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).

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Richmond – Kingston 12 mile circuit run – 17th June 2012

Well it’s Fathers Day today and after what seems like days of non stop rain and high winds we have sunshine this morning, so I’m off for a run.

I decided on my usual midweek run of Twickenham to Richmond along the Thames, cross the river and back along the other bank to Teddington Lock, except this time I’ll carry on to Kingston bridge, cross the river and return home via Bushy Park. Should be around 12-13 miles.

I tied on my Luna’s as usual, grabbed shot bloks and a bottle of Nuun and set off.

The view across to Richmond Hill was impressive.

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I reached Richmond Bridge, crossed over the river and turned right and started along the other bank towards Kingston.

The rowers were out in force and You can see a 4 just in front of Marble Hill house, an 18th century villa in 66 acres built by King George II for his mistress Henrietta Howard.

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I carried on along the path running easily at around 10:15 min/ mile before reaching Ham House a 17th century house supposedly haunted.

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I had run this path several days earlier in the dark so was surprised to see a tree had fallen and been cut up to clear the path. It shows how windy it had been.

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As you can see by my Camelbak bottle on top it was a fair sized tree and a real shame.

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I crossed back over Kingston bridge and joined the parkrun course in Bushy park at about half way, but running it in reverse taking me round to Teddington Gate.

The last few miles along streets were a poor substitute for the great trails I had been running along the river.

One more training run left before ‘The Wall’ ultra on Saturday.

Richmond – Teddington Lock circuit 10 mile run – 13th June 2012

It was 9pm last night before I got out of the house for a run, so it was back to using my head torch again. Oh well I may end up having to use it on my ultra if I slow up too much in the latter stages, anyway so good practice.

I wore my Camelbak, more to carry my waterproof as the sky still looked like it could decide to rain at some time in the next 2 hours. Stuck some tape on the top of my feet (to prevent knot rubbing), tied on my Luna’s grabbed a bottle of Nuun and set out.

I was doing my 10 mile circuit, through Crane Park, along the river to Richmond, over the bridge and back along the river to Teddington Lock where I cross back again and then head back home through Teddington.

I was aiming for around 10:00 – 10:20 min/mile pace which I seem to settle into almost without thinking these days. That level of “autopilot”  is what I’m going to need a week on Saturday if I’m to run farther than I have ever run before, 69 miles!

As it was starting to get dark I wasn’t listening to my usual diet of running podcasts (UltraRunnerPodcast, Trail Runner Nation, Talk Ultra) , though I reckon I can recite Sunny Blende’s (from Chris McDougall’s “Born to Run” book) nutrition interviews (http://www.eat4fitness.com/) on running Ultra’s from memory!

I saw a couple of runners on the way to Richmond, but none after that point as it was getting dark and the path to Teddington is very dark in places and wooded. I was grateful for the incredible light from my headtorch (http://silva.se/products/sport/trail-runner) which gives a powerful central beam and 2 wide side beams which is very useful when you need to see outside of the usual “light tunnel” you get with some lights.

Alas the river had been high recently (and we’ve had lots of rain) so I was having to negotiate my way round lots of mud & puddles, trying to keep from getting mud between my feet and my sandals, as it is the one thing that makes running in them nigh on impossible, as you just slip and slide around on top of the sandal. It is the one reason I will be doing the ultra with my pair of Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek in my pack, just as a backup in case my Luna Sandals become unwearable due to mud.

Don’t get me wrong I love my Luna’s, and have done trail runs where I have had to run through mud, but I’ve been able to wash off the mud quickly by standing in a puddle (boy do you get some funny looks) or using cups at a water station to wash your feet clean (funny looks there too), but if it is just miles of muddy trails then I’ll switch to VFFs.

I finally got home at 10:45pm, hungry (only had 2 shot bloks) but feeling like I could keep on running.

One week tomorrow I’ll be on the train to Carlisle (I’m taking the slow scenic route over what is considered the most scenic railway in england, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settle-Carlisle_Line), starting The Wall 69 mile Ultra at 7:00am the next day.

Only a week to go, almost time to start laying out my running gear!

Chelsea to Barnes Bridge and back 14 mile Thames Path run – 10th June 1012

Having dropped Sam off at judo I had around 2.5 hours to kill so I headed off over the River Thames to join the Thames Path towards Barnes. I reckoned I’d be able to get to Barnes Bridge before it would be time to turn back which would give me a good total run of around 14 miles.

It was quite warm, though rain was forecast later. There was more runners than normal on the trail, probably due to the expected weather later.

A surprise, I passed a runner going the other way and we both smiled, pointed at each others footwear and exclaimed ‘nice sandals’, yes we were both running in Barefoot Ted’s (BFT) Luna Sandals! It was the first time I have seen anyone in the UK wearing them. I shouted to him that BFT is in London later this month and we both headed off our separate ways.

I was carrying my Camelbak and was determined to drink my 2 litres of Nuun during the run, along with eating a few Shot Bloks.

My Ultra is 2 weeks away and I’m starting to taper my run distances, 10-15 miles on Sundays and 2×10 mile runs in the week.

Today was a test of the ASICS Trail (lots of storage for food and non slick shoulder tops) top I intend to run the ultra in, so it was good not to find any issues with it.

I finally got to Barnes Bridge and turned around opposite the composer Gustav Holst’s house (according to the blue plaque).

A lot more people had come out for a Sunday walk along the river by this time so I had a lot of dodging and weaving around people trying to walk whilst ready Sunday papers and buggies.

I finally crossed back over the river and made my way back to the car, 14 miles completed and only one more 14 ish mile run next Sunday before the ultra.

I’m fighting the temptation to start laying my running kit out on the floor and deciding what goes in my running rucksack and what goes in the drop bag. Tomorrow I’ll stock up on my nutrition for the race, Clif Shot Bloks and Clif Bars.

I’m starting to suffer from surpressed excitement!

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

http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/120746581

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.

 

 

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.

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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).