About hob_nob_rob

Training for the biggest challenge of my life...

10 Weeks to Go!

Two weeks on from the Country to Capital and I’m sat reflecting as to whether I’m in the right shape for the Marathon des Sables. With only 10 weeks to go until I’m at the start line, I’m starting to feel as if I should have done more running. Typically I run 30-40 per week. Sometimes it nudges 50. If I run an ultra, it peaks to 70. Each week usually has a swim and a circuits class thrown in for variety. I suppose, most people will always feel like they could have done more – whether its Reading Half, a local 10k or the MdS.

I try to keep reminding myself that I have to be realistic. I’m there to finish, not to be in the top 100, or 200 for that matter- when I signed up for this thing, I had only just finished my first half marathon! After the Country to Capital race, I felt as if I had come a long way in terms of running fitness…. but that confidence has gradually faded over the course of the last two weeks. I’m starting to squeeze in a few extra sessions here and there, whilst also trying to not over train and injury myself. I’m nervous.

Today I’ll start off with a “quick” 9 miler around the villages near home and then finish of the day off with either a swim or a hot yoga session. Tomorrow will be slow 13 miler and some race admin. The MdS nerves have kicked my ass into gear!

It’s fair to say the journey to the MdS is up and down!

Country to Capital 2014

The plan was to use the Country to Capital as a dry run for the long stage of the the big race. Trainers. Pack. Pace. Clothing. Nutrition. Hydration. I would be simulating the MdS long day as close as possible.. well, minus the heat!

Pack: Invo8 race pac with 6.2 kg of dead weight (importantly I packed it with stuff I want/need to keep, so I couldn’t wimp out and ditch some weight!)

Nutrition & hydration: 1 x peperami, 20g sports beans, 40g nuts/seed, 20g pork scratchings. 4 x shot blok cubes, 1 x SiS energy gel, 1 x High 5 energy gel, 3 x Nuun electrolyte tabs.

Clothing: Under Armour Draft compression shorts, Nike running shorts, Under Armour heat gear T-shirt, Injinji socks, Asics GT-1000s and dream tape for any blister repairs!

Pace: slow and steady 🙂

As always, pre-race nerves dictate that I prepare everything in detail the night before. I packed and repacked, weighed and re-weighed, drank and drank some more. All set! I even got my breakfast out the night before: I decided to try the Expedition Foods asian noodles. At a whopping 800kcal per portion, this will be one of my evening meals in the desert.

All set the night before!

All set the night before!

Another early alarm and I was on the road at 5:30 AM. A quick stop at the station to pick up a fellow MdSer, Andy Massey gave me chance to scoff some rehydrated chicken and freeze dried noodles – actually pretty tasty and no “ill effects” during the run ;).
The race started with a mad dash down the street in Wendover… it caught me by surprise as I was still fiddling with my laces as the hooter went! I soon discovered why there was such urgency amongst some runners- the first mile or two was peppered with gates and stiles. Not to worry – the plan was slow and steady. So I stuck to the plan and kept knocking out 10-10:30 minute miles… with a 6kg back pack that would be tough going after 45 miles. The human traffic helped steady the pace and temper my usual early race excitement. What didn’t help was a lack of signal on my Garmin – I started out frustrated as I couldn’t work out my pace on the go. I soon realised this was good MdS prep – I’ll be sporting my £9.99 casio in the desert!

The journey to the first checkpoint was pretty eventful, a few groups getting lost and plenty of ankle deep mud! Great terrain, stunning views and plenty of hard work to condition the legs!

Perfect running conditions from the ankle up

Perfect running conditions from the ankle up

The next 10 miles are a complete blur, I got into a nice rhythm and have no real recollection of the route. I seemed to find that sweet spot of maintaining a good pace and not really caring about the miles. Before I knew it, I was thundering into checkpoint 2. I say thundering… it wasn’t fast, I just was running ahead of pace for the last mile :). Everyone appeared to be quite relaxed and there was no sense of urgency, the front runners had been and gone so the mid-packers were happily scoffing fruit cake, jelly babies and Gu gels. Meanwhile, I topped up my water, nibbled some nuts and a quick bite of peperami. Delicious!

Some rather casual looking Ultra Runners.

Some rather casual looking Ultra Runners.

