Sunday, 18 July 2010


The decision of the moment is whether to opt for a three day week at the end of September,for the duration of the winter or not?At the minute I am seriously thinking about it,and,infact will sit down tonight and work out a few figures.I have a core feeling that I should do it.Life has moved in mysterious ways over these last couple of years,but I feel it has delivered me at a time and place which is near perfect to make a big decision.

Chris has been reading a book called'Once a Runner'-a seminal book written in the early 70's about a college athlete named Quenton Cassidy,a talented miler,who after getting booted out of college,retreats to a hut in the middle of the forest to train..and train..and train.Needless to say it is ultimately a success story-the character beating the world record holder at the mile and going on to win Olympic silver.I guess that most people who are pretty serious about sport,at any times in thier lives,have haboured such dreams-but the reality is that normal living needs money-and money normally comes from working.

I have arrived at a place and time which most people would be unhappy with.I am single-although am currently experiencing a great relationship with my estranged wife-after a lot of ups and downs-and don't feel the need to be in a relationship right now.Living in the Carabanger is cheap-probably averages at around £50 a week.I've got no council tax to pay,no water bills,no gas,no electric.I can live on less than £20 a week for food-and then the only other costs are the money I give/save for Reice each week,travel costs and then money for myself.I can live frugally,and going without luxuries such as new clothes,nights out,take aways no problem.So....what is stopping me?

Looking at things in a short term perspective is easier.Working three days a week does not mean I will have to do it all the time.I would have the option of increasing the hours once we get to peak season next March.Luxuries,such as foreign travel and a return to Mexico for next weeks CCUM would be out of the picture-but the thought of really throwing myself into hard running for the winter excites me-and it would be interesting to find out what I could do-if anything,in terms of ultra distance running.I feel it is an oppurtunity that I may not get again-and if I do not seize the day,I will regret it.

The plan for the winter is thus:After the 12 hrs at Boston at the end of August,I've got the Robin Hood Half or full Marathon-probably the half-then its Cross Country season again.I love that time of year.Theres races seemingly evey weekend until Christmas-so I will do as many of those as I can-working towards a goal race at the end of January.That will give me something to work towards through those dark winter months.Right -off to work out some figures-I'm getting excited thinking about it!

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Had abit of a break from this blogging lark,but I,m now back!Training has been going well since the London-consistant weeks of between 80 and 110 miles-all run in my pretty steady pace.Theres been a couple of races of note-the Woodhall Spa 10k,followed by The Boston to Skegness Marathon a week later.Woodhall went ok and I lowered my pb once again to 37.55(ish-carn't remember exact time)-which I was happy with.My speed seems to be increasing in the shorter races,even though I'm doing absolutely no training at speed-no intervals,and virtually no running at less than 7min mile pace-apart from races.

The seabank was a week later.I had decided a few weeks earlier to miss this race this year.I had planned to go to the lake district to help reece a leg I was supposed to be doing to support my brother in his up and coming Bob Graham attempt.However plans changed and I would be in Skeg for that weekend after all.Last year I surprised myself by sneaking 3rd place in 3.21 in terrible weather conditions.But that run last year,plus running 2.56 at London,put some pressure on myself.My expectations had risen and so,in a way ,was reticent about racing this year in case I didn't preform as well as expected.However,these pressures were only put on me by myself,so the week before I decided to enter--if I ran well,I ran well-if I didn't,I didn't.I was also spurred on by comments made by my brother that week who labelled me a 'lazy runner'.This was a reference to my attitude to training.I do train hard,but do not like to follow strict schedules and have the week fully mapped out at the start of the week,preferring to just do what I feel like doing,depending on how I feel on the day.

The day of the race was nice weather-relatively still and warm-but not too warm.I felt ok.I had not done any sort of taper--ran 30 miles on the Thursday,13 on the Friday and about 10 on the Saturday-and warming up felt alittle tired-but nothing to get worried about.At the start I decided to stick with two experienced local runners-Mark Sands and Dave Tilley-both who had run the race several times and would be good judges of pace.David Oliver took the lead immediately.David has raced several ultras,such as The Jungle Marathon in Brazil,but speaking to him at the start I had found that he was going for roughly 3.30--so was not overly concerned about his lead.Another local runner ,Ben Evison,ran with Mark ,Dave and myself for the first 3/4 miles.He took us that he had ran 1.20 ish for the Friskney Half for the last 2 years,so he was certainly someone to keep an eye on.At the first water station around 3/4 miles,Ben took off and quickly caught David.Our chasing group was not overly concerned-we were trotting out sub 7 min miles,and ,if anything,thought we may be going too fast.We maintained a distance,with the leaders always within our sights.

We hit the actual seabank at around 11 miles.I was feeling easy and relaxed and exciting the check point at 11.75 miles ,took the lead position of our little group and thought I would push things on alittle.Mark and Dave quickly let me go and I began the chase for the lead two.I had plenty of time,so didn't need to do anything too dramatic-thought I would just reel them in slowly.On the approach to the 17.5 checkpoint I caught and passed David and so began the chase for Ben.The seabank is flat,so I was able to see Ben all the time,but ,although I felt good and felt that I was pushing on,I didn't seem to be catching him.I had almost settled for second place-still an improvement on the previous year-until we approached Gibraltor Point,when I seemed to make ground.As we excited the seabank and made our way along a field from the pumping station Ben was perhaps 50m ahead.Half way down the field the track split into two-both routes going the same way,I think,but Ben stopped,confused,turned to me and gestured at which track to take.I didn't know and shugged my shoulders,but knew now that the race was now mine for the taking.I passed Ben just before we reached the final road section,with,perhaps 3ish miles to go.I kept my pace up,vowed not to look back,and although Bens footsteps behind me seemed to take an eternity to dissappear,they eventually did.I hit the seacroft area of Skegness knowing the race was mine.I crossed the line in 2 hrs 52 mins-and was told it was the second fastest completion of the race in its 33 year history.Compared to the London-when the last few miles had been torture,with my legs and arms hurting,this time I felt fine.Ben finished a minute down-a great run for his first marathon-and David held on for 3rd place in a time alittle over 3 hours.