Running for the pies

Running for the pies

Monday, 16 March 2015

24th December: Hundo

Today was the first day of the Strava Rapha Festive 500 Challenge. The nature of this is to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. You can have as many or as few rides as you desire, you just need to get those 500k’s under your belt.

I failed at this challenge last Christmas, so I was determined to make a good go of it, so having finished work yesterday I had a clear day to go for a ride so I could hit the ground running so as to speak and chalk-off a few miles.

The route I had chosen was to cycle to the centre of London and back again, with my turning point being Waterloo Bridge, crossing the Thames before returning home. I have cycled into central London in the past, but on that occasion I hopped on a train back - and the fact that a single home from Waterloo is £30 I decided that there was another good incentive to return under my own steam!

It has been a few years since I have been in the centre of London, having lived there when I studied at uni and working there from graduation until my early 30’s, so it was interesting to see the changes - and there have been plenty of them, to the west end.

My route in was to follow the A30 in from Hook, past Heathrow at the bottom of the runway with the planes landing over your head, through Kensington, along Hyde Park, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, the Embankment, Waterloo, Westminster, Victoria, Chelsea and where half of my family hails from: Parson’s Green, before heading further out via Putney, Mortlake, Sunbury, Ashford and back on to the A30 once more at Staines for the final leg home.

Whilst lovely to traverse some familiar London streets of my past and to see the changes to the skyline, the cycling itself was a bit of a pain in the arse because as soon as you hit central London it really is stop-start with traffic lights every 50 metres, so you have no chance of getting a rhythm going!

On the way back along the A30 I realised as night fell that I was closing-in on a potential milestone and the chance to do something I had not managed before. Whilst my initial route was planned to be 85 miles, I figured, why not make it a round 100! so as I approached Winchfield, I went off and cycled the route I normally cover with Kelv on our weekly evening ride… And returned home with 102 miles under my belt and pretty much 1/3 of the miles chalked-off in a oner.

Eat pies. Drink beer. Cycle far!

21st December: Coasting in Portsmouth.

Grabbing Pini and Moose stupidly early in the morning we made the blast down from mid to south Hampshire and the island that is Pompey for a final pre-Christmas bout of running tomfoolery: The Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon, a race the three of us ran together last year.

Whilst loading my van in slippered feet I trod on a stone I had not seen in the darkness with an almighty crunch and a searing pain through my left heel - a myriad of thoughts raced through my mind, including the urge to scream out with colourful language that would wake the neighbours, but I managed to not give in to that one, although I did need to go and have a look at my heel - fortunately it was not cut, but it hurt to the point I had to sit down for a while to let the pain subside, and hope that it was not something that would cause me to drop out of the run.

As the minutes ticked-by, the pain slowly subsided, and fortunately by the time an hour or so had elapsed and I had driven down to the event base of the Pyramid Centre in Southsea, the knack had been forgotten about so I was good to go.

The three of us were amongst the early arrivals and we eventually found our way inside of the Pyramid Centre, as they had closed the entrance we used previously, perhaps because of the extensive building work over the last year. Finding the hall that was the event base, it had been completely refurbished since last year’s run and looked really fresh and inviting inside. Soon it began to fill-up with all the assorted runners.

We parked ourself near to the massage area whilst we sorted out registrations ablutions and numbers, with Pini overhearing one of the masseurs talking to someone about her experiences running a legitimate massage operation… Apparently she no longer keeps her phone switched on in the evenings on Friday and Saturday as without fail she would always get at least a dozen drunken calls asking for an all over rub with a ‘happy finish’!

Faffing around before the start, I bumped into Carthorse, who had seemed to have disappeared off the marathon scene (and from the terraces at Farnborough) over recent months. He’d come down to the race to cheer us runners on as he knew a significant number who were due to go trot around the course, and having dealt with some serious shizzle in his personal life he is now back in training ready to continue his assault on the 100 marathon club - he’ll get there a long time before me (if I do manage it) having managed to rack-up 40 odd already in around the same amount of time running them as me.

All ready for the start we made our way to the promenade to try and avoid the rush last year when they started the race with most people still in the Pyramid centre!.. To shelter from the cold they had erected a large marquee for us to gather in and as I walked in there I saw the familiar faces of Barry and Kristin doing their first joint marathon.