With water restocked and a handful of snacks inhaled, I set off from this CP with a brisk walk- giving the food chance to settle. Having spent the last few miles chatting to random folk, I set off alone… slightly anti social, but it was nice to take in the views and have a bit of time listening to some music (loving the shuffle – thanks Lucy!). The music really helped drag me from CP2 to CP3 and onto CP4. Those two legs were the hardest mentally… I crossed the M25 shortly after CP2 but still had the  best part of a marathon to run! Denham, Cowley, Uxbridge, Southall…. and so on…all the way to Little Venice!

The Grand Union Canal

The Grand Union Canal

I was now following the canal form CP3 to CP4, passing a few people here and there. Others passing me. The miles were ticking away nicely!  At the time it seemed like the repetitive nature of running 20 odd miles along the canal would be good prep for the repetitive nature of running through sand dunes in the desert – I know the desert will be physically more demanding… but it was pretty demoralising to see bridge after bridge, barge after barge and many fisherman relaxing by the water side! I think I have the wrong hobby! The Grand Union Canal. Having been there once, I feel I have seen enough of it to last me a life time… well perhaps a enough to last me until next year :).

By this stage my pace was dropping and I was alternating run/walk over the final stages into CP4. A gel, some sports beans and a chew on some peperami soon fixed the energy levels. Note: perperami tastes strange when your mouth is dry and you’ve just had an energy gel-  but it did my energy levels loads of good! CP4 finally arrived and I was on the final straight. just a  a half marathon run run. “Just”!

Unbelievably, as I set off from CP4 I felt the best I had all day. My feet were in good nick, hydration/energy levels were good and I was still self sufficient with my stash of snacks. The dash from CP4 to CP5 was much shorter than anticipated – I’m not sure it was the full 10k they had originally planned. Either I was close to the finish than I thought or 5 to 6 was a long one!  

I had hoped to be home and dry by the time the sun had set to avoid the mandatory head torch… but it was getting dull and the marshals kindly asked me to wear my head torch and pair up with the next runner. I was buddied up with Emily for the final 6 miles. It was great to have some company again – some well qualified company at that. Emily was telling me about her iron man training in 2013. A very welcome distraction – we were trotting along at what felt to be 10:30min/miles for the first few miles. I had to put in a walk – she had the stamina to keep going. Determined not to fall behind and lose sight – I gulped down my final gel and shot blok- and picked up the pace. I clawed back the gap and overtook her and couple of others with about a mile to go. However, I couldn’t keep the pace going- they overtook me with about 300m to go along with another guy who I had been targeting since CP5. A final 200m dash with lots of cheers from other racers/finishers and some bemused embers of the public and I was all done in 8hr34mins.

20140118-202143.jpg

On finishing, I felt in pretty good shape. I could have run some more if I needed to, not that I wanted to! No blisters and no cramps – couldn’t be happier with that!

Actually, happy is an understatement, the only “injury” I picked up was where the mud from the early morning trail section had dried around the top of my socks and then rubbed  and grazed my ankle for the next 6 hours. Yes, I could have run that race a lot faster, but that wasn’t what I set out to do. All in all, it went exactly as planned.

A quick cuppa doped up with sugar and I was off to the train station…. the journey home was the most tedious part of the whole day!

All in all a great race.  Definitely an ultra I’d like to do again – maybe next time i’ll go without the pack and try and post a good time!!

Mortimer Gut Buster

Having volunteered as a marshal at this race last year (because I was too disorganised to get a race spot), this was a “must” for 2013. It’s in my neck of the woods and I know some of the trails well- the views are stunning.

The race comes as a 10 km or 10 mile option. It seemed that most opted for 10miles, but either way the route is petty gruelling and a perfect way to blow the cobwebs off after a few days of Xmas merriment.

Since signing up for the Marathon des Sables, I have lost a sense of perspective; today is a good example to prove that point. Not being content with “just” a 10 mile race for my long Sunday run I decided it would be better to run there as a warm up, race and then run home. A warm up… so, maybe a mile or so? Nope! 6.4 miles! Yeah, a full 10k as a warmup. Run – eat/drink – Run – eat/drink – Run. Great training for the checkpoints at the MdS.

With this perfect plan in place and nice route in mind, I set the alarm for 7am.

7am came and I was regretting the late night KFC on the journey home from London. If there is one area I can improve my training in 2014- avoiding food binges is it. A zinger tower burger, BBQ beans, chicken popcorn, a mini fillet, large fries and large coke at 11pm is not prefect race prep. I saved half of the coke, let it go flat over night and used it as my pre-race drink! (See earlier Lakeland50 blog for my love of coke as race fuel- shame I can’t take it to the desert!)

