Author Archives: 51

Basic Downs Loop

Its a miracle that this blog still exists after all that happened to the site last August and since. Its been a long time since I posted anything so this is a synopsis of the situation. I had a problem develop in Athens a few years ago whilst trying to maintain my 100km a day goal at the end of the third day. I had to take an enforced rest due to my foolishness and every race Ive participated in since then has featured a 24 hour period where I was incapacitated or disabled for some period. This happened in a susequent Athens event, Norway and last year in Hungary.
After Hungary which was in May and which I walked for the whole 6 days, I decided to rest it and ended up running about once a month due to my job as a postman I was still able to maintain “runner status”.
This year I will be able to take part in the Italian 6 Day in Policoro if I get my act together. To that end I have started running again to try and get into some kind of shape and to see how my knee will respond. I will probably go and see a physio to try and prevent a re-occurrence of anything untoward. Thats the current plan…

Most of my runs are a 5 mile loop plus running home from work occasionally. The plan is to keep it at that level and to increase the frequency of the runs back up to five a week plus the long run. I havent been keeping track of my runs for a few years now but that is a good thing to encourage sustained activity.

The Birthday Run 2011

I always had trouble knowing what kind of shape I was in at any given time and be able to predict performance. Three weeks ago we went down to Weston to run the Prom 5 miler. Its a flat course out and back twice. It was raining so the numbers were down a little. I set out too fast and by halfway was struggling and slowing with oxygen debt. However I hung in and finished with what turned out to be a (recent) pb with 37:43.

I didnt run for almost 2 weeks after this and then I decided I wanted a long run and began thinking about where to go. With my birthday coming up I decided running to Penrhiwfer in the Rhondda Valley would be a challenge. I planned to leave very early in the morningestimating it would take 15 hours or so as I wasnt rushing. With one thing and another my birthday rolled around and I still had not left. I got up at 7 thinking I could pack and be out by 8 giving me a good chance to get there this side of midnight. However the Faff Factor dug in and as it rained most of the morning so getting ready was a challenge in itself. Finally at 11:35 I was closing the door and on my way. It had stopped raining and the clouds were breaking up. One thing that did concern me was the weight of my backpack. Not sure of my plans, I included the kitchen sink and I weighed the pack at 10 kg. Not having run with that kind of weight before I did not know how it would go. I had been running home from work with 2-3 kilos but 10 is another matter.
Google maps indicated it was about 53 miles to Penrhiwfer which I estimated could take 15 hours or so as I wasnt in a rush. By the time I left it was 11:30 and the morning rain had stopped. Bythe time I got to Aust it had cleared up and the sun was shining – it was a beautiful day.
However the weight of the pack had slowed my pace and it was starting to get uncomfortable. After a meditation on the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom Bridge I made my away across the Severn and into Wales.
That section to Newport was hard going and it was 8 oclock before my largely walking pace saw me arrive at the Train Station where I decided to catch the train to my destination so I wouldnt arrive in the middle of the night. The route I took looks pretty close to 50 km so there was a mile or so of walking at the other end that made me feel able to say I had run 51 km on my birthday. My first Birthday Run.

Weston Prom 5 Miler December 2011

I always had trouble knowing what kind of shape I was in at any given time and be able to predict performance. Three weeks ago we went down to Weston to run the Prom 5 miler. Its a flat course out and back twice. It was raining so the numbers were down a little. I set out too fast and by halfway was struggling and slowing with oxygen debt. However I hung in and finished with what turned out to be a (recent) pb with 37:43.

Back In The Saddle

I’ve not stopped running. Over the last few years though my mileage has decreased and over the last two years most days I didn’t run. This summer though I wanted to get back into some kind of shape and then all kinds of things started coming out of the woodwork. First goal was the Self-Transcendence 24 Hour race in Tooting Bec.

Some time in July I pulled a muscle in my calf at work. Not such a big deal I thought, I’ll have a day off running and then run it back into shape. So I had a day off and the sensation had decreased somewhat and I ran all the way home but it definitely didn’t feel right. Some people may be thinking “This guy’s nuts – running with a pulled muscle is plain stupid”, however, I believe and I know that  the body can adapt very quickly to damage and can heal itself very quickly under the right circumstances. But this time there seemed to be a problem and so the next day I just walked for an hour and the following day it was no better so I had the weekend off and the following week began to run again. It was still the same.
Over the next 5-6 weeks I cut right back on the running and walked instead and it recovered enough to be able to run but the problem was still there. Finally on the eve of the race I went to see a physiotherapist for advice – more psychological support than any thing else and after a calf massage the therapist said it would be fine.

