Shrug, and Move On

Well, sometimes you just have to give a shrug and move on, and for me, now is one of those times.

Today I was supposed to be racing an trail race in the Chiltern Hills, an event I was really looking forward to, however, due to my inability to get rid of my cold I simply wasn’t in a condition to race, well that is what my wife told me!

I thought I was taking a sensible approach this week to ensure I could race, I didn’t train on Monday or Tuesday, then did an easy run Wednesday night and all seemed ok. The numbers from the run were ok and I really thought I was winning.

But, on Thursday I woke up feeling shattered, and that feeling only got worse as the day went on, I picked up a sore throat to go with it and then starting coughing up all sorts of horrible coloured stuff! Despite this I was still optimistic of being able to race.

Friday, the situation didn’t really change and so I was forced to admit that I could not race, my wife chipped in with her opinion that if I did race I would probably not do myself any good and that would or could impact the rest of the year. So the decision was made, well not finally!

Saturday morning, I hoped when I woke up I would feel brilliant, no sore throat etc and then I could go race, however,that was not the case so I was forced to finally admit defeat.

I am now hopeful of returning to normal training next week as I have another race in a couple of weeks and as it stands I am thinking I might not be in much of a condition to do that but we will see.

I know this year is all about a single goal, and these early season events are just to break up the training but I do enjoy a race there is something about the atmosphere that I like, the chance to be with like minded people and to generally have fun.

So, no race for me today, hopefully normal service will resume shortly.

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The Bigger Picture

Training for me this year has so far consisted of low heart rate running, turbo sessions and swimming. On paper not perhaps the most exciting looking of sessions, but and this is the key thing they are working, and it seems working well.

I have been running pretty much 6 days a week and as the intensity has been kept down I have been able to achieve two things, firstly and most importantly get my knee rehabilitated and used to running again and then build a solid endurance base, one from which I can build on as I get closer to the aim for the year.

One thing that is important and that is to have a race to do every so often, mainly as it breaks up the training and even if you don’t do any specific work for it, you can still give it a decent go.

Ans so it was this last weekend that I did my first race of the year, a 10k run. From the above you can see that I have done no speed work and so this race would be based around the endurance I had built. I was told not to worry about the time and to take it easy as I had been running a lot of days and still had more to come in this block.

Well, the gun went and suddenly all thoughts of taking it easy disappeared I just couldn’t help myself! Yes, I ran harder than I possibly should have but I was feeling pretty good and really enjoyed stretching my legs. I finished in 49 minutes 26 seconds, which placed me 25th overall and 3rd in my age group, and the time was officially a pb. So not to shabby for a very early season race.

The best thing of all was I thought I could have actually run faster, there was a head wind for about 2.5km of each of the 2 laps and  think this slowed me down. Typical racer always got an excuse!

The point I am trying to make is that my training is aimed at a specific target but it doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun doing races along the way and in doing so I am able to see how I am feeling, it doesn’t have to be based on numbers but how much I am actually enjoying the running and the racing.

It is onwards and upwards then, and for anyone who is wondering, yes I know my pb for 10k is not that impressive but I am actually getting faster as I get older!

2015 Events

It is that time of the year again when you have to decide what events you want to do in the following year, what takes your fancy, what challenges do you fancy.

Well for me, there is one main aim and several smaller ones, my main focus is going to be my attempt at my first ultra marathon, it is 50km off-road through the Chilterns. Now, some readers amy be aware that I have never run a marathon or really fancied one that much, but this event just appeals to me, it is off-road and will provide a very stiff challenge.

I am looking forward to doing a couple of duathlons in March and April, these should provide an interesting contrast to the triathlons I did last year.

It will not escape your notice that there are no triathlons on the list for this year, well that is simply because I am in a bit of a quandary with them, I struggle with the swimming and really for me I need to improve even if I just want to do sprints rather than longer distances. I will still be doing swim sessions, mainly for cross training.

