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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cranleigh 15 Mile

Today I took part in the Cranleigh 15 mile race, a few years ago I did the 21 mile race so was good to the other distance. Although on the drive there my car temperature was showing -1c and 0c plus it was snowing a bit.

When we got there I changed the route at the race HQ, as only the finish position had been changed from when I last did the race. The route was one 9 mile loop to the east of the village and then 1 or 2 (15 or 21 mile) loops to the west of the village.

I then went back to the car and put on the remaining layers I was planning to wear for the race, I decided to leave my bin liner there hopefully it would not be that cold.

By the time we got to the start area there was only 5 minutes before the start so not too long but was starting to get cold before the start. I decided to start about 1/3 from the back as I was not going for a particular time but by effort. However for the first 3 miles I was regretting that as I was blocking by other runners even with doing some XC on the muddy embankment next to the road. Once I got in to my rhythm I was ok apart from the snow but due to the layers I was not feeling that cold. I was keeping pace with one of my work colleagues and then one of their club runners for most of the course, they where doing the 21 mile option so was good to keep a steady pace.

When we got to about 4 miles I was prepared for the easterly wind (headwind) but luckily was not as much as forecasted but the snow was more, this was for a few miles until we turned back. At which point we had side wind and snow which was nice going up the biggest hill on the course at mile 7. We then headed through the village high street at the end of the 9 mile section before starting the 6 mile loop on a fotopath. This was next to the car park so was so tempting in the snow cold just stop and go to my car but I carried on.

The next 6 miles the inclines seemed to take more effort despite being not the steep just ongoing. With about 2 miles to go I picked up the pace a bit. With about 1 mile to go I got lapped by the 21 mile winner nobody else in the 21 mile or 15 mile race overtook me from that point. I just had be prepared to turn sharp left in to the new finish in a playing field which I kicked again to the line and was glad my race was over. I completed the race in 2:12 (8:45 min/mile) and went through the half marathon point in 1:55 which I was pleasantly surprised with.


I then just had to wait for my running club mates, get warm clothes on and a nice cup of tea with a homemade cake :-)

Below are my GPS mile split data with the red line the average pace for the race. From it you can see the first 3 miles were the slowest part due to the number of runners and on narrower country lanes. I was then fairly consistent with miles 11 I think there was a big puddle in the road which I had (plus everybody else) went round and mile 13 was I think an incline for the mile. Then the mile splits I picked up the pace and was feeling strong. I was surprised that mile 7 was not the slowest mile as had the biggest hill on the course.


At that pace I would not have been able to do the 21 mile but I am currently training for 4 weeks after most runners doing this race for a spring marathon. I tried some new kit which was ok and kept me warm. I also tried a new sports drink Lucozade Sports Elite , it had more carbs using different sources like some other gels I normally use, it also had a bit more sodium not as much as my sodium tablets though but also had caffeine which helped near the end of the race. Using this drink after properly fueling myself in the morning and before the race I did not need to take any gels that I had taken with me or any water they had on the course.

Overall I enjoyed this race despite the conditions, it is a good race to test your marathon training. The negative part was the queue for the tea and cake afterwards but was nice so was worth the wait.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Club La Santa Half Marathon

While on a week's triathlon training camp the morning after doing an afternoon Aquathon and a few days in to training I took part in the resorts half marathon.

This was the Half Ironman (70.3) Lanzarote run route which is based at the resort including the finish line :-)

This was effectively a 3 lap out and back course, which others did not want to do as thought it would be boring. However I was using it as practice for the full Ironman run which is also 3 out and back laps next to the sea on the other side of the island but they would be bigger loops.

The loop started with a run to a turn around cone on the track which was 300m away then back and out the gate and headed to the La Santa village. This was in to a strong headwind and rain, there was even a rainbow between the turnaround point and the edge of the lagoon. You then ran the 1/4 mile through the village up the incline still in to headwind until the turn off down a side road to the end to the turnaround point where there was some water but I had my own drinks with me, at least this road you had side wind. You then headed the same route back and did the 300m loop around the track, at least this was in to a slight back wind.

Despite the wind and rain plus early start it was fairly warm enough for me to even have shorts and short sleeve t-shirt on!!!


As it was not a PB course even without the wind, I was pacing by effort without looking at pace with the aim of getting quicker and also not using much drink or gels. In the end I finished in a time of 1:55 (8:43 /mile) with a kick from 2 miles out and then again on the athletics track.


While also only using 1 gel at the start of the last lap (about 8.5 miles) and finished the drink by the end but this was due to being ready for the next session that day.

