July 22, 2009

Tapering is the pits.  I have managed to get in 100 miles per week for the last three weeks – probably the most consistent 3 weeks of running I have ever managed.  That said, it was all easy, gentle, running with no speed work and just a couple of marathon paced faster sessions.

This week’s schedule looks a bit like this:

Mon: 6m easy

Tue: 5m easy am, 3m easy pm

Wed: 4m easy

Thu: 3m tempo (about 6:00 pace I think – this just to keep the legs turning over)

Fri: 3m easy

Sat: 6hr race

Sun: REST or 5m recovery jog (depending on legs).

Normally I would like a two week taper, but for this event (Faversham 6hr race on Sat 25 Jul) felt that due to the achilles problem I didn’t have enough miles in the legs to warrant the extra week off.  This tactic may pay off… or it may prove to have been stupid.

Anyway, I hate tapering.  Several things happen:

  • You feel sluggish, lethargic and a slob.
  • Phantom niggles and pains appear for no reason.
  • You spend too much time worrying about the race.

But, deep down, you know that your body is repairing itself and re-building to a stronger state following the hard training.  It is not the training that makes you stronger but the REST.

I know that, come Saturday, my legs should feel fresh (er) and I will be ready to race.  I hope.

I am also trying to get in as much sleep as possible.  When training hard I can usually only get about 6 hours per night due to early starts and erratic sleeping patterns from the children. Well, one of them anyway.  I feel that, whilst running 100mpw, I should really be trying to get 8 – 10 hrs per night – so this week is catch up time.

Next post will discuss my goals and race plan for Faversham.


Running Porn

July 1, 2009

Thought I would post some of my favourite running pictures.  All three of these just make me want to go out and run.  Lots.


Dick Beardsley


Sir Roger Bannister achieving the "impossible"



Poll – the hardest ultra in the world?

July 1, 2009

Well?  Whaddya think? 

The Badwater Ultra Marathon describes itself as “the world’s toughest foot race”. It is a 135 mile (215 km) course starting at 282 feet (85 m) below sea level in the Badwater Basin, in California’s Death Valley, and ending at an elevation of 8360 feet (2548 m) at Whitney Portal, the trailhead to Mount Whitney. It usually happens in July, when the weather conditions are most extreme and temperatures over 120 F (49 C) in the shade are not uncommon. Consequently, very few people — even among ultramarathoners—are capable of finishing this race.

The Marathon des Sables  is a six-day, 254 km (156 mile) ultra, which is the equivalent to five and 1/2 regular marathons. The longest single stage (2009) is 91 km (55 miles) long.  The event is held every year in the southern Moroccan desert.  Competitors must carry all personal belongings and food for the entire event in their backpack. During the 1994 race, Italian police officer Mauro Prosperi lost his way during a sand storm and wandered lost for more than 9 days, losing over 13 kg (30 lb) of body weight.

The Sri Chinmoy 3100 Mile Race is the world’s longest certified race. Competitors seek to negotiate 5649 laps of a .5488 of a mile course (883 meters) in New York,  in the timespan of 51 days; this requires an average of over 60 miles a day.

The Barkley Marathons is a 100 mile race essentially composed of five 20-mile laps. With almost 53,000 feet of climbing and descent, all on what can only be marginally called a trail.   Since the race started in 1986, only 6 out of over 600 runners have ever finished the course.

Very interested to hear the views of other ultra runners, particularly those who have completed some or all of the above.  Also interested to hear the views of those who have not run one, and maybe don’t run at all – to understand what peoples’ perceptions are!

I’m sure I have left out some tough races – so click “other” if you think there is one which tops the list!


June 30, 2009

Decision 1 – I have decided to try to run through my achilles rehabilitation.  Why?  Because I only have 4 weeks left until the Faversham 6hr race and I need to know if I’m going to be fit to compete.  If I am fit (ie the achilles is going to hold up) then I need some miles in the bank.  If I put in some significant miles now then I will know either way.  Therefore this week will hopefully see 100 miles +.  I know I am taking a big risk.

Decision 2 – The Ridgeway Challenge (incorporating the UK Ultra Distance Trail Running Champs). 

I have decided to drop out of this race – it is only 7 weeks before the 24hr race which is my primary goal this year.  I don’t think that 7 weeks is enough time for my body to recover from a very tough 85 miler sufficiently to race a 24hr and achieve 140 miles.  This was a hard decision but I know that it is the right one.  Instead I will either race a 1/2 marathon

Ipswich Half Marathon

Ipswich Half Marathon

(I know there is one in Ipswich which I fancy) or just do a steady 25 – 30 miler.

