Tag Archives: running

Run 168 – Bath Skyline #4

Date:  Sunday 15th February 2015 11:00am

Distance: 10.00km

Time: 58:52

Pace: 5:53 min/km

Description: So, 7:30am, lying in bed thinking do I really want to do this?  Get up, go to the club and hope I can get a lift, or get a train and taxi?  Meh.  OK, I’m up.  Let’s get dressed and pack.  As I’m on the bus, I get confirmation that a lift is available.  I get down there and have some time to find some breakfast.  Which is harder to do before 9am than you’d think.  Betting shop is already open though!

So after a ham sarnie my lift arrives.  A pleasant journey to Bath race course with someone who’s occasionally running with TACH and who lived in Germany for several years.  Thankfully it’s warmer today, so no sheet ice to negotiate.  We arrive a bit later than usual, and chat with the other SRC people and Liam and his friend are here as well.

Only 10mins before the start, I do some very quick warm ups (not enough) and pop to the toilet just in time to make it into wave 1 before 30 seconds and the start.  We’re off and I want to be quick here like last time to try to get ahead of as many people as possible before the mud bath.  I manage to close the gap to Tom and Lee for a bit, but then after a couple of km I’m sensing my lack of warm up, energy and that ham sarnie still digesting.  Slosh, slosh, slosh as I bound down the big hill.  It doesn’t seem as fast or as controlled as last time, I’m using bigger strides.  But STRAVA tells a different story.  A very different story.  I smashed that today in 1:52 at 3:27/km pace. (Which almost seems slow as that’s downhill, and I’m doing that on the flat at WISE.)  But last time, I was nearly a whole minute slower on pace.  2:21 at 4:21/km pace.  Wow! Mark, the guy from B&WAC is #1 on this segment, Lee and Tom from SRC are 2nd and 4th respectively.  Only 10s off top place, but that was done at 3:09/km! Nice work.

It’s been cat and mouse with a guy from SRC, I’m just faster on the downhill, but I pay for that on the up hill.  I try to keep jogging, but have to fell walk the rest of it.  Then forcing myself back in to a trot.  Then comes the mud.  Not so much of it this time.  I have quite a gap in front.  There are still really muddy bits, where I think I’m gonna loose a shoe.  But it seems to pass quicker than last time.  However, coming up the hill towards 5k my legs feel like they’re full of acid.  Shit, too much too soon.  Lack of prep, lack of food, lack of hydration, this is my fault.  Similar thing happened at Sugarloaf last year.  It’s flat after 5k, but it just seems to go on and on forever.  I’m dreading the woods.  Eventually they come and I’m still slow in them.  There’s no queue but I get over taken.  Despite being drier, I still don’t trust this ground.  I can’t let go on this.  Going up is still painfully (yes, lower back hurts) slow.  I make it to the top and I’m shattered.  Speeding up as fast as an oil tanker on the flat.  Less confidence on the downhill.  This needs to be under the hour, and it’s looking extremely close.  I’ve just got to keep the pace up.  Approaching the last km I’m starting to catch the SRC guy I’ve been tailing.  As we both get on the final straight I tell him we should be under the hour.  Four minutes to go.  The closer I get, the more I know this should be under the hour.  I’m certainly not comfortable, but I’m not half a second away from death.  I pass a guy who’s just slowed to a walking pace and I tell him to keep going, he’ll be under the hour!  He starts jogging again J  I make it to the finish and see the clock is 58:40.  As I pass it, I know it must be under 59 minutes.  I’m happy with that!  I turn around and the SRC fella comes in and we shake hands.  Great race.

It makes a nice change to get to the tent and be very few people around.  I grab some food and my third medal and head back to the start.  On my way, someone comes up to me and says they recognise me from Pen y Pass.  I recognise him, but it takes me a while for the cogs to turn.  Then his wife turns up and yes, they are the couple from Bristol who were also at the Pen Y Pass YHA in Snowdonia when I was there.  Awesome!  Forgot she is a member of SRC.