The race this year started a little beyond last year’s as Southsea Pier has now begun to be re-built having been nearly destroyed in the storms of the previous spring, some 2 years after it was closed for being a safety risk through the poor state of repair it had been allowed to fall in to… Once all gathered the other side, we were counted down and let go.

I’d come in to this marathon with the express goal of just getting around it as quickly as I could manage - with no pressure at all on me for a specific time… The weather was pretty good for the time of year with the sky merely overcast with clouds and not too much of a wind, unlike last year’s torrential downpour just before the start and the first part of the race.

We headed along the promenade, with everyone weaving in and out of each other as they struggled to find their place within the pack appropriate to their pace - so it took a good mile and a half to stop nearly bumping in to people and continually looking over your shoulder for people passing you.

Turning off the promenade it was on to the pebbly beach with its slippery sea-weed. We had been warned in the briefing not to stray outside of the marked path as they could not guarantee the footing - for depth of wet sand and slipperiness of the weed.

Emerging the other side we were up on to the sea wall and the route past the boat houses and the university sports field as we made our way along the western side of Langstone Harbour. So far so good, I had managed a decent enough pace thus far, and getting to the first of the aid stations I put my nutrition plan in to effect.

The marathon organisers have a good sponsorship deal with High5 who provide copious amounts of their excellent gels, so I had decided this year that I would grab a couple of gels for every aid station to consume one every 2 miles or so and to not really worry about my own, although I did take some breakfast bars with me as these days I prefer to eat something over the course of the distance rather than just swill down gels.

Soon after the aid station there was upon us the dull trudge across the northern side of the harbour, the cycle path that we run along sandwiched between the chemically treated shoreline - to kill off the invasive Japanese Knotweed that has taken root there, and the lovely sight of the M27… Its not often you get to run along the side of a motorway as part of a marathon route, which just serves to remind you that Its not always going to be rolling mountains and cliff-top vistas!

Its not always trotting around glamourous locations!
Around the top of the harbour we veer off away from the roar of the motorway and across the shingle of the shore and the muddy grassy path - where a large rat ran across in front of me, before hitting tarmac once more and a jog through in to an industrial estate to find our way back on to the coastal path and another bit of shingly beach and the small sea wall, with there seeming to be little to no breeze, although there had been a very fine drizzle for a few minutes at one point.

Heading inland again to ford a stream, we traversed a slippery section of path that was so slick you struggled to remain upright even with trail shoes before filing one at a time through the bottle-neck of a kissing gate and into a residential street.

Here one of the local residents took offence to us runners and deliberately chose to drive at us on the wrong side of the road whilst honking their horn, which was met with a torrent of abuse from us all, and apologies from some of their neighbours who were out in their front gardens watching us all file past and cheer us on.

Through this residential section we picked-up the road again and the bridge to Hayling Island… Everything had gone so well thus far with the wind, only for us to find it here ripping across bridge and in to our faces, sucking the air from your lungs and holding us back as we attempted to run across.

Mercifully once over the bridge, sheltered from the wind once more we had the comfort of the aid station with some mulled wine thrown in for goos measure… Carthorse was waiting here to cheer us on, so I stopped for a few minutes to slurp down some gels and have a brief chat before heading down to the turnaround. This 3 mile stretch saw us passed by the leaders on the way back, so I kept a count of those going past so when Moose and Pini went by I was able to shout their position in the race to them so as to help with any strategy they may have for the second half of the run… and Barry Miller passed by as well sharing an high five with me.

Making the turn myself and heading back off the island I took solace in the number of people still to hit the turn, including a bunch of firemen in full kit complete with oxygen tanks!

I had made a decent pace so far, although I knew I was not troubling last year’s time, so I just carried on plodding around… That was until I got back to the industrial estate when I heard the text tone go on my phone - now this is my ‘friends & family’ phone, not my work one, so I knew it must be someone I knew… Then a few minutes later it went again, so I figured it might be important, and I slowed to a walk to get it out of my back-pack.

It was LSS, and she was in a bit of trouble!.. Whilst bending over to put her trainers on to go for a run, Spud - our border collie/ springer cross, had decided to run past her at the same time and jump up on to the couch to look at what was happening out on the street. As he jumped for the couch, LSS had bent down and with an almighty crunch and and explosion of blood, his bowling-ball of a head had connected with the bridge of her nose and broken it… She was going to take herself off to A&E to have it looked at, so could I hurry back!

