2024 Arc of Attrition : TRAINING DIARY
On May 22nd 2021 I completed the 44 coastal path Ultra Marathon the ‘Classic Quarter’. I was 60 years and 50 days old. The run plan had started in February 2019 when inspired by the keynote speaker at a business event I was also speaking at I found myself announcing my Classic Quarter plan. I started telling everyone my plan and the momentum started.
The Running 44@60 podcast was launched in August 2019 as a motivational and learning tool. During the lockdown year of 2020 I racked up 159 outdoor runs and 1105 miles. Both personal records since I had started a running diary at the end of 2003.
At the beginning of 2021 my daughter Bethany helped me launch a fundraising campaign which in the end raised over £7000 for the Music Therapy Programme at Children’s Hospice South West. ‘So what happens next?’ people asked once the run was complete. Obvious really – a book ! ’12 Business Lessons from Running an Ultra Marathon’ was completed by the end of 2021 and went on sale in January 2022. That was it I had proved I could run 44 miles at 60, raise a ton of money and write a book. Time to play golf or take up bowls!
Except at the end of January 2022 my Classic Quarter buddy (we ran as a relay of two in 2020 and both of us did the full run in 2021) Andy Williams was in the Arc 50 and I was part of his crew team. A very different run. It was obviously different weather to May 2021, including less rain, but also colder and darker! I was hooked though. I had to have a crack at this. So I started telling everyone I was going to run the Arc 50 in 2024…..
What have I done!
Here’s my training diary for 2023:
October 2023 - 9 runs 66 miles - 88 days plus one year to the Arc 50!
- 30th – Monday – a pre-booked sports leg massage from Lee Wheston. He finds the spot where it hurts! However it seems it’s somewhere where the achilles meets the calf. He did tell me the name but I forget what he said. However what that does mean is that it may not ultimately be as bad as I thought. I’m going to target a Hampshire parkrun with Beth in 2 weeks time.
- 29th – Sunday – I’m hobbling around. Apart from that I feeling ok. I know though I have to defer the ARC as the deadline for doing that is Tuesday. It’s no good hanging on when I can buy 12 extra months of preparation. On reflection was I really ready with 3 months to go? Probably not. Looking through this diary I only did two or three course recces. Not enough. My long training runs are few and far between. I like my cricket but it did get in the way of training and it gave me the injury. I need to get this injury cleared up and re-focus and create a proper training and route recce plan.
- 28th – Saturday – 14 – 66 – Lighthouse Marathon – sometimes things don’t go to plan. My microphone muffler disappeared within half a mile of the start and as we ran down the road towards Pendeen Lighthouse there was just a hint of an issue in my lower left leg. I knew this course from running not twice in the Cousin Jack event. But today it was very wet. And very muddy. I was going ok after 7 miles. The cut off at St Ives at 14 miles was 5 hours. I was on target to get there easily in 4 hours. I could then aim to do the last 12 miles on the part of the course I was very familiar with in around 3 hours for a 7 hour total. At around 7 miles my right foot caught something on the path. I stumbled forward and my left leg got overstretched. I felt the pull all the way up my left calf. I was still recording the podcast and I left in all the swearing. The swearing as a reaction to the stumble and the swearing when I realised it was bad and my Arc was over. I met a medic at the Zennor path which was 8 miles in. I had a couple of choices. Stop there and walk the path to the pub and wait for a pick up or hobble onto to St Ives. I didn’t want to sit in a pub for however long feeling sorry for myself so I pressed on. The next four miles is very tough and not too many oppirtunities for running so I worked out that I could probably sell make the St Ives cut off not that I was thinking of gong on beyond that. A DNF after 14 miles felt much better than one after 8 miles. Inevitably runners caught and passed me and inevitably I fell over – twice slipping one my back once going forward. The sun though appeared as though it knew I needed cheering up! I got to St Ives 10 minutes inside the cut off and withdrew. I waited inside the people carrier for all the cut offs behind me to come through before we headed back to the finish at Rockpool. This is my first DNF – does that make me a proper runner?
- 21st – Saturday – 3 – 55 – Tamar Lakes Parkrun – a new one for me. One lap around the lake of a virtually level gravel path. I can feel my left calf even though I warmed up. My plan is not run now until the Lighthouse marathon. But during the week I can still feel the calf. I’m sure it’s the calf muscle not the achilles.
- 18th – Wednesday – 15 – 52 – Arc Recce – I’ve had this in my diary for a while. The weather is poor – constant drizzly rain bit I need to do this – especially after the Eden half and the Mondays run – my legs should be feeling it a bit. After sitting on a train in Truro for 12 minutes which caused a miss of the planned St Erth to St Ives connection I eventually get going in St Ives around 10.45am. I start from the Gallery on the corner of where all streets from St Ives converge towards the coast path. I did this same route in July but today its the Harrier Exmoor coat on throughout and the Absolute 360 base layer – both of which have the longest outing and come through with flying colours as far as I’m concerned. I stop the clock several times to make notes and take photographs. I make one or two errors which I have to backtrack on in the dunes and I also recce the bit of coast path just past Tempest as you can into Hayle which was closed when I was here in July. I arrive at Godrevy in around 2:15 and clock it at 10.2 miles – I need to check that mileage again at some point as I forgot to restart the watch at ASDA and then backtracked on the road beyond the viaduct so it may be a little bit out. I managed to find my way back through the dunes much better than ever before and stopped at Sandy Acres’s cafe for a green tea and a slice of their superb apricot and oat flapjack. I did remind the girl that I gave the cafe shout out on the podcast last time and I was delighted that they were open, she did say they were closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the end of October so I need to bear that in mind for the next recce. I caught the train back from Hayle and it was only when I got on the train I realised how wet I was. So that is three runs and 35 miles in the last four days. I shall do the Tamar Lakes Park run on Saturday and then no running until the Lighthouse Marathon on Saturday the 28th. The photos below include some of the key points in the dunes.
- 16th – Monday – 6.5 – 37 – TRC Social – I’ve got a podcast recording at 6pm that is postponed and I only see the email at 5.30pm. I decide to go run so 1.5 to Boscawen park. I’m as usual pottering along at the back but about 2 miles in I’m feeling good and I hit the front and then press the hammer on the Coosebean section. I’m pleased and somewhat amazed by how well I’m running tonight after yesterday.
- 15th – Sunday – 13 – 30.5 Eden half marathon – I’ve run this three times previously in 09, 19 and 21 plus the full marathon distance in 2010. It’s a tough old course and naturally I can never remember any of it from previous run-ins but I am keeping an eye on my achilles but at the same time to try and get round in under 11 minute miles which would be 2:25 and so I’m delighted that after the fast downhill finish I come in in 2:13. Anna has a great run round in 2:24 having estimated 3 hours!
- 14th – Saturday – 3 – 17.5 – Trelissick parkrun – I do set up with Jim Spencer and on the way round we record an episode of the podcast talking about his amazing 234 mile adventure in the King Alfred’s way challenge in the middle of August. I’m pretty pleased with my parkrun run, I don’t really set out to push it but I do come home in 28.15 which is faster than I’ve run this course for a while.
- 11th – Wednesday – 4.5 – 14.5 – Club Night – I amble along with the transition group. I don’t know what it is about club nights but if I’m not leading found myself struggling to get any sort of pace at all – I wonder if it’s because club nights are run in the evenings and I’m not really an evening run person ultimately.