The list of events currently is as follows:

Date Race Name Distance
18 January 2015 Hot Chocolate Run Series – Race 1 10k
21 February 2015 Rail To Trail West 10k
7 March 2015 Gatorade Eton Duathlon Race 3 5k/20k/5k
4 April 2015 Gatorade Eton Duathlon Race 4 5k/20k/5k
31 May 2015 Chiltern 100 Sportive 122k
11 July 2015 Chiltern Challenge Ultra 2015 50k

This is the plan, and the hard work has already started and will continue in 2015

Rat Race London River Run

Today I took part in the Rat Race London River Run, basically a 10k run with obstacles thrown in which mainly involved water.

I have done a few Rat Race events in the past, and they are always well organised and reasonably priced, this was no different.

The event was set up and around the Excel in London, and took full advantage of the docks to make some interesting obstacles.

This was the first time this event has been held in London, previously it was up North and actually often shown on Channel 4. So, how did the event go for me, well on arrival, slightly later than planned due to issues on the tube, it was off to registration.

Registration was the usual simple, quick and easy affair and then it was off to change. The changing tent was a bit dark at one end as it only had lights at one end, bit odd but there you go.

The bag drop was well organised, and they had a system of looking after your valuables, which was a good and well received idea.

Onto, the start after the usual enthusiastic warm up from the gym teachers on the stage. The first 600-700m was inside the hall, but it still had a few hurdles, a tyre run and a couple of things to climb over.

Once outside, it was quickly into the paddling pool and off to the beach to go under a couple of inflatables, the advice of don’t drink the water was probably very wise as it seemed salty and whilst not obviously filthy, not the best!

A bit of a run next, up some steps, over a bridge and then onwards. To be honest I can’t remember the exact order of the obstacles, but there was a swim, followed by clambering over some inflatable rings. I fell off the rings into the water, typical. Then there was a couple of floating platforms which you had to jump onto, I jumped but the platform was a long way away and whilst i sort of caught it, fell again. You will see a theme here!

Next up was the big test, the jump into the water from a 3m high platform, it was a case of walk to the edge wait for the countdown and jump. I have to say it was an odd feeling jumping, it seemed to take a long time to hit the water, maybe I was flying!

Once out, it was more soggy running and off to the kayaking, luckily I jumped in with two other people who turned out to be decent paddlers, so I was carried along really.

After this came the strangest one, a water slide, the slide was steep and I was certainly travelling at sped when I hit the water. Climb out and off again.

There were on the course a few non-water obstacles, a small inflatable, some monkey bars, a couple of things to climb over and then something to go under. Most of these you got to do twice!

The final water obstacle was an inflatable tunnel you went through and dropped out into the water, swam round a buoy and then climbed out.

In true Rat Race style there were a couple of walls to climb over in the finishing straight, just to keep you honest, and then it was over.

I have to say I was really looking forward to this event, and if I am honest it wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped, but it was still fun.

On finishing I realised I had picked up the usual assortment of Rat Race bruises and scars, most of which will be sore for a few days, that is just traditional.

If you have never done one the Rat Race Obstacles races, I would recommend doing one, they are a good laugh and well worth doing with someone or a group for more fun factor.

First Race of the Year – Done

Today I did my first race of the year, the Water of Life 10k organised by Purple Patch Running, it was an off-road event run alongside the River Thames.

My build up for this had been going pretty well until this week when I seemed to be going backwards, no real speed when needed and legs feeling like I had run a 1000miles each session. So I have to admit I wasn’t really holding out to much hope for today and I think I would have pretty much settled for anytime under 57 minutes, which I know is no real time and shows no real ambition.

The course started and finished at Bisham Abbey, and headed off through Temple to Hurley alongside the Thames and back round to the start. It was a basically flat course, the only hills provided by the bridges over the river, but the ground was soft and in places slippery. In fact so slippery that I went round a bend and slipped, luckily I didn’t fall or twist anything but it did slow me down for a bit while I recovered myself.