Below is my average mile pace for each out and back section, the red line is my average for the complete race.

Interestingly I was getting slightly slower (6 seconds then 3 seconds per mile) on each outward leg, however the wind speed direction and rain may have been different on each lap plus the incline at the end of each out section was feeling harder. However each back section I was getting quicker (4 seconds then 53 seconds per mile). Although at the last turn I picked up the pace with a small bit of a recovery part way back before I final push for the finish. This can be easily seen in the mile splits below with the red line as the average for the race.


I got a bit carried away in the first mile as it is a bit faster than the average as each section was about 2.21 miles you can see which where the outward sections (above the average) and back sections (below the average). You can clearly see where I kicked from 11 miles with the pace for the remain of the race being 8:07, 8:01 and 5:59/mile. The last part of the race was on an athletics track so I gave it a bigger effort which the last 0.28 miles was at a lot faster pace per mile.

Below is my average mile pace for each half of the race, the red line is my average for the complete race.


Based on the GPS information I hit my main targets of getting quicker and negative split. The only slight issue was getting slightly slower in to the head wind outward section, however I am not sure if the wind speed changed or it was fatigue on the incline at the end of the section although my back speed was quicker so it is less likely was fatigue. For the outward section there was a variance of 4 seconds per mile on average between the 3 loops, so not a really massive difference.

Afternoon Aquathon

While on a week's triathlon training camp at club la santa in Lanzarote after a few days of early start swims followed by multiple other sessions I took part in the weekly aquathon the resort organised which had an unusual start time of 2pm.

It was listed as a 200m swim and a 3km run although I think it was a bit further but my GPS had lost the GPS plot.

The swim was in the outdoor 50m pool, so was only 4 lengths :-)

50m Pool

However it was into a headwind so there was some small waves on the outward part. The left lanes were meant to be the fast and the right the slowest  so I went near the right as not so many people and easier to get out. Luckily we had organised the people in our lane to stay on the right hand side and I followed somebody slightly quicker than me. Other faster lanes people were swimming slower breaststroke and people were getting knocked.

I got out of the pool in 4:23 which was a bit slower than planned but trying out different swim technique and the few days exercise already had fatigued me a bit.

The transition was from out the pool which I had some running shoes ready passing my swim hat and goggles to somebody I knew. I then carefully ran along the top poolside which was already quite wet and up the steps to the left of this photo where the timing mat was. This took me 1:02 which quick for me which I was pleasantly surprised with. I had also tried some different kit options as was a short race.

The 3km (2 miles) run then ran post were this photo was taken, then carefully down some steps and out of a resort gate. The route was then a loop around the lagoon and back in to the resort finishing with about 300m on the athletics track. However the first km was in to a strong headwind, at least it dried off my tri suit a bit.

The next km was alongside the lagoon with a side wind which you had to be careful the wind did blow you off the path and give you an additional swim!!


The next half km you had a back wind but then a short incline towards the resort complex (in the photo background) which was sheltered from the wind. You then ran through the main gates and on to the track for about 300m to the finish. Nobody overtook me on the run but I overtook a few and was running strong all the way to the end.

The 3km run took me 14:14 (7:38/mile) which I was pleased with due to the weather conditions and the training I had already done that week.

It was a good race which I learnt some different kit options in T1 and felt strong on the run.

I was planning to do the sprint triathlon in 36 hours after this but with a half marathon between this my legs did not feel up to it so I decided recovery was a better option.

Back posting again

Finally back blogging.

After my first ever DNF at Ironman Wales last year I was not a happy person for over a week. So within a month I had entered another Ironman then last month I entered another long distance triathlon just 7 weeks after the first this year.

After last years issues I have learnt from my mistakes and have bought a Ironman training plan which has been going well apart from the cold and snow that we have been having in the UK for the last month or more. In this time I have done a few parkrun's, a 10 mile race and and a half marathon with the my pace and endurance is improving at the end of these runs.

The only problem is the lack of cycling outside due to the weather conditions, so I booked a week at a Spanish sports resort. Typically this was windy than normal and also rained a lot more than normal, this meant we could not do much long distance rides due to safety mainly on the descents back to the resort. However learnt some more details about part of the Ironman location their and bike handling, plus some more drills and technique improvements for both swimming and running. I also took part in an aquathon and half marathon they organised there which happened to be on a wet and windy day. In between sessions I also did 4 hour stretch (yoga, pilates or stretch) sessions in the sunshine and wind.

In the end I learnt a bit more things about my training and main Ironman event but not as much cycling as would have liked but my training is not peaking for another 2 months yet.