- 9th – Monday – 7 – 10 – After recording a podcast with Tim Hill about his Ironman adventures at 2pm it’s such a gorgeous afternoon that I decide I need to get out for a run so I start from outside the house and then go up to the top road and follow the traditional 10k time trial route and then finish down past the house and backup to make it 11km. The Achilles feels okay on my 10 km time was 60:46 which I’m happy with given this is the longest run for two weeks and first time I run at the same pace for this distance are quite a while, and more importantly no ill effects for the Achilles either the rest of the day or indeed the following morning. The run inspires me so I spend the evening going through the schedules for the Lighthouse Marathon at the end of the month and using OS maps to visualise where it’s all going to be.
- 8th – Sunday – I’m the man on the microphone for the Tywarnhayle 10k and the good news is that the Achilles doesn’t stiffen up overnight – it’s an amazingly hot day for October and I go in and out to the beach at Porthtowan which is pretty busy and we venture in to the sea to do a bit of body boarding with no wetsuits!
- 7th – Saturday – 3 – 3 – Trelissick Parkrun– I start off nice and steady always conscious that I start to feel pain in my Achilles I will be annoyed. As I get more into the run I start to go a little bit quicker and I started feeling a little bit in the last kilometre but ahead of me as a guy wearing a posy shirt looks younger than me but one of those people that you need to beat so I gradually push on to ensure that happens and sneaking in 29:36
- 2nd – Monday – Sports Massage – I’ve been having sports massage for 30 minutes on my legs for the last 20 years. I did all the exercises before going to see Lee Wheston. Achilles continues to feel on the mend. Am targeting a low run parkrun on Saturday to test it out.
September 2023 - 7 runs 51 miles - 119 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
- 30th – Trelissick – I walk briskly at the back of the field picking up all the signs. Achilles continues to improve and calf muscle is easing. Ollie told me to stay off running for 10 days which takes me through to parkrun on the 7th – he did though tell me to do cycling every couple of days so I’ve been using Zwift.
- 28th – Thursday – a visit to Oliver Hughes Sports Physio. Ollie shows me some achilles exercises – lowering and raising the achilles on a low level bench. He also gives a general leg strengthening exercise using the same bench. I follow the instructions every day. By Saturday the achilles feels much better although oddly the soreness has shifted to the inside of my calf muscle. Perhaps it’s working its way up through me! maybe it clears when it reaches the top of my head! My left shoulder is still sore from cricket a couple weeks ago but is getting better.
- 24th – Sunday – 7 – 51 – Freedom Racing’s Porthtowan 1ok+ – a great race on the coastal path – I do it in around 1:20 but my achilles is quite sore and I think my running style is affected although not my speed. I get some paddling in the sea to see if that helps. Afterwards it does stiffen up. I need to get this sorted.
- 20th – Wednesday – 6.5 – 44 – Club night from Mount Hawke cricket club so a chance to run the Tywarnhayle 10k route – its tough! very tough! I ran with the slowest group. Achilles a bit sore and stiff the next morning.
- 19th – Tuesday – no running but some planning. The Lighthouse Marathon is just over 5 weeks away. It’s a big on-course test for me. I do need to get out on the course before then and pick up some longer runs but at the same time I want to get the achilles fully better. A dilemma I’m sure many runners have faced. I have dropped a couple of lbs in the last week or so which is good. I was averaging around 182 but I’ve been under 180 now for a few successive days. Portion control is key!
- 18th – Monday – 7.5 – 37.5 – Social Lead – its getting dark earlier so these runs through the woods and fields without head torches are about to end! I use the same route from a few weeks ago, but this time I don’t take the runners down a long hill which is the wrong one and have to re-climb. I follow Adrian Tyas’s lead and eat early. A vegan sausage bagel around 4.30pm. It works. I feel energised – mind you I always do when I’m the run leader. I can still feel my left achilles but it’s getting better. Do I stop running for a while or do I use running to help it get better? I going for the latter right now. My left shoulder / upper arm is still sore and at one point I stumble on a root, I don’t fall or get close to falling but just the split second halting of running momentum goes right through my shoulder / upper arm as a big jolt.
- 17th – Sunday – Truro half marathon – I’m in action as the announcer / commentator. Probably what I’m best at running wise!
- 16th – Saturday – 3 – 30 – Trelissick parkrun – It’s been the final week of the cricket season and by playing on Thursday and Friday I managed to achieve my pre-season target of playing 20 matches. However I seem to be far more injury prone playing cricket than running. I end the cricket season with a left achilles that is troublesome. I’ve worked out that whenever I take off for a run or when fielding I push off on my left leg which means the left achilles takes the hit because in cricket you push off to go quick. I really felt in on Friday when I used off for my first run. I’m using the KT tape and the foam roller so hoping it will now get better. I wrenched my left upper arm last Thursday and that is still restricting my strength and conditioning work as to a lesser degree is my right elbow which I’m, told is golfers elbow and flares up when I throw the cricket ball. I’ll return to javelin throwing in the spring. Anyway after doing parkrun set top I decide I’ll start at the back and ease the Achilles round. Once its warmed up it doesn’t feel too bad so I push on a bit in the second half o do 31:20 – I was aiming for a steady 35:00.
- 13th – Wednesday – 9 – 27 – Club Night – run to and from club night and then join the St Clements loop off road group. I’m the back marker just about keeping up! I’m happy with the way I run in races but club runs when I’m not leading I find hard to keep up the pace in group with those I would expect to beat in a race. Maybe I’m just a racer!
- 10th – Sunday – 8 – 18 – Bude Pirate run – no runs in between Sandymouth and today. We had a cricket final up in Stroud on Tuesday and drove back Wednesday. It was club 5k handicap champs that night and I was co-organiser. I have a bit of an ongoing issue with my left achilles. It seems ok when I’m running but cricket seems to set it off. I did acquire new non-stud boots recently so might be connected. It’s probably going for a short burst when fielding. I do writing this think I take off on my left foot so that might be it. On Thursday I played cricket and kept wicket for the first time this year. The equivalent of 240 squats! my hamstrings Friday were sore and I managed to wrench muscles in my upper left arm / shoulder when I through the kitchen sink at a cut shot and missed it! Had to withdraw from playing for Mullion 2nds on Saturday. Would have been my first and only Saturday game this season. So back to the Pirate Run. It was humid but the hat stayed on and the sword came out a few times. The start and finish was in a filed so much better than running up the road at the start. Down to 8 miles – one third of a mile shorter. Happy with 1:33. Anna gave me a guided tour afterwards of Bude sea front and canal. I had no idea Bude had a canal. Ric and Jo supposed to be down this weekend but sadly Jo has broke bones in her ankle and leg so they had to cancel.
- 2nd – Saturday – 10 – 10 – Sandymouth Bay – a run with Anna from Bude Rats who I met at Trelissick parkrun a couple of weeks ago. Hot day and a great training run for the Arc as the terrain was very up and down. Didn’t take the poles and legs feeling it at the end.
August 2023 - 9 runs 52 miles - 149 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
- 30th – Wednesday – 8 – 52 – Club Night Lead – same tactic – volunteer to lead so have to go! 5.5 St Clements circuit – didn’t run all the way there as bumped into Stu and walked up with him.
- 28th – Monday – 9 – 44 – Social Lead – to get back on the club runs I volunteer to lead which forces me to attend!
- 26th – Saturday – 3 – 35 – Trelissick Parkrun – Struggling for any pace today and just made it under 30 minutes in 29:26 – decide to withdraw from the Suffolk Ultra. It’s just too far not just for me but for B & J and my idea of getting some old friends over just feels too complicated.
