Archive for October, 2011

31
Oct
11

halloween tale

Welcome… as it has been a while, and as it is Hallowe’en, I thought I would share with you a strange and frightening tale. Once upon a time, there were 2 friends, they worked together and at some point, they agreed that they would run a Half Marathon together. Just the one and then that would be it… they would have proved their point and would no longer need to run after the 13.1 miles were complete. They trained and fretted and then both ran the Half Marathon. Within minutes of finishing, they began discussing what they would tackle next. 10k’s and more Half Marathons were signed up for and completed. Then they decided that each year, they would go away to a different European city, soak up some atmosphere and culture and run a Half Marathon so they visited Prague and Lisbon and The Hague and ran a Half Marathon in each. To keep things interesting, they began to incorporate cycling into their silly scheme, completing the London to Brighton ride twice and the Dunwich Dynamo.
Then an unusual thing happened, one of the friends finished a Half Marathon in under 1 hour and 50 minutes. But he had made a promise to himself that if he broke the elusive 1:50 barrier, he would then, at some point within the following 12 months, run a full Marathon. He researched possible races, picked one and signed up for it. And here is where the story becomes more frightening. The other, who had never really seriously considered running a full marathon, found himself strangely drawn to his computer one Sunday afternoon just before Hallowe’en. Everything became a bit hazy, but he remembers looking at websites… some vague recollection of being asked questions – name, address, credit card details. The next thing he remembers is an email arriving confirming his place in the Berlin Marathon 2012.
So myself and Hauling My Carcass will be running 42.2km in Berlin next September. I have one year to train and prepare myself to run a distance twice as far as I have ever run. And that really is terrifying.

Soundtrack to this post: Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead

17
Oct
11

up, up and away – maidstone half marathon race report

Sunday morning. 6am and I am slowly heaving myself out of bed to get to Maidstone for 8.30 where I have planned to meet Hauling My Carcass and our mutual fried Paul. Paul is a Maidstone native and had turned 40 the day before the race and decided that it might be a nice idea for us to run a Half Marathon to celebrate. When it was originally suggested about 6 months ago, it seemed like a fine idea but in the dark and cold of a Sunday morning hours before the race, I was wondering what I had let myself in for, particularly as I had not run a Half Marathon since March and had also had almost 3 months out with an injury.
Still, it was off out into the fog for a jaunt around the M25. It was cold and, arriving at the race HQ, I wondered if I should have perhaps opted for a long sleeve top. I found HMC and we quickly picked up our timing chips and race numbers, met up with Paul and, after a chat, we set off on the 10 minute walk to the start. The start itself is odd, placed in a non-descript road in a residential area, hundred of runners standing around in the road waiting for the off. Soon, a horn sounds and we are underway, firstly in a loop around the streets nearby – it is odd to pass the 13 mile marker after only 10 minutes running but soon we are venturing into the outskirts of Maidstone. We run along the side of anonymous “A” roads and the route seems to be a constant series of slight inclines – not enough at this point to tire you but noticeable. The first 6 miles or so is OK – not much to look at but the smattering of supporters dotted along the route offer encouragement as you pass. There were water stations at approximately 4 mile intervals but I had opted to take a bottle of Orbana with me whilst I ran so just sipped from that every few miles. The hardest part is around 7 miles where the road rises and rises… and rises passing through a few small villages as it continues to rise. This was the first Half Marathon that I had run without listening to music so distratcted myself from the hills by listening to the (very loud) conversation of the group running just behind me. The route then flattens out and undulates along the top of a ridge, giving you views of the surrounding countryside on this now blue-skyed day. Somewhere between 8 and 9 miles I was aware that I had a companion running alongside – she was quicker on the downhills than I was but I was faster uphill so we had an unspoken agreement that she would take the lead on the way down and I would on the way up. Having a running buddy at this point was great – we exchanged a few words every mile or so and generally kept each other motivated. Soon we were nearing the finish – looking at my watch, I could see I was close to a sub 2hr time. I asked my running pal if she thought she could manage a sprint finish, she politely declined and said she’d see me at the finish so I just went for it. The last 500 metres was a flat out sprint – shouts from the crowd urging me on. I finished in 1:59:17 which I was delighted with. I picked up my goody bag, medal and very, VERY bright race top, saw my running buddy, congratulated her on her time and thanked her for her support and went off to find HMC. Turns out he had run an absolute stormer and bagged himself a new personal best (you can read his account of the day here). Paul struggled in a while after, the hills having taken their toll on his knees which began to give up around the 10 mile mark.
The race is a good, testing Half Marathon. Smooth organisation, a friendly bunch of runners, good marshalling and crowd support. On a personal note, I had a great day… it was one of those rare races where the organisation, weather, atmosphere and my training and race preparation had all come together to make it very enjoyable event.

Soundtrack to this post: Funkadelic – Cosmic Slop

09
Oct
11

time flies

My thoughtless employers have seen fit to give me loads of work just as I begin to ramp up the training for the Maidstone Half Marathon. Training should have actually began “ramping up” quite a few weeks ago but my hesitancy to go hell for leather after such a long lay off meant that I was taking it slowly for fear of an injury. Plus I was finding even 10k hard going after not running for nigh on 3 months. Oh, and I wanted to transition back to running in the Vibrams. So an impending Half Marathon, tons of work coming at me, learning to run in the Vibrams again…not too much to deal with, surely.
Subsequently, in a nutshell, I have been trying to cram my runs into any small opening in my diary. And I have been trying to increase the mileage with each run. So my first run in the Vibrams was 2.5km, the next 6km, the next 8km and the final one 10kms. Interspersed with this have been training runs in the marvellous Saucony Kinvara 2’s – 10km, 13km, 17kms last Sunday in the balmy October heatwave we had (and which saw me run/walking the last 2kms, dry mouthed and pissed off), then a 12km, a 15km and finally todays 18.1km effort. I have been averaging about 40-50kms a week and am still no more confident about Maidstone next Sunday.
I do, however, feel I am back on the road to regular running. I have tweaked the schedule and listened to my body – if I don’t feel like a long run, I may do a shorter one in the Vibrams. I have also bought some more Orbana to save me from another parched and painful run and have to say that it is great. I think I may have round the energy drink for me. I reviewed it here when I did the Suffolk coast cycle ride but have found that it really comes into it’s own when I run… 500ml before I set off and I’m good for about an hour and a half. Perhaps, looking at the elevations involved in Maidstone, I shall have 500ml before I set off and run with a bottle to keep me going for the duration.
So that’s it. Blog up to date and as prepared as I can be for Maidstone (it won’t be fast or pretty but it should at least be enjoyable). My work here, for now, is done.

Soundtrack to this post: Ohio Players – Fire




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