JCP Swansea Half 2016

swansea 2016 before
Before. Was I the only Half fanatic at Swansea?
Swansea Half Marathon, 26th June 2016. Swansea.
During. “Come on Sponge Bob”


I started this review by looking at my notes from last year and noted that I was really impressed with four holes in the bib number to aid pinning to your vest – unfortunately missing this year – but was also impressed with our names printed above the numbers which was great as spectators urged you on.

As can be seen from the “During” photo I wore my quiet, subdued, disappear into the background running vest which stopped everyone shouting “Come on Clive” and had everyone shouting “Keep going Sponge Bob”. Spectators were excellent, by the way, this year – along the whole course again and very vocal.

Tapered well this year and the weather was a lot cooler but still humid under the cloud cover. I made the basic beginner error of starting at the front of my pen, going out to quick, feeling ok so keeping the same pace for ten miles, having heavy and tired legs for the last three point one. A week later the stiffness is just coming out of those tired legs.

One benefit of going out too quick is that I took 12 minutes off last years time (not bad over 13 miles) finishing in 2 hrs 19 min. The downside of the race getting bigger each year is the fact that in spite of going quicker, I dropped from 45th to 55th in the Male Vet 60+ category.

said last year that the goody bag was average but would get better as sponsors came on board and that is exactly what happened. Drinks, banana, energy bars, joint tablets, joint ache cream (used on left knee) and other stuff. Said last year I would do it again and say the same this year. Good and flat with lots of support.

swansea 2016 after
After. Yet another nice quiet tee shirt.









Cracked The Nutrition Thing – before And During A Run

After years of trying to find the right nutritional path, lots of running with a sloshing stomach, tired legs and with blood/sugar levels all over the place, I think I have finally cracked it.

My preparation for my long Sunday run seemed a bit complicated for a 5.30am start,  so I wrote myself a note the night before. Here’s the very note and this is what I wrote:

Make coffee with butter

Put into blender

Add coconut oil

Add Ucan

Drink 30 minutes before start of run.

Add Ucan to water bottle and take with you.

To be a bit more precise

Carve off a quarter inch slice of Anchor Butter (butter from grass fed cows so Kerrygold is just as good) and slice into my tall cappuccino glass. Put under coffee machine and pour in the hot, black, Nescafe Dolce Gusto Grande Intenso coffee. Place into blender. Add concentrated MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) coconut oil, add one scoop plain Generation Ucan powder and blend it all up. Pour back into cappuccino glass and enjoy.

What sort of a difference did it make to my run? Well, miles 0 to 15 went like a dream with no loss of energy. Miles15 to 20 were tiring as you would expect but although my legs felt tired I didn’t have that “dead legs with no energy left in them” feeling.

Heart rate zone 2 running, was the order of the day, which is difficult when there are so many hills around where I live but I managed to stay within zone (134-144) for 16 out of the 20.68 miles. As an aside, does anyone else go off into a dream world while running and wake up in heart rate zone 3 ?

My 1980s marathons weren’t fuelled at all, unless you count pasta the night before, and my 2010-12 marathons were fuelled on Cliff Bars before the race and sugar gels through the race. The gels always gave me a strange stomach feel and in the Dublin marathon I was offered at a feed station, and took, a gel that was extremely fruity that felt like it was burning my stomach like acid would.

After much research (mainly from podcasts, all of which are reviewed and praised in an earlier posting) I went NSNG last October. Becoming ketonic from no sugars no grains and getting all my carbs from lots of lovely vegetables, has served me well. I am lucky that I do not need to lose masses of weight so, for me, it is a lifestyle shift for the sake of the change and for staying healthy, although I am 6lb lighter.

It was later that I discovered the coffee and butter thing and then later again after that, the coconut oil. My breakfast now consists of coffee with butter and coconut oil in it and that keeps from thinking about food until 1.00pm. Many will say that it is psychological, but my brain is I am sure, more alert than it used to be. How can I tell? I am learning a language while driving (Welsh). It used to be that on a long morning drive I would listen to a couple of lessons, start yawning and turn off the tapes and turn on music. Now I am listening to the tapes through the journey and the return journey. Note that Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Diet) calls the MCT oil brain food.

So much for day to day, I wanted this lifestyle to help with my running, to allow me to burn fat as a fuel rather than sugar, to help me avoid the crash after the insulin rush and dive forcing me to take in just one more gel. What confused me then was suggestions from seasoned marathon runners and ultra runners, who were NSNG, to fuel on a carbohydrate called Generation Ucan. It didn’t make sense to me to eat fat, run at zone 2 and burn fat and then to ingest carbohydrate. So – more research.

It turns out that (I can’t remember this bit so this is a direct quote from their literature) Generation Ucan is a product made from modified corn starch – GM free, which allows for sustained natural energy levels, without the spikes and crashes of normal energy drinks. It’s a slow release complex carbohydrate that allows your body to access your fat supplies easier for fuel.

The bit that sold me to this product (by the way I think I should say that I am not sponsored in any way) is the statement that there is “No gastric distress, because super starch is a large molecule that passes through the stomach quickly and is digested slowly in the intestines.”

If I had to change one thing on my next long run it would be to carry more water as I was becoming dehydrated towards the end of the run, partly due to being so wrapped up against the elements. Looks like I will have to sterilise my Camelback water bladder ready for my next long run – I will let you know how it goes.

Death Of A Treadmill

treadmillSadly, after a short illness, my treadmill died this morning at 6.4 miles into a 10 mile run. Things had not been right lately with the need to hold down buttons to get the display to change but I suppose I had more than my moneys worth from this trusty machine.

Endorsed by Carl Lewis (Sprint and long jump at Olympic meets between 1984 and 1996) this running / walking machine had seen many miles completed on cold dark mornings when a look out of the window at the weather meant either the treadmill or a trip back to bed. Lately this trusty machine saw me through walks of two miles through a flu bug (note tissues on window sill) and, as can be seen in the photo, was helping me run today while snow lay on the ground outside. In detail, what happened is that at 6.4 miles there was a loud bang, a smell of burning electrics and a need to reset the tripswitch so that the ground floor electric sockets could be used again.

My last run outside in bad weather was a pre-dawn run where I was in a cold, dark lonely spot and suddenly found myself “surfing” about thirty feet over icy ground. All that was going through my mind was “If I fall and break my hip, will I be able to reach my mobile and how will I describe where I am?” I have been a bit wary of cold weather running ever since.

This weekend was supposed to be a return to long runs after that flu bug with 10 today (Saturday) followed by 20 tomorrow. I guess if I want to do the 20 tomorrow then it will be outside, whatever the weather.

Will I purchase another treadmill? At the moment I am thinking – no. I have membership of a gym so that I can cross train with weights and they have running machines if I need them. Also I think I will benefit from being in a position of either get outside or don’t run at all. What I will miss though is the sprint / fartlek work knowing my exact speed and the fact that I could run at any time of day and in any weather.

My biggest problem now is not only how to dispose of said treadmill but how to unbolt it into manageable segments as the base will not now lift into a vertical position without power!