Total Pageviews

Monday, 17 June 2013

Since VLM......

It has been 8 weeks since VLM, usually a pretty quiet period to allow the rickety old infrastructure to get back into shape.

However, on this occassion, the 8 weeks since VLM have contained no less than 22 races/parkruns ranging from 800m upwards and including another marathon at Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

The main reason for blogging is for my own purposes so that I can flick back later to see what the build ups to various races looked like, what went wrong or right etc. But if anyone else can learn anything from all my cock ups then all the better :)

So, with that in mind, it is worth starting with the bare stats since VLM:

Tues 30/4 : Club 3,000m Champs, Cudworth, Barnsley. 10:31
Weds 1/5: Spencers Arms Dash, Barnsley 23:05
Sat 4/5: Dewsbury parkrun (1st) 18:21 (5:54/mile)
Sun 5/5: Kirkbymoorside 10K (8th/1st V40) 37:47 (6:04/mile)
Mon 6/5: Avenham Park 5K, Preston 18:13 (5:52/mile)
Weds 8/5: John Carr 5K (Race 1), 17:33 (5:38/mile)
Sat 11/5: Cannon Hill parkrun (9th) 18:01 (5:47/mile)
Tues 14/5: Trafford GP, Manchester 800m (2nd/Ht 12) 2:24.83
Tues 14/5: Trafford GP, Manchester 1500m (1st/Ht 5) 4:59.36
Weds 15/5: John Carr 5K (Race 2), 17:38 (5:41/mile)
Sat 18/5: Dewsbury parkrun (4th) 18:52 (6:04/mile)
Weds 22/5: John Carr 5K (Race 3), 17:35 (5:40/mile)
Sat 25/5: Brockenhurst parkrun (2nd) 18:15 (5:52/mile)
Sun 26/5: Westminster Mile (7th) 5:09
Sat 1/6: Castle Demense parkrun, IRE, (1st) 18:11 (5:51/mile)
Mon 3/6: Cork City Marathon (63rd) 3:06:19 (7:06/mile)
Weds 5/6: Spencer Arms Dash, Barnsley 22:51
Sat 8/6: Newark parkrun (1st) 18:32 (5:57/mile)
Sun 9/6: Marsden 10 Mile Challenge, (21st) 1:11:40
Weds 12/6: Otley 10 Miles, (20th) 1:03:29 (6:21/mile)
Sat 15/6: Dewsbury parkrun (5th) 18:31 (5:57/mile)
Sun 16/6: Staveley Stampede 10K (4th) 36:52 (5:55/mile)

The surprise during this period has been that despite letting weight rise a bit, ie (2-3 kg) as usual after a marathon, the legs seem to have been relishing racing lots and feel very strong.

I was expecting a distinct lack of speed during this time but it hasn't been at all bad, notably:

1. Weds 8th May - A comeback PB over 5K of 17:33 at the John Carr race.

Looking a little bit desperate (below) coming into the closing stages, Emmerdale viewers may recognise the background, the village of Esholt being the old filming set for Emmerdale (thanks to Philip Bland for the pic):

2. Sunday 26th May - A 5:09 mile at the Westminster Mile despite being 4kg heavier than when clocking 5:00.2 at the Leeds Golden Mile last September. I didn't expect to be as near as 9 secs at this stage, so very pleased indeed with that.

3. Monday 3rd June - Cork City Marathon, IRE (3:06:19)

So what was the idea of doing another marathon 6 weeks after VLM?

Firstly, the build up to VLM had been pretty good but due to the 'tripping on a bottle' incident it felt as though I had come out of that marathon with the training unutilised and, in addition, in the following days there were none of the usual post marathon aches and heaviness.

So, it was possible that I was still 'marathon fit'. Maybe!

When Hannah came up with the impromptu idea of entering the Cork Marathon I tried really hard not to be interested....... but failed :p

I was interested to see what shape the legs would be in purely off the pre VLM training with no new 'marathon specific' training being added in the six weeks between VLM and Cork.

The Race:

Not knowing whether the legs could handle a marathon it was good to see that the course was designed in such a way that it never really went too far away from the city centre, especially in the closing stages, so dropping out would be relatively easy if needed.

It was clear from before the start that the conditions were going to get warm and humid, conditions that were ideal for widespread marathon carnage. Since I didn't fancy being a casualty the decision was made to run a more cautious first half than probably would have been the case otherwise in order to try to come away with a negative split, feeling strong towards the end if at all possible.

