Posts Tagged With: Campbell Park

Outlaw Half Training – week 1 done, 18 to go…

First week of training is complete! Not exactly as set out on the training plan, but pretty darn close and for me that’s pretty good!

The week started well – usual GreenlightPT turbo session in the open air. It was bit chilly so I actually wore tights for a change. Was a good move as the wind doesn’t half whip under that underpass – anyone who knows MK will know the John Lewis underpass is a rather large underpass underneath Midsummer Boulevard and takes you through to Campbell Park – the highest point in MK.

Tuesday was a rest day which was nice and a bit of a change as I’ve always run on Tuesday since I was about 12 and trained with MKAC. Wednesday started early with a core session – and boy does my core need some work. I’m reasonably fit and regard myself as strong, but as for core fitness I am lacking severely! But it’s still early days and with 2 sessions a week in my plan, plus a bit as part of the turbo session I’m hoping this will improve over the next 18 weeks. I struggled in the swim in the evening but completed everything in the required times and still got some rest.

Thursday should have been intervals, but as my knee isn’t up to that yet, I’d planned an easy run instead but as with the best laid plans it didn’t happen. Mr C had to work late so I ended up doing an improptu turbo session instead. As a result of the late night – and it was very late, I had to forgo my early morning swim session but did get a quick (sorry slow) recovery run in at 6am. There is something quite special about running before the sun comes up. The birds are already tweeting and although it’s still dark, it doesn’t feel like you’re running in the dark – hard to explain but I’m hoping to get some more early morming running in like that as it really does set you up for the day – especially if it’s a bit fresh outside – I was wide awake by the end of the first mile!

Ealry Morning in Pury

We had a long ride planned for Saturday – I had about 40 miles on my plan so took an amble over to Cartlon. The wind must have been behind us as it was the fastest ride I’d had for months – slowed a little on the way back but felt really good. Lots of chat, not too much puffing and I only got dropped once – that’s good! The week was rounded off with a slow 5 mile this morning in horizontal rain and I finally squeezed in that missed swim session in the evening. A bit of traffic in the lane made it a challenge but all done and that is week 1 complete! All starts again tomorrow…

Categories: Outlaw, Training | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Milton Keynes Marathon – Race Report

Monday 6th May was the second running of the Milton Keynes Marathon. In the scheme of things there aren’t masses of marathons around and to have one in my home town was too good an opportunity to miss. Despite only running the London Marathon 14 days previously I felt good about this one and had my eye on sub 4 – preferably sub 3:50. I felt I did get held up in London quite significantly in places and ignoring my meltdown at mile 23 – mental, not physical – deep down I know there’s a decent marathon in there dying to get out. Where better to do this than the local marathon on a route I’ve trained on for the last two years with loads of local support, plus with so many club mates from DLRR running there was bound to be someone to run with.

Little did we know that Monday would prove to be one of the hottest days of the year so far. In real terms it wasn’t excessively hot, but when you’ve trained around zero degrees for nearly four months, high teens centigrade feels a bit furnace like!

I met my other team mates outside a well known burger chain at StadiumMK and there was a really relaxed atmosphere, lots of picture taking and group shots for the local paper and radio station. Most of us had trained together since the start of the year, mainly on the long Sunday runs and in a way it was just like another long Sunday run, just a bit more popular than usual!

I made my way to the start not really sure where abouts we were supposed to be. There were two waves, red and green – I assumed green was the slower wave as I was in it but there did seem to be a real mix of people in there including most of the official pacers. I started the race with a fellow DLRR team mate who runs a similar pace as me and we agreed to go for 8:50-9 min miles and see how things panned out. Both of us were keen to beat the 4 hour barrier with pbs just outside and I suppose the safe option would have been to run with the sub 4 pacer, but deep down I think we both wanted a bit more than just under fours so felt the 8:50 option was better.