- 23rd – Wednesday – 4 – 32 – Club Night – Tag along with the transition group. Cricket on Tuesday’s is leaving me tired and usually with one or two strains and tweaks when it comes to Wednesday’s.
- 19th – Saturday – 3 – 28 – Trelissick Parkrun – Gave club night a miss – its was over on the Rosalind but then did an indoor bike session on Thursday evening and a treadmill session Friday evening. The latter was a pyramid. I set the speed at 8km/hr (7.30 mins / km) and did one lap at o% then 200m at 1% and 200m at 2% and then used it 1% every 100m upto 15% without changing the speed. Then back down the same structure doing 300m at 0% to get to 4km then last km I set at 1% but increased the speed 0.3km and 0.2km every 100m. A tough session followed then the next day by cycling to Trelissick park run – my time was 28:35 so happy with that given the treadmill and cycling sessions.
- 13th – Sunday – 6 – 25 – Coverack coast path – I’m in Coverack overnight Saturday for Lauren Flynn’s wedding. Having eaten far too much at the wedding I’m up around 7am and decide to venture out on the coast path from Coverack heading towards Kennack Sands. It’s the first part of the Arc 100 – not that I’ll ever need to worry about that! Not sure I took the most straight forward part of the path as I turned left down towards Mears beach then ran across the top of the beach picking up the path which got very narrow and the for 400m very narly. No chance of any running in that section. Once that bit was complete I could stretch out a bit. I’d left a note to say I’d begone between 1 and 1.5 hours so decided to turn around when I hit 40 minutes. I had a slightly different finish so when I got back to the village I followed the road down past the Lambeage hall (where the wedding was) and then followed it along then front to what was known as Brenda’s (the former village shop run by you guessed it Brenda). In the early 2000’s we spent each summer a week or so at Polcoverack farm staying in garden cottage. My only real running during those holidays was to jog down the farm track all the way down to Brenda’s on the sea front and then race back up to see if I could get under 4 minutes. Th start line was a telegraph pole adjacent to the shop and the finish a telegraph pole on the right hand side of the lane just before it forked to the farm parking our to follow the track round. Bear in mind this time I had already been running for around 75 minutes when is started the uphill run. I was therefore pretty pleased to be just under 5 minutes at 4:55 – so about a minute slower than 20+ years ago and with having done 75 minutes before I started.
- 12th – Saturday – 3 – 19 – Trelissick parkrun – My left calf has been tight every morning when I’ve woken up this week. I’m not sure why. Some foam rolling and massage seems to loosen it up. I did some indoor cycling on Wednesday – Beth was here so I didn’t go to club night. toady I amble round the park run interviewing Andy Brown about his epic adventure in the BOYD at last week’s RAT festival. An awesome effort from him.
- 6th – Sunday – 13 – 16 – Indian Queens Half Marathon – I pick up a late transfer place from my running buddy Richard Moore who doesn’t think he’s ready for a half. I’ve done this run before in 2019. I do find I am hopeless at remembering where runs go and this is no exception – I can’t remember much about the course as I write these notes a few days after the run! Even though I think I’m finding it hard and running quite slowly I’still 3.5 minutes quicker than 2019 as I come home in 2:06:27. It’s my longest non-stop run for quite a while.
- 5th – Saturday – 3 – 3 – Trelissick parkrun – Today I’m supposed to be running the Black Rat but I decided on Thursday to not go. I had a couple of niggles from cricket last weekend when I played up in Southport and what tipped me over the edge was when I got an email on Wednesday saying that the car parking field was going to be tricky to get in and out of and the camping field was waterlogged and the forecast for Friday and overnight Friday wasn’t great. I’ve hardly done any running since the Hope 24 and I just couldn’t bring myself to think that I had to pull my big tent from a treacherous car parking field to a waterlogged and muddy camping field. I just didn’t have the enthusiasm for it so made a decision after consulting my son and his girlfriend who were staying with me that I wasn’t going to run. So instead I did the park run and was happy with my time of 27:30.
July 2023 - 7 runs 62 miles - 180 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
- 28th – Friday – 3.5 – 62 – O60s Bob Willis walk – part of a planned event. 1 lap walk for everyone except I run 5 so around 6.2km.
- 22nd – Saturday – 3 – 58.5 – Trelissick parkrun – a decent run in 28:36
- 19th – Wednesday – 1.5 – 55.5 – TRC 25th anniversary event – a great fun event involving a lap of just over 1km. Teams of 6, 5 of whom run a solo lap, then 4 run laps together dropping one person per lap, then the 2 others run together before a final solo run. Great fun but hard running a fast 1km lap – can’t remember running a flat out (or as near to flat out) 1km. No idea how long it took – best not to know!
- 17th – Monday – 4 – 54- Hotel – for cricket tomorrow at Abergavenny. 5 laps round the hotel grounds. No watch but hotel clock suggested 40 minutes so thinking 4 miles in total.
- 15th – Saturday – 4 – 50 – Trelissick parkrun – I’m marshalling at the top gate in the filed so I jog down there and then do some hill reps. It’s a 140m hill section and I manage 10 before the runners come along.
- 7th – Saturday – 40 – 46 – Hope 24 – my first 24 hour festival event. I arrive Friday pm and set up the big tent – the first time it is action for several years evidenced when I discover an empty crisp type snack packet the sell by date of which is listed as Sept 2016. It all works fine. I have a plan: The 24 hour race (there are also 36 and 12 hour versions) starts at 12 noon on Saturday. I’m going to run the 5 mile woodland circuit in around 65-70 minutes then return to the tent (2 minute walk away) have some ‘proper’ food some green tea and then start the next lap at 1:30 – so 90 minutes per lap including stopping between laps. I do this for four laps all of which are 62-63 minutes. There is a big grass hill soon after the start and a couple of other places to walk but not for long. I’m keen to not walk at any other point. There is a drink / water melon / pineapple/ small snack station at 2 miles. I stop here on every lap. So by about 5:40pm I’ve completed 4 laps and 20 miles. I changed shoes after 2 laps. It was very humid. My shirt was sweat wet after one lap even though I was running very steadily. Time for a break until it gets dark. I use the solar shower (have to kneel down despite it being on a tall pole I banged into the ground with a lump hammer whilst balancing on my camping chair with my tent neighbour holding the pole!) I now discover that sleeping on a blow up bed is not really for me! I listen to the Test match and try and doze which I sort of do but not that well. Around 8pm I decide to get up and go and find some food from the vendors. I did take a huge amount of food and I had cooked porridge for breakfast. I had been eating homemade pizza, baby new potatoes covered in salt, a bit of hot cross bun, malt loaf, salt and vinegar crisps, and a salt tablet per lap. I had some nachos from the vendor – maybe not the best choice with more running to do. Around 9:15 I set off again. I stick on a thin base layer and have my head torch which I start using in the woods area. Another break and then a final lap of the day staring around 10.40 pm. I finish the lap around 11.45 pm. An then its time to try and get some proper sleep. 6 laps and 30 miles completed. There are relay teams taking part carrying batons. They race through! I don’t sleep particularly well but am up just before 5am and my tent buddy Rob and I set off to start another lap. He’s already done 10. We get going around 5:15 am and with a quickish finish I knock out another sub 70 min lap – around 68 minutes. Another planned break and I’m away again at 7.10am for my final planned lap. Around 8.15am I’ve finished 8 laps and 40 miles. There is still 3 hrs and 45 mins to 12 noon and you can start a lap anytime before 12 noon which will count. I’ve achieved my plan. I’m feeling fresh but I have to get the tent packed away – the rain is due to arrive at lunchtime and I have to remember I have to drive home and I want to enjoy the atmosphere. So I avoid temptation to get to 50 miles even though I have plenty of time and I think I’m feeling good enough. It was a great event. Maybe I’ll have a crack at the 36 hour version next year? Strava lap times : 63:31, 62:21, 62:08, 61:34, 66:19, 66:49, 67:37 and 62:55.
