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Post London recovery went 4, 4, 7, 6, 6 miles, all easy, with each run feeling better but still harder work than I would have liked.
An easy train journey to Richmond left me with plenty of time for kit check and to sit staring at Old Father Thames, my companion for the next 20hrs or so, in the slightly chilly air.
The vague plan was to use my fatigue to reign in the pace (9mm ish) over the 1st half and worst case scenario, death march chunks of the 2nd half if necessary.
About 200m into the race there is a bit of a scramble to get to a gate that only lets one person through at a time. In the scramble all plans went out the window and what felt like an easy effort yielded far too many 8min miles taking me to the first aid station(AS) at 12miles in 10th place, oops.
Somewhere on the way to the 2nd AS at mile 22 I tripped over a tree root. Unremarkable other than that's usually a sign of fatigue resulting in not lifting my feet. Not a great portent less than 1/4 way in.
Pace naturally slowed, helped by a couple of walking/eating breaks of maybe 1/4mile, to reach Dorney, mile 30.5 in 12th place, 4hrs 29mins in, 8:50 pace.
I was eating (anything) and drinking well and the temp was perfect, for me at least even though I needed a hat and gloves, so I pressed on. The grand houses started to give way to open riverside meadows interspersed with tree sheltered paths and the occasional town. This really is a beautiful route.
Cookham AS at mile 38 (16th pos) came and went and eventually, one of the many black clouds that was passing dropped a bit of rain. Not enough to summon waterproofs, just enough to provide a pleasant cooling. The sun came out, Hurley AS was passed and half way was in sight.
I've learnt from experience that I shouldn't really be ahead of the leading ladies so when a female GB ultra runner wished me and another chap well as we passed, myself and the other guy both remarked this is not good. Order was soon restored as she made over an hour ahead in the 2nd half.
Henley AS, halfway at mile 51 was reached in 8hrs 14m and 20th place so maybe only 30mins ahead of ideal schedule. The temptation is to sit here with a bowl of warm food chatting to the volunteers. I resisted temptation, standing, I downed the pasta as quickly as possible and marched out for a mile.
Reading AS mile 58 usually marks the place where sun sets for me. The race started 1/2hr earlier than usual but there was plenty of light left. It did get colder from here so a base layer was donned and sweets consumed, including the most calorific fudge I've ever tasted, perfect.
From here, a lot of the route is also used by the Autumn 100 so I know it well which I find helps mentally. Whitchurch was reached at mile 67 just as dark fell and from here only 4 miles to Streatley AS where hot beans awaited. Arrived in 18th place. Split pace had dropped to 12mm but with the only bumps on the course in this leg just gone, I wasn't worried.
The next section through Wallingford AS to Clifton Hampden felt quite a bit tougher. Section pace dropped to 14mm and not having seen anyone for ages, 4 or 5 people passed in one go which I found a bit disheartening as I tried to latch on but couldn't keep up. The grass was starting to crisp with light frost so I resolved to keep moving eg 2 miles run 1/4 mile walk with various adaptions. It turns out some of those that passed were pacers so only two places were dropped to mile 85, 20th. I trod on something around here, either a snake or a piece of rope. After letting out my manliest scream I didn't hang around to find out what it was.
I was now aware that with approx 15m to go, I was on for a decent PB. A few more trips and stumbles elicited some industrial language but Abingdon(91m) soon arrived, albeit the other side of the river to the marathon. I did no more than apologise for not stopping to the volunteers who were looking very cold, something I repeated at Lower Radley, the last AS at mile 95, 18th place - I don't recall passing anyone so I must have gained a couple of places in one of the previous aid stations.
Despite the near zero temps, pace had picked up on the last section to a scorching 12mm and for the last 5 miles this got even hotter to 11mm as I ran .75 and walked .25. A sizeable PB was in the bag and it was just a case of whether I wanted something starting with an 18. I did.
I arrived at the finish in Oxford, in the dark for the first time, to collect an 18hr 35m 45s 100 mile PB in a creditable 18th place.
Always good to get your goal out there Chicksta. And happy birthday
Will be interesting to see if Kipchoge can do it SQ. If they do choose Battersea Park it’s certainly a flat, fast course! And the crowd support will undoubtably help compared to the rather empty Monza.
I’m already booked to do the Coventry Northbrook 10K on the 14th unfortunately Jooligan.
Great you’re getting back in to things HPR.
Great gambling AWC. I only won on one horse at Cheltenham, despite my highly scientific “pick the horse name you like” method
Loss of motivation is normal after a big race Hamo, take it easy and I’m sure the mojo will return before you know it. Although judging by your weekend, sounds like it might be back already? Great parkrun result.
Great report Macca. Amazing effort, running 100 miles still boggles my mind.
Big week TR, nice work.
Congrats on the PB Steve, sounds like plenty more to come.
I’m ticking along, with increasingly less time being taken up by thoughts of my injury. I was pleased to be able to string together 12, 10, then 17 mile runs over the weekend, without any glute/ITB grumbles. I can also really feel the difference in my glute exercises, where the left glute is now working almost as hard as the right, whereas previously it was hardly moving at all. I am finding I’m getting quite achy hamstrings sometimes now, I guess perhaps they’re doing more and/or different work now the glutes are working properly.
