Saturday, 3 November 2012

My 10k training - all about the speed

What a refreshing change it is to train for a 10k after several years doing loads of long runs. On Sunday 25th November I'll be running the Movember 10k at Greenwich Park and I'm going to try and win it! 

Last year I came 3rd in a time of 39:15 and was only about a minute and a half behind the winner so I'm thinking with some specific training I should be able to take 3 mins off my current time. Here's the training so far.

It started about a month or so ago after I got back from Ibiza (not a lot of point starting before then!) and it was going really well. A couple of Sundays ago I did a 30 mile run with a mate which, whilst that race was ok, I didn't stretch properly afterwards and went back to speed training a bit tight. This week has been a write off with a swollen Achilles. At least I can touch it now without flinching.

I personally like running on treadmills, especially when doing speed work. I feel you have more control and can play games with yourself to make it more interesting. There is no reason running at the gym should be boring.

My training has roughly been 4-5 runs a week broken down into 2-3 different speed sessions, one easy recovery run and a longish trail run at the weekend.

My speed sessions are:

1. Tempo run. So a 1mile warm up around 8.5mph then 3-4 miles around 10-11mph then a mile cool down around 8mph.

2. My pyramids: This is normally a 0.5mile warm up at 8.5mph then 0.1 miles at 10mph, then 0.1m recovery at 8.5mph, then 0.2m at 10.3mph, recovery, then 0.3m at 10.6mph, recovery, then 0.4 at 10.9mph, recovery, then 0.5m at 11.2 then do the same back down again. 

3. Go faster! I'll start this 4-5 milem run around 8.5mph then every half a mile stick it up a bit. The goal is to end up running the last mile around 11.5-12mph! That is so tough and I'm not quite at the point I can do a 5min mile. 

4. Spank a 5k. So 0.5m warn up then run a 16.5- 17 min 5k. Seriously tough.

With a bit of massage, stretching and rest my Achilles will be ok, it's definitely not the first time I've had this! I'll be back next week and fully fit by the 25th. 

Happy running.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Here's Johnny, I'm back!!!

How have we all been since my two years of blogging silence? Excellent, pleased to hear it. I thought it was time I get back into my blog as there is some exciting stuff coming up over the coming couple of years and, as I'm the sharing caring type, I thought you might be interested.

Since we last said hello I've done a few runs! Here's a quick overview....
  • Grand Union Canal 145 single stage ultra - 36hrs
  • Peru Jungle Ultra - 145 miles 6 stages (amazing, some info below)
  • NDW100 - 24hrs 50mins 
  • Milton Keynes Marathon - 2:51 (woohoo, final got a sub 3!)
  • Winner of my local 5k Parkrun - my only ever win
So to date I've done 36 marathons and 13 ultras and things are going to get big next year.

The last couple of years have been great, my business is doing well and there are 6 of us now, my running is really enjoyable and I've ticked off a few things I've always wanted to do. Twitter has really taken off for me I've met some cracking people. Here's a few that have made running more enjoyable.

@UltraRunRich Rich has been my Nandos partner over the past year, can't beat a plate of wing roulette while you natter on about running for a couple of hours. I'm sure anyone listening in thinks, what are they going on about, but we enjoy it. 

@bryanwe, @DanPark81, @ogeerunner @conwild it's been great meeting some of you, twittering on about running, reading your reviews and sharing our passion for going long. Cheers to you and to everyone else I've had the pleasure of tweeting with. 

I'm sure it's the same with you but I often get new people asking why I run ultras. It's pretty simple to me, I get to see some of the most amazing places, I get to challenge myself and see how far I can push myself physically and mental (so far no probs!) and I meet some great people. 

Take the Peru ultra, the run started in forest above the clouds! Imagine waking up for your run and being in the jungle above the clouds. Then imagine running through freshly cut paths through amazing jungle, running through rivers and gorges with overhanging jungle, parrots flying around, snakes wiggling across the path in front of you, sleeping in tribes villages and playing football with the children while the tribes cook food for you. In my opinion it is the person who would not want to all that is the crazy one, not me!

So what does the future hold. Planned races include the Barcelona Marathon which I'll run with my rediculously supportive wife Meredith. The Enduroman 100 miler which is 91 laps of a 1.1 mile course- now that's a mental challenge. 

The big one next year is likely to be the rather tough Spartathlon in Greece. 255km in 36 hours in the heat, hills and tough trail between Athens and Sparta. Bring it on. Oh and I forgot the European ultra which is a week before the Spartathlon but its just a 120km run over 3 days, I'm looking at it as some good last minute training! 

I hope your year is looking great too. 

Until next time, enjoy.


Monday, 25 October 2010

The Jungle Marathon 2010 - Brazil

Stage 1 – 15.04km
Organisers pre stage info
“A short sharp shock to the system. There is a very high concentration of elevation. This stage could really wipe you out totally if you don’t take it easy. Watch out for dehydration, pain in your quads and the beginnings of trashed feet.1 swamp crossing and 1 river crossing.”