Now I was 18 miles in to a marathon, and you only really can run these things at one speed: the one that’s going to get you to the finish in the quickest possible time… Which for me isn’t that quick! That said, getting a call for help is a great motivator to keep you going, but I was already at flat-out pace, and with 8 miles left I was still a good 80 minutes from the finish at best, plus another 30 minute drive home if I ignored the speed limits, so I did the only thing possible: I dug deep, gritted my teeth and tried to get back as soon as possible for her… Then the phone went again, with LSS saying that on reflection and having spent a good time looking at her nose in the rear view mirror whilst driving to A&E, she had been lucky that whilst broken her nose was straight and not crooked, so she decided to return home and tough it out with pain killers rather than have to wait for 5 hours to be seen by a doctor and be told there is nothing to be done for her but to go home and take some pain killers.

With this added impetus I redoubled my efforts over the last 8 miles and crossed the line 20 minutes slower than last year, hopefully minimising any further time loss by the motivation of knowing I had a battered and bleeding wife back home in urgent need of some tlc. Upon locating Moose I explained to him what had happened back at the homestead, so we jumped straight in the van and made our way back to Hook! - Pini had already disappeared off to his in-laws so didn’t need a lift back.

A bit of a bizarre end to the final marathon of the year, but hey, the important thing is that LSS is ok, if a little battered and bruised… Considering LSS took Spud to the vets to have his nuts removed a couple of days beforehand she suspects it was him exacting revenge upon her, so no Christmas photos of her with the 2 back eyes that will soon be following the busted nose.

My fitness seems to be on its way back at least with me now only being 20 minutes down on previous, an improvement already from the hour at the beginning of the month!.. Next up a week of Christmas/ New Year’s fun :)

Eat pies. Drink beer. Run far.

Monday, 2 March 2015

14th December: Slightly rotund and of uncertain parentage.

In a previous post I mentioned how I recently went to the farewell gig of my favourites, the greatest kick-arse rock 'n' roll band in the world: Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine... Well the first track on their seminal album '30 Something' opens with a line spoken by Arnold J Rimmer in the BBC sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf:

"When you're young, you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26 inch waist trousers and zip 'em closed, but when you reach that age: 24/25, your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all you're suddenly a fat bastard".

And then the instrumental piece Surfin' USM kicks in to gear with your eardrums being assaulted by a yelled chorus of you fat bastard, you fat bastard, you fat bastard's.

Back in the day as a 16 year old the gigs were a crowd-surfers paradise, which was fantastic then, but now those teens and early twenty somethings have become late 30 Somethings and 40 Somethings, crowd surfers are to be frank a pain in the arse as 20 stone of lard tries to be carried aloft the masses... Or should that be a pain in the back from all the heavy lifting you end up doing while you should be 'moshing'.

Its sad to say I too am one of those 30 Something 'fat bastard's' and in another year I will be a 40 Something fat bastard, so perhaps it is time to make a concerted effort to at least arrest the expansion of the waist band.

I've decided in the run-up to Christmas that for the first time in my life I will make a concerted effort to drop some of the poundage from my fat bloke's frame.

Christmas is a time of almost epicurean feasting, so with that in mind I would like to enjoy the whole food and drink side of the festivities but without the porking-out as a result.

I have never 'dieted' in my life and I doubt I ever will, but I have decided to keep a food diary in the form of the fitness app 'myfitnesspal' on my phone so I can see what really is going in and what is being burnt-up by exercise.

I have the Portsmouth Coastal marathon the Sunday before Christmas, the Brutal 20k and Winter Gutbuster 10 miler booked in on consecutive days between Christmas and new year and I fancy having a tilt once more at the Strava Festive 500 challenge where you have to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, so these should all help me with the challenge of emerging the other side of the Christmas break at least the same size and weight as I entered it... A bit of watch this space for any result I suppose. At least if I manage to step-up my levels of exercise and training I can still live by the mantra:

Eat pies. Drink beer. Run far.

