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Southbourne 10k on a very windy Sunday morning

This morning my day started not quite as I had planned when I lost a toenail 🙂 but after that drama Sue, our son Andy and I headed off to run the Southbourne fast and flat road race, Andy and I were both running the 10k along with loads of our club members and Sue was running the 5k with a few club members too, it was in fact her first official race and she loved it and did so well I am very proud of her.

We started our day by picking Andy up at about 8:55 and headed off to Southbourne arriving just before 9:30am which was perfect because we all collected our numbers and said hello to a few mates before heading back to the car for coffee.  It was tipping it down with rain and blowing a hooley and I must confess I was feeling more than a little sad for poor Sue.

At 10 we headed back to the race HQ and again caught up with a few mates and did a few last minute bits before Andy and I headed off to warm up.  Our race was scheduled for 11am and Sue’s 11:10 and thankfully as we approached 11 the weather turned drier and the sun even came out.

I chose a start spot about 5 rows back which was about a quarter of the way nearer the front which I though would be idea and a few seconds later we were off,  unfortunately 3 out of the 5 rows in front of me decided to walk off,  why the hell these people start near the front is beyond me and from now on I am heading up front, I am happier being passed than trying to pass selfish people who think its ok to walk the start of a 10k race……very odd !

anyway 500 yards later that was all behind me and the route was pretty clear and very well supported.  I made it to the first 5k in just over 21 minutes which was ok although to be fair not record breaking but as I arrived at the roundabout turning point the wind coming back hit me like a brick wall it was horrible 🙂  so the last 5k was a whole lot tougher and slower 😉  but I managed to battle on and had a reasonable run back thankful keeping in front of those that I needed to to make me realise that I was once again nearing my top form which I am fairly confident is not far away now.

I carried on pushing home picking up the pace for the last mile depute the wind and had the most amazing last couple of hundred metres which although was great it did make me realise once again that I had much more to give and could have done a whole lot better, my pace for the last 2/300 metres was an amazing 5 min mile, if only I could keep this up 🙂

As I crossed the finish line I was given my medal which was pretty small but a medal none the less and then a bottle of water and a snack bar and banana which considering the cost of this race was absolutely amazing, well done guys.

I then caught up with Sue who was chilling on a bench looking like she had not even run, I was so pleased for her and again very proud.

Overall a fab race with awesome support all the way around and on a good day would be a superb PB course but alas on a very windy day it was not to be,  I am very pleased to say that one of my club mates Andy Griggs won the race in awesome style, well done mate very well deserved and very well earned today.

I finished todays race in 44:51 and Sue finished the 5k in 31:56 which is amazing given the weather today 🙂

Needless to say no photos from Sue today, Bloody selfish if you ask me 🙂  but here is one thanks to my buddy Ashley we took at the end on my iPhone 🙂  cheers mate.

Race day

 

 

 

 

Not all roads lead to Rome………..

It was 1 year ago today (23rd March 2013) that I started running at the ripe old age of 50 🙂  and today I was due to celebrate that by running the Rome Marathon but alas after my Achilles injury just before Christmas I was strongly advised to cancel it which I sadly did.   So I was looking for a way to celebrate my 1 year anniversary and I think I found it,  Read on to see how my “anniversary” weekend panned out……

SATURDAY

Its hard for me to take in that I started running 1 year ago today on a wet and cold March 23rd at Southampton parkrun and I ran it with my Son Andy in a time of  26:02 which I was very happy with, 120th out of 250 runners.  It was a god awful day, minus 1 and we had a mixture of sleet, rain and a tiny bit of snow too so just perfect for my first run but it was only March so things would get better 🙂  Although I have not completed many parkruns just under 20 I think I have completed lots of races and loved most of them, from 5k trail racing to half marathons and everything in-between. As you can see in this first picture I wore just about everything I could find to keep warm, thankfully these days I run a bit faster and am able to wear shorts and a vest for most races, its good to show off my gorgeous bod 😉

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This weekend to celebrate my 1 year anniversary I had booked in the Rome Marathon but sadly after picking up a pretty serious achilles injury during December I cancelled it in the new year so was pretty pissed but I have booked some pretty awesome races for 2014 including 3 in Disneyland California and a Marathon in Ventura California as well as a couple more here too so no complaints really, still as I approached this weekend I could not hide my sense of sadness that I would not be racing Rome.

So what could I do this weekend that would not take too much training and that would not hurt my return to fitness that I estimate will take about another 3 to 4 weeks, when I say estimate I really mean HOPE 🙂 Well to start off with the obvious thing to start with was Southampton parkrun which actually falls in the 22nd March this year but a perfect way to start my weekend of celebrations.  My parkrun PB currently stands at 20:43 but I am determined to hit sub 20 this summer.