Johnny’s stage 1 post race report
Well that was quite an introduction to the jungle. Although it was only a 10 mile stage it has taken us 6 hours!! We started off with a little walk along the beach in our flip flops as we knew there was a water crossing after a few hundred metres and we wanted to keep our feet and shoes dry for as long as possible.

By the time we dried our feet  and got our shoes on we were officially last in the race but this was great as we really had no idea what was in store for us. We had to scramble up a bank to get into the jungle and then the winding jungle paths began.

These paths were relentless and took us up and down hills, some which were really steep, all of them covered with leaves and branches and there were loads of trees that had fallen down which we had to climb over or crawl under. Jungle fact: the base of the jungle is about 1ft deep of sandy soil which is rubbish for trees roots and under the sand is clay which the roots can’t get into. So the big trees are largely held up by each other and the canopy which means that when there’s a storm the trees can fall down.

There were 2 checkpoints today and at each checkpoint we had to wait at least 15 minutes until we could leave. This was because its hotter than last year, although less humid, and last year over 50% of the field dropped out with heat exhaustion and other things!

The jungle is amazing, there are some huge trees, dangerous looking plants with nasty spikes, loads of spiders webs and so many ants. Seriously I’ve seen about 10 different types, some tiny like the fire ants which got us the other day. They are only about 2mm ling but squirt sulphuric acid on you and it stings. The larger ants are about an inch long, dark black and look nasty.

Several people dropped out of today, I think 3 and mainly from heat exhaustion. The IV’s have already come out for one of the guys who was sparker by checkpoint 2. Tomorrow is a much longer day and harder apparently.

I’m getting used to sleeping in a hammock though and its actually pretty comfortable. Because its fully enclosed you can lie on your side, back, wiggle around and no worry about falling out. 

 Stage 2 – 23.85km
Organisers pre stage info
“Mud, mud and more mud. Your feet will be soaked most of this stage. Expect to be covered in ticks thanks to the swamp crossings! However hard you try it’s inevitable that you are going in. But there are still some flat parts where you can pick up the pace. 5 river crossings, 4 swamp crossings (1 totally hideous).

Johnny’s stage 2 post race report
Hi All,
Day 2 was certainly eventful! We set off at 6.30am so that meant I got up at 5.15 and I was about the last person to get up as usual on these runs.  

We started with some hills and the first stage which was about 6.5k was ok. It was hotter and really still so the humidity was higher which meant we had to take it easy. The first stage took 1hr 45mins. The jungle is amazing, loads of different plants, insects and weird things.

The next stage included a swamp which was about mid thigh high but the water was pretty clear so it was ok and it wasn’t a very big swamp. We got to the second checkpoint after about 4 hours and this was about 13k.

The 3rd stage included more swamps and apparently the worst! This time it was about a 25m stretch and up to waist but pretty clean. However Joe, who has become spider spotting man, saw another weird spider at the edge of the swamp. It was about the size of an orange and looked nasty. IT was about another hour or so to the next checkpoint.

After the 3rd checkpoint we had to cross a small river, about 10 meters but too deep to walk through so we had to put the rucksacks in a bin liner and float it over to the otherside! We then had about 100 meters of the nastiest swamp to go through and at one point I sank in the mud up to my mid thigh which was nice!

Overall it took us 8 hours to do 23km and it was pretty tough. I’ve still got enough in me when I get back to the camp to be ready for the next day which I’m pleased with. Tomorrow is 35km and is going to take ages, god knows how long.

 I’m loving it here. 


Stage 3 – 35.25km
Organisers pre stage info
“Combine the horrors of stage one and two and extend the pain. Don’t get lulled into a flase sense of security by the flatter parts of the trail. There is much more torture to come! 3 river crossings, 3 swamp crossings.”

Johnny’s stage 3 post race report
“Hi all
Today has been the best day so far. It was 35km so about 20 miles and had everything.
Today’s run included swamps up to your waist, serious hills and loads of them both up and down, some pretty dense jungle, running through 2 villages, running down by the river and a couple of creek crossings – one which was up to your shoulders.

I’m still doing great with my hydration and food. I’m drinking between 2.5-3 litres of water between each checkpoint so in total each day around 12-15 litres is being drunk which keeps the right balance. You can probably imagine how much I’m sweating out here. It is a case that your clothes are wet after 10 minutes of walking/running and stay wet until the morning.

It seems like we are going ridiculously slow and I think our average speed is around 3.5km an hour so about 2 mph. Today’s first 10k took 3 hours, that’s 12 minutes faster than my fastest ever marathon!

