Race Report: Fowlmead Challenge

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This is a ‘challenge’ rather than a ‘race’ – there’s a six hour time limit and you can run as many 3.3mile laps as you like.  I did this as part of my Stockholm marathon training and to celebrate  a friend who achieved the amazing 100 marathon club status this weekend at a mere 28 years old. What’s even more amazing is that she only started her journey three years ago.

I really enjoyed this race. I’ve done a few trail runs now and I recommend the community spirit with both Saxon and White Star Running. There’s no snobbery, no pressure on time and achievements are celebrated accordingly (with champagne and cake, natch).

BCRC Fowlmead

We stayed in Deal, in the beautiful Royal Hotel. They were lovely and accommodating to our early breakfast needs, so we managed some porridge, toast and coffee before heading to Fowlmead Country park, about 5k down the road.

The race started at 9.30 with excellent race instructions.  With about 80 participants, race number pick up was smooth and very personal.  Baggage was a tarpaulin next to the aid station/Race HQ.

The rules were simple:

  • follow the path – not the tarmacked cycle track
  • collect a band for each lap you do
  • ring the bell to signal the end of your final lap

The feed station was at the start/end of each lap and the tables groaned under the weight of the goodies on offer – peanuts, pringles, crackers, jam and scones, fudge, brownies, jaffa cakes, chocolate orange…. There were also boxes of an assortment of gels as well as blackcurrant and orange squashes, water and even a bit of fizz for the finish.  The snacks were a definite incentive to finish each lap!

My race strategy was to finish before my friend did in order to see her presentation. Eight laps was a full marathon. We got to four relatively easily, and I was actually still spotting new bits of the route! There were two hills, a windy section and a downhill-ish section. The park is an old colliery so there was plenty to look at.

I decided on my fifth lap to do 6 – 20ish miles. That’s a good training run and I wanted to stop while I felt good, bearing in mind that I’m road running a marathon at the end of next month and last week’s long run was 15 miles.

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We got a massive cheer when we rang the bell after six laps and were personally presented with a medal that is about the size of my face and a brilliant goody bag – beer, chocolate orange, matchmakers, crisps and biscuits. No leaflets or flyers or bags of rice.  There were also showers and proper bathrooms, which were appreciated before the drive to London.

I really recommend the relaxed marathoning approach – you run somewhere pretty and everyone is so friendly. I bumped into a friend I’d met at a Dorset race and her daughter was wearing  a UEA jumper – small world!

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Further reading:

http://www.saxon-shore.com/index.html

Full results:

http://www.saxon-shore.com/fowlmead_challenge/

The Road to Stockholm – Week Three

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Week Breakdown Nutritional Breakdown Other Considerations Comments
3 (MON 20TH APRIL) COMMUTE

RETESTING – not on the garmin but about 4k of varying speeds

  • no difference
  • Look to have fruit as well.
  • Gauge how you feel.
  • Weigh in
1,479 calories

weigh 1lb heavier than last week

TUES WU1M/I50m/E100mREPEAT30min/CD1M

COMMUTE

  • No Variant
  • Race on Wednesday so just to get the legs used to pace
 1,818 calories

gentle bike ride

WED – RACE 5M SERIES
  • +200kcals
  • Take additional calories 2hr pre workout.
  •  Report how you feel
  • mobility stretches
  •  muscle massage after
 1,694 calories

ave pace 7:59 – sub 40 minute 5mile!

Storming. Knackered but felt great

THURS REST

Hill session

  • no variant
  • Remember to be taking on micro nutrients wherever possible.
 1,618 calories

10 x hill repeats 2.5miles

FRI REST – CAR JOURNEY
  • +500kcals
  • try to maintain eating plan despite the drive to Kent
  •  Get an early night!
  • have a bath if possible
 2,954 calories (!)
SAT – FOWLMEAD MARATHON WU1M/E300MIN/CD1M
  • +1000kcals
  • Eat what you feel like eating
  •  the drive back needs to be taken easy
  • Stretch post event
  • Self-massage
  • Ice to areas of tightness if exist.
  • Tissue flossing.
 1,0000000 calories (est)

20miles in 3h17 – very leisurely.

Glutes need stretching. Need to work on core, but felt fine

SUN REST

optional

WU1M/I50m/E100mREPEAT30min/CD1M

  • no variant
  • stretch
  •  Tissue flossing
 1,00000000 calories (est)

Supported in London. Drove home.

Feel fine but tired.

Er. So, I ate too much again. Woops.

The race went brilliantly on Wednesday and I think it’s the increase in protein that did it.

I’m going to continue to try and keep my macro nutrients balanced and not worry too much about calories. After a sugar and fat filled weekend though, I really want some vegetables!

