Sunday, 15 March 2015

Weetabix Breakfast and gone off gels.....

are the key to any good PB!

A very pleasing run at the Essex 20 today. Nearly 12 minutes quicker than my previous go over the course, and faster than my 2:40-2:45 pre race target. Was in the car mulling over mile or km splits whilst my wife wittered on about cuticle oil. We like different things :-) I opted for mile splits in the end.

Tried to rein myself in early on as instructed by Luke and Pete. Did pretty well at that for the first 2 miles and then the big hill in mile 3 definitely kept me in check. The average pace for those first 3 miles was 8 min mile so 2:40 and as a general guide that was going to be my target. I wasn't too particular though as I knew the undulations would make knocking out bang on splits impossible.

I was feeling strong through the first lap, a few people around me all gassing away. A little too much chitter chatter and not enough pitter patter of feet for my tastes. But as the miles piled on people drifted away and it was quite a lonely race but I enjoyed the peace and quiet and lack of pressure.
I saw Lauren at the end of lap one and she got a prime spot for some photo snapping. Am yet to see the results, I might add them to this blog if they cut the mustard.

The second lap was the toughest mentally not the first lap excitement or the finish line feeling of the last lap. I was pretty upbeat for pretty much the entire race though. I had a couple of Bishop Stortford guys near me as well as a couple of Great Bentley runners and we all ran pretty even paced races, although we weren't running shoulder to shoulder it was nice to have some familiar faces/backs as the race wore on.

I did get lapped by the race leader just after he passed the 19 mile marker. Going like a train! Finished in under 1:46 and with an 8 minute winning margin! Thankfully nobody else lapped me before I made it onto the 3rd lap.

Now I was ready to put the foot down a little more and it was nice going past landmarks knowing that was the last time you were going to see them. I worked through the first 3 miles of the lap passed the Water plant with the "Oxygen Delivery Entrance" could have done with some of that! Then left up the significant hill, have just checked on Strava and went up this fastest on my final lap. Got my breath back at the top and began to lap the occasional runner as well as picking off the odd runner on my lap. From 18 miles I think the wind was helpful and it might be a touch down hill and I wanted to finish strong. My form started to falter a little here but the pace was good.

Left turn at the finish and onto the field, power through the line and stopped my watch inside 2:39 exhausted! Saw Lauren and got to the car a few metres away, elated at my efforts. Right up there with the BUPA Great North Run in terms of performance. I have now spent the afternoon either in the bath or eating my way through the cupboards. Will sleep peacefully tonight.

So there we have it, my first genuine PB in years and a well paced race with me finishing strong. Sets me up for a small Marathon PB at Stratford at the end of April. Buzzing!

Finished 153rd out of 423.

Split Summary===
1) 1m - 7:52(7:52/m) 153/181bpm 91cal (includes 1st hill)
2) 1m - 7:53(7:53/m) 165/187bpm 117cal
3) 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) 178/190bpm 109cal (2nd bigger hill)
4) 1m - 8:04(8:05/m) 178/186bpm 122cal
5) 1m - 7:57(7:57/m) 180/189bpm 118cal
6) 1m - 7:53(7:53/m) 179/188bpm 71cal
7) 1m - 7:54(7:54/m) 175/183bpm 112cal
8) 1m - 8:04(8:04/m) 180/189bpm 81cal (1st hill repeated)
9) 1m - 7:53(7:53/m) 181/187bpm 90cal
10) 1m - 8:26(8:26/m) 182/189bpm 91cal (bigger hill again)
11) 1m - 8:01(8:01/m) 181/189bpm 116cal
12) 1m - 7:52(7:52/m) 171/190bpm 22cal
13) 1m - 7:55(7:55/m) 153/170bpm 64cal
14) 1m - 7:45(7:45/m) 151/169bpm 98cal (1st hill final time)
15) 1m - 7:45(7:45/m) 163/184bpm 126cal
16) 1m - 8:00(8:00/m) 184/191bpm 114cal (bigger hill final time)
17) 1m - 7:53(7:53/m) 183/187bpm 85cal
18) 1m - 8:01(8:01/m) 182/191bpm 135cal
19) 1m - 7:59(7:59/m) 185/191bpm 92cal
20) 0.98m - 7:25(7:34/m) 184/192bpm 117cal

Sunday, 1 March 2015

February Month 4 - Motivation Waning

Something was missing in February, just couldn't get myself up for some runs, particularly anything over 10 miles. There is some lingering illness in the background which might it explain it, but I'm not totally convinced. Had a really good start to the month with a 1:35 at Great Bentley Half Marathon but didn't really kick on after that. I did manage to run on 16 of the 28 days so meeting my 4 a week minimum run target.

