Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Although I'm in danger of peaking too soon on this post, let me just put it out there that after god knows how long, I ran this race in 49:35. That's 2 mins and 2 seconds quicker than my previous PB and finally broke that sub 50 minute hoodoo!

Well how did it all come about....

I did this race a couple of years ago and remembered all those bits today. The things I love, i.e. flat course, lots to see, loads of support and Mo Farah and Jo Pavey running at full pelt to the things I hate, i.e. the 'safety officials' with their high level of self importance, the fact they try and start cramming you into the pens up to 45mins before the race and those commentators that quite frankly ruin what could be a nice quiet morning in Green Park.

I met up with an excited child called eatingtrees who was bouncing off the walls with positivity for this race and sat on the grass looking at the clouds and wondering when I'd have the courage to take off my jeans and go with the shorts. Then the sun came out and BOY did it come out. Another reminder of the race a couple of years ago when the heat was a killer. A quick chat with Dianne, and separately with Adele, Edward and Hector and it was off to dump our bags we went.

I was in 2 minds about this race. I hadn't run for 2 weeks due to a painful left knee and couldn't decide whether this was genius or stupidity. Would I crash and burn? Quite possibly but I also felt confident that if I didn't and the knee held, there was a PB chance. I didn't honestly believe it would be sub 50 though. Because of the lack or recent training (although I had been running prior to that plus plenty of miles on the bike) I had decided on a strategy for this race. One I had never tried before. This is what I emailed eatingtrees prior to the race.

"Incidentally, my current plan for BUPA (which I have never tried before) is push from the start and see what happens. No taking it easy and seeing what happens. No resting in case the knee hurts. Just say fuck it and see how long I can run at 5min/km pace and hope I don't crash and burn."

Some would say bold. Some would say stupid and I was well aware those 'some' could be right but I felt that for this race, it was my only option.

One thing I have learnt doing these London races is that you can't let yourself get held up for the first km. That can easily add 2 minutes to your time so when our Blue A group started, I just went. I had no idea that eatingtrees was hot on my heels with the same 'don't get held up' theory as me but with a first km of 4.45, it obviously worked although I panicked a little as there was no way that pace would stick.

Eatingtrees had eked in-front at this point but I knew that I just had to stick to the pace and any time I started feeling myself slow, I just pushed on again. Kilometres 2 and 3 were both 4.45's too and by the time 5km came up, I was shocked to see I was well inside the 50min pace at 24:49.

Just after that I had caught eatingtrees again and we ran the next bit together side by side (he had headphones in) and then I I just kept doing what I was doing. At 8km, I remember looking at my watch, seeing 39:40 and thinking right, 2 kilometres at 5:10's and you have your 50 minute 10k. I ran through 9km and looked don to see 44:50. Blimey I'm consistent.

This was it. I could actually do this. I turned into Horse Guards Avenue and then right onto Whitehall. I knew Mrs HMC and the Boy would be at the top of Whitehall so I kept an eye out, shouted a hello and then turned for The Mall. This bit is longer than it looks and seems to take an age but by just keeping focussed on pushing on and checking the watch, I ran over the line, looking like I'd been shot in that new magic PB. Hardly any time at all later, eatingtrees came across with a massive grin, with his arms out like an aeroplane looking 30 times better than me. Oh yes, the knee... it was absolutely fine apart from one little twinge. I don't know what all the fuss was about.

The safety police who had nothing better to do than piss me off, insisted on keeping me away from Mrs HMC and the Boy for a good 30 mins by closing all the relevant points where we could get together but after walking half the length of London, we were joined again and along with eatingtrees, Adele, Edward and Hector, headed into SoHo for some well deserved Mexican food!

What a race, what a day. Now I just need to figure out if I'll ever be able to go faster!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Continued hiatus brings out Yolkey

As I'm currently on a bit of a hiatus from running due to the continued pain in my left knee, it was wonderful to get out on Yolkey on Saturday morning with fellow London 2 Brighton rider, my Mum who was down visiting The Boy, and complete 37.3km.

I say it was wonderful to complete it because after not having one ever before, I got my second puncture in 2 rides! I didn't believe slim filled inner tubes would give me any benefits. I am now looking on the internet for some slime filled inner tubes as I'm sure they would have stopped the second if not the first. ARGHH!!!!

Something I did buy myself this weekend were some cycling shoes though. Mountain bike ones obviously so I can actually walk in them but cycling shoes none the less. See I've had a pair of clipless pedals sitting in the shed for a year or 2 now so finally decided to bite the bullet and get some shoes to use with them. Haven't tried them but I'm going to fit the pedals tonight and then in the next day or two, take it for a little test ride.

BUPA 10k next Monday and then follows Juneathon. Not sure how well I'll do with the knee and will probably have to be more cycling based rather than running based but with Crisis coming up too plus a camping holiday in France, things are looking like fun!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Grim: Beast in the East Race Report

I'm a huge fan of the Grim Original event generally held in December (although in January this year due to the snow) so immediately after finishing last years event I signed up for 'Beast in the East' hoping for more of the same.

I was looking forward to it so much and brought with me, the usual towel, change of clothes and joyful anticipation of what was to come. There were quite a few people I knew doing this including eatingtrees and Shaun, plus friends Paul, Graeme and Chris so it was a social affair and one I felt we'd be talking about for a long time yet.

We won't. In all honesty, it was a tough 10k. Or 9.7k or 9.6k or 9.5k depending on who's Garmin we read but that's about it. No puddles, no marsh, no freezing cold knee deep mud. No shrieks and whoops of delight and frankly, no lasting memories. I didn't even have to get changed before I drove home!