The next day will be a shortish and fastish one. Its 23km and should be along community trails which are essentially paths through the jungle that have been cleared of fallen trees and jungle crap. Nearly all of the route so far, except the last 10km today, has been path created for us by chopping down a path through the jungle so there is loads of leave debris all over the place, loads of fallen trees and vines that cross the path to trip you up.
About 300m from the end of today’s race 5 of the little girls from the village we are staying in came running out and walked in with us which was really nice.

Meredith got to sleep in a little village last night which checkpoint 2 was at for todays run. She was playing with the children there and they got a little monkey which they were all playing with. Apparently very cute and there are photo’s to prove it.

I’m off to relax but looking forward to tomorrow.

Jungle love,

Stage 4 – 23.98km
Organisers pre stage info
”Forget wet feet, you are going for a swim. Lots of flat parts to run if your feet will carry you, but watch out for dense vegetation, and abundance of prickly plants and snakes and spiders. 2 river crossings and 1 swamp crossing.” 

Johnny’s stage 4 post race report
Hi again,
 Day 4 was completed a few hours ago and it was a pretty easy day in comparison. 23.9km today along much flatter trails through the jungle than the other days.

 It started with a 150 meter swim across a river so we could get into the jungle for our run! This was at 7am in the morning and I’ve got to say the water was lovely. So the day started off very wet and as has been the case for the other days remained wet. The jungle was less dense in parts today but loads of funnel webs at the bottom of trees however we didn’t see any spiders.

 We got back to the camp around 12pm today so the run was 5 hours which compared to previous days was short. I’ve got one blister on my left little toe which I’m not sure what I’m going to do about yet. I might just tape it and see what happens. I’ve been wearing the same socks all week which seem to be doing the trick and each night I’ve been washing them in the shower or the river. To add, the shower water is simply the river water pumped up to the tank that is above the shower.

 Joe and I both got a time penalty today! We think it might be 1 hour or maybe 2. Why? Well we had a beer from the little shop in the village we are staying in and that apparently is against the rules. Its all very funny really and the best thing to be given a penalty for in my book.

Tomorrow is the big one 89km which is around 55 milesish. The first half is in the jungle and we have to pass checkpoint 4 (32km) by 3.30pm as after then is the dark zone where you can’t be at night as that’s where the jaguars live. We don’t know what our strategy for the day is yet but will certainly get past the dark zone and may just crack on to the finish but we are working on a time of around 20 hours for the run tomorrow!

 It will be a couple of days til I email again so until then later’s.


Stage 5 – 89.45km
Organisers pre stage info
“Watch the piranha and caimans on the water crossing, and the dense population of jaguars in the vicinity of CP4. Face the steepest of climbs and the sharpest of descents, and if you make it out of the forest alive you can enjoy 40km on the community trails. Dark zone at CP 4 starts at 15.30 hrs. 6 river crossings.

Johnny’s stage 5 post race report
Hi again
The long day is all about getting your strategy right so we had it planned to implement the MDS 2010 long day strategy which was to take the first half relatively easy, have a break and then spank the last half.

We had been warned that the first 3 stages were very similar to the first two days in that there were loads of hills, dense jungle, water crossings and swamps! So to kick off the race we started at the river and had to swim across a 100m stretch to the other side. I took the strategy of swimming bare foot across so that my shoes were dry to run on and I think it paid off. Up until this long day I had only got one blister on my little toe which I kept quiet as the guys who had loads would not have been too impressed!

So the run to CP1 was deceptively easy with some gentle slopes and nothing too nasty. Then the fun began. The run to CP2 and CP3 had loads of really steep hills both up and down and one swamp which was thigh high but strangely you get used to these and they are a bit of a laugh. We had to keep cracking on to get to CP4 as you needed to have reached this CP before 3.30pm to be able to carry on as between CP4 & CP5 is what’s known as the dark zone and there is the highest density of Jaguars in this area and the organisers could not risk competitors going through there in the dark.

Myself and Joe made it to CP4 by 2.30pm so an hour within the cut off. 10 people ended up getting held there overnight – faced with having to finish the 60km the following day and the thought of that was horrible.
CP4 to CP5 was another long, tough stage and the last through the deep jungle. Finally reached there at 5pm. By this stage we had covered about 42km, so a marathon so this day, and we had 47km to go!. So we took a bit of time out and had some food, rested our feet. Joe had all is blisters re-taped which was a massive help to get him through the second half.  The codeine also helped!

While we were resting one of the competitors, David, got to the CP with severe heat stroke. The docs took a break from my feet to attend to his much more serious condition. He ended up having 3 IV’s and was a right mess. Unsurprisingly he was pulled out the race. The doctors quite rightly had to treat David before they could finish Joe’s feet so we didn’t leave CP5 until 7pm so with a lovely 2hr rest we were ready to kick on, and we did.  

We stuck the head torches on  ran from CP5 to CP6 which was the first proper sustained running we had done so far. Meredith and Erika were at CP6 so we had a bit of a chat then left to make the most of the nice night. It was cooler but no way near cool during the night probably only dropping about 3-4deg.

