Friday, 31 December 2010

Time for reflection

Well as this year disappears into the fog and the New Year appears on the horizon, it is time to reflect on how the year has gone, and lay the plans for the New Year.
Well this year has certainly seen some highs and lows in my running.....

My Running highs:-
The main high for me was achieving a sub 24hr finish on my first ever 100 mile Ultra.
Meeting some fantastic and inspirational people in the World of Ultra, both in the flesh and through the power of the internet.
Getting one of the sought after lottery places in the GUCR 2011.
Running a total of 1918miles in racing & training this year, the most miles I have run in 1 single year to date (giving me a lifetime mileage to date of: 16518)
As a result of my increased mileage I have lost a total of 2 stone over the year which is a great bonus.
A surprising half marathon PB in May, when I was in the midst of long Ultra training.

On a really positive note I have spent most of December nursing a achillies heel  injury.  Since Christmas day I have tested it with 2 treadmill runs of 7miles which went well so today I ran 19.75 miles to give the heel a real test. Although the ankle did have a dull ache at the end it held up surprisingly well so hopefully my Ultra planned in January is still on.......

My Running Lows:-
Having severely blistered feet after my 100mile ultra, so severe that the skin literally peeled off leaving me unable to run for around a month.
This meant I could not run my local 10K run.
Not having any Ultra’s booked up after the 100miler so subsequently having no focus. (I tried booking some up after but found that the ones I wanted to enter were all booked up.

So having looked at my highs and lows what have I learnt from this year well.......
I need to have better foot management in long races...
I need to prepare a year’s worth of Ultra’s in advance in order to get into the one’s I want to run.
I need to learn the art of map reading whilst in a race situation, this has put me off entering some potentially fantastic races as I think this is a major weak area in my running.
Following on from the previous point I want to do more trail running this year; I think the mix this year for me has been 70% road 30% Trail. I would like to change that to around 50 / 50 for next year....

So my Ultra plans for next year so far:-
Ultra race 45/90 – Jan 22nd / 23rd   (both days)
GUCR  145mile - May 28th (Booked)
Cotswold Ultra 100 – June 24th
Ultra peak 40 miles – Aug 21st
Nottingham Ultra 50km - Oct  
Ceaser’s camp 100miles – Oct (not sure if it clashes with above)

There will also possibly be a couple of marathons, half’s & 10k’s thrown in for good measure

So here is wishing everyone who reads this a very happy new year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog & I hope I can keep your interest in the coming new year ..!!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Ankle update

Well I thought I would update before Christmas.

Last Thursday I went for a run to test my Achilles out after almost a week of rest.
It was going to be an 8miler but due to the very icy conditions altering my running gait, I ended up doing 5.5 miles.
The results were ok there were no stabbing pains, but for the last mile my ankle was starting to ache; only a dull ache but enough to know it was there.
I decided to delay my decision on my long back to back until Friday eve.

Come the Fri eve I decided to ready myself for a 20 miler but come sat morning I looked out and it had been snowing, I decided to not risk it as it was the snowy icy conditions that had caused the initial injury.

On the Saturday afternoon it was still snowing, I had measured the fall in the garden at 10”. At that point I could not resist having a go in the snow.

So trail shoes donned I headed out, I decided to stick to the roads as I could not distinguish any defined off road trails to the field and I did not want to twist an ankle or worse!
Having said that most of the roads were untouched, so it was like trail running anyway.

There is something quite eerie running up the middle of a main road in the middle of the afternoon as you have the whole road to yourself.
The run took me through the back roads around Bretforton & Aldington; it was an enchanting experience, seeing scenery I see all year round from a different perspective was particularly breathtaking.

When I was running through Aldington village, there was a chap clearing his drive, when he saw me he started laughing, I said it’s the best time to run, to which he replied at least you have the roads to yourself.

I ran on to the Evesham to Offenham road and as I ran down the hill I was greeted with a chaotic scene on the road. There were cars struggling up the hill, and cars sliding down the hill and cars stuck on the side. There were folks standing around looking perplexed not knowing what to do, most looked at me in disbelief.
At the bottom of the hill was an old works bus full of workers who had finished a shift all sat on the bus while the driver struggled to make any headway. I thought about offering my services but there were enough people standing around who could help so I carried on my merry way.

