2011 Charmouth Challenge

3 07 2011

So much for the forecast, it ended up as mid to high twenties and almost no breeze. Desperately hot for running up hills, much like last year.

Fun run kicked off at 2:30pm, with nearly two hundred runners, mostly kids and mostly doing it a lot faster than I could. That include some of the nine year-olds from my youngest son’s class!

Challenge started at about 3pm. Started near the back and at what I felt was a comfortable pace. First km is flat, second km is up Stonebarrow Lane. All tarmac, all uphill. Halfway up and my heart rate was already sky high. I guess it’s just natural that when you run with others you run faster, so even though I ended up walking some of it I still did the km in 8m 16s which is easily a minute quicker than training pace. Classic case of starting too fast? It’s hard to judge the best pace in this, whether to start fast or take it easy and save energy? Honestly, by the time you get to the next climb your knackered regardless of how much you think you have saved.

Next three km are a mix of gentle climb, flat and steep downhill. Some queueing to get over stiles gave me an enforced rest. Then the fun really starts, the climb up to Golden Cap. Very similar to last year. Tried to run it but the best pace that I could manage was only marginally quicker than those who were walking. So I joined them. Ran some of the less steep bits, walked the rest all the way up to the trig point. By the time I got to the start of the descent from Golden Cap my thighs felt like jelly!

After the descent the race joined the coast path at St Gabriels. At this point I was pretty much even with last year’s time, but I was running on empty. You can see from the splits below comparing last year and this that I lost all my time from kilometer 8 onwards. (Click on it for a clearer view). It’s not just the big climb back up Stonebarrow Hill, it’s the smaller hills in between that really sap you. Ideally when running I’m comfortable with a heart rate between 165 and 170, but my average for the race was something like 173bpm, and peaked a few times at about 180. On the way back from Golden Cap I thought it best to ease off a bit whenever it got over 175. This is undoubtedly where I lost the time, payback for starting too quick?

On one of these hills I passed a runner who was down, but waving everyone past saying she was ok. Heard later that she had tripped coming over one of the stiles and badly hurt her ankle. As this part of the course is inaccessable by road, I think they might have called out the air ambulance. Not sure.

Walked quite a bit on the last climb and struggled on the downhill finish as legs were really shot. Finished in 1 hr 31m 32s. Slower than last year, but probably better than expected so ok with that.

Fire brigade were on hand as usual to cool down the finishers.

 Took a long time to recover. Really, really exhausted and a quite wobbly. And I wasn’t the only one. Anne took the pic below of Gerry Bearpark and me trying to get ourselves back to normality. There were 248 finishers, I was officially 192nd.

Maybe next year will be cooler? Here’s hoping.


Big Day Tomorrow

1 07 2011

2011 Charmouth Challenge is tomorrow at 3pm. This will be my second attempt having last year finished it a creditable 1hr 30m. Not so confident this year but you never know. Although I’ve been pretty much injury free in the run up to the race, I have been feeling down on energy every time I run compared to last year. Just age I guess.

Right, think positive! My training seems to suggest a time of about 1hr 35m is on the cards, but running with others might improve that. Forecast is good: 19 degrees and sunny, gentle breeze. Last year was hot and humid, so conditions definitely better this time.

Not really got much of a plan as far as strategy for the race. Too be honest I use up so much energy on the first climb that even if I take it easy it’s a struggle up the next two!  So I’ll take the middle path, try hard up the first one, but not too hard. After that just suck it and see.

As the weather has been pretty dry, all the off-road sections will be quite hard. This means I’ll wear my road running Nike Air Structure Triax shoes, rather than my trail running Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras. The Salomon are great when it’s muddy and slippery, but they have a lot less cushioning, so not good for road or when the tracks are hard. I’ll wear the Garmin as usual and upload the details when I recover (like next Thursday).

Well that’s it. Cya after the race.

Egdon Easy 10k

3 06 2011

So how did it go Pete? Glad you asked.

The Egdon Easy 10k is a flattish course around the Lodmoor Nature Reserve. A few little twisty bits, a couple of small inclines, and a flat drag back along Preston Beach Road into a decent breeze. Oh and it’s in the evening.

We started and finished at Weymouth College, although the start was delayed by about ten minutes as there was a barrier across the track at about 300m that nobody had the keys for! Anyway, we all managed to squeeze past without being forced to slow down too much, the braver souls vaulted over!

Decided to aim for something around 50 to 52 minutes, so wanted to start with just over 5 minute kilometers and see how it went.

After the initial burst of energy and a 4:49 opening kilometer I settled down and did 5:05, 5:13, 5:10, but then slumped to 5:18 and 5:19. At this point I tried to pick it up a bit, and whilst the legs were willing, my heart wasn’t. Up to now my heart had been averaging about 171, which is higher than the 165 to 168 that I know I can sustain, but seemed ok. However, as soon as I tried to speed up a bit my heart moved up to over 175 at which point I started to feel just slightly faint. This was the body warning me to slow it a bit (duh), so I did. Frustrating when I knew I had the strength in my legs. So then it was 5:10, 5:15, 5:21 before a magnificant sprint finish saw me home with 4:56, although that was slightly less than a kilometre. Final time 51m 38s, so within target range but a little disappointing if truth be told.

Overall, an excellent race that I’ll do next year if I’m still running. Definitely a course for a PB with only a few slight inclines. Well run (apart from the delayed start), well martialled, results online by early the next morning. Got a nice breathable t-shirt that I might actually be able to run in.

