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Monthly Archives: February 2014

This might not look like much but it’s burning my feet even just walking and with St Peters Way ultra just a few days away I’m seriously annoyed at myself. Time to break out the Compeed.

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It’s been a little over 30 days since I started my 400km in 30day challenge and it was a horribly hectic period filled with running, cycling, swimming, illness, injury and an unfortunate visit up north. Needless to say I failed in the task but I did manage to turn my disappointment into a number of positives… and here’s the numbers

I walked over 95km. I cycled nearly 130km. I ran over 225km (including the Valentines Challenge 10mile and 10km Virtual run). 7km of breast stroking (I mean swimming!)

However, I was 175km short of my running target but I’ll go again in June and aim for the full 400km.

Next up is the St Peters Way Ultra and I’ve stupidly been running this evening in my Merrell Barefoots without socks and skinned the tops of my feet! Silly bloody me – still it’s Monday they should hopefully be healed by Sunday. As Eric Idle said ‘always look on the bright side of life’, after all it is only running

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This weekend saw a number of runners tackle the challenge of the Brighton Half marathon and even one of the runners I’ve had the pleasure to meet take on the Midnight Challenge. I was barred from the Midnight Challenge by my ever loving partner who reminded me that she wasn’t going to attend nor offer me any help with this one as she wanted a quiet weekend. The compromise was that I would be allowed to take part in the Valentines Run in Vigo, a very small village in Kent. Hosted by Vigo Rugby Club I had no doubt that we would get a professional race but had no idea that we would get such a well organised and delightful race experience. Let me explain how the day went…

At about 7.30am I woke up still singing ‘everything is awesome’ the very catchy little ditty housed near the start of the Lego Movie. My head was still a little bit leaden and my chest was still on fire from all the crappy gunk that I was trying to exhume but I hopped into the shower and simply pretended to my now also ManFlu ridden OH that it was ‘race on’.

I picked some sensible kit, long OMM flash leggings, my Ronhill VIzion LS top and my new Inov8 Trailroc, I’d coupled these with the Drymax socks I’d bought for C2C earlier in the year. The one addition I was glad I added was my Salomon race belt, I wasn’t sure how much water would be out on the course and this seemed like a sensible precaution out on the trail.

Vigo itself was about a 25 minute drive from us and so about 9.30 with the hounds packed in the car and the sun beating down above us, we headed out. Upon arrival we parked up on a slightly wet and muddy overspill car park but nothing that the car couldn’t handle although the local cadets were having to massage many a vehicle onto the mud.

I headed on into the race HQ or the bar as it’s normally known and spoke to a lovely lady who gave me my number. Given that I was a low number and had only registered a couple of weeks back I suspected that most of the entries would be taken on the day and in fact the race desk was very busy taking runners details.

I hung around the race start, chatted to some of the volunteers and some of the runners – introduced Indigo to the bustling nature of pre race, my baby springer spaniel was much in demand for cuddles and love. And then about 10.25 we all headed outside for the start.

We filed into a kind of pen just on the outside of the rugby field and as the starting approached the cannon fired off a round signalling the start – you wouldn’t have got that at the Brighton Half marathon!

The first section was to run around the sticky field of the rugby club and it was dense and hard going and I remember that by the time I got to the wooded section only a few hundred metres into the race my legs already felt heavy and my chest was on fire.

Regardless I crossed the log barred entry and started my run through the woods with their heavily pitted and watered tracks, with a desire to run reasonably steadily I lumbered from one side of the track to the next, trying not to get caught up in the overtaking through the puddles and focus instead on keeping my balance on the slippery ground.

The first few miles ran really quite well but I was going particularly fast and then the first of the major downhills came and I could feel my body urging me forward. However, the ground was rocky and uneven with large long clumps of thick wet mud to get through and my mind was telling me to be sensible. Thankfully body and heart won out and I was decided to give my Inov8 something to test themselves on and so we hurtled down the hill, bouncing between the rocks and I noted that despite being a reasonably minimalist shoe I felt very little trouble as went down, though I did feel suitable connected to the trail and therefore the Trailroc really where earning their spurs!

The course for the next couple of miles remained reasonably uphill, not in the ‘here’s a big hill, now climb it’ those I can deal with pretty easily, no, this was the kind of hill work that required a bit of tenacity and personality. I paced myself up most of it, going slowly but steadily and managing to take in some breathtaking Kent scenery.

