Friday, 31 December 2010

The year in numbers

So 2010 is almost finished with just four hours left of the year as I write this. So it must be time once again to get all reflective on what the year has served up. I have to say it has surpassed all my expectations. Words don't always cut it, and I can ramble on at times so instead here are a few numbers to sum up my year of running.

1681 miles ran (just 39m more than in 2009)

155 total number of runs (28 less than in 2009)

108 longest run (miles) (Adidas 24hr Thunder Run)

32.3 average weekly mileage

10.8 average run in miles (avg 9 in 2009)

23:30.51 longest time on feet (hh:mm:ss - Adidas Thunder Run)

6 the number of seconds that I was over my 3:30 marathon target in London! argh

1000 amount £ raised for PACE centre at Royal Parks Half Marathon

120 highest weekly mileage

55 longest training run

1:27.51 half marathon PB

3 average number of runs per week

168,000 number of calories burnt (100 cal per mile avg for male)

569 number of McDonalds cheeseburgers I could have eaten (295 cal each)!

1953 or the number of chocolate digestive biscuits... hhmmm yum yum!

220 number of loops completed on my local 440yrd track in a single training run

5 number of ultras completed

369 total number of miles covered in the 5 ultras

1 number of ultras won (Lightning 12hr)

A few pics of my highlights in 2010
London Marathon 2010 (perhaps shaving would have made all the difference!)

Wiggle Lightning 12 hr

Adidas 24hr Thunder Run

Royal Parks Half Marathon PB

Leighton Santa Dash

ROLL ON 2011!!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

ElliptiGO maiden voyage

The snow had cleared enough on the roads to take my elliptigo out for the first time. It was a short journey over to my mum and dads for boxing day lunch. I had already run 8 miles in the morning so my legs were warmed up nicely for this ride. First Impressions - it's a workout!! unlike a conventional bike which makes it feel like the miles are going past effortlessly on the elliptigo you really do feel like you are working out! The sense of this will be heightened by the fact that it was my first ride and thus the body and muscles aren't use to this different type of work out.

Technically the elliptiGO is a fine machine. It's solidly built with some high performance components including the shimano alfine 8 gear internal hub. Features conventional breaking system and steering column. The fine with the elliptigo is that it doesn't feel exactly like running nor cycling. It is a unique feeling. The makers say that it takes a while to get really use it to the point where you don't need to think what you are doing.

Even my ride back from the folks felt smoother and more at ease than he ride there. And this was in the dark utilising my new cateye light got for Christmas.

I'm thoroughly looking forward to getting to grips with the elliptigo in 2011. I plan to enter a few events. This includes getting my name enrolled on the official elliptigo century club list which is reserved for the first 100 riders to complete an offical 100 mile race.

Watch this space for updates on my progress and further thoughts on how I integrate it into my training.

Merry Christmas people.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Sunday long run report

With a number of ultra races coming up in January including the ULTRArace90 which is a back to back 45m on consequtive days along the Grand Union Canal, I need to start getting in some higher mileage. Hence Sunday's long run in the deep snow. I was actually really looking forward to getting up at 6:30am to be out the door by 7am in the sub-zero temperatures. Why waste such glorious opportunities to get out and experience nature at it's wildest by spending it in bed!

I wrapped up warm (base layer / insulated T / outer shell) and this worked a treat. It was earrily quiet as the snow acted like an impenatrable blanket letting neither any sound or light through. Most weird of all was the lack of any colour in the landscape as it felt like I was emersed in my own black n white film. Magical. See photo. 

It was such a nice run and whilst the effort levels were considerably higher to trudge through the snow it was most definitely worth it. Perfect resistance training! I ran 8 miles on my own before hooking up with two running club buddies Fred and John. Fred then led us on a tough off road 10 miler through Stockgrove Park and Rushmere Woods. This including some very steep ascents and long stretches through untouched snow. By the end of this run I was beat. At 18 miles and still 2.5 miles from home I didn't have much left. My pace at this point must have been in the 11-12mpm range. The avg pace for the 20.5 miles covered was 10.38mpm completing it in 3h38m. However speed and distance mean nothing in these types of condition. Effort wise it was easily a marathon and I felt far better for it. 

So that's my first 20 miler in the bag for a while. I need plenty more of them to get my endurance back up to where it was in the summer. The focus on speed since then has definitely effected my ability to string out the miles effortlessly. So roll on 2011 with more long runs to come :-) 

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Track run

I really wasn't feeling it today. I was meant to go for a long run (15-20 miles) but just couldn't be bothered (unlike me). But rather than not go out all and mope around in my dressing gown I went to the local track (concrete 1/4 mile loop) and blasted out 20 laps (five miles). definitely not my usual Sunday morning run yet I got my head down and went for it!

