British Championships 100km – Silver / Anglo Celtic Plate – England Team Gold

On Sunday 21st May 2017 I was honoured once again to have the opportunity to run for England at The Meridian Ultra Road Race 100k in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championship and the The Anglo Celtic Plate Home Countries 100k.

After being selected in 2016 and running my debut 100k in 07:17:43, being part of the winning ACP100k England team and finishing in 4th position in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championship I was looking forward to setting myself new targets for 2017.

My training and build-up races had gone well and I had set myself a top-end targets to both achieve the GB qualifying time 06:55 for the World Championships in Croatia 2018 and to improve my overall position in the race and podium in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championships.  Both these targets were aspirational; to run a 18 minute PB targeting sub 7 hours, a time that has only been achieved by 23 men on the All-Time Run Britain Rankings , along with improving on my 4th place finish from 2016  in, what looked like, a very strong field both in the national teams and the open race, was always going to be a big ask.

The Race

We were based at the Patrington Haven Holiday Park, which was also race HQ and the start / finish position for the race. The route consisted of a 25k out and back, which was completed 4 times turning at a cone after 12.5k. The course was pancake flat but totally exposed to the elements with a single lane road (very hard surface, with camber) exposed between fields with each stretch of road lasting approximately 1.6km before a slight turn in direction onto another stretch into the distance, and when looking to the side you could see large tankers in the Humber estuary as if they were dumped in the fields.

We were fortunate with the wind and being a dry day as there would be no protection from the elements, but as the hours passed the sun would appear to give another factor to the race, especially over the last 25k.

Setting off at 07:30 the group of runners soon spread out down the road, with four leading off in a group at a very quick approx. 6:15 m/m pace, a solo runner in 5th before a small group of us at 6:35 m/m pace.  At about 5k I was already running solo from the group as I passed for the first time aid station #1 manned by England coach Michelle Maxwell and my wife Nicki (5, 20, 30, 45, 55, 70, 80, 95k), then then onwards to my dad who was crewing for me at the aid station #2 with England coach Daz Reevell (10, 15, 35, 40, 60, 65, 85, 90k). 

My pacing style is to sit at one pace for as long as possible and I continued to knock off the miles with an average pace of 6:34 m/m taking 4th place at approximately 20k. Then it was out-and-back checking off the aid station visits before catching and passing 3rd place (Tom Evans) at approximately 55k whilst still keeping my average pace at 6:34 m/m. I maintained this comfortably until 70 – 75k, before looping the caravan park and out onto the final out-and-back. This is when I was starting to feel the effects of the now stronger sun and needed to focus on the job in hand as the last 25k was going to be a suffer-fest. I was in the knowledge that the runner I passed for 3rd had dropped from the race so I had a decent lead on 4th but 1st and 2nd were clear and I estimated they had a 3-4k lead at 75k. As I left the holiday park I got the shout from the England Team manager Walter on his bike that ‘the race starts now’ and I started out to tick-off my final 4 aid station visits;  first Nicki where I grabbed my fuel (and it was noted on her facebook updates I was not smiling anymore) then onto aid station #2. Already my pace had dropped to 7:15 m/m, however I was committed to keep moving in the knowledge that a slowing of pace would not be a disaster and affect my overall position as long as I didn’t stop.

As I was approaching the 85k point I was being told by runners in the other direction that 1st place was slowing and I was catching, Walter came past on the bike saying 2nd was mine and just before I hit the 85k timing mat I passed 2nd (Jason Cherriman) who was now walking and out of the race. I ran through the 85k aid station and grabbed the bottle from dad.

The events of these last few minutes had two effects on me. Firstly the extra adrenaline soared though my body, after being told that I was in 2nd and that people tracking me would know this as I had just passed the timing mat, and then the realisation that I had just been given and consumed my fuel 5k early = NO FUEL FOR THE LAST 15k !!!!!!!!

As I was at the far end of the course this also was the point where I could gauge my position on the road to my England team-mate and room-mate Lee Grantham. Lee was looking strong out in front and it was great to have the opportunity to give each other a shout of encouragement when we passed each other, and when we crossed each other I knew I was roughly 3.5 / 4k down. It was then time to check the gap behind, this was confirm as I crossed 3rd place (David McLure of Scotland) at aid station #2, so the gap was 5k.

