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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.

Yateley 10k Race 2 new PB

Last night Sue and I travelled up to yateley near Camberley for the second of the race series of 3 after a lovely first race last month which you can read about here and once again we had a wonderful time. Quite a few people have asked me recently why we travel so far for races and when first asked I was surprised because I thought everyone would 🙂  but once I looked into it I started to realise that not too many people travel to races but I have met a few like us that do.  Sue and I travel all over the UK for work so meet lots of people and once we get talking running often comes up and I am often recommended “nice” races so I look into them and provided it works with our diary then I book it.  We both make a day of it or like this an afternoon evening of it and often take a picnic with us which is lovely, we please ourselves with our working hours so why not.  Last week I ran the Lordshill 1ok great race you can read that here and pre race when I was wandering chatting I met a couple who had travelled up from Cornwall and stayed overnight just to run the Lordshill 10k so now when people ask why I travel to races I say, “why not”  I love running and travelling….

The last Yateley race was a tough race for me, I was just back from my ITB injury and had gained a few pounds because of a couple of weeks without exercise, a really busy month at work and very little training and it was my first hot evening race so I was happy with my time of 46:25  and finishing in the top 20% of runners and I was excited to see if I could better it today.  The course is “gently undulating”  hahaha they all say that when they really mean “hilly” but to be fair its not a bad course and the hills are perfectly acceptable plus with all my recent training that should not be an issue. I was not expecting a PB here but was hoping to beat last months time so here goes.

We once again arrived early and had a lovely picnic in the sunshine and a couple strong coffee’s for that much needed caffeine kick, I do struggle running at night and the coffee definitely helps 🙂   After our picnic I checked in and got my race number 638 and then headed over to the race area, I went for my usual 1.2 mile run to warm up, this has helped me so much on my last few races mainly to warm up my legs and hopefully avoid injuries.  Soon after it was time to line up in the starting coral and I chose somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes and soon got chatting to a couple of the Sandhurst Joggers and then the gun sounded and we were off,  Out of the school grounds at quite a pace and my head was full of “Stuart Smith”  RELAX those arms Jules 🙂  so I did and pressed on up to the first hill which is where I spotted Susie waiting to snap me,  I continued at a great pace up the first hills which go on for about 3K before levelling out and I decided to check my watch and noticed I was running at 6:40 minute miles so I was very happy, I continued running well and as I reached the 5K marker my split time was 20:58 so I knew I was going well but could I keep it up, it was hot and hilly so doubtful,  I ran on at pace and continued through the first 2 water stations checking my watch to keep me focused and as we got to 7k I was struggling with the hills but still a very impressive 7:20 min miles so I pushed on up and up and up 🙂 by the time I reached 9K I knew I was onto a winner and although the last K was real tough I managed it well, as I turned into the School I saw Sue again and sprinted for the finish after a little showboating of course, I crossed the line and picked up my lovely medal, a curly wurly and a crunchie bar as well as a bottle of water and forgot to turn my polar off AGAIN !!!!  but it was only a matter of seconds before I got the txt saying I crossed the line in 43:25 so yet another PB for me and I was delighted. Thats over a minute faster than last Sundays PB and a full 3 minutes faster than my first Yateley race a month ago so I am certainly starting to get more confident of one day reaching that sub 4o 10K.

After meeting up with Sue and drinking my milkshake I went for a 1k gentle jog to warm down and then did my stretches and then after chatting to one of the chaps I met last time we headed back to the car feeling amazing and headed off home.

Another fabulous race which was very well organised by lovely people and I cant wait for August’s now. The venue is perfect with great facilities and plenty of toilets and parking, refreshments are available as is a bouncy castle for the kiddies and a 2k fun run which I missed because it starts after the 10k,  This race was also covered my the local radio station who played on site from a van which was fun, all in all a very difficult race to beat.  Also another amazing medal 🙂

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here.

I finished todays race in position 148 out of 820 runners in 43:25 which is a new PB

The distance is 6.21 miles and I ran it in 6:59 Minute Miles or 8.59 MPH

Check out my Minute miles on the photo graph below 🙂

Lordshill 10k new PB

2 years.  114lb.  10k race……….

Todays race has been an iconic one for me for a couple of reasons, the first its hosted by my amazing running club the Lordshill Road Runners and it’s a once only gig for me because the rules say that I am only allowed to run this race if I book it before joining the club as I did.  Secondly because its exactly 2 year’s today that I started my life changing and possibly life saving diet and fitness regime.  2 year’s ago yesterday on June 29th 2011 I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic and I can honestly say it changed my life. I was a shade under 8 stone heavier than I am today and a whole lot less fit, as the old saying goes I doubt I would even run for a bus. I started working out in my Gym over the next few months and with a lot of hard work and determination I lost almost 8 stone but the big change came on March 23rd this year when I ran outside for the first time, I ran my first Parkrun in Southampton Common with my son Andy and found the running bug!

