Sunday, 17 April 2016

Here we go Loop de Loop

No Races in February, just training runs.
Started out with a welcome back for my friend Chris as he returned to running on the heath with tales of The Spine Race, which he ran in January but sadly had to pull out of after 80 ish miles and a couple of days (correct me if it was more Chris!) due to injury. For those that don't know The Spine is a 268 mile non-stop challenge along the whole of the Pennine Way. In January.  To get 80 miles in the conditions the runners usually find themselves in is an achievement in itself. Never mind finishing it!
It had taken Chris a few weeks to recover sufficiently to run again, so luckily he was running slow and I was able to keep up with him! He had sure been in the wars though as no sooner than his leg injury was looking like recovering, his dog charlie headbutted him and took out several teeth!

just for you Chris!
Mileage was increasing and I had 2 x 20 milers to plan. The first one was to be the Larmer Tree 20 in March, the second I wasn't sure yet but was looking around, I find it better to do the really long training runs as events if possible as they seem so much easier than trying to find a route and then running it on your own.
Jenny was also booked into the Larmer Tree half race and was feeling a tad apprehensive as she had only done one half before and so as I had a 13 miler to do the first weekend in February we decided to take a Recce of the half route, taking it easy and walking the hills and just generally trying to kind of enjoy it!
Jenny had her own grand plans in operation and had booked into a half ironman in September so wanted to get some 13 mile practice! 
We dawdled, we opened and shut gates, avoided sheep with the dogs, stopped to take pictures, read the map, got the route a tiny bit wrong etc etc. and had quite a good run, although poor Jenny found the wheels fell off a bit with 2 miles to go and so was just following my feet towards the end as we found that due to the route going a tiny bit wrong, we had to do the 'run round the car park to make the distance up' run at the end. It did however help confidence in managing the hills.
Daisy was also pretty tired and couldn't wait to get in the car but Max the seasoned long distance runner just stood in the car park as if to say "is that it? only 13 miles, i thought we were going for a long run?"
We found a stray WSR sign on the way too.

we didnt go wrong on this bit!
The following week had 15 miles in the schedule and would be Daisy's first run at that distance so I decided to miss out the big hills and get in a little bit of tarmac practice interspersed with trails and do 'The Loop' a flexible circuit which is a good standby route, that goes from my house to, well, my house! The route takes in part of Canford Heath, Broadstone and Castleman trailway, Creekmoor heath, Upton park, and then Holes Bay and home.
By cutting out or adding in little offshoots on the off road sections I can make it 12 miles or I can make it 17 miles so its quite handy, and of course I don't have to drive anywhere to start with.
Jenny was going to join me partway as I went close to her house, and complete the last 9 miles with me all the way home.
We did have a good run but it seemed like a lot harder work than it should have done given that the previous year I did a slightly longer version in a quicker time!
Thankfully I had made Lemon Drizzle cake previously which made a great pick me up.
I found my second 20 mile event just after that, The Exe to Axe in Devon at the beginning of April running along the coastpath from Exmouth to Seaton. Sounds idyllic and lovely doesn't it? at least that's what we thought, surely it cant be as bad as our Dorset coast path, oh no siree.....
How wrong could we be. But more of that later. I mention 'we' as Neil had foolishly decided it sounded like a fun event too...Shortly after that there was the sound of a gauntlet hitting the floor as Neil said to Jenny 'why don't you join us'. Even though she had never done more than 13 miles before. And so with Kev roped in as support crew, we were to be '4 go mad in Devon'. What could possibly go wrong?
A full report on the effects of Murphy's Law on the unsuspecting will be featured in the full race report in April's post!

Meanwhile, back in February, we received the news that the grandbaby was in fact to be a grandson!
Hazel and Alex had decided they wanted to know what make they were expecting and found out at the latest scan. Here you can see the top of his head and his arms and hands.

The next long run was a 17 mile. So rather than try and work out another route I did a version of The Loop again, but this time, since I didn't want to take Daisy over 15 miles and it would have been unfair to take Max and not her, I did it without the dogs, but added a Chris instead.
Yes Chris had worked his way back up to some good mileage again so he met me shortly after the start and then we also picked Jenny up on the way too the same as last time although she was to turn for home at some point and not finish the whole thing.
Its surprising how much quicker you can be without having to stop every 5 or 10 minutes to chivvy dogs along, put on leads, take leads off, pick up doggy doo, etc etc, and so we managed a reasonable turn of speed along most of it, although it was my turn for the wheels to fall off a bit in the last couple of km, although in my defence they were mostly uphill!

Unfortunately though i may have overdone things somewhere along the line as in the final week of February I picked up a sinus infection of some kind and instead of a long run managed only a somewhat congested 5 miles. Cue a couple days off for recovery.

One thing I forgot to mention in January was that I felt very honoured with a request from a friend Anthony Clark (who is an incredible long distance runner) to write up a profile of myself about my nutrition and training tips for the Mont Blanc race, for the website of his new venture XMILES. In February my write up went online, see it here, have a laugh at me being next to some REAL athletes, and please take a look round the rest of Ant's website :-)

Next stop March, which includes a race report on the Larmer 20, a bit of cycling, I start grandma shopping, win something (not a race!), run somewhere different, and most importantly The Clocks Go Forward!

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