The last 10k home was tough, my watch died so I had no pace information or indication on distance except the aid stations and I was down to water at the aid stations. Keeping the momentum going and trying to not drop the pace was my focus, a few difficult moments with breathing and heat over the last 5k on the long road stretches pushed me to the limit and I was more than happy to see the holiday park and the final loop round the park lake to finish in Silver place and a new PB of 07:04:28 and 27th on the All-Time Run Britain Rankings.

The support from the other runners was such a boost on the course, running solo for 95k is tough but I had encouragement not only from the England Team but also the Scottish and Welsh runners in the ACP and the runners in the open race.  It was a pleasure to run with everyone and I know many great runs were completed with PB’s recorded across the depth of the field.

My 5k Splits

Lap/CP Km Net Gross
1/1 5 19:30 00:19:32
1/2 10 21:04 00:40:36
1/3 15 20:33 01:01:08
1/4 20 20:58 01:22:06
1/5 25 20:15 01:42:20
2/1 30 19:34 02:01:54
2/2 35 21:00 02:22:53
2/3 40 20:24 02:43:16
2/4 45 20:56 03:04:12
2/5 50 20:19 03:24:30
3/1 55 19:27 03:43:57
3/2 60 21:06 04:05:03
3/3 65 20:38 04:25:40
3/4 70 21:29 04:47:08
3/5 75 21:06 05:08:14
4/1 80 21:02 05:29:15
4/2 85 23:05 05:52:19
4/3 90 23:03 06:15:22
4/4 95 24:46 06:39:45
4/5 100 24:46 07:04:30

England Teams WIN and retain ACP Titles

Being part of this amazing England team was a privilege and to be part of a winning team for the second time topped a fantastic day. World class performances from Lee and Sue to take the British 100k titles, PB’s for many and some gutsy runs. It didn’t go right for everyone but you will be back stronger.

Massive congratulations to the entire team with some fantastic personal performances, it was a pleasure to be part of the team with you all.

Men’s Team

1. Lee Grantham England 06:42:42
2. Anthony Clark England 07:04:28
4. Paul Fernandez England 07:25:27
6. Nathan Montague England 07:33:04
11. Darryl Hards England 08:12:48

Woman’s Team

9. Sue Harrison England 08:01:22
10. Sophie Carter England 08:11:38
12. Melissa Venables England 08:25:52
Samantha Amend (completed 50k) England DNF
Susie Chesher England DNF

Full Anglo Celtic Plate Finishers List

My Crew

Words cannot even start to explain the support I have from the most amazing person in the world. Not only does my wonderful wife Nicki support me every minute of the day in all I do and bring up our little family team together but for 7 hours she stands by the road passing me my fuel and being my mental reward seeing her each pass point. Thanks you 😘

I was also supported by my Mum & Dad with Dad at aid station #2 (7 hours waiting, cheering, supporting). Without my family support I could never achieve this.

My Nutrition \ Fuel

So a brief insight into my race day nutrition, lessons learnt: prepare extra fuel for each aid station even if you don’t plan to use it, I could have done with some more Tailwind over that last 15k

Night before Mountain Fuel Night Fuel
Breakfast Weetabix + Milk \ Chia Charge Bar \ 330ml Raspberry Buzz Tailwind)
Race 10k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Torq Energy Bar
20k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Torq Energy Bar
30k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
40k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
50k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
60k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
70k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
80k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
85k 90k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
Post Race Mountain Ultimate Recovery Fuel Strawberry

What next?

Looking back I had a really good solid run, but the heat took it’s toll over the final 25k. I am a little disappointed to miss my sub7 target but 100k is a tough cookie to crack, my two runs have helped me understand how to race 100k and I feel I have areas I can improve to go faster and break that sub7 barrier.

Thanks for all the messages and support, it was an honour to race for England and hopefully it won’t be the last time I get to pull on an international vest.

