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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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New training plan starts today…..

After deciding to book the amazing Kent Roadrunner Marathon for 4 weeks time I decided to restart my Marathon training, obviously haha.  So today Sue and I headed down to Southbourne where we raced this weekend for me to start my first LSR (Long Slow Run) and I was hoping to run 15 miles which is exactly where I was at before Christmas when I hurt my Achilles.

We left home at about 7am arriving about 50 minutes later and after a visit to the loo and feeding the parking meter we both warmed up and headed off our separate ways, well actually the same way but separate speeds 🙂  I stated by heading back towards the school we started at on Sunday and thankfully no wind, well very little wind, I passed the school and kept going until I reached 3.5 miles, I had a plan 😉  and then headed back along the exact same route meeting Sue back at the car after 7 miles, I had a bottle of water and 4 Cliff Blocs and headed off in the opposite direction.  I ran for 4 more miles until my watch clocked up 11.05 miles before I turned back towards Sue which made exactly 15:05 miles.

The route was mostly enjoyable apart from a point where the road was closed so out and back I had to run along the loose sand which slowed me a bit but other than that all good.

I finished with a pace faster than I had planned at 7:34 average moving pace so this was not really a LSR in fact I would love to be able to keep this pace up over the next few weeks.

It was near perfect conditions today, overcast and very foggy and although this made seeing anything tough it was perfect running.

Sue had a lovely run too clocking up 4k, it was her first solo run and I know next week she will do better and be happier.

Below are my miles, not the best pacing maybe but bearing in mind I have not run solo since december I am pretty happy, Actually I am very happy

7:25

7:31

7:33

7:33

7:31

7:37

7:27

7:33

7:42

7:52

7:39

7:41

7:43

7:37

7:32

I am so looking forward to next months Marathon and its a corker so please take a look at the link below and bookmark it for next year 🙂  you will regret it if you don’t once you see my medal.  Its a fab venue and Sue and I are actually helping out there this weekend at the 50k and 100k nationals which will give me a good idea of how the race will pan out and hopefully I might even get a practise lap in 🙂

Kent Roadrunner Marathon

I plan on another 3 longer training runs so will keep you all posted, in the mean time check out those links to see what I am in for 🙂

Jules

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13.1 miles 1,204 ft Elevation Gain……..Yes I ran the Longleat Half Marathon today :-)

Well 3 weeks into my comeback trail I ran the race that I never expected to do this year the Longleat Safari Park Half Marathon and it was amazing,  HILLY but amazing hahaha but more about that in a moment.  Last year after running with our lovely pals Ian and JoJo in the Arundel Castle 10k we all decided to book the Longleat half marathon together and even tho it was only in its 2nd year it had fast become known for its relentless hills but I quite liked that challenge so was looking forward to it.  I then booked the Rome Marathon for next weekend and my coach Ant strongly recommended that I did not run Longleat the week before,  in his words ” I dont trust you to run it sensibly Jules so your not running it”  hahaha so there you go I called and cancelled.  After damaging my Achilles in December and having to postpone Rome as a result I found myself with a free weekend so I called the British Heart Foundation and asked if I could still run to which they replied yes of course 🙂 so there ya go I was in again.  I also missed the Longleat 10k a few weeks back which made today even more of a bonus.

After a mega long wedding yesterday I went to bed far too late and to be honest not feeling great either but I woke up stupidly excited about todays race but again I was not feeling top notch in fact for the first time ever pre race I had to take Imodium (enough said I think)  Thankfully they did the trick and I started to feel better as we set off at 6:30am for Longleat.  We had a lovely drive down and arrived at about 7:50 to pick up my T-shirt and grab a coffee, the T-shirt was a crappy cotton thing only good for bed 🙂  but the coffee was a costa strong and black which certainly hit the spot,  After last nights wedding I came home to a pint of milk and 3 slices of peanut butter and jam on toast and that and my Porridge with Banana this morning I felt full of energy, although that might also explain my tummy upset 🙂  seriously I think that was some Fish I ate earlier but hey ho !

Soon after our coffee our friends Ian and Jojo arrived as well as my our club mate Trevor so we all hung out for half an hour until it was time for the last minute prep when I know we all have our own little routines so Sue and I headed back to the car to put on my various lotions and potions and then it was time to hit the start.

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The start was pretty busy with around 800 starters and I started about half way back I guess with Trevor simply because I did not want to go off too fast because of those hills which for the record all 800 people were talking about :-).

