Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sierra Elvira COPA de ESPAÑA, GP Buff-Salomon 2011

Today I ran my first Spanish (mountain running) Cup race in Atarfe (near Granada), and what I consider my first major mountain running race (apart from K42 in Argentina). Over the past 9 weeks I have been focusing solely on this race and saw it as a target to help me 'come-back' from my injury in December. I knew it was going to be a tough race as Spain has some of the best mountain runners in the World and with so little training under my belt I was unsure of my capabilities.

The race started with the expected frantic pace with everyone vying for the front to avoid the congestion on the small paths close to the start. I managed to get into a comfortable position and avoided getting tangled up with any other runners. At the first climb I managed to over take several runners and found myself in 8th position... unfortunately in no-man's-land! I was too far behind the leading group to make visual contact on the sharp twists and turns and too far ahead of the chasing pack to slow down to let them catch me up. After 5 km we passed the starting area again where Alison was waiting with her camera. From 5 to 20km this is where I remained (in 8th position), however I felt strong and was running at a pace that I felt I could sustain all day. However things changed quickly and the following few kilometers were tougher than anything I have ever encountered. The climbs were so steep I was reduced to walking and the descents were so steep that they brought flash back to Tamadaba Trail (the race I broke my hand and collarbone in December). At 25km (out of 28km), just I thought I was on the finishing straight into the finish I was faced with a climb so steep I could hardly see the top! Mentally I switched off...I was not expecting it and was not prepared...suddenly runners started to pass me and I could do nothing to respond! Everything seemed to fall apart! I started to cramp badly in my legs and feet felt like they had been cut to ribbons. The last few kilomters were some of the most painful kms I have ever run. Within the space of a few kilometers I lost 13 places and finished in a disappointing 20th position some 17 minutes behind the winner Ivan Otiz.

After reflecting a little on the race I have started to feel a little better about myself. I did only start training properly 9 weeks ago after having close to 3 months were I could do very little for myself (even button a shirt). I now have 7 weeks to improve on some of my weaknesses before the next Spanish Cup race in Artenara, Gran Canaria on the 19th June.


Thursday 5th AprilSince the race on Sunday I been in bed with a 'stomach bug', which might explain the dehydration/ cramp and how quickly I faded in the last few kilometers.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Trail-X, Gran Canaria (VIDEO)

Sorry for terrible Spanish.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Trail-X, Gran Canaria

Yesterday I competed in my first race since my accident in December. After having 4 months away from racing it was a good opportunity to go through the processes of racing before the Spanish Cup on the 1st of May. The Trail-X is a new race to Gran Canaria and was run in the Valley of Fataga in the south of the island. The half marathon was an out and back race along a dirt track into the mountains.

I wanted to test my leg speed in this race so I went out hard from the gun setting a pace which was too fast for the other runners to respond to. Going through 5km in under 20minutes I felt very good however the heat was starting to get to me, temperatures reached 35degrees during the race and I had to make use of all the water stations during the race.

At the half way point I took a split on my watch to allow me to try to work out what sort of lead I had. I past the 2nd placed runner after 2min30 so I could work out that I had roughly a 5min lead. On the way back down it was nice to hear the encouragement from all the other runners. At times during the race I felt like easy up because of the extreme temperatures however I didn't allow myself to ease off the gas. I crossed the finish line in 1h25mins over 8 minutes ahead of Carlos Rodriguez in second place.

Overall I was pleased with my performance, however I feel that I could do with a little more speed; something to work on over the next few weeks.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

One month to go...

It is  nearly 4 months since my accident in Tamadaba and it has been a long struggle to recover and get back into training fitness. At the end of January I was given the all clear to start jogging again. This extremely difficult at first as I had lost so much form and to add to the difficulty I also had to wear a figure of 8 supporting brace to stop my shoulders from moving too much which pressed tightly on my chest restricting my breathing. However I managed to run for about 30minutes per day and it felt great to be moving again.

My first training regime fell off its tracks a little at the start of February because of G-COM, I had so much work to do that my running had to take a back seat for about 10days. When I was able to run again it felt like I was starting from scratch. But after putting a few good days behind me I felt like I was back in the game. In February I had the pleasure of training with some of the World's best orienteers who were in Gran Canaria for winter training camps.

By March I felt like I was in a proper training regime again, and was doing all of my 'key' weekly sessions. For the last 2 weeks I have been running for approximately 14hours per week plus gym, cycling and swimming sessions. As I have built up my volume I have been feeling stronger and stronger.

In exactly four weeks time I will be in Granada to run the 1st Spanish Cup race of the year, which will be not only my first major test since the accident in December but also my first real test against serious competition.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Video G-COM 2011

Boström and Volynska win G-COM 2011

Olle Boström from Sweden and Nadiya Volynska from Ukraine are the winners of first ever Gran Canaria Orienteering Meeting.

On the weekend of the 11th to 13th of February the sport of orienteering reached a new level on Gran Canaria. Three of the major players in Canarian orienteering (O-riéntate, Limonium Canarias and Active Canaria) teamed together to organise the Canary Islands’ first multi-day international orienteering race, G-com (Gran Canaria Orienteering Meeting).