Bag packed, brekkie half digested and with the sun rising, it was time to warm up! And boy, I needed to warm up! It was below zero when I left the house.

Beautiful running conditions; cold, crisp and firm underfoot (mostly!)

Beautiful running conditions; cold, crisp and firm underfoot (mostly!)

A perfect start to the day.

The warm-up was largely uneventful. Well, except the frozen slushy flood that covered a 20m stretch of the road. The only route around was a 2 mile detour… Or shimmy along the embankment whilst gripping hedgerow! Ouch! Oh and I got lost… the 10km became 10.5.

I arrived at race HQ puffing and panting to the few puzzled looks for fellow racers sipping their pre-race teas, coffees and lucozade. Great organisation by the guys at My Sporting Times meant number collection, bag drop and a quick toilet break all went with out a hitch. Awesome work by the all the helpers and marshals! very friendly!

With 15mins to stretch, stay warm (yeah right!!), slurp some KFC Pepsi, say hi to a few familiar faces and then stiffen up,  I was starting to regret that “warm-up”!

And we we’re off

The front runners were off like rockets. I tried the usual game of looking for a bunch of people who “look” to be similar level (a dangerous guessing game- always some surprises!). I avoided looking at my watch for the first 5 miles and tried to run base on “feel”. My aim was 1:20:00 so I was trying to feel my way to 8min/mile pace on 6 mile old legs.

The road sections were icy, lots of slipping around corners. The muddy fields were stiff- plenty I opportunity to roll and ankle and the rolling hills were energy sapping. As we reached the 4 mile marker, I had 10 miles in the bag. Done! Well, not quite! As I approached the 5 mile marker I allowed myself a quick look at the Garmin. 7:50 splits. Happy!

At 6-7miles there was a tricky climb where the recent rain had washed a gully into the path. That combined with a bit of fatigue and some trainer sucking mud, my pace dropped of a lot. From there we had some nice down hill and flat open fields to trot across! The 8min/mile average was back on. At the 8 mile marker my Garmin was reading 7.73. I was ahead of schedule, brilliant! I held that thought for the next 2 miles. Until I got to the final, “9 miles” marker… That final mile felt like the Longest mile ever. The sun was up and melting the frozen mud, enough people had covered the ground that it was getting boggy! My pace was fading, I was regretting the 10k warmup, I was regretting the choice of road shoes (which had been prefect until now) and I was regretting the KFC. That “final mile” was more like 1.2 miles and felt like 1.5! urgh!

I crossed the line in 1hr21min.

Slightly behind plan, but it placed me 77th/259 overall and 40th/80 in the men’s under 30.

Job done!

Job done!

I avoided the mince pies and mulled wine at the finish line- not ideal prep for the run home! With the temperature still low I started to stiffen up. With a few layers back on, a feeling the cold I figured it was probably best to get a lift home; I wimped out of the full run home and opted for a 10 minute jog to “cool down” and meet Lucy.

All in all, a good days training. Three 10s – 10km warm up, 10mile race, 10min warm down.

A special mention for a friend, Lucy Jolly, who blasted around the course in 1hr 1min and won the race! Epic running by Luc – nice job mate!

I’ll definitely be going back next year, without the warm-up to try and post a quick time (though, I thinks Luc’s time is perfectly safe!). It’s an awesome, picturesque race that’s not too big, a good range of running abilities and some great support from locals dotted around the villages and farms! 

In the mean time, lots of [good quality] food to help recover ready for tomorrows training run…. a home made half-marathon!

Rob

MdS Heat Acclimation

A big factor when running the desert is the heat. That’s pretty obvious. How do you train for it? Easy – you spend as much time as possible running and exercising in the heat. How do you do that when you live in England and it’s Winter?… not so easy.

Well, I have three things in mind:

  • Bikram Yoga (Yoga in a hot room
  • Running on a treadmill wearing lots of layers and with the heaters on
  • Use heat acclimation chamber

I’ll share some more the first 2 when I have actually tried them. For now, I wanted to share with you my first experience in a heat acclimation chamber.