I woke on Saturday to sunshine and almost dry underfoot,  when we got in from work it was just past midnight and lashing it down with rain and I must confess I did think twice about my foolhardy plan to run today, its bad enough after a real long day at work but raining…….  But logging into Facebook I saw that my buddies were all at Stanstead Airport heading to Rome which made me feel even more determined to enjoy this weekend and I will rain or shine.

So at 08:20 Sue and I headed off to Southampton parkrun and after chatting with a few buddies and catching up I had a quick warm up and we were off,  I had a reasonably steady run of 22:48 and 103 out of  485 finishers and 4th in my age category which was my best for a while but a couple months ago I would have considered this a mere amble around 🙂  Today tho was all about marking the occasion and enjoying the run whilst saving myself for tomorrows races which were far more important to me.  I do love the whole parkrun ethos but if I am being honest I struggle and always have down with giving it 100% effort although I intent to try over the next 4 weeks and hopefully I will be back to my target time.

Here are a couple of photos Sue took today, one at the start and one at the finish, I was going to say that I looked better than last year but to be honest I was smiling then and I am smiling today, I struggle not to smile when I see my Sue.

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The most important thing about today was I remained injury free and it felt quite good so now time to stretch and look forward to tomorrow’s races starting at 10:00 at Eastleigh for the 10K.   Eastleigh is not a race I would normally run because they don’t give a finishers medal and right from the start I have loved my medals, lots of my fellow runners said that will die off after a few months but here we are 1 years on and I still love my bling and pick my races accordingly,  I also quite like a good technical tshirt but the cotton ones are pants. But as I had already booked this afternoon’s half marathon and it starting at 14:30 I thought what the heck lets take one for the club,  we have around 120 runners racing so it will be an awesome race to help celebrate my 1 year anniversary medal or not.

SUNDAY RACE 1 Eastleigh 10k

We woke up good and early and after a very large coffee I had my usual pre race breakfast of Porridge with Banana, honey and flax seed and a few blueberries which seems to work for me, I also packed a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich to have at 9am if I felt I needed it but like most of these things they are really a precaution rather than a necessity.  We headed out the door just after 8am mindful of the possible parking issues with 2800 runners plus spectators heading towards Fleming Park we thought it might get busy if we left it any later.  Needless to say we arrived 10 minutes later because of zero traffic haha but we did get a great spot on the road out which would make heading off afterwards really easy so it was all worth it.

After chatting with literally hundreds of friends (this running malarky is an amazingly friendly sport) and grabbing my very bright Eastleigh 10k T-shirt Sue and I headed out to the field to take a very special LRR team photo in honour of one of our amazing members Brian Grierson who after many years would be running his last race today for personal reasons. Once done we all headed off to the start line to warm up, there were over 120 of us today so it was quite a spectacle.

The start was very crowded but well organised and off we went,  I had a lovely run and the whole thing felt good for me today,  I averaged 7:11 min miles which although was 2 minutes away from my PB for a 10k it was still my quickest pace since November and I am super chuffed about that and definitely I could have given it loads more today if it was not for my recovery plan and for the fact that I have a a half marathon to run this afternoon too 🙂

The whole race was very well supported, although there were 120 + lordshiller’s racing today it felt like there were that many out supporting too including my Run Leader Stuart and loads of our great members who were either resting or recovering it was awesome to see and hear so many of them and a big THANK YOU to you all.  One of my biggest achievements this year was becoming the fastest V50 in our club champs and also one of my proudest, I am a very happy Lordshill road runner.

As I finished the race I was proper buzzing today, again loads of LRR support and nice cake too 🙂  It was a boring route but a very fast route too and I cant wait to run it next year hopefully fully fit because I am sure it has PB written all over it.

Eastleigh gave us a T-Shirt, not a proper tech one but I wore it this afternoon under my LRR vest and it faired very well on the half marathon so looks like it might be ok, although to be fair I have enough really nice ones that are proper technical to worry.

Here are a few photos from the Eastleigh 10k,  I am now home having lunch and prepping for this afternoons race.

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SUNDAY RACE 2 New Forest Running Festival Half Marathon

I know I know I am crazy but hear me out…….

