A long weekend spent Running Up for Air





Yes, I know, it's Tuesday but the Monday Debrief has Bank Holidays off. It had stuff to do, like trying to remember how to run after a whole week off, and weeding the garden, and being thrashed at Mario Kart by a seven year old yet again. Busy, see.

Anyway, my weekend was mostly spent in beautiful Chamonix, taking part in Patagonia's Running Up for Air event. This race started in Utah, where Salt Lake City is one of the most polluted cities in the US. Jared Campbell - who fans of ultra-masochism event the Barkley Marathons might recognise - started it up, working with local NGOs who are trying to improve the air quality. Now coming to Europe and Chamonix for the first time, I am relieved to report than unlike the Barkley marathons, it does involve escaping from a former prison and being mauled by fauna and generally having a miserable time in the name of sport. No, this event comprises 3, 6 and 12 hour options where the aim is to complete as many loops as possible. Fees go to the local NGOs and in Chamonix it was a small, super friendly and relaxed event. I was only ever aiming to hike anyway, but frankly one look at the start - up a ski slope - showed me that even if I'd wanted to, I wasn't running up that. Much like Mariah Carey and stairs, I do not do hills. Not running them, anyway.

So instead I had a glorious hike, made friends en route, chatted away and breathed in the mountain air - something you were almost more aware of knowing the issues with pollution in the valley below. It also made me feel somewhat queasy about the amount of pollution that my London runs must leave in my lungs.  Even better, the next morning we woke up to fresh snowfall and a landscape transformed into Narnia. Snow in May? I was only lacking an offer of Turkish Delight. Travelling via the back of a wardrobe is also, surely, carbon-nuetral.

So, over to you. Tell me about your long weekend's running, whether triumphant, disastrous or somewhere in between.

Comments

  1. Ooh, first! Far away from fresh mountain air of Chamonix, it is the searing hot season in Thailand. Good intentions of using this month's numerous public holidays to get up early and going running somewhere different invariably ended up with a lie in, which meant missing the running window (temperatures below 35c!) and having to wait till evening or the next morning.

    However, I did manage my second ever track session, which I am finding surprisingly enjoyable. Who knew that running hard around a track could be fun?! I am also discovering the utility of the lap button on my watch in the process. And there's a nice breeze in the bends of the track, even as the sun starts to hit it at around 6.30am. Next session tomorrow!

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    1. "Who knew that running hard around a track could be fun?!"

      ERRR ME!! Tsk, have I not rhapsodised enough about the joy of running in 400m circles? ;)

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  2. Running up ski slopes? Well, yes, I know someone who does that. My daughter, currently at the beginning of her training for Berlin in September, does that during the winter. Her reasoning is that her kids are in ski teams and are either training or racing on both days of the weekend and there is a mountain there to be used. So she uses some of the time to run up and down the mountain a couple of times, using yaktrax for stability in the snow, then skis for the rest of the day. Nice life if you can get it!


    Anyway. to matters relating to my current training. The amount of support I've had during the latter stages of my preparation for a half distance triathlon has been immense and very helpful. Most of the people come from these shores and given their support advice via Strava, though one in particular contacted me directly at the weekend to shower me with the love I needed! You know who you are, and I thank you!

    Sunday was a repeat of a brick session I did 4 weeks ago, 3 hours bike, 75 minutes run but at race pace, or as near to it as I could manage. I had to take on a few ideas/strategies to make sure this session went well as I didn't fancy the idea of it going wrong with 2 weeks to go to the race, so the plan was to make sure my legs felt good at the run stage. I set off on the bike with a target of about 17mph for the whole thing. However, even into a headwind, I was above that, so with 26.5 miles done and an average speed of 17.5mph, I decided to slow right down and got back home, 50 miles done, with an average speed of 17.1mph. I had also concentrated on taking on enough fluid and fuel this time, using proper food, fruit biscuits, and High 5 in my bottles. About 10 minutes from home I took a gel to prepare me for the run, got home changed, another quick drink and I was off running.


