Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Fleming Mudbath

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Christine @ Hants XC Champs 2015Opening the curtains on the first Saturday of the year to view a very wet garden and more rain on its way could only mean one thing: the Hampshire Cross-Country Champs! At least it was handy with Fleming Park once again being the venue. Christine braved the weather first, cycling there whilst I fed the children lunch. We then followed on in the car arriving just in time to watch her race start.

The courses are particularly convoluted which has the benefit that, as spectators, we didn’t have to move very far to see Christine, and the conditions, getting progressively muddier and muddier. The children were very good given the weather. Emma said it was great fun although, to be fair, I think this may have just been her new discovery of sarcasm. Christine finished just in time for me to hand over, strip off, and head to the start for the men’s race.

Last time I ran this course two years ago, I started far too fast on the first lap only to realise that I still had to go round twice more. Knowing this still didn’t stop me repeating the error! I’ve strategically chosen a picture of Christine to accompany this post as, once you’ve removed the blurred and out of focuse photos she took, your just left with ones of me looking like an old man in lots of pain. I waded round the 11.5km of mud in 46:23, some 35 seconds slower than in 2013 and ended up four places further down in 45th place. By way of consolation, when I really am an old man next year and qualify as a veteran, I just need to shave off 16 seconds to end up in to top 5 M40s!

Coast Path Finale

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Mass Beach RunHaving managed to get a reasonably sized SOC team together for this year’s Dorset Coast Path Relay it was perhaps inevitable that none of the other clubs would! As a consequence, it was decided that we would all join forces for a final record attempt before calling it a day.

SOC was allocated the section from Hardy’s Monument to Osmington. At ~15km I couldn’t really justify dragging 18 people down to Dorset even for a record attempt and we were eventually a (sub-)team of 10. I was off first and had a somewhat flustered start as it was shortly after being told that I had about 20 minutes to wait! I still haven’t completely thrown the cough that’s been plaguing me for the last month and my breathing was somewhat laboured. As I handed over to Andrew Nash it was clear that I wasn’t in any state to run the King of the Coast section later with Tim and Tamsin.

Christine and I were meant to help with a couple of hill sections but we managed to miss both of them. We therefore headed off to Studland for the children to enjoy the beach. Sadly when the incoming runner finally reached the group waiting for the mass run along the beach we were already well over the previous record time. Christine ran with them and then jogged back before we all headed to the pub.

Thankfully, of the promised sunshine and heavy showers, the latter part didn’t show its face until we were driving home. It’s sad to think of this as the last Coast Path Relay – maybe its time will come again…

Synchronised training

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

For the past couple of years, uploading my running training has been a bit of a faff. I like to use a desktop app (SportTracks) so that, whatever the changing fads online, I still have all of my data in one place. (It goes back to 2006 when I first got my Forerunner 305. Some day I may even important my old Polar Training Software data.) The desktop app also has some interesting plugins. One of these I used to push my training to dailymile for comparison with a few friends and colleagues and for the widget on this site. However, I’m also partial to a bit of segment stealing on Strava. Sadly no simple SportTracks plugin for Strava so that was a separate upload.

After a bit of search and experimentation, my new workflow is to upload to the SportTracks website which then syncs seamlessly (in both directions) to the desktop app. Then I’m using the excellent online tool Tapiriik to automatically synchronise the data from SportTracks to Strava.

On the plus side, this means I’m now only downloading once and it doesn’t have to be on the machine with SportTracks installed. Also, without really thinking about it, it means I know have 8 years worth of data synced back to Strava!

On the negative side, Tapiriik doesn’t support dailymile so that will have to go by the wayside, at least for now. That means you’ll see a slightly squished Strava widget in the sidebar of this site. The other major downside is cost. The SportTracks site has an annual subscription of $35. Whilst the site is nice and they are continually adding good features, if it weren’t for the sync with the desktop app I wouldn’t be forking out that money. We’ll see how things are going come renewal time. Automatic sync on Tapiriik also comes at a cost but a mere $2 pa for what is a very slick site and available as open source if you really wanted to host it yourself.

Now I just need to decide whether to add Garmin Uploader to my shopping list so that I don’t even need to turn on the Mac! (Works with my Nexus 7 but not my S2 unfortunately.)

Run some Pubs

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Today was the traditional ‘Run the Pubs’ where we run round the pubs that we’ve visited on Tuesday evening runs during the summer. There were six of us this year and, in keeping with last year’s tradition, we decided to bin one of the pubs (the Drift at Beaulieu Road Station) for a shorter run (13 miles) starting at the Redshoot Inn and ending with some great food at The Oak at Bank (where Andy somehow managed to book a table with less than a week’s notice). The weather deteriorated on our way round but no-one seemed to mind. We even got cheered along by a selection of Santas at one point when we accidentally came across the route of the CC6 cross-country race (over-taking the back marker in the process!). We also bumped in to Tuesday night veteran Mike Yeo at the New Forest Inn who, clad in wellies, declined to join us for the final short leg to Bank.

