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Gosport half marathon new PB

This morning was the 28th Gosport Half Marathon and I ran it along with about 50 other hiller’s including our Son Andy.   I was more than a little nervous about this one because since my Oxford half 4 weeks ago I got the cold/flu bug and missed a couple of weeks of training and have really had to pick things up this past 2 weeks plus I knew that a PB was expected of me so lots of pressure 🙂

Anyway we arrived in good time and parked in the designated area but only just 🙂  I got stuck in the shingle and some jerk ill mannered should have stayed in bed marshal nearly got a slap for the way he spoke to me which I am sure would have ended my race 🙂  anyway after that was sorted we headed to the race village where we saw lots of hillers and my new coach Ant from Run Camp and after a short while we headed to the start line a few minutes away.

Unfortunately I was too busy chatting and did not realise that I actually started in the 2 hour section so once the gun fired it was tough to find my pace but after a mile or so I was doing great and felt very comfortable with my placement,  this carried on through the airfield and onto mile 6 where I was keeping my miles sub 7 minutes so very happy and at this point I saw Paul “hammy” my buddy the photographer which was nice and then unfortunately bumped into one of my hiller buddies who due to injury had to pull out but as we shouted to each other he said “I will live to race another day Jules” this made me smile but not as much as his next bit when he said “stop chatting and concentrate on the race” haha.

anyway I ran on and felt fab although I was running just over 7 min miles at this point and continued to feel good as we entered the airfield for the second time but as I reached the 9 mile point I started to struggle and from then on it was probably my toughest 4 miles ever,   I managed to keep a decent pace but OMG it was tough,  As I reached 12 miles I could see my buddy Ash up front and I knew he had a problem because he is super fast (yeah I know its hard to believe anyone is faster than me)  haha.  I caught up with Ash and found out that he had pulled a muscle but still running a good pace so I ran with him for the last mile and it did help me pick up my pace.

As I approached the finish I saw Sue which as always gave me a massive boost and I went over the line smiling,  well smiling inside haha.

This was a very flat race and to be honest I prefer a few hills but apart form that it was enjoyable,  everyone calls this a boring race but i think I get so into racing that I take little notice of my surroundings anyway,  The marshals were amazing apart from that 1 jerk at the parking,  they were friendly and encouraging and the race overall was very well managed.

As I crossed the line I got a lovely medal and a superb goodie bag which I love and then I headed back to Sue and to wait for Andy to finish.

I finished in position 280 out of 2000 runners and a time of 01:32:28 which is a new PB by about 2 minutes and 31 seconds 🙂

I am now being coached by Ant from Run Camp so am pretty excited about the next few months but more about that later.

I am very happy and extremely proud to be a hiller and running with lots of them today was simply amazing, icing on the cake.

Onwards and upwards, my next race is not until the 15th December which is the longest gap for me but I have started marathon training to keep me busy.

Jules

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And a few from my buddy Paul Hammond,  thanks mate.

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Pre-Gosport parkrun

This morning I managed to fit in my first parkrun for a few weeks but it was only a gently run around before tomorrows half marathon at Gosport.

I woke up early for a coffee and there was lord of discussion on Facebook about shorts or tights 🙂  well I poked my head outside and opted for tights and it was the right choice let me tell you! when I arrived at the common it was just scraping past 2 degrees and still damp from the overnight mist but I was excited to see the new course C for our run.  There were lots of people already arriving and most like me were complaining about the cold, yes winter has definitely arrived.

I was not 100% sure wether to go all out or plod around today but after a quick chat with Captain Jim I opted for something in the middle to save my legs for tomorrow, I have learned that running too slow can be as dangerous as running to fast so I stuck at a comfortable 7:15 minute mile and loved it,  this is actually just a tiny bit slower than my current half marathon pace.

The new course is great, the extra hills suited me just fine and I think it will be a PB course, I guess the next week or so will tell.

I ran around today in 22:38 and it felt great, I a really looking forward to the Gosport Half marathon tomorrow which officially kicks off my Rome Marathon training and I have opted to work with Ant from RunCamp who is coaching me but more on that later.

Thanks to Paul Hammond for the photo, thats me waiving to the marshals 🙂  I know none of these lads are wearing my super warm tight but hey they all have 30 years on me !!!

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Oxford half marathon……my own Mini adventure

Apart from my Disney half marathon next January this was probably my most anticipated race and as sods law would have it I hurt my knee on my Wednesday run this week, I had planned to do a 13 mile run but after 3 miles my knee hurt like hell and I headed for home eventually running/walking and limping to about 6.5 miles and after reviewing things I put my knee injury down to overuse because last week I almost hit the 50 mile mark !  So I saw my Physio on Thursday for a massage and I got taped up so on Friday I decided to try again and sadly after 3 miles it hurt again only thankfully nowhere near as bad and I continued my run and got home just under 6 miles, suffice to say for the last couple of days I have been pooping myself at the thought of not finishing the Oxford half or even worse not being able to start it and the worst part is that I would not know until I started racing !

