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Clubbed again
09-08-2017, 10:45 AM,
#1
Clubbed again
Since I posted the blog about my first three club runs - I've done two more in fairly quick succession, Sunday 30 July (Seven Stiles) and then Wednesday 2 August (Highdown Hike).

   
Me trailing Mark Wilson and sporting jaunty new hat


Seven Stiles over in Henfield runs along the river Adur and has a grand total of 2 stiles (five have seemingly disappeared). It's largely flat with some gentle rises - and just 6k. So I thought I'd lose no time on race tactics and just run it. Indeed such was my unconcernedness about the times, I did a gentle Sunday Twitten Run at 9am, resisting the urge to chase CC5 up the streets, before driving over to Henfield for 11am start. A large Lewes AC turnout meant our attendance points were in the bag, and the speedy front runners meant lots of 10s and 9s for those finishing in the top 2 deciles.

Rain in previous days had threatened to turn river banks into mud, and we were warned that the other paths were puddled. I hadn't got on with the flat of the beach run and was pleased to find the route had enough undulation in it to create some gentle ups and downs. I quickly found myself alongside two runners who normally outpace me (including my target man from the beach run) and trotted along with them for a bit. Then feeling myself quite comfortable I pressed on and moved ahead of them. A short while later I saw Lewes AC runner Nick Williams limping off assisted by another club member, which was a little distressing. 

Hitting the flat along the river (and the two stiles) I pushed on, knowing that I find the flat stuff dull/slow, and expecting at any moment to be caught by club colleagues. The final section back was interesting as I kept being overtaken by and then overtaking one Saints and Sinners runner which may have speeded me further. And in the last section I hit a nice sprint finish. Results showed that I had come in around 2 minutes faster than I could have expected 30:30 rather than the 32:30 I'd predicted. I concluded that the twitten run had warmed me up and the mid-race lethargy I experience may in part be down to starting cold each time. 

The Highdown Hike run on Weds evening was preceded by a day-long deluge - and contrary to my expectation from looking at maps turned out to be quite hilly (though not on scale of Caburn/Kingston Ridge). The skies just cleared briefly for the 7:30pm start, and then resumed as the run set out. I'd done much more of a proper warm up - building on experience from Sunday. And as with Sunday I started stronger and found myself trailing an even speedier Lewes AC runner (who later told me he was suffering from heavy cold). 

The Hike also 6k was a mix of short and long climbs across low downland, and the rain had made chalk paths very slippy. Indeed at one point, piercing screams behind me told of a runner who had gone down and fallen badly. In this run, as with Sunday, while it was tough in the middle section, I didn't get the fading sensation or find hordes passing me. Keeping the same pace as other runners on the uphills, I used the downs to press past folks, and coming into the last km I managed to hold off two Burgess Hill runners (our main WSFRL rivals) in a sustained last 400m or so.  Again, it turned out to be very similar time and position to the Sunday - 30:22.

So I hope I can look back on these two races as something of a turning point - where my psychological fear of fading might have been overcome somewhat. The only other change I can think of (aside from psychological and better warm up) is that I have just started to do some core exercises - but that may be too recent to affect my times. 

Anyway, short break until the next on 20 August ... we shall see if this sustains.
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11-08-2017, 11:24 AM,
#2
RE: Clubbed again
My reward for doing these runs at slightly better pace than before was to be treated at track session yesterday as if I should be in next group up - so I flogged myself round 4x600m, 8x400m, 2x200m and nearly felt sick at end. But having watched world championships, doing repeat 400m in 95s & knowing that folks can run at more than twice that speed is quite awe inspiring.
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16-08-2017, 09:12 AM,
#3
RE: Clubbed again
(11-08-2017, 11:24 AM)OutAlongTheRiver Wrote: But having watched world championships, doing repeat 400m in 95s & knowing that folks can run at more than twice that speed is quite awe inspiring.

Isn't it, just? I was watching the womens' 5000m and the commentator was lamenting the fact that they were lapping "incredibly, unbelievably slowly" in 65 seconds or thereabouts.

I could only think "Crikey!" - if I attempted to run a lap that fast I'd probably end up as undertaker fodder before getting to the first bend.

Sigh.
Run slow, run far.
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21-08-2017, 08:21 AM,
#4
RE: Clubbed again
So the 20 August race arrived - and it was the Hornets Stinger, a hilly 10K run from Waterhall playing fields up to the South Downs Way and back. The Stinger being in the tail with two sharp rises in the last 3k. My theoretical goal in my head was 55 mins.

