RideLondon-Surrey 2016

This was to be my third time at this event, out of four running and so I was pretty ok with the course. No surprises to be had with the course. I was only concerned about the state of my legs. Would they have recovered from Comrades, especially given the fail at C2C? The answer was yes there were fine. 

As with the year before I was orange wave C setting off at 6:18

The clouds loomed but it turned out to not be a problem. 

Unlike last year there were a lot of fast groups heading out of the city and back in again. I was able to tag on the the back of these groups and cling on for dear life! The hills like last year proved no problem and once at the bottom of Box Hill tagged on the back of another group or two and smashed myself all the way to the Mall. Looked at the watch, 4:28! Awesome. 


Midnight Man 2016


This should have been good. I had been swimming well and although I’d not done as much cycling as I had wanted to my run post comrades was strong. Although the 10:15 of last year looked a little out of reach a sub 10:30 I hoped would still be achievable.

Instead I got a DNF, my second of the season.

So, what happened? Well I got ill on the bike. That’s the short story, but I’ll explain more.

Saturday morning, parkrun day. I hadn’t intended to do parkrun, but having just received my new elastic laces in the post I needed to get a small run in to check they were tensioned right. Southend parkrun was the venue and I plodded round, throwing in a few strides to loosen the legs for the first 2 laps, keeping at just believe 5min/km pace. At the beginning of lap 3 I got chatting to a guy who was looking to break 24:30, seemed rude to not try and help him so the last Km and a bit was a little quicker. Nothing too stressful there.

At home little Langdon who had also done it started to feel a little ‘off’ and kept taking himself off to bed for short naps. Once I’d sorted my kit out I had my pre race dinner/breakfast of pesto pasta  (what would be dinner about dinner time the night before if it had been a morning start. Timings can be trick)  too went for a short nap.


Delicious pasta. Not so sure if it’s at 10am for breakfast

2hrs later and having hit the snooze button on the alarm 4 or 5 times I dragged myself out of bed. Should have known then that something was up as I felt hung over. However I had a big bowl of muesli (having had pasta for breakfast) and jumped in the car.

Upon arrival I registered and then stuck gels and naumbers in my bike, excellent.

Down at the start line bake racked and wetsuit on I was good to go. Time to get in the water, passing the finish line I hoped to see in 10 hours or so.

The swim was a deep water start, we all climbed into the lake and swam to the start point. Along side the full iron distance there was also a half and quarter distance race being run so there were a fair few people in the water. Some would be doing one lap, others two but for me it was to be four laps of the lake. I swam a 1:07 the year previously and hoped to go a little quicker than that this year. i managed to pull clear of the washing machine start fairly quickly and settled into my rhyme, albeit with someone on my toes for a large chunk of the first two laps, I apologise if it was you as I’m pretty sure I kicked them in the head twice as we made some of the turns. s the swim wen ton the faster quarter and half distance racers finished and the lake emptied slightly,  I sped on, keeping good stroke rate and with a solid breathing rhythm. Out of the water in 1:05 on my watch (1:06 by the time i made it to transition and the timing mat, quicker than last year but feeling fresher. Excellent.  A quick dry of the feet and arms, socks, arm warmers, glasses, helmet and shoes on and off i went on the bike.

The bike started well, I was makig good time and not getting caught up i too much traffic. The frst few laps got busier as more people finished the swim but I knew by the wee small hours it would be very quiet. Trying to figure out where the wind was was always a challenge, as it was last year, and I settled into it. A long time to go.

It was only a few laps i that I started getting a headache, odd, carry on. Then it got worse. I’d done a good few laps but now I was feeling weak. Headache was getting worse and I felt like I had no energy. Mmmmmmm, this is not right, I ploughed on. For a bit. Well to almost the end of lap 9. This was the point where I had to pull over and be quite sick at the side of the road. This was not good. I pootled back to the transition area and called it a day. With 7hrs of racing still to go I was in no condition to carry on.

