I Really enjoyed NtCCC – it was a welcome distraction at a time when there has been scant else to do. I completed all but one of the challenges, but these were my favourites – or at least the ones I put most thought/effort into.
Stewart Unsworth will be proud of me – I studied the rules in detail and I think I found an exploitable loophole to beat the handicapper. There is nothing that explicitly says you have to run the same route twice – just don’t cheat because Father Christmas and the cabal know. To maximise the % increase between the 1st and 2nd runs while giving 100% in both, I needed to make the 1st one harder and the 2nd one easier.
For the 1st 5K I picked an undulating local 5K loop that I have run hundreds of time, only there was poor visibility, freezing fog, icy pavements, slippy leaves, I ran on tired legs and had low energy due to consuming less than 2k calories per day on a crash diet during the month of November.
Nov 26th run #1: 20m 42s
For the 2nd 5K I tried to reverse all the factors of the 1st. I jogged up to the flattest route I know in Corsham (along the ridge in Neston), the weather was cool, dry and calm, and my coach and best friend, Luke, joined me on his bike to shout encouragement and prevent me from slowing down in the 2nd half. I was very pleased with the improvement and my 2nd fastest legal* 5K ever.
Jan 16th run #2: 18m 56s
- That’s right folks, Heddington doesn’t actually count.
100M Vertical Dash
I spent quite a while surveying local hills for this part of the challenge – I needed something steep, on road, and 100m of elevation. Naish, down in Lacock, was a candidate, as was the hill out of Slaughterford up to Thickwood. But ultimately Tutton Hill up to Colerne was my favourite. It ticked all the boxes, and I used to own the CR, so there was added motivation to try and win it back! However, in the end I did some maths and calculated that I would be able to run up and down my stairs for a total of 100m faster than any outdoor activity.
So that’s what we did – 19 flights x 5.30 meters (it’s a town house). I sent coach Luke off first and he recorded a very respectable time of 5m 26s. This was a great marker but I was determined not to be beaten by an 8-year old. I double-stepped every ascent, then hobbled back down at half the speed on my fragile knees.
Final time 5m 16s…but I only just noticed this one wasn’t actually a competition 🙁
Slaughterford Prediction Run
SF9 is my favourite race of the year and I am gutted it’s cancelled. I figured the best way to predict my time was to go hard. I initially planned to aim for 1h10m, but on the start line I had a crisis of confidence and down-graded to 1h13m. The course was in perfect condition – not too muddy, not too hard – and my friend Andy gave me something to chase up the hills. I didn’t push as hard as I would’ve done in a race, but it was definitely an uncomfortable effort.
Predicted: 1h 13m
Actual: 1h 11m 6s
The Castle Combe run on Christmas Eve was in no way a chore – fantastic morning with some friends, and the same goes for the New Year’s run!
I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy Andrew’s strength session – I hate strength work!
It was also a nice surprise to bump into Max and Mike on the Christmas Lights run!
I really enjoyed the NtCCC. Many thanks to the organisers.