- 1st – Sunday – 6 – 6 – 10k Time Trial – Start from black telegraph pole on top road and finish halfway round Reddanick Crescent. Watch GPS is out of sync so I’m trying to remember where the km marks are. Finished in 57:11. First time I’ve done this route / trial since mid Jan when I did 55:32. New Garmin arrives tomorrow. I switched from my original ‘mars bar’ Garmin 4 years ago to the 245. It’s been great but I fell last year and it created a hairline fracture and a small hole. The battery is also wearing out and is unlikely to get round the Arc. I’ve gone for the 255 – nothing fancy but with a much longer battery life.
June 2023 - 11 runs 79 miles - 211 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
- 30th – Saturday – 3 – 79 -Trelissick Parkrun – decent run in 27:56
- 26th – Monday – 8 – 76 – TRC Social Group from Boscawen park – good hill work but feeling the legs from Friday
- 24th – Saturday – 3 – 68 – Trelissick Parkrun – I’m pacing 30 minutes and my official time is 30:00! Not bad!
- 23rd – Friday – 16 – 65 – Arc Recce St Ives to Godrevy – I catch the 7:56 train to St Ives via a change at St Erth. I walk to the Porthmeor bowling green and then use the route GPX on my phone to find my way to the Guildhall which is the checkpoint and food station. It is likely to be close to getting dark when I arrive here. I follow the GPX to Hayle as I’ve not done this section before. It’s not too tricky navigation wise and it comes out on the main road junction where you turn left towards Hayle passing Birdies Bistro and a pub. The pavement changes sides so you have to cross over and then cross back. You ten follow the pavement past ASDA to North Quay road – turn left and follow the road to the point where you go left and make your way to the Dunes. I made a couple of errors in the Dunes but then ran onto Godrevy. The section took about 2hrs 40 minutes. I then head back stopping off at the Sandy Lanes cafe for refreshments. It is here that I discover that my phone has, not for the first time, when out running gone into security lockdown. This could be a problem on the return train journey as my tickets are on the phone. I run back up North Quay then cross the road onto a wide path which goes up to the station. Trains are every 30 minutes and one arrives at the moment I reach the station. That’s the good news! The bad news is that when I get to Truro my phone still has 55 minutes of lock down to go. The staff won’t let me through! I have to buy an £8 ticket which can’t be railcard discounted because that is also on my phone. I could just imagine my mother telling me how useless phone stuff is and I should have a ‘proper’ ticket. I need to re-run this recce. Route Notes: Go past the Tate Gallery – the road swings up to the right up some cobbles then go left onto Fore St. which heads down to the front. Do a u-turn when you reach the harbour and run along the front to the far end where the Lifeboat Station is – run past it and then 100 yrds or so on there is a few old stone steps up to the right – brings you out in front of the Mermaid Ice Cream shop – left and then immediately right and you’re on the street of the Guildhall. 3/4 mile from bowling green to Guildhall. Run back down the same street taking the right fork and then turning right past the toilets. You’ve got the sea on your left and the station up above you on the right. Watch out for a house on your left called ‘Sundial Court’ this is 1 mile from the Guildhall. 1/2 a mile on near the top of a hill you follow some steps down through a few houses. 2 miles is Cabin Buoy house sign. 3 miles and you’re at an old footbridge which crosses onto the golf course. Go past this and follow the track to the sign warning walkers – go past this and the Church will be on you left – keep going into the Church cart park area – go left at a triangle and into Green Lane going past Lelant Station. 4 miles is a tall electricity pylon and then past Lelant Saltings station. Look out for a small left turn for s short path into a car park type are. Turn right and go between some new stone houses to the main road. Turn left towards Hayle. 5 miles is the rod turning to St Erth, turn into North Quay is 6 miles. 4.5 miles to Godrevy.
- 17th – Saturday – 5 – 49 – Sticker 5 – I give Richard Moore a lift – he’s 81 and this is his first competitive race for some time. He’s joint last but pleased to get round and he’s 2nd in his age group. I’m 43:35 which is 18 seconds quicker than when I did this previously in 2019.
- 17th – Saturday – 3 – 44 – Trelissick ParkRun – warm up for the Sticker 5 in the evening – 27:40
- 14th – Wednesday – 8.5 – 41 – TRC Club Night – I lead the slowest group on the St Clements loop. Perfect pace for me.
- 12th – Monday – 7 – 32.5 – TRC Monday club – I felt very ‘leggy’ and was quickly dropped off the back – I ran well up the first long hill but then faded again! Perhaps the legs need a rest but one Tuesday Its a hot day of cricket.
- 10th – Saturday – 3 – 25.5 – Trelissick Parkrun – in between I played cricket for the O60s on Tuesday and the for the first time in 4 year for the O50s 1st XI on Wednesday. So fitting that I should run my 100th parkrun at Trelissick in full cricket gar (see photo) – my third run in this gear – first one my 100th overall parkrun in July 2021 when I did 34:44 having though I would be right at the back. At the end of March I did it again as it was ‘dress for spring’ day – that run was 32:24 – this run I wasn’t sure I was running that quick but I recorded 31:53. Very happy with that. Around 4 minutes slower than I might expect to do with no cricket gear! Next day I felt really tired but travelled to Mount Edgcumbe to play cricket.
- 5th – Monday – 8 – 22.5 – TRC Monday Club – my turn to lead from Boscawen park. I pick an almost 5 mile route that takes in a few climbs. I think the group enjoyed it!
- 4th – Sunday – 11.5 – 14.5 – Arc 50 Finish Recce – I’m down at Bassett’s Cove car park for 8am. It’s 1.4 miles from there to a gate that takes you into Portreath. I follow the road down to the car park and then the road past the car park – top village toilets on the right – the road swings left and in front of the pub turn left and follow the road up the hill almost to the top where it re-joins the coastal path. There is a down and up with 50 steps on the up – 3 miles at top from car park start point. A mile on and another bigger down and up. 103 steps on the up. Is this Sally’s Bottom? 4.3 miles at top. Stay on track and it bears left towards the sea as you approach Porthtowan. Down on a tarmac road into the village. I got to a T junction at 5.6 miles. I wasn’t sure where to go next so after a bit of tooing and frooing I returned to the car park where I started. I need to find out how to get from the T junction to the finish.
- 3rd – Saturday – 3 – 3 – Trelissick Parkrun – my first hard run here this year – I ‘jeffed’ it in March in 27:44. Today I run it all and do 26:55 – the first time I’ve been under 27 minutes here since Feb 2022. Six of the picture
May 2023 - 9 runs 67 miles - 241 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
61 runs and 401 miles in 2023 at the end of May
A real mix of a month. Decided to ease back for the first couple of weeks after all the races between Feb 26th and end of April. I then pick up a back injury – not sure how – possibly compost bag lifting – my knee aches – something that started after the Brighton Half and I keep hurting my elbow throwing in from the cricket boundary.
The athletics days was great. I went back the following Tuesday (cricket rained off) and on my last javelin felt my groin pull. I was planning a track session to finish the evening but after a few warm up laps I pulled out. Lots of running at the end of the month – 41 miles in 5 runs in 7 days.
