Injury, recovery and looking forward to Canada – 9th August 2012

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for a couple of weeks due to a calf strain I received whilst out on a run with James.

It took me 2 weeks if ice, massage and ‘the stick’ to work the sore lump in my calf out of my muscles. Having done that I did a slow and careful (listening to how my body was working) run for 10 miles along the river last week, a 5k parkrun in Brighton last Saturday and a 10 mile run to Richmond and back via Crane Park yesterday morning (the photo below).

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I’m now getting my running gear together for the family holiday in British Columbia, Canada where I hope to get in quite a few trail training runs (whilst everyone is asleep) and hiking in my Luna’s. My only concern is the wild animals they have over there (bears, mountain lions) as the most I am used to in the UK is angry squirrels!

I have my usual half marathon in Bristol, UK at the end of September with my friend Phil, and I would like to break my long standing PB/PR with something nearer to 1:45 so I must remember to go easy on the pancakes and maple syrup!

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Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon, The Wall Ultra Marathon, Thames Path 100, parkrun, Richmond – Teddington loop – 11th July 2012

Well I’ve done it, I’ve entered my “Bucket List” race in Mexico, the Copper Canyons Ultra Marathon!

The race is early March 2013 so I’ve plenty of time to train, though I’ll have to modify my training as the race is 50 miles, has 10,000 ft of ascent / descent and is likely to be pretty warm. Lots of running up and down Richmond Hill in the winter wearing 10 sweaters I suspect!

It is a 50 mile Trail Ultra marathon that was made famous in Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run”. The following film, though a couple of years old will give you an idea of the people and the area.

Some of the footwear may look familiar too!

http://youtu.be/YIyEvomUz14

Sadly the main character in the book and the founder and race director of the Copper Canyons Ultra Marathon, Caballo Blanco (Micah True) died earlier this year after going out for a run in New Mexico.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17600061

I think it may turn into a celebration of his life and the event he started. Maybe I should start tequila training as well?

The Wall Ultra Marathon

Below is a link to an excellent video taken by a runner who did the run in 2 days (camping overnight). Ah seeing all that water brings back memories, plus I get to see what I ran past in the dark!

http://youtu.be/_LTY4g9KkEw

Thames Path 100

My neighbour, fellow runner and Ring O’Fire Ultra http://www.ringofire.co.uk/ Race Director James has registered for his next challenge, The Thames Path 100 http://www.centurionrunning.com/thames-path-100-2013/. This is a 100 mile foot race along the Thames from Richmond to Oxford. He kindly invited me to join him but as it is only 3 weeks after Copper Canyons Ultra I had to decline. However I have offered to pace him for the last 30 miles (Streatley – Oxford), which will probably be during the night. Hopefully he will have slowed down by then so I can keep up!

parkrun

It was good to start my regular parkruns every Saturday having stopped for a month prior to “The Wall” to avoid picking up an injury in my customary 100 metre sprint finish each week.

We are still getting fields of mid 800+ and so far the “double funnels” are holding up.

Richmond to Teddington Lock 10 miles

It was good to get out on Wednesday as the weather has been very wet. I took a chance on my normal circuit, but hedged my bets and wore my VFF KSO Trek as if if got very muddy they would be better than my Luna’s.

Rain did hold off but the path got pretty muddy once I crossed over at Richmond and reached the overground section.

But it was worth it for the occasional break in the tree cover to look across the river and the sunshine, it was raining but you can’t see it on the photo.

A good and refreshing run.

Alas a few more months and I’ll be back to running it in the dark with a headtorch again!

Barefoot Ted, parkrun and Richmond – Teddington Lock 10 mile circuit – 1st July 2012

After my 69 mile ultra last Saturday (www.thewalllrun.com) I’d taken it easy with no running until I attended Barefoot Ted’s talk at the London “Run and Become” running store on Friday. Barefoot Ted will be known to many runners as the character in Chris McDougall’s best-selling book “Born to Run”.

I met Ted last year at his talk and it was good to go for a short run with him around Green Park. even my son Sam came with us, making it the furthest he has run in a long time. I must get him to buy his own Luna Sandals and stop borrowing mine!

I did my usual parkrun at Bushy Park on Saturday morning (along with 819 others) and was pleased to finish in 23:09. Topped it off by joining a parkrun volunteer photo with Paul Sinton-Hewitt (parkrun CEO & Founder).

I awoke to brilliant sunshine on Sunday morning, grabbed my gear, tied on my Luna’s and set out at 8am for a 10 mile circuit along the Thames.

It was hard to believe that 1 week earlier I was just gingerly climbing into bed having completed my 69 mile run.

The river at Richmond was quite busy but not enough to spoil the view along the river from Richmond towards Ham House.

I saw a few runners on the river path, but not as many as I would have thought on such a pleasant morning.

The photo below shows the trail that continues all the way to Kingston and beyond. Its a bit rocky in places but good practice for careful foot placement in sandals. Practice that came in very useful a week ago. I consider myself very lucky to be able to run in places like this.