    I've said before that the first part of the run is a time that I have to listen carefully to my body and see what it's telling me. On Sunday I didn't have some of the uncomfortable and unstable back sensations hat I sometimes get, so just concentrated on my legs and how the pace was going. It's very easy to go too fast in the first couple of miles, only to blow later, so I tried to keep it at about 8.45-8.50 per mile. After 3 miles I took another gel and then something just happened, one of those things that you would love to happen but it rarely does, I found myself in the zone! Running all of a sudden became effortless, in fact, it felt easy! No pain, no discomfort, just like this was the easiest thing I'd ever done! Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I knew that I was going to get to 75 minutes with no difficulty. Another gel at 6 miles and I was thinking, "This is the strategy for the race, I'll take another at 9 miles and then at 12 miles." Finished the 75 minutes with an average of 8.42 per mile, faster than I would be planning up to now, but who knows!


    Ok, I felt bloody tired yesterday and did a 2.6km swim to try and loosen up and now I'm delaying going out for a 65 minute run (about 7 miles), so clearly being in the zone doesn't last for ever, but it was good for it to visit me!

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    1. Not long to go now, Pete. With all the work you've put in, I'm sure May 19 will be a brilliant day for you.

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    2. Thanks Mark. I decided to stick with High 5 for now as it was so close to the race and I've used it for a while. But thanks for the info about Tailwind, I'm likely to try it out when I've got nothing planned. This week is fairly similar to previous weeks, though the brick session at the weekend is much smaller, 2 hours bike, 45 mins run, then it's taper time!

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    3. Sensible decision, Pete. Go with what you know. I often use High 5 myself, so know it is very good indeed. And enjoy the taper!

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    4. Fantastic, Pete! I am absolutely in awe of your training. Each time I see something pop up on Strava, I have a double take, because it seems like too much! Everything about doing a brick session sounds brutal, and especially with the kind of distances you're putting in. You are really crushing it though. I wouldn't expect every session to feel good, by any means, when you're preparing for this kind of race. The aim surely is to get as much as possible of the planned training in the books, to give yourself the best chance on the day. As they say over here: You got this!!

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    5. Hi Bron. Yes, it does feel like a lot! But when you look at the long runs you marathoners do, 20-22 miles, with weeks of easily 40-50 plus miles, my brick sessions are similar. The longest has been 50 miles bike, 8-9 miles run. On In the day i'd need to add 6 miles to the bike leg and give the run the additional 4-5 miles. Oh and add the 1.2 mile swim!

      It's cold and wet in the UK today and I've slept a lot! Great recovery strategy!

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  3. I saw the Chamonix photos appearing on Strava and I was quite jealous - reminded me of a family vacation from late October 2017. It's a lot of fun walking around near the top of the mountains, I can't imagine the effort involved in walking (or running) up them though. It strikes me as a very good way to work out any kinks left over from recent marathons.

    I've been gradually getting back into running last week - three complete days off, four if you go by 24-hour blocks.

    The highlight of my weekend was endurance/persistence-related though not in the running sphere. I chaperoned my son at his first (possibly last?) day-long chess tournament. A sequence of DLLLL had left him in a pretty sad state, but he managed to complete the day's schedule and play his final game and was rewarded with a W.

    Running-wise, my body seems to be reasonably unscathed from the previous weekend, HR while running is still a little higher than normal, in line with previous post-marathon periods. Hopefully another week or two of easy/recovery runs will allow that to adjust. Next race on my calendar is my club's 10k on the 19th May, so will need to put in one or two sessions somewhere.

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    1. Oh well done MiniDavID on coming back with a win! I get a lot of chess chat in this house from my other half, who plays competitively (for club and online). I'm afraid I have failed totally to try and understand enough to hold a conversation with him about it though. The kids do something called Chess Kids online, but are at a very early stage I think.

      Interesting you note your HR post-marathon: I have been using a HRV monitoring app for a while now and while there are some random fluctations sometimes, it's really noticeable how, post two-marathons-in-two-weeks, my HRV has been VERY low. Even though I feel fine. I suppose that just shows how "difficult" it can be to recover properly - or rather how easy to push too hard too soon.

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    2. That must be tough to get the results your son did in his chess tournament. Many people may have wanted to throw the towel in, but credit to him for sticking it out and getting a win in his last match.

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    3. He's back to his school chess club today, he is in good spirits - the win made the conversation about sticking with things when the going gets tough a little easier. The organisers did emphasise the learning-from-playing-and-losing aspect, while at the same time effectively seeding the games as the day progressed so the last 2 or 3 games were against players of similar ability. In between games we managed to avoid the more serious parent-child combos (who played chess in between the matches). I'll take a look at the Chess Kids online, we don't play chess that often at home, though maybe that will change.

