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Russ Running 2014

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Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:12 am

Ok, I've kicked off my 2014 racing schedule.

In 2013 I ran six marathons and six ultras, plus a few other shorter races. Had some injury issues early in the year, but came out of it well with a very good run at the Centurion Winter 100 miles in November:

Country to Capital 45 miles XC 7:28:57
Thames Trot 44 miles XC 6:57:41
Bramley 20 miles DNF (hip injury)
Duchy Marathon 3:42:50
Thames Path 100 miles XC 21:17:07
Combe Gibbet to Overton 16XC 2:03:56
Milton Keynes Marathon 2013 3:57:07
Marlborough Challenge 33 XC 4:57:52
Trailtrekker XC 100km 13:00
Trailwalker XC 100km 12:26
Reykjavik Marathon 2013 3:19:53
Jersey Marathon 2013 3:39:06
Beachy Head Marathon XC 4:20:05
Great South Run 10 miles 74:58
QE Park 5 miles XC 39:01
Winter 100 miles XC 18:36:39
Portsmouth Coastal Marathon XC 3:40:04
Pub to Pub Horndean 7.4 miles 54:39

XC is my abbreviation of 'cross country' by the way - what you over the pond might call 'trail', though for us Brits that means hills, mud, stiles, gates, cows, steps, and more mud.

So, I kicked off 2014 with the Country to Capital 45 miles XC. It went well - I ran strong on a hilly, muddy, wet course to finish 41st overall in 6:43:53, around 45 minutes up on my 2013 time. The course is undulating/hilly and very muddy for the first 24 miles across the Buckinghamshire countryside, snaking along wooded paths, through fields, farms and small towns and villages, before it hits the Grand Union Canal for the last 21 miles into London - flat, wet, muddy in places but fairly straightforward. I went out quite steadily, reaching the canal in around 3:50 or so, where I stopped and cleaned out some of the mud and stones from my shoes, then pressed on through the marathon point in around 4:10 and started to chase the other runners ahead of me. I moved up from somewhere around 60-70th from 350 starters to finish 41st - it was tough in the final miles, particularly when I saw a footpath sign indicating around 1.5 miles to go to reach Paddington (which is near the finish line) and started to push on. After running quite hard for a mile or so, I realised I still had another couple of miles to go, so it was a slightly painful run in to the finish!

I've now got a couple of weeks training before the Thames Trot on 1st February - this is 'normally' a 50 mile XC race, but last year it was diverted and cut short due to severe flooding along the Thames Path. Flooding is even worse at the moment, so everything crossed the water levels will drop and we'll get back out on the original course - I'm hoping to run around 7:30 there on the proper course.

I've got the Malta Marathon in February - planning on taking it as a training run and pacing a 3:30 group round. The the South Downs Way 50 miles XC, the Bergen Marathon in Norway (another training run), the 3 Forts XC Marathon (27 miles of hilly trail) and taper down for the Grand Union Canal Race in May (145 miles trail).

The second half of the year isn't fully planned as yet - will post when I know as I'm trying to qualify for a big international event and it depends how successful I am with my application. I should be running six marathons and six ultras again hopefully (that's the plan I got a pass from my better half, Sarah, to do  Very Happy  ). Will keep you posted on my progress!

Russ
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:29 am

So impressive Russ! Glad you’ve been able to stay relatively injury free – wishing you the same great health for 2014 and hope the flooding will subside this year!

You know I really wish I could make it out to Iceland in August, but that timing doesn’t work for me (if I want to stay employed here) and I’m pretty disappointed about that – any chance you’d be able to come over to run the marathon in GR this October? I know a lot of us here would love to meet you and Sarah!!!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:08 pm

We would love to Rachel, but it's looking unlikely in 2014 at the moment as we've both got a lot of other commitments already booked in. I do think 2015 might be a possibility, though. What's the GR date again this year?
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:42 pm

Russ ANYTIME you can make it over would be SUPER - really hope you can make it in 2015!!! GR is 2014 - so not GR but another great location in 2015 - TBD!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Dave Tuttle on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:08 pm

That's an amazing year you have lined up there Russ!! Fantastic that you manage it. The GR gathering is October 19th if your schedule happens to change. We all look forward to meeting you some day.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:00 pm

2014 Race Report No.#2

I ran the Thames Trot yesterday. This is normally a 50 mile trail race along the Thames Path, from Oxford to Henley following the river.

