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23 Jan - 2 Alpes Night Trail
2:11:05 - 28/101, 4/16 AG
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1:26:15 - 233/8095, 66/1439 AG
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5:10 (Brighton-Eastbourne)
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2014 Events
01 Feb: Pilgrims Challenge Day 1
5:35 24/199
30 Mar: Springtime Sportive 54m
3:07 1/157
05 Apr: SDW 50 Ultra
9:06 107/314
21 Apr: Thames Turbo Tri
1:04 22/347, 1/31 AG
04 May: Steyning Oly
1:46 15/111, 3/22 AG
11 May: Beacon Rouleur Sportive
5:49 11/48
31 May: City to Summit Tri
15:27 25/123
22 Jun: Sussex Triathlon Oly
2:37 21/93, 2/13 AG
19 Jul: Race To The Stones 100k
13:09 103/703
24 Aug: Triathlon du Mont Blanc
1:17:03 34/310, 8/82 AG
07 Sep: Bala Oly
2:11 118/560, 20/118 AG
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1:21 5/155
21 Sep: Brighton Marina Tri
1:48 7/109, 4/28 AG
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39:09 205/3196, 53/548 AG
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1:07 28/283
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Total posts: 1284
Pilgrims Challenge Day 1 Report (+training update)
Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:02 pm iainm
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There are now 117 days to go until City To Summit. 17 weeks? That sounds slightly better. Four months? Well, thatís a lifetime away! Of course Iím nervous, but itís the right kind of nervous. My training is going to plan: with a quality 4-week training block in January topped off by a hilly ultra marathon this weekend.

The Pilgrims Challenge
The ultra in question was the Pilgrims Challenge, organised by Extreme Energy Events. This is actually a two day race, with day one going 33 miles going along the North Downs Way from Farnham to Merstham, then returning the opposite direction the following day.

I felt like a bit of a fraud only doing Day 1 - but as in all races like this, everyone has their own goal and their own pace. Some, like Robbie Britton, were racing to win (as indeed he did, with a new course record). Others, were building to longer events like the Marathon des Sables, and testing out their full kit in the process.

This was only my 3rd ultra, so I donít have much experience, but theyíre not much different from the triathlon crowd. Theyíre all people who get up too early at the weekend to do something most of the population would never consider!

Race Report
My day started at 5.30am to get the trains I needed to arrive at Farnham station by 9am. Iíd been allocated a start in the ĎElite groupí, which amused me. Slower runners and walkers started one and two hours before us Ďelitesí. After a short transfer by the eventís minibus to race HQ, I registered, dropped my bag, and prepped my kit. I had enough time to say hello to Danny Kendall and Robbie Britton, both of whom Iíve previously met at Profeet events, before the race briefing.

At triathlons I donít always pay as much attention to the race briefing as I should, but I wanted to minimise the possibility of getting lost on the North Downs! The key advice I took home was ĎIf you think youíve lost the path, donít go on, backtrack to where you last knew where you wereí. Simple and it makes sense, but it can be hard to do sometimes when you know itís going to cost you time.

It paid to be cautious on the route. Numerous fallen trees and flooded paths meant the path wasnít always obvious. Luckily, most of the time I was running with, or near to, other runners. Apart from the trees, the path itself was a mess. For much of it Ė it seemed like most it Ė it was mudbath. At first I tried to dodge or weave round the mud, but as getting covered was inevitable, by the end I just took the most direct route possible. It made the whole run much more energy sapping that it needed to be Ė it felt sometimes that only 80% of the energy I was putting in was actually driving me forward. It might be my running style, but the Brooks Cascadia didnít feel like they were getting enough traction and a shoe with grippier tread might have been better.

The mud was so thick that it was a relief to run through a couple of rivers along the way and clear it off. The flooding was so bad at the foot of Box Hill that we had to take a diversion over the dual carriageway, as the underpass was waist-deep. Having said all of that, it was a beautiful day, with only a touch of rain and superb views. It was a pleasure to run it. By the end my pace had slowed, but I was very happy to finish in 5h35m at an average pace of 6:22 min/km.

South Downs Way 50
I wouldnít have fancied running the 33 miles back the next day but recovery has been very good. I feel fine and did an easy 30mins on the turbo yesterday and a more demanding session of an hour today. My next big event is the South Downs Way 50 on 5th April. Thatís clearly going to a lot tougher, but Iím looking forward to it and thinking about a sub-10hr finish.

Swimming and Biking
Of course, on top of the running, Iíve been training the other disciplines (these Ďpureí ultra runners have it easy). Thatís been going pretty well too. In January I logged 34.2km swimming Ė making it my biggest month ever. Itís not fast, but Iím feeling more comfortable in the water. Iím mindful that swimming in the sea is a different skill from swimming in a pool and I know I need to HTFU and get in the Channel again. With that in mind Iíve put my name on the waiting list to join Brighton sea Swimming Club. Apparently they are opening membership again in April, so that will probably be good timing.
Cycling has definitely taken a back seat this month. Iíve been managing three sessions per week, but the long aerobic sessions have all been running. Iím banking on this being enough to cover the base normally built by cycling and once the SDW50 is out the way Iíll get back on the bike properly again. In the meantime, Iím mainly in the garage on the turbo, watching lots of movies, but not cycling for more than 90mins at a time.

So overall, itís all good. As long as I can balance the running, and get enough in, while still training in the other disciplines, I can see it all coming together.

KP Nut - Let me know...I'm not sure I'll ever find out!
Carlito - the guy is amazing. Won in a record time yesterday
Tri blog | Follow my snowsports blog at Skipedia | Supported by Profeet Custom

Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:14 pm The Iain
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Good work Iain - I remember it being a bit muddy in places when I did it, I dread to think how it looks now!


About Iain
I'm a 50 year old triathlete and runner, competing since 1992. I have competed in 119 triathlons and 20 marathons (including 6 ultras). I am supported by Profeet - sports footwear and orthotics specialists.
- GFA time at VLM
- Qualify for World Triathlon Champs
- AG podium local tris
- Stay under 76kg

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