I grabbed my number, a few stretches and met up with two work colleagues.

The lads are ready to rock and roll!

The weather was almost perfect: sunny and bright but not too hot. The starting gun went off and we were off.

My strategy was to keep to a sub 60-minute pace and keep something back for the last 2 km or so. The first kilometre had me moving up the pack and I found my rythm easy enough. Plenty of runners and I felt relaxed with myself.

The first bit took the runners through beautiful Thame and then out into the rural area along a number of paths. It started to get a bit narrower so I decided to maintain my relative position, taking my chances to move past some runners where I could. By the 5 km mark, I was running for 27 minutes, so not bad - I was hoping to beat my St. Albans 10K time but I was just a shade off the target. Had to speed up.

Took on some water around the 7km mark and I decided to speed up a bit and move past my group of runners. I could see another bunch about 1 km ahead and this would have made a good target for me to catch up with. Injecting a bit more pace I soon caught up and was now just under 2 km from the finish line. We were also coming into Thame itself, the paths giving way to concrete/asphalt pavement.  I decided to start to kick and kick hard to upped my pace; over taking runners as I sped past them. By the time I was 500m away from the finish, I was running the fastest pace - zipping past the finishing runners. My legs were burning, lungs working hard and heart pounding but I crossed the finish line almost at a sprint.

My finish time was 00:54:28
My chip time was 00:53:44
146th in the men's senior category
301st overall position

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 53 minutes 44 seconds
Pace: 5.3 min/km
Total run so far: 323.86 km

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

COMPLETED St. Albans 10K

My first competitive run since the marathon was the St. Albans 10K this weekend. A lovely sunny morning had me turn up and grab my number and racing chip. With another 10 minutes, I performed some simple stretching exercises and got ready. There were about 400 runners, so quite well attended and there was a certain energy in the crowd as they waited for the start. With 5 minutes to go, the organiser got his megaphone and announced that all runners to advance to the start line with the fastest runners to the front: those expecting to finishing below 38 minutes for the 10K run.

I quickly moved my way to the middle of the pack!

Not having trained since the marathon, I was a bit nervous and my right knee and right shoulder was hurting, due to a mid-week football injury while my left knee ached ever so slightly, not quite right since the haribo-induced knee twist. The clock ticked down and the gun went off and we were away!

I wanted to get sub-59 minutes; something I know that I am capable of. My best time I think was 48 minutes but that was about 26 years old and I am doubtful if I will beat this time. The irony is that at that time, I didn't do as much training as I am doing now!

However, I am not disappointed; just more motivated to do better. Here's a youtube video that a friend linked to me. It is safe for work and very cool. I spent time trying to figure the movies and speeches it came from.

So back to the race. I went off with a decent pace, probably a sub-6.5 min / km pace. Mentally, I knew that I will finish, I completed the marathon two weeks damn it! However, this time I had a target in mind. Complete the 10KM below an hour with enough puff at the end to do a sprint finish.

I moved along the pack, weaving my way through slower runners. I didn't want to be overtaken in this race - I wanted to over take and maintain my position. So I did.

The first three KMs came and went, I was at a good pace around the 6.0 min / km pace and feeling good. I went past runners and didn't have anyone blast past me. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool and the heaviness in my legs that I initially felt was gone. Felt good and confident.

Kept up with two runners for the next three KMs but couldn't overtake them. One chap, on my right and always two or three paces in front, kept me at bay and continued to do so. The other chap, we both left behind around the 6KM mark.

However, you know I mentioned that I didn't want to be overtaken this time? Well, I did and my 'running partner' also started to pull away and I didn't want to catch up; wasn't too confident that I had enough in the tank to finish strongly. I did spy another club runner who was running solo and made a point of catching and going past her. Well, she obviously detected my attempt and upped her speed. Sensing a challenge, I kept up and overtook her only for her to respond in kind. So I settled down a pace or two behind and waited. I knew that a hill was coming up (we went down it on the way out) and I am normally quite steady running up hill. My pace drops only slightly on inclines and that was where I would beat her. Along came the hill and my 'rival' slowed down and I pushed past, she tried to respond (I could hear her breathing become more ragged) but I sensed an opening and actually pushed the pace and the small slither became a larger gap.

I felt good. Running is about small victories, inch by inch, beating the person to your side, and in front. Definitely felt good - I saw my next objective: two runners, 25 and 35 metres ahead of me and we were in the last 1.5 km. Once the 9km marker flashed by, I kicked hard. So did everyone ahead of me and the race was on!

Run Ming Run!
Did I have enough in the tank to beat these two? The stronger of the two stretched ahead as she kicked hard. Going past the penultimate marker and we all had 400m to go. Am sure my pace here was around the sub-4.0 min / km mark. With 200m to go, I was within touching distance of the first of my runners. I went past him with the crowd cheering me on; I had 100m left to go and my legs felt like they were burning but I pushed and pushed. I was within 10m of catching the other runner but she was racing to the end, eager to get a good time.

I didn't catch her but if I had another 50m.....

Got beat...

My time was 52 minutes 10 seconds. Not bad at all.

Oh, I have been keeping to a decent diet: low meat, high fruit and veg but I did do a carbo load before the race.
No meat here.

Last distance run:10.0 km
Duration: 52 minutes 10 seconds
Pace: 5.2 min/km
Total run so far: 313.86 km

Monday, 13 May 2013

St Albans 10K coming up


Well, I am fully recovered from the marathon, even my left knee feels ok but I did hurt myself playing five-a-side this week: a diving save to my right and I hurt my (already weakened) right shoulder. You use your arms to help you run, so it will definitely be an impediment to my running. I have signed up for the St. Albans 10K this weekend and I am quietly confident about it. I know that I will finish (come on, I finished the marathon!) but I do need to take things easy even if I feel fully recovered. Building back up to a half-marathon later this year.

My target time is 60 minutes - though my fastest has been 44 minutes but I was 15 years younger and I think 10 lbs lighter. No injuries and I want to be able to walk away from the event. 10K are my favourite event as they are relatively fast runs and a challenge in terms of speed.

All my kit is now ready but I have done no running since the completion of the marathon two weeks ago. This is my first run and it will be a useful gauge on where I am in terms of fitness, pace and overall ability.

The same preparatory rules apply to any running: get hydrated, stay hydrated, carbo load and plenty of sleep. All of which I should do this weekend, barring more garden maintenance work.

Should be fun...