The Prep

I spent most of Wednesday eating well and hydrating myself ready for a 1 hour session in the heat acclimation chamber at Kingston University. I drank about 3 Litres of water during the day and ate pretty well, some good carbs and the old faithful banana just before running. Perfect prep, well that’s if you don’t end up sitting in a car for 45 mins trying to get across London. Nature called… luckily, like most avid runners, my car is full of bottles. So, at the next set of lights I dashed to the boot a grabbed a 500, then changed my mind and grabbed the 750ml! I hoped back into the front and proceeded to top-up” the old 750ml race freebie. I’ve had pre-race nerves before, but never pre-training nerves!

Pre-Run Blood Analysis

Pre-Run Blood Analysis: haemoglobin and heamatocrit

On arrival I was met by a great guy called Chris. He gave me a decent intro into the session and proceeded to record some pre-run stats.

  • Haemoglobin – 15 g/dL (normal range is 14-18 g/dL)
  • Haematocrit – 48 % (normal range is 40-54 %)
  • Naked body weight – 86.3 kg (despite shedding 15kg for the MdS, I’m still kinda heavy for an ultra runner)
  • Resting Core Temp – 37.1 ºC
  • Resting heart rate – 90 bpm (usually 43 – I must have been nervous)
  • Water content of bottles – 1500ml
  • A signature to say I won’t blame him if it goes wrong

The Run

Well, I wasn’t expecting it to be easy. But I also wasn’t expecting to be horrible. Part of my job involves me training as Fire Fighter in case of an incident at the facility where I work. This involves a few days training each year in very hot and very horrible conditions wearing breathing apparatus, air cylinders, heavy gear and dragging fake casualties out of buildings. I have experienced the discomfort that comes with exercising in the heat… though, when you finish a training exercise there is cold water and fresh air. As I found out when I ran a few time in Egypt earlier this year – the heat is relentless.

Anyway, with a reasonable sense of comfort when I walked into the 40 degree, 20% humidity chamber I decided to push myself and see where my break point was. I didn’t want to go too easy and not learn from the experience. So I loaded myself up with a 7kg pack and set off at a decent pace. Picking the pace was confusing to start with as it was in km not miles, so after a few mins of testing my maths at 40 degrees I settled into my half marathon pace.

Heat Acclimation Chamber

Heat Acclimation Chamber

Now, in hindsight, this was more than a challenge… I set of at my half marathon training pace but also had 7kg on my back AND 40 degrees AND <20% humidity. Of course, it was a matter of time before I was gasping for a drink and burning up. 25 minutes into the run I had to knock the speed back to a more casual jog. My core temp had risen from 37.2 to 38.1 and then to 39.1. When you approach and exceed 39.5 and things get interesting. Although it sounds small, 0.5 degrees is a big increase… but still, I backed off to learn the feeling of where the high 38s are and where 39+ begins. For the next 30 mins I tried varyious speeds of walking, jogging and incline changes to test out my reaction to the extra effort. I would say that once “cooled” back down to the high 38s I was comfortable.

Feeling a little warm!

Feeling a little warm!

Once you are hot and your ability to cool down is limited by the ambient air temp and blood temperature, it can take a while for your core temperature to drop a mere 1 ºC. Escpecially when you’re your burning calories and generating more heat! Lesson- do not over heat in the first place. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m getting de ja vu!

Post run

After the run, Chris took all of the key data again and pointed my in the direction of towel and some scales to get my post-run dry weight. I had sweated a whopping 2.2 litres of water in 1 hour. Now, if we extrapolate that out to a 6 hour run, that will be at about 13 litres That’s approximately the daily ration of water. Chris tells me, I sweat more than the average person, but not the most he’s seen. I could have guessed that by looking at my t-shirts after a spin session or circuit class – but it’s nice to see some numbers! I therefore need to be sensible with my water ration, avoid over exerting myself in the peak of the heat (pretty obvious) and not waste water splashing it on my face etc…. I’m sure it feels great, but is an inefficient way of cooling down.

So what did the key stats tell me:

  • Body weight- I lost 2.2kg in sweat
  • Blood (Haemoglobin – 16.4 g/dL and Haematocrit – 50 %) – despite sweating a lot, I kept myself hydrated. When you’re dehydrated the haematocrit % increases as there is less water in your blood. As a consequence the blood thickens, this makes pumping the blood harder, your heart works harder, burns more calories, generates more heat, you sweat more, the % increases and you heart has to work even harder. This gets rapidly worse! So, stay hydrated!
Me wearing a 2.2kg t-shit

Me wearing a 2.2 kg t-shirt

After a nice cool shower, Chris gave me a de-brief on the session and explained my stats. He’s a keen ultra-runner himself and a very knowledgeable Sports Scientist – I was all ears! As I sat recovering, he kindly topped up my recovery shake with water. Unfortunately the shake had been in my bag for the full run; I am not looking forward to warm protein shakes in the desert!

