A Good Way To Finish

This was do or die.

After 5 months of races, it now all came down to this one final 100 miles.

I had inadvertently fallen into the Centurion Racing ‘grand slam’, a series of four races run by the same team which challenged not only my now favourite 100 mile trail running distance, but extended the challenge to running consecutive races carried out only a few weeks apart.

Trail running has exploded recently, with many, many people discovering the joy of running in the countryside, as opposed to battling with masses in city races, and this series of races catered well for the equally expanding appetite for ultrarunning, by taking in long distance runs along beautiful English national trails.

At the beginning of May, I found myself running 100 miles along the Thames, in the TP100 from Richmond to Oxford, followed 6 weeks later, by a similarly lengthy, but much hillier jaunt along the South Downs way, the SDW100 from Winchester to Eastbourne, in June. Typically, on the hottest day in August, 8 weeks later, I found myself running along the North Downs way in the NDW100, from Farnham to Wye in Kent. I had completed all these races in under 24 hours, setting a new personal best at the Thames Path 100 in May. I was quietly confident of a good race now, but I was also aware, through bitter experience that ANYTHING can, and often does, happen in a 100 mile race and nothing is a given.

A100 Start line 3
A100 Start line 3 (Photo: Stuart March)

So it was that I arrived in Goring, on 17 October, thankfully fully recovered from my previous exploits, having managed to exorcise the phantom niggles the mind throws at you before a race, and I was confidently toeing the start line of my 10th 100 mile race.

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Ticking along nicely

Although the blogging has been somewhat quiet of late, the training has been ticking along quite nicely and dare I say it, I have remained injury free, despite ramping up my mileage over the last couple of months.

The recovery from the ‘exertion’ of the Edinburgh Marathon was surprisingly lengthy it was 2-3 weeks at least before I was getting my pace back to what I would consider ‘normal’. The problem here is that it has also been getting warmer – yes, I know that for those of you in the south of France, the southern states of the USA and Australia, to name but a few, ‘warm’ is not a term that you would associate with the move of a thermometer in a positive direction into the lower 20Β°C territory, but the UK weather, after a very mild winter, has stayed pretty mild until recently, with only the odd day here and there to remind us that the yellow globe in the sky provides all of the life-giving energy to our humble existance – indeed, sales of sun-cream in the UK have no doubt suffered in 2014 until recently.

Continue reading Ticking along nicely

Mind that first step

I’d promised the children a bit of a treat after we had needed to reschedule a visit to a local adventure park recently. But what to do?

It seems there are plenty of options for ‘family’ entertainment nowadays, but I was conscious of their need for some adrenaline fuelled adventure, having cancelled jumps down water chutes, vertical descent slides and log flumes, so what better than to take them all to one of the many indoor skydiving centres which has sprung up around the UK.

The idea here is that a wind tunnel is built to provide a vertical column of air into which the individual ‘falls’, the premise being that the speed of the air rushing up at terminal velocity provides enough pressure to allow the body to remain in equilibrium against the inexorable force of gravity. Sounds simple, hey?

Continue reading Mind that first step

You take the high road…

We had been planning this weekend for some time, and it was going to be special, not because ‘I’ was running, but because the rest of the family were running – in fact this was to be the first ever time that we had all run together at an event, so really a bit of a family milestone.

Team Pomeroy - Numbers at the Ready.
Team Pomeroy – Numbers at the Ready.

Edinburgh has for a number of years held a ‘festival of running’ on the weekend when the marathon has taken place, and it is advertised as a family friendly event, so ideal, we thought, to motivate the children with a tee-shirt and a medal as they arrange races at all possible distances from junior races of 1.5km and 3km, and then 5km and 10km races on the Saturday and half and full marathon races on the Sunday.

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Woefully Underprepared!

This was going to be a race with a difference.

I knew I had not done enough preparation for it, but thought I’d give it a go anyway, with the proviso that I would bail if things got “too tough”

TP100_SmallWaaa-haaaa-haaaa-haaaa! πŸ˜†

Define tough, for a 100 mile ultramarathon?