The website states 'we didn't think anyone would break the hour for this 10k' but I'm an overweight 31 year old who only runs so I can eat more crap and I finished in 58:23. Quite frankly, it was a tough 10k and not even as tough as the Hard As Snails 10k i did a couple of years ago.

It was good to see a few people who I knew and catch up but this just wasn't a patch on Grim Original and there is no chance of me doing this event again. There was nothing grim about it. Give me the water, mud and screams of delight of the original event any day.

I did have a chance to try some Voltz Energy Shots that I'd been sent though and they are pretty good. I've tried gels in the past and find them too difficult to stomach but these shots are just liquid energy. Basically, pure sugar and caffeine. They do both Citrus and Berry flavours and the best thing about them if they don't taste too strong. It's a subtle taste and the citrus one tastes wonderfully like (this description has been deleted due to stolen words taken from eatingtrees).

Oh, OK. But I will say again , they taste very good and I'm looking forward to trying them when I go out for a long ride in a couple of weeks too. I reckon they'll go down just as well then.

During the race, my left knee appeared to flair up again so apart from a couple of little runs with Mrs HMC, I'm going to stay off the knee until the BUPA 10k at the end of May as I really don't want to do it any more damage. Then maybe, just maybe, I might be in line for a PB

Monday, 9 May 2011

The glass was half flat

Saturday. Early morning. A lot of rain. Plans to cycle 34km. Oh well. Now I had plans to cycle 34km in the rain. Being a little precious about Yolkey, this was the first time I was ever going to go out on it in the rain but it would be a good test of the tyres if nothing else. I helped get the boy ready before jumping on the train to Horsham. Then I cycled some of the most beautiful countryside roads I've ever been on. Powering on, head down it was not. Head up, looking around, 'la le la', 'isn't this pretty' was a lot closer to the truth. As for the rain, a little drizzle was about it which was a result!


I knew I had a 17% gradient hill coming up on the way out of a little village called Steyning so I was resting my legs a bit on the downhills approaching the village and had to come out from the kerb a little to avoid some broken glass as I was coming up to a junction. It seems i didn't come out far enough though. There I was on a grass verge at a main road junction, bike upside down and wheel off. I had to prise the shard of glass out of my tyre with the pliers on my leatherman but eventually got it out. Then repair to both, a bit of air back in and off I went again but never fully trusted the tyre again. This is why I don't like hand pumps. You can never get that solid feeling back.


The hill hurt. a lot, and no, I wasn't able to cycle up the whole thing with the single speed but I got up quite a few and walked up other bits. Actually, I reckon I found the walking harder than the pedaling. Anyway, I finished the ride with an absolutely horrendous sound coming from my cranks which happened on my last ride too so it appears my bottom bracket is well and truly screwed. As it's a sealed unit so sod all I can do about it. New one is now on order along with a spare inner tube and a spare tyre!

There was plenty of rain on Saturday night which meant that lovely fresh air was too good an offer to turn down so I headed out on a lovely flat 10k run around the streets and sea front of Worthing. Bang on 10k route was plotted and a gentle pace was picked. However, I had a few minutes to go and not that long and realised I could be on for a good time here. Paced was promptly picked up and had it been a race, I would be telling you I had a new PB, 5 seconds faster than my current but is wasn't so it's not. It does mean that if I can avoid the crowds at the start of the BUPA 10k in a few weeks time, I could run my record pretty close which is kinda cool.

Next weekend sees Grim Beast in the East and a birthday celebration weekend for Mrs HMC so there won't be any time for a ride but I have a few extra km to be run this week yet and obviously a bike to clean. With the mixture of muddy water and grease, Yolkey is not looking his best!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Job done

The 2 birds, 1 stone theory came out last night as I headed out on an 8km loop that ended at the polling station to vote a mere 300m from my house. Upon walking in and giving my address, I got the pretty quick witted line of 'and you're that tired running from there, you need some more practice'. It was said with a smile and I thought still showed some humour after being sat at a desk most of the day handing out polling cards.

The run was non eventful but felt comfortable the whole way and that even includes the 2 hills that i have to contend with on that route. In fact I spent pretty much most of the run thinking about Saturday's cycle to and Sunday's run around Worthing. It was just nice to be running in the evening again to be honest without the need for torches, 14 items of clothing and frost on the beard. The 8km was run in 5.15's which was a comfortable non pushing pace for me.

A 34km ride is planned for tomorrow followed by a run on somewhere in the region of 9-10km on Sunday morning which should give me a good level of fitness as I approach Grim Beast in the East the following weekend. Not that will be fun. Quite a few people I know who are doing it so it will be a real team 'get everyone over the line event'. Bring it on!

Sorry for the extremely dull post. I even got bored typing it but I've come this far now so I better fi....

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

If Carlsberg did weekends....

What a splended weekend that was. May I request that we only have 4 day weekends going forward please. I'm not anti royal or anything but the chance to get out on Yolkey on some quieter roads on Friday morning was too good an opportunity to miss and I promptly clocked up 25.25 miles around the Surrey hills which is a good start to the training.

This was followed up on Saturday morning by a repeat of Wednesday's 9.11km route but it was a tad slower due to heavy legs and took the best part of a minute longer. Then came Mrs HMC's idea of going camping for the night on Sunday. A chance to test the new tent properly and also get the boy camping for the first ever time before our planned trip to France in June. Everything worked. The boy slept like a log, the tent held up in some average winds and myself and Mrs HMC got to camp properly for the first time in 2 years as last summer, the bump was a bit too big to do it comfortably. Wine, open fire, marshmallows and sleeping under canvas. Bliss!

Strangely, my legs feel heavier today than they have done at any point this weekend so it'll be a quick jaunt out tomorrow, followed by a ride down to Worthing on Saturday to visit the in-laws and clock up more miles. I just need to get this few days of work over with first!