Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Alek K M fun run

Friday evening I met with Alek Barefoot who is running the length of Europe north to south. We struggled to get his trolley into my flat and he had to remove the wheels. 

After a pizza we went off to the Bochum Christmas market. The idea was to show him it quickly and get some rest before heading out the next morning for Cologne. As we got back to the station instead of waiting for the next train we supped a cheeky one and got talking to a couple of German lads. Two to three hours later I managed to drag him away.

He spent most of the evening on my bathroom floor talking on the Great White Telephone to Huey and Erik.

He was still at it the next morning...that didn't stop the run though. We set off a little late and headed for the Kemmande See. Less than ten km in and he needed a sit down..."you have too much of a racing mentality...you need to chill Rob" he said in face of my disgust at resting so early.

We headed on and got some breakfast in Witten and then headed for Sprockhövel. What a great place name. The route was very hilly and mainly climbing, about 300m by the time we got to the outskirts of Wuppertal. That doesn't seem much but when you have to push a big three wheeled trolley containing all of Aleks kit plus my heavy laptop it makes a lot of difference. 

I wanted to reach Wuppertal by 13:00 and we were a little late but not enough to panic. I had been eating my homemade energy bars all morning so the opportunity to have some proper food was welcome. This was two cheese burgers and half portion of fries. Half a portion? Yeah because that thieving barefoot runner knicked the other half.

We arrange to meet another barefoot runner, Basty and Aleks' logistics man Guido on the old Nordbahn track.This is a disused railway line that is now tarmaced and used for walking running cycling and biking.

The two new guys were very fresh and set off at quick pace that took a bit of effort for me to keep up with. Aleks was fine though. He had fully recovered from the previous evening and was running well. On the frozen tarmac he managed to slide great distances as his sandals have very little grip.

We stopped and took pictures at the start of Guido's 100km race. After this diversion we headed west and then south and then picked up the river Wupper. The idea was to follow this to the Rhine and then south to Cologne.

Most of this time I was running ahead alone to test how I was feeling and how the head was coped with the idea of not reaching Cologne in time

I knew I could keep going and be happy. At some point the other three hatched a plan to curtail our adventure early. Guido had a injury and Aleks' was concerned about getting me on a train

We decided to head to Solingen station and get a bite to eat. After that Basti and I could get a train to Cologne and the other headed back to Guido's place in Wuppertal.

All in all a fun day out. About 70km done. No injuries, no tiredness, head all good

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Week 8 of 52

It has been a while. Lost interest I suppose. Started the marcothon today. That should motivate me.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Week 4 of 52 Weight 71.9

I did the six hour run which has given me a  confidence boost. Covering a slow 52km eight laps of the circuit plus a bit extra followed by a fast one km and a marching one km.

Fueled by strong mix of 500ml of  tailwind and a low caffeine gel per lap.

The next test is to see if I can continue to train this week. Then on Saturday get up at six am and do a Rory at 5:45 pace.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Week 3 of 52 Weight DNM

The week was OK training starting to build up with the back to basics 10km several times a week.

I am aiming to run continuously for six hours on Saturday.  This will be ten times my six km loop at a steady easy pace.  The idea is to put easy endurance into my legs and build the determination again.

I am also rereading the chimp paradox to strengthen my mind.

On a positive note the premiere of the Road to Sparta was fun.  Great big thank you to the film makers.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Week 2 of 52 weight 71.4

This past week I have been starting running and back on the boy band diet. I have been researching mental strength and controlling my internal critic/chimp/whatever you call it.

I did a Cooper test to benchmark my fitness. 2.57km in the 12 minutes. It was done on a pathway near my house instead of a race track. That might make a difference but only marginally.

This week I am getting back to basics. 10km runs each evening and a long one at the weekend.

At the end of each month I will do a progressively long run to build significant endurance. Six hours at the end of October will be the first.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Week 1 of 52

For Fermin

I am now 4 fails to 1 finish

hmm not surprising as the two other long races in 2016 ended up at a similar distances, between the 100km -120 km mark.

Each one I started well and then by 100km  I really felt I did not want to go on. I always used to struggle between 30-60km  but then get over it.  Now I go 40km longer but mentally collapse.

Mark Cockbain says this is because I am weak in the head and I need to go back to basics.

True,  but there is something else I feel.

I think i have a real problem eating,  not eating per se, because I can eat anything most of the time,  but eating the right thing at the right time.

It is more than than that though... I am too heavy to keep going during a race at the speed I want to go at.

At around 70 plus kilos I am burning around ten thousand calories in one hundred kilometers.

Last year I was 67 kilos and travelled faster. For instance in 2015 I got to halkion (112km) in daylight ~7 pm. This year at 71 kilos I got there at 9pm, way slower. I was also dead in the head,

If I want a chance of finishing I need to be  67 kilos or lighter.  I need to be faster.  Most importantly I need to be  able  to run on my own and stay positive. I tend to be  ok when I run with someone, I had good phases this year running with Iris Vromanns and a bunch of American guys ( Paul and Mosi) but left on my own I fall into depression.

So the plan

1) Lose shed loads of weight.  My public declaration is to turn up with a boy band six pack,  I reckon around 62 kilos, next year.

2) Get faster, like as fast as 2013, sub 45 minute 10kms and sub 3.30 marathons like  Mark taught me

3) Run a clever race, 4:14 marathon 8:45 to Corinth 11:00 100km.

