After running the Chester Marathon and getting an 18 minute PB you would think I’d have had a bit of a rest right?
A week later I found myself in York with the family.
It was to be a nice little family trip away for the weekend.
Well, apart from the fact that I was going to run another 26.2 miles that Sunday of course.
I’d signed up for the Yorkshire Marathon at the same time as Chester. There were two main trains of thought that led to me making this decision. The first was that if Chester was a disaster I wanted to get back on the horse quickly rather than dwell on it. The second was that I had initially planned to do Comrades in 2017 so I wanted to see how well the body would react to another marathon in such a short time as a gauge to if I’d be fit and strong enough to endure the training.
As it is I’ve put Comrades on the backburner until 2018 to give me a chance to save up some cash for the trip.
So here I was on the Sunday morning getting ready in the darkness of the hotel room, while the family slept, preparing for another marathon.
The family were going to head out into York and do a bit of sightseeing while I was out pounding the streets and countryside.
After getting ready I’d managed to bag myself a taxi on the proviso that I had to leave the hotel at 7:30 otherwise I’d be stuck due to road closures. That meant at least an hour of waiting around pre-marathon.
Once I’d arrived at the event village and had a wander round I got chatting to some other runners who were curious as to where my running club was based. The sheer mention of Carlisle suddenly got a lot of people chatting to me about connections they had there. If nothing else it took my mind of whether my legs were tired or not.
I was hanging around the event village trying, and failing, to dodge the cameras who kept appearing everywhere I’d decided to loiter. (I bloody ended up on TV too when they showed the highlights on Channel 4 a week later).
It wasn’t long until the rest of the DH Runners trickled in and my lack of informing anyone that I was running the marathon was revealed. Which was a bit of a shock to some as the following picture shows…
After a quick catch up and several more visits to the loo it was time to head to the start line.
My initial plan was to stick with the 4 hour pacer and run a pretty comfortable marathon, enjoy it as best as I could and take in the views.
Having set off though I really didn’t feel comfortable running at the pace that the 4 hour pacer was running at. My legs were ticking over and were pushing to go a bit faster so I thought I’d catch up with the 3:45 pacer.
Four miles down the road I saw the next pacer in sight. It wasn’t until I caught up with him though that it was obvious that there was no 3:45 pacer as I’d caught the 3:30 pacer up.
I stuck with him for the next 12 miles but he seemed to be going a little too fast for 3:30 pace so at mile 16 I backed off the pace and dropped it down to just over 8 minute miles.
I was running fairly comfortably but from mile 18 onwards I’d started to happen upon people who had started to walk. There were a lot of people in a lot of states and, with 8 miles to go, it was going to be a bit of a suffer-fest for some of them but having gone that far they all seemed determined to finish at the very least. All I could do is give them the odd words of encouragement as I passed. Some would acknowledge me and some would put their heads down to ignore me. On both counts I completely understand, I’ve been there on either end of the spectrum on numerous occasions. Sometimes you need that motivation to get you going again and give you a little push to get to the next mile and sometimes you really don’t want to hear it at that moment in time.
With six miles to go I’d decided to take the foot right off the pedal and run 9 minute miles. Even if I carried on the way I was going I was going to get a sub 3:45 finish which I was more than happy with having battered myself at Chester the week before.
It was nice to have a bit of a chat with a guy who I’d more or less being swapping positions with for about 10 miles. He was raising money for the stroke association and his training hadn’t gone exactly to plan as an injury had meant his longest run had been just short of 16 miles. The fact that he’d raised a lot of money for the stroke association brought him to the start line that day and made him want to finish. He openly said that if he hadn’t have been fundraising then there’s every likelihood that he wouldn’t have turned up. But here he was, and with only a few miles to go there was no way that he wasn’t going to finish.
We ran together right up until the last mile where I slowed right down to see if I could pick the boy out in the surrounding hordes. I’d promised him that I’d run him across the finish line of a marathon a couple of times so today seemed perfect as I wasn’t overly fussed with finish times.
A push up the last hill and the finish line was in sight. Sadly, the family hadn’t made it to the finish having got lost in Walmgate somewhere. (Luckily we had a backup meeting place for the possibility that that might have happened). So with a final sprint to the finish my 8th marathon was in the bag.
3:41.53 was my final finish time.
If you’d told me at the start of the year I would run two marathons within a week of each other and both of them would be quicker than my previous PB I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.
But it just goes to show how much I’ve come on in the past few months. I’ve started to believe in myself and believe in my training and I’m reaping the rewards.
The training and nutrition tweaks I’ve made have definitely been benefitting me this year.
It’s true what the old adage says; “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
I was following the same training plans year in and year out and a little change to a few session per week has seen my speed increase exponentially.
There was only the mile and the 10 mile PB’s left to fall this year.
Two weeks later the mile PB was taken down when I took part in the DH Runners Magic Mile event.
Posting a 6:04.60 I battered my previous 3 year longstanding mile PB of 6:29.64. (I left it all on the track though).
There’s only the 10 mile PB left that I haven’t taken down this year.
With Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile run coming up in four weeks I’ll have that opportunity. If I can do it I’ll have a full set of distance PB’s in one year.
What a year. But the things I’ve achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a great bunch of friends, a fantastic running club, a top class personal trainer and my amazing wife and kids.
When I started this blog I used the motto ‘Dream, Believe, Train, Achieve.’ Never has that motto meant more than it has in 2016.
With big plans in the pipeline for 2017 and 2018 it’s time to push new boundaries and test new limits. But hey, I never was one for resting on my laurels.
DREAM, BELIEVE, TRAIN, ACHIEVE