12/03/2012 - My Silverstone Experience.
This was a race I had not been looking forward to as much as I'd hoped. An ear operation last year had taken me out of action for three months and just when I was getting back into my fitness I developed a chest infection in January that stopped me doing anything for six weeks.
So I was not as prepared as I would have liked to be but I knew I should be able to get round but thoughts of beating last years time were right out of the question. Mind you at least I could just relax and enjoy the run without trying to better last year.
The weather the previous Sunday had been horrendous so I was watching with interest the weather forecast and it looked like it was going to be OK. My wife, who never comes with me to these races, decided to come along. This still worries me. The decent forecast obviously played a part but still .... Does she have an alterior motive? Am I about to be asked to accompany her to, heaven forbid, something like an ABBA night??
|The only photo my wife took on the day|
Anyway putting aside my foreboding about my wife's motives I was pleased to see it was a lovely morning; excellent, I thought, sunshine on a chilly day - perfect. I had no idea as I stood outside that morning, about to get into my car, that the day would turn out to be such a warm day and lovely day.
We set off and got to the track in good time, got parked and started the long trek to the starting pavilion. Once we got in the place was buzzing already, I'm not sure but it did seem busier than last year. I started with a nice coffee while my wife teased me with a full breakfast bun, bacon, egg, mushrooms, while I could only dream and hope that they would not run out of bacon before the end of my race. I did pop into the Adidas shop and got myself an Adidas climaproof cap which proved to be one of my best ever spur of the moment purchases. Apart from it actually being a great cap the job it did protecting me from the sun was priceless - and it only cost a tenner.
Time was getting on and my wife said that I should be making my way to the start but I waited a while longer, knowing that Silverstone never starts on time, but I was eventually standing on the track by around 11:50. As expected the start was delayed but only by 5 minutes so not as bad as it could have been. I noticed a little in front of me a chap holding a 2:11 sign, cool a pacemaker and with all my hopes of a better time than last year I though this was the chap I should stick with.
|We're off !|
So I had a very pleasant 5 miles, 5 miles'ish, chatting away to Gareth and keeping the pacemaker in sight. I knew Gareth lived in the same village as myself but was surprised to learn that if we, OK I, stood on a ladder we could probably see each others houses. Nice bloke and really helped me pass the time and looking back was, with the finish, the highlight of the run for me.
|Chase me !!|
After about five miles I started to feel I might actually be OK on this run and, in chatting, Gareth and I had dropped a little off the pacemaker so I overtook a few people until I was just behind the guy. Looking round I could see that Gareth had not followed so I waited for a minute to see if he would come along side. He didn't and so I wondered if I should drop back a bit and find him or carry on. By now though I was interested to see how I could run the rest of the race and set myself the target of staying in front of the 2:11 pacemaker so I allowed myself to run a little less restrained.
I crept up on the miles and surprised them with a "boo" as a ran past laughing manically all the while admiring the Lycra clad derrieres of the many ladies running ahead of me. This was something I had enjoyed doing last year and it's been a fulfilling and enlightening hobby ever since, if a little creepy - my wife's words not mine. It still amazes me the range of shapes and wobbles the female bottom can achieve. At this point I'd like to thank the inventor of sunglasses. Mind you the woman in the Baywatch swim suit had a horrible bum, almost manly, and she could have shaved her legs.
So the run was going well, I was really enjoying it, though the sun had got rather hot - not what you expect on a Sunday in March. At least the organisers kept my fluids topped up with fluids with regular water and Lucozade sport drink stations. At one point I came to a water station and as I still had half a bottle of the Lucozade drink left I grabbed a bottle of water and poured it over my head. Oh it felt good but I was later to regret the decision as my watered t-shirt gave me a sore nipple. A nipple that despite the soreness and my quite obvious discomfort my wife shockingly refused, actually refused, to kiss better after the race.
