Sunday, January 18, 2015

Russell's running review 2014

My total tracked running distance was 3095km.  5 races. 17 parkruns at 7 venues. I also cycled 3217km

Personal Bests

10 mile PB at Lordshill. 69:08 chip time. Sub-7 (4:20/km) pace according to Strava - measured short
Net-flat 10k PB, 41:54 
Net-flat 6k PB at 4:04/km pace - my best ever age-graded performance
5 mile PB 4:08/km pace 33:15-ish, but net downhill
Half-marathon PB at Warwick BHF 1:36:20 official 1:36:10 by Strava
30k in 2:29:16 (Sub-8/mile pace) 

Other best performances

Farley Church Sign loop in well under an hour  - 3 nasty hills, 4:25/km average pace

Most painful / toughest

Sub-7 10k. Absolutely brutal. Averaged 176bpm HR, hit 190!  Hardest run ever.
Compton Download Challenge 2014 - the hills!
10 mile PB at Lordshill. - last 4 miles were tough, last 2 horrible
11k sub-7/mile pace with Dan  171bpm average heart rate. Had a 5k cross-country slog back to work afterwards
Started a sub-8 half marathon. Gave up after 10k cuz I felt awful
6x800m intervals, all sub-6/mile pace
Kenyan intervals: 1 min@4:10/km, 1 min @ 5:10/km
6x1k, all sub-4/km pace
3x3km intervals


2014/03/18 Half-marathon PB at Warwick BHF 1:36:20 official 1:36:10 by Strava
2014/04/19 Compton Download Challenge 2014  32.3km (20 miles) in 3:17:41 
2014/05/18 10k in Florence town  Measured short IMHO. 1000s ran, great atmosphere
2014/11/02 10 mile PB at Lordshill. 69:08 chip time. Sub-7 (4:20/km) pace according to Strava - measured short
2014/11/23 Sandown Park Running Show in the Rain  43:43 (sub-7 by GPS) 24th of 181 finishers


35.5km (22 miles) in 3:09:59 Longest run of the year
32.3km (20 miles) in 3:17:41 Compton Download Challenge 2014
30.2km (18.8 miles) in 2:30:00 (Sub-8/mile pace) Sub-2:30 30km with negative split
27.8km (17.3 miles) in 2:35:06 Lapping waves on the Strawberry Trail
42.6km (26.3 miles) 8 sub-24 parkruns in one day

Most enjoyable

Offroad in the mountains around Keswick
Switchbacks and offroad in Corfu
8 sub-24 parkruns in one day
Long run with a new trail and hills and offroad that felt relatively easy


Offroad in the mountains around Keswick
Compton Download Challenge 2014

Lapping waves on the Strawberry Trail

Parkruns (17 runs at 7 venues)

I also did freedom runs at Havant and Queen Elizabeth Country Park - 8 sub-24 parkruns in one day


Hursley site entrances (north to south)  3:22/km in to a headwind
Well that went well 4 Course Records

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Longest day runs: 8 sub-24 runs in 6 parkrun parks

tl;dr - Ran 5k 8 times between 09:00 and 18:30 across 6 different parkrun sites. Every one was done in less than 24 minutes. Also ran over a marathon's distance for the day - 42.6km in 3:26:20

Longest day 1/8. Eastleigh. 23:35 5 km 04:43 pace

My goal was all 7 parkruns in under 24 minutes. Last year I did them all in under 25 minutes and jogged an extra 7.2k to make a marathon distance overall for the day.

The day started thinking we'd do 7. Only later did we think about adding an 8th. And the extra mileage for a daily marathon came for free from the Netley Abbey jog from the car to the start and back

There were about ten of us at Eastleigh. Dave Williams, Mark Pocock and Luke Saker are the people I knew.

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:39.62 +4 145 (78%) 158 (86%) 85.3
2.00 4:41.66 -9 158 (86%) 166 (90%) 85.0
3.00 4:52.81 +23 163 (88%) 168 (91%) 84.5
4.00 4:33.82 -16 161 (87%) 165 (89%) 85.1
5.00 4:47.41 -2 164 (89%) 169 (91%) 84.8

Longest day 2/8. Winchester 3-laps. 23:31 5 km 04:42 pace

A touch easier than Eastleigh. Mark Pocock only did the Eastleigh one. Tim and May were there and May ran it. There were 3 or so guys who were doing Eastleigh and Winchester.

Only Luke, Dave and another guy named Ulen Neale went on to Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:38.02 0 144 (78%) 152 (82%) 85.5
2.00 4:37.72 +0 156 (84%) 160 (87%) 85.8
3.00 4:50.93 -1 159 (86%) 160 (87%) 85.2
4.00 4:42.46 0 161 (87%) 163 (88%) 85.0
5.00 4:42.20 -1 162 (88%) 166 (90%) 86.0

Longest day 3/8. QECP. 23:51 5.01 km 04:46 pace

Kieron (Race Director) and another guy also ran with us (not alongside, behind).

A 12:10 start and it was getting warm, although the sun was mostly behind clouds.

By the top of the big hill on the 2nd lap I was 44 seconds behind where I need to be but I made it all back in the next downhill kilometre. My Gradient-adjusted pace as quicker for the climb than the descent though - 4:24/km for the main climb (km 3), 4:54/km for the descent (km 4)

I worked fairly hard on this run but I wasn't fatigued so it was overall fine.

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:32.94 -30 152 (82%) 163 (88%) 88.1
2.00 5:27.60 +32 165 (89%) 174 (94%) 85.4
3.00 5:13.11 +33 172 (93%) 175 (94%) 84.7
4.00 3:51.01 -72 163 (88%) 172 (93%) 88.7
5.00 4:46.84 +22 168 (91%) 172 (93%) 86.6

Longest day 4/8. Havant. 23:49 5.01 km 04:45 pace

The sun was properly out by now and it was 23.5C I wore my peaked cap to keep from burning too much.

Dave lead the way and we had a slow start so that Ulen who hadn't done it before could find the route. The first km is also downhill, so a slow km that includes the only downhill is a Bad Thing.

For the last 4km I was working pretty hard to catch up the deficit. The last 3km features an average heart rate of 172bpm. Not clever. And this is on twisty stony tracks so this was really quite tough.

Also the watch tracks poorly in the woods so I over-ran the finish by 200m - else my time was more like 23:07 (according to the segment )

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 5:10.01 -18 143 (77%) 154 (83%) 86.2
2.00 4:49.40 +9 162 (87%) 166 (90%) 85.0
3.00 4:35.35 +2 170 (92%) 172 (93%) 86.1
4.00 4:38.43 -3 173 (94%) 175 (95%) 85.1
5.00 4:35.69 +9 174 (94%) 177 (96%) 85.6

Longest day 5/8. Netley Abbey. 23:52 5.01 km 04:46 pace

Paula Wilson's friend and family were at this one. They also did the next 2. Well, the kids did a lap, the husband did the full distance. Sun still out and hotter if anything. A bit of a breeze from Southampton Water perhaps but toasty. Loads of people at the park.

