Showing posts from 2007


Although I haven't really mentioned it in my blog I've been feeling really lethargic over the last few weeks. I'm not very sure why, but I have been sleeping really badly so this will have something to do with it - the best analogy I can come up with is that its like going to bed really tired but with a head full of stimulants. As a result this week my mileage has dropped off significantly. My first run of the week was on Wednesday (Boxing Day) to do my 9 mile loop through the park. To be honest I didn't enjoy the run at all, the place was heaving; literally thousands of people in the park - I've never seen it so busy. I had to weave a lot to pass groups of people, but also be wary of dogs off their leash, plus kids with their new bikes and rollerblades etc. To cap it off, the park roads were choked and had to make a couple of late manoeuvres to avoid oncoming vehicles. On the plus side, taking this into account I went at a fairly hard pace and averaged 6.55min

2007 Review. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Another year is almost over, but incidentally is also almost one year to the day since I started blogging. Heading into 2007, before I had even contemplated entering the Marathon des Sables I set myself four targets. To recap these were: 1) Sub 13 min run on the Mungo Bone 2) Sub 36 mins for a 10k road race 3) Cycle sub 48 mins on my 14.5 mile lap 4) Improve upon my average cross-country position of 59 th . These targets were set with the idea of improving my physical fitness rather than as preparation for an ultra marathon which is what I am now heading towards. As a result the targets do seem a little strange, as if nothing else they are all a bit on the short side. On the other hand it shows how far I've come over the last year when I hadn't really contemplated running anything over 10km. The first target to fall was the sub 48 min cycle ride which I completed in April. Arguably this was the easiest of my targets, where to be honest all I needed to do to improve my time

Another 50 miles (well 48.4...)

I started off the week with an easy 10k at a very slow pace and followed this up on Wednesday morning with a 12 mile run to work at whatever pace that felt comfortable. I'm beginning to really enjoy this run on a cold winter's day, setting off whilst its still dark, then running underneath Spaghetti Junction and the last half an hour along the canals. Although I was slightly slower than usual I was carrying a fairly heavy rucksack in compensation. Only other thing to note was that at the Christmas Lunch I broke my 10 month abstinence from alcohol since entering the MdS in early March! I was getting increasingly tired during the week and for some reason or another I just couldn't get a good nights sleep. As a result on Thursday I was totally shattered, but still forced myself out for a run, but gave it up after just 1km which is the first time I've mentally caved in. I decided to not bother with a run on Friday; apart from anything else I'm not sure whether I

Hitting the Wall...

Since the cross country last weekend I gave blood on Monday so decided not to go out for a run as it probably wouldn't be a good idea. Then didn't run on Tuesday either because I couldn't be bothered, but also because I decided to run the 12 miles to work early the next day instead. I had a really enjoyable run to work and got there a lot quicker than usual but without the additional effort. It took me 1:28 instead of the usual 1.32-35 I followed this up on Thursday with a short but intense 3.5 mile run just to zap the legs as I haven't done a proper speed session for a while. I averaged 6:30 min miles so was fairly happy with the effort although very tiring. Finally on Friday I did a 10km recovery jog, and unusually for me didn't look at my watch at all and just ran to how I felt. I was slightly surprised that my recovery jog was still 7:30 min miles but I couldn't have gone much slower than I did. Today I went for a 20 miler, but have to say that I felt

North Staffs Cross Country - Race 4, Leek

During the week I did next to nothing in preparation for Saturday's race at Leek, just a 3.5 mile jog to keep the legs ticking over on Wednesday. On Saturday the final race of the North Staffs Cross Country League was held at Leek. The conditions were frankly awful with heavy rain in the days leading up to the event making the ground saturated and foot conditions very heavy, with the course well churned by the time of the men’s race. As a result, all of the downhill stretches were very slippery whilst the rest of the course was extremely boggy with calf deep mud most of the way round. There was also heavy rain during the event itself making for horrible conditions. The course was very hilly and is by far the hardest race of the season containing several significant climbs, but thankfully the laps tend to be a bit shorter than normal because of this. As it was tipping it down I tried to stay in the car as long as possible before getting changed inside the school. With about 10 mins

Another week goes by...