The Road to Stockholm – Week Two

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Week Breakdown Nutritional Breakdown Other Considerations Comments
2 (MON 13TH APRIL) COMMUTE

4.5M run instead

  • no variant
  • Weigh in
 ave speed of 9:03min/mil

splits of 8:56/8:52/9:00/9:09/9:29

calories: 1,729

+1lb on last week’s weigh in

TUES WU1M/T3M/CD1M
  • +200kcals
  • Spread extra over day.
·  Keep rules such as low GI  5.5M

ave speed of 9:12min/mil

splits of 9:01/9:09/9:12/9:28/9:26/8:46

calories: 1,734

WED ASLAKE COURT
  • no variant
·  Make sure you are taking on at least 5 portions of vegetables and fruit this week.  The first sunny day of the year warranted dinner with the Mr

calories 2,195

THURS COMMUTE
  • no variant
  • Same as normal
·  Make sure you are planning rest at every possible opportunity.  Cycle felt great outwards ave speed of 11.4mph, incoming ave speed of 9.8mph (nice relaxing ride!)

calories 2,380

FRI WU1Mi/T1Mi/WD1Mi
  • +300kcals
  • Split additional between pre and post workout.
  • Protein and fat before, protein and carbohydrate after.
·  Keep intakes of food fairly regular and try not to have huge meals.

·         Tempo should be run at 20-30 seconds above marathon goal pace

 ave pace 9:09min/mil

9:31/7:39/10:04/ half mile at 9:36

calories 2,077

Had protein snack of bounce ball before run – felt great.

Fell over that evening, bruised my left knee pretty badly. Felt okay to run on though

SAT parkrun
  • +500kcals
  • Pay attention to the breakdown
·  Most runners make the mistake of eating late and going to bed with undigested food in their stomach.  This means the body has to work at rest.

  • go for it!

·         try to keep the splits even

 ave pace 8:03min/mil – 25:04

7:58/7:57/8:15/7:48 (0.1)

Had protein shake before parkrun. Felt much better than usual and not hungry at all. Did feel tired in the third mile though.

calories 3,198

SUN WU1M/E60min/T2M/MP2M/E30min/CD1M (approx 15M)
  • +1000kcals
  • Have a protein and fat breakfast at least 2 hrs before run
  • Start to use snacks from mile 8.
·  Afterwards eat what is appealing.

·  Try to be rested when eating and avoid eating on the move.

·  Take sips whilst rehydrating rather than guzzling water.

9:43min/mil ave pace for 14:75miles.

Maintained 9:30s until  mile 14 then dropped to 10:33. Coincides on when I decided to go home!

Did not follow the plan at all. Goal was to get round without stopping.

Didn’t use snacks, took 500ml of nuun. Was thirsty when I got home.

calories 2,259

Weekly mileage total: 41.16miles

running – 31.46miles

cycling: 9.69miles

Weekly calorie total: 15,572

Weekly calorie goal: 12,500

Difference: +3072

Weight: +1.5lbs

This tells me that I am eating too much! The good news is that I can tell where my extra calories are coming in – snacks. A little biscuit here, a few chocolates there. That’s where it’s adding up. So next week I am not going to snack.

My protein/fat/carbohydrate breakdown is doing well and I am consistently hitting the 20%/30%/50% recommendation from Myfitnesspal.

This is my race calendar

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Imma just going to go ahead and leave this here

Date Race
Bathalf 1st March
Larmer Tree marathon 15th March
Fulham & Putney half marathon 12th April
Great Yarmouth 5M series #1 22nd April
Fowlmeade marathon 25th April
Great Yarmouth 5M series #2 6th May
Great Yarmouth 5M series #3 20th May
Stockholm marathon 31st May
London 10k
Dorset Invader
12th July
18th July
Norwich 10k 30th August
Amsterdam marathon 18th October
St Neots half marathon 15th November
Adnams Southwold 10k TBC 22nd November (TBC)

spongebob

The road to Stockholm – Week One

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This is what my week’s training looks like.

I’ll update this with comments at the end of the week. If I’m feeling extremely energetic, I’ll update it as I do each session. I ain’t promising, though.

Week Breakdown Nutrition Breakdown Other Considerations Comments
1 (Monday April 6th) REST
  • No difference
·         Take measurements and report any changes.  no food logged.

slept until 1pm, still jet lagged

Tues WU1M/I200m x 10/CD1M
  • +200kcals
  • Take additional calories after training session.
 Went to club instead, did pyramid session. Felt weak so had to stop.  Ave pace 9:10min/mil, fastest 5:02. 3.33miles

2,203 calories

Wed COMMUTE/ASLAKE COURT
  • +200kcals
  • Again take additional calories after training.
 2,226 calories

Cycling felt pretty good, tyres have been fixed

Thurs – BOOK CLUB CIRCUIT 2
  • no difference
 1,394 calories

cycled to book club

Fri 8M – WU1M/E1M/MP3M/T3M/CD1M
  • +500kcals
  • Use 500kcals for refuel after training the rest can be spread throughout the day.
·         This will feel a long day.  2,280

7.85miles

splits:

