Saturday, 19 March 2011

Middlesbrough Parkrun 19.03.11 - Race Report

Lauren and I were up North for the weekend to celebrate Jan's Bday with her, so I thought I would fit in the Albert Parkrun on Saturday morning before heading off to Dalton Park to pick her out a pressie.

The nearest Parkrun to Lauren and I in Rayleigh is London or Cambridge and so I am bereft of opportunites to run a 5K at home and so like to squeeze one in when the opportunity presents itself.

I struggled to get myself out of bed for the 9 O'clock start and Lauren looked a little disappointed when I arrived downstairs in my race gear ready to go. But the troops hussled and Lauren, Jan and I headed for the race. Not having to wait around at the start really worked, and I found myself a good spot on the start line.

We were set off, and I went hard, it felt good and others around me weren't really attacking it so I moved up and was in about 6th place after the first 250 metres. The leader was in a yellow vest, there was a good female in a pink top a young kid and two gents strung out ahead of me and I had dreams of going for the win. I've told Lauren I want to win a race before I pack it in and I think a Parkrun could be it. Christmas Day 2010 69 hardy souls turned up and the race was won in 20:01. Unfortunately today 288 people turned up and by the time I got to 500m's I knew my maiden win wasn't going to be today as I had slipped down to 10th.

I passed Lauren and Jan sipping their coffees at the 1K mark and the Garmin showed me going through the first Km in 3:30 an eyewatering 17:30 pace, over 2mins quicker than my race effort of just 5weeks ago. Something told me that wasn't going to be sustainable! The next Km is up the slope and I settled into my rhythm of a more realistic 3:50 Km pace, not too concerned with the occassional runner now passing me. Back down the slope for the 3rd Km and past the pond and the supporters still on for a PB but that early Km was starting to bite!

Now as I headed up the slope on the final lap, I was just taking it steady and with the 4K marker in sight I felt a stitch coming on, thankfully the last Km is downhill or flat and so I took my foot off the gas but managed to maintain sub 4min Km speed. The stitch was hurting and on more than one occassion I contemplated walking, but as I continued to lap those at the back of the field I pushed on. With 300 metres or so to go I looked over my shoulder to see this kid in an Athletics Club vest who I had seen at the start, and I thought he would be good. I was in about 20th place at this point but I wasn't going to get beaten by a 14 year old! I kicked and I kicked hard leaving him behind and taking over another runner or two as we came into the finish.

Final position of 18th out of 288 and a new PB of 19:21 taking 21 seconds off my PB of 5 weeks ago. Was really pleased with the time and felt good for having worked through my issues as the race wore on. I've now gone out hard at both Half Marathon and 5K and managed to hold on for good PB's, that is definately my natural style, but in the coming months I might play around with the formula and aim to run a bit more even pacing.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Cooking with Gas!

Some of you may be questioning exactly why the link to my blog is simons lejog blog, seing as the vast majority of my posts relate to running and not to cycling. That would be a very valid question, and my cycling to date has been sporadic and in the main has been a 16 mile round trip to and from the office.

This pattern is not going to change before May, more specifically the 8th of May which is the Stratford Marathon. Once this is over, my focus will shift much more towards the bike and one or two long cycles at the weekend.

But my reason for blogging this morning is to tell you about my commute to work this morning. Rapid! My Garmin makes it 7.78 miles in 28:37 an average speed of 16.31 mph and a fastest mile of 2 mins 55 seconds that is in excess of 20.5mph, that was the mile near the steakhouse in Eastwood so plenty of downhill but still going some.

So there you have it two fully inflated tyres and I am cooking with gas, I had the pedal to the metal, I put my jets on, I flicked my invisible juice, I unleashed the furry. What ever your choice of phrase I was speedy. Well I say speedy, it wasn't record breaking, and to many club cyclists 16.31mph is pretty sedate, but for me that was my first sub 30min commute and I'm chuffed.

But how does this relate to LEJOG I hear you ask? LEJOG is 80miles x 13 not an 8 mile time trial. Too true, but in cycling as with running when I run a 5K strong I know that means I am in good shape to run a Half Marathon, so I'm hoping a good 8miler will translate into a good 80miler come LEJOG.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Power of 10

As well as being a Half Marathon PB for me, Norwich also marked another milestone in my running to date, it was my 10th Half Marathon. So I thought I would muse over my various attempts at the 13.1 mile distance.

The Races

  1. 14/06/09 - Southend - 2:17:48 (PB)
  2. 06/09/09 - Bristol - 2:08:50 (PB)
  3. 18/10/09 - Cardiff - 1:50:58 (PB)
  4. 07/02/10 - Great Bentley - 1:39:32 (PB)
  5. 07/03/10 - Bath - 1:41:54
  6. 13/06/10 - Southend - 1:45:40 (CR)
  7. 05/09/10 - Bristol - 1:36:21 (PB) & (CR)
  8. 19/09/10 - Great North Run - 1:40:28
  9. 06/02/11 - Great Bentley - 1:35:04 (PB) & (CR)
  10. 13/03/11 - Norwich - 1:34:13 (PB)

So in 21 months I have tackled 10 Half Marathons at 7 different venues. Gained 7 PB's in that period and knocked 43 and a half Minutes off my PB. The 3 venues which I have returned to, I have manged to improve my time on each occassion.