I finished my run totally elated; I then proceeded to clear my drive of snow which was a good workout in its own right.

Taking stock I have run a total of around 15miles for the week which is pathetic but I feel I need to rest my ankle, I am hoping that my base fitness will see me through my first Ultra of 2011 which is on the 3rd weekend in January.
I am hoping over the Christmas period that I can still fit a long back to back in but we will see.....

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Wil I or wont I

Its decision time tonight  - I have been off running since Last Friday due to my Achilles injury.

I have not been tempted to try it until now, I have the itchy feet syndrome. So tonight I am heading out for a short 8miler to test it.

If all goes well then I will still be on course for my 30miler on Saturday and my 40miler on Sunday.

With the enforced rest I haven't done any substitute to running, I have also been off the bike as Anna did not need the car this week so I have used it for work.

I have noticed that after a few days I have started to get lethargic and I am still tired in the mornings. Is this because I am not getting my normal fix of endorphins I wonder....

More soon.........

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Operation Kidderminster!!!!!

Well Yesterday (Friday) it was D day for Anna's Op. So at 6.30am we set off on our merry way to Kiderminster. We had left the 3 boys with a trusted friend to get them to school.
So having dropped our daughter off with another trusted friend we shot over to the hospital.

Once Anna was registered we settled down for a long wait, but I was suitably impressed when at 9.50am Anna was called through to get changed for her Op.

I had been told that once the procedure had finished she would be out within around 2-3 hours.

So as any Ultra runner would do I went back to the car and donned my running kit. As I had never run in this area before you would have thought I would have at least plotted a route on Google Earth or something similar, but no I had no time.

So off I went ab libbing the route as I went, I soon got out off Kiderminster (no offence to Kidderminster but I don't like running in cities or Towns) . I ended up on an A road running towards Telford. after about a mile I saw a turning to the right and I took it. It turned out right as it opened up a fantastic scenic route of endless hills and wooded areas. I ran freely enjoying the scenery not knowing what was round the corner. Having said that I was conscious of the time as I had to be back within a certain time to get another ticket for the car parking.

I ended up running down yet another Hill and at the bottom the road turned severely to the right but there was a clear path up into some woods. I threw caution to the wind and set off up the hill into the woods. The path grew steeper and steeper, I finally reached the top and it opened up a total enchanting view of the wood. It was great to run through the woods taking in the spectacular scenery and woodland animals. Then I remembered to look at my watch and realised I needed to return if  I did not want  a ticket.

So back I went the same way as I did not want to risk loosing my way and not getting back to the hospital. On the way back I realised that my right ankle was really playing up, so I decided that after this run I would need to give the running a rest for a few days.

Once back I was on a high as you don't often get runs where every thing feels right and you don't care about the distance or the pace. It was just running for the sake of running. I don't care how far I went and I will probably not bother checking either as it would spoil the purity of the run.

So it was back to the reality of the day, and find out how Anna had got on!!!!

So I waited, and waited and waited for the elusive phone call they had promised.

Finally at around 3.15pm I went up to the recovery suite and asked, I was informed that Anna was in recovery but would be around an hour. You see they did not allow relatives or friends into the recovery area, you were allowed to stay in a very boring corridor and stare at equally boring walls!!!!.

At around 5.20pm Anna phoned to say she felt ok and was getting dressed and would be out shortly.

Around 20 mins later a nurse appeared an said I could come and see Anna. I followed into the hallowed area being the only one that had been let in, to see Anna looking tired but ok.

I then learnt that the op had been a disaster and the procedure had not gone ahead due potentially to surgeon error.

So having got her self in a suitable condition to leave we dutifully left the hospital after spending £8.50 on parking.
We picked up the children from the various friends who helped us out and got back home at around 7.30pm.

Anna was totally drained and soon went to bed.....

All I can say I certainly had some highs and lows over the last 24hours, but that is certainly nothing in comparison to what Anna has faced in the last 24hours........

More Soon.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Christmas Decs are up!!!!!!!

My blog is delayed a bit this week as The Spiers household has gone into overdrive at the moment!!!

Last weeks training was very much a mixed bag...........

Mon evening was a 8.5mile steady run home from work in the freezing cold. The pins held up well, which was a good sign after my 52miler at the weekend.