CP6 to CP7 was ok too and we did this in about 1.5hrs - around 10k. We were picking up the pace and the pit stop strategy was working well. We passed a number of competitors out on the course during the second half and pretty much ran most of it although when I say run it was about a 7km/h shuffle!.  We the cracked on to CP8 which meant we only had 25km to go, just over a half marathon. It was about 11.30pm when we got to CP8 so we had been on our feet for 17.5 hours!

CP8 to CP9 was the longest individual stage at 14km but we were told it was flat – what they failed to mention was that the majority of it was over soft sand, tree roots and stony paths. They also didn’t mention was at the end of the section (which we arrived at at 2am) there was a 150m river crossing. So in the dark, with no idea what was in the water we swam across this crossing to the other side where more beach lay ahead of us.
These are my favourite times during the run. It was about 2am, we were running along a beach on the edge of the Amazon river with about a million stars above us, it really was spectacular. You can go two ways at this point, either enjoy it cos you are somewhere really special that you’ll probably not go to again, or get down that you’re in a bit of pain and still have 2+ hours of running to do. What also helped was that we got the ipod’s out and I had Above and Beyond Vol.8 banging out some lovely trance. Hands in the air!

We finally finished at 3.45am so this day had taken 21.5 hours from start to finish and we had run over 55 miles.

Tomorrow/today was a day off where we could try and relax, the reality was that we didn’t really sleep much that night as still full of adrenaline and viper bars and the sun came up at 6am. It was great watching the other runners come in during the day and some of them didn’t get in until 11pm the following night!!! You work it out but that’s an unbelievable effort.

We actually did amazingly for the stage finishing joint 24th.

Next time, I'll have finished!

 Stage 6 – 32.77km
Organisers pre stage info
“Sand, sand and more sand and plenty of sunshine. But the end is in sight and *only* 32kn until you reach the finish line at the beautiful resort of Alter do Chao.”

Johnny’s stage 6 post race report
I have finally got some blisters, about 4 which were mainly placed between my big toes and the ball of my feet. They were a cross between blisters and pressure sores so after a while standing they ached. But this was the final day and with my feet taped up, blisters popped and 2 codeine inside me for breakfast I was ready to go and boy did we go.

It was an early start with the running starting at 6.15. This was because the entire run was along the beach on the river’s edge and we wanted to get as much done before the scorching sun came up from behind the hill on our right hand side.  

So we ran it and we were getting close to 10km/h for the first 2 stages. I pushed on took turns with Joe being in front and whilst I was feeling good, Joe was getting a bit warm and his feet were mashed compared to mine which obviously makes it harder. We stuck the tunes on and just got our heads down and cracked on.
The last stage was a 9km one which was great. The viper bar was working, we started to see some homes along the river side and then in the distance we saw the boats that are moored at Alto do Chao which meant we were almost there.

We had to run up to the village square where the finish line was and it was fantastic. We had done amazingly today running the final stage in just over 4 hours and coming joint 20th!

We had both finished a very respectable joint 27th overall.

It really was a fantastic week, tough but enjoyable. The jungle is an amazing place and the villagers who live out there are friendly and welcoming.

The only question now is what’s next? 

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Its finally here..

Hi Everyone, 

This will be my final blog before I head off to the Sahara to take part in the 25th Marathon Des Sable. I can't wait to get out there and I hope that the training over the past year makes it a great week. 

Currently its about 35-40 degrees where we are flying to and on Sunday they are expecting winds of 50mph which in the desert is not good. Thats a serious sandstorm so it will be on with the goggles and watch your head as the tents we sleep in are held up by branches and are not the most stable. 

The course changes every year but because of the 25th anniversary they have extended it to 250km which equates to 155 miles. The run takes place over 7 days with varying distances each day ranging from 13 to 50 miles. On the notorious long day (the 45-50 mile day) you have the option of doing it all in one go or splitting it up as you actually get 2 days to run this. Last time we did it in one day (11.5 hours) which meant we could relax all the next day and let the blisters recover. 

Who knows what's instore this year, whether i'll get blisters on the first day or last day, whether the wind will be a problem or whether it will be humid. There are so many factors that affect the run its hard to know how it will go. 

All I know is that I can't wait to start and find out what's going to happen. 

I'd like to thank a couple of sponsors: 
Embers Merino who kindly donated clothing for the run. Its strange to think that you'd go to the desert and wear a wool top but its comfy, doesn't stink after 2 days and is natural. Thanks Chris

Also thanks to Annabel for the Orbana energy drink. Its helped my training and its good to have something that not only helps me physically but also tastes good. 

The are a few essential things that you need to be able to do these runs. Training is critical, mental strength gets you round but non of it could happen without support. 