I get to start and the others are there.  We cheer in the other runners as usual; “Sprint Finish!”, “Go on, get him!” etc.  We cheer Liam in and 118.  Great atmosphere.  And wearing my SRC Green jacket, it almost feels warm.  Great way to end what is likely to be my last Skyline for a while.





RUN 152 – Not the Little Stoke Park Run

Date:  Saturday 10th January 2015 4:00pm

Distance: 5.00 km

Time: 20:34

Pace: 4:07 min/km

Description: Not bad. Pretty happy.  11 seconds slower than the perfect Brighton PB, but still 34 seconds faster than my Little Stoke PR PB in Nov. 17 seconds faster than fastest Aztec.  But this is the place where it counts.

Today, if I’d been in the same place mentally as Thursday night, this would have been a PB. Probably much closer to that two zero.  But Thursday and Friday eating didn’t turn out too great, and despite going to bed early and enjoying the sound of the wind outside, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep.  So I wasn’t as fired up physically or mentally as I’d hoped.

I seemed so slow to get off the mark, and the first kilometre seems harder than it should have been.  The head wind on the subtly uphill straight didn’t help.  Second km seemed a bit better and I told myself that my body and heart rate just need to get up to speed and then it’ll be easier.  It was a little, both just under 4:00min/km, until the third, when my pace went off to 4:20min/km. That’s it I thought, no chance of a PB today, and I started the fourth km with a little less fire and a little less speed.  Fourth was still slow, but steady. If I can keep this up, maybe it won’t be horrendously slow.  Fifth and final I tried to speed up a bit, put in a bit more effort.  But I’ve left my warm flat, there’s no one here physically to fight and chase with, just me and my mind.  And a few dog walkers to avoid.  It might have been better if I’d been chased by a dog, but no such luck. But the time wasn’t too bad, and the distance was quickly passing.  Try as much as I can up the final straight, over the little ramp and thankfully at 5k I have a time of 20:34.  Bloody pleased it was under 21, and under my Aztec PB.  Would have been great to be 4 seconds faster, but I can live with that.  On a good day, there will be a better time!

Lessons. People can slow you down to begin with, but they can make you faster overall.  Perhaps the slight ease off of the third km gave me breathing space to attack on the final km.  I might get this PB if I do the first 2 on pace, 3rd just off, maybe 4:10, 4:15, then try and get back on to pace for the 4th and then just give 150% until you throw up or black out on the final.  We shall see what it takes!

Clothing: So, it’s been blowing a gale here, and although it’s mild for this time of year, I was considering my clothing options carefully before today’s run.  I’ve found the Helly Hansen tops fantastic, but wonder how they compare with my merino tops.  Should I wear the merino next to skin with HH on top, or vise-versa? This article helped: http://thenextchallenge.org/comparison-base-layer-materials/.

I’ll concur that merino is GREAT for low stink.  But I don’t expect it to be so great at drying out when wet, but it’s warm and feels good next to skin.  So, it’s not raining, just windy and a bit chilly.  So put on a HH t-shirt with a merino longsleeve over the top.  Also wrapped up a lightweight running jacket with hood around the waist (hardly felt it).  And great.  Jogging out I could wrap the long sleeves over my hands, buff keeping my neck warm, running fast I could roll up the sleeves, buff wrapped around wrist to wipe away the sweat while the HH shirt kept me fairly dry.  Then at the end, sleeves go back over the arms, the buff goes on the head, and the jacket on and hood up. Walking back home in to the wind was fairly pleasant as a result.  Win.

Recovery: One mug of Cadburys Hot Chocolate = 15.5g of protein [6.8g from 200ml semi-skimmed milk + 7.7g from a serving of hot chocolate!] Plus 27.1g sugar (~100kcal).  Not to mention 0.53g sodium, or ~8% RDA. (Which surprisingly is the same as a small bag of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps! Go figure!)

