Bushy parkrun – 25th Feb 2012

I thought I’d have a go at getting closer to my PB (PR for any US folks) so I got down to Bushy early to get a good warm up.


It looked like a busy Saturday morning (turned out to be 835 runners) but it way dry, not too cold and reasonable underfoot. I had decided to wear my VFF KSO Trek’s to give the back if my right heel a rest (still sore from strap on my Lunas being too tight last Sunday).

I positioned myself 6 rows back from the start line and didn’t have to do too much dodging round other runners before the field started to spread out as we hurtled down the grass next to Chestnut Avenue. I did the first mile in 7:11 (so I knew I had a problem as it needed to be 7:00 to hit my PB). Mile 2 was also 7:11, and by mile 3 I had started to tire only clocking 7:25.

I sprinted the last 100 metres to try and regain some ground finishing in 22:17, best time this year but 31 seconds off my PB I set last year.

Looking at the HR data my warm up paid off as it was a nice smooth HR curve (no 1 mile spike followed by a drop when I am warmed up).

Need more practice on these short fast distances which is tricky when I am so focused on the upcoming Ultra.

River Crane 7 mile run – 23rd Feb 2012

After a few days off after Sundays 20 miler James & I met for an hours run last night at 8:30pm. I was wearing my VFF Bikilas as the back of my heel was a bit sensitive (I suspect I may have had the heel strap on my Lunas a bit too tight on Sunday).

It was a new route for me which took us along the River Crane into Twickenham, along the Thames to Richmond and back.


The run by the River Crane was quiet, with just the light from our head torches lighting the way. Once we left the river we had to cross the old cobbled path under the railway bridge and head on roads to the rail station. Then it was down to the River Thames which looked like it had flooded a bit earlier, judging by the debris on the road.

We then followed the Thames to Richmond, where were came back a little along the road before cutting back via the old cobbled road Church St which was once the main road to London.

Then it was back home along the road, a good 7 mile run and 1 hr well spent.

Now for dinner.

Weybridge Ferry 20 mile run – 19th Feb 2012

After my run on Monday I finally caught the family cold so stopped running (just did kettle bells) in the hope that I would recover enough to be able to do a long run on Sunday.

Hurrah, my plan worked so at 7:45 I left the house to do a 20 mile run along the Thames Path to Weybridge Ferry and back, but this time I could wear my Luna Sandals as there wasn’t 2 inches of snow. My aim was to keep my HR under 70% which meant I’d be doing around 10:15 min/mile, good practice for my Ultra pace.

It was a chilly morning but the forecast was it would be sunny later so I just had a couple of layers along with water, bloks, warm top and a waterproof in my pack.

Bushy Park was quiet and the deer were only visible in the distance which makes a change from evenings when I have to run between them sometimes.

Running along the path in bright sunlight with no snow made it seem like a different place to 2 weeks ago, and the rowers were out in force making the most of it.

Just before the turn around I stopped to take a photo of a house on the other side of the river. It looked (to me) like something from the USA deep south and probably has some fascinating history.

On the way back I passed many houseboats but the one opposite by Hampton looked particularly nice. I could almost taste the cocktails at sundown. Especially the margaritas, for the salt if nothing else.

As I crossed Hampton Court bridge a glance across to Hampton Court (Henry VIII Palace) was restricted by the trees but you could still imagine the river procession as he travelled down from London surrounded by dozens if boats and music, all those hundreds of years ago.

Back through Bushy and home, for 11:45am, in time for toast and mug of tea.

Bushy 7 mile run – 13th Feb 2012

At last, a training run where I don’t have to wear 6 layers just to keep warm!

It was about +6C when James and I headed out for the Bushy 7 mile circuit at 8:30 last night. I hadn’t run with James for a while (he’d been leading a mountaineering expedition in Afghanistan) so my usual casual MAF pace went out of the window (which was quite a nice change really) and we spent the next hour chatting about his Ultra event he is organising Ring O’Fire and the races I have coming up.

I always find the first 10 minutes hard work when I go straight off without a warm up run first (or a slow start for the first mile) and this always shows on my heart rate which almost hits max (194) for the first 10 minutes after which it drops significantly. For parkruns I spend 20 minutes jogging round the pond in Bushy and head to the start a couple of minutes before the start. This results in a nice smooth HR curve, rather than a 10 min spike before it drops.

Hopefully I can get a long run in on Sunday, weather and family permitting.

Bushy parkrun – 11th Feb 2012

With the cold spell we seem to be having I had decided to drive the 3 miles to Bushy parkrun, rather than run. A good decision when I saw the temperature gauge in the car, it was -10C! So after scraping the ice off the windscreen I headed down to Bushy, getting there at 8:10am pretty much before anyone else.

As usual it was a gorgeous morning in what must be my favourite London park. Even the “finish” tree (the finish is just to the right of the tree as indicated by the worn grass) looked stunning, and a worthy choice as the parkrun logo.

I was wearing my usual Luna ATS sandals and Toesox so it took me 3 laps of the pond before I started to be able to feel my toes! I left a warm top and my usual insulated flask of tea by the tree ready for my finish.

It was pacers day, but 21 minutes felt too fast on the icy ground and 23 minute too slow so I just ran by feel. I came in at 22:35 (49 secs off my PB) finishing with a head to head sprint over the last 100 metres with a guy who didn’t realise that years ago I measured where 100 metres from the finish is, and know I can go flat out for that distance (will usually hit 4:00-4:15 minute mile pace at fastest), and still push a second surge 10 metres out which will generally take out the competition. As usual it worked and felt good as the guy was at least 10 years younger than me. I ducked out of the funnel early (asked guy behind to get my token for me) and went to help the volunteers on the line as they were pretty busy with the usual 700+ runners.