Just in case you're curious, this is what Carter USM are like in the flesh when performing Surfin' USM (after the Monty Python intro):

Sunday, 1 March 2015

7th December: The Dorset CTS

I was looking forward to this run… I say looking forward but it was with a healthy dose of trepidation and respect for the route having run this last year. The course in question, the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series Dorset marathon, is the one I have found hardest of all of them so far… It may be beautiful with its scenery but dear god does it have some hills and the first of which when climbing up it last year caused me to strain my right calf muscle, which I then pulled a couple of weeks later playing footy. 6 months on with the calf not healing it led me to seeing a physio for the first time in my life in an attempt to cure the problem. To be brutally honest it is still not 100%, and as a means of protecting it these days I am wearing compression sleeves on my calves for trail marathons, something I resolved to do whilst thinking about the strain as I made my way around this particular ‘madathon’ this time last year.

A few weeks ago my uni friend Claire had put me in touch with her running buddy Jamie, who was also in the marathon field today and was chasing after some advice from someone who had been, seen and survived this marathon before about what to expect. Having previously completed the Three Forts Challenge he was well aware of what a hilly trail marathon has in store underfoot and I was looking forward to running at least part of the course with him.

Following my normal pattern I drove down to the event base at Lulworth Cove to arrive at the witching hour in the midst of a freezing cold snap. Parking the van as level as I could in the sloped car-park, with the thermometer dipping well below freezing outside I caterpillared into my sleeping bag under a duvet in the back to get in 40 winks in before the ultra-runners would arrive at sparrow’s fart a few hours later.

A chilly dark registration.
Waking as the sky began to lighten to the symphony of slamming car doors and excited voices I registered in the marquee illuminated by lanterns. The winter solstice will be upon us in a matter of a few days, so daylight is limited meaning that some of the ultra runners will be on the hoof for all hours of today’s light as their route will be the marathon course, followed by the half then 10k courses one after the other as they cover some 45 miles of hilly hell!
The sun rises over the parked cars.
I watched the ultra runners depart on their merry way as dawn broke behind us, before meeting up with Claire and Jamie in the car park, sharing some coffee and flap jacks before getting changed for the briefing and the pending start.

Claire & Jamie.
The departure of the ultras.
Awaiting the off at the bottom of the first hill, everyone huddled together like penguins to try and keep warm but at the same time being peculiarly British in trying hard not to invade one another’s personal space too much. The weather could not be better with nary a cloud to be seen in the sky, the visibility perfect and no real wind to speak of, so it would be sunny and chilly all day long… If it were not for everyone being wrapped-up in winter running gear to keep the cold at bay, you’d think from the photos we were in the middle of summer!

Packed like penguins grouped for the get-go.
My target for the day was merely a finish following on from my disappointment on the Gower and knowing that I still really was not back to anywhere near my fitness lost to flu after Glencoe… It would be a case of hit the trail, see what happens and enjoy every step. At least I was fully aware of the number and nature of the hills and what lay in store so they would not be demoralising me… after all I’ve conquered them all once before, so no problem a second time.

Lining up for the countdown I introduced Jamie to fellow 7X Challenge marathon holder Luke (going for it again this year after last year’s injury affected season), who pretty much reiterated what I had said about the course to Jamie and wished him all the best… In a way I felt sorry for Jamie hearing an identical tale of woe from Luke and myself about how tough the course is, but I felt it was better to put him under no illusions about what was to come rather than tell him ‘don’t worry, you’ll be fine’ perhaps only to find it was not so, and I think Luke was of the same mind.

In no time we were off on what I find to be the most amusing of starts for a marathon, about 20 metres of flatish ground before we hit the climb of the first hill and watching the entire field essentially being cheered-off to a brisk walk… The path here was flat cobbles, but with the temperature they were very treacherous underfoot coated with ice from the night’s frost, with grip consequently at a premium, so we were all slowed to a pace even slower than we would have liked.

One of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
After the first three miles of hills and passing the unique sight of Durdle Dor the field was beginning to stretch out as people began to find their level and position within the pack.

Glimpsing what lies in front.
Closing in on the climb.
Looking up at the steep ascent from the foot.
The scenery was beautiful, something that was enhanced the whole way in the early morning sunshine - pretty much the last throes of the ’golden hour’ with the sun still behind us as we ran from East to West.

The field stretching out in front of me.
Mind the drop!

This stretch to the initial checkpoint at the furthest point westward was essentially 6 miles of continual climb and descent… Hill reps from hell you could say. Even when we hit the last long descent to the shoreline (where I missed a turn and ended up on a pebbled beach before retracing my steps), we still had to turn inland and endure another climb to the checkpoint and the aid station. Those around me who were also confused about directions, due to around 20 of us either missing the sign or it having been moved, were asking if anyone knew if we were back on track… From memory I said I was pretty sure we were and there should be a very picturesque avenue festooned with golden leaves along in a short while and I was very relieved when we found it, as no doubt was everyone close by, so we could all carry on safe in the knowledge that we would soon hit the aid station.

