By the time I reached the start of the descent back to Meonstoke from Beacon Hill, I was past caring about whether I could hold on to first place, I just wanted to stop running! got down the hill with no issues, but there was one final stumbling point, the only stile on the whole course, strategically positioned with half a mile to go. My quads had nearly cramped up climbing over it on the way out and I was praying they would play ball on the way back too. Thankfully my left quad almost went, but I straightened it just in time to save a painful hobble to the line!
At this point I was happy that the win was in the bag and as an added bonus Mrs Al_p, Al_p minors no. 1 & 2 plus my parents were waiting just before the finish to encourage me on. Over the line in 4hrs 7mins to take the overall 50k win (and default course record, only because it was the inaugural race!). Took a while to get changed as my legs and feet were in a bit of a state, prize giving was quick and then it was off for a dirty great big burger and pint of ale in the village pub to refuel Overall a great event and really well organised. It was good to bag an issue-free extra long training run Think I'll have a day off tomorrow though.
Late Happy Christmas to all! Think the last few days can be summed up as a Yong/yang combination of over-eating and guilt-releaving running.... (especially PP and ES) Some great parkrunning from Wardi (well toughed out at York) Dan & Jooligan and 10M racing from CD.
TR - Got fingers crossed for you that thing continue to improve
LMH - That's good news that you can still run on the crocked knee
After a lack lustre Christmas Eve Parkrun (18:30, a minute down on 2 weeks previous), I was having doubts about the sensibility of the post Christmas trail 50k (Winter Cross Ultra), but with the option to call it quits at 30k I figured it would be a decent long run either way.... A 5am start this morning was a bit of a rude awakening to say the least and it was pretty cold to boot. This was my first 'proper' Ultra event with indoor aids stations, food (inc minces and mulled wine ) so unsure of the expected routine with such things I resorted to type and just ran non-stop.
Thankfully it was just getting light as we were led out at 7:30 for the start, so no need for head torches. The race gets it's name from the shape of the course, consisting of a north, east, west & south out & back leg (if you are doing the full 45mile version, strike the south bit for the 50k). The initial north bound section was an easy 9k along an old railway line (i.e. flat), which served as a good shakeout and left me in a group of 3 at the front, although the other two were in for the full 45 miles. It was into and out for the race HQ and on to the east leg 2.
An undulating mile or 2 later and I hit the first serious climb of the day up Old Winchester Hill on the South Downs Way. The top was reached without too much hassle and then down the other side. A bit of farmland meandering and it was up climb 2 of leg 2, a delightful chalky gully up between two fields, which left me thinking that will be fun on the way back.... Reached the checkpoint at the end of the leg and was still on sub 7:30/M av pace and feeling pretty good. Turned around and was pleasantly surprised by the gap back to the 2nd place runner which was up to a couple of minutes. The return run was uneventful, although by the the time I can down off O' Winchester Hill my feet were beginning to sting with hotspots quite badly and there was the definite possibility of a decent blister forming on my left ankle... non-stop through race HQ again and out on to the last leg.
The pace had crept above 7:30 by this point and I was wondering what I would be able to sustain from 19 to 31 miles. A quick jog through he village of Meonstoke and then it was on to the piece de resistance of the course, a 2km uphill drag on tarmac to the top of Beacon HIll. It was head down and work time! By the top my upper legs were giving me a lot of gyp, but I carried on, getting close to "one foot infront of the other" mode. The next 4 or so miles undulated along farmtracks and road and I just tried to ignore the pain in my feet and hip flexors. The final checkpoint, with 6ish miles to go eventually appeared and turning back revealed that the next runners were in sight (but I neglected to note if they were 45M or 50K entrants). This spurred me on, although my legs didn't really respond to any requests for acceralation... A great aspect of the race was that you pass a lot of the other runners as you come back towards HQ, which proved much needed motivation and support.
