personal best

Bristol 10k: The race

Two weeks after completing the marathon and after not doing too much running, I made my way to the start line ready to take on the Bristol 10k. 

I was heading into it not really knowing how to approach it. Should I go and enjoy plodding round or should I try to continue my personal best quest. 

I had done some calculations in my head regards the possible pacing. I knew that my training would put me in a position for a PB bit tired legs would put me off the sub 40 I would like to get. 

Still, in classic form, when the time came to get going I went off chasing the PB. I tried to find a rhythm that I could manage with my breathing that was of a good pace. To help with this I saw a couple of runners moving through the crowds at a pace that was what I wanted to hit. So following them I made my way through the other runners knowing that if I lost them I would fall off the pace completely. 

I’m pretty sure I went through 3K in a really fast 12 minutes and then continued to 5k in just over 20 minutes. However, it was at 5k that I really began to suffer. I had taken a sip of water and it really didn’t agree with my belly but I tried to keep going. At 6k, after a few minutes fighting with my central governor I had to stop for a moment feeling like I needed to be sick. I then ploughed on for another KM but it still wasn’t great so I stopped and almost tried to encourage vomit but it didn’t happen. 

The last couple of KM were tough but I managed to keep the legs going and along with a couple of brief stops, I approached the finish. I couldn’t muster a sprint finish and as I hit the finish line I stopped for what is become a now regular custom of squatting down to catch my breath. 

I had finished in 41:56 with a new PB!

As I walked away I even got myself on their video footage looking horrific. 

Still, I got my PB and without really training for it or pacing it well. It is definitely not my favourite event but think I will try again before the year is out, post marathon as I want to get sub 40!

Weymouth Half Marathon

This weekend I travelled down to Weymouth to take part in their 2017 half marathon. It was a really well run event with good marshalling and I managed to get myself a PB. 

The day started with a good amount of drizzle but it was not as windy as it could have been. I woke up at 645 to get some porridge down me but in hindsight I feel I could have had too much as I was trying to force it down near the end. We started our journey over at 7:15 to get to the 8:30 start time. 

I joined in the crowds walking towards the start and made my way to the start pen. There was a kind warning by one of the marshals explaining that the first bend is quite narrow so we should not race into it too much. As we started there was a short delay as I walked across the road and began the start of the race. 

The start of the race had a little loop round the pavilion before heading out along the sea front. I had a plan to keep my pace as close to 1:30 as possible which I knew would be a challenge for me. I found myself in a little group that were going at a good pace for me to stick with. I checked my watch and was a little off pace so began to move the pace up a little bit and picked a few people in front of me to gradually catch. 

As we got off the seafront I saw the 3 mile marker which was a bit disheartening as I was on the edge of my comfort zone. Soon we had to make a very sharp turn into a small trail section near the mini golf before heading back on to the seafront. 

On our return leg we passed the 7 mile marker and I spotted Dani and her mum in the crowd which was a nice boost. Although being told where I was in the placing a was not what I wanted as I hadn’t looked at the clock at all until then. (53rd apparently). 

The route is pitched as being a flat course and I had looked at it before hand noticing there were some inclines but nothing that looked too scary. However there was definitely more hills than I expected. The first couple were ok but then disaster struck. 

From nowhere I had a stabbing pain in my chest and I was finding it so hard to catch my breath. Basically I had to walk and although I tried to jog down the hill it was still hard to breath. I thought it was a stitch at the time but think it may have been more. It took me about a mile to get over this and I had to struggle through the hilly section.  

Once past this I managed to get back to some steady rhythm but I could not get it back to where it should have been. I then got to the downhill section, went in the underpass and headed back to the beach. The crowds as I approached the finish were really positive and I got many shouts which helped keep me going as my stomach was very tight. I then rounded a corner to see the finishing area and Dani waiting, only to realise I had to go past that point and do a short, but very frustrating, loop before returning to the finish line. 

The finish line was great as there was a brilliant selection of water and sweets for us to indulge in. Whilst scoffing my face I also bumped into Tony from Instagram who managed to get close to the 1:30 I was after. 

In the end I was pleased with a PB but frustrated that it was not quite what I hoped for. 

To find out more information click here 

Marathon PB EMF 2016

Edinburgh Marathon 2016 – Marathon Personal Best

This weekend I ran the Edinburgh Marathon and somehow came away with a completely unexpected personal best time of 3h27:07.