We parked 1.1km away in the free car park near the Co-op. Luke and I shared 6 icecream "split" lollies on the jog to the start.

On the first lap we took a path too early for the real "triangle" and so did a bit of extra distance at slow speed. We got it right the next 2 laps though.

The tracking under the woods was again poor with the watch showing us losing time even though I don't think we ran any slower in this section.

This meant the final km needed to be quick to catch up - 4:25/km is 7:07/mile

Overall we worked harder than we should have - probably because we ran further than tracked and lost time navigating on lap one. Not too bad though - better than Havant for sure.

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 5:05.05 +10 153 (83%) 159 (86%) 86.2
2.00 4:37.62 -7 162 (88%) 166 (90%) 85.2
3.00 5:03.95 0 164 (89%) 167 (90%) 85.0
4.00 4:40.11 +4 167 (90%) 169 (91%) 85.6
5.00 4:25.43 -2 170 (92%) 172 (93%) 86.1

Longest day 6/8. Soton Course C. 23:46 5.01 km 04:44 pace

We saw Tim at the start, plus Paula's friends again. No Race Director, and given that Luke and I had decided to do a "bonus" parkrun here, we ran Course C for the first one while the others did Course A.

Luke let me set the pace, although he pulled away on the main hill by 5-10m or so. Strava agrees our gradient adjusted pace was too fast on the climbs and too slow on the descents but never-the-less I'm happy with the pacing.

Average heart rate of 158bpm was pleasing given the 164, 164, 163 of the previous courses. I was in my racing shoes, plus the ground is concrete so an easy course overall even with the hill.

Felt pretty good on this one but when we finished we walked to the car for a drink and legs felt heavy/tired. Still, only 2 more to go!

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:51.94 +14 150 (81%) 159 (86%) 89.3
2.00 4:39.19 -1 162 (88%) 166 (90%) 87.3
3.00 4:42.34 +4 158 (86%) 162 (87%) 86.8
4.00 4:56.28 -2 161 (87%) 165 (89%) 85.9
5.00 4:36.13 -22 157 (85%) 160 (86%) 86.6

Longest day 7/8. Soton Course A. 23:53 5.02 km 04:46 pace

Tim told us that the bit past the paddling pool was no problem so our "bonus" parkrun was to be Course A.

We'd finished Course C quicker than needed and our legs were tired so we paced this one to over-achieve by less. Luke particularly found it tough for the last 2km or so. I wasn't too bad but my legs were just getting "flatter" and heavier all the time.

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:55.21 +11 146 (79%) 155 (84%) 89.4
2.00 4:49.52 +4 159 (86%) 163 (88%) 87.1
3.00 4:30.65 -14 158 (86%) 161 (87%) 87.0
4.00 4:49.52 +5 162 (88%) 165 (89%) 85.8
5.00 4:48.44 -6 159 (86%) 162 (87%) 85.9

Longest day 8/8. Eastleigh 23:45 5.01 km 04:44 pace

The final event. Or the one after the final event if you're doing the standard 7 parkruns in one day.

Because we'd done 2 at Soton, we had a quick dash to get to Eastleigh. Waiting for us were Paula's friends and Ulen (doing his 7th of 7).

Luke and I were mashed by this point, but "just one more" I figured. Luke wasn't so sure, and dropped out after one lap (I think, will find out later).

My average heart rate of 163bpm is 6 higher than the previous parkrun, but it felt *much* harder. I wanted to quit but didn't really ever think I would - I just knew it was going to hurt.

I got to the start of each lap "on the money" so I was quietly confident. I got to the top of the hill on the last lap with 10 or so seconds to make up but with the final part being 400m of gently downhill I knew I could do it.

I was pretty wrecked by the end, with pain in my quads, breathing heavily, and wanting to lean against things.

Stats then:
8 parkruns all sub 24 minute
Average parkrun tracked 5.0km time 23:45
Average time to the official finish probably 23:20
Average parkrun tracked 5.0km pace 4:45/km - 7:38/mile)
42.61km in 3:26:24 (marathon in about 3:21)
Fastest tracked 5.0km 23:31
Slowest tracked 5.0km 23:53
Most painful: final Eastleigh
Toughest course: QECP (with Havant on the day being a close second)
Easiest course: Winchester

Distance Split pace Elev. chg. Avg. HR Max. HR Avg. cadence
1.00 4:47.67 +5 151 (82%) 159 (86%)
2.00 4:47.66 -13 162 (87%) 165 (89%)
3.00 4:57.71 +15 166 (90%) 169 (92%)
4.00 4:38.90 -5 165 (89%) 168 (91%)
5.00 4:33.07 -2 169 (91%) 172 (93%)

Overall - a great day out. Shame there weren't the 20 or so people who did all 7 last year, but still a very enjoyable way to spend the longest Sunday of the year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Warwick half marathon


I ran a negative split 1/2 marathon PB in 1:36:20 and enjoyed it.


This was only my second ever proper race. I entered just one week before - we were visiting Emma's parents and they told us about it. So no time to train. My running fitness isn't bad but I'm 1/2 stone heavier than October last year.

Goal setting

On the Monday I did a 10k tempo test to see if my "finger in the air" goal of sub-100 minutes is realistic. The McMillan tool said a 44:50 10k is equivalent to a 1:39:59 half marathon. I managed a 44:30 without ruining myself but because I haven't had any recent fast long runs I left the goal as "merely" sub-100  That meant 4:44/km average pace (7:37/mile)

The course is all on road and is undulating - lots of ups and downs as well as some flat stretches.  The final 3k or so is nicely downhill, so a fast finish to make up time was on the cards.  If I averaged around 4:44/km to the half way point then that'd be great because factoring in the remaining downhill I'd be ahead of schedule.


On the day I had a coffee and 2 Sainsburys granola slices for breakfast. I walked the 2k to Warwick race course and picked up my British Heart Foundation red T-shirt. It isn't a technical one so I decided to run in the Stratford marathon one I bought last year. I made a final toilet stop and checked in my bag for safe keeping.

I had 12 jelly babies for the run but no drink. I figured the 3 water stops would cover me fine.  The holding area was divided in to sections based on finish time: 2-3 hours, 1.5-2 hours, sub-1.5 hours.  I made my way forward a little bit but stopped in the sunshine for a 2 minute wait before we started.  We walked towards the start line and jogged from 50m before. We hit the line running.

