Wednesday, 29 October 2014

NYC Trip Oct\Nov Marathon Weekend 13#14

Wednesday 29th Oct

Arrived 1830 Out for dinner with Phil – we went to a really cool Italian – Dunc & James had their first mac and cheese J

Thursday 30th Oct

Tried to go for breakfast at the  ‘Friends’ coffee house unfortunately it wasn’t open so we went to The Pain de Quotidien… I had the best natural yoghurt and granola EVER!!!

Marathon Expo to pick up numbers – We went to the expo and spent a bloody fortune!!  James tried on numerous different tops, coats, hats and trainers!! 
Grand Central Station - Juniors for cheesecake. – We went to shake shack first for a late lunch and then had a humungous piece of cheesecake….. I felt sick!  James took his back to Phils and there it stayed… I wonder if Lauren and Phil ever ate it?!
TOTR – we tried to go up but we decided to buy tickets and then wait for Nick and Alistair the next day.
Shopping… Nike store / Abercrombie & Fitch
Time Square at night – walked round to get to the Belasco theatre.
Broadway Show 8pm Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Belasco theatre.  It was amazing – sad and funny, the lead was a genius.  Basically it was a one man show with a band on stage to accompany his singing.  Brilliant night.
Friday 31st Oct
Breakfast in a local diner…. ‘you want coiffee..?’  brilliant place J
We jumped in a cab and went back to the expo so that Duncan and James could get numerous shots of themselves in various poses with different back drops J
12:00 escape the room 107 Suffolk street  - This was amazing… 60 mins trapped in a room with 9 americans… James and Duncan were amazing… finding clues that would lead to a key that would then unlock padlocks to more clues… we did it with 5 and half mins to spare….?
Lunch at Kats Diner… it was delicious…..!
More shopping!!  Converse / Addidas store…
4pm Marathon Opening Ceremony  - this was amazing.. very proud of James.  Whilst we watched him walk past carrying the union Jack.. Alisdair and Nick turned up… then the fireworks started!!!!
We all went to Applejacks Diner – lots of pasta and chips were consumed J
Halloween night out with Phil – we went back to their flat and they were in the middle of their Halloween party!!  We stayed for a few drinks and then moved into Phil’s friends flat. 
Sat 1st Nov
8:30 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K – amazing experience!
Boat House Central park Brunch – we all went after the 5km.  Very nice!
Went back to get changed and then met Alisdair and Nick for some more shopping!
17:00 The Marathon pata party dinner
Location - Marathon Pavilion: inside of Central Park at West 67th Street and Central Park
Home for an early night….
Sun 2nd
6:00 NYC Marathon – best day ever!!!
20:00 Yellowcard - Best Buy theatre – awesome gig… sat at the back – loved it J
Monday 3rd
Went to get medals engraved at central park… Kelly met an old friend whilst Duncan and James queued up.  J & D got their pics taken with Kipsand and Mary…
9/11 Tribute Centre, 9/11 Memorial, - very emotional but well worth the visit.
5 guys for lunch then cab to the airport.
18:30 Flight Home

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Henley Half Marathon 12#14

On a mid October morning we were heading into uncharted territory. Henley looked beautiful as we drove over the bridge at the river Thames into the town despite the traffic jam that all the runners had caused by descending this small area.

The start was at the Henley rugby club and was in the middle of a field. The whole event was run by the local rotary club and had a budget feel to it but we were up for a nice morning run and the weather was again being very kind to us it was dry and bright. Also was our last event before our New York marathon trip and we were looking for hard training run.