Start pen of EMF 2016

Start pen of EMF 2016

Going into the race I had talked about a knee injury and how it had stopped me training properly. This is true and the days after the race I really struggled to walk on it. However, through the race it did not really affect me – apart from a small part as I made my way onto the beach section of the course.

Going into it without many expectations meant I had not really thought about what pace to run it at. The previous night I settled on aiming to stay around 7/7.5mph and see how things go. Stood in the start pen I made a last minute and completely unplanned decision to run without music so I wound up my ear phones and put them into my zip pocket. I thought that I should try and enjoy the atmosphere as much as possible and hear my feet so I could focus on my technique and avoid injury. Another last minute idea I had was to tape my name onto my top. After running London without my name, I spent most of the course hearing the name ‘Tony’ shouted to the person behind me. This time it would be my turn. (I only suggest doing this if you are happy to acknowledge the crowd in some way, even if it is a tired glance/wave). This turned out to be a masterstroke and helped get me round.IMG_4880

My GPS was set on my watch before the start buzzer went to avoid any connection problems and it took 2 minutes before I made my way across the line. As I relaxed into my pace I felt comfortable and the few glances down at my watch told me I was going at around 7.6mph which was pleasing. At the 1 mile marker we approached Hollywood park and saw the front runners heading off out into the distance and then it was time to tackle a roundabout to come back on ourselves and follow them. I managed to find a bit of space so managed to avoid being cut up by other runners who were deciding to cut across rapidly.

Miles 1 to 8 are slightly blurred because I didn’t see any mile markers but was probably because I was too busy soaking up the atmosphere and it meant I was not clock watching. Without my music and lots of people on the streets I was really enjoying myself and running at a comfortable pace. About mile 8 I decided to have my first gel, estimating I had been running for over an hour.

I had planned to see Dani at mile 9 so towards this point I began to edge across to the left – like we had planned. It was a great boost to see her in the distance and because I was feeling alright I think it is the first time I have tried to have any dialogue with her when I’ve run past. Normally I’m struggling for breath!

My race changed from mile 11/12ish. From here it got really hard and I was really feeling my lack of training. As we moved through a really busy area for the crowds, it soon became quiet as we went off to do our long out leg before returning to the finish. I was having to try really hard to motivate myself and at 1h50 from the gun starting, the lead runners were coming back past us, which only made me realise how much longer I would be running for.  I was trying to set targets to reach before I even considered a walk but I couldn’t always make them, I had to walk and I hated myself for doing so. On the undulating hills I had to slow down too because I didn’t want to push my knee.

By mile 14 I realised I was going to need a distraction so took out my music. I only had it on quiet but it was something else for me to think about and I was hoping the shuffle would be good for me. The next 4 or 5 miles were tough and interspersed with some small walks. Mostly when taking on water or gels.

At about 4 miles from the finish line I decided to check my clock and see what sort of time I was on for. Here I realised that somehow, a PB might actually be possible. I kept telling myself it was only 5K – At best 22 minutes. At worse 30minutes. I still had 40 minutes to play with so I had to go for it.

Just as I began to feel comfortable with my stride I felt a very painful ‘pop’ at the top of my left calf like a ball of muscle had been pushed out. Disaster! Forget the PB I didn’t know if I could even finish. Pulling to the side with some colourful language I just tried to stretch it off. The pain eased and I got moving again – awkwardly, but moving. Then not long after it went again so I stretched and continued. This happened a couple of times and I found that if I kept my calf tighter it felt safer. I had to just focus on getting to the next mile and I told myself I could have a walk.

IMG_4909At about 25.5 miles Dani was there again cheering me on which helped. Although her shouts of ‘run faster’ were not helpful. The crowds lining the approach to the finish were great and I felt like an idiot when I had to stop before the final bend. Turning into the home straight I decided for some crazy adrenaline filed reason to pick my speed up. My right hamstring immediately told me no – as did my calf!

The main clock was approaching 3:29 and I tried to get under it but missed that by 9 seconds but I knew it was still a PB so that was okay. When I got my text with my actual time it was an even better PB.

Once home,  I had a chance to look at the medal and reflect on the fact I got a PB and also that if I trained better and stayed injury free I could go even faster.

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Enjoying an ice bath