The start

The people I started with were around the same pace but mostly slightly slower. My first kilometre was the slowest of the whole race at 4:59 although it was 20m uphill so not that bad. I'd decided to make an effort to not start "hot", and I only overtook people who were significantly slower than me. There's also the hill to climb and I definitely didn't want to go in to the red in the first kilometre.

At 3km by the Woodloes estate roundabout I saw Emma and niece Jessica. Cheers of "Go Russ" were appreciated. To this point I was about 8 seconds ahead of the sub-100 schedule - perfect.

There's a long gentle drag from the A46 roundabout up to Leek Wootton (48m over 1.8km = 2.7%) which took back nearly all the seconds ahead I'd gotten. We turned left on to quiet country lanes and soon hit the first water stop. 330ml bottles of water with the caps already off.

This section was quite exposed and there was a headwind as we ran up and down hills.  I was mostly catching and passing people. I don't recall any/many people passing me.

This phase was kind of featureless. There were clumps of people clapping and shouting encouragement but there weren't really any landmarks of note.  At one point I got out my bag of jelly babies and dropped 5 or so on the floor, leaving me with only 2.  But after a mile or so we reached a family where the kids had trays of jelly babies. I grabbed a handful without slowing much and got 5 back. Result!

Half way

I was checking my cumulative average pace from time to time, having done calculations the night before as to what "catch" pace I'd need from the 14k (2/3rds) and 16k  (5k to go) points.  I also had the Garmin Virtual Partner feature enabled and set to 4:44/km  After one particularly long hill (ending at 11.5k in) I was 10 or seconds behind my goal pace but the 1.8k downhill the other side at 4:21/km pace brought me back to 4:41/km overall (35 seconds ahead)

Downhill is great

After a short spell of climbing I realised that I had reached roads that I'd run before from Emma's parents' home and that there was a consistent downhill for the next 2km. I think I must have pushed a little on the previous climb because my breathing was a little heavier but it felt OK so I carried on with a work rate that maintained that breathing.

Half way down the descent I saw that I had already made up the time to average 4:40/km (7:30/mile) for the whole thing, so I started thinking about my previous fastest (training) half marathons and what I'd need to average from there to get close to them. But mostly I just carried on working hard without pushing over the edge on the climbs. I was generally passing people on the downhill and flat bits, maybe losing some ground to them on the ascents.

5k to go

With just under 5k to go the 2km downhill ended and we had an undulating climb up to Budbrooke. But I knew it was a definite downhill finish so I kept pushing, actually catching and passing people on the final climb - novel!

Downhill finish

With 2.5km left I finally hit the highest point in Budbrooke and picked up speed. As we emerged on Hampton Rd  there were people with more water bottles (not marked on the map) but I figured I was so close to the finish that it wouldn't make any difference and I'd lose time taking and drinking one.

The first km was net 2.8% downhill, the next 1.1%  There was also a tailwind (finally!)

I averaged about 3:59/km for the first km, 3:56/km for the second. I caught and passed quite a few people. The gradient leveled out and the final 350m was 0.4% uphill so maintaining pace was hard but as soon as I saw the finishing arch I just nailed it, averaging 3:44/km (6:02/mile)

I collected my medal, a couple of bottles of water and a finishers goody bag containing a chocolate coated seed bar, rice oil (?!?) and BHF literature.

Position, time and PB

By chip timing (not absolute finishing position) I was the 207th finisher of 1906 (196th man of 1242) with a time of 1:36:20

I overran the finish a little to make sure I was over the 21.1km  My watch says 21.14km in 1:36:24 which is a slightly faster average pace than the official numbers.

Strava says this run includes a 1:36:10 half marathon PB. It actually equals my previous time but this one had more hills (406m versus 268m) so I'm happy to take this one for my official PB.

Negative splits and final 5k pace

Over the first half I averaged 4:42/km (7:33/mile) although it was net uphill 47 metres. For the second half I averaged 4:24/km (7:05/mile) which includes the equivalent downhill plus a little bit of tailwind and a high effort finish.

The final 5k was undulating but net 26m downhill and was covered in 21:25 at an average of 4:17/km (6:53/mile)

Closing thoughts

I really enjoyed the race, probably helped by running within myself for the first 2/3rds before picking up the pace. A downhill and tailwind finish always helps. The unexpected PB is the cherry on the cake.


# Split pace Gradient Adjusted Pace Elev chg. Cadence
1 4:59 4:30 +20 90.4
2 4:25 4:39 -17 90.1
3 4:39 4:29 +2 89.9
4 4:36 4:36 -3 89.5
5 4:44 4:25 +10 89.4
6 4:58 4:12 +34 88.9
7 4:41 4:40 -10 89.0
8 4:46 4:36 +3 88.6
9 4:22 4:21 -4 89.2
10 4:54 4:34 +13 88.6
11 4:43 4:36  +3 89.0
12 4:55 4:31 +13 88.4
13 4:21 4:32 -13 89.0
14 4:37 4:31 +0 88.9
15 4:20 4:31 -17 89.1
16 4:16 4:29 -13 88.6
17 4:26 4:24 -2 88.2
18 4:41 4:24 +9 87.8
19 4:29 4:24 +0 87.7
20 4:00 4:22 -26 88.8
21 3:57 4:01 -10 89.8
21.1 3:21 3:19 +0 94.0

Monday, May 06, 2013

Shakespeare Marathon 2013 - my first

tldr: I ran the Shakespeare Marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon in 3:38:11

I've said before that I could probably run a marathon any weekend without needing additional training. That's based on running an average of nearly 160 miles per month last year, and having run longer than a 1/2 marathon over 15 times. The longest runs were just over 20 miles. But until last Sunday I'd never run a marathon...


Strava organise "Challenges" and this year they had a mini-series: a 1/2 marathon in February, 20 miles in March, and a full marathon in April. I signed up for the first 2 immediately but not the marathon. Then Dan ran the distance on the first weekend in 4:20, and Pete ran it 5 days later in 3:57, so I had to have a go too.

I considered doing a "training" one like Dan and Pete, but it was pointed out that an organised event has regular water stops and a medal at the end. Also, when people find out I run, they often ask "Have you run a marathon?"  So far my response has been "No, not yet" and try to justify why not.  I figured an answer of "Yes, I've done the distance in training" isn't nearly as good as "Yes, I ran the X marathon in x:xx:xx"

Choice of event

So I looked at what marathon's have places left in May. The best fit was the Shakespeare marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon. It's not local but my in-laws live in Warwick which is only 15 minutes away and they let us stay over. It's not totally flat but it's advertised as being good for beginners as there's only really two significant hills (well, the same hill twice).

