Archive for Andy

Day 360 – So close… yet so far still to go

After a few beers last night and less sleep than the body was wishing for, tonight’s run was never going to be an easy one. I set off with the crazy target of clocking up a second sixteen miler in three days. A really tall order. I didn’t feel like it at all.

Having moaned about running over the ranges in the dark the other day, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. No, obviously not, I ran straight up to the ranges again! It got dark, I left the ranges by the road down near Ash Vale station and headed out towards the army town. I have to say, the fatigue was really starting to show, I couldn’t hold even an eight minute mile this evening. I was struggling to run to be honest.

I decided to have a bit of a review of the last year, the fun moments, the tough bits and took my mind of it all quite effectively. Highlights and interesting events of the year I managed to recall include of course meeting Mo yesterday, but also finishing the Brighton Marathon and hour and quarter faster than last year, running in 12 inches of snow in Cardiff, determinedly hobbling for three miles on the sprained ankle, torrential rain in Barcelona during the half marathon, a strong finish at Wilmslow in 1h36, running up and down a pitch black dual carriageway at Beamsley during my Sense holiday and finally, day 1 where a load of people and plenty of my friends turned out to wish me well on my way to 1095miles, despite thinking I was a lunatic! It seems so long ago 😉

I arrived home completely knackered but having completed my target of 16 miles and with a good idea of what the post 1095miles/365days blog post should be like.

Okay, two days of the absolute minimum 3 miles now, hopefully giving the legs a little time to rest before Sunday. I’ve overdone it, I know that, but at least I should be able to post a reasonable time and I’m sure to beat my PB for the GNR, being that it’s only 1h59m20s!

[A little] more tomorrow!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Blue and White Kayano 17s
Miles today: 16.05
Target: 1080
Miles to date: 1659.00
“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.”
Henry Ford

High5 Energy Gel – Citrus Burst

The blurb:
High5 Energy Gels are carbohydrate gel with glucose and 15% fruit juice.

The numbers:
30ml gives you…
80 kcal and 20g carbohydrate

The reality:
The packaging is small, given there’s no huge amount of water inside so you carry less weight but will have to grab some water to wash this one down with.

The top tears off easily which is good, but the taste is terrible in my view. It’s like the terrible cough medicine your mum would force down your neck ‘because it’s good for you’!

Rating: 1/5

SiS Go Gel – Blackcurrant

The blurb:
SiS Go Gels are carbohydrate gel with sweeteners and don’t need to be consumed with water to be effective.

The numbers:
60ml gives you…
87 kcal and 22g carbohydrate

The reality:
Tearing the top off is hard work, the packaging is very thick compared to some others. I can see it would be annoyingly difficult during a race.
This one tastes quite horrible to my personal palate. You can tell it has lots of water in it as it’s quite a watered down blackcurrant taste.

Easily found in many running and other sport stores is a plus, but only if you like them! They’re not for me. The combination of fiddly packaging and unpalatable taste means I won’t be packing these in my kit bag!

Rating: 1/5

Day 359 – Running with the elite finally!

I said I’d have a surprise in store for you today. Something exciting for the dying days of my year-long challenge.

This morning, having kipped over at my Brother’s place in town (due to a necessary early start) I headed out of the door at about 6am. I had an important appointment with a guy you might have heard of. This morning I met and ran with Mo Farah.

It was a bit of a London 2012 media event but having arrived early and found the right people to talk to, I had the pleasure of meeting Mo before the rest of the media frenzy kicked off. I have to say, he’s a really nice and very down to earth bloke. A pleasure to talk to and very happy to meet everyone and have a gentle social run with them.

We headed out as a group of around a hundred runners from all over London (and a few of us from further afield) to Regent’s Park for the obligatory four hundred metres of photographers and TV cameras before getting to some actual running.

A few of us picked up the pace a little and got some way ahead of the middle group, with whom Mo ran the whole run. We’d assumed Mo would go for a fast sprint finish and were prepared, slowing down about 100m from the finish line tape.

As the pack, and Mo approached we all waited for him to make his now legendary move to finish at speed. With about 100m to go (and I’d got myself a 50m head start on him) he went for it. Everyone tried to sprint to the line in response but even given the head start, I was beaten to the line! Clearly I can’t compete :-(

Anyway, a great way to mark the end of the challenge and a great experience to meet a world class athlete who is such a genunely nice guy. Thanks Mo.

Back to the big miles tomorrow and then a mini taper ahead of the Great North Run on Sunday. This is going to be a big week for me!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Blue and White Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1077
Miles to date: 1642.95
“The important thing is the attitude of the athlete, the desire to get to the top.”
Herb Elliott

Day 358 – Getting very lost

After yesterday’s horror of a run, I wasn’t too sure if was up to a long one this evening. Target was 11 miles or more. Ideally 13 if I felt ok, but I accepted that I’d have to run them slowly to protect the legs a bit. They have been sore all day and particularly so this morning when I awoke in pain!