You can read more about my story by clicking the “my story” link above but today is all about my Lordshill 10k which could not have come at a more appropriate time, 2 years to the day from when I started my journey to find the new “skinny Jules” you see today. So after that first parkrun here I am 14 weeks later running the Lordshill 10K, it is in fact my 7th 10K  race since March and I have also ran a few 5k’s and 5 miler’s all of which you can read about here on my blog.

The Race

I must confess to being extra nervous over the past few days about this race I wanted to do so well and the fact that it fell on my “fitness” anniversary but this morning I woke up feeling great after a fab sleep. I switched on my mac and opened facebook and the first think I saw was a message on my wall from Becky Cleeves  wishing me all the best  which was followed my many more once I opened my notifications,  O BUGGER I was starting to get nervous again.  but seriously I knew that I have trained well and I should all going well run well too, my new motto or “train hard-race easy” would be put to the test today,  its not about taking the race easy as such, more that after training hard the race should come easier to me and I have found that to be true over the past couple of weeks since my small training hiccup which was a godsend.

As always we arrived in good time to enjoy all the pre-race fun and there was plenty going on today, it was brilliant chatting to all the hiller’s who were marshaling today as well as a few friends from other running clubs who I have got to know over the past few weeks, once 10am arrived I decided to go for my warm-up run which was just over a mile and felt great, I ran out at 8 min miles and back in a series of intervals and then it was time to line up at the start,  I chose a spot right near the front because I wanted my timing to be as accurate as possible and chatted to a few runners whilst we waited for the 2 or 3 minutes to pass,  after a pre-race briefing we were asked to move forward  and then “BANG” we were off,  heading out of the Ordinance Survey we headed towards nursling street and despite being the hottest day of 2013 I felt great,  once we arrived at Nursling I was cheered on by Becky and Ben and turned left down towards Lee, a route I am familiar with thanks to our social runs. Once we reached Lee lane I had settled into a pretty good pace and we turned left and ran along for a couple of K’s before reaching the turnaround spot at 4k and heading back towards the start.  We headed back up Nursling street and  past the OS and up the dreaded hill  which was long and low but did I mention it was HOT J.  I ran on pushing myself until I reached Romsey road and I confess to struggling with the heat at that point but as I reached the corner I spotted our Son Andy and that was the buzz I needed to drive me on to the end,  after a short run along Romsey road we turned back down towards the OS  and after looking at my watch I managed to pick up the pace and run at a real good pace all the way home,  I also managed to sprint towards the finish which is where I saw Sue and ultimately the finish line. Seeing my team mates along the route made am amazing difference to me today, especially those like Stuart and Andrew who I saw on the outward leg feeling quite good then again a few K’s later and they both gave me a quick talking too !  “Relax into the run Jules”  I was obviously feeling tense but that did the trick.

Such an amazing finish and I managed it in a personal best of 44:32 which is 32 seconds quicker that ever before and in this heat was brilliant.  After my milkshake, a warm down run and a few stretches Sue and I wandered across to cheer on a few runners and then photograph the kid’s races before a lovely picnic lunch.

Todays race was iconic for me as I explained earlier but I must say the organization was brilliant and the post race entertainment was such a treat, music and lots of buzz going on including the kids races and Ice Creams 🙂   Although I have only done a handful of races this was by far the most exciting both during and after, the music playing definitely helped and the atmosphere was great, the children’s races were such a fab idea and carried on the morning into the afternoon and then everyone enjoying a picnic before the prize giving too.

BIG well-done Lordshill both for the organisation and the support that I was shown today before, during and after the race.  Top race and I am a very happy chappy right now.  Sadly no medal today but to be fair I knew that and only chose this race because its my club but I did get a lovely glass.

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here.

I finished todays race in position 100 out of 360 runners in 44:32 which is a new PB

This last one thanks to Paul A Hammond.



RR10 Manor Farm Country Park

This evening I ran the Manor Farm RR10 in Southampton with my Club, Lordshill Road Runners,  The RR10 league is a series of races organised by running clubs in south-west Hampshire for their members. The races are held on Wednesday evenings during the spring and summer and are great fun and this one was off road and and quite dry compared to the last 2 RR10’s that I have done.  This was my third RR10 and I really enjoyed it for a couple of reasons, firstly its my clubs home 10K this weekend and the one and only time I am allowed to run it so I was not going to race this week but I did 🙂  I decided to take it easy tonight and treat it as a training session rather than a race, secondly because I ran with my mate Paul who was just back from injury and I have not seen him for a few weeks, it made perfect sense for me to run with Paul who normally runs at my race pace but this evening was running a very cautious 8.5 min mile.

