Monday, 14 June 2010

Southend Half Marathon Debrief

After the disappointment of the football on Saturday night I needed a good race and a PB. I got neither! I took it easy watching the footy and didn't hit the beer in the hopes that would leave me well prepared for the race the following morning. The diet of Chilli, Pizza and Pringles probably won't be found in too many running books on good pre race nutrition. They might be in there actually but under the heading "Things to avoid!"

So the race itself. We left the house about quarter to 9 leaving us plenty of time to go the 15 or so miles to the start in Shoebury. But sheer volume of traffic and a small entry into the carpark meant standstill a mile from the carpark. I elected to get out and walk I had about 40 minutes so time was no problem. Got to the start line about quarter to 10 for the race start of 10. But due to the traffic problems the start was delayed by 20 minutes. The loudspeaker system wasn't working so that didn't get communicated to me in the middle of the pack. All very frustrating! But just after 20 past 10 we were off!

The first mile was congested, the race is small only around 1500 runners but their are some tight corners early on and no timing pens so I had to work hard to get myself some free space and get into my stride. Went through the first mile in 7:15 or so well inside my 7:30 target. Eased off to conserve my energy once the crowds had thinned out a little and went through 2 miles in 15:00. But I think the first mile was a little short and the second a little long. We were now on to the seafront and I was running easy and feeling good saw Shelley at the Castle and everything was going to plan. Went through 5 miles about 30 seconds ahead of schedule but it was feeling harder than it should. Was still ahead of target pace through 6 miles but it was at the end of the first loop that the problems happened.

I started to get a stitch. I ran with it for awhile but it didn't pass and got worse. Had to walk for a minute or two and very quickly I had slipped past my target time and I wasn't pulling it back. I think I went through 7 miles about 2 minutes down on my target and so also behind my PB pace. The pace dropped to 8 minute miles or maybe a touch slower and it was all about getting to the finish. I think I made it to mile 12 before I had to walk again, but by then Great Bentley and Bath were both long gone and the next one was Cardiff and 1:50. I brought it home and finished in 1:45:40 and in 426th out of 1511. Over half an hour quicker than last year in my first ever half marathon but a way off my target.

The regularity with which I get stitches is becoming a problem. In my 6 Half Marathons it has only been at Great Bentley and Cardiff that I haven't needed to have a walking break. I think the main reason for the stitches and the poor performance yesterday is lack of long runs. I have now been running for over 13 months and in that time I have done just 5 training runs of 10 miles or longer they are as follows:

December 13th 2009 - 14.04 miles
February 14th 2010 - 10.01 miles
March 13th 2010 - 15.45 miles
March 26th 2010 - 20.01 miles
May 2nd 2010 - 10.10 miles

Whilst in that 13 months I have done 8 races of 10 miles or greater. 6 Half Marathons, 1 15 Mile Cross Country race and a Marathon. Now I write it down that is shocking preparation! I now have 12 weeks to get properly prepared for Bristol and I will do at least 8 runs of 10 miles or further. I really want to do myself justice and will be aiming for 1hour 35mins.

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