Barcelona sounds fantastic, HPR, and great to see you getting in some running.
Hope Provence is good, chicksta,
one of my favourite places in the world. I chickened out of running up Mt
Ventoux last year, but I reckon it’d be worth a crack if someone would drive
you back down.
Great report, Macca.
Such a long time to be out there for! I guess experience must play a big part,
but nonetheless, hugely impressive.
17:22 is shifting, hamo. Not bad for
someone with CBA! Well done on the parkrun PB, SteveMac as well.
Heck of a few days you’ve put together there, AWC. Bodes very well for the ultra. The
one you’ve that is, not just the one you casually knock out by yourself 😊
A couple of good runs so far this week: Monday night was my
first stab at the Berkeley 10k. I had seen in previous years that it must be a
fast course, with numerous runners impressing. It came 15 days after the
marathon, so whilst not fully recovered, I thought it worth a hit out. I do
love an evening race, especially when the weather is so balmy. The race starts
at a nuclear power station, then winds around the village for a couple of laps.
Not completely flat, but with a good group around me and some excellent win shielding
from a sturdy figure, the miles ticked by. I was breathing noticeably hard just
2k in, but was pleased to see 5:39 and 5:42 clock up for the opening two miles.
The inevitable fade came with mile 4 only just dipping under 6m/m, but I did
manage to rally reasonably well. Slightly disappointed to be outsprinted in the
last 100m, but that is something I feel you would have to work on to truly develop
(and as ‘Harriers’ I suspect they will have practised this). Delighted to run
only 42s off a PB, with a solid 36:35. A 2M morning shakeout, 3M warm up then a
delightful 2M warm down supporting other runners rounded off my longest day’s
running since the marathon. The above said, it was the club house that stole
the show. A delightful 1970s affair, the atmosphere was brilliant. A quick
massage followed by a free beer and a good chinwag with Jooligan, what’s not to love. Mind you, I did step in to help an
upset female runner from my club. The male winning team had just been presented
with a 4 pack of Guinness each, only for the ladies to share two six packs of
J2O – outrageous! General relief all round when I politely asked if they could perhaps
have the wine that seemed to be left over from the prizegiving. It genuinely
brought thoughts of Al Murray’s Pub Landlord (a fruit based soft drink for the
This morning, despite only 36 hours recovery, I met spoons and a colleague at the school
grass track. Stunning weather. 6 x 800 in 2:51 – 2:55. Felt good and enjoyed it
a ridiculous amount. Skipped the 100m strides at the end as I knew there was no
way I would be able to run any faster. I suspect that after some weights this
afternoon, I may be moving a little gingerly tomorrow…
Big miles AWC, nice work.
I thought that too HPR, which is why I suggested they’re perhaps being worked differently now perhaps? I remember I had similar aches last year when I did a lot of treadmill running due to snow. Great you’re starting to build up the miles again.
Get well soon Hamo.
Speedy reps Steve great work.
Really enjoyable session with SQ on Weds. I was pleasantly surprised I managed to hang on to the back of him for the first two 800m reps, in 2:54 and 2:51. Perhaps paid for that second one as the rest went 2:57, 56, 58 and 59. But an average of 2:56 is six seconds faster than two weeks ago, with an extra one thrown in for good measure, so happy with that.
First double day for two months yesterday, just a pair of recovery five milers, but good to be slowly building back up. Thirteen along the canal for my medium-long this morning, touch wood everything feels good. Tempted to run parkrun tomorrow, will see how I feel in the morning.
Interesting graph NE. Looks pretty good to me - plenty of slower miles with a smattering of faster stuff. And clearly working for you, congrats on the parkrun.
Great week TR.
Congrats on the PB Reg, excellent work. Really pleased for you after your string of injuries. Long may it continue.
Cracking long run AWC. As I said on Strava, four times my weekly elevation in a single run! Hope the knee is ok.
Decent weekend for me. parkrun went well on Saturday. Settled in to a decent pace quickly, and after reeling in a small group over the first mile found myself alone for the rest of the run. Finished in 18:51 which I was pleased with given the 13 miles the day before. Felt strong throughout, more of a hard tempo effort than all-out 5K, and finished feeling like I could have kept going at least a little longer.
Followed that up by 18 miles yesterday, bringing me to 77.5 miles for the week. Kept things to easy effort, which was finally reflected in the HR after weeks of it reading high. Pleased with the average pace of 7:20/mi for that effort. Not even a twinge from the glute or ITB. It’s getting to the point now where I don’t give it much thought, which makes runs that bit more enjoyable.
The HR was also behaving for this morning’s recovery with SQ, so it definitely feels like I’ve made some progress. I still have a while before I shift to proper marathon training, so I’m planning to keep this general pattern of track Wednesday, parkrun/10K at the weekend, for the next month or so, so I’ll hopefully be in a good starting place for the bigger stuff.
Easier week this week ahead of the Pitchcroft 10K on Sunday. Not expecting fireworks, but should hopefully go better than last year when I couldn’t even break 40 minutes!