Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best run for ages...

This morning was great! I went for a run but rather than slave to the mileage i just did a run i wanted to. I knew how far it was more or less but i wasn't concerned about distance, speed etc.

7:30 this morning, it was still dark and there was frost. Not as heavy as recently but the cars looked like they would shatter if touched. Then there was the wind. I set off down the road taking it easy as the pavements were white with frost. Frosty but not too slippery.

The plan was to do scary hill - this name has been coined by members of the Shurdington Tri Club who having cycled down termed it so scary as to be deserved of the name. In reality it is a 3km uphill at 16% - not sure if that is average or just the peak but either way it's steep and tough for these parts!

The weather to the top was ok - just cold but not too wet, not too windy, cold - sure. At the top it was like being in another country. Birdlip was cloaked in snow and low cloud. It was more like a scene from Narnia than Gloucestershire!

At the top I made my way back towards Cheltenham. Running on freshly frozen snow crunching underfoot was just the best! Small strides and slow pace were required to prevent a wipeout that would not be seen but would nonetheless be embarassing! Through the snow and to the tope of Leckhampton Hill. The plan was to run straighti down the hill but half way down i took a detour across the fields. Half way down there was a mound with a pile of cube rocks in memory of a horse (i need to complete my research here as cannot remember the name and never took a picture) I continued through the fields, dropped onto Leckhampton Lan and then it was a familiar route home.

The distance was just over the 10miles and the pace so slow it's not worth reporting! Mayhill Training at the best!

It was great to run without a care and be free of times, distances and schedules. There was still magic in my shoes just a different kind today!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


So having made the decision, last night, not to go ahead with the Thames Trot I have reinvigorated my training and mojo by entering the Gloucester Marathon that takes place on January 24th and the Mayhill Massacre that takes place on February 7th.

I took delivery of my first issue of Adventure Magazine today that has an article on ultra running and about being prepared. Having read this i am comfortable with the decision - there is no point in rushing to do the first one. I hope that by doing the Gloucester Marathon i will then be able to continue with the training to build to an ultra later in the year. That will enable me to build my mileage steadily over the coming months and in improved climate conditions. The training completed to date gives me a great base to push from.

The last marathon i did, was also my first, was back in 1998. It was the Flora London Marathon in April 1998. I completed it in around 4hrs 20minutes. I am excited to see what I can do now being much fitter, better prepared and much lighter than i was 11 years ago!

So what was a slightly depressing decision yesterday feels like the right one today. I can taper to the marathon in 4 weeks and then push on.

I will do an ultra just later in the year...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Plan B...

I made a decision today not to go ahead with the Thames Trot in February but instead to replan my year. I made the decision as it is Thursday and i ran 5miles. My first run of this week and in a week i should have run just isn't going to happen. Next week is another bumper week and coincides with Christmas. I will in short be down too many miles to do it justice and my confidence is not there. There's an element of fear involved too but being undercooked for something like this is just not an option.

Plan B includes the Gloucester Marathon in January and then, hopefully the Mayhill Massacre in February. I will then look to do the Boddington 50km and then the Draycote 35miler. If they go well and my training maintains over the coming months i will then look for a 50miler for September time. There's a suprising number of races out there:

Making this decision is not an easy one but i think it's the right one for now....with all these events there's time to change back as entry does not fill and if i suddently find a lot of time and get some good mileage down then it's back on.....just right now this is the right decision.

Contiunuing with the running mileage over the next couple of months will give me an excellent base that i can then build on for the endurance events.

i'm definately a runner and will do one of these 50milers just think that February suddenly seems very close....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have been very remiss in writing this blog entry – apologies to Saucony.

Earlier in the summer I posted a tweet looking for some sponsorship. It was very much a tongue in cheek tweet not expecting a reply of any sort really. The tweet posted at 1350hrs on 13th August was as follows:

"...Work getting in the way of training again! Am I to old to go pro? Surely someone would sponsor me? North Face, Skins, Nike where are you!!??..."

I then followed this up at 1441hrs on the same day with:

"...Or maybe @saucony?? I wear the shoes already and would be a sponsorship dream :) representing every plodder out there, what an opportunity..."

Within a day I had a reply from Saucony with confirmation that they have a scheme for sponsoring amateur athletes called the Hurricane Program and was I interested in being put in touch with them. There is only one answer to that question which is a resounding yes!

I then received an email from Jessica at Saucony explaining the Hurricane Program – it was at this point that I felt my dreams of being a “sponsored athlete” (therefore professional right!!??) disappear as the blurb talked about top age groupers etc…it was time to come clean. I replied with details of who I am and my athletic prowess (if ever the wrong word was used!!), I thanked them for their time and considered that the end of it.

I then received a further email saying that I would be ideal for consideration for their Hurricane Program but that it was a USA based team and I am in the UK. They did however say that they wanted to supply me with a pair of trainers!

I gave them the details of the shoe I use and the sizing and within a couple of weeks a brand spanking new pair arrived!

This was actually very exciting and it has to be said totally unexpected! The tweet I sent was, like I said before, tongue in cheek and I had no expectations of it leading to anywhere or anything.

I was genuinely a fan of Saucony running shoes (I use the Guide 2’s) before I tweeted having worn them for the past couple of years. What impressed me most was not the fact that I got a pair of shoes but the response from Saucony. Considering how big and how corporate they must be and what they must be managing on a day to day basis the fact that they have had time to engage with me on a personal level and provide service and response that you would expect from a local running shop was very welcome and quite surprising.

I probably would have worn Saucony for years to come, now I definitely will….

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Yesterday (04/12) was day 39 in my ultramarathon training plan and was a 22mile run. I was nervous and looking forward to this in equal measure. I have been knocking out decent tempo runs lately and feeling great and strong up to and around 12miles. This was a very different proposition and was the longest run i have done in more than 10 years (i ran the Flora London Marathon in 1997).

So 22miles, cold and dark and after about 30minutes raining too! In my head i was thinking maybe 2:30 or 2:40 for the run. I actually came in in 2:50 with the last 4 miles taking me nearly 40minutes. I really struggled and walked a bit too.

When i got home i was totally drained and pretty exhausted - Mrs B took one look at me and said i looked like well rubbish! A blood test revealed the reason. I was hypo with a blood sugar of 2.9mmol - quite simply i had bonked! I ate a lot of carb rich food immediately and felt a whole lot better.

The lesson here is with regards nutriton and how much i must eat. For the 22miler i had a packet of shotbloks, a gel and that was it - not enough. Next time i will be better prepared and hopefully stronger. My recovery nutritionally and physically was very rapid. A good amount of food and i was fine. Even this morning i was expecting to be a little tender but felt, again, very good.

I was meant to run 10miles today but time kind of ran out on me - i will do it tomorrow morning first thing. That will be around 48miles for the week and another landmark in terms of mileage for me.

My confidence for the Thames Trot is not quite there yet but it is improving. I am learning with every footfall and getting used to my own thoughts while out for hours! Another change is that when i used to cycle and see people running i'd feel sorry for them as they were hardly travelling and not covering much distance.

Yesterday i saw a lot of cyclists and felt sorry for them as running now feels so totally pure and basic an activity that it is almost meditational. A time for emptying the head and considering anything and yet, at the same time, nothing.

My training program is now a web page (how cool is google documents!) 203 miles done, 500'ish to go!

Keep on running...