Round up 2

And the results for January are in………………………………….

Jan 2017 hr

Mon 2nd  – 36:48 mins. 3.0 miles. 12:13/mi. 811 ft elevation

Thu 5th  – 1 hr 19:43 mins. 6.4 miles. 12:25/mi. 2014 ft elevation

Sat 7th – 1hr 06:39 mins. 6.0 miles. 11:06/mi. 1643 ft elevation –

Tue 10th – 1 hr 29:27 mins. 8.2 miles. 10:54/mi. 1598 ft elevation

Thu 12th – 1 04:18 mins. 5.5 miles. 11:41/mi. 1620 ft elevation

Tue 24th – 49:06 mins. 4.5 miles. 10:54/mi. 897 ft elevation

Thu 26th – 49:19. 4.9 miles. 9:57/mi. 561 ft elevation

Sat 28/01 – 1hr 12:20 mins. 6.1 miles. 11:51/mi. 1266 ft elevation

Monthly totals:

Time: 10hrs 0:13.

Distance: 44.6 miles

Average pace: 13:27/mi

Elevation: 10,410 ft

Down in all of the parameters- Time, Distance, Pace, and Elevation, compared to the previous month. I’m not overly concerned by this, and I did have a bout of horrendous lurgies that knocked me completely off my feet and kept me from running for almost 2 weeks solid. The important thing is…………….I enjoyed each and every one of these runs.

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Back to the Future

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Having taken an entire year off from running stupidly long distances has had the effect of altering my attitude to those same stupidly long distances. I haven’t changed my mind about running Ultra’s. Not at all or in the slightest. It is still something that I most certainly want to do. No, I just look at at them a tad differently now than I did before.

As I return to the non conventional clique of ultra running………. I am somewhat apprehensive. I previously had curiosity, intrigue, some concerns, and even some worries. But not any apprehension. However I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what I am apprehensive about. I think it is a mixture of things to be perfectly frank. Finding the time to train, the long laborious solo runs in preparation, the pain before the purple patch before the pain again, and other things that I perhaps haven’t identified yet

For by reducing the distances I have ran for the last year, I have removed those thing from the equation when I have thought about going for a run.  Going for a short 1 hr run up The Plain has needed much less organising, has required much less mental strength, and been vastly less punishing on my body, than getting ready for an Ultra.

Now I have to build them back into the equation.

That’s that sorted then

Like a plan…..kind of….ish

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Now that all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year are behind us, I have given some thought to the training for my much anticipated return to the world of ultra’s (anticipated by exactly who I can’t answer). So pull up a seat, make a coffee, make ya self comfy, and prick your ears back (figuratively speaking…..cos I’m not actually talking am I…….try keeping ya eyes peeled instead then)

The plan…..kinda…..ish actually isn’t a plan really. At the present I have a good idea of what kind of running I intend to do, but when and how that running will actually occur, I don’t really know. So I will explain what I do know:

I didn’t run any great individual distances last year at all. The farthest I ran on any one single run was just over half marathon distance. Instead I made the decision to increase the elevation gain of my runs. And I enjoyed doing so. I had planned to run a particular route that is just over marathon distance and has an overall elevation of over 5,200 ft. Several of my Fac Off buddies had expressed an interest in joining me, and I was viewing this as a fun day out, no pressure, not a race……just a nice day out.  As on many other occasions, the Big L stepped in with other ideas, and I never actually managed to do this run.

So my plan….kinda….ish involves increasing my milage, time on feet, whilst continuing to have elevation gain as the bedrock. I will chuck in the fun day out run as part of that training. In the words of Bugs Bunny…….”That’s all folks”.

Round up

As per my previous post I am unsure how my training for Ham & Lyme will look, what it will entail, or even when it begins. Haphazard, sporadic, and lacking in continuity, will more than likely be accurate descriptions.