- 31st – Wednesday – 8.5 – 67 – Club Night – St Clements route in reverse.
- 29th – Bank Holiday Monday – 9 – 58.5 – Training Run – In 3 sections – down to cricket club to watch a bit of county cricket, then 5 mile recce for a Monday night run, back to cricket, then back home.
- 28th – Sunday – 9 – 49.5 – Training Run – Out early with Andy Williams – Truro to Idless Woods, once round the main wood (3 miles) and back to Truro
- 27th – Saturday – 3 – 40.5 – Parkrun pacer
- 25th – Thursday – 11.5 – 37.5 – Training Run – Same route as previous week.
- 20th – Saturday – Manning the Minack Aid Station for the Classic Quarter. Two years since my run!
- 19th – Friday – 11.5 – 26 – Training Run – I’m in Plymouth first thing. On the train on the way back I decide I need to get out on a longish run so as soon as I get back – 12.30pm – I’m out. Newham trail to Malpas turning circle and back.
- 17th – Wednesday – 8.5 – 14.5 – Club Night – St Clements steady run
- 13th – Saturday – 3 – 6 – Heartlands parkrun and Cornwall Athletics County Championships – It’s finally a beautiful day and I decide that I should try running for the first time in really a couple of weeks having had some treatment on my back, my elbow and my knee the day before from Harry Wills. I park up at Carn Brea and then walk over to the nearby parkrun. I take the warmup quite seriously but with every intention of just jogging around as long as I’m under 30 minutes. Somehow things get a little bit quicker and I end up running 26:07 which is a course PB beating the other two occasions I’ve run here. This sets me up for my first event at 11:30 AM which is the triple jump. I’m the only one in the vets age group in the competition. After getting a score on the board on my first jump I gradually get better and my fifth of six jumps is 6:33m which will be my best. I’m pretty pleased with that. I then have a break whilst some of my TRC teammates do track events and then I’m into my main event at 3 PM the javelin. I was also due to run the 3000 meter steeplechase but when I arrived first thing I realised that the obstacles had been lifted up slightly since I struggled to get over one on Tuesday night. With my back problem I’m struggling to lift my knee on my right side very high so there’s no chance I could get over the higher obstacles say the organisers allow me to swap for the long jump which is after the javelin. As it turns out there is only one other runner in the steeplechase who goes round on his own whilst we are doing the javelin which is very near the water jump. He looks a lot younger than me but is still struggling to get over it so I’m pretty pleased I’m not doing it! I’m the last to throw in the javelin as everyone else is at least half my age, and some less than a third of my age. We get six throws each. My first throw is designed to get a score on the board but it flops and lands tail first so doesn’t count. My second throw is around 15:50m so at least I’m on the board and then throw three also doesn’t count and throw four only gets me to 17:60. Our captain on the day Oli – has set me a goal of beating his PB of 24:96. Throw 5 is much better but only 22m something. For my last throw I take a long run up and bang I hit 25:41! Fantastic! Straight then into the long jump where there are others in my group and I’m knackered but manage 2:72 with my last jump. Not enough for the podium but I’m delighted to be veterans County champion for the javelin and triple jump.
- 9th – Tuesday – lots of rain on the Monday and Tuesday morning meant no cricket for me so instead I went with Oli to the Carn Brea track session. I had an hour’s javelin coaching and then some tuition on the triple jump in readiness for my appearance at the Cornwall County athletic Championships on Saturday. Over the weekend though I’ve managed to hurt my back so I give club night a miss.
- 6th – Saturday – 3 – 3 – Trelissick Parkrun marshal – after running six half marathon plus events in the last two months I decided to take some time off but then having jogged to my marshal position at the top of the notorious Trelissick hill I decided to do some Hill reps on the hill until the runners arrived so I managed to do seven all within 10 seconds of each other.
April 2023 - 10 runs 77 miles - 272 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
52 runs and 334 miles in 2023 at the end of April
A great month – and I’m now a year older!
Exe to Axe on my birthday was hard but hugely satisfying. Glad I didn’t know in advance how tough the second half was going to be.
The track session was good – I need to do more of those.
KVK was great – although not as tough as I had been led to believe. Maybe that was because I done the Exe to Axe 13 days earlier or maybe because I’m feeling stronger over these longer distances. Probably both.
Run like Hell was a great way to finish the month, catching up with plenty of running friends and podcast listeners and getting out on part of the course for the Arc 50 I hadn’t run before.
I now need to do the section from Portreath to the finish.
I reckon that is about 7 miles so maybe I’ll do Hells Mouth to the finish and get a bus back.
My knee has been aching since the Brighton Half 2 months ago. I wonder if the ‘Jeffing’ action caused it – running/walking effectively at 4 different speeds in a 5 minute window and then repeating that 23 times.
- 29th – Saturday – 8 – 77 – Run like Hell – first event for the new Bys Vyken owners. Small field (79) for this out and back along part of the Arc 50 route I’ve not run before. With the odd exception it was relatively flat. I stopped just past half way to take on a Cola gel – first time I’ve had one of these – and have a few minutes rest and then set off chasing managing to overtake 11 on the way back. According to the results I was 2 places and less than a minute of winning my age group (don’t think there were age group prizes). My right knee is still not 100% – I should probably go and get it looked at. No more races now until June.
- 19th – Wednesday – 3 – 68.5 – TRC Track Night – a first of me since I joined TRC a club night at the Barn Brea track which includes a Hoka demo evening. Although I’ve run a lot recently I’m keen to take part in the 5k coached session. I leave Truro at 5:05 for a 6pm start. The traffic is horrendously slow! I arrive at the track at 6:25! I do 4 steady 400m warm ups then I push on for 5 laps getting gradually quicker with lap 4 at 101 seconds the fastest. New target – under 100 seconds for 400m!
- 18th – Tuesday – 6 – 65.5 – 5k Course recce – In theory I should be resting after the KVK but its a sunny evening so I have a slow jog to Boscawen Park and then a steady run around the 5k course for next week’s TRC 5k handicap race. Lots of stopping and starting to make notes etc…
- 17th – Monday – 6 – 59.5 – Club Night Social – big test for the legs and I can’t believe how good they feel – I’m racing along at the front thinking I would be struggling to keep up at the back. My right knee still aches quite a bit.
- 15th – Saturday – 16 – 53.5 – KVK – starting and finishing at Perranporth airfield. 2 laps of a course that took you to the top of St Agnes Beacon 4 times. Great weather – actually got a bit sunburnt – back of neck, top of ears, back of knees – didn’t think to use an suncream. First lap 1:42 – second lap 1:59 so 3:41 in total – second lap though did run back down one of the road hills to try and find my microphone muffler which I assume had come off when walking up that hill I took off my hero vest in order to change my cap. Managed to get on some wedding photos at some point – need to find out where that was and then on the same second lap followed the wedding party up a short climb to an hog roost they were having. Someone offered me a glass of Pimms! That’s now 5 tough half marathon + races in the last 8 weekends.
- 12th – Wednesday – 5.5 – 37.5 – Club night – leading a group on the St Clements loop – more mud than at anytime during the winter.
- 8th – Saturday – Cornwall Running Show – sold and signed 8 books !
- 5th – Wednesday – 6.5 – 32 – Club night – trying out my legs with a gentle run to the club then out with the Transition group before peeling off and heading home. That was ok.
