From flat to fells 

Last week I was lucky enough to take part in two fun short distance races. The first of the two races was the LBH relays. I was asked by Kip, at work, to run for team run-fast and do one of the four legs. I apprehensively said yes as I’ve recently been trying to get more miles in than I have ever done before, so knew I wouldn’t be fresh. This is because I am now less than 3 weeks away from Race to the Stones. I was also apprehensive to say yes because I knew team run-fast had won the event the previous two years in course record times and we were aiming to do the same again. On the flip side to that I also knew I would have Kip (a 2:17 marathoner), Pete Huck (a sub 30min 10ker) and Vincent (a Ugandan) on my side. This meant if I could do a time of around 13 minutes we would probably break the record.  

 The race was really good fun. You start opposite Westminster and run along the river to Vauxhall Bridge. Having not raced 2.3 miles before I tried to think about the efforts I would put in for mile and 5k races and stay between the two. In hindsight I probably went off a bit quick considering I’d ran 20 miles in total the day before but luckily I could hold on to a decent pace. That was despite the steps at Vauxhall Bridge and some relatively tight turns over the bridges. Overall it was a really fun race and I finished my leg in 12:24 and handed over to Pete Huck inside the top 10. I was relieved to have done my part and could then relax as Pete tore around the route and amazingly took the lead just before handing over to Vincent. Vincent and Kip then brought home the win and new course record. It’s awesome to run with people that can run inside 11 minutes for 2.3 miles and it makes me want to get a lot quicker in the next few years. Here’s the team results and individual times:  

 Due to Race to the Stones 100k creeping up on me I decided to get another 20 miles in on Thursday. This comprised of running in to work for The Running Works Run Club at 1pm doing the run and running home again. This totals about 9 miles. I then chilled for a few hours before running with the Victoria Park Harriers. We did approximately 8.5 miles, I then added a loop of the park and ran home. 

The second race of the week was the Orion Harriers John Clarke memorial Fell Race on Friday night. Again not feeling fresh I had no idea what I would be capable of, especially being my first fell race. It is the only fell race within the M25 so I couldn’t pass up the oppportunity of running it. It is a 5k route including 951ft of climbing. I knew this before the race but found it hard to visualise just how steep this meant the inclines would be given it was just a 5k race. I started in the middle of the pack on the start line and my plan was to try and pace myself and move up through the field (pun intended!) This soon went out the window. The course started straight up a hill and I just decided to go for it and pay the price later on. Some of the descents were incredible. It’s hard to put into words how it felt to fly down the hills through the trees. I found myself thinking “how on earth am I still on my feet going this fast down here!” There is a certain art to running downhill really quickly and I am nowhere near mastering it but luckily I didn’t end up flat on my face. 

As the race went on the descents became harder to negotiate as I felt myself braking more due to feeling fatigued a) from the race itself and b) from the cumulative fatigue from the previous couple of days (and probably weeks). Of course the finish line was positioned at the top of a hill! I just about had enough strength to get/crawl up there and to my surprise finish in the top 10. I managed a time of 23:08. Funnily on the start line the announcer said “I hope you enjoy the course because the guy that thought of it is dead” Bit of a strange thing to say but luckily John Clarke made a great race. As you may have spotted in the results a certain Mr Ronnie O’Sullivan was running aswell and it was pretty cool to have a chat with him about his running at the finish line. He finished in a good time and was so casual just wearing board shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt ha 

Since the race I have found myself being pulled towards the hills in London. I’ve done a few long runs along the canal, up Primrose, Haverstock and Parliament Hills. I’ve also added in Swains Lane just for “fun”. The hills are definitely worth it for the views! Check out my Instagram page to see where I’ve been: @StephenSkinner6 

 

 Over the weekend I also went and cheered the girls on at the Nike 10k in Victoria Park. I supported with Cheer Dem Crew who are always a roudy bunch! Well done to everyone that ran and congrats to those of you that PBd. I find it strange being the other side of the barrier for a change but it is inspiring to see people reach their goals. As mentioned on Helenas @the_fitadvisor blog we also found out my long arms are handy (pun intended) when it comes to taking selfies. I also learnt I’m a better photographer than I thought! Ha Watch out Matt aka @thebaldrunner I’m after your job! 

