Posts Tagged ‘Huddersfield’

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.



Posted: December 10, 2014 in Marathon, running
Tags: , , , ,

It’s 4am, I have been awoken by my eldest child and returning to sleep is not something I do well.

Blogging regularly is something else I do not do well.

In fact, here are ten more things I don’t do well:

1… Head out for a run less than 40 minutes after I’ve decided I shall head out for a run.

2… Stick to a training plan.

3… Not eat all the biscuits.

4… Dance.

6… Count.

7… Wrestle crocodiles*.

8… Run up hills.

9… Motivate myself.

10… Ignore grammatical errors and just get on with my life.

*It is, admittedly, quite possible I am brilliant at crocodile wrestling – I just haven’t tried.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list. There are many, many things, but it would be rather depressing to go through them all right now.

Some things I am aiming to improve on, however.
Namely – points 2,3,5,6 and 8.

The running mojo has been somewhat lacking recently. As has the general, getting-on-with-life mojo.
So I did what many of us folk who pretend to be runners sometimes do… I entered a race.

A local 10k track and trail type race, with, I might add, a Christmas pudding at the end for all finishers.
About 3 years ago I really pushed myself to run a 10k in under 50 minutes, so with that in mind I…(blah,blah,blah…might edit this later to give a bit of a race report….but let’s face it, I probably won’t…) managed to cross the line in 50:18.

Not too shabby, I thought (but sub-50 would have felt better) and I then immediately blamed the unhelpful habit I have of cycling to races. That would surely have been worth twenty seconds off the final time.

It’s funny,though. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the goal. I even, sort of, enjoyed the thrill of being so close but not achieving it. That means it was a good goal to have set. It’s no fun if you know you will attain it.

So with that in mind, I went and entered a marathon again.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. I haven’t actually entered, but I’ve thought super-seriously about it, planned transport, written the date in my diary, and told my wife…which is as good as entering.

The thing is, I promised myself I’d not run another marathon unless I felt prepared and ready. I have nothing to gain anymore from ‘just getting around’. I’ve done five marathons now, I know I can ‘get around’ the course. But I also know it is not much fun if I’m not fully prepared and fully trained. I have told myself that even if I have paid to enter a marathon, I will not run it if I don’t feel prepared. Oh, and I definitely won’t cycle there.

So I have restarted writing here to record what I’ve been doing to prepare. To be (a little bit, at least) accountable. I will try to be a little bit more regular over the next four months (I hear prunes help) about recording my training here (oh…I see). I need to see progress, or I won’t actually run it.

I have four months. The marathon is mid-April. The day after my birthday. Huddersfield. It’s hilly. I need to run hills.

So I’ve entered a hilly race in March ’15.

That one is a twenty-miler. It should be the perfect prep run. And tough enough to make me take it seriously enough in its own right. Hopefully stop Mr from saying to myself, “ahh…It’s ok..That marathon is still a long way off…you can still get loads of training in before then…go on…eat that entire packet of biscuits….they’re nice!“.

So for the last few weeks, I’ve been getting out a bit more regularly, visiting my local hill (a now abandoned ex dry ski slope) and doing increasing numbers of reps there.

I also have been trying to lose some weight and although I don’t want to turn this into a weight-loss blog, it is a part of this, because it stands to reason that dragging my current, 92kg frame around 26.2 miles of Yorkshire hills is going to be a lot harder than dragging say, 80kg around the same distance.
I’m not a sports scientist, but I’d say that sounds pretty good as a hypothesis to me.

I’ve been parkrunning a little more regularly again recently, managing an equal-to-the second-why-didn’t-I-just-push-a-little-harder-? PB on a local (Forest Rec) slightly hilly (but nothing like as hilly as Parke) parkrun. I get overtaken on hills – a lot. I catch up on the flat, then lose folks on the hills again. I need to run hills.

Oh and the other, maybe slightly less than perfect (8 days before the planned marathon) prep run could be that a few days ago my brother, who has his 40th birthday a week before my (not 40th) birthday, has asked me to celebrate with him by joining him on a ‘wolf run‘. One of these run-through-mud and climb-over-big-walls sort of events.

Ankle-twisting-tastic mate!