In other news, I managed 12 miles this morning with v little achilles pain whilst running.  Fantastic.  It has become a bit sore this morning, particularly after sitting for a while, but I’m still hoping to get out at lunch time to put a few more in the bank.  Today I should pass 1500 miles run so far this year – I’m currently on 1497.  A nice milestone.

Keep running.

Western States 100

June 29, 2009

Jez Bragg managed a fantastic 3rd in the Western States 100 despite temperatures soaring over 100.

Place Bib No Status Time In Time Out Elapsed Name Gender Age
1 M1 Finished 09:24pm –:– 16:24:55 Hal Koerner M 33
2 279 Finished 09:52pm –:– 16:52:06 Tsuyoshi Kaburagi M 40
3 113 Finished 09:54pm –:– 16:54:26 Jez Bragg M 28
4 21 Finished 09:56pm –:– 16:56:26 Jasper Halekas M 33
5 401 Finished 09:59pm –:– 16:59:33 Kevin Sullivan M 38

Amazingly close between 2nd and 5th.

Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek both dropped out. Anton Krupicka and Jorge Pacheco did not start.


Jez had this to say about the race on his blog: http://jezbragg.blogspot.com/

Well, it was the epic of all epics. I moved through the field and felt very confident of a podium finish when I met my pacer, Scott, at Forest Hill (62 miles). Then we dropped down to the river, and the temperature soared. Scott tells me it was well in the 100s. I managed to hold it together until the river crossing (78miles), but the wheels were starting to wobble big time, I lost a couple of places and fell back to 7th. 80 to 88miles was pretty hellish; the setting sun was pounding the side of the final canyon we were traversing. But as soon as it went down, I got my head down and ran some quick miles. At Highway 49 I was in 5th, not many miles left to reel in the remaining guys who I knew were fairly close in front. I smoked it to No Hands Bridge, still no sign of them. There Scott re-joined me after sorting his blisters and we put our heads down and ran more quick miles. I got into 4th at about mile 98, then hit the podium slot of 3rd in the last mile. It was emtional stuff. I finished in 16h 54 (I think), 3rd place. The finish into the stadium was simply awesome.

There were many high profile drop-outs, probably due to the intensity of the racing and the heat. I amd pleased beyond words with my 3rd place – and with a Japanese runner taking 2nd – for the first time ever there are two foreigners in the top 3. Great stuff.

Michael Jackson

June 26, 2009

Sad news that Michael Jackson has died at the age of 50. I can’t say that I am in particularly in mourning for the man himself – he just became more and more bizarre as the years went by. But he has contributed so much to the world of music that I feel sad that the world has lost his talent. I just wish he had remained that cute little talented boy in the Jackson Five, rather than end his life as a plastic sideshow freak.

RiP old chap.

I need to see this

June 18, 2009

This looks great.

Now… just need to find out if they ship to the UK, or if there is a UK distributor.

Mount Snowdon

June 16, 2009

This weekend will hopefully see me running up and down Mount Snowdon. I’m being a bit of a wimp and using the “Miners” track, which is generally regarded as the easiest – but I want to try to run it, rather than climb.

This is the route I’m planning:

Snowdon - the Miners Track

Snowdon - the Miners' Track

If the weather is good, I can expect views like these:

View from the Miners Track

View from the Miners' Track

The view from Llynn Llydaw

The view from Llynn Llydaw

If all goes well I may even attempt a “double summit” and try to do it twice. 

This plan is very dependent on the weather and on my achilles playing ball.  I think it has probably improved a bit – but it is very far from mended.

Come to think of it…. maybe blasting up the highest mountain in England and Wales is not the best idea!


June 4, 2009

I can hardly believe this.  I definitely have some form of achilles injury in my left leg.  It is either achilles tendonitis or achilles tendinosis.  Not sure.  It is very tight, sore and creaky in the mornings and hurts a bit throughout a run.  I am definitely confined to “cross training” at the moment.

The attempt at the Faversham 6hr course record is in doubt.  Serious doubt.

I am taking ibuprofen (a NSAID), icing and resting it.  I know that the achilles takes a v long time to heal due to restricted blood flow in the area.

Depressed of Hampshire.

Oxford Town & Gown 10k

May 21, 2009

Goal was sub 38 min.  Result was 38:20 ish.  Rather disappointing.  Weather was bad and I started too quickly. 

Upside was that I did get a couple of half decent photos:

The start

The start

Starting to feel it

Starting to feel it

Heading for the finish

Heading for the finish