Training, River Relay and Bushy parkrun

What a great 7 days weather for running. I managed to get in 37 miles of running, most of which was even in sunshine (alas a few more weeks and I’l be glad if it is in daylight)!

A couple of 9 mile morning runs last week, no running at Bushy parkrun http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bushy/home on Saturday (more on that later) a 5 mile run on Sunday to the start of my 5 mile river relay (and the 5 mile race back in the midday sun and 29 degrees C) and this morning’s 9 mile run (where the photos are from) after walking Oliver to the train station (which is not far from the entrance gate to Bushy park).

My aim was to have a nice run for around 90 minutes so getting home around 9:30, I had a water bottle (as the sun was already quite strong) and set off running from Fulwell rail station in my Luna’s. For some reason the gate I was going to enter the park was closed so I carried on through Hampton Hill to the next gate (alas having to pass bakers and coffee shops with people sat outside eating pastries….the bas***ds!) which was open and entered the park.

The deer were hiding in the long grass & bracken but I disturbed them as I went past and got glared at by at least one of them.

It was a glorious morning to be running in the park, which alas my photography skills and an iPhone just can’t capture, but I have a go anyway.

On reaching Kingston bridge I crossed, looking upriver towards Hampton Court with the Thames Path on the right of the picture.

After crossing at Kingston I headed downriver along the Thames Path towards Teddington Lock (the only river crossing between Kingston and Richmond bridges, and pedestrian only) where the Thames becomes tidal. The photo is looking from Teddington Lock back towards Kingston.

After running past some of those river boats wafting the smell of bacon & eggs onto the towpath I finally got back home hungry after a great 9 mile run.

As for Bushy parkrun http://www.parkrun.org.uk/bushy/home, as I had a race on the Sunday I volunteered for Funnel on Saturday (my usual practice when I have a race the next day). Rodney McCulloch and I had decided to be on Funnel together (along with many other volunteers needed to run such events) as we expected to have a large field, with the combination of Olympic fever, sunshine and the fact it was pacers (people running with the time they will finish held aloft on flags for people to try and keep up with!) this week.

Well we were right, we had 981 runners (2nd largest field ever) so after an hour of directing tired runners into the correct lane (more like herding exhausted cats) I had almost lost my voice.

Although I must admit I almost get as much of a buzz from “funnelling” the large fields at Bushy as I do running it myself! I think Rodney feels the same.

Next Saturday I’ll be running, though I’ll probably jump into the funnel to help after I finish, just for a 2nd buzz!

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Canada, Colds and Mo-Box

After looking forward to lots of trail running in Canada I managed 2 runs before then going down with a chest cold that kept the children entertained as I sounded like Darth Vader!

My first run was in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver a couple of days after we arrived.

I went out early and after running past some large (non human) footprints I acquired a large pointed staff that I used to contain my paranoia over the 2 hour run through the forest and canyons. The scenery was amazing and so were the trails. My staff even made it into the picture as well.

My second run was in Whistler.

I took the cable car and chairlift to the top of the mountain 6,000ft and intended to hike the trails down to the ‘Peak to Peak’ gondola.

I was wearing my Trail running gear (but with toesocks on to keep my feet warm in my Luna Leadville sandals).

Once at the top I found a good trail and ran for 90 minutes gradually working my way back to the gondola. The views were fantastic and my Leadvilles smoothed out pretty much anything underfoot.

My first run back in England had to swing by a special post box in Teddington. In particular the one painted gold in celebration of Mo Farah’s amazing 5k and 10k gold medals in the Olympics.

As I’m currently unemployed having been made redundant I’m trying to run 10k every morning before I sit down at the laptop for the rest of the day looking for my next role.

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).

20120810-073959.jpg

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!

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!

Richmond – Teddington Lock 9.5 mile circuit – 4th July 2012

Having failed to go for a run on Tuesday I was definitely going on Wednesday night and arranged with my neighbour James (Race Director of www.ringofire.co.uk) to meet up around 8pm and fit in a run.

I intended to do my my usual 9.5 / 10 mile river circuit (but maybe I should have told James first ….oops)

We started a few minutes late but wearing my Luna’s and carrying  a water bottle we headed into Crane Park. Having been training alone for months I’d normally settle into my comfortable 10:15 min/mile “ultra” speed but with James I know it will be faster so we settled into around 9:30 min/mile.

It was nice when we finally cut through Twickenham and reached the Thames, where we ran along to Richmond Bridge. Once over the bridge we turned right and headed past a few restaurants on the river, Gaucho’s always smells wonderful (http://www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/restaurant.php?id=richmond), before reaching Petersham meadows.

The path is quite rocky and muddy on this section so we hopped over the wall into the meadows and ran along the grassy path that runs parallel, before joining the river path again a few hundred metres later.

We passed a few people walking, but the light was starting to fade, and we had to do a fair bit of navigating mud and puddles at times where the tree canopy above is quite dense so it is pretty dark. Much later and I would be wishing I had my headtorch as it is far too easy to kick a rock, and in sandals that hurts a lot!

It was a fairly warm evening but having neglected to tell James exactly how far we were going (else he would have brought water as well) meant we shared my water bottle as we got quite thirsty.

We discussed “The Wall”, how beneficial my kettle bell training was for hill climbing and and how some of the race arrangements that I viewed as successful may be relevant to James’s event. We also talked about me having to make a decision soon about running the 50 mile Copper Canyons Ultra Marathon (CCUM) in Mexico in early March 2013 as entries have now opened.

We reached Teddington Lock, crossed the river, and headed back through Teddington to home. Running on pavement is always a real “downer” after the trails along the river.

It was a good run and nice to be able to chat with James as we ran, which is also a good check that we were running aerobically!

Thanks James.

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.