This week we had no other people with use we were on our own so we decided to pace it at 8:30 miles and see how things developed. What we were not expecting was a course that was very varied under foot and a hill that was one of the most challenging I’ve ever run up.
So on the gun we ran out of the field on to the road up to into Henley town. The streets where fairly well supported by the locals and we looped around the town and knocked off the first mile bang on 8:30 pace. Then not for the only time we headed over the Henley Thames Bridge and swept around to the left and down a long undulating country path for 2 miles. Then we ran through a field and got to a choke point on course this was a little frustrating at it slowed us down to a walk.
We then picked up the pace and joined the Thames tow path at mile 4 this part of the course was mostly single file and I we were held up a bit by slower runner’s in front of us. Despite this the scenery was great there were lots of rowers on the river and watching and listening to them was a welcome distraction It also reminded me of Kelly she is a amazing rower. The serene tow path led us back to the Henley Bridge and over it again and at mile 7 we were heading though to the other side of the town. Our pace was still a consistent 8:30 and it felt quite comfortable but that would all change! We had heard prior to the race that there was some kind of hill around mile 8 but hadn’t really worried about it.
We turned a corner and started a steady incline up a county road about a mile in the hill was still going! I was flagging and my pace had dropped right down so decided to have a little walk to regroup. James continued and pushed on leaving me telling me “he would wait at the top” As I got into the second mile of the hill it got steeper and steeper it really was a nightmare! I got to the top exhausted ! had a look around for James but no sign it had gone on without me, I didn’t blame him I would have done the same. What goes up has to come down and the other side was just as steep and fast and you had to watch your speed because it was tough to run down.
The bottom of the hill was about 10 miles and from here it was a long straight home. I put my head down and tried to make up for some lost time on the hill and pushed my pace as much as I could.I was overtaking a few people but never saw James up ahead so  figured that he had the same idea and was pushing the final couple of miles.
The morning had gone well and it was the most varied half of the year tow paths, grass, mud all kinds of different terrain. But the overriding memory would be that hill! It was brutal maybe we will return next year to conquer it ?

James 1:46:47
Duncan 1:50:59

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Bournemouth Half 11#14

This one we have been looking forward to all year! Mainly because we get to stay with our family the night before and at the end Mum and Dad and our Brother and the whole family will be supporting us. This Half is also the most beautiful as you run up and down the coast and the piers at Boscombe and Bournemouth.  

Bournemouth half starts at 8am! Easily the earliest we have had to get out of bed for a run all year. Running with us this year was Martin Gay and our cousin Louise. Martin was looking do go under an 2 hours and as this was really a training run for our marathon we decided it would be fun to run it around 9 minuet mile pace and try and get him a PB.

We arrived a bit late and it was a rush to the start line near to Bournemouth football club with only a few mins to spare. The gun went and we set off though the nearby neighborhood out towards the coast. It was a really lovely bright morning perfect weather for a run and we were enjoying our steady pace not pushing it just running a nice steady pace. As we reached mile 2 we turned onto the coastal road looking down over the sea it was a beautiful sight. The course took us down the road for mile and a half made a U-turn on the way back we shouted some encouragement at Louise she looked strong! We got to mile 5 and the end of the coastal road and we dropped down onto the promenade beside the beach. When I ran this half last year this was my favorite part of the course the 3 stretch along the sea really is amazing crowds cheering us on with the sea air blowing in our faces really is amazing. We had quicken up a bit and we where do around 8:45 to 9 min pace so we were well within our 2 hr goal but we had to keep it up.

Just after mile 8 there is a big hill the only one on the course! We all dug deep to get up it and James stuck with Martin and as I powered up it and slowed down and waited for them at the top. With that out of the way it was a mile run across another costal path down towards Bournemouth pier. At about mile 9.5 we ran down a steep hill toward the pier where Mum and Dad where waving and shouting us on! Then began the run up to Boscombe pier and back! You can see the pier when you drop down on to the beach promenade and it doesn’t look like over a mile to it!

I was feeling I little bit stronger than James and Martin so I pulled away a bit and went for it. One of the brilliant parts of this half is running up and down the piers the Boscombe one seems a little shorter and the wooden planks make you feel like you are bouncing along. Coming off the pier it was 2 miles to go so I put my head down and went for it. I could see the crowd up ahead on Bournemouth pier and I knew that the whole family where waiting for us at the finish. I broke into a sprint up and down the pier and finished strong.! As I passed the line I could see Dad snapping photos and as I had just recovered I turned to see James finishing with Martin very close behind. What a great run a we had done it Martin smashed his PB by well over 2 minutes Job done! Louise came in about 20 min later in a brilliant time!