The horn sounded and we were off, I had to walk over the line and for a good few meters after the line but I was very happy chatting to Trev and another chap who used to live in Lordshill but now lives in Cardiff and commented that he saw the mighty hiller’s in Cardiff parkrun so I told him that would be Dean and Emily I reckon 🙂

I ran past Sue with her camera with Trev and got a lovely smile before I started to break away from the clumps running up the first hill into the distance,  this first hill was about .68 of a mile before it levelled out and headed back down towards Longleat House although it was not too much of a hill to be fair, I remember thinking if this is as bad as jot got then happy days,  clearly it got a whole lot worse haha.  The first 4 miles seemed to go up and up and up like no race I have ever experienced before eventually I saw the faster runners coming back towards us and I kept thinking great we get to run all the way back down again 🙂  again I was wrong coz shortly after that we had a massive downhill to the first turnaround point so all my dreams of a long run back downhill meant I had to run back up this bugger first, a while further and we had reached the 5mile point and it was down or flat until 6mile where there was the mother of all hills which went onwards and upwards for about a mile and each time you thought you reached the top all you could see was up up up up I kid you not they could have made a movie just from my reactions 🙂  about 300m from the top I slowed into a fast walk and I must confess I was knackered but I gave myself a quick talking too and stepped up the pace again knowing full well that the worse was yet to come,  miles 8 thru 10 were reputed to be a living hell!!!  having said that it continued to climb gently until we reached about mile 8.5 and I though once again “well that was not so bad” but then as I rounded the bend I saw the hills lol ! so into RunCamp mode I went and soldiered on up this bloody big hill only walking for a few brief moments to drink the bottle of water given to me at the last station.

As we reached the top of the hill it was actually about 10.6 miles and the view was nothing short of breathtaking,  you would see for miles including right down (yes I said down) to the beautiful Longleat house and eventual finish line although to be fair I knew we had another loop to do and suspected another hill !

I quite easily managed to power down the hills which went on until mile 12, it was awesome and I felt like an Olympic runner, my form was perfect and I felt epic,  as we reached the house I saw Sue with her camera and the crowds were going wild with excitement and if your a runner you will know what that does for you,  I glanced at my watch and though to myself if I can knock out a decent 7:30 minute mile for the last one I will be on for a post injury PB which believe me is quite an achievement given this race,  I powered on up the hill overtaking what felt like hundreds of runners but in reality this was my “gladiator” moment and it was probably a dozen people at best 🙂 but the important part was I powered up the last hill which was about .6 of a mile and then as I turned the corner and came though the massive decorative gates I saw the most epic site,  the finish tunnel about half a mile away down hill !  I powered on hard and fast through the growing cheering, whooping and clapping  crowds past my lovely Sue and into the finishing tunnel with a mention from the compare about my speed and style and it LOVED it, I absolutely loved it.

I crossed the line in 1:43 which was 3 minutes faster than the very flat silverstone half 2 weeks ago which means my form is definitely returning,  I will update my exact time and stats when they are released on Monday.

I went for a good stretch and met with Sue who was delighted with my time too, we then sat and watched the race finishers for the next 45 minutes or so whilst waiting for all of our mates to finish,  Trevor came in next within 9 minutes of a PB so was very happy and Ian and JoJo also within a few minutes of a PB and Ian actually had dental surgery yesterday so that was an awesome result for him.

I am pleased to say that neither my Achilles nor my knee injury gave me any problems today although sat here 5 hours later I do ache now 🙂

I loved todays race (just in case you missed that part) and I love my medal which is already on my wall in my Gym, the 5 of us headed back to the cafe and I had a hot roast beef roll with horseradish, actually I had 2 and a bottle of Magners which I think I deserved.  After saying our goodbye’s Sue and I had a wander around the park for an hour and munched on sweets and ice cream so I knew I was feeling better.  A great trip home so all in all a perfect day out.

Longleat was a great race and much better supported than I had expected, the BHF run some fab races so I knew it would all go to plan today,  yes it was hilly but fun too, the camaraderie between the runners up those hills was like something I had not experienced before, simply outstanding.

Next Sunday see’s my 1 year running anniversary,  I have come a long way since that first 26:30 minute parkrun. For starters I have knocked 6 minutes off of that 🙂  Next Sunday I have a few celebrations planned all going well injury wise and I cant wait to share them.

Thanks to all my friends for the support today and leading up to today, you are as epic as todays race was.

Jules.

Elevation Gain: 1,204 ft
Elevation Loss: 1,185 ft
Min Elevation: 330 ft
Max Elevation: 823 ft

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The happiest race on earth

Well the day finally arrived.  11-1-14

It was 2am and the alarm sounded so I knew it was time to Run Disney. First job of the day was coffee then it was to massage my Achilles tendon which sadly has been giving me some serious grief for the past 3 weeks but the past couple days its been good so I was quite hopeful. We then drove the 4 or so miles from our Villa to Epcot which was spookily quiet considering I was being joined by 25,000 other runners but as we neared the car park the sights were amazing, talk about “film camera action” the place was abuzz with well with everything 🙂  it was a sight I will never forget for as long as I live,  I have been very lucky and have experience many “disney days” but this was another level and one I wish all my running buddies could experience, its an awesome day suited to the racing snakes Tony, Jim, Kev, Andy etc because OMG this is a very fast course in fact yesterday saw a 1:09 finish and is so much nicer than the likes of Gosport but also a PERFECT race for those of you that love a good fun run, and by that I mean taking the run a little less seriously and like me stopping for photos on-route and just enjoying the whole experience, I must confess this is something I seldom do but if I do the Dopey next year I most definitely will savour them all, when I say “if I do the Dopey”  haha