The end was in sight so head down I pushed to the finish and managed to spriog home - spriog is a cross between a sprint and a jog. The finish clock I think displayed about 2 hours 13 so I went to have my chip cut off and get my goodie bag surprised that I'd finished somewhere in spitting distance of last years time. I found my wife settled in a little sun trap near one of the places that sold beer and fancying a beer myself was saddened to find they had run out, something my wife swears she had nothing to do with. So I had to go with a cider, which was OK, and a bacon roll, which was damn lovely.
|And I'm done.|
Last year I finished the day with a lovely big hug from Barnaby Bear but she could not make this years race so I held out my arms to my lovely wife, who grimaced and pointed out that I'd dropped my bacon roll into my lap - crap.
While sitting in the car waiting over an hour to get out of the car park I got a text to tell me I'd finished in 2 hours and 9 minutes - exactly the same as last year. 13.1 miles and I'd finished within 10 seconds of my previous time - consistent at least.
2012 Placings/Results: Overall: 3597 Gender: 2763 Age: 250 Finish Time: 02:09:48
2011 Placings/Results: Overall: 3938 Gender: 3045 Age: 229 Finish Time: 02:09:39
Adidas TR24 Thunder Run 2011
31/07/2011 - Ok I've been a bit lack at updating the blog in the last few weeks but in my defense I've been very busy both at home and work. As I mentioned previously I spent a lovely weekend in Brighton and had I not been so busy I'd have regaled you with tales of running the Brighton sea front, lovely meals out and just the best day with good friends at their seaside hut. It was great but sadly I missed the chance to blog it and now I have a race report to produce. The Adidas TR24 Thunder Run 2011. Now forgive me but this will be a long post - it was after all a 24 hour race.
The day started in the usual way, the sun came up I assume hauled across the sky by some sort of giant turtle thing and I hopped out of bed ready for an early start. I use the term "hopped" in it's inaccurate form as I in fact rolled out of bed and staggered zombie like to the loo. It was Saturday the 31st and in a little more than 3 hours I'd be at Catton Park for the 2011 Adidas TR24 with a team of people who'd to a large extent were unknown to each other. First thought of the day "I hope we've not got a prat in the team" as 24 hours of tiredness can cause ructions if there's a personality clash in the team. Second thought was "what if I'm the prat in the team?" Anyway as far as the race goes I'll quote Adidas themselves as an explanation of the event.
"a 24 hour off-road relay race against the clock. Whether you run solo or in a team of 2-8 it'll test your tactics, endurance, speed and team work. It's an exhilarating, rewarding and tiring race with a great atmosphere. You'll find TR24 physically challenging and mentally tough but an experience not to be missed."
I had pre-packed the car the night before so it was just a case of washing and I was ready to go. I was taking two of my team, the Stotfold Runners, in my car; the other three members traveling in a second car. At 08:50 Rackesh arrived; 5 minutes late but that was good as I'd forgotten to get the address of where we were going so that 5 minutes gave me time to print off the directions without looking stupid. And so we set off for Derbyshire, picking up Chris on the way, in the most glorious weather.
We arrived around 10 am to find that the other three members of the team, Pete, Steve and Linda already there and settled in having reserved us a spot for our tent. Just time to set everything up, get our tags, t-shirts and goodie bag etc before the race start of 12 o'clock mid-day. BTW the goodie bad was very good. A really good quality running t-shirt to commemorate the race, four re-hydrating powder sachets of different flavours to make drinks with, energy gell and some deodorant (so no excused there then), oh and a drinks bottle.
Ok let me set the scene; so we're all there waiting for the race to begin and there's one thing I need you to keep in mind; the heat. It was a bakingly hot day without even the hint of a breeze. Now camping with weather like this is a dream but we all knew running in it was going to be hard. The site has a carnival like atmosphere. Everyones happy and there for the same thing, there's shops and food places and stands and even a place to go get a massage. Oh yes and it quite beautiful there. So it's understandable why the place is full of family there supporting their loved ones; or simply ignoring their love ones and settling into a nice cold glass of wine in the beautiful surroundings. Add to that lots of pretty ladies in tight lycra to chase round the course and I'm in heaven.
