Wednesday, 30 September 2009

ACC DAY 1 - Padstow to Perranporth

So the waiting was finally over... I’d entered this event shortly after the London Marathon back in April and had been gearing up for it ever since. Training had gone well, completing my first two ultra races in the process. A 50km race in May and a double marathon in July. But they were both very different to the Atlantic Coast Challenge which would require instant recovery to be able to run 3 marathons in 3 days. Was I ready? I would just have to find out...

The route started at Trevose Head near Padstow (about 15 miles north of Newquay) and would go South along the North Cornwall Coastal path for 3 days finishing at Lands End on the southernmost tip of England.

Each day started with a briefing at race HQ in St Ives about what to expect and the detail of the course for the day. Maps were handed out but it became apparent on route that when you needed it most the map scale was just a tad too small to be of real use meaning that you are never 100% sure of the exact route, which all added to the fun! If in doubt we were told to keep the sea to our right and the land to our left and you cannot go far wrong!

After the briefing we were loaded off like cattle onto a convoy of white mini buses that snaked their way to Trevose Head for the start. Polite small talk was made with other runners but this journey was always the worst bit of the day as you just wanted to get going.

And so it was that we finally did get going shortly after midday as 120 or so runners set off on their intrepid way.
It was so great to get going and I was not nervous at all. It just felt right to be finally on my way. Day 1 promised some flat stuff including runs on sandy beaches including Booby’s Bay in the very first mile, as well as a many steep assents and descents. The terrain was very varied not only on each day but also throughout the 3 days as it would progressively get tougher and tougher.

Booby's bay

My pace from the start was quicker than I had intended but it felt right so I did not change it. Of course it was the terrain that would dictate my pace for the most part so my strategy was to run strong wherever the terrain was kind to me and slow down for the tougher sections to reserve my energy. The early sections were nice and flat and grassy and easy on the legs but involved much zigzagging around the many coves including High Cove (below).

Heading towards Park Head
High Cove

We were warned in the race briefing that navigating through Newquay might prove tricky for those of us who are navigationally challenged! Despite being with four other runners, five minds did not prove any better than one. I was concentrating so much on navigating the streets of Newquay that I completely forgot about Check point 2 at ‘Lusty Glaze’ and it seemed that so did the others. By the time we realised our mistake we had overshot the check point by ¾ of a mile. I was gutted as we had led a good pace out for the first 15 miles and were easily in the top 10%. Once back at ‘Lusty Glaze’ I did not hang around though (a strategy I employed at every check point throughout the challenge). It amazed me how much time some runners would spend at each check point like it was some kind of Sunday afternoon picnic. The 2litre camelback I was carrying meant that I only required one refill each day which saved a lot of time.
Above Fistral Beach

After shooting off from Lusty Glaze I pretty much found myself running on my own. I successfully navigated through Newquay and past Fistral Beach (above) and across a foot bridge over ‘The Gannel’ which could only be accessed at low tide (15:10 on this particular day). Those runners arriving later would have to make a further detour to get around to the headland above Newquay or get wet. Whilst the going got a little tougher after Newquay the views were fantastic taking in many nice parts including Kesley Head, Hollywell Bay, and Penhale Point, as the miles ticked on by.
Holywell Bay

The final descent of the day was from Ligger Point on a very narrow path down on to Perran Beach.
Perran BeachFrom there it was just a 2 mile trek across the soft sands to finish at Perranporth with my family waiting for me at the finish. Glorious! I completed Day 1 in 4hrs44mins covering 27.1 miles (including 1.5mile detour at Newquay!) and finishing in 28th place.

A big shout out must go to Tommy 'sicknote' from the RW forum whom I met on Day 1 at the start and the end! Here's Tommy cooling off!!..

Monday, 28 September 2009


just a very quick note sent from phone... Wow what a day and what a finish. The whole thing has gone so fast that i can barely remember any detail (the reason for taking so many photos which i will upload). Anyway i finished day 3 in 5hrs46mins and amazingly this was good for 6th position! Unbelieveable... I'm still pinching myself. Overall Results have just been posted too and again not what i was expecting at all. I came 9th with a total time of 14hrs56mins! Not bad :-) i need sleep. Good night

Saturday, 26 September 2009


another amazing day. Breathtaking scenery. Felt strong and finished in 4hrs 26min (18 min faster than yesterday).today was shorter by around 2miles but terrain was a lot tougher with many staircases going straight up! 2 down 1 to go!

Friday, 25 September 2009


just a quick update on day 1 brought to you from my caravan it St Ives... A great day. 27 miles in total which i completed in 4hrs44mins. Up and down all the way but well worth is as scenery was amazing. Full race report to follow...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Atlantic Coast Challenge

not a lot of time to type cos gotta pack for toorrows early departure to St Ives in Cornwall which will be base camp for the next 4 days as I attempt the Atlantic Coast Challenge (3 marathons in 3 days) along the North Cornwall coastal path!

It promises to be quite special!! gotta run...

will post twitters updates during the event...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Successful trial on trails...

