Training update and a great night race!

2 months since my last post and there hasn’t been really much to say until now. Training has gone well, I was even sensible at least once and cancelled a race and I’ve tried not to be too obsessed about the OCC in a few weeks. I may have failed at the latter.

A bit of a niggle in my achilles which is the first time I’ve had that, so trying to manage that well, but otherwise just back from 2 weeks holidays and we managed to combine a lovely relaxing holiday with doing enough exercise to keep ticking over!

We started off with a few days in the pyrenees without the children in Matemale, where it turns out Laura Muir and co were for a pre-world champs camp!!! Went for some lovely walks up in the mountains and saw some beautiful countryside whilst putting a good 20k each day into our legs.

I also reminded myself that I could be a right tit sometimes! I decided that when I saw some hurdles in the forest I should jump over them which made for a hilarious video where my wife showed her concern for my wellbeing, when I went ass over tit, by laughing her head of! It did scare me a bit though that I could have just caused myself a serious mischief so close to the race…

Anyway, after that we headed to Valras to meet the kids and evict the grandparents for a couple of weeks and fell into a nice regime of a running every other day, a bit of cycling and a bit of swimming. All bookended with lots of food and wine BUT nowhere near as much as normally on holiday. This I think was partly a conscious choice but also my subconscious looking after me.

To finish the holiday we entered a race on the last night in Murles (about an hour away). We’d found the race online and the cost of a 10Euros we thought why not! The slight challenge was that it was being held at night and it mentioned running up some hills to see the shooting stars…

Once we got there, we both had the fear! Everyone dressed as Salomon samurai’s with loads of gear! We’d just gone via decathlon to buy a chest torch (as favoured by Martyn’s Maidens)! Went to the registration to show our UK Athletics cards and to pick up our numbers and t-shirts and went to wait in the main square for it get dark.

First things first – the T-SHIRT FITTED ME!!! Already a great race in my opinion!

The race set off with one big hill up the mountain that seemed to never end, followed by some ridge running then a long downhill back to the village. The downhill was somewhat technical with loose slate to fall/slip on and the steepness so steep, we had to use ropes!!!


Unfortunately this also led to quite a lot of bottlenecks, but was great fun and I remember just thinking everyone else is in bed and I’m scrambling down a mountain having a great time!!!

After the downhill a smallish uphill and decent then an uphill back to the top of the ridge to see the shooting stars and a descent back to the village. I didn’t see any shooting stars but Gemma did (supposedly).

I did nearly fall over about 20 times and started using the f word like a comma as I was so worried about hurting myself, helped by a message from Marie saying don’t break anything!. In the end I had to give myself a stern talking to and agree what will be will be. The use of the f word continued with some new words in french I learnt from fellow runners!!!

The finish was lovely arriving in the village in the dark, where they had put candles the length of the streets as you ran in, with a brass band playing and people generally clapping along as you came past. I was met by Gemma who just said, there’s an amazing buffet, it’s amazing, quick!!!

The buffet was indeed awesome! Brie in french bread was a favourite all washed down with a free beer in the memento cup you got to keep! For 10Eu you got the actual race with was brilliant, a t-shirt, mug, beer, food and loads of entertainment for the kids and non runners during the race! Amazing!!!

Headed home and arrived in Valras about 1am with the hunger, the “there’s no way you’re going to sleep with this hunger” type, so we pulled up outside a fast food place and got an “Americain” sarnie. This is half a baguette with chips, lettuce, tomato and steak hache inside it + choice of sauce!!! We then parked up by the beach, like a couple of old people in Eastbourne, and ate our sarnies whilst watching drunk people amble past the car at 1:30am. Happiness is….

Lovely way to finish the holiday and also our bootcamp (as my wife called it). Next stop, a couple of weeks of work before heading to the alpes for the OCC. Just typing it makes me nervous… I’ve tried to do the right things before the race and I feel fit but the challenge is a tough one and I think i’m probably 60/40 to finish it. Next couple of weeks I’ll try and push that ratio a little higher by trying to do the right things.





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