Next steps

Over the months of December, January and February I’m going to be running on the treadmill with lots of layers and hopefully a heater nearby. I need to get used to the walk/run/walk and get a better feel for my fluid intake over extended periods. I’m also planning to start a Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) session once per week and then up this to 2 or 3 sessions per week by March. Then, in the final week or two before I head to the desert, I will be heading back to the heat chamber for some final heat acclimation session. The benefits of heat exposure are short lived (perhaps 1-2 weeks) so I’ll get the most benefit from hot, yoga, heat chamber and the saunas by maximising usage in the final 2 weeks. I just hope I don’t turn up dehydrated 🙂

If it wasn’t already obvious, I would absolutely recommend spending some time in a heat chamber- it was incredibly valuable! I know it isn’t cheap, but this is up there with the best £50 I have spent on training/equipment so far! Even if you can only find the cash to do 1 session, I would!

Time to get a sweat on!

Rob

MdS Footwear: Trainers for des Sables

The BIG decisions in life:

  • What trainers do I wear?
  • What socks do I wear?

I have spent a lot of time reading forums, blogs, Facebook groups and those strange things called books, trying to figure out what to wear. I’ve also had a good number of chats with real humans- they have been pretty helpful too. What I have below is a summary of what I have discovered so far:

  • Gaiters are a must.
    • I’m going for the silk ones from SandBaggers. There is also good option from Racekit that finishes much lower on the calf, but I only discovered these after ordering the Sandbagger gaiters. Anyway – ordered and received my sandbaggers – very happy.
  • Two layers of socks work well for minimising blisters. The option to remove a layer will also help accommodate any extra swelling that occurs
    • On anything longer than a 20 miler, I get a pinch point between my second and third toe unless using toe socks. It’s not a hotspot/blister; my toes seem to “overlap” after 20 miles a squash the skin on the edge of my second toe. Nice! No such issue with toe socks. For the MdS I’ll be using the thin Injinji base layer socks with a normal “thick” running sock on top for extra blister protection. Likeys have well priced Injinjis,
  • Laces- in sticking to the normal lace up option. Some people mention those elastic ones to get an even pressure across the foot. I have tried them but find that a muddy trail can sometimes pull my trainers off. Might happen in sand? Not sure! Not risking it!
  • Trainers- how long have you got? So far, I have figured the following
    • Asics- love the road shoes. My knees and ankles don’t enjoy 20+miles in their trail shoes.
    • Brooks- cascadia 8 are on the short list
    • Scott – T2 Kinabalu are on the short list
    • Inov8 – need to try them out and figure which of their models is best. Probably the Roclite or Trailroc. Hear stories of them being narrow – I have wide(ish) feet
    • Salomon – Too narrow in the toe box for me
    • Mizuno – 1 bad experience in road shoes and won’t go back
    • Adidas – too tight

So, by my reckoning, it’s down to Scott T2, Brooks Cascadia or Inov8. Or as a back-up plan my Ascis GT-1000 road shoes. I haven’t really narrowed it down that much! Last weekend, with only 5 months to go, I realised I need to start making a few decisions – I jumped in at the deep end ordered a pair of Brooks and have been testing them out this week.

Brooks Cascadia 8

Brooks Cascadias get their first outing

Initial thoughts: I usually run in a Size 11, so have gone with the same in the Brooks. In all honesty I could get away with a 10.5 in the Brooks. But importantly, my feet don’t slip around and they feel like slippers, so no issue there.  In fact, many people recommend going up 0.5-1.5 sizes to allow some room for the inevitable swelling in the desert heat.

In summary they’re comfy, pretty well protected around the toe box, have a sturdy sole/foot plate for the rocky sections and they’re almost as well cushioned as my Asics road shoes.If I get on well with these over the next month or two, these exact shoes will be coming to the desert!

Anyway, lets see how the next 2 months of winter trail running go! Probably not the most accurate conditions to test them in…. but it should give me a good view on fit/hot spots after some high mileage.

Not a particularly exciting post… but hopefully useful to at least one person.