Managed to achieve:
1 x Hill Session
2 x Intervals both 10 x 400m
1 x 5K parkrun
1 x Half Marathon
4 x Commutes home at 7.5 miles a time
5 x General / Steady/ Easy runs (5-9 miles)
1 x 10 Mile
1 x Half Marathon distance training run

Total of 118 miles so my highest mileage for the month of February ever, and my 5th highest mileage month in the 70 I've been doing this game. So not all bad. I now have 8 weeks until Stratford Marathon and when my racing really starts to ramp up. Hoping the mojo is returned to full force in March putting me in good shape to crush my existing PB's into the ground.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Great Bentley Half Marathon 2015

Well that was a tough but successful half marathon. Pete set a target of 1:35-1:40 and I fancied something sub 1:38. In the end my Garmin has me at 1:35:19.

Conditions were pretty perfect, more wind than forecast and it is quite an exposed course but very flat, with a few bridges and inclines in the second half but nothing much. Roads open to the public so always wary of cars but generally just a very quiet and laid back half marathon down quiet country lanes. My favourite type of course for running well.

I set off feeling strong and the pace was looking way too hot, 1:35 is 4:30's and 1:40 is 4:45's. Tried to ease off after 5km and thought if I could just keep chucking out sub 4:30's I was looking at 1:32-1:33 managed that through to halfway but then had my first split slower than 4:30 through km 12.

Body then seemed to settle into 4:40-4:50 pace and I then gave myself sub 5min km through to the finish to give myself a time I could be happy with. Where I had started strong and not worrying about the watch, now I was checking the watch 3 times a km and just digging in.

Last 5km were a real effort and people were now drifting past me, a few little uphills weren't too welcome either but having run this race twice I could picture the final km and that keep me trucking on.

Probably need to work on my core strength as I felt myself losing form as the fatigue began to bite. Managed to hold the pace together and found some strength on the grass finish to take over 4 or 5 of those runners that had taken me over on the run in.

Crept over 1:35 but that was ok, once the pain came after halfway I knew the time would be what it would be. A good marker for my Marathon and my other races this year and I will be attacking my PB at Southend and if not the Half Marathon in November.

Sore throat and runny nose didn't seem to affect me too much today. Am absolutely shattered now. Bath and some proper food will see me right.

Section splits
5km - 21:27
10km - 21:52 (+25)
15km - 22:59 (+7)
20km - 23:53 (+54)
21.1km - 05:07

Heart Rate:
Endurance - 1%
Moderate - 2%
Tempo - 15%
Threshold - 60%
Anaerobic - 22%

Split Summary
1) 0.62m - 4:10(6:43/m) 145/170bpm 17cal
2) 0.62m - 4:13(6:47/m) 175/179bpm 23cal
3) 0.62m - 4:15(6:50/m) 183/188bpm 76cal
4) 0.62m - 4:22(7:02/m) 180/185bpm 65cal
5) 0.62m - 4:27(7:09/m) 169/176bpm 46cal

6) 0.62m - 4:16(6:52/m) 164/172bpm 14cal
7) 0.62m - 4:23(7:03/m) 173/177bpm 58cal
8) 0.62m - 4:26(7:08/m) 172/176bpm 61cal
9) 0.62m - 4:28(7:12/m) 173/177bpm 74cal
10) 0.62m - 4:19(6:57/m) 185/191bpm 77cal

11) 0.62m - 4:20(6:59/m) 181/187bpm 76cal
12) 0.62m - 4:34(7:22/m) 180/189bpm 64cal
13) 0.62m - 4:38(7:27/m) 170/175bpm 81cal
14) 0.62m - 4:46(7:40/m) 167/173bpm 83cal
15) 0.62m - 4:41(7:31/m) 174/181bpm 81cal

16) 0.62m - 4:43(7:36/m) 179/183bpm 83cal
17) 0.62m - 4:40(7:30/m) 180/188bpm 81cal
18) 0.62m - 4:49(7:45/m) 183/186bpm 84cal
19) 0.62m - 4:47(7:42/m) 191/195bpm 83cal
20) 0.62m - 4:54(7:54/m) 194/202bpm 85cal

