Tag Archives: Ultra

5 days to go……


Today was the last longish run before the Ultra, an easy paced 10 mile run. The only other running I will be doing in the coming week will be a 3-4 mile run on Tuesday and a 2-3 mile run on Wednesday.

As I am only doing the 50 mile run I will not be able to get my hands on the NDW100 24hour belt buckle, but there is always next year….

I was looking at some of the statistics that I have built up since I started running properly in Feb 2011 and thought I would share them with everyone, so here they are:

February 2011 to August 2012

Miles Run: 1280.02, that’s like going from Lands End to John o’Groats (838 miles on the roads) and still having enough to get back to London!!

Total Time: 205:05:24.74, or 8 and half days

Total Calories: 161740, or 330 Big Mac’s

Total Ascent: 71389..341 Meters, or the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 8 times.

I am feeling ready for the challenge ahead and I think it has helped for my mental focus having the Olympics on, all those amazing people doing amazing things, you just can’t help but be influenced by them.

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11 days to go…..


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Crossing the stepping stones at the bottom of box hill will be about mile 24 into the run

11 days to go until the big run, I have ordered a load of nutritional products (gels and electrolyte tablets) and will be getting my chefs hat on to make some “real food” in the form of bite sized flapjacks. I am not only doing the run for “fun”, but for a worthy cause in the guise of the Special Care Baby Fund, who support the special care unit that looked after my boys. Thank you to all who have donated so far and if you haven’t and can spare a couple of quid please visit my just giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/AnthonyClark2012

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13 days to go…..


With less than 2 weeks to go until the North Downs Way 50 the nerves are building and the enormity of the task ahead is becoming more apparent.

It now comes to a point where I am asking myself have I done enough training, the reality is that I could have done more. I feel I have done as much as possible while still maintaining a reasonable life v training balance and not really sure where I could have squeezed in more, but that doesn’t stop the wondering.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, this week was a good one for mileage and the type of training. Monday I mentioned in my last post, a 13 miler which was to work off the excesses of the Stag do. Tuesday I ran a 4.85 mile run, taking Wednesday off and running 8.28 miles on the Thursday. Saturday was the last long run before the Ultra and I ran a section of the North Downs Way, before heading home, for a total of 20.06 miles.

The long run was a pretty sedate pace overall, coming in at 12:27/mi but this was down to A) Navigating the North Downs, B) focusing on managing my energy levels and C) Stopping to take photos here and there.

A shot of the trail heading towards Pilgrims Lane just outside of Merstham

The run started out from Merstham, I was running with Gareth but he was going to do run 6 miles out then another 6 back whereas my plan was to carry on along the North Downs Way to Titsey then follow the roads and trails back to Croydon, with a planned distance of 20 miles (although I hadn’t planned the route from Titsey to Croydon). Heading out from Merstham we started along the trail, the weather wasn’t great but it was a lot cooler so this made running so much easier.

There are some nice views, helps keep the mind occupied

Using the Harvey Map and the sign-posts, as well as the route details Gareth had printed out we plodded along. The ground has dried up significantly, but the mud has dried uneven and this means careful navigation at some points.

The scene from Caterham viewing point
Into the dark!

It was at Caterham that the first navigation error occurred, and looking back on the GPS recording vs the map I can see that we simply missed a road. Below is a screen capture of the recording and where we should have gone according to the map, simple really but we just missed the turning that we should have taken and carried along the road until we found a trail that we thought was the North Downs.

The red line was the route we took, the black the rout we should have taken. We just expected the turning to be further than it was, it didn’t cost us too much time as we found our way back.

This mistake highlighted how important keeping aware of my surroundings will be on the NDW50, as a mistake like that could be very costly.

A photo of the sign posts that keep you on the straight and narrow, and it was at this sign-post that I headed off on my own as Gareth turned back for his run to the car.

Now on my own I was reliant on the sign-posts and the map, so the already slowish pace slowed further as I was stopping every 5 minutes to check that I was taking the right turn and not heading onto some random trail.

