Saturday, October 07, 2017

Nottingham Marathon

Soaking the atmosphere one hour before the start, knowing that by the time I'll finish most people will be gone. Bag left at the luggage area. The long queue for the toilet gave me plenty of time to tape the energy gels to the race belt. 20 minutes to the start, lets find the blue area. I must stay at the back: since resetting my stride counter to marathon pace from club run pace, I know that I won't finish in four hours.

A distant bang but no announcement on the PA. We start shuffling forward. Eight minutes latter, I cross the starting line. Race on.
I check my pace on the watch. Don't go too fast, most people around me only have to run two hours. As we turn towards the station, I spot Reg in the middle of the road. I call his name, he had not recognised me.
Here comes the famous "Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem" pub. Up the hill we go to Nottingham Castle. Three supporters dressed up as Wally go wild as I pass them. There's a runner dressed as Wally behind me. Someone asks him if he knew them. He doesn't. This sounds like a fun way to get people to cheer you on. Maybe I should look for a white and red striped racing T-shirt, but I don't fancy the wholly hat.
More uphill. I thought the castle was the highest point, but they managed to find some more steep sections. At last, we're running down towards the campus. From now on, it will be flat-ish. A DJ is playing classic 90s dance music by the side of the road. What a star, everyone feels uplifted.
Getting close to Wollaton Hall now, time for the first energy gel. I had not run here since moving house. So many memories of those runs with the pushchair around here bring a smile to my face.

Running back towards the city centre. I can't see the 4 hours pacer flag anymore. As we double back on ourselves near the hospital, I see the 4:15 pacer about 5 minutes behind me. I'm right on time and feel good. The DJ is still there, his music just as good as it was an hour ago.
Here's Reg again, on a bike this time. He is cheering his son who is just ahead of me and about to finish the half marathon.
This is the split point: 8500 runners are about to finish the half marathon, and 1500 runners have reached the half point of their full marathon. 2 hours 01 minutes, I'm bang on my expected pace and feel good. So much space around me now, but I’m not on my own, there are some runners ahead and behind.
Off to Colwick Park, my favourite Park Run. I pass the 17 miles marker where I volunteered as a marshal last year. A couple of regular parkrunners are here cheering us on. It feels good to be recognised and cheered on after the lonely training runs.

Into Lady Bay now, and I start to feel tired. This is my side of town, I run here with the Holmes Pierrepont Running Club. A runner wearing the club T-shirt overtakes me. She looks strong and although I try to keep up with her, she slowly pulls away. I've done only one long training run, 3 hours/30km. As I'm about to reach that point, I feel like I'm stepping into the unknown. I've not run for longer than 3 hours since my last marathon 5 years ago.
Just before the Holmes Pierrepont lake, a runner has collapsed and is lying on the ground. Three people are caring for him. As I pass him, someone is taping his cheek asking "can you hear me?"
Seeing this, my legs just stop responding. I feel tired, my lower back hurts. I still have 10 km to go, runners around me have started to overtake me. I walk a few minutes then jog slowly to the next drink station. But this is one of the nicest part of the route, running on the tow path alongside the river. I start running again, slower. I know I can make it to the end if I pace myself.
At Trent bridge, two regular Colwick Parkrun runners are cheering and encouraging us. Cue extra encouragement for me, it feels so good. About 5 km left to do.
As I get near to the the end of the river path, I pass the 4 hours pacer. He has taken down his flag, and tells one of the Marshall - another Colwick regular - that his run didn't go well today. I know him from Parkrun but feel so exhausted that I can only concentrate on my own run. The last leg out, near the Beckett school alongside the tram line seems to last forever. At last, I reached the main road which takes us back over the river to the finish line. There is another work colleague cheering us at the finish funnel. I'm around four and a half hours, with nothing left in me to accelerate at the end.

After the finish, I lay in the grass. Other runners ask if I’m OK. I may not look like it, but I’m over the moon. I have finished my second marathon, with no injury, no new blister, having done less than half the training I did for my first one.
My chip time is 4hr29min05s, 588th out of 1100 finishers. I'm so pleased to have made it under 4:30. I'm tempted to get an early bird entry for next year, but entries for the full marathon are not open yet.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

During our family holiday in Pembrokshire, we took a boat trip with A Bay to Remember to watch dolphins in Cardigan Bay.

I used a waterproof camcorder enclosure to make this film. As I couldn't see the camera screen, I set it on its widest setting, and tried my best to hold it horizontally.