21) 0.62m - 4:43(7:36/m) 195/200bpm 82cal
22) 0.07m - 24(5:27/m) 191/191bpm 6cal

Saturday, 31 January 2015

January - Month 3 - Work, Running and Mileage Near Miss

Another good month on the road to the Shakespeare Marathon and hopefully a 2015 PB filled year. January is always a tough running month for me, with lots of work pressures and hours in the office combined with short days and generally pretty uninviting weather. We were lucky with the weather this January in the main, but I did have a fun run in freshly fallen snow on Friday. I managed to get out running on 19 of the 31 days and for a combined mileage of 156. Made up of the following runs:

3 x parkruns (21:37, 20:35, 20:17)
4 x Long runs(12, 16, 16 and 17 miles)
1 x Hill session
4 x Commute
1 x Tempo
2 x Intervals
4 x Easy/General/Recovery runs

Got back into the Nellers training group and did the 10 x 400m session and the hills, but had to miss the 6 x 800m after finishing work too late. Enjoy the group environment and really pushed myself in both sessions. May have over done it a little in the hills session, because I then had to take a couple of days off to let my body heal up and all from 13 minutes of hard running!

The long runs were eventful at times, had to go exploring on one run as I run out of street lighting on my planned route and on another of my runs I just bonked completely and had no energy so had to make an unplanned Lucozade and Wine Gum stop in order to get myself home. Will look to stretch the long run out after my Half Marathon in February so I start to hit 20 miles and hopefully sort out the nutrition issues I've had.

Ran home from the office 5 times, 1 of which I pushed the pace and made it home in well under an hour so have shown that as tempo run. Also tried out a new longer route home and I can extend that out if needed and that made a nice change from my regular route.

With work being tough I opted for the train as my main form of transport to and from the office but did cycle to and from the office on two occasions for a combined 30 miles.

Aside from that it was just some steady runs. I did miss the odd run in the month which would have meant a record high mileage month but I fell 2 miles short of last months 158. Not too disappointed as I am sure the record will go soon and this January has seen me run more than 50 miles further than any of my previous 5 efforts. So January's running is in the bank and I hope that I will enjoy the benefits of it next week at the Great Bentley Half Marathon.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December - Month 2 - Record Mileage, Visitors and Eating

The month of December is always my favourite month of the year and this year was no exception. It was the last Christmas at my parents house as they move to pastures new in the New Year. We managed to get the whole family together for it, including my brother and his wife who were over from Sydney, my other brother and his girlfriend who were down from Lincolnshire for the holidays and my sister and her boyfriend as well as my parents. We also had my wife's Mum, Brother and Dog down for a few nights and so we were either hosting or being hosted for much of the holidays. Also our friends Amy and Col were back from China and so we paid them a visit or two in Sandy and also managed to fit in a day trip to Stratford upon Avon. All in all a very busy holiday period. The beginning of December was also busy at work. This all meant fitting in exercise would require some desire and some planning.

Thankfully I made time and as well as a little cycle commuting I managed to run a fair bit. I ran on 20 days and for a combined mileage of 158 miles another big record mileage month for me. I doubled up on a few days, nothing serious a couple of warm ups for the parkruns I ran and a lovely run in Sandy with my friend Amy who has recently had her first child. In total I completed 23 runs as follows:

6 x Commutes - Run commutes home of 7.5 miles each.
2 x parkruns - 20:13 with Joe and 20:17 with Luke both big improvements on any of my parkruns in the last couple of years.
2 x parkrun warm ups
1 x Run with Amy
3 x Long Runs - 2 x 17 miles and 1 x HM with Joe really pushing the pace in the last 5km.
1 x Tempo Run - 7 Miles at 7:15 min miles. Very pleasing.
8 x Easy/Steady/General runs - Distances ranging from 5 miles to 7.5 miles.

So 6 quality sessions with the parkruns, the long runs and the tempo run. I was very pleased with the outcomes of all of these (other than losing to my younger siblings in both parkruns) I am starting to see the benefits of two big mileage months back to back. I also enjoyed running with Luke, Joe and Amy. Running is the perfect setting for a catch up.