Before I launch into the tough guy clichΓ©s and superlatives which abound around some of these events (e.g. “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone” or Rule 1 – “No whining” and, of course, the near apocryphal Marathon des Sables inclusion of a “corpse repatriation fee“) let me just say this event was NOT one of those. Indeed, the organisers pitched it as giving

… runners new to the 100 mile distance, the opportunity of completing 100 miles on foot where significant elevation changes and difficult navigation are removed as major obstacles.

No problems, methinks! Just a long training run πŸ˜‰

Continue reading Woefully Underprepared!

Back Into The Swing Of Things

Okay. My bad.

I’ve been so distracted over the last 7 months with the modules of the course I’ve been studying in Astronomy and Cosmology, that I’ve barely had time to do anything else. My days have been a succession of waking up, studying in the confined space of a commuter train to London, working, running at lunchtime, more working, studying and reading on the way home, helping with the children until bedtime, then dinner and more studying.

Having handed my last Astronomy module paper in on Monday, I’m now free for a few months though – until October as I’ve signed up for another couple of courses…. πŸ˜‰

I must thank Liz for all her support over the last 7 months, as I could not have managed it without her provision of food, water, beer and sustenance in general at appropriate times. Thanks ML πŸ˜€

Continue reading Back Into The Swing Of Things

Looking on the Bright Side

There is a 48 hour strike by London Underground tube workers at the moment.

I’m loath to comment on my feelings for this as I’ve not investigated the plight of the ticket office staff who stand to be made redundant if the offices are closed as planned, so consequently I’m not sure whether to empathise with them or not.

The impact is a severely limited service for 48 hours for the millions of commuters who rely on the tube service to get from the many mainline stations in London across the city to their work destinations. Clearly with a sudden outflow to ‘other’ modes of transport (bus, taxis, Boris-bikes and shank’s pony) the roads and pavements were going to be full this morning.

Vanilla Skyline
Vanilla Skyline

I chose to walk from Waterloo though and the weather, for once, played ball, and my reward was a stunning view of the London skyline silhouetted against a vanilla sky.

It got me thinking about the positives of such a situation, and although I probably don’t need it, the extra exercise I have been forced into and even the extra food I can now eat, will certainly prove a positive!

Every cloud has a silver lining πŸ˜†

New year, new shoes

Liz, my wife, has had a pair of Vibrams (black ‘flow’ type, I think) which have been getting a bit long in the tooth.

Happy wife, happy dog!
Happy wife, happy dog!

Not surprising really, since they are well over 4 years old, and have seen quite a few trail based miles, along the river Wey and the Downs around Guildford.

I bought her a new pair for Christmas, but alas they were not the right size and with running shoes in general, it is essential to get the right size, but with the all enveloping form of the Vibrams, it is critical that they are snug. So today she managed to find time to pop into our local running store, Fitstuff, and this is the result.

I’m not sure who is happier, Liz or Adastra, to be finally hitting the streets again πŸ™‚

Enjoy ML x

And so it begins

My year to date has been fairly consistent, despite the UK weather, I have managed to get out 4-5 times a week, including a nice gentle long run on a Sunday.

However, up until a few weeks back, I did not really have any races booked in for 2014. Those of you that know me will realise this is quite an unusual situation for me, and was starting to become the source of heightened internal anxiety, due to the associated lack of focus and meandering training which it engenders.

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

Still, nothing is certain in life except change (and death and taxes, of course), so it was only a matter of time before I made some arrangements. The speed with which everything happened surprised even me though.

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Pounding the Streets

Well, I hope you’ve all had a great festive season and start to the new year.

Over the break, I took a few days from my A/L to add to the public holidays and make up the full two weeks, which in the end turned out to be a good plan.

However, what with birthdays, Joshua’s was on the 21st, and travelling to pick up Dad from Devon, which involved an overnight stay but with a welcome attendance at a ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service at the local church, and then preparation for Christmas itself, I didn’t get much running done in the first week.

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