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Training 25 – 01 May – inc. NDVM

Weekly Summary 01.05.2016

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 61.86 Miles Weight: – lb Avg Pace: 7:02 mm Time: 7h 15m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles 5.28 5.20 5.57 10.25 5.01 3.01 27.54
kcals 496 513 492 880 488 302 2,184
Notes

Started the week with 3 easy 5 mile runs and a sports massage on Monday to get the lactate out of the legs, then increased the mileage on Thursday with an off-road 10 miles and then back down to 5 miles on Friday and final 3 miles Saturday. Nothing major to report felt OK, legs starting to recover from London but Sunday is still an unknown. Plan is to head out at 2:45 ish pace with target sub 2:50!

North Dorset Village Marathon

A race too far……………Sunday was marathon day AGAIN! We had the opportunity to camp at the race so spent the night in our campervan, something I really like doing makes the weekend seem longer and also cuts down on really early starts, especially with races that start at 08:30 like NDVM.

bac_ndvm_1 So optimistically I set off at 2:40 MP with club mate Jon Sharkey, knowing I would not be able to sustain the pace but with a plan to hopefully stick with him until half way. At 11 miles Jon started to make a gap on some on the undulations in the course and with that the solo run began, hitting half way in 01:21, promising but within the next few miles the pace slowed and approaching 18 miles energy levels were well and truly zapped.  During this period of the race another club mate Simon Way came past me with Tim Awkins from Wells City Harriers, however Simon coming past was a good thing as he pulled up in London after 2 miles so a strong run was today was a massive boost.

bac_ndvmbac_ndvm_2The final few miles were a bit of a clog, happy that I managed to retain 4th spot and also picked up the pace slightly for the final mile along the trail way to the finish in a respectable 02:51:59 for 1st Male 30+ and points to help Bournemouth AC finish 1st Male Team (Jon Sharkey, Simon Way, Anthony Clark)

Below you can see the full slow up in my mile splits;

6:17 6:06 5:56 6:16 6:10 6:07 6:14 6:07 6:20 6:18 6:12 6:22 6:18 6:21 6:24 6:38 6:49 6:46 6:52 7:23 7:16 7:03 7:04 6:59 7:09 6:41 1:52

NDVM 4th and Broken (1 too many recovery time)

Thanks Sanjai and Steve for the photos

Diet \ Food Diary

Recovery week one, part of my planned three week downtime so no recorded daily calorie intake. A few indulgent days plus alcoholic beverages as celebrations and recovery from ACP100 and London Marathon training. Always let your body recover!

Training 18 – 24 April inc. London Marathon

Weekly Summary 24.03.2016

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 67.2 Miles Weight: 152.2 lb Avg Pace: 06:24 mm Time: 7h 09m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles  10.13  8.01 6.22  7.16  5.45  3.26  26.92
kcals  967  860 649  734  494  316  2,323
Notes

So final week and back to Carb-depletion, Monday kicked off with a 10 mile interval session based on 1 mile easy 3 miles (5:55) 1 easy (3 miles (5:45) 2 easy, the first 3 miles into a slight headwind and the benefit on the second 3 but the depleted stores kept it feeling like a real workout.  Tuesday was the second day carb depleted, the session was 1 x easy 2 x 5:58 m/m 1 x easy 2 x 5:55 m/m 2 x easy and completed pre breakfast. And wow did I feel it, followed by a sport massage. I can confirm today I am NOT looking forward to the last two carb depleted runs.

Wednesday was 1 x steady 3 x (6:00 m/m) 2 x easy and Thursday and final carb depleted run was a 7 miles final carb depleted run – couldn’t sleep up early = carbs early 🙂 as the title suggests I had real issues sleeping so was up and out early. Then a simple 5.4 mile run Friday and finally Last 3 miles = Performance Condition +8 ?? in London town, noted in the title I have never had Performance Condition +8 on my Garmin and whilst knocking out a faster than planned run in windy London I was still undecided on what the plan was for Sunday!

London Marathon

So overnight and following a very good night sleep I had made a decision! The plan was to give it a go, knowing it was only four weeks after ACP100 my legs were feeling pretty good and I had managed a decent taper with some efforts on getting pace into the legs. My NEW plan was sub 2:35 starting at PB pace (sub2:30) with a plan to go for as long as the legs would carry me, this could be 5 miles or 26.2 miles.

