Monday, 25 January 2010

A long weekend - with a win!

It sounded like a great training opportunity. Endurance for the 10 in 10, plus really good practice for the GUCR as it followed the Grand Union Canal (Northampton to Tring on Saturday, back the other way on Sunday). And it was.

Originally I entered the event as a double, with 40 miles each day. But then problems with the race permits made it 45 each way (though actually most people measured it at more like 47!). The organisation was excellent, very friendly and encouraging. There were 4 checkpoints en route, well stocked with various drinks, gels and food. I decided to adopt the 25mins/5mins run/walk strategy, right form the start. It felt very odd to be walking before I'd even covered 3 miles, but it paid off as I felt strong right throughout the day. Annoyingly I dropped Jim's Garmin somewhere in the mud of the towpath within the last couple of miles (and couldn't find it the following morning on the way back). I finished day 1 in 8:47:48, in fourth place (female).

The hotel was very posh, an absolute luxury. We got it at better than half price too. I struggled to eat much on Saturday night and for breakfast in the morning, despite the good food. I set off on the early start at 8am on Sunday. I tried to do the same sort of run/walk strategy, but with 15/3 splits, which seemed to work well for the first half. Then I began to feel spacey and nauseous, which I assume was the effect of not eating enough calories (and forgetting to put electrolyte tablets in my water), so I ended up walking a lot of the second half. I kept moving at a fairly quick pace though, making the second day about 50 minutes slower than the first. I came second for day 2.
Having checked the results in detail, it turns out that the women who beat me on each day were only doing the one day, so overall I won the 90 mile women's race! My first ever win. Shiny. Total time: 18:28:48.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Getting out in the country

This time last year, the Country to Capital 45 miler was my first ultra. I really enjoyed it, so went back for another go yesterday. It was easier this time in that I had the confidence of knowing I could do the distance, but harder in that the terrain was far muddier, slushier, icier and wetter. The first half, cross country, was beautiful. The second half, along the canal, seemed like good training for the GUCR in May.
I ran with Heather, so enjoyed lots of chatting along the way, as well as meeting several others that I knew throughout the day. Not a fast time (about 8 hours 43), but it was Heather's first run at the distance and we both have doubles booked for next weekend, so thought we'd take it at a gentle pace. The race T-shirt is a rather nice proper wicky one and the medal is different this time too.It was definitely good to be out doing stuff as otherwise I would have sat about feeling sad all day. Our gorgeous black cat Schrodinger had been unwell and seen the vet several times over the past week. We finally had to put her down on Friday evening. It was (and still is) very upsetting. The only slight consolation was that she had a steroid injection on Thursday evening and spent a very happy day with Jim on Friday, purring away and enjoying lots of attention. RIP Dinger.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Old Snow versus New Snow

There's a definite difference. Yesterday was a marathon on old snow that had been sitting around in the cold for a few days. It made it very hard going. At the risk of sounding like British Rail, I decided it was 'the wrong type of snow'. Fortunately I had the excellent company of Heather, plus the pretty scenery, to make it a top day out anyway. (And several other great Fetchies to chat with before and after too.)
This morning was entirely different - a 9 mile jaunt on a fresh layer of new snow. Easy peasy! Well maybe not, but it's only an interesting variation of the usual terrain, rather than anything excessively demanding.

So, I guess I'm hoping for the snow to disappear entirely, or for fresh snow to arrive just before this Saturday's 45 miler.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

3 days into the year? Time for a marathon!

The 100 Club AGM Handicap Marathon follows a 5 lap course, starting at an athletics track in Bromley. I like multiple lap courses and this one was pleasant enough: mostly road but also a bit of track and a farm with a big dung heap to run round. It was pretty flat too.
The handicap times were calculated from our last 7 road marathons. My avaerage time was 4 hours 21, giving me a start time of 10:09am. It was quite odd to set off alone on a marathon, though I was caught up by the chaps who started at 10:10 after a couple of miles. By the third lap there were plenty of us out on the course so it felt a little more sociable.
There was a lovely atmosphere despite the cold (though it was sunny with only a hint of sleet for a short while), with lots of friendly, familiar faces. I'm not sure of my final time, but it was a bit faster than my average, which seemed like a good start to the year. The medal has the 100 Club logo on it and really looking forward to being able to wear the 100 club gear, hopefully in May.