The first 7 miles were on roads and included some loops of the city centre. This was a really nice way to start as there were lots of points when we past runners coming the other direction so there was plenty of opportunities to cheer fellow team mates on both ahead of us and behind – a really nice atmosphere abounded. It was hard to spot everyone as not all of us were in green. Many, including myself were running for local charities so plenty of concentration was needed in that section to spot people. It really made the first 7 miles or so fly. On leaving the city centre there was a good few miles downhill as we headed towards Simpson and Walton Park. The mile times had been a bit quick, partly with excitement (a hometown marathon gets the blood pumping) and partly because there were a fair few downhill sections. I was a bit concerned I’d gone off too fast, but in reality it was probably only 5 second a mile quicker overall so not really an issue. I tried to reign it in a bit between 7 and 10 miles and those splits were just about bang on.


There were so many people out watching and it was great to see loads of people I knew as well. People had come out in their droves with deckchairs on the sides of roads, picnics in the parks and just generally giving the whole day a real carnival atmosphere.

By mile 10 it was about 11:30 am and the sun was beating down pretty hard by then. My team mate asked me how I was feeling and although I answered ok, deep down I wasn’t actually feeling too good at all. My legs felt fine but inside I could just feel myself burning up and getting hotter and hotter. Similar feeling that you get when you know you’re about to go down with a bad cold/flu. I stuck with it for a few more miles but at about 12 I started to put the brakes on a bit. I let my team mate go on her way and thought a few slower miles might make me feel a bit better. I reached halfway in a respectable 1:55 which was bang on pace but I knew that my race for a pb was probably over. Shortly after that I pretty much threw in the towel and resigned myself to getting round as comfortably as possible. By this point I had already passed other team mates who I would have expected to be ahead of me and loads of other runners were walking.

It never crossed my mind to quit the race itself. I don’t drop out of races, in fact I’m not sure I can remember ever having a DNF. I’ll drag my sorry arse around to the end every time. This particular marathon was as important to finish as London was. I was running for Henry and it’s time like this when you remember the bigger picture and forget your own unimportant issues and just get on with the job in hand. He’s depending on people like me to raise money for his appeal and I was going to flipping finish this marathon one way or another! Although when you have your first walk at 14 miles with another 12 to go I had to dig deep…

Miles 9-17 were marshalled by DLRR and it didn’t half keep me going. I was dying to walk but with someone you know every 100m or so it was pretty hard – although I managed it ;-). My best bud and her family popped up at mile 18 and I was pretty broken by then. I actually stopped and had a hug from her, I can’t even remember what we said to each other but it got me going again for a bit.

I knew once we came off the canal at Great Linford it was the turn back to the finish with just six miles left. It was a long slog with a climb up to Campbell Park. I set myself a target of 5 mins run to 1 min walk and it seemed to work ok. My running must have still been near normal pace as even with walking I was keeping the times under 10:50 min per mile.

Once I reached Campbell Park I knew I was on the way home. It’s a reasonably nice run down towards the hospital although by this point there was more walking and less running going on. Casualties were increasing the nearer we got to the finish and the paramedics and marshals on duty that day were amazing. People were just running out of steam in the heat and each water station was like a little reward for getting that bit further. With two miles to go there is a nasty climb behind the hospital. Within the running community in MK it is a well known hill training spot and the last thing you need at 24 miles in a marathon. But, head down and up it I went. I managed to run most of it and wasn’t put off by the sight of yet another casualty getting loaded onto a trolley by paramedics – to be fair it was probably the best spot to go down – A&E was literally 100m’s from that bit of the route!

The last two miles I got a bit of a second wind and felt like I ran most of it. Coming out of the final underpass and up the hill towards the stadium was great. There was a bit of a loop of the car park before entering StadiumMK itself but the whole route was lined with people which was fantastic. Through the tunnel and round the perimeter of the pitch I got a bit of a spurt on and passed quite a few people before I finally crossed over the line. 4:16 dead. Nearly quarter of an hour slower than London but I made it in one piece!

So two marathons in 15 days off the back of around 8 weeks nearly full training. I think my work here is done – for a bit anyway!

The Henry Allen Appeal

The Henry Allen Appeal

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Milton Keynes Half – Review

Bit later than I planned but here it goes…

The MK Half is traditionally cold wet and windy and this year was no different although rather than rain it snowed most of the way round. MK can be quite a windy city and with a route that included Campbell Park and Willen Lake we were never going to escape it.

