The Rocky Triple weekend was hosted by Enigma Running and involved two marathons on the Saturday and a Half-Marathon on the Sunday. The theme was the ‘Rocky’ films with a fab looking medal.
You may not know this but Stouty is a huge Rocky fan, no really a HUGE fan and so when the races were announced we signed up for the triple to make it a weekend of running.
I picked Stouty up at 6am on the Saturday, knocked on the door dressed in my grey sweats and wearing boxing gloves. Stouty got in the car to the Rocky theme tune (no seriously, it was awesome) and we made our way to Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes with the Rocky Soundtrack on constant repeat.
Rising up back on the street..
We met Mark Cockbain at the start (another Rocky fan) and lined up for the first run at 8.30am.
The run itself for those unfamiliar with the Enigma races involved 7 and a bit laps around the lake. The morning run was going to go in one direction and for a bit of variety the afternoon run was going to go in the opposite direction. As usual with these time of events they are fairly low key, friendly and sociable with no more than 50 runners.
Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang pictured
I set off around the lake at a ‘comfortably quick’ pace and ended up in no mans land behind the few lead runners and ahead of a group behind me. I chipped off a couple of laps as the weather turned reasonably warm although there was a definite breeze around the lake with odd sections wind for and then wind against.
After a few laps I started to catch up with a few of the steadier runners at the back and it was nice to see a few other runners out on the course.
With a couple of laps to go, the legs could start to feel the effort and I had started to slow a touch. I was on for around a 3.15 finish so off PB standard by 15 minutes but around the pace I’m currently fit for and a few minutes quicker than my last marathon a month ago. All in all, as expected. With no-one ahead or behind I was drifting into the finish.
However, I then caught sight of the 3 guys ahead of me and not too far in the distance perhaps a few minutes ahead which was a great incentive to get my head down. As I crossed the start/finish line for the last lap I was in fourth place with the other three guys not too far ahead.
Two of the runners had started to slow with the odd walk break so just by maintaining a run I got ahead of them and then I managed to keep the pace going for the last couple of miles to ease into first place and put a few minutes on the guy in second. My knee was starting to feel a little uncomfortable but with a couple of miles to go I just pushed it to one side knowing the race would be over soon.
I finished in 3.12 something and 1st place and it definitely felt like a bit of an effort. I was pretty happy to just sit down at the end and get off my feet as I waited for Mark Cockbain and Paul Stout to finish.
Yo Adrian, I did it!
Mark Cockbain finishing
Paul Stout finishing
The second race started at 3pm so we had enough time for some lunch, a shower at the hotel next door we were staying at and time to get changed into a fresh pair of kit.
I could have done with another hour in bed relaxing and as my legs were feeling the usual soreness after an effort run and my knee was a little sore and there was a brief momentary thought of binning off the second run and staying in bed but I eventually roused myself and hobbled down to the start line.
Stouty was really struggling to start and only made the start line as I had promised him the big bed in the room if he started. (He eventually completed one lap on the second marathon before sensibly calling it a day and claimed the big bed).
The second race started at 3pm and the first half a mile was fairly uncomfortable as my legs had stiffened up, there was a slight pain on the outside of my left knee and so I plodded around at a slower pace than the morning.
Ready for Round 2
I started out the second marathon feeling a few aches and pains with limited expectations and I didn’t disappoint!
It took a lap or so to work some of the stiffness out of the legs and progress from shuffle to run but there was a bit of pain to the side of the left knee which was ‘uncomfortable but bearable’.
Unfortunately Stouty dropped after a lap as did a number of others who had planned to run both marathons and enjoyed his afternoon drinking Stella and watching me plod around the lake lap after lap.
I managed around 8-8.30m/m pace for a few laps but around the 16-17 mile mark started to struggle.
It was fair to say there was a bit of discomfort so I had a couple of walk breaks to see if this would ease the pain, there was an element of tiredness and stiffness in the legs and probably a small amount of ‘can’t be arsed’ if I’m honest.
I was struggling to get my head around being fit enough to run a 100 miler in three weeks when I couldn’t even run half that distance with a couple of hours gap in between. Rocky wouldn’t have quit and so there was little option but to plod around and see out the laps. There weren’t a huge amount of runners on the course and a couple passed me and I passed a couple of others but was largely by myself.
A quick thank you to Karen Summerville who gave me a friendly hello and hug and an offer of some painkillers (which I declined) as we crossed paths and a hello to Nick and one other chap for the company on the last half a lap.
It was hardly a heroic effort more of a subdued plod around the course to finish in 4.05 ish in 5th place out of a very small number of finishers. I was mightily relieved to have finished as I wasn’t enjoying the war of attrition that much.
Keith Godden had come over to say hello as we had planned to catch up in the evening and I enjoyed the biggest ice cream dessert I have ever witnessed. I had promised myself that ice cream if I finished the race and was damn well going to eat it.
After a few drinks and an evening meal it was time for bed and Round 3 in the morning.
Sundays run was a ‘cheeky half’ and we had planned to turn up in our Rocky themed fancy dress outfits. There was a slight risk that breakfast was served from 8am and the race started at 9am and so we could still be carrying the cooked breakfast around.
Totally pulled off the Apollo Creed & Italian Stallion duo
It had also poured in the early hours but I hadn’t noticed that as I was dead tired.
We turned up on the start line. Stouty was dressed in his Italian Stallion bathrobe and armed with proper boxing gloves. I was in the Stars n Stripes shorts, polyester robe and fake gloves.
This event was 3 ½ laps of the course and after half a lap in fancy dress we both decided to disrobe and dump the outfits. My robe was not secured and flapping all over the place (Karen Webber described it as running with a parachute) and the shorts were falling down and Stouty was running a Half Marathon in a bathrobe.
After dispensing with the additional gear, we set off again and I managed to get an uncomfortable plod going. The knee didn’t feel too bad but I was aching from yesterday’s runs. I had a couple of stop/start moments to grab a drink and gel but actually started to run more freely the longer the race went on. Not that I was ever ‘fast’ at all but I progressed from a shuffle to a jog as the race continued.
Stouty was only a minute or two behind me as we could see each other at certain parts of the course and I managed to catch up and overtake a few people in the later stages.
Half way around I thought this may be a sluggish 2 hour Half Marathon effort but I ended up with a 1.51 finish after picking up the pace.
“It ain’t over.. ’til you got the medals”
Overall it was a fun weekend of training runs which started ok but went downhill race wise but I did manage to earn three fab looking Rocky Medals and was the only person to finish all three races (sorry Stouty!).
Unfortunately, the fitness isn’t quite there and I’m not yet injury free at the moment with the knee still not playing ball since the summer injury at Monarchs Way so I will have to take a view on running the Autumn 100 in a few weeks time. Unfortunately, my knees don’t appear to like running more than 25 miles at the moment (I can hear everyone screaming “REST YOU FOOL!”).
There’s not a huge amount of fitness to be gained a few weeks before the event so I will likely start resting and tapering now in the hope that some extra rest will help. I suppose injury free and slightly unfit is better than going into an event with a niggle.