So since I ‘launched’ my 2013/14 year of events and fundraising, ‘Allez Goose’ I’ve been up to quite a lot, and have been less diligent than I often am in writing up my adventures. So this little post will just briefly run through some stuff inbetween now and then!
The first thing was the RideLondon-Surrey 100 information day that Anthony Nolan was holding at head office. As mentioned in the last post, although I’m now a seasoned runner cycling and the physical demands are completely new to me. Although we had to decamp to a local pub at the start of the day as security had locked us out of the offices, the day was great. A chapess and chap from Condor cycles went through all stuff nutrition and training, and Gavin Burt spoke about cycling specific injuries and injury prevention. Of course the best bit of the day was getting our hands on the brand spanking new Anthony Nolan cycling jerseys. Of course everyone wanted to get home and get out for a ride straight away. In fact most people cycled home.
They also went through bike fitting but I skipped this as I hadn’t bought my bike, and had only just bought it last autumn, and got ‘fitted’ for the right frame size once I got it. It was quite fun to get to spy on everyone else’s bikes though.
The next weekend was off to London for the Bupa Westminster mile. Beyond my usual training regimen, loops of marathon training blocks without the marathons, I hadn’t done any specific training for the race. I hadn’t even gone out and blitzed a mile on it’s own just to get an idea of pace.
All in all it was a really fun event. Compared to many events it was very cheap, it’s a short distance and it (p)re-uses the set-up for the Bupa 10K the next day, so it spreads a lot of the cost. The race was a simple triangle around green park, down The Mall, past Horseguards, down Birdcage Walk and then finishing at The Palace, perfect for the spectator. As an event it works really well. It’s a series of several races throughout the day divided by target time, with each race starting just around when the last should have finished. Compared to almost every other race I have ever run it was blissfully uncrowded from start to finish. There were not only races for different abilities, but also races for super-serious age-group runners, top runners full stop, and wheelchair and other disability categories later in the day, as well as a family race where you could run with the kids. You could easily run in one race, watch a friend run in another, take the kids out for their first race, and then watch some top quality athletes perform – all in all it kind of had a festival atmosphere.
I went off in the first race, and with no plan I just went for it knowing over that distance I’d be on the edge for most of the race. I don’t remember much as it seemed, compared to other distances, to be over before it started. I was puffing hard not too far into the race, and a swarm of runners passed me. When I got to the signs indicating how far there was to go, maybe from 400m, I ignored the desire to look at my stopwatch and just pushed on, feeling really slow through to the finish.
In the end the finish surprised me a little, a final twist and the finish was there with a large digital clock next to it. I’d been hoping I’d go under five minutes to try and claim that I’d run a four minute mile, but in the end I wasn’t too disappointed with 5:28. Afterwards I felt awful, and had to have a good lie down for quite a long time.
Then the next day I was off to South Africa for a brief holiday then work, after a small hiccup when I thought it was the day after the day after the Bupa Mile. Staying in Cape Town just under Table Mountain and knowing me, you can bet I looked right at that mountain and thought, hey, I can run up that.
About three hours of running, and a bit of climbing – and finally some absolutely stunning views. A bit foolhardy, as I kind of forgot to take any water or food. Whoops. But for any of you wondering, the elevation profile up to the top of this (the pointy thing on the left):
Looks like this. Height in feet in green on the right, distance in miles on the bottom (it’s tiny, so click to zoom). The peak is just over 1,000m. It was a little bit hairy on the way down as I accidentally took a different route but hey, I’m alive.
That evening I ordered a hire road bike for the day to be delivered the next morning. As I had breakfast I realised it wasn’t quite the day for it as it hammered it down with rain. Cape Town winter seems to either give you days of torrential rain or days of blazing sun. Nevertheless I waited until it cleared a little bit and then went out on my trusty steed for the day.
I aimed to go for a cycle around table mountain going from Rondebosch, through Cape Town and over a saddle of Table Mountain up Kloof Nek road and then stretch it out by heading out to Cape Point, before heading back home. In the end I got to Houts Bay and was a bit lost, so went back the way I came. 60K in total – would possibly have been less if I knew where I was. The weather was atrocious, I felt awful when I was climbing up some really tough hills, and terrified coming down them. The views were great around the Cape, and would have been even better on a clearer day. Once the day was done I was actually reassured by the ride. Some of the climbs I went up were tougher than the ones I will experience on the RideLondon-Surrey 100, and although I felt like they would never end I found I was able to reasonably easily spin up them in the lowest gear. No wait, that’s not what I thought when I was going up them… (Again, elevation profile, miles on the bottom, feet on right in green. Click to zoom! You can see the full ride data here).
At the end of my time here with my job which has taken up time for many further adventures I’ll get out and do that ride again. My time in South Africa actually coincides with the heaviest training of this block. Of the ‘full weeks’ that I’m here, the weekly mileage goes 51, 59, 60, and then 54 miles, with this weekend being the end of the second week of that. The first long run was done in absolute blazing sunshine even in ‘winter’, so I might just get back from South Africa with a tan.
You can sponsor me here. You would actually be the first!
Cheers for reading,