Rob

Rest is Best

There’s a saying that goes around, or at least I think it does, suggesting that “rest is best”. I usually build a rest day into my weekly training but I rarely take more than a day or two- I try to use other sports to give myself a rest from running and vice-versa. My week usually looks something like:

Mon- spin
Tues- run
Wed- circuits
Thurs- run
Fri- rest or spin
Sat- rest or run/race/event
Sun- long run or race

So it’s rare that I get more than a day off. Some people may think I’m obsessed, over training or stupid. All true, but I’m mainly scared of turning up in the desert and failing. I have pretty much stuck to the training plan above, for the last 12 months. It get’s re-jigged for meetings, work travel, races etc. but for the most part I rarely take more than a day or two a week off.

Looking back at my calendar (the offline version, not my Garmin Connect Profile) it’s easy to see that the last weekend I had free from any sort of training or racing was September 2012. I hadn’t realised it had been going so well. If you’re in the middle of a training regime, I definitely recommend looking back at your history and getting an idea of how it’s going. You’ll probably be surprised!

I don’t want to get over confident, but if I can keep this rhythm for the next 6 months I’ll be thrilled and I should be well on my way to the MdS. Before then, I’m checking out the idea of a rest weekend!

So what do I do with a weekend break?!? Well, I spent a weekend in Paris with Lucy. She’s been very patient with my training over the last 12 months. I’m rarely there on a Sunday morning when she gets up and I’m often planning our weekends away around trail marathons and training routes. So this one, was going to be free of running, sweating, spinning and exercise in general. I left the trainers at home to avoid the temptation for an early morning jolly. As much as I wanted to run the Champs-Élysées at sunrise, I thought better of it :). Lucy also didn’t seem too keen on walking up the Eiffel Tower, rather than taking the lift. So, despite a subconscious effort to squeeze a bit of training into our tour of Paris, the weekend mainly consisted of sightseeing, eating, sleeping and drinking wine. It was amazing. I probably enjoyed it so much more as I had earned the rest and could enjoy some time with Lucy without the Sunday run looming!!

20131029-201516.jpg

So, here I am on the Euro Star back to Londres, with a map of Paris on the table, trying to figure out how many miles we clocked. It wasn’t training, I promise! I’m just intrigued to see how many miles we covered :).

I had a great weekend- it seems there is some truth in the old saying of “rest is best”…. But, not too much!!!

Rob

P.S. I think we covered well over ten miles. Somewhere close to a half marathon. That’ll be my slowest half to date 🙂

Clarendon 2013

Good morning. It’s 6am on Sunday 6th October. Yet another early start.

With precisely 6 months to go until I am on the start line of the 2014 MdS, it’s fair to say I’m a little nervous. I’m questioning my trainers, filling out entry forms & waivers, confirming my blood type, double checking my bag choice, submitting for medicals, buying some serious insurance, worrying about my average weekly mileage, ordering different electrolytes to try out…. Let’s just say the last brand dint agree with me. The list goes on…. the preparation is no small task, but it’s enthralling!

Meanwhile, in about 4 hours’ time I’ll be on the start line of the 2013 Clarendon Marathon. Not quite the challenge of the MdS, but another significant day of training. A warm day is forecast and the route is described as having rolling hills – a perfect days training. I cannot wait. I’m aiming for anything under 4h30min, but will most probably set off for a 4:00-4:15 pace, to see how my legs cope. No point taking it too easy! Right, see you on the other side!

20131014-224940.jpg

Well, let’s just say they were more than “rolling hills”! And, the weather was warmer than “warm”!

I went off at what I thought was a steady pace, but was trying to do my pacing calculations on the fly as my GPs couldn’t find a signal. So, with that excuse out of the way…. I clocked 1hr 53min for the first half and a disastrous 2hr 31min for the second half. I know, I didn’t heed my own warning from a previous race about pacing…. but I did get a good beasting! I didn’t drink a great deal in the first half as I was too busy rushing through the aid stations and the second half had some decent hills! Nothing compared to the 10Peaks, but more than I was expecting and didn’t have anything in the bank.
Result : 4hr 24mins. A great workout after week which already consisted of 20+miles running, 1 hr spinning and 1 hr of circuits.

All in, it was great days racing and a course that I will definitely come back to! The organisation was great, the marshals were friendly and the route challenging but enjoyable.

Next weekend a relaxing few days in Devon (with a run or two), then its Birmingham Half Marathon!