Not having run for more than 2 hours since the run to Bitton, January the 21st, I was concerned about how it would hold up and had changed my goal to survival for 24 hours – even a marathon would do as long as I could keep moving until the end.

Abichal at the 2011 Self-Transcendence 24 Hour Race Tooting Bec Photo: Martin Leitner

I began conservatively with a run/walk schedule until I felt that it was not necessary to be so structured and moved at a comfortable yet relaxed pace. Sometime late in the evening another issue arose that needed a short period of relaxation which amounted to a substantial break. I came back onto the track and continued to run for the next 6-7 hours feeling stronger each hour until it felt like I was charging by the end of the race and ended up completing 76 miles with 5 hours of breaks. I was very happy. I felt great – my energy was good, no problem with legs – I felt like I was ready for another 24.

I had a week off and then continued to run home from work every day (a 3.5-4 mile run) and continue to do so. I have been taking weekends off though and still havent run more than two hours since January in a training run and now its November.

There are several things I would like to do before the Spring and one of those is the 1000 mile race in Athens – lets see how it goes.

Before that though I have been invited to give a talk with Tarit and Tejvan entitled Pushing The Limits at Run & Become on December 6th. Admission is free but register via events@runandbecome.com.

January – Time To Get Serious

Bitton Railway Station is handily positioned at the 10 mile point on my Bath to Bristol Cycleway route.

A couple of weeks ago I ran 20 miles. It’s been a long time since that happened and even though was a little sore and tired afterwards, I still felt good and happy to have had that experience. Getting back into a regular routine is taking a long time and I get it together for a few days and then there is a break as my attention gets consumed by other projects. Running has been down to once or twice a week/ten days for quite some time now but recently the urge to run has been growing again.

Yesterday I ran for an hour up on the Downs and am planning on running again in a few minutes for an hour again. Tomorrow there is a Parkrun up at Ashton Court so  that will be 2 plus hours of running. Using shorter races to give myself little stations along the way will, I hope, give me some further inspiration.

I have an account on Fetch and they have useful tools for keeping a training log. Also a nice little tool to map my route so today I found out how long my basic route is and how long it takes. It turns out that its almost exactly 5 miles and today I made sure it was a standard run against which to compare other runs. Today took 49 mins as opposed to yesterdays run where I stopped to stretch and massage my calves and which took 54 mins.

Even though it seems a little slow for the effort, its not so much the time I am concerned with as with putting the miles in on a consistent basis. Lately I have had all kinds of ideas to help stretch the envelope and get some long runs in. The weather is quite mild at the moment so we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.

Ottawa Self-Transcendence 2 Mile Race

multidays.com logoThis post is by way of celebrating several things that happened today beginning with the 2 mile run along the Canal. Due to various events taking place this weekend, only Caitlin and I were at the starting line this morning. I thought it was going to be a solo performance and I rolled up early, for a change, yet something stayed my feet as I waited and waited not knowing what the time was and not knowing why I was waiting until I looked up and saw someone running overhead on the bridge looking down.

Company changes things. It turned from a solo jog into a situation where I had to try my best. It usually turns out that way anyway but now there’s an independent witness. It wasn’t a competition, I wasn’t racing Caitlin but she helped bring that something to the fore a little quicker. I ran 14:28 and Caitlin ran 20:03 a little slower than last week but as I haven’t been running much lately, anything will do.

The other thing is that this blog has moved today from its old stomping ground in a sub directory as a separate instance of WP to its new location – its own subdomain on Multidays.com. Its hard to figure out how many people actually read this poor specimen of a blog but now the website has the capacity to create blogs I am extending an offer to runners who would like to keep a free running blog – sign up and create their own space on Multidays.com.

20 km runs

Last weekend I managed three 20 km runs in 3 days two at Ashton Court and one out along the BBC with Suswara. Since then I haven’t made it out which should be of some concern as I have signed up for the Gothenburg 6 day race in Sweden. The race is free to non-Scandinavians which is how I am able to go and of course thanks to Ryanair for their cheap flights. The race starts on August 30th at 09:00 and some great runners have signed up and will be great to chat with.I made a post on the front page of multidays.com. Pam Storey will be going as well. It will interesting to see how she gets on.

