Weybridge ferry 20 mile, Teddington 10 mile and my Ultra getting closer – 29th May 2012

Well  this is probably my last week of 20 mile runs on Sunday mornings which I will miss. Although my peaceful run along the river was a bit noisier last Sunday as there was a regatta at Weybridge so lots of rowers racing (which was cool) and lots of half asleep spectators meandering along the path (not so cool).

I seem to have my hydration sorted, my 20 miles took 3.5 hours and I got through 3 litres of Nuun flavoured water, 1 Clif bar and no weight difference when I got home. So as the Aid stations on my Ultra are around 15-17 miles apart I need to aim to have an empty 3 litre Camelbak when I reach each of them.

My midweek 10 miler was up to Richmond and back along the river to Teddington Lock where I crossed the river and ran back home. There was some great looking boats on the river, many of which I would say are getting ready for the Queens diamond Jubilee flotilla on Sunday which will contain around 1,000 boats.

I did get a calf twinge at 5 miles which I put down to heading out faster than usual so I’ll be icing and massaging that carefully for the next week or so.

I’m really looking forward to my 69 mile The Wall Ultra, I haven’t quite started packing my bag yet (it is 3 weeks away), but in my head I’m frequently catch myself running through what I’ll put in my drop bag at halfway and what my real food “treat”will be.

The organisers had a test run of the Ultra a week or so ago and have posted a Mapmyrun “Fly though” of the whole route which is worth a look, particularly around 32 miles where you can see the large Roman fort at Vindolanda where the half way station will be set up.

Mapmyrun fly-through of The Wall 69 mile Ultra


My Luna Leadville Pacer sandals are holding up well, I did switch back to the original leather laces (the ones that wrap round your ankle etc) as I had a little problem with the ATS system (Luna kindly replaced the sandals) but at this point I still prefer the leather laces, particularly as should the knot break I can always pull more lace through and tie another one. Being able to fix stuff on the spot will be key in the middle of nowhere on the ultra.

Well I’d better go and “fly through” the route again so I know where I am going, and more importantly where the Aid stations and the finish are.



10 mile run in Bushy Park, trees, deer and the USAAF? – 22nd May 2012

Having dropped Oliver at Scouts and with 2 hours to kill I tied on my Luna’s, grabbed a bottle and headed into Bushy on what was a gorgeous sunny evening.

I had no fixed route planned and just intended to run trails around the park which is pretty large at 1100 acres.

After a few miles I passed by my favourite tree, and the finish of the Bushy parkrun. It was turning into a good run and my legs felt good considering I did 20 miles on Sunday.

Now what’s that white stone by those trees?

A monument, to what?

Ah, an explanation:

During the World War II General Dwight Eisenhower was averse to working in the centre of London during World War II. He decided instead to make Bushy Park the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) centre for planning Operation Overlord, the code name for the Allied invasion of north-west Europe that began with the D-Day landings. All the buildings were finally removed in the 1960’s, so without this little monument you would never know the the importance of decisions made over 60 years ago in the middle of this beautiful London park,.

A little more background:


I carried on running but after a while I was forced to walk for a little bit as the deer were pretty chilled out and running would have disturbed them too much (and they do live here!).

I was now out of fluid and time to head back to pick up Oliver, following the trail leading back through the trees towards the setting sun.

One of those “good to be alive” runs.

Weybridge Ferry and back 20 mile run – 20th May 2012

As I had a twinge in my right calf a week ago at parkrun I had been taking it easy with just a gentle 11 mile run on Tuesday, Kettle Bell workouts and lots of calf massages with “The Stick” and ice packs.

So on Sunday I decided to do one of my longer runs to see how my fitness was looking as mu Ultra was only 5 weeks away and I’ll have to start tapering in 3 weeks time.


After a cup of tea (but no breakfast) I headed out at 8am Sunday morning in my Luna’s, with 2 litres of Nuun, a few Clif bars and a waterproof in my Camelbak. My intention was to run 20 miles, which is a 10 mile run out along the Thames Path to Weybridge Ferry and then turn round and run back. I’d run this at around 60% of my Working Heart Rate (WHR) which equates to around 10:15 min/mile. The aim of which is to focus on a pace I can maintain for hours, but also one that will burn predominately fat (which I have plenty of), rather than carbohydrate/glycogen (which we all only have about 20 miles worth).

All went well to the 10 mile turn around point, loads of rowers on the river and it was a cloudy morning which was good for running. I had been drinking frequently and had a clif bar at 10 miles which tasted great.