10 Mini Race Reports

  1. Southend - (104 miles in 90 days prior to race) - Just 6 weeks training for this and a longest run of 5.5 miles. Super hot and undertrained, it should have been no surprise when my two hour target was missed by some distance.

  2. Bristol - (106 miles) - Had all good intentions after the pain in Southend to train harder and better. But failed. An embarassing 24 miles ran in the month of August. Got a 9 min PB though but still someway short of the 2hour mark.

  3. Cardiff (151 miles) - A marked improvement in my training volume an increase of nearly 50% and I reaped the benefit. Nearly an 18 minute PB. Also the first HM that I managed to run all the way in.

  4. Great Bentley (240 miles) - Another leap in the mileage and those extra 89 miles lead to a further 11 minutes being taken off the PB. The flatest and fastest course so far. But still a big PB.

  5. Bath (244 miles) - A big disappointment. Was hoping to PB again a month after Great Bentley. Lost time in the first two miles as the streets were crowded and wasted alot of energy. Lead to me getting a stitch at about half way, and my race never recovered from there.

  6. Southend (290 miles) - Another bad race for me. A big Course Record and a 32 minute improvement on my first Half Marathon a year earlier. But I had hoped for a PB, was another hot day by the coast as it had been in 2009, again a stitch at halfway scuppered anything quicker.

  7. Bristol (235 miles) - A 3 min PB which was heavily aided by running with Pete for the last 10 miles. 3 mins was now a big PB, the days of 10 or 15mins being taken off each time were long gone. Also beat the 2009 attempt at Bristol by 33 minutes.

  8. Great North Run (230 miles) - No expectation of a PB here with the race just two weeks after Bristol. Ran well in a touch over 1:40. A good race, but didn't live up to its big billing for me.

  9. Great Bentley (251 miles) - Back to the fast course in 2011 and took 4 and half minutes off my 2010 time. Was also a PB by over a minute. Was nice to be back in the PB groove.

  10. Norwich (304 miles) - Another PB this time by a little under a minute. Went off hard and got excited that big things could be on the cards. Wasn't able to sustain the pace. But another PB and another step in the right direction.

So as you can see I've covered alot of ground since those first tentative steps into running in the summer of 2009. The sub 1:30 Half Marathon is now my immediate goal, with the long term target a 1:20, with the hopes that will enable me to run a sub 3 hour Marathon. I imagine it will take me significantly longer than 21months to achieve that though!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Norwich Half Marathon - 13.03.11 - Race Report

Lauren and I headed off for our 4th race of the year and I was hopeful for a 4th PB of 2011. I had run Great Bentley a month earlier in a few seconds over 1:35 and so I had set myself the target of 1:34 for Norwich. This seemed an achiveable time to aim for and also made the maths in my head easy at 7:10 min mile pace.

Lauren and I got to the start just after 10 leaving us an hour before the gun. Ross turning up shortly afterwards. It was nice catching up and shooting the breeze before the race, because once the gun went I wasn't going to see Ross again! He headed off to warm up about half 10, whilst I busied myself and headed for my start pen.

The race got underway on time dead on 11. Well as on time as a race can be that was meant to be run in November 2010 but actually began in March 2011. It was a whinding, narrow start on the paths of the show ground and I managed to get boxed in by a big group of runners who had started off too near the front for my liking. I stayed behind them for a while, but soon got frustrated and made some space and went past them running hard. The narrow paths continued and I couldn't settle and find my rythm till we were out on the wider roads after a mile or so.

I continued running hard, I knew it was faster than goal pace, but I felt fresh and strong. The course is undulating, but being early I didn't notice the small inclines, but definately felt the benefit of the descents. The first four miles were all run in sub 7 minute miles and I was a minute and a half up on my 1:34 target. The possibility of sub 1:30 then came into view, but it was less than 2 miles later that I realised it wasn't on and it was just a case of hanging on for the original 1:34 goal.

The course is a two lap job, which is a little dull, but should aid with pacing. I went through half way in something like 46:15 which would have been 1:32:30 but it was at this point that I knew my mile splits were going backwards and I didn't see that trend changing. My aim for the second half was to aim for 7:20 -7:30 miles and that would be a PB and something approaching 1:34. In the end aside from one very hilly mile near the end I managed to achieve that. I saw Lauren & Ross with half a mile to go, and with Ross running round the course and cheering me home I finished strong.

The offical time is now in and it's 1:34:13 a PB of 52 seconds and 219 out of 1971 a little outside the top 10%. Really pleased with my efforts and ready to really attack sub 1:30 at Bristol in September. Ross did the business and finished 24th in 1:19:18 to grab himself a PB too!

For all you numbers geeks here are the Garmin splits to my very poorly paced HM. What they don't show is that I also ran an unoffical 10K PB of 43:13 and an unoffical 10M PB of 1:10:51.

Mile Splits
1) 6:52
2) 6:40
3) 6:50
4) 6:52 - 4 Mile Total - 27:14
5) 7:00
6) 7:15
7) 7:07
8) 7:22 - 4 Mile Total - 28:44
9) 7:24
10) 7:29
11) 7:23
12) 7:44 - 4 Mile Total - 30:00
13) 7:18
13.1) 0:58 - 1.1 Mile Total - 8:16