When I told my sister Anna, who has run over 200 marathons, she entered it too. She's run it 4 times before but was excited to enter it with me.

Final training

I signed up 3 weeks before the event. A little short notice but I was already better trained than many who enter a marathon. On the Monday 20 days before the event I ran 30k (18.6 miles) as my last long run. Mostly this was training, but also it was to help see how fast I should try to run the marathon. The route was about half off-road with some stiles and gates to negotiate and included 400m of ascent which is more than the marathon has. My average pace was 5:15/km (8:27/mile) and I was properly exhausted at the end.

Aside from standard "easy" runs the other significant training runs I did over the next 2 weeks were:
Wednesday: 8 * 330m steep hill reps
Sunday: 10 flat miles in under 75 minutes. I was disconcerted how hard this was. I expected it feel hard but OK
Wednesday: 12.2k inc long climb at 4:37/km (7:25/mile) Felt much easier than Sunday, phew!
Friday: 14*500m intervals
Sunday: a 71km bike ride with Andy Perry (I also have the Isle of Wight bike ride on 5th May to be ready for)

How fast?

I'd been fretting about what time I should be targeting. Based on my best training 1/2-marathon of 1:36:11, tools like McMillan Pace Calculator suggest a marathon time of 3:22:25 (4:48/km or 7:44/mile)  That sounds very aggressive to me and I did not want to blow up and have a horrible last 10k. Dan's marathon showed me how it can go wrong - he has run a 1/2-marathon a couple of minutes faster than I have but took 4:20 for his marathon.

Sub-4 hours should be relatively straight forward. 3:4*:** would be faster than my friends, 3:3*:** would be great, sub-3:30 would be astounding. I was flitting between 3:45 and 3:30, but mostly thinking of a schedule to get under 3:40:00

My sister sent me a link that was useful. There's a new tool at the Fetch Everyone website that gives a prediction based on analysis of their database of times for runners who've done 5 halves and marathons to see what happens in the "real world".  It predicts 3:36:58 for me... way slower than the 3:22 from McMillan. So I decided to go for sub-3:40, a bit slower on the day and I should still be in the 3:4*:** range which would be good, any faster and I'd shave off a small number of minutes but definitely not sub-3:30.

An article in the Runners World magazine said that non-elite runners will get their best time by doing the first half 2-3% faster than the second half. This sounded good to me - I didn't want to have to speed up in the second half, especially over the last 6 miles. 3:40 is 5:13/km pace, so I figured I'd aim for 5:10/km pace for the first half, allowing 5:16 for the second. I set the Virtual Partner option on my watch to 5:10/km It will tell me how many seconds and metres ahead or behind I am.  If I made it round the whole marathon at 5:10/km average then it would take 3:38  Every 3 seconds per km gained or lost would be 2 minutes on the overall time.


I read up on tapering. Apparently I should have started 2 weeks before but I took heed for the final week and was strict with myself. I did:
Monday: 9k at 5:00/km  Tuesday: 8k offroad at 5:50/km  Wednesday: 6.3k at 5:08/km  Thursday: rest  Friday: 6.4k at 5:02/km  Saturday rest (well, walking round Oxford with immediate family and my sister)

Race day

We woke up at 7:15. Had muesli and coffee for breakfast and Anna, Emma and I drove to Stratford. No problems getting there but entering town we hit the back of the queues for the car parks. There were loads of people doing the event! About 3700 entrants (2800-odd finishers).  But we were soon parked and Anna checked in her bag. She was not after a particular time and was expecting something around the 4:30 mark so she'd ring us when she was done.

The temperature was about 6C. OK in still air but when the wind blew it was cold. I decided on shorts, technical T-shirt and long sleeve top. Among the crowd at the start it was noticeably warmer - shelter from the wind and body heat. We were quite a way back from the start but with chip timing it doesn't matter much. Starting further back means you can enjoy overtaking more people, but you also have to skip around them which loses a few seconds.

I had 5 energy gels and about 15 wine gums for fuel. I had the gels every 7k and I reset my watch's lap so I could see my splits for the 7k splits as I went.

The start of the race is a lap around the centre of Stratford, passing the famous tourist houses etc. The road was wide enough that the crowd wasn't a problem but I was passing people and was a little held up. I wasn't stressing at all, I was enjoying my first mass event.

Then we left town and headed out on a residential then country lane. The first water stop was at 4k. They had plenty of people handing out small bottles of water. I took one, drank just over half and threw it to the side of the road. They had people with bin bags collecting the discarded bottles.

I'd been glancing at my average pace and knew I was going a little bit fast. The first 5k passed in 25 minutes - 5:00/km  I wasn't feeling tired or breathing hard at all but I made a conscious effort to ease up. The next 5k averaged 5:11/km and included a short hill, gaining 15m elevation in one go. Nothing compared to what we run from work but I deliberately kept the effort steady and averaged 5:41/km for 500m long climb

The next 5k included the big hill. There was a 10m ascent over 500m pre-hill, then a flat km, then over the next 1.5k we climbed 35m. The first part was steadily up, with the top part being much steeper. Annoyingly the descent is both too steep to enjoy and too steep to make back all the time lost climbing. During this section I took off my long sleeve and tied it round my waist.

Then we turned left and headed back towards town. The first lap heads back sooner than the second because of the mile or so doing a lap of Stratford at the start. This 3rd 5k was also 5:11/km so holding steady...

After 16k we joined the Greenway, which is an offroad path along a disused railway. Nice and flat and straight. There was also a tailwind on the way back towards Stratford. The sun came out during this bit and mostly stayed out for the rest of the run. The forecast was cloudy and I hadn't put on any suncream so I got a little bit sun-burned. At 19km the half-marathoners carried on and the marathoners headed left to skirt the edge of town. I was surprised and impressed at the number of people on the road with signs cheering us on.  Nearly 73% of the entrants were doing the half-marathon so there were noticeably fewer after this point. Still plenty though. The 4th 5k was run at 5:08/km

The first half was run at an average of 5:08/km - about 1:48:10

The second half

By half way I was starting to know that I'd been running for nearly 2 hours. Not tired yet though and doing OK. The fifth 5k was 5:10/km

The second time up the big hill I saw again a guy I'd chatted to while climbing it the first time. He was quicker than me up the hill both times. I passed him on the way down and didn't see him again. The 6th 5k arrived at the top of the hill so this split was "only" 5:21/km but was net uphill 41m.