You can see the finishing straight going diagonally from bottom left in the photo below (I love that tree).

It was also a special parkrun as it was Danny Norman’s 250th and so he joined the 250 club and was presented with the 250 club shirt, champagne & cakes.

Danny hosts “theparkrunshow” podcast on iTunes which is weekly every Monday and covers all things parkrun.

Well no long run for me on Sunday (I’ll try and negotiate for one next Sunday) but as I’m taking a few days off next week I will try and get in a few 14k runs, maybe even in the daylight.

4 weeks to go for the Bath Half marathon, and a further 2 weeks after that for the Paris EcoTrail 50 mile Trail Ultra. As my first Ultra it will be interesting to see how my Maffetone heart rate based training (hopefully) pays off. My target (aside from finishing) is to get under 11 hours, as it is a qualifying race for the Western States 100 (if you get under 11 hours), and although my chances of getting in are pretty minimal (it is limited to 380 places and so decided by lottery) it would be cool to at least be able to have a try.

Hell of a long way in sandals mind you!

Bushy 7 mile run – 9th Feb 2012

After a few days rest from my 20 miler on Sunday I decided to go out once I finished driving duties. Guess what, it started snowing again.

Not to be beaten I headed of on my Bushy circuit, most of the snow wasn’t settling on the pavement so it wasn’t an issue, and my feet were warm with my Lunas and toesox.

When I turned into Bushy it was an amazing sight, the snow had settled on the grass and was making everything so much lighter it hardly seemed dark (it was 10:00pm). I was running on the road (closed to traffic) and with my headtorch reflecting back from the falling snow I almost ran into a deer stood in the middle of the road! The sound of Stag’s clashing antlers was coming from just beyond the trees and I could just make them out, two dark figures against the snow (must just be an argument as rutting finished months ago).

The snow continued falling for the rest of the run, I even had to brush it off before I went indoors after the run as I was covered in it.

parkrun on Saturday, and with pacers ……shall I go for a new PB (PR for you US folks) I wonder? I’ll see how the legs feel (and if it is snowing).






Weybridge Ferry 20 mile run – 5th Feb 2012

I awoke to several inches of snow and the challenge of a long run that I had planned all week. I’d got 4 hours which meant around 20 miles, so my thoughts of running to Windsor (and train back) were cancelled when I saw that buses replaced trains today. So I decided on a 10 mile out and back along the Thames Path to Weybridge Ferry.


This is where the Thames Path crosses the river to the north side using a little ferry (seats around 6 people, starts at 11am on Sundays and you have to ring a bell on the quarter hour to get the ferryman to come over!). How quaint!

I had sorted out warm clothing, Camelbak, food and footwear (Neo Trails with gaiters) last night as the forecast did pretty much guarantee snow. I don’t mind 5k in my Lunas with Toesocks but 20 miles would be too risky.


So dressed (and a tea and banana later) with music playing I left home at 8am and headed out through crisp snow towards Bushy Park and Hampton Court Bridge, where I would cross the river to get on the Thames Path.

Bushy was pretty deserted, even the deer seemed to have stayed away from the snow, which was a shame as it would have made some nice photos.

Once I’d crossed the river and apart from the odd cyclist and rowing team on the river it was fairly quiet along the path.


I’d turned the volume down low on my iPod so I could hear how I was running, as the furthest I had previously run in my Neo Trails was 3 miles and a further 17 was a big jump. If stuff started to go wrong I needed to know sooner rather than later.


At Sunbury Lock the river was frozen on the lock side and the Church was just visible in the distance.


I started to have to duck under oars as I was going past boating clubs near Walton as all the rowers started carrying their boats down to the river from the various clubs.

I finally reached my turnaround and looked across to the little ferry still tied up. After a few gulps of a small flask of tea (how very British) and a Clif bar I started back the way I had come.

By now I was pretty wet from sweat and my Neo’s had succumbed to the melting snow I was running through so were soaked, but still warm.

The way was not as nice due to increasing numbers of people (antisocial git I am) and cyclists, and the fact that the snow was melting fast meant I was running through slush and puddles. But I was past caring.

I ran through Bushy, still able to see the footprints I left this morning and got home just after midday.

Leaving a pile of wet kit in the porch I sat on the lounge floor drinking a huge mug of tea and eating salt & vinegar crisps, as I was a couple of pound lighter I reckon I needed the fluids and the salts.

A good route and one that would be even better once the snow had gone and I could wear my Luna Sandals.

Bushy parkrun – 4th Feb 2012

As I was planning on a long run on Sunday (alas snow is forecast) I decided not to do my usual 5k parkrun, but instead to run there and back (6 miles total) and help out with the finishing funnel.


It was a beautiful but chilly morning and when I got there people were putting out benches loaded with T Shirts and several camera crews were wandering about as it seems we had 2 Olympians coming down to start the run, Edwin Moses and Mark Spitz.

Fortunately we only had around 750 runners but it gave us breathing room to apply some fine tuning to the double funnel to improve throughput which worked pretty well.

I spotted Nell McAndrew crossing the line which improved my morning immensely!

Fingers crossed the snow isn’t too deep tomorrow.