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Royal Berkshire 10k road race

Today was the Royal Berkshire Green Park 10k and another opportunity for me to fine tune my marathon training and pace so I was pretty excited about this one, tied to the fact that it was an inaugural event which is always exciting and after reading their Facebook page for the past month or so I knew it would be a fab event too and I was not disappointed.

Sue and I left here about 7:45 because we were heading to Shirley to pick up our friend and fellow hiller Megan and then we headed off for a lovely drive to Reading which was very non eventful 🙂  We were allocated car park B which was about half a mile from the race and made for a perfect post run walk and quick escape too with zero traffic and considering there were probably 4000 people there it was genius.

We parked and walked to the race HQ and had a look around and then we met with the 3rd hiller running Chris, Meg and Chris then went for some shade so Sue and I headed off to the food area to say hello to our lovely friend Leanne or Cupcake as I call her, she was running her Vintage Ice Cream van Bluebell and it was a massive hit looking at the queues.

Time for a pee and the first negative, there were just not enough toilets, ok for us chaps because we could find a bush but not good then it was time to queue for the start and it was seriously crowded and we lacked space in a bad way the second negative but there were not many more 🙂  the start was probably amongst the worst I have seen which is a shame given how amazing the rest of the day was.  Anyway we were off and I was very careful not to go mad. My instructions were to warm up well then start out sensible and then pick it up a bit to my “fast” marathon pace (this is the pace that I will try to aim for once I am half way through)    I did this for the following 5 miles and enjoyed every mile, it was a race full of long gentle hills which suits me very well both in terms of training and racing and it was very warm which I don’t mind on the shorter races either.  I did run between mile 3 and 5 with the over 65 winner of the VLM which was nice but as I approached the 5th mile we had slowed a couple times so I headed off on my own,  I then decided to pick up the pace for the last mile and a bit, I think mentally I like to know that I left some in the tank so the last mile was quicker which felt fab although it did push my average pace down a little,  my bad 🙂

As I ran in I saw the lovely Sue for the second time and then shortly after crossed the line and was handed a lovely bespoke medal and a goodie bag full of awesome treats and even a nice branded water bottle plus of course the lovely tech t-shirt, these people really know how to put on a race !!  VERY well done guys.

I then met with Sue and waited for Meg and Chris to finish so we could photograph them,  II had a couple of goodie bag treats and stretched well and then we all sat on the grass for a while before walking back to the car park all very happy.

The race/event itself was great overall 9/10  (would have definitely been a 10/10 had the few things been addressed)

Facilities  6/10   toilets were very poor bearing in mind the race size,  I have been to races with less than 800 runners with twice as many

Route  10/10 loved it

Route support  4/10  but this is a geographical problem not something that anyone can take blame for

Race village   7/10  would have been 10 if there were more food and coffee options and less queues

Goodies  10/10  BEST ever

Medal  10/10  could have been bigger/nicer but its awesome I love it so no complaints

Spectator facilities 10/10 TOP NOTCH my wive loved it

Start/finish   2/10   sadly the start was pants but awesome finish,  the start should have been much more spaced out and controlled, finish perfect

All in all it was a great race and for an inaugural event it was near perfect, next year I am sure these tiny things can be addressed and it could become one of the very best races here.

Loved today and cant wait for Liverpool next weekend.

Jules.

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Frimley 10k my first attempt at running my marathon pace during a race

After a mega long day yesterday helping and photographing the 100K Nationals and the 50K Nationals for our friends over at tzruns we were up once again bright and early for the Frimley 10k road race which was held at Frimley Park Hospital in aid of the Breast Cancer charity.  I booked this race a few months ago because my friend Sharon (Sharky) from Sandhurst Joggers RC was running it and it looked like a fun race and nice medal and well before I realised that the Milton Keynes half marathon was the next day 🙂  let alone knowing that I would be running my first Marathon 27 days later!  So my plans for this race changed slightly and instead of trying to knock out a PB I decided to run at my marathon pace which will hopefully be between 7:35 and 7:55 Minute Miles and despite trying my hardest I failed and ran 7:30 minute miles but to be fair thats much nearer my marathon pace than my normal 10k pace so all good.

We arrived a little later than we normally would have due to yesterday but still with plenty of time to collect my number and grab a drink and catch up with a few mates from Sandhurst Joggers including 1 new friend Claire who said she was after a PB wanting to finish sub 47 so I told her that if I got the chance I would help her.  After a few minutes and a pee I said goodbye to Sue and headed off to start and away we went,  To be honest I struggled so bad trying to keep my speed down and I can promise you this, trying to slow down is harder than trying to speed up 🙂  I guess I am a racer and thats all there is too it.  Anyway I passed Sue a few minutes later and she wished me well and off we went up the first hill.  It was an undulation course which made me happy because my Kent Road Runner Marathon course is anything but flat so all good,  We ran on with loads of local support and despite my first mile being a 7:20 which felt so blooming slow I was managing to contain myself and enjoying different aspects of the race too like high 5’s with the kids.