Thankfully, that is how it worked out:

First Half: 1:34:04 (111th position)

Second Half: 1:32:15 (63rd position)

On a day when negative splits, or even anything near even pacing, were rare I have to be very happy with the best feeling marathon I've ever run. The time may not be anything special, and in hindsight the first half was probably too cautious, but it felt great to be passing people throughout the second half and feeling in control of the distance.

But the highlight of the day by far was looking around just after I'd finished to see Hannah smashing her PB and ducking under 3:10, with 3:09:51, thus securing a VLM Championship place. She actually finished 6th in what we later found out was an IAAF accredited race, a requirement of which is that there needs to be at least 5 male and 5 female elite athletes (as defined by IAAF), so to finish 6th was not only very impressive it also came with a very nice prize fund!

She was quite happy:

And we were both happy with the post race free food:

followed by the post race free beer at The Bodega:

Coming up:

It will be interesting in the coming weeks to see if getting back to racing weight, about 68 kgs, will deliver some new comeback PBs. The main focus races being:

7th September (12 weeks) - Leeds Golden Mile (sub 5:00 would be nice)

29th September (15 weeks)- Singelloop 10K (sub 35:00 would be even nicer)

13th October (17 weeks) - Budapest Marathon (just to see what comes off the back of the shorter distance training)

Next Week:

This next week is going to be fascinating.

Sunday sees the Longest Sunday tour (formerly Longest parkrun) of 7 parkruns, ie 21.7 miles of running whilst enjoying a varied selection of attractive parkrun courses. We will be setting off three separate loops from Oldham at 9am, the loops being a) Yorkshire, b) Lancashire and c) Cheshire.

I'll be joining the Lancashire loop of:

Worsley Woods
Pennington Flash
Heaton Park

These multiple parkrun tours are always great fun to get involved in so can't wait for next Sunday's fun and games.

However, before then, myself and Hannah are going over to Northern Ireland to experience a range of venues that may not even have been possible a few short years ago. There are currently 10 parkruns in Northern Ireland as follows:

1. Belfast Victoria, Victoria Park nr Belfast City Airport
2. Citypark, Citypark Park, Craigavon
3. Ecos, Ecos Park, Ballymena
4. Enniskillen, Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen
5. Falls, Falls Park, Falls Road, Belfast
6. MUSA Cookstown, Mid Ulster Sports Arena, Cookstown
7. Portrush, East Strand Beach, Portrush (the only beach parkrun in the world)
8. Queens, Upper Malone, Sth Belfast
9. Wallace, Wallace Park, Lisburn
10. Waterworks, Waterworks Park, North Belfast

We are hoping to visit all these venues as well as a couple of upcoming NI venues at Antrim and Derry with the kind assistance of Ireland parkrun Country Manager, Matt Shields.

There will also be a new parkrun starting on Saturday morning, 22nd June, at Ormeau Park in Sth Belfast which we are really looking forward to:

So, all in all, up to 13 parkrun venues will be visited in Northern Ireland during our visit. You may ask why?

Well, when we flew over to Dublin at the beginning of this month on the way to the Cork Marathon, we decided to use some of the free time in advance of the marathon in nipping up to Belfast just to see what the area was like now and how it compared to the scary place that many of us only know from endless news reports about terrorist incidents and such like.

Although there are clearly still tensions in the area we were surprised at how 'normal' it all feels. We visited three parkrun venues while there - Waterworks, Falls and Wallace.

Driving down the Falls Road there are clearly still things which illustrate the recent past of the area:

But as soon as you reach Falls Park it could be any parkrun venue anywhere else:

This was Wallace Park not far from the old Maze Prison:

And Waterworks, near to the Antrim and Shankhill Roads:

 But above all it really made us want to go back to do lots more exploring!!

Now, 13 parkrun venues is not a bad start for a short 3 day visit but there's still room for more :)

So, on Friday evening Belfast City Council are launching a new event, the Belfast City Centre Solstice 5K, a flat, fast 2 loop race starting and finishing at Belfast City Hall:

We couldn't resist taking part in such an iconic event!

And then after the inaugural Ormeau parkrun on Saturday morning, and as long as the legs haven't fallen off, we are going to take part in the Dromore 10K just outside Belfast before flying back in time for the Lancashire Longest Sunday.

Could be an entertaining few days :)

No comments:

Post a Comment