Great reports Ryan & Dan, and great work in both cases despite the random photographer/tourist/cyclists hazards! Liking the old boys XC racing from SC & PP at the weekend too
CW - I have the Muon as well, was using it when we passed on the Busway a month or two back. I find it ok for running the twin flood LEDs on bright setting is usually enough for dark roads/non-technical offroad and the spot is reasonable for technical XC. On busy roads I pair it with a Silva button cell red flasher clipped to my shorts for a bit more visibility. Nice 15M at the weekend, that was a lot of laps of the Common though, looking at Strava....?
Padams - Top effort to get from the back to the front of the XC, reminds me of a XC race I did last summer, had an appalling start and watched about 50 stream past me around the first open field lap. Then we hit a narrow bit through the woods and I had to make tactical overtaking surges to get the places back before we strung out too much, not a great results but quite a lot of fun.
TR - Very glad to hear that you are back doing some running, I hope things improve (and sure they will) even if it is bit by bit.
TT - 'Tis that time of year when running plays second fiddle to a lot of things I find
CL - Good to see you again. I concur with PP, but don't forget white as well (practice what is preached recently myself)
RB - Excellent parkrun pacing
LMH - 80M/wk is solid. I thought you had knee trouble, or did that clear up?
Jooligan - You comments on a short sharpening run the day before a run run true here. I've taken to doing a bit of short quick stuff on the treadmill recently, either 4-5M with the last mile of 30'@16kph/30' Easy or the same distance progressively ramping the speed up. Think it helps the leg turnover and biomechanically preps for going faster. Anyway upshot is that I managed my fastest parkrun (17:30) in a long time a couple of weeks ago.
CD - Nice bit of 10k racing there.
Not a lot to report here, last week was going well with 60 odd banked up to Friday, but then carded a double zero due to an annoying weekend long cold bug . Could feel it coming in my runs a few days before, now hoping it hasn't knocked my fitness back much (I seem to be quite prone to this happening, even with minor illnesses!). Back to normal pretty much on Monday, so running resumes as normal. Although the back-end of this week is peppered with nights out and family stuff, so the next week is going to be a slightly haphazard taperish period into the 50k next Wednesday.
Not got much to report running wise since Abingdon. Recovered in time to give the Gosport Half a good crack, felt strong but a sub-75 time was thwarted by a daft cross/headwind for half the race (75:31). Got a strong sense of deja vu from the year before as I ran pretty much the whole race with the same guy from Lordshill RR in very similar conditions and failed to sub75 on both occasions, although this year was 20secs faster at least...
Mucked around with a few parkruns, the best being a 17:3x weekend before last. Apart from that I've entered the inaugural Winter Cross 50k in the Meon Valley/SDW on 28th Dec as a bit of post-Christmas fun, should be a good way to burn off a bit of turkey
Afternoon all, thought it was time for a read back and once in a while head above the parapet appearance
SL - That treadmill WR is simply astounding Couldn't watch it live as I was abroad, but watching the last 5mins it was very clear how much effort it had taken!
TT - Like the cheeky off-the-cuff sub3 marathon in the sun, good work
RS - Good luck at Pisa this weekend, hope it goes well for you.
Dan - Belated commiserations on your Valencia woes, a real strange one that with you coming back to run well at parkrun so soon after....
Great to see lots of familiar faces (and some new ones) posting of late. Some quality XC racing from PP & Padams and nice to hear from TR and Lord Dids again
CW - Going back to the headtorch discussion, I had the Alpkit Gamma, didn't know about rechargeables invalidating the warranty until I found that this had happened to the battery compartment...
Ni-Mh batteries had scorch marks on them so clearly it had got pretty warm! Tried emailing Alpkit, but just got a 'told you so' reply (which is fair enough). Replaced the Gamma with another one from them (v small, lightweight, but no longer available) which does take rechargables. Now tempted with one of these https://www.alpkit.com/products/qark as it's much brighter than the Gamma and is USB chargable.