My whey protein mix has around 20g of protein and only 2g sugar.  If I were to mix that with water, I’d be better off with the hot chocolate, especially after a winter run! Similar level of protein, but more sugar and calories, and it’s hot.  And tastes damn good too!

“All types of milk, from whole to nonfat contain 18 amino acids: all nine of the essential amino acids; six semi-essential: arginine, cysteine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine; and three nonessential: alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. These are the same amino acids found in eggs.” – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/amino-acids-contained-milk-eggs-3992.html

Looking at the back of the whey protein tub, there’s a load of amino acids on there.  And I usually mix the strawberry flavour with milk anyways, which would give me 35g of protein in a glass.  But if I’m on a run away from home, but near a café, I’ll be trying to order a hot chocolate, if not a latte.  Maybe I’ll have a protein shake with milk after a particularly punishing run, or when I want something cool and refreshing.  And who knows, I may get a tub of chocolate whey protein and add a scoop and experiment.

Looking at the Twining Swiss Hot Chocolate info, it also contains a load of vitamins and minerals crucial for metabolism of carbs, proteins and fats, as well as ATP release. We’re talking around 30% of RDA! Looks like I’ll be defecting to Twinings Swiss Hot Chocolate as my recovery drink of choice this winter!

Keep warm.  Keep running.


2015 – Goals and Race Calendar


Sub 20 5k
Sub 40 10k
Sub 1:30 Half Marathon
Sub 3:30 Marathon
Complete 12 Marathons
First Ultra-Marathon Race (75km)
Complete the “Big Three” British Mountain Races: Scafell Pike Marathon, Snowdon Race, Ben Nevis Race
Run Mount Olympus!

18 of 53 weekends already “Race Weekends”. Still to be included are the Blaise Blazers, Towpath, Relish Cheddar and Bath Running Festival races. I’m sure the summer will fill out with more marathons, club races, fast half marathons and hiking, biking, scrambling, climbing weekends! Following Athens, I’ve realised that if I dream of travelling the world and running sky and ultra races, I need to step things up!

I need to be faster. I know I can do those times, I just need to prove it by action. And that should improve my fitness. End of 2014 saw me shave a minute off my 5k PB down to 20:23. Two days later I ran 75km, besting my distance by over 30km! (So much for the 10% rule.) Having completed the original Athens Marathon, Portsmouth Coastal and Greenman in the space of 7 weeks, I want to build myself up over the next year, so that running marathon distance is a regular thing, so that 2016 I can start hitting the international sky and ultra races.

And ultimately, I want to run higher. Since a kid, I’ve been fascinated by the sky, the clouds and beautiful views. Those trails and summits are really calling to me! What better way than running up into them? Olympus (2919m) and Teide (3718m) are two mountains I want to run in the next couple of years. My first run was to discover if I could one day run 10km. I found out very quickly I can. The question for me now is whether I will one day run Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc or Western States 100. Every step of every run gets me closer to my dreams.

So dream big people!


Week 01
Week 02
Week 03 – Sun 18th – Bath Skyline 10k Trail #3 – ENTERED
Week 04 – Sun 24th – Rok The Stones Trail Marathon – ENTERED Week 05 – Tue 27th – Aztec West Fast 5k


Week 06
Week 07 – Sun 15th – Bath Skyline 10k Trail Race #4 – ENTERED
Week 08 – Sun 27th – Heartbreaker Trail Marathon – ENTERED
Week 09 – Tue 24th – Aztec West Fast 5k


Week 10 – Sat 7th – Green Man Ultra-Marathon – ENTERED
Week 11
Week 12 – Sun 22nd – Bath Two Tunnels 10k #1 – ENTERED
Week 13


Week 14 – Sat 4th – Sugar Loaf Mountain Race
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17 – Sun 26th – Hamburg Marathon – ENTERED
Week 18


Week 19 – Sun 10th – Bath Two Tunnels 10k #2 – ENTERED
Week 20 – Fri 15th – Towpath Series 10k #1 – ENTERED
Week 21
Week 22 – Sun 31st – Bristol 10k – ENTERED