I think I ran down it too quickly this time. Partly because my Virtual Partner told me I was 5 seconds behind the 5:10/km pace and partly because I think I was keen to re-catch those I was with before the hill. Given that 5:10/km was my first half goal pace so that I could run the second half slower, I really didn't need to do this. By the bottom my legs were heavy. I pressed on and was starting to catch and pass people.

We turned on to the Greenway after 32k - the finishing stretch, no more hills and a tailwind - and I was wishing it was already over. 10k to go. The 7th 5k was done at an average of 5:06/km (net downhill 33m).

The first 3k along the Greenway were OK. Tired but averaging 5:09/km Then just past 36k I got cramp in my calves which slowed and worried me but didn't do any real harm. The 37th kilometre was run in 5:22 so I didn't really lose much time.


But at 38k I had a sharp agonizing cramp in my left hamstring. I slowed to a walk and willed it to go away. I had just passed a guy who was walking and now he came jogging past me. With 4k to the finish I dreaded having to walk the rest of the way. I tried a slow jog and it was tolerable and then the cramp eased up and I could run again. The 500m that includes this incident took 3 minutes so I lost about 25 seconds or so. From now on I was running with half a mind on trying to ensure I didn't re-trigger the debilitating cramp.

The next 2k were run at 5:21/km and I just wanted it to be over. Hanging on to 5:10/km was no longer a concern. I'd have been happy with more or less any time so long as I didn't have to walk it. My last wine gum was eaten with a couple of miles to go. The 8th 5k split averaged 5:21/km

The next kilometre took 5:10 and included a switch back and descent to go back under the road and alongside the Avon.

The finish

The final 750m or so was on grass and had a snaking approach to a finishing straight. I passed a couple of people before the straight and on it there was a guy 10m ahead of me but I didn't feel any desire to out-sprint him. But then I saw the race clock saying 3:39:50 and I forgot about chip timing and thought I had to make it to the end before 3:40:00 so I sprinted after all, passing him just before the end. I'm pretty sure I beat the clock but the chip timing says 3:40:01  The family were there to see my finish which was nice.  I just now asked them to summarize how I looked and Jenny said "dying" and Emma said "bag of shit".  Feels about right.

My chip time was 3:38:11, which is an overall average of 5:10.25/km

They had piles of bananas and water at the end. To ensure I recorded the full distance I over-ran the finish and didn't stop my watch until it was tens of metres past 42.195k  I went back after a minute to collect my finishers medal.

The second half took about 1:50:00 which is 5:14/km  The second half was about 2% slower than the first, so I ended up doing what Runners World recommended. This includes the short walking and jogging spell near the end though.


I carried on walking about while cooling down and then we went for a salty McDonalds. Anna phoned an hour later. She was full of beans, skipping like Bambi, having had a pleasant morning and run it in 4:32.  I was hurting all over and walking stiffly.  When I first got in the car to drive back to the in-laws I had a nasty cramp attack in my stomach muscles and had to get out and stretch before trying again. Driving was OK though.

The days after

On Monday I drove to work, still finding it painful getting in and out of the car. I took the lift at work. I did go for an Ow ow ow recovery jog for 2 miles. The last 400m were OK-ish, the rest just hurt.

Tuesday hurt about as much as Monday. I didn't run on Tuesday. Took the lift again.

Wednesday I felt a bit better. I cycled slowly to work and went for a jog with Ed and Andy. We ended up doing 5 miles. I found it hard (but easier than Ed). Thursday we did a slow 10k in the woods and Friday we did an "easy pace" 12k offroad and over stiles. The pace didn't feel easy but was do-able.  Sunday I ran 10 miles and felt pretty much back to normal.

Another one?

Maybe. I'd kind of like to do one without trying to maximise my pace, maybe aiming for 3:55  And if I'm fitter/faster in the future, maybe go sub-3:30.


I'm very happy with it all. I think I picked a sensible race strategy, the correct target time, didn't make any serious mistakes. I started ever so slightly too quickly and definitely ran down the final hill too quickly, but that's all. I passed maybe 25 people over the final 10k where I averaged 5:15/km even with the cramp/walking bit. No-one passed me :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Running from home in 2012

I've run 371 miles so far in 2012 starting from my house (and 920 from work, 1443 in total)

Where have I been?  Here:

The absence of runs to the North West is because that's where I work so I go elsewhere from home.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Heart rate versus gradient

It's striking how closely correlated my heart rate is to the gradient.  Maybe I should be working significantly harder on the downhills?

This run was done with Andy who's a better climber than descender (compared to me) so the peaks and troughs are more pronounced than they would have been if I'd been on my own.   It'd be interesting to see his heart rate compared to mine. I'd guess his would be flatter?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home Insurance 2011

Our home insurance - buildings and contents - is up for renewal at the end of September.  I follow an approach similar to MoneySavingExpert's advice to getting good value.

In previous year's I've found it cheaper to get the buildings part separate to the contents part because that gives 2 lots of cashback.  But this year all the companies seem to have sensibly offered half the cashback amount for one component of insurance so unless the quotes themselves worked out better individually then combined is just as good.

I started with and added the top few quotes to a google spreadsheet, recording: Name, Total Price, Cashback amount, Excess, Legal Cover, and Other Notes.

Chepeast at was Kwikfit at £131.92 with esure close behind at £132.50  The esure quote included Legal Cover and Home Emergency cover.

Then I moved on to GoCompare, who had esure top of their list with the exact same price quote. A quick check on showed that £45.45 cashback for esure.

I tried quoting for buildings and contents individually but the best overall price was £139 and didn't have as much cashback.

So far I'd been quoting for contents without accidental damage cover. I reran the combined quote at GoCompare and the price for esure did not change - £132.50 including accidental damage.  Most other quotes went up by at least £30.

Then I tried changing the excess for each component.  Reducing the excess on the buildings part made the price go up, increasing the excess did not reduce the price.  But for the contents part, reducing the excess did not change the quote from esure - sweet.

I went through to esure and got a direct quote. Initially it came out at a higher amount but after reviewing the options that it had chosen I was able to replicate the £132.50 quote.  I found that I could reduce the voluntary contents excess down to 0 without affecting the quote (£100 mandatory excess).

I also played around with the sum insured for contents. It started covering £22000.  Up to £44500, the quote didn't change, beyond that it did.

So I clicked Buy, finished the paperwork, and I can see that it's tracked correctly on

Net price: £132.50 - £45.45 = £86.55 for unlimited buildings cover with £350 total excess and £44500 contents cover with £100 excess including accidental damage, Legal Cover and Home Emergency

So not as good as a couple of years back, where the contents part was paying me for cover and the buildings part was net £20 or so, but pretty good value.

How far can I run in 1 hour?