This morning I set the alarm for 05:30 thinking we would leave here at 06:15 to arrive at our designated Unipart car park by around 07:30.  After a fab trip up we arrived on time having stopped for a paper and a snicker bar for after the race 🙂  well a bloke’s gotta have something to look forward to !!!  the parking marshals were a brilliant and friendly bunch as were the waiting bus drivers,  We travelled the couple of miles on the bus which I might add along with the parking was free (take note Bournemouth) and also very frequent in fact there were 4 busses waiting behind ours.  We were soon at the Kassam Stadium and the race buzz had started,  actually thats a big fat lie,  the race buzz started about 10 miles out of Oxford when our traffic alert came on the radio and it said “Half marathon radio brought to you by Mini”  haha needless to say the nerves kicked in then !  anyway back to the stadium, we had a walk around and found our feet, the start and finish lines were very close and there was an amazing selection of food and drink on offer including a huge stand from Lidl offering free bananas and bottles of water, what a fab touch 🙂  after numerous visits to the bathroom we were told to head to the start so I stripped off and popped on my black bin bag whilst I waited the 10 minutes to the start,  it was pissing down with rain at this point and again I was pooping myself worrying about my knee !

a few minutes later I kissed Sue goodbye and settled into the 1:35 section albeit hopefully because I thought I could hit 1:35 if my knee had not played up, soon after the siren sounded and off we went, OMG it was slow for the first 200-300 yrds but I ripped off my bin bag (very macho I know) and off I went.  My knee felt fine although it was then I realised that in all the pre race buzz I had forgotten to put any ibuprofen gel on 🙂  BUGGER !!!  anyway off I ran alongside the 1:35 pacer and as I said it felt pretty good, I kept up a pretty decent pace for the first 3 miles in my head counting off 10% done 20% done haha anyway my pace was  06:53  07:11 and 07:18 but then as I hit 3.2 miles my blooming knee starting hurting and at that point I thought I was destined to run parkrun’s forever 🙂 despite this I pressed on and surprisingly it never got any worse so I started to feel confident and start concentrating on my technique and race plan,  we then ran through the Mini plant which was my main reason for choosing this race bearing in mind up until 2 weeks ago we has a super little John Cooper Works Mini and I saw a few cars and was cheered on my lots of Mini workers, not petite workers rather those employed by Mini (that was my attempt at humour so please laugh) after that re ran over a flyover which was the highlight of the race for me because looking back to my left I could see runners weaving through the streets as far as the eye could see which made me feel pretty good and it made me realise that I was a pretty fast runner after all 🙂

Onwards I ran staying with the 1:35 pacer and mostly the going was good despite the rain, we then moved to the towpaths and they were wet and wetter ! this went on for about 2-3 miles and I could not help thinking that I should have worn my Brookes ASR’s but none the less it eventually ended and we came out on the high street and it was at this point that I glanced through squinty eyes to see we were at mile 9 and I mentioned to the chap next to me that we only had a parkrun and a warm down to go, he burst out laughing and said “god I love the way you think”  well that drove me on and I picked up the pace and overtook the 1:35 pacer and for the next 3 miles I settled in and enjoyed the race although its fair to say the last 3 miles were the hilly 3 miles so it was a little tough although I honestly think I perform better on the undulating courses so no complaints.

It was not long before I passed the 11 mile marker and thought to myself for the first time “I might just finish, not just finish but finish with a respectable time too” and this kept me buzzing for the last couple of miles, as I passed the start line which was about half a mile from the finish I could hear the bands and the buzz of the finish and I picked up my pace although at this point this young American lad passed me like I was sat still 🙂  haha I am pleased to say he was the only person to pass me since mile 10 !  as I ran around and entered the Kassam stadium it felt brilliant and turning the last corner I saw the best sight in the world,  no not the finish line but my amazing wife Sue with her camera and even more important her smile, this gave me goosebumps and I was quite emotional running the last 100 yards to the finish trying to emulate Kevin Yates with my bounding 🙂   Over the finish line I went in 1 second over 1:35 but a good bit in front of the 1:35 pacer 🙂  I ran on through the stadium and the fast American chap asked me how we did coz his Garmin had failed 🙂

I was then given my medal OMG its beautiful and I know Di my running buddy will love it 🙂  then I got a banana and a drink before being handed a goodie bag with a running magazine and loads of treats and a lovely brookes water bottle and then a lovely technical t-shirt to rival any that I already have.

