Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Since summer 2012.... part 1

Following the biggee in the Alps I didn't stop. So here's a whistlestop tour of late summer 2012 to now.

10k PB attempt and relays

Once I felt somewhat recovered from the TDS. And for something a bit different from really long runs and hills off-road. I had a midweek run in the clubs 10k Championships down at the Costello track. It was long a go an ambition of mine to break 40mins (ever since I broke 45), but I somehow lost interest in fast road runs when the lure of long and varied trails tempted me away from urban place. I often dabbled once a year and in the previous year had got to within 11 seconds, off training more specific to ultra-trail challenges - that had suprised me a bit, my previous PB was 41:24.

A track seemed a great place to dispel the 40-minute demons, I could simply count off the laps at specific pace and the lack of anything like a hill would be to my advantage. It's a very strange experiance running 25 laps of a track. I was lapped 3 times by the fastest guy and I lapped the slowest runner 3 times. And it got dark and finished in floodlights whilst I was out. I set out at a pace just under 40min pace and held it despite the laps seemingly taking forever to countdown. I got quite confused about 5k in as didn't realise the lap change board was being modified for the leader who was gaining laps on me at intervals. But I had enough time per lap to roughly calculate what time I should finish next lap in.

But I got my PB and first sub-40 - 39:26. Happy with that, but somewhat of an anti-climax when all's said and done. For years I was slightly obsessed with getting down to a sub-40 10k and couldn't do it - couldn't get within a minute of. But since I took up the longer, slower, softer but bumpier stuff when I have been in form and done a 10k its given me a PB just outside 40 and then this today. Funny what happens when your not really that bothered any more.

The weekend following I ran an even shorter distance and even faster pace at the northen six stage relays at Leigh Sports Village. Being the penultimate man up in City of Hull AC's 'B' team I had chance for a pleasent 6m or so warm-up around a local lake - possibly the longest warm up of any competitor that day? I kept topped up on liquids and energy as it was a rare warm day that summer. The start of my lap took me around the AC's track and down the back of the football/rugby stadium, I was overtaken quickly and couldn't keep up with at least two people who started near to me. I soon realised I was actually trying to run too fast, sucked into others pace. The lap went on and eventually I restored my self confidence by overtaking somebody as the track went OAB on a muddy woodland trail before coming back to the sports village to start lap 2. Though you never know in these frenetic events if those you're overtaking are actually on the same "man" as you, so you are gaining a place, or a man ahead or behind. I believe the leading 2 or 3 teams passed me on their 2nd laps and finished their event during my first lap?!

Lap 2 was a case of "keep on keeping on" and I didn't shed too much pace. I felt pretty sluggish running around the track again to finish in a fast for me 23:16 - for 3.75m - but comparatively pedestrian to many ther that day. Still I was the 2nd fastest in my team and helped us to a, not last place (so achieveing our ambition), finish of 78th of 87 complete teams and I was 478th fastest of 616 runners that day.

Hardmoors 60 - 63m - 8750' asc 9000' desc

I wasn't sure I'd make the startline for this one, but having done the Hardmoors 55 3-years running and ran some of the route with Mark Dalton when he did the 110 (gulp!), I fancied tackling the other half of the Cleveland way along Yorkshires fantastically varied coastline.

A very early start after a late night - prep left till last minute not good! - to the race finish at Filey to be coach bound for the start at Guisborough. I relaxed once on the coach and after enjoying some of the fantstic moors scenery as the sun rose I driften off into a brief sleep.

Start was a bit delayed from Guisborough Sea Cadets as the queue for the toilets just wouldn't go down quickly (glad I got in fairly early). Hint to all ultra runners: When you get off transfer coach, always kitcheck, register straight away... why... so I can get to the toilet before the queue gets big ;) (works every time). From the gun it was off to climb a muddy track through Guisborough Woods to Highcliffe Nab (yes this is a Jon Steele event so there is always an OAB to a high ground CP) and then coastward bound.

The route undulated before diving to the coast, I was already feeling a hit wooden-legged by the Saltburn CP, not good especially combined with the recent spectre of the DNF from the TDS eating away at me. I took what I needed from drop bag 1 and was forced to slow down by an ascent to run along high clifftops out of town.

Must be the training, but the revelation from here on was that my mindstate and aches in first half had me doubting I'd finish, especially coming off back of TDS DNF. But then, from 35m or so I just felt better and better - even though was slowing marginally - until Scarborough. By which time I knew I'd cracked it.

Passed a good few in second half and only one seemed to come back at me in a few places (4m from end - thought I'd lost him, but caught up again a good fifteen minutes later when I briefly stopped to take a picture, then 2.5m from end when I slowed to make sure I wasn't going the wrong way into Filey). In fact in final road/hard surface miles through and around Filey I was convinced when I looked back I could see their light several times, at about 2m, 1.5m, even as late at .5m from the end. But now I see the results, can't have been as nearest competition was 9 minutes back at the end. Kept me pushing though! Not quite sure why, but legs more mush than normal over a long trail event - must be all the steps into and out of ravines every few miles.

First 50+ ultra run using Chia Charge drinks (alongside traditional energy drinks), not sure if benefitted me as pretty much ran the pace I thought I could based on Lakeland 50. Maybe did though as not necessarily sure I'm in quite as good condition as was pre-lakes, three tough events, ran hard, since then and was on the verge of a cold at start of week. Legs felt a bit achey inside ten miles so I was just managing my effort and nutrition regularly from there, sure if I'd dipped too far into the energy bank I would have crashed at some point. So a success all in all!

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