This carried on for about 7.5 K and all the time I could see Claire from Sandhurst about 50M ahead of me which to be honest was ok but the gab was starting to get shorter and she was looking like she was slowing down so after the next hill I sped up and ran alongside her and asked if she still wanted a PB and any help, yes please was the response so I pulled her in for the last 2k and it was a fun finish, still a nice plod for me but it definitely pushed Claire along,  One of the best thing about running is that my fast speed can be a buddies slow plod and visa versa and we don’t ever judge, its all about racing yourself and I LOVE that.

As we turned the last bend I told Claire that we were running too slow (white lie) and we had to sprint finish which she did in awesome style and we both crossed the line in 45:58 so a massive PB for her and she was delighted.  I picked up my bottle of water and my lovely medal and then I saw Sue and got my hug form her and said goodbye to Claire and we headed off for lunch in the sun.

What an awesome race that was, fab support and team and lovely location too, a nice semi hilly 10k and I would run it again and again it was fun.  I still need to slow down slightly but I will try again at the Milton Keynes half tomorrow.

For now tho I am very happy, a few nice hills at a decent pace and I could have gone on and on plus a lovely new medal on my wall.

Here are a few photos from today from my amazing wife.

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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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Yateley 10k 3rd race and new PB

Last night was the last of the Yateley 10k series for 2013 and it was the perfect night for a race.  Sue and I arrived good and early and after our high protein picnic I wandered in to collect my race number and chip and to chat to a few Sandhurst joggers.  We then had a coffee and went for our pre-race walk and chat which as always helped to calm my race nerves although I must confess that I felt more nervous here than ever before at a race I think because the last one went so well that I had something pretty amazing to match or even hopefully beat.  After a walk and another coffee I headed out onto the fields and went for my usual 1.5 mile warm up run but this time after taking advice from my RunCamp coach Anthony I did it a little slower, in fact I ran it at an average 8.23 min miles and then did a few leg swing exercises to looses and warm up my hip flexors and pelvis before heading over to the starting coral.

As always I headed to the front few rows, I run a pretty fast race so its good to get towards the front, I have never to my knowledge slowed anyone down (famous last words) so its the right place for me, in fact very few people overtake me until a few minutes into the race so its all good :-).  After the pre race briefing the gun fired and we were away !  the pace was good and fast and I quietly doubted my ability to keep it up, I honestly much prefer running in the morning but he ho,  I soon got into the rhythm and as I passed the 1K and the 2K mark I noticed I was still running well under 7 min mile pace so all good,  this continued up and down the hills right through the race until at the 7K mark I noticed that I had slowed very slightly because of mental fatigue so I remembered everything that I had been taught by the amazing runners I know, Andy, Jim, my run leaders Kev and Stu and well as Anthony and so many more and I managed to pick up my pace but to be honest the thing that drove me on last night was the last thing that Sue said to me,  “jules if you want a PB power up those hills then when you reach the top power down again”  she does make me chuckle and she is the best coach anyone could ever ask for, I am so blessed to have her in my life and so thankful for her support when running.

Soon enough I reached the 9k mark and the dreaded “waitrose hill”  although after 3 races I have still not seen a waitrose haha!  Its funny but when I am racing I only think about running and my form and my min miles and I don’t take any notice of where I am running, this keeps my mind active and focused on the job in hand,  When I upload my miles to “FETCH” it asks me to write 3 things I saw when running, I honestly struggle to find 3 interesting things 🙂   anyway up the hill I went and then the easy 500M home, fast and furious downhill into the school and through the finish, as I ran the last straight I could see the clock was 42:20 so knew I was onto a winner but I was delighted to cross the line with another amazing PB of 42:26 a full 59 seconds faster than my previous best 10k which in fact was here 1 month ago.

Just like the last 3 races this was very well organised, the Sandhurst Joggers are a very friendly bunch and the marshals are probably the best and most encouraging  I have experienced apart from my home team of course 🙂  I loved every minute of last night and as I crossed the line I was given my lovely medal and a couple of chocolate bars and a bottle of water and I sat down and waited for the lovely Sue to come find me 🙂

I then went for a short cool down run and then some gentle stretching which did the job nicely because last night and this morning I feel great and could run again, in fact I am in a few hours with the hiller’s.

I will definitely be back for 2014 and who knows maybe I will be running sub 40 by then, I sincerely hope so.

Here are the results for the last 2 races in this series.

Race 1. I finished the race in 46:25 and 226 out of 900 ish runners.

Race 2. I finished the race in 43:25 and 148 out of 820 ish runners.

LAST NIGHT I finished the race in 42:26 and 125 out of about 1000 runners.

I am delighted with these results and especially this race, I ran an average of  6:45 min miles which is brilliant and I hope to get sub 42 within my next few races,  This Sunday I have a trail half marathon and then the week after a 10K at Clapham Common which I am looking forward to although its my birthday weekend so depending on alcohol drank it might not be a super fast race 🙂

I am pretty sure that my speed is down to my training both with the hiller’s and Runcamp and I cant recommend either strongly enough. And of course as my good pal Andy says, “train hard and race easy”  this has become my mantra and its paying off big style.

Check out RunCamp

Check out the hiller’s  without a doubt the best local running club

Check out the race stats from my Polar watch

Lastly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped organise these races, those who cheered me on and those new friends I have made at Yateley but mostly to my best friend my soul mate my amazing wife Sue for your constant love and encouragement “stride”

A few photos from today thanks to the lovely Sue.