If Carlsberg did races!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I promised myself that I would not swear on my blog but this race was “insert swear word here” AMAZING and I can honestly say it was without a single doubt my favourite race so far and I LOVED every single mile of it,  to be fair I have only been running 6 months and 21 days (not that I am counting) so my experience is limited but I do seem to like the half marathon distance although I went for a half mile run after I finished and it felt great and another runner I passed said to me “jesus christ mate where do you get the energy”  which now has me thinking…………..

This was a fab day and the organisation was just perfect no complaints at all and the course was fab, interesting and I am sure scenic for those who look at anything other than the arse your trying to pass 🙂  and the marshals were all so bubbly and friendly in what was possibly the worse day of 2013 so far so hats off to you all for a GREAT job, I will be back next year and thats a promise.  Now onto the supporters,  well what can I say it was cold and very wet yet you lined the streets and clapped along to the Battle of the bands and cheered us on and I can honestly say it was very much appreciated buy all us runners 🙂 it makes such a difference that I cant start to tell you.

I finished today in 1:35:01 and I genuinely felt as if I was running rather than racing,  this is a good thing because I was able to put all my RunCamp and Hiller training into my run and concentrate on my technique and the best part is I know I have better in me so hopefully I have a sub 1:30 in me sometime soon and hopefully early next year 🙂

I crossed the line today in an amazing 1:35:01 and in position 313 out of 3507 finishers which is another top 10% placement 🙂

Here are the starts from my Polar GPS but also check out my mile splits below 🙂 I am dead chuffed !

If you are local to Southampton check out my amazing running club the Hiller’s

If you want to improve your running technique and speed check out RunCamp

 

 

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Bournemouth Marathon Festival speed of light 5k

Wow, Wow and WOW !

Tonight I travelled to the Bournemouth Marathon Festival to take part in my first night time run the Speed of Light 5k and it was amazing.  I had already booked a 10k for Sunday with our son Andy so when I saw this race advertised I decided to book the 5k because the evening race sounded like a lot of fun.  Because I am racing tomorrow Sue decided not to come with me so I asked my mate and fellow photographer Matt to come along and take a few photos for me, we arrived about 5:30 because there were a lot of road closures and parking could have been tough, after settling in we had a good chat and a walk around chatting to fellow runners including fellow hiller Laura who had finished the 10k earlier and was buzzing from all the excitement.

I must admit after dozens of races this one did seem to be a bit special, it was what I expected Richmond to be like, thousands of people and a great buzz all round, so much so that I barely had space to do a warm up so instead I ran to the loo’s and did some dynamic stretches instead all of which got me prepared to run.

We were all given little flashing lights to wrap around our arms or legs which must have looked wicked as we ran off 🙂

After what seemed like an eternity the starting corals opened and I made my way over the shuffled my way down to the front where I chatted to a few runners and was chuffed at getting the front line spot 🙂  that was until they called a few of the fancy dress runners to the starting line for photos BUGGER !!!!!  haha but hey ho it was dark so I was not expecting a PB tonight. The horn sounded and off we all ran twinkling with our lights they handed us and running strong into the dark towards Boscome pier, it felt great although I had not started my GPS the lack of light and me not wearing my glasses meant I could not see much 🙂 but by the time we reached the first corner I was around 20th and very happy.  we then headed back towards the start and turned left and ran along the pier and back before heading off the other way and I am pleased to say that I kept my placing which is when I realised that I really was having a great race,  along to the next turning point and I picked up my pace and managed to overtake a few runners in front of me, I continued along the front and as we approached the last bend I overtook 2 more runners and really gave it my all and ran up the finish hill in a very impressive 5 min mile to an amazing applause and commentary and over the finish I went, I then went on to collect my medal which is the best yet 🙂 and a drink and a real nice goodie bag and technical t-shirt which I love, a few more photo ops and then we walked back to the car for the trip home, I was Buzzing all the way…..

The course was fast and flat apart from the finish hill and I loved it, it would make a fab parkrun 🙂  and the support from marshals and spectators was the best I have ever experienced I was honestly gobsmacked at just how good it was 800 runners and thousands of spectators all clapping and cheering all the way around, simply amazing.

I never got a PB tonight but that pales into insignificance when I tell you that I finished in the top  13 out of 800 runners which makes me very happy and very proud too.  This race started in the dark and was tough for everyone but looking at my placement I am getting faster and faster when all things are equal. I once again never wore my glasses whilst running but must look into getting contacts which would have helped me see last night, that or more carrots 😉

Great medal in fact my favourite yet and  a lovely technical t-shirt too, along with a goodie bag packed a flapjack, drink and lots of energy products this was how races should finish.

Bournemouth Marathon Festival you should be very proud, thank you for an awesome experience.

I missed Sue today something awful but I am so grateful to Matt for coming along and taking these awesome photos 🙂  cheers Matt.

I finished this race in 21:35 but much more important I finished in 13th out of 800 runners and I am VERY proud of those numbers.

Check out my Polar GPS stats here

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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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