Monday, 27 April 2009

London Marathon

I didnt really practice much for the marathon... well, in distance I did, but not on the right surface. Tarmac kills you faster than grass and dirt.
Started out ok, I had a camelbak of 4:1, and a single energy gel.
Led off at the beginning, happy days, quite warm and glad I had my sunnies on, drinking water at the start, but mainly throwing it over my head as we ran around the course.
Didnt actually see anyone that I knew the whole way through.
Bands were terrific and helped us along, and it was the most social run/race I had ever done.
I didnt really notice the miles building up until all of a sudden we were at Tower Bridge, then at the halfway point, and then it started to hurt.
The main pain was in the thighs- the Quads, and it didnt go away.

That was it really- thats the pain. It just carried on right the way through the Isle of Dogs, then back down to the Tower of London, so I grimly hung on, doing laps ranging from 5:15 to 5:35 all the way around.
Finished in 3:46:16, which was about 16 seconds outside of where I wanted to be, but Im going to blame the absurdly crowded areas for that, where I just couldnt get through the people.
Also, My garmin says I ran 43ish km as well, and that I had actually run the 42km in about 3:43 anyway... but there you go.
All done

pre marathon fayre

Went to the London Marathon pre-marathon fayre on saturday, very interesting.
Went there early, to do everything that we could, first up was the massive Adidas stand as you walked in, offering gait analysis and footpad technology etc.
(all things considered, the day before the marathon isnt the best time to discover you have a crazy pronation problem, but there you go).

So I did the test, and it turns out that my heel to toe transition is really quick, I spend about 58% of the time with my foot on the ground actually using my toes... so it was suggested that I get a shoe that slows down the transition.
Next up was over to Mizuno, where I had my feet scanned again, and they suggested I have the very shoes that I normally wear- Wave Creation 9- well, the 10 is out now, so they suggested that one instead...
And I also tried on their Harrier- the Yellow trail runner, which is actually very comfortable and has pretty good lugs, so I might try a pair of them out once my current inov8s destroy themselves.
Wandered around a bit and eventually found the High 5 store, where i had a very indepth chat about the 4:1 and stomach cramps with the guy.

Apparently the body can only metabolise about 60g of carbohydrate an hour. if you eat any more than that, it just wells up in the gut, and creates backlog.
with the 4:1, we are delivering about 45g of carbs an hour, and can only accommodate another 15g per hour...
which is about right with the geobars that we eat- half a bar every half hour... but it does slightly go over the limit... hence, by the end of an 8 hour race we NEED water.... interesting.

Cyclops went and bought some MBTs, which I also had a go with, very nice, but, really, I dont have the need or the cash for them at the moment, and we picked up a shed load of stuff.
The goody bag given to us on the way out included a jar of cranberry sauce, and a half pint of London Pride. Riiiiiight


So, Its been a while.
Looking for a job is more of a full time job than actually having a job... how bizarre.
Still nothing on that front, however a couple of races have been run, and not much in the way of training has been done, mainly as the racing has been the training.

First up was the iROC, up in Durham Dales on an old disused cement factory. The race had been in preparation for quite some time- specifically as there were a lot of permissions that needed to be put in place, and also this was the inaugaral event- so there was much to go wrong.
The format was 6 races over 2 days.
Well, 5 on the Saturday and a killer on the Sunday, but more of that later.

What made this interesting was the nature of the event. After each race we got to go back to the tent, chill out, talk about the next race in the series, chat with other competitors, and generally prepare for the next one.
Of course, not all competitors were racing in all the events, so there were some people who were more knackered than others...

Like idiots, Jibber and I entered all of them.