WU9:28

E1M 9:04

MP 3M 8:54/8:51/9:06

T3M10:00/10:15

CD1M 9:54

Sat RETESTING
  • +500kcals
  • fuel for half marathon
  • Spread extra throughout day.
·         Travel to London – try to stay off your feet 2,380calories

no retesting,train was earlier than thought. Will be rescheduled

Sun – FULHAM PUTNEY HALF WU1Mi/E40M/M40M/WD1Mi
  • +1200kcals
  • Make sure to take a few little snacks with you on your run.  I would advise a mixture of fat, protein and sugar will allow for enjoyment whilst running.
  • Try not to consume any more than 300kcals whilst out on the run.
·         Try to get at least 8+ portions of vegetables and fruit in on this day to help with recovery.  3,135 calories

3 portions of veg

Tough half, 2:09 ish (splits below)

Fulham Putney splits

Analysis

So, I clearly eat too much.

I need to keep a much more stringent eye on what I eat as it’s consistently 300 calories higher a day than it should be. Over ten days, that’s a 1lb gain.

I am reasonably happy with my cycling and my macronutrients split i.e. protein/fat/carbs though.

So basically, I’m eating what I need to, but just too much of it.

Onwards and upwards!

Tempus Fugit when you’re training and working and having fun

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Well, here we are, past New Year and Easter and the first races of 2015. How does that happen?

For the first three months of 2015 I had a Plan. I had a Coach. I had Plans to Blog about it. And then life took over and I realised I couldn’t manage the doing and the blogging.

So here I am, sans Coach but with my own Plan and eight weeks to go until Stockholm marathon.

Actually, here I am on Noosa beach, pretending to be a lifeguard. I visited lovely family for a week, a couple of weeks ago. It was lush.
Sooz lifeguard

I even managed to do a parkrun! This was Noosa. It was 24 degrees when we started, at 7am. Phew. I like to think I was going so fast the photographer couldn’t catch me.

Noosa parkrun

I think this is one of my favourite all time pics of me running. We’re a few hundred metres in to the Larmer Tree marathon, run by the amazing White Star Running. Look at my air!

We did Larmer Tree in 5hours 40, walking and running. It was lovely. I can’t recommend WSR enough, honestly.  The races are reasonably priced and you feel like they actually care about you, instead of trying to wring as much dosh as they can out of you. Food at the end was included, photos are free (yes, free) and the aid stations are well stocked with proper food and hugs.  Oh yes, and the races are all in the beautiful surroundings of Dorset. I’m hoping to do the Dorset Invader there in the summer.

Larmer jump

Well, this is obviously Bath – The Royal Crescent, hilariously referred to as ‘a row of terraced houses’. Not where I’m from, thanks.

I did the Bath half marathon at the start of March, in 1:56. My first sub 2 since my PB a year ago (of 1:50). I feel much better now, but I think there’s more where that came from.
royal crescent

Sub Four or Die!!!

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Okay, so that is a bit tongue in cheek.

sub four or die

It’s an arbitrary number. It doesn’t mean anything.

But.

It does. a marathon with a 3:xx means you’re a proper runner. It means you’re in the same league as the athletes, the ones who run 3:02. In the same hour!

It’s a thumb to the fat you, the unfit you, the one who cringed away from photos and friends and who desperately wished to not be known as ‘the fat one’.

It’s a reward for the hours and hours and miles and miles spent pounding away. In good times and bad.

Running is its own reward, I know that.

But.

I still want that time, that one with a 3:xx.

I thought Loch Ness would be The One. I cried when I finished at 4:18. In fact, I cried through the race, once I realised that I’d missed the target. Gone off too fast, too slow, too something. I’d missed the training cues which told me that my pace wasn’t right. Missed them, or ignored them.

My pace steadily declined from March 2014, where I could easily maintain an 8:30min/mil pace, getting a half marathon PB where my pace was 8:17min/mil. Boy, did that hurt. But it felt good. I did 5 miles in under 40 minutes – sub 8min/mil. I got a marathon PB by ten minutes in Paris – 4:12.

Not there though.

Not quite.

So I tried again with Loch Ness. I followed a Plan. I missed the paces. Tried again. Tried harder – longer, faster, earlier sessions. Less food. More food. Different shoes. More bad training runs than good.

Still I got slower.

In the race, something happened. Or rather, nothing happened. I was clipping along quite nicely when I got a stitch. Then my brain whispered (you can’t do this, you’re too slow)

So I started 2015 afresh, with a Coach who’s helped lots of people tumble their PBs and shed pounds. Hooray.

Except. I put on weight. Frustration. Sessions weren’t under my control and sometimes there were inconsistencies – human error or should I be cycling to work on a Sunday?

Did get a parkrun PB though – yay!

Now moving in the right direction but have my own plan. PBs galore have not come my way and I’m heavier than ever. But I have just under eight weeks before Stockholm and I am confident I can do it.

C’mon inner me, let’s do this.