Still here

15 07 2011

Just a quick update to say that unlike after last year’s Charmouth Challenge I’m still running!

Took a good four or five days for the aching muscles to recover, but I’ve been out for a few runs since then. Had a nice one Wednesday when I ran out along the beach to St Gabriels, and thencame back along the coast path.

After having a good think, I’ve decided to try and keep going through the winter this time, even if it’s only once a week. That will give me a better base for building up to next year’s Challenge. Also think I need to try and increase distances to build up stamina. This is all depending on keeping injury free of course. Still planning to do the Weymouth ten mile race in October, might find a 10k race before that, may just do my own thing.

Going back to the Challenge, nice to see that this year’s race and fun run raised over £6,000 for Charmouth Primary School. Runners come from all over now to run in the UK’s most southerly fell race.

On the down side, this was the report from the Coastguard blog:
2011 Incident #27 02.07.11 1517UTC #XXXX

The Initial Response Team, the IRT, was tasked rescue a 40 year old female runner who had fallen and sustained a suspected broken ankle. She was participating in the annual Charmouth Challenge and had lost her footing crossing a stile. Fortunately an off duty coastguard who was helping marshall the event was able to assist. She had fallen on a fairly remote stretch of the coast path, east of Charmouth, near Westhay Farm. South West Ambulance co- responders were also sent to the scene. Due to the difficult access and the level of pain the casualty was in, the coastguard helicopter airlifted her to Dorchester Hospital.


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.

Gonna do it

20 06 2011

Decided to give the 2011 Charmouth Challenge on July 2nd a go after all. Probably be my last, we’ll see.

Went out for the long run on Saturday, and as promised did the full Charmouth Challenge course. The good news was that I made it round in one piece, the bad news was that I recorded a time six and a half minutes slower than I did it in last July. That’s about thirty seconds per kilometer. No excuses, it was nice and cool, just had no energy. Didn’t even walk as much as last time. Maybe some of it’s mental too. Didn’t push it up the first hill thinking that I needed to conserve effort for later, but then never really got the benefit. I think the strategy on race day will be to just push all the way. Get the heart up to about 170bpm and keep it there. If it drops below 165 then I’m not trying hard enough!

Course was in reasonable shape. Some of the narrow bits on the way back down Stonebarrow could do with trimming back, plus the flat field at the far end between Filcombe Farm and Golden Cap could do with a strim. Although with 200 runners in front of me trampling through the scenary, neither should be a problem by the time I get there!

Will go out for a short run tomorrow (Tuesday) and again probably on Friday as I won’t have time on Saturday.

Need to find some local 10k races for August and September. Still thinking about the Weymouth 10 mile race in October.

Counting Down

14 06 2011

Only two and a half weeks before the 2011 Charmouth Challenge, and I’m still not sure whether or not to run.

Did two thirds of the course this morning, missing out the big climb up Golden Cap, but even without that still couldn’t make it up the last climb without walking large sections. I’ll keep running every three days if I can and see how I feel in the week leading up to the race. Just still seem to be down on energy (and not just because I was up past midnight last night playing poker!). I still think I’m fitter now than I was at this point last year, but don’t seem to have as much energy. This morning’s run has left me completely drained even hours later. Maybe it’s the looming prospect of the big five-oh in August?

Interestingly the last two shortish (5.5k) runs that I have done with just one big hill went really well with good times, but throw in another big hill and it’s all too much.

Had originally planned to do the full course two weeks prior to the race which means this coming weekend. Gulp. Have to think about that, might not be good either mentally or physically!


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 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, 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!

The boy’s back in town!

28 02 2011

Ok, I’m back. It’s been a while, and I’ve defnitely been slacking, but now I’m back with the full intention of doing the 2011 Charmouth Challenge, and beating last year’s  time by at least five minutes.

Went to see a physio late last year. Basically she just said I was way too tight and needed to loosen up a bit. And then we talked about my leg problems, boom boom! The daily stretching exercises that she gave me seems to be calming it down.

I’ve done a few odd runs over the last few months, had a bit of knee pain (pinching pain outside left knee) but that’s pretty much down to lack of fitness/form/leg strength. Went for a run from home (Charmouth) up the the end of Stonebarrow car park and back on Sunday and was really pleased with how it went. So once a week in March, twice a week in April, and after that we’ll see.