Tue morning I ran back to work in a lovely snowy scene. We had an inch of the white stuff overnight which made for great running I thoroughly enjoyed my 9.5 mile run.

Lewis had his birthday on Wednesday so a days holiday was in order which meant Christmas shopping while he was at school. Then family round later followed by chill time.

Thursday evening was a run home at tempo pace 6.4miles. Still ice underfoot.

Friday morning was a 10miler into work with ice underfoot again. Unfortunately my altered running stance due to the ice may of kept me on my feet but unfortunately it tweaked my right Achilles.

It seems that it is only a slight strain but I decided to rest it over the weekend rather than risk it.

So The weekend was devoted to getting into the Christmas spirit.

On Saturday after the swimming commitments we all took a trip to the theatre to see the Christmas panto Cinderella. It was fantastic fun and all the family enjoyed it.

Sunday was spent putting the Christmas decorations up, a lot of fun was had even in the cold. They look great and we are now officially in the Christmas spirit.

On to Monday I was due to run home but Anna was called in to cover a shift at work so I biked home. Then once the children were in bed I ventured onto the treadmill. I haven't been on one for around 2 years and I know why, they are so boring. I managed 5.5miles and then I quit before I lost all concentration and fell off. Still one positive my ankle was fine.

So to this morning I was up and out the door at 5.45am, it was FREEZING (I found out later someone had clocked -12 in there car around 6.30am)
I must admit after around 2 miles I was either warmed up or my body had got used to it.

My only problem was my hands they got colder and colder as the run went on and that's with 2 pairs of gloves on.

After around 6 miles I noticed that all the hairs on my legs were covered in frost, it did look rather strange. I did get some funny looks towards the end of my run, as people walked to work. One woman stated that she thought I was mad, to which I replied it comes with the territory!!!
So 13.4miles later I was at work trying to blow some life into my very numb hands, so I could type the code into the keypad to get into the nice warm building.

So on reflection get some warmer gloves and start running in tracksters. (No chance I'm hard I can handle it)

I did have some slight niggles with the heel but not enough to stop.

This week coming the plan is:-

Thurs Morn 20miles to work.
Thurs eve 8 miles once the kids are in bed.

Friday is Anna's op so depending when she is on the list I may go for a blast while she is in theatre (as long as I am back when she wakes up)

The weekend will be suck it and see depending on Anna's recovery!!!!

More soon...........

Friday, 3 December 2010

Shopping Deals - Extra free & Buy one get one free!!!

Having a very busy weekend scheduled I decided to do the weekly trek to the supermarket yesterday evening.
I know this trip is a necessary one, but it is a chore I really don't like. I know that I could save myself and order it online, but I begrudge paying the delivery charge they impose. Also by the time you have faffed around online ordering, you could have walked round the store twice. I don't like the fact that if an item is out of stock they will put an alternative in for you which you might not like or is more expensive.

Anyway I digress!! I arrived to begin my shop, and had just walked through the doors and was greeted with the first promotion offer. Big tins of sweets with extra free & buy one get one free on a packet of 6 mince pies!!!
OK you might think you could get away with buying the tin of sweets now for Christmas, but would not a small box suffice instead of a 10000 calorie tin.
The mince pies however are outrageous they will be out of date before Christmas day arrives and each mince pie is 250 calories!!! The supermarkets are promoting festive foods & encouraging you to eat it for a whole month leading up to Christmas.

These promotions seem to be every where you look in the supermarket, everything that was un healthy for you seemed to be on a special promotion offer.

Why cant there be a balance, they could promote healthy alternatives at the same time. I guess all the healthy items will be on special offer in January "to help fight the bulge". The supermarkets will then be shown in good light by doing there bit to tackle the obesity problem of today, having aided the problem the month before.

The supermarkets should not be allowed to actively promote obesity in this day and age, not when the government are allegedly doing so much to tackle the problem.

I know the whole issue is a mind set going back a generation and if someone wants to buy these types of food then they will. But surely someone should stop the supermarkets from making it easier and cheaper to buy bigger quantities.

There is going to be a clamp down on the availability of cheap booze which ultimately is an addiction in simple terms.
So obesity is a form of addiction so is there going to be a clamp down on availability of cheap unhealthy foods.

I Think not as supermarkets rule the roost!!!!!

Rant over - The moral of the story don't allow kids into supermarkets!!!!