The support from my wife and family is endless and they help me in so many ways to jet around the world on my mini adventures. I am hugely appreciative of this help - thank you. 

So until I come back be good and if you'd like to keep intouch with me while i'm out in the sahara you can at My race number is 855. 

Thanks for your ongoing support and thanks from Mencap also, your sponsorship money is going to very very good use.

Bye for now. 


Saturday, 13 March 2010

Interview with my niece Jessica

Hi everyone,
My lovely niece Jessica is staying with us this weekend and has been very supportive of all my runs so I thought it would interesting to find out what she thinks about my ultra adventures!

What do you think of my ultra adventures?
I think your brave but bonkers.

Do you think i'm doing it for a good cause?
Yes because your helping people who need help. Mencap are great and help people with learning disability to have a fulfilled and enjoyable life.

What do you think the best thing about running in the desert will be?
The views will be quite nice and the feeling of success when you cross the finish line, which you hopefully will. (I know you will)

What do think will be the most challenging bit?
Going to sleep at night on your jungle marathon with all the noises of the creatures out there.

Are there any creatures you'd like to see?
Yes, i'd like to see a jaguar and also a snow leopard but you don't get them in the sahara or jungle. I like spiders can you bring one home? lol 

If you were me which ultra would you like to do and why?
I would like to do the Amazon because its more risky than the others. There are loads more dangerous animals and you get to run through rivers.

And my final thought is that everyone should donate lots of money to support you and Mencap.

Thank you Jessica, that's brilliant. I'll keep an eye out for spiders and jaguars!


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

All OK for MDS

What a year! I can't believe it is nearly March already, where have the past two months gone?

So update on the MDS. My training is going well and I'm feeling strong now on my runs. I'm not quite at the level I was last time i went out there but I have much more endurance experience and stamina in me now which plays a big part in events like this.
To help acclimatise for the heat in the desert a local gym in Maidenhead (La Roche) has very kindly allowed me to use their sauna a few times a week. So early in the morning before work I go and sit for 25 minutes and sweat, its quite attractive. I'm trying to build up to 45 minutes over the next week or so and do some squats, press-ups etc. while I'm in there to get the heart going.
My weekend runs are between 15-21 miles and i've built my pack up to 8.5kg now and need to get this to 11kg which will be approximately the weight i take out for the start of the race.
Nearly all the food, equipment, clothing and bits have been accumulated now and I need to spend an evening sorting it all and making sure I have all the essentials cos if you don't have these things ( a Venom Pump is included in this list) you get time penalties. You also need to take a minimum of 200kcal per day but I am aiming for around 3000kcals. Here's an example of a daily food allowance:
- Dried breakfast - porridge and fruit - 560kcals
- Energy bar - 130Kcal
- Peperami (my treats) x 2 - 280kcal
- Energy drink x 3 - 350kcal
- Recovery drink x 2 - 300kcal
- Freeze dried dinner (Chilli, spagbol etc) 800kcal
- Freeze dried dessert - 800kcal
All this lot weighs about 600-650g so each day you loose this weight out your pack which is great.

I can't wait to get out there. My race number is 855 and you can follow me on this site and you can even send me messages by finding the 'write to competitors' bit and send me a message. It would be great to hear from you all.

I'll be adding more posts over the coming week as there is lots of exciting stuff happening which will be revealed soon.
Cheers, Johnny

Friday, 5 February 2010

Its count down time!

Hi Everyone,
What a start to the year its been. After all the excitement then frustration with the snow I left the cold behind and went on my hols to Oz. My wifes from Perth so it we went back for a couple of weeks to enjoy the sun, sea and see the rele's as they say over there.
The weather was amazing with the top temperature hitting 42.7 deg!! Absolute quality. This was perfect for me as I needed to get some hot weather training in as it is only 8 weeks until I fly out to Morocco to start the 25th edition of the world famous Marathon Des Sables.
This year as it is a special 25th anniversary the organisers have decided to add a few miles on and round the KM's upto 250 which equates to 155 miles. The addition only really means an extra 5 miles over the 7 days but its an extra 5 miles over 300ft sand dunes, rocks whilst carrying your 10kg backpack and running in upto 55deg heat. And I can not wait to get out there.
I've got a feeling that this years run is going to be harder than when I did it in 2007. Although I have more experience now at doing ultra's, and my body is probably better equiped to deal with it, I went into the run in 2007 thinking it was going to be toughest thing ever and actually really enjoyed all of it. The hardest part was the last 15 miles of the long day which was 46 miles in total (that took us 12 hours to complete).
What I love though is the challenge. Unless I get really injured my body will cope as it is the most amazing bit of kit you own and can be pushed to silly limits and recover. I kind of hope that at some time during the run it gets mentally tough, like really hard. That's when you test yourself.
And I've bought enough quality trance recently to keep me smiling while i'm out there. Imagine being in the middle of the desert with a few people around you including a good mate. Nothing to think about apart from running from A-B and you stick on some cracking tunes. What a rush.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