Since my last Sunday outing had worked well with a gentle Twitten Run to start, I repeated the experiment - with a steady twittens in company of newcomer (but Moyleman run supporter) Jack Arscott, and MM chief of Marshals Tom Roper and my partner Paula.

Then fortified with a Ground Coffee flat white, we drove the short distance to the A23/A27 junction where Waterhall is based (and incidentally where it would have been much more sensible to build the Amex stadium for the Seagulls, if only Brighton council hadn't had thing about no new build north of A27, but I digress).

It was bright morning, with some wind and I was a little trepidatious since I hadn't been able to get my head round what the course involved. Joff from Lewes AC - a guaranteed top 10 finisher and winner of VM50 East Sussex cross country league - talked me through it: steady climb for around the first two-three miles, then sharp downhills, the sting and nice fast finish.

I met my target man Geoff, who asked if I had done anything mad beforehand like a quick HM and I assured him only the twittens. We both agreed this hilly 10k outing was very different to the last two quick 6Ks, and I genuinely meant it. The psychology - and for me it's mostly that - was different, with the 4-8K stretch usually most testing.

The start went from open playing fields and then hitting road and chalk track to climb up to the top of the downs. I felt comfortable - not pushing too hard, but not feeling myself slow down relative to others. I deliberately didn't look at my Garmin as the run went on, since I'd decided to run it by feel rather than dictates of particular pace.

The climb up was (or at least felt) steady - so there was no need to rein back at all. I overhauled Geoff and another Lewes AC runner early in the climb and I worried I might pay for that later.

Interestingly, I found myself using other runners to overcome any sense of slacking off, which had been a feature of races earlier in the season. As well as looking for targets ahead, whenever I found someone trying to pass me I pushed ahead a little, reasoning that by 4k in we were all about as strong as each other and that at the very least this would give me a slight time boost even if they eventually past.

The top was reached - and we were on the South Downs Way with glorious views all round - and especially south over Brighton, but we soon then plunged down over open fields, and all that gain was spent in a matter of around 500m, meaning the descent was too steep to really make for a truly fast section.

More climb followed and then a long slow down. Only after the run was over did I realise that we were at this point simply reversing a section of chalk track we had covered on the way up. How odd to be so disoriented.

Some more jostling for position with runners - seeking to get some advantage by being first when arriving at stiles - and then the stings came and they were short enough to be hard but beatable.

A final dash to the line - holding off one and overtaking another - and I was through in just under 53 mins. Overall a good outing. And with the positioning results through super quick time from the Hornets, another theoretical 7 points. I seem to have sustained the improvements seen in earlier runs.

And though outscored in the run by Crawley Saints and Sinners, Lewes AC extend their lead at top of WSFRL since Burgess Hill fared worse.

Five more runs to go - and the trophy is ours to lose. What could possibly go wrong ...
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21-08-2017, 12:26 PM,
#5
RE: Clubbed again
(21-08-2017, 08:21 AM)OutAlongTheRiver Wrote: Five more runs to go - and the trophy is ours to lose. What could possibly go wrong ...

I might join you for the last few...
There is more to be done
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21-08-2017, 06:08 PM,
#6
RE: Clubbed again
Nice work OATR, comfortably beating your target time and a bit left in the tank for the finish. Sounds like the Twitten work was good practice for the stings.
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22-08-2017, 10:42 PM,
#7
RE: Clubbed again
(21-08-2017, 12:26 PM)Charliecat5 Wrote:
(21-08-2017, 08:21 AM)OutAlongTheRiver Wrote: Five more runs to go - and the trophy is ours to lose. What could possibly go wrong ...

I might join you for the last few...

That ought to do it

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph

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18-09-2017, 03:19 PM,
#8
RE: Clubbed again
So I ducked out of the Fittleworth 5 two weeks ago - not least because it was nearly an hour's drive away over the other side of West Sussex. In Fittleworth. Which sounds like it should be made up for comedic purposes. I felt bad when I discovered only 14 Lewes AC runners had made it. But such was strength of team we lost only 3 points on our nearest challengers (Burgess Hill).

But yesterday (Sun 17 Sept) was the much closer to home Tilgate 5 - organised by the Crawley Saints and Sinners. An undulating course through the forest which curves round the south side of the town.