We met all the family and all chatted about a brilliant morning and headed off to Martyn’s house for a huge fry well-earned and well deserved.

Duncan 1:56:04
James 1:56:48
Martin 1:57:07
Louise 2:19:12

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Reigate Half Marathon 10#14

With Reigate half we broke into double figures for 14#14! This was number 10. Reigate was a brand new half and I can’t ever remember going to the town so this was all going to be fun. We arrived with my great friend Lee a bit hurried because it was a quite a drive from home. We met in Priory Park and had a look around the tented big village the event was sponsored by Adidas and there was a lot of support. Considering it was the inaugural event it all seemed very impressive and well organized.

 This morning was all about pacing Lee to a sub 2hr half marathon. His previous best at Surrey half back in March was 2:00:33. It was a very congested start pen and we had to shuffle our way forward for about 4 minutes before we crossed the start line. We headed off out of the park but where unfortunately halted at a small gate at the exit to the road because of amount of runners this was a bit of a shame and there were plenty of people grumbling about it around us.

After the gate incident we turned right and headed straight up a hill out of the town this led to more grumblesJ. So as we faced the first hill the plan with Lee was for a 9 min mile and see how we get on. The course was very leafy and pretty running through nice housing estates and down some lovely tree lined roads. After a few miles we found our pace and had a chat about the beautiful scenery.

Through half way and we headed into more rural countryside and down some paths and beside fields. James was doing a great job were maintaining our pace and even pulling out some 8:45 miles despite some ups and downs. From mile 10 Lee was struggling a bit we had to give him some encouraging words to keep the pace up/ The last miles back into Reigate the there was a problem with the roads not being closed properly and it let to some cars stopping across both lanes causing a bit of frustration.
 We approached a mile to go the road turned into street path and pavement again slowing us down a little. The finish line was back in the park as we turned in to our friend Jaymo and his wife Sarah and little Liam where waving and spurring us on. The park at the end was all downhill and the sprint was on! James went for it and Lee followed in impressive style. They both way out sprinted me to the line!. We picked up our medals and had congratulated Lee on a massive new PB he had smashed it by over 3 minutes. What an amazing run and great pace making stills from us.

For me and James the experience of not racing this half was fun especially because we paced Lee to huge PB. With our marathon in NYC fast approaching a 2hr half was great training next week at Bournemouth we will be doing a similar this time of our good mate Martin.!

James 1:57:20
Lee 1:57:29
Duncan 1:57:31 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Maidenhead Half 9#14

Another weekend another half Marathon this week we headed to Maidenhead for 9#14 it's billed as a very quick course so excitement was high. Again David Peddle joined for the 2nd half running. We arrived and parked in a muti-story car park a bit unusual but this half marathon started bang in the middle of a the town. Joining us on the start line was fellow park runners Abby and Sarah and our two NYC marathon runners Nick and Alistair. They start line was fairly crammed and we shuffled our way to the 1hr50 marker and waited for the start.

As the gun went off me and David started off at steady pace James was not far behind as we ran through the streets of Maidenhead. As usual it takes a few miles for our legs to get going and we set off a little faster than expected. The weather was being very kind to us and it was a cool sunny beautiful morning. The course was 2 big loops with the mile markers for the 2nd lap visible I’m not a big fan of seeing these markers they are mentally a bit of a challenge for me. 
After a mile we headed out the town and headed left along the river Thames and continued to run 8 min mile pace. After mile 4 I was feeling the pace a little and slowed up and had a look behind me to see if James was in sight. James was talking about going for a PB this morning so when he passed me a 6 miles looking strong I he defiantly looked on for it.