The track was half frozen because of tall tree cover at one end. So I had to go for it on the dry half and be a bit more cautious (slow) on the icy half. However this didn't stop me setting the pace. My mile splits were 6:01, 5:59, 6:00, 6:04 and 5:54. Total time 29:58!!! This is actually the first time I have gone sub 30 minutes on a full 5 mile course. Whilst in racing terms I ran a 29:40 last year I measured the course at 4.89m so coming up short. With this being a 1/4 track, and confirmed by the garmin at exactly 5 miles this for me is the first sub 30 minute 5 miles I have ever run :-) Funny what you can achiee on a cold frosty Sunday morning when you don't even feel like running.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Buckingham XC race report

An overdue race report on last Saturday's XC race in Buckingham. This was the 3rd race in the Chiltern XC League. I missed the first. Me and 2 team mates reccied the 2.5 mile loop which we would be running twice. It was up and down but hardy ever flat! The snow was still on the ground in places with some slush but quite firm footing due to the exceptionally cold weather of late. 

I was determined to give this one my all. However from the start my mindset quickly changed as a few runners passed me in the pack obviously putting in far greater effort than I was and i wasnt prepared to respond. However when your team mates go past you it's a different story and this gave me the kick up the backside I needed to start my race proper! Isn't it funny how the mindset can change so quickly based on just one external factor. I didn't feel any better physically but the competitive streak kicked in and I found another gear that wasn't there before.

At this point I was just hanging on to the back of my 2 team mates Tom and Joby, but importantly I wasn't losing ground. This continued for a bit whilst I adapted to the new faster pace (6:30 mpm).

As I said this was a very hilly course which I actually relish! Nothing worst than flat and boring. I used the down hills to my advantage lengthing my stride and going for it. I was able to past Tom and Joby on the down hills. Then on the flats they would pass me back. This ding dong battled continued for the rest of the race, with me pushing the pace on the downs and they on the flats. 

On lap 2 two more LBAC team mates joined us - Pete and Tom M. Both were the faster of us five runners so quite what they were doing behind us at this point in the race was a mystery. But actually they were just pacing it well. There were now 5 LBAC runners all in line working well together to push the pace with Pete and Tom M up front and the three of us continuing our own battle. 

The course was such that you rarely knew exactly where you were. There were so many switch backs and zig-zagging up hill after hill and down again that I never gave too much thought where I was on the course. It was just head down and run. The 5 of us were still together however Tom M had started to push the pace and opened a gap between him and Pete who was further in front of myself, Tom and Joby. At this point in the race I wasn't in a position to respond as I was already giving it my all. A gap can open up so quickly and if you do not respond immediately in a split second they have the advantage and you have to let it go. I always leave something for the finish though. I had dropped back to 5th behind Joby in 4th. But there were still a few down hills before the finish line where I could attack. 

One of these short sharp hills is followed by a very sharp slippy right hander which you practically need to stop at to get around and then proceed straight up again. So with the pack together with other club runners also fighting for position but slowing down the hill to take the corner, I sped down the hill at full tilt taking about 4 places sliding around the corner and only just staying on my feet, but that I did. The up was tough but I held position which then flattened out slightly before a gradual descent and another ascent back up the other side. Pete was now in my sights and the finish line was less than 400m away. I gave it what I had and caught and passed Pete but this chap is a 2:54 marathon runner so I knew he would respond. He didn't immediately though so for a split second I thought I had him but then he came back at me and passed making me look like I was standing still. I chased Pete to the finish but he was too strong for what I had left in my legs.

Distance = 5.08m. time 33:12. Position 73 out of 184 Div 1 runners. 100th ish out of 300 runners overall. I was the fastest Santa though!! Donning my fab new seasonal head gear :-)

This was a great XC race and definitely my favourite to date. The way the 5 of us worked together was great racing and I definitely benefited from it on this day. Otherwise I fear I would have plodded along coming in several minutes slower. 

Other club times were: Simon in 29:45 (non scorer as 2nd claim run) followed by Andy 2nd in 31:29 (1st LBAC scorer) and Mark in 32:18. Then the 5 of us who battled - Tom M - 33:07, Pete - 33:09, Me - 33:12, Tom - 33:18, Joby - 33:19. So it was all very close! 

LBAC finished in 10th place (juniors/female/male) out of 14 in Div 1 and keeps us out of the drop zone! The club hasn't stayed up in the top flight for years so if we continue to perform and get our runners on the start line we stand a good chance!

Bring on Luton XC in January