I actually booked this one first because I knew I was ok for half marathon even a tough one like this and i had absolutely NO intention of running Eastleigh because it goes against my “no medal no race” policy but when I realised the half did not start until 2:30 it got me thinking !  what better way to celebrate 1 year of running (dur obviously other than Rome) than to run 2 races in one day so I thought sod it I am going to enter Eastleigh too because around 120 hiller’s were running it and I thought it was acceptable to take on for the club 🙂

After an hour at home having lunch and a cuppa we headed off to the New Forest and was pleased to arrive at about 1pm which was 90 minutes before the start, ideal for a nice walk I thought, save me tightening up a all that 🙂  but the running gods were having none of it cos it pissed down for about half an hour, rain and hail and boy did the temperature drop !  soon after it stopped the weather brightened and I collected my number and chip,  I then bumped into my good mate Leo who I have run with many times, sadly he was doing the 10k so no running together today,  I then heard that my race had been put back by 30 minutes so we watched leo head off and took a few snaps and then headed back to the car,  Incidentally Leo ran like a lion and came in 7th overall,  well done buddy that was fab on this tough course.

After a fun and very tongue in cheek pre race briefing we were all whisked off to the start about 200 metres away and told to “run down the hill and turn left once we reach fat ugly Joe”  hahaha I am pretty sure Joe was not happy about that name !   After passing Joe we headed off up our first hill which took us into the New Forest proper, this followed tracks and trails for about 6 miles it was quite hilly but I was not racing this one rather taking it all in and making the most of telling everyone I happened upon that it was indeed my second race of the day haha,  this was fine until I found out some chap had done like 6 races this weekend and the half marathon I was running made it 100 miles YIKES makes my 19.3 look a bit puny 🙂

After mile 6 there was a long uphill road section which went on until mile 7 and as I reached the top it said “half marathon if this is your first lap turn left, second straight on”  B****Ks that meant we had to do the hilly circuit again 🙂 sure enough I reached the sign again at mile 11 and bugger that was a hilly 4 miles, hold on 8 miles !

Then I decided I had run 17 miles with not much since breakfast so I would stop at the water station and down a few Gel Blocs, unfortunately the pack I had was opened and although they tasted great they were very hard so it took me like 3 or 4 minutes to eat them and I had to keep my cup of water to wash them down lol so I walked for a 100 metres or so and chewed hard !

I then happened across a lovely chap from Hardly Runners and we chatted and kept each other going right through until the end which was about 13.8 miles but hey who’s counting 😉   we ran over the finish together and thats when I saw my Sue and try and stop me smiling 🙂

It was a lonely race for the most part but that does not normally bother me, yesterday tho I was not running full speed so I noticed a lot more of the landscape and other runners,  I normally just race and pace 😉  there were plenty of marshals who were all friendly enough but like most forest races the local support was almost non existent but appreciated when we did see it.

I collected my goodie bag which was a lovely technical T-shirt and the most amazing bespoke medal along with a banana and water and a flap jack so all VERY GOOD  if they can do this for a £17 half then Eastleigh get your T-shirts sorted or get a decent medal !

I said my goodbyes and stretched well then we drove home feeling very happy 🙂

WOW what an amazing weekend

All photos thanks to my amazing wife Sue.

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Today was never going to be about speed, I was conscious all the way around Eastleigh that if I pushed it I might not have made the New Forest Festival of Running and I also knew that the NFFoR was going to be tough terrain and for the sake of my Achilles I would have to be seriously careful.  Having said that I was only 2 minutes off my PB for Eastleigh which is really encouraging and despite the NFFoR being just as tough as they predicted I still came in 39th overall and 5th in my age category.  There were an awful lot of DNF runners today which given the course did not surprise me at all 🙂 thankfully I was not one of them.

I am finishing this blog post at 6am Monday morning, it’s quite normal for me to struggle sleeping after an epic race so I knew after 2 in one day it would be tough haha but I am pleased to say that after racing for almost 20 miles at a fairly decent average pace (given the terrain) of 7:56 min miles I am still very much pain free albeit a little ache in the leg and feet department 🙂 also I am 100% confident that even without any long run training since December I could have today finished a marathon in sub 3:30 which is pretty cool considering everything. Mind you if I did it would have to have been a bloody decent course haha.

Well it’s been a wonderful way to celebrate my 1 year of running and after going over my polar and garmin stats plus the races and runs I did in the first few weeks with no GPS watch I have calculated that I have run around 1383 miles which is just over 115 per month or 26 miles a week which is pretty mad but I am betting this post on my second anniversary will have bigger numbers 🙂 I am loving my longer runs more and more and my preferred distance at the moment is the half marathon but who knows I might just love the marathon distance !