- 2nd – Sunday – 22 – 25 – Exe to Axe – its my birthday! And want a tough run to celebrate it! We are bused out from Seaton to Exemouth and then we run back. Leg 1 is to Budleigh Salterton and includes an inland diversion but is generally relatively easy. Leg 2 takes us to Sidmouth. 11 miles in and the first major climbs as we approach the town where my crew meet me. And then bang! The course changes character completely! Suddenly it feels like we are constantly climbing – usually steps – one of my miles takes 24 miles. We reach Branscombe Mouth at about 18 miles. The climb out of Branscombe is tonight but then the last 3 miles aren’t too bad. We finish all the way along the prom following yesterday’s parkrun route. What a tough event! I reckon it was harder than Cousin Jack and I didn’t expect to say that. 119 finishers, I’m 96th in an official time of 5:18:16 – 7th and last in my age category. The field is spread – I’m 2 mins 32 seconds behind 95th and 6 mins 22 secs ahead of 97th. 39 runners added 4 miles on at the beginning to complete the marathon version including Mandy and Vicki who were the only runners I saw or spoke to in the last 8 miles or so. I hadn’t realised there was a marathon version until I asked them why their numbers were a different colour to mine. There was also a start from Sidmouth with 12 runners and a 2 person relay with 13 teams. Seems a bit of a shame this run doesn’t get more entrants – especially given that the ‘Grizzly’ which is also in Seaton attracts a sell out field of 2500.
- 1st – Saturday – 3 – 3 – Seaton parkrun – a warm up for Sunday – a couple of ties up and down the prom having started and finished on the pebble beach. Happy with 26:17 and almost a minute ahead of Jim.
March 2023 - 11 runs 69 miles - 302 days to the Arc 50 at the end of the month
I said when I finished the Cousin Jack in 2020 I wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t enjoy all the falling over on the slippery route. Then of course covid struck. I did return in 2022 as a marshal. And in 2023 I was back running it. Mainly because it’s a key part of the Arc 50 route so a good opportunity to practice.
And of course get a sense of perspective. I’ll have done 12 miles when the CJ route hits the coastal path and when I’ve finished the CJ route I’ll have a mere 21 miles to go.
Feels very daunting when I think of it in those terms.
Plenty of running to be done in the next few months to build stamina, lose a couple of pounds and get ready for the Arc 50!
March included ‘Jeffing’ the Falmouth Half Marathon and recording a time which was almost 1.5 minutes quicker than my event PB from 2019.
The organisers of the Trelissick parkrun on the last Saturday in March suggested it should be ‘fancy dress’ to celebrate the arrival of spring. So an excuse to wear all the cricket gear!
And as I kept telling everyone my 32:20 broke the course record for someone wearing cricket gear. A course record that happened to be held by me!
- 28th – Tuesday – 6 – 69 – Walk/Run group lead – My turn to lead the group – and we’ve moved to our summer meeting point at Boscawen park which means I get 3 miles extra by running there and back. It’s the only running I’m planning this week as I want my legs to be ready for Exe to Axe on Sunday with a Seaton parkrun as the warm upon the Saturday.
- 25th – Saturday – 3 – 63 – Trelissick parkrun – The message said fancy dress to spring into spring. So a good excuse to get all the cricket gear out. I did this once before in July 2021 when it was my 100th parkrun. My 98th had been the last one before covid so a big gap between 98 and 100 at the time. I ran 34:44 that day so delighted today to do 32:20. I didn’t wear a ‘box’ as I took it with me but neglected to wear something it could fit into.
- 22nd – Wednesday – 8.5 – 60 – Club Night – Dropped in at the back of the 5.5 mile city circuit plus run to club and back
- 20th – Monday – 6.5 – 51.5 – Club Night Social – It’s my turn to lead the group on the last Monday night run before the clocks change. To celebrate it rains! I take them on a new route – essentially to ensure the quicker runners don’t disappear as they don’t know the course. A cunning plan!
- 18th – Saturday – 3 – 45 – Penryn Parkrun – It looks fairly innocuous as it’s 3 laps of a course which is largely on a long straight which goes round a marker post and comes back. I didn’t used to be a fan of lap courses but I am now as you see the leaders a few times and you can judge where you are against those you are competing with. The course has a sharp short downhill bit which you run three times and then three times back up the incline! 27:30 is ok – 11 seconds quicker than Feb 18th when I think I was wearing the fast road shoes.
- 15th – Wednesday – 4 – 42 – Club Transition Group Lead – I give them a different course. Legs are feeling ok. It’s new members and pizza night so I take the car.
- 12th – Sunday – 13 – 38 – Falmouth Half Marathon – A first. I travel to a half marathon by train. The Falmouth half is organised by the local running club in conjunction with Cornwall Hospice Care. The race HQ is at Princess Pavilions which is a 5 minute walk from the station. The first train is 8:50am and takes 20 minutes. Race starts at 10am with registration closing at 9:30am. It works really well. And it’s time to ‘Jeff’ again! Mainly because I’ve done this race twice before with the 2019 course virtually the same as today. What might be tricky is that this is a hilly route so there’s a good chance I’ll be walking down some of the hills. That happens! But I’m round in 2:05:10 – that’s better than my 2019 time of 2:06:30. Two ‘Jeffed’ half marathons and two great times for me. I need to find a road marathon on a flattish course and try ‘Jeffing’ then. Park that looking at my Arc 50 plan until 2024.
I cross the line around 12:05 so after a stretch and chat with other runners I grab my race bag and head for the station to catch the 12:24. I’ve got enough time to change out of my sweaty top and enjoy the flask of tea and bagel I took with me. I get back to my house just before 1pm so after a shower I’m off to O50s cricket practice.
- 11th – Saturday – 3 – 25– Trelissick Parkrun – I always find that a parkrun prior to a major Sunday run gets the legs moving and not in an amble round way but in a let’s push on a bit and get the legs ready to run hard the following day. That certainly worked in Brighton where my son and I pushed on in the second half of the parkrun. I decide to ‘Jeff’ the park run just to see what happens. It works well and I’m round in 27:44 – happy with that on this course
- 8th – Wednesday – 4 – 22– Club Transition Group Lead – I’m going a bit ‘Jeffing’ crazy introducing it to the running club transition group. This is a 4 mile run aimed at runners moving up from run/walk, coming back from injury, not yet ready to be in another group. For me it’s a chance to run slowly after the last two weekends. I’ve decided I can do Falmouth half and pick up a place from a club runner no longer able to take part.
- 4th – Saturday – 18 – 18 – Cousin Jack – no races until Feb 28th and now two in six days and this is a tough one! It’s a 5 AM alarm call so that I can be ready to leave by 6 AM the drive to St Ives and catch the coach which leaves at 7:30 AM down to race HQ at St Just. I did this event in 2020 and I didn’t really enjoy – the weather was fine on the day but it was very wet underfoot and I think I slipped over about seven times. But as with most of my local races these days I just love being part of it as I know more and more people and it’s always a great thrill when someone mentions they’ve listened to the podcast. And of course this route forms the toughest part of the arc 50 – by the time we join the coast path we have run a mile but in the ARC 50 that will be about 12 by then stop I record on the way round although I messed up the SD card and it ran out of capacity after 13 miles. I came home in 4:41 which was better than my 5:08 in 2020 and the recording enables me to note lots of key parts of this brutal bit of the course. The prospect of doing 12 miles before this part and then having another 21 to go is something I need to get my head around! But I’m very glad I did the run. One thing that I haven’t cracked is that for whatever reason when I’ve had a really tough run and my legs are very tired I struggled to sleep. So I had a fairly restless night and I don’t know why!