I fancied doing the running equivalent of the cycling Hour record, having recently run 7.77 hilly miles within an hour at work.

I didn't do any exercise the day before. I had 2 slices of toast and a proper coffee for breakfast, and set out at 08:51 in intermittent light rain - not bad conditions for running really.

I also had another goal: sub-45 for 10k, which is 7:14.5 min/mile pace, although I hadn't calculated the required pace accurately before I set off.

There's not much to say about the first part of the run. I was fairly lucky with traffic - I didn't have to stop for anything.  The first half mile is downhill which gave me a free head start on my required pace. I just had to hold on to enough of it.

10k arrived after about 44:52 - 7:13 pace. I checked the elapsed time as soon as the distance hit 6.22m, which I thought was just shy of 10k, but actually 10/1.6093 = 6.2139 so at 6.22 I was already past 10k. Woot.

But part of making sure I got 10k sub-45 involved pushing for the last 0.5 miles, raising my heart rate to 182 which is past my aerobic threshold. I was tempted to abort the Hour effort, but figured I'd just ease off a bit so that I could recover.

It took 0.23 miles for my heart rate to come back down to 171, a little lower than I should have let it drop to. My average pace for the recovery section was 8:01, then I picked up the pace again.

With 13:20 to go until the hour arrived, I was happy to work at a decent rate but didn't fancy flogging myself. Over the final section I averaged 7:31 pace, heart rate 175bpm, 1.78 miles.

I was keeping an eye on the watch, but I didn't notice that the hour was nearly up until I had only 15 seconds to go, so I didn't have much time to gain some extra distance in a sprint finish.

Once 1:00:00 arrived on the watch I stopped to catch my breath, reset the watch, and jogged home really slowly as a warm down.

Distance in 1 hour: 8.21 miles.

Re: gradient, the elevation at the start is about 45 metres, and about 15 metres at end, so the net gradient is about 0.23% downhill.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Running: actual versus target

This is a chart showing how my actual mileage for the year has been progressing against a target of 2 miles per day. I started off aiming for 1000k for the year (1.7 miles per day), but I'm comfortable beating that so I've upgraded my goal.

I've been using dailymile to track my running and cycling.  To generate the chart I wrote a perl script to extract my data for this year, find the Running entries, and output a table of dates with cumulative mileages.

I'm currently manually copying the output in to a google docs spreadsheet. It'd be nice to automate the update of the spreadsheet too but I'll leave that for another day...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cycling to Work 2011

Cycling to Work 2011 Chart

I've converted my local spreadsheet to Google Docs. The advantages are that I can:
  • "live" publish the latest version, by which I mean that when I update the data the image above is automatically updated
  • update it from any computer with web access, without installing any software
  • share the spreadsheet for others to copy or suggest improvements
  • do this for free

How am I doing so far?  Of 101 trips to the office, I cycled 83 of them - 82.2%

Of the 17 drives to work:
  • 1 was to try out (alright, show off) my new car
  • 4 were giving a lift to Jenny and her Italian exchange student friend
  • 1 was to take Jenny and her Italian exchange luggage to school
  • 1 was to take a tent and kit to work for Mark Halliday's stag weekend
  • 1 was to get in time to present at some education I helped create
  • 7 were due to inclement weather. On most of these I also gave Isobel a lift to school which is on the way to work.
Projecting out my current rate I'm looking at about 183 for the year.  Last year I totalled 130ish but I didn't start until the clocks changed.

I'm hoping that I can achieve more vacation than drives to work.  Bring it on!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Rules

There is a great set of Rules from the "Keepers of the Cog": we maintain the sacred text wherein lie the simple truths of cycling etiquette known as The Rules.

There are some rules that my friends find particularly apt:

Rule 5: Harden The Fuck Up.

Since so many other rules refer to this one, we have to begin here. If someone just needs to "man the fuck up" then we tell that person to see Rule 5.

Rule 7: Tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp.  Under no circumstances should one be rolling up their sleeves or shorts in an effort to somehow diminish one’s tan lines.  Sleeveless jerseys are under no circumstances to be employed.

Rich Harran is a good example of someone who is both very brown and very white.

Rule 9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

John likes to think this one applies to him. Which compared to most of the rest of us, it does.

Rule 12: The minimum number of bikes one should own is three. The correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

Rule 16: Championship and race leader jerseys must only be worn if you’ve won the championship or led the race.

Rule 34: Mountain bike shoes and pedals have their place. On a mountain bike.

John has SPD pedals but his bike isn't technically a road bike.  But it also definitely isn't a mountain bike. Half fail.

Rule 42: A bike ride/race shall never be preceeded with a swim and/or followed by a run.

A rule written for Andy who is easily confused. Like when he put petrol in his diesel on the same day as doing the Blenheim triathlon.

Rule 55: If you are riding down a mountain, you must first have ridden up the mountain. It is forbidden to employ powered transportation simply for the cheap thrill of descending. The only exception to this is if you are doing intervals on Alpe d’Huez or the Plan de Corones and you park your car up top before doing 20 repeats of the climb.

Rule 56: When wearing a cycling kit and enjoying a pre or post ride coffee, it is only appropriate to drink espresso or macchiato. If the word soy/skim latte is heard to be used by a member wearing cycling apparel, then that person must be ceremonially beaten with Co2 canisters or mini pumps by others within the community.

Yeah, this one is mostly for me. Latte goodness is bad.  Also guilty: Mark Halliday (and not just once)

Rule 62: You shall not ride with earphones. Cycling is about getting outside and into the elements and you don’t need to be listening to Queen or Slayer in order to experience that. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and pain, not in whatever 80′s hair band you call “music”. See Rule 5 and ride your bike.

John used to fall fowl of this one but has since corrected his ways.

Rule 64: Cornering confidence generally increases with time and experience. This pattern continues until it falls sharply and suddenly.

This rule is totally owned by Andy Perry.  Sometimes he even has to abort the ride because of it.

Rule 75: Race numbers are for races. Remove it from your frame before the next training ride because no matter how cool you think it looks, it does not look cool. Unless you are in a race. In which case it looks cool.

Ed gave me grief when I forgot to take the timing chip off my helmet from the Wiggle New Forest sportive.

So 2 for Russell, 2 for Andy, 2 for John.  What about Alan and Ed?  Maybe they can have Rule 5 all to themselves?

Or perhaps we could invent some new rules:

Rule 86: Though shalt not get the train home (Alan)

Rule 87: Only teenage girls phone their mum for a lift home (Ed)

Have I missed anything?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

First fettle

Fettling is a British slang phrase which means "the art of repairing or tuning a bicycle". Until today the extent of my bike maintenance has been fixing punctures and changing tyres. I've never changed a chain before and when Rich's snapped on our Wales weekend ride last year I decided that I wanted to be able to change/fix my own chain.

