Im sure every sportsman and woman has a go to event one that they do every year come hell and high water. Stirling is like that for me. Its well organised, close and a good indicator of early season fitness.
There are two races run side by side a sprint duathlon and a standard distance. I always do the standard which is a 10K run 40K bike and 5K run the sprint is half these distances. The run is a 2.5k loop beginning outside the pool at Stirling Uni and heading out the grounds via a short sharp hill in to the campus and the business park. This is completed 4 times for the standard run 1 and twice for run 2. The bike loop is 20k and is completed twice with, this year a return to the transition area at the end of lap 1 a change to previous years. On quite busy main roads the first part of the ride is undulating with a gradual uphill to Glenochil then a short twisty descent down to hillfoots and a long flat straight back to the Uni.
The sprint was set off first with my event going about 5 mins later. I kept a fairly even pace on the first run at just under 8min miles. I was surprised to begin passing sprint entrants early in lap 1!
Run 1 completed in 48:15. A whole 3 mins:33 secs faster than last year. Into transition for the bike leg. The forecast for the day had been cold with rain and wind gusting up to 50mph so I decided to wear shoe covers and a windproof jacket in an attempt to stay as warm as possible. Grab the bike and out onto the bike leg.
T1 time a slow 2mins 22 secs. Although the weather was not as bad as forecast I had another problem to deal with. Early in the race I hit a pothole and this knocked my front wheel out of alignment causing my brakes to run on the rim. With just the one descent of note I decide to loosen the front brakes and just to redo them when I hit the descent. Problem solved! It was indeed wet and windy out on the course with sporadic showers but, what seemed like an unceasing wind. The first lap seemed to take forever but I had no sooner started the second than I was coming into the dismount area! 40k bike 1:32:17 3mins 33 secs slower than last year and better than I expected.
T2 was a pain trying to undo the helmet clip and do up lace locks with cold immobile fingers was no joke again a slow transition. 1 min 28 secs.
Out on the final leg a 5k run, 2 laps of the loop. My run was strong off the bike and although the field had thinned out as athletes finished I was still picking other runners off. There was a few that I recognised from being passed by them on the bike leg Go ME!!!!!! Take no prisoners!
Run 2 24 mins and 25 secs 2 mins 26 secs faster than last year!
A great day 89th/120 overall and 12 in my cat from 15.
Spring as they say has sprung! Hence I was walking around garden centre(s) yes plural with Carol tying to pick a tree and shrubs for the front garden and troughs for strawberry plants Carol had given me. First things first though and we headed for the cafe for some lunch. Suitably refuelled we headed out into the garden centre searching for the items on my shopping list. we had already visited one and I wanted to see how they compared stock and price wise. The first centre we had visited has been in Kirkcaldy this one was in a small village outside Kirkcaldy called Freuchie. It may be a small village but the choice was great and I ended getting 2 troughs 1 tree and 3 shrubs. That was on Wednesday and I am writing this on Sunday they still have not been planted but hopefully with the clocks moving forward I will get them planted in the next few days.
When I moved into my flat I was not sure what I wanted to do with my second bedroom. Having been in the flat for nearly 9 months I thought that it was about time to do something with it! I have always had a large pinboard with a world map n it plotting my A-Z of marathons that will stay. One wall will be shelved with a desk integral to the shelving with mats a gym ball and perhaps some weights, foam rollers etc and turn it into a workout room cum office.
Although it still early in the year there has been some really good nights and so it was that Carol and I spent Friday night on her patio with a bottle of beer a packet of Doritos and the chimnea roaring away like a jet engine! The sky was slightly hazy but that just added to the evening. We were well wrapped up and sat outside chatting and taking in the night sky.
A-Z G=Great wall of China Marathon.
If you have thought about this race you may have searched you tube and watched the videos, googled sites and looked at timings or searched for blogs of previous runners in the event. All will have told you the same thing its a hard event not to be taken lightly although, by some of the videos some have and crashed and burned!
In my mind the wall presents two basic problems first and foremost the steps and secondly marathon pace. How do you train for 5000+ steps in a 6k stretch? In my case I began running more and more often on a local coastal path, The Fife Coastal Path, heading East from my hometown there are several large flight of steps one in particular near the Harbourmasters House in Dysart. Seventy three, uneven stone steps of different sizes excellent practice. Reps it is then!!
How do you calculate marathon pace? I didn’t even try. I am using standard marathon trg programme with the following changes: I limited speed work to 100m pick ups every week and with seven weeks to go have started doing a track session every week. LSD runs are even slower than normal and with extra layers on to get more time on my feet and try to simulate running in the heat. Of course the plans of mice and man as they say. We will have to wait and see how things go on the day!
The journey of the Lang Toun Joggers continues. Attendance is sketchy to say the least however there are a core few who will generally attend. It is obvious though that spring is in the air with a new lady joining last week and e mails and phone calls from another 3 people wanting to join the group. I will be on FB, twitter and distributing flyers this week again in an attempt to beef up attendance. I have also designed a logo for t-shirts, hoodies, vests and buffs with the help of Trojan of Leslie.
With my Chinese visa sae in my passport it was time to send away for my Vietnamese visa. Only one page to fill in this time! The chq has been cashed so I am just waiting for the visa to arrive. Both the visas have been over £60 another “hidden” expense. I have been watching Great Wall Marathon vids on you tube and am really looking forward to my trip it will prob be the hardest standard marathon I have done!
Training continues and with the Scottish Duathlon champs less than a week away I have once again decided to cut the miles knocking 50% off the plan.
Last weeks trg was 67 miles on the bike in 6h 3m with 3000ft climb and 44.7 miles ran in 6h 31m and 2200 ft climbing and 2 yoga sessions. My legs are becoming increasingly fatigued and I am stretching and rolling more I have also booked 3 massages with Pete West between now and leaving for China .
It’s hard to believe that it is now 10 weeks since I started the Lang Toun Joggers. There has been a few success stories and hopefully this will continue. A dress size down here, a parkrun entered there a steady improvement in another case. All good stuff and I am glad that I started the group. This week I picked up the sample of the LTJ t-shirts for their opinion.
Another client has joined fitfifertraining looking for help in the gym. I have given him a programme and we shall see how things go.
China is getting closer and another week of training was completed with 6 runs 45.2 miles in 6h 55m with 2110 ft of climbing. 3 bike rides covering 60.9 miles in 4h 43m with 2446 ft of climb. The GW step reps are going good and I thought at the sacrifice of speed but with my performance in Alloa I am happy that things are not as bad as I thought!
Once an annual pilgrimage of mine Alloa had slipped from my radar for a few years. The site of my HM PB a few years ago, 1:22:18, I entered this year with the intention of having a moderate run and perhaps putting in 10 miles at marathon pace. I had a problem however what was marathon pace for the Great Wall? This problem was compounded when I looked at age graded tables to be confronted with the fact that a time of 1:35 would be the equivalent of my 1:22 all these years ago!
I lined up with the idea that sub 2 hours would be a good target. The race had changed since I had last done it with a new start and finish but the rest of the course remaining much the same which meant a finish with a sting in the tail a hill about half mile long and steady! It was a good day for distance running very little wind and cold but once you got going that soon changed. Something else that changed was my pace! I was feeling really good and the miles seemed to fly past even on the hill I managed to keep a good pace and of course what goes up must go down and I ran downhill to the finish to cross the line in 1:40 with plenty left in the tank.
It had been a while since I had done a “mainstream” race like Alloa and it was good to see some old friends and have a good old chinwag.