Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trent 5

Tonight I have the Trent 5 Mile Race at Beeston down as an option depending on the state of my knees. My knees tell me to give it a go, so then it’s just down to the weather. This seems to fine up just at the right moment.

L still isn’t over keen. She feels she should be curled up with a book, a glass of wine and a cute little dog at her feet, not plodding up and down a damp canal path. Problem is the cute little dog will have a ball in his mouth and he’ll want the back door open. We do the run.

My knees actually get rather carried away and run 7 minute miles, which is the fastest I’ve done this sort of event in for years. My pace was helped by the guy with noisy shoes who was running behind me, as I spent all five miles trying to get away from him. Still 35.02, pleased with that.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Burton 10

Today the Burton 10 Mile run from Meadowside Leisure Centre, which is a really nice location with easy parking and good facilities at the leisure centre itself.

So with legs now even more tired after yesterday’s sportive we set out on the two lap course. It is largely flat apart from a half mile or so of gentle climbing half way around. That would have been more tolerable had it not been on the least scenic part of the route through a housing estate.

There are two drinks stations on the lap, both with casks from Burton Bridge Brewery. Sadly the casks have only been filled with water.

It’s hot again, so the dogs are at home and I try out my new running hat. Bought with the Half Ironman in mind, should that also be warm.

At the end they hand over a technical t-shirt and a Mars bar. L hates Mars bar, so I’ll get two. My time 1:23, which is slower than I would normal expect but in the circumstances, acceptable.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thoresby Cycle Fest

Today is the Thoresby Cycle Fest Sportive. I’m on the 50 mile route, L’s on the 34 mile.

We drive up to Thoresby Hall for the start, leaving the boys at home due to the expected hot weather.

I start off and quickly get my head down, using my aerobars (I need the practice). I whizz past several folk although the downside is the aerobars make pothole dodging difficult and there are a lot to dodge. Then 20 miles in, I find one particularly large one unmissable. I disappear down it. At first I think I’ve punctured both tyres but it just turns out to be the rear one. Good job, as I only have one spare tube. I’ve also knocked both my rear brake and my bike computer out of alignment and it takes another 10 miles to get both functioning correctly again.

That takes me to the feed station at Halam, just outside Southwell. It is a well stocked feed station, loads of cakes and a cup of tea, much better than the Kilo To Go ones. Although they don’t have any bike spares. So I can’t get another tube and therefore have to make sure I don’t fall down any more holes on the rest of the route. It is a route that seems to cover the northern most sections of the Great Nottingham Bike Ride, so I’ll be back on these roads next month.

Overall it’s all very well organised and there are other races on during the weekend as well. These include the Unicycle & British Open Penny farthing Championships and also some Paper boy racing. I really wished I’d entered the latter. They’ve even erected dummy doors to post newspapers through.

L does her 34 Miles in 03:12, I do my 50 in 03:42 but if you take off my puncture stop and the fact I had a leisurely cup of tea, perhaps I could have caught her.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Monster Mojito Triathlon

I emerge from our tent in Peterborough’s Nene Park at not long past 5am to go register for today’s ECF Monster Mojito Triathlon and collect my shocking pink t-shirt. Not sure that’ll get worn much.

At 7am the serious guys doing the Mojo, the half iron middle distance race, start. This is over the distance I will race in three weeks time at the Half Outlaw. Today I am doing the Olympic distance Mojito instead. Just a 1500m swim, 23 mile cycle and a 10k mile run then.

Half an hour later we start. In theory I shouldn’t be able to drown because the water is only four feet deep. The safety briefing says if we get in trouble, stand up. Good advice. That is if it wasn’t for the weeds, which as I stand awaiting the start come up beyond my knees.

Once we’re off, the weeds are constantly trying to disrupt my doggie paddle, grabbing at my arms and legs, trying to suck me down into the four foot depths of the lake.

Doggie paddle and breast stroke is about as good as it gets for the first 750m as I struggle to catch my breath in the cold water and get anything approaching a recognisable stroke going. Once around the half way buoy and turned for home, I finally sort myself out and discover a stroke called front crawl.

I emerge from the water in just under 35 minutes. A slightly tardy three minute transition then follows as I put on extra kit for the bike leg. The bike is good fun and I even put my new aerobars to decent use. The only problem is my feet, which emerged from the lake resembling blocks of ice and they do not thaw out one jot whilst cycling.

This means that 83 minutes later I am trying to force these frozen stumps into my running shoes before attempting to hobble around two laps of Nene Park on them. The feeling does come back to them at some point and I really find the run quite easy, which is encouraging for the Half Outlaw, where I have to run twice as far, although after more than double the bike distance.

My final time of 2:52:21 sees me 50th of 78 starters. I cross the line to the acclaim of my backup team, L, Doggo and MD. Both dogs cheering loudly.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Uttoxeter Half Marathon

So, how are all my injuries? I’m about to find out by running the Uttoxeter Half Marathon.

Most of my original ills have gone away, so naturally I have a new one which I think is a thigh strain. This gets even more strained when they send us up a hill immediately after the start.

In fact, this is a course with very little flat in it. Although, had I not been pre-injured I wouldn’t have worried unduly about the terrain, it was nothing too nasty. Everyone said to fear the big one between miles six and seven which also implied it was a mile long but it wasn’t. It was challenging although not horrendous.

My biggest problems were the downhills. I’m not good a downhills generally and some of the ones here were evil. Whilst everyone else was rejoicing at the last mile being ‘all downhill’ I was cursing it.

I maintain a decent eight minute mile pace for the first half of the race before it deteriorates sharply thereafter. I finish feeling shattered. How I’ll feel when that is the dessert course after a swim and a bike I’m not sure. My finish time of 1:51 is well outside my 1:45 target.

The race started and finished at Uttoxeter Racecourse, which meant the facilities were pretty good as apparently was the cake stall. T-shirts were picked up, unconventionally, before the start and drinks were in cups. This I would normally have objected to but it gave me chance to have a breather as I stopped at each one.