Now, some of you across the pond may be aware that things have been a little damp in the UK lately.  Rolling Eyes  The whole Thames Valley is very, very badly flooded right now. Last year we had major route diversions on this race, bringing the total distance down to around 43.5 miles of roads, mud and floods. This year the flooding is even worse...

With the whole route severely flooded, the race director sent out route revisions two days before the race. Then further diversions 12 hours before the race. Then announced at the start that parts of the course may be impassable, so his team would be going ahead and possibly putting new diversions in place at particularly badly flooded sections. He said they would put up signage wherever they put in new diversions, but that these would be very intermittent. Hmm.

I was planning to run with my team-mate Martin for this one. We decided to drive to Reading then get the train to Oxford, and then get train, bus or taxi from the finish back to Reading. I set up the satnav and asked Martin what time the train was due to leave Reading - he said 07:10. My satnav gave us an EST at Reading station of 07:10, where we would need to park, walk to the station, buy tickets and catch the train. So, we started the morning with a race in the car at over 90mph to get to the train. We just made it, and headed off to Oxford...

If we were on the original course we would have been aiming for around 7:30, and the revised course from 2013 around 6:30. As it happens, by 12-13 miles we were off the course route and needed to put in a large diversion to try to get back on track, along with a large group of fellow runners. The Race Director had said that flooding might be worse between CP4-5 and that he may put in temporary diversions there. We still had to run through shin-deep and at times knee-deep water at various points through to 24.5 miles, reaching there in around 3:40. At the next temporary/new diversion, we followed the intermittent arrows which eventually took us through an industrial estate and into an underground car park (!!). Scrambling through bushes and undergrowth, clambering over fences and through barbed wire, around a rugby pitch while a game was in progress...

In the end, we got lost off whatever was supposed to be the route three times, eventually ran close to 46 miles to finish in 7:17:53. A tough day out, really, especially mentally as we were getting fed up with the poorly defined route revisions - I can see the difficulty for the RD and completely appreciate that they had to think on their feet and just get a 'safe' course in place ahead of the runners, but it was awkward, and when so many runners in the field go off-track it does indicate that things were a little wrong.

Anyway, I'm happy enough with a solid time for the distance again and will chalk it up as a decent training run for bigger things ahead.

Russ
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by twal on Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:20 pm

Climate change has played havoc with that race.

I have a friend who lives near Wallingford.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by echoguy on Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:02 pm

I think running a small amount of a trail race in calf high and knee high water can really add to the fun and excitement of the race.

But....not when the course has been altered and you are not sure of the exact distance. And not in the winter when you worry about frostbite.... and even worse if you are thinking that you might be off course!!!

Congrats on the finish.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by RoadKillBill on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:41 pm

Well done, Russ. I can't fathom the stuff you do, but I am certainly impressed.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:30 pm

Thanks Guys - yes, Brian, I don't mind a bit of water and it can add to the 'fun', though not knowing how far you'll be running can be a bit worrying!

Official results just out - I came 22nd overall, 2nd in age group (by 33 seconds  Sad  ) in 7:17:49.
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:31 pm

WOW Russ!!! Sorry you missed first by SECONDS!!! Maybe next time you could use fins instead of shoes - crazy weather!

Great job nonetheless!!!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Dave Tuttle on Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:17 pm

russwyd wrote:

Official results just out - I came 22nd overall, 2nd in age group (by 33 seconds  Sad   ) in 7:17:49.

Great result for a very tough race Russ!!

First might have been yours if you hadn't got lost on that poorly marked course  Arrow Arrow Arrow

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:29 pm

You're not wrong - he took 15 minutes back off me between checkpoint 4 and 5 while I was lost with a few other runners. It's fine to expect navigation and following a route map, I'm used to that - but it's unusual to have signs put up to follow during the race which take you off all the previously indicated paths... still, live and learn, maybe the other guy just knew the area better than me.
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I'm so jealous of your ultra courses

Post by Gary E on Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:00 pm

Great stuff, Russ. We also have some "niche" events over here that you might not only enjoy, but excell in. One of which is called "Dances with Dirt" where the race director goes out of his way to find rivers to cross, mud to contend with, and it's almost all on twisty, rutty, trails. If you finish without any blood on your body you just didn't give it your all. That event was only in Michigan when I got turned on by the "team aspect" of this relay adventure, but now they have versions in four other states.