4) Most importantly sort the head.  This has two parts...
First part items 1-3 above.
Second part work out how to sort the internal critical voice...this again has two parts. 
First part mental training. I have several books and practical tasks to do.
Second part physiologically, that is to say when I am going hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) that triggers the critical voice. so the challenge is how to get glucose into my blood stream fast enough to make  me  happy and ignore the critical voice.





Tuesday, 4 October 2016

No more heroes

This was my fifth attempt at Spartathlon. I knew before hand that it would go well. People were expecting a repeat of last year and so was I. The Spartathlon photography club had put a poster of me finishing last year in the main square of Spartathlon.


I even had a guy from the Philippines called Fermin come up to me and ask to have a picture taken with me. He told me I was his inspiration and hero. I told him he needs better heroes.

After I failed...that weight of expectation was so hard to deal with. I really have let a lot of people down. I can't do that again and hold my held up with any level of self respect.

WHAT. 
A.
COMPLETE.
CUNT.


I think know what has been happening. I have been struggling weight as always and tried going low carb/high fat. But that does not work. The only two things that have worked are 

1) fasting 
2)What I shall call the teenage body builder diet.

The fasting worked last year, but I only used that because in late 2014 I had a hernia op and was not allowed to run. I went from 74 kilos down to 67 over a period of three months. Then put weight on and finally lost it down to 67 just in time for 2015 Spartathlon.

This year the weight just wouldn't shift no matter how little I ate. That little food, less than 1000k a day meant training at speed was difficult. I was waking up at three in morning soaked I sweat. I talked to three nutritionists and none of them came  up with anything  worth doing.  None of them suggested anything I din't know already. 

Eventually in early August one of my neighbour's sons gave me a diet to follow and I dropped about three kilos in six weeks. Now I am back from Spartathlon I will maintain that diet with the aim getting to a proper racing weight of low sixties. The less weight one carries equates to faster performance and less food required. It will also me a lot more positive out look in a race and less to get loow blood sugar levels.  I have called this goal the boyband abs...

What happens on races ...and it happened in three races this year is....
1) I am heavy.
2) I run slower than I want to.
3) I get pissed off by this lack of speed.
4) I try to eat to keep the low sugar demon away. 
5) I can't eat enough and I lose the desire to run. 

No matter how much time I have on a cut off or the fact I can keep going,  as I am not really injured I just don't want to do it.


It happened at Spartathlon 2013, Tortourderuhr 2014, the two 24 hours this year plus Spartathlon 2015...

I lose this desire and then as I stop , I start shivering  like a southern softy on a night out in Newcastle.

If I I am lighter, like at last years Spartathlon, then I move faster on less food.

Race - what happened

The first 20km was fine , a little  fast but ok. then my quads started to seize a little. This was annoying but easily dealt with by the simple strategy of telling them to fuck off. I knew the speed I was going was causing the pain but while should that stop me
.
The heat was no an issue. Mainly because I train in bin bags, but also because it was a rather cold for Spartathlon.

I hit the marathon point at 4:20. 15 minutes slower than last year but still 25minutes inside the cutoffs. Not an issue. Russell Tullet said to me that this second marathon was mine as he gave me something to eat.

Unfortunately the Speed kept dropping and I went into run-walk mode. I realised that was definitely due to not training fast enough.

But I wanted  to finish for Fermin and that is what kept me going.

Met I met a rather good runner called Iris Vromans and my mood started to improve. Helping her and getting us to maintain the time on the cutoffs gave me a goal. Iris was very entertaining as well and we chatted about all sorts of stuff. She has done quite a few races that I have done so that was nice.

Unfortunately I lost her at Corinth, as I had to have a dump. By this time I still had 20 minutes on cutoffs. Still fine really, even if I was now an hour and twenty minutes slower than last year.

Just after cp 29 I found a bunch of Americans and ran with them Paul and Moss are two of the names that stick out. It was getting dark and my head lamp was at cp 30, so I had to draft in their shadow to stay up with them and see where I was going.

I got to cp 30, picked up my torch and a rice pudding and notice how cold I was getting. I borrow a shirt from Moss and carried on. but not before his crew complained about a speck of rice pudding on his car. 

About this time Rusty Rusk marched past me going faster than I could run. 

I got to the hill before cp 32 Halkion and walked up. Constantly having a battle with myself 
about whether to stop on not. 

  • I had to keep going for Fermin.
  • I should been here in daylight. 
  • Mark Cockbain will kill me for quitting so easily
  • Not two hours later in the dark. 
  • It is only a hundred and twelve km in don't be such a wuss


I got there and the Americans where gathered around the cp board arguing about the time to the next cp. I pointed out the next big cp was at Nemea about 10km away and they had  two hours to do it in. That is a piece of piss.

They went off and I saw Sarah Dryden and Russ Bestley in their crew car with their runner Paul Rowlinson. 

That did it for me. 
Sarah tried to get me to go on. 
I could have done so physically. 
But mentally I was done. 
When I am in that state nothing can get me going.
I hesitated over signing the quit form...but no long and I was out.

Later I went to the lavatory and was pissing blood for the first time. It is entertaining to say the least to see a bright red stream spewing forth from whence white normally comes.  It was as if I opened a bottle of Chablis only to find the contents had been replaced with a fine Cabernet Sauvignon.

The next day it was good seeing the other runner's in. Especially Mich Hardy who finished right on 36 hours.

If I could only sort this head issue out...I would have been there as well...
It really does annoy me. More experiments are needed. to fix the head.

Still I also got to see Nik Petalas who reminded me  of the phenomena of the second time  failure.  The person who finishes Spartathlon  on year fails the next...that's me  folks