Dirty Cassette and chain

Last Autumn the local bike shop (LBS) advised that I would need a new chain and cassette as mine were overly worn. I decided to defer replacing the parts and keep using the bike over the winter as I didn't want shiny new stuff exposed to grime, salt etc.  The LBS quoted about £35 for a Shimano 105 5600 cassette, £30 for a KMC X10 chain and £20 or so for fitting, and I'd be without my bike for a number of days.

I'm riding the Wiggle No Excuses sportive next weekend with Andy so I had to get this sorted out this weekend.

My bike previously had a KMC X10 chain and an Ultegra 6600 12-27 cassette. A month ago I looked in to the options and settled on a super-light KMC X10-SL chain (silver, not gold) for £32 and a Shimano 105 5700 cassette from Ribble for £31.  The chain is an upgrade, the cassette is one step down in the Shimano range but it is a newer version so it should be similar to what I'm used to.

To allow me to shorten the new chain to the correct length I bought a Topeak universal chain tool from the LBS. I got a 10% discount meaning that I paid £8.09 which is within 10p of the best price from Google Shopping.

I struggled for a while trying to remove the old chain via the special missing link and then gave up and used the new chain tool instead.

I laid the old and new chains alongside each other to work out that I needed to remove 7 links from the new chain. A missing link was included to easily join the ends.

There's a good video showing how to remove and fit a new cassette. It also mentioned that there might be an extra spacer needed which was lucky as I found I did indeed already have an extra spacer on my bike. Without the hint I would probably have removed all of the old parts and fitted only the new. Instead, I made sure I only removed bits that I was replacing - keeping the existing spacer.

A quick spin 'round the block suggests that everything's back where it's supposed to be. I didn't need to adjust anything with the gears.

I also got some quality SwissStop brake pads from Jim and Anna for Christmas. They are secured with a 2mm allen key which took me a while to find. Changing them was no trouble: remove the securing bolt, slide the pad out, slide in the new one, screw in the bolt, adjust the brake cable to accommodate the wider pads. For the first pad I used the new bolt supplied with the SwissStop pads but the head got damaged as I tightened it up so I reused the Shimano supplied bolt for the other 3 which were no bother.

Roll on next weekend.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

First Asda price guarantee analysis

This is the first stage in my quest to extract more value from the ASDA Price Guarantee...

I'll say up front that I think ASDA are overall cheaper for my shopping and that I appreciate what they're doing with this guarantee.

The ASDA Price Guarantee says "We'll guarantee your comparable grocery shopping is 10% cheaper at ASDA or we'll give you the difference".

They currently compare against Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Waitrose.  If ASDA are not 10% cheaper then they issue you a voucher for the difference which can be used against a future ASDA purchase.

It is important to note that it is the total value of the trolley/order that is compared, not each individual item.

This means that whenever Asda is cheaper, the "saving" is effectively offset against when it is not cheapest.

An example may help illustrate the point.  Consider an order with 2 items: Bread and Milk (you actually must have 8 different items in an order to qualify, but only one of them needs to have a comparable product at another store)

Bread... ASDA: £0.70, Tesco: £1.00

Milk.... ASDA: £1.10, Tesco: £1.00

The total cost of the Tesco order is £2.00 and Asda is £1.80. ASDA are 10% cheaper so no refund voucher is due.

But if the order could have been split in to 2 orders, the Bread order would have no refund but the Milk order would have resulted in a 20p voucher.

My shopping trolleys have so far resulted in either no refund or refunds of relatively small amounts like £1.50 on a £100 shop - certainly worth having but not 10%.

Looking at the comparison tables it is clear that if you could avoid mixing the good value items in with the poor value items then more savings could be made.

On our most recent shop we got 2 trolleys: one for what looked like good value items, one that looked like normal prices.  We did not do any formal research on prices before we started.  If we could have perfect knowledge of the prices then this would all be really easy, but in the Real World that info isn't very quick to obtain.

Update: I think this is new... mySupermarket now have a Quick Shop search which lets you see the prices for a single item. I successfully used it from my iPhone the other day when looking at lasagne sauce. They had Dolmio reduced from £1.66 to £1.00, or an own brand for £0.96   A quick search showed that Tesco were offering it on BOGOF at £1.76  So I bought 2 for £2.00 and the price guarantee shows that I could have got 2 for £1.76, so my voucher includes the 24p I overspent and an additional 10% of £1.76 = 18p. So I got 2 Dolmio sauces for £1.58 which is a good price.

2 Trolleys, 2 Vouchers

"bargains" trolley: 27p voucher from £43.55 - 0.62%
Normal trolley: £1.70 voucher on £75.09 - 2.26%

So far I've only been analysing the "bargains" trolley. The website shows you some info on the basket totals at each store and you can access another page per competing store table showing a table of the compared products.

"Bargain" Basket Totals

Tesco, 27 items, 19 unique, £22.99, £25.25, £2.26 cheaper
Sainsburys, 22 items, 16 unique, £17.34, £23.23, £5.89 cheaper
Morrisons, 19 items, 13 unique, £15.62 v £20.13, £4.51 cheaper
Waitrose, 8 items, 6 unique, £10.70, £13.42, £2.72 cheaper

ASDA were more than 10% cheaper for all but Tesco, where they were 9% cheaper. So the voucher covers the other 1%.

Cornish Icecream

But a quick look in the ASDA versus Tesco table shows that some items were much cheaper at Tesco. The very first line is:

1 x ASDA Easy Scoop Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream (2L)    £2.20    £0.99

I though £2.20 was a fairly good price for Cornish icecream but clearly it went in the wrong trolley.

Given that this trolley only resulted in a 27p vouchers, if I had put this item in the other trolley then this trolley would have resulted in no voucher but the other trolley's voucher would have increased by £2.20 - £0.99 = £1.21 i.e., overall I'd have been 94p better off.


I've written a perl script that reads in 4 files in to which I have copied and pasted the comparison tables.

The script is still under development, but here's what it's found so far.

ASDA: (22 compared) cheapest = 16   most expensive = 7
Tesco (19 compared): cheapest = 4   most expensive = 5
Morrisons (13 compared): cheapest = 2   most expensive = 3
Sainsburys (16 compared): cheapest = 0   most expensive = 5
Waitrose (6 compared): cheapest = 0   most expensive = 2

So ASDA is by far most often the cheapest but it is also most often the most expensive.

Getting the items in the correct trolley could make quite a difference.

