Saturday, 3 May 2014

East Grinstead 10 Race Report - Once is Enough

With Run Jersey fast approaching and a consecutive 5k, 10k and Half Marathon to do over 3 days, I saw this 10 miler as a step in the right direction for my training. I didn't really look into it much more than that though and to be honest, It kinda came back to bite me on the arse!

With my usual my run nerves not helping matters, I knew the only plan for today was to get round in one piece. I did but no real thanks to the course. I set off with a group of maybe 250ish people at a 'take it easy' pace but it soon became apparent that whatever pace I may want to run was completely irrelevant. Within half a km, we all had to stop to go through a little opening. Then, in the space of around 5km, we went over, I think, 5 stiles. (and again on the way back). In between that was a lot over very narrow either single track path or mud puddles 6 inches deep. Me in road shoes (this maybe where I didn't read enough in advance) meant that I was slipping all over the place and could barely keep my footing and even when I could, I couldn't get into any kind of rhythm.

It soon became a just an exercise in staying upright and finding a nice bottom to follow round the course. That's all it was. I didn't look at my pace once (Garmin tells me it was as slow as it felt though). The entire intention was get to the end to get in my car and go home. I finished. No relief, no emotion, no nothing. I just didn't care. But hey, I completed an undulating 10 mile race so I can't argue that it didn't do me some good training wise but I hardly pushed myself.

To finish on a positive though, the marshalling was exceptional, friendly and encouraging, the scenery on the open bits of the course was spectacular (I think I saw about a dozen houses on the entire route) and at the end, there were jaffa cakes, fig rolls, mini mars bars and yogurt covered raspberry flavoured thingys.

In short:
The Organisation: Brilliant
The Course: Could to better
The Trainers: In the washing machine.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

I remember when I used to run

I've always needed something in the diary to get my motivation going. I'm just not a run for running's sake kind or person. Stupid really as when I do it, I love it but that's just me. I have plenty going on at the moment to come up with hundreds of excuses why I can't run.

However, 10 days ago, myself and eatingtrees booked our 'little European jaunt of happiness' for 2014. It's something we have to do. It started in 2009 with the Prague Half. 2010 was the truly painful Lisbon Half. 2011 we drove to Den Haag for their Half Marathon and then 2012 we decided to do the Marathon in Berlin. 2013 needed something a little more... well silly.... so we cycled through Holland and Belgium for the Maas Half Marathon. This year, I'm on a budget more than ever but we couldn't not do something so we've booked early, got some cheap seats and myself, eatingtrees and Mrs HMC are heading to Jersey for their Run Jersey event. Keeping the silliness level up, this involves 3 races in 3 days. A 5k on Friday night, a 10k on Saturday morning and then a Half marathon on the Sunday morning. None of which are difficult in their own right but still aiming for good times on those 3 consecutive will make it that bit more challenging.

The even cooler thing is Mrs HMC is going to join us for both he 5k and 10k before she becomes our official mascot on the Half.

This has very much motivated me to get my backside out and about 2 weekends in succession which in most respects is pretty damn poor but when you consider that prior to this, I had run a grand total of 4 times (total of 26km) since the end of July, that says it all. 8km last weekend in under 41 minutes and 6km today in 29 minutes tells me the pace is heading in the right direction too. Losing that stone and a bit has really helped! Now I just need to keep it going... Easier said than done!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Breaking my Parkrun duck!

Parkrun is something I've wanted to do for years. About 3 at least I think as I'm sure there was one at Wimbledon Common but I've always been torn that Saturday morning should be long run day.

However, being as apart from a 5km last weekend, I can count the number of times I've run in the last 3 months on one hand, that argument kinda goes out of the window. As I've heard nothing but good things, I signed up around 3 weeks ago to get me back into running but then a Ofsted visit plus other commitments like Segway racing happened and I haven't got to one. My local Parkrun is Nonsuch but I'm yet to actually get there. Instead, it was a visit to my parents this weekend that allowed me to do the Maldon one with a friend of mine who'd 'never been but always meant to go' as well.