In the meantime I have decided to publish a monthly round up of the runs I have done, starting with the Dec 2016. Now the very high majority of my running is done off road. So with that in mind unless a run is annotated as * Road*…….. then it is off road. No frills, no long winded and never ending babble. Just the bare bones:

December 2016

Sun 4th – 1: 07:32 mins. 6.8 miles. 9:54/mi. 969 ft elevation

Tue 6th – 1:27:10 mins. 8.9 miles. 9:46/mi. 1845 ft elevation

Thu 8th – 1:09:35 mins. 7.1 miles. 9:47/mi. 1486 ft elevation

Mon 12th – 50:21 mins. 5.3 miles. 9:26/mi. 344 ft elevation.

Wed 14th – 53:51 mins. 6.3 miles. 8:32/mi. 647 ft elevation.

Fri 16th – 59:24 mins. 5.9 miles. 10:02/mi. 1064 ft elevation

Sat 17th – 1:17:11 mins. 8.1 miles. 9:31/mi. 1276 ft elevation

Tue 20th  – 1: 34:54 mins. 9.3 mi. 10:06/mi. 965 ft elevation

Sat 24th – 48:57 mins. 4.9 miles. 9:50/mi. 877 ft elevation

Tue 27th – 52:11 mins. 4.2 miles. 12:22/mi. 1601 ft elevation

Fri 30th – 54:14 mins. 4.4 miles. 12:15/mi. 1608 ft elevation

Sat 30th – 47:07 mins. 3.9 miles. 11:54/mi. 886 ft elevation

Monthly totals

Time – 12 hours 26: 27mins

Distance – 75.1 miles

Average Pace -09.56/mi

Elevation -13,568 ft 

Tick -Tock

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“Time is free….. but it’s priceless. You can’t own it…… but you can use it. You cant keep it…… but you can spend it”

“Time is the most precious commodity. It is the one thing you cannot get back and you cannot buy it. It is finite.”

“Time lost is never found again.”

“Time is precious………waste it wisely”

So there we have it.  A few obligatory quotes about “time” (cos lets be frank here, it just wouldn’t be a blog from me unless I quoted someone else). But time is precious, to me, to you, and to each and everyone on this planet. It not only is ours to use but also uses us. Time decrees when we wake in the morning, when we eat lunch, when we are working, when we are with our loved ones, when we are relaxing, when we are doing. When we are not doing. We all to some degree or the other find ourselves dancing time’s jig.

I am no more or no less unique in the demands that Mistress Time asks of me. I work, shift work in what at times can be a stressful job. I am a Husband, a Father, and a Grandfather. My wife and I have 6 children between us ranging from 8 years old to 28 years old. We own horses, dogs, and rabbits. I am a Governor at our local village school. Nothing exceptional or unique in any or all of that.

However, I should also mention that  my wife and my eldest daughter both have lifelong chronic illness’. I then have to mix in the fact that my youngest daughter has Autism and a recent secondary diagnosis of PDAS (Pathological Demand Avoidance Sydrome). The impact of these conditions combined with life’s routine and normal time demands leave me in a constant state of “juggling”. Juggling this appointment, that appointment, this hospital visit, that shift, the trip to football, childminding, cutting the grass, cooking dinner, etc, and so on. I now chuck in to the equation……..running. Participation in Ultra’s and the training for them, funnily enough requires a fair bit of running.

Having taken a break from the time demands that getting ready for an Ultra brings, but now being on the brink of returning to those same demands…………I am unsure exactly what my prep for Ham & Lyme in July next year will entail. I can however promise you that it will most probably be as sporadic and haphazard as all of my previous preparations.

 

“Fac Off”. “No. You Fac Off”

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I have been away for a considerable time now. Not that I have been on an extended holiday so have been too busy sunning myself on a beach with a crystal clear blue sea lapping at my feet to update anyone with my inane ramblings. Nor have I “been away” for an extended stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure either and been denied access to t’internetwebbthingy. No. But I have been  entirely absent from this blog for some time now.  However I have also been true to my word and  I have not ran any Ultra’s this year.

So what has been happening? Beyond Brexit and Trump that is (not gonna get sucked into any debate about those two pearls of wisdom here!!). If you are interest to know I suggest that you read on………….

