Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Energy Gels.......

........make me really nauseous after a long run and stays with me for days afterwards. Today's Wednesday and I still feel sick from Sunday's LSR!!

I've decided to avoid them and go for 'real food'.

Monday, 20 September 2010


A hilly 20 miler yesterday.

I felt really strong for the first 10/11 miles and then Ellen turned up in the car with the kiddies to give me a drink. At this point my focus on the task in hand completely dissapeared. There is nothing I cherish more than spending all my time with Ellen and the kids, particularly on a Sunday afternoon and on seeing them all I craved was to be with them.

However, I pushed on, but the focus and energy didn't come back. From what was a comfortable 9m/m pace for the first half, slowed to over 10m/m for the second. However, this will probably work out for the best for the ACC as my pace will be slightly slower still.

On finally returning home my legs were screaming and I felt dehydrated. Following plenty of drink and a Forgoodness Shake I decided to brave something that I've never had the courage to do before.....a cold bath. It took a while to get in (following screams to the amusement of others!) but I can honestly say that it calmed the legs after around 5 minutes and felt pretty good afterwards. I'll probably make a habit of it after future LSR's!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

ACC 2010 Looming

Two and a half weeks to go until the ACC 2010 and the race information was published yesterday. A new item on the compulsory kit list - tights/trousers.

I wonder if fishnets would suffice?

Chippenham Half Marathon

Sunday 12th September. It was billed 5th in the Runners World top 50 UK races of 2009.

I can honestly say it didn't dissapoint. A smaller half than I had been used to (compared to Bath and Bristol) with only around 1,300 starters, and very local to home (around 15 minute drive), so the decision to run this one was a no brainer! A friend who runs with Chippenham Harriers (the event organisors) had recommended it and, together with the RW ratings from last year, it looked to be a good race to get involved in.

A later than usual alarm call for a Sunday morning race made for a more leisurely time to get ready, comforted in the knowledge that the race was only 15 minutes away. I was going on my own and had arranged to meet Ellen and the kiddies at the end. This was great as I only had myself to worry about and Ellen could spend some quality time in the park with the kids instead of dragging them around the course, and then cheer me in as I finished.

Parking was superbly organised at a local school with only a short walk to the 'race village' at the local sports ground. A beautifully stunning day made for a really friendly and relaxed atmosphere. NO QUEUE FOR THE TOILETS!!!!!!!

Onto the race.

With only 1,300 runners lined up, as soon as the gun/horn went it meant you were well into your stride straight away. A gradual climb for around a mile then led into a long downhill into the town centre. After a quick climb back out of the town centre the course was mainly flat to undulating; certainly less undulations than Bath and Bristol. This led to a quick first half which prompted the question of burning out. Looking around it seemed others were of the same mind but a silent concensus to push on prevailed!

With such a stunning day it inevitably started to get hot, however bottled water was given out at aid stations every 3 miles! I remembered to stash a gel as I'd been slowing up at the 10/11 mile mark recently, and so downed it at about mile 8 in the hope that it would see me through the latter stages. It seemed to do the trick.....for a while but then the quick pace started to take it's toll. Ignoring the tiredness I pushed on and the final mile was a nice downhill stretch back to the sports field. One turn from the finish I spotted Ellen and the Kiddies and our friend Sophie and her kiddies which spurred me on. Unfortunately at this point I noticed 01:40 on my Garmin and therefore realised the sub-01:40 time had evaded me yet again. However, I was still on for a great time and a new PB.

01:41:39 at the finish line. Well pleased but still craving for that sub-01:40.

Overall, a truly great race, well organised with a more local/personal feel which gets lost at the bigger events. A great goodie bag to - tech. tee, medal, drink, sweets, biscuits, banana etc all for under £20. Ellen and the kiddies had a great time too. She has stopped coming to races like the Bristol Half due to the sheer volume of people to get three kiddies around. More local races methinks.

Well done Chippenham Harriers, same time next year!

P.S. 2 glasses of red the night before. Maybe this is the way forward?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Bristol Half Marathon 2010

Wet and soggy morning, totally the opposite of what the BBC weather forecast predicted at the end of last week.

Early alarm call at 06:00 to get to Bristol for a 09:00 start. However, I did something I've never done before and had a couple of pints of Guinness the night before (seemed like a good idea at the time!) The old nerves had turned the stomach into a washing machine and together with last nights drinks, the belly was not feeling in a good way! On route to Bristol the heavens decided to rain on the parade. Up to the point of standing around in my allotted time zone the rain persisted and I was soaked before the gun.

Long story short, I was hoping to go sub 1:40 for the first time. Up and down the Portway underneath the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge I was hovering between 07:30 and 07:45 minute miling. I felt reasonably comfortable up until the approach to the 10 mile point when the effects of the night before started to catch up. I also knew at this point that the easier part of the course had already passed and what was left was the pain in the arse, remaining 3 miles of cobbles, hills and the annoying winding city centre route. At about 12 miles, instead of my usual increase in pace I actually had to stop and recoup for a few seconds as a bout of dizziness took over (!!!) This is the part which destroyed all hopes of a pb. I don't know whether this was due to the previous late night or not but it had never happened before. However, I took stock and steadied my way to the finish.

I finished in 01:45:45. A pb for the Bristol course of around 3 minutes, but over a minute off my half marathon pb, and over 5 minutes of the ideal target of sub-01:40.

Re-coup, recover, re-focus. Early to bed Saturday night, no beer! Chippenham Half Marathon on Sunday.

Lesson: I very, very rarely drink, so I'm guessing even just the 2 pints the night before may have effected my run. Thoughts?