Its been a quiet couple of weeks since my last blog after the Wokingham Half Marathon. Silverstone Half Marathon is this weekend, and a lot of fellow running friends have commented that the race is rather boring. But I love F1 racing, so i think the race is right up my street. How fun will it be running round for 13.1 miles making racing car noises? Plus a quick pitstop in the new "Wing" pit straight!
Back to the last few weeks and last weekend and on the 17th i was back on the Thames Towpath with my Ultra running friend Fi. We were off to do a recce on the towpath in preparation for the upcoming Thames Towpath 100 Ultra that Fi is racing and I'm sweeping the first 38 miles of. We set out to recce the route from Whitchurch to Wallingford. A part of the course which i should have raced during the Thames Trot 50 Ultra. It was a beautiful crisp winter morning. We parked up just before the Toll bridge south of the Thames and set off towards Whitchurch. The route doesn't follow the towpath at this point and deviates on to local roads. After pointing at the 67 mile aid station to Fi, I knew where it was after volunteering there last year, we then headed off road towards the Thames again. This point of the route is one of the few hills to be dealt with. The first part being like a big dipper. Eventually getting down the hill we followed the signs for the Thames Towpath. We soon had to negotiate a rather wet and muddy section. Once through this our path became totally blogged, not for the last time this day. So back we went, through the muddy wet section also. We then had to stick to the roads towards Goring train station and off into Streatley. Once there we again attempted to follow the towpath, which last all of 2 hundred yards, again coming across the river totally flooding the path.
A quick check of the towpath map, and we decided to go the road route to Moulsford where the towpath would again deviate from the river. All be it a boring road to follow, it was free of trains which allowed us a nice view of the road ahead bur also the beautiful rolling hills of the Oxfordshire countryside. Fi wasn't to happy to be running this route though, describing it as mental torture.
We made it into Moulsford and once again picked up the Towpath route, on the road through this village. Once through some roadworks we were directed through a new Linden Homes site back to the river. I nice surprise in front of us, the route was again impassable by the flooding of the river!!
At this point we realised that we weren't going to be going to Wallingford via the river Thames. So we opted on following the road to just south of Wallingford, then heading East towards the A4074. We followed this south for a couple of hundred yards until we picked up the B4009 back to Goring. This was the route I ran for the Thames Trot due to the flooding. It was also at this point I wish I had earplugs as Fi went on a 5 mile moan! Being the caring running buddy that I am, I laughed along to Fi's whinging and moaning. Soon followed by the apologises for the whinging and moaning. Not that she needed to apologise! Long distance running is about being happy the whole way. Be easier if it was, but it just doesn't happen like that. After a few "shut ups" and "stop whinging", Fi snapped out of it. Excellent! This did provide some good entertainment and made the 4-5 miles to Goring go pretty quickly. At one point Fi could see the road we had ran early and asked why we weren't just doing that again? To which i replied, "we've seen those trees already, not these ones. Cant miss them out,they would be hurt". In reality there was a handful of trees if that!
Once back at Goring station we picked up the route we had done earlier in the run and headed back to the car, minus the muddy wet detour. A good 20 mile run in 4 hours. Not good for recceing a course as we couldn't, but good as the weather was really good and so were the views!
As a reward, we headed into Pangbourne for coffee and cake! Hell, why not? Its not like we didn't need the calories!
Aside from doing the recce run with Fi, I've ran locally and been out helping my friend Alex who has been struggling a little recently, and felt like she wasn't progressing. There is a nice little loop round the polo fields in between Farnborough and Aldershot. I decided to take Alex there and get here to do some interval work. A good two laps covering 5.3 miles. We also went out last week round there and got Alex through a 10k in 65 minutes! Bloody good going at a training pace. Alex along with her husband Gareth are coming with myself up to Silverstone for the half marathon.
After last weeks run with Alex on the Tuesday, i started to feel a bit rough come Wednesday evening. Some how managing to pick up a bug which left me alternating my face and backside with the toilet seat. This put paid to my training for the week. It drained me physically as well as literally! Not sure if it was something I eat or picked up in the pool Tuesday morning during my 2km swim.
I got back out last night for a run with Beccie, only doing 2 of the 3 planned laps as i still didn't feel 100%. I shall be back out again tonight with Alex, for some more laps. Then out Thursday for a steady 10 miles in prep for Saturday's race, where i hope to get back into my 8 min/mile pace.
Oh, and since the last blog, I've booked another ultra! The Race To The Stones 100km Ultra for July!