I have too many people to thank for this past year,  my club run leaders and coaches have all been awesome, my club mates truly inspiring and a few have really made a huge difference to me both mentally and actual running, Andy Griggs, Tony “superman” Rickman, Jim Davies, Stuart Smith, Emily Smith, Mike and Di Mattingly, Dean Jones, our son Andy, my coach Ant Gritton (god only knows how he puts up with me) and all of the F’er’s you guys have been a constant source of inspiration for me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to love something so very much but my biggest thanks goes to my amazing wife Sue who gives me total support with everything I do, she sits and waits for me no matter where or what I am running, camera in hand and always smiling. It’s the highlight of every race when I clock her and honestly I get a bigger kick out of seeing Sue at any mile 8, 10, 12 or finish with her camera than I do high 5’in Mickey Mouse running Disney, although it’s close haha.

Thanks for listening to my rumblings and run safe

Jules x

p.s Thanks Paul Eves for the blog post title inspiration 🙂

RNLI 10k wow what a medal !

This morning Sue and I travelled to Southsea with our son Andy to run the RNLI 10k road race which is a fast 10k race and looked to be a great PB opportunity for us both.  But after last nights race and my 48 miles of running this week I decided to take it nice and easy and run with Andy at his pace instead which is around 50 minutes.

We arrived in plenty of time to parka and grab a coffee as well as collect our race numbers and chip timing, I then went for a warm up run and did my usual exercises  although to be fair because I was not racing I was not too worried, Andy and found a nice spot a couple rows back from the start just behind the parrot (don’t ask) haha and a few moments later we were off,  it was as predicted a lovely route and we ran and chatted all the way around,  we cheered on a few fellow hiller’s as they reached the halfway point and then followed them home and I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it,  Running 10k with my Son was pretty special for me and something I would have loved to have done with my pop and I hope one day when I am long gone Andy looks back and smiles about running with me today.

The course was fast and flat and although we did not race around it was very well marshalled and supported by the locals, as we finished the race we were handed a goodie bag with a few treats in as well as an awesome medal, I know I loved yesterdays medal but todays knocked spots off of it and without a doubt its my fav yet and is now proudly hanging in my Gym.

I loved todays race and now and looking forward to next weeks half marathon.

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The Big10k a great day for sailors :-)

Great day for sailors but not runner it was so blooming windy!  haha well today Sue and I travelled to the beautiful Bexhill-on-Sea so that I could run the “Big10k”  which is a well reputed 10k race along the seafront which attracts a good number of runners each year.

We left home at 7am to travel the 100 miles to Bexhill-on-Sea and I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable trip, largely thanks to our new car arriving earlier this week 🙂 BONUS !  We arrived in Bexhill-on-Sea around 9am and quickly found the starting line and registration venue and a perfect parking spot safe and secure, did I mention the new car 🙂 right on the seafront and within 200m of the start/finish line. I went into the registration to pick up my number and ankle tag which was an odd design and made me feel like I had a ASBO and quickly realised that the organisers were a lovely friendly bunch, well they took my humour well and that always helps 🙂

Sue and I then went for a walk around the town and grabbed a coffee before I got my game on and went for a 2k warm up run along the seafront, doing this I quickly realised that the predicted 10mph headwind was going to be fun on the return route,  After my warm up run and a few RunCamp stretches I headed over to the starting place and found a spot about 30-40 people back from the start simply because I wanted to start a little slower than normal and keep some in reserve for the wind, sensible plan ?  well I though so !

After a brief and interesting “safety chat” we were soon off and heading out with the wind in our favour and the first 2 miles were great, I ran 6:30 and 6:50 and considering the weaving in and out I was very happy with, then I hit the U-Turn spot and OMG it was epic lol, the next 5K were full on into the headwind and my speed was no longer………I pushed on hard and kept my place and in-fact gained a few places. After about 7k I met the iconic “galley hill” which lived up to its reputation (thanks for the heads up Ant)  I managed to power up the hill despite the headwind and back down the other side and I could see the last turn in sight and thankfully this is when the faster runners started to come the other way which actually made me feel a little better 🙂 onto the turnaround with one thing on my mind, the wind will be on my side after the turn, well it certainly never felt like it haha !  it just got hot quick!  but after once more up and down galley hill I could see the finish in the distance and managed to pull something out of the bag and go for it for the last half K.  I crossed the finish line feeling strong and very happy knowing full well that  I never achieved a PB but once again had a fab and very enjoyable race.