2010 is going to be BIG

Hi everyone,
Happy New year to you all.
Well, 2010 is certainly going to be a big year for me. As most of you know I have 3 ultra's planned for this year starting with the Marathon Des Sables (150 miles in 6 days through the Sahara) in April. I can't wait for this one.
My training is going pretty well. I've signed up to get advice and training plans from an online coach called Mad Dog. He is a massively experienced ultra runner and currently I am working on training plan which includes 3 runs and about 40 miles per week.
The past few weeks have been interrupted with the snow and some days it has been impossible to go out as its is just so icy. I mean I love running in the snow but icy paths in the dark = injury!
Today I went out for a 5 mile run in 6inch fresh snow and it was so tough, I wasn't expecting it to be so tough. I was supposed to do 12 miles of hill repeats but that will have to wait.
Some great news is that I am up to £5135 of sponsorship money now which is 26% of my target. Fantastic.
Until next time have fun.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Chilly outside and chilli inside

Hi Everyone,

Today has been a good day. Although I got no decorating done I have had a productive day. This is my day:

I wasn't at work today which instantly makes it a better day so i had arranged for 'things' to be done. At 10.30 the boiler man came and gave the boiler its annual service. He also fixed the radiator in the back bedroom which had stopped working!! Turns out one side of it had been turned off; what a divvy I am.

For lunch i had a big bowl of pasta to ensure I had enough carbs for my run later in the afternoon. It also started snowing which was really exciting and soon the garden and roads were all white. I do love winter. 

At 1pm the Sky man came and installed our Sky HD+ box. Although we don't have an HD TV yet we do have Sky+ now, hours of fun! As soon as he left around 2pm I got ready to go for the run i'd been looking forward to all day.

The plan today was to go for a 15 mile run which would be the longest run since the Himalayas and a good test of my knee. I got wrapped up with hat, gloves, running tights, 3 top layers, waist pack with energy drink, snickers, mobile and money and off I went. My garmin GPS started recording and in about 2 hours or so i'd be back home. 

My route took me along some snowy country lanes with a few hills chucked in for fun. I then headed to High Wycombe and peeled off to run up past Wycombe Heights Golf Centre. It was lovely up there, really peaceful and covered in snow. Although it was cold if I kept moving i was ok. 

I had downloaded the Above & Beyond TATW298 podcast and had this playing on the ipod. Great tunes + great scenery = great run and it was turning out to be the run i'd hope it would be. 

The run took me to Penn, then back down to Beaconsfield and through some of the streets of this lovely town. In the way back i popped into the offy and got a bottle of red wine, partly for the chilli I am currently cooking but also the anti-oxidants help after a run!! That's what I tell myself. I got home in 2hrs 10 mins and did 15.1 miles. That will do me nicely. 

The next phase of my day is to make the hottest chilli i've ever made. I like hot food and can cope with a vindaloo so when I make a chilli i like to be able to feel it. Apparently hot food increases your metabolism so i can actually burn calories with a hot chilli. I call that a win win. 

Anyway enough wibbling, this is the recipe of my chilli. The idea is get a variety of heats in the chilli from fresh chilli to sauce to powder and too cook it long enough for all those flavours to merge and give you a seriously kick ass chilli. Tonight i'm going for something that could melt all the snow of Buckinghamshire and after an initial test i think I have managed it. IF you try it I hope you enjoy it. One thing for sure is that my mum will not be making it!!

Tin of tomatoes
1lb of quality mince
1 onion
half a red, green and yellow pepper
3-4 large mushrooms (large pieces)
2 x birdseye chilli
1 x medium red chilli
dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of hot chilli sauce
ground pepper
1/2 tin of red kidney beans
teaspoon of english mustard
glove of garlic
chilli flakes
squirt of tomato puree
gravy granules
glass of red wine
teaspoon of chilli powder

Fry the onions and garlic until soft then remove them from the pan.
Fry the mince until brown and then drain any excess fat out of the pan.
Add the chilli's, chilli flakes, mustard, chilli sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mix together.
Add back in the onions and the tin of tomatoes and mix together
Add in the chopped peppers and mushrooms.
Chuck in the wine, tomato puree and gravy granules.
Mix it all together and if necessary add some water.
Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for an hour so all the flavours mix in together.
Check the chilli and stir every now and again. Add more water if necessary
Add in the kidney beans and cook for another 30 minutes.
20 minutes before its ready cook the rice and prepare yourself for a taste explosion!!!

Have a great rest of week and weekend and i'll see you all here again soon.