At the half point there was a much needed water stop – located handily at the top of hill which was manned by a couple of lovely people handing out water and jelly babies. Having my own supply meant that I thought it best to leave the water for some of the runners behind me but used the opportunity to take on board my own fluid. I did take a jelly baby though and this yumminess pushed me up to the top of the next section and through onto the downhill where once again I pushed myself harder and chatted to a guy I’d met in the car park. It was a brief chat but in the few seconds we spoke he managed to curdle my blood with a tale of the last hill. Bloody hell as my only thought.

A shore while later I met Brendan who was struggling pretty badly and so we stayed together for the remainder of the race, I still felt pretty good, despite the ManFlu and knew that this chap needed a bit of push. I urged him to pull his finger out for the run up towards the hill and then we clambered slowly to the top. The hill as the photographs below show was a bit of a beast and required mental toughness to complete. I continued to support Brendan as best I could and had a bit of a joke or three with the girls at the top of the hill. I suggested Brendan catch his breath and then we headed out, the finish was in sight! well nearly. As we hit the track back to the rugby club we were ushered around the field once more. I had managed t claw back a place or two against people who had overtaken me earlier and it called back to Brendan that his goal was now not the finish line but overtaking me. However, I knew I probably had more in the tank than he did and so with a final push I crossed the line. Brendan came in a few seconds later looking tired but pleased as punch, he had given it his all. And if you read this, well done, you were brilliant.

I picked up my medal, my decent goody back (still wrapped foil blanket, mars bar, love hearts and a £5 Sweatshop voucher) and headed away with my loving Spaniels who had managed to get as filthy as their daddy.

This was a great race and highly recommended – especially if you like hills (nearly 1200ft of ascent and descent) and mud, lots of mud.

See you next year.

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I started writing about the Virtual Race a few weeks ago when I decided to sign up for it and last night despite a head that might explode any second and a stream of snot following me I decided that I would go for it. I’d been off work on the Friday and therefore my energy reserves where as good as they were going to get. I decided that I would take UltraHound, otherwise known as Thai and he opted for BattleDress – otherwise known as his waterproof coat.

We hit the road with my new cheap Chinese head torch (which will be reviewed at a later point) and a positive spirit. Many of the roads were flooded and in my Drymax socks and Invo8 Trailroc I was feeling pretty damn good, UltraHound was in good form and despite a bit of pulling we wrapped up the first 5km in decent time – stopping only for the traffic and for UltraBoy to adjust his head torch. The route out was mainly uphill and so when we reached the half way point and our turning we hit the speed button and set off but speed was an issue. My ManFlu was knocking me for six by now and so UltraHound and I plugged on through the oncoming wind and rain, neither of us would be beaten and the aim had always been to run under an hour and so as we hit the 10km point in about 57 minutes (59minutes for 10.33km) we were both pleased. UltraHound woofed in delight as we got home and then promptly fell asleep. I did not and immediately set about preparing the evidence of my 10km run and submitting it to the race organiser.

This was a hard run in really windy and wet conditions around the Kent hills coupled with a dose of ManFlu and my beloved hound adding to the challenge. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the VirtualRunnerUK organisers who have produced a truly brilliant event and I have already signed up for the March run, perhaps I’ll even think about the half marathon distance at some point.

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I’ve been trying to sleep for about 4hrs. I’ve been trying to chuck my guts up for about the past 4hrs. I haven’t been this ill in years and I’ve got a 10 mile Cross Country race on Sunday, my virtual 10km to complete and my 400km in 30 day challenge lies in tatters. Worst of all I feel all my hard work of the past few months is quickly unravelling as my preparations for the St. Peter’s Way look in trouble.

This is not going to be a good Valentines Day because I’m not feeling the love. As proof, see the picture of my sad feet below – that’s right I’m in my retired Newton Distance because I’m sick and feel like a old washed up runner not quite ready to accept the end. So go away Manflu and return to me both my mojo and my superhero costume (I know you stole it you bastard!).

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I’m not weepy eyed
I’m not seeping snot from every pore
I’m not choking on my own sore throat
I’m not aching
I’m not cold
I’m not hot
I’m not sweating
I’m not retching
I’m not achey headed
I’m not red eyed
I’m not exhausted
I’m not coughing
I’m not chucking up phlegm

I’m just dying

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