Variable weather is always a problem when running, and today was no exception, it was cold and so I went for the long bottoms and base layer and t-shirt plus full trial shoes, after about 7km it decided to hail and then rain and then bring the sun back out, spring time is so fun! But generally I think I got the clothing about right, glass I didn’t go for gloves and for me it was a bit cold for shorts, I know I am a nancy boy!

If you get the chance to do this event next time, or the half marathon they run alongside it I would say do it, it is very well organised, the marshals are super friendly, the course is good and very easy on the eye all you need to make it perfect is some warm sunshine.

My time, oh yeah well I managed to drag myself round in 52 minutes 55 seconds, nothing record breaking but ok I think for now it left me finishing 65th out of 288.

2014 – What To Do?

With the year end fast approaching it is the time to start booking up the events for 2014, and lets face it there are plenty to select from.

For me, I like to try and do one event a month, mainly done to time nd cost, but I think if those two factors were not so restrictive then I would probably do as many as I could.

So then, what do I fancy for 2014, well as you might have gathered from reading previous posts, I really want to do a triathlon (I know I have to swim, but that is another story), a few cycle sportives and probably the odd obstacle run.

That might sound like a fairly broad list, and to be fair it is, but I can narrow it down. I am already book dingo the Blenheim Triathlon in June (yes I know I have to swim, I remember it from earlier) and the Lincoln GP Cycle Sportive in May.

Other than those actually booked events I am looking at a 10k cross country in January, possibly duathlons in February and March. Then once we hit April it looks like the cycle sportive season is properly on and so I think I might find one or two to do, then in May there is another triathlon that looks promising and after that frankly who knows.

I think the problem is that there is simply too many events on offer that I think I wouldn’t mind doing and so how do you decide what to enter? For me I really don’t know, if my swimming was decent then I would probably be entering almost any tri I could find but as its not I have to limit myself to “only” runs, cycle events or duathlons!

What I would say is that by entering events it does give you a focus for your training and that really helps.

In short watch this space and I will say what I enter, but currently it’s all in the planning stage.

Signs of Normality?

Finally I feel like there is some kind of organisation coming back to my training, I have managed three runs and two swims in the last week which is an improvement.

The only downside is that I feel my swimming has gone backwards, that is due to two weeks out of the pool, it also sets my confidence back as well. As I am someone who is basically learning to swim as I go any knock in confidence can be a real problem, I am hoping that a few sessions this week will improve things again.

The other problem is that my running is currently feeling like hard work, yesterday we did a run at an easy pace and so today I went for a harder off road run, I wasn’t trying for a fast pace, it was just the route that was harder. Boy was it tough, not only the hills, but mainly the deep wet mud which was basically ankle deep and it made running tough. In fact on one path I had to walk as I was sliding from side to side, whilst this might not sound too bad, but on one side was a wooden fence the other a barbed wire affair and frankly I didn’t fancy attaching myself to the barbed wire fence.

In the next few weeks I have an off road 10k coming up as well as hopefully a swim session where I will have some video analysis of my stroke. I am looking forward to this as I know it will help and I will learn from it.

The one aspect I am neglecting currently is the cycling, but I feel that as my strongest discipline I can make up for that later on.

For now it’s a case of swim and run, and I know the enjoyment will follow.

RNLI Reindeer Run

Today I did the RNLI 10k Reindeer Run at Woburn Abbey, the course was a mixture of gravel path and grassland path. Now, due to the amount of rain recently the grass sections were very wet and muddy, and as the run was over two laps the second time round the mud was getting far worse.

The weather itself was windy and cold although the sky was blue, this meant that the choice of clothing became important as I didn’t fancy getting cold, so long bottoms and a base layer were the order of the day.

I hadn’t trained ¬†particularly for this event and so I wasn’t expected to lay down a decent time, so I was pleasantly surprised to do a 55:04.

If you haven’t done this event before then I would say do it as its a good laugh well organised and you get a free pair of antlers to run in, although I didn’t today as the wind kept blowing them off prior to the start!.

That is it for this years events and so it’s all about booking in stuff for next year to fit in around the triathlon and now through the winter it’s time to do those base miles and learn to swim properly.