Checking my phone on the journey home I found that the boy had been quite poorly after I had left to race and needed medicine and cold compresses to cool his temperature. Whatever he had I had got too.

the next morning he was fine, and 24hrs after I started feeling ill I was better too. Whatever we had had was a real 24hr type thing and it had arived at the worst time. I suspect that had I not been racing and putting that kind of stress on my body to exacerbate the issue I would never had know.

Looking at the times for each lap I was doing well compared to last year, but you can see the sudden drop off!

I will just have to return next year then and at least I’ll be fit for the Team Relays a fortnight after!

Greater Manchester Marathon – The Race

This should, in theory have been better than my last three marathons (Kirkstall, Hull and Milan) but that wouldn’t exactly be hard. I’ve been having issues with getting out to run due to my wife’s working hours so have been plodding on the treadmill. However I’ve been getting a pretty ground in pace of 12km/h which equates to 5min/km. when I’ve been outside running I’ve been able to keep it up as well.

The night before was spent in a b&b half an hour away where an early night was had. It had to be early, we were sharing with the boys and I didn’t fancy sitting in the dark.IMG_1897

The following more we were up early, packed breakfasted (muesli) and off. Road closures and lack of signage made parking a mare, so I jumped out and left my family to get sorted to meet them at the start.

There were many things wrong with the Marsthon, but I won’t go into them now, I’ll concentrate on what I could control, ie my race.

9am and the race started! The course was pretty flat (as you can see below) and with a few out and backs so I could cheer on other LBTers. My pace was pretty much spot on between 4:40 and 4:50 per km till about the 31km mark. There was a couple of small drops you will notice where I had to stop for a wee.

It was after my second wee break that I chased to get back to where I was before I stopped but when I caught up to the girl I had been following I felt good and so pushed on, keeping a pace somewhere around 4:10-4:20 for the last 11kms. I was head down for the last little bit when I thought I could go under a milestone time but missed it a little, the headwind on the last four miles was just a little too much.

So, how did i do? Well although I just missed out on 3:15 I came in with a official time of 3:16:51 a huge improvement of my precious best of 3:27. And I had held back so much during the run as it was more of less a training run and might even be able to sneak a good for age (3:05) for London marathon should I attempt Hull again later in the year.

Kirkstall Trail Marathon

In theory it should be nice to do a marathon you could more or less run to the start line of. However 17 days previously I had undergone knee surgery again. Fortunately as I’d been active an fit in the months leading up to the op I was in good health and pretty damn fit. I just had to hope that my knee would hold up and I would bust the wounds open again. I mean, they had healed and the stitches had been removed. 

This was supposed to give me a basic time for my Comrades qualification. Anything under about 5:30 should be ok. I just had to get round. 

The course was three laps, or fairly up and down with some slippery underfoot stuff through fields and alongside the river and some steady going flat along the canal.  

  My knee heals up fine. Everything else fell apart though. The lack of any kind of distance running since my poor attempt at Hull and before that Midnight man was telling. The first lap went ok (aside from me and a few others getting lost less than 1k into it) but less than 100m into the second lap my body basically shut down and the next 17ish miles became a mater of mind over body. There as no chance in hell I was giving up though. 

I ended the day with a time of 4:12:13, not too bad but I was in bits and broken for the next few days. Still, should be enough  to get me a qualification time for Comrades. 

Of all the stupid things I’ve done…


Yup, I’ve signed up to Comrades ultra.   
90 hilly hot and hard kilometres in South Africa with about a million metres of climbing even though it’s a ‘down’ year. 
Starting in Pietermaritzburg and ending some 90km later in Durban the Comrades Marathon is a beast. The route is reversed each year so this year is a down year, with a net downhill, but still about 1400m of climbing. 

 I will need to provide a qualifying time to prove I’m good enough and so have signed to to one trail marathon, not long after knee surgery, and Manchester Marathin where I hope to post a quick time. 

I should have toughened up and finished Hull Marathon. Oh well, I didn’t know then I’d be doing this. 

What. Have. I. Done.