The boat trip was great, the skipper knew how to find the dolphins and with such a powerful boat we could very quickly go were the action was. The whole trip lasted one hour, and we saw dolphins, seals, a jelly fish and visited a cave.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing day

En Angleterre, le 26 décembre, boxing day, est presque aussi important que le 25. Ces deux jours sont fériés. Beaucoup en profitent pour alterner un jour chez leur famille, et l'autre chez leur beaux-parents.

Cette année, nous recevions la famille de Louise pour boxing day. J'ai cuisine une variation du repas de Noël de chez nous : les marrons, les champignons, la bûche...

Pour commencer, une tarte aux épinards – au cas ou les petites n'auraient pas aimé le plat principal:

Ensuite, un poulet rôti au citron, avec les pommes de terre rôties, et bien sur les marrons à la crème et les champignons:

Le pain fait maison (à la machine) avec les fromages et la salade:

Et la bûche:

On mange bien en Angleterre, quand on s'en donne la peine !

Bonne fêtes à tous. Et une question bonus: qu'est ce que j'ai utilisé sur cette photo?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dolomite Training open bike ride

Paul and Steve at Dolomite Training gave me the perfect excuse to get a pre-X-mas bike ride: They organised an open bike ride for all their friends/colleagues/clients. They had the biggest rucksacks as they carried cameras and mince pies. I only took my GPS, to generate a googlearth track of our ride:

Our starting point was the Woodbine cafe in Hope, where we finished with a mug of tea and an Eccles cake. A very good morning Here are pictures of me (!) they posted on FB - not sure if the link will work...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mon premier marathon

Une solution au manque de forme due a la paternité et aux changements de boulot: s'entrainer pour mon premier marathon! 10 mois plus tard, me voici au départ du marathon de Montpellier.

Je m'en suis mis plein les yeux, avec des souvenirs à tous les tournants, surtout au début. Me voici près des arceaux:

M'étant entrainé avec la poussette, les filles et les courses (shopping) à mi-chemin; le long du canal de Nottingham donc en terrain plat, je me méfie du parcours de Montpellier et des autres coureurs car ce marathon n'est pas pour débutant. Après 21 km, aux beaux-arts, j'ai toujours le sourire et suis content de courir a mon rythme (10km/h – la vitesse de la poussette).

Une heure après, ça ne rigolait plus avec la longue montée vers le zenith. La cadence a ralenti, mais comme mon entrainement le plus long a été 2 courses de 3h30 pour environ 33 km, je pensais surtout a gérer l'inconnu, la dernière heure de course. J'ai fait ma course les yeux sur le cardiometre, pour être sur de ne pas faire de bêtise. A 3 km de la fin, j'ai encore le sourire, je sais que je vais finir.

1,5km plus loin, en approchant la monté vers Antigone, on voit bien que je suis crevé sur cette vidéo. Et dans Antigone, a 1km de la fin, début de crampe. Etirement, et je marche a reculons dans la montée vers le Polygone – une astuce de montagne. Dans les ruelles plates, je cours en clopinant, dans celles qui montent je suis a reculons. Et ça a marche! J'étais bien content de ne pas s'être arrêté, car cela aurait été très très dur de repartir.

Mon objectif était de courir mon premier marathon, et de finir suffisamment bien pour avoir envie d'en courir d'autres. Mais je tiens a m'entrainer a courir plus vite pour le prochain, car 4h30 ça fait long. (4h45 temps officiel, mais mon cardio/chrono m'indique que j'ai couru 4h30)

Un grand merci a Maman qui m'a encouragé et a pris ces photos.

Cliquez ici pour les photos officielles

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Michael's goodbye ride

Michael, from the LSMC a long time ago, organised a goodbye weekend in the Peak district on February 12/13 2012, before moving to sunny Australia. I was allowed to join for one activity, with a choice of saturday climb, evening pub at the 3 stags or Sunday mountain bike ride around Ladybower. With snow and ice on the ground, bike was the best option. This was in February 2012, I've been very slow to update the blog. Here are some videos of the ride preparation with lots of climbers turned bikers from Loughborough Student Mountaineering Club circa 2001. Fast forward to 2:28 if you want to skip the preparation. Click here to access the video on youtube. We passed a farmer training his working sheepdog, here's a quick video from over the fence: And here is a video that Michael took of the last downhill ride that day, with his chest cam. In case the embed doesn't work, click here to see it on vimeo
Preview of my last Peak Ride - Bit of Snow from Michael Smith on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 25, 2012