The main goal was to show the world of orienteering what Gran Canaria has to offer and to help develop the sport in the Canary Islands.

With over 100 entrants from 15 different countries and many locals trying orienteering for the first time, it can be said that the organising team were successful in fulfilling their goals. “We are extremely pleased with the turn out we have had” said Allan Bogle “and to have so many of the world’s best orienteers taking put has been an absolute pleasure”.

Even though the entry list included current World Champion, Matthias Muller from Switzerland it was the young Swede Olle Boström who dominated the weekend’s races. Boström won all 3 days in spectacular fashion. Hhis overall time was 4minutes faster than 2nd placed Oleksandr Kratov from Ukraine and 10minutes faster than 3rd placed Aleksandr  Bernarciak from Poland. World Champion Muller who was only able to run on the last day due to national team commitments said after the race “I wish I was able to take part in all three races! I will definitely try to return for next year’s G-COM”.
In the ladies’ race it was Ukraine Nadiaya Volynska who showed her dominance throughout the weekend also pulling off a hat trick of wins. Volynska, who’s overall time was over 20minutes faster than 2nd place Marie-Lousie Axenborg from Sweden, managed to leave the other ladies trailing behind on Sunday’s mass start event coming home with a 7minute lead.

Both Bostrom and Volynska won sports equipment that was donated by Zonaboxes sports shop in Las Palmas.

It was not only at the top end that the races were contested, there was also a strong battle to be the best place Canarian between local runners Gaston Mora and Fran Hernandez, with Mora coming out on top with 10minutes to spare over Hernandez. Mora, who was 8th placed in the overall rankings, won a weekend in a Rural Hotel which was kindly provided by Gran Canaria Natural.

It has to be remembered that orienteering is a sport for all ages, and G-COM had a category for some of the older competitors which was won by Roald Kleppe from Norway who is in his 70’s. Kleppe won prizes which included gifts from Gran Canaria Tourism.

G-COM 2011 would have been impossible to put on without the help of many collaborators, which includedGran Canaria TourismGran Canaria NaturalVivac Aventura, Faro 2 shopping centre, Zona Boxes, Coca Cola, Arista - Transgrancanaria, La Isleña Pasta and Buen Lugar Gofio.

All Photos from: Alison Hill Photography

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tamadaba Trail Tour (T3)

I have been putting off writing this post for a while now...but here goes...

The first edition of the Tamadaba Trail Tour holds mixed emotions for me! The race covered a 20km course around my favourite part of Gran Canaria, Tamadaba. It is always a pleasure to run in such spectacular scenery, however unfortunately this race did not end well for me!

The week before the race was my 30th birthday which I have to admit I may have over indulged a little in my alcohol intake, leaving me very run down for a couple of days and making me miss 4 days of training. I was in two minds about whether I would run the race or not! the evening before the race I managed to run for 15minutes and felt 'OK'. So I decided that I would be on the starting line!

I started the race at my usual fast pace wanting to make my competitors work from the gun. Two runners came with me, Jose Salom and Matias Ojeda. I kept pushing but felt in my body that things weren't going exactly how they should be. Jose and I started to pull away from Matias, I didn't know much about Jose's ability apart from that he was a road specialist and a former Ironman. His road speed became apparent during a road section of about 2km, he quickly pulled away from me, however I didn't worry too much as I knew I would be a lot stronger on the descent.

Hitting the top of Tamadaba (1400m) I was told that Jose had a lead of about 2mins which I thought I would catch easily. Coming off the top off the mountain I quickly increased my speed on the easy descent as I wanted to catch Jose before the technical descent section. Things seemed to be going well and I was feeling confident. However things suddenly took a turn for the worse!! I lost my footing and fell forward landing heavily on my right shoulder and left hand. Straight away I knew something was wrong....but something inside me told me to get up and run!! my shoulder and hand were in agony  but I kept running. At the next drinks station I told the organisers that something was wrong, but I decided to keep going. I managed to keep my speed up quite well  and I was able to minimise the pain by clasping onto my t-shirt keeping my arm across my body.

At the begining of the technical descent, which was about 5km from the finish I stopped with some of the organisers who tied a few t-shirts and jackets around me to stabilise my shoulder. I decided that I would not be able to run any more as the adrenaline had worn off and the pain had become too much. Two spectators very kindly escorted me down the mountain giving me water and painkillers...

It was not a very enjoyable descent firstly watching Matias go by and then the other runners. Everyone offered me words of encouragement as they passed by. For some reason I decided I wanted to finish the race running and as you can see from my face this was very painful.

I was whisked straight off to the local clinic where they re-located my dislocated shoulder and bandaged up my hand. I went back to the competition centre to thank the organisers and the other runners for looking after me so well.

Later that day I got x-rayed and found out that I had broken my collar bone and my thumb... and that I might be out off training for up to 8 weeks...

More to follow...