      The HR thing is something I noticed several marathon cycles ago, for maybe two/three weeks post-marathon the HRM will read 10-15bpm higher than the perceived effort would suggest. I know I need to take it fairly carefully initially. After Berlin I threw away a good run at the Cabbage Patch with a very fast hilly run in training, two weeks after the marathon, which coincided with catching a cold or similar and the fitness dropped off. I had forgotten about HRV - I will check my Garmin's stress score over the coming days...

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  4. Lots of positivity early in the comments, very nice.

    I had my last training week for the Big25 behind me and could experience the pure joy of completing the final long run of a cycle - lovely to think of weeks to come without one of them to slog through. Still considering what to do on Sunday, I had written off my snazzily titled #Sub2 attempt with a recent knee injury but I'm picking up quickly - indeed, I'm at that dangerous stage where setting off at suicide pace to see what happens (spoiler, dying on my arse up the hill at km 21) is becoming tempting. We'll see.

    Well done to everyone getting out and about.

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  5. Not much to say. Now the temperatures are cooling in Auckland it's getting easier to run, so I did two 8kms over the weekend. Getting ready for a trail run series starting in a couple of weeks.

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  6. Lots of ups for me on Saturday when I did hill repeats totaling 1,500 metres in the Chilterns during a 40 km run (two thirds of the climbing came in the first half of the run). One hill that I slogged up six times had an elevation gain of 50 metres in just 140 metres of distance. It's a bit of an understatement to say that it was steep. Checking on Strava when I got home, I found out that the gradient was 43% at its most vertical. At times I was gasping and my chest was rattling... but that was probably due to the pollen from the surrounding fields of rape! The air was thick with it. Anyway, this run brought my yearly total - so far - to 40,000 metres climbed.

    There was no running on Sunday, but I did spend five hours on my feet walking around London with the family. I've no idea how far we covered, but my legs were killing me by the time I got home. That surely counts as back-to-back activities!

    Then, yesterday was 16 kilometres with extra efforts on the uphills. Today was a gentle 18 km, but in a fasted state, to set my legs up for my two toughest workouts of the week (a fast HM along trails with 700 metres of ascent tomorrow; 17 km of hill sprints (18 times up) and fast bursts (2 or 3 x 1,600 metres at roughly 3:20-min a kilometre pace) on Thursday). Friday - I imagine - will be a rest day.



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    1. Looking at what you've done on Strava, I'm always amazed Mark. But reading a summary of your exploits makes me feel weak at the knees, and I'm sitting down as I read! The most incredible running!

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    2. Cheers, Pete! I don't know how I do it myself at times. When I first started doing things like this, it really took it out of me. However, having been doing this stuff for three years or so now, my body copes really well with it as it is so used to it. Plus, I don't really do much 'fast' stuff these days. I think rationing speed work to one or two sessions a week has helped me to remain (relatively) injury-free. Also, I'm strict with my rest days. I almost always have two a week. I write 'almost' as Bank Holiday Mondays mess up this routine; I'll only have one rest day this week.

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  7. No running! But did do a bit of two other things, cycling (very gently and flatly) and walking.
    Today I feel like walking the speyside way, camping a couple of nights in temps close to freezing (it snowed), carrying a 10kg bag, with a ‘double’ day of 26.5 miles on day 2, is perhaps not ideal marathon recovery. I’m quite tired.
    But i enjoyed it - might have been chilly but there wer no midges and that makes a huge difference.
    Very jealous of both the Chamonix and Florida pics doing the rounds, glorious Fochabers and Buckie had to do for me!

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    1. Your Speyside adventure looked great Caragh. And the stops at the distilleries seemed highly appropriate!

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  8. Nothing too spectacular for my own running this weekend, but we went over to the Isle of Wight to support my friend in her first ultra-marathon (the same friend I've been trading half marathon PBs with for the last couple of years). She was doing the full around the island 106km/66mi option (very hilly too!), and we were chasing her round on our bikes, offering support and company at various points until we got tired ourselves and, after lunch, we couldn't catch her up any more!!

    We ended up taking a taxi (with our bikes!) back to the other side of the island to our B&B to pick up our car and zoom back over to support my friend through her last 10k; she was doing so well though, I ran the last few km with her and despite her having run over 95km, I was struggling to keep up on the downhills!