It was a lot of fun, fully recommended and I now have a time to beat of 24:04 (time delivered to my mobile) which I'm pretty damn pleased with. (The weight loss seems to have helped the pace) I then ran back to my parents which was exactly 3km and I managed to do that bang on 15 minutes so kept the pace up well. 8km at a good pace with my first Parkrun complete. A good start to the weekend!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Segway Rally. The only way to travel

Being unstable on 2 wheels is quite a strange experience for me considering how many miles I clock up on the bike in a month so when faced with this, I realised I had something to learn... and quickly!

This is a segway but not one of those things lazy people use to look around European cities... no, no, no. This is the off road version and a LOT of fun. That is once you realise how to use it. Everything you've learnt up to this point goes out of the window. To go left or right, you lean that big metal stick left or right. It doesn't turn like a bike so takes some getting used to. Forward and back is achieved by funnily enough, leaning forward and back. That's everything there is to it so after a bit of training (beautifully shown by eatingtrees below), we hit the woods and the fun began!

We then had around 30 minutes to race around this woodland course and where as everyone was nervous and wary at first, by the end, most people were attempting to go flat out along the straights before zig zagging through the chicanes of trees. It's an awesome thing to do and for under £40 from the lovely people at Activity Superstore, it's cracking value. Even better if there's more than one of you. Just make sure you don't end up on You Tube under the banner of 'segway fails'. There are a LOT!


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Dunwich Dynamo XXI

We did it!!! No not just complete it. 3rd time lucky for eatingtrees and myself and this time, no curbs were hit. No punctures were created. No roadside maintenance sessions were needed at 2am. And then again at 3:30am. No collisions were had. No spokes were broken. And finally, no ditches were landed in. It was all a bit normal really. Well as normal as cycling 183km through the night from Hackney to the Suffolk coast on a Saturday night in July can be.

From the joys of Leyton... 'I f**king hate cyclists' to the bemusement of others 'what the hell is going on', it was the usual array of comments you get from people watching a lot of people on bikes heading past you dressed in anything from full lycra to 'I'm popping to the shop' attire. Dunwich Dynamo is just a wonderful, wonderful thing that brings a bunch of like-minded people on bromptons, road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, fixies, single-speeds, penny farthings, boris bikes, post office bikes, dog carrying bikes and various other contraptions for a night of enjoyment.

As this was our 3rd time, we've learn't a lot along the way including bring a flask of tea, a change of top for halfway and a little music for the early hours. Then don't crash and just enjoy it!


Now some people use it as a race and quite frankly, the quicker they go and take their condescending comments with them, the better, that then leaves the rest of us to enjoy the relatively relaxing ride to the coast where you can chat with who you like, go where you like (don't just follow the lights) and enjoy the satisfaction of the ride.

The first half is always relatively straight forward with our planned stops around 45 and then 86ish km. Then we head into what I call my dark place. Except it wasn't dark this time. In the past, I've sometimes struggled with this bit and questioned why I do it but this time when my eyes were feeling heavy and my blinks were getting longer and longer, I just called eatingtrees along side me, looked at him and said 'Right, I'm going to fall asleep soon and I need to stay awake so I'm just going to start talking to you and it's probably going to be a load of crap but just stick with me'. Eatingtrees being as wonderful as he is just said 'yep' and we started to chat which pretty much went on for the next hour and a half talking about everything and nothing. It was wonderful!


Then after our final pit stop at around 130km, I remembered why I do this. When the sun starts coming up around 4am, and then all the way until the beach, I get the biggest high I know. It's honestly like a drug. I sing, I smile, I attack the hills with glee, I dance on the peddles, I become chatty, I say hello to everyone, I laugh. It's like my body just says 'well if you're not gonna bloody sleep, we may as well have some fun'! I love the Dun Run, DD, the Dynamo. It makes me low, it makes me euphoric, it makes me think that everything should be this wonderful in life. See you next year, I may bring some friends!