Posts Tagged ‘huddersfield marathon’

Well, here we go again… an attempt to write a race review.  I always struggle to write reviews because everything is a blur.

On this occasion however, nothing is a blur. I wasn’t moving fast enough for anything to blur.
When people have asked me how I got on, I have told them my time and then felt compelled to inform them just how hilly it was. It was really very hilly!

It was my slowest ever marathon at 05:35:58

I know. But it was really very hilly.

   
   When I ran a similar time at London in 2005 I was very disappointed. I think if this had been a flat marathon, I would have also been disappointed and would be considering hanging up my marathon shoes.

  
But it wasn’t a flat marathon. It was really very hilly. This wasn’t a surprise – I wanted to do a tough marathon and I got that. I paced myself well over the first half (I thought) keeping things very steady and hitting the half-marathon distance at 02:15:00. At the recent Ashby 20 road race, I covered the 20 miles in 3 hours 5 minutes, passing the half marathon mark at 01:52:38

So slowing this up by over 20 minutes was a good thing, I thought. But those hills took more out of me than I knew. Not just the ups… but the downs too. They were too steep to run down. Every step was braking, (maybe breaking) and pounding the joints, and over-working my poor quadriceps.

   
   (The photos never convey steepness, do they? I’m taking a spirit level next time*) 

*as if there would be a ‘next time’!

Having done these hills once already, I had resigned myself to not actually ‘running’ at times and it was nice to have that ‘do I?/don’t I? run’ question completely removed from my psychology. There was no choice. At least the views were good…

  (That was actually taken at mile 14 of the two-lap course)
I passed mile 19 (and a nicely decked out ‘nutrition’ station) at approximately 3:45 and a sub-five hour marathon seemed likely…  

 

…but MAJOR cramps kicked in at mile 23 and I literally could not move for over 5 minutes each time it happened (as well as being in serious pain).  Things didn’t look so pretty now…

  
The clock kept ticking. I was walking now and every occasional attempt to resume running ultimately stopped me in my tracks as the cramping hit once more. I had experienced this during a Nottingham marathon that I hadn’t really trained for, and it is not fun. I had said after that one that I never wanted to run for over five hours again. I stand by that. I don’t.

On my first lap there had been a chap pressure washing the war memorial as we passed mile 12ish… I enjoyed a little refreshing shower at the time and took this photo looking back on it… 

 

The workman was no longer there by the second lap (unsurprisingly).  It would have felt even better at that point BUT was probably for the best as I was later informed it would have been a water/bleach mix anyway!

So… Yeah, a particularly slow final few miles but despite the slow time, I was pleased to complete it. 

  (Final straight)
And in terms of ‘placing’ this is likely to be my best marathon ever… 44th!

Ok… Only 86 had entered, and they didn’t all complete it…but still. Top 50 finisher 😊 !

  (Post-marathon nutrition)

This wasn’t a big marathon in terms of numbers and it very much had the feel of a local club-run event. 

Signage could have been a little better in places (mile 10 / mile 23 for example) where my lovely wife ran after a runner or two to redirect those who had missed a turning…. They don’t know how priviliged they are – my wife very rarely runs (though she did join me for the odd minute or two for support along the way – I am also very honoured).

Water stations only had bins right next to them, so if you wanted to appropriately dispose of your cup you couldn’t run and drink.

There was no goody bag to speak of at the end, but there was a technical T- shirt, and unfortunately my medal said ‘HALF marathon finisher’ on the ribbon (look carefully at the beer photo again). They did apologise for that – I don’t do it for the bling anyway.

I did do the full. I promise. I have a million strava segment PRs to prove it (and an equal number of ‘second best’ times for the repeat lap!).

It was very good value for money though. And very friendly.

Of course the people were great  – runners, marshals, supporters (particularly my my own personal support – the actual present one and my virtual ones – thank you), and in all it was a good day. I can say I enjoyed it. A few quid was also raised for my local charity.

So… Did I achieve my goals?  
Well…  three out of four ain’t bad!
Good luck to you if you are marathoning soon!  I might be back.

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I can certainly be very ‘all or nothing’ at times. If I’m motivated, I’m well motivated, running most places, cycling everywhere else, eating well, etc… But when I fall off the wagon, I seem to land squarely in the biscuit tin.

For some reason the looming hilly races on the horizon haven’t been working their magic. Maybe they were too far away… WELL THEY AREN’T TOO FAR AWAY NOW! The Ashby20 is this coming weekend (22nd March ’15) and the Huddersfield Marathon on April 19th.

I’ve been looking at the profile for the Ashby20 and it seems to match my motivation of late…



This week = be super-good week.

Nothing that will make the weekend harder.

I have been doing the odd, very short run, more to help me mentally than physically and the ankle has settled a bit…



Ankle update



…and I think I’ll be fine.

The arm bruise is looking less interesting too…



(I might have been tensing a bit .., the best i could anyway)

Bruise update

I don’t think I’ll make it to the Mr Universe finals this year.

So I’m sat here post-dinner, drinking a pint of water and watching with envy as my kids tuck into some ice-cream and I’m wondering if I should run the 20 miles on Sunday with no fuel (as I have with all my long training runs) or have a slap-up breakfast and an ice-cream that morning, by way of a scientific experiment, like.