Other Notes

There are some "errors" in the tables, presumably caused by the mySupermarket website having an older record of the prices than what I actually paid.  For example, we got 8 medium Easter Eggs and they cost £1 each (no linked offers or anything like that). But on the website it says:

3 x Cadbury Creme Egg Medium (178g)    £4.00    £3.00

so this has wrongly resulted in £1.00 being contributed to my voucher.

Also, it was quite nice to have 2 trolleys as they were each lighter and weren't threatening to spill the contents out. It was much easier to repack the trolleys at the end when the items were bagged up.

What's next?

Analyse the "normal" trolley receipt
Work out what the voucher would have been if we'd used only one trolley
Work out various optimal trolley configurations for the shopping
Look in to sourcing the prices before going shopping

v1 script output

Kellogg's Corn Flakes (500g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 1.98  -- most expensive --
morrisons: 1.98
sainsburys: 1.98
waitrose: 1.98

Cadbury Creme Egg Medium (178g) (3 of)
asda: 4.00
tesco: 3.00  ++ cheapest ++
waitrose: 5.00  -- most expensive --

ASDA Smartprice Sparkling Water (2L) (3 of)
asda: 0.48
tesco: 0.48
morrisons: 0.48
sainsburys: 0.48

Kellogg's Multi-Grain Start (375g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 2.39  -- most expensive --
sainsburys: 2.39

ASDA Orange Crush Zero (2L)
asda: 0.72
tesco: 0.54  ++ cheapest ++
sainsburys: 0.64

Nestle Caramac Ice Cream Bars (4x50ml)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 1.00
sainsburys: 1.00

Batchelors Super Noodles Chinese Chow Mein Flavour... (5 of)
asda: 2.00
tesco: 2.00
morrisons: 3.45  -- most expensive --
sainsburys: 3.00

ASDA Easy Scoop Cornish Vanilla Ice Cream (2L)
asda: 2.20
tesco: 0.99  ++ cheapest ++
morrisons: 2.20
sainsburys: 1.20
waitrose: 1.30

Mars Skittles Rainbow Pack (4x45g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 1.40  -- most expensive --
morrisons: 1.00

Kellogg's Honey Loops (375g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 2.35  -- most expensive --
morrisons: 2.35
sainsburys: 2.35
waitrose: 1.80

Silver Spoon Treat Toffee Sauce (325g)
asda: 0.96
tesco: 0.75
morrisons: 0.49  ++ cheapest ++
sainsburys: 1.00  -- most expensive --

ASDA British Double Cream (600ml)
asda: 1.50
tesco: 1.50
morrisons: 1.84
sainsburys: 1.84
waitrose: 1.85  -- most expensive --

ASDA Smartprice Coco Rice (375g)
asda: 0.65
tesco: 0.65

Dr. Oetker Glimmer Hundreds & Thousands (86g)
asda: 1.00
morrisons: 1.29  -- most expensive --

Silver Spoon Dark Chocolate Chips (100g)
asda: 0.50
tesco: 0.50
sainsburys: 0.74  -- most expensive --

Dr. Oetker Giant Stars (13g)
asda: 1.00
morrisons: 1.29
sainsburys: 1.39  -- most expensive --

ASDA Rich Roast Coffee Granules (200g)
asda: 1.48
tesco: 1.48
morrisons: 1.48
sainsburys: 1.49  -- most expensive --

Nestle Rolo Milk Chocolate Egg with a Rolo Tube (1...
asda: 1.00
tesco: 1.00

Askeys Crackin Chocolate Topping (225g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 0.75  ++ cheapest ++
sainsburys: 1.00

Silver Spoon White Chocolate Chips (100g)
asda: 0.50
tesco: 0.50
sainsburys: 0.74  -- most expensive --

Dr. Oetker Chocolate Hearts (45g)
asda: 1.00
morrisons: 1.29  -- most expensive --

Kellogg's Variety Pack (8x25g)
asda: 1.00
tesco: 1.99  -- most expensive --
morrisons: 0.99  ++ cheapest ++
sainsburys: 1.99
waitrose: 1.49

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sportives 2011

This week's Cycling Weekly has a full list of cycling sportives.  The number of them, and the number of participants has grown massively over the last few years.

2008: 72 events, 14841 entrants
2009: 144 events, 29118 entrants
2010: 221 events, 47750 entrants
2011: 243 events

The following are the ones I am considering. See the doodle link to share which ones you fancy (or could be persuaded to do if lots of us are doing it - no commitment)

Sunday March 20, Wiggle No Excuses Sportive, 75-80 miles. (Entered, hotel booked)

Sunday April 13
a) Evans Ride It, Woking, GU24 8AZ, 60/90 miles, £11
b) Meon Valley Riser, Fareham, PO17 5BL, 50/88 miles, £21/23

Sunday May 1st, Isle of Wight Randonnee, free + £13 ferry from Soton, 65 miles on the island (99% likely to do this, with lots of others)

Sunday May 8th
a) Hampshire Hilly Hundred, Sparsholt/Winchester, 100 miles, £25
b) Wiggle Jurassic Beast, Bovington Tank museum, BH20 6JG, 101 miles, £25

Sunday May 22, Wiggle Bournemouth, Christchurch, BH23 6BL, 100 miles, £25

Sunday June 5, Wiggle Sussex Surrey Scramble, RH20 1DL, 91 miles, £25

Sunday June 12, Wiggle Magnificat, Newbury, RG14 7NZ, 127 miles, £27

Sunday June 19, Great Western Sportive, Swindon, SN3 1TA, 170km

Saturday June 25, Wiggle The Long One, Chichester, PO18 0EU, 129 miles, £25

Sunday July 3, Test Valley Tour, Romsey, 150km (did this last year, quite good)

Sunday July 10, Wiggle Mega Meon, Waterlooville, PO7 8AA, 95 miles, £25

Sunday July 24, Wiggle Wight Ferry, Brockenhurst, SO42 7ZE, 100 miles, £37

Sunday August 21, New Forest Rattler, Ringwood, BH24 3NF, 79 miles, £21

Sunday August 28, Blenheim Palace, OX20 1PP, 100 miles, £29

Sunday September 11,
a) Wessex 50/100, SP1 1JH, 100 miles, £19
b) Southern Sportive, Petersfield, GU31 4AS, 155km, £26

Sunday September 18, Southdowns challenge, Fareham, PO17 6EU, 80 miles, £23

Sunday October 2, Wiggle New Forest 100, Brockenhurst, 102 miles, £25. (did this last year, excellent)

Sunday October 23, Wiggle South Downs 100, Chichester, PO19 1SB, 102 miles, £25

Sunday November 6, Wiggle Devils Punch Bowl, Liphook, 75 miles, £25