The final descent of this leg.
The gold leafed avenue.
As normal I dibbed-in my timing chip and pretty much just strode on through having grabbed a handful of jelly beans, munching on them as I traipsed up on to the top of the hill where we re-traced our steps over lush green farmers pasture back to Lulworth Cove along the top of the ridge, the land dropping off to our right towards the coastal path we had just run along and cliffs to its side with the becalmed blue sea below them.

Across the fields
Midway along the return to the cove, you could hear the sound of stampeding hooves - well the sound of the leading half marathoners catching up on us and overtaking as they went on their merry way chasing the win. Shortly before the appearance of Lulworth down below us in the distance, I saw a familiar figure walking along the route towards me in the form of Claire who was looking out for Jamie and me. As I polished-off a cereal bar I stopped to chat and she said that Jamie was definitely behind me, which I was surprised at as I had been steadily working my way backwards down the field!

Lulworth below.
Soon we were dropping down off the hill and in to Lulworth where it was extremely tempting to stop off for a cup of hot coffee in the van as I passed, but that would not really achieve anything, so through the streets I went and down on the beach of the cove proper.

Across the cove.
The route had been changed around the cove from last year, so rather than climbing the stairway to hell and going up around the cove, this time we were to run across the pebbled beach, with the uniquely turquoise water beside us, to the other side of the horseshoe of this natural harbour. We were then to scramble up the muddy and rocky bank on the side of the cove and back on to the coastal path… And for me the sense of foreboding over what was to face us shortly.

Here be danger!
Entering on to the live firing ranges for the tank battalion stationed at Lulworth Camp just outside Lulworth (which are closed for business and open to the public at weekends in case you were wondering), it was a gentle wend up and down along the coastal path until the final slight downhill revealed around the headland the sight I was not looking forward to (and from the sound of the gasps of disbelief from those around me I was not alone in this)… the monster hill that needs to be climbed. Photographs do not do justice to the size and scale of this beast. It is mountainous with a gradient that leaves you using your arms to help get up it as well. Several times I had to stop through overheating and general knackeredness, taking my jacket off to help cool myself down. Finally I reached the top and turned to look at my fellow runners as they too summitted as I put my jacket back on and the looks on their faces of near total defeat and exhaustion spoke volumes despite the fact they had made it to the top.

Rounding the cove before...
...the behemoth.
When a picture paints a thousand words.
Still, as the saying goes: What goes up must come down, and soon enough we were making our way down the other side of the behemoth, which was also painfully slow through your toes getting squeezed tight into the toe boxes of your trainers whilst trying to negotiate the extremely steep gradient, before hitting the next climb in a matter of a handful of metres once you hit the base.

Down then up again.
Halfway up this next ascent was a sight I had noticed last year and had promised myself at some point in the future I would take my time to investigate further: The tank graveyard.

The rusting hulk.
With me not chasing a time today and the weather unbelievably crisp and clear, I made-good on my promise and stopped for a good look around. I’ve never been this close to a tank outside of a museum, where you certainly are not allowed to clamber all over the exhibits! The old tank here (I think it is a Chieftan) seems to have been parked for gunnery practice as a target at a known distance. The gun barrel has been cut-down and spiked so as to be completely useless and over the years it has certainly been rusting away. I suspect most of the useable parts had been stripped from it before it was left here, but you could still climb into the turret and experience how cramped everything was inside for its crew of 4.

Inside the turret.

When I jogged over to the tank I certainly got plenty of funny looks from my fellow runners, most of them I suspect wondering why I had diverted over here from the route and wondering what on earth I was doing, although anyone seeing me clambering over the tank would certainly have realised I was having a bit if a ‘boy’s own’ time exploring it. It was certainly a chance of a lifetime to have a good nose around, and the view from the tank down the hillside and across inland was pretty spectacular in the bright sunshine.

Yet another hill.
This diversion was merely something to avoid the obvious fact that I was halfway up a hill that still remained to be conquered, so I rejoined the line of walking runners as it filed slowly past climbing the hill. At least this was the last big climb of the eastward leg, so once over things would not be too bad, plus the checkpoint was not too far away.