I have continued to run. Shorter distances. But continue to run I have. I made, what I believe to be the correct decision, to take a year off from running Ultra’s. By default then this included the training that is needed to run an Ultra. In fact I think it would be accurate to say that the longest distance I have ran this year is just over  half marathon distance.

But in this time something incredibly enjoyable has happened…….. As I have stated previously I do not belong to any Running Club. I don’t for a solitary moment baulk at those who do. It has just never felt right for me. That’s all.

Saying that however, I have hooked up with a group of runners called Fac Off (Frome And Country Off Road Runners). A group of people who enjoy informal off road running without the strict application of any over zealous Health & Safety regulations. A group of individuals that accept personal responsibility for a twisted ankle, a bruised knee, nettle rash, perhaps even a badger bite , whilst on a group run, be that day or night. And, as if having a mature attitude towards the risks we all face when running wasn’t enough…….there is generally beer and chips involved after a run too!! As a solo runner for the previous 35 years, the discovery of this bunch of like-minded, mud obsessed, hill loving, idiots……..has been unexpectedly refreshing for me.

I will continue to run with this eclectic group of new found running buddies for as long as they will suffer me. But I am returning to the world of non conventional running next year. Ham & Lyme 100k with Albion Running, having deferred my entry this year, is carved in stone for July next year. It’s Albion Running so I know it’s gonna special and it’s gonna be unique 😊

 

 

Chocolate Bar

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I have been missing from this blog for sometime now and feel I owe an explanation

Just like a certain famous chocolate bar advises us all to do…..I am taking a break. A break from ultra running. For this year only. I will still run more conventional distances and I WILL return to ultra’s again next year. I have by no means lost my mojo for an extended period or fallen out of love with running. I just have a very real need to concentrate my time and efforts on other vitally important aspects of my life

I have a very busy year planned coupled with a very stressful lifestyle. I am not complaining about this and wouldn’t change my lifestyle for the world. It would not  be  appropriate for me to expand this with more detail beyond having reached a decision to concentrate my time in other areas of my life (and lets be honest here – training for ultra events and taking part in them requires a whole lot of time).

So my priority for 2016 is not to spend copious and endless hours roaming around the countryside as I take on my next big challenge (either in preparation or in participation) . By default then  Chapter 3 has been deferred until next year.

It has not been a flippant or easy to decision to come to, but none the less, I feel it is the right choice to have reached

 

A two fold absence

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I haven’t really written much this month. I sometimes wonder to myself “who actually reads this anyway?”. This is often quickly followed by “Does that matter?” and then “You enjoy writing it. So just bloody get on with it then!!”

I also haven’t ran much since Target run #2 either so here is a quick summary to bring me and my legion of adoring readers up to date:

17 Aug – a short sharp 39 min Fartlek session

22 Aug -Target run #3, which was supposed to be a 10 hour run, didn’t happen.  Life stepped in (yet again) to foil my plans and I never even got my trainers out of the cupboard!!!!!

23 Aug – a 31 min Tempo run (doesn’t even come close to making amends for side stepping Target run #3 in it’s entirety)

27 Aug – A 2hr 5 min Hill session at my favourite hill. 6 reps and 3,708 ft of elevation. I enjoyed this one 🙂

Today is the last day of Aug and there is no plan to stick my running clobber on and go for a run of any description, be that short or long, fast or slow. So that is that for the not so sunny month of August.

My next and final long run is due on Sat 5 Sept. This is Target run #4 – 12 hours at Long Run in The Meadow. Another event organised by Dave Urwin from Albion Running so is bound be original, perhaps a tad eccentric, and lots of fun 🙂

After that, and with only 2 weeks at that point until Chapter 2, it will be time to taper. TAPER!! That is pretty much what the month of August has already been.

C’est la vie 

Target run #2 – still learning

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I began Target Run #2 at just before 7.25 am. Shear Water was pretty quiet and subdued to begin with, the only other people present being the rows of fisherman sat along the embankment of the lake. It was early on Sunday morning, and only those of us that were dedicated ( mad enough) to our respective sports felt the need to be out of our cozy beds at that time.