    She won the women's race, and was seventh overall, in 12h20m; an awe-inspiring result. The idea of continuing to run for that far I really struggle to get my head around; even when I've gone out purposefully easy, pushing much beyond 18 or so miles is so difficult - to do nearly four times that distance is just so far outside what my brain can comprehend, even as a runner...

    Next week, I'm coming up on day 500 of my run-every-day streak, and I'm planning a nice long lunch run with another friend to celebrate. With cakes during the run, of course, lest we forget why we do this thing :D

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    1. My dad was cycling round the Isle of Wight this weekend too! He did pretty much the entire thing over 2 days. He's 80. My dad rocks :)

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    2. Neat, that's great! I hope I'm still plugging out the miles on my bike at that age. It's a very hilly route around there, we were well worn out after half of it!

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  9. Last Saturday I ran 10 km race on Waiheke Island in Auckland Harbour. The weather was perfect, and the race was well organised, for example, with helpful marshals at intersections. The course was a little more difficult than on my 10 km races on Wellington's waterfront - somewhat hilly, more runners to contend with, and a varied range of surfaces including sealed road, firm sand and potholed dirt/gravel road. At 1:01:21 I came first in my age/sex category which sounds better if you don't note that there were only two of us.

    A surprising number of photographers were working the race. Unusually for such races, participants could not buy these photos. The only way to get them was free of charge from Facebook (how did the photographers get paid?). It is just as well that I can easily do without race photos, as I want nothing to do with Facebook.

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    1. I'm sorry I missed this since it was right on my doorstep! Great result Frances - well done.

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    2. Well done and you absolutely don't have to tell anyone how many people were in the category!

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  10. Hello, I'm going to ramble on for a bit - sorry. I did a few of my usual potters around Cheshire last week before heading off to Staveley, near Kendal, to hold onto dogs while their owners did the Kentmere 5k trail run that is part of The Lakeland Trails series. I once signed up to do the Coniston one but got injured and never did it but I still get the emails so I was aware of the race series. My friends, Dave and Kath, had signed up to do the short one at Staveley and as we were heading to Scotland to see kids at University me and Mrs GJ volunteered to be pulled sideways by Retrievers and Labradors sniffing out the hog roast. If you were there and saw a fool tempting a fat old Retriever away from the aforementioned stand with a piece of scrounged crackling, that was me.

    Anyway, onto the running. The 5k trail was around 300m of elevation and apparently steep enough in parts so that it had to be walked. There were also 10k and 18k races that looked highly competitive with lots of those fell running skinny types (you know the sort, Mark Roulston) hanging around before the afternoon races (shorter ones in the morning). From a non-participant perspective it looked really well organised and I had such FOMO, again, that I will be signing up for the Keswick 10k in September. Kath was first in category at just under 37 minutes and Dave, who used this as his final run in C25K and was predicted to come in last by his loving wife, a very respectable 43 minutes. In his words "I overtook loads of people coming down because I just let myself run like a kid down a hill". Fortunately the often-seen face plant followed by screaming and a demand for ice cream was not part of the running like a kid bit. Demand for a visit to the on-site Hawkshead Brewery was though. Also on site are Inov-8's offices so there was plenty of merchandise to be had, although tempted as I was, the wallet stayed in my pocket.

    That wasn't it for the weekend though as all 4 of us were staying in a farmhouse B&B near Peebles so I managed a run down to the valley and back that was 7k but had a 1k, 91m of ascent finish. If you see my usual runs in the flatlands, that is a mountain to me so I have vowed to seek out more hills. To summarise: Labrador, Retrievers, Hog Roast, Trail Running, small brewery, B&B in Peebles, kids at Scottish Universities. The very definition of a thoroughly middle-class, middle-aged Bank Holiday Weekend.

    Happy running, everyone and check out Lakeland Trails if you are so inclined! GJ

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    1. Peebles and that whole locale are glorious. Sounds like a lovely, if steeper than usual, weekend.

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  11. Ohh, you had a long weekend! I was wondering what happened here. Belatedly joining the belated discussion, then: my race the weekend before this one hit me harder during the week than I expected. I hadn't "raced" most of it, but I did push the pace on my last leg (around 2.5 miles), and somehow the total of 12 miles seemed to take more out of me when spread over an 11 hour period than if I'd done it as a regular Sunday long run. Thankfully, my coach cancelled my scheduled Thursday 800m reps and my mid-week runs were all at an easy pace.