Around 13 miles I heard runners behind me and as they drew alongside I saw it was a young couple with camelbaks and the girl was wearing Merrell barefoot shoes. My sandals were spotted and we spent the next 5 miles chatting about running, “Born to Run”, Ultra’s, nutrition and loads of stuff that would have had “normal people” asleep in 2 minutes. He was training for a 100 mile ultra in Cornwall in June, and his partner was recovering from an ITB injury and training for an Ironman.

It was great having people to talk “boring running stuff” to on a long run, even if it meant my pace had to step up to 9 min/mile for the next 45 minutes and still be able to maintain a conversation!

We finally parted once we had crossed Hampton Court Bridge but hopefully we will meet up again on another Sunday morning.

On the fluid and nutrition side the 1 Clif bar (,mmmm chocolate chip) seemed to be enough and I finished my 2 litres of Nuun, although I still seemed a bit dehydrated so I think I do need to stick to my 1 litre per hour target in future. I just find it difficult to know how much I am drinking when using a bladder, rather than a bottle.

Throughout the whole run (and even the following day) my calf felt really good no twinges at all, hurrah!

A good start to a Sunday morning, now where’s my mug of tea and peanut butter & jam on toast (separately of course).

Twickenham to Kew Bridge and back 11 mile run – 15th May 2012

Having dropped Oliver at Scouts for 2 hours and a dry evening I headed out for a 1 hour out & back run along the Thames to Kew bridge and back to stretch my legs, having taken it easy after a calf twinge at parkrun (during the usual sprint alas) on Saturday.

The rowers were out in force, along with a few leisure runners as well as “commuting” runners running home from the office with larger rucsacs containing laptops I presume.

When I ran through Richmond I even had a view of the royal row barge “Gloriana” (a scaled-up version of the 19 metre Prince Frederick’s row-barge, launched in 1732 and now in the National Maritime Museum) that will lead the royal procession down the Thames to celebrate the Queen’s diamond Jubilee celebrations later this year.

As the web strap on my Luna ATS laces had finally given out (Luna had already sent me a replacement pair of sandals) I had removed them and swapped back to the original leather laces instead. So as I haven’t used those laces for a while I may need to adjust them a bit to prevent rubbing, particularly as I will be using them on the Ultra next month (though I may cheat and wear socks as well).

The wildlife was certainly out and about, I must have seen 6 grey herons, one of which was stood at the side of the path which I ran past a mere 2 foot away! I had to run round pairs of Mallard ducks who had decided to nest in the middle of the path.

At turn around point (9k) I had a quick Clif bar, another swig of Nuun water and headed back, zipping up my top as the temperature was starting to drop.

The path consists of broken pieces of concrete in a few places but I managed to avoid stubbing my toe (always a risk) as one black toe (legacy of EcoTrail) is quite enough.

The pubs on the river at Richmond were starting to get busy (a cold beer looked a lot better than my Nuun) and running past someone on Richmond bridge eating fish & chips made me feel really hungry so I increased the pace and headed back to get Oliver, and some dinner.

Note to self: take money on runs so you can buy dinner!



Sunshine at last, Thames path, Bushy parkrun, Barefoot and midges – 12th May – 2012

At last, it has stopped raining and I can run in sunshine, for today at least!

After several weeks of constant rain (mind you, we are still in a drought with a hosepipe ban) it was good to head down to Bushy parkrun on Saturday and see Heron Pond back in sunshine again.

I’ve been rather remiss and not updated my blog for a week or so, during which I’ve done:

A 16 mile run on a Sunday morning along the Thames Path from Chelsea to Mortlake and back (whilst Sam was doing Judo at Budokwai). It was a great run, lots of people running and rowers training on the Thames.

A couple of 10 mile runs to Sunbury & back alas in the dark with headtorch

A few more 5k barefoot runs on road to harden my feet

and of course the usual parkruns

I’m probably going to volunteer at Bushy parkrun for the next month or so, as I can’t do a parkrun without a full out sprint for the last 100 metres, and on Saturday I felt a twinge on my right calf as I had to weave in and out of runners in my final sprint. It will be ok after a few days rest and massage but I can’t afford the risk of doing it again closer to my Ultra in June.

I do enjoy Funnel (I normally jump in to help out the Bushy funnel after I finish the run as with 800+ runners each week help is always needed and appreciated), as its good to see my “double funnel” design working and gives me a chance to see how it can be improved.

I’m starting to think about my footwear for my Ultra in June (http://thewallrun.com), my Luna Leadville Pacers (8mm sole) were really comfortable on the rocky Thames Path run, but I may put in my Luna Leadvilles (10 mm sole) in the drop bag for halfway as I will probably appreciate that extra 2mm of sole thickness after 32 miles!

I’m also trying to find my old mosquito net head gear as running at night (that close to Scotland) wearing a headtorch may result in me eating large amounts of midges! Ugh!