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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

2012 - The First 6 Months......

The start of each new year from now on will throw up the question of whether time improvements from getting more training into the legs will be overshadowed by the inevitable decline of another year in age, now 46.

That could sound quite depressing  but considering I went through the process of giving up all idea of being able to run decent times again a long while ago the scenario will be nothing new. And since 100% of the reason for running is to be fit, healthy and competitive there will always be a reason to run :)

So what will 2012 bring? Well, I think the summary of the first six months is:

Sod The Ageing Process - That can wait until next year, or the year after...... :)

There has already been plenty of variety, the occassional standout performance and the odd cock up or two. But above all, it is already destined NOT to be the year when the decline takes over!

The bare statistics:

Jan 1st Glasgow parkrun 18:46 (8th)
Jan 7th Bespoke parkrun (Harrogate) 18:49 (3rd)
Jan 7th Yorkshire XC Champs 45:12 (127th)
Jan 14th York parkrun 18:03 (12th)
Jan 21st Harrogate parkrun 18:29 (2nd)
Jan 22nd Brass Monkey Half Marathon 1:24:28 (95th)
Jan 28th Barrow parkrun 18:27 (2nd)

Feb 4th York parkrun 18:23 (5th)
Feb 8th Dorothy Hyman 10,000m 38:53
Feb 11th Roundhay parkrun 19:38 (1st)
Feb 18th Colwick parkrun 19:03 (7th)
Feb 19th Wombwell 5 30:26 (24th)
Feb 25th Gunpowder parkrun 18:15 (3rd)
Feb 25th National XC (Parliament Fields) 48:00 (710th)

Mar 3rd Worsley Woods parkrun 38:18 (80th) [Slight 2 mile detour!]
Mar 4th Dewsbury 10K 36:21 (52nd) [New comeback PB - 1-0 vs The Ageing Process]
Mar 10th Walsall parkrun 17:59 (4th)
Mar 11th Spen 20 2:15:03 (15th) [New comeback PB - 2-0 vs The Ageing Process]
Mar 17th Sedgefield parkrun 18:28 (4th)
Mar 18th South Yorkshire HM 1:21:55 (20th) [New comeback PB - 3-0 vs The Ageing Process]
Mar 24th Hull parkrun 17:25 (6th) [New comeback PB - 4-0 vs The Ageing Process] [Hull V45 course record]
Mar 25th Thirsk 1:01:04 (37th)
Mar 31st Hull parkrun 19:21 (7th)

Apr 4th SpencerArms Dash (1/6) 22:16 (5th/1st vet)
Apr 7th Gateshead parkrun 18:01 (1st)
Apr 11th Silkstone Sth Yorks Road League - DNF
Apr 14th Graves parkrun 19:44 (8th)
Apr 21st Colwick parkrun 24:01 (37th)
Apr 22nd Virgin London Marathon 2:57:04 [New comeback PB - 5-0 vs The Ageing Process]
Apr 28th Harrogate parkrun 20:37 (19th)

May 2nd Spencer Arms Dash (2/6) 23:35 (7th/3rd vet)
May 5th Redcar parkrun 18:41 (3rd)
May 12th Preston parkrun 19:08 (8th)
May 16th Askern 10K 38:08 (57th)
May 19th White Peak HM 1:26:34 (20th)
May 26th Gunnersbury parkrun 19:31 (25th)
May 27th Melmerby 10K 38:43

Jun 2nd Burnley parkrun 18:50 (9th)
Jun 3rd Barnsley Boundary Relay (Leg 4) 40:20 (2nd)
Jun 4th Wythenshawe parkrun 18:20 (4th)
Jun 5th Huddersfield parkrun 18:09 (10th)
Jun 6th Spencer Arms Dash (3/6) 22:46 (5th/1st vet)
Jun 9th Braunstone parkrun 18:15 (9th)
Jun 10th Woodhall Spa 10K 36:37 (15th)
Jun 16th Poole parkrun 18:01 (6th)
Jun 20th Warrington 10K 36:39 (16th)
Jun 21st Dewsbury parkrun (test) 18:38 (1st)
Jun 23rd Dewsbury parkrun 18:24 (3rd)
Jun 26th DamFlask relays 21:12
Jun 30th Barnsley parkrun 18:27 (1st)

So am I pleased with 2012 so far? You bet I am! I'm absolutely loving it.

