Category Archives: Races

Race day bullshit

There are 2 types of people at the start of a race; first there are those like me who get quite nervous and deal with it by finding a bit of peace and calm to focus and prepare themselves for the challenge ahead. We fidget a little, do some pointless half arsed stretching and remind ourselves that we’re ready. Then there those people who’s nerves get too much to contain and they fight their way out of the persons mouth in the form of mainly pointless chatter.  This chatter is normally fairly harmless “what you aiming for today” “is this your first time doing this race” “where are you from”, but it inevitably descends into a self depreciating competition of who is going to do the worst. Maybe it’s a British thing, we don’t like to shout about ourselves so why would we be as bold as to say we think we’re going to be awesome? Whatever the reason the bullshit you hear in a starting pen would have a lie detector test flashing red very quickly

It doesn’t matter how big or small the race is either but there is definitely a correlation between the distance being run and the amount of bullshit you hear with a multisport race adding an extra bonus level because the bullshit has more than one sport to cover. With it being peak spring marathon season I thought I’d share my top 3 bullshit phrases you’re bound to hear. If you’re nervous like me at the start of a race why not play your own game of bullshit bingo and see if you can tick them all off.

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Quadzilla race review

I beat the Quadzilla, of course by beat I mean limped over the finish line battered and bruised, but victorious nonetheless. I even finished the final of the 4 marathons with my fastest 2km of the 4 days, amazing how you can find that extra burst when you know the end is in sight. Sitting here just over a week since finishing it all feels a little surreal really, running 8km at 6am this morning on trails frozen with a hard white frost felt like hard work, not entirely sure how I ran 4 marathons in 4 days.

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But I did and I have the 4 medals to prove it. The first 2 marathons were actually quite easy, my metronomic pacing meant I finished them within 11 seconds of each other with day 2 being fractionally faster at 3:49:17. Amazing how doing a marathon 20 mins slower than your PB can feel so much easier, clearly tiring but I finished both days feeling good and nutrition before and after the races was working well. Continue reading Quadzilla race review

Taking on the Quadzilla

Any race with a name like THE QUADZILLA (said in the style of the xfactor announcer) is clearly not going to be a walk in the park, although technically it is in a park, and in this case it involves 4 marathons in 4 days. If you say that quickly it doesn’t sound too bad, at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. I’ve been trying to not to think about running a marathon with the DOMS from 3 marathons in my legs. I remember after my first marathon being able to barely walk down the stairs the next day let alone think about going out and running another one.

But what I love about running is that these challenges exist, that if you so desire you don’t have to ‘just’ run a marathon. You can do one off road, on an island, in the jungle, in the desert, multiple in one day, multiple days in a row the list goes on. At the moment I can’t see myself settling down and doing the same time of races each year, I need the variety to keep me mentally challenged as much as anything. I also like to get out of my comfort zone, the same reason I did a triathlon last year, challenge myself in a different way.

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Continue reading Taking on the Quadzilla

Sleepwalker night race review

When you find yourself thigh deep in a bog in the Brecon Beacons at 8pm on a Saturday night you do have to question your sanity. Especially when you’ve voluntarily ended up there and are doing it for ‘fun’. Although in a strange, slightly sadistic kind of way it actually was fun, I may even have laughed as I tried to climb out of the bog and find some ground that was a bit more solid.

The reason I found myself in this situation was the Sleepwalker night race, quite a low key event with about 45 entrants that starts and finishes in the small village of Talybont on Usk with just the 20 miles and 744m of ascent in between. As the name suggests it’s run at night with the start at 6pm, I’m told the route has some beautiful views but all I saw was the 2 metres of mud and water in front of me lit up by my head torch. That was of course when I wasn’t trying to keep the driving rain out of my eyes or shelter from the 40mph winds.  This really wasn’t a race for the faint hearted and I’ll be honest I was glad I was running it with my brother and not completely solo.

Sleepwalker night race route profile

Continue reading Sleepwalker night race review

Swindon 10k race review

In these days of big city races with their ‘guaranteed PB’ courses, fancy medals and big entry fees it’s a real pleasure to do a grass roots event like the Swindon 10k, especially one that only requires a 5 minute walk from my front door to the start. There really is no excuse for not doing a race that close to home is there?

And it’s a great race, low key and honest. 500 odd people lining up at the start line on a country road in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside ready to race their hearts out be that for a 32 minute finish like the winner or a 60 + min finish for those towards the back of the field. It was a pretty chilly morning for the race but that of course didn’t stop the club runners sporting their vest as normal, I’m sure some of those guys only put an extra layer on when there is snow on the ground.

I love watching people at the start of the race, seeing what routines they go through as they try to deal with their nerves. Breaking into sprints up and down the road  or jumping up and down on the spot to warm up, doing a couple of token stretches that are more likely to pull a muscle than stretch one or simply telling anyone that would listen that you’ve ‘basically done no training’. There were also lots of clubs having team photos taken, really nice to see so many local (and not so local) clubs represented.

Swindon 10k medal

The route is a 2 lap job with both laps going almost past my front door so the children were on cheering duty which was awesome. It’s also relatively flat, about 50m of elevation over the race, with a couple of gradual inclines and declines. Although I did have a brief conversation with someone on the 2nd lap who was complaining about it not being flat, I suggested it was ‘countryside flat’, the lady didn’t seem too impressed.

The organisation of the race is excellent, simple, no fuss and everything on time. No token goody bag at the end just a nice a medal and some free jelly babies at the end to help yourself too. Perfect!

I thoroughly enjoyed my race, once past the frantic first few hundred metres no one passed me and I felt strong and controlled the whole way. As I’ve been marathon training I haven’t done masses of speed work or faster running so didn’t quite know what to expect in terms of time but I hoped I could get sub 40 minutes for the first time. Somehow I managed to get my little legs to move quick enough to finish in 39 mins 31 seconds, almost 90 seconds quicker than last year, not bad at all.

It felt great do a shorter race for once and try to run fast and a big confidence boost that I managed to hit a consistent target pace for the whole race. It also made me realise that getting a few more of these kind of races into my training could be a good idea. The benefit of a bit more race experience and also a good intense tempo run, you can push yourself that much harder when you have people to race against.

Now I have a 10k under 40 mins I’d quite like to get a sub 20 min 5k recorded, should be easily achievable but I have yet to do a fast one. Following on from my last post I think I need to keep getting out of my comfort zone if I’m going to bring that marathon time down and running fast occasionally is definitely uncomfortable.