Elevation Profile
Speed Profile
2013 Run the Pubs

Gosport Half

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Today was the day of what I believe was my first road half-marathon. I was taking it fairly seriously having picked a (hopefully) fast course at Gosport and had been following a Runner’s World training plan for the past couple of months. The final few hours of preparation weren’t ideal though: Emma had been up in the night and was then sick in car on the way to the event (as she was for my last half marathon!). My warm-up consisted of standing in the queue for the toilets, buying some gels to replace those I’d left at home, and then standing in the baggage queue before fighting my way to somewhere near the front at the start.

Going in to the race, my best guess was for a time somewhere in the range 80-85 minutes. I decided to hedge my bets and start out a pace for the first few miles that would bring me back in 82 minutes and take it from there. That pace felt pretty comfortable and it wasn’t long before I was dreaming about beating my PB of 79:06 from the Forest of Dean Trails Half-Marathon some 8 years ago.

Although I put in some good miles, I was struggling to push hard enough to maintain that pace and in the last couple of miles I was finding it pretty tough. My attempt to cross the line ahead of what turned out to be the third placed woman (!) had me bringing back up the last of the gels before picking up my medal.

All in all, I can’t not be pleased though. My chip time was 79:34 which was absolutely at the right end of my range of predicted times (indeed, much of my speed work had been done assuming a time much closer to 85). I’m currently showing as 49th which would also be great but there are a few people I know were there missing from the results. The main detraction from the day? It took us nearly an hour to crawl through the traffic just to get back to the far end of the course!

Elevation Profile
Speed Profile

Hursley Headache

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Hursley 10KIt was the Hursley 10K today and this year the weather was a bit kinder to us. It was my turn to run in the main race and I felt pretty good as I set off out the field in second place. The guy out in front just continued to pull away and eventually finished two and a half minutes clear. I and another run exchanged places for second up until around 6k where I started to get a splitting headache. This was bad timing as I just couldn’t push myself up the hill on the gravel track. There was then a steady stream of runners passing me and I ended up finishing in 8th place. My thanks go to the runner from Lordshill who encouraged me on across the last field which meant me finishing time of 38:45 was still marginally quicker than two years ago. Still not sure what brought the headache on (it still hasn’t quite left me yet). It may have been a lack of fluids (it felt very humid and I was certainly sweating buckets at the end) or it may be the start of a cold (I’ve certainly had a sore throat the past couple of days).

Emma @ Hursley Fun RunEmma was entered for the fun run and was determined to run round on her own this time. However, she met a school friend when warming up on the bouncy castle (!) and they ran round together. She had a big smile on her face at the end which is the important thing.

Fleming Fun

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Emma before Eastleigh 2K Fun RunToday was the day of the Eastleigh 10K and Fun Run. As the latter wasn’t until the afternoon, I went over on my own in the morning. It wasn’t exactly ideal conditions with the temperature hovering just above zero and even that was until you took the biting cold in to account. At least it was dry though! I had put 36 minutes down as my target time and, having never done a 10K on the (reasonably) flat before, I wasn’t really sure how realistic this was. (My PB is, I believe, 35:36 at the undulating Brading 10K back in 2004).

The race started fairly well and I made it round the first half in 17:45. Unfortunately, although my legs felt fine, my stomach wasn’t happy . I was wretching at 9k and finally parted company with the contents of my stomach just after I crossed the finish line in 36:32. I’m not sure if I hadn’t left enough time after breakfast (I’ve got too used to going running on a Tuesday evening straight after dinner, forgetting what a difference it makes when you’re really trying!) or whether it was the slightly out-of-date gel I had in the half an hour before the start. Either way, it’s not a bad time but I’m left wondering what it could have been…

I returned home to pick up the rest of the family so that Emma could run the 2K fun run. Her only other race was in the pouring rain at the Hursley 10K last year so this may have seemed like a distinct improvement. She did, however, start off in all of the clothes you see in the photo, only discarding the coat because it was getting in the way a bit! She insisted on going round on her own (probably off the back of last week’s string course). I’ve no idea how long she took (probably something around 10 minutes if the timestamps on the photos I took afterwards are to be believed) but most importantly she was still smiling at the end. Then only one more trip to Fleming Park for swimming lessons later in the day!

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Hampshire Cross Country ChampsYesterday was the Hampshire Cross-Country Champs, handily taking place at nearby Fleming Park. Christine had been let off marshalling duties so we didn’t have to be there until after midday. I took the children to the playground whilst Christine prepared, returning in time to cheer her in to the home straight. She finished a respectable 31st and 4th W35. I was a bit concerned as to quite how many laps of the old golf course my 12km race might entail but it was sufficiently convoluted that we only had to go round the three times. Although muddy, none of the course was under standing water as it has been on previous visits!

After a fairly fast first lap I concluded that I wasn’t going to finish at that pace and slowed for the second. Perhaps because of this (or could it even be the semi-regular training that I’ve managed for the past month?!) I actually felt fairly good on the last lap. I even managed a bit of overtaking in the final mile although was gutted to lose out on yet another sprint for the line (to the sideburns in the accompanying picture!). I came 41st in the results which equated to 33rd in the senior men (unlike the women, the men have to wait to 40 for the next category) in a time of 45:48 which, although some six minutes slower than the winner, I was pretty pleased with. To put it in perspective, my 10k time was 39:09 over an undulating and muddy course. Perhaps I’ll even try my hand at a 10k on the road this year…