The first 26 weeks of the year has consisted of 50 races of various kinds across every distance from 5K to marathon.

The first half of the year has delivered the fastest times for 18 years at the following distances: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, 20 Miles and Marathon. The only significant distance that has escaped so far is my favourite distance, 10 miles, and so a major aim for the second half of the year is to try to better the current comeback PB of 59:52. There will be a good few chances so heres hoping.........

The 3 Highlights of The First Half of 2012?

1. London Marathon (2:57:04)

It was very satisfying to finally get back under 3 hours at the 5th attempt with 2:57:04.

More importantly, although not my fastest marathon, it felt like the best executed of all 20+ marathons completed to date with very little tailing off of pace towards the end. 5K splits were:

20:29, 20:32, 21:03, 21:00, 20:42, 20:30, 21:02, 21:56

Considering how I normally fall apart in the closing stages, this was a very pleasing sequence of numbers.

So what was the difference between this marathon and previous ones that didnt go as well?

It basically came down to two things:
a) Simulating the last 10K of the marathon on a repeated basis in build up races through pre-race fasting.
b) Not carbo loading before the race or fuelling mid race.

It will be interesting to see if I can repeat the same experience for Chester in October or whether I am drawing the wrong conclusions.

25 Miles and happy in the knowledge that the sub 3 is in the bag:

I enjoyed that one :)

 The evening before:

2. Dewsbury 10K (36:21)

Although I do a lot of races there are only a select few, maybe 5 or 6 times a year, that justify a full on 'going to the well effort' and the second half of the Dewsbury 10K was one of those occassions. This picture was captured at probably the hardest part of the return 5K, which was covered in 17:40. I can still feel the pain now but a comeback PB of 36:21 was the reward:

3. Hull parkrun (17:25)
The most satisfying thing about this run on 24th March was that after completing well in excess of 150 5Ks since starting running again in 2008 I had declared publicly that I was going for a comeback PB on this day. This required beating the previous comeback PB at Leeds of 17:33.

Since the V45 course record at Hull stood at 17:40 and my previous best there was 17:43, it was going to take everything to go right to get near to achieving the aim.

Just to pile some more pressure on, Paul Tremere (Hull Race director) announced my intentions to the 300 assembled runners on the start line. No hiding place now, it was a balls on the line affair.

After some excellent first half pacing by John Broom, the first mile was covered in 5:38. I was then very aware that if I could maintain a similar pace for the second mile without overcooking things then the record could be on. The second mile was bang on the money at 5:36 and it was then just a case of unleashing every ounce of training and every bit of muscle power I could find into that last mile, which turned out to be 5:38 to bring it home in an enormously satisfying..........17:25!

Another 'going to the well' effort and another result which justified it. :)

What does the second half of 2012 have in store?

Yorkshire 20:20 Challenge
A small group of us will be covering 20 Yorkshire parkruns on 24th/25th August (As there are only 17 Yorkshire parkruns, 3 will be run twice). The idea will be to see how many of the 20 can be run in sub 20:00. The full 20 is nigh on impossible but this is going to be a novel way of getting a really good weekend of marathon training under our belts ready for the Autumn marathons.

The Great North Run
The sub 80 is still sitting there as a target to be challenged. Whether it will be managed at GNR or not I dont know but I'll give it a good bash.

The Chester Marathon 
My main aim here is to replicate how I felt during VLM in April and if that is successful, hopefully some more time improvements can be found.

My main aim on the marathon front now is to achieve a Championship place as a V45. That requires a sub 2:45:00 clocking and I'm giving myself  4 marathon attempts to achieve it...Chester 2012, VLM 2013, Amsterdam 2013, Boston 2014.

Comeback PB attempts at 1 mile and 10 miles
There are going to be a few attempts at a mile and 10 miles so hopefully the 5:19 and 59:52 comeback PBs so far can be put under some pressure.

There may be a parkrun or two thrown into the mix as well..................