    Instead, I got to race properly on Sunday! My second relay in as many weeks, but a more conventional one this time. It was a half-marathon distance split between two runners, with the change-over around the 6 mile mark. I got the longer "half". I figured I would throw myself into it from the start and just try to hold on. It was fun to be the relay runner on fresh legs overtaking hard-working half marathoners! Last year it was the other way around for me, and I remember vividly how demoralizing it was, so I made a special effort to do the American thing and say "great job!" to people I passed. I don't know if that helped at all.

    I'm really happy with my individual result. My first two miles were fast, and I did slow a bit later, but I managed to pull myself back in and didn't fall off too much. Unfortunately, the published race results don't say my actual pace. According to my watch, my average pace was 7:10/mile, which would be basically a PR pace.* But if the change over was at the 10km mark, which the race website implies, I calculate just shy of 7:20/mile.

    Even better is our team result. We won the women's relay category and were the 2nd relay team to finish - after a mixed team, but before the men! It was fun to race with a friend, who I've been running with for a while now. I think we tend to spur each other on, pushing to go faster, which isn't always good on the long run but great in a race! This race lets the first runner meet the second for the final 100m or so of the race, so we got to sprint to the finish together.

    *I just calculated, and I think I've actually run faster over 10k during a 15k race, but not in a 10k race. Challenge: accepted!

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  12. Most of my weekend was spent swanning around Badminton Horse Trials. (On two foot, not four hooves I should add.) Lots of steps, especially on cross-country day on Saturday, preceded by an uneventful little run round suburban Chippenham.

    Bank Holiday Monday involved a fairly hilly 12 mile run, on a route not used by many people. The highlight was getting a Strava crown. But only because I'm the only woman who has recorded that segment. Does this count? A crown's a crown, surely?

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    1. A crown is definitely a crown. I have one for a seldom run field that someone made a segment and then forgot about.

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    2. Thank you, GJ and McWhirr. I shall wear my crown with pride.

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  13. Is anything happening with this blog anymore?

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    1. Good question covkid. It seems that, after 8/9 months since moving from the Guardian, there is no longer a pulse. As an epitaph, I want to thank everyone I've met over the last 6 years and great friends I've made, either in person or online. We were Fucking great!

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    2. Hi Pete - I'd still be delighted to read a report from you about your brilliant weekend achievement, so post it here if you want to! I was also hoping to read something from gillbla about her amazing NDW50 ultra.

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    3. Ok. Give me a minute Paul and I'm copy what I sent to a few others. It'll be my last post. Bugles blow!

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  14. You’ll all know that from the beginning of the year I’ve been very organised with the training for the half distance triathlon, but given that I’m now a man of leisure, it was for the most part, very enjoyable. It was only great the end did it start to feel like a job. A week before the triathlon the taper started and it was then that my anxiety shot through the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I was constantly anxious beforehand but low grade to what happened preceding the race. Tuesday was probably the worst day and I actually thought I was going to lose it completely! Anyway, I didn't, probably due to baking lots of bread and deciding I needed to sort myself out. By Friday when we travelled over to Nottingham I was just starting to realise I could enjoy the race. We set up camp with Helen and Andy, (you’ve met them, Paul) just across the road from the National watersport centre and were joined in the evening by daughter Jennie and her family. The following afternoon Lynn’s sister and her husband, Sarah and Ray arrived, so I had a full support crew! It would be true to say that I was frequently in a different zone to everyone else, but they’re pretty much used to that anyway. We walked around were the tri was being set up a few times on Friday and Saturday, which made me feel very relaxed and settled.
    Then, Sunday, I was up at 4am after a good sleep, had breakfast, made sure my bowels were functioning properly, then took my gear over to the transition zone at 5am to set up. I chatted to quite a few people, cracking jokes and getting a bit of banter going, then back to the campervan for another cup of tea and a decision on what to were for the bike leg as it wasn’t very warm at 7.45am. My start time was 7am in the final wave, so I went back over, wetsuit on, had a gel and then it was in to the water to acclimatise. As the hotter went, I pressed my watch so that I could know what the overall time I was out would be. Unlike other swims this one didn’t have the bumping and boring at the beginning, which can be unsettling. So I settled into a very comfortable rhythm that I maintained throughout and did it in about the time I had wanted. I found myself really enjoying the swim and I was just focusing on keeping notice and steady. Coming to the end of the swim there are lots of helpers to support you when you stand up after being in a horizontal position for that amount of time. However, as I stood up, both left hamstring and calf suddenly cramped. It meant that I hobbled into transition trying to stretch my leg. It took some time to get the wetsuit off my left leg and the get ready for the bike part, but it happened.
    The bike leg was when I realised that things were going very well. I had planned on an average speed of about 17-17.3 mph, but somehow I ended up finishing with 18.3mph, that’s knocking off about 10-11 minutes off what I would have expected and probably putting me into the danger zone for the run. However, the bike felt stupidly easy and my calculations started telling me that I stood a chance of being sub 6 hours, and I would have been on cloud 9 if that had happened. So I decided to push on and not hold back. I was very clear that it was going to be an all or nothing strategy, but my head felt that it was the right thing to do. I’d been doing my longer brick session runs at 8.45 per mile and my legs were used to it, though not at the bike speed I was currently doing. A 2 hour half marathon would get me that sub 6 so I was feeling pretty confident. Just to say, the bike leg was excellent because I’d ridden the courses with my brother three weeks earlier and I knew where I could pick and when I needed to hold back.