With the first loop of the course done I knew what to expect on the second and it was a challenge keep up my sub 8:30 mile pace. I dropped David at around 8 miles but could see James pulling away in the distance he was having a fantastic run and looked likely that a PB was on the cards. Towards 10 miles and I was feeling it the pace the course although flat is had a few lumpy bits and on one of the hills at mile 11 I had a little walk much to my disappointment. Dug in for the final miles of a really nice course the finish twisted through the high street of Madienhead to the finish line where we started.

I found James and got filled on his epic run and new PB of 1:44:46 what a fantastic performance be really ran well and nailed a brilliant PB!

After photos of all of us who took part in a really fun morning and a post run chat we headed to the pub for a well-deserved pint and pub lunch beside the river. James deserved his PB today he really ran his arse off and was legendary!!

James 1:44:46

Duncan 1:52:07

Dave 1:55:20

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Burnham Beeches 8#14

One word sums up Burnham Beeches…. Hills !! I had heard the rumours and stories about this half but I don’t think anything prepared me for this Sunday morning, We parked up and met Dave Peddle then had to walk a mile to the start area ! to pick up our race numbers. So we where a little rushed when we lined up at the start line. James had told me stories about this half and I had not quite taken in how tough it was going to be.

We set off in a group for the first mile but it was clear that James and David had more pace in them than I had.  The first 3 miles had us twisting and turning up and down hill through some lovely scenery. My legs felt sluggish so I tried to pace myself for the first 10km. The course was one 6-mile loop and one 7-mile loop and they had the markers out for the 2nd lap. That was little disconcerting when you passed a 10 mile marker when you have only done 4 miles!

I settled down to a steady 9 min pace but the hills seamed relentless just as you relaxed into a steady flat section another big hill was around the corner! James and Dave where well out of sight and I passed half way and I was hanging in looking forward to a drinks stop. I began the 2nd loop knowing what was coming and mentally I knew there where plenty of hills to get up and down and I was struggling and at 8 miles I cracked and had a little walk I had little to no energy and I was tired. I dug in and pushed on for a few miles trying to shake my negativity.  Getting to 10 miles was my next goal and another drinks stop I had a walk and really tried to re-focus I had the words of Kelly my girlfriend ringing in my head “just enjoy yourself and I’m really proud of you” so I had that in my head as I pushed myself though the wall.
The last 3 miles had a mixture of downhill and a big climb at 12 miles up to the finish so I had to be mentally tough! They where hard miles but as I got to the top of the hill and turned into the field and down a steep incline for the last 400 metres James was screaming me on and ran along side me to push me to the end!.

James and Dave had run a blinder and had handled the condition and course a lot better that I had. I had a bit of a nightmare walked afew times struggled up the hills felt sluggish all morning. We all lay on the grass exhausted we discussed what I thought was probably the most challenging run I’ve done all year. As we collected our bags the heavens opened I poured down a fitting end to a bit of a desperate morning for me.
But!! the good thing about 14#14 Is that the next half is not too far away and with that in mind I need to train harder and run faster J

James 1:47:27
Dave 1:50:15
Duncan 1:57:21

Sunday, 27 July 2014

ThunderRun 7#14

    Packing:Are you sure we're going for 2.5 days? Or is it 2.5 weeks? Chris's large estate car was rammed to the roof with tents and luggage!

    Journey:Convoy begins setting off at 10am. Not a bad journey, just over 2 hours.

    Pitch:Shocked to see that you cordoned off an area for your team. We arrived 1 hour after opening and already running out of space. Still we got a pitch at a prime spot, next to the course.

    Tent Making:The Ball brothers attempts at putting up their two man tent. Chuckle Brothers!

    Team Arrives:By early evening the whole team has arrived, tents set, sun shining, chilling out with a DoomBar and some good food (Chef Yewings)

    Pyjama Run:Our chief cheerleaders, Farah Lilly and Ethan, entered the junior 750m race with about 100 participants. Ethan came 3rd overall, and Farah Lilly first girl. Great running

    Tented Village:We cased out the tented village - the Adidas shop and collected the prized sky blue, TR24 shirts.

    Lists:Chris - the self appointed list maker, listed the runners with their expected start times. We budgeted for an hour each.