Sue and I had race retreat passes and Platinum ch”EAR” squad passes so we had a superb tent with air-con and food an drinks in pre race so it was a lovely relaxing start,  at about 4am they called for all A-B starting gate runners to head to the start which I did. Another one of those moments I will never forget, walking in the dark with 25,000 other runners plus support staff and all you could hear was the clip clop of trainers, no chatting just clip clop clip clop in a nervous silence it was quite moving. It was a good long walk but perfect for a pre race warm up but sadly thats when I realised my Achilles was not going to play ball, well certainly not going to let me race anyway but I was happy to be here and I travelled 4700 miles to get here so I was not going to be a DNS I would in fact prefer a DNF “better to have tried and failed than never to have tried” an all that 🙂  Being in gate A meant I was privileged to go first,  in fact I was one of the first 100 or so over the start line in fact had I have been fit I would have gone right up front but did not want to hinder the faster runners, again this  could have been a very fast race but pain aside I have NO regrets.

A few moments later and after a minutes silence for those fallen in war and the American Anthem the fireworks sounded and the Wheelchair users set off,  I honestly have never experienced anything like it until that was 2 minutes later at 05:30 Donald Duck gave us a 3-2-1 in his squeaky little voice and the sky was alive with fireworks for as far as the eye could see,  I kid you not it was so emotional I nearly cried, if I had of done or indeed if I am caught on camera shedding a tear or 2 it was my injury I am all MAN and dont cry hahaha.

The first half a mile or so was really exciting and I forgot about my pain, almost off the start there were bands and cheerleaders and all manner of encouraging cheers but then the pain came back real quick so I slowed my pace and thought about self preservation for the first time ever in a race, this was something that would later save my day! I ran through the first water stop which incidentally had about 100 volunteers all handing out a variety of drinks and all shouting and screaming that there was the best haha what an experience it was quite surreal and then past the first character photo op both without stopping thinking that I could keep up my 7:30 pace and aim for those negative splits but it was not happening so I made a decision to enjoy the race for what it was a bloody good fun run and from that point on I stopped and drank water at all 13 or more stations,  I stopped for a pee (unheard of) and moreover I stopped about 20 times to have photos with the characters and even stopped at mile 9 to take a video on my iPhone of such an amazing site that I just had too,  the whole of Disney as far as the eye can see was runners coming from every direction thousands and thousands and thousands of runners with 1 common theme SMILES lots and lots of smiles 🙂  it was epic and again a sight and feeling I will never forget as long as I live.  I managed too continue my run/walk/limp campaign through to mile 10 which is when I had serous doubts about finishing and walked for 5 minutes until some lovely “race saving” Brit runner shouted out “C’mon Jules you can do it” again a goose bump moment but I got my shit together swallowed my fears and ran through the pain and continued through Epcot which was awesome and probably my favourite part of the race, I love Epcot so much and then I continued running through to the most amazing finish I have ever seen and my waiting amazing wife who as always despite my crappy time was as proud as can be and again quite a tearful moment for me 🙂

From the second I set off and right through to the finish I was within earshot of music, clapping and encouragement, there were thousands of Disney staff and volunteers through the whole course and so many water/food/medi stops I lost count even the cops were sounding there sirens and waving it was amazing and pain aside the best 13.1 miles of my life and I honestly would not change a thing despite being in so much pain 24 hours later writing this haha.

As I crossed the line I was handed a HUGE medal and a banana and a box of goodies and some more water lol I will be peeing all day!  and then saw my lovely wife so we headed back into the race retreat where I got a towel, some socks and a sports massage all very welcome and then a coffee and a cooked breakfast again Disney know how to host a party 🙂

I am so pleased with everything considering my injury and I still finished within the top 10% of runners (pretty epic I thought) although would have been a whole lot higher if I had been able to race.

Highlights for me apart from those noted were my first sighting of Cinderella’s Castle which was whilst running through a backlot, this was quite a moment and then running through the Magic Kingdom was quite, well magic and of course running through the Castle was fab and running back at about mile 9 and seeing the Pirate ship and people as far as the eye can see was brilliant but the absolute highlight for me was the start, I want to go back and do it all again it was simply breathtaking, I have never gotten emotional racing before but I did here 🙂

ON A SERIOUS NOTE: I dont advocate running with injuries but I had put so much into this race that it was a no brainer for me, the sensible thing to do is rest up and heal properly but when have I ever been sensible?

Thanks Disney for an awesome race,  I will be back……… in 2015 if not before 🙂

Driving home through Epcot we saw literally thousands of runners and this was again really emotional lots of tooting and waving and shouts of support from us but also well done from them,  OMG this was fan a bloody tactic experience and again one I will never ever forget for as long as I live and Sue feels exactly the same.  Awesome day !

Here are a few of our photos from the lovely Sue and below that from MarathonPhoto  I hope you enjoy them.

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