Not a particularly interesting week. Monday was a rest day , followed by 6 miles on Tuesday and Thursday and then 9 miles on Sat and Sun. I did the Sat 9 miles at a moderately hard pace of 6:48 min miles (60:26). On Sunday my legs felt dead so the day before must have taken more out of me than I thought. In the end I just jogged round the same route, but still managed to go round comfortably in 7:24 pace which was pleasing. In the end it was just 30 miles for the week but couldn't really do any more because of work commitments. This weekend I have the final cross country race of the season at Leek so wont do much this week, just a couple of 3.5 mile runs to keep the legs ticking over. The main issue for me is that after the cross country race this weekend I have no events planned going into next year. I've been looking for something over xmas , but cant find anything suitable. Any ideas? I have agreed to go for a long run out somewhere hilly on the last weekend of the

Another 50 miles...

At the start of the week I went for a 6 mile run on one of my newish winter loops and took it fairly easy. The following day I was down in Bristol with work and by the time I got back at 8pm I really couldn't muster the energy so took a rest day instead. As a result on Wednesday morning I decided to try make amens by running the 11.5 miles to work which I haven't done for a while. Its a bit of an early start setting off at home at 6.45am and arriving at work just after 8.15am. I didn't particularly go hard, partly because I have a day of work ahead of me but also because I was carrying a fullish rucksack with work stuff inside. In case you were wondering, yes work do have showers! On Thurs and Fri evening I went on the same evening loop but with a tiny extension to make it 10km. On the Thursday loop I went moderately fast in the second half to do the 10km in 44.40 which isn't too bad as there is a fair bit of climb. During the week I've still been getting t

Bit of Everything Week

After the cross country race I didn't do any training until Tuesday because of my continuing sore foot. I then went out for a 5.5 mile gentle run and the foot felt ok . What was unusual about this run is that its the first time in months that I went out whilst it was raining. About half way round it bucketed it down and in a funny kind of way quite enjoyed it. Must do it more often! I followed this up by intending to do an 11 mile run on Wednesday. About 1km into the run my left knee 'went' quite badly. For those unaware I've had a very long history of knee trouble which was what stopped me from running for several years until I discovered cod liver oil last year. It was clearly bad news and I had to hobble straight back home. What was worrying for me was that it is the first time I've had any serious trouble since starting the supplements last year. Although I know I'm injury prone, this is the one injury I seriously fear. As a result I didn't go out on T

North Staffs Cross Country, Race Three - Stafford

A few days after the OMM I experienced a pain on the underside of my right foot in the bones that link to my small toes. Its fine when I don't put pressure on the foot but quite uncomfortable whilst walking. The pain was getting progressively worse during the week, partly because I have a short walk to and from the train station when getting to work which was aggravating things. The more I think about it I am beginning to wonder whether its some form of minor hairline fracture as there is no swelling and don't feel any pain when prodding it either. As a result I've only been out for one run since the OMM (the run was before the foot pain developed). Its now been two weeks since the event and the foot doesn't feel any better. Today was the third race of the North Staffs Cross Country League held at Stafford Common. The race is my least favourite of the season and after all the trouble over the last two weeks I really wasn't mentally up for it. My body w

Original Mountain Marathon - Day 2

At the start we could see that it was likely we would have a steep uphill beginning from all of the competitors ahead. There were quite a few teams though deciding against it and going along the valley instead. Although this was tempting when we got our maps we decided to go with the majority and head up hill to control CA which was worth 25 points. It was very steep and involved about 250 metres of climb. Up the first half of the slope I was leaving Steve behind again, which I have to say I was slightly annoyed about as I was feeling good and wanted to push on. Having said that we did overtake quite a few teams on the way up. The control itself was fairly straight forward and we hatched a plan to control DA in the north east. As we descended down to a col I was again leaving Steve behind, but this time on the downhill which worried me even more. The one bit of enjoyment I got though was that I could perform a bum slide down the hill which was fun. I must have descended 50 metres in

Original Mountain Marathon - Overnight Camp

As we finished I was still feeling strong and not near to collapse as I was at the RAB. I was also pleased that the rucksack gave me no trouble even though I was carrying the tent and team food. Just after we finished we downloaded our dibber and went to the camp area. As we had an early start we were also amongst the first to pitch camp. Unfortunately as we reached the field the heavens opened and it was still very gusty. All of the other people already at the camp had the same idea as us which was to pitch tent just behind a stone wall which would act as a shelter. We had to make do a few metres further away. As we began to put the tent up I was beginning to feel cold as my damp clothing was beginning to take effect. I put on all of my spares on top (so my lower layers will dry themselves) and made sure I had a quick snack to eat as I didn't eat anything over the six hours other than a few jellies and a load of lucozade . As Steve was finishing the tent I went to the stream t