    Sister Team:Frimley Lodge supplied a number of runners to the quick 'Run Eat And Repeat' sister team. They supported and joined us in the FF gazebo. What a nice set of people they were: Jen, Tom, Mark, David, Alex and Phil

    Lights out:We tried to get an early night. I think we were all in bed by 11:30pm. Some getting virtually no sleep, some a good 7 hours!

    Bonkers to do Conkers:Most of the team decided 40km was not enough, so went to the local Conkers parkrun to run a slow one! Far from a training run, it was a tad hot, a few hills on the course and we still managed a respectable 28 minutes. Then a 10 mile search for petroleum. We managed to catch a glimpse of the terrifying course at 1km. Are we hill climbing?

    Race Briefing:At 11:30am we could see all the competitors at the race briefing. There were the brave solo runners, fancy dress runners, casual runners, serious running clubs and charity runners. The excitement and atmosphere were building.

    And There Off...:Captain Duncan was our lead off man. We rushed back to base, about 2km into the circuit. We all cheered loudly and gave high fives as he ran past. 56 minutes later the snap band got passed to Richard to start leg 2. We all waited anxiously for the course report. It was tough, bloody tough: Hills, ruts, tree stumps, single paths and possibly the worst thing was the 28 degree heat! Despite all that Dunc managed a sub 1 hour lap which was good.

    Team Support:We had a good process going, we cheered each runner as they passed us at 2km, we had a good hand over strategy and were one of the only teams to have someone to meet and greet with a drink and a pat on the back for the runner just finishing their lap.

    Everyone's Lap 1 completed:After Dunc we had coach Richard, speedy Chris who hadn't ran 10km for months, super fit Lee, a nervous Martin who tried a 10km the week before and broke down, then Nick who was secretly competing to do the quickest time, James who also went out with all guns blazing and then finally Sarah who had to wait an agonising 6.5 hours.

    Darkness Descends:The temperatures had finally cooled, but the next challenge to take it's place was darkness. Not only that, we had a couple of showers to add to the mix. Nervous laughter echoed around camp FF. Many of the team were running in the dark for the first time. The head torches; a new toy. Most of us turned an ankled at the wooded section at 7km or slipped along the grassy sections. Another challenge, another bit of excitement. We all came through unscathed thankfully.

    Morning All:Many not getting a huge amount of sleep again. The times still remained on average under the hour. The team had bought themselves 45 minutes. Good work! We all ran 1 lap in the dark. The Solo-ists were still going around. Amazing. We all made sure we gave a 'well done' as we passed them.

    3rd Leg:The Sunday morning legs were run in perfect conditions. The crowds came back to support and cheer us on, it wasn't too hot, it was light and dry. Muscles still ached but we were all fit to go again.

    Run Eat And Repeat:They had completed 2 laps more than us, but the wheels had come off. Jen, Phil and Alex were crocked, Tom was exhausted having no sleep, Mark had already ran 40km and the bionic man of David Peddle never knew when he was beat! 20 minutes before his leg, he was cramping badly. How he managed 50km was anyone's guess. They still managed 25 laps in total

    Lap 4:Everything went to plan. The whole team came to greet Sarah in after her 3rd lap, an exchange of banter, and as a team we were all off again, this time at walking pace..... and carrying a clanging money bucket. James' inspired thought which earned another 80 for the cause. TR24 competitors and spectators were so supportive. As we trotted (at best) around we swapped stories of near misses, worst hill, best view experiences. The final 1km was truly hair raising. The supporting crowds cheered, the 'Run Eat' team joined us as sprinted up the last hill which didn't seem so bad after all. We linked arms and crossed the finish line, lap 25, as one. A very fitting and emotional finish.

    Medals and Photos:.... and more photos. We collected our well deserved medals and posed for photos. James wanted every combination possible.... and of course the jump shot!

Exhausted, but elated:We packed up, said our goodbyes, swapped details with our new TR24 friends, struggled home then went our separate ways. Back to normal life again. What a weekend.