It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote about an event. But let’s forget about the horrendously windy Great North West Half Marathon and move on.
Training for Manchester has been very up and down but I’ve still been getting the miles in so it should all stand me in good stead on the day. The last four weeks or so I’ve really focussed on speed-work. I haven’t been able to do as much speed work as I’d have liked in the early days of the training plan what with illness and injury so it’s time to get as much speed work in as the plan suggests.
My Nike sportswatch finally died and left me in a bit of a quandary as to what watch to go for next. I’d been very dubious of the Nike watch for a few months as it didn’t seem to be working out the distance and pace right anymore. It was during a 20 mile run where it logged the first seven miles and then just stopped that I decided that it was time for us to separate. Sorry Nike, it’s not me it’s you.
I finally plumped for the Garmin Vivo-Active. And what an immediate difference it’s made. I always found it difficult to work out my pace per mile with the Nike but with the Vivo-Active I’m getting updates every mile as to how fast/slow I’m going and what pace I ran the previous mile at. Suddenly I’ve found that I’ve gotten more consistent with my pacing which can only bode well for longer distances.
As far as events go I’ve taken part in two over the past couple of weeks. On the 13th March I took part in the Carlisle Tri Club Duathlon at Kirkbampton. As a leg loosener I decided that I would bike to Kirkbampton before the event. Yet again the event was a 4km run followed by a 25k bike and then a final 4km run.
My first run was a lot stronger than last year’s effort of 19:41. This year I completed my first run in 18:45. I picked up my bike and headed out for the 2 lap bike course. Last year I’d completed the bike section in 55:41 so that was my aim.
My only other aim, once on the bike, was not to allow any more than 10 competitors past me on the bike and second run. I’m not entirely sure where it went wrong on the bike but I ended up completing the bike leg in 56:18. Ideally I’d have liked to have been faster than last year but it’s something to aim towards for next year if I do the event again. On a positive note I’d only let four competitors pass me (it was six in total but I’d managed to catch a couple back up and overtake them again) and I was coming into my forte with the second run.
About halfway through the second run I was overtaken but there were still a few runners in the distance that I could catch up and I was keeping a fairly even pace so I was happy enough. With about half a mile to go I managed to catch up and overtake another runner and, with no-one on the horizon, it was just a case of keeping in front of them. Once I was on the final stretch though it was job done as I cranked my pace up for a finish of 22:23. Overall I’d completed the course in 1:37.26. Last year’s attempt was finished in 1:38.57 so I was a over a minute quicker. Not bad but I was still disappointed with the bike time.
Anyway, on a positive note it was more mileage in the legs in the build-up to Manchester. On a negative note everyone had eaten all the Jaffa Cakes by the time I’d gotten back to the hall and I still had a five mile bike ride back home to contend with.
The very next Sunday, March 20th, myself and Mr B headed down to Lancaster for the Trimpell 20. Yet again this was another race that I’d done the previous year in the build-up to Manchester 2015. It was also a race I had a bit of beef with as it was a bit of a struggle for me. In essence I’d gotten the pacing all wrong on what was a very hot day and by mile 15 I was flagging, had a knackered knee and was knocking out 11 minute miles. The last five miles were a slog indeed.
This year saw a new start and finish area as the event had been moved to Lancaster Castle as oppose to previously being held from Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.
We set off at 8am to factor in a loo stop and food grab. A quick foray into Killington Lake Service Station saw me plump for the healthy option of a McDonalds breakfast. What can I say? The body knows what the body needs.
We picked up our numbers in Lancaster Castle and then got ourselves sorted and down to the start line. We met up with fellow DH Runner Kev Scott who was also running the Manchester Marathon and using this as his training race.
I’d had in my head of a finish time of 2:55.00 which was around the same time I’d wanted to complete it the year before when I’d ended up finishing in 3:06.08. So I had a few time goals of where I wanted to be at certain miles. I was keen to stick to the plan this year and not get carried away. Getting my pacing right and consistent here would stand me in good stead of getting it right at Manchester.
We set off just after 11am. The start was slightly chaotic as you couldn’t hear the organiser and runners were camped out on opposite fields before converging onto the main path. It was tough in the first mile to get around people and find a comfortable pace to run at. Once the road opened up a bit though and I’d found a group of runners who were running a similar pace to what I was aiming for I was good to go.
My first goal was to be at 5 mile on or around 42 minutes and then 10 mile on or around 1 hour 25 minutes. This would stand me in good stead of hitting 15 miles in around 2 hours 5 minutes.
There’s honestly not much to say for the first ten miles. I found a pace I was comfortable at and I had a runner in the distance I was keeping an eye as I’d heard him mention that he was pacing for a similar finish time so I was keen to keep him in my eyesight for as long as possible. I was consistently on pace and hitting the targets I’d set for myself.
Just before 14 mile you turn around and start heading back in the direction you’ve just come from. I’d just turned and gotten chatting to some runners from Atherton Running Club and as we passed the 14 mile marker I suddenly got my leg caught up in a tree root and I went down pretty hard. The two runners from Atherton Running Club picked me up, dusted me down and made sure I was ok. The speed in which I was felled, then picked up and running again can only have been around fifteen seconds. I think the fact that I’d not had time to think about it meant that I was back up to target pace within a few miles. I didn’t even look at my hands. I knew that I’d scraped most of the skin off my palms and that they were bleeding but I just got my head down and grinded it out. I sent my thanks after the race to Atherton Running Club for their kind members helping me out of a pickle. I was a bit shook up for the next mile or so but I soon put it out of my thoughts and was back on track. Having looked at my watch afterwards you can see the point where I fell and the fact it took me two miles to recover as my pace slows down considerably.
Andy passed me at around mile 18. We had a very small chat before he powered off into the distance. There was no point trying to chase him to make it a bit competitive as he was running his own race and I was running mine and as it was my pace was perfect for my goal time. The last thing I wanted to do was blow myself up with two miles to go.
The finish line was nearing but with about 600 metres to go the most horrendous uphill section was about to begin. A few people absolutely belted up it but I took my time and kept the legs ticking over. Once at the top I was passing all the people who had smashed themselves up the hill. With about 200 metres to go they’d destroyed themselves and I was able to pick them all off with a sprint to the finish.
Finish time – 2:53.19.
I’d smashed it. I’d beaten the time of 2015 by a considerable margin and I’d kept a consistent pace throughout.
If I can replicate that at Manchester I’ll be well chuffed.
Andy and Kev did well as well finishing with times of 2:50 and 2:21.
It’s been a good few weeks for me. My training has gone well and I feel like I’ve been getting stronger in both my running sessions and my PT sessions at the gym. Hopefully I’ll carry all this positive energy into Manchester and manage to achieve my goal time.
Onwards and upwards.