Well it's time and the first team member running is Pete - lucky chap. Now Pete is a personal trainer and a top chap to boot (http://www.peteluxford.com/) but he'd injured his ankle just over a week before the race so was not in his best shape. Numerous visits to the physio, strapping and a fair haul of Nurofen would hopefully see him through. Pete had asked specifically to go first as he wanted to test his ankle; a decision that would come back to haunt him as his first two runs would be in the baking heat. I should have felt sorry for him but it was his choice so as the realisation of two runs in the blistering heat dawned on him I laughed instead. We wished him all the best and reminded him of the plan for us all to take the first lap gently as it's an endurance race not a sprint.
The camp site is set-up so you're never far from a place where the runners come past so from where we were camped we were soon able to calculate roughly when we might expect one of us to pass by. So we ambled over to await Pete's arrival. We were getting a little nervous as runner after runner came past declaring to their mates standing at the sides "It's far far worse than you realise, it's hell" or similar. Just as we were getting worried about Pete and whether his ankle was holding up there he was. He was running reasonably smoothly so the ankle must be holding up and he even managed a smile as he passed all the while mumbling something about how he hated me and why did he agree to do this (a theme he'd run with throughout the 24 hours).
We knew that Steve would be quick as he was the one out of all of us that was doing somewhere near the sort of mileage in training that you need to to do this sort of race and we were not let down. He came in at something like 52 minutes looking like he'd just been out for a light jog through the park. I was next out and was glad to take over ownership of the baton and get going.
My second lap was in the dark and I was really enjoying it until around the 7th kilometer through a wooded section I stumbled on a steep down hill bit and "shocked" my right knee. While it was not the crippling pain of a sprain etc it was painful enough to slow me down to a limping jog and though I tried to finish with a sprint I came in with a 60 minute lap. Still not bad but I wanted another sub-60 minute one. More worrying was whether the knee would hold out.
So the night runs had started and we were all on our third laps. Pete was starting to struggle with his ankle and his third lap was quite a bit down on his other two. No problem though as we were well ahead of schedule and we were doing amazingly well considering. Then I heard news of our first casualty. Linda had taken a stumble in the last wooded section and badly sprained her ankle. Even so she'd still managed to get in at around 64 minutes, very credible considering the pain she must have been in. I had anticipated that we'd probably lose someone during the race and linda's ankle injury meant sadly she could not continue. It was a real shame as she had looked good for at least four laps. Thankfully she'd already put three excellent laps in the bank so she had every right to feel proud of herself and to relax and enjoy the rest of the time there.
Out after Linda was Rakesh and his previous laps had be well under the hour so we were a little concerned when well after an hour he'd still not finished. Eventually he appeared looking in a lot of pain with a 78 minute lap. He'd taken a fall in the wooded section within the first 1k and had stumbled round the other 9k in agony. He said it was the most painful thing he'd ever done in his life which I think puts this lap as one of the most remarkable of the the teams race. His race was over. So we're two down so there's no time for sleep as me and the other team members need to fill in the gaps.
|Steve stressed out|
The fourth laps came round quickly with both Linda and Rakesh out of the race. Pete finishes his with a knackered ankle and somehow had pulled I think a 64 minute lap out of the bag which after his third lap and personal prediction of a 90 minute one was a real boost for the team. Again Chris and Steve banged in their usual low 50's lap (those two are machines) and I set off for my forth lap advising that it would be very slow and to expect a 90 minute one or me on a stretcher.
Once I got going though I found that if I ran while sort of rolling my shoulders transferring the weight from one leg to another I could jog without too much pain. The best way I can describe it is to imagine a stereotypical scouser chappy walking ala Harry Enfield and you've just pictured my new running style ( if you're still unsure look here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qamVB...2F16B6C7C6F978 - Note these is some bad language). I'm calling it Scouse Running - the book will be available on Kindle for Christmas. Ok I could not run fast, looked rather silly and the down hill stretches were still bloody painful but I was coping. I made it round in about 73 minutes which I had to be happy with considering. That was 22 laps in the bag and both Steve and Chris wanted to go for the 5th lap and the kudos of having run 50 kilometers on some pretty tough terrain in 24 hours.