Week 23 – Sun 7th – Scafell Pike Mountain Marathon – ENTERED Week 24 – Fri 12th – Towpath Series 10k #2 – ENTERED
Week 25
Week 26 – Sun 28th – Mount Olympus Marathon – SPECTATOR / VOLUNTEER
Week 27


Week 27 – Fri 3rd – Towpath Series 10k #3 – ENTERED
Week 28 – Sun 12th – Bath Two Tunnels 10k – ENTERED
Week 29 – Sat 18th – Snowdon Mountain Race
Week 30
Week 31


Week 32 – Fri 7th – Towpath Series 10k #4 – ENTERED
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35 – Fri 28th – Towpath Series 5k #5 – ENTERED
– Sun 30th – Severn Bridge Half Marathon – ENTERED


Week 36 – Sat 5th – Ben Nevis Mountain Race
Week 37 – Sun 13th – Bristol Half Marathon – ENTERED
Week 38 – Sun 20th – Bath Two Tunnels 10k #4 – ENTERED
Week 39
Week 40


Week 41
Week 42
Week 43 – 25th – Bristol and Bath Marathon – ENTERED
Week 44


Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
Week 48
Week 49


Week 50
Week 51
Week 52
Week 53

Featured photo is by Sakis Pallas:

Run 106 – SRC Chocolate, Nightingale x2, Leigh Woods

Date: Thursday 19th June 6:30am

Distance: 12km

Time: 1:06:49

Pace: 16:13min/km

Description: I felt fine on the Monday after the Scafell Marathon. Good to know for next time. But I was up in Worcester on Tuesday so the next SRC I could make was Thursday. And I wanted to do a mixture of Towpath, with technical Nightingale Valley stuff, combined with a few intervals. So I plucked up the courage at the SRC meeting to say what I wanted to do. A couple of guys joined me who were after a faster paced run. Well these guys gave me a run for my money. The interval stuff on the way out was new to everyone, and bloody tough. Made going up nightingale, not once but twice extremely hard going. I want to throw up. Just as I’m ready to head back to the club for the England game, one of the guys says he knows Leigh woods very well, so we have a cruise around there for a while as I recount my learning experience of the past weekend. Turns out they guys a fell runner. As we run back, we join another group along the Chocolate Path. The game was tense, but a fantastic evening.


Run 104 – Keswick Stone Circles

Date: Saturday 14th June 7:30pm

Distance: 12.90km

Time: 2:32:01

Pace: 11:47min/km

Description: Given the amazing scenery of the Lake District, and finding there was a Stone Circle not so far away from where we were staying in Keswick, it was hard to resist going for a gentle run this evening.

Not quite as mystical as we’d hoped, given the sheep, photographers and tourist, but still very cool. We make it back and grab a Chinese and eat it on a bench overlooking Derwent Water as the sky is still light at 11pm.

I ask what do you see when you see those hills and mountains in front? A 50:50 mixture of apprehension and excitement. For me, those thin track lines meandering up the side to the top are just calling to me. The cloud veiled summits are the goal. I want to be in the sky.

Can’t wait to get to work on them in ten hours!



Run 103 – Towpath Series #2

Date: Friday 13th June 7:30pm

Distance: 10:00km

Time: 45:27

Pace: 4:33min/km

Description: So, it’s absolutely boiling. I haven’t carbed up. And I’m running a trail marathon up the highest mountain in England in two days time. But I want that time!

Today is an interesting lesson in negative psychology, as well as heat. Having pulled such a surprising PB out of the bag a month ago, I struggle to see how I can top that. I’m almost scared to try. My close finish last Monday makes me even more despondent, and I’m worried about who may be here. Today is looking like certain failure.

But I try my best, and have to grab some water on the way round. 45:27 is slower than I wanted, I would have been more comfortable with a 44:30. Being sprint finished by an old guy from Westbury Harriers didn’t feel too great either. Maybe that’s for Monday?

But let’s focus on the weekend in The Lakes…