I decided that the only way forward was an interesting run, something that I enjoy and that would keep me going. I decided to head out over the ranges, do the normal uphill start, a loop around the Ash side and then some of the cool little trails around the firing ranges themselves, particularly No.3 range.

It didn’t quite pan out that way.

I headed up to the ranges to the normal gate start point. Then up the hill, get to the next gate, turn left, down the big hill, round past the little hut and back to my start point.

I stopped momentarily to decide what to do next. Another lap of the ranges would be 4 miles, then some messing about on the trails, then home. Could be about 11. Or I could go round the Pirbright side of the ranges. Not sure how far, but can’t be any bigger than the Ash side can it?

Well, yes it can. Much.

At 9 miles (that’s about 3.5 miles into the ‘how far can it possibly be?’ test run) I began to think I wasn’t going in the direction of where I would pick up the normal circuit trail, I was just getting farther and farther away from Ash. By 11 miles the light was starting to fade, my anxiety started to rise as I still didn’t have a clue where I was and my pace had picked up to try and cover more ground. At 13 I finally picked up the trail I knew but with little light left I figured I’d better take the shortest route and cut the loop short by heading directly across and out of the ranges. This bit wasn’t much fun. I know the trail to be full of holes and areas of loose and large stones that I struggle with in daylight! I tentatively stumbled along until I reached the familiar gate where I started. Once across the ranges I headed down the hill in the woods. Immediately it’s pitch black, my eyes struggle to adjust. The trail has a pair of concrete tank tracks that I am barely able to discern with my eyes in such darkness, but my feet can tell when I stray from them. I follow this track down. Repeatedly the trail drops steeply, something you don’t notice when you see it coming, but without the benefit of advance warning, it takes me by surprise more than once. After what seems like an age of temporary blindness, I see the road ahead.

Home. 16.25 miles covered today. I’m later than I wanted to be, I have a busy evening ahead.

I have a surprise for you all tomorrow. In the dying days of my year long challenge, the opportunity of an exciting event has appeared and I’m going for it.

More tomorrow…

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Lime/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 16.25
Target: 1074
Miles to date: 1639.95
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

Day 357 – It hasn’t hurt like this for quite some time!

I had in mind to run around 4 or 5 miles today. The legs had other ideas. The first quarter mile felt really good. Seven minute miles now seem to suit me quite well and I figured the body was good for it. A half a mile in, it was feeling somewhat weary. By a mile and a half at my turning point, I couldn’t wait to get home and sit down. The legs were screaming. Having essentially run about 95% of a marathon distance yesterday, I’m not really surprised, but I can’t afford to back off now. I’ll chalk this one up as a rest day and see how we go tomorrow. I need to clock up a lot of miles this week and make sure it’s front heavy so I can take a day or two off for the Great North on Sunday. I’d ideally taper for a week for a half marathon, it looks like the taper will end up being 24-48 hours which is effectively nothing, but it’ll just have to do. I’ve got targets to reach 😉

More tomorrow. More running, but hope fully also more mileage tomorrow. I have a way to go yet and only eight more days to play with…

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Blue/White Kayano 17s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 1071
Miles to date: 1623.70
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
George S. Patton

Day 356 – Sunday’s 20 miler…and a little jaunt round the block to make sure

I’d like to start by saying thanks to Dave, Paddy and Bill for devising a route for a 20 miler and running it this morning. Without you guys to try and keep up with I’d have quit some considerable miles earlier! I’m glad I joined a club finally and in particular the Blackwater Valley Runners because they’re such great people. For me personally, they have been immensely supportive and I’m very glad to have made their acquaintance. Thank you all.

I’m coming to the end of an interesting adventure and to the end of having to write about it every day. I’m struggling a bit with that concept as you know. Having this little corner of the internet revolve around my every move has actually turned out to be a really important aspect of my motivation to run. Soon enough you will not automatically know where I’ve been every day of my life and we may have to revert to some ‘old school’ medium of communication to keep in touch. At first it was a bit like big brother was watching me specifically. Nowadays I’m good with it and it’s just part of how life is. I’m more open than I used to be in many, many ways.

Ok, we’d better talk about the run hadn’t we? Well it was an 08:30 start at the club. There were quite a few of us initially including Alan, Nick, Lawrence and Big John who all left us at about 7 miles to turn round and make it a 14 miler. Nick had spent the preceding couple of miles splashing in every puddle on the towpath and I’d been right behind him at the time. Thanks for the wet feet Nick 😆

The remaining four of us carried on getting further and further from home. At 8 miles I remember Dave saying “I can’t believe you’re still doing this 20 mile run, given you took 23rd place in the race yesterday…” closely followed by “…but I probably shouldn’t be saying that to you, should I?!?” with a grin! He was right, but I needed this 20 miles more than I needed the 23rd place yesterday. I had to complete it.

