Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Against Time

I was in a pub just over a week ago, off Victoria Street in London, with my mate Andy. Andy is a top bloke and a great athlete currently training for an Ironman Triathlon in June. At the moment he is pumping in the miles on both the bike and in the trainers in a bid to be on top of his game when he heads down to the south coast of France to compete in June.

We then started talking about swimming and Andy confessed that this is not something he has been doing a huge amount of in the winter and that putting the three together and racing in three months is beginning to concern him. When you see his training plan and records of what he has done its difficult to believe he can have any self-doubt. He will storm it!

This got me thinking as I often feel the same with Ultra’s and for me at least I only have to put one foot in front of the other. Its fine to do training runs of 10 to 20 miles a few times a week during the winter but come March and a quick look at the calendar always shows there are less pages to turn than there were at Christmas when entering the events seemed such a good idea.

A couple of weeks prior I was at a networking breakfast and the discussion was about the do’s and don’ts of starting a business. One, of the many, great suggestions was to eat elephant. When you have to do something start it and just get going. This is so like training, you may not get it perfect, but you have to start somewhere and when you look back the accumulative effect of all those training runs, and in Andy’s case rides, will only be known during the hard stages of a race.

Monday, 8 March 2010

You're going well!

This weekend was a great one for running. The weather was dry, sunny and cool (cold). The rain last week made the underfoot sticky but the sun was baking it dry, so just enough squelch and resistance.

I did the same run twice (extended pea field) both during sunset. The lowering sun over the river Deben really was a delight. And going late meant I only saw two dogs all weekend, which were together and on leads, bonus!

Yesterday I was coming down Sandy Lane and went past two runners coming up towards me. The first a friendly lady said hi. I skipped on 200 yards and saw the second, an older chap in his 70s. He was doing more of a fast walk than a run but it is a fair incline and long one too. As I went past he smiled and said ‘you’re going well’. Suddenly I felt an added spring and enjoyed the two miles home.

Over the remainder of my run it got me thinking about people who encourage me during work. Every time I see Adam Gray I get abuse but never do I leave a conversation or a meeting without a ‘you’re going well’ comment, like the one I got on my run yesterday. Thanks to that chap and Adam this is something I’m going to start doing more both on runs and at work to give others that happy, motivated, feeling.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Opportunities from running

I’ve had two great runs this week. One was traditional and the second much more profitable.

Over the last month Simon and I have been running back from work once or twice a week – Simon is in great form at the moment and to be honest showing me a clean pair of heels. But on Wednesday my rhythm was back and it really was a pleasure to be going through the woods at night. The feeling of running fast through a tunnel was back – this time with light at the end of it!

On Monday I had a Dynamics CRM sales training day at Microsoft in Reading – great food, great talks and great motivational stuff. At the end of the day three xbox’s were given away. Two were given away with a draw for event feedback forms. When the final feedback form was about to be drawn Gavin Ingham, the motivational guy for the day, said ‘the days been about selling – so let’s not draw this one – who wants it?’

As you can imagine everyone put their hands up, Gavin then said ‘that is too easy, we have been talking about selling, attitude, reaching higher, going further for our clients...someone show me you really want it’

As soon as he started saying this my running instinct took hold – luckily i was on an aisle seat so jumped up, skipped down to the front and stood next to him. As Gavin finished he turned, looked a bit surprised I was standing there and I said ‘please can I have it?’. He kindly gave me the xbox.

It just goes to show when we go for a run we never know the opportunities that will come from it. On Wednesday it was for that amazing sensation when you feel at one with nature and yourself, but on Monday for an xbox.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What goes up must come down...

We are in! In August Anna and I will line up to take part in the CCC (Courmayeur, Champex, Chamonix). This is half an anticlockwise lap of the famous walk of the tour du Mont Blanc. Starting in Italy, crossing Switzerland and finishing in France. The course is 98 km in distance and will involve 5505 meters of up and then 5690 meters of down to be completed in 26 hours!

The draw results came out yesterday and with both the CCC and the full lap Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) being oversubscribed it felt like opening a website with exam results on it, ‘in or not in...Pass or fail?’ The true exam will be those 5500 meters of up and down later in the year but we are enjoying passing that first test right now.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Highland Fling

The first race entry for 2010 I filled out was for the Highland Fling. This is a 53 mile off road event that runs the first half of the West Highland Way in April.

It was great to see on the race website that I had been registered. Due to an accident of birth I had the good fortune of seeing myself one place above Jez Bragg. I know my legs will not keep me in front of the man who has won this event for the last two years but I will enjoy seeing my name next to his until the starter’s gun goes off.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

It's (a) cold!

The early year enthusiasm has been hit by two factors. A) A Cold. B) It is Cold!!!

A). A Cold – I am sure I have been suffering from the worst cold in the history of mankind. On Saturday 2nd January I felt the old glands in my neck...then came the sore throat and two days later my nose started to run...much more than my legs have been since.

B). It Is Cold – While I have been recovering from the worst cold in the history of mankind the UK has been pummelled with the worst weather since (depending which weather forecast I watch) 20 years, 30 years or 60 years.

The combination has meant only one run in nearly two weeks, although that was another beautiful snow covered experience, and a couple of trip into the garage for indoor rows.

On the positive side the final pieces of the big jigsaw for 2010 are now coming together and soon I should be able to give the timetable.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A new year a new crunch

2010 started with a crunch. 20 minutes into the new year, while I stood at the sink working out how to deal with the mess I had created during the last cooking expedition of 2009, I could see the snow was falling again. The temptation of a run there and then was overruled by the first washing up marathon of the new decade.

By 11 am, and following a good sleep after that first marathon of the new year, we hit the tracks. Anna was up from London and we headed out for a straight forward 10k or otherwise known as the pea field run. We had done the same run the day before but now the roads and paths held an underlying ice covered with snow that made them treacherous, soon proven when I put my hand on the road to prevent the first fall of the year within 10 minutes of setting off.

100 meters on from the slip we hit the proper off road section of the pea field and were greeted by that magical crunch of running on fresh snow and imploding iced puddles. The clouds that had brought the snow had long gone and the sky was a light blue with a low sun blazing down to greet us.

Back home within 50 minutes we soon chilled and needed to be warmed again with coffee and tea. The first ultra race we have planned for the year is the Highland Fling in April shortly followed by Anna's first 100 mile event over the second bank holiday in May, again in Scotland. Before then many cold, wet and muddy miles will be plodded. Hopefully with less ice but if the snow comes again bring on the training!