A shot of the trail leading off, the ground drier and easier to run on
The fields of Oxted Downs
Nearing the quarry and Titsey plantation
Its not without dangers, luckliy he didn’t appear to be home
The map used, Harvey North Downs Way (West). Great map, all of the route in nice sections and waterproof.

Titsey foundation walk and part of the North Downs Way, this a longish uphill section

Coming out of Titsey I had finished the section of the North Downs Way that I was going to do for the day, I was tempted to carry on to Knockholt Pound as it is the finish of the NDW50 but having not planned my return journey (either running or public transport) from there I opted to head back home, aware that it should work out about 12 miles.

It was shortly into this route back that I got lost, a footpath sign that I was passing I ended up following to see where it ended up. Coming out into a field after about 2 miles I encounter a number of sheep and no real idea which turning to follow.

Lots of sheep but no idea where to go.
What did we do before Smartphones with GPS!! Using my phone and Google Maps I manage to find a direction to head in to get me back to a route I know

Once I had found my way back it was a simple case of following the routes I know home, bringing me in just over the 20 mile mark. After this run I don’t feel too bad, some slight aching but nothing major. The positives from this run is that despite the slow pace it is still quick enough to get me in under the 13:30 cut off of the NDW50, and that is all I am after.

Total Distance for the week: 46.25 miles, Total Time: 8:41:02, Total Calories: 5759

Experimenting with Chia seeds


If you have read Born to Run then you may be aware of the use of Chia seeds and Pinole by the Tarahumara tribe, who are the part of the main focus of the book. These people think nothing of getting up and running hundreds of miles of fun, seemingly with no effort at all.

So, given all the running I am doing I wanted to look into trying to find an alternative to the energy gels that are commonly used, 1) to find something more healthy and balanced and 2) to save money! Not really being sure where to start I did a bit of googling and came across this website with a basic ingredient list to work from: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/tarahumara-pinole-chia-recipes/

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, ground as fine as possible
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
  • chia seeds (optional)

The basic ingredients I got from the supermarket, having to substitute cornmeal with maizemeal and I ordered the Chia seeds from Amazon.

Now, I have taken some pictures of the process and I have found that I deviated from the quantitys described as I couldn’t quite get the right consistancy with the instructions on the nomeatathlete.

As instructed I measured out 1/2 cup of Maize Meal and cooked for about 5 minutes.
Then I added 2tbsp of brown suger, 2 tbsp of Chia seeds and a 1tsp of cinnamon

Lastly I divided the mixture up into 9 pieces and cooked in the oven for 5 minutes.

How did it taste, well better than it looks but this batch seemed very dry and I wanted to have a stickier consitancy which would form a more solid bar which would be easier to eat on the run.

It was back to the drawing board (and in some way still is) and the second attempt is better, but still not perfect for eating on the go, more of a pre-run snack.

So with the final amounts worked out, below is the ingredient list and nutritional value per serving (mixed with 6 tbsp of water):

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Tesco – Light Brown Muscovado Cane Sugar, 25 grams 100 25 0 0
Rowse Australian Honey – Honey, 15 g 10 0 0 0
Generic – Maize Meal, 1 cup cooked 177 38 2 4
Whole Foods Organic – Chia Seeds, 2 Tbsp. 140 12 9 4

Divided into 9 servings this works out at: 47 cal, 8gram Carb, 1 gram fat and 1 gram protein. It still needs work but its a good starting point.

I am going to keep updating the ingredient list and will post any changes I make. I also have been working on an Iskiate recepie, also from the nomeatathlete site but with my own tweak which I will post in the future.

New look to Blog and a brief training update


Finally got round to updating the look of the website and adding a new “about me” page, I think the theme I have chosen looks a bit more slick and I am liking the layout, hopfully people reading it will agree! Also seems I can set up an iPad theme, I don’t own one to see what its like but hopefully it looks ok.

This was the last of my weekday runs on my taper, and I am quite pleased with the pace of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Todays run my legs felt heavy, and if you compare Tuesday to today there was 4 minutes difference on the same 4mileish route. A day off tomorrow then a 9-10 mile run on Saturday (please stay dry!!)