Original Mountain Marathon - Day 1

After a 7 hr journey on Friday afternoon we arrived at the Lowther Hills (Galloway / South Lanarkshire ) for the 40 th Original Mountain Marathon. The pre -event camping field was less than impressive being full of liquid sheep shit which got everywhere but other than that was a good event centre with all the facilities close by. For those not familiar with the format of the OMM it is the biggest Mountain Marathon in the calendar (about 3,000 people in total) and involves teams of two to run/walk across mountainous terrain self navigating to each checkpoint (no paths!) with the aid of map and compass. Over the two days each team has to be self sufficient with a remote overnight camp with basic facilities (i.e. portaloos and a stream for drinking water) so all kit has to be carried. This year we were entered in the Medium Score class which involves 6hrs on Day 1 and 5hrs Day 2 to find as many controls as possible. Although we woke up on Saturday morning with plenty of time me and

Penultimate week before the OMM

Since the cross country race last weekend I have felt about as confident as I have ever done since starting running again at the beginning of this year. It was the first time I could really compare where I am at now to where I was last year. Having looked at the results more closely I reckon that I'm running about 5 minutes quicker. Although I'm usually hyper critical of my performances, last weekends race was as close as I have ever felt to perfection. I don't think there was much I could have done to improve my position further. As a result I've been running with much of a buzz all week. As this is the penultimate week before the OMM I've tried to do a decent week but at the same time avoiding doing too much. The day after the race I did a gentle 3 miles but felt a very slight twang in my ankle so didn't do any more. On Monday I did a 7 mile run at a reasonable but comfortable pace of 7.10 min miles. Tuesday was a rest day as apart from anything els

North Staffs Cross Country 2 - Park Hall, Stoke

Since the race last weekend I've done next to no training again during the week. I wanted to make sure my legs have recovered properly from the RAB Mountain Marathon and the Cross Country. I was intending to do a couple of short runs on Tuesday and Thursday but due to laziness it didn't materialise. I ended up doing a 3.5 mile fast run at 6.30 min mile pace on Wednesday though just to keep things ticking over. The second cross country race of the season was held today at Park Hall Country Park in Stoke. The last time I ran there was about 4 years ago and never particularly liked the course, usually finishing around 100-110 th position. The course had changed slightly this time, mainly by extending the length of the lap so we only had to go round twice. Its very up and down with relatively little flat and a few extended climbs on each lap. Its also quite twisty in a number of places so you cant always see that far in front of you. The weather was pretty good, about 15

North Staffs Cross Country - Race 1, Newcastle

During the week my legs were extremely stiff as the after effect from the RAB Mountain Marathon. On Monday and Tuesday it was extremely difficult to walk down stairs and even getting in and out of my chair at work became a bit of an operation. By Wednesday some of the stiffness began to recede and on Thursday my legs were back to normal although I could feel that they were drained of energy. As a result I did not even attempt to do any training prior to the cross country race today. Today was the first cross country race of the season, held at a new location in Newcastle (Staffs). The conditions were near perfect, about 15 degrees with no wind and ground conditions were dry. The course was mainly flat except about two thirds around the lap where there is a steep ascent before dropping sharply back down quickly followed by an even steeper ascent shortly after. It was a bit of a strange course as there were plenty of tarmac paths to take advantage of. For the men's race it was 9.9km

RAB Mountain Marathon Day 2

My legs were still quite stiff but thankfully as I walked around camp a bit they didn't feel too bad. We were one of the last to start and decided to keep things really simple and avoid the stupid risks from the day before. The first control was a steepish climb to a control on Lingmoor Fell. Below is a photo of Steve on the ascent which had a nice track about half way up. After reaching the first control the next one seemed pretty straight forward although in the end was a fairly tricky descent through a lot of bracken. At this stage I could feel that I was in for a good day as my legs were moving nicely. We decided to ignore the control heading west by Blake Rigg as we felt it was a lot of ascent for what would only be 20 points and we began to plot a route that we felt would be achievable and realistic. The next control was just worth 5 points but was dead easy with a short amount of road running thrown in. Only thing of note was that at this point we were beginning to over