With all my injury worries leading up to today I wasn’t really looking at this as a race, with London looming I feel quite under prepared for the marathon so was hoping to use this as a stepping stone and confidence booster to make the most of the next four weeks before I start to taper (although not sure how you taper when you haven’t done a lot in the first place!).

As I’m quite behind with my long runs I planned to do an easy three miles before the race to give me a solid 16 miles for the day. I’d parked in Campbell Park itself and ran down to the canal and looped back round.  It was quite slow but everything felt ok so with a quick change back at the car I jogged over to the club meeting point for our traditional pre race photo. We had over 120 guys running in this race and a good 60 turned up for the photo shoot in the ‘Food Centre’. This was right next to the start so it meant we could all stay in the warmth until the final few minutes.

The start itself was a bit of a damp squib really, no obvious countdown or klaxon, just lots of people moving in the same direction really slowly but managed to jog over the line and get going. I had planned to take a least the first 8-9 miles at 9:30 pace then see how I felt for the rest, but the first 2 miles was all downhill so I was running at 9 min pace without even trying! All still felt ok so I thought I’d keep it steady for another mile or so and see how it went.

The course comes off main roads after about a mile and after a quick jaunt through a housing estate hits the redways of MK. We then rejoin one of the old roads (from before MK took over) and followed this all the way to Willen Lake. Before reaching the lake was the DLRR cheering point where loads of fellow runners and their families were waiting to cheer us on. As a club we really do have the best supporters in the business, it was seeing these guys at this race last year that made me want to join DLRR and so far I’ve loved every minute.

The lake was windy, as usual, and with the snow falling was hard work but I hit 6 miles a bit quicker than I’d planned but felt strong. As the route came away from the lake we came into Broughton differently to previous years and ended up with a bit of cross country as the path we should have followed was flooded –  quite concerned about my trainers! I had a stop in Broughton to stretch my achilles – it wasn’t hurting but felt a bit tight and as I wasn’t racing wouldn’t hurt to stop for a bit.

After the stretch I felt pretty good. As we reached 8 miles and headed back towards Woolstone I thought I’d try to push the pace a bit to see how much my leg would take – quite a bit as it turned out! The pace went up to 8:30 miles and no reaction. I passed the DLRR cheering crew again and then back towards Willen Lake to do a final stretch along the canal before the final mile through Campbell Park.

I was passing people left right and centre now which is always a good feeling but decided to not increase the pace any further. I’d proved to myself I could run 13 miles at marathon pace and a bit quicker so didn’t need to do any more.

The final mile went back up through the park. It rises gradually for about 800 meters then the final 400m or so is straight up to the Beacon which is the highest point in MK. I normally love hill running so gave it a good bash although I did need to reign it in a bit as hills and achilles don’t really mix.

I finished in 1:57, a good 15 minutes off my pb but today was never about racing. I got round in one piece without any after effects and was buzzing.

The race itself is ok, I only do it each year because it’s on my doorstep. It’s billed as a festival of running’ but there isn’t a feel like that to the event. Several thousand runners take part and there’s a 10k and 5k race as well but the whole set up doesn’t really have a big event feel. The medals were handed to you in little bags, there were drinks on offer at the end but no goody bag so you’re having to carry it all. They did have space blankets which was a nice touch, but tucked away in boxes that you had to help yourself to – getting one of those wrapped round yourself while holding two bottles and a medal in the freezing cold is no easy task. The route is great. It’s quick and even with the hill at the end many of our club got PBs.

My achilles has been feeling a lot better the last week or so, I’m still very conscious of it but with careful management of it I’m still able to increase my mileage without too much of an issue. It’s frustrating not been able to run completely free but I’m in a much happier place now than I was a few weeks ago when I had to seriously consider if London was actually going to happen but with support from the guys at my club and a lot of stretching and icing I think I’m well on the road to recovery – so much so that I think it’s reasonably safe to say – we’re off to London baby!

Medal and T-shirt

Medal and T-shirt


Categories: Injury, Races | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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