Chris does his fifth lap in I think 58-59 minutes and finishes with a "Oh I think that'll do, I felt that one". Steve finishes in I think a similar time and looks to me like he could have done another. He's looking for me in the holding area to do my fifth waving the baton about. What he does not know is that I've been talked out of it by Pete who sensibly reminds me I'm driving home after the race and a two hour drive might be pushing it after another lap while injured and that we'd reached our goal. Though today as I write this I do sort of wish I'd done that last 10k and got myself into the 50k club. Oh well next year.
Would I do it again? Like a shot. Not only was this by far the best race event I've ever attended but I've got that 50k goal set in my mind. Hats off to the organisers for putting this on, perfect, the toilets were kept constantly clean and the showers always had hot water. This is one of those endurance races that's as hard as you want to make it which means you have a massive range of abilities all of which adds to the carnival atmosphere. Boy am I going to have to up my training for next year :-). The results are out and we finished 94th out of 147 teams in the 6-8 mixed. Not at all bad.
Silverstone Half Marathon
06/03/2011 - Silverstone 1/2 Marathon Race Report.
Are we sitting comfortably? Yes, good, then I'll begin.
Let me start by saying, DAMN it was cold this morning.
I got off to a nice early start as I don't like being late and was safely at the track by 10:30am. They say it's a 20 minute walk from the parking to the track and for once they were not lying. I popped over to the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity stand as I was running for them. I met some nice people there and got my Hearing Dogs for Deaf People running vest. Off to dump my bag in the baggage area and down to the track. Did I mention it was cold? Well standing around in just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for 35 minutes waiting for the race to start maybe exacerbated the chill a bit
Anyway eventually we were off so I fixed my eyes on the shapely rear of an attractive female and set off (hey whatever gets you round eh?). The sun came out and the first few miles were lovely, bottom hopping from one lycra clad deriair to the next (thank god for lycra and sunglasses. Before you judge me I'm sure the ladies were doing the same to me .... well it's possible .
I'd had a problem with my achillies tendon prior to this race so I was a little concerned but all felt fine. So by mile four I was feeling very comfortable and able to just run and enjoy it.
By mile five I was having deeply thoughts of the nature of life and what an incredible array of shapes ladies posteriors come in.
I was feeling pretty good as I reached mile six and grabbed my first drink. Further on and I was looking forward to the halfway point. Well I was until a tannoy announcement goes out to tell us that the first person was finishing. Git
By mile 7 I'd got bored of bums
Miles 8 and 9 were kind of unmemorable other than looking down, track, looking up, bum.... don't care, looking down etc.
By mile 10 I'd got bored of life. I started to get quite a few pains and gripes from my legs and it all got a bit painful. I was determined not to stop and to do the entire race without stopping or walking even once.
The last mile. I gritted my teeth and forced my legs to go faster, boy was it tough. 1/2 a mile to go and I could see the finish. That spured me on and I pushed a bit harder. Last 300 meters and I'm actually sprinting. I cross the line at full tilt I think just inside 2 hours and 10 minutes (I think around 2 hours 9 mins and something - official timings will confirm). As I'd never run this far before my goal was a sub 2 hour 15 minute run so I was over the moon.
With a big grin on my face I walk over to where they remove the race chips from the laces of your trainers. I'm feeling great as I walk up the ramp, I feel like superman, like Beckham after a wonder goal, and I present my foot for chip removal to the young lady who looks admiringly into my eyes. It's at this point I lose my balance and fall backwards into the arms of the young chap coming up the ramp behind me.
Having got the guys number and a date .... I'm joking... I head off for me free bag of goodies and a nice shiny new medal. I then run over to the charity stand and get another nice shiny medal from them, thanks Hearing Dogs for Deaf People ... people. You were lovely as were those marvelous dogs. As was the after race meal, a bacon baggette and a coffee.
