Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cannock Chase Trig II

More of that in a minute, first the rest of the week.

It's been a welcome recovery/consolidation week, so effectively half-mileage. Time for my body to strengthen after the last three weeks of effort.

On Tuesday I did a 6k run on the treadmill at a quick pace. Starting at 12.5kph and gradually building up to 14kph for the last few minutes. I guess this is around 7:30 minute miles or thereabouts. Following that I did a strength and stability session, which incorporates most of the major muscle groups strength-wise, and then ankle strength and core stability exercises too.

On Wednesday I did a 6.5 mile trail route, in the dark, around Apedale. My head torch and I are practically surgically attached these days. All good practice for the desert night running I guess.

On Thursday I did a little less, 5.5 miles, balancing out to the desired 12 miles for those two days. I have run these at a very steady pace, about 9 minute miles, and by the time you factor in the stretch session I do after the first mile, the whole session takes about an hour.

Friday was my usual gym session with Clive; more strength and stability, no problems there.

On Saturday, unusually for me, I did an 8 mile road run. My parents were babysitting my son, so I ran from their house and being late I decided to stick to the well lit road instead of tackling unfamiliar dark trails, in case I slipped and injured myself. Already I am starting to be a little cautious about the routes I choose. I cannot think of anything worse than injuring myself so close to the MDS! It started out as a nice 9mm endurance pace but four miles in I spotted another jogger about 1/2 mile ahead. Well, I think we've all been there, a little competitive spirit perks up and I push the hammer a little. It's not really a fair race, since only one of you knows they are competing! Of course I caught him up and passed him, holding the increased pace (about 7:30mm) for the next 2 miles to be sure he didn't catch me back up! I eased off in the last couple of miles, back down to the 9mm pace and then backed off even further in the last half mile, so by the time I finished I wasn't at all out of breath. It's funny now I think back two years. Eight miles isn't even a fun-run for me now, but it was further than I had ever run in my life two years ago.

So, Cannock Chase Trig race; I did the same race last year with disastrous results. I had done the New York marathon, still injured with ITB and then taken the next two months off to recover, literally running a few times in 8 weeks. I think I assume my fitness would just still be there; I know better now! Add to that my expectation of electrolyte and many drinks stations (still in NY marathon mode!); there was just a single drinks station visited on 5, then 10 miles serving water only! I didn't carry any drink bottle or camelback, hadn't eaten a decent enough breakfast and was probably dehydrated to start the race. After just 5 miles I was struggling. After 7 miles I was on the floor with the worst cramp I had ever had. I hobbled when I could, and walked when I couldn't, around the remainder of the course in a pitiful 3:07. I came 167 out of 177, oh the shame!

So today was all about redemption.

Bad news out of the way first, I lost one of my PDA's. I wasn't carrying a front-pack where I usually tether it in a Aquapac. Instead I had just a backpack containing only electrolyte (total weight not much more than 2kg). As a result I put the PDA in my waterproof coat pocket, obviously forgot to zip it up and lost it. I have left my details in case it gets handed in, I doubt it though. I do have another PDA spare, so it's not the end of the world.

Here is the route in Memory Map first.

An my actual route from Google Earth. Slight variances, but overall more or less the same.

Anyway, bad news aside, luckily I had run the course 2 weeks ago so I could remember it even without my PDA and hence a map. I'm not sure how many runners took part. I'm guessing about 160. I will alter this post when I find the actual results. Two weeks ago I ran it half an hour faster in 2:37. I didn't push too much though. Today I wanted to finish in under 2:30, average 10 minute miles. My GPS logged the route at 15.5 miles with 1500ft of ascent, so, not a huge amount of climbing but there are some draining inclines and one really quite steep hill at the half way point (the climb to 'Castle Ring'). I took up my customary position right at the back of the field and we set off at 11am. You can take any route to the 7 trig points, but there is a fairly clear route to take. A few people grab a few hundred metres with the odd forest-shortcut, but there isn't much to be gained. The route starts with a long slow climb up to the first Trig point at 1.75 miles. By this stage I had crept ahead of most of the backmarkers, and the field was already quite well strung out.

At this point, after all of the ascent in the first few miles I was just about making my 10 minute mile average. Next, a nice mile long steady downhill leads into checkpoint 2 (feeding station) at 5 miles. I had perhaps overtaken a couple more of people but not many. Remember I am not exactly at the front of the field here. I am just bimbling along near the back! After that CP comes the toughest section, which is first a long steady climb for 1.5 miles, then a killer climb (250ft gain in just over half a mile) to up 'Castle Ring'. Half way up the hill I made a decision to fast-walk the rest. Otherwise I was just going through the motion of running, but not really making a lot of ground. Walking was a good move; as I didn't lose any ground whatsoever on the people in front of behind. They got to the top pretty knackered, and I was well recovered. The trig point was at the top. We then turn 180 and get to run back down the same hill; fantastic! I had learned a lesson two weeks ago that running down as fast as I could possibly go was a bad idea. It actually tired me out quite a lot and I suffered with my pace later in the route. So, this time I strode out, but sensibly so, holding back a little.

There was then another gradual climb to the next trig on which I began to reel a few more runners in. The Castle-Ring climb really takes it out of you, and you can see that their pace had slowed dramatically. After the next Trig at 8.75 miles, you turn for the return leg, almost following the same route home. Just the last couple of miles are different. We had been given a SIS Go gel when we registered, and I took this just before the feeding station, knowing that there was a 1.5mile steady climb ahead. I made it up feeling pretty good and knowing only 3.5 miles remained checked my average speed. I was at 6.25mph. My target was 6mph, but since I was already ahead of that and feeling fine I stretched out a little to try and make 6.5mph average. The last few miles are more or less flat, except a nice steady downhill in the last mile. I reeled in a couple more people as I tried to pull the average speed up. I managed to do so, finishing 15.56 miles in 2:23. That is a 6.5 miles an hour, averaging 9:13 minute miles.

I was very happy with that. Never was going to be a problem beating a pathetic 3:07, but I also beat my time two weeks ago by 15 minutes. I have no idea what position I finished yet, but don't expect anything special. The winners will have been at home by then (they did 1:33 last year!). I would imagine that I will be my usual 2/3 of the way down the field. EDIT: results in, a much better placing that last year. Time 2:23:16. Position 103 out of 158. Not bad at all.

Although I had pushed in the last few miles, I wasn't that tired and recovered very quickly. No soreness or stiffness, and I don't expect any from just 15 miles these days.

I think I can say I redeemed myself today and get back on with my proper training next week. Only 40 miles covered in this recovery week. So, it’s back to the grindstone on Tuesday. I'll post my next 4 weeks training plan early next week.

I may well be doing some Sand Dunes training near Liverpool next weekend, so I'll let you know how that goes.

Have a good week.

Note to self: 320 miles on current pair of shoes.


Steph Cooke said...

Hi Rich

It's quite funny to think in terms of 'only' 40 miles because it's a recovery week! My colleagues think I am obsessed because I've upped my mileage to 30 miles per week!!

Well done on the Cannock Chase Trig, good result.

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