I opted for the Twitten Run warm up - and pleased to find that Sweder was there in reset mode, determined to get back on the saddle (or rather off the saddle and back on his feet). So a not so gentle warm up was had and swift flat white at Ground, before the 30 min dash up A23 to find the start.

Parking was by the Crawley Town stadium with 10 min walk to the race HQ at the large K2 sports base by Tilgate forest.

Lewes AC out in numbers and as we made our way to the start through winding forest tracks we realised it would be v muddy underfoot after the wet weather of previous weeks.

At the start because Lewes AC head the rankings we somehow have honorary position to start from front - this seems entirely informal and unspoken but in last three races the Lewes crew have just been there with slight gap, which quickly fills up as the off approaches. I edged back a bit not wanting to by passed by the fliers from other clubs.

Shortest of welcomes from the host club director and we were off.

Starting downhill on not too wide muddy track with tree trunks fallen at various points made of quite a hairy beginning. But we all stuck to it and the field stretched out before too long.

This was again much like the Eridge course in that there seemed no particular logic to the route - and it was all through the forest so no sense of views opening up to compensate.

We shot over a bridge over A23 and then into more forest. Some tough little ups and long rises were matched by short downs and a nice central stretch where you could open up.

I had thought that I would twinge a bit after a speedy Bevendean Down Park Run the day before when I had knocked a minute off my PB for the course (wholly as a result of managing to use by happenstance a speedy ten year old (!) as a pacer). But fortunately the twittens had served their warm up purpose nicely.

Again, not much to recall about the course - except the inspiration for my pushing on this race was being caught by another Lewes AC runner and thinking well I may as well keep pace with them! It turns out she was a) hungover and b) taking it easy after speeding round the Great North Run the week before in 1:43. But it was still pleasing to have the spur of going past her on an uphill section and staying ahead to the finish.

The muddy conditions were not conducive to fastest pace - but I was pleased to have done Eridge the week before since this mud was modest by comparison.

In the final section I tried to use a Burgess Hill runner - rivals! - as a further spur but it proved too much of a stretch and his long legs (my excuse) took him well ahead of me as we reached the last mile. But my last 400m was another good finish holding off someone (no idea who).

This may (or may not) be my best performance for the club to date - can't tell until the times get published since conditions affect what the field manage to achieve so last year's times not a great guide.

But it certainly felt like one of my stronger performances where I felt satisfied I had given it my best shot.

Confident we will have secured near max points overall. Just three more races to go - trophy beckons. As CC5 wont to say - what could possibly go wrong ...
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18-09-2017, 06:56 PM, (This post was last modified: 18-09-2017, 06:58 PM by Sweder.)
#9
RE: Clubbed again
This man is in rare form, I can tell you.
That Twitten Run was pretty much full-on for me (after Friday night football and a Saturday ParkRun that's probably not saying much). Rob was a gent, he took it easy, chatting as I gave it my best suffering bloodhound, rasping my way round. 

He bounces, does OATR. There's great elasticity in his movement; Chris McDougall would rejoice in his Elan, his healthy fascia shines in the autumn gloom.

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph

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18-09-2017, 08:52 PM,
#10
RE: Clubbed again
Well done, OATR. You seem to be quite fit.


Saludos desde Almería.

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19-09-2017, 10:00 AM,
#11
RE: Clubbed again
Cheers both - turns out this run was virtually same as last three club runs - 40th centile, 38th, 38th and then this was 39th, among the male club runners taking part.

And the person bearing down on me at the end was the female Lewes AC runner who came in just 4 seconds behind me.

And the club did indeed accrue maximum (125 points) for third time this season, gaining a further 8 points over BH Runners. So it's really our title to lose now ...

Next up: Hickstead Gallop (Sunday 8th October) and the Lancing Steepdown Challenge (Sunday 29th). Interestingly, the Hickstead last year was my first ever club outing ... so good to see what improvement has been. 90% in the mind ...
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26-09-2017, 01:12 PM,
#12
RE: Clubbed again
I take it (given your current prone position) you will eschew the Lewes Downland 10 on Sunday?
Just a thought; they might like a knowledgeable marshal, if you're on your feet by then.
Be a good chance to get a view from the inside, as it were.

I'll miss is as a) I'm too fat to run it and b) I have West Ham at the Pan to prepare for.

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph

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26-09-2017, 05:16 PM,
#13
RE: Clubbed again
Yes - I was considering exactly this! I would be very surprised if I feel up to another 10 miler by Sunday.

So volunteering sounds exactly right thing to do!
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