The target for the day was to run for 8 hours. My aim of the day was to continue in my quest for a sustainable pace. I set off at a nice leisurely pace as I made my way past the bemused looks from a selection of the fisherman, and around the by now very very familiar route. In fact, as much as I love to run at Shear Water, I was not particularly looking forward to 8 hours of solo laps. Visually speaking there is nothing new for me on “The” route and the thought of 8 hours by myself did not excite me.  However, as an exercise in finding the best pacing strategy, I felt that it was  necessary for this run to be on the same route as the actual event. That coupled with the fact that most of my running buddies were already doing other runs that day  (Salisbury 54321 being one of them – a fantastic event – not jealous!)  – I found myself plodding along on my lonesome. Taking the point one fraction further now – come the day of Chapter 2 then running for 24 hours on the same, already highly familiar route, somehow adds to the challenge for me too.

Anyhow, whilst making my way around the maiden lap of the day, I formulated a plan for the days efforts. I decided that I would only stop at my car every second lap. I had enough food and water on me that meant I wouldn’t really require any pit-stops outside of that time frame. So after the first lap I immediately commenced on to the second.

The sun materialised on the second lap and became a permanent fixture for the rest of the day. It wasn’t very hot at this point……… but that was to change as the day marched on though! I finished the second lap after 2 and a half hours and stopped at my car. Water bottles refilled, a few mouthful’s of spaghetti with chicken & cheese, and I was on my way again after 5 mins.

Lap 3 went well and I was still feeling good as I yet again made my way through the copious amount of jaggy nettles that adorned the trail . It was hot, but I wasn’t feeling depleted by it in any way. I had soaked my buff with water when I stopped and this was helping to keep the back of my neck cool. In fact I was still feeling full of energy and capable of taking the whole world on as I bounded along this lap.

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Lap 4  had the temperature turned up by Him and within several minutes of starting I found myself emptying one of my water bottles over my head and neck as well as pouring some in to my cap. It didn’t really work in my cap though. It’s a moisture wicking cap so it just allowed all the water to pass straight through leaving the inside bone dry. Doh!!! I felt it on this lap…. whatever it is. It started to bite a little bit – I wasn’t struggling by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have to work a bit now.

I finished lap 4 and got back to my car after a total time of about 5 hours and 30 mins. I took 10 mins to fill my water bottles again, soak my buff again, scoff some sandwiches, and sit in the shade offered from the open boot door of my car.

Lap 5 was a bummer. It was really hot now and the sun was relentless in it’s pursuit of attempting to fry me. I developed a slight pain on the inside of my left knee. I took the decision not to take any pain killers based on the principle that I wanted to know if this was just a minor niggle or something more sinister that I should be concerned about. Pain killers would have only masked the pain leaving me none the wiser so I bumbled on regardless. Macho eh (my knee feels fine right now as I sit in the comfort of my front room typing this). I was working a lot harder now just to maintain a comfy pace, the up hill sections took me longer to negotiate, I tripped a couple of times, and I banged the toes on both feet a couple of times too (it annoyed me when I banged my big left toe. My big right toe has an ingrown toe nail. It annoyed and  really hurt when I banged this one). I was also starting to feel a bit nauseous too

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Lap 6 was no better. Surprisingly (not) it was still very hot, I was still working hard for a relatively mediocre pace, my left knee still hurt – especially on the up hills, my quads were also feeling the effort on the up hills too, I was still feeling nauseous, and I took my first and only salt bomb of the day after feeling my calve muscles beginning to cramp up. The salt bomb done the trick though and the cramp disappeared very quickly never to be seen again (that is not until my next long run I’m sure). But I felt good. I was safe in the knowledge that this would be my last lap of the day and that made the lap all the more manageable.

So I made it back to my car after a total of 8 hrs 4 mins, 6 laps, and an elevation gain of 2,898 ft.

I think that had I more laps to do then I may be better served if I take slightly longer pit stops. Nothing astronomical – just perhaps an extra 5 mins or so each stop. 🙂