We were called to the starting line and I must confess it felt very odd starting nearer the back rather than towards the front for me but I kept telling myself that this weekends race was the most important so far so all worth it !  Once we set off I mostly let Paul lead the pace and we had a lovely run through the woods and over a few tiny obstacles, managing to chat to people as we overtook was nice as well as a few hello’s to my friend Paul the photographer. It only seemed like a short while before the marshals were shouting “one last hill” and sure enough the last hill was upon us and up to the open park I was quite happy that I had ran a very sensible race, Paul then got race fever and sprinted to the finish 🙂 cheeky bugger but I loved every minute of running with him again and was very happy to see him back.

Overall a lovely course and a great atmosphere and I am sure everyone enjoyed it, a great turn out for LRR although I am pretty sure my offerings tonight never helped the league table much nor has the fact that I have missed a few this year but next year I will be fully prepared for them.

If you are thinking of getting into running or already do run bit are not part of a club I would urge you to look into joining one for days like this amongst other benefits, I have made some great friends already and the support is amazing, LRR are known to be a very friendly club so why not check them out, a great bunch of likeminded people, some running 5 minute miles and some 10 minute miles but all runners with a single goal to enjoy running !

I finished overall in position 164 which was pretty good considering and in about 42 minutes

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here

Here are a few photos courtesy of Paul A Hammond


A quick pre-race photo of me looking very chilled.

Sway 5 mile all terrain race NEW PB!

This morning Sue and I travelled to the New Forest for The Sway Carnival 5 Mile Race which is a lovely off road event at Wilverley Plain in the New Forest near to Sway and Brockenhurst the same place as I did my RR10 a few weeks ago, you can read about that using the link below.  Although I had been here before I knew it was tricky to find so we popped in before work yesterday and In am so pleased that I did because it did take a while to find 🙂

This was my first 5 mile timed race and I was really excited about it and the fact that it was an off roader made it all the more interesting because I really enjoy the odd one or 2 although to be fair they do not make for fast races normally.

The race started at 10:30 so as always we arrived good and early at 9am to pick up my race number and enjoy a coffee or 2 before things got started, I always find that  arriving early and enjoying the pre race atmosphere before running is a fab way to relax and loose my pre race jitters plus its a great chance to chat to the other runners and especially like today when a couple more Lordshill Road Runners arrive.

I am pleased to say it was a completely different route than the RR10 OI had done before here.

Well it was not long before the kiddies race and then we were ushered to the start line inside the Wilverley enclosure and after a quick pre race chat the gun sounded and off we went heading out and straight into a down hill sprint,  but you know what us runner’s say………”when it starts downhill it finishes going uphill” and boy it was right here 🙂  we ran for about 3 miles in the enclosure which was a series of ups and downs but generally dry and very enjoyable, I kept my pace well and was initially overtaken by about 10 runners but before we left the enclosure I had overtaken about 40 so I was very happy with my pace,  we left the enclosure with just over 2 miles left to run and the first half a mile was flat across the plain with a  cross wind which was very welcome after the muggy forest and then we turned left for a while with the wind behind us which was great and well needed and then the next mile and was a proper slog uphill and mostly single chalk track to no chance of picking off anymore runners and then as we reached the peak (which felt like Everest) we ran into a strong headwind YUK !  but I could see the finish and hear the cheering so I ran on and turned the last lefthand bend and onto the finish straight which was quite long or at least it felt it,  thats where I saw Susie snapping away and that gave me the buzz I needed for a rather long sprint finish crossing the line and an amazing 35:57 a new PB and one I am extremely proud of given the terrain.

So overall I ran the 5 miles averaging 7:11 minute miles which is my fastest speed ever over 5K distance and computes to a 10K of 44:30 which has to be my next goal.

Overall this was a very enjoyable race that was basic but very well organised, great marshals along the route who were quite supportive and a drink at the end,  no goodie bag or banana which I missed but an awesome medal which is FAR more important to me 🙂 and a very supportive crew putting on the event,  I will definitely be running more from this series without a doubt.

As always thank you to the marshals for getting up and helping this race go ahead, us runners very much appreciate it and if I missed saying thank you today please accept this as a HUGE THANKS.

RR10 at Waverley Plain  (my race here from a few weeks ago)

Check out the report from my Polar HRM here

I Finished this race in 35:57 in position 35 out of 175 runners.