Assuming I make it to the start, this will be my first 6 day race and something I have been wanting to do for some time so I am looking forward to next Saturday.
I discovered my best 6 day split is 584 km but I have no idea if I will be able to run myself into shape enough to top that. I would be very happy with 360 miles right now.

Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 – 20 Km Trail Race 2009

Last Sunday the whole house ventured to Salisbury along with Cardiff compatriots Garga and Kokila to make a Sri Chinmoy Athletics Cub outing and we all ran the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 20 km race – all bar Garga who’s injured at the moment. Nice morning turned out to be quite hot as we set off under clear skies to run on trails and roads around the old town of Salisbury, famous for the proximity of Stonehenge which lies on Salisbury Plain, 8 miles to the north.
Kokila warned at the start to take as much water as was available at the aid stations and by the time we had climbed Old Sarum I was wishing I had brought my hydration pack as it was really warming up. The trail at that point was a foot-wide narrow rut and was a great opportunity to run in my North Face Voza shoes that I am currently reviewing and I had no problems with any feet issues.
The course runs along public footpaths and roads, bridleways and even (possibly) some private land. Every now and again the hedge would shrink and we were treated to some beautiful Wiltshire landscapes. The great weather enhanced the feeling that this was indeed summer… after all the recent rain and the greeness of life was tangible especially in the shaded section before and up to the 6 mile checkpoint. Coming down off the ridge the course came back into Salisbury along some water ways, idyllic scenes especially at one large castle like property that we came to after crossing a small bridge across a river full of lillies and a pair of swans.

I had started out a little faster than I should have and I guess I slowed a little as in the last quarter, 4-5 people went past me looking very strong but I hung on getting a little disoriented in the last mile but finished chasing a team from Totton RC, just edging the two ladies in a time of 2:00:27, good enough for 50th spot and 3rd in my category. Mark came home first in the team with 01:49:29, 24th overall. Suswara had a spectacular result with a time of 02:02:53 and somehow coming in first place in his category, LV35 and 12th female overall!! He still hasn’t explained how he managed it. Kokila had a great run finishing in 02:37:54 and still smiling. However Kokila also was involved in transgendering as she was listed as MV40, 80th in “his” category.

Afterward we decided to get a shower in the Leisure Centre, conveniently located nearby and I realised I had not brought my towel due to a lost wallet situation prior to departure. However, shower was imperative and worry about drying afterward so jumped in and cleaned up and the only thing I felt I could use was my cotton socks. It worked!!! Hard to believe but I managed to dry myself with a pair of cotton ankle-quarters. Then I wrang them out, put them on with my sandals and sat in the sun for half an hour having a post race picnic and by the time we’d had coffee and got back to the car, they were dry again. I love cotton socks.

Race website: www.salisburyfirestation.info
Race Results:20 km

Sundays

Last Sunday squeezed another 20 miler in on the BBC. Bitton is the goal and this week was not as hot as last. Last week I blew up on the way home just coming out of the Staple Hill tunnel – a 45 minute run home. This week with a slower but steadier, more relaxed pace I arrived home just a little bit tired but not completely wiped out as I have been feeling recently.
So this makes it three 20 milers in a row which is something to be happy about though weekly mileage is still very low.

Long Run

Yesterday morning, Sunday June 28th, was a reminder of where I am and what is going on in my running life at the moment.

I had been wanting to get out earlier on Sunday mornings to take advantage of the peace to be found at this time of the day before most of the locality has woken up and begun to engage the world. Also because of the warmer temperatures it is much cooler earlier in the day and thirdly, the traffic gets heavy later in the day with many users cycling solo, as families and as groups.

Saturday I like to prepare for the long Sunday run by hydrating and by having a large carbohydrate meal late in the evening. I ate a pasta meal early evening  and not really much earlier in the day to build reserves and also forgot to drink extra.

Sunday morning after a late night watching the delights of Glastonbury on tv and working on the laptop, I got ready hurriedly with less than 4 hours sleep in the bank, not eating anything before we left or drinking more than half a cup of water.