Cheers, Johnny

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Pretty Good Week

I've been a bit concerned since coming back from the Himalayas run as I have been getting a bit of a pain in my knee after 6 miles or so.
All seems to be getting better now as I have been stretching my self silly. A couple of serious pilates sessions has concentrated on strengthening my leg and stretching out my tight calves which got mashed up with the endless hills in India.
So yesterday i stuck on my shoes and went for a run. It was a lovely day for running, nice and cool, still and still light as I had the day off work so I could run before the sun set. I headed out thinking i'd do between 8-10 miles depending on what happened with my knee.
I stuck on some tunes and some bouncing happy hardcore made me smile as ran through the streets, woods and muddy fields around Beaconsfield. It was a great run.
I ended up doing 10 miles in 85 minutes which I was happy with and importantly my knee was ok.
So far this week I've run:
Tuesday 8th - 7.25 miles (58 mins)
Wednesday 9th - 10 miles (85 mins)
So its time to step things up again. I reckon a half marathon this Saturday and maybe a little run tomorrow night.
I love it when my running goes well. It makes everything else better.
Have a good weekend.

p.s i'm on twitter now and tweeting away. follow me at:

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Things I love about running Part 1

Hi Everyone,
While I was out running the other day I started to think about about all the things I love about running. The more I thought about it the more things came to me.
The first thing I thought about was that I get to run with my wife, Meredith That's one of things I love about running. We were out doing a 7.5 mile easy run during the only good hour or two of good weather sandwiched between rain and wind.
We have run together for the past 4 years and it really is good time that we spend. It could be an easy run where we get to talk or if there is too much talking (and Meredith likes to talk) I can step up the pace and that soon quietens things down!
Although we didn't run together we have both done the London and Stockholm marathons together (if that makes sense).
I think that I've managed to persuade my Meredith to do her first Ultra next year... She has been so understanding about me bombing off around the UK and the world and she totally understands why I love running that I thought if we could do an ultra together then that would be a great experience. So I think we are going to Iceland to do a single stage 35 mile run across ice, rivers, snow, rocks hills......loads of hills.
I have every faith that Meredith will do it and although she won't enjoy every step she will enjoy it.
So that's number one. That's part one.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A good week, here's the weekend

Hi All, hope you had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend.
Running wise its been a good week for me as I feel like my running is back on track now. Given that I ran 100 miles though the Himalayas 2 weeks ago i'm quite pleased with my recovery.
This is what I did this week.
  • Mon 5.1 miles - 39 mins
  • Wed 8 miles - 59 mins
  • Thurs 4.7 miles - 35 mins
So this weekend, well its was my brothers birthday yesterday so we are all meeting up for a meal tomorrow so no running. Sunday however is a different day and I am currently planning a half marathon, nice and easy and off road most for most of it. There are loads of paths through the countryside that I haven't tried yet and I need to explore.

I'm looking forward to the Luton marathon now also but I'm still unsure as what time I will do. I am thinking 3.30-3.45 if it goes well. 3.30 might be pushing it but its worth a go. After completing this marathon I'll be up to 25, a quarter of the way to reaching the 100 Marathon club. That sounds ok but at 10 marathons a year I'll be 105 before I join so I need to get myself in gear and start running seriously!!!

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Great 8 mile run

What a great run. I've just been out for a run and it was fantastic. It was the my first proper run since the himalayas and I really needed a solid run to get me back on track.
Here are the details of the run:
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Time: 59 mins 19 seconds
  • Calories: 1042
It felt good. Here is a link to my garmin page if you want to see the run.. very consistent mile times and a solid fast finish.
As I mentioned I really needed this run tonight as I have the Luton Marathon in just over 2 weeks and this has given me confidence that my body is back to normal after my 100 miles through the himalayas.
I think I'll do a 10 miler tomorrow and then a day off on Friday. I'll keep you posted..

Have fun, Johnny

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

An Amazing Week in the Himalayas

Hi All,

I am back from my 100 mile run in the Himalayas and I had a great time. I finished the run and thought you might enjoy my race report.

The days before the run.

We had a great introduction to India which involved going to Delhi's No.1 nightclub!! It wasn't planned. We arrived at our hotel and it was about 1am India time so about 8pm my time so Joe and I thought we'd find the hotel bar and have a beer. We walked into the Hotel bar and it was a full on club. The music was banging, they were setting fire to the bar, there were girls dancing on the bar, it was crazy. So we stayed for a few beers!

The next day we got a flight from Delhi to Bagdogra and then took a bus to Mirik which is where we stayed for the next two nights. The journey to Mirik was interesting. We were in an old bus driving along roads with cows and goats on the side and and weaving in and out of traffic. Driving in India is unique, there doesn't seem to be too many rules. The journey got more interesting as we weaved over 6500ft up into the tea hills of the Darjeeling region. The landscape got more and more impressive.

This is the view from the swiss style chalet we stayed in... Nice

Race Day one - 24 miles.