See and speak to a lot of you soon! 

Steve 

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Stepping into the unknown 

On Sunday 7th June I joined Advent Running (arcollective) for their Bridges Ultra. The reason I decided to do this was I have Race to the Stones 100k on July 11th and I thought running 50k before taking on 100k might be a good idea. It was also good timing as I’d just finished a long stretch of races throughout May, so it was good to not worry about pace so much but get some (36) miles in. We started at 9am and the route was along the River Thames and we crossed every bridge along the route until we arrived in Richmond. 

The weather was pretty hot so it was good for me to practice keeping hydrated and eating on the run. We stopped at various bridges for photos and to make sure the group was all together, this was good as I need to know that when I am tired in Races to the Stones I can walk parts and then get running again. Due to racing the Bristol 10k and PBing by 30 seconds and because I had ran a fair bit during the week I was pretty tired but it was a confidence builder to know I could for further than a marathon. 

When we got to the 42k point I was knackered but I then had a strange out of body experience. I felt almost as if I couldn’t run any further but at the same time my body was running a 8 min/mile pace for a few miles alongside James Poole (one of advent running’s founders). Somehow we lost our bearings and headed back East for a few kilometres meaning the run would end up being 58 instead of 50k but I think that’s a good thing really. I would “just” have another marathon to go come race day! 

It was a great day of running and I enjoyed sharing the journey with the advent runners.   I rest for a couple of days after the ultra run but then got in a few miles in the latter part of the week. On Saturday 13th I joined friends for a trail run along parkland walk and around North London. I decided to carry on running and luckily Andrew is training for Race to the Stones aswell so we ended up doing a fair few miles. Andrew ended up doing 30 miles and I did 27.5. I decided to cut the run that littl but shorter because of the long run the Sunday before and I took part in and was working the City of London mile on Sunday 14th June.   My decision paid off as I somehow managed to PB the mile in 5:02, which seems kind of crazy the day after running 27.5 miles. Oh well, I’ll take it and hopefully when I’m fresh before a mile race at some point I’ll get into the 4s. 

I know I said I wasn’t going to race much in June but I’m about to head off to the LBH relay near Westminster Bridge and I’m probably going to do the Orion Fell Race on Friday evening before trying to get in some big runs on Saturday and Sunday. I will also be at the women’s Nike 10k supporting so that should be fun.

See you out there

Steve x

May by numbers

I enjoy looking at stats from running so thought I would recap my racing in May looking at the times I managed and where I finished.

1. 03/05/15 Wings for Life – Silverstone 37kms/23 miles, 13th at Silverstone, 983rd in the World Run, 908th male  

 2. 07/05/15 Assembly League Victoria Park 3.5 miles 19:20, 34th.

3. 09/05/15 Mile End parkrun 5k 17:49, 2nd (equalled Mile End parkrun course PB)

4. 10/05/15 Run Hackney Half Marathon 1:20:30, 54th 

 5. 17/05/15 Richmond Park Marathon 3:25:48, 27th 

 6. 23/05/15 Mile End parkrun 17:44, 4th (new course PB by 5 seconds)

7. 24/05/15 BUPA Westminster Mile 5:05, 1st in Wave B, 44th overall, 9th in AG  

 8. 25/05/15 BUPA London 10,000 35:59, 239th, 215th in gender, 181st in AG (equalled 10k PB) 57 points for the Run Britain Grand Prix to add to my 82 from Reading Half.

 9. 31/05/15 Bristol 10k 35:31, 103rd (new 10k PB by 28 seconds)  

 

Overall a busy month of racing, really happy with some of the results. I’m now flicking the switch from racing to mileage mode (incorporating a couple of races). I hope everyone had a good month of running and racing, see you out there.

Steve X