I have a parkrun planned for tomorrow to start the New Year and then my first big race to really measure my progress is the Great Bentley Half Marathon in early February. Still not sure on time targets for that race, but the results of that will strongly influence what I will target in the Marathon in April. Another month in the bank, now a busy January at work to get through and to fit my training around that. I will be back tomorrow to write up my parkrun result and to have a run down of 2014 in it's entirety.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

November - Month 1 on the road to Stratford Upon Avon

A really great first month in my cunning plan to master the Marathon distance and rediscover some running form. After a couple of fallow years where my running has been going backwards and I have suffered my first proper injury I wanted to apply myself properly. November is the first of six months to take me up to the Shakespeare Marathon at the end of April. The bare bones of my plan are as follows:

1) Run 5 times a week.
2) Run between 30-45 miles a week.
3) Run at least one parkrun a month to monitor progress
4) One quality session, two easy runs, one parkrun or steady run, one long run each week.
5) Good time management, run commutes or early morning runs to be most time efficient.

Prior to this month, in the 6 years I have been running the most miles I had managed in a month was 119 miles. This month I managed to achieve 136 miles in my 20 runs an average of 6.8 miles a run. The runs I did were as follows:

4 races ( 1 x 10k and 3 x parkruns)
4 runs in excess of 10 miles (15 miles longest)
4 commutes 7.5 miles a go
6 easy/steady runs of 5-6 miles
1 Tempo Run
1 Progressive Run

Also did 22 rides on my bike, almost exclusively commutes totalling 170miles.

The pace isn't good at the minute with the fastest parkrun being 21:22 and the 10k at the start of the month being 47:27 but a base is there to be built on. The holiday month of December will be tough and January is mad at work but I've got into some good habits in November and so am confident I can keep the momentum going. 1 down 5 to go.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Washington DC - Marathon Corp Marathon Report

Sorry for the long lay off on the blog front, I have been almost as quiet on the running front of late. My first proper injury in 5 years of running scuppered any chance of decent preparation for the Marine Corp Marathon. A grand total of 12 runs in 12 weeks, total running mileage of 56 miles in that period and a longest run of 12.5 miles a week out just to test how stupid an idea running a marathon would be.

The test run went as well as I could have hoped as I was on for a Half Marathon around 2 hours and I felt fresh and strong on the run. The previous injury and on going niggles all seemed ok and so I finished the run knowing I could drag myself round the 26.2 miles some how some way. We were all booked for Washington and so would be enjoying the City regardless, but having travelled all that way I wanted to attempt the race and with the dire amount of training the sole aim was that of completion and with a little luck some enjoyment along the way.

In my previous 8 stand alone Marathons I had achieved 4 sub 4 hour times and 4 in excess of 4 hours with a PB of 3:34 and a slowest of 4:39. My aim was for somewhere between 4:20 and 4:30 with a 4:25 achieved at Manchester earlier this year and the personal worst of 4:39 at Edinburgh both race times I was thinking of as the Marathon approached.

The pre race prep was good, me and Lauren arrived Friday lunchtime, we had some nice trips out on Friday and Saturday, and managed to pick up the number, a nasty looking free shirt and a nice paid for technical T-shirt. We were now ready for Sunday.

Race day was an early start, up at 5am out of the room by half 5, onto the tube at 6am. Even with this early start for the 7:55 race start we were still rushed and having got through the joke security I said goodbye to Lauren and made it into my start pen with about 10minutes to go. Just in time to see the Parachutist with the flag and the helicopter flyby both of which were spectacular. Then off went the gun and within 10 minutes I was over the start line and into my stride.

It was a lovely bright morning and I was enjoying the start of the race, the majority of the climbing was in the first 3 miles but I had seen that on the course profile and so was happy taking it gently. There were a lot of slow moving runners though and I didn't want to lose tonnes of time so picked my way through the crowds as best I could.

Once the climbing was over we went through Georgetown and there were some great crowds here, I particularly liked the Tomato Ketchup Bottle with the sign 'Catch up' and his friend the relish bottle with the sign 'Relish the challenge'. There was great support throughout most of the race and all of it was enthusiastic and there were some brilliant signs that had me chuckling as I ran.

Once through Georgetown we found some more hills to run up and then alongside the river. I watered the plants in the 6th km but I wasn't too worried by the lost 20 seconds or so. I managed to get a shot on the run as we went past a pretty building on the other side of the river. I've not taken pictures on the run before but with enjoyment being the key goal I thought I would try to capture some moments.