Thank you Egdon Heath Harriers.

Click here for the Garmin data.

Brucie Bonus

6 05 2011

Having entered the Egdon Easy 10k via Runners World website the day before yesterday, was pleasantly suprised to receive my number  (#41) and race details in the post 24 hours later. Looks really flat, so should be okay for a good time.

Anyway, in with the stuff was the details of the Weymouth 10 mile race in October. Not run that far before but looks like I’ll just have to give it a go as this year is their 50th anniversary race, and anyone who’s fifty this year gets to run for free. That means me. Woo hoo!  I even get a nice gold shirt for the golden anniversary.

Catching Up

5 05 2011

Sorry, got a bit lazy on the blogging front, so here’s a brief update in no particular order.

Not got any new running shoes yet. Found a site called mymoti.com where they proudly boasted that they only advertise what they have in stock. You know where this is going. I bought a pair Mizuno Alchemy trainers and then a week or so later I called them only to learn that my money was being refunded as they were not in stock. I suggest you avoid this website.

On the good side my knee has been better, probably as I’m getting my fitness back.

Back to running twice a week, mostly up and down the hills along the coast down here, seems to be going well. Touch wood. Most recent runs are recorded on Runkeeper.com, just search the routes for Charmouth. Still aiming towards 2011 Charmouth Challenge on the 2nd July. Before that I’ll be doing Egdon Easy 10k in Weymouth on 28th May, 7pm start. Not happy that I’ll miss most of the Champions League final, but never mind.

Still happy with the Salomon XA off road trainers, although there’s not much cushioning, so I get a bit footsore when the ground is hard.

Might also aim towards the Weymouth 10 mile race in October. Would be the furthest that I’ve run, but I get free entry as I’m the same age as the race!

Off orienteering again this weekend, weatther permitting. Hope I don’t get lost on the way there like last time!

Charmouth Challenge 2010 Photos

7 07 2010

There’s now a gallery of photos from the 2010 Charmouth Challenge from Jillian Hunt. Click here to view them.

This is the sort of scenary we enjoyed.

And this is me near the start of the final climb (#84) with Golden Cap in the background.

2010 Charmouth Challenge

4 07 2010

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and proceeded to get hot and humid as per the forecast. Not good news for us forty somethings. Took the morning as easily as I could, reheated some of last nights stir-fry for lunch. Figured the carbs would be good for me.

Fun run kicked off at 2.30pm so watched them come past from the balcony. 2010 Charmouth Challenge Fun Run

Challenge started at 3.00pm. Started off at the back, did 5m 23s for the first flat km, then 8m 33s for the km up Stonebarrow Lane. Already feeling hot and hard to maintain pace as most people around me were already walking. But by slow jogging I was only just faster than most of them.

Once at the top of the lane we were out of the shade and into full sun. Kept to planned pace with 6m 11 and 6m 06s along the ridge to Chardown, then 5m 17s on the downhill section to the welcome shade of St Gabriels Wood. Had to queue up to get over a couple of stiles bit didn’t lose too much time. Once out of the wood the climb up to Golden Cap starts. Normally I can jog 80% of the way up this hill before I start walking, but yesterday by the time I’d got 10% of the way up I was exhausted, just drained and so hot. It didn’t help that the others were walking again so I did the same. I was a bit disappointed in having to walk so soon, but knew there was a long way to go and also that my walking and slow jogging pace aren’t that much different. Walked and jogged the rest of the way to the top, passed a few people, got past by a few.

Reached the trig point on Golden Cap in about 48 minutes which was exactly on target. Legs feeling very rubbery. Managed to walk and jog again back to Stonebarrow, getting hotter and hotter, and walking up the steep bits and jogging the rest until finally reached the top. Blessed relief know that it was all downhill from here. Got passed by a couple more on the run down the hill, and by one in the last hundred yards. Great to see so many people clapping and cheering us on as we staggered to the finish. As usual the fire brigade were there to help us cool down.

Charmouth Fire Brigade to the rescue

Not surprisingly I felt pretty wobbly at the finish, took a good ten minutes before I felt human again. No medals, but you can get a commemorative mug with as many free tea refills as you can drink. Had a burger to help replace the calories, but not as good as the home-made ones after the Jurassic 10k.

My target had always been 1 hour 30 minutes. I always thought I could do that, but recently had been doubting it because of the leg muscle problems. However, I am pleased to announce that my official finishing time was 1 hour, 29 minutes, 54 seconds, placing me a very creditable 181st out of 232 finishers. As Anne pointed out, there were a lot of running club runners in fancy shirts behind me.

My supporters

My supporters

So that’s it for the 2010 Charmouth Challenge. In summary, very hot, very humid, very very hard work. But it’s a great course, extremely well organised, has absolutely stunning views from the top of Golden Cap and Stonebarrow (must look out some old photos), and it raises large amounts of money for the local school. Will I do it next year? I hope to, but I’m going to take three weeks off running now to see if this leg will heal. Really need to see a sports physio, but can’t afford it at the moment. Maybe some of you guys should come down and have a go, probably be July 2nd next year, it would make a good bookend to Juneathon!

Finally, here’s the link to Garmin Connect where you can relive the race through the data. Just click on the pic.

2010 Charmouth Challenge as run by Pete

2010 Charmouth Challenge as run by Pete