I picked up my medal and a drink or 2 plus a very welcome snicker bar or 2 haha, in fact I had a choice of snicker or mars bar which was a very nice touch, plus I saw Susie which as always made my day 🙂  I then stretched and went for a half K warm-down run before Sue and I went for a nice walk, then we sat on the seafront and had a wonderful lunch before another wander and a perfect drive home stopping of course for tea and cake 🙂

The race was amazing, one of my favourites in fact but probably because a series of events, great team and very friendly, nice course and location as well as all round perfect venue for the start/finish and registration , that tied with the great parking and the little touches like the snicker bars made it a great day,  I love coming through the finish and being offered drinks and something to eat it helps with the sugar levels, as a diabetic I really appreciate that and IMO its the sign of a well organised race by caring people.

I finished todays race in 43:51 and came in 34th out of around 250 runners and third in my age category.

Stats from my polar GPS watch

Next week I am running the Bournemouth 5k and the Southsea RNLI 10k and I am looking forward to both, well assuming its less windy that is 😀 both are on the bloody seafront !!!!

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Richmond Running Festival 10k

Well after a fantastic but long wedding on Saturday Sue and I got up just before 5am on Sunday to travel to Richmond in Greater London to race in the inaugural Richmond Running Festival 10k race which I have been looking forward to since it was announced and I booked it.  I have been following them on facebook since they launched and have often said if the race was half as good as the pre race hype then its going to be amazing.  Sadly it was not close to perfection but it was good.

We started our day good and early because the 10k race started at 08:30 and because of the 75 mile trip its good to arrive in London early, well after breakfast and a coffee we headed off, incidentally it was the last trip in our beloved Mini cooper before it gets traded on Tuesday, we arrived after a services stop at about 7:05 and parked in a driveway close by thanks to “park at my house” which worked out brilliant and only cost £8. Anyway we wandered over to the race starting place which was Kew Gardens and at that point I had my reservations because there were a load of marshals who could not get in 🙂 bearing in  ind it was an hour until race start it did not bode well. As soon as they opened the gates we all went in and the starting area looked much more promising and it was not long before I was lined up on the start, yes on the start I was with 5 other chaps on the starting line which was pretty cool, to be fair I go off quite quick and never hold anyone up so its as good a place as any to start from. After a brief talk from the local MP and introductions from a few Olympic runners we were off !  out off the starting coral and into Kew following its windy paths for just over 2 miles and keeping a pretty good pace,  I soon settled into a good pace and position within the field which after the first mile I managed to keep apart from the occasional place a little later both for and against,  our of Kew then along a small stretch of road before picking up the Thames towpath for about 3 miles which despite the location was uninteresting at best,  I was hoping for more flatter consistent tarmac but it wasn’t t be 🙂  then after than we entered Richmond park for the last three quarter’s of a mile which was flatter faster grass and the very welcome sight of the finish line. I knew I was close to a PB but alas not close enough but I am very happy with my times all things considered.

Looking back now I don’t think I could have given this race anymore than I did, I ran hard and fast and my mile splits are amongst the best so far but we had an 11 hour wedding yesterday and I was on my feet all day and we got up at 5am and I drove to London so as I said all things considered I am a very happy runner. I crossed the line and collected my beautiful medal which really is smart as well as my favourite Tech T-shirt yet both of which made this race very worth while and although not a PB today it would be on almost any other weekend I am sure.

Now for a couple of niggles, there is no point in me doing this blog without honestly. As I said at the start this race was well hyped on facebook so I expected BIG things,  We were told that there would be water at the 3 mile point as well as sport drinks and we were instructed not to throw our empties in the Thames 🙂  sadly there was no water stop and although I can cope fine with a 10k and no water it was messing with my mind to think I was still not at the 3  mile water stop !  no idea what happened there !!!!

Second and IMO the biggest thing was the absolute monumental cockup with regards to spectators, I asked several marshals how Sue would get from the start to the finish which was 1 mile as the crow flies and each one said leave Kew and walk to 2 miles or so along the main road and that she was not allowed to walk through Kew to the parks.  I was proper pissed but sadly to late to do anything apart from not run, eventually she did walk thankfully with a lovely family we met but this is something that needs addressing for next year !!!!  spectators should have been allowed to leave Kew at the same gate as the runners and pop over the road into the park. most runners bring a spectator along and IMO they all make the race atmosphere and they need to be looked after.

The starting area was buzzing as was the finish, the marshals were all enthusiastic and fun and the course was superb and like I said a potential pb course, I really enjoyed it today and unusually I am still sporting the t-shirt 🙂 The Richmond Running Festival was a great race, but it could have been EPIC !  I am pretty sure it will be next year, I will let you know 😉

I crossed the finishing line feeling strong in 42:37 and came in 49th out of 855 and 2nd in my age category 🙂  Although not a PB this is am amazing position for me especially bearing in mind there were several professional runners running, I am so chuffed 🙂

Here are the stats from my GPS watch

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