Race 1. Fell race.
Basically up the steep sides of the hill overlooking the cement factory, up. Up more, over, into and across a bog, up some more, and then down, etc. For a good 8-9 miles. It basically gave us a good overview of the entire event area and more, what terrain to expect, where to expect it and how it was generally going to look.
The final part of the run was down through the single track in the forest- it was obscenely technical. Lumps, Bumps, roots, bridges, steep drops, the works.
That served as one of the big "anticipators" of the whole thing.
It turned out that a lot of the racers spent the rest of the day in dread of the night bike race which was going to go through that single track.
I spent much of that race waiting for Jibber- I appear to be a faster runner than him- and could have gained a number of placings, however, I waited and we plunged through the ice-cold river at the end of the race, and ended in good style.

Race 2. Orienteering part 1
For this race each racer was given a sealed map as they entered the start area, each map had a numbered series of orienteering points, and you had to collect the points in the correct order.
There were 4 loops, and every racer had the loops in a unique order. The loops at the bottom were the shorter of the 4, the other 2 were much longer and required a lot of hill climbing skills.
I had a bottm loop first, then a hill loop, then the killer bitch of a loop and then the final one closest to the finish.
Going up the third one, I was astonished to see someone actually RUNNING up the hill/slag heap behind me. "that bloke is fast" I thought.
Yep, then I got caned by a girl. Props to her though- totally wupped me.
Got back in 1hr31min.

Race 3 Orienteering 2
This was meant to go over into darkness, but it didnt really get all that dark. It was true orienteering in that we had an hour to get as much done as we could.
I teamed up with Jibber for this one and we got as many as we could. I managed one more point than him with a final sprint along the bottom of the course. Quite a nice trot over the hills, but I was really beginning to feel it.

Race 4 Night MTB
This was the one that the Bikers were looking forward to, and the runners really werent.
I was very happy that I had my Maxx exposure Joystick head torch thingy- just the right amount of light. (more would, of course, have been useful, but light=lots of cash.
The start was a bit of a mangled affair with people not knowing when or who was going, but I managed to get away with 3 others (we were let out in batches of 4).
The outward trail was getting torn up by this time, and wasnt fun at all- (I was VERY VERY glad that I had spent 30quid on a new rear tyre a couple of hours before) and I started winding my way through people on the first climb up the road.
We then went onto the grass, still up hill, then more winding up to the top of a massive slag heap, and a massive scary downhill bit, which was most amusing.
So I had overtaken a number of people, and then it was down into the depths of the forst and singletrack- which was, without a doubt, absolutely fantastic.
There were a couple of uber steep bits that had to be walked, but other than that, it was really good.
Coming down the final road, I pushed on the power and really drove it home, overtaking another load of people before the end.
I came about 41st out of the whole lot, which, all things considered, was not bad at all.

Race 5 Night Fell race
Ok, was getting tired here, it was a 4-5mile slog up and down the hills, we had covered pretty much all of the ground during the day, but it didnt make it any easier.
ACLs and ITBs were in massive pain going down hills, had to go through that damn forest again, which was even more churned up than ever. I got back in 1hr 8mins, Jibber took considerably longer.
going through that damn river at the end really didnt help either.
Settled down to sleep once the music in the marquee had shut the hell up- at 1am, and woke up, somewhat concernedly at 915 the next morning, when we had only really had about what felt like 10 mins kip.

Race 6- MTB enduro
Never done an enduro before. Never want to do one in those conditions ever again. Knackered to the point of oblivion we set out- with a 500yard dash to the bikes, en masse, and then got on out bikes... now, I consider myself to be quite a hardy biker, but, by the end of the first loop, I was gasping, and by the end of the second, I was a gonner. I couldnt stand up on my pedals to go over rough ground as my knees hurt too much, I couldnt pedal up hill- I was in granny ring the FIRST time around, there wasnt anywhere else to go after that!
so after only 1.5hours and 2 loops out, I called it a day and limped in. Knees are more important than a few places on the chart.

I came 60th out of about 200 (I was 50th before the enduro... but there you go), and was totally knackered, with a massive cut down the back of my left leg from the DMR pedals.

couldnt have finished the race without High 5 4:1, nor power gels, nor geobars.
best endurance food ever.