That was not quite what I was expecting! It was really tough, possibly the hardest single day of running i have done. There was so much up hills. I would say about 20 of the 24 miles was uphill. To put it into perspective we ran/walked up 8500ft of hills today which is equivalent to running up Snowdon 3 times in one day!

The first 2 miles took 45mins!. At times we were walking up the hill and I could feel my heart beat in my chest and head. The rest was downhill which sounds fine but its down very uneven stony roads so it was hard to go fast. We reach an altitude of 12000ft which is where our hut and bed was for the night. A very tough but amazing day, loads of lovely friendly locals along the way.

The whole 24 miles took an amazing 7:20. Here are a couple of photos of the place we stayed at and the view from the top of day one's hill!

Race Day 2 - 20 miles: Day 2 was easier than day 1 although still hilly. We ran ten miles along a ridge then turned around and went back again. The view for the day was Everest and 3 of the other tallest mountains in the world, how amazing is that!

It is very rare to have such a clear day so we were very lucky. Top CD of the day was Above and Beyond Vol7 disc2. We had noodles and ginger tea at the restaurant in the tiny little place we were staying in which was very nice. Our time for the 20 mile run was 4:34. We were all in bed asleep by 8pm as it was so cold. I went to bed with 2 layers on my legs and 3 layers on top and i was in a sleeping bag and had two rugs on me!! We had to get up at 4.45am as we had a marathon to run the next day.

Heres a photo of everest - its the high peak in the middle!! This is also the ` best toilet in the world...

Race Day 3 - A marathon . Well this day turned out to be another tough day. The distances were measured all wrong and it was easily over 28miles in total but the variety in terrain made it interesting. We started off running back along the 10 miles we ran the day before. the course then took us another 6 miles along the ridge and there was a huge climb at the end of the 6 miles all the way to the halfway checkpoint.

The scenery was amazing as we started out at 12000ft with Everest and the other mountains in view. We then dropped 5500ft to were we are staying tonight. The tough uphills were matched with the tough downhills which just kept on coming. We ran through the fir trees to a more dense jungle where there were apparently red Pandas and Bengal Tigers; I didn't see either of them.

The down hill gave me an awkward pain the outside of my right knee which hurt when I took steps downhill!! Bugger. We took our time on this run and finished in 9hrs 40 mins.

Race Day 4 - Half Marathon

Today was a relatively easy one. We had a half marathon to complete which included 6 miles of down hill, 3 miles of flat and then 4 miles of uphill. Again the scenery was fantastic and different to the other days. We ran down the long downhill to a river and had a good relaxing run. This was the first day where you could actually just run and didn't have to look at every step.

We took 2:32 mins to complete the day. We headed back to the motel and had the afternoon to relax before the cultural evening!! Well, the cultural evening was entertaining. Each country had to do something that represented their country like sing a song! Like true brits we all politely refused except for one guy who got up and sang head, shoulders, knees and toes in dutch!! What?

My Po from Taiwan got my vote by doing his Michael Jackson impression, it was so funny. Shamown.....eee he!! Then it got to 8.30 and we left to have our tea. One more day to go and the last 17 miles.

Race Day 5 - 17 Miles

Well this was our final day and I was really looking forward to today's run. Todays run started at the point we finished at the day before so it was a bus ride from the place where we had been sleeping. The route today took us up hill for the first 7 miles and then gave us a lovely gentle downhill of the last 10 miles.

My calves were so tight at the start of the race and felt really heavy but as the run went on they started to loosen and by the time we had reached the top of the hill in around 1hr 25 mins they were all relaxed and I was ready to go.

Joe and I stuck our tunes on, had a power bar and half a viper and went for it. We were hammering it down the hill for quite a while and then thought that we should probably relax a bit. We weren't going to beat any records and this would be the last time we spend the day running around the himalayas.

The finish came around quickly and it was a great welcome. Children had come out to cheer us on and high-5 us as we ran past and there was a big welcome as we crossed the finish line.

Here are some photos from the end of the run.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Im back and ive gone again

In the words of my running mate, Joe, I am back and oh i've gone again.....!

After a short while relaxing after my 85 mile run i'm back and I've been stepping up the training again to make sure I am ready for my next challenge

And oh, ive gone again as I fly out to the Indian himalayas next friday to run 100 miles over the worlds biggest mountains! Well not over them but on them..

I really can't wait to get out there, it is going to be amazing. I've got 1 day to acclimatise at the altitude which is only 6500 ft at that point.

Then the next day we set off. This is the schedule.

Day 1 - 24 miles - climbing 5500 ft!!

Day 2 - 20 miles

Day 3 - 26.4 miles - a marathon over Everest!!!!Wow

Day 4 - 17 miles

Day 5 - 12.6 miles - nice easy day to finish

Im going to try to keep twitter or/and facebook updated

Wish me look and I'll do my best to keep you posted.

As always here's one more request to all you kind lovely people to drop me a few quid to support the amazing work that the guys at Mencap do.