Monday 28 November 2011

Seattle Half Marathon and Cyber Monday

Yesterday I dusted off the Elvis suit for its 5th race (previous ones being Guinness World Records at London 2007, Rome 2008 and Seattle 2009, Miwok 100k 2011) at the Seattle Half Marathon. It was the last of my 2011 runs to help support and raise awareness for the work done at the Starfish Greathearts Foundation to help AIDS orphans in Africa, so if you're feeling generous, please donate here (UK) or here (all others).

The race was wet and windy and it didn't help that I forgot to bring a belt, which is essential for a one-size-fits-all costume. Instead I had string to hold up wet trousers, which meant they slipped down and chaffed more than usual. However, it was fun to be part of the 11,000 people running the marathon or half and to not do the full race for once, although the hilliest section is within the last few miles of both courses so that wasn't avoided. I think Amy and her sister, Megan, kind of enjoyed it as their first half marathon and longest run ever, but they may be cursing me a little bit today as they limp around.

I did spot a guy in a Spiderman suit walking around the finish after I'd eaten some food but I couldn't be 100% certain he'd run or not. You never know.

Next weekend is the big showdown at the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship 50 miler in Marin, by San Francisco. It's looking to be the hottest trail race competition of the year (sorry, UTMB), as you can see from the irunfar preview of the men's race. Just needs a couple more Salomon guys from Europe and it'd have pretty much every elite who's fit on the starting line. So it should be great to catch up with people and to meet a load more I've not bumped into before.

Finally, since it's Cyber Monday and I have a couple of coaching spots left, I'm offering 5% off my prices on my coaching website for anyone who commits today only (up to midnight PST).

Sunday 20 November 2011

Return of Elvis

Seattle marathon 2009

After a few weeks off running and plenty off racing, I tried a 5k last week and hated it. Annoyingly it was a PB, but only because the course was short and my actual speed was barely above marathon PB pace.

Luckily I have stuff that does interest me more coming right up. Firstly, there's the Seattle Half Marathon in a week where I'll be returning to the course where I last got the Elvis marathon Guinness World Record (2:42). Just half the distance this time, but faster and for charity. As with earlier in the year, I'm trying to help out the Starfish Greathearts Foundation, who help AIDS orphans in Africa. If you'd like to help me support this worthy cause, donations in the UK can be given here or other nationalities can donate here.

Given this time of year is Thanksgiving (for 330m people, anyway), it's a good time to remember how lucky most of us are and how much we take for granted, so please help the charity out if you're amused by or like my odd efforts to raise awareness.

After taking that race fairly easy, I have the final big showdown of the year at The North Face Endurance Challenge Final. This is shaping up to be a seriously competitive 50 miler, probably the best field I've ever heard of in a trail 50 (better than last year - check out some of the top names from all over the world on this list). Should be really fun to hang out with the world's best and be part of such a speedy field in one of my favorite places to run - Marin.

Enjoy the 'holiday season' as they say over here in the US and good luck with your races or off season fun.

Also, if you're thinking of a Christmas present for a runner, I have a couple of spots left for coaching and it's an ideal present for a distance runner which could help make their 2012 season the best yet. More details here.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Mountains and Colorado

I just came back from my first trip to Colorado and was lucky to meet up briefly with two of the most iconic ultrarunners around today (I'm sure that would make them blush if they saw it), Scott Jurek and Geoff Roes. And if that isn't enough, I also had the UROC 100k RDs, Gill and Frannie (also very accomplished ultrarunners) to run with. These guys showed me some of the trails near Boulder, the mountain ultra hub, including going up Green Mountain and another run up along Eldorado Canyon to the Walker Ranch Loop.

Above Eldorado Canyon, CO

As above

And again

Heading up out of Boulder (L-R: Geoff, Gill, Frannie)

One climb done, heading up Green Mt next (L-R: Scott, Gill, Frannie and Geoff)

Halfway up Green Mt, CO

Gill at the top of Green Mt

Scott on the top of Green Mt with a decent view of multiple 14ers

Imagine that on your doorstep, right by Boulder

Gill and Scott on Green Mt

UROCers heading back down Green Mt

Anyway, I had a blast even though I struggled to keep up in their home territory. I can see why so many fast runners live around the area and how they get so good at running in the mountains - if I had that on my doorstep I'd be out there most days too. Luckily I now have Bend's mountains so I can do my own smaller version with less altitude but still with some 3,000ft+ climbs straight up. Speaking of which, I went up Mt Bachelor twice a few days before the trip to Colorado before the first snowfall of the year, which felt tough (2,700ft in about 2 miles, peaking at 9,100ft).

I also love fast running and roads, but being out in these kinds of places with such genuinely friendly and relaxed company is just plain inspiring. Bring on the snow and the snow shoes!

The photos below are around Bend, mainly from the hikes up Bachelor last week.

Friday 4 November 2011

New coaching website

I'm sure anyone reading this will be literally bursting with excitement at the thought of me making my blog-style coaching website into a proper website, but I did it anyway. Very interesting from my perspective learning a bit about websites, so here's the finished product.

I'm now coaching people across four continents so if you're a current or aspiring marathoner or ultrarunner who wants to improve and learn more, contact me soon if you're interested before I run out of spots.

You could even buy a coaching plan for a Christmas gift for that special runner in your life (do I sound like an ad man or even worse?).