So my new Asics Trabuco's arrived on Monday and I eagerly took them out at lunchtime for a 8 miler. I knew straight away from putting them on that they had a familar feel (to my old Trabucos)... it was akin to cinderella trying on the slipper! a perfect fit :-) far more roomy than the narrow salomons. Opting for the size 12's really worked out too, as the 11.5 which I had originally ordered but were out of stock would of been too small, so that was a stroke of luck.

The 8 miler went well. I'm getting quite into these progressive runs now where the next mile is (of should) always be faster than the last. Of course this wouldn't be possible without the garmin telling you exactly how fast you are going. I keep an eye on the mile laps splits and gently up the pace each mile, which is easier said than done I can tell you! My splits were 7:55, 7:42, 7:28, 7:26, 7:22, 6:58, 6:56, 6:42. Pretty happy with that especially in the new shoes.

So hopefully they will be just the ticket for the Atlantic Coast Challenge which is little more than 1 week away now!! eek :-) The entrants information has just been posted on the website so I've gotta read that through with a fine tooth comb! One thing I've never had to do before which is compulsory on this event is to pack mandatory items in your racing backpack. this includes torch, compass, whistle, waterproof, warm jumper, food, notepad etc which is certainly going to add some weight!! I plan to go out and test the fully laiden race pack tomorrow on my scheduled long run to see what its like. They say never to try anything new on race day so I don't want any surprises!

Just hope the knee is going to hold out!... its been showing me a few signs of late that it might need a bit of a rest so plan to take it fairly easy now in lead up to ACC!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Cross Bucks Way

Cross Bucks Way... scenic run through fields...

First the first run of the week. I did have a 10 mile hill session scheduled however my knee is sending a few signals that I should perhaps take it a little easy in the run in to the Atlantic Coast Challenge, so instead I opted to find flatter ground. I used my new OS Discovery Map for the 1st time and decided to head out West from Leighton Buzzard on the Cross Bucks Way. Map reading is not my strong point, but with a well marked trail this was a fairly straight forward route. Some very nice scenery and lots of animals as the photos below show! I'm not a big fan of running through fields full of cows, as I find them a little unpredictable, however I came through unscathed! phew :-O

click here to see the Bucks Cross Way route

its a lama!!
Cross Bucks Way straight through Soulbury Church!
he's coming straight for me! eek...
carbo loading!
half way!

more wildlife!

Monday, 7 September 2009

7 mile training run PB

click here to see training run on Garmin Connect

Had a great run today which is accessible via the link above all captured on the garmin and uploaded onto the garmin conect website. very geeky i know! Anyway the reason so happy with how it went was that I paced it well (for once)progressively speeding up every mile. Run the 7 miles in 48min30secs. Splits
mile 1 - 7:22
mile 2 - 7:07
mile 3 - 7:05
mile 4 - 6:55
mile 5 - 6:49
mile 6 - 6:37
mile 7 - 6:35

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Completed 50 mile training week

All in all a very good week of running for me. My first 50 mile training week since the lead up to London in April. I squeezed in an extra 4 miler on the tuesday, and changed around the weekend a bit meaning I did a tough longer hill session with a few LBAC runners on saturday. Recovery all week has been good too especially the day after wednesdays long run (22.77miles) :-)

The Salomon saga is almost over... they are on sale on ebay so if you want to pick up a bargin click here. They are a fantastic shoe but just too narrow for me. Instead I've now bought (on ebay) a bargain pair of the new Ascis Trabuco 12 which will replace my worn out Trabuco 11's that saw me through my first two ultras'.

Asics Trabuco 12's! lets hope they are more comfortable than the Salamon's!

Had a great run today. Went out with Lili and Kriszti, pushing lili in the offroad 3-wheeler, and Kriszti on her bike. pushing a buggy certainly adds to the workout! especially on the hills :-O

Garmin Connect - Sunday's 7 mile run! with Lili and Kriszti

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Shared via AddThis

Thursday, 3 September 2009

oh the pain...

great long run last night starting out just before 6pm in the pouring pouring rain as I ran 10 miles before joining local LBAC club runners for a jaunt down the grand union canal. By the time I've finished my scheduled 18 mile run... having already long left the club runners behind in a nice warm dry pub i still had a 1hr15min jog/walk to complete my alotted session! And this was in the pitch black back down the canal and along country lanes with cars (just) spotting me before they took a wide berth but not before soaking me in the process. I completed my session which was conveniently routed pass the same pub that the club runners had decended 1 hour or so before, so I retired for a well earned pint, before continuing my run home to make it back shortly before 11pm. what a night. the only other dampener on the evening was my new misfitting salomon trainers which have been a nightmare since buying them on saturday. A fantasic shoe that kept my feet dry thoughout this run (due to goretex liner and outer) but far too narrow causing major rubbing on my little toe and a huge blister for my troubles! Probably selling on ebay unless anyone reading this fits a size 11.5??

Recovery today has been very good. I can't remember ever feeling this good the day after a 23 mile run, so the training must be slowly paying off! thanks to the mad dog!