It’s the law of running that a few weeks before a big race/event something will go wrong. 

This includes (but is not restricted to…):

Broken bones. 

Getting a cold.

Mojo deficiency syndrome.

Slightly poorly ankle.

…and it is the most serious of the above ailments with which I am currently suffering.

Yes. The slightly poorly ankle.

I played tennis yesterday and picked up another mystery injury. The random arm bruise from last week is still colourful, by the way…



(I shall be providing weekly bruise updates because I know that’s what you want.)

The new injury was a hurty-ankle but I couldn’t work out if it was an outside (oh-dear-I-must-have-hit-myself-in-the-ankle-with-my-racquet-without-realising-at-the-time) sort of pain, or an internal (oh-dear-I-have-inadvertently-placed-excessive-strain-on-the-already-overused-and-under-recovered-soft-tissues-of-an-unstable-joint) sort of pain.

So… to assist in diagnosis, I went for a 9 mile run this morning.  It was supposed to be 16 miles, but prudence suggested otherwise. 

(I normally don’t listen to prudence, she can be a bit bossy and boring, but it’s important to hear people out sometimes, I think).

And the revised diagnosis is…

A hurty and slightly swollen ankle.



I seemed to run on it ok, but I don’t want to push it. Next weekend is a big tennis match again, and the week after that is the Ashby20, a hilly 20-mile road race. So I think I might just take things down a notch running-wise before then. If that then goes well, I shall just keep myself ticking over until the marathon a month later.

Prudence and I are chilling out together this week. I’ve decided to get to know her better.  I’ve been a bit hard on her in the past.

Less than twelve weeks to go until Huddersfield Hilly* Marathon. So I thought I would at least attempt a weekly round up of training/excuses here.

*It’s not officially called ‘Huddersfield Hilly Marathon’, I just thought I’d mention its hilliness (obviously the correct spelling – based on silly/silliness) in case I have previously failed to mention its hilly/challenging nature.

So…. crunch time! I’ve got to keep serious now…you know me…always serious…
Friday afternoon is also usually crunch time for me as it is when I am at my weakest, motivationally speaking. I need to see if I can avoid the temptation to sustain the last few hours of the week at work by munching at the various boxes of biscuits and chocs that do the rounds. Folks at work know I’m ‘in training’ so they don’t offer me stuff now…which is good….

…but away from their eyes I can be a secret eater. I’m not proud of it. I know I shouldn’t do it. But staying late to finish work an hour after everyone has gone, and knowing that I wasn’t gong to be eating until late this evening due to a tennis awards evening, the box of chocs were all mine.. 😦

Cross with myself for my secret eating, when I returned home from the tennis awards where, incidentally I ate reasonably well (apart from repeated trips to the crisp bowl) I then ate another big packet of crisps very unsecretively. CRUNCH TIME!
Take that secret eating! Ha. That showed you!

* * * * * *

Obviously this was all just a cunning plan to shame me into running extra hard to get that parkrun PB that I publicly proclaimed I would get last week…

I woke this morning (Saturday) and foolishly stood on the scales to assess the damage…
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d actually lost weight. Go figure. How does that work?
I was spurred on by the knowledge that if I run at the same effort as normal, my reduced weight should mean I’m faster, right?

That’s just what I did, and the results are demonstrated by the following graphic…

image

…by nearly thirty seconds too!

To complete a successful jantastic week, I just need to take it easy with a steady 15 mile run before breakfast tomorrow, now :-/

Despite some of the ‘helpful’ suggestions I received yesterday, such as, ‘shove some tissue up your nose and go for a run’ I have still not been for a run.

I have been doing what I suspect the vast majority of Janathon participants actually do, which is – go about my normal daily routine and then try to work out which aspect of it could possibly interpreted as that day’s exercise.

For me, today that was another family walk. Making the most of the last day before everyone goes back to work/school, we found a few more geocaches in the late afternoon.

image

The morning was spent coughing, spluttering and blowing a (thankfully not bleeding) nose, so despite still feeling a bit rubbish, it was good to head outside and get some fresh air.

Hoping to feel better soon and get a proper run in tomorrow.  Especially as I have now officially entered (rather than just talking about it) the Huddersfield marathon on 19th April 2015 and I seriously need to do done training for it.

Sounds obvious right? But my brain goes… “A marathon? You’ve done a few of them before. You’ll be fine. Training is for the weak”
So I’ve chosen one that describes itself a tough, hilly and challenging.  That should stop me from getting complacent.

It’s working so far. No complacency here. I’ve entered a hilly 20 miler about three weeks before the marathon to make sure I’m somewhere near the level of fitness at which I need to be.

The marathon has a 500 person limit… so there is a genuine possibility I could finish last.

My brother turns 40 the week before it too and is planning to do a ‘Wolf Run‘ with myself and some friends by means of celebration, so there’s also a strong possibility of injuring myself or otherwise rendering myself unable to complete the marathon.
I can’t missed the birthday do, though.

Let’s see what happens. The journey is as enjoyable as the destination.

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