Thursday, 31 December 2015

26.2 into 21 will go...

The Stur Half (AKA the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon) is not my favourite race, but it does hold my half marathon PB and the training program I was following in the lead up to the Purbeck Marathon in September had a 13 miler listed the same weekend, so it seemed reasonable to give it another bash. It’s a fairly hilly road half and I wasn’t expecting to do a better time, so wasn’t really disappointed when I didn’t!

The following week I was due to run a 20 miler so in a moment of madness had booked into the Salisbury ‘54321’ 33km race. The 54321 races which include a half, an 33k, a marathon and an ultra, start and finish at the Fire Station in Salisbury and the proceeds all go towards the Fire Station funds. They are also billed as a ‘multi terrain/trail race so seemed like a best of both worlds.

my ultra buddy Neil had decided to join me as well. We were just going to get round and finish it and no worry about time as it was pretty much a training run for me.  We were quite looking forward to it. Steve Way and Holly Rush were running the Ultra.

It turned out though the route and the terrain was not really what we expected. The start section which ran around Old Sarum was pretty nice, but in the remaining miles there seemed to be an awful lot of tarmac, and running alongside roads, and at one point through a housing estate. and in the end I found out that about half the race was on hard surface of some sort and so road shoes might have been better. We also found the signage a little confusing as where the routes split and joined again you would see distance markers in this sort of order “20km, 21km, 22km, 20km, 23km, 21km etc”  In addition, we wish we had known that all the aid stations bar 1 would only have water and squash. I guess we had been spoiled by white star running aid stations and were now being brought back down to earth!

I had only brought water with me, and a couple of gels and so ended up slightly under fuelled. (which was my own fault I guess as I should have enquired what the aid stations were supplying, or brought more gels or food!) I don’t know what make of squash it was as it just made us feel more thirsty and slightly sick so we didn’t have a lot of it! Consequently I had a serious fizzy coke craving at the end. The last couple of km to the finish were a little bizarre as we had to run through the crowds of tourists and shoppers in Salisbury's main shopping streets and then had to find our way back to the Fire Station with seemingly hardly any signage, so we tried to keep other runners in sight and hope they knew where they were going! .

When we got back Neils family had arrived again, and we also found out that Steve Way and Holly Rush had won the Ultra.
I think if you knew what to expect it would be quite a nice race and it definitely seemed to be extremely popular, indeed the whole event is a great favourite of many runners, and all seems very friendly and the pre event organisation was pretty good. So I would say give one of the events a go but take your choice of fuel and drink, a map, a garmin and your road shoes unless its really going to be muddy.

I was managing to cycle to work and back once or twice a week now I had the new bike so was hoping that this would be a good way to get some cross training in, even if I still couldn’t cycle faster than Steve Way runs! 

I was also looking through some old pics recently and was shocked by an old picture of me from about 4 years ago, looks like I might have lost a bit of weight since then, what do you reckon? See, there's hope for us all :-)

Now, poor Daisy was booked into the Vets to be spayed this month, but due to poor planning (by me) the operation was due to be done a few days before white star running's Bad Cow weekender so it was touch and go whether she would be well enough to be left with Kevin who was manning the ‘Lovestation’ or whether I would have to miss out on the marathon Day 2 which I was going to be running as a long training run with Nic and which I was possibly going to pull out of once I had reached approx. 21-22 miles (around 6.5-7 5km laps of this 8 lap marathon)

Daisy and I had a traumatic couple of days in which I couldn't pick her up, move her, or it seemed touch her without her yelping and apparently crying with pain. I did call the vets again and they said bring her down for a check up, I said I cant, as I cant pick her up to get her in the car without her crying!

In the end the following day was slightly better and by Sunday I was able to pick her up and put her in the car, so decided to risk taking her to Kev at the Bad Cow venue which was luckily not far down the road in the lovely Heathland reserve of Holton Lee, thinking that I could check on her every 5km lap and if she was distressed I could easily drop out and take her home.

I was not sure if I was looking forward to this race as I had not done a multi-lap marathon before and was convinced it was going to do my head in, but the route was quite varied and interesting and I had done 6 before I felt like I had had enough of the same scenery.

Despite it raining like a Monsoon in the first couple of laps, (who knew that technical fabric could hold so much water!) I ended up finishing the whole thing, getting the medal and in the process, Nic got a marathon PB, plus Daisy enjoyed her day in the sunshine (once the rain had stopped). Result all round! Seems 26.2 into 21 will go (hence also my strava record is entitled 'a 21 mile training run disguised as a marathon)

Mind you this lot probably helped - how can you fail to be encouraged with the likes of Clare, Ruth, Eve and Kevin every 5km! Bonkers the lot of em :-)

Big surprise next (I never win anything..) apparently sending a bit of a waffle about the Mont Blanc race and a nice pic gets you Star Letter in Trail Running magazine, and with it a free place in a Lakeland Trails race! 

After much deliberation and comparing of dates I decided on the Coniston Marathon (no point in travelling all that way for a half?, oh wait, Mont Blanc yeah.....) and the plan being to make a nice week of it with the doggies.

The only issue I can see is that it is 3 weeks before the Giants Head Marathon, oops! Going to have to factor in some serious rest afterwards to have any chance of recovery.

and to finish off the month, a bit of a mileage downgrade in the form of the first race of the Purbeck Trail Series, the Studland 5k. I do like this race, even though I appear to have reached my peak with it and never seem to get any faster! same time for the last 3 years, at least I am consistent i guess?

I also managed to complete one of my 55 before 55 tasks and make some apple wine from our own apple tree. I wasnt sure what it was going to turn out like but with 16 bottles I was sure some of them ought to be drinkable. At the time of publishing they have had a couple months rest and on trying a small glass, caused us both to make 'ooh that alcohol is strong' noises. (only slightly alcoholic it seems and a big hit!)

I am going to try and finish the year and do the next few months in quick succession so as to start the new year on a fresh page, but in case you would like a bit of a trailer, September brings The Beast, The Purbeck Marathon and the Black Hill 10k, I try a Tri, and we bemoan the coming of the dark. Best get writing!

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