I also loved running in multi-day relays after my marathon times started lacking. It was so much more fun when one isn't always looking at a watch to see what kind of splits were maintained. In fact, PR's weren't even relevant because the course changed every year. If I were ever able to start all over again, I would never run an endurance event on pavement again.
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:50 pm

Some of you may or may not know what this means, but here's my confirmation email:

Dear Athlete,

We are pleased to announce that your request for participation to the SPARTATHLON 2014 race is initially accepted.

Best regards,
International Spartathlon Association.

September 2014, I will be running as part of the British team at Spartathlon, from Athens to Sparta in the footsteps of Pheidippides. It's a REALLY tough race to qualify for, and an even tougher race to finish - 153 miles across mountain roads in scorching heat. I'm aiming to be the first athlete with a pacemaker to finish - in fact I'm pretty sure I'll be the first athlete with a pacemaker to start.  Cool 
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by echoguy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:07 pm

IMG!!! Congratulations!!!

Can't wait to hear the report.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:13 pm

Thanks Brian,

Can't really think about it too much yet - my first big target is the GUCR 145 miles in May. At least that will give me a bit of decent training and preparation for what to expect, though the heat in Greece will make it a lot tougher.
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:23 pm

Very Cool Russ!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:05 am

WOW Russ!!!! Congratulations!!! Can't wait to hear about this one!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:27 am

Hi Guys,

I ran the Malta Marathon on Sunday as a training run - I volunteered to pace a group from the club who were aiming for 3:30. I said I would take them to 20 miles in around 2:38 then they could run in from there and I would make my way home at a steady pace.

The course was undulating, weather warm and dry but fairly cloudy early on with a bit of a stiff breeze that made it a little harder. I set off with five club mates and we ran together to around 6 or 7 miles at a steady 7:30 to 7:50 pace depending on the terrain. Two dropped back, and I continued to 15 miles at a steady 7:50 pace where we lost another two - one guy went on ahead from there as he was feeling strong (he ran well to eventually finish in 3:22 for a big PR) and I stuck with a team mate, Kiernan, to 20 miles where he was starting to struggle and I carried on at the same pace. From 16 miles we hit the back of the half marathon and walkathon, so it was quite difficult to get past the 'traffic' of several thousand slow-moving runners/walkers, often 4 or 5 abreast with headphones (something I hate in races  Evil or Very Mad  ), but I managed a pretty steady pace and finished in 3:26:14 which wasn't too bad. Kiernan held on well to 3:32 and my other guys finished in 3:30, 3:36 and 3:53.

All in all not bad for my own run - in the past 12 weeks I have run a 100 mile race, a trail marathon race, a 44 mile trail race, a 46 mile flooded trail race and a road marathon, with no tapering and an average 50+ miles per week in training. March will see me just training with a few long steady runs to check out the GUCR 145 mile route before a couple of training races in April (50 miles trail and a road marathon) and the final taper to the GUCR.
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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:49 pm

Amazing!!! You run further than I drive my car in three months time!!!!


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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by echoguy on Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:23 pm

Isn't good health wonderful!!!

Enjoy..

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by RoadKillBill on Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:45 am

russwyd wrote:
I ran the Malta Marathon on Sunday as a training run

...he says nonchalantly. Well done, Russ!

Russ, I think you should be the subject of a BBC documentary. Rachel knows all about navigating the TV business; she could be your agent.

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by Rachel August on Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:40 am

I'd be more than honored to be Russ's agent!!!!

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Re: Russ Running 2014

Post by russwyd on Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:57 am

By the way, I didn't post this when it went out a few weeks ago - I was featured in Ultra Tales magazine:

http://ultratales.wordpress.com/ultra-tales-issue-10/

Russ
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