The descent to the aid station.
Looking back from whence we came at the aid station.

Once through the checkpoint it was a matter of a couple of miles along the coastal path to the turn inland just past the nodding donkey pumping the oil at Kimmeridge Bay. From here we made our way across a farmers field that was planted with a crop rather than being fallow this year, so we were under strict instructions to keep to the marked path which follows the footpath route on the OS map so as to minimise any potential damage to the farmer’s livelihood. Judging by the track across it, everyone had been true to the instructions, so hopefully there will be no issues next or any other year.

The lush fields towards Kimmeridge.
Over the other side of the field and we climbed up on to the ridge-top path and passed a field of what I thought were black llamas, although I was corrected in my identification to alpacas by a fellow runner who has been on a training course in the animal husbandry of them through his wife deciding they were to get a small-holding and raise their own - so he had stopped to look at them out of professional curiosity! It just goes to show you never know who you will meet on one of these runs!

Retracing our steps westward.
As we continued along the path I found myself alongside a couple of fellow runners in the form of Emmeline and Gerard, with the three of us pretty much running with each other for the remainder of the last 6 or 7 miles, chatting about other races we had done and cursing how tricky this one is with its pesky hills.

The ruins of Tyneham.
The three of us made our way through the abandoned village of Tyneham to the final checkpoint of the day at the top of the hill on the way out. Onto the last leg we were back on the top of the ridge and re-tracing our way to a certain extent back towards the path we had run eastwards earlier on from Lulworth, and covering the evil hills in reverse of before, all bar the most evil of them which we wisely do not have to make our way downwards.

The day was now drawing to a close and the sun was starting to set in front of us, so I took the chance of taking a photo in the golden hour of the evening when I was temporarily dropped by the other two going up a hill. I found Emmeline and Gerard to be very genial company. Normally when you run with people, it is because at that time your pace’s briefly synch with each other before you end up splitting apart again as in the long term people will always tend to be faster or slower, so you find yourself in a dilemma of pushing on at a pace you know you can muster which will be faster than those with you, or to ease-off if you have been pushed beyond your normal pace for too long, or in this case just ignore either urge and just carry on at a pace comfortable for all to remain with your companions, which was certainly a great morale booster and made the last quarter of the race fly past.

A parting shot in the golden hour.
As the sun had disappeared and the shadows had followed as the day began to slip away we made our descent on to the beach at Lulworth Cove and across it before with one final effort we jogged up the slipway, past the pubs and in to the finish, exhausted with the efforts of the day.

As I tried to recover my senses I sent Claire a message to establish if she was still around and if there was any sign of Jamie, as I knew I was pretty near the back of the marathon field so he could not be too far behind, if not already finished by overtaking me whilst I was twatting around on the tank. Soon I received a reply telling me of Jamie’s enforced withdrawal through calf cramps at the halfway mark when he got in to Lulworth. He made the decision not to fight-on and risk an injury, especially with plenty more hills on the agenda. Making such a decision is never easy when you have been training and building-up to the race, but if you are unsure of any potential damage and a risk of a longer term injury and its associated lay-off for recovery, then it is certainly the right decision to make and Jamie made a very wise move and one I should take heed of!

As hard as this run may be, I certainly enjoyed it, and more so with no pressure being placed by me on me to chase down a time through still not being back up to speed after the lurgy. I crossed the finish line an hour slower than the previous year and safely towards the rear of the marathon field, but hey, this included the time messing around clambering over a derelict tank on the firing range which I certainly would not have normally done if I was seriously racing. That said, I really want to run this HARD and see how much time I can knock-off from last year’s effort.

One thing this run has done was to give me more thinking time about what to do with the hills, and the solutions seems to be a pretty simple one: drop some weight. This can be achieved by upping my training time between races and not only will it mean less of a bulk for my arse to haul up them hills, but it should also lower the strain on my troublesome calf and every other muscle as well. As simple a solution as it is obvious, and most likely an accurate assessment… We’ll see as only time will tell.

One disappointing note from today though, I lost my Garmin Forerunner 405 somewhere between the finish and the car park - most likely it fell out the slider of the van as I got in and out of the side, which is a real bummer to say the least and has turned what was a very enjoyable day in to an expensive one as well… Shit happens :(

Eat pies. Drink beer. Run far.