2First was the meet in the championship start area, now a big part of the day not only because of the growing number of Dorset runners but also a chance to have face to face conversations with many friends from the FetchEveryone sub245 thread.

So I kicked off feeling no pressure and enjoyed the first 16 miles immensely, with the company of Bournemouth AC teammate Toby Chapman for most of the early miles before he pushed on. Feeling strong the miles seemed to fly by and with an eye on keeping my average pace below 5:44 m/m’s it was very comfortable. Normal highlights with the crowd at Cutty Sark 1and Tower Bridge, then approaching miles 14-15 were I know Nicki will be waiting to see me before she heads off to Westminster. And not to disappoint she was jumping around like a looney to make sure I spotted her in the crowd.

Even approaching and tackling miles 17 – 25 aerobically I felt great but the legs just seemed to be slowing and the effort levels were a bit higher than were I wanted to be. This coincided with a period where I was passing people but running mainly solo into a windy part of the course weaving around Canary Wharf. At this point I knew any outside chance of a PB was gone so I changed my approach and kept the effort at a comfortable level and sat in at just under 6 m/m pace give or take a couple of GPS underpass blips on the splits. (see bold on pace splits below).

3Again with the new focus miles 20 – 26 went smoothly and as has been mention in the photos flying around Facebook I seemed to be enjoying myself with a constant smile beaming across my face. And I even managed to pick it up for the final mile, where seeing Nicki at Big Ben always helps me with a final push. crossing the line in 02:32:25. No PB today but a very satisfying performance and one that has given me greater belief in my ability and a real feeling that I am capable of Sub2:30 (Maybe even to be attempted this Autumn)

Celebration pint at the Red Lion with the now growing annual crowd always finishes off a very special race day. Before a quick trip to ‘South Bank Street Food Market’ to gain a few pounds in body weight and jumping on the train home.

Mile Splits

5:41 5:35 5:38 5:33 5:41 5:42 5:35 5:46 5:49 5:40 5:43 5:42 5:47 5:41 5:48 5:48 5:51 6:06 5:58 5:58 6:01 5:57 5:58 6:15 5:55 5:47 1:35

London Marathon – decent day at the office

Thanks to Manol and Pat for the photos

Diet \ Food Diary

Race Weight Summary

The below chart shows my weight comparison between London 2015 and London 2016. Target race weight of > 153 lb.

2015 – 2016 Weight Chart:
Phase Date Kilos Lbs Fat % Muscle % Water %
End of Carb Depleation 23th April 2015  66.5  146.0  2.5%  52.1%  68.4%
Pre Race Day (Sat) 25th April 2015  68  150.0  3.2%  52.9%  68.3%
End of Carb Depleation 20th April 2016  67  148.0  2.9%  51.6%  68.8%
Pre Race Day (Sat) 23th April 2016  69  152.2  3.9%  51.1%  67.7%

I had stuck to the same daily calorie target as week 1 of taper 2,030 base plus extra calories consumed dependent on the day’s activities (as shown in the ‘training by days’ table provided by Garmin) for the Monday – Wednesday.

Carb-depletion (see updated link including meals for London Marathon) phase started Monday morning through to Wednesday combined with the mix in tempo of runs, Carb-loading started Thursday morning following the early morning and last carb depleted run of the week.

Nutrition intake form Thursday > Saturday includes an increase of intake with carbohydrate focus, with smaller snacks throughout the day.  Aim 10g carbs per 1kg body weight. (10g x 67kg = 670g per day). This will see an increase in kcals for the loading phase. (See table below) and blog Carbohydrate Loading

Sunday only records breakfast plus race fuel.

Food Diary by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast  647  657  637  402  289  312  568
Morning Snacks  –  –  –  791  518  666  500
Lunch  518  917  537  511  451  596  –
Afternoon \ Evening Snacks  144  144  144  614  877  1,259  –
Dinner  683  818  921  788  783  508  –
Drinks  66  2  10  772  494  389  335
Daily Totals  2,058  2,537  2,250  3,878  3,412  3,730  1,403
Daily Carbs  13g  7g  7g  668g  619g  661g  266g