The legs felt good, with no traces of tiredness so as long as I don’t wake up tomorrow with sore legs it looks like the post-ultra repair work is complete, enabling me to get back into my normal running schedule. That said, the only race I have got coming up is Bristol half Marathon on 30th September and the Cabbage Patch 10 mile in mid October.

At Teddington Lock I crossed over the river (I’d have loved to carry on to Kingston but wanted to get home before everyone wakes up) and headed back through Teddington towards home.

A nice run, at around 10:30 min/mile pace a great start to a sunny Sunday, alas it rained later (but I had already had the best bit of the day).

Last 8 mile run before Ultra and an admirer with antlers – 19th June 2012

So here we are at last, my last training run before my ultra on Saturday.

My Ultra kit is now in piles on the bedroom floor waiting to be sorted into:

  • What I’m running in on Sat
  • What is going in my drop bag
  • Everything else

So once I’d extracted enough gear to wear for my last training run I got a lift with Theresa who was taking Oliver to Scouts (I’d have to end up back home afterwards to get the car to go and pick him up later).

Outside Bushy park I checked my Luna laces, grabbed my bottle of Nuun and headed off into the park.

I had run perhaps half a mile before I saw a herd of deer near the path and as they all had velvet covered antlers I stopped to take a photo.

Whilst I was getting my iPhone out one of them took an interest in me and started to wander over. I stood my ground for a bit until I took the following photo and then carried on running as I didn’t want it to turn into a fartlek session pursued by something with antlers!

They are beautiful creatures.

It was a lovely evening which made me think about the advance weather forecast for the location of the Ultra. Basically it sucks.

To quote the BBC Weather website for Carlisle where the run starts:

“Further rain or showers are likely during the weekend, some heavy with a risk of thunder. Temperatures remaining below average.”

So pretty much my entire run was spent wondering if I was I fully prepared for running in waterproofs, do I need to change anything, shall I start in Luna’s and carry my VFF KSO Trek, or start in VFFs and carry Luna’s, do I need a warmer top as a spare, should I put more stuff in my drop bag etc etc?

It would be such a shame if it is raining as it won’t do the scenery justice, in fact as most of it is exposed it is more likely to be horizontal rain, in which case I won’t see much at all.

Fingers crossed the weather guys have got it wrong, after all they have before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Storm_of_1987).

Anyway back to my run, it was a gentle run round Bushy at around 10:20 min/mile just to stretch my legs, admire the scenery and (as you can see above) not fret too much about the impending Ultra.

I was shaken out of my musings by a female runner heading towards me at some speed. Judging by her form and physique (and six pack!) she was probably in one of the Olympic teams training at St. Mary’s college round the corner. She was certainly fit (in both meanings of the word).

I reached Teddington Gate and headed back home by road, sorry to leave the scenery of the park and now my thoughts turning to Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bushy 11 mile training run – 4th June 2012

With the combination of the Queens Diamond Jubilee weekend activities and starting my taper I didn’t do my usual 20 miles on Sunday, and instead opted for an 11 mile on Monday morning as it was a Public Holiday (thanks HRH). I’ll probably drop my mileage down to 3 x 10 mile runs (two during the week and one on Sunday) for the next 2 weeks but still keep my Kettle bell sessions up to work on my quads for the hills!

It was nice doing my Bushy run in the morning for a change, and I saw more runners than usual as Thames Triathlon were running a Triathlon with the Cycling,Pool, Running changeover being Hampton outdoor pool. Hence the stream of cyclists turning into the entrance and wet runners exiting.

Bushy was fairly quiet, with just the Britmilfit people running about in their coloured teams doing press-ups etc. I ran part of the parkrun course but then went off on paths to get in the extra miles. My Luna’s were great as usual, although I forgot the tape on the top of my foot (I sometimes get the skin under the knot rubbed off) I had no problems. I will tape the top of my feet for the Ultra however.

The deer looked impressive with their “velvet” covered antlers getting quite large.

My 1 litre of Nuun just about lasted and I didn’t have to take any bloks during my 2 hour run, but I will during the Ultra.

Next run will be a 10 miler on Thursday night I expect.

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!

Bushy parkrun – 14th April 2012

Having given blood 2 days before, I was going for a gentle run round on my Saturday Bushy parkrun (I know from experience that after giving blood I feel like someone has removed 5th gear from the car!), so after a quick photo of the deer having a paddle I headed to the start.

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I bumped into my neighbour Dean and we joked about who would be slower this morning.

I set off a lot further back than normal and settled in for a comfortable run. Around 2.5k (halfway) I caught up with Dean and asked what his PB/PR was, he said 24:15. Come on, I shouted we can beat that if you want. He said he couldn’t as he hadn’t trained all week but I said I was missing a pint of blood which put us even.

Anyway he took the bait and we closed up and started to slowly move through the field together.

I continued to push Dean to keep together and at the last 100m shouted hang on as I broke into my usual sprint for the line.

It worked, Dean achieved a new PB/PR of 23:56, a 19 second improvement, and I had a rewarding parkrun helping a runner and neighbour.

A good morning.