The next picture I snapped was of a runner ahead of me with a great quote which I will use to fuel my training for Stratford in 6 months time. "The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret." The pain of regret is something I may feel quite acutely if I don't nail my preparation for my 10th Marathon. I'm really keen to apply myself and to do myself justice over this brutal distance.

The run continued alongside the river, and for some reason the crowds seemed to have been banned from this section as there were lots of signs just stuck in the ground. It must have gone on for 2 or 3 miles and I did chuckle to myself as I ran along reading the signs. I was starting to flag a little coming up to halfway and they did lift me. Something else that got my attention was a runner clipping my ankles and nearly tripping me up. I was fuming! It had been busy, but the race was settling down and it was just so unnecessary, if our paces are that different at that stage and I'm running evenly, then it's you that's the prat. He waved an apology and I managed to settle myself back down again. There were still 22km's to go!

I saw Lauren at 11 miles as planned and I felt great, I had my headphones in but she shouted loud enough and I turned right into her smiling face and it was a lovely boost as the temperature rose as did my effort level. Our next meet was at 16 miles and now I was fading, I hadn't meant to slow myself down, but where once I was running 5:30 - 5:50 km's with staying below 6min km's as the backstop. Now the splits were nudging over 6 minutes and I couldn't up the effort any further. I walked through the water station just before 16 miles to make sure I got my Gatorade and water in but was back running again when I saw Lauren at 16 miles. She was smiling but I'm sure she had a worried look on her face, but when we spoke afterwards she said I was still looking good.

We were now running close to the Washington Monument and then right in front of the Capitol building. It was at this point just as we came up to the official 30km point that I crumbled and walked properly for the first time. I had managed the fade from 25-30km. 30km to the finish was the explosion phase. It was warm and my lips were so dry, there is a great shot in the official photos of me touching them.

Initially I thought I could manage the walking and I would get a second wind, but I couldn't bring any structure to the walk breaks and was just running as and when I could. There was then a very desolate part of the race along the motorway and a bridge. There was no support out there and every km and mile were now being ground out so slowly. There was little protection from the sun and even though I had taken water and Gatorade from most of the water stops I was still so thirsty. There was a shady spot on the motorway and I was so tempted just to curl up and have a nap before soldiering on again, I managed to drag myself past the shady spot though and finally made it over and back to the masses of supporters.

With 4 miles to go I managed to kick the base holding a flag in place, I had been walking and running almost in the gutter just trying to stay out of peoples way and when you are that tired bad things can happen. I actually got away pretty lightly from the incident and it didn't effect me on the rare occasions I had energy to run at this late stage. I used the portaloo with 4 km's to go and text Lauren to let her know I had half an hour to go. I then said no to the cookies and doughnuts, an interesting sugary pickup approaching the finish, but I was struggling to stomach the Gatorade let alone that kind of stuff!

I was feeling stronger and running a little more often but I was keen to leave something for the finish I wanted to run over the line and had also read before the race that the finish was uphill. Lauren had text back to let me know she was on the corner at 26 miles and she was just where she said she would be as I smiled and waved before slogging up the steep uphill finish. It keep winding upwards all the way to the line, and it was done 4:40:24!

Official Splits:

5Km - 28:46
10Km - 57:39 (28:53)
15Km - 1:27:45 (30:06)
21.1Km - 2:03:33 (35:48)
25Km - 2:27:40 (24:07)
30Km - 3:00:33 (32:53)
35Km - 3:41:25 (40:52)
40Km - 4:23:20 (41:55)
42.2Km - 4:40:24 (17:04)

The splits to 25km were very satisfying and even to 30km were ok. At the official 30km point I was just over 6min km average which would have translated to something like a 4:12 Marathon so as you can see I lost 30 minutes in that final 12 km slog to the finish.

I wasn't sure of my exact Edinburgh time and I think if I was I may have been able to muster the 42 seconds needed to beat it. In the grand scheme of it though I really did give what I had on the day and my condition immediately after the race and in the days following have let me know that I didn't take it easy. There are ways and ways to do Marathons and no training is not a strategy I would recommend. I'm really pleased that I did it, and the first 3 hours were a useful training run on which I can build. The subsequent 100 minute slog in the sun was definitely less useful but I got it done.

We are now home from our trip and Lauren and I had a lovely time, lots of post Marathon walking/hobbling to keep me on my toes. Billericaey 10km should be interesting this weekend!