- 1st – Wednesday – It’s ARC 50 entry evening! Entries open at 6pm – the website crashes! Eventually I’m in! No going back now! No running this week as I recover from Brighton Half before Cousin Jack. I feel like I’ve got a bit of a cold and the inside of my right knee aches. Not had this before. I am wondering whether to go ahead but i sort my kit Thursday night and decide it’s game o.
February 2023 - 11 Runs and 66 miles - 333 days to the Arc 50 2024
- 26th – Sunday – 13 – 66 – Brighton Half Marathon – My first ‘race’ of 2023. Jim and I are in the yellow pen which is 1:45 to 2:00 – this is when we entered and its feeling a touch ambitious for me as I’m ‘Jeffing’ for the first time. I’ll be running 4 minutes then walking one minute and repeating that throughout and I’m recording for the podcast throughout. With 12,000 entrants it’s a big field with a course that goes out and back both sides of the seafront so the crowds are fantastic. My watch is set to beep when I need to either run or walk. It takes 5 minutes to cross the start line and then of course after 4 mins I stop running – feel like 100’s stream past me! However at the end of the walk minute as I’m feeling fresh I run harder and quicker than normal. This pattern continues with 2 mins of hard running followed by 2 mins of ‘normal’ running. The course has some inclines but generally it feels quite flat. After 5 miles I’m under 9 minute pace. Happy with that given by then I’ve walked 9 times. I keep going – running hard after the walking minute. at 10 miles I’m still under 9 min miling. I had told people who asked before the run that had I run all the way I would be aiming for around 2:04. Three miles to go and I’m on target for a sub 2 hr finish. As the finish closes in the temptation to abandon the walking minute gets bigger. I reach 12.6 miles at 1:54 so I do walk for the last time. At 1:59 I’m 100 yards from the finish. I’m due to walk but I’m not going to now! I cross the line in 1:59:26 – I am delighted! I assumed Jim was ahead of me and he’s at the finish – he finished in 1:57:56 – what a run – I can’t believe I’ve walked 23 times and broken 2 hours. I ran sub 2hrs twice in 2019 – Scunthorpe and Cardiff – but honestly thought I’d never do that again. I’m convinced it was down to the ‘Jeffing’. I’m already thinking what it would be like to run a road marathon using this method – probably in 2024.
- 25th – Saturday – 3 – 53 – Start of Brighton half marathon weekend – Jim, Cass and myself walk around 30 minutes to the Hove Promenade – its a fresh morning and a big field – 440 runners. Our plan is to run around in about 30 mins but after a slow start because of the numbers we pick up the pace and then its gets a big competitive towards the end! Jim is home first in 25:15 and I’m just behind him in 25:24 – 2 seconds faster than my previous run here in Nov 2018. Our legs are well and truly stretched in readiness for tomorrow.
- 22nd – Wednesday – 7 – 49.5 – lead the TRC Transition 4 mile group with 3 miles added for there and back
- 21st – Tuesday – 4.5 – 42.5 – Lead the TRC walk/run group
- 18th – Saturday – 3 – 38 – Penryn Parkrun – a 3 lap course which is either slightly down hill or slightly uphill – happy with 27:41
- 17th – Friday – 8 – 35 – My calf is feeling ok so I head out earlish into the light drizzle to try the run / walk technique. I came across this on the Bad Boy Running Podcast. I don’t normally listen – they’re just a bit too full of themselves for me but this episode featured a guy called Chris Twiggs talking about how he qualified for the Boston Marathon using the Jeff Galloway run / walk technique. I was intrigued so decided whilst listening to adopt a versions of this for the Brighton half. You have to run/walk from the start. It’s not something you do if you’re feeling tired – like I did towards the end of the Loch Ness marathon. So I select an 8 mile route with a few tricky hills. On the Bad Boy FB page I mentioned it and asked for some tips on how to set up a timer. Someone was really helpful and posted details of how to set my Garmin up to beep at 4 min and 1 min marks on rotation. Off I went. However the GPS on my watch was having an off day. Maybe not happy about the new ‘competition’ from the alerts mode. It was telling me I was running 12 min pace when I thought I was doing nearer 10. After what I thought was a couple of miles I re-set the run. That didn’t work. It was only the last mile when my pace reading felt about right. By the end i knew I’d be out for 82 minutes and a quick check of the course on a route planner confirmed I’d done 8 miles. So overall around 10:15 per mile. Given the route I was happy with that. I hadn’t set out to run hard but as I got used to the 4 on 1 off routine I found I was pushing hard during the 4 knowing a break was coming soon. Anyway it was good practice and I’m now looking forward to the real thing at the Brighton half. Stopping to walk after just 4 minutes won’t be easy – perhaps I’ll carry a placard explaining what I’m doing. The race has pacers so it will be interesting to see how I lose ground / regain it.
- 15th – Wednesday – 7 – 27 – Club night – run there and back and lead the Transition group – those moving up from walk/run, those starting running, those returning from injury.
- 13th – Monday – 5.5 – 20 – Monday night social run with club. Calf seems ok.
- 11th – Saturday – 3 – 14.5 – Parkrun – I did it – a week of no running! No big deal I’ve had hundreds of weeks I’ve never run! I warm up and in the Hoka’s follow the 30 min pace chart. Just one snag – I must have started my watch a few more seconds later at the start than I thought. I was convinced I’d got quite a few people under 30 minutes. I had but not as many as I had hoped. I thought my time was 30:08 – it can in officially as 30:16 so one or two who I though had made it hadn’t. I hope they’re not too disappointed and will be back for another go when we next do pacing. I was planning Sunday run but did indoor biking and cricket practice instead. I’ll go out with the social group on Monday and test the calf.
- 4th – Saturday – 3 – 11.5 – Parkrun – I’m the 30 minute pacer next Saturday so decide to practice running to that pace. I’m armed with a list of checkpoints and times along the course. All going to plan until the left calf with 1.5km to go starts telling me all is not as it should be. I back off and go steady to the end. Ok so it’s time to talk about this calf issue. At the Running show I was tempted on the Scott stand by the promise of fantastic grip and a fabulous show ‘deal’ – I succumbed! – even though I didn’t really need new shoes. It was only in December I had bought the Hoka Mafate 4’s. They are supremely comfortable with great grip and I’ve been wearing Hoka’s since I joined the running club in October 2018. Why change? But I did and in my excitement to try the shoes on that Sunday when I got back I think they got a bit stuck in some mud and I tweaked the achilles / calf. I should have taken a few days off and re-grouped. But was in with a chance of a record month and I needed to stick in a 12 miler. I carried on. Not in any real discomfort but I could feel it. So I’m now taking a week off running and I’m thinking about abandoning the Scotts and sticking with Hoka.
- 1st – Wednesday – 1 – 8.5 – Club Night – I need to test the new Scott shoes out in the muddy conditions of the St Clements woods so I’m leading a small group.
January 2023 - 21 Runs and 123 miles - both personal bests for a calendar month - 361 days to the Arc 50 2024
January saw me complete 21 runs and 123 miles.
I did get a bit carried away towards the end of the month once I realised I could achieve those 2 PB’s.
I was though carrying a bit of a calf / achilles injury which started when I got back from the Running Show and went out in the Scotts.
I realise now that was a rash purchase because (a) I’d just bought a new pair of off road Hoka’s and (b) the Scott show is very different.
I did the Scotts a couple more goes but they’re not for me. I’ll clean them up and offer them for a bargain price at the Cornwall Running Show in April.