I’d like to just say at this point, Bill is unbelievable. He’s a man of a good few years greater than myself, likes a pint (and I hope he won’t mind me saying either of those things) but he’s really very fit. He was telling me he’d been out for a 30 mile road ride yesterday and now this! He’s been running for years and I’m now sure that experience counts for everything. It’s still got to be said though, Bill you’re an inspiration to ‘us young pretenders’.

At 12 miles, it started to hurt. I said nothing and ploughed on. At 13 miles I started to announce the mile markers as they passed. By 16 miles I wanted to go home – and passing within a quarter mile of my house just about then didn’t help matters! We trudged on, getting progressively slower. I know I was on the limit of what I can do. 39 miles in 3 days isn’t fun for me, it’s very hard going.

Chatting to Paddy I revealed how much I was regretting the effort of yesterday’s 10k now and how I should have just taken it easy and made the long run the priority. He was feeling it as well, saying it felt like a marathon finish for him too. We also spoke about how important it is to hit the target you set. 19.9 miles wouldn’t do today and we were both agreed on that! I recounted the conversation I had with Damian yesterday about our training run in Brighton this March, ahead of the marathon. I tried to convince Damian to run the extra few hundred yards to hit 19 miles, rather than just going for 30km, but he wouldn’t. He was adamant and angry about it. To this day, months later, he’s still annoyed he didn’t go that extra minute or two and hit 19 miles, which of course I find hilarious every time he mentions it!

We arrived back at the club about a mile short of target and ran around the football and rugby pitches a couple of times to avoid any of us having to think about where to go to clock up the mileage. I was broken and tired, yet incredibly happy that we’d covered the target mileage. Thanks once again gents!

That’s the best part of 61.5 miles covered this week. My longest week ever – previously just 54.5 so quite an achievement. I did good for once 😉

Lots more tomorrow I guess…

And this is where I got to with writing the blog by 21:00. Then I decided I couldn’t really leave it there. I never can, can I? :roll:

I went out again. Intending to run 2.62 miles, I would make it 64 miles this week, then I’d be happy.

Then I decided I could do a bit more.

I’m back home. I ran 4.62 miles this evening. Let’s just tot up again…
24.62 miles today
42.7 over the last three days
56.39 in the last five days
and 66 miles in the last week! 😀

I think the qotd is appropriate.

I’m off to bed.

See you again tomorrow…if I can still walk!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Lime/Blue Kayano 17s (20 miles) / Blue/White Kayano 17s (4.62 miles)
Miles today: 24.62
Target: 1068
Miles to date: 1620.70
“To exercise at or near capacity is the best way I know of reaching a true introspective state. If you do it right, it can open all kinds of inner doors.”
Al Oerter

Day 355 – Alice Holt 10k Race Report

At 9am the weather forecast showed a large blue mass crossing over the SW London area around 2pm today. This doesn’t bode well.

Breakfast, bumble about the house for a while, grab the running gear and get ready to go. Damian arrives strangely around 7 minutes before the absolute latest arrival time I told him we could manage. Something must be wrong with him, he’s never on time.

Off we went to Bentley to go and collect David, then onwards to the Alice Holt Forestry Centre. We collected our race numbers very quickly and efficiently, a very well organised event it seems!

I spotted Steve Low from the club and asked him how the course was. He said “Undulating!” (He wasn’t wrong as we soon found out!)

The sky went grey around 2pm (right on schedule!) and James arrived with the now essential umbrella as the downpour we’d been waiting for commenced.

The youngsters went off for their 1k and 3k races. We had a bit of a sweepstake going on how fast the top 3k runner would reappear. Guesses ranged from 15 minutes to my own 13. The first one crossed the line in 11m23s! Wow. The first 1k runner (bearing in mind they were all about 3ft tall) came in just under 5 minutes in the 5-8 years age group!

At 2:20pm they called for the 10k and 5k runners to assemble. We were asked to arrange ourselves in order of how fast we thought we’d complete the run. I spotted Steve Low again, about 4 feet from the start line. I guessed that another 4 or 5 feet behind him would be appropriate for me! There were probably 30 or so others ahead of me when the gun went and a good few more passed me within the first quarter mile. I don’t tend to go out fast nowadays and today was no exception. I was running on tired legs, having run 12 yesterday and knew I wouldn’t set the world alight this afternoon.