Anyway to cap a fabulous day I then got to finally meet the lovely and completely certifiable barnaby bear (a member of a runners forum I'm a member of). Nothings better on a cold day than a hug from a lovely gal, it was a brill way to finish the Silverstone marathon day. p.s. I hope you had a good journey home BB. x
Would I do it again? Yeah
EDIT: - word of advice try to remember what carpark you left your car in. Oh and try not to own a bleeding silver Ford Focus, do you know how many of those there are..... loads.
OK official results: 02:09:39
Overall finish: 3937
Age group: 230
Second time of doing this run. It's great fun dressing up as Santa and running with hundreds of other Santa's, men women, children and dogs. Savannah and I enjoyed it immensely and raised some money for a good cause, the Hospice of St Francis.
Ok, to date I've never run 10 miles. Before today seven miles was my longest run but I was booked into the Swineshead ten miler and really looking forward to the challenge. Got up early, have a light breakfast and dragged the family into the car and off we set. An hour later and we were pulling into the lovely village of Swineshead, Bedfordshire. Made our way to the village hall to register where outside they'd set-up stalls selling bits & pieces, a BBQ and a band. Within 10 minutes we'd bought a carrier bag full of books for two pounds so I was back to the car to store them away in the boot.
The call went out, "fifteen minutes till the start", so we made our way to the start line. there were three races all happening at the same time, the 3k fun run, the 5 mile race and the 10 mile one. My daughter was in the 3k one so she stayed with me. Once we were settled the race begun. My daughter and I'd ran together for abut 1k when the 3k fun runners peeled off to the right to continue their run and we continued on on ours.
I decided to find my comfortable pace and try to stick to it but the biggest problem was going to be the heat, it was blooming HOT!. First 5 miles went very smoothly and I was actually pleasantly surprised when the 5 mile marker came and went. The sun was relentless so I was looking for shade whenever I could. The water stops were handing out cold water sponges which were a godsend. I'd started to gradually run down a number of people which was nice and by mile seven I was feeling really good. Plenty of people were sitting out and cheering on the runners, this was going to be a breeze.
Mile 8, oh dear, now you see this was unknown territory and my legs decided to ask me some questions, mainly "don't we normally stop about now". Well, it's only another 3 miles so I gritted my teeth and got on with it. The questioning continued "are we there yet, are we there yet". The nine mile marker past and the legs started to really complain,"Oi, who are you trying to kid? stop now and bloody walk", and my run was beginning to become more of a shuffle. I was expecting to be passed by people at anytime. This continued for about 1/2 mile then for some reason on the last 1/2 mile, not sure if it was just that I nearing the end, everything loosened up and I began to move much more freely and my pace increased. A few minutes I turned the final corner, saw the finishing line and sprinted for the finish. I crossed the line at full sprint to loads of friendly cheering, over the moon to have finished.
Collected my medal and went straight over to the BBQ and got stuck into a lovely bacon bun. My wife said my time was 1hr 40 mins but I'll need to wait for the official results to know for sure. My goal was to do it in under 1hr 45 mins so fingers crossed I got that one. Update: in the end the official time was 1hr 37 mins, so considering the heat I was pleased.
We stayed for the medal ceremony and enjoyed a beer, as it was a lovely day in lovely surroundings. I'll definitely do this one again.
I was not looking forward to this one as much as I'd hoped. Due to holiday, a days horse riding this week that had done my legs in and building a new fence for the garden yesterday I was under prepared and knackered. But I'd booked and I had no real excuse not to go so an early start it was. Also Savannah was doing the 2k fun run so I had to option.
On arrival it was cool and misty, lovely, so pinned on my number and got myself round to the start. Little tip here, runners don't pay entry into the zoo. So you get a run and a day at the zoo for cheaper than a trip to the zoo. My daughter did the 2k fun run so we stayed a while after to see the animals. Anyway the race started and off I went,, slowly, for the first of three laps round the park. After the first couple of K's started to feel OK so decided to trot along at a quicker pace. It stayed overcast though it was quite a muggy day and it did started to get quite warm. It was quite good fun that instead of my usual "oh look a rabbit" while running it was "Oh look Rhinos". By the 3K marker on the first lap I was passed by the leading runner already nearing the end of his second lap, oh well .