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    1. I got back into transition and went to the toilet quickly, giving my legs a chance to calm down, though my quads were a little painful. Then it was out into the run. Deep down, this was always going to be the party of the race that would make or break my target time(s). At first my quads complained very, very loudly but I kept my pace at 8.45-8.55 and after a few miles things began to settle as they always do in triathlons. What I hadn’t prepared for was that the soles of my feet were burning and were causing me a lot of discomfort. It was made worse by the changes in surface I was running on, going from tarmac to gravel/shale to grass and back. It was much worse on the gravel/shale and was compounded by running in very narrow tracks alongside the River Trent with runners going in both directions. This meant you were frequently not running at your preferred pace and having to slow down or speed up as the path could be crowded. On the second of two laps I was going past my family whom were cheering and shouting encouraging wordswhen I moved from gravel to grass under foot and suddenly my right hamstring cramped quite violently. I had to stop immediately and stretch it out before restarting. However, from that point on, after 7 miles, my legs kept on cramping if I tried to run the pace I needed for sub 6, so I decided that a run/walk strategy would help for a while. In the end I could see the handful of minutes I had in reserve slowly disappear after each time I had to stop. So I just decided that I hadn’t trained for 20 weeks to have my day ruined by not hitting an arbitrary time and that I was going to enjoy finishing no matter what. It also didn’t help that in the last hour it got very warm, making the final efforts more difficult. But with some excitement, the finish line loomed and I picked up Ethan and Elliot closer to the finish and we crossed the line together. My first thoughts were, “I’ve done it!” and was totally elated. It later transpired that my finishing time we 06.06.06, you couldn’t make that up. I was tired, sore and elated for the rest of the day, but today I’ve started to feel the effects of the efforts I’ve made. My body feels like a train wreck this evening, I’ve got sore throat and a nagging cough. Clearly, I need to rest for a while. That’s a shame because we are in North Norfolk for 5 days!
      Would I do another? Yes! Have I learned anything positive from doing it? Yes! Has it inspired other people to have a go at triathlons? Yes! Were there any bad points to my race? None!

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    2. That's a beautiful and moving report Pete! I bet you're really proud of what you achieved that day and rightly so. I think a load of your blog and Strava friends are too.

      You really put me to shame with your ability to get organised, get up and get things done. I've never been one for rising and shining, and by the time I was sitting down with my cornflakes and loading your "Pete" dot on the Live Tracker page, you were already at the most easterly point on the bike route - Alverton - 2/3 to 3/4 of the bike leg done - and I couldn't believe how speedily you seemed to be heading back.

      I think a great help for the bike stage must have been the weather - not too sunny, mild, dry, and hardly any wind - ideal. But I also noticed the sun did come out noticeably around midday (during your run) which had me thinking "damn it".

      Interesting about the early cramp after the swim: makes you think it could be down to the nervous tension during the race week and day, compared to all the completely relaxed swims you normally have.

      Inspirational? Absolutely! I might not be able to swim and who knows if I will ever learn to a good enough standard - but there are also duathlons... Hmm, so let me think now: endurance, lightweight, aero or tri bike? Oh bloody hell - it was complicated enough already!

      Whatever, I can't wait to follow your next one! Have a great rest in Norfolk - you deserve it. Huge kudos to you and also your great support team.

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