- 31st – Tuesday – 4 – 123 – Its a sunny day and I get out just before midday and pick a flattish 4 miler – essentially 2 miles out and back on the top road. Another monthly PB – 123 miles – 1 more than the previous PB! I do have a bit of a sore left calf but I tape it up and have been using the foam roller on it.
- 30th – Monday – 7 – 119 – It’ say turn to lead the Monday Social Run so with a bit of extra on the way back I get it up to 7 miles for me in total. My PB for a single month is 122 in April 2021 – I need to get out for 4 miles tomorrow to beat that.
- 29th – Sunday – 12 – 112 – I’ve now equalled the most runs I’ve ever done in a single month (March & April 2020) – a steady 12 miles round the Idless area back roads – set my watch to heart rate so I didn’t keep checking the distance every 2 minutes!
- 28th – Saturday – 3 – 100 – Steady at the back parkrun brings us the 100 miles for the month. Today is this year’s Arc 50.
- 27th – Friday – 6 – 97 – Same 10k time trial route as 2 weeks ago and this time 54:39 so really pleased to be under 55 mins. In the evening I’m at the Penzance checkpoint for the Arc 100.
- 24th – Tuesday – 4.5 – 91 – Run/walk lead plus 1.5 there and back. I’m closing in on 100 miles in a month. I haven’t done that since April 2021 – my final training month before the Classic Quarter.
- 23rd – Monday – 6.5 – 86.5 – Social group run.
- 22nd – Sunday – 3 – 80 – I get back from Birmingham in 4 hours using a non-stop strategy. Within half an hour I’m out in the new shoes and jacket on a 3 mile loop that takes in a muddy field. They feel a bit different to Hoka’s but I deliberately targeg the worst mud bits and I’m pleased with the grip. I’m going to properly text them at Cousin Jack – an 18 miler on the Arc 50 course between St Just and St Ives at the beginning of March.
- 21st – Saturday – 6 – 77 – I meet Beth Friday night near tone NEC. We’ve got an Airbnb and we go the Running Show on Saturday. First up though it’s the nearest Parkrun – a 1.5 jig to Babbs Mill. Usually they attract around 80 participants- today 352! I think I did win the shout out for the longest journey – Truro. It’s bitterly cold – frozen cars and fog and on the second lap of two my hands are so cold I deliberately keep stretching and unstretching my fingers as I’m convinced they are going to fall off! I record 26:19 which I’m delighted with. Same time same course last week and I would have finished 17th – this week 142nd! The running show is rammed. I somehow end up buying a pair of Scott’s Supertrac Ultra shoes. I’ve read about Scott’s and I know a couple of people who have them but I’ve never tried them. They had a stand, a generous show offer, the shoes felt good. Sold! I also acquired an Instinct small hydro set for training so I don’t have to take the big Hydro vest or a waist belt which I’m not keen on. A Harrier waterproof jacket completed the purchases.
- 18th – Wednesday – 5.5 – 71 – Club night and a couple of meetings to chair so drive to club. Tag onto a pretty brisk 5 mile group which is a good work out. last training run.
- 17th – Tuesday – 4.5 – 66.5 – Some of us take it in turns to lead our club run/walk group on Tuesday evenings. My turn next week so I thought I’d take along with this week’s leader Chris Ramsey to ensure I knew the route. It’s 3 miles but running to the start and heading back adds another 1.5 miles.
- 16th – Monday – 4.5 – 62 – Back in the Dunes with Tracy and this time it is properly dark. There are a series of large granite WayMarker signs to follow but nevertheless I did take a couple of wrong turns but good to get a proper dark run in the dunes done. I recorded an episode of the podcast whilst on the run – the Dunes bit itself is about 3.5 miles. It will be a good reminder for me for next time of the points where I did go wrong.
- 15th – Sunday – 10 – 57.5 – Extend the route from the previous Sunday to get to 10 miles. 1:41 in total so just o er 10 min / miles. Happy with that at this stage of the year.
- 14th – Saturday – 3 – 47.5 – Parkrun tail runner – I’m running of sorts all the time so extra time on feet.
- 13th – Friday – 6 – 44.5 – Another solo run. This time the Newham Trail 10k ‘time trial’ – a route that my son Jim and I had competed on during lockdown. The finish is just past the house. I pushed hard and recorded 55:32 – happy with that given first time I had done this ‘time trail’ since around June 2020.
- 11th – Wednesday – 8.5 – 38.5 Same off road club night run as previous week with 3 miles for running there and back. Getting back into the swing of things running wise.
- 9th – Monday – 7 – 30 Club social run – get an extra couple of miles via run to start and run back so 7 in total.
- 8th – Sunday – 8 – 23 Solo training run – 8 miles. No big deal I did loads in 2020 and 2021 except I hadn’t done one since the last training run for the Loch Ness marathon. That was mid September. So finally I get out the front door! There’s a nice road route out the back of Truro with several options to find your way back.
- 4th – Wednesday – 5.5 – 15 – Ok let’s make that 3 successive days of running. It’s club night. Running to club night and back adds 3.2 miles to whatever club run I do. My daughter is here and cooking post run tea so I decide to drive. I lead a 5.5 largely off route through the woods at St Clements. A good opportunity for head torch and mud running. I have acquired some Hoka Mafate Speed 4 with deep lugs. They go well in the mud and wet conditions in the woods.
- 3rd – Tuesday – 4.5 – 9.5 a key section of the Arc 50 are the Dunes at Hayle Towans. Affectionately known as the ‘Dunes of Doom’. I’ve done a rough plan based on Andy’s plan from 2022 whilst adding on quite a bit as I’ll be slower than he was and I’ll definitely be running the Dunes in the dark. So welcome to my team Tracy Waite. Tracy is a personal trainer and top runner. She lives near Hayle and knows the Dunes better than most. I met Tracy at the 2022 Cornwall Running Show. She was one of the organisers and I had a stand for the ‘Running 44@60’ podcast. We had a couple of recce runs in the autumn when it was light hut now we needed some darkness! I met Tracy at the end of the Dunes at Godrevy. This is a significant location as it’s 11 miles from ten finish and the last cut off at 8pm. Tracy picks me up, drives us to Hayle and we’ll run the 4.5 miles back to my car. It was quite dark enough early on but the last half was in the dark / twilight. My Christmas Fenxi headtorch had its first proper outing. It was great. This was the first time I’d run on successive days with the exception of Park Runs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since mid October.
- 2nd – Monday – night club social – 5 – 5 – its social run night at Truro Running Club – I’m trying to run to all club activities within two miles of where I live unless I’ve got a meeting that needs lots of stuff – As the run towards the end comes close to my house I dive off home but it’s 5 miles. The longest I’ve run for 3 weeks.
- 1st – Sunday – New Years Day – I’m marshalling at the Brown Willy run – a good reason not to run on day one of the New Year. Many do and then do my follow it up! Assuming the Arc 50 in 2024 is on Saturday January 27th 2024 there are as of today 392 days to go.
Start of January 2023 - 392 days to go - I need to lose a couple or five pounds and get out running!
2022 saw me complete 107 runs and 664 miles.
Highlights from 2022:
Loch Ness Marathon – Oct 2nd – although the route was relatively flat I was disappointed to take 5:09 – on reflection I probably went too fast first half – 2:11 – I don’t think I did enough training and there were no crowds to help keep me going.
Cleethorpes Parkrun – Aug – 24:43 – my second fastest ever
Fordh Sen Mighal – Dec – 10 minutes quicker than 2021
National Trails Relay – running leg 35 – Helford to Porthoustock