By the 6K mark I actually felt OK and I felt more confident to let myself run. The last 4k was me huffing and puffing my way round and I actually finished at a sprint.
My time was 57 minutes I was happy with considering everything and the fact I'd deliberately set out slowly. I got a lovely weighty gold medal hung round my neck (lovely it is) and my goody bag.
I'd definitely do it again, it was a fun race in unusual surroundings, a "free" day at the zoo, a nice medal and a fun run for my daughter. What I might give a miss was the three hours of Karate I did this evening as I'm now feeling twice my age.
2.5 miles dressed as Santa. Ran with my daughter, great fun, no idea what time we finished in but I know out of over 400 runners Savannah finished 40th with me just behind her. Raised money for the Hospice of St Francis.
Woke up to a nice morning and started the day as any top athlete would with a bacon sandwich and a coffee. At 09:30 I bundled the family into the car and headed off to Hatfield House. On arrival I met up with the chaps from work who were all running as part of a joint charity run. There we were, the magnificent seven, there would have been 9 but two never made it due to a confusion between diesel and petrol and the resulting vehicle death.
So there we were seven honed athletes warming up in the warm sun waiting to be called to the start (well six and Paul who had hidden in the bushes to have a cigarette – not the done thing at a Cancer Research run ). Then the announcement is made for everyone to go to the groups best suited to their abilities, runners, joggers, walkers. I and about half the chaps go into the runners section, the rest headed off to the joggers section.
5,4,3,2,1 and were off.......well no...no wait.... yes were walking. A slow start and it's about ½ k before I can start to jog. By 1k were actually running. Good news is I'm on the shoulder of the fittest chap in our group. Bad news is that being on the shoulder of the fittest chap in our group is a stupid idea so I ease back and let him go. Mark, the only person in our group whose completed a marathon, comes past a few seconds later that's the last I see of any of the people I went with.
So I'm running my own race and I'm happy with my pace. I'm passing a lot of people and occasionally one or two pass me. One chap passes me just before the 3k marker, pushing hard, and I hear a young lady say “I hope he does not have a heart attack”. Another 1k sees that chap stopped at the side of the path looking very hot and bothered.
5k reached in 26 minutes but just past the 5k marker there's a hill, a long long hill through the woods. It's tough but I get the opportunity to pass a number of people who slow dramatically, slow to a walk or just stop.
Get to the top of the hill and kick off again. Starting to pass people who'd shot passed me earlier in the run. One chap, a big guy, who'd shot passed me at about the 3k mark looked like he'd been caught in a rain shower and was staggering forward. By now I've not had anyone pass me for a while so I'm feeling chuffed as I run down another group of people.
7K-ish and another hill. I run up behind a woman who looks the part and appears to be running smoothly. As I get along side her she lets out a pained sigh and stops, which was a shame. At the top and only 2.5k to go, yay!! By now I want it to be finished so decide, wrongly, to kick on. 8.5k and I realise that I'm an idiot . I slow up a bit and try to recover. There in the distance I see the finish line, brilliant, so I give it one last effort and up the pace. I'm passing people but damn is someone moving the finish line further away? There are two ladies in sight about 300 meters from the finish and push until I'm on their shoulder. One of the ladies picks up her pace and we pull away leaving the other behind. I plan my strategy which initially involved overtaking her on the line but was revised to “sod it”. It was a good plan, as it goes, as she kicked for the line leaving me wondering if I was going to be seeing that bacon sandwich again .
Well I crossed the line, can't wait to see that picture, in 54 minutes which considering the course I am very pleased with. I collected my medal and joined the two chaps from our group who'd beaten me to the line. One had finished in 18th place which was pretty cool. So we waited for the others, clapping and cheering the finishers as best we could. In the end the last of us made it across the line in 1 hour 30 minutes, just in time to stop the rest of us declaring him lost presumed dead.
We mananged to raise over £2700 for charity.