Soon enough I began to see what Steve had been talking about. This was far from flat! At 4k you’re faced with the biggest climb so far and it’s actually pretty steep. As you arrive at the top, the 5k runners branch right to finish and the 10k runners bear left and onwards steeply downhill before another steep climb back up. This is torture, having struggled up a hill, you immediately lose most of the height and have to climb back up again.

As I rounded the bend to see the 9k marker I had a strange sense of deja-vu. It’s the 4k hill again! I’m not sure who devised the route, but it’s quite a downer to see the same big hill twice. On the plus side, I passed the marshall with ‘Last Runner’ on her fluorescent vest walking up this hill with the last runner. I suggested they should swap tops 😆

I crossed the line soon after in a time of 41m39s and 23rd place (of 388 runners who finished). I am incredibly happy with that. On tired legs and a muddy, hilly off road route, that’s a damn good time for me. I also notice I actually beat the last 5k runner to the finish line (that may be who I passed) by about a minute and a half! Unsurprisingly Steve was already beyond the finish when I arrived, having finished in a little over 39 minutes and claiming 7th position! Well done Steve and congrats on scooping the winning place in your age category.

I grabbed a water bottle from the finish and wandered back down the hill to see if I could see any of the other three. Damian was the first to come through and he was looking very comfortable, posting a time of around 56 minutes. David crossed the line less than a minute later, closely followed by James around 45 seconds later. It turns out the three of them had run together for much of the route and they all seemed to have enjoyed it.

A few celebratory beers and a barbecue later and I’m now contemplating how to slow everyone down tomorrow for the 20 mile club run. I think I’m going to struggle, I’ve now covered over 41 miles this week already, 32 of which were in the last 4 days!

The daily average has today hit 4.50 miles for the first time this year! I’m going to keep it there now.

Just 10 days more left. I’m both excited and apprehensive about what lies beyond the end of the 1095miles challenge for me. Watch this space, my brain is buzzing with ideas…

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Lime/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 5.96
Target: 1065
Miles to date: 1596.08
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Mark Twain

Day 354 – 11 days and counting. We’ve been on a recruitment drive ;-)

With a mere 11 days until my 365th day, it seems only right to reveal what happens next…I’m quite excited by it all!

The following list of people; Neil, Helen, Jamie and Irene have all volunteered to take on the 1095 miles challenge! I’m going to leave it to each of them individually to introduce themselves, but I’d like to personally welcome them to the challenge and, as James put it, to the 1095miles challenge hall of fame! The very best of luck from me. You’ll be hearing from each member of our new group of runners over the next few days. Like I promised, the blog will be buzzing with activity in just a few days time…

Anyway, the quote of the day is for each of our new recruits. And for me, a bit. Taking on a challenge (and I mean a real challenge, one that actually challenges you) does change you. (That’s why I need to find something else to have a bash at now!)

And now to the run…I went out today using the Mizunos I’ve recently bought. I’ve been struggling with them because the heel-toe delta is so small compared with the Kayano’s I’m used to (heel-toe delta is the height difference between the heel and toe sections of the shoe). I’ve put a 2mm gel heel insert in there now and they’re much better.

I went out with the intention of a minimum of four mile (and if possible a five mile) run at lunchtime. I ended up running nine miles. Not sure why. I just felt like I was having a good running day and figured I’d keep going. I took in Gun Hill again, a tour of Aldershot and a bit of Caesar’s camp for some off roading!

Then I sat down to some more work., experienced my PC explode on me (genuinely, the video card blew four capacitors!), had a spot of lunch and then decided to go for a run :-)

I donned some Kayanos this time and covered another three miles this evening.

Needless to say, tomorrow I’m not racing, just taking part. I’m very tempted to run with my workmates and try and push them a bit, see how fast they can go. All depends on who is going to be there though I suppose. If there’s anyone from the club, I’ll be duty bound to try and keep up!

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10s (9.05m) / Blue/White Kayano 17s (3.07m)
Miles today: 9.05+3.07=12.12
Target: 1062
Miles to date: 1590.12
“You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.”
Percy Cerutty

Day 353 – Run hard, be strong, think big…

…especially when it hurts!

I’m making it difficult again today. It’s a rest day. So I ran 5, including a couple of fast half miles.

I was explaining to Ed last night at the club run that I’m going to finish on about 1,650 miles. I’d rather end on a big number like 1700. In fact, I’d rather finish on 1600 having just managed it, but as it is, I’m likely to finish the 365 days in a mileage no man’s land. To hit 1700 is an average of 10 miles a day for 12 days. I don’t think so! Sixteen hundred and something will have to do…

Make a donation using Virgin Money GivingAndy.

Today’s shoes: White/Blue